Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End Review

Looking back, 2013 started better than I could have thought. Although I didn't get a NYE midnight kiss, exactly one year ago today was the seed of my relationship with my boyfriend. Little did I know how happy I would be a year later.

January started with a bang having only spent one weekend at home in Milwaukee and set the precedent for how my year would turn out. Looking back, I did not spend more than 3 solid weekends in a row in Milwaukee. I purchased my first new car in February so I had to show it around a little ;)! 

I didn't leave the state until March when I visited my brother in Dubuque, which is hardly out of the state! With temperatures BARELY pushing 40 degrees by April, I headed South to Arizona for an extended weekend with some friends. May of this year, my brother and I FINALLY made plans, after 9 years, to go skydiving. The three times I attempted, winds were too high to let a newbie jumped, so after feeling the adrenaline, I gave up and decided I wouldn't waste my time and have still yet to skydive. My brother was able to a few weekends later. 

Summer in Milwaukee is the best, so I enjoyed much of the time at festivals, wine tastings, boating, comedy shows, and, of course, work. I had a couple trips out of town visiting friends/family, but nothing outrageously notable. 

On my birthday weekend, in August, I took my first trip with my boyfriend to Baltimore. I got to enjoy TONS of seafood and learn a lot about his business. It was an absolute blast. The following weekend was spent in Chicago celebrating my birthday with friends which was also very fun. 

October was exciting getting to visit St. Louis where I lived for a period of my childhood. The visit was for my boyfriends' half sisters' wedding. Halloween was spent in Austin, Texas due to a work event my boyfriend had to attend and might be my favorite vacation of the year. Austin is a beautiful city and I got to relax the entire weekend. 

Thanksgiving was the first holiday my boyfriend and I shared time with each family. Growing up.

To conclude my year of traveling out of state and being absolutely frustrated with Wisconsin winter, I headed to Miami with my boyfriend and his [identical] twin. 80 degree weather, air boating, alligator watching, Camero driving, crab cooking, and deep sea fishing also made this trip extremely enjoyable. I can't wait to go back. 

Time with my family on Christmas was a wake-up for me growing up. My time is differently spent now than when I was in college. Reason: in college (and all through school for that matter) you got summers' off, winter break, spring break, this break, that break, and after surviving my first entire year of 40-45 hr work weeks, vacation time is appreciated a little differently. 

Speaking of growing up, 2013 was my first year of having independent health insurance, paying loans, paying for [my own] car issues, paying my phone bill, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. 

God Bless!! 

It's been a great year, I am looking forward to 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Relatives,                                                         Merry Christmas!

The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not.  He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God;  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13 RSV

I hope that you believe in Jesus and are one of His children.  Being that He is King of Kings that makes His children royalty.  Merry Christmas, Princes and Princesses! May your New Year be filled with shining His light to those around you!

MY DAD: I am friends with a Pastor from Rwanda, Africa.  After 5 years of invitations, we went with him to Rwanda and Uganda for 3 weeks.  A week stay in an African village is an eye opening experience about them and even more so about me and us. I stayed in a village close to Ruhengeri, Rwanda with my friend's mother. I had a wonderful young man as a translator. Since then he has adopted me as his father since his was killed subsequent to the 1994 genocide. Every day they fed me the best meal they ate all year long, the meal they prepare only on Christmas. God be praised.

MY MOM: In Spring I did a fun mission trip to northern Minnesota to help roof a house & other home improvements. The African experience made me very thankful to live in the US and have good food.  Hoping to share my faith, I learned 90%, including government workers, are living their faith. They need to send missionaries here.  The most exciting thing in life is to be used by God to bring others to Jesus.  I believe that is why we have moved so much and why I have had so many different jobs.   So, I now am working at Sartori, packing cheese.  It is a simple job with lots of variety.  In less than 2 months, God has opened doors for sharing Christ with numerous people.  

MY BROTHER: He had a nice year with several highlights. At his job in October he took a new role as a Structural Design Engineer. This has more responsibility and creativity than his previous role as a Structural Analysis Engineer for the same group. In July,  he accompanied his parents to Rwanda for a week, because someone had to help keep them in line. Other traveling for the year included a day in Belgium visiting a friend he met in Pakistan in 2009 and a business trip to Canada to repair a prototype machine. He also ran the Chicago Marathon in his “slowest” effort yet finishing 149th out of more than 39,000. Certainly a year to be thankful to God!

ME: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the youngest family member (and her cat, Mika)! My first year in the "real world", done with school (for now) and working as a full-time engineer was better than I could have asked for. I bought my first car in February (a 2011 Nissan Altima Coupe), enjoyed 3 weeks of vacation traveling to 8 different states for leisure, met one of the top 10 people in my 150,000 employee company, and started paying back student loans. I have learned about retirement funds, health benefits, loan interest, and grown up things more than I ever cared to by 23 years old. I continuously thank God, and my parents, for blessing me in all of these aspects and growing me to become the young woman I am. I look forward to what 2014 has in store for me!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Bird

I got second place in the ABB photo contest, thank you if you helped, I got a gift card for Amazon. Certainly can't complain.

In other news, I am speaking to the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) student chapter at MSOE in January. I need to come up with an exciting way to talk to them....

Yet other news, I got to try Google Glass!!!! My friend is one of the beta testers and let me wear them for a while this past weekend. I had soooo much fun and got so much attention from them that he responded to Googles' request for more recommended testers saying that I should definitely be someone they ask to test them. The little time I got to wear them has me itching for more.

We had our first "snow storm" of the year up here in the frozen tundra. A good 4-6" of white fluff just in time for the holidays. Sub-freezing temps also suggest a NOT SO WARM welcome to winter. To be expect here in Milwaukee.....

