Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ocean Grove, NJ

Ocean Grove NJ.
As most of you know, this is my hands down favorite vacation spot - God's square mile. My family has been coming here since the 1940's. So many people have asked me for details about this unique and amazing place, so I have listed details below!

                          How to get here:                                                                                             

  • Fly into Newark NJ.
  • You can rent a car and head down the Garden State Parkway (50 minutes, unless you are driving to the shore on a Friday afternoon.)
  • You can take the train from Newark airport to Asbury Park Train Station via NJ Transit:(as short as 72 minutes, $16.50 for an adult ticket.)
  • Once you get off at Asbury Park, you can take a $5 plus tip taxi into Ocean Grove (1.5 miles away from OG), or take the EZ shuttle for $1.00 (Print Asbury Park schedule located at the bottom right of the webpage.)

Where to stay

You can walk pretty much everywhere, but renting bikes are fun. You can rent bikes at the Ocean Grove Hardware Store on Main Street, or the Brielle Bike Shop at Asbury Park (on the boardwalk, within easy walking distance from OG). Unless noted, all the things to do are within walking distance.

Where to eat:
Morning coffee at the Barbaric Bean on Main Street, or grab some coffee and a pastry at the Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe. (Bike Ride to Americas Cup on Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park = Greg’s favorite.)

Lunch is at the Starving Artist (also known as Days Ice Cream) or Nagels - there are many other places to eat as well. While at The Starving Artist/Days, check when there annual musical is. It’s pricey ($20-$35/ticket) but we have seen Dr. Seuss plays there, Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat, etc. Support local arts.

A high end dinner would be at Moonstruck in Asbury Park or Seagrass in Ocean Grove.

There is a small, pricey grocery store in town called Pathway Market. If you have a car, the best (and I mean the blow your socks off best) supermarket is Wegmans.
The best health food store is Deans


  • No problem! Head to New Jersey Premium Outlets (need a car) 
  • Go to the movie - at Clearview movie theatre, the manager comes out and introduces the movies personally (need a car.)
  • Head to Git Fired up and paint pottery (need a car or ride a bike - on the entrance to OG.)

Our day usually starts with a walk or bike ride on the boardwalk, which can go for miles. No bikes are allowed on the Ocean Grove boardwalk after 10am (Asbury Park noon.)
There are free yogalaties on Bradley Beach (walking distance from OG) a few nights a week.

OG is filled with history. They offer tours of Ocean Grove most days, house tours in July, and there is always the centennial cottage in town.

There is so much music at Ocean Grove to enjoy:

  • Saturday at noon - a free organ concert performed by Gordon Turk, our neighbor and also an organist often features on NPR’s Pipe Dreams.
  • Wed at 8:00pm  - Ocean Grove Band - free concert of showtunes and marches at the pavillion on the boardwalk.
  • Concerts Saturday nights (tickets can be pricey.) We have seen ABBA here, Davy Jones, Three Dog Night, Diana Krall. (See events for performers)
  • Of course Asbury Park has tons of performers (more edgy) - at the famous Stone Pony or the Wonderbar.

Ocean Grove Main Street is filled with all sorts of shops - from cheese to toys to clothes, It will take about 90 minutes to walk into all the shops on Main Street.


Feel like heading to NYC for a day or two? Just take the EZ train ($1) or taxi to the Asbury Park train Station ($5 plus tip). Put your $11-$15 (one way) in the meter and buy a ticket!
The ride is really comfortable, and is 100-120 minutes depending on if you take express or not. You have to switch trains at Long Branch (1-2 stops from Asbury Park) but it just means getting of the train, and walking 10 feet to the only other train.)
Or you can take the bus from Main Street in Ocean Grove to NYC  drops off around 42nd street. It takes two hours, and it’s $16 a ticket one way. (Personally, I’d take the train.)

All events
It’s hard to find a macro calendar because there is so much to do, but the ocean grove camp meeting association calendar is a great place to start. Most events are in July and August.
(Also click on the music programs on the same page.)

Bible Study

There are Bible Studies for ages 3+ in the morning. 9-10 for the younger ones, 9-11 for the older kids. They have Bible Studies led by a summer staff through high school. All these activities are free.

While your kids are there, you can choose to go to the morning Bible Hour near the Great Auditorium from 9-10.

Ladies Study Under the Umbrellas is on the beach (by the North pier) from 7:30-8:30 on Monday nights.

Sunday is worship at the Great Auditorium, from 10:30-noon. You will hear the beautiful OG organ which is one of the largest and famous organs in the world. You will see the famous ushers march and hear great speakers. (Free childcare during church is provided in the Youth Temple across from the Great Auditorium.)

