Well, the seasons are gearing up to change again, and around here the earth has begun to swelter in anticipation.
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the type of heat that makes you sweat while you’re resting more than a marathon runner at mile 24.
By nature I consider myself a West Coast girl—Northwest, to be specific. I love mountains, lakes, berry-picking, hiking, camping and Seattle city life from time to time. I also enjoy air that actually drops below 70 degrees at night.
But I don’t live there. Haven’t in years.
No, I live smack in the middle of the great state of Illinois. I can never tell which way I’m going because it looks the same in every direction.
However, as tempting as it is to complain about extreme weather and a flat landscape, recently I’ve tried to be more intentional about appreciating where I live. I’m not going anywhere, so being whiny and making snarky comments does not help me or anyone else.
And the truth is, THE MIDWEST IS WONDERFUL!!!
It really is. And here’s why:
1. The sky. It’s the most beautiful sky I’ve ever seen — the moon, the sunset, the storm clouds. All that crop dust might make people sneeze but it does wonderful tricks to the eye.
2. The friendly people. I love living in a place where you are required to smile and say hello to everyone you meet on the sidewalk and where grandmas smile at your kids in the grocery store.
3. Four seasons. It can be extreme at times, but there’s always something different to look forward to.
4. The birds. Don’t yawn. I love watching and identifying those lovelies in our backyard, including cardinals, blue jays, and even the occasional hummingbird or hawk.
5. Fresh produce. Not only is our local farmer’s market a slice of heaven, but people just shove their backyard produce in your face all summer long. It’s pretty glorious.
6. Small-city community. This is particular to my location downstate. I’ve only lived here three years, and I always run into people I know whenever I go out. It’s fun. We look out for each other. It’s almost impossible to be lonely.
7. You can drive to cool places. We’re within a three-hour drive from Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis. Back where I grew up, if you drove three hours in any direction, you’d be in the middle of the forest or the desert. The only big city within thousands of miles was Seattle.
8. Agriculture. Farms are cool. Farmers are cool. Visiting farms is cool. Kids love it. I think agriculture is really interesting. Plus our county fair really rocks.
9. Family-friendly. Water parks, zoos, museums, you name it — this area is all about families and kids. We are never bored.
10. Fireflies. Obviously. Phenomenal.
Do you fully embrace where you’re at, wherever that is? If you’re in the Midwest, what do you like about it?
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