Top 5 Lessons I’ve Gleaned from Workin’ and Uni-in’

I am going on my fifth year of working in customer service, and entering my final year of my undergrad degree in English and Christian Studies. I am a very different person than I was before working and uni-ing, and I definitely believe for the better.

The top five things I’ve learned over the past four years:

1) Love trumps, period. So, being there for my friend trumps my to-do list. Laughter and spontaneity with friends trump watching Netflix. Having a conversation or connection with a customer trumps cutting orange slices or pouring mocha sauce or wiping a counter for the billionth time.

2) Routine is important. I just had an awesome conversation with my friend Josee about how, while routine has been a chaining, destructive coping mechanism for both of us, it is also one of our giftings, and something that, when given to God, is often necessary in our society in order to serve Him and serve others.

3) Quality over quantity. I have finally learned that I don’t want to do a billion tasks half-heartedly, but to do what I am doing with care, quality, and commitment. At the moment, I am taking on probably more than I’m called to be, and I acknowledge that. With a “spread too thin” summer, I know I need to alleviate some stress in order to serve without constantly feeling overwhelmed and busy.

4) Learning is such a blessing. I adore school. I love books. And I love learning. Absorbing information from previous theologians, thinkers– children of God– is the next best thing to me to absorbing the Word of God itself.

5) All jobs are about “customer service.” Whether dubbed a “customer service” profession or not, any meaningful job is about serving people, and, if I’m doing so in allegiance to God, that serving will be beneficial not only in the way of the material service, but the exchange will be fruitful in some way, too.

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Get to Know the Blogger: Five Random Facts About Me

I used to be a major tomboy. Up until second grade, all of my friends were boys, and I only wanted to hang with the boys. I didn’t have much interest in dolls, but rather cared about video games and dinosaurs and, more than anything, sharks.

I used to do the “Peter Piper” tongue twister at school talent shows.

I was never really aware of what other people thought of me. As a kid I was unapologetically myself, and, in elementary school, that involved an unlikely preoccupation with the art of tongue twisters.

I first said I wanted to be a pastor when I was 8, going on 9.

I remember hearing a sermon that God spoke into my heart, realizing that HE was the true longing of my heart, of all our hearts, and our healer. That if He was the only eternal thing, that if I believed He created me and had a plan for me, I was probably meant to get to know Him. So I accepted Jesus as my Saviour at this time, and since then have been on a journey of responding to a call to ministry, of continually being reminded of my need for my Father and Saviour, and dumbfounded by His greatness and the masterful way He works.

I have always been an extrovert.

People give me life. I’m not shy and love meeting new people. I feel called to people and large groups and individual lives. But I also have always craved and thrived off bouts of alone time and independence.

I finished a novel when I was fifteen.

It’s 300 pages long and I don’t know how I did it. I am proud of it still, but wish I had waited to write it when I was a bit older, as the naivety of my age shines through in even the storyline, although I suppose I might always feel that way looking back at a piece five years later!

Avoiding Procrastination: How I’ve Learned to Use my Free Time Wisely

One of the biggest things I have struggled with recently is feeling like I am better, more righteous, and more worthy when I am busy and moving. In many ways, I have fallen for the trap of productivity being a god, and productivity itself being my purpose.

2 Thessalonians 3:11

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

Even if I am hard at work, and with what I feel like is good intention, if my ultimate intention is to cross something off a to-do list a la me, it’s busy-bodying.

I’ve learned that there is a way to be organized and to plan my schedule righteously– and that WAY is with, through, and for God. 

When I ask HIM every morning what my day should look like, He sometimes places people on my heart. He sometimes convicts me. I am sometimes guided to ensure I have allotted time for prayer; and I am always prompted to selflessness. To loving my neighbours. To seeing work not just as a means of getting by for me, but as a ministry.

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A big part of every day that involves Jesus involves unwinding. My new work schedule involves most days at the cafe from 7-2, followed by my freelance work for a few hours, and open evenings, to be with Johnny, friends, and family. I like to go to the gym, to cook every night, plus there’s always cleaning the house, running errands, ensuring that I have time for things like reading…

it’s easy, especially in our Western society where busyness is glorified, for life to feel like a routine, and to become self-serving in that routine. But a life lived in partnership with Jesus is NEVER self-serving, for what He does is serving His Kingdom, in ways both inward and outward.

If you haven’t thought about talking to Jesus about your day-to-day, I would encourage you to do that. Just saying a prayer, Lord, how do YOU want me to spend my time today? 

I bet you will be amazed by what He does.

To thwart busybodyness, He does call us to rest.

Hebrews 4:10

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Here are some of my favourite ways to do so:

  • Reading for pleasure (I love fiction. I’m currently reading John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down) with a tea and in a comfy spot
  • Blogging (cassiescookery is my little baby)
  • Watching YouTube videos– I try to keep this time to no more than half an hour a day, because it’s easy for me to get sucked in– but I love a good vlog or recipe video!
  • Masterchef, This is Us, the Office– my current shows. I don’t want much TV, but with Johnny here, we watch one episode of the Office most days
  • Cooking/baking and blasting tunes; my absolute number one hobby!
  • Coffee with friends; talking to Jesus; journalling. All of these things are a part of rest, and I am always learning from Jesus Christ, my friends, and journalling.

 

What’s in My Bag?

I used to have a terrible case of “carrying around a trash can.”

I genuinely don’t know whether this will sound familiar to anyone, or if it’s just me. But I would throw all my crumpled receipts, after-dinner-mint wrappers, and ripped-off price tags to the bottom of my bag. It’s just one little wrapper, I would think, but before I knew it one wrapper was a pile of wrappers!

