UPDATE...I JUST READ THIS TO RYAN AND WAS APPALLED BY THE NUMBER OF TYPO'S AND GRAMMATIC ERRORS.....NOT APPALLED ENOUGH TO GO BACK AND CHANGE THEM ALL....SO PLEASE DISREGUARD THE MANY ERRORS.
This Valentines day I woke Ryan up with a Valentines breakfast which included heart shaped pink and chocolate chip pancakes, pink milk, heart shaped toast, and fruit....he had to work that day so I fed him and off to work he went. Here are some pics of the breakfast.
The rest of my day was filled with feelings of love that were so strong, I nearly burst into tears in the dish rag aisle of Target. Usually on Valentines Day our thoughts turn to how much we love our spouse, our family, our friends, maybe even our pets. This day, mine surprised me by turning to something so different. Now, Don't get me wrong. I am more in love with my husband than I have ever been, I am in awe by the love I have for my family, I have been given more friends than I deserve, and I am madly in love with Chloe Jane Biscuit Webb. Yesterday, I was driving to Target when I was scanning through radio stations when I overheard a song saying something about the 405. So, I pressed the scan button in anticipation of what I would hear next. The 405 is one of our giant Freeways here in LA....one infamous for horrible traffic. The song I think was titled "She's so California." All thoughout the song it made references to L.A. and California and about how much this girl loved it. It was funny because in my CD player I had "Mississippi Girl" by Faith Hill. I still consider myself a Mississippi girl, but who would have known that I'd fall so in love with Los Angeles, California. After listening to the song, I began to think about how we might be leaving California in only 5 short months. I kid you not....my heart began to ache...tears welled up in my eyes and I started asking myself what it was about California that I'll miss. The night before this incident I was chatting on Facebook with a friend from Mississippi when I said that I was sad to leave CA. She responded with "Yeah, I would not want to leave the beach, either." I wanted to tell her...you don't understand it's not the beach, it's nothing physical at all. But, I could not put it into words. Now, it's valentines day and I am in deep thought as I pull into the Target parking lot. "Get a grip Stace" I told myself. I knew a little retail therapy would do me some good. I grab my buggy (people in LA do not call them buggy's by the way), and begin weaving through the aisles marking off items from my list, and getting a few too many things that wern't on the list. I had made it to the homegoods (towels, sheets, dish towels) section of the store....all this time as I grabbed product after product and put it in the cart my mind was still preoccupied, trying to wrap a logical explanation around the emotions in my soul. I began to get teary eyed again and decided I had to leave soon. I came home and have been dying to put all of these emotions into words. ...So, here I am...trying....
I think the best way I know how to address my absolute love for this city is by first telling you some of the sterotypes I had formed in my mind about the citybefore ever coming here. Who knows, maybe you've thought some of the samethings.
1. Los Angeles is full of fruitcakes. No joke...I thought this. Maybe I should define "fruitcakes".
Fruitcakes: Flaky, Free, Liberal people, treehuggers, shallow, wierd
2. Los Angeles is place where I would feel pressured to be fashionable, look a certian way, be a certian "model type."
3. Los Angeles would be a place full of non believers and the believers would be few and far between. When I saw non believers, I actually felt it would be full of wicked people doing wicked things all the time.
4. I thought Los Angeles would be a fun place to live for a little while, but never expected to love it as I do.
Now, I want to address each of these thoughts reveal the truth, and the ways that my life has forever been changed by the city of Angels.
Misconception number 1: L.A. is full of fruitcakes.
Boy was I wrong. The truth was I had never experienced diversity prior to moving to LA. I was use to a life where most people, esepcially those who I was ever around were just like me. Sure there were different races in the south....but even that seemed to be limited to 3 or 4 skin colors. As I sat in the turn lane yesterday awaiting my turn to go I looked at the people in each car that passed me. Within 8 cars that passed not one of the people occupying those vehicles looked anything like me! Most of the people I chose as friends in the south were similiar to myself in so many ways, similar backgrounds, similar skin color, usually a similar hair style, similar walks of life, similar faith, similar style of clothing, similiar beliefs and values, similar thoughts on life, and sometimes similar dreams. I am ashamed to say that anyone who did not share any of those common bonds with my I viewed as different and by saing different I mean "wierd." Once again, as I type away on my laptop and face the truth of this issue I am brought to tears. You see living in this city has taught me so much about myself and my closed minded view. I have learned the beauty in diversity. I have learned to appreciate and value those who have nothing in common with me because they possess something that I can learn from. This city is full of people from various walks of life, various backgrounds, various ethnicity and race, people with various dreams, various styles....and when you put all of these different people together you get the most beautiful picture. People here embrace EVERYONE. No one is considered "different or wierd"....I mean goodness, none of us are the same...each one of us is the wierd one! When I think of using the term fruit cake.....I laugh now...it's a little ironic. I know fruitcake doesn't have the best flavor, but the concept of so many different things mixed together in one sweet treat.....that's what this city is like. So many different people...all combined to make a masterpiece. Thank You Los Angeles for teaching me to embrace other's differences,thank you for revealing the beauty of diversity.