The weather has me more than eager to hop a plane this Thursday for Miami! My boyfriend has a work event to which his twin brother and I will be accompanying him to enjoy the heat. We have a charter booked to go Marlin and Shark fishing!!! How awesome?! I am assuming it will out weigh the Salmon fishing we did in Lake Michigan this summer, although still an exciting experience. However, I will likely fall into deep depression upon returning to the crisp Wisconsin air as the pilot announces the 10 degree temperature on our way home. Snow birds don't come back until Spring I thought!

In work news, all is well. It continues to be exciting, whatever that means. A trip to Memphis needs to happen before the end of January so that I can visit our sister factories and understand business as I know it a little better. I also pushed off some leadership training that will need to be done sooner than later. And as my year-end review approaches, it is time to set new goals and higher standards for 2014! It has been an exciting first year in the real world, I hope the 2nd is just as good.

As Christmas nears, I have found myself listening to Christmas music more this year than ever before. It is beyond happy to listen to and puts me in a great mood. I hope to get to an orchestra or symphony before the season is over.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
Luke 2:14

Monday, November 18, 2013

What ABB Means To Me

Hey guys,

If you are return visitors, you've noticed by now I changed my picture!

The company I work for, ABB, just launched their NEW ABB United States Facebook page and are having a contest that I decided to enter. I submitted the photo above and since this is my blog, I will explain my ideas and thoughts behind the picture.

I was excited to hear the announcement of this contest and decided to take a few extra minutes Friday to come up with some ideas.

If you know me personally, you know how much my job means to me. My mom could vouch for that. Every day I am thankful for the blessing of my job. I really think ABB is such a great company to work for, I could not be more blessed!

My picture represents two big ideas and feelings I wanted to share. The first being, diversity. I am a very young, outgoing, female engineer and ABB embraces all of those aspects. It truly means a lot to be so accepted. I wanted to show that this isn't just a picture of a poster girl, but a woman doing what she loves. I wrote on the note: "ABB helped me become and Industrial Engineer" because my internship with ABB really helped me get through school. They showed me that I was going to be happy in my career and helped me grow for the future.

The second being opportunities. My family did a good job raising me to constantly WANT MORE. The more I experience, the more I want to experience. Working for ABB could not have been a better gateway for me to have opportunities to gain experiences and really learn the world. Working for a global company, I've met people from ALL over the world. Not only that, but I have the opportunities to travel the world. Hence the picture of me looking at the world, I know that anything is possible.

I hope this explanation shows my gratitude towards ABB and all it continues to do for me.

If you want to support me, PLEASE....VOTE HERE

You can vote once a day, so if you really want to support me, vote every day for the next week. :-D


Sunday, November 3, 2013

To you!

Hello fans, friends, family...

2013 has been yet another huge year of growing for Berea Janzen. I'll save my actual year recap for our annual December Christmas letter, but I have some updates I'm dying to share with you now.

First of all, I'm learning SO much being out of school.  It's been quite an adjustment getting used to paying about $1,500/month for my education but I really don't want this to be a post of my adult financial drama.

My boyfriend is a 24 yr old successful entrepreneur which provides me a completely different look on many life topics since my views are fueled by corporate America. There is certainly a constant battle of which is better, however we both feel strongly about our careers which is a very positive thing. I got asked for the first time why I am not an entrepreneur and although I have never thought about it, I had a very good answer. Most importantly, I like my job. I have job security (including financial security). I am not good at selling my sole (no offense). Long story short, it is not my thing.

Changing subjects, I got the flu last week. First time I have been that sick in years. I don't remember having the flu during college. The worst thing was getting my wisdom teeth removed. Anyways, I missed a day and a half of work, which was the worst part. It hit me right before a vacation I had been planning for weeks, so the start of vacation was rough, but now, as I sit in an Austin Texas hotel, hours before returning to Milwaukee, I feel pretty good.

So, Austin Texas....This is my 4th day here which is a pretty good amount of time to learn the basics of a new town. I experienced 6th Street on Halloween, had my share of Texas BBQ, enjoyed some live music, got too used to Southern hospitality, slow accents, and cowboy boots. Not to mention gorgeous 70 degree weather to start November. !!!!! Overall, Austin is a very enjoyable city.

Hope you enjoyed the update!

"For we walk by faith, not by sight"
2 Corinthians 5:7

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Good Friday

I decided this morning I like Starbucks better than Alterra/Colectivo. The staff at my local Starbucks knows me by name and by my drink-of-choice. I would ask for their number so I could text them each morning that I was on my way, but I like the 2 minute conversations we have each morning while I'm waiting for my latte milk to froth. This morning we discussed the ios7 update, duh. It's also nice having barista friends because I think they feel bad about all the money I spend on coffee so I occasionally get a drink on the house otherwise I love the gold card program Starbucks has. Also, I think every store on this planet should accept iphone payments like Starbucks. It's SO EFFICIENT and convenient.

Today was a good day at work too. I made a huge breakthrough that is going to save us SOOOO MUCH time and money!! It was simply an idea that came to me. It is  pleasant when things like that happen because so much of your time at work is spent doing repetitive tasks, relatively speaking, that creative thinking sometimes goes out the door and you loose track of the big picture. I think I impressed my boss.

Happy with my accomplishment and ability to teach the appropriate people the new process, I took a break from my desk to "hang out" on the production floor. I've been spending a lot of time at my desk and decided I needed to go touch base with the assemblers. I walked around the floor and had some good conversations with different people. I would not say it was a waste of time whatsoever because most of the discussions were work related and I think having those relations are reallllllly important.

