Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Working Hard or Hardly Working

Whenever I would hear someone talk about my dad when I was growing up, the same words were always used to describe him; quiet, sometimes hilarious, hard-working, patient and generous. Yes, those words do best describe my dad but most people didn't know the half of it. 

I remember the sound of dads work van rolling down the street and backing into the driveway every evening, that's when all of us kids ran down the stairs and to the front door. We would run through the house yelling "daddy's hoommmmmmme!".  As he walked in the door, we would jump all over him because construction isn't a physically demanding job so he needed to get some exercise by picking us up.  Even after a 14 hour day, he would take us for a bike ride to pick apples or build a snow fort in the backyard. Selfless and willing to give up his precious time. 

Life got especially hard when I was about 12 and that's where I saw my parents work long hours and days for our family. Dad and mom did a paper route at 4 in the morning, then mom would go to her office job and dad to construction. Mom would take care of us in the evening while dad loaded Fedex trucks. They would do this day after day, not complaining, just doing what had to be done. Because of our parents example, us kids learned how to take care of each other and help out anyway we could. 

As I got older, my dad and I started having deep conversations, talking about life and Jesus. His famous line would be "Jen, always do hard things." And that's the phrase I've used for most of my life. 

There's almost always an easy way out in life, but it's not always the most rewarding. Work hard because you have a great desire to see God work in your life, do it for Jesus and not for yourself and above all, be humble about it. 

I've never heard dad complain about going to work or being at work. He just does it. He's 57 and still works outside, he's the man. I hope to be as hard of a worker.

Whether your job is being a CEO for a company, McDonalds cashier, mom, farmer or whatever; work hard at it and be the best at what you do. 

Jesus I glorified in your efforts and your humble attitude. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I have a blog! I totally forgot.

This is basically to sum up what's been on my mind for the last four months so read on if you dare. 

Starting back in high school, I learned how to shut down my emotions and cut out the drama around me. It was was great! I had nothing that could bring me down emotional or mentally, all I had to worry about was if someone could hurt me physically. Once I started my freshman year it was the greatest thing. I could meet people and care about them but once they went away, my life was exactly the same without them. I would take on tasks and extra things to make me feel productive and I handled stressful situations without thinking twice. Fast forward to two months ago...I was the loneliest I've ever been, crying, a complete mental breakdown and couldn't control my emotions. That night my parents met me for dinner and we sat at Olive Garden for hours just talking and working things out. 

Can I just say that my parents are such a blessing and I just love them so much. 

That melt down was exactly what I needed to move on with my life. Since then I have been praying that God would allow me to feel for people and that He would fill my emptiness and loneliness. It's helped so much.

This has been my first semester at Iowa State and it's been absolutely amazing! My graduate date is May of 2017 and then off to my internship.  
Seeing tractors on campus makes me feel like I chose the right college. 

In February, my boss moved me to produce. It's been a completely new experience but a good one.  I'm honored to manage such an amazing group of fun and ridiculous people. This summer, Fareway is sending some of the produce managers to Family Tree Farms in California for a couple days. It'll be a good experience to learn more about the section and get ideas from fellow Fareway people. 
Everyday I get up and I'm just so excited to get to work, even after five years of the same company.  Honestly, I don't how it's even possible that I could truly enjoy it so much but I'm really glad I do. 

My crazy roommate bought herself a python, River is her name. ! I can look at it without wanting to vomit so there's progress being made.
Abbers and I hit up the Michael Gungor concert. Always fun to road trip with her. It' s been nice having someone to walk through life with and to share in struggles and joys.
My dad and I have been talking about getting one for years and I finally did it. Caroline is her name and she'll be seeing many rivers this spring and summer. 

As God continues to soften my heart and heal my brokeness, I am encourage by the verse in Psalm that says 'Restore in me the joy of Your salvation'. It's not about the bad decisions and choices I've made but about God's grace and love that says I'm not alone and that I'm forgiven. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


After many busy weekends, weekdays and breaks this semester, I think it's about time to put out another blog.

Back in August I returned to the States from the beautiful country of Austria. I left new and amazing friends, a wonderful family who accepted me into their home, students who touched my life in a crazy way and those gorgeous mountains. In my first three days back I had started work again and my second year of college.  Jet lag was broken quite fast. 

