Sunday, March 6, 2011


Affliction. My life has had its share of trials. But when I look back, each of the most difficult periods of my life has propelled me into new appreciation of life.

When I was 12, my mom got remarried, and I moved with her and my sister to New York. The changed dynamic of the family was one thing that was hard to deal with, along with hostility at school. I loved church in New York, though. We had great leaders, and it was a very tight-knit group. It was during that year that I first read and finished the Book of Mormon. I knew before the end that it was true, but still took Moroni's challenge at the end, and felt that confirmation, that this book was true, and that it was the word of God.

This propelled my life into a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It was just the beginning of something that has come to have such depth and meaning to me. I love them, I know them, and I am so grateful for all that they are to me, and all that they give to me. I also grew very close to my dad in that time. I'd escape to him, and we would play games together, and he'd just give me the attention I was so desperate for.


Mark also came to me during a time of affliction. It is strange to have a child enter your life not as a baby. Like, I feel this sense of Mark being born to me, but he was 14, but maybe it's more that is when I was born as a mother. When we were born, that was a huge change in my life. I feel like that is when I began to appreciate beauty. I saw in him something I'd never seen before, just a purity and beauty. I used to call him beautiful all the time, and still do on occasion. It was just so awe-inspiring, to behold what I saw in him, as he went through all these difficult things, to see that he had something truly special about him. It made the world more beautiful to me. It made me appreciate snuggling with my nieces more, their laughs, and just what love meant to me.

And then, Janardan leaving me, which actually was not that much affliction, but brought a great deal of relief, but the life that led up to that point was quite painful, and full of affliction. I feel like him leaving is when I came to really appreciate myself. It's when I realized my value, what my life could be like, and that it had not been living up to what it could have been, and that I had given away a lot of the rights to my life, and so it was a big experience for reclaiming myself.

And there has been a lot of healing, and just enjoying life the past year. Dated a few people, had lots of guys tell me I'm beautiful, feeling desired and desirable again. And then finally realizing that I didn't want to be looking for a guy, that I wanted to be found. I wanted to be found by someone who could embrace all the different aspects of me, and the other important relationships in my life. I wondered if such a man existed as I would need, to support me through the things in my life that are far from typical. I thought perhaps I would never be with someone again, but also felt at peace with that, because I knew from experience that it could be delightful to be single, and it was much better to be in that position than to be in a horrible marriage.

But then I got found. I have the ability to see into people sometimes, to look, and see more in them than they see in themselves to a degree. This has been huge with Mark, but I will be able to see into other people on occasion, and sometimes show them something in themselves. I'd never really had the experience myself, but that's what Andrew brought to me. He looked inside, and just told me what he saw, and then I could see it too.

Affliction is the dark parts in the chiaroscuro painting of my life, but these relationships, they are the bright points. I love to love, and it is worth all the affliction I've been through to have these people in my life.

From Emily~ (Part 2)

Jennie’s 22nd year in life was a really difficult one for me. My husband was finishing his thesis for graduate school, and was taking longer than it was supposed to. I was in a Spanish ward when I didn’t even speak Spanish. I felt very isolated in my life in a lot of ways, but Jennie really saved me that year.

Jennie had really developed a characteristic of compassion, caring, giving and serving when she got married. When she was growing up she pretty much wouldn’t do anything for anyone, but when she got married that changed so much, and it was beautiful aspect to develop in her personality.

Jennie gave to me and my daughters so much that year. We would talk on the phone almost every day even though we lived half a block from each other and saw each other most days. She was so willing to watch my kids and help me out, when there was so little time I got out. She really was like a second mom to my kids during that time when I really needed it. She was around so much and knew how I mothered my children, that she would pick up when she sensed how tired, or frustrated I was. What a blessing that was to me and my family as we were finishing up this important but difficult chapter of graduate school.

I decided to run a half marathon and she was so encouraging. When my husband didn’t have time to watch the kids so I could go for runs, she would take them. Or if it is was in the evening and I didn’t feel like going she would go with me. I am so grateful I was able to run in that half marathon and I know that part of the reason I was able to was because of her support.

Jennie was truly my best friend. We would laugh so much together. Watch movies and tv together or separately and then discuss it. We would go to Joann’s together and do sewing parties. I remember one winter I wanted to save on gas money so Jennie and I rode on my husband’s scooter all the way to the fabric store in pretty cold weather. Iremember eating lots of dinners together, and Jennie always being there when I needed to talk to someone when I was so frustrated how long my husband’s thesis was taking. I am so grateful to everything she gave to me and my family that year.

