Shannon here: Amish romance author, Kelly Irvin shares insight into her real life romance plus a chance to win a three book set of her Bliss Creek series – A Heart Made New, To Love and to Cherish, and her latest release, Love’s Journey Home. Comment on any post dated Feb 11 – 15 to get your name in the drawing. Deadline: Feb 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
Celebrating 25 years – A Love Letter by Kelly Irvin
Normally, when I write these guest blogs, I try to tie the topic to the novel I’m promoting. And that’s never a stretch when you write romance novels, Amish or otherwise, but today I’m making an exception. This blog essentially is a love letter to my husband. You see, by the time you read this blog, I will be in Maui celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband Tim. Twenty-five years ago on Valentine’s Day, we said our I-do’s and headed to a small cabin in Timberon, N.M., for our honeymoon. We’d only know each other three months. I’m sure there were plenty of people in the wedding party who had their doubts about a marriage based on three short months. Fortunately, they didn’t share them with us.
Yet, here we are twenty-five years later. It’s hard for me to wrap my arms around the fact that so much time has passed. In those years, we’ve lived in three states, lost a baby, had two more, changed jobs numerous times, fought, made-up, laughed, and loved. It’s gone by faster than kids shooting out the door on the last day of school before summer vacation. One minute I was holding our newborn son in my arms and watching my daughter race around the house in a diaper yelling, “baby, baby.” The next minute I’m helping Erin move her stuff into an apartment and watching Nicholas drive off to a manufacturing job in a nearby town every night.
The reason it’s gone so fast? Because, with all our faults and quirks and potholes in the road, we’ve been content to have this life together as a family. We make it work because we can’t imagine it not working. There’s something incredibly romantic about that barbecue-in-the-backyard, sink’s-stopped-up-again, cat-hairballs-on-the-carpet life. I know he’ll be there at the end of everyday and he’s knows I’m not going anywhere. Our “normal” everyday life is a gift from God that we don’t ever want to take for granted.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. We’re as opposite as sun and rain. We struggle to make it work like anyone else. How? The number one thing that stands out in my mind is a sense of humor. Anybody who knows Tim (or follows his addiction to Facebook) knows he has a wacky sense of humor. He wears Duck Dynasty t-shirts and heralds the wonders of bacon and has done things like record my snoring so he can play it back for me. He doesn’t suffer fools easily, but once you’re his friend, you’re his friend forever. I’m fortunate to be included in that number so I get the brunt of his humor on a regular basis.
I love that after twenty-five years, we know unequivocally that we can trust each other. Tim’s more social so when he wants to go hang with coworkers on Friday night after work. I say go, enjoy. I’ll hang out at the house in my jammies, eat popcorn, and watch “Blue Bloods.” We’re both happy as long as we end up at the same place at the end of each day.
I love the way he makes peanut brittle for Christmas every year and the way he experiments with new recipes in the kitchen and just decided this year to start making jams and jellies. I love the way he makes new friends wherever he works. I love the way he gets excited over the owl that sits on our chimney and hoots at night and the way he gets excited when the Christmas cactus finally decides to bloom and about the hummingbirds that visit the feeder in the backyard.
I love the way he gets excited over his Dodge Charger, his mid-life crisis car, and yes, he looks really good in the driver’s seat.
Some of our best times together are movies and pizza at Grimaldi’s or a drive to Fredericksburg and a stop in Luckenbach. We watch movies together on Saturday night and hold hands at Lowe’s. He cooks for me and I do his laundry.
He made all the plans for this trip to Maui, researching the best luau, finding a great zip line experience, renting a car for the road to Hana. His excitement over every detail is contagious. He’s excited about the trip and he’s excited about going with me. We could be headed to the beach in Corpus and we’d still be excited. Because we’d be going together.
I’m so blessed to be the person Tim chose for his happily-ever-after. I’d be happy for another 25 years on this earth, provided I can spend all of them with him.
About Kelly: Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, which released February 1. She recently signed with Harvest House Publishing for a three-book spin-off series entitled the New Hope Amish.
Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.
The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso, winning the Silver Star Award from the Texas Mental Health Association and numerous awards in news, feature, and editorial writing from the Texas Press Association and Texas Press Women.
Kelly now works in public relations. She and her husband of twenty-five years live in Texas.
About the books:
Book 1: To Love and to Cherish:
It’s been four years since Carl left. Four years since he left the safety of the small Amish community for the Englisch world. And in four years, Emma’s heart has only begun to heal.
Now, with the unexpected death of her parents, Emma is plunged back into a world of despair and confusion. It’s a confusion only compounded by Carl’s return. She’s supposed to be in love with him…so why can’t she keep her mind off Thomas, the strong, quiet widower who always seems to be underfoot? Could the man she only knew as a friend be the one to help her to heal?
In a world that seems to be changing no matter how tightly she clings to the past, this one woman must see beyond her pain and open her heart to trust once again.
Book 2: A Heart Made New:
Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who’s struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her.
When a homeless young woman named Charisma and her two-year-old daughter, Gracie, show up in Bliss Creek, Annie welcomes them into the Shirack household and tries to help them establish a new life. But all the good deeds in the world can’t change the ache in Annie’s heart…or help her forget the man she loves.
Book 3: Loves Journey Home:
It’s been seven years since her husband died, but Helen Crouch is doing fine. She’s selling her jams at the bakery and making a living. But her whole world goes topsy-turvy when a new family moves to town. Gabriel Gless has brought his children to Bliss Creek to escape the worldly influences in Indiana. Helen and Gabriel have so much in common—the loss of their beloved spouses, the experience of raising their families alone, their rock-solid faith—so why can’t they speak without arguing?
And that’s not all that’s going on in Bliss Creek this summer. In the middle of a drought, the community is must decide whether to establish a new settlement. As families say goodbye, each one must find the faith to follow the Lord’s direction.
Come back Feb 13th for an interview with Kelly’s heroine from her latest release, Love’s Journey Home!