Jan 28, 2008

Running is Good for the Heart!

Hello! Have you ever really thought about the way we use the word "running" or "run" in our everyday language? We run to the store to get some milk. We run into a friend we haven't seen in a while. We run out of time. We run ourselves ragged. We run up our electric bill while we run out of patience. We run out of excuses, we will run for our lives, and we never stop running our mouths. An idea can run amuck as we run around with our heads cut off. Sometimes we seem to just run in circles when all we really want to do is run away from it all. We will run an ad in the paper to get rid of all the stuff that seems to be running our lives. And while a politician will run in a campaign, we will run in the opposite direction to avoid talking about it socially. Before a big purchase, we will run the numbers to see if we can afford it. And if we can't, then we will usually just run our credit card and get it anyway. We run here and run there and eventually, we run out of gas. We run our kids around to soccer practice or ballet and while they play we run and do our errands. And when we rest, we watch "reruns" on TV to relax. While at work we run the rat race and tend to run away with an interesting project if we are given the proverbial ball and are told to "run with it." So with all this running around we do, it is not surprising that it was on one of my Sunday morning runs in the park that I run into a man who will become my husband someday. Little did I realize how running is truly good for the heart! :-)

Yes, I am going to tell you a little tale...the tale of the
Barber of St. Louis and the Designer.

Many months ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I decided to take a run in the park, as I usually do every Sunday. As I headed for Forest Park, a beautiful park located in St. Louis, I realized that I forgot my baseball cap (to cover my unwashed, messy hair) and my sunglasses (to hide my mascara-free, liner-free blurry eyes). I have never, ever ran in the park without my cap and sunglasses, but on this particular day, I forgot them both. I ran a short trail and I thought about all that took place in my life the prior two years. You see, exactly two years earlier, on this very day, my ex walked out of our home and left me and our marriage of almost 22 years. And two years ago on the day he left me, I went to Forest Park and found "my tree" and I called my sister and cried and cried and was so fearful for the future. I stayed at "my tree" for over nine hours, fell asleep under it out of sheer exhaustion and was convinced in many ways, that my life would never be the same, ever again.

And it wasn't - Thank God.

Fast forward two years and there I was, running, thinking, and thinking and running. So much had happened in such a short time. I ran two marathons, performed in a play, became contributing editor to Romantic Homes magazine, getting ready to close my store and move on to explore other opportunities, traveled to NYC, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and other places. I began my professional photography, had a new nephew, got a small tattoo (yes, really!)and did a mini triathlon. I thought of all these things as I ran through the park and how far I had come and how much my life had changed in a short amount of time.

I came upon a bench and stopped to stretch my hip, as it was a little sore. I had the volume of my ipod up loudly and I bent over to stretch out my hamstrings...then when I popped up again, I was startled because out of no where, and I mean no where, a man was at the end of my bench, stretching as well. I turned down my volume in case he asked me a question (it is common for someone to ask the location of the zoo, the art museum and so on). And it wasn't long before this man simply smiled and said,

"It feels good to stretch, doesn't it?"

I replied, "Yes, it sure does."

It was my friend, Evelyn, who, upon hearing this story, told me how profound that statement was: "It feels good to stretch, doesn't it?" Because my life has stretched so much; I stretched myself in many ways, experienced many things, and not by the stretch of my imagination did I ever think I would meet such a wonderful man at a city park bench.

His name is Randy and he was training for the Chicago marathon. I told him that I ran that race the prior year. He asked if he could jog with me and off we went on what was the first of many runs together. He told me he liked my hair (to my horror, it was not washed) and that he always liked short, choppy styles. As we jogged, I asked him what he did for a living, and he said he was a barber. I jogged, and looked up at his shaved head and pointed at it and said, "now that's not good advertising, now is it??" We laughed and little did we know that we would be teasing each other many, many more times.

