Young Life…the good and the bad

It’s crazy how I lived in Flower Mound all growing up, yet when I came back to live here after spending 3 years at college I’d never felt farther from home.

I was crazy homesick over California and the life that I had just started to get used to and enjoy without basketball being a part of it. And of course, it was easy to miss the west coast when it was 100 degrees in Texas and all I wanted to do on a hot summer day was go to the beach.

What was probably the hardest thing was going to where I had a great group of friends and lots of fun things to do with my free time to moving back home and having to start all over. Summer was great because there were a ton of friends home for the break in classes, but fall was a different story. Having graduated from college a year early, all my friends that I graduated with in high school were still in school in all different parts of the country. And while that made for an exciting fall semester of traveling, that left me feeling pretty alone come the start of September.

I’m no extrovert, so the only thing I could think of to do to make new friends was try out different young adult bible study classes and send out (what probably seemed like) creepy Facebook messages to acquaintances from high school that I knew were in the area. Ever gone into a small group class and instantly felt judged for what your wearing or the fact that you knew no one? After plenty of my Sunday mornings going that way I decided to give up. I had visited Denver a few times to see my best friend Haley, and I was ready to say screw it and move to Colorado or back to LA.

I had reconnected with one of my old coaches from high school and had begun to volunteer as a leader for FCA on Monday nights when my friend Caleb told me about Young Life. I can’t tell you how many times we must have met up at Chick-fil-A for him to tell me Young Life’s mission, talk about camp and club, and what the volunteer leaders do for Marcus Young Life. Young Life was also on Monday nights, but Caleb said he really wanted to focus on getting other leaders our age to join. FCA was every other Monday night, so I decided to give it a shot and check out a club.

There were no other girl leaders, and I didn’t know a single high schooler at Club. Club took place at a committee leader’s house out in the country, and there were probably more than 30 kids jam-packed into the living room, playing this game where they could see how far they could spit out a grasshopper across the room. (If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Young Life, it’s that these games are no joke). I spent the first few meetings that I went to just observing, determining that with each coming Monday, the activities and games just get crazier. Sign me up, I told Caleb (at Chick-fil-A, of course).

Caleb explained that becoming a volunteer was an unofficial 2 year commitment, and I am now finishing up my 1st high school year and am excited for this summer and of course for camp! Caleb held true to his promise and towards the end of the fall, we had a mini-army of young adult leaders coming around for Monday night club, Sunday night bible study (aka campaigners) and various high school sporting events throughout the week.

I love that the mission of Young Life is to help young men and women develop the skills, assets, and attitudes to reach their God-given potential. I love that now I’m considered part of the Young Life family. I love the girls that I’m slowly starting to build deeper relationships with. And I love the friendships that God has blessed me with through Young Life. I could go on and on about what I’m crazy about, but I want any adult thinking about volunteering, any kid thinking about coming to club, and any sponsor thinking about donating to realize that this organization is not perfect. There’s been times even in my short time with Young Life that things have been pretty crappy, even a struggle for me to want to come to club sometimes.

The people on staff and those who volunteer are not perfect. One of the guy volunteers who was probably the best leader I’ve ever seen with kids up and quit one day, blocking all of us on social media and never returning our calls. Relationships and friendships happen between leaders and things get messy. Sometimes less than 5 people show up for club, things aren’t organized, and you really don’t see the point. Despite all these things, the positives far outweigh the negatives in this situation. Young Life has, in a way, made me feel more at home.

I’ve said it before…I have no idea where I’ll be in the next few years, or even next year for that matter. However, I do know that whatever I’m doing or wherever I’m at, I want to be doing Young Life. This organization has revealed to me that I enjoy working with high school kids, and through that realization I started substitute teaching. This organization has brought me some great friends. It’s also given me a chance to put the biblical knowledge I learned in classrooms at Biola to the real-life test.

