I’m Jennifer, an American wife, mother, daughter and friend. I write about faith, family, community and culture. Thank you for reading my blog today. ♥ I love God, kids, poets, bloggers, trains, farms, cities, colors, history, home, generations and prayer. I really like to take pictures.
I live in a prairie bungalow in Oklahoma City’s oldest neighborhood. Here is where my cup runneth over; where all my dreams of having my own family come true — one day at a time. I’m very blessed. The rural and urban landscapes that surround me form the backdrop of my life. I photograph and write about my journey, literal and spiritual, from the perspective of Gen-Xer in the 21st Century. This is my life unfolding here on the Southern Great Plains. If you were here with me right now, we could take a walk together underneath the century-old trees that form canopies over the streets I call home. I would make a you a hot cup of coffee or maybe some tea. We’d talk about our kids and dreams. Hopes and fears. All the places we’ve been and the places we hope we’re going. And, I’d pray for you. I will always pray for you.
My husband is Catholic and I attend mass with him every Sunday; however, I was raised in the Church of the Nazarene. I believe and rejoice in the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Growing Up Generation X
I was born in East L.A. in the late 60s. This makes me a first-wave member of Generation X. (The years are 1961 to 1981.) I am the youngest of four kids. Like most Gen-Xers, I was a latchkey kid throughout most of my childhood and youth. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs, watching lots of TV and worrying about going to war with Russia. I ate a lot of cold cereal, which I loved! Cap’n Crunch and Frankenberry were the perfect companions to my Scooby Doo, Isis and Brady Bunch. As I grew older, I watched different shows and worried about different things, but I still ate the same cereal. I worried about whether or not I’d be able to find a job with my expensive college degree. Reality Bites was an authentic narrative for many Gen-Xers. Well before that plane blew up over Lockerbie, I worried a lot about terrorism. Then, in 1995, it happened where I live in Oklahoma City. I lost a friend in that bombing. In 1974, my parents began a journey eastward. I ended up growing up in parsonages in rural towns across the Plains. I had a lot of fun in those small towns. I went to a lot of carnivals and county fairs and spent time on the farms of friends. I never forgot Huntington Beach though or Pudding Stone, the orange groves, Kiddie Land, Bixby Elementary and so many other things about my early childhood in Southern California.
High School and College
In 1985, I graduated from Caney Valley High School in Kansas (Go Bullpups)! The 51 Gen-Xers I graduated with elected me prom queen that year. It was thrilling even if I didn’t have a date to the dance. After high school, I attended Southern Nazarene University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech communication and political science. College was a wonderful time in my life. I treasure those years and all my memories and friends. After college, I went to work in public affairs at a large military base in Oklahoma City. It was great preparation for my career in public relations. Along the way, I did a lot of graduate work at the University of Oklahoma and University of Central Oklahoma in history, geography, English and communications.
Marriage and Family
In 1991, I married my college boyfriend. In the fall of 1997, I gave birth to my first child, a daughter. We named her Juliette. That was the happiest day of my life. Despite all my dreams and hopes, in January 1999, I became a single mom. That was a really tough time in my life. Divorce is an experience that never leaves you and it changed me. I hope someday I can write about those events. Even though my years as a single mom were difficult, I have a lot of great memories of that time. It was just Juliette and me for four years. We went a lot of places and did a lot of fun things. In 2002, I met Robert at an art opening at the Oklahoma State Capitol. We were married exactly one year later in the Blue Room outside the Governor’s Office. Juliette was my flower girl. She was five. In 2005, my son Sullivan was born, and less than two years after that, Bridgette came along to complete our family. I am very blessed! Motherhood is the greatest adventure of my life.
For more than 20 years, I’ve made my career in public relations. I’ve served as the public information officer and spokesperson for several local and state government agencies. In 2007, I earned my accreditation in PR and currently manage my own independent public relations consulting practice. My company is Big Banyan PR and Advocacy Marketing.
Blogging and Photography
I began blogging anonymously in 1999 on the Open Diary. (Yes, I’ve been writing online for 15 years!) I went public with my blog in 2006. By that time I was on Blogspot. In 2009, I bought my current URL. In 2013, I switched to WordPress. Blogging has changed so much, and I’m excited about the changes. I write about generations, family, motherhood, pop culture, career, social issues and life in Oklahoma City. My blog has been featured in a bunch of great publications including The Washington Post! Below are the links. In 2008, I bought a Nikon D60 and started taking pictures. It’s probably my favorite thing to do. Recently, my picture of the Oklahoma State Capitol at sunset was featured on CNN. Last year, I invested in a Nikon D600. I love street photography and capturing every day life as it unfolds. I love to find magic in the ordinary and irony when nobody is looking. Click here to read more about my photography.
Public Radio Commentaries
In March 2012, I began providing a weekly commentary every Tuesday for KOSU Radio in Oklahoma City. KOSU is affiliated with National Public Radio. The segment was branded Jen-X. In March 2014, increased career demands made it difficult for me to maintain work-life balance. With KOSU’s support, Jen-X was maintained through the addition of three incredibly wonderful and gifted female commentators. They’re all members of Generation X and all named Jennifer. Now, you can hear me once a month and a different Jennifer every week! Click here to read more about this new direction. Please tune in to 91.7 in Oklahoma City and 107.5 in Tulsa on Tuesdays at 7:35 a.m. You can also listen online at KOSU.org.
My blog has been featured in these media outlets and websites.
NewsOK (Steve Lackmeyer)
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