1. Of course, there is the ocean. You have to buy passes to the beach, but it’s a great beach. (Standard beach, snack shop, you can rent umbrellas and chairs.) If you stay at a hotel/B&B, most of the hotels have discount badges for the ocean.
2. Small jungle gym on the south end of Ocean Grove and one on the Asbury Park Beach.
3. Every other Friday night they have a free Family Night Movie on the beach. Bring your chairs and blanket! They provide snacks and drinks.
4. There is sports every day (mostly for the locals, but your kid can jump in)
5. There is Learn to Fish Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 am on the North Pier.
6. The OGCMA rec department has sports for kids ages 5-12 every day from 2:30-3:30. Call 732-988-5533 for more info. It’s free, but parents need to sign a consent form.
There are tennis lessons every Thursday.
7. Tennis - once the girls did a kids lesson (Thursdays?)

Other events

  • Depending on the day, there is the annual used book sale (3 books for $1 - admission is free unless you go on Thursday night.)
  • There is annual bazzar, and art show on the boardwalk, and so much more -again, depending on the week you go.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Productivity/Time Management System

I feel so strongly about developing habits to focus (and teaching them to this smartphone drenched society.) I love technology, but some of us can feel "addicted" and need systems for focusing on other projects. Checking e-mail and twitter constantly, combined by people stopping by and streams of meetings can prevent you from focusing on the projects that really matter.

I first learned about the Pomodoro technique in December, 2010. I took several weeks to research time management systems that really worked. After much research, I decided to commit to this system. I love it. I absolutely love it. It's simple, and works. For anyone.

It's called the Pomodoro technique, and at the very, very, very basic) level, here is how I used the technique. (Pomodoro means tomato in Italian, and the time they use looks like a tomato.)
1. I have bought a timer. (Most use their phone, but I get too many texts.)
The Pomodoro website sells a supercute timer, but I buy the Blue Moon Timer and stopwatch through Amazon $26 because the chime is so pretty at the end. (My kids like the sound when I try it with them.)
2. List the tasks that must be done.
3. Set the timer for 25 minutes. Focus on one task at a time.
4. After 25 minutes, take a mandatory 5 minute break. After the break, continue focusing on that one task for 25 minutes.
5. After 3-4 Pomodoros, you can take a 35 minute break.

I know you may have heard this before - take a break. But please, try this systematic approach.
When I go on writing retreats I can go all day long and not feel tired, and my work product is significantly better. My writing partner (usually the provost) and I know when we can chit chat together. You will soon learn how many "pomodoros" projects really take, and therefore you really will become more strategic about what you say yes to!

The beauty of the system is that it's simple. However, there is much more information available if desired that can help increase your focus on tasks that matter.

For more free information, worksheets and inspiration, see:

I Use the Pomodoro Technique

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Family Calendar

I am continually on the hunt for time management systems that work. This free website (the app does cost a bit) changed my life. Outlook is not "fun" - but when I print Cozi for my kids for the week, it's beautiful. Everyone with their own colored dot. It's also VERY easy to enter data from the site or app. (free)
I use this for my family calendar, journal, lists
Send easy reminders to e-mail or phone. (This is helpful when Greg is picking up the girls one day - I can set it to remind him.)
Best in the world out there for mom's managing family calendar.
I love the journal setting because I can upload photos and stories right then and there to help me remember key family moments. (Because if I don't do it then or at the end of the day, I probably won't write down that special story.)

Feel free to stop me and let you show you cozi on my phone!

I have heard of plum life, but that site costs $. Cozi is completely free.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice at a glance

Ok, being almost 40, here is some advice I think works

I. Health
A. Vitamins (multi, E, omega, D, calcium)
B. Walk 2 miles daily
C. Keep your BMI in check
D. Be positive. It's better to get along than to not get along. 

II. Beauty
A. Never tan - the sun causes 90% of what ages you later.
B. Wear Sunglasses
C. Use SPF 90 sunscreen
D. Use Paula's Choice (cleanser, toner, AHA, antioxident, moist.)
E. Don't spend money on something that doesn't work. There is nothing for stretch marks or brown spots. Use sunscreen and save up for a doctor procedure if something is really bothering you.
F. You will never be the most beautiful girl, but you usually can be one of the classiest or most elegant if you dress well, modestly, and are professional at work and very kind to your friends. 

III. Financial
A. Save 20% for your first home down payment
B. Use for budget tracking
C. Buy only a few nice things (furniture, clothes)
D. Brand loyalty pays off (credit card, relationship with salesperson.) Plus, brand loyalty saves you time because you have "go to" places.
E. Don't be a whim giver. Commit to your church and some local non-profits who can count on regular gifts from you.

IV. Education
A. The masters is the new undergraduate.

V. Home Maint.
A. FlyLady (Sink Reflections)
(If you need a practical way to keep your house clean and free of chaos and always company ready. It only takes a few minutes a day and one hour a week. Don't worry if your house is not perfect - jump in where you are!)

