7 Quick Takes about pop tarts, airplane apps, and zumba

— 1 —

It is finished! The drip is done dripping. Our apartment looked like this for a while:



The Leasing Office of my apartment complex is about our unit and the air conditioner was dripping into our apartment for about a week. The office didn’t seem to hurried to fix it. But, I let them know my annoyance that they weren’t working hard to fix it, that we had to buy a bigger bucket (we were having to empty those mixing bowls too often), and that we had to waste so many of our precious quarters washing loads of towels cause the water was going everywhere and soaking our floor.  Don’t worry, she got it fixed the next day and gave us $2.00 in quarters.  So, now the lovely hole in the ceiling is drying out before they fix it.

— 2 —

I went to my first-ever Zumba class last night. Zumba is a choreographed dance/workout that mixes hip-hop, soca, samba, sala, merengue, mambo and martial arts. (Just read that on Wikipedia, for the record.) Well, I’m German. And Irish. And Polish. And Czech. I don’t think any of those genres of dance are native to the land of my ancestors.  I have little rhythm and coordination and I cannot move my hips and shake my booty like I was supposed to.  But, it was fun!  I even made a friend when she laughed at my dancing and sympathetically said, “Don’t worry, I was like that at first too! But, I’ve been going to Zumba for a long time now.”  I think she lied.  She was never as bad as me.  But, it turns out that, in mish life (a.k.a. missionary life) it’s good to be bad at things because it gets you friends!

— 3 —

On Wednesday night I was in bed before 10:30.  That meant that at 6:55 I woke up well-rested and before my alarm clock went off! The last time that happened was…well, I don’t know!  It was glorious!  I showered, made coffee, made breakfast and spent some time reading–all before 9am Holy Hour!

— 4 —

Speaking of making breakfast, I usually don’t.  For many reasons: I don’t particularly like breakfast, I rarely have time to eat in the morning, and my apartment complex offers it for free everyday. (Think free bagels, pop tarts, granola bars, coffee, tee, water, juices, etc.)  Well, can we all agree that this is the best breakfast ever:

pic 3


Totes dessert. Not breakfast. But, I’m not going to complain!

— 5 —

I have been living in Funcie (a.k.a. Muncie, IN) for exactly one month.  I have made my bed exactly EVERY SINGLE DAY since I’ve been here.  I feel like a grown-up.

— 6 —

One of my sisters is on her way back to the land of Cheeseheads from Singapore for a couple weeks.  That means next week I’m going back to the homeland for a weekend of family time.  We’ll all be home.  I may not have seen her (or her husband) since their wedding last September, but is it bad if I might be more excited to see the babies (nieces and nephews).  Sorry, Libby.  Well, not really that sorry because I’m sure the same holds true for you.

— 7 —

My parents celebrated their 31st anniversary this week!  And, even better, they decided to spend it with their favorite daughter in Muncie, IN.  What a treat!  My sisters and I treated them to lunch at the nicest place we could find in Muncie, we walked around my favorite place (Minnetrista…home of the Ball Brothers’ houses as well as the cultural center), went to the best bakery in town (Concannon’s), and they took my team and me out for supper!  It was a great day.  Oh, I almost forgot the part where they sat on my couch and were wildly entertained by an airplane app for children under 3:

pic 2


Happy anniversary, mom and dad!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Back in Action

Hey World! I’m back in action…in more ways than one!

First, the blog.

It’s been a while, my goodness!  It turns out the combo of finishing up things in North Dakota, moving to Wisconsin, spending five busy weeks in Florida, moving back to Wisco for a month, not having a regular schedule, my lack of exciting (or funny) things to blog about and my laziness is a deadly combo for not blogging in over four months.

But, since I moved far away from the babies (that is, my nieces and nephew) and the rest of my family, my little one (sister…) moved to the barbecued pork capital of the world, and Libster is still stuck in SingSing (that’s my nickname for Singapore…she’s not actually in prison in New York) I thought, “there’s no better time than the present to pick up the ole laptop and write a blog post…”  Also, the other option is unpacking and organizing my room which kind of sounds lame-o at the moment.

