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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Revisiting My Fear of the Box

Dream series

a glimpse into MY dreams

A year ago, my life was topsy turvy.  I had no plans and that was terrifying.  I was banking on one program: a teaching assistantship in France.  When I didn’t get into the program (I found out in early April), I was heartbroken and wrote:

“I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.”

The topsy turvy nature of my life continued for several more months until, like when a woman’s water breaks, everything started happening.  I interviewed for a tutoring organization in Minnesota and, within a month, I had moved to Minnesota.  God gave me exactly what I need: a year to go someplace and clear my head!  The move was less than unexpected (I didn’t even remember applying for the position with AmeriCorps!)

*sidenote: I’m back in that coffee shop.  The conversation that I get to overhear?  Learning about someone’s experience with a c-section*

Anyways, I jumped into the unexpected and trusted that God had something in store for me.  Boy, did I ever underestimate Him!  Looking back and looking forward (yeah–I’m talented like an owl), I can see how this is exactly what I needed this year.  In many ways, France would have been easy.  I doubt that I would have had the honor to work with kids from refugee families, living at or below poverty level, and who don’t speak English at home.  I wouldn’t have developed a throbbing passion to work in the early childhood field, preparing three and four year olds for the world that is public education.  The classrooms that have surrounded me this year have given me more direction that I have ever had.  And more importantly, I feel that God is in that direction.  He’s right here with me, pointing me there!

looking back

looking back

I had a specific purpose when I started this blog post…and it was to look forwards more and backwards less.  But this reflection on the past year has been refreshing.  I’ll save the thoughts on all of the tomorrows for another day.  You aren’t going to want to miss it.  Let’s just say…I’m pretty sure that I’m not in the box.

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Losing a Callous

Whoops!

Whoops!

For the past several weeks, I have been climbing regularly.  Last weekend, I noticed that my elbows were terribly achy, so I decided to scale it back a bit.  This weekend, I came home with a ripped up pinkie finger!  But, I refuse to let a bit of loose skin stop me from moving up.

See that?  It’s pretty mild compared to what I found when I googled “climbing callous”.  Apparently there are multiple schools of thought on callouses and how to maintain them, or whether or not they should even be maintained!

DSC_0512

These bad boys are holding on!

That google experience also led me to consider the definition of a callous.  According to Merriam-Webster, there are two definitions of callous.  What I have is 1a: “being hardened and thickened.”  Well, that’s what I had…until I ripped my pinkie open.  I still have hardened and thickened skin in multiple places on multiple other fingers, though.

Back to handy dandy MW, though.  There’s the second definition set for callous: (a) feeling no emotion(b) feeling or showing no sympathy for others.  Sometimes I wonder if I am callous or have developed callouses in certain situations.  And I have no choice but to come to the conclusion that I have

There are certain things about which I am passionate, things that I value.  Towards everything else, I tend to have a more callous attitude.  Wow, that sounds terribly generalized doesn’t it?  So let’s get specific.

Kids

I love working with “at-risk” kids in high-poverty areas.  From what I read and learn, there are apparently a lot of people who don’t have a passion for these kids or who can’t handle working in that environment.  But I have a passion and I can handle the environment…so that is something that I want to pursue.  Kids who don’t fall into this boat…I couldn’t care less.  I am callous towards them.

But the winds of God are blowing…and the sailboat of my life could be heading into uncharted waters.IMG_1336

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Post-Thanksgiving Slump

Thanksgiving was a much-needed opportunity to be with my parents.  And when I say “be with” I mean more than just spending time with them.  I can’t really convey how much that phrase carries.  There aren’t any tangible details into which I could delve, so I won’t bother.  But, the warmth that I received when I was with them made leaving that much harder.  I came home Saturday night and cried myself to sleep.  All day Sunday, I felt fragile.  This has never been me.  I’ve been the type of person who turns around and forgets about friends, family, connections.  My fragility scared me…it still does.  I question whether or not I am who I thought I was.  I wonder if some switch has suddenly flipped and I am now weak.

Monday morning seemed impossible.  The motivation that I normally have was completely absent.  I wanted to curl back up in bed and sleep until Christmas break.  Somehow I managed to get ready for school, though, and I had some time to spare.  So I turned to the warmth of my heavenly Father and this is what he had to say:

Be joyful always;

pray continually;

give thanks in all circumstances,

for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

He will supply.  No matter how “fragile” I feel, His strength will protect me from the knocks and bumps that the world throws my way.  Or, that arise from my inner angst and fears.  And when the path seems foggy, my prayers and joy and thanks should continue.  There is no better way to exist.

