#1,647 Spirit of Main Street.

I got a huge surprise today. Ben asked me to go to the Mississippi Main Street awards ceremony in Jackson with him weeks ago, and I was wary of committing since I knew how busy work would be with my wedding schedule this week. I did all I could to rearrange my clients and my schedule, and at the last minute decided I would go since it was (for some reason) VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM.

I knew something was up, but I thought it was just a promised visit to the Salvage Market and a fancy lunch with Jim and Mal.

…But he was totally up to something.

Toward the end of the awards presentations, after this delicious little dessert:

They announced the Spirit of Main Street Award—given to the volunteer in a community that has displayed an involved commitment to downtown revitalization with their service and talents. And my mouth fell open when I saw my name on the screen. I had no idea.

With the director of Mississippi Main Street:

Ben knew all along, of course.

And made me feel like the most special girl in the world all day today.

I am so very flattered and honored. I think that if you have a certain talent, then it’s your responsibility to use it to better your community however you can. Not for money, but to help things. If you can meet a need by simply giving your time and talent, why would you not do it? I’ll charge for the wedding invitations and house portraits, but I’ll do whatever it takes to shine a positive light on my city, no matter the time it takes. I certainly never meant for the spotlight to be turned around on me for the Laurel Main Street work, but I’m so happy that maybe something as simple as a lovingly designed banner or mural is making a difference and, hopefully, speaks to the nostalgic part of the people who see it—and making them long for a downtown Laurel that used to be, or that they’ve maybe never even known.