We've been back from our Chicago vacation for two days now. It's good to be home, but oh, Chicago was good for my soul.
I ate lots of pizza (Lou Malnati's, Giordano's and Rosati's), enjoyed Chipotle, Jimmy John's, Aloha Eats and Pita Inn, went to the zoo, sent the boys to Legoland, and attended a baby shower, but the best part ... the very best part ... was seeing my friends - our Chicago family.
When you count college, we lived in the Chicago area for 16 years (17 for Emmett). You can get to know people pretty well in 16 years. I've known some of these women from singleness through marriage and now in parenting. It's been awesome to walk through life with them. They know me. They know what excites me, what challenges me, what makes me weird, what makes me fun. They know I'm usually late. They know I talk too much. They like me anyway.
These are the women that I call when I do dumb things (for example: dump a can of mandarin oranges directly in the trashcan instead of the salad bowl). They are the people I call when I'm struggling with a decision. They are the ones I commiserate with when I make a bad call as a parent, or when I know God is asking me to do something that I don't want to do. They inspire me and encourage me.
I should shout it from the rooftops: these relationships are one of God's greatest gifts to me! I don't thank Him (or them) enough for their presence in my life.
And our church! I know it's a cliche ... but if I could bottle how it felt to be at Good News Bible Church on Sunday morning, I would make a fortune.
Now that we're back home in Texas, I feel more motivated to make connections. I've been reminded how God can bring just the right people along at just the right time, and I trust that He has a place for me here. I'm refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to pour into life here.
Thank you to my Chicago friends. You know who you are. I love you.