Friday, December 21, 2007

4 days till Christmas...




Well, we are winding down to the last few days before Christmas... 4 days to be exact. The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is more apparent than ever, and if you don't believe me, try driving a mile in less than 20 minutes!


It never ceases to amaze me that during this "joyous" season, people will cut you off to get a good parking spot, they will push over your little kid to get a sale, and they will leave you hanging at your job because they called in "sick" to finish up their last minute shopping!


It is definitely easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas: the celebration of Christ's birth! Gifts, Santa, and decorations are all fun parts of Christmas and there is nothing wrong with participating in the whole nine-yards, but don't forget to stop and reflect on what the "Christ" in Christmas represents =)


Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you enjoy the day! I know I will! I get to spend it with John, Tiff and Taylor!








Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Elf Yourself...



A friend of mine named Katie had this link on her blog: www.elfyourself.com -
I am not going to tell you about it, you have to check it out for yourselves... it's pretty cute =)

You can only "elf" 4 people at a time so here is how I broke it up:

John, Tiff and Taylor:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1170645830

Me, Charlie, and Greg:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1171662974

Mom and dad:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1189480492

Do you procrastinate?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In the big scheme of things....

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Paper Chain Countdown

I decided to make a paper chain to count down the days until I get to see Taylor, John, and Tiffani. I didn't put too much time into it, but here it is. It is kind of long - 28 days/links - so it almost made the time seem like it is going to be longer than it really is. But, I know it will go fast!




Friday, November 23, 2007

One month....

Yesterday marked the 1 month countdown until I get to see John, Tiffani, and Taylor! I am so excited! If I had time, I would make one of those paper chains and tear off a ring each day!

(Taylor and I this past summer)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Casablanca Moroccan Restaurant

Last Friday, I went to Casablanca Moroccan Restaurant with some friends from my Middle Eastern Cultures and Societies class. Our assignment is to write a paper on either a book written by a Middle Eastern author or go to a Middle Eastern Restaurant and write about the food, culture, etc. We opted for the restaurant because it was easier and more fun!

Most people who know me well know that I am pretty picky when it comes to food (can I blame my mom???). I definitely thought I would not like most of the food I was going to have to eat, if I even dared to try it! Turns out it was not that bad; I even liked some of it. Actually, the whole experience exceeded my expectations.


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The restaurant owners/employees were
dressed in clothes from their culture.


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They serve a dessert type thing before dinner.
This is a very thin, flaky pastry filled with ground lamb
and topped with powdered sugar. Very weird but
not as gross as you'd think! (Not real good either)
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They served pita bread with hummus, carrots and
red beets. I didn't like any of those. They also served
a lentil soup, which I did like.

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The dinner was "family style"- we were served spicy meatballs,
beef, lamb, chicken kabobs, rice, and a whole chicken.
It is worth noting that you get just a spoon, no fork, so you
eat with your hands (which they wash for you when you get there).
The whole chicken in this picture is eaten by just tearing off what you want!

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To promote a cultural experience, they also had entertainment: a belly dancer.
She was actually pretty good. Some people (but not me) even got up and tried to dance with her, but they were not very good.

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This is just a pic of me and a classmate. We were sitting on a bench seat and the table was in front of us, just slightly lower than knee-high. The other side of our table had cushions for people to sit on. You sat in close proximity to other tables so it is a very communal dinner.

All in all, it was a fun night and I think I will be taking my friends there sometime.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chargers v. Vikings Game

Recently, my dad and brothers, John, Charlie, and Greg, went to see the San Diego Chargers play the Minnesota Vikings (the score is irrelevant)! While there, they had their picture taken and it was added to the slide show of photos on the Chargers website!


Look at how cute they all are!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Christmas Plans!!!!

pimp myspace... and the best chance of having a white Christmas is in Minnesota!

My parents and two of my brothers, Greg and Charlie, are coming to California to spend Christmas (and the surrounding days) with our family out here: Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews...

Unfortunately, my brother John, his wife Tiffani, and their daughter Taylor will be unable to come to California because John will be working.

