Turning Point: At desperate time, Vadnais Heights man asked God for help and got answer [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.]
(Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 17--A few years ago, Ryan Anderson of Vadnais Heights found himself in a frightening place.
"It was late 2010," Anderson, 32, says. "My software company was going out of business. Things had gotten bad after the crash; it was time to shut the doors. I had no income. My wife and I had a newborn baby and a 2-year-old. I didn't know what I was going to do. Jobs were few and far between at that time."
He decided it was time to ask God for help.
"I was driving to the office at sunrise to finish emptying it out. It was a really, really beautiful sunrise. It inspired me to ask for help. I was completely out of ideas. I said, 'God, I don't know what to do or where to go from here. Give me a sign. Anything. Please.'
"At the moment, the car in front of me moved over. I looked up and saw that the car in front of me had Illinois plates that spelled out in big red letters, 'LOVEBIG.' "
The message walloped.
"It was like I got hit by a wave. It was really, really powerful," Anderson says. "God had answered me and the answer was clear: Love."
He found himself subtly changed.
"I started viewing people differently," he says. "I stopped judging them. I found myself appreciating the beauty in all people and feeling connected to everybody. I wanted to share that feeling."
A week later, Anderson received more direction.
"I was looking in the mirror and I had this vision of the words 'Love big' on the chest of my T-shirt," he says. "I thought, 'What better way
to spread a positive message than on a T-shirt ' "
His inspirational apparel company would be called Love Big. It had a mission statement: to spread positivity and to make kindness cool. It needed a website.
"LoveBig.com was taken. LoveBig.org was also taken, but it wasn't being used. I called Cody Solburg, the gentleman in Florida who owned it, and, after an awkward introduction about what I was doing, he lit up over the phone.
"His father, William Solburg, had been a successful real estate developer in Florida, a well-liked and respected man. His dad's motto had been 'Love big' -- he signed all his letters and emails that way. He had died tragically in a car accident five years prior to my phone call.
"Cody had bought the domain to carry on his father's legacy. When I called him out of the blue, telling him about my idea for this inspirational clothing company, he thought it fit with his father's philosophy in life."
Three years later, Anderson supports his family -- soon to expand to include a third child -- with his day job at a large financial-planning firm. Away from work, though, Anderson and his wife, Suzy, are nurturing and building Love Big. The goal is to send positive messages out to the world and to do good deeds as a company, such as feeding the hungry.
"I used to be motivated by money. Now, I am motivated by compassion," Anderson says. "I grew up Christian. I believe in God, but I'm not a hugely religious person. This was the first time I sincerely asked for something and I believe it was answered. It was such an amazing feeling to have my plea answered in such a divine way. It wasn't the answer I was seeking -- I wanted financial help -- but it was the best advice I ever got."
Read more Turning Points at TwinCities.com/turningpoint.
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