Celebrate returning to faith, hope, culture and life with community.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

east or west?

"Beloved these are dangerous times, 'cause you're weightless like a leaf from the vine."
-Derek Webb, Beloved

My friend and I were sitting in his  little purple hatchback Honda in the longest drive thru line Taco Bell had ever seen.  We had just completed a midnight Walmart shopping excursion after we completed yet another long, harrowing pasta night shift at the inn.

An excursion that included me knocking several things off of their respective shelves, talking movies with strangers and checking our blood pressure (his was 117, mine was 126 - I think that's because he was really stressing me out and arguing with me over every little thing...and because I have a heart murmur).

While we were waiting for our food, he looks at me and gets all excited, wants me to hear this song.  I looked on his iPod and I see the album "Video Games Live 2" come up.  He must have seen me wrinkle my nose, because he said, "Trust me, you'll love it." 


It was a song in Swahili, and he was singing along and stomping his feet on the floorboard, keeping a rather spastic time.  I asked him if he knew what it meant, to which he replied "It's the Lord's prayer in Swahili." 


He was right.  I loved it. 

He started translating the words and told me that he had been learning Swahili.  He told me he has a passion for different languages, and then he said that he wanted to learn some crazy language of some indigenous peoples that I can't remember the name of so that he could go and spread the gospel to people who had never heard it before. 

After he disclosed this to me, I smirked at him, thinking I was something sort of clever and teased, "So, what is it?  East or West...?" 

He looked at me and said with the upmost certainty, "At the center of God's will."

At that moment, I was put into my proper place: feeling about three inches tall and not very clever at all.

How incredible to be so confident in where you are in your life.  To be so sure that everything you're doing has a distinct purpose that everything you learn and work for is purposeful. 

Half the time I don't know what I want or where I'm going.  I feel just as weightless as D. Webb is talking about.  Like I've lost my vine, my grounded-ness all of a sudden and I'm just kind of floating along.  I mean I know I'm studying broadcast journalism and have a passion for travel.  But what on EARTH am I here for? 

It gets really frustrating.  Not only to me, but to my friends as well.  I have this other friend at Regent who is studying to be a counselor.  He's constantly asking me questions.  Hard questions like,  "What do you want, what do you think?  What do you want to do?" 

To which I run my hands through my hair and hide my face in his chest and say, "I don't know." I'm sure it comes out all muffled.  I do that pretty much every time he asks me a question.

It drives him up the wall.


So, what's a girl to do?  Just hope that even though I don't know east from west, that wherever I am, I am at the center of God's will for my life.




SHARE:

east or west?

"Beloved these are dangerous times, 'cause you're weightless like a leaf from the vine."
-Derek Webb, Beloved

My friend and I were sitting in his  little purple hatchback Honda in the longest drive thru line Taco Bell had ever seen.  We had just completed a midnight Walmart shopping excursion after we completed yet another long, harrowing pasta night shift at the inn.

An excursion that included me knocking several things off of their respective shelves, talking movies with strangers and checking our blood pressure (his was 117, mine was 126 - I think that's because he was really stressing me out and arguing with me over every little thing...and because I have a heart murmur).

While we were waiting for our food, he looks at me and gets all excited, wants me to hear this song.  I looked on his iPod and I see the album "Video Games Live 2" come up.  He must have seen me wrinkle my nose, because he said, "Trust me, you'll love it." 


It was a song in Swahili, and he was singing along and stomping his feet on the floorboard, keeping a rather spastic time.  I asked him if he knew what it meant, to which he replied "It's the Lord's prayer in Swahili." 


He was right.  I loved it. 

He started translating the words and told me that he had been learning Swahili.  He told me he has a passion for different languages, and then he said that he wanted to learn some crazy language of some indigenous peoples that I can't remember the name of so that he could go and spread the gospel to people who had never heard it before. 

After he disclosed this to me, I smirked at him, thinking I was something sort of clever and teased, "So, what is it?  East or West...?" 

He looked at me and said with the upmost certainty, "At the center of God's will."

