I didn't post yesterday and I spent most of my busy day yesterday, formulating the structure of my post in my mind. I planned to return from Kindergarten Orientation and hit my keyboard with gusto and post. Instead, I spent an evening reflecting on the night's events and wondering what it all meant...
First let me tell you about my favorite book, When God Winks, by Squire Rushnell (its kind of a long story, so settle in)... You see, in 2005 we moved to MADville, TX, which is a small, Texas town of roughly 4,000 people. For those of you who know me, you know I like LOTS of people... I was the Midwestern girl growing up in a city of 200,000 who thought that was too small, and I did just about anything possible to move out of what I thought was 'small town America' and go to Houston, then New York. So imagine moving to MADville, population 4,000? Culture shock.
I am not exaggerating things when I tell you that for almost the entire first year I lived here, I did not venture out. I did grocery shopping in another town (still small, but 35,000) and stuck to the ranch. I knew no one, didn't want to meet anyone, and felt depressed/dismayed/sad/ and very lonely. Then one day I stumbled into Lone Star Pottery, a corner shop on the 'downtown' square, that looked different from the rest of the tired, ghostly downtown. This shop was full, bustling with commerce, and open (I have found this is a rarity here). When I entered the shop, I was a depressed housewife who had hung up her career ambitions to be a wife and mother. I was friendless in a small town. I wasn't Me. When I emerged from Lone Star Pottery, I was changed. It happened that fast!
While browsing the shop, I met the owner. She spoke to me like she speaks to everyone that comes in, engages them in conversation not because she thinks it will help sales, but because she genuinely likes to talk with people and finds something interesting about each and every person that she meets. I don't know what compelled me to tell her about my design background and all that I had aspired to, but instead had moved to MADville. She was easy to talk to (its hard to speak to strangers when you've spent so much time alone and in your own head), and I instantly liked her. The feeling felt mutual, so I was overjoyed to have made my first friend!
Many months passed before I saw Sheri again. Despite having good intentions, I am not the best at staying in touch. I don't mean to be this way, but I tend to forget to call and check in with people, and visiting friends always gets put on the backburner. This is what happened with Sheri and Lone Star Pottery. I had met her in July, and by Christmas Eve when my husband stopped in her store to buy gifts at the last minute, I still hadn't been back. So much for making friends and influencing people, I was more like a hermit than anything!
I was pondering my actions (or lack thereof) one day and thinking about how desperately I wanted to start my own design company but couldn't seem to get my act together. As you will know from reading early posts to this blog, I coined the term 'More Do and Less Stew' because I am always guilty of thinking about things too much, to the point of paralyzation! In this particular case, I had moved cross country twice in 6 months with a baby and a gaggle of animals and the entire contents of my house, still reeling over the death of my Mother, and stuck on a ranch in a place I didn't like/understand/want to be. Its no wonder, looking back, that I was 'stuck'. However, I knew I needed to unstick myself from my paralyzed state or my depression would get much, much worse... (I spent 1999 and 2000 so depressed in Venezuela that my weight dropped to 122 (I'm 5'10) and I was a size 0!) Now, being a Mother, I couldn't let that happen again, I had someone depending on me!
But I didn't know what to do, how to start, where to turn. I had no confidence, it had been zapped. I went so far as to even say prayers to God to "please send me some help. Keep in mind God, I am hard headed and clueless. You are probably giving my opportunities left and right, but I'm missing the signs. You must send them to me and make them SO OBVIOUS that I can't help but catch on. I have no confidence in my abilities at all right now and so desperately need Your guidance. Show me the way."- No joke. I prayed to God to be specific, be pointed, and be OBVIOUS, because unless I was hit on the head with something, I might not get it.
Then one day shortly thereafter, something altogether bizarre happened. I decided I wanted to hunt garage sales for old furniture to paint. I needed to find out where the garage sales were. I needed a paper. I didn't get the town's newspaper, but knew that it was sold in front of the post office, so I jumped in the car (still in my pajamas, remember I'm depressed) and headed to buy a paper. Got there, got my change (.75 cents!), and stuck it in the machine to pull out the paper... The paper here in MADville is only produced WEEKLY, not daily- but at this point, I didn't know that. So, imagine my surprise when I pulled out my .75 cent paper and saw that I had just purchased a copy of LAST WEEK'S NEWSPAPER! I spent almost a dollar on old news. I was so mad.
I looked down at the paper, disgusted that the paper was outdated by a week and that I had actually paid money for it, when a picture of a woman standing at a podium caught my attention. It was the owner of Lone Star Pottery, my one and only friend! I started to read the article... Sheri had talked to a group how she and her husband had always wanted to sell pottery, and how a coincidental meeting with a pottery wholesaler from Mexico wasn't coincidence at all, but a Wink from God... the article spoke about how she supports area artists, helps other businesses, and believes in chasing dreams.
