Thursday, August 13, 2009
(Be sure and read yesterday's blog if you haven't done so. Many of you KNEW before reading this one--what is going to happen!!!! BUT--you don't know the details!) This is Part II of my story of when I moved to Hendersonville, TN in December of 2000. The minute I got to Hendersonville, I had a PEACE within me that I hadn't had in awhile. I loved my new job ---and even bought a townhouse there (thinking that I would be there for years and years). Before I go any farther, I need to change the subject and give you George's story.
George's wife died from cancer in 1999. They lived in Little River, SC. George stayed there after she died --until he changed jobs the end of 2000, looking for a 'new' life. He thought at first that the new job he was interested in was in Memphis---but later found that it was in Nashville (close to Hendersonville). SO---about the same time I interviewed for my job (October), George was in town interviewing for his job. He stayed with his parents ---who incidentally lived in Hendersonville and belonged to the church where I was going to be employed. He took his new job ---and so did I. He moved to Hendersonville in December and so did I. (Can you believe all of this?????) His home in South Carolina had not sold yet---so he lived temporarily with his parents after getting there.
Now here is the crazy part!!!! George is an Episcopalian ---so on his first Sunday in Hendersonville, he was going to attend worship at the Episcopal Church. However, it was snowing that morning (not much, but enough to scare a Tennessean)---so services at the Episcopal Church were cancelled. George went back to his parents' home and offered to take them to services at the Methodist Church. They took him up on it---and because of the snow, George attended my first service at that church, and never went back to the Episcopal Church after that Sunday. (See why I like SNOW so much!!! ha)
I spoke to the Adult Sunday School Classes that morning and George attended. But--we didn't actually meet until about January 7. BUT---think about it!!!! IF it hadn't have snowed that Sunday, George may have attended the Episcopal Church ---and I may never have met him. That little bit of snow is what God provided that morning in his quest to get us together. There's no other way to explain it.
I made it through those first couple of weeks meeting tons and tons of people. I knew from my experience in Texas (since there were times of terrible loneliness) that I would love to meet someone to spend my 'golden years' with. BUT--I had been 'single' (divorced) for about 20 years ---so I didn't think that my Prince Charming would ever come into my life. The list of what I 'wanted' in a man was VERY long... Was there someone JUST for me out there?????
On January 7, I was invited to speak to the Men's Group at the church. I just happened to sit at a table with George and his father. I remember talking to him a little---but as he still says, I was 'flirting' with some of the other men at our table. A week or so later, I was offering to teach a Bible Study Class. George called me to ask about the study --and to find out if his mother could attend even though she was blind and couldn't read the book. I of course told him that his mother was welcome to attend. After that call, I looked George up in the church directory --but since he was new (I didn't know that), he was not listed.
The Bible Study began the end of January and there were about 50 adults in the class---and that included George. As 'luck' would have it, George's job called for him to be out-of-town quite a bit. SO--he missed some of the Bible study Classes. We were emailing at that time ---and I offered to meet with him sometime and catch him up on the study. He then asked me out to dinner on March 29. I took the Bible Study books with me and thought that we would spend the evening talking about the study. HA HA HA---guess what???? The Bible Study NEVER came up. We talked for 2 hours ---and it was truly magical.
From that night on, we were inseparable. George may not have 'Had Me from Hello'---but he had me after that night when we had our first dinner together. God had put us together---and, after that evening, we both knew for sure why we were 'called' to Hendersonville. We knew within a week or two that we loved each other. George gave me my engagement ring on April 19 ---in our Bible Study Class. (And to think: I HAD to teach the class that evening AFTER getting my ring!!! Don't know how I did it!! ha).. We were married in an outdoor ceremony for family only in Knoxville beside the Tennessee River on June 21 of that year (2001).
After meeting George and getting married, my entire life changed. We sold George's South Carolina home and eventually sold my townhouse, and bought our dream-home here in Fairfield Glade in 2002. But we didn't move here until July of 2003 (when I retired). George continued to work until 2006 --when he officially retired also. Retirement for both of us is absolutely fabulous. BUT--like most busy retirees, we don't ever seem to have a free minute. We're both doing things that we never had time to do when we were younger.
My family and friends who knew me as a workaholic never believed that I could be happy NOT working those 12 hour days. I was independent and driven. I don't think my sons even know me anymore since they've never seen their mother enjoying gardening, hiking and being a birder. My-My--how I have changed!!!! But--I'm happier than I have EVER been in my entire life.
