Letter #683: Six Months of Adventure

Last 6 Months

Dear six months,

Half a year…182ish days. At times you can seem daunting or really long ago; other times you fly by faster than Blue Bell’s flying off Texas shelves right now.

I’ve lived 57 sets of you but when I think of my last set of six, in many ways it feels like a dream. I’m not sure I will ever be able to fully put into words what’s happened in my last six months. You have been hard, fast, exciting, exhausting, life giving and unexpected while being filled with firsts, adventure, fear, opportunity and life lessons I’ll never forget.

  • Beginning of March-Beginning of May: served as a Chick-fil-A team member as Branson’s first store opened; balanced two jobs and while I didn’t mind the extra money I was really doing it to learn more about how CFA trains their employees as they continue to set the industry standard in customer experience.
  • May-August 8th: summer 10 at Kanakuk K-West; hardest of my 10 summers in that place but so fun at the same time as I was able to laugh a ton and learn a lot as I got to sit front seat as the Lord showed up how only He can.
  • August 11th-September 6th: four weeks on the trip of a lifetime; the timeliness of my European Adventure couldn’t have been more perfect. My prayer was for it to be restful, reflective and purposeful…all three and more occurred.

In the span of time a viable baby can be formed, I fit all the above in and more. There will be few seasons in my life filled with more diversity and adventure, and as I look back I can’t help but laugh. Did all of that really happen?! If I were in any other life stage, I couldn’t or at least wouldn’t have done it all.

And I wouldn’t trade my experiences for a different life stage. I need to remind myself of this as it’s so easy to compare and dwell on what I don’t have. Even in just the past few months I have been able to do incredible things. Rather than wishing for things to be part of my life, I want to genuinely celebrate all I already have and am getting to do. I just did things people dream of doing their whole lives. I saw pieces of creation most will only see in photos. My scope is broadened, eyes opened and life changed because of it.

My last six months have been so fun, so adventurous. I may never have six that rival you in a row again, but I am incredibly thankful for the journey and always want to live willing to take risks.

Cheers to the beginning of travel season at work and the start of set 58 of you!

Lindsay

Letter #681: My Pleasure

drivethru

Dear Chick-fil-A,

For years I have been a raving fan. Your food is good, but it’s the above and beyond service you provide that truly sets you apart. I took you for granted though. You were part of my hometown, college town and nearly every city I’ve ever visited. Then I moved to Branson where your nearest location was 45 minutes north.

You became a must stop restaurant, almost daily, as I traveled the country recruiting college students to work at Kanakuk. State after state, location after location, I began to realize there was something different about you. You weren’t just excellent in the few Oklahoma locations I frequented. After visiting 100+ locations in nearly 13 different states, I have yet to find a poor experience.

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Eat Mor Chikin. Dedication dinner at the Keeter Center days before it opened. Chick-fil-A does a great job valuing it’s team members.

I was fascinated and impressed and desired to know more. As I declared stories of excellence in conversations, statements like this began to surface…”If Branson ever gets a Chick-fil-A, I’m going to work there.”

Rumor after rumor was squelched about your arrival…until fall of 2014, confirmed arrival!!! #Bransongamechanger

I remembered my statement…would I really be interested in getting a job?! After some thought, I said, “What do I have to lose, I’ll just call and see what happens!”

You see, I’m drawn to things that are different, things set apart by work ethic and integrity. I was fascinated by you. How did you manage to get thousands of employees to believe in valuing and serving people…it’s fast food for crying out loud?!

I was fascinated enough I didn’t want to just hear about your training program, I wanted to go through it.

So I called, chatted with the operator, explained my heart, told him why I was a terrible hire for him because I already had a full time job that relocated me in the summers and ended with why I thought he should hire me anyway. What did I have to lose remember?!

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The paparazzi came STRONG on opening night!!! Snaps, texts and comments were flying around like crazy!!!

A week later we met and I was offered a job as a team member of your newest store: good ole’ Branson, MO!

