October 31, 2010

Hold The Pen.

Today was Sunday.

Everyone got an extra hour of sleep because of the whole “push your clocks back one hour” deal, so this morning at church we were all in pretty good and rowdy moods. Today was the first day where I actually felt completely rested too. After church and lunch, I ran up to the tea room and poured boiling water into my hot water bottle and hung out in the Honeycomb (lounge) for like…four hours. It was nothing short of awesome. I talked with so many different people today, it was great. I even memorized two of my memory verses and said them to staff members! Usually at this time in the evening we have a lecture, a social event, or a show, or something. But this evening is totally free and open-ended; I decided to take this time to blog while listening to Taylor Swift’s new album online. :)
What I loved most about today is admitting to a whole table of people that my dream is to write a book one day. To be honest, I always feel silly when I spill this because it’s almost like saying “I’m gonna land a record deal and begin touring in the fall”. It almost sounds unreachable. It’s like one of those dreams where people react with snorting and eye-rolling gestures. But here at this table, nobody did that. Everyone replied with their own cool’s! and awesome’s! and offered so much encouragement and advice.
It felt nice to be real and to be listened to. To declare and verbalize what your ambitions are is like opening a window to your soul, because your dreams define who you are as a person.
I can’t imagine landing myself in a career where I have to work for myself, or for the money. I want to help people; I want for it to count, and I want to love every minute of it. I hope you understand what I mean, because if I can’t communicate in writing, I don’t know how else I could communicate.
If you still can’t make sense of what I’m saying about my dream, then I’m going to be completely blunt and completely straightforward about this: I want to write for the rest of my life; I want to write books for teenage girls and to reach out to them the same way these books reached out to me. But, I want God to hold the pen. I think he can work through me. Nah, I don’t think, I know he can work through me. And I can’t see myself doing anything else but writing.
And as for my ultimate most impractical dream…I’d want to travel the world, and write about it every train ride, boat ride, and step of the way. Ahh! It just makes me so happy to even imagine it. If somebody asked me, “hey jenni, would you rather fall in love with the man of your dreams, or travel the world for the rest of your life?” I wouldn’t know what to say. Is that crazy? And I call this dream impractical only because it costs to travel, especially if you travel my style with your only investments being in food, chocolate, postcards, ice cream, and train tickets.
So right now I’m just trying not to freak myself out about what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, or even next year! The last thing I want to do is waste my time stressing about my future when I’m living in freaking Europe. Europe! Has it hit me yet, that I’m currently residing in such a lovely geographical location? Nope, not at all.
I actually spend a lot of time asking God what he has willed for my life, but he hasn’t really been replying to my emails…But I do know that he hears me, since I’ve never gotten one of those “return to sender” messages…
OK...Jenni is getting delirious and needs to leave before she embarrasses herself any more. If any of you have some advice for me and my dreams, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading, and good night!