This made me sad so I made a decision that will enable me to spend time with my parents, ALL my brothers, Tiffani, and Taylor over the Christmas holiday. I will be flying to Minnesota to spend 5 days with John, Tiffani, and Taylor (including Christmas day) and returning to California to spend the remaining 5 days of my parents trip with them here in California.

pimp myspace

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Job Promotion

About 4 weeks ago, I posted for a new job at State Farm. I currently am a Claim Service Assistant for auto claims, or more commonly known as "secretary." The job I posted for is a Claims Processor in Fire (Homeowners) claims. I found out on Monday that I was selected for the position. There were actually about 5-6 openings and I am assuming about 25-30 applicants, both inside and outside State Farm.

Besides the obvious reward of getting the position, this has been a very good "personal development" opportunity for me. I worked hard to prepare for the interview and one of the things I did to prepare was a mock interview. Five managers from auto claims conducted a 30 minute interview with me 3 days before my real interview. I must say it was the best thing I could have done to prepare. If you are trying to get a job, you really ought to find someone to conduct a mock interview for you. As un-fun as it was, I was able to get a management perspective of my weaknesses, strengths, and a list of possible questions I was likely to be asked in the real interview. Also, having the mock interview took the edge off my nerves for the real one so I was way more relaxed and in control of my nerves when I had the real interview.

I also made a few friends along the way. Myself and another lady, who put in for one of the available positions, too (and also got it!!), compared notes on our mock interviews and potential questions, and we encouraged each other in being confident in the abilities and skills we possessed. It was so cool when we heard that we both got one of the positions!

I start this new position on December 3. I am very excited, but also nervous. It is more responsibility, which is good, but there is so much to learn. Especially since all my experience is with Auto claims, not Fire. Now I need to train a new person on the responsibilities I have now. To state fact as fact, I am the only one who knows how to do the job I do now (this was a direct result of someone retiring and myself picking up her responsibilites with almost no training. I had to figure things out as I went and I am still doing that with some things in that job).

I am totally rambling but I am going to post this, as is, because I want to go to bed!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend fun

This weekend was pretty fun...

-Friday night I went to the movie's to see "Rendition." It was a good movie about an Egyptian man who was taken out of the U.S. (away from his pregnant wife and son) to be "interrogated" (a.k.a. tortured) for information about a suspected terrorist.

-Saturday night, I played poker with my friends and ended up winning $55.00!

-And today, I went to Apple Hill!

-I also managed to write a paper and I still plan on studying for a test before the weekend is over. I refuse to sacrifice my social life for school! There is definitely a way to have a healthy balance of both!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bauer

My roommate, Rachel and I have had a cat, Bauer, for about 10 months now. I say the cat is mine and Rachel's but Bauer is actually Rachel's cat. He is super cute and my mom had been asking me to post pictures of him on my blog.


This is Bauer, just kicked back, with his little arms crossed.



Bauer sometimes squeezes into this little box.

Whenever Rachel or I am on the computer, Bauer sits on the hard drive and sometimes he sticks his head out by the keyboard.



Bauer likes to sit in little spaces; this is on a little shelf underneath the t.v. in my room.


Bauer has also claimed a spot on my bookshelf in the dining room!




Sitting in paper bags is one of Bauers favorite things, too.



Bauer is a very cute cat; he is still pretty small for being 1 year old, though. I think he might be small because he doesn't keep his food down well. He throws up about 5 times a week, which has pretty much guarenteed that we will never see our pet deposit again.

On a rolll...

So, today is the 6th day in a row that I have taken a nap! It makes such a difference! =)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Videos of Taylor

This video was taken when I was in MN last January. Taylor was trying to stand up on the couch; she was pretty successful but her little legs succumbed to gravity!

video

This second video was taken in July when I was in MN for a 2 week summer trip. video

Monday, October 15, 2007

John Piper

I went to a John Piper conference this weekend. Piper is a Pastor and author who is based out of Minneapolis, MN. This weekend, Piper spoke on the things that God takes pleasure in. First and foremost (and rightly so), God takes pleasure in himself; He is holy, perfect, and glorious.

In my own life, in a round about way, it is starting to hit home that salvation is not simply believing Jesus existed, or even that he is the Son of God. While those beliefs are essential, salvation also means that Jesus is infinitely valuable, beautiful, and glorious to the believer. It means the believer has made Jesus Lord of their life. Tonight, I was on John Piper's website, Desiring God and found an excerpt from the Q&A feature "Ask Pastor John" where Pastor John addresses this issue:


What does it mean to believe?

