an eclectic day in the ‘burgh.

I’ve always considered myself an eclectic mix of the female variety.  I like to wear skirts and dresses.  I like to be outside and get my hands dirty.  I like to line-dance.  I resist listening to country music.  My nails are always painted.  I am a sports junkie.  I love the arts.  You get the picture.  The conglomeration of me is a little splash of everything…and I like it.  It’s what makes me…me.

Like me, my yesterday was a little bit of everything.  It was a glorious day out of the office – hooray!  It started early, as I was fully awake at 6:00 a.m. – more than two hours prior to the time I needed to rise and shine.  At first, I was a bit annoyed at my alertness as I attempted to resist by remaining horizontal under the covers.  I couldn’t fight it.  My body and mind were ready to go.  Reluctantly, I gave in.  As I took my time getting ready, I enjoyed the leisurely approach with which I could commence, as opposed to my typical focused morning routine.  I was able to read a bit in the morning – a lost habit of mine that I miss dearly and should work to resurrect.  It was a good way to start my day – especially a Monday!

Descending my steps into the beauty of the day, the sunshine felt warm on my skin coupled with a refreshing breeze that made the day seem almost to good to be true.  I climbed into my dear Jetta (I never thought I would be one to feel attached to a car…but it has surely happened.) and headed for the city.  I slid my latest mix (named eclectic to represent the diversity of the track selection and in lack of more original inspiration) into the stereo and made my way with the windows down and the music up.  Blissful.

As I drew closer to the city, I became that nervous/excited/optimistic/uncertain mix of emotion that escapes concrete definition or explanation.  I was meeting the parents.  Ya’ll know what that means.  Our adventure began with a taste of Italy at Olive Garden.  Mmm.  Next was a trip to the zoo.  My last trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo precedes times that I am able to recall.  I was still able to perch upon my Daddy’s shoulders and I had bleach blonde hair.  Clearly it’s been awhile.  I marvelled at a baby tiger (and contemplated a ploy to take it home with me), as well as two darling baby elephants – they are the biggest babies I have ever seen.  The pinnacle exhibit at the zoo was, of course, the penguins.  Oh, the penguins.  Our romp around the city (which, in effect, felt like a whirlwind tour to each corner of the globe within an afternoon) took us to Oakland and the Spice Island Tea House (scrumptious Thai food and tea – if you’re in the Pittsburgh area and you’ve never been, do yourself a favor and check it out!).  Our culminating activity brought us back to beautiful PNC Park to partake in a Pirates game.  It was quite the game – the Buccos even won!

As I was making my way back home, I was reminded (yet again) of how blessed I have come to be.  As I thought of all the little things that remind me of the beauty and blessings in life, I realized it was quite the eclectic list.  Bono pens it simply in the U2 song, “Grace”: grace finds beauty in everything.  This song dominated my playlist at a time when it was hard for me to see the beauty in all things. 

Grace finds beauty, and grace finds goodness.  And all things work for the good. 

These themes have dominated my year; in a sense, they have been my mantra for the past twelve or so months.  There is beauty in sunshine.  There is beauty in starlight.  There is beauty in a meaningful embrace.  There is beauty in a smile.  There is beauty in sharing a meal together.  There is beauty in the reminder of new life.  There is beauty in playfulness.  There is beauty in silence.  There is beauty in shared joy.  There is beauty in shared pain.  There is beauty in everything.  Do you see it?

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