When planning for Spain and the Camino de Santiago, I decided I wanted to devote time every day to read a devotion, reflect, and write. The benefits of just a couple moments of silence to think, create, and be still each day are numerous. However, it is the one thing that seems to slide down, or off, of my to-do list.

After some thought, I decided to take a much loved devotional from my days at the publishing house with me. I had never read it personally, but I knew how much it meant to so many people. I was also given a copy when I left to I to law school. Unfortunately, it has taken me over three years to pick it up.

This morning, we were still two hours away from Madrid, and I couldn’t sleep. So I decided to look at the devotion for the day. I have excerpted part of it below:

“STAY CALMLY CONSCIOUS OF ME today, no matter what. Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents.”

This is perfect for so many reasons. A new country and a trek like this can at times be overwhelming. So the meaning of these words are not lost on me there. However, it was something much deeper that made my heart twinge over the Atlantic Ocean this morning.

I have a post-it on my computer at work that reads: calmness is trust in action. It is something a good friend and co-worker once read to me. That quote and the devotion for today strike at the core of what I hope to learn and carry with me from this amazing trip.

Too often I get anxious and overwhelmed looking at the next thing instead of enjoying every moment, no matter what it brings, and trusting. I too quickly lose my focus. I miss the beauty right in front of me when I am concerned about the future.

As we shuffled off of the plane and we’re greeted by beautiful morning in Madrid, I decided that this trip, I am going to be calmly conscious. I’m going to soak it all in. No matter what each day brings I am going to trust and enjoy. And hopefully these habits will go with me back to the states.


Let’s Go on an Adventure

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Lao-Tzu

Hello my name is Jacklyn and I’m an Arranger. Well, as of tomorrow, a recovering Arranger.

So I have taken the StrengthsFinder test multiple times.  Once while in college, once at the publishing house, and most recently, here at the law firm.  Apparently, “Arranger” must have been just hanging out there at number 6 just waiting to show its face.  It obviously picked the perfect time…after law school.

I cannot avoid it.  I’m a perpetual planner and a habitual arranger.  There should be a group for people like me.

And as much as I love my job, I cannot avoid the fact that it revolves around deadlines, constantly tracking the progress of cases or legislation, and recording my time in six minute increments.

Each of us has that element to what we do.  We have checklists, deadlines, and to-do lists.  It keeps us organized, keeps us upright, and on track.  However, I am convinced that we also yearn for adventure, pine for the unexpected, and crave the beauty that a new experience brings.

My recent checklist has been one of my favorites.  It has consisted of: get hiking boots, figure out what a spork is, learn to pack for two weeks in a foreign country in a single bag, and try to learn as much Spanish as you can.

Tomorrow I am going to give in to the yearning and give up the arranger and planner in me. I am ecstatic…and nervous as hell.

Tomorrow I board a plane, with my husband’s mom, bound for Madrid and then on Friday we hop on a train to Ponferada. In Ponferada we start our trip along the Camino de Santiago. We’ll meet our guys who have been on the trail for almost three weeks now and head to Santiago de Compestela.

I have no itinerary and no plans except to soak up every second of every minute. From what the guys have told us already, it has been an incredible and life changing experience. Of which the best part is who you meet along the way.

I simply cannot wait.

The guy have been posting pictures and updates from their travels and I’m sure we will do the same at Buen Camino.

What Are You Running To

“All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.”
~James Thurber

I have spent my life running; running in circles, through fields, and across thousands of miles of pavement.  I ran to get places, to get away from problems, to get away from people, to get in shape, to be fast…to win.  It is such a simple act, to move, but in that simplicity you learn so much about yourself.  I always thought I ran because I loved to compete, the thrill of the chase and the elation of victory.  What I have learned is that I run to find out who I am.

Running exposes the glaring truths about the inner depths of your being.  Am I going to be tough today, or am I going to be a wuss?  It’s raining, or snowing, or hot…do I really need that second run?  I had knee surgery, will anyone blame me if I quit?  Runners are definitely odd ducks, but we’re happy with who we are and we are comfortable in our own skin.  So why is it that a bunch of scraggly, skinny, akward guys are happier and more confident in themselves than most of society?  It’s because running teaches you who you are.

