A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jeffrey Lynn

Ok, so I'll admit that Jeff is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging lately! :) A friend of mine introduced me to him a month ago online. She thought we would "really hit it off", and we have really hit it off! :) I'm in the process of trying to find balance between spending time with Jeff and still spending time with friends. I don't want to become a friend who disappears off the face of the earth when they find a boyfriend. At least not for long! :) We both have the middle name of Lynn, and we have tons in common, most importantly our love for Jesus and our morals and values. We have lots of fun together and we continue to ask God's guidance as we seek His will. I'll work hard to post more blogs for my faithful followers! Thanks for your patience! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nine Years Ago Today

Nine years ago today my Dad went home to be with Jesus. He is now happier than he has ever been! December 8th will always be a day that I remember my Dad's passing. But it is also a day that I can be thankful that I had 25 years 11 months and 5 days with my Dad in my life. Many kids don't even get that. Some kids don't even know who their Dad is. God knows I wouldn't be the person I am today had I not experienced the loss of my Father. I know I'll see my Dad again someday in heaven, and for that I'm extremely thankful!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Alive!

I just wanted to let all of my readers know that I am alive! Blogging more would be therapeutic for me, especially during December which is typically my most difficult month of the year. Gotta keep my thoughts in check! I guess I've just been lazy. I need to get back to the gym too. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Please pray that I would remain somewhat positive and take every thought captive! :) Thanks! I'll try to blog later this week!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Girl Time In Chicago!

This past Saturday I took the South Shore Railway to Chicago to meet up with two of my friends from Milwaukee. My friend Kelly couldn't make it because she was sick! I hope you are feeling better Kel! We missed you! Brenda & Jeannine took the Metra train from Kenosha to Chicago. We met up at Shedd's Aquarium and then took the Trolley to Macy's. The store was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Probably my favorite part was when we sat down for lunch and had some female "bonding time". We can relate to different aspects of each others lives. It's always nice to have other Christian friends who can relate to what you are going through. When I'm in Milwaukee and we just meet for lunch, I don't get to spend as much time with them, but I was thankful to be able to spend a chunk of time with Jeannine & Brenda. I miss them! We'll have to meet in Chicago again sometime! Thanks for coordinating this Jeannine! I had a wonderful time! I miss you guys! Oh yeah, Brenda's Birthday was today (Nov 25th). Happy Birthday Brenda! I seriously hope you had a day that was as wonderful as you are! :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quality Time With Hannah

My Niece & Goddaughter Hannah is such a sweetheart! I was so happy to be able to spend some quality time with her on Tuesday in Milwaukee. Hannah's big sister Lexi is in all day kindergarten and Debbie stayed home to watch Tyler and the other kids she watches during the day. Hannah is always smiling and is a very intelligent little girl! She is such a joy to be around. She turned 4 in September. I only had about 45 min to chat with my friend Joy at her house on Monday, so Joy & her daughters (Matthea (4) & Brooklyn (2)) came to meet up with me and Hannah for lunch on Tuesday. All of the kids were very well behaved, which meant Joy and I were able to catch up more on each others lives. After lunch I took Hannah to Brookfield Square and we found a new Packers store which just opened on November 1st. I was in 7th heaven! We had a fun time! We also walked to go pick up her big sister Lexi from school. I kinda felt a wee bit like a Mom that day, although I got to just be there for the fun stuff! :) Hannah and her family will be in town for Thanksgiving and I can't wait to see them again!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Is Unseen Is Eternal!

My friend Joy in Oconomowoc, WI added this verse to her Kitchen wall. I just had to take a picture of it when I was at her house on Monday. I love this verse!

Back Home Again In Indiana!

Didn't that used to be a slogan for the State of IN? I made excellent time on my way home from Milwaukee, WI! It was a great 4 day weekend. I got to spend some quality one on one time with my 4 yr old niece Hannah today and I walked Lexi to school and picked her up too! I just got home to Mishawaka a little bit ago. I'm exhausted and heading to bed now, but my car turned 50,000 miles on my way home, so I thought I'd blog quick before turning in. Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm in Milwaukee!

