Monday, November 10, 2014

Life Lately

Lately, I have been a little discouraged about job hunting. I realize it comes with the territory, but sometimes filling out numerous applications and following up and never getting a response can become frustrating. 

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with Kensie and Brennan. I'm so so blessed to have the ability to nanny in this phase of life. We were playing in the front yard and Kensie was explaining the rules of baseball (her way) and how I should play. The sweet girl kept missing the ball and instead knocking over the tee. Instead of getting frustrated, as most 3 year olds tend to do, Kensie would turn to me each time she missed and say "It's okay, Ms. Jenna... I will just keep trying. I'll do it again and and again today and tomorrow until I get it." Her sweet little words of encouragement to herself ended up being a blessing to me. 

I find myself not wanting to fill out job applications day after day after day because: a) they take a lot of time b) I don't always get it...meaning I rarely hear back one way or the other c) and it can get tiring to do the same thing over and over and not see any results. 

However, little 3 year old Kensie simply reminded me that nothing comes easy and practice makes progress. Over the last few weeks, I have kept her sweet little words close to my heart and have been focused on remembering to keep picking up the pieces and trying again. 

I often overlook the fact that life isn't about the next best thing. A huge part of it is the journey...I want my story to be a good one... the one that God is writing. Not me. So, even though almost a year after I graduated I don't have my foot in the door of my career, I have moments that I can sit back and focus on making a difference in little ones' lives. This season of life is precious and I don't want to zoom through it. As I spend most of my days with little ones, I will work on setting aside my evenings to applying for jobs and trusting that God is working on opening a door for the right job. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bible Study Fellowship

Ever since I graduated college and moved home, I've been looking for a young adult group to get involved with. When I got settled back in to a routine after college, it became abundantly clear that making friends wasn't as easy as it had been while I lived and interacted closely with hundreds of other people my age.

I came home and the church I was attending told me I was the only young adult that they knew of, but they'd let me know if another one like me came along. I didn't fit into the young marrieds group like that sweet old man suggested for me.  

Then I started driving my sweet grandparents out to their church each Sunday. It's really been so super great and I'm so lucky to spend the time with them each week. I love their church and all the sweet older people that attend there. There is so much wisdom among that congregation...and precious, precious people. Needless to say, I'm the youngest by quite a few years and they are working on a singles group, but currently it's a lot older people....

I've been yearning for a place to meet people and find young adults who are looking to dig deeper into the Bible. My mom just so happened to come across an email from her friend in her inbox from a few months ago about a young adult BSF starting in the Austin area! At first, I thought I wouldn't really pursue it because sometimes doing new things, especially alone, can be scary! However, I felt like God's timing was evident in this situation since I had asked for an environment just like he had provided. I was able to join on the third week of the study starting. So, I walked in my first night a bit nervous that everyone would know someone but me. Of course, God provided several people I could visit with who were in the same situation I was and I instantly felt comfortable.

I've been going for a few weeks now. The group is growing and it is super neat to see young adults in the Austin area gathering at a church on Monday nights from 8-10pm to learn about Jesus. This is my first experience with BSF, but I am loving it. Each Monday evening, all the girls and guys get together in the beginning to pray over the evening and then we divide into our groups. After we go over our lesson, we all gather in the sanctuary to watch or listen to a lecture. There is a break in between to fellowship, eat some snacks and talk amongst each other. So far, it has really been a blessing. I'm so glad I was brave and decided to step outside my comfort zone and try it out. I now look forward to Monday nights!

It is really neat to see that I am not alone in my desire to meet others passionate about studying the Bible. The group I am apart of is for young adults ages 18-36, married or single, male or female. The one thing that brings us all together is The Lord, which is completely awesome. I am finding more each week by talking with people, that many have relocated to Austin and know no one.... which is the same boat I am finding myself in! This group is an awesome thing that brings people from all walks of life, and denominations, together in one place!

I am still getting in the groove and routine of actually doing my Bible Study each day, which is one major reason I wanted to be involved in an in-depth study. I want to be more devoted to reading the Bible each day--coffee and a fall candle certainly help :-). I am finding it is a daily choice for me to sit down for 15 minutes to spend time with God and I am working on being more intentional. We are studying the life of Moses in BSF and I am learning so many things I didn't know about the age old story of his life. It's amazing!

I encourage you to look into a BSF group near you and check it out!! It has already been a blessing in my life and I'm thankful my mom's friend thought about me and shared this opportunity with me!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Defining Moments

I had the amazing opportunity to take a month off and travel this summer. Grown-ups normally don't get to do that, but hard work and being debt free can provide time for fun amidst the chaos of life. 

It actually all started the end of June when I was privileged enough to stand up beside two sweet friends in their weddings. 