From Stefanie~

5th grade:The first sleepover Jennie and i ever spent together we weren't friends just vague acquaintances from school. Jennie had spent most of the evening playing some light puzzle game that was popular then with a stubborn refusal to do anything else.
First impression I thought Jennie was irritating. Until everyone else fell asleep and we were the only ones left awake I convinced her to come outside with me because there was supposed to be a comet that night. Well Jennie stayed out there with me until the wee hours of the morning and we never saw a comet. I often get things wrong. However I remember thinking this Jennie girl is ok, I could maybe be friends with her. It was also the first time among many that Jennie would be there for me.

8th grade: I followed Amy Price and her sarcastic humor to lunch with Jennie one day and I kept coming back. Jennie and Amy's sarcastic banter with bits of oddness thrown in and endless continue jokes (As Soon Does Forget) was something I loved listening to and the gummy snacks Jennie sometimes shared didn't hurt either. This was when I really began to know Jennie and how much she loves Giant brand gummy snacks ahaha.
9th Grade/ High School years: Ninth grade Jennie and I became fast friends. It all seemed to start with a lunch table full of friends. We gathered together at every free moment lunchtime and before school convos became our ritual. Jennie could always be counted on for an extra buck when I forgot my lunch (again), help with homework, and endless fits of laughter. Then it just seemed Jennie had everything I needed in a friend. We shared endless sleepovers with movies, mindless activities, and middle of the night singing. In the dark hours of the morning we also shared our hopes and fears. Jennie became my anchor, everything I had I tied to her and she kept me stable. That was when Jennie became my best friend.

So let's take today to celebrate another year in the life of a wonderful person.

From Emily~ (Part 1)

I remember when I was about 6 or 7 and Jennie and I would fight all the time. I assume this is pretty standard for sisters. I also remembering my dad having a conversation with me how when Jennie and I both grown up a bit, that we would probably be really good friends, and I would be so glad to have a sister. Of course I didn’t believe him at all.

Well about 6 years later our lives had changed a lot. We had moved across the country from Colorado to Maryland, and our parents were no longer married, our parents had been separated for a number of years. We were just embarking on a completely new adventure: our mom dating!

While in retrospect our mom admits that she dated her first boyfriend way too long, and as irritating as it was for me and Jennie to have him around all the time, as sisters we grew a lot. I feel like this was the beginning of what my dad had been talking about. Instead of Jennie and I kind of getting a long and fighting a lot, I started to really see how cool Jennie was, and how grateful I was to have her as my sister.

So a couple of my memories from this year in Jennie’s life was her bluntness. One Saturday my mom’s boyfriend was making pancakes, and not going a great job with it. They were getting burned and not turning out very well. Jennie in very direct style for a 9 year-old stated, “My dad makes really good pancakes”, and then the boyfriend had the brilliance to respond, “Well, let’s all clap for your dad!”

Jennie and I would get really irritated with the boyfriend, but found a whole new joy in eachother. We started talking in ob all the time. We didn’t do it to irritate the boyfriend, more because we wanted to have private conversations, but later when we found out that it irritated him, that definitely didn’t deter us.

I remember when we had the blizzard and got snowed in with the boyfriend, and Jennie and I started digging out our cul-de-sac because we wanted him gone. While I am not sad that this boyfriend is no longer apart of our life, I am grateful for how close Jennie and I got, and I got a glimpse of what my dad was talking about, that my sister would really be a great friend.

From Jessica~

Jennie is the kind of person that I can always count on for a good chuckle. I give a lot of pity laughs with most people, maybe even a quaint smile here and there, but with Jennie, it's full blown hysterics every time I'm in her company. Jennie and I have this thing where we have to document our antics using a camera. While flipping through photographs of our shenanigans, and after recovering from any associated shame, I can't help but think how grateful I am to have shared such experiences with someone I know will not judge me for them later. This is one of the great qualities of Jennie, completely non-judgemental. I mean, I'm sure she has to judge occasionally, like whether or not those colors would complement a quilt she in the process of making. Besides passing judgement on quilt squares and self-sustaining farming, Jennie is the most tolerant, accepting, and loving individuals I know.

