What To Focus On Before Leaving

What To Focus On Before Leaving

Thousands of miles are left for us to experience and Jesus will be there with us to experience it
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Today is my last day at work. I write this as I sit at the front desk and have less than an hour remaining in my shift. I think of the hours I spent here; I’ve never watched more CNN in all of my life but I got to drink out of a coffee cup that resembles a ceramic Dalmatian.

Throughout this semester, the office became a place that I came to and easily forgot all of the horrible stress from classes and ROTC. I made friends here and laughed a lot with my coworkers. I always walked out in a good mood, feeling productive, even if I just updated spreadsheets and filed papers. This is my last week at FSU, even though I’ll be back next year, throughout this next year of travel I’ll still miss being here.

I’ll miss going to the gym at six o’clock every morning. I’ll miss my friends in Chinese class; of the seven people remaining, only two will be here next Fall. I’ll miss walking the long way to class just so I can stop at the nicest bathroom on campus and fill my bottle of water with the cool, automatic “refilling station”. I’ll miss it here, but now I have eight months of extensive travel ahead of me and as I prepare to leave, I think of Ruth.

We read Ruth’s story in the Bible. After her husband died, her mother-in-law, Naomi decided to return home to Bethlehem. In chapter one of the book of Ruth we read, “When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.” But before they left, Naomi told the two women to return to their homelands. She selflessly said this because they were still young and had a chance of marrying again, “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me’” (Ruth 1:16-7).

I think of her willingness to embark on this new journey despite losing her husband and not knowing what was next. She was determined to continue on, even further from home, because she loved Naomi and they both placed their faith in God. She felt called to stay with Naomi and go to the land of Judah, the land of the Israelites, with other followers of God.

I think of Ruth and then, I think of travel in general. Leaving home and your comfort zone is bittersweet. It’s bittersweet to know when your last shift is your last. It’s bittersweet to realize that you are saying goodbye to people for good. And it’s bittersweet when you finally sit on the plane that in fourteen hours will land on the other side of the world.

It’s sad because you are cutting ties with normalcy and the people you know and love. But, it’s also joyful. Leaving means there is an exciting journey that calls you, it needs to be experienced. And you won’t experience it alone. Because when you place your faith in God, Jesus will be with you wherever you go.

Jesus is the rock that we cling to when nothing is constant. Thousands of miles are left for us to experience and Jesus will be there with us to experience it. Maybe it’s difficult to leave the people and places that we are so comfortable with, but it’s necessary to go where He calls us to go.

I’m going to miss greeting everyone that comes through the office. I'm going to miss my friends here at school. But, I’ll be back soon and I'll come back with all my new memories and stories, and Jesus too. He'll be constant, as always.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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19 Signs You're From South Jersey

South Jersey breeds a unique type of human, and it will always be our home.
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If you are from South Jersey, you are a unique breed of human who has been blessed with Wawa, pork roll, Philadelphia, beach trips, all-service gas stations, hoagies, water ice, and more. The population of South Jersians can relate to so many things that everyone else in the country can't- this list is just to name a few.

1. It is pork roll, not Taylor Ham.

Let's get this one out of the way first. Every South Jersian knows that “pork roll” is the product — the meat — and “Taylor” is the brand. We don’t refer to bacon as “Oscar Meyer.” It is literally not even ham, and the word “ham” actually appears nowhere on the Taylor brand packaging. That’s all I have to say about that.

2. Wawa is the beloved, convenient, delicious, and sacred place that we worship.

Easily our most common go-to. In fact, you can typically find 4 different Wawa’s within 5 miles of you at all times. If anyone closed their eyes and dreamed of the best convenient store possible, it would be Wawa.

3. NYC is cool, but Philly is your city.

Spruce Street Harbor Park, Independence Mall, Magic Gardens, Center City Sips, cheesesteaks, Graffiti Pier, and endlessly more — Philly gives you everything you could need for a beautiful night and only we know how underrated it is.

4. You probably do not know how to pump gas.

If you have driven out of state, you may have had to figure it out by now, but for the most part, we have the luxury of not needing to know this skill. Fill it up regular, please!

5. A day trip to the beach is your bliss.

If you’re from South Jersey, you have a long list of beach options — and you most likely have a favorite. Between LBI, Ocean City, Wildwood, Seaside, Avalon, Sea Isle, Atlantic City, and more- we are certainly spoiled.

