Monday, June 7, 2010

Tumblr....

I'm going to check out Tumblr for a little while as a blogging alternative to Blogspot. Blogspot is aight and all, but it seems too much of a hassle to sit down and type out junk and add pics and all that malarky.

So, Tumblr (at tumblr.com) is a type of mini-blog for posting text, pics, video, audio, and other things.  PLUS, it has an iPhone app and will automatically post to Twitter & Facebook, sooooo it's a type of one-stop blog solution (to me, anyway).

So, you can follow me at http://cdub09.tumblr.com. I may still post on blogspot, but there will likely be more activity on Tumblr. We shall see.

PEACE.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adventures in Houstonia, Part 1: Property Damage

While there have been several adventures in Houstonialand thus far, this is the first that I photo-documented.

I give you, Adventures in Houstonia: The first installment.

Ah, Houston, land of diversity, and kids that throw rocks in the apartment complex parking lot.

At 5:40ish, I arrived home, mexican food in tow. I had dinner, watched Modern Family on Hulu, showered, and generally minded my own business.

At approximately 7:55 the victim, erm, I returned to my paid-for vehicle and got in. Upon looking in the rear view mirror, I discovered the entire back window was shattered, but not busted in (whew!).


I got out, investigated, took pictures, called my dad, etc.

Eventually a lady and her two boys came out and she asked the older boy if "this was the car." It was the car.

He (about age 6, maybe 7) said a "small rock" had it and bounced off. Somehow this "small rock" had managed to shatter the entire thing. Although, you can tell where something hit it, it's difficult to determine the size of the object.


Anyway, thanks to the aftermarket tinting (good call, Dad!), the window didn't cave in.

The mom of the perpetrator said "Wellllll, get me an estimate." She didn't actually say she would pay for the window, but I think (I hope) it was implied. She said she would get an estimate too, "so we could find the best deal." HA! As if I'm going to try to take advantage of the situation....didn't she see all the Aggie stickers? Doesn't she know we don't lie, cheat, or steal?

Stay tuned, kids!

More pics. They're almost pretty, if they didn't mean the hassle of dealing with this. Although, I am very thankful that someone came out and fessed up. I was planning on just forking over the non-existent cash.

This might also be a cool opportunity to show some grace, by not screaming and yelling and threatening and all. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home is where the....degree came from?

Right now my work schedule has me working three 12-hour days (yaaaayy) and one 6-hour day. Add it all up, throw in a few off-the-clock 30-minute lunch breaks, and you get 40 hours. For four weeks, I work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and half of Thursday. Then it flips to working half of Thursday-Monday (working weekends is no fun :(.)

Anyway, I worked till 11 AM today, went home and chilled, and then drove to Aggieland in the afternoon and will stay through Saturday night. I got in about, 30 or 35 minutes ago.

MAN this place feels like home. Which makes sense, since I lived here for 4 1/2 years, but boy is it strange coming back. It's only been a month since I've been here last.

The first place I went was Sweets, an uber-popular coffee shop/hangout/study joint. Mostly because of its familiarity and the chance of seeing someone I know.  There are a lot of things about College Station and its culture that I don't miss, but what struck me is that being around people studying made me realize that I miss the familiarity of being a student, the stability.

I don't know that I would have called being a student stable when I was one, but you know your classes, test dates, what is expected, and what the outcome is. And if you fail at it, you can re-take it next semester. Not so in the working world.

The other thing is that 15 minutes after I got here I started overhearing a "Christian" conversation. Sure, there's question as to the level of truth in the words spoken, but somehow there's still a comfort at the familiar words.

So I guess it isn't necessarily where the degree comes from, but where you feel like you fit. The thing is, I don't fit here anymore, cause God moved me to Houston. Can't wait to fit again.

In other news, I realize a lot of these posts have been serious-ish.  Lest I become an emo-hearted (not Elmo), Dashboard-listening, tight-jeans-wearing blogger, I'll try to lighten up and recall some of the more humorous on-goings of the new life. Stay tuned, kiddos!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Panera, Flip Flops, & The Frog Prince Toe

Ah yes, God has a sense of humor alright. Somehow people don't see that sometimes, but if you are at all a proponent of the sovereignty of God and a God who cares about the small details of life, then He definitely has a sense of humor.

Case in point.