With over 300 people working in my building, I definitely don't know everyone and I met someone new today. While down on the floor, I got into a discussion with a guy from a different division. It didn't take long for us to figure out that we are both Industrial Engineers. Is it sad to think that two people doing the same job in the same building for the same company (different divisions) had not been introduced after at least a year of working in the same place?! We didn't talk long but at least there is a bridge now.

In other news, I'm going to St. Louis next month for my boyfriends' step sisters' wedding. That's exciting because I used to live there and have only driven through in the past 18 years...This year I have already spent the night in 6 states (driving through doesn't count). Let's see how many more I can add to that list!

Monday, September 9, 2013


I just learned this morning that another one of Van Goghs paintings was discovered recently. All these years it had been tucked away in an attic on accounts of owner thinking it was a fake. The article I read put it perfectly saying that we think we know everything, then something like this happens and changes our perception. It is a great reality check that no one is perfect and also very exciting to find puzzle pieces you never knew were missing.

This news is exciting to me because ever since I started learning about art, Van Gogh has been my inspiration and favorite artist. Regardless of his potentially psychotic reputation, he was a phenomenal artist. I personally think he was a good artist BECAUSE he was crazy, I think he would have agreed with me too.
So this painting they found, "Sunset at Montmajour", is estimated to be worth over $40 million. Do you think Van Gogh would be proud his work is THAT great or angry he never saw the money?

I think that art is so amazing. I understand it because every picture tells a story. Almost like a secret, that only one person really knows. For me, painting is therapeutic. I don't have a long attention span for things I don't enjoy doing, yet I could sit down and paint forever. It's amazing how without saying a word you can let out so many emotions. It is an accomplishment too. Like winning a medal or trophy. Unlike sports though, artists have the ability to control their paintings. Hence why so many paintings have layers upon layers of paint. If you don't like it, just keeping going until you do. Maybe control has something to do with it also.

Anyways, I think Van Gogh had great art and he certainly had deep issues that drove his liquid emotions. I also think it is great they are finding more of his work. I am sure there is much more to be discovered.

Friday, September 6, 2013


It's been a while so I thought I would update.

Life is great.
Work is great.
Family is great.
Boyfriend is great.
Friends are great.
God is great.

That about sums it.

-A very content Berea.

Friday, August 9, 2013


There is no lack of excitement to be had in this world. You sometimes have to find it but it most often finds me.

This post is finding its way to you through a very exasperated Berea. People astound me.

I learned a very long time ago how different each and every one of us humans are yet something is still inhibiting us from learning "best practices" from one another. Call it asininity or stubbornness or what have you, but I think there is something to learn from everyone.

In the manufacturing industry for those of you not familiar, we have what we call "industry best practices". For example, in all manufacturing plants, incoming material is somehow received and distributed to the workers to make something. You would be surprised at the difficulty of doing something so simple, right? Receive, distribute. Well, sometimes the suppliers don't deliver when they said or something gets lost or a person is sick or a part comes damaged etc etc. So an industry best practice would be something like receiving all material in 24 hours and having it all stocked/organized in 48. It is kind of like, when you need an idea on the best way to do a process, what are other companies/factories doing that has proven to work well in similar situations?

Well, I am speaking in the context of communication particularly and the inability of people to communicate. I am going to split communication into the kind you do in your personal life and the kind you do at work and the types which boil down to; talking on the phone, texting, and emailing (or some form of any of these).

It is your responsibility, when you know a piece of information useful to others, to COMMUNICATE it. Just talk.

So I am learning that people are bad at communication and there is something I can do to combat this problem, but it's not easy. Most often, if you ask the right questions, you get the right answers, however, the questions are not black and white and if you miss asking a question, plans fail and people get angry.

I feel like this is all common sense and I don't want to go into details but perhaps that is why I am good at my job?

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Here we go......

I am traveling, so I have had some time to read the news, learn more about what is going on in Detroit, play angry birds, and do some deep thinking. Today's topic: feminism. 

First of all, I am going to mention today is my 23rd birthday. Chances are if I saw you in person you would have one of two responses; "Berea-you're so young" or "wow-I feel old" if you are younger than me, you probably don't care. I do not look forward to the day when that changes and people stop telling me I'm young. 

So in having some free time, I went blog surfing. The first 10 or so blogs were either about some sport I'm not interested in or hadn't been updated in 3 years. I finally stumbled on one that struck my interest so I read the most recent post: A Continually Changing Perspective. In short, it was a post about a young woman, in her late 20's I gathered, in the Peace Corps who is/was in Jamaica and dealing with the unfamiliar and blatant attention from the men. It began turning my internal gears. 

That's not just a Jamaican thing or a foreign thing and this isn't meant to be a "I hate men" post, but inappropriate actions exist in our culture as well. I don't know if I first realized it in Buffalo Oklahoma, Boulder Colorado, LA, MSOE, or the list continues......just this morning on the streets of Baltimore, a truck honked at me. 

I am not sure what the purpose is or what they expect, but it is not welcomed. They get nothing out of it and I get nothing but annoyed. I think America has a bigger sexist issue than racist issue but we have a lot of problems and that was a powerful statement...

I don't know which is worse, men who set the stereotype or women who reinforce it. I love nothing more than being a young female engineer. I finally have a conversation piece to make people (men) speechless. I am no better than you are better than me regardless of my sex or skin color. 

Think about blind people. Granted accents and tone come in to play, but they can't judge on physical features like people with sight can.

Friday, August 2, 2013

External Happiness

I was recently reading an article titled "The Top 10 things Happy People Don't Do."  I'd link it, but I don't remember where I found it. Anyways, I'd like to think of myself as happy but wanted to read the list to see what I'm missing. It's not a surprise that on the list, happy people don't look for happiness externally.

