To kick things off with this post, we’re just about to officially wrap up our Pledge It for the Sackett family. My initial goal was $5,000, and if I were honest, I actually didn’t believe we’d hit that when I put it together. At the time this post is written, we’ve collected $9,127 to help launch an education fund for Ethan, Tessa, Carly, and Grace Sackett following the passing of their mother, Susan.
I’m finding that I’m a pretty reflective and visionary person. I’m constantly thinking about what I’m up to (big picture) and where I’m going (huge picture). When I get into a slump or I get lazy, it’s often because I lose sight of the big picture. This post is primarily about running, but if you know me you’ll know it’s about much more.
The Silence After the Storm
I’ll admit that after the marathon, I got a little “flustered” (I guess you can say it that way). I resonated with what I was reading about depression, I quickly shifted out of my normal routines, I grew less motivated at work (don’t worry, my boss wouldn’t be learning that by reading this), and I didn’t know what to do with myself because I didn’t have a daily workout to check off or a race to prepare for. It was a weird feeling. I was tired of not knowing what’s next for me and running. And if I were quite honest, I was more disappointed in not qualifying for Boston than I think I led on to others.
Some people might think that’s kind of crazy. And for you, knowing you have a race coming up may be overwhelming. You’d be happy when it’s over. But I like it. I like to be pushed daily. I get bored if not. For running, I like to learn what I can and cannot eat while an hour into a run. What shoes take care of me and what socks give me blisters? How I can run more efficiently, knowing what to do to keep my heart rate low or not wear out my legs on certain terrain? The more I learn about running, the more I learn about what is possible—and how much more there is to running than just putting one foot in front of the other.
I believe that all of us need that healthy dose of being uncomfortable in order to keep us growing. Show up someplace where you don’t feel comfortable. Sign up for a community 5K. Visit someplace that you’ve never even heard of before (I have, and boy do I have a story to share about that). Try a new food. Listen to a new audiobook. Ride a rollercoaster, even if it terrifies you.
I Feel Uncomfortable
After the marathon, I went to Cedar Point with Kortney, her sister (Kiley), and her brother-in-law (Mike). We’ve been family for years now and about once a year I get the same question toward the tail-end of summer. “Jason, want to go to Cedar Point?” Every year I have either evaded the question or awkwardly answered, shooting down their dreams of screaming at the top of their lungs while their stomach shoots into their chests. I just don’t like rollercoasters.
To be honest, I process everything at the moment and it just makes it not fun. I think of everything that could go wrong (but seldom ever does). I make the feeling in your gut out to be much more than it is. And the list of excuses goes on as I would reply, “Nahhh… I’m not really into rollercoasters.” It not a big deal for most, but I said yes this year. We got tickets, we showed up, we rode a ton of crazy rides. I won’t pretend to have liked every second of it, because I was terrified. But I rolled with it and it was actually a lot of fun. I’d even go back…
I’m writing for my own sake, mainly because I’ve been learning a lot lately. Goals are a great thing, and it’s okay to experience a lull after achieving or completing something huge. You may even find that you’re ready for something bigger, something that you thought impossible before your first goal or lull (I’ll soon share the next crazy goal that I’ve got in the works). And not only are goals a good thing to keep you moving forward, but there are times when you’ve just got to embrace being uncomfortable because you’re growing. And I will add, “uncomfortable” is not the only word I’d use to describe how I felt when I was buckled into the rollercoaster—I was wondering if I had a change of pants packed in the car.
My friend Susan, who I update you on at the start of this blog post, reminded me before she passed that we can only take things in stride—one step at a time. She was talking in part about my marathon, but we both knew we were talking primarily about life. So my challenge is to think today about how you can stretch yourself and embrace feeling uncomfortable, whether it’s a big goal or just a small step. If you have something that comes to mind immediately, write it below to put a name to it.
That line above, “it’s pretty a pretty hard day and past week” is all that I wrote before I quit writing and closed up my laptop. I couldn’t put words to what I was feeling. Not only couldn’t I have at the time, but more than anything I don’t think that I wanted to at the time.
I had just come off a great weekend away. Kortney and I drove together up to Michigan and spent the 3-4 days skipping from place to place with almost no real plans—and I mean one morning we woke from our hotel and had to decide where we were going that day. We didn’t even have the next hotel booked. It was refreshing!
The trip away was for a number of reasons, most importantly we celebrated our ten year marriage anniversary and I had a marathon on Saturday morning. I’ll get to the marathon in a second, but you might be thinking, “Ten years and you didn’t even have a plan for your trip? Come on, Jason!” If you’ve been following along, you know that our last year has been completely insane. Aside from both of us going through job changes, we’ve also picked up and moved from our communities of friends. We had one move to an apartment, and we’ve recently purchased a home and moved once again—we’re still in the same jobs, but Alter’d Core, the studio where Kort works, is about to open their second studio location in Chagrin Falls! All that to say, the slow-going, unplanned trip is exactly what we needed. Especially with the marathon, the trip was almost like I got to take a big deep breath after holding it in for the last year amidst all the changes.
