Monday, March 19, 2012

New Year's Resolutions...Three Months Later

It’s me again,

Although this post is a little late, it still rings meaningful to me (even three months after New Year’s). I did a little reflecting on the idea of New Year’s resolutions and came up with a few of my own that I wanted to share…

Tackle a Large Portion of My Dissertation- By May of 2012 I will have almost completed all required courses in my Ph.D. in Adult Education which signifies one thing: Comprehensive Exams (comps) are looming. In my Ph.D. program, comprehensive exams basically mean the acceptance or rejection of me and my research within my current program. In my department comprehensive exams consists of 4 research-based essay questions related to my proposed dissertation topic. In general, each question will be answered in roughly 15 pages worth of writing, creating a grand total of a 60 page paper churned out in 30 days...eeek! Following the 30 days, the paper must be printed, bound, and turned into my advisory committee. Once they have read my paper, I will schedule a defense with them, which allows them the opportunity to critique, praise, and question my writing. If approved, this will allow me the opportunity to continue on in the Adult Education program, and begin the steps to start my research project. Currently I am planning on taking comps in May, and hopefully defending them in either early June or early August depending on my advisory committee’s summer schedule (keep me in your prayers). 

Remember Birthdays – This is something that I struggle with. For some reason, if I have not looked at my handy-dandy planner the day of your birthday, then chances are I probably won’t remember it. In an attempt to get better at this I am trying to concoct some sort of filing system where each friend or family has their own index card with their birthday written on it, and then behind it I can file the card I want to send them. Hopefully this will help keep me more organized and better mindful of family and friend’s birthdays.

Journal/Write Letters – I recently stumbled across a beautiful blog that celebrated a couple’s marriage and life adventures through short letters. If you get a moment check out their site: Today’s Letters. I am working to start a journal in an attempt to keep up with funny thoughts, random events, and our life in general through journaling…wish me luck!

Complete a Special Gesture/Surprise for my Husband Each Week – This is something that I am attempting so that I can show love to my husband in a special way each week. Previous surprises include a homebrew class, picnic, and fondue night.  They range from small to big, but I think the most important part of this New Year’s Resolution is remembering to show love to my husband in a unique way each week.

Even if it's a few months late, I still find the idea of bettering yourself/renewal throughout the year a powerful one...these goals help me to be mindful of this process. How are your New Year's Resolutions going?

Love and Fist Pumps,

Buck and Jenna

Tis the Season

Hello beautiful people,

I know, I know, it has been a while and as usual, I am feeling guilty about not maintaining this blog. Brace yourselves…there will be two blog posts today! As usual a lot has been happening in our world, and we couldn’t be more excited to catch you all up.

On December 1st, I started my new job as the Georgia 4-H State Office Program Assistant. I am so pumped to finally have an “adult” job, and more importantly that I have a job that allows me to continue my education. My job mainly consists of event and program support, which allows me to travel throughout the state. In the past three months I have assisted with the state livestock show, team building and leadership enhancing workshops, the state consumer judging contest, district project achievement contests, plus the dairy and horse quiz bowl competitions. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the state office and look forward to continuing my career with Georgia 4-H. 

In December we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s with our wonderful families. We spent the week before Christmas with Buck’s family and Christmas Day and weekend with mine this year (we try to flip-flop back and forth until we have kiddos), and I think that even almost two years into our marriage we each struggle with the notion of not being able to participate in holidays and traditions as we did while we were single. For the first time in his life, Buck experienced Christmas Day away from his family, which was both new and different for him. We walk a fine line in finding “fair” ways to divide up our time between our KY and GA families, but feel incredibly blessed to have people that love us from both up close and afar all the time. 

In addition to Christmas, we enjoyed a long weekend with Adam and Whitney (Buck’s sister and brother-in-law) for New Year’s. (Buck is blessed with such an incredibly close bond to his sister, and between the two couples, we are so fortunate to have so much in common and truly enjoy each other’s company). The weekend consisted of nothing but eating, sleeping and exploring and it couldn’t have been better. S’mores were eaten, frozen fishing occurred, and all parties participated in sleeping past 7:00 in the morning. We also enjoyed see our friends Jessie and Todd and thank them mucho for showing us around the Biltmore Estate.  Our holidays were wonderfully blessed, relaxing, and amazing…we hope yours were too!

Love and Joy,

Buck & Jenna

Monday, November 14, 2011

On The Hunt...Job Hunt That Is

Hello again,

Two posts in one day? Your eyes aren’t deceiving you…this is the procrastinator in me coming out. I have been terrible at keeping up with our blog and in a guilt-induced state have tried to make up for it by double posting on our blog in one day.

