The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

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

Alternate Perspective

ImageThe other day, I sat in a coffee shop for two hours with a friend.  (Never in my life have five months left me feeling  comfortable and confident in calling someone a “friend”.)  Our conversation ranged from the current state of education, cross-country skiing plans, and our plans for the future.  I chuckle at that last one because neither of us have any concrete plans.  

I do know, however, what I don’t want to be doing in the future.  My friend was careful to suggest that living in the negative could be a risky endeavor.  Her advice was appreciated and, clearly, has been present in my mind.  But there is just so much that I fear in my future…because of my past.  I’m always concerned about the way that other people are going to look at me and think…

High School: She was the teacher’s pet.  Everything she did was perfect, of course.  None of the teachers would ever criticize her because her parents might get pissed off and go after them.  She slid by on her parents’ reputation and never did anything worthy of note.  In five years, she’s going to be back here working in the elementary school in her mom’s old classroom.  Her life will end up right back where it started…but with more cats because she’s scared of boys.    

ImageCollegeThis chick is such a cliche!  She goes to the Christian club all the time and is super-nice to everyone.  Everything she does is “perfect” and she can’t disappoint anyone.  She’s going to graduate and get a job here in Springfield probably.  She’ll work in one of the elementary schools for the rest of her life.  Maybe she could do more, but she thinks too small.  Oh wait…she doesn’t want to be a teacher?  She’s screwed.  She’ll probably move back home and work at a gas station.  Or maybe a farm.  There are farms in Arkansas, right?

Now: So, this girl moved from Arkansas, or Missouri kind-of.  And she’s doing AmeriCorps for a year.  Why would someone move to Minnesota to do AmeriCorps when PeaceCorps could have been an option?  It’s kind-of lame, ya know?  It’s like she’s afraid of moving on out into the real world.  Is she going to move back home after her year here is over?  Weak!

The way I see it, the whole world has an opinion about my choices.  And their opinions are critical.  Nothing that I have done is especially worthy of criticism.  But on the flip side, nothing that I have done is especially risky.  So where does that leave me?  Conflicted.  

Nothing new there.

2 Comments »

Timing

It is not my path to choose.

Timing is everything (well, everything that location isn’t).  In the past, I have been a very punctual person.  I like being on time, on top of things, and on point (I felt a strong need to maintain parallel structure).  Risking my reputation with tardiness is not in my playbook…well, it wasn’t.  But then I started college.

Most people become more organized and punctual when they start college.  I went the opposite direction.  I have become less structured, less organized, and less punctual.  I used to be a straight-up type A personality with OCD-ic tendencies.  I still have those tendencies, but to a much lesser degree and with much quirkier things (I went through a phase where I took three carrots, three slices of cucumber, and three sugar snap peas to lunch every day).  And I still like knowing what’s going on, so my planner is bananas!  But, when it comes to getting to those things, I’m not always there on time.

I say all of that to say that “Timing isn’t everything.”  I have come to discover that there are little moments in your life where being on time and being on top of things isn’t necessary.  Those are often the moments when whatever you are focusing on is more important than where ever you “need” to be.  Stopping to talk to my roommate.  Calling my grandmother.  Making sure that I pull the cookies out of the oven at just the right moment.

These are the little things that I am having to stop and appreciate right now.  I am student teaching; therefore, I am in school for a minimum of eight hours a day!  My time is more precious than ever, especially since I have to go to bed by 11 pm every night!  I am having to exercise a level of time management that has not been required of me since I was in high school (well, there have been weeks when things get overwhelming…but not quite to this degree of constancy).  And, I’m having to prioritize.  There are things that are having to go.  There are also things that I used to think were unimportant…they have become important.

Argh.  Timing is EVERYTHING.  Talk about a circular post.  When we bring up making sacrifices due to the limited nature of time, we are talking about time being the most precious commodity.  Everything takes time.  Nothing is free when time is our currency.  Good grief, that sucks.  I want time.  I want all the time in the world…and not just right now.  Not just to get all of my lesson plans made and dinners made.

