Sometimes Our Regulars Pass Away…

((And Other Things You Probably Don’t Realize About Your Servers))


I didn’t really find it entirely appropriate to post this one while I was in Australia, because I have zero experience in food service there and I know everything is different. But I’m back in Oklahoma, USA for a while and around my old stomping grounds and meals so, please enjoy this #ThinkBackThursday and learn a little something about our Good Ol’ American Servers.


  • About 75-80% of the demographic of any given (American) restaurant are mothers. They’re working to support someone else’s dreams. Bless accordingly
  • Some of your servers just suck, they should find new jobs that they love. But you’re still in charge of how many bills they don’t have to stress about.
  • Our regulars pass away. We go through divorces, we have sick kids at home, our dog just got hit by a car, we have a tummy ache. We have BAD days… You do too. Our job just requires we don’t show it or you get ‘bad service’ and servers make less money.
  • Some servers are just awesome. They are people with big hearts and huge smiles. They pay attention to more details as they balance 5-7 tables and 10-30 or even up to 40-something drink refills. Chips. Fries. Crying kids. Deathly allergies. And they carry heavy trays. Show gratitude.
  • You didn’t like your server? They probably didn’t like you as a guest. But your attitude isn’t reviewed and put on a survey after the meal is over. If patience isn’t your strong suit- or even something you know what is please stay home. We don’t like serving you either.
  • We are here to SERVE you. You are a guest in our home… We didn’t sign our names in blood declaring that we are your servant until we have paid back whatever you think we owe. Don’t treat them like dirt. Some of the greatest people I know serve tables.
  • That girl with the black polo and brown hair? Her name is Cecilia. She told you at the beginning of the meal. That other girl with the black polo and brown hair? Her name is Mary Beth. You haven’t met her she was just dropping off your food. They aren’t the same people.
  • Servers are by no means uneducated and stuck in that job because they couldn’t find better. A LOT of servers I know are working their way through high school, college and even masters degrees and still working 25+ hours a week. Some people are literally addicted to bringing you silverware, smiling, and saying, “Welcome to _______! My name is ______ I’ll be doing my best to serve you today. Can I start you off with the most expensive drink on the menu and an appetizer that I won’t have to refill again and again?” (Paraphrased). They are good at what they do and they like it. And they’re smart.

A large portion of you won’t care about this splurb. And that’s ok. I’m really just ranting to my voice text and thinking as I drive my little self to Pryor, OK.

I’m blessed to know all the people that I do. I have been in food 8 1/2 years and this might just be a rant but you didn’t have to read it so get over it. Just thinking about some of these incredible people and some funny things I’ve learned over the years.

Y’all have a good day.

I GET to work now.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread (and peanut butter and bananas and honey)

I was very recently asked my opinion on the “10 year plan” which at this point in my life is comical because my plans always change. Always. But they asked me, so now I’ll share my thoughts.

I’ve always been a ‘planner’ type and loved carving out those 5 and 10 year plans when I was younger. I’m sure if I remember correctly my 7th grade year would have looked something like this:

·      I want to be a Junior High Pastor (Grade 6-8)

·      I want to be a Christian Music Artist

·      I want to be an assistant to a youth pastor

·      I want a puppy

·      Be a racecar driver

  ((All Of The THINGS))

Contemporary music artist… this is fun, lets fast forward a bit to my 5-10 year plan at around 17 years old:

·      I want a Bachelors Degree in Business Management

·      I want to write a book

·      I want to be a worship leader/in a band 

·      I want to work at a church

·      Be a racecar driver

 

Now, have any of these ended the way I thought they would?

Absolutely not.

My “Junior High Pastor” experience was formed into 7 years of leading WIRED (The Monday after school fellowship/message/game event for 6, 7 and 8th graders between me being 15-21 years old. My “Christian Music” experience was lived out in writing songs and helping to lead at youth, college ministry and various house churches; and continues here in Aussie. I ended up being Assistant to the Youth Pastor and got a puppy so I did that right!                                                                

((madpropsLaina))

            My “Bachelors in Business Management” was learned at Chili’s in Broken Arrow and Pryor, Oklahoma by actually BEING a manager. My writing and publishing has increased to a consistent weekly process for the last 12ish weeks and I have a goal set to outline my book soon. My racecar driving ended up looking like more speeding tickets than I can count or care to remember. 

            My last 10 year plan started with my management position at Chili’s – I had every intention of working management for 5ish years (between 21-26) then move to Ireland and be able to pay for three years of theology school AND travel a year on top of that (I was going to save a LOT of money in those 5 years). I honestly was never expecting to end up cutting that short by 3 ½ years to move to Australia –

 Like, flip. What?! I live in Australia.

