1. All the space in this house as compared to our house in OC.
2. All the outdoor activities we can do without having to drive very far. Fishing is only 20 minutes away. The Blanford Nature Center is only 15 minutes away, Lake Michigan is 45 minutes away, Meijer Gardens about 10 minutes away.
3. All the cultural activities right in Grand Rapids such as Art Prize and the symphony orchestras. Nice to be in a college town again as the colleges have many things to offer as well.
4. All the eateries (I think we've only been to Apple Bees for mom's birthday and Chinese, but is nice to see how close they are when we pass by!), and shopping within 10-15 minutes.
5. Neighbors across the street who were willing to watch our pets when we went to Grandma Herman's funeral for the weekend.
6. Seminary friends, like Juliet, who put a pot of soup on our stove to simmer the Sunday we returned home from Grandma's funeral.
7. Being able spend all day every day with my kids. (Honestly, this is a blessing!) I love teaching them and shepherding their hearts with devotions, read aloud books, and school work.
8. Food pantry at the seminary where we are able to pick up at least half of our grocery needs for the week/month.
9. All the new people we are able to meet, share meals, and interact with. The various cultures and backgrounds are especially enriching.
10. Free Reformed church with the warm members, welcoming home school group, solid Christian education program, and wonderful biblical preaching.
11. All the opportunities for spiritual growth. This weekend a Reformed Church in Byron Center hosted a conference Fri night and Sat morning with speakers such as Kevin DeYoung and Dr. David Murray. The boys and I (Laura) were able to go Sat morning and were blessed.
12. The Home school building with all its resources, specifially the home school orchestra.
13. Taking the four oldest to BSF with me on Monday nights and studying Isaiah together. An added bonus is that it is only a block away so we can walk. (Hey--we can walk to a destination!)
14. Other seminary wives that I have the opportunity to meet with at least once a month, and hopefully twice. Another meeting to scrapbook, learn another craft, bake, etc is being considered.
15. Living closer to Russ' siblings Renee and Philip
16. Being able to connect with past friends like Dave and Karen Sterk and Kevin and Trisha DeYoung. Dave and Karen were at their son Randy's cross-country meet here in Grand Rapids this morning. They stopped by just to say hi. We'll keep in touch and make plans to travel up to McBain to see them sometime. We also saw Kevin at the conference this weekend, and just responded to an email from Trisha to join them for a meal in Lansing next week Friday.
17. The Bleeker family cousins that live in the Grand Rapids area. They have been so helpful with the household plumbing issues, getting rid of brush in the yard, and just as another resource to find things in GR.
18. Watching God work in our lives in a way we probably would not have seen if we had stayed in Orange City has been the biggest blessing of all.