But I love it. =D
Each and everyday this past week brought about its own treasure. Let's walk through it.
My Mind is a Black Hole
I have no recollection of what I did on Monday. There is a big blank space in my calendar. Chances are, this was a good "catch-up" day in the office, exactly what Mondays always seem to be good for.
I Drink Coffee for Your Protection
One of my favorite parts about being downtown is our location: our business is situated halfway between 2 of my favorite hometown coffee places. I try to divide up my time between both. They all know me by name and can readily fix my drink of choice. I love living in a small town.
I met my mom at one of the places for a few minutes on this morning. She always orders her favorite, which is an iced green tea freeze, and I get the mocha ice cap at this particular place. We sat outside and chatted for a little while, catching up on life. It's sad, but even though we live in the same house, we don't see each other very much when our schedules get so busy. She has been working long hours getting her space ready in Lulu's on Main, the new boutique that opened a few days ago. Between that and my photography schedule/night life, sometimes we can't touch base as often as we would like.
So getting together and chatting for a few minutes over iced beverages in the cool of the morning is quite a delight.
That evening, I found myself at my OTHER favorite coffee place in Morton, sitting outside and enjoying a cup of Jamaican Me Crazy with 3 of my friends.
When Can I Go Back?
Heather and I had the opportunity to present to the youth in our church for International Night. The kids were 4th grade-seniors in High School. I put together a Power Point with pictures and showed one of the videos I created. We also taped off part of the floor and showed the kids how big the rooms of the houses were that we visited. We brought a couple of the photo books that were made of our team trip and showed those, as well. It was a neat way to paint the picture of a physical orphan and tie in African culture, since they will be supporting Kevin & Erica's (a missionary couple from our church) work in Africa over VBS. We will also be presenting to the whole church next weekend, which I am excited about.
At the end, we told them that without Jesus Christ, we are all orphans, too. Thankfully, we may not be a physical orphan in this life, but we are ALL orphans without His gift of love. We have been adopted in as sons and daughters of Christ.
It was fun reliving our experience and sharing it with others... makes me want to go back. =)
Cars & Boys
Two things happened this day that are noteworthy.
First, I drove my bug to the dealership in Bloomington so it could get serviced. When you buy a new vehicle, they offer a complimentary check on your car, so my appointment to do that was on this afternoon.
Upon arrival, I entered the service garage to tell them I was there. My sales man wasn't too far behind me and greeted me from across the way.
"I'll pull your car in," he said.
He did so, and I found myself in the customer lounge on a couch. He walked in a couple minutes later and stood by the door, peeking in.
"How's the new car treating you?" he asked me.
"Really well, I love it," I told him. "My plates still aren't in, though!"
"So weird!" he agreed. "I'll have to check on those."
He made his way over to the recliner across from me then, and looked at me with his eyes all lit up.
"I didn't know you were a Christian!" he proclaimed.
After he sold my car to me, I had done my usual check on Facebook and added him as a friend. In that moment, I could only surmise that this is how he confirmed this fact.
"Yes," I told him, "I am!"
"That is great," he said, and before I could get in an word edgewise, he continued on with how he saw some of my Africa pictures and some missionary work he knew about going on there. He also told me about his hometown and how people there are very politically minded, although very conservative, yet they value politics more highly over religion.
All the while, he was very excited and passionate about sharing this information.
"You know," he said, "I can usually tell if someone is a Christian, just by their demeanor and persona. But one time, I asked this girl if she was a Christian, and she was very offended," he told me. "She was actually an atheist."
It had me thinking... how is my lifestyle and persona as a Christian witness? Do people look at me and see Jesus, or do they look at me and have to wonder what my passion is? Are people less likely to size me up as a Christian than someone of another religion... even someone who doesn't believe in God at all?
It was a nice challenge for my afternoon.
Next came the evening. I had an opportunity to do something I never would have personally signed up for or thought I would ever do.
I attended a boys' bible study for high-school age boys (led by two of my guy friends my age) and talked to them about guy-girl relationships and things to keep in mind as they enter college.
The night was actually already set up and planned for a daughter (just out of high school) and her mother to talk to the group, and I was a last-minute addition. I actually didn't confirm I was coming until the day of, but my friend thought I'd bring a different perspective since I was a female out of college, so he invited me to come.
And it's interesting, but I actually wanted to do it.
It's amazing to me to look back and see how much I have learned about relationships over the past several years. I feel like getting through High School was one experience. Early college was another. Graduating college and now working as a young single adult is yet another experience. And through it all, the Lord has taught me more than I ever would have imagined.
And I didn't realize the growth until I sat there on Thursday night and shared with these boys the perspective of a female heart, and how we think and feel, and the advice I would have given myself and any other guy friends at that age if I could go back.
They had a chance to ask questions, and while their questions were honest, real, and good, it reminded me how much they still have to learn and it proved to me how much the Lord has taught me through different life experiences.
I am so thankful. To date, I'm just under a quarter of a century through to 100 years, so if I make it that far, the Lord still has much more to teach me about life and relationships!
Imagine Artists had a wedding this day. It was an absolutely beautiful day... the Illinois humidity was gone for the afternoon, and in place was a bright blue sky and cool shade. It was gorgeous, and we were on some land with a lake, barn, grasses, and horses. It was a fun bridal party and a beautiful wedding. It was an evening wedding, so the reception went a little later and I went straight from that to my third shift job.
That's tonight. We had a few people over for dinner, including a couple that are close with my parents. They always get together and play Euchre, and when I'm around we make it 5-way. Before starting the game, I had found my way to the piano. I love playing every once in awhile when I'm in the mood.
The husband of this couple is basically a musical genius and can improvise anything on the piano beautifully. He wondered into the room where I was playing a few select classical songs. He slid onto the bench next to me.
"Let's play a duet," he said. "Do you know any?"
I smiled. "I'm not sure."
At that, he showed me a few chords and repeated them several times until I understood. I copied him, and he added in a bottom part.
It was a fun tune, one that sounded vaguely familiar.
Once we finished, I asked, "What song was that?"
"Oh, one I just made up," he said.
I was astounded. Really?
After that, he told me to improvise. I stayed in my comfort zone, which is the key of C, and did a little bit of a sweet melody up top. He added in a beautiful tune at the bottom, and it was amazing how he could anticipate exactly what I would play and matched it accordingly.
"How did you know what I was going to play?" I asked him.
"I just knew what was coming," he told me.
He then showed me some jazzy chords in the key of F and played up and down the piano in the most amazingly improvised performance I have ever seen or heard. I paid close attention to his hands, and although they moved quickly, it was interesting to see how he used different chords and variations of notes to attain a certain sound.
"Your homework for next time is to make a jazz song in the key of F," he told me.
And I will. I love jazz. And I love to improvise.
Love you all!