The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Dreading the Change

Before the week is out, I will no longer be a Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser.  The time has come for me to pack up my bedroom and head south…

to sweet tea

to boys who hold doors open

to higher education

to God’s will for my life

I have to focus on the good things that are waiting for me in Tennessee.  If I consider the less savory things like the humidity, heavy foods, and disrespect for cyclists, my heart will only hurt more.  You see, for the first time in my life, I want to stay.  I’ve always been a go-er.  I never got stickers for resting well during nap time in kindergarten…I wiggled too much.  And I’ve always envied people who have moved around a lot during their lives.  Well here I am, moving after spending only one year a place…and my heart is breaking.

This is a testament to God’s work in my life.  He has revealed to me an ability to love and connect with people that I didn’t know hid in my heart.  Over the past few weeks, my emotions have run the gamut.

Excited!  Excited!  Excited!

Nervous…need a place to live…uhoh…

ANGER—What the hell, God?  This is the worst idea ever.

Me…angry?  Nu uh…oh wait.  What the hell, God?!?  I’m happy here!

Hmmmm….peace…peace…ohmmmm

*tears* nooooooo!

Yeah, that about sums it up.  During a time sitting down by the river, I realized that I was really angry at God.  For the first time in my life I feel like I am in a really good place, and He wants me to leave all of that behind.  It didn’t make sense to me.  And it still doesn’t make sense to me, but I have come to a place where I accept that God has a bigger plan.  He calls us to be faithful during these times of trial and uncertainty…that’s how He is able to prove His greatness to us.

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Does that mean that I am packing up and heading out tear-free, heart fully mended?  No.  I have come to love my house church family, my neighborhood coffee shop, the little boy that I tutor, my climbing gym, easy access to bike trails…this city has so much going for it.  But I am comforted by the knowledge that God has something going on for me about 850 miles away.  I have no idea what it is…and it’s a little exciting to think about it.

*brightening* Nashville has a good music scene…right?

Making new friends means finding new coffee shops

I get to see how God is working in other places!

(Also…the name of the blog will have to change…time to start thinking)

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Just Another Leg of the Journey

You know what’s great?

IMG_2048Cookie dough?

Yes.  It’s great…but that’s not what I was going for.

Climbing a clean 5.10c?

Yes, that too…well I think.  I haven’t really done it.  But no, still not on the head of the nail.

 

The fact that, even though you leave a place, you can still be a part of it?

Yes…seriously, yes.  That’s what I was going for.

You see, in just over a month, I will be moving away from Minnesota.  If you read my last post, you already knew this.  I recapped the past year or so of my life and discussed this impending move.  What I avoided though, was a mention of my dread.  I dread leaving behind relationships…experiences…oatmeal stout…lessons.

Really though, the only thing that will be staying behind when I hit the highway heading south is the oatmeal stout (Southern states prefer lighter brews).  The relationships, experiences, and lessons all live in my head and my heart.  Nothing can take those away…because they have been part of the journey that God put together for me.

DSCN0985And Nashville, Tennessee will be the next part of my journey.  You see, I believe that life is not about a destination.  It is about the journey.  Corny, huh?  If it’s only about a destination, or an end-game, then we waste a lot of time just getting there.  I prefer to think, though, that that is time invested.  Yes, invested in the journey.  (A crazy college professor would be very proud of me right now…”time invested, never time wasted”.)  As much as I want to stress about the next leg of the journey…as much as I want to try to map out every step of the way, I know that it would be pointless.  First of all, I gave up on planning when I realized that God always chuckles at my plans.  Ans secondly, I’ve seen that the best journeys are improvised, sprinkled with hiccups.  That’s what helps us learn…to breathe deeply and eat spoonfuls of sugar.

(An investigation into my journey, inspired by The Daily Prompt)

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To Belay or Not to Belay

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

…to belay!

…to belay!

When I saw this daily prompt, I knew that it was fate.  On Friday, I put myself outside of my comfort zone with a specific purpose.  I had done the same thing on Tuesday and it ended rather badly.  So it should go without say ing (but I’ll say it just in case) that this particular task was that much more difficult yesterday.

I should back up a bit though, to give you some context.  About a year ago, I started climbing in a climbing gym on a regular basis.  After climbing with several people for a couple of weeks, I realized that I should take the belay certification test so that I could return the favor they were doing for me.  So, in a less than savory fashion (I had a friend administer the test), I took and passed my belay test.  For the next five months, I climbed on an almost weekly basis and became a proficient, although casual, belayer…and an “okay” climber.

Five months passed and the only climbing I had done was outdoors in Wyoming when I took a road trip with a friend in July.  I realized that I missed it.  So, alone, I stumbled into a new gym that had auto-belays sprinkled throughout the gym.  The original plan was to go with someone else, but he backed out.  I was desperate though…so I went alone.  I kept going (alone) over the course of the next few months and loved it every single time.  When my parents asked for a Christmas list, I told them I wanted a punch card or a gym membership.  (Let me mention here: I am an only child and my parents love me a lot…I love them too…I would add a “smiley” here, but that looks weird inside parentheses.)

So, on January 2, I entered the gym and signed the requisite forms to complete my membership registration, purchased a harness and started climbing.  But…I was limited to auto-belays.  One of the workers (let’s call this guy Joe) prompted me as I entered one day, “You should take advantage of the discount;” he was referring to a member’s discount for the belay class.  I was not taking the class…I could belay!  With that, Joe said I should go find a random person to climb for me.  A couple of days later, I decided be that creepy person.

