Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships

The Ghost Of Christmas Past

It’s that time of the year to spread a little Christmas Cheer! Don’t you just love Christmas time? Everyone is in the spirit of giving and sharing, while embarking on a realistic and sometimes achievable New Year’s Resolutions. For many, it’s the end of an era and the beginning of something new, symbolic in the way of the year turning over. I absolutely love getting together with family and friends during this time, celebrating a season which brings so many people from afar, together around the tree or fireplace; which is where they share memories of Christmas tradition’s past.

I thought of a cool game to play with the students in my writer’s workshop class, and one that I will be doing over the Holidays with my family. It made for a great bonding experience as well as an outlet for everyone to be transparent about their life, their goals and how they will implement a change in their life, if any at all. I would like to pass it along and share with everyone else. It may create a blog idea for you to share with your readers as well as create a wave of participants. It’s called Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future. This could ultimately end up being a 3 to 9-part blog post. If you had this experience, as scrooge did, who would be your ghost? Share the story.

There’s a couple of ways that you can present this game during Christmas. In matters of time and depending on how large/small your group is, you can ask of each participant to share:

  • If 1 ghost were to visit you, which one would it be and why… what’s the story and lesson
  • If all the ghost came to visit you, what would be the story of each
  • You may also divide into 3 teams of participants, (if there’s a larger group) having the group leader to pull straws for a ghost, where each member of that team will share a story about that ghost visiting.
  • Pick a theme of which your ghost will take you: Relationships, Employment/Business, etc.

But first, acquaint yourself with the story of each Ghost’s purpose if you are familiar with it, so that you can remain as close to topic as possible.

Ghost of Christmas Past: This angelic spirit shows Scrooge scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways, as well as to show the reader how Scrooge came to be a bitter, cold-hearted. (Your story does not have to be surrounded around Christmas) Although in the movie, it was to show why scrooge came to be who he is around the holiday. You can share about experiences as it relates to how you are or who you were and who you became period.

My Ghost of Christmas Past’s employment/business scenes would include:

2001- I worked for a Real Estate and Property Management Company. It was my first position as a Corporate Receptionist…. and an opportunity to finally dress up for work instead of wearing tennis shoes, as I did in previous managerial positions in the retail management sneaker industry. I performed well in my position, but was asked to resign shortly after one of the big wig clients in our building complained that I didn’t deliver his mail, which had been mismarked and delivered to our office by accident. Turns out, he was a head honcho at Mercedes Benz Corporation. We had an exchange of words, which entailed me advising him that I delivered his mismarked mail as a courtesy, and him stating that I delivered it too late. This spat resulted in the CEO of the company I worked for, in so many words, reminding me that I was to submit to a man of power and not to talk back. I learned that the world can be cold, and even colder in the Heart of Dixie. I began to develop a hard shell absent of compassion when it came to business.

2007, My Ghost of Christmas Past is showing me a call center that I worked at, in which I was recruited from another company and invited to go work for. I was ecstatic about my job, and the evidence was in that it was the longest time I had remained with a company, until I was terminated after 18 months of employment. It happened 2 weeks before Christmas. I was always on-time for work, stayed late when necessary, met company goals and for a lengthy period, I was leading in the number of intake calls. I was fired because a customer complained that I was cold-hearted about not being able to do something for her. I believe my hardened exterior which developed years earlier was the catalyst for me not having compassion for the customer’s request.

2010 is the last place that my ghost of Christmas past would take me. I was working for a Real Estate Company. I was successful at what I did but had a lot of people, upper management included, who did not appreciate my challenging work. I stayed at work late, went in early, went in on my off days, filled in where necessary, and I also maintained one of the highest closing ratios for leasing. Having the success that I had, brought along my share of envious co-workers. I stumbled upon an email one day that was from the District Manager, which was written to the Manager (her BFF) of the property of which I worked. In the email, it stated that she was to “Find ways to write Niedria up” Basically, create a paper trail so they could solidify reasons for terminating me. It became a hostile work environment, having to work with a manager who was deliberately looking for a reason to fire me. And it happened. I was asked by a male resident to follow him to his apartment, carrying a box for him that he could not carry because his arm was in a sling. First thing came to my mind was, Ted Bundy. I told the resident that I would have a male member of the maintenance staff help him. The manager overheard me. She then fired me for refusing to assist the resident with his package.

