Be Kind to Each Other

I work at Starbucks.  No, I’m not an advocate for Starbucks and I don’t worship the siren, but I do think it’s the best company I’ve ever worked for.  They care about their employees and they care about their customers.  But they’re also a fairly liberal company, just like I’m a fairly liberal person.  And you know who likes to give Starbucks shit for no reason other than to have something to complain about or to have something be the enemy?  Overly conservative people.  And most people assume that all Christians are overly conservative.  I’m not.  I don’t.

Last year, people threw a fit saying Starbucks was trying to take Christ out of Christmas.  Because they did minimalist cups.  I never really understood how those correlated.  But, people have been blaming companies for taking Christ out of Christmas for as long as I remember.  And, as someone who works for the company, I’ve realized that Starbucks celebrates Christmas harder than most.  And I used to work in hospitality.

I had heard that people were coming into stores and giving a certain name to be written on their cup.  I wasn’t sure if it was real.  I didn’t care all that much.  I just feel the need to mention why Starbucks likes to have names on their cups.
First off, it makes the coffee experience more personal (their words, not mine).  It also helps to identify drinks, so if ten people order white mochas, you know which one is yours.  Trying to make it political or whatever is pointless.  It just causes problems.  And no one really cares if you want to put a fake name on your cup to be funny.  You’ll still know that it’s your drink.
Anyway, I had heard that people want Starbucks baristas to write “Trump” on their cups.  And they were going to complain if the barista didn’t call out the name.  Last week, I was on bar with another guy I work with, another Christian, and a woman came in and told her friends she was going to see if she could get a rise out of someone.  She said her name was Trump.  My shift, who took the order, came and told us, so we would be aware of the situation.  We weren’t supposed to make a big deal out of it.
So, I ended being the barista who got to make her drink.  And I made a decision.  Most of the people I work with don’t always call out the names on the cups, they just say the drink.  I decided to do that as well.  So, I called out her mocha as a mocha, and called out the next drink as a pumpkin spice latte, because that’s what they were.  Most of the other drinks we were making were for the drive thru.
When she came to pick up her drink, she loudly asked if it was hers.  Both of the baristas making drinks, myself and my coworker, were pretty busy with other drinks.  I told her if she ordered a grande mocha, it might be hers.  She turned to her friends and complained that we called out the drink, but not the name.  Then another of her friends came to ask me, while I was obviously trying to work, if it was her drink.  I politely told him that I wasn’t sure, but that it might be.  I was preoccupied.  Then he left, and when he came back, he asked for my name, then they all left the store.
See, this situation to me sounds like it would be a group of self-righteous teenagers acting up for no reason.  But no, these were adults, most likely in their forties.  I didn’t realize it was so hard to grow up.

It really bums me out that I’m grouped with these people.  Regardless of what you believe about Trump or Starbucks or Christianity, it matters to me that people are kind to each other.  Yes, Trump is our president.  No, he is not kind, so I find it hard to support him.  However, I do believe in praying for our leaders.  As a citizen of this country, Trump is my leader.  And this is a really hard time for people like me.  This is a hard time for feminist Christians.  It’s a time where it’s hard to voice and be okay with what you believe.  But causing division is not the way.
Be conservative, whatever.  But don’t try to make people angry purely because you can.  Purely because they believe more freely than you do.  Purely because they might have a more open mind.  Purely because you disagree.
I’m into loving and accepting people first.  Which means loving and accepting overly conservative people just as much as it means loving and accepting someone who might think I’m close minded simply because I’m a Christian.  All people are equal.  Be kind to each other.

In the Wake

In the wake of the storm
A stillness unsettling
We dwell here
Searching for your peace

Pieces of our brokenness collected
Bringing them to our father
With tears streaming
Not realizing your joy at these gifts

You delight in your children
Yet we hide, ashamed
Believing we are naked in the garden
Not realizing you have already seen

We are not disappointments
Works in progress
You smile upon us
At every step

Every time we stumble
You are there to catch us
Not disappointments
As we chase you

Striving, ever striving
Not accepting rest
Afraid to settle
Your voice says, “just be still”

Leaps and bounds are not expected
The journey is what we were made for
You fall in love with our story
As we tell your story

We battled the storm
And you were with us
Your hand upon us
Carrying us when we couldn’t go on

Now here, in the wake
There is a stillness, unsettling
We can dwell here
Finding your peace

Blogging Everyday in July|Connections, Choices, and Everything in Between

Something I think about a lot, and that I was definitely thinking about yesterday, is how everything is connected, and how if one choice was made differently, than not only would my life be changed, but so would the lives of so many other people.  One of the biggest things that makes me think this is when I get snapchats from one of my friends that I’ve known since I was in high school, who is now very close with my best friend, who I met in college.  She posted one the other day that had friend that I knew in elementary/middle school, and have seen from time to time since then.  And my college bestie was in the snap too.  My mind was suddenly blown at that random connection.