I want time to slow down so that I can decide where I am going in my life and how the hell I am going to get there.  Yeah, that’s right.  I don’t know what I am going to be when I grow up.  And, yes, I am in my last semester of undergrad.  I’m majoring in elementary education, but I don’t want to be a teacher.  I don’t know what I want to be.  Up until recently, I’ve been okay with that.  But as the time draws closer and closer, I see other people settling into their futures.  They have jobs, graduate schools, husbands/wives.  And I have…nothing.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…

…a time to plant and a time to uproot…

…a time to weep and a time to laugh…

…a time to be silent and a time to speak…

…He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (select verses)

Then again, with God on my side, maybe I have everything that I need.  All I need is to trust.  I must be humble in my thoughts and, more importantly, in my plans.  He has the plans…they are not mine to have or mine to make.

Trust

Leave a comment »

Apologize

I must apologize…hopefully it’s not too late.

I apologize for the poorly proof-read, edited, grammar-i-tized blog post that I shared with you on Thursday.  While there is no excuse for that, I would like to offer you an explanation.

I am currently working at two jobs (this is a completely different story).  One of the jobs is at the school paper where I am a copy editor.  Do you know what a copy editor does?  You’ll be disappointed with me when you find out.  I edit…the copy…i.e. all of the stories, at least twice (I read the story and mark it up; then, when the issue is put together, I look through the whole thing for any other mistakes).  So, when do I do this whole “editing” thing?

Wednesday & Thursday…for four and a half hours.  That may not seem like a lot of time, but it really was…especially when you realize that, during those two days, I spent:

  • 3.5 hours at work (the other job)
  • 9 hours in class
  • 8 hours sleeping
  • 2 hours working out
  • 2 hours playing piano
  • other random bits of time cleaning, cooking, personal hygiene, homework…

Wednesday & Thursday were overwhelming.  Then I put a post on my blog and decided that I was tired of proofreading…so, I apologize.  Proofreading is not that difficult, especially when I’m reading something that isn’t about sports (I had to proof a couple of sports stories–blech!) or politics (yep, had a few of those too).  I will do my very best to proofread this stuff…pinky promise!

In the meantime, I should write something a bit more…deep…appropriate for a blog where I reflect on my relationship with God.  Yeah, about that…I think it’s on sabbatical.

(PS: I totally just proofread and found one mistake…I’m sure there are more…the little boogers like to hide.  Did I mention there are three copy editors that read every story?)

Leave a comment »

5. Tuesday: Reading

So, who fails at blogging?  Yes, that would be me.  Who is the queen of starting things and not finishing them?  Yes, me again.  So, here is to finishing up what I started…for once in my life.

On Tuesday morning, I kind-of slept in.  Then, I got up and made breakfast.  But, I did not just make any breakfast.  I made THE breakfast.  What is that?

It is only an awesome stack of blueberry pancakes topped with powdered sugar and more blueberry goodness, accompanied by a cup of freshly ground French Roast coffee.  Yes.  Perfectly fabulous…I know.  Doesn’t it look delightful?  The picture does not do it justice–I promise.  Okay, so that was just awesome and you can see “What is Love?” in the corner of the picture there.  I delved in.  Then, I got dressed…woot.  And, I went to a coffee shop just a couple of blocks away.  It’s on this street, we’ll just call it “C Street”.  C Street is well known for its homeless population and overall “sketchiness”.  But, there’s some really great stuff up there.  I went in search of a fabulous cup of coffee…yes, I found it.  I got my coffee and, due to the business of the place (it was around lunchtime), I sat outside.  I thoroughly enjoyed my hazelnut caffe au lait and learning about love…what love truly is in the world today.  Loved it.  Then I wandered around C Street for a bit.  I visited some of the fabulous antique shops and meandered around.  Then, I met a guy…who proved himself worthy of C Street.  He kind-of creeped me out.  Oh well.  I had been reading.  I had been drinking coffee . I was in a beautiful mood.  So, then what?

