Category Archives: work

This is what dreams are made of…

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First off, did anyone else go through a Hilary Duff phase? I’m going to guess no, since I was way too old to actually be a fan of hers. But man, in high school (and in college. shhhh) it was the best.thing.ever. to pop in my CD, roll down my windows on a warm day and BLAST “This is What Dreams Are Made Of.” In case you weren’t aware, that song is from the Lizzie McGuire movie, which I saw in theaters. On opening day. My senior year of high school. Coolest girl you know? That’s right. I am.

Anyways, the reason this song comes to mind is that today was IT. Today was the day that was the culmination of all the things I dreamed of doing when I was a part-time working mama. Today, we had friends over and made pretty Valentine’s out of glitter and fingerpaint. We played with toys and ate too many cookies. We went to the park and we had an adorable photo shoot with friends. We went to Chick-Fil-A and Daddy got off in time to do the chicken dance with us and we all got free dinner. The kiddos went to bed without a peep, and we had a whole day with almost no whining, no meltdowns, and tons of happiness.

And I could write a whole blog post about it. I could tell you all the hilarious things that Sam said, or I could post all the pictures I took (except as you can see, there was a giant smudge on my lens, so of course I don’t have hardly any good pictures.) But mostly today I found myself thinking a lot–I was thinking of how insanely grateful I am for days like this, and how disappointed I am in myself that these days don’t happen more often. But I think that maybe I’m being a little too hard on myself.

I have found in the past few years that moms are mean. Moms are hard on each other, and too opinionated, and give too much unsolicited advice. It actually starts before the kids are even born–we fight about epidurals and we fight about cosleeping and we fight about formula and breastfeeding and we fight about scheduling and on demand feeding and we fight about cry-it-out and we fight about discipline and we fight about where our kids should go to school. The toughest of all the fights for me though, have been that of the battle between working mom versus stay-at-home mom. I feel like as a part time working mom, I sort of exist in both worlds now, which is hard in its own way. I don’t work enough to really be part of the working mom club–but I work too much to actually be part of the stay at home club. I had these ideas in my brain of what life would be like when I stayed home more. I’d be less tired, and less grumpy. I’d have more clean laundry, and a more organized house. I’d spend less time on my phone playing and have more energy to be on the floor with my kids. We’d do more crafts and watch less tv.

And in many ways, this is completely true. I am less tired. I’m WAY less grumpy. I still don’t like laundry, and I’m still not that organized. I still play WordsWithFriends a lot, today is one of the first days we’ve done crafts, and Elmo’s World still makes a regular appearance here. And in some ways, that disappoints me. I had so many pictures in my mind of all the things I could do when I worked less, and even though many of them are happening, many still aren’t. But I think what I’m learning is that who I am as a mom isn’t decided by the number of hours that I work. Who I am as a mom is decided by who I actually am, and who I am putting effort into becoming. And some things just don’t come easy for me. I could quit my job tomorrow, and my house still won’t be as beautiful as one of my dear friends who works 40+ hours per week. I could never go in for another day and we still might have hot dogs and macaroni and cheese from a box. Homemaking is work for me–some parts that I enjoy, but many that I don’t. And I think it will always be a struggle for me to maintain my home and my family.

One thing though, that I will say, is that the days I am home are still easier than the days I work. I am still thankful for each day that I am with my kids, and each moment that I am able to put into the work of caring for my home and family. I love this life that we’re living, and I wouldn’t trade the time I have at home with them for anything–I wouldn’t even trade them to have my house back.

So maybe my pictures are going to be blurry. And maybe there will be dust bunnies under my couch. And maybe when you come to visit me, I’ll have to close my eyes while you pee because there still isn’t a door on my bathroom, even though I’ve lived here for a month. But ya know what? I love my kids. We have fun. We giggle, and they think I’m pretty and funny and they like that I give them fruit snacks. And maybe that matters more than everything else.

Today was the day that I dreamed about. But so are all the other ones. Finding the beauty–even in the blurriness.