My weakness: relying on others to make me happy.
My strength: empathizing with the feelings of those around me.

It's another work in process. I'm a big girl. I can make my own decisions. I can do what would make ME happy, but I think it's a greater happiness finding people who share the same ideas about happiness. I can go get lobster and steak when I want, but when my boyfriend asks to take me, that's way more special, exciting, and happy. I can clean the house myself to be stress-free and happy, or my roommate can clean up after herself and I'll be happy from the start. I think my problem is having expectations of others making me happy. I've learned that those people that frustrate me won't be in my close friend circle but I need to realize I shouldn't let those frustrations guide my happiness.

Problem is I care. It's how I was raised and I don't want to change that. However, caring people can be happy so clearly I have a disconnect....

Does it matter as long as you are making God happy?

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2 Inches

I wore heels for the first time to my job today.

I say this as if it is something really important and for the majority of professional women, they would laugh I even mentioned something they've been doing for years. HOWEVER, as a female engineer, the door has just not been open for me to do so. I love dressing up and wearing nice clothes-dresses/skirts- and taking time to get ready and, of course wearing heels, but in an environment where safety is #1; heels pose a trip hazard, necklaces could get caught and strangle you, wearing a skirt exposes your legs to potential danger so it really limits my natural fashion sense to khakis, loafers/steel toes, a nice blouse. Period.

I bought a pair of 2 inch, wedge, ankle boots yesterday which I think are appropriate. They are mostly covered by my pants anyways, so no one even mentioned anything. It's amazing how much more confident 2 inches provides. I think I will wear them more.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me. Busy next TWO weekends ahead of me. This weekend I have a lot planned socially with the usual group of friends from birthday parties to bowling to private restaurant openings......Not to mention my parents come home Sunday which will place me in Chicago Sunday at O'Hare. I love plans, I love excitement, I love my friends, I love weekends.

In 2 weekends, I am going to Baltimore. That is my birthday weekend. Long story short, I have some connections and look forward to spending another birthday in another state. =) Can't wait.

Work is going very well. I am very proud of my company. I can't wait for the future!

God bless!!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My family in Africa

I sit here, my AC pumping a relaxing 72 degrees, typing away on my new iPad, watching my oversized TV, crunching on some BBQ kettle cooked Lays chips. Life is great. My cat is eminently snoozing next to me with no worry of a slight bit of danger. I finished a typical Monday at work learning how to prevent fires so I don't have to put them out and, of course, fighting a few.

I think it is interesting growing up and changing how you think about certain things differently than as when you were a kid. Let's take my parents being in Africa as an example. I feel like I sent my kids (parents) off to summer camp. I realized how much I talk to my parents when they suddenly aren't there to talk back. A week into their trip, I had to start taking notes on what I am going to tell them when they get back. I'm sure their list is longer.

I am getting anxious for their return. A few sentences here and there from them is like reading a very suspenseful book...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Am Crazy

Loaded subject isn't it?.....

I have been told toooooo many times in my life I am crazy, however I believe everyone is crazy and that there is no good definition of the word. Depending on the context, verbiage, and tone, "crazy" can mean a lot of things from actually insane to "possessed with enthusiasm".

I am a different kind of crazy than my brother, for example. People call him crazy for taking a leisure run through the streets of Pakistan or wanting to climb Mount Everest with no oxygen. People call me crazy for wearing 6" heels or asking for my $50 steak to be well-done.

Here is the thing , I am very in-touch with my crazy (thanks dad for this expression). I am not afraid to let people see my crazy. I mean that is who I am. My emotional expressions might seem "crazy" because most people do not want others to see that side of them. Before calling me crazy, think back to the last time you did something or thought something you would be embarrassed to share with others.

"When we enter relationships with the illusion that people are normal, we resist the truth that they are not. We enter an endless attempt to fix them, control them, or pretend that they are what they're not. One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everyone comes "as is"." Quote from the book "Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them"

Monday, July 1, 2013


For the BILLIONTH time in 22 years, I moved again this weekend. (Side note: I actually only counted 15 times I have moved in my life, although I suspect I am missing a few.) I can't say this was the easiest move, but it was only down a few floors. The easiest was when I was little because then I didn't really help do anything and did not have to lift anything heavy or manage the movers. However close or far a move is, it is a pain. Packing and unpacking. Moving to college and out on my own wasn't bad. As a college student, I didn't have many nice things and I had virtually no income so I didn't have as much as I do now. I have also begun to acquire things such as furniture which is also a pain. Even after donating 3 garbage bags of clothes a couple months ago, I still got made fun of for having boxes labeled; "Clothes I don't wear".....uhm that's a problem. I won't even mention the boxes upon boxes of shoes I own or the bedroom at my parents house that still holds some of my belongings. My anxiety was through the roof yesterday realizing how much stuff I have. I am certainly not a minimalist however, compared to others in my gene pool, I have a much easier time getting rid of things.
Moving is stressful.
Good news: I have a 4 day weekend coming up.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Something Philosophical

I have written about this topic before but I still feel like I have not conveyed what I mean, I just want more people to understand, perhaps I have found a better way of explaining it, or have learned more myself.

Rainy days lend an ear for insightful thinking. This morning was short of what I envision a monsoon to be like.
To veer a little off track before diving into the real purpose of this post, I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend, I certainly did. I, of course, took time to thank the handful of veterans I know for their service since growing older and gaining a deeper respect for what military personnel are subjected to. For everyone I did not thank personally, know that I am greatly thankful for your service and those you served with.

