October 27, 2020

A Heard County Love Story

(Franklin, GA) — A local woman shared a blog this week detailing how she and her current husband fell in love and were married after knowing each other for over 30 years.

Shanan Smith Atkinson agreed to share her story with the readers at HeardCitizen.com. She is a 1987 graduate of Heard County High School.

Shanan’s husband Boone Atkinson is a 1982 Heard County graduate. He is scheduled to retire from the Navy with 30 years of service this spring.

My Road to Grace

August 30, 2013 was our first date. Boone and I had known each other 30 years ago in our hometown. He went into the Navy and traveled the world.

I stayed in this area, worked, finished college and raised my children. We’d been in touch some over the years via Facebook and other electronic means. We connected like folks with a common background might casually say hello. Not a big deal.

Boone is a Chief Warrant Officer in the Navy. He woke late one morning and before he could get on the road to work he was made even later by a snake in his garage. He made frustrated comments on Facebook that I read while having my morning coffee.

I replied to his comments by sharing with him that I try to look at being late as a way for God to keep me from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He drove to work and came upon a multi-car pile-up.

Unbeknownst to me, Boone had just been saved at a small church in Florida soon before he had the proverbial snake in his garage. Unbeknownst to me, Boone viewed that snake and my comments about God as an indication that he needed to pay closer attention to what I might say. Unbeknownst to Boone and I both, God had a plan for us that included each other.

Boone and ShananWe started talking and haven’t stopped since. The more time we spent together the more right it felt.

He wanted to lead a family in faith while in a devoted relationship that stood the test of time.

I wanted a man wise enough and strong enough to lead me and love me. I needed someone whose faith is strong and whose reasoning is sound.

We aren’t perfect and we’ve made mistakes. It feels like we are perfectly made for each other. God’s time brought us together.

We went to Boone’s first University of Georgia game in Athens, we went to the Infantry Museum in Columbus, we hiked in Pine Mountain, we drove to the North Georgia Mountains and we talked through it all.

Boone went to Atlanta with me for an event with my job. He was supportive of my job and great help at the luncheon for a thousand people at the Georgia Aquarium. Through it all he said God put us together. I said I had about given up on ever finding “the one.”

I was looking for “the one.” I had grown up God fearing but not God understanding. It took a lot of bumps in the road for me to understand that I needed to look for the mate God had chosen for me. It was a long and harrowing road!

I didn’t know best and I didn’t even know how ill equipped I was for the job at hand. God knew and he had a plan. He took me over those bumpy roads and showed me the way to his words. I had been learning to listen for a while when Boone’s snake showed up in his garage.

We talked about God and faith. I had converted to Catholicism while married to my son’s father. We’d raised Andrew and Allie in the Catholic Church. I converted as an adult and enjoyed the basic tenants of the faith.

Boone and I discussed churches and religion. We finally started to visit churches. We visited a country church in our hometown with a Preacher I wanted to hear. We visited First Baptist Church in LaGrange and we visited St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

We were running late one Sunday and trying to decide where to attend. I told Boone that I knew of a church some friends attended that was very near the house.

We walked into Grace Baptist Church in Lagrange and were met with a great energy and people mingling around the sanctuary visiting with each other. We walked in to be welcomed by Grace….

Preacher Donnie spoke to us that Sunday. We chuckled a bit after one of his sermons mentioned people NOT knowing his words were meant for them. We always find ourselves thinking he was speaking DIRECTLY to us. He keeps preaching to us. We keep listening and being thankful.

We had Preacher Donnie over for breakfast. I cooked a lot and can only hope he didn’t leave hungry! He certainly left us filled up spiritually and hungry for more Grace. This writing is one result of that breakfast. My hope is you enjoy it and I can find a way to share my God gifts in service to Grace. Love, Shanan.

~ Shanan Smith Atkinson



  1. Beautiful love story. So glad that y’all let GOD lead and guide each of you. HE is a Wonderful GOD, and HE knows best. My husband and I know that GOD put us together too. May HE continue to Bless You and Family,❤️✝

  2. Congratulations and many blessings! I enjoyed hearing your story

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