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Everybody needs a little romance–and a transition

In August, my husband of 30 years surprised me.  He’s this Type A, Rock of Gibraltar personality who’d been at the same job for 25 years.  He’d been talking retirement and I’d been slightly panicking.  Having a husband home all the time would take some getting used to.

He talked about April 2013, and that gave me some time to prepare.  In my heart of hearts, I didn’t think he’d actually do it.   Although he’s been at the same job for 25 years, we’re still relatively young and this economy had us both worried.

But the main reason I didn’t want him home all the time was a selfish one. I’m a writer.  During daylight hours, the house is mine.

Most writers don’t sit in a chair, where inspiration flows into their fingertips.  When I want to brainstorm, or I get stuck, I jump up from the chair, pick up the phone, and call someone like blog partner Cynthia D’Alba.  I literally take up the first floor of my house to do this.  I walk out of my office, into the den, walk through the kitchen, into the living room then traverse that same area again and again until I get a plot point figured out.

That’s such a freeing process for me.  And that process didn’t include walking out of my office, to find a man on the couch with the television blaring, wondering, what in the heck is she doing?

Even so, I had plenty of time to prepare, right?  He’d said April 2013.  My budget-minded husband studied his Excel spreadsheets with a specific dollar amount in mind and he was like the proverbial racehorse winding down for the homestretch.

Wrong.  I forgot to calculate into all his preparedness the amount of stress he was under.  In August, when I was at RWA National, he out-and-out quit his job.  The stress he’d just released fell onto my shoulders in a big, thick thud!

There’s a happily ever after to this story—he’s well-respected at work and his bosses wouldn’t accept his resignation.  They offered him a sabbatical and a new position when he returns in January.  It’s also given us a chance to layout some guidelines for when both of us are home full time.  I explained my crazy little writing process and he laughed. The last place he planned to be after 25 years was sitting on a couch and watching TV.

He obviously meant it.  So far, he’s gone to Arizona to hike the Grand Canyon, climbed Pikes Peak, he went elk hunting with buddies; every morning he gets up and either runs or bicycles for a good part of the day.

In a week, after hiring a house sitter, we’re heading to Fort Worth to see our son and his new wife, and then to Las Cruces for a couple of weeks.

I think I might actually be sad when he has to go back to work in January.  I’m blessed I guess to have a man who appreciates that I take up a lot of room as a writer 😉 And I admit it’s been rather fun having him home as he’s not underfoot all the time.  Guess along with everybody needing a little romance—everybody now and then needs a transition.

What do you think?  Ever reached a point where you’ve said enough is enough?

Happy Friday, all.

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Mixing Things Up

Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.
~ Thomas Fuller

My husband travels – a lot.  So naturally it’s a foregone conclusion that he will be gone on occasion, and I will have to accept it.  Recently, though, I had the opportunity to turn the tables on him.  I left for a week to attend Romance Writers of America’s National Conference.  Had a lovely time, learned bunches, and caught up with old and new friends.  And this time, my husband stayed home without me.

I called friends before I left and said, “Check in on him, will you?  He’ll be all by himself.”  They did, and I was so appreciative.  But still I could hear the edge and loneliness in his voice when I called.  He didn’t like this role-reversal.

He’s off on a business trip, so when he comes home tomorrow, it will be two full weeks since we’ve seen each other.  As a writer, I “like” my alone time, but I “love” my husband. I’ve always known what it’s like to exist without him.  Maybe it was good for a change for him to exist without me.

What do you think?  Does your marriage or relationship have a certain pattern to it?  Ever feel the need to mix it up?  How so?

Meant to be . . .

It’s near Valentine’s Day, and around this time of year, while everyone’s thinking of roses and chocolate, I think about weddings. About one very special wedding I attended, and, no, it’s not mine. It wasn’t in the grand fashion of Prince William and Princess Kate’s. But it is my all-time favorite wedding because it brought together a couple deeply in love who almost didn’t make it to the altar.

