Reflections On Our Small-Town Life

January 11, 2016


Five months ago Joe, Ainsley and I packed up our stuff, sold our cute little 1950’s house in Minneapolis and moved back to the place we called home growing up, a small town in the northwest corner of Iowa. Friends, let me tell you I never saw it coming. Pre-baby Madison would have laughed in your face at the idea of moving back to where we grew up, a small, sleepy (and adorable!) town that was miles and miles away from great food, entertainment and all that city life had to offer.

You see, if I’m being totally honest, I believed one thing to be true: Life in a small town was just a good way of wasting away your life. That if we moved back and embraced where we were from it was waving the white flag of surrender and settling into a life of meaningless obscurity. Somewhere along the line, probably while I was still in high school and itching for new experiences, I got it in my head that in order for life to have meaning and joy you needed to live in a large city full of excitement, culture and great restaurants. But I got a little lost along the way, forgetting that it isn’t the material things in life that really matter, it’s the relationships with those you love.

That photo above? It completely captures everything about why we moved back to Iowa. The daily visits from Ainsley’s Mimi (my mom) and trips to the farm to visit her Nana and Papa (Joe’s parents) and play dates with her cousin Lottie. It’s so wonderful and rich in meaning that my heart just swells thinking about it. So when the opportunity arose to move closer to those we love? I’m so glad we took the chance on this small-town life and turned our world upside down.

Sure, we have to work a little harder to find unique cultural experiences for our family. And I still miss the food and dining in Minneapolis something fierce, which was only heightened by a quick trip up to our favorite little brunch spot last weekend. But small town life? Well it’s a whole lot more affordable than city living, so Joe and I promised one another that we would be committed to using some of that extra disposable income on traveling as often as possible.

I’m learning to live with a little less good food, things to see and do, places to shop and events to attend in order to embrace a little bit more connection, peace, family time and disposable income. Joe and I constantly talk about how slow life has become since moving to Iowa, and we mean that in the best possible way. It’s been a huge adjustment, that’s for sure, but what a joy-filled five months we’ve enjoyed.


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  • Reply Kayla January 11, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I’m so glad we’ve found ourselves in the same little corner of Iowa, friend! xo

  • Reply Lauren January 11, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    I dream of moving back to northwest Iowa, and I hope I can someday convince my husband to do it! I’ve lived in big cities since leaving home – NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis and now San Francisco – and there’s just nothing better than the people, lifestyle and communities of rural Iowa.

  • Reply Amy Gustafson January 12, 2016 at 12:42 am

    What was your favorite brunch spot!? I’m always looking for a new place to try over the weekend here in Minneapolis 🙂

    • Reply Madison Mayberry January 12, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Birchwood Cafe! Never disappoints, you don’t need to make a reservation and it’s always changing.

  • Reply ali grace | cookies and grace January 12, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    love it so much!

  • Reply Rebekah Netten January 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I would also like to know your favorite brunch spot! We love to try new places. 🙂

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