Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas Story–A New Point of View

My son had his first Christmas and to say he was overwhelmed is an understatement. He got so many different gifts from all over. He was more interested in trying to eat the wrapping paper than anything. Oh, and eat Rudolph’s nose. Throughout the several Christmas’s we had with my wife’s mother and my parents and ourselves, we caught the great Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. It helps that is on for twenty-four hours straight. My wife had never seen it before a few years ago and now she watches it with me or by herself.

There is a scene that is one of the classics in the movie; however, I am looking at the scene in a whole new light. I watched as the father, played by the late Darrin McGavin is asking Ralphie, played by Peter Billingsby, if he had a nice Christmas. Then he leads him to a corner in the room where the great Red Ryder Air Rifle is hidden. Before, you always focus on Ralphie opening the present in absolute amazement. I watched the father this time and you almost see more excitement on him than you do Ralphie. He is laughing as he is opening it and of course, the mother has no idea what to say. I see the absolute joy on his face when his son unwraps the gift.

If he gets this much joy watching his son open up a present he got him, I can only imagine what our Father in Heaven feels when he sees us accept His Son into our hearts. That is the ultimate gift given to us over 2,000 years ago.

I hope I share this joy with my son as he gets older. I still remember when my parents did something like this when I was growing up. I really wanted a baseball bat that was going to make me hit 15 more homeruns. So after opening my presents, my parents sent me to a closet door near the main entrance of their house. I opened it up and there it was, the bat I wanted. I was overjoyed; however, I know my parents were equally happy as they saw how thrilled I was.

I guess I need to start finding some hiding places here in the house.

A Christmas Story–Ralphie opens present

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Top Christmas Songs: Number One – Silent Night

Silent Night was written in in the early 1800’s and translated to English in 1859 by John Freeman Young, which is sung by many today (Underwood, The Hymn). I wish I could count the number of times I have sung this song and each time it gets to me. What an amazing night that must have been. It is an amazing experience to see the birth of your first child; but to birth the Son of God who was coming to save us, must have been mind-blowing. Josh Groban does a great rendition of the song a few years back in Disneyland. Enjoy.


Josh Groban–SIlent Night

Friday, December 24, 2010

Top Christmas Songs: Number Two – O, Holy Night

This song is one that to me, does not need an explanation why it is so powerful. It was written by Adolphe Adam back in 1847 after his parish priest asked for a Christmas poem (Collins, Stories of Best-loved Songs of Christmas 2001). The lyrics of course have changed over the years; however, what the lyrics are saying and their intention are crystal clear. Wikipedia has some of these lyrics here. Chris Tomlin did this version a few years back. Many of you know I am a big Chris Tomlin fan; however, he has changed up some big Praise and Worship songs, which does not mean they are bad, just different. See Amazing Grace: My Chains are Gone and Joy to the World: Unspeakable Joy.  However, this one was left exactly as he found out lyrically. Watch the video as it has the lyrics to this awesome praise to our Father above. It is almost hard not to get emotional.

Chris Tomlin–O, Holy Night

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Top Christmas Songs: Number Three–I’ll Be Home for Christmas

I had heard this song many time growing up but never was a favorite of mine because I felt it never applied to me. I was always “home” for Christmas. Even after I moved to Phoenix, I flew home for the first few Christmas’s to be home with the family or they flew out to Phoenix. Home was wherever the family was at the time. Then came Christmas 2007 when my mom sent me the Josh Groban Noel album and I heard this version. I lost it to be honest. Josh Groban has an amazing voice and that cannot be argued. Listening to this version makes you realize that there are so many people in the world that cannot spend time Home for Christmas. Many of those people are serving in the military. During the song, you hear people wishing their loved ones Christmas greetings from all over the world as they defend our freedom. I cannot relate to this as I have only spent one Christmas away from my family; however, I sure as heck can appreciate this song so much more listening to this version. Even though we may not be together for the holiday, when we think of them, we are together.


Josh Groban–I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Jobs I Have Worked–You want me to take what position?

So it is just after Halloween in Phoenix, AZ and the Sales position had been going well at the SpringHill Suites in Glendale. Then I went to drop off some tickets to my boss and she dropped a little bomb on me. It looked as though she was leaving and wanted me to take over the hotel as General Manager. I was trying to gather all of what she said but knew there would be little time to react. I told her I would be more than happy to interview for the position and was quite thankful for her recommendation. I later found out they only interviewed one other candidate and they were not impressive. So right around Thanksgiving of 2006, I was named the General Manager in waiting. My boss was not leaving for another few months so I had time to soak up as much as possible. Glad I did.

