IS THERE REALLY A GOD?
This content was written by ChromaZone Ink, Melbourne FL.
Is there really a God? Whaaaaaaaat?????? You’re probably wondering “what the hell does ChromaZone Ink Canvas Prints have to do with MY faith in God, or lack of?” After reading this account, we invite YOU to be the judge.
Our journey has to do with hitting rock bottom. We’ve all been there, or are going there at some time. Maybe even more than once. Even if you believe in God, we’ll bet there have been times when you really doubted or are beginning to doubt his existence. Your faith is rocked and you probably wonder if you’ve been “schnookered” by all those TV evangelists who will bless you for the proper donation, or even your local clergy who tell you that miracles happen.
We’ve been through it all, no matter what it looks like on the surface. Through it all we feel extremely blessed and are quite compelled to tell our story. You can decide for yourself if your life is also filled with divine intervention the way we have realized ours is…
You Can Experience a Miracle Too! For Free!
We’ve learned that miracles come in many sizes and levels of impact. If you just learn how to recognize them, and our two examples will hopefully help guide you to a place of more peace in your life, just as we’ve learned to create by leaving the important things to God to handle. Peace in your soul is the most beautiful gift.
Recognizing When You’ve Been Blessed
Well folks, at ChromaZone Ink Canvas Prints, we’ve experienced what we believe to be direct messages from God, confirming his existence for us. We’d like to tell you about our two experiences now, because we know so many of you out there are in need of peace in your own hearts. We’re not evangelists or anything like that. We’re just average business owners, going through the struggles that most small business owners go through, but we have developed a way to greatly reduce our stress over things we really have no control over, and it involves simple, free, prayer and letting go of worry to let God take care of things. We want to help you experience this peace too, and if this article helps just one person, then…YAY!!!
The White Magnolia
Roll back to a Sunday afternoon in spring of 2005. I had been working for a giant tech company for 6 years saving every penny I could so that I could open my dream art gallery. I’ve always had an internal battle between my left-brain & right-brain, so this art gallery would be my solution to balance the tech-laden stresses of my day job. I had diligently done research on galleries and business as most left-brainers do and I was down to the final “shit or get off the pot” decision. I found a location, yet I was still torn. My brother and sister-in-law whom I referred to as “The God Squad” advised me to ask for a sign from God.
Dano & Andrea: “Yeah, just ask. He’ll answer you if you pay attention. We’ve done it.”
Angela: “Huh? Like what?”
Dano: “Like anything, like a turtle taking a shit on the road, I don’t know, just anything specific you want to be able to recognize!”
Angela: “Okay, I’ll try anything.”
So, that Sunday evening alone in my house, I said what was probably one of my first heartfelt prayers to God, and it went something like this:
“Dear God. I need to know if I should take this leap or not and really open this art gallery in this location, so I’m asking for a sign from you if the answer is YES. Now I’m really new to this and very stupid about God stuff, so please, you’ll have to make this a really blatant sign, like a big white flower – like a magnolia or something like that, and if you could do it by noon Sunday, one week from now, then I can be sure what I am supposed to do. Amen.”
Can you believe I gave God a deadline? That’s what the corporate world will do to you. Well, God is not without a sense of humor…
For the next 6 days everywhere I went and everything I did, I kept one eye opened for a big white flower. I would see big clusters of tiny white flowers and wonder if that was a sign, but I was not convinced. Then, I kid you not, at 11:45 a.m. on the following Sunday, I am riding through downtown Melbourne headed for a new coffee shop to try out, and I turn my head to the left to witness a man hoisting a sign up for a new café named “Magnolia Cottage” and this sign had one big white magnolia on it surrounded by a small magnolia on each side. Was that my sign??? I mean… it was a sign with my sign, so it’s like my sign “squared” but it had two extra small magnolias – oh man, I forgot to be more specific with God about only specifying big magnolias… dang, is this MY SIGN???? In a little fog of bewilderment 5 minutes later (11:50 a.m.), we pulled into the new coffee shop and I am contemplating what I had just seen. I opened the door to the shop, and right there at the entrance was a tall vase with nothing but giant white magnolias in it. I gave God a “thumbs up” right there in the café, then applied for my business license.
One of the best days of my life came on October 5th, 2005. My grand opening for “LoPressionism Gallery” that I had dubbed “The Genesis Party.” I finished the 4th quarter of that year in a typical new-business upswing, and 2006 numbers were slightly climbing. Then came 2007. Despite all my marketing & research efforts, not to mention my entire life savings, the gallery tanked like the Titanic. I’ll never know for sure if I would have been one of the 5% of businesses that survived otherwise, but America’s worst recession hit, and purchasing fine art was the last thing on peoples’ minds who were losing their homes left and right. My fledgling gallery was no match for the black cloud of this financial demise. I was emotionally destroyed, financially broke, feeling like the biggest failure, hating art, and I kept asking God why he tricked me. But I did thank him that I still had my day job and wasn’t one of the countless people losing their jobs during this devastating recession.
What I NOW realize is that it was no trick. It was part of the journey I had to take to get where I am now. Had I not opened that gallery, I would not have met my husband Brian, nor would I have met my current best friends. Here’s a big relationship clue: People you meet who become your best friends and support your dreams at the WORST time in your life, will be your lifelong true friends, and it makes the good times with them 5000 times better! I also would not have the determination to try again and MAKE IT WORK the “next time,” to rectify this “failure” I now had soiling my reputation.