Randy gave me his email and asked me to email him should I want a running partner. It was several days later I emailed him asking if we could meet for coffee. A week later we met for coffee, which turned into a pizza dinner, which turned into a movie. And we haven't stopped talking since. The second time we met was for ice-cream, a drive about town, a quick game of pool, and more coffee. The third time we met was to have a picnic in Forest Park and watch the annual Shakespeare Festival performance at the outdoor venue. However, a very heavy and sudden rainstorm had us scrambling for cover, soaking wet, laughing, and gathering our picnic basket, running to his car and headed to his home. There, he was a perfect gentleman, got me a pair of warm pajamas and we salvaged our picnic food and ate in his little University City home and watched movies. That was three weeks after knowing each other. Yes, it was like a hokey Lifetime movie, but it was real fun, real simple, and real friendship.

Much later, Randy told me he fell in love with me that evening at Shakespeare in the Park. He said that the rain was pouring down, and as we held the blanket over our heads, and as I stood there laughing and blinking water out of my eyes, he fell in love with me at that moment because I laughed at the situation instead of griping about it. I fell in love with him when he gave me dry pajamas and left the room to give me privacy and he had our picnic dinner all served on a plate when I went into his kitchen.

Okay, so you have the story of our meeting and falling in love. Let me tell you a little about this man, if you don't mind. He is a licensed cosmetologists who just happens to now cut and color my hair. He is also the new owner of the Big Bend Barber Shop and now owns his own business. He is a brown belt in karate, plays guitar, has a bass boat and loves to fish, and makes the best bar-b-Que ribs you have ever tasted! He is a romantic at heart but loves to tease. He loves to make fun of "my quirks" as he likes to say. But he takes me to the opera, even though he is not a fan. His love for God is comforting and his sincerity in doing the right thing is humbling. Basically, he is a good man. A very good man.

And the most romantic thing he has done? Six months after I met him, he asked me one day to go for a run with him, which I did and we stopped at "our bench" to stretch. It was at "our bench" he asked me to marry him and he gave me the most beautiful sapphire and diamond platinum ring in an Art Deco design. I was floored. I was even more floored when he told me that he bought the ring only after knowing me four weeks. He said he knew in his heart that we would be together forever, but he wanted to wait at least six months before he asked me. Randy has never married (and no children) and as he likes to tell me: "I waited a long, long time for you." A couple of days after he asked me to marry him, he whisked me off to Marco Island, FL to celebrate. There we walked on the beach, rested, talked, ate out, and spoke of our future together.

Over the holidays I got to meet some of his family members, and I flew him to Texas to meet mine. His family is very loving and his mother is the most generous woman I have ever met. The love she showers me with is overwhelming at times and I appreciate all that she does for me. I am very blessed to be a part of such a loving family who cares so deeply for me and I for them. My family took to Randy right away and one would think we all have been together for years. What a joy!

As most of you know, it was only last month that I endured a horrible car accident with a drunk driver and unfortunately, Randy heard the whole ordeal over his cell phone. You can read about this ordeal in my posting, "Hugged by an Angel." That wreck took a lot out of me and so many emotions went through me over time. To give you an idea of what kind of man I am in love with please let me share one more thing with you and I will then close.

It was a while before I went back to work after the car accident and I was working in my workshop, about to start a paint project. I started to look for my paint apron and realized that I had lost it in the wreck. It was in the car at the time and I forgot about it until that moment. Right then Randy called me and I started to cry and told him that amongst a lot of other items lost in the wreck was also my beloved apron (shown at left). I had that apron, covered in paint, for over 6 years. It was like a photo or an imprint of my work over the years. It saw me through some hard times and I never painted without it. I cried and cried. I was so angry and got mad about everything. He just listened patiently and told me that I am allowed to have anger over the wreck and while I am so grateful to be alive, and I know it is just a dumb apron, it is just one more reminder of what happened to me and another yet another loss.

