Another man anxiously stood right behind him. He even had his knees bent and arms out as if ready to pounce. Now he looked confused.
The high cheek-boned front-man said one word to his accomplice, “Gun. ” They both got into a long, dark blue van with no windows in the back.
It appeared as if it had been painted many times and this paint job was cracking. The passenger side windshield had been hit hard and the glass spider-cracked around it.
As they sped off, I tried to write down the plate number, but it was a paper-plate with illegible scribbles. The paper license plate looked like the temporary plate “s dealerships give out when a vehicle is first purchased.
Several people kept a look out for their huge van for months, but we did not see it anywhere around here. We assumed they must have spotted my unique car from the highway as they drove through our town.
I do not know how many people were in the back of that van.
It probably could fit a good 10 people in it; more if they were tied up and packed tight.
I may not be able to fight off multiple men equipped to kill me, but now I can finally defend myself just with a threat and no violence. Thank God, because I despise the fight. This was much easier, yet I acknowledge what it took to accomplish.
Think about every detail that had to be perfect for this to have a good ending.
Years before I took gun safety classes, tests, full background checks, and fingerprints ran to get a concealed carry license and finally, purchase a registered gun.
Also, had I left the car sooner they could have grabbed me in the parking lot or later. Had I been in the store, they could have waited for my return with my purchases. In addition, my gun was at easy access, sometimes I lock it in the trunk or leave it at home. The doors were locked. He came up from behind, had my door been unlocked he would have pulled me out of the car by surprise.
You may think God had nothing to do with saving me from these potentially heinous crimes. I am quite sure He does. Perhaps it is my faith blessing me with God “s best.
I believe the purpose of life is to learn and experience what you can from the world around you, and from the love within you.
My dad used to half-jokingly tell people, “When the Pope announces his engagement, so will my daughter. ” He thought he was so funny.
My mom’s friends concerned themselves with informing her, “If your daughter doesn’t marry soon, she is going to be an Old Maid. ” It was a hot topic of conversation in our little town, but not an eminent concern of mine.
My mind was focused on grades, earning money, and getting through a year without an emergency room stay, surgery, or attack on my life. I thought if wisdom is gained through misery, I should be Buddha-like by forty.
My little mom even bought a China set of dishes which she informed me would be mine on my wedding day. Why would I need dishes? I know she was trying to be thoughtful, but I don “t enjoy cooking.
Respectively, after years of volunteering at nursing homes, the insight I gained led me to know I would not have kids. I realize some kids are remarkable people who only help their parents, and add love without much stress, but I still felt certain they were not in my future.
Every person in my life thought I would change my mind about wanting kids. Some thought I could not find a man with that same opinion and others thought my “clock ” would tick me into submission.
Likewise, no one believed the “perfect ” husband I spoke of even existed, but I didn “t need them to believe·I believed. I knew God would bring me an ideal match, so I could wait.
Besides, I was not referring to the perfection we found in Jesus, I meant perfect for me. Just what I needed, strong, intelligent, and hard-working yet goofy, valiant, and sweet. I wanted someone who was a skilled fighter yet would drop to one knee to tie my shoes. A man who would travel the world with me, hold my purse, and go out of his way to feed a stray dog. I wanted him to love animals and not want children. I wanted to be enough for him, always. I know that may not sound ideal to some, but to me, he sounded like someone worth waiting for…
To her chagrin, mom eventually just gave me her proactive wedding gift. She said, “I was going to wait, but you might as well get some use out of the dishes. “
Every bit of timing seemed off. My life had become so complicated I was not sure how to proceed.
I had just resigned from a career I prepared for since I rode my first motorcycle. I wrote hundreds of pages of research material regarding the company and had worked in my father “s motorcycle dealership since I was seven years old. I was quite focused on my goal and thrilled when they offered me one of nine positions as a Management Trainee from over 3,000 applicants, their Human Resources lady informed me.
Absolutely elated, I was working in international marketing for their corporate headquarters. Many shared my enthusiasm for the brand, and we became fast friends. Though, amongst the loyal lived the wicked and I was ill-prepared for professional frauds who were newly hired.
Not on purpose, but by my third year, deceitful people were hired into our division as my manager and assistant manager. They created an environment which destroyed my happiness and then ruined my attempts to get out of their department. Finally, I had to leave my dream job and it broke my heart.
I sold my small condo and bought a townhouse in the city of my new, not-so-exciting employment. However, there was a two-week period where my mom and I would not have a place to live.
My darling mom was visiting, and a former supervisor and his sweet wife offered to let us stay with them during the transition. To bring more confusion into the mix, I had invested in a franchise and pre-paid for the convention and nonrefundable airline tickets about six months prior and way before I figured out the poor timing of the venture.
