Thursday, September 3, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
One of the most amazing gifts I got one year for my birthday was simple. A book. Yes I know to someone who loves to read that’s a great gift and to those who don’t it’s lame, but there was something much better about it than either of those. The book represented something more than just what I love to do. It was from the heart of someone who was walking with more wisdom than I could muster at the time.
I compare it like getting a quilt on a cold winter night. The quilt is great, but the quilt is much better and brings more comfort when your grandmother made it especially for you.
The sad thing about this story is the fact that it was a gift I didn’t appreciate until much later down the road. It became a cherished gift when my maturity advanced a little more. I realized the gift that this wonderful, amazing woman gave me was insight that I could only dream of in my life. The more that I read the book the more I realized what it is she was actually giving me.
I, through the past three years, have tried to pick the book up and read it but just wasn’t ready to face it or hear it. I read the inscription she wrote in the front many times and in all honesty it didn’t hit me till recently the joy that the inscription and the knowledge inside brought me.
As you know this made me think of the many things and gifts we take for granted. A photo of an old friend that is gone, a recipe from a grandmother, a ring from a friend. All of these bear much more value because they came from people we care about, and whether you know it or not these gifts at different times in your life may become much more than sentimental value. Through tough times that ring a friend gave you may remind you of something that makes you think first and act second, or that recipe may actually help to bring a smile and a bit of joy to your family later down the line. It just reminds me that some gifts have longer lasting values to our hearts and souls than we realize. Those keep sakes that we pass on to kids and friends when we leave this world can last lifetimes. So o that beautiful wonderful woman I say thank you, thank-you for what I did not realize at the time was such an amazing gift to me. It moved me and helped me to live out Christ much more and much better than I could fathom. You helped stir something that killed the contentment in me and for that I’m grateful and honored to be the recipient of such a great gift and thanks for unknowingly not letting me fall by the wayside three years later and living a wasted life.
For you I ask this: what gifts have you overlooked and found joy in later? What gifts stir your hearts in memories and joy that you may not have had before? Helped you through a tough time or brought you closer to someone?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I can remember walking in and being utterly amazed. Taking in the smells and the sites of one of my most treasured places. When I was younger it was an escape, a break away from the everyday norm. This place didn’t reject me, make fun of me, tell me I was stupid, or anything else I was used to. It was always welcoming and inviting, and the same could be said for the people who worked there as well. I would browse the aisles for hours, just taking it all in. My favorite place to go was the store in first colony mall outside of Missouri city. It was small but it served its purpose. My mom would go shopping and I would just sit and take it all in. Even in college when it was much more normal to be in a place like this I was at ease and always had a sense of peace when there.
What am I talking about?? A bookstore. Yes I know for those who know me my inner nerd came out, and for those who don’t I just dropped a couple of cool points, but I’m ok with that. I loved books when I was younger. I loved and consumed all that I could get my hands on. I remember knowing how to read before other kids and I also remember reading novels while most of my friends were still reading Bernstein bears. Bookstores and libraries have always been a huge sanctuary for me. It was more than a place to find information, more than a place to meet friends for projects and research papers, more than a place to use the internet. I realized early on that libraries and bookstores were filled with any and everything you want to know. How to fix things, how to win friends, fantasies, and biographies. I just felt like growing up that in a library I could absolutely be anyone I wanted to be. Only in a library through a book could someone go from geek to valiant prince, or from that smelly girl to the singing sensation. It was a place that held a lot of memories, both good and bad for me. Believe it or not the ONE AND ONLY TIME I ever stole something (that I will forever regret) it was a book.
SO how did all of this come up you may ask?? I was sitting talking with an old good friend at star bucks and he started talking about books and without even thinking it I started singing…Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high, just take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow….I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THAT CAME UP, but I do remember it being one of my favorite shows for obvious reasons. And so through the nostalgia of Reading Rainbow, I remember my fortress of solitude and how it helped and hurt my social life at different point in my short-lived life. I remember being the kid who went to the library during lunch to play magic (dear God NOOOO!!!!) or the fact that I started reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Which coincidentally I finished the entire series two years ago. Although I am not proud of all of my library book time, I do realize that it was a significant part of my childhood and college life. Although life has progressed I still seem to be fascinated by bookstores and all the knowledge they hold. I am a huge fan of half price books in Dallas, and I don’t mind a library every once in a while just to escape from the rigors of everyday life. Am I weird for that?? Hell yes!!! But do I care?? Hell no!!!
