Tuesday, September 23, 2014

home is where i'm with you

   I consider Kansas home - most days. ;)

   However, to all my friends that have grew up here their whole life - and watched basically everyone else around them grow up - I'm still a newbie. After all, it's only been four years since I detested the idea of living out here where I was related to everyone, but didn't know anyone else. I'm still new to all of the connections and old stories that can only be truly experienced as you live life alongside the people in your community. 

   Seven years ago, I had no idea that I would know any other state but Iowa as home. I'm glad I was wrong. 
   Five years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to make Iowa my home once again (in a different area, though) and get the heck out of Mississippi. I'm glad I was wrong. 

   Four years ago, I just wanted to move back to southern Iowa where all of my best friends were - where the bulk of my history was. Again, I'm glad I was wrong. 
   In Iowa, if I was being introduced to someone new, they would probably know my brothers. Here, in Kansas, most people don't even know that I have a brother. (I have two wonderful, handsome brothers, for anyone out there that didn't know.) 

   Today, I realize that every single place I've been - let alone the places I've lived - has built the roots that I call home. 

   Did you catch that last part? Where friendships flourish. 

   Now, recently, especially while I was in Ecuador this summer - I realized that I've missed out on a lot of some of my best friends' childhood. I wasn't around to see their first most embarassing moment in second grade or to walk alongside them through the awkward middle school years. It's true - I did miss out on a lot. 

   But there's something that I have that this community probably doesn't.

   On Saturday, my youngest brother got married. I know, I know. It's a beautiful thing, but it's still hard to wrap my mind around. That event is for more pictures on another blog for another time. :) 
    But over my long weekend...
    I got to tell some stories about growing up alongside people that were there.
    I got to hug necks that knew me before I could speak. 
    I got to catch up with a few of my brother's best buddies in high school that I was probably around more than any of the kids my age. Guys that were my second family and protective big brothers.

   It gave me a chance, for the first time in a long time, to appreciate my younger years and to not feel sad the next time that a story is shared around the youth group dinner table that I wasn't around to witness - because, in Iowa and Mississippi, I could sit around and tell story after story about the events that made me who I am. About the people that have made me who I am. There's a whole other world that I take part in when I leave the Kansas state line. People that my Kansas friends may never meet and stories they may never understand. 

  Stories about learning how to count with packets of jam at the Gas N' Grill and Saturday trips to the Dutchman's store. 
  Stories about riding bikes around our tiny town of two hundred. 
  Stories about wrestling tournament road trips with a van full of loud, teenage boys. 
  Stories about the kudzu of the south and singing pretend concert for hundreds every weekend with my best friend.  
  Stories about five feet of snow and The Lord bringing us out of a pit of dark loneliness. 

   The list goes on. 

   What's my conclusion? (because like any good Geometry problem, I need to sum it up for you.)

   Home isn't about a specific place. Home - for me - is where I can take my shoes off, feel safe, and at my friend's house where I know exactly where everything is in the kitchen. Home is in the familiar laughs of old friends and in picking up right where you left off. Home may be Kansas right now - because it's for such a time as this. Kansas may be where I hang my hat for years to come and I hope so very much that that is the case - but home is never just one place. 


   Home is a compilation of stories and people the made you who you are today. The good, the bad, and the possibly (most likely) very ugly. A town is where you run errands and lay your head - a home is where you grow and build the best relationships...and if we're in Christ, our future home destroys our wildest imagination. 

   So here's to you: 

  The people that have upheld your promise during my dedication (or as a part of the different church family's I've been in) to point me to Christ. 

  The people that have watched me grow up, given me grace, and loved my unconditionally. 

  The people that we still have relationships with, no matter the distance. 

  The people that will continue to give me grace as I stumble down this scary road of high school and onto college. 

  The people that truly care about me and portray that in huge or small ways. 

  The people that make anywhere I go - Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, the good ol' south, Colorado, Ecuador, or Uganda - HOME.

  I will cherish our memories and I anticipate thousands of stories He will write for us in the future. 

