Friday, November 28, 2008

Right now I'm sitting in Colorado reminiscing about my year. It's the holidays so I'm sure this is not all too peculiar. This year has been an interesting one. For example, a year ago today I met Jamon for the first time. Look where we are now... I certainly have much to be thankful for. Last night Jamon and I set in our hotel room and were moved to tears with gratitude for all that has been given to us. Our list was long and incorporated everything from our faith, our marriage and a families all the way down to my new pair of Uggs (my feet are in heaven!)

I would venture to say that I have it all. I do however understand that "all" is a relative term. My all is someone elses nothing. I have a God who loves me more than anything, a husband who I believe to be the most wonderful, loving man in the world, a job I feel good about, friendships that are timeless, family that is faithful, loyal and loving, in-laws who are incredible, a roof over my head, food in my fridge, a car to drive, shoes and clothes to wear.

It's the simple things I take for granted most often. I'm in a hotel room on a laptop computer in Fort Collins Colorado, a jillion miles from home. Each one of those factors is an amazing luxury. I have more than some would ever dream of. I have more than I could ask for and certainly more than I need. I am living a great life and wish I remembered every day to say "Thank you" for each and every detail.

This year I've traveled all over the US, attempted being a missionary, moved to Michigan, moved to Dallas, lived with my parents, lived with Jamon's parents, moved to San Marcos, had three different jobs, met and married Jamon, become a God-mother (again!), found out which friends are for a lifetime and some which are only for a season and really understood the difference, swam with stingrays, ran for more than 3 miles without falling over, learned to cook things like meatloaf etc...

My life is golden and I'm so thankful.

Praise.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Married

Jamon and I began out life together a week and one day ago.


There are no words.


The best I can do is quote scripture. Romans 5:5 says "God has poured out His love into our hearts."



Thank you to everyone who loves us, prays for us and supports us. Jamon and I talk frequently about how blessed we are to have such incredible people in our lives. It was never more apparent as on the day of our wedding. We were both overwhelmed with the outpouring of love.


Here are a few pics from the wedding.






Check out my sweet hubbies shoes. :)













Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oklahoma pics

Here are a few pics from the weekend in Oklahoma.


The cleaning of the pumpkins. Mmmm.

Our final products... Jacob made an awesome Tabernacle, mine was supposed to be wedding rings (Three for Jesus, Jamon and Jessica) but it ended up looking like a radioactive symbol... I am so creatively challenged! Tricia made"One nation under God" Troy made an erupting volcano and Theresa made Tux, her friendly penguin!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

ONE WEEK!!!!!!

Oh wow. August was the last post eh?!

Where do I even begin?

1. GOD IS SO GOOD!

2. Jamon and I are getting married in ONE WEEK!

3. I'm the new Development Director of the Catholic Student Center at Texas State University.

I'd say those are the largest updates. :)

Currently I'm at home in Oklahoma... yes, the fam moved to OKC. Trish and Jacob are at home so I came home to see them. I love my family. Last night we all sat in the hot tub and today we played basketball and carved pumpkins. The house smells like vanilla and chex mix. I love coming home. Mom will hate this... but I can always count on there being a plethora of food and for the house to feel like an ice-box. If you ever come to Oklahoma to visit be sure to bring a blanket and plenty of socks to layer.

Sooooo, the most up and coming event in my life. MARRIAGE!!!!!!! I don't know if I can adequately express my excitement in the written word. Let me see if I can describe a scene that will help portray my emotions. Imagine me, with the biggest grin on my face i.e. you can see all my teeth... I know you've all seen my smile like that! then know that I'm doing a dance around the living room and my feet are not even touching the ground. The sun is shining bright there are a plethora of vibrant flowers everywhere.. and shoot, just to top it off, birds and angels are singing and puppy dogs are wagging their tails! I'm marrying my best friend and couldn't be happier. I can't even begin to type all of the amazing things that have taken place in the planning of this wedding. It has been made abundantly clear to me that God had this marriage and wedding planned out long before I ever even met Jamon.

