December 31, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

Over the last few days, I have been marveling at the fact that the year is almost over... The phrase "the days are long, but the years are short" is really beginning to apply to my life. Im sitting here trying to think of the events of this year & honestly I cant think of much... So Im going to try to go month by month to chronicle this year.

...2011 Year in Review...
January: Lamar & I built the most awesome snowman ever during our town's "blizzard."
February: I turned 25 this year & had a mild quarter life crisis, lol. It led to a lot of thinking about what Im 'suppose' to be doing. Unfortunately, I havent exactly figured that out yet.
March: My college roommate & I finally moved in together. This was great for me because I could get out of the hood & not go broke. It was great for her because she could save money on rent? Yay for win-wins! We moved into a great apartment in a quiet part of the complex within walking distance of stores & such. It is soo much better than my place in little mexico! Sometimes I stop while walking in & marvel at the fact that I actually live there. lol.
April: Southern Tornado Outbreak: On the 27th numerous tornadoes tore through Alabama & the surrounding states. I was stuck at work bunkered down in a classroom in the call center. I remember thinking, "God, if this is my time to die, please dont let me die here!" Living in northern Alabama has taught me the signs of potential tornadoes or bad thunderstorms, but these came out of the blue, it seemed. Once all the storms passed, we were without power for a week. But the good thing about it was, it brought people back to the simple things. Kids were playing outside & the parents were calling them in at sunset. Hanging out with friends was sitting around candles with a guitar. Church was a meeting at the park. We cooked over tealights or fireplaces & experienced what night really looks like. But when the power came back on, I took the best hot shower ever! lol :)
May: My bestsisterfriend got engaged ^.^ She'll be getting married in May of 2012. Congrats darlin!
June: Lamar & I went to Nashville to visit the Gaylord Opryland hotel. It was quite impressive. We rode the tour boats around the building. If you're ever in Nashville & want to do something really touristy, ride the boats at the Opryland hotel.
July: Lamar's birthday. I made a cake for him & it was delicious!
August: "Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, & devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose & meaning."(Tuesdays with Morrie) I found this book at my favorite thrift store & decided to read it since it got such great reviews from my bibliophile friends. It was an experience & has earned a place on my list of books I'd re-read, alongside The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin & Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
September: My roommate & I decided to start an Etsy shop called Pins&Needles. We currently have only one piece for sale, but it really gave us both something creative to do with our spare time. I have really delved back into crochet & enjoy creating all the pieces that Ive done so far. My plan for the new year is to get production going so that we can have stock for the shop. Then maybe my crocheting & her knitting will make us some money. Fingers crossed. :)
October: October was a big crochet month for me. Working at West gave me a pool of people that were very willing to pay for handmade merchandise. I ended up selling 3 scarves. I also began challenging myself with the patterns & stitches. I guess you could call this the month of crochet education... or something.
November: This was a good month. I was blessed to be able to quit my job at West & begin working as a church secretary. That was the highlight. The way everything came together for that change was pure God. That is all that can be said. Im very grateful & appreciative for the new position because it is infinitely better for me personally. :)
December: My "baby" brother was baptized by our dad. It was a beautiful family moment & we took a picture with both of my parents together. This is great especially since theyre divorced. That was one of the best moments of this year.

After going through each month & writing about an event, I see that this was a really good year. Next year, however, Im going to try to keep a better record. ;) Happy New Year, everyone!

December 7, 2011

I came to work this morning & this note was on my desk. :) It’s from the boy I wrote about yesterday.

It all comes down to Love.

Having a daily job in the church is truly giving me a new perspective of church people. Normally, my only contact with other church people is on Sabbath for maybe a couple hours, with the majority of that time being the service. So this is my first time seeing how the people who are so quick to extend a Happy-Sabbath-God-is-so-good-Im-blessed-&-highly-favored greeting act on the other six days of the week. So far, I am not very impressed.

Yesterday was the last day of the Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Conference held in the church where I work. So, of course, it was packed full of visiting pastors & other leaders. In the midst of all this, one of the visitors loses his phone. He comes into the church office asking if it has been returned. He couldn’t describe the phone or tell me what the model was. All he offered was that it was a Verizon phone… He also couldn’t answer any of the identification questions. So when I asked him for the phone number so I could see if the phone in my drawer was his, he decides to yell at me for ‘going too far’ & being disrespectful & rude. He also says that he is going to tell my manager about ‘my behavior.’ He gives me the number during this fit, & it turned out that the phone that was turned in wasn’t his anyway. So he storms out of the office, telling whoever will listen in the hallway about how rude I was.

I was particularly upset by this exchange because I expected a higher level of behavior from him. But what I got was a very nasty view of church people. I found out later that he was not only a visiting person, but a pastor. The leader of a church. When I learned that, I was taken aback. What does this behavior say about Seventh-day Adventist Christians? When we act like this, we cannot possibly think that God is being represented. Jesus, Himself, put a great deal of weight & importance on how we treat each other. He said loving your neighbor as yourself is the second great commandment, along with loving God with all your heart, soul, & mind. What message would be conveyed if on Sabbath afternoon we are feeding the homeless or doing bible study & come Tuesday our short fuses cause us to act in ways unbecoming of followers of Christ? What evangelism can come of that? What transformation? What vision of love?

