Friday, November 29, 2019

It's My Pleasure

I received an interesting question this week while working in the drive-thru.
Interesting, that is, because I think it was in part a serious inquiry.
The young man at the window wanted to know, "Do Chick-fil-A employees get fired if they aren't in a good mood? How is it that everyone can be so positive???"
I chuckled internally for just a moment before I responded, because I have frequently heard other guests wonder similar thoughts to one another. It seems many people want to know how we stay up-beat. So I was honest with the guest who had enough courage to come right out and ask the question.
First, I assured him that nobody loses their job if they're having a bad day.
Second, I shared that the whole "positivity" thing is actually a part of our training. One of the standards in the Core Four of how we interact with guests is to speak enthusiastically.
And then I told him about the reality of what it's like to work with Chick-fil-A folks. I mean, when you're around people who are consistently saying, "It's my pleasure!" "Absolutely!" "I'd be happy to!" and the like, well, it's pretty easy to follow suit.
We spent a few seconds pondering how natural it is to pick up on the positive attitude of those who surround us. We also recognized how quickly we can go the other direction. And then, just before he drove away we concluded that we ought to strive to be influencers who seek to bring other people up, rather than the ones who drag them down.
Yeah. A bit of philosophizing to go with breakfast.
We'll just call it Food for Thought in the Drive-thru.
I love my job!


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Now I'm REALLY Feeling Old

When I was a little girl I always looked forward to Christmas morning with my family. Up early, opening gifts, then going back to bed (The grown-ups, that is. I always stayed up to play with my new toys.) and eventually eating breakfast before going over to Grandma's for the "whole family" Christmas.
Then one day I got older and got married. And my husband and I started our own Christmas tradition. No longer with our respective nuclear families on Christmas morning, we celebrated on different days in different ways. Got into new habits, and it was all good.
Then I got a little older again, and I had children - my own little nuclear family. And more new traditions came into play. Our own Christmas morning standards. And this phase? Seemed to last for a long time.
I'd gotten really used to doing what we did on Christmas morning with all my kiddos.
But something has happened, and I am not sure I'm ready to admit its reality.
That is, this year my daughter and her husband are going to be out of town on Christmas day. And my son lives in his own apartment. Which means the way of doing things which I've been used to doing for the past 23 Christmases is going to be different. In fact, I am in the process of figuring out which non-December-25th day will work best for my kids to all be together to celebrate our Savior's birth - and to exchange gifts.
For an instant I was all, Wait a minute! That's something my mother-in-law does. Not me. But then I realized, Oh, wait another minute. I am a mother-in-law now. And I realizd again that a lot of time has passed through all these Christmas tradition changes - from my childhood home, to my married apartment, to my family home, to my nearly empty nest.
And, gee, I'm not sure how to deal with it all.

So if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go find a rocking chair where I can sit for a while and think about it. *wink*


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Cleo Update

My grand-dog is getting bigger.
And cuter by the day.


Monday, November 25, 2019

I Have a Question

If you've been on the internet over the past week, chances are you've read about the decision made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation to end their support of certain (Christian) organizations in favor of focusing their giving on three organizations which deal exclusively with hunger, homelessness, and education.
The reaction to this move from many Christian and conservative outlets (and individuals) has been filled with anger and disbelief. While I am disappointed with the vitriol I've seen in some of those responses, my heart has been troubled, too.
And when I couldn't stop thinking about it last Friday, I sat down and drafted a message which I submitted via the Chick-fil-A website. Although I am not confident my words will make it past the mailroom to the desk of the president, I am hopeful. In case they don't, however, I'll share them here.

