Monday, August 14, 2023

weekending & my big life update

 


Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for today's blog post. How was your weekend? Mine was really good. 


Even though it technically wasn't the weekend yet, I forgot to mention last week that on Thursday I got my hair done. I went to someone new, so I was a little hesitant about how it would turn out, but she did such a great job. I went ahead and made another appointment for December, because I like to go every four months. Because you know I love a little comparison...





I told her lighter and brighter, and lighter and brighter is what she gave me! I love it so much more, and I love that she went bolder around my face with the extra highlights. 


For the rest of last week, I worked on my house and rearranged some things. I feel like I've been nesting. Is that weird? I feel like it is, but anyway, for now I am satisfied with how things look as I finished up on Friday as I cleaned before Dad came over. 



We had some of the tomato pie I'd made last week, and then we just stayed here at home and chatted. Dad always dozes off at some point in our day, which is why I like to stay inside for him. Also, it was so hot here that day and the heat index was over 105 degrees. When I took him home, I stayed to visit with Sandy for a little while, then I met my friend Barbara for dinner that night. We had such a great time catching up—it had been ages since we'd gotten to do that. 




I spent some good time with the Lord on Saturday morning. This verse below is one of my favorite passages in Scripture, from Isaiah 43:1-2. I was able to use this to encourage someone who needed to read these words. 




My mom and Trish and I went out Saturday. I wanted to go to a boutique nearby to look for some more of the bracelets I bought recently and loved. They're the jelly bracelets that wear all the time; I just wanted them in a different color. I found some that are a gold-bronze color that will go with everything, that I already wore to church the next day. 




After lunch and one more errand, we parted ways, then I came home to shower and get comfy. This was me waiting for Trish to come over for another sister movie night. She hadn't seen 80's For Brady, so we watched that after we ate our dinner. This is how I wear my hair when I go to bed, and I went ahead and put it up because I was hot and it felt great to have it off my neck.




I am officially turning into my mom-in-love. She always dices her overly ripe bananas and freezes them to put into protein shakes. I decided to do the same, but to eat as a dessert with a drizzle of chocolate syrup or a bit of Nutella. I did this while I waited on my sister to get here. I was heating up my food at the same time.



I went to bed pretty early, after picking out my Sunday outfit for church, which brings me to the next portion of my post and a big life update. 



I was showing up ready for work at my new part-time job at church! We have a bookstore and Café called Cornerstone, and I was offered the position of running it as the bookstore associate. I was actually offered a full-time job at church before this particular position, and I had to turn them down since it's not possible for me to work that many hours right now with people who need me. When my best friend suggested I email our business staff person who does the hiring, I did that, thanking him for thinking of me, and asking him to keep me in mind if anything ever opened up that was part-time: whether in the office, for a pastor or staff person, or in the bookstore. Those were my words. 

*****

Before I go on, I need to back up a bit—right after school ended, I was praying and just talking to Jesus as I do, and I was telling Him that I couldn't help but wonder what would be next in my life. I told Him how thankful I was for the job He had given me in January, right at the start of the year, and how even though I'd loved it, it was too many hours. I was talking to Him and and pouring my heart out, while also saying that I'd been thinking of what it would be like to find the perfect part-time job, and how a dream of mine would be to someday open up a bookstore. 


I promise, I am not making this up, these were literally the very words I said while praying. It's been a dream of mine for years and years, but it's dwindled away because of money to do that kind of thing, and because of giant booksellers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


Anyway, I didn't hear any type of answer that day, which is not unusual, but I thanked Him for listening and I surrendered it all to Him. I sometimes like to open my hands when I say those words, in a gesture of surrendering my will for His. I think I was emotional when I was praying through all of this too, because at that moment in time, it had been quite the eventful year for me, from January to May. Keep in mind, I'd never been looking for full-time work, but the job found me and I said yes, which was also something I resolved to do more of this year. I'd say I'm checking that resolution right off my list with each passing day! To refresh your memory, I'll remind you of all that took place: 


I'd been offered that job, was hired, had to jump through all kinds of hoops that it takes to work in a school, I started the job on a Thursday in late January, then was off the next week for three entire days because of ice. I went along at that job for six weeks when my sister died in March. I had another family emergency/crisis that took place, I was working devotedly at editing a massive document for the school I was at, I was added as a member to the town library board and attended meetings, I was really sick, then my co-worker's husband tragically died. May came, and it was a race to the finish line, so you can see why when I left work for the last time on that last day, I was a mass of hormonal emotions, and I experienced them all in a very short time. Hello, menopause? (Yes, I'm young, I know, but I had a hysterectomy almost ten years ago, which forced me further into those fun times they lovingly refer to as that m word.) This was about the time that I was praying and just pouring it all out to Jesus. Who better to listen than Him, especially because I hadn't had the time or energy to talk to my friends or see them, while I worked full-time. 

*****

Now, back to present day.


I emailed Sam all of that, and I never heard from him. That Sunday we ran into each other, and I asked him about whether or not he'd gotten my email. He said he had, but that he wanted to talk to me in person when he was able to share more. The only thing he said to me was that he wasn't sure if I'd be interested in the job, since it would take me away from the worship ministry. I told him to still plan on us talking, because I wanted to hear what he had to say, but I had also figured out what the job was the minute he said that. 


