Shannon here: Historical Romance author Anne Mateer shares insight into her real life romance plus winners’ choice from four of her titles: Wings of a Dream, At Every Turn, A Home for My Heart, or Playing by Heart. Deadline: Nov 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Anne:
You know that dream life you have as a couple, the one you talk about at night when your life is filled with babies, then toddlers, then children with so much schoolwork and so many activities that it seems your life will always remain the same?
We had that dream. For stable, responsible us it seemed crazy. We fantasized about leaving our house in the suburbs behind and embarking on a life in the city. A life like the snippets we’d experience on trips to New York or DC or London. We even joked with our children that once they had moved away from home we would run away and live that dream.
Never in a million years did we suspect it would really happen.
But God had other plans.
A few months ago we suddenly found ourselves living in an apartment in the middle of Austin, Texas. It has been a super stressful transition, but there is something amazingly romantic about going to a new place and landing in a life unlike anything you’ve ever lived before, just the two of you, with your children only occasional visitors into that life. It’s almost like being newlyweds, but better.
The first thing we did was furnish our apartment. All of our old furniture was too big for this new space, and it was, well, old. The kind we were waiting to hand down to our kids who were starting out on their own. The kind we were already itching to replace. And so we headed down the road for an afternoon at IKEA. And oh, how much fun that was! Instead of wandering and dreaming what-ifs and wouldn’t-it-be-nice, we got to purchase—all at once!—things that actually coordinated, making our new space our home. (Of course, the assembly was a less than romantic moment, but we managed not to kill each other in the process!)
Once we settled in (one carload of stuff at a time for six months, mind you!) we found ourselves doing things completely out of character for us. Like deciding at the last minute to go to a play at a nearby theater—and to walk there and back. Or meeting for dinner and attending an author event at a nearby bookstore—on a weeknight. We’ve made new friends. Explored nearby museums and arts events. We’ve tried new food, both at local restaurants and in our home (thanks to Blue Apron).
All of the above might sound like nothing out of the ordinary to other people, but to us, this is a whole new world. A world that had hovered just outside our experience as newlywed students, when we lived sparsely, without any extra money. Other young couples we knew lived that life of exploration and adventure, but our days were filled with classes and our nights with study.
We moved even further from that life when Jeff started his first job and, thus, began repaying student loans. We had our first child, bought our first house in the suburbs, welcomed two more children. It seemed we survived on much the same budget of time and money as our student days, but with much less sleep!
Over the years, we’d made peace with our routine existence. Enjoyed it, even. But in these last few months of our world turning upside down, we’ve rediscovered how much we enjoy one another’s company, more like in those early days of our relationship. Only it’s even better than at the beginning. Because over our 29 years of marriage, we’ve learned to know and love one another more deeply. We appreciate things we didn’t—and couldn’t—appreciate back then.
Of course not everyday in our new world is sunshine and roses. Some days are really hard. But other days? Other days our life feels like a gift that offers up something new to unwrap when we least expect it.
This won’t be our forever life. We are pretty sure about that. But we are grateful for every minute of adventure and discovery the Lord has given us right now. And experiencing it together is the best romance of all.
About Anne: Anne Mateer loves bringing history to life through fiction. She is the author of 4 historical novels from Bethany House Publishers as well as several short stories. She and Jeff are living their empty nest adventure in Austin, TX. They have three young adult children. You can find out more about Anne, her books, and where to connect with her at www.annemateer.com.
Coming in 2017: book #1 in the new Coast-to-Coast Brides historical novella series.
About the book – Playing by Heart:
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, sends Lula back to her Oklahoma hometown to help. But the only teaching job available in Dunn is a combination music instructor/basketball coach. Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to the job, reluctantly turning to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet—until suddenly she begins dreaming of a life she never expected to want.
Question for Readers: If you could move anywhere in the world and live there for 2 years, where would you choose?
Come back Nov 10th for Jodie Bailey!