 Last semester was full of changes; good changes. There was no longer two crazy roommates to come home to but a quiet, studios Amber. At work, I lost the hair net and was exiled to the dairy case. All my classes were in Ankeny and my older sister was no longer here to spend Saturday afternoons, watching NCIS with.

So far, all these changes have been absolutely amazing! Amber has turned out to be an amazing roommate and friend. In fact, we will be signing another lease here in Ames in a couple weeks! We are hoping to be able to rent a house with another girl and to have a garage. It's the small things. 

Being the dairy manager has been tons of fun. It has definitely been a challenge, especially during the holidays but a great learning experience overall. I still enjoy being full-time and of course, love those five a.m's.  I love my job and Fareway and I really do hope to continue with this company. 

Fifteen credits was the most I've ever taken and let me tell you...it was hard! My schedule was pretty jacked and sleep was out of the question. It's all good because I passed all 5 classes and didn't completely lose my mind. 

Yes, my sister moved to Alaska a couple days after I got back. We saw each other for a couple hours before she peaced out. So far she likes it and I do believe she's mastered mushing and moose hunting. That's my sister folks. Good work T-dawg. I really do miss her and miss our awesome times together. 

Saying goodbye to students in Innsbruck

Grandpa was diagnosed with kidney cancer and spent many weeks in the hospital last semester. 
He is doing better but struggling to remember certain things.  
Jones and I have started breaking the law together. 
It's cool, our coworkers are okay with it. 
My little brother turned 15 in December. I couldn't be more proud of him. What an amazing guy.
Picking up Tori for Thanksgiving break. We are stylish. 

Jeremy and Jessica got married at the end of December so Aaron, Abby and I traveled up to Wisconsin and had so much fun. Abby and I had a couple of really good talks and I am so blessed to have her as a friend. Congratulations to Jess and Jeremy! You guys are awesome! 

This is what I've wanted to talk about the whole time. Ladies and gentlemen, my best friend is marrying this sweetheart. Ally has been head over heels for Travis for quite sometime and I'm so happy that they will be getting married in 2015!  Congratulations guys :)

And on that note, I will end. Please continue to pray for the youth in Austria. God is doing an amazing work there and if you feel called to help with English Camps this summer please contact me. You won't regret spending two weeks of your summer in Austria, teaching and hanging out with the coolest kids ever. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Austria 2013

Being overwhelmed by the work of God isn't a feeling I get often.
With my head down and eyes fixed on my own feet, I can't see the bigger picture.
But when I get bored of my own path and look up, I am taken back by the beauty before me.
My heart heart beats uncontrollably...I am overwhelmed.
....No words to express my gratitude

This life God has for me is just awesome. And I don't even know more then what has happened.

In Isaiah 55 there's a verse that stirs my soul.
 'My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways not yours'
God wants the best for me. This verse needs to be instilled in my brain everyday.

Europe Missionary Conference was in Slovenia at the end of July. Had a really good time and learned quite a bit. This is the Innsbruck City Team! So blessed being a part of such a great team. 
Yes, I had to.

Went hiking with some students. So proud of them for following Jesus.
London trip with Ritha. I'm definitely going to miss living with her, Judy and Freddy. 

It feels so soon, but I fly back to Iowa on Thursday.
Thank you God for allowing me to come here and be apart of your work.

Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Strength in the Struggle

It's been 3 weeks since I flew into Innsbruck for the summer.
My initial thought was that this would be in my comfort zone since I'm dealing with youth but I was totally wrong.
Moving into someones home the same day I met them was slightly uncomfortable.
Going places and not knowing what any one is saying is strange.
Sitting in German class and being the only one who speaks English/ is from America is intimidating.
Not knowing this city and getting lost everywhere I go is frustrating.
Not working at a regular job or having school gives me this feeling of laziness.

These have been my struggles so far but let me tell you what God has done through those.

                 My family is amazing! They are fun and very generous. I feel at home all the time. Ritha just took her English test we've been studying together for and we will get the results on Tuesday. We are hoping for a 1 or 2! This weekend we are doing a family bike ride and they love hacky sack...SCORE!

