Tara Johnson – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 1

Shannon here: I’m excited to host my guest, Tara Johnson. Tara and I belong to same writers’ group, have enjoyed local writing retreats together, and traveled to Dallas and back for a national conference. Tara’s sharing her real life romance & a chance to win a copy of her nonfiction title, Hollow Victory. Comment or answer the question at the end of this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: July 11th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Tara:

Tara Johnson & hubby

Tara JohnsonHollow Victory by Tara Johnson

Find the Humor by Tara Johnson:

When planning a wedding, expect that something on your big day will go wrong. After all, that’s the advice everyone gave me when I was planning mine. I, however, wasn’t prepared for the fact that everything would go wrong. Instead of white lace and rice, the wedding resembled more of a scene from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

May 31, 1997 arrived. Our wedding day and despite everyone’s continual advice to expect a hitch somewhere in the program, I was determined our day would be memorable.

Boy, was it memorable.

Our two year old ring bearer who had proudly strutted his stuff at the rehearsal was suddenly gripped with terror and refused to walk down the aisle. His father scurried up to the front and waved a twenty dollar bill which propelled the reluctant, sobbing ring bearer into a sprint. He snatched up the money and plopped down on the bench. No big deal. After all, he was two.

Then things got weird.

During the lighting of the unity candle, Todd gave a too-hearty puff on his own candle, snuffing out the middle one. He snickered nervously. “I just blew out Jesus!” One of the quick thinking groomsmen plucked a burning candle from the candelabra and relit the middle light.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s not so bad.” Hang on. It gets worse.

When I had talked to the florist, I’d specifically requested smokeless, dripless candles for the candelabras. And she got one of the candelabras right. The other, however, had been set up with smoky, drippy candles.

After Todd and I lit the unity candle, the plan was for me to turn my back to the wedding party and stare lovingly into Todd’s eyes while the longest song in the history of wedding songs played. So there we were in the middle of a dark church, candlelight flickering across our faces, fingers clasped together and smiling sweetly at each other.

Then I heard it.

Soft gasps. Heavy thumps.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The thumps grew louder. So did the whispers.

Unsure of what was happening behind me, I whispered, “What’s going on?”

Todd frowned and muttered, “Your uncle.”

Keep in mind that my Uncle Chuck is no petite fellow. At six foot, three inches and close to three hundred pounds back, he’s a big guy. He’s also the family prankster. So when I heard intensifying stomps and gasps of shock, I figured Uncle Chuck was up to no good.

Gritting my teeth, I began plotting a way to get him back.

Then the acrid stench of smoke hit me.

During the song, one of the smoky, drippy candles dropped a ball of flaming wax onto the carpeted floor, starting a fire right next to my maid of honor. She was wearing taffeta and nearly went up in flames herself. Good hearted Uncle Chuck scurried to the front of the church and began stomping out the inferno before my fluffy maid was burned to a crisp.

There was more but I won’t bore you with the details. A trashed car. Having to turn back around when we realized we forgot to sign the marriage certificate before finally speeding towards our honeymoon in Branson, Missouri.

That was the plan. Unfortunately, the transmission blew out in our car on the way. We spent our first night stranded in Clinton, Arkansas, eating cold quarter pounders from McDonalds.

After desperately searching for a transmission shop open at midnight, Todd dropped the phone into its cradle and stared at me, his eyes vacant and exhausted. “You know, if it weren’t for the fact we got married today, I would say this has been the worst day of my life.”

I began to giggle at his forlorn look just before he burst into laughter.

In some obscure wedding planning book somewhere in the world, our wedding story should head up the chapter entitled, “Don’t Let This Happen to You”.

Okay, so maybe not everything went wrong. I got a pretty amazing hubby out of the deal. These days, instead of peppering those shiny-faced, gleeful brides and grooms with the sage advice of “expect something will go wrong”, I skip to the wisdom I wished I had received instead…find the humor.

When your transmission busts on the way to the honeymoon, find the humor. When your kids decide to use your toothbrush to give the dog a dental check up, find the humor. When your circumstances look bleak and life pummels you with the unexpected, find the humor. Laughter is a wonderful gift from God. Use it. Treasure it. Our marriage is much stronger because of it.

