Monday, May 24, 2010

Life at the Spa: My Living Arrangements

Allow me to affectionately introduce to you the couple with whom I am living this summer: Mr. and Mrs. Shalom are a happily married couple who love people.

Mr. Shalom is a hard working business owner whose favorite hobby is a game of golf by himself. He has the most incredible pastoral heart. I pretty much enjoy anything he has to say because he talks about topics, from books to women’s fast pitch softball, with an attitude I can only describe as somehow affectionate. When he walks in the door, he kisses his wife and gives me a handshake or a hug if I’m around. He still enjoys allowing his 95 year old mother to give him milk and cookies. He is not only a prime example of masculine sensitivity, but he is business savvy and theologically astute. And... I just like him. Last night, he treated me to Starbucks and won my heart.

Mrs. Shalom is quickly becoming a mother figure to me. We spend most nights staying up and talking about all sorts of things from my testimony, to the Israelite Tabernacle, to different churches' methodologies. Every morning when I come downstairs, she makes a delicious green smoothie for me. She has welcomed me into her home from the first day and the gift of hospitality is not lost on her or her husband. One time, when I offered to do the dishes, she told me if I wanted to do them I would have to fight her for it. I’ve been a little scared of her ever since!

Now, for all my girlfriends..
You already know about Elizabeth; let me introduce you to my three new girlfriends..

I live with two beautiful blondes; Alex and Abby. One is approximately 2’3’’ and the other might be 3 feet tall. They flirt, call me by different nicknames, give me gifts, and run towards me when I come home. They are the two cutest little girls and they are the daughters of the couple who live in the basement.

Grammy is my other new girlfriend. She, as I mentioned before, is Mr. Shalom’s elderly mother. We stay up in the evenings talking and she has told me on multiple occasions that I have great teeth. The other day, I took her to her hair appointment. After it was finished, I went to escort her back to my car but it had started to rain. While waiting for it to pass, we stood under the awning of the shopping center. She claimed her hair would go flat if even a few drops of rain got on her, so I ran to get the umbrella from me car. When I came back, she grasped my arm and asked “Where are your muscles?” Playing along, I flexed. She cried out in pain exclaiming, “Ow, ow, ow! Oh you do have muscles.” I burst out laughing and she told me she loved to hear me laugh. On the way home, she impressed me with reciting the preamble and the alphabet backwards.

I really enjoy my living arrangements. I feel very accepted. The couple downstairs cooks me dinner most nights and invited me to sit with them at church. Last night, the husband took a piece of meat and transformed it into a tasty and juicy bite of heaven. Everything I eat is healthy and delicious. I look forward to being with Grammy and having our evening chat. And, Mr. and Mrs. Shalom insistently offer the use all their things. They even loaned me their GPS until I learn my way around. I feel a part of a big, but tight knit family and it has seriously been an unanticipated blessing. I do not feel as though my words can actually give justice to how amazing my living arrangements are. I tried to paint as clear of a word picture as I could, but you’d have to come see for yourself.

Stay tuned for my update on how my internship is going...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day One

Monday was my first day on the job. Being me, I left early enough to allow myself ample time to find the church and get acclimated to the environment. I printed out directions from MapQuest, but I got a little turned around. Every other road here is peach this or Peachtree that. I wonʼt even begin to point out all the variations of Martin Luther King Jr roadways there are. I do not blame myself for getting lost. The people I am staying with loaned me a GPS and it was a serious lifesaver today. Conveniently, I still arrived twenty minutes early (remember, I allowed time in my schedule for getting lost..)

I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t prepared for what I walked into. The room was full of young adults. I was really intimidated and I had no idea who any of them were. Someone in charge announced that the meeting was going to start at 10:00 AM and to hang out until then. I discovered, when I started to mingle, that they were all interns. NorthPoint has several locations and today was orientation for all the campuses. There were 14 or 15 others.

I met the three interns that I would be working with; Meredith, Emily, and Alex:

Meredith has a twin brother and sister who are in same grade as her. All three of them go to Samford University.

Emily is from Pennsylvania and is staying with her sister who lives near NorthPoint. She goes to Eastern university and lives outside of Scranton.

Alex is a genetics major at Clemson and is debating about whether or not he should pursue law school. He is the only one of us who actually grew up going to NorthPoint. He is a very energetic person and has nice teeth.

Above the summer interns on the pecking order is the full-time interns; Mallory and Jared. We will work directly with them this summer. Mallory is also energetic. She and Alex dominated the conversation because they talk really fast and enthusiastically. Jared is a long time intern. His father works at NorthPoint and writes books with Andy. We were called into the meeting which was held in a pretty big auditorium called “The Attic.” We had to go around and introduce ourselves and say something quirky and it took a long time because we were all joking around. I had to admit that my schoolʼs mascot is “the Arch.” Not something cool like an Archer, but a stone structure. That got quite a laugh. After everyone was introduced, they gave us a brief history of NorthPoint. Then we were dismissed us for lunch. We went to Qdoba and they paid for it! I am going to like this job!

I figured out pretty quickly, that I was one of the older interns and so I chose to not admit my age. At lunch, I was cornered with a barrage of questions until I had to affirm that I was the closest to dirt in age out of everyone in the group.

Back on campus after lunch, it was time to get acquainted with the campus. To do that, the staff sent us on a scavenger hunt. We had to go all over campus finding coffee, coffee, soda, and post it notes. We had to get signatures from people and find out how to become a member. We even had to take group pictures. Alex was very useful during this time. He knew where a lot of the places were already. We only had an hour to do that.

Then we got together with the NorthPoint campus team for a team meeting. The Staff introduced themselves and their romantic background. Then they asked us why we wanted this internship. We went over the job description and found out which full time intern we will be working with. I am working with KT (i.e. Kevin Turner). Kevin is in charge of guy small groups. We take spread sheets and identify who is where and find the best locations to have small groups. We are also going to be in charge of recruiting new small group leaders. I get to do interviews for
new leaders and follow up interviews to take care of the old leaders. Another cool thing that I will be doing is holding our own bible study on Wednesday nights. The interns get to brainstorm and come up with a plan and then they will open it up to the youth group. We will also each lead a service project for each of the different grades.

At the end, they gave me a gift. It had books for me to read, a CD, and two t-shirts. One of the t-shirts is really soft!

Last, we reviewed their program. It is called “InsideOut.” We talked through every aspect of the service chronologically discussing what went well, and what could be improved. Though I had no idea how the service went, it was really interesting to hear them all discuss it.

I am in a state of shock -a white noise type of thing. I know there is an image, but it isnʼt in focus because it so bright. Itʼll take me awhile to adjust. I keep getting the “whoa!” feeling. This program is nine weeks and it is packed with optional opportunities like the mission trip, summer camp, bible study, and service project. Iʼm just trying to wrap my mind around it. They set the expectation level so high. Iʼm 24 and way more experienced than the other interns in I was overwhelmed with what they are expecting. It is cool to think this is what they want from a 19 year old.

They have certainly the bar high!

I’ll describe the place I am staying in my next post, but to give you a little taste, I’ll let you know that I met “grammy” today, and she thinks I have great teeth!… to be continued...

(P.S. Actually, this post was written by Elizabeth, my girlfriend. I related this story to her Monday night, and she, being awesome, volunteered to do my blog update since I was very very tired. I went through and edited it quickly, and all the information is correct. We made a bet that she couldn't make it sound like me. Could you tell that it wasn't me writing? Please let us know!)