Jan, my first bonus sister

This week’s #wcw post is going to focus on my husband’s sister, Jan. It’s her birthday this weekend and I want to celebrate her a bit.

coldness of running
By far one of my favorite pictures of Jan. What happens when you go running in extreme cold. It also tells you pretty much everything you need to know about her.

By the time I got to know Jan, I was already pretty into her brother. Getting to know her was a bonus. I have rarely met another person so simultaneously generous in spirit, strong in conviction, and sure of her own value. She knows what she likes and what is good for her and she will fight for it, even if (and when – because we all know that a strong woman comes up against resistance every now and again….) others are confused or put off by it.

We had the best time together when we were stationed in Germany. She came and stayed with us for 2 months over the summer while she was in college. Some wondered if that arrangement would actually be beneficial for everyone – small apartment and a long stay. But it was a great, great time. Becca was about 8 months old at the time and a truly delightful baby. Jan loved playing with her and making her laugh. Tom was away a bunch of the time on training exercises and such, so we filled our days with little day trips and longer overnights, exploring Germany’s lovely countryside.

konigstuhl-funicular
From Trip Advisor: This train is how most tourists get up the mountain…

One of the things that happened while she was there was that she and Tom decided to run a race together – the Königstuhl race, which is a one-way run up a mountain in Heidelberg. It is a STEEP mountain. It was something that Tom thought would be fun to do and Jan agreed and wanted to do it with him. (Just a side note here – that last sentence is so incredibly foreign to me, I cannot even begin to understand.) So we went and I happily dropped them off and then drove up to the halfway point to cheer them on and then waited at the top. It was a great race and they were both happy with their times. We stuck around for the awards ceremony and were shocked when they called Jan’s name! She had won her division! (Or maybe it was third place, but really, who’s counting?)

Jan uses that same determination and gumption (that’s what I call it!) to take on other incredible tasks too. After their dear, dear grandmother passed away who had knitted all of their Christmas stockings, Jan took it upon herself to be the one making the stockings. And she didn’t do this just for her own children; my Bethany was actually the first one to get a Jan stocking – it is one of the most precious things she has done.

My other sister-in-law may argue that one with me though, because Jan HAND MADE the flower girl dresses for her little brother’s wedding. She had never sewn anything that complicated before, but knew her own mother-in-law could help fill in the gaps, and she just decided to do it! They were absolutely stunningly beautiful.

11781894_962788737076528_3876143338788641794_n
Swoon.

Someone with her talent could literally do anything she wanted, but she constantly shares her talents and gifts liberally with her friends and family.  And please don’t take that as anything less than wholehearted generosity – it comes not from a sense of martyrdom or approval-seeking, at least not that I am aware of. She is generous with herself as well, allowing her self the time she needs to recharge, noticing the practices and rhythms that keep her healthy and staying true to them.

Jan, you are only one of the many bonuses I got marrying into your family and I’m so super grateful for it.

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