The Press has been open for 2 1/2 years and during those years we have accumulated our faithful customers. I would like to take a few minutes and share with you about a few of those regulars who have just left to begin their own new adventure.
Will, Leanne, Eden and Malia MacLaughlin. The MacLaughlin family have been a part of my life since I started my time here in Northern Ireland. It started out even before Will and Leanne were married and over the years it has grown into the kind of friendship that is what I call your 'Chosen Family'. My husband and I moved over from America and Leanne was also an import from Canada so we all had to start from scratch here. With no family surrounding us we had to make our own version of family here. And family is what we became. We shared meals together, laughter, tears, births, deaths, all of the facets of life. As one of my favourite authors puts it they are a part of my 'Home Team'.
As Will and Leanne invested in our town and community they also invested in our wee coffee shop, The Press. Each Friday Will would come to his 'office' at one of our tables and invite his clients to our coffee shop for meetings, or simply do his work in The Press. Leanne volunteered faithfully with our Jolly Tots ministry that provides a Friday morning session for parents and toddlers.
So each Friday they became a part of my routine in The Press. I generally arrive at work on a Friday about 8:45am and start getting things prepped for the day with my amazing volunteers. Each Friday between 9-9:30am I would wait to hear the front door open and hear the voice of either Eden (before she started nursery) or Malia fill up the space where Jolly Tots is set up. I would then wait for my dear, precious friend Leanne (whom I call the Raven-haired goddess) walk through the double doors to place an order for her carmel latte and order Will whatever coffee he was in the mood for that day.
After Jolly Tots finished Leanne would make her way in, these days usually with Malia in tow as Eden is in nursery, to place her lunch order and sometimes order for Will. Leanne has a special order that consists of a toasted bagel with chicken, cheese, peppers, sweet chili sauce that has all been melted in a bowl ahead of time and served with either crisps or side salad. Will usually orders a bacon and cream cheese bagel. Malia is like her big sister and always gravitates to our crisp display and tries to get away with stealing the crisps close to the bottom and running as fast she can before her Mom or Dad catch her and put them back.
This little routine that a young family had made part of their weekly diary quickly became part of my routine. Part of what I would look forward to each week as I came into The Press. There were always moments of chat and sweet times with the girls. I came to expect it each week and almost anticipate them arriving. Well, that part of my routine has just changed drastically this week. My good friends the MacLaughlins have just began their plane journey that will move them to Hamilton, Canada. They are pioneering Christians Against Poverty in Canada, if you can look it up! It's one heck of an amazing organisation bringing people financial freedom and sharing Jesus with them too. This move is not a surprise in some ways. Will is so creative and is a visionary, gatherer, motivational speaker, etc. Leanne is a strong, confident, capable, no-nonsense kind of woman who also possesses the biggest heart of compassion. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to do so much life with them over the last 8 1/2 years.
So this is my way of saying goodbye to 4 of our favourite customers. Every time I make a carmel latte I will think of you Leanne, every time someone orders a bacon and cream cheese bagel I will think of you Will, and girls, every time a child reaches for that bottom shelf on the crisp rack I will think of you too! You are loved, you will be missed but you will not be replaced. Other customers will come I know that, but you will always be some of my favourites.
Thank you for supporting my dream by your faithful routine and visits to The Press!! I love you guys! The Press loves you guys! Shoot, Dungannon loves you guys!! All the best for your future routines, the future places who get to call you their regulars. I will still wish it was here with us, but we release you and know you will multiply God's Kingdom in Hamilton and beyond!