I played Young Life Paint Wars on Monday night and I’m still finding remnants of paint on my body almost a week later. While it may be kind of embarrassing when a 6th grader that I’m substitute teaching for points out I have paint on the back of my ear, I don’t mind. For me, it’s a chance to tell people about Young Life, (and ultimately, about God). I know my praises of the organization will just continue to grow after I get back from camp in almost a month; I couldn’t be more pumped for Crooked Creek. I’m excited for all that’s happening in Denton, and all the lives, including mine, that have been changed for the better because of Young Life.

xo

 

Why I Quit Target (With no job or back up plan)

You’ll never believe the sort of crazy things I saw or did on a daily basis while working at Target. All of these stories are true and happened within the last 10 months of my employment at Target, at one of the 4 stores I’ve worked at:

  1. At my store in Las Colinas, I once had a guest come up to me and voice concern about how another guest was trying on underwear. I apologized to her, saying that there was no policy against this practice as long as he/she has something on underneath. She politely then explained to me that that wasn’t the problem…it was that the guest was trying on underwear on the sales floor. Sure enough, I go to the sleepwear department only to find a lady stripping down trying on panties in the middle of Target. Please, for the love of God, wash your clothes after buying them and before you wear them.
  1. Also at the Las Colinas store, I once had a lady buy over $10,000 worth of merchandise with all $100 bills. She had things stuffed in suitcases, gym bags, purses…all random things. I had already been at the store for 10 hours that day, and I had to spend an extra 2 being her personal shopper and checking out almost 3 carts full of items. I then had to call her a taxi and struggle to find a place for her many bags. I didn’t think it was even possible to spend that much at Target.
  1. One Saturday at the Frisco SuperTarget, I had to clean up 2 wine spills and a bathroom incident. Side note: at Target I was one of the top managers…at that point I was responsible for a team of 50 people including 2 managers underneath me. If you were a guest to come in on a Saturday though, you would have never known that I was actually in charge of running the operations of the store. I’m genuinely curious as to how many bottles of wine an ETL who’s been with the company over 15 years has had to clean up. I think in my year it’s been 20.
  1. At the Flower Mound store I had to deal with a team member who showed up to work drunk. My naïve self spent 5 minutes with the guy chatting with him and did not notice a thing…that is until he started yelling at a couple of kids down the grocery aisles. Having to deal with drug tests, taxi cabs, and upset team members was not the ideal way to spend a Wednesday night. That same night, I witnessed another team member cut off part of their thumb…it was literally hanging off. I’ve also had to call 911 when an older lady split her head open by falling down on a brick wall. Fun stuff for someone who hates blood.
  1. At the Frisco SuperTarget, I hired #AlexfromTarget. I was working as the manager over the front end at the time, and I was conducting interviews for cashier positions. Alex went to a nearby high school and played soccer. I remember telling my peers after the interview how charming this young kid was, and how he was going to get us a ton of RedCards from chatting it up with Frisco soccer moms. I did his second interview and hired him on the spot. He had only worked at the store for a few months when that famous picture got snapped. I think the lady who hired him deserves some fame too, don’t ya think?

Crazy, am I right? All of these things (besides the #AlexfromTarget story of course) contributed to my decision that I needed to get the hell out of retail. They make for funny stories, but I’m relieved that I won’t ever have to deal with crazy shenanigans like that again.

On a more serious side, I’m a planner and I don’t take risks. It usually takes me weeks to come up with big decisions, and ever since middle school I’ve had each of my next “steps” (i.e. where I was going to go to high school, college, get a job) planned out way in advance. I knew October of my senior year that I would attend Biola University, and I knew in November of my 3rd year in college that I had a job waiting for me in Dallas. So how come it took me only two days to come up with the decision to quit a job where I was making good money (and saving most of it) to become an unemployed 22-year old? I had no interviews set up or any job prospects on the horizon when I put in my two weeks a little over 2 weeks ago.

The truth was, I had been trying my best to find another job while I was working at Target. I knew that retail management was not the career path for me, despite all my internships and management classes preparing me for my role. So months ago I started the process of looking for another job. Here’s the thing though…I had no idea where to begin! My first full-time job had fallen into my lap with not much effort. I had/have no idea where to look for jobs, or what kind of job a marketing student should even look for! And I geared all my previous jobs to prepare me for a store manager role, not an Account Coordinator/Executive/Manager position at an ad agency! I worked on my resume and contacted marketing departments and ad agencies in my free time, but when I was working 55 hours a week my small amount of “free” time I didn’t necessarily want to spend working some more!

So here I am, not even a week after my last day, and I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. I’m not one to sit around eating bon-bons all day, so I picked up subbing and some private lessons to keep me busy. I enjoy coaching my 10th grade girls on our select basketball team, and I love working with youth at Young Life every Monday night. I know that I want to get out of retail completely and maybe finding a full-time job where I can work with youth is just what I need.

One of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11, says “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I’m sure glad God has a plan cause my planner, type A self is freaking out right now. I am grateful for my almost year of working at Target…I’ve made some great friends, learned a lot about managing people, and have some pretty crazy stories to tell. We shall see what God has in store for me next.

xo

The Back Story

Two years ago, I was playing in a conference basketball game against Hope International at home. I’ll never forget the play..I was going up for a layup in the second half with about 12 minutes to go and a girl fouled me and brought me down on the floor hard-right on my back. I’d already struggled throughout the season with back problems (I had a few pretty significant back herniations) and this fall was bad. I remember spending a few weeks at my friend Haley’s laying on her couch not being able to do anything. A MRI showed me and a jerk doctor told me that playing basketball was out of the question.

 

 

 

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(Above: Haley and I, the game where Haley tore her ACL for the second time and two weeks before the game where I further injured my back)

I had already planned on spending the summer out in LA interning for Nordstrom, and I was not about to let one doctor’s opinion stop me from my dream of playing college basketball. However, even with physical therapy and dropping down to part-time at Nordstrom, my back was not getting any better. A week before classes started up for the fall semester, I visited home and went to get a second opinion from none other than Tony Romo’s orthopedic himself. He told me about the last thing that I wanted to hear…the ruptures and herniations would not only prevent me from playing basketball but I would never play contact sports or run again.

IMG_4231(Pictured above: A weird picture of my back. The way it was explained to me was that having white in the discs is a good thing, and the discs protruding into that long white spinal nerve thing was what was causing me a heck of a lot of pain.)

After hearing from the orthopedic in Dallas, I reluctantly decided to call my coach and tell her the news. This was just days before I was headed back out to California to start “hell week,” or the first official week of practice. My coach, (who happens to also be a physical therapist) basically gave me two options: keep your scholarship and sit on the sidelines for every practice, game, and weight session…or walk away and lose everything.

Now in high school when I was looking at colleges, I remember someone telling me to choose a college that I would enjoy even if I wasn’t playing a sport there. If I went by that advice I probably would have ended up at either Texas A&M or Ft. Lewis College in Colorado. To be honest, I chose Biola solely for the fact it was in California and that I could play (and excel) at basketball there. Never did my teenage self even fathom the thought that I wouldn’t (or couldn’t!) play the sport I loved. Those who knew me in middle school and high school could easily attest to the fact that basketball was my life. The thought of not playing basketball crushed me, and the thought of still attending school at Biola? No, I wanted out..never mind the fact that a year of tuition at Biola cost $45,000. A week before classes, I scrambled to try to find a school that would take me. I had gotten into all Texas colleges based on my class rankings in high school…I called A&M and Texas and Tech and tried to strike a deal with the counselors there with no luck.

Even with my academic scholarship, I couldn’t afford Biola for two more years. My coach was gracious enough to offer me some aid in exchange for helping put on camps and clinics for the local community…but still $45,000 is a LOT of money. In a last pitch effort to try to figure things out (now days before the fall semester would begin) I called my academic advisor and formed a plan to get all my classes done in one year. After two full 21 credit semesters and to my surprise, I was able to pull it off and graduate in 3 years. Still don’t know how I did it.

Anyway, back to my back. My “senior” year I was no longer playing basketball, and I had to quickly learn to adjust to life as a regular student. Despite my full course load, I did have a lot of extra time (most of which I spent either enjoying binge-watching Netflix or exploring the bars at Hermosa and Long Beach). However, my back killed me. I could only swim or bike, and even sitting through class or a day at work was a struggle. I popped painkillers like candy, yet still was in a tremendous amount of pain all the time.

