Diamond in the Rough

If I was talking to you in person I’d be all dramatic and be like “Yo, human! It’s been basically forever since I wrote a book review – probably like 372 weeks.” But, since I’m blogging I’ll be a lot more professional and sound like an adult rather than, well, whatever weirdness that ^ sounded like.

So, I’ll just calmly state that I’m slightly amazed that I haven’t written a book review for nearly two months. The good news is I knew these last few months were going to be crazy, so I refrained from requesting books for review during that time. Therefore, I’m not behind. Well, except for the book that I’m about to review.

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Title: Diamond in the Rough
Fiction

1.jpg

ABOUT THE BOOK

To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

“Oops, I probably shouldn’t have requested this book for review” was what I thought about the book.

My disclaimer is this: I’m not the target audience for this author, and therefore I’ll refrain from requesting more of her books for review in the future because I don’t feel like my reviews give a fair picture of her writing.

Miss Jen writes over-the-top, crazy instances that wouldn’t actually happen in real life, especially during the time periods that her books take place. Her characters are also generally fairly unrealistic. I understand that this is on purpose to create amusement in the reader and that’s great. I know it’s a talent to be able to write like Miss Jen does and she’s good at her job. It’s just not a style I enjoy.

The first half of this book was going to get a solid two stars from me, but then the second half of the story snagged my interest and I upped my rating to three stars. Once again though, this is completely subjective and has a lot more to do with me rather than the writing or plot.

CONCLUSION

My conclusion is that this review is going to be wholly unhelpful for y’all because I’m pretty much just saying the book wasn’t my style and so, therefore, it drove me slightly crazy to read it. But, that it’s not a reflection of the book itself. So helpful, right?

Really though, I’d be delighted to hear from you as to if you like this style of book?

do sometimes enjoy reading something along the lines of this story – mainly if I’ve had an incredibly busy and mind-numbing week, and I need to just relax. This book was very comparable to Hallmark movies.

RATING

I’m giving Diamond in the Rough 3 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

The Adventure of Cold Campers

My life currently consists of an extreme amount of warm blankets, layers of clothing, and hot, steaming mugs of liquid.

When I first began dreaming of living in a camper as a youngling it was, crazily enough, it was because my brother spent a winter living in a cool little camper he owned. He was a young teenager and I was an eleven-year-old. Our family was building a house and although he only slept in the camper (vs. cooking there, etc…) I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

IMG_2681.jpg

Now here I am, a decade and a half later, realizing that dreams do come true.

Interestingly enough, over the last five months, I’ve been amazed over and over again that I really do enjoy camper living as much as I thought I would. Sure, it’s cold and inconvenient at times, but it also sparks joy in my whimsical loving heart.

The last few mornings I’ve shivered in the 30-degree air when I’ve had to climb out of bed, but never once have I wished I was somewhere else. I feel so blessed to be here – living this adventure.

My brother – that same one who sparked the dream of camper living in the first place – is planning on visiting me later this week to help me winterize my camper. It’s funny how life works.

And now I’m off to work, folks. Have a fantastically blessed day!

Where I am at the Museum {Part Four – Aka The End}

Folks, when I sat down to start blogging my story I would have never imagined that it would take me this long to tell the story, nor that I would add so many details. Apparently, I’ve missed going into storytelling mode on my blog and decided to make up for it by writing a whole book for y’all. 😉

The week and a half between when I had my job interview and when I officially found out that I was part of SET was one of the longest short periods of my life. I tried not to think about it and just go about daily living and I did pretty well until the date arrived when they said I’d probably hear back from them. Then it seemed like I couldn’t think about anything besides the job.

Literally, every time I saw Mr. Assistant Director on the day when they said I might have an answer I got sick to my stomach. He was really busy that day and I kept over-thinking things and wondering if he was actually in a hurry every time I saw him, or if he was just avoiding me because he had to break it to me later that I hadn’t made the team.

