Fourteen years and a pandemic later…

It is my firm belief that all great love stories start with a spark of madness. I know mine did. My relationship with my husband was like a volcano – for years it burned so slowly and silently no one knew it was there, until one day when it erupted and the hot lava consumed everything in its path. Except there was nothing destructive about our love. All we had was a burning desire to be together. But since many people were opposed to that idea, we did the only thing we could so that everyone would leave us alone: we eloped and got married.

output_IT5Cf3Was it crazy? Definitely. Impulsive? Hell, yeah! Was it wrong? Not by a long shot. It was the best decision we ever made, and the proof is that on April 15th we celebrated our 14th marriage anniversary. We didn’t actually realize we were soulmates when we said our timid YES fourteen years ago, but now we know we were born to be together.

I see a lot of couples going nuts because they’re quarantined together, and I have a confession to make (please don’t hate me!): my hubby and I love it! We enjoy every moment spent together, we find ways to accommodate each other’s schedule, and when one wants to do something relaxing that the other doesn’t care for, we simply go our separate ways and give each other some space. Neither of us are very sociable creatures, and we always prefer each other’s company, so the pandemic didn’t change our lifestyle as much as it did for others.

The only thing that I regret is not being able to go ahead with our plans for this year’s anniversary. My husband is a great fan of André Rieu, and I wanted to surprise him earlier this year with tickets to a concert. But then the coronavirus happened, proving to us once more how much life can change in a month, or in a week, or even in a second.

I woke up a little sad the morning of our anniversary, but when I told my husband why I was sad, he said the only thing that matters is that we’re together and we’re healthy. That alone makes us blessed. I confess I felt ashamed of my shallowness. Here I was, pouting because we couldn’t go to a restaurant, or a concert, while people all over the world were taking their last breaths, defeated by a war with this invisible enemy.

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Husband and wife, fighting on the front line together.  

This was only one of the many precious lessons I learn every day from the wonderful man I share my life with – to treasure every moment, to be more patient, to appreciate the small things and find joy in everything.

What many people don’t understand is that marriage is hard work, but sharing your life with the right person is the most beautiful and rewarding thing. Not because of social status, not because of any obligations, but because finding true love as is rare and precious as an exotic flower. And in that spirit, you don’t need only to discover that flower, you need to take care of it every day, to help it grow and thrive.

I’m sad for all those who don’t get to experience the wonderful, ultimate fulfillment of growing old with the person you love. Loneliness is hard, whether it is by choice or by fate. Not many people are willing to give as much as they get in a relationship. Not many people realize how much – or how little – they have to offer, and have unrealistic expectations from their partners. They don’t know how to be tolerant, how to be altruistic, how to love and be loved. Some think they are entitled to a lot, others are willing to give much more than they receive and end up abandoning themselves completely to someone who doesn’t want or deserve it.

It’s crazy that such a simple but fragile balance leads to so many broken lives. All I can say from my own experience is that not everyone is cut out for marriage, and not everyone wants it. If I’ve learned a valuable lesson it’s that before you make your demands you have to make sure you’re ready to give as good as you get. But not like in a bargain. Like in a partnership. Like in a two-piece puzzle that you want to be part of for the rest of your life.

Be happy, and be loved! ❤

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A different kind of celebration. Happy 14th anniversary to us! 

Heroes Don’t Discriminate #FirstResponders #WorldEvents #mgtab

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The past few days I have been stunned and saddened by the catastrophic events that have taken place here in Canada and in the United States.

Instead of belabouring the senselessness of these acts of violence I want to focus on the first responders who stepped up to help when it would’ve be easier to look the other way.

Humboldt, Saskatchewan was the scene of a horrific vehicle accident three weeks ago. Sixteen people died and many more were injured. The hockey community, the country, the world mourned the senseless loss. But, the heroics of first responders on the scene and at the hospital filled my heart with gratitude. I can’t imagine the trauma they endured, and I hope and pray they can find peace in those they were able to help.

 

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A man, half-naked, opened fire on a Waffle House in the Nashville area and if not for the bravery of a customer who threw himself in danger by tackling the man to the ground, many more lives may have been lost.

And then there’s the individual who drove his van onto a busy Toronto sidewalk and mowed people over like bowling pins, all because he couldn’t get a date. Thanks to the extreme bravery and training of a Toronto police officer the suspect was apprehended without any shots being fired, though he pretended to have a weapon and clearly wished to become a martyr by getting shot.

 

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Heroes step up to the plate without thought to their own safety- or actually maybe it’s more to do with their deep love of life. Without people like the first responders, doctors, police, or the average guy just out for a breakfast and instead ends up risking his life, we would be a much sadder world.

It’s no wonder romance authors love to write larger-than-life heroes, they give us hope.

 

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Gardening & Writing #mgtab

Yesterday, while taking a break from writing, I checked out my little plot in our community garden. I thought how much creating a novel is like growing my veggies.

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When I plant my tomatoes, squash, cukes and beans, I always have high hopes for a hefty harvest. I look forward to the delicious salads I’ll toss together within minutes after picking vine-ripened tomatoes and cutting crisp lettuce.

In a similar way, when I begin planning and working on a new book, I envision a finished novel that I’ll be pleased with. But—and here’s the big difference—I also want others to like my book, too. I want my readers to be intrigued, entertained, enthralled by the drama. I want them to find my story delicious. It’s no longer just about pleasing myself, it’s about pleasing other people.

In either case, I need to be realistic about my expectations for the outcome of my ventures—garden or book. The truth that all writers and gardeners must face is this—we can only control so much of the process of growing either a tomato, a flower, or a novel.

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I can water, feed, and protect my veggies from vermin and insects. But too much rain will drown fragile young seedlings, and a sudden hail storm may wipe out even the sturdiest vines. Likewise, I can develop believable characters, an exciting plot, and intense emotion in my story—but I can’t guarantee that readers will love my story as I do.

Is there a lesson here?

Perhaps it’s just this. Books and gardens are a lot like the rest of  life. There’s only so much we control. So we’ll continue tending our gardens with love, and writing to the best of our ability. And hope that the Fates (and our reviewers) will be kind to us.

Happy cultivating, of all kinds! Kathryn