Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

and it came upon me wave on wave

that was just the song in my head... i think the Eagles sing it.

Anyway, so I've been thinking about my top ten waitress 'things I never knew or expected' and here's the rundown:

1. Computers are smart - sometimes too smart... with the touch of my fingers someone's order can be a grilled chicken dinner instead of a grilled chicken wrap. And, of course the description on the screen is GRD CHCK, which is delightfully ambiguous.
2. I learned quickly to never expect anything by way of tips. It's always so much more exciting to be wonderfully surprised, regardless of percentages. It works out that I don't do math very well in my head, so percentages aren't all that important to me anyway.
3. The customer is always different. I don't think I've had two tables that I've served alike. I found quickly that I have to gauge my conversation, when I check up on them, how often I ask for refills, etc. Because I'm always surprised by their expectations.
4. Some couples come in to the restaurant just to be around other bodies. They don't necessarily enjoy the person sitting across from them, which is why their eyes wander to the silent TVs in the corners. So, for these tables, I try to provide extra social interaction, because they're obviously struggling to create it on their own.
5. I LOVE serving grandparent age people... they are by far my favorite. I really try to wiggle my way into their conversation because they always have some advice, wisdom, or joke they'd love to share. I end up telling them that it's great to talk, because my grandparents live miles away. Even though they are a bit stingy on tips, I just remember that my gram and gramps used to share a cheeseburger for 25 cents and think, "Golly that waitress was happy to get a nickel!"
6. NEVER let your co-workers know that you frighten easily. I suppose this is not a good idea in any job, but I've been in a crowd of wait staff in the kitchen, heard a pan clang and screamed, ducking for cover. Once they caught on I was a goner. I figure it'll happen at least a couple times every time I work.
7. I have realized the challenge in showing Jesus through my actions at Ruby's. I see people who are better servers than me, better smilers, better at being happy, quicker, smarter, well better everything. So - I tried to figure out just what it was that could make me different. After meeting a beautiful friend from Texas, I realized that it's not me that makes me different, but Jesus in me. I started praying on my way to work and God is already giving me joy beyond happiness and open doors to share about Him. WOW!
8. The restaurant crowd is different, but I've learned that the crude conversation and behind the swinging door gestures give me no reason to judge. This is another lesson learned from my Texan kindred spirit - I can love them through changes in the conversation, questions about their life, high fives, and crazy dance moves.
9. I've gotten used to the deep rose color that creeps up into my cheeks when: I bring out food to the wrong table, bring out the wrong food to the right table, have to run back and ask, "Now, I'm sorry, how did you want your steak cooked?" and apologizing profusely for the long wait on their dinner.
10. I learned that people are people are people. Hmmm, another way to say that I'm encouraged, challenged, sharpened, sad, angry, depressed, and joyful when I spend a night just being around people. I think that's beautiful.

okay, so I know this isn't near as funny (if the other one was at all) as the paint crew :)

BUT I also have to say that my wonderful mother is here this weekend. We've had the most amazing time just hanging out, reading (Just finished Frank Peretti's The Oath), walking, hiking, beaching, changing my oil (everything's fine dad), and enjoying each other's company.

Now if I could just get a hold of my brother William...
well, I'm off to Ruby's for the lunch shift. grace and peace!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

thinking on a tuesday

I do like to laugh - here's some that might make you smile.

So... here's ten things I never knew before being a painter:
1. It's not nearly as romantic as it sounds (creamy beige and bone white get a little old after multiple dorms, rooms, and hallways).
2. 6 am, well it's comes bright and early, which severely tested my resolve to wake up in time to work out before going to paint... okay, it obliterated it.
3. the better days are those that you feel like you've accomplished something. The hard ones are when your instructions are to prep, paint, scrutinize, and paint again.... and then look at the wall and think, "Shoot, that still doesn't look that great."
4. Painting proves for endless amounts of time to think, talk, and get to know whoever you're working with. This is both good and bad, mostly good.
5. There are many, many ways one can mess up, like forgetting to paint a door, dropping wet brushes, painting before spackling dries, and asking too many questions. (And, yes, I've done all the above.)
6. An essential is definitely a good book. I've gone through almost 4 on my breaks. This could also be my demise, because I usually stay up late trying to finish.
7. The social life for the 7-330er who night waitresses is pretty slim. I'm fortunate enough to have a live-in social calendar (in the form of my bro and sister-in-law).. though we keep it pretty low key, we've had some great nights concocting drinks, watching movies, and my personal favorite, watching "So, you think you can dance?" which I experienced for the first time last week.
8. There are multiple, crazy amounts of opportunities for me to make a fool out of myself. Whether it is ripping my pants jumping off a ladder, accidentally pulling a fire alarm, or managing to completely paint myself every day, I've done it all. My favorite was when another girl on the crew said, "Haven't you reached your stupid quota for the day?" ... all in good fun, of course, but, I can't escape the blonde title that constantly chases me (regardless of my endless efforts at being deep, about my wits, and completely in control)
9. I've learned to appreciate the sunshine and beautiful weather through windows and walking between buildings. It is very much just as radiant in short glimpses and I always remember to take deep breaths, so that...
10. Moments later when I am nearly choking from fumes I can remember and enjoy the outdoors.

