26 July 2013

What i've learned this week

1- Sometimes the strongest people in the morning are the ones who cry themselves to sleep at night.

2- i CAN go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. i just have to turn the lights off and walk away very quickly.

3- It's not a good idea to read a dark, disturbing, intriguing gothic novel late at night when i am by myself. i won't be able to put it down and then i will get creeped out and won't be able to sleep even after i stop reading.

4- It still hurts to be rejected.

5- i don't like John Philip Sousa. No matter how un-American that makes me.

6- Sperry's are some of the most comfortable shoes ever.

7- i miss the intimacy of a solid relationship. Sure, the physical stuff, but mostly the emotional. And i'm not the only one that feels this way:

"You will arrive at an age when what you develop this insatiable need for the conversations that come at the end of the day.

Oh, you’ll want the other stuff too—this kisses and the sex and the Sunday morning coffee runs. But there is a thing so particular about needing a person in which to empty secrets big and small. To tell the really banal stuff. And you’ll go on all these dates, so many dates. Bad dates and terrible dates and lonely dates and good ones too, but at the end of them you’ll just want to go home, crawl into bed, and tell your person just how hard and funny and ridiculous it all was. But they won’t be there. In fact, you’re only going on those dates to get to that person. And the irony of this is a sort of insult to injury. But that person—your person—will be born of these dates, both bad and good.

Or so you are told. And so you keep going." Meg Fee

8- Having family come to visit is bittersweet. i have a blast while they are here. Then they leave and the loneliness is worse than ever.

9- i'm obsessed with the Royal Family. i think Kate Middleton is gorgeous, loved her wedding dress, loved how she dressed during her pregnancy and i love the name "George" for the royal baby.

10- i look forward with anticipation to the first day of the new month...a new calendar page and a beautiful "1" everywhere. And i am anxious to start my new journal...a whole blank book that might be completely different from the last one.

23 July 2013

Trying to internalize this...

"The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make you unloveable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart. During these times, we aren’t always easy to be around — and that’s okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren’t all of who you are and they certainly don’t discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness."

— Daniel Koepke

17 July 2013

Summer Storm

Last night i watched the most beautiful lightening storm i have ever seen. It was close. It was bright. It lasted forever. i could still see the bolts flashing across my eyelids after i closed my eyes. i stood there, hanging out of my bedroom window, listening to the booming, feeling the electricity in the air.

Then it started to rain--that warm summer rain that drips off the leaves, brings the smell of fresh earth, and gathers in delicious puddles. i moved to my back porch, watching, smelling, listening.

Before i knew it, i was out there, running through the streets, splashing through the puddles, spinning under the storm, laughing at the tickling rain. It didn't matter that it was 11 at night. i didn't care that i was barefoot. i didn't think about the fact that i was alone. i probably looked insane out there in the dark and the rain jumping like a fool all by myself. But i don't care. It was a moment of pure delight.

Grinning, shivering, and soaking from head to foot, i finally retreated back to my home, my pajamas and my white fluffy bed. i drifted off to sleep with the sound of the rain outside my open window and the smell of it still lingering in my hair. i am sure i was still smiling. i love summer storms.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
it's learning to dance in the rain


15 July 2013

Per your requests, the story continues...

"As we rushed into the winter semester, something alarming happened to me. I realized that my emotional involvement in this Texan was way deeper than a casual fling; I had gotten to the point that disentangling my life from his would be painful. In short, even as I had promised myself not to get committed or develop a serious relationship, I had fallen in love with Jacob.

Love is such a slippery thing. How can one even begin to define it? How do people fall in love-- and even more mind boggling to me, how do people fall out of love? My love for Jacob at this point meant that I liked who I was when I was with him. I felt like he helped me to be a better person and I felt like I could be myself around him. We had so much in common and enjoyed sharing those things. But at the same time, I felt like he completed me-- his strengths were my weaknesses.