At that moment, I was put into my proper place: feeling about three inches tall and not very clever at all.

How incredible to be so confident in where you are in your life.  To be so sure that everything you're doing has a distinct purpose that everything you learn and work for is purposeful. 

Half the time I don't know what I want or where I'm going.  I feel just as weightless as D. Webb is talking about.  Like I've lost my vine, my grounded-ness all of a sudden and I'm just kind of floating along.  I mean I know I'm studying broadcast journalism and have a passion for travel.  But what on EARTH am I here for? 

It gets really frustrating.  Not only to me, but to my friends as well.  I have this other friend at Regent who is studying to be a counselor.  He's constantly asking me questions.  Hard questions like,  "What do you want, what do you think?  What do you want to do?" 

To which I run my hands through my hair and hide my face in his chest and say, "I don't know." I'm sure it comes out all muffled.  I do that pretty much every time he asks me a question.

It drives him up the wall.


So, what's a girl to do?  Just hope that even though I don't know east from west, that wherever I am, I am at the center of God's will for my life.




SHARE:

Friday, December 24, 2010

mary, mary, all but contrary

I went to bed last night trying to think of ideas for my next blog post.

My worst gifts was what I came up with.  Of course I'd turn it around and let everyone know that Christmas is not about the gifts you receive. 

But every five-year-old kid remembers getting a package of embarrassing underwear, right?

Anyway, I woke up this morning with my heart so heavy, I couldn't even begin to pretend to be quirky and clever in my writing.

I woke, well, feeling quite sorry for myself, honestly.  It's my very first Christmas away from home.  I live alone, and most of my friends have vacated to their respective hometowns to be with their families.  And if I weren't in the food industry I'd easily be doing the same thing.  

And even though I had time to prepare myself emotionally for the absence of the things that make this holiday fun this season, it still feels like I've been orphaned out here.  My grandparent's Christmas Eve party has always been one of my favorite things, and I'm missing it to serve draft beers and french fries to strangers.  I just couldn't stand thinking that my whole family is going to be having a beautiful celebration this evening without me. 

Woe, woe, woe.  Big crocodile tears.  Crumpled on the floor, praying that my neighbors can't hear my blubbering.

Then I got the kick in the pants I truly needed. 

I have so many things to be thankful for.  I have a family to miss.  I'm not overseas, I'm not in the military.  I'm not putting my life on the line by serving tables (most of the time, anyway). 

And then I got to thinking about Mary, and how she must have been feeling that first Christmas eve.  The eve before the Son of Man was to be born.  She was just a mere child.

And I know there is a whole religion that addresses Mary as a Saint, but the truth was, she was incredibly human.  She was a woman.  She had mood swings.  She probably felt like most women feel every day.  Inadequate.  Like no matter how hard she tries, she can't be good enough, thin enough. 

She probably had a hard time keeping her apartment clean. 

And while God has never asked me to do anything like, you know, give birth to His son, I can relate to her.  I hope.  There have been plenty of things He has called me to do in my life that have been challenging.  And I always put up a fight. 

God, not me.  There's no way I'm good enough.  There's no way.  It's not me.  Please don't ask. 

But, look how Mary approaches the task the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE laid before her:

"'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.'" (Luke 1:38)



Imagine if we all had this attitude about the things the Lord has called us to do in our lives.

Instead of this:

GOD: Brett, you're going to need to work a full time job in order to support yourself through grad school.  

Me: WHY?  THIS SUCKS, I'M AWAY FROM MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I'M ALL BY MYSELF I'M BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS AND MISSING OUT ON ALL THE FUN STUFF (caps indicate dramatic and exaggerated sobs). 

We'd have this:

Me: I am the Lord's servant.  May it be to me as you have said.  I know you have my greatest interest at heart. I know this education is preparing me for something big and wonderful.  I know you don't want me to be slammed with debt upon my graduation.


May it be unto you as the Lord has said this season.  





And if my humble blog post was not enough to lift your spirits if you're blue this season, hopefully this PRECIOUS video will (compliments of Miss Becky Honaker):



Merry Christmas, friends.

