Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a story.

By day, Christina usually finds herself working in an office about the size of your average bedroom with no windows. She types away at her laptop dutifully, answering emails, writing case notes and annual reports, and making sure the billing is turned in on time. She manages approximately 80 cases on some level, all related to helping each one find meaningful employment. Each of these persons receive assistance based on one general qualification: there is some sort of "disability" involved...although these people often deserve jobs better than some "regular" folk out there. And to help manage the cases, Christina has a dedicated and gifted team of people including a job developer, a coordinator and other managers of more specific departments. What motivates her is seeing people reach their goals. Even goals that seem small to one person out there can make a world of difference to another. When there is success, life is good.

Every December for the past three years, Christina finds herself having to step into a different more hands on. It is a fun challenge and gives her a chance to work directly with some of the persons she case manages. You see, every December, one of the areas within her department needs a little extra help. And it doesn't make sense to hire a person to come on board for only a month, so off goes Christina to the parcel service store!

As the packages come flooding in, each seeking to find its way just in time for Christmas, Christina is seen working behind the counter...processing, packing up those important gifts, and making sure all the information is right. She laughs as she sends boxes to streets called "None Such Place" and gets to put a smile on the customers' faces as they successfully get their shipments off in time. Her feet ache after the long days of standing, and her arms get a workout from lifting 40+ lb. boxes of wine! And even though working here at this parcel service takes away from the time she needs to spend in that little office doing the day-to-day office work, she welcomes the change, knowing that it only lasts a little while.

Every year, it's the same story. Christina comes along and lends a helping hand. She has help if she isn't sure what to do, but she does what she can and enjoys it! However, this year was different. Not only did she spend her usual month shipping packages, but during the last week, someone decided to leave her on her own to run the whole store! "Sure, no problem," she thought to herself in the weeks approaching this time. She would just pay extra attention and take diligent notes. It couldn't be that hard...right?

The night before the first of three days left her sleeping fitfully and dreaming that she showed up an hour late to a group of angry customers. Christina woke with anticipation of the responsibility she knew was coming her way, and got to the store about ten minutes early. While the dream did not come true, her start was not any less rocky. Several people came in right as the store opened, eager to get their items shipped off. And little did she know, but she did not have the right key to open two of the three main doors! With people confused and having to be redirected, Christina found herself quickly overwhelmed. Despite her promise to try not to call for help to the regular manager who was trying to have a vacation, she was left with no choice. One quick call and help was on its way...just in the man who would make her eye twitch for the next two days walked in the door.

His face crinkled with frustration, the man began to explain how he had sent a package for next day delivery only to have it sent back...a package that was costing him thousands of dollars. Christina understood his frustration, but didn't know what to do. It wasn't her fault or the store's. The people who delivered it messed up somewhere, and now the package was back where it started...miles from where it belonged. So much for next day guarantee. Not only that, but the man had to wait four days, thanks to the Christmas holiday weekend. He ranted and ranted, and she stood there bewildered, until he promised to come back in a short little while. You see, the store was still crowded and Christina was not able to give him the answer he wanted, so off he went. Her rescuer with the key came shortly after, and stayed long enough to help her with the angry man's problem. With everything settled, she sent him on his way, with hopes not to have to bother him again.

Grateful that she also had the help of a long time employee (also someone she case managed), the rest of the day went well, although it was steadily busy. Christina had hopes that the next day would go oh-so-smooth. She still did not sleep well, but at least had all of the right keys! A rainy, cold morning, she knew things would be slower. No one waited outside the door on the second day. She could take her time making sure everything was ready for the day. She sipped her coffee and chatted with her helpers for the day. Though it started slow, things picked up. And just as a rush of customers came in, wouldn't you know it? That man, the frustrated man, walked back in the store...only to share that once again, his package was not being delivered. His tone of voice a pitch higher and his level of anger building, Christina began to feel her shoulders tense as this man started talking. But she'd seen how to handle it the day before. She got on the phone and got the assurance that the package would indeed be delivered. She sent the man home with the promise of a call when things were confirmed. She felt confident that she had done the right thing and proud that she didn't need to call for help. 10 minutes later, the phone rang. Haha, the manager of the store, despite being on vacation, was checking his email and saw that the package was having trouble again. Of course, he was on the phone with the shipping company and was trying to fix the problem from home!!! Sigh. So much for handling things on her own! A few more phone calls, and her dealings with the frustrated man would be over.