I'm at a Panera Bread off 290 & Tidwell right now. A couple of years ago I got a $15 Panera gift card from my mom for something, but there's no Panera anywhere near Byran/College Station. So, the move to the big city was my chance to cash in. Score. Plus, they have wi-fi, so I can hang out for a bit and work on stuff. Also score.

I walk in, look around for a plug and set my stuff down. I go up and order. The girl is new and still doing training with another employee, but she's friendly and everything is good. I get my food and go sit down. Upon my attempt to sit, I jam my big toe up under the table and bend back my toenail worse than it has been for a long time. Ouch. I guess this is what I get for wearing flip flops.


So I'm sitting there wondering how long it will be before the blood trickles down into a pool on the floor. There's no band-aids in the car and I consider wrapping it napkins. Instead, I go up and ask the guy who was training the girl at the counter for a band-aid. He asks "Big or small?" I said, "Big. Defnitely." He comes back with a medium-sized band-aid and says that's the biggest they have. I say "thanks" and go sit down.

I open said band-aid. At first I thought it was Disney Princess', but upon closer examination, it's a Disney's 'The Frog Prince' (ashamed that I know that) bandaid. Sigh.


So there you have it. Now I have a pretty badly jammed up toe and toenail (which, while painful, is still kinda funny) and, even better, a too-small band-aid that a little girl over the age of six wouldn't wear.

Oh God, you and your humor.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Out-of-Towners. Aliens. Etc.

For those who don't have the current 411, I'm now living in Houston and start my first day with H-E-B tomorrow. Last weekend I (with the help of some much beloved brothers) moved all my junk down to H-town, and then stayed for 2.5 days for training, and went back for the second half of spring break. Living Hope hosted a few different Spring Break Bible Camps for kids in some different Bryan projects and I was able to serve at one each evening.  I loved working with the kids again (I had been out of regular children's ministry since about October) and share with them simple but extremely foundational truths about God's love.

The weekend was spent with church family and was a sweet time of fellowship and prayer.  I am so, so blessed to have a family like that and for their desire to send me out with blessings and prayer for God's provision in finding a new church family.  I've only been back in Houston a few hours and I miss them like crazy.

My apartment didn't come with a microwave and my roommate didn't have one, so I was going to ask around and see if anyone had a free one.  My friend D-Mac happened to get a free one from work and, upon hearing of my need, gladly passed it on.  I'm pretty sure all she wanted out of life was a free microwave but she was willing to give it all up to serve someone else in need. Baller. If you see her around (and many of you will), be sure to high-five her and say "OW OW BALLER!"

I'm getting close to the point (and title) of this post. I promise.

Being back these few hours have been weird.  I'm at home, but it's not home. It's where I live now, but I don't feel as though I belong.  As I was cleaning the microwave (which came from D's workplace, if that gives you an idea of the condition), I realized that this is exactly how Christians should feel in this world.  Maybe not the sad and lonely part, but definitely as though we don't belong. 'Cause we don't. I know we hear messages about being "aliens" and "sojourners" all the time, but it really hits home when you are going through a parallel-ish experience.

I'm not from Houston. I don't feel comfortable here. It just isn't home (yet). And neither is earth.  When I became a follower of Jesus, my citizenship changed from earth to the Kingdom of God.

I want this discomfort to spur me on toward love and good deeds, and not simply try to medicate (maybe what I'm going through isn't quite as dramatic as that link) the pain with entertainment, sin, or whatever.  I want the desire to be near those I love to remind me of the greater desire to be near the Jesus I love, and the joy at his returning.

And if you're in my B/CS family and you're reading this, just know that you can't pray too much or call/text/email too much over the next few weeks. :)

cw

P.S. One thing that made the drive sweet is that my good friend Face made me a mix CD. Not a "valentine's day" or "my sweet honey sugar lips' birthday" type of mix, but more of the "I've known you for 4 years and have seen the Lord grow and mold you" type of mix CD. It was sweet, and a joy to listen to. I plan on leaving it in the player for a few weeks, at least.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And the winner is...

 

That's right, ladies and germs, I am the proudest new employee of H-E-B, or Howard E. Butt grocery company (not the official name).
Last Wednesday (17th) I went to Houston for an interview with H-E-B (do I really have to type those hypens every time?) at their Houston Retail Support Center, which is a distribution center/milk plant/bakery located one complex in Northwest Houston (think the intersection of 290 and Beltway 8, but on the inside and a few miles in).