As I sat in the car, in front of the post office in my pajamas, I knew this was the sign from God I had been asking for. I knew from my first meeting, that Sheri was someone special, and God had heard my prayers. I turned on the car and headed to her store. Walking in wearing my flannel pajamas and clutching her article, I must have looked like a crazy-woman! I dove in head first about my prayers, my depression and why, about her article having been a 'sign', and how much I had enjoyed meeting her... over 7 months ago (!). I launched into my 'pitch' about being a designer and wanting to do a line of t-shirts and needing help.
Instead of calling the cops, she hugged me. She offered to buy whatever I was selling to put in her shop. She believed in my product even before I had a product. She was an Angel. She was truly a gift from God.
I ran right to the store and bought the book she had recommended, When God Winks. Read it cover to cover instantly (its a short one). Mr. Rushnell talks about coincidences not being coincidences at all, but affirmations from God that you are in the right place at the right time. Let me give you an example you can relate to:
You know how you are thinking about someone, and then the phone rings and its them? God Wink!
Have you ever found yourself thinking about someone that you haven't seen in years, and then all of the sudden you run into that person? God Wink!
In my opinion, there are no coincidences. Things happen for a reason. Its up to us to evaluate and understand why. I have had some really wild 'coincidences' in my lifetime... one that always jumps into my head is my fascination with Venezuela. I don't know why, but growing up I always thought it sounded like such a neat place. Neat world. Exciting. I wanted to go there... then one day in June of 1998 I laid eyes on a man that I instantly knew I was going to marry (not kidding). I didn't know his name. I didn't know where he was from. I hadn't spoken to him or heard him speak, he was just sitting in a chair, dozing in a furniture store while his mother shopped. As soon as I saw this man, I knew I'd marry him. I knew he was the One. I'm NOT KIDDING. I was dumbfounded when I found out he was from Venezuela. Unbelievable. It was a major God Wink.
And yes, I married him a year later and we just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary earlier this month.
Another massive God Wink happened to two of my best friends. Both from my hometown, they both knew me but didn't know each other. They recognized one another from my baby showers, but weren't friends at all. One I have been friends with since we were in 7th grade, the other I became friends with as an adult... Both I continue to be with friends with to this day and keep in touch with regularly by telephone and the magic of the internet.
One day the phone rang and it was D to tell me through sobs that her father had had a massive heart attack while taking a water aerobics class at the gym. He was probably not going to make it. She was at the hospital and prepared for the worst. I was sick with worry. Mr. M is one of the most endearing people I have ever met. To spare you the grief and details of his miraculous story, he survived. He survived and flourished. It wasn't his time yet, and he's still here, by nothing short of a miracle from God. I'm not trying to make light of his amazing story, but let me stay on purpose here... you know how I can so easily digress!
About 4 hours later, I got another phone call. Other friend. J called to tell me that while her parents were moving into their new house, her father had suffered a massive heart attack and was in the hospital. WHAT? Both D and J's Dads had heart attacks on the SAME DAY? At this point in time I was too shocked by all the news that I never thought of my two friends father's possibly being at the same hospital.
The next day D called to tell me that her Dad was improving and that she had recognized my friend J in the waiting room. J called to tell me the same thing, and that she was amazed to learn that their Dad's had both suffered heart attacks on the same day. Weird coincidence? There are no coincidences...
D's family held vigil in the waiting room, as did J's. J is a beautiful blonde bombshell who certainly turns the heads of many. D's younger brother had taken notice of her in the waiting room. Both friends called to tell me that there was subtle flirtation going in the waiting room while their father's fought for the lives.
I couldn't believe that two of my best friends' fathers had both suffered heart attacks on the same day and were at the same hospital, and now that they had both recognized each other as having been my friend and had struck up their own friendship! Crazy coincidences, right!?!
As I mentioned several times, there are no coincidences. Its all part of the plan. Unfortunately that plan made both fathers endure pain and suffering, but thankfully they both pulled through and made full recoveries. They were both able to dance a year later at their children's wedding. D's brother married my friend J after meeting her in the waiting room that day and I stood up proudly at their union. Proof that God works in mysterious ways...
Okay, fast forward to last night... Last night I received several God Winks, here are two of the biggies...