Hello to all of my readers! :) I just wanted to let everyone know that I've been hanging out with friends & family in Milwaukee. This is why I haven't been blogging lately. I'm having a great time, and will blog about my trip later this week! Please keep checking back. Thanks for following my adventures! :)

J-La =-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Verse of The Day

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The South Bend Permacloud Has Arrived

I had never heard the term "permacloud" until my friend Mary mentioned it the other day, but it's an excellent description of what we actually get here in the Michiana area. What is a permacloud? Well, the South Bend Permacloud is a continuous layer of gray (and I do mean gray) cloud that seems to arrive on cue in November and sticks around until spring. The permacloud has definitely arrived this week, and I'm afraid it's here to stay for a while. It's not like you can see the blue sky through some of the clouds here like you can in Milwaukee. We get the Lake effect here. All we see is that dreary gray sky. We don't usually see the sun or any blue sky in the winter time. If we do, it's a very rare occasion. The Golden Dome at Notre Dame in the pic above actually makes the sky look better than it usually does in the winter around here. The Golden Dome is beautiful though, isn't it? :-) Due to this permacloud, it's even more important to take care of your health this time of year. I'm doing my best to use my light box, get to the gym on a regular basis, get a good night's sleep, and to make myself socialize even when I don't feel like it. I will take control of this depression instead of allowing it to control me, and I'm trying to accept the fact that no matter how hard I try, I am who I am in the winter. I need to accept myself for who I am, whether it's in the summer or the winter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things To Look Forward To!

It helps me to have things to look forward to! Here is a list of things that I'm looking forward to in no particular order:

  • Having a 4 day weekend in Milwaukee where I get to see family and friends
  • Getting together with my dear friend Mary for coffee on Thursday evening
  • Meeting up in Chicago with 3 friends from Milwaukee a week from this Saturday
  • Getting a $10.00 gift card to Starbucks from work for OT and being flexible with my schedule last quarter
  • Watching a movie with my Small Group a week from this Sunday evening
  • Hanging out with family for Thanksgiving
  • Working the day after Thanksgiving for double time and a half

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Change & Growth

Tonight I ran into my roommate Rachel at Church. We sat together at the service and then ran some errands before heading to Legends in Mishawaka to watch the ND game. I have been looking for a book called "Changes That Heal" by Dr. Henry Cloud for a long time, but it was never in stock anywhere. Rachel suggested we try Border's. Sure enough, they had a copy waiting for me! Thanks Rachel! This book was suggested to me in my Boundaries class at Church. I'm excited to read it, especially the 'becoming an adult' section. Yes, I know I'm an Adult, but want to learn more about how to become an emotional adult. There are many emotional children living in adult bodies today. I read this quote in the book tonight, "Becoming an adult is assuming the authority position of life, an important part of the image of God".

Change & Growth can be very hard work, but in the end, it will only serve to make me a stronger/healthier person who is more equipped to serve the Lord here on earth. "People who believe others are above them are still relating from a child's position of being under a person, not under God. This belief makes the difference in one's ability to follow God and to seek God's approval instead of what people want. People who are stuck in this "people-pleasing" stage can't take charge of their lives as God commands." Wow! I have a lot of work to do, but I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me! At least I know the truth in my head. Now if the feelings would follow, that would help! I am blessed to have wonderful friends around me who are helping me to see the areas which I need to improve in. I just have to remember that perfection isn't possible this side of heaven!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Need To Surrender

Hi! My name is Jen and I'm a control freak! There, I admitted it! Inwardly I'm a control freak and I need to Surrender to God. I found this version of the Serenity Prayer tonight. I love this prayer! I bolded the new parts that I really like and want to cling to as well. I'm always feeling like I need to DO something in order to surrender to God, and then feel guilty when I can't surrender. I think I've been looking at it the wrong way. Surrendering is allowing God to be in control, in essence, to relax/breathe and let Him work. I don't have to "DO"...I just need to "BE"....BE in His presence and rest in Him. The only things I can control are my FAB...my Feelings, Attitudes, and Behaviors. That's what I learned in my Boundaries class. Tonight I'm feeling like I need to retake that class!

Serenity Prayer - By Reinhold Niebuhr

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can,
Wisdom to know the difference,
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking as Jesus did this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that you will make all things right
If I surrender to your will.

So that I might be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Lexi! =-)

Alexis Ann was born on 11/4/02! She was my first niece! I'm so glad I lived in Milwaukee and was able to be there when all 3 of Debbie's (my Sister) kids were born. I'm sure Lexi can't fathom that 11/4/08 will be a monumental day in History. I only hope she knows just how special she is! I can't wait to see her on November 15th! Happy Birthday Lexi! :) I love you!

