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Wednesday, September 21

Far Away From Home: Why Community Matters

I have a rather large family, which continues to grow.  Pictured above are my 5 sisters, 1 brother and 3 step brothers.  (Not shown is 1 brother and 2 brother-in-laws, 1 sister-in-law).  As crazy and ridiculous as it can be to have so many siblings, it is also a ton of fun.

When my sisters and I were younger we used to dream about living on the same street, raising our families together...growing old together.  We never anticipated that we'd end up spread out across the country, thousands of miles away from each other.

My eldest sister, Val, lives in South Texas with her husband Chris and their two (soon to be 3!) young children.  My younger sisters live back in Washington state (outside of Seattle), Kelcey with her husband and three kids, Jessica deep in nursing school, and the twins, Anna and Bella, just starting kindergarten.  My brother Chris lives in Florida with his wife, they are expecting their first child in October.  My other brothers all live in Washington.

Jerry also comes from a large family.  He has 4 brothers with a couple of sister-in-laws and plenty of nieces and nephews.  One brother lives in Florida, while the rest live in Ohio, where he grew up.

While there are many reasons I love living in NYC, being far away from home is not one of them.  It has been especially challenging raising our little girl without the support that comes from living near your family.

I think about when I was growing up, getting together with my cousins and seeing my grandparents often, and I long to give that to our daughter.  I know Jerry often mentions how he wishes we were closer to either of our "home" cities, so that Zion would be more connected to her extended family.

Building a community of friends and spiritual family here in NYC has never mattered more to us than it does now.  Zion needs to be surrounded by people and peers that will offer a positive and supportive influence in her life.  She needs to experience the warmth of connecting deeply to a community and develop that sense of belonging that we all desire.

While a move does not seem to be in God's plan for us at this point in time, I can't help but long for the possibility of going back to Columbus or Seattle in the future.  For now, I will continue to invest my energy into building the community we desire, inviting our friends to share life's journey with us, a day at a time.

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