Daily Life · Work

How to Become the Best Employee in Your Work.

Working as a manager has been a really enlightening experience. Not only did it teach me a lot about myself, but it also taught me a lot about what managers look for in employees. Accumulating this knowledge was a bit of a painful process. This was my first job as a manager and it really was very difficult learning to deal with all the different facets and interpersonal relationships. The way you interact with employees is different from the ways that you interact with coworkers who share the same status in the work que. All this being said – at the end of the time frame that I worked there, I really sat down and thought about what made a good employee. I want to define a good employee as: someone who you as a manager continue to want to work with, mentor, encourage, and give opportunities to. That being defined, I want to talk about the qualities that I as a manager look for in an employee, an acrynm that I like to call “ACTING PROWS”

  1. Attitude – Attitude makes a huge difference. How many times do you want to be around someone who has a bad attitude? A clue – 0. This goes for work as well. I know that everyone has bad days but please think of it like this – Your manager is dealing with a lot of stress, having to wonder why someone isn’t acting appropriately or stomping around their work space shouldn’t be among it. When you get to work – drop whatever outside baggage you are carrying at the door and walk in with confidence and a great attitude. One of the best workers I have had and one of the few people I really really enjoyed working with was a young girl who was always “Great”. Every time you asked her – she found one positive thing to talk about. You could ask her what was new and she would find something to think about. I watched her walk through a 4 inch puddle of water to provide customer service – her favorite shoes got soaked and the comment she made was “I have others at home I can wear tomorrow…. They will dry.” Her attitude made everyone love working with her.
  2. Communication – Everyone has always heard “Communication is key”. Ok – yes this is true, but so the way in which you choose to communicate. It’s very very important to remember that honesty when you communicate is great, but so is learning to phrase your words so that you don’t place blame on another person, sound aggressive, or being short. I have watched as two seperate people have become their own clique. They were so ademate about being “clear” communicators that they ostracized themselves from the rest of the team and did more damage then good. Please understand – it is important to clearly communicate what you need (both with your manager and your teammates), it is also important not to over communicate. Telling people what they need to do, being short in the effort to be clear, and oversharing what they think about their jobs.
  3. Timeliness – The thing that really drove me nuts was timeliness. When you are scheduled for a certain time – show up for that time. Yes occassionally running late happens. I had several people who would either call-in or show up late on a regular basis. This is frustrating for a manager because guess who is covering your job and theirs? We are. Let me be clear – If you are going to be late – communicate it prior to that timeframe. If you are going to call in – sooner rather than later. I strongly believe that calling in more than 3 days a month – you better bring a doctors note to cover your job. Regularly calling-in or showing up late is unacceptable. It shows a lack of commitment or an amount of burnout for your job.
  4. Integrity – Integrity is more than just honesty. Integrity in the work place while it refers to honesty it also refers to completing your commitments. Honor your word. This goes hand in hand with respect (Point 8) and Timeliness (Point 3). Think about it this way – if I as the manager tell you that I will send in your request for use of Sick Hours in this payroll, and then I don’t because “I had plans” or “I changed my mind” how would you feel? You would feel like I’m not dependable and untrustworthy. That is how managers feel when employees change their plans last minute. It provides them with the sense of not trusting the employees to actually do their jobs. The basic memo – fulfill your commitments and have some integrity.
  5. News reporter – Unless you work for CNN, ABC, FOX, Or BBC News – it is not your job to be a reporter. I’m not talking about telling your manager when something goes wrong or someone does something that is out of line. I’m talking about gossip. Let me tell you – I have heard so many horrible stories about the people I work with. All from the coworkers of that person. I have had gossip spread about me. It creates a disfunctional and toxic waste environment in which to work. Do NOT gossip. We all remember highschool. Gossiping about someone is exactly the type of behavior that puts us right back in the toxic, bullying environment that highschool created. Come in, do your job, don’t create drama. If you need drama watch shows at home like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.
  6. Guidable – Guidability is similar to teachability. The best employees are the ones that are willing to learn new tips and tricks. One of the girls I liked to work with was the one that I could sit down and talk to about how to change and do things better and it would be done. She would ask for advice and would take what she learned and impliment it. This type of employee is the one that will go far because she is moldable.
  7. Problem Solving – Helping your manager is the best thing you can do. The employees that become close workers with your manager is the one that not only sees the problems within the workplace but searches for solutions before bringing it to the managers attention. I’m not going to lie – I hated having problems brought to me because I would have to find a solution on my own. I did however have one person who would bring a problem and 2 solutions each time. Maybe I didn’t use her solutions but it brought a starting point to the conversation – one which we could bounce around and then find a solution. She was one of the best employees I have worked with ever.
  8. Respect – “Respect is earned not given” – Yes managers must be respectful, they have to earn the trust of their employees. However, respect should always be given to those in power. I have had people refuse to do their job. If they talked to the owners that way – they would have been fired. This really goes back to the attitude point mentioned. When you have a bad attitude you start to be disrespectful. Watch carefully that you don’t follow that track. At the end of the day – you are paid to do your job. If you don’t like it – quit, if you refuse – you run the risk of being fired. There are simple ways to show respect to your boss – don’t interrupt, do your job, be on time. These are simple ways to make a great impression and leave your boss more inclined to give you opportunities for growth.
  9. Organization – The best of employees are organized. They have organized work spaces and they have great time management. They keep lists of things they need to do and they take notes. Taking notes and being organized is a good way for you to start, keep up throughout, and end your day. I’ll be honest – I use Wunderlist on my phone. It’s a great app that allows you to keep multiple checklists as long as you want.
  10. Willingness – This goes back to respect and being teachable. A willingness to being teachable, learning a new way of saying things, or doing your job goes a long way. Like I’ve said the best employees I’ve worked with are the ones that impliment new strategies and show respect in the process.
  11. Service Oriented – When you are working in customer service – that person who is always on top of things. This really comes down to time managment, attitude, and organization. It is important to really focus on your customers when you are with them and pay attention to the little details that will make their experience better. Simple things like making sure that you can substitute an item out for them is important. But having that attitude and making sure they feel that they are the center of your universe is very important.

The little things like these are the ones that are going to make you stand out to your manager. They will bring you more opportunities because people will notice what you are doing. It’s rare to find someone who fits these qualities so when you do – it may take a moment for them to realize that it’s real but then they will reward you.

 

Have questions or a comment? Share with me!

Daily Life · travel · Uncategorized · Work

Basic Restaurant Rules For The Hungry Diner

Let me tell you, having worked in the industry for a while, I have learned that there are somethings that should never be allowed to fly in a restaurant. Unfortunately, most of these are items that the diners shouldn’t be doing. I’ve written some previous articles on how to improve as a dining attendant/mixologist. This one is for the hungry guest that appears at a restaurant door seeking a table at a nice sit down restaurant. I have started with 5 items but I assure you there are plenty more :).

  1. Know the difference between a preference and an allergy. When your dinint attendant comes to take your order and you ask them to hold the onions, the dairy, the wheat – you should always mention whether or not it’s an allergy. It sounds like oversharing but I assure you it is very very important. A preference is because you don’t like it. An Allergy is because it will cause you physical harm. Your dining attendant, the manager, and the culinary staff all need to know this information. When your ticket for food goes to the culinary staff it tells them whether they need to sterilize their tools and station before making your dish or wash them. It allows the leadership to understand how serious any mistake could be and how much attention your table will be needing. I cannot stress how important this bit of communication is and how it will change the experience you have at the restaurant.
  2. Do not let your children run around the restaurant. Parents who have children, aunts, uncles, grandparents who are bringing children in – do not let them run. Restaurants are not play grounds. It is inappropriate and unsafe for you to allow the child to roam the restaurant. Staff are constantly carrying sharp objects, breakable glass, and hot plates to and from places. They are moving fast and they are not looking for something below their normal line of sight – it’s uncommon in the restaurant industry and deemed unsafe (any boxes would be moved before the shift begins for safety). Children do not have fast reflexes or the knowledge of the place to know where is and isn’t safe. Running around will cause them to be harmed and place the staff of the restaurant at risk as well. Keep your child in their chair or don’t bring them in.
  3. Tips – This seems to be one of those issues where people tip poorly now days. Especially around the holidays. Let me tell you a secret – most of the staff there lives off the tips. They make minimum wage (at least in SF, CA) hourly but the tips make the difference between eating cheese and crackers or eating a burger. Many restaurants do not give their staff free food – they must pay for it. In Michigan servers only make $3-4 an hour and then tips. That is half of minimum wage. My point is – don’t skimp on the tip just because you didn’t order your food correctly. It’s hard understanding what a customer wants from the word go and yes good service should be rewarded higher than bad service. However, think about this – many of those employees do that for a living and are working atleast 2 jobs to get enough to pay for life. You are lucky to have a salary and stability – share a little. Great service should be tipped 25-30% of the total bill; good service 20-25%; ok service 18-20%; decent or minimal service 12-18%; and anything that’s considered poor service should be 10%. You should never EVER tip below 10%. That is just rude.
  4. Know that being Vegan or Vegetarian is a life choice. Let’s talk about diet restrictions. Like having allergies or preferences – many restaurants can accomodate vegan or vegetarian requests. However – this doesn’t mean you are allergic to animal biproducts. If you are vegetarian but ok with eggs – please say so. If you are vegan due to allergies – state that. It is common knowledge that these are lifestyle choices and not typically due to allergies. Again – allergies will change the way the food is prepared and handled in the culinary world and is very very important.
  5. Move your hands/dishes/phones out of the way. When someone comes carrying your food to your table – please move your items. The food is hot and so are the plates. Just because they aren’t using a hotpad doesn’t mean their fingertips aren’t burning. It is extremely rude to keep everything where it is and act all put out when they have to move stuff. SHIFT YOUR SHIT. Be kind and move some glasses. Move some silverware. Move a plate. At the end of the night we do need your cooperation to make the experience as nice as it is. Like wise – do not put bags or feet into the aisleway. If you are tall ask for a high top table. Leaving your items in the aisleway will create a hazard and you are likely to end up with wine or food all over you.

While there are many other things that need to be addressed in terms of what the “societally acceptable” behavior in restaurants is becoming – these basic items will help. Be respectful of the restaurant and their staff. They work very hard to make it a great experience and simple things like this will help enhance that for you. Don’t be that customer they talk about for the rest of the year.

Daily Life · Relationships · School tips · Work

Socially Acceptable?

Lately I’ve been thinking about social norms. Mainly because I was asked by a customer the other day what I think the biggest challenges facing women in the management workforce are. It’s a good question. Great actually. I really had to stop and think.

He and I continued to have a discussion about what the differences between men in management and women in management are. I’ve always enjoyed sociology and psychology when I take those classes. However the reality is that it doesn’t just permeate our society when it comes to management, it’s embedded into our thought process.

Gender stereotypes are weird when you think about them and heaven only knows when they started or where they came from. A great example: Pink is considered a feminine and girly color, while blue is considered a manly color. Interestingly enough these colors began as the opposite. Red was considered a manly color because it mimicked the color of blood and blue was considered feminine as it mimicked the color of flowers.

There have always been small gender stereotypes that we have allowed but the big ones are the ones I want to address today.

Guy Land – is a great example of how far we have allowed boys to fall within our society. Back when America was first being settled men were younger and more mature. They had to be. Now it is considered acceptable for men to stay in the mindset of drinking, partying, and having no responsibilities for a longer period of time. Many people love to watch the movie “Failure to Launch”. The reality is that it simply sums up what our society tolerates and calls “Men”. Like wise it’s become acceptable for people to say that if you cry, if you show any emotion besides anger, you are not a man – you are weak. However if you are a woman and you show anything like this – you are considered to be nothing more than a bitch.

It’s interesting to me how it is easier for men to get promotions, respect, and others never question their emotions in a situation or decision.

If you have ever heard the song “The Man” by Taylor Swift – you will understand what I mean. While I know society is changing and things are becoming better for women in the workforce, they are still very much opposed to women being in power. This song does a great job pointing out the differences between men and women.

