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.

photo-6

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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This Rainbow Chaser’s Future

Great White Northern Regions

Great White Northern Regions

In my last post (yeah…back in March…whoops), I mentioned that I was planning to spend future posts looking at the future.  I hinted that I was going to continue avoiding the box and I think that I will be successful in my avoidance.  While I am following a path that seems natural and expected, it feels adventurous and new to me.  I feel like I will be completing something, coming full circle in a lot of ways.

When I graduated from college a year ago (crazy to think that!), my life was up in the air.    To see what I was feeling at that time, check out these posts.  I felt like there was a lot undone, as far as my education went.  I had a degree in Elementary Education that I didn’t want to use, at least in the traditional way.  It was missing pieces and I was missing pieces…what to do, what to do.  Patience and trusting God eventually led me to a position as a literacy tutor with AmeriCorps in Minnesota.  I knew that more schooling was in my future…but I didn’t know where or when or how.

So back in the fall, I started looking into graduate programs.  That required the GRE.  This is the part where I get a little giddy.  When you take the GRE, you can automatically have your scores sent to four schools.  At that time, I was applying to three…I figured though, why not?  Let’s just add one more for kicks and giggles.  Being the bold individual that I am, I put down the number one graduate school for education…Vanderbilt.

This makes me giddy because, as God would have it, Vanderbilt was to be my place.  After having my GRE scores sent there, I figured that I should probably go ahead and apply.  Turns out that they had the type of program that was right up my alley, so applying with enthusiasm was easier than I had expected.  And accepting their offer of admissions was easier than I had expected.

Last go around in Nashville

Last go around in Nashville

Yes, yes.  My friends, the Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser is relocating to Nashville, Tennessee.

And you don’t have to warn me about the “hotter than hell” summers…deep down in some hidden part of my soul, I am southern.  Southern born and raised.  I know about the heat, the twang, the swayt (yes…I meant to spell it that way) tay (that too), and having doors held open by well-raised young men.  In some ways, it’s kind-of nice to think about returning to my roots…just one state away at least.  See what I mean about coming full circle?

I’m completing my educational experiences (although I will never stop learning) and I am circling back to my roots (hopefully I  never have to get any closer).  While I don’t know exactly what my future holds besides this cross-country move, I know that the Twin Cities have been good to me…thanks to God’s merciful hand.  And I can trust that Nashville will be the same.

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Conclusions of a New Minnesotan 2

Sometimes I get confused…very, very confused

Sometimes I get confused…very, very confused

In August, St. Paul, Minnesota became my home when I migrated from the southern half of the U.S. to take part in an AmeriCorps program.  By the time that September rolled around, I had come to a few conclusions about my new home and the native creatures.  Several months have passed since that time, enough months for me to draw a few new conclusions.  So this is a continuation of that initial post and a few addenda (apparently that’s the plural of “addendum”).

We’ll begin with the addenda, of which there are two.

 

 

 

Conclusion 1a: Minnesota’s summers are gorgeous.

Conclusion 1b: Minnesota’s winters are beastly.

Seriously.  Have you ever spent a winter in Minnesota?  A few weeks into November I was preparing for the worst.  And then, after the first massive snow that dumped nearly a foot in our driveway and front yard and on top of my car, I was thinking that squirrels and bears have the right idea.  Hibernating in winter is pure genius.  If you hibernate, you do not have to DRIVE.  During my first excursion (perhaps ill-advised on a Sunday morning while the weather was verging on blizzard conditions), I was prepared to pull over and just hibernate right there until everything melted.  Also, there’s this whole FREEZING COLD CONSTANTLY factor.

Conclusion 4a: Biking is awesome!

Conclusion 4b: …except in winter.

Did you read the above rant about the quantity of snow that can fall within a twenty-four hour period?  Well, that pretty much covers it.  My bike is hibernating.  Some days, I would like to join it.

Looks like all of my addenda have to do with snow…hmmm.  Can you tell what’s been on my mind?  Speaking of what’s on my mind…let’s move on to the new conclusions that have been reached.