-Brett Elizabeth
SHARE:

mary, mary, all but contrary

I went to bed last night trying to think of ideas for my next blog post.

My worst gifts was what I came up with.  Of course I'd turn it around and let everyone know that Christmas is not about the gifts you receive. 

But every five-year-old kid remembers getting a package of embarrassing underwear, right?

Anyway, I woke up this morning with my heart so heavy, I couldn't even begin to pretend to be quirky and clever in my writing.

I woke, well, feeling quite sorry for myself, honestly.  It's my very first Christmas away from home.  I live alone, and most of my friends have vacated to their respective hometowns to be with their families.  And if I weren't in the food industry I'd easily be doing the same thing.  

And even though I had time to prepare myself emotionally for the absence of the things that make this holiday fun this season, it still feels like I've been orphaned out here.  My grandparent's Christmas Eve party has always been one of my favorite things, and I'm missing it to serve draft beers and french fries to strangers.  I just couldn't stand thinking that my whole family is going to be having a beautiful celebration this evening without me. 

Woe, woe, woe.  Big crocodile tears.  Crumpled on the floor, praying that my neighbors can't hear my blubbering.

Then I got the kick in the pants I truly needed. 

I have so many things to be thankful for.  I have a family to miss.  I'm not overseas, I'm not in the military.  I'm not putting my life on the line by serving tables (most of the time, anyway). 

And then I got to thinking about Mary, and how she must have been feeling that first Christmas eve.  The eve before the Son of Man was to be born.  She was just a mere child.

And I know there is a whole religion that addresses Mary as a Saint, but the truth was, she was incredibly human.  She was a woman.  She had mood swings.  She probably felt like most women feel every day.  Inadequate.  Like no matter how hard she tries, she can't be good enough, thin enough. 

She probably had a hard time keeping her apartment clean. 

And while God has never asked me to do anything like, you know, give birth to His son, I can relate to her.  I hope.  There have been plenty of things He has called me to do in my life that have been challenging.  And I always put up a fight. 

God, not me.  There's no way I'm good enough.  There's no way.  It's not me.  Please don't ask. 

But, look how Mary approaches the task the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE laid before her:

"'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.'" (Luke 1:38)



Imagine if we all had this attitude about the things the Lord has called us to do in our lives.

Instead of this:

GOD: Brett, you're going to need to work a full time job in order to support yourself through grad school.  

Me: WHY?  THIS SUCKS, I'M AWAY FROM MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I'M ALL BY MYSELF I'M BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS AND MISSING OUT ON ALL THE FUN STUFF (caps indicate dramatic and exaggerated sobs). 

We'd have this:

Me: I am the Lord's servant.  May it be to me as you have said.  I know you have my greatest interest at heart. I know this education is preparing me for something big and wonderful.  I know you don't want me to be slammed with debt upon my graduation.


May it be unto you as the Lord has said this season.  





And if my humble blog post was not enough to lift your spirits if you're blue this season, hopefully this PRECIOUS video will (compliments of Miss Becky Honaker):



Merry Christmas, friends.

-Brett Elizabeth
SHARE:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

addiction at its best

The following conversation took place in my living room today.  I was on the phone with my "little" from my sorority days.

First, I make the unwise decision to flounce myself onto the couch with a cup of steaming coffee in my hand, fresh from the microwave.

Me: OUCH! UHG, aw man.  I just spilled hot coffee all over my lap!
Hannah: Oh my gosh, are you okay?
Me: Yeah, it's just such a waste of coffee.
Hannah:...That's the most psychotic thing I've ever heard you say.

Enjoy your Wednesdays, and keep that coffee in your cup! 


-Brett Elizabeth
SHARE:

addiction at its best

The following conversation took place in my living room today.  I was on the phone with my "little" from my sorority days.

First, I make the unwise decision to flounce myself onto the couch with a cup of steaming coffee in my hand, fresh from the microwave.

