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The Lost Document – The Beginning of Our Love Story

Just for Valentine’s Day – a re-run of the first blog I posted mentioning Marnell. And, since we met at an event where he was recording audio, I’m going to give away a set of our new audio CD’s, From the White House to the Amish, read by Marnell’s friend Conrad Bear. You can enter the drawing by leaving a comment on this post only (social media sites do not count). United States addresses only please.


Also, Erik Wesner at Amish America is offering a giveaway for the paperback From the White House to the Amish. Check out his interesting site!

Flashback to February and March 2017

Did I ever tell you how my things disappeared in 2011 and 2012?

That era, when I was seeking God but more than a little confused, I began to lose things. My favorite trusty computer and computer bag that had walked with me all over tornado country on my writing trips: Gone. My sentimental coffee pot that had worked for years: Dead, on one significant morning when my “coffee from God” also ran out. My job at the jail that I thought would be perfect and was certain to get: Gone, because I failed the lie detector test (not lying!)  These dramatic, unexplainable losses convinced me that God was doing something in my life, although I had no idea what. Certainly, He got my attention.

Now it’s 2017. It would be nice to think I have matured past the point of needing to learn life lessons from such drastic measures.

So I went confidently to my computer the other day to edit an important document and found that it was not there.


It still had the correct title, but the content contained words from a different document.

The original words had simply vanished. I searched my entire computer. I tried to revert to the previous version. Nothing worked.  I don’t ever remember this happening to me before.  I finally showed my problem to Marnell and he-

But I haven’t mentioned Marnell.

Dear me.

This is very complicated.

If you read my blog, then you must know that I love my life here on Brady Street. I love the hospital, I love school, I love my three beautiful and funny friends on Laurel Street. I love twilight and the St. Joseph’s River, and the way the geese touch down in the water as the darkness and the light trade places. I love the Baker’s Nook, and an early morning walk to the Corner Cafe for pecan pancakes. It’s not that I don’t get stressed or tired or angry or weepy from time to time, or that I live a perfect life, but I just love all these things.

Those three friends I mentioned are perhaps the most favorite of that list, and I just knew one of them was going to get married and ruin our perfect “It’s Saturday-night-let’s-go-get-fish-tacos” group of four. Just to make it clear how much I loved our times together, I told them in a dramatic moment one day that if one of them goes off and gets married, I am NOT coming to the wedding.

I didn’t mean it of course.

But I wanted them to be worried that I might mean it. For myself, I had no worries. I had arrived at a state of feeling nearly certain that romance was not part of my life story, and that as long as God was with me, that was okay and perhaps better considering my love for studying and words and the Middle East and other unconventional things.

Then, in early February, I got an email from this guy named Marnell Lee, entitled “Thursday (tomorrow) evening supper?”

I didn’t know him. He was the sound guy when I gave a speech at the women’s conference Inspire. He took care of the microphones and Powerpoint and everything ran smoothly. I thought he was nice and comfortable… but that was January 2016.

Of course, I fled to Laurel Street. And, despite my dramatic promise to boycott their weddings, my friends were quite supportive.

“I know him, he’s a nice guy,” Velinda said. “You don’t have to have handwriting on the wall to go out with him and learn to know him.” (2021 Insert: Guess who’s wedding we have on our calendar for next weekend? Lowell and Velinda!)

“I DO have to have handwriting on the wall,” I said. “Because I currently love my life just the way it is!”

She patiently reminded me of my most recent crises that showed I didn’t love all of my life. She was right, but I still went home and created a new document on Microsoft Word entitled “Handwriting on the Wall”.  Problems are always more manageable on paper, and I guess I felt more in control if I could write about it.

And God gave me things to put on the document.

My aunt knows Marnell, so she was telling me all the good things she knew about him. In fact she said she really didn’t know anything bad about him. However, she said she doesn’t know if he travels much. I made a mental note to grieve over my love for the Middle East. It’s not that I had any immediate plans of going back to Jordan or Lebanon, but I have a particular connection with those places.

However, the first time I talked to Marnell, we talked about the Middle East. He told me he had been to Israel and Jordan. In fact, unlike me, he had been to the  Middle East twice. 

So I put that in my document.

My sisters gave non-stop commentary.