Within our society it is thought that women are weaker due to being more emotional, though in all fairness i’m not sure that’s true. Society tells men to bottle their emotions – to be emotionally constipated. While a man might be considered being “strong and manly” by his friends for that, it makes it harder for women to relate to him. Yes there are times where it is nice, but lets be honest, people need relationships – they need to emotionally connect with each other. I’ve copied the lyrics for “The Man” by Taylor Swift and put them down below.

“I would be complex
I would be cool
They’d say I played the field before
I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay
For me to do
Every conquest I had made
Would make me more of a boss to you
I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads
And question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
What’s it like to brag about raking in dollars
And getting bitches and models?
And it’s all good if you’re bad
And it’s okay if you’re mad
If I was out flashin’ my dollas
I’d be a bitch, not a baller
They’d paint me out to be bad
So it’s okay that I’m mad”
The Man by Taylor Swift
Here’s my total ending – we all have stereotypes that are residual in our minds due to the way we have been raised. Society permeates everything. If you take anything away from this, learn to ask questions for why you do what you do and why you think what you think.
As Always – I would love to hear your feedback!

Daily Life · depression · exercise

5 Reasons to Exercise When You Are Depressed.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with one of the regulars that comes into work. He and his friend come in almost 3 times a week. I know them by name and we always have a fun time visiting. This particular friend asked me yesterday how you know when you are depressed. I turned and looked at him and said – “You know you are depressed when you get good at pretending you aren’t, when even you believe it but when you know that there is nothing inside. You are a void – one that can’t be filled. You don’t feel anything anymore – not overwhelming sorrow, joy, anger, or love. You feel empty. And with that emptiness you feel incredibly tired and it’s hard to even fake something but somehow you do it.” He looked at me and simply said “wow – and how do you know this?” I told him – I’ve struggled with depression everyday for the past 15 years. When he asked me how I’ve dealt with it – My number one answer is exercise. While I do seek treatment for it – exercise has helped me a lot.

When you have depression that is the best time to exercise, and here is why:

Endorphin Release: 

Exercise stimulates your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are happiness chemicals. This means that when you are feeling down and depressed, your brain will make more of what you need if you stimulate it. It will releave some of the depression (I won’t say it goes away completely) and will allow you to start feeling a bit better. Ever watch the movie Legally Blonde? “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” This is one of my favorite quotes and it’s so true. Go get that endorphin release!

Self-Confidence Boost:

Exercise does a great job of giving people a self-confidence boost. Let’s just admit between you and me that a lot of us fake it til we make it. Especially women. I struggle being comfortable in my own body. That being said – I am not the best looking woman in the world but I know I’m decent looking. However I find that after I have worked out – I feel so much more comfortable in my own body. Even if I do it when I’m feeling depressed – I finish and find that I can successfully look in the mirror and say “Damn I look Good”. I’m sure part of that is the workout “high” but I’m also sure that by working out – I start feeling more comfortable with who I am.

The Pain:

I know this is going to sound counter intuitive but as a person who struggles with depression, I always just look to feel something. When you are depressed you simply want something to fill the void. You want to know that you are still human – that there is a pain deeper or something to make you more aware of being “life-like”. Versus turning to something like cutting or doing self damage – I find that this works for me. The pain draws me out of my shell and makes me feel normal. It reminds me that I’m alive and hey – this pain – it’s a good thing! It’s because I took time to take care of myself. Which rotates again into the endorphins and self-confidence point. I can enjoy the pain without guilt or any negative emotion! What a relief.

Self-Focus: 

Again – a seemingly counter-intuitive point. Many people think that when you are depressed you need to be drawn out of your shell. Keep the focus on other people. Yes this is true – you do need to spend time with others. If you are struggling with depression the best way to forget is to do some volunteer work. But it’s also worth noting that you need to self-focus a bit and really get your own crap together. I’m not encouraging staying at home. I am how ever saying that I go exercise and focus on the negativity – I find it fuels my workout. But I make it a point that when I leave the mat or the gym – that negativity stays behind. My brain works overtime in the gym. I figure things out because the exercise gives me clarity, but afterwards – every negative item I feel must remain in the gym. I cannot take it with me. Sometimes running outside does the same – imagine running away from all your problems. The idea has a similar concept.

The Plunge:

There are days where getting out of bed is a challenge for me. I have learned though that if I never move – I never challenge myself – I feel worse. The days where you just want to crawl into bed or curl up in a ball – those are the days you need to exercise the most. Spending time – even if it’s simply for a walk – can cause you to see things you wouldn’t have noticed. You will feel better about going to bed and maybe less depressed. It’s worth a try. Take the plunge.

Conclusion:

In closing I want to note – I am not a doctor or a therapist. Consult them before you do anything drastic or crazy. But I will state that exercising has some great benefits and no doctor is going to tell you that you shouldn’t do something active based. If you struggle with depression this is a great way for you to help yourself outside of medication or even with it. Trust me the burn is worth the pay off.

Daily Life · Hygge · School tips · Work

5 of The Best Ways to De-Stress

It seems like stress is always surrounding us. I’m not sure about my readers but I always go through a phase where every so many weeks – I feel more stressed than I should. Yesterday was that day. What happens is that I feel overwhelmed, over burdened, and generically insane. I get cranky and end up biting off my husbands head. In short – I become the “Queen Of Hearts”. Inevitably in this cycle of crazy – the next phase to follow is me de-stressing. I’ve found a five ways to do that and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

 

Hygge- 

If you are familiar at all with this term than you will know it is made for relaxation. I come from a state which tends to be cold 6 months out of the year. For me – this practice is more nostalgic than anything. There is something very relaxing about curling up in a fluffy blanket with a cup of something hot in hand. I also recommend a book – something that you don’t need to think about.

Baking – 

For me baking is an outlet. I find that I need to be able to create something that I can control in order to feel relaxed. It’s like finding a hobby. Everyone should have at least 1 and for me – it’s baking. I enjoy food, and I enjoy creating it. (PS – Check out my baking business at http://www.sweetstoriesbakery.wordpress.com )

Exercise –

While I don’t particularly love exercise, I do find that I enjoy the endorphin release it gives me. I have found that with exercising it allows my body to expell all the negative energy it has and it allows me to focus on what’s at hand. It also helps me to remove all the thoughts in my head and become more at peace. The days that I haven’t been super stressed out – I will do yoga. The days where it’s been harder I tend to do more spinning, running, or kick boxing. I find that this allows me to keep the peaceful feeling flowing when I’m having a good day and to expell all the anger and resentment I may be harboring on the other days.

Candles and a Hot Bath – 

Hot baths can do wonders for the body and soul. I highly recommend this one especially before bed. I have found that a hot bath with a soothing candle can create an atmosphere of peace where one can feel completely rested. This allows the mind to relax and the body to let go of any stress. If you are like me – you come out ready for a nap.

Avoiding Social Media – 

To be honest – I’m rarely on twitter, instagram, or facebook. I find that they harbor so much negativity that my life is far less complicated or stressful when I’m not on them. I have also found, mainly because I manage a restaurant, that if I’m at home – I need to put my phone down. I also set it on silent so I can ignore any work messages until a certain time frame has passed. I will tell you that being on your phone 24/7 is unhealthy and creates a need for more drama than you can fill. It will cause your mind to never be able to shut down and really – not everyone’s issue needs to be ours. This is the one thing that my husband has to remind me of constantly and it’s the continual source of my frustration. I’m working on trying to put down my phone more often and I recommend you do the same.

 

Honestly,

It’s hard trying to de-stress. It’s hard trying to avoid certain habits that we have created and it’s hard starting new ones. I’m not much for exercising but I have found I need the outlet. I’m always attached to my phone – and I have found I need to put it down. If you have tips and tricks that you find help you de-stress I would love to hear about them. Everyone is different and so each item is going to suit people differently. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Daily Life · School tips · travel

The Art Of Learning A New Language

When you think about it, what’s one of the hardest things to learn? Languages. Now granted some people are naturally born with the gift of tongues, which allows them to naturally learn languages quickly. Not all of us are gifted like that.

The hardest part for me about getting married into a new culture and family was that when they are all together they speak spanish only. Now if you went to a standard highschool you were required to learn a language of some sort. That being said – I’m going to talk about the best way to learn a language outside of a school setting.

I’ve picked up a few tricks – firstly when I learned some Japanese from my coworkers in Hawaii, and secondly when I married into this family.

  1. Duolingo.com – I swear by this website. It’s better than Rosetta stone. This app connects words with images and also teaches you the difference between verb conjugations without making you recite things like you did in highschool. It gives you a better sense on how you should speak in a sentence.
  2. Music/Radios – The best way to learn things is through listening. Music is great at that. Songs in different languages tend to be sung slower than when people normally speak. It becomes easier to hear and understand things in songs.
  3. Watch Movies – Watching movies in another language. It again slows things down. It teaches how to speak in a basic sentence structure. It is also great if you can watch them with subtitles in the same language. This helps widen your vocabulary.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – The phrase “practice Makes Perfect” is very accurate. The more you practice something the more you become fluent and the easier it will become to speak in that language.

The best way to learn new languages is to always practice. Always keep notes, and always allow someone to help you/teach you. I have also found that if I talk to myself I improve because it becomes easier to pronounce the words.

Have any tips? Let me know!

Holiday · Reviews · travel

“4 Best” Buffets in Las Vegas – A Foodie’s Review

Working in the restaurant industry is hard. It’s time consuming and really drains your energy. This is a review of the buffers on the Vegas Strip that I have heard called “the best”.

I have rated them on a scale of 1-5. 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. They are rated on culinary options, food quality, customer service, prices, and cleanliness.

1. The Bacchanal Buffet –

My husband and I have eaten at this buffet several times. This is easily the largest buffet that I am aware of in the Las Vegas Strip. It has multiple options and in my humble opinion, the largest seafood and meat selection of all the buffets I have experienced. The food quality has always been stellar (It has the best and largest sushi selection) and it tends to be the place I find myself craving when I think of Las Vegas. The customer service has always been decent. They tend to be the most attentive though I did have an experience where the server asked my husband and I to leave due to her needing the table. Working in the business, I understand needing the table, however, the way it was phrased definitely could have been better. That being said we have always enjoyed our experiences. The prices are the highest at this buffet but it is always worth it. You do need to go hungry to get your moneys worth though. I do have to give The Bacchanal a high five for cleanliness. They have always done a great job clearing tables and keeping the food areas clean. This is super important because no guest wants to eat next to a dirty table or pick off of dirty forks. The overall rating I would give to The Bacchanal Buffet is 4.5/5.

2. The Wicked Spoon Buffet-

This is one of my personal favorites. While it isn’t as large as The Bacchanal Buffet. It has great flavors. The items that are features in the buffet are well seasoned and flavorful. The customer service has always been really good. Drinks have been consistently refilled and the server was always there when needed. The price for the options and the quality of food is not unreasonable by any means. The tables and food buffets have always been clean when I have attended. Overall this buffet has always impressed me, my only qualm is that it is a bit off the beaten path and can be hard to find. The overall rating for The Wicked Spoon Buffet is 4/5.

3. The Buffet at The Bellagio-

This buffet is one of the smaller ones. While it has a decent size carving section, it has always impressed me with the amount of vegetarian options. They have more vegetables that have been cooked and a salad bar than some of the other buffets. The quality has always been great and I haven’t had a bad meal there once. While the customer service is good, you are in charge of getting your own drinks and for the price it kind of leaves the customer wanting. This particular buffet is probably the one that always has tables cleaned and reset the fastest. I attribute this to the fact that it’s the smallest and the “servers” do the least amount of work out of all the buffets. The overall rating of this buffet is 3/5.

4. The Buffet at The Aria-

While this buffet had the largest seating possible and was in one of the newest hotels, I was disappointed. If you go before 12 am you will not find many options. It had the smallest food options and for the options given it was probably the priciest. The quality was decent but lacked flavor. The customer service and cleanliness of this particular buffet was poor. While the food buffet area was clean the tables needed desperate attention. I watched the table next to us remain dirty for close to 20 minutes. I also had to ask our server for a drink 3 times prior to getting it. This happened not only on our first visit but on the second one as well. The overall rating for this buffet is 2.5.