What is incredible is that all these dreams I’ve been given and desires I have had were lived out in such a way that they were all far greater that I could have imagined. They WEREN’T what I was expecting but as I’m living through my planned out days realizing how foolish black ink can really be I see that 5/10 year plans kind of suck.

            I function better in “I like this, I enjoy doing this, I’m going to take the open doors that are in line with this thought and direction” I think it’s good to set achievable goals and things you’d like to accomplish and give timelines and due dates, but to say “I’m going to be living here with this job and this much responsibility on my plate and this much free time and this much income” well, that (for me) isn’t practical.

            It doesn’t make sense. Maybe it works for some people but I pretty much have an agreement with G-d whenever I fill out a week of my planner than whatever He wants and whenever He wants to interrupt with whatever He wants me to do or say or path to take – He has permission to alter my schedule. I’ve just had far too many plans fail because they weren’t big enough.

            You see, I was raised in a culture of abundance and G-d has done entirely too much for me. The potential fall here is to see the abundance and somehow assume it’s deserved. At this point we pervert it and it becomes EXCESS. This has been one of the more difficult mindsets to break in my life if we are being totally honest. I am learning and training myself to realize that I have been given enough for today. My blessings and abilities are there to be used in my waking and before I go to sleep. I have EVERYTHING that I NEED so why would I let ANYTHING that is sitting in my hands to use – just sit.

I was given today my daily bread but what happens when I see the bread and think, “Yeah, naturally there is bread because I need it, I’ve earned this bread… so on top of this bread I think I should have some peanut butter and bananas as well. After all if I could have provided the bread than somehow I can make these delicious toppings happen as well” But you see, this is where we start to view our gifts and talents as excess… we see it as something earned and more than we need. What if we believed that G-d answered our prayers for daily bread and then we looked at our blessings and counted them as that instead of looking at all we have and seeing the ‘cherry on top’ mentality?

Your ice cream is sweet enough.

Recently in a pout-fest with my housemate via texting I was wondering what on earth I was doing here. She graciously reminded me,

“You prayed for this, you paid for this and now you are here. Isn’t that enough? Even if you never know isn’t this answered prayer enough?”

I’ve gotten to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do it just hasn’t always looked the same. I got here by doing well with what I was handed; and it is my daily prayer that I continue to see everything I have as daily bread. As something to be used today because tomorrow I’m going to need more and it might not look the same.

Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

So, do what you will… but good luck with that.

I hope I live in a way that sees my blessings as abundance and something to be used, I’ve been given a lot and my heart has had loads of fulfillment in the seasons I’ve walked through. But, it was only there to build upon and not to see as “Oh check out my awesome toast that I bought”. Get over yourself.

but also, I love you all. 

Why I’m Not Good Enough For Ministry:

This blog already has enough words. Enjoy.


1) I work in food.

I spend a large portion of time cooking or cleaning the restaurant that I’ve been working at for years. This job prohibits me from being in church every Sunday and Wednesday, being at important and non-important family functions, and sleeping in a normal pattern. In turn, I spend copious amounts of time with about 25 servers and 15 cooks. Some love Jesus, some don’t, and some of them don’t even believe there is a Jesus. I spend up to 45 hours a week with some of them and I get to hear their stories and share with them mine. I listen to them when they’re upset with a guest, or a co-worker, or family member and I try to always push them to do their best in ALL that they do. I don’t always do a good job or remember to keep a smile on, but I do try. To those who allow, I push and pray for.  I get to watch them go through life with the filter of blue jeans and those nasty black polo’s. Some of them know my faults and victories, they know what pain I’ve been through and what I’ve learned.

All I can do is pray that it’s helped them in some way to not live through what I did or maybe just have the hope that after they do,  they will be alright.

I stepped out of many roles in my local church to take up the demanding schedule of management and offended some people by choosing “Chili’s over church”. However, it is what I chose, and if the only other option was to never have met the people I have, then I’m glad it was my choice. I missed things and events but I got to be involved in people’s lives. I found a small group at Chili’s, I got to befriend some phenomenal people. People that I love and will miss if ever I’m not with them (Hey guys, I miss you). They have a special place in my heart and I will never get sick of learning their stories.

2) I am a woman, and women are crazy.