Find the humor…and make sure the florist knows what she’s doing.

I’d love to hear from you on the question below.

About Tara: Tara Johnson is an author, singer, speaker from Alexander, AR. A passionate lover of stories, Tara shares her journey through depression and people-pleasing through fiction and nonfiction work, song and laughter.

In 2004, she signed with Incubator Creative Group, a ministry-based record label out of Eugene, OR. Tara loves to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share her testimony of how God led her into freedom after spending years living shackled to the expectations of others as a preacher’s kid.

This past year has kept Tara busy writing both fiction and nonfiction and her latest book Hollow Victory: How to Identify and Disarm 5 Landmines that Make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie was released in 2014. She has won the Bronze Medal in the Frazier awards hosted by My Book Therapy and has articles published in Plain Truth Magazine and Live It Loud Magazine and has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio and Enduring Word radio. Tara is a member of ACFW and is represented by Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency.

She and her husband Todd have been married for eighteen years and the Lord has blessed them with five children: Bethany, Callie, Nate, as well as Taylor Lynn and Morgan Lane who are with Jesus.

Learn more and connect:
Twitter: @TaraMinistry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tara.johnson.1401
Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/tarajohnson
email: tara@tarajohnsonministries.com

About the book – Hollow Victory:

“God promised a victorious life. Mine doesn’t feel that way. What’s wrong?”…

Discover the five hidden explosive scenarios that can maim and disable your spiritual life. Tara Johnson attacks these subjects with directness, honesty, insight and a disarming sense of humor. Learn to identify and gain practical advice for how to disable the emotional cripplers of grief, depression, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and fear and anxiety.

Too many Christians are frustrated with the chasm between the truth of God’s word and the reality of their own emotional struggles. Hollow Victory builds a bridge across that divide. Taken from her own real-life experiences, Tara’s book offers hope through a powerful and refreshing look at the hidden landmines that make victorious Christian living feel like a lie.

Question: What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve ever attended? What happened that made it so unforgettable?

Come back July 6th for Teresa Pollard!





5 Responses to “Tara Johnson – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 1”

  • My own wedding was not memorable in the same way as Tara’s (Thank you Lord), but I will remember that day forever because God had been carefully engineering it for my whole life. Love of family and friends, beautiful simplicity that suited our personalities perfectly.Baby blue tuxes, calico bridesmaids dresses, big picture hats. Hey- it was the 70s after all. The best was yet to come, and has continued for 39 years so far!

  • Shelia Hall says:

    My own wedding was unforgettable! First it was a outdoor wedding at my friend’s house by the lake,it rained for 2 days and when i started up the aisle my shoe heels was sinking into the ground and i ended up walking down the aisle partway barefooted! then it was a horsefly biting me on the ankle during the long prayer and it was drawing blood! then when we were leaving family members had put shaving cream & vaseline under the door handles and taped them shut! so a very unforgettable wedding indeed!

  • There must be something about candles, weddings, and fires. The silk flowers in our centerpiece caught fire. But we’d already greeted guests, cut the cake, got the reception rolling, and were deep in a photography session when it happened. We never knew about it until we got back from our honeymoon and saw our burnt centerpiece on my mother-on-law’s dining room table.

  • Jennifer Pruitt says:

    The memory of my wedding day that makes me giggle the most- my bridesmaids were helping me get into my dress, etc…pulled out my fancy hose I’d bought & we all looked shocked when we realized they’d put the wrong size in the package- as in 2 sizes too small!! One of my girlfriends was a quick thinker & grabbed a spray bottle of water to spray on the hose as we all worked together to get the lil boogers on my legs- no easy feat when you’re all laughing hysterically!! Then just before the wedding marge began I had to get my brother to hold my skirt up while I tugged those tiny dudes up (meanwhile my maid of honor had begun crying when I asked her to wear my engagement ring I’d forgotten to take off because she feared it was the only one she’d ever wear!?!)…they were at my knees before I got half way down the isle!! And our Unity candle refused to light, but for the record my beloved & I will celebrate 21 years of wedded bliss this October! GOD IS SOOO GOOD!!

  • stvannatter says:

    I have a winner! Jennifer Pruitt won the drawing. I appreciate Tara for being my guest and everyone else for stopping by.

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