Thursday, July 28, 2016

42 days to go.......(7/22-7/28)

Mark 10: 45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Good morning everyone! 

It's been a LONG week. After my last post (last Thursday) Change over went....Odd. It was a strange day for everyone. We got all the buildings done before 3 pm but we had maintenance issues, crew crisis and long faces by the end of the day. The night before I had gone out with friends to go see the new Star Trek movie (side bar FREAKIN' AMAZING MOVIE, BY FAR MY FAVORITE STAR TREK MOVIE!) Back on point, we made it through the day and then were 'treated' to a bonding exercise by our supervisors. We had to clean the main chapel after Tim (a houseman in training and fellow housekeeper) MADE AN ABSOLUTE MESS! Chairs toppled, bits of dryer lint everywhere. As if we didn't just spend the last 6 hours cleaning, we had to continue cleaning. That aside, Dawn (HK manager) did treat us to coach house ice cream or Gatorade and snickers in my case.  Afterwards, we walked to Pacific View Lodge to get a team photo. Dressed in our Black and Whites we posed professionally and then silly. It was great and I can't wait to see it.  
    My schedule has pretty much settled into a basic routine. Which is both nice and tiring. I work almost exclusively in housekeeping except on Wednesdays. I work an hour shift with food breaking down the Salmon BBQ. What's helpful is because at the beginning of my week (Saturday = Monday) are my busiest days. Saturday all day change over, Sunday/Monday early morning shift, ECL and chores, then chores on Tuesday and chores/maid service Wednesday. I get Thursday/Friday off. Which works out. This past week was a killer for everyone. Exhaustion, over work and personal issues were all major factors in seeming endless length of the week. Though by the time Wednesday rolls around it feels like the week whizzed by. 

    I've realized that as of today I only have 42 days left here at CBCC. The new question everyone is asking is "What are your plans after summer" Some are going to school either here or other colleges. Others are going back home and a few are staying as Conference Assistants (year round staff) I've made a lot of friends here and they all pretty much want me to stay. I have plans for after summer. I'm going back to Vancouver, getting a job and hopefully moving out of my parents place before Christmas!  I'll miss everyone I've met and worked with here. Most I'll stay on FB with, but there are a few that I hope to see from time to time. To continue building a friendship with.  

    As I continue to work here, I am reminded everyday that I am here to serve. Not only guests but my co-workers, supervisors and friends. I've been planted here and have grown so much. I know this is only a season however, and while I have enjoyed my time here perhaps not all of it. i know that however my life continues that God is in control.  I've built a good reputation here that will follow me to my next job and hopefully allow me to get a good position.  

  I will close with this; 
a job well done is worth a reward in heaven. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Healing works, and Humble beginnings (7/16-7/21)

1st Kings 8:38

When all your people Israel pray and ask for help, as they acknowledge their pain and spread out their hands toward this temple,

Good evening everyone,

Sorry this post will be short and sweet. The past week has been a mix of pain, mumbled cursing, tears, oils and rejoicing. Life here at CBCC is concentrated compared to the world and yet is the world, if all your co-workers were Christians with same goal of following Christ. I’ve made dozens of friends here. Some I hope to remain in contact and perhaps visit. I’ve laughed more than a cried. I’ve discovered my own range of intelligence and are appreciated on several levels. I’ve realized that I do exist and can be present without making a presentation every time. It’s freeing. That’s the key phrase this summer. Freedom. An unlocking of barred doors in my life. I’m preparing for the next phase of my life in the best way I can. I know there’ll be rough seas ahead of this time of teaching but that’s another thing I’m learning here. How to sail, by the end of the summer I’ll be a sailor because I sail. I feel the confidence and pride God has in me and my work. People ask my advice and I do my best to advise them. It feels good to be wanted and trusted with the smallest of things. From watching over a friends property for ten minutes to sitting with someone who is overwhelmed. There is a great source of self-worth in being truly trusted. It makes me want to cry at times. If you knew me then you’d know that I’ve struggled with trust and abandonment issues. I say them out loud to reveal them in the light. I don’t want to suffer from their bonds anymore. It’s already been a long summer and I know that after this time of concentrated learning there will be yet more to learn. More issues to work through. That is for then not now. Here I am JJ; funny, caring, dedicated and accepting. I like her very much.
   This last few days have been a little unsure. The change over I spoke of in my last blog didn’t go as well as I wanted. While we were sending our crew away at 2:08pm Marci and I (due to maintenance issues) stayed till 2:45pm I was in pain by the end of the day. My demeanor dips significantly into angry and it’s very plain. My co-workers know when I’m upset. I wear my emotions like a canvas with ever changing paint. This is both good and bad. In this case goodish. At lease eveyone knew I was in great pain and felt useless for being so slow. Compared to my normal speed I was moving at sloth speed. We couldn’t afford that! I did what I could and got my floor done by the time we sent our crew away. It all worked out. All the buildings were done before 3pm. This next change over will go better though. Since then my foot has healed significantly! Praise God! Using essential oils (Frankincense and Deep Blue) to sooth my aching feet. I’m not longer limping but walking normally and at full speed now. I’ve been able to speak about the oils with people as I’ve used them to heal my body. It’s very exciting. Back to my miserable week; the most frustrating  part was taking several steps back in ability. To be one of the fastest Housekeepers (and accurate) and be diminished to the slowest. It was a lesson in humility and taking good care of your tools. When you overwork yourself you can’t be as effective for long. Thank you God for that lesson.
   As for the spiritual lesson this week. Our SNL (sunday night live) was just one long worship session. It was amazing. I’d like to quote as experience that I wrote down while meeting the spirit in worship.

