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We're engaged!!!!

We're engaged!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you're all dying to hear the story, so here it is!!! :) (complete with pictures!!)

This past weekend, Brandon and I were invited up to Camp Magruder (the greatest place on Earth for those who don't know - seriously it's better than Disneyland!) to do some volunteer work. It wasn't the most ideal
weekend for us to make the 3 hour drive, since Sunday was Easter, and We HAD to be in Eugene Sunday morning - but camp is such a special place to me, and it'd been awhile since I'd been up there, so I agreed to it. :)

We left Friday evening after work, and headed up. We got in to camp around 8:00, and when we drove in I saw that our names were on the reader board, which just made me smile.
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We met up with Anami, and hung out with her for a little bit and then headed to our cabin.
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We got up the next morning, March 22, bright and early and had breakfast in the dining hall (yum, I LOVE camp breakfast!) where there was one other group - and then we got our "marching orders" from Anami for the day. Both, Brandon & I had been sick all week long, we both had missed some work - and still weren't feeling 100%. In fact, Brandon felt down right terrible on Saturday. So, because of this, Anami put us on "light duty" work. It was a BEAUTIFUL day at the coast (really unusal for this time of year!) so we were taking pictures around camp to update the website.

We did have one small cleanup project, picking up some shingles that had blown off during the major storm in December. Brandon found this shingle that resembled Texas - and I found one that looked like Illinois. We
thought about trying to sell them on ebay. But threw them away instead. :)
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Then we headed off to take pictures. Anami had given us a big list of pictures she wanted, and then she took off for a meeting in town. So we just started wandering around camp taking pictures. Like I said, it was a
beautiful day, and the lighting was really cool, with this neat haze with the sun shining through it.
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And at one point, about 11:20 a.m., Brandon mentioned he really wanted to head down to the beach before the haze burnt off to get some pictures down there.
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We walked on down to the beach, and took some pictures around there, and then Brandon headed up to the spot where a driftwood cross stands. Right at the head of the trail to camp.
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I followed him up there....

We were standing there and Brandon told me how much he loved the symbolism of where we were standing. In the middle of God's beautiful creation. Spending the weekend serving. And how awesome it was, on Easter weekend, that we were standing at the foot of the Cross.
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He said how he feels that is a symbol of how our lives will be together and that this was the perfect place and time.

He got down on one knee, held out the ring box and said "Jennifer Lynne Cooper, will you marry me?" To which I replied "yes, yes, yes!! of course I will, yes!!!!" and i gave him the HUGEST hug possible - and closed the ring box - which he has yet to let me live down. Now, to my defense, I was shaking and standing on sand, and was terrified I was going to drop the ring!!! So, I went over and sat down on a piece of wood, to put the ring on! :)
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We spent a little time together there on the beach, and then Brandon said "Let's head back and get some food".

Well, we'd brought stuff for lunch, and so I'm thinking in my mind, boy this is romantic - I just got proposed to and now I have to go make a sandwich. LOL But, when we got back to our cabin, Brandon opened the door and inside there was a table, set with food on it, candles burning, my favorite flowers and music playing. Anami's "meeting" in town, was really running errands for Brandon! She got us food from the local Mexican restaurant and the flowers and, took the time to get it all set up! It was amazing!!!!!
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After all of that, I figured out we weren't really there to do volunteer work! LOL So, since we were off the hook for the rest of the day, we cleaned up our stuff, headed down to the beach to take a few more pictures, and then headed out.
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We had nothing else to do, so we drove down 101 (the coast highway) and stopped and played on the beach and stuff along the way.

It was a perfect day, and a perfect proposal. I couldn't have asked for it to be anymore special!!! We haven't set a date yet, because we're waiting to hear back from a few key people - but we're planning on getting married in September!

I can't seem to get a good picture of my ring, but here is a photo of it from a website. :)
my ring

And there you have our wonderful, amazing story!! I'm the luckiest girl in the whole entire world!!!!!

I feel like blogging...

So, I just realized, that it's been basically forever since I blogged. So, now I'm blogging - with my cat hovering over my hands making it rather difficult to type!! Wow, a lot has happened since I last blogged!

