I have been waiting to type those words for a while! We have prayerfully decided to return home this summer after three great years in Chicago. While we have loved our time here our hearts are so excited to be home with family & friends. When I think back over the last three years I can't even comprehend how much I have grown and changed. Nothing makes you grow up faster than living far from the familiar & your loved ones. Sean and I constantly say how grateful we are for our time here, it was definitely "our time". It was a time where the Lord grew us in his Love, showed us to trust in His plan & go with the flow when things change (which they always do). I love that Sean & I were able to start out our marriage with just us & the Lord. There were so many times where we just had to seek the Lord's will and figure things out for ourselves. No running home, no hiding out at friends or family's houses, just us. Chicago will always be such a special place for us & we hope to visit often.
We still have lots of fun details to figure out before our move (June 2nd!) but I have faith that they will all fall into place. (In my typical OCD fashion I've already started packing.)
Here is a list of things I will miss most about Chicago -
1. My friends - I've made some incredible friends while we have lived here, some of them I've worked with for 3 years now and my life is not going to be the same without them. They are such great girls & I get really sad when I think of not seeing them everyday.
2. My Job - I know that I am still relatively new to the working world but I've had some pretty terrible jobs in the past & I know how rare it is to truly enjoy your job. Even though I may complain on bad days I truly do love my job & have learned so much. It's not very common to love your job, love your work environment & love the people you work with. I am going to miss PRG & am so grateful for everything they have taught me.
3. Quality Time With Sean - Sean and I have been able to spend so much quality time by ourselves. Our weekends pretty much consist of hanging out with each other & it's been something I've learned to cherish. I remember when we first moved here it was so strange for Sean and I to have so much time with just the two of us, without family or friends around. It was almost like we didn't know how to do life without lots of other people around. But now it's weird for us if we don't have lots of intentional time together. I pray we would be very conscious of how we spend our time once we are back home & still have lots of date nights :)
Now here are the things that I am most excited about once we are home -
1. Family & Friends - I can't even describe how happy I am that we will be close to our family and friends. My family lives in NWA and Sean's sisters & nephews live in Tulsa (which is just a short drive away). For the most part, most of our friends are in Arkansas ( a few live in other states but we are petitioning that they move home soon too). Some of the big things I am excited about are being able to go to our nieces and nephews birthdays, games - just being there for their big life events. They are growing up so fast & it's definitely been hard missing out on that stuff the last 3 years.
2. Our Church - I seriously can't put into words how excited I am that we will be able to attend Fellowship again. We've been able to experience some great churches in IL but to be able to worship in our home church again is just so exciting. To get plugged into a community group, to do life with fellow believers & to get to experience wonderful worship (Brooke Ceola)..almost too much for my hear to take in!
3. All Things Southern - I figured it was easier to sum up the things we have missed by saying all things southern : ) in no particular order: sonic happy hour, people saying yes sir/ma'am , not so many crazy drivers, Tim's pizza with ranch on the side, Razorback sporting events, Fayetteville in the fall, my parent's neighborhood, clean Walmarts, fly fishing on the White River (that's really more Sean's thing), etc.
We love you all and can't wait to see you in Arkansas this summer!