The position I interviewed for was for Quality Control Technician at either the milk plant or bakery.  The interview went very well (three interviewers, at least two were Aggies), and then I got a tour of the milk plant.  Leaving the interview I felt very good about it, but didn't relish the thought of moving to H-town.

On Friday I got a call offering me the position (two days after interviewing). I told them I'd let them know next week as I wanted to get ahold of another company I had interviewed with twice.  The short version of the story is that the other company (Company B from the post below, soon to be revealed in this post) said that would get back to me before my deadline to talk to H-E-B. They didn't, even though I called again, and again.  Finally, a decision needed to be made, so I called H-E-B yesterday morning and accepted the job offer.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I got the QC Tech position in the bakery.

I've turned in my two-weeks notice at CSISD and will finish bus driving the week of March 12th, then move all my stuff to Houston on the 13th, and start at H-E-B on the 22nd (the Monday after spring break).

This Saturday, the 27th, I plan on going to Houston to check out apartments I've been looking at online. I didn't originally plan to, but it looks as though I'll be signing a lease the same day because I don't know when else I'd be able to take care of it (and move-in is only two weeks away).

Right now the thought is to get a cheap, 1 bedroom apartment on a 6 month lease (to leave myself open for a change later). I've been contacting different people I know in Houston to see if they know of any potential roommate situations, and one opportunity might be in the works (waiting to hear from the guy). So that'd be cool.

Now, for those of you keeping score at home, the not-so-mystery companies listed in the post below are:

Company A - Otis Spunkmeyer
Company B - Sanderson Farms, specifically their plant in Bryan
Company C - H-E-B
Company D - Anheuser-Busch (yes, I totally would have worked for them if they offered me a job)

Some prayer requests:

-Finding good housing and knowing which part of town to live in, and that a good roommate situation would come about
-Finding a church home and community within that church.  It seems you can find a church with sound doctrine and teaching, but whether or not the members live it out is another story.  And finding good community seems even more daunting, as many churches don't seem to grasp the importance of unity that results in close community between Christians.
-That I would seek to build community and not simply wait for it to fall into my lap
-Adjusting to the work schedule (12 hour days, 5 AM - 5 PM, for 3.5 days/week)

And please pray for wisdom and discernment in all these areas.


Well, that's pretty much the 411. I leave you with some tidbits about the company I'll be working for:

-H-E-B owns and operates about 310 stores total, of which roughly 30 are located in Mexico.  The H-E-B brands include H-E-B, Mi Tienda, Central Market, H-E-B Plus!, and local "market" stores (Kingwood Market, etc.).
-H-E-B is the largest privately owned company in Texas, with revenues of about $15.5 billion in 2008.  It currently employs 70,000+ people (as of 2008ish).

-Read that line above again. The largest privately owned company in Texas. That is quite ridiculous.

-H-E-B is based in San Antonio.

-H-E-B dominates the central Texas grocery market and is steadily expanding in the Houston area.  While Wal-Mart holds a significant share of the market in the DFW area, H-E-B does have stores in the area and I believe is planning to expand there in coming years.

-H-E-B is well known for their store culture, targeting the product selection to the community the store is located in, and for having excellent self-branded (ie: H-E-B brand, not Hill Country Fare) products.  It is said that they will not produce a clone product under the H-E-B label unless the product cannot at least match, if not exceed, the quality of the major brand version of that same product.

Peace!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Arise, O God and Shine

I like a lot of modern Christian music, but I gotta confess: Much of the lyrics, while true, just aren't deeply satisfying. They just can't compare to the deep theological truths of older hymns. I hope you're taking time to check out the older stuff and not just filling your head with the latest KSBJ/KLTY/Tomlin/Jeremy Camp/etc. dribble.

(Case in point: I googled "arise o god an shine lyrics" and the first option listed was to listen to a clip of "Shine" by Matt Redman. Are you kidding me?)

This one is an old one, but I don't know how old (one source says it was written by William Hurn in 1813). At any rate, the words are great. You can listen to a clip of a version I like by going to http://www.igracemusic.com/ig5/ and clicking on track #5.

Arise, O God, and shine
In all Thy saving might
And prosper each design
To spread Thy glorious light;
Let healing streams of mercy flow
That all the earth Thy truth may know.

Bring distant nations near
To sing Thy glorious praise;
Let every people hear
And learn Thy holy ways.
Reign, mighty God, assert Thy cause
And govern by Thy righteous laws.

Put forth Thy glorious power
That everyone may see
And earth present her store
In converts born to Thee.
God, our own God, His Church will bless
And fill the world with righteousness.

To God, the only Wise,
The one immortal King,
Let hallelujahs rise
From every living thing;
Let all that breathe, on every coast,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Search Marches On (this is a friggin long post)

A little update on the job hunt.

I've been filling out applications, submitting resumes, emailing people, writing cover letters, and generally checking out all the options. At this point, I'm thinking I want to move out of the B/CS, but ultimately will go wherever God winds up giving me a job. In terms of how I "feel" about the right direction, I don't really feel strongly led to leave, but I desire to. I don't really feel strongly led to stay, but I'm leaning toward not staying. I'm kinda leaning toward the DFW area.

Something I learned last year is that there are actually genuine Christians that love Jesus and desire to follow Him in places other than Bryan/College Station. This was quite shocking to me as I thought the rest of the state and the Bible belt were pretty much a bunch of church fakers bent on having nice buildings, coffee shops, and comfortable lives that don't require sacrifice, challenge, change, or the Bible. Turns out, there do exist people and churches that don't fit this category. Who knew. This was an encouraging discovery in terms of figuring out whether to stay or go.

Alright. Some specific job opportunity updates. These are companies and jobs that I've either applied for or been contacted about. It's encouraging that I've had so many bites on my applications and resume.

Company A - A large cookie dough manufacturer with a plant in Austin. I applied for a quality control technician position with them and was interviewed on February 2nd. The interview was OK, but the pay would be super low (for a position that requires a degree? come on!) and I probably wouldn't be able to live on it. There also didn't seem to be much opportunity for advancement in the company. The pros would be that I would get to live in Austin and hey, unlimited cookie sampling, right?

Company B - Company B actually contacted me before company A, based on a resume I had emailed to their corporate office. They are a meat/poultry (to be general and vague) processor with a plant in Bryan. I had a several hour long interview/tour/talk to different people/they took me out to lunch (nice!). I went back again to meet some other people this week and was able to get a better feel for the place. The position would be either a manager trainee position or quality control supervisor, if it was open (I doubt I'd get directly hired for this one). The pros are location (no moving), pay (would be decent, but not overwhelmingly wonderful), and good experience in the food industry. There also seemed to be a lot of opportunity to advance within the company, and the company itself seemed to be excellent. Cons include location (not getting to move), hours (super long...50-60/week), dirty grunt work during the training part of the program, and the risk of winding up working in something not directly quality-related (which is what I'm long-term aiming for right now).

Company C - C is a large, Texas-based grocer that manufactures many products under its own brand. I applied for an (hourly) quality control tech position at Company C's plant in Houston. I've had a pre-screen phone call and I'm going in next Wednesday (the 17th) for an interview. The benefits would be the company itself (excellent reputation overall and as an employer), opportunity for advancement, and the ability to get QC experience. Cons include pay, relocation (although relocation wouldn't be bad, Houston isn't at the top of my list), and it is unclear how long it would take to advance to something management-related.

Company D - I applied for an entry-level management position at Company D on Monday, the 8th. Company D is a very well known brewing company that has a plant in Houston. While they do produce some well known non-alcoholic beverages and have some non-beverage business ventures, they are primarily known for a certain brand of beer. They called me today and did a phone screening and told me that they would contact me within two weeks if they decided to setup a phone interview. The pros include really, really excellent pay (seriously...), job stability, opportunity for advancement, the rotating schedule (Four 12-hour days on, four days off--unusual, but interesting),and the fact that the position is management, yet they are willing to hire a fresh graduate with no experience. The cons include location (again, Houston), the fact that an "on" day could fall on a Sunday or other day when I have church commitments, and the biggest one: the potential reputation issues with working for them as a Christian. I'm not personally convicted that it would be wrong to work for them, but the issue would come up in people's reactions. My goal certainly isn't to be a people-pleaser that never wants anyone to think bad things about me, but rather to be a God-pleaser that isn't causing weaker Christians to stumble and is considerate of the effect my actions may have on others.


So, there you have it. If you're still reading, congrats. If you're still awake, congrats again.

