Sunday, September 12, 2021

Summer 2021

The last few weeks have been full and my heart is full too! 😊

I had my birthday on August 20. The years seem to go faster now. God is so good and has blessed me with wonderful family and friends. I was in the Chattanooga area during most of that weekend and was able to see Sunset rock and the Walking bridge as some of the highlights. 

I am also so happy to be back in the Madison campus choir in Nashville. We are family. 

Sunday, July 05, 2020


This blog post to add to my previous blog post about how the Lord led in getting the job that I have now. The last few months have gone by so fast. A lot has happened since January!

It was a Monday morning and my phone ran in the office I was working in. I was not able to take the phone call then but I listened to the voicemail as soon as I had the opportunity. It was the program director, from Health Connect America and he informed me they were looking for a Master's level therapist. I called him back to follow up on the phone call. We discussed possible times to interview. I was going to be flying out of state to friend's wedding at the end of the week but I would be able to meet with him shortly after Christmas. On December 27, I drove through the heavy traffic of Nashville and arrived for my interview.
I interviewed for a good hour and shared my aspirations and passions in social work. The program director discussed with me the opportunity for a need for my interests in Hickman county. After the interview we discussed the next steps before being offered a job. I earnestly prayed in the days afterwards about the opportunity. On January 15, I was offered the job!!!

My experience getting started out with my job has been awesome from the beginning. On my first day a young lady who mentored and answered questions for me by phone as I was in the process of applying for the job took me out to lunch at La Fuente restaurant in Lewisburg, TN. It was nice to meet her in person!
My training with the other in-home worker in Hickman county was also awesome. On the first day I trained with her I met with her at the court house in Hickman. I accidentally went to the old court house before going to the new court house to meet with her. My first sights and sounds of Centerville was of the old court house in the picture below:

I love my job and doing what I do everyday. It is rewarding to help children with anger and behavioral problems and work with families in their home environments. It is also fulfilling to provide emotional support to children who have had very difficult backgrounds in their families. I also do a lot of coordination of care with case managers from the state, primary care providers offices, and guidance counselors.

I wake up every day filled with God's love for me. I also remember that God has a plan for my life!

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Starting a new job! God is faithful.

I want to share an important update that has happened in my life. On January 22, 2020 I started an in-home therapist position! It is rewarding to work with children and families and keep them together. I am very thankful for the God's providences in my life.

I want to share this promise with you as I reflect on God's leading,

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Remembering my Grandma

I have thought more about my grandmother recently and miss her. She was the matriarch and spiritual leader in my family. Everyone looked up to her and she was someone that you could always talk to.

She has a special family history. Her grandfather and his family accepted the Adventist message in Norway before coming to the United States.

Her spiritual influence had a big impact in my life and the values that she taught her family carried into my family.

I decided to journal my conversations with her during her last months of her life and I am so glad that I did for they are interesting to read.

Here is one of the conversations:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Special moments were spent with Grandma today. After lunch today I read to her the Sabbath school lesson. It was about the faith of Abraham. I had to read two passages in the Bible to understand the story of Abraham going to the top of Mount Moriah to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. At the end we were both contemplating on how Abraham had a lot of faith to have almost lost Isaac on the altar. But he also had faith to believe and told his son Isaac that God would provide a lamb. I remember Grandma agreeing with me about Abraham's faith and saying "yes". Also, I remembered studying and being taught as a child that Abraham placing Isaac on the altar was an indication of God saying that His beloved Son would one day die on the cross.

Grandma's prayers are beautiful. Today her prayer was, "Lord, thank you for this beautiful day. Help us to surrender our hearts. Thank you for the privilege of hearing this message. Help us to hasten your soon return."

Every day is precious with her. I am so glad I have the time to spend my summer vacation caring for and watching her. It's been a blessing to me.

Another one of my favorite conversations with her was about how she met my grandfather. When I asked her about the details about how their interest for each other developed she said, "Those are very happy memories. Thank you for asking me to recall." They met in Loma Linda, CA and had a lot in common. They both grew up in big cities, Chicago and New York and their families came to the US from Europe. Their mutual love for each other was evident. At the end of the conversation when I said to Grandma, "I really enjoyed talking to you about that." She said, "Well, April. It's my favorite subject."

Here are some of my favorite pictures taken with her and during last years of her life

                              My uncles, mother, and aunt with her at her 95th birthday party
                        (from left to right: Uncle Dave, my mother, Aunt Elizabeth, Uncle Albert)

I will always remember Grandma!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Madison College

There is a special place in Madison, a suburb very close to Nashville. One of the reasons it holds a special place to my heart is because my grandparents attended Madison College many years ago.

This place has Adventist history dating back to the time of Ellen White. Ellen White had an important role in helping the Adventist work to start in the Southern states. She gave instruction to Percy Magan and EA Sutherland about righteousness by faith and true education. True education is physical, mental and spiritual found in the first angels' messages in Revelation 14:7. In 1904 Percy Magan and EA Sutherland who were working at Battle Creek College saw the need for work they were doing there to come to the South.

