I don't believe in coincidences outside of purpose. I believe that when things happen, they do happen for a reason. I also believe we can take those coincidences and use what messages they are trying to teach us, or we can ignore them and miss out on important (or just amazing) experiences.
Take, for example, this word: Thornton.
2 1/2 years ago, when we moved to Pennsylvania, we searched very meticulously for the best place for our family to live. Like most people who are searching for a home, we took into consideration the distance from work, church, the airport, and the main city. We factored in the size of the house and the lot, as well as what type of schools were nearby and what kind of neighborhood it was in. Our budget also played a big part. When it was all said and done, the biggest reason we took the home we did was because of a feeling. We believe, most seriously, that the feeling we had came from God. We believe He is guiding us, even when we feel unworthy of it... Anyway, sufficeth to say, we found our home after much research, effort, and guidance from the Spirit.
We ended up in the village of Thornton. It was a tiny village in the township of Thornbury, in the county of Delaware, in the state of Pennsylvania, about 35 minutes southwest of Philadelphia.
About 8 months after we moved there, we were finally able to sell our home back in Provo. The buyers were a young couple, and in the negotiations, we agreed to do some work on the house for them before they bought it. When it was all said and done, and we went to sign the closing papers, we noticed the last name of the couple who purchased our home: Thornton.
During 2015, I became increasingly restless in regards to my ancestors. My extended family, and especially my parents, have done such a marvelous job over the years in searching for --and finding --my ancestors, that I felt there wasn't much I could do. Oh, how wrong I had been! There is so much I can do, and much to be found and recorded. I found myself feeling pulled toward certain family members, and I found, much to my surprise, that through several branches of my family tree, a lot of my heritage lies in Scotland. I already knew the majority of my family had come from England (and Sweden and Denmark), but I didn't realize Scotland was such a large part! I wish I could say that I have, since my discovery, spent countless hours researching and finding... but as is my lot (and times and seasons), I had only begun before life shifted my focus (ahem: moving to Kansas). But one thing I remembered seeing was that my great-great-great-great-grandmother (not from Scotland) was Sarah Thornton.
Her son, George, ended up marrying a Jane Smith (who survived the Willie Handcart company at age 17 with her entire family) from Scotland. She and her family sailed to America on a ship named.... You guessed it! The Thornton.
I'm not sure what all of these things have in common, but I feel like God is telling me something about these ancestors. The Thorntons, as well as the Smiths from Scotland. Perhaps I shall spend more time perusing and searching and learning and finding... And maybe we should have named our last daughter, "Thornton?" Ha!
Interesting side-note: all who know me understand my affection for Great Britain. I've always been drawn from whence I came (even though it has been many generations back) and so it came as no surprise that I was immediately taken with the idea of Scotland. And of visiting! I feel a deep desire to go there, to find people... to just... understand where they came from. I truly believe I will need to go there someday. Soon. Like... very soon. Tomorrow? Well, at least soon-ish...