03 January 2013


Life is rough. Every year I think, "Next year will be better. Everything will be smooth sailing, and nothing THIS bad can happen." Then BAM! The next year comes, and I am humbled once again by my arrogant thoughts. As I was going to bed at 9pm on New Years Eve, (I know, such a party animal.) it occurred to me that life will never be easy. Each year has it's own set of unique challenges and circumstances. Some years are better than others, but none will ever be easy.

So, Dec. 31, 2012, I decided that instead of making resolutions, I would pray instead for the things I struggle with the most. The number one issue that always weighs heavily on my heart is the fact we live in New Jersey. (Please don't laugh. It really is an issue.) We have wonderful friends up here that make each week bearable. I volunteer as much as possible. I really love volunteering. (It must be because I'm from the Volunteer State...kidding). I consider this place my home. My husband and son live here. My grocery store is here. Most of my friends are here. My church is here. The besssstttttt cheesesteaks are right across the river. There are a gazillion cool museums. You get the point. For every good thing we have going here, I can name 10 that I really really detest about this place: the amount of concrete, the accent, the lack of trees and wildlife, no mountains, nowhere to get good southern food, the fast pace of life, the state income tax, the property taxes, (did i mention taxes?), the lack of family... Oh, and I can't eat Sunday dinner at Grandma Bonnie's anymore, see my cousins, roll my eyes at my Uncle Teddy, or go camping with the Joneses, or see any of my family, really. I asked God to show me why living in New Jersey was the right decision for our family.

I woke up January 1, and I had a text message from a friend I haven't seen in 3 years. I met him in discussion section for one of my anthropology classes, and unfortunately for him, I made a friend for life. We moved to New Jersey in 2010, and we thought we'd never be able to see him again. That same year, he left to serve his mandatory 2 year military service in the South Korean Army. He told me he was in NYC for new years, so we made plans to have lunch with him that day. During our hours of walking around the city, talking, and eating delicious pizza, he told me something off the cuff. He had no idea how profound it was to me. He said, "If you didn't move here, we'd probably have never been able to see each other again." I know it seems to trivial, but I've really missed Jipsung. We used to walk to class together every day, and then have lunch. He was the first friend I made after moving to Indiana, and he introduced me to one of my best friends on the planet. I'll forever be indebted.

19 November 2012

Southern Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

I have many favorite foods. It's a symptom of loving to eat. I'm going to share, with you, one of the most delicious Thanksgiving dishes, bacon wrapped green beans!! Uncle Ken would ALWAYS bring them for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was always my favorite. That and mom's sweet potato casserole with double praline topping, none of that marshmallow yuckness. mmmm... and harold's peanut butter fudge, and tina's broccoli casserole. I digress... Here's the recipe.

What you will need:
a big bag of fresh green beans, with the tips cut off.
a package of bacon, not thick cut, with each strip cut in half.
half a stick of butter or so, melted.
a 1/2 cup of brown sugar
a couple pinches of garlic salt
a tsp. soy sauce

How to make them:
Boil the green beans for about 8 minutes. They need to be slightly cooked.
Let the beans cool. Wrap 5-6 of them in each half strip of bacon. Place each bundle in a 13x9 pan.
In a bowl mix the melted butter, brown sugar, garlic salt, and soy sauce. Pour this over the green bean bundles. Cook at 375 for about 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked to your liking! After they finish cooking, transfer them to another pan or dish. They get kind of soggy if they sit in the juice too long.

26 October 2012

Time flies

I cannot believe it has been two months since the last time I blogged. I swear to you it was last week. Time has flown by in warp speed!

I started potty training Charlie the last week or two. It's been just a tiny bit better than AWFUL. It started out great. He had all the signs of being ready. He told me when he went in his diaper. He'd point and say EWWW. He wakes up dry 90% of the time. We would put him on the potty first thing in the morning. He would go, then he would cry. A friend told me that sometimes children are scared when they see things coming out of their body. I thought, "WOW, she's so smart." Then, I started putting him on the potty and he wouldn't go. He'd get up and pee on the floor, and then he would giggle. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that he's not scared of fluids exiting his body. Then today, he took off his diaper and pooped on the carpet. -___- I'm definitely shelving the potty training idea for a while. I think I'll give it a month or two and try again. It's quite frustrating.

November will be here in six days, and that means it is holiday time! Please don't forget about giving to your local food bank, and do kind acts of service for others. If you are interested, my friend is knitting and selling scarves for special needs orphans. 100% of the proceeds will be donated. (Think Down's, HIV+, FAS, congenital defects, etc...) You can look up Sparrow Scarves on facebook, or I can give you more information.

23 August 2012

Just one more trip...

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel halfway across the country and back with a really great family. :) To be honest, when I was asked to go on the trip, most of me rejected the idea. You may be thinking, "Wow, she must really not like this family." That is definitely not the reason.

Reason #1. I don't do so well on road trips. I get grouchy, impatient, and frustrated three hours into the drive. :) We were driving 14.5 hours. Imagine how lovely I can be after that amount of time. I figured they would kick me out of the van halfway there.