The wedding I want to tell you about involves two of my longtime friends. When we were in high school, my friend was voted the most beautiful in our senior class. Long dark hair, and eyes, she was simply …well, beautiful. Men fell in love with her the moment they saw her. What’s more, it was hard for us girls to hate her because – dang, she was just so nice.
Her life wasn’t easy. Many members of her family had gone through divorce. Perhaps that’s why, whenever any of the men she dated mentioned the “M” word, my friend put on the brakes and ended the relationship.

She was well into her twenties when she met my husband’s former roommate. To this day, I haven’t met a much better looking guy. With brains and charm, he’d make a perfect cover model for any of our books. He had so much going for him that in his senior year in high school, he was voted most likely to succeed. No, he didn’t go on to become a male model 😉 he became a mechanical engineer.

So you can imagine, when these two met, not only were they the talk of the town, they were simply the most beautiful couple imaginable.

The years passed and my friend and my husband’s roommate got closer and closer. It appeared that finally, finally, she would accept a man’s proposal and settle down.

Until the afternoon he went out dirt biking, rounded a corner, met a four-wheeling truck head-on. Tossed off his bike, he landed a few feet away without a scratch on him, outwardly. But, inwardly, he would later learn that he’d broken his neck. Who knew that morning when he walked into the garage to load up his dirt bike that it would be the last day he would ever walk again.

My hometown is small, and even though cell phones and texting didn’t exist back then, we didn’t need them. The news spread. We did what friends do in times of crisis–rallied around them. He was such an athletic guy–to be bound to a chair for the rest of his life was bad enough. But he further learned that due to the extent of his injury, he would never be able to have children of his own.

This was just incredible, beyond anyone’s belief. In a matter of 24-hours this couple’s life had changed forever. People held their breath and the tears began to fall. As you can imagine, he didn’t feel much like going on during that time and slipped into a deep depression. And the last thing he wanted was sympathy, particularly my friend’s, the woman he’d fallen in love with.

From that point on, he pushed her away. Hard.

He went away to a rehabilitation hospital, and because of the amazing shape he was in, he was discharged in three months. Members of the staff said that had it been someone in less stellar physical condition, it would have taken him months, maybe even a year, to recover.

He came back in a better frame of mind. He also discovered that although his life would be different, it was far from over.

Did I mention my friend is beautiful, inside and out? She never once walked away.

My husband and I were living in Colorado when we received the couple’s wedding invitation. The perfect couple was still perfect, and he was still most likely to succeed.  To date, it’s the happiest, most emotional wedding I’ve ever attended.

They’ve been married many years now.

May we all find someone who loves us so unconditionally and with the same indelible spirit. Since I blog once a month, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day in advance.

Do you have a favorite wedding you’ve attended?  What’s your story?

We’re Growing! Lookie Who’s Here Now!

Happy New Year, everyone!  My name is Donnell Ann Bell and I write romantic suspense.  The wonderful ladies at ENLR have invited me to talk romance every now and then.  I said great, I could talk about romance every day, they said, er…why don’t you stick to once a month?

Okay, okay!  But we’ll show  ‘em.;)  Join me on the first Thursday of every month as we talk about everything from what readers like in a hero, to the most romantic thing you’ve ever done on a date, to unlikely couples who make things work.

Speaking of unlikely couples, in The Past Came Hunting, my debut novel, brought to you from Bell Bridge Books, my protagonist, Melanie, falls in love with the cop who arrested her 15 years before.  Not immediately, of course.  As a matter of fact, their relationship seems downright impossible.  But somehow they manage to overlook some serious problems and work out their issues.

I look forward to our chats and learning your stories.  I’ve got two grown children, and I’m married to a chemical engineer.  Trust me, if anybody needs this blog, I do!  I’m a card carrying member and a firm believer that Everybody Needs a Little Romance! So, I’m curious, what’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done on a date (keep this PG rated 😉 and did it result in your marriage?  Thanks!

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