Some people seem to seamlessly and naturally keep their spaces tidy, but I am naturally more of a tornado when it comes to tidying small spaces.

For me, devising what goes in my bag and what doesn’t revolutionized how I feel, made things easier to find, and keeps me organized, often, I’ve realized, to the benefit of others!

Here is what I put in my purse:

  • Work agenda
  • Personal agenda
  • Wallet
  • Student card
  • Portable perfume
  • Lipstick/mascara/cover-up
  • Bracelet/ring
  • Deodorant
  • Pencil case
  • That’s it, with the exception of school books, laptop, chargers, or clothing items only as needed

It took only a little bit to get used to this new habit– of not throwing anything and everything into my purse as though it were a bottomless abyss. But it’s so worth it!

If you’re one of those people who naturally keeps their bag clean (I can hear you laughing at me Maddie) that’s great for you. But if your purse is currently a trash can, I hope you’re inspired to do a little spring cleaning!

Top 5 Favourite Things About Being a Barista

My beautiful friend and Starbucks co-workers, Ashlie , decided to take some photos of me on the job. The photos inspired my work, and me to dwell on some of the things I absolutely adore about being a barista.

5. My co-workers inspire me.

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If I’m having a particularly unmotivated day, or just feel like going through the motions, sometimes all it takes is a wonderful co-worker to motivate me, and remind me of what is truly important. For example, my wonderful co-worker Mason today slowed down every customer I saw him interact with, asking everybody how their day was, chatting with them as if they were long lost friends, and truly caring about each individual. I work with great people, and can learn something from everyone’s walk.

4. I’m passionate about coffee and food.

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I dream of opening a coffee shop/eatery myself one day, and am very passionate about good quality coffee, food that is delicious and food that is healthy, and all the many types of lattes and espresso beverages that exist. It is truly an art!

3. I love making beverages and challenging myself to move more quickly without sacrificing taste and quality.

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Coffee is an art; literally a visual art, as baristas can create designs with their milk in the espresso, and an art in learning exactly how espresso works. I have so loved learning how to make all Starbucks’ standard beverages, creating combos of my own, and improving upon my ability and skill on the bar.

2. I love the atmosphere, and am passionate about the community feel of coffee.

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Sometimes I will just glance over the espresso machines at the cafe and smile over the full room of conversations, studiers, and laughter; first dates (my first date with Johnny was in a Starbucks!) and business meetings. I love that people can come together over a good cup of coffee.

1.My customers inspire me. IMG_9269

There is nothing like having your day made by a person whose path you never would have crossed without the connection of coffee. I seek to see all those I interact with through the Lord’s eyes– as His beloved children.

My Morning Routine

Different things in terms of routine work for different people and lifestyles.

I have found that having a small routine every morning works really well for me, and sets me up for the day. It incorporates a few things I suck at doing right away that ultimately make me feel so much better, and enable me to pour into others because I’ve been poured into, myself.

Bible before phone. “Jesus before anything else,” I remember. Sometimes I wake up and just call His name, and thank Him for being the first person I get to see every day! Naturally, why would I ignore His presence in my room? So I talk to Him, I pray, and I study and read the Bible first thing— and have made it a habit to do so before picking up my phone. Awhile ago I would scroll through social media first thing in the morning, and I don’t think I ever truly realized the negative impact that had on my mentality. But adhering to the truth has helped me; why would I want the first thing I see in the morning to be images of others’ lives when God can help me instead to see why He’s called me to this one?

Up and dressed and make-up. The very next thing I do is get up and choose an outfit for the day. If I’m going to the gym early that day (I’m flexible with workouts depending on my schedule for that day) I’ll get changed into workout gear first thing. Otherwise, my motivation for getting out of bed comes from the fun of picking out an outfit! I’ll go and start my make-up and put my contacts in right after that.

Finally, I make breakfast, and answer emails and texts. I usually have a slue of work emails, texts, and blog comments to reply to, and having this time every day to do so ensures they aren’t piling up. I set my laptop out in the living room, often with some of my other roomies already up and studying, and reply to them whilst eating breakfast. I always make a hearty breakfast— usually banana peanut butter pancakes, or different combos of oatmeal, and it’s almost always a sweet food— and a good coffee.

I give myself a whole three hours just for this routine, so I don’t feel rushed, so I can just talk to the Holy Spirit before immersion in the busy world, and so I’m properly nourished. I really cherish my mornings, and enjoy them.

Do you have a morning routine?

If not, what might work for you?

My Unconventional Bucketlist

More excited than ever about the little ways God has been speaking calling over me.

How to speak for Him, where to speak for Him, when to speak for Him.

When to pray quietly instead.

How to write, when to write, and when to speak.

I could make a bucket list of places I want to go, things I want to “accomplish,” things I want to see. And I’ve often thought about writing one.

Except it is so much better to submit to God instead. To listen for His ever speaking voice about calling, and to trust that He’s gonna lead and prompt me as my desires align more and more with His plans for my life.

Over time spent with Him and in prayer, I believe that He has called me to ministry, to speak His Word, and to write His Word. I believe He’s called me to people through His Spirit.

I believe He’s called me to cling to Him alone as I navigate whatever part of the world or vocation He calls me to. To know that change is constant, that schedules are not absolute, and that He is sovereign.

What does that vocation look like now?

  • freelance writing
  • blogging
  • youth ministry at Creekside
  • Literature and theological studies
  • Starbucks ministry
  • role as girlfriend, sister, daughter…
  • Role as FRIEND to everyone in between…
  • First and foremost and ahead of it all, role as child of God

I don’t have a bucket list, because I know God’s already gone before me. But I’m just as excited and expectant about the future, living ever still in the present.