Tomorrow, Bart is having a birthday.

And he will be celebrating it in a way that I would never ever ever consider celebrating my own birthday, which is voluntarily running a marathon.

I have grand plans to sit, with a snack, and watch him run. Possibly, I will sleep in while he’s doing the whole first 25 of those miles (but not likely because I have children).

Last week, we went out for dinner, and Bart and I started discussion how we have changed since we’ve been married.

In my mind, the way I’ve changed most is that I’m much less fearful. I think my personality tends toward caution and safety. I worry a lot about big changes and I dislike making huge decisions (which is why we waited five years to have children). I’m more likely to stay with the status quo, even if I’m only somewhat happy, then make a leap into the unknown.

But Bart is less like that. He’s the kind to say, “I can train for a marathon.” He’ll say, “We can make a last-minute trip to Seattle work, even with a small child.” Although I was the one who was particularly enamored with the idea of moving to Texas back in 2006, I know I alone would never have actually left. He was the one who got in the car and didn’t look back. He spent months encouraging me to start this blog.

Photo taken by Bethany Jackman

Bart has made me braver. He encourages me to try for things I would shy away from for fear of rejection. He’s not impulsive, but he’s adventurous and he’s helped me to see that new and different can be thrilling and fulfilling, even if it’s a little bit terrifying.

Life with him is richer and fuller than it would be without him. Choosing a life with him has meant choosing a bigger life. I’m so happy to have that not only for me, but for our girls too. 



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  • Reply GG May 3, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Janssen,

    I'm a great believer in telling people when I appreciate something they do, say or own (for example, a beautiful smile). And it is for this reason that I've been meaning to compliment you on your blog, your excellent writing and wonderful sense of humour (can you tell I'm writing to you from across the pond?) but somehow never got around to it. Anyway, today your post resonated with me so much that I just had to write to you. Like you, I'm not a risk-taker – I have this fear of upsetting the cart. I may be restless about certain aspects of my life, but I'd rather put up with it than change it or confront people about it. Always choosing the path of least resistance, that's me. I guess part of it comes from having grown up in a sheltered, over-protective environment. Don't get me wrong, I was much-loved as a child and had a truly wonderful childhood that I strive to give my own children. However, my husband will occasionally take that leap of faith and scary though it is, I think I'm now confident enough to leap with him. He just doesn't see why I can't achieve something if I put my mind to it. I guess that's the Yin & the Yang :). Please keep up the good work, I absolutely adore your blog!

  • Reply RA May 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I love this: "Choosing a life with him has meant choosing a bigger life."

    YES. Happy birthday to Bart!

  • Reply Stephanie May 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Oh this was so lovely! One of my favorite things in the world is hearing why people love their spouse! 🙂

    Happy Birthday, Bart!

  • Reply Elaine May 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Happy Birthday, Bart and good luck with your run.

  • Reply Angiegirl May 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm


  • Reply Jenn May 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I know this was not the point of your post, but I LOVE the pattern on your sofa. It's the style I've been hunting for forever! Where is it from?

  • Reply Heather May 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Oh we are kindred spirits. I am terrified of big (or small) changes. We are considering buying a house soon and I am just ill thinking about the commitment, no matter how much I want one.

  • Reply Sarah S. May 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I love this post. Happy B-day and Good luck to him!

  • Reply Jodi May 3, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I've done all sorts of things I never imagined doing since marriage. Like living in china! (That was a terrifying choice to make). I married into a family that defines adventure. I hope he has a great birthday!

  • Reply Jenny May 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I love this.
    Happy Birthday Bart!
    Run like the wind…

  • Reply Amber May 4, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Happy birthday to Bart!! I hope he does awesome on his run!! I can't wait to hear all about it.

    This was a sweet post. I think Bart is pretty great too. He is always so nice to me and will stop and say hello and actually care how I am doing (or does a good job of making me think that) 😉 I always love hearing about people's husbands on blogs. We spend so much time getting to know YOU, that it's nice to hear about your other half too!

    Hope you guys have a great time on your trip!

  • Reply Lindsay May 4, 2013 at 5:39 am

    I love this post. Happy birthday to your husband! Isn't it great to have someone who does help you to be better and more willing to pursue your dreams? It's fun to learn more about him. 🙂

  • Reply preethi May 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I'm definitely the more cautious one in our relationship, too. Isn't it nice having someone to prod you along sometimes?

    Happy birthday and congratulations to Bart!

  • Reply Jenna Hatfield May 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Hope his run and birthday were great!


  • Reply Monica May 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    What a tribute. I got a little teary. I hope the race went well.

  • Reply Bart May 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks, Janssen, for the nice post and everyone else for the birthday and marathon wishes. It was a fantastic, memorable birthday, and I've been surrounded by family and friends. I'm a very lucky, blessed guy.

  • Reply Jillian May 7, 2013 at 3:58 am

    This post reminds me that I have shown about ten people the picture on Instagram of Ella in the snow because oh my goodness!!! That face! Happy birthday Bart!

  • Reply Bethany May 8, 2013 at 5:36 am

    What fantastic photos! 😉 😉 I just love you guys. So much fun seeing you. If we lived closer I swear we would get together and talk for hours.

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