I don't know how it happened.
I don't know when it happened.
I can't put my finger on the day, or the moment.
The smell or the sight.
But it happened.
I know it in every close and stray heartbeat. In every sunrise and sunset, cool and warm breeze, sunny day and grey sky.
Somewhere along this road, I fell in love with Texas.
(I know. I know. Cue the Northern eyeroll or the Southern "Of course you did!")
Somewhere, along the way, this New York girl's heart melted and started calling this place home. When I wasn't looking, my roots found some soft soil and settled into a sweet, beautiful space.
I came here wandering. I came here running. I came here and hid myself in the back room of a house in Argyle. I prayed for peace. I begged for relief. I came in September and hoped for Autumn and my heart ached in the heat. I sat among peers at a new church, where I cried every single Sunday, for months on end.
"Just three months." That's what I told everyone. That's what I told myself.
"You just wait," I can remember her voice. She jokingly warned me, "You'll see. Give it a few more months and you'll never want to leave."
(I smile now, having said the same thing to others who have come here.)
New York is the place I was cradled. Pushed. Trained. Taught.
Texas has been the place where I've breathed. Learned. Grown. Hurt. Matured. And even healed.
And by love, I mean...
I want to put a little star flag sticker on my car.
I want to wear boots all the time.
I want to say "y'all" without anyone giving me a hard time.
Texas Country means something entirely different to me than it did when I arrived.
I can eat chips and salsa for dinner, and be happy.
I actually know about college football now. (And discovered my dad's been following it all these years.)
Thanks to my dear, dear sheltering tree,
I've rediscovered beauty.
I've learned charm.
I've learned grace.
Some of these rough, sarcastic NY edges have been smoothed down... to reflect more of Jesus.
New York has the mountains I love.
The water I crave.
The tall pines and rich earth that shouts of love to me.
But Texas? Texas has my heart.