The “Next Time” was the merging of passions with my husband in a business that is now known as ChromaZone Ink Canvas Printing (formerly Canvas Depot). And here comes the second “God Story:”
In 2011-12 we were operating out of my parents’ large building in Downtown Melbourne (the old “Christmas Cottage building). Mom & Dad had been trying to sell the building so they could retire and were renting it out to several businesses in an “antique mall” type of shared space business model until it sold. It had been for sale for a couple years and there were no promising prospects on the horizon, so Brian and I decided we would convert the back warehouse area to our print shop. We had no sooner made that decision, when Mom & Dad got a contract on the building. (Now “Hell ‘n Blazes Brewery). To make a long story short, for the next 6 years, without fail, every building Brian and I rented to house ChromaZone Ink Canvas Printing, went under contract for sale within 30 days of us moving in, thwarting our long-term purchase plans. Seriously, it became a joke – “Hey if you want to sell your commercial property quickly, just rent it to Brian & Angela!” The same guy even bought two of the buildings we rented!!! And now he was our landlord!!! After the third time this happened, I went out and got my real estate license so I could get “first dibs” on available properties and not have to worry about other realtors not returning calls on our inquiries.
Fast-Forward to summer of 2018. With our latest 3-year lease approaching its end, we began feverishly looking for a building to buy, or a lease-to-own deal. We found what we considered the perfect building off Wickham Rd. Everything about it was as if it were custom built for our needs, including the location. We weren’t quite ready to move, but I called on it anyway, because as my dear mom always says: “You just never know.” As expected, the owner didn’t want to hold it for us waiting for our lease to end and he found other tenants. We continued to look at a lot of other candidate structures, but everything we looked at fell through for one crushing reason or another.
In the mean-time we were also shopping for a good business coach. We hired a firm out of Tulsa, Oklahoma and were instantly thrust into a learning frenzy of modern-day marketing techniques and given weekly homework assignments that we were held accountable for. Ironically, the firm seemed to be gently faith-based and helped us intensify our own faith to the point that Brian and I began praying together every morning and learning to just let God handle things. Remember that “peace” I talked about in the beginning? We really began to experience it by listening to short podcasts every morning that reminded us that if you put things in God’s hands and quit worrying about it, He will handle everything.
Back on track here – our business coach assigned us a task to get the biggest whiteboard we could find, “like a 4’ x 8’ and stick it in your ChromaZone Ink Canvas Print office where you see your work plan daily”. They advised us to hit the local big box depot to purchase the raw materials at a fraction of the cost, and build our own. Brian shopped for white boards, and I hit the moulding department to frame it out in…because I’m an “artsy girl” and I have to have things “pretty” if I’m going to spend half my life there, literally.
We got buried in working “ON” the business and realized we needed the whiteboard badly, but couldn’t find a suitable wall on which to hang it in our current small space. We never actually purchased the whiteboard. “Oops, sorry coach, we didn’t get it this week, we’ll try again this weekend”, but the little shop with no large wall space demanded our attention in other areas and were getting ready to move soon anyway. We’ll get the whiteboard later…
January 9, 2019 and now we are praying intently because our lease is up April 30th and we need to give a 3-month notice of intent to vacate our existing sardine can. We had spent weeks touring building after building. I was literally on a first-name basis with all the planning and zoning employees at the City of Melbourne because before we made any offers, I wanted to make sure our type of business and our future plans would be doable in the different districts we were shopping in. And then the call came in that afternoon…
“Hi Angela, this is Rebecca from the property management company – remember last summer when you were looking at the building on Emerald and we told you ‘No’ because we couldn’t hold it that long?”
Angela: “Yes, I sure do.”
Rebecca: “Well, the current renters defaulted and we had to evict them. I know my chances are slim but have you found anything yet?
Angela: “Um…. No, we actually have not.”
Rebecca: “Well would you like to come look at it again? The renters made some changes to it and you should come and see it.”
Angela: “Wow, Okay, but before we waste anyone’s time is there any chance in hell the owner would ever consider a lease option?”
Rebecca: “Yeah, there are some new circumstances in his life and I know I can at least get you first right of refusal.”
Angela: “We’ll be there tonight.”
It’s 7:30pm and we meet Rebecca at the building. Now I have to remind you that I am STILL working at the tech company going on 20 years at this point so I need an office that will hold me, my 3 computers and our ChromaZone bookkeeper. We walk in the front door, look around – it still seems perfect…
But there is of course a catch: It’s a bit pricier than before and we’ll have to maintain two spaces for a month or so… Brian and I are looking at each other and telepathically asking God for a sign as we shoulder-slump our way back through the building for another yearning look. Then I hear Brian exclaim: “Angela, come here!”
I walk into the large office beside the showroom floor where Brian is standing, and mounted on a wall that neither of us saw the first time, is a 4’x 8’ whiteboard framed in beautiful white moulding.
“Rebecca, we’ll take it.”
The icing on the cake: We were able to negotiate it for the price we originally saw it at six months earlier AND the landlord cut us an amazing deal to ‘go ahead and take the buidling now’. Now we’ve got the time to move at our own pace and not have to stress over a hurried move. What more proof could we get that if we place our needs into God’s hands, he will provide, but in HIS time frame, not ours. His time frame worked out much better for us.
God, you ROCK!
Starting spring of 2019, look for ChromaZone Ink Canvas Printing at our new location at 7612 Emerald Dr. in West Melbourne. We would love to be your giclée printing company, call us at 321-312-4800 | 800-501-2901.