I realized, I never updated on my first day at my new job like I said I would! Oops! So, umm that day came and went. :) I've now been teaching at Kindercare for almost 4 months! Wow, where did the time go?? Like most jobs, it has it's ups and downs, but overall I'm really enjoying it! I have an awesome class of 3 year olds - and I'm also teaching 4 enrichment programs: phonics, math, Spanish & music. It's a lot of work, but I'm loving it! My co-workers are cool - I really like my boss. So, work is good! :)

Things with Brandon and I are really good! We are happy and in love - and it's good. He amazes me more and more each day, and makes me so happy. I'm a very blessed girl to have him in my life! He's extremely happy with his new job as well!

We started going to a new church over the summer together, after a brief church "shopping" stint. Changing churches was a huge decision for me, and was pretty hard, but I needed to do it. There wasn't anything bad about FUMC, I just really wasn't growing spirtually there at all. And I'm at a point in my life, where I really need to grow in my relationship with Christ. So, Brandon & I started looking for a church, that would be the right fit for both of us! We went to this church called Harvest Community Church a couple of times, and really liked it. So we kept going back...and now are VERY happy to call it our church home! :) We've joined a small group (Life group) which has been SOOO great! The people in our group are amazingly rad, and have become a wonderful group of friends. The church is awesome, we LOVE the pastor, worship is pretty much amazing every week - and it felt like home almost immediately! God is working big time in our lives right now, and I feel so blessed!

We went to Disneyland in January, for Brandon's cousin's wedding. That was way fun! :) Now the sun is out, and we've started riding bikes again. I'm hoping to start working out with Janelle here pretty soon, so that will be cool! :) Life overall is really good for us! I'm going to try to get back into the habit of blogging - at least on a semi-regular basis - and keep everyone more up-to-date on the goings on around here! Not that the goings on are really all that exciting!!! :)

Peace out homies!


Last day!!

Well, I made it. Yesterday was my LAST DAY as a JCPenney employee!!! I didn't think I'd actually see this day! Really yesterday was rather bittersweet. I'm SO excited about my new job - and this new phase of my life - but it was a little hard to say goodbye to the people and place I've been for the last 4 years! I have never loved my job at JCPenney, it's always been a job and not a career, but I will miss the people I worked with there a LOT! Of course, I'll be back to shop! :)

I did really well, emotionally, until I got home - and actually until Brandon called me, then I kinda lost it. I think him being gone, in Boston, has made this transition that much harder. I wish he was here, to give me a hug, dry my tears, and encourage me as I start my new job. And celebrate with me as I start it. I guess it'll make it that much better to see him on Friday night! (I can't wait to see him!)

I have today off - is good to kind of change gears. I slept in and kinda was lazy all morning - went to the library and paid off $25 in late charges from a couple of years ago - and got a new card. Then I had fun looking for books to check out! :)

I start at KinderCare tomorrow. I have 2 days of training, tomorrow & Friday - I'm pretty sure some of my training will be in the classroom. I'm excited, and nervous. It's been awhile since I've been in a classroom, and I'm excited to get back into it. I can't wait to meet my co-workers, and my kids. I think back to when I was in school studying music education. And how disappointed I was even then with public schools here in Oregon - and I really didn't want to teach in them. Really all I wanted to do was teach preschool or preschool music. Then I went to work for JCPenney. Fast forward to today - I'm about to start my new job as a preschool teacher! Funny how that worked out. I don't believe it was coincidence at all...but 100% God! He's been doing some crazy stuff in my life lately, but I think it'll all be good in the end! (I know it will, He knows what he's doing!)

So, of course I'll give an update tomorrow after my first day, to let everyone know how it went and all that good stuff. But if you have a moment, say a little prayer for me - I don't do well with change, and the last couple of weeks have been full of all sorts of changes in my life - hopefully this will be the last one for awhile, and that it will be a wonderful place for me to work. Pray for my class, for my co-workers, for the parents of the kids I'll be working with. Oh, and a little prayer for Brandon to get home safely on Friday too! :)

new job!!!!

So, I only have a minute, but wanted to write a quick blog...I have a new job!!! :) YAY!!! My last day at JCPenney will be next Tuesday, the 14th - and on Wednesday, the 15th - I start work at KinderCare as a 3 year old preschool teacher! I'm looking forward to the change, it's definitely a move in the right direction, even if it doesn't end up as my life career. I know that this job will make me SOOOOO much happier than I have been at JCPenney. And my schedule will be a LOT better now! yay!!!! :)

Something a little weird...Brandon just started a new job yesterday at Symantec. And in talking with his new boss, he found out that his boss's wife was just hired at the same KinderCare center as me, as the new director! So Brandon's boss's wife will be my boss! What do you suppose the odds of that are?!?!?!? :)
I am participating in the Eugene/Springfield 2006 Light the Night Walk this year as a member and team captain of the national Friends of Allie team. The Eugene/Springfield walk will be held, Friday, September 29th at 7 p.m. at the Oakway Center Heritage Courtyard.

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

Every ten minutes, a child or adult dies from leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma.
In one school day, 46 children will learn they have cancer.
New cases of leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma account for 8% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States each year.
Every five minutes, someone in the United States learn that they have leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma – nearly 300 people a day!
An estimated 712,145 Americans are presently living with leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma.
Leukemia is the leading fatal cancer in young men and woman under the age of 20.

Light the Night is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's major annual fundraiser, and the funds are desperately needed to both work towards finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and families. The walk is an inspirational and moving event joining survivors, their families and supporters on a 2-3 mile walk while carrying lit balloons.

While the statistics on blood cancers are sobering, it is devastating to hear the impact that leukemia has on children. Leukemia accounts for just over 30% of cancers diagnosed in children under the age of 15, and approximately 3000 children die from a blood cancer every year. The Friends of Allie team walks in memory of Allie Scott, a baby girl from Texas who died from acute myeloid leukemia just before turning 9 months old, and in honor and memory of many other brave children fighting cancer. We are a team several thousand strong, walking all over the globe for these children. Working hard to raise money and raise awareness for these children, as well as to reach out and help their families.

As a young girl, I had a classmate and friend fighting leukemia, I will never forget Jerome, and even at the tender age of 6 ~ my heart was touched. No child should have to fight this disease.

It is my hope that you will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's mission to work towards eradicating this horrible disease. In 2004, Friends of Allie became The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's first National Friends and Family Team. In that first year, this amazing group of 2,200 walkers together raised more than $428,000!! After the 2005 Light the Night season, our fundraising efforts brought that total to $688,000 and with your support, we will surely surpass Team Friends of Allie's goal to raise $300,000 nationwide in 2006. If we reach this goal, we will have raised 1 million dollars to help find a cure for blood cancers, in just 3 years!! My own personal goal this year is $1000. This is ambitious, but you have helped me raise close to $1000 over the past 2 years! :) I can't do it without the support of people like you! Any donation is appreciated, no matter how big or small! Please give generously to help support this wonderful organization! (As of today, 9/28/06 - I've raised 78% of my goal!!)

Click here to make a donation to my walk!!

More info about Light the Night Join my team - or find a walk near you!!

More about Friends of Allie

I realize that it's last minute - but I forgot to post this to my livejournal. (I posted it on myspace) If anyone who reads this is able to make ANY kind of donation - no matter how big or small - it helps and is very much appreciated!!! Thanks!!!

Jennifer :)
Okay, first of all I realize it's been FOREVER since I actually blogged - but life is crazy you know, and while I think of things I should blog about, I just don't take the time to sit down and write them. But here I am. :) Life is decent, on the search for a new job still - starting to get ready for the fall months, I love fall. Brandon and I are doing well - we've been dating for 11 months, now THAT'S hard to believe!! Wow, almost a year!! :)

Anyway, the real reason for this blog is I need to talk about church stuff. Odd topic for a blog I suppose, but it's stuff I need to talk about.

So, I've kinda kept quiet about the goings on of late around my church, because I just didn't know what to say. But some of you are aware that there's been a "reorganization" of staff at my church. (Eugene First United Methodist for those who don't know) For the past 6 years I had been directing the children's bells and the children's choirs. (This was a paid position) Early this year, our music director mentioned they were thinking of hiring just one choir director for all of the choirs (2 adult choirs, 1 youth choir and 1 children's choir), which did end up happening. So that means....I no longer have the church as a place of employement. Makes me a little stressed about finances, but what's new. The employment part is the easier part to deal with I guess. These kids have been my life for so long, it makes me really sad to think of not being able to work with them anymore - and I know the new choir director, and she'll do a great job - but it's still weird, you know?