 

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Living a {different} dream…

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Soooo, anyone who knows me knows that I have seriously, seriously struggled with working full time and having small children. This has been especially true since Piper has been born and I’ve attempted to juggle wife-dom, motherhood, friendships, faith, and a super stressful management position. I spent many a night crying, whining, complaining, and being generally ungracious to people around me, but in the final months of my management career had really made an effort to behave more graciously. I was thankful to have a job, thankful to have FREE childcare from my mom (who better to take care of your children than someone who loves them as much as you do?!) But still, the ache in my heart was there; the longing to be a better mom to my kids, to not miss out on these precious moments I have with them while they are still so little.

So we began to really pursue this dream of mine. I make the majority of the money in our house, so me stepping back from work is a HUGE deal. We rented out 2 rooms in our house to help cover the mortgage, and began diligently saving so that we’d have a backup in case anything went wrong. Once our savings was at a comfortable level, we really got serious. I spoke to many people throughout this journey who said things like, “God will bless you for wanting to stay home, and he’ll provide” or, “Every month we think we won’t have enough money, and then He makes a way!” and, “Sometimes you just have to take a leap!” So, after one particularly horrible day at work which left me in tears, we lept. And we lept big–I told my boss I was going to step down from management and take a part time position–giving up my generous salary to work an hourly rate that is MUCH less. But we would be ok.

That same day, we began to pursue a job for my husband that looked VERY promising–and, da-da-da, made *exactly* the same amount of money we’d just given up. I was giddy, and began mentally writing the awesome blog post of how good God was to provide like this for our family. I mean, I gave up a salary and trusted his provision, and then he gave us back the exact.same.amount. The inspirational story practically writes itself. Awesome.

I had put in a month’s notice to my boss so she’d have time to figure out my replacement, etc. Over that month I grew more and more excited, and Geoff went on several interviews that went really well. All the pieces of our plan just fell into place perfectly. The Sunday night before my very last week of management, we were sitting downstairs watching TV, and one of our tenants came down. She told us she had found a new place to live, and would be moving out–ON FRIDAY. Yes, that was 5 days away. My heart sank, as I knew we needed this money to make ends meet. I wasn’t too terribly upset though, because Monday was the day we were getting the final answer about Geoff’s job interview. Feeling pretty confident he would get it, I tried to relax and not freak out.

Then Monday came. Waited, waited, waited for the call. It didn’t come. All day long I stressed and then finally, my phone rang and I saw Geoff’s number. I knew this was IT. I asnwered, and heard, “Well. It’s a no.” And that was that. It was a no. It was a “now you don’t have enough money to pay your mortgage and your bills.” It was a “better go look for new full time job again.” It was a “God didn’t do what I thought He should do.”

And I freaked. And I cried. And I was mad. Because, I mean, really, this was a PERFECT set-up for God to show off some of his goodness by answering my prayers exactly like I wanted him to. Bump, set…all I needed was that spike. Why wouldn’t he spike??

I remember feeling like this a few years ago. My friend David had a surgery and suffered horrible, unexpected complications. As he fought for his life over the next few weeks, we got a few “close call” notices that maybe he wasn’t going to make it. And I never, for a second, thought that he wouldn’t. I KNEW he was going to be fine, because that was going to be how God showed his goodness. He was going to show it through miraculous healing, because that’s the way it made sense. The doctors and nurses were going to be astonished; the praying people waiting for him to come home were going to see that God said yes. I just knew it. Until one day, I didn’t know it. I woke up and realized, he could really die. That was Thanksgiving day–and the next thing I knew, he was gone. And I was heartbroken, and confused. Because WHY wouldn’t God answer that prayer??