        “The musicians begin. The melody unfamiliar, yet true. You were there, there with us in that little church. As the music vibrated through the air you invited me to you. Waiting…Like a gentleman your patience a bottomless well. I in my body remain but I in my spirit rise higher as you call. We rise higher and higher until we’re dancing to the song. The sound swells and suddenly we are one. I can feel your heart beat in my chest along with mine. A warm flush over takes me as I resettle into my mortal coil. I have felt the heart of God. Thudding steadily in my breast, while mine own taps our a rapid tempo. Too overwhelmed to believe the events  that just occurred. You ARE the Desire of our HEARTS! YOU ARE OUR HEARTS!”

This revaltion made me cry of course, but it rang as the truest statement I had ever written. He is our hearts, and there fore the desires of them. We’re created in His image and with a secret desire to seek and serve Him. It was beautiful. It gave me the comfort I needed to face this week. He is my father. My family. My heart.
I thought a lot of my late sister, Jennifer. How I begin stories about her then end with ‘She’s dead now’ which shocks  people out of the hilarity of the tale. I don’t mean to scare people in this  way. It’s more theraputic for me. Jennifer is indeed no longer here as we know it. I miss her everyday and am still grieving the loss of her wonderful light. As I anticipate events in my life where her comfort and wise counsel I see the clever manuver of her ascent. Jennifer would have told me to look to God for wisdom and so to make the point crystal clear she removed even herself from blocking God in my life. Well played, Sis. This may of seemed like a tangent but it has everything to do with how I’m processing my life right now. I’m here and now and everyday I think of how proud she is of me, and how she’d have come seen me a dozen times by now. I was told lately that I seemingly have my ducks in a row. This is not true but I’m working on it. They are at least in the same pond.
   At the end of this week it’s change over again. It seems my days are marked by the beginning and ending of that fateful day. It truly marks the beginning of my week. The best part is that we now have our Housekeeper’s shirts for this year. They are black T-shirts and are awesome! While the crews where those ridiculous white polos housekeeping get to wear black and we basically look like a super coordinated gang. This coming change over (with renewed ability) I plan on walking away at 2:10 we’ll see how it goes. For now I leave with this quote:

“Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” General George S. Patton

Friday, July 15, 2016

Whirl Wind Week! (7/10-7/15)

Psalm 95:8 
harden not your heart, as in the provocation and as in the day of trialsin the wilderness

Good evening everyone, 

Wow! What a week! It’s been crazy here at CBCC. Everyone has been saying that’s it’s been a calm week but when you’re battling fatigue and foot pain any week can seem tough. 

It was celebration week this past week Karl & Ariel Richardson (no known relation) visited the staff this week to encourage us. He spoke on ‘having no purpose’ more about that in a second. First, allow me to delve into the chaos that has been my week. 
Sunday: Early morning shift (cleaning the rec center) then over to ECL and then chores and Sunday night live were we meet Karl. 
Monday: same schedule minus the evening event. 