The last major event we did together was the BCS National Championship in January 2007. We did shuttle service to and from the stadium. It was a fun time and a lot of hours, but prepped us for the following February, the Super Bowl! We had a staff that put in a lot of extra hours, that were much needed. We were shuttling peopleTravis Super Bowl that entire weekend to and from, well, anywhere they needed to go, They were paying a lot of money to stay ten miles from the Super Bowl, so guess what, they were going pretty much anywhere they wanted to complimentary. It was quite an experience, as the picture to the right can show (Picture courtesy of Bianca Harmon).

At the SpringHill, I worked WITH a great staff. We had very little turnover there and got through some weird and wild situations. Between a drunk guest flooding his room because he passed out on the bed and left the tub running to kicking out an family because the mother wanted to buy them alcohol. Oh and of course, being threatened because a guest did not want to check out. That was an interesting one.

Through it all though, we were hard workers that always took care of the guest, no matter how rude some could be (see life being threatened). I will always have the utmost respect and praise for the majority of those people I worked with during that time. Even when mistakes were made, they owned up to it and looked to learn from it. Mistakes will always happen in the work place; however, when you have people that are flexible enough to LEARN from their mistakes, then you are truly blessed.

So, I had to change things up and go home for Father’s Day. And man, did things get changed up!

Next time: Seriously, I went home for Father’s Day and my news is not the biggest news!

Top Christmas Songs: Number Four–Little Drummer Boy

This song was written by Katherine Davis in the early 1940’s(Boughton, Harrison Charles 1977). She is a Missourian, so that may be another reason why I love this song. The rendition I love is by a band that I listened to A LOT beginning in high school.  They released this as a four song EP in 1995. I listened to them play this song over and over and started to wonder exactly what the song was saying. It is a perfect song for Christmas. It references a boy who wanted to buy a newborn baby in a manger a gift; however, he could not afford it. So, with the new mother’s approval, the little boy played his drum for the baby. The thoughtfulness of it is almost overwhelming to me. A young boy wanted to celebrate the birth of our Savior and do something for him and all he could afford is to play his drum. The message of the song seems to be not what we are giving to others, but the intention behind it. Do we give gifts to others so we can have people be thanking us or is it enough to see the joy on someone’s face when they open that present or open that card at a time they really need it?

Jars of Clay–Little Drummer Boy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top Christmas Songs: Number Five–Christmas Shoes.

The following song I have heard many times. It is such a great song. Really makes you think what we are celebrating in a week. We are showing the love that God showed by sending his Son to save us. It is a tear jerker, but why is it a tear jerker? Is it because it may seem like a sad song or that we are so focused on what we are getting and not how we are giving?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Same Job, Whole New Field

So after an exciting two days in the insurance field, I went back on the job hunt. I only knew a few people in the Phoenix area but sent them emails to see what possibilities were out there. One of the emails came back with a lot of potential.

It was at a hotel that I had worked with while I worked for the baseball team in Surprise. He was going to be leaving soon his position at the hotel for another opportunity. So I went in for an interview for the Director of Sales position at the hotel. The interview last two hours and we did not really talk about work stuff that long. The General Manager and I talked for that long just over what had happened at previous jobs and I wanted to know more about the hospitality industry. So I kept asking question after question. She answered each one and I left feeling confident that the position was mine. I got a call about a week later and I was correct, I was the new Director of Sales of the Spring Hill Suites in Glendale, AZ.

I started during the busiest time of the year with Spring Training starting shortly and everyone coming to town to see their teams play. It was crazy to see all the baseball personnel and fans come together to see their teams get ready for the upcoming season. That ended and then came an event that I never thought I would ever be so close to: NASCAR. Holy cow that was a nutty week. For the record: I am not a NASCAR fan. I have been in arguments with many people, including those reading this right now about it even being a sport. I will still argue that point; however, I still had fun when they came and met the teams. The nicest group of people. I was introduced as the salesman that did not like NASCAR. They laughed it off and were still very polite, at least to my face.

First major adversity was in June of 2006. I had been there almost four months and we were preparing for our biggest group of the year as Madonna’s group was taking up 95% of our hotel. The day before they were due to check-in, a lady came to the desk and checked into a room. About 25 minutes she called down to let us know that she just downed a bottle of pills and we should call someone. Our AGM and Engineer ran upstairs to get her as we called 911. The lady survived; however, it was my first experience of why some people come to check into a hotel room: to check out, permanently. I was in shock but impressed with how the staff moved into action. It was a scary situation but it was handled perfectly from the staff’s point of view. It was impressive to see how everyone, other than me, had the initial shock look and then went into the proper crisis mode. Showed how experience in the field conquered experience of a job title. Wow.Brooks

We were staying busy throughout the summer months and into the fall. I was learning more and more about the hotel industry and the particular brands our franchisor covered. Then came a conversation with our General Manager that was quite shocking and unexpected. What would happen next?

Next time: So you want me to take what position??

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