I grew up in Iowa. The heart of the Midwest. It was comfortable and familiar. Predictable.
It rains in the spring. It’s hot in the summer. The fall brings beautiful colors and cool breezes. The winter lasts forever with lots of snow and hope for an early spring!
Every year it’s pretty much the same. But it was HOME.
Everyone complains about the weather, regardless of where you live. But, Iowa means so much more to me than just the weather.
It’s the memories.
It’s the family.
It’s the friends.
That I have nurtured and invested in over the last 39 years.
There are so many things I love and appreciate when returning to Iowa.
1. Walking in the soft, green grass.
2. Memories of my childhood home.
3. Seeing the green corn growing in the fields.
4. How our neighbors just stop out to visit without calling first.
5. Getting together with my cousins and just laughing and enjoying one another’s company.
6. Seeing and reconnecting with my sister.
7. Not having to worry about rattlesnakes.
8. The snow. Even the snow.
9. The cool, brisk air in the fall when you light pumpkin candles and put on your warmest sweaters.
10. The peacefulness of growing up in the country.
Oh, how I love Iowa.
But I didn’t know how much I loved Iowa until I left 6 1/2 years ago. It is true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I never knew that Iowa was so GREEN until I moved to Texas. I can remember that first summer I came back to Iowa and I was literally BLOWN AWAY by the green of the trees and the grass!! It was an overwhelming sensory experience! My dad said, “Honey, it’s always this green.” Really?!? How did I never notice it before?
Iowa has just had a warm spot in my heart. And honestly, Iowa has been on a pedestal in my eyes since I left.
Life always seemed exceptionally good in Iowa.
Is life BAD here?
Absolutely not. Life is wonderful here in Texas! I truly love living in Texas. My husband is here. My children were born here. This is home now.
But, somehow, Iowa has always been, to me, the greener pasture.
This year, however, when I went back to Iowa, I noticed something different.
The grass isn’t always greener in Iowa.
This year, the grass was a little brown in places. A little “burnt up” as they say. The spectacular green horizon was still green but not AS spectacular as I had somehow made it in my mind. The trees are bigger. There is MORE green with all the beans and corn that grow up that way, but the grass was a bit duller than I remember it.
It still felt great under my toes as I ran and walked at my parents. The kids and I explored all over. We went on numerous nature walks. We played in the sprinkler, with the water hose, the sandbox and with bubbles. We enjoyed as much of the outdoors as possible during the beautiful 70 degree weather. We soaked up as much up family as we could. I ate farm fresh eggs and tomatoes. We went to a local auction, visited the Amish community near my parents home. Reminisced with old friends. And even had a great night of laughter with my cousins.
Oh, how I enjoyed Iowa.
As we packed our things into my father’s van for them to take us to the airport, I was sad and missed this life packed full of wonderful memories.
But, as I flew home last weekend with my 3 children on the airplane, two asleep for most of the trip thankfully, I was reflecting on my life.
Iowa has always been the greener pasture. But this time when I went home, I thought to myself, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.
As I pulled into our home in Texas, I looked around, and despite the serious drought in our area, our grass is really green!!
Life isn’t BETTER in Iowa. It’s just different.
How important it is to turn around and look at the pasture God has given YOU. You may just realize that YOUR grass is greener than the pasture you have been looking toward.
What is it that you seem to think is probably greener than where you are now? Are you longing for something that seems impossible to reach? Are you spending more of your time looking across the fence at what you want, what you wish would be true in your life than looking at your own plot in life?
Have you stopped to think that maybe you are suffering from the “I’ll be happy when” syndrome? That you look either behind you or in front of you, wishing your life could look different than what it does?
Iowa will ALWAYS have a very special, important place in my heart and in my life. It was who I was, but it’s not who I am becoming.
And who I am becoming is far more important to me and to God than who I was. Who I was forms the foundation for my future. But God is the director and guide of my life from here forward. He has led me to Texas. Life began in Iowa, and it is here, in this southern state, that it continues. Until He leads me elsewhere, this is my home. This is where I shall grow and bloom and soak up all that this great state has to offer me and my family.
It’s time to turn around and take my eyes off of “the greener pasture” and onto my own life right here, right now.
I will forever love Iowa and will smile and be refreshed with every memory and encounter I have with the people from my hometown and my home state.
But my home is here. In Texas. With my husband, my children, my friends and my extended family.
Is your heart somewhere else? Do you find yourself longing for a memory of the past to come alive in your present?
Turn your heart towards the gift of now. You may just find it a little sweeter, a little greener and a little brighter.
You will find that it’s not where you’ve been or where you want to be, it’s where you are that you will forever call HOME.