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I’m Officially An Angry Person

I admit it.  I’m pissed.  I hate owning a restaurant and everything that goes with owning a restaurant.  I hate that it is ruining my marriage and taking my time away from my children.  I hate that my finances are shot to hell.  I hate that it has ruined friendships and seemingly my life.  I’m just so ANGRY.  I look back at the TimeHop statuses from five years ago and even though we were having a bit of a rough time putting Dwain through school, I still wasn’t ANGRY.  I took things in stride and had a sense of humor.  Now anything and everything either sets me into a fit of rage or a fit of tears.  We all know my faith has been tested and I’m pretty pissed about that too. People think they can solve this so easily for me.  

“Sell the restaurant” is the #1 advice I get.  Really?  Just like that?  Yeah.  

“Leave your husband and come back to Texas”.  Again….really?  Let me just drop everything and have my kids drop everything and come mooch off of someone with 4 kids in tow.  Next?  

“Don’t go to the restaurant.  Just stay home with your kids.”  Right.  The restaurant is 100% in my name.  Anything that does or does not happen affects me and my future and my kids’ futures should I choose to do any of the above.  

I wish I could stop crying every day.  I wish I could turn my anger into something positive.  But for now I’m stuck in a rut and I’m sorry if my Facebook posts offend you or I don’t make the choices you want.  

But my advice if anyone wants to take it??

Don’t ever follow someone else’s dream if it’s going to crush your’s.  

3 Things That Kill A Church Experience..

So I challenged my Facebook friends to give me topics for my blog.  A pastor friend of mine suggested “top three reasons people say ‘no thanks’ to church”.  I may not know everyone else’s reasons but I know mine.  

Let’s start with money.  Yes, I know that we’re supposed to tithe.  That’s great.  And although I don’t have a church home that I could regularly tithe to, I give what I can.  But those little envelopes where you write your name and the amount are so intimidating.  Do I write “Traci Guthrie and here’s my measly $5”?  Do I just drop my sad little $5 in the plate and try not to think about if the ushers (are they ushers?) are thinking “Geez.  If $5 is 10% of her income then I feel sorry for her!” or “Thanks a lot.  For NOTHING.”  And what about people that can’t even put in $5? I wonder how they feel when they just have to pass the plate?  Wait, I KNOW how it feels to just pass the plate.  It sucks. 

Speaking of offering plates, I once went to a church that passed around 3 gallon paint buckets for the offering.  Talk about presumtuous!

 There is a story in the Bible (yes, I know a few Bible stories) about several wealthy people going and giving tons of money to the church.  Then a widow comes along and gives two copper coins worth barely anything.  Jesus saw this and said told his people that the widow had put more into the offering than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything. 

So basically what I’m saying is that there are people that would love to go to church but may feel intimidated by the whole tithing thing.  Especially when a church consistently emphasizes the need to tithe.  I really feel as if too many churches are more interested in asking for money than they are in feeding the soul.  

Second on my list is the dreaded inner circle within the church.  You know what I’m talking about. You attend a church really hoping to get involved but nope…those spots are already filled and people just aren’t welcoming.  We attended a church in Tulsa where the very obvious inner circle gang all sat on the first row and the pastor frequently talked about what things they had all done together outside of church.  In the meantime he barely gave us the time of day when we tried to get to know him better and get involved in more church activities.  It’s just no fun to feel like you’re in a popularity contest when you just want to honor God.  

Right before Christmas we visited a church in town that we mostly enjoyed except for the “welcoming” factor. We gave them the benefit of the doubt though since it was Christmas and they had a lot going on.  Our daughter was a finalist in an essay contest along with that pastor’s son so we ran into him over the weekend.  When we tried to chat afterword with him it was like he didn’t even want to acknowledge that he even IS the pastor of a church.  We just felt very put off by that behavior.  Why go to church when you can’t even feel close to the pastor or like you will ever fit in or be accepted by people?  

