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Friday, February 14, 2014

Announcement!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!
I'm not a huge fan of this holiday. 
I feel like we should show love everyday of the year and society puts WAY too much pressure on each other to make today special. 
That being said, Thomas gave me a wonderful, homemade spa package with all kinds of bath items to spoil myself with a hot bath, as well as chocolates AND flowers. 
I'm the luckiest girl in the world!
For more reasons than just being spoiled by my hubby.
My hubby gave me the best present IN THE WORLD!!

... We are expecting!
Baby Myers is due in October and Thomas and I are out of our minds with excitement!
We've wanted to start our family for a long time now but I have PCOS so we were told that having a child would take medications and most likely fertility treatments. 
Blah. Blah. Blah. (You don't wanna hear about all that)
Anyway, a miracle happened and we're going to be parents!! 
Praise God!

I'll keep you posted on the baby's development. 
We get to hear the heartbeat on Tuesday so I'm sure I'll have a lot to talk about after that!

Blessings,
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Desk Calendar...

 I love my new desk calendar!
Love. It. 
We purchased it at Target at the end of December and I've been adding dates of weddings, birthdays, and (blah) bills since.
You all know how much I love being organized and calendars/planners are my favorite way to keep track of assignments, obligations, and other events that make up life. Big desk calendars are just awesome. Plain and simple. 


I even decided to add Washi tape to the mix and am using it to mark extended events: vacations, papers due, roommates being out of town, etc.
Speaking of my desk and office stuff: Look who found a new hiding spot...
 I heard Abigail making noise but couldn't find her right away and when I did, I couldn't stop laughing.
She just makes herself comfortable where ever she sees fit. And we LOVE her for it... or in spite of it... either way, we love having Abigail in our family!
Isn't she cute? Come on... you can't tell me she's not adorable.
Anyway, have a wonderful day!
Blessings,



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Recommendation...

Hello lovelies!

I'm writing to you this evening from the local coffee shop, with my dear husband sitting across from me and I'm reminded how blessed I am. 
It's the little things really. Hot coffee on a cold day & love that I don't deserve.

Anyway, I just finished an absolutely amazing book the other day and I just have to share... 
you MUST read it!
Elizabeth Smart's My Story.
Elizabeth was just 14 when she was kidnapped in the middle of the night by a crazy man, claiming to be a Prophet. Elizabeth was tortured, raped, and held in captivity by the man and his wife for 9 months, living in poverty and always outside. Elizabeth talks about her time in captivity and the feelings and activities that she endured during those 9 months but the thing that affected me the most about her story is how she recovered and continued living her life after she was home safe. Elizabeth gives ALL the glory to God and says that gratitude is what has helped her the most. When she was in captivity, she would end many evenings thanking God for the little things that she experienced that day. For example, on Thanksgiving, she was given a free meal by an organization in California. She had not eaten much since being captured and she felt extremely blessed that she had a good, hot meal that day. 
Her story is inspiring and has helped change the way I look at my day to day life. When I get down about something going wrong, I remind myself of the little good things that I've been blessed with. For example, it's cold outside but we have a roof over our head and a working furnace. Money is tight again this month but we both have jobs to go to in order to make money. You get the idea. It's finding the little blessings in life and allowing them to overpower the bad.
Life is full of little blessings and Elizabeth Smart reminds her readers that things can always be worse. Elizabeth has never had formal therapy or been on medications. She gives God absolutely all the glory for her being able to be strong and now uses her story to help other children recovering after abductions. 
My Story is absolutely wonderful and a must read!

The biggest blessing in my life...
It's been less than 4 months since Thomas' nearly fatal accident and he is doing wonderfully!
We can't get over how blessed we are that he's doing as well as he is and every time I look at him, I'm reminded that God is good!

We went to Kansas City over the weekend to celebrate Claire's 12th Birthday!
I can't believe she's already 12 years old! 
She had an adorable daytime pj party and she celebrated with an outdoor pillow fight and pj contest with several of her girlfriends. 
She continues to take life's hiccups and turn them around. 
She can make me laugh like no one else and is absolutely wonderful in every way!
Happy Birthday, Claire! We love you so very much!!

Blessings & Love, 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

An Honor...

Happy Sunday, friends!
 
So, a little over a week ago, I noticed a spike in my blog views so I went over to my Dashboard to see what was going on and was blown away by what I discovered...
My scarf hanger was featured on Home Ideas' list of 16 Genius Ways to Organize Your Closet. 
What an Honor!
After I squealed and jumped up and down with excitement and freaked out everyone else in the house, I decided it was a sign. 

See, I had been considering packing away the blog.
I don't really feel like I'm making a difference as I post about crafts and food and the silly little-nothings of our lives.
But every time I feel that way, I get a really sweet email from a reader, or a friend texts me a picture of the Melted Crayon Art she made for her mom, after being inspired by my post, or I'm featured on another blog. 

So, maybe I am affecting people somehow. 
From the bottom of my heart, thanks for stopping by and please, let me know how I can be in prayer for you.

Blessings,
P.S.
I'm in full-on planning mode for my best friend's bridal shower. It is on February 8th, at my house, and is peacock themed. Stay tuned for pictures and DIY projects galore!! 
So. Much. Fun!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Your Server Can't Tell You...


...Because it would get her fired.

I have worked in the restaurant industry off and on for 10 years now. In those 10 years, I have experienced memories with some of the most wonderful people, who remain friends to this day, and some of the most awful customers that I can't seem to forget, no matter how hard I try. I mean people that I can't believe actually feel their behavior is acceptable. While at work the other day, I began compiling a list of the things we, as servers, would love to tell our guests but if we did, we would no longer have a job. I began asking my other servers for their opinions as well and it amazed me that some of these things even need to be said. 

Alas, I think most people need a refresher in restaurant etiquette so I'm here to give you that today. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

My name is Cortney, and I'll have the pleasure of taking care of you today... 

1. We don't need you to tell us how to do our jobs. Well, most of the time.

There are times when a server is put on the floor, taking tables, much sooner than should be allowed. However, most of the time, lots of time and training goes in before one is allowed to serve tables. The server must have the menu memorized, as well as the bar menu and any specials that may occur at said restaurant. Servers do not (again, typically) need to be reminded to get you more sweet tea if your glass is still half full. We notice your drink level, as well as everyone else's at your table and quite honestly, the drink level of the tables that are other server's responsibility as well. We are trained to be observant so unless you are simply receiving awful service, we don't need you telling us what to do.  

2. If you stay at the restaurant for an extended amount of time past when you've eaten and enjoyed your beverages, you need to tip your server for that extra time.

Servers are only allotted a certain number of tables in a "section" of the restaurant during their shift. Most of the time that section has anywhere between 3 and 9 tables. The higher number of tables in the server's section, the more likely she is to have all of those tables full at any given time. (It can be terrifying!) Anyway, I'm drifting, back to the main point...

Say you've come to the restaurant for a small business meeting and you plan on sitting at the table for an additional 20 minutes, your server cannot be sat at that table again until you leave. Seems like a no brainer, however, most people don't realize that time is money. If you sit at my table for 45 minutes, chances are, I could have been sat at that table at least once, and more likely twice during the lunch rush. So, you should at least double your tip, if you spend longer than 30 minutes at a table, past the time that you've eaten and enjoyed the restaurant, you need to tip more. That's all there is to it. 

3. We DO talk about you.

Sorry. That’s just the way it is.

And if you're a regular with strange requests or habits, we probably even have a nickname for you. 

This goes both ways though. If you are a wonderful table and you treat us like people, we brag to the other servers and everyone else in the restaurant is literally jealous of that server. We also discuss the tips we receive. Most restaurants don't like for their servers to discuss their tips, however, most restaurants now post a server's sale numbers, including tip percentage, in the back of the restaurant for everyone to see, so servers don't feel the need to hide what we make. Best way to prevent having bad things said about you? Treat your server kindly. It's as simple as that. 



4. When you have a coupon or receive a discount, tip off the before discount price.

Your server has to do something called "tipping out". There are many other workers in a restaurant that make your nice experience possible and most of the time, the server has to pay some of those people for their help. Most of the time, that list includes the hostess or person who sat you, the busser and food-runner (if there is one), the bartender, and sometimes even, the dishwasher. The server has to tip on the amount of her sales, before discount, so if you tip your server on the after discount price, you are putting her in a very unfair situation. A server friend put it this way: If you want to tip your server 15%, you need to leave 18% because of the tip-out. That’s a pretty simple way to explain it. Tip at least 3% more than you want your server to keep.

 5. 99% of the time, how your food comes out from the kitchen, is out of our control. 