Over all, I would highly recommend The Bacchanal Buffet or The Wicked Spoon Buffet. I would say the best one for breakfast is The Buffet at the Bellagio. I would not recommend The Buffet at The Aria.

Holiday · Reviews · travel

Top 5 Las Vegas Hotels To Enjoy

As you all know – I work in the customer service industry. Have done for 8 years now, well my husband and I love to travel. We frequent Las Vegas quite a bit. For this reason I’ve compiled a list of the More popular Hotels that we have stayed at and what we thought of them. These hotels include: The Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Aria, and the Wynn. I’ve listed the hotels in the order of the ones we liked the most to the ones we weren’t overwhelmed with.

**as a note to my readers – I do not get any affiliate payout for these reviews. Meaning they are strictly based on my experience and unbiased or “bought”**

1. The Cosmopolitan- (9/10)

We had a great experience here. We were able to check in early and the front desk staff was super friendly and attentive. We were offered the option of an upgraded room that had a view of the Bellagio fountains and a Japanese bathtub. Let me just say that it was worth every penny! We had a beautiful balcony. The tub had a huge window facing the fountains which was a great perk for me – I was able to relax in the tub and watch the show! They also were able to accommodate our request for a later checkout – super pleased about that. The pool was a great experience. They have these nice wave chairs where you can drag it into the shallows and lounge in the water for no extra charge. The pools are wading pools – meaning there are no stairs they come out via a ramp. While the lower pool was very popular due to the bar – the upper pool was more relaxing, it also had umbrellas to provide shaded areas in the pool.

2. The Aria- (8/10)

To begin the check in area was very clean. Details matter and their area was clean and decorated appropriately. The minimalistic flower arrangements did a lot.

The room was spacey- not as large as the room in the Cosmopolitan or the Wynn, but equally as nice. It was a fully automated room. Everything was controlled by and iPad, including the curtains. They gave us and early check in but were unable to give us a late checkout – little bit of a let down. However, their online checkout system was very user friendly and you could access it from multiple devices. Their pool systems were more traditional. The pool side attendants really were lacking however. They seemed to not care and lack gumption- all except one. Carly saved our pool side experience. Her 4 seasons of working as a pool side server shone through and her guest service game was on par! She was able to explain all of the menu to us and had a great attitude – super approachable. She was someone we searched out which pool she was serving before we sat down. While the Aria has many great things to offer – due to our pool experience and the size of the room it really just fell flat and cane second on our list.

3.Caesar’s Palace- (7/10)

Caesar’s palace has many great things to offer. While we did end up getting married in their chapel and I would highly recommend shu as a wedding coordinator because she saved my sanity multiple times. Caesar’s really only ranks 3rd for us. Their wedding chapels are gorgeous and worth using. The wedding suit was huge. About the size of a medium sized studio apartment. The rooms here are definitely older, but they are clean and the staff is always friendly. Caesar’s also many options of things that their visitors can do (the shops, restaurants, and endless games). The room had many windows which for me is a huge deal – I always want more light in my room (comes from living in a winterized state for so long). We have not experienced the pools in Caesar’s except the winter and it was too cold to do much swimming. But in the summer they have a secluded European pool system and American pools. Everything is influenced by Roman architecture and is gorgeous. Due to it simply being an older hotel – this ranks as 3rd on our list.

4. The Wynn- (7/10)

The Wynn was the first hotel I stayed at on the strip and so because of the memories there it holds my heart but as a rated hotel it falls to the fourth on our list. The room we received was clean and spotless. It was a suit. The view lacked but that was ok. We didn’t get in early and it took longer for us to check in than it has anywhere else. The bed was perfectly fluffy and yet still firm enough. The entry area was stunning. They change the flowers regularly.

The next day they were different. It’s still one of my favorite hotels to walk through due to the flowers alone. The pool side service was excellent. Our attendant was very attentive and gracious. There was plenty of entertainment within this casino. While there are great memories the customer service was simply sub par to other service we received.

5. The Bellagio- (6/10)

The Bellagio is known around the world. Due to being featured in movies like the Oceans movies – it has built up a reputation for itself. I was disappointed. We had a decent check in and they gave a later checkout. However, the room was tiny and in completely dark tones. It only had a few windows and felt like a prison on some level. The decor was nice but very dated. They are known for their fountains – which I didn’t get a view of. It was very clear that The Bellagio really only provides rooms for crashing purposes because the casino part is huge. There’s plenty of games and it is evident they want you to only stay if you are gaming. This only disappointed me and I was very underwhelmed by my experience there. We did not experience the poolside service, perhaps that would have been our saving grace.

Overall, we have had some great experiences but I would highly recommend the newer casinos to stay in. They have more accommodation perks and were not disappointing at all. I’m sure the older casinos could be amazing but they need to be renovated and up dated.

Books · Reviews · School tips

The Art of Thinking: Truths Found from Poetry

Below I have encluded an explication of a passage that I wrote some time ago. I didn’t have long to write a post this week but I wanted to share something that I’m proud of and something that maybe another student will have to do. Hopefully it will be helpful and if not enlightening. I would recommend you all read the book – it’s extremely good.

 

An explication of a passage in Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“I was learning the craft of poetry, which really was an intensive version of what my mother had taught me all those years ago – the craft of writing as the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth – loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions – beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.” (pg.51-52)

Throughout his book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates informs his son about his internal battle with his social position in the world as a young man. This passage correlates directly to his struggle with finding the truth. While he explains, earlier in his book, that he took time to study in the library for any answers he might need from outside sources, this passage informs the audience that he also looked intrinsically for the answers to the inner turmoil he experienced. Within the first sentence he informs his son that he learned poetry, which he says is an intensive rendition of what his mother taught him as a child. Earlier in the book he states that his mother always had him write down his questions and intrinsically search out reasons why he thought and acted the way he did. On page 51, Coates states that poetry forced him to do the same: to learn the art of thinking. He learned this art by confronting his own innocence and rationalizations, by forming poetry that helped him see the “cold steel truths of life”.

Many believe that poetry is something that is romantic. Something that can be read quickly, quietly, and without thought. Coates states that poetry is something different. He says it “aims for an economy of truth…” meaning that poetry is meant to utilize the truth, to be a stage on which truth is set. The word “economy” in this sentence means “the way in which something is managed” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. What Coates preposes is that poetry, even in its simplest form, is the essence of truth. He says that it discards “loose and useless words” even though they “…are not separate from loose and useless thoughts.” I believe that when he wrote this, the easiest way to understand what he meant is thus: poetry, while fluid and rythmic, is not filled with unnecessary words; even though, sometimes it may be filled by loose and sometimes useless thoughts and ideas. That is to say, on occasion, poetry is simply meant for the beauty it provides and not always to provoke deep thoughts. Coates concludes by saying that “Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions – beautiful writing rarely is.” This statement infers the idea that Coates believed that most poetry was founded on great ideas, profound thoughts, and the cornerstone of the writers beliefs, ideals, or morals. The way in which Coates expresses his understanding of poetry is that of a direct, flowing, and rhythmic way to understand one’s own innocence and rationalizations. 

He expresses his desire to learn to write in a way which he was taught – to confront his own innocence and rationalizations. As he stated in the beginning of the passage “…the craft of writing as the art of thinking…” Coates understands, as most great poets and writers do, that the craft of writing is to think. Anyone can obtain the ability to write, but few can obtain the art of thinking. A craft is something that is learned – a trade that is taught by someone. The arts are something that is a passion, a process by which someone works until they have perfected what they do to make it beautiful and alluring to others. What is to be understood from this particular part of the passage is that, in order to write well and influence others, one must think critically and be willing to challenge everything known to them. Coates states that he wanted to confront his own innocence and rationalizations, he understood that in order to understand the world, and to better understand the way in which he was to function within it, he needed to challenge what he knew. Coates understood that innocence and rationalizations will pass away and he seeks to do it himself through his own intrinsic searching, through the art of thinking, and the craft of writing. 

In the last sentence of his passage, Coates states that “Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.” The implication that stems from this particular sentence is that by leaving behind the “loose” and “useless” words, Coates was able to better direct his thoughts. He talks of the “… slag of justification..” this could be a reference back to his rationalizations that he spoke of earlier and wanted to confront. When he mentions the “slag of justification” falling away, it is easy to understand that he means all his rationalizations came to nothing and from that he was able to move forward to what was left. Slag refers to the substance. This means that all the basis of his justifications fell away. Coates was able to, without his rationalization or justifications, understand these “cold steel truths of life”.

Coates talks about the “cold steel truths of life” that he was left with after his justifications, rationalizations, and innocence fell away in the last part of this passage. While there are many truths to life, due to the context of this book, it could be argued that he understood these truths to be the way in which life would continue for him. He could also be referring to the manner in which society treated African Americans and how he believed it was unlikely to change. Whatever these truths are, he describes them as being cold as steel. A visualization to the reader that these truths are unforgiving and unbending, like steel bars on an iron cage. These are the answers he has been searching for, but it is clear from his description of them – they are not the ones he wants. 

Through his passage Coates brings to life what poetry can be for a writer. It can be a way to weedle out the unnecessary words and ideas, and simply come to the truth. It helps the writer to wrestle with questions they may not otherwise think of asking themselves. And it gives direction to the answers and, potentially, to the truth. Poetry is the best form of writing; the best available way to learn the art of thinking, a way to find the truth.

 

Works Cited

 

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. First edition. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

 

“economy, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2018. Web. 18 July 2018.

 

Oxford English Dictionary

“Islamophobia, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, July 2018. Web. 22 October 2018.

New York Times – “Arabian Knights” song; July 14, 1993

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/14/opinion/it-s-racist-but-hey-it-s-disney.html

Daily Life · Family · Relationships

5 Of The Best Relationship Tips

Everybody has trouble with relationships. Most of the best movies or books revolve around this fact – interpersonal relationships.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I haven’t had my share. I’m not perfect, I’ve failed miserably at times. I won’t lie to you – I’ve been divorced, in failed relationships, fights, remarried and still have battles.

Many people would say that this makes me inqualified to speak on relationships – why listen to someone who couldn’t do it right the first time? I’ll tell you something – something everyone knows but no one says aloud. The ones who failed the first times are the ones we listen to on a daily basis – they know what mistakes not to make.

Think about this – Humanity learned from people who made mistakes: 

Benjamin Franklin found electricity due to a failed attempt of putting a key to a kite.

Thomas Eddison – He had over 1000 unsuccessful tries at making a light bulb. He finally found one.

Amelia Earhart gave her life trying to fly across the atlantic and failed – other people learned, followed, and succeeded.

My point is – I may seem unqualified because of 1 unsuccessful attempt but learning and growing is part of my nature. It’s made me who I am. All this to say – I’ve learned what I’m about to share with you. 5 basic relationship tips to help you succeed.

  1. Not Every Battle is Worth Fighting –

Fighting takes a lot of energy. It drains you dry. I’ve learned that peace is better in my household. There are some battles that I will fight out right but most of them, if I sit quietly long enough, my husband will fight in his own mind. Sometimes it’s more worth it if I simply allow him to figure out he is wrong than blatently saying he is, please don’t misunderstand me – when he asks – I will honestly tell him what I think. This doesn’t mean that I need to vocalize it at every moment though. Save your energy – ask questions that prompt introspection from them and they will figure it out on their own.

2. Basic Respect – 

Everyone wants to be respected. Basic respect comes in several forms – some I’m still learning. Listening instead of talking over, not correcting in public, and following someone elses lead are great ways to show respect. Even when my husband is wrong and I know it – I try to listen and not talk over him. I try not to correct him in public – even in front of his own family, and when he directs me to something – I try to follow his lead (as long as it’s in a decent and correct direction). When he asks for my opinion in public I try to word it as politely as possible so that he can understand where I’m coming from and that I don’t agree with him.

