Guest Posts · Life is a Highway

Home is where the Heart is


I’ve heard it stated “Home is where the heart is.” I believe there is real truth to this statement. However, I also believe your heart can consider more than one place to be your home.

Today I live in Topeka, KS with my beautiful family and we consider Topeka our home. But, I had the pleasure of growing up in Pawhuska, OK and it will always be my home as well. I may not physically live in Pawhuska, but it is my home.

Pawhuska is a small town, yet it brims with diversity and culture. This scantily populated community is home to the Proud members of the Osage Nation as well as people from various races and ethnicities. It is a town that caters to many walks of life and this in turn has created a unique and awesome tapestry of humanity.

A prominent mural of an Osage dancer located in downtown Pawhuska.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”-Maya Angelou

The physical beauty within and around Pawhuska is hard to parallel. It is located in an area of Oklahoma called “Green Country”. This name has been given because the area is filled with hills, trees, creeks, ponds, and lakes. It has a true breathtaking beauty almost year round.

Wild horses living it up on a ranch in Pawhuska.

Pawhuska is surrounded by enormous ranches filled with cattle, buffalo, and wild horses. The interior is like that of most small towns, containing many brick buildings that used to house thriving businesses. Today most of those brick dwellings sit empty, but they still posses a unique small town feel which whispers in your ear “Life moves a little slower here, so relax.”

My beautiful family enjoying a walk downtown Pawhuska.

People in Pawhuska are akin to folks all around the Midwest. They are tough, hardworking, full of love, and exuding with pride for their town and families. Sports play a major role in the community and bring about a great source of pride and honor.

Pawhuska is also unique in that it’s imbued with Osage Tribal Culture. This culture adds incredible value to the town itself and the people who reside there.

To me, Pawhuska is a picture of the United States in general. You see, every location in our great country has its own particular traits and its own unique beauty. The trick is this… You have to recognize and embrace those qualities.

Now let me get to the real heart of the matter. What makes Pawhuska or any place in this world “home” is not just the culture or the physical beauty. What makes a place home are the people and the memories that live there.

Each time I get to visit my hometown, I’m flooded with memories of years past and the people who impacted my life. I also take time to slow down, live in the moment, and enjoy the new memories that are being created while I’m back in my hometown and around my people.

Don’t get me wrong, Pawhuska isn’t all biscuits and gravy (that means perfect in Oklahoma lingo), but like everything else in life… your perspective  determines your outlook.

My two little girls visiting some horses on the Rez. Notice the horse on the far left has a heart on its forehead.

I love the following quote by Maya Angelou and I see within it two simultaneous meanings:

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”-Maya Angelou

One of the meanings I see tells me “Be at home wherever you are in this life.” The other meaning tells me “No matter where I’m at in this world, I will always long to be back home.”

Holding my daughter and taking in the serenity of being back “Home”.

You may not come from where I come from,  but I believe as humans, we have the ability to connect based on the fact that we are human. I feel the Roman poet Terence said it best when he stated “I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”

So my questions for you are… Where do you call home and why is it home to you?

God Bless,

Coach P

P.S. I encourage you to visit Pawhuska, OK and experience for yourself what I’ve just written about in this post. I suggest coming the last weekend in June and observing the Osage Tribal dances. This is an experience you’ll enjoy and think about for years. Side note: Pawhuska is hot and humid in late June, so dress light and drink plenty of water.


MamaMick Note: A HUGE thank you to Chad for opening up the Guest series and for sharing Pawhuska, OK  glimpses of the Osage. Our community is so fortunate to have Chad and his wife, Laurie teaching and coaching in our school system. My son Dane often comes home with quotes and anecdotes and life lessons all learned while hanging with Coach Parks. The only thing that would have made this story better was if you could have heard Coach talk. The passion is evident in his written word and even more unquestionable when he speaks it. Be sure to check out his inspirational site at

Thank you, Coach Parks!!

35 thoughts on “Home is where the Heart is

  1. I suppose where I am now is as close to “home” as I have felt. My hometown and the house I grew up in have changed so much they aren’t the same, and I was in a rush to leave them to begin with.

    While where I am is close, it still isn’t right…so I plan to keep looking until I find the place I need to be long-term.


    1. I have Faith that you will find the place that feels like home to you. The place where you feel you can be the best you.


  2. Home is where my family is, which happens to be Tucson. But if I can get my family to move to San Diego, I wouldn’t mind calling that home. Lovely post and beautiful pictures! I love catching a glimpse of places I’ve never been.


  3. I like you feel I have 2 homes one being pulaski va, where i have a many great memories with my husband and children, the other is Blacksburg va, now most commonly known for Virginia Tech. But I grew up back in the country parts of Blacksburg, right on the river, and that will always be home to me as well. Actually i feel quite at home anytime i am near a river, just the smell of it guves me a sense if calm.