October 30, 2010


Have you ever felt content? Like just satisfyingly content? I’m laying beneath my peach-toned duvet, with my “Germany” playlist (strictly Jon Foreman, Taylor Swift, Vanessa Carlton, Miranda Lambert, David Nail, and Chuck Wicks) resounding in my ears, a fleecy hot water bottle caressing my bare feet, and European mineral water engraved in my lips. Yes, I am content. You may ask, how can this be, with your unwashed hair, your excess fat lining the waist of your jeans, your tired eyes, and your cold, dry skin? You’re not in love, you haven’t won an award or trophy for your talents, you haven’t folded your clothes in awhile, and you find yourself trekking through Italy, India, and Indonesia during lecture classes. How could you possibly be content?
Well, I answer. It’s simply this: I don’t need all of those things to feel joy splashing about in my veins. I don’t need attention from masculine souls to be happy, and sometimes getting enough sleep and exercise just doesn’t cut it. What I’ve found is that like the Beatles once exclaimed…all you need is love. Yep. That’s it. All you really do need is love! Love the people you love, do what you love to do, and be who you love to be.
Love the people you love: Everyday I’m gradually beginning to grasp my wish-list of the kinds of people I want in my life, and the reasons why I love them. And everyday it’s safe to say that I’m checking off this wish-list with the encounters of acquaintances and all the while developing deeper friendships. I’ve also kept in a corner of my mind the ones who live an ocean apart from me, who are the ones I’ve loved my whole life, and are the ones who have in return loved me. I miss them. I love them. And I’m counting down the days until Christmas when I get to be with them again. (50 days!)
Do what you love to do: These days I’m living in a land of euphoria, because I’m doing what I love to do. I’m drawing. I’m painting. I’m writing. I’m reading (The Bible, a missionary biography, a fine piece by Robin Jones Gunn, and Eat Pray Love). I’m blogging. My work duty has been promoted from dining-hall floor-vacuumer, to kitchen vegetable prep girl (I cut oodles of lettuce, dice tomatoes, core apples, and peel onions until I’m standing in a puddle of stinging tears and my hands smell “oniony” for the next seven days.) I’m jumping onto random buses and indulging in salami pizza with wonderful people. I’m finding little soul-mate treasures at German flea markets. I’m singing. I’m walking cobblestone streets. I’m playing basketball (horribly). I’m stargazing. I’m learning how to say hello/good day/good morning/good afternoon/good evening in Korean (An Nyung Ha Se Ho)! I’m buying little pins to add to my pin collection, which is portrayed on my fringe purse. I’m sending out I Wish You Were Here’s with letters and postcards. I’m eating chocolate every single day. I can’t remember the last time I cried out of sadness. But most of all, I’m learning more and more about Jesus.
And be who you want to be: This has always been a struggle for me. Many times, being myself hasn’t been good enough for my standards. So I’ve tried to be someone else; I’ve tried tipping the scale to the extroverted side. Being loud and chatty wasn’t for me, or me. Being overwhelmingly outgoing wasn’t for me, or me. I’ve pretended to like things I didn’t really like, and I’ve done things that I could’ve done without. I’ve feared rejection and failure to the point of living like a cabbage, you know how it is, if you don’t try then you’ll be sure to never fail, so don’t try. –Cue slap in the face, bucket of ice cold water, and hard brick wall- What’s the use living like that? These recent handprints, ice cubes, and structured rock piles have done me good.
Brunch is in t-minus 5 minutes. Happy Saturday!

October 19, 2010

Silent, or Spoken.

It’s 3:23 in the afternoon and I’m sitting in the school library. I seem to have a certain love for libraries, especially this one. The minute you walk in your nostrils are flooded with the thick scent of old pages and bent spines, and this tiny four-walled room is lit with white sunlight pouring in through the windows. But, the real reason I love this room most, is because it puts thoughts in my head…thoughts of peace, tranquility, and drive. This room inspires me to no end. When I sit in this chair with my forearms upon this desk, all I want to do is write, and all I care about is letters, words, or silly feelings and dreams sprawled across thin paper. When I sit in this chair, time means nothing to me; its ticking notion is but a distant memory in the corner of my mind. When I sit in this chair, I don’t remember where I am, nor do I even care.

So now that I’m in such a place at this very moment in time, with Jon Foreman singing in my ears, I’m going to admit to you that good things are happening. I feel like I’m gradually growing. Slowly, steadily, and at a snails pace, one might say. Especially in my faith, and especially in my confidence.

If there’s one thing I’ve never told anyone other than my own soul, it’s that I’ve always had a problem with praying aloud. Out loud. I remember back in my Sunday school days, when the teacher would ask for volunteers to pray for the class, I’d always hide in my seat and cringe. Just the mere thought of hearing my own voice speaking to thin air, with everybody’s ears tuned in my direction, was pure torture. I don’t know if I could blame it on my own psychological differences, or just on my environment, since every other kid in the class hid their own faces as well; as if we planned to synchronize our fearful bodies to slide beneath the table. I grew up believing that this uniformed act was normal. Even with my own friends, the thought of prayer was non-existent. Sure, we were in constant prayer with God while we were together, but physically praying together just wasn’t something that you did with your friends. In my mind I developed the belief that prayer was the epitome of personal; it’s a conversation between your mind, and Jesus Christ.