3. Compromise – 

Life is compromise. Give and Take. Yin and Yang. Everything is about balance. When it comes to relationships – it’s important to compromise. Sometimes it’s about housework, sometimes it’s going out. For us it’s about purchases, items that we can enjoy outside of work. My husband encourages my good habits – blogging (I got my own domain last night!!!), I encourage his gaming or collecting of figurines. Everyone has their own hobbies and it’s important to find balance and make compromises so that each person gets to keep theirs.

4. They Only Get One Family-

This may seem strange but I’ve had two mother-in-laws in my life. The first, while I tried to be nice and respectful was a real trial for me. The second (My current mother-in-law) is a fair woman. She is my back up. Many times I don’t need to correct my husband because my MIL (Mother-in-law) does it for me. He listens to her far more avidly than he listens to me (not in a bad way) but she is his mother. Many times I can go to her with the problem I’m having with him and she will interceed and help him understand when I can’t. I try to encourage him to spend time with her and also with all his family. You only get one and then it’s over. Family is important and it’s important to keep those relationships up evern when you are married.

5. Stop Expecting…… – 

This is probably the best advice I can give to you – stop having expectations. Life isn’t built on them and you will only be disappointed. I had a revelation the other day when I was irritated with my hubby. I was mad but I was mad because he wasn’t acting the way I expected him to, he was acting the way he had always acted. At some point – you need to stop being irritated because the person is acting the way they always have and not conforming to what you want. It’s kind of freeing – they might grow and change but it won’t be through your expectations and when you stop expecting than you can start forgiving. Forgiving brings healing and healing brings you closer together.

Conclusion: 

I’m no expert. I have, however, found that these tips make all the difference. I have a happier, simpler marriage than some of the others I see. Following these steps and find a simpler form of living. Enjoy the relationships again and hey – if after practicing all these it still isn’t working – maybe it’s time to think about other things…. But that’s another post.

Have tips and tricks? Drop me a Note:

Daily Life · Family · Work

4 of The Best Housekeeping Products

I don’t know about the rest of the world but I barely have time for housekeeping. I work a job that demands the better part of 60 hours a week and I attend school for nursing. That being said, I am a busy woman. Besides having little time and energy for cleaning, I have little desire. I despise cleaning. Laundry, bathrooms, floors – I only clean when I’m irritated. That’s when my house is the cleanest.

Here are a few products that I have found that make it easier.

  1. Windex – Windex is a miracle cleaner. It’s something that will disinfect and make the house smell nice. It works on bathroom counter tops and is great for cleaning sink fixtures. This is a great way to make silver items, windows, mirrors, and the exterior of toilets shine. It also makes a great surface dusting agent but you have to be sure to spray it on a
  2. Toilet Bowl Cleaner – This is an obvious must have for a multitude of reasons. The first being because every toilet needs to be cleaned on the inside regularly. The second which is a trick I picked up for my mother, is that it cleans tubs fabulously! I severely dislike products like Scrubbing Bubbles – I find that they leave a ring around my tub. Toilet bowl cleaner however – Always removes stains and all sorts of rings. It also removes the grime and gritty feeling of the tub. I’ve never had to use anything more than a brush and the toilet cleaner.
  3. Lysol– Lysol really is the amazing. I use it to mop my floors and to white wash my cabinets. It always leaves my house smelling wonderful and removes all the stains. It also is great to use in the tub to leave it smelling fresh and clean.
  4. Dish Soap– This stuff is great. Not only is multipurpose but it’s also a great degreaser. I have used it for the traditional purpose of cleaning my dishes but I have also used it to clean my floors, degrease my stove top, and clean my fridge.

I have found that these products with a brush or cloth and some hot water have gone a long way. If used properly these products can increase the span that your house stays clean. Of course dusting is a regular issue due to weather but other than that – this will help you. If you have any product reviews – I would love to hear them, please fill out the form below.

*I have also found that there are some simple tips to using them. Tune in next time to hear those. *

Children

3 Websites to help you prepare for finals

College level courses are rough. It doesn’t matter if you are fresh out of highschool or if you are headed back to college as an adult. Personally for me, the hardest classes for pass are the ones that are science and math based. Over several years of studying I have found 3 separate websites that have really helped me prepare for exams and finals, which I want to share with my readers because everyone deserves to pass their classes.

  1. Quizlet.com – Quizlet has been great for a multitude of reasons. This website allows you to do a multitude of things. Firstly – it allows you to create any amount of flashcards needed for any chapter or class. Secondly – not only will it drill you on these flashcards but it will do it in a variety of ways. Thirdly – Not only are you able to make your own flash card set but the website also allows you to access other people’s flashcards sets regarding the same topic or any topic that you would like to learn about.
  2. Chegg.com – While it has similar aspects to quizlet in the way of flashcards, chegg also allows you to rent any textbook you may need and that they have available along with other books that might help you to learn about the topic of your choice.
  3. Kahnacademy.com –  This one is probably my favorite to be honest. This website has just about every subject at every level you might need. Not only do they have multiple videos that explain every problem you need to know but they also have multiple practice problems with videos on how to do them and hints. All of these are extremely helpful.

All of these websites have been helpful in passing classes that I have struggled with in the past. I would highly recommend these websites for college students and possibly for even for children who are having a hard time understanding concepts. Being homeschooled myself, I have found these to be incredibly helpful and useful in the learning of new concepts. Have any tips? Feel free to share them below.

Daily Life · School tips · Work

5 Things To Do Before The School Semester Starts

As this semester rises up to greet us it brings to my mind how much needs to be done before I begin school again. So, having sat down and come up with my own list of what needs to be done – I thought I would share it with my readers in a hope that it would help those around me.

  1. Deep Clean Your House – This sounds a bit intensive, and it is, but deep cleaning the house is a great way to start the semester. Not only will it be easier to maintain after you have deep cleaned it but it will also make you feel better and less stressed as you start the semester.
  2. Compile A List Of Items Needed For Classes – It seems easier to wait until you have to get things but honestly – pre-order your books. If you don’t know what they are – email your professors. This is a simple step in getting everything ready for that first day so that you don’t need to think the morning of.
  3. Pre-make Meals – Now I’m the kind of person that will eat based on mood but when it comes to the school year – getting meals pre-done makes things so much easier. Pre-make your breakfast oatmeal or dinner – stick them in the freezer – You might spend a whole day doing this but it will make it easier for you when it’s the school year.
  4. Build That Habit – Go ahead and start building that habit you want to have during the school year. It might be working-out or waking up early, either way if you start now it will make the first few days of school easier to keep up with and maintain the habit.
  5. Set Your Goals – Set your goals for the semester. It might be good grades or maintaining work and school, whatever it is that makes your list – write it down. Keep them short and obtainable. Don’t reach for the stars yet but start simple. You want to be able to succeed.

These are just some simple tips and tricks that I have picked up and found makes my school year easier to adjust to. These things are items that I do before every semester. It makes success easier and also helps prioritize and organize my life.

Have any tips and tricks? Comment below!

Daily Life · Family · Reviews

7 of the Best Clean Shows (UK)

You know what I love about UK (BBC) television? It’s always clean. Think about it – it might have adventure, it might be scary but it’s always clean. It’s refreshing to be able to watch a show that I love and not have to worry about nudity or adult graphics when kids are around. Even kids can watch them. That being said, I’ve compiled a list of the TV shows that I enjoy watching the most from BBC/PBS and that are available on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

  1. Downton Abbey
    • We have all seen it. It’s a great show. This one encompasses life during the early 1900’s in England. It shows us what it would have been like to live during that era. It really does a great job showing us the triumphs and pitfalls of what would have been available to each social class and being able to watch them navigate it is always interesting. This particular show is dramatic, family friendly, and intriguing.
  2. Land Girls
    • Placed in a slightly later timeframe than Downton Abbey – Land Girls does a great job showing how women contributed to the English economy during WWII. It follows 4 girls and their triumphs and failures throughout a year. While some go on to find love, others are faced with moral dilemmas, and some are filled it with anguish. I would classify this show as family friendly, historical, and dramatic.
  3. Call The Midwife – 
    • This show is easily one of my favorites. While the main character disappears after the first season or two – the show continues and it really gives a great insight into what nursing was like in the 1950’s. Surprisingly my grandmother was actually a nurse during that time frame in the US and when I ask her – she tells me the show is very accurate. This show upholds the ideals of the 1950’s house wife, morals, and conscience of England. Therefore, this show is classified as historically accurate, clean, and while pieces might be not child friendly, it is over all family friendly.
  4. Sherlock – 
    • I think we can all agree that Benedict Cumberbatch is an excellent actor. He and Martin Freeman have paired off in this riveting show to give us a great duo known as “Sherlock” and “Watson”. This show is not only interesting and excellent at holding a short attention span but is exciting and a family friendly detective show. Over all, the show does a great spin on a well-known classic book.
  5. Dr.Who- 
    • Firstly if you haven’t seen this show, put down your computer or phone and go watch it. This show happens to be one of my favorites. The beauty is that the main character is always changing (every season or two) and so does his companion. It’s a bit like James Bond – the constant change brings something new to the show and everyone has their own favorite. This is a great Sci-fi show that is clean, adventurous, and has a occassional twist in history. At times it’s just thrilling enough and each ending is different. It is a must watch.
  6. Great British Baking Show –
    • Who doesn’t love food? I’m a bit of a foodie, but baking is really my outlet. I enjoy watching this show because I always get new flavor ideas, learn more about baking, and it’s a comforting show for me. Unlike American competitions where each person is very mindful of their own interests, the contestants on The GBBS are very aware that everyone needs to finish. They show great sportsmanship and each person is helped to finish before presenting. It is an educational, clean, family friendly show that highlights what competition could be.
  7. Planet Earth- 
    • I love David Attenborough. The day he stops doing nature documentaries will be the saddest day of my life. His voice is soothing and he does a great job showing emotion when necessary. Not only are these shows clean and wholesome but they are educational and also informative. It is something every child could watch and every adult enjoy.

Over all – UK television has been producing clean and wholesome shows for a long time. I’ve been hard pressed to find anything coarse or inappropriate within their shows. I’m always looking for more so if you have a recommendation please leave a comment.

Work

9 Tips to Increase Your Performance as a Server

Previously I have discussed a few tips to increase server performance. While these still hold true – I’m going to expound on them. I work as a manager in the restaurant industry, these are based on things that I see my own staff doing or things I have discussed with them. Not only will these tips impress your manager but they are sure to impress your guests as well.