Now, there are definitely times when a server puts something about an order into the computer incorrectly and therefore, it is her fault, but honestly, that's rare. Mistakes happen and most of the time there was nothing your server could have done to prevent the mistake. Therefore, your tip should not reflect that.

6. Unless you are literally the only table in the restaurant, remember that you're NOT the only table in the restaurant. 

Servers have many responsibilities and about 25 things to remember and accomplish at any given time. Remember that your server is a human, not a machine, so mistakes will happen, especially when the restaurant is packed. 

7. Servers don’t get breaks.

I have literally worked open to close (10:30am – midnight), without sitting down, on multiple occasions. The whole “for every 5 hours you work, you get a 30 minute break” does not apply to servers and if we want to make anything close to good money, we have to pull shifts like that.

7. We will never spit in your food or drink or do anything even remotely nasty to your food.

We, as servers, and the restaurant as a whole could get into a whole lot of trouble for something like that and it doesn't do any good for anyone. Therefore, please ignore this (and actually, every) aspect of the movie "Waiting".

8. If you can't afford to tip at least 18% (Yes! I said 18%, as that is the acceptable "eh, this service was okay" tip now) than you can't afford to eat out. 
Servers make roughly $3.50 an hour. We have to purchase clothing specifically for work, including slip-resistant shoes that aren't cheap, and have bills just like you. We must also now pay for insurance and like I mentioned earlier, tip the people who help us help you.


Here's some math for you (based off some of my recent numbers):

I clocked in for my evening shift at 4:29pm and clocked out at 9:32pm so we’ll round that to an even 5-hour shift (sometimes that’s much longer and other times, that’s much shorter). I make $3.63 an hour, before taxes (more on taxes later) so that’s about $18 for 5 hours of work. Now, during those 5 hours, I had 22 guests, some of which sat with one other person as they ate, others were in larger groups. My sales were roughly $330, meaning that the average dinner price for each of my guests was approximately $15. My average tip percentage was 19% (some higher, some lower), meaning that I made approximately $62 (before tax).

I was told that I was “cut”, meaning no longer taking tables at 8:45 so between then and when I clocked out at 9:30, I was not making tips and was only receiving the $3.63 an hour. During those 45 minutes, I rolled 55 napkins with silverware and wiped down every single table in my section, moved the tables and booths to sweep under and around them, and stocked the sugars, salt and pepper shakers. I also filled the two beverage stations in the back of the restaurant with ice and glasses.

Now, when it was time for me to turn in my receipts, coupons, and money at the end of my shift, I also have to turn in more money for the people who helped me help you. So, I was told (by the computer system) that I must pay the bartender $5.62 and the hostess $9.12. So, let’s take my original $62 in tips and subtract those numbers, leaving us with approximately $47 in tips. When I clock out, I MUST enter and claim for taxes every cent that I made that night so I can be taxed on it. If I am caught lying, I will not only lose my job but could be subject to fines and even jail time. The government and IRS take it very seriously. And if I ever make less than 10% on a table (unfortunately it happens) I have to still claim the (at least) 10% or risk lots of questions and again, potential loss of my job and problems with the IRS.

Servers are taxed just like the post office worker or anyone else you can think of. And we pay tax on tips. Just remember that the next time you consider stiffing your server. 

Also, thinking that the manager or owner has to "make up the difference" if the server does not make minimum wage is completely incorrect. Chances are, they'll fire the server before that ever happens. 


9. Tracts do not count as a tip. Neither do coupons to other restaurants or any other type of "tip" other than cold, hard cash.
This does not seem like something I should have to mention. Unfortunately though, it happens all the time. Want to leave a tract or New Testament? Great idea! But make sure you leave an amazing tip with it just to hammer in the idea that Christians are good people, too! Nothing upsets me more than to hear a fellow server slamming one of their tables because rather than leaving a tip, the table left some sort of offense message on the table. Let's clear something up here: Just because we are serving you, doesn't make you better than us.  

I think that's about it. The facts are this: about 85% of the people who serve you in a restaurant are only doing that job as a means to an end. We are either putting ourselves through school, are in between jobs in our actual career or are serving as a 2nd job to make some extra money.
Servers are people too and it's time that everyone starts treating them that way. 
Remember to thank your sever for her hard work and treat her with the respect you would hope your daughter or sister would receive. 

Blessings,
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32