17 Reasons I Love My Job

Yo. Folks, I began writing this on March 6th, then my computer cord died and I had to wait to finish it until I got a new cord. And we all know March 6th was a lifetime ago. Reading through this again makes me miss my job, life, and co-workers so much. 

There are a lot of things I enjoy in life. In fact, I pretty much find excitement and joy no matter what I’m doing – with a few exceptions, of course. My middle name is Joy and when I was a kid my parents would inform me that meant I was supposed to be joyful. I didn’t always want to hear that as a preteen, but nowadays I’m thrilled that I get the daily task of living up to the name my parents choose for me.

Over the years I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe), experience many amazing things, and been handed incredible opportunities. I’m so thankful for my life and all I’ve gotten to do.

Wanna guess what my favorite thing to do is, though?

Going to work. At night I go to sleep counting down the hours until I get to head back into my job. In the morning I wake up excited and enthused to dance into work (oftentimes quite literally) and start the day.

Of course, I don’t enjoy every single moment at my job. There are times when I’m tired, have a headache, or don’t feel well and leave as soon as possible. But more often than not, closing happens sooner than I wanted and after I clock out I hang around for a few more minutes, just soaking everything in.

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In addition to the daily, mundane work (which there’s plenty of that), I also have a plethora of exciting, stimulating, and helpful tasks and experiences handed to me. Today I thought I’d compile some of the things/reasons I love my job. I was recently asked to be a part of a short promo video where I got to talk about this very subject, and I only had a few seconds to share my thoughts, so here’s the expanded version.

  1. My teammates – without a doubt, this is my favorite thing about where I work. I love getting to spend time with the other SET members. We have stimulating conversations, encourage each other, and they daily help me become a better person
  2. My managers – this ties with number one. There is so much freedom to learn and grow knowing that although mistakes I make will be addressed, it will be done in a private and kind manner without an ounce of shaming. I’ve worked in three different departments under four different managers, and each one of those experiences has been amazing. I’ve felt truly valued, listened to, and cared about not just as an employee, but also as a human
  3. The environment – the work environment is full of encouraging, kind, and thoughtful people. Mistakes are addressed in quiet, while wins are celebrated in public. While working hard is a must, building relationships and unity throughout the day is also cheered on
  4. Making a difference – I know that what I’m doing each day makes a difference, first of all for my coworkers, and then for the guests who come through our doors
  5. Learning new things – I’ve had to leap out of my comfort zone so many times with the job I have, but when I have a strong team standing around me cheering me on, it’s not quite so scary. For the most part, I’m able to learn at my own pace and although I try and always be ready to say yes, if I really don’t feel ready for something they are okay with letting me have more time to prepare
  6. The variety – my position allows me to move from task to task at a rapid pace and that makes the day fly by
  7. My co-workers – in addition to my teammates (the six people on my actual team) I also love being around my co-workers. We’re taught to celebrate, thank, and encourage each other on a daily basis which is what I thrive on. I’ve made so many delightful friends through work
  8. Learning experiences – my boss is incredible at giving us time to not only do our job but learn how to do it well. If he finds out we aren’t fully trained in a department then he’ll help us get the training we need.IMG_4333
  9. Staff meetings – multiple times a week we come in early to attend staff meetings where we get to learn about what is helping around the ministry, country, and even world. We have truly amazing guest speakers, wonderful musicians, and talented doctors share with us
  10. Feeling truly valued – recently each of the departments spent a day celebrating our team, thanking us for our help. I wasn’t there that week, so one of the departments ever-so-sweetly put together a basket of lovely gifts for me and spent an afternoon showering me with love and appreciation
  11. Being listened to – when I have an issue with something I know I’ll be listened to. I’ve brought concerns to leadership various times and every time they’ve given me time, attention, and then either answers that make sense, or else they take steps to find answers. It’s exceedingly important to me to know that what I say is taken seriously
  12. Perks – working at the museum provides me with many discounts, free resources, and a plethora of perks that I hadn’t even imagined when I applied for the job. For instance, we can get discounted tickets for family and friends who are visiting, free drinks while working, and half-off all the food in the cafe. Also, there’s nearly always food or other goodies in the break room
  13. The guests – we get to meet people from all over the country and the world. Sometimes while walking through the parking lot I’m amazed by how many different places are represented by the license plates. I’ve had delightful conversations, watched peoples face’s light up when they see our exhibits, and had the joy of meeting needs for those who come to our attrations
  14. Flexibility – whenever I’ve needed time off (such as when some of my family was in a car wreck last year, or for my sister’s gender reveal party, or when my family decided to move), my manager has graciously worked with me to make it happen as often as possible. In return, they’ve won my loyalty and I will do pretty much anything I can to work extra when they need it
  15. Resources – not only do we have access to all of Answers in Genesis resources in digital form for free, but we also can attend most conferences for free. Plus, in our daily team meetings (which is different from the aforementioned staff meetings) we get taught so much cool stuff
  16. Feeling Safe – there are a lot of people I come in contact with every day, which means the potential to run into an unsafe situation is always at hand. But I’ve never felt at danger. Not only do we have a great safety department (they’ve even graciously escorted me to my vehicle when I wasn’t parked close to the building and had to work late and had co-workers who were worried about me walking across the parking lots late at night by myself), but we also have a great cleaning crew. That means not only do I feel safe from anyone with bad intentions, but also from germs. Plus, we’re always provided with the correct equipment and training to make sure each job is done with the utmost safety
  17. Unity – and one of my very favorite aspects of where I work is the unity. I love being part of a team. I love knowing that when I go through something difficult I’ll have people praying for me, asking about me, and taking care of me. And, I love that I get to do that for others as well. It’s one of the best examples of being part of the body of Christ that I’ve ever seen, and I’m so thankful for where I work and who I work with

