A really lovely Italian family invited us over for dinner last night and at the end of dinner offered to make us cappuccinos. The very avid coffee drinker that I am sipped on the most delicious cappuccino ever and now as a result, it is 3:20AM and I am WIDE AWAKE!  

However, I have had this thought on my mind a lot lately. We just got back from being in Phoenix for 10 days for the holidays and I got to be with lots of family and many dear friends and this question was asked by almost everyone, "So, how is New Jersey? Do you miss Phoenix?"

This was my answer to that question EVERY SINGLE TIME, “you are asking the wrong person!”  Why?  Well, in my short 32 years on planet earth, I have had the privilege to live in 5 different states and this is what I have processed, there are pros and cons to anywhere you live. 

Ironically, every state that I have lived in there are people who love living there and people who hate living there and can't wait to move.  After witnessing this irony, I made up my mind that I am going to bloom wherever I am planted.  I am going to focus on the positives of my city and I am going to enjoy where I am living and explore every part of it.

So, do I like New Jersey?  Yes!  It is awesome... I live in a vacation destination only minutes from beautiful beaches, I LOVE the people, we are 1 hour from Philly, 2 hours from NYC and just a couple of hours from Washington D.C., we are in the middle of it all!  I could go on and on but you get the point from my, "half glass full," kind of personality:) Do I miss Phoenix?  Of Course!  However, I am at peace where we are and I am beyond happy... I am a total history buff so when we drive to Philly and I see signs for the, "Valley Forge," exit, I am thinking, "Are you kidding me?  I live next to the city that our very first President of the United States of America fought during the American Revolutionary War?”   I could stand on the same ground as him and touch some of the same trees that he witnessed.  Now that is some rich history... or what about the liberty bell?  Wow!

But let's be honest. I grew up in Long Island, New York with some cold winters and even though I grew up there, I didn't like the winter, at all!  So, when the door opened for us to move to Phoenix, that is what I was looking forward to the most was not having a winter.  I was completely shocked when I would hear people complain about the AZ summers and the unbearable temperatures. All I could think is I will take 110 degrees any day over being cold.  So, when we knew that we were being called to go to New Jersey, that was one of my biggest fears and stressors. How am I going to handle the winter again?  I am going to be miserable. Even with all of my positivity, “bloom where I am planted,” mentality :)

Well, let me tell you how it has turned out since I am in the middle of my second winter (P.S.  we had a snow day yesterday and it was VERY COLD!).  I am a high strung, always on the go kind of girl. I am the girl who feels we will have lots of time to sleep and relax when we are dead. I am the kind of girl that doesn't want to miss a thing, I feel this world/ life has so much to offer and I want to experience it all. I love people and I want to be with them ALL the time. I hardly say NO to anything, and I want to experience every second of this short life. I want to make a difference. I want to touch, feel, smell, taste, hear and see EVERYTHING. Are you getting the picture?  There are lots of positives to all of the above, but let me tell you the downfall?  It is exhausting and I can run myself in the ground. The flipside to the above is that life is a marathon and not a sprint and there is time to do and experience everything, but I don't have to do it all NOW:)

That leads me to the conclusion that I literally need something much bigger and much more powerful than myself to make me slow down. Last year I found the answer, WINTER!  Yes, my first winter in NJ made me slow down, it made me stay inside more, sit by our fire place and read, journal, play games with my kids, work on school skills, have long talks with my hubby, cook great meals... take long, hot baths! I never thought I would say this but I found the silver lining in WINTER and I actually enjoyed it.

It gets crazier… this past summer as I was sitting on the beach watching my son surf, our family splash in the waves, build sand castles, get in some great summer books, tanning, and walking the boardwalk, this thought went through my head, "I am looking forward to winter and just slowing down and staying ‘in’ more."  What?  Danielle Wilson said that... yup!

Genuinely and sincerely I can tell you that I am enjoying my winter, and let me tell you what I think the secret is, The Amazing Grace of God!  Yeah, He can do that for you.

I was introduced to an awesome quote that says this:  "Wherever you go, you are there."  I can't tell you how true that is. You know what?  A city, a region, a state, an environment, weather will never make you happy or give you one ounce of peace or true joy.  I have met so many people who have said to me that they just hate where they live and if they could just move to their dream area, they would be happy. That location would make them happy.  They were saying that, "the grass is greener on the other side."  Let me save you, the grass is NOT greener on the other side. It is green where you water it.  In other words, where ever you go: your insecurities, your hurt, your past, your skeletons in your closet, your secrets, your addictions, they follow you!  Living in the West, I can't tell you how many people I met that moved to the West to start all over again. They thought they could leave all the past, the baggage, the junk in the trunk and start all over again from fresh and that the past would stay the past and not follow them. Oh! How disappointed they were because, "WHERE YOU GO, YOU ARE THERE."  In other words, you must deal with your stuff!  Moving doesn't fix you or your stuff!

Let me tell you where you want to be, right smack dab in the middle of God's will! There is peace there, and money can't buy you peace, and an exotic location can't give you peace!

Here is another tip I have for you. I have met other people like myself who have moved a lot and lived in lots of different places and they always idolize all the other cities that they lived in the past, but will give you their laundry list of why they don't like where they are currently.  I have actually been able to stay in touch with some of these people when they move, and I think it is so funny when they move away from, "that," city how much they miss it and hate the one they are in.  It is funny how our minds can work, moving can cause you to feel lonely as you start from square one all of your relationships or feel isolated or have lots of insecurities as you don't know the area: the doctors, the dentists, the hair stylists, the places to shop for good deals. So, you miss all the feelings of your previous, "home," but forget that not every day in that previous city was Disney World, however; in our mind, we just remember all the good and completely forget that there were really rough days there as well.  So, I made a resolution a couple of cities back that I am going to remember all the good in all the cities that I have lived and I am going to make incredible memories in the city I am in. I am going to love it.

So, Long Island, you were good to me!  Many great, great memories!  Tulsa, you grew me up.  I have very fond memories of you!  Nashville, you were awesome and you got me married!  Phoenix, I love visiting you as I get to relive countless amazing memories, meeting up with some amazing friendships that I was blessed with there. And you gave me 2 amazing babies!  But, New Jersey... Oh!  New Jersey... our destiny is here, and I have a really good feeling that we are here for a reason. That is WAY BIGGER than ourselves and I have a lot of anticipation about our future here. It is going to be good, like really good!

So, friend, no matter where you are... BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED!  Remember, where ever you go, you are there so deal with your stuff. Freedom is available to you through the amazing grace of God!  Enjoy your seasons, enjoy your land, your city. Explore it! Take adventures! This world is AMAZING!

I am hoping my cappuccino has worn off and I get some ZZZZs now!
- Danielle Wilson

About Danielle Wilson

With a passion for her Savior first; second, she is madly in love with her South African husband and they will celebrate being married for 13 years in February.  They have pastored Fusion Church in South Jersey since August 2012.  They have 3 children (Daniel, 9, Katelyn 6, and Grace 2) with another little girl on the way in May.  She is an avid coffee and chocolate lover and all other passions and hobbies come only second to those!