Of course, I realize the outburst over the apron wasn't about the apron at all, but an emotional release of the fear, trauma, the near death I had only weeks prior and not finding my paint apron was just the trigger I needed to vent it all out. After I cried some more and Randy just listened, I told him I needed to get to work and assured him that I was fine and then I hung up the phone. About an hour later, Randy shows up and hands me a bag. In it...was a new paint apron. He said, "I know it isn't like your old one, but you will have paint on it before you know it." Well, you can imagine the tears that welled up again as he tied it on me and adjusted the straps for me in the back. He said he hoped I liked it and I told him that it was the best apron in the world. I know he thinks he "just gave me an apron" but he gave me so much more. What came with the gift of an apron, also came security, came love, came compassion, came no judging, came a sense of truly being accepted for who I am. I am happy to say that my new apron is now covered in paint and yes, I wear every time I paint and every time I put it on, I think of the wonderful man who gave it to me.

Thank you for allowing me to share my life with you. It is an honor to have so many who take an interest. My next post will be some "after photos" of a design project that I showed you "before" photos many months ago...so stay tuned. In the mean time, if you are lucky enough to have someone special in your life, maybe take a moment tonight and just simply tell them how much they mean to you. Not only will you fill his or her heart, but your heart will beat a little stronger too just for telling them how you feel.

From my house to your house,


Eva Agnes said...

Thank you Elizabeth for this sinshine story about you and your wonderful man Randy.
I've read it through without being able to stop reading. As was the case with your car accident. An angel was certainly watching over you there.
I can very easily see that you originate from Sweden. The blond hair and your shoulders. I must laugh because I have the very same feeling about my broad shoulders. As a young girl I hated them. But, very other girl seemed to envy them. Even my sister.
So we are proud now, arent we?! :-))
Love and hugs

Anonymous said...

Oh that is such a lovely story Elizabeth, I hope you will be very happy together. I have been so enjoying reading your blog & going back through the old entries, what an interesting life you are having, and your projects are very inspiring, thank you for sharing.
leonie - australia

Carol Bennett said...

Eliz. what a wonderful post and tribute to an awesome man! I'm so happy for the two of you to find each other, sounds like a perfect match! Thanks for sharing these thoughts and great pictures.

LP Vintage said...

I'm so happy for you - your joy and love are bubbling up in your words! Congratulations on your engagement!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

What a nice blog about our meeting
you have always made me feel special and loved in your openness and willingness to share our love with others.I love you sweetheart


Jessi Nagy said...

aaahhh that was the best story!
everything happens for a reason!
you sound so happy! so loved. you deserve it!
girl this was like watching a "lifetime" movie!
it should be one! "my new apron"
you should write a book!
this was very moving.
have a wonderful week!

The Feathered Nest said...

Oh Elizabeth. I'm so very happy for you!! and Randy!! What a beautiful story and it's just so wonderful that you two have found one another. I wish you both all the happiness in the world!!! xxoo, Dawn

Amy said...

What a beautiful story. Wish you both all the best and many, many years of happiness!


Chris Brown said...

What a great post. Randy sounds like a wonderful person. You so deserve that! By the way, I dig both of yours hair - or lack of. Heres to a bright, happy and loving future.

Peace & Love,

Anonymous said...

Wow, so glad you are back and you met and fell in love with a wonderful man. Read your accident story it is really amazing. I do believe your angel was holding you tight that day. So glad you were safe. Except for the paint can bump. Your ring sounds lovely but the your sweet fiance sounds like the best present ever. So happy your are back. I missed reading your posts. I enjoyed your Valentines piece in Romantic homes.

Ms. said...

Times shared with those you love and your love of others makes knowing you such a vital part of peoples lives. You enrich others with sharing your words and life's most intimate moments. How could anyone who knows you not love you with all their heart. Loving a child as they grow you really never know just how much until they meet someone with your heart and soul and the capacity to love them. Thanks, we love you.Ms.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you Randy for the lovely comment - you are too sweet for words. Please remind me to show you how to log on with your own name to this blog so in the future my name doesn't appear at the top of your comment! :-) You make me laugh....and I love you.


| Perla | said...

You look so happy together. Great story about love.

Unknown said...

Some of us are very lucky to meet the perfect person in the most unlikely place. You really are a wonderful story teller. I look forward to more.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello Everyone!
I am smiling ear to ear as I read the lovely comments you have taken time out of your busy day to write to me.

