5 Life Lessons Learned This Summer

horsesSimply put, Clint and I spent three weeks and 3,800 miles visiting, playing, and delighting in many important people in our lives. I miss the farm my parents sold to move into town five years ago, so it was with great joy that we spent several days at Clint’s family’s home in South Carolina. Horses, cows, geese, rabbits, dogs, cats, chickens, and recently deceased llama.

Manure wafted into my nostrils.


Then we went to a retreat in North Carolina, visited my hometown in West Tennessee for several days, spent a few days in Knoxville, and wrapped it back up in SC before driving 1500 miles back to Boston.

But sharing events in this factual way is boring to me. 

While in the south a friend said, “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.”

Truer words have never been spoken. Continual, constant, predictable change is life. We cannot predict anything except that change will happen. I see great opportunity in this because we can influence that change (growing) or let it happen to us (dying).

In honor of this truth, I want to share several lessons we learned about ourselves, traveling, each other, and the people we love most.

  1. “Luck favors the prepared mind.”
  2. Remember your reason.
  3. Love fiercely.
  4. Pack everything you need, then put back 1/2.
  5. Road trip nutrition

1. “Luck favors the prepared mind.” Jim Collins, Great by Choice

Discipline and consistency are the vehicle towards reaching any goal in life. We were able to take three weeks off of work, travel, and still train for my Strongwoman competition because we thought the trip through, estimated how much cash we would need, prepared, and scheduled necessary activities.

I’ll share the details of our financial prowess here.

To the uninitiated, discipline and consistency aren’t sexy, but for anyone who has ever set and met a goal, you know discipline is extremely sexy. It’s part of the reason I swept Clint off of his feet, proposed, and married that boy in 3 months – he knew what he wanted and possessed and displayed the discipline and consistency it took to get there. I digress…

I began diligently preparing for our journey in March, 4 months (or 120 days) prior to our journey. I looked at our finances in iBank (awesome app!), our cash flow, how much we needed before we left, and therefore what we needed to do each week to get there. This included our rent for two months in Boston, food, travel, house payments in Tennessee, etc.

I took the big total, let’s use $5,000, for example, divided by 12 weeks = $416.67 per week.

This automatically transferred from checking to our savings every week. This was in excess to our other living expenses.

I firmly believe the every week (or every time you get paid) approach is important when beginning to develop discipline. First, it gives you practice. Second, it gives you practice. And third, you will mess up so it gives you practice. 

So when mid-June rolled around and my husband was beating his head against the wall at his life-sucking retail job, we were prepared for him to go ahead and quit early… not lucky (or in a bind). 

***A note on this: I don’t do “one thing” to make money. I currently have 3 major ways that I make money and am always open for extra short-term gigs also, like babysitting, housesitting, dog walking, etc. It’s fun, low stress, and gets us closer to the prize.***

The same was true with our food, my training, and my work on vacation. 

We weren’t lucky with access to top tier food, gyms, and internet on vacation. We planned some meals, planned ahead on where I would train and when, and scheduled an hour to work a few days a week.

Yes we were off of our normal routine that we LOVE, but while we loosened up on other areas, our discipline and consistency that we have developed over days, weeks, months, and years had a common thread that held throughout our journey.

Small incremental changes add up to BIG results. What do you want to accomplish or make progress towards before 2013 is up? Think on this specifically – what you want, when you want it by, and how you will get there. I’ll be challenging you to that ONE THING in the next couple of weeks, so be intentional!


2. Remember your reason. family

The main purpose of our journey was to love on as many of our family and friends as possible. We declared this intention and purpose before we ever left Boston. Remembering your reason will lead potentially stressful situations and help one let go of building tension.

Most folks don’t think through their lives, their direction, and who they want to be on the journey. So after life happens, they are left unsatisfied with the outcome, disgruntled at the conversation, and unhappy about the experience.

Common stressors are – traveling, family dynamics, and the unexpected.

Could we have experienced this stress? YES. Did we? Maybe a bit, on the adding up the miles part, but…

Overall, we remembered our reason – to love on the people we love – so I felt no need to push points (even if I was right ;), convince, or persuade someone into being someone I want them to be. There was no point in complaining about the driving or even the eating out. That wasn’t the reason we were there.