Snow…snow…and more snow

Snow…snow…and more snow

Conclusion 6: Minnesotans are resilient.

Have you seen how much snow these people get?  It’s ridiculous and, no matter how much it is, they just keep going.  This is a strange concept for someone who grew up in, umm, I dunno, let’s just say Arkansas.  In a place like Arkansas, two flakes is cause for mild panic.  Five flakes is a cause for mass hysteria.  And ten flakes is cause for hibernation.  Somewhere around eight flakes it becomes impossible to find milk, eggs, or bread at any grocery store, gas station, or farm.  But in Minnesota, they just keep going.  Think “energizer bunny.”

Conclusion 7: The best time to go to Wal-Mart in Minnesota is in the middle of the Vikings vs. Packers game.

So, one volleyball game doesn’t seem much different from another volleyball game.  Wait…the Vikings do play volleyball, right?  Kidding!  They play baseball.  Anyways, I went to the grocery store without thinking about it.  Boy, did I make an AMAZING decision.  The store was dead.  It reminded me of the time that I went to buy beer in Missouri when the Cardinals were playing in the World Series.

Conclusion 8: Ice fishing is for real.

I had heard about it…but now I know someone who does it.  What has my world come to?

Proceed with caution.

Proceed with caution.

Conclusion 9: Starting your car before you get ready to drive in the morning sets the tone for your day.

This can really make or break your day.  If you do not pre-start your car, then your day will be cold and unforgiving.  If, however, you do pre-start your car, there is hope for warmth and happiness throughout your day…but only if you pre-start your car.  My fingers normally go numb while I’m driving, especially the left pinkie.  You think that’s a joke; unfortunately, it’s not.  I wish I was.

Conclusion 10: Minnesota is a land ripe with opportunities to DISCOVER.

What is it that you would like to discover?  How to survive if great quantities of snow?  How long should you actually wait for a lift bridge? Where is North?  What does a gigantic mall look like at 6 am?  What does nice mean?  Whatever it is that you would like to discover, you’ll find something worthwhile in Minnesota.  Put on your curiosity cap; let the state surprise you.

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Conclusions of a New Minnesotan

Having lived in the Twin Cities for approximately six weeks, I feel that I can now draw some conclusions. I’ve taken time to observe everything from the weather to the people to the food.  As of now, here’s what I know.

Conclusion 1: Minnesota has gorgeous summers.

A glimpse of beauty from a Minnesota summer

No joke.  For someone who is accustomed to the heat and humidity of the Ozarks (northern Arkansas/southern Missouri), this mild-mannered summer is a dream come true.  Back “home”, I couldn’t imagine going for a bike-ride in the middle of the day.  Up here though, the world is just warming up to the low 90s (on a hot day!) and mid-day isn’t frightening.  I’ve heard loads of people complain about this extra-hot summer…I just chuckle.

Conclusion 2: St. Paul’s hills are beastly.

…and I live smack dab in the middle of one of them.  Either way I chose to go when I leave my house is a hill, up or down.  I can start out by going down, but eventually I have to go back up!  There’s no rest for the weary around here.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to check out a new bike trail.  Heading out of the trail head was a breeze…literally.  Coming back in to my car–beastly.  I will confess: I walked my bike partway up.

Freshly-picked produce

Conclusion 3: The Twin Cities residents are very nature-oriented.

Hair products…weekend plans…fresh produce.  The people up here like to know what’s around them and how they can use it.  It is so refreshing to be surrounded by people who are turned into nature like this!  I am inspired to stop showering, bike everywhere, plant a vegetable garden and raise chickens.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  But I do find myself hitting up the farmer’s market on a regular basis, sometimes on my bike! (Okay…confession: I drive to the bottom of the hill, park, and then bike the rest of the way to the farmer’s market.  Remember–beastly hills!)

Just an average day in a not-so-average place

Conclusion 4: Biking is awesome!

Need I say more?

Conclusion 5: Minnesotans are curious.

