Shannon here: Romantic Suspense author, Rebecca Carey Lyles shares her daughter’s real life romance and a chance to win her latest release, Winds of Freedom. Comment on this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Dec 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Rebecca:
Last year on the Inkslinger Blog, I wrote about my engagement to my sweet hubby, Steve, and also told our crazy wedding story https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/rebecca-carey-lyles-real-life-romance-part-2-of-3/. This time, with our daughter’s permission, I’ll share the story of her seventeen-year off-and-on friendship/courtship and recent marriage.
Alissa met Jim at a Campus Ventures meeting on a Wyoming college campus in September of 1996. Alissa was a freshman; however, Jim had been in school for several years, searching for the perfect career path and for our daughter, I’m sure 🙂
A few weeks later, Jim asked her to have coffee and hot chocolate with him at Village Inn. She created a back-up plan with her roommate, so she’d have an excuse in case the date didn’t go well. Within minutes, the roommate faded from Alissa’s mind as she and Jim conversed on a wide variety of topics, finishing each others sentences, and enjoying one anothers depth. He appreciated the fact that she laughed at his jokes and was mature for her age, and she appreciated his knowledge on a variety of topics, especially theology. They talked for hours, sipping their drinks and indulging in an occasional refill.
The two soon began to officially date. They enjoyed many subsequent Village Inn rendezvous, which included playing Crazy Eights and more theological discussions. After an amicable break-up seven months later, they remained very good friends and continued to do things together until Alissa transferred to another Wyoming college. With 150 miles between them, their friendship cooled somewhat; however, they continued to email and occasionally talk on the phone, and Jim sometimes drove over for a face-to-face visit.
Fast forward a dozen years or so. By this time, both Jim and Alissa had graduated from college and begun their respective careers—in separate states. That’s when they started emailing with greater frequency. Although the initial spark of interest quickly grew into a flame for Jim, he was reluctant to date again. Alissa denied the depth of their relationship for quite some time, even though she found herself wanting to talk to her “friend” Jim more and more. They enjoyed flirting with each other, but neither of them expected to become seriously involved.
One of the key events that led Alissa to face the truth about her feelings for Jim happened when Steve and I were having lunch with her at her apartment one Easter. She showed us a picture text on her phone and then left the phone with us, so we could look at more photos while she worked in the kitchen. As we scrolled through her pictures, we heard a male voice coming from her phone say, “Hey baby.”
The phrase was so short we just shrugged and didn’t think much about it. As far as we knew, it was some kind of joke. But for the remainder of the day, Alissa was a wreck, trying to figure out the best way to reveal her renewed connection with Jim to her parents.
Finally, toward evening, she blurted, “So, you probably figured out Jim and are dating again, since you heard him on the voice text.” When she discovered we hadn’t thought much about what we heard and that she could have kept their relationship secret, she realized it was good for her to admit they were becoming serious and good for her parents to know what was going on.
But that’s not the end of the story. After hot and heavy texting and video chatting for several months, the pair again decided they were not meant for each other. And again, they remained friends, but the break-up didn’t last more than a couple weeks. By this time, approximately fifteen years had passed since the two first met.
I’m not sure how many times they connected and disconnected in the next couple of years, but I do know Jim proposed five times before he actually got to stick a ring on her finger. Alissa says, “Only the first proposal was not a full commitment on my part. The rest were an attempt to have the perfect proposal. The final proposal, after we’d already started making wedding plans, was the most perfect, if that is possible. ”
All in all, by the time our daughter and her fiancé were married in October, they’d known each other for seventeen years plus a month. I’ve heard it’s good for couples to be friends before they become lovers. I think we can safely say that was true of Alissa and Jim.
Here’s a synopsis of the proposal that stuck, one which occurred when Jim drove across two states to visit our daughter.
Alissa (from the bedroom, where she was packing for a trip): “Thank you, Jim, for doing the dishes. You take such good care of me.”
Jim (from the living room): “I like taking care of you. I want the job.”
Alissa ran from the bedroom, jumped in his lap, and wrapped her arms around his neck: “If God agrees, you’ve got it.”
Shocked, Jim jerked back and stared at her for a long moment. He says, “I was remembering all of the conversations in which she’d expressed her reluctance to marry me.” Then he smiled. He’d waited a long time to hear those magic words.
They kissed, and the angels sang the Hallelujah Chorus. Well, actually, I don’t know what the angels did, but Steve and I are delighted our daughter is happily married. Plus, we acquired a great son-in-law who appreciates my cooking and laughs at Steve’s jokes. 🙂
About Rebecca: Rebecca Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her award-winning Kate Neilson novels, Winds of Wyoming and Winds of Freedom. She and her husband, Steve, currently live in Idaho. In addition to writing fiction and nonfiction, she serves as an editor and a mentor to aspiring authors and as a transition coach for women transitioning from prison to “the outside.” Becky’s articles and stories have appeared in magazines and compilations. Her nonfiction books, It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships and On a Wing and a Prayer–Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry, are now available in ebook as well as print formats. Learn more and connect: http://www.beckylyles.com, http://wordpress.widgetwords, Twitter: @BeckyLyles, Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles.
About the book – Winds of Freedom: Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.
Come back Dec 9th for JoAnn Durgin!