Life isn’t always easy, but you still gotta fight it

If I were to say to you, “jambo rafikis,” it would translate to “hello friends.” And that’s how I want to greet you all tonight, err morning technically. But still the sun hasn’t risen, so I would still say tonight. Confession: I’ve been slacking a lot these past few months. Not just in life, but writing in general. I haven’t been taking the time to press on and write blogs on a consistent basis…In fact I think the last blog I posted was part of my trip to Puerto Rico…confirmed, yes. My last post was part 3, and I still have one or two more posts to go to finish that story. Ugh!

I’m sooo frustrated at times. With life. So I apologize on the inconvenience of not spreading what I feel I do best: writing. I apologize I’ve been…distant essentially.

I’ve been trying to get things organized at my church     from planning and helping with Sunday School to helping out with the media department. We’ve been doing some cool things, and our New Year’s Resolution is trying to get our kiddos on board with learning their memory verses. Because it’s important to put the word in their hearts. I’ve recently suggested to our Pastor we should start a YouTube page, and trying to get some research into that and organizing it in one document.

Not only am I part of the church life, but I also have my personal job. A job that has been requiring a lot of extra time lately because it’s one of our brief peak seasons. A job that has been a fair amount of the stress I am dealing with. See, another co-worker and I have been trying to get our training program more organized and get other mentors (the people that sit next to newbies as they take calls) on the same page as to keeping our training consistent. It’s been a lot of work. And now I’ve recently taken up the challenge of being a mentor and teaching someone how to handle calls for conventions/groups. I love challenges, they’re part of what makes me grow. I’m loving the opportunity to grow with my company. But I’m also sad as well because of work. I’ve befriended many people throughout my time there. And honestly so many people I’ve grown fond of have since left. After my three closest friends left within a couple of weeks from each other back in May, I branched out to two guys: *Brandon and *Jay. And they both decided to move on within two weeks of each other in December. So I ducked away from everyone. I’m hesitant to grow close to anyone for fear that maybe it’s just me driving these people away.

Of course, I recently lost my dad due to natural causes. And I’ve been really missing him lately. I just had a conversation with my friend *Luke, where I was sharing a story about when my mom, brother and I were cleaning out my dad’s apartment. So my dad had put the toilet cleaner out in the kitchen where he kept a lot of his chemicals, and my mom had to bring her own dish soap to clean the dishes and the kitchen area. Well the next day when she began cleaning the bathroom she found his dish soap…in the bathroom! I laughed telling this story to Luke. He smiled and said it was neat that I could understand my dad and why he sometimes did the things he did. My dad may not have been in my life when I was a kid, but he really allowed me to see how he did care about me later on in life. He was always the kindest and most generous man I’ve known. And I strive to find myself a man with those same qualities.

Some days, I really feel like giving up.
Some days I feel so inadequate to be doing what I’m doing. I don’t feel good enough to be a Sunday School teacher. I feel lousy that I’m not doing as much for God as I probably could be. Should I be planning a missions trip? I’m scared. Yet I’m constantly reminded that I’m still worthy.
I feel like I’m not great at my job. I feel like I actually really suck. Numbers don’t mean anything, yet I still compare myself to everyone else I work with. I’m pushing myself way to hard, and then punishing myself even harder for failing, drawing me to the conclusion that if I just push myself even harder I won’t fail. You get the picture, I’m kinda going in a circle. Yet, even on some of my worst days at work, my boss walks in with a smirk and a joke to tell, or one of my favorite supervisors happens to be working and I’m reminded, again, that it’s going to be a good day.

Honestly, life isn’t always easy, but you still gotta fight it. And that’s what I’m doing. So bear with me, it IS my goal to get back to writing consistently…again. I cannot and will not stop writing, as long as I have the ability to do so.


Work, Work, Work… like that Rihanna song

It starts off with that beat that one can’t help but stop and perk their ears. It’s a weird feeling. Then the lyrics begin…”work work work work work…” and my mind is instantaneous about reminding me how my life has been in the past month. Now granted, I don’t like this song, I didn’t even know who the artist was until I googled it a mere 5 minutes ago. But that part of the song has been stuck in my head for a few days now     that annoying tune.

