Thursday, July 14, 2005

When God Showed Up

The title refers to one of my favorite moments from the move, Forrest Gump. Watch the movie again if you can't recall the scene.

I use this to reference the two times in my life when I clearly felt the mighty hand of God actively moving. Not just an open parking space kind of thing that we often thank God for, but a serious life-altering event.

I'll recount the most important here, and the other later.

The most important time of God's direct intervention was meeting my wife.

Now, I know, lots of people may say this, and you could make a case for all spousal encouners being God-ordained, but mine was a bit too-many-coincidences-to-be-coincidental. When I realized what had happened after the fact, I was a bit frightened by the whole thing. When God shows up, it isn't always tame.

It started, for me, about a year earlier. I was driving and thinking (what I do best, it just doesn't pay well), and found myself thinking about a time 3 years earlier when I declined to take a trip to Europe with my best friend, Doug. My reasons were, in retrospect, lame: I couldn't afford it, I would have to quit my job (they'd never give me 3-4 weeks off), and then I really couldn't afford it.

Why were these lame reasons? Because, 3 years later, whatever money I didn't want to spend was gone anyways, and I HATED that job!! It was the most miserable job I have ever had, and desperately wanted to move on.

I missed out on a rare opportunity for miserably short-sighted reasons.

Thinking about this as I drove, I resolved then and there, that the next time adventure presented itself, I would take it, no matter what.

A year goes by.

I am sitting having lunch with a client (Suzie) and a printing company sales rep (Rhonda). Suzie comes up with the idea for her and I to go to Nashville to visit with Rhonda, tour the printing business, and justify the whole thing as improving communication between the graphic designer (me), the client, and the printer.

I couple weeks later, Suzie calls and says the company has OK'd the trip! They are willing to fly us to Nashville to meet with the printer.

Now, I am a freelance designer, not an employee. A part of me thinks this whole thing could be handled with a few phone calls instead of a flight across the country. Why would they want to fly one vendor thousands of miles to meet with another vendor?


This is an adventure! They aren't paying be anything but airfare (Rhonda, the sales rep, is putting us up in her house-mansion-while we're back there), so it won't make me money, but I won't be out any either. It's a chance to go someplace I've never been.

Of course, I said yes.

We left on a Thursday (Suzie ended up not even going - another employee [Michelle] came along). Got in to Nashville for dinner. Friday was spent touring the print shop and seeing the city. Friday night, Rhonda had planned for us (me, Rhonda, her husband - Michelle was visiting friends she had back there) to go out to dinner and see a movie. Rhonda also informed be that she had invited a friend of her's to join us. A friend? Scary words to a single man. That phrase is often followed by the dread words: great personality. Whatever - at least I get free food and a movie!

We're about ready to leave, and "friend" shows up. Her name is Annette, and I am immediately attracted to this woman. We talk, and she is amazingly normal! "Friends" who come along on things like this are never attractive and normal!!

Not only do we spend Friday evening together, but Annette joins us for all day Saturday as well.

I leave on Sunday. Back to SoCal.

I realize something was different and special here, and plan to keep in contact with this woman.

Monday. Annette gets a phone call with a job offer from the man who OK'd my trip. Totally unrelated to the trip - he has no idea we even met.

After a few months of haggling with the job thing, and "phone dating", she gets the job and moves out here.

Six months after we met, I propose. She accepts.

Six months after this, we marry.

Eleven years later, and four boys later, life is good.

Let me back up and let you know what happened to Annette that night. She didn't want to come. She was supposed to go to Memphis that weekend. Rhonda begged her to come to help entertain the "Californians". She changed her plans for the sake of her friend.

After we were engaged, Annette told me that within 15 minutes of meeting me, she knew I was the man she would marry. If she had told me at that moment, I would have run for the hills! She wisely kept quiet.

Could you chalk this up to coincidence? Sure, if you wanted to.
But I lived it, and there were too many things that had to fall into place at just the right moment. For Annette and me, God's hand was clearly guiding and directing things.

One last thing: I had always told people, and myself, that it would take a bolt of lighting for me to know who the right woman for me was. On Friday night, after the movie, Annette and I sat on the front steps of Rhonda's house, and talked for hours as we watched a storm move across southern Kentucky. It was too far away for sound to carry, so we just watched as lightning bolts flashed silently.


Old woman 3:38 PM, July 18, 2005  

What a wonderful story - you were definitely meant to be together! I love to hear stories about when God so absolutely works in our lives that it's as if He takes our hands and leads us to where we are supposed to be. Hope all is well w/you and yours and that you are enjoying your summer. C

louisce26ficlinton 5:13 AM, August 15, 2005  

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All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such. We may own,
take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or
involve discussions with respect to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans,
projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of
historical fact and may be "forward looking statements." Forward looking statements are based
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number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially
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(IR Marketing). Forward looking statements in this action may be identified through the use of
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the holding of IF LH shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent
conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation
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regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in
our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance
on forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving
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