As for my weekend, I spent an evening in Green Bay (not for a Packers’ game) meeting many new people. It is crazy the amount of places in Wisconsin I have visited for my first time this year. It just goes to show how much there is to learn, see, and do in this world and how much of it happens even within reasonable driving distance! After exploring Green Bay, I ventured on to Elkhart Lake and spent the remainder of the extended weekend in the old familiar town. Going through high school 15 minutes down the road from this town, I spent my summer after freshman year of college waitressing at a resort on the lake. Being out of college, and having a free weekend, the resort sounded like a great getaway. I expected that more things would have changed, but it was a warm welcome that much had not. Anyways, it was relaxing. I ended the weekend last night going to see the Fast 6. <3>

Work started Tuesday morning as quite a drag taking longer than usual to wake up and snap into critical thinking, problem solving, and saving the world mode.

Now that I am done beating around the bush, the reason I felt the need to blog now is something I was thinking about this morning.

How hypocritical it is to describe oneself as a particular way without evidence of that behavior in every situation. (How does that sound for an insightful comment?) I shall try to explain my meaning. I think it is very hard to describe yourself in general words or say you are always a particular way. If you tell me you are always quiet around new people, I will always treat you as if you are always quiet around new people unless I am familiar enough to make my own deductions about your behavior in certain situations. Since every person thinks differently, it would be difficult for multiple people to agree on a specific behavior but common for multiple people to describe the same actions differently. I think this gets confusing to explain or talk about and therefore it is just ignored by most people.

It is kind of like those personality quizzes. Questions like; “Do you get stressed when you are in big crowds of people?” Well, you can answer however you want to especially depending on how you want the person reading your answers to think you are. So, how is that valid? Or my favorites are the questions that have you answer on a scale from 1-5 on how often you act a certain way. Hold on a second, let me recount every situation that relates and get a percentage for you. HA, no, but I wish you could. I think those questionnaires are really only for your own self-discovery to get you to think how you WANT to be.

I am getting off topic, but I just think it is funny how people choose to describe themselves. I basically take their (their=anyone) word with a grain of salt. For example, someone saying they are active could mean many different things to many different people. To my brother, active is running no less than 50 miles per week. To me, active means going to the gym a couple times a week or being involved in some regular sport. To my mom, active means running to the mailbox or up and down the stairs a couple times. To an elderly person, active means walking to the front door. To a kid, active means 4 hours of recess and sports a day. This is a vague example because it is most likely not misinterpreted, but think of it on a more emotional scale with ideas that are more commonly misunderstood between people.

I think this concept helps explain why certain people are friends or close friends verses acquaintances. Some people do not mind explaining themselves regularly, some people like when others understand concepts the way they do without explanation, or some can adapt to different people and change their vocabulary depending on the crowd. These are all interesting ideas. I enjoy being understood in few words even though I'd say I'm pretty good at using many.

Which are you? Which do you want to be?

I think this also relates closely with first impressions. When I know I am going to meet someone new, I like to have a little background first to understand the person and refine how I will act. This can be both good and bad. How much weight do you want to put on someone’s opinions of another person, whether good or bad? Some information is good, but some information should be deduced on your own. Hence how people can not like someone even having never met them.

Hope this gives some good food for thought.

Until next time folks!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The best piece of advice I received during my undergrad studies was "don't be afraid to ask for help". I apparently have a problem with that. It is not a new problem since I am reminded regularly by my family that as a child I would often protest, "I can do it myself". I blame my less-than-perfect book smarts partially/mostly on my inability to ask for help.

Somewhere along the line it was engraved in my head that asking for help wasn't great. For me there is a very fine, almost invisible, line between asking for help and cheating. I find defeat in having to ask for help for some reason. As absurd as I know that must sound to you, it's another obstacle I face in life.

My professional career has proved this philosophy somewhat wrong and somewhat right. Let me explain.

I can ask for help on things I know I can't solve reasonably on my own. On the other hand, I'd rather struggle a little to solve something I know I can so that next time I can do it [better] on my own instead of having to ask for help every time.

At work when I am on the production floor, any physical labor I do is stopped by someone asking if I need help. #1 I am greatly appreciative that people are willing to help me. #2 Sometimes I want to do it myself. Of course a 130lb woman is going to have problems moving a 400lb pallet of soft starters around, but I'd still like to try. Of course a tiny high school girl is going to struggle to productively swing a 20lb sledgehammer through a kitchen counter, but it is still a story my family likes to tell, and I am proud.  I guess this is all part of my determination as well, but I just hate being thought of as not capable.

Help is good and the sooner I realize that and use it beneficially, I think the more successful I could be. The dictionary gives many good definitions of help, all positive.

My brother once told me that most people enjoy providing help. Being able to help someone shows their need for you and it is a good feeling being needed.

So, I am determined to ask for help more often when necessary.

"My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


It has confused me my whole life why things are not just easy. How come every day at lunch, the line at Panera is so long that it gets divided at the coffee stand and people do not know whether to cram in the door or barge through everyone to snake the line in front of the coffee? Half the time the line splits into 2 lines and people argue about who is next in line. How come Wal-Mart has 40 some odd registers but inevitably only 5 people working at a time? How come splitting a bill with 10 people is SO hard? And by the way, why can’t I just go on my phone, open to the restaurant I am at and easily pay by bill on my phone in about 10 seconds? Why did I not get a notice that my street parking permit was going to expire before it did and I got a ticket? How come I can’t store my tanning lotion and eye protection at the tanning place instead of it freezing in my car?

I mean seriously, the list is ENDLESS. Well, this is not only my life, it is my job. I am finally starting to understand the world and why things are not always done “easy”.

