September 14, 2023


Do you ever wake up in the morning with something on your mind? Immediately, as soon as your eyes open for the day, a person or a memory is so clear in the forefront of your mind that you can’t get away from the thought. 

I think of these little thoughts as nudges. Nudges from God, nudges from guardian angels, maybe nudges from our own conscience. Years ago, someone texted me on a random day that had zero significance but it was just a rough day for no apparent reason. That person said she was praying for me. I was so confused. 

“I think you might have the wrong person?” I replied to her text. Nothing was that bad in my day. Why did I really need the extra prayers? (I mean, I’ll take them…but what did she know that I didn’t?)

“No, I have the right person. I had you on my mind and wanted to pray for you,” she said.

After that day, I tried to follow her direction and listen more to my inner voice.

* * *

The morning of September 11th. 

It is a date that no American will ever forget. We remember where we were when we heard the news. We ask others where they were on that terrifying morning. I was a senior at Manteo High School. I woke up a little early that morning, excited for the day. It was my boss’s 50th birthday and as good employees would, we had an elaborate plan to both celebrate her and embarrass her by posting signs all over Dare County announcing her age and elegance. Those plans quickly changed as the tragic events of the day unfolded.

As my eyes opened on the morning of 9/11 this year, I remembered her birthday.

“Send Donetta flowers,” something told me.

I thought of the garden she and her husband planted after losing their son, Josh. Sunflowers taller than I’ve ever seen, and wildflowers with colors so vibrant they didn’t even look real.

A few hours went by and the thought popped back into my mind, don’t forget the sunflowers.

I contacted my flower gal. I described Donetta- a free spirit, like a wild flower herself.  She immediately tossed a few ideas my way and somehow, she’d entered my mind and seen the idea I had for the perfect birthday arrangement. 

I wasn’t sure if she would be home. I wasn’t sure if she would come to the door. We were just going on a whim and a prayer and I knew it would all work out…I knew I had to send the flowers, specifically the sunflowers.

The next few messages I received told me exactly why I felt the urgency to send the flowers. Donetta explained that she had been in a funk for two days- maybe the worst since her husband passed just a year before. 

“…then the delivery of friendship, color, fragrance, thoughtfulness…put a song where sadness had existed,” she said.

Maybe somehow I felt her funk and knew she needed something to make her smile. Maybe it was God who whispered instructions to me first thing that morning. Or perhaps it was Donetta’s angels- knowing that I would listen, and follow through. Regardless of exactly who or why, I’m so thankful I listened to the nudge. Sometimes the smallest gesture can make the biggest impact.

*Love you, Mama D!*

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