Let’s just say that the past 20 days I feel like I’ve basically done nothing but live at work, I think I’ve only been home a handful of days because I’d be so exhausted from work that I’d stay at a friends house just so I could sleep extra before going to my shift the next day. If I’m not working I’m probably sleeping and if I’m not sleeping I am working. But that’s adulthood, and I shouldn’t be complaining…so fast forward.

For those who don’t know, I work at a local resort/waterpark in the reservations department. The name doesn’t matter, but know that we are fairly competitive with other local resorts. I’m working at a job I could have easily gotten outside of highschool, but instead here I am with a college degree, far from working in my field of “expertise.” But God has truly been blessing me in this job. I make enough money to pay my bills and have some extra to save. I also have been very fortunate to make many new friends, one of which will soon be coming to church with me. But most of all, I’ve made some really neat connections with guests.

I’ve talked to guests who have told me, “Wow, you made this so easy. Thank you so much” and I’ve also been able to interact with guests when it comes to their child’s birthday.
“So who is the lucky birthday child?”
“My son[daughter], their name being ‘so-so'”
“Oh how neat! How old is ‘so-so’ turning?”
“Oh they are turning X years old.”
“Well happy X birthday to ‘so-so’ that is truly an exiting age to be!”
Very generic conversation, some are just that bland but typically it’s way more involvement. I’m so excited they are celebrating their birthday at our resort. Why?
Really, I have no valid reason other than because it means I get to make them a birthday card. I get to create a piece of my creativity, and give it to this child. And it’s a one-of-a-kind birthday card. The cool thing is, some of my coworkers have taken notice to my love of creativity in these cards. I have a few that will ask me to draw them an elephant for a kiddo’s birthday, or if it’s for a special occasion.img_4877

The other day, my coworker *Claire told me between tears of joy of this young boy, who will befriend other classmates that are loners,  had befriended this other young boy who was bullied. As a result, that boys mom decided to bring him to our resort. Well Claire wanted to do something more, so she informed our manager who allowed us to give them a pizza and some passes to our theme park. But with tears in her eyes, Claire broke this story down and asked me to draw my ‘famous’ elephant and to personalize this awesome card to show how much this little boys actions make a difference, not just for his friend that was bullied but for people like us who get to hear about those cool little things.

Now, it’s not just for birthdays either. I will make a thank you card when I could make a really cool connection with a guest. Another example is I had a guest call and his name is *Nick. But instead, I kept calling him Mick the entire time because I misheard him in the beginning. When we got to the part of putting his name on the reservation he actually told me his full name *Nicholas and I was so embarrassed I called him the wrong name, but he just laughed at it. We had a good laugh for 30 seconds. We shared a moment. I joked and told him he could just call me April to make up for it (because I am commonly refereed to as April or Ashley instead of my real name…why, I don’t know). In the end, I made him a card and signed it and added April in quotes. Oh, I do hope it makes him smile when he sees it.

I could go on and on about how I get to do the coolest things for people, but I don’t like to brag. I’m not writing any of this to brag. Five months ago, I was crying on a regular basis because of how stressed and over-worked I’d get. Now, I can’t recall the last time I cried because I was overwhelmed.

It’s amazing how despite that fact that I’ve basically been living at my work place, I get to stop and appreciate those small little interactions. Though they are truly small, they are powerful. I spend so many hours staring at a computer screen, shaking my head, and wondering “why am I even here?” but yet at the same time, I feel that sort of connection with this job that I’ve only ever felt at my job as a tutor at an elementary school. There is a word I learned from my job, it’s Ubuntu and it is Swahili for “togetherness.” And that’s exactly what I feel at my job, or second home,  I feel a sense of belonging and togetherness with each person I interact with, whether it’s a ten minute phone call with a person I’ll probably never talk to again, or whether it’s sitting next to a coworker I’ve sat by many a times before.

