I have rock climbed in various forms since 7th grade. It started with weekly classes in middle school, when I broke my arm I took a really long break before getting back into it later in high school. This past summer my friend Allason and I would go climbing together. Usually in the morning before she had to go to work. We would take turns on a few top rope climbs before she had to go, then I would bolder until I was sore.
A friend of mine had just entered a new relationship, and I called her to ask how it was going. She chatted happily for a few minutes, but before long I got to ask her something. “Is he Rob to your Laura?”I asked. She laughed. And laughed. And then quieted. She thought about it for a while, but said she would have to get back to me on that one.
What is my “destiny”? What is your’s? I believe that we create our own destiny. It’s impossible to tell how our lives will turn out in the end. All we can do it make the best choices we can, and trust that God will provide. He always does.
These pictures a quite old, but the meaning is still there. I was bored, there were Banangrams tiles. This is what came of it. I hope very much that this can start happening more often as it was truly a jump start to my inspiration.
As many of you know it was a goal of mine to attempt 20 new things before my 20th birthday. Sadly my birthday has come and gone, and half the list goes undone. I hold out hope for next year though as I am putting the finishing touches on the 21 Before 21 list, and putting in place plans to actually go do the things on the list. Yeah. Anywho, here goes; the list of 20 things that were done or not done by my 20th birthday.
1. Have a fancy tea party. Not done, but I threw one for my old roommate’s birthday which was immediately after mine. Counts?
2. Try out a crown braid. DONE. Has become a near-staple.
3. Knit a hat. Not done, learning this winter from Elspeth.
4. Bake a pie. DONE.
5. Read the whole bible. Not done, on the list for next year and already working on it.
6. Sew a pair of pants. DONE. Sort of, shorts count.
7. Grow a herb garden. Not done.
8. Go on a hike. DONE
9. Go to a real concert. DONE
10.Learn to navigate by bike DONE
11.Send a care package. Not done.
12.Organize a clothing swap. Not done.
13.Learn to apply make-up. Not done.
14.Be in a performance. DONE Sort of.
15.Go to a Critical Mass ride. Not done.
16.Teach myself to play a song on the piano. Not done
17.Post poetry online. DONE
18.Skip class and go out to breakfast. Not done.
19.Try yoga. DONE
20.Go camping. Not done.
Total things done: 9
Total things not done: 11
Things from this year on next years list: 7
Next week look for my new list of 21 Before 21.
So, in keeping with tradition, I will do a post on my weekend trip out to the Austin neighborhood for my InterVarsiy chapter’s retreat. I feel like I should put a disclaimer here that this isn’t a normal “Around Town / Around the World” post in that I didn’t go to Austin for a vacation like the other places I’ve written about so far. Also, I am notoriously bad at remembering to take pictures, and since the weekend was so short I have no pictures whatsoever.
Now that all is out of the way let’s get down to it. I went to the Austin neighborhood with a handful of other members of my school’s InterVarsity chapter. We meet up with a handful of students from DePaul University’s InterVarsity chapter as well. On Friday night we spent time getting to know each other, eating way too much cheep, off-brand candy, and talking about what God is doing in Austin.
And God is doing so much. Austin is a neighborhood that was radically changed in the 60’s with white flight and is now a heavily black neighborhood where a significant percentage (I don’t remember the number) of the population is living under the poverty line. I struggle sometimes with how I should be dealing with race in my daily life and this retreat was occationally uncomfortable in that I was usually the only white chick there.
Being the minority is a switch for me as in most other places I am the majority. I was a good experience for me to be the one that looks out of place. My school is big on diversity and is always bragging about our amount of diversity, but I find that it isn’t mentioned much outside of the admissions process and the office of Multi-Cultural Affairs. The thing is though, that we are all broken people. “Black”, “white”, “red”, “brown”, “yellow”, what-have-you, we are all broken somehow by the pain and hardships that come with living.
The amazing thing is the community that grows when people are in such tough situations. On Saturday I went with a small team to a local church and we helped them with cleaning their sanctuary; sweeping, mopping, cleaning bathrooms and polishing pews. I learned that the church building is nearly a hundred years old and was built as a catholic church. The current owners of the building are a Baptist church, and they’ve been there for 18 years. The church congregation has been meeting in some fashion for nearly 50 years in the same neighborhood.
Saturday night we went out for Soul food (am I spelling that right?), and debriefed with each other talking about what we’d done in the afternoon. Once again we ate too much food. This time it was more nutritious than candy. That night I sang hymns because I freaking love hymns. Love ’em, love ’em, love ’em. Apparently this is abnormal for a person my age. I don’t even care. I could also talk for a very long time about stained glass windows, but I’ll spare you. For now. I feel like there will be a post about one or both of these subjects at some point in the future*.
My love of hymns was actualized even more so when we sang a few in church Sunday morning. I was in awe of the love and peace that surrounded the church. The sermon talked about a lot of things, but the part that especially stuck with me was the mention of tithing. I needed that reminder and still do as I figure out my finances for the rest of the school year half based on the atypical month of September. Which is now October and feels to be very officially fall.
The chill in the air followed me back all the way to the Loop as the whole lot of us took the green line home again, home again. Beginning again with “normal” life was a bit of a strange experience. There was homework to be done, dishes to be put away, and Doctor Who to watch (Umm, guys? Doctor Who? Anybody?). Good-bye Austin. You’ve taught me much, and I wait to see what else I have to learn. Thank you for letting me stay, and bringing me back.
*But I also promised a post on farmers market meals and an “Around the World” post for my Denver / Boulder.