Main Street; Morrison, Illinois

Is home the same place you grew up?

Hopefully, you don't think the question is stupid, mundane, or trivial. I think it's important because I think most people are searching for home. Current refugees are in search of a place where good wins out and where they can put down roots and live in peace. Soldiers fight for our homeland. We lock doors at night because we want to protect loved ones and because we want to rest at home.

Yet, my current home is not where I grew up--though Morrison remains my hometown. My stepfather's real estate office is on Main Street, right across from where the bakery used to be--where my grandfather bought me donuts every Friday morning during my middle school and high school years. There is an annual 'paint the town' event on Main Street and it's where homecoming parades marched down and I remember the storefronts being decorated for some home basketball games.

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Illinois Countryside

I recall once a friend saying to me, "never forget where you came from". And I wonder, where is that for you? The fascinating part is that none of us, to my knowledge, gets to pick where we're from. In fact, we all start as part of someone else's home. Some couple united to give birth to us and we were suddenly a part of another person's home address.

Then, something rather amazing happens. We start to embrace or look for our own home. I truly believe that so much of our own journey in this life is trying to find that place or that person that makes us feel at home.

Because I have received mail in Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, England, and Hong Kong, I now feel adaptable and pretty flexible. I also feel like my home is rather confusing--at least in an emotional sense. For example, I know London, England, as a city better than I do Minneapolis, even though I grew up a six hour drive from Minnesota. Why? Because for a while, I actually lived in England. I may visit other cities, but truly seeking to make a life elsewhere means something.

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Home for Christmas

Few words better capture the emotion and the attraction of Christmas than home. The simply lyrics form the song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”—originally written from the perspective of World War II soldiers—instantly inspire longing for that place in our memories (or in our dreams) where the warmth of family and the joys of the year’s most wonderful time of year come together.

The reason home has such universal appeal is simple. Home is the primary place where we are known and loved. There are no sweeter words than those you utter at the end of a long journey, especially at Christmastime: “I’m finally home.”

Yet for all its warmth and familiarity, there can be something disconcerting about home, and it’s not just the heated discussions that sometimes erupt, or the cruel words that occasionally slip out not long after we arrive. For all the charms and joys of home, something isn’t quite right. There’s a flaw that none of us have ever been able to fix. No matter how beautiful it is to go home, it’s never a place where we feel completely settled or at rest.

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Seventh Consideration: Home.

“I’m not sure if people know what ‘home’ is anymore,” a fellow church member expressed during a conversation from earlier this year.

This comment struck a cord with many as we nodded and contemplated the meaning of home. As the Christmas season is now upon us, I can't help but consider home once again.

Many consider the two to go hand-in-hand this time of year – home and Christmas. Some wait to go home. Others work on creating a home, and more still do not have safe homes at all.

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Finding Home Sweet Home

This past weekend, I hosted an open mic/art show at the homestead.  It was an evening the had me enthralled and I didn't want it to end.  A poet, a sculptor, a singer and a spoken word performer, amongst a few more writers and creative geniuses, graced us with their offerings.  It was such a sacred time that ushered summer in with profound, but gentle truth.  I am almost at the end of making a big transition that I announced last week. Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement in this season.  It has meant so much to me and my husband. 

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A Small Town Perspective on City Growth

May 2007 article from the Economist still seems like one of the better surveys of urban growth that I have read.
 
With that said, let me give a bit of a personal perspective and see if this resonates with anyone. Until I was 17 years old, I lived in a town of less than 5000 people in Northern Illinois. No one asked what school I went to, there was only one option. The only major fast food chain was Hardee's and Main Street was truly the main street. Over the years, I have seen the exodus of people my age and younger leave to head to Chicago, the nearest big city or to the four cornes of the earth. Why? First, two major factories shut down. The General Electric and Ethan Allen factories, which used to employ about a third of the town, each closed.
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Home: A commentary about my "next chapter"

I love receiving letters about the book, comments on the blog, and interacting with audiences at different events.  Since the book has come out a funny thing has happened.  I’ve been able to rest into the message as a vocational stamp on my life as well as laugh and cry with other perfectionists trying to find recovery from the madness.  However, there is another introspective anomaly that happens when I connect with others too.

When the book comes up and people have not heard about it, I explain the topic - in brief - if they ask.  They seem interested and nod as if pondering something much deeper.  I blanket the answer as this is “My journey - my story” of how I made peace with the feeling of not being good enough; that I was driven by everyone's expectations of acting and being and doing my life in a certain way.  In no way, shape or form am I trying to project my journey onto theirs (or sell the book, but that's always a perk).

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Twenty-One Days

I get married in twenty-one days. Somehow that sounds shorter than three weeks. And somehow I feel exceptionally ready, while exceptionally naïve to what ready really means.

This morning woke to a prayer time that sought “Home.” What is it? Where is it? Where I am in it? And most importantly, I suppose, Whose am I in the midst of Home?

This is far from the first time such a search has sought my attentions. Often its been quite practically speaking, like when I moved away to college, or overseas, or across the country, or back across the across the country. While other times the search has been more abstract, like this morning. As sunlit beams danced around my bed, my solo existence, and God, sat still.

This has been my home, Father, but in twenty-one days, it will be no longer. The views will change. Different windows, different sounds, different smells… My single existence here will be no more.
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Of Home and How We Find It

When Tiny Tim (as played by Kermit the Frog) begins to sing at the end of the Muppets' version of A Christmas Carol, I have to be honest and just admit that I cry.

"God bless us all," he sings, "... who gather here, the loving family we hold dear. No place on earth compares with home and every path will lead us back from where we roam."

That Kermit. He wrecks me!

Having moved multiple times in and between six countries and three continents, I am an accidental expert in the emotional travails of separation and loss, boxes and crates, dismantling home and recreating it once again. The drama of moving has it's own set of pains and joys, my considerable experience of which are a byproduct of the adventures I've found.

Now, there is a certain range of hills that run along the southern border of Kenya named, quite simply, Loita. (That's "loi" as in loiter, not lo-ee-tah.) Byron and I lived there for 10 years and, given that I've never remained in any other spot for that long, I often wonder if anywhere will ever feel like home the way Loita did... and does.

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Lent - A Gift, A Miracle...

ash-wednesday

THERE is a video at the bottom of this post that YOU HAVE TO WATCH. This post is a good read too!!

Today is Ash Wednesday and it's been a great day so far. It's been a full day of reflection, discussion and conversation about this mysterious God that I've put my life towards (ash on head and all!). It started by going to Ash Wednesday Mass at my dear friends Parish called Mt. Carmel in Tempe. The homily was confronting. The priest talked about how we are so afraid to be alone. He called us 'cell phone junkies' and called us out on the reality of how desperately afraid our culture is of being alone, even those of us in Christ. We don't know how, we're scared to, we're resistant to, we're afraid of and we fill our lives with so many things that keep us connected to people so that we won't have to be alone. Introvert or Extrovert we all have 'things' that we do that keep even our minds occupied. I was confronted by the Holy Spirit in time of reflection, during church this morning, to prioritize more time to just soak in His presence and commune with Jesus. Is this just me or are you with me on this one?

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