Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So, Uh...

I often start conversations I don't care to have with the phrase, "So, uh..." I think that's how the people in my life know I'm not pleased with something or I'm about to be really sarcastic. I usually don't even realize I'm doing it, so I must do it often for it to have become second nature.

So, uh...I'm admitting to myself more and more that I am not a patient person. I hope I appear to be patient at least, because I find most impatience rude. There's no need for it, unless there is an urgent matter at hand (and then I don't consider it impatient, it's more prompt or something.)

I've been tested in my patience the last few days. I hope I'm doing well. But, it's difficult for me to admit my weaknesses in general, but especially in this area. It's something I'm aware of, and when I sense myself becoming impatient, I try to consciously monitor my actions - the way I say things, my facial expressions, and so on.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

True Love

I work in a nursing home. I always tell people that I'm not talented in the area of caring for others, but my talent is in caring about those who care about others. I work in our HR department here doing all sorts of things. One of my roles is filling in for our receptionists when they're not available or we have an open position. So, that's what I'm doing tonight.

There's a gentleman who comes in while I'm here to visit his father. His father has always been one of my favorite elders who lives here because he's funny and full of life. Recently, he's taken a turn for the worse and just isn't himself. Sometimes it's very easy for me to process a decline in health. My faith carries me through a lot of things and I know that if someone is ill or dying, then there must be a reason. Some bigger plan with details that I'm just not privy to. Other times, it's very difficult for me for obvious reasons. I rarely question my faith in this area, but understanding that there's a bigger picture and feeling good about it are two entirely different things.

Anyway, back to this gentleman. He comes in to visit a few nights a week. His father, in the last month, has gone from the sweet, talkative, funny gentleman I knew to someone who is consistantly angry, hurtful, and sometimes even violent. I know this is part of his illness and not  who he is. I also think I know him well enough to know that if he had control over his behavior, he wouldn't be acting this way. Despite his challenges, his son comes and spends a few hours with him whenever he can. He takes him on walks around the home, even helps him outside so he can enjoy the weather. He hugs him and tells him he loves him throughout the entire visit.

I sometimes catch glances at them or overhear their conversation. The son is never frustrated or rushed. He just listens to his dad talk about whatever might be on his mind - even if his mind isn't based in reality at that exact moment. He is cheerful and hopeful and obviously full of love and respect for his father.

Every time I see them together, I think "That's true love."  I see a son who cherishes the time he has with his father. I see a son who would put himself at risk for heartache to spend just another evening with someone he's very close to. I see the man's eyes light up when his son walks in the room, and I'm certain that for even a second, some of his pain and frustration goes away.

I hope that my future children will love me the way that this man loves his father. I pray that I'm half the parent this man was to raise such a loving and respectful son. I fear that I won't be around long enough to develop the kind of relationship that spans decades and endures illness and celebrates life. 

But, I trust in God that He will inspire and nourish true love in our family.

It's Official.

We're getting old.

Mike and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day with my best friend, Melissa, and her husband Danny. Melissa's birthday was Tuesday, so we wanted to treat her to dinner. Plus, we don't see her nearly as often as we'd like to, so I'll take any chance I can get to hang out with her.

Mike & I live in the middle of nowhere, as I've said, so it takes us about an hour to 90 minutes to get to the city we work in, and just a little farther to my hometown (where my family and most of my friends still live). As a general rule - if we have the day off, we won't drive to Omaha for any reason. So, that should tell you how special Melissa is since we went back to my hometown to have dinner with her :)

Here's the part where we're getting old. In preparation for our big night out, I tried to take a nap. 3 hours after getting up for the day. Unfortunately, it didn't work.

We got home around 11:30pm, and we were both completely exhausted. My normal bedtime is 9pm. I see nothing wrong with appreciating a good night's sleep. Nothing.

Mike reminded me on the drive home that I call myself a night owl. When we first started dating, I used to keep Mike up til all hours, talking about absolutely nothing, just because I wanted to spend time with him.

When did it happen that I started to get old? What things have changed in your life that have made you realize you're aging?

And since I forgot to take my camera...I can't even share pictures of our fantastic dinner and my very bestest friend ever. I can tell her one more time though....Happy Birthday, Melissa!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

7 Things Worth Typing...

I will eventually link to blogs I follow, so you can follow along too. Reading blogs is a big part of my every day life.