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(Above: my friends and I being normal college girls…my senior year I had some of the best and worst times of my entire life. Side note…I realize now that I’m back in Texas that my friends in California liked to go country dancing way more than my friends here do)

When I was looking for jobs after college, it really was a struggle of where I wanted to live. I loved California and had grown to love what my dad called the “left coast,” but I felt like I needed to look for jobs back in Dallas with my health the way it was. Spring semester was really hard…I accepted a job back home but knew come the end of the year I would be leaving my friends and my boyfriend at the time. Growing up is hard.

After moving back home and starting my job at Target, I tried everything to make my back feel better…PT, chiropractor, you name it. It’s not like my job helped…I was standing on my feet 10 hours a day and I would come home absolutely beat. The combination of having a new job, a bad back, and having to make new friends was really tough on me.

Around October I transferred positions at Target, started getting involved in Young Life, and picked up yoga (random I know). I had tried everything else and decided that adding in yoga and intense core into my workouts everyday wouldn’t hurt (figuratively and hopefully physically). After a couple of weeks of this, I started to notice a difference in my flexibility and also my posture. Instead of slouching all the time (I’m so bad at this), I began standing up straighter and really noticing my core. Months later I was adding in more elliptical workouts and could make it through a 10 hour workday with relatively little pain.

At the start of this year I was still going to yoga class one to two times a week and still adding in 15 minutes of hardcore core (see what I did there) into each workout. And then one of those crazy Texas days in January where it’s 80 degrees I decided to try something crazy…I went on a run. And when I got back, to my surprise, I felt fine. Amazing, in fact. At this point I hadn’t run in almost 2 years, and let me tell you, I missed it. I gradually started running once a week outside around my neighborhood…slow enough that I could text and probably hold a phone conversation…but I was running nonetheless. A few weeks later I grabbed the only pair of basketball shoes I hadn’t thrown away since my last doctor’s visit (some signed Lisa Leslie Hyperdunks) and tried a pickup game. Again I was surprised at how fine I felt afterwards.

I’m writing this lengthy chronicle from a coffee shop in an uncomfortable chair and I’d be lying if I said that my back didn’t hurt. I’m not 100% better, nor will I ever be. My back still looks the same as it does in that creepy MRI image that I decided to put in this post. However, I hope that if I continue to stick to my current routine I can still remain strong and able to exercise the way I want to.

I write this post and am going to go ahead and say the cliche’ phrase “anything is possible.” I was told by multiple doctors and my own coach I would never run again. Well screw you guys! I worked hard and proved yall wrong!

I write this to also share to others to not take things–like your health–for granted. I used to get so sick of my friends complaining about not wanting to run or exercise, when for a time I would have died for the chance to jog even for a mile. God has blessed me with the chance to run again, and I will not take this blessing for granted. Through this process He also taught me patience, and understanding, and determination. When I think of my back and the progress I have made the verse that comes to mind is “I can do all things with Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). This verse has applied to other trials I have gone through, and I have come to realize that God tests me for my testimonies and to make me stronger.

For the two of you that I have read this post all the way, I hope that you can be somewhat inspired with my journey to better health. There you have it folks, this is my back story.

 

xo

Amy

 

God has a plan

I don’t want to be safe, I don’t want to settle. I want a great love, one that will last forever.

And until I find that I know that it’s gonna be tough, I’m gonna get heart sick and the pain will be rough.
But when I find that love I know that right now will be worth it.
I’ll have learned from this time that I don’t just want to be treated right- I deserve it.

Cause while I may hurt now and things might not have gone as planned, I know I’m that much closer to finding who I’ll be with in the end.

I would rather love and love well and be hurt than to not love at all. Cause you’ll never fall in love if you’re afraid of the fall.

So I don’t need to have a “type” nor do I need to go out and look; for God has a story for my life written out like a book.

For if I trust his time, his ways, and his treasures, I know that one day I’ll find a love like his that will last for forever.

The Mysterious Incident of the Phone in the Nighttime

If it wasn’t obvious through the obnoxious amount of pictures I posted on social media this weekend, I got the amazing opportunity to visit my best friend Haley for the weekend in Denver, CO. There were so many fun things we did in just two short days, but honestly I’m sure we still would have had a blast if all we did was sit around and drink coffee and listen to Lady A all day. While plenty of coffee and music and dancing and jamming was involved, we also did a lot of pretty bad-ass things, including hiking Red Rocks, running in Wash Park, exploring Pearl Street (in downtown Denver and Boulder), shopping and eating downtown, and hiking Chautauqua Trail.