VII. Family Stories
As a mom, one of your job is to identify the stories and photographs your family will remember for years. Family is made up of shared experiences. Be sure you re-tell stories, and have a list of top 10 family stories. I am going to do better at this, but be sure you select certain photos in your home - the one your children will always remember. A mom can shape what kinds of memories a child has by the photos she displays. I think that a family should have at least 20 family stories and 10 key photographs.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Managing your money

I have alot to say about this, but here are my top points

1) You must manage your money or you won't be able to be charitable. 

2) If you are busy, the best website I have found is
go to for a free 60 day trial. (This could be expired by the time you read this, but just search for a free trial period.)
it's a bit pricey, but here are the features:
- enter your income
- divide that money into "virtual" envelopes - a  spending plan (do they add up?)
- enter all your credit cards and checking account info.
- every day you will see purchase transaction - regardless of how you paid for it (credit card, debit, check.) And the credit card purchases show immediately on the transaction screen (not when the bill comes). Then, you move that purchase into an envelope (e.g. "groceries" "clothing" "gifts for others".) When your credit card comes, your "envelope" is full of the exact cash. And, it syncs with your checking account, so you always know if you are ok. Plus free bill pay. It may seem confusing at first, but if you are interested, I'll walk you through it. 10 minutes of my coaching on the set up  is better then 2 hours of trying to figure it out online. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How to organize your children's school work

Kate (2nd grade) and Carolyn (kindergarten) bring home daily paperwork.
You will need to find your own system for organizing it.

Here's mine:

I used to by the Esselte Pendaflex, legal size, 12 pockets, with a flap that closes. It's really hard to find.
You must have legal size because some of the art is large.
And you need it divided by months, and you need it to close with a band.

Put the papers you want organized by month. For the month of July, but a new sticky label over it and entitle it "Extra special work." That way, if you ever get rid of the daily work, you at least know right away where the special art/work you want to keep is located.

So, I order one for each daughter, and just write their name, grade, teacher and school on the front with a sharpie. It's just really help me stay organized. Papers don't just sit around as clutter because you don't know what to do with them. I edit somewhat, and then it goes straight into the pendaflex!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So, you are thinking about a career in student development?

I love my career (calling) in student development and I love being able to shape Christian community on our campus and help students find their calling. On a daily basis I provide opportunities, resources and solutions to develop student leaders, increase student satisfaction, and retain students to our campus.

My job involves problem solving for students and parents, assessment (CIRP, CSS, NSSE, SSI), training and development of a large staff, leadership for one of the largest budgets at Union, legal issues (responses to issues as well as the development of policies that help us legally), scholarship (a great deal of writing and speaking), crisis management, and many meetings (senior leadership, staff meetings, student services faculty committee, strategic planning committee, trustee meetings, SGA meetings President's Cabinet, Provost Council, ad hoc committees, etc.) I also do a great deal of data assessment, trend projection, and pinpointing and operationalizing retention strategies.

I hope that you find a vocation that you love as much as I love mine. If you love ministry and people, and want to make a real difference in the lives of others, student development may be an excellent fit for you.

Here is some advice as you consider this profession.

1) Be involved in a student life office while an undergraduate student. (Volunteer or work with an organization or an office if you can't get a workship/workstudy position. Never underestimate the power of volunteering and developing solid relationships in fields that interest you.)

2) Go to graduate school. There are many types and different delivery methods (online, residential, more theory, more praxis. You need to talk to a network to see what institution is going to be the best fit for you.)

Many program deadlines for graduate school scholarships are in March. Financially, it would be good to find a program that pays a small stipend through a GA (graduate assistant) position and also waives tuition - like Baylor, unless you have a full time job in student development. (Also called student services, student life - the terms are interchangable.)

3) You have to begin as a director/assistant director in something before moving "up" (e.g. leadership development, Greek Life, student activities, career services, academic support, counseling services, judicial affairs, first year experience programs, intramurals/wellness, service learning, orientation director, SGA, academic advisor.) Residence Life is the most common way people get started because it gives you experience with most everything in student life. (This may sound obvious, but you can't start out as a Vice President for Student Services. Most often, you have to come up through a department within the division, and certainly have an excellent working knowledge of all the departments.)

Graduate Programs: Recommended Schools To Explore:

For the most up to date graduate list, click here:

Baylor (TX, faith based) - residential, excellent GA opportunities Baylor

Asuza Pacific University (California, faith based)[]=masters_degree

University of Louisville University of Louisville


Taylor University (CCCU) - (Indiana, residential, excellent GA opportunities)

Messiah College has a new online program athletics management; institutional advancement; student affairs –or create your own individualized concentration, tailored to your professional goals.)