A couple of weeks went by, and there was no word from him, until an email came from our church, telling us of some changes in positions that had recently taken place. I assumed that meant he had found someone else for the position, so I emailed him again and told him thanks anyway, I assumed he'd found someone else for the job, and to keep me in mind for the future. He immediately replied and told me about the position in the bookstore, and that it was mine if I wanted the job. I did, and I was almost positive that my answer would be yes. Even so, I texted my friend who runs it now and asked if I could start working with her to learn the ins and outs. 


So, I did that last Sunday, last Wednesday night, and again yesterday. I'll be working again this week, on Wednesday morning and that night, and the keys to the store will eventually be handed over to me. As you would guess, I had so much fun working in the bookstore that first Sunday. I have enjoyed it that much every single time and I don't anticipate it changing, even if some of the responsibilities are a little above my head (with ordering, keeping track of inventory, and monthly sales totals on spreadsheets). I am so grateful that my friend is teaching me all the things, and I have learned a ton of new information, for the third time in one whole year. (The first was last August, when I started working for the attorney, the second was as I taught students in reading intervention even if my actual job was as an assistant, and now I am learning on how to run and be in charge of a bookstore.) 


What will I be doing, you ask? I'd be glad to share! My hours are mainly when the doors of our church are open. That means Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, Wednesday mornings for Bible studies that are taking place (I'll still be able to attend one myself), and when funerals take place. I'll spend additional time there stocking to replenish the snack items we sell, and I'll meet the Coke man when he comes to refill our fridge. This will also include me shopping at Sam's for the things we sell, but my friend told me do what she does, which is order from the app, and then pick it up a certain time. I'll also need to be there for a few minutes on Thursday mornings for the pastor's wife's Bible study that starts after Labor day. On Sundays, we make carafes of coffee for all the Bible fellowship classes that take place (certain classes order a carafe or two each week), and we make pots for people to come in and grab a cup on their way to and from their class. We also offer cappuccino and espresso, though we don't sell much of either. 


In addition to all of those services, we sell bibles, books, bible covers, journals, and other small gift items. We don't sell many of those things right now, though, and I'd love to work to change that in order to get them out of there. There are books that have been on our shelves since 2008, so the Lord has been giving me tons of ideas and inspiration on what I can do to make more sales of those things and replace them with new. I'd love to offer more books than we do, but I'll have to see if I can sell what's been there for ages before that happens. 


As you know, I love to make things more cozy and inviting, so I'm full of ideas for that as well. I've been "shopping" my house for things to take there with me to make that happen, and while I don't want to take over while my friend is still there, I do have a lot of ideas and am itching to get my hands on the space. I've been looking at furniture that's free on FB marketplace, rugs, and tables for displaying items, or to sit at with friends over a cup of coffee. As you would guess, I have started a Pinterest board there, one called The Bookstore. Click that green link to see it for yourself! It looks nothing like that now and will look nothing like that in the future, but I am drawing inspiration from the pictures on how to make it appeal to the eye of everyone of all ages.


I have ideas of featuring certain authors every month and having a shelf for "what I've read and loved", and I'd love to feature books that I know my pastor loves. I won't change it much from how it's arranged right now, but I do plan on displaying things a little differently and making the books more prominent. Mostly, I just want to make it warm and inviting for all who enter, and that's the part I'm most excited about. I love getting to see people I otherwise wouldn't see, because I'm in choir. And that leads me to the next big change, which is that I am stepping back from the worship ministry and singing. I can't run the bookstore and sing in choir and be at rehearsals, so I have been praying for the last week about all of this. At first I didn't think I'd have to give it up, but as time has gone on and I've seen how busy the store is, I know that I will need to give it up. I wasn't sure how I felt about that at first, but in the last seven days, not only has the Lord given me peace about my decision, He's given me sleepless nights and lots of excitement as I move on to the next phase in my life. I do still hope to sing in the choir on the nights of worship we have a few times a year. 


The other perfect and cool thing is that this is a job that I'll be paid for, and it won't interfere with my Fridays with Dad. It also won't keep me away from my home for too long at one time, since we have a new puppy. Sometimes the hours will be 16 a week, other times it may be as many as 28 hours a week. It's not stressful, though, and it doesn't take a lot of planning, like when I was working at the elementary school. It's right up my alley, in other words, and how perfect is this for me? I cannot wait to start making new memories, and I'm thrilled to be working at my church. What a dream! 


So, thanks for reading about all of this, friends! I'd love for you to pray for me as I start this next thing: I want to honor the Lord in all that I do, say, and think. I want to able to welcome and encourage people as they stop in to say hello and grab coffee. I want them to feel the love and peace of Jesus as they enter through the doors, and I want them to know they're loved and valued, not just by me, but by Jesus. I also don't want to be overwhelmed by all that I don't know. Thankfully, my friend will stay on with me until I no longer need her. Her sister will be helping me as well in the time before the service starts at 10:45, which is the nicest thing ever, and I've had another friend who has offered to help me anytime I need. I look forward to posting pictures soon! I've been so busy there that I never have time to stop and breathe, much less get on my phone and take pictures. 🤣  I'll try to do that this week when I'm there Tuesday morning. Until then, here's my church home.