Dear Mr. Tassopoulos,
Several times over the past few days I have read this quote:
"as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are."
I have a sense there is more to this statement than the fifteen words so oft printed, and I would love to know the rest.
You see, I am a Chick-fil-A employee. I love my job, my owner/operator, the people I serve, and the people with whom I serve. I even devote Fridays on my blog to Chick-fil-A stories. So, I very much feel a part of the "we" of whom you speak, and I have taken great delight in that association.
A significant portion of that delight came because I thought Chick-fil-A was a company which stood firm. I believed we adhered to biblical principles. I thought we didn't compromise when pressured by others to succumb to actions and attitudes deemed acceptable by modern society. My understanding was we were more concerned about moral truth than political correctness. I thought we had a sturdy backbone.
But from the recent action of turning away from the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home it seems to me we are a company which is caving to demands. It looks like we have a fear of men, rather than of God. It would appear our desire is to appease those whose ideology disagrees with the Bible. It looks to me like we're losing our foundation.
So, Mr. Tassopoulos, I support you in your campaign to be clear about who we are. Because right now I'm not really sure.
Who are we?

So, that's my question. Who are we?
I am willing to discover that the conclusions to which so many have jumped (i.e. that CfA is abandoning the faith-filled basis of its founder) are wrong. With background and explanation - rather than sound bites and out-of-context quotes - perhaps this decision will make sense. Indeed, I am hopeful for an answer which will clarify that Chick-fil-A is still the steadfast organization I have known it to be.


Friday, November 22, 2019

It's My Pleasure

Who knew something so simple could matter so much?
I mean all I did was speak a name.
But it made a difference. And I'm going to keep on doing it.

That is, whenever possible I greet my guests by name, but it wasn't until yesterday that I realized the significance of doing so.
I was in the drive-thru, saw the name on my screen, and said, "Good morning, Rosemary!" as she pulled up to the window. And this dear woman smiled a smile soooo big and said, "Oh! You said my name. How nice!" It was an instant friendship at that point, and you would be correct if you guessed the rest of our interaction was delightful.
Later in the afternoon I was at the front counter taking orders when an international student came in for lunch. As I always do, I asked for his name to put on the order and he leaned in and spelled, "X-U." At that moment I recognized this young man and remembered the last time I waited on him. On that day he also spelled his name for me and I attempted to pronounce it. I said, "Zhu?" and he corrected me with an "sh" sound, rather than "z". So yesterday I smiled at him and said, "Shu, right?" He smiled right back, "Yes. That's right!" And the look in his eyes told me he was pleased I had remembered. He was happy to hear his name.

I am not sure what it is about hearing our name, but especially after these interactions at work yesterday I see it matters. I guess in this big, crazy world we feel a little more known - maybe a bit more secure - when we realize someone knows our name.
So, friends, let's make it a point today to let people know we see them. Say somebody's name!


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

When HE Lets Me Do it My Way

Sometimes I think God lets me do stupid things in my own power so I am reminded that I need to trust fully in HIM.

For example...
Yesterday I had a lot to get done in the morning.
My Precept group was meeting for the last time before our holiday break, and we were planning a potluck. I had decided to make something in the Crock Pot to share with my Precept sisters. That way I could bring a warm dish which would stay warm, and which would travel easily. Besides, these dear ladies always seem to enjoy the Crock Pot dishes I make. So I had a plan, and all was good.
Until a few days before - when I realized I had an appointment to get my hair cut at 10:45 the same morning. Because getting my hair cut at 10:45, driving home to pick up the Crock Pot, and getting to church by 11:30 just wasn't going to happen.
But I put a little thought into it and figured out that I could put the recipe together a bit earlier than necessary, take the Crock Pot to church to finish cooking in our meeting room, go get my hair cut and be back at church with minutes to spare. I was quite pleased with how creatively I had come up with a solution to my problem and *might* have secretly patted myself on the back for not stressing about how to get 'er all done.
So yesterday I was well on my way to successfully pulling off my plans - in the van, on my way to church, on time, with the Crock Pot - and its contents smelling so good! - when I realized I had neglected to bring my Bible study materials. And I panicked.
I thought, I can't go to Bible study without my homework and notes and stuff! But I can't turn around and go back, because I don't want to be late for my appointment. And there's no way I'll have time to go home after my haircut. Maybe I can just remember the stuff I wrote in my notebook. No. I need to go back. But I've already wasted time sitting through two lights. I don't want to be late. But I'm going to Precepts. How could I have forgotten my Precept notebook? What was I thinking? Do I have enough time? Oh, for crying out loud, Karen, stop arguing with yourself and turn around to get what you should have remembered!
(Am I the only one who has internal conversations like this?)
So I carefully turned around (Didn't want to spill the contents of the Crock Pot!) and I went home. Praying every second of the way. I asked God to work out the details of the lights for me so I wouldn't be delayed by them again. And I thanked Him every time He faithfully made the way. I prayed the doors at church would be unlocked and our room open so I wouldn't waste time looking for people with keys, and I thanked Him for meeting each of those needs. I asked Him to get me through traffic and safely to the hair salon on time so I wouldn't inconvenience Clayton by my forgetfulness. And I thanked Him for even giving me extra time upon arrival, so I could read over some Bible study notes before going in for my appointment.
As I took a deep breath - thankful for everything God had just done for me - I realized, God, You let me do that, didn't You. When I left home without my folder, You knew it. And You let me go. You could have nudged me - could have kept me from forgetting. But You let me go in my little flurry of getting things done, let me rely on my own ways and wisdom. You let me do it my way - so I would be humbled and recognize that I need to trust You for everything. Every little thing. And You let me see that when I trust You, You are faithful in every detail. In.every.little.thing.