I cannot wait to celebrate with everyone who is able to make it in for our big day. So exciting... and I know without a doubt that those who couldn't make it physically will be with us in spirit and covering us in prayer. To everyone who has already expressed their congratulations, love and support... THANK YOU! I'm taking in every word and realize on a daily basis just how blessed I am to have the people that I do in my life. HUGs all around!!!!

More later... riiiiiiight. No really, I'm going to try!

Love love love,
Jessica soon to be Copeland

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

some photos




Here is the Fam right after Rebecca's Consecrations.












Mom and Dad and their two Consi's! :)
















Jamon and me in Boston Commons.














Typical Bodman picture.












Our first God-Baby: Tate Russell... whom I will forever fondly call my lil tater tot. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Making it happen

Quick update...

I'm doing. Like was so beautifully put in the comments section of my last entry... I can't just wait for something to happen. I have to start.

Here's where I've begun. I am currently volunteering in a leadership role for the Catholic 20-somethings group at St. Ann's here in Coppell. I'll be helping lead the bible study and the praise and worship night. I'm super excited about both, as this ministry is near and dear to my heart. Last night was my first event with them; Theology on Tap. It was a resounding success and I'm even more fired up about being a part of it all.

I'm helping out a mom from St. Ann's with her 5 children (2 sets of twins!) and am learning a lot about multi-tasking and make believe.

Ecuador is still an option. One of my dearest friends is very encouraging and will hopefully go with me, even if it's for a short time.

I have an interview for a real job on Monday (say a prayer) and am sending out my resume this evening for another possible job.

Today was a day when I was frustrated with how things are panning out. Oh me of little faith. How quickly I forget that if God brings me to it He'll see me through it. The following verse is a beautiful reminder to me that I MUST trust. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know well the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give a future full of hope." Yes. I claim that verse as my own. God does have a plan... and it is for me, for my happiness, which HE can provide so much more fully for me than I can for myself. Please continue to pray that I'm open to the work Christ is doing in me.

Alright... this was a short entry indeed. The fam is leaving bright and early in the morning to go to Rhode Island for Rebecca's Consecration. She is taking her first promises to be a Consecrated Lay Woman in the Regnum Christi movement. I'm so proud of her. Jamon, Tricia and Jacob are all flying in as well. This is going to be a great weekend. I'll post pictures next week.

All my love,
Jessica

Monday, August 4, 2008

Too late for these shenanigans

It's late and I should most definitely be in bed... but I clearly can't sleep so here I am. This may be a post lacking stories or any "good" insight and more of me trying to get some thoughts out of my head so I can sleep.

I'll start here:

1. What am I doing?!? I was okay not doing anything, not working, not worrying about where I'll live, what I'll do, how I'll get around. And now I'm not okay not knowing the answers to most of those questions. Am I supposed to live in Austin or in Dallas? What job should I work at? I could go on and on... and the most frustrating thing is I keep asking God, pleading that He'll let me know and I'm still clueless. I fully understand "God's timing" and I'm also aware that it's only been about 2 weeks since I've been back, but it's frustrating having no idea where to even begin.

I remember looking at my spiritual director the day I was told it was time for me to go home and telling her "Honestly, this is scary, I don't even know what to do now when I walk out the door, not to mention what I'm supposed to do when I get home." A little guidance, maybe a flashing neon sign, would be good. Moses got a burning bush talking to him, Abraham audibly heard God. Can I ask for a singing telegram? I think I would get it then. In the meantime, while I wait for my telegram there is silence. So I ask you, at what point, when you're still clueless as to Gods will, do you just start making decisions and hope that they're the right ones? I've got to do something right?!

I was so sure God's Will had me in Michigan... I'm still sure of that. Where did that clarity of God's Will go? I just want to holler... TELL ME SOMETHING... anything to do. I'll do it God, seriously, anything, just tell me something!!!!!!! I'm trying to be silent, I'm trying to listen.

