Afterglow: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #27 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.



If you didn't notice in the storyline, my writing really tapered off when I met Blackbeard. My focus had changed. I had my own adventure to explore. It was like that for pretty much the whole first year after we got married. For a long time, my new husband didn’t even realize that I was writing a book. Then, eleven months after the wedding, we had our first baby, a little boy.
As Grandpa Thomas would say, (paraphrased,) “If you have romance, adventure and drama in your life, you get too frettingly busy to write.”
And man, getting married and having a baby in the same year is definitely an adventure, especially if you add crazy teenage hormones and mood swings into the mix. <-- not fun

The Big Event: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #26 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.


On my wedding morning, I woke up in a frenzy of excitement. And, as usual, I had some words with my best friend while slipping out of bed.
“Lord… do you hear the prayers of a bride with more fondness than you do with other people?”
He seemed rather wry as He replied, “Not particularly…”
“Oh… well… I have lots to say anyway.”
I went to my dresser and pulled a couple bags of sepia-colored rose petals out. They smelled musty-sweet. I winsomely sighed as I tucked them away into my bag of wedding things to take.
Suitcases of clothes were already packed and sitting by my door. It was hard to believe that this would be my last morning in my family’s home. Tonight I would be moving in with my new husband… weirdness…

Mixed Reactions: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #25 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.


Now that I had a ring on my finger, I was obligated to start calling certain people with the news.
One of my first calls was to someone that had been “praying for me to find a husband” for a while. I thought she would be thrilled to hear my happy news, but… apparently she had been praying for a different kind of man than the one I had snagged.

Sugar on Top: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #24 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.

“So… what kind of a ring do you want?” Blackbeard asked me one day, not long after his talk with Dad.
I blinked at him in surprise. This relationship was progressing along rather weirdly, but I never expected for him to blithely, un-mysteriously pop that sort of a question.
“Like… an engagement ring? Wedding ring? What do you mean?” I asked.
“Yeah. All that. Do you want to go with me to pick it out? I want to make sure you like it.”
“Uh… sure!”



Less than a week later, we were browsing through jewelry shops together. We went through several in the nearest big city, but ended up spending the most time in a little specialty shop in Blackbeard’s hometown.
The owner of the store, like most of the people we ran into, knew Blackbeard by name. She was excited that he’d finally “caught someone”, and introduced me to the huge iguana sunning itself in the window before getting down to business.
“What's your preferences?” the woman asked me.
“I’d like a silver band,” I declared. “I like silver better than gold.”
That drastically reduced the available choices. We all moved over to a different cabinet.
“What’s the price range?” I asked Blackbeard.
“Don’t worry about it,” he told me. “I’ve been waiting for this a long time.”
I smiled at him. He smiled back and tickled my cheek, then added, “Just… be reasonable, of course.”
“Of course!” I giggled and looked back at the choices. I wanted a ring that had a low stone, one that hugged close to the finger so it wouldn't snag on stuff.
The jeweler had one, it was simple and sweet, a “nurse’s ring”. It had a silver band, and seven tiny, real diamonds. The diamonds splashed multi-colored rainbows on my face as I showed it to Blackbeard.
“I like this one.”
“I do, too.” He turned to the lady. “Show me your men’s rings.”
My eyebrow arched as I watched him go through the choices. “Don’t… guys usually wait to wear those until after the wedding?”
“Usually, I guess… But if you’re going to be marked as taken, I think I should be, too."
I silently watched him. He looked over at me and prodded, “Do you have a problem with that?”
“Me?! Oh no! I think it’s sweet,” I assured him.
He picked a plain silver band to match mine, then slipped it onto his finger as he paid for both. I wondered how he would ask the next question as we stepped out the door with my ring in a brown paper sleeve.

Just Ask: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #23 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.

Since Blackbeard and I had entered our relationship with the mindset of marriage as an end result, it was really natural for us to talk about moving to that next stage.


“So… when do you think your dad will be okay with me asking him for your hand?” Blackbeard asked me one evening.
I smiled a little. “I don’t know. Whenever, I guess.”
“Well, I want to the timing to be right. You’re his little girl and all.”
“I don’t think any time will be perfect, Blackbeard. You’re just gonna have to ask him.”
“Could you ask him what time would be right for me to come talk to him? Then tell me what he says?”
I sighed. “Fine… I’ll mention it to him.”
Later, after Blackbeard left, I went to Dad.
“Um… Blackbeard is wondering when a good time for him to come ask to marry me would be.”
Dad testily rolled his eyes to me. “Blackbeard’s going to have to just ask.” <--(mildly paraphrased)
I blushed and nodded.

Growing Closer: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #22 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.



“Blackbeard… are you asleep?”
Silence…
“Blackbeard?”
Small snore…
I giggled and looked at a nearby clock. It was two-o-clock in the morning.
My phone beeped at me. It was about to run out of battery.
“Blackbeard, you have work in the morning. I’m gonna hang up, okay?”
His familiar voice sounded mostly asleep still as he mumbled, “I’m awake.”
“A little awake maybe,” I giggled. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay? Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.”
The phone clicked off. I slipped out of bed and went to hang it up. Dad was in the kitchen, getting a midnight snack.
“Run out of battery?” he wryly asked when he saw me.
“Almost,” I admitted.
He nodded and went back to his snack.

