Friday, January 31, 2020

It's My Pleasure

Yesterday when the clock said 6:28, I punched in - so I could make my way to the front of the store, unlock the window, sign on to the register, and flip the lights to "green" at 6:30-on-the-dot.
We were ready to begin serving guests with grace and a smile.
And yummy chicken, of course!
As the dark sky became lighter and more guests came for breakfast, I was enjoying opportunities for fun chatter and a few moments of deeper conversation. I truly delight in the comments which lead to philosophical ponderings, which ultimately leave both of us commentators scratching our heads and smiling about some deep thought we'd never thunk before.
One woman asked me about the training we go through during orientation, because she wanted to know how Chick-fil-A employees seem so consistent in pursuing excellent customer relations.
I enjoyed playful banter with another guest who was "an hour away from leaving for Cancun." The very cold air emboldened me to feign jealousy of his trip (I mean, I only had to pretend a little. *wink*) and he promised to bring back a full report his wonderful and warm vacation.
And then, there was the young mom with a two-year-old - who was having a crying fit because he "wanted to go to Meijer." When I came back to the window with their order, said crying child had calmed down and was peeking at me from the back seat. I said, "Hi there!" And he smiled and waved. So I asked, "Are you having a great day?" And he giggled and said, "Yeah!" At which point Mom and I exchanged knowing looks, and I wished her peace in the midst of toddler-moods-which-can-turn-on-a-dime, as she drove off into the day.
Indeed, there were a lot of things which were going right in the drive-thru yesterday.
But there were also less-than-stellar moments.
Orders which weren't heard correctly or said right or entered accurately, or something - which had to be refunded or remade or re-ordered. (And caused delays which, of course, nobody wants.) Other details (to which I am not privy, because I'm just trying to manage the window...) sometimes got confused and attitudes were affected, frustrations were expressed, and a feeling of gloom lurked in the air. To the extent that - at one point - I felt like just plopping down and having a little cry.
And just about exactly at that point, as I was handing an order out the window, the guest in the car said, "You guys are amazing. You do such a great job here. Thank you!"
I paused for a moment.
I closed my eyes and smiled.
Then I looked right into her eyes and said, "Thank you. Thank you."
And I realized that encouragement doesn't only go out of the Chick-fil-A window.
Sometimes it comes rushing in through the gracious words of a kind soul who doesn't know she just delivered a kiss from the King.

Karen

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Late-40s Wisdom

I couldn't help myself.
Matthew came into the house bemoaning the fact that he'd forgotten to stop by the tire store to get his tire pressure checked. "I was going to do it," he said, "but I drove right by. Forgot all about it!"
And I really understood his pain. Because my very-less-than-stellar memory often sees me forgetting to do the things I was sure I'd remember to do.
Often.
Waaaaay too often.
Which is why I was so eager to share my hard-earned wisdom with my son.
I said, "I've learned a strategy to remember when I need to do something out of the ordinary. It really helps. I do something out of the ordinary right away, which I'll see later. So when I see it later I'll remember there was something I needed to do, and I do it!"
For example, Monday I needed to stop by the bread store after I got groceries.
I wrote that need on my grocery list, but I knew by the time I put the groceries on the belt, paid for everything, got out of the store and had my bags loaded into the van - I would not be thinking about that one remaining item on my list. Sooooo, when I was getting out of the van to go into the store - when I picked up the list and saw "bread store" on it, I thought, Aha! Time to use my memory strategy!
I reached down, picked up the snow brush, and placed it on my seat as I got out.
Because when I finished shopping and put the groceries in the back of the van, then came around to get in and go home - well, I'd have to move the brush out of my way.
Which would be unusual.
Which would cause me to wonder why I had put it there.
Which would remind me that I needed to do something out of the ordinary.
Which would cause me to recall that unusual thing.
Which - of course - was: go to the bread store!
So I went, and *Voila!* now my guys have yummy bread to eat with dinner.