Ooohhh, on a different note... one of the joys of coming home was that Jamon and I were able to move our wedding date up. Now we're getting married May 30th of 2009. For those of you who are counting that's only 299 days from today (monday!) YESSSSSSS. I keep asking if we can move it up more... say around December but I don't think anyone else is buying it. Just keep your year available... we're moving this date around. HA! :)

2. Today (Monday) is Jamon's Birthday... YEA! Thank you Mom and Dad Copeland for such an amazing man. Here's my conundrum... what do you get the love of your life when you have no money to your name? Yes, of course, a cake. His favorite is Pineapple Upside down cake... but no, he asked for no cake since he'll just eat it. We're all sorts of healthy you know. ;) Okay, so cake is out, anything that costs money is out... a love letter it is. That may take some time... pages and pages. Unless of course a note that simply says "I LOVE YOU from Jessica" written on it will get the point across. I bet I can make it pretty. I'll work on that tomorrow while he's at work. Ssshhh. don't tell.

3. It's 1am now and I feel like I could go run a few miles. I wish it wasn't so dark out. I'd do that for sure.

My stomach is in knots. I'm going to get a glass of water and then try to call it a night again.

Know that I am leaning on your prayers and support. Thank you for both of them.

All my love,
Jessica

Friday, August 1, 2008

Silence and stillness... what?!

*Random note* Yesterday was Juliana Christine's birthday (My sister who I previously wrote about) and tomorrow is her "Feast Day," The day she entered heaven!

I've been home for over a week now... thus I know it's time for an update. I've heard the question asked ; What are you doing Jess? Where are you??

Before I begin I want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who have supported and encouraged me during this time of transition. Your words have helped me tremendously and given me the strength to persevere and remember always that this time is a gracious gift from God.

I've been largely off the radar. My dear friends can attest to that. mea culpa, mea culpa... I've got to get better at communication.

Honestly, I'm not even sure where to begin. I've gone through so many stages and emotions and thoughts it would take a ridiculous amount of space to write them all. I can tell you this: God is good. I'm so thankful to be home. The day I left Michigan I called the director of the program (from the airport in DC) and asked her to explain to me again why I was leaving. I simply couldn't understand. She gently explained to me that, though I didn't see it at the moment, it was truly God's Will for me to go home... I have a bigger vocation to prepare for than a year as a missionary. I'm getting married. She told me to go home, be with Jamon and work on our future marriage since it will be a lifetime commitment. Okay I said... that's good enough for me. Often throughout that day I thought of the story of Abraham and Issac... I know I'm no Abraham, so the comparison is pale... but it helped me understand none-the-less. God asked Abraham to offer his son on the altar as a sacrifice to God. Abraham loved his son, but he loved God more, so he said Yes God, whatever you want. Just as Abraham was fixing to kill Issac God reached down and stopped him. Abraham had proven his love of God, and his faithfulness to do whatever God wants, and God said thank you, now take your son. I feel (again, pale comparison) than Jamon and I were in a similar situation. God asked for our time and relationship, and out of love for Him we said "Yes God, whatever you want." And then God smiled at us and said thanks... you can have each other back and start preparing for you marriage now. I'm so thakful to be home and to be with Jamon. I love that man. :) And, another little kiss from Christ, now I'm home for our God-Baby's Baptism. Jamon and I are God-parents to the precious Tate Russell.

---------------------------------------------------------------

When I arrived in Dallas the first thing I did was go to the grocery store. I couldn't wait to get some fresh veggies and soy milk. Mmmm! Mom was a good sport and let me fill the basket with all my favorite foods. After the grocery store I didn't really know what to do. What do you do when you have no car, money or idea of what's in store for you? I'm not one for sitting in the still and quiet so I began figuring out where God may want me. I called my contact for the orphanage in Ecuador (LOVE IT!), called my friend Stefani who lived in Dallas, talked to my mom... tried to get as many option on the table as I could. Needless to say that by the end of day one I had plenty of job and ministry possibilities to fill up a year or more. Now I was faced with the task of figuring out what I was supposed to do... and I decided nothing. I told our Lord that I would wait two weeks before committing to anything. I would give him the silence and stillness and be open to hearing what He wants for me. The first day was hard, the second too... but now it's pretty easy not having a job and not having a clue. I think next week I may get stressed about not having an income... we'll see.