Then when my first year at university came around, it hit me like a brick wall. During our dorm meetings, our concerts, our classrooms, I couldn’t believe how eagerly most people were to pray out loud for their fellow colleagues. And as much as I hate to admit it, my initial reaction was, “really? What’s wrong with you? Why would you even want to do such a thing?” When I attended a prayer night at this university, I can’t even recall ever speaking a word within my small group; I just couldn’t bring myself to pray out loud, with my voice and with my lips. Nonetheless, I sat still in silent prayer and wearing listening ears. When my best friend pulled me aside, embraced me, and started praying for me, all I could do was cry. Even though she was my best friend, and so very comfortable with her, I just couldn’t pray any words back to her.

These experiences left me feeling spiritually empty. I always wondered why God never gave me the desire to pray out loud for people, and with people; with my own family and friends. This spiritual desert then drained my every being into a pool of low self-esteem. When I heard beautiful prayers of poetry, like silk coming from their lips, and passion beyond belief, I convinced myself that even if I did try to pray aloud, it would be simply awful. Hearing my sandpaper sentences against their silk speeches was something I’d never want to risk. And that my friends, is what I call lack of confidence.

I then came to Bible school in Germany. I would absolutely love to write that my confidence is now skyrocketing through the roof and that I’m the official prayer leader for Sunday morning worship, but that would be a lie. My confidence is not skyrocketing through the roof, and I’m definitely not the official prayer leader for the Sunday morning worship service. But what I can truthfully exclaim to the world is that I’m no longer finding confidence in myself, but in Jesus who lives inside of me. With his confidence, I am doing things I never could’ve pictured myself doing in a million years. I have voluntarily prayed out loud in front of my peers, knowing that my “sandpaper sentences” are sandpaper sentences from God. I have also joined a sing team, where recently I’ve been forcing myself to sing out loud in front of others, at times by myself. And with this sing team, when we go on outreaches I may have to say my testimony standing at the front of a church. I’m doing all of these things that I can’t believe I’m doing.

I wish I could tread through this topic more, but my sense of academic responsibility is kicking in. What I’d like to end with is that it doesn’t matter what you’re prayer sounds like. I’ve always had a problem with caring too much about what people thought of me, so I just need to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what language you speak, how charismatic you are, or the number of descriptive and gorgeous words you can fit into your speech; what matters is making sure your heart is in it. God knows your heart, and he hears your prayers, silent or spoken.

October 14, 2010

Thai Food & Paris Awaiting.

Today was such an awesome day. After three amazing lectures this morning, I skipped our usual free lunches, and went for Thai food with a friend. There's this delicious thai restaurant just down the street from the school. Our first choice was to indulge ourselves in french-fry pizza (yes, cheese pizza covered in french fries, you heard right!!!) but Germany has such weird hours for restaurants. Most only open at 5 PM. But this Thai place was open and it was the perfect place for some much needed, one-on-one, girl-talk.

To be honest, (does anyone else feel like I use that phrase alot? "to be honest?" Ah well, I guess I'm just an honest person) here at this school you meet so many people in so few days, that alot of the relationships are more on the...shallow side. Now, please don't misunderstand or misquote me. What I mean is that with most people, not all, but with most, the conversations consist of "dude, let's bike to Kaufland " or "what are you doing for travel weekend?" or "how about that lecture?!?" Other than our K-group meetings (small-groups) testimony sharing nights, late night bedroom talks, there's not much opportunity for intimate moments with people. There's always things to do, books to read, or places to see. Everyone, including myself is so caught up in trying to see everyone, and do everything that it's easy to just leave....depth out of conversations.

So what I'm getting at, is that this one-on-one girl talk I had at this Thai restaurant was absolutely amazing. We talked about so many things, that were actually DEEP and heart-filled. It was absolutely wonderful. I love learning about other people and their life stories. I have been craving this amount of depth for quite a long time, and I still am. I hope this is making sense.

I'm pumped that I had a chance to blog tonight! That makes me happy. I love keeping in touch with ya'll.
Oh one last ounce of news, we're offered a "Travel Weekend" in November and then again in the spring. Which is where we can choose to go anywhere in the world we want to, and I am going...to...PARIS!!!

