In July and August of 2005, after taking care of a sick relative for a long time financially, we found ourselves in a very bad situation. We were beginning to realize we would most likely lose everything, including our house.  We had made some decisions that were not so great, but were going to bounce back and survive. The house we were living in was always a negative for us, we were never happy there, didn’t like the neighborhood, yet always made the best of it. My Swedish grandmother, who was my best friend in the world, had died 7 years before, and I always felt that she communicated with me in different ways.

One of the ways was that whenever things were really hard, or felt bad, a cardinal would always appear near me,  often they even would look right at me, or I would hear them (more than normal, I believe). Cardinals were her favorite birds, she always loved them, had things around the house with them, etc. During this time they were showing up often, almost as if she was trying to lead me somewhere… Sounds crazy, I know, but I really believed this.

One day when I was running on the Minnehaha Parkway in South Minneapolis, I went a different direction than I normally do, towards Chicago Avenue. On the way, I saw cardinals EVERYWHERE… Usually you might see one or two, later I would take that as a sign.

On September 13th, when I realized there would be no option but for us to leave the house because it wasn’t selling and was just too expensive for us to hold onto, I went online to see if any homes not too far away were renting for a reasonable price. Ideally we were looking for a lease that would be at least 2 years if not more. I had looked briefly the previous day, but it was, I remember, on the 13th that we made the final decision to move, to let the house go if we had to, to rent somewhere. As it was, when I was looking online, a house had JUST come on, I think that day, and it was, ironically, what I would have described if asked to describe it, my perfect house. 

The next day, I called the number, we went to look at it and met you and Jessie.

We connected with you right away and kindness radiated from both of you. Of course we didn’t tell anyone our situation at the time, but when you called that night and said you wanted to rent to us we were thrilled. I should note, after mentioning September 13th, that that was my grandmother’s birthday.

The first morning in 4912 Elliot, the boys of course felt a little displaced in a new home, etc. We didn’t have our furniture yet, but walked into the dining room and sat on the rug on the floor. It was a beautiful morning, the sun spilled through the windows in the living room. We looked outside and the trees in the backyard were filled with cardinals!!!

I became very emotional, with all that had happened, the uncertainty, etc. and each day was better, each day in this house a blessing, and the whole family just fell in love with it.

Walking into the kitchen the first morning, I found your business card, on the back “Everything happens for a reason, it’s no accident…”

Strange, funny, true…

Thank you, Justin.


First Published on: December 10, 2007

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