Reason #2. Have I mentioned that I have no patience, and we were driving with 5 children in a mini van?! It ended up being tons of fun, and we had lots of laughs.

Reason #3. I was gone a week in May/June. My dad and brother visited for a few days later in June. I was away from home for 2 weeks in July. I'm leaving again for 9 days the first week of September. I've had lots of other weekend/evening activities all summer. I've been gone a lot, and I really wanted to stay home with Michael.

What really happened: I REALLY LOVED the whole trip! I got to have hours upon hours of great talks with my friend. I learned a lot about her life, and I was able to share some of my life with her. I wasn't grouchy during the drives (I think). The kids were great at least 80% of the time, and the other times I still enjoyed them. We had a lot of fun. I did miss Michael, but at least he ate real food while I was gone. :) I can honestly say that I love their family more than before.

I was also able to see some friends from when we lived in Indiana. I've really missed Hyangmi and being able to see her almost every day. It was also great seeing Merry and the kids. I can't believe how big they've gotten. :) So cute.

13 August 2012

I'm really struggling

When I was in high school, I memorized Philippians 2, as part of a challenge for church. I remember most of it, and I typed out the most relevant parts for my story.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Look not unto your own interests, but each of you unto the interests of others. Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant!

-skip a few verses-

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, where you shine like stars in the universe- as you hold out the Word of Life- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not labor for nothing.

There you have it. We, as Christians, are commanded to serve. It is not an option, and it is not easy. Our human nature is to be greedy, hoarding all of our earthly comforts, so that we do not want for anything. We are supposed to put to death our old selves, including greed, and put on our new selves. Those new selves are full of compassion, kindness, gentleness, and they are being renewed in the knowledge of the image of our creator! (Colossians 3)

We've been living in NJ for over two and a half years now! I can't believe it has been this long. It is no surprise to everyone that I really hate it here. Lately, as in the last year, Michael and I have both felt like maybe we are here for a reason. The problem is that we have no idea what our purpose(s) is/are here!

Here's the kicker. The more we pray about what we are supposed to be doing, the more we are called upon to serve and sacrifice for others. Here's the weird part: the more we sacrifice and serve, the more we end up having. I know it sounds crazy, but I'll give you an example. Last spring, Michael was working his normal full time job, and he was also working a part time job on the weekends. He worked 7 days a week with 10-12 hour days! We still could not pay all of our bills on time. During this time, God convicted us to actually tithe the full 10% (shock and awe). We took a huge step of faith and actually started tithing without fail every single paycheck. Michael lost his second job that summer. By that time, we were ahead on all of our bills, putting money into savings, repaying my student loans, and making double payments some months on them! Looking back at my excel spreadsheets for our monthly budgets for the last 18 months, I can tell you that I have NO idea how that happened.

The last three months have been very difficult for us. We've had this nudging that maybe it is time for us to buy a house. :( I am really on the fence about this. In one sense, I would really love to paint, decorate, have a yard, and call some place home. On the other hand, buying a house really makes it official that we live in NJ, fourteen long, excruciating hours from our family in TN. We found a house, but we will be coming up a little bit short on the closing costs if this whole thing actually works out. During this time that I want to pinch every single last penny we have, it seems that we are being called upon to give.... some more. We decided to trust God. We put in an offer, and if we are supposed to get his house, then somehow it will work out.

In the meantime, I have no idea what my purpose is right now. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with my life, and I have no idea where we are supposed to settle down. Oddly enough, I have a sense of peace with it for the moment.

08 August 2012

A funny story

My friend had her baby today, and it reminded me of a funny story. :)

I got a sponge bath. (No, you don't actually get very clean with those.) The nurse was being so nice to me and trying to make me feel better. She told me at least three times, "Girl! You don't look like you even had a baby!" (I REALLY LOOKED LIKE I JUST HAD A BABY!) Of course, being slightly delirious, I believed her. Michael was there and he agreed with the nurse, so I figured I was looking pretty good. (bahaha)

When I finally was able to get out of bed and walk around, my stomach looked like I was 5 months pregnant! The nurse lied to me. I couldn't walk anywhere. I just stood there and looked at my hanging post baby belly and cried.... (maybe it was hysterically. michael tells it that way. lol) All I remember is crying and saying, "How could she lie to me? She's a nurse. You can't lie to me. I just had a baby." lol :D:D

P.S. Here is a picture of me post baby. I told you I looked terrible.

29 July 2012

An exciting post!

Two of my Sunday School students were baptized today along with five other people. :) Congrats C.S. and A.D.!! :):) I'm so proud of you. (As a side note, both of them have really awesome looking hair!) I really love those two.

Funny story. Two weeks ago before my lesson started, Colleen and I asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. SWIMMER! I WANT TO BE A GYMNASTICS GIRL! FIREMAN! etc.. Then I asked the kids what Miss Jess should be when she grew up. After all the children broke out in hysterical laughter, I got a few of those answers that bring tears to your eyes. "Miss Jess, You should be a teacher, since you are so good at it." (Whoa! Proud moment) "I think you should be a nurse, or somebody that helps other people with cancer. Cancer is sad." "YOU SHOULD BE A PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER!" hahahaha. <3 them.