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You can be in countless places in my home state and randomly and without notice shout out “O-H!” at the top of your lungs and people will not look at you strangely or think you’ve gone insane.

In fact, they will more-often-than-not respond to you with a smile, and then proceed to excitedly and voluntarily throw their arms up over their head as though they’ve been struck with the sudden urge to dive head first into a swimming pool; elbows locked, ears covered by their shoulders, fingertips touching the sky, all while shouting back at you with the appropriate next two vowels.

And people don’t seem to think it’s weird.  At all.

Heck, I’ve been in more than one church service in more than one church where the pastor either introduced the morning or interrupted his sermon, referencing a ballgame the night before and cueing the congregation for a response by offering up those first two loved letters, and being willingly and cheerfully answered back with a booming “I-O!”

Ohio.  That’s me.  Right smack dab in the middle.  The Heartland.  My home.

Maybe it’s weird, (I’m going to go with philosophical in order to make myself feel better), but I often think about why I am where I am and all the things that had to happen in order for me to be here.  Don’t you?  I mean, how many decisions had to be made or not be made in the history of the world in order for me to be sitting right where I am, right now.  That goes for you too.  It can literally blow my mind if I think about it for long enough.

My husbands ancestors, as well as my own travelled to the United States from Switzerland in order to escape religious persecution.  That’s crazy stuff right there.  Is it wrong to thank God for my ancestors being persecuted in Switzerland so that I had the opportunity to meet my husband here in Ohio?  Hmmm.  Food for thought.

I absolutely love where I live.  I love the seasons.  The lightning bugs.  The corn fields.  Snow and ice.  Love it all.

Sometimes we can even have what feels like all four seasons in one day.  We are like the real life version of Horton Hears a Who.

In fact, as I’ve been working on this post within the last week, we have gone from subzero temperatures so severe they cancelled all of the local schools last Friday, all the way to an expected high of 53 degrees F on the following Thursday, back down to freezing temperatures, freezing rain, sleet, and snow the very next day.  What in the weather?

My father used to frequently jest, “If you don’t like the weather in Ohio, just wait for five minutes.”  I often hear people complain about this fact, myself included, but despite the crazy dramatic weather pattern fluctuations, my heart will forever be in Ohio.

Even my classmates recognized my passion for my little town within my home state when they voted me “most likely to stay” in our hometown during our senior year of high school.

Well, technically, if you look back at our school newspaper, you will not see my name printed beside this description.  That’s because one of my best friends who worked for the school newspaper thought it would be hilarious to replace my name with a girl in our class that couldn’t wait to get out of our little town.  She spoke of her intentions quite frequently and publicly, so everyone knew the newspaper was wrong, and we all had a good chuckle over the prank.  Oh look, I’m still chuckling now.

I’m sure many people could find my title of “most likely to stay” in my little town offensive, and oppressive, but not me.  I gladly received the label.  I do absolutely love it here.  It’s family.  It’s friendly.  It’s home.

And honestly, my husband and I have such a passion for our hometown that we’ve made it our goal to renovate outdated, worn out houses one by one so that more people will be “most likely to stay” here and live a wonderful, blessed life too.  It’s our mission.  We count it a ministry.

I’m a country girl through and through, so I haven’t visited too many cities in my life, but I’ve visited enough to know I can greatly appreciate them.  For a time.  The excitement of the hustle and bustle, the architecture, the restaurants (momma love me some good food).  But I can only stay so long before my spirit begs for the sights and sounds to still; for the “noise” of the city lights to be replaced with the shimmer of moon beams and star sparkles.  Something in my spirit is quieted with God’s love when I’m underneath His never-ending sky; where I feel trapped in a paradox of being so close to Him I can hear him whisper, yet at the same time feel an unceasing distance between us as though we’re millions of light years apart.

I would never willingly trade my life of being able to walk alongside a freshly plowed field, breathing in the smell of the earth, for living in a city and walking alongside magnificent skyscrapers and smelling, well, whatever there is to smell.  But that’s what makes the world go round.  I fully realize that millions of people would be bored to tears in my life.  All good.  Isn’t it marvelous that we have choices about such things?  I’m forever grateful.

I thought for quite a while about what I wanted to write about my home, and no matter what I wrote down, a poem form kept coming to my mind.

I know, I know, believe me- I think poems are boring and cheesy 85% of the time too, but for some reason I thoroughly enjoy rhyming words.  It’s therapeutic for me.  Sorry in advance.

Some of my closest friends know this about me and have evidence of my many friend “love poems” I’ve written over the years.  I’m now going to consider you a close friend.

I am not at all offended if you want to skip over the next part and grab your free printable and go.  I don’t blame you.  Have a fantastic, poem-free day.  We’re still friends.

So here we go.  Without further ado, my best attempt at conveying to you my perception of my culture and life in my little town.  Enjoy.

Oh sorry, I lied.  A couple more things.

Here’s the link to my free printable library.  In order to download and print this image, you must first become a subscriber to The Restoring House and click here, then enter the subscriber only code when prompted.

If you want to have Anne at Glory Designs make your home state with buffalo check, or whatever pattern you love, she’ll gladly create it for you.

I can’t, however, write you a personalized poem to go with YOUR self-designed state printable because it would be really really stupid and confusing, but it would thrill me to no end if you would write where you live in the comment box below in addition to one thing you love about where you live.  Don’t be shy.  All the cool kids are doing it.  Let’s see what ya got.

If you don’t like anything at all about where you live, I would tell you to move but you probably wouldn’t like it there either.  Hahaha.  I, of course am obviously only kidding, but I would seriously love to know where you live, why you choose to live there, and how you ended up there.  As my dad always used to say, “Everyone’s got a story.”

Here we go…

Soaking in the summer sun, swimming in the lake,

Best friends in the back yard, grilling up some steaks.

Kids running wildly, chasing fireflies,

My back flat in the blades of grass, full of wonder-those skies.

 

Pick-up truck, corn fields, roll the windows down,

Old barns, back roads, simple life in my hometown.

Thankful for the harvest, hunting deer, time to breathe,

Wading through the maple’s gift of autumn, crunching leaves.

 

Nights are starting early, stars sparkle, frost forms,

All the fattened fuzzies get cozy in their dorms.

Flakes are falling, head tilts back, snow kisses my cheeks,

My kids start a snowman, soon to be a masterpiece.

 

Earth is thawing, ground is breaking, pull in that sweet air,

Magnolias, tulips, daffodils, I just stop and stare.

Farmers bowing heads, asking God to bless their labor,

Hunters seeking arrowheads, asking permission from their neighbor.

 

My backyard becomes a symphony of summer sights and sounds,

Crickets, bullfrogs, singing praise; heat lightning all around.

Kids gather excitedly around the campfire’s glow,

Stories, giggles, life is good, take each moment slow.

 

Apple cider, donuts, harvest parties, hay rides,

Bright blue skies, fluffy clouds, spending all the day outside.

Shades of warm take over the color on the trees,

Ripened pears drop to the ground, and feed the hungry bees.

 

The colors fade to dying, the winds begin to turn,

The air becomes so frigid cold, my fingers sting and burn.

Skating on a frozen pond, dance and spin and twirl,

Surrounded by a thousand trees, I am one blessed girl.

 

Birds wake me early, darlings chirping their sweet song,

They bounce and fly from tree to tree, happy all day long.

The grass so green, the sky so blue, stop and take it in,

The hope and joy of brand new life; so exciting to begin.

Thank you so much for reading!

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