For several months, my Fab Farm Design business has not been my primary focus. I have been focused on my family, our summer, ranch business, and other endeavors that I have my hands in. Fab Farm has not been my Number 1. In the past few weeks, I have been excited about my son starting school and being able to have more of my time available to revive Fab Farm and hit the whole BwhoUR Project with gusto. As with most things, I have had my own awkward moments with Fab Farm and BwhoUR, lacking confidence in my own creativity, wondering about its success, and other confidence issues. Last night I received confirmation that I am on the right path with a spectacular God Wink.
After kindergarten orientation, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up stuff to make my son's lunches. Walking up and down the aisles, I kept bumping into the same woman over and over again. In typical 'grocery shopping etiquette', I had my eye on the merchandise, not the people and politely excused myself as I shuffled around her to pick up juice boxes and bags of chips (I know, we'll work on nutritious choices don't worry)...
After having almost tripped over her in the main aisles of the store, I met up with her again at the dairy cooler where I needed to grab some milk. So did she. At this point I exclaimed, "I promise I'm not stalking you! We seem to have the same agenda!" HA- so true...
She gave me a cursory look, smiled as if to say "who is the psycho girl and why does she keep following me" and headed off. I went the opposite way as to make myself look less like a stalker (!). Nevertheless, I was meant to talk to this woman. God had already given me several oppotunities, and I still hadn't taken them (I didn't know, I'm sorry!!!). Now I saw her again in the bakery, this time she was walking directly toward me and I couldn't help but look right at her.
SHE WAS WEARING ONE OF MY FAB FARM SHIRTS.
Of course she had been wearing the shirt the whole time in the store, I just hadn't noticed!
"OMG I absolutely LOVE YOUR SHIRT!", I exclaimed in total shock. She looked at me with disdain and politely pursed her lips together. "No, really I love your shirt. I MADE YOUR SHIRT!"
(just so you know she was wearing my Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History shirt in pink)
With this statement, she stopped. She looked at me deadon and said, "CASEY?!" She didn't recognize me, I've stopped bleaching my hair blond and have it cut in a very severe bob. We had only ever met once before anyways-
I recognized her as soon as she said my name. I have a penchant for faces, and now I was looking at hers deadon. I had met last year in Huntsville's Fair on the Square, where Fab Farm had a booth. She and I had talked a great deal at that time about her fledgling business called Clutter Roundup, a professional organizing service. She had many questions and we promised to get together over lunch to inspire one another... however, the lunch date got cancelled (my fault) and never rescheduled (I told you how bad I am at staying in touch)...
So last night we reconnected. It was FABulous. It was wonderful to see my shirt worn proudly. It was great to talk to a woman who's small business was just starting out last year, and has now grown! Her one-woman business has grown to more employees, public interest, investor inquiries, dreams of franchising her idea! WOW!
It was a wink from You Know Who to kick it in the butt, get moving as if to say, "Casey, you see what lies in store? You've gotta get moving. You've got a great product, a FABulous one, she's wearing YOUR DESIGN! You can do it! Go do it! I'm rooting for you!"
I thought about our chance meeting all the way home and how I had had several opportunities throughout the store to notice her shirt but didn't. God persevered. He had a lesson for me last night and he was giving me several attempts at learning it; I finally got it.
It was if I had been in the right place at the right time, a coincidence. But I don't believe in coincidences. I believe in God Winks. It was meant to happen that way...
I'm not kidding you that all this happened as I just described. Nor am I kidding that I was thinking those very thoughts as I exited the interstate and took the feeder road to the ranch. Those are 4 dark miles to the ranch gate and I was driving in a downpour, made more difficult because it was dark and foggy. I quickly thought to myself, "Casey be alert. You are all alone on this road and must be careful. Slow down, its wet and foggy." Just then a car appeared coming at me, with his brights on as if to show me I wasn't alone. I instantly thought, "wow, I'm not alone after all". Now I wasn't alone, I was just completely blind. I struggled not to stare at the blinding bright lights headed at me, and I just peered into foggy darkness thinking to myself, "there could be deer out on the feeder road and I wouldn't even see them its so foggy. I must be extra careful". The bright lit car sped past me going the other way...
Immediately after the car passed me, I came upon them. Where the car had JUST been, stood two of the most beautiful, majestic, 8+ pointed bucks in the road, nonchalantely nibbling at nothing. They could not have been there a fraction of a second beforehand, for there had been a car in that lane! They were grazing in a very relaxed manner as if nothing could scare or spook them. I instantly slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop, wondering how my very thoughts had become reality in a fraction of a second. GOD WINK?
The two bucks looked right at me and crossed in front of my car and went into the woods. Two bucks together? That was unusual. Two bucks standing where a car had just sped across? Strange. Two bucks appearing at the same instant that I thought I should be careful, just in case I saw them? What a coincidence! Wait- I don't believe in coincidences-
It was a very special night.