Truly, each day has been a blessing and a struggle. I'm in a continuous battle with myself. I find it so easy to fall back into my self-centered ways; to wake up each morning and think "What am I going to do today?" What I want to think is "Christ, what would you like me to do today? How can I love more?" The difference it makes is unreal. Through this process I've realized that I am not the center of the world, in fact, it doesn't revolve around me at all, like I would have previously thought. The truth is, I'm here only to love those that I encounter. Each and every person I see, talk to, touch etc is a person that I'm called to love in an intense and personal way.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Digression: Have I told you simply what I'm doing or where I am? No. Geesh. I'm currently living in Dallas with mom and dad. I think I'll probably stay here, but am open to whatever God wants from me. I hope to have some more concrete plans within a week or so about where/if I'll go on the Ecuador mission or if I'll start working again. Since I sold Tan Fran (The old Explorer) I was car-less but Jamon has generously given me Black Beauty (A '93 Bronco) to drive around. She gets me from A - B. I know that God continues to work on my humility and I am SO thankful! God always provides.

I'm going to run now... I think this entry may already be a little too long and scattered so I'll step away for a bit and write more later. Please continue to join me in prayer that God's Will be done and I be humble and open enough to listen. Know that I pray for you, my dearest family and friends, everyday. I know that I am so blessed and I am SO thankful.

All my love,
Jessica

Monday, July 21, 2008

Humility at it's finest...

On a daily basis I pray and ask Christ for humility. I know my tendency is to be a prideful person and I want to change. So I ask... and as I write this I'm acknowledging that Christ has given me one of the biggest opportunities to be humble.

I'm coming home.

23 days into the "co-worker" program and I'll be back in Dallas. This comes as a shock not only to you, but most definitely to me. I'm sure there are lots of questions... I have them too. I was simply told yesterday that I am not called to be here. Certainly I believe that to be a missionary is a call from God. I believe he called me here so I, out of love for God, came. And now he is calling me back home and out of love, I'll go. There is certainly a back story to this; one that is best told in person. All I can say is that my coming home is humbling and I'm sure at some point I'll see it as a blessing... a gift from God.

Rest assured, I'm not coming back to do the same thing. I know without a doubt that Christ has called me to mission work. Just clearly not here.. I'm tossing around a couple of different options and hope to leave again with in a month. There is an orphanage in Ecuador that needs volunteers, also, the missionaries of charity (think Mother Theresa) have interns in the Bronx. Also a good option for me. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to discern what Gods Will in my life is.

Yesterday, when I was told it was time for me to come home I dealt with all sorts of emotion. Feelings of failure, confusions, sadness, humility, anger, and some joy too. I begged to stay... mainly cause I don't know what else to do. I'm currently working on trust and surrender. I've got to believe that the God who loves me more than anything has a plan for me and is calling me away from here because He has something that will bring me greater joy.

I asked myself: if I wasn't called to be here... what was I doing? How did I get it so wrong? My answer... I got it right. I've learned so much in this month. I've learned about myself, about love for Jesus and for others. I realized the importance of prayer and silence and the importance of truly knowing yourself. As I come home, even though it's been a short while, I hope to come back a changed person and take all of this experience on to the the next place that I go.

I thank you all for your support and prayers. Trust, I'll keep updating the good ole blog... I would hate for you to wait with baited breath and not know where or what my next step is. I'm excited about the opportunities and experiences that await me... even though I have NO idea what they are. God knows and I'm seeking, so that's enough. I've got to believe that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mission Possible video

video Laugh it up f olks. Here is an idea of what I'm doing during this year. :) This is the video we created for the mission in Howell.