Me: OUCH! UHG, aw man.  I just spilled hot coffee all over my lap!
Hannah: Oh my gosh, are you okay?
Me: Yeah, it's just such a waste of coffee.
Hannah:...That's the most psychotic thing I've ever heard you say.

Enjoy your Wednesdays, and keep that coffee in your cup! 


-Brett Elizabeth
SHARE:

workjacked

God bless my coworkers.

It all started when I thought I saw my coworker's green explorer leaving the employee parking lot.  This seemed odd, because this particular person usually works the night shift.  He had been talking about switching and becoming a morning server lately, and I wondered if he had actually ventured over to the "dark side."

So, imagine my surprise when I saw this particular coworker at the hostess stand five minutes after I walked into the building. 

I think the conversation went something like...

Me: Oh, hi.  I'm surprised to see you here.
Coworker: Why?
Me: I thought I just saw you pull out of the parking lot in your car.
Coworker:  You did? My explorer?
Me: Yeah, it's green, right?
Coworker: Right.  Well...I do have to leave one of my doors unlocked.  It'd be funny if someone stole it. 
Me:  Hah, yeah.
Coworker:  Uh...actually you've got me freaked.  Will you watch my tables while I go outside and check to see if it's still there?
Me: Sure!

Coworker grabs his coat off the rack and heads out the door.  I dutifully march into the restaurant and watch over his tables. 

And scene.

Fifteen minutes later, I see this particular coworker walking toward me with one of our security guards.  He was holding a clipboard and looking very concerned.  They were speaking to one another in hushed, reverent tones. 

I looked over at him and said breathily, "Noooo!"

Then my coworker looked me square in the eye, and said, "Yeah, it's not there."

That's right.  His car had totally been stolen.  Right out of our employee parking lot.  In broad daylight.  I immediately started praying.  Oh, dear Lord, please let him find his car!  It hasn't been missing that long, maybe one of his friends was playing a joke on him...
Then the security guard started asking me questions.  What did the driver look like?  What time did you report for work?  When did you see the car pull out?  What road did they turn on?

I answered each question as best as I could.

Then my coworker broke character and started cracking up.  The security guard followed suit. 

They totally got me.  Something about me, I don't know what it is, makes it fun for people to prank.  Oh well.  If he ever cries "wolf," I'm totally not helping him.  Whatever.

My coworker's car, of course, was fine.  And in the two minutes it took to walk from the parking lot to the restaurant, he grabbed the security guard, and they both decided it would be fun to mess with me.

Well played, sir.  Well played. 

Any creative suggestions that won't get me fired, bloggies?  Send them my way! 
SHARE:

workjacked

God bless my coworkers.

It all started when I thought I saw my coworker's green explorer leaving the employee parking lot.  This seemed odd, because this particular person usually works the night shift.  He had been talking about switching and becoming a morning server lately, and I wondered if he had actually ventured over to the "dark side."

So, imagine my surprise when I saw this particular coworker at the hostess stand five minutes after I walked into the building. 

I think the conversation went something like...

Me: Oh, hi.  I'm surprised to see you here.
Coworker: Why?
Me: I thought I just saw you pull out of the parking lot in your car.
Coworker:  You did? My explorer?
Me: Yeah, it's green, right?
Coworker: Right.  Well...I do have to leave one of my doors unlocked.  It'd be funny if someone stole it. 
Me:  Hah, yeah.
Coworker:  Uh...actually you've got me freaked.  Will you watch my tables while I go outside and check to see if it's still there?
Me: Sure!

Coworker grabs his coat off the rack and heads out the door.  I dutifully march into the restaurant and watch over his tables. 

And scene.

Fifteen minutes later, I see this particular coworker walking toward me with one of our security guards.  He was holding a clipboard and looking very concerned.  They were speaking to one another in hushed, reverent tones. 

I looked over at him and said breathily, "Noooo!"

Then my coworker looked me square in the eye, and said, "Yeah, it's not there."

