Black Friday!

Sales

Door Busters

Later Night or Early Morning Hours

Rush

Limited Quantities

These are a few words that come to mind when I think of Black Friday!  I have NEVER been shopping on Black Friday as in the early morning CRAZY hours!  I have NEVER worked Retail on Black Friday until NOW!  I didn’t know what to expect!  I was excited to be working it.  Let me share with you my thoughts and experience.

First I would like to address the craziness of being open Thanksgiving night!  There has been a lot of controversy over this.  Where I work we had a sign up sheet.  So in many ways it was a choice.  There are some that were scheduled to work but had not signed up.  I CHOOSE to go in even though I wasn’t scheduled.  Our team leaders made it a FUN and FESTIVE place to be.  We were given prizes, we were paid extra, we were FED well!  And our fearless leaders dressed up as Elves!  There are some folks that don’t have family or friends to spend the day with.  So, being at work is like their family.  There are some that their family is in such a mess they would rather be at work.  As I explained this to people when they would comment on the store being open Thanksgiving night they saw the other side and weren’t as critical then.  And to be honest most family gatherings are finished by the time the store opened.

Now, my view point.  ASK LOTS of questions regarding sale item things.  Know how your store technology works! 🙂  I think having the stores open at 8p.m. was a benefit because the traffic was steady and it was not totally chaos at 4a.m.  When I came in at 8a.m. the store was a quite messy.  I was in the fitting room and it was very busy.  At 1p.m. when one of my friends came in who rocks the fitting room I was so happy! Despite being overwhelmed a time or two I had to remember too that if it weren’t for the messes I wouldn’t have a job!  Also, I SURVIVED my first Black Friday experience and am ready to go back and do it again next year! 🙂

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Happy Thanksgiving!

The time is upon us where we sit around a table filled with family and friends.  Counting our blessings for the year that has come and gone, eating way to much delicious food.  But this may not be the case for every person out there.  This may not describe your day tomorrow.  This for sure is not how my day was going to go but God had other plans!  Let me tell you!

Growing up we would spend Thanksgiving with the McDonald family.  Then there was a time when we didn’t do that any longer.  That was hard but was a fact of the time.  Then I graduated from high school and worked in the airlines which is open 365 days a year. So, I found myself working.  Not a big deal when your single.  Then I got married and moved to Iowa.  I think we found ourselves in Indiana those first few Thanksgivings.  But I still would cook a big feast for church the Sunday before with others.  Then there was a few years we celebrated in Iowa.  I LOVED celebrating at home or with my dad.  I had not the opportunity to celebrate with him in the past and so it was extra special when we got to do that!  Last year was the first Thanksgiving in a long time my mom and “dad” Bill had come down.  That was extra special too!  I got to cook for them!  I lost my dad last December and the week of Thanksgiving is one of the last times I remember talking to him and it is the last good pictures we have of him.  My brother was out there that week and in many ways I wish I would have been too but I was working and only had Thanksgiving day off.  So, this brings us to this year, the first year divorced.  I had my kids all day today and we had a fun day filled with playing basketball at the “Y”, swimming, and decorating the Christmas tree!  It was neat to watch them get so excited about putting their ornaments on the tree.  It was good!  On Tuesday I was talking to one of the leads at work that I was not going to be doing anything on Thanksgiving except making cookies for work and she was like you are NOT staying home on Thanksgiving alone!  I am not even in her department and only know her a little so I was surprised but TOTALLY BLESSED that she offered this to me!  I am just completely blown away that I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with new friends tomorrow!  I should NOT be blown away though because God knew I needed a place to be!  He knew this plan BEFORE I did!  After I posted on Facebook about this I had a few other friends make sure that I was NOT going to be alone tomorrow!  Thanks!  So, as you sit around your table thanking God for HIS incredible blessings in your life consider those who might not have a place to go and think about inviting them over next year. 🙂

Grateful……

****EDITED!*****

I have experienced God’s blessings through out my life but being on my own now I DID NOT WANT TO ASK for help.  My STIFF UPPER LIP of I CAN DO IT ON MY OWN was hindering me from the blessing that came today!

This past few weeks has been some what difficult.  I’m not going to lie.  I’m going to be straight up honest, open and humble.  I thought I had life all figured out but instead I have been flying by the seat of my pants and it has hit me like a brick wall!  I have run into some financial difficulty because of my lack of planning and depending on some unreliable sources for income.  Today was the day that broke me.  I went to my church, Madison Park, and asked for help.  I am NOT one to ask for help but rather I am the one jumping in to help!  It was difficult, but in turn I was blessed with a few gift cards to help me out on this journey.  I am humbled.  I am grateful.  When Rob gave them to me he said “we appreciate all you volunteer for.”  They noticed.  Your work does not go unnoticed!  “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2.  Madison Park has taken this broken, messy person and loved on her and made her whole again through Jesus Christ.  I am blessed by the people of Madison Park.  I am blessed by the way they love well.