Enjoy. :)

Juliana Christine

So now that I only have an hour of internet time I week I find myself thinking ... hmm... what should I write about next week?! What would anyone want to know.

Something that has been on my heart that I'd like to share is my sister Julie.

Many of you may not know that I have a sister in heaven. Her name is Juliana Christine. She is a bit older than me but I've not known her. She lived for 3 days and then entered heaven. I, for as long as I can remember, have had a closeness with her. It was always comforting to have an older sister who I could confide in and rely on. In fact... now that I have two older sisters (Julie and Denise) I have them both on wedding planning detail. Life doesn't get much better. Anyway. I digress... Like I mentioned, I've always had a closeness with Julie. I could always tell when she was around by feeling her presence or, more concretely seeing a white butterfly. Every year on her birthday I see a white butterfly and then some random times during the year. I always know it's her. :) Since I've been here I have of course missed my family and friends. I've longed for someone to be close too. I also want hugs. People are not huggers or touchers here and I am SUCH a hugger. All of this story is to really say that Christ is so faithful in granting the desires of our hearts. Since the day I arrived here I've seen a white butterfly EVERY day. I know that it is Julie. God was able to let me know and see her presence and be comforted at having family around. Yesterday when I was running (Yes, I've become a runner... 45 minutes a day!) a white butterfly landed on my arm and hung around for a bit. I love it and have such joy knowing that even the little things, the little desires of our hearts are noticed by God and granted. We are SO LOVED!

Onto something else...

This past weekend we put on a mission for a parish in Howell Michigan. I was leader of the youth team and was working with some amazing other young women. we put together a night activity and if I can figure out how to post a video of it I will. Our theme was Mission Possible: Heaven. A total hit. The weekend itself was non-stop and lots of work and very rewarding. I believe overall that I scraped like 3 barrels of chipping paint off the ceiling of the church as part of the humanitarian mission and then for the evangelical mission we all overall knocked on over 370 doors. TONS of walking and lots of talking. I mentioned it before and I'll mention it again lest anyone gets the wrong idea; we did not knock on doors to convert people. We went out to neighborhoods on behalf of the local parish to invite people to church and to ask if they had any prayer intentions. It was more about loving the people we encountered than anything else. One thing that surprised me the most was how many people have nothing they want prayed for. NOTHING... I can think of like a million things I need prayer for. I suppose that when you're caught of guard it could be difficult to come up with something... and thankfully most of the time life really is good. I would just ask that each of you look at your life and think of everything... good and bad and bring it before God. Either as a prayer of thanksgiving or asking Him for help. Any conversation is good. :)

Life here is getting "easier." By easier I mean I'm adjusting. There are still the daily struggles and things I don't understand... but I carry on. I have such a peace about being here and no longer think about coming home everyday. I've embraced this time and know that it is changing me and making a stronger woman already. The classes that we take are great and I'm really learning a lot. Lately we've been focusing on understanding Gods Will and also on a bunch of moral issues and natural law. Ladies and gentlemen I'll come back smarter for sure... woooo!

Ohhhhh, so last week we had this ridiculous event called "Fun Olympics" I'm not going to go too much into it, only to say that it is TOTALLY out of my comfort zone and not something that I enjoy... so I learned sacrifice. :) I'm also a team leader and chose to embrace the opportunity to set an example. I'm proud to let you know that my team won EVERY event. Yes, the ultimate champions. It was quite gratifying. I also took a little trip to the emergency care clinic because of these Olympics... Word to the wise: When you're competing in tug o war don't wrap the rope around your hand. We were all thoroughly convinced that my hand was snapped in half. Painful and swollen to twice it's normal size. Turns out it's nothing really, just some pretty bruising and lots of motrin. You live and learn. :)

As far as spirituality is concerned... I'm growing in leaps and bounds... well, maybe not bounds. Christ reminds me daily that this year is a gift. Both from me and to me. I've got to embrace it and understand that truly, a year is nothing to give to someone who gave their life. I just read a testimony of a young 23 year old man who was a co-worker. He talked about how heroic he thought he was that he left his job, girlfriend, friends and lifestyle etc. He was so proud until he looked at what he'd given up from the viewpoint of the cross. When we look upon our lives from the vantage point of the foot of the cross all that we do pales in comparison to Gods gift to us. It also inspires me to give more generously and with a joyful spirit.