I get too emotionally involved in things that I see and you can’t live by emotion. You cry a lot when you allow yourself to feel and that’s not fun for anyone, your make up (that actually didn’t look like a 4 year old did it that day) runs, and your friends (if they’re around) have to pretend that you don’t look like a hot mess. It’s not entirely a great situation for anyone. No one wins. For a 4 day time slot every month I can be super mad at you and then cry when you actually try to talk it out with me. If you give me caffeine at any point I’m in a great mood. And I’ll complain about my appearance after you compliment me. I can’t think of a compassion filled story without getting a heartache and I have so much pride for my little sister that I cry most of the time she does anything cool. I can’t sing a full song about The Lords faithfulness and not get choked up. I give too much of my time to things that aren’t always worth it and I give too much of myself to people who are only trying to get ahead.

Women can’t speak in public settings because we are so full of bunny trails that men can’t follow what we are saying. So what’s the point in trying? A lot of times I’d love to believe I’m a lot like Ruth: sticking to her promises all the time and working always to get exactly what she needs and being faithful… when really I see myself more often as the woman with the alabaster box so overwhelmed at the forgiveness given to me that all I can do is offer everything I have because even that isn’t enough. I’m moved emotionally to action and repentance; I don’t walk around trying to make up for the things I’ve screwed up. My heartstrings get tugged and I collapse and offer the mess that I become to the Creator and hope it becomes something better than what I left.

I am a woman, women are crazy and if it wasn’t for the patience of a G-d who loves me that would be enough to disqualify me.

But I have to believe this compassion and heart that aches He has set inside of me was meant to be mine. I have to trust that even when I give “too much” and get taken advantage of that it was all in His hands anyway and whatever He wills, will be. I have to know that when I cry its not because I’m a mess and I’m weak but because I’m ALLOWED to feel for people. I’m allowed to weep with someone who is hurting and lost. I’m ok taking time to be mad and scared and crazy because Jesus himself wept over me. He knew I’d be like this. He made me like this.

3) I love writing because I can think through what I’m saying -

when I speak I feel like it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes when I try to words out loud they don’t come out correctly.

I’m not a great communicator, at least I feel like I could be a better one. I don’t monitor what I say before I let it fall out of my mouth and this sometimes causes hurt feelings or people just being butt hurt that I had a better come back than them. I feel more frequently than not that I’m looking at G-d and His requests telling him, “I’m just not the right one” I feel highly inadequate to be given a lot of the opportunities I am because I’m simply not the best at what I do. I found out recently just how bad I am at photography, which I just find comical – I’m just not creative in that aspect about 95% of the time. I like to play piano and ukulele and guitar but I get nervous and mess up a lot. I like to speak but I feel like I could throw up before each time I do unless its in the middle of worship. Jesus tells me a lot in that setting and asks me to say a lot, I believe mostly up to this point what He needs me to say out loud is typically for me. Kind of public confession/accountability sort of a thing, but also, I’m just realizing how freeing it is to tell your stories. People learn from one another. And especially WHEN I DO mess up what I’m saying and someone still tells me they needed to hear it

I realize all the more that the result of the Gospel is the result of the Gospel, it is NOT the result of my attempts to share the Gospel.

So, yes, I stumble and fumble and say the wrong thing. My thinking isn’t perfect, my talents are not the best but I have had an opportunity to grown and become something more useful for what G-d wants to do in this world and in ME.                ((And that’s pretty cool.

4) I was married – but now I’m not.

Life isn’t supposed to go that way. “When something is broke you fix it you don’t throw it away.” In some Jesus denominations you can’t be in a pastoral/leadership position if you’ve been through a divorce, I’m not here to change your stance one way or another on if that’s right or wrong, or fair or harsh. I’m just stating the fact that on legal pieces of paper my marital status isn’t “Single”. If you know me very well, you know my story; if you kind of know me, you know the readers digest version; if you don’t know me and you tripped across my gofundme account (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgaQ23dFtQg) or Merge Video blog (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgaQ23dFtQg) you at the very least know that I’m divorced. I didn’t at the time think what I went through was fair. I was mad. I waited until I was married for sex, I worked at church, I grew up serving in almost every age of ministry I could be apart of, I led a family group, I led a worship team, I helped with the drama team, I was in line and could have worked my way into being a Junior High pastor. I was in love; I was 21 and extremely happy. I loved being around people and telling stories I had hopes, dreams, drive and ambition. And then I got mad. I got chosen over. I wasn’t good enough in my prime; I wasn’t good enough when I was the princess of the day. This is more difficult to write about because I’m still a firm believer that people do change (going back to the being a woman and crazy) I believe the best and sometimes get taken advantage of. But I don’t feel its fair to say my ex is the pit of disgust and should have a terrible life because of what happened. I gave up everything to take a break and learn how to do the ministry of marriage. And I was chosen over.

