Monday, November 12, 2012

The crumbs at my table

I love being married to Mark. Two things I love: Whenever I make dinner, Mark is always so excited about the food. "Tacos! I love tacos!" Now, this doesn't just happen on taco days; it happens often. And he says it that way only Mark can. Yeah, you know the way I'm talkin about--like he actually believes you have literally just invented the taco. Plus,  he will give me this reaction even when I shamelessly ask for the ego boost: "Hey Ma-ark, look what I made..." And Mark dishes out the praise. How fun is it to cook for someone who is always pumped about eating your food? I'll tell you: So fun.

Second thing: Mark used to (and maybe still does) wonder why I am so particular about telling him if there's something on his shirt or in his teeth, etc. He would generally respond with, "Who cares what people think? Don't worry about it." I explained to him that the reason I do it is for good karma--I am providing a service I hope people (namely him) will do for me so I don't end up looking like a mess. (You know how we serve people the way we think they should want to be served? That's what I was doing when I think about it, and it was really all about me. I know, self-centered.) Anyway, this one time we had some friends over all evening for dinner--a couple we are really close to who we met through the business school--and after they left I passed by the little mirror hanging by our entry way and was like, "oh my gosh! Look at my face!"  Because I had been cooking that afternoon and the day had been kind of warm, I had not realized that my mascara had run, making dark circles under my eyes. I gaped at my reflection while hurriedly wiping away the black smudges and saying with exasperation, "Mark! How come you didn't tell me I looked like a zombie all night?! I am so embarrassed...!" At first I was astonished by Mark's response: "What do you mean? I can't see anything... Under your eyes? Hmmm, I didn't notice. I thought you looked great." Not noticed?! how could he not have noticed?! I looked like the night of the living dead. But looking at Mark's face, I realized that he wasn't just saying that. He was being genuine, honest Mark. As I sighed at my reflection in the mirror once more and wondered how Mark could have overlooked my appearance, it dawned on me. While I am continually conscious of every crumb that lands on his chin or every fuzz ball on his shirt, he sees me as "looking great" even with runny mascara and flat hair. After all my efforts to "teach" Mark how to discreetly tell me if I had something in my teeth or stuck to my face, it was not that Mark didn't care about me that he didn't say anything--it was that he just doesn't focus on the crumbs. Mark simply does not weigh his affection for people on those things. What first was an annoyance--couldn't he help a girl out when she needed someone to tell her when her makeup had run?--suddenly became one of the most endearing moments of my marriage.  I am so grateful that I have a man who can see past the small stuff. Bigger things matter to this guy. And I love him for it.

By the way, we live in Michigan now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Latest and Greatest

Hello everyone,

We just remembered we have a blog! Ha! Actually, we have so much happening these days that we just haven't stopped to write about all the shinanigans and going-ons. So, to get caught up to speed, I'm going to give you a brief timeline of events since our last post to give y'all a snapshot of where we've been. I'm hoping this is pretty comprehensive of major events. Here goes:

