Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Back in School

Wondering what I mean by "Back in school"? Yes, I already graduated and I'm certainly not going to be pursuing another degree any time soon. I swore after college I would be done, then I went for my Masters. I switched from Special Education major to Social Work because I didn't want to work in a school, then I was a school social worker. When that ended, I thought 'surely i'm done now'. Well, the road of unemployment has ended with a job at the Lakeview Day Care. I'm teaching kids their colors, letters, and numbers, how to poop and pee on the potty, and eat at a 'big kid' table.
It's weird being at the day care because it is in the building where I used to attend high school. (It was a private Christian school which closed a few years ago due to financial hardship, a sad day for us alumni). Now I'm changing diapers where I used to learn science, feeding kids where I used to have lab, putting kids down for naps where I learned history, playing with kids where I checked out books from the library, and coloring pictures where I learned English. Now the babies' mommies and daddies are putting their extra clothes in my old locker. Did I already say it's just weird to me?!?! It doesn't look the same, feel the same, or smell the same.
I thought I handled kids' nastiness pretty well, but I guess not. Some of the kids have some disgusting habits that really gross me out. Sometimes I don't want to touch them, but I just grab some baby-wipes and clean them up. I just cannot hold a kid's hands after I see him pick his nose, eww. Maybe i'll be better after I'm a mom... I just feel like all the gross habits are intensified when there are 20+ kids.
Jewel (my twin sister) used to work there. It has taken forever to get the workers to call me "Jessie" instead of "Jewel". Many of the kids give me a weird look like they know me, but can't figure out who I am. Lots more call me "Jewel" or some other form of Jewel like "Dewel" or "Jewl".
Working at a dare care is definitely not what I want to do with the rest of my life. And really, to be honest, it's not really what I want to be doing with my life now. Some weeks I'm working over 40 hours a week at the day care. Don't get me wrong - I love kids, but this is different. But, it's a paycheck and a way to spend my day. When I have my Masters degree this minimum wage crap is going to get really old, really fast. I'm still actively looking for a job. I had an interview today and I'm praying it went as well as I think it did and hoping I'll get a positive call soon! Until then, I'll continue to enjoy wearing jeans and a casual shirt (a pleasure most professional social work jobs do not assume).

I haven't forgotten that God has a plan. Even though I may feel like Joseph (enslaved in Pharaoh's dungeon for 7 years because the cupbearer didn't follow through with his promise/favor). Good will come out of it in the end and He'll use me in a big way!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


One of my favorite old ladies at church called me over to her yesterday and shared this quote with me - "God's got really long sleeves. You never know what's up them!" She knew I'm really discouraged about not having a job and wanted to encourage me. Sometimes old people are just the greatest, unless you're driving or walking behind them ;) This particular lady is real spunky!

I'm getting really tired of not having a job. I had one, but then God closed the door. I "have reasons" to be bitter about it, but bitterness isn't worth the energy it sucks up. So, I've applied to basically every social service place in my surrounding area. I'm not being picky, I just prefer to not relocate. Anyways, on one of my breaks from researching jobs, writing resumes, and filling out applications i met with a dear friend for coffee. We had such a great time and both left so encouraged. I was sharing one of my stories for her, but God probably used it even more to speak to me in my present situation.

My sophomore year of college I signed up to lead a mission trip with World Impact (school organization). I was all set and ready to go to Haiti, but God closed the door. So, I made other arrangements and started preparing to go to Honduras. But God closed that door too. I was so frustrated and discouraged. I had no clue what God was doing. It wasn't what I wanted. But, then God opened a door to the Philippines. I had already been there, but this time God wanted me to lead my own team there. I obeyed and went. If I wouldn't have gone... yikes. I wouldn't have met Aldean. I wouldn't have as many great friends there as I have. I would not have learned the lessons I've learned there or made the spiritual and personal growth. I wouldn't know the love of the Pablo family. I wouldn't have kids calling me Ate. I wouldn't have tasted the wonder of lumpia sariwa, tamarind, or taho. And, I wouldn't have gone back, and back, and back again.

So, how's that apply to my life now? Well, God has closed one door already. I don't know how many more jobs I won't hear back about, letters/emails saying the position has been filled, or interviews I'll go to without getting offered a job. But, God is still faithful and He has a plan. This is stretching me and testing my faith and reliance on Him, but I hope it will prove me to be faithful and obedient. I must trust He will provide (because He will!) and pray for His direction, wisdom, and guidance. There's a lesson to learn in all of this and hopefully a wonderful job along the way.