Having Everything Under Control (A Day in My Life at Work)

Sometimes I pat myself on the back – pretty thrilled that I have everything so under control. Take yesterday, for instance.

I woke up at 6:00 knowing I had a project to work on before leaving for my job. The morning started off well, I’d checked my work app several times and knew I had to be there at 8:30, which meant I should leave around 8:15. I had a good quiet time, ate my supper leftovers for breakfast, and was powering my way through the project when I heard my neighbor’s car starting.

My neighbor and I work at the same place, so I was like “Oh, I’d better check the time again to make sure I leave early enough.” The phone read 8:10 and that’s when it hit me – my boss had asked if I could come in at 8:00 to help with an extra project. Oh well.

About an hour later while attending a meeting I glanced around, looking for one of my coworkers that was pretty vital to have around in order for me to finish the project I’d been working on. She was a no-show. I sent off a quick text and she replied that she was sick at home. Thus prompted me to scurry around trying to get my work done while also talking to seven people in different locations to see if we could complete the project later in the week. They all agreed so I moved on with the day.

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Later I was working my way through some paperwork for the uniform department at work (which I’m in charge of) when I noticed the spreadsheet I’m supposed to keep updated for our HR office was missing a pretty important piece of information from back in January. I headed to the HR office to apologize and see if they could help me figure out what I’d done wrong.

That prompted a treasure hunt where I scoured six weeks’ worth of electronic and physical paperwork, looked through our uniform inventory, and talked to my manager. After a lot of piecing things together, praying that I’d find the correct information, and a helpful email, we finally figured out what happened, but the answer meant I had to call my contact where we get our uniforms to talk about the issue with him.

My day continued on until I got a notification that a uniform-related meeting was scheduled for the 11th of March. I’d already requested – and received – that time off from my manger. But back when I asked for the time off so I could visit my family back home for a special occasion, I hadn’t thought through everything. See, I work mainly as part of SET (Service Excellence Team), but I also work for another department, which is totally unrelated to being a SET member. Over the winter there’s not a ton of time-sensitive work that needs to be done with the second department, so it never even entered my mind to ask that manager if I could have the time off.