Truth be told, I am not sure how inspiring my tale of wisdom was for Matthew.
I mean, I really hope he tries my strategy and finds it helpful.
But I realize he may think it's silly, and he may never benefit from utilize my idea.
And that's his loss okay, I guess. At least I tried to help him!
Just, please, do me one favor: If you ever pass by my van and see the snow brush on the driver's seat, don't put it away for me. Chances are there's something out of the ordinary I'm trying to remember! *grin*

Karen

Monday, January 27, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

It's My Pleasure

True story: Words simply cannot convey the very real pleasure my job is to me.

Yesterday included one of many occasions I have had to serve someone who is eating at Chick-fil-A for the first time. Now, whenever I learn that a person is making their initial visit, I make a point of welcoming them and letting them know I am glad they've come. And I take extra care to explain the way we do things - like the table markers, and sauces, and beverage re-fills.
But yesterday when "Sam" came in, he brought additional opportunities for me to pour out kindness. First, he had come quite a distance to get to us, so I showered him with love for making the drive. Second, he had no clue what he was doing or what to order, so I was able to "hold his hand" though the process and make him feel comfortable. And, third, he was taking lunch back home to his wife, so I let him know what a great guy he was for thinking of her - and I was able to help him pick things she might like.
That entire interaction was a joy to me. And to him, too, I hope!

Then there was "Will." He wasn't having the best of days, but something I said led to him responding with a smile. And I said, "Ahhhh, you smiled!" And his smile grew a bit more, even with a small chuckle. I told him then, "I want to take your order and get you the meal you desire, but my greater goal is for your day to be brighter." "You have accomplished your goal," he said with another smile.
And my heart beamed.

Near the end of the day I was beginning to worry because I had been given one of our cow mascot plush toys to give away to someone, and I had yet to meet the child to whom I felt led to give it. But then my co-worker saw some siblings come in with (I'm guessing) their grandma and he said, "Maybe that's them!"
After Grandma placed their order I said, "OK. Now I'm hoping you can help me with a little problem I'm having," and I brought the cow into their view. "My cow is very lonely, and I need to find friends for him who will love him and take very good care of him. Can you please help me? I really need somebody to take care of my cow and love him well." And I'm telling you, the eyes in these kids just lit up.
Initially I had a slight concern abput whether "sharing" the cow would be a problem, but as we interacted I could see that this brother and sister would work well together in giving my cow a good home - and I believe the delight in my heart matched the happiness in theirs as I handed "Chick-fil-A" over to them. (That's what they decided to name him. Chick-fil-A.)

I could go on with stories just from yesterday which bring me joy, but I'll stop with these three.
The thing is, every day I want to be where God wants me to be, doing what HE wants me to do. I just want to be a conduit of His love to this world in which I'm living. And each day I'm at work I have the very real sense that HE is giving me those opportunities.
Ahhhh, it's my pleasure!!!

Karen

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Current Contents of my Bathroom Cabinet

My husband and I have a running joke about "making Grandma Hossink proud."
That is, Brian's grandmother was known for her dutch-ness.
For being frugal.
For using every last drop of a thing before throwing it away.
Thus, when I refuse to dispose of an item because I am convinced there is at least one more serving or portion or usage or bit in it, I joyfully defend myself declare, "Grandma Hossink would be so proud!"

And those were precisely the words which went through my mind as I noticed the extent to which I was *ahem* honoring her with my toiletries. Check this out:

This is my current deodorant container. I mean, I have a new bottle, but I'm still using this one because - clearly - it still contains product. Granted, I have to use a cotton swab to extract the product, and my finger to apply it. But this stuff isn't cheap (And I am!!!) and I don't want to throw any of it away. So I'll keep on being thrifty until the last of it is used.

This bottle is my moisturizer. A week or so ago it seemd to be empty, but when I put it away upside down I proved to myself that it wasn't. Actually, both last night and this morning I truly thought I had gotten the last of it. Yet here it still sits, because I have a feeling I can squeeze one more usage out of it.

And finally, there's this. (Which, technically, is from a drawer and not my cabinet. But who's being technical???) Do you see in the lower left corner, the one remaining bit of blush? I could have thrown this make-up away weeks ago when I bought its replacement, but that would have made Grandma sad. And I would much rather make her proud. Which I'm sure I did by crushing that little bit of blush with my tweezers, and capturing the crumbs on my blush brush - to apply one last time to my cheeks.