Tuesday: Okay, here’s where it gets interesting. The night of Monday my foot started hurting. My right foot’s arch was swollen and hurt to put any pressure on it. I went to work Tuesday as normal and just lightly limped about all day. First off; we have certain chores we have to get done before certain hours of the day. After several weeks of trial and error our supervisors decided that it would be better for them to assign morning chores to us. I was given the main chapel chore. SIDE NOTE: I’ve only changed over the chapel and cleaned the entrance. Never just cleaned it. Okay, so I head over limping as I am. For those of you who know, when I’m in pain my patience level lowers considerably. Right, I’m at the chapel and assuming I know what I’m doing (cause I told my supers I did) I begin stacking chairs. I get a whole side stacked and begin on the center aisle. I get four or five rows from the back toward the stage stacked when I decide I should get to vacuuming since I have to be done before 9 am. Time was ticking away quickly. Ben the sound engineer comes in for a sound test before the band comes in to pratice at 9. He notes what I’m doing…alone (normally there are two people) and asks me if I’m suppose to have a partner. I make some comment of being capabale and he calls my supers. Grateful to be getting some help I continue vacuuming. SUDDENLY! Both my supervisors and two of my fellow housekeepers come rushing and begin unstacking chairs. Feeling like a freakin’ idiot I keep vacuuming. Andrew (supervisor) comes to tell me that I was working entirely too hard. I was just suppose to vacuum the chapel and pick up garbage not change the whole thing over in an hour! A bit embarrassed and defeated, foot throbbing already I help put the chairs back in the right spot and get out before nine. I was sent to Fireside next.  
They had had bingo the night before and we had to put the tables away and set up fifty chairs. Fully angry at myself for assuming what I needed to do at the chapel and in pain I broke down tables and slid them to their proper place. Mumbling most of the time about how much my foot hurt. Still I worked. Not because I had too but because I came here to work. There is little else to do. I find myself growing restless if I don’t have work. I’m building a pretty good reputation here and I have to work equally hard to keep it up. Back on point. After the fireside was set up (no easy task) I went back to the office to take my break. I was next assigned to clean the quarantine room. The first person to walk in after me was my partner. Together we were to strip the room to the bare mattress (whether they were used or not) and sanitize the room. When you send Jessica JJ Richardson to sanitize a room. It will be cleaner than a hospital. My partner and I stripped, bagged and soaked the bathroom features in cleanser. While my partner ran the infected linens to laundry I sanitized every surface, facet and piece of furniture in the place. House keeping is the first line between sickness and health for our guests and fellow staff. We’re responsible for clean, healthy rooms every time. In this I take my job very seriously. 
We got the room stripped, sanitize and half stocked before lunch. We closed the room and took the rest of the linens to the laundry. After lunch I was scheduled to train a new program person who needed to know how to do a change over. With heated determination and an aching arch I took my trainee (victim) to room 211 in Tides and walked him through the hectic pace of a change over without rushing him. He was lucky to be trained on a chore day as a pose to an actual change over like myself. I showed him how to do some things but mainly verbally instructed his training. I was very impressed with work ethic and thoroughness. He’d ‘finish’ I’d inspect it like any other good captain and tell him to do it again. He’d jump right back in and do the job better. My goal was to make it so he was the best on any team he was assigned (praying he’s on mine) He was great. Training over I returned to the quarantine room (with a new partner) we finished changing over the room and was sent over to PVL to clean the publics and lobby. The day was turned out better than it started but the pain was bad by the end of the day. 
Wednesday: Maid service/Chores 
This was a special day, not only was I limping from the start but I had figured out by now that I had planters facetious! 
Awesome… So limp and all Geoff (our very own BFG) after morning chores were given our assignments. First off, I have to take a side bar here and tell you how awesome it is when you’re bosses trust you (and say it to your face) that they trust you to complete a task to perfection. It really helped make up for my mistakes the previous day. After our important task Geoff and I headed to PVL to to first and North 2nd (the north side of PVL) We got done at around 3 pm headed back to the office where we had to take a break. If you know me than you know that I prefer to press on and get it done then rest but as per law and sensibility we took a break. 3:15 pm we headed to East. FINALLY! Maid service over we headed back to the office. I was ready to go do chores (despite limping heavily, I had plans that evening and wanted to be done for the day) 
Aaron stops me before I can leave to do my chore, he says.
“JJ, Stop. Walk toward me” 
I try to walk as normally as I can, but got sent home early anyway. I go back to my room, change, grab an aluminum water bottle to ice my foot and spend the next hour with my dad (who had come down to start a SAGA game with my friends from CBCC) after that I went back to my dorm and got ready for my debut CBCC performance in a murder mystery at a wedding!
I played Darlene Simpson, the jealous sister of the groom. Bitter about not being close to her brother as children she’s now enraged that her beloved brother is marrying a rich Italian American. Only instead of the bride the groom is murdered! 