This revelation terrified me, especially because I had no idea how Jacob felt. Often I had the impression that he loved me too-- he certainly acted like he did, but I could not be sure. I did not want to be the first one to express my feelings, so I waited. And waited. And waited. I think that Jacob knew what I was waiting for-- that I was antsy for him to say it first. A few weeks into February we were snuggling on the couch in his apartment building and watching a movie with one of his roommates. I had my head leaning against his chest and was listening to his heartbeat.

‘I can hear your heartbeat,’ I whispered to him.
He replied, ‘Well maybe it will tell you what I can not.’

That did it. In that moment I knew it was silly to wait for him to tell me how he felt-- if I loved him, I could say it. So I leaned up close to his ear and said, ‘I love you, Jacob.’
‘I know,’ he responded, pulling me close.
And in that moment, the tension I felt was gone.

The next day when we were walking together in the snow, Jacob admitted, ‘I love you too, Jennifer. I just did not want to say it.’ In a way we were both scared. We did not know what was going to happen in the Spring when I went home. Plus, Jacob had a long road of military training in front of him. Together we decided to not worry about the future, but to revel in the present-- and to be honest about how we were feeling, even if it was scary.

February, March and April flew past faster than either of us wanted. Our happiness, it seemed, had an expiration date. Even as we tried to ignore it, the future snuck up on us and we finally had to make a decision as to what to do. Jacob was going away in May to Army Basic Training and then to Advance Training. He would not be back until October and I would have no opportunity to see him. Although we were still very much in love, when the semester ended, we parted with each other’s addresses, but no promises of future commitment. It is true that both of us wanted something to work out, but I think for the first time we realized that we had been living in a bit of a dream. There was no telling what would happen while we were apart for so very long. Jacob knew that he would have no access to email and very limited access to a telephone. Any communication was going to have to happen through letter. He explained to me that he was an abysmal correspondent; I explained to him that I was not sure if I was going to date while he was away. It was a bitter parting with nothing sweet for either of us.

Jacob headed to South Carolina for his basic training and even though we were apart, I found it to be an incredibly romantic situation. After all, I could tell everybody that my boyfriend was in the army and going through boot camp and we could only communicate through written letters. It is extremely easy to fall madly in love with a person when you only need to love them for thirty minutes a day while you write and/or read a letter. I already loved him, but the absence helped me to romanticize every aspect of him. I wrote him Every. Single. Night. The letter would then be plastered with lipstick kisses and mailed off once a week. In return, there were very few nights that Jacob would go without writing me as well. I checked the mailbox every day and almost squealed each week when there was a letter in it for me. Soon, I created binders with plastic covers and filled them with the letters I was receiving so that I could read them over and over.

I still have that binder-- along with many others-- full of love letters. It is sitting in a box in my storage room. This spring I thought I would clean out the room for my spring cleaning. Knowing that I would come across pictures and letters, I thought I had prepared myself for finding them. When I pulled out the binder of all the letters he wrote in basic and I saw his beautiful script, line after line and page after page I realized that nothing could have prepared me for the flood of emotions. All I could do was sit there and cry. I cried because I had lost him. I cried because I remembered the days those letters came and I ran to my room in a tizzy and shut the door to pour over the latest news from South Carolina and felt my “heart breaking” because Jacob was so far away. Little did I know that eight years later I would be crying over the very same letters, for a very different reason. Nor did I know then what real heartbreak felt like.

Regardless of how much I have learned since then, that was not an easy summer for me. I missed Jacob. He had become my best friend and I missed his companionship. Being a very communicative person, I struggled not being able to actually speak with him and tell him the details of my days. The army did give him permission to use the phone; he had the ability to make one two minute phone call every Sunday. Because we were not married, he needed to call his mother and therefore I received one two minute phone call every other Sunday. In order to accommodate his call, I attended the young single adult ward; my parent’s ward had sacrament right in the middle of the time frame when he normally called me. I would wait at home by myself while my family was at church with the cordless phone right next to me. The two minutes I was on the phone with Jacob were the highlight of my week. In many ways, the calls catered to my dramatic nature. We would say ‘I love you’ as many times as we could and in as many ways as we could think of in two minutes while the whole time in the back ground I could hear his drill sergeant screaming ‘One minute left! Thirty seconds! Ten seconds left.’