My Ghost will reveal to me that these were just a few things that happened to me in the business world, where I demonstrated hard-work and loyalty to companies, where I was discarded in a heartbeat. Furthermore, why I then burned bridges which I never knew would need to be crossed again. And lastly, why I need to rebuild where necessary.

Ghost of Christmas Present: The second of the three spirits that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent.

My Ghost of Christmas Present will transport me around several cities, showing me the thriving of professionals in my line of business, along with those of which are not so successful who may have been terminated under my management or employment with companies of the past. My ghost will transport me to the living rooms of Customers and Clients who were wounded by some of the cold-hearted things I have said, as well as the foul language I used with some of them. My ghost reveals to me how vicious nature of words have scorned people and in some cases, damaged them for a lifetime. I will ask, “Are they going to be ok” to which my Ghost would respond, “If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, they will not” – adding a heartless comment that I have made in the past… (I won’t say) … and he leaves me with this: “Most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom unless the writing be erased.” I still hold tightly to my reasonable explanations as to why some were so deserving of the comments I delivered.

Ghost of Christmas Future: The Third and Final Ghost and the most fearsome of the Spirits. It represents what the future holds for Scrooge if he does not change his ways.

My Ghost of Christmas Future will show a funeral as well… one in which only people would come just to see and have something to talk about. “Oh, she kicked the bucket… that’s what she gets, for the way she talked to so many people” …they would whisper. How about that?!

Upon request, my ghost would show me ‘tenderness connected to death’, in the form of another funeral. One of which resulted from a suicide committed under the spell of words that I spoke which haunted the life and days of a woman/man where I told them that they should slit their wrist.

Once it’s established that the funeral is my very own, I discover that I must repent and correct the language that I use, being more tactful and compassionate, even when I feel that they are less deserving. In doing the right thing, I open my heart to seeing the human in everyone that I will meet; knowing that a kind word can make someone’s day, giving them the motivation, hope and inspiration they need to be successful. And all these things, to be reminded of and to be remembered, are what is supposed to help us transform into better people. I plead with the ghost to, “sponge away the writing on this stone”

I think in this story, as well as the Grinch that stole Christmas, we can see how both characters came to be who they are. We understand a fraction of their existence through their eyes. However, we understand that it is still also necessary for us to be the change we want to see in the world and that goodness prevails, whereas the momentum of evil can penetrate our futures, wreaking havoc on our quality of life while damaging a sum of others in the process. Change is necessary. This exercise may inspire your New Year’s Resolution.

 

 

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Lifestyle, Travel

This Is Why It’s HotLanta and Here’s Why It Should Be On Your Radar For 2018

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Photo Credit:http://www.atlanta.gov

Atlanta acquired the nickname HOTLanta long before I can remember, but if forced to remember, I would say that it was the year 1995 when I remember taking my first trip and determining for myself why it’s HOT. Hot in a major way, not just the weather. However, considering it’s not the hottest city temperature wise, there’s no complaints here. It has always been a city on my radar. Aside from Atlanta hosting the largest, free Jazz festival in the Country, their educational programs such as: The Cultural Experience Project, I remember saying to myself that when I graduated college, I would go to Atlanta to secure employment and set up residency. Here’s why: Dominant Sectors Include: Trade, transportation, and utilities 530.3 Professional and business services 391.4 Government 311.9 Education and health services 282.3 Leisure and hospitality 218.3 Manufacturing 146.5 Financial activities 128.5 Residential Transit… (Employees (Thousands))-Wikipedia

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Photo Credit: Ballard Spahr LLP

There must be a reason why Atlanta has the most traveled airport in the world, right? It ranked #1 – Serving 110 million passengers annually and functioning as headquarters for Delta Air Lines. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connects more people than any other in the world. (http://www.metroatlantachamber.com) It probably has something to do with the state of Georgia being ranked #1 as the best state for doing business: Corporate facility investors and site consultants awarded Georgia has ranked #1 state for business climate four years in a row and the #1 state for business three years in a row.