                 Not being able to communicate is actually really nice. I've been learning to listen and to shut my mouth. It's crazy how much I missed because I was focused on what I was going to say next. The day after I got here we went on a youth retreat and I understood nothing the speaker was saying. As I sat there reading my bible I couldn't help but be focused on the bigness of God. He can understand everyone. It still blows my mind that while I'm talking to Him in English, the guy next to me is speaking in German and a girl on the other side is speaking Italian, God can understand us the same. Amazing. Makes me excited for heaven when we all understand each other.

                This week was the first week of German class. At the school (BFI) people come from all over the world to learn different languages. In my class I happen to be the only American which means the teacher is always calling on me because she thinks I understand. She asks me what the German word means in English and 95% of the time I just throw out a word because I have absolutely no idea what she's talking about. There are a couple relationships I hope to pursue in that class so we will see where those go.

                Getting lost almost everyday turns out to be good sometimes. I've find lots of cool places and get tons of exercise! Because I ride my bike and walk everywhere, I pray more frequently since there's nothing else to do. Praying for this city is one of the most important things I can do and what better place to do that then the streets they walk on.

                Not working was fun for the first 3 days then I started to miss it. I knew that would happen. Dave (my team leader) has given me a couple projects to keep me occupied which is great! God is still trying to teach me that I don't always need to have every hour of the day filled with things to do. If my day is filled with things I have to do, that means God doesn't have room for what He wants me to do. This is the biggest struggle for me and I get so frustrated. Running, biking and playing sports help me to feel accomplished so doing those things with students is what I'm working towards. My dad is totally the same way so thanks for that one daddy ;)

Getting to know the youth is just awesome. God is doing big things throughout this group of students. Love it.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

guten Tag

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tomorrow is the Big Day

May 16 is the day.

Tomorrow I fly to Newark -> Frankfurt -> Innsbruck.
I'll be dropped off by my awesome grandparents and greeted by the team leader in Austria.

The Lord has been so good in letting me raise the money and support for this.

I'll be blogging as often as I can to let everyone know what the Lord is doing over there but I do not plan on spending much time on the computer.

This are a couple things I'm praying for and you can as well...
-For God to soften the hearts of the children I'll be working with
-Open my eyes for opportunities His has put in front of me
-That I'd have some awesome conversations with the family I'm living with
-Patience for His timing and the travel over there
-I'd have a kingdom driven mindset (big prayers for a big God)

Pray for those students a lot.

Here has been the statement that I've been repeating for the last couple months:
                         'I'm the weakest person I know and if the Holy Spirit doesn't help me, I sin.'

This is your trip, Lord. Help me.

Thanks for all the prayers and support guys!
Can't wait to tell you all about it.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

End of Semester Eval

One semester down, a lot more to go.

What a crazy first semester of college it's been. First I was going to be in Austria all year
then some how ended up in Ames! The plans of me being a missionary this year in a completely different
country were set a side for bit while God did work in my life here.

                    Moving to Ames was probably the last thing I really wanted to do but somehow it turned out alright.I was able to meet and live with Rachel who's actually the craziest person I know. She's awesome! We started running together at the beginning of the semester and we also decided that when we get bored Dairy Queen blizzards are the only remedy. Living with Tori again has been great as well. We've gotten closer and just been able to open up with each other quite a bit. Sharing a bunk bed isn't bad at all actually; especially when she's trying to go to bed and I try to scare her...classic.
 Teshia Robinson and I have gotten involved with Cornerstone Church and I absolutely love it. The worship there is amazing and they always have great speakers's. Through that I was able to get into a connection group and it is amazing! The girls in my group have taught me a lot and the leaders are a tremendous blessing in my life.

My job is way better now then it was at the beginning of the semester. At first I hated my co-workers and thought the way this store was ran was just the worst but after a couple of months of getting use to it, it's probably one of the best Fareway's in the company. In October my boss asked me if I have ever considered being a manager and I said yes. Then and there he offered me a full time position and an opportunity to be in the management program.  I took it and got a significant raise and benefits. I now have health insurance! Working full time and taking 11 credits wasn't too bad this year, let's hope it stays that way next semester. Being able to make some money, pay off school and not be in debt is a great feeling.

I've been reading the book of Ecclesiastes and it pretty much sums up my semester and what I've learn

                          'I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward of all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.'  Ecclesiastes 2: 10-11

I could work and work and achieve goals that I set but it's all meaningless if my God isn't the center of all of it.  So my prayer for next semester is that I won't get caught up in the things of this world but the things of heaven.