I grew up here. I know every single house on the main stretches of the road. Many of the homes have been torn down to make way for new developments, but I can still recall who lived where. I can drive my exact school bus route from elementary school. I still frequent the neighborhood pizza joint. And twice a week, I drive to the same preschool I attended as a child to drop off my kids. So much has changed, yet so much is the same in my new, old home.

When I was 18, I left my hometown of New Albany, Ohio and never looked back. I moved South to attend college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. From there I took my first job in West Virginia, only to move to Birmingham two years later. I stayed in Alabama for several years before moving back to Lexington. We then made our way to Savannah.

After 15 years of job shifts, career changes, and multiple moves…our family packed up one final time to come back to my hometown. We moved to be closer to my family and to raise our children in the Heartland.

Coming back to Ohio didn’t happen without a fight. To be completely honest, I didn’t want to move home. I had been gone for 15 years, so the fear of “failing” was long gone. But in those 15 years away, I fell in love with the South, the culture and lifestyle, especially in Savannah. Slow-paced, heat and humidity, palm trees, the beach. Just a completely different landscape than the one I knew.

Three years later, we are still here in New Albany, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s funny how it takes a couple of years to settle and to fully embrace your new home, even if it is your old home, as well.

I follow so many of you on social media. Many of you live in beautiful places like San Diego, Utah, Arizona, Naples, Charleston, Australia…and I’m envious of the beauty in the places you call home.

But, there is so much beauty and charm in the Midwest. SO MUCH BEAUTY. My husband isn’t from here, so he’s able to see it when I don’t. The truth is, sometimes we miss the beauty when it is right in front of us.

In Ohio, you will find barns. Lots, and lots and lots of barns. You will find dairy farms, white fences and old worn out silos encased in ivy. There are many corn fields and some of the most stunning sunsets a person could ever hope to see. There are big cities, and little hidden country gems nestled in rolling hills and the plains.

Midwesterners are wonderful people. They are wholesome and friendly and hardworking. They are America. It’s no wonder that so many companies use Ohio as a test market for new products, especially in the food and beverage industry.

The most beautiful part is I finally have peace. I can finally find peace within my new, old home. I’m thankful for the time I spent away from Ohio, but I’m even more thankful to be back here raising my children in the same corn fields I originally called home.

 “If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” – Wilbur Wright (Wright Brothers)

Home is where the Heart (land) is.

Farms, vintage finds, country living.

Home is where the Heart (land) is.

Lemonade stands and simple living.

Home is where the Heart (land) is.

Old Blue is part of our family, and has been for years.

Home is where the Heart (land) is.

A little Joan Baez (not from Ohio).

Home is where the Heart (land) is.

Ohio is the Heartland.