I understand that my circumstance yesterday might not strike everyone as an encounter with the Almighty. But, I'm telling you, there is no room for doubt in my mind that HE was at the center of it.
And my heart is fully delighted.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Permission to Rest

The truth is, my days have been full and I just didn't "have it in me" to make a video devotion.
Rather than force something, I'm choosing to rest.
And because I have a feeling I am not the only one who feels this way, I want to extend the offer to you, as well. May the peace of Christ rest upon you today!


Friday, November 15, 2019

It's My Pleasure

I love it when I get to have significant conversations with guests while I'm working.!

Sometimes, however, I am not able to say or do the things my heart wants to pursue.
Like yesterday afternoon in the drive-thru.
We were super busy, and were getting cars through the line at a very good pace when I did a double-take at the guest sitting outside the window. She didn't do much to make eye contact with me, but I could see that she had been crying. And as I handed out a bag of waffle fries all I had time to do was pray for her silently. If it had been in the morning, or if there weren't a long line of cars behind her I would have slowed the interaction and asked about her circumstance.
(Though it didn't really look like she wanted to talk, anyway.)
As it was, when she pulled away I asked God to comfort her and be her help. While I took care of the next guest I prayed still. And even as I am typing these words, I continue to pray.
Thankful that God is not bound by time.
Trusting that He knows her needs.
Believing He can work on her behalf.
Grateful for the opportunity to notice and pray when somebody is hurting.
LORD, please keep me alert to Your Spirit and the things You would prompt me to do through Him.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

HE Answers

Oh, my goodness!
God is so faithful to answer us when we pray.
Yesterday I was asking Him to lead me in what to say during a couple of women's events at which I will be speaking in the future. I was honestly contemplating how to address these groups which may not be fully given to believing His Word. I was thinking, How much should I say? At what point will they stop listening, or - worse yet - become offended?
And then, right on cue, HE let this video come across my computer screen. My first thought was that I didn't have time to watch it. But somehow God got me to click on it and right away I knew HE was answering my prayer regarding "how much" to say. My spirit was so convicted. And I just kept watching because HIS WORD was speaking and I wanted to hear.
Part of me has the desire to give you the play-by-play of my response to this message, but I realize my response doesn't matter. Instead, I simply want to implore you to listen to this word. To allow God's Spirit to speak to yours. And to respond with holy reverence.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Another Dedication