Ubuntu is exactly what it’s about. I’ve said it before, and I’ll never not say it, but this place that I work at, this resort, it’s about having that togetherness. It’s not about how one guest complains about how expensive we are. It’s not about how I may get screamed at 20 times tomorrow because of how our rates have changed overnight (yes sometimes literally). It most certainly isn’t about any of those negatives that can happen. It’s about what we can offer to people to draw them together    sometimes that may be to offer them a special package we have that would include breakfast, sometimes that’s going above and beyond to make them a card, or maybe it’s just us as reservation guide to book their room with a smile in our voice, answering their questions, and allowing them to get through that process with ease. It’s about having the children smile and laugh because they got to go on some really cool slide. It’s about watching the people be able to relax and enjoy themselves in the spa or maybe even indulge in their sweet tooth’s. It’s about having folks enjoy their time at convention.

So how does Rihanna’s song go hand-in-hand with Ubuntu? Well, it doesn’t really. But despite the fact that all I’m doing is work work work work work, the thought that we’re all celebrating Ubuntu makes it all worth it. And as I get up at 6:30 tomorrow morning(or I should say today), and I feel that pain of tiredness behind my eyes, I’ll still smile. And I hope that wherever the road of my career takes me, I hope that I’ll always have that connection of Ubuntu.

*indicates name change

Out of this world… Two UW-Green Bay students get a chance to pursue space projects

Check out a press release I wrote, it was the first of its kind to be written for UWGB!!

keyboard clicks

GREEN BAY –The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) has recognized two University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students for their outstanding academic work. James Vasquez has been awarded the STEM Bridge Scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year, and Justin Rasmussen is recipient of the Elijah Balloon Payload Fellowship award — June 1 to August 13 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in Milwaukee, Wis.

Both students are Green Bay natives and have been interested in aeronautics and space-related topics since they were young. They also will have the opportunity to attend the 2016 Annual Wisconsin Space Conference, held at UW-Superior, in August.

The STEM Bridge Scholarship supports outstanding sophomore undergraduate minority students who are pursuing undergraduate, space-related studies. Recipients are awarded $1,000 for the academic year.

Vasquez, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering technology, has a history working on similar types of projects. He has participated and volunteered at the Barlow…

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Trump, Evangelicals, and the Road Ahead

David F. Watson

In 1934, at the age of 28, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a letter to a friend about an upcoming conference that would involve members of churches from several countries and denominations. In this letter, he wrote, “We must make it clear—fearful as it is—that the time is very near when we shall have to decide between National Socialism and Christianity. It may be fearfully hard and difficult for us all, but we must get right to the root of things, with open Christian speaking and no diplomacy. And in prayer together we will find the way.”[1] This was before the Holocaust began, before WWII began. But Bonhoeffer saw that one could not embrace the Christian faith and embrace the political tide of his nation that was so enamored with the Nazi party. The two simply were not compatible. On April 9th, 1945, he was executed for his part in the…

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Selfie Culture

“I already know I’m pretty. And yes, it’s nice to hear that, especially since current society’s definitions of “beauty” are so strict. My body has flaws that few people ever see, but I’m lucky that for the most part I happen to fall into this mold of ‘pretty.'”
Love this. ❤

Let's Build an Amazing World

People tell me I will feel better about myself if I accept the fact that I am pretty and my body has few flaws. I notice I take more “selfies” when I am feeling especially pretty or especially upset. I try to capture the moments when I feel good about myself so I can look back on them and know that they exist. A weird thing about our culture is that older generations complain when our generations post too much gloom and doom on social media, but they also complain when we post too many “selfies” or “groupies”, which for many people serve to capture the positivity that tends not to last nowadays. So we’re not allowed to be negative OR positive, essentially. We can’t point out the flaws in this world or the good things we see about ourselves and others.