I haven't heard from company A and don't expect to. Even if I did, I don't think I could take the job because of the really low pay. Company B is desirable for the pros listed above, but would be very demanding, and I question whether or not it is worth the sacrifice. Company C seems promising, and I'll know more after the interview next week. Company D is most intriguing, for the pay and the schedule. It would provide the quickest opportunity to pay off school debt (a chief goal of employment). At first the pay was aluring, but then I decided that I need to focus on the other details, not just the material ones. But then when I considered the four days on/four days off schedule, I really started to desire this position.

So, we will see what happens. I continually pray for wisdom and discernment throughout the whole process and know that God is faithful to give wisdom, if I ask with faith (James). So then I ask for more faith too.

Thanks for reading kids, and I'll ttyl.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Emotions are Strange Creatures

Ah, hello there. Yes, it's been a while. Quite a while, actually. As it turns out, it's tougher to keep up a blog whilst doing school during a regular semester. And, as the title of this post suggests, emotions are indeed strange creatures and tend to influence things such as blogging ("I just don't feel like it").

Well, a little updating is in order. I just graduated on December 17, 2009 with a B.S. in Food Science & Technology from Texas A&M. And for anyone who thinks they're funny or something, that B.S. stands for "Bachelor of Science." Sorry-I didn't make the rule, but I gladly adhere to it.

At this point you may be asking one of several questions such as: "Why Chris, do you want to be a chef? Is this a cooking degree?" or possibly, "Is that the same thing as Nutrition?" To which my answers would be: "NO, NO, NO--you're all wrong, you silly oompa loompas! If I wanted to be a chef, I would go to culinary school. And if it were a Nutrition degree, it would be called Nutrition, not Food Science." As it turns out, Food Scientists and Nutritionists tend to be on opposite sides of the food game (in my opinion, anyway). But I digress.

Anyway, I graduated, and now I'm looking for work within the food industry (ie: every product on the grocery store shelf was made by a company. I could work for any of them.) and I'm highly interested in paying off a crap-ton of student loans ASAP.

Now-regarding the title of this post. I'm still living in Bryan, and originally was greatly desiring to stay in the B/CS area and work full time. The reasons for staying are that I love the church I'm at, it's solid, and I really love and am blessed by the community that God has placed in my life. I've lived here 4 1/2 years now, so it's pretty much home (sorry Scurry...). Also, being a college town, it's super cheap to live here, especially the living situation I'm currently in. So, all of these things led to my desire to stick around for a bit.

However, as I looked for work, it seemed that nothing around here was going to work out. There's really only a handful of food companies in the area, and most of them are small and do not have openings. So I started to apply for jobs in other cities and prepare in my mind and heart that I would likely be moving soon. Something I learned last year is that there actually are Bible-believing, Jesus-loving Christians in other places than Bryan/College Station, and there actually is a chance for community in other churches and cities. Knowing this, along with the whole sense of "adventure" that comes with a big life change, I started to actually lean toward and prefer the idea of moving and seeing what God was doing and had planned in another location. New town, new job, all that stuff. I would miss people in B/CS, for sure, but the adventure of leaving would be fun. And part me, the complaining part, was beginning to feel ready for a new town. Being burned out on the overly-spiritual and "Christian" culture of this one, the idea of heading to a new city was intriguing.

And then on Friday, January 29th, a local food company called me out of the blue and set-up an interview for next Thursday, February 4th. I hadn't applied for a position there, but had sent my resume to someone at their out-of-state corporate office based on a contact I had at A&M. The resume made it's way down to the local plant, and they called to discuss a position and potentially training for a supervisory position they expect to open up in the coming months.

What? Come on Lord, I was just getting over staying, was holding things open-handedly, and actually getting excited about change and then BOOM-You seem to be giving a "Yes" to my earlier prayers of finding a local gig. Unless I really botch up the interview, I expect they will offer me a position, and I'll likely take it. It will be good experience, and nice that it's local (and only 5 miles from my house), but part of me is still a little bummed that it doesn't involve leaving B/CS and starting fresh elsewhere. Oh conflicting feelings.

But, like I said, emotions are strange creatures.

The good news is that God is sovereign. He's not asleep at the wheel. He's not deaf. He hears the prayers of the saints. He's a good Father who gives good gifts. And He can turn the heart and give it the right desires-which has been my prayer as of late.

Whatever you want, Lord-take it. Keep me here or move me elsewhere. But make my heart soft and mold-able in all of it. Stir my desires and affections for You, and make my deepest desires be to obey You and please You.