I loved his family! They were so sweet, fun, REAL......no pretention at all. I believe they felt the same way about me, I hope anyway. We had a pleasant dinner but I couldn't wait for Paul and I to be alone so that I could taste test his lips again. I sampled them again, one, two, three more times and they were just as sweet as I had remembered them. I will detour away from this conversation before you kind folks lose your cookies.
We began our courtship in earnest from that point on and I discovered one thing about Paul........HE LOVES TO STAY BUSY! Oh dear Lord! After having spent so many years living a very sedate life without much socializing this was downright overwhelming at times. I discovered 5-hour energy shots. These little "miracle drinks" soon became my closest friends and the only thing that kept me from dropping from sheer exhaustion! We went out to eat, took drives to the mountains, went to concerts, played games with family and friends, had barbecues, went to San Francisco, went to baseball games.......this guy does not know the meaning of sitting still. But I loved it! I felt alive! Like a kid in a candy shop I could not wait for our next excursion! I also found Paul to be very romantic, attentive and thoughtful, and for that alone, he became a very likely candidate to be my soulmate!
I met and fell in love with his three beautiful girls and the time ultimately came for me to visit his church. I was as nervous as a cat due to the fact that there was a lot of history there with his former wife. Would I be accepted? Would I be able to attend church there if our relationship progressed to an engagement? The answers to all of these questions were a resounding "yes!" The saints of Family Worship Center were precious and welcoming and I decided that Paul was such a gift from God to me, that I could face any opposition that came my way. I had been to hell and back, I could handle anything.
Pastor Keyes had become my personal Sherlock Holmes. After the disaster of "anonymous" I had been very open and upfront with him about any man I was talking to or interested in dating. Many were the times that I would call Sister Keyes and say, "okay, I have another one for you." From there I would give her the man's name, city and state in which he lived and his Pastor's name. At that point, my Pastor would put on his imaginary hat and cloak and pick up his handy dandy magnifying glass to go do some snooping for me. There was no way I was going to go thru what I had with "anonymous" all over again! The same went for Paul of course, and both Pastor AND Sis. Keyes put their feelers out there to see if anyone had anything negative to say about Paul. They found nothing!! I was pleased as punch and they were happy for me as well, yet still sad that I could possibly be leaving them and the church in Modesto.
Paul had also sought the wise council of his Pastor and received excellent advice and direction. Paul was careful to follow all of his Pastor's instructions to the letter, and this was also very impressive to me. Paul, above all else, is a man of honesty and integrity.
Our relationship grew and deepened and we spent every possible free moment together. We HAD discussed the possibility of marriage in a logical manner. We WERE adults and could not rush into something solely based on feelings, there was a lot to take into consideration here. He had three children that he has fifty percent of the time, one of his daughters being of "special needs" and I have a teenager at home who was still grieving the loss of her father. This was not "playing house," this was real life.
I was a little disturbed however that he had yet to declare his love for me. I wanted to express my feelings to him so badly, but reminded myself to be patient. My Pastor's wife had so eloquently told me once that I was too hasty and impatient, and boy howdy was she right. So, I waited, and waited, and waited, and then, one night........