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I’m a Weeble

Weeble-free zone

Yes, I am referring to that endearing child’s toy, the kind that doesn’t fall down.

Today was rough.  I feel like I have so many things on my plate…all half-done.  The essential pieces always seem to be missing just as I get ready to finish a task.  As soon as I realize that task A is going to be left half-done, another task gets tossed on.  So I’m left balancing a ton of half-done projects.  Balance is not my strong suit. But I have been blessed.

God made me a Weeble.  No matter how much those projects try to fall over, I weeble and wobble with them!  Everything stays in place…until it gets done or passed off to someone else (that doesn’t happen…ever).  And no matter how much the stress of the world attempts to knock me down, they can’t.  Instead, I pop back up and hit them back…that’s a bobo doll.  We’ll stick with the Weeble analogy.

 

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Out of My Control

I like control.

I never have control.

This is something that I am continually noticing as I progress through my life.  When I graduated from high school, I had a plan.  Screw that.  As I approached my senior year of college, I had a really great plan.  Screw that.  I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Just throw a hammer at that.

Time and again, I am reminded that I am NOT in charge of my own life.  That often makes me nervous (see first sentence in this post).  But then some little thing happens and I become thankful that I’m not in control.  God has a way of popping into my life at the moment when I need Him most…when I am about to get lost in my own head.

I was sitting around, trying to figure out a budget.  As an AmeriCorps member, that is very important.  My income is pretty tiny…and, as anyone can tell you, living is expensive.  So, I have these numbers swimming before me (there are also numbers about volunteering hours, intervention scripts, interstates…but those are for another day).  I am wondering how much I can really afford to spend on food if I want to be able to drive to work.  A new song pops onto Pandora:

I’ve got waves that are tossin’ me

Crashin’ all over my beliefs

And in all sincerity, Lord

I wanna be Yours

You Lead by Jamie Grace

This isn’t a new song to my ears, but in that moment the words were so deep and fresh that it seemed new.  I do not belong to this world or the restrictions of my budget in this world.  I belong to God.  And even when I don’t see how things will work out…He’s got it under control (as long as I don’t busy-body my way in to the driver’s seat).

The song goes on to say, “I know what You got for me is more than I can see.”  Just another reminder that God had waiting for the right moment and the right time.  My eyes pick up on the “right now.”  I have spent the past week in trainings and orientations…and it has been pretty miserable.  My brain is so wrapped up in the details that my heart has lost sight of why I am here.

1) God put me here.

2) I have an opportunity to do what I LOVE.

3) No one expected me to move halfway across the country to not get paid (I love surprising people)…that’s just bonus.

With all of that being said…man, it’s great to be reminded who’s in control.  And fifteen minutes later as I am wrapping up this post, Pandora continues to surprise me.  Who knew that God controlled the radio?!?

How great is our God.

Sing with me….

(Chris Tomlin)

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Anything But the Box

We are verging on two months.  My other blog is going strong…but that is irrelevant here.  What is relevant here is that I am beyond the breaking point.

Just over a year ago, I admitted to myself and to those around me that I did not want to be a teacher.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do…but I knew that I didn’t want to settle into a classroom and get stuck there for 30 years.  So, for the past 365+ days, I have been seeking an alternative.  The first thought was social work.  I pursued graduate schools with appropriate programs (I’ve been rejected by one, accepted to another, and told that I will probably get rejected from a third).  In the midst of applications though, I thought that I might want to be a counselor…so, I started looking at psych programs…short-lived ambition.  I set my heart on teaching in France and applied to a program.  One and a half weeks ago (April 4), I received an e-mail rejecting me from that program.

I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.

And thus, over the past eleven days, I have gone back to square one, via the five stages of grief…well, I do not think that I have quite made it to the final stage just yet.  At this point, I don’t even know what to think.  I spent some time feeling that the whole world was full of opportunities; but nothing is clicking.  I just want to see one job somewhere…and fall in love with it…the way I did with France.  Nothing is happening, though.

I feel like I need to remind God that I am here and that I am willing to GO.  I want to beg him to let me GO because right now, one of the options is moving back to Arkansas.  Supposedly I could find a job teaching French somewhere down there.  I don’t want to go back to Arkansas.

God, I am willing to move to Africa…Asia…an inner city where my life-expectancy is lessened due to drive-by shootings.  You don’t need me in Arkansas.  DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK IN THE BOX.

That is how I see Arkansas.  I spent the first 18 years of my life there.  The last four have been spent in Missouri…not that much better.  I am itching to get away to a place where people’s minds and hearts are open.  I am tired of people who judge and people who hold tight to tradition.  Anywhere but there…but here…please God.

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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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