I went home ate lunch…leftovers or something insignificant.  Then, I went to Barnes & Noble (ugh…I should be shamed for going there, I know).  I had a reason–read a Praxis II book.  I have to take the Praxis II in less than one month.  It will determine my future…not really, but it’s a pretty big deal and I haven’t studied and I have less than a month and if I don’t pass I will cry and go get drunk and maybe do something else really stupid…okay, that was a little too intense.

So, I sat in Barnes & Noble and read the Praxis study guide for about an hour.  And, I came home to make DINNER.  It was a stupendous dinner…it rivaled the blueberry pancakes.

It was spaghetti…completely improvised, made up form scratch SPAGHETTI.  Well, I started with some left over “from scratch” pizza sauce…and went from there.  Some bell peppers and onions, oregano, “Italian spices”, sugar, tomato paste…oh yeah, and a hint of red wine.  I was impressed with my improvisational fortitude.  And so I ate my spaghetti.  I read some more.  And, I was content and at peace with the world.

Then, Wednesday came.  I had to clean my house and do laundry and boring stuff like that…and go to work.  Ultimately, once Wednesday hit, and I was over that five day “finding time” kick, I lost sight of everything that I was trying to learn as I searched for time.  This is pretty obvious when I realize it’s been almost a week since that day…and I’m just now writing about it.

Sadly, things are just going to get harder.  I start classes on Tuesday…ugh.  Not only do I have a full load, I’m working…two jobs.  I have my “normal” part-time job and then I’m also a copy editor for the university paper (I applied on a whim last year).  Where will my time be?  I have no way of knowing…but I do know that I need to set aside time to be intimate with God…to look at the stars and know how all-powerful and all-knowing and ever-present He is…that is what will get me through.

Leave a comment »

4. Monday: Unplugged

Disclaimer: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to completely unplug.  What did I “plug” into?  My phone (1: I was helping a family move in and I needed to touch base with them and 2: Someone called me to work for them one day later this week) and my DVD player (I needed a Cary Grant fix).

BUT, there was NO computer usage.  That is a really big deal for me.  I even took my computer on vacation this summer…to Gatlinburg, Tn.  How lame am I?  I did have an excuse though–online class.  It did a really good job of messing up my summer all around.  But, we’re over that and we’re moving on to a discussion of yesterday!

It started bright and early with a 7-9 am shift at work.  No big deal.  Then, I helped that family move in.  I continued the theme from Sunday, “Kids”, since this family has three kids under the age of six.  Part of the time, I just kept them corralled out of the way (things like refrigerators and monstrous dressers require a clear pathway).  I was really sweaty after that, so I took a shower.  Then I ate lunch.  And went out…to go shopping…ugh.  But, I got new shoes:  

I have wanted a pair of Pumas since I first saw some of the sleek looking sneakers.  And, I kinda sorta (if you stretch it really, really far) had a good reason to get them.  My knees & hips have been sore lately.  I blame it on (a) standing on concrete floors all the time at work and home and (b) bad shoes.  Thus…new shoes!  Legit, good for you, supportive shoes.  I also got groceries yesterday.  Ugh…why is food so expensive?  Anyways…being unplugged.  Between the 6 am wake-up call (and after midnight pillow and head rendez-vous) and lifting heavy stuff for three hours, I was exhausted.  So, I fixed myself some macaroni and cheese!


 Yeah, it’s the blue box stuff–I’m picky about my mac & cheese.  Anyways, yesterday was a really great day for me because of the mac & cheese . You see, I have, historically speaking, had big issues with macaroni and cheese: it’s always lumpy.  Since the very first time that I tried to make the yummy, gooey mess of unhealthiness, I have always ended up with clumps of the sauce powder ruining the whole dish.  And yesterday, at age 21, I managed to make perfect macaroni and cheese.  Feel free to be impressed.