I am so excited to share with you all that last Tuesday I accepted a job with the UGA State 4-H Office as a program assistant. Although nothing official has been filed, and no paperwork has been signed (we are currently waiting on my background check to be returned before I receive a start date) I am excited to being this new chapter and start a truly “adult” job in Georgia.

I have spent the last few months looking for a job at UGA that would allow me to work full time, gain valuable work experience, expand my networks, and most importantly-be eligible for good health insurance and a retirement plan. I truly believe this job will allow me to do all these things, and the plus is that after six months of working for UGA you are eligible to waive tuition and take classes. This way, I am able to finish my PhD, while working full time for the university.

Although nothing is entirely official until my paperwork returns, I am super excited to begin work in the State 4-H Office in the next month or so, and begin my hopefully long and fulfilling career with Georgia 4-H!

Love and Air High-Fives,

Buck & Jenna

The ABC's of Marriage: Anniversaries, Birthdays, & Celebrations

Hello beautiful people,

A lot has been going on lately in the world of the Daniel family, and we are excited to update you on our happenings! In September (I have really been slacking with this blog thing) Buck and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Like the true gentleman he is, Buck (with the help of his sister) had planned a beautiful day filled with flowers, gifts, a massage, and a sweet dinner at our townhouse.

It blows my mind almost every day when I am reminded that I am a married woman. Even a year later, I find it catching me off guard, but I am so truly blessed with the life partner God has chosen for me, and although there are days where I can’t believe this is my life, I can’t imagine it any other way. I am so fortunate to have found this wonderful, caring, handsome, sometimes irritating man.

Enough of the mushy stuff, Buck celebrated his 28th birthday (yes he is an old man-I keep reminding him) in August and I celebrated my 25th birthday in September. Since we began dating, my dad has slowly been working to convert Buck into a fly fisherman, and I believe 2 years later he has been successful in his endeavor. Buck loves fishing and tying flies and so it was fitting for his birthday gift to be a new fly rod and some boat sandals for fishing.

Buck and his prize catch

Dad's current love, and a good excuse for us to visit KY
Speaking of fishing, in October, Buck took a trip with my Dad, his good friend Don, and Dad's new drift boat to Missouri to fly fish. Despite Dad being sick and a couple other obstacles, they eventually made it to Missouri and fished for a few days on the river. Buck and the guys caught lots of fish, ate well, and I think more than anything just enjoyed some time off of work. One of the greatest things about our marriage is that we each truly get along and enjoy our in-laws. It’s a blessing that Buck and Dad can enjoy time together fishing. More updates coming soon!

Lots of Love,

Buck & Jenna

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Is Officially Over

Hello beautiful people,

A lot of things have been happening lately in the Daniel household, and I am excited to update you all on these happenings. Summer is officially over for me, I finished all three of my summer classes the last week of July, and just last week began my fall semester. Today is a gorgeous day, with really low humidity, and I am super-excited because it is starting to feel like fall (my favorite season!).

Image retrieved from

Over the past few months, Buck and his business partner have been steadily busy with their manufacturing company. So busy in fact (and desperate as well) that they had asked me to come in a few days this summer to help out at the shop. Although I do not weld, they were still able to put me to work, and my main duties included cutting the steel material they use. All of their material arrives in large bundles that are 20-30 feet long (just a guess). Once they get a customer order for certain pieces of equipment the steel must be cut to the right length before they can begin welding. I must admit I felt like the most hardcore wife in the world that day, although the job was pretty easy, but it was fun to spend a few days at work with Buck.

 Steel Bundles Needing My Expert Cutting Skills

I also spent the last week in July in Haiti, setting up the second Virtual Extension system in Limbe, Haiti. This experience was doubly rewarding the second time around, and I am very fortunate to have been a part of such a wonderful trip. Believe it or not, the country seems to be healing slowly but surely….things look cleaner, schools are starting back up, and people slowly moving out of the “temporary” camps. This trip the station was set up in the northern region of Haiti at a soil erosion school. This school teaches seminars to farmers all across the country in an effort to educate them on the devastating effects of deforestation and soil erosion. Experts are brought in, and participants learn conservation techniques. This time around, I was mainly responsible for the training, which was a huge leap in responsibility for me, but also very rewarding. Already participants from the second station are using the system, and working to train other individuals throughout the country to use the system.

Thousands of individuals still living in "temporary" tent camps 1 1/2 years after the earthquake

Buck and I are close to celebrating our 1st anniversary, and in attempt to take a short break between summer and fall semesters we headed down to Amelia Island, Florida last week for a quick getaway. If there is anything that Buck and I learned on our honeymoon it was that I love laying at the beach all day and reading, and Buck needs to be entertained the whole time we are on vacation. In an effort to make the vacation enjoyable for both of us he picked Amelia Island, since it is well known as a site to find fossilized shark’s teeth. This seemed to work pretty well, and although I didn’t find even one tooth, Buck found four and seemed to be pretty pleased with his stash.

