Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas morning at our home

During breakfast on Christmas morning Nancy and John enjoyed the warm feeling of knowing many presents were being unwrapped at that time in many locations across the country that were being given by our store customers. It was like we were part of many Christmas celebrations on that morning.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The last minute urgent concern

We received this urgent message via E-mail this morning. Can you relate to it?

I was wondering if you could tell me what type of packaging you would have used to send the Julian bracelet, box or envelope?  My husband was keeping it in his incredibly disorganized office until Christmas and has lost it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

In-store shopper comments

The Saturday before Christmas in our store we had many visitors and shoppers. It was as if many of them usually limited their shopping to online retailers and the malls. We received several comments throughout the day remarking about the wide range and depth of merchandise in our store. We also received several comments reflecting their unexpected appreciation for the ambiance of the store.
The comments expressed reminded me of the difference in shopping local, independent stores compared with the multinational and franchised stores that are so prevalent.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shop small, shop local

Last year we moved our store’s accounts from a multi-national, huge, corporate bank to our local Seattle Bank with a branch just a few blocks away.
Today the Seattle Bank branch manager and assistant manger visited our store. They greeted Nancy and me by name and gave us a gift-wrapped box of chocolates in appreciation of our business.
Not only do they know us and care for us and our business, we are actually earning interest on our savings account whereas the former Big bank seemed to always have fees that ate up the small “earned” interest.
It makes a difference where you decide to spend your money.

The anxiety rises

As we come closer to Christmas the remarks become more, eh, “interesting.”
  1. The first thing that the priest said on the phone was, “Help! The Altar Guild is on my back!"
  2. A person phoned and inquired about a book title, and the shipping, and the time for delivery to their residence. Then, spoken rather quickly, “Can I call you back in a bit? I’m in the doctor’s waiting room and they are about to call me.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Warms my heart one week before Christmas

From friend Michelle,

The boy is home and snug in his bed with visions of Seattle dancing in his head, and some weird film concepts, and what he forgot to pack, and who he wants to see... yup, he's his momma's boy. But he's home safe and I fell asleep to sounds of chatter and giggling from the brothers reunited. All is calm, all is bright.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The value of a book

We hang an assortment of posters from publishers and other sources in our store’s restroom. None of them are for sale. They just make interesting reading. One of them is a quote from Edward Morean. It reads:

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore a dangerous idea without fearing it will go off in our face. It is one of the few sources left where information is served up without the silent black noise of a deadline or the hullabaloo of a commercial. It is one of the few havens remaining where a person’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

In that regard today I received a blog post by Mickey Maudlin, the Senior V.P. and Executive Editor at HarperOne which is a division of HarperCollins. There is a recommendation for HarperOne books included in his blog, but I found it not too strident. Perhaps you will find his words something to ponder. Click here to view it.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Ethics of a Syrian Military Intervention: The Experts Respond

Here is a thoughtful piece that discusses the moral and ethical aspects of a response by the U.S. military to intervention in Syria as a result of the use of chemical weapons by their government. It is written by a variety of different religious leaders.
Click here to read it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Holy Spirit must have chuckled last week.

One of the joys of this ministry-which-is-the-store is that you just can never tell who might enter the life of the store today or any day.
It started with a phone call. “Susan” (not her real name) is the producer for a TV reality show. She had a portion of an episode that needed to be filmed in a Christian bookstore. 

The episode included a “devout Christian” who was to be shopping for materials in a religious bookstore. First we needed to clarify that an individual who labels himself a “devout Christian” more than likely is aligned with the more conservative evangelical branch of Christianity and that our store most likely has little that would interest him. (The analogy of a store that sells fishing tackle and gear comes to mind. A store with fly fishing equipment caters to fishers who have different goals than a store that sells equipment to deep sea fishers. Both stores are concerned with fishing. Both kinds of fishers can be very devoted to their fishing, but the equipment that they use is different for each type of fishing. Although enjoying the cooked fish at a meal with friends could be very similar for the different fishers.)

In Seattle there are very few choices for bookstores that cater to Christians, whether conservative or liberal. During the first phone call Susan viewed a video tour of the inside of our store from the Google Maps website.

 From what she saw there she said that it would be “perfect.” A couple of phone calls later, when we agreed to continue to investigate the possibility of the filming of part of a TV episode in our store, Susan said that she would visit our store in person, that afternoon.

Within the next few hours we had vetted the production company, Susan had visited us, and she had vetted us. We signed the release form and scheduled the “only 30-minutes” visit by the cast of two and crew of four (two cameramen and two producers) within the following day or two.
They showed up the next day. It was three cast members (reality show “actors”), two cameramen, one man with the microphone, two producers, one “suit” (he wore a dress shirt and tie), and two guys who just hunkered down in a corner and apparently did nothing (maybe they were required for moving props, but there were no props). The visit to our store lasted not 30 minutes by an hour and three-quarters.

During their visit as they filmed we helped customers, answered the phones, and tried to carry on normal store activities. Yes, a few customers, but curiously not all of them, asked “What’s going on with them?”

We do not yet know when or on which TV network the episode will be aired. I trust that we will learn that later. We are curious to see just how much of the filming in our store is actually shown during the episode.

I think that through this little unexpected event that the Holy Spirit must have enjoyed a few chuckles.