And of course, a visit to Denver wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t involve Haley and I painting the town red (in 5 inch heels of course). Friday involved lots of bar hopping–Denver nightlife to me is like a mix between LA and Austin. In this beautiful rooftop bar overlooking Rockie’s stadium, we met up with a couple of UCLA alumn’s as well as a Denver Bronco, (I’d just like to throw it out there that he was the one to come up to us, hollaaaa).

Saturday night was even more interesting. What’s impressive is that we made it home (via Uber of course) with everything we went out with (including our dignity, I think).

Denver is so fun, and everywhere we visited it was so insanely beautiful. Although I was only there for a weekend, spending time with my best friend in a new, exciting place really made me think about what I’m doing and where I’m living. Who knows what the next few months will bring ??

not wanted.

There’s a lot of things that we probably want in our 20s, but there’s probably more things that we probably would rather do without.

  • We don’t want bills (paying for insurance is a thing?).
  • We don’t want acne (I thought we were out of high school?!?)
  • We don’t want mean bosses, we don’t want to go grocery shopping, and we don’t want Mondays.

You know what I think we want the least? The feeling of not being wanted.

Being in your 20s is hard enough as it is, especially with all these things you don’t want to do taking up all of your time. Add in breakups, heartbreaks, and rejection? Yikes. At least for me that’s disaster waiting to happen.

I first felt what it means to not be wanted back in high school when I got a text from my boyfriend to go outside to read a letter that he had left me on my doorstep. I wish I could say flowers and chocolates (Reese’s preferably) accompanied that letter; instead I found just a plain ol break up letter. (Side note: To this day I’ve never heard of anyone else that has gotten broken up with via letter, yay me)

My 16-year-old heart was devastated. It might have been a 3 month long relationship, but he was one of the first guys who told me he liked me, and the feeling of not being wanted (and being broken up with via letter) hurt pretty bad.

Fast forward almost 6 years later (dang, now I feel old) to when just the other day I guy I had dated for more than a year calls to say he doesn’t want me. Although we weren’t physically together since I moved from LA to Dallas, we still talked and supported each other through those really shitty adult days that seem to happen way too often. Long distance sucks and never works out, and I totally know and get that. But to get that call and to hear that it wasn’t the long distance, but that it was me that he didn’t want, now that hurts to the core.

No one wants to feel like they’re not wanted, whether they’re not wanted in a relationship or not wanted to attend a party. Every girl I know complains when the creepy short guy hits on them at the bar, but let’s be honest, we know we all kinda like it. (side note: why are short guys the only ones that hit on me? Like you do realize I’m 6’3 when I wear these heels right?!)

A lot of things suck about being in this limbo land between graduation and finding your new life, but I think this is probably what sucks the most: Doing things you don’t want to do and feeling unwanted in just about everything we do.

So far this has been a pretty depressing post, which has accompanied a pretty depressing week. I hope to end it though with some encouragement for whoever is reading this along with myself. A lot of times we can let the bad things that happen to us make us bitter, angry, or mad. I know that at least for me, I go through different stages of sadness to cope with the less-than-perfect things going on in my life. While I think its normal and healthy to take some time to mourn a change, a loss, or a breakup; I think it’s also important to use those hard times as opportunities to make us better, not bitter.

I once read a devotional about how different food items react differently when they are exposed to boiling water. While a carrot is hard and rough before it goes into the pot, after some time it’s insides become soft and squishy. An egg goes in weak, but comes out with it’s insides hardened. Coffee beans, however, go into the water one way, then change the water around it to make coffee. When we think of this weird cooking story with the boiling water as a metaphor for hardship, we realize that the coffee beans were the only objects to take on hardship and change its surrounding environment to make it better.

