It was the best (and worst) of times…

Last night I had an appointment in Joplin.  It always amazes me every time I am there how fast everything is coming back.  Every time I drive down Rangeline there are new businesses re-opening and more houses in the horizon.  Last night I noticed a new Payless Shoe Store, a new Wendy’s and an almost finished Sonic just since my last visit.

I finished my appointment a little earlier than I planned so I decided to take the long way out of town and I began to drive.  As I drove, I was suddenly flooded with memories of my college days when I considered Joplin home.  I drove past a couple of old places of employment, a couple restaurants my friends and I liked to frequent, the locksmith that helped me many times when I locked my keys in my Chevette, and many other places that hold special memories for me.

The funny thing about those memories is that a lot of them are good memories, but a lot of them are not good memories.  I made some great lifelong friends while I lived in Joplin, who I wish I talked to more now, but I also was struggling to figure out who I was and what kind of adult I would become.  That is not a fun time in life.  It’s full of disappointments, heartbreak, confusion along with every other emotion you can imagine.  I was focused on things that were superficial and didn’t really matter and probably missed a lot of blessings along the way.

As I continued my drive and the memories just kept flooding my mind, it hit me.  It has been 13 years since I packed my last box and headed north.  Somewhere along the way I was able to see the good times and bad times for the lessons that they were.  Even if things didn’t always go the way that I thought they should, they lead me on the path to today.  Even when Parker is throwing hysterical fits or Paige has changed into her 14th outfit of the day with the other 13 trashing her room, even when I have a bad day at work or my kitchen never seems to stay clean longer than 5 minutes, I wouldn’t change today for anything.

I am a very blessed girl.  It proves that God watches out for us even when we think we know what we are doing.  It proves that He does have a plan for our life.  It proves that everything isn’t sunshine and daisies but I know how the story ends.

I don’t want to change a thing.

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