Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunday Morning Shift

Yesterday, June 14, 2015, I had day that is very much notable.

Most waitresses would agree that Sunday mornings are busy shifts with many guests coming from church. As the hustle and bustle of the morning shift at Babe's continued I was having a rough morning. Spilling drinks, dropping plates, forgetting things, etc. A very gentle couple in their early 40s sits at one of my tables and when I go to greet them they tell me to come back because one more person is joining them. When I saw an older man sit down across from the couple I go to get their drink orders. As I am serving the three of them I find out that the older man is from California (who's name I learn later is Pastor Gabe) and is visiting Texas to guest speak at a church that the man across from him is a pastor at (his name was Pastor Billy). I ask what church it is and they tell me it's off of the high way in Fort Worth.
"Oh I bet I pass it a million times because that's on the way home for me," I responded.
They ask me where home is and I tell them Austin and they follow up by asking me what I am doing here. I explain that I just finished my freshman year at UNT in Denton.
Pastor Billy collected a puzzled look on his face, "So you have only been in one year of school, your family lives 4 hours away and it's the summertime... Why are you here?"
I explained to the three of them that I have 2 jobs and I'm saving up to pay for my apartment and school expenses.
As I tended to my other tables and ran around like a chicken with it's head cut off as I grabbed what each of my tables needed. "How is everything tasting," I ask Pastor Gabe since he was out of state and had never ate here before. His response was, "almost as good as this service I'm receiving." My confidence went through the roof and I stopped sweating and really started to get the flow in the chaos of my shift. I look over and my manager is talking to my table of 3. He shortly calls me into his office and said to me, "Alyssa I don't know what you are feeding them or telling them but I have never gotten a complement like that from a guest about a server. He told me that if he ever opened a restaurant that he would do whatever it takes to hire you away from us."
I go back to my table to thank them for speaking highly of me to my manager and Pastor Gabe tells me that he really wants me to hear him speak at their church tonight. I nervously laugh and he continues to be persistent in his invitation. I finally say, "you know what, what the heck. I'll be there!"
Pastor Gabe looks at me and says, "Alyssa, I've been in Texas for about 3 days now and every day I wanted to go to a 'Texas-y' restaurant. Today I said let's go somewhere with fried chicken so we came to Babe's. But now I know that we didn't come here to eat fried chicken, I think we are here to meet you."
Flattered, I thanked him and told him that I would come see him speak later.
Pastor Gabe stands up to leave and says, "I feel like I could help you with school Alyssa, I want to stay in touch."
So there I was, halfway through my shift, completely filled with all sorts of confidence and emotion from these pastors that I served fried chicken to. As soon as I got off of work I called my mom and of course she's completely sketched out by the whole thing. I call a few friends and I find one, Nolan, to tag along with me to hear Pastor Gabe speak. I tell Nolan the story in the car as we drive 45 min away to find this church.

We pull in to a parking lot of a building smaller than any church I've ever seen. Skeptical, but interested, we walked in and there was probably about 20 people sitting in a living sized room. Pastor Gabe runs and grabs me and Nolan and sits us up front and Pastor Billy, the very calm customer I served earlier that morning yelled, "Here is my waitress!!!"
All the people clapped and yelled, "Amen."
Nolan and I couldn't look at each other because we were both thinking the same thing; 'what is going on.'
Pastor Gabe stood up to speak and introduced me many times through out his speech. He told stories of healing people and speaking in tongues and the people in the "crowd" were clapping and throwing their hands up and screaming out things like, "Glory to God."
Everything that Pastor Gabe said was biblical so I kept thinking to myself, "is it really crazy if it's all correct to what I believe?"
Almost two hours into the service, Pastor Gabe started calling people to the altar who felt that "if they died tonight they were not sure they could get into Heaven."
About 10 people (half of us there) went to the front and fell to their knees as they cried and trembled. Pastor Gabe started speaking in tongues and Hebrew and said that he was going to drive out the demons and doubt these people had in their hearts. He said at one point, "God is telling me that someone here is addicted to nicotine and patches aren't working. He wants me to take out the addiction from you! Come to the altar, Glory to God!!"