Monday, November 3, 2008

November 3rd, 1940

Was the date Herbert William Latzke (my Dad) was born in Eagle River, WI. I did an internet search for that date in history and found out that Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was re-elected for an unprecedented third term as President of the United States on November 5th of 1940. That was an interesting tid-bit to me, especially since the Presidential Election is tomorrow. Obviously I'm not much of a history buff, since I didn't even realize WWII was still going on then! As time passes (it's been 9 years since he went home to heaven), these "anniversary dates" get easier. In fact, I pretty much didn't even think about it at work today, but have been contemplative this evening.
I continue to pray for a leader who follows God and values life. Tomorrow's election results will go down in History, but regardless of the outcome, we don't need to fear. God already knows the future and He will work all things out for our good! The President of the United States may be powerful, but God is way more powerful! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Was An Inmate For Halloween!

I had so much fun at work today! Our team dressed up as Inmates and our Supervisor was the Worden! :) It was hilarious! We use our "N" numbers to sign onto the Computer systems, and we all had our "N" numbers on the back of our shirts to serve as our prison ID's! My nick-name was Smiley! Felipe's was "Beefcake"! He was like a kid in a candy store because he is from Manila and has never dressed up for Halloween before or seen people dressed up. He had his video camera and everything! When I got to work this morning some of my co-workers said I looked like a crackhead. To me, that means I looked like an inmate and therefore dressed the part well! It was fun making people laugh just by being dressed up! :) I hope our team wins the Halloween dress-up contest! We should find out on Monday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Amazing Grace

For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2: 8,9

Your Grace Is Enough!

This is one of my all time favorite Christian Contemporary Songs! It is by Chris Tomlin. Enjoy! =-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Legalism Quote

"I believe that there's a tainted picture of God because of legalism. It takes away the element of His love for us, because people think that He's a set of rules. God loves us, in spite of our mistakes, and I think that we need to stop painting that picture of God, that He's this...Figure that's, you know, that cares whether our hair is cut above our ears, because it's simply not the God that I know, nor the God that I serve. There are far more important issues at hand: where are peoples' hearts, are we loving people the way that God would want us to? Those issues are far more important than the legalistic issues that, at times, certain churches seem to get caught up in."

—Toby McKeehan of dc Talk, Free at Last: The Movie

I agree wholeheartedly with this quote! The negative impact legalism has on our Churches, and more importantly an individuals relationship with God, is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I will more than likely blog about this issue in the future, but I really liked Toby's quote and wanted to share it with you. I pray that God's unconditional love and acceptance of you will be your motivation, and not fear.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life Inside You

FM and M & M

Last evening I had the opportunity to get to know Mary's Fiance Frank better. We went out to dinner with Mary's friend Pam and her boyfriend. It was a fun time! We went to Stacy's in Edwardsburg, MI. Driving there I felt like we were driving to my Uncle Walt's old place to go to Eagle Lake! This Restaurant was decorated with Cows and had a fireplace that we sat near. I always knew Frank was a nice guy, but it was great to get to know him better. You definitely have my approval Mary (not that you need it, but I suppose it is nice to have your "mother's" approval!)! Frank is a very nice guy and he even paid for my dinner too! :) They are excited to show me around Indy after they get married. I can't wait! :) They are recently engaged and the wedding will be 8/1/09. The reason for the Title is that Franks last name starts with an M and Mary's initials will be MM after they get married, so my nickname for her will be M & M! Come to think of it her initials are MD right now and her fiance is an MD! :) I get a kick out of the weirdest things! Thanks for a great evening you guys and congrats again! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Miss These Kiddos!

Here are some recent pics of Lexi (will be 6 on 11/4), Hannah (4) & Tyler (2). They are my nieces and nephews who live in Milwaukee, WI. I'm really missing them right now. They are growing up so fast! I can't wait to see them the weekend of November 15th! I'm heading back to Milwaukee for James & Heidi's wedding that weekend. James & I have been friends for 16 years! I can't wait to see my friends and family in WI! :=)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Gary Chapman is the Author of "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate". This book talks about the 5 primary love languages. What is your primary love language? Mine is Words of Affirmation with Physical Touch coming in at a close second.

"Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved."

"Aside from verbal compliments, another way to communicate through “Words of Affirmation” is to offer encouragement. Here are some examples: reinforcing a difficult decision; calling attention to progress made on a current project; acknowledging a person’s unique perspective on an important topic. If a loved one listens for “Words of Affirmation,” offering encouragement will help him or her to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence. "

My friend Kathy is awesome at giving Words of Affirmation to others! I think this is just one of the many reasons she is so very successful at what she does! That, and she loves what she does! She has such a contagious positive energy about her! She is a Fashion Expert and Personal Wardrobe Coach! She made my day the other day when she wrote this about me on her blog:

"I have another friend who I met recently - she has such a kind and sweet heart - she is totally honest about who she is, and really really wants to change those things about herself that hold her back - that is what I call REAL COURAGE!"

I didn't even know she was talking about me until I clicked on the link. Her Words of Affirmation totally brought tears to my eyes and were just what I needed to hear that day! Kathy is an amazing person with a heart for God and a heart for helping others! Thanks for all you do Kathy!

This all got me to thinking more about the Primary Love Languages of my friends and family. Do I really seek to learn about how they receive love/what makes them feel loved? Or do I just show them Love in the way I like to receive it? If I don't seek to learn what makes them feel loved, I can show them Love in my language all I want, but they aren't going to feel loved. It is my hope and prayer that God would help me to seek to learn the best way they need to be shown love, instead of just loving them the way I want to. I think it is a lot easier to love people in your own love language, but I want to work on understanding what makes them feel loved, after all, it's not all about me! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Trey & Claye!! :)

My nephew Trey turned 14 years old today! Not many 14 year olds can say they've had open heart surgery! I'm so proud of Trey! Doesn't he look handsome all dressed up? They have to dress up the day of their football games.

We will be celebrating Trey's Birthday at Red Lobster (his choice) on Saturday!

Happy Birthday Trey! :)

Alaina's (one of my roomies) nephew Claye turned 11 today! His sister Amaya is in the pic with him. Claye was hit by a car the beginning of September. We praise God that he is doing great and wasn't seriously injured! Alaina & I were driving home from the gym tonight and it was hilarious because we were both on our phones wishing our nephew's a Happy Birthday! Two special boys born on the same Day! Trey's Mom's name is Pam and Claye's Mom's name is Penny! Happy Birthday Claye! :) It's so ironic and so cool that Alaina and I each have nephews close to the same age who share a birthday! We are two very proud Aunt's! :)

Please Pray For Elkhart, IN!

I found this article on the WSBT.Com website. The NY Times Article regarding Elkhart, IN, has been a big topic of conversation in this area this week. To give you an idea of where Elkhart is, it's about 12 miles East of where I live in Mishawaka.

Unemployment in Elkhart gets national attention
by Dustin Grove

Labor statistics show the jobless rate in Elkhart has increased more than any other metropolitan area in the country.

ELKHART — Tough times in Elkhart are getting national attention. The jump in unemployment now has the distinction of being the highest in the country.

This weekend the New York Times profiled Elkhart, calling it the "white-hot center of the meltdown of the American economy." To the people in Elkhart, that's no surprise.

Stop by the unemployment office in Elkhart and it won't take long to catch a glimpse of how many people are hurting and looking for work. “It's real bad around here," Dwayne Williams told WSBT News. "It's getting worse every day." Williams is a father of three who's been laid off twice in the last year. “A lot of people aren't taking applications; they're laying off and stuff," he said. "It gets to a point where what can you do?” Williams is turning in a voucher that proves to the state he's really searching for work. The problem is, he can't find any. And neither can Eldon Miller, recently laid off from his job in the RV industry. “Anything RV related is scary," he said. If jobs aren't cut in this community's massive RV industry, hours have been. It's why the New York Times labeled Elkhart — known as the "City With a Heart" — as the heart of this nation's economic meltdown. The New York Times cited labor statistics that showed the jobless rate has increased more than any other metropolitan area in the country, rising 4.8 points from August 2007 through August 2008. Nearly 10,000 people are out of work. “I don't know what to do but just keep beating the trail and trying to find a job,” said Williams. While they look for work, many are intensely looking forward to November 4th and an election some say could help turn things around. "Honestly, I've never voted in my life, but I'm gonna vote this year," Miller said. Elkhart County's voter registration officials say they're seeing record numbers of people this year looking forward to casting their ballot. The state has been in Elkhart County the last few months helping unemployed workers with their resumes and offering $6,000 grants to send some back to school. See your local WorkOne office for more information.

The NY Times article also mentioned that Elkhart is even limiting houses to 1 Garage Sale per month because there were too many people having Garage Sales. This is sad, as they are only trying to provide for their families.

The economic downfall in Elkhart has obviously affected the South Bend/Mishawaka area as well. Many people who live in Elkhart work in South Bend, and many who live in South Bend work in Elkhart. I am so blessed to have a job! It took me a year of looking to even get 1 offer for a job with benefits. I'm so thankful to God for providing for me. Please keep Don (Mom's Husband) in your prayers as he continues to look for a job. Also, please pray that something would turn around for all of the 10,000 people who are out of work in this area! Pray that God would comfort them and give them His Peace!