As you receive blessings don’t forget them and as you are able bless someone else.  Even if it is a smile!  Blessing doesn’t always mean in the monetary way but it can be the little things like smiling at the store clerk, letting a frazzled mom know that you have been there or maybe even watch a single mom’s children for a few hours so she can have some peace.  There’s many ways you can bless and be Christ’s Hands and Feet to those around you.Yesterday at work I had seen my supervisor for the first time since I had given my two weeks because of the financial issues I realized I needed to find a full time job closer to home.  I was blessed to be given a full time job, in a call center, closer to Anderson.  My supervisor was saddened because after a few rough months of my schedule being a disarray we finally got it straight!  I LOVE my job at JcPenney and it is one of the few places I truly have LOVED the job as much as I have LOVED the people I work with!  He asked if I would think about staying on even part time.  I said I would think about it.  A few minutes later the store manager comes up and says “Hey Julie!  What do you need?”  My name tag said Julie because I don’t have a name tag stating Jennifer.  I said, “well my name is not Julie but it is Jennifer.”  He was like “OHHHHHH wait are you the Jennifer I have been hearing about?!?!?!”  I said “well, what have you heard?”  “That you got another job and are quitting.”  “Yes, that is correct.”  I explained why, and he asked if I would reconsider because they valued me!  I thought about it for 30 secs and said “YES!  I’ll stay.”  When there is great leadership involved your employees or volunteers will know their value!  In the last 24 hours I have been affirmed of my value which has made me humble and grateful to be where I am right now.  I even mentioned to my store manager that I am thinking about leaving the door open to management with JcPenney.  So, we will see where it goes.  So, I am going to be working FT & PT and going to school FT.  This is JUST FOR A SEASON and NOT FOREVER!

Women of Faith

Over the years I have attended many conferences.  I attended AcquireTheFire’s for a few years, then I got married and the church we were serving, their ladies group would attend Women of Faith.  They talked it up, how wonderful it was, how funny the speakers were and on and on.  I was yet to be convinced of this.  I was young and 22.  How could this possible be as fun as ATF?  I went for the next three years because I HAD to NOT because I WANTED to.  

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This is Lily’s first Women of Faith.  We were all the way up in the nose bleed section.  It was a fun weekend, filled with laughter with the people I went with but I could not exactly tell you what the speakers spoke on.  I was not engaged.  I do remember Nicole Johnson’s skit on cancer and in the boxing ring.  I didn’t attend for a few years and then we moved to Indiana.  I thought I was done attending.  I was no longer obligated to go!  Then, it happened and my friend Kim, said hey I’ve been wanting to go but didn’t want to go alone, do you want to go?  And I thought oh no here we go again!!!  I found a group for us to go with.  It was a large group of over 150 women.  When we got to Conseco Field House in Indy, our seats were in the lower arena, in the corner.  Friday night was fun filled but again I can’t tell you who the speakers were Friday night.  I do remember Sandi Patty singing.  Saturday morning is where God got me!  Nicole Johnson performed her skit, entitled “THE MOTHERLOAD”.  It was EXACTLY where I was at!  Trying to balance a bunch of things, not doing any of them well, and shorting out my time with God.   Sandi, got up and shared her story and her beautiful family sang.  Little did I know years later my daughter would be taking piano from her mama.  Sandi’s story encouraged me to get out of the boat and that God can forgive.  I know that we are way harder on ourselves regarding what is right/wrong than God is.  I was at the end our row after lunch.  Sitting next to these ladies who did not believe in dancing.  Nicole C Mullen got up and I DANCED!  I had not done this in the past because you see I used to be with that group of ladies who sat there with their arms folded in disgust.  I was FREE to dance and praise my God!  The following years I attended, I went expecting!  The following years included Andy Andrews, Henry Cloud and I being a group leader.  Little did I know the blessing that would come from being a group leader.  Saturday morning of this particular year that I was a group leader, Sheila Walsh was giving her talk and I was not fully engaged checking out Facebook, sitting in disbelief that I was reading one of the youth’s from Iowa that we had invested in had been killed overnight in a house fire.  I went up on the concourse and called Josh telling him that we had to go.  No matter what that entailed.  He would be called to officiate the funeral.  Those were our kids and we needed to be there for them.  A few ladies from my group came up to the concourse and prayed with me and for me and the kids and family back in Iowa.  At the end Sheila starts singing “You Raise Me Up”.  Coincidence I think not, GOD YES!  The following year I did not attend but this year I thought why not go alone, shoot why not volunteer!  So, I knew of a position that I would LOVE and that was a talent runner.  I was beyond excited to serve in this capacity and little did I know God connected me with a new friend who I know will be a friend for years to come!  You know who you are! 🙂  To say I am beyond grateful that God has used Women of Faith to help me in my walk with him.  He has used the speakers to speak life into me and he has used the worship to speak life into me every day.  Maybe one day I will be up on the stage sharing my story with you all! 🙂

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We had made the cut off to get our picture taken with Sandi!

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Patsy!

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My girl Lisa!