  1. Pay attention to the details –
    • Details are everything when you are serving a guest. They make the difference between having someone send something back to the kitchen or them loving the dish.
    • Attention to details encompasses knowing:
    • what ingredients the kitchen uses
    • checking your section for wobbling tables
    • making sure your station is filled and ready to go
    • doing your side-work properly so you set the next shift up for success
    • clearing the table when ready (this is not just the busser’s job)
  2. A great server Introduces themselves –
    • I had one of my servers recently tell me that they didn’t want to introduce themselves because it felt a bit much like working at Chili’s. I told them – You should introduce yourself because it gives a warm and welcoming feeling to your guests. This is the basis of starting a connection to up-selling.
    • When someone is standing overtop of you – you are already feeling a bit prickled ( you are uncomfortable because you are placed in a vulnerable position), the introduction makes you feel a bit more at ease.
  3. Smile –
    • Smiling does a lot. I’m not talking about looking like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland but you do need to smile when you take care of people. It makes them feel important and that you are there to help them.
  4. Preferences, Sensitivities, and Allergies –
    • It seems like everyone has an allergy of some sort. I tell my servers when they introduce themselves always start with “Welcome to ____________, my name is Hannah. I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Are there any preferences, sensitivities, or allergies I need to be aware of?” This immediately sets the tone for guests. They know you, they can trust you, and you have attention to detail. I have seen an increase in my servers tips when they use this on tables vs when they don’t. To be clear – a preference is like a diet – the customer is adhering to it but will not have an allergic reaction, a sensitivity – they may have a minor reaction but it won’t be bad – they can handle cross-contaimination, an allergy – they cannot have any cross-contaimination – it will result in a severe allergic reaction. This needs to be stated on the ticket to the kitchen as well and the manager should be made aware.
  5. Know your menu –
    • Make sure that you as the server know the menu. You know what is going into the dishes, what the kitchen can change. Be aware of the time frame – if it’s a rush – the kitchen may not want to change it. Make sure you know the bar menu. If you are still learning that’s fine, always say “I’m not sure but let me check for you.” It tells them that you don’t know but you are willing to go the extra mile to find out.
  6. Mis en place –
    • I know I have mentioned it before but it bears mentioning again. ALWAYS make sure your table is prepped. This means dropping dessert spoons as soon as they order, dropping a bowl for those seafood shells, or getting a chiller set up for white wine. The bussers/runners don’t have time for it and it is your job as a server. These little things are again – attention to details that make the difference between you and other servers.
  7. Good Wine Service –
    • This is more important to me because I live and work in California. This means that almost everyone out here knows about wine and how it should be served. That being said – good wine service starts from the beginning. You should always show the label and the bottle (cupping the bottom with your hand) to the person who ordered. When they say it’s alright hold the bottom and cut below the lip. Place the trash in your apron (never on the table) – do not twist the bottle when you cut it and never hold it by the neck (even when you are removing the cork). Pour a taste for the person who ordered. When they give the nod – you can pour clockwise, ending with that same person. Place the bottle and the cork on the table (or in the chiller if it’s a white). If you are nervous about the whole process and they are quite – ask them questions that force long answers “Where are you from?” “How do you like the area?” etc. It forces them to talk and takes the pressure off you.
  8. Know How to Up-sell –
    • You don’t need to pressure anyone to buy anything, but you should know how to up-sell. If they buy two glasses of the same wine, say “I noticed you want two glasses of the same wine, would you be interested in a bottle?” When it comes to dessert – always drop the menu with a recommendation. “The Churros are my favorite – they are like eating a baby angel.” I know it sounds weird but it sticks with people. When you describe the food – describe it in such a way that it makes their mouth water. Use words like:
      • decadent
      • moist
      • full of spice
      • hints of _______
    • basically you need to act like you are a Food Network star describing the food. That’s how you sell it. People want to know what’s the best. The items that I eat all the time I say are “_______________ soul food” (Insert whatever cultural restaurant you work for – example “Mexican Soul Food”) People know terms like that and they love hearing it.
    • You eat first with your ears, then your eyes, finally you eat with your mouth.
  9. Check the Food-
    • Make sure when the food comes out it is up to their liking. As soon as it’s dropped “Everything looks ok?” and after two bites “How is it tasting?” These prevent a guest from sitting there waiting like an idiot for the server to come back, just to say it was bad.
    • If they order a steak always – ALWAYS – ask them to cut into it to make sure the temperature is correct. Wait until they have done so and it is good before you walk away.

The reality is small things like these, which might seem large at the moment, make all the difference to your guests. They are bread and butter of a servers life. These will make your guests happier – they are more likely to return to you and that restaurant, they will increase your tips, and they will increase your standing with your manager.

Remember Good service isn’t an accident – Good service is on purpose.

Have tips or tricks? Please Share! 

 

Children · Daily Life

Childhood Consequences

I don’t have children. Don’t let that stop you from reading thought.

I’ve heard many people say that those who don’t have children shouldn’t have an opinion about parenting and the techniques utilized. They say that those who have no children know nothing. Let me be clear why I’m qualified for this post. I have 7 nieces and nephews, I have nannied for several years, I have grown up watching other peoples children and their parenting styles and I choose not to have children at this point in my life. I also believe that I’m qualified to speak on this topic because I choose not to have children.

I choose not to have children not because I dislike children but it’s a huge investment of time and money. It’s an investment that I’m not ready to make. People always say that someone who didn’t do what they did or the way the did it shouldn’t speak on an issue but there are many ways to do one thing. And just because someone failed at something the first time shouldn’t disqualify them. No one is perfect.

Many parents no longer teach their child to behave. There is no discipline. The issue with this is that then the child becomes an unreasonable little monster. You know what’s super funny to me, everytime I am around a child who won’t listen to their parents (provided I know the child) I will set a boundary for them. They never cross it with me. I have looked at children and told them “You will not get Ice Cream whine one more time.” It’s incredible – they clam right up and pause before they say anything more. I’m not saying that parents need to use force or they need to start spanking. What I’m talking about is basic discipline – there are consequences and rewards for every action.

Here are some ideas to get them started:

  • Every action needs a CONSISTENT consequence.
  • Every consequence must be reachable no matter where you are located.
  • Every good deed needs to be noticed and praised or rewarded.
  • Every reward must be tangible no matter where you are located.

It’s really very simple when you think about it. It’s similar to when you have to work, you show up late – there is a consequence. You work hard and do your job properly – you have a reward (maybe not right away but you still have a job and that is a reward).

The consequences can be something as simple as standing in the corner, or be as much as taking away something. But you have to do it every time. Without consistency, you cannot have respect, from either your child or other people.

Here’s the basic memo – the lack of parenting in the world has lead to an increase in entitled little monsters. Don’t add to the burdens of the world, take time to be a parent and actually invest in something that will stay with your children forever. Teach them to have manners and discipline.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Uncategorized

Things You Should Never Say To a Person With Depression

After some intense weeks of experience – I want to share a few things that should never ever be uttered to a person with depression.

  1. It’s Not real – I want you to realize that while their depression might not seem real to you, to them it’s unbelievably real. They wake up and it stares them in the face. It’s so real it makes basic tasks like showering, making coffee, and eating almost impossible.
  2. Why are you unhappy, you have everything. Oh – this one is one of my favorites (JK). Depression doesn’t care if you live in a mansion or in a freaking cardboard box. It’s not about material items. It’s about being so overwhelmed by emotions or lack of that you can’t breathe – you can’t get past it.
  3. You didn’t let the love in. Yeah I’ve gotten this one. “Let the universe Love you.” Sorry to offend – I don’t believe in the universe. I believe in God. And secondly – depression has zip to do with “Letting the love in”. Think of being so numb that even if you wanted to you couldn’t feel a thing.

For the Christians –

  1. You aren’t walking with Christ. Firstly – how dare you assume what my relationship with Christ is like. Secondly – How dare you assume that because I’m not like you – I’m wrong, Can the foot mimic the hand?! Everyone has their cross to bear. I will give on the fact that occasionally it’s because someone isn’t walking with Christ but you better be dead on your feet certain that it isn’t medical before you open you mouth. Nothing is worse than someone elses ignorance making you feel totally crazy.

Sorry this post is so short. I hope it helps someone who has a friend that has depression. Best advice – when you have a friend with depression and they are having an episode – Just hold them tight. You don’t need to say anything – just hold them – it does more than you think.

Daily Life · Uncategorized

Depression

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog. I’m going to take just a few moments and try to get outside of my own home to share some things about depression with you. This is something I struggle with. Daily. This post is based on what my experience has been.

Depression…. While there is a clinical definition: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life… it’s more than that. Depression is like having someone in your head all the time – a darker version of your self. The one that speaks loudest – no matter how wrong or stupid it sounds – it’s all you hear. It constantly reminds you of your failings and just wears you down until you have no more room in your head for anything else. It pulls you from reality into a new realm, one where you can replay everything you’ve ever done, might have done, should have done in front of your own eyes as if it’s happening over and over- on constant replay. The voice whispers lies into your ears about how much people don’t like or care about you. They say “I love you.” and you sit waiting for the other shoe to drop. The phrase “Only when you….” is constantly nagging in your head when people say that. They say “You are gorgeous.” and you hear the word “Bullshit.” in your mind as clear as if they have said it to your face.

This is depression.

There are a few ways that I’ve learned to deal with this. I keep my hands busy. My friends laugh because I can’t sit still or at home for long. Truth is – when I sit still for too long – I get overwhelmed and lose my self in this voice – It takes too long to rebound. The song that has a phrase “If you’re going through hell, just keep walking; don’t slow down, if your scared don’t show it; you might get out before the devil even knows your there.” I live by it.

Music – I blare my music loud and sing. I drowned out the sound of the voice within me.

Baking or Art – Doing something that involves making something I can be proud of helps me.

Cleaning – It feels like cleaning the cobwebs out of my mind. This is why I do it when i’m having a rough time.

Eating healthy – sugar and caffine affect me alot. When I eat too much or enough of them – I hit a depressive slump. Alcohol too. These are things I’ve learned to start avoiding.

 

 

I know this post is short – I’m sorry it’s not longer. I would like to hear feedback on what helps others and I’ll be updating this later! Hope it helps you.

Uncategorized · Work

How To Succeed At Your Job As A Server

I’ve been working in the restaurant again. Having left and now being back, I can honestly say that I have noticed differences between the servers who make good tips and those who make average. I’m cross training as a bartender and it’s really given me the opportunity to watch the servers and notice what they do right and wrong.

3 things to do to make you a better server:

  1. Really study the Menu – both food and drink. When a customer asks you a question about the menu – make sure you know the answer. There is nothing more frustrating as a customer to have to repeat the question about 2 -3 times to another person or have someone say “uhhh I don’t know”.
  2. 3 words: “Mise en place”. This means “everything in its place”. When you work in the restaurant – make sure you actually put things into their place or prep the table prior to running their food. I sat two days ago in a restaurant for 10 minutes before I received utensils for eating (after my food arrived). It’s embarrassing to work in a restaurant and run food to a table that isn’t ready and it’s embarrassing to have to ask for utensils for food.
  3. Stop asking other servers to talk to your table. I honestly get asked at least 2 times a shift to talk to a table to clarify requests for food or drinks. I also get asked to help with the computer. Please make sure you know what you are doing.

These are three simple tips that will help you manage your time and perform at your utmost. Simple steps and phrases like “proper prior planning prevents a piss poor performance” will help you in the long run.

Children · Daily Life · Relationships

Obedience

If you have children or nanny at all then you will have a pretty good concept map in your mind about what it means to be obedient. As a nanny, when I think obedience – I expect first time obedience. When it is said you go do it. That is what my parents taught me and it’s what I have come to think of when I think obedience.

Lately I’ve been wondering what obedience to God would look like, besides the obvious. This was brought to my mind when I was reading The Pursuit by Lori Wick, yes I enjoy Christian romance novels. In this story the main character stated:

“I can think of God as my savior and even my friend, but I must never forget that He is God, and after He saves me, I must put myself into subjection to Him and His will.”

Just ponder that for a moment. He’s a savior and a friend, But he is God!

****Reality Check****

When we get saved – we are not only letting him into our hearts but we are agreeing to follow him and live a life that is worthy of His name. 

*********************************************************************************

Ok – It is one thing for me to say it and another thing for me to show it – here we go from the Bible!

  1. Matthew 12:50 tells us “For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

While this seems like an odd and sort of hard to comprehend verse – I believe it’s really quite simple. Message: Doing God’s will draws us closer to him and closer to knowing Christ.

Think about it like this – we receive the Holy Spirit when we become believers. When we walk with God it makes it easier to walk in the Spirit. This doesn’t mean we don’t struggle but that it’s easier. Walking in the Spirit and following with complete obedience to God does mean that we draw close, learn his will, and act upon it. The benefits are knowing him more and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

2. John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

I grew up in a farming town. I helped on a sheep farm – largest east of the Mississippi – over 8,000 female sheep alone (This doesn’t include the babies – expect each female to have at least 1, maybe 2; and the males). Every morning the farmer would walk out to his sheep and say a word that sounded like “good-day”; he would say this over and over while the sheep followed him to the feeding trough. When I said it they ran away. They knew the farmer.

