Lovely things

I don’t think it’s great to begin every post apologizing for disappearing. On the other hand, it’s been far too long since I’ve taken the time to write here: I’m aware. Here’s me acknowledging my absence.

Well would you know it, I think we’re slipping into winter over here in the Midwest. Many leaves have fallen, most of the remaining ones are dead and brown (or might as well be), and the low for tonight is 31 degrees. I’m inside a coffee shop wearing a scarf and a down coat. ‘Nough said.

I spent a weekend in Minnesota at the beginning of the month. It was quite possibly the most delightful weekend I’ve ever spent visiting (the only downside was the absence of my husband). It was the first time in 7 years I had been back while autumn was happening. I couldn’t believe how much color was in the trees, and how much I took this for granted until I’d been away from it for so long. We enjoyed the season by going for chilly family walks and visiting an apple orchard. My grandpa turned 80 and my grandma threw him a big bash. It was so much fun spending time with all my grandparents’ neighbors and old friends. My grandpa is a really wonderful man, and it was so special to be able to actually celebrate him in person.

I think the best thing about this trip was how normal it was. We’re usually in Minnesota for the holidays or a lengthy, fun-filled summer vacation. Everyone is on vacation and there’s lots going on. Going home for a short weekend in the middle of fall was a totally different experience. Everyone was in the middle of living their normal lives. My mom and I bummed around town together. I met my friend Katie’s new baby twin girls in her home. We ran into a wonderful couple we know and love with all five of their kids at the apple orchard. My sister and I had coffee one morning before she worked. I was struck by how precious the normality of life felt. I love my family so much and I have always loved going home. But this trip made me long to live near them like never before. I came back to Chicago feeling disappointed at the complexity of life.

This trip made me want to move to Minneapolis and have kids, oddly enough. It made me want to be able to have my parents over for dinner without having to ask an entire weekend of them. It made me want to be able to call my sister up and meet her in uptown for coffee and walking. I can imagine such a wonderful life for us in Minnesota.

On the other hand, I’m 100% sure God wants us in Chicago now. He’s made it far too clear for me to think otherwise. And I like it. I’ve been so blessed by the people we’ve connected with here. My job has been so good for me. I’m excited about going to grad school. I love our church. I’m excited for Jeremy to start seminary. We’re experiencing another great city, and learning a lot along the way.

I guess for now the best I can do is pray that someday God brings us back to Minnesota for a time. And I can be thankful for the proximity he’s offered us to family in the meantime. We’ve got such great families. I’ve spent many days recently thinking about what a great life I have. I’m not sure how or why it turned out that way, but I’m beyond thankful.