Chris - I find it very gratifying that such a hip dude, such as yourself, finds my choppy hair and Randy's lack of hair so cool...thanks for sharing your thoughts.

And Eva, from Sweden, yes, I am happy for my broad shoulders now that I am older and my lower half needs "evening out" with my upper half -haha.

And to my "Mrs" how lucky I am to have you for a future mother-in-law...you raised a wonderful son.

And to the rest of you who wrote, how so VERY flattering that you should like my story telling so much. I know this isn't a "design" post this time, and I really didn't expect to get many comments, if any. But how encouraging to know that even my non-design posts are read by some of you. It is encouraging, because I am working on a book and it is comforting to know that my writing appeals to at least a small audience...now if I can just convince a publisher out there to take a chance on me....any publishers out there??? Hmmm??? Thank you all again for your time, support and loving emails - they really do make my heart sing with joy.

Unknown said...

Dear Elizabeth,
I have long admired your work, and I feel so blessed that you shared such a wonderful and touching story. You and Randy are so blessed to have one another. I am a hopeless romantic as well and I am so grateful to be married to the love of my life as well. He, like Randy, loves to tease me, but cherishes me and treats me like a queen. The teasing is so fun, like a young girl and boy in school and I pray that it never leaves our relationship or yours.

I am going to be visiting St. Louis on the weekend of the 16th for my sisters 30th b-day (she is 10 years younger than me & never lets me forget it) and I am hoping to have time to stop by your shop.

You are truly an inspritation for me & my business & I wish you every happiness life has to offer!
Sanya Pallos www.inthepinkantiques.com

Anonymous said...

Okay yaya sista...you know from our conversations and the tears how I feel about you & the love of your life, Randy. Give him my love and a big Yaya hug! xxxxoooo deb

jillskict said...

I read and kept reading through my blurry eyes wet with tears, just as I did your post regarding your accident. He truly is a lucky man, but I just don't know who is luckier. Thank you for sharing with us, and thank you also for reminding me to let that special person in my life know just how special he is.

I showed him your article in Romantic Homes and told him about your accident and how Randy heard the whole thing. He said he could not even imagine and got goosebumps just thinking about it. We are all lucky you are still here to share your joy for life with us.


cathypentonatelier said...

What a beautiful love story this is... You deserve the best my friend and you sound as though you have that in Randy - Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

Erin said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. I know you and Randy will be very happy together... I can feel it! Congrats to both of you!

lindaharre said...

What a sweet post! I am so Happy for you! To share our lives with someone that gets us, loves us for who we really are and cares for us unconditionally is what life is all about! So happy to hear how you met your soul mate!!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Makes my heart weak. It also gives me HOPE! Thanks for always being so honest!


Yoli said...

You are so cool. I really admire you. I read your blog, don't comment all the time but I am a fan.


Fiona Cartolina said...

It's been a long time since i visited your beautiful blog and it was such a pleasure this morning to read your lovely romantic story. Good luck to you - tho i don't think you need luck!

Heavenly Chic Interiors said...

What a powerful and romantic story. Randy sounds like a fantastic human being and loves life. What a blessing you both have to experience life together with such love and joy for one another. Your smiles tell the whole story!
I will make sure I tell my husband tonight how much he means to me ;)

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Hi E: your post of your accident made me cry and this one has too!! You so deserve happiness and it's good to hear you've found the love of your life. Oh to have a man, that buys you aprons knowing it means so much to you and proposing on "your" bench, well he's got to be so very special. Wishing you much more happiness and can't wait to see what new adventures you two will have, Theresa

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh Elizabeth... I am sitting at my desk crying over this beautiful post! God has certainly blessed you with an angel in Randy and him with you...It sounds like you both waited your lives to find one another and how wonderful it is that you did! Not very many people have such a beautiful story like yours to share...I am so very happy for you both and I wish you a lifetime of Happily Ever After...So much to be grateful for!

Country French Antiques said...

Randy sounds like a keeper, cute too!
Best of Luck to you both and thanks for sharing your story.

ginny said...