It was great fun. I went full out on make—up (Thank you Hannah H.) my roommate and she even made me a dress from a bed sheet. I asked myself, If I were vindictive and hated the bride of a wedding I was in what should I wear… A WHITE DRESS! No joke! Priscilla (the minister who organized the event) was in stitches when she saw me. People mistook me as the bride until the “real” bride showed up in an epic, white 80’s prom dress (Courtesy of Staff minister Leslie). Everyone in attendance dressed as if it were a real wedding. It was awesome. The ice and frankincense oil I had put on before helped keep my foot from swelling too bad. Other than breaking into giggles a few times we all stayed in character. At one point the bride and I (my co-captain/friend Marci) I were suppose to get into a verbal fisticuffs. It was great! We were slinging PG insults at each other and when Leslie gave us the cue to wrap it up I told her groom (and real life boyfriend) to break us up. It worked out well. I was unaware of who was going to be murdered and so after their ‘first dance’ the groom “my brother” fell in a gasp. I screamed his name and rushed to the stage. Shaking to wake him. Apparently I was ‘aggressive’ ‘awesome’ and some peoples ‘favorite character’ It was a nice to blow off a little steam from the past week. 
By the end of the event my foot was really paining me. My friend Abbie (who played the wedding planner) walked me to the coach house below and treated me to some water and a cookie! After the first few minutes my saga training kicked in and I was Darlene Simpson. It was cool to flex my acting skills a bit. Abbie walked me back to my room where we talked for a bit. 
Thursday: MAJOR DEHYDRATION HEADACHE! Ugh. I didn’t drink enough the previous day and was paying for it. My foot was still pretty swollen but I had the day and the next off. I was so grateful to my manager, Dawn for my new days off. I needed to rest my foot. Frankincense, Deep blue and ice. That’s how I was solving the problem. After watching Netflix, sleeping and eating all day I made my way slowly over to beach front to listen to our guest speakers; Karl and Ariel Richardson. I was working on the other sessions. His point was that we have no purpose that we can perceive. God has appointments and assignments for us that can’t be boiled down to a single ‘purpose’ in this I felt a great freedom. I’d been wondering what I should be doing after this summer was over. I’ve gained many skills while working here and several friends. An opportunity back home would seem the easiest but perhaps it’s a ministry that God wants me to pursue. To protect and teach my family what I’ve learned while being here. I’m not positive yet but I know that whatever I do, as long as it glorifies God I will be blessed. I slept well that night, knowing that my future was secure in God alone and that I wasn’t too worry. 
Friday: SHOUT OUT TO MY NEPHEW JUDAH! IT’S HIS 9TH BIRHTDAY! Speaking of which I called him at 8:30 am to wish him a happy birthday. I ended up talking to my sister-in-law, Belle for a bit which was nice, cause every time I talk to the kids I choke up. I miss those guys so much. If I take the opportunity then it would allow a lot of freedom and ability to see and spend time with the kids. All of them. As I write this now I realized that since my sister died (two years in nov.) I haven’t spent nearly enough time with her kids. I love them and miss them too. They remind me of her. Often I think of how she’d come and visit me if she could. She is a voice in my head now. Just a echo in my mind, and an ache in my heart. 

TOMORROW is change over. My parents are driving down to give me special insoles for Planters F. I’m very grateful! I’m praying that they work and my co-captain and crew will get the building done even sooner than 2:20. I’ll keep you updated. 

I’ll leave you with this thought;
Without purpose, we are limitless.  

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Soggy Saturday (6/9/16)

Leviticus 26:4

Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Good evening everyone, 

today was change over. If you've been following my blog then you know what that means. For the new comers to the party I'll briefly explain; Change over-VERB: the term for a series of actions in which a room(s) are stripped (old out new in) stocked and cleaned. 

Every Saturday at CBCC is change over day. Now, some may look at this daunting task as awful, which don't take get me wrong there are aspects that are simply dreadful. On the other hand though, I find change over refreshing. When you're  closing the doors of rooms with perfectly clean bathrooms, well made beds and fully stocked towels and sundries(soaps, cups etc.) It's a sense of accomplishment. A source of pride to know that you did your best and that guests will walk into to clean rooms. 

