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To The Moon and Back

Photo of Jeannie's dog, Grandbury

Today marks the two year anniversary of the death of my beloved dog, Grandbury. He was just eight weeks shy of turning eighteen! He was a German Shepherd mix, and he was an amazing dog.

I always told him that I loved him “to the moon and back” and promised that I would be with him until the end. Two years ago he entered into a seizure that would not stop. Holding him as he took his last breath, I whispered those five words over and over into his ear, hoping my voice comforted him.

My sweet grand boy, I miss you. I’m thankful for every minute I shared with you.

 

Photo of Jeannie's dog, Grandbury

 

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Lucky In Love: Married For Love Alone

Jeannie's Wedding Reception

Part Four of my Lucky In Love Series – My True Romance

The first day I walked onto the Texas Woman’s University campus in Denton, Texas, I said I wanted to be married in The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods. I never imagined that day would come in just nineteen months, but it did, and we were married in that beautiful spot.

Little Chapel in the Woods

We were married in March because that is the month in which we met. We married on the 14th because that was one of the few dates that the Little Chapel was available. The 15th was available, but this English major could not agree to marry on the “Ides of March.”

You May Kiss the Jeannie Bride

It was storming and pouring down rain the morning of our wedding. The rain stopped just prior to my bridesmaids leading me to the front of the Chapel. As I walked around the side of the Chapel, the sun pushed the clouds aside and shone brightly for the rest of the day.

Spring Break 1995 Jeannie is Married
We made the paper. The Lasso March 1995. “What I Did On My Spring Break…”

 

We footed the bill for our wedding, and the budget was so tight we served only our wedding cake and a groom’s cake at the reception. The only bites we had of our own cakes were memorialized in the traditional “feeding each other” photographs. Hours later, our first meal of the day would be a few packages of peanuts on the plane to our honeymoon.

Jeannie and her husband on the airplane after wedding.

People let us know exactly how they felt. “You are too young.” “You are throwing away your future.” “You’ll never accomplish your dreams.” “It won’t last.” “Are you pregnant?” “You will regret it.” “Are you sure?” “He isn’t really your type.” “She is awfully young.”

I was told by everyone, including strangers in elevators, not to marry at so young of an age. Everyone told me that the person you are at nineteen is not the person you’ll be at twenty-five or thirty-five. I listened to what they said, but I didn’t let their words destroy what I felt.

We wanted to marry because we were in love with one another. We didn’t want to wait another minute to begin our life together as a family.

Those concerned people were right; we aren’t the same people we were when we married. What they didn’t count on was our recognizing that marriage is hard work, and we vowed to always show up to our marriage the way an employee shows up to work. We show up every day and put the required effort in to keep the passion and love alive. We’ve grown together as a couple, never leaving the other behind. This is what works for us, and it is the reason we’ve lasted this long.

I can’t imagine what the road ahead has in store for us, as I never could have anticipated  a moment of the time we’ve shared. I hope to live the rest of my days happily married to my best friend. The realist in me knows this may not be the case. Life is full of surprises, and the road we travel on this journey is bumpy and full of potholes. Anything can throw your world out of alignment. As the woman who has successfully weathered many a storm while holding her best friend’s hand, I believe that the two of us can make it through just about anything.

There isn’t anything we cannot achieve together. We are a team. A unit. A family. Fur and feathers included.

Happy Anniversary, Loren. I love you. I’m happy to partner up with you for another nineteen years.

Jeannie's Wedding Reception

March 15, 2014 – A new starting point in my life, as I’ve been with this one person longer than I existed without him. No one is more surprised than I am.

Read the previous posts in the Lucky in Love series:

Lucky in Love: On the Way to the Chapel

Lucky in Love: How We Met

March: Lucky in Love

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Lucky in Love: On The Way To The Chapel

Jeannie and her husband on his beloved Goldwing.

Part Three of my Lucky In Love Series – My True Romance

I had a written plan for my future. I never intended to marry until I was at least twenty-seven. I met Loren, and the plan went out the window. Yes, he regrets the eyeglass frames and the mustache. I had big glasses, but I was too smart to wear them in the photograph.

Jeannie and her husband on his beloved Goldwing.
This photograph was taken the second time we saw each other, two months after he came to Texas.

 

Loren is a little older than I am. For example, in November 1987, he was entering the U.S. Navy,

Jeannie's husband in the U.S. Navy

and I was in the seventh grade. That is a six year age difference for all you fellow non-math people.

 Cheerleader Jeannie

The third time I laid eyes on him, Loren got down on one knee and proposed to me on the steps of the beautiful historic Dallas County Courthouse in Dallas, Texas (now the Old Red Museum). He knew I loved the “old red courthouse” because it looked like a castle. The history of the building is detailed in the video below.

 

Jeannie and her engagement ringJeannie's hand on her dog's head.
I loved my ring! Loren designed my engagement ring and commissioned an artist to make it.

