Nature has blessed Maui by giving it waterfalls, flowers, soft ocean breezes and the guiding hands of Lori and Jamie Lawrence. I first met Jamie fourteen years ago when, like thousands of other adoring tourists, I heard him singing at sunset. His quiet voice, flawless pitch, and facile guitar work told me he'd be the perfect one to sing at my daughter's wedding. It happened. He came to Minnesota and sang the most romantic songs I'd ever heard. Songs like The Road That Never Ends, and I Love You, which made a lot of eyes misty and created a wedding day more perfect than I'd ever imagined.

In the years since, what began as a musical relationship turned into a friendship.

More recently, Lori met Jamie and added her deft touch as a wedding planner to his as a musician. Together they're shepherding couples through their weddings from the first hesitant queries to their choice of private estates for their lavish receptions. Their service is so complete, Lori can even act as pastor!

Jamie told me, "I love to listen to Lori on the phone, soothing the brides' worries. I listen to her and I'm soothed too."

There's a website I've heard about, called theknot.com. Seems the brides are chatting up Lori with enthusiastic praise. Seems she's a little wizard who can make it happen just as they imagine it. So, you say you want a romantic wedding? These two can plan one for you. I know, because romance is my business. I wrote it for over twenty years.

We hang out now, Jamie, Lori, my husband, Dan and me. We visit each other's homes, we do some cruising, some snorkeling, sing some karaoke and even play some guitars together. Plus, Jamie has recorded two CD's expressly for me -- gifts I gave Dan for special occasions. I never tire of listening to that mellow voice and flawless guitar...and oh, those romantic words. If you're not familiar with the music of Maui, get his CD's in advance and see if you don't love what you hear.

And once you hear it, you'll want Jamie to sing it, and Lori to plan it -- your perfect, romantic, tropical Maui wedding.

LaVyrle Spencer
Stillwater, Minnesota

LaVyrle Spencer was born in Minnesota, where she attended high school and met and married her high school sweetheart, Dan Spencer - a decision she calls the wisest choice of her life. Although she showed a flair for writing during high school, LaVyrle didn't begin her first novel until she was in her thirties, working as a teachers aide at Osseo Junior High School. Spencer decided to try transferring to paper a recurring dream she was having about a story based on her grandmother's lifestyle on a Minnesota farm. She awoke at 4:00 a.m. one morning, and as Spencer recalls, "you think that you can do anything at 4:00 a.m. I wrote the first half a page in a three-ring notebook with a ball-point pen." She finished that first novel, The Fulfillment, and it was published in 1979.

LaVyrle Spencer could be a character in one of her own bestselling novels, as she has experienced as much love, pain, and bliss as any of her characters. And like her heroines she is a charming mix of fire and warmth, strength, savvy and soft-heartedness. Her books are family love stories, and the characters in her novels aren't perfect, they are real people with real problems. Before they live happily ever after they must overcome some sort of adversity-pregnancy, divorce, a lengthy separation, the loss of a loved one - and then undergo a catharsis. Along the way there are moments of anger, happiness and self-revelation. The stories center on themes of abiding love, family ties and strength in difficult times. According to Spencer, "the trademark of my books is mending relationships, showing people how to mend relationships."
"The trademark of my books is mending relationships,
showing people how to mend relationships."
Whether set in the Old West of the 1880s, or today, in suburban Minnesota, opening a Spencer novel means seeing love in a new light, and meeting characters so real it's all you can do not to climb into the pages yourself. LaVyrle Spencer has written 12 New York Times Bestsellers. Her books have been sold to book clubs both here and abroad, and have been published around the world. Condensed versions of many of her novels have appeared in Reader's Digest and Good Housekeeping magazine. In a television deal that Publishers Weekly called "precedent-setting," CBS-TV has produced two of Spencer's books for television movies, with an option on a third. Home Song, the first book produced by CBS-TV, starring Lee Horsley, Polly Draper, and Deborah Raffin, aired April 1996 to high praise. And in July filming started on Family Blessings. That production stared Lynda Carter, and was directed by Deborah Raffin and Nina Foch. The network also bought the rights to first look at 11 other Spencer novels, as well as pre-cable broadcast rights to the theatrical film of her book Morning Glory.

LaVyrle Spencer has already made the leap from page to screen, as two of her books have been made into movies. Spencer's first novel, The Fulfillment, was turned into a CBS-TV movie starring Cheryl Ladd, and Morning Glory, which Spencer wrote in 1989, was released as a major motion picture under the same title, starring Deborah Raffin and Christopher Reeve. LaVyrle and Dan appear as extras in the film. LaVyrle and Dan Spencer live in a beautiful Victorian house in Stillwater, Minnesota, and the Spencers often escape to their rustic log cabin deep in the Minnesota woods. LaVyrle's hobbies include gardening, travel, gourmet cooking, entertaining, playing bass guitar and the electronic piano, photography, and observing nature.

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