The “Clean Up” Song

So much is going on around here.  We are singing new songs and re-writing old ones… such is life.  I thought I would share this fun little download for you to enjoy.  The “Clean Up” Song is sung all day around here- My sister and I got TIRED of the only verse we knew (the first one)… So I wrote a few more.  This can be printed as an 8×12 or 12×8… you can get both frames at Michaels… and your playroom/bedroom/where EVER all the toys are room is just a little cuter!

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Carol Jones - so cute. :) We have to make up words to songs are we lose our minds!
Here’s one I wrote too:
Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up clean up everybody do your share. We are happy when we laugh and when we play. We are happy when we put our toys away. Here’s my _________ (insert name of toy) I will put my toys away. Clean up Clean up ready for another day.

Rachel McClain - I love you! Oh how I wish I could see you and live this time of your life near you. Miss y’all!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year >> Christmas Card design + printing

 

I love sending out Christmas cards.  Who am I kidding? I love sending out ANY kind of cards… I’m just thankful there is a time of year I can justify the time it takes to create a cool one, have it printed, and then spend the hours it takes addressing them.  It’s a serious monetary and time investment.  It’s worth every penny and second too.  I loooove getting Christmas cards in the mail.  I use them as decor and pack them away each year with the decorations so that I can see how our friends change yearly.  It’s always fun to see the evolution of the lives we love.

This year I used a combination of templates from Galler.ee and was done in an hour.  (It would have been minutes but I customized each design, changed fonts, sizes, colors, orientations, and had to write witty copy… so naturally that can’t be rushed.)  If you are a photographer and aren’t a Galler.ee member you are CRAZY! $20 bucks a month, unlimited downloads (they have INCREDIBLE designs), and they are always coming up with really, really cool tools for photographers.  Our photograph was taken by my LOVELY SISTER JACKLYN… she has serious skills >>> and we were done in about 5 minutes flat- she is QUICK! I am so, so, thankful she shared her gifts with us- I’ll share the incredible work she did soon.

Design combo above: Year in Review, Holiday Collection by Hand

I had our cards printed at Overnight Prints.  They are FAST and their ordering system is by far my favorite for printing flat cards.  You can print 25 cards or 25,000 – their pricing is fantastic too.

 

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Barbie Hemberger Weller - Shauna, your family is absolutely beautiful … amazing how God truly works for us to give us the desires of our heart ~ in HIS perfect way & time <3

We gave lots of thanks.

do you see how tired these babies are? they wore each other OUT.

the littles and I take walks, it’s our thing.

I can’t even express how much i love having a camera phone.  I know it sounds cheesy- we all have them- but I am REALLY REALLY THANKFUL.  I’ve started documented our days with instagram and organizing them with #hashtags so that at the end of the year (or whenever i fancy) I can create books or prints with the click of a button… and no going back through and sorting (thank you #hashtags!).  I still use my “real” camera too- probably once or twice a week… but my phone is my go-to.  I snapped these using the VSCO camera app (that’s all I use) and edited them through out the day… before the night was over I shared them with my sister online and didn’t have to pick up my computer once.  PRAISE THE LORD.  I know they aren’t perfect.  I actually love that they aren’t perfect.  It feels like going through a photo album of me as a kid.  We never had perfect photographs- they were perfectly imperfect instead.  A little blurred, sometimes questionably processed, exposed incorrectly, composition all wrong- yet they bring us back to those moments just as well as the near perfect ones we work so hard to get.  My camera phone is a blessed break from perfect.  It’s nice to embrace a little imperfection for a change.  I hope your Thanksgiving was a great one.  Our’s was really special.

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Chicago called me Texas >> and other Snow thoughts

A few of things to point out here: 1. Romeo is ice skating in his Jordan’s 2. that jacket was my dad’s and i remember him wearing it when i was Nico’s age 3. he has fantasy’s of being a hockey player

(and can you see how intense Nico is? he cracks me up- he was really trying to understand this snow/ice thing)

I grew up in Texas.  It snowed a few times when I was growing up.  There is a photo of my brother and I attempting to build a snow man out of the white ground cover that fell on our yard overnight.  It was a pitiful sight.  Frosty didn’t make it long.  So when I moved to Germany I was a little nervous.  First, let me say, I imagined ARCTIC SNOW, Siberia style.  I was pleasantly surprised by the German winters (no where close to Siberian)… and really excited about my first one.

I remember waking up and looking out of my kitchen window into the valley and seeing everything covered in white.  It was breathtaking.  I set out to find the perfect snow boot (because a girl needs the right shoes, right? first thing’s first) so I walked down to the village enjoying the snow crunching beneath my feet every step of the way.  The next day I put my boots on and headed out early to run some errands.  When I returned to my parking spot later that afternoon it was covered with snow.  Up to my bumper snow.  (This is the part of the story that my Texas upbringing needs to be called to the forefront of your mind.  My only experience with large piles of snow was in the form of shaved ice for SNOW CONES… white, fluffy, & soft) With my understanding of snow as a (really poor) reference I swung my car wide and tried to pull into my parking space.  I HIT A WALL… OF SNOW.  It wasn’t soft and fluffy… It was frozen.  Um, like snow is.  Wow.  I literally stayed safe all day driving in the snow to come home and crash parking in the snow.

My neighbor, who was from Chicago, was conveniently taking a smoke break outside as I pulled in. She witnesed the whole thing, and fell over laughing hysterically.  I was stunned.  I even hit my face on my steering wheel (and thanked God the airbags didn’t deploy!).  I opened up my door and stood outside in shock and blurted out in outrage,

“It’s snow! I thought it was soft!  What is the deal? What do I do? I can’t even park my car!”

She dried up the laughter and with the most serious face she could muster said,

“Well Texas, you have to shovel it.”

at that moment I realized that Texas was synonymous for idiot… and that is exactly what I felt like.

That was the day my love affair with snow ended.  I was over it.  Shoveling snow is for the birds.

I have many other snow stories from our time in Germany and they all teach the same lesson.

STAY HOME.

So when the snow and ice fall here in North Texas (as it has for the past several days), you better believe Texas has her boots on (same ones) and is crunching around ON FOOT with my Misters by my side.

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Carol Jones - Oh gosh, I laughed until I cried. :)

Blame it on the Breastfeeding >> My first Facebook Rant

This is the blog post that I shouldn’t be writing.  I should be sleeping.  My children are both asleep, it’s almost 12:30 am, I should be sleeping.  I got in the shower and couldn’t get it off my mind.  I spent THIRTY PRECIOUS MINUTES writing a facebook comment.  That isn’t a typo.

I blame it on the breastfeeding.  Namely breast pumping.  It’s UN-FUN to sit attached to a mini vacuum while the machines that used to be your breasts pump out milk like you are getting paid for it.  I could run a dairy farm.  In the past couple of days this time has been spent clicking on facebook.  I’ve clicked all those “shared” articles you always see.  I’ve seen unlikely animal besties, restored historic photographs, trending videos, read articles, discovered blogs, stores, new people, old friends, you name it, i’ve created a new tab and plunged into discovery mode checking it out.  Tonight I got lost.  I clicked on the receipt from a pastor with no tip and went into a tailspin.  I read this article and said about 75 AMENS while reading it. I waited tables for 5 years on college.  My sister waited tables and went on to manage a really popular restaurant for years.  This is a conversation we’ve had a hundred times with our family and friends. Everyone should have to wait tables in their life.  If you are going to eat at restaurants working one shift- JUST ONE- would change the way you experienced being served at any food establishment forever.  It’s hard.  People are not always nice.  If you want to know who someone really is… when no one is looking… watch how they treat their server… I digress.  My friend shared the article, I clicked, returned to her page and read the comments.  A couple of (i’m sure absolutely sweet) Christian ladies thought it was a pity the article was shared as it was clear to them it was a ploy of the media to smear Christians- and that they were sure this was the exception and not the rule and that the source should be considered- thus invalidating the claim that Christians are their own worst enemies regarding their restaurant behavior.  I couldn’t help myself:

great article- i’m actually reading his book Torn right now. He raises real thought provoking questions. As a Christian who waited tables for 5 years I can personally (and anyone who has worked at a restaurant would concur) right Jacklyn Nacianceno? that this isn’t an isolated incident- it’s truly the norm. “The Church Crowd” is the worst crowd on Sundays and late Wednesdays after church (they come in riiiiiight before the kitchen closes which is awesome… and by awesome i mean, NOT awesome) It’s really an exception and refreshing break from the entitled attitudes to run across a generous thoughtful Christian… and as a believer i was looking and praying for them to come flooding in. I wanted the people I worked with to love Sunday mornings… My coworkers would bring tracts into the back (that were left instead of a tip or even better… with a crappy tip) and read them out loud mocking the gospel and mad that the tract wouldn’t pay their light bill. I’ve personally had several couples question the sincerity of my faith because I was working on Sunday morning (as if I could plan the schedule)… I politely responded with a sentiment about how if Christian families returned to their homes after church and sat around their own tables to break bread I would be free to take a Sunday off to do the same with mine… that was never received well. It’s truly a problem. What most of us don’t think about when we are leaving a tip for a server is the number of people they to have to tip before they leave (yes, your server has to tip the hostess who sat you at your table, the guy who just appears to fill your water and tea, the bar tender who may or may not have made drinks for you, and sometimes other servers for covering tables etc…) it’s expensive to serve you. Let’s not mention the fact that they don’t really make a dime for working from the restaurant… they really do depend on tips for their income. All of it. So when we leave our tips (by ourselves or with groups) we need to remember that the extra couple of dollars is a BIG DEAL to a server, & dare I say, it’s a big deal to God. We are called to give- serve- bless- and trust that we serve the God who provides… You never know how God will use what you give. It can be life changing. It truly does pay their light bill. So, If we are going to be a light… we should be a BLESSING and give some light too! (in the form of CASH ) geez. that evidently struck a chord. I think this is the first official facebook soapbox i’ve stepped on. getting down now…

 

The point of the article is the way Christians behave and the way they are perceived in restaurants.  I can tell you first hand it isn’t pretty.  It’s tragic.  We have such an incredible opportunity to put others before ourselves, extend grace and PATIENCE, and SERVE those who are serving us- every time we sit down.  But wait? Don’t we go out to eat to be TAKEN CARE OF… and what if the job is not being done well? I have some thoughts on Restaurant behavior that is especially for Christians.

Why am I singling out Christians here? It’s nothing personal… this information applies to everyone really but some of the engagement with the server might seem weird if you don’t follow Jesus.  I would never expect someone who doesn’t follow Christ to live this way- and if they do follow Christ then He has set the standard and we just need to be reminded of it sometimes at all times.   The bible is clear- our lives are supposed to be different.  Our love is supposed to change the way people see God.  Our lives can do that as we live and love like Jesus.

  1. YOUR SERVER WAS CHOSEN BY GOD. wait, what? she’s going that spiritual… YES. YES, I AM.  If you believe in God’s sovereignty then you better believe he knew who would be pouring your tea.  Stop and ask yourself why this server was chosen.  You might even need to ask the server.  How do you think your server would respond if you put your menu down and said something like, “Hi (fill in the blank with the name he/she gave you… hope you were listening) I’m thankful you’ll be taking care of us today- we know this wasn’t an accident and actually believe God crossed our paths- we would love to pray for you is there something we can pray for? I hope you know God sees you- we are proof of it.”
  2. YOU ARE SITTING IN A CHAIR NOT ON A THRONE. so don’t act like royalty.  There are 30 other people in her/his section that feel like they are the bees knees too and they want what they want, NOW.  if you know you are super thirsty and your water will be gone in 2 seconds- ask for a second glass or a pitcher for the table (AND DON’T GET UP AND GET IT that is rude- just give them a second… they will be back- they HAVE to come back).  it’s physically impossible for your server to be in a hundred places at once.  your cup might run dry for a minute- you will survive.  if your server is clearly neglecting you and talking to her friends you have another issue… take it up with management;  but if you see her/him running around please be patient… you are not forgotten.
  3. EVERY SECOND COUNTS.  I have to say I dislike the way we experience our meals here in America but it is what it is.   (I am not talking about Michelin star dining here- that is a whole different ball game and this issues would not even come into play) The faster your tables turn over the more money you make.  That is why your server leaves your check after you blow off their mention of dessert.  It’s at the end of your table or standing up so that #1 the Manager knows they are following their training #2 the hostess knows what tables are getting ready to open up #3 so you’ll get up and give the server another chance at getting that light bill paid.  do you know that restaurants have turnover goals? management checks to see how long it was from the time you sat down, to the time you ordered, to the time you paid your bill… more tables means more money, period. with that said, if you are engrossed in conversation- your server has asked you several times if you need anything else and you’ve chosen to ignore the subtle hints.  Be mindful that you are costing them money.  When it’s time for you to tip keep in mind how many tables could have been sat in the time you’ve taken.  There is nothing like a big tip and a note that says “Thanks for letting us linger, we value the time we have together- and yours too.”
  4. SERVERS ARE REAL HUMANS.  So treat them that way.  Stop and look them in the eye as they speak to you- or at least the face as they address you.  Say thank you when a service is provided.  Listen to their names and use them back to them- it will make a huge difference.  If you want to be treated well- especially well, treat them well.  I assure you there will be a difference in your experience if you begin to extend extraordinary courtesy to anyone serving you.  (your barista at the coffee shop, the person checking you out at the grocery store, and especially where you eat)  How can i say this with assurance? Because I personally know how rare it is and how it stands out in the middle of a shift or when the day is over.  I’m not saying you have to chat up your server… just treat them with (what used to be common) courtesy.
  5. SERVERS ARE NOT CHEFS/COOKS.  There are times your order gets put in the computer wrong- but those are rare.  If you receive your order and it’s wrong don’t be shy about asking your server to change it.  It’s not personal- she/he didn’t cook the food.  Your server wants you to enjoy the experience.  Just politely say what’s wrong and have your order corrected.  Often when something goes wrong in the kitchen the guest gets frustrated with the server and tips less… when it had nothing to do with the server.  In a lot of restaurants there is someone who expedites the plates and the server picks up the tray not looking at the individual plates trusting the expediter to do the job so when they put down your plate they don’t realize the mistake.
  6. SERVERS HAVE MEMORIES.  Every restaurant has regulars great regulars and not so great.  Most often they come in on the same days, eat the same food, and sit in the same place.  The whole staff knows them.  Even when the good ones aren’t the best tippers the conversation and routine make up for it.  Then there are the bad ones.  The ones that are never happy, never nice, and cannot be satisfied by anyone.  Oddly they come back too… and the whole staff sees them coming.  If you are a jerk- even just once you will be remembered.  The servers will go in the back and repeat what you say to them.  Other servers will walk by your table and note who you are and who’s with you.  It sounds a bit dramatic- but it’s true.  They will see you coming as soon as you walk in the door.  The opposite is also true.  Leave a great tip and even if you aren’t sat in the same servers section you better believe when a server you’ve taken care of before sees you they will make sure and let your server know you are a great tipper… word spreads like wildfire.
  7. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO TIP GO THROUGH A DRIVE THROUGH.  It’s clear that you tip at a restaurant.  You are sitting down at an empty table and someone takes your order and fills your table with food.  They check on you through out the meal and make sure all is well and correct anything that isn’t.  If you don’t want to tip them for this service then drive through another establishment for your food- or stay at home.  it’s really that simple.
  8. YOUR TIP IS YOUR SERMON.  huh? really. If you have so much as mentioned the fact that you are a Christian you’ve put yourself in “the church crowd” so your tip will be examined as will every word you say.  I get it- this sounds really terrible, but it’s true.  If you’ve mentioned the fact that you love Jesus, shared a quick sermon (with great intentions, i’m sure), or left a tract, it will all be canceled out if you don’t take care of the server.  It’s just the way it is.  Christians have been muddying the waters for years.  We are not known as generous.  We are known as judgmental and cheap.  We can change that though- one table at a time.  Put your money where your mouth is.  Your generosity will be taken in… I promise.

I could go on and on and on… but I’ll stop here.  For years my parents have passed the check to my sister and me to decide on the tip.  They want to be great tippers and a blessing (that’s how their girls survived through college and after!).  They’ve got it down now.  They just didn’t know.  They listened to our experiences and changed the way they did things.  Once they knew better, they did better.  We are the ideal table to get if we walk in.  We tip fairly and well.  I recognize that not every person that works at restaurants offers great service or a great experience.  I’ve had some doozies.  I have realistic expectations of anyone who serves the party I’ve come with and I extend a ton of grace.  I’ve been sitting at my table and wondered where my drink was, the food, the waiter, the manager… I’ve been less than satisfied.  When the check comes I tip fairly- not punishing the server, but not inflating the tip either.  Some people don’t belong in the service industry… so a false sense of accomplishment won’t serve them.  However, when the service is great, the experience is seamless, and I’ve been  taken care of, I return the favor.  I ignore the percentages and GIVE.  I think about the light bill, the phone bill, the baby sitter they are paying to be there… and I GIVE. I hope you will too.

I hope for you that as you sit down to dine next time you’ll think about these things… and live out the love transforms that lives!

 

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Andrew Anglin - I must have taken care of the waitress back in Florida to good. She married me.

Jacklyn Nacianceno - The more I think about this the more angry I get…I wrote three REALLY long comments and deleted them because I come across as an angry bitter person…I think your points speak on this topic well.

There are TWO kinds of people servers remember…people who tip well and people who don’t.

Having been a recipient of one of those fake $100 bills and NO additional tip I can say that it along with its message went directly into the trash. (And I love Jesus) Had I not been a believer I would not want to serve a God that tells you it is ok treat people that way…and that is the thing…HE DOESN’T. A nonbeliever would never have the chance to know that.

Let’s see them try to argue the mechanic out of his percentage for labor…or the doctor…people pay them…they provide a service…
(I wanted so badly to post on the original post, but it wouldn’t let me)

The saddest part to me is that I would be willing to BET the cheapos who don’t tip probably skimp God on his 10% too…just saying…

Suzette Batson Mizell - Preach it sister!!!! Totally agree

Jack Douglas - I couldn’t figure out how to fix the misspelled word. Please forgive.

Jack Douglas - I agree that for the most part we talk a good game at church but little past that. Being a Christian is not an hour a week it’s 24/7. I know that I fall short most of the time. That said I won’t reward poor service very well and am very prone to not return to a restaurant because of it. I am also extremely put of by cheapskates. Cheapskates are generally that way in every facittit of there life and are generally not enjoyable to be around.

F A C E B O O K