JoAnn Durgin – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 1

Shannon here: Contemporary romance author, JoAnn Durgin shares her real life romance and a chance to win a copy of Awakening. Comment on any post dated June 13 – 17 for a chance to win. Deadline: 11:59 pm central time, June 18. Here’s JoAnn:

The First (Blind) Date…

During the heyday of the TV show, Dallas, I lived and worked in Big D, supposedly in the same downtown skyscraper as dastardly J.R. Ewing. I can say I’ve shared carrots with Larry Hagman (he’d come out of his trailer and sit with us lowly office workers brown-bagging it for lunch), smiled in the eyes of handsome Patrick Duffy, learned to ride a horse near Southfork Ranch, watched Charlene Tilton ice skate at the Galleria, served as an extra for a scene filmed with Linda Gray and Howard Keel, and gawked at Priscilla Presley and her then-beau, Julio Iglesias. Those were the days… Little did I know my husband-to-be was only a few blocks away, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) who worked part-time at the school bookstore, answered to J.D., wore a Stetson and cowboy boots and prayed for the Lord to bring him a good Christian girl.

Working for a large law firm, I often used a courier service called Wingtip Couriers. One girl who worked at Wingtip Couriers had such a sweet voice, and we became friendly, recognizing the other’s voice immediately. A Christian neighbor, Margaret, formed a “Free to be Thin” weight loss/Bible study group (which amuses me now since none of us were overweight). Most Saturday mornings, Margaret and I went to a popular breakfast spot, The Vickery Feed Store. On one of those mornings, I was with Margaret when a friendly blonde walked over to say hello. As soon as I heard the voice, I knew it was my friend Susan from Wingtip Couriers. Not long after, plans were made for a Saturday evening dinner. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time and begged off, telling them I didn’t want to be the proverbial “fifth wheel.” I should have known they wouldn’t let it alone.

What I didn’t know until later was that my new friend, Susan, and her boyfriend (now husband), Marshall, both prayed – independent of the other – asking the Lord which one of the Seminary men they could introduce to me for our night out. Both came up with the same name: Jim Durgin (a/k/a J.D.). Add in the fact that Jim had a blind date with the runner-up to the Miss Texas pageant (and Miss Texas contestants are always gorgeous, you know) a few weeks before and had sworn off blind dates forever (she hadn’t given him the time of day and scooted off for another date). To this day, I’m not really sure what Susan and Marshall told Jim, and being the kind soul he is, probably felt pity for the poor, dateless girl. But without a doubt, the Lord orchestrated our meeting.

We hit it off and found we had much in common, and Jim and I parted company with the others and spent three hours in conversation that evening, getting to know one another. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but Jim didn’t think I was the girl he thought he’d been looking for in terms of a future mate. Still, he asked me to be his date for a big DTS banquet. When he showed up on my doorstep in his midnight blue tux, all six foot two of him, with his dark, wavy hair and mustache, I melted a little. He apologized profusely for the station wagon he drove. It had one of those little triangular shaped windows, but it was missing. And the car had a bit of a leak, sending fumes through the open window. He was so humble and unassuming when he invited me to scoot across the seat closer to him (in order to avoid breathing in the fumes, you understand). The rest of the evening was spent among most of the married students, answering questions like, “So, how long have you been dating?” When I heard Jim sing in the men’s chorus with his gorgeous tenor, my heart melted a little more.

Those who might have read my debut novel, Awakening, will know about my hero  Sam’s white Volvo station wagon. Many of the events in Awakening parallel my love story with Jim, and his station wagon was the model for the infamous “bomb” (the heroine Lexa’s term in the book). Sam’s strength of character and unwavering faith is based on Jim, and the resilience and resourceful of his heroine, Lexa, is based on yours truly (and admittedly, the stubbornness). In the next post, I’ll share about my first kiss with Jim. It’s precious and very unusual in this day and age, and I hope you’ll return to read

Abou JoAnn: A full-time paralegal, JoAnn lives in southern Indiana with her husband, Jim, and their three children. She is a member of the ACFW and its Indiana chapter, as well as the Romance Writers of America. Awakening is her debut novel, and the follow-up, Second Time Around, will be released this summer. She was a finalist in the long contemporary romance category of the 2010 RWA/FHL Touched by Love contest, and is a regular blog contributor with Hoosier Ink and Reflections in Hindsight. JoAnn is also an active member of the My Book Therapy Voices where she has won or placed in several of their quarterly Flash Fiction contests. Above all, she loves to share the redeeming love of Christ through her stories. Visit her at She’d love to hear from you!