Morbid Test: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #21 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.



The next day, I was still in shock over the events of the night before.
Why had I asked Blackbeard to come with me to meet my family? Were we really getting that serious?
I felt like I needed to ask my great aunt (my great-grandmother’s caretaker) if Blackbeard could come with me to see Grandma while she was in her coma. After all, this was a sensitive situation. Perhaps they wouldn’t want a stranger there.

Catching Up: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #20 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in the middle of a story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.

The next evening, there was a Bible study at Blackbeard’s house. I paused and breathed in and out a deep breath before entering his front door. Beauty met my eyes as I stepped inside and looked around the little house. There were wood floors, high ceilings, gray-green couches... Blackbeard came to meet us at the door. I distinctly remember the shy moment our eyes met before looking away.
“This is… nice,” I murmured.
“Let me show you around,” he said, mostly to my parents.
Mom and Dad followed him around the house. I lingered in the living room. There were a couple parishioners sitting on the couches, I could feel them eyeballing me.
It wasn't long before Blackbeard and my parents came back to the room.
“Oh!” Blackbeard exclaimed in his ever-exuberant way. “There’s something I want to do. Come here.”
He snatched a camera off his computer desk and led me into the kitchen.
“Stand against the back door,” he encouraged. “I want to take your picture.”
“Why?!” I asked, shocked.
“Because this is your first time coming to my home,” he smiled. “Come on. Please?”
I stood against the door and shyly smiled for him.


New Impressions: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #19 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in the middle of a story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.


Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt

I remembered what the Lord had said about apologizing to Blackbeard. As soon as he ducked his broad frame into the trailers, I rushed up to him with an apologetic expression.
“Listen, I’m sorry for being rude on the phone. I didn’t mean that like it came out.”
Blackbeard’s knotted-up, frustrated expression softened. The corners of his eyes wrinkled as he smiled down at me. The sight made me feel a strangely-sweet sort of shy.
“Oh, okay. Thanks,” he replied.
We walked through the nail-studded hallway and went to the dining room. Dad was in the kitchen, working on the sink so that he had an excuse to be nearby and hear our conversation. Blackbeard exchanged pleasantries with Dad. I stole the opportunity to glance my guest’s way and actually study him for the first time since we’d met.
He had chestnut brown hair, a neatly-trimmed blond mustache, and a black beard. His eyes were smoky blue and very expressive. He was broad-chested and strong, and over a head and shoulders taller than me.
My thoughts wandered to the alarming fact that he was actually rather good-looking.

The Call: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #18 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
Just so any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in the middle of a story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.




Two days after the church came to put in the wood stoves, our house phone rang.
I tore myself away from writing my book and ran to answer it, a little sullen about being disturbed.
“Hello?”
Blackbeard’s voice was on the other end.
“Hello? Jessiqua?”
“Yeah.”
“Can I talk to your mom, please?”
“She’s out shopping. Can I take a message?”
Suddenly, there was a long silence on the other end. I almost thought he had hung up.
Then he confessed, “Well… I was actually going to ask if I could talk to you anyway.”
ME?!
I felt short on breath. My heart started thumping so loud I could hardly hear.
What could he possibly want to talk to me about?! He had never asked to talk to me before!
“Uh… okay,” I croaked. “What’s up?”
“Bible Geek rode home with me the other day after we finished working on your wood stoves. And he told me that you two were able to sit down and talk for like, fifteen minutes. And I really don’t think that’s fair.” 
“We… didn’t really talk,” I weakly explained, at a loss as to why he sounded so... jealous.
“Well, I was the one busting my butt and working, and... your list of traits or whatever fits me, not him, right?” he prodded.
{insert my thoughts: “Oh… LORD! WHAT HAS MOM BEEN TELLING HIM?!”}
Thankfully, Blackbeard didn’t wait for my response before continuing, “I know the age difference is awkward, but after we’ve been together a while it won’t be such a big deal. And there’s the whole Issac and Rebekah thing that we were talking about at church last week. That seemed to be perfect timing.”
That’s about when my raging thoughts tuned out his words. I was in shock.
Was Blackbeard saying… that he had feelings for me?! He had never shown them before! And now he was acting as if they were as plain as day!
He thought that Mom had told me about the content of their recent conversations. He thought that I was aware of the fact that all those times he had called lately, he and my parents had been talking about ME.
The rest of the conversation was a blur. I mostly mumbled and non-committedly grunted until he asked the big question. “So… do you think that I could come over? So we can talk face-to-face?”
It was really cold in the dining room, but the phone was corded. All I could do was shiver and hop from foot to foot as I considered his question.
I’d never had a guy come over just to talk to me before. That sounded almost like starting a courtship. What if I got my heart attached, then broken? That would be awful! I’d never recover, right?!
“Let me… talk to Dad about it,” I finally said.
“Okay. Call me back.”
“K. Bye.”
I speedily hung up the phone and breathed in and out a deep breath.
My mind was swirling with information.
When I said, "Make it quick, God." I didn't expect it to be that quick!

