*I am sorry I sort of lied about being done with the wilderness for a bit. I guess I just speak best from where I am.
Because it's November, and because I believe wholeheartedly in practicing what I preach, this Friday I am going to share with you a simple list of things that I have come to be thankful for in my own personal wilderness.
I suppose it's sort of my own version of those little daily thankful deals.
As I've said quite a few times throughout this "wilderness survival guide" series, one of the most crucial things in surviving the wilderness is keeping a positive, GOD perspective and also a good heart condition. Both of these start with keeping our eyes open for God working in our wilderness. This is something I am doing my best to stay on top of and be aware of in order to make my wilderness journey that much less treacherous and that much more enjoyable and beneficial. If you have known me for any amount of time or read past blog posts, you'll know that one of my favorite things to blog are what I have termed, "Simplicity Notes." It's been a while since I've published one, but it is about time I bring them back.
#1 Crunchy leaves.
The kind that crackle and sizzle and almost sparkle under your feet. I'm especially thankful for these this year because I rarely encountered them during my three year stay in the ever soggy Seattle. I will unashamedly admit that I go out of my way just to find and step on the best ones. Lincoln is still adjusting to this on our walks.
#2 Family to wander with.
It's such a rare treasure for me to be able to stop over my aunt's house or take my grandma home and talk in the driveway after Sunday lunch, or call my mom to run to Target with me. It's been a long time since I have shared a time zone let alone a township with my family and while I am unsure and uncertain of what's happening here or where I am headed, it's nice to have them by my side in the meantime. I am doing my very best to make the most of this precious time I have with them.
#3 New friendships.
I was really REALLY nervous moving home about who in the world I would be friends with. You would think that moving back to your hometown would naturally include the friendships you left behind. Not the case. Basically everyone has moved on (like I had) and I quickly realized that I was going to have to pretty much start from scratch. I am of course thankful for those few wonderful friends who are still doing life here that I have been able to reconnect with, but God has also been so faithful to bring opportunities for new friendships. Making new friends, even in a town that's so familiar, is overwhelming and a little bit intimidating, so I am thankful for each new person that has come into my life and excited about the future of each of those friendships :)
#4 Time to focus on writing.
Hence the blog you are reading right now. It has been tricky to adjust to "non-ministry" life or maybe I should say "non-church planting" life and to get used to a retail schedule. Of course I am still involved in my church and such, but I am not "in charge" and so I have found a lot more time to fit in writing. I am also being more intentional to make time because it is a passion I don't want to waste. Not to mention that the season I am walking through right now provides plenty of content to inspire writing.
#5 The chance to refresh, reset, and wait on God. If I am being truthful, this was sort of a forced thing. It's not like I begged God to send me back to Ohio so I could live with my mom and work at Bath and Body Works. He sort of led, and because I love Him dearly, I obeyed. But in retrospect I am so thankful that He led me here for now. Here is a chance to regroup and regather my thoughts. To let Him speak and to sort of reset and figure out the next step. No rushing, no pressure really. It's tricky for me to embrace, but I know moving forward I will be very VERY thankful for this season.
#6 My lovely bedroom that feels like a home.
I am always a little over the top crazy about decorating and putting together whatever little space is mine for the moment, but I have come to find that this is necessary for me to keep going. It doesn't matter where I am or how big or small my space may be, I just need to find a way to make it mine and make it home so that I can have a little escape and happy place. I certainly have made one of those here and it's a major part in helping me to embrace my wilderness.
#7 My extremely close proximity to a SUPER TARGET!
And they just put in a Starbucks! Two of my favorite things in one place! Don't get me wrong. I adored city living and my quick little walk or bus ride to my super fun three-story City Target. And of course I loved being able to bring Lincoln along for my Target retail therapy sessions....but if I am being completely honest, that Target experience couldn't touch my Boardman, Ohio Target. I literally live a whole two minutes from Target, Panera, Barnes and Noble, AND Old Navy. Places I love to wander in. And Target here has like the best clearance racks ever and WAY more fun things than that cute little City Target could ever hold. Not to mention they are all connected in a little shopping center. I really enjoy parking at one end and walking between them all with my reusable shopping bag of course. It sort of makes me feel just a little bit like I am back in the city :) It's just what I need on some afternoons.
#8 My church.
What a blessing RUSH church and the people there have been in my life. They encourage me and support me every step of the way and it's so nice feeling at home whenever I am there. Like I said, the people we are wandering with can be one of our greatest resources in the wilderness. If we choose wisely. These people and the heartbeat of the church are one of my greatest assets on my wilderness journey, and I know it!
#9 A lush, green yard.
It's been so much fun to be able to run right out to our front OR back yard and play with Lincoln. He is loving being able to run, run, run and chase whatever he darn well pleases. Although I miss our walks to the park for playing, it's nice to have that right outside our door. And also a lovely little neighborhood for us to take walks in and even get lost in if we want to!
#10 Being close to my baby niece and getting to watch her grow.
I'm thankful to be in this place at this time and to have the beautiful opportunity of experiencing this new little life and relationship.
#10 What is yet to come.
I know that even though right now I have no idea what's to come and I feel really unsure and uncertain of pretty much everything, that the very best is yet to come. I am excited for all that lies ahead because I know that God is in it and that's ALL I need to know!