I know it can be annoying to see…

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Why Christians Absolutely Should Not Celebrate Halloween

I’ve been wanting to explain why I don’t celebrate Halloween, and when people throw in my face “It’s just a holiday” or “It’s not really celebrated in the same way as it was hundreds of years ago…”

Written by Jamie Morgan 10.21.2015.
You can find the original article here

Many Christians celebrate Halloween. Some churches and pastors even do. I recently saw a church advertising they were having a Zombie Run. Seriously? God’s House? This pastor does not celebrate Halloween and neither does her church.

In a spirit of full disclosure, when I was a brand-new believer, I allowed my son to go trick-or-treating. Part of the reason was because my husband was not yet saved and insisted we do. The other part was because I didn’t see the harm in it. After all, many Christians I respected did it, so as a new Christian I justified that it must be OK. Right? Wrong!

As I grew closer to the Lord and gained more knowledge of His Word, I began to feel convicted about Halloween. I had thoughts like:

  • God is a God of life, but Halloween focuses on death. Should I celebrate a holiday where people decorate their front yards with tombstones?
  • The Scriptures tell us to put away deeds of darkness (Rom.13:12) and that light has nothing in common with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). Is celebrating a dark holiday something a child of the light should be doing?
  • I had been delivered from fear and panic attacks and knew that fear comes from the enemy. Should I participate in a holiday that has fear as its very foundation?
  • Witchcraft is clearly detestable to the Lord (Deut 18:10-13). Shouldn’t something that glorifies witchcraft (just take a walk through the Halloween store) be detestable to me as well?”
  • Halloween is a sacred, high holiday for Wiccans (the official religion of witchcraft). Is this a holiday Christians should celebrate alongside Wiccans?
  • Is it cute when we dress our kids like the devil (or witches, ghouls, scary characters, etc.)? Isn’t it, well, demonic?
  • What if my child dresses in a wholesome fireman costume? Romans 16:19 says that we need to be wise to what is good and innocent of evil. If I let him participate in Halloween, even while dressed as a fireman, aren’t I sending him a mixed message by allowing him to participate in a celebration of evil?
  • The Lord said in 2 Cor. 6:17, “Come out from them and be separate … Touch no unclean thing …” Doesn’t God want His children to be set apart from the world and from sin and evil? Aren’t we supposed to be peculiar people?
  • My extended family thinks it’s ridiculous that we not allow our son to dress up for Halloween. Should their opinions matter to me more than God’s? Shouldn’t pleasing God be my utmost concern?
  • If there is even a question in my heart and mind that it might be wrong, shouldn’t that be my first clue? Why would I continue to do so with even a lingering thought that it is wrong?
  • Does Halloween bring glory to God? No! It glorifies the devil! Nuff said.

So as a new believer, saved only two years, I responded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repented of displeasing the Lord and put a stop to Halloween. And as a pastor, after observing firsthand the amount of destruction that the enemy brings into peoples’ lives when they give him a foothold, I am even more convinced I made the right decision to close the door to the enemy and on this evil holiday.

Setting aside a day to celebrate evil, darkness, witchcraft, fear, death and the demonic brings disdain to God. Period. A Christian celebrating Halloween would be like a Satan worshiper putting up a nativity scene at Christmas while singing, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” The two just don’t go together. Jesus has nothing in common with Satan (2 Cor. 6:14), and neither should we.

So, what did we do instead? Hide in the basement with the lights off? Hustle the family out of the house? No, darkened homes are the enemy’s victory! Where does your light shine the brightest … in the darkness!

Halloween is the one day a year when neighbors come to your door expecting to receive something. So give them JESUS! Our family chose to give God the glory and the devil a black eye by reaching out to our neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ! “You are the light of the world … let your light shine among men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).

So stop justifying why it is fine to celebrate this demonic, worldly, evil holiday. There are no muddled lines or gray areas about it. A committed follower of Jesus Christ should not celebrate Halloween.

Jamie Morgan is the pastor of Life Church (Assemblies of God) in Williamstown, N.J., and the Life House of Prayer (24/7 prayer).