Steven & Laura

The Story of Us – Part One: Grace of God

I always wonder if other couples get that silly flutter in their heart when people ask them how THEY met.  When posed the question, I always smile.  And my husband, of nearly 11 years now, always gets that crap-eating grin and says ‘I’ll let her tell it … she likes to tell it and I’ll just mess it up anyway’ (but he wouldn’t, really.  I think he secretly gets just as big of a kick out of hearing me tell it as I get out of telling it).

So, how did we meet you ask? Well, let me tell you!

Grace of God.  That’s my standard response to the question.  I don’t think that there’s any other explanation that makes sense!  Seriously!!  Okay, okay, I know.  ‘Grace of God’ is not enough detail for most folks.  So, here goes…

On November 8, 2003, I did something that I had never done before: I called in sick to work … without being sick!! I know, the horror of it, eh?  My mom will be disappointed in me when she reads this (sorry, mom, but I did … and you should be happy, really, because it got me down here, lol).

Anyhow, I spent the ENTIRE day, and I do mean the entire day – I ended up being hoarse the next day, making phone calls to EVERY Hilton, Marriott and IHG hotel in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington area to find out if anyone was hiring (because, you know, posting my resume on Hcareers.com just wasn’t going to be a fast enough outcome for me).  I still remember my spiel: ‘My name is Laura Carroll and I’m a General Manager with 8 years of experience.  My parents live in Fuquay-Varina, NC and I don’t care where you’re from, home is where your family is, so I’m looking for a GM position closer to home.  Are you hiring? Or do you know of anyone who is hiring?’

I made over 300 phone calls that day.  Those phone calls turned into 27 phone interviews over the next couple of weeks which then turned in to 10 in-person interviews the weekend of Thanksgiving when I was coming down from Ohio to visit my folks.  I narrowed the options down to 3 positions that I was interested in: Corporate DOS for the then-Doubletree Durham; dual-GM of the Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn Chapel Hill or the GM of the then-Holiday Inn Express Goldsboro.  I still have the ‘pros and cons’ worksheet that I did in order to decide which position to take.  I ended up choosing the latter of the 3 options.

This is why ‘Grace of God’ is my standard reply to the question of how I met my husband: the GM Goldsboro position offered me the least amount of salary and was the furthest from my parents … but when my daddy and I drove down to do take a look at the hotel and area, I just knew in my gut that it was exactly where I was supposed to be!!

So I accepted the job, packed up my life in Ohio and my friend Beth helped relocate me to Goldsboro on January 3, 2004 so I could start my new life in North Carolina as the GM of Holiday Inn Express that Monday, January 5, 2004.

Stay with me … it will all make sense in a minute, promise!

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Prayer During Our Wedding

That weekend, Eastern NC had one of the worst ice storms in history.  It was terrible!!  I’ll save it for another post but let me tell you, I learned a tremendous amount about how unprepared ‘the south’ was for an ice storm that first weekend!  Back to the story of us…

As the sleet came down and the ice formed, my AGM, Jesseca, and I were standing at the front desk of the hotel preparing emergency reporting.  The front wall of the hotel was all window and outside of it was a sloping driveway from the main entrance down to the meeting space.  All of a sudden, Jesseca (who was, and still is, happily married) and I look out that window to see a really nice rear-end go sliding by!!  I looked at her and said ‘I have to meet the face that goes with that @$$’

… and the face that belonged to that fun-loving, ice-sliding man was that of my sweet husband!  I believe, without hesitation, that the Good Lord plucked me up from my comfortable life in Ohio and plopped me down in Goldsboro, NC just so that I could meet Steven … and help him realize that I was the promise that God had made to him – even though he refused to see it at first.  That, though, is the continuing story for tomorrow’s post!

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