Jacob’s birthday is in July and mine is in August. Somehow, Jacob got it into his head that for my birthday present he wanted to buy me a plane ticket to fly out to his basic training graduation at the end of July. For his birthday, he wanted to ask his parents (who were driving out to see him graduate) to pick me up at the airport, cart me around and let me stay in their hotel with them. Since we had been apart, one of the things I had realized was that I did not want to be apart. For the first time, I started letting myself consider long term. Although I did not linger on it, I realized that Jacob was bound to be a part of my life for a very long time. I wanted to see him graduate.

Jacob had two days that he could spend with family. I flew in the night before his first "free day" so as to get every possible second with him. I woke up in the morning all in knots-- I had barely slept. We drove to the base and all friends and family gathered in a large building, waiting for the soldiers to arrive. The sargents put on quite a show as they marched the soldiers in. The privates came jogging in their lines, shouting cadences as they entered. As much as I tried, I could not pick Jacob out of the crowd; all of the soldiers looked the same from far away. They were in fatigues, heads shaven-- their hair as short as possible. All privates with glasses, which included Jacob, wore identical ‘BCGs’ or ‘birth control glasses’ that were military issue. We sat sweltering in the building while too many people that no one cared about (drill sargents, captains, whomever) were introduced and given ‘honors.’ Finally, they told the crowds to exit the building and we could meet up with our soldiers outside. Just to show off, they made all the privates ‘drop and push’ or do push ups, and then they released them.

All of the sudden there was a massive rush of people and soldiers pushing and hugging and searching for one another and reunions all around. I started jumping up and down, trying to find Jacob over the heads of the crowd. At the time, I had a very tight perm in my hair. Jacob later said he could see my curly red hair bouncing up and down. He decided to sneak up from behind. One moment I was bobbing up and down, the next thing I knew, his arms were wrapped around me. My knees completely buckled as I collapsed into his chest. To this day, our reunion there is probably one of my favorite Jacob memories. Nothing felt better than being there with him and having him kiss me, even though we were surrounded by strangers, dripping with the heat of the day and being watched by his parents and his sister. I knew right then we needed to be together.

After I got off of my mission, I felt so much pressure to hurry and get engaged and marry Jacob. His parents were asking us for a wedding date before I had even been home for two weeks. I bucked against the pressure and refused to talk about weddings and getting married. If I did, I would say ‘Well maybe in six months or a year or so.’ I was whining to Chad about it one day, saying, ‘Why can’t they just leave me alone? Why do they want us to set a date so soon?’ Being ever wise, Chad asked me, ‘How long have you known you were going to marry Jacob? Just do it Jennifer. It has nothing to do with anyone else.’ The answer to his question? I knew that I was going to marry him since the summer of 2005-- the moment I felt myself in Jacob’s arms again at his Basic Training Graduation and I felt my heart stop and realized my life had been incomplete without this man."

12 July 2013


Something strange happened to me on the 4th of July; i realized that it was difficult to seperate my love for country from my love for Jacob. i also realized that i didn't know how to handle NOT being an army wife! i didn't realize how much that had defined me...that i sacrificed for my country and now that sacrifice and pride was no longer a part of my life. It made me feel unpatriotic and empty; i wasn't doing anything special for my country anymore.

Then this week the Summerfest happened (formerly known as the International Dance and Music Festival). i had put about 40 hours into the project before the week even started. i was the chair person for two of the major events--a Youth Culture where the kids of the community would come and interact with the different foreign dance and music teams. It took time, effort, creativity and a few tears to pull it all together. i even ended up on the news to promote the festival! Besides my events, i volunteered at almost all of the other events happening.

Last night at the street festival and parade down Main Street Rexburg Idaho, i watched the locals come out and cheer on these dancers. i remembered seeing them teaching the kids about their cultures at my youth activity. i met the dancers and they hugged me and thanked me for pulling those activities together. i realized that in a very real way, i served my community. i felt like i could still contribute--in a different way, but it was rewarding. 
New Zealand

South Korea

10 July 2013

Still title searching for this story of mine

"I did not want a boyfriend when I met him. I had so much that I wanted to do and see and experience. However, there was no walking away from Jacob; I thought he walked right out of a romantic comedy and into my life. I told him on our first date that I was not on the market for something serious. His response?