And I have felt that way so many times in my life. So many times I have known exactly how God should operate and exactly how he should provide for me. And you know what? A lot of times, he hasn’t. He hasn’t operated on my terms, he’s operated on his. And every.single.time, he’s been right. Sometimes, I don’t even know why–I have no idea why Dave wasn’t healed. I have no idea why I had a miscarriage. I have no idea why our life seems so crazy right now. But what I do know is this: He is still good. He is no less good than all the times he HAS answered my prayers exactly as I’ve hoped (which has also been often.) He’s not good because he does what I want or what I expect, he is good because he is God, and I am not. And this side of eternity, I may never understand death and disappointment, but I do understand redemption, and I know that these things will be redeemed.

This isn’t the post I expected to write about God’s provision. But it is about his provision nonetheless. A few months ago, I had it all–a house we owned; a high paying job with one of the most respected companies in the US; 2 beautiful children, free amazing childcare…the American dream. Today, I’m starting to pack up everything in my house so I can move all my belongings into my mom’s basement so we can afford to make ends meet.

But…I’m working part time. That was the dream to begin with. And I am thankful for every second I have with these kids–I am thankful that my attention is completely focused on my home, instead of being on my job. I am thankful for the stress I no longer have, for the energy I have now that I’m not gone so much. I am thankful that we have my mom who is so gracious and willing to share her home–and thankful that my kids will get the opportunity to spend so much time with their grandparents. I am thankful we get to downsize and figure out what’s really important and not be so caught up in STUFF.

And you know what? That sounds like a whole lot of goodness, and a whole lot of provision. And I think maybe everyone was right–if you trust and take a leap, God WILL provide. But he may not do it in a way you wanted, or expected. But he will do it in a way that sanctifies and teaches and he will do it in a way that leaves you thinking, “I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.” And that, to me, is the beauty of faith–that he is greater, and I am less. And regardless of where I am, there is beauty to be found–and I will strive to find it.

New shoes and such

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So, this week is my last week of full time management! Crazy and scary and wonderful and sad and way too many things to even consider typing about any of them right now.

One of my girls that works for me got a new job, so she needed to put in her 2 weeks. She did so with a hilarious poem she wrote, and a box of chocolate & sea salt covered caramels. FOUR years in management, and that’s the first person that ever quit with candy. I wish everyone would do that. Hear that, world? If I’m ever a boss again, quit with candy. Always.

Somebody in this house started wearing shoes. Pink shoes. Tiny shoes. And the cuteness might just kill me.

 Piper’s starting to be on her feet more than crawling, so the time has come. She is getting so big! I feel like we knew exactly how Sam was growing and changing because since he was our only kid, our world kinda just revolved around him. Now that our house is busier, I feel like sometimes I just look up and go, “Whoa! Piper is a big girl!” It’s really fun to see her developing personality–girlfriend has a stink-face! She is too funny.

 Sammy has been super into planes lately. We took both the kids to Aviation Park the other evening to let them watch the planes take off and play. Sam LOVED it and every time a plane flew by, he’d yell “PAAAAANNNEEE!!! HHIIIII PPAAAANNNEEEE! GOOOOOOOOO!” It was hilarious! I’m loving as my kids get older that we get to have fun family days that they actually enjoy. I’ve been taking Sam on trips since he was born that I always imagined would be more fun than they are–only to get there and realize he’s too little or doesn’t care about whatever I took him to see. But finally he loves seeing new things and experiencing the world and I love showing it to him!

Allrighty, I’m outta here–I have to admit that knowing it’s my last week of full time is kind of bringing me the big girl version of senioritis! I’m desperately trying not to be totally checked-out yet, so I gotta try and be focused for a few more shifts….

What Just Happened?!

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So I’m pretty sure if I wanted to, I could be a millionaire. All I have to do is start writing down all the funny, crazy, and unbelievable things that happen in a day in the life of a Starbucks Barista. Some things are so hilarious that I can’t get through a day without laughing so hard I almost cry. Some things are so infuriating that I have to step in the back room and catch my breath before I totally freak out. But there’s never a day I don’t come home with some stories, and never a day when I don’t utter the phrase, “What just happened??” So occasionally on the blog, I’m going to share some of these stories. Here’s some of my favorites lately:

Man goes through drive thru and orders a Venti latte with 4 equals. When he gets to the window, the following conversation ensues:

Man: Did you put 4 Equals in my Latte?

