But I can’t, because I’m already married to Marcus Olsson. Just for a minute though, let me tell you how I met Casper.
The other day I realized for eleven years in a row I traveled to foreign countries, usually more than one per year. From discovering first edition Dickens novels in abandoned Mayan ruins, to talking my way out of getting arrested in Turkey, to ringing the bells of a centuries old cathedral in Estonia, the wanderlust was real.
But all along the way I felt lonely.
When I returned to Sweden, January 2009, and reunited with Marcus, I instantly found peace. That part of me that always seemed a little lost and unsettled finally found a home. Almost ten years, a wedding and two kids later, I felt guilty admitting disappointment. What a change of pace! From swimming in the Baltic sea during the midnight sun, to swimming in diapers and dirty dishes.
Then there was writing! I’d always wanted to write. I’d been making up stories since childhood, but I suppose I’d been too busy walking across the equator and hiking up volcanoes to sit down and start typing.
To be a good writer, one must be a good reader, of course. So, early in my writing journey I set out to read every Christy Award winner and runner up in all romancy categories (historical, contemporary, series, and suspense).
So many amazing books. So little time. I’ve gotten distracted on many delightful side trips, reading the series belonging to a Christy book. The fairy tales, the first kisses, the moments that make a romance reader melt! It’s no surprise these authors deserved their places on the Christy list.
But one thing blindsided me.
I spent so much time devouring these romances. Each moment outdid that last and left me sighing. And then I’d have to put the book down and finally go wash the dishes. Oh right, back to reality. But the daydreaming continued.
What if I was suddenly found to be royalty? Or get a life-altering inheritance? Will I ever get to go on another adventure, or is that phase of life over?
Then I met Casper Christensen—tall, dark, and gorgeous—not to mention attentive, protective, and adventurous. He’s a treasure hunter and millionaire. Oh, and a fictional character out of Susan May Warren’s Christiansen series. Yeah, there’s that.
Still, a reader can dream, right?
But those daydreams lead to questions like, why can’t my husband be as adventurous as Dani Pettrey’s McKenna brothers? I wish he was as attentive as Rachel Hauck’s princes. He’s not nearly as protective a Denise Hunter’s Callahan men. *Sigh*
Every now and then, it’s time to put the book down and really look at what’s right in front.
That exciting first glance across the room, our steamy first kiss and first sweet “I love you,” are said and done. My jet setting around the world, at least for the time being, is also over. However, I don’t have to get lost in a book to find excitement and real emotion.
Yes, all of it.
Great novels are created so that every scene has purpose, impact, and drives the story forward. There are a lot of moments in real life that are boring. We don’t always see how our stories are driven forward because, well, they’re quite a lot longer than a fast paced ninety-thousand word romance. I love novels because they help me experience life from another perspective. However, in real life I’m privileged with being in the story!
Fictional heroes are carefully crafted to not only win the heroine’s heart, but the reader’s as well. My husband could never simultaneously live up to all of them. But this is the man who helped me shower after the C-section birth of our first child, gently washing between every toe. The man who works outside in winter’s negative twenty-five degree wind chill and summer’s triple digits to care for his family. The man who moved across the ocean to be with me.
Attentive. Protective. Adventurous.
Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I exercise an attitude of gratefulness for what I do have.
Phases in life change, sometimes drastically. And books can take me on incredible adventures that may never be feasible in my own life. But right here, right now, I have so much to be thankful for. I wouldn’t trade any of it for a minute.
The comparison game is a steep slope, and at the bottom, dissatisfaction and discontentment. A reader can dream, but do those dreams lead us so far from reality that we become disillusioned by disappointment? Ultimately, our real life heroes could never live up to the perfection of Jesus, and life will always be a dim shadow of His kingdom to come.
In all of the amazing books out there, one story exists that far outshines every other—the one that’s uniquely yours. The romance! The cliff-hangers! The emotion! The plot twists! And with the Lord, we’ll have the happiest ever after possible.
In your real life story, what are you grateful for right now?
Beth Olsson, in a pen cap, is all about Jesus, her Viking, and their two adorable babies. If you know what it means when she says her childhood heroes were Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne of Green Gables, and Jo March, then you get it! All kidding aside, they’re still her heroes. Beth started creating stories as early as she can remember, staying awake well after bedtime dreaming up daring characters and precarious situations. As a writer of contemporary romance, with a dash of suspense, she believes the best stories weave the raw beauty of real life with unbelievable adventures.
A proud resident of Kansas City, Missouri, Beth enjoys world travel, genealogy, and sitting around the dinner table for hours, talking about both. The best souvenir she ever brought home was a husband from Sweden. Like any good writer, she has a love affair with chocolate and coffee, but it’s a lifeblood connection with Jesus Christ that keeps the words flowing and heart beating. At the tender age of fourteen, on a tile floor in Costa Rica, she surrendered all to the one she calls Lord. Through life’s twists and turns she’s thankful for this steadfast foundation every day!