Oh how wonderful that you two found each other. I recently re-met and then married a man I had known all through school (starting at 7 yrs old). We dated in high school, were always best friends, but we seperated. When I married someone else, he wrote me a note saying he thought we would always end up together. We did not see each other for almost 40 years, then re-met by chance and now we have been married almost 3 years. Every moment together as been perfect. We are so lucky. Cherish your life, but I see you do. I love your blog and your style.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, sweet post to read. Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you and Randy years and years of love and laughter!

Anonymous said...

a lovely spiritual testament!

paris parfait said...

Elizabeth, thanks for your lovely note when I mentioned the book and your blog. And thanks for sharing this beautiful, romantic, heart-warming story! So glad you and Randy found each other. Great photos of you both!

Anonymous said...

Very lovely post, Elizabeth. I love
reading inspirational stories.

I'm so happy you've been blessed with a wonderful man in your life.


Elizabeth Maxson said...

Okay, I got so many lovely emails regarding this post, I just feel I need to address a few:

Sanya Pallos: How exciting for you to visit St. Louis. I would love to meet with you if our schedules agree. I no longer have a traditional store but will be offering items on line in the near future. If you contact me via my website www.elizabethhouse.us and let me know your scedule, let's try to meet. Thank you for being so kind in your email - it made my day!

Jilly and Ginny: Thank you for sharing your love stories - how inspiring! I can hear it in your email how much you love you have and how lucky you feel to have it - thank you for sharing and taking time to write to me!

Salome's Mom: Thank you for contacting me! It is YOU that is the amazing one. Adopting children, being a mom, and taking on so much is what makes YOU so "cool" and makes me admire you. Your website is is very humbling and heart-wrenching - thank you for introducting it to me.

And to the rest of my wonderful cyber friends - thank you again for taking a moment to wish me well - how heart warming it is to know that so much love is freely given to those we never even met face-to-face, but can still care for in our own way. I really do mean that, too.


insanemommy said...

Elizabeth, I read this post and cried my eyes out. How lucky for you to have found someone so warm, caring, and loving to spend your life with. I cried even harder reading that your husband walked out on you. Who in their right mind would walk out on such a beautiful compassionate woman. May all your dreams come true. You're an inspiration. I love your haircut and I love Randy's too. You two look so happy.

For Love Of Home said...

It must be in the name, My Randy too is so thoughtful, listens when I need him to and loves me unconditionally. I am so glad you found each other. What a wonderful story, you make a beautiful couple.

slygirl said...

I have found my way back to your blog. I am so happy you are back.
Elizabeth, ONE MOMENT in time on a park bench has changed your life and future in a wonderful way. ONE MOMENT in time on a highway might have ended it. ONE MOMENT of recognition from behind the veil of altzheimers as your mother's life changes. I am reminded as I read your recent posts how transient and fragile life is. We have much in common. My guardian angels work overtime these days. I also am an artist. Last year, I too, very nearly became a fatality after being broadsided by a redlite runner. I, since 2003 have become a 24hr caregiver to my mother, now bedridden on a feeding tube as she suffers from the final stages of altzheimers. So, hug that wonderful man, kiss your mother, and get on with new adventures! Some of us out there are counting on it. Meanwhile, I'll be curled up with my Romantic Homes awaiting your next installment and hopefully waiting for that ONE MOMENT in time when my life will begin again.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Sandra,

Yes, you are right - it takes only a moment in time to make a change in the course of a life. We usually think of these moments in terms of tragedy or extreme happiness...but sometimes, those moments in time are quieter, but just as powerful. Like the first time I just happen to snap a really great photo - the sun was just right,the shadows were perfect and I was so in awe of the photo that at that very moment I found a new passion - photography! Had the sun not been perfect...too low or too bright...it could have easily been just another photograph that didn't touch me right at that moment. Thank you for writing me and know that you taking care of your mother, and the love you show her, are way, way more significant and meaningful than any article I may write for a magazine - and how very lucky I am that someone as wonderful as you, takes a moment in HER time to enjoy my work!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such private and heart warming times in your life! May you and your love be blessed beyond measure.
You are such an inspiration.