Because we knew why we were there, the rest was just part of it… like getting up, getting ready, and arriving at work on time is just part of it. It’s just what you do. Second nature.

Likewise, these potential stressors didn’t phase us like they would have without our intention. We thoroughly enjoyed every mile, every visit, every small bit of time we spent with each of our loved ones.


Do you set your intention for your journeys? Your weeks? Your days? If not, today is a great time to begin. Either in bed the night before, or the morning of, think through your day and what you would like to accomplish. What does progress look like, feel like, taste like? Think on that and everything falls into place!


3. Love fiercely.

g&gmama,momToo often we spend our time in the past or the future, always striving towards the next thing. Before you know it, life has passed you by and you’re left with regrets, things left unfinished, words left unspoken.

We LOVED our trip this summer because, like I mentioned above, our entire purpose was to love on the people we love most.

We ate, we laughed, we hugged, I may have teared up a time or two, and Clint and I made a point to share things we appreciate about this or that person with them while we were there. We wanted to be completely in the moment and to create amazing memories. And that we did.

Life is too short to not love fiercely. 

How soon we were reminded of this when one of our friends we were so blessed to visit with died suddenly last week. And even though we only got to visit for a little while there is no doubt in our minds that he loved us somethin’ fierce and we loved him the same.

And in times like this, all worries, cares, and seemingly important things fade. Instead, you wish you spent more time with your loved one, you think through if they knew that you loved them, and then you hold your family close.


Do the important people in your life know you love them fiercely? Do they know what you appreciate about them? 


4. Pack everything you need, then put back 1/2.

The Bible says that with great wealth comes great worry. I find this to be true with many possessions I am attached to because I don’t want anything to happen to them. I am concerned about their safety. And I add unnecessary worry to myself by continually accumulating more and more stuff.

I didn’t use more than 1/2 of what I packed for this trip. And the large quantity of possessions in the back of our truck was a main cause of the single time on our trip that there was an argument.

Next time, I’ll definitely pack everything, then put back 1/2! 

Baby steps… 😉

Likewise, upon our return and move into a new place, I’ve been purging like no one’s business. It really takes a load off of our shoulders and adds more willpower and attention to focus on what we really care about, which isn’t all those things.


5. Road trip nutrition.

This is really a teaser for Thursday’s post, all about snacks and road trip eating. But I will say this – I was committed to things other than nuts and seeds on this trip because A) I feel heavy and no bueno after eating lots of nuts, and B) calories count more when one is sedentary.

Any guesses to what I brought??? Leave a comment in the section below sharing your thoughts!!!


Taking time to process your life in a way that works well for you is important to growth, progress, and getting to then next level in your upward spiral. When we process, we learn, we realize how much we’ve grown, and we have a new baseline for what’s next. This post is an example of me processing our three week journey south.

Some people take a few moments to process at the end of every week, month, quarter, year, or significant event (i.e., this 3 week trip). However works best for you, I encourage you to do it!

Course correction is another benefit. Since you know in what direction you are moving, you now know what to do more of, less of, or eliminate (or add) altogether.


Which lesson was most impactful for you? Leave a message in the comments section directly below this post sharing what grabbed you and what you will begin doing (or doing more of) in your own life right now!


Gerilyn Burnett helps women achieve the body, energy, and impact they desire by implementing healthy lifestyles they love! She specializes in helping Christian women cultivate health to the glory of God. Her own journey from miserable, fat, stuck, and tired to fit, confident, vibrant, and delicious make her uniquely suited for this mission! She has a knack for creating contagious healthy experiences and providing the needed support and accountability that turn diets into lifestyles and dreams into realities. Get started on your journey to vibrant vitality for life here



  • Denene

    Reply Reply August 23, 2013

    Really heart felt post. Loved it.

    • gerilyn

      Reply Reply August 23, 2013

      Thanks Denene! I appreciate your comment because I spent a million seconds writing and deleting this post before I finally said, “Forget what I think I am ‘supposed to’ do, just share and be you.”

      Side note: my husband has been telling me this for years, lol.

      HUGS to you!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field