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Day 30 - The Wow Factor

I am a believer in the little magic of the world, the day-to-day miracles. We tend to believe more in this type of simple magic more when we are kids. Lights do keep the monster we know is in the closet at bay. A branch can become almost anything if we imagine hard enough, the woods are mysterious and ancient, the beach is what fun would look like if it were a place. Don't even get me started on swinging around the bar. As we get older, we cede this everyday magic. We surrender it to the adult world and we learn a little more of insipid sadness, we turn from simple wonder and demand that magic be bigger before we believe. Every once in a while, you might see some though, if you look for it. Today, I saw some magic. I saw someone successfully eat ice cream from a napkin.

Mary Ann Lilly is magical. No kidding. If you had seen this marvel with the ice cream that I witnessed, you would believe. Ice cream, eaten from a napkin, more cleanly than I eat it from a bowl. Believe. That is not all of the magic she has though, not by a long shot. I remember seeing a Facebook Live video she did talking about the "Wow Factor," and she is certainly that. Her story is incredible, and I know I have only scratched the surface. Moving from doubt to faith, from anger to hope. Mary Ann is an inspiration. I'm not the only person who thinks that. There have been some rough roads for her, but she has emerged stronger, with he own business and a vision for her future. Past all of the eye rolls and sidelong glances, beyond everyone who told her no or said she couldn't do it, lies her vision and her, walking he way to it uninterrupted.

Mary Ann loves things. Her business, her church, ice cream, and those things she loves find a way into her life. She embraces them and brings them into her day. I have talked a lot about dreams, about finding your passion. She finds it, piece by piece and brings it into her life. Think about this, how often do you find something you love, even on the side, and then make room for it in your life? What is something you loved that maybe you gave up or someone talked you out of? It happens to the best of us on a daily basis, but Mary Ann finds what she loves and embraces it, and forget everyone else's opinion. It's a strength that is rare, and a lesson we could all learn from.

Among other things, Mary Ann is just fun to be around. Look at that photo. Now that you've looked, take a moment and thank her. She took it. It's the middle of a Tuesday and we are at an ice cream parlor in Park Circle. Why? Because we can. Why wouldn't you do this? She muses for a moment inside on how owning this place has to be the best job, giving people ice cream, meeting people, refreshing those here on sweltering Charleston days. She loves helping people, it is her favorite part of her job. She loves Charleston, it's her home now. We walk and eat, we share our stories, the good and the bad, and we save some things because we know we will talk more as we see each other again and again, as our friendship grows.

I would be remiss to not talk about Mary Ann's faith. It is important to her, and she speaks about it with such love that it is easy to see why. She loves her church, and found it one the same day she found her house down here. She is involved, becoming part of leadership and outreach there. She found faith in the midst of despair, in the midst of fear. The story is incredible, but it is not mine to share.

Mary Ann Lilly is a lot of things. She's a small business owner, a Christian, a lover of fitness, a strong woman, but most of all she is just magical. I don't recall how we first connected, but I know that it is far too easy for people to pass each other and never get to chat, to become friends, to make a connection.

When we are children, we believe in simple magic, in the wonder of the day-to-day. As we get older, we lose that, but we can always get it back if we want to. We can always the middle of a Tuesday, grab some ice cream and take a stroll with a new friend. We might even see some magic there.

So take a moment, the day's not over, and go find some of that magic you may have forgotten to look for.

Favorite Dinosaur: Brontosaurus

Why: They are so dociel, so peacefull, gentle giants, and she was always drawn to that.

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