When I finally did think to tell my second manager I’d be gone for several days (she doesn’t control my schedule at all), I assured her that I’d make sure everything got done correctly while I was gone. She was fine with that, but as time progressed I realized there was a lot more to be done while I was gone than I had thought. Thus, when I got the above-mentioned notification I wasn’t sure what to do.

I went to Mandy (who I’d received the notification from) and we brainstormed for a few minutes. She was already doing extra work to cover for me being gone, so I ended up offering to come back to work early so I could cover the meeting since she couldn’t. Mandy assured me that I shouldn’t do that and then hit on the idea ask Mark (who’s the only person besides me and my manager who knows how to do what needed to be done) if he could help out. The big issue is he’s in a completely different department and so we weren’t sure if he’d be able to – or if he was even working that day.

I hurried off to talk with Mark, who was scheduled for the 11th and was more than happy to take my place at the meeting if his manager could spare him. So I went to talk with his manager. After explaining the situation to her she looked at her department’s plans for the 11th and agreed she could free him up so he could take my place. Since everything was all worked out, I went and talked to my manager to make sure she was okay with the changes. She was, which meant I then had to go talk to Mandy and then Mark and let them know everything was a go.

So, as you can see, I’ve become a total pro at having everything under control.

And, while that’s obviously me joking, the truth of the matter is that yesterday wasn’t stressful. There were a few moments when I felt a niggling of stress and really wasn’t sure what to do in order to find an important piece of information, but then I was able to breathe deeply and go through the process logically.

I’ve been blessed to work with incredible people who give me the freedom to learn from my mistakes, and although they hold me accountable, I never feel shamed or put down by them.

This last year I’ve been really working on seeking to still my soul through remembering God’s goodness and praising Him instead of letting circumstances determine how I feel. And, although I still have a long way to go I can see I’ve come a long way and I’m very thankful for that.

Now, I’m off to work again where I can hopefully complete the aforementioned project.

(And I literally just received a text from that vital co-worker letting me know she wasn’t sure if she’ll be in today or not, so I guess we’ll see how the day goes…) 😉

The What-Ifs and Maybe-Nots and Here-I-Am-Now of My Grand Adventure

If you were to tell me at the beginning of this year that May would find me moving to Kentucky for the summer to work at the Creation Museum, I’m not sure how I would have responded.

See, that was a dream of mine for years, but there seemed to be way too many obstacles in the way. Every time I thought about it, I would daydream a bit, pray about it, but ultimately remind myself that it probably wouldn’t happen any time soon.

And that was the case for a couple of years.

Until it wasn’t. At the beginning of this year all the not nows and that won’t work and maybe laters slid into oblivion. It was as if doors were being flung open and other doors were creaking shut and then all at once I was looking down a corridor that was wide open and welcoming me to a grand adventure.

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It was thrilling and exhausting and comfort-zone busting all at the same time. There were multiple times when I thought it wasn’t going to work – like when I applied for the job and didn’t hear back for a couple of weeks, only to discover that they’d replied right away somehow I’d never received the email. There were times when I was so overwhelmed by everything that I had going on that I just laid in bed with my eyes closed. There were times when I pondered all I was giving up and felt a rush of sadness.

Yet, there was never a time when I questioned if it was something I wanted or was supposed to do. Because it took years of praying and working to get me to this place and all the questions and wonderings and weighing the balances happened a long time ago.

And now here I am.

I was supposed to move down Saturday morning, leaving the house at 5:00. Only, Friday night I was awake with the stomach flu and for various reasons, we decided moving with the stomach flu wasn’t the best decision. I spent Saturday resting, and blocking out the thought of maybe it wasn’t going to work to move after all. (Ludicrous, right? I mean, the camper I was going to live in was already in Kentucky, my job was starting in four days, and I was still having to shush worry.)

Then Sunday morning dawned and I left the house a little after 5:00 (to beat the traffic) and headed off on my new adventure.

Moving {Grand New Adventure, Here I Come}

Y’all.

I’ve had a dream for a long time.

That dream consists of working at the Creation Museum.

I’ve also had another dream – one that might possibly be considered childish and silly, but I’ve dreamt it for a long time nonetheless.

That dream consists of living in a camper. (I know, reaching for the stars there, buddy.)

This summer, Lord willing, both dreams are going to come true.

The story to how this happened is long and rather amazing to me, but probably pretty boring to the general population. It includes a lot of prayer, a lot of surprises, jumping clear outside my comfort zone, and tons of behind the scenes work. It’s been characterized by a large amount of craziness, unexpected reactions, and me kinda freaking out many, many times.

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See, I’m a homebody. I like to be at home. I like the comfortable and normal and traditions that continue year after year without much variation. I’m a happy, content, loyal type of human.

And then, suddenly I wasn’t anymore. And it surprised me and was somewhat horrifying and totally confusing. Until I realized that it wasn’t that I had changed, instead it was God was showing me it was time for something new.

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My first reaction was that it would never work. But then some wise people asked me why not? So I talked to some other people about it, and they cited the same reasons why it wouldn’t work as I had first told myself, so I, in turn, asked them why not? And guess what, they agreed with me, Why Not? And thus started a bunch of exceedingly out-of-the-comfort-zone situations for little ol’ me.

And those situations ended with me telling my current boss I was going to be leaving (at least for the summer, who knows after that?), and signing on for a new job. It’s been exciting and overwhelming and thrilling and exhausting all at once.

So, Lord willing one month from today I’ll be heading to Mexico for vacation with my family, then the same day that we get home, I’ll be packing my car up and moving to Kentucky.

That’s a big reason why writing has been on hold for the last month. First, there were job interviews and trying to work out all the logistics. Then came the yeses, so my time has been rather busy with cleaning the camper I’m going to be taking, making lists of things to do, shopping for the camper. (Dishes, curtains, pots, and pans. You name it, we got it.)

There’s also the little matter of finding people to take over what I’ve been doing at home. At work, we have a new girl (and another one coming aboard soon), and it’s fun to get to work with the newbies, reminding myself that I’ll be the new girl soon. And at church, we’ve been working at finding new people to step in with teaching children’s church. I’ve had a delightful time hanging out with those kids for the last fifteen months, and so I’m trying to help the new teachers ease in as seamlessly as possible. Plus, at both my jobs I currently have we’ve had co-workers that I’m close to also leave, so all the goodbyes and going-aways have been tough, but exciting as I know they’re launching into their new dreams.

So that’s it for today, folks.

Except for one more thing: Y’all should totally come visit me at the Creation Museum this summer! 😉

8 Steps to the Perfect Caving Adventure

When you’re going caving, the first thing to do is find proper clothing to wear. In my case, that involved borrowing a pair of overalls from my brother-in-law, pairing them with knee-pads, and stuffing leather gloves into my pocket. Add a snug-fitting helmet, a headlight that works well, and old shoes and you’re all set. (Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the advice of old shoes, which y’all will hear about later.)

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Next, you find a group of fellow adventurous people, meet up with a brave guide, slide through a box to make sure you’ll fit through the tight places, then line up, number off, and begin your exploration.

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Actually, exploration might be a misnomer, because I’m fairly certain that I never want to squeeze through places 300 feet underground if said places haven’t already been thoroughly explored. I’ll let other people blaze the trail, then follow along quite contentedly, thank you.

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After you set off down the path you need to remember two things:
1) Right is always right – or at least that’s the case in the particular cave we were visiting. If we were ever separated from the group we just needed to keep going to the right and we’d be fine.
2) Don’t get separated from the group. Just, don’t.

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And, well, one more thing to remember: Don’t think about where you are or what you’re doing. Seriously. There’s nothing like belly-crawling, side-scooting, and clawing your way through a space barely big enough to fit your body through to induce panic. Especially when you consider that you’re hundreds of feet underground with solid rock on all sides. So, you just don’t think about it. Instead, you go into performance mode and get it done. (And have slightly blurry pictures to show for it since the adrenaline causes shaking.)

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Also, it helps if you choose a guide who’s bigger than you so that when your clothes get stuck on the jagged rocks while you’re belly-crawling you can calmly (haha) remind yourself that someone bigger than you just got through and all you need to do is back up a few inches and free yourself. See? No biggie.

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Also, try and remember that caving in the Spring is different than in the summer, and you’ll probably be going through water and a lot of mud. Hence the reminder to bring old shoes – or be prepared to buy new ones. Especially if you work in the food industry where shoes are a must and mud is looked at askance.

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And of course, conclude your spelunking adventure with a steep muddy hill to slide down, and a sleeping bag to burrow your muddy-self into. Because, sleeping in a dark cave – right after facing all your fears and crawling deep underground – is a very logical thing to do.

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And that’s it for today, folks!

Currently
Setting: Home!
Listening to: The beauty of nothing 
Question of the Day: Have you ever slept in a cave? 

August 2017 Month Review

What I focused on in August

  1. Where Dandelions Grow (This. Mostly This.)
  2. A week at the Creation Museum
  3. Getting back into the goal mindset

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Birthday Challenge Update

  1. Buy 25 Books – 5
  2. Request 25 Books for Review – 3
  3. Vlog 25 Times – 4
  4. Dance, Skip, or swing in the rain 25 times – Several times 😉
  5. Read to, or cook with, children 25 times – 3
  6. Color 25 pictures – 2
  7. Go to bed by 10:30 sixty times (not in a row) – 12 (?)
  8. Blog by 9:30 a hundred times – 15 (?)
  9. Go to Wednesday night church 20 times – 2
  10. Drink coffee or tea while reading or journaling 25 times – 8 times (?)
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Reading Update

Fiction: 8
Nonfiction: 5
Book Reviews: 16
Audio Books: 1

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Traveling

Nights Gone: 8
New States or Countries: None

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Goals

If the Lord wills and I live, in August of 2017 I will…

Health:
1. Be in bed by 10:30 Ten Nights – YES
2. Get up by 6:30 Ten Mornings – YES
3. Eat Paleo (my version) Twenty Days – YES 
4. Go on at least Five walks a week – YES 
5. Do the PEMF Mat Twice a week – YES 
Spiritual/Mental:
1. Read two “spiritual” books – YES 
2. Read three nonfiction books altogether – YES 
3. Go to Wednesday night church when home – I missed one week when sick
4. Go to Church & Sunday School when home – I missed one week when sick
5. Watch Golden Nuggets – YES 
Writing Work etc…:
1. Plot DD – Partly
2. Write at least 30,000 words in the first draft of DD – No
3. Blog by 9:30 Twelve times – YES
4. Research blogging/vlogging for Ten Hours – No
5. Post a Vlog every Thursday – I missed one week when sick
6. Work on Writing/Vlogging/Research work for 100 hours (bonus – make it 120 hours!) – YES (or at least I’m fairly sure I did, I ended up not keeping track)
I ended up focusing most of my writing time on Where Dandelions Grow instead of DD – a conscious decision on my part that ended up being a really good idea. Goals are supposed to get you where you need to go – not lock you into working on a certain project even when it’s no longer the most profitable thing for you to be doing.
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What I’ve Been Learning

August was really a fantastic month. Despite being sick for a week I still feel like it was one of the most productive months I’ve had in a while. One thing that really stood out to me is how many solid nonfiction reads I had this month. There will be book reviews to come for most of them, so stay tuned.

I read books about prayer, loving, serving, and viewing God the correct way, the Biblical view of the refugee crisis, how to better take care of children and serve in the church, and how to interact, love, and be friends with LGBT people the way God wants us to. That last book was probably the most eye-opening for me and I was really pleased with the strong stand the author took on loving but making sure it’s done in a Biblical way.

In August I also learned a lot about networking, staying focused, making a plan and moving forward, keeping up-to-date on work-related emails, and all that’s involved with a (Lord willing) very successful book release. I had a delightful time reading, learning, experimenting, praying, and watching the results pour in.

Far too often I’m all jittery about getting more, more, more done and too focused on accomplishing. This month I felt like I (thankfully!) hit a good balance for getting a lot done, but not freaking out when I couldn’t do all I wanted to/felt like I needed to do. This is something I’ve worked with on a pretty much daily basis for years, so that was really exciting for me. It includes a lot of letting go and remembering that God’s plans for me are far better than my own.

Twitter. For the most part, I haven’t done much on Twitter, but there are a couple of people’s tweets that amuse me greatly and I sometimes click on their profiles when I need a few minutes to chill and laugh. I decided I wanted to be one of those people, so I worked on it during the last month and had a ton of fun. I mostly talk about books, writing, and randomly throw in antidotes regarding my bunny, Whimsy. Learning about Twitter has been fun. My followers also grew a lot, so that was rewarding.

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Other 

In August I was: Sick for a week. At the Creation Museum for a week. Had some pretty epic dreams come true. I did better than previous months with getting to bed at a reasonable time and eating healthfully.

Really, it’s less than a week after the month ended and August is already kinda a blur to me, with the main focus being on Where Dandelions Grow. I wrote hundreds of emails. Contacted dozens of bloggers personally, and even more through networking. I tried to write more quality posts on Noveltea and was thrilled to watch more people subscribe/follow my blog. (In August Noveltea had 35 new followers, compared to July where only 6 new people came on board.) One of my totally favorite things to do this month was watch new reviews and ratings pop up on Goodreads for Where Dandelions Grow Only twenty days (!) until the release of this book, which is crazy exciting. (Y’all can pre-order it on Amazon for only $0.99 which is a totally amazing price, people.)

My week at the Creation Museum was really amazing – complete with getting to sign some of my books and meet some of my blogging friends. Pretty cool, right? That type of activity always makes me writerly heart happy. I also was blessed to meet up with one of my sweet friends and her children, and we walked around the Museum grounds for a few hours talking and hanging out. Another fun part of the week there was making goofy videos for another friend, including a “fake” interview with my adopted dad regarding how he builds life size models of dinosaurs. Nothing like that type of thing to create good memories.

Apparently August was also a very sparse month when it comes to pictures, which I’ll endeavor to remedy in September.

And of course, August ended in September, which is just about the best month ever, so YAY!

What were some of the highlights of your August?

 

Signing Books, Sending Emails, and Meeting Blog Friends #AuthorLife

This has been a fantastic week at the Creation Museum, and I’m kinda sad that Friday has arrived so quickly.

Throughout this week I’ve had so much fun following my adopted parents around and helping when possible (yay!). I’ve spent hours back in the offices sending Where Dandelions Grow out to dozens of new reviewers, answering lots of emails, working on editing Echoes, and other writerly tasks. (Today I sent out the information regarding the Cover Reveal that takes place next week! *cue happiness*)

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I’ve also had a delightful time meeting new people each day after Dad’s concerts and workshops. Yesterday I talked to a family with six young boys who said they love my book and keep the audio version in their car. That was incredibly, fantastically encouraging! That kind of feedback is what helps keep me going even when writing gets tough, and reminds me of how blessed I am to get to write.

It was also fun getting to sign some of my Cool Critters of the Ice Age books. Nothing like signing a book to make me feel like an actual author. 😉 When not signing books (which, in reality was most of the time), I had a good time getting to answer people’s questions about what songs are on what CDs, and which DVD I would recommend, and all that exciting stuff.

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One extra-cool thing that happened the other day was I got to meet some people in real life that I’d only known through blogging/emailing. A couple of years ago a guy introduced himself to me at a conference, saying he’d read my blog before after seeing a link shared by a mutual friend. I didn’t stay in contact with him, but two of his sisters ended up becoming beta readers for various books of mine. I’ve had fun emailing them on and off, so it was so neat and unexpected to suddenly meet them in real life. (YAY for blogging friends!)

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If you’d like to be a part of the Cover Reveal team, email me at: aidylewoh@gmail.com (Any type of social media works for this – you don’t have to have a blog.) Thank you to everyone who has already signed up – y’all are amazing!

Question of the day: Have you ever met a blogger in real life? If you could meet any blogger in real life, who would you want to meet?

Have a totally delightful weekend, y’all!