Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the walking in between

I'm training for a marathon right now, and some days I'm excited to get up and run.

Most days, however, I dread it. The first thing I do when my alarm goes off is check the weather. I have to remind myself that running at 7 am (when it's 70 degrees out) is much more pleasant than running at 8 pm (when it's still almost 95). That works pretty well actually.

I ran 5 miles this morning. I had a myriad of thoughts as I prepared for my run, including how much I loathe running but how awesome it was that I could run 5 miles on a Tuesday (and it not be my long run). It got me thinking about my preparation for this marathon, which then turned to thinking of a Ben Rector song, which then turned to thinking of life in general.

Check out this song (it's only a couple minutes long), then come back to me.

Done? Cute song, right? My favorite line in the entire song goes like this:

"Cause life is not the mountaintops
It's the walking in between"

Each week as I complete my long run, I've added miles (which is a big deal) in order to be ready for the marathon in December. But there are three other days in the week where I'm just doing plain old runs. No glory. No recognition. They're the ones that are easiest to overlook, to excuse away, to try and avoid. Yet they're so very important. They're the reason I can add mileage each week. The reason each run feels better than the last.

Life is like that. I think as kids growing up, it's much easier for us to see progress. Each year we (hopefully) move up a grade until we eventually graduate from high school. If we go to college, we mark off classes as we take them until we have our degrees.

And then we enter the real world (as if we hadn't been living before then). Suddenly, progress is much harder to see. We spend our days in the trenches feeling like we're getting nowhere. A year passes and we wonder what we're doing with our lives. We look at our peers around us and see them moving up, up, always up.

Photo via Heavens to Betsy

If you're feeling stuck in an in-between time right now - maybe you're trying to finish school so you can get that dream job; maybe you're trying to get into school; maybe you want kids but are trying to save up money; maybe (fill in the blank with your situation) - my advice is to find something tangible you can work toward in the meantime. For me, this marathon training is the in-between. It's a piece of my life moving forward and getting better while I wait to see if I'm accepted to nursing school. It takes effort and planning, but it's still a relatively small portion of my week. It's helping me learn to be patient in waiting. And it's a reminder that even the in-between times have their merit. We can always learn something new and better ourselves. Sometimes, the in-between is the best place to do that.

<3 Jenni

Monday, September 8, 2014


We're packing up to move again this weekend. Though our new home is only 20 miles from our current locale, I can't help the feelings of nostalgia that come from these types of transitions.

We moved to Texas a year ago after two short months of marriage. I've been a bit of a drifter since 2007, and spending more than a few months in one place has been hard for me to adjust to over the past couple of years. The idea of moving halfway across the country with my love wasn't really difficult for me to grasp because I love to be on the move. If I could make a living owning nothing but what fits in a suitcase and traveling the world, I'd do it. I suppose I technically could, but that sort of lifestyle is easier to maintain while single.

I did my fair share of solo travel while in college, and I've been overseas a couple of times (once for an extended time), but I didn't do nearly as much international travel as I wish I had in college. Now when I meet 18-19 year old kids, one of the first things I tell them is to get out of this country. Every trip I've taken has been worth every penny. They need to see how other people live.

But I digress. This post really only came about because of my favorite Brad Paisley song, Southern Comfort Zone. If you've ever spent a significant amount of time away from home (in another country especially), this song hits hard. I loved the months I spent overseas. Like most, I look back on them with rose-colored glasses, forgetting (or purposefully ignoring) the struggles while there. Those months changed me in ways I can still feel. Part of my heart will always be there.

I find it interesting how the definition of home expands and shifts throughout our lives. Before I got married, I had one "real" home, my parents, and I had "where I lived at the moment." While home is still and always will be Alabama, my real home is wherever my husband is. For now, that means home is a small Texas town. Bouts of wanderlust hit (I feel it almost constantly), but no matter where they take me, I'll return home with him.

Knowing home is where he is has been one of the happiest feelings I've ever known.

<3 Jenni