Celebrating 25 years-Day 2

Yesterday we took to the streets again. We were hoping to finish up Christmas shopping but nothing hopped off the racks and into our hands. We tried. Believe me!

I even went into several boutiques to try and find unique gifts. The only thing I ran across was this tea towel and I didn’t think Amy would appreciate it

At least not yet, so I didn’t buy it.

For brunch, we decided to give Virginia’s on King a try. Partly because Terry saw fried chicken and biscuit on the menu.

Yes, Terry did chose the chicken biscuit and I opted for the farmer’s omelet. And true to my southern roots, I always have grits when I’m in Charleston. Both dishes were lovely and we left happy and full.

After visiting with our oldest son, Ryan, seeing his new home and briefly petting his skittish cat, Faye, we headed back downtown.

I wanted a rooftop experience and we noticed that the Pavilion had scores of heaters so we knew we would not be too cold. We ventured up and were not disappointed with the view. (Terry was disappointed with the cost of a bottle of beer. I told him we went up there for the experience. He agreed.)

If you look closely at the pic you will see a boat with Christmas lights. Boats decked out in festive lights and parade around Waterfront Park.

We ended our evening dining at Fleet Landing with our son, Ryan. Again, we’ve eaten here multiple times, not every trip but close. This is why I can highly recommend eating here. The food is always consistent and good and we’ve always had excellent service.

My half-eaten plate of blackened triggerfish with grits and asparagus. Yummy goodness.

I recommend that you use the Open Table App and make a reservation.

A perfect ending to another lovely day. Anytime we get to spend time with our older boys is a very good day.

The High Level of His Confidence

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know December is a big month for our family. It begins with my birthday and ends with my oldest son, Ryan’s birthday. Sandwiched in the middle is our anniversary, .follwoed by Terry’s birthday and Christmas I know. I know. Why did we choose December, of all months, to get married?

Terry chose it and assumed I would go along with it. I did. Read here, However, a.few years ago I posted the following question ”You planned our wedding before you even asked me to marry you. Did it ever occur to you I might say no?”

He replied, ”Not really. ”

”If I hadn’t accepted your proposal, what would you have done?”

Without missing a beat, ”Well, I guess I would’ve gotten money back on the ring. I just didn’t have any doubts about your response”

This man is mine is so self-assured and self-confident In fact its one of his best attributes One of the many things I admire in him. His confidence is not a prideful confidence; rather an assuring certainty that he can do what he sets his mind on He doesn’t fear the risk a much as he fears not trying.

His confidence is also my confidence. He sees so much more potential in me than I see in myself. He doesn’t mind telling me. He’s a great and genuine source of encouragement to me.

The beauty of his confidence is that it comes with humility He isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong. He’s quick to say he’s sorry. But above all, he recognizes that his true strength and confidence comes from his Lord.

What I’ve learned over the past 24 years is that its okay to fail. It’s ok.to be told ”no” Its ok to back up and punt again. But it’s not okay to fear the unknown and not take a risk. The risk may just be your greatest reward

The Proposal and the Wedding

The Proposal and Wedding

“Ephesians 5:31Amplified Bible (AMP)

31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become [a]one flesh.

If memory serves correctly, the closing on the house was on December 7th.  Thanksgiving came and went without a proposal.  Needless to say, I was slightly disappointed.  However, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I was talking my sister on the phone and she asked, “When are you getting married?”  I told her that I was clueless and she asked to talk to Terry.

After a few minutes, Terry handed the phone back to me and she was screaming, “Oh my gosh, you’re getting married December 17th!!!”  Stunned and a little confused, I said, “Really?  He hasn’t even asked me, but he’s already set the date?  Ok!”

So I get off the phone and Terry says, “Well I had to give her a date because she’s coming home from Texas and she wanted to plan her trip around our wedding.”

“Maybe he’s not going to ask the old-fashioned way and maybe he’s not even giving me a ring.”  I thought silently.  Oddly, I was ok with that.

The following weekend was my birthday, but I was already committed for the weekend performances of the Messiah; so any celebrating had to wait.

On Monday Terry asked if I would go eat with him at Red Lobster.  As we drove to Greenville, our plans for the wedding were coming together (yes still without an official proposal).  We were going to have a small family wedding in the chapel at First Baptist.

We finished our meal and ordered dessert, as we were finishing, Terry moved his right hand across the table and turned his hand over, revealing a diamond ring he was wearing on his pinky finger. Oh the elation and excitement, I thought my heart would pop out of my chest.  Then, he asked, “Will you marry me?”  By now, several other patrons realized what was happening, so of course, all eyes and ears were on me.  “Of course I’ll marry you.”

And so it was settled…ring and all…December 17, 1994

Obviously, we didn’t leave ourselves much time to prepare or plan. The good news was that Mom had frozen a ton of leftover goodies from my sister’s wedding in April.  We decided that we were not going to have anything elaborate.  It was the second time for both of us.

The Chapel at First Baptist Hendersonville would serve us well.  The perfect place for a small gathering of family.  Immediate family only.  We had to draw the line somewhere.  Keep in mind that Terry comes from a large family.  His Mom and Dad had 6 children and Terry was the baby.  All of his siblings were married and had at least one child, at the time.

Besides, we couldn’t just pick out a few friends and not invite the whole lot of them.  We would hurt people’s feelings.  We just had no cut-off point.  Aside from that, we were funding the wedding ourselves.  My parents had already paid for one large shindig.  We had just purchased a house.  I was only working part-time.  We just couldn’t justify spending a ton of money we didn’t have.