Well, the letter finally arrived.
The letter, that is, from Michigan Tech University - for which my son has been anxiously waiting.
Annnnnnd, looks like my boy is going to be a Husky!
Now Matthew is busy learning about housing options, researching campus life, and dreaming about the future. I am in one moment proud, and excited to see him growing and pursuing new things. And in the next moment I am full of sentimentality - wanting to keep holding on to my baby boy, not feeling ready to embrace this soon-to-be-empty nest. (Especially as I sat through a child dedication ceremony at church Sunday morning. The memory of standing on the platform the day we dedicated Matthew to the LORD seemed so very recent. *sigh*)
Maybe that's why I found myself re-dedicating him in my heart. Thinking about him on the brink of adulthood, making more of his own decisions (Though I love when he comes to Brian and me for advice!), doing more of his own things - I still pray that God will lead. Still believe that HE is the One who knows best. The One who can be trusted. So even as those young mommas and poppas were making commitments to raise their children to know the LORD, I was praying for my man-child to be drawn to HIM as he takes these next steps.
To be honest though, as I considered those young mommas and poppas and all that is ahead of them I also reflected on those same things which are now behind me. The years of doing my best to do my best, of trying to get it right - but knowing I fell short many times, and the occasional moment of feeling like we were actually going to make it. I thought of times when I could have done this, should have done that, or might rather have done the other thing. I questioned, Did I do enough? Did I miss things? Is he really ready to go? And I felt the Spirit of God nudge my heart. Dear one, you can still trust Me. I am not finished with him. Yes, he's growing. Yes, he's soon going to be moving on. But you can know that I am already there, and I will go with him. Keep trusting. Keep praying. Keep believing. I've got this!
So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to follow HIS plan.
Trust. Pray. Believe.
And send care packages.
I mean, HE didn't explicitly say care packages, but I'm sure that's what He meant! *wink*


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
And in September I had the opportunity to see a movie based on his life. Specifically, based upon an relationship Mr. Rogers had with a journalist who interviewed him for a magazine article.
I was immediately willing to go to the preview, because I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid.
And because I have a general rule that I'll go see almost any movie starring Tom Hanks.
But I did not expect the level of inspiration I felt.
Like, seriously.
I left the movie wanting to be kind to everyone. I walked out with a greater amount of respect for Mr. Rogers than I ever could have understood as a kid - truly impressed by the tenderness of a man who just wanted to make a difference in the lives of people.
Even as I think about it now, I remember one scene when it seemed like Mr. Journalist was just trying to provoke Mr. Rogers to anger. However, Mr. Rogers kept responding graciously - and I'm all, How does he do that???
Indeed, the movie is full of inspiring scenes from beginning to end.
My two favorites of those scenes were the subway, and the bedside of the journalist's dying mother.
I'll not say more than that - but will encourage you to make plans to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when it opens in theaters on November 22.


Monday, November 11, 2019

God Noticed Me

Last Friday I shared a story at an event called The Notice.
I had mentioned it here last week, and was asked how somebody might see it who doesn't live nearby.
My first thought was to find out if the event was being live-streamed. (It wasn't.)
My second thought was to ask my husband to record me while I spoke. (He did!)
And my third thought was to post it here for anyone who wishes to listen.
By that time, I was whipped. It isn't often that I think three thoughts so rapidly! *wink*
So, in case you're interested, here it is:


Friday, November 08, 2019

It's My Pleasure

"May I have your name for your order?"
It's a request I make of each guest, so we are able to greet them by name when we deliver their meal. And Monday I was able to have some quick-on-my-feet fun with that interaction.
That is, I asked for a man's name and as I was entering it into the order he asked (with a playful tone of voice which said he thought I didn't know how to spell his name), "Uh, how are you going to spell that?"
Without missing a beat I said, "T-H-A-T."
And I gave him a great big smile until he caught on to what I had just said.
Then we shared a laugh while he gave me the correct spelling of his name, and while he congratulated me on my fast thinking.
Ahhhhh, I love my job!!!


Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The Notice

Last year my church began holding Friday evening events wherein people were encouraged to share their God-stories. They were somewhat informal gatherings during which time we got together to be encouraged by hearing the things God had done and was doing.
They're back.
And this coming Friday I am going to share my testimony of when God noticed me through scripture.
I am very much looking forward to telling the story from several years ago when He met me in my pit of despair and gave me hope.
If you're in the neighborhood, I'd love to see you there, too!