When Minnesotans hear that my move up here was my first visit to the state, they are impressed.  When they find out that I didn’t know anyone up here, they comment, “You’re brave.”  And then they proceed to ask me about my work, my family, how I found a place to live, and what brand of underwear I wear.  Okay, maybe they don’t go quite that far.  But they do ask a lot of questions!  The first few times this happened, I was a little freaked out.  There is no reason for complete strangers to know my whole life story.  But now I have the whole story practically scripted.  And then there’s my roommates, bless their hearts.  They always want to know about my day and my parents and my lunch and… I’m still trying to get into the swing of sitting down and chatting whenever someone walks in.

 

After six weeks…that’s all I’ve got.  With ten and a half months ahead of me, I have plenty of time to learn a bit more about these Swedes and draw a few more conclusions.  There are others swimming around in my head, but five is such a nice, round number!  Why would I want to muddy that up?  Stop by later to find out what else I’ve learned.  Supposedly winter will be brutal for a newbie like me…we’ll have to wait and see!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

I’ve recently moved to the Twin Cities.  It’s been quite the change from the places I’ve called “home” in the past.  Over the past few weeks, St. Paul has give me copious opportunities to photograph “urban.”  So, I couldn’t resist this challenge!

Just Keep Driving

Man on a Ledge?

A Few of My Favorite Things

 

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Changing Weather Patterns

So, I just moved to Minnesota.  In every conversation that I have with a native, the topic of weather comes up.

“Have you ever experienced a winter?”

“You don’t know how to drive on snow, do you?”

“Do you have a coat?”

The list could go on.  The inquisitiveness is just one of the things I’ve noticed in this breed of Scandinavian-blooded people called Minnesotans.  There have been a lot of subtleties catch my eye, but none more significant than their phone use…or lack thereof.  This is one of those things that could be associated with their age (most of the people I’ve been spending time with are over 25…I’m fresh out of college).  But I do think that their background plays a hair of a part.

I am use to having half conversations with people.  There is always someone or something at the other end of the cell phone interrupting, butting in.  Whenever there is a dull half of a moment, the phone comes out.  If you are in a group of five people, chances are at least one person is active on their phone…chances are it’s more like three.

But things are different here.  I have whole conversations with people.  I have conversations without ever seeing the phone!  I was beginning to doubt that was possible!  I am so relieved, though, to find out that it is.  So, what does this mean for the breed called Minnesotans?

It means that they are more real and independent.  They don’t require connections to people 24/7.  Instead of losing themselves in a virtual world, they would prefer to invest their time and energy into you (or whoever happens to be standing next to them).  I love that!  These people make me feel like I, an AmeriCorps volunteer hailing from Arkansas, am significant.  It took my best friend and roommate of three years a lot of effort to make me feel that way.

Best Garage Sale Find Ever

 

These people are great.  And, in case you were wondering, I do have a coat.

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No Turning Back

I just moved halfway across the country to a state I have never visited.  I am living with people I have never met.  I got a job that pays less than $900 a month (technically, it’s a “year of service” with a living stipend…AmeriCorps).  And I am more excited about the possibilities ahead of me than I have been in a very long time!

I no longer feel the need to write about “Chasing Rainbows.”  Right now, I am content to rest under a warm, blue sky and bask in the glory that is radiating down from God.  Not glory on me…but glory on all that He has done.  Moving to the Twin Cities was never part of my plan…it wasn’t even on my radar!  Working for AmeriCorps was also never on my radar.  I am a walking testament to the truth that “God’s ways are higher.”  There is reinforcement from every side that I am in the right place.  Doubts flooded my mind these past couple of weeks as I prepared for the move; but God has continually reassured me that this was His plan all along.  In thinking on this, I came across a verse:

The heart of  man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. (Proverbs 4:11)

I tried so many plans on my own…but they were all my plans, on my own.  It wasn’t about me.  It has never been about me!  This is all about His will and His timing.  So as I dive into this new adventure, I will be holding tight to that truth.  He has designed a path for me…better than any I could imagine.

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