At one point in time, I was back in the offices to talk to my manager about a scheduling conflict and Mr. Director and I passed each other. Mr. Director asked if I was looking for him, and I told him no, but then just literally stood there – mouth and eyes wide open, hoping he would say something. He looked at me a little bit perplexed, then went past me. I knew he had a lot on his mind and realized he probably hadn’t remembered that I was supposed to get an answer that day, so after I was done talking to my manager, I decided that if I got another opportunity I’d go to Mr. Director and outright ask him if he had any news.

As I was leaving the office area (which is really big and has a lot of hallways) I saw Mr. Director down the main hallway, talking to someone. I thought it would look awkward to just stand there waiting to talk to him, so I actually turned around and went back down the hall I had just come from, so I could wait for a moment then walk past the hallway he was in again, to make it seem like a chance meeting. (I know, I know. That’s a little extreme, but folks, at this point I was freaking out.)

When I casually came down the hall again, Mr. Director was walking up the other hallway alone, so I headed his way. He greeted me and asked if I needed something and I very eloquently (insert sarcastic roll of eyes here) eeked out something about him having told me to check back after a week and it had been a week and so I wondered if he had an update for me? He told me he’d find me later to talk. I told him where I was working for the day then hurried back to my station to freak out.

After overthinking his response for an hour or so I told myself to chill. I mean, surely he wouldn’t tell me in public if I hadn’t gotten the job, right?

When I finally saw him walking toward me, I smiled and tried not to feel too intimidated.  The funny thing was that until I went to apply to be on SET I had never once been intimated by Mr. Director and instead had joked with him and often thought about how he was incredibly approachable. Mr. Director basically told me that they needed something approved by HR before they could officially let me know if I was on SET or not, and HR was gone for the weekend so I’d just have to be patient.

“Oh dear, I’m so sorry if I haven’t been patient…” was my outward response, but inside I was like “I am being so patient” because I felt like a lifetime had passed. After that Mr. Bookstore Manager and I were talking and I told him how they’d told me to check back after a week and that I’d done that, and I hoped I had done the right thing and not been impatient. He assured me that I’d done fine and that I was doing a good job with not being pushy but letting them know I really was interested in the position.

Then Sunday rolled around and I somehow found out very unofficially that I was going to get the job.

Cue the excitement. But, it wasn’t official, and so I couldn’t really say anything to anyone or act like I knew. That made the next few days go by at a much better pace, plus helped me sleep better at night. Now I just needed to wait for Mr. Director and Mr. Assistant Director to tell me officially so I could share the news with the world.

On Wednesday I was once again in the offices to talk to my manager and Mr. Director was actually talking to my manager, too. When I walked into their office, he asked me if I was looking for him, and I said that I was actually looking for my manager. He’s like “Well then if you don’t need me I guess I’ll just stand here being ignored.” I laughed said, “Well, I mean I wasn’t looking for you, but since I’m here, do you have anything you want to tell me?” He told me to finish my business with my manager, so I did, but as we were working out the schedule Mr. Director and Mrs. Manager started joking with each other and me about if Homer (my stuffed animal that I wear everywhere at work because we sell them in the bookstore) would be allowed to be worn by a SET member? I launched into my great arguments about how me wearing the cute little stuffed animal is a great advertisement and how many of them I’ve sold because people like Homer, etc… By that time I was getting pretty excited because I was pretty sure I was about to officially hear I’d gotten the job.

Sure enough, after a couple minutes of joking, I asked Mr. Director if he had anything he wanted to tell me, and he motioned me into his office. We walked in, sat down, and he asked me if I was still interested in being a SET member. I replied with an enthusiastic affirmative, and he’s like “Well then, the job is yours.” I thanked him and we stood back up, walked back into the main office where the joking commenced once more as they found red shirts for me to try on. IMG_2389

And that, my friends, is how I joined SET.

I was going home/on vacation for about twelve days at the end of that week, so I finished my week in the bookstore, went home, and then came back at the end of the month and started my first official day as a SET member on my birthday. It was a glorious birthday gift and a day that was utterly fantastic.

