Sunday, October 21, 2012

Making Community Happen

As I was driving to church last week, I noticed that many of the trees I passed already had most of their fall colors going on. How did I miss one of my favorite parts of my favorite season?! I love noticing when leaves start turning yellow, red and orange. Just a hint here and there until the whole tree is a blaze of color.
I noticed even more leaves changing color this week on my weekly drive to church. My radio has been dead for, oh I don't know, maybe a year? Or almost. Something like that. Anyway, with the radio dead I have time to notice the trees and the colors. 
You know what else I had time to notice? Some of my flaws. 
Last week I had the great pleasure of seeing one of my friend's during Sunday morning activities. She is worship team leader, pastor's wife, and mother extraordinaire so she is always busy on Sunday. We caught a few moments to see each other and say hello between services and I was caught off guard by something she said to me, probably off hand. 
I'm backing up my own story to insert a bit of personal information that I think is the glue to the story. I have been reading a lot about community. Both in the church and out of it. I have been reading about how hard it is to create community and also how important it is to make community, no matter where you are. Community is supposed to be safe place you go, the place where you can lead a messy-real Christian life without fear of judgment or rejection. I have been talking to my friends about it. I've been talking to my co-workers about it. We talk about how important it is in the church and how important it is in the neighborhood you live in.
Anyway, I've been processing all of this information about community around the same time I've been feeling cut off from my community. Like I've mentioned, my schedule has changed so drastically over night. And with that change, my small circle of friends feels like it has been cut down to me. And sometimes, my mom. 
Ok back to the story. Remember? Sunday morning. I am chatting with my friend and I say something like, Oh I miss seeing you! I feel like I don't see you any more!" And she immediately says, "Well we are home in the morning! Stop by for coffee before you head to work!"
And for some reason, that caught me off guard. 
There I was, crying into my beer, as the expression goes, about my lack of community, my circle of friends feeling like it is shrinking and she says something so simple: YOU can visit us. 
Why yes, I can. I'm still getting used to my schedule and the weird sleeping schedule (like right now, I should be in bed. Obviously, I'm not.), but I do have some time in the mornings. Instead of using it to catch up on TV or sleep more than I need to, I can get my lazy butt out of bed and go see people! I'm still not a morning person, but my mornings feel more free and less stressful knowing I don't have to be anywhere until 3.30pm.
And isn't this what I was looking for? Yes! Community! But--oh, it really is hard. And it really will require an effort on my part. And I can whine and complain all I want about not having it...or I can go out there and make it happen. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New job, new rules

This week marks my 5th week at my new job!
It feels like hardly any time has passed at all...and at the same time, it feels like I've been here ages.
I was really vague on details last post -- on purpose. That post wasn't about the job. It was about making the choices I needed to make in order to get the job and move to the next chapter of my life. This post? This post is about that chapter.
Officially, I am the evening & weekend library assistant, but sometimes I am also photocopier technician, IT specialist, computer pro, Sherlock Holmes (finding stuff that is missing and getting to the bottom of weird problems) and telephone switchboard operator. And that doesn't even cover the work I do with books, movies and periodicals!
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this on my blog, but if you know me you know God created me to be a night owl. I've often talked with Him about it saying things like, "God, I know you don't make mistakes, but I think you put my internal clock in upside down!" I can be up at 7.30 or 8am if I have to be, but I prefer to sleep in. And no matter how early I am up, I can always be found awake at midnight, and a lot of the time much later than that. When I interviewed for this position, they asked me if I was aware that this was a 3.30pm to midnight position and if that would at all be a problem for me. I think it took every ounce of control I had not to laugh at the question. Far from being a problem--that was one of the reasons I applied for the job!
The transition was hard and will probably continue to be a little difficult for me. It isn't hard being up late. Winding down when I get home is hard and getting anything done at home before I leave for work is sometimes hard too. I think the thing I've had the most trouble with is having 99.9% of my friends on a day time schedule while I am not. I cherish those fleeting moments every Sunday when I can wave, hug, and cheek-kiss my friends and family (and friends that are like family) between services. Getting up at a decent time in the morning is no longer about getting to work on time, but making sure I have enough time to grab coffee and a decent conversation with a friend before jetting to work.This Sunday was the first day I've set my alarm to get up and I gotta say, even though it feels like it goes against everything I believe in, getting up and getting ready right away makes me feel awake. Even if I'm not. So I guess I'll be trying that alarm again tomorrow...yeah, we'll see how that goes...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm a Quitter, ya'll

Guess what kids? 
I'm a Quitter.
And proud of it. 
After far too many Sunday's as a Sunday Jerk  (Jon Acuff knows what real life is like.) and realizing I was so far past unhappy at my job, I Quit. It is also accurate to say I resigned, but Quit is the word I'll use. Let me explain why. 