Following  my personal saga that is Anchorage. My Everest. Today I felt like I reached Hillary's step (the climber not the politician)  Last week I was joined by a co-captain. She's amazing! We work so well we're like Kirk and Spock! Seamless it's great. Today we went to our housekeeping meeting (am) as the rain began to pour. We prayed for change over and then headed out with our buckets. Marci (my co-captain) and I went to Anchorage and started stripping as many rooms as were empty. Some guests lingered until ten. At ten we met at the laundry dock and were split up into our crews. Other than one, we had a completely new crew but they rocked it today! As the drizzle continued we got to work. With the help of a few extra hands before ten we were able to get most of the rooms stripped, leaving only two or three left when our crew arrived. Time to get to work. Marci and I had agreed to each take a floor and stock it. While our crew cleaned bathrooms we stocked the sheets and towels. I've developed time saving techniques; such as working from the farthest room to the closest closet (which saves a lot of time and energy) Once my floor was stocked I headed upstairs to help Marci finish hers (a couple of guests were still around when we had to leave to meet our crew) That done, her and I started on beds. The goal of the change over routine is to have all bathrooms done before noon. Since we only have a half hour lunch this is crucial. We're going a long and before we know it, it's lunch. Not only were our bathrooms done but (drum roll please) 17 BEDS! made to perfection! Off to lunch. I locked up all the baskets with the cleaning chemicals. 

The general conversation at lunch was how far in the process everyone was. Lunch was quick and we headed back. Finishing off beds was TOP OF THE LIST. Six people making beds and only 30 beds today (one room wasn't used, also known as a merry Christmas room) We finished up beds by 1:30 pm and started on chores, which is frankly unheard of but we were on it today. 

For those of you keeping score at home;
June 25th finished at 3:23 pm
July 2nd finished at 2:54 pm
July 9th finished at 2:20 pm!!!!

THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS! CHECK IN TIME IS 3 PM AND ME AND MY TEAM GOT IT DONE AT 2:20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had set a goal of walking away from the building at 2:50 pm, a reasonable goal I thought, but God had better plans. Our crew was on top of it today. It was amazing! I was so freakin' happy! My co-workers (especially those who've worked it before) were congratulating us! At our post change over meeting we were congratulated again. It felt amazing to get done so early and be able to help out my coworkers to finish up. The real victory was that all 6 buildings were cleaned and ready for guests before 3pm! That was amazing and such a blessing. 

Emma and I were on call for the rest of the night starting at five. We were only called in once at around 5:15 to sanitize a bathroom. Which I was happy to do. That's one major aspect of working here. I really enjoy serving people in anyway I can. Knowing that housekeeping have a very important job of maintaining a distraction free environment through maid service, chores and keeping things tidy, is a honor. I love my job (thought I know it's temporary) The skills in both job related and life will carry me to greater things later. I've learned that I can do anything that I set my mind and goal for. Life is hard enough without doubting your every move. I've reached a WHOLE NEW COMFORT ZONE! It's awesome, I feel more alive and as if this is how I was suppose to be. 
Bold in thought, thoughtful in actions and positive in speech. I'm not sure what's happening but I'm trusting God and his plan for my life. I feel freer already. I know that after this season it won't suddenly be easier, but I feel....less isolated. Having met so many people with similar stories and battle scars, we're a community of Christ and it's amazing to watch the progress of my friends and co-workers. It's such a beautiful transformation. When God puts us through cleansing fire. I've realized that it doesn't have to be pain that shapes us, but having to wake up early to do chores or being responsible for an entire building. I needed this in my life. I needed Him. 

I'll say good night with this;

Humans disappoint. God appoints. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Previously on…..(6/25-7/7)

        Proverbs 3:8
This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.

Hello eveyone! 

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. It’s been quite the whirlwind of work and adventure here at CBCC. With guests coming and going, staff events and sickness abound. I’ve found myself lacking time to write. Today however, (7/7) I’ve found myself once again under the weather bad enough to call in sick again. Ugh. However, it’s given me enough time to catch everyone up on what’s been going on. 

