All the jobs I’ve had with my brother

The other day I was thinking about how a lot of the jobs I’ve had are thanks to, and were right along side, members of my family. Probably because we’re both guys and only a year and a half apart, it was my brother that I worked with mostly. Going all the way
back to 4th grade, I remember helping him deliver newspapers when we lived in Fort Adams; military housing in Newport, Rhode Island.

Paper or plastic, ma’am?
wdMy first real job, though, was bagging groceries at Winn-Dixie in Miami, Florida… once the area recovered from Hurricane Andrew, that is. Who was bagging there, too? Yep, my bro. The dynamic duo at your service! I have a few memories from this job. The one that stands out most was this lady that came through the line, you had to keep an eye on her, for sure. Even thinking about it now, all the fear I had in the moment rushes back. I think she just had some sort of mental disorder but here’s what she would do: grab something from a nearby shelf (like a candy bar next to the register), throw it on the ground and step on it. At one point, she had a loaf of bread in her hand. Tossed it down, stepped directly in the middle of it. I couldn’t believe it. She did this with a few other things, too. Weird stuff, man.

We gotta wake up at what time????
hardeesFast forward a couple of years and my brother and I were spending the summer in Monticello, Florida. Our dad was starting a new job in New York, so he went up early, before the rest of us moved there from Florida. My mom was spending time in Tallahassee with her parents. So there we were living with my dad’s parents in a house they built off of South Mulberry Street. Well, about a block away was a Hardee’s. We both got jobs making biscuits on the weekend. We only worked a couple days a week, but just knowing we had to wake up at 4am both days was enough to ruin the entire week. But it was pretty awesome to have grandparents that woke up with us, made us breakfast, and drove us the 1 block to get there. And our boss was funny, in a “does he think we’re curing cancer?” kind of way. One time a batch of biscuits came out overcooked. Lost the batch. Boss proceeded to punch the wall. Classic.

You’ve got to scalp ’em Seminoles!
Two years later we were both students at Florida State and he helped me get a job at the Leach Center, where he was already working. We both worked there for the remainder of our college careers. This job reinforced the importance of being on time. They didn’t have much tolerance for being late, I’ll say that! We both made a lot of good friends there, some we are still friends with today. And by the way, if you’re ever trying to use someone else’s ID to sneak in somewhere, at least make sure you kinda sorta possibly look like them! College kids, man, you’d think they’d be a little smarter 😉Leach New Inside

It’s where, now?
Another place we both worked was a summer camp in Lampe, Missouri. It’s called Kanakuk. I know, I know, I just said a few words you may not have heard before. But Lampe is about an hour south of Branson and Kanakuk is pronounced can-uh-cuck. An amazing place for kids to learn sports taught by college athletes and at the same time, grow in your relationship with God. No, I was not a college athlete. Unless you count being intramural champs, baaabbaaayyy! DSC09261My brother and I both count Kanakuk as a big influence on our lives, from the people we met and worked with there, to shaping our outlook on life and faith.

We’ve also worked together on various video projects over the years. One might be a workout video, another a sports highlight reel. Here’s one we made recently of his son, my nephew, playing football.

So I’ll finish by saying that of all the things my brother is great at (sports, public speaking, being a brother, friend, etc), he’s also been a great co-worker. And he’s got an amazing younger brother, too!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

 

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A week at summer camp: Part 2

So tagging on to my previous post about going back to summer camp, I was most excited about these three things:
1. My nephew going to Kanakuk/ road trip with him and my brother
2. Seeing a few old friends
3. Serving any and all staff for the week
Immediately after walking into the camp on opening day, I hugged a guy that meant a lot to me when I was working at K-West. Actually, he and his wife met at K-West during one of the summers I was there. DSC09255 DSC09254He goes by the name Sparky and she goes by Rachel. Awesome people. So glad I got to see them again. I also got to see the director of K-West, Ward Wiebe, an awesome man who I also reference in this post.

I knew in my heart of hearts it was going to be a great week, but I didn’t know I’d leave inspired by all the people there. It’s a whole different culture where they really do put God first, others second, and themselves third. I have become so accustomed to “the ways of the world” that I forgot we’re commanded to love other people like we love ourselves. This week at Kanakuk was a refreshing reminder of the second greatest commandment (the #1 commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength).

Good times in Missouri! There was also a bird nest in the teepee my brother and I were sleeping in. I’ll write more later about those baby birds, and more about what I mean when I say we slept in teepees, it wasn’t a typo.

-Out of the Wilderness

Routine

In the summer of 2000, I worked at Kanakuk Kamps in Lampe, Missouri. In fact, I worked there for that summer and the next two. One of my favorite parts of the camp was the kitchen. Talk about good food, the cooks there were good at what they did. However, on days I wasn’t in the mood for “Frito Love,” there was peanut butter and jelly. Not secretly my favorite sandwich of all time. One day, as I sat down with a couple of sandwiches in my normal seat at the middle table, the director of the camp said to me, “creature of habit.” He was referencing how I chose to sit in the same spot pretty much every single meal. He was right on the money. I guess I never realized how routined I was until he said it. And routines are a good thing. They provide stability, normalcy, a way to measure growth and progress, and as was my case at the camp, safety and comfort. I began working at this camp without knowing anyone. It was far away from my family, and all of my friends. So having my place to sit and eat meals became familiar. And I can’t think of anything more important for a person who feels out of place than familiarity.

Fast forward to 2009, and I was still that same creature of habit. Between balancing work, friends, and whatever else came up, I developed a routine that worked. I started my job at nine, worked out at the YMCA during lunch, and went home at six. Then in December I got a puppy. Hello new routine.

If I could quickly offer some advice, when you’re considering puppy adoption, do it! And also, do it in the spring or late summer. Training a dog in the winter is cold, exhausting, and cold. I learned the hard way that I was slower at putting on warm clothes at 4 A.M. than she was at making yellow puddles. So adopt a dog, then buy some carpet cleaner. My dog’s “accidents” became less and less frequent, however, when I learned the most important ingredient in training, routine. Through establishing a routine, I got better (and more) sleep, and she learned to hold it till she was outside. Routines are a good thing.

We are all creatures of habit and even though we may stray a bit on day to day activities, our weeks, months, and years will highlight an overall routine. And that’s a good thing. It means you are stable. Just remember, there’s a fine line between routine and rut. So have enough of a routine to feel safe, but every so often shock the system by sitting in a different spot.