Since then I’ve discovered that Mr. Director really isn’t intimidating after all, and that instead, he’s tons of fun, while also a really good leader. I work directly under Mr. Director and Mr. Assitant Director and have been enjoying life on SET far more than I thought possible.

I had told myself that the learning curve would be hard and that I didn’t even have to enjoy the job until I’d had it for at least a month. And while it’s true that the learning curve was exhausting and sometimes overwhelming, it’s also been exceedingly rewarding and enjoyable. I literally didn’t know that I could look forward to work so much every day.

Each night when I go to bed, it’s with a countdown in my mind as to how many hours I have until I get to go back to work. I’m so incredibly thankful for my job, for the people I get to work with, and for the way God led me to not only the Creation Museum but also SET.

Thanks for joining me on this loooonnnnnngggggg journey, folks! If you’re interested in seeing what a normal day looks like as a SET member, let me know and I’ll do a post about that. 😉 Have a fantastically blessed Novemer day, friends!

A Life Outside of Work?

One of the jokes at work is that I don’t have a life outside of my job. And when I say “joke” I mean it’s pretty much completely true and I often ask if I can work late or come in on my off days – not necessarily because I don’t have anything else to do, but just because I like my job so much. I mean, why not work when you can work?

So logical, right? Except my bosses all keep reminding me that there’s this thing called rest and it’s kinda really important in life. So, although they sometimes let me stay late or come in for a few hours to work on my off days, more often than not they send me home.

This week I had two days off in a row – something that’s really rare and actually made me sad. It wasn’t going to work out for me to go visit my family back in Ohio, but then I realized that it might be the perfect opportunity to go to the zoo with one of my friends.

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 7.24.49 AM

I met Susan about six years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. I remember after meeting her for the first time coming home and telling my family that she was pretty much the sweetest person I’d ever known, and that I was thrilled that she seemed to want to be my friend.

Every time that I came to Kentucky for the next five years I’d text her and tell her that I was going to be in town, and despite the fact that she was exceedingly busy with a growing family, she always worked it out to come hang out. (Check out this post from 2013!)

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 7.24.32 AM

We’d walk in the gardens at the Creation Museum, or just hang out in the bookstore, and I always looked forward to our visits.

When I decided to move to Kentucky Susan was one of the first people I told. I was so excited that I had at least one friend in Kentucky. (Because yo, folks! It’s scary moving to a new place.)

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 7.24.00 AM

Since moving to Kentucky I’ve really enjoyed getting to hang out with Susan more. She’s invited me over to her house, let me do laundry in her basement, took me out to eat for my birthday, and let me tag along to her church.

This summer we were talking about the zoo, and I told her that despite going all the time as a child, I hadn’t gone since my 17th birthday – which was over a decade ago. She promptly invited me to go sometime with her.

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 7.25.29 AM

When I had these two days off in a row, I texted Susan to see if she had time free on either day. Despite being a really busy mom and getting late notice, she made it work out.

So, apparently, I do have a life outside of work after all. 😉

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 7.23.10 AM

Yesterday was tons of fun, full of memory-making ventures, and reminded me of how much I like zoos. I’m so thankful for the people in my life and how God has blessed me with such great friends.

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 7.23.35 AM

Have a blessed day, folks!

Where I am at the Museum {Part Three}

Read Part Two Here

I went to drop off my till (the money from the register) at the Bookstore, then hurried back to the offices. I was thankful the interview was going to be in Mr. Director’s office, because I had heard from someone that they conducted interviews in the corner of the Cafe, and that just sounded scary to me.

Mr. Director was already in his office, and Mr. Assistant Director (the SET member I previously mentioned) arrived soon after I did. I was told to take a seat, and slid into one that seemed to make the most sense – creating a triangle between the three of us in the room. My mind was going over everything I’ve ever studied about business, interviews, etc… I tried to keep my body posture open, my facial expressions engaged, and my voice modulated and my words well-thought-out and clear. Before long though, I just started having fun.

