Things I've learned . . .

Steve and I lived many places and taken on many roles in our almost 11 years of marriage, in my almost 11 years of being a full-fledged Cincinnatian! I was thinking about what I learned from each situation:

living in: Madeira
church: Madeira Church of Christ
time: August 1, 1998 through early 2000
lessons: I learned to be a wife, especially a minister's wife. I learned more about Cincinnati than I knew before as I adjusted to life here. I began my work as an assistant editor at Standard Publishing while finishing my journalism degree from Northern Kentucky University—so I learned some stuff there indeed. And I learned to live in a really small apartment and share a space with a BOY! (That takes getting used to.) I met people here who later became some of my dearest friends (that's you, Sheryl and Ed!).

living in: Bridgetown
church: Oak Hills Christian Church
time: early 2000 through fall 2002
lessons: I learned that I loved having an apartment that had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a hallway and a dishwasher!!! (All things our first place didn't have.) I also became an editor, no longer an assistant, learning to take on responsibilities of a teen magazine. Steve and I learned to lead worship together as we volunteered at our church. I also got to head up a drama ministry. Mostly from that church, I learned what true community means. It was beautiful! We also learned to be typical westsiders (all of Steve's family living within a 5-mile radius, and we saw each other for lunch every Sunday!). This closeness to family allowed me to grow closer to one of my best friends, my sister-in-law (that's you, Mandi!).

living in: Landen
church: Christ's Church at Mason
time: fall 2002 through fall 2005
lessons: I learned fully about being a minister's wife from a new perspective. I took on new ministries, working with college students, people my age, high schoolers, and preteens. I told stories to the children dressed as Queen Esther and Miriam and Mary. I perfected my table/chair setup skills (that I learned at CBC!) each Saturday night for church. I learned to be flexible. I took on new duties at work, requiring me to figure out what Sunday school curriculum was all about so I could edit/write it, while continuing to edit a magazine! Whew, this was a busy but fun time. I met one of my other closest friends (that's you Carol!). And I had a chance to live in the coolest house. We had way more space than we needed, but it was such a wonderful place with a great neighborhood lake we took walks (and sometimes bounced a tennis ball) around. I also learned to live in people's basements when our house sold before our new condo was ready. I humbly learned to rely completely on the goodness of others' hearts.

living in: Walnut Hills
church: Echo Church
time: fall 2005 through now
lessons: I learned to be a mom. Still learning. Never will stop learning! I drew closer than ever to my parents through several different hospital stays. I learned what it means to plant a church. I learned to rely on God daily unlike any other time in my life. I learned new sides of my husband as I saw him humbled and trusting in God as he never had before in his life. I learned to balance working from home with work to do at home. I learned to LOVE Eden Park as my backyard! I learned to pare down all that stuff we accumulated in the house that was bigger than what we needed. I learned to literally love my neighbor (that's you, Veena!). And I learned what it means for church to truly be my family and my dearest friends (that's all of you, Echo peeps!).

I used to fear change. OK, so I still do. But I'm keeping an open mind this time! As I enter a new stage in life, I can't help but look back on all my life changes with a big smile. God has my back. And I can't wait to see what he'll teach me next.
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