I had the unexpected joy of a short trip "home" a few weeks ago. It was my first visit back in 4 years and a trip that was planned and taken in just one week. Phew. A whirlwind week. More about that another time.
I say "home" and not home because after 8 years in a new place you begin to refer to that as your home. Yet, when I came into familiar territory and took in the sights I grew up around I was quickly reminded that it was still home to me.
I listened to my mom tell me "yeah there aren't those big evergreens you have out there around here," wondering if she thought I found it less pretty because of that. Just in case you were mom, I don't. I took my cell phone out and snapped a quick picture of one of my favorite views from home.
The crest of the hill on Montgomery where I descended many times to go to Eagles with my mom, my first job earning a bonafide paycheck, school and sporting events, my first college classes that I took locally and then my first big trips away from home. I left down that hill for my dates with Michael and the day of our wedding when I left for the last time as Julie Schulting to move across the river and start a new life.
That life has taken me quite far from Iowa and Illinois. I am so thankful that I never left because I didn't like it. I love where I am from. I love the hills and bluffs and how green things are without really having to try. I love the landscape and the parks like Gramercy and Eagle Point where a person can forget about everything else and enjoy the things that God made.
God met me in those places and showed me a side of Him that I never knew before. I drew close to Him in those places.
I was home with just Ellie and while it was inspired by something sad, a dear uncle who's health was failing, I really loved being there and being physically close to people who mean the world to me. On a relatively shallow note, it's pretty fun being a mom of 4 and having a "holiday" with just the little baby. You never appreciate how easy taking care of one baby is when you have your first baby. Because it really isn't easy! As a new mom with your first baby your learning new things and it is a huge adjustment. But I got to sort of reverse the clock and have all these years under my belt as a mom and enjoy being away with just my baby. A very easy to care for baby at that.
Then my plane began it's final descent in Spokane and I saw the evergreens and the mountains and had a wave of peace and familiarity wash over me. The views! It is so pretty. I was home again. But I just left home.... And that's when I became overwhelmed with thankfulness for where I'm from and where the Lord has brought me. Something about flying also makes you realize just how close you can be to people who often feel so far away.
So thank you God for giving me two beautiful places to call home while I journey on this earth. Maybe you have more in store for me yet, I don't know. But I sure do enjoy the trip!