“You always said your first name is too long, and so you can’t marry anyone with more than two syllables in their last name!” Kelsie pointed out to me.

Well, everyone says ridiculous things like that.  Still, you can’t get much shorter than “Lee”, so I added it to my document.

Then my aunt text me one night and said, “Can you believe it? Marnell’s birthday is October 15!”

Now of all the days in the year, no day has been as significant to me as October 15th. That day is my mom’s birthday, and one year in particular since her death (2013), God spoke to me very specifically on that day, restoring hope to replace the confusion of the doubts I battled in 2011.

No, I couldn’t believe it.

So I added it to my document.

I had put about 7 things on the document when it disappeared. By this time Marnell and I had eaten supper at Cappy’s a couple of times.

He is a nice guy, I admitted to myself. The first time he prayed thanking God for our food, I was struck by the confidence, comfort, and relevance of his brief prayer. Clearly he was accustomed to talking to God, and this made me admire him.

But I began to feel like I was standing in a bank of fog rolling in from the sea. I felt disoriented, lost, unsure of my surroundings. I felt like I could not remember who I had been in January. And I still hadn’t decided about going to medical school, although in truth I had been slowly backing away from the idea because I love doing my online school so much.

I confided in one of my co-workers, Mary, one day.

“I feel like I’m not the rational person I used to be,” I told her.

“Good,” she said.

I talked to my older brother Scott on the phone.

“I don’t even know if I should date, because I’m not sure I’m the marrying kind at this point,” I said.

He just burst out laughing.

I ran into a couple of coworkers in the cafeteria and told them how I was feeling.

“I just really didn’t have this on my radar,” I said as we waited for the grill.

“That’s how it happens,” Jesse said with a twinkle in her eye.

“Have a good night, girlfriend,” Jenny said dramatically.

I told Marnell how I felt one night at Starbucks while I sipped a hot chocolate that he had bought for me. I appreciated the drink, but the idea that someone else would buy my hot chocolate was foreign propaganda as well. Everything was unfamiliar and strange, and I told him this, a bit tearfully I’m afraid. Then I told him what Velinda had said and how I made a document called “Handwriting on the Wall”.

“And then I lost my document!” I exclaimed.

It was really an odd disappearance.

“Well,” he said after a little reflection, “maybe that’s a good thing.”

“But I know God showed me those things,” I protested.

“I’m sure He did,” he said.

“But maybe he wants me to just trust Him, perhaps?” I suggested, reading his mind. I have to confess, he was doing such a fantastic job of listening, I began to laugh at myself. I mean, really, who drafts a document to…

“Maybe so,” he said with a smile.

He looked at my computer but he agreed the file would not be easily retrievable.

Coming from an IT guy, I decided to abandon the search.

A few days later, we were discussing Isaiah when we ran across Isaiah 5:18-19:

Woe to those…who say: “Let Him hurry up and do His work quickly so that we can see it! Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take place so that we can know it!”

“Dear me… It’s like God rebuked them for asking for signs!” I exclaimed. “That’s why God took my document!”

At this point, Marnell might have said, “See, what did I tell you?”

But he didn’t.

That’s it for now. I think I said it last spring, but I’ll say it again: if you are looking for neatly finished, rational stories, you’d better find another blog. However, since 2011, I have learned more fully that God is completely trustworthy, that He loves us, and that He knows what He’s doing even when we don’t understand Him.

By the way, did you see the beautiful flowers at the end of my blog last week?  I couldn’t bring myself to tell you who they were from, but I had to share them as a subtle hint.

And the river was really beautiful the other night!


2021 Insert: I still love seeing life’s scenery with Marnell! In fact, I love it even more now that we know each other better.


Don’t forget to comment below if you wish to be entered into the drawing for a free set of audio CD’s of From the White House to the Amish. Entries are valid until Tuesday, the 16th at 0700 EST. You can also get them on sale at this moment for $29.95.

Note – This is a rare giveaway on my website. More often, I do a giveaway among those who have subscribed by email. I often tuck in a little personal information too, such as updates on Baby Miracle, coming in May.



131 thoughts on “The Lost Document – The Beginning of Our Love Story”

  1. This would be fun to win! My daughter and I just read Captain Garrison and I want to read From the White House too. I like to read books when I ‘know ‘ the author. We used to come to WI to visit friends and I remember spending time with your family.