I wrapped up my evening by starting on a scrapbook for spring break (road trip, camping, couchsurfing…pure awesomeness!), assisted by Mr. Cary Grant–gotta love him.  It was fabulous.  And, you know what?  The whole day made me think–gotta love brain power.

I thought about how much time I waste on my computer…especially in comparison to how much time I spend doing other things that are even awesomer (is that a word?  spell check doesn’t think so…oh well).  This might have been the greatest thing I’ve gotten out of the past five days: time is of the essence…don’t waste it in a virtual world!

Leave a comment »

2. Saturday: Stargazing

Okay, so here’s what went down.  That website lied.  Saturday night was CRAZY cloudy!  And, here’s the lowdown on what exactly happened.

I got off of work at 10 pm.  I bummed around my house–making coffee, cleaning the kitchen, etc–until 11.  At that point in time, I hopped in my car with a bag of gummy bears and two cups of coffee.  I started driving.  I had looked up a lake with some picnic areas and headed to one of those.  I had planned on putting a blanket down on a picnic table and just staring up.  Five minutes into the drive, I pulled open the sunroof and glanced up…nothing.  I saw a big, bright moon…but no stars.  Then I realized that I was low on gas.  So, I turned around.  I stopped at Wal-Mart for some sort of snack besides gummy bears, got some gas, then went home.  I laid down and took a nap.  When my alarm went off an hour and a half later, I got up and headed for the lake again.

I turned off of the highway and hung a right at a stop sign…then I got nervous.  What if I couldn’t find my way back?  What if I got lost in these backroads?  What if I disappeared forever and ever and ever?  Those thoughts were consuming me as I saw a church.  Since there was a car behind me, there were lots of unknown curves, and I didn’t know where the road was going…I pulled in.

And this is what happened.  The moon was so insanely bright that I couldn’t resist trying to make something beautiful with its light.  yeah, I realize that it’s no Ansel Adams…but, I did what I could with I had (Nikon D60).  I have to admit that, as I sat in that church parking lot…alone…in the dark…I got a little bit freaked out.  What if some crazed maniac with blood spread all over his shirt leaped out of the woods and tackled me?  What if the crazed maniac had blood covering his mouth?  What if the crazed maniac was wielding a weapon?  Ahhh!  So, I hopped in my car and was pretty much ready to go home and call it a night.  But, I didn’t.  Instead, I drove a little ways and then pulled into a little gravel parking area.  There were several other cars there…people fishing on the dark and quiet lake, I’m assuming.  I planned on sitting there for a bit–eating my cheddar and sour cream potato chips and junior mints.  I was going to wait for more stars to emerge from the cloudy sky.  I started in on the junior mints (they’re great for a coffee-free jolt of wakefulness!).  Then, I looked out the window…and there was the great, bold moon.  Once again, she spoke to me.  She became my muse of discovery…the discovery of long exposure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah!  I know, I know: amateur hour.  Don’t judge…because if you judge, you will not be judging my photography, but instead, my use of God’s beauty.  Yeah!

As I was driving out to this lake, I could feel my spirits slowly fall.  The clouds were covering the sky and the moon was so bright it would undoubtedly hide any stars that made it through the smoggy clouds.  So, I prayed…I don’t even remember what I prayed.  I just wanted to see beauty…to have the opportunity to revel in the glory and power that is God.  And, I got to do that.  Sure, I was assisted by a bit of technology.  But that’s completely irrelevant.  God is in everything that we do.  Even when our plans (such as stargazing) don’t happen due to interferences beyond our control (like clouds)…He is there.  He knows what will put smiles on our silly little faces.

Leave a comment »

1. Friday: Baking

Yea!  Baking!  I love it…even if I burn myself (twice today)…and make a mess of my kitchen (I do that even if I don’t bake).  Now, I know I said that I was going to make brownies, but I had a change of plans.  The recipe I had planned on using required frosting and I didn’t think that frosting would be ideal since I would have to put them in ziploc baggies.  So…cookies!