Unknown said...

Elizabeth, I don't know how I ever found your blog in the first place, but I was hooked the second I started reading. You are a powerful writer and obviously admired by so many. Please don't ever stop! I also wanted to share a quote that was painted across the wall in my college art class, "If you know what you are looking for you'll never see what you don't expect to find" It confused me for the longest time, until I found my prince by "accident" when I wasn't looking! I'm so happy that you found yours as well!!!

Mary said...

Now this Randy is one special guy - and with you being such a very special gal this is definitely a perfect match! So thrilled to know you found each other and are planning a wonderful life together.

Keep us posted Elizabeth - on your wedding, your book, new projects etc. Love hearing all that goes on in your life (but please no more accidents!) and sharing all the amazing decorating ideas you come up with.

Randy - take care of this special, talented and beautiful lady.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you and Randy! You are so refreshing as you always have been. I am so very happy for you. Take care and I always love seeing your photos.

Connie in Gardner

Rosemary said...

That is the sweetest story i've ever heard! Best wishes to you and Randy :)

suzi finer said...

you are truly a blessed woman...how wonderful that you can appreciate what you share together!

Cheryl Ensom said...

What a lovely story and it really COULD be a movie. But it is even more lovely because it is real life...YOUR real life. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, Elizabeth! Blessings to you and Randy and your life together. I feel blessed just hearing about it! Hugs to you...cheryl :)

My Pink Boutique said...

What a sweet story! You've put a smile on my face. Randy sounds like a wonderful man! You two are surely blessed.


Pink Rufflez said...

What a lovely story; I'm so happy that you found each other! Best wishes for many wonderful years together.

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

Elizabeth, I cried the whole time I was reading this. I am so happy you found love again. I recently lost my husband and it is extremely lonley without him. But I am so happy to read stories such as yours, it gives me hope. love nita

kimberly said...

love.love.love your story......thank you for sharing your story, i needed that this morning!

God's Pittbull said...

Dear Elizabeth...you are truly blessed! Good for you... and him ...girl!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a story. Loved this post. My ex husband (still have a hard time saying that) walked out of our home 1 year ago, after 20 years of marriage. You sharing your story with us here, has really inspired me to look forward.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Angie,

I remember tearing up the first time I said, "ex-husband." It was very hard. It still sound weird to me to say "ex". I would like to think the God allows us to go through hard times because He is wanting to prepare us for much better things to come, but we just aren't ready yet. You will do fine and remember it is okay to grieve, it is okay to cry, and it is okay to be hopeful and happy again too. And you will be.


High Desert Diva said...

I love stories like this!

Your hair is very cute, btw

shelbi said...

ohhh...elizabeth...i usually just lurk on your beautiful blog...but today i had to comment.

your love story with your man is so romantic. i was captivated reading it. i related to alot of it...as i too have gotten a second chance at love and happiness. it always better the second time around, isn't it?

any way, my husband and i have an 'our bench' too...where we sat and drank cold coffee together on our first 'date' for over 6 hours :) ...it over looks the pacific...and where one and a half years late, he proposed to me too :)

often times, as i pass by benches under trees, in parks or trails, i notice them and think, 'what dangling conversations must have taken place there...what moments in someone's life played out there on that bench?'

life's most sweetest moments take place in some of the most simplest of places....makes me sigh with comfort.

have a beautiful day!

Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble upon your blog!! You are so brave to share your thoughts, experienced from pain & suffering, love & happiness! We were never promised that life would be "a rose garden";- but some goes through harder trials than others, for some reason! You have pulled through and received the best of love & happiness. My compliment to you for the great pictures! You are very, very beautiful and a "better looking version" of Sharon Stone!
With warm wishes from "one woman to another"

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you for the lovely comments - not sure if Sharon Stone would be as flattered about the comment as I am. Your email brightened my day and I appreciate it so much!


VINTAGE HOME lifestyle said...

How wonderful for you. You are an amazing woman with so much talent and deserve only the best. Looks like you may have found it.
Cathleen alyce
VINTAGE HOME lifestyle

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