Annette! My twin-cousin Jean and I loved that name. We watched Annette Funicello on TV. Jean and I even dreamed of naming our daughters (someday in the future) that pretty name, “Annette.” (Jean on left. Joan on right in photo. How about that "pompadour"??)
But we couldn’t both have daughters named Annette. Solution: Jean’s first-born was a girl and she named her “Annette.” She was (and is!) beautiful just like Annette Funicello; dark hair, glowing olive skin, lovely smile. I named my first-born (a girl, also!) Lynnette. She’s beautiful, too, with blond hair, fairer skin and a gorgeous smile.
Then I grew up to write a book about how joy and imperfection can co-exist titled The Relief of Imperfection. Annette Funicello grew up to act, dance and sing in movies, eventually developing multiple sclerosis and showing us all that indeed joy, pain and imperfection can co-exist.
Annette Funicello said, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!” Her words so impressed me that I quoted her on page 123 of The Intentional Woman book that I co-wrote with Carol Travilla. And two books later, Annette’s quote led way to the title of my devotional book, It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life, for women who strive too hard to make it all just right.
It’s amazing how one person can personally impact another and never know about it. One article I read quoted Annette Funicello as saying, “I thank God I just didn’t wake up one morning and not be able to walk. You learn to live with it [MS]. …This just makes me appreciate the Lord even more because things could always be worse. I know he will see me through this.” After Annette’s death on Monday, April 8, 2013 in Bakersfield (the city where my two children were born), her daughter Gina said, “She’s on her toes dancing in heaven … no more MS.”
Annette Funicello touched my life in numerous personal ways, although she didn’t know it here on this earth. Whether we realize it or not, we impact and influence others during our lives, also. That truth encourages to me today, because sometimes (I admit it!) I stress about whether I’ve done enough for God or if I’ve made a difference in the lives of the people He planned for me to touch. So today I’ll cease trying so hard to make that happen and let God orchestra the connections. He can do it, just like He connected Annette and me.
Do you have an “Annette Funicello” story? Or a thought about how God makes connections that inspire? Please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
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Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.