Q. If I believe that Jesus is the Son of God the same way that I believe that Vladimir Putin is the leader of Russia, have I fulfilled the conditions needed to be saved? Or is there more to belief than that?

A. We know that it doesn't fulfill the conditions, because the devil
believes it. And we know that the devil believes it because when Jesus came into the world and began to confront the demonic powers of the Devil, they said out loud, "We know who you are. You are the holy one of God. You are the Son of God." So the Devil is absolutely orthodox in his belief in the incarnation of the Son of God in Jesus Christ. To believe in orthodox Christology is not to be saved. The Devil is very orthodox when it comes to his understanding of Christ.

So what is missing is not believing in the fact that Jesus is the Son
of God but delighting in that fact, embracing that fact, and making Christ the treasure and the Lord of your life by surrendering to him.

In other words, "belief" is seeing him for who he really is, seeing him
as infinitely valuable as the Son of God. It's not just acknowledging the fact that he is the Son but also seeing him as infinitely precious and valuable. Satan, on the other hand, does not view God as precious and valuable. He hates Christ and Christ is a threat to his own value.

But when the Holy Spirit begins to work in our lives we're not deceived like that anymore. We recognize that our value is nothing compared to Jesus' value. Instead, we just want to know him, be with him, enjoy him, follow him, and celebrate him. That transition—that change of heart, so that we are now looking away from ourselves to Christ and embracing all that God is for us in him—that is what faith is. That is what belief is. That is what saves.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Finally, a nap!

pimp myspace I am so excited! I got to take a 5 hour nap today! The only problem is that I woke up after 8:00 pm so I hope I can still go to sleep tonight!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Results of my first homework assignment...

pimp myspaceSo, remember that paper I had to write about the Political Era of Policing? I got it back tonight and I got a 96% on it! Besides the fact that I earned a good grade, I am glad to have scored so well because I have succesfully figured out what the professor expects from our papers on the first paper I wrote... College students always go into the first test, paper, or assignment blindly, having no idea as what the professor's expectations are until you take that first test, get your first paper back, etc.


I had another "first" tonight in a test I took for my Interview and Interrogation class. The first 20 questions were multiple choice and get this, the first 19 answers were "A" and the last answer was "B" (I will confirm this when I get my test back, but I am pretty sure this is accurate because: 1- I pretty much knew the answers and 2- I saw him grading the tests when I turned mine in, which confirmed what I already knew). The rest of the test was answering 3 essay questions.

I only have 3 more "firsts" (2 of which are this week), and then I can exhale! =)pimp myspace

Thursday, October 4, 2007

When it rains, it pours!

pimp myspace


You know how the saying goes... "When it rains, it pours."

Well, it's starting to drizzle and next week it's going to be pouring when I am flooded with tests. I am not sure, but I might be willing to bet that professors have actual meetings, conspiring as to which week they are going to give tests because they always seem to give them on the same week. I am not talking about mid-terms or finals week; I am talking about the other 13 weeks of the semester. I mean, how is it that 3 of my 5 classes would have a test on the 6th week of school? The only thing that makes sense is a conspiracy! Don't professors know that I work 40 hours a week just to pay for their over-priced textbooks? That the time I spend in the evenings listening to them lecture actually replaces the time that I would spend studying? That I squeeze in 6 hours of sleep (if I am lucky) just to have enough energy to actually show up to class after work? Ahhhh... the joys of being a college student!

One nice thing about rain is that when it is all done and you dry off, the sun comes out! Rain promotes growth! Recently, I have been reflecting on this "rainy" season of my life. At the beginning of the semester, I found myself looking forward to the weekends. I would wake up Monday morning with Friday night on my mind. It quickly dawned on me though, that each day is a blessing and each day I live and breath, God has a purpose for me in it. I know I like to go on and on about how busy I am and how teachers have no empathy for students, and while that may be true, this "rainy" season is promoting growth in my life. The difference between rain pouring from the clouds and rain in the form of things like 3 tests in one week is that the Son (of God) does not wait until the rain is gone to come out. He is with me each step of the way, giving my life purpose for His glory!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Microsoft Vista- A Necessity For Every College Student

When Microsoft comes out with a new version of Windows, it takes most people a while to get used to. Even after one becomes used to the newest version of Windows, it takes even longer to "like" it. At approximately 2:20 this afternoon, I skipped the "getting used to it" step and went right to LOVING Windows Vista. Here is why...