That's right.  His car had totally been stolen.  Right out of our employee parking lot.  In broad daylight.  I immediately started praying.  Oh, dear Lord, please let him find his car!  It hasn't been missing that long, maybe one of his friends was playing a joke on him...
Then the security guard started asking me questions.  What did the driver look like?  What time did you report for work?  When did you see the car pull out?  What road did they turn on?

I answered each question as best as I could.

Then my coworker broke character and started cracking up.  The security guard followed suit. 

They totally got me.  Something about me, I don't know what it is, makes it fun for people to prank.  Oh well.  If he ever cries "wolf," I'm totally not helping him.  Whatever.

My coworker's car, of course, was fine.  And in the two minutes it took to walk from the parking lot to the restaurant, he grabbed the security guard, and they both decided it would be fun to mess with me.

Well played, sir.  Well played. 

Any creative suggestions that won't get me fired, bloggies?  Send them my way! 
SHARE:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

you might epitomize bridget jones if...

 Any of the following criterion apply to you:

1.  Look down. Are you wearing turquoise and brown flannel pajamas that your mom got you for Christmas last year?

2.  Are you sipping a cup of earl grey?

3.  Are you attempting to knit a turquoise scarf for a fashionista friend for Christmas that you are convinced you will not be able to finish?

4.  Are you watching reruns of the Nanny on Nick at Nite?

5.  Have you done nothing all day but spend money that you don't have?

6.  Have you within the last 24 hours eaten pizza for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner?

7.  Do you currently own a copy of "O" magazine? 

8.  Do you have a recurring dream about Colin Firth?

9.  Is your clean laundry scattered across your dining room floor - partially because you neglected to fold it and partially because you don't have a dining room table so your "dining" room is more like your "clutter" room?

10.  Do you have dreams worth chasing, which means making a few sacrifices along the way?

Totally Bridget.  Singleton extraordinaire.
SHARE:

you might epitomize bridget jones if...

 Any of the following criterion apply to you:

1.  Look down. Are you wearing turquoise and brown flannel pajamas that your mom got you for Christmas last year?

2.  Are you sipping a cup of earl grey?

3.  Are you attempting to knit a turquoise scarf for a fashionista friend for Christmas that you are convinced you will not be able to finish?

4.  Are you watching reruns of the Nanny on Nick at Nite?

5.  Have you done nothing all day but spend money that you don't have?

6.  Have you within the last 24 hours eaten pizza for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner?

7.  Do you currently own a copy of "O" magazine? 

8.  Do you have a recurring dream about Colin Firth?

9.  Is your clean laundry scattered across your dining room floor - partially because you neglected to fold it and partially because you don't have a dining room table so your "dining" room is more like your "clutter" room?

10.  Do you have dreams worth chasing, which means making a few sacrifices along the way?

Totally Bridget.  Singleton extraordinaire.
SHARE:

diversity day

Most of the time, I have a pretty good attitude about things.  Most of the time. 

But sometimes, in life, you have to do ridiculous things for money.  Like sit through lectures teaching us about our differences and stereotypes.  These things I have a hard time having a good attitude about.  Especially when they conflict with my plans to skip town and have a long weekend at home with the family.

Oh well, at least I have some entertaining coworkers to fool around with.



So, yesterday I came into work with a grande coffee with a chip on my shoulder and a why-the-heck-am-I-here mentality.  Too cool for school.  The Swan Terrace people all sat together, joking, laughing under our breaths, sharing gingerbread man cookies with one another (well, they shared theirs with me, because I dropped mine on the floor).


It almost made me miss high school.

So at one point of the two hour lecture, we were all supposed to come down in groups and write generalizations that we've picked up on different demographic groups on these large easels in the front of the room: Mexicans, Arabs, Rich People, City Folk, Country Folk, Obese People, and Homeless People.

When this exercise was over we read them out loud as a class.  Some of them were pretty funny,  some were things everyone was thinking but no one would ever say. 

But one in particular broke my heart.

The people in our class ripped apart the homeless.  They wrote things like, "McDonald's is hiring," and that they were "lazy" and an "embarrassment."