SO go to your local library, sit down, get over yourself, and let go. Enjoy yourself and read a book. You’d be surprised what you learn, or who you can be.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
From what I can remember it was a normal workday like no other. I was new and learning the many ropes that went along with my new job. I remember it being relatively quiet that evening.
He came in and right from the start I could tell he was jovial and happy to be alive (or on vacation). He stepped up to my counter and we went through the normal dance routine of my job and his vacation. He told me his name…I checked the system for it….it was there…he gave me his credit card…I took it to verify…and that’s when things went wrong.
Ok Mr. Doe (anonymity…that and I don’t actually remember his last name), we have you down for two nights and you booked us through Priceline, correct?
No that’s actually wrong, I should be here for three nights not two. And yes I booked this hotel through Priceline.
That is as much of the conversation before it got heated that I could give you or remember. Why did I not remember more, you may ask??? Because this was a constant problem that always began the same every. Single. Time. Why, you may also ask?? Because hotels don’t want you to know that they don’t like you hotel.com, priceline.com buyers very much.
To be honest I never had a problem with any of you guys, but the hotels did. It became a nuisance to deal with reservations that got screwed up, because we couldn’t actually fix them. Why you may ask again??(By this point I don’t honestly like all the whys but you are who you are) Because through some complicated intricate system it was a pain to deal with the guests who actually booked through the hotel and the guests who wanted to find a cheap savvy deal and booked through any of the other sites. It took more work to change reservations for these sites than it did to fix the copy machine…and we hated the copy machine.
So as a public safety I figure I would break rules that I am no longer under and tell you a few secrets and facts of hotel life that hotels don’t want you to know….or at least the ones that we as service agents sometimes follow that you don’t have a clue about. From the former front desk to your eyes ladies and gentlemen:
1.) Priceline, hotel.com, expedia, and all the sites like it do not hold as much respect as booking through the hotel, at least for the four star and above anyway. It’s like getting money from a rich man directly versus getting money through his lawyers after taxes.
2.) I don’t agree with pornography on any level (more posts on that later I’m sure) but if you feel the need to watch it on the T.V. at the hotel, just know that they do know and saying you didn’t to not pay for it is stupid. We made it a habit to make people feel better and say we don’t know what they watched or where the charges came from on the room, but that is a lie and I’m sorry for telling it. I honestly should have used it for a better evangelizing opportunity but didn’t. Anyway, we not only knew but also could look up the title, time, and room number of said activity. I must admit this part grossed me out the most. You have no idea how disturbing it is to see some of the vices that grip people.
3.) If you are mean or a jerk in anyway it did not get you out of smoking rooms. I know this isn’t a problem anymore since a lot of hotels got out of having smoking rooms. But you have to understand that being nice and patient goes a whole lot longer than being a pushy jerk that thinks that bullying gets him into a decent room. I will not lie I used my hotel powers to hook up nice people; from bottles of champagne sent up to newlyweds who were nice to cooking specialty foods that were not on our menu for people who treated us with respect. I am also sad to say in my error (and delight at times) I gave no leeway to anyone who was rude. Basically if you came in and were honest and respectful about it…I had a non smoking room in my pocket I could give you…if you were a jerk I sent the maids up to get rid of the smoking smell “as best I could” and said you can stay there or not at all. I know it’s more work to be mean and hold my ground but it was worth it. Now mind you it wasn’t all the time and it isn’t all hotels but if you’re the one who thinks that being demanding is the way to get things then you might want to rethink your stance, unless you want mystery sauce on your food or a “smoking” non smoking room.
4.) Clean out your cars before valeting. We as a staff talked about people with dirty cars because we were the ones who had to get in them. And yes you got talked about if we found fries and hamburgers all over the backseat. Also in the same vain…for those who think that valets at hotels don’t deserve tips…you are sorely mistaken. They work very hard to drive your dirty cars to safe spots on the premises. Tip them like you would a waiter. Five dollars is pretty good for most valets.
5.) You are not at home or alone in a hotel. So when you bring “people” back to your room there are a few things to remember.
· We are not your parents, so if you decide to have a party in your room we don’t want to clean it up at all. It is your responsibility, and if you don’t clean p you may just get charged extra at some hotels.
· If you are the type of person to “hire” friends don’t tell them to come up to the desk and expect us to rate them for you and then said up the ones you like or don’t. (Yes it’s true some people do this). It is not my job to be your pimp and just know you WILL get talked about by employees there and judged.
· Not every male that works in a hotel knows where strip clubs are, so don’t go up to any male with a uniform on and ask where he likes to go. Some of us don’t do that type of thing and that’s the reason we have a concierge. It’s his job to know where all the questionable things to do at night are.