As a college student, I have to write several papers a semester. Along with every paper comes the dreaded citation and bibliography requirements. I understand that professors want us to "give credit where credit is due" and I have no problem proving that I don't plagiarize, but it is a pain, none the less. Depending on the paper it takes up at least 1/4 of the time it took you to write the paper to cite your work and add a bibliography. Most professors require the American Psychology Association (APA) style of citing your work, but sometimes, you get a professor who wants another style. Regardless of the style, however, you still need to spend time looking up how to correctly cite various sources (Electronic, journals, online journals, school websites, books, online books, newspapers... the list is endless).


What am I getting at? Windows Vista, in all it's confusing glory, has a feature on Microsoft Word that pretty much does your citation work for you. Under the "References" menu, you click on "Manage Sources" and you just fill in the blanks, answering questions about what kind of source you are using, the author, dates, etc. As you are writing your paper, you can click on the drop down menu next to "Insert Citations" and select which of your sources you obtained the information from. The citation is instantly entered into the paragraph in the correct format. Once you are finished writing your paper, you just have to click on "Bibliography" and it inserts your entire bibliography into your paper in the citation style you had selected at the beginning. WOW!

(This image is hard to see... I added the yellow boxes to direct you)

I was so excited about this, I had to procrastinate from writing my paper again to tell everyone about it! I really think every college student should have this kind of ease when citing sources!

Ah! Homework!

While I have been back in school for 4 weeks now, today I have to complete my first homework assignment. I have to write an essay on "Policing in the Political Era". Does that sound as fun to anyone else as it does to me?

OK, I really need to stop complaining. It only has to be 3-4 pages, double spaced. And, for this particular class, my entire grade is based on doing just 4 of these short, take-home essays, which means I am in complete control of my grade... and that, I like.

Well, this blog is my first, official procrastination of the semester. I think I am going to try to bust out this essay and then reward myself with a nap =)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Belated Birthday Gift











In the mail today, I received a belated birthday gift from my brother, Charlie. He sent me "San Diego Chargers" stuff from the team store.
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The first thing was a Chargers "bolt" emblem* for my car.
The second thing they sent was fuzzy dice* for my rear-view mirror.

I definitely don't follow football like the rest of my Chargers-loving family, but I certainly feel a strong patriotism for the Chargers. Therein lies the significance of my belated birthday gifts from Charlie (well, besides the fact that they're significant because Charlie bought them for me)! Advantageously, the Chargers' team colors match the color of my car! (Did I use "advantageously" correctly? I liked the way it sounded...?)

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* Chargers "bolt" emblem and fuzzy dice pictures were taken from http://www.chargersproshop.com/ where you, too, can obtain Chargers memorabilia to decorate your life with.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sleepy...

Those little ones who get to (or are forced to) take naps every day do not know how blessed they truly are! I would glady take a nap any day of the week just because I love them so much! Today, however, is a day where I really need a nap. Unfortunately, I don't have time to take one. Between work and school, my day is booked. But I am tired for a good reason: my parents are coming tomorrow and I have been cleaning (but don't get your hopes up too high, mom and dad) and doing laundry in preparation for their arrival. I will manage to stay awake, even if it means drinking lots of starbucks and using toothpicks to prop open my eye-lids!

Monday, September 10, 2007

My happy thoughts...

...in no particular order!












Sunday, September 9, 2007

A new week begins...

I would like to say that I survived my first week of my new crazy college schedule, but starting tomorrow is when the real test of survival begins. Before I continue, let me give the run down on my schedule (in "hours spent" rather than giving specific times so as to appease my mom... she's afraid I might get a stalker if I put when I will be at School :) I Love you, mom!):

Work:
8 hours/day Monday through Friday.

School:
4.5 hours - Monday
3 hours - Tuesday
4.5 hours - Wednesday
3 hours - Thursday

Two things made last week easier than most of my upcoming weeks at school: Labor Day and the fact that it was the first week of school.