‘I understand. But I want you to know that I really like you and I think you are beautiful. I want to take you out again.’

So he did-- the next night, and the next night, and the next night.

We had been dating for about a week and a half when I met up with him after class, took him out for hot chocolate and sat across the table with him at Hogi Yogi to explain to him just why I could not have a boyfriend at the moment.

‘I understand,’ he said. ‘Would you still like to meet up on Friday and hang out?’

Two nights later as he dropped me off at the doorstep of Snowview #2 and gave me a goodnight hug, he whispered, ‘I know you don’t want a serious relationship. Would I scare you off if I kissed you goodnight?’

Before I could answer the affirmative, he took my face in one hand, pulled me in for one soft, gentle kiss, turned around and walked away. Jacob later confessed that he thought he blew it in that moment-- that he would never hear from me again. Little did he know that I walked into my apartment, shut the door, and promptly slid all the way down the back of it until I landed on the floor while my roommates looked on in confusion.

‘He kissed me’ was the only explanation I could give. They all agreed-- I was toast.

Most women have an idea of how courtship ought to play out and what a gentleman should do to sweep them off their feet. I fell oh so perfectly into that category. Years of love songs, fairy tales, musicals and romantic comedies had filled me up with expectations. I had a coworker who said, ‘We just have this idea of how a man is supposed to act. Funny thing is that men never act that way. Dammit.”

But Jacob did. He met my expectations-- even the non realistic romantic musings of my fairly inexperienced nineteen year old mind.

The first few months were full of chats in front of the fire, flowers delivered to my house, silly notes left in my backpack and earfuls of sweet talk. I remember walking through a snowy Rexburg and Jacob stopping to write ‘Jake + Jennifer’ in the snow. When I started stressing out about school, he would calm me down and when I got anxious about roommates or family issues, he would laugh it away with me. However, although we were serious and dating exclusively, there was no talk of love or marriage or future--that was strictly taboo.

During this semester of twitterpation, I had the best roommates ever, with whom I am still very close. One evening the four of us sat around discussing those subjects that were taboo with Jacob and me. We were trying to decide who was going to be the first one of us to bite the dust and tie the knot.

‘All I know is I DON’T want to be the last one!’ Grace kept repeating over and over. She had a boyfriend that had just left on a mission.

‘I’m probably never getting married,’ was Laural’s thought. Katie thought she was going to be an old crazy cat woman.

When I announced that I was definitely going to be the last one to get married, they all threw pillows at me. Each one of them was convinced that I would be married first. Even in the newest stages of dating, something special surrounded my relationship with Jacob and they could see it. I knew it too, even if I tried to deny it then. I had even written in my journal after only a month with Jake, ‘There is something different about this one. It feels real this time. I am going to keep him in my life for a long time.’

I was right, though. Grace was the first to be married (although it wasn’t to her missionary) and Katie followed the next week. Laural lasted longer, but she too got hitched while I was still serving a mission. Even though I was already dating my future husband and none of them had even met theirs, I held out the longest.

The thing was I really was not ready for commitment-- and I was terrified of marriage. To me it seemed like I had life still to live and in my eyes, life ended when marriage started. It all seemed so dull and adult to me-- I still wanted to play. On top of that, I was stubborn. I did not want to be that mormon girl who got married at nineteen and had three babies by the time she was twenty two, who never finished her degree and never did anything with her life. Jacob knew how I felt-- I was very vocal about my feelings and he seemed to respect them. The subject was never broached.

Some memories are easier to relive than others. I can talk about the past without getting too emotional-- it is what it is and there is nothing that I can do to change it. For the most part, I feel very neutral toward our past life together. I laugh at the funny stories, I remember with fondness the good times and I sigh at the rough patches we went through. But there are some stories and some memories that cut deeper-- that still can bring tears to my eyes and still hurt to think about.