A few more reasons why Jennie is so great:
1. Jennie is very forgiving: I won't even beat around the bush here: I smashed her finger in my automatic car window. Most people would be furious at this point and not continue on with the friendship. Jennie was like, 'ow' and then she miraculously forgave me! I knew this girl was in it for the long haul.
2. Jennie believes in visiting friends in faraway places: We all have friends that live far from us and we all make false promises that we'll have to come out to "such and such place" soon because "it's been so long." Jennie makes good on her word because she genuinely cares about people and their wellbeing. Needless to say, I was absolutely beside myself when she came to visit me in Las Vegas.
3. (I'm repeating this one for added emphasis) Jennie accepts me for me: I know if I ever wanted to become a crack-smoking hoochie mama, Jennie would have no qualms with accepting me. I wouldn't even think twice before telling her about my change in lifestyle. I wouldn't feel obligated to explain myself or my reasons for doing it because I know "she coo' wit' it."

I wasn't particularly fond of my BYU experience, but there were a few people that made attending bearable and shall I say, worth it. Jennie is definitely, without a doubt, one of those people. On anniversary of her birth, I reflect on all the ways Jennie has influenced me, inspired me and edified me. Thank you universe, for letting her be a part of my life.

Happy Birthday Jennie!


From my Mom~

Jennie came into this world on March 5, 1986 during the morning daylight hours. Her older sister had entered this world 7 days past her due date so Jennie’s mom figured that there was no way she would go over that long again. Little did she know that Jennie had other ideas. At the 7 days past the due date mark Jennie’s dad decided that he did not want to go to law show the next day so they would follow the advice of fellow law students and take his wife and walk around the Provo Temple. After the walk around the temple they went to bed and the labor pains began………but as it turned out it was false labor. The same false labor pains came the next night. On the third night the real thing happened and Jennie joined her family nine days past her due date. She weight 9 lbs 3 oz. but had a small head so the delivery was not that difficult for her mother.

Back in these days you didn’t find out if you were having a boy or girl. So when Jennie’s dad called her older sister – Emily’s comment was “We won – we got the right baby”. Now the sisters would be able to wear all the matching outfits that their mom had made.

When Jennie was around two months old the family went on a trip to Disneyland. Probably the ride that she liked the best was hanging out in her stroller. One night while traveling to California they were camping in the family’s tent and the wind began to blow and blow. Jennie was sleeping in her stroller and didn’t seemed too bother by the weather.

Jennie’s sleeping as an infant was less than stellar………….she liked to hang out with her mommy during the night. When she was a few months old the family went and visited one of her mother’s high school friends and her 8 month old son was still getting up 2-3 times a night. That night Jennie’s mom decided they were ending this habit of getting up 2-3 times a night. There would be NO food at this party – in fact there would only be the pacifier. Needless to say, Jennie decided that this party was not all that fun and started sleeping through the night.

Jennie became a resident of Littleton, Colorado when she was around 3-4 months old. For Halloween that year Jennie, Emily and her Dad decided to dress up like Mickey and Minnie mouse. Afterwards they decided they wanted to take a family picture in the costumes do Mom had herself a Minnie Mouse costume also.

Many fun times were had by the family the first year (and the years to come) of Jennie’s life. Thanks for coming to our family – we LOVE you!!!!!!

Exactly 25 years~

25 years ago, this very minute, I emerged into this world. It's been an interesting life, but I'm glad to be living, and happy for the life I've had, and for the life I have before me.

Random Facts of Jennie

I like to wake up with the sun in my eyes.

One of the things I miss the most about the East Coast is the smell of the forest after it rains.

One of my primary modes of thinking about other people is thinking what circumstances I would conceivably act like them, to better understand and empathize with the things people do.

I love to calm crying babies. Every time I hear a baby cry, I want to try and soothe it.

I am very inexact, and a by feel person. Good evidence is my cooking where I very rarely measure and just go by feel.

I love the feeling of grass on my feet, also the give of the earth. It is one of the best things about walking barefoot.

I don't like to take medicine. I like to figure out the cause of my ailments and work from there. I feel like medicine stops that process in many cases. (Now there is no way I'd refuse pain medicine after surgery, but that's because I know the cause and there's nothing to do about it.)

I have a deep appreciation of sorrow and melancholy. I am aware of how important they are for true joy.

I love rain. There is something beautiful about experiencing the power of the earth by having little droplets fall and encompass you.

I like to have very clear nasal passages. I have picked my nose since I was a kid, and would never stop, because I cannot stand the feeling of debris in my nose, and seriously, a tissue doesn't cut it.

I love my body. I've heard it's typical for women to have things they wish they could change about their bodies. I wouldn't change mine. I love it. It is beautiful.

