Michelle and Brandon Update
Update from A Rose, Frozen in Time
Brandon and I wintered over that year and traveled extensively together before returning to our homes in December of 2002. We had to go our separate ways in the Chicago airport. There, in the middle of the terminal, we kissed goodbye. It was a hard moment. We promised to call every day and see each other soon.
But, after such a long, isolated adventure, returning to the “real” world can feel like landing from a distant planet. I hoped we would find each other again in this world, and that we would not lose the rare intimacy that such isolation can reveal. After two weeks of talking on the phone every day, he called and said, “Hey! I found us an old farm house to rent for $50 a month if you want to move here with me.”
The idea of moving to North Dakota didn’t thrill me. But if it was to be with him, I would take my chances. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous. We had lived as roommates for our last six months on the ice, and traveled together for three months after. But this would be different. Would we as a couple be able to handle the new-found freedom?
We spent eight months together in the little farm house, there by the Sheyenne River, and we thrived!
We did two more summers on the ice. This time I worked as a shuttle bus driver. I missed the firehouse, but the freedom of not being confined to a single room for twelve hours a day was wonderful! And the scenery…breathtaking!
In the spring of 2005, after our final trip to Antarctica, we moved to Minnesota. Life was breathed into my dream that fateful day in 2001, when he gave me the metal red rose. Brandon asked me to marry him in March of 2006, and we were married that August. I still like to give him a hard time about how long it took. He always counters with what he said to Jill after leaving the dining hall the first night we met. He told her, “She needs me, she just doesn’t know it yet.”
I love to compare stories of our first months together. Remember that night that I kissed him outside my door and he asked if he could try again? I thought he said that because he wanted more than just a peck on the lips. But it turns out he said it because he felt like he missed my lips a little and didn’t want to end the night with a bad kiss. Funny how we can each see the same thing so differently. And how we can put our own fears in place of the truth.
I have recently noticed that roses seem to show up at pivotal times in my life. To be honest, I have never been especially fond of roses. They are pretty, but they have never been my favorite, or even my second favorite flower. I didn’t even have them in my wedding bouquet. But they do hold a special place in my heart.
The first rose in my life was my grandmother Rosalie, and she loved her rose bushes. After that it gets a little different.
One night, in late summer 1994, I was sitting in my car, in my parent’s driveway, having serious doubts about going to Antarctica. I was 19. I wanted to stay and hang with my friends like most 19-year-old’s do. As I was sitting there listening to the radio with thoughts of quitting swimming in my head, the song, The Rose, by Conway Twitty came on. I’m not sure why it caught my attention, but I sat and really listened to the words. Right then and there I decided I had to take the chance.
The next rose brought to life what started out as a funny little joke, turned hopeful, unlikely dream. The dream of marrying the first man to give me a red rose.
One of the best rose’s came along in April of 2014. Brandon and I welcomed a daughter. Her middle name is Rose. (She is our second child, and has a very loving big brother.)
The most recent rose entered my life the summer of 2017. I was walking a patch of woods we own behind our house. Something I have done often over the last eleven years. As I walked along, a gleaming golden light, shining brightly on the ground in front of me, caught my eye. I knelt down and picked it up. It was a small metal tag with the words, “New Day” stamped onto it. I tilted the thin metal back and forth in my hand and tried to read the faint words printed on both sides. I could make out “Hybrid Tea Rose”, and the name of the flower company.
I stood there a little struck at the find. I have walked this exact section of woods several times, and never had I seen it before. I was also in the midst of making some big life changes and going through an intense and wonderful personal development program. The last few years had taken a mental tole, and things in my life were starting to feel new and filled with hope again.
I began to connect the dots. This wonderful journey that I have been on has set me on a path to find the most important rose. It has brought me close to Jesus again. To really know Him. To see Him for who He is and for what He wants to do in my life. He is the true Hope. He is the true Joy. He is the one to make all things new again. He is the perfect Love who Rose to save us all.