Barista: Yes, sir, I did.

Man: Yes, that’s what I asked for.

Barista: Yes.

Man: That’s too many. (note: he has not received or tasted his beverage yet.)

Barista: What?

Man: That’s too many. It should have 2.

Barista: Um. Did you want it remade?

Man: Well, yes. You made it too sweet.

What just happened?

We make a cappuccino. A cappuccino, by definition, is espresso shots with half milk and half foam. A cappuccino is NOT what comes out of a machine at 7-11. Often, this creates dissatisfaction among our customers. The other day I took a call from an upset customer.

Me: Thanks for calling Starbucks, Ashley speaking, how can I help you?

Woman: Yes. I was JUST in there. I come in all the time. I always am in there buying drinks.

Me: Ok. Um, how can I help you?

Woman: Well, I was JUST in there. And I ordered a drink, and it was HALF FOAM. IT WAS ONLY HALF FULL.

Me: Can I ask what beverage you ordered?

Woman: Cappuccino.

Me: Oh, I am so sorry. See, our cappuccinos are actually made with half foam and hal—

Woman: NO! I SAID IT WAS HALF FOAM. My drink was HALF FOAM. It was made wrong.

Me: Yes, ma’am. See, though, our cappuccinos are actually made with half foam and half milk. That’s the recipe. Were you looking for a latte? Mostly milk?

Woman: You are not listening. MY DRINK WAS WRONG. IT WAS HALF FOAM. I WANT A NEW ONE.

Me: Sigh. Yes, ma’am. Please come in for a free drink, on us.

What just happened?

The Beauty of Faith

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First, let’s talk about this. This is my baby and me on Easter, and she’s wearing overalls that used to be mine!! 😀

Been in a bit of a funk lately–rough couple of weeks at work, which generally puts my attitude in the pooper, and finding the beauty in life gets more difficult. But, finding the beauty in only things that make it easy doesn’t seem like I’m really challenging myself, so I’m not going to let as much time pass between posts again. I’ve been thinking a lot in the past few weeks about faith, and about living my faith out in my life, and I think I can possibly put enough of thoughts into words to be a post 🙂

I’ve been a Survivor fan for years and years. I was sitting on the couch watching the night that Season One aired, and now that we’re on Season, what, 18? I’m still on my couch every Wednesday night watching the tribes battle it out. In the past few years, it seems like nearly every season there is a token Christian. Someone who packs their Bible as their luxury item and uses every opportunity to throw in some Christian phrases, whether they fit with the circumstance to watch. I’ve cringed my way through many an episode, shuddering as various tribes claimed God’s grace or curse on them and wishing people would just stop making Christians look crazy. I think a lot of it also has to do with editing–overall, the people of faith on the show are edited in a way that makes them look a little bit crazier than they are.

So this season, when one of the contestants in the first episode was clearly someone who was a Christian, I assumed we were headed down the same road. I have been thrilled to be wrong! Watching Matt this season has been inspiring, encouraging, and convicting. Watching the show, it is literally like his faith is just pouring out of him. Some of the scenes have almost been awkward because it is SO clear that he is having intense conversations with a God he loves. He has been such a light to everyone he has come into contact with out there, and has been edited in a way that makes it obvious his faith is completely genuine.

And it’s made me wonder–why don’t we all have faith like that? Why don’t *I* have faith like that? Why is what people at work think of me more important than being a light? Why is it easier to get caught up in social networking than it is to get caught up in the word? I’ve been really convicted by how many times I’ve let go by that I haven’t spoken up when I should have, or times when I’ve gossiped when I shouldn’t have. So many times I look at the worst in people instead of just trying to show them Jesus. Because when that happens, it’s SO beautiful. And really, it’s what life is all about. I hope I start remembering that more.