  • January 1--Jana turned 28 years old. We had a New Year's Day dinner with the sibs Dallin & Becki, Kimball, and Kira. Great times.
  • January 16--MLK Walk of Life at BYU, one of our favorite Provo events. We love the legacy of MLK and always enjoy participating in the the candlelight walk from the bell tower to the Wilk.
  • February 11-12--Traveled to Boise to visit Scott and Emily Eliason and fam and saw Emily play "Jane Bennett" in the stage version of Pride and Prejudice. Mark and I are both huge Austen fans and also big Emily Eliason fans, so it was win-win. Plus, we got to hang out with awesome nephews and niece.
  • February 28-29--Jana sat for the Utah bar, thus the minimal amount of activity in January and February since every weeknight and every weekend I was studying for the bar exam. Probably the highlight of my year thus far, however, was feeling the support of Mark. He made breakfast, lunches, and dinner each night and did the dishes. He was so supportive and selfless with his time, even though he was taking 17 credits at BYU Law. I will be grateful forever for his support in everything.  It was an interesting time of life--and I'm so glad it is over (until we move somewhere else and I have to re-take the exam...).
  • March 16-25--Mark went to Hong Kong with Vis Arbitration team from BYU Law. He had a 15 hour layover in Dhubai, so he has now officially been to the Middle East. He still hasn't been to Australia or Antarctica, but he has been a lot of different places in his lifetime with more adventures to come.
  • March--We attended great performances by my sister Kira as she performed with dancEnsemble at BYU and performed one amazing, amazing duet in the BYU Senior Projects. She is awesome--she'll be dancing with BYU's top contemporary team this next year and she is totally going to rock. We also attended awesome rock performances at BYU's Guitars Unplugged and other backyard venues by my brother Kimball and his rock band "Red Yeti." Let me just put it this way--he writes the music, plays the guitar, and is the lead singer. Hello, can we say "talented"? He is totally awesome. Visit the Red Yeti Facebook page and check them out!
  • April--Mark finished 2nd year of law school
  • April--Jana got results saying she passed the Utah bar exam!!
  • April 21--Mark attended a good friend's wedding in Wisconsin and was able to spend some quality time with his best buddies. I couldn't get work off since I'd taken so much time off for the bar and hadn't accumulated my vacation time back, but Mark's set of friends is really close and he had a great time. Plus, I was headed to see my group of best friends in Boston in May, so I was saving up my pennies to take that trip. We love our friends!
  • April 22--Mark turned 30--hooray! I'm including pictures in this post of the gift I gave him--and many of you contributed. It was basically a collection of stories and memories about Mark from all of his friends "from around the globe." The "globe" theme went well, especially since his b-day was on Earth Day. Both sets of parents, my grandparents, and I all went in on a great big wall map for Mark, the world traveller. It was a great b-day celebration.
  • May 11--Jana's swearing in ceremony for the Utah Bar at Abravanel Hall. It was such a huge venue for such a small group of people attending this ceremony, but it felt pretty awesome to have my name read and to stand and get sworn in as an attorney. Such an amazing moment! (My parents took pictures, so I don't have pictures to share for this momentous occasion.)
  • May 11-13--Jana's Boston trip with her friends. So fun!! I love my wonderful friends! We walked to the park, had some clam chowder at Quincy Market, visited pastry shops, rented a house in Cape Cod, and laughed our heads off. It was such a beautiful time.
  • May--Mark started his externship for the summer at a small consulting firm here in Utah County. He loves consulting and has been such an effective extern that he is now in charge of other externs on his project.
  • June 1-4--Jana's dance recital "Happily Ever After..." So, I've been taking dance at a studio here in Provo that offered classes for a great deal, plus the people in the program were my age or around my age (which is rare to find). I had a blast dancing with these guys. For the spring "Big Show," we did a Disney theme. It was the longest show ever (literally 3 hours), and yet Mark came every night! He is so awesome. He came prepared with my iPad, though, and was able to read almost the entire issue of The Economist in between my dance numbers. My solo number was "Steppin' Time" where I was dressed as Mary Poppins and led a bunch of younger kids in a tap number to that song. SO fun. I've always wanted to play Mary Poppins and this was about as close as I think I'll ever get. Great memory. (This picture is actually from a different show but this is the only pictures I have from this studio. There are HUGE gaps of my life with no pics, as you can tell.)
  • June 11--Mark gets a phone call from University of Michigan's Ross School of Business telling him he has been accepted to attend their business school. We had been on the waiting list and wondered if we should stay here in Provo, but this opportunity is so terrific and will really give Mark the leg up in his field. So, we are heading out August 9th to Ann Arbor, Michigan! We are so excited!
  • June 12-16--Jana goes to YW Girls' Camp at Mia Shalom by Fairview, Utah. I was called as Assistant Ward Camp Director and so was involved in planning and executing a bunch of things at camp. But I had a BLAST! I love girls' camp, but being a leader was so much fun and I just had such a great time bonding with the girls. I'm going to miss my YW when we move!
  • June 16--Jana's 10 Year High School Reunion. Pro: the reunion was held at a country club which promised great food and a lovely setting; Con: I didn't get the memo that we were supposed to dress up so Mark was in jeans and I was in shorts (oops!). Pro: I won a ColdStone gift card in the raffle drawing; Con: I didn't hear my name announced until everyone around me was yelling my name and I was like "What? What happened?" It was actually pretty funny. Pro: Some of my girls and their husbands and Mark and I got out on the dance floor to break a move--no one was dancing and we were there to get the party started; Con: Mark ripped his pants on the dance floor and so we had to leave early. Pro: I got to see some of my favorite people in the world and some of my dearest friends and get caught up with them; Con: We all live far apart and don't get to see each other often enough! But, it is our new resolve to get together more.

