The Great Debate…..all about the first kiss

Anniversary Week

For 23 years now, Terry and I have debated this portion of our story. This debate has led to multiple conversations between friends and family. Obviously anyone who hears his version is apt to side with him. I guess it really doesn’t matter so much now, it’s just fun for us to banter with one another in an effort to keep the debate going.

Here’s the real story.

So, as we headed for the door Valentine’s evening to say goodnight, I had to walk into the garage to lock the door. As we ventured into the garage, we continued to converse. Finally, I told him he had to leave because I knew those precious little boys would be up with the rooster, and I needed sleep to keep up with them. He turned to leave and gave me a gentle hug. I think my heart skipped 5 beats. It was just a hug, I told myself….no big deal.

This is where our stories conflict, after we hugged for a minute or so, he just stood there glaring at me. Then pulled me to himself again and kissed me. The kiss like his hug, was gentle and full of passion. At that moment, in that one kiss, I knew this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. How did I know? I just knew, simple as that.

Obviously, he says exactly the opposite and he tells everyone, “You just wouldn’t believe. She couldn’t keep her hands off of me. She kissed me first.”

We do agree that night was a new beginning for us both.

Even though deep in my heart, I knew Terry was the one for me. I still wasn’t ready to completely trust and give my heart away. I carried way too much baggage from the past, my heart was derelict condition. It would take much more than a passionate kiss to convince me to trust completely again. Perhaps in time, just not immediately.

We continued our late night meetings and dating on the weekends. Sometimes the boys went and sometimes they didn’t. I was fortunate enough to have grandparents and parents who were willing to keep the boys and from time to time, hire a babysitter.

In April, my sister got married. Terry was a lifesaver during that time. Not only did he take me to this swanky kids clothing store to buy the boys outfits(which would later be worn by Alex for a friends’ wedding) for the wedding. On the wedding day, the guest book was inadvertently left at home and when it was discovered it was far too late to run back home and pick it up. So, Terry went downtown and bought a new one.

Trusting him was becoming easier and easier, but something still bothered me. Until now, he had met all of my family including the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I only knew Tom and Marie (Terry’s sister) and their two boys. I had not met his mom Thelma.

After a date one night, inquisitively I asked, “So, when do I get to meet your Mom?”

“I don’t know” was his response.

“Are you embarrassed to for me to meet her? My gosh, we’ve been dating almost 3 months and you have never once taken me to meet her.” I fired back.

“No, it’s not you. I’m just not sure how you will take my mom. She’s different. She’s very forthright and brash at times. But if you insist, I’ll take you to meet her.”

He turned the truck around and away we went to meet Thelma. (of course I must end here because this is a chapter all its own)

Hope and Expectation….Our Story Continued

One call led to another and plans were made for the following weekend for Terry to come over to my parents’ house and have dinner. However, this was not a date, a singles gathering had already been planned and he agreed to show up.

The night was full of fun and laughter. He lingered after the other guests left. During the course of that conversation, I learned he knew more about me than he initially disclosed. In fact, he had seen me before I ever met him personally.

He told me that during Christmas with his family, they were watching the newly taped version of the Messiah we had done that year. While watching the TV screen, he saw me, pointed me out to his sister and asked, “Who’s that girl?” So, Marie proceeded to tell him that I was divorced and had two little boys.

There were two things that amazed me from learning this from Terry. The first was that he actually picked me out of the crowd and pointed to me on the tv screen. (Keep in mind we were dressed in full period costume, even our heads were covered.) All he could really see was my face. The second thing that struck me was that after learning I was divorced and had two children, he still had an interest in meeting me.

When he left that evening, I found myself beginning to wonder if he would call again. There had been no hint of affection during the evening, but there was no indication that he had been turned off either. The next couple of days, I found myself rushing to answer the phone every time it rung, especially late in the evening. I was elated when I heard his voice on the other; however I didn’t allow my excitement to exude into our conversation. I maintained complete composure, almost to the point I had myself convinced it was no big deal….but it was.

The following Sunday night we decided that he would come over and I would cook for him. You know, they say the best way to a man’s heart it through his tummy. This would be his first encounter with my dad and also the first time since our outing to the park that he would have some time with the boys. As the events of the evening unfolded, it still amazes me that he came back.

