Thursday, August 29, 2013

Writing for the sake of writing

So, I bet after you all read that last post you expected more frequent blog posts didn't ya? Yup, I did too. Unfortunately, after the grand Declaration of Life Plans, I have had squat for ideas to write about. Like, diddly squat. I've been writing a little in journals and such but nothing exciting. But, as I try to follow the advice of other published writers, I am going to write, just to write. So, without further ado, here's an update on whats been going on in my life. Be warned: it's incredibly enthralling.

(no it's not)

Like most humans, I am on a constant journey to better myself. Both spiritually and physically. I signed up for a bible study over Ephesians and Hebrews at my church that will be starting soon, and am trying to keep a prayer journal and read the bible more. I'm not unhappy about the way I look, but I remember how great it felt to be in good shape when I was in high school. In an effort to return to this state, I've been running and swimming for some time now. My sister, Sydnie, is an avid runner and stole all of the athletic, endurance, and competitive genes and has completed a full marathon and several other running feats. I, on the other hand am especially proficient at things like reading for a whole day, having an exceptionally comfortable wardrobe, and declaring things without a whole lot of follow up. Proud of it, too. Anyway, she has been saying for a year that she would like to come down and "run" a "race" "together". (The quotation marks are because 1. I use the term running very loosely. 2. I'm not racing anyone but the event's time limit. I just try not to notice all the moms pushing multiple toddlers in strollers passing me. 3. She's trying to beat a previous time. I'm trying not to require life support.) After badgering me for 12 months encouraging me to think about it she tricked convinced me into committing to the Country Music Half Marathon in April. She also deceived me advised me in my training. She said that in order to fully train for an event you must pay more money than should be legally allowed to run an event of equal ungodly length prior to the actual event. So, I will also be running a half marathon in September. In 29 days, actually. I am pretty excited about conquering something I never thought I would be able to do. I plodded about 10 miles today in OPPRESSIVE heat, and then naturally had fast food for dinner. Still ironing out the kinks.

One super positive aspect of my training is some new motivation! About 6 weeks ago I signed up to be a runner on a site called I Run For Michael. This nonprofit organization was started by a runner named Tim who's friend Michael has a hip condition that prevents him from being able to run. Michael also has Down Syndrome. Tim started this organization that pairs runners up with kids with special needs all over the country. The runners then run for their match, and post greetings and share photos on a Facebook group. It's kind of amazing. After waiting what seemed like forever I received my match on Monday! I am paired with a sweet two year old boy from Utah. I have been getting to know him and his family through his awesome mom and their family blog. Running for them makes running exciting again!

I have been getting a little better on the financial aspect of life. I still don't have any money but I did open my budget again for the second time since I created it...Progress! I worked with it long enough to plan to buy a little TV and DVD player for my room. It took me about a month to save up all the money and buy it responsibly. It felt really good! This was followed the next week by upgrading my bedding for the first time since I was 14. This was not planned, or budgeted for, and was wildly expensive and for that I will not be buying groceries this week.Totally worth it, my bed is really pretty, you guys.

Well, I'm really trying to down play the excitement and glamour of my life but I think that about covers the whole summer. Oh! I forgot, I have to get glasses, and my bottom left wisdom tooth might be coming in. I know, it really is hard to be this lively. I was once asked by a former co-worker how exciting my life was. I think I explained it well when I said, "It's like telling your significant other you love them for the first time, and then they say 'thanks'."

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dreams of a TwentySomething

My very first post on this blog was almost 2 years ago. I wish I could say something like, "7 published works, 2 speaking tours, and a billion dollars later, here we are!" But sadly, I cannot. The real story includes three states, four jobs, and $42,000 in debt. What a life, right? While all that stuff in the first scenario would be great, I'm pretty sure it's against some sort of law to have that much success by 23. I'm not bitter, I just understand life takes time to figure out, but it does make me think.

When I was 5, I thought I would be a grandma by 23. Then at 16, I saw myself married with my first kid by 23. When I was 20, I pictured myself in a beautiful, kid-free life traveling the world with a job and salary that paid for it all. Reality says at 23 I find myself waiting, willing something to happen that will show me which path my life will take. Three years into "the best years of my life", I'm ready to get going, and make these years as good as everyone said they would be.

My second post began, "I like how in college, people say, I am a... and then state their major." In college, your major was a huge part of your identity. They didn't tell us if we didn't land a job right after graduation, we'd lose that security of having a publicly approved identity that stated we knew what we were doing with our lives and had a plan to get there. After graduation I completed my internship at a site that wasn't hiring, moved 750 miles away and became a nanny. While I have no regrets, I found through the move and a year in Nashville, I don't identify with a Therapeutic Recreation major anymore. I still love it, of course I do it cost $40,000, but I'm having problems finding a career in it that I can see myself doing for decades to come. In the wake of that credit score devastation, I have begun to seriously rekindle a flame of passion I've had since I was seven.

I want to be a writer.

The dream is obviously Saturday Night Live, but I'd have to start watching the news and I'm pretty sure our more-basic-than-basic cable package doesn't include a single news channel. In the event that SNL doesn't think I'm funny, I love to explore other facets of the writing world. I really don't have any direction as to what type of writing I want to do or major plans regarding timeline or genre, other than making a career or of it.