Glass Wall: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #17 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
Just so any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in the middle of a story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.


Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt

That next weekend was very memorable. I looked over the men that Blackbeard had recruited to help put in the wood stoves at our house, hoping to see my elusive husband. But I was starting to lose hope.
Either the guy wasn’t a very reliable church goer, or Blackbeard had misspoken when he said that he knew who I was looking for.

Chayei Sarah: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #16 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)


We went to Blackbeard’s church that weekend. I remembered Blackbeard's hint that my husband was in the assembly, and cheerfully wore my favorite handmade dress. The church was on a yearly Bible reading cycle, the same cycle that our usual assembly was on, so I was well aware that the preaching would be about my favorite Bible story: Isaac and Rebekah.
It seemed to be the perfect Scripture portion to meet my husband on. We had all the players in place, right? An older man, a younger woman, a servant that set them up, God's hand orchestrating it all...

Meeting Blackbeard: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #15 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)

Just so you know, you're in on the middle of a series about my teenagerhood. It's been lots of fun, but it's about halfway over. You can start here in the middle if you like, or you can go to the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author index <-- (Yes, that's a link you can click.) and read the beginning of the series before continuing. I recommend going to the beginning and reading it first.
Now... back to the story!


Two days passed, then it came time for our dinner guest to arrive. (I’ll call him Blackbeard, because he had a sturdy frame like a pirate captain, and a bit of a black, curly beard on his face.)
I stayed in the kitchen and worked on the enchiladas while my parents met Blackbeard at the doorway. While they were exchanging pleasantries, an adorable, eleven-year-old girl skipped through the Tunnel of Death and burst into the kitchen.
“I want to help!” she exclaimed. “Can I help?!”
My heart felt like it was about to soar out of my chest as I looked at her.
What was she doing here?! She looked so familiar!
Suddenly, I remembered that our guest, although he’d never been married, had adopted a boy and a girl back when they were toddlers. That was one of the things that I figured made him good friends with my still-unknown husband, both of them being single dads and all.
“Sure,” I told the girl. “You can spread the cheese over the tortillas.”
She wiggled into place beside me and started importantly helping. Gradually, Blackbeard and his twelve-year-old boy came through the tunnel and sat down in the dining room with the rest of my family.
I glanced at them, hopefully looking for a guest.
But no… Blackbeard had only brought his adopted children with him.

An Interview Pertaining To My Childhood... And a Two-Book GIVEAWAY!!!

Speaking of my teenager-hood... this seems to be the perfect time to address a topic I don't talk about much.
I'm technically a homeschool dropout, if there is such a thing. When Dad lost his job, school was put on hold for me so that I could work with the family on odd jobs to "keep the boat afloat".
I had never stepped foot into a public school before, so I wasn't sure how I measured up educationally with my peers. That didn't matter much to me though. I knew what I needed to live.

Later, after life settled down, I walked into GED classes at a nearby college and took an assessment test. I was pretty nervous at first, and grew more worried with each expression that flitted across the teacher's face as he graded me. I had plenty of confidence in my writing and reading skills. I had already written and published A Memoir of Love by the time I got around to trying out a GED. But I had never taken a class in Algebra, and I didn't know the current state of my math skills.
Finally, the teacher looked up at me and demanded, "Why are you here?!"
My eyebrows went up. I stuttered around a little.
He flashed the paper at me. "You don't need classes. You can cream this test, no problem!"
I couldn't help smiling. My hard-working Momma would be proud.

All that said. I have a surprise for everyone.

Introducing.... *drum roll please*
Another interview about me, this one specifically about my home-schooled childhood.
AND a giveaway of both of my books! (A Memoir of Love and A Memoir of Mercy.)
Feel free to check out both events on Homeschool Authors: http://bit.ly/1bn0PJH
And please, pass the word around to anyone you think might be interested in a free book!

The Door: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #14 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)


When we got back from Sukkot, I began a spiritual meltdown.
I had been so sure I would meet my husband there at the camp meeting. So sure!
But it hadn’t happened.
Maybe I was just making all this up. Maybe I was nuts. Maybe I had misunderstood.
Depression swept over me. It wouldn’t let up for weeks.
Things weren’t going good on my possibly-imaginary-husband’s end either. Every time I prayed for him, I could hear him whispering, “I don’t need her, God. I don’t need any woman.”
“Oh! Thanks!” I’d sarcastically hiss back under my breath. “Here I’ve been praying for you all this time and you’re declaring that you don’t need me?! You have no idea how much I already pour into your life!”
Needless to say, things were a wee bit tense. And my edginess was starting to show up to my family. My mood was so low my parents grew concerned. This wasn’t natural to my personality.
We got electricity and running water turned on in the trailers. Winter was coming on and it was terribly cold, but at least we could buy space heaters, and flush the toilet without hauling in water from the creek.
Even still, the darkness swirling about me continued to grow.