This verse spoke to me greatly, because of the symbolism. Here’s what I believe God said to me via this verse:

  • We are sheep. Follow with me – not only is he using symbolism for believers to be sheep but we really are. Sheep are stupid. It just takes one stupid sheep to run into the road and the whole flock follows. Humans are sheep – not trying to be mean but it’s true. It just takes one leader and the whole flock follows. Think about it – Hitler (one leader) and the holocaust happened; None of his followers questioned if it was right or wrong, blind obedience. God is asking that we be obedient to his word. That is why we have the Bible. If you think something is of God – Pray and Seek his word before you act! 
  • The only way to really know God is to follow him closely. Not only do the sheep in this verse know his name but they follow him. Fun Fact – the disciples followed Christ so closely they were in his dust. Maybe that’s what we need to aim for – listen, not just hear but listen to God and then accept his will and act on it in obedience to him. Obedience will draw us closer to him.
  • If we follow him in obedience – we will be able to tell when it is his voice and when it isn’t. We will know the truth. If sheep hear their shepherd daily, they know him. If we walk and live in obedience to God daily, we will know him. Obedience to God’s commands will help us discern truth from lies.

3. John 14:15 “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”

When you love your child, you want them to obey you not because you are power-hungry (at least I hope that isn’t the reason), but because you are trying to do what is right for them. You are trying to help them not get hurt and be the best person they can be. You teach them through obedience that they can trust you because you have their best interests at heart.

  • God has our best interests at heart. He wishes nothing but good for you and that is why he asks that we keep his commandments. When you love someone you trust them. If we love God, we trust God, and we live out his commandments as best we can.

4. John 14:23 “Jesus answered him ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Lets start basic – If we love him, we will keep his word. Obedience. This will result in two things:

  • The father will love him. Obedience results in blessings. That being said it doesn’t always mean immediate or physical blessings – ok? But it will result in blessings in your life.
  • You will have a better knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says they will make their home with you. I believe this to mean that you will have an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life. You will understand when the Spirit is guiding you better.

5. Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

This one is hard. Being subject to governing authorities….. everyone loves this verse (total sarcasm). Lets start small:

  • All authorities are placed in power by God. He allows rulers to be elected or placed in power and he removes them – only in his timing. Which means, to me, that the current president of the United States of America, was allowed by God to be placed into that station. It also means that, my husband was placed into the leadership role of our household by God.
  • We are to be subject to the governing authorities. Obedient. Subject. Respectful. Follow the laws as long as they don’t go against God and his teaching.
    • Daniel is great example of this. He was subject, obedient, and respectful to King Darius but when Darius said “worship only me”, Daniel knew it was going against God. That is where he drew the line.
    • Abigail was married to Nabal. She lived with a difficult man and was subject to him in respectful obedience. When he snubbed King David and it would cost the family their lives, then Abigail stepped up and respectfully changed King Davids mind –  that saved her family.

 

Final Thoughts:

  • When we accept Christ we not only accept that he saved us but we are committing to a new way of life – a life in subjection to his will.
  • The more we follow God the more we will understand his will and understand when the Spirit is talking to us.
  • We are to be obedient to God first and second to authorities placed above us.

Have feed back or questions – please leave a comment. God bless.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships

Faithfully Committed?

Continuing with the concept of the Fruits of the Spirit – I’ve been thinking about faithfulness.

Galatians 5:22-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This verse was taken from http://www.Biblegateway.com; when I was covering patience I noticed something interesting. Patience and faithfulness seemed to always be shown hand in hand. What I mean was verses who talking about us being patient to others always mentioned faithfulness as well. I mean we all know that they are both fruits of the spirit but when you hear the term “faithful” do you think of faithfulness like God, aka – being committed and following through, or just having faith?

I always interpreted it to mean being full of faith but after looking at verses that pertain to Obedience and patience – I’m beginning to think they don’t mean just full of faith. It seems like this is a term that contains double meanings.

Whenever the Bible refers to faithfulness whether its in terms of the Fruit of the Spirit that believers are supposed to show or it’s referring to God’s promises – it talks about just that. Being someone of your word. Being faithful to your promises to other and to God.

This made me think of two applications in life that pertain to this in our culture.

1) Being committed to God. I’m not sure about you but having faithfulness to follow through on a commitment to God is difficult. Committing to daily being in the Word or Praying regularly can be very tough. Please don’t misunderstand me, I know life gets crazy (Heck I’m studying to be an RN, working as a Nanny, have a full-time ministry as a Wife and volunteer with two different organizations – I understand crazy, busy). What I am saying is we are to be fully committed to God and faithful to him. Sometimes this is clear and easy, sometimes it needs more faithfulness (commitment) and prayer.

 

2) Being a “Man of Our Word”. Lets face facts – We are to be Salt of the Earth, A Light on a Hill. God doesn’t want us to simply accept the salvation he offers and then continue on with the way we were living – we aren’t to be “Weekend Christians”. When you accept Christ as your savior – you are committing to a full-time ministry and a way of life. When you commit to something – stick it out. We live in a world of instant gratification, where if something doesn’t seem like it’s good enough for us – we quit and move on. The prime example that comes to my mind is marriage. Don’t marry someone lightly, Don’t divorce lightly. Both come with high prices and both are strong, solid, and occasionally unforgiving commitments. Another example is work. When you take a job as a christian – not only are you representing yourself but Christ and other Christians. Be faithful to give 100% and to show up on time with a patient and loving heart. Nothing is harder to come behind another “christian” and try to pick up the pieces showing that not everyone is the same.

As the new year begins – I challenge all Christians who have accepted Salvation to live it out. Give God one month of solid faithfulness (praying and reading the Word, or doing a Bible Study) and watch how it changes your life.

If you are having trouble coming up with some studies – I can the few below:

1.Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer
by Priscilla Shirer

2.The Armor of God
by Priscilla Shirer

3.Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer
by Beth Moore

4.Living Beyond Yourself – Bible Study Book: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit
by Beth Moore

5.Children of the Day – Bible Study Book: 1 & 2 Thessalonians
by Beth Moore

Both of these women are respectable, classy, and faithfully committed to God. Their studies have helped me many times over and I would highly recommend them to anyone that is struggling with simply reading and understanding the Bible. Joyce Meyers is my other favorite and you can hear them all speak on Itunes podcasts or youtube.com.

On a final note – take time to think about faithfulness and what it means. Pray and seek God’s wisdom as you look to pursue having this spiritual fruit in your life. Drop me a comment if you would like me to pray for you. God Bless.

Children · Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Reviews

Patience, Dear One….

“I don’t have time for this.” I spewed, totally exasperated with my family. Tossing my phone onto my bed, I stomped away. My husband looked at me and said “Relax, babe. be Patient.” There it was again – that word that has haunted my life for a long time.

Patience. One word that always makes your skin bristle just a bit. It’s like the word “Submit”. You read it in the Bible and your flesh has an immediate reaction to it, faster than a gluten-intolerant person eating bread. If you live in the United States of America – being patient isn’t something that is practiced. In the age of Amazon, Google, and the internet – learning to wait for something is unnecessary. Ours is a culture that has become accustomed to having everything now.

Here’s why I decided to research patience in the Bible – Everyone always compliments me on it when I am calm and things are going my way, but no one ever says I have it when difficult circumstances hit.

It’s a fruit of the Spirit – I’m supposed to have it right? So I decided to do a word search for verses discussing it in the Bible – there had to be something I was missing about being patient. Sure enough – I think there’s a bit I originally missed.

Here’s what I have learned:

If you do a word search for “patience” in the Bible – you will find out that all the verses are almost always piggy-backed with the term perseverance or suffering. All of the verses talk about waiting patiently for the Lord and he will…. remove or adjust the suffering. This leads me to believe:

  1. That patience isn’t just about waiting when it’s easy to wait. It’s about waiting when it’s hard to wait. When it’s easy – everyone does it. It isn’t a problem to seem patient and kind when things are going your way but it is hard when things aren’t going your way.
  2. It is best shown as a fruit of the spirit when it is under persecution or suffering. Think about it – if it was easy and you didn’t need to have it during suffering – even atheists would have patience. Then there would be no difference between believers and non-believers, how would Christ be glorified in that?

Ok – Verses to show you what I mean:

  1. Job 23: 10-12 – The Summary of Job is that God allows everything to be taken from Job – his home, family, friends, health….. pretty much everything but his life. Job remains faithful to God. So immediately we see suffering.

The verses say “But he knows the way that I take; When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”

What I love about these verses is that immediately Job acknowledges that God knows the way and that he is allowing what is happening to happen.

Second – Job makes the point that God will produce Jobs character to be as gold.

Gold has to go through a lot of heat to get purified. 

I want you to sit on that for a minute. A Lot of Heat to be Purified. Sometimes things happen that we don’t want or like – think of it as being purified.

Third – Job states that he hasn’t and will not turn aside from Gods ways; he treasures Gods words and values them more than food. While this speaks more to faithfulness than patience, but I think it is an eye opener. Joyce Meyers makes a point in one of her podcasts about patience that it isn’t just about waiting but what you do while you wait that makes the difference.

Being Faithful to God while you wait is Patience.

2. Psalms 40:1-3 ” I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

I love these verses. I stumbled upon them several years ago when I was really struggling with depression.

Everywhere in the Bible – God says to cry out to him. He also makes a point to talk about those who did so and how he listened to them. I would like to note that he never promises to act immediately. With Hannah in 2 Samuel – He waited years. She cried out to him many times and he waited years. She was patient and faithful. Many characters in the Bible – they Pray and ask and wait for years while they endure.

Patience seems like it is continually walking with God even when nothing changes when we want it to. 

3. Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

This verse brings imagery into my mind. Think of a person who has gone into physical rehabilitation – they can’t really walk and they grow weary/faint when they do so too long. They have to renew their strength by practicing exercises and consistently working muscles to grow up to what they were.

When you wait for God – You have to patiently and faithfully dedicate yourself to practicing his word so that when he tells you – you can run the race for the Gospel. Anyone who exercises will tell you that they don’t run marathons overnight – it takes self-control, faithfulness and patience to get where they are to do it.

4. Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Think – we practice faithfulness to God during suffering, And we rejoice, because it produces endurance – an endurance to run the race for Christ, which produces character – More fruits of the Spirit and a character that stands out, which gives us hope and we will not be put to shame!

 

5. James 1: 2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

We are to count it joy when we have trials. You always hear stories of people who lose their spouses or people who are homeless or have nothing who say “it’s ok because God is still good.” They are counting it a blessing and a joy to have the trial. You know what they will have when they are done – STEADFASTNESS.

Think of Steadfastness as – faithfulness, stick-to-it-ness. The ability to hold fast to what they believe and know. They will have perseverance. Which will aid in the growth of becoming perfect and complete (don’t trip over that too much – it’s a stepping stone in that direction.).

 

In Summary, here’s what I have learned about patience:

  • It isn’t how long you wait – it’s what you do while you wait.
  • You have to excercise your faith while you wait so that you can run the race when it is time.
  • it produces faithfulness, steadfastness, and if you practice it – praising through trials
  • You will have renewed strength when it passes
  • People will arise and glorify God by witnessing your story
  • You will come out as gold.
  • It is a stepping stone for perfection and completion in Christ.

I hope this helps you all understand patience like it helped me. As always – feel free to leave a prayer request or question. God Bless.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Work

Loving the Unlovable

I apologize for not writing more this week – It as been a long one filled with turmoil and a lot of Illness filling our home. That being said – I have been praying and asking God to show me what to write about. He really brought to mind for me all the people I have had in my life, specifically the difficult ones.

If there is one thing in life that is always guaranteed it’s that you will always have at least 1 difficult person in your life. I like to thing of them as the sand paper of life. God places them there to teach you something and smooth out your rough edges. With it being right on the holidays, I really felt that it was needed to talk about how to deal with the difficult people in life.

Look – When it comes to dealing with people it’s easy to deal with the nice people. The people who are good to you – it’s easy to be good to them. It’s hard to be nice to difficult people. And I’m not talking about putting up a phony front about being nice then going behind the their backs and talking about them (again – this has taken me years to learn and I’m still imperfect, so please don’t think I’m saying this from a “I can do it already” vantage point).

God calls us to love one another. Not just the people we do like but to love everyone. In Fact in Matthew 5 he gives a direct command “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. We are called to do this because even unbelievers can love people who are their friends. But it shows God’s love when we can love someone. We are called to be Salt of the earth, Lights of the world. How can we do this – simple – love those who hate us.

