Home is everywhere the heart is.....

I have always loved the saying " Home is where the heart is" because those six little words sum up the way I strive to live my life. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if your house is messy or spotless, big or small, or even if it belongs to someone else, because it isn't the stuff you have that makes your house a home. The people in your life who like you just because you are you....the friends, the family....even the mechanics, the librarians, the barbers and the grocery store clerks...everyone who has a piece of your heart... no matter how big or small...they are your home.

Until about six months ago, the cozy little town of Ada Ohio was where we called home. My husband and I spent four years there before our first daughter was born. I always said once we had kids that would be it, we would put down forever roots. Nearly 10 years and another daughter later that is exactly what we had done. Everyone from the lunch lady at school, to the tire shop guy, to the dollar store manager had became apart of our family....our home. While these small town friends didn't show up for Christmas dinners or birthday parties, they were the ones who offered day to day smiles and shared in all the little moments in between.

When my dad got sick, we all held on to the hope that he could fight back, that he would be one of the lucky ones who made it to remission. He was one of the strongest men I've ever known. It takes true strength to accept that you are going to lose the battle, but somehow still face the war head on. As soon as he realized he wasn't going to recover, he sat my husband and I down and shared his plan. We would move home and take over the farm.

While deep down Newcomerstown would always be "home" to my husband and I, it wasn't our girls home. We had built a life in Ada, and I couldn't imagine leaving that home behind. As I attempted to come to terms with the decision of whether or not to pack my little family up and move to the other side of Ohio, someone said to me....don't worry, "home is where the heart is". My favorite saying just didn't feel right anymore. Yes home was where my husband and daughters were, but it just felt like so much more. A part of my heart will always be on the farm, but there is also a piece of it with our Ada family. When my dad passed away he took a piece of it with him to heaven, and someday equal pieces of my heart will travel out into the world with my children.

As we go through life we meet people along the way who touch our souls. Sometimes we have to say goodbye, but if we are lucky we get to leave a tiny peice of ourselves...of our hearts...with those we leave behind. As life takes you on a path undoubtedly filled with stops and pauses remember that home isn't only the people who surround you today. Home will always be a combination of all those who have touched your life. Home will be the college dorm where you first tested out your wings. It will be the first apartment you rented with your husband. For some, it might even among the brothers and sisters you gained overseas while you fought for our country. No single piece is home....it's only when we hold all of them together in our hearts that we are truly home. So if you ever feel like your heart is in pieces..spread across the roads you have walked...consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Awards, titles and paychecks won't mean anything to you when you are old and grey. Pictures fade and nicnacks collect dust, but love given unconditionally never ages. It will be the people that nestled themselves into your heart that always keep you forever home.