Our normal Sunday evening routine was going to church and coming home afterward for a light snack supper, usually consisting of popcorn, chips, crackers, etc. After the initial painless introduction to my dad, it seemed the evening go off without a hitch. Until my dad realized that I was cooking and were off the norm, suddenly he began ranting and raving about how we didn’t cook on Sunday night and he wasn’t the least bit happy that I was cooking. Not only was I embarrassed, but felt certain that after that evening Terry would never show up on my doorstep again. Fortunately, the remainder of the evening turned out well. (Terry will give his version of this story because this is how Ned became known as Nitro)

The next day was Valentine’s Day and I had no expectation of talking to much less seeing Terry after Sunday evening; however, around 6 pm he called to ask if he could come by after work. Now after work for him was 11:30 because he was working second shift at the time. After the evening before, I wasn’t about to say no. So around 11:30 he showed up with a smile on his face and hands behind his back like a child trying to hide candy from his mother. As subtly as he could, he took the package from behind his back to reveal heart-shaped sugar cookies that he had picked up from Ingles.

“Happy Valentine’s Day. I didn’t a chance to get anything for you, so I thought I would at least bring you some cookies.” He said rather awkwardly, as if embarrassed by his gift.

“Thank you but I really didn’t expect anything you really didn’t have to bring anything.” I replied. Silence fell and it was almost a deafening silence. Suddenly I realized how foolish my statement had been to him. Why couldn’t I have just said a simple thank you? So, I tried to explain away the reason for my reply. Fortunately my explanation seemed to appease him.

We would spend the next few hours talking about our past relationships, hurts and hang-ups. Finally, I was growing weary and knew that early morning was coming quickly. So, we said our goodbyes and he headed out the door. I followed behind to lock the door.(more to come)

Our Story- How We Met

Anniversary Week – The Meeting

It all started around September 1993, while visiting my sweet friend Karen Scoggins and sharing coffee with her and another friend of ours Marie, we were also sharing prayer requests. Marie asked us to pray specifically for her brother and his fiancee. She was concerned about their pending marriage because they came from different religious backgrounds. So, when I returned home later in the day, I wrote in my prayer journal the names Terry and Patty – their pending marriage and concern over religious differences. I had no clue who I was praying for, only that my friend asked me to pray.

Fast forward to January 1994…In order to make a little side money I began office cleaning. The office I was cleaning just happened to belong to Tom, Marie’s husband. One night while cleaning, Tom and Marie popped in to pick up something. Out of the clear blue, Tom said, “According to your mom, you aren’t dating anyone. Is that correct?”

The response came quickly, “I really have no desire. I’ve only been divorced since July.”

“Well, you should go out with Marie’s brother. He just broke his engagement to his fiancée.” He replied.

“Tom, there’s no hurry. Give her some time.” Marie interjected.

“Well, you are involved in the Singles Ministry at church, aren’t you?” He asked

I responded.”Yes, I am one of the encouragers. I make phone calls and write letters to singles.”

“Well then Marie’s brother, Terry needs some encouragement to come back to church. He’s had a hard time wanting to come back. I think he gets tired of us telling him. Maybe you could contact him and invite him to come.” He said.

Without hesitation I said, “Sure, I’ll be happy to contact him.” So Marie gave me his phone number.

A couple of days later, I tried to call Terry but he wasn’t home. For the next two weeks, I would unsuccessfully try to call. No, I didn’t call every day or every other day, maybe once every 4 days. I ran into Marie at church and she said, “Have you talked to him yet?” “No, he’s never home.” I said “Please keep trying. Don’t give up.” She pleaded.

The last Saturday in January, I decided to give it one more try. I prayed before I called, “Lord, if you want me to encourage this guy to come to church, please let him be home. As I dialed the last number, my palms became clammy, my heart started racing as the voice on the other end said, “Hello!”

“May I speak to Terry?”

“Hold on a minute.” Thelma said and she held the phone down and began to yell, “Terry (came out more like “Tarry”), you got a phone call. It’s that girl again (and that would be my name for a long time with her, “That girl”)

Finally after almost 3 weeks of calling, I talked to him for the very first time. Initially it was a little awkward, but for those of you who know both of us, we like to talk. So it didn’t take long for the conversation to liven and we talked for an hour and half. By the end of the conversation, I had invited him to church on Sunday and he told me precisely where he would be sitting.

On Sunday morning, I walked into the sanctuary and there he was, sitting exactly where he said he would be with his nephews, Brad and Zach, with a smile on his fact that stretched ear to ear. After our initial introductions, he asked me where my boys were. He wanted to see them. I explained they were in their classes and he could see them another time. Then he asked the question, “Do you want to sit with us?”

Without hesitation or second thought, “No thank you. I’m sitting with friends.”

