Category Archives: Christian Family Life

Lessons Learned at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steak Burgers

So here’s the long-awaited follow-up to The Best Advice You Never Gave –

We finally made it back to church after months and months of spending 8 days a week working on our new house. Following the service, we stopped at Freddy’s for lunch. Things were hopping, but the cashiers were keeping up with it. I was impressed with the way the cashiers were working together to figure things out and for their attention to the customers.

When I stepped over to the pick-up counter, I noticed both of our orders of chili fries had onions on them. My husband HATES onions, so I playfully mentioned that I was betting one of them was supposed to be without onions. Their response? “Well, the order doesn’t say no onions, but we’ll get you a new one.” This was followed by a female employee exclaiming loudly enough for the cashiers (and customers) to hear, “What’s going on out there? Those guys need to be trained. This is ridiculous.”

The situation made quite an impression on me. You have a stressful situation, the Sunday lunch crowd, and you’ve got a team of players that are not only turning against each other, but they are making it public. I waited tables back in the ’80s, and I learned two things about customer service: One, the customer is always right; and, two, teamwork is essential.

Looking back on it now, I was probably wrong to have gone back and said anything, but as I sat and ate my burger, I knew I just couldn’t let it rest. Not my business; but then again, if not me, who?

So after finishing my meal, I went to the counter and asked to speak to the manager. The poor kid I asked was the same guy who took my order, and I seriously thought he was going to burst into tears. I had pity on the kid and told him, “Hey, it’s all good, no worries.” He relaxed and the manager came out. The manager turned out to be the same girl who had been complaining about the cashiers. I was actually glad for this, because it meant nobody would be getting in trouble after I left. The poor girl looked at me, bracing for an attack, and said, “Okay, what happened?”

She wasn’t expecting me to praise the guys who were working up front. I told her how hard they were working and how they were helping each other out. She immediately began praising them and telling me how she trusted one of them to do all of the things she usually did and the other one was a hard worker who never gave her any trouble.

I was stumped by her response seeing as 20 minutes earlier she had been complaining about the same two employees. It turned out Freddy’s had had a rough afternoon, several mistakes had been made, and this young lady was at her wits end. Somehow I gracefully reminded her that if her crew was undertrained, it was her job to rectify that. And if her crew was overwhelmed with a crazy crowd, it was her job to build them up, not tear them down. And if things were really falling apart, never, ever complain about your team to the customers.

This precious, precious lady poured out her heart to me. She loves her employees and her job, and it really is the desire of her heart for every customer to have a perfect experience. That’s how much pressure she puts on herself every single day she goes to work.

But I had to put a damper on her enthusiasm. I motioned to the kitchen and all the workers and told her, “it’s not going to happen. You can’t make everything perfect for everyone. So the question is, how are YOU going to act when it’s not perfect?” She was stuck on that one, so I made the leap and asked her if she was a Christian. That soft lovely, “I know Jesus” smile spread across her face as she nodded yes. “Then you know who you are in Christ, and nothing anybody thinks or says can change that, good service, bad service, whatever. Nothing can change who you are in Christ.”

Then I realized that The Lord wasn’t prompting my intervention in order to merely promote better employee relations at Freddy’s; he was using this opportunity to remind this lady of a much more important fact.

I finished up our conversation by reminding her of the impact she had on each of her employees in how they felt about themselves and their contributions as they left Freddy’s each day, whether they felt valued and competent or humbled and incompetent. “Perhaps building up your employees is your contribution to the world at this point in your life.”

I loved this girl. She totally got it. I let her get back to work and I went back to have dessert with my family as I pondered why I felt such a burden to go talk to her, and how in the world we went from complaining about employees to who she is in Christ.

And then it hit me. Those words that I was speaking into her life, God was speaking into my life with my husband and my children. If my children are not trained to do the things I want them to do, it’s pretty silly and counterproductive to complain about it. And complaining to others (siblings and husband included) about them in their hearing can be pretty darn abusive. Praise and encouragement is generally a greater motivator than complaining and blaming.

And how about my impact on how my husband and children feel when they walk out our door every day. Just how much do I impact that, and could it be that this is part of my ministry at this point in my life? Oh boy.

And then the bonus round of the fact that no matter what anybody says or thinks of me, it doesn’t change who I am in Christ.

Talk about an a-hah moment!

As I took Noah back past the counter to go to the bathroom, the manager stopped me to make sure everything was going alright. I said, “I just have to tell you that that conversation we had really blessed me. I realized everything I said to you I needed to hear because it applies to the way I treat my family.”

She said, “It’s because it’s a principal thing. True principals apply across the board. Otherwise, I just would have smiled and told you I needed to get back to work. But I really needed to hear what you said to me.”

What a smart lady.

And what a smart God to convict me with my own words.

Heard Around the Hen House – Eden

So Eden rolled out of bed complaining this morning. The middle siblings had gone off with Daddy today, and Eden was lamenting about how she always misses the fun stuff with me when she goes with Daddy, but when she stays home, we don’t ever do anything fun.

Poor baby (with an exasperated sigh).

Later on when I told her we’d probably have peanut butter and jelly for lunch, her countenance fell again since this meant we probably couldn’t have cinnamon rolls for snack after such a sweet lunch.

(Of course the preferred response would be her jumping up and down with joy over the fact we’re having peanut butter and jelly for lunch.)

Later on, succumbing to her pity party I casually mentioned, “Well, maybe I could make grilled cheese and that way we could still have cinnamon rolls for snack.”

Eden: “I love grilled cheese.”
Me: “And I love you.”
Eden: “And I love you more than grilled cheese AND cinnamon rolls.”

Funny how one little sentence can make it all worthwhile!

May your weekend be filled with grilled cheese sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and the love of a child.

When Life Hands You a Dip, Throw Your Hands Up and Enjoy the Ride


Nope, not a post on a spacy child.

Fifteen years ago, I followed a friend of mine out to the Texas Hill Country. I was a single mom wanting to raise my child out in the country; she was a wife and mom of four moving to help take care of aging grandparents. She taught me a lot about family, and she just happened to be the most fun person I had ever met. She had a knack for turning the details of life that we often overlook into experiences that I never forgot. You could often find us with a van full of kids (hers and mine) exploring the back roads of our quaint little village. Every sighting was a story, and every dip was an adventure.

Yes, every dip was an adventure.

Being that we were in the Texas Hill Country, we encountered dips in the road many times. The best ones we would speed up, drive over, and then turn around and do it again.

My children have endured many long drives out to our new house that we continue to prep for move in. Fortunately, there just happens to be a pretty dramatic dip on the way there that has prompted yells of “speed up” on every journey. So I floor the gas pedal to about 70 MPH and we set a’sailing. The kids throw their hands up and milk the experience for all it’s worth. I love that.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” – James 1:17

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Who needs Six Flags anyway?

What are some ways you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary?