A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Discipline of Prayer

"Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Corrie ten Boom

This week my Spiritual Disciplines Study Group is studying the discipline of Prayer. I was searching on the net for quotes regarding prayer and found the quote above by Corrie ten Boom. I love that quote! If I wait until I "feel" like praying, I will probably never pray. It is my desire to put God first in my life. One of the ideas Valerie Hess gives in the "Spiritual Disciplines Devotional" is to develop your own "rule" of prayer - that is, something you do every day no matter how you feel or what your schedule is. She emphasizes the importance of being realistic and starting with something simple that you can commit to doing at the same time every day in this season of your life. I only live 6 blocks from where I work. I know, I'm blessed! :) Well, today is the first day I took advantage of living close enough to walk to work. Before I left, I decided I was going to use the time while I was walking to work, to spend in prayer with the Lord. My day went much better than usual and I found myself seeing various answers to my prayers throughout the day. I want to make this a habit. I've already associated walking to work, with praying time with God, so now I just have to make it a habit! I also want to work on not praying just because I need/want something, but also continuing to pray for the needs of others and to take the time to just listen in the silence to what God might be trying to teach me. Tomorrow, I will not be walking to work, because our Study Group is meeting at Panera, so I will just plan on praying on my drive to Panera and then on my drive to work. I am so blessed to be able to attend this Study. Lord, please teach me how to pray without ceasing!

Relaxing Day in Richmond IN!

Alaina (my friend & one of my roomies) and I had a great time in Richmond, IN today! Richmond is about a 4 hour drive from here. I'm so glad Alaina invited me to go with her! This get-away was just what I needed! We basically relaxed at her Dad's house all day. Her Dad, Stepmom and brothers live in Richmond. The first pic is of Alaina and her family. Her twin brothers are 11 years old and they are very sweet! Her family was very hospitable, and even cooked a Turkey dinner for us for lunch. I relaxed on the couch and fell asleep while the boys were watching murder mysteries on the Hallmark channel. We had some ice cream later in the afternoon. Then we had homemade Pizza for dinner. Alaina and I LOVED having a home-cooked, FREE meal! We are very blessed! After we left Richmond, we spent an hour with a friend of Alaina's in Indianapolis. The second pic above was taken as we were getting back into the car. We made it back from the Eastside of Indianapolis in 2 hours and 45 min. We made great time! It's ironic b/c I got home from Milwaukee last Sunday at 11:35pm. Tonight we arrived home at 11:19pm. I don't remember the last time that I got away from it all, to just relax. This trip taught me that I do need to get away! I'm going to try hard to do that every once in a while, if only for an overnight trip to visit friends/family. Everyone needs to get away once in a while. Thanks again for taking me with you Alaina!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pics From Pig Roast in Indianapolis

Yesterday Alaina and I took a last minute road trip to Indianapolis. She asked me if I wanted to go with her because she was going to attend a grad party/pig roast for a friend of hers. I was pretty much free all weekend, so i decided to go with her. We had a great time! It's nice to get away, and to not try to rush to see everyone I want to see, since I don't know anyone here!

Thanks for taking me with you Alaina!

We are still in Richmond, IN at her Dad's house and will be driving back later today. We went to Church this morning and are relaxing until lunch. Her Dad & Stepmom made a Turkey! Yummy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Life Is Short

Tatum, Al Brent
March 20, 1961 - June 22, 2008
"His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:23 He was born on March 20, 1961, to the blessed union of the late Deacon and Mother Ernestine (Watson) Tatum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Elder Al Brent Tatum was the youngest of 16 children. He received his formal education in the Milwaukee Public School System. Pastor Al Brent Tatum, 47, died Sunday in Memorial Hospital. Survivors include his wife, Debra (They were married on July 24, 1989); a daughter, Talesha J. Tatum; sons, Tevin X. Tatum and Trenton R. Tatum.

You can view the full Obituary from the South Bend Tribune, by clicking on his name above.

I met Pastor Tatum for the first time on Memorial Day, 5/26/08. His Church is 3-4 blocks from our house. He invited my roommate and her family to a Cookout at his Church, and she invited me. I even mentioned this Cookout in my blog on Memorial Day. I visited with Pastor Tatum while we were eating. We shared the bond of both having lived in Milwaukee, WI. He was born in Milwaukee, WI and grew up there! As stated above, he was the youngest of 16 children. He loved having people around! He cooked all of the food for this Cookout himself! It was delicious! He appeared to be perfectly healthy and was full of life and generosity. None of us could have known that 27 days later he would be leaving this earth. He passed away from complications related to a stroke he had a few days before. My roommate and her family ended up visiting his church a few times and having dinner with him and his family another time.

The funeral is going on as I am typing this. It is on the far west side of South Bend. I had forgotten the funeral was this morning and didn't wake up until 10:30am. Please pray for his wife Debra and his 3 Children who are middle school/jr. high/high school ages.

This is just another reminder to me that life is short and I need to be ready to go home to Jesus at any time!

Socializing At Starbucks!

Starbucks and conversation with a friend (AKA my daughter)! I can't think of a better way to spend a relaxing Friday evening! We were going to go to Summerfest, but it was raining off and on. Mishawaka has a much much smaller (and free!) version of Summerfest,compared to Milwaukee. So, instead we hung out at Starbucks and at the house. I love that we get together every couple of weeks or so, sometimes more! See you next time Mary! :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blast From The Past!

So I was on my way to bed and ran across a Facebook Group for my old grade school, along with these pics and many more! I can't even believe I'm posting these photos as I look ridiculous in them, but this is me in Grade School. My sisters are in these pics too! Debbie is in a few, but Pam is in every picture because she is only 20 months younger than me and was one grade behind me. Stephanie and I have been friends since Kindergarten and she is in these pics as well. We went to a VERY small Lutheran grade school. Most of these people are married, so it's not like I'm spreading their last names all over the Internet, because they haven't had these last names in 10 or more years! Plus my blog is not searchable on the internet. I hope you get some giggles out of these pics! I know I did! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

God Is In Control!

We get to listen to our MP3 Players when we work. It helps me to keep focused since I am such a people person and would love to take part in the conversations going on around me! However, if I did that, I wouldn't get my work done, or even begin to meet the production goals that I need to meet. Stressful? Sure. Does it hold me accountable and keep me in line? You bet! I am blessed to be able to listen to my MP3 Player while working! I have mostly Christian Contemporary songs on it (I love music!), but I also have a few Joyce Meyer Podcasts on it. I have heard them all before, but today one of her quotes really made sense to me. The quote I am referring to is:

"The ability to display stability, can be one of our greatest testimonies to a troubled world."

It really made me think. She also asked, "Is God in control, or isn't He?" If you are a Christ follower, you are probably saying, of course He is in control, what a dumb question! But, if I really think about this question, I have to admit that when I worry, I am not believing that he is in control. Worry is a lack of faith in God and in His promises. Thanks to a new friend in my Spiritual Disciplines Study Group for bringing this to light (in general) regarding what worry really is. Granted, we are all human, and therefore incapable of perfection, otherwise we wouldn't need a Savior! But, that is just what Satan wants. He wants us to live a life filled with worry and fear, not a life filled with confidence and joy. I want to strive to live my life so that people can see that I believe the promises of my Savior, and that He is in control of my life and the happenings around me. This will be a lifelong process of continually renewing my mind. I just know that I want to be a testimony to this troubled world that come rain or shine, sorrows or joys, my God is in control and I can forever rest in His promises! Lord, please give me the strength to display stability and trust in you, no matter what my circumstances in this life happen to be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jen Squared!

I met Jen through my Christian Young Professionals group here in the South Bend area. Jen is Awesome! She's a lot of fun, and very easy to talk to. We can have fun and have deep conversations all in one evening! Tonight we met at Hacienda for $1.00 Margarita night. Hacienda is the place to go on Wednesday evenings! I like it so much better now that I'm not working there! :) We had a great time! Sorry the pic is a bit blurry! It was starting to get dark out. Jen's latest claim to fame is that she won the David Crowder look a like contest and got backstage passes and front row seats to the concert! For those of you who don't know, the David Crowder Band is a Christian Contemporary Music Group! Way to go Jen! If you want to see pics of her looking just like David Crowder, just follow the "JJ" link on the right side of this page. Jen, I look forward to more fun times, and to getting to know you even better in the future!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fun In The Sun!

Here are more pics of my nieces & nephew from this past weekend! My sister Debbie is in the first pic as well! Enjoy! :)

Monday, June 23, 2008


Joy and I have been friends since day 1 of Freshman year in College. She lived right across the hall from me! We both LOVED the song "Walking On Broken Glass"! I can't even remember who sang that song (besides for us)! :) Joy only went to my College for our Freshman year. She then transferred to South Dakota State University and became a Dietitian. I've known her for 16 years this August. We have had a "Long Distance" relationship for the majority of that time! I visited Joy when she lived in Richmond VA and was dating Michael, who was doing his residency in Richmond. Joy & Michael got married in 1999. They moved back to WI not long before I moved out to Denver, CO in 2001. I was only there for 7 months. Joy & Mike and their 3 children (Isaiah-8, Matthea-4, & Brooklyn, 1 1/2) live in Oconomowoc, WI, a western outer suburb of Milwaukee. I miss our "coffee dates", which we would have every few months or so when I lived there. Now they are all the more special! I probably hadn't seen Joy in a year. We planned to meet this past Sunday when I was in Milwaukee. If she had the kids, we were going to meet at the zoo or a park or some place that was kid friendly, and if she didn't have the kids, we planned to meet for coffee. Either way, I just wanted to see her. Well, Michael stayed with the kids and Joy and I met at Starbucks and chatted for an hour and a half. It was quality time and I really enjoyed it! I know she appreciated the break and the "girl time"! I took one of the pics of us above, then realized it would make much more sense for the taller person to take the pic! :) Joy has a contagious "joyful" presence about her, which is just one of the many things I love about her. She has a deep desire to introduce others to Jesus and has been extremely active (that's an understatement) as a volunteer, leading the Teen Ministry at her Church for the past 7 years. She recently made a difficult decision to step down from that position for the good of her family. Joy loves people! I love people! So you can imagine that we instantly hit it off. I thank God that he brought us together Freshman year! I look forward to our next "coffee date"!

The Happy Couple!

Aren't they cute? That's a total "Brenda expression" for ya! :) I had so much fun at their wedding! Thanks for getting married you guys! :) I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

Here is a pic that Brenda had on their slide show! I took a pic of the screen! This pic was taken at least 4 years ago! I can't believe how young I looked there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm Home!

I made great time on my drive back from WI! Thank God I had a safe and uneventful drive home! It was exactly 185 miles from my last stop in Milwaukee (I-94 & Holt Ave) to my home in Mishawaka, IN! I left WI just before 6:50pm WI time. I got home at 10:17pm WI time, which is 11:17pm IN time. Three and a half hours is fantastic timing!

I'll be posting more pics from my trip soon!
Have a great week! :)

Jeannine & Jake

I met Jeannine 7 years ago (in Milwaukee, WI, at a Brewer's Tailgate Party/Baseball game), right before I moved to Denver, CO. I only met her once before I left, but when I moved back I got the opportunity to get to know her better. I was living down on the South side of Milwaukee, just blocks from her house. I think it was a few months before I started the singles group at Grace (which was 5 years ago) that we started hanging out a lot, and going for walks together. Jeannine and I went with two of our other friends to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic in December of 2004. I can't believe that was 3 1/2 years ago! We had a great time and have memories that will last forever!

After our friend Brenda's wedding yesterday, we went back to Jeannine's house to let Jake (her dog) out, and to play with him for a little bit. Jeannine is a great pet owner! Jake is spoiled, but loved! :) Isn't Jeannine stylin' in her new outfit?! It was the perfect dancing outfit! I'm glad I got to spend some one on one time with her in between the wedding and reception. Jeannine is lots of fun to be around! Thanks for your friendship Jeannine! I miss you!

Ramona & Cameron

Ramona is a friend of mine from College. I went to a small College in Milwaukee, and she lived on the 3rd floor women's dorm our Freshman year. I lived on the 1st floor. We lost touch for a while after College, but have been in close contact the past 6 years or so. Ramona is a single Mom of a 10 year old boy. His name is Cameron. He is such a sweet boy! I am so proud of her for not only being a great Mom, but for being a great single Mom (which has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the world)! She has been a great friend to me. I'm staying with Ramona & Cameron this weekend. In fact, I'm sitting on her couch as I type this. Ramona & Cameron left for Church already. I'll be going to my former Church here in Milwaukee in a little bit. I love you Ramona, and I treasure your friendship.

I Love This Little Girl!

Hannah Lynn (She has my middle name!) will be 4 on September 26th! She lives in Milwaukee, WI. I am her Aunt & Godmother. She couldn't wait to show Aunt Jenny (that's me) her new twin bed! She was previously sleeping in a little kid size bed. It was great to see her today! Is she adorable or what? =-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Road Trip To Milwaukee!

I made it safely to Brew City! Here are a few pics from my road trip! I sat for a while waiting to pay my Toll at the IN Toll booth! They had more I-Zoom lanes than they did Cash Lanes! The Cash Lanes were long! I think they should have made one of the I-Zoom Lanes into a Cash Lane! But, oh well! The pic below, well, you know where I was! :) Can you believe this pic was taken at 9:20pm Eastern Time? I love it that it was still light out! :)

Well, gotta get some sleep! Fun times to be had with family and friends tomorrow!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Quote by Joyce Meyer

"The more you trust Jesus and keep your eyes focused on Him, the more life you'll have. Trusting God brings life. Believing brings rest. So stop trying to figure everything out, and let God be God in your life."

Wow! I'll be talking more in depth in a future blog about Joyce Meyer and her books! I have learned so much from her. A circumstance at work today reiterated for me that the battlefield really is in my mind! I need to trust Jesus and keep my eyes focused on Him, not on my problems. I got to work this morning and had an email that was sent to our team/unit. The standards for production numbers per hour have gone up. So what do I do? I panic and literally had myself in a "paralyzed state" for the majority of the day! Why? Because I was worrying about tomorrow today! I was allowing Satan to fill my mind with negative thoughts about what I can't do, instead of filling my mind with the truths of God's Word. I lost the battle in my mind today, and in the end it only brought my production down. So today is over, but tomorrow is a new day and "His mercies are new every morning"! I am going to try hard (only with His strength) to wake up and go into work with the attitude that "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me"! I'm taking Dr. Bob's advice and telling Satan to go to hell! Please say a prayer that I will trust God to take care of my future and not listen to the father of lies! I can never be God, so why do I continue to try to be in control of my life? I don't know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future! :) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Discipline of Meditation

Eight days ago I started out on an amazing journey with a group of eight (so far) amazing women! Kudos to Michelle for starting this Study Group, even though she is already quite busy enough raising three little girls and being the wife of a Pastor! I really appreciate you doing this Michelle! You are awesome! This new Journey I am on with these other women is based on the book to your left. It is a Study of the Spiritual Disciplines and it was written by a Lutheran Pastor's wife in CO. Her name is Valerie Hess. We meet every Tuesday morning. Right now we are talking about the Discipline of Meditation. Let me start out by saying, the Meditation Valerie Hess is referring to is not at all the same thing as non Christian forms of meditation! "In Christian meditation we seek to clear our minds of the clutter that prevents us from focusing fully on God." I love the comparison Valerie uses: "We seek to soak ourselves in God much like uncooked pasta or rice soaks in hot water, softening so that it becomes usable." "We train ourselves to........focus on what God wants us to become". This week my meditation consists of focusing on one Bible verse. "Within your temple O God, we meditate on your unfailing love." I am working on forming a new habit, a habit of intentionally thinking about God as a God of Love, since my previous image of God was less than loving. I am working on counterbalancing the wrong ideas with the Truth. So, this week, a suggestion from the book that I am using, is that I can learn to trust God's love for me by training myself to regularly say "God's love for me is unfailing!" Before I fell asleep last night I was meditating on this verse. On my walks at break time, I have been meditating on this verse. Hopefully soon, it will sink down to the very core of who I am, that God's love for ME (and for YOU) IS unfailing! "For great is your love, reaching to the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the skies." Psalm 57:10

What An AWESOME Quote!

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
Nora Ephron
I just found this quote this evening. I LOVE this quote! I will forever be grateful to Granger Community Church and their Turning Point Group on "Boundaries"! This class has changed my life forever for the better! This class taught me that I had been playing the victim in my life. We have choices in life. We have a choice to continue being the victim, or we have the choice to overcome through Christ who gives us the strength! Had I not taken this class, I would have never been able to appreciate this quote like I do now!
Thank you GCC and Thank you to my Facilitators! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cousin Tony!!

I first met Cousin Tony 2 1/2 years ago in Tuscon, Arizona. Now, you are probably wondering, hmmm...Tony is her Cousin, and she never met him prior to 2 1/2 years ago?! Well, you see, Tony is my Cousin-To-Be! My sweet, beautiful, cousin Jayme is now engaged to Tony! They are planning a March 28, 2009 wedding! Jayme was dating Tony when I was out in Phoenix/Tuscon in December of 2005. The 3 of us went out to this great Mexican Restaurant! Tony has matured a lot since then, and I've lightened up a lot since then. Anyways, Jayme and Tony came to IN for a visit and I got the chance to see them 9 days ago! Besides for Jayme's immediate family, I was the first family member that Tony had met. When Tony saw me, he was like "Cousin Jenny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"! It was like he had seen an old friend! :) He probably said my name 100 times last Sunday! That's why the Title of this Blog is "Cousin Tony". He is a funny guy! I laughed a lot! I'm so glad I got to visit with Jayme and Tony! I am so happy for Jayme! She deserves a great guy like Tony! So Cousin Tony, you'd better continue to treat my "little" cousin Jayme right, otherwise you'll have Cousin Jenny to answer too! (Just Kidding Cousin Tony!) I'm looking forward to seeing you both again at your wedding on March 28, 2009! I talked to work about it and they said that I can reserve the time off in late Oct/early Nov and I shouldn't have a problem getting it off! Welcome to our family Tony! :)

Is It Really Greener?