It was a relief to have Mr. Assistant Director there because I’d spent enough time talking to him that I felt like we were friends and I could get a read on him. Mr. Director, on the other hand, was nice, but I simply could not figure out what he was thinking and that was stressing me out a bit.

 

IMG_9112

Cool Story: Mr. Assistant Director and his wife went on this caving trip with us in March, and that’s where I first met them. (It was a work-related trip.)

 

 

Then, at one point Mr. Director was like “Um, I have a red flag.” I was nervous but asked him what it was, hoping it was an objection that I would be able to overcome. Instead, he mentioned a silly “red flag” that obviously wasn’t actually going to be a problem. When he said that I suddenly got hope that he did indeed think I would make a good SET member because surely he wouldn’t be joking about it if he wasn’t liking what he saw, right?

The week we did our interview was also the week that they were changing around a bunch of the offices, and that meant that Mr. Director was in the process of switching to a new office, and Guest Services was getting his current one. Because of that, the mic where they made the announcements that went out on the museum loudspeakers were located in his office, right in front of me, actually.

Partway through our interview one of the managers knocked on the door, then came in and asked if he wanted to proceed with announcements as usual or forego them since he was conducting an interview. He said it was fine, to send in the announcements guy at the right time. So, a few minutes later a guy sheepishly knocked, then came in. He apologized a lot and obviously felt very awkward for interrupting our interview. I didn’t mind though, because it gave me a few moments to collect my thoughts since I’d been answering a lot of questions.

Mr. Director and Mr. Assistant Director both joked with Announcements Guy and it really helped the whole interview process to feel homier and relaxed to me. This happened twice, and by then I was actually thoroughly enjoying the interview.

One of the other SET members (the same one who had sent Mr. Director out to talk to me in the first place) had come by Fair Trade one slow day and spent time asking me all the questions that he thought would come up during the interview. Therefore, I felt rather prepared for the questions I was now answering.

In fact, sometimes I felt like maybe I was answering the questions too well because I was so enthusiastic about the position I was hoping for. (The SET members had done a great job of making my life at the museum better, and although I didn’t want to leave the Bookstore, I was excited at the thought of making other people’s lives better, too.) One time when I was finished answering a question I was like “Did that answer your question?” and Mr. Director just kinda nodded and replied that yes, it answered his question, plus several more.

Our interview lasted for an hour, and by the time it was over I really didn’t know what to think. I thought it had gone well, and I knew it hadn’t gone bad, but I wasn’t sure if I was a good candidate for the job or not.

When I got back to the Bookstore to pick up my till I was greeted by a host of co-workers and managers who were all wondering how it went. Up until this time I hadn’t mentioned the fact to very many of my co-workers that I was looking into a position with SET, but after the interview pretty much everyone knew, and they were all excited to hear how everything went.

Throughout the process, I felt very supported and encouraged by my co-workers and managers. Even though they didn’t want me to leave the bookstore, being part of SET was the next best thing, because that meant I got to stay year-round, plus help out in the bookstore whenever they needed someone extra.

As time progressed I discovered that multiple co-workers, managers, and even managers from other departments had all gone to Mr. Director and told them that they thought I’d do great as a SET member. That made my heart exceedingly happy.

Now all I had to do was wait and see if I’d gotten the job or not.

And, I’m off to work again, folks. So, I guess this gets a Part Four. Have a great day!

 

Where I am at the Museum {Part Two}

Read Part One Here

After talking with the director of the Museum, I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do next – so I prayed about it and looked for any opportunities to take the next step. I didn’t want to bug Mr. Director, so instead, I looked for a chance to talk to anyone who would know anything. Through my questioning, I found out that I needed to go to the HR department and request a transfer paper that I would then need my current manager, as well as Mr. Director sign before I could move forward with trying to set up a job interview.