Armed with a dream, a wide open future, and nothing but time, I'm ready to commit. A great writer I recently discovered said she doesn't use the term "aspiring writer" because you are what you do. So without further delay..

I am a writer.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Yesterday I went out for a run at Percy Warner Park. I chose this particular 5.8 mile course because it is known to be one of the hilliest and best training courses for runners in middle Tennessee. As I am training for a couple very hilly half marathons, I believed this to to be a "good idea". Also, it's paved road winding through miles of gorgeous forest makes for a pretty awesome view. Anyway, being a trail run through miles of forest, I was a little nervous about getting lost, so I used an app on my phone to guide me through the twists and turns. This barely helped as I still proceeded to make a wrong turn and my 5.8 challenging hill run turned into a 8.3 mile quest for life support. Needless to say, I'm taking it easy today.

When I hit the  6 mile mark and saw the distance I still needed to cover to get back to my car I realized I had made a mistake along the way and I was no where near finished, completely exhausted, and the discouragement was setting in. I was disappointed about how much of the run I had actually walked, about my unfamiliarity of the terrain and the fact that my phone's battery life was dwindling. After a short pity party I sorted out my route and ran consistently for about a half mile when my phone beeped, flashed and vibrated to announce that the battery was very low. This is where I really began to doubt my decisions about taking this challenge alone. If my phone died, I had no idea how to get back to my car without GPS, I was completely bored with running and my legs felt like jello. I fiddled with  the power saving options and was about to turn off my music when I decided that a couple more songs would help me get my pace back and get me closer to the finish. When I felt like again I needed to stop and walk I just got angry. How did I miss a turn when I am literally following a little blip around a map and it's telling me where to go? What the heck was I going to do when I still had a mile left and my phone died, I hadn't seen another person in about 40 minutes. I was just about to turn off my playlist, but heard the familiar opening tones to one of of favorite songs, Phillip Phillips' "Home".

"Hold on to me as we go.
As we roll down this unfamiliar road.
And as this wave is stringing us along,
Just know you're not alone. Cause I'm gonna make this place your Home.

Settle down, it'll all be clear.
Don't pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear.
The trouble it might drag you down
if you get lost you can always be found.

Just know you're not alone. Cause I'm gonna make this place your home."

In that moment I wasn't hearing the love song as Phillips intended it. I was instead hearing it as God intended it. He was saying, (and I'm paraphrasing, God is hard to quote after 7 miles of hills), "Jordan, chill out. You're not alone. Yes, you don't know where you are, but I do. You doubt your choices and your abilities but I put you right here. Hold onto me as we go down a road that is new to you, but not to me. This place of uncertainty right now is temporary in this situation but I'm going to make it your home. And spoiler alert! I have a better GPS than your phone!" I began thinking about all the questions I currently have. I began sounding out all my feelings based on my life at that moment, five days before my 23rd birthday. They all rounded out into one giant ball of uncertainty. What am I doing in Nashville? What was my purpose to move 700 miles away to become a nanny? Where in the world was the money I made every two weeks? How is it ALWAYS gone? Why hasn't my career begun? One by one, as I ran I felt answers coming to those questions. What am I doing in Nashville? Learning. What was my purpose to become a nanny? A job that I enjoy, with a family I adore and time to process. Why is my money always gone? Because the last time I consulted my budget, was the day I made it. ( I didn't need divine help with that one). My career? It's not time to find it yet; write more. I felt like he was saying he was going to take that of uncertainty, and was going to make it my home. What does that mean? I don't know. I do know that something is coming, I can feel it. I do know that change is coming soon. I don't know what it is but I guess then I've never really known my next step until it smacks me in the face. When God makes the feeling of uncertainty your home when you've been uncertain for the majority of your adult life, you don't question it, because actually it already feels like home.

I put too much stress on myself to be doing the exact right thing I am supposed to be doing at the exact right time. As a person who is habitually late, this is not the best fit for a lifestyle choice. Yes, I believe our futures are a memory of God's and that he has a plan for our lives but he never intended us to stress about it. He intended us to ask about it. The day before I was to drive back to Tennessee after going home to get rid of mono, we went to church and I was feeling doubtful about my decisions, even though I told everyone I couldn't wait to get back. One of my moms good friends and a very wise and witty lady, Joani, prayed for me. She said something that helped immensely on my transition back to Nashville and that came flooding back to me full force on my run. She prayed that I would be able to hear the directions I was being given to find the life that God has planned for me. But, that while I waited for those directions to know that any work I find, when done to glorify Him, is always on his plan for me, and makes him smile. That certainly takes the pressure off, doesn't it? It's his plan, not mine. I'm the passenger, not the driver. About the same time I came to these familiar realizations I looked up and focused on my surroundings, I could see my car. I held tight to him that last mile on an unfamiliar road. I ignored all the demons that left me afraid. I settled down, and it did become clear, he didn't promise that I would always feel certain but he took my uncertainty and he led me home.