6. Our slang is different.

For whatever reason, our vocabulary is quite unique — even compared to North Jersey. Especially among teenagers, we have an abundance of special jargon.

7. It’s a hoagie. Not a "sub." It will always be a hoagie.

We all love our Wawa Hoagiefest. No one can ever tell us differently — a sub is a submarine boat and Subway is an underground railway system.

8. And people call them “jimmies,” not sprinkles. Oh, and it’s "water ice" not Italian ice.

Clearly, we like having our own South Jersian language.

9. You learned to drive with pretty awful road rage.

You are surrounded by road rage here, especially if heading toward Philly or New York. It’s the land of honking, cutting off and middle fingers. The lovely picture above is from the New Jersey Turnpike.

10. Honestly, you probably dislike North Jersey.

For some reason, Jersey has pretty much segregated itself into two different states. Or three, I guess, if you’re someone who counts Central Jersey. The rivalry is real — in fact, any North Jersian reading this has probably physically cringed multiple times by now.

11. Your accent is subtle, but yet pretty distinct.

We tend to have an accent on words such as cawfee, wooter, and begel. We certainly do not have a “joisey” accent, but something is still a little off.

12. There is no “New” in New Jersey.

Ok, obviously there is, but as you can tell already within this article, we really do not often use the “New” part. Too much inconvenience for us I assume.

13. You probably make a trip (or five) to BB&T Pavilion every summer.

Or “Susquehanna” as the more original concert-goers will still refer to it as- the lawn is basically the best place to be (except when you lose all your friends and have no service). It’s also usually a high school reunion to see all your hometown friends on break.

14. You have everything you could want within driving distance.

Philly one way, or the beach the other way, or NYC another way, or even the Poconos when you need some mountains and skiing. We’ve got everything.

15. The weather is dramatic and bipolar.

One day could be sunny and 75, and the next it could be snowing. The concept of specific seasons is iffy.

16. You probably describe where you live in reference to Philly or Cherry Hill.

When an out-of-stater asks you where in Jersey you are from, you most likely give a response along the lines of “just outside of Cherry Hill,” or “about half an hour from Philly.”

17. You live within 20 minutes of multiple different malls.

You will be able to find multiple decent shopping malls anywhere you are in South Jersey- a real convenient blessing.

18. You most likely know at least 10 people that go to Rutgers.

Being our biggest and most popular state school- you are guaranteed to know a good handful of people that found their way there after high school.

19. Lastly, you are proud of our little “armpit” corner of the country.

As much as we may talk bad about it and complain about wanting to leave, we know it’ll always be home. South Jersey breeds a special type of person.

SEE ALSO: The Garden State Guide To Essential Jersey Slang

Cover Image Credit: https://twitter.com/wawa/status/718019343544684544

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Ode To A City: I Love You, Detroit


'We hope for better things; it shall arise from the ashes."

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Let me introduce you to this fine city, Detroit. Born on July 24, 1701 there were monumental and endless imaginings for the now urban decayed city. With the idea that Detroit would be the biggest industrial hub of its time, it wasted no time getting up on its feet to become a leader in the automotive industry alongside Henry Ford Motor Company. With everything laid out before the aspiring city, in the distance; sirens wailing.

It's a metropolis that was built from hope and is still sitting on big dreams. With false promises burning underground beneath the sidewalks and pavement on Woodward Avenue, Detroit falters. Detroit has never faced anything it couldn't rise up from; so, with the expectations to be betrayed from the start, the city never bats an eye. The city has abandoned houses that scream at you as you drive past them. Crying for help. The memories lurk around the front yards and loop through the wired fences that line the boundary line for the next house. Drive further into the heart of downtown Detroit and you can see a bigger picture. A bigger story of what happened and is continuing to happen.

Former residents line the streets draped in blankets, holding up signs and collecting lifetime souvenirs with built in memories. Detroit's sadness is a theme with every sunrise and sunset. The dismal sounds of construction materialize as murky smog. The smog fills your lungs, and you deflate your lungs to spew a breath of air. Like a quirky 90's sitcom that we glue our eyes to every night before bed; Detroit has a mysterious way of keeping us entertainingly intrigued. Keeping our musical palates enticed, and our entertainment interests satisfied; Detroit always has a plan of attack.

Detroit has a dream to rebuild and remains persistent to keep that dream alive, everyday. Naysayers will say the city cannot be resurrected, but heroes of the city bow down to the efforts being made.

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