  2. Such a great reading. With what I experienced this past fall/winter, it really tugged at my heart. Oh going down memory lane is great for some for others not so great. Thank you for sharing, Katrina. Enjoy your writings.

  3. Oh, definately add me to this long list of people who would LOVE to win this gift! Enjoyed the flashback; blessings to the 3 Lees…

  4. I would love this audio. I’d give it to my
    86 year old mother who is nearly blind. (After I’ve listened to it, of course) My mother’s maiden name is Bear. Not sure who Conrad Bear is… perhaps related to her.

  5. Wow. Isn’t God amazing? I hadn’t seen the previous post and I just love how God Leads and blesses, in ways we least expect. Little fun things like Marnell’s birthday same as your Mom’s.
    Sweet baby! God bless you always.

  6. Enjoyed reading your love story again. I remember thinking the first time, Katrina isn’t telling us everything!! Seriously I am so glad you found each other and excited about your little one. Would enjoy winning the cd, mostly for my special daughter to listen to. I can’t read enough stories to her. God bless you!-

  7. I would love to have this book/audio! I really enjoy your stories, writing style and perspective in the books you’ve written and on your blog. I’m impressed by your gift and inspired through the sharing of it.
    I found your blog and started following right at this time! I loved following your story and am so happy to see all our dreams come true…. a good man with whom to share life and the exquisite gift of new life to nurture together! Many blessings to you all!

  8. Our family listens to a lot of stories while traveling. This would be a nice diversion from Odyssey … on our PR trip for Heralds of Hope to Indiana /Ohio coming up in April 😉 Blessings as you prepare for your little Miss!

  9. I would love to have a copy of this book. And I loved reading your story again. Your blog is still one of my favorites.

  10. I find love stories of “older” singles so amazing! How God weaves two independent paths together and plants little seeds in each one that slowly blossom into full blown love! My husband and I’s story is one of those. We were almost 32 & 33 when we got married. 😊

  11. My husband just bought the book but we haven’t read it yet. Our children who love listening to story tape’s/Cd’s, I’m sure would love to listen to this audio.

  12. Leave it to God to write wonderful love stories! 😊 I also enjoy hearing the little baby updates, and wishing you the very best on this new journey. (I’m currently pregnant also, and due the very beginning of June with baby #4.)

  13. I really enjoyed reading these memories again. Our children are very interested in your stories since I read the mule story to them, and we all love a good audiobook.

  14. I enjoy your writing and am thinking about how much my boys would enjoy listening to your book! Blessings on the effort you put into it all….

  15. How like God to spring those wonderful surprises on us! How like a man to delight in spinning our worlds upside down!
    I’d love to win the audio!

  16. Somehow men love the challenge of wooing their woman from their secure little nest and turning it upside down with romance. How like God- to spring those wonderful surprises on us!
    I’d love to win the audio!

  17. I love a good love story. Yours is one that is fun to read. And this audio book sounds like a fun thing to win. I have wanted to read your new book.

  18. I enjoyed reading this post very much. I LOVE hearing how God leads people. He is so personal. He knows exactly how to speak to each of us in a way that will resonate with us. Also, I would love a copy of your audio book! Blessings on the growing of your tiny Miracle.💕

  19. Always enjoy your blogs, Katrina! This one was especially fun to read again, and can’t wait to hear of baby’s arrival!

  20. Problems are always more manageable on paper… yes, my journal tends to be one place I go to write things out in attempts to seek clarity/peace in tough things.

  21. I read From the White House to the Amish beginning of January and I loved it! So winning the audio book would be fun!

  22. My husband would really enjoy listening to that CD since he’s on the road a lot..God has a way of messing our well thought out life into “chaos”, doesn’t He? 😉

  23. I enjoyed this story and I’ve enjoyed a number of your books! Thanks for the peek into your romance…keep that love blooming in your heart!

  24. It would be enjoyable to listen to your audio. Anticipating a little baby anytime soon, I don’t get alot of reading accomplished.

  25. Dangerous territory here. . . where only women abound?! Sure, I’ll be a brave one, throw this mans name in the hat as well, I enjoy your books!