There always seems to be a tradeoff of doing something easier. Kind of like the concept, “you pay for what you get”.  In my job, I want people to be the happiest doing their job. Taking steps toward happiness most likely means having their specific process/job/task easy to complete. Unfortunately, it is hard for anyone to see the large picture without all the information available. So making one person’s job easier might double or triple the work for someone else unknowingly. I often find myself on a fence with two people pulling me each direction. Either that, or just one person and it is up to me to make decisions to prevent future calamity.

The problem with happiness is that different things make different people happy. Therefore, it is hard to please everyone. Some things are worth fighting for and others are worth compromising.

I still think many things in this world could be done easier, but there is no sense complaining about the things you are not going to make an effort to change. 

So instead of complaining about everything that could be done easier, take a moment to appreciate the things that are already easy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

It Won't Happen To Me

Well, it could.

I have lots of thoughts and opinions on random acts of violence.

I believe anything could happen to anyone at any time.
It's not worth being overly scared about because RANDOM acts are hard to predict and prevent.
I think everything happens for a reason and death is part of life we cannot understand.

My first experience with a random act of violence on a large scale was the Oklahoma City bombing. I was four years old at the time so my memory is vague, however, I do know that I lived in Buffalo, Oklahoma at the time. My home was a mere 2 hour drive from the chaos. I have a computer key from the destruction's aftermath. It was close enough to make you think and even possibly know people directly affect.

As I've said before, I was in the World Trade Center July of 2001. I think that is beyond ridiculously crazy. When I am 60, 70, 80 years old, not many other people will be able to recall the memories I had about the event in whole.

Then of course, there has been local events such as the salon murder just minutes down the street from my work, and the multiple people ending up in the river after drinking likely within hundreds of feet of me, and church massacres, etc.

It is always shocking, but it's not like you could expect the same event to happen at the same place every time. Even natural disasters are somewhat predictable, at least I can say for certain a pacific hurricane won't be coming ashore from Lake Michigan any time soon.

I can't begin to understand the emotions from the people driving these events. After the fact, our government pieces together "signs" that give some insight to the behavior, but even so are often a stretch of the imagination. People are being watched every day for clues of erroneous behavior but even so, some slip through. What if it was possible to catch every criminal before they committed a crime? You can guarantee there would be a large breakout of protests against convicting potentially innocent people! I believe it has a lot to do with how you are taught to behave by people you trust or believe. I guess it's like a big chain in my mind. Then there is the obvious that people can lie or say things they don't completely mean, so do you punish based on verbal conversation? Well that interferes with freedom of speech. It is all very complicated. There is a very fine line with prevention and I think the US does a fairly good job with it, however, there is ALWAYS room for continuous improvement, or else I'd be out of a job if I didn't believe that.

I think there is help to be had. I wish "talking" to someone wasn't as frowned upon as it seems to be. I get that going to a therapist is hard and sometimes not enjoyable, but I think it is really positive. At least talking to someone with a non-bias perspective.

My opinions likely won't change the world, I just hope that I can go about living my life without upsetting someone so bad they feel like need to hurt me or those I love. That is certainly not my intention.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thanksgiving in April

I find holidays kind of funny because they are one day a year allocated to a certain occasion. In my opinion, every day should be a celebration and remembrance of all important things. Today you get to hear about mine. 

Consider this Berea Janzen's 2013 Q1 (first quarter) report or my April Christmas letter?

I started off my year spending very little of my free time in the city I live, making trips to; Door County, Appleton, and Madison for various reasons. My ex-boyfriend and I ended our relationship towards the end of 2012 so I did what I could to keep my mind and body busy. You could have probably guessed my life was not normal from the ZERO posts I had in February. Work became more hectic after the first of the year doing a lot to "start fresh" and stay on our feet after a huge change that came with buying another company. I bought a new car in February after my old cars' drive shaft broke in the middle of an intersection. I now get to ooo and awww at my 2011 Metallic Slate Nissan Altima S Coupe that I drive way too proudly. March was the first month I made payments to all my bills; from my newly acquired car, student loans, insurance, 401K, phone, apartment rent, utilities, and a few others I am surely missing. I also traveled to Iowa to visit my brother, a small town "up north" to a cabin getaway with some friends, and Easter with my family in Sheboygan and the Dells. By early March I was very much ready for summer (who am I kidding, I'm always ready for summer) however, we have yet to even see a resemblance of warm weather. April started off interesting as I attended a Prom-themed 30th birthday for a friend in Appleton. The cold weather here in Wisconsin had me itching for the sun to see my skin, so I planned a trip to Arizona with my friend to visit a colleague. I thoroughly enjoyed the 80 degree weather and was not fond of returning to a state full of snow and gloomy weather. Fortunately, I love my job so leaving Wisconsin for good is not an option right now. Here it is, the last weekend of April and my life is starting to resemble normalcy. So far I've only spent about 40% of my weekends this year in Milwaukee which is somewhat unfortunate since I do enjoy the city. I find that okay and justifiable since this August will mark 5 years of me living in Milwaukee. I do not have any big plans for this summer yet, which I had better start working on. I am currently reading "The Know-It All" in an attempt to keep my New Years Resolution to read more. I read more in January than since middle school, so I think I already accomplished that goal. I have two paintings that I want to finish so hopefully staring at the unfinished canvas' every night will eventually give me motivation to work on them. In other news, I am editing my brothers new book he wrote. It is far from publishable yet, however, I am working to make it a much easier read and I can already say it is going to be FANTASTIC when finished. I will also mention I have a new beau I may tell you more about at some point. :)

So I am pretty thankful #1 that I can travel. Being able to drive an hour or two or three for a weekend of fun adventures is 200% worth it. I love not being confined to limitations. I realize these weekend trips are hardly exotic but it is like a breath of fresh air. #2 I am beyond thankful for my job. Once you all have the opportunity to read my brothers new book, it will sink in how blessed I am! I am 3rd thankful for my friends who stick with me through every single one of my tens of thousands of emotions. And I credit my parents, as always, for raising me to know that all of these things are blessings from God. I have yet to figure out what makes ME deserving of any of them. 

