How L.L. Bean Shifted My Worldview

Carole Heaney  • November 13, 2021, • 6 min read

How L.L. Bean Shifted My World View

Welcome to my blog where I will share stories and insights created by the “Ripples” of life, starting with how L.L. Bean gave new meaning to customer satisfaction.

I recently wrote a children’s story, “The Cardinals Gift-A True Story of Finding Hope in Grief,” about a young girl and her early experience of grief following her father’s death. A cardinal enters her dark mornings in late winter, disrupting her desire to hide from the world under her covers while rejecting the gifts the bird has to offer.

The book is based on my story following the death of my 42-year-old husband. I, too, hid under the covers, struggling to greet every day and feeling powerless to ease our pain, until something changed.

I was oblivious early on to the visiting cardinal as a source of my “awakening,” both literally and figuratively. I noticed I was waking up to catch a bird sighting each day. Shortly after that, I was getting out of bed before the cardinal arrived. I engaged in life a bit more, a step toward being among the living again.

I suspect my science background as a registered nurse guided a myopic mindset, convincing me the bird visits were simply a coincidence. It was simple; a cardinal was pecking at my window—end of discussion.

Curiosity exists for a reason.

The bird’s persistence began to pique my curiosity for some deeper meaning.  Concerned my children thought I was losing touch; I asked their opinion about the bird sightings. I received this caution, “the grief counselor told us something is wrong if you think your dead parent is coming back as a bird.” Child, thank you for that. Duly noted. Despite their cries of “Mom, come look, there’s the cardinal” whenever they saw the bird.

As these cardinal experiences continued, doubt crept in to challenge my certainty. Our loss skewed the alignment of everything I knew to be true. As our family was living with so much uncertainty, I challenged my assumptions about pretty much everything.

Imagining how our world would reorder itself from this emotional chaos was exhausting. My vulnerability grew, and I wanted desperately to feel the ground under my feet and maybe a bit of hope.

The cardinal visits persisted.

Long story short.

Fast forward to the dreaded first Christmas. All those firsts were yet to come. That thought went straight to the land of later. Retail therapy was a good distraction, and  L.L.Bean Catalogs (pre-digital life) were plentiful.

I flipped through the pages avoiding the images of happy families in their comfy winter gear skiing at the top of a mountain.  Success! I found a cardinal snow globe in the specialty gift section. I was giddy with excitement. My husband’s mother loved cardinals! Yes, I nailed down one gift. Amen!

I headed straight for the phone (yes, my landline) to place my order. It felt good to have one thing crossed off my list! A brief hiatus from the engulfing fog of indecision. My sentimental brain considered ordering one for myself, but they were pricey, so I thought better of that idea.

Several weeks later, my L.L. Bean package arrived. Remember, this was the pre-next day delivery era, so two weeks was timely! Digging through the box, I found a styrofoam container with the snow globe. It was perfect, and Gram would love it. I wish I had ordered one for myself. (That’s fodder for another blog!)

But wait… I spotted another box.

Be careful what you ask for.

There sat a second snow globe. You could have knocked me over with a feather. “I’m confused. I know I only ordered one,” I mumbled. I checked the packing slip, one globe listed; one globe charged to my credit card.

Feeling a little guilty, I called L.L.Bean customer service to report the error. “Sorry Ma’am, you must be mistaken, one ordered; one charged,” said the woman, as I gazed upon a globe in each hand.

Yes, children, I was losing my mind!

Questions began spewing from my brain. What just happened here? Coincidence? Maybe. L.L. Bean is psychic? Unlikely. Human error? Perhaps. Divine intervention? I’m leaning hard into that one! I sensed a growing need to trust my intuition more and enjoy the synchronicity in the world.

Awakening happens in the most unexpected places.

Shock, delight, and a spark of hope in one little box. My gratitude for our cardinal visits and snow globe were undeniable, but the true gift far surpassed their physical beauty. Over time my experience with loss awakened a shift in my worldview about love, universal energy, and healing.

Here are a few of my discoveries along the way.

  • I am constantly surrounded by a power far greater than myself.
  • There will always be meaningful mystery in life and death.
  • The universe always stands ready to support me when I ask.
  • My answers always find me. Pay attention.

Short story long.

So began my exploration of bridging my science mind with my spiritual world and bonding their relationship to healing and grace.

It is a mind-blowing, blessed journey to be awakened to the power of healing every day. I continue to learn to trust how I am guided and strengthened with staggering synchronicity by those known and unknown to me in the past and present.

Thank you, L.L. Bean. You created a life-changing ripple. Where are my boots?

Love and healing,


P.S. Life is freakin’ hard sometimes but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Pebbles, rocks, and boulders create all levels of ripples in our lives. The challenge is recognizing them and allowing space for the lessons they want to teach us. Simple, but not easy!

Welcome to Ripple!  A blog sharing insights that awaken us to our gifts to expand our healing and loving potential in this life.


“Mindfully  Navigating Grief Through the Holidays”

Subscribe now to receive notifications of future blogs and other interesting stuff.