…yeah, I know it’s not the best picture but I am trying to share some proof of today’s accomplishment.  I had some leftover (i.e. didn’t need to go in baggies) and I ate them.  They were very yummy.  And the process of baking was, as always, incredibly enjoyable.  There was this one moment when I accidentally pulled my hand mixer off the counter and sent softened butter and cream cheese flying across the kitchen…but I survived (so did my toes).  Other than that, there were no issues.  The smoke detector didn’t even go off…it went off when I was making blueberry muffins one time.  True story.

Also, today, I took time to relax.  I said “no” when I got a call from one of my supervisors at work…someone else was sick and couldn’t work.  I said “no”.  That is a big, good deal for me.  I’m not very good at saying “no”.  But, I have to work 14 hours tomorrow so…I deserved to be free this evening.  And, I thoroughly enjoyed my freedom.

I made this:

Yes…that is a fruit and yogurt parfait with granola…homemade granola!  It was very delightful.  I used frozen blueberries…but those are my favorite for stuff like this.  When you defrost the berries, they juice just enough to give a hint of blueberriness to everything surrounding them…granola, yogurt, milk (when use as a cereal topping)…they are just fabulous.  I’ve also used them for blueberry tea.  They are just so delightful!

I didn’t spend the whole afternoon eating my parfait…although that might have been just lovely.  I also did something that I haven’t done in a while…well, two somethings actually.  I rode my bike and I took some photographs (besides these pathetic excuses for food photography).  I biked down to a little park that is near my house and just enjoyed myself.  I stuck a book in my bag too…got started on that (I’m preparing for Tuesday).  It was so enjoyable!  I like scaling back my life and savoring the little things.  Today?  Baking, biking, and a bit of a book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, while work will consume most of tomorrow (14 hours–ugh), I can look forward to one beautiful thing: stargazing.  So, that seems like a pathetic way to leave a blog post.

I have a bit of advice for you.  Even if your day seems crappy, find something beautiful to hold on to…whether it be the flowers outside your office, a really fabulous cup of coffee, or magical future plans…hold on to that piece of beauty…savor it…and know that there is always more beauty to find in the world.

1 Comment »

Planning to Savor Time

Did you read the post from yesterday?  If not, you might want to go back and do that…it would help this one make a little more sense.

So, I was thinking about that list…reflecting on how to put it into practice…make it real.  Reality is important, you know.  So, I decided that, over the next five days (starting tomorrow–Friday), I am going to try to do one of those things each day.  I figured out on which day I would do each item and kind-of an idea of how.  Here’s the plan:

  1. Friday: Baking.  Like I said yesterday, I’m already planning on making some brownies tomorrow!  It’s my turn to bring “goodies” to church and I decided that I want to make brownies and make brownies I shall!  I’m sure that there will be one…maybe two left over for me…with a nice cold glass of milk.  Mmm!
  2. Saturday: Stargazing.  I was going to start this process today and just hit the road, find a great field to lay in…but the weather is crummy.  So, I found this snazzy website (accuweather.com) and figured out the best night to go stargazing in my area.  I’ll probably take some coffee, maybe a brownie, definitely a blanket…I’ll eventually figure out the rest.
  3. Sunday: Kids!  Yes.  I volunteered to sub in one of the children’s church classes this Sunday (before I knew that I needed to bring goodies).  But, no worries.  I get to hang out with a room full of energetic, excitable, and always entertaining 3-5 year olds!  (Yes, I realize that this will be right after staying up half the night staring at stars.)
  4. Monday: Unplug.  This is going to be the hardest…hopefully I will still feel refreshed and rewarded afterwards.  If nothing else, I’ll go to bed earlier because I “don’t have anything to do”.  Or, I can get started on…
  5. Tuesday: Reading.  Yep.  I need to figure out what book I’m going to focus on.  Obviously I can’t spend the whole day with my nose in my book (I did that a lot in my younger years).  So, how shall I adapt?  Look through cookbooks for things to eat next week.  Order textbooks (ugh).  Ummm…maybe I should even try to write a book!?