   In the meantime, I'll just keep writing my address in pencil. 

Peace out my friends,

More home roots blog inspiration credits go to "Take Me There" by Rascal Flatts (my all time favorite road trip band to play over and over back in the day). Check it out! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

whoop whoop! #TGIT

Time for a list of randomness, friends. (for those of you that don't know, if the title includes 'whoop whoop' in it, there will be lots of sarcasm & life inspiration from Pinterest. It usually means that it's the weekend.) Let's jump in! 

1. MAROON FIVE HAS A NEW ALBUM: V. This is number one for a reason. The first few days that I discovered it, I listened to it at least three times through a day. Now I've almost limited myself to once through a day. Grin. (Unkiss Me tears my heart to shreds on a daily basis. So good.) 

2. Fall is upon us. For more reasons than one, it's become official but our youth group resumed Life Groups a few weeks ago and it finally feels like 'normal Autumn'. 

3. Hence the hashtag #TGIT: Grey's started again tonight. It's prettyyyyy exciting. I would use more exclamation points, but I'm getting tired & it's almost Friday. 

4. As you know, my coffee lovin' game is strong. However, at the end of a long day, I've found that a nice cup of apple cinnamon tea or peppermint tea from London is just what I need (with honey, of course). Tonight, as I was getting some tea out of the cupboard I saw this: 

   Next to my London Tea Company container that uses the word 'whilst' properly in a sentence (because England is just that cool), these companies are winning at life. 

5. Have you heard the new Taylor Swift song? Shake It Off. Don't watch the music video and save yourself from that waste of time. However, I still love her & find it extremely catchy. Here I am - entirely exhausted & ready to go back to my hotel room - singing it at my brother's wedding last week. 

   I'm glad I can laugh at myself. ;) 

6. I change my homescreen and lockscreen probably once a week or once every few months, depending on the people that I place in them. Currently, Rapunzel's room (from Tangled) is my lock screen...

...& this beautiful morning captured with one of my very favorite girlfriends while I was in Uganda is my home screen: 

   They've already beat the one week point. Just sayin'. 

7. I miss this view. It's been so long since I went to go sit at Java Junkies (our coffee shop downtown I'm usually always at) & do nothing but write/read I was still drinking cold drinks. 

8. On September 8 we reached the one year mark of the Michael Buble concert Mom & I attended last year. I can't wait to go back. I love that guy & his beautiful show. 

9. Due to my freshman - sophomore year, weight loss, and transformation pictures in Uganda, I've been 'framing' lots of them. Here are a few: 

Seventeen pounds shed from the first photo to the second. I can't wait to see more of my weight loss transformations a few more months down the road! 

Top: My first airplane ride (since I was a baby) in 2011 on the way to Uganda. 
Bottom: My seventh flight of summer 2014 on the way to Uganda the second time. 
(Co-starring Momma V, of course!) 

Standing in front of Lake Victoria with Momma V in 2011 & again in 2014. Time flies (but you already knew that). 

Let's not talk about the fact that I'm wearing the same skirt, okay?

With my girlfriend AuD four years ago and present day - back before either of us could drive and now, when she drives me to MHK for a day of sanity on a regular basis. Four years from now she'll be a junior in college.

10. Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes... (ahem, always) it's good to be able to laugh at yourself. Thanks to Pinterest, I've found a chuckle or two out of this:

*insert crying laughing faces here* 

   Overall, I'm loving my new autumn routine. It's good to have structure again and resume to the regular activities of life. I can barely fathom that next week will be October. Make sure you slow down & enjoy the little things: look up at the stars, read inspiring labels, spark up a fun conversation with your barista, buy someone a pumpkin spice latte (preferably me), COUNT GIFTS, write stories (if that's your thing), enjoy Netflix on lonely nights, check out that book at the library you haven't yet made time for, send someone a handwritten letter, hug a friend, & make lists late at night when you need to relax & reorganize your thoughts... Breathe. 

   Because, after all, "That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet." -Emily Dickinson

 Until next time's list of happy randomness...

 Your Truly,