  • July 3-8--Eliason Family Reunion--Horseback riding, white water rafting, family talent show, Minute to Win It, hiking. SO FUN!
  • July 13--We went to see Kimball's rock show at The Depot in SLC. It was an awesome show. They got a full 45 minute set, which, for a young band, is pretty good.
  • July 19--Jana joined a bunch of other BYU Alums and danced as extras in a music video they are making for the BYU Spectacular. It was a song from Hairspray. Dancing on the Maeser building lawn to Hairspray with a lot of really, really nice people--what a great time.
  • July 20--Mark and I saw the long-anticipated "Dark Knight Rises" movie. If you'd like to de-brief it with us, just give us a call. We are big fans of the Batman movies.
  • July 21--Country Dancing Date Night. Confession: I love country dancing. And Mark is sweet enough to go with me and learn the steps--and let me say, he is good! We went last night and he did a great job.
  • July--Mark decided he loves statistics. (Note: he was an English major).
Coming up:
  • August 1-4--Barker Family Reunion in Park City. Woot! Love to hang with the familia and all the cute little nieces. Can't wait.
  • August 9-16--Road trip across the country. We will be visiting Laramie, WY (Mark's bro lives there); Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park; Madison, WI (two of Mark's buddies live there) and Mark's old stomping grounds in Oconomowoc (who knew a word could have so many "o's"); Chicago, IL (another one of Mark's buddies lives there); and then on to Ann Arbor (where we're going to live!). Cool.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Card

If I don't have your email, I didn't sent a card. But, this is what was in the email, so here you go! JUST CLICK TO ENLARGE! Happy Christmas and New Years! Love love!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

things i'm grateful for

Haha! Yay, it is already November and it is gratitude season!

I had to just spout out a few things that are in my brain and need to be expressed!

--I love the colors of the leaves and the cold air
Up Provo Canyon--look at those beautiful colors of the leaves and the little snow capped mountains. AMAZING!
--I love sitting in my warm car or house with my heater on (a little more than I love the cold air)
--I love that they are playing Christmas music on the radio!!
--I love that Rachel called me today to tell me that she had a baby two weeks ago
--I'm grateful I got to see that little baby on video-chat
--I'm grateful that Rachel is still friends with me even though we both know I am a space cadet. I've stopped fighting my forgetfulness and out-of-touch-ness with facebook and other social media and I've come to accept it. Now just feel so grateful when someone calls me to tell me something great happened. Why do I have such great friends??
--I love my Marky who is SOOOOO good to me. Ah. I just love him so much. He does everything for me--and he is out on errands right now preparing for a surprise date. How did I get so lucky??
--I'm so glad I only go to the mall a couple of times a year. That place is so stressful!
--I love that my YW did such a great job at YW in Excellence on Tuesday. Sometimes I think they aren't listening to anything I'm saying, and then they actually show up and do a great job!
--I love buying produce. So many beautiful things to buy!
--I am grateful for prayer and blessings and family support. How would I survive without it?
--I'm grateful for Indian food for lunch from Mom Annette Eliason--thank you!
--I'm grateful I got to go to the Bean museum with Annette, Connor, Trevo, and Gwen. And Mark. (He's so fun, can I just say?)
--I'm grateful for the comfy bed I'm sitting on as I type this.
--I'm grateful that I have a job right now--and an awesome job. According to Occupy Wallstreet, I am in the 1% of Americans with a job, so I feel very blessed. (By the way, does anyone get that Occupy movement? I just saw Occupy Provo people today and I wanted to yell out my window "Quit wasting your time. Zion's bank is not going to close just because you're standing outside of it. Plus, it's freezing, your parents are probably paying your college tuition, and let's be honest, you don't really know what this movement represents.")
--I'm grateful for Freedom of Speech.
--I'm grateful for inspiring friends who constantly amaze me with their wisdom and examples (I'm talking to you, "the girls")
--I'm grateful I got to go to my dear KJ's wedding recently--what a beautiful day and ceremony and EVERYTHING! lovely, lovely
--I'm grateful for an awesome little sister who calls me and hangs out with me all of the time. She is so cool. (AND, she's part of BYU's best dance crew. She is such a great dancer!)
--I'm grateful for eternal perspective.