Magan and Sutherland met with Ellen White and her son, Edson White and crossed the Cumberland River on the Morning Star. The boat broke down in a place called Neely's Bend near Madison. They came and looked at this horrible looking property with rocks. Sutherland and Magan knew about gardening and thought this was the worst kind of soil. Ellen White said, "the Lord has shown me this is where you are going to start your school."

We can find what Ellen White had to share about that experience in her writings, "The work that these brethren [E.A. Sutherland and P.T. Magan] can do because of the experience gained at Berrien Springs, is to be carried on within easy access of Nashville, for Nashville has not yet been worked as it should be. And it will be a great blessing to the workers in the school to be near enough to Nashville to be able to counsel with the workers there." LDE 105.2

Magan and Sutherland bought a farm on that property and started a school with fourteen students. In the school they had a nursing and medical program, industrial work and had a strong agriculture program to grow crops for livelihood. Madison College became an example of true education and was the blueprint of the divine model. It had a work and study program in the school, sanitarium, and a farm for agriculture. The sanitarium was the beginning of the medical missionary work in our church and Ellen White said, "it would be instrumental in establishing the faith of many in Bible truth."

The influence of Madison is far reaching. Some of the students wanted to start other schools like Madison and use what they learned about agricultural methods and community education. All of the Adventist schools in the South were started because of Madison College including Highland, Pisgah, and Georgia-Cumberland academies. Also, several Adventists have started medical missionary programs here in the States and around the world. It was also the beginning of ASI (Adventist Laymen's Services & Industries).

On a personal note my grandfather, Albert Dittes was not an Adventist growing up. He lived in New York and wanted to become a doctor. His second cousin, Frances Dittes was teaching dietetics at Madison College. She encouraged him to take the pre medical program. As a result of his time at Madison College he became an Adventist.  He then went to medical school at Loma Linda and met my grandmother, Elinor Steen. He came back to TN after medical school to practice. My grandmother also took some classes there after they were married to further her career. My family owes a lot to the mission of Madison College.

In conclusion Madison College was the model of true education that has spread to our whole church in school systems, medical missionary work, and agriculture. Our church is spreading the three angels' messages through this work. May we remember the work of our pioneers and the special history behind Madison College.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Winning the community for God

Last weekend I was inspired by attending Madison campus's block party. They had a lot of booths that showcased the church's different ministries and schools including Madison campus elementary and academy. They also had games, free food, and a lot of items to help parents and children to prepare to go back to school. I saw a lot of visitors from the community. My heart was moved with the love that the church had for the community. There were stories that came from the event. Some people expressed interest in taking their children to the church's Sabbath school classes. There was a homeless lady that did her school shopping for her children. Lastly, there were two young men who went to Madison academy's booth. They do not attend a good high school. They expressed interest in attending the academy. The Holy Spirit worked on their hearts and they toured the school a day or two later. They are now making plans to do what they can to attend the school this year! They recruited a friend to join them. That is awesome!

In reflecting on this event, it makes us as a church realize that we have a lot to offer our community and world. People are craving for what we have. and in the case of the young men they want good Christian education.

The block party at the church was a bridge for many people to experience what we as Adventists have.  We need to do more of this to spread our good news of hope with the world.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Reflection on the last five years

It is hard to believe it has already been five years since I graduated from college. I remember being so nervous moving to Collegedale and starting college. I had wonderful experiences at Southern and I made my best friends there. I also appreciated the spiritual environment at Southern.

These are the highlights of the last five years:

1. I had the special opportunity to serve for two years on GYC Southeast as their Secretary. If I had not stayed on do my Master's, I would have missed the wonderful year I had with the GYC Southeast team. We truly became family that year - and will always be!

We took GYC Southeast to a different level that year by partnering with ARME during the Spring.

2. I graduated with my Master's degree in December 2013. A very intense year and half - with classes on the weekends, working as a graduate assistant during the week, and doing an internship at a skilled nursing facility. I am glad that I stayed on to finish my Master's after I graduated. I have that done and behind me and will always have it.

3. following my Master's degree, I had to do some post graduate work to become a licensed social worker. The test I took was challenging and difficult. I spent several hours a day for weeks and months. I am now a licensed social worker. God is faithful!

4. Nashville is a great place to be. I have meet some very nice people in the communities of Nashville in my work. One of the blessings that I have received from living in this area is my church family.
It is nice to have like minded friends in Sabbath school, who care about spiritual things and getting closer to Jesus.

I also enjoy being a part of a choir. Singing is one of my favorite hobbies - and singing songs for Jesus is a blessing.

5. being close to family is the best. I am grateful I can be as close to most of my immediate family right now. I have been able to spend more time with my Mom, uncles, and brother's family and nieces.