I love to travel! It’s truly one of my favorite things on the planet! (second only to my family and grandbabies!) I love road trips just as much as flying off to some awesome destination! One of my all time favs is traveling to the town of Miami, Oklahoma (pronounced ‘my-AM-ah’). It’s a beautiful midwest town in the upper east corner of the state, about 20 miles from Joplin, Missouri.
Miami is one of those towns were almost everyone knows each other. When you drive down the street, you wave back at the smiling strangers that are waving at you. When you have a doctor appointment or are meeting someone for lunch downtown, you only have to leave like 5 min before the time you have to be there! Coming from Southern California, that is the most insane thing ever and has been really hard to wrap my brain around! It takes me 5 min just to get from my house to the freeway on-ramp. And let’s not even talk about the freeway drive to anywhere!!
Miami is where my youngest son, his beautiful wife and 3 of my awesome grandbabies live. I’m blessed to be able to travel there at least 3-4 times a year. Over the years, I’ve made my own friends and each time I go there it’s like going home. One set of friends, who also happen to be my son’s in-laws, are the most wonderful people on the planet. They live on a beautiful spread of land. There’s an almond grove and a creek that runs through the whole property. They grow blueberries next to the huge barn that has turned into Clark’s workshop.
It really is a beautiful place and Hub and I often talk about what it would be to live there. There is a strong feeling of community in Miami. For example, over July 4th, the church sells fireworks to fund the youth group for the coming year’s events and then meets for a big BBQ. Then we all pull out chairs, sit and watch a fireworks show that even Disneyland would be proud of!
It’s so peaceful at night and honestly there are more stars in that sky then I even knew existed. The grass and trees are a deep green during spring and summer; fall paints the trees with a riot of colors and winter brings a dusting of snow that makes everything look like a picture book. There are real lightening bugs, amazing sunsets and big old bugs called “hoppers” that I’m pretty sure you could saddle and ride down to Main Street! Oh and there are tornadoes. Big, scary, turn-the-sky-green tornadoes! That’s about the time Hub and I decide that maybe just visiting Miami is a better plan!
But I love Miami! I love my family that lives there, my friends that call the place home and I love the way I feel re-energized when I get to spend time there. There’s something about being somewhere that feels like home, but isn’t, that makes me see things more clearly and reminds me that God and his handiwork is everywhere! We may not have the same colors of fall in California, but God has blessed me with a tree in my front yard that changes colors like the ones that line the streets and local parks in Oklahoma. And I have a crepe myrtle tree just like they have all over Miami that explodes in a crazy bloom of flowers so I can be reminded that God has created beauty everywhere. I just need to slow down, like I do when I visit my second home in Oklahoma, so I can enjoy all the sights and sounds that God created to help me feel at home with Him no matter where I am!