Ok so here’s the thing – It’s hard to love that boss you have that is just really pushy and short with you. The one who rides you into the ground daily. It’s hard to deal with that girl who calls you and is always complaining. That coworker who can’t show up for work because she is “sick” then posts pictures on instagram of her going drinking with her boyfriend/girlfriends. It’s hard to forgive the man or woman who wronged you. Your ex who told you he wanted a divorce. Your husband who said something hurtful today, that you just can’t seem to let go of. I have been through all of that. It never gets easier but I have learned how to forgive these people. I have learned what helps me to start thinking of them as needing love not hate, anger, or resentment.

Here’s what I do:

  1. pray for them. I pray. I pray for them daily. If you are like me you have a prayer journal and their name is written 3 times minimum. I pray for them to become closer to God and for him to make them into the person he wants them to be. Here’s the thing – When you pray for them, it may not change the situation. It may not even change them. But it will change you. Every time God tells us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies – he follows it with “pray for them”. Even Christ did this as he was on the cross – he said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. Pray with a humble heart for the Lord to touch their lives in a miraculous way.
  2. I buy them a gift. Now this works in situations where you will see them at work daily but not in all situations. Typically I just buy them a coffee or a latte and bring it to them with a note like “your daily cup of joy”. This sounds stupid but most of the time it just lets the person know you are thinking of them. Something that small like a can of coke or cup of coffee can make their day that much better. Plus – it marks the first tangible step of forgiveness and attempt at unconditional love for me. Several of the people who have been the most difficult in my life – we now keep in touch and while we may never be best friends, I do count them as real friends.
  3. Realize that they may not change. The behavior they have – sometimes it will change. I have had an experience where it has changed but I have also had experiences where it hasn’t. I still pray for these people even though I don’t have any interaction with them. And I still send them small gifts when I can. But I also realize – their behavior might not change and it’s important to come to terms with that. But my reactions to their behaviors have.

Jesus Died for everyone. Not just for the righteous. He forgave Judas – a man who sent him to his death. One of the most interesting teachings is the Lords Prayer:

“Our Father in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom Come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil. ”

I just want to rest on the idea of God forgiving us our debts – think of ever sin you have ever committed (if you haven’t committed many – kudos to you but you are wrong; and if you are like me – I get it.). He forgives all of those. Every single sin that popped into your head – it’s already forgiven. Isn’t that incredible!? How could we do any less. I would like to point out that if you can’t forgive the next verse tells us that we will not be forgiven by the Father. Without forgiveness we can’t have unity as a body of believers. Without forgiveness we can’t have unconditional love. And without forgiveness – we can’t see people change or come to Christ.

It’s time to stop letting the people who are hurting influence our behavior. It’s time to be Salt of the earth and Lights to the world. It’s time to turn the other cheek. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

Daily Life · Food Recipes · Holiday

How To Make Amazing Breakfast Potatoes

I’m a flexitarian. When I say that what I mean is that I eat vegetarian most of the time but I do eat meat occasionally. However – I wouldn’t classify myself as a potato loving girl. I eat them but not because it’s the love of my life. My husband however is a “meat and potatoes” man. That being said every weekend we have a brunch together. While I have found several different ways to make breakfast potatoes (hash browns, home fries, french fries, baked, etc.), my favorite has been a homefries style. My mother used to make these all the time for my siblings and I as children and it’s nostalgic for me when I eat them. That being said I have redressed how they are done and made them my own.

 

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes – washed and sliced into cubes about 1/2 inch long and 2 cm wide (any larger and they won’t cook properly; you should also plan on at least 1 potato per person.)
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Garlic (I prefer fresh garlic and if you are using it I would recommend about 1 clove for every 2 potatoes)
  • Onion – cut however you prefer them (if you don’t like onions you could use onion powder; 1/2 of a medium onion for ever 2 potatoes)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Oil (you will need enough to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1 inch)
  • Paper towel
  • Plate
  • Cast Iron skillet (if you don’t have one any skillet will work)

 

Directions:

  1. Over medium heat start pan heating with oil in it.
  2. Once oil is properly heated place potatoes in it to fry (be careful – if you use too many potatoes at once it may not fry properly; you may have to do more than one sets of frying)
  3. Add Onions and Garlic; Season everything to taste
  4. Stir occasionally
  5. After the potatoes are done frying (they should be crisp on the outside and tender on the inside – poke the big ones with a fork to test), remove them from the pan and place them on the plate (which will have the paper towel on top to absorb the oil)
  6. Serve hot!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Like I said it’s nostalgic for me and I was reminded of it as my friend called and asked for it – you all can thank her for it being on the blog! Enjoy Brunch.

School tips · Work

Tips To Passing A College Level Course

I am not immune to bad grades. I wish I was but I’m not. After a long semester, one filled with tears (literally) and struggling to keep a good grade in specific classes, I have decided to write a post on how to successfully navigate a hard class. I’m not guarenteeing you will recieve an A or a great grade but you are sure to pass the class. Many of these tips I read before I started my class and I ignored until the end of the semester. I’ve since reevaluated my decision. So here are some tips that I will be implimenting this next semester.

  1. Perfect Attendance – I use this title because it brings to mind a specific item. Not “oh it’s ok to miss some” but always being there and always being on time. I want to stress the point that you really need to make sure to be in class as much as you can. Not only will it help you develope a presence with your professor but it will also help you when they give tips in class about tests, exams, and how to remember items.
  2. Ask Questions – Make sure you ask something if you don’t know it. It’s important to be clear about something even if you feel stupid or ignorant. You are in a classroom and it’s probably the safest zone you could have to ask questions like “Is Limestone part of Tums”? – PS – the answer is NO. And yes I’ve heard this question in a classroom.
  3. Study Outside the Classroom – This doesn’t just mean in the library. I would highly recommend http://www.KahnAcademy.com for pretty much any science or math subject. I haven’t used them for anything other then science or math but they have proven to be one of the most useful websites I’ve come across.
  4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – Practice until your head hurts and your brain wants to drop out of it. I’m not talking about practicing concepts where you are strong – practice your weak points. It is the only way you will get better. If you don’t understand the teacher – find another source, but practice as much as you can.
  5. Silence your phones/computers/any source of distraction –I do this in class and when I study because otherwise I will get so distracted. It will help you focus on the concepts you need to be studying or paying attention to lecture more than you realize.

Do you have any tips you want to share? I’ve found a study buddy to be very helpful in certain instances but with hard topics, I have to say that I find I study best by myself. I’ve also found it helpful to ask the professor privately for help or find a tutor for concepts that I don’t understand if you can’t find help online. Personally, I learn best by myself so that’s the way I tend to study. Best of Luck to all the students out there.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships

Tips On What To Expect In A Bi-racial Relationship

**DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to offend or hurt anyone – it is simply to shine a light on how things may be perceived.**

When people use the phrase “Love is blind” I’m not ever sure they really mean it when they talk about relationships. Maybe they do. I mean, I’m married to a Peruvian man and honestly that’s the last thing I think about when I see him. There are certain things though that come with being in a bi-racial relationship. In case you haven’t figured it out yet – I’m a caucasian, american woman. I grew up in a white town in the middle of Midwest America. The song “Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift was exact in how I felt when I moved away.

Ok so back to bi-racial relationships! While they aren’t as abnormal anymore as when “Loving vs. Virginia” took place – they are still pretty unusual. Here’s the thing – where I grew up it was, and still is on some level, taboo. When I’m home and go through the town I grew up with my husband – we get weird looks, comments that are double-edged, and the weirdest questions. So for the those of you who are looking for some insight – here we go:

  1. Cultural assimilation? This is what I mean by assimilation, One person adapting the culture of another place or person’s heritage until they are a new version of that item. A great version of this is Hip-Hop/Rap; originally written by African-Americans in the “hood” as an outlet of the way they were treated/put down/felt. assimilation – Enter Mackelmore or Eminem. Now please – I love their music but they are great examples of assimulation. Another version is Tacos – yea that yummy food – happens every Tuesday night for me…. Real tacos do NOT look like that! They don’t have cheese and olives. America has taken the Taco and assimilated it to be what we want. Assimulation is defined as taking something and changing it to be similar to what it was origionally but changing it. When you are a relationship with a person that is a different race – get ready for assimulation. You and that person will become your own culture. It’s going to be different from what you grew up with. There is nothing bad in this – hold to certain traditions but some need to grow and change.
  2. Ignorant Questions – Ok, I HATE ignorant questions. By default I’m not the most patient person. I never have been, but ignorant questions irritate me to an extreme. Some of my favorites are about how I’m being treated because of a stereotype the person has seen on TV relating to Latino men. The other one I love is that when people assume that one country of South America is the same as another. IT IS NOT. Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil – they all have very different cultures, holidays, traditions, dress, and even languages! My husband is from Peru – his roommate when we married was from Honduras, while they both speak Spanish, they both have different slang. It is similar to someone being from Northern United States and going to the Deep South United States. They have a different way of talking and celebrating holidays. Think Sweet Tea, Southern Draws, and Pecan Pie. Do NOT assume that just because someone speaks Spanish they are all from Mexico – its offensive. And just because you watched Spanglish or Fast and Furious that doesn’t make you an expert on Latino culture. If you have a friend who is in a bi-racial relationship, don’t ask offensive questions – google it!
  3. Colorism – I mention this because it’s a real thing. Even if you don’t have colorism tendencies (I applaud you because everyone does – now time to come out of the world of denial), get ready to see everyone elses. Like I said, my husband and I get dirty looks walking down streets in certain areas of the United States. We ignore and cope. But I can safely say that I have heard some horrible things regarding race/colorism from those around me that I have respect for. I also know that many cultures/subcultures have colorism tendencies. I see it when I speak with my extended family. It’s common and extremely “normal”. Here’s a bit of advice – choose your battles. If you don’t agree with it – like I don’t, understand this, you will not change the culture over night. In fact it might never change. You can try to tell your family where they have gone wrong – I encourage you to do it gently, but you may not even change them. It’s ok. You aren’t alone. Just take a deep breath and remember to focus on continuing to change what you can. Let the rest go.

 

Here’s the final things to remember. Relationships are hard. Being in a bi-racial brings in new issues. Sometimes its communication, culture, other people’s ignorant actions that bring hurt. If you are in a relationship like this – I hope I helped you a bit. I would love your feedback. If you have a friend who is in a bi-racial relationship – I hope I gave you some insight into what they see and experience on a daily basis. Now you know why they get offended over “little issues”. Those “little issues” are the things that really affect their lives on a daily basis. At the end of the day just remember “Haters gonna Hate” Proverbs 5:8, sometimes people are going to disagree even if it’s something good for you.

Books · Daily Life · School tips

Tips and Tricks to Reading Poetry

It has occurred to me today that reading poetry is a lost art. This comes to my mind as I’ve been happening to help my brother-in-law with an assignment he’s been writing. This assignment is based on poetry he’s read. So, for the student out there who is still trying to figure out that english assignment and has to read poetry here are some quick tips and tricks.

  1. Read slowly – The beauty of poetry is what the poet is trying to say and how they are trying to say it. Poets use fewer words but more imagery to get their point across, which is why it’s so hard to understand. Read it slowly and go line-by-line. Sometimes when you read a line – take a min to just think about it before chewing on the next one.
  2. Read it aloud by reading it aloud it will 1) force you to read more slowly and 2) force your brain to really process what you are absorbing. Sometimes even when you read slowly, your brain isn’t able to compute the line of poetry the same way it would when you read it aloud.
  3. Think about when the poet was writing – Many poets write about things that are unknown to us. If you are reading something written by Emily Dickenson make sure you keep in mind the time period she was writing in. It will make a difference in the interpretation. Many people who write – write from experience. Their experiences as men/women, differences in race, political standing, social/economical class color their writing and if you can read what they write while understanding where they are coming from – it will make it easier to understand (that doesn’t just apply to poetry – fyi).