My parents first moved to Bishop in order to go to Church on the Mountain in Crowley Lake, CA.  They attended that church until my brother was small, because it was quite a drive from their house.  They started attending the foursquare church in Bishop, which is the church that I grew up in.  The pastors of that church were an influence in my life from birth.  They both attended Life Pacific College when Pacific was still Bible and the location was still Echo Park, CA.  So I grew up hearing about this school.  And because we attended this church, I attended Old Oak Ranch, a camp I grew up in love with.  Because of loving camp, my first job out of high school was at that camp, which has led me to work at 2 more camps.  That camp also always had reps from Life Pacific, so that was another influence on my college, besides God telling me to go, which happened at a convention that I went to with the youth group from the church I grew up in.  But I only went to the convention because one of my friends who also attended the camp, but was from a different city, was also going to be there and I wanted to see him.

Anyway, I often think about what it would have meant if I had waited to go to college, or if I had chosen a different college, because I often wish I had my degree in English, or literature, or creative writing.  However, although I have always been a writer, I didn’t realize that that was what I wanted to do with my life until I was already in college.  And I may have never figured it out, had I not attended Life Pacific.  Also, it is because of my friend, Aaron, and his Yarning in the Round parties that I realized my love for story, especially other people’s stories.  That was where I realized how much hearing other people’s stories can build community.  If I had chosen a different school, I never would have met Aaron.

Another person who I never would have met, or who would have never met me, is my best friend Michelle, had I never attended Life.  If I had chosen a different school, I never would have met my best friend.
If I had moved to Portland when I graduated from college, I probably never would have moved to Mammoth.  Had I never moved home to Mammoth, Michelle would never have been compelled to visit me, thus, she would have never moved to Mammoth and found her happiness and home there.
Also, if I hadn’t moved to Mammoth or started working at The Station, I never would have done the School of Supernatural Ministry, which would have meant that I never would have seen a blind woman healed in Costa Rica, nor would I have met Ray Hughes, so I never would have gone to Ireland.  If I hadn’t gone to Ireland, I never would have moved to Alabama, and I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.

If I had chosen to move to Alabama right when I got back from Ireland, I never would have made a lot of choices that I made leading up to my move.  But my brother probably wouldn’t have gotten his first house as quickly as he did.  However, if I had stayed longer, my brother wouldn’t be constantly looking for a roommate, and I probably wouldn’t have moved into a 2 bedroom apartment because there probably would have been a one bedroom available somewhere.

If I hadn’t started working for the resort, I wouldn’t have the confidence that I can find a job no matter where I move, because there are hotels everywhere.  But if I hadn’t worked for the resort, I wouldn’t be convinced that I like working in hospitality, which I have learned that in the South, I don’t, because I am not Southern, and Southern Hospitality is a whole different game.  However, if I hadn’t gotten the job at the hotel, I wouldn’t have known about another opportunity for a very fun job, which I interviewed for, and am really hoping that I get.
I also never would have met two of my favorite people in Alabama outside of my Ireland pals, had I taken a job somewhere else.

I could go on and on about connections and choices.  Because they blow my mind a lot.  If even one thing in my life had been different, I fully believe that nearly everything in my life would be different.  And maybe that’s a conversation for another day.  So I’m both miserable and happy.  I am thankful for my choices because of their connections.  And I’m disappointed, because choices sometimes bring hardship.  But life is a journey, and it’s a learning experience.  It’s nice to see how far I’ve come.  And it’s nice to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned.  There’s no point in dwelling on how things could have been different, because really, do I want them to be different, or do I just like to have something to complain about?

Blogging Everyday in July|Through Unreal Eyes

She took me out of the car today, finally.  The heat in this new place is unreal, I felt like she was trying to bake me by making me live in there.

She put me on this red couch as if I was part of the decor, then left me there.  After she went outside, I got to take in my new surroundings.  The couch was red, the carpet brown, the space around me empty.
I’d been living in that car since February, in a place where there was snow.  I remember her getting into the car and hugging me as she cried; that was how we met.  She never did give me a name though.
A few weeks ago she found me and hugged me again, then carried me out to her friends, who christened me Tito.  It was nice to finally know who I was.