Lord, show me your will and draw me to my knees.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lessons from Rochester

I spent the last year of my life in Rochester, New York. I came here for grad school, but learned so much more than that. I came expecting to really just go with the flow and focus strictly on academics. But, it has been so much more than that.
I go to a small group Bible study on Sunday nights in a family's home. This has been a wonderful experience. Our last Sunday together, they asked me to share about all the things I've learned while I've been here.

* God has taught me the importance of community. I need to prioritize people - it's not about things or grades. The people around me have been such a blessing, a support system and true source of encouragement. I need to invest in others and allow them to invest in me.

* I learned the importance of my friends and family. At times, it was so very hard to be away from my loved ones at home and in the Philippines. I cherished the quality time I have had each time I had a chance to go home. I am more than excited to go home, but now with renewed interest in developing those relationships even further and utilizing them for what they really can be.

* This was my first time to be "on my own." I learned more about cooking and budgeting. I learned about keeping up a car and house. 

* While I was here, I experienced some of the driest spiritual times of my life. It is so difficult to get back up once you've been down, but God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him. He was available when I sought Him. God helped me develop more intimate personal devotion time. He taught me the importance of getting fed throughout the week and not only relying on nourishment and rejuvenation at church. I cannot let my spirituality be circumstantial. I also learned it is my responsibility to be proactive to avoid temptation. 

* Since January, James 1:19 has been key. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." I don't like to admit it, but I have a temper. I never wanted to be "that person" who was known to have a short fuse, but most people who know me well, know it anyways. So, I finally admitted this to myself and decided to work on it. God worked in me in this area and helped me find success (though this is still an area to work on). I believe my reactions are now more gentle and thoughtful. I give God all glory and praise for this, because this is definitely not something I could do alone!

* I have learned how to be a witness in small ways. I can't directly share or witness at my internship, because I am in a public school. I have learned how I can be a light through my actions and lifestyle. I've also faced this in my house, where I sit back when stuff happens instead of being a positive light. If I can't even shine in little ways, when and where it is easy, how can I expect God to put me in "big situations" and trust me to make a difference. 

* I practiced the spiritual disciplines as a requirement for my social work and theology class. Through this, I grew so so so much. God made "teachability" a key word for my life this semester. I reflected on my life and the things I want to change about myself (personality, character, habits, etc). Self-awareness is key to growth. I opened myself to learning to become a better person, more Christlike.

* God taught me He is ultimately in control. I can't even control the things I think I can control. 

* God has amazed me while I've been here. First, He got me to Rochester. This school was not even on my radar of a possibility, I hadn't even heard of it. I never wanted to go so far away for school. But being here has been the best thing. God got me a wonderful internship, way better than I could have expected or dreamed - seriously so perfect for me! God provided me housing and great housemates that I got along with well (we had fun together and were good support). He kept me safe and healthy. He sent a mild winter. He provided the way for me to go to the Philippines for Christmas break when Aldean couldn't come here. He led me to a church with a wonderful small group Bible study to be apart of. He healed my grandma, so she's there to keep loving me when I get home. I think He has even provided me a house to rent when I get home, to prepare a home for my husband and myself. I also have a job after graduation. A job that practically fell into my lap. I'm super super excited about it!

* Finally, I learned to become more laid back.

These are just some of the lessons I learned while being here. None of these were easy processes. Worthwhile change is always hard. They're also not immediate, so I still have work to do. Hope I never forget this things.

Philippians 3:13, 14: "I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
The small town where I lived is Churchville. Maria and Margie were two of my housemates. This was taken one of our first weekends here. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why do I stress so much? I wish I knew the answer.

Why do I stress so much???
I wish I knew the answer.
Only a few days left until graduation. In twelve days I will walk across the stage to get my Masters of Social Work. I only have one paper left to write, and it's already half-way done. I only have 3 more days of internship. I only have two more classes left.
I'm not stressed about my academics.
I'm stressed about packing, and loading everything into the car.
I'm stressed about "hosting company" when two of my housemates are also "hosting company" at the same time. There will be 10 people staying in our house and 8 others staying in hotels.
After that is all said and done, there will just be new things for me to stress about.
Why do I stress so much???
I wish I knew the answer.
When I get home, I'm going to be stressed unpacking my things.
I'm going to be stressed moving back into my room... at my parents house.
I'm going to be stressed looking for housing, and wondering if I found the "right" place at the "right" price.
I'm going to be stressed about my job. I am stressed about my job.
I'm going to be stressed about borrowing a car when I don't own one.
I'm going to be stressed about paying back my school loans and supporting myself.
I'm going to be stressed about transitioning back to life at home.
I'm going to be stressed about buying a new computer. I am stressed about a new computer.
I'm going to be stressed about planning a wedding... stressed about bridesmaids dresses and groom/groomsmen attire... stressed about family attending... stressed about the reception... stressed about the date... stressed about the photography... stressed about the honeymoon.
I'm stressed about loosing weight for it.
I'm stressed about Aldean's fiance visa. Stressed about where he'll live till we're married.
Why do I stress so much???
I wish I knew the answer.
I'm stressed that I'm so stressed.
I'm stressed that I'm always stressed.
I'm tired of the stress never going away.
Life is good. I am happy. I am healthy. I am blessed. I take care of myself.
I know God has control. I know things will work out alright.
But I'm still stressed.
I don't think a vacation will help.
Why do I stress so much???
I wish I knew the answer.
I think I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder....
I think I always have....
I just don't want to admit it...
I studied to learn to help other people with this. But I can't help myself through it.
Why do I stress so much???
I wish I knew the answer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Child Abuse Prevention Month