    1. I love the imagery you just placed in my mind with the river. When I’m on a country road or close to hills and trees, then I feel at home too.


  4. Thank you, Chad for sharing a special part of your life and your family with us. Truly an honor to have you here.
    Hi Karen and Sheena! Thank you ladies for stopping by and adding your own flavor and taste of home. xo


    1. Thank You so much for having me on as a guest Michelle. It’s an honor and a Blessing. I am truly enjoying your blog and the current series.


  5. I really enjoyed reading this post. Two things really stood out for me.

    “What makes a place home are the people and the memories that live there.”


    “…but like everything else in life… your perspective determines your outlook.”

    So true. Thanks, Chad. 🙂


    1. Hey Paul!
      I’m sure that Chad will get around later today (he blogs from a self-hosted site and works with our wrestlers in the summer when he’s not chasing around his kiddos!), but I just had to comment on your horse comment. I grew up around horses, rode them recklessly and then got away from doing so when I went to college. My daughter started riding when she was 8 years old. One of my most treasured memories is that of Tanna hanging off the neck (underneath the head) of her first horse, Katie. Horses are magic 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by, Paul!


    2. Thank You Paul. I’m a fan of both city life and small town life. I’ve long had a love for horses and the beauty of the country. That being said, large cities offer a wide variety of activities and opportunities that aren’t found in rural life. Both have plenty of good to offer when a person goes looking for it. Thanks again Paul.


  6. I’;m going to love thus series…
    I am an L.A. native and have always lived here….
    there is incredible beauty and grace here in the big city, but I love to hear about, watch moves about, read about and visit smaller towns…different places period.
    Thanks Chad, great post


  7. Although I haven’t watched it, the movie August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts was filmed in my hometown. There have been scenes from a number of other movies shot there as well.
    I’ve never been to L.A., but it’s on my to do list for sure. Thanks so much for reading and commenting on this post.


  8. Ah . . . the idea of home. I ponder the concept some times, but feel drawn more to an area than a specific place. I was born and raised in a rural area in the Adirondack mountains of New York. Several small towns scant miles apart from one another, connected by one central school. For many reasons it wasn’t a happy place for me and as soon as I could I left.

    I enjoyed reading your post and your thoughts and feelings on what makes home. I also loved your quotes, particularly the one by Maya Angelou about how diversity makes for a rich tapestry.

    P.S. Your daughters are adorable; the photo of them in front of the horses, a divine depiction of child-like innocence. Just lovely. Thank you for sharing it.


    1. Thank You Mary. I love that Maya Angelou quote as well. Excellent description of the pic with my daughters in front of the horses “Divine depiction of child-like innocence.” That’s right on!


    2. Hi Mary!
      Your words, even in comments, bring me peace and harmony 🙂
      And yes, you should see Chad’s daughters…beautiful inside and out like their momma! He also has a little man running around the house who has everyone wrapped around his finger. Thank you again, Chad for sharing your corner of the world with us!


  9. Enjoyed this guest post mamatick-

    A few thoughts on it – I find the Maya quotes fitting and timely too. Also, the horse with a heart like that – well that is just way cool.

    Was laughing at this: biscuits and gravy (that means perfect in Oklahoma lingo)- ha!

    Also- this was interesting (well so much was interesting, but I liked the way this line fit in…): ““No matter where I’m at in this world, I will always long to be back home.” And the sad part for some folks (maybe even me) is that the home we remember and maybe even yearn for is no longer the same place – and so while geographically it is the same place, it will never be the same home – and so it is the memories that linger and live with us – so like you said with one of your meanings… “Be at home wherever you are in this life.”

    have a nice day and enjoyed your post Chad.


  10. Thank You so much and I really appreciate these thoughtful comments. It is nice to go back and recall the the good memories of home and put them on paper.
    Maya has so many wonderful quotes that can apply to various areas of life. I was happy to find a couple that fit in with this blog post 🙂


  11. “Where do you call home and why is it home to you?”

    A good question. As an American expat living in another country, my physical home is the beautiful west coast of Norway, and I cherish every moment here … but my heart home is with my adult daughters in Maryland and Colorado, with my aging Dad and brothers in Iowa and Illinois, and with other extended family in upstate New York.

    And adding to this list is the reality of my husband’s sons and their two sons/our cherished grandsons … one too far away in New Zealand.

    I belong in all these places. When in the States my visits seem too short but are packed with love and memories, and I work to find contentment with the reality of the choices I’ve made.

    “What makes a place home are the people and the memories that live there.”

    Wonderful and thought-provoking post!


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