Some Risks are Just Worth Taking

When people think of me, risk-taker would not be the first adjective that comes to mind.  Funny, extrovert, talkative, worrier, careful, cautious (emphasis on the words worrier and cautious), those are what I am known for amongst family and friends.  So when I told people I was marrying the man I had only met 2 months prior, SHOCK (to say the least) was the adjective to describe everyone’s reaction.  I was only 1.5 years widowed with 2 young children.  What was I thinking!  Well, for once I actually took a risk.  I, for a lack of a better cliche’, let go and let God…literally.

Paul was introduced to me by my mother…yes…my mother!  We met at a concert they had just performed at what is now my church in Atlanta.  She felt we would have a lot in common and would at least develop a nice friendship.  She knew I was lonely.  She knew I was scared to enter the world of dating again after being with the same man for nearly 20 years.  Paul was recently divorced, a nice, “regular guy” as my mother described him.  He was a singer (like me), smart, and had a good job; all of the things a mother would like for her daughter.  But would he spark my interest.  Would he light that fire a girl always dreams of when she dreams of the perfect man?

So here we were in a church with my mother, sister and a few friends in the center aisle of the gothic sanctuary after the concert.  I am about to meet this man my mother says is “nice” and a “regular guy”.  Those words are the kiss of death!  I’m nervous, lord knows what he must be feeling.  My first sight of him was in his BRIGHT red robe he still had on from the concert.  He came walking down the aisle, hugged my mother, turned to me and said, “Hi. I’m Paul.  Nice to meet you.”  He was cute!  After a bit of small talk my mother suggests that he join us (my mother, sister and 4 of our friends) for drinks.  I was shocked he said yes.  How awkward for him to be surrounded by these curious onlookers who were obviously sizing him up. That was my first glimpse into the man I would fall in love with and marry.  He was confident with who he was as a person.

Drinks went as expected…my sister grilled him, small talk abounded, pleasantries exchanged.  I enjoyed his company even amidst the awkwardness.  As we left the restaurant and were saying goodbye, I walked toward him to shake his hand and asked if he would like to be friends on Facebook, to which he replied yes.  It was my first real risk.  I felt it in my heart that this was right.  We began to “talk” through Facebook and eventually Skype every day up until our first official date.  Paul and I really got to know one another through those conversations.  Would we have anything to talk about on our first date?

I remember dropping my kids off at my mother’s for the night and driving down to the restaurant feeling nervous.  Do I look ok?  Will he like my outfit? Is my hair in place?  What am I going to say when I see him for the first time?  Should I hug him, shake his hand, what?  It was like I was a teenager again, except this time I was 36 with two kids and a hell of lot of baggage.  What if he just decides I’m not worth the trouble?  All of those fears went away in an instant the moment I saw him standing in front of the restaurant.  He had a sweet smile on his face and gave me a great big hug.  The night continued to be as smooth, relaxing and right.  We talked all through dinner and found we had a lot in common…more than superficial things like politics, running and music.  We connected on a deeper level.  I felt comfortable with him. It was like we had known each other for years.  We were so comfortable with each other that our date that began at 7pm finally ended at 1am.  I felt that spark, that fire.  This was what every girl dreams of and here I was living the dream!  I knew Paul was THE “one”.  How after just one meeting and a date did I know this…I was leading with my heart for the first time and not reason.

Reason ruled my life and after what I had just been through over the last 3 years, I decided life was too short to live by reason alone.  I wasn’t living before, just existing.  Existing was not what I wanted my children to learn from me.  They needed to see me living and enjoying my life so they could do the same.  Oddly enough, with what Paul endured during his divorce, he had come to the very same conclusion.  We had met just at the right time…our very own “God moment”.  So long story short, after many, many dates, Skype conversations, texting, talking and a wonderful vacation on Saint Simons, Paul asked me to marry him.  I said yes of course and although people were initially shocked, it soon turned to joy as they saw both of us deeply in love with one another, happy and already one.  My children were thrilled.  They took an instant shine to Paul.  He was gentle, kind and curious and they responded to that.