Ashley over at The Happily Ever Afters of the Lancasters tagged all of her readers in a challenge to share 7 things about themselves. Fantastic post for a new blog, I think. I could tell you 7 random things, but I'll try to make them things worth typing so you can actually get to know me a little better. I hope.
  1. I am a Midwestern girl at heart. I said in my first post that I'm a city girl. In my younger, less responsible days, I thought this meant I needed to live in a huge city, be anonymous, constantly be on the go, and so on. I decided one day that I should just move west to a bigger city (at that point, I'd never actually been west of Nebraska, so I'm not sure why I thought I needed to go that direction). I ended up in Phoenix, AZ for a year. I got exactly what I thought I wanted - a huge city, a ton of people and opportunities, and I knew no one (at first, anyway). While I did have a good time living there, I couldn't wait to move home a year later. I missed seeing someone I knew (or even recognized) when I went out. I missed friendly faces, drivers who would let you merge into their lane in traffic, and the sense that if I disappeared, someone would notice. I made a firm decision when I moved back to Iowa that no matter where in the Midwest I ended up, I would always live in the middle of the country.
  2. Mike & I were engaged after knowing each other for 4 months (4 months and 4 days, to be exact). I never felt a shred of doubt that we were right for each other, and we both knew even earlier than that that we would be together forever. That doesn't mean I don't think we were crazy for getting engaged so quickly :)
  3. I love to travel. This is a relatively new love for me since we didn't travel much when I was growing up. We took a few road trips as kids (mostly to visit relatives), and I went to Chicago during my senior year of high school. Since leaving college, however, I've decided that I want to see all the people who mean the world to me as often as possible, and that means travelling whenever I get the chance. I can't say I've been everywhere I want to go yet (I would love to go to several places in Europe before I die!), but I do feel much more at peace now about seeing more than my little piece of the world.
  4. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I changed childhood career dreams about once a year (teacher, nutritionist, lawyer, translator, etc.) In college, I changed my major 5 times before I graduated (French, political science, secondary education, pre-law & business). I finally graduated with a business degree, focusing on Management of Human Resources. I've worked as a volunteer coordinator, recruiter, executive director, consultant and now as an HR Assistant. Am I satisfied? No. I still have dreams of becoming a papercraft artist, a photographer, a stay at home mom. Who knows where I'll go from there?
  5. I love to cook. I will gladly volunteer to host family gatherings at holidays (or any other time for that matter). Cooking for 40 last winter for an anniversary party made me ridiculously happy. I baked at least 60 dozen cookies for Christmas this past year. My family STILL gives me a hard time because I was afraid to even toast a piece of bread as a child...okay...a pre-teen...erm...a 14-year-old. I guess what I'm trying to say is that no one really taught me how to cook, and I'm sure very few people thought they would volunteer to eat what I ended up making. I'm proud to say that to date, no one has died from anything I've made (or even become sick) AND I get requests from family members to cook for them. That's pretty impressive, given that they all remember my inability to make toast.
  6. I am obsessed with school/office supplies. Uh, yeah, I'm a dork. I used to get so excited when our school supply lists would be released. I still get excited to open a new pack of Post-Its or when I find a pen that writes just like I want it to. Heading to the office supply store is a treat for me.
  7. I like to talk. I'll just let the first 6 items on this list speak to that point.
Thanks Ashley for the inspiration to write about myself!

Tattered, Crumpled and Fabulous Love Stories

What on Earth could I possibly mean by this?

Life isn't perfect and neither are relationships. Ours certainly isn't. But, it is a love story, and it is fabulous. We are thankful for the wrinkles, the crumples, the tatters and tears. It makes us who we are, and who we have become as husband and wife. And, we're pretty fond of all the things that have gone right for us, too!

So, who are we? I'm Jen. My husband is Mike. This is us, on our tattered, crumpled, and fabulous wedding day:

So us. Mike = calm. Jen = excitable. We also have an adorable pug named Molly:

So un-Molly. She rarely stops to smell the roses (or, in this case, tulips).

We live on a cute little farm in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska. Mike is a country guy. I'm a city girl. You can imagine the challenge our living situation was for me in the beginning. But, now that we have the house we do, in the place that we do, I don't think I could live anywhere else. It is our forever home.

So what's the point of this blog? Well, there isn't one...except that it's the story of us. Our family. Our everyday life as newlyweds, farm dwellers, pug parents, and dreamers.

Who knows what story I'll tell next :)