I saw the sign.

I’m not superstitious.

But I’m a writer, and I do keep my eyes open. (Professional hazard.) I’m also a freelancer.

When we were house hunting this spring, I couldn’t help but notice that every time we visited a certain house—for the first showing, then a second, to meet the inspector, then a contractor, and then to check on one last thing—the same thing happened:

I would get an email telling me I’d been paid.

The amounts varied, and none of them were terribly large, and yet they came—at odd times, from unexpected sources. I wouldn’t have been so surprised if we’d made all our visits on typical paydays, like at the end of the month, or on the 15th. But we didn’t, and yet the paypal payment notifications kept coming, every time I was at the house.

I don’t really believe in omens, but it seemed like a good one. We bought the house.

My oddly cooperative inbox reminded me of years ago, when a good friend was making a major decision with her husband about what job offer to accept—and in which city—when he finished his professional training. They had their own sign, and it wasn’t any stranger than my emails: theirs was Lynyrd Skynyrd.

They spent months discussing this huge decision. Every time the conversation turned toward the Big Move—at home, in the car, at McAlister’s, wherever—Sweet Home Alabama always seemed to come on the radio.

They laughed it off, because nobody should make a huge decision based on Lynyrd Skynyrd. But it seemed like a sign—and they ended up moving to Birmingham.

It’s been eight years and they’re still there.

I don’t really believe in signs, exactly. But I do love hearing about the happy coincidences that make you wonder whether the universe is trying to tell you something—whether it comes in the form of email, or a song on the radio, or something even more off-the-wall.

Even though I say I don’t believe, I still keep my eyes open for good omens. It’s the writer in me. I can’t help it.

Has there been a time when you saw the sign—or something an awful lot like one? Tell us about it in comments. 

P.S. Of course I believe in books finding their way to you when you need them—but that’s in a category of its own.


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  1. What a fun post, Anne!

    I also don’t believe in signs but I do love those happy little inklings that something’s right for you. I especially love when God talks through people about things I’ve been praying about. It both freaks me out and thrills me!

    Here’s to lots of paypal notifications for both you and me 🙂

    • Abigail says:

      I agree Marcia! I don’t think “the universe” can send messages, but I do think an all loving, all powerful God can give us assurances when we ask for them so that we can know we’re going the right way. It is amazing how time and time again God has provided in helping me go to the right school, paying for financing when I took a leap of faith, and protecting my family in the midst of so many health problems a few years ago. God is good!

  2. Jenn says:

    I don’t usually get signs but feelings. Just the other day I asked my husband when he was going to Germany next. Two days later I got a text saying “Going to Germany sat. How’d you know?”

  3. Jeannie says:

    I love this discussion of “signs,” Anne, and I do have a story to share. Around 20 years ago we were visiting a friend in Montreal, and she told us that a couple she knew would be moving to our city (Kingston, Ontario) that fall for the husband’s new job. Our friend was eager for us to connect with this couple and said she’d give them our phone # and email; we also gave her some info about our church in case they wanted to check it out. But nothing came of it: they didn’t contact us or our church. Even a year later when we got our new phone book (this was in the days of ubiquitous land lines) I tried to find their names but no luck. So I figured it was one of those things that sounded great at the time but just wasn’t going to happen.

    About 2 years after the conversation with my Montreal friend, we were at church, and I was doing greeter duty. I watched as an unfamiliar couple with a teenage daughter got out of their car and walked across the parking lot. instantly I thought, “That’s them.” I don’t know how, but I just KNEW it. So I greeted and welcomed them, and then when I had a free moment I walked up to the woman, asked if this was their first time at the church, and where were they from: “Montreal originally,” she said. “What’s your last name?” I asked, although I already knew what she was going to say. We became instant friends. 20 years later she still lives here in the Kingston area and is one of my closest friends.

  4. Leanne says:

    When my husband and I decided to extend my maternity leave from school, we were nervous about money. Within the next month, we got six calls between us for private music lessons, which gave us extra income with a flexible schedule. I love it when “signs” confirm things you’ve already decided, or help to reveal your gut feelings.
    (I wrote about this “signs” story here: http://leannesowul.com/spirituality/signs/)

  5. Teri says:

    Years ago, before I had my Nook, I searched our local bookstores for a copy of ” The Shadow of the Wind”. I wanted to read it on vacation. It was not to be. Fast forward to a small town in northern Australia, in one of the smallest bookstores I have ever visited. There sitting on the counter was “my” book. It was not in a display but just sitting randomly by itself. It was definitely a sign to me. I throughly enjoyed the book and the trip.

  6. Missy G. says:

    I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but a friend from high school decided that he was going to attend the University of New Orleans (UNO) for college after coming across a stack of Uno cards.

  7. Leigh Kramer says:

    Earlier this spring, I was debating about whether to find a new place to rent and “Movin’ Out” came on the radio. I didn’t take it as a “go ahead” but the coincidence did not escape me either and now I’m settling into my new place.

  8. Tim says:

    This reminds me of a conference I went to where the speaker said someone once asked him to help discern which job offer God wanted him to accept, and the speaker said it was as if the guy thought God would answer, “Well Chicago’s fine, I can make it to Chicago, but don’t pick Omaha because that’s just too far for me to travel!”

    It’s not that I’ve never experienced something that certainly looked like a sign, but even bona fide signs don’t dispense with the need for wisdom. I bet you and Will exercised plenty of that when buying the house, Anne.

  9. This might just be weird, but it makes me laugh: when I first met my husband, before I had even admitted to myself that I liked him or anything, whenever I saw him the song “Having my babies” would start playing in my head. I had NEVER had anything like that happen to me before, but I guess it was some kind of a sign or subliminal thing (or maybe just pheremones??) because I’m on my way to having his fourth baby!