So that's one thing - but with time I think it could have been okay. But for the past year or so, things have been changing a lot around the church. Our "contemporary" service is no longer contemporary - but traditional with a piano instead of an organ. We sing hymns, which are fine, but I need some worship music! I need to feel energized and renewed at church, I need to feel like I'm worshipping God, and feel like my week is getting off to the right kind of start. I just haven't been feeling that for some time now at my church. Sometimes I feel our social justice focus has become more important than basic fundamentals of Christianity and worship. And that's not even mentioning the lack of people my own age, and the lack of attempts by my church to create ministry for people my age. (who don't have kids)

Brandon and I have talked a lot about this - and finding a good church home is important to both of us, and important to our relationship. He grew up in a very different church than me, so we knew it was going to be a challenge to find something that fit for both of us.

So, this summer, I've taken a big step, and we've been "church shopping" a bit. I've been a United Methodist almost my entire life, and I've always been very active in the UMC - so to feel like leaving that church is a little scary for me. The last few weeks Brandon and I have been attending Harvest Community Church, and we both love it! I really think that this might be our new church home. It makes me sad to think of leaving the people at FUMC, they have been a family for the last 9 years - but I'm really excited as well. This new church, has a lot of people our age, it's a friendly, laidback congregation, it's not too big, not too small, awesome worship - and feels like it's a perfect fit for both of us.

Anyway, I guess this is all to ask for a few prayers for this transition for me - I will miss the people at FUMC, and especially my children's choirs - but who knows there may be an opportunity for that in the future here as well. Pray that if this isn't the right church for us, we will find one - and also that there are no hard feelings between me and other staff at FUMC. I'm not anticipating that there will be, but it worries me still.

Any thoughts on this at all? I'm nervous, excited, sad, and hopeful all at the same time!!!

Yay Camp!!

Woo hoo! Today I leave for camp!!! YAY!!! :) If you can't tell, I'm excited. :) I'm actually supposed to be there already, but Brandon had to work today, which is dumb, and since he's going to counsel too, I have to wait for him. I'm taking WAY too much stuff, surprise surprise!

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE camp, and especially the week I get to counsel at MADD. (Music Art Dance & Drama aka the raddest week ever - NOT Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Seriously folks, I live for this week all year long!

To all my camp buddies, I can't WAIT to see you all! For the counsel folks and otro staff members, I'll be there about 9 tonight - and for the rest of you lovely ladies & gents, I will see you TOMORROW! :) I hope you're all planning on dancing with me, cuz it'll be rad, I'll tell you what! :)

To those of you who aren't cool enough to be going to camp with me this week (or are too old to be campers and not old enough to counsel) - I will miss you terribly. okay maybe i'll miss you a little but maybe I won't. Miss me lots - don't get into too much trouble, and I'll see you all when I'm back, next Sunday!! :)

Smoochies!

Love and Lobsters!!!

Pray without ceasing...

Please please please lift sweet Jacob and his family in your prayers today. Jacob has a rare cancer of the adrenal gland, called adrenalcortical carcinoma. He's 6 years old, and was diagnosed when he was just 3. He's been on a vent for quite some time now, and is in desperate need of a miracle. The strength and faith of his family are amazing. This is a quote from his mom's journal entry this morning:
"Jacob is dangerously teetering on the edge of that darn cliff and I’m not sure any of us can reach him to pull him back - no matter how long our chain of support is! However I realized today something very important. IF Jacob falls - he will be caught in the loving arms of Jesus and he will without a doubt be okay. In fact he will be better than okay - he will be absolutely PERFECT. He will no longer be sick with tubes sticking out all over and he will feel nothing but extreme JOY . . . Things we can not offer him on this earth."

Jacob's website is: http://www.caringbridge.org/fl/jacob I know his family is SO appreciative of the prayers and support!

Two other boys in desperate need of prayers today are: Jake and Will

(Cross posted everywhere!)

hmmmm...

