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Ann Rosenthal – Ann Rosenthal Consulting, Inc.

I believe that you can have strong faith without being religiously observant.  I grew up in a small Jewish community and attended services three or four times a year.  But that does not mean that faith has not played a role in my life.  In fact, quite the contrary, faith has played a significant role in my life.

My father was diagnosed with Leukemia when I was 23, and my grandmother whom I adored had died a couple of years before.  My father, who was never sick and had not seen a doctor in a number of years, started complaining of shortness of breath.  One night he had a dream about my grandmother.  In the dream, she told him he was very sick but that he would be okay if he went to the doctor right away.  The next morning, my dad told me of his dream and proceeded to tell me where his important papers were.  This, of course, is a child’s worst nightmare – having to deal with a parent’s mortality at a young age.  So to say that I was scared to death was a complete understatement.  But I felt better knowing that my grandmother was watching over and protecting us.  I’ll never forget my father’s conversation with me that morning.  I am more than thankful that my father is alive and doing quite well today!

That experience showed me how important my faith is to me.  I’m comforted in knowing that there is a God and that my grandmother is watching over me and my family.  Without that belief I would truly feel empty inside, and I’m not sure that I would have the ability to weather life’s storms with the confidence and compassion that I have as a result of my strong faith and my need to say a prayer in good times as well as stormy ones.

Chris Schroder – Schroder Public Relations
Things were good in 1992.  I was a manager at the AJC, where I had dreamed of working since I was 12, I was married to my college sweetheart, lived in a 1902 Tudor in Ansley Park and enjoyed excellent health, having never spent a night in a hospital.

In one two-week period, my new boss fired me, my wife of 13 years decided the marriage was over and I fell ill with acute appendicitis.  During surgery, I contracted a staph infection and spent a week at Piedmont Hospital.

“Okay, God,” I said.  “You’ve got my attention.  Now what?”

He wasn’t done.  They say bad news comes in threes.  Two years later in another two-week period, my dad died suddenly, my ex-wife re-married and announced she was moving with my son and daughter to Charlotte.

In the interim, I had taken my kids on what we called “The Search for the Church.”  We attended numerous churches: black, white, Catholic, Baptist, Anglican and Presbyterian.  My kids took notes.  One day, a guest minister named Andy Stanley spoke.  “This man,” I said.  “He speaks to me.”

Today, I attend Andy’s church, own a growing PR firm, am friends with my ex-wife, am very close with my kids, am married to Jan, a wonderful woman I met when she joined a newspaper I started and later sold – and I’ve never been healthier.

I attend a Men’s Fellowship.  I don’t wait for Sundays to tell God and Jesus “Thank You.”  I talk to them all day…in elevators, driving, at my desk looking down Peachtree.  I know any blessings I have are from them.  If I lost it all tomorrow, I’d still be blessed.  I listen, I trust and I pray.  God has my attention…for good.