For example, I wonder if I will ever be able to remember, without feeling like my heart will explode in pain, a June night in 2012 when I felt like I was drowning in life. Nothing seemed to be going right and I was terrified of what the future would bring. I lay in bed with the emotions tucked down tight deep inside me, staring at Jacob’s back. Then he turned around, looked deep into my eyes, did not ask what I was thinking or feeling, but wrapped his arms around me and pulled me in so that my head was resting on his chest. I felt him sigh and he whispered, ‘My little wife.’ I had no idea what the coming months would bring, but in that moment I belonged there in his arms as his wife.

Our first Christmas gift exchange (in 2004) also brings tears to my eyes, even though it was much more light hearted. Part of his Christmas present (and Crystal’s present to Hugh) was a dinner that we put together for them. We decorated Crystal’s apartment with snowflakes and twinkle lights and made tomato basil soup and salad, which was quite an accomplishment as neither of us had ever really cooked before. After dinner, we all gave out our presents.

Jacob’s present to me was last. Before he handed me my present, he said, ‘Crystal, get the camera ready. You will want pictures of this.’ Confused, but intrigued, I expected him to hand me a wrapped box. Instead, he faced me and began a speech, ‘Jennifer, I know we haven’t been dating for very long, but you are like no other person that I have ever met before. I am happy when I am with you and when I am not with you, all I want to do is to find a way to be close to you again.’ About here in his speech I realized that this sounded like a proposal and I thought, ‘It can’t be! He hasn’t even said ‘i love you’ yet!’

Jacob pulled a jewelry box out of his pocket and got down on one knee in front of my chair. My whole body literally started recoiling from him and I muttered like a broken record, ‘I’m going to punch you. I really want to punch you. I am just going to sock you in the face.’ Crystal captured a great shot with Jake on his knee, box in hand and a huge grin on his face, while I am leaning as far away from him as possible and gripping the edges of my chair.

‘I have a question to ask you,’ he continued, ignoring my protests. ‘Will you accept this locket from me?’ Then I did smack him in the shoulder for teasing me-- and I accepted the locket. It is beautiful-- still laying in the back corner of a drawer in my jewelry box with two pictures inside, one of Jacob and one of the two of us together. Inscribed on the back are the words ‘Jennifer and Jacob.’

But the significance and emotion of this moment lies not in the laughs at his prank or even the beauty of his actual present. Rather, even as I contemplated punching his lights out as he “proposed,” I also thought ‘What am I going to say?’ My desires to get married hadn’t changed any as I had dated him. And yet in that absolutely horrifying moment of realization that I was going to have to say ‘No,' I also realized that I did not want to say no to the man in front of me. I was still far from being ready to marry him-- I was not even sure that I loved him yet-- but for the first time the idea seriously entered my head. To this day, I believe that even though I didn’t admit it to myself, it was in that evening when I first thought that I was going to end up married to Jacob one day."

05 July 2013

More Excerpts From My Story

"If I believed in fate, then I would have thought that Jacob and I were destined to be together. For a time I did believe this to an extent-- it certainly seemed as though the universe pushed us into each others' paths several times. And it was fun to think that he was the “one.” I guess for a long time, he WAS the one.

Looking back on it now, Crystal could have very well ended up with Jacob herself (well-- considering their personalities it probably never would have developed much). She came to me all in a twitter one day about these two boys in her ward. Her dilemma? One was cute and one was funny-- she didn’t know which to pursue.

‘Tell me all about the cute one,’ I asked, trying to get a good grip on the situation.
‘Well, his name is Hugh, he has dark hair and he is really good looking and he is from Ireland...’
‘Stop right there!! Ask him out!’

I didn’t need to hear about the “funny one.” After all, I was picturing Hugh Grant, accent and all. It didn’t take much work to convince her and Crystal started dating Hugh.

One week or so later, Crystal made an announcement. ‘I want to set you up on a blind date and you can double with Hugh and me.’ Never before having blind dated, I was skeptical.
‘Ok....who do you have in mind?’
‘Well, Hugh has this roommate that I think would be perfect for you!’
All at once it hit me.
‘No way,’ I exclaimed, ‘There is NO WAY I am going on a date with the funny one that you rejected for Hugh.’