I haven't quite figured out how to add links to my blog without adding the whole link address! So here is the link to an an excellent blog by my former Pastor in Milwaukee regarding Singleness. He has profound insight on being single vs. being married, as he didn't get married until he was 35. Therefore he can really relate to singles and to married people.


I get to attend the outdoor worship service for "Juneteenth Day" at St. Marcus (http://www.stmarcus.com/) in the Inner City in Milwaukee, WI on Sunday, June 22nd! :) This was my Church Family in Milwaukee! I miss them all dearly! I can't wait to see some of my old friends and worship/visit with them! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day Don!

Don is my Mom's Husband. He is pictured above with my Mom. They got married 9/29 of 2001. His son Chad is pictured right below Don & Mom. So I guess you could say I do have a brother! Chad is 20 and goes to College in MN. He is home for the Summer. Don is younger than my Mom (Dad was 12 years older than my Mom) and so I really don't see him as a father figure to me (as I have dated guys his age), but he is a great Dad and a great Grandpa to my Sister Debbie's kids. He is the only Grandpa they have known. I am very thankful for all of his help with my move from WI! He drove the truck back to Mishawaka and seriously unloaded EVERYTHING by himself. My Mom has struggled with Cancer for most of their marriage. I am thankful that he has been there to help, support and encourage her for better and for worse. Thanks for all you do Don!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Remembering my Dad This Father's Day!

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!" (Psalm 118:24)

I remember my Dad repeating this verse (had to be in the KJV of course!) numerous times when I was growing up. To be honest, at the time it really got on my nerves when he would say it over and over and over, especially if I was in a bad mood at the time! Looking back I am thankful that my Dad served the Lord and taught me Christian morals and values. So on Father's Day this year, I am going to take my Dad's advice and remember that the Lord made this day and I will do my best to rejoice and be glad in it. So many Father's Day's (this is the 9th Father's Day since Dad went home to heaven) I kind of get into a pity party of sorts because most people are with their Dad's, or can at least call them or send them a card. Sometimes I am tempted to feel jipped out of not having an earthly Father. But you know what, that's exactly how Satan wants me to feel. So then I remember that my heavenly Father has blessed me beyond measure and loves me unconditionally! He does everything with my best interest at heart. I am thankful that I have the confidence of knowing my Dad is with Jesus, and will never again be sad or be in pain. I look forward to the day when I can meet my Heavenly Father and be reunited with my earthly Father. Until then, I will do my best to enjoy each day I am given here on earth!

I miss you Dad and I love you!

Enjoy the pics below of me with my Dad and my family! One of my Roomie's told me they are old! I told her that I am old! I am 7 1/2 years older than she is! These pictures do date me, but that is ok! :) These pics and the memories that go with them will forever be a part of who I am.

After the pics, I have added a few more "Father's Day" things for your reading pleasure.

Happy Father's Day! :)

My family and I at a wedding.

Dad and I on a Ride at Enchanted Forest.

Dad holding his first Grandchild (Trey). Trey was 5 when Dad passed away, he is now 13 1/2. Dad now has 2 Granddaughters and another Grandson who he didn't get the opportunity to meet.

I was Mom & Dad's firstborn. I was 5 months old in this picture, so this picture could very well have been taken on Father's Day in 1974.

"Dad, I want some cake!" Look at how I'm eyeing up the food on his plate! See, even then I loved food! :)

Dad gave us "pony rides"!

I was a "Daddy's Girl"!

This is Cute. The Author is Unknown.

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
(I was 25, almost 26 when Dad died. Our relationship was much better than it had been, but I still had some growing up to do)
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

"I Have a Place in Heaven"
Please don't sing sad songs for me,
Forget your grief and fears,
For I am in a perfect place,
Away from pain and tears.
I'm far away from hunger
And hurt and want and pride,
I have a place in Heaven
With the Master at my side
My life on earth was very good,
As earthly lives can go,
But Paradise is so much more
Than anyone can know.
My heart is filled with happiness
And sweet rejoicing, too.
To walk with God is perfect peace,
A joy forever new.