Ah, yes.
I never had the opportunity to meet Grandma Hossink. She passed many years before I even met Brian. But I'm sure we would have been fast friends, as we compared notes on being frugal, and encouraged one another on in our efforts to use every last drop. *wink*

Karen

Monday, January 20, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

It's My Pleasure

What do you do when you make a mistake?

At Chick-fil-A we try to turn our mistakes into blessings.
Specifically, what I mean is, when our dessert maker accidentally prepares the wrong shake - or when a guest changes their mind about what kind of iced coffee they want, after their original order has already been prepared - or something along those lines, which leaves us with an unwanted tasty treat - we like to "surprise and delight."
Every now and then when I am at the drive-thru window a co-worker will place one of those items at my side with the words, "Here. Surprise and delight someone." And I set out to notice somebody who seems to need a lift in their day, or who simply looks like they would truly be delighted by a treat.
And, can I tell you?
It really is my pleasure when I see the smile on a person's face as I hand them a free goodie.
Indeed, some people are very happy about our mistakes!

So, this whole making lemonade out of lemons thing (Hey, did you know we do that at Chick-fil-A, too???) has had me thinking this week: When unexpected events pop up, when things aren't going as we intended, how can we turn the situation around to surprise and delight someone???

Karen

Friday, January 10, 2020

It's My Pleasure

Last week an elderly gentleman approached my register to order lunch. He was standing alone but was ordering for two, and he wasn't sure which menu item he was supposed to select. He said, "Last time we shared a salad. It was big enough for both of us, it was very tasty, and it was around $8. Do you know which one that would be?"
"Well," I said, "we have several tasty salads."
I glanced at the wall behind me where the menu is located but quickly realized referring to it would be useless. The salads were on the opposite end from where we were standing, and besides, this gentleman seemed a bit hard of hearing. I knew he wouldn't be able to understand me while I read the menu, because I would have to be turned away from him so I could see it...
I happen to know, however, that we have printed menus in a little cubby on the wall. So I walked around the counter and grabbed one, then went to the gentleman who wanted to order a salad to share with his wife. We stood side by side and I showed him the descriptions of each of the salads on our menu. And when we read about the Market Salad he said, "Yes! That's the one!"
Satisfied that we had solved the mystery, I put the menu away and went back behind the counter to put his order into the register. As I was entering the information we decided on a salad dressing, and discussed how the lid from the salad could be used as a second plate. We also agreed they would probably both like to have a cup of water for a drink. And as we were finishing up, this very sweet gentleman said to me, "I am 94 years old. Thank you for being so gentle with me today."

True statement: The memory of that interaction still delights my heart. And the sincere gratitude expressed by that 94-year-old man inspires me to seek more ways to be gentle with everyone I meet.

Karen

Thursday, January 09, 2020

When Your Adult Child "Gets It"

Josh came over for dinner Monday night, and - I'm telling you - he had some of the most delightful things to say. That is, I found great joy in *almost* hearing him say, "Mom, you were right all along!"
It went a little like this:
While talking about his roommate's cleaning habits, "I don't think he has ever emptied the trash. Sometimes I think I just won't do it, because eventually he has to see that it needs to be done. But he doesn't! Mom, I think I feel like you have felt."
Regarding cleaning the kitchen, "He doesn't even wipe the counter. Ever. I scrub the dishes, but he just leaves food all over them. I'm the only one who cares!"
And as I'm listening, I'm thinking, Yes, son. I know exactly how you're feeling. Exactly. And can I just say? What goes around comes around...
Those observations made me chuckle to myself, but it was his final adulting-is-hard comment which made me laugh out loud. Josh was telling us about an opportunity he might have in the coming year to go on a fishing trip, but which would cost upward of $200 for an airplane ticket. And while he was sharing his story - actually all through dinner - Cleo was making lots of noise by dropping her ball on the floor.
Thud.
Over and over and over.
Thud.
Matthew, who has been working lots of hours, saving his money (and happily updating his computer with those savings) asked with a sense of disbelief, "What? Why can't you come up with $200?"
With equal disbelief Josh looked at his you-have-no-idea-what-it's-like-to-do-this-adulting-thing brother and said, "Do you hear that ball dropping? That's why I can't save up $200."
And I just burst out laughing.
You see, my husband used to mock his dad's infamous statement, "You can't have nice things when you have kids!" But sometime in the past 23 years - between the simple cost of having kids, and the amount of damage those darlings do to household items - Brian has come to understand why his dad lamented as he did. In fact, more than once I have heard Brian make the same claim. So I couldn't help but display my amusement when I witnessed the baton being passed to the next generation.
Ahhh, Josh loves his pup. But he's facing the reality that loving and caring for another living being has a literal cost. (And I love seeing the sacrifice he's willing to make for his sweet companion.)
But I also have to laugh, because there is a real sense of satisfaction in seeing your adult child finally understanding the things you've been saying and feeling for years!