Thank you for peering into this piece of my heart. You can find my latest projects on my blog, www.learning2letgo.com. And on my author page, www.MichelleTweed.com.
Michelle Tweed enjoys writing children’s adventure books, historical fiction and non-fiction, and personal development. She is also currently working on a book about her own adventures.
Michelle lives in beautiful Minnesota Lakes Country, with her husband, two kids, and two Australian Shepherds. When she’s not having fun with her family, or working her Lake Home business, you can probably find her walking a plowed field collecting stone artifacts, or mentoring women through her blog, www.learning2letgo.com.
Michael and Deborah Update
Update from Love in Marabella
Michael and Deborah got married on June 1, 1979. This June they will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Sister Baptiste later apologized to Michael and the two ended up having a close relationship.
The couple lived in Trinidad for some time when they got married, but dreamed of more opportunities for their children. In 1985 they had their first child, Racquel. The two moved to New York in 1988, where they welcomed their second daughter, Natalie, at Queens Hospital Center. They would move between New York and Virginia before finally settling in Florida in 1994.
Michael is now self-employed and remodels homes, while Deborah is the Director of Housekeeping at one of the leading hospitality companies. They love spending time with their family, including son-in-law, Jeffrey and grandkids, Roman and Ella.
Racquel Henry is a Trinidadian writer and editor with an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is also a part-time English Professor and owns the writing center, Writer’s Atelier, in Winter Park, FL. In 2010 Racquel co-founded Black Fox Literary Magazine where she still serves as an editor. She is also a board member for The Jack Kerouac Project, an Orlando-based writing residency. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in places like Lotus-Eater Magazine, Moko Caribbean Arts & Letters, Thrill of the Hunt: Welcome to Whitebridge, Reaching Beyond the Saguaros: A Collaborative Prosimetric Travelogue (Serving House Books, 2017), We Can't Help It If We're From Florida (Burrow Press, 2017), and The
Writer's Atelier Little Book of Writing Affirmations (Writer's Atelier, 2018), among others. She loves Instagram, find her: @RacquelHenry or @WritersAtelier. You can also visit www.racquelhenry.com.
Chelsea and Brandon Update
Update from A Heart Guarded
Brandon and Chelsea dated for three years before getting married in 2005. The same Model A that took them to Phantom of the Opera carried them to their wedding where Joe was one of the groomsmen. Chelsea finished her chemical engineering degree before going to work for the government. In 2011 they welcomed their son and in 2014 their daughter joined their family. Although Chelsea didn't make it to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company by 35, Brandon did start a company so Chelsea could be a CEO. Their business and their marriage is thriving.
Chelsea Fuchs is an avid reader of sweet romances and management books and writes strong female leads in nontraditional roles. Her background as a chemical engineer and cowgirl heavily influence her characters and stories. After spending nearly a decade in the engineering field writing and reviewing government documents, she changed careers to be a stay at home mom with her two energetic children. When she’s not busy keeping her littles from taking over the world or explaining chemical reactions one mess at a time, she’s writing women’s fiction and planning for the day that she and her husband buy a cattle ranch and ride off into the sunset. Chelsea lives in New Mexico with her (almost) high school sweetheart, their son and daughter, a dog, four chickens, a rooster, and a sucker fish that just won’t die.
Paige and Matt Update
Update from Cute Hat Boy and the Weird Girl
A year after the happenings of “Cute Hat Boy & The Weird Girl” Paige and Matt celebrated their one year anniversary. Matt planned a fancy dinner at the house he was renting. Paige expected that artichokes would on the menu- but didn’t think they’d be hiding an engagement ring. (Or that Matt would have turned the entire house into a giant blanket fort.)
They married in October of 2011, danced to “The Monster Mash” at their wedding, and spent their honeymoon in a tree house in Eureka Springs—building a life together that is as cute and quirky as the day they met.
They recently celebrated their seven year wedding anniversary, and when asked if he’s gotten bored of kissing Paige yet, Matt replied...
Paige Lavoie is a vintage-loving YA Author from Orlando FL. She writes Coming of Age stories about geek girls, outsiders, and monsters! Paige loves telling stories about characters who find strength in themselves and create long-lasting friendships along the way. When she’s not writing, Paige makes motivational pep talk videos for local writing community Writer’s Atelier and streams creating-writing and video games on her twitch channel. She can often be spotted strolling arm-in-arm with her husband hunting for antiques to furnish their 1950s home. She blogs about daily life, inspiration, and writing on www.paigelavoie.com and her books can be found on Amazon. Visit www.paigelavoie.wordpress.com.
Melody and Myke Update
Update from All I Did Was Open the Door
Looking back on how we met—opening that door—makes us laugh. We’ve been married 44 years and every day is as captivating as our first official date movie, The Wild Bunch. In fact, our life together should be called The Wild Couple.
We married March 15, 1975. That same year, Myke and I received bachelor’s degrees from New Mexico State University—his in broadcast journalism and mine in drama education. Fortune smiled late in 1975 when Myke took a position on the production crew at the PBS station in Albuquerque. We have lived here since, raising two beautiful daughters in the process.
What brought us together in the first place has kept us together. Myke’s love of film and television remains. After almost twenty years with PBS, quickly rising to the position of Senior Director, he moved to freelancing in the movie industry. New Mexico has become a mecca for films, in no small part thanks to the efforts of Myke’s labor union. He wrangled lighting and grip on dozens of major motion pictures such as All the Pretty Horses and Wild Wild West, electrics on hundreds of television shows and camera operator for scads of nationally-televised sporting events. Though his body is no longer amenable to toting 100-lb rolls of cable anymore, in his semi-retirement he continues to enjoy critiquing movies and explains to anyone who will listen the various camera angles, the intrepid lighting techniques and heaven forbid if there’s a boom shadow! He still lives it.
My love of Westerns has never abated. Armed with a master’s degree in gifted education, I taught public school for over twenty years. Mentally living in the 19th century with outlaws, cowboys and sheriffs, I joined New Mexico Gunfighters Association, an Old West re-enactment group performing in Albuquerque’s Old Town every Sunday for ten years. I strutted with “outlaws” calling out the sheriff and his dumb deputy. We’d “shoot” each other, making a big deal out of it. Lots of smoke and noise. The tourists loved it—almost as much as the actors.
I probably took my love of Western life a bit too far when, at age 50, I decided to ride rodeo bulls. A Colorado bull riding school gave me a taste of the sport along with an insider’s knowledge and large, memorable bruises.
A freelance writer for 15 years now, I use these experiences of gunplay and riding bulls and horses to give my Western novels authentic flavor.
Myke and I put our creative juices together with his photography and my writing for various magazine assignments. Melding our skills, we created a book on saloons of the Southwest--Hoist a Cold One! Historic Bars of the Southwest (published by UNM Press). It features 246 of his photos and covers four states.
Grateful to the portal that opened all those years ago, we take life easier now. While our bodies look a bit . . . well-traveled, deep down we’re still those college kids excited about the wide world and its possibilities—always in search of that next door.
Melody Groves writes Westerns—fiction and non-fiction. A native New Mexican, she grew up in the southern part of the state riding horses, exploring ghost towns and picturing herself living in the 1800s. Five of her novels, The Colton Brothers Saga, are set in southern NM, southern AZ pre-Civil War. Her sixth novel, She Was Sheriff, is set in 1872 California. Her 3 non-fiction books are about Butterfield Overland Mail Route, How to Watch Rodeo, and Historic Bars of the Southwest. She writes for True West Magazine and many other regional publications. She teaches writing at Southwest Writers and gives workshops at the University of New Mexico. She and her husband live in Albuquerque. When not writing, she plays rhythm guitar (and tambourine) in the Jammy Time Band.