After much persuading and convincing that he would be an amazing fit for me and he really wanted to go out with me, I finally succumbed-- more to get Crystal to shut up about it than because I really wanted to go.

In the end, all the begging was worthless. The “funny one” bailed on the date last minute. He didn’t break my heart; I was free to spend the evening with my roommate and one of her childhood friends who was *darling,* attending the Airforce Academy and showed up at our apartment with a few smoking friends.
‘Katie,’ I whispered as soon as they walked in, ‘I am going to marry a man in uniform.’ Famous. Last. Words.

Shortly after "the funny one" cancelled the date he had apparently so ardently desired, BYU-Idaho was throwing a Halloween carnival. Crystal and I both love Halloween, but for completely different reasons. Crystal would love to be Edgar Allen Poe. She believes in ghosts and hauntings and is enthralled by scary movies and anything supernatural. I am a pansy. Once, during a scary movie, I was lying on Crystal’s floor with my hands covering my face so I didn’t have to see anything happening, while Crystal sprawled on her bed soaking in every jumpy moment.  We got to the part of the movie where all goes silent for an agonizingly long time and then someone pops out and the music flares up in a crescendo; even though I could only hear what was happening, Crystal and I both screamed so loud the neighbors down the street probably heard us. We did, however, scream for different reasons-- I bellowed because of the movie; Crystal shrieked because, out of nowhere, at the very climax, I went flying from the floor, clear over her, and came crashing down on the other side of the bed to bury my head completely in the stack of pillows.

She still makes fun of me for that.

Despite my hatred for creepy flicks, haunted houses and pretty much anything designed to freak you out, Halloween is still my favorite. Although the candy is a nice perk, it’s not even the chocolate that excites me. Something appeals to me about dressing up; children and adults alike can leave normalcy completely, be absolutely silly, or get glammed out and society finds it acceptable-- at least for this one season.I adore dressing up and appreciate the brilliancy of a witty costume.

That year, neither of us opted to be witty in our costume choices-- we were going for smoldering (as much as our mormon standards would allow, anyway). Decked out as a sexy pirate (Crystal) and an enchanting witch (or so I thought I was) we hit the hopping town of Rexburg. The carnival was fun, but we were soon disenchanted with the lack of single men begging for our numbers and decided to call it a night. On the way home, Crystal wanted to stop by Hugh’s to show off her outfit. Knowing that our other option was to watch a scary movie, I was more than eager to swing by-- besides, I wanted to meet this Irish stud.

When Hugh walked into the living room of their apartment, two thoughts simultaneously jumped into my head. The first was, ‘Oh my! Certainly not Hugh Grant!’ The second, ‘If he is the hot one....I am SO glad that I didn’t go on a date with the funny one!’ As we chatted with Hugh, other roommates wandered in and out of the apartment, popping into and out of our conversation. We had been there for quite awhile when a lump under a blanket on the couch started moving around and Jacob emerged. I noticed three things-- his ridiculous Hawaiian shirt, a mop of dark curly hair and the strangest shaped and very prominent cheek bones that I had ever seen.

And then he smiled and started talking to me. Within minutes my stomach ached from laughing. He was witty, charming and smart-- and he made me feel like I was the only one in the room that mattered.
‘You are the cutest witch I have ever seen,’ Jacob said as we left to go, ‘and I would love to take you out on a date.’

Crystal overheard and before I even had time to properly say, ‘Yes’ they had arranged a double date to watch a scary movie together in the boys’ lounge.

‘I knew you would be perfect for each other!’ was all Crystal could say for the next two days. I had a date with the funny one after all.

Sometimes I fall into the “what-if” game. What if Crystal had gone after Jake instead of Hugh? What if I had dressed up like a scary witch instead of a cute one? What if we had gone on a blind date and I felt like the relationship was forced instead of him charming me by asking me out personally? What if I liked scary movies and we had rushed home to pop in “The Ring” instead of stopping by Hugh’s? How would my life be different now?  

But I am learning that the questions and possibilities are endless, and asking them won’t change the truth. No matter how many circles I run around in now, at the end of October 2004, I found myself on the first date with my future husband."