There is a line of a song that kept repeating in my head after the above incident. It says, “I wonder what life would be like if we let Jesus live through you & me.” What would it be like? We would be slow(er) to anger… more loving… more understanding… kind… patient… We would be a force of good in a world where genuine goodness is the exception & not the rule. We would be more likely to help another person meet their needs rather than getting lost in the me-first societal view.

This experience has reiterated the fact that every day we are testaments. We are walking comparisons- mirrors of Christ, whether the image is clear or foggy. My parents always told me to remember that I represent them all the time. Just as children represent their parents, we represent Christ. Each day we need to make the conscious decision to make sure our representation is correct. We need to be loving. Like Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

It all comes down to love.

December 6, 2011

Mustard Seeds & Moves

This morning I met a boy named Marcus & he truly exemplified the statement that faith without works is dead. He is making his way around the Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Conference trying to get donations for tuition. He wants to go to an Adventist Academy in Mississippi & said that his mother has filled out all of his enrollment paperwork & they are stepping out on faith for the tuition money.

As he was talking to another lady in the office, I couldn't help but marvel at the measure of faith I saw in him. I thought about Jesus telling the disciples that if they had a faith the size of a mustard seed, they could move mountains. I thought of the 'child-like' faith that we are always told to have. That faith that says, "Jesus said He can do it, so that all I need to know." I was really blessed to see that today & as I'm writing this, I keep getting watery-eyed wishing that my faith was as big as his. The last thing he said before leaving the office was, "Well, I can't get tuition sitting down." I smiled, glad that he understood that even though God can & will bless His children- we have to do our part as well. He understood that he can't just say, God will provide & sit waiting. That's definitely a lesson worth learning... not only do we have to have faith in what God can/will do first, we then have to exercise that faith & not sit expecting.

(If you haven't seen a mustard seed, it looks like this)

June 24, 2011

Latest Crafting

Last night I decided to finally sit down & fix up my rickety $4 thrift store shelf. It was a lot of work & turned into an ever evolving project. Of course, I took pictures of the transformation, & I'm completely satisfied with the final outcome.

This is what the shelf looked like at first.

First plan with the individual shelves... orange spray paint...

Then... plan B with the shelves... Red Acrylic...

The body of the shelf got a glossy brown.

The shelf was missing a backing, so I cut some cardboard from an old poster frame to fit & painted it bright red.

Moving on to attach the backing to the shelf... I used my staple gun for the first time :D I totally didn't know that it took so much strength to fire that thing...

All put together & waiting for the shelves :)

Clearly, I gave up on the orange & then red shelves... I painted over the red with the same brown as the body of the shelf.

The finished shelf full of half of my mug collection :D It came out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.


June 10, 2011

In the beauty salon...

i love the happy banter heard in the hair salon. an ever changing grouping of women, chatting about children, music, love lives, or something seen on tv. the regulars have become friends & begin excited greetings as their foot crosses the shop threshold.

June 6, 2011

To pay the bills...

what do you do when all the self-talk & deliberate thinking is not enough to create a positive atmosphere? what if nothing you can possibly do can make a situation more favorable? what if the unfavorable outcome is the only one visible?

i've been thinking things like this over the last few weeks... i suppose the last time i wrote on here was just before my promotion at work. before i became WAY to busy with the job to create time to write blog entries. but i still kept my mind on happiness. i made sure to smile & laugh & find the positive in each day despite the fact that no one else around me was. my work environment was & is a place where people drag themselves. where we only go because it pays our bills. I became quite aware of this early on after my change from a customer service representative to a team lead. In a moment my entire work world shifted from my 2x2 desk & phone to the whole floor. The individual customer on the phone was no longer my only concern. I now had a team of 10+ agents & their customers to manage & see after.

It's been an up & down roller coaster of a job being a team lead... from schedule conflicts with the Sabbath, to unnecessary jabs at my work ethic. There seems to always be something working against me at this job. And what makes it worse, i mean SO much worse, is the fact that i put my all into every shift, every agent, every escalated call, every sale, everything. I grind my knuckles to the bone at this job. Give 100% all the time. And when i make mistakes, I correct them & am conscious not to make them in the future... Yet I still am treated like I dont matter, like my contribution to the site is irrelevant. I am seeing more & more that I am just a number. A worker bee with no name, just a number... 7770...

Anyway... Ive come to the point where im beginning the job search again. I cannot continue to work as a number.
I need to have value.
I need to know that I matter.
I need to feel fulfilled.
I need to know that I have a place.

Hopefully I'll find a job like that.

I think about how my mom is a teacher & has always wanted to be a teacher & absolutely LOVES her job. She never wakes up hating the fact she has to walk into her school. She even walks happy. Sometimes I call her & she'll be walking down her hallways at school, & while she's always rushing somewhere, you can hear the pleasant contentment in her steps...

Sometimes keeping a job just because it pays the bills is not enough.