Misconception number 2...that I would feel pressured to be someone, look someone, etc. YIKES! I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE MISLED. Maybe if I were in the entertainment industry this would be true.....but believe it or not, not everyone that lives in Los Angeles county is a movie star. I have never felt more free to be who me....to be exactly who God created me to be. The funny thing is that when Ryan and I go home...as soon as we get into the Houston or the Jackson airport I notice that all the girls my age look alike. Everyone either has the same style shoes on, the same type of T-Shirt, the same brand of bag, the same jewelry, and most of the time lots of make-up. Where as here, I never ever see two people dressed alike, everything goes. It's like create your own style...and whatever you want goes....and no one even looks at anyone thinking...what does she have on...NO PRESSURE! I was shocked when I got here by how little make-up girls wear. I have come to believe that the cosmetic industry makes the majority of it's money in southern states...and I would LOVE for someone to do real research on it, because I am positive of it's outcome. I am not meaning to talk bad about southern states...I mean I love the south....but my thinking was purely wrong that LA would put more pressure on appearance the the south. Thank You Los Angeles, for helping me to realize that the value of a person truly doesn't have anything to do with appearance. Thank you for freeing me from trying to fit in...thank you for encouraging me to stand out rather than blend in.
Misconception number 4: L.A. is a wicked place full of wicked people. Before I actually address this I am just reminded of the Musical that I saw here in LA "WICKED" ....wow, it was good. If you have a chance to see it...GO...whatever the cost...go, it is worth it. You'll never view The Wizard of Oz the same again. Now....Focus, Stacey, Focus! I first have to say that you know, there are lots of misled people living in this city. There really are people who are involved in wicked things, there are people who believe false truths, have false securites, false hope, and are lost as can be. This is true In Los Angeles, California and it is true in Madison, Mississippi. So,if this is true...what has changed in my opinion? My reaction and feelings towards these people. Prior to moving here I would think that I needed to cram the blood of Christ down their thoat. I would feel the need to evangelize, to let them know what the consequences of those kinds of actions are. Now, I know that in all of their wicked /poor choices there is a reason behind it....and there is a person with amazing potential, and before they are going to accept the love of Jesus, before they are going to welcome Him into their life and change their ways, something else has to happen. They need to feel loved, they long to feel known, they want to be cared for just like me. ...and by getting to know these people, becoming their friend not their personal missionary, learning who they are, loving that person despite their actions, by welcoming them into your life...they will open up. Once these people trust you and your love for them....trusting Jesus and His love for them will come much easier. My pastor, Erwin McManus once said, "You have to earn the right to speak into someone's life." He said that just because we are right and they are wrong gives us no right to force that on them. God uses evangelism still today. But many many people will be more impacted when we don't make them our "project" but our friend. Thank you Los Angeles, for allowing God to use you to teach me what love is. For showing me that although people desperately need YOU....you desperatly need ME to love them as you do.
And....last but not least...misconception number 4: LA would be "just a fun place to live." The truth is...God used this city to change my life. He took my sheltered, close minded heart and brain and opened it up. Two and a half years after living here and a lifetime of impacts. I'll miss the beach, but it's not the reason for the tears, I'll miss the sunsets, I'll miss the free ways, I'll miss my church more than I can bear, I'll miss the strand, the sun, the weather....but the heartache doesn't stem from any of that....it's all these dad gum Fruitcakes that live here and teach me on a daily basis. It is because of them that has my heart is longing to stay. Some of them I know well, others I just observe and they still teach me. So, I recommend that anyone move to Los Angeles....wait til we have this crazy budget crisis figured out, well, nevermind...don't wait...just come anyways I don't think that it will ever be worked out. Come....but know...your life will never be the same....and while your hear, don't pass up the fruitcake! Thank you God for using a city such as this to forever change me. Los Angeles, California...the truth is...I AM MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU!