Glass Half Full

My week working the Masters Tournament was wonderful…..
but for reasons that might not be apparent.
My favorite thing about doing something difficult
(like working from 5am to 7-11pm every day for ten days)
is that it challenges me to think, reconsider and question.

Laura & Amanda

One day last week, Amanda
asked me if I
“see the glass half full.”
And I couldn’t answer.
Ya know?
It’s so much MORE than that.
I gave it a bit of thought and
told her
that I didn’t really have an answer,
though I had given that phrase
much thought through the years.

Today, as I stepped out of my van and slipped between my brown grocery hauler and a dirty, navy Jeep Cherokee, I noticed a young guy in the front seat.  I turned right to head into the store, almost clipping the bumper with my thigh as my eye was drawn to the driver’s seat.

There were two young guys in the front seat of this vehicle.  They were dressed in standard young 20’s garb …. conversation t-shirts, and tattered symbol baseball caps. The guy in the drivers seat had a mountain dew tipped up to the roof and was refreshing himself with a drink. And I laughed….. out loud …. as I strode into the store.

There was my answer:  who needs a glass?

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/p35/3038721953/)

In this world where the status quo is giving the least amount possible, I want to give it all. I want to live hard, live loud and live big.  I want to pour myself into the lives of others.  In the end, I want to be tired because I gave it all … not because I never made the effort.

I’d rather be exhausted, heartbroken and drained, than live sitting idle,  wondering when something better will come along, while being protected and comfortable.

In fact, making this statement makes me think about John Mayer. He’s an incredibly talented man with an awesome voice … but his song Waiting on the World to Change makes me want to scream.  Here is a snippet of the lyrics from that song:

Now we see everything that’s going wrong
with the world and those who lead it.
We just feel like we don’t have the means
to rise above and beat it.
It’s hard to beat the system
when we’re standing at a distance.
So, we keep waiting …
waiting on the world to change.

Why would he feel powerless? WHY would he stand at a distance? It IS hard to beat the system, but apathy and waiting won’t change the world for the better. You must take action. You must do what you can, where you are. FIND a way to make a difference … in the world, in your community, in the lives of those around you. We all a sphere of influence and can make a difference. But, it takes action.

I want to be transparent.  I want to talk as open and honestly about sex as I do about my favorite color, your favorite food,  motorcycles and prejudice. I want it to be difficult to keep a secret because I have nothing to hide. I want you to be able to see into my heart through my eyes and know that what resides there is, though full of warts and sin, is the best I can do though I’m working on it all… note: I’m working on it… not waiting on it to change.  I want to share it all …  may I live with no shame and no regrets.

That having been said, may I also live with temperance, self control and gentleness … that no one be hurt by my words or actions because I was unthoughtful, boisterous or rude.

Life is full of decisions.  I have made the decision to love when it’s tough and sticky, find the best in the those that aren’t, and speak positively when I may not feel it, because  what comes from my mouth, goes into my ears and registers in my brain. I will think and speak what is good, positive and life-giving.

So, I found my answer to Amanda’s question, as I stepped out into the rain yesterday afternoon in the parking lot at Target.  My glass isn’t half full or half empty … I don’t use a glass: I prefer to drink straight from the two liter bottle.

How about you? Half full? Half empty?

Morning and Evening at Augusta National

This was my view this morning as I headed to our “cabin.”  A round orb of a moon hung in the darkness above the cabin, waiting for guests.

Sun up

The days have been good, so far.  I’m not really tired.  I LOVE working with the people in the three cabins that serve IBM, AT&T and ExxonMobil. We have great crews that work well to serve meal after meal, as patrons come through to hydrate, and refuel before  heading  back out to the rolling greens and sand pits.

And as I headed home, the view was not so far from the one that greeted me.
SunsetSo, I’ll close and write again later.

Thanks for checking in.  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Polishing

I spent the day yesterday polishing silver. This will be my second year working the Masters Golf Tournament. This will be the second year that the “cabins” (I use that word loosely … these three buildings are more like chalets) have been used.  They were only completed a few months before last year’s tournament. Having been built recently, they are stocked with items that are also new.  The creamers, coffee and water decanters, bread trays, large serving dishes and ice buckets are all silver. They were all used last year and a few times throughout the year.  Though not black with tarnish, they were definitely showing signs of use. So, one of my jobs yesterday in preparation for the use of the building by guests, was to polish silver.

During the early part of the morning, I was alone, in the kitchen with a tub of Wrights and a row of silver. As I stood and worked, my mind continued to ponder this issue of tarnishing
and how it is metaphorically like our spirit.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts, teaches and shows me His love through daily activities or His creation.  I love to share those stories.

Aren’t we like this silver?  Crafted of fine material, created by a Master, set apart as prized for our workmanship, beautiful to gaze upon?  And like this ice bucket with its heavy tarnish around the rim where it’s been touched and handled most frequently,  we are affected by the world that we live in.  Shine in progress

Daily exposure to the things around us can leave us black around the edges.  If we aren’t careful to keep ourselves clean, that tarnish can eventually turn green, do damage and injure our very structure. But, with the right tools (silver cream and soft cloth for the inanimate – Bible and prayer for living) and a little elbow grease, we can remain a gleaming piece of craftsmanship … not perfect, by any means, but obviously cared for and intricately beautiful, none-the-less.

As the tarnish was removed from the ice bucket, a distinct marring began to emerge.  Evidently, this bucket had been nested inside another bucket which had rubbed it and marred the finish.  No amount of polish and cloth would remove these scratches. I guess a silversmith might be able to buff them out, but the bucket would never truly be as it was when it was originally created.  And aren’t we like that?  When we choose to be spend our time with some thing or person that isn’t a good fit for us?  We change … we are marred or marked or changed some how.  It just happens. We must choose carefully whose lives we choose to be nested inside. There are times when we have no choice about the people in our lives – in our workplace, church, neighborhood, etc….  But, those who are closest to us should be carefully chosen.  Those are the lives that are nested – the lives that can insulate and protect or marr and damage.

dsc03965

And lastly, when I began my adventure with polish, the bottom of the bucket was a smooth dark color.  I was surprised to find, as I made my small, simple circles with cloth and polish, that there was a name written there…. not just a name …. but this company is even a Father and Son team!

I’m sure this theme will return throughout my week, as we use these fine pieces of silver daily to serve the guests in our cabin.  I look forward to continuing to hear and see God use ice buckets and creamers to illustrate spiritual principles in our physical world.


Taking a deep breath

Today is the day.

In two hours, I drive down Washington Road and report in to Augusta National.

Last year, I was very excited about working the tournament.  I landed a really neat job in a private cabin that is located near the 9th and 10th holes. There are three businesses that have their own cabins …. beautiful, posh, cozy buildings that resemble a chalet instead of a cabin.  I was a buffet hostess responsible for keeping the buffet full of the delectable food that was rotated through meal after meal.  It was very exciting to be there. It was an honor to be a part of tradition.  It was a pleasure to represent Augusta.  It was amazing to be a part of something that is so well known, worldwide.

But, this year, I know what to expect.  Last year’s spring break was the hardest week of my life. I’ve never felt such exhaustion.  My days begin at 5:00 and end between 6:00 and 9:30.  We clock in while the grass is getting it’s morning mowing – with  dew heavily laid upon the ground.  We clock out when spectators are somewhere on Washington Road dining on wings or T-bonz.

Early morning at the Masters

I thought about not working this year since the work is so exhausting and missing my kids was so hard  …  but there were many kids in the three cabins that are college students who go to school in Columbia, SC.  They make the daily hour and a half drive back and forth.  Since we have a Mother-in-Law suite, I want to go so I can offer them an extra three hours of sleep.  I hope many will come and sleep in our home.  I won’t know who is working unless I go and work alongside them.  So, I’m going back this year.