So, I did it.  For the first time ever I moved to the Eastern Time Zone.  Now, instead of checking the beloved CST, I’ll have to check the EST. I’m not sure how I feel about it. That’s a lie. I hate it.*

The headquarters for FOCUS is in Colordao (which, if you didn’t know, is in Mountain Time). I struggled. I had a few conference calls that I needed to attend and more than once I typed this into Google:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.57.08 AM


You’d think I wouldn’t have to do that more than once…but I did. Often. Like every time I had a meeting in Mountain Time–just to be sure I didn’t miss it.

And then there’s technology. Someone emails you asking if you can meet at 10. You (finally) figure out what time that is and say sure. Then they send you an Outlook invitation for your calendar and you accept. Then, the meeting rolls around and you have no clue that Outlook automatically changes appointment times to your timezone from the senders.  Now, if that isn’t darn confusing. Which reminds me, break time, I’ve got to check what timezone my Outlook is set in…  Okay I’m back. I couldn’t figure it out. Here’s waiting to figure it out when I get some sort of meeting invitation.

Second, I’m on campus!

Yeah, I bet you forgot this post was about me being “back in action” in more than one way because of the whole I-suck-at-timezones thing.  But, since I went on such a ridiculous rant about timezones, I’ve run out of blogging time to tell you about my move to Funcie Muncie.  I’ll leave you with a three Haikus about Muncie and a half-hearted promise to blog more often:

Muncie, Muncie, Munce
My heart belongs to you now
Don’t make me hate you

Yesterday we romped
‘Round Middletown, U.S.A.
It was really fun

My new apartment
Is literally so cute
Please, come visit me

P.S. I’m sorry that I thought blogging about the Eastern timezone was funny/exciting enough for a blog. I should have been blogging the last 4 months…I must have done things more interesting than Googling what time it is in different timezones…maybe not.

*I don’t actually hate it. It has been more of a non-issue so far. That is, until I miss my first meeting cause I forget that I live in the EST.

7 Quick Takes: There’s No Lamb Anywhere

— 1 —

There’s an old English Proverb that says March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  The only thing is, I don’t see a lamb. Anywhere! The weather is, of course, straight cray.  We had a snow day on Monday.  It didn’t start snowing until around 4:00 that afternoon.  It did get pretty blizzard eventually, but we didn’t have it nearly as bad as UND (University of North Dakota–up in Grand Forks).  They had a snow day on Monday and Tuesday.  So, that’s how much went out.  Like a raging beast.  Oh, and the whole April showers bring May flowers thing.  If I may quote one of the students here, “In North Dakota, April showers are…frozen.”  That’s cause it’s been flurry-ing for the past 48 hours or so.  Soon we’ll see what sort of May flowers NoDak gets…

— 2 —

Speaking of May flowers.  It’s April.  Which means it’s only one more month until May.  Which means my first year as a missionary is almost done.  I think we’re released from the chains of Fargo sometime in mid-May.  Then, at the beginning of June, I’ll be down in Florida (where I will certainly, immediately get sick because of the imminent extreme change of weather…) for New Staff Training, A.K.A. summer training.  Anyway, then I’ll be back in Wisco for July and in August I’ll be heading to……..who knows?!  I may be back in Fargo I may be somewhere totally different.  I’ll let you know when I know.

— 3 —

March was a crazy month.  Spring break was smack dab in the middle of it.  I thought, “Wow, since I’m the only one around over break I can blog a ton, sleep a ton, read a ton, etc…”  Well, I haven’t blogged in forever.  I haven’t really been reading a lot.  I ended up mostly working on two big projects for…work.  I’m a grown up.  No more spring breaks filled with nothingness.  Now, I have spring breaks filled with work!  It was still relaxing since I spent most of the week doing work at the kitchen table or on the couch…so no complaints here!