My mom would have to make the trip up in L.A. traffic to meet with the contractors I hired. Before moving in they needed to paint and put new carpet in the townhouse. She would have to stay somewhere while the work was being done and then this delicate lady would meet with the movers. It was a lot for her to handle.
No worries though, I had three friends who worked for the airline and could always get tickets refunded if needed. I called around and found out two of the friends were on vacation and the third had accepted a new career path with Mitsubishi.
I kept trying to cancel the trip. I called various customer service numbers and drove up to the main travel office to explain my predicament. No one would budge and the tickets were expensive. I then tried to get a refund for the conference. There was no help and it was all nonrefundable.
My mom was sitting on the couch, the sun reflected around her. I said jokingly, “Since there is no way to cancel this trip it must mean this is where I will meet the love of my life. ” I said it without believing it, when in reality I was just trying to hide my disappointment.
I was disillusioned and felt lost. Nothing was working out and I hated my new job. Perhaps this franchise would be a turning point.
The wonderful realtor in Santa Clarita, California went above and beyond to help us. We found mom a hotel and he drove her back and forth while she worked with the contractors.
By the time I returned, mom even had every bit of furniture, household items, and clothes put away. She made my townhouse look like a perfect home, though I could barely acknowledge her accomplishment. I was so dazed by the joy of who I just met.
The conference was in Columbus, Ohio in a large convention center. My sweet college friend, Kim, lived nearby and graciously let me stay with her.
What looked to be thousands of people were in attendance. Each of us searching for inspiration and better futures.
Escalators lined the entrance to the check-in area. The second day of the convention was the main speaker in the large conference hall. I entered the impressive auditorium and was able to sit near the stage since a member of our team was being recognized. Prior to the promotions a speaker took the stage.
It was exactly what I needed. I appreciate motivational speakers and he was brilliant. I sat in the middle of a long row, motionless, hanging on his every word, when suddenly I stood up and started making my way down the row!
What was I doing? I did not realize I was moving until it became difficult to walk as I tried to maneuver past peoples ” knees. How embarrassing! I would never leave in the middle of someone “s speech. I even left my purse and cell phone. I could not believe what I was doing.
At last I reached the end of the row and commenced the even longer march around the back of the first group of seats and through the middle of the conference hall to the oversized double doors. Oh well, I had no idea what I was doing, I may as well keep going.
I overtly murmured to myself, “What possible reason could I have for missing a very needed motivational speech? ” I did not need to go to the bathroom, nothing was wrong, no phone calls, heck – no phone. Why in the world would I disturb this presentation without meaning? I had started to walk out before I even realized I was moving.
I made my way to the main hall and into the registration area. There stood only two people, Andrew and his friend AJ. No one else. When Andrew saw me, he was fixated. He did not realize I could hear their conversation echo through the large open area.
He complemented me and his friend encouraged him to start a conversation. AJ proceeded to give Andrew advice on pick-up lines as I approached.
I spotted a lady “s room in the far corner and decided to make my way past them. He was so cute; with each step closer he seemed to become more nervous, yet never looked away.
As he came into focus, I noticed his stunning green eyes. Andrew started to sway slightly left and right like a boxer warming up for a fight. AJ was right behind him giving out his best counsel.
I smiled, wondering which of the classic lines he would select. Our paths were about to cross. Was he the person I was meant to meet? He stepped forward looking quite anxious. Then he blurted out, “Hi! “
“Hello ” I replied and kept walking. I still had a way to go in order to reach the restroom and meanwhile tried to eavesdrop on their conversation. The echo was perfect, I could hear AJ giving him a hard time for not talking to me. “You “re right ” Andrew responded, “The worst thing she could say is “no ” – I am definitely talking to her when she comes back. “
I stayed in there checking my hair and smiling to myself, appreciating my nervous admirer. I thought I had given him enough time and walked back out. Their one-sided conversation was loud! “Talk to her Andrew! ” AJ kept repeating lines to use. I was so intrigued, what was he going to say?
The aggressor in him was out! Andrew moved toward me as I approached; I was eager to hear his conversation. He took a deep breath and blurted out “Hi “·again. I repeated “Hi ” back to him, returned to the double doors, and then back into the conference.
Admittedly, I was disappointed, hoping for more, but Andrew wasn “t done. He followed me in and stood by those double doors through the rest of the speaker, the promotions, and grand finale. The crowds were pouring out and I was one of the last to leave.
This time Andrew walked hurriedly next to me with a business card in hand and his address, email, and cell number written on the back. I glanced at it then paused when I saw his last name, “Cicarella, are you Italian? ” “Yes! ” he responded with a big smile.