As enjoyable as that trip was for Kort and I, the marathon had multiple layers to it. At least a year ago, I had this September marathon on my radar for the sole purpose of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (spoiler: Registration for the Boston Marathon is happening right now, and I won’t be signing up but I’m at peace with that). I’ve ran marathons in the past and I knew I was minutes from qualifying, so I thought that this marathon in Michigan would be the one that got me my ticket to Boston. I was on a mission and all that mattered was running under 3 hours and toeing the line in Boston.
As I was training, I remember attending an all-staff event at work (I work at a church). And at the event, an individual shared about Susan Sackett, who was a coworker of mine at the time. Susan was diagnosed with ALS and the church was doing a great deal of work, even remodeling parts of her home, to support Susan and her family. That individual gave the microphone to Susan, who I could tell wasn’t in any way excited to be on a microphone or even center of attention. As I processed memories of Susan once walking passed me with a big smile on her face to now sitting in a wheelchair, Susan shared about her love for God and the faith that she had that Christ will be made famous through her story and her fight with ALS. She even mentioned attending some larger ALS events, on one side to help find a cure but at the same time to share Christ with others who are going through what she’s going through. I was blown away by the faith she had over fear.
When the mic was handed off, we transitioned to a time of worship before gathering around Susan as a team and praying for her. Throughout that time, I just remember hearing a call to “Do something to help, anything.” It was like a mosquito that wouldn’t leave me alone as I worshipped with the team. “Do something.” I had no idea what I could do, but my marathon came to mind and I wanted to find a way to make that about more than Boston.
After some research, I set up a Pledge It and was able to loop that into what CCC was doing to support the Sackett fam. It was decided that all funds would go to providing an education fund for Susan and Brady’s four kids, Ethan, Tessa, Carly, and Grace. It’s still open as I’m writing this and I’d encourage you to consider supporting the family if you haven’t already.
Wednesday before the marathon, Susan came to visit me at work to wish me luck for the marathon. Her dad, Jim, helped her make it in to see me. We talked about the marathon, and how she wanted to hear all about it as her family and my family walk together and talk about the race. She said a number of times that she wanted to meet Kortney, and she listened intently as I told her about what we actually did have planned for our trip. She gave me a sign that her kids made for my race before I asked her what else she had planned for the day. She said, “This is it. Coming to see you is my day. I’m going to go back and rest after this.”
Susan ended her battle with ALS and went to be with Jesus earlier this week. And when I say she went to be with Jesus, I don’t say that as a nice way of saying that Susan passed or that she’s no longer with us—I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is living, that the God of the Bible is real, that his promises are yes, and that Susan is with our Savior today.
Before Susan was admitted to the hospital, I texted her the results of the race. I missed Boston by 4 minutes, but this time I really didn’t care. Susan taught me and so many others what it looks like to run a great race and finish well.
Here’s my attempt at sharing some sort of update for the month of January. I wanted to write a whole lot more than I have been. After the absolute crazy transition a few months back, I found myself falling off of the writing bandwagon. That’s sad because there have been handfuls of people who leave us random messages and, with all that is going on our way, we have a hard time staying in touch with our dears friends that we moved away from. So here’s my attempt to share what’s happening with us:
You likely already know that we’re working through pretty significant transitions with work. Being a part of the team at Christ Community Chapel has been a wild ride, and the role that I was hired in as (Copywriter) has already transitioned to something new (Project Manager + Copywriter). What’s that mean, exactly? It means that I’m somewhat of a traffic light between the Communications team and all that happens at our church. When a ministry wants to make something happen and then get the word out, they work with our team to make it happen – and I’m the one that’s supposed to have a pulse on where we are at with everything (I admit, the Comm team that makes me look good). On the upside, I get to work with the entire staff of CCC on a daily basis and that’s really cool.
And Kortney is on a wild ride, too. Still an R.N., Kortney’s also an online health and wellness coach (no seriously, you can learn more and be a part of her groups by checking out KortneyDanielle.com). She’s working hard to keep me in line at home (I like to workout, but I eat too much junk food) and she works training a group of people online. She’s guiding clients in what they eat, how they think about themselves, and what they do to stay fit physically. She’s also an instructor at Alter’d Core in Hudson, and she’s doing an incredible job there too. I dig it.
Work is fun, but it was great to take a break and run down to Florida with the family this month. We spent a week down in Fort Myers, also visiting Sanibel Island and a couple of pit stops on the drive down and back. It was amazing how taking the time to unplug really helps me to regain a proper perspective on what priorities Kortney and I have. This transition has been about much more than just jobs, but also our marriage, our finances, our health, our future together, and more. The trip, especially the drive down and back (we listened to Scary Close by Donald Miller and I highly recommend it), allowed us space to talk about the transition and all that’s ahead for us. And most importantly, I got a sunburn in January … and that’s always a good thing.
