Just Moved

I’ve decided it is time for a change. Or… it’s time to have a new blog to represent the changes in my life now. So, without further ado: http://www.theolojen.com
I know – clever domain, no?
Please be advised that this is a different sort of blog – more for me than for you (sorry. sounds selfish, I know). For more info, please read the ‘blog rules’ page when you get to the site. Thanks for reading!


Sunday Speech

My little speech went pretty well. I didn’t forget to breathe enough to pass out, I made eye contact with the congregation and I believe I smiled. Who knows. As some sort of defense mechanism my mind goes completely blank when I am speaking – blank other than exactly what I am saying and exactly what I will be saying next. My audience may have laughed at one of my dumb jokes. I had trouble getting out from behind the pulpit – I was kind of blocked in between the podium and the chair PA was sitting in behind me – I was shaking terribly. Thankfully (no really, thank you) show choir taught me how to hide my fear and push through.

Otherwise, today went well. I had wonderfully cheap smoothies with Jane, bought ‘The Girl who plays with fire’ – the sequel to ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’ and got to eat good food, even if it was by myself. I think I see a trip to the park with my new book in my immediate future….

Unemployment Chaos

Just hanging out, eating spicy noodles at Chin’s. Did some work at church today, like cordoning off part of the basement, calling another church, and writing a short note for the announcements on Sunday.

It’s starting to look like I will have a lot more responsibility when Amanda is gone than I originally expected! This is both exciting and makes me feel this sense of upcoming doom. I can’t explain it. Turns out I will be coordinating worship. Yes, you heard me. I will be writing bulletins, coordinating speakers and ideas and themes and music and on and on. Feels like a big task to me, but it’s exciting to have so much to do, too.

I got a new, pretty laptop friend for seminary this fall – his name is Garrett (I’ve named him after the seminary that I won’t be attending, lol). He’s a handsome, 13inch MacBook Pro. Man is he sexy! We’ve gotten along just swell thus far – sometimes I wonder how he gets his information – there’s already pictures on here that I’ve taken.. but I didn’t put them on. He must be psychic and magic. I can deal with that.

This scholarship application won’t write itself, so I better get back to it. 🙂 Happy Summer!


Lately, health has taken over my life.  It’s an overwhelming subject when it creeps into your everyday.  There are so many aspects to think about.  The ‘healthy living’ idea is probably what most people my age think about when they hear ‘health’.  Eating right/dieting, exercising, etc.  I’ve been on that type of ‘health’ kick for a while now, and it has been quite successful, actually.  Since January, I’ve lost nearly 20lbs.  I’ve been running at least 3 times a week lately and have tried to restrict my calories to less than 1,400.  So that’s grand.

As a preschool teacher, there’s always the ‘not coughing/sneezing/feeling disgusting’ type of health.  I haven’t experienced a whole lot of time in that realm of health since November, when I started down the ‘working with children’ path.  Shortly after recovering from one cold, I would begin another.  Hopefully the one that began this Saturday will be my last child-induced cold.

Overall, despite still being overweight and having a downer cold, I am healthy.  I’m strong, have good teeth and (as far as I know) lack any diseases or disorders.  But, not everyone around me has this type of luxury.  Recently (Good Friday) Todd, a man from my church, was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his 35ish years.  I know people always say it, but, he’s a great guy who just doesn’t deserve what he’s been dealt.  He and his wife of two years also just found out that they are expecting in December AND they just moved into a new house last week.  Less than two weeks ago he had surgery on the mass in his chest and I was there for the pre-op with Amanda.  She asked me to come along to see what that facet of ministry was like – She’s been wonderful in the ‘give Jen experience for the future’ realm.  This was an absolutely amazing experience.  I was nervous about being a stranger in a serious family event, but these people just opened their hearts to me… it was truly humbling. To be in the pre-op room last, to hold Todd’s hand as Amanda prayed with us… I can’t describe it.  Then we found out that the cancer had spread to his esophagus and that there is little to be done with that… The danger of getting in close to tense, scary situations is the possibility of getting caught in the explosion if things don’t go well.  Everyone is afraid about what might happen, what’s likely to happen really.  Amanda is taking it very hard, trying to support Todd and his family and live up to everyone’s expectation of her embodiment of the link to God.  It breaks my heart to see her leafing through hospice pamphlets to find something to say or offer.

