Shannon here: Heather L.L. FitzGerald shares a romantic gesture her husband pulled off when she really needed it. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a copy of her Young Adult Fantasy, The Genesis Tree. Deadline: July 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Heather:
A Whale of a Gift!
I’m a Washington girl in a Texas world, and I married a Mississippi man. When we met—by means of him memorizing my phone number from the offering envelope (yes, you read that right!)—we had dreams of leaving the Lone Star state behind and settling elsewhere someday.
However, the job market has always been excellent here in the Fort Worth area. And so, almost 28 years after we said “I do”, we are still transplanted Texans.
Although I came to the metroplex with the excitement of leaving a small town for the big city, it didn’t take but a couple of scorching hot summers to miss home. I had gone from living about an hour from the mountains and the ocean, to living in a flat, hot, ceaselessly air-conditioned state.
We were married in October of 1989. By September of 1995 I had given birth to our third child. My husband was working an all commission job at the time, which meant we lived by feast or famine paychecks. Three children under the roof kept us counting every penny. The good months had to stretch to cover the not-so-good months.
On one of our rare nights out with the kids, we went to the discount movie theater where one could watch movies no longer at the box office for a dollar or two. On this occasion, we were going to see Free Willy 2. You know, one of those Shamu movies that weren’t really about Shamu…
Well, Free Willy 2 was largely filmed in the Puget Sound off of Seattle. Where I was born. Though the acting was cheesy and the plot predictable, I was riveted to the screen. The landscape awoke every little homesick fiber of my scalded, scenery-starved soul, and I found myself sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of the movie. Of course, my sweet husband wrapped his arms around me and tried to comfort me—a bit bewildered by my desperate outburst.
Fast forward a few weeks to our anniversary, an occasion which also called for creative restraint on the finances. I don’t recall what I had been doing prior to walking into my bedroom that evening—probably laundry and wiping rear ends—but I’ll never forget what greeted me when I did. A giant map of the United States lay on our bed. One of those that are so huge you pretty much need directions to refold them.
On top of the map was a single red rose. Written boldly across the midwest in permanent marker were the words, “Hey Sweetheart, you wanna go for a drive?” And he had proceeded to highlight the route between our home in Fort Worth, through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon…and just across the river from Portland, Oregon to my hometown of Vancouver, Washington.
I bawled my eyes out again 🙂
This was sacrificial love at its finest, people! This man of mine wasn’t only willing to spend some of our microscopic savings on a trip that would take two weeks to make. He was also willing to forgo generating any income to do so! In an all-commission world, there is no paid vacation.
I’ve many lovely memories of that getaway. One of my favorites is when he and I were sitting on a bench overlooking the devastation from the Mount Saint Helens’ eruption of 1980. It was a clear day with an expansive view of the mountain, Spirit Lake, and the stripped forest of trees that all lay in the same direction, bare of branches and bark. Even in its ravaged state, seemingly unchanged in the years since I looked into the sky after church one Sunday to see an enormous plume of ash, the view remained breathtaking.
My husband leaned in and whispered, “I see why you miss it up here.”
That meant the world to me. Enough to keep me satisfied—willing to bloom where God had planted me in the sprawling suburbs of Texas. Thankfully, I’m able to return to my beloved Pacific Northwest now and again. But in between visits, I’ve managed to write three novels set in my second favorite place to be.
My first choice will always be by my husband’s side.
About Heather: Heather L.L. FitzGerald writes from her home in Texas, while dreaming of being back in the Pacific Northwest, where she grew up. When her four kids were young, she enjoyed reading aloud until her voice gave out. (Her son, who is autistic, would just move on to his favorite audiobook). Certain stories became good friends—the kind you want to revisit. The kind you wish never needed to say goodbye.
Those are the kind of stories Heather aspires to write. Stories worthy of delicious coffee. Stories difficult to leave. She hopes you will find her YA Fantasy trilogy The Tethered World Chronicles to be one of those kind of tales. All three books, The Tethered World, and The Flaming Sword, and The Genesis Tree are available on Amazon or can be ordered at any book retailer.
Heather is a member of the North Texas Christian Writer’s group, ACFW, CAN, and helps with the Manent Writer’s group in Fort Worth, Texas. Learn more and connect:
About the book – The Genesis Tree: She took down the Nephilim queen—but can she and her brother save the kingdom? Sadie Larcen may have defeated the traitorous Queen Estancia, but she’s quite happy to be home with her family. Unfortunately, their fiendish neighbor, Mr. Marshall, is still up to no good. He’s called a press conference with plans to introduce the world to a living, breathing Bigfoot. As a Sasquatch expert, Sadie’s mother Amy is coerced into lending her expertise to the spectacle. When Sadie and her brother Brady spy nefarious, uninvited guests at the gathering, they know there’s trouble brewing in the Tethered World.
The two are driven into separate, dangerous exploits as they are thrust back into the schemes of the forces of darkness. Schemes that include using their autistic brother Brock as leverage to seize control of the Flaming Sword and the Tree of Life. The Gargoyles and Trolls have an ambition that extends beyond dominating these powerful elements. They’ve set their sights on the Topside realm—with or without the help of Mr. Marshall. Deception is rampant, the enemy is subtle, and love dares to tug at Sadie’s heart amid the turmoil below. Once again, she and Brady will cling to God’s faithfulness as they fight for the people and creatures they care for, and against the enemies they fear.
Will the cost be more than they can endure?
Question for Readers: Have you ever been homesick for a place? Where and how long has it been since you’ve been there?
Come back July 7th for Ada Brownell!