30 December 2016

My 2016 Letter: With a few updates and way more pictures

This year: I read 55 books. I took 8 business trips to St George. I ran my fourth, fifth and sixth marathons.

I started obsessively using essential oils. I spent massive amounts of time FaceTiming with my long distance family.

I did a meditation exercise for 38 days in a row before missing a day (it was a 40 day challenge and I decided not to restart it). I went to Canada for the first time.

I started using Instagram again. I became the Regional Manager for the customer service centers at work. I celebrated my bird's 8th hatch day.

I expanded my reservation center and subsequently moved into a new office. I saw fireflies for the first time. I applied for a new job and cried when it didn’t work out.  I went to an Ingrid Michaelson concert with my dad.

I ran through 8 miles of sand in the middle of a marathon.

I hired and trained 40 employees (more than double the amount I trained last year). I did work in the St George, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Rexburg temples. I ran over 1,000 miles.

I ate massive amounts of tacos. I saw a couple of my closest friends have babies. I ran a marathon 20 days before getting married (that may have been a mistake).

I didn’t slip on the ice once. I explored Mt Vernon in Virginia. I geeked out over the Summer Olympics. I attended my 9th Salt Lake Express Christmas party. I ran 1,256 laps on the indoor track--which is equivalent to around 220 miles (which is from Rexburg all the way to Salt Lake City!)

I competed in a trail relay race, in which I ran up a mountain in the Tetons.

I opened and staffed a new call center in St George.

The biggest thing this year? “I” became part of a “we.”

WE got married.
We got the worse case of food poisoning ever. We swam at Lava Hot Springs. We got called to be Gospel Doctrine teachers. We hiked along a portion of the Appalachian trail. We got handed medals from Storm Troopers at the end of one of our half marathons.

We voted. We traveled through 16 states. We ate two pounds of blueberries in two days that we picked ourselves in New Hampshire.

We counted glaciers through both Jasper and Banff National Parks in Canada. We made peach and apple fruit leather.
We hiked Angel’s landing in Zion National Park. 

We went to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston. 

We saw a great production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Peter and the Starcatchers.” We went covered bridge hunting in Amish country in Lancaster County, PA. We soaked in hot springs at the base of a waterfall. 

We dealt with car problems in the middle of nowhere Southern Utah. We went snowmobiling through Yellowstone National Park in the winter.

We made and canned pickles, pickled beets, chokecherry syrup, strawberry jam, peach jam, and chokecherry jelly.

We hiked around the turquoise waters of Lake Louise in Canada.

e bought maple syrup from a sugar house in Vermont. We hiked Table Mountain in the Tetons.

We did either a major hike or a race every Saturday for 7 weeks in a row in the summer. 

We cut down our own Christmas tree.

We ran a race through Monument Valley, Arizona in the middle of the Navajo Nation.

We didn’t dress up for Halloween. We read Shel Silverstein and A. A. Milne together. 
We canoed down Big Springs with our niece and nephew.

We explored the National Mall in Washington DC.

We went waterfall chasing in Yellowstone.

We watched the sunset on Cape Cod.
We did a two night, three day backpacking trip through Glacier National Park (in which we dealt with mud, snow, rain, wind, cold and the stomach flu and still made it over the mountain).
We got two flat tires. We ate Philly cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. We went cross country skiing.

Behind all of the adventuring, the backside is good too. It’s not as exciting and it’s not as scenic. Instead of stellar views, there are peaceful evenings reading. There are mountains of laundry and dishes in place of real peaks to scale. Instead of sore muscles, there are the bruises of combining the lives of two very stubborn and very different people. But the payoff of a happy home exceeds that of even the most gorgeous waterfall--even if it takes just as much or more effort to get there.

I consider us insanely blessed on so many levels. We are blessed to have good, steady jobs, we have a lovely home, we have good health and the chance to serve in our ward. Most of all, we are blessed in our relationship. I am blessed to have a strong, selfless, pure, gentle and good husband. Of all the stunningly beautiful sites throughout this past year, our favorite is seeing the start of our own little family of two.

Aaron Jennifer Wedding-Wedding-0089.jpg
“That’s the most beautiful thing in the world: when two people become fluent in choosing one another.” - Hannah Brencher

28 September 2016

A Quarter of a Year

We just hit 3 months married.