Thank you, world and its Creator. Love, Jana

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Do it when you think you don't want to

I just had to tell someone about my experience today. It wasn't anything extreme, but I came bounding in the door hoping Mark was home from his run, but he wasn't, so now you get my story.

I wanted to go to the temple sometime this week and it so happened that it landed on Saturday...again. Today already had a bunch of stuff packed in it and it gets busy working together as a couple on different projects, and you want to fit a date in, and you want to get caught up on life--so it seemed that this week, perhaps I could not go to the temple and still pursue worthwhile activities. But I knew if I said that this time, I would be disappointed all the rest of the day because I'd know I could have probably fit it in and I had justified it away.

So, I decided to go.

My new motto--do it when you think you don't want to. This happened to be the theme of my temple trip. I got there and saw there was a wait for initiatory, but it didn't seem too long. I could read something or I could just sit there. I didn't want to start reading and not REALLY get a chance to read, so I thought "maybe I'll just sit here." I know, I'm lame. But, I thought again, "I need to do some things when I don't feel like it." So I reached for a Book of Mormon. I spent the next ten minutes reading the end of Mormon and my eyes were opened! I felt like I newly understood Mormon and Moroni's role in writing, compiling, and preserving the Book of Mormon. I made connections to our day and the day of Mormon and Moroni. I thought of the fair ones of our time who are lost--but remembered with joy that people can be reclaimed from spiritual death! I thought of the great work and a wonder that the Book of Mormon is! It was a time with the Book of Mormon that I hadn't had for a while! It took picking it up and reading it when I didn't really feel like it.

When it was my turn for the ordinance, I realized part way through that one of the sisters performing the ordinances was Japanese. (I could tell from her nametag.) This sister was beaming, happy, beautiful---ah, it just made me miss the Japanese people. Her countenance reignited my love for these wonderful people. I hadn't thought about my mission or the Japanese people very much until recently. And her smile and happiness, and great efforts to speak English bravely, inspired me and brought back warm memories from my mission. I decided that the next time I had a chance, I would speak to her in Japanese. Sometimes I feel shy or silly trying to speak Japanese after not speaking it for so long, but I thought of how I would feel if I were in her shoes. I'm sure she struggles to understand everyone around her. I know that when I was new to Japanese, I appreciated someone who would speak to me in English and make me feel included and a part of things. I didn't want to sound stupid, but I didn't want to turn down an opportunity to talk to someone from my mission country. So, I asked her if she was Japanese and then told her in Japanese that I had served a mission there. She was soooo excited. She thanked me and told me how she doesn't speak English very often and doesn't speak very well. I told her that her English sounded awesome. As I responded in Japanese, she excitedly uttered, "Natsukashii," which means something like "I miss that" or "that is nostalgic." She was soo grateful that I had spoken to her in Japanese. When I saw her again, she excitedly pumped her two fists as if to say, "Yay, my friend who spoke Japanese to me!" I thought about how I almost justified myself in not speaking up and talking to her. It seemed like a small thing. And I didn't want to do it at first. But it made such a difference in her day and in mine. I knew the Spirit had prompted me to talk to her. God wants His children to feel loved and noticed. This sister needed to hear her own language today. And I needed to do things that at first I didn't want to do. It was a good lesson to learn.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


