Hi. So, yeah, another personal post.
The last one felt a little weird to write but once I got it out there, not so weird. Did that last post open the flood gates? I dunno, maybe. Maybe it’s just too dang cold to paint furniture and it’s making me warm and feely inside. I do know that a lot of crazy things have happened in my life in the last few years (even more so lately) and I really feel like I have to share. I see signs from above all the time. You can call me crazy, doesn’t even bother me.
This is incredibly personal to me because of the way God has changed my life. I do realize that most of you come here for DIY inspiration, before & afters, and maybe a toot joke here and there. So I understand if this post might not be what you were expecting in your inbox, but I’d love for you to hear my story. I had someone unsubscribe recently and cited my Jesus Y’all page as the reason, so if you don’t want to stick around, that’s cool, too.
If you haven’t read my post about how I found God, lemme give you a quick rundown. Lived in Texas, bought a house with fiance, Mom died in car accident 6 month’s prior to wedding, got married, got a book from Dad called “God I Have a Question” by Dr. James Merritt, read it cover to cover, decided I wanted to be baptized and wanted Dr. Merritt to do it. It was a fleeting thought because Dr. Merritt was in Atlanta. Two weeks later, Hubs got an offer to move to Atlanta for work. This was the first sign that I saw that was so blatant that I couldn’t ignore. We moved. Was baptized at Dr. Merritt’s church.
Okay, so, here’s the part where you might call me crazy. So, 11:11. There are tons of theories about people who see this number all of the time and lots of articles about how it’s the “universe” telling you something and blah blah blah. I mean, it gets kinda deep and I don’t buy it until I substitute “universe” for “God”. I started seeing 11:11 almost every day after Mom passed away. She passed away on 4/1, which is four ones, 11:11. You’re rolling your eyes, I can hear it. I wasn’t working at the time and wasn’t on any sort of schedule, I was planning the wedding, dealing with her estate, every day was different, yet I always caught myself thinking “What time is it?” at exactly 11:11 am. I tried so hard to tell myself that it was my inner clock but things would happen that would convince me otherwise; that they were signs from God.
A few weeks ago, my phone was acting up. It kept telling me that it was low on memory and couldn’t function properly. Rather than delete any images, I reached for my SD card dish, which is this creepy thing, and grabbed a mini-SD card I had in there. I had three to choose from, I just picked one and popped it in, the phone was working so I went back to my business. Then I started wondering what was on that SD card and how there must be some old, ridiculous, silly pics on it, so I clicked on my gallery to check it out. It was from Mom’s phone. The first images that came up were the last pictures she ever took from the night she died. Her phone had been crushed and I had taken her memory cards out of her phone. She had been out with friends and there they were; happy, smiling, alive. It felt like a punch in the gut. I put my phone down and looked at the date on my computer; 11/11. Double gut punch. I took a minute to freak out internally and then went on about my day, ’cause these are coincidences, right?
Later that night, I was laying in bed taking a dumb quiz online about what color would look best on me. Green. Freakin’ green. I do not look good in green. I thought about how it was Mom’s favorite color, put my phone down and went to sleep. A few hours later, Hubs and I were woken up by someone screaming outside. It was the voice of a female and she was clearly distraught. She was screaming “Mom” at the top of her lungs. It became clear that she had been locked out of her house by her parents. She screamed and cried and it brought back so many memories of my relationship with my own mother. It wasn’t the best. We argued all the time, I ran away or was kicked out so many times and we had screaming matches that would rival the worst of ’em. I felt that I knew exactly what this girl was feeling. It broke my heart all over again and made all of the old wounds feel fresh. I was nauseous and filled with regret about my relationship with my Mom. The girl started yelling “help”, which I felt gave us no choice but to call the police, regardless of whether or not she was actually in danger. The police came and we went back to bed.
Guess what time it was. Yeah, 11:11 on 11/11.
About a week later, I got an email from a freelance editor saying that she had great news and that she wanted to send a photographer and stylist out to shoot our home for a BHG special interest mag feature. I read the email on my phone, closed the email app to my phone home screen; 11:11.