As you walk into the grand foyer...



Outside the bookstore, we have these tables and chairs that people love to sit at for meetings or for work. I used to sit there and work when I assisted my friend Amy in 2019.




And just because it's pretty at night...



I can't wait to share this journey with you. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! I'll see you back here tomorrow to talk about another exciting thing taking place. Love to all!




18 comments:

  1. This is so exciting! Congratulations on getting the perfect job! I've always wanted to own a bookstore and have dreamed of what it would be like. So this is your own little version of owning one! Yay :)

    And your hair looks great! I have been wearing mine up every single day because I can't stand it on my neck when it's so hot outside.

    Anyway, happy Monday and congratulations again!

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  2. What a nice weekend and thank you for the details on your new position! It really does sound perfect for you and I have no doubt you will make it cozy and welcoming. Does it have books for kids? It really does sound like it uses your best skills and I love that you won't have any shift too long for this stage in your life.
    I am thinking of my weird start to school as a blessing for this stage right now, too. First, I didn't feel ready to start for some reason. Second, this extra time with Mason before England has been a blessing. Of course, the extra time with Jack is great, too, but he will just be moving 20 minutes away next week. God knows what we need when we don't!
    Anyway, I love hearing how this all came together.

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  3. I forgot to say I love your hair! Yay for finding a good person!

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  4. Congrats on the new job! It sounds perfect for you with your skill set and desires and the part- timeness. (I'm struggling with finding the right PT job so this is inspirational to me! ) Good luck finding things that you'd like to have in the bookstore. I pray that the learning curve is not too steep for you. Have a great Monday!

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  5. Thank you, Debbie! I am still so surprised by it all, and even though I've been dreaming of it at night and thinking of ways I can try to get things to sell, I'm shocked that it came about so suddenly. I didn't expect a job at my church to open up like this, but I'm so glad it did, and I am thanking God for it and how He made it all come together. You are right about this being my version of owning a bookstore, just much easier since it already exists and I'm not spending my own money. I can't wait to officially start!

    I totally feel you with the heat; I know we're probably not as hot here as it is for you, but I can just walk outside and start sweating immediately. It's so gross! I've been coming home and putting my hair up high on my head. We're actually getting a break in the weather this week and tomorrow, our high is 78! It'll feel like fall!

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  6. Thank you, Amy, for all of that! I wanted to write it all out here for my own memories, because it's almost unbelievable. I'm still so surprised by it all!

    You have a great perspective on how your school year got started. I don't blame you for wanting and cherishing that extra time with Mason! I would want the same if I were in your shoes. I know Jack is probably ready to get back to school for their senior year! When does all of that take place? (Mason leaving and Jack moving back in?)

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  7. Congrats on your new job! I know it will be a perfect fit for you. I can’t wait to follow along.

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  8. Thanks, Maria! It really does seem like a perfect fit for me. Thankfully, my friend has agreed to help me for as long as I need her, and I know she will help me with the parts I don't understand as well, like when I have to total the sales for the month and make a spreadsheet. I have no problem asking for help, either! Math is not my strongest subject. 🤣 It's been interesting working a cash register again- yesterday she kept trying to teach me to count back up with the money for people's change. I did finally grasp that, but when we got busy, it flew right back out of my brain.

    Don't give up! I know if it can happen to me, the same can happen for you. I didn't realize you'd been looking for something different from the substitute teaching. Thanks for sharing that with me, I would love to pray for you about that. 🖤

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  9. Thank you, Jen! I think so too. I hope you have a great day!

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  10. Good morning Jennifer. First of all, I love your hair and I actually got my hair cut a lot shorter on Thursday too. There's a possibility of a photo on my blog later today. lol

    I am so excited that you are now working in a book store. I've always thought I'd like to do that or maybe even the library...my other choice would be a yarn store. I'm excited to get to see what you do and hear how much you love it.

    Take care my friend and have a great day!

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  11. Congratulations Jennifer! This is so very exciting AND they are lucky to have you...reminding me of one of my favorite verses/sayings "God will provide"

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  12. Thanks, Cathy! I can't wait to see your hair. It's fun doing something different, right? I am so thankful for this new opportunity and can't wait to take all of you along with me! I hope you have a wonderful day, sweet friend.

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  13. Thank you so much, Holly! I always appreciate your encouragement, my friend. I hope you have a great day!

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  14. Okay, I'm on board with everyone else.....so excited for you!!!

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  15. This all sounds so exciting!! I will definitely be checking out your board too as I have often thought it would be so fun to own a bookstore.

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  16. I'm so behind and catching up, but I'm so thrilled for you about the new job! I really think you will love it! I worked for three years in my aunt and uncle's Christian bookstore and learned so much. It was one of the best jobs I've ever had! I can't wait to hear more about your new adventures!

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  17. Thank you, Mandy! I am so excited! I love that you worked in their bookstore. I know you must have loved that!

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