Yet, I have been unfaithful to my creator and His forgiveness is awesome.

Literally, I’m in awe of what He has done for me. I didn’t want there to be a G-d because that way I could react whatever way I saw fit and not believe there was something up there with a broken heart over me. I wanted so badly to be alone and just die because if He wasn’t real it wouldn’t have mattered. But I’m still here. I had friends telling me to get off my couch and get some sunshine and air. I wanted there to be nothing and for everything to mean nothing. It didn’t work; I broke and realized there IS something because I’m not done being me. I’m not finished learning how to love and forgive and seek forgiveness. I’m not done being loved. The Lord has given us love and forgiveness we don’t deserve and cannot repay because we are sinful. The majority of us will go through a moment, or trial, or piece of a story that gives us the opportunity to walk away from everything we know and believe in.

I’m grossly hopeful, it gets better –

no matter what you’re going through,

it gets better.

I swear, no matter how painful the heartache, IT GETS BETTER. G-d showed us His forgiveness clearly with the story of Hosea, He called Hosea to marry a prostitute. He called him to a union of unfaithfulness. He told Hosea to love her, over and over again to find her where she was, whoever she was with and take her back and love her. He did this to show what He has done for us. While we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us. So I have a red letter in my marital status… Could G-d have used it? Yes. Would life of been different if I chose to stay? Yes. Life changes constantly and I chose what I did.

I’m here now and at peace with where “here” is.

My Story is a huge part of Australia. G-d knew the outcome and He knew my heart the entire time. And HE still loves me, HE still knows me and HE still treasures me.

5) I don’t like pretending I’ve got my life together – I pretty openly admit I don’t know everything – or even what I’m doing.

I’m too honest and probably share too much… like, all the time. I believe too firmly that I can sit before my Father as I am and let Him deal with me as I am. I tell Him when His word doesn’t make sense to me, and I tell people who I’m talking to when it doesn’t make sense to me as well. I believe firmly in grace and because of this I no longer give myself stomach ulcers trying to be a “good” person. I try to love and give but when I screw up I believe in the forgiveness already given to me. I’m not the best witness in the world because I can’t explain everything there is to being a ‘Christian’ even though I grew up in church. I have a decent amount of blind faith in that this is the only thing that has made sense so far so this is what I do.

This is the only way the heartache eases

the panic attacks settle

the joy is restored and the hope is in full swing.

So this is what I do. I love on Jesus and let Him love on me. I’m not good at being a good Christian. I take scripture too literally, I don’t like to dice it up. I question the context of what someone is preaching on and wonder if the author ever really intended for us to use it the way we do sometimes. I believe you can sing and watch chains fall, I believe in prayer actually working when we bring our requests to G-d, I believe all things work together for good even when they suck really bad. I believe in favor and that G-d is going to let me accomplish my “bucket list”before I go, even if it doesn’t look like what I have planned. Heaven forbid I actually believe. It’s not the practical thing to do nor is it useful for planning your next move in whatever ministry you are doing. I feel like a wildcard because I don’t agree with everyone all the time. And then I get vocal and post my disagreement in snide tweets or Facebook statuses, mostly to be funny, mostly because I don’t mind being wrong. My opinions are subject to change because I learn something new about what I’m doing weekly. All in all I’m kind of a brat. Brats aren’t good leaders.

So, I’m sorry I’m not the best candidate but I feel called. I’m sorry I’m wrong sometimes but I’m willing to listen and learn where other people know more. I’m sorry that I have a blemish on my marital-ministry badge but I believe in forgiveness and freedom. Sorry I’m a woman, but I’m not sorry – haha, we are crazy cool. ((I’m sorry that last line was so cheesy.))

I’m mostly sorry if I ever skip and opportunity to be real and open with you all.There is too much importance in life and the actions we take and the conversations we have to not live openly. So it might not look like it used to, but my under qualified self has been living out what it means to be Jesus as best as I’ve been able to. So whatever ministry I fall into, I hope I do ok. G-d knows what He’s doing with me, even when I don’t feel like me is enough.

*Note: Please understand the utter sarcasm throughout this blog and the healing that I’ve come to know as mine. A lot of this was tongue-in-cheek as it stands now. At one point these were the things that bound me. But G-d has done a work that I cannot keep to myself or explain. He is good. I am not.

But He loves ME.