That second day ended with trying to fit a box that was slightly too long into her car before heading home for the day. It was needed for a packing job. Christina looked forward to her final day of this immense responsibility...which fortunately went off without a hitch. It was slow overall and to make things even better, the register balanced to the penny! She was asked to permanently stay, and although it was fun for a while, she was ready to return to her office. So, this Monday, the laptop will be ready, the billing will be needed and the emails will flow again. This adventure over, she anticipates what the new year will bring.

The end.

Monday, December 20, 2010

winding down.

At the end of every year, I become very reflective and begin to look back at how the year went...whether or not I made my goals, how the word God spoke to me worked itself out during that year. This year, God wanted me to see His goodness, His blessings. And while there were some roller coaster moments and disappointments in 2010, I can look back and see how many times God has blessed me and shown me His love.

-I got to travel a lot this North and South Carolina, to Sacramento, to Berkeley, to Las Vegas...and I have dreams and plans to travel even more next year! (Possibly Seattle, St. Louis MO, the Carolinas again, and maybe even New York!) I love traveling and the fact that I am finally getting to do it is amazing to me.
-God provided for me SO MUCH financially this year. When my car needed repairs to pass smog but I had just spent almost $1000 on other repairs and a few hundred on the Carolinas trip, I received more than I needed for my birthday. Then when my poor car decided to let the transmission go, God gave me the plan I needed to get out of credit card debt and to be able to make car payments on a much newer and nicer car!
-A new passion has been stirred up in me and I have been so fortunate to be chosen as a local representative for NEEDTOBREATHE's street team. It's hard to describe why I love this band so much, but as you have seen over this year, I am definitely devoted. Not only is their music high quality, but the guys themselves are incredibly sweet. I don't know where this will all lead for me, but I am enjoying it as it comes. I have met a bunch of friends through it, and I am excited to see where the band is headed. BIG things are in their future, and I hope to be a small part of it.
-I am so blessed to have the family I do, especially my dad and brother. They mean so much to me, and I know God is bringing blessings into their lives too.
-I have had a lot of FUN this year, and I am seeing that is meant to only increase.

There are things I didn't come to see like I wanted to, but it doesn't mean they won't. There were things I didn't want to see, but did...and there were goals not yet attained. What I feel God whispering to me over and over is to hope in the things unseen, to live in faith. And I am excited to see what 2011 holds.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I should not be allowed to look at Etsy. Good thing that I don't have the money to spend freely on whatever I want...or I'd end up with...

This gorgeous and classic looking necklace
This sassy purse
These fun shoes
and these funky ankle boots
This recycled scarf
A simple, but fun dress

I could spend hours and hours looking through Etsy...but I can't...shouldn't...won't.... :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

daughter. friend.

Tonight I went to a meeting where many people from local churches gathered to pray and fight for each other...instead of with each other. To repent instead of building walls. To hopefully see through to the other side what it truly means to be one body together in Christ. And while being apart of this great gathering, God also gave me a personal word.

One of the leaders spoke this word...that we are already friends of God, sons and daughters of God. This is the greatest thing we can achieve while here on earth. We can become Presidents...we can become the best husbands/wives ever, but nothing can compete with the title of being God's friend. God's daughter.

Often times, I see the other titles as great things to seek after, as though they could make me more complete or more worthy. How wrong I've been. Nothing compares to the love that comes from being a friend and daughter of the King. Nothing. I have been chosen. I am loved. What a great thing. I pray that I continue to remember this as I walk this life. That whatever is given to me on top of this honored position can be considered a blessing...but that it could never be greater than what I already have.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

worth sharing

I don't have much to say today...but I do have a few things to share on this fine lunch break!

A. This article. It made me tear up. Read it if you need any kind of encouragement.

B. Big news to finally hit the stands! Rumors had been flowing like crazy and though I was 99% sure it is true, it was finally announced... NEEDTOBREATHE is officially opening for Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" tour!!! This is bittersweet for me. I know this is the opportunity of a lifetime for them, and so of course I am excited, proud, and full of anticipation for what it will bring. BUT it also means the beginning of a new chapter, where the last chapter of more intimate shows and endless possibilities for interacting with the guys is ending. I hope and pray that they don't change as a result. And that they get the publicity they deserve! (and just a little bit, I hope they don't forget the little me.) To celebrate, I'll share another new song of theirs!

C. It's December! This means that my roommate and I can start our Advent countdown :) Our house is decorated and we hope to get our tree this weekend. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. Any time we get to celebrate what God has done in our lives is well worth it.

And while this may be completely ridiculous, I find it hilarious (Dave Barnes is not only a great musician, but is also a comedian). And it's related to Christmas, so here you go! My favorite one is the last song "Police never die" hahaha :)