PJ here. It is with immense pleasure that I welcome Heather Ashby and Christopher Bergeron to The Romance Dish today. Co-authors of the newly released contemporary military romance, UNFORGETTABLE, Ashby and Bergeron have the backgrounds that bring authenticity to their characters and the journeys they travel. If you're looking for intelligent writing, fast-paced stories, edge-of-your-seat action, and deeply emotional relationships all wrapped up in duty, honor and service then look no further than the books of the "Love in the Fleet" series. I highly recommend them!
Award winning author, Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for their Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation in support of wounded warriors and their families. Her son serves as her cover model, helping to raise money for Fisher Houses around the world. Heather lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her retired Navy husband. Unforgettable is the fourth and final book in the “Love in the Fleet” series.
Christopher Bergeron is a retired Major in the United States Marine Corps, with twenty-four years of service. His ten deployments include combat tours in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Somalia; Kosovo; Haiti; Fallujah, Iraq; and Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Chris’s travels have covered the globe, including more than twenty countries. He lives with his wife and son in Rockford, Michigan, where he is currently a Communications/Marketing student at Grand Valley State University. Unforgettable is his first novel.
On Love – and Broccoli
by Heather Ashby
Thanks for inviting me today, PJ. I always enjoy chatting with your readers. I’d like to share a lesson I learned about ten years ago that has strengthened not only my marriage, but my friendships, as well.
My husband chews loudly. Seriously, you can hear him eat potato chips in the next room. And he sniffs. Instead of finding a tissue or taking a Sudafed, he sniffs. Repeatedly. I've come close to losing my mind during allergy season.
And, he buys too much broccoli.
My retired Navy husband is an awesome man, nicknamed Commander Integrity because he exemplifies an officer and a gentleman. He’s also an awesome husband—when not chewing or sniffling. Since he’s fully retired, he takes care of everything in our house, yard, and lives, so I can teach school by day and write books at night. I try not to complain about anything, yet that’s just what I used to do.
He does the food shopping and all the cooking. My job is to write the weekly menu and put the food away when he returns from the grocery store. Without fail, he buys too much broccoli. I mean, Army sized rations of broccoli. If it’s on the menu for one night that week, he buys enough for three nights. I used to roll my eyes, shake my head, and explain to him how much is in a serving of broccoli for two people. I don’t do that anymore. I simply love him.
One day about ten years ago, I was putting the groceries away—and rolling my eyes at the volume of broccoli—when God hit me with a spiritual two-by-four. It came to me that someday Commander Integrity could be gone from my life. I saw myself wandering the produce aisle of a grocery store and having an emotional meltdown in front of the broccoli. I then chastised myself for obsessing over something so stupid when I should have simply been appreciating having this wonderful man in my life. And the fact that he does the shopping. And the cooking. And all the other wonderful things he does for me.
I sat on the floor in front of the vegetable bin of my refrigerator and had a good cry that day. Then I took a vow that every time my husband does something unimportant that annoys me, I will focus on one of the fabulous things he does for me. Did I mention that he scoops and cleans the cat boxes? And cleans house now that I’m teaching again? How about car maintenance? He takes care of all that to ensure that I’m safe on the road, with exactly the right tire pressure. He not only pays the bills, but pays them with his money. And does all the yard work. (It’s true. I sleep with my yard boy.) And he checks Metric Junkie every morning and evening to track my book sales.
And did I mention that he puts up with me? Commander Integrity is a quiet, left-brained engineer. I am a right-brained, zany, impulsive, talkative, ADHD, creative person who is either doing five things at once or sound asleep when work needs to be done. Just tolerating living with me is a full-time job, I’m sure. And he excels at it.
I decided I did not want to be an elderly widow, standing in the produce section, saying, “Why wasn’t I nicer? Why did I complain over the silly, little things he did that annoyed me. I would give anything for him to be here right now, chewing loudly, sniffing repeatedly, and buying too much broccoli. If only I had the past forty years back so I could focus on all the good things he did for me, instead of complaining.”
Thank you, God, for giving me those forty years to do just that. It’s never too late to make this decision. We all do annoying things. And we all love people who do annoying things. If they are unimportant things, this is a way to tune them out and focus on a person’s good qualities instead.
I have a lovely British reader, award-winning, international author, Carrie King (www.joni-pip.com). She lost her husband unexpectedly in an industrial accident. He sounds like he was the perfect husband—and human being. When help arrived at the scene, he directed medical personnel away from him so they could care for those with more urgent needs. Carrie had kissed her husband good-bye and sent him off to work that day. He never returned. Fortunately, Carrie says she has no regrets, only happy memories. She appreciated all he did for her and their family and told him often. Think about the lives lost on 9/11. More than three thousand people went to work and did not go home at the end of the day. Now is the time to appreciate everything about our loved ones.
Now, when my husband comes home with too much broccoli, I just smile and appreciate that I have him—and remember all the wonderful things he does for me. And I plan another meal or two with broccoli.
What annoying habit does your loved one have? And what positive trait of theirs can you focus on instead when they do that irritating thing? I have a $10 Amazon gift card for one lucky commenter.
The 9/11 spirits aboard USS New York are back! Their mission: help Adam, Gwyn, Mike, and Cate find their happily ever afters—and stay alive. As the only person who can see them, Lieutenant Gwyn Pritchard tries to help the spirits move on to the light. That is, when she’s not helping Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor heal from his PTSD—or falling madly in love with him.
Captain Cate Hawkins, has run from her unconventional childhood by becoming a Marine Corps pilot. But when a mission in East Africa goes awry, she finds herself in a race for her life. After burying the hatchet with Cate, Navy pilot Mike Nikolopoulos wants nothing more than to rescue his new love. If the spirits help him save her, they’ll finally be free to move on. But can Mike overcome a sudden fear of flying to find his way to Cate before terrorists repeat “Black Hawk Down”—with a female American pilot this time?
Facebook: Heather Ashby Author