Karen

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Laughter is Good Medicine

So, I "might" have spent too much time Sunday afteroon reading old blog posts while I was searaching for the one I shared yesterday.
Maybe.
But so many of them made me laugh, I just couldn't stop!
And the two which follow are quick reads. So I hope you'll enjoy a laugh with me today. *grin*

From May 7, 2007:
Matthew is my youngest child. He'll be seven in less than two weeks. YIKES!!! That's hard to believe.
When he was a toddler and my husband and I were introducing him to someone new, it was not uncommon for Matthew to approach the person and climb right up onto their lap or give them a big hug. Brian and I would usually smile and say something like, "He's really shy. We're trying to work with him on that!" He is such an outgoing little guy, and that is one of the things I love about him.

I have recently noticed another area in which I think Matthew is excelling. Let me describe the situation and see if you agree with me.
When I pick the kids up from school, Matthew is usually the first to get to the van. Since Elizabeth is the oldest (and somewhat bossy when it comes to things like seating in the van) she has eternal dibs on the front seat. However, since Matthew gets there first he usually climbs in front with me until Elizabeth arrives. With the weather being so nice recently I often have the windows rolled down, and this situation has prompted Matthew to display his self-confidence.
This is how it goes:
Matthew hops in the van and kisses me. I ask how his day was, he says, "Good!" and jumps into the front seat. Then it is as if he doesn't notice me anymore because he gets nose-to-nose with himself in the side mirror and starts saying, "Hi, Handsome! You're handsome! Wow! Look at you, Handsome!" And today he added a new one. "There isn't even one speck of un-handsome in you!"
So, tell me. Do you think I need to work with him on developiing his self-esteem???

From September 24, 2015:
Me: (as Matthew is picking up the fruit bowl for a second serving) Uh, make sure you leave enough for Josh to have some.
Matthew: (groaning) But he isn't here.
Me: Leave enough for Josh.
Matthew: He doesn't even have to know we had any.
Me: Matthew, if you were the one at work and Josh was going for the rest of the fruit, wouldn't you want me to stick up for you?
Brian: Yeah, Matthew. What would Jesus do?
Matthew: (shrugging) Make more fruit?

Karen

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Inviting HIM Into Our Emotions

Sunday we began a new series at church in which we will be exploring emotionally healthy spirituality. Our pastor told a story about an experience he had recently with his son when he was at first upset - until the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart and showed him his own need.
As Pastor was telling the story I was remembering a time many years ago when a similar thing happened between me and my son. And I was eager to find the post, that I might share the story again.
Because there is huge blessing when we invite the Holy Spirit into our everyday lives, when we listen to Jesus as He speaks to our emotions.
So, here's my story. From May 6, 2010.

The other night I scurried home from work, got dinner ready as quickly as I could, told Matthew to get ready for soccer practice, and rushed him out the door so we could get there on time. It was hectic, to be sure, but I was glad we were going to make it.
However, just as Matthew got out of the van and I was about to exhale, he let out a howl. "Ooohhh! I forgot my water bottle!" And then he pleaded with me, "Will you go home and get it for me?"

Honest moment:
I did not want to go home and get that water bottle. I mean, I did want to go home, but I didn't want to turn around and go back to the soccer field. I wanted to curl up in a heap and hide.
I have told Matthew enough times to make sure he has everything he needs before we walk out the door. He knows a water bottle is necessary at soccer practice. This is not new information. Oh, I did not want to go get that water bottle.

