Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happiness Project - Love Where You're At

So a blogger that Mommy has been following for the last few years is taking on a challenge called the Happiness Project for 2010 and Mommy has decided to follow suit because one of her resolutions for the year is to focus more on happiness and joy. The first challenge post was to name the Top 10 Reasons You Love Where You're At. So in no particular order, here are the top 10 reasons we really like living in the city of Ocala.

10. Location – As pastors we didn’t really get any input into where within the state of Florida we would be moving. We’ve known Ocala mostly as a point of direction on the Interstate signs. But when we came up to tour the Belleview-Ocala area, we felt instantly at home. This area is in many ways reminiscent of the Seffner-Brandon area where we grew up, before the I-4 corridor exploded and most of the cow pastures and orange groves turned into subdivisions and strip malls. And while it’s further away from our families than Hudson was by 30 minutes, it’s not nearly as far away as we could have been. Plus Orlando (theme parks) and Gainesville (UF sports) are only short hops away.
9. Weather – This is the furthest north either of us has ever lived in Florida. And while Florida doesn’t really have seasons, Ocala has more of a seasonal shift than we are used to previously. We are enjoying the colder weather. Especially because it means we can start a fire in the fireplace at the house!
8. Family friendly – The city/county park system is great with tons of activities. Parker loved his t-ball league and Mommy is enjoying her Boot Camp! Every time we turn around there is some kind of activity or event for kids/families that is either free or very reasonably priced. Literally we could not get to all of the holiday events in town over Christmas break.
7. Downtown – Downtown Ocala is 1.5 miles from the parsonage. Even the little boys love to go walking around the town square because of the cool horse statues. But the town tree lighting and Santa Clause on the square at Christmas really took the cake! Year round there is some great eclectic shopping and restaurants. Our current favorite haunt is Ocala Chocolate and Confections for the ice cream!
6. Shopping and Restaurants – Within 5 miles of the house is literally every restaurant we could imagine, even some of our favorites that we’ve been without for a while like Ale House. And within that stretch is also the mall and all the retail shopping that we could need. We’ve even discovered a new home/craft store that we love – Hobby Lobby!
5. Doctors and Hospitals – We’ve had need of doctors, hospitals and surgeons in the six months that we’ve been here. Thankfully we have great primary doctors, specialists and hospitals all within a couple of miles. For example, instead of the boys’ pediatrician being 30 minutes away, it’s located behind Parker’s elementary school, three quarters of a mile from the house!
4. Parker’s School – We’re zoned for Parker to attend South Ocala Elementary. It’s been an A school for several years and there are two folks with ties to Mommy’s church who work there. We love that Parker and Daddy walk to/from school each day. We love that he attends a school that is racially diverse and that over half of his class is non-Caucasian. We love even more all the stuff that he has been learning – halfway through kindergarten and he can read and is writing paragraphs! Plus he’s also been schooling us on the difference between solids, liquids and gasses.
3. Wesley’s Daycare – Wesley goes to a great diverse daycare downtown at the First Methodist Church where one of Mommy’s friends is the pastor. We love that he has music class, library time and chapel during the week. Plus they have done an excellent job of nurturing him these last six months as he started daycare for the first time ever. And his language skills have exploded since moving up to the two year old room before the holidays.
2 - The Backyard – While we didn’t have any input into our general location, as a clergy couple we were in the unique position of selecting between two parsonages as our residence. And since we have two very young and active boys, one of the deciding factors for living in the Druid Hills parsonage was the enormous fenced in backyard! It has tons of room to run and play and trees to climb (that will come later), plus it has the added bonus of backing up to the Druid Hills church backyard and their playground. The boys LOVE to be outside!!!!

1 - Our Church Families - Both Mommy and Daddy are really enjoying their pastorates in Belleview and Druid Hills. Our personalities and our skill sets seem to be good matches for the personalities and needs of each congregation. We know it’s sometimes difficult in arranging for appointments for clergy couples, but neither one of us feels shortchanged in any way. We both feel like we fit where we serve. And both congregations have been very understanding of our need to balance life between two churches and two little boys!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for participating. I don't know anything about areas of Florida other than Orlando, so this was fun to read. :)