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This week I had the opportunity to go see Rachel Hollis live in Cedar Rapids.  I took half of the day off to drive by myself, in 50 mph winds, to go see her speak and it was well worth it.  So many things that she said sparked things inside of me, but there were a couple points that she made that I can’t stop thinking about so I decided that I needed to do what I know best…write about them, so in my next 3 blog posts, I am going to tackle one of her points.

Rachel’s point #1: Where do you come from?  There is a REASON that you, yes, YOUare here on the planet today.  Where do you come from?  She mentioned that her great, great, great, great Grandmother was born on a ship on the way to America.  Her parents died on the ship and her uncle raised her.  Had she not survived that boat ride to America and been raised by her uncle, there would be no Rachel Hollis today and if you think about the ripple effect that occurred from that little baby being born on a ship on her way to America all of the way to Rachel Hollis who is taking personal development by storm, it is pretty darn amazing.

So here goes nothing, in 3 parts over the next 3 days, I am going to tell you where I come from.

I come from love, strong work ethic, and kindness.  I come from my paternal grandparents, Marvin and Janice Bushbaum, married and wildly in love for 44 years at the time of my grandma’s death.  They married in 1948 at age 15 and 18 (if I have done my math correctly) and were parents not long after that.

As I am typing this, I am learning that I wish I would have asked more questions or learned more about how they met.  My dad is one of four boys, so my guess is that how their parents met wasn’t something that was talked about often. I asked him how they met, but he isn't sure if my Grandma's brother introduced them or if they knew each other and then my Grandpa and Uncle Beryl started working together. 🙂 BUT what I do know is that my Grandpa used to walk on the railroad tracks from the country in to town just to visit my Grandma when they were dating.  I know as a 10 year old kid as I sat in the back of their car on a drive to the Grotto and watch them hold hands like they were age 15 and 18 on a first date. They loved hard and I know in the depths of my being that they are the reason I love as hard as I do today.  Loving this hard means that there is deep pain, too. My Grandpa and Grandma lived through the loss of an infant son, a grandson, parents, and siblings but they made it and they loved each other through it. My grandparents did not have much, but they didn’t need much either. They had each other and their family.

A living room filled with love!

I come from a strong work ethic.  My grandparents never turned away from a tough job and even as a young kid that was evident. I remember Saturday’s helping cut wood to fill their basement with logs that would serve as fuel to keep their home warm and welcoming, I remember bottomless glasses of Bubble Up from the Family Café and hamburgers with buttered buns, and I remember CB calls from the JackRabbit to the Bushy Tail Base, where he would talk to Cotton Tail.  Have you ever heard the Alabama song, Roll On?  Sometimes I imagine that was how my Grandma felt.  When she wasn’t in the truck with him in the later years of life, she was back home holding down the fort that was filled with grandkids.  My grandparents did everything from working in factories, to cooking, to running a café, to running a trucking business over the years. They loved hard and worked hard every day of their lives.

M&P Trucking (Both of my grandpa's) and Grandma, me, and Christopher(their first great-grandchild) whom they adored!

I come from kindness. My grandparents were kind and thoughtful, truly neighborly people. I remember helping clean out some upstairs bedrooms in their house after they had passed away. In one box we found receipts from what looked like an order pad that a waitress would use. In fact, they were, they were receipts or “tabs” that had never been paid.  Remember I said my grandparents didn’t have much? They didn’t, but they sure would have never thought of letting someone go without, especially a child.  Those receipts were from a family that I am positive never paid, but I am positive never went hungry thanks to my grandparents.

Former site of the Family Cafe

Because of Marv and Janice Bushbaum I have a strong work ethic, I am kind, and I love hard. Because of what they went through to make sure that my dad was born and raised to be a strong man, he met my mom.  Because my dad met my mom, I am here and I will be damned if I am going to let the ripple that my Grandpa and Grandma Bushbaum started stop.  Because of where I come from I will continue to work hard, love hard and be kind to all I meet.

From the gravel road-


P.S. Part 2 Tomorrow

When you grow up with two older brothers you really have no other option than to grow up tough! My brothers are 6 and 8 years older than me so by the time I came along the options were keep up or get out of the way. I chose to keep up! I think I learned that in about week 2 of life as can be noted by the expression on my face in the picture below.

Scared already of what was to come! 🙂

Here are a few things you should know about growing up with 2 older brothers:

  1. There will be injuries. They may knock you out during a late night boxing match or yank your teeth out with a fashionable telephone cord (belt) if you lived in the 80’s you might remember said belt. the late night boxing incident. I was probably 7 or 8 years old at the time and we loved to box each other so we would take a mattress and lay it on the floor like a boxing ring. We would “gear up” by grabbing pillows and wearing wrestling head gear (I should tell you a wrestling head gear does nothing for your head. ) we would use the pillow as a “glove” which meant our hands were just in a pillow case. One night in about the 8th round I got a fist to the side of the head and went out cold for an unknown amount of time. 🙂 Boys 1 Jen 0
  2. You will need to Build Muscle-I had no choice other than to lift weights when they did. If I wanted to keep up with them I had to lift like them. We used to crank up the 80’s rock and I would bench press like a champ. One day I was spotting Jamie, only problem was he lifted way more than I could! He tried to bench too much and got it stuck on himself, I couldn’t get it off so went upstairs to get mom. My memory must have been impacted from the boxing match though because I forgot to tell her! A few minutes later she asked where he was and that triggered my memory that Jamie needed help. I had never seen my mom move so fast or seen Jamie’s face that red in my life. Boys-1 Jen-1
  3. There will be blame-The boys blamed EVERYTHING on me! One night mom was having a very private meeting at our house. We knew we were NOT supposed to be heard or try to hear what the meeting was about. Well, they really wanted to know so we went outside and they put me on their shoulders and held me up to the huge picture window in our parents house. Imagine the look on my poor mother’s face when my little head popped into her view during her private/secret meeting! We were in deep crap! Guess what boys? I’m a P.E.O. Now and I know the secrets! Boys-1 Jen-2
  4. Teasing-My brothers convinced me to do so many things during our early years and then proceeded to tease me relentlessly about what I did. For years, “Jenni’s not smoke free” was echoed over and over again Until I cried. It all stemmed from a night when I was probably 5 when I put an unlit cigarette in my mouth at the golf course. They also teased me for years about “stealing” from The Ritz in Clear Lake, I had taken a peppermint patty from the counter that I thought was free, but I now know it was one of those 10 cent donation things for the Humane Society or something like that. Relentless, I tell you! Boys-2 Jen 2
  5. Love- There will be disagreements. There will be fights and tears, but above all there will be love. They would do anything for me and I would do anything for them so I guess in the long run we are at a tie! Boys-3 Jen-3

Boys, thank you for making me tough, it has served me well in the last 38 years. Happy National Siblings Day to the best brothers in the world!

From the gravel road,


P.S. Mom, I didn’t include ALL of the stories because let’s face it, sometimes siblings need to keep secrets for each other and I didn’t want to impact your ticker! ❤️ 😉

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