Tim and Arielle Update
Update from Out of the Park
After many more nights of Taco Bell and arguing about fish, Tim decided Arielle was the one. He bought the ring and did the traditional next step: asked her father. What he didn't expect was that her dad would tell her about their conversation before Tim could pop the question. Arielle handled the situation oh-so-delicately and said with a huge grin, "So I heard you talked to my dad about getting married?"
"Well you don't know WHEN!" Tim replied.
Although the trip to the North Carolina mountains on Valentine's Day now looked pretty suspicious, Tim still managed to pull off a wonderful proposal at the top of Grandfather Mountain, going down on one knee with a beautiful vista behind him.
Tim and Arielle got married in Orlando on April 17, 2010 and had a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon trip to Tahiti, staying in a bungalow over the gorgeous turquoise water. Arielle taught elementary school for several years before staying home to be a mom to their two boys. She is now an author and publisher. After Tim finished law school, he worked for a law firm in town before switching to being an in-house attorney for a Fortune 500 company.
The family was featured in Maitland Neighbors magazine in May of 2018.
Tim Haughee is an in-house attorney for Darden Restaurants, Inc., where he spends much of his writing efforts on legal briefs. Tim was born, raised, and currently lives in Orlando, Florida with his more-talented wife, Arielle, and his two young boys, Luke and Caleb.
KJ and Greg Update
Update from Reacquainting
KJ and Greg dated for two-and-a-half years before getting married outdoors on their college campus, at the same spot KJ's parents were married 33 years before. Jim, who brags of being the catalyst for their relationship, was a groomsman. KJ finished medical school a year later, after which she matched in a residency program in Connecticut, Greg's home state. After numerous moves, they live in West Hartford, Connecticut with their three daughters. They will celebrate their ten-year wedding anniversary in June 2019.
Greg Hill is an adjunct professor in English, a math tutor, a voice over talent and a poet. He has a creative writing MALS degree from Dartmouth College and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Atlas and Alice, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Life and Legends, Whiskey Island and elsewhere. In his free time he cultivates his interests in quantum physics, musical cryptography and toki pona. He and his wife KJ and their three daughters live in West Hartford, CT. Website: www.gregjhill.com.
Cheryl and Ken Update
Update from In The Cards
After the meeting at Ruby Tuesday, Ken and I took our time getting to know each other better. I laugh when I recall how our friends and families “grilled” each of us as we slowly merged our lives. During drinks at a professional conference, I was aware that his colleagues were steering conversation in order to assess whether I might hurt their friend. His golf buddies and others took similar approaches. Standing at a party one evening chatting with new acquaintances, I surveyed the room and liked what I saw. Ken was introducing me to genuinely nice, interesting people who truly cared for him. They smiled at him, sought him out for conversation, and watched admiringly as he got down on his knees to help clean up another guest’s spilled wine. My own heart warmed as I watched him, and I hoped these new friends would like me too.
Although he had eased me into his world by introducing me to a few people at a time, I truly tested his strength by hitting him with it all at once. It was a pre-Christmas gathering at my home and included many of my friends and family. I’d told Ken lots about them all, but feared information overload would make him uncomfortable. Hours beforehand, I sat at my computer creating neat name cards with small pictures to help him make connections. My friend the PE teacher’s card had a basketball near her name. A police hat adorned another friend’s tag. It worked! Ken spent the evening amicably chatting with everyone and making connections (and jokes) based on the name tags.
My 2-year-old granddaughter watched him closely throughout the evening, never getting too close. As the evening wound down, she politely circled the room with her parents saying her goodnights to everyone. As she got to Ken, she hesitated. Finally, she took a step forward.