Don’t even get me started on Sunday School or Small Groups or Bible Study or whatever you want to call additional worship opportunities.  It’s like walking into a new high school.  I don’t know what the deal is but people are just snotty.  Or I’m visiting the wrong church.  I go to church to feel God, not be seen.

I feel like being accepted and feeling at home in all aspects of “church” is very important.  So remember this next time a visitor comes to YOUR church.  

Last on my list is the actual main worship service.  This is different for everyone.  I grew up in a small, Southern Baptist, fire and brimstone church complete with a choir that wore fancy robes.  

But that’s not for me anymore.  Now I love a contemporary service with a band and if there is a fog machine and colored lights, even better!  A good church band just makes it for me.  I can feel God through music and if I don’t have that then that church isn’t for me.  

I like my sermons to be personable yet fulfilling.  As I’ve said in a previous blog, I can’t quote all that much scripture and only know my basic Bible stories, but a pastor that fills my heart with God’s word without shoving it down my throat is what I want.  

Some people like a small church.  Some want to go sit in a building and watch a satellite version of a mega church.  Everyone’s version of how they want to experience worship is different and it’s intimidating visiting churches to find the right one.  Especially when my first two topics are factors.  

Many people say that you don’t have to go to church to believe in or worship God.  I think when you can find the right balance of everything I stated above, finding a church home is a great thing!  You may believe in God and worship Him at home, but being in church and FEELING His presence is amazing.  

On Faith…

I am a Christian and I believe in God.  I can’t quote much scripture and you’ll find me listening to online sermons or reading faith based books more than you’ll find me in church.  

But this restaurant is killing my faith.  I feel terrible just typing that, but it’s the sad truth right now.  If something can go wrong, it does.  If someone has something bad to say, they will.  

And God just keeps letting it happen.  I know, I know.  When you’re going through Hell, keep on moving.  Well how freaking big is Hell?   I don’t understand right now how God is letting this restaurant go so horribly.  Doesn’t He know that not only is it my life and Dwain’s life, it is also our children’s lives and our employees’ lives that He is fucking with?  Yes, I used He and the F word in the same sentence.  

But I’m beat down.  I can’t take much more.  Every day I wake up thinking “what else can happen today?” and then Bam!  Something else happens.  Something else breaks.  An ice storm keeps people at home.  Someone needs money.  Disgruntled former friends/employees go psycho and lie on the news.  Other former employees get pissed that they’re fired and end up being escorted away by the police.  It’s freaking never ending.  I get anxiety just walking into the building!  

I just want my kids to be happy.  I just want them to have a nice home and a consistent life.  Why is God messing with that?  To punish ME?  I pray every single day.  Am I thanking Him for the wrong things?  Asking for help for the wrong problems?  

Because really, Lord, if the restaurant is not your will, you don’t have to make our lives miserable until we close the doors and end up homeless.  

My faith is waivering quickly and I don’t know how to get out of this rut.  It makes me a miserable person and I hate that.  I can’t even think of humorous blog topics lately when before I had a list a mile long in my head.  

So if anyone has any advice that doesn’t involve lecturing me about what I do with my family on Sundays, feel free to share.  I can use all the help I can get these days.  

Did I really just name my DAUGHTER Cooper Rae?

When I thought of the name Cooper for our daughter, I never thought that my husband would approve or that we would actually do it.  Don’t get me wrong….Cooper has significant meaning to me.   Cooper is my grandmother’s maiden name and of course is still the last name of my great uncle Gary Cooper.  Yes, GARY Cooper….no, not THAT Gary Cooper.  My uncle Gary has one of the coolest and most interesting lives of anyone I know and though when I was growing up we weren’t close, these days I’m pretty damn proud to have him in my family tree.   Coincidently Cooper is also the maiden name of my dear friend Barb,  so it just seemed to fit as a meaningful name.

