Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jamin - Mr. Academia and more

Another shameless Mommy Blog.

Jamin has been busy since he was here in California for Christmas. He went home, packed up and moved into a small house - his very first SOLO living situation - ever.  He seems to be enjoying it, and it couldn't have come at a better time for him.

This final semester of his college years at ASU has been full.....the need for quiet and privacy to think, process and write was at a premium.  By this time next month, he will be graduating with a Masters of Security Study - National Security.

He began this semester's big project with a  pile of books, online sources, and interviews...

His thesis is  about human trafficking and its impact upon national security.  This topic has been studied from a lot of different angles, but studying it as a security threat was a new angle that excited both him and his professors.

Eventually the information began to sort itself into an outline....

A few weeks ago, he finished his thesis and submitted it to his advisor for input and review.  This was a good way to begin the feedback portion of the project. ::grin::  Thus, proving homeschoolers CAN write.....last names are purposefully smudged.

Jamin is sweet to thank Michael (and I hope ME)  for all the years of critiquing his writing and papers.

He will defend his thesis Tuesday, 14 April. Prayers appreciated.  We are planning our trip to San Angelo for his graduation! Woot!

This week, he found out he was accepted into an exchange program which will allow him to spend the month of July in Osan, South Korea at a Korean university.  He'll come back from there and move from San Angelo. Move?

Yes. Another Gherkin will be missing from San Angelo next fall. Jamin  made many trips back and forth to College Station for tests and interviews in the hopes of being accepted into  Texas A&M.

In early March he heard he'd been accepted to the Masters of International Affairs Program at the  Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. He's also been awarded a scholarship.  I should say he's worked HARD to put himself through his under-graduate and graduate courses debt free. Go Jamin!

 He's also been busy with a program he masterminded and shepherded through the Student Government Association and the board of regents. The program may be adopted throughout the TX university system. Basically, students compete monthly to see which dorm can be the most energy efficient.  Money is set aside each month and the five random dwellers from the winning dorm are chosen to receive a $100 scholarship towards their tuition and fees. Its a win/win for both the university and the students.  It's already making a difference in the University's energy bill and the program has just begun.  Way to leave your mark, Jamin.
Jamin also manages to enjoy college life.
Jamin - 2nd from Left

Jamin 3rd from Left - he may enjoy a new college "sign"

I'll finish with a fun photo of ASU's last three 10K record holders (Jamin's record still stands) and their coach. 
Jamin on the Right

Mr. President

Here's an update on our "older Gherkins."  It's been months since a blatant Mommy Blog- aren't you dying for one?  I'll begin with "Jr" - the youngest of the out the house male Gherkins.

Jared is enjoying life as the President of the Student Government Association at ASU. More than simply enjoying life - he's worked hard this year for the university and earned a nice scholarship because of the work.

There have been multiple video clips and news clips in recent months - but they won't print well....and I've not shared them all here (though I have on Facebook). 

Along the way it's become apparent to others, besides Mama, that this boy has the gift of gab/ blarney and he's used it well this year. He's been invited several places to speak....too numerous for me to remember or list them all - though I will update if he sends me a list. ::wink::

Most recently, he was able to go to Chicago with a group of students and speak there at an Alpha Chi convention.

Thus, we put aside  concern that homeschoolers won't know how to give a public speech or relate to their peers.

In the Windy City
One project his team has seen through to implementation is the "Ram Tram." These shuttles will pick students up on campus and take them to historical sites, restaurants and businesses around town. In other words they'll run between downtown and the campus.  This will be nice for students without cars and helpful to  international students. You can hear him being interviewed here

Along the way - he has taken time for fun and school (earned a 4. - way to go!).
Jared (2nd from R) and Jamin (R) also in Student Government
We love Larissa!

School spirit
Finally, he's been selected as an intern for the Fourth Congressional  district in Washington D.C. He'll live there for 6 months and get a taste of politics from the inside. I fully intend to visit him some day in DC. LOL  He'll be back for one final semester at ASU  the end of next year.  I think he's fully lived his college years.

We're proud of you son.

What I Learned at TAP or EVEN THERE

After the first day I left home each morning PREPARED
I got up early every a.m. this week and attended the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) with Michael.  I was surprised to be the only spouse on all days until the last day (VA Benefits).  This is a GREAT program that the Department of Labor and Department of Defense host to prepare ALL who are separating or retiring from the military. I highly recommend the program. I can't imagine how generations of previous Veterans navigated the system without this program.

What did I learn?   We learned much about translating our experience to civilian speak. We learned about resources, benefits, and job hunting skills. Personally, I learned that I do not want to be out of my home 10 hours a day - full time work is not for me. Part time - I believe is manageable with the ages of our children. I could write a smoking resume from my years as a home school teacher and a women's ministry volunteer. Collecting references to back up my claims could be difficult - military life being what it is. ALWAYS collect references immediately and save them if need be.

We have much to research.  We have many forms and steps to complete in the next few months. We have been encouraged it is important we step back from NOW to prepare for THEN. I think we needed someone to give us permission as the retirement date is now 4 months and 3 days away.

Honestly, we have a Plan A, which our hearts long for and truly is our passion - being missionaries in Japan. However, we also have a Plan B, which would provide income greater than our current income. We are sitting in a good spot  - though nothing is firmly nailed down, we know our passions and have options.  It would have been impossible to sit in hours of discussion about the future and retirement plans without Plan C and Plan D hovering on the edges of our consciousness.  The realization of Plan C or Plan D would significantly impact Plan A and Plan B.

My soul screams, "NO! We want Plan A."  We wait - we do all we need to do to retire, and we seek answers to rule out Plan C or D. The thing is we can't seriously plan for our transition without considering the possibility of Plan C or  Plan D.

My conclusions: There are things far harder emotionally and financially than death - I would prefer not to walk any of these paths.   And here is the biggest thing I learned on a gut level at TAP:

The Spirit whispers to me, "EVEN THERE His strength will guide you and sustain you."

God knows! He knows our daily activities, our thoughts and plans, He scrutinizes our plans and is intimately acquainted with all the twists and turns in our lives. Even before we voice a word or thought, He knows it all. He encircles us, and walks hand in hand with us in the twists and turns.

It's beyond our understanding, so much more than we deserve.

There is nowhere we will go where we will be out of His presence or hidden from His Spirit. Heaven or the grave, East or West, Plan A or Plan D....

EVEN THERE His strength will guide us, His strength will support us and settles us in the place to which He leads. The uncertainty  won't overwhelmingly cover us - darkness is not dark to God!! The darkness  is as bright as a sunny CA afternoon because EVEN THERE- God shines. EVEN THERE - God resides.

We trust in God with all our being, we don't need a clear picture to trust. We'll obediently seek God in the twists and turns, and He will reveal the path we are to travel.

If we have to surrender Plan A or Plan B - EVEN THERE He will walk with us, lead us and sustain us.

We truly are in a good place.

We would appreciate your prayers as we eliminate Plan C or Plan D.  We'll share more info about Plans B - D should they become reality.

Yes, the words the Spirit whispered to me, my thoughts and our responses are based on passages of the word which are dear to me - Psalm 139:1-12; Proverbs 3:5-6