But there I was, driving home with every intention of finding a water bottle for my son and taking it back to soccer practice for him.
Arghhhh! What was going on with me? He didn't deserve this kindness!
(Could I really call it kindness when I was grumbling about it???)

In an attempt to make some sense of the situation, I asked myself, "Why am I doing this for him?" *Read that: The Holy Spirit asked me, Do you realize why I arranged for you to do this for him?*
And as I pondered what reason could possibly explain why I would do something for someone, which they simply did not deserve to have done, I came to understand.

Why was I doing this for him?

Because I need grace, too.


Karen

Monday, January 06, 2020

Psalm 1:6



For the LORD watches over the ways of the righteous;
but the way of the wicked will perish.

~Psalm 1:6


Karen

Friday, January 03, 2020

It's My Pleasure

"Oh, I like your pretty glasses. Pink and purple are my favorite colors!" I said to the cute little girl who approached my register with her grandmother. She told me they are her favorite colors, too. And we shared smiles as we agreed that sparkles make them even better.

I paused momentarily and looked at the man standing across from me - who wore a hat which bore the insignia of the university my sister attended years ago. "Ummmmm. There's something I'm supposed to say to you... Oh, yeah. 'War eagle!'" He smiled at me and replied, "War eagle!"

Two boys and a frazzled woman stood on the other side of the counter, and I asked the boys if they were brothers. "Yeah," said the older, "and we fight a lot." "Ahhh, brothers do that sometimes, don't they," I noted as I tossed their mother a knowing look. Then I turned to fetch their chocolate milks and held the cartons out for them to grasp. But as the boys were about to take their cartons I quickly lifted them out of reach and we played a very brief game of Keep Away. Mom and I shared a smile and a laugh, and the boys were able to expend a very small bit of their pent up energy.

And then there's this on the Chick-fil-A Okemos Facebook page:

Happy New Year from our family to yours! 🤩 2020 is looking bright and full of opportunity! What are your New Year’s resolutions? 🤔 Our resolution is to “Make Days Better”. ⭐️ Our goal when we come to work is to genuinely make the days better for the guests we serve!

That's it exactly. With every interaction I have, each connection I make, and all the smiles I share my hope is to make the day better for the guests I serve.
And it makes me wonder, what if that was our goal all day - wherever we are?
What if we always sought to make the other person's day a better day???

Karen

Thursday, January 02, 2020

HE Has Time

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.

~Luke 19:1
What does that statement say to you?
I looked at several translations of scripture. I looked at the meaning of the Greek words. And the only interpretation I can find is that Jesus was passing through Jericho.
On His way from point A to point B, He had to pass through.
No intention of tarrying or spending time there.
Just passing through.
It may be interesting to note that "point B" was Jerusalem. Jesus was ultimately on His was to the cross. So this was an important journey He was taking through Jericho - for it would lead to our salvation. Thus, one would expect that this "passing through" also came with some level of hastiness.
How surprising, then, to get to verse 5 and hear Jesus say to a short tax collector who had climbed a tree to get a glimpse of Him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."
Wait.
What???
Jesus, I thought You were just passing through. You've got important work to do. You're on a journey to Jerusalem. Spending the day at Zach's house was NOT on the agenda!
I mean, I trust Jesus knew He had to get to Jerusalem. And yet He said He must spend the day with Zacchaeus. "Must" as in, it was necessary. There was need of Him to do it. Spending the day with Zacchaeus was right and proper. It was a must.
And so He did it. Jesus spent the day with Zacchaeus. Even though He was just "passing through."
Zach needed a Savior, and Jesus had time to stop and meet that need.
Much like He did in the previous chapter when people were trying to hush a blind beggar. The man was calling out to Jesus for help and those who were leading the procession told him to be quiet.
Leave Jesus alone.
He had important things to do.
Yet Jesus stopped and called the man to Himself. Jesus asked the man what He could do for him. Then He healed the man's blindness.
Jesus had time to stop and meet the man's need. Even though He was on an important journey. Even though others didn't think the man was valuable enough for Jesus' time.
Even though.
HE had time for these men who needed Him.
And, guess what?
HE has time for you, too!

Karen