Life in the Real World

Real life experiences after college

Chasing my Lions March 17, 2008

Filed under: Books,Church,Life — jenncollins @ 2:54 pm

We just finished a teaching series called “Chase the Lion”, based on the book and study by Mark Batterson. It was a challenging series, to say the least. At all of our campuses, we allowed our congregation to write their “lion” (problem, obstacle, etc) on the wall and start chasing it! (see pictures here and here – thanks Beca & Erin!).

I wrote two lions on that wall. I won’t say what they are yet, but I’m trying to chase them down now. It will be extremely hard, maybe a little painful and very scary, but with God’s help, I know I can chase that lion into a pit on a snowy day and come out of the pit a conquerer!

Now I’m just trying not to worry about it…


In the spirit of New Years’… January 7, 2008

Filed under: American Idol,Blogging,Books,Fun stuff,Life,Travel — jenncollins @ 11:25 am

Here are some goals/resolutions that I made for 2007. Below is how I did on my 2007 goals and some more for 2008.

2008 Check-up on last year’s goals:

1. We stopped playing tennis…lol. It was a combination of no time and laziness.

2. I joined First Place last year and did two sessions. I lost around 12 pounds. Even though I didn’t join back I have kept the weight off (meaning I didn’t gain it all back…PTL) but I still want to lose about 15-20 more.

3. I am watching what I eat. Of course there’s always fluctuation…I am an emotional eater. Some days I was good, some days I was really bad! Spiritually I was on and off…that is one discipline that always gets me. It’s so hard for me to carve out the time and I hate it about myself.

2008 Goals:

1. Spinning with my Mom. She started last year and did really well. She hasn’t done it in a while though and we’re both committing to do it together.

2. Continuing to eat healthier and shed some more pounds.

3. Possibly have a child in 2008? Anything is possible!!

4. Get myself out of bed in the morning to spend time with my Creator!

5. Keep up with the laundry/cleaning better.

6. Get into accountability with a peer.

7. Ask an old(er) “seasoned” woman to be my mentor.

8. Paint, design and reorganize our second bedroom that has become more of a storage room than anything.

9. Serve my husband more.

10. Overcome some sin in my life as well as my control freak tendencies.

So there you have it. 2007 was a great year. We did lots of cool things like visit family in Kentucky and Alabama, we got to see the Dry Tortugas and spend some time in Key West, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, we celebrated 1 year of being homeowners, I met Charlie Hall and Shauna Niequist (read her book…it’s amazing!), I turned 24, I tried out for American Idol, I almost lost a family member but God has been gracious to keep her with us even longer, and much more. I love new beginnings and I’m ready to face the challenges head-on!


Read any good books lately? October 30, 2007

Filed under: Books — jenncollins @ 8:44 pm

I just spent an hour at Barnes & Noble and came home with nothing. I received gift cards for my birthday so I was really looking forward to picking something up tonight. Which brings me to the point of this post: Have you read any good books lately that you would recommend to me? I like reading fiction and non-fiction but it’s gotta be a page-turner and one of those can’t-put-it-down books.

Comments please! I need a book to read! I’m almost done with this one…it’s definitely one you want to check out. There’s my recommendation, give me yours!


12 springs & 70 palm trees October 21, 2007

Filed under: Books,Church,Family,Life — jenncollins @ 9:10 pm

There’s a lot of heartache going around our church right now. Almost as if it were a disease. Relatives have passed on, close friends are sick. It seems that we’re in a season of grief right now. I’m trying to choose joy amidst the sorrow.

I used to think that my life was out of control or “messed up” if I had too many tests or a friend was mad at me. This is how I know I am growing up. I’m making life-altering decisions. I have held a real job now for almost 2 years. People are dying. Real life is happening all around me. There’s a reason why this blog is called “Life in the Real World”. Life under my parent’s roof and in the security of my college campus is so different. It’s sheltered, safe. The real world isn’t pretty. Frankly, it sucks sometimes.

I could choose to be bitter. I could choose to be angry with God about things that are happening to me and to the people around me who I love. What good would it do me? I read tonight in my Beth Moore study about bitterness. Please keep reading, I promise it will be good.

At one point during the exodus, the Israelites roamed the desert for 3 days without water. They finally came to a place called Marah, where there was water. However, it was bitter and they couldn’t drink it. The Israelities asked Moses what they should do. Moses cried out to God for help. God showed Moses a piece of wood to put into the water. Miraculously, the water became sweet and drinkable. Then, God said some amazing words that don’t really make sense in the context and I didn’t understand why He said them until Beth elaborated. Here’s what God said after the miracle:

“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you” – Exodus 15:26

Doesn’t completely make sense does it? Well, maybe it makes sense, but does it relate to what just happened? This is how Beth explained it:

He introduced Himself as Jehovah-Rapha (Healer) by demonstrating His power over the most common disease from which His children would suffer – bitterness.

After God gives them water, he takes them to a place called Elim, where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees. Beth goes on to explain that this is basically a metaphor. When you experience bitterness, the only way to heal is through God. He tells us countless times to come to him all who are thirsty.

Guess what? I’m thirsty. I need those 12 springs and 70 palm trees! It almost sounds like God took them to a resort, doesn’t it?! Sounds like a vacation to me! 😉 I can’t complain too much, I mean, I do live in south Florida. But metaphorically speaking…I need to seek Him in order to be healed.

That’s my challenge to myself and for you, whoever you are (if you’re still reading!)…choose joy. Choose healing. Choose the springs and the palm trees.

My life is a mess right now (and really, it’s not that bad compared to others). My friends’ lives are messes right now. This is all we can do. Otherwise we will become bitter people and that is just no way to live.

You know what’s funny? I did two sessions of my Beth Moore study tonight (I am really behind) and the first one was about fears and it spoke to me WAY more than this one about bitterness did. God just totally brought this to my heart. In fact, I almost wrote in my journal how “this session didn’t really apply to me…” Wow! How limiting was I?! I’m pretty sure I was just spiritually slapped in the face. 🙂

p.s. the Beth Moore study is the “re-make” of A Woman’s Heart. It’s pretty awesome.


My ‘fresh’ delivery today October 16, 2007

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I was surprised when, after a long day of meetings, I went back to my office and found a box on my desk. The box had “fresh produce” stamped on the side. I was confused. Then I remembered that Shauna said she was going to send me her book! When I opened it up, the above pictures are what I found. How creative is that?! Now I’m not gonna lie…the tangerines don’t look too edible, but just the fact that when I opened the box, I immediately smelled citrus was so cool. What a refreshing idea. The tangerines have stickers on them. There is an air freshener for your car with the book information on it. I love the whole thing.

Thanks again Shauna!! 🙂

Go get the book…I’m reading it tonight.

p.s. that’s my couch, handed down to me from my grandma (i’m not a country blue person)…i’m thinking of buying a new one at the brand spanking new Ikea 🙂