Friday, January 30, 2009


I was annoyed for a whole two minutes today. Once again, after five years of working at the university, I had to go hunt for my payroll check. It is not picked up regularly from payroll - sometimes person X picks it up, sometimes person Y picks it up, sometimes no one picks it up, sometimes I don't locate it until several days afterwards, and bill situations get tight.

Yes, I know, I could have it directly deposited, but because my assistantship money comes out of different funds or grants each semester, I was advised against that. I was recently informed that it no longer mattered, that all of the hitches were ironed out, but now that I am leaving in 6 months, I see no reason to do the direct deposit.

So, I was annoyed.

And then, I began to feel very very small.

"Hey there," the little voice said, "at least you have a paycheck this month. Remember so and so who doesn't have a job...remember so and so who is having to take odd jobs whenever he can just to still come short of paying the bills...Like I said, at least you have a paycheck this month."

So, I am no longer annoyed, just ashamed. And grateful - for my job, for being paid to learn and teach. Thank you, little voice, for the perspective.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 Random Things

I did this for Facebook, and it was really fun to read others posts, so I thought I'd share it here too and encourage you to do the same...

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

25 random things about me:
1. I lose my keys at least 2x a day. This means I lose my mind at least 2x a day.
2. I’ve been skydiving, but Brent is actually the more adventurous one – just ask the stingrays in Cancun.
3. Cruises are my favorite.
4. I am a master burp artist. I accidentally burped one time when singing the National Anthem at a race...but I don't think anyone heard it - they hired me again the next year :)
5. I am terrified of grasshoppers and crickets. I have a reason. It is valid.
6. I have completed a sprint triathlon and a half-marathon. I am an “Athena” and I am proud of it.
7. I’m a Federali. ;)
8. My marriage works because my husband is a comedian. And we go to God when it is hard.
9. I gain weight like it is my job – one of those really easy ones that require little effort and that you can never get fired from.
10. I love my feet and hands. They are my best feature.
11. I wish I were sometimes more bold in the expression of my faith.
12. My goal is to Love God and Love Others, and to “at all times be a witness – when necessary, use words.”
13. I love American Sign Language. Once I finish my doc, I will be looking into Interpreter certification.
14. I know every song from Beaches, Sound of Music, Wicked, Les Miserables, White Christmas, Chicago, Dirty Dancing, Grease, “Queen to be” from Coming to America…and many more. When I sing these songs, I do so at the top of my lungs and with theatrical gestures. I am a movie and music FREAK!
15. I have cancelled plans and avoided people because I thought I was too ugly and fat to walk out of the house. Of course, I give other reasons, and I know this is wrong.
16. I am accident prone – just ask the treadmill at BodyPlex in Athens, and my bike, and Brent, and Jonathan, and…
17. I have been attacked by a dog during a run – I had to run all the way home and drive myself to the EMT station.
18. I have a tattoo. If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn’t.
19. I am not naturally social – I am an introvert and it takes work for me. Most of my social skills were learned waitressing and bartending.
20. I am ENTHUSIASTIC about things that I like, love, and that inspire me. This includes my career, which allows me to, not change the world but, change someone’s world.
21. The only other emotions (besides #20) that I easily express are sympathy/empathy. I rarely cry and when I do, it’s the volcanic ugly snotty sobbing unintelligible uncontrollable version, which usually occurs at an extremely inopportune time.
22. My last office was actually a closet. Seriously – it is now the paper closet.
23. I hate talking on the phone, for three primary reasons: 1) an extended long distance relationship w/ my now husband that began in 1998 and just ended when he separated from the Air Force in 2007, 2) I can’t hear very well and have a difficult time understanding , and 3) people lie – I don’t trust words alone, I need to be looking at them.
24. My family has given me the greatest joy and has also caused me the greatest pain.
25. I have vowed to learn something new, every day, for the rest of my life

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Miracle: An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

I believe in miracles again. Several things happened during the Christmas season that restored this belief. No, holidays with the family was not smooth, everyone did not get along, etc. I did not bring about household, family, city, county, state, national, or world peace. I did not magically lose the weight I wanted to lose, nor did I get any younger.

And I don't know that I really ever stopped believing in miracles, but I had definitely stopped seeing them - if they were happening, I was not aware. I think it goes back to that "inexplicable" part of the definition - everything I do these days for my career involves explaining, theorizing, proving, researching, etc. My eyes were closed to that phenomenon called a "miracle."

Over the Christmas holidays, my church put on a production called "The Christmas Post". This play was based upon a Norman Rockwell painting and was set in the 1940s. That was not the miracle. Everyone had a great time and the message was very positive, and appropriate for these difficult economic times. The play went very smoothly and people were blessed. That was not the miracle.

Here is what you have been waiting for:
Leaders in our Deaf ministry at church - myself recently included, rounding out the Deaf team to a grand total of 3 members - wanted our Deaf member and her family to be able to enjoy the play. Keep in mind please that I am really only a beginner-intermediate level, Karen is intermediate+, and Ms. Davis is a certified interpreter. There were ~ 6 main characters in this play, with other bit parts, and many many songs. And dialogue was interesting - words and phrases we don't even use anymore that are difficult if not impossible to translate to ASL. And we had no opportunities to practice with each other as a group, or during a play practice.

So, you are getting the picture. The entire time we were preparing, individually, we were very concerned that we would not be able to adequately convey the message to our Deaf friend - the jokes, the humor, the plays on words, etc.. We also had no idea how we were going to "play" all of the characters.

And here is the miracle ("finally", I hear you say). Our hands worked, our fingers flew, we don't know how. She laughed at every joke, she cried at the touching ending, she GOT it, and we don't know how. It really shouldn't have happened that way - we didn't have the ability, we didn't have the preparation, etc.

Except we do know how. Miracle: An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

More on other miracles later.
Love - Jess

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

valuable advice I found

I can't remember where I found this, so I apologize for not providing the reference for you, but it has really been helpful advice for me...
Enjoy - Jess

The next time you see a person with whom you have a challenging relationship here are four steps you can take:

1. Mentally say to yourself, "Here comes my teacher."

2. Become aware of what qualities in this person are most irritating to you and try to identify in what ways these qualities reflect your own tendencies.

3. Remind yourself that this person, though a "teaching tool" for you, has his/her individual journey, and was this way before you, is this way with you, and will be this way after you. So, do not take it personally.

4. After having an encounter with this person, whether planned or unexpected, find a quiet place to do this short mental exercise: Close your eyes. Imagine a beam of white light coming out of your chest. As it extends about two feet beyond your body, see it curving to your right till it makes a complete circle around you. See the person in the distance. Breathe out gently and see your circle of light expanding in all directions until it embraces the person, and as it does, see the person lifting his/her eyes at you and smiling. Then open your eyes. Do this exercise for one week.