About the book: Lexa Clarke signs up for a short-term summer assignment in San Antonio with TeamWork Missions, hoping to make a difference in the world. TeamWork director Sam Lewis has a job to do and can’t afford to be distracted by the petite, feisty blonde. But when she tumbles into his arms from the top of a house they’re rebuilding, Sam suspects his life will never be the same. A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. A combustible combination.

Come back June 15th for the rest of JoAnn’s story.

11 Responses to “JoAnn Durgin – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 1”

  • What a lovely story—AND wedding dress!! I have to laugh about the bomb, JoAnn. Ever since I read “Awakening”, I have meant to spill the beans about our “Blue Bomb” that we drove back in the day of being poor. It was blue AND had blue exhaust. Such a lesson in humility! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story! Can’t wait to hear about that first kiss. 😉

  • Kim Ferland says:

    I feel like I am reading a storybook! Can’t wait for the next chapter

  • JoAnn Durgin says:

    Thanks, ladies. Elaine, LOL…blue exhaust? I love the photo of Jim and me holding hands except for the flame at the end of my nose. Look carefully. Seriously – it looks like my nose is pointy and/or on fire. But I love the looks our faces. Ah… You can see the stone chapel in the background of the second photo. My father-in-law couldn’t get over the fact that it was a memorial chapel and where you stand to be married is directly above the final resting place of the people for whom the chapel is named. Come back again on Wednesday (and bring your friends) to hear about that special first kiss…it still makes me tingle when I think about it. Thanks so much to Shannon for hosting me this week. Blessings!

  • Penny Nichols says:

    Oh this sounds like a awesome book, Love the romance theme. The car my husband was driving when we were dating and first married hated me. We were in the military and whenever he was sent to the field the car wouldnt start or it would leave me stranded. No one but him could get it started. Everytime he came back from the field he would hit the key and she would fire up.

  • JoAnn Durgin says:

    Cute story, Penny. Your huband had the “magic” touch with the car, sounds like. When you call the car “she,” did your husband have a name for the car? Just curious since so many men do name their cars. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read Awakening. And Kim, your comment made me smile. Thanks! Blessings.

  • Hi JoAnn,

    I’m so glad you shared your story. And so glad everyone’s enjoying it.

  • Rebecca Booth says:

    What a lovely, romantic story, mine was so romantic to me. My husband was a truckdriver and when he was home he treated me like a Queen before and after our marriage until the day he died. His last breath was a wink and I love You! When he was home he would bring me coffee in bed always, and the he would cook breakfast. I not kidding! After he retired and I was still working, when I came home from work, he would have supper and a glass of wine ready. Lots of times he would take me to lunch when I was working. He would always give me a hug or kiss in the morning, when he saw me during the day and at night before bed, and he always told me he loved me! What more could a lady want? Nothing!

  • JoAnn Durgin says:

    Rebecca, what lovely memories you have of your sweetheart. I’m so sorry to hear he’s gone, but he sounds like such a GREAT husband. Jim brings coffee to me each morning, too, and I am very spoiled in that way. I hope you’ll get a chance to read Awakening, and my second one is coming out late this summer or early Fall, and Sam tells another man he’s mentoring about the “Seven Rules of Marriage” from a man’s perspective. One of them is to “tell your wife every single day you love her.” Ahh… I wish more women could be so blessed to have a marriage like yours (and mine), but we KNOW how honored and blessed we are to have found such perfect mates. Blessings to you, and thanks for sharing your own lovely story!

  • Joe Dufour says:

    Great reading your story about how you met JD. Well, I used to work for Wingtip Couriers, picked up packages at “Interfirst 2” and even attended seminary with Jim Durgin! In fact, I was looking for him online when I saw the “hits” for your website on Google. Does Jim still play the trumpet…he was incredible on that thing. If he doesn’t remember me, I married Debbie Dean…who was friends with Robin Lewis and Suzanne Jenkins. I sure would like to hear back from him, so if you’d let him know I wrote, it would be sincerely appreciated.

    By the way did you work for the same firm as Rosanne Frazee and karla Hurst?

    All the best, Joe Dufour

  • JoAnn Durgin says:

    Well, the Lord never ceases to amaze me in how He works, Joe! Susan Davis was the girl who worked at Wingtip Couriers and introduced me to Jim (she was dating Marshall Davis from DTS at the time – they’ve been married a long time now, and Jim and I celebrate 25 years – on his birthday – next year). I don’t recognize the names Rosanne or Karla, but I’m sure Jim will remember most, if not all, of the names you mentioned (and, of course, he’ll remember you). Small world! And yes, Jim still plays the trombone and passed the love of brass instruments on to our two daughters. Jim doesn’t go online much or do FB, but I’ll be sure and have him send you an e-mail. Thanks so much for leaving the comment (and thanks to the lovely, thoughtful Shannon for passing it on to me! Blessings.

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