You all remember when I got that job? The miraculous job that came after a holiday season working retail that sucked the joy out of my holiday? Yes. That one. My blessing job. As I worked day in and day out, I knew I couldn't stay there forever. But I should at least stick out a year, right? Maybe? As the days continued, I found myself growing more and more unhappy. And then, out of not quite no where, a job that was closer to my experience, closer to my major and MOST RELEVANT TO MY INTEREST came to my attention. "I'll apply. Yes. And if I don't get it," I told myself with the utmost resolve, "I WILL keep looking, even though I hate job searching. It is possible and perfectly acceptable to look for a new job and I am choosing to do that." 
I'm not going to lie-- it was really hard for me to even consider getting a new job. My father has had the same job my whole life. And even though my mother had a few job changes (which all seemed to make sense), to me, it is unusual to switch jobs for no reason. Or for simply being unhappy about your job. And it was my miracle job too! Walking away from that felt as if I was insulting God, telling him that his provision was no longer good enough for me. 

And in a way, it wasn't. But I am quite sure He could see that as well as I could, because about a week after my interview they offered me the job! A wink from heaven.
With just a day to spare, I had to get my resignation letter together to give two weeks notice. When I went into my boss's office, my hand was shaking, my voice was shaking, and I was sure I was going to be sick. So much nervousness over something that was going to end up being good for me! But I made it through. Yes, weird and awkward, but extremely important for the rest of my life. Jon Acuff says that quitting is about chasing your dream. I still don't know what my dream is, but I know I needed to Quit to find my dream.

My boss asked me do paperwork training for a woman who will be filling in until my office could hire a new AM. I was so overwhelmed and because the job deals in tiny details, I kept tripping over the order of tasks. Apparently when you've being doing something for seven months, you just fall into a rhythm and things just make sense. 
I found myself telling her, "But I hope to have that taken care of before you start" so many times. When she left, I looked at all the work I said that I would "take care of." It is at least one weeks worth of straight up filing. Filing. There might some self injury if I have to file for a solid week! I can't even stand to think about it! 

But somewhere in the craziness of my day, a small pocket of my heart whispers, "You have one week left. You can do this. You are more than this filing. You are worth more than your job. YOU are not your job." 
And yes, it whispers. I wish it would yell and scream. But as I reheat my tea and take a sip, I can hear it. And with every fibre of my being, I agree. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to school

My weeks have been getting into a bit of a routine, like I mentioned last post. Work work work at my day job, then trucking off to Old Navy on the weekends. It's back to school sales ALL MONTH and it has been slammed. Like all of the time. Friday until 10pm? Yeah, try later than that. And lines for hours and hours long. Seriously. I spent most of last Saturday ringing register. And we have been having so great sales (*cough$19jeanscough*) (but just until tomorrow! Sorry I didn't get this out sooner!) so I really should be expecting the business. 
A lot of schools are requiring uniforms, so it's not just jeans and T's for back to school, but a lot of khakis, polos and skirts. As a ex-uniform (mostly hand me downs and Goodwill--not bad!) wear-er myself, I'm a little jealous that kids can now have uniforms from Old Navy! I would have loved to be able to say that about my uniforms! Anyway...
As a cashier, I am in a very interesting position. I need to affirm the purchases being made and be helpful and kind to the people about to purchase clothing from my store. I check to make sure other associates have been doing their job of being helpful and kind as well. I have a script in my head that goes something like this: Hi! How are you today? Did you find everything ok? Or did you find what you were looking for?" If they didn't, I follow up with a, "Can I help you find (xyz)?" A lot of times at this point, another associate has already offered on the floor assistance, which is right and good. 
But I cannot tell you how many times a mother has made the following comments about her child: 

I just wish her butt was a little bit bigger! 
She is so tiny she doesn't fit into anything! 
I wish she wasn't so tall! 
I wish she was just a little bit taller! 

It is moments like these when I have to check myself and guard what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes I want to tell them, "You know your daughter might be small, but she is standing right there and can hear you wish different things for her, things she cannot change."
 Sometimes I want to say, "Hey, can we grab coffee sometime? I'd love to talk to you about the way your off-hand comments now will affect your little girl when she grows up in 5 to 10 years time." 
But mostly I end up saying something like, "Ah yes it can be difficult to find things that fit properly, but that is one of the things that makes her a unique person!" 

But even through that guarded response, it breaks my heart to hear parents speak in "if only's" for their child. I look at the child and I see a bright young thing with a huge future ahead of them. And then I imagine those hurtful words sinking into their brain, affecting the way they view their body, their worth and their future. 