My bookstore managers were fantastic throughout the whole process, asking me how it was going, what step I was on, as well as letting me slip away during slow times to get the transfer paper, etc…

Yo, folks, this kind of stuff is still new to me (I grew up working in a family business and then a small coffee shop, which is nothing like going through all the steps and systems of working for a place with a thousand employees). Everything I did outside of my current department was rather intimidating and nerve-wracking, and even though everyone was exceedingly helpful and kind it was beyond freaky to embark on the process.

IMG_1897.JPG

When I was filling out my transfer request paper I had to write what department I was interested in joining and I was freaking out so much that I wrote that it was the Service Execellence Team. Yeah. As in, my official paperwork has me spelling the word excellence incorrectly. Classy, right?

With my transfer request in hand, I went to find my current manager. Now, although I always worked under the bookstore managers, I actually had a different over-all manager, and she’s the one who would need to sign the paper. I hadn’t yet informed her I was hoping to transfer (because I’d been talking about it so much with the mangers I actually interacted with, and I hadn’t realized I would need to tell the over-all manger). Well, when I went to find her, I couldn’t. After looking on and off throughout the day as time allowed, I was walking past the lunch break room and saw Mr. Director inside preparing his lunch.

I took the paper into the break room and asked him what I would need to do in order to secure his signature. He looked intently at me for a moment then told me if I put it on his desk he’d sign it and give it back to HR. That was pretty thrilling to hear, except for the fact that I still needed to get my manger’s signature on it. I thanked him for the offer, then explained the situation to him. He told me my manger wasn’t working that day, so I could still just leave the paper on his desk and he’d get her signature as well. Now that made me happy, except for the fact that I still hadn’t told her I was hoping to transfer to another department. So, I told him that. He said it was fine, he’d explain everything to her.

That’s when I began to get excited. Because, you know, if Mr. Director is willing to talk to your manager about you changing departments, that means he’s kinda on board with the whole idea, right?

So I left the paper with him and entered my long days (and even longer nights) of waiting.

In reality, it was a relatively short amount of time, but patience and I aren’t on a first-name basis with each other. We’re really sort of at odds with how life is supposed to work, so time seemed to drag as I waited to hear back. Therefore, instead of waiting patiently I searched out people to talk to about how the processes of transferring worked, trying to construct a timeframe in my mind, etc…

One of the guys on SET had recently been promoted to a pretty high position in the museum, as well as still being a SET member, so I figured he’d have answers. Plus, we were kinda friends, so it wasn’t intimidating talking to him. He was walking through the bookstore one day at closing so I asked if he had a moment, then started throwing all my questions at him. He was amazing and let me take all the time I needed to get clarity on what was going on. I found out from him that my transfer request was being processed and I would have an interview with him and Mr. Director sometime during the next week.

Some of the answers he gave me were rather vague, but I got the idea that he thought I’d do well on as a SET member and that I had a chance at getting the job. That was exciting, so I made myself stop questioning everyone within sight and awaited my interview.

IMG_1927.PNG

Another part of the whole behind-the-scenes of what was going on was the fact that I didn’t want to leave the bookstore. I love the people there so much that the idea of not getting to work with them all the time made me really sad. But, there was no way I could stay there and work full-time, year-round. Plus, as a SET member, I would get to go back for a portion of each day to help out at the bookstore when they needed it most.

Finally, the day came when I was told what day my interview would be, although I wasn’t sure what time during the day it would be. It was mid-morning on Interview Day when I was working out by myself in Fair Trade and I looked up to see Mr. Director striding toward me.

He was like “You’ve not seen your email, have you?” Because apparently he’d sent me an email with the time for our interview, and it was basically right then. He told me not to worry, that he was sending someone out to replace me, and I could head on back to his office when my replacement got there.

And it’s time for me to head into work again, folks! So, I guess this saga gets a part three. 😉

Where I am at the Museum {Part One}

If you would have asked me a year ago where I thought I would be on my birthday I probably could have literally guessed a thousand times without getting the correct answer.