No, not everyone believed in our love story, but that didn’t matter to us. I spent holiday break with him in Illinois, and he returned with me to Texas in January. We planned our wedding for March, a year after having met online.

Read the previous parts of the Lucky in Love Series:

Lucky in Love: How We Met

March: Lucky in Love

 

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Lucky in Love: How We Met

Jeannie at the TWU Fountain

My husband and I met on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). I initially used the system to communicate with my boyfriend who had moved to another city, but I loved talking to people all over the world. I met Loren online when I was bored and sick with both mono and strep throat.

I didn’t have a computer in my dorm room. In order to get online, I either had to go across campus to a computer lab or reserve a computer in the lab on the bottom floor of my dorm. There wasn’t a simple button to click and connect to the internet, either. I learned how to create a virtual terminal connection with other computers and use IRC. It was a complicated process that I shared with my friends. The once empty computer stations were now constantly in use; my friends were all reserving computers to talk to people across the globe.

Jeannie at the computer

Once I started using the computer to chat on IRC, I was hooked.

TWU Fountain
Oh, if this fountain could talk. I can neither confirm nor deny if I’ve entered this fountain.

 

After three months of having only talked online and on the phone, Loren drove from Illinois to Texas to meet me. He’d sent me a photo of himself, but I wouldn’t send him a photo of me. He decided to stop waiting on me to send a photograph, and he came to see me in person. The first time I laid eyes on him, I felt as if I’d known him my entire life. There were no awkward moments, as we truly had become very good friends.

Jeannie at the TWU Fountain
When we met, he was a physics major. I double majored in English and mass communications with a minor in Spanish.
This photo was taken just prior to him leaving to return to Illinois.

 

Five minutes after he’d left on his return trip to Illinois, I told my roommate that I knew I’d just spent three days with the man I would one day marry. Just before he reached the interstate entrance ramp, he stopped at a payphone to call and tell me he didn’t want to leave.

 

Jeannie receiving a kiss from Loren.

 Read the next part in the Lucky in Love Series:

Lucky in Love: On the Way to the Chapel

March: Lucky in Love

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Seek Rainbows: Thoughts on Depression

Photraph by Jeannie M. Bushnell of rainbows in the fountain spray at the Shoppes at University Place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Friends, I know some of you are hurting and in a dark place. I want you to remember that good things are on the horizon. I know it may not seem like it, but better days are ahead. Happiness can seem elusive, always wiggling out of reach. Recognizing the opportunity for happiness is similar to searching for a rainbow. We take rainbows for granted, but unless the conditions are right, we don’t see them either. If you move just a fraction of an inch, the rainbow can disappear on you. While happiness may rely on many elements coming together, sometimes it is truly about the view from which we are standing. Don’t be afraid to take a step to discover another point of view. You might just find a rainbow.

I recently found out a dear friend from high school committed suicide. He was in a dark place the last time we spoke. Two years later, he took his own life. He was one of the good guys, and I miss him.

This photograph was taken at The Shoppes at University Place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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March: Lucky in Love

Jeannie M. Bushnell Engagement Photo
Jeannie M. Bushnell Love Engagement Photo
Jeannie M. Bushnell Engagement Photo

March is a special month for me, as it is the month of my wedding anniversary. I’m not the world’s luckiest person, for I have been known to attract misfortune. Yes, I’m the person who causes my friends to proclaim, “I never knew anyone experienced stuff like that until I met you.”

I obviously wasn’t born under a lucky moon or star constellation, as it has been this way my entire life. I’m the queen of drawing the short stick. Instead of moaning about the misfortunes, I try to do more for others and appreciate all the good that I have in my life. Sure, I’m not made of stone, and many a moment has left me wondering “why” and has successfully brought me to tears, but I’m not a person who wallows in sadness. There is always someone in a worse situation, and I know this because when I feel down, I offer my time and shoulder to those who are in need. I guarantee that your sadness will fall to the wayside when you help others who are in need.

I am lucky when it comes to my partner—my husband. I prefer the term partner, as that is truly the word that reflects our relationship. We are partners in all things. I’m reticent to put this out in the universe, as I don’t want to suffer like Sandra Bullock did when she professed her undying love for her husband during her Golden Globes and Oscar acceptance speeches in 2010. The universe doesn’t seem to like it when a loving couple is either in a music video together or one of them speak about their affection for the other. Perhaps this is a celebrity issue, and I clearly do not have to worry about that. Yes, I’ll choose to believe that.

I am a lucky duck when it comes to my partner. He is kind, loyal, generous, patient, loving, and honest. I can say without the bat of an eyelash that he loves me unconditionally. He has taken care of me through many an illness, and cheered me on when I’ve nearly given up on everything. He makes me laugh at the silliest things, and he keeps me looking forward to the next step in our journey together. Our wedding anniversary is March 14,, 2014, and I will spend the next two weeks honoring my love with my blog posts. I hope you’ll enjoy the opportunity to get to know me a little better.