Is it just me? Am I way off here? 
For those of you with children, how do you talk to your young kids about their bodies?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Is summer almost gone already?

DId the last six months just fly by for anyone else? 


Just me then. 

I've been doing my thing, working two jobs, trying to keep up with my reading challenge for 2012 (35 books in a year. I'm only one book behind schedule, for the interested, but I hope to get over that one soon. Just picked up and started getting into a YA science fiction that is going to be great. I can just tell.) and keeping up with the family's very busy social calendar. 

We had a wedding (!) at my house this past June. Which is crazy, if you know my family and our house. We live on a hill and have nothing that screams "flat and easy place to have a gorgeous event!" --but somehow (grace, elbow grease and pure determination by the bride) it all worked together and turned into a Pinterest-worthy wedding. (My mom actually created a blog to pin from so you can see all the deets over at her blog. It is a work in progress, so be patient.)

After the wedding we had about half a month's rest before we started planning my big sister's baby shower. I think after the wedding, mom got artsy-creative and we did a lot of the decorating ourselves. We made a baby welcome banner out of brown paper bags and stenciled with "welcome baby ogle," repurposed wedding decorations for the shower and created a menu of yummy summery treats, which included cake parfaits. Whoa. It was a good time. We might not have surprised the mommy to be, but I think by now we are getting into the habit of throwing really good parties. 

Things have finally calmed down and once again it is work, work, work. I've been having quite a few weekends at Old Navy and I am reminded how much I really love my job. Yes it is stressful to be on my feet for 5-9 hours. But I work with a bunch of great people, and   I get to meet a lot of interesting people. Some of them certifiably so, but some are just your normal bit of interesting. 

Has your summer been crazy? What have you been up to?

Monday, August 6, 2012

hello monday

hello blog. {sorry i haven't been on in 6 months...i still love you. honest!}

hello to monday night game night & laughs with friends {even if i didn't win at uno}

hello notes on my desk at work that make my day happy {and the snack in the fridge was nice too!}

hello Skype chats with my little sister in Indiana {i love your face, even if it was fuzzy}

hello mom who lets a bunch of 20 somethings invade her home {massive thanks, by the way! we had a blast!}

hello new computer that makes me feel as if i might actually be a grownup {or something like one}

finally, hello sleep. it's been a long exhausting, exhilarating day. thanks for everything.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New things

Remember all that time I said I had because of not having a lot of shifts at Old Navy? And all that extra time because I don't have a full time job? 

Welp. Only one of those reasons is true any more. (When I started my last post, they were both true--I promise!)

I spent a bunch of time researching job openings that my mom threw my way, that I located myself and that my friends told me about. I promise. I did. I might not have applied for a lot of them, but I did the research! I put time into it. And then, I got tired of looking. I got tired of looking at jobs that not only was I not qualified for, but that also would require years of school and experience before I could even think about applying. I was getting depressed and super exhausted of looking. I was really, really fed up with life. (Hey man, you know my life is not always pretty! Don't look so scandalized!) 

My friend knew I was looking, (because really, did I ever stop looking?) and sent me an email about a position that opened up where she worked. I told her I would look into it. A few days later I actually did. About a week later, I still hadn't applied. It looked like a good job, I was just putting off the inevitable, "Thanks, but no thanks" message I was sure to get. I was getting ready to out with some friends and she texted me to see if I had applied. I can't lie to I put the getting ready on hold and got my resume, references and cover letter ready to go. I texted her back right as I left the house, not caring about the outcome of the application, my mind focused on having fun with my friends. 
That was a Friday. The following Tuesday, I was called to fill out an application on location. The same week I had an interview scheduled for Thursday. For a week, I waited, almost forgetting about the application, sure that I wouldn't hear back from them for a few more weeks. How wrong was I? 

A week to the day after my interview, almost to the hour, I received a phone call. "We would like to offer you the job. Are you still interested?" 

Is that a trick question?? Most people took longer than a week to tell me "no" about an application. A week after my interview I had a job; three days later, I started my first day! 

My first week was a blur. I mean, an utter and complete blur. New faces, new paper work. New phones, new systems. This Monday, I started my second week and I must say, things are less stressful than they were last week. It is still an alarming amount of new information and processes, but I think I am starting to get the hang of it. 

Do I miss sleeping in late?


Do I love having something to do with my day? 

You bet I do!