Astonished he said, “Oh, ok. Guess I’ll talk to you later. Nice meeting you.”

I didn’t give much thought to what I had just done or undone, but as sure as I am writing this, my sweet little Mama let me know very quickly that I had been rude.

“What do mean inviting someone to church and not sitting with them? What were you thinking? I can’t believe you did that to him. He’ll probably never talk to you again.” She clamored.

“Ok Mama, I get the picture. But you don’t understand, I needed to sit with my friends because one of them was joining the church today and she asked me to walk forward with her for moral support. That’s why I sat with her.” I said trying to ease her rage with me.

“Well, then you need to call him and apologize and explain that to him. If I were him, I would be very upset.”

After being raked over the coals for 30 minutes, I relented and went to call. Before I did I prayed, “Lord just give me the words to say.” I decided not to call right away after I prayed, and waited until the next day. (Maybe inwardly I thought he needed some time to think about it too)

When I called the next day, he answered the phone. It’s almost as if he knew I would call. After a couple of minutes of small talk, I got straight to the point. I apologized and explained about the events from the previous day. He accepted my apology and asked, “So, what are you doing right now?”

“Oh, I’m taking the boys to Mickey D’s to meet my friend Karen. You are welcome to come.” I quickly responded, not thinking he would take me up on it, but he did.

He came to Mickey D’s and hung out with us and met the boys. Then he asked if we could take them to the park so he could play with them for a little while before he had to be at work. So we did and he played with them for an hour or so before going to work. Later that evening, he called me….. (more to come)

Laugh….Cry….Have one heck of a day!

Last night I went to Hendersonville First Baptist Church to hear their Christmas musical. I already had plans to attend but after an earnest plea on Facebook looking for a church whose music ministry might be performing a Children’s Christmas musical, I discovered that this musical was multi-generational.  Children, youth and adults all come together and sing together.  I was excited.

On Wednesday I asked Mom if she wanted to go with me and my friend Tima.  She said, “Sure.”  My heart was happy she wanted to go too.

Excitement and elation filled my thoughts throughout the day. It had been a long time since I went to any musical.  In fact, probably the last Christmas musical was one my children and I participated in at Biltmore Baptist Church 11 years ago.  The last Christmas Children’s Musical was “Mayhem in Bethlehem” presented at BBC 11 years ago.

Joy filled my heart as those precious children sang.  So filled with wonder and awe, the joy beamed from their faces into the crowd.  The innocence of youth. Lifting their voices high with praise to God.

As I sat there and listened, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.  I looked up through the Adult Choir and I saw him standing there.  Tall and proud to be a part of it all.  Ned.  There he was.  Only he wasn’t there.  Instead of him being in his familiar spot, his friend and prayer partner Jim was there.  It was at that point I realized the sides had shifted.  The bases and altos now sat where the tenor and sopranos sat and vice versa.  I realized as the night wore on, it didn’t matter how the seating arrangement was.  He was there or at least I could see him.

As the evening drew to a close, Karen Scoggins along with the choir sang “Amazing Grace”  Now, if you’ve never heard her sing, trust me, she’s got pipes.  This dainty precious soul can sing.

I knew Mom was crying.  I didn’t dare look.  Our friend, Linda, reached over to console her.  Tima had her hand on her shoulder.  Still I dared not look.  Tears were already starting to form and I knew I might not be able to control them.  As the final verse started, Mom was holding Linda’s hand and said, “I know where he is and I know I’m going to see him again,”  Well, great.  Thanks Mom.  Tears festered and started to fall softly.  Finally I glanced over in her direction and said, “Did you not bring any Kleenex?”

“No, I didn’t” She replied.

Linda asked if everything was ok.  I told her we didn’t have Kleenex.  She offered her scarf.

As the last song started, I began thinking about Mamaw and I began to smile then chuckle. I had to control myself from laughing out load.  That’s about as difficult as keeping the tears from free-falling.  For those of you who know me, I laugh a lot.  Sometimes I squirrel laugh, that’s what my kids call it and sometimes I just laugh hard and loud; of course, according to Ned, nothing about me was ever quiet.  Why was I having to fight hard to keep from laughing hysterically?  Because I could just hear my precious Mamaw (Colleen) saying to me and mom, “You dummies!  What do you mean coming without bringing Kleenex?”

You see, my grandmother, well she was always prepared for the best and the worst.  She had Kleenex in every purse she owned and in about every pocket of every coat she owned.  She also had other things too, like certs, certs and more certs, tylenol, Advil, cough drops……you name it she had it.  Obviously, mom or I neither one takes after her.