Since my last post, my perspective on CBCC has adjusted slightly. I’ve realized that I get to work with great people! The staff here are dedicated to the guests comfort. From the food service making meals, to the program watching the children so the parents can go to the conferences without distraction and of course the housekeepers (shout out to my Department) who keep the place tidy and clean. I always felt that the staff were good people. Despite some administrative issues. This place is special and God has his hand in the everyday workings, even if we’re unaware. 
Now since it’s been over a week since my last post I won’t exactly be able to remember every detail of every day. I will endeavor however to relate the more interesting happenings. At the end of my most recent post I had mentioned that I was going to captain a building for the first change over of the summer. Here’s how that went:
Captain’s personal log Stardate: 62516
Today my crew and I embark on a three month journey, patrolling the Cannon quadrant. I’ve recently been promoted to Captain. With all the confidence of my superior officers in me I was still nervous to be in command of a new crew. Fresh faced cadets, some yet untested by the perils and challenges of space travel and taking orders. I woke this morning with a pit of dread but then pushed it down to allow courage to rise. I dressed in my new uniform. The gold pips gleaming in the mirror. I set myself to rights and headed to the mess hall. I entered with all the enthusiasm of a well seasoned captain, assured of their victory. My crew was less than enthusiastic about the journey. Knowing that it would be a bit doldrum. Patrol and maintenance wasn’t the most exciting assignment. I didn’t let this discourage my positive outlook. We had a job to do and by God we were going to get it done right the first time. After eating, all Captains were to report for an officer’s meeting. Admiral Dawn, Commander Aaron and Vice Admiral Andrew were present. Starfleet took this mission very seriously. We were briefed on our assignments. My stomach nearly dropped when I was told that I’d be captaining the U.S.S ‘Anchorage’ an notoriously difficult ship to master. I set my jaw despite the sympathetic looks from my fellow captains. 
“Challenge accepted” I said out loud. A few smiled and launched congratulatory well wishes. I took them all. God knew I’d need them. With a quick prayer we were off. I took my assignment tablet and was off to inspect my ship. 
Okay, now for a bit of fact filled details. By ship I mean building. Despite my dramadic telling. It was true Anchorage was known to be one of the more difficult buildings to get done on time. We only had from 10 am to 3pm to get every room stripped, stocked, cleaned and made. I was nervous my first morning but like I said, I went to breakfast with a ready smile and enough positive energy to infuse my team with courage to take on the challenge. During change over days (where we clean every room in every building) The housekeeping department staff, who have been deemed building Captains, are given their buildings and crews. The crews are made up primarily of food and program staff who normally do not do housekeeping all week. Hence only housekeepers can be captains. It’s a privilege to be a captain. You have to know sight on scene how something should look. Hospital corners, how many sundries and towels. Whether a room’s been properly stripped or put back. It’s a detail orientated job and one that I’ve been proud to do for the past two weeks. I was assigned Anchorage (which I can see from my dorm) It’s a two story open deck building with 14 rooms, bathrooms, kitchenettes and 35 beds. It has three stair wells two split one straight and two closets for supplies. Three garbage cans on second floor and four on first floor. It’s a long building with all the rooms on one side while the open air deck on the other. I know almost all the stats on this building because as I’ve said on facebook. Anchorage is my white whale, my everest. My challenge. My first change over my crew (program and food) worked well. The goal is to have all the bathrooms done before noon. We didn’t meet this goal that day and it frustrated me but we pressed on anyway. What made it difficult especially is that I was the only one running back and forth stripping and suppling at first. One of my crew, affectionately known as Tugboat, having a bum knee became my number one that day. He stocked first floor which saved us a little time. We got our beds done right after bathrooms. As the chores came up other buildings sent their people over. Which was helpful but again, flustering. I wanted to get the building done on time. In the end I was walking away at 3:23pm which is nearly a half hour late. I was determined then to get it done faster the next time. 
That night I had gotten a co-worker to take my On Call shift so I could hang out with my friends, Noel and Linnea who had come down to see me. It was a much needed time away from Cannon beach. Having lived here for, at the time 26 days, I REALLY NEEDED time away. The day hadn’t gone the way I wanted. It was nice to hear about things going on at home versus talking about closet counts and schedules. When you live in a community that you not only work with but live  with in some capacity it can becomes very isolating. While I love everyone I’ve worked it so far it’s an example of how your life can become very small while living in one place (especially when you don’t have a car!) Noel took Linnea and I to McMininmen’s for dinner. Knowing I was going to see them at the end of the day was the motivating factor behind getting done. We went to Seaside and after dinner walked about. It was around 6 in the evening so most things were closing but we got some chocolate and eventually headed back to Cannon. Sitting at Whale Park we just enjoyed each other’s company. It was great seeing them. They planned on coming down again. I hope soon. 