It almost makes the not being able to sleep in worth it :) 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lots o' hours in the day

Something you might not know about Old Navy & Gap Inc. (unless of course you work for them) is that they adhere to California state work laws. This isn't hugely different then Pennsylvania laws, except in regards to break times.(At least, as far as I am able to figure out. I should perhaps talk to someone about that. Too bad I don't know any lawyers!)
The deal is this: if you work 5 hours, you get a 15 minute break. If you work any longer than 5 hours, they are required to give you an unpaid half hour meal break in addition to the 15 minute break. Apparently, my managers (and our store) can get into a lot of trouble if they consistently go over our 5 hour shift limits. This is such a big problem that they have recently changed our normal shifts (5 hours) to 4 1/2 hours. It doesn't seem like much at all, knocking off a half hour from a shift. But for some reason, it has really be wreaking havoc with my weeks! I am constantly forgetting start and end times for my shifts and need to check my calendar multiple times a day. I should be able to keep it all straight, especially since I've only worked two days a week for the past two weeks.
All of this nonsense about schedule changes that equals no work to say that in my spare time, I've had lots of time to do things I've been putting off. I've had more time to read. I've had more time to sleep. I've had more time to do nothing. I've had more time to clean. I've had more time to see my friends and spend lots of good time with them. It is probably safe to say that I've been more tired now with all the time I have to do running around then I ever was before working two jobs! (Not entirely true, but almost sorta kinda.)

Enter New Year's resolution revelation #1: I have started a book & movie review blog!
It's been something I've been meaning to do for at least a year, and I finally decided to dive right in. I know it's not always going to be perfect or as clear as I might like it, but I can finally say that I've started something. If you go over there to visit (which I recommend) you won't find any reviews quite yet, but I promise there will be some there by next week. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas

Happy (very belated) Christmas to all!
I've had a crazy few weeks, as I'm sure you figured, what with me being in retail and all that. Actually, being in retail is one of the reasons I haven't posted in more than a few weeks. I had realized that the closer it got to Christmas, the less excited I was about it. Me? Not be excited about Christmas? The one who listens to Christmas music in July? Yup. Me. I was not happy or excited about Christmas. Except knowing that once it was all over I could finally take a breather.
I was working 40 and 50 combined hour weeks between Old Navy and Bath & Body Works. It wasn't too bad...except on the nights where I would close at B&BW, not get home until maybe 1.30 AM, and then have to be at work at 9AM the next morning at Old Navy. The work was starting to take a toll on me and I took lots of naps in the hours between shifts. I even slept in my (locked) car on the days I only had maybe 2 hours between shifts. Yep. It was getting pretty bad.
Christmas Eve I worked a 7 hour shift and had just enough time to book it to church, change, try to wash off what I could of the day and be fresh-faced and full of Christmas joy for all three of our Christmas Eve services. Let me tell you, I was running so low on Christmas Joy that I almost forgot what it felt like. It was very difficult for me to keep a joyful attitude and remember the whole reason why I was there.
Christmas Day, though I had off, was another crazy day in a long string of crazy days. From church in the morning to Christmas with relatives, by 3pm I was exhausted. And we hadn't even done our family Christmas yet! Finally we made it home and began opening our own presents. One of the first things I opened was my very own copy of The Muppet's Christmas Carol! In my humble opinion, it is one of the best (if not THE best) versions of the story and I love it. I started singing some songs and was struck by one of the lines: it's true, wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas. I was sitting at home with the family I loved, and had seen people that I loved earlier that day. Maybe Christmas Joy isn't some giant feeling that is built up all season long. Maybe it simply is realizing that spending time where you are loved, with people that you love is enough. I pulled myself together long enough not to cry right there and then, but it was such a welcome thought after all of the angry hustle and bustle of the retail crowds I had been spending most of my time with all December.

Also, Happy New Year!
(Am I the only person who is shocked every January to realize yet another year has come? It seems the year drags on, but somewhere around November it is put into overdrive. It gets me every time.)
I'm back to working about 15 hours a week at Old Navy again. Though it is sad to see the paycheck amount get smaller, it is nice to not be so exhausted all of the time. I'm reading more, seeing friends more, and just generally having more time in my day. I am using some of that time to once again begin job searching. Less than fun, but it must happen.

I have a few New Year Resolutions this year. Nothing concrete or written down, (less disappointment that way...) but they are things I am really excited about.

One of them is that I will make more time for blogging.

I really do love blogging.

It's cathartic. It keeps me writing. It makes me examine things in a deeper way than I normally would. And I love it.

So keep your eyes peeled (ew. gross mental image.sorry about that.) for more from this blog in the coming year. And yes, look for other Resolution Revelations. I promise to share :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello Monday

hello to one more day of Christmas celebration

hello to an extra day of family togetherness

hello to a semi-normal work week

hello to morning coffee with my daddy

hello to tea & conversation with my adopted little sister

hello to part time job searching...again

hello to my new devotional, A Year with Aslan {which I hope will get me writing more, thinking more, and praying more}

hello to a new year &  the new adventures and opportunities you will bring!

{ps. hello to friends that remind me to blog! I love you!}