Paula Moldenhauer
Family Story

A romance writer should have her own happily ever after, right?

My romantic saga began in 1986. The campus minister at my university encouraged short term mission trips, but I couldn’t come up with the funds to travel out of the country. I opted for a secondary plan. Friends of the family let me stay with them in Denver, Colorado, and I signed up to volunteer with Neighborhood Ministries, which offered a summer program for underprivileged kids.

Enter the hero . . . Jerry worked as national youth director for the small church denomination we both were connected to, and he needed a writer. I spent that summer working with the kids in the morning and with Jerry in the evening. Soon we were grabbing a bite to eat after our long work days. We found so much to discuss that restaurant proprietors asked us to “find somewhere else to talk” so they could close. Oops!

Jerry and Paula dance at their daughter’s wedding in 2013. Their oldest child, Sarah, truly has a storybook romance with her husband, David.

Jerry’s several years older than I, and it took us awhile to admit our romantic attraction, but soon we were dating, adding lazy days driving through the mountains to our established eating out and chatting routine. At the end of summer I returned to college in Oklahoma, and Jerry plastered his Colorado bulletin board with pictures of me.

That’s when I freaked out.

The idea of marrying a man older than me and moving away from family was too much. I called off the relationship. For a year and a half, Jerry prayed. He released his dreams of us into God’s hands, but continued to ask the Lord to take care of me as back in Oklahoma I went through a precarious time. When we got back together he’d often point out mountain peaks where he hiked to a quiet place to pray for me.

Paula Moldenhauer

Then, December of 1987, as I slipped into deep discouragement, my brother decided I needed a vacation. He and I drove to Colorado to stay with friends and ski. Jerry was in the group that skied with us. At the end of our time in Colorado he touched my knee and said, “Paula, I love you.”

“I know,” I replied. “And someday I’ll know what to do about that.” (By the way I give a nod to this in You’re a Chamer, Mr. Grinch.)

Jerry knew then he had only to be patient; the Lord was bringing me back to him. We married in June of 1989 in an outdoor wedding in pouring rain! When the storm threw off the schedule, we huddled under shelter to finish the ceremony. Jerry took the pastor’s Bible and read to me from Song of Solomon. “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come . . .” (SOS 2:10b-12a NIV) And like a fairy tale novel, the sun burst from the clouds and covered us in golden light. (It really happened!)

Two years later our twosome became a threesome as we welcomed Sarah Elizabeth into our arms and hearts. Three strong boys, Seth, Stephen, and Sam, followed in quick succession, and our home was full of the noise and motion of children. Looking back that season feels like a blur of streaking toddlers. Sarah became the self-appointed vice-mom, and we poured ourselves into raising our little blessings.

When I surrendered to God’s prompting to homeschool, the Lord promised me He would be the Keeper of my writing dreams. Setting aside the longing to write novels, I taught ABCs and 123s instead. We lived demanding but delightful years building tents in the living room, reading great children’s literature, and taking field trips. They got a little bigger and less needy, and one summer I sat at the computer and birthed a novel while my husband took the kids to baseball practice. Thus began our journey with homeschooling, cooking, cleaning mom also working as writing mom. 

Now we’ve graduated four homeschoolers.

Sarah is Director of Children’s Ministries for her church. Her husband, David,  does research and analysis for a local health firm. Right before their first child was born, David earned his master’s degree from Regis University and Sarah completed her associates in communications–both while working full time. We’re so proud of their tenacity. Then the best part. They made us grandparents! Ember Grace is our delight! (Photo: Kara DeYoung)


Seth met his lovely wife, Amanda, at a Colorado State University, where they both graduated. Seth works for a local hospital as an exercise physiologist and EKG/stress test technician while attending CU School of Nursing to add his BSN to his sports medicine degree.  Amanda works her dream job as a librarian.  That lovely wedding dress was her grandmother’s. It was so meaningful to see her in it on their wedding day! Her grandparents were beaming along with Seth! Seth and Amanda have been married two years and were the first to add a puppy to the family!

Stephen graduated with an Adventure Education Degree from Ft. Lewis College and was recently hired as guest services director for a local church.  He’s pursuing a beautiful young woman, Maddy, who is the only woman we’ve known to be able to keep up with him climbing mountains. 

Our “baby,” Sam, married the adorable Ariel last December! He works full-time as room director for the children’s ministry of a local church and has an associate degree in communications. Ariel is working on her BS at Colorado University and plans to be an elementary teacher. Sam proposed at a the Estes Park Christmas parade, one of Ariel’s favorite childhood events! The whole family–his and hers–were invited to be part of the surprise. You can watch the fun video here. (Photo: Kharis Neff)

Life certainly has a way of changing!

Jerry and I finish up the season of launching young adults with great gratitude for God’s gifts—our love and our four little blessings who grew into big blessings and bring more blessings home.