  26. Thank you for sharing honestly and faithfully. I remember reading this post before, but it was special to revisit it again. And the verse about trying to hurry God up…. wow. I can’t say it’s ever stood out to me before, but it touches a particular situation in my life right now in a unique way. Thank you for sharing His Word.

  27. Ever since my niece introduced your blog to me, I have been a faithful reader because your candid writing style is so refreshing and fun! I definitely want to read or listen to these books! Also just a comment on the beginnings of your love story, makes me want to laugh; and lift my hands in adoration at the same time….. at our God Who has such beautiful humor, and who does so many marvels! And Who is so incredibly patient with us…to name a few!

  28. Thank you for sharing this part of your and Marnell’s story! I like the way your stories aren’t “neatly finished”. Isn’t that the way life often works? There’s still another paragraph, page, chapter. 😊

  29. I always enjoy reading your blog updates…. I am sure I would enjoy your book as well! Congratulations on a “new” little Lee!!♥️

  30. How Interesting to Read your Story as it unfolds …..I am new to your site & enjoying your blog, Blessing s on your New Arrival expected in May!! God is so good!! I would love to win & enjoy more of you it sounds so interesting!!

  31. I remember reading this post back when you wrote it, when I first started following your blog. I got a kick out of it then, but def enjoyed it more today! Not sure why…possibly because I “know” you better now.
    Cheers to God’s way of pulling us out of our boxes. I have your book, but always like the audio esp. would want it for my 9-yr-old who will sit and listen for hours.

  32. I always enjoy reading any of your writings! ! I’ve been wishing to read this new book of yours- I’d love to win 😉 💕 Blessings…
    ~Regina M

  33. Thanks; I love hearing how couples found each other! And I also love the pic of little Miracle (I think she’s just concentrating, not pouting). : )

  34. I love reading your blog even if its random and not rational. Makes it all the better! And also id love to win the audio book.

  35. I enjoyed the book tremendously and we’d enjoy listening to it on a trip in the future. Thanks for all the hard work you put into writing your books.

  36. My son just finished Captain Garrison and the White House is next, he would enjoy the audio version multiple times. Isn’t it amazing when we let God write our story, all the surprises He tucks in? Happy Valentines!

  37. Ah, he is a nice guy…or was. I think you need to visit us sometime. I need to make sure hes still a nice guy!!🤣🤣
    Would love to listen to this book!!

  38. Our children love listening to audio books! We have several copies of the book here because of several family members being CAM staff and getting them for Christmas gifts, but I haven’t had time to read it yet.

  39. This would be a fun thing to have on hand for road trips! 🙂 I’ve been enjoying your blog writings for a couple of years now… Thank you for sharing!

  40. I enjoyed reading this little bit of your story again. It’s very true you just never know what God will do next.
    I’d be happy to claim the cds! 🙂

  41. I would love to be in the drawing…..but if I
    don’t get picked I want to buy it! Loved the book. Levi is not a book reader,but he loves to listen to books when we travel.

  42. This made me cry again! I love how God works in our lives. We need new stories to listen to when we’re traveling. 🙂

  43. Been reading your blog for a while. Other’s lives are so fascinating! And a person can usually connect somewhere. My family would love the audio book!

  44. We enjoy your writings! Also would be anxious to read the rest of your love story, 🙂
    Love comes sneaking by at times, least suspected,….

  45. Blessings Katrina! I was older when I married , and so many things in my life I have said nope I’d never to do that! But when it is God’s perfect will ,He gently brings you to the point you are perfectly ok doing those things! We’d enjoy the audio book at our house too.

  46. Ah, I’ve been procrastinating in (on?) buying your audiobook…maybe this is why! Thanks for the interesting read while I sipped my Saturday coffee (not much different than my coffee every other day of the week, except that I’m generally a little more lazy on Saturday).

  47. Aww, such an interesting story! It took place before I started reading your blog. I like your candid way of writing and the reactions and responses of the people in your life. 😁 I’d be amazed if I won the book on CD. 😄

  48. Thanks for sharing! I love reading your blog and our family would enjoy listening to the audiobook. Also I am excited about the boys adventure series that you are working on! My boys will love it!

  49. I love hearing how people met and the start of their love story. And I would love to win the audio book! I listen to more books than read right now so it would be perfect for me. And my oldest son would enjoy it as well,he is a huge book worm and history buff.

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