I'll end with an old cliche... Our life is a gift from God, what we do with our life is our gift to him.

Love to you,
Jessica

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

internet time

Okay, here is the latest and greatest. I've just received the "norms" aka rules for my year as a co-worker. I'm allowed 1 hour of Internet a week. Today is my day. :) WOOOO! So you can expect updates around this time. Also, I'm not allowed real phone time so it will be quite difficult to keep with anyone except fam on the telephone. SO SAD. So please email me. Ill read and write back!!!

What's new here...

This weekend all of us girls are hosting a Mission weekend at a local parish. We will be doing door-to-door missions, youth activities, painting and repairing the parish, a pope party for kids, and a picnic for the whole parish are just among a few of the things we'll be doing. I'm excited for the opportunity to actually do some missionary work. :) Now you may be wondering what the door-to door missions are about. We don't go to evangelize. We more so knock on doors to ask for prayer intentions and to invite people to church. I'm leading the team that's working with the youth group at the parish (along with another girl who is awesome!) I guess when you put former youth minister on your application they figure you're good with teens... that and all of the other girls here are teens. :) My mission is clear.

I've got to tell you, Christ is working so intensely in my life. I never thought this would be so hard. I'm not sure why I thought it would be so easy though. I'm constantly humbled and reminded of my littleness. I've learned to seek much solace in God as I often feel confused and broken about what I'm doing.

It's been one week. ONE WEEK. Whoa.

I think I'll start writing little things on my notebook during the week so I'm more thorough in my update. It's hard to remember all of the little things when I'm trying to get everything done in an hour. Oh my.

Please know this... I know why I'm here. I have a joy and a peace. I'm excited about the opportunities I have to love. If I've figured out one thing so far... it's that my capacity to love truly is much more than I thought it was. When things get rough and I'm ready to throw in the towel on a daily basis... I first think, "I can do this out of love for Christ." That thought is immediately followed by "I can do this out of love for souls." I think of EACH person in my life. I think your name and I see your face. Out of love for you that you may live in a better world I'm here. Picturing each of you as better happier people because of anything I can offer up makes everything worthwhile. Know that your smiling faces and the love I have for you make this much easier and more worthwhile for me. I'm so thankful for the wonderful people God has placed in my life. Wow... what a difference it makes!

All my love,

Jessica

Saturday, July 5, 2008

re-cap

OKay... I've got a bit more time now.

Counting today I've been here 5 days. Trust, it feels like an eternity. I miss Jamon, I miss my family and friends. I miss bell peppers and hummus and firemans 4. Most of those things are understandable... some are trivial. Really... I can live without beer. :) FOR SURE!!! Overall I will say that all is well though. I know that I'm supposed to be here so the joy is greater than anything else. Not just like regular happiness... but actual joy!

Yesterday was a great day It was the 4th of July and we all went to Lake Michigan and got to go to the beach and people watch and play volleyball and basketball. We also had a cookout. Mmmmm! Then we went to a different park and watched the fireworks. I'm so thankful to live in the country that I do. We should all be so thankful and give hugs to every service man or woman we ever see for sacraficing to make this country what it is. If I could insert music I'd be playing God Bless America or something wonderfully patriotic like that.

So maybe you're wondering what I do in a give day. I'll do my best to lay it ou for you.