I wish I could say that I’ve been running and I’m in better physical shape than last year … but that wouldn’t be the truth, unfortunately.  None-the-less, I hope that I’ll hold up well.  I’ll rest when I can and go to sleep as soon as I get home each night.  Keep me in your prayers.

So, I need to go jump in the shower.  9:00 will be here quickly.

I’ll keep you updated … even if it’s ever so briefly … of what is going on.

What are you doing during spring break?

You know it’s almost Masters Week when ….

We moved to Augusta four years ago. Like any move to any new place, it takes a few years to know what to expect from year to year.  Augusta is a pretty big place so I’m sure we’ll be learning new things about it for years to come, but there’s one thing that we learned pretty quickly: this town cleans up when it’s time for The Masters Tournament.

Maybe this has something to do with the fact that spring and Masters happen simultaneously.  Spring cleaning certainly isn’t an act that is reserved just for Augustans.  So, maybe people in Augusta are simply doing what everyone else does when the days get longer and warmer.  But, I expect that it’s more than that.

Most reports say that Augusta is a city of 200,000 in a metropolitan area of 525,000.  Most major sporting events move from one city to another each year (think Super Bowl, US Open, Final Four), including the other three big golfing events in America.  The Masters Tournament is Augusta’s own.  Beginning in 1934 with a winning purse of $1,000.00, the 2008 winner, Immelson, took home $1,350,000.00.  Tickets to the event are considered a prize in themselves.  I can’t find statistics, but I’m sure that our population increases by the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands during Masters.

Many places close during Masters.  Our school system and local colleges choose to take Spring Break during this week.  Some of us will stay in town to work.  Many locals will pack up and leave town, returning home on the evening of Easter Sunday as our southern town settles back into “routine.”

As I drove down Washington Road today, I didn’t have to have a calendar to know we are within a few short days of the start of the tournament.  Here are a few sights that are expected the last week in March:

Augusta NationalThe Augusta National throws open it’s generally closed gates, that the world may see inside.  The rest of the year, there is a high rolling gate that is solid green to impede your view down the majestic drive.

Sprucing up a local building

Businesses spruce up.  I guess the owner of this building thought a quick coat of paint might help find a suitor during Masters week.  Sitting on property across the street from grounds, maybe a little dressing up is all that it needs.  Time will tell.

Where to go?

“Golf traffic” signs are posted all over town.  I’ve seen enough of them to know for sure, I could stay in a state of perpetual “lostness” if I was a visitor to this fine city.  Of course, that happens to me WITHOUT helpful signs.

Ticket VansI don’t know where they come from, but there are a few tour buses that show up ever year – rolling offices that will offer you big money for your ticket … and promptly sell those tickets to someone else for bigger money.

Local MotelThis is one of the less than amiable facts about Augusta.  Many of the businesses make the bulk of their money during Masters week. (Note the empty parking lot.)  Here is a hotel that has rooms for $35.00 per night.  This is their price year round … until the first week of April.  If I remember correctly (and I may not – it may have been another motel within this few block area), this was the hotel that was featured in the paper last year as renting their rooms for $450.00 per night.  The owner was quoted as saying something about charging what people are willing to pay.  I think it’s unfortunate that price gouging of this depth happens in my fine city of mostly honest folk.

Golf Carts and TentsGolf carts are like Christmas decorations, parked in front of businesses to help stir up the festive golfing spirit.  Tents are now in place to hold the overflow of patrons – tents that are, in fact, larger than the businesses that they are helping support. This white tent beside Hooters will require a wait to be seated, with a band that can be heard several doors down each night all week.

We have three family members who will be helping support the Masters tournament this year.  James and I were hired for the second year in a row as part of the Hospitality team.  We both worked in a connection to food services.  Neither of us have ever done anything so physically taxing, working most days from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.  We’ll see how we hold up this year.   Glory works at a local wings restaurant (not Hooters).  I expect that she will pull very long shifts during this year’s spring break.

No, it won’t be long.  It’s an exciting time.  Only a few days before the locals will know to choose another route than Washington Road to run to the store for milk.

Are you ready for Spring Break?