Finally I heard her return.  She rushed into the kitchen and started cooking, then rushed around the house, trying to grab as many personal belongings a she could, as if to hide her very presence in this place.  But I got to stay, as if I belonged.  Thankful that she’s not embarrassed to be seen with me.
It wasn’t long before there was a knock at the door and more and more people started to arrive.  They talked about tacos and music and someone picked me up.  My new friend with the blonde hair!  I think they call him Bobby.  I think he loves me the most.   He named me.  He calls me Tito the Potito.  It’s a name as cute as I am.  They like to pass me around to hug me, because apparently my hugs are some kind of magic.
The set me down and made plates.  Everyone had tacos except me, momentarily forgotten.

Eventually they had their fill and the music started.  Fun music, everyone together.  I was passed around like a joint that no one was smoking.  I was overwhelmed, needing to hide myself.
I tucked myself away, into a ball, when someone yelled “Hot potito!”  Suddenly I was flying through the air.  They tossed me back and forth until they grew bored of this new game.  I was happy to be included, but terrified that I was about to die.  I wonder if this is how they treat all their new friends.

The music was good, the laughter loud, joy emanating from the room we all sat in.  I could sense a real community, a new family forming.  I wanted this to be my home.  I think maybe it is now.

My friend, Jasper, got to be a part of the party too.  The blonde one, Bobby, kept trying to make Jasper dance.  Jasper’s not good at talking about his anxiety and was sure he was going to pass out the whole night.  But he held it together.  Even after they messed with his sweater.  He knows  it’s not made for him, but he’s had it too long to care.
Jasper is my family, the way all these strangers are the girl’s family now.  I hope she feels home here too.

Blogging Everyday in July|Is it Hopeless to be Romantic?

Someone asked me to blog about what it means to be a hopeless romantic.  Or maybe what I think the definition is.  Which is possibly one of those things that I can’t quite grasp, so I looked it up.  Google is telling me that a “hopeless romantic” is someone who loves love.  Someone who believes in happy endings.  Someone who wants a fairy tale.  Someone who won’t give up.  This makes me wonder, am I one?

I love love stories.  I love when my friends find their person.  It would be nice to have a person.  But currently, I’m enjoying discovering myself.  I don’t think I’m hopelessly romantic.  I don’t expect anyone to go over the top to chase me down or woo me over.  Life is not like the movies.  But whenever I get to hear a crazy story about something someone has done for the person they love, it makes me glad I’m alive.  Because I want a story.  I want an adventure.  But I want more than that.

Grand gestures probably exist.  But I think they’re rare in this day and age because people are so afraid of getting let down.  Most people spend so much time in the beginning of their relationship unsure if they’re actually in a relationship that they’re afraid to be romantic at all.  And I can’t think of anyone actually following through on anything romantic involving me.  That doesn’t mean that it’s something that belongs only in the movies though.

I think that by defining something as hopeless, we make it unreal.  We make it something that people are afraid to be a part of.  Why do a grand gesture to show how much someone means to you, how much you want to be with someone, if it’s hopeless?  Romance is not hopeless; at least it shouldn’t be.  It should just be romantic.

So maybe hopeless romantics don’t exist.  Because they’re all still hopeful.  Hopeful that the world will be a better place.  Hopeful that someone will love them back.  Hoping for a happy ending; or even better, no ending at all.

Nobody’s Story

Nobody’s story is simple
To get to where you are now had to come from somewhere
Even growing in perfection has moments of misdirection
Every stained glass had its broken moments

The one who has it all together had to learn to stretch to wrap their arms around the broken years
The one who shines so brightly in the light has trouble falling asleep at night because of fear of darkness
The early riser, morning conqueror never fell asleep in the first place
The one so quiet and concentrated has learned to gather scattered thoughts to keep from going crazy

We try to put everyone in a box
Believing no one can understand
That everyone’s life must be easy
Because you can watch them breathe while you feel as though you’re suffocating

Things don’t go to plan
Because the chaos of the universe already has its order
As we try to grasp it we fall apart
Developing a story to be told

Nobody’s story is simple
To get to where you are now had to come from somewhere
So tell it

In Motion

Even the smallest motion causes movement in still water
Ripples that can become waves
So it’s okay if we keep still
As living creatures, even keeping still is not completely still
There is motion in life
Even the stillest life

We make waves by breathing
Change atmospheres by stepping into the room
Perspectives morph with every spoken thought
So please, never stop thinking

They say the beat of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane
You may not see the storms you cause
But storms are where the truth is revealed
Rain brings life
Life in motion