We talked for a moment and found out we were both attending a party at the main bar in the hotel. We agreed to meet. It started at 8 p.m. Andrew was there at 7 p.m. My friend and I arrived just after midnight.
He seemed overjoyed to see me. His family said he had not stopped talking about me. We spoke for as long as we could and met up the next day instead of attending the conference. We wanted to spend as much time as we could together before I flew home. I had never been so ecstatic to talk to someone.
Andrew lived in Detroit and was supposed to be playing in a football game the day we met but had broken his ankle. He was about to start a new job, but it was delayed so by chance he agreed to attend this conference with his family.
We spoke every day for at least four hours each day without exception. We have no idea how we came up with so much to talk about. Neither of us enjoy talking on the phone and my ears were literally ringing from the excessively long calls.
We met in early October and he immediately made plans to fly out to meet my mom for Thanksgiving in California. From the moment he met my mom, Josie, he called her “mom ” – never her name. She loved him like a son and Andrew adored her.
During his visit Andrew found a job and moved out to be with me in early February. We married a year and three months later.
When I left my “dream job ” I was devastated, then just a few weeks later I met Andrew and my world changed. Your route may seem off course, but if you are traveling with God, it will lead to a much better destination. One so incredible not even your dreams can contain it.
We believe God brought us together and continues to protect us, guide us, and love us. Sometimes extra protection has been needed.
In the first four years of marriage we were trying to start a real estate business. We mortgaged our home in order to invest in a real estate development deal which turned out to be a scam. After the fraud, we had $6.23 left in the bank, but God brought us a new friend.
A lady who attended both criminal trials felt compelled to help us. She directed us toward an actual real estate deal. We used our good credit to buy the rentals. The amount we lost in the real estate scam, we make every year with those rentals. Evil exists, but it is no match for God. He can bring success through catastrophe if you hold faith and keep going.
We continued our real estate business and it has worked well for us. Andrew does most of the remodeling work. I have been exceedingly impressed by how quickly he learns and how intelligently he progresses.
I am grateful God is always watching out for him. We were remodeling a large home and had to replace the sheetrock, windows, ceiling, and chandelier over a tall staircase two stories up and about 20 foot high. For nearly a year the staircase held scaffolding, ladders, and large men carrying tons of materials and tools up and down the stairs.
When that project was done, they were going to work on restoring the decorative sections of the stairs themselves. They removed the one ornamental piece of wood on the outside of the stairs and the entire staircase collapsed. It crumpled at their feet as they stood there in disbelief, but we know a miracle when we see it.
My sweet Andrew has had many mishaps end so perfectly it must have been by Divine design. He fell off our roof as I watched in horror, he slid down the side on a loose shingle only to catch himself at the last minute on the edge and land feet first. It had rained heavily the night before and the ground was soft; his landing looked like an Olympic jumper “s dismount.
There have been numerous incidents such as those, but it was our trip to Italy that had us stunned. We rented a car and were driving from our hotel to a tour of Leonardo da Vinci “s “The Last Supper ” on our first day in Italy. The highway traffic was going steady and then abruptly came to a stop.
We easily stopped, but a huge flat-nosed semi-truck rear-ended us in a colossal “Boom! ” On impact, we lunged forward, my neck and back popped, and our seat belts caught – but I thought my nose was going to hit the dash. It was a hard hit and we came around slowly. All the traffic had stopped, and the man jumped down out of his semi-truck. Andrew met him where the impact occurred.
My heartbeat finally started to slow down, and sadness set in just thinking about the delay. In addition to being stuck here for hours, getting police reports and insurance information, we were going to miss our only opportunity to see Jesus ” Last Supper. I felt like crying, then Andrew popped back into the car with a big smile on his face.
“There is zero damage to our car, not even a scratch or tiny dent! ” Andrew exclaimed in total awe, “No damage on either vehicle! “
“What? How can that be? ” I thought to myself. I have been in many car accidents and this one felt like he smashed the trunk into our back seat. Maybe God wanted us to see “The Last Supper. ” Maybe He did not want us to have to deal with this or perhaps He was just protecting us as always.
It was not a question of if God saved us; the question was only why. It was obviously a miracle, no impact that hard results in nothing. We are beyond grateful. This testimony is the least we can do; we hope it pleases Him and helps more of His children.
We trust where He leads and look for the light ahead. So many amazing things have happened in ours travels of 47 countries and territories that I could write another book. It has been an incredible life!
Having Andrew as a husband has made up for every single health problem, hazard, and hardship. I could not have come up with a more perfect man for me had I tried a million times, but God matched us perfectly. If adversity causes wisdom and wisdom taught me to trust God for a perfect spouse, then that was the best deal I have ever made.
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