March 5th, 2015, the newest chapter of my adventure more frequently called life began. And an adventure it has been! Balancing two jobs and maintaining excellence in both is going to be tricky, but figuring this out has already been worth the things I’m getting to learn.

Maybe I’ll post more of my takeaways later, but for now I’ll leave with this. I always knew you were different, but I had no idea you were this different. I’m not sure what I expected walking into the employment piece of you, but my thoughts of how you operate were pretty high. My expectations have been exceeded. Immensely. On every level I’ve been blown away…in the best of ways.

This will hands down be one of the craziest seasons of my life, but I am excited for the adventure and the lessons I am already learning.

Come to Branson, it’d be my pleasure to serve you,

Lindsay

Letter #222: Chick-fil-A Boom!

Dear Chick-fil-A,

Yesterday, I went to Springfield to get my car fixed…again, and I have to go back. Another story for another day. However, I got my car back at 2:30 in the afternoon. Now, I had two options.

Option 1: I could make my way back to Branson and finish my afternoon by working a few hours in the office. This would be the logical choice.

Option 2: Post up somewhere with wi-fi for the afternoon, work from there and grab you on the way back to Branson for dinner. Of all places to post up, where do I end up….Starbucks. I don’t even drink coffee. I had to buy one of those baby dessert deals in order to be a respectful customer. Well, I guess my option of choice is pretty clear!

Branson not having you has always been a joke and a bit sad, but it’s never really bugged me too much. (In case you’ve never been to Branson, we are Chick-fil-Aless…you’re also missing out on the Christian Vegas, vacation capital of the world!) Not having you in my city wasn’t a big deal because I ate you enough on trail to compensate. However, yesterday I realized the depths of my love for you.

So, after working from the lobby of the auto shop and Starbucks, it was time to pay you a visit. I was so excited for my dinner, but I was also happy I got to bring you back for several friends to make their evenings. A girl can’t visit you without hooking her friends up! I placed my order, attempted to sample your new sweet potato fries (FYI: they’re only test runs at certain locations), received the best food service in town and made my way back to Shady B. Loved seeing how excited people were to eat you in Branson and that you were still good after a 45 minute drive.

So, today I join the bandwagon of “Operation: Get Chick-fil-A to Branson.’ It would be a sound business move for you. Trust me, Kanakuk people alone would keep you profitable. Plus, I’d venture to say tourists would hit you up like crazy. Today, I would like to applaud you for your quality food and excellent service. You do things well. I’d also like to request that you evaluate your ability to franchise in Branson, MO.

Keep me posted,

Eater of “Mor Chikin’

Letter #63: SBU/MSU

Dear Southwest Baptist University and Missouri State University,

Don’t take this the wrong way, but neither of you deserve your own post. Not because you’re unworthy, but because my time spent with you was extremely short. I’ve been on the “come and go’ trail the beginning of this week, which means I “go’ do a show and interviews, then “come’ back to Branson and sleep in my own bed!

Not packing a bag to hit the road early Monday morning like normal was nice, especially considering I didn’t get back from Thanksgiving in Oklahoma until late Sunday night thanks to priceless time with my nephews, parents and friends. You also allowed me to live in what I claimed “the perfect set up’ in this old post. I was able to get a few hours in at the office to get organized before heading out and being with people the rest of the day.

Regardless, I was at each of your campuses for such a small amount of time that I failed to properly document you. Who knew MSU had close to 20,000 students? I thought I was visiting some small school. What I saw at each of you was fine, but with this whole daylight savings business I didn’t see much. You’re going to have to do a better job of wooing me next time.

You did allow me a trip to Chick-fil-A. This is always a treat considering there isn’t one in Branson. Hmm….how can I make this happen? I digress. Dinner with K-West staff…always a blessing.

Long story short: glad to sleep in my own bed, but unimpressed with your campuses due to our short period of interaction. You make me more excited to be on KU’s campus today!

Still pondering Chick-fil-A to Branson,

Woo Requirer