A few weeks ago, I was sitting at my computer and The Girl was looking out my bedroom window.
My computer is about two feet from my window, upstairs in the master bedroom.
All of a sudden, she yelled, "The police!"
I was obviously curious was she was talking about, and stood up to peer out my window with her.
I saw this:
There was a van that was pulled over by undercover officers, and a male and a female who were searched and detained.
The female was arrested after about two hours of chaos in front of our house.
The neighborhood children rode their bikes in front of the scene over and over.
Our neighbors stepped outside and gossiped to one another.
One of the ladies across the street brought out juice boxes and cookies for the kids who had decided to sit and watch on the sidewalk.
You can see the park across the street.
The Girl's elementary school is on the other side of the park, and the windy sidewalk path is the same path I walk with her everyday.
It is the path that I have taken when you read my Nike+ updates on Twitter and Facebook.
Unfortunately, our home is the second one in from a crazy busy main street.
Fortunately, our home is part of a very safe neighborhood full of amazing people.
There is only one one-story home in the neighborhood, and everyone here takes pride in where we live.
These homes were built a gazillion years ago, but not old enough to be considered historic or to have any rad architecture.
It is cozy and happy.
I love it here.
While organizing our vacation pictures recently, I realized that I had taken a picture while standing in my mom's bedroom in South Dakota that had almost the exact angle as the photo above.
The view is very different.
The photos are opposites, really.
Here, you can see the Earth until it meets the sky.
You can hear wildlife.
(I thought I was hearing a maniac of a bird while we were there, but I later found out it was a bug. Bugs in other states feel the need to tell you that they are nearby and that clearly, they do not wish to be friends. Bugs here sound like crickets.)
There are fields of green.
I have never seen so many shades of green in all my life.
There are very few neighbors.
At night, there are stars that light up the sky like diamonds, and there isn't a street light anywhere that you can see.
A near-death experience can take place, and no one will hear you scream.
And emergency services will take 25 minutes to arrive.
Police cars are seen in singular form, and children do not gawk when one is present.
The neighborhood children ride their bikes as well, but none are required to wear helmets, and quite a few are seen giving their friends rides on their handlebars.
Life is different here.
Life is different there.
Yet both feel like home.
Surrounded by my family and the people I love, home is wherever I choose it to be.
When able to see things in a different light, your world can be transformed.
The giant STOP sign in front of our home is far from beautiful, but it allows me to back out of my driveway easily, and usually with a smiling person behind me beckoning for my car.
Our homes are side by side and our yards are not measured by acres, but we are close enough to share extra side dishes at dinnertime, and close enough to take one another's trashcans to the curb on Mondays.
There may not be neighbors nearby my mom's house, but she has land; freedom that you can feel with your whole body as you run through the fields.
She has quiet and beauty everywhere she turns.
She has a "five and dime" and a community pool where children can ask any nearby adult for ice cream money, and everyone feels like family.
The saying "The grass is always greener..." could be used literally in this comparison, but my point is the opposite.
Look around you and be thankful.
For the big ugly signs.
For the quiet.
Life is so much better when you pause for a minute and realize all that you have.
I am so very thankful for where I am.
Where are you?
Wherever you are, be thankful.
Happy Thursday, friends.