When I see a movie that was filmed in a location that I have visited, it’s exciting to recognize something familiar. I connect to that certain street, or a recognizable landscape, or a memorable meal at a restaurant. With a smile, I think, “Hey, I’ve been there!” I connect with the story and settle in to watch it unfold. Those attachments make it comfortable.

However, new things are not always enjoyable. “New” is sometimes difficult. New is well, new.

To make an uncomfortable transition easier, I try to draw from familiar experiences. To understand something unfamiliar, I grasp at even weakly-held confidences when beginning a new adventure.

Years ago, after much thinking I decided to add a new entry to my résumé. I applied to be a barista at Starbucks. The noisy, busy coffee shop was inviting yet rather overwhelming. I couldn’t even order my own drink with clarity. (What are those cup sizes called again?!) Once I was hired, what eased my apprehension was working with the assistant manager.

She seemed to know all about coffee and running a retail store. She led me through the many pages of the corporate manual with flair. I learned that I needed new shoes and new work clothes. I didn’t have the foggiest idea about espresso shots, customer service, or even how to work a till. But she did, and she showed me the ropes.

She introduced me to espresso, the names of the many beverages, and all the company policies. I had hope that one day things would become familiar. In the meantime I was counting on someone like her coming alongside me, helping me figure out how to connect the dots.

Looking back on my days spent with that assistant manager (whose name just happens to be Janna Kainos!), I first connected with her sense of humor. Her quick wit was ridiculously fun.

As I spent more time with Janna, she let me into her guarded heart—little tiny bit by little tiny bit. One day, when we spoke of ‘my God,’ she told me her understanding of unconditional love was given by her dog, Jake.

Photo of Jake the Dog

Loyalty and unconditional love are written all over Jake’s dear face.

It made such good sense. Jake loved Janna no matter what. He loved her at all times. He loved her with endless joy.

Janna didn’t need to earn this boundless love.

That is the type of love that we all crave, isn’t it? That is the form of love that leads us into lifelong relationships. It’s irresistable to be loved with no strings attached. It leads us to discover something familiar that brings us peace in the midst of the unknown.

“Man’s best friend” was an instrument that led Janna to understand and experience unconditional love. And love gives us hope. And hope gives us a future.

That love pulses through the very heart of Omega Espresso Bar. We come alongside each intern, giving guidance as she navigates her “new.” We’re connecting with other local organizations right now to bring this future into the present.

As we all eagerly anticipate the opening of Omega Espresso Bar’s first retail coffee shop, thank you for being on this journey with us. Stay tuned as we navigate forward, helping women experience unconditional love—together!