How will I ever sleep tonight? :)

October 13, 2010

Astronomical Grace

I don't even know what to say. There's so much on my mind these days. The lectures spoken by Peter Reid are...amazing. Absolutely amazing. I learn something one minute, prepare to soak it all in, and then I'm bombarded with more words of wisdom. It's almost overwhelming...but it's a good kind of overwhelming. If that makes sense. I think I'm gonna start putting some of these things I'm learning on this blog.

Last night after dinner, something upset me. I'm not gonna get into, but I walked into lectures with a terrible mindset. One that said, "I'm gonna sit here, slouching in my seat. I'm not gonna write a thing down, because I just don't feel like it. Pffff!" Eventually I started pickin' up my pen and my posture, but only because I felt that it would look better, or more aesthetically appealing, and that I may as well just suck it up. Vain? Yes.

Then the teacher showed us a 43 minute clip on the projector. It was called "Indescribable" --a sermon preached by a man named Louie Giglio. Even though I had seen this video once before from my sunday school days, it still blew my mind. And to be honest, my mindset changed in a snap. His sermon was like a slap in the face, reminding me how small I really am, along with my problems, and how big God is. To put it boldly, God is HUGE. In the video Louie shows the very first picture ever taken of our planet earth. It's gorgeous, it's beautiful. Then he shows us a picture of the milky way, the galaxy in which our earth sits. Then he shows a picture of what our galaxy is sitting in. Then he showed a picture of something so amazing that I'm not even gonna try and describe it on this blog. Immediately I shook my head. What a fool I am for believing for even a second that my problems could even compare to something like that. What was bothering me before lectures, didn't mean a thing to me after this video. I felt like screaming to the whole world: Um, excuse me, but we are all just mere specks of dust in God's amazing creation!!

But what really gets me, is the fact that even though I feel so extremely small, along with my problems, concerns, issues, fears, and worries..is that God actually cares about them. He actually CARES. "You have kept record of my days of wandering; you have stored my tears in your bottle and have counted each of them." Psalm 56:8 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, because it reminds me of his love for me. Me and You.

I want to encourage to whoever is reading this, to watch that video (I'd link it to here, but Youtube is blocked here), and just let it be reminder to you. Or maybe let it even be a revolution to you. The stars in the sky are an example of God's astronomical grace. I mean, how could you look at sights like the stars, the sun, the moon, even the Swiss Alps and not believe that there was a creator?

Love Jenny.

October 10, 2010

10K Part Two

So...about that 10K race...

Oh man, I have never felt so accomplished in my life. I seriously could have ran another 10K after that, I felt so good.
Like, what an experience, running a 10K race in some little German town! Wow!
The scenery was gorgeous. We ran down cobblestone streets, weaving past little shutter-windowed houses,  in the grass, through a lovely aroma-filled meadow, I saw the tallest corn field in the world, and all the german citizens were cheering us on. At the end of the race they gave us hot tea in little plastic cups.
I recommend 10K races to EVERYONE. I officially love running.
I mean, if I can run 10K in one hour and five minutes, anyone can. :D

October 9, 2010


So, yesterday I wrote the most amazing blog entry ever, and then the wireless cut out and only half of it got saved onto my draft. And of course I'm much too lazy/time-constrained to attempt writing anything up to par.

Yesterday was International night; I wore my Canadian flags and red war paint proudly. Today I went to a flea market. I bought a bracelet, and a miniature antique globe. And tomorrow...I'm going on a 10K run. So just to warn you, I may not be alive by this time tomorrow. It was nice knowing ya'll.

Guten Nacht. :)

October 6, 2010

A Day in the Life.