Our plans were made and everything was coming together.  Anticipation and excitement filled the air.  But wait…..a honeymoon.  This discussion would become another source of contention between us.

Keep in mind, we were getting married only a week prior to Christmas and going somewhere for an entire week was out of the question.  Terry kept saying let’s wait and we could just do a honeymoon later.  I didn’t like that idea.  Kristi had been telling me about the cottages in Gatlinburg.  When I checked pricing, Terry erupted in an emphatic, “NO!  We are not spending that kind of money for a few days.”  Disappointment set in.  Again, I knew better than to pitch a hissy fit and cry.  I wouldn’t get my way.  I just sucked it up and decided I would be ok with waiting.

Then it happened.  Clear out of the blue.  The Sunday evening before our wedding we were sitting in church waiting for Pastor Steve to preach.  We sat beside Andy and Alice Lawson.  Alice was a former English teacher at Hendersonville High School.  Yes, one of Terry’s former teachers.  She loved him.  Her sweet husband Andy, a Nationwide Insurance Agent.

Alice put her hand on Terry’s knee, patting it gently and said, “We are so delighted to hear about your impending wedding.  We are just thrilled for you both.”  We graciously thanked her and then she leaned into Terry’s ear and asked, “Do you and Kelly like the beach?”
“We love the beach.” he replied.

“Do you have honeymoon plans?  I know your engagement has been short-lived.” she inquired.

He responded, “No, actually we don’t have any plans.”

Instantly, she leaned over Terry and spoke directly to both of us, “Andy and I wanted to do something for you.  We have a townhouse in Murrells Inlet and we would like for you to go stay there for your honeymoon.  We will get the keys to you this week. ”

If I had any doubts, they suddenly disappeared.  I knew we were doing the right thing and I knew, while our timing was questioned by some, was the best time for us.

The day before the wedding, I made one change.  I called Pastor Steve and told him we were going to add one more song.  I felt very compelled to sing the song, “I see Jesus in you”.

I awakened the next morning to a brilliant Carolina blue sky and sunshine in my eyes.  A flutter of joy in my heart and a little skip in my step.  It was going to be a great day. It was, after all, our wedding day.

Last year I asked Terry a question I’d pondered for awhile.  “You were so certain I would say “yes” to your proposal that you planned the date of our wedding before you asked me.  What would you have done if I’d said “No!”?

He replied, “It never really crossed my mind.  I don’t know.  I guess I would’ve been sad and had to take the ring back.  I’m so glad it didn’t happen that way.”

No doubt it’s been the best decision I made for myself and my two precious boys 23 years ago today.

The lyrics to the song I sang go as follows:  I see Jesus in your eyes and it makes me love you.  I hear Jesus in your voice and it makes me listen and I trust you with my life because you’re his.  I see Him in you….”

This is far from the end of our story.  This is only the beginning……

Meeting Thelma….our story continued

Anniversary Week

As we turned the vehicle around and starting driving toward Thelma’s house. Suddenly, I got nervous, my hands were shaking and clammy and a host of questions started flooding my mind. “What will she think of me? Will she like me? What will she think about the fact I have children?”

Terry looked over, sensing my nervousness and said, “Oh, don’t pay too much attention to anything my mom says. She just spouts out without thinking sometimes and doesn’t mean anything by what she says. We won’t stay long, ok?”

We pulled up to 737 Buncombe Street and climbed out of the truck. Still shaking on the inside, I followed Terry to the door and stayed behind him until we were in the door.

There she was, sitting in the chair in the living room. The thick dark hair framed her semi-wrinkled face, her deeply recessed brazen brown eyes revealed a strong-willed independent woman; yet, despite the weathering of years, she remained an extremely attractive woman. “Hey Terry, who’s that with you?” she inquired.

“Thelma (as he commonly called her) this is Kelly.” he replied

“Oh, that’s the girl who kept calling. The one you and Marie keep talking about.”

After shaking hands with her, she invited me to sit down and talk. We talked the normal small talk first to break the ice. The conversation turned to her family, mainly she spoke of her deceased husband George (Terry’s dad). She talked about his passive gentle nature, his wittiness and her deep love for him. At this point, he had been dead almost 3 years. He died in the summer of ’91 with congestive heart failure. It was obvious that she missed him terribly. Fortunately for her, Terry being single, moved in shortly before George’s death and he provided companionship for her.

Then the conversation turned to me and the boys. She was genuinely interested in as many details about them as I could provide. However, I could sense an uneasiness developing with Terry as the conversation deepened, possibly fear of what would expel from her lips.

Finally he looked his nervousness got the best of him and he looked at me and said, “Ok. It’s time to go. I need to get you home.”

As I turned to shake her hand, she looked at me and said, “I can tell you really like my boy and he really likes you.” Surprised by her comment, I had no response but quietly in my mind I wondered, “How could she tell?” (What I would later learn was that my mother in law was a very perceptive individual and had a great sense of character judgement.)

To Terry’s relief, she had not been as abrasive as he had forewarned. In fact once we were in the car, headed back to my house, Terry said, “She likes you. I can tell.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“If she didn’t like you, she would not have talked to you as much as she did. Believe me, you would know if my mom didn’t like you. She doesn’t hide her feelings well.”

She did like me and she readily accepted me and the boys as her own. There’s much to tell about the woman I was privileged to call my mother in law, but that’s a book itself. Suffice to say, on December 27, 2001 Thelma’s body succumbed to emphysema and I am very thankful and blessed that she was a part of my life for almost 8 years

Here is another blog post I wrote about Thelma, if you want to read it.

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)