On December 12, 2010 in Virginia Highlands, I married the love of my life in a small ceremony surrounded by our family and closest friends.  Each day that goes by, my love for him grows deeper.  It has transformed me.  I am happier and healthier than I have ever been.  My children are finally feeling stable and part of a functioning nuclear family.  Neither Paul and I regret our pasts nor have we forgotten them.  How can you?  We have embraced our pasts and made them part of our future.  We have learned and grown from our pasts.  The past is what has shaped who we are today.  The past has allowed us to transform.  The past is what allowed me to take a risk and find the love of my life.

Life is full of risks.  Sometimes you need to listen to your heart and leap.  Fear is a dangerous thing, it can rule your life.  I let it rule mine for years.  Today I am still fearful of things but am more willing to take a risk and try something new even if I fail.  Fear of failure is huge for me.  So what if I fail, I’m human.  We all fail at times.  Failure is part of life.  As Paul always says, we need to continue to grow as people.  The minute you stop growing, you die inside. My choice to risk my heart and be left again was the biggest risk I have ever taken.  I had no idea where it would lead but I had hope and faith that it would lead to something wonderful.  Love.  I was right.  The risk was worth taking.  My next “risk” is graduate school.  I am terrified to make this leap.  Again, what if I fail?  But, I am coming to terms with that.  I need to do this for myself.  I need to continue growing and evolving.  Is this risk worth taking? You bet it is!  I’m diving in head first.

Thank you, Paul, my love, for loving me for me and being by my side holding my hand when I leap.  You are my precious miracle from God.  I love you!


The Lazy Susan, a Most Underrated Table Element

So I was racking my brain on what to call my blog.  I mean, doesn’t EVERYONE have a blog these days.  Seems like it.  Some blogs are informative, some funny, some down right strange.  I wanted my blog to be a bit of all of these.  The main goal of my blog is to just be able to write what I am feeling about the world, my family, and my most favorite subject…history and its preservation.  Boring, right?  Well, maybe. But to me, this blog represents more than just the selfish pursuit of being noticed.  I want to write freely about the things I love, I hate, I wish would change and want to explore.  Hopefully, like a lazy susan, it will all come back around to me in some way.

The lazy susan was always a favorite table decoration and element at my Nana’s house in New Hampshire.  Sometimes she had a vase full of Queen Ann’s Lace or Black Eyed Susans on top of it that we had gathered along the roadside the day before.  I remember so many meals at her formal dining table with the lazy susan at its center holding condiments, silver pieces or food that needed to be passed around.  She detested “the boarding house reach”.  Always one for manners and polite conversation at the dinner table, the lazy susan was the perfect table element to avoid such faux pas of social graces.  By no means was her table restricted to conversation about the weather or children are seen but not heard.  However, we did avoid discussions of a political nature or religion.  The conversation generally centered around what we had done that day in the woods behind her house, the next day’s travel pursuits, and back around to stories of the past.  Much like the lazy susan, conversation always rotated around the table…each person telling a story or a quick quip about something humorous or ironic or in the children’s cases, the adventures in the woods or the restaurant we had created on Nana’s screen porch.   All the while, the lazy susan would spin round and round delivering its treasures to the passerbyer.

I love the lazy susan.   In all its simplicity, it is truly a table element that is most underrated these days.  In fact, I don’t even have one in my home.  I’ve often thought of buying one but just never seem to get around to it.  It almost seems as if I might betray the past by having one of my own.  It holds a special place in my memories of my Nana’s house.  But then again, what goes around, comes around.  I dare say, it might just be a conversation starter as it spins round the table.  So maybe having my own lazy susan for my family to surround itself around will only generate new memories.  I wonder what kind I should buy…hmmm.