And yes, while some were more gentle in their assessment, writing things like "bad luck," and "difficult life circumstances" the good did not outweigh the bad at all.

The HR director stood at the front of the room and asked if any of us could identify with any of the groups posted in front of the room.

One man raised his hand and said, "I was homeless."

For a split second, the room fell silent.  We weren't joking any more. He went on to say that, yes, some of the things that were written on the easel were true.  Some people were lazy.  Some people just can't get their lives together.  But there are always exceptions.  And he was one of them.


I really walked into this yesterday with the mentality that this was a waste of time.  And like many of the groups we generalized, I was quick make assumptions.  I think we all learned an important lesson yesterday afternoon.

And the greatest thing?  We got paid to learn it.
SHARE:

diversity day

Most of the time, I have a pretty good attitude about things.  Most of the time. 

But sometimes, in life, you have to do ridiculous things for money.  Like sit through lectures teaching us about our differences and stereotypes.  These things I have a hard time having a good attitude about.  Especially when they conflict with my plans to skip town and have a long weekend at home with the family.

Oh well, at least I have some entertaining coworkers to fool around with.



So, yesterday I came into work with a grande coffee with a chip on my shoulder and a why-the-heck-am-I-here mentality.  Too cool for school.  The Swan Terrace people all sat together, joking, laughing under our breaths, sharing gingerbread man cookies with one another (well, they shared theirs with me, because I dropped mine on the floor).


It almost made me miss high school.

So at one point of the two hour lecture, we were all supposed to come down in groups and write generalizations that we've picked up on different demographic groups on these large easels in the front of the room: Mexicans, Arabs, Rich People, City Folk, Country Folk, Obese People, and Homeless People.

When this exercise was over we read them out loud as a class.  Some of them were pretty funny,  some were things everyone was thinking but no one would ever say. 

But one in particular broke my heart.

The people in our class ripped apart the homeless.  They wrote things like, "McDonald's is hiring," and that they were "lazy" and an "embarrassment."


And yes, while some were more gentle in their assessment, writing things like "bad luck," and "difficult life circumstances" the good did not outweigh the bad at all.

The HR director stood at the front of the room and asked if any of us could identify with any of the groups posted in front of the room.

One man raised his hand and said, "I was homeless."

For a split second, the room fell silent.  We weren't joking any more. He went on to say that, yes, some of the things that were written on the easel were true.  Some people were lazy.  Some people just can't get their lives together.  But there are always exceptions.  And he was one of them.


I really walked into this yesterday with the mentality that this was a waste of time.  And like many of the groups we generalized, I was quick make assumptions.  I think we all learned an important lesson yesterday afternoon.

And the greatest thing?  We got paid to learn it.
SHARE:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

may your days be merry

Thanksgiving was a complete disaster.

It was my first holiday spent completely alone.  Well, by alone I mean with 20 other coworkers (also, "alone")  and 50 guests I waited on.  And let me just say, for the record, I was not an angel about it.  I woke up that morning with a horrible attitude, thankful for nothing.  And I do mean nothing.

My darling neighbor Hope yelled after me as I walked out of my apartment door, strapping on her coat over her flannel pajamas.  "Come over for leftovers after work," she said.  I could have started bawling right then and there.  We have only known each other for a few months, and she was inviting me into her home with her husband and adorable baby boy. 

That made my day so much brighter. 

The next ten (...eleven?) hours at work several of my friends invited me to spend Thanksgiving with their families.  I was so grateful, I thought if such gracious and loving people are continually placed in my life, maybe being out here by myself won't be so bad after all.

I went home to change and wound up falling asleep on the couch at 8:30.  Whoops.

So, this Christmas same story.  I'm spending it in Virginia Beach with the Founders Inn.  No holiday parties with the family.  No watching White Christmas, no running down the staircase looking for stockings, no little black dress, no uncomfortable "so, why don't you have a boyfriend?" conversations. 

It's enough to make you a complete scrooge.

I just completed my first semester of grad school (with the exception of a project I hope to finish today) and my mind for the last week had been constantly racing.  I was running on three hours of sleep, and had absolutely no time to think about God or what He has done for me. 