Put your music player on shuffle.
Press forward for each question.
Use the song title as the answer to the question even if they don't make sense. You'll be surprised though.
NO CHEATING

How am I feeling today? Happy - Carolyn Arends

Will I get far in life? Only Time Will Tell - Carolyn Arends

How do my friends see me? You Write the Words - FFH

Where will I get married? You Are My Sunshine - O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack

What is my best friend's theme song? Hee Haw Theme Song (LOL)

What is the story of my life? Half a Million Reasons - Carolyn Arends

What was high school like? Follow Love - FFH

What is the best thing about me? We Lift Our Hands in the Sanctuary - Kurt Carr

What was today like? Failure to Excommunicate - Relient K

What is in store for this weekend? Fishing in the Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

What song describes my parents? All I'll Ever Need - Point of Grace

How is my life going? Caribbean Amphibian - Jimmy Buffett & Kermit the Frog

What song will they play at my funeral? Never Had a Dream Come True - Danielle White

How does the world see me? Through Heaven's Eyes - Prince of Egypt soundtrack

Do people secretly lust after me? God Forbid - Point of Grace

How can I make myself happy? Surrender - Joy Williams

What should I do with my life? Cover Girl - New Kids on The Block

Will I ever have children? Imagine - John Lennon

What will you name them? Big Rock Candy Mountains - O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack (roflol!)

Who will you marry? Daddy Sang Bass - Johnny Cash (hmmm don't think that's legal!)

Do you have a gf/bf? Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me - Elton John

How will you die? Welcome to Duloc - Shrek Soundtrack

it's been awhile...

So, it's been so long since I posted a real blog, I don't even remember what I said or anything! So I guess it's time for an update!! :)

I wish that I had lots of really cool and exciting stuff to tell you, but alas, I don't. I have such a boring life. Let's see if I can come up with anything fun...

Oh, work. My job at good ol' JCPenney has changed a bit. Due to cutbacks at the switchboard, they finally followed through with the threats! I now am a member of the pricing team, part time, and still work part time at the switchboard. Now my schedule looks something like this:

Sunday - Off

Monday - Wednesday: 8-3:30 (pricing)

Thursday - Off

Friday - 1:00 - 7:00 (switchboard)

Saturday - 10:00 - 7:00 (switchboard)

It's the greatest schedule, but it could be worse I guess. I'm enjoying being on pricing, it's a welcomed change. I kinda wish I could just do that all 5 days, but they won't let me go from the switchboard that much yet! :)

Brandon and I are doing awesome. Hard to believe we've been together for 5 months now! I couldn't be happier with him. :) He's such a bright spot in my life - one that I wasn't sure I'd ever find. And boy am I glad that I found him!!! :)

Umm let's see what else. Spring Break Camp is coming up - yay! I'm super excited to go to camp. I still need a boy counselor or two - but I have faith it will come together.

Oh, today I was at the church to pick up my paycheck, and Julia (music director) was like can I talk with you for a few minutes. Basically, she gave me news that I wasn't thrilled about getting. Because John and Chris (Praise choir and youth choir directors, respectively) both left this winter, the church is going to start a search for someone new. And they have decided to hire just one person, as the sole "choral person" - who will direct the children's, youth, praise and sanctuary choirs. So basically, May will be my last month as the children's choir director at FUMC. I'm really sad about this because I love the kids in my choir so much, and love working with them. But at the same time, I think it might be the kick in the butt I need to start looking toward my future.

Lately I've been thinking about careers and the future and all of this stuff. I know that I don't want to be a lifer at JCPenney - and I have decided I want to go into Child Life. I love what I do with Cancer Warriors and Angels on Earth and stuff, and I would love to be able to do that as my career. So I'm seriously looking at being a Child Life Specialist, to work with kids in a hospital setting. Totally different than being an elementary music teacher, that I always thought I would be, but I'm excited about the possibilities! My ideal job would be to own/run a camp for kids with life threatening illnesses and disabilities - but I figure if I start with Child Life, I'll get there someday!! :) If I do go this route - it'll probably mean relocation - to Portland or something.

So there you go...a little update on nthe life of Jennifer. Isn't it exciting? I'm feeling bummed tonight about the whole children's choir thing - but looking forward to the future. :)