"Your power is great, and your glory is seen everywhere in heaven and on earth. You rule with strength and power. You make people rich and powerful and famous. We thank and praise you."
1 Chronicles 29: 11-13

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Thousand Words

Since I am at an early stage in my career, I feel this is a good time to discuss something I have swept under the rug. Better now than before I forget.

As a Junior in high school, my future was anything but certain and I seemed to change my mind about a career path daily. After I nixed being an Interior Designer, my next focus was Photography. Family, friends, and teachers lauded my artistic abilities since I was young, so it was always assumed that I would pursue some type of degree in the liberal arts. High school certainly helped structure this as I took many art classes and excelled in them above my other classes. The only advanced class I took in high school was Advance Photography where I spent countless hours in the dark room and time analyzing life to snap good pictures. Fast forward 5 years where most people are using Instagram which has a handful of filters that you can click and within seconds have a picture that looks a few steps under professional. Five years and it is amazing how far we have come (not to mention I turned a completely different corner and God opened a door for me into Engineering?!?!?!?) :-D

Film is nearly non-existent. Getting film developed is almost like finding a computer with a floppy disc drive these days. Can you imagine the "old days" when pictures (yes pictures, not portraits) took hours to create (I mean like pinhole cameras)? I even recently got into a discussion about disposable cameras. When was the last time you tried to buy one of those? Getting filmed developed was almost like Christmas because you never remembered what you had taken photos of. I often remember getting filmed developed with multiple of the same picture in different variations.

So, I've been thinking recently about the value of pictures. I have over 2,000 photos on my iPhone alone and probably another 2,000+ on my computers' hard drive. My first thought is how fun my kids will have with some of that information some day. What use will all those pictures go to? They are good for memories, but seriously, how many 2D memories are worth holding on to? Another thought is how scary it is to think of the possible career I could be living. Good photographers are hard to come by. It truly is an art but I get stopped at the point where anyone can snap a picture. I guess anyone (this is a fallacy-clearly not EVERYONE) can solve a simple math equation too. Anyways, I now see that those classes were almost like history lessons. I likely won't use that knowledge for a real world experience or gain, but I know the historical development of photography and made some unique pieces of art along the way, that I will likely be the only appreciative one of.

So where does this land us? What purpose do pictures serve? I will say it is way easier to text a picture of something to someone than to try and explain it most of the time. Often times in meetings, ideas will be written on a white board and at the end of the meeting one person takes a picture and forwards it to everyone as an add-on to the meeting minutes, rather than copying everything by hand. I, however, have been referring to recreational/artistic pictures for the majority of this post.

I also find it extremely amazing that some cultures, such as the Amish, don't allow pictures, for various reasons. Maybe our photography will be of some use to them some day? Maybe I will compile all my pictures and make a book of it? (Joke--It's called a photo album or scrapbook). There has to be some unique market for digital pictures because they are serving no purpose tucked away on my hard drive which is sitting unplugged from anything at the moment. Maybe I'll work on that. Until then, I will keep collecting 2D memories for hopefully someones benefit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I’m Just Trying to Get My Spot like a Polka Dot

Self-Awareness as defined by Merriam-Webster is; “[cognizance] of one's own personality or individuality”.

I like to include definitions on blog posts to reinforce the subject being spoken about so that everyone understands exactly what I mean. I also like to because the amount of definitions for a single word can often be infinite or people just make up their own conceived meanings. I hope by this point, you have caught on that this post is dedicated to self-awareness.

The wheels in my brain started turning today when a close friend of mine said; “[Berea], you are SO self-aware it's crazy”. I smirked as I recounted the numerous times throughout my life in which my parents had told me virtually the same thing. My dad is a big advocate for self-awareness given his career dealing with (and counseling) hundreds of thousands of unique people, which is why he has always pushed me a step deeper into exploring my feelings. For example, being angry at someone over a verbal disagreement is just not satisfactory in being self-aware. The question is really, WHY? (Or as a good Lutheran would say; “what does this mean?”) Maybe it was a growing issue that I was angry with that person for a comment they said months ago and had never addressed it. It takes a lot of thinking to understand more than the top layer of emotional issues. “Emotional” including; cheerful, upset, depressed, volatile, uneasy, regretful, and the list goes on (hundreds in fact). So, I want to share with you my experiences so that hopefully you will learn something and maybe teach me something.

I realize not all people are like me, in this respect, so I get asked what has made me self-aware. I have come up with a couple answers that I think are the best. First of all, I will never forget my dad coming home from a conference in Colorado and telling my mom, my older brother, and I that he had bought us presents. (Side note here; from what I remember, my family was fairly poor growing up, even though my parents tried to conceal it, I still knew getting presents in the middle of the year was out of character.) My life changed forever when he handed me a hard cover book that said “Journal” on the front. I was six years old when my family started the weekly tradition of writing in our Journals every Sunday after church. I have now been writing on a regular basis for over SIXTEEN years. I’d say I have come a long way with my writing and personal development in 16 years and to this I credit the majority of my self-awareness. When you reflect on life events, however major or minor they may be, you inevitably think about what was said and what you would have done differently in hindsight. Writing those events, feelings, and outcomes down on paper reinforces the ideas, at least for me. You begin to think deeper every time you re-read what was written and trust me, you see it from different aspects nearly every time.

