Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Home is where the heart is

It has been said that "Home is where the heart is." There have been many times I have paused to think about that in recent years, but on this trip, I have thought about that often. I guess I have a few homes, then. Ohio is my home; Heaven will be my home; and Florida has been and always will be a home for me, too.  All 3 places hold big pieces of my heart.
 My statement down here that I have found myself saying while being here with all our best friends again is : "I found the missing pieces of my heart." Let me explain.
  Some of you who read this did not know me before Ohio-we have become friends since my return to my home state in 2007. Some of you who read this have not seen me since my move away from Florida in 2007. But Michael has had to live with me through the entire journey....and it hasn't been easy.
 We left here (Florida) in November 2007. It wasn't by a lot of was because it was what we had to do. Saying that, I do not regret our move at all. It was a total God formed experience. I was able to be with my mom in her last healthy years, and be there for her and dad in her last months. I am eternally grateful to God for that. I am happy to be in Ohio....not doubting it is where God wants us.
 But as we drove back into our "home" state of Florida, the wave of emotions set in. This is where we started our life together....and when we left it 5 years ago, i truly did leave part of my heart here. I loved the warmth, the latin culture, the laughter, the friendships, the church....I loved every part of life here. And since leaving, life turned upside down....we experienced  a move, job change(s),financial strife, death, depression, and heartache.The journey we have walked the last 5 years has been tough, for lack of any better word. I believe it has been just a part of molding us into who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to learn, who God wants me to become. But believing that and accepting it are sometimes and often 2 different things.
 Coming back to see old friends has been such a blessing and a joy. We have laughed until we have cried, we have talked about old times and new times, we have shared cups of coffee and meals. On Sunday, we showed up at our old church, surprising everyone! We'd only shared with our best friends with whom we are staying that we were coming. It was a priceless moment to see everyone's faces. There were tears, hugs, jaws dropped, and joy. We felt like we had never left. We felt the love lavished on us.
 That's where the missing piece of my heart comes in. I found it. When we left, I really did leave a tiny part of me here. I have never been quite the same. I do believe that we are supposed to change and grow as life goes on, and I have for sure done that. But until we returned here, I don't think I realized just how big that little piece of my heart was that I left here. Life is kind of like a puzzle sometimes...and mine has been all about putting the pieces together the last several years . It was put together once, then got "taken apart" only so it can be put back together again. God does that sometimes for growth purposes. Sometimes we never learn His purpose. The point is, only God can put me back together again. And slowly I think I am beginning to let Him. It dawned on me today that if we had come here a few years ago, I might not have been ready to because leaving would only break me further. But here we are. Leaving will be hard, no doubt. But maybe I found my missing puzzle piece and so I can go back "home" put more together. Maybe God waited 5 years to bring me "home" just for that reason. Who knows? Regardless, it's been wonderful being here.
 It's been a refreshing time for us as a family....we don't get much quality time together. And it's been a refreshing time for me....I needed my girls around me again. I needed the beach and the reminders.I needed this time with my husband. I needed to remember where we were once...where we are much God has done and is doing even now. I needed to laugh. I may not be totally rested physically -we've been on the go having fun:) . But my heart needed this emotional rest and rejuvenation even more, and that I have found.
 So yes, I do believe home is where the heart is. And I am blessed enough to be able to say I have a few homes.  And one day at a time, I will keep letting God put my pieces back together. And allowing Him to take me where He guides. If mom were here, I'd be telling her all about my trip....but I have no doubt she'd be happy that I found this little piece of my heart again.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A coffee kind of day