Geneva College: Very well respected graduate program

Indianan Weslian- MA counseling, with emphasis on student affairs

Ball State University
(This is a residential program, but it is a unique one year program. Several of the professors are very strong Christians.

Unless you already have a full time job in higher education, I would not recommend an online program because you need current context and experience while you are working.

Look at the website job descriptions from CCCU and ACSD (websites below) and see what job descriptions resonate with you. Again, eventually, you will have to narrow and specialize in order to get hired. (Employers don't necessarily want you to "love everything"  -  that can be interpreted as being unfocused. Employeers want you to 100% love and have experience in the area for which they are hiring, especially when you are starting out.)  For example, I want my wellness center director to love wellness. I want leadership development folks to love training and development, to know the leadership trends and books out there. I want residence life to understand the specific opportunities and challenges within residence life (RA training, crisis planning, occupancy reports, etc.)

Never, and I mean never, talk to an employer and talk about how you want the job because of the experience or that you want to "try out this field." An employer only wants to know what YOU can do for them, not necessarily what they can do for you. (e.g. talking about your excitment about the tuition discount in the interview is a big turn off.)

Programs/PeopleUniversity of Memphis
(MS, Leadership and Policy Studies - student personnel concentration.)
The classes are offered in Memphis or at Jackson State.
Contact Dr. Frances Pearson 901.678.4060
Contact Ashley Jackson who graduated with classes from that program.

Herrell, Laura []
Graduated Baylor in May 2011
On scholarship - Interned in VP for Student Services Office

Jon Abernathy - or
Graduated Baylor in May 2011
On Scholarship- Working in Academic Success.
Serves as our (inaugural) Director, Office of Disability Services at Union.

Cam Armstrong - Masters at University of Florida, working on Ph.D. at APU
Former coordinator of Student Activities at Mississippi College
Now works at Baylor University

Stephanie Lee Steele - Masters and Ph.D. at Vanderbilt
Was Union's first Director of Student Leadership Development.
Now is full time faculty at Union in the College of Education.

Cassey Stafford
University of South Carolina
(Now a doctoral student in Michigan - focus international/intercultural higher ed)

Karen Taylor
Associate Director of Student Leadership Development and Student Programs
Graduate of Dallas Baptist University's college student development/higher ed program

Jason Castles
Director of Student Leadership Development
Masters at University of South Florida, finishing Ed.D. at Union University

Melissa Gruver
Masters from Baylor University

Jennifer Tharp
Director of Student Services at The Kings College in Manhatten
Regent University - completed online masters in college student development

Bryan Carrier
Assistant Dean of Students at Union
Masters at Asuza Pacific University, finishing Ed.D. at Union University

Kimberly Thornbury, Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students, UU
Masters at University of Louisville, Ph.D. Regent Univeresity

Ken Litscher
Director of Residence Life
MDiv from Denver Seminary, but can talk to you about how he uses his MDiv and pastoral training in work with college students.

Several student life professionals also completed masters degrees at Union, and tailored projects to their student development interests. Such employees include Jacqueline Taylor, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Vocatio Center for Life calling and Career, Ashley Jackson, and Blake Pennington. Renee Jones, Associate Director of the Vocatio Center received her MBA at Union.

Websites you should know: (this and naspa below are the two largest professional organizations for our field.) (National Associatiotn of Student Personnel Administrators) (This is the best site for those wanting to go into student development at schools like Union - evangelical, liberal arts colleges.)

http://www/ (Council for Colleges and Universities.)

Southern Placement Exchange (Usually held in March in the South - sometimes as close as Memphis)

Oshkosh Placement Exchange (Feb 26-March 1) Oshkosh, WI,
(Type in the website since dates will change.)

Discipline specific professional websites for housing, orientation, activities, intramurals, etc. American psychological association (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) American association of christian counselors (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) Christian association for psychological studies (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) Disabilty services (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) - National Strength and Conditioning Association (e.g. Matt Brunet) -National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (e.g. Blake Pennington) American College Health Association (e.g. Nurse Paul)
IAEM (International Association of Emergency Managers (e.g Carson Hawkins) Orientation

Greek Life:


Student Government:

Leadership Development: (e.g. Jason Castles and Karen Taylor)

Career Services:
National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
Southern Association of College and Employers (SoAce)
Tennessee Association of Colleges and Employers (TACE) --Assocation of Christians in Student Development --Chronicle of Higher Ed --Student Affairs (general) --Resident Assistants --Judicial Officers (e.g. Bryan Carrier) –Housing Officers (e.g. Ken Litscher) - Safety and Security (e.g. Carson Hawkins)

Hundley Center (e.g. Bethany Morse)
National College Learning Center Association
National Center for Developmental Education
National Tutoring Association