George and I are truly soulmates (for lack of a better word). We love being together ---and seldom are apart. Our marriage is truly from God---and we keep God at the center of our lives each and every single day. Our 8 years together so far (and we hope to have many more) have been the best times of both of our lives ---and with each passing day, our love for each other continues to grow and grow.
Yes---I stepped out of my comfortable box, listened to that little God-feeling inside of me, moved to Tennessee, met the man of my dreams, and am living a blessed life. That is my love story that I wanted to share today. My advice: Never give up on your dreams---and never ignore those deep feelings within you. Dreams CAN come true ---and mine did! Let it SNOW!!!!! ha
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I have been thinking about blogging about this topic for quite some time ---but only decided to do it after reading my blogger friend JAYNE'S post yesterday (Journey through Grace)--which inspired me to tell one of the many stories that have helped mold my life.
The date was 2000 and I was at a crossroad in my life (one of many). This time, by choice, I was leaving the wonderful job that I had had for 12 years at Clear Lake United Methodist Church near Houston, TX. It was time for a change, and I had just taken the 'ultimate' job at a HUGE (6400 members) church in downtown Houston---and that job came with a huge salary and benefit increase. One would think I would have been the happiest person in the world. AND--at first, I thought I was.
I started this new job in June of 2000. People at this new church were very nice and I liked the staff there. Things seemed to be perfect. But--something inside of me started digging at me making me think I had made a terrible mistake. I kept putting this 'gut' feeling out of my mind --but it kept coming back. I would go home at night and just cry and cry. I knew that something was terribly wrong. BUT--I had started this job and I could never leave a NEW job so soon. I was stuck--or felt like I was.
I remember sitting at my computer at home on Labor Day weekend---and something made me start looking for job possibilities out there. My gut kept telling me that I needed to go back to the mountains --which I loved so much. (I never did like Texas--and even though I was there for a long time, the mountains kept calling my name.)
SO---I checked out jobs in the United Methodist Church that day---and one or two of them caught my attention. One of them (and the one that I eventually took) was as an Associate Minister in charge of Adult Christian Education at a large United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, TN. The ad for this job seemed to JUMP out in BOLD print on my computer screen. I read it several times ---and then kept telling myself that I could never leave a job that I had just begun. BUT---that ad kept getting larger and larger on that computer screen. It was as if the computer was screaming at me! I kept walking away--but something kept pulling me back.
I finally picked up the phone and called the minister in Hendersonville (shaking all over as I called). I felt as if I had to tell him my crazy story of just starting the new job---thinking that he would tell me to keep working at the new church and that he wasn't interested in me. But---he did listen to me and was interested... But then I ran into a BIG problem!!!! You can only imagine my dismay when I found out that this minister in Hendersonville not only knew my new minister in Houston ---but they were GREAT FRIENDS.... Yipes!!!! Had I stepped into something larger than I am?????? Woooooooo!!!! Now--what do I do?????
We talked for a long time, and the minister in Hendersonville told me that he was indeed interested in having me come and work for his church. BUT---I needed to go to the Houston minister and tell him what was going on. In the meantime, I talked to my family and friends in Texas ----all of whom thought I had lost my mind. NOBODY understood why I would ever want to leave the cinchy job in Houston and move back to Tennessee---where I knew nobody. BUT---that 'gut feeling' kept pushing me in that direction, regardless of what people were advising me.
I did make an appointment and talk to the Houston minister ---who was very gracious although terribly disappointed to lose me. He and his friend (minister in TN) talked, and the Houston minister told me to do what God wanted me to do. I told him that I felt as if God was leading me to Tennessee---although I really didn't know why at the time.
I went to Tennessee that October and interviewed officially---and as I said, got the job. I continued to work in Houston until December ----but made the move the middle of the month and was introduced to the congregation right before Christmas. I knew from the minute I was there that Hendersonville was exactly where God wanted me.
Out of that experience, I learned NEVER to dismiss your 'gut feelings' ---no matter how crazy they might be. I'm not sure why I made that little 'detour' (to that huge church in Houston) ---but I did, and I learned alot about myself during that hard time. My 'gut feeling' was God leading me to Tennessee. You can call it anything you want to ---and if you are not a spiritual or religious person, you may be happy just calling it a 'gut feeling'.... BUT----I really stepped out of my comfort zone BIGTIME by following my heart. I know now why all of this happened. TO BE CONTINUED!