— 4 —

But, Jane, didn’t you do anything fun over spring break?  Why, yes, I did.  I got to hang out with a few students/friends in town on various nights.  I went to the local Catholic high school’s production of Singin’ in the Rain.  I Skyped with my long, lost roommate-soulmate and she got me hooked on a new Netflix show, Chuck.  I did a lot of workin’ out.  I wrote a talk for a retreat.  I made a plethora of twine Rosaries.  But, most importantly…

— 5 —

THE BABIES CAME TO VISIT!!!!!  Little Bezzie, Jobie, and Zel Bell came for the weekend (of course accompanied by their parents, Maggie and Phil, and my little sister Emma).  It was so fun.  We went to my favorite restaurant, Doolittles; we went to the Children’s Museum; we let the kids watch Over the Hedge…more than once.  I even got a video of little Bezzie singing I Just Can’t Wait to be King.  If I can figure out how to get it off my phone maybe I can post it (mainly so BB in Singapore can watch it!).  But, seeing those cute babies was just what I needed to get me through April until I go home for Easter and spend the weekend with them.

— 6 —

Fish Fry.  Every Catholic’s favorite Lenten tradition.  Except mine.  I don’t actually like fish.  I think it’s gross…and fishy.  But, every year the Knights of Columbus here at the Newman Center have a fish fry after some students do the Living Stations of the Cross.  I went because I’m a good missionary (and felt like I had to).  I am proud to admit, I kind of liked the fish!! It was really thin and mostly the fried breading with only a little bit of fish.  So, that’s why I liked it!  It wasn’t one of those big, fishy things that you usually find at a fish fry.  Anyway, tonight a bunch of people are going to a fish fry at Farmhouse (that’s one of the Frat’s here).  I’ll probably go, but I have very low expectations and will probably pack a PB & J, just in case.

— 7 —

Finally, because you care, here’s a picture of me over spring break.  I probably enjoyed break so much because I didn’t have to go into the Newman Center in the morning…so I didn’t even have to fix my ponytail after I slept all night.  Don’t worry, mom, when I went out in public I made myself a bit more presentable.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Daylight Savings Time!

I am just so excited.  An extra hour of daylight every. single. day. from now until the fall!  I can hardly wait.  Yeah, we lose an hour of sleep tonight.  But, I’d say the short term loss is worth it for the long-term gain of lovely sunshine during waking hours.

Wow, I just wrote a post about daylight savings time.  Come on brain.  Think of something more exciting to tell the readers.  Oh, I got it!

Today I went to TJ Maxx (because I’m a Maxxinista*).  At the checkout the cashier man (probs in his mid-to-late 20s) called me both “doll” and “sweetheart” during our typical customer-cashier-interaction.  I thought it was worth blogging about right now.  So strange…

Plea for help: If anyone has ideas of what I could blog about.  Let me know!!  I’d love to have some (new) ideas!

*I really like TJ Maxx…for their bags mostly…and household goods…and shoes.  I don’t really clothes shop in there (in case you cared).  Also, TJ Maxx didn’t pay me anything to write this.

7 Quick Takes: Pre-Lent Treats and Fun New Toys

— 1 —

Last Sunday was the Mardi Gras party at the Newman Center.  Picture this: Mass at 5pm.  Chowing down on some delish nachos.  Get 300 dollars handed to you.  Win victory.  Well, I should expand on that.  After Mass and supper we were each given 300 (Monopoly) dollars to play carnival games.  Most of them cost $10 and if you won you got $50.  Let’s just say I’m a master at the ring toss (where you try and toss the ring over a can of pop) and the fish pond.  I had a 0% success rate for the cake walk.  Why. Could. I. Not. Win. That. One?  I stayed away from putting* and arm wrestling because I knew it was a guaranteed loss.  I also rocked the Catholic trivia more than once–though I was properly embarrassed about my lack of knowing the corporal works of mercy…got. to. study!

— 2 —

You may wonder why I was so intent on winning.  Do I need a reason besides my eternal, unquenched thirst for victory and my ever-increasing competitiveness?  Welp, I have one anyway.  I present to you “Akai” out new TV.  (So named because, well, that’s what it says on it…Akai…apparently that’s a TV brand name. Who knew?)


But, back to why Akai was my motivation.  That sweet TV wasn’t always sitting right there above Seaons 1-6 of Psych in my living room.  It used to be here:


Yes, Kelsey and my new TV used to reside at the “Live Aution.”  The TV was the best. prize. there.  And, we got it (by bidding the monopoly money we won throughout the night).  I guess the TV victory was no thanks to our fishing or ring toss skills, but all thanks to everyone who “donated” to our “support team.”