I wake up at 6am and have some Jess time which usually involves push ups and sit ups - Thank you Jamon for inspiring a physically fit spirit in me. Ha. Then I get ready for the day go to morning prayer, mass and breakfast. After that I do laundry. I'm in charge of laundry for all 30 girls. I love it. really I do. Nothing like smelling downy fresh. After laundry we have a conference / lecture. We actually have 5 classes a day. They consist of Spirituality, Morality, Regnum Christi workshop, ECYD workshop and a Mystique Course. I love learning so this is great. We also have an hour of sports. I usualy play basketball and am getting back to being decent. :) I've got to wrap this up as free time is endning so I'll briefly lay out the other activities of the day. Mid day prayer, lunch, night prayer, dinner, night activity, more laundry sleep. I'm getting 8 hours a night which is awesome!

Next time I write I'll try to fill you in on the spiritual side of this whole misisonary thing. It's really pretty challenging and amazing. I know that God is working on me and opening my heart to love more than I thought possible.

OKay, away I go.

All my love,

Jessica
HHEEEYYY! I've got a ten minute break and wanted to let you that all is well in Michigan. I also found out that I wont be told where I'm going until August 12th! So everyone wait with baited breath with me. :)

Thankfully I have my own room and wearing nylons is not nearly as ridiculous as I thought it would be. I've been challenged emotionally, spiritually and mentally daily. Pray for me please.

The other girls are sweet. Younger than my little sister... like girls I taught in higschool youth group. But they are precious and I have taken on a maternal role. :) I get to hear a lot of stories and do a bit of consoling. I'm certainly in my element.

More later for sure. Right now I've got to run upstairs. I have a conference on spiritually and morality. All my love to you.

Jessica

Monday, June 30, 2008

Michigan, here I come

UUGGGHHH... I wrote a whole post and then when I went to "Publish post" it was all erased. Here I go again. Briefly.

I leave for Michigan in T-minus 6 hours. I'm finally getting excited to be embarking on this adventure. I have to push aside sadness and nervousness, but when I do I find giddy-ness. :)

I'll be in Michigan for the next 6 weeks for missionary training. I'm not entirely sure what the schedule entails and if we even have Internet time... please lord, let them have something better than dial-up... so it may be a while before I can blog again. As soon as I find out where I'm going I'll figure out a way to post it on here, so stay tuned. Right now I'm thinking Atlanta or New York would be nice. If they want to send me outside of the US I wouldn't complain about Ireland or Spain. I'm seriously praying I stay in the US though. However, I have complete confidence that I'll be put where God wants me and that is where, without a doubt, I'll be happiest.

Please keep me in your prayers as I start this journey. I need them. Also, be assured of mine. I'll pray every night "God bless anyone who actually reads my blog ;)"

Off to packing I go. Only a handful of stuff left.

all my love,
Jessica

Friday, June 27, 2008

emotional beginning

My journey has emotionally started.

I left Austin two days ago. Down to the wire I was running around saying good-byes; bidding farewell to my home-town. I sold my car, adios Tan-Fran (that's her name.) I didn't even look back and am so thankful that I will never drive that car again. I like to think that not having tan fran again is a gift from God for giving this year. Then I cleaned out my apartment; my home sweet home of two years. All of the above was extremely surreal. At moments I felt awkward or weird that I wasn't crying with all of these good-byes. Am I really that non-emotive? I think I was living in a place of denial. It is much too hard to think that I won't see my dear friends for a while, that I'll never live in my apartment again and that really, the tides are shifting and my life isn't going to be the same. Denial seems comfortable. Reality is rough.

Fear not... I am emotive and I do have feelings. Jamon drove off last night. He is truly my provider and protector. I am so blessed and so in love. On of the most difficult things I've ever done is actually let go off him to let him drive back to San Marcos. My heart is full... but man it hurts. I can't tell you a time in my life when I've cried so intensely and still felt like I couldn't get everything out.