A shift in seasons……

Up early on Thanksgiving morning, TOM the turkey had thawed enough to get the neck and the gizzards out.  Family was coming.  There was much fan fair surrounding my first thanksgiving to cook as a married person.  I was using cookbooks to help guide me through baking the multitude of dishes that were to be made.  I had never made gravy before but by rare chance I dumped it all in and my grandma watched as she had made gravy many times and thought I would have lumps.  Nope, no lumps only the smoothest of silk gravy.  The family was arriving and there was much laughter around the table.  Food was consumed, thanks was giving for the years blessings, dessert was consumed and the leftovers were packaged and left to find a place in the over flowing fridge.  The scene continued each year with some times two and three dishes of mashed potatoes and an over abundance of veggies, corn, green bean casserole and deviled eggs.  There was usually a friend or two over that didn’t have any place to go.  Why would we knowingly want to leave someone alone on this day filled with family, laughter, food and comfort?  One of my fondest memories was that of spent with my dad and step mom in Iowa!  It was simple and we all helped cook a wonderful feast!  Lily held the heart and neck of the turkey like a pro!  It was a moment where time stood still and my grandparents were still alive.  But now, this year, this first Thanksgiving where my children will be with their dad, my dad has gone, I will work the next day serving black friday shoppers and I am now the one left with no place to go and celebrate.  This raw emotion hit me like a ton of bricks tonight during my Ed 2000 class.  The professor had everyone go around and say where they were going for Thanksgiving and what was the one dish they looked forward to.  I held it together during class but on my drive home I had a good cry.  Not one of self pity but one of raw pain.  One of knowing that this is a season and while it may be hard now I know I am in a better place than I have been.  I know there are places I can go, I could go serve at a homeless shelter, I could go sign up to run, or I could stay home.  I don’t know what I will do but I do know this is just a season and SPRING is coming and new life is forming!  I know that this season will NOT last forever!  

What’s going on in life…….

Well, school…..has been keeping me busy and working retail.  Since I work retail I think I am going to start saying Happy Thanksmas to customers!  We have all the Christmas stuff up and it’s not even Thanksgiving.  It would cover both Holidays and not offend anyone. 🙂  

I have been getting quite frustrated lately.  On many different things.

  • School – I know that the enemy wants me to be confused as to what to purse.  I still toy with the idea of education and just embracing the system for what it is but the thought of taking several licensing tests gives me huge anxiety!  I am currently on the Christian Ministry track which as you all know is completely where I want to be and God called me to be but then the enemy sneaks in and starts filling my mind with thoughts of “you won’t be able to find a position because your divorced.” or “why go into ministry, you won’t be effective.” or “just plain you won’t be able to find a job in ministry.”  Yup, those thoughts have all ran through my head in the past week!  So, now I have toyed with the idea of looking into Middle School counseling because I would still be in the schools and I would be building relationships with kids and helping them see a bigger part of who they are in life.  So, if you would pray for me in that aspect that I would not allow confusion to fill my mind and stay focused on where God wants me.
  • That I become content with the season of life I am at in regards to my relationship of being single.  It is a daily struggle.  I want to be accepted and loved for who I am and I know that Jesus Christ does this but at the same time I long for that special someone too. 
  • One other thing I have a good friend who if you could please keep her in prayer.  Her name is Char and she just recently lost her dad and is having a hard time with this and some other things.  She is exhausted and needs to be lifted in prayer as well.  

 

So those are a few things that if you could please keep in prayer for!

What do YOU need prayer for?

Thankful for…..

Today I am Thankful for Friendships!  Without them I would not be the person I am today nor would I be where I am today.  I am now a very outgoing person but if you can believe or even imagine that I was NOT an outgoing person but an EXTREME introvert just waiting to burst out!  I can be pretty much friends with just about anyone and don’t really know a stranger BUT I can be insecure if I feel that someone does not like me.  Then I pull away.  Some of the many people who have made an left an impression in my life are but not limited to : Jessica Pride, the Dominick twins, my brother, my sister, Jim and Jay McWhirt, John Piper, Mary Baker, Rene Hoof, Jenny Miller, Judy Gregory, Josh Gregory, Jamie Smith, Holly Koontz, Dave Jaquay, Donna McCoy, Matt McCoy, Bryan Heckman, Courtney Heckman, Rob Wegner, Michelle Wegner, Dr. Rebelsky, Dr. B, Heidi Powers, Sarah Farmer, Jaime V., Dr. Khairri, Deb Parker, Kevin F., Jaylene Nickles, Step Parker, Alice Thurston, Kim Godbey, Kimberly Ann, Lori, Amanda, Lisa, Julie and the countless others who have made an impact.  I did not forget you! 🙂  Thank you for being the seasoning in life!  Thank you for providing truth and words of wisdom when needed but not always when I wanted it!  Forever grateful!

Back in the day when they Raped!

DC Talk USED to Rap! And Tait used to have straight up hair! I remember listening to this DC Talk tape over and over again! It is kind of a hidden gem to those old time DC Talk fans because many people don’t know about this since “Jesus Freak’s” is what made DC Talk big! Do you know what the DC stands for? Decent Christian. Yup this has to be my favorite DC Talk old school song! What’s yours?