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I am from where the green grass grows and where corn pops up in rows, yes, cue Tim McGraw.  I come from these two beautiful people, Kenny and Kathy (Kuhlemeier) Bushbaum, will celebrate 48 years of marriage on this coming Tuesday.

They met at the local roller rink! Someone dared my dad to go ask Kathy Kuhlemeier to skate with him.  He took the bet and went and asked her by skating smack into her and knocking her down.  When he went to help her up he asked her if she wanted to skate.  Smooth operator and a man of few words he is, but I guess it worked as I don’t think they have been apart since that late night skate.

I come from determination. Dad saw what he wanted and went after it.  My mom is the same way.  When I was in elementary school she decided she wanted to go back to school.  She started with a business degree, but didn’t stop until she was student teaching during my senior year of high school.  She began teaching during my first year of college. When I think back to the determination that it took for her to complete her degrees while working full time, raising a family, keeping our house in shape, and being a farm wife I cannot fathom how she did it all.  I think she did it because she was determined.

I come from strength.  If you have seen my parents lately you know by watching my dad walk that he currently has a pair of knees that are pretty much bone on bone. He has the strength to power through pain like no one I have ever met.  He had a valve replacement in 2010 and handled open heart surgery like a champ, barley touching a pain pill the entire time.  This past fall he tackled 40 radiation treatments for prostate cancer without missing a beat during harvest. He is strong in body and mind.  My mom might say I get my stubborn “strength” from him.

I come from a man who speaks few words, but a woman that has lots to say.  My mom is a writer and has a creative gift. She makes beautiful quilts and used to write amazing poems, stories, and papers when she went back to school.  I remember watching her paint on barn doors and shovels as a kid.  I like to think that she gave me my gift of creativity and my desire to share things with the world.

I come from a John Wayne lovin’, western show watchin’, cattle lovin’ cowboy. Just ask me, I can quote just about any line from the Duke.  I get my love of the cowboy way and cattle from my dad.  I cannot imagine him any other way.  I have read a lot about the cowboy code and way of life and I think they are the finer points that my mom and dad instilled in us:

1. Live each day with courage

2. Take pride in your work

3. Always finish what you start

4. Do what has to be done

5. Be tough, but fair

6. When you make a promise, keep it

7. Talk less and say more

This brings me to the end of the 3 part series of where I come from.  There is so much more I could write about so many amazing people in life that are “where I come from,” but these last 3 posts are where I biologically come from and the mix of all of them creates the DNA that drives me to be the best version of myself that I can.  I don’t want to be a disappointment to any of them and I don’t want their struggles and challenges to be something that are easily forgotten, I will carry all of them each and every day of my life as I dream big and huge!

Where do you come from?

Jen

All because 2 people fell in love...

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. Anyway...to 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,

Jen

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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