Well, little Akai has been a champ thus far (I’m currently watching a movie on ‘er).  From now on when new first-year missionaries are told they’re moving to Fargo, we can wipe away their tears** with the hope of Akai awaiting them in their ice-cold Fargo apartment!

— 3 —

Oh, I made cupcakes for the party.  I was feeling rather Mardi Gras-y.  So I made them festive, inside and out!  It was enjoyable and therapeutic!  I got many compliments about how great they tasted…to which I didn’t have the humility to reply that the cupcakes were made from a store-bought mix.  However, the frosting was homemade.  I may have found one of the best buttercream frostings yet.  (That is a Voelker Family victory since, if we could, we would probably live off of buttercream.***)

cupcakes inside


— 4 —

Last Friday Victoria and I baked something that sounded more-than-delicious.  Chocolate chip s’more cookies.  I forgot to take a picture of attempt 1, but here’s what was left of attempt 2 after Teresa, Victoria and I devoured it:


It actually looks gross.  But it was less-than-gross…way. less. than. gross.  But, not perfect.  The idea is that there is essentially a s’more (graham, mallow and chocolate) inside of the cookie.  The cookies spread a lot so it just didn’t turn out quite right.  So, we solved the problem!


I present the chocolate chip cookie s’more cupcake:


You may think it sounds ridiculous and overboard.  But it has Fat-Tuesday written all over it.  And, it also has Easter season written on it.  Let it be known: I will make these again. Probably on April 20th…or 21st.


— 5 —

This.  If you don’t know why this picture is here and raises extreme amounts of excitement for me, you don’t know me.  You don’t know my life.  Read this or pretty much any other post I’ve written in the past few months.


— 6 —

It’s Lent.  It started on Wednesday.  Lent.  Let the 40 days of sacrifice start!  Father got me good with the ashes.  I had quite the reminder that to dust I would return.  Here’s my #ashtag selfie.

ash wednesday

— 7 —

All the posts about the delicious things I baked and ate before the 40 days of darkness and life-without-sweets began…wait, I mean Lent, 40 days of Lent, make me really want candy.  Which, as it turns out is okay for today.  Why?!  It’s my feast day!!  Oh happy day to Sts. Felicity and Perpetua!  (St. Felicity is my Confirmation Saint!)  So, even though her feast day is during Lent every year, I always try and celebrate at least a little.  No, I didn’t eat meat.  But, I did eat some sweets to celebrate Felicity’s (and, of course her girl Perpetua’s) great witness of faith and trust unto martyrdom.  And, a celebration in thanksgiving for all of Felicity’s prayers for me over the past many years! 🙂


Sts. Felicity and Perpetua, pray for us!

Oh, and you should totally check out their first-hand account of their last days in exile on this earth.  Could a vase be called by anything other than what it is, a vase?  So too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

*Maybe I could have won at putting.  I do have a trophy for golf.  A lot of people think that’s a joke.  But just check Bulls Eye 4-hole-girls championship records.  My name will be right next to “1998.”  But, I digress…I just didn’t want to waste money on maybe losing golf if I knew the Fish Pond was a sure thing.

**It’s kind of a pretty common thing for new-to-Fargo missionaries to cry when they find they’re placed here.

***That is everyone in the family except mom.  She’d probably rather have broccoli or something more mom-like.

The Best Decision *update*

I just have a brief post today.  A year ago today I accepted a job with FOCUS as a campus missionary.  It was one of the best decisions of my life.  That is all.  Well, almost all except for the following comment about the weather.

Side note: For some reason New Orleans weather is set as the default on my phone’s weather report.  I just checked the weather.  I have to share the ridiculous temperature disparity with you…it’s over 100 degree difference.  That is, of course, if you count windchill…which I do.

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 10.17.39 PM

After I saw this I obvi. texted Claire (who I went to visit in New Orleans) cause this is hilariously ridiculous.  She texted back and said she shared that info with the whole bar.

March certainly came in like a lion…here’s hoping leaving like a lamb means consistent, positive temps–or warmer!