So, I don’t really buy into the whole “one with the universe” schtick that 11:11 theorists put out there. I think God knows that that’s something that I pay attention to, that I am open to, and He uses that to give me little signals. Or to just generally freak me out, because that’s what happens a lot of the time. I think He communicates this way with all of us, we just have to keep our eyes and hearts open.
Mom’s birthday was 11/19. When I woke up that morning, I told God “I’d really love to hear from her today.” Another voice in my head reminded me that she always said her “birthday was just another day”, so I didn’t think on it too hard. I went about my day and while I was having lunch, I checked my Instagram notifications. There was a comment on one of my photos from a guy who follows me. (I’m totally following him, too, because he’s a producer of one of my favorite shows ever, Big Brother.) I clicked on the notification and it took me to the image he had commented on…. 27 weeks deep in my ‘gram, a pic of me and mom.
Tell me that’s a coincidence.
Atlanta Magazine has a new publication called HOME. Their winter edition just came out and I ran out and bought two copies because they mentioned my name (and published the word “sharts”!).
In good company on the pages of @atlantamagazine’s quarterly mag HOME. So happy to be a part of @dwellwithdignity and to get to work with amazing people for such a wonderful cause. @stevemckenzies @julieminteriors @gordondunning @ajwdesignsinc @egyptsherrod ?❤? #NameDropper #HeartsAndSharts #DwellWithDignityAtlanta A photo posted by Dena (Holley) Stormer (@heartsandsharts) on
After finding out more deets on the photoshoot for the BHG Special Interest mag, I googled the photographers. Same people who did the cover for the issue I was just mentioned in.
So, that one might not seem so crazy to you, but I have literally never been in a magazine and that connection just seemed…. weird. The feature they photographed for that magazine also had an old wooden cuckoo clock that was acquired through travels. We have the same clock.
The photo shoot was scheduled and we had family coming over for an early Thanksgiving so I hit some thrift stores to try to fill some empty frames hanging in our living room gallery wall. I spotted a Roger Miller record that I couldn’t pass up. I snagged it, took it home and thought to myself, “This record cover looks so familiar, do I already own this record? No, no way. I just organized my records in record cabinet and this one wasn’t in there.“
When I got home, I started cleaning the house to prep guest rooms for family. I walked into our main guest room and saw this:
The Skynyrd album had fallen over and there was another previously purchased Roger Miller record just sitting there. I’ve had these records propped up in here for several months just because the colors match the room and forgot they were even in there… No one ever goes in that room and the air vents are closed so a gust of A/C breeze didn’t just knock this over. Coincidence? Gremlins?!
The photo shoot was this past Wednesday and I hit the mall looking for something to wear. I had spoken to the stylist about an outfit and mentioned that I had a dress that I had made from a vintage chintz of my grandmother’s that I also used on our kitchen curtains.
She said that she thought that would be a great part of the story so I planned on wearing this dress but wanted something in the same color as the skirt to cover my arms. I shopped all dang day, carrying a swatch of fabric with me. No luck. I gave up and bought a navy blue cardigan and just planned on wearing jeans. The next day was photoshoot day and my StitchFix happened to arrive a day early. In it was an olive green cardigan that matched this dress perfectly.
Shut the front door.
I mean, what the heck? What the heck?!?! I completely refuse to believe that all of these things are coincidences. Crazy things like this happen in my life on a regular basis.
Maybe I’m just looking for connections between everything…
Or maybe these are signs from God.
Little messages letting me know I’m on the right track, I’m right where I need to be or I need to take that moment to just be fully aware of His greatness. I strongly believe He is guiding me through life. He brought me to my husband, who literally made me do a 180 and get my shiz together, He brought me to Atlanta, He’s given me so many opportunities and so many blessings that I am completely overwhelmed and can’t do anything but give Him all the credit for all of it.
I ended up wearing the green sweater with jeans for my pic in the magazine; one of the photographers and the stylist made the call. And you know what they said?! “You look great in green.”
If you’re missing a loved one, know they are here with you. If you need God in you life (we all do), He’s right here, bro. He’s listening, He’s watching and He knows exactly what we need.
Okay, let’s do that thing; right hand on your left shoulder, left hand on your right shoulder. Squeeze.
That’s from me.