Penny Zeller – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 3

Shannon here: Historical romance author, Penny Zeller shares her real life romance and a chance to win her book: Kaydie. Comment on any post dated April 18 – 22 for a chance to win a copy. Deadline: April 23, midnight central time. Here’s Penny:

Ah, the wonderful days of no caller I.D. It made for a much more successful prank phone call. Yes, here’s a frightening confession: my sister, cousin, and I would spend countless hours making innocent prank phone calls. It was long before speaker phone technology, but that was fine with us. We had two phones in the house, both always being used at the same time.

Our prank phone calls were never anything that could harm someone, and I am a firm believer that prank phone calls do have their benefits. Case in point – I met my husband, Lon through a prank phone call. Yep. It’s true. 

Lon and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary this year. And to think it all started with the humble beginnings of a white rotary dial phone…

I saw Lon’s high school football picture in the county newspaper. He went to small school in the same county as I did, but in a different town 20 miles away. He was a state champion football player and I was cheerleader. I was sure I’d never seen such a fine specimen in all my teenage years. 

So my sister, cousin, and I called him. He was a chatty fellow and he and I immediately hit it off. I soon looked forward to our daily phone calls. Over the next several weeks, he began to call me before I left for work as a bookkeeper and clerk at a department store and before he headed out to work in the fields on his dad’s farm.

A few months later, I met Lon in person at the gas station parking lot where he rode up on his motorcycle and I drove up in my 1971 souped-up Chevy Malibu. He was wearing parachute pants and his #78 football jersey. He’ll still argue after all these years that it wasn’t parachute pants he was wearing, but sweatpants. But now that it’s in writing, here’s the proof: he was wearing parachute pants (and after all, it was 1991 when parachute pants were the thing to wear!) I even recall that I wore my hair in a high ponytail that day and wore my Michigan State t-shirt and a pair of jean shorts.

Accompanied by my sister and a friend, we pulled into the gas station and I nonchalantly filled my car with gas. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. Not paying attention, I forgot to put on my gas cap after filling my car with gas.

I drove up to the curb. “Hi, are you Lon?” I asked.

“Just a minute,” he said. I watched as he walked over to the gas pump and retrieved my gas cap. “I think you forgot this,” he told me. I was so embarrassed! I gazed deep into his green eyes and suddenly felt a bit faint.

“I- I’m Penny.”

He leaned against my car and smiled. “I’m Lon.”

I offered a quick and silent prayer toward heaven. “Lord, please, please, please let him like me!”

We must have stood there in awkward silence for awhile until I remembered I needed to pay for my gas.

After that day, we began to date. One night three months later, we stood in the driveway of my parents’ house getting ready to say goodnight. I was caught completely off guard when Lon asked, “Will you marry me?” No kneeling to one knee with an engagement ring. No airplane in the sky with a huge banner for all to see. Nope, just a humble out-of-the-blue “Will you marry me?”

I didn’t hesitate, but quickly answered “YES!”

As calmly as if we were discussing the weather, Lon answered, “All right. See you tomorrow.”  With that, Lon turned and climbed into his car (which, I might add, had a stereo worth four times what the car was worth).

I remember standing in the driveway shaking with excitement, wondering if he had really asked me or if it was a dream. Yes, it was late, and yes, she was asleep, but my younger sister just had to know about this!

In June of the following year, Lon and I were married in a tiny Baptist church in my hometown. There was a storm that day, and half of the time we had no power. But it all worked out and several years later, we started our family. Today we have two beautiful daughters.

We’ve had our share of good times and bad, serious times and funny times (like the time Lon overdosed on no-bake cookies right before a blood test and was denied his CDL license renewal because his sugar readings were off the charts!) But through it all, I thank God every day for the husband he blessed me with.

About Penny: 

Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles in national and regional publications. She is also the author of the humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” ( She is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group. Penny devotes her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ.  Her passion is to use the gift of the written word that God has given her to glorify Him and to benefit His kingdom. Kaydie follows McKenzie in Montana Skies, her first series with Whitaker House. When she’s not writing, Penny enjoys spending time with her family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball. She and her husband, Lon, reside in Wyoming with their two children. Penny loves to hear from her readers at her Website,

Come back April 20th for the real life love story of Penny’s grandparents.

14 Responses to “Penny Zeller – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 3”

  • Lisa Nelson says:

    Thank you for sharing your story!
    I enjoy reading your books!

  • Penny Zeller says:

    Hi Lisa~
    Thank you for stopping by Shannon’s blog and for leaving me a comment. Thank you also for your kind words about my books. 🙂

    God Bless,


  • Kemi K says:

    Wonderful piece there. Easy to relate to, at the same time excitingly romantic. Thank you for sharing.

  • Penny, that was the sweetest story!! I could just see you standing there on the driveway after the proposal!! lol What a cute memory. I love your wedding dress! Very beautiful!
    Hugs to you!

  • oh, and don’t enter me in the contest! I’ve already gotten my copy, and read it!

  • Jo says:

    Penny, Do thank you for sharing about yourself. I am so looking forward to reading your books.

  • I loved reading your story. I was much older than you when I met my husband of now 21 1/2 years. We were a blind date. And it was a God thing. ‘Can’t wait to read about your grandparents.


  • Penny Zeller says:

    Hello Kemi, Janet, Jo, and Susan~
    Thank you so much for stopping by Shannon’s blog. I love it that she posts stories of real-life-romance.

    Kemi ~ Thank you for your kind words about my post!

    Janet ~ Thank you for your compliments about my dress. I agree, it was a beautiful dress. I am still amazed I was able to be ready and to the wedding on time since we kept having power outages due to a severe storm, LOL!

    Jo ~ Thank you for your enthusiam about reading my books. I am honored!

    Susan ~ Ooh, blind date stories. I love those! You’ll have to share that with me sometime 🙂

    I hope you all have a wonderful week.


  • I’m glad everyone’s enjoying Penny’s story. Love all the comments.

  • Mark Koehler says:

    Hi Penny,

    Your story reminds me of an earlier time gone by, the 70’s. Life was simpler then. Love was a surprise, as you express it. I guess that every generation has its own view on love. Thanks for sharing yours. I will be waiting to read the rest of the story.



  • I love “how we met” stories! Thanks for sharing yours. 🙂

  • Penny Zeller says:

    Hello Mark and Ann Lee ~

    Thank you for stopping by. You are right, Mark, I was totally taken aback at the proposal!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Ann Lee 🙂

    I’m excited to share the way my grandparents met in my next guest post here on Shannon’s blog.

    Have a wonderful week!


  • Sandra Mick says:

    Are you from Michigan? What a cute story! Looking forward to reading your book.

  • Penny Zeller says:

    Hi Sandra~
    Thank you for stopping by Shannon’s wonderful blog. I’m glad you enjoyed the story of how Lon and I met, and I’m thrilled that you are looking forward to reading my book.

    No, I’m not from Michigan 🙂 I have never been there, but would like to visit sometime!

    Have a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend!


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