A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the United States. The Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline received over 151,000 reports of child abuse just last year. The Agency responded to almost 95,000 of these reports to assess the allegations.

The sheer number of these reports is staggering. But the real tragedy is that each of these reports represents an Indiana child in harm’s way.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The first official recognition of Prevent Child Abuse Month was in 1983 as Congress and other advocates looked for ways to increase public awareness of the need to protect children from abuse and neglect. Since that time blue ribbons and pinwheels have become symbols of the national movement to end child abuse.

The statistics are alarming. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that five children die every day as a consequence of child abuse. In Indiana, 198 innocent children died from abuse or neglect during State Fiscal Years 2006 through 2010. The vast majority of those cases involved children under the age of five.

While child maltreatment is a complex problem, there are often contributing factors that play a role in abusive behavior: poverty, divorce, drug abuse, stress, and job loss, to name a few. While not all parents who face these challenges are child abuses, it is important for someone—a family member, friend, co-worker—to be there for that parent to offer support and get involved if there is a concern children may be in danger.

April is also a time to recognize that everyone in the community should play a part in promoting the well-being of children. As community members, we all play a big role in the positive development of our children. We have a tremendous influence on them, even when we think they’re not watching. An involved, caring adult can prevent harm to a child caused by an abusing or neglectful parent.

We as a community can’t sit silently and allow child abuse to continue. There are countless ways we can all get involved. Whether by becoming a foster or adoptive family, volunteering at or making financial contributions to local agencies, or simply spreading the word about awareness and prevention campaigns, everyone has a responsibility to prevent child abuse.

Local DCS offices and other entities have scheduled events throughout the state to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Some will offer tips on how to recognize signs of abuse or neglect or how to report it. Others are featuring seminars or walk-a-thons and other fund-raisers. I encourage you to call your local Department of Child Services office to find out about events in your local area and then join us as we all work together to help keep Hoosier children safe. You can find the phone number to your local office by going to this website: .

Preventing child abuse begins when everyone takes responsibility for making the community safe for all children. Children are the future of Indiana and deserve the best communities can offer. We all have a part to play in protecting them. Please, let’s all get involved. Not only is it the right thing to do, we absolutely owe it to them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The warm(ish) weather today has me feeling rather sentimental. I'm sure if I just ignored this feeling it would go away, but alas I chose to blog about it instead.

Reflecting on the past 9 months of living in New York has made me realize how much I'm going to miss when I move to the Philippines. I've only got 2 more months here before going back to Indiana, for an uncertain length of time before moving to the Philippines.

First and foremost, I'm going to miss people. Lots and lots of people. I can't even begin to mention specifics otherwise I'd never stop. (So don't have hurt feelings, because if you're reading this I'm probably gonna miss you too!)

I'm going to miss Reed family reunions in my backyard and Reed family Christmas Eves.

I'm going to miss Thanksgivings with the Ache family and Ford reunions in the summer.

I'm going to miss family game nights.

I'm going to miss K Love Radio.

I'm going to miss my independence of driving wherever and whenever I want.

I'm going to miss playing board games all night long at the Henry's on New Years eve.

I'm going to miss the smell of Spring rain.

I'm going to miss Brookhaven Wesleyan Church and Epicenter youth group.

I'm going to miss English church services, Bible studies, and prayer meetings.

I'm going to miss Mississinewa Valley Band concerts (did I really say that???)

I'm going to miss riding my bike around town.

I'm going to miss family dinners on Sunday with grandma.

I'm going to miss hearing my family yell at the TV when it's on Game Show network.

I'm going to miss my favorite restaurants - Bob Evans and Ivanhoes.

I'm going to miss having a pet cat.