All right so that’s as much as I could remember to give tips and hints on. It may not make sense or you may not like it but we have lives and hearts too. So the real main point is not to treat us like we are slaves, because we hold much more power over your conditions than you give us credit for.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Cook outs, barbeques, fajitas, mimosas, mojitos….trendy bars, trendy cars, three story condos, walls that are windows….these are the things, although good in the right context and setting, have made me sick to the core lately. This lifestyle of happy hour frivolity has hit a low point with me. I’m not sure when I made the transition, but at some point, for me, it became decided that these things are above Christ. At what point did I trade my pursuit of the heavenly father for brunches and happy hour?
I have had conversations on soccer games, on basketball, on TV shows, on neighbors, on Michael Jackson, on anything and everything that meets middle ground in Christian society. I ‘ve been catty, pissy, belligerent and down right cynical, because its funny and VERY ok in this world of $2 pints. At what point did I decide Entourage should take over my thought process when hanging out with other believers. As much as I would love to say that when I am sitting in the west villages, within my community, that I do a great job of spreading the gospel to baristas and waiters and valets, the truth is I have not uttered a word. I have sat in my patio chair sipping my mimosa and had inane innocuous conversations about nothing spiritual in particular. I’m witty, polite and funny. I’m honest, to the point, and matter of fact….but a Christian…I am not. I don’t even attempt to be one of those Christians that leaves a track that resembles half a twenty-dollar bill. Not that I want to be, but at least they make war against it.
Well I want my salvation back. I want Christ back into the things I do…and I want the happy hours to be there when they need to be. I want to see my heavenly father in everything I do. I don’t want to be subject to sitting at a table waiting on people for a happy hour that I don’t even need to be at. I want the things I read to be more than just something to discuss over a beer at trinity hall. I love these places and the people I have gotten to meet, but I don’t want to trade it for my spirituality. I want to be bold, loving, caring, disciplined, and Christlike in the things I do and say in a community that desperately needs someone to be more than just another customer to serve a non fat chi latte too. God expects better and he deserves better, and so do the people who are hurting in a world where you can easily get a margarita, but Christ and true community are rare. So it is time to be the light instead of sitting and waiting at one to meet friends at another Christless event. Who’s with me?
Monday, July 13, 2009
So recently, due to a friend, I decided to hunt for a Dollar Tree. Why?? Good question.... I think the prospect that EVERYTHING in a store is a dollar probably helped fuel me.
Upon entering the store, I thought I heard angels singing and possibly a trumpet. A store with everything just a dollar seemed like it would be heaven on earth, but after purchasing some items I realized it might not be heaven but much farther south than I expected.
You see I purchased some deodorant from said dollar store...two sticks in fact. I was overjoyed at paying just 2 dollars for deodorant. I got home and started to get ready for the evenings activities. I went through my normal ritual of showering, grooming, teeth brushing etc. I applied my new deodorant, sprayed my cologne and went about my night. It was a good night filled with friends, and food, and fun. We were outdoors, having a merry time when the problem began. I am not sure if it was a stupid joke I was telling or perhaps me using my shirt as a sweat rag (don't judge me it was hot), no matter how it happened the fact is IT happened. I took one whiff and realized that there was something terribly wrong in Brentland. It smelled like I had been in a sweatshop producing Nike shoes and decided not to bathe for a month. I was devastated and went into self-preservation mode. I stopped telling jokes, held my arms much closer to me, and found creative ways of avoiding the smell coming from my armpits. In my head I was having the battle for my social life and existence at that moment. "I know I put on deodorant...or maybe I didn't...no I know I did...it was that speed stick dollar tree deodorant."
After the night was over and I prayed and thanked God that none of my vocal friends had called me out on my smell, I went home and IMMEDEATELY looked at the deodorant I had purchased. It looked normal. It looked like a good brand. It even smelled good...that shower fresh scent...you know the one I'm talking about. I decided I would give it another try, thinking that maybe I just didn't put enough on. Sad to say that it was still no use. And that, my friends, is when I realized what cheap deodorant was.
This entire story and incident put in my head one question...what is worth getting cheap and what should you spend money on. Funny enough this brought to mind SEVERAL things in my house I opted out cheap on that I later regretted. So for you I ask the question: What can you NOT go cheap on??
Here are a few of my answers and feel free to answer at your leisure:
THINGS TO NOT BUY CHEAP:
Anything wanting to accomplish flea removal