I also just finished rereading "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy. These things are connected because of this amazing quote from the book that quite accurately describes where I am at:

"Levin had been married three months. He was happy, but not at all in the way he had expected to be. At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness. He was happy; but on entering upon family life he saw at every step that it was utterly different from what he had imagined. At every step he experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat. He saw that it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly; that one had to think too, not for an instant to forget where one was floating; and that there was water under one, and that one must row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore; and that it was only to look at it that was easy; but that doing it, though very delightful, was very difficult."

06 September 2016


Things that make me instantly irate:

*Over sexualized hamburger commercials.

*Someone tailgating me (especially when I'm not going under the speed limit).

*When customers are rude and entitled--and especially when they don't treat me like a human being.

*When I get my orange all peeled and it smells SO good, and then I bite into it and it's dry and unflavorful.

*When people name their children stupid, made up names or spell normal name retarded.

*When I get half way through dinner and realize that even with meal planning and grocery shopping, I forgot an essential ingredient.

*Hearing a song on the radio that I love and when I pull it up on Spotify to add to my playlist, I find out it has the "f" word in it (which was edited out on the radio).

*After saying "Hi, I'm Jennifer!" the person responds by automatically calling me "Jenn."

*Stubbing my toe.

*Waking up 20 mins before my alarm goes off.

15 August 2016

Lyrics that speak to me

When I heard Hilary Weeks perform this song a couple of weeks ago, I had tears streaming down my face. I imagined myself when I was 19 and first met my ex and how I thought I knew where my life would go from there. I imagined myself when I was 27 and going through a divorce and how I thought I knew where my life would go from THERE. And then I looked around at where I was NOW....and I understood exactly what this song meant:

"I had it all mapped out in front of me, knew just where I wanted to go.
But life decided to change my plans and I found a mountain in the middle of my road.
I knew there was no way to move it, so I searched for a way around.
Broken-hearted I started climbing and at the top I found-- 

Every fear, every doubt, all the pain I went through was the price that I paid to see this view:

Now that I'm here I would never trade the grace that I feel and the faith that I find through the bittersweet tears and the sleepless nights.
I used to pray He'd take it all away but instead it became a beautiful heartbreak.

I never dreamed my heart would make it and I thought about turning around.
But Heaven has shown me miracles I never would have seen from the ground.

Now I take the rain with the sunshine because there's one thing that I know--He picks up the pieces along each broken road.

Every fear, every doubt, all the pain I went through was the price that I paid to see this view:

Now that I'm here I would never trade the grace that I feel and the faith that I find through the bittersweet tears and the sleepless nights.
I used to pray He'd take it all away but instead it became
A beautiful heartbreak"
(listen to the song here)

08 August 2016

Splash of color

Saturday I finally moved my stuff into what was Mr B's kitchen and is now OUR kitchen. (Don't judge that it took me so long!)

A pattern soon became apparent as my stuff ended up next to his.

Guess which casserole dish is mine?

And which stack of towels?

Picking up on the pattern?

I know which plates that *I* would grab :)
Apparently, SOMEONE had to add some color to Mr B's plain white world.

I'm so glad that someone is me.

04 August 2016


I've been baffled as to what to do with this blogging space of mine. During my morning runs, I write and rewrite posts in my head. Then, later, I either decide that I didn't have enough oxygen when composing, or I just don't take the time to actually type it.

Consequently, I get behind on the things that I want to share, which means I don't post about the things happening NOW because I really DO want to post about all the things that happened last week, and last month, and the month before that.

For example, I haven't shared about our adventures to Zion and hiking Angel's Landing:

Or when my nephew came to play with me:

I didn't share anything about our latest trip to Yellowstone:

Then there was the day my niece and I had matching hair:

And now I have a NEW niece and nephews with whom to go adventuring:


Even though we haven't hiked as much, we made it to the top of Table Mountain, up by the Tetons:

And even though we haven't raced as much, we did get handed medals by Storm Troopers at the end of our last half marathon:

Not to mention, I now have our ENTIRE honeymoon, loads of wedding pictures (and I never even shared all of my favorite engagement pictures!)

So where do I go from here? What do YOU want to see? Honeymoon? Wedding? Confessions of an adjusting new (and older) wife? What's going on with our new house? Links to my favorite finds around the web?