Okay, so writing has helped me grow, but the other reason I think I am “SO” self-aware is my exposure to different cultures growing up. It is no secret that my family moved a lot in my younger years and it certainly helped me understand myself better. I adjusted my personality to fit in with the people I wanted to be friends with and as bad as that might sound, I really think it helped define who I am. I was able to compare my feelings and morals to those around me as well as see different traits I wanted to possess.

Moving on, I want to try and share how to become more self-aware. It is essentially second nature to me now, but I am continually growing to say the least. Being self-aware means getting to know yourself better than you want to. You have to admit your faults. HAVE TO. No one is perfect, regardless of how much people can hide it, so even if you want to continue to hide your imperfections, at least admit to yourself you are not perfect and why. So, being self-aware is a huge cycle. The following list I created helps structure this cycle.

1-An emotional even occurs
2-You have feelings/emotions after the event
3-Reflect on what you would change and how you WANT to feel
4-Imagine possible future situations (or if it were to happen again)
5-Use reflections in next emotional event
*-Strive for the feeling(s) you WANT

I’ll walk you through an example just to drive home my point.
1-Emotional event: November 2011 my grandmother died.
2-Feelings/emotions: I had regret of not spending enough time with my grandma, not showing her enough love, and not gaining enough wisdom from her. I was sad there was nothing I could do anymore.
3-Reflect: I wanted to feel at peace.
4-Imagine future: What happens when the next close person in my life passes away? I don’t want to have so much regret.
5-Use reflections: I haven’t had someone else close to me die since her but I can use those reflections NOW. It is a reminder to keep important relationships strong when you can. I can already tell you I feel guilty I haven’t been working as hard as I should with my remaining grandparents, but at least having these thoughts is facing realization.
*-Strive for the feelings you WANT: This is key. I should star this a million times. You need to answer this for yourself. Happiness is my key and may be yours also. I say that weekly and sometimes daily. Ideally, I want to be in situations that will ALWAYS make me happy. When I have decisions to make, the prevailing decision is 9/10 what will make ME happy. I also want to point out that making other people happy makes me happy, for the record, so I don’t always just discount others’ feelings to better myself.

The next topic of being self-aware I want to address is the negatives. Although deeply knowing yourself is fantastic, it can be dangerous. I realize I have TONS of problems and I mean a PROFUSION of problems. I like to say I am an emotional hypochondriac, haha. Granted, I am not a continuous basket-case, blabbering my problems to every poor soul I meet, but I am not shy to expressing feelings when I feel the need. It does get exhausting when I make realizations about my character and I always feel depressed because I know my faults all too well. The main thing that helps me get through these feelings is looking at the big picture. For example, I know I get angry VERY easy, therefore, I’d venture to say this is a bad trait of mine. However, I don’t get very angry about everything that makes me upset so I know I’m not just an angry person all the time, but I know there are areas to improve. In being self-aware, you need to address and continuously work on negative feelings. That’s what helps you grow.

I’m going to give you another example because I don’t want to be sounding vague. This is very personal, so please don’t judge or criticize me because I am certainly working on it! So, I often plan events for my friends and I, such as gatherings or get-togethers because I like being with my friends. Unfortunately, not everyone has my schedule, so there are a million and one excuses why people can’t attend various things I plan. Me, being a spoiled, baby-of-the-family, think that everyone should drop whatever else they have planned to hang out with me. Obviously, I am not that conceited, but it would be nice to have that, right? Anyways, I have a tendency of getting mad at people for not doing what I want. BUT I KNOW THAT I DO THIS (self-realization) and I know that me getting angry at someone is really MY problem, not theirs. So I have been working on differentiating between excuses and understanding I am not at the top of everyone’s list. If they are truly making excuses not to participate, I want to find out if it is because of me or not. If it is beef they have with me, I might as well not even try again because they likely aren’t as true of a friend as I thought. So overall, I learned I have this issue, I admitted that I have it, and I am working to stop it. Fair enough?

I am going to wrap this up now as I do not blame you if you are sick of reading. Life is an interesting journey. The best advice I can give as a 22 year old is to stay happy and FROG (Christian acronym). “You can’t solve an Algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.” –Baz Luhrmann

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Romans 12:3

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Room Full of Doors

So this is what it's like to be an adult? This being; I have no clue. I'm certainly not a kid, but adults laugh at how young and inexperienced I am. The government already owns my first and second born based on my schooling and other payments. Joke. I know further education is a must but it is like being a high school senior all over again and deciding what and where and trying to predict the rest of my future career as an inexperienced new-graduate. (Granted I am a little smarter now.) Being ever so depressed about the climate of the place I live yet being fairly comfortable.

Work certainly hasn't become boring yet. We acquired a company last year and the first major switch overs started January 1st. I've learned more about integration's than I ever thought I'd need to know. I've actually learned so much I don't even want to go into detail because I would not be able to stop. I want to know more and more and more and more. I never want to get bored because there is so much to learn and experience, it would just be a waste not to DO.

I have tons of time to keep things clean around the house and do the things I want to. Need to do is a different story.

I've been in the gym the past couple months a handful of days a week. I'm feeling great. Sore often, but if I wasn't, it would likely show no results. It's a great stress reliever and I definitely feel better about myself.

I've learned I am not a hopeless romantic, but I love to be spoiled way more than I should (thanks mom and dad). I'd rather buy a pair of shoes than eat for a couple days. I hate spending time on my computer outside of work. I need to buy a filing cabinet for all my bills. And I love nothing more than cuddling with my cat each and every night.

I am now going to go to bed and pray I wake up with 12 inches of snow MELTED. Hopefully I don't dream of that because I will be ever so disappointed if and when I wake up and it's not true.

Thursday, January 31, 2013