Elizabeth, one of my besties from college, married Patrick (better known as PK) on June 14th. I've known Elizabeth since my first semester of college when we had to create an island together for our government class...the rest was kind of history. When we lived together, our friendship really grew and now I can't imagine my life without her. She was a beautiful bride and I was so excited my other bestie, Shelby was there to share in her special day too! 

 (Elizabeth and Patrick)

(Shelby, Elizabeth, and me!)

Then, June 28th, I had the honor of being the maid of honor to my sweet friend, Jen as she married Bryan. I've known Jen since my first day of Freshman year. She knew my cousins in Illinois and found out we were both going to be at the same school. She claims she heard me talking in the stairwell and knew who I was because I sounded just like my cousin! It turns out we lived three rooms apart on the 5th floor and we soon became inseparable.

(Jen and Bryan)

(Laura, Michelle, Jen, me, and Hillary)

Both of these girls are like sisters to me, and even though many states separate us now, I know we will be forever friends. Life after college is a strange thing...I am still trying to figure it all out. During college, you're put in a building with 300 other people and you find people to do life with. I found some of the best and the years at SNU I wouldn't trade for anything. After college, you realize just how special people are and how quickly years fly by. I sure am excited to see what life brings all of us next; especially these two as they begin married life! 

More to come about the rest of my month long adventure :-) 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Solo Trip

There's first times for a lot of things...right? Well, a few weeks ago,  I jumped in my car to head out on my first solo vacation. I wanted to do something different and I needed an excuse to use my new camera!!

I had several places in mind to visit. First I was thinking New Mexico, then Lousiana, Alabama, or Mississippi. However, due to lack of time and short notice,  I decided to head to one of my favorite spots. The beach. I drove to Corpus Christi, TX for a couple of days in the sun...or clouds.  

It was January, so I knew it wasn't going to be extremely warm, but I was still detirmined to come home with a sun tan! I was the only one sitting out on the beach each day with my little orange chair in my swimming suit, but it was totally worth all the weird looks and comments I got! 

My dad let me use some of his airline miles that were getting ready to expire so I could afford a hotel near the beach. When I got to the hotel, I asked about a balcony upgrade, and being available within the budget I set for myself, I went for it. I was SO glad I did, because it was my favorite spot when I wasn't on the beach or looking for dolphins! 

So I was there 3.5 days, and it was truly wonderful. I LOVE vacations with my family so much. There is something about being able to vacation without worrying about what other people want to do. I slept until the sun woke me up, sat on the balcony drinking coffee and eating breakfast, and headed to the beach. 

(Perfect way to wake up!!!)
(The evening view when walking into my room!)

I packed most of my meals for the trip so didn't eat out other than the Subway I picked up one day for a lunch on the beach and a coffee. It was pretty wonderful having a microwave and mini fridge in the room! Otherwise, I packed up my little beach bag each day and headed out! I stayed in Corpus, but I drove to Port Aransas each day to go look out for dolphins! I stumbled upon a small, local coffee shop and I couldn't resist stopping! I am so glad I did, because I found a must stop place next time I'm in town! 

Anyways, near the ferry landing and fisherman's hang out, there's a pier and harbor where there are always dolphins! I would sit for a few hours each day just watching. It was relaxing and I got a suntan that way too! 

I was never disappointed each day and I even saw schools of 8 of them fun! Apparently a single girl traveling/sitting alone in a place where lots of older couples choose to escape winter screams "talk to her!" I met a lot of sweet older people who made comments about my shorts, or sitting in one place for several hours. A woman from Wisconsin stopped by my chair One day (I was the only one out on the beach) and talked to me for an hour and a half! Older fishermen gave me advice on the best time of day and the perfect spots to always see dolphins...their advice worked! 

I need to get my photos loaded on my computer from my big camera, but here's a back of the camera view I snapped of a dolphin in front of a ship that was coming in!

I went on several 2 mile walks on the beach, looking for sand dollars and shells and to catch the sunset! There is just something so relaxing to me the ocean. I always feel so in awe when I stand there and realize just how small and powerless I am in compared to God and his creations. So thankful that I get to rely on a magnificent Creator! 

Here are some views from my room! 

 It was such a wonderful trip!! I'm already planning another trip!! :) 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Well, it happened. I am officially a college graduate! It still seems a little surreal, but I am learning to enjoy this phase of my life and trying to figure out the next steps. I am searching for jobs back near the Austin, TX area and I am excited to see what happens next.

Graduation seems like yesterday in some ways, but also it seems like forever ago. During graduation weekend, Oklahoma City decided to have a blizzard, making it difficult for family to make it. Everyone who set out to share the weekend with me made it, though and I am so thankful!

Cindy, Mark, Gramma Brenda, Grampa Wayne, FAK (Karen), Dad, Mom, Kathleen, Gramma Johnson, Grampa Johnson and me after graduation! 

I wouldn't be where I am today without each one of their influences on my life. I am so grateful for them and that they spent the weekend with me, despite the bitter cold, snow and ice!