I'm going to miss meat not on a bone.

I'm going to miss girl nights at Janna's.

I'm going to miss watching my Henry and Vinluan kids grow up.

I'm going to miss watching my family grow with more nephews and nieces.

I'm going to miss American pizza. I'm going to miss frozen pizza.

I'm going to miss corndogs and tenderloins.

I'm going to miss James Dean Days and the 4H fair.

I'm going to miss Junior Bible Camp, Jr & Sr High Camp, & Family Camp at Fairmount campgrounds. I may never get to experience a "Married Couples Retreat" there either.

I'm going to miss carry-in dinners at church... They have them in the Philippines, but it won't be the same.

I'm going to miss Pastors appreciation month, kids programs, and the Easter pageant (still not the same)

I'm going to miss microwave and toaster ovens (do they have those in the Philippines? I don't think so...)

I'm going to miss family birthday parties, Mothers Day with my mom, and Fathers Day with my dad

I'm going to miss ice-cream cake with my twin on our birthday.

I'm going to miss sleeping without fear of cockroaches.

I'm going to miss watching fireworks at the Wolfe's and at RJ Basket for the 4th of July.

I'm going to miss Starbucks dates with Andrea.

I'm going to miss understanding everyone and everyone understanding me.

I'm going to miss texting or calling my friends and family.

I'm going to miss breadsticks at Circle K.

I'm going to miss Missions Month at my church.

I'm going to miss leaves changing color in the fall.

I'm going to miss wearing "hoodies".

I'm going to miss playing games in Walmart.

I'm going to miss my home and my neighborhood, where I've lived nearly my whole life.

There have been two family weddings and one family funeral since I've moved here. I already missed my youngest niece's first birthday and I'm going to miss her second birthday because I'll still be in New York. I'm going to miss many birthdays after that. I'm going to miss graduations. I'm going to miss weddings.

The only thing I probably won't miss is snow and winter.

I know I'll make new traditions. I know I'll love my life there. I know I'll make great friends. I know I'll enjoy time with my Filipino family. I know I'll make new hobbies. I know I'll have a great man on my side who loves me very much. ....

Lord, grant me the strength to do your will and to go where you want me to go. Help me to be brave like Ruth, Esther, and Abraham! Who as foreigners in the land were used in mighty ways. Help me to be supportive of my fiance/husband when he goes through the same things I'll go through in the Philippines.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back from Break

Here in New York they celebrate "spring break" in February. Odd, but still very enjoyable.
I went HOME to INDIANA :) I braved the train again, but this time Margie gave me company! We left Friday night and got home Saturday morning (takes about 9 hours and 15 minutes but is way cheaper than flying). Whenever I hear the train going through time here I always get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, yuck. Margie took the train one stop past me to go home to Michigan. I went home with plans to be productive and accomplish a lot of homework and wedding planning. I didn't check much off my to-do list, but I don't really regret anything.

I had lots of quality time with family and friends. I got to go to my church on Sunday morning and Sunday night. It was sooo good to see everyone! I went to Indy to hang with my favorite oldest sister and her baby girls for awhile before going WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING. I said YES to the most beautiful dress ever - Sorry Wayne, you can't see it yet ;) Three of my six bridesmaids were there and tried on many many bridesmaids dresses, but a decision still hasn't been made about that yet... *sigh*. I had a couple lunch dates with some dear lady friends. I realized Baldwin (IWU cafeteria) tastes much better now that I don't get tired of it e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y. I chatted with a friend at McConn (IWU coffee shop) and hung around there for awhile doing homework, and got a free coffee - yay! I went to youth group and got to share a little testimony about missions (because my Church celebrates February as Missions Month). I also had a great chat with the youth pastor (who will be doing marriage counseling and then officiate Aldean and my wedding). Jewel, Titus and I went to Kokomo to go to two Asian markets which were both closed, lame. At least we had fun at the mall! My family also played tons and tons and tons of games. In case you don't already know this, we are big gamers - card games, board games, whatever, just not videogames! (Titus, Joni, and dad also love Game Show Network on TV, ugggh!!).

In other big news, I had a job interview that went really really well. Hopefully I'll hear word soon and then update all you loyal blog-readers :)

GRADUATION is May 5th, 2012. Yes, 2012. I will OFFICIALLY be DONE in like 10 weeks. Eek, I'm so excited. But, I'm gonna need to take a ride on the motivation bus to get movin' on all this work that has to be done between now-and-then. Yikes! Until then, my blog posts probably won't be super regular (it's not like they are all that regular anyways, haha). Anyways. I should probably get off and pretend like I'm going to go to bed.

Much love <3