The Extended Stay.

It was a casual regular Sunday. The dreariness of the mopy clouds dragged through the shades of my window. I awoke, got ready, threw on my leopard rainboots that most men hate and headed out the door to The Point for another wonderful Sunday. No need to grab coffee because Matt said he would pick that up for me before he arrived at church. So I hurried around with my business: set up hospitality, checked the bathrooms, eyed down the rows to make sure seats were aligned, gathered together the Point Packets, positioned everything for Guest Relations– and then– everyone present was called to the front of the auditorium to pray for the day- It was awesome. AMEN. It ended. Matthew came through the doors and said, “hey come here, I have your coffee” and my coffee comes around the corner, in the hands of my best friend, ex-roommate, sister with blonde hair, just off the plane from studying abroad in Israel- bestie EVER. Marissa Swiech. Matthew picked her up EARLY from the airport and surprised me! What the?! What a guyyyy. I don’t think I even knew what to do with myself. I jumped up and down. I actually cried by the sight of her presence and then laughed a lot. There’s never a better “at home” feeling then seeing the person who justtttt gets you and has the same reciprocated feeling.

SO with that being said, we took every opportunity to soak up each other and to do new things! We lived it up on Long Island, D.C., and then in NYC. What? How did we do that? Well, well, well… Let me take you there in the shortest way possible.

1. After her second Point service, catching up with familiar faces, and engaging new ones, Marissa, Matthew and I hit up a diner. Marissa has never been to a NY diner. New experience #1.

2. Then we went geo-caching. First geocache for Marissa and I in NY. First geocache for Matthew. EVER. The amazement is apparent. New experience #2.

3. We ate ice cream on a rainy day as Marissa fought off sleep and jet-lag. Watch one Israel time + Watch two New York time= Confusion.We have never eaten ice cream on a rainy day with each other. New Experience #3.

We chilled for the night which brought us to the next day. Which involved: My mom, sister, NY bagels (new experience #4), house hunting, Amityville Horror House snapshots (new experience #5), Target, matching Ninja Turtle gear (new experience #6), Mama’s Italian Food, the Ranger game, and Facetime grilling with Nettie Banzon (the grilling- new experience #7 for me).

NOW- Gina had to leave and head to DC with her pastor’s family for work- Thankfully- Marissa was able to switch her flight and extend her stay.

D.C. bound for America’s Night of Hope with Joel Osteen. 

It was a combination of mobile office work in the lobby so I didn’t have to pay for wifi and a lot of nannying skill. Nothing the modern day gal can’t handle. Our four days consisted of a lot of entertaining and a lot of laughing.  After all, we are kids at heart. McDonalds, Baskin Robins, The Spy Museum, Ihop, The Zoo, Chipotle and more were all privileged to have us enter their surroundings. Sometimes on multiple occasions.

Then we had a day to ourselves to explore the D.C. area where we rode the Metro (new experience #8), observed the Washington Monument, walked to the WWII memorial, only to greet Lincoln a few more minutes later. Then we hiked our way to the White House to say “hello” to Obama. We discovered a cute cafe, ate Mediterrainian food, conversed with strangers (who are now no longer strangers), made our last stop at the Holocust Museum and traveled back to the Marriott to collapse.  The sightseeing was fantastic and well over due but I know I can speak for Marissa when I say we loved the conversations that we had. Meeting the Nieves family and spending time with their kids. Getting to have one-on-one road trip conversations with PT and Mary about life, church, and people. Breakfast time with a bunch of pastors and their wives from across the country. Those are the things you meditate on and take with you. The things that motivate and inspire you. I have to say- I missed late night devotionals and talks with my dear friend. I’m happy we got to do it again. Those are exchanges that I keep close to my heart :)

After our adventures we headed back to Long Island with the Bishop family only to awaken to another Sunday. This marks a week of Marissa’s stay in NY. With only one more day left you would think-hey, why not lounge around, eat a lot and catch up on Lost episodes but oh, no. Do you know who you’re talking to? It’s our last day to live it up! Sooooo, claim the day as, “The Day That We Did Things That We’ve never Done Before Ever Together Both Individually and Corporately.” Now, what that really means: Went to church, ate at Cosi, went shopping together, galavanted in the city, snapped pictures in Bryant Park, ran around Grand Central Station, and ate again. Also, helped out Precious, a really cool girl we met on the train.

The truth is, I stopped writing down all the “new experiences” I had because every thing that we did was a new experience. I have a knack for stability but if I live there I will keep myself from all that God has for me. Don’t miss the chance to be spontaneous once in awhile. To step out of the norm, to uncover the undiscovered, to expand your knowledge, to take a risk for something you believe in. If you look for it and are intentional about life, you discover the joy that is all around you. A heart that follows the things of God has a happiness that is not manufactured. Each day breathes something new; a different perspective, the slightest revelation. Don’t miss a day without seeing it.


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