Business & Networking: Atlanta’s Business and Networking scene is almost unmatched on the East Coast, and ranks Fourth in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries, behind New York, Houston and Dallas. With many large companies and corporations established in the city, there’s a dominant source of leadership, mentorship and affiliates to connect with as an entrepreneur, intern, or for entry level and executive level positions. Atlanta has produced some of the Country’s best in Media & Communications, Film & Television and is the source for Logistics, such as Delta Airline, which is the city’s largest employer and the metro areas third largest.

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AdWeekPhoto:

Atlanta is also a major center of television production and is the hub of the nation’s third-largest film industry. Atlanta counts the presence of Turner Studios, which produces content for the Turner Broadcasting family of stations; since 2008 the Tyler Perry Studios in Southwest Atlanta; and since 2010 the EUE/Screen Gems soundstages in Lakewood Heights, south Atlanta. Atlanta is the setting for popular TV shows such as the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Tyler Perry’s series. Due to Perry, the “Housewives”, and others, Atlanta is also known as a center of black entertainment in the U.S

The city is a major cable television programming center. Ted Turner began the Turner Broadcasting System media empire in Atlanta, where he bought a UHF station that eventually became WTBS. Turner established the headquarters of the Cable News Network at CNN Center, adjacent today to Centennial Olympic Park. As his company grew, its other channels-the Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TNT, Turner South, Turner Classic Movies, CNN International, CNN en Español, HLN, and CNN Airport Network-centered their operations in Atlanta as well (Turner South has since been sold). Turner Broadcasting is a division of Time Warner. In 2008 Tyler Perry established his studios in Southwest Atlanta; and in 2010 EUE/Screen Gems opened soundstages in Lakewood Heights, south Atlanta. The Weather Channel, owned by a consortium of NBC Universal, Blackstone Group, and Bain Capital, has its offices in the Cumberland district northwest of downtown Atlanta.

Cox Enterprises, a privately held company controlled by James C. Kennedy, his sister Blair Parry-Okeden and their aunt Anne Cox Chambers, has substantial media holdings in and beyond Atlanta; it is headquartered in the city of Sandy Springs. Its Cox Communications division, headquartered in unincorporated DeKalb County, is the third-largest cable television service provider in the United States

Employment: Anytime there’s a strong and secure platform for networking, there’s a foundation for the possibility of securing long-term employment, accomplishing career goals and maintaining longevity in a position with a major company who provides adequate benefits and pay structure. You know the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Well, I firmly believe that it’s what you know also who you know.

Atlanta has a growing hi-tech community and is also home to a growing Biotechnology sector, gaining recognition through such events as the 2009 BIO International Convention. Atlanta is also the headquarters of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region II.

Unincorporated DeKalb County is also home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adjacent to Emory University, with a staff of nearly 15,000 including: engineers, entomologists, epidemiologists, biologists, physicians, veterinarians, behavioral scientists, nurses, medical technologists, economists, health communicators, toxicologists, chemists, computer scientists, and statisticians.

Top Employers in the Metro Atlanta are: Delta Air Lines, Emory University / Emory Healthcare, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., The Home Depot and AT&T. Atlanta provides the stage for connecting the who’s who in business, and other like-minded business professionals, along with the movers and shakers in multiple industries….