"Wow, it has sure been a long time since I've dusted off the old blog. For the sake of my family and close friends (and whoever else may be even slightly interested), I decided that I'm going to fill you in on what my daily schedule is like here at bible school in Germany. Here we go!
First, the appointed cow-bell ringer (its an obnoxious sound, but we remember not to shoot the messenger) goes through all the dorms and wakes us all up at 7:15. I get dressed in 15 minutes (easy as pie) and we all head to the dining hall for breakfast from 7:30-8:00. Each of us were given certain work duties that we do for 4 weeks, and then we all switch them up; some are granted cleaning floors, vegetable prep, scrubbing toilets (Heaven forbid I ever get that job!!!), and then there's me...dining hall vacuumer! I, believe it or not, along with a fellow man-friend, vacuum the dining all three times a day for 4 weeks. If my math is correct, this means I vacuum 84 times these four weeks, all adding up to 21 hours. WHAT AN HONOUR. My right bicep is gonna be bulging in no time!
Anyway, back to my exciting daily schedule. After I'm done my breakfast vacuuming duty, I have about 45 minutes to spare before lecture, so if I'm not socializing, then I'm reading my Bible or I'm walking down to the lake with my iPod. This morning the lake was coated with whispy fog and the 12 swans were disappearing one by one into this soft grey blanket. It was absolutely beautiful. It was probably the first time I had ever been alone since school started. (weirdly enough, I haven't been craving my alone-time nearly as much as I did last year. hmm...)
When 9 AM rolls around, all 108 of us sit ourselves down in the lecture hall. These lectures are awesome, that's all I'm gonna say. Oh wait, I guess I could include that during the morning lectures I'm extremely fatigued and always come very close to falling asleep. But it's all good.
At 10:10 we have a fifteen minute coffee break, which is when we all head into the Honeycomb for some coffee, tea, sandwiches, and fruit. (I LOVE FOOD) Then we have another lecture until 12:30, which is divided into two with a 5 minute break.
Lunch is at 12:30 in the dining hall. Which means that...you guessed it! Vacuuming time!! So from lunch time 'till 5:45 is free time. During this free time (frei zeit) I usually: bike to Friedrichshafen, shop at H&M, buy some Bounty Bar ice cream, bike some more, walk to Kaufland (supermarket), play volleyball, hang out in the Honeycomb, tan, go boating, jump in the lake, check my facebook for like a total of 5 seconds, read my Bible, and all of this includes being surrounded by incredibly awesome people.
After supper is finished, I vacuum AGAIN, for the last but not least time of the day. Then I usually play volleyball, or attend some kind of group meeting. We then have lectures from 7:15 till 9 PM, divided with a 10 minute break.
After lectures is either a) a super awesome & spontaneous sweaty dance party, b) a party in the sauna, c) jumping into the freezing cold lake, or d) owning people at Fuss-ball.
Then lights are out at 11 PM. Now, just imagine...what also takes place during this time, is me eating Crispy M&Ms, ice cream, and Bounty Bars any second I have free. I also STILL have a cold, how annoying. Oh, also imagine doing all of these daily activities with a dislocated rib. Yes folks, it's true, I'm pretty positive I have a dislocated rib. I was laying in bed one night, feeling my left rib, then my right rib, and then my left rib again. Talk about a huge difference. My left rib is definitely juttin' out or something. After I psoted my last blog entry titled "Cough" a friend emailed me and said that it could be worse than just a pulled muscle...in fact, it could be a dislocated rib. I googled it and sure enough, it's totally possible and the symptoms seem to match up. I'm too lazy/busy to figure out what I should do, but if one of you emails me and tells me that I have to go get surgery on it, then FORGET IT!!! I have zero pain tolerance. Plus, who dislocates their rib from coughing? Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be, waltzing into the hospital and having to exclaim "yeah, I'm just an intense cougher. No big deal." Sigh.

Oh, and I swear everyday someone comes up to me and is like "You have Taylor Swift hair!" And then I just melt. There's no greater compliment. Well...there is, but in all seriousness, it makes my day. (p.s- her new album comes out on the 25th!!)
Last week I hiked a Swiss Alp! I wanted to die meanwhile, but the view made it all so worth it. Like, wow. I will post pictures on facebook one day. One day...
Anyway, I left out a whole bunch of details, but that's OK. I'm just proud of myself for actually being able to sit down and write for a bit. I'm definitely behind on my Bible reading right now. I blame the amazing weather and the amazing people who are effortlessly skilled at distracting me.

This blog entry definitely does not portray my writing skill whatsoever, in fact I probably sound like I'm a little high-school girl writing her in diary about a boy. Ha haaaa.
Love you all, and good night! Hi Mom! :)