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Silly Puppy!

Josh texted this picture - along with the caption, "She chewed the face off her favorite toy..."

Is it just me, or does Cleo look a little sad? Like she feels pity for the faceless toy?
The situation makes me chuckle just a bit, as I consider the two of them - Josh and Cleo - coming to terms with the consequences of their actions.
That is, I'm sure Cleo was just enjoying chewing, not realizing her favorite toy would soon become filler for the trash can.
And, similarly, Josh has expressed a level of disbelief at how difficult it is to "raise" a puppy. (He was only 10 when we got Mindy. Didn't do much in the training department. It was all fun and games for him!) She has chewed paint off the wall in his kitchen. House-training has been a challenge. He's gotten tired of her biting his hands. Getting her accustomed to her leash caused him some angst. He even said sometimes it's frustrating that she's so stinkin' cute.
Because her cute-ness makes it difficult for him to stay mad.
Ahhhh, but I know she'll grow out of her puppy-ways. The chewing will slow down and one day stop altogether. And when that day comes, she'll stop ruining her toys. I know the frustration Josh feels now will also decrease and eventually go away.
But in the meantime, I am enjoying watching him learn how to handle difficult moments. I delight in seeing him mature as he deals with the challenges life-on-your-own-making-adult-decisions is bringing his way. And it's a bonus to have this adorable silly puppy as one of the objects of his lessons. *smile*


Monday, November 04, 2019

In the Silence

When your throat gets sore, and you lose your voice, well...

Video devotions don't get recorded!

I was incredibly thankful that I made it through chapel at the women's mission Thursday night.
And MOPS Friday morning.
But after that? My voice was GONE!
I worked for seven hours Saturday, indebted to gracious managers and co-workers who made it possible for me to serve "behind the scenes" - so I could almost not talk at all during my entire shift.
And as I type these words Sunday night, I am actually able to speak again.
Enough to have a conversation at the dinner table. (Brian is so glad. Says he has felt like I've been mad at him the past two and a half days. *wink*)
Hopefully enough to effectively communicate enthusiastically at Chick-fil-A Monday.
But not enough to have made a video devotion.

And, that's that.
The reason for my "silence".
Might you take the three or four minutes you would have otherwise spent watching my video, and ask God what HE wants to speak to your heart today?


Friday, November 01, 2019

It's My Pleasure

I love telling stories here about fun interactions I have with guests at Chick-fil-A.

Because I LOVE those moments.

But sometimes our exchanges are not amusing and life-giving.
Sometimes a guest is in a rush. They approach the counter already speaking their order - rapidly. Clearly communicating they don't have time for relationship-building.
On other occasions their non-verbals simply express that they're closed off that day. No interest in connecting. Just take my order and send me on my way, please.
I understand that not every transaction can be fun but, honestly, it can be a challenge for me to not take those moments personally. I so enjoy the delightful interactions that those on the other end of the spectrum can make my spirit sad. I have to talk myself into moving on, without getting stuck in discouragement.
So, Monday I was in the middle of one of those times. That is, a man and his family were standing in front of me. He was doing the talking - not super fast, not totally closed off - but dry, and bordering on unfriendly. And as I was just about ready to accept the situation as "one of those", I noticed part of an H followed by E,A,T, and part of an O on the t-shrit he was wearing beneath his jacket. And something that looked like a college seal. So I asked, "Is that a Wheaton t-shirt?"
He sort of perked up and said, "Uh, yes!"
Then I told him that my daughter graduated from Wheaton and I learned that his family was presently en route to Wheaton - where his son is a student. I told him how much we loved the school, and suddenly I found myself in a delightful conversation with this man who - seconds before - I had nearly excused as someone who didn't want to be engaged.
And I rediscovered the power of making a connection. When we find out we have something in common with another person, we seem to be drawn to finding out more. To strengthen the connection. Even if it's only for a couple of minutes over an order for lunch.
But it can make those couple of minutes delightful.

Makes me wonder what would happen if we looked for connections more often. Particularly in those interactions we have with difficult people!