Labor Day made the week easier because I didn't have to work on Monday, nor did I have class so really, I only had 3 long days, instead of the usual 4.

The fact that it was the first week of school also made it easier. Some of my professors let class out early after we went over the syllabus. In the classes that went the full, allotted time, the professor still just went over the syllabus but because I can read the syllabus for myself, I took advantage of the time and surfed the Internet on my new laptop... I am studious enough to know that surfing the Internet during class will not become a habit for me, but for those of you who have taken college classes before, you can back me up here when I say that there are definitely times when you can let your mind wander from the lecture and you don't miss a thing.

So, in 8.5 short hours my week will begin and along with it, the test for survival. For those of you who are praying folk... I covet your prayers! I have already realized that this semester is going to have to be taken one day at a time.

Taylor


This is one of my favorite pics of my neice, Taylor!

Which Jesus do you serve?

I thought I would start this whole blog thing by posting something that characterizes my life and what I believe. I wrote this and put it on my myspace and now; I shall now share these thoughts with the www.fill in the blank.blogspot.com world! This one is called: "Which Jesus do you serve?"

The most fundamental difference between Christianity and any other religion is the person of Jesus Christ, who He is, and why He came to earth. I am not talking about the simple belief in His existence... most religions will tell you that Jesus Christ did, indeed, walk this earth; furthermore, they will even tell you he performed miracles or that he was a prophet. Muslims believe that Jesus was the Messiah, Allah's appointed prophet (Koran, 4.171). Mormon's will tell you that Jesus is the literal son of god and his goddess wife. Jehovah's Witnesses present Jesus Christ as a secondary "god," created, not eternal,the Archangel Michael in heaven, and a good man on earth.

What we need to know, however, is who this Jesus really is because He can't be "all of the above." My name is common: Jessica Clark. I work at State Farm and there are 3 or 4 other "Jessica Clark's" who work for State Farm. Just today I got an email from one of them saying they had accidently been sent an email that should have come to me. Now, just because we have the same name does not mean that we are the same person. It is safe to assume that myself and the other "Jessica Clark's" all have different DNA and while we may have similar characteristics, we do not have exactly the same personalities. Consequently, I am not the same person as the other "Jessica Clark's" who work at State Farm. With Jesus, we can NOT ascribe Him not only DIFFERENT characteristics but contradictory characteristics and then assume that we all serve the same Jesus Christ. Jesus can not have been born of "god and a goddess" as the Mormon's theology says, yet be the same Jesus who was born of imaculate conception through the Holy Spirit to a virgin named Mary. Jesus can not be a secondary "god" like Jehovah's Witness will say, yet be THE One and Only, True and Living God. So who is Jesus?

Most of the above religions use the Bible as at least one of their "scriptures" so let's go there to see who Jesus is... (I would encourage you to read the context of these verses in your spare time because not all verses refer to Jesus as "Jesus"... but the context will help you see that Jesus is, indeed, the One being talked about).

Jesus is God: John 1:1-2 says- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Titus 2:13, "...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great GOD and Savior Jesus Christ..."

Jesus is one part of a triune God (the Trinity): 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one."

Jesus was born as a man (as in human, not a full grown man) to a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit: Matthew 1:18-19, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." Isaiah 7:14, "The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."

Jesus was God's One and ONLY Son: John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave his Only begotton Son, that whosover believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." (this is important because Mormon theology teaches that Jesus and Satan are brothers).
I could keep going but it is late and to really give you a feel for the context, I would have to quote the entire Bible. =)

The next important question that I will leave you with is this: Once you know who Jesus is, what next? Is it enough to simply believe in Him? James 2:19 tells us: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe- and tremble." Believing is not enough. Romans 9:9-10 says: "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Here, we see that one believes UNTO righteousness and confesses UNTO salvation.

The reality is that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. And not just ANY Jesus... the Jesus of the Bible... the One who was born of a virgin by immaculate conception of the Holy Spirit... the Jesus who is God's ONLY Son... the Jesus who IS the One and Only God incarnate.

Acts 10-12 says: "then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed... Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Which "Jesus" do you serve?