Like I said – these are just a few tips and tricks that I have picked up via reading some poetry. Simply a few things that will help the “non-avid” poetry reader when it comes time to do that review. Take your time, read aloud, and do some research on the writer. It will all pay off in the end. I would recommend trying with “Anger” by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Daily Life · Food Recipes · Hygge

How To Make A Deliciously Quick Egg Sandwich

I blame my father. He is the one who coined this recipe. He is also the one who would make it for my little sister and I while we watched Sleeping Beauty, now I can’t watch Sleeping Beauty or eat an eggy sandwich without the other. That being said you should know it’s addicting, it’s easy and it is budget friendly!

Ingredients:

  1. Bread – 2 slices of any type you like
  2. Mayonnaise – I like the kind with olive oil but whatever you got is great
  3. Eggs – at least 1 per sandwich; though I like using 2
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste
  5. Cheese – Kraft american cheese slices melt best but whatever you want will taste amazing.
  6. Skillet
  7. Butter/oil for skillet
  8. Toaster
  9. Spatula

Directions: 

  1. Heat up skillet with butter or oil in it (medium heat is best).
  2. Toast bread; when it is finished toasting spread mayonnaise on one slice.
  3. Fry Egg in pan – this can be done over-easy or hard fry – whatever you like (personally I don’t like runny yolks; even though that’s how dad makes it, so I hard fry) .
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  5. Place cheese on top of egg for 30 seconds AFTER the egg is done cooking and the pan is turned off.
  6. Place Egg and cheese on bread – Create your sandwich
  7. Enjoy!

Ok so here are some tips – adding bacon or sausage is super yummy and so is lettuce and tomato. It kind of makes it like a BLT with egg. If you don’t want to use mayo – use guacamole or avocado, something to add creaminess. This is one of those sandwiches that’s been tried out on all my friends – they love it. It’s a staple in my life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Children · Daily Life · Hygge · School tips

How To Cope With Burn Out

Everyone knows what the term “burn-out” is. If you have worked in the medical field you are especially familiar with it. Why? Because it happens most within medical professionals. Think about it – doctors, nurses, caregivers – they give 110% (at least the good ones do) to their patients – every moment of everyday they have them in their care. This is why you see shows picture parents who can’t take care of their children, who have disabilities, anymore. They get burned out.

It is not limited to the medical professionals though. Anyone can become burned out. Students, teachers, engineers. Burn-out isn’t picky. This past semester I experienced probably the strongest sense of Burn-out I have ever had in a long time. And after going through it – here are the ways I learned to cope.

  1. Work Out – This hits the top of my list because I stopped doing it and when I started again I immediately noticed a large difference in my own mindset. To quote Elle from Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”. Now I don’t go running, my workouts are boxing or yoga (yep I pendulum swing). When I’m angry I find hitting a bag helps a lot and when I need to relax – Yoga is the key. I recommend continuing your exercise or starting to exercise as one of the best ways to cope with burn-out.
  2. Hygge – If nothing else from this blog you all will remember this word for life! Hygge – meaning take time to do you. Relax with a book and decompress. Get a cup of tea or hot chocolate and simple take time for you. This is so important because you can feel pressure to just always be on the go! Don’t fall into the trap – take time to rest. Even God rested 1 time a week.
  3. Pace Yourself – If you feel like burn-out is at your doorstep then maybe it’s time to give up something. You don’t have to be superwoman/superman all the time. Think of it this way – It would be better for you to do 1 or 2 things and do them well then to do many things – half-assed. It’s ok to prioritize and triage your own life. Sometimes it’s necessary.

I wish I would have thought about these items sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t be repeating a class for school next semester then, but life has a way of teaching lessons whether we want them or not. I’m hoping you (my readers) will learn from my mistake on this one and maybe avoid your own burn-out or somehow learn to walk the tightrope until you are better.

Daily Life · School tips · Work

Do’s and Don’ts of Writing an College Essay in a Second Language

While going through school I have been helping my brother-in-law with his essays as well as writing my own. Background – he immigrated from Peru several years ago and while his english is pretty solid(speaking), his writing is a weak point. Let’s be honest – most people who are fluent in english (reading, writing, and speaking) like naturalized citizens struggle with writing a solid essay. This list compiled down below are a few things that will help you learn to write a better essay in english if it’s your second language. I do have to say that I believe it would help with writing in any other language but I won’t swear to it.

  1. Do Organize – I’ve said it in previous posts and I’ll say it again – organize before you write. This is probably the most important step to writing an essay no matter the language. You have to organize your thoughts – write it in bullet points, do a brain web, anything that helps you get organized. It always amazes me how people ask me to read their essay and it’s so unorganized. Your brain might make the connections but I guarantee your readers will not.
  2. Do NOT Write it in Your First Language – This was new to me when I started reading my brother’s essay. He would write them in spanish and then use Google Translate to translate them into english. Now – I love Google Translate. It’s how I am able to communicate with my mother-in-law, but using it to translate more than a few sentences is a BAD idea. I know that writing, particularly in english, is very difficult, but try speaking what you are going to write as you are writing it. It will help you learn the flow of what you are trying to communicate. The problems I have found in essays that utilize a translation website are: grammar, missing words, incorrect sentence flow, and mistranslation. If you are unsure about a word – yes look that up, but do NOT use it for the whole paper or even sentences. It becomes choppy and looks like something expected out of an elementary school student.
  3. Do Read – I know that sounds weird, especially in the age of TV. That being said, however, you must read. Read and re-read your essay. Read other essays, books, magazines, and literature. No – subtitles do not count. This will not only help you become more accustomed and acclimated to the language but it will also help your grammar skills. Amazingly, I can tell who reads and who doesn’t simply by the style of writing they employ. If you aren’t going to read a book or don’t want to – please re-read your essay at least 3 times out loud. Give breaks in between your readings. It is most important that you read it out loud though, this forces your brain to find all the discrepancies your ear will hear.

I hope these help the writers out there that are struggling. Personally, I hate doing peer reviews and reading an essay that is so unorganized, choppy, and ill-written; so I’m sure my professors do also. It’s ok to need help – that’s why schools offer tutoring. It’s ok for it not to be perfect – that’s why you are in school. But it is NOT ok to not do your best and try to find a shortcut to doing a decent essay. When you get out of school – you will need these skills. Improve yourself in the safety of the classroom now – the working world is far less forgiving.

Children · Daily Life · Work

5 Tips for being a Successful Nanny

I have to admit that while I don’t currently desire to have any children of my own, I do enjoy being a nanny. I watch two boys Monday – Friday and while they have great days most of the time, occasionally we have bad ones too. I’ve picked up a few useful tips on how to deal with these days because at 6 years and 9 years old, I can’t cope with the behavior the way I would out of an 2 or 3-year-old. Both boys have different disabilities and it makes dealing with the behavior an interesting maze of actions and reactions.

  1. Listen – Sometimes all they really just need me to do is listen to what they are saying and sympathize with them about it. A lot of the time I don’t even have to say anything. Sometimes they talk about school or their dreams of becoming a motocross star or game system creator, but other times they talk about food they like or how rough their day was. No matter what they talk about, I try to listen and sympathize.
  2. Consistency People really underestimate how much children need consistency, especially kids with disabilities. It gives them something dependable in their life. I try to always have dinner ready at 5pm. We always do homework at a specific time. Things like this make it easier for them to anticipate what I’m going to ask them to do and it makes it easier for me when I have to tell them what to do.
  3. Discipline – I am never going to tell you to physically discipline someone elses child. I would never do that myself. When I talk about discipline I am referring to actions and consequences. Allowing children to grow up in a world without consequences does nothing for their moral compass or for their ability to learn about responsibility. Example: The 6-year-old that I nanny decided he would try to deceive me yesterday and not come do homework when I told him to. He likes to come home and watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. Normally, I let him finish his video before doing his homework – it’s annoying as an adult to be interrupted from a video, so I imagine as a child it’s harder to focus. Today, however, when I picked him up from school he came in and asked me where his Ipad was – I told him “You tried to decieve me and not be responsible yesterday. The consequence is that you lose the right to decide when we are going to do homework until I see responsibility again. We are going to do homework right now.” He was less than pleased to say the least. However, now he knows that he can’t do that.
  4. Find Something Special – As a nanny, you have to know when to have fun. You also need to know when to find something that can be special for you and the kids. While consistency is awesome and very necessary, on the really bad days (most of the time it’s because it was a bad day at school) I do something a bit different. We’ve made cookies, french toast for dinner, roasted s’mores over candles, and decided on a small party for christmas.
  5. Teach Independence – This doubles with discipline as they have to learn to do things on their own. The 9-year-old is my best example – each day I pick him up from school and we talk about what homework he has for the day and what is due for the week. He has 1 book report each week so he can have special privileges at school on Friday. I might ask him each day if he wants to do it but I tell him “It’s due on Thursday, so you decide what day you will do it and which works best for you.” I also tell him that he has to do his homework before dinner and shower after dinner. He has the capability of choosing what time he does those and by the time I leave each night – he has them done. This allows him moderate responsibility and teaches him to be independent and rely on me and his mother less. I find this to be very important especially when they are young because the world is not going to remind you of what you need to do when and your mom will not want to take care of her adult son. For the younger boy this might look like me telling him to take a shower and wash his hair – I choose the time but he does it himself.

Overall, I try to have fun as a nanny. We joke and laugh and have a good time, but at the end of the day – their parents are paying me to not only take care of the boys but also to give them life skills. I honestly believe that each of these tips helps me be a better nanny and helps the boys grow. Being a nanny can be like a dictatorship but most of the time it’s really more like a democracy and a bit of give and take.

Books · Hygge · Reviews

Great Christian Fiction

This is a little off the beaten path for me. I don’t normally do book reviews but since I’ve been on break for school I decided to do a book review for several of my favorite Christian Fiction books. Top 3:

  1. Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers – This is a 3 book series starting with A Voice In the Wind. It is probably number one on my list for several reasons. It follows a young christian woman, of jewish heritage, named Hadassah through her life journey. Really it’s from her young adult life through adulthood (first two books) and then follows a gladiator in the 3rd book. You guessed it – it’s set in Ancient Rome, several years after Christ’s resurrection and ascension into heaven. I can safely say that while this book will draw you in with its action, imagery, and the trials faced by the protagonist, it will also inspire hope. I’m never exactly sure why but I always feel an over-whelming amount of hope when I read this book. Maybe it’s because Hadassah faces so many trials and never loses hope that it reminds me that no matter how bleak things may look – God always has a plan and he is always in control. This book is a great reminder of God’s enduring love and how all things come together for his glory.
  2. Left Behind series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins – This one is a 16 book series. I have not read all of them, but about 1/2 of them I have read. They are great books if you are looking for a great read, long series, or to have an idea of what will be coming in the future for the world (and yes I really do believe it). While there is room for interpretation in what The Bible says about the future I do believe that it comes very close. I will also say it is very refreshing to find a book series that is both politically, religiously, and emotionally interesting without any indecency. That being said – the premise is that the books follow several characters throughout the years of the following the rapture. If anyone has seen the movie made by Nicolas Cage – the movie pales in comparison. I would highly recommed these books as they are both enlightening and informative, while being interesting reads.
  3. Texas Roads (A Miller’s Creek Novel) by Cathy Bryant- The series is a 7 book series. I have to disclaim that I have not read all of them. The first one I just finished this morning and I can safely say that it was one of the best books I have read in a long time. It was full of trials and hope. Similar to the Mark of the Lion series it was encouraging to read. I also really liked it because it was set in a timeframe that could be easily identified as the current year. Most of the books that are faith-based seem to be written in a past time period. I would recommend this book highly. It follows Dani, a young woman from Dallas, TX on her journey to find her “home”. One of the perks to these books is that they are free on kindles! Kudos to Cathy!!!

I have more books that I have read but these are simply my top 3 books as it stands for Christian Fiction. I would love to have some suggestions about more. The reason I love these books so much is that they fill me with hope and remind me of Gods power. yes, I do realize that they are fiction but sometimes we need a little reminder of what he is capable of.