Pitiful, I know. 

But yesterday when I was waiting for my grande coffee with caramel flavor in the Starbucks drive thru, the song Silent Night came on the radio.  As I listened to the words, this overwhelming "all is calm, all is bright" feeling came upon me. 

It was like the Lord was whispering this in my heart.  The poor barista must have thought I was having a meltdown when I pulled up to the window with tears in my eyes. 

Suddenly, it didn't matter that I would only be home for Christmas in my dreams.  All that mattered was the miracle we celebrate at this time of year. 

And don't people crave the true meaning of Christmas?  Don't they long to forget the distractions and focus on what really matters?  Don't they wish for time to reflect on what Christ has done for them?

And guess what?  I have that opportunity.  And it's...well...surprisingly and against all odds...merry.
SHARE:

may your days be merry

Thanksgiving was a complete disaster.

It was my first holiday spent completely alone.  Well, by alone I mean with 20 other coworkers (also, "alone")  and 50 guests I waited on.  And let me just say, for the record, I was not an angel about it.  I woke up that morning with a horrible attitude, thankful for nothing.  And I do mean nothing.

My darling neighbor Hope yelled after me as I walked out of my apartment door, strapping on her coat over her flannel pajamas.  "Come over for leftovers after work," she said.  I could have started bawling right then and there.  We have only known each other for a few months, and she was inviting me into her home with her husband and adorable baby boy. 

That made my day so much brighter. 

The next ten (...eleven?) hours at work several of my friends invited me to spend Thanksgiving with their families.  I was so grateful, I thought if such gracious and loving people are continually placed in my life, maybe being out here by myself won't be so bad after all.

I went home to change and wound up falling asleep on the couch at 8:30.  Whoops.

So, this Christmas same story.  I'm spending it in Virginia Beach with the Founders Inn.  No holiday parties with the family.  No watching White Christmas, no running down the staircase looking for stockings, no little black dress, no uncomfortable "so, why don't you have a boyfriend?" conversations. 

It's enough to make you a complete scrooge.

I just completed my first semester of grad school (with the exception of a project I hope to finish today) and my mind for the last week had been constantly racing.  I was running on three hours of sleep, and had absolutely no time to think about God or what He has done for me. 

Pitiful, I know. 

But yesterday when I was waiting for my grande coffee with caramel flavor in the Starbucks drive thru, the song Silent Night came on the radio.  As I listened to the words, this overwhelming "all is calm, all is bright" feeling came upon me. 

It was like the Lord was whispering this in my heart.  The poor barista must have thought I was having a meltdown when I pulled up to the window with tears in my eyes. 

Suddenly, it didn't matter that I would only be home for Christmas in my dreams.  All that mattered was the miracle we celebrate at this time of year. 

And don't people crave the true meaning of Christmas?  Don't they long to forget the distractions and focus on what really matters?  Don't they wish for time to reflect on what Christ has done for them?

And guess what?  I have that opportunity.  And it's...well...surprisingly and against all odds...merry.
SHARE:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

wine

Confession: I know absolutely nothing about wine. 

Before I worked in the restaurant industry I didn't even know that white wine is chilled, and red wine is not.  Even after three months of working full time, that's about the only distinction I can make between the two. 

But while waitressing, my absolute favorite thing to do is present a bottle of wine to a table.

Why?

It's so fancy.  And, more importantly/realistically, because I'm a people watcher.  Watching people taste wine is about the most fun I've ever had while people watching.

The guest studies the folder with several dozen pages of our selection with a furrowed, studious brow.  After a moment, they look up and ask in a very intellectual tone for a bottle of the delicious Barboursville Phileo dessert white, or perhaps the Twisted Old Vine Zinfandel. 

I smile, and say, "Yes, right away." Turn, and head to the back of the restaurant where the wine is stored.  I retrieve a crisp, white napkin to drape across my arm, grab enough big, hand-blown wine glasses for the table, and the wine of their choice.  Before I return to the table, I read the label on the back of the bottle, quickly memorizing the date, and place the wine was stored.