If you would have asked me a year ago what I thought I’d be doing on my birthday, I probably could have guessed ten thousand times without getting the correct answer.

And yet, here I am.

IMG_2389

My birthday is just a little over a week past, and that means I’m on day eight of my new job at the Creation Museum. I’ve been in complete awe every single day at how much I’m enjoying it. You see, I seriously thought I wouldn’t like the job for at least a month. I gave myself a full six weeks to settle in, learn the tasks, and acclimate to the changes before I would even allow myself to entertain the idea that I’d made a bad decision when I changed departments.

Confusing, right? The thing is, I really liked being in the bookstore at the Museum. My days were filled with happiness, and I found extreme delight in the every-day tasks, my co-workers, and selling resources and stuffed animals to people. But, my bookstore job was a seasonal one, which meant I only had work there about nine months of the year.

IMG_2390

The manager of the bookstore (who’s one of the big reasons I liked the bookstore so much) and I were talking one day and he brought up the idea of me getting a fulltime position somewhere at the Museum. (Full-time positions aren’t currently available in the bookstore.) The manager is a very fatherly sort of man who’s advice and counsel I trust a lot, so after questioning him about why he said that (everything he brought up made a lot of sense), I started on my quest to find a full-time position.

The evening before I’d been talking to my mom on the phone I’d been telling her about SET – which stands for Service Excellence Team, commonly referred to the Red Shirts. They’re a very small department (at that time there were only five), and they’re trained to do pretty much everything. During my time at the bookstore, they’d been amazing with stopping by my station in Fair Trade to give me breaks when I needed them (because I worked by myself out there). Due to those breaks and short conversations as they passed by on slower days, I’d gotten to know most of the SET Members fairly well and always came to the conclusion that I could never do what they did because it would be far too overwhelming.

Well, when I was telling my mom about SET she randomly told me she thought I should one day apply to work with that team.

I laughed.

And then I informed her that was not going to happen.

IMG_2391

My conversation with Mom was Sunday evening, my conversation with my manager was Tuesday afternoon, and since I can’t stand to sit around and just ponder something versus taking action, by Tuesday evening I was in an all-out quest to figure out what I needed to do to apply for a job on SET.

(Note I’d been praying about what I should do regarding my job for several months now since I wanted to stay at the Creation Museum indefinitely.)

That first night I didn’t get far in my questioning about SET except to find out that they did indeed have a couple of open positions, including a full-time one.

IMG_2392

Later on that week I asked one of the SET Members what or where or how I should go about getting an interview (is that what I needed?), or who I should talk to, or??? (Pretty much I was freaking out and totally out of my comfort zone and completely unaware of the next steps I needed to take.) He off-handedly informed me that I’d have to talk to the Director of the Museum. (Gulp.) Then as the SET Member hurried off to continue working, he was like “I’ll just ask the director to come out to talk to you next time I see him.” (Double Gulp)

Sure enough a few minutes later I saw the director heading toward me. Mr. Director is a great guy – I’d had many short interactions with him and was always impressed by how he took time to talk to his employees and help guests. In fact, I’d seriously been planning on writing him a Thank-You letter earlier that week, thanking him for the time he took to keep things running so well. But, as I saw him striding toward me, I suddenly felt intimidated and wondered for probably the 745th time in the last 12 hours what I was doing.

I greeted him and informed him very ineloquently that I was interested in joining SET. He nodded and asked me what I thought it was that SET did. I yammered for a moment about how they helped everyone and did everything and were pretty much my heroes at the Museum because they gave me breaks. He nodded, said we’d talk about it more, and then hurried off.

And folks, this post is taking me far longer than I’d planned. In fact, this is Day Two of me writing it, and I’m about to head off to work. So, rather than continuing my saga in this post, I’m going to publish this as Part One, and hopefully, start writing Part Two tomorrow. 😉

Have a great day!