Other random updates that come to mind are that Phil is doing amazing. He spends most of his days napping, eating, barking at other dogs, and avoiding patches of ice when heading out to potty. Brave Daily has a growing reach and vision, espeically with the launch of our partner platform on Patreon. And I’m off to a slow start with training, but my marathon training officially started January 13. I’m actually bundled up to go run right now, and I’ll be doing that in 20-degree temps when I’m done with this.
P.S. Yes, I took that picture above … that was right before a morning run in Florida! I’ll add some more pictures from Florida below.
I don’t want to write tonight. I don’t want to write in the same way that sometimes I don’t want to go out and run. On those days, it’s usually a mile or two into the run that I realize lacing up is exactly what I needed. I have a feeling this is going to be very much the same way…
We have had a lot of joys over the last few months. Kortney and I have had countless moments where God moved one thing here and another thing there, and presto we’re standing there jaw-dropped in amazement. I like to share those times because I’m someone who tends to celebrate joys more than I do sorrows (I think most of us are that way, but we all know folks who are quite the opposite). Speaking of sorrows, I had someone who I respect quite a bit “challenge” me one time as he mentioned that my life looks pretty good, from afar. He’s kept up with things that I share on social media and he alluded to me only sharing the pretty stuff in my life (and he wasn’t just talking about my better half).
But life has a lot of downs, doesn’t it? And I know that people reading this will immediately go extreme and begin to worry about me, especially with a title like this post has… but I’m simply calling out that there are hard times in life. Beyond social media, you may know that I process things pretty heavily. I’m a thinker. When people talk to me about something serious or strategic, I usually just take it all in quietly (quite the opposite if you get me joking around). What I’m getting at in all of this rambling — and probably the reason I don’t speak about serious stuff unless I know exactly what I want to say — my knee-jerk response is to share the fun, the loving, the redemptive but to internalize the stuff that isn’t polished, the stuff that is gritty, or the stuff that is difficult to talk about. Well, I’m mentally stewing on something this week and it isn’t fun at all.
A friend of mine unexpectedly passed away a couple of days ago. I’m not able to share details, but two things I’m learning from this is the spontaneity and the finality of death. About a week ago, we went to lunch together and laughed as we exchanged stories about our lives and our jobs. And just a couple of days ago, we texted back and forth about social media marketing. And the next day after texting that I heard of her passing. I hate how final the news of her passing is and, though I don’t think I’d change anything about the last time that we spoke, I walked away from that lunch assuming we’d catch up again another day. Death is heartless.
So while I apologize that this is a post weightier than others, I encourage you to not take for granted the times you see your friends, families, and loved ones. I’m as guilty as anyone but I beg you to put your phone down and listen when people are talking to you. Make time for others. And whether you’re spending time with your spouse, catching up with an old friend, or maybe even at work with new friends, challenge yourself to be in the moment as often as you can — life is made of moments.
I’m sitting here with my coffee cup in hand, getting Friday started. The newness of the recent transition is starting to fade a bit as we settle into our new place, with our new schedules. I genuinely miss seeing the people that I would every day when we were living south a bit. I even find myself posting general things on social media, like “Tell me something you’re learning!” or “How’s your daygoing?” with hopes of hearing back from the people that we moved away from. The move wasn’t far, and we’re meeting new friends that are incredible, but I feel like I invested a lot into the Canton area community and the quick transition pulled us out of there so quickly! All that said, I don’t want to sound like we’re not looking forward to what’s ahead–just reach out and say hello if it comes to mind!
So a couple other updates our way:
I’ve settled into the role of Content Writer at Christ Community Chapel. They made me this frame of Phil as a gift. I’ve already found myself with plenty of work! It’s amazing the amount of content that is written, proofed, printed, and shared in a community the size of CCC. And now I see sentences like puzzles, always wondering if it is put together the best that it can be (particularly when I am the one doing the writing).
Kortney has leaned into Alter’d Core and they officially opened their studio to the public not long ago. It’s somewhat tough to explain what Lagree and Alter’d Core is, especially in a blog post, so I’d say to hop over to the Alter’d Core Facebook Page if you want to actually see what it’s all about. I have really enjoyed the balance that it brings to how much running that I do… so I’m a big fan and I’ll go back often.
And the reason why I titled this blog nine years… Kortney and I just celebrated nine years of marriage with a hiking trip down to Hocking Hills. Anniversary tradition is that we take a road trip someplace new for us. When we got hitched, we didn’t think that we’d be hitting the reset button on things at this point. If you’d of asked me then, I’d probably say we’d have a huge house, a few kids, and in our “dream jobs” (whatever that means to us stupid millennials) by now. That said, I think that Kort and I are exactly where we want to be and doing exactly what we want to be doing. I don’t think we’ve been happier or more confident in what we’re doing.