Southwest Airlines has open seating. It’s pretty much first come first serve, and if you get stuck in the B or C group, you’re going to have a middle seat. I was in the B section and when I walked on the plane, I saw a sea of middle seats opened and not much else. I knew that I had a long flight ahead, and that fact didn’t thrill me. All of a sudden, an attractive woman asked me if I was traveling alone and I said YES! She had JUST moved from the isle to the middle seat next to her husband and I knew the second that I sat down that I was in for some fun. This was probably the most fun couple I’ve met in ages. They were both attractive, lively and had great smiles and personalities. I loved them immediately.

As it turns out, my new friends Rhonda and David were coming back from a week long business trip. Rhonda owns an advertising firm and David is a pastor. He is a lawyer but chose to follow in his fathers’ footsteps and go in to the ministry. What impressed me most was their willingness and ability to talk about everything and anything. They weren’t stuffed shirts or too religious to talk about normal things. Rhonda and I shared our individual stories of how we met our husbands, and even how difficult they can be! I found a new dear friend in her and I’m going to stay in touch with her. I have no doubt that I was planted next to her for a little encouragement, inspiration and of course to have some fun! We were laughing so much that the older lady in front of us waved to us to quiet us a few times. Neither of us liked that, so we kept having fun. We weren’t inappropriate by any stretch of the imagination. We were just two women enjoying each other and having fun in the process.

My St. Louis stay was really low key but nice. I worked out at the hotel and then went to the restaurant for dinner that was on top of the hotel that spins around 1x every 90 minutes and views the city. I asked the maitre de if he and everyone were going to point at me and laugh because I didn’t have anyone to dine with and he promised that they wouldn’t do that. Instead, I got the VIP treatment!

Michael was my waiter and he treated me to 2 glasses of Cabernet and a beautiful chocolate 3 layer cheese cake. I sat there and wrote in my journal mostly and talked to my mom and to Sway on the phone. After I was done with dinner, Michael told me how he had been a 2x cancer survivor and a bit about his family. It was a really pleasant evening.

This morning I had several hours before I had to be at the station at 2:15. I watched Mr. Holland’s Opus on HBO, worked out and basically just hung out in my room. I did the 3PM show with Heidi of “Show Me St. Louis” , a ½ hour local entertainment show. The hosts Heidi and Chris were a lot of fun and I enjoyed my trip there this time. Previously, I had been on in the early AM and there was no production assistant or anyone to help me set up. Sam, the female intern was a big help to me and we spoke for a while after.

I was fortunate enough to grab a free ride to the airport and had a few hours to kill before my flight so I decided on a Mexican restaurant. I had been there for about 2 hours and all of a sudden I saw a guy walking across the room leaving and I yelled, “DAVID… DAVID GARDNER”

OH my gosh. I have NO idea how I knew it was him. Somehow, he caught my eye and I was even yelling his name BEFORE I even knew he was in the room. It was the most bizarre thing.

I basically had to introduce myself even though David Gardner is my first cousin. I haven’t seen him in about 15 years probably but I recognized him. We were both blown away by the coincidence of that and chatted for about 15 minutes. He was flying to Chicago and I told him that I had thought about calling him and his wife Jill but just didn’t get around to it. He gave me his card and we promised to stay in touch. I invited him to come and stay with us in Florida and he said he would. He and his wife are about to adopt their 5th child so we traded stories about kids for a little bit. He asked about all of the cousins so I was able to tell him what I knew.

After he left, several people were amazed at what had happened. It started several people talking and I started chatting with the lady next to me, Lisa. She heard me talk about adoption and just TODAY she had started thinking about adoption. She has tried to get pregnant for the past 7 years with no success. I told her that the couple who had been sitting in her seat 5 minutes prior to her and shared THEIR adoption story with me to so in a span of 15 minutes I had 3 separate conversations about adoption. Lisa… there are no coincidences! You’re probably supposed to adopt!

The writing is probably on the wall for me as well. I want to adopt a baby too! That story will have to wait since it’s just an idea now, but I did call my sister today and she promised to help me locate agencies in Orlando.

A new chapter is now being written!