Bonus: Spackle. I never really knew the wonder of it. It's basically like a wall in putty form. You just put it on the hole and smear it over so that it bulges over the hole. It settles and dries and then you sand it, paint it, and it's back to being a solid wall. How crazy!

Okay, so maybe they aren't truly funny, but I tried :) and it gives a little picture of the paint crew here at Hope.

I can think of so many more for waitressing, but those will have to come later. I just worked five days straight at Ruby Tuesday's, and I pack tomorrow for a very special conference. I would love your prayers over me as we are going to be doing some friendship evangelism and just hanging out with some wonderful people.

Blessings to you all!

Friday, June 09, 2006

emotions run amuck

Well, I caught myself today a few times - surprised at how things that grate on my nerves can result in bitterness, like the taste in your mouth when you wake up (ick).

My thoughts lately have literally been all over the place. A piece of my heart was in Iowa last night for Bethany Camp's first fairwell potluck of the summer - where my bro is in charge. While they were celebrating a week of kids learning, growing and having great fun, I was applying for another (yes, another) waitressing job at a little place called 'Til Midnight. I retreated to their Bakery/Deli after dropping off my application, immediately warming to the thought of hot coffee, open space, and my first date with my journal in a long time. This whole technologically controlled diary is a great idea, but there's something about 'penning' my thoughts that's more than justnm a romantic notion.

Last Sunday, I visited a new church called Harvest Christian Fellowship. I have been going to the same church for a couple years, but I haven't felt like I've really spread roots (even though, oddly enough I am collecting the offering for the 10:30 service, where over 300 people attend). So, this E. Free church is in the next town over and refreshingly far enough from the monstrosities that are the churches I have found here. I have worked very hard to understand and enjoy that the body of Christ has a beautiful variety as far as churches go, but I also know that there is a place where each person fits. I filled out the guest info, met the pastor, and enjoyed the whole worship service, which was held in the area elementary school gym. I'm praying for God's direction in this, because my heart is to grow in a local church and be able to share my gifts.

Maybe a random switch, but I've got to go with what I got:).... The other day I was thinking about my funeral. Actually I think about my funeral quite often, the music, Scripture, and people. I mentioned this to the girls I work with on paint crew and they, too said they'd thought of this. I started to think: self, you aren't nearly as odd as you pride yourself in being. Really, for all the crazy things I think of, deep or merely skimming the surface, there are so many others with the same ideas... and many more with better ideas, philosophies, and thoughts.

I don't quite know where or how to continue. I have been blessed by memorizing some Scripture lately. One of my new favorites is 2 Corinthians 9:8, "God is able to make all grace abound, so that in all things and at all times, having everything you need, you will abound in every good work."

I've tried to think and pray this short reminder that God's grace sufficiently covers those annoyances, my bitterness, and my downer days. He is ALL of that AND He makes His grace available in ALL things and at ALL times so that nothing is lacking except my own will in doing good works. That is the only piece He hasn't touched. And don't we know that since our hearts are softened by His Spirit our good work are for and from Him?

I have felt the distance from my family lately. As well as my friends spread across the country in NY, IN, and IA. But I'm excited to see my mom, aunt Shirley, and grandparents soon.

Oh, one last tidbit... I have been studying up on Poland (and starting the countdown til August 2) and have found such interesting information. Most recently that the music of Chopin comes from the country. I can't wait to see what else is in store :) The phrases are coming along - my grandpa thinks I need to know things like "Where's the bathroom" instead of "I love you," which is the first phrase my friend taught me.
Tomorrow morning, my professor is having a garage sale and thought I could do a lemonade/bake sale to fund raise - so that's where I'll be until 11:30, where I discover the world of double shifts in the waitressing world. I'm already thinking of the sleep I'll fall into after that's all over.

P.S. the weather is absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful summer.