Including several National and International companies which are headquartered in metro Atlanta, including seven Fortune 100 companies: The Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, United Parcel Service, Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, and Newell Rubbermaid. Other headquarters for some major companies in Atlanta and around the metro area include Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Earthlink, Equifax, First Data, Foundation Financial Group, Gentiva Health Services, Georgia-Pacific, NCR, Oxford Industries, RaceTrac Petroleum, Southern Company, SunTrust Banks, Mirant, and Waffle House. Over 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies have a presence in the Atlanta area, and the region hosts offices of about 1,250 multinational corporations. As of 2006 Atlanta Metropolitan Area ranks as the 10th largest cybercity (high-tech center) in the US, with 126,700 high-tech jobs (Wikipedia)

So, what is there to do in Atlanta, other than Networking, Working and adding an esteemed list of acquaintances to your little black book, while establishing relationships with the Go-getters of the world? I am so glad you asked. Here’s what I recommend:

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Photo Credit: Expedia

The World of Coca-Cola: World of Coca-Cola at Pemberton Place® celebrated its Grand Opening on May 24, 2007. It’s the only place where you can explore the fascinating story of Coca‑Cola® – the world’s best-known beverage brand

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Photo Credit: Curbed Atlanta

CNN Center: CNN Studio Tours provides exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the world headquarters of CNN in downtown Atlanta, GA. The tour started in 1987 and has been growing in popularity ever since.

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Photo Credit: CNN.com

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME AND CHICK-FIL-A FAN EXPERIENCE: 95,000 square feet. A 45-yard indoor football field. More than 50 engaging and interactive exhibits. A shrine to the greatest to ever play or coach the game. All in the heart of downtown Atlanta.

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Photo Credit: Mommy Nearest

FERNBANK MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: adventure filled with dinosaurs, live animals, cultural artifacts and hands-on science explorations. Take a walk on the wild side as you explore 75 acres of new outdoor nature adventures.

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Photo Credit: georgia Aquarium

GEORGIA AQUARIUM: Georgia Aquarium is a nonprofit committed to inspiring awareness and preservation of our ocean and aquatic animals worldwide.

From boutiques to art galleries, antiques and outlet centers, Atlanta shopping is everywhere. Venture into Buckhead for luxurious Atlanta shopping with upscale malls such as Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza that feature top brands.

Enjoy a taste of can’t-miss American-style cuisine or traditional Southern fare and succulent steakhouses worth writing home about.

Click here, to discover more from ATLANTA

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Photo Credit: AJC.com

Transit includes: Bus, Train & Shuttle –

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA):

Atlanta Streetcar: Began operations downtown in 2014

Buc Shuttle: Fast, frequent, free shuttle service in Buckhead

Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Xpress Bus: Regional express bus serving Cobb, Gwinnett, Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, and Perimeter Circle

Cobb Community Transit: Bus serving Cobb, Downtown, and Midtown

Gwinnett County Transit: Bus serving Gwinnett, Downtown, and Midtown

Originally Published On CafeMom.com

Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships

Here’s 5 Reasons Why My Son and I Are In Love With Chick Fil A- They get it right, and therefore perfect is possible

Here’s 5 Reasons Why My Son and I Are In Love With Chick Fil A; They get it right, and therefore perfect is possible

1. I’ve never personally had one unpleasant experience nor complaint about their food, or service. It’s always hot, fresh and the same from one store to the next. They always properly greet you and tell you that it was their pleasure to serve you, which is an added incentive toward making a customer feel appreciated.

2. I’ve never seen a complaint on social media about a bad-experience, nor have I ever heard one in person from anyone. If there has been a complaint, it has clearly been handled and handled immediately, as all complaints should be, and likely with professionalism and apologetic sentiments.

3. I have never walked into the restaurant, in to the middle of a firestorm between customer and employee, over an order being wrong or a dispute about what was ordered and what was received. I have never had to check my order before leaving.

4. I’ve been to at least 20 different cities and the service is consistent. I have never had to drive back through drive through about an order being wrong, as I drove off. The employees are 100 percent on the same page, from state to state.

5. I have never seen a mad, angry or upset employee, or one that may be having a dreadful day, who is now taking it out on the next customer- It’s likely because at Chic Fil A, no one has had to ruin their day after messing up an order over and over. So, they are all happy employees. No one seems frustrated to be at work, doing their job.

Chic Fil A has given me more than enough reasons to, “Eat Mor Chikin” Fast food industries can and should take a page from the book of management, service, professionalism from Chick- because they get it right. Every time.

Instead of resorting to measures such as “a no refund policy” and only offering to “re-make” your order right, I feel like if they were to implement a little more pride in the job, it would increase the possibilities for these other establishments to get it right as well.

Suddenly resorting to a no-refund policy, says that they have lost so much money on messing up orders, that you’ve had to implement measures to secure the money. If you get it right the first time- you wouldn’t lose money. That’s just the bottom line answer. It’s been happening for years and years so there’s no excuse. Even if you don’t get it right the first time, at least get it right the second time.

I am not discounting anyone’s demanding work in the food and beverage industry, because I realize every job has its challenges. I also realize that sometimes, you have bad days. However, when at work, you need to put your game face on and do your best. When you do your best, it shows. When a customer sees that you are doing your best, they are also less apt to explode on you for getting it wrong. When you do not do your best, it reflects in service; beginning with taking the order, repeating the order, conveying or communicating the order, filling the order and delivering it to the customer.

How many times have you gone through someone’s drive thru, where not only do they get the order entirely wrong on the first time, but you go into the store or back through drive thru, only for them to mess it up again! And they have the audacity to be mad at you. This is equally frustrating to a customer. Customers are likely going thru a “fast food drive thru” for a “fast food service”, because they are limited on time themselves. They too have jobs, where they only have a 15-minute break, or 30 minutes to an hour lunch; after-which they must return to work. They do not have time to waste on getting a burger with cheese, only to find out that they must go back in, because the burger with cheese has mayo, mustard, onions etc. on it, when they never asked for that.

Mistakes are something that happens. We understand! I can’t say that when going through the drive thru at other establishments, that they are in the back saying that they deliberately want to screw up your meal, or day, or make you drive back through, or that they want to get a customer so extremely upset about the order, that they will come into the store and curse someone out. What I am saying is, if employees slowed down a little, take their time to listen and communicate an order, as well as see it through to the end…versus rushing to get to the next person in line; they may increase their chances of getting it right on the first attempt. Listening is key. Quality is key. Snap out of the robotic way of making an order and take heed to what the customer is asking for- Because just because a burger comes with all the fixings, doesn’t mean your customer want it with all the fixings.

Here is real-life example of what constantly happens:

Me: (speaking slowly, and clearly, to communicate an order) Hello… I would like a #1…. No onion…. no tomato… no mayo…. with fries and a Sprite. (make that a large, please)

Drive-Thru Attendant: Ok. You want cheese?

Me: No

Drive-Thru Attendant: You want fries or tots?

Me: Fries

Drive-Thru Attendant: What you want to drink?

Me: Sprite

(*But I have already said all of this. However, I am not mad that they have their way of taking the order and perhaps asking questions that I have already given answers to, helps them get the order right- I have no qualms about that) But this is what happens:

Drive-Thru Attendant: Drive around for your total

Once I get to the window, I pay and take my order. I have already pulled off before opening the bag, due to my concern about the growing line and the fact that after she handed me the bag, she slammed the window without asking if I needed any condiments or anything else…as she proceeds with taking other orders. She never once acknowledged me sitting there, trying to ask for a straw, or salt or to tell her that she gave me a Coke instead of a Sprite.

She finally opened the window. She’s angry that I am still sitting there, but I am only still sitting there, because she closed the window so fast, without me being able to bring it to her attention.

This is what I have when I finally leave:

Large Sprite, which is water down from the lack of soda fountain syrup.

A #1 with cheese, mayo, onion, and tomato.

The only thing they got right was the fries- except they are hard, cold, and stale.

Here’s what you need to know:

People will wait on good service, hot food and an order that they know will be right, based their previous experiences. So, you don’t have to rush through, in attempt to fill as many orders within the hour, as you possibly can. That’s ideal of course, that you want to increase your numbers and orders per hour. However, what are you really accomplishing, when for every order you make, you have another order that you now, must remake? When you do that, you get it wrong, and you end up with even longer lines, and some upset and impatient customers.

I see lines at Chick fil A, that wrap around the store. I have never seen anyone drive off. They wait.  Whereas at other establishments, they are constantly driving off. My guess is, they say it’s not worth waiting for.

Originally Posted here, on CAFEMOM