Sunshine & Sustainable Living

A New Community | Colorado 2016 | Post 4

A New Community

6/6/2016

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The clock on my computer says that is 8:24pm, but with the two hour time change between Colorado and New York, it feels a whole lot later. I am currently sitting on my new bed, sipping a cup of green tea and frequently gazing out my second story window at the sun setting behind pikes peak. Its been a whirlwind of “newness” the past couple days, but I have loved it all the same. Currently I am reading a book titled “Through Painted Deserts” by Donald Miller (who wrote my all time favorite book: “Blue Like Jazz”- please read it if you haven’t, its seriously life changing) and in the first chapter, Miller writes: “We are shaped by our experiences. Our perception of joy, fear, pain, and beauty are sharpened or dulled by the way we rub against time”. I’ve been contemplating this sentence. Its one of those phrases that deserves being underlined because it is beautiful, but what does it actually mean? I came to the conclusion tonight that it’s about making the most of our experiences. When we get out there and do stuff our worldview grow and the way we perceive the world around us changes. I feel like a lot of us know this, but we get so caught up in the mundane everyday stuff that our senses become dulled and it takes added “newness” in our lives to sharpen them again.

So Friday, after finishing my last post at the Hampton Inn, I took this mindset to heart and went exploring around Colorado Springs. Now you’re probably thinking “Please Ella, of course you’re exploring and doing new things, you’ve got nothing else to do until your internship starts and you’re totally on your own anyways”. Not true. I am swamped with photo-editing and design projects for people. I could have easily sat in my hotel room, enjoying the view of Colorado Springs from my big window and worked on projects all day. But I didn’t.

After checking out of the hotel, I drove across Colorado Springs to the Focus on the Family area. Since this is where I’ll be working/ spending most of my time, I thought it was worth checking out what was around me. I parked my car near an outlet mall and walked. And walked. And walked. It was honestly a great place to park my car because there was tons of stuff around me to check out, but I mostly chose the spot because I knew that there was an Anthropologie there. Now Anthropologie is one of those stores that I go in purely to get inspiration from. Never will I ever be able to afford anything in that store. Fun fact incase you didn’t know, Anthropologie’s window installations change every season and each store hires a local sculptor to create a new one, on a budget, and within the companies current theme. Artists have all the freedom from there to create what they want. Its pretty amazing seeing what they come up with. Anyways, as I was looking at a book titled “How to be a Wildflower”, one of the sales ladies came up to me and we struck up conversation. She was super nice and ended up giving the names of some good coffee shops in Colorado Springs which I made sure to type into my phones notes.

It was around 4 when I decided to head back to my car and find a cute coffee shop close by to sit in and do some work (yah, I wasn’t about to ditch it completely for the day). The closest one that the Anthropologie girl had suggested was right down the road and was called “Special Grounds”. It looked cute and had places to sit outside (and free wifi). After ordering an iced coffee with coconut milk, I stuck up conversation with the barista. The coffee shop is owned by a friend of hers who really has a heart for the special needs community. The profits from the coffee shop go to support organizations who work with special needs individuals. The coffee beans are also locally roasted and the coffee was fantastic. It felt good to be sitting outside that coffee shop, doing work knowing the couple dollars I spent on coffee was supporting a local business and helping people in some way. I’m sure I’ll be back there again.

I had a friend once whose family moved a lot because his dad was in the military. Even though I moved around quite a bit as a kid, I couldn’t imagine changing school districts every year or so from pre-school through high school. He was one of the happiest people I have ever met though. Once I asked him what a positive of living in different places all the time was. He said “If there is something you dislike about yourself, you can just change. You don’t have to be the person that you were at your last school. You have the opportunity to start fresh. No one knows anything about you and you can be whoever you want to be over and over again”. It’s kind of a radical concept, but I like to think that it has stuck with me for a reason.

Yesterday I met my host family for the first time (besides the few emails we sent back and forth regarding stuff like laundry and pantry space). They are a couple who both work at FOTF (the husband, Abe, in IT and the wife, Darci, in marketing) and their 3-year-old daughter, Ellie, who was thrilled when I dug my violin case out of Syd. I spent the afternoon unpacking, grocery shopping with Darci and Ellie. As we drove to and from the grocery store, Darci was able to tell me more about the area; what there is to do downtown and some of her favorite hiking spots. Later I went on a run and kicked my soccer ball around will Ellie- which somehow turned into a game of hide and seek in their perfectly landscaped small yard. After Ellie went to bed, I went downstairs to watch a movie and eat cherries with Darci and Abe who struck up conversation about movies and then commented before hitting the play button “we don’t always watch movies that are Focus approved”. I laughed and knew I was going to enjoy living with these people. (disclaimer: the movie was not dirty or anything like that- it was called “Joy” and rated pg-13 for a couple tactfully used swear words.)

Today was the day I met the other interns who I will be working with at FOTF. We met this afternoon to go hiking at Red Rock Canyon and spend time together. The thought of meeting a whole ton of new people is always a little intimidating to the introverted side of me. Fitting into the group, and being respected and well liked from the start is important to me. I’ve never really cared for the statement “be who you are, if people don’t like you it is their problem”. Yah, be who you are, but I think anyone can be liked if they are relatable enough. I really overthought this though (whats new?). The other interns were as chill as they come. No one had an annoying ego and knowing that we were, for the most part, like minded, made conversation easy. We hiked for a couple hours and enjoyed the beautiful views at Red Rock Canyon together, then drove to Sonic for some cold drinks.

Tomorrow I start work and am beyond excited. Yah, I’m excited for all the great design experience I am going to get, but I am also excited to spend more time with this community of people that I just met, but clicked with so well. Its cool how God puts the right people in our lives when we need them. For me, its the Simpsons- my host family who I feel so conferrable with already. It’s Ellie, their 3-year-old who dances on the tribal-print rug in my room while I fold laundry and reminds me what pure happiness looks like. It’s also the interns who will be working, hiking, exploring and worshiping with me. While I am “on my own” here in Colorado, God has certainly made sure that I am not alone.

-Ella



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