Okay, so that’s the plan.  Tomorrow will probably be the easiest day…Sunday will be oober easy too.  The others…well, they will remain to be seen…suffered…er, conquered.  I really want to persevere, though.  Time has flown by this summer and I feel like all that I have done is go to school and go to work…I know there’s been way more than that.  But, work and school have consumed my life, especially these last few weeks.  So, here’s to starting off the new school year right–savoring these last moments of youth…ew, not something I want to think about yet!

Leave a comment »

Not a “People Person”

You remember those two “new”er best friends that I talked about in my last post?  Well, I’m living with them now.  For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to them as E and M.  E, M, and I (haha, that’s kind-of funny) have been getting along pretty well in our house.  Sure, there have been a few small issues but…everything has just smoothed itself out naturally.

Then again, maybe we’ve all been trying not to rock the boat.  While we all come from two-parent, middle-class households, all of our home lives have been incredibly different.  We all have our own ideas about how to make spaghetti sauce and what type of noodles to use.  And, cleaning is kind-of hit and miss in the bathroom.  In our living room…yikes.  They leave shoes, backpacks, sunglasses…just let it land and leave it there.  That bugs me.  I like to have everything neat and tidy before I go to bed.  Why?  Too much clutter sends me into this “tidying coma”…I literally cannot function until I straighten things up.  Not fun.

But, ya know, I’m trying to let go of some of my “control freak” nature.  Not that I’m a really bad “control freak”…actually, I’ve never considered myself a “control freak” at all.  In a house, though, I just want things done the right way, i.e. my way (in my mind, at least).  This weekend, both of my roommates went home to be with their families over our three-day weekend (yay, Labor Day!).  While I did get a little creeped out going to bed with a creepy house creaking and moaning around me (not to mention some loud neighbors), I really loved the time that I had alone.  I made myself spaghetti and meat sauce…my way.  I cleaned the kitchen…my way.  I watched TV…my way.  I had a blast!

So, now…they’re back–at least E is back.  I’m not going to say that I dislike having them home.  It’s nice to have some human interaction (I guess…maybe I’m saying that just to sound normal).  But, when she rolled back in, her family rolled back in with her.  You see, she didn’t exactly go home this weekend.  Her family swung through town and picked her up on their way to their cabin.  That’s cool and all…but, they swung back through and all crashed in our living room.  Not cool!

At the moment that they walked in the door, I was looking forward to getting my last pan of cookies out of the oven and sitting down with a few and a cup of delicious French-bought coffee.  Did I get to do that?  No.  E’s brother and sister crashed on the couch (although her brother offered to move when I came through from the kitchen) and her mom crashed in this really comfy chair that is awkwardly sitting in our awkwardly large dining room.  Her dad headed to the basement to do…something.  Set up a dehumidifier?  Fix her flat bike tire?  I dunno.  But, seriously, I’m pretty sure we could have handled some of that stuff.

Mom, brother, and sister are still hunkered downstairs and dad’s running up and down the stairs doing…something.  I’ve seen E come up a few times, but for the most part I’m just hiding in my bedroom.  Why?  What would be wrong with going downstairs and having a little conversation with them?

#1: I had a little conversation with all of them when they picked E up Saturday morning.  How much could have really changed or happened since then?

#2: I need to do homework.  I was on a roll, proofreading in between pans of cookies.  But, my roll was disrupted and got tossed on the floor the minute they walked in.

#3: I do not like participating in awkward and unnecessary conversations.

#4: This is MY house too and I do not like having a bunch of unnecessary people in it!  I should be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of delicious coffee and semi-delicious (I was missing a few key ingredients) cookies without concern for the comfort of other people…who shouldn’t be on my “Concern Radar” in the first place!

I don’t like unnecessary people invading my space.  Is that really so hard to understand?

Leave a comment »