This is where we get to that “attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.”  It’s always a learning experience for me when I talk to a new person.  For starters, I am not a big “people” person and I didn’t really mind climbing alone.  But I was getting weary of the same routes over and over again.  I had climbed almost every 5.6, 5.7, and 5.8 route multiple times (I’m not solid on 5.9s yet).  So out of desperation, I talked to someone on Tuesday.  I changed my clothes and got my gear on, then tentatively wandered around the gym looking for a lonely person.  I would have preferred a female, but I saw a 20-something dude staring up at an auto-belay route (or so I thought).  So I awkwardly approached him.

Me: Are you here alone?

Him: No…

Me: *awkward pause* Oh, okay…

Him: Were you looking for someone to climb with?

Me: *word vomiting* Well, I needed…wanted to take my belay test…and I need someone to climb for me…I’ve been certified before, I just haven’t done it here yet.

Him: Oh, okay…Let’s go find a worker.  

Me: Oh!  Really?  I’m Mary Elizabeth, by the way.

Him: I’m Tim.

And then I almost dropped him.  In my defense, they have one key difference in the technique they require, so I had some adjusting to do.  While my mind was processing this adjustment, he took his “surprise fall” and I forgot to brake for about 30 seconds.  As I saw him dangling there, I was thinking “I’m forgetting something…this should be easier…I should do something…s*hit–brake!”  And then, I looked sheepishly at the test administrator.  “Sooo…I’m not going to pass you today.”

No kidding.  On the plus side, one failure does not require you to take the class.  When I went in on Friday, Joe was working and said, “We’re doing to do something about this today!”  A random dude came up to the counter to exchange his shoes.  Joe ignored his need.

Joe: You’ll climb for her, right?  Yeah.  He has to go through orientation.  You go get geared up and we’ll be ready for you to take your test.

 I looked at the guy who had a panicked look on his face.  Joe took the shoes and went to get a different size.  I looked at the poor soul and said,

Me: You don’t have to climb for me.

Random dude: Okay, yeah, thanks.  I–I don’t really know what’s going on.  I just needed a different size.

So I went to change and get my gear on.  But, I figured what the hell?  Why not continue the awkwardness of the day?  There were two other ladies changing in the bathroom so I decided to ask, “Are you ladies here with other people?”  That question led to a conversation with Marie who was there with her husband…who volunteered to be my guinea pig.

I only forgot to brake for about 10 seconds this time around.  And despite the fact that I had the belay device hooked on upside down and got my hair caught when I was lowering him down (there’s a second time for everything), Joe passed me.  I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Marie, her husband, their son, and her husband’s lead climbing partner.

So, what did I learn from this?  Even though I nearly kill a random stranger on Tuesday doesn’t mean that I will nearly kill a random stranger on Friday.

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The Source of My Power

I started student teaching this week.  Some people call this an internship or a practicum or something else that may or may not make sense.  At my college, we just call it “student teaching”.  There are a lot of people who were excited about student teaching.  It is the last step to receiving the degree.  The last step in this four-year journey to doing what they all want to do.  Have wanted to do.

I’m not like those people.  I was, at one point in time though.  When I started college, student teaching was my goal.  I wanted to go into that classroom and just immerse myself in the process, soaking up every possible bit of knowledge in order to eventually lead my own group of students to discover all that the world has to offer.  Here I am, though, three and a half years later!  I don’t want to teach in a classroom.  Teaching in a classroom is the most terrifying thing.  I don’t wanna! (imagine a little kid throwing a tantrum…now you’ve got the picture!)

And so, I went into the whole experience with this mindset: “I know I can do this.  I have been through three and a half years of school.  Add to that all of my experience with kids and in classrooms.  All I have to do is use my knowledge and it will all be over in less than five months.  I’ve got this!”  That’s the pep-talk I used on my first day…after crying myself to sleep the night before.

What kind of crack was I smoking?  Did I really think that I could get through the next five months based on the fact that I had been to school and liked kids?  Last Sunday morning, I wrote down one thing from the service: “If I can do it on my own strength, it’s not worth doing.”

In that case, I sure as hell hope that I can’t student teach.

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The Stove is On

Do you know what’s terrible?  I don’t even remember the last thing I wrote about.  So, I am just going to jump into something new…maybe…there is the slight possibility that this is old…but, no.  I’m pretty sure that it’s new-ish.

I am, and have been, involved with a Christian organization on my college campus.  This year, things have been going really well for the group.  We have grown a lot, developed a solid leadership team, and expanded a pile of ideas.  Last semester, two small groups tried to take off…the boys’ group had a successful take-off and is still flying high.  The girls’ group, on the other hand, has experienced a lot of turbulence.  Needless to say, it’s hard getting a group of college students together in the same place at the same time.

This semester though, the girls are flying high!  We’ve had two meetings and they have both gone really well.  Why am I sharing all of this with you?  Well, umm…I have more or less led the studies both times.  This is a HUGE deal for me.

I was terrified.  I am still terrified.  I shall remain terrified for the remainder of my time leading this study.  I do not feel that I am, uhh, qualified to lead a Bible study/discussion.  And, I am not confident that I know God well enough.

Does that make any sense?  Anyways, our first meeting consisted of a discussion about what the girls’ wanted out of the Bible study.  That wasn’t too difficult.  This week though, Monday to be specific, we got into a bit of meat.  People talked…my greatest fear was that the room would be full of crickets.

So, here is what is going to happen!  I am going to translate my penciled notes into a blog posting…that will appear tomorrow…I think.

Why in the world would I do this?  Well, let’s just put it this way: the stove is turned on and I might start warming up.

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