My Church Loves Miami

There's something about my church that I really appreciate. It's simple really - they love Miami. You see, it's not an easy city to love. I've had my own struggles with this city. When we left in 2008 and headed for North Carolina I was sure we would never call Miami home again. I was just done with this place. So we embraced the South and the quaint life we had there. And then we made a move out west. Denver seemed like such an exciting place. And it was. Denver has a lot to offer and we really enjoyed our time there. But God has a way of taking our plans and saying, "yeah, that's cute...but here is what I have for you..."

So we found ourselves back in Miami. Honestly I was frustrated at first. HOW did we end up back here? How had we failed in our mission to never live in this humid, crowded, crazy expensive place again?? The answer was simple...God wanted it that way. 

I always say we moved back to be close to family - and that is absolutely true. We love being close to our family. We love having our kids grow up with their cousins and grandparents. But there's more to it than that. Miami is a city in need of Jesus. And Miami is MASSIVE. I mean, there are friends of mine who live in the same city as I do but it can take 45 minutes to an hour to visit them because this place is so big (and the traffic, oy).

It's easy to dislike this place, especially since we have seen what life in other parts of the country can be like. I sometimes wistfully recall autumn in Raleigh or local farm-fresh restaurants in Denver. But after two years back in this place I am really appreciating Miami for what it is - and my church has been a great help in that.

So many people (and churches) simply tolerate Miami. They just think, "it is what it is, so we might as well try to enjoy it." But not my church. They LOVE this place. I love hearing the pastors talk about Miami with deep affection. Miami is a unique place, there's no place in the country like it. And it's not just the city itself, it's the people in the city. My church is doing so much to help and support Miamians. Sometimes I am too near-sighted. I admit that I can be terribly selfish and self-serving. I'm so worried about my own stuff that I don't see others struggling around me. My church has given me a different perspective through their various ministries. It has opened my eyes to see what is happening around me and what I can do to love and appreciate this place and the people myself.

So thanks to my church's example I have really begun to love Miami. This place is amazing! I love our house, I love our church, I love the ocean, I love the little Cuban places that serve cortadito in the morning, I love all the different cultures represented here - I love Miami. 

  

saying goodbye...

Time is not slowing down. I look at Liam and I'm in awe of the little man that he already is. And he's just going to keep going. He will get taller and smarter with each day that passes. I look at Isabel and I see that her baby days are numbered. She's walking and beginning to say real words. Soon she will be chasing after her big brother and speaking in full sentences. And that's it. We don't plan on having any more children. Believe me when I say I have zero desire to ever have another child ever again. But there's a big part of me that's a little sad to say goodbye to this stage of my life. 

I really enjoyed pregnancy and I even enjoyed giving birth. I mean, don't get me wrong - it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies - but pregnancy and childbirth are downright magical. It's such a special time that you never get back. I feel like it went by so fast, especially for me since my children are so close in age. Sometimes I wonder if I didn't get to truly enjoy it all. Truth be told those years that I was pregnant and caring for me baby babies were tough for me. We were in constant transition and my hormones were going haywire. I feel a lot more settled now and I look back and wish I could do it all again - but not really. It's time to say goodbye and move on to the next stage. This time I'll go in with my eyes wide open and remember to cherish all the beautiful moments and tolerate the not so beautiful moments.