Who Do I Think I Am?

When we were still pretty newly married, we let a salesman in our door. I’m sure you know the kind; he had offered us some free carpet cleaning. We were living in a townhouse that had carpet which was probably older than we were. It was a shag carpet – dark brown with red flecks sprinkled all over. We dubbed the color “Meatloaf.” That carpet was gross, and our baby was crawling around on it, so we were all over the idea of some real carpet cleaning.  Jay and I had no idea of what we were getting into that day.

After six long hours of heavy sales pressure (we were too shy and polite to just kick him out) we gave in and bought a Kirby vacuum, for a lot of money, with monthly payments.


I know Kirby makes a good vacuum cleaner, but this was not a wise choice for us when we were struggling with bills and expecting a second baby. We deeply regretted the purchase almost right away and it taught us some valuable lessons. But to this day when one of us does something stupid, either alone or together, it is known as “buying a Kirby.”

I told you that story so you will understand me when I say that I have bought a lot of Kirbies in my lifetime. I am an intelligent person, but a bit of a fool nonetheless. I tend to lead with my heart rather than my head, even though my head is the stronger part of me.

Writing is one of my favorite things to do, but I struggle with feeling inadequate to the task, to the illusion it could make that I am any kind of authority on anything. After a few of the posts that I have written, I have fully expected someone to demand of me, “Just who do you think you are, saying these things?” So I figured I would go ahead and answer that question and get it over with.

I am an artistic person. Music came easily to me as a child, both singing and piano. I have a very strong ear and my teacher soon learned to not play pieces for me when she assigned them since I would just learn them by ear instead of reading the music. I used to write poetry in my spare time and kept a rhyming dictionary in my purse for a long time.

I love to read. When I have a well written book the words are like candy in my mouth and almost need to be read aloud to savor them fully. This makes me a slow reader, this playing with the words. I don’t read as much as I used to, I’m afraid the internet really has affected my attention span and eats too much of my reading time. I’m trying to change that.

I thrive when I can make beautiful things. I used to sew a lot of my children’s clothing, and other things as well. I made beautiful scrapbooks for a while. I make wire-wrapped rosaries and sell them when I can, which is ironic because I am more likely to pray a rosary on my fingers or a twine rosary than anything. Still, they are fun to design and make. I love to take and edit pictures and compose them so that they are stunning and attention grabbing.

I am passionate about being a mother and wife. This is my job and I try really hard to do it well. I used to have very strong opinions on how that should be done, but as I’ve matured I’ve realized that different people use different tools to make them good parents. I mess up a lot here. I still yell at my kids and snap at them in irritation. I misuse my time and neglect their emotional needs at times. I just keep trying to do better, a little at a time.

I love God. Some of my very earliest memories are of Bible stories and the wonder of the love story that God has woven with His people all through the ages. I strive to be in constant communication through prayer and the Sacraments, and to keep learning about Him through Bible study and other books. He knows what a screw up I am. He loves me anyway.

I am an introvert. I crave silence and time alone. I think one of the reasons God decided to give me all of these children is that He knew I would hole up and never associate with anyone if I didn’t have to. I also suffer from shyness, and that makes it hard to make friends. People sometimes think I am cold or unfriendly just because I am too afraid to talk much in big groups. I do love to be around people, though! I love talking with friends and spending time with them, I just need some recharge time when I am done.

But back to those Kirbies.

I feel inadequate to write here, to be mistaken for an authority, because I am not one of those people who walks through life with a plan. I write here, not because I know more than anyone, but because I enjoy doing it and it helps me to untangle my ideas. One thing I am a little ashamed of is that I never went to college. I expect people to dismiss my ideas when they find out I am not educated in the traditional sense of the word. I was educated by reading every book I could and by making stupid choices all my life and then cleaning them up.

For instance:

As a high school student, I had our first child. So the reason I didn’t go to college was mostly because I was busy being a wife and a mom. But also because I wasn’t really interested at the time, and I was terrified of trying something new.

Years later, my husband and I moved our (then) four kids halfway across the country with no plan, and then came back again just five months later because it really didn’t work out.

But each of those things are some of the most valuable parts of my life. Though they make me cringe a little in embarrassment to share them, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Having a baby at 18 helped me become who I am today. It gave me strength and it gave me my amazing and beautiful daughter. Had we not moved across the country, I don’t know that we would ever have had my husband’s vasectomy reversed, and we wouldn’t have our five youngest children.

So who am I to say the things I say on the blog? I am just a nobody on the internet. I’m somebody. I am an intelligent fool who needs confession an awful lot. I’m propped up and functioning every day by pure power of grace. I am a person who is wrong a lot. I try to admit when I am but sometimes it takes me a day or two to get over my defensiveness. I am not an authority on any subject, I just try to learn from life and books and ponder the things that I learn. I invite you to ponder them with me, here on this blog.

I am Jenni. That is who I think I am.



  1. nettieheidmann says:

    Wow, Jenni, we have more in common than I ever dreamed. I could have written almost everything in this post – including buying a Kirby from an insistent salesman many years ago! I am thankful to have company on the sometimes-rocky-road to becoming the wife, mother, and woman God has planned for me to be. 🙂

    • That is so neat Annette! It’s nice to find a kindred spirit out there. 🙂 Maybe we should get the little boys together for a playdate.

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