Monday, October 13, 2008

I Got To See Some Wisconsin Friends! :-)

Brenda & Dan made my day this past Sunday! :) They live in Germantown, WI (near Milwaukee), and they were in the Toledo, OH area (approx 2 hours from South Bend) over the weekend to visit Dan's brother and his family. You may remember I posted a blog in June about attending their Wedding in WI. Well, they were able to stop in Granger (right off of the Toll Road) to meet me for Coffee on their way back to WI! It was so great to see them! Don't they make a cute couple? I absolutely LOVE Brenda's new hairstyle! Thanks for stopping in to see me you guys! I really enjoyed visiting with you both! So, for any other friends reading this blog, if you happen to be passing by South Bend while on the IN Toll Road, feel free to stop in and see me! I'd love to see you!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Met Two Very Special People Volunteering Yesterday!

Yesterday I volunteered at 2nd Saturday through my Church. The 2nd Saturday of every month there are additional volunteer opportunities offered. I chose to go on the bus that was headed for MC3 (Monroe Circle Community Center). I met Trenton and his Mom on the bus ride. They were also going to volunteer. Trenton just turned 4 and has a contagious smile. There are a few pics of him below (his Mom said it was ok). I joke that if we put glasses on him, he would look just like the little boy in "Jerry McGuire" who told us that the human head weighs 8 pounds! =-) He did a pretty good job of writing his own name on his name tag! Trenton and his Mom and siblings volunteered with "Son City Kids'. The inner city children come to MC3 for crafts and the volunteers play with them and just give them attention. It is often the highlight of their week, because many of these kids don't get that kind of attention at home.

Here is a picture (immediately below this paragraph) of the Cafe at the Community Center where I volunteered. I socialized with the local people who came in to pick up there box from the food pantry. They can relax and socialize and get free coffee, doughnuts, etc. I told a few people I didn't feel like I was volunteering, since I wasn't cleaning or lifting boxes or doing something strenuous, or other things that I don't like to do. It didn't feel like work to me. They assured me that not everyone has the gift to be able to socialize with strangers and make them feel welcome. That is a spiritual gift I have been given. I think I was so used to volunteering being something you HAD to do out of guilt because it had to be done. That's what I love about my Church! You get to choose where you want to plug in, and you are never made to feel guilty. I'm still working on changing my legalistic thinking. I was serving the Lord talking to these local people, just as much as someone who was cleaning, or delivering food pantry boxes to the disabled.

Here is my new friend Ramona. She gave me permission to take her picture and post it on my blog. Of course, I had to tell her that I have a great friend in Milwaukee who is also named Ramona! :) Ramona is a wonderful woman of God. I could tell Jesus lives in her heart. She is amazing. I think she ended up helping me more than I helped her! We had a great conversation and I hope I get to visit with her again next month or in the near future! She has 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren! She's looking good isn't she?! :)
When Ramona left she told me she will be expecting an invite to my wedding if I get married someday! :) That won't be happening anytime soon, since I'm not even dating anyone, but I'll remember Ramona if/when that day does come. I had a great time yesterday morning and I'm gonna continue to find things I enjoy and volunteer for them. I'm also gonna continue to work on not feeling guilty when I enjoy what I'm doing. God wants us to like what we do when we serve His Kingdom here on earth! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Got To Celebrate With Mary!!!

My friend (aka daughter..it's a joke) Mary and I had a great time last evening! We tried out a newer Restaurant in town called Granite City. It's a Restaurant/Brewery. The Pizza was delicious! I had a Barbecue Chicken Pizza! Good thing the crust was very thin, cuz there was a lot of Pizza! We were celebrating Mary's recent engagement to Frank! I am so happy for both of them! I don't have a picture of Mary and Frank, so I just posted one of Mary and one of the delicious Pizza! The exact date of the wedding hasn't been set yet, but it will either be August 1st or somewhere between August and October of 2009. Mary has been an awesome

friend to me and I'm so thankful that God had our paths cross! I moved back here 5/1/07 and we met on 6/4/07, so we will have lived in the same area for over 2 years by the time Mary & Frank get married. It looks like she will be moving to Indianapolis (that's where Frank lives) after they get married. I'm really gonna miss her! But, until then, I'll just enjoy spending time with her while she's still in the area! :) Congrats Mary & Frank! I wish you God's richest blessings on your future together! :)