There was this time, not so long ago, way too close to present day, where I thought that I would never feel like this place would ever feel like home. Home was so very very far from anything I could see or feel. 
New is fun. But new is hard. New is messy and difficult and crying in grocery stores because it take 5 times longer than it ever did when I was home. New is finding that the pizza joint where you’ve taken your kids on Sunday afternoons since forever, just doesn’t taste the same 1,000 miles away. New is figuring out that Costco pizza isn’t that bad for lunch after church and can be our new normal. Normal is so overrated anyway. 
So many, many New Things we have discovered in the past 9 months. Some wonderful and some not so wonderful, but all came with some measure of difficulty.
Some days my heart would feel like I was drowning in a deep pool where the bottom was so very far that I could never touch. Some days, when one of my kids found a new friend, or when I finally mastered which aisle the yeast was in, were small victories in making this place feel a little more familiar. 

Driving without GPS is still a huge deal for me. I never realized how very comfortable that Familiar made me. I didn’t realize that leaving Familiar would cause me to question everything, even down to who I really was. 
Home was where I could be me. Home was where, even when I said the wrong things or sang the wrong note, I knew I was still loved, because despite my loud, brash outer, people understood Who I was more than What I was. Home was where my kids. had friends that would destroy the playroom with them and play swords and cars and trains and push babies in strollers. Home is so much more than a place. Home is even more than a feeling. Home is belonging. Home is finding my place. Home is finding OUR place, as a family. Not just where one of us feels comfortable, but where we all can find the soft place to land. 

Knoxville is so not ever what I imagined home would ever be. Tennessee is not what I ever thought home would be. I don’t even like Tennessee! (Don’t take offense, its a Texan thing. I would say the same thing about any other state) But slowly, this place is creeping into my heart. Not this place. No. These people. These people who have let me be loud and crazy and cackle my ear piercing laugh and still want to be in the same room as me. These people who can handle the crazy that is the 6 Wagner’s- even the quiet one who prefers to sit and listen. These people have made this place home. Freedom House has made this place home. 

The Lord has stretched me in ways I never knew possible this past year. I couldn’t have ever imagined the heartache I would face or the joy that a welcoming new teacher would bring. I would never want to relive the past few months, but I will forever be grateful for them. I will be grateful for the stretching and the pruning. I am grateful for the finding “me” in the midst of who I thought I was or should be. I am grateful for those that chose to wrap their arms around me and pull me in, despite my attitude. 
This picture says home to me in ways I can’t explain. These people that want to share life with me without knowing the depth of what I’ve gone through. These people that I desperately pray for and want to know more about. Because it isn’t always about time. It isn’t always about sharing the past- but about deciding to share the future. I don’t want to look back anymore. I don’t want to wallow in what once was. I want to move forward and press on to what He has for us. 
I will always consider Texas home. I don’t think that will ever change. But today, I realized, Home doesn’t have to be just one place. It doesn’t have to even be the same. Because New is Good. And New means growth. And New can be Home too.