Speak Life

It’s a cozy morning. I’m supposed to work late today for an event, so that means I don’t go into work until noon. I set my alarm for 8:12 – just as a safeguard in case I slept in uncommonly late, but woke up long before it was set to go off.

I’d turned my heater off during the night because I was nice and toasty, so I awoke to a 32 degree home. Since I didn’t need to rush to work I curled up under a warm blanket with hot coffee and my Bible, journal, and a couple of nonfiction books. It was delightful.

Eventually, I transitioned to my computer where I watched part of a Youtube video about how much a certain vlogger spends each week (I’m currently exceedingly fascinated by budgeting) while eating breakfast. And now I’m getting some computer work done which is something I’ve been sadly remiss in during the last six months.

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One of the books I was reading this morning is Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. I’ve heard about her research a lot from my family and decided that it was time for me to read her book for myself.

Beginning in my early twenties I began to really focus on my thoughts and words – especially in speaking life, both out loud and to myself. Some seasons of life I do better than others. Recently I’ve been realizing that although I have been doing a good job in speaking life out loud, I’m not always consistent with keeping my mindset focused on the good when it comes to other people – particularly those who annoy me.

But, that’s one of the neat things about speaking life – when I cut off the negative thoughts that I think about others and instead choose to dwell on their positive attributes, it actually changes the way I think about them. This is for a variety of reasons, but the main one is that when I’m focusing on the good, then I am looking for good, and you can generally find what you’re looking for.

When you’re around people who aren’t familiar with the principle of speaking life, it’s so easy to get caught up in the spirit of negativity – no matter if it’s real negativity or else joking negativity. But what I’ve discovered is that even joking negativity can affect people.

Because of that, I’m working on not speaking negativity – even in jest. You can be funny, joke around, and enter into the banter of the workplace while still doing it in a life-giving way. It sometimes makes me have to think harder to make jokes while still building people up, but that’s okay – it’s a good brain exercise.

Today I’m going to work on only speaking life in my mind, even when I get annoyed. And, if I can’t think of anything positive about someone, then my fallback is to remind myself that despite how they’re acting, they’re made in the image of God, and therefore, they’re important, special, blessed, and deserve me to treat them with respect.

Are you familiar with the concept of speaking life? There’s so much in the Bible about it, and I’d be delighted to write a blog post about it someday if anyone is interested.

Hello, Wind, Snow, and Cold

A week ago my camper was cold, uninsulated, and completely unprepared for winter. Then some of my people from back home in Ohio ventured out on a damp, freezing November morning and came to help me prepare my little home for the howling winds of the next few months.

We began the visit with nourishing vegetable soup I’d made the day before and garlic bread that I baked in the oven to help warm the camper up. Then we transitioned to the chaos of trying to move everything away from the windows so we could put plastic over them. The adventure of tearing my little home apart while it was full of people was maybe a bit more on the crazy than whimsical side, but it was fun.

Over the course of the day, we covered the windows with plastic, made trips (two of them) to Lowes, fixed various issues, ran antifreeze through the waterlines, and probably a lot of other little things that not being a handyman I’m unaware of.

In between the excitement of all that work, we also snuck in a trip to the Creation Museum we arrived there just an hour before closing, so everything was settling down for the evening which meant I could drag my Ohio People throughout the empty halls, calling out to my Museum People for introductions. It was delightful and wonderful and absolutely made my day.

I got visitor passes for my little group and took them back for a tour of the office space my team uses, plus I was able to introduce them to my bosses. That was fun. We stood around chatting and I was filled with happiness as I got to watch two of my worlds merging.

As it turns out, we timed the winterization of my camper perfectly, because that night the temperatures dipped to at least 10 degrees lower than they previously had, but my cozy home stayed a good 35 degrees warmer than it would have before. (Meaning it was 60ish degrees instead of 25 degrees when we woke up.)

Since then it’s snowed, the wind has recklessly sung throughout the day, and my phone has randomly shut off on my way to work from the cold, yet my camper remains a delightful place to return to. (As long as I’m bundled up, that is.)

I’m so thankful for my adventure of living in a camper for the winter, and I’m eager to see how the next few months play out.

And now I’m off to work. Blessings to you, my friends!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.)

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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.

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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. 😉

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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.

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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.

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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!