I return to the table, place down the glasses and present the bottle to the man or woman who has ordered:

"Sir (or madam), your 2007 Phileo, from Barboursville, Virginia."

I wait for them to say, "Yes."

I skillfully (oh MAN it took me a long time to get this part down) open my wine key, and twist the squiggly screw into the cork and pry the bottle open.  I then pour the wine (label always facing the guest) so that they have just enough to do to the liquid whatever it is people do when they taste wine.

Wait for it...here comes my favorite part.

They (usually) lift the glass to their lips, smell, swirl then tilt the glass forward.  They wait a moment, swallow and set the glass down, looking at its sudden emptiness.  They then look at me and smile if they are satisfied, and I pour a glass-worth into their cup.

This is why I haven't been posting as many entries lately.

Wait, do those ideas even go together?  Oh yes, they certainly do!

See, I like watching people taste wine, because I write and read in the same way.  Writing, blogging and reading are all in the same accord.  They can't be greedily gulped and sputtered like a Pepsi.  You need to take time to sit, ponder and reflect.  You need time to be quiet, to retreat inside the place where only you (and perhaps your most intimate friends or partners) are allowed.

The same thing needs to happen with your relationship with God.  Perhaps this is why I've been struggling slightly to stay afloat, lately.  These things don't come easily, but they come when you wait patiently and quietly for them. 

I don't want to produce Pepsi products in any aspect of my life.  I want it to be meaningful, something of significance and worth.
SHARE:

wine

Confession: I know absolutely nothing about wine. 

Before I worked in the restaurant industry I didn't even know that white wine is chilled, and red wine is not.  Even after three months of working full time, that's about the only distinction I can make between the two. 

But while waitressing, my absolute favorite thing to do is present a bottle of wine to a table.

Why?

It's so fancy.  And, more importantly/realistically, because I'm a people watcher.  Watching people taste wine is about the most fun I've ever had while people watching.

The guest studies the folder with several dozen pages of our selection with a furrowed, studious brow.  After a moment, they look up and ask in a very intellectual tone for a bottle of the delicious Barboursville Phileo dessert white, or perhaps the Twisted Old Vine Zinfandel. 

I smile, and say, "Yes, right away." Turn, and head to the back of the restaurant where the wine is stored.  I retrieve a crisp, white napkin to drape across my arm, grab enough big, hand-blown wine glasses for the table, and the wine of their choice.  Before I return to the table, I read the label on the back of the bottle, quickly memorizing the date, and place the wine was stored.

I return to the table, place down the glasses and present the bottle to the man or woman who has ordered:

"Sir (or madam), your 2007 Phileo, from Barboursville, Virginia."

I wait for them to say, "Yes."

I skillfully (oh MAN it took me a long time to get this part down) open my wine key, and twist the squiggly screw into the cork and pry the bottle open.  I then pour the wine (label always facing the guest) so that they have just enough to do to the liquid whatever it is people do when they taste wine.

Wait for it...here comes my favorite part.

They (usually) lift the glass to their lips, smell, swirl then tilt the glass forward.  They wait a moment, swallow and set the glass down, looking at its sudden emptiness.  They then look at me and smile if they are satisfied, and I pour a glass-worth into their cup.

This is why I haven't been posting as many entries lately.

Wait, do those ideas even go together?  Oh yes, they certainly do!

See, I like watching people taste wine, because I write and read in the same way.  Writing, blogging and reading are all in the same accord.  They can't be greedily gulped and sputtered like a Pepsi.  You need to take time to sit, ponder and reflect.  You need time to be quiet, to retreat inside the place where only you (and perhaps your most intimate friends or partners) are allowed.

The same thing needs to happen with your relationship with God.  Perhaps this is why I've been struggling slightly to stay afloat, lately.  These things don't come easily, but they come when you wait patiently and quietly for them. 

I don't want to produce Pepsi products in any aspect of my life.  I want it to be meaningful, something of significance and worth.
SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig