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What I Learned from Working at a Grocery Store

When I first moved to my apartment I was on a doctor-ordered rest time and wasn’t allowed to work. But after 3 months of that and with seizures under control, she gave me permission to go back to work. Now believe it or not, I had done my homework before I moved to town because I knew that whenever I would need a job, I wouldn’t be able to drive yet so I would need something close by. And it actually play a small part in picking this apartment. It is close to my church and close to a grocery store that was hiring. So I just had to trust God that when I needed the job, one would be available. And it was.

This particular store is pretty unique. It’s not a Walmart, Kroger, or Aldi. It’s an IGA, which are franchise stores actually. So they can have their own personality to some degree. It’s family owned and in a small town. Everybody knows everybody.

A lot of people have asked what my job is. And I laugh. Because my job is made up of all sorts of crazy things! In any given day I can go from being a cashier, to slicing deli meat, to baking bread or cookies, to grinding hamburger, to filling the dairy case, and so many other things. I don’t know how other stores work, but here, you fill in where you are needed and know what to do. You don’t get bored. 🙂

This is my last week working at the store. I’ve been there nine months and I would like to share with you some things I have learned along the way:

  1. Power Outages have a whole new meaning when you work in the food industry. I used to think the power going out was fun and exciting but when you have to pull food quickly into coolers and worry about temperatures it turns into something else. After an outage, cooler temps have to be regulated for quite a while to make sure they are doing okay and nothing dropped too low. Customers have to be checked out quickly so you can shut the registers down. And then you work with flashlights, waiting for it to come back. It makes life interesting, but not the kind of thing you want to do often.
  2. High schoolers are…ummm…fun? to work with. I remember when I was hired as a camp counselor telling my supervisor that I would work with any age group but I REALLY did not like working with teens. Bahahaha! Came back to bite me, didn’t it? Actually, I’ve learned a lot. Just like every other age group, you can’t write off all teens as dramatic and lazy (sorry!), you have to take each one individually. Some are just as hardworking (if not more) as adults I know.
  3. Bologna is still my least favorite meat to slice. While I feel much better about it, I’m still not a huge fan. However, I have learned that it is NOT the grossest meat in the deli like I thought. Souse takes first place there. *Shudder* (just look it up…)
  4. I think there is some misconception in the world as to what constitutes a “Real Job.” Most of the world believes that if your job is not your dream, then what are you doing with your life? And until you have a job with full benefits, a 401K, and life insurance, your aren’t an adult. And the sad thing is, believers have taken on the attitude as well. When I tell people I’m switching jobs, I have been getting several responses similar to, “Oh, it will be so nice to have like a real job and everything.” I’m a little confused. I worked 45 hours last week. Is that not a “real job?” Here is what I fully believe: If you have a job you enjoy and that pays your bills, you can glorify God through that. Your job doesn’t make you, it isn’t who you are. In fact, it may be that your job is something you go to in order to be ABLE to fulfill what you would rather be doing! For instance, you may want to be able to visit shut ins, but God has not given that as your “job.” Your job is what you do during the day to support yourself so that in your free time, you can share God’s Word with those in a nursing home! Does that make sense? So please, no more of this nonsense about real jobs and dream jobs. Because my dream job can be done no matter where I go for work during the day. It doesn’t mean I’m not doing my dream job. 🙂 (Sorry, that probably should have been it’s own post.)
  5. Which leads into my next thing. Evangelism. I have learned SO much about evangelism from working at the store. How to make it practical, how to bring the Lord into everyday conversations with unbelievers. How to be patient and kind when I’m worn down and tired at 9pm and just want to go home. Things I never would have learned in the controlled environment of my last job or at church.

There are so many other things I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for patient co-workers and supervisors when my head clouded up. I’m thankful for the small town that embraced me. Small towns seriously are the best! Most of all, I’m thankful for the Lord leading me to a job that helped grow my faith so much! Everything written here is because of Him!

 

(Except bologna, that’s straight from Satan. 🙂 )

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2018 in work

 

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Two Cars, A Job, and a Great God

In case you didn’t know, on June 9th, I was officially 6 months seizure free! You’re probably thinking, “Hooray! So what?” Yeah, I know. But actually, it was a really big deal because you have to be seizure-free for a six month period before your driving privileges are graciously placed back in your hands. So yes, I WAS counting those days. Somehow, I thought it would be a pretty simple process but my doctor had to send forms to the BMV and they had to send forms to ME and I had to visit my local BMV so it took longer than I thought it would. Basically you have some of the slowest organizations communicating with each other over one person. No driving on 6/9 which was a bummer but that’s ok. All the paperwork eventually got in order, my new license came, and I’m now good to go.

The problem was, back in 2016, when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to drive for a while, I had sold my car. Car shopping is LITERALLY one of my least favorite things to do. Some people really like it. Not me. But that was next on the list. I looked and looked but I couldn’t find anything in my budget that actually still ran. Fortunately my work is a 3 minute walk away so it wasn’t an immediate need but still a need.

Enter Car #1: Edna. Some really good friends of mine had an extra car lying around their house. To be honest, they were planning a project with the engine because the car had some issues but they said that if I wanted it while I looked for something else, it was mine. No charge. They are really generous and I felt SO blessed. I’m not kidding. While everyone else saw the rust, smelled the mice, and heard the engine, I felt the freedom of having a car that was my own. Not having to coordinate rides to go to the store or see a friend. Being able to surprise my best friend by showing up at her house for the night. I knew it wasn’t a long term solution because there’s no way I would drive this car farther than 20 minutes from my house, but it worked for the short term.

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There was just one problem. Next month I have a rather significant birthday coming up. Not necessarily the number but what happens on that number. I have to come off my parents’ health insurance. Sad day. It’s been wonderful. I doubt they’ll miss me as much as I’ll miss them. 🙂 And although I work full time now, they don’t offer insurance so I have been job hunting for a little while. A couple weeks ago, I was offered a position at a small bank. The hours are great (like, I don’t have to work till 9pm anymore!), they have full benefits, and the atmosphere is friendly and inviting. It felt like a good fit but it’s around 30 minutes from my house and I honestly wasn’t sure my car would last long doing that every day.

Enter Car #2: Peri. I was pretty sure I was going to accept the job offer and see how long my car would make it before I had to get another one. Last Saturday though, I was thumbing through FaceBook and a car popped up on my feed. I wasn’t even on Marketplace or anything. It was just there. It caught my eye because it was a Honda but listed for several thousand less than Hondas run for around here. And I saw it two minutes after it was posted so I knew if I messaged the lady, I would have a good chance of being the first person. I contacted her and set up a time later that day to come look at it without really knowing why. I literally prayed on my way there, “Lord, I really can’t afford this car so I don’t see a point in test driving it. Why am I even going here?” But I went and not only was it super nice with regular maintenance and low mileage, it had several “extras” on it. Like a dark tint on the windows, black tire rims (which, apparently, is a cool thing?), new headlights ready to be put in, and a sound system complete with a subwoofer that takes up most of the trunk space. Actually, funny story on that. When I was looking at it, the owner excited told me to try the radio. I turned it on and up to about 7 and told her it sounded great. She looked kind of disappointed and said, “Oh. Well. I think it goes to about 50 or 75.” I asked her if I could pray about it and give her an answer the next day and she said she wouldn’t let anyone else look at it if I let her know by noon the following day. Which was super kind of her. (Oh, did I mention the owner was a believer???) The following day I told her I would take it but I asked if she would want to take the sound system out (because I certainly won’t use it) and would she be willing to take the cost of it off the car? Otherwise, I said she could leave it in and I will just take it out myself and sell it. She said she really didn’t know how to take it out but she would DROP THE PRICE OF THE CAR BY $200 and I could keep the sound system. I probably read that message 4-5 times before I responded because I wasn’t sure I had read it right. Uh, yeah, I’ll take the car.

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I told a friend of mine that I almost feel a little embarrassed by my car now because it has all these things on it that I would NEVER put on any car I owned simply because I wouldn’t spend the money on it. And she told me that it should just be a reminder of how great God has blessed me.

And she’s SO right. As I was driving home after signing off on Peri’s title I actually started crying, just amazed at how God works. How he not only provided one car that got me about for a short while, but yet another one that I can trust for long distances and my new job. How he provided the finances I needed. How he went above and beyond anything I would have even dreamed of asking for in a vehicle. I am amazed.

But I didn’t begin praising God when he started giving me things I wanted or needed. That’s not the reason he gets praise. He deserves it simply for being God. Everything else is simply another reason to thank him!

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2018 in blessing

 

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When Dreams Fall

I always thought that dreams had to be something big. Like a dream job, how you want to change the world, or the perfect marriage. But I’ve recently learned that dreams can come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t always have to be something life-altering. Sometimes, a dream can be something that is small but important to you. Actually, I think that is really the key: importance.

How did I come to this conclusion? Hmmm…when I first tried to understand the idea of not working for a while and needing to rest, I hated the thought. Mostly, because I am not very good at resting. I like to be doing stuff and I like to be working so the idea of giving that up frustrated me. But suddenly a wonderful thought popped into my head and slowly a dream started to form. I started to envision all this time that I would have to study God’s Word and do my devotions. I thought about quiet time without time restraints and unlimited hours to read great books and really get closer with the Lord. And I got a little excited. I ordered a few new books and stared at them, waiting for the time to come where I would finally have time to read them.

And the time has come. Do you know what? I can’t read. This has happened before, right when I first started having seizures, but I find myself really unable to read for any length of time. My eyes jump from line to line and the amount of focus it takes to read is so incredible that my head starts to pound and I get worn out very quickly. Everyone tells me to get audio books but I am the worst auditory learner IN. THE. WORLD. It’s like background noise and I just tone it out. (I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m crazy but maybe you don’t like reading at all so picture something else. 🙂 )

In my disappointment, my heart and mind cry out “Lord! How can this be good?! How can it be good for me to not be able to read your Word? I don’t understand!”

And you know what? I will honestly say that I don’t know the answer to that question. But I know that I don’t need to know all the answers and I can also honestly say with Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I read this simple quote the other day and I feel like I should write it down and put it up all over my apartment so I don’t forget it! It said, “And if not, He is still good” Just let that sink in. You can put whatever thoughts you want in there and it won’t matter:

He. is. still. good.

What a beautiful thing to rest in.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2017 in contentment

 

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Jumbled Thoughts from a Jumbled Mind

I’ve been wanting to post for the last week or so but every time I start to think about what I should say every cohesive thought I’ve ever had leaves my brain, so I would like to apologize in advance for what may follow here.

Hmmm…what to say…well let’s get you up to speed here. I’m done working now and I’m visiting my parents and younger siblings for a couple weeks before I move into my apartment around Labor Day.

Thought 1: Do you know what I have discovered that is different this time compared to other times I’ve come to visit my parents? I have discovered that Ohio has become my home. Of course PA will always be my home and hold a special place in my heart but I have a certain sense of belonging in Ohio that I don’t feel as much in PA anymore.

For instance, I have always called my parents’ church my church for the last four years (even though I didn’t live here lol) because I felt most at home here. I didn’t know that had changed until I walked through the door of it on Sunday and realized how much I missed my church in Ohio and all the people there. And suddenly I realized that it had sneakily become my church without me even knowing it!

Thought 2: My family loves me a lot. My Mom and Dad go out of their way to do things for me, even if it means playing Candyland when that’s the game I pick to play. 🙂 Also, I can barely move the next room without David asking me where I’m going because he’s afraid that I’m going somewhere without him.

Thought 3: Sometimes I don’t want to learn God’s lessons. It’s so much easier to say that your purpose shouldn’t be wrapped up in your job than it is to live that. Sometimes it’s hard to even tell until your job is gone. It’s a lesson that I need to learn but God’s school isn’t always fun.

BUT I am SO thankful he knows me better than I know me! I am thankful that he can look into my heart and show me how to be more Christ-like!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in growing

 

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A Pause in the Music

Around one year ago, I posted this on my Facebook page:

“Often in a piece of music there appears a pause. The pause is put between the notes for effect and to emphasize the beauty and majesty of what is coming next. Sometimes God adds a pause into the constant rhythm of our busyness and gives us time to focus on Him. Just like in a great piece of music, without the pause we would not be able to see the beauty of what is coming and what God has planned to do in us and through us. Let us rejoice when we find ourselves in one of life’s pauses. Let us seek Christ, wait on the Lord, and choose to glorify Him. Let us rest in God’s goodness and faithfulness and allow Him to mold our hearts so that our perspective is changed when the rhythm of the music starts again.”

I wrote that after a conversation with my best friend based on something she had read (giving credit where it’s due here, people).

Today, I find myself about to enter into a pause in life. At the end of August, I will be leaving a job that I having worked at and loved for 4 1/2 years. A job that I have poured myself into with all my heart and energy. A job where my co-workers are my family and I love them as such.  A job where we speak freely about Christ and impact others for the kingdom.

It took a lot for the Lord to bring me to this point. I remember last summer, crying as others around me were pushing me to work less and I felt like I had already given up so many things that I loved. I cried out to God and begged him (or perhaps told him?) to allow me to continue working. That he could have everything else, but not my job. Don’t ever tell God something like that. 🙂

But over the last couple months it has become very clear to both my doctor and finally to myself that this isn’t working. Something has to change. My brain is losing its capacity to handle multiple things at a time and that is basically what I do all day long. And so it’s stressful because I can’t manage things anymore. Which leads to seizures. Which make my head hurt and then I can’t focus. And it’s this never ending cycle that meds aren’t beating. My body has never had time to recover since all this started, which happens to be 15 months ago today.

So what is the plan you ask? The plan is rest. I will be done at my current job at the end of August but still plan to live in the area. I have promised to take at least one month off of all work and see how my body responds and if the meds start to work with a little less stress on my brain. My prayer is that that month becomes one of healing and of drawing closer every day to our Savior.

And so currently I’m in the middle of a full force symphony, but I am with mixed emotions waiting for the day when God brings that pause.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2017 in epilepsy

 

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Business Meets the Bible

It’s been a while since I posted anything, but the wireless is not working at the moment.  I am enjoying my new job, despite being far from home.  I call home a lot and we email and skype back and forth.

I’m learning a lot as a secretary at a Christian camp.  Some of this is business learning. I’m learning to be more comfortable talking on the phone and how to be a marketer of events and opportunities at the farm- how to promote things and spread the word. I’m learning to be more professional in my speech and actions.  I’m learning that it’s okay to ask for help or more explanation if I don’t understand.  I’m also learning how to politely but firmly tell salesmen that we’re not interested (thank you, parents, for the example!).

Some of the things I’m learning are not so much business- although they are tied together.  I’m learning how to be gracious with people who aren’t.  I got my first call the other day from someone who wasn’t happy.  They were practically yelling over the phone to me and I listened for 15 minutes.  All I could do was listen because I didn’t really know the details of her experience here.   I told her how sorry I was that she had a bad experience here, thanked her for her feedback, and told her that I would pass it on (which I did).  I think she hung up happier and a little more calm than when she called.  And, she’s coming back to the farm.

People are hard to deal with sometimes.  If we respond to them in the same manner,  then nothing will get better.  The Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath.  It’s so true!  If I had gotten angry or defensive with that lady, she would have written us off and never come back.  I haven’t had to deal with very many people like this before.

So, I’m learning to be gracious.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in secretary

 

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