“Hold me,” she said softly and climbed into his lap. She looked intently at him then moved her face closer adding, “Ekimo.” Ken glanced at me, baffled. I pointed to my nose and said, “She wants an Eskimo kiss.” A smile spread across his face as he said, “It was so nice meeting you, Cassidy,” and rubbed his nose to hers. The room quieted a bit, and I looked around. My loved ones stood with small smiles, some glistening eyes, and nodding heads. This was a good thing, and I felt it.
Our feelings for each other built steadily and after two years together, we were married in an intimate family ceremony at my childhood church.
Since then, Ken and I have traveled, explored, and experienced wonderful adventures together. Our family has grown, and we try to make the most of our time with them. We still hold hands when we watch television or sit on our balcony watching the sunset. I look forward to sharing our lives for a long, long time.
Cheryl Dougherty was born and raised in Connecticut. After college, she relocated to East Central Florida, where she still resides with her husband, Ken. A retired middle school teacher, Cheryl divides her time between family, travel, and various volunteer activities. "In the Cards" is her first published work. She is currently working on a series of children's books. Watch for "Maddy's Pen Pals" in the near future. For more information, please contact email@example.com
Valerie and Justin Update
From the story Never Feed Spaghetti to a Stray
Valerie and Justin tied the knot in in April 2007. Many pots of spaghetti have been made, and still make the menu often as a new favorite for their two boys. They frequently go on adventures, mainly fishing or wildlife parks like the zoo and aquariums. Valerie is now a full-time Author and Typesetter, still chasing dreams. Justin is never late for dinner, and his new favorite dish in Texas Skillet.
Valerie Willis, a sixth generation Floridian, launched her first book, Cedric the Demonic Knight, at the start of 2012 on Amazon.com. Since then, she has continued to add to The Cedric Series, a high-rated Paranormal Fantasy Romance Series featuring an anti-hero who finds himself dragged away from his revenge on his maker by both love and the onset of a larger threat. She pulls in a melting pot of mythology, folklores, history and more into her work with a remarkable amount of foreshadowing that makes reading her books a second time exciting. Rebirth is the first book in her Teen Urban Fantasy, the Tattooed Angels Trilogy where the main character struggles with social issues with the complications of turning immortal. And if fantasy isn’t your cup of tea, head over to her blog for some “Val, Tell me a Story” posts featuring true, hilarious, and sometimes bizarre, life events from old to recent. Visit www.willisauthor.com.
Fern and Shelby Update
Update from Die Laughing
Shelby’s Expectations Exceeded
I’m not easily impressed. Long ago, I stopped expecting too much from people and simply accept them for who they are. Fern is the exception. She consistently contradicts notions I thought I knew. With her planning and execution, I enjoy myself in places I never imagined I would. Her visions become my preferences. It’s uncanny how often we are in sync. I’m amazed and delighted every day that this beautiful woman is securely in my life.
Grateful tears pool in my eyes while thinking of my last three years with Shelby. I’m thankful for us meeting, but more for our mutual love. A partnership usually means compromise. With us it never feels like I concede anything, our wants mesh. I have more freedom to explore my personal goals because I’m supported by his love for me and mine for him. The iconic phrase, “you complete me” finally resonates.
I understand his flaws. When he gets mad, its not at me or because of me. We still laugh every night, at silly things only we would find amusing. Our life together is full even in a room with just a couch and a TV. I’m in the best place right now, not because we are together, but because we fall asleep holding hands.
Fern Goodman is an award-winning author and poet. A Michigan girl in a Florida world, her background in travel and event planning has been replaced with life coaching and authoring.
Her first book was a collaboration with her sister, of musings about dogs, mirroring her sisters’ original photography; Captured…the look of the dog. Other short stories of hers appear in various anthologies: Lost Dreams, Important Firsts, What a Character, Demonic Household, Where does your Muse live? and Work of Hearts Magazine. Fern’s specialty is reality humor, which she demonstrates on YouTube, Fern at the Stardust Lounge.
Although her latest non-fiction Kindle short read, Shooting UP Hope, is not a humorous subject, Fern finds a way to soften the mood of tragic events.