The week went along fine. I was sick on my days off which sucked because my family and more friends came down that Wednesday to come see me. I felt a little better. It was fun hanging out with everyone. It felt good to get out on the beach and just play. My nephews and niece and I built sand castles. We ate chicken. I gave everyone a tour of my ‘home’ my oldest nephew cried when they were leaving. I miss them everyday but I keep my focus on work and God right now. I had to call in sick that Thursday, knowing that I had a change over that Saturday (like every Saturday) I came back on Friday and had an early morning (ugh) We got it all done and were done with our chore list at 4:45 versus five. I was so happy that I’d have enough time to shower before dinner. I glimpsed at my captain sheet and saw that I was going to have a co-captain. At first  I thought I was lacking in some way. But then Dawn explained that Anchorage really did need two captains to get everyone done. Marci was my new co-captain and we work beautifully together. It reminds me of how Noel and I know and anticipate each other’s actions. We communicated well and got everything done with only seven people (crew of four, two captains and one extra when chores were done) by (drum roll please…..) 2:54 pm! We were closing doors and walking away by 2:59! I had said out loud that I wanted to be doing chores by 2pm. And LO AND BEHOLD we did! My crew was awesome. People were amazed that we had gotten it done in such a short time. I too was impressed with my team. We rocked it. My plan is to get down to 2:50 this coming Saturday. The key to last week was that we had not only all our bathrooms done before noon but ten beds! Which saves precious time. Next week, not only will we have all our bathrooms done but fifteen beds made. Before my team knows it we’ll be doing chores at 12:30 (which is when our lunch is over) I’m determined this will happen, and with Marci’s help and good communication we’ll get this done. 
This past week was weird. Sunday night live was good, I connected well with a fellow co-worker our lives nearly mirroring each others. Priscilla gave a talk. We sang Amazing Grace (appropriate since the 4th was the next day) and I broke down crying. I had realized by the third chorus that that song was the LAST song I ever sang with my sister, Jennifer  even before she was dignosed. It hit me hard and I cried through the next song. Monday was of course the 4th of July. Monday’s are my longest days… I have early morning, then I work over at ECL then I help with chores at CBCC then I have a serving shift. Well the night before I had a hard time falling asleep.  Antonia (ECL) wanted to see the parade so despite all of us being a little/lot sick Julie, Marci and I hustled to get as much done as we could so that Antonia and her daughter could go to the 4th of July parade they have every year here in Cannon. The parade being at 11 am. I had the idea that since the guests at the lodge would likely go and watch the parade before checking out, the three of us wouldn’t have much to do. So, we walked back. I asked Dawn if we could take our lunch an hour early and she agreed that it made more sense. At the coach house (on the housekeeping tab, thank you Dawn) the three of us ate. Will, Marci’s boyfriend/our fellow co-worker) was struggling with the pepsi machine across the way. I’ll leave that story for him to tell. It was a good laugh all around and much needed. We got back to ECL and finished up the day early. Back at CBCC we did chores and the day continued from there. For those of you who know, I love the fourth of July! Barbecues, fireworks and patriotic clothing. I was so exhausted from the past week’s madness that I was more than a little flustered that I was working on a NATIONAL FREAKING HOLIDAY! By the time I was done with my serving shift I was crying and wanting to be any where but here. I was thinking about how at that moment (5:30 pm on the fourth) I’d be at Noel’s parents house sitting around wishing Nana (her grandma) a happy birthday and eating delicious food. Later we’d gather in the yard and watch as their firework budget went up in a spectacular display of muli-colored flames. That’s what I would have done. The previous night I had asked around to see if we had any plans other than going to Seaside to go watch the big fire work show. I suggested we have a bon fire. A few people were interested. After a much needed nap, I went to the front desk to retrieve my wood I had bought with Leslie earlier that evening. The newest Megan and I walked down to the beach via Pacific View Lodge across the street. We found a good spot and with help of some boys moved a sizable drift would log to the designated place. Megan went to get her blanket while I remained and tackled the challenge of making a fire. I went with the loose log cabin method and it worked! It almost went out a couple of times but the wind helped and I set more paper and kindling to the infant embers. Once it was really going I was proud of my accomplishment. I believe it was a visual testament to my time here. I’ve done and achieved things that before I was too scared of scarred of doing before. Now, I no longer want to live my life in fear and pain of rejection. Here I’ve learned that I’m a worthwhile person and while I hardly doubted that I could make friends I did however have self-doubts about my ability to go to work and