Monday, August 31, 2009

The Joys of Jackson and Best Buy

Not too long ago I took a part time sales position at Best Buy. With my newly acquired bachelor's degree, I had hoped for something more impressive, or at least better paying; but I am told that that will come with time (and/or a better economy... yeah right). All things considered, though, it hasn't been a bad job thus far. The people I work with are all cool enough, and I already know a lot of what I'm doing, so it's not too stressful. Today seemed like a winner for odd customers, though. Here's an incomplete rundown:

- An elderly, smelly, and I think partially undead gentlemen stood by me and another customer I was helping, staring and opening and closing his mouth, making a gross, watery, smacking noise to get my attention. When I finally got around to helping him, he asked if I could get a printer for him. It was on the top of a shelf, and when I got ready to climb the rolling stairs to get it he said, with a grin on his face, "you're going up to see the Lord"...

- Why honesty may not always be the best policy:
Man: I want this laptop.
Me: Ok. Have you spoken with one of our associates to make sure it will do everything you need it to do?
Man: Will it do porn?
Me: It will do porn.
Man: I'll take it.

- Some people apparently think it's effective to talk trash about associates (aka me and Justin) in order to produce the answers they want. Examples include, but are not limited to: "so you don't really know anything about this do you", and "how long have you been working here?"... also, whispering and smirking to one's wife and casting condescending glances seems to be another common practice. I guess each employee is expected to be intimately familiar with each and every feature of each and every product...

- It is also an apparent strategy for large framed men to try and stair down not-so-large-framed sales associates (me again) in order to try and lower manufacturer determined prices completely out of said associate's jurisdiction. If that doesn't work, it could be followed up by walking away muttering, "that's fine, if you don't want our business"....

Seriously, why would I want to be anywhere else?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Senioritis Cured?

Sorry for the long absence... this will be extremely random, but I had the sudden and irresistible urge to post, after months of silence. Anyway........

It has been said, and it has been my experience in the past, that the closer one gets to graduation, the more of a slacker he or she becomes. This unfortunate phenomenon is often referred to as Senioritis (at least in my world). While I have generally bought into this theory and more often than not have found it to be accurate, lately I've actually been feeling strangely motivated. Maybe it's a second wind ushered in by the sighting of the light at the end of this tunnel that has been my college years; maybe it's the realization that all this time and effort will matter very soon; or perhaps it's just a random, short-lived phase brought on by the weather that will soon fade (that last addition doesn't really seem likely to me, but I thought I needed a third). I do know that my momentary motivation has been brought on by way too much coffee that was consumed in hopes of getting through one very tedious OT project (which is completed, by the way... yup). Whatever the case, I have lately been motivated to a) start reading, which by the way is an aspiration I have not had post-high school, b) perfect my technical (and consequently career specific) abilities (which had become quite a chore of late, an issue of some concern to me) and c) become more awesome... again, my third is not anything fantastic, but I'm apparently OCD tonight and have an overwhelming need for threes. Despite all of these aspirations, I'm still way behind, everything is still piling up, and I still don't have a job lined up for after graduation. But for now, I'm not going to worry about that. I am instead going to ignore the rain and the time on the clock and go for a run (in order to work off the sudden energy and randomness that has been brought on by the aforementioned coffee). So goodnight all... go do some good!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sacred Vessels

In my devos today I came across the story of the writing on the wall. I had not read the story for some time, so I decided to do so. In the account, King Belshazzar is throwing a huge party with thousands of people. They are drinking wine, and the king instructs his servants to bring out the cups that had been stolen from Jerusalem. These cups had been used for sacred purposes in God’s temple, and now Belshazzar is using them to get drunk with his lords, wives, and concubines. On top of that, they proceed to praise other false Gods while drinking the wine. In the end, a jealous God carries out his justice and Belshazzar loses his kingdom and his life.
As I was reading the narrative, I saw some applications in my own life. As a Christian, I am a vessel of God. His spirit lives in me. I am his temple. I am intended to be used for his sacred purposes. Just as Belshazzar’s blasphemy angered God, so misuse of his vessels (Christians) today will anger him. When I say misuse, I don’t only mean blatant disregard of God’s commands, though that is clearly one side of it. I mean I am guilty of misusing Christianity. This is especially true when it comes to music. I love music. It helps me connect to God and worship, which is why it is such a powerful tool today. But as many Christians, I have been guilty of using music and worship as a way to make me feel good, to feel holy. It’s like we are trying to get drunk off God. Not that being intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is a bad thing, but we at times make it more about us than about God. Just because I am not blatantly blaspheming God to his face does not mean I am making him the center. My intention and prayer is that I might make God the center of my story, not me. When we “give our lives” to God, that is what is implied; a complete shift of focus from us to our savior. But many times this is not how it plays out. Too often it is about how God makes OUR life better. How He saved US. How He loved US. How He died for US. All these things are great, but the creator of the universe didn’t give his only son up to be tortured and killed simply so that we could feel good or have better lives or get more attention. When we turn our lives over to God, He expects to be the center of our stories. He wants our complete and total devotion. He wants our lives. He is the one in the spotlight now. His light shines on us only so we can reflect it to the world. And our whole lives should be wrapped up in this purpose; our jobs, our daily choices, our relationships, our worship, all of it. Otherwise, we are misusing his sacred vessels, and as we saw in Belshazzar’s case, God won’t put up with that forever.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"It has to be taking up space, right?"

