Saturday, January 29, 2011

one cup at a time

it started as an idea birthed from a passion to speak life.

and now, weeks later, 'just a CUP-el of words' [formally knows as operation 'cup o' encouragement'] is in full swing.

if you asked me a week ago if i thought it would have the effect that it does, i would have laughed. don't get me wrong, i believe that words have power and that people are starving for encouragement these days, but in no way did i ever expect .... this:

day one: a man looks at his cup which read, "this too shall pass" and tells me i just made his day.

day two: two ladies come in and say loud enough for me to hear, "are these the two ladies who write on the cups?" [referring to my coworker and i] and looks at me and says, "keep it up".

day three: a regular comes in, grabs her cup and looks at it. thinking nothing of it, i say, "what are you looking for?". her response? "encouragement".

day four: a local high school student goes out of her way to thank me for 'the message on her cup'. with the biggest smile on her face, she holds her cup high enough for me to see. believe in yourself, it said. and with that, she went back to school with a little more confidence than what she came in with.

the next day a teacher comes in and tells me this whole cup thing is the talk of her classroom and assures me that it is making a difference.

a day later, a grown man leaves my coffee shop in tears because he got a cup that read "hang in there" on a day where he felt like doing anything but.

shortly after that, two high school students came in and asked me if i have a book of inspirations that i get these quotes from before mentioning in passing how much the girls in their class appreciate the encouragement.

a lady then walks in and tells me how she saw a random guy walking down the street and noticed that he had encouragement on his cup. "i knew he had to have been to this second cup", she said.

later that day, i overhear a group of regulars talking about the words on their cup. as they were getting ready to go back to work, one of them says, "i could not get the words 'you are not alone' out of my head ALL day yesterday"

...and the list goes on.

please hear me. i don't write all of this to show off. trust me when i say this - i'm no big deal! [i promise that there will be future blogs written to prove this; blogs written about my inability to love people at times, my struggles, fears, doubts, frustrations etc]. my purpose in writing this blog is to encourage you, the reader, to find your passion, to act on it, and to sit back and watch how even the smallest gesture, like writing on cups, can impact the lives - and the world - around you.

"the majority of us lead quiet, unheard of lives, as we pass through this world. there will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. but that does not lesson our possible impact, for there are scorns of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion,our talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. it's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt” [leo b]

now go spread the love!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

doctors' offices always test my patience. [i figure there's enough 'patients' to go around there any ways bahahaha]. line-ups. screaming babies. sneezing. coughing. people who think that their sickness should be given priority over yours. and the list goes on. it's for these reasons that i avoid walk in clinics like the plague. unless i really need to see a doctor, like i did last week.

so here i am waiting outside in typical 'ottawa winter weather' for the doctor to finish what appears to be a five course lunch. my lips are cracking from the cold. my fingers are numb and i can hardly feel my toes. my "i need to see the doctor" list is getting longer and longer by the minute.

finally. the door unlocks. i walk in to find out that the very full doctor isn't taking anyone for 'another 45 minutes'. so i sit and wait. and thaw. and wait some more. i found myself starting to count patients just to pass time [much more entertaining than counting sheep]. it wouldn't take too long, i thought. after all, i was third in line.

billy. room one. twila. room two. [names have been changed to protect their identity].

this is it. the moment i have been waiting for.

i get ready to stand.



WHO THE HECK IS MICHELLE?! mi-chelle [said in the snobbiest way possible] was not here before me, in fact, she walked in about ten minutes after me. mi-chelle [i am getting mad just typing her name] was not - i repeat - not waiting out in the cold!!!!!!!

call it juvenile, but i felt so ... frustrated. mad. cheated.

i had two options here. i could have 1) stood up, screamed at the secretaries like i saw another lady do moments earlier, or, 2) remained seated, took a deep breath and told myself it's not the end of the world. because, well, it wasn't.

thankfully, i chose the latter.

moments before my name was finally called, a lady turned to me and said, 'excuse me, do you work at second cup?'. not recognizing her, i said, "why do you ask? do you come in often or do i wreak like coffee?". [turns out she had come in twice before and i smelled just fine - phew].

we chatted and we laughed. and i walked away grateful that i didn't make a fool out of myself moments earlier.

you see, i try and make a difference at work. i try to be kind. patient. and positive. bottom line is, though i fail at times, i want my life to model the life of Christ.

truth be told, as i was reminded of as i left the doctors' office that day, who you are behind the counter, pulpit, desk, whatever, needs to line up with who you are 'when no one is watching' ...

or at least when you think no one is.

Monday, January 17, 2011

speak life

it's been a while. forgive me. i have struggled with putting my thoughts on paper as of late. but today? today my words come naturally.

i have been finding work a tad bit on the boring side lately. i would even go as far to say that i dread getting up each morning. i find work unchallenging. mundane. and even purposeless at times.

last week, however, i came up with a plan. i decided to write words of encouragement on some of the coffee cups i hand out at work each day. within moments, my coworker joined in on what became our little writing experiment:

you are valued.
your life has purpose.
look for the silver lining.
what is the best thing about today?

...and the list goes on.

one guy got a cup that said "this too shall pass" and went out of his way to ask me whether or not the cups came like this. when i told him what my coworker and i were doing, he said, "you just made my day". [words have the power to make or break someone's day!]. and with that, he walked away, and i continued to write on the cups, thinking nothing of it.

then today, these ladies come in and as i am stocking the condiment stand, one says to the other loud enough for me to hear, "is this the lady who wrote on the cups?", and thus, started a conversation about the power of encouragement.

a few minutes later, i passed a coffee to one of our regulars, who picked up the cup and looked at it as if she were looking for something. when asked what she was doing, she replied, "looking for encouragement".

people are looking - even searching - for someone to speak words of life into them. so what are we waiting for? let's speak life!