That's it. I'm just going to post random pictures from Mark's trip for your enjoyment. You're going to just have to ask Mark about the details when you see him. :) You can see he had a lot of adventures!
The AIDS clinic

People he worked with: writing wills for people at the AIDS clinic.

The cutest kids on Earth

The market

The crew

The wildlife

Army ants

The wild life. Rafting down class 5 rapids on the Nile.
Missionary work strategies--sweet full size poster of the elders
National soccer game--the most dangerous of all experiences he had in Africa.

LOST in Uganda

Sunday, August 7, 2011

our summer: part I

Mark gets home from Africa (and once he gets back from ENGLAND, he'll be able to post about his adventures in Uganda.)
The night Mark got back--I forgot to take an epic picture of him in the airport, all scruffy with his backpack, because I was too excited to see him and too eager to be outta there and go eat our Cafe Rio--Mark's special request. :) So, I had to document at least one picture of the day he got home, so *click*, done, documented. He's home.

4th of July

We went up to Mark's folk's cabin for a little getaway and to celebrate Mark's return. We also celebrated the Fourth of July up there, complete with pig racing, rodeos, and yes, even Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck was in town (Driggs, ID--not the biggest town in the US of A), invited by Jon Huntsman Sr. to speak before the fireworks. When we drove into town, we passed this sign saying "Welcome Glenn Beck." Mark asked me "Is Glenn Beck coming or something?" I was like, "Nah, there's no way that he'd come to a small town like this. Maybe he drove through town recently." But sure enough, he was a headliner at that weekend's events. Huntsman recently built a big, beautiful amphitheater up there, and Glenn Beck was the invited guest. What's more American than Glenn? Maybe pig racing. But Glenn is a close second. He had an enormous crowd of people waiting for his speech. Mark and I couldn't pass up the opportunity, so we showed up. It was actually quite nice, though Mark was disappointed that Glenn didn't say anything crazy. But, we enjoyed the evening, especially the fireworks. I LOVE fireworks, especially when they play great American classics (like anything by Neil Diamond) and the fireworks go with the music. AWESOME!

Our legit cowboy gear--we had to get ready for the local festivities.

Waiting for pig racing. We probably waited for 45 minutes in the sun to watch pigs run around a small pen for about 6 seconds. It was totally worth it.

The RODEO - I LOVE rodeos.

My rodeo hamburger--yum.

So beautiful up in Tetonia.

Sitting on the grass before the fireworks.

Proof that we were actually there for Glenn Beck. You can kinda see him on the big screen there.

The parade--we went down to the parade the morning of the 4th and were so disappointed we didn't have our camera (we left it in the car on accident). It was so quaint and there were lots of trucks, horses, and taffy. The best moment was the float for the Teton Valley Tea Party. So apropos. But, we got a picture of the taffy that I gathered at the parade. Another wonderful part of this holiday.

You have now learned that I am obsessed with the 4th of July and think everything about it is terrific. Next, we went on a hike on the 4th and hiked until we hit snow. Beautiful place!
A magical moment in the woods.

We made some great meals while up the cabin--here's our Sunday salmon meal.

We had a wonderful time together and just enjoyed being together after 2 long months apart.

Family Reunion--the next weekend we went up to Bear Lake to spend time with Mark's family. It was soooo fun. Mark's fam is totally fun and incredible and we loved spending time with the cute nieces and nephews.

Me on the beach with a very cute boy.

In just a few days, Mark and I were going to set off for our next adventure to Europe. In the words Ira Glass: "Stay with us." Pictures of European adventurers coming soon.