Well it took me almost all day, I didn't think it was going to be so hard to decide! But after MUCH debate and a lot of consideration I am ready to announce a winner to the Valentines Day giveaway:
Everyone's posts were wonderful and this was a very difficult decision, all of them deserved to win! However, Larua Staley's really struck a cord with me, I can identify with moving past old wounds and seeking happiness, Her's is a story of second chances and moving through the pain and having the guts to try again... here is her story:
After 11 1/2 years trying to make a dead-end one-sided marriage work, I was exhausted, and relieved to be done with it. I wanted to take it easy, enjoy my 3 kids, and maybe go out to lunch from time to time with a man whose company I enjoyed. Nothing physical or serious. Just lunches. So I posted a profile on Match.com, and was pleasantly surprised that there was some interest in tired, beaten-down little me. What a boost! Recuperating would not be so bad.
I went out to lunch with a guy who had corresponded with me for a few weeks. My knees were knocking and I was scared to death, but had a GREAT time. Then I went out with a different one. I found myself comparing the second one to the first, and realizing the first was made of some REALLY special stuff. We had really hit it off. Weekly lunches followed, then one night we went out on a "real" date. I realized that I didn't want the night to end, and that he was really growing on me fast. Though a bit surprised and very pleased, we began to talk about a "real-ationship", because both of us had been burned quite badly, and wanted to be cautious. Realizing caution was not important any more, a few weeks later he proposed, I accepted, and we married 6 months later, 8 months after we met. Our kids were shocked, but mine were happy that I was happy for the first time in a very very long time.
Our 5th anniversary is in April. We were blessed 3 years ago with the cutest little angelic boy who is the completion of our family, and the youngest of 7 "his, mine and ours". People think we're crazy and they're right -- crazy in love with each other. I never knew I'd feel so complete and whole. I never knew I could heal from the wounds of the past that had festered for so long. He is my best friend, my inspiration, and the joy of my heart. I am blessed and honored to have him in my life, and I'm looking forward to the future, whatever the Lord has in store for us.
Laura has a beautiful Etsy shop as well!! Check it out....
Congratulations Laura, you deserve it!
WOW! Thanks so much! I am honored. The set is truly beautiful. I was pleased to share our story because I know more than a few people out there need to know there's hope in the middle of what seems like a disaster. Our story has been one of restoration and joy. My friends who knew me during my first marriage were inspired and encouraged when they saw how things turned out for us. My husband's friends and family, as well. I'm glad you were touched by it as well!
Have a beautiful Valentine's Day!