In 2014, just as I was ready to take the leap, life took an unexpected turn. My husband James complained that he thought he’d pulled a muscle in his chest while lifting weights. It wouldn’t have been a surprise. James swam twice weekly, rode bikes, and was always careful about his weight. In fact, I began fussing at him for looking too thin.

Little did we know the battle we were facing. Four years later, James lost his hand-to-hand combat with a rare thymic cancer. The cancer treatments ruined his heart and led to dementia. It was tough, but we fought the fight together. He died surrounded by love and good music.

James and I began our life adventure 41 years earlier over a cup of coffee at the Camellia Grill in New Orleans. When this tall, good looking guy walked in and sat near me, I heard a voice in my head. “If you don’t talk to him you will miss out on something good.” I trusted that voice some call intuition. I considered it just another expression for God’s good intent for each of us.

James was drinking coffee so I screwed up my courage and ordered a cup too. Not sure how to begin, this 23-year-old girl from Indiana batted her eyelashes and said, “My, this stuff is strong! Isn’t it?” Those words opened the door to a mutual life of respect, adventure, and love.

The story of how we met won me a coveted place at the Guideposts Writers Workshop and led to subsequent publications with Guideposts Publications.

James and I talked about what could happen after his death. He wanted me to pick up my work with listening. He completed his life's goal with the publication of his own book River City: Ebb and Flow, and we celebrated until the very end.

Now it's my time to step up and step out. I know James is smiling.

James Biedenharn