P.S. I hope today marks the day you make one of the best decisions of your life and apply to be a FOCUS missionary! 🙂


I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been doing some research.  I’m still amazed that I didn’t realize until the end of January that this is one of Fargo’s colder winters.  But, I wanted to know just how cold.  All of my research was found in an article on the ABC station in Fargo.  Is it official, scientific, and peer reviewed?  No, of course not.  But it’s straight up ridiculous.  Here’s the top three quotes from that article from meteorologist Daryl Ritchison:         

1) “This winter, if you’re 40 years old or younger, is the coldest winter you remember.”
2) “In fact, it’ll go down as the 17th coldest local winter on record.”
3) “We were below zero at some point in 65 of those 90 days.” (That is the months of December-Februrary.)

My least favorite quote from the article:

“My suspicion for the spring is March will finish below average. Noticeably.”

7 Quick Takes: From Recollecting to Cuteness and Jesus Guitars

— 1 —

This is my first “7-Quick-Takes-Friday” post.  Jen, the blogger at Conversion Diary started it and now everyone and their mom is posting 7 quick takes about their week every Friday.  I thought I’d join in the fun because, ideally, it will be quick.  I imagine I can find a few minutes every Friday to jot down 7 highlights.  So, this, officially was quick take number one.

— 2 —

Today is a day of recollection (DoR).  I post about that here, but in case you missed it… last October, after asking BLT (Beloved Leader of the Team) what a DoR was he said this, “No dships, no meetings with students.  Things to do: pray, go on a walk, call family and friends, go to Mass anywhere but Newman, lay in the grass and watch the clouds float by.”  Well, he didn’t exactly say writing a blog post was allowable.  But, I’ll say taking a walk and laying on the grass watching the clouds float by today would be more like asking to get frost bite and die from coldness.  So, I’ll replace that with writing a blog post.

— 3 —

What else did the DoR include?  I drove up to Grand Forks this morning for spiritual direction, prayed for a while, went to Mass and then talked to Teresa, a missionary up at UND, for a few minutes.  Then, I drove back to Fargo and stopped at Panera.  That brings me to right now.  For the first time, ever, the piece of baguette that I got for a side was soft.  It was a strange experience eating it without feeling like I might break my teeth.  I must say, I kind of liked it.  Here’s to you, Panera.

— 4 —

Our retreat site for NDSK1 was confirmed this week!  NDSK1 is North Dakota State Koinonia #1.  The Newman Center here doesn’t have any retreat opportunities specifically for college students (yet!) so that’s what this will be.  Koinonia was started a few decades ago in Battle Creek, MI (home of the baseball team, the Battle Creek Bombers, members of the same league of everyone’s favorite Wisconsin Rapids Rafters!–that tangent was for you, dad…and Tiffany, if you read this!).  Anyway, if any of you Madisonians are interested in helping us out from afar please, please let me know! 🙂  NDSK1, here we come!  (It’s going to take place April 11-13.)

— 5 —

My little sister, Emma, had a phone interview for a potential job next year.  She sent an email asking for prayers.  After the interview she sent an I-aced-that-interview-and-I-think-I-just-got-offered-a-job-on-the-spot-update.  My oldest sister said that Jesus answered Thérèse’s prayers.  My uber-cute 3-year-old niece said, “Jesus please help Emmie. Thank you. We love you.”  Ah… no kidding Jesus answered that prayer.  How could anyone (especially an all-loving God) refuse that cuteness!?

— 6 —

I was in the New Orleans mood all week.  So, for Bible study we had a Mardi Gras party.  My B-stud is on Wednesdays.  So, since next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday it will be too late for a feast.  We had some buffalo chicken dip, Mardi Gras cupcakes and played a super hilarious game of telephone pictionary.*  I have big plans to post the pictures of what happened with my sentence and how a deserted island turned into a magic-Jesus-guitar-boat.  But, if you’re totally confused, stay tuned and check my blog for a full-blown description of that wild and ridiculous game!  Back to Bible study–we’re going to take a break from our Acts of the Apostles Bible study to do a special Lenten study on Jesus’ Passion.  I’m really excited about that!

— 7 —

Maybe I should just write one longer blog post everyday.  I don’t think “quick” takes are my thing.  I’m too long-winded and rambl-y for that noise!

*I originally wrote, “telephone dictionary.”  That sounds like the. worst. game. ever.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!