I’m so honored and excited to have JoAnne Simmons, my former editor–the one who discovered me on my blog today. JoAnne is sharing her real life romance and she now has a book of her own, I Believe: The Meaning of Christmas and the Baby Who Started It All. Comment to get your name in the drawing for JoAnne’s book. Deadline: Nov 10th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s JoAnne:
What to write about for this post? Funny stories that my husband might shoot me for sharing? Or the crazy adventure of our wedding weekend in St. Augustine Beach, September 2004, during one of the worst hurricanes seasons Florida has ever experienced? Or some of the creative romantic things my husband has done for me? Decisions, decisions! I guess I’ll just begin at the beginning. Meeting and first date.
Doug and I met through church, where he was the part-time youth leader at the time. Nothing fascinating there, I guess, but the HUGE blessing there is that I was able to know Doug as a good friend before we ever even considered dating. I got to hang out with him in many different settings with many different people ranging from AWANA Cubbie Bears to teens to adults. And in each of those settings, all I kept thinking about Doug was what a good, kind, giving, fun, faithful servant of God he was. Cute, too. J As our friendship grew, so did my respect for him, and then so did the romance between us…. Little notes left for each other in our church-office mailboxes. Countless trips to Sam’s Club together to re-stock the church café. Co-Coaching the youth Bible Quiz team. Through it all, I realized I was falling in love with my best friend, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
One day we were grabbing a quick lunch at Fazoli’s after a trip to Sam’s Club for café supplies. One of us mentioned an upcoming youth event, a fifth-quarter party after the Friday-night hometown football game. Our conversation went something like:
Me: “Are you going to the game beforehand?”
Doug: “Yeah, do you want to go with me? “
Doug: “And get dinner beforehand?”
Me: “Is that, like, a date?”
Me: “Then yes.”
That first date turned into quite a night. Our meal got crashed by well-meaning friends from church, who didn’t realize it was our first “real” date. Then just before we got out of the car in the stadium parking lot, I sprung a super-serious conversation on Doug. He won’t admit it, but he was probably thinking, “Can’t we talk about this later?…. There’s the kick-off…. The first touchdown…..” but he very patiently talked it out with me and eventually we made it into the game.
Afterward, we had a fun time with the youth at a fifth-quarter party. But on the drive home, my car full of girls sat and watched Doug’s car full of boys pass us on the highway—because we’d been stopped by a cop.
Oops! I’d been speeding in a construction zone.
I was beyond mortified, especially since I was responsible for the youth kids in my car! Plus I didn’t have my license right there with me, and I had to promise the cop—with a ridiculous, nervous laugh that probably didn’t help my case—that I was only going to retrieve my purse, not a gun, from my trunk.
(Seriously, though, looking back, I think we made that cop’s night when I recall the amused look he had in his eye the whole time he questioned me and the girls in my car.)
Anyway, the end result of being pulled over was that my love for Doug grew by leaps and bounds. Why? Because when the cop let me go, and I drove on a little, I saw Doug’s car parked at a nearby gas station, waiting to check on us. He immediately told me he’d been praying for me the whole time, and I wanted to kiss him right then and there—because to me it was on obvious miracle that the cop decided to let me go with only a warning. I’d been doing a good 10 miles over in a construction zone, and there were warning signs posted everywhere. Again, oops. I blame the distraction of all the giggling going on in my car.
So, that’s it. Our first date kinda just fizzled out from there…. It had been slightly disastrous but crazy fun, too. We both went home wondering if we’d ever attempt another date, or if it was safer to stay just friends. I’m glad we both decided to risk another date, and another and another…. Eight years of marriage and two awesome daughters later (plus one sweet baby we’ll meet in heaven), I can’t imagine any other man I want to be taking risks with for the rest of my life.
About JoAnne: JoAnne Simmons first dreamed of working in Christian publishing in middle school. God has blessed that dream in many ways and has put some amazing people and experiences in her life along the way. Her favorite dream-come-true is her husband and two precious daughters.
About the book – I Believe: The Meaning of Christmas and the Baby Who Started it All:
Christmastime brings out the believer in all of us. . .
Discover the many aspects of faith surrounding the holiday season as you dig deeper into the meaning of Christmas—how the Christ child fulfilled prophecy, details of the Nativity, unique Christmas traditions around the world, stories behind beloved Christmas carols, and the history of treasured Christmas traditions.
This year, take a moment to experience your faith rooted in festive, holy tradition and celebrate the baby named Jesus, the One who started it all.
Come back Nov 5th for Anita Higman!