The feeling of being unwanted sucks, and it’s something I hope I never have to experience again (although I know I probably will). And while these next couple of weeks I know are gonna suck, I’m gonna use this as an opportunity to grow and learn. Thankfully I’ll have the support of my amazing family, a few close friends to encourage me, and of course the help of Netflix and lots and lots of wine.

xo

Our Strange Night

A week ago, I begged my best friend Tom and Allison to come down this weekend for Flower Mound Homecoming. Even though I work all weekend and there was no way that I really wanted to go to the game, I wanted an excuse to get the high school gang back together. homecoming senror

^^Our high school gang on mum & garter day fall 2010

Back to last night. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull Allison away from her intense nursing school schedule to get her back in town, but Tom and Jackson both agreed to come back to Flower Mound and hang out. The night starting off promising–we met at Texas Roadhouse for dinner, chatted with our effervescent waitress J Fresh, and decided we wanted to check out the nightlife in Fort Worth. I had heard that there were some bars both downtown and near the stockyards (and none of us had been before), so we decided to give it a shot and do some exploring of our own. We had been to Billy Bobs together before, so we knew we had a bit of a trek ahead of us, but we had no idea that Fort Worth would decide to have LA-like rush hour traffic at 10:30 pm on a Friday night. YAY. Thankfully we were in good company and had unlimited Spotify and Yik Yak to entertain us. (Side note: I got the free month trial of Spotify premium and it seriously rocks and I’m totally keeping it) Our first stop was downtown Fort Worth near Houston street. I had heard from a friend that there were some cool places around there, and he was right–there are some cool shops and restaurants around the main square and town hall. Except I think you have to be above 40 in order to get in. And by this time it was almost midnight and there were no people around…like seriously it was a ghost town. Either people in Fort Worth peace out really early or don’t start partying til 1am. Whatever. Needless to say, we didn’t last long there and decided to check out the Stockyards. The Stockyards was pretty humorous actually and provided a high point in our entertainment for the night. I saw more Affliction t-shirts than I had in years, a noticeably pregnant girl completed wasted, and a domestic violence dispute happening right outside one of the bars. I feel like if I had enough memory in my phone I could’ve captured enough good footage to make some sort of trashy reality show that people would watch. unnamed

After leaving the Stockyards about a quarter til one, I realized I had to get some pics to document this weirdly strange night. As you can tell in the background of these photos, there’s not too much going on. I hope that my blog has convinced you to stick to your $13 drinks in uptown, or heck, even go to Denton. But even though our night will probably go down as the lamest night we’ve probably ever spent together, at least I was in the company of some great friends.

Bye Buy Summer

So I’ve realized my new life goal: Marry a rich man and never have to work again.

I kid, I kid. But really, after 3 months of full time work I’m already over it.

It may not help that summer is over and all my friends are back at school partying it up for the senior year. Or it may be because I’m working 10 hour days that revolve around me asking people to sign up for credit cards or cleaning up bodily fluids off the floor.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the people I work with and of course I love my paychecks. Working as a young, single, Christian female in a secular retail environment has taught me more in 3 months about business and dealing with people than 3 years in college did. But it just sucks that I have to be an adult already, ya know?

I’m making the most of my weekends off by visiting my friends who are still in school and letting off any work-week frustration by partying like it’s NYE 1999. Like this weekend, I went to OU and spent most of my time at the campus corner bars. I’ve always wanted to see what It’d be like to attend a big public school (with a football team), and while it’s fun, I’d take attending Biola and hitting up Hermosa Beach (OceanBar, holla!) over going to school in Norman, OK anytime.

It’s also kinda fun getting to explore Dallas now that I’ve been away for a few years and now that I’m 21. My new favorite place is uptown (and katy trail and any place to eat and drink on McKinney Ave). I mean I can’t believe I’ve lived less than 30 miles from Katy Trail Ice House all this time and am just now experiencing its amazingness. Now that my friends have left me though, I hope I can find new peeps to explore with and who will show me around. Cause I’ll go get those brisket tacos whether someone’s with me or not.

So while some aspects of working full time has its perks (you have all this money and you’re free and independent), at the same time you hate your life cause with independence comes this sucky responsibility and schedules and no more Fridays off. I sure did enjoy my Friday bike rides to the beach. Sigh.