Except one little thing.  She’s a girl.  In my family names like Avery and Kendal are eccentric so imagine a GIRL Cooper.  Cooper Rae at that.   Rae is after Dwain’s late grandfather James Ray Chapman, who went by Ray.

In the days leading up to her birth I remember asking Dwain “Are we REALLY going to name her that?”.  I constantly asked for reassurance from everyone that would listen. Of course no one told me “OMG are you serious?!?!?” and I seemingly had the stamp of approval on Cooper Rae.

In the hospital we bought a sign for the hospital door on which you write the baby’s name and birth statistics. My room was right across from the nurse’s station.  More than once I heard “Cooper Rae?  For a GIRL?”.   It almost put me into a panic of changing her name back to one of my first picks such as Arianna or Madeline.  No mistaking THOSE as boy names.   But I held out and we brought home a Cooper.

It only took a few days to get used to once we got our sweet baby home and now I can’t imagine her being anything BUT my little Cooper Dooper.  I will forever correct nurses and teachers or strangers that assume she is a boy, but then I’ve been doing that with Avery for 13 years.

I mean really, who names a BOY Avery?

Preserverence, I loathe thee…

So yesterday I vowed never to step foot in the restaurant again.  Ok, truth be told I make that vow about once a week.  But yesterday, I even ripped my Traci Guthrie…Managing Partner plaque off of the office door.  I had had it with drama and employees and bills and anything else that you can think of that goes along with owning a business.  

But guess where I went today.  The restaurant.   And come to think of it I didn’t see my Managing Partner plaque anywhere.   Dammit.  I hope they didn’t throw it away.   

I reached out to several people yesterday when I felt I really couldn’t get any lower.  We’ll forget the one that just pushed my head further under the water.  And sorry that I made you cry too, Mom.  But the people that helped pretty much had the same message…

When you’re going through hell, just keep going.  

But damn it.  I’m kind of tired of being singed.  Sadly and selfishly right now, I really want to go to the Gulf Shores with friends at the end of July and if we can’t make this work, I’ll never get to!! 

But hey, it’s motivation, right?  

So I’m preservering.  For today.  With the help of the good Lord above and a brand new bottle of Zoloft, I’m going to kick ass at the restaurant today.  

Besides, where else would I get food?  

The Elephant in the Room

When is she going to write about the restaurant?   You know you’re wondering.   Well, I’m debating it.  Do I lay it all out there?  The good (ha!), the bad, and the ugly? Or do I sit here and play the censored restaurant wife?  I do enough Facebooking for everyone to know that I abso-freaking-lutely hate owning a damn restaurant.   You also know that when the mood strikes I put my heart and soul into it.   So I imagine that I will write about it in segments.  Not today though because it has brought me much heartache over the past couple of weeks and I just don’t want to go there.  Not even for my own private(ish) blogging material.  I will say this though.  Next time you are pissed and feel like writing a bad review or running your mouth about a business, think first.  You never know who may own it and what your words can do to them.  Lord knows I don’t keep my damn mouth shut when I have an opinion, but I’m learning that unless it’s a battle that really needs to be fought, I’m not F’ing with anyone’s business!!! 

“Start a blog,” they said..

I have a fan club. I can’t help it.  I’m to- the-point, snarky, and possibly just a plain bitch.  But people love me.  Well some people hate me, but that’s another story.  These fans are mostly my Facebook friends but there are some I see in real life.  Regardless they all tell me “you really should start a blog”.   So here I am on one of the lowest point days in my damn stupid restaurant owning life, starting a blog.   That too is another story.  This one is about me and whatever it is that people find remotely humorous or interesting about my daily musings. I’m just trying to keep it real, people.  In this day and age, someone has to.   I don’t have the time (ok maybe I do) or the energy to pretend to be something I’m not or to sugarcoat the crap that life hands me.  I’m just trying to live this life the best I can and I love my friends for appreciating me enough that they actually want to hear more out of me!   Are we ready for this?  Let’s go!