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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Camping (07/11/05)

TITLE: Of the ‘Net, Love and Butterflies…
By Shari Armstrong


I threw my stuff in the trunk so I could leave right after work for Kentucky. I double-checked to make sure I had my friend’s number, just in case. My parents had the campground number. It seemed unreal I was going to meet “Muscar”. I didn’t have the usual butterflies in my stomach. Total peace. After a seemingly unending day of work, I left. Many songs, potty breaks and a wrong turn later, I pulled into Jellystone Campground. It was well past check-in time, but I had the site number. I smiled as I drove slowly past the giant Yogi Bear welcoming me. I spotted a campfire and Tennessee plates. It was him.

I got out of the car. He walked over, smiling, and drawled, “Hi. I was worried you’d changed your mind.” We hugged and I felt total peace. We eventually moved to the picnic table and sat down, him behind me with his arms around me and talked awhile. He gave me a gentle kiss on the top of my head. “I have something for you.” He went to the car and came back with a box. “I saw this and thought of you.” It was a figurine of an angel with two small children. “She had red hair like yours, and I had to get it.” We hugged again.

Both tired from the drive, we decided to call it a night. We had to share a tent, but he was a perfect gentleman. Plans were made for the next day. The sun came up way too early, but it didn’t matter. He left the tent so I could change first and get the fire going again. After some breakfast, we left for one of the nearby caves. It would be impossible to get into Mammoth Caves. During the tour, we held hands and marveled at the artwork of God around us. I marveled at how God had brought this man into my life. He was exactly the way he had seemed in our months of chatting. Funny, sweet and cared for me. We hadn’t said the “L” word, by mutual agreement. I was sure we both knew it, but wanted confirmation in person.

That evening, after a wonderful steak dinner he made for us, he told me he loved me. Again, that wonderful peace came over me. It felt right, like we’d always known each other. Here was my best friend telling me the words I’d been waiting to hear from the man God wanted in my life. I responded, “I love you, too.” We decided to attend a little church we spotted near the grocery store the next morning. It had a sign that encouraged campers to visit.

When the sun came up, we stayed in the tent awhile. He put his arms around me and asked, “Will you marry me?” I didn’t even hesitate to tell him I would. He wanted at least a six-month engagement. We set our wedding date before we left the tent for breakfast. Many people would probably say we were crazy, but we both just knew. He told me much later, “I knew from the minute I saw you get out of the car that you were the woman I was going to marry.” This amazed me, knowing how I looked after a seven-hour drive!

After church, we decided to just stay at the campsite and relax, since we had to head home Monday. We wanted to spend every minute we could together. He got one of the sleeping bags out of the tent and put it in some shade. We watched some butterflies flitting around us as we lay there. Next thing we knew, a few of them decided to land on us and we played with them for nearly an hour. It was the most amazing thing, like God was giving us His blessing.

Leaving was hard on both of us. We prayed, cried and hugged. We left with a promise and cheap souvenir rings. At work on Tuesday, I said a prayer for him, because I was worried about him being tired at work. Later that night, he asked what I was doing not long after lunch. It had been about the time I had prayed for him. He said these butterflies showed up out of nowhere and he could smell campfire smoke. We’re sure God sent those butterflies to encourage him and bless us again.

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This article has been read 1409 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tammy Johnson07/18/05
A very sweet story. I liked the use of his internet name, "Muscar". That was fun.
Phyllis Inniss07/18/05
I love this story and the peace you felt. God was telling you that everything was all right and those butterflies came to bring a message from God. They have a way of bringing good news. Blessings for your future.
Nina Phillips07/18/05
Interesting, "Romantic", and well written.
Can't wait to hear the rest! God bless ya, littlelight
Alyssa Colby07/19/05
Your story is well-written, and romantic. Unfortunately, your fictional characters behave very unwisely. Your story seems so beautiful, but it beautifies something that is actually wrong. If the couple were married, it would be lovely. Since they are not, it isn't lovely. Though they didn't DO anything seemingly sinful, they are setting themselves up for a huge temptation. The danger of this is that your romantic reader could think, "I'd like to do that sometime." I'd never advise anyone to do this - it's dangerous. Stories ought not be written that show people behaving like this in a good light. My suggestion is to either change the story to married people or to add some wise, godly older people (and another tent) to the camping experience.

Hoping I've spoken the truth in love, Alyssa
Brandi Roberts07/19/05
I disagree with the comment left above. I believe that not only was this a well-written article, but it has a sweet story, whether the two were married or not. Coming from a situation very similar to that (my husband and I met online), I think this is an example of purity and love. The two characters showed self-control (is that not one of the fruits of the Spirit?) and love (another fruit). To say that a reader would be convinced into doing the same, would also be to say that someone reading one of Maxx's or Dust's articles would be convinced to do the things in those articles and therefore, those articles would require the same critique. My suggestion to the author, however, is to add a little bit more to the beginning as I was a bit confused as to why they were meeting there, and why the character would comment on "not having the usual butterflies". Other than that, it was a great read. Thank you for sharing.
Joshua Wood07/19/05
Wouldn't it be funny if this were the author's true life story? I'd laugh. I think it was an adorable story. I frequently enjoyed cuddling and napping next to my sweetie (now my wife). I find it charming and cozy.
Joshua Wood07/19/05
P.S. - I'd laugh b/c of the comment chastising her for relating her experiences. Not because it's anything less than sweet.
Lynda Lee Schab 07/22/05
I thought this was a sweet story, nicely written. I think the behavior was completely appropriate. The only complaint I have is, "I want to know more!" I'm a sucker for a good love story and I want to know what happened from there. Did they marry and live happily ever after? Perhaps you could develop this one into a short story and submit it to the general submission area.
Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Val Clark07/22/05
A sweet, well told, romance. Fiction or fact, it works for me. I love the way you used Creation to show God's affirmation. Very true to life.
Suzanne R07/23/05
I love your title! And the whole article. I'm with Alyssa a bit ... would have liked a second tent and a chaperone ... but nothing happened, and you were quick to point that out. I think it is a great piece! So ... now the BIG question ... is it autobiographical???!!!
dub W07/24/05
In this age of romance by email and internet, this is a sweet story, fictional or not. Well written. Thanks for posting.
darlene hight07/24/05
Gave me butterflies :) Have to confess that I was a little worried about the wisdom of camping with someone that is only known from the internet but I suspect that it could be a true story and if so it is probably a happier ever after not a sicko thriller LOL
Rita Garcia08/25/06
Shari, thank you for sharing a link to this beautiful love story. I believe God delights in bringing two together in love. I agree the butterflies were a symbol of His blessing!