We took a walk last night to say a rosary together, to really storm heaven with prayers that God gives us the strength and the grace we need to make it through this year apart. I think I may need to say 150 more Rosaries today. My heart has never been so sad and my life left with such a throbbing hurt. I've spent the vast majority of the past 5 months with Jamon and for him to not be around is a gut-wrenching reality. Truly... this chapter of my life is happening. I am giving it up like I told Christ, out of love for Him, I would do. Trust, there is a peace... and I know I'll be strong and make it through this. But I do ask you for something. I ask you for prayers. Please pray for me that I continue to seek Christ and that He bring joy, peace and comfort to both Jamon and myself during this grace filled, challenging time in our relationship. To God be all the glory.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1 Peter 1:6-8

Last night in adoration this verse really spoke to me. I read it and said... Ohhh. I should put that on the blog. :) Nice.

Please read it. It fits perfectly with my post from the other day about leaving everything behind out of love for Christ.


"In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy." -1 Peter 1:6-8

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Torchy's

I had Torchy's tacos for lunch today (which by the way will be one of the things I miss most about Austin) and was delighted to enjoy a nookie. Yes, a nookie; a little ball of chocolate chip cookie dough, rolled in cornflakes and deep fried. WHEW! Delish! Step aside deep-fried twinkies, oreos, and corndogs. Nookie takes the cake on artery clogging goodness!

On another note. What are you supposed to do with pens and post-it notes? I've got a stack sitting on my desk and am extremely torn about what to do with them. Throw them away? Pack them for next year when I get back? It should be so simple.

I'm going to put my psychology studies to good use here and suggest that maybe I'm having issues letting go of things. Maybe the post-its symbolize my fear of leaving behind people. I'm by no means suggesting that I'm contemplating pitching some people to the curb. I think I'm just concerned with how some relationships will fare in my physical absence. One of the most beloved things to me in this city are the people living in it. My dear Meredith gave me a sign that reads "The best things in life aren't things." It is a very simple truth. The relationships that I've been a part of in the past 4 years in Austin are a bountiful blessing in my life and certainly are some of the "best things." I have friends from all walks of life in all stages of all ages. Each person brings something unique to my life and I wouldn't be the same without them.

So... Cheers to you my dear friends. Because of the grace of God and you, I have the desire to do something to affect change in our world. I believe you all deserve the best. In response to that, you deserve the best out of me that I can give. :) I leave with a desire to become the best version of myself by giving myself. To learn to love unconditionally and to serve the way I was taught... as Jesus served.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Limbo

So if the past two days are indicative of how I'm going to keep this blog updated then I'll be a champion. :)

Today is Sunday. I leave Wednesday. Right now I'm at the point of a move where I wish I was already gone or not going anywhere. Moving limbo is such a weird time. I've said most of my good-byes except for a couple that I'll wait to say until the very last minute... we're talking, I'm pulling out of my parking space waving adios.

All of that aside. As I'm getting ready to go to my last going away party I found myself asking "Why am I doing this?" The only answer I could come up with was the one I gave my niece Faith when she asked me a couple of days ago why I'm leaving. I told her "Because I love Jesus the most." She smiled and gave me a thumbs up! I love young innocence. Now this is an answer that some will get, some will scoff at and some just won't understand at all. That's okay. I'm not leaving to do this missionary work for anyone else. I do love Jesus. He loved me first. I'll do whatever it is He asks. I want to help others to know that love. I hope that I've spent my life and all the encounters I've had with people showing the love I have for Christ to them, by loving them.

I guess that's it. I hope that when I start to forget why and what I'm doing, I can read "Because I love Jesus and He loved me first..." and remember.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blog Post #1...



Here I go.

I thought this picture was appropriate. It shows how I'm approaching my year as a co-worker / missionary. I'm open... I'm excited. The world is my oyster. :)

I'm also nervous.

I leave Austin in 3.5 days. Have I done everything I want to do? Have I said good-bye to everyone I wanted to? Have I had my share of Firemans 4 beer? Ha! You know... if I haven't done all these things it'll be fine. I'm only gone for a year. 365 days. That's nothin! I am ready and thankful for the opportunity to serve Christ in this way. I pray that He uses me to touch people's lives and to bring a smile to those I encounter. I also pray that He breaks me where I need to be broken; that I come back to Austin a kinder, less judgemental, less prideful, more open person.

Let it begin.