Jimmy Valvano says, ” If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Well, these days I’ve been doing a lot of laughing and crying.  I’m not pretending it’s not raw and I’m not pretending it’s easy when you lost someone you love, especially around the holiday season.  What I am telling you that for everything there is a season and that’s what God’s word says.

Ecclesiastes 3 suns it up beautifully:

There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing; a time to search and a time to count as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

I have seen the task that God has given the children of Adam to keep them occupied. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. I know that everything God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of him. Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. However, God seeks justice for the persecuted.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8, 10-15‬ ‭CSB‬‬

The Day She Wore Red

It was a cold day, December 5, 2015. She was running about frantically trying to decide what to wear. There was no preparation or thought given to the Christmas Parade. Although she knew since being crowned Homecoming Queen in October that she and Terrold, the King, would be expected to be in the parade.

It’s par for the course because she is her father’s child. Like him, she doesn’t always plan ahead. She’s a spontaneous combustion, which sometimes causes her to become overly anxious. Not to mention, it drives me to the yelling and screaming point. A place I’d rather not be.

She kept saying, “I need to wear something red. I don’t have anything red.” At the same time we both remembered the red coat. It would be a perfect accent and provide the Red she needed to represent the Bearcats.

This isn’t just any red coat. It was given to me by my sister-in-law, Marie in 1992. The coat belonged to Thelma, my mother in law. She died at the end of 1991 and Marie said she always loved Thelma in red.

I had worn the coat a few times, not often, because I have several other coats I prefer to wear. I’ve kept it for that just in case. So glad I did.

Amy grabbed the coat and dashed out the door. I wasn’t far behind. I wasn’t missing the parade just because she’s gotten us both worked into a bit of a tizzy.

I found a roomy spot to stand in order to have a perfect viewing. As the car rolled down the street, the first thing I noticed was the brilliant red coat. You couldn’t miss it. It didn’t stand out like a sore thumb, it stood out because it made every strand of her hair and skin tone stand out. It made her glow!

I wondered if it did the same thing for Thelma when she wore it. I’ll bet it did. You see, my mother in law had a very striking appearance. She was beautiful, even in her older years, there was just something about her. Her countenance. Her stature. You just knew that she was an overcomer. She was fierce and determined.

Then it hit me, her granddaughter is so much like her. She’s fierce and determined. She has an inward confidence in herself. Maybe that’s why the coat fit so perfectly. Maybe that’s why I kept the coat.

As all the maybes and why’s hurled through my mind, a deeper meaning crossed swept in. This coat was at least 18 years old, maybe older, when Amy wore it. However, there isn’t a blemish on the coat. It hasn’t worn out. It’s beauty hasn’t faded.

There’s a promise in the Bible that tells us “Yet the LORD says, During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.” Deuteronomy 29:5.

God promises that He will provide for our needs, not necessarily for our wants. Amy had a need for something red to wear to the parade and God graciously provided it for her.

I want it all…..everything

When Amy was three or four Terry took her to Wal-Mart in hopes to figure out what she really wanted for Christmas. As they neared the toy aisle he said, “Show me some things you want for Christmas,”.

As they made their way down every aisle she said “I want this and this and this and this….”. He looked at her and said, “So, you want it all!”

“Yes daddy. I want everything” she replied.

Go ahead and laugh. I certainly did, especially to hear him tell the story with his expressions and eye rolls! It’s funny.

But pause with me for a minute and think, don’t we do the same thing to God? We just tell him everything we want and then expect it show up wrapped in a neat package waiting under the Christmas tree.

But like Amy, we can’t have it all. We don’t get everything we want. Sometimes we don’t get what we want at all. What happens then?

We whine and complain. We’re disappointed and discouraged. We don’t understand the gift because we fail to see the heart of the giver.

The giver of gifts knows far more than we do about what we need. He even knows what we want. He decides what’s best for us. Like Amy some things she wanted may not have been age appropriate. She may need time to grow and mature before some gifts were given. Some things may bring harm to her or others.  Those would also not be a good idea for the giver.  Then there are the things she wanted that just wouldn’t be good gifts at all.

The thing about the giver is they survey the value of the gift.  They determine if the gift is  worth the price.  The giver also determines if the receiver is ready for the gift or if they need more time to learn and grow.

Like Amy, I would venture to say most of us, if not all of us, want it all.  We want everything.  The problem is we’re not ready for everything and we must be willing to receive what the giver determines is best for us.