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Counting My Blessings In Corn Country – A Week In Iowa

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I’m still feeling so much joy after spending an incredible week in my hometown, Cedar Rapids, Iowa where hubby and I went to attend one of my eight billion cousins’ wedding.

I seriously have alot of cousins.

That said, the cousins I spent time with in Iowa are on my dad’s paternal side who founded the Jewish community in Cedar Rapids. That means after arriving in Iowa in in the late 1890’s they established the first synagogue as well as the cemetery in which where they are buried. Their descendants are the cousins I grew up with and it was amazing to spend time with them and their descendants during the week. We are talking about a serious legacy that has been very well documented.

The first thing I couldn’t get over was that my tiny hometown in the middle of nowhere has changed in 35 years, alot . It has gone from a sleepy little place with one main drag and a shopping mall to a thriving little city with amazing local-owned and run restaurants, coffee shops and businesses (that means there are very few icky franchises). There is a tech hub, medical hub and a huge number of biking and running trails.

What’s more, fitness is actually a BIG thing in this town these days and as a result we were able to stock up on all our supplements (even those that are typically hard to find) and I was able to be seen by a set of really good physical therapists who worked on the last bit of lingering oblique pain I have been having from some very challenging tossing and turning one night in the tent on the river. 🙂 It was easy to eat healthfully and even the grocery stores had a wide variety of high quality products. Grocery shopping was a blast and I enjoyed having family over to the RV for dinner twice fulfilling my passion for cooking and entertaining!

During the week I was also able to hit balls on the driving range, and go for a long walk on one of the wooded trails with my cousin Joey. I even ran a 5K with the bridal party during the “Stride With The Bride” Event the day of the wedding. Flanked by the bride’s 30-something brothers we ran, caught up on each others lives, and enjoyed the early morning peacefulness before breaking into whoops and hollars as we crossed the finish line. I have now officially run twice in this year of Living Radically, and as one of my goals this year was to be able to do any activity that I want without being limited by my physical self, this is a huge win!

Every day spent in Cedar Rapids felt like I was in a place I had never been before, and it reminded me that I have changed and grown just as much as the town. One day during meditation it hit me that any of the lingering self limiting belieifs I have that came from my childhood live in a memory of a place that even physically no longer exists. Yet, as a human, it’s so easy for me to hold on to those memories as if they were in the present. As the days passed I looked forward to going to visit the cemetery and having a moment with my ancestors to let the last bit of some of those stories go free.

My days and nights in Iowa were filled with deep and meaningful conversation, nostalgia, friends, family, lots and lots of laughter, and so much love. I feel so blessed to be part of the legacy that was left to me by the brave great, great grandparents who courageously came to this country filled with dreams of possibility. I felt reinvigorated to stay connected to that, andto do what I can do ensure that this legacy continues. And above all, to remember that family is a verb, and that being family absolutely blow my hair back!

About the Author



I am Marni Battista, entrepreneur, mom of three, wife, and lover of travel. My husband and I have spent the last three years being intentional about creating a life that feels like an authentic expression of us as individuals and together. We have a mutual love of adventure, nature, peace, and freedom which has resulted in a series of experiments in honor of our desire to experience a radical living challenge! This blog represents the beginning of this journey.