I can get along with pretty much anyone, but I am not really that outgoing. I get more outgoing the more comfortable I am somewhere, and where I feel sure of my place there.

I like biking in the winter more than the summer, for two reasons. One, I am super sensitive to heat, and can get heat exhaustion very easily. Two, it makes me feel hardcore to bike in the winter.

About once or twice a year, I will get an upset stomach really bad, and feel awful until I throw up, then I will feel great.

My favorite sport to watch is Aussie Rules Football, even though I've only seen two games. I think it is -the- best spectator sport.

I am more expressive in writing than I am in speaking. I like to write letters to people to tell them what I think is special about them. I just don't tend to think that way when speaking.

My sister once said that I was bathed in balsamic vinegar in the womb. I love this statement though it can't be true because I would not try balsamic vinegar for years because it looked gross. It is probably my favorite flavor.

I like to do cartwheels. I did them a lot as a kid, and then stopped sometime. I rediscovered cartwheels when one night at work I was alone for the closing shift, so I went out into our large open area and wanted to do a cartwheel, and discovered I could still do them.

From Monique~

Jennie just brightens up the whole world when she's around. She's so happy and carefree and loving. I'm so impressed with her passion and energy for her hobbies, like local food, cheese making, quilting, and serving others. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of apartment 121.5 with her, and that we've maintained our friendship for nearly 7 years now. Some of my favorite memories include playing zip-zip-bong, working at the Tanner building at the crack of dawn, going to Panda Express, laughing, talking about the gospel and the temple together, and recently when we went bowling and she danced to all the music and didn't care one bit if anyone saw. I am so thankful that she was able to attend my temple wedding in Washington, DC. She is one of the most selfless and compassionate people I have ever known, and I admire her ability to accept and nurture and love the people around her. I admire her self-confidence and her complete knowledge that she is a daughter of God. I admire her testimony. She is super awesome, and you should definitely get to know her better if you haven't already. Happy Birthday Jennie!! I love you and I am so happy that your life is so awesome right now!! Thanks for letting me be a part of your life and for sharing so many things with me!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

From my Dad~

At age 5, Jennie created her own dice game. Her family play it frequently.

As a teenager, Jennie was the sole girl who played pick-up basketball games with a bunch of boys, some of whom were on the high school basketball team. At age 14 she tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in her right knee at one of these games and had surgery to replace it. This did not deter her from coming back and playing in those games for the following three years (and occasionally blocking shot attempts of much taller boys).

Jennie skipped her senior year of high school to enter college, officially making her a high school dropout. In doing this, she carried on the proud tradition of her father and grandmother.

Happy 25th Birthday~ Everyone Comment please!


It is such a beautiful gift.

To grow in the womb of a mother, sharing her body, then to emerge to begin life on your own.

Every life is precious. Every moment of life is precious. And I'm grateful for mine, for all 25 years of it that I've had on my own. 25 years. I'm grateful for the experiences I've had in my life, the dark and the light, the good and the bad, because they've all made me who I am today, and brought me to this point, and I'm so glad to be me.

I love who I am.

There have been dark times in my life, a lot of them, but I truly believe that the Lord gives us opposition in all things to increase the possibility of our lives. For without the dark times, I would never come to fully appreciate the light. Without the times where I am pushed beyond capacity, and feel incredibly weak, I would never come to find the true strength I have.

I feel like over the past year especially, I've come to appreciate life like I never have before, to just celebrate the precious moments on this earth. I love the smells that come, the sunrises, the color of stormy clouds, the colors of the seasons, the love of the most important people in my life.

Today, I want to celebrate my life. I want to know what you remember about me, who I am to you, or just a funny story to do with me. (Feel free to continue to comment after the day too.) I'll be releasing posts today from various people about my life, and my relationships, and then some by myself, written just about different parts of my life, or stories.

But for now, comment away~

Birthday Blog Blitz Extravaganza!

I was born 25 years ago today! To celebrate, I'll be having posts coming out various points through the day to celebrate my birth and life. There will be a few posts written by me, and some by people close to me, and then just some with pictures. So check back in various points through the day to see all of the birthday happenings!

Post also coming to ask you to share your stories and memories, so be sure to do so!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coming home~

I was driving to work the other day, after spending another lovely morning talking to Andrew. And I heard this song, and I just felt, like him finding me, us being together, this is how life is supposed to be. It feels like coming home.

Just one shmuff~