  10. Anjanette says:

    A few years ago my husband and I took our kids for a day trip to check out a beach about an hour from our home near Boston. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful beach, and a charming little town which also happens to have a commuter rail stop with a 40 min ride to Boston.

    While the kids frolicked on the beach, I followed a whim and went to check out an open house for a dilapidated house that was a 5 min walk from town and a ten minute walk to the beach. It was a wreck, but we had rehabbed houses before and my brother-in-law, who is a contractor, happened to be in between jobs. Our kids were homeschooling and my husband works from home three days a week, so we thought, why not? We put in a rock-bottom offer

    We got the house, and immediately, we worried we’d made an impulsive mistake. But as soon as we started telling people, all sorts of things fell into place. The receptionist at our pediatric dentist told us her best friend from school lived on our new street, and happened to have a daughter our age. My son’s OT mentioned that her cousin lived in the same town and that her daughter might be interested in babysitting. Amazingly, they turned out to be our next-door-neighbors! And the wonderful speech therapist who’s been working with my son for six years announced that she had just taken a job in a town a few miles away, so we didn’t have to transition him to a new therapist. Our new town’s population is only around 5,000 people, so all of these coincidences did seem like signs that helped us to work through our uncertainty. We’ve been in our new home for almost three years now and we love it. Here’s to good omens, and hoping that you will be just as happy in your new home as we are in ours!

    • Anne says:

      Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story! The only thing that would make it better is pictures. 🙂 So happy for you and your family and your meant-to-be home.

  11. Liz says:

    Just before my mom died of cancer, my son prayed at lunchtime, “…and please help Grandma choose something good to be next, like a dolphin or a bald eagle.” My 5-year-old daughter piped up, “Yeah, because she’s been bald before!” We told the story to my mom, who repeated it to people several times during her last week in the hospital, and it was the perfect story to break the ice. Since she died, bald eagle sightings have held a special place in our hearts, and often seem to coincide with big life events or times that we really miss her. Also, in the moments of her death, three separate people in totally different places were thinking of or praying for chariots of fire. These are moments we have suffused with meaning, but it would not be rational to discount them entirely.

  12. Deborah says:

    For years now, whenever it am going through a particularly difficult time, I always seem to hear “angels among us” by Alabama. This isn’t a super popular song anymore, so I always feel like it is just for me when it comes on.

    Hope your paydays come in frequently in your new house!!

  13. Jillian Kay says:


    My friend and I walk together every day at work, and there’s a deer that seems to show up only when one of us is having a very bad day.

    And yes, I now have that song in my head 🙂

  14. Kara says:

    Yes! We have been getting lots of medical bills recently, and it seems overwhelming to pay a big bill all at once. But stretching out payments over two years? Yuck. And so, we’ve been brave and paid the manageable ones and guess what? Every time we have, I’ve received a check from my freelance work a day or two later! I take the timing as a sign that we’re doing the right thing! 🙂

  15. Heather says:

    My husband and I met at a conference. We enjoyed getting to know each other over the course of 12 days. I knew that I was interested, so when Eric offered to take me to the airport, I was thrilled! We were near Colorado Springs and he suggested leaving early and seeing the grounds and chapel at the Air Force Academy. A wedding had recently been performed in the chapel and, lo and behold, a “The Two Shall Become One” banner was hanging on the pulpit as we walked down the aisle. We were engaged 3 wks. later and the rest is history!

  16. Three years ago we had sold our house and were semi-desperately looking for a new home since we were renting back our old home and literally running out of time. We looked at a particular house in the little town where we wanted to move, but it wasn’t quite right for a number of reasons. As we were walking back to the car parked on the street, I looked at the house next to the one we had looked at and thought, “I wish that house was for sale. I like that one better.”

    Fast forward a few weeks and that house pops up in the listings our relator was sending us. We immediately called, saw it the next day and wrote the offer on the spot. It had exactly what we wanted and was in our price range. There was all sorts of drama with the process and the closing, but in the end it was ours. We’ve been here just over three years and we love it. 🙂

  17. Sara Furlong says:

    I was interviewing for a six-figure job and I was going to get it. I had uniquely extensive experience in the industry that no other candidate could have, I had connections putting in good words for me, and I was confident and rocking the interviews. While the idea of making a great income was exciting, but it involved travel and my heart was breaking at the idea of leaving my babies. I had been freelance writing for the past couple years and got to spend nearly all of my time with them. The whole way to the third interview, where they were going to make an offer, I was driving on the interstate behind a truck for a coffin company. It said something about honoring the ones we love. I couldn’t help thinking that an important part of me would be dying if I took the job. When I got there, I told them I couldn’t accept it.

  18. Rachel Fitzgerald says:

    My boyfriend and I were recently planning our big move away from the East Coast, and we were deciding between Texas, Washington, and Utah. Suddenly, we were finding Utah state quarters EVERYWHERE, even after we decided on Utah – we found them in parking lots, in boxes as we were packing, and on the floor of his parents living room the night before we struck out. Since we got in the car and waved goodbye to our parents, with our GPS set for Salt Lake City, I haven’t seen a single one.

  19. When I found out that I got a contract for my first novel, immediately one of my boys (he was 3 at the time) asked me to wipe his bottom. After finding out about my second book contract, the other boy plugged the toilet and needed me to act as plumber. For each subsequent book contract there has been some subtle reminder of who I am before being an author. I’m a wife first, a mom second, an author third.

    While this might not necessarily be a sign, but each time is a nice reminder for me not to get too big of a head. 😉

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