Fossilized shark's teeth retrieved from

I hope that you all had wonderfully productive/relaxing/invigorating summers. But for me it’s back to school…back to school!


Buck & Jenna

Friday, February 25, 2011

From Haiti With Love

As most of you know, I have been fortunate to travel quite a lot in my time at the University of Georgia. As a Masters student I was involved in a project in Costa Rica, and currently for my assistantship as a Doctoral candidate, I am involved in a project based in Haiti.

Partners-In-Health Logo
As a graduate assistant, I currently work in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Office of Global Programs. In general, our office is responsible for all CAES study abroad programs, international visitors and researchers and establishing relationships with international organizations and universities. In response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, a group of individuals from the College of Ag, related programs, and League of Hope (an Atlanta-based non-profit), travelled to Haiti the following March. During their trip they explored the country and spoke with local Haitians, seeking to find a way in which they could help a desperate country. Upon their return to Georgia, it was agreed that their expertise could be provided in the form of a “virtual extension system”.

Evidence Of Extreme Soil Erosion Due To Deforestation
Currently Georgia has a system called Distance Diagnostics through Digital Imaging (DDDI), in which Cooperative Extension agents can submit questions and samples for evaluation by UGA specialists through an online system. Questions can cover a broad spectrum of ideas (from how to take care of an orchid to what disease is killing my corn crop). The overall idea of the system is that anyone across the state of Georgia can bring in a plant, picture, or question to a local county extension agent, the extension agent would collect information from the individual about their request, fill out a form in the online system, and then submit the sample/question. Once submitted, the system would route the submission to the appropriate specialist who would then evaluate the sample, and ultimately send their answered submission back to the extension agent. The basic premise of this system is that anyone in the state can take advantage of the knowledge and expertise at UGA through Cooperative Extension and the DDDI system.

The Church Banner At Partners-In-Health

A Private Concert From Local Children

In February 2011, a team (including myself) traveled to Haiti. The overarching goal of the trip was to set up the first-ever DDDI system in Haiti and train local agronomists how to use the system. The first system was set up in Cange, Haiti at the Partners-In-Health compound (the same one as mentioned in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains). The trip was overwhelmingly successful and we are very excited to see what will come out of this adventure. Ideally the system will provide an opportunity for local farmers to increase their crop yields, thus increasing their profit, and in the long-term allow Haiti to become a country that will be able to meet the basic need of providing food for its people, rather than relying on foreign aid.

Partners-In-Health's Farm  

Another View Of The Farm Run By Local Haitian Farmers

A Man Waters His Horse Down By The River

Although I would consider myself a fairly well-traveled individual in Latin American and the Caribbean, my eyes have never before seen the amount of poverty that exists in Haiti. Most individuals live on less than a dollar a day, and struggle to meet their own basic needs. In a country that cries out so desperately for stability and self sufficience, I can only hope that the system we established during our trip will be received well by the locals, and used effectively to help meet some of their needs.

Locals Traveling to the Market

Locals Visit the River to Carry Water Back to Their Home
In the coming months our team hopes to establish two additional DDDI sites in Haiti. We hope that funding, planning, and travel dates will align soon to help us continue the work that we have started. I will try and keep everyone updated on our progress!

All My Love,


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wish You Were Here

Hello beautiful people,

As a recently married couple, Buck and I are so excited to begin our journey together, and couldn't be more content with the life we lead. God has blessed us with beautiful families, wonderful friends, and intriguing relationships that grow every day. We are so fortunate to be in our position, and look forward to seeing where God leads us in the future.

Quite frankly, though, we wish you were here. We wish time, distance, and financial constraints were not part of the equation that we find ourselves in. We realize that as we grow up, so does everyone else in our lives, and often we grow up in different cities, states, and countries.  It is my hope (and partly my new year's resolution) to use this blog as a means to keep people in our lives updated on the happenings of Buck and myself.

If there is anything that we have learned about ourselves in the past few years as a couple, it is that we enjoy sharing. We enjoy sharing our time, stories, and thoughts with each other and with our friends and family. We are caught up in such an exciting time in our lives, and as a couple experiencing many firsts (our first Christmas, our first house guests, etc). Although these happenings may not be CNN worthy...we hope that you will enjoy reading about our experiences just as much as we enjoy sharing them.

We wish each of you was here with us every day, but that is not our reality. Therefore, we hope that in between the times that we share with you this blog will serve as a way of connecting our lives.

Wish You Were Here,


"I dig my toes into the sand
The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds
Strewn across a blue blanket
I lean against the wind
Pretend that I am weightless
And in this moment I am happy...happy"

-Wish You Were Here, Incubus