keep a cool head in heated situations. I’m a freakin’ Building captain! That job is given to the cool headed, the calm voiced and the motivating. I’ve been told that I can cheer up the sad and comfort the lonely. That I accept and include everyone around me. It’s not hard for me to understand why I’ve made so many friends now. I’m doing my best everyday and while at times it’s tiring it’s also refreshing so feel as though even when I’m not sure of what I’m doing God is there to guide me. To show me that this is our walk together. As I sat and watched the sun slowly descend and as more friends gathered around the fire I felt happy and content. Not wishing for more that the company of my co-workers and a warm fire. It was gratifying to be at peace. Real peace. Real satisfaction for the day. Knowing now how tired I was for the rest of the week. I’m glad I went down the beach and started that fire and sat with friends. I was out on the beach till midnight (which I previously hadn’t done before) Spreading the still smoldering coals I headed back to the convention center, showered and went to bed. It was my day off thank God. 
Tuesday, my only day off that week since I volunteered to work that Wednesday for the strange (once a summer) midweek change over. I spent my Day off with Emma, my former roommate and good friend. We got an early start and went to Seaside for a friend date. Nothing was open until 10 am. We arrived around 9 am. The ride on the bus while comfortable was bumpy at times I came out of my seat a few inches. Taking it in stride and with an air of adventure we laughed. Walking about seaside we peered in the windows of yet opened shops and talked. As everything was opening up we stepped in to a little bakery, and split a cresant. Next we went to Shamus’s rocks. The owner operator had his life-long collection of rocks for sale. The tiny shop was filled with them. From floor to ceiling (Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in seaside) We crossed the street to a little book store that had a fat tabby laying in the window. We continued our journey through town popping into seemingly every bakery for a quick glance. Stopping in a cash/check only thrift store Emma was able to find a pair of pants she needed.  We had lunch at the Crabby Oyster. Excellent food for a reasonably price and top notch service. Afterwards we headed toward the promenade and to the aquarium (Which I had previously not been too) It was awesome to see all the creatures that live in our very own Pacific ocean including a giant  octopus. Emma and I each made a rubbing picture of creatures at a table with raised metal images. I got an octopus of course. Our day winding down we headed toward (what I believed would be a bus stop) We kept walking it seemed endlessly. Emma, sure we were going in the right direction, kept on going. Finally I asked if she had looked up the closest bus stop. She hadn’t but agreed that that would be a good idea. It’s a good thing I love her so much. We made it to the stop and waited for the bus (which was right there in the parking lot) to go back on duty. On our way home Emma and I fell asleep. I woke up and kept watch. I realized that it takes a lot of trust for someone to fall asleep in your presence. I felt honored to be trusted to sit next to my friend and guard her while she slept. We made it back to Cannon and little under an hour and got off. We met up with a few friends and walked back to CBCC. I was so tired that I went back to my room and slept. I needed that. I built a fort using my bunkbed and blanket and slept. It was glorious. A bit of privacy. A time to recharge. Knowing that I hat the mid-week change over. 
Wednesday (7/6) 
It was like any other change over except we didn’t have as many rooms and Marci wasn’t with me at Anchorage. A few new people had be switched out for my regular people. It worked out. After devotions at the morning housekeeping meeting. We grabbed out buckets and went to our buildings. Unlike on Saturday change over days, when I’m pumped to be there and ready for the day, I had woken up every hour the previous night. Which made for a tad surely captain. By the time I was at the laundry dock waiting to meet up with my team I was getting a little energized. I refused to bring down my team with a bad attitude. We had the same time schedule 10 am to 3 pm with half hour lunch. We only had 9 rooms to change over and two maid services (weird I know) But I had the brilliant idea to have two of my more experienced people do maid service while the rest and I made beds. We got our bathrooms and a few beds done before lunch. By the time we got back we were doing chores by 1:13pm I was so freakin’ excited. We were moving and grooving. I had all the chores figured out before the beds were done and I was locking up the building at 2:20pm I was elated! According to my calculations with the addition of all the rooms with the pace we were working we should be done by 2:50 come this Saturday! I can’t wait to see how God prevails in our work. 

Like I said earlier today I had to call in sick. With all this hard work it’s been crazy! I appriciate my supervisors understanding and flexibility. Everyone here works very hard and when our bodies give out we need a day to get back on the horse. Plus, I got be back on my game for Saturday. 2:50 here we come! 

I’ll leave you with this; with great power comes great responsibility.