Then, today when I came into work, I stopped by the toddler room (cause that’s where my heart is, really). I was greeted with ‘Have you heard about Kaylee?’ and three sets of eyes on my reaction.  No, I said.  But I knew that she had been sick for quite some time.  Last week when her mom was dropping off Kaylee’s sister, Kaylee was along for the ride, but she was gone. You know when you’re really sick and you can’t really focus on anything or want to do anything?  That was this toe-headed 18mo old.  I figured is made sense, she had an ear infection and strep throat – Nobody would feel like playing.  Well, this morning I jokingly followed my ‘no’ with, ‘She’s not dead, is she?’.  And the teachers looked at each other and…’well… no.  But she needs a bone marrow transplant’.  Apparently Kaylee has stopped producing red blood cells.  The don’t know what’s wrong yet but they can’t do more tests until they can get more blood from her.  Of course, we are all thinking leukemia.  Praying that it’s not.

Lately I have been ultra grumpy and irritable – a lot of it could be due to those situations above or at least the repercussions of them.  Amanda is taking off FOUR WEEKS this summer on a writing hiatus.  She told me this in an excited, loud voiced announcement across her desk in her office last week.  To this I bumbled and stumbled all over myself in an attempt to comprehend what she meant, hide my sheer disappointment and be happy for her.  I do this very poorly at best.  I’ve been working very hard to convince myself that I’ve made good decisions for my future, that I am capable of what I’ve planned and that I’ll be ok when I leave Madison.  These points all have important ‘if’s behind them, the biggest of them being ‘if I get to have this summer learning and working for the church and Amanda’.  Well… I have 10 weeks left here – and now Amanda will be gone for 40% of it.  A little disclaimer – I know this is selfish.  I’ve learned to put myself first when there’s no one out there to do it for me.  So my inability to show the ‘I’m happy for Amanda’s opportunity’ ended in tears – hers.  If there’s a way to make me feel bad, this is it.  So I’ve been feeling like shit since then – mad and myself, angry at the situation.  I’m super upset by the recent change in Annual Conference plans as well, but those feelings are even more immature, so I don’t feel quite like discussing them on here.  My mental/emotional health has been a little rocky.  The health of my relationships with those closest to me haven’t fared well lately.

Last night I dreamed I was suffocating.

This is Jeopardy.

Ok, not really.  I just really want to say that in earnest someday, just like Alex Trebec.  Wait, does HE say that?  Or is it some very minor announcing role?  Whatever.

In seriousness, though, I have some news.  My last day of work will be June 11th!  The job just turned out to be not quite as I had pictured it after I mentioned that I’d be leaving in the fall.  Suddenly, I wasn’t worth putting in a room, and that means that I would be a ‘float’ for the rest of  the summer.  “Floating” means that I am a placeholder for all the ‘real teachers’ when they are on break or have a half day.  It also means that I never know what my day will be like before I get to work and they hand me a sheet of paper.  It could be with the babies, it could be with school age.  I never know.  I’m a planner.  Or at least a prepper.  Mentally.  And – ‘they’ don’t seem to care that I am extremely uncomfortable in some of the classrooms.  In school age, I had a rock thrown at me. The kids will hurt you. So – I found a way (thanks Dad!) to give the job the boot.

What will I do with my summer is to be determined.  Using today as any indication… I better find a part time job.  I had nothing scheduled.  So I had to do something.  It was amazing, actually.  Shower, bike to farmer’s market, hang out on state st., bike to picnic point, read and eat lunch, bike home.  I watched some enthralling infomercials and then noticed that I am burnt to a crisp.  And very warm.  So… now I am at church, where there is air conditioning, sort of.  I think it’s turned down because they don’t expect anyone here on a Saturday. Regardless, it’s cooler than my apartment, and has generally the same amenities, plus air!  No TV, but… remember what I was watching at home?

Amanda asked if I would consider coordinating fall christian education.  I agreed to it, because, what else am I doing?  And I made a commitment (internally) that I would do everything I could with or for Trinity before I left.  Cause then the party’s over.  I am sure it will be a good learning experience too.

There are other updates too, maybe I will write about those some other time.  A preview:

– Silent Auction Success

– Experiencing hospital pastoral counciling

– Solid summer plans

Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends!  Wear sunscreen!

This weekend will be awesome.

Farmer’s Market
Devil’s Lake

Speaking of the last bit – I kicked ass today, if I do say so myself. 30 minutes on the Treadmill produced 2.82 miles! Plus the 5 minute cool down and I’ve killed 418 calories.

My body is quite confused about how to handle the lentils. Figure it out!


Lentils!  Say it with me!  Lentils!  Wonder Miracle food, people.  16 grams of fiber per serving = amazing.  Also, legume!  Protein!  Yes. Tonight I make lentil soup:

Assemble ingredients....

Separate the good from the bad...


aaaaaaaand: Soup. Celebrate.