Oh well, time to make new memories!

xo

Business as Ministry

As a business major graduate of Biola, I’m no stranger to the phrase “Business as Ministry.” Each of our core classes includes prayer and biblical integration, and our professors are even evaluated on how well they include biblical concepts into their business courses. I can’t tell you how many papers I’ve written for my upper-division classes about how I am going to integrate my faith to a secular work environment. After only a month working, I can tell you, it’s a lot easier said than done.

It came as quite a shock to me that when I moved back to Dallas and started at my training store that not one of my peers was a Christian. I could understand Nordstrom in downtown LA, but in conservative, baptist Dallas? I was surprised to say the least when I met and got to know my team that I was one of the few people there (if not the only one) that was a Christian.

As a newbee to a very seasoned team, I wanted to be able to connect with my coworkers and build relationships as soon as possible. Now even though I was raised in a conservative home and went to a strict private school, I never really considered myself that uptight. I mean, I like to go out, drink, and dance (gasp!) every now and then, something I’ve done since high school. While some of my peers and professors (and certainly my dad) may disagree, I see nothing wrong with doing these things occasionally. However, I found that a ton of the conversations taking place at work revolved around very secular things. While I am not one to judge, these conversations and actions those around me were taking really started to upset me and began to tug at me. I started to wonder, how should I act as a Christian in these situations? I want to participate, but I don’t want to come off as sounding “unChristian.” I don’t want to participate, because I don’t want to judge!

I want to note that while I see this brokenness around me, I am no better than any one else–in fact, I’m probably the most broken, sinful person of them all. I in no way in writing this want to come off as demeaning or disapproving–I simply am questioning what I should do in these instances because I hold the faith.

I have a greater motivation when I go to work each day because I know that my only true work is to glorify God. And I pray that soon I will figure out what my purpose is for the place I am now. You can talk hypotheticals and write papers all day, but learning how to navigate the real workplace takes more than just worksheets. I would LOVE any of your advice, and comments, and prayers for how to handle these instances and how to approach this transitionary time in my life.

Livin’ for the Weekend

Wow. A lot has happened in these past 2 weeks–I started my job at Target and went to Vegas for the first time! I started work at on Monday, June 16th, where I received my schedule, training store, and department I will be training to run (Guest Experience). It’s just my luck that I was placed in the furthest store from my house in Medallion Center near North Park, but I’m glad that this store assignment (and drive!) will only be temporary.

As for work, the first two weeks have been definitely interesting. I now know what my interviewers meant when I asked them what a typical day as an ETL looks like and they said that every day is different. That’s probably one of the best parts of the job so far–every day there is something new to learn and the 10 hour day flies by.

I was scheduled to work the first weekend (even though my trainer wasn’t) so on that first Wednesday I requested off for Saturday so I could go to Vegas with my friend Madison and her friends for her all-expense paid 21st birthday celebration. I left straight from work to the airport on Friday, but because of delays I didn’t end up in Vegas til around 10:45. After waiting for a taxi, getting ready in our amazing suite at Caesars Palace, and then hailing a cab to the Venetian, I finally arrived at Tao nightclub around 12:30am, where the party was just getting started. Maddie’s dad got us a table with bottle service at Tao, where the table alone was $5000. The club was AMAZING, and we stayed there until after 3am. After sleeping in on Saturday, our group headed off to Tao Beach for a full out, crazy Vegas pool party. Oh, and we also had a $2000 table and bottle service there. It was probably the most insane event I have ever been to. We left Vegas on Sunday after walking the strip, window shopping, and watching the fountain show at the Bellagio.

Everything in Vegas was so expensive, and even though I had one of the best weekends ever, I was ready to leave on Sunday. The materialistic nature of the city and the people there kind of shocked me. And although I don’t see anything especially wrong with spending money on vacations, I feel like I am personally more suited for weekends like this past one–with a Chilis date on Friday and $5 tickets to a country concert at the horse races on Saturday. I know that I obtain my happiness through good food and good times with good friends, and not through materialistic things. I love to shop (working at Target and not wanting to buy stuff every day–tough) but I know that designer, glitzy things are only temporary. Whereas concerts and dinners and evenings out with friends may be temporary too, those memories will last a lifetime.

I know what people mean now when they say their “livin for the weekend.”