It's going to be an all day coffee drinking kind of day. Sure, I drink a fair amount of coffee anyway. But on days like today, when I am as tired as I am, I drink more. I'm not sure it keeps me awake  as much as it is a "comfort " food for me....and I'd rather take part in that than in a brownie or a cookie.
  This past weekend was really good, but really busy, and I am feeling it today. My alarm went off at 3:30 am to get up and run, but today....I just didn't have it in me. It's rare that I'll say that, and tomorrow I'll likely be back out hitting the pavement again. But sometimes, I just have to listen to my body.
 It was Easter weekend of course, and really busy. We hosted at our home, which meant a ton of things to do ( mostly cleaning! ) . I also had a 20 mile run I needed to fit in. Literally needed. Partially because I'd skipped one. Partially because it is my last Saturday before my race to fit it in. And Partially because I just needed it. Unfortunately, I had to squeeze it in as a split 10/10 due to the craziness of my life. I was up at 3:30 both Saturday and Sunday so I could wake up, do my pre-run rituals, and be running by 5 am . I did pretty well just enjoying the weekend....but it's caught up to me now.
 My long run running buddy and I groaned as we started out our 10 on Saturday morning. We were both tired. However, by the end of it, for me, it was so uplifting and one of our better runs. Not for time really, but for the companionship and how I left feeling uplifted. The moon was full that night/morning, so it lit our path a little bit. (Emphasis on little!) We heard/saw several animals scurry around on the sides of the path as we approached them , and we laughed each time, hoping it wouldn't be a skunk! As our run turned to sunrise, it was a beautiful picture. A slight fog across the fields, the pinkish orange sunrise on one side of us, roosters in the background, and a full moon, still shining brightly on the other side of us. It was gorgeous. It was a reminder of God, yet again. I love to run partially to see and experience the beauty of God. I made the comment of how "this is when I absolutely am grateful for this time of day run."  We got on the subject of songs and how certain songs mean certain things to us. I recalled my favorite hymn. We don't sing a lot of hymns in church's just less common. But my favorite always has been "Because He Lives", and it seemed appropriate to recall that especially being Easter weekend. I literally got chills recalling some of th words, as it was a punch in the gut good kind of reminder to me, after facing some literal life struggles
 Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
 Because He lives, all fear is gone
 Because I know He holds the future
 And life is worth living, just because He lives.

I love that song. Old fashioned, yes. But so powerful still. Today it means something different to me than it did 10 years ago. It was crazy that the next day we actually sang that in church. I got chills again when I processed that.
  We got up same time Sunday to run again . We were much less talkative on that run. Maybe we were lost in thought. Maybe we were just tired. but sometimes, good friends don't need to talk to understand what's being said. We ran side by side, putting in another 10. No, it wasn't the ideal 20 mile training run, bu we still did it. I have an amazing friend who is so understanding and accommodating to my life for those long runs. I cannot wait to complete the race together!

 Easter was nice. It was emotional on some levels. Maybe for years to come, the holidays will be emotional, not having mom. This one struck me strongly mostly because Easter has always been at mom and dad's, and this year, we hosted it. It was weird on some levels. As we stuffed eggs with candy, I recalled so many egg hunts with the kids at mom and dad's. Mom loved those. I recalled memories from growing up ,of easter basket hunts. Our baskets were always simple, but fun. Mom would hide them around the house before we were up, and we would search for them. I still have some of the mini books I got one year in my basket. My kids now own them. Mom was always up and dressed, generally with music on, singing to the hymns in the kitchen that morning, as she prepared lunch to go in the roaster.We used to color eggs and we'd color them with each persons name who would be eating in our home, and that egg was used as their place setting. Easter was mom's favorite holiday. Last year at EAster, I have to admit, I was in a fog. This year , it was fun, yes, but the reality of mom not being there felt stronger ,I think, than it did last year. It was odd having it in my home instead of hers. And it was odd having one less place setting. But how neat to think that she was celebrating His rising from the grave literally with Him. I can only imagine.
 Training is getting tougher the closer I get to my race. But it'll be worth it and I cannot wait until race day. It has been quite a journey....I miss having mom here to share in it with me. But somehow I keep going with it. Determination, I suppose. God's strength, too. I am not the greatest runner....and never will be. But for me, it's about the journey more than it is about my time at the finish. It is less than 30 days away. In fact, it's really only about 3 weeks away. Stay tuned for some more interesting stories.  For now, I'm off to work, one cup of coffee down....many more to go for the day! But continuing to literally hang onto and embrace things one day at a time.