John and I recently become reverse snowbirds. Leaving the warmth of sunny Southern California behind to try our first cold winter together in Iowa. It makes people curious enough to ask, “Why would you do that?!”
First, you would have to see and experience the remote lake area where we live. Peaceful, beautiful, and teeming with wildlife. There is nothing quite like waking up to watch a couple of young deer frolicking across the lawn, or grabbing the camera to take a photo of a majestic bald eagle perched in a neighbor’s tree, or endeavoring to look up that strange creature we unexpectedly saw run across the back porch (a rarely seen bobcat). We’ve lost count of the number of animals that frequent our property, but it includes turkey, geese, raccoons, blue jays, cardinals, orioles, goldfinches, woodpeckers, otter, beavers, muskrats, badgers, squirrels, chipmunks (affectionately called “squinnies” in Iowa), foxes, turtles, snakes, and even evil looking bats.
Second, you would have to experience watching an Iowa storm move in across the lake, in all its radiant glory, with lightening igniting the sky. It takes your breath away at the very least, and at the most, can make you wonder if your windows are going to hold back the forces of nature as you lay on the floor hiding behind a large piece of furniture.
Third, and maybe I should have listed first, is the people. Good, hard-working, easy-going, friendly Midwestern folks with a gift of shooting the breeze and talking about the weather. There is hardly any “rushing.” Coming from the hustle and bustle of living in busy Southern California, it is refreshing to have a small town Iowa grocery clerk actually make eye contact and ask you what you are going to make with that avocado you are purchasing. We get a kick out of the two-finger wave and nod almost all drivers on dirt roads give to each other while driving.
Ultimately, we decided it was just time for a change. A new season in our life. It wasn’t an easy decision. Our daughters are still back in California. But they are grown and developing their own lives now, blossoming into beautiful young ladies. We plan to still see them frequently. It wasn’t easy leaving our home church, the church where we got married, the church that sent us on our first teaching mission trip. But near or far, they will remain close in our hearts, like all our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. We have a new home church now where we can already see God doing great things.