If I had one suggestion for high school graduates is figure out who you are.  I don’t mean figure out what you like to do, what you want to major in, or what your profession is going to be.  I mean figure out who YOU are.  Honestly, if you know that than you are going to be alright because the rest is just bull sh!t.  If you truly know who you are, then life will work itself out. You’re going to make mistakes, your going to fail, and life will not go the way you planned (life’s not fair…get a helmet).  If you figure out who you truly are, you’ll be able to lay your head down at night and be content.

So your probably saying, well that’s great but how do I do that?  If I had that answer, I’d be making a lot of money and be selling a lot of books.  Maybe you need to find what you love to do, and just live life.  I run.  Ghandi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  I think the path to self enlightenment is different for everyone, but knowing who you are will get you through some gloomy days, and make most of them incredibly bright.  Buen Camino.


The Boy circa 2005. Ok, so can you blame me for thinking this kid was cocky when I first met him 😉 Ballin'!

Bio: I am from the 513.  I love running 100 mile weeks, Rubix Cubing, and being a member of the Ring of Honor at the Flying Saucer.  I have a Compostela from the Camino de Santiago, and I wear my PF Fliers to run faster and jump higher.

OK, so that was what he wanted you to know.  I’m going to add a bit on to that.  It’s only fair right, when you write a post about knowing who you ARE and not just what you like to do.

Yes, the Boy is an insane runner and amazing competitor.  He loves Rubix Cubing (yes, I am in support and am actually an enabler in this).  As of tomorrow he will be in the Ring of Honor at the Saucer (as will I and yes, our parents are proud).  Last summer he did go to Spain, became fluent and went on an amazing ride on the Camino de Santiago (no he didn’t take me…I’ll have to catch the next trip 😉 and his PF Fliers are awesome.  Ben is also of the Class of 2010. He’ll also be receiving two diplomas tomorrow from Belmont.  We’re not sure which he’s prouder of, the Ring of Honor or two diplomas.  BUT…that’s only what he likes, not who he is.

I love this picture. This is the Boy after finishing the Camino in Spain.

This whole series, as my friends’ posts fill my inbox, I read them and think to myself how lucky I am to have such amazing friends! I got the Boy’s and was overwhelmed with how blessed I am.  Sure, it had a lot to do with how amazing I think he is but it was more than that.

We’ve been together for three years (holy cow, I just now realized that)!  Both of us have changed and grown so much and it’s been so fun to watch. I think it’s so funny when people break up because the other person “changed.”  What changed?  What they liked?  What they did?  I care about this man so much.  Not the fact that he is a runner, learner, an explorer or can make me cry laughing, but because of his core.  WHO he is, who he was and who he is striving to be.  No matter what hobbies he picks up, or what he decides to do after college, I get to watch him learn more about who he is and I love that.

The Boy and me after a day on Lake Michigan

This past year I have watched him grow so much and to read these words and his advice to those graduating, to find out who you are and all the rest will work itself out, to me it encapsulates all the incredible change I’ve been lucky enough to watch in him this past year.  That’s another thing I love.  This guy won’t tell you anything he doesn’t know is true…from experience.

Tomorrow I am excited about to watching him walk across the stage and receive his diplomas.  I am so proud of not just his wonderful accomplishments, but who he is.  And more than watching him get his diplomas, as I watch all the pictures being taken, the smiles, and the congratulatory hand shakes, I’ll be thinking about how pumped I am to see what he does next.

I think that’s the pay off to knowing who you truly are.  Because like the Boy said, if you know that, the rest will work itself out.  He knows who he is and he can do anything he wants.  He’s not sure where he will end up working or if he’ll go back to school…but he knows who he is and is confident in that and because of that he’ll succeed at anything he sets his mind to! This Boy is going to do amazing things and I can’t wait to watch.

He doesn’t have a blog yet so until you can read that, you’ll just have to make do with 140 words.  Follow him at @simmie513

P.S. How is this bio longer than the post.  Next step in my growth…editing myself 😉

About this series: This is one of a series of guest posts in May that will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.