So I suddenly find myself amazed at the story of the great flood back in Noah's day... It's been a torrential downpour here for the past two days, and all we have are big puddles and a soggy soccer field. How the heck did the big guy flood the entire planet for 40 days & nights??? That was one freaking huge puddle!!! Luckily that’s not going to happen again anytime soon, but you get the point… it is wet out.
So anyway, I was having a chat with a friend of mine the other day in the library on campus. We were talking about this, that and the other thing for a while. Then somehow we got on the topic of not staying mad about things we can’t change. Then she said something to the effect of, “If you’re thinking about that (things we can’t change), you are missing out on good thoughts that could be there instead”. I said I’d never heard it put that way before, and she said “it’s got to be taking up space, right?” Maybe the concept is a little silly, but there was something so simple, so childlike about the idea that made it stick in my head. When we’re focusing on the bad things we can’t change, we’re cheating ourselves out of the good. When we’re focusing on the problems surrounding us, we’re missing out on how we can overcome them. When we’re focusing on our short-comings, we’re blocking out the truth: that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by an awesome God who loves us way beyond our comprehension.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beautiful Uncertainty

I think more than anything else in my spiritual life, I struggle with trusting in times of uncertainty. No matter how many times I get things "figured out", I still inevitably find myself stumbling in the dark, wondering where on earth I'm going and why I'm not there yet. These times always pass and, a short while later, there comes a time of sweet rest, when I know I'm exactly where God wants me; and even though I may be surrounded by unanswered questions and dead ends, I'm content; I love those times. Sad to say, right now is not one of those times. I don't know if it's me, or my human nature, or both, but I seem to lack the ability to stay in that beautiful place of peace and rest. I am restless, and so I wander. I quickly get lost and have to relearn the lesson. God in his goodness somehow remains patient and is ready to pick me back up and point me in the right direction. Now, if I could just get that direction. It's in these times of uncertainty that I need to lift my head high and rejoice in the fact that it will come. I know it will. My father does not leave his children out to dry. He is my shepherd and I WILL NOT WANT. Sometimes there are green pastures and still waters, but he walks with me even when there are not. But they will come.

Lord, give me the patience to wait on you. Daily remind me that you can and will do all things in your perfect time. Give me the wisdom to move when the time of waiting is over. Help me to embrace the silence and the chaos with open arms, and trust you in both. Give me peace. Perfect, beautiful, divine peace that only you can give. Help me trust in you ALWAYS, for you do all things well.

For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day (2 Timothy 1:12b).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I seem to lack the ability or motivation to post more than once or twice every three months, but when I blew the cobwebs off my blog and looked over some of my most recent posts (April/May), I realized I actually had a few comments, and yes, confirmation that at least three people read it from time to time. So, here I am, once again pounding out to the great unknown what ever happens to pop into my head.

Here's a quick rundown of the last 2 1/2 months: I went to Europe as planned in late May/early June. It was a great experience, and I'm now officially addicted to traveling. I returned home and started my intership in Lansing. It took me about a week to decide that commuting 45 minutes every day was very overrated, so, going on a referral from a friend, I moved to Lansing. That worked out great, except for the third or fourth day, when my house was broken into and my laptop stolen. With it went thousands of pictures (including those from Europe and Mexico), three years worth of school work, and some silly videos I filmed with my younger siblings. Despite many generous promises from my landlord to help restore/replace it, it's almost the end of summer, and I still remain without a laptop. Oh well, as the French would say, C'est la vie. Other highlights include three weddings I was a part of. I was an usher for both my cousin's wedding and my friend Jon's, and this past weekend I was the best man in my brother Seth's wedding. That last one was a bit more stressful, as I had to plan a bachelor party and write a best man speech, which by the way was a great success. Turns out I know how to make people laugh and cry at a wedding. Who knew? It was also probably the most fun and the most important, as Seth is my brother and all.

And that brings us up to date. In two days, I will relinquish my position as an intern at Auto-Owners Insurance and prepare to head back to school. It's been a good summer, but I'm ready to be back at school. My last year, holy cow!!! Anywho, I'm out for now, but I'll try and post something other than a history lesson fairly soon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Yet another semester has come and gone. I don't know if I worked harder this semester or if it just felt like it because I did better academically than last, but I felt especially relieved walking down the halls of Whitman-Gibbs after my last final. I may or may not have begun flailing my arms about like a crazy person and emitting unintelligible sounds of glee. I'm glad to be done, but it has been a good semester and I'll miss the people I've grown close to this year. One more year (and a class or too) and I'll be a college graduate. Craziness. Even though the semester's done, the craziness isn't over quite yet. I'm kind of in the middle of unpacking before I repack for Europe. I'm going to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France for a cross-cultural class. As you can imagine, I'm excited about the whole thing, but I've got a lot to do yet for that and not much time to do it in. At 10 tomorrow I have an interview for an internship (hands and fingers crossed), I still have to get fitted for a tux for a friend's wedding, I have a presentation I have to research for, I need to finish unpacking a semester's worth of stuff, and I have to squish three weeks worth of stuff into a 21" suitcase. It's doable though. After I get back, I'll probably be living at home for the rest of the summer, which is something I haven't done in years. It'll be nice to be around though, a good chance to hang out with my friends before they all get married off. Marriage, geez, everybody's doing it. Buuut that's another topic.