Stayin’ Put

For so long I was looking for the next destination.

I was almost haunted by an unshakable desire to leave my hometown for something else – something unknown.

I watched people pack up and move, settling into warmer climates with new lives, and I was downright jealous. Why was I stuck here, in grey, cold Michigan? Surely God had plans to move me somewhere else . . . preferably somewhere near the ocean . . . .

I just didn’t quite feel like I fit in my surroundings, didn’t feel like I belonged. It was kind of like wearing an itchy sweater and being able to think of nothing besides getting home to change out of it.

But then something changed. Maybe it’s just me approaching middle age, or maybe it’s that I’ve finally found my place, either way, I’ll take it.

It’s been about a year now since my husband and I looked at each other and knew that we were exactly where we were supposed to be. We had found our people – a place where we fit, and a community whose vision matches our own.

This knowing feeling made it easy for us to decide that we were going to stay put. It’s amazing how free and blessed that kind of a decision can leave you feeling. No more wondering what is next. Instead, we have begun thinking of ways to dig our roots deeper right here at home.

Making the choice to “stay put” also opened my eyes to the gift that we have. How truly wonderful it is to live in a place where mine and my husband’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents have lived! What a treasure to be surrounded by friends and family who have known and loved us since we were newlyweds.

rainy day

It’s kind of amazing how much my heart has turned. It would take an act of God now to make me want to move from here. I will take the long Michigan winters because of all this town means to me and my family. I will live in overpriced and crowded bungalows if need be, because I believe I have found something special.

And then there’s the added perks. It’s actually really comforting to know the streets, stores, and corners in my town like the back of my hand. And I have come to enjoy seeing the same faces at the grocery store every week, year after year.  Don’t get me started on attending parent teacher conferences for my children with teachers that I used to have myself. It’s all very cozy, actually, and I am thankful for that coziness . . . .

I don’t need to be wandering out in the big wide somewhere, although part of me will always appreciate an adventure to unknown places. But a bigger part of me will be glad that I have a familiar place to come home to – and all the love that means. . . .

I am blessed.

I am home.

Pure Gratitude

Pumpkin seeds made me cry tonight.

Or something like that.

Snuggled up on the sofa with my love, watching Netflix, eating pumpkin seeds that we had just roasted . . . I was overwhelmed with gratitude for that moment.

I have been trying to speak my thoughts more lately, the ones that I would normally keep to myself. So I paused the TV and looked at my husband and we talked about how wonderful this fall has been, and how different it has looked from our past couple years.

We are thankful for apple orchards and cider mills, home made apple pies in abundance, the four of us carving our pumpkins together, roasting heaps and heaps of pumpkin seeds – all of this I missed last year due to my school schedule. But these are our rhythms. These traditions are part of what makes us the Ellison family.

Finding these rhythms again feels good. It’s a slow process. The rhythms sometimes look different because life is different for this night shift nurse – I bake apple pies at midnight now because that’s when I find my peak energy.  But it’s happening and I can hardly believe it.

And I look at my husband who weathered it all. He stuck with me when I was of little use to him as a wife and mother. When it seemed I had become just a permanent lump on the sofa buried in nursing books.  Wow I am a blessed woman.

We are a bit battered from the storm that was nursing school. Weary maybe. Hesitant to have hope.  But tonight I had a glimpse that we really are finding a new normal. And it is a good normal. And we can lift up our chins and laugh without fear of the future . . . .

Through every valley and dark night, my Lord watches over me, carrying me to the next resting place. I feel the reassuring weight of His rest pushing on my heart. It is good.

Yes, tonight was good.