At this point in the night I am thinking in my head, 'I am a waitress. I am a waitress where I talk to hundreds of customers a day and now here I am at the church of one of those hundred customers. Okay.'
I leaned to Nolan and whispered, "let's sneak out of here."
"I feel like I am in a movie," Nolan whispered back to me.
We slowly get up and leave the church service. Pastor Billy CHASED after us to thank us for attending. The second we got in the car to drive away I laughed so hard I was in tears.
Nolan and I decided that everything that they talked about was biblically right but it was not how we worship God and that's okay that they do. Everyone was kind and happy, nothing was wrong about it but WOW... talk about passionate!
What an experience that was.

Moral of the story: Being a waitress means you can meet people that might convince you that you are the most amazing person in the world because you are serving them awesome food when they are hungry. Do not go to church with them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


As came back to my college "home" from visiting my "hometown" I kind of felt like a vagabond, someone with no permanent home. It's the weirdest feeling to pull into the driveway of the house you've grown up in since you were eight years old and to be flooded by nostalgia as you drive through the streets you've explored your whole life, yet feel like a such a stranger. I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn't just enjoy that I am home. I HAD to be overwhelmed with the contradicting feelings of all the positive and negative things that have happened to me as I've grown up. As I celebrated my sister graduating high school with my family and friends I was joyful but at the same time I wouldn't let myself get attached because I knew I was going to pack up and leave.

I said about 345 times as I talked to old friends, "this is so weird." I loved seeing everyone and how they have changed and grown but it was so sobering. The people I put all my love and time in are doing different things with their time, I'm even doing different things with my time. There wasn't one thing that felt the same or one person that was the same.

I was filled with so much emotion because I know that "home" is not a place anymore. It can't be. My house has different furniture and fresh paint on the walls. My room is bland and my bed doesn't feel like my own. The town I've grown up in has new houses, gas stations and ice cream shops. I can't soak up those places anymore and call it my home because it is forever changing, which is partly why I think I was so emotional.

My home can't be my college town either because when I graduate where will I go? I can't stay in one place forever wishing that I will eventually get comfortable because there is something in me that won't let me get attached to anything.
So what do you do when you don't want to go back to where you were but you don't want to be where you are?
I think God gave me a heart of a wanderer, where I can't get attached to a certain place for too long. Of course I feel like I don't belong anywhere because I yet have so many places to go. I've never been outside of America or to Tennessee or New Hampshire, how do I know I don't belong there?

Coming home after a year off at college was difficult for me, not because it's hard to follow the rules of my mothers' house but because I am growing and constantly changing and to feel comfortable in one place isn't what my heart wants anymore.

So advice to the young audience who may be feeling a type of "homesick" that isn't associated with their hometown like I am... Fill your time, thoughts and actions with loving the people who make it "home." The moments I spend with my family is where I feel at home. The time I spend working to save money so I can pay for my college and eventually graduate to have a career is when I feel at home. Exploring the places I've never been is when I feel at home. Running outside with no music is when I feel at home. Home is what will establish you and what I have discovered it is ultimately what makes up who you are. The change that comes with post college is a good thing because you can't move forward if you stay the same. Find who you are and what is important and that will be your home forever.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy June ☀️

Happy June 1st!
June is absolutely, 100% my favorite month of the year. The marker for the beginning of summer, June carries so much excitement in my heart. No matter what circumstances I am in during this time of the year, there is something about the beautiful sunny mornings, warm night air and bright atmosphere that brings me back to a peaceful state. When I was little I spent the month of June at my dad's house in Plano, TX every year. My little sister and I didn't have many friends to play with there, yet spending every minute in the Texas sun was enough for the both of us. As I got older, specifically through out high school, for some reason June carried a lot of pain for me. One year I found out I got cheated on, the next my grandfather passed and my heart was shattered from many different broken relationships I had at the time. Each night I gave myself a time of peace by sitting on the trunk of my car at midnight, not doing a thing except basking in the silence and cool breeze. Through all the pain of my circumstances I couldn't get enough of the night air.
Although I had hard times, there were many joyful days in June I spent at camps, the lake or just running around outside that completely canceled out the painful memories.
The other day I found a journal while unpacking my things that documented each summer since 2012. It was difficult to read through but when I was done I was taken back by what all I have really been through each summer. The love I have for June erased the pain it had brought me from the past and I am so greateful for that! 

Therefore, I want to hold on to my admiration for this summer month by spending every day outside in it's goodness, no matter what comes my way! I plan to read many books, go fishing, find the secrets of Dallas and consume lots of vitamin D.

Cheers to June!
Love, Alyssa