Canada, Michigan, and Nashville, Oh My!

WOW. So many transitions!

In the midst of all these transitions, I’ve been making a list of things I wanted to blog about. This post is about the things on that list.

1. The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Summer Peace Camp 2014 (a.k.a. “Peace Camp!”): Imagine a ton of progressive Baptists from California, Texas, Ohio, New York, Ontario, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, North Carolina, Tennessee and a bunch of other locales gathered together at a large Canadian university in the Niagara region, singing and praying and dancing and laughing and worshipping and loving together while doing conference things, attending workshops, sharing meals, riding the Maid of the Mist (in Canada it’s called the Hornblower) at Niagara Falls, and of course, visiting some beautiful organic wineries. Wish you were there, right?

One of the best things about this conference (and there were a lot of best things I could talk about) was the young adult group. The young adults ranged from college aged to folks in divinity school to teachers and people who self-identify as a young adult (and who’s to say what “young” is?!) These folks welcomed me (a non-Baptist first-timer) into one of the official Young Adult Townhouses (read: we stay up late and chat and are goofy ’til the early a.m. and then are late for breakfast and morning worship) and also into their fun and friendly group dynamic. Everyone was willing to share of themselves, discussing spirituality and God and their life, and just simply walking alongside each other in each other’s spiritual journeys. So much love and life and peace in that group. ❤

2. Michigan

So, post-Wild Goose and pre-BPFNA I was mostly hanging around my hometown in mid-Michigan. This was a much-needed rest period. I got to hang out with some awesome friends from high school who are still the hilarious, loving, and supportive folks I remember them to be. Much love was shared!

 

I also got to hang out with my family, boating and watching our favorite tv shows and movies, as well as traveling to Illinois to see my mom’s side of the family for the 4th of July. My cousins and their children are some of the most important people in my life and I value any time I get to see them! Being around my family is an incredibly important part of my life, and I always feel warmed and renewed by their presence.

And because family is not only defined by blood relations, I valued the time to see my best friend, her husband, and her mom more than usual. They are some of the strongest people I know, and whether sharing spaghetti together or going out for drinks or eating pizza on the couch, they are the coolest and definitely part of my family.

I also, importantly, got to sleep in and watch Netflix and do crafts and cook tasty things. Yay.

3. NASHVILLE

Oh my goodness! So, guess what? I moved! To Nashville! The first five days have been amazing. I thought I’d have some separation anxiety (from the Great Lakes, from Michigan, from family, etc.) but it’s going really well. I’m part of an amazing group in the Belle H. Bennett House at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, nestled in midtown Nashville between Vanderbilt University and Music Row. (Yes, THE music row. Celebrities are found running around everywhere, from what I hear. I was pretty sure that I saw the actress who plays Rayna James in the show “Nashville” the other day, and we can see Taylor Swift’s (or TayTay, as I fondly call her) penthouse from our porch. Wut.)

Our house is beautiful. The people inside it are beautiful. The campus of SBC is beautiful. The programs are beautiful. Wow. I’m just amazed at the amazing things going on around here. In the first several days of this fellowship program, we have attended seminars on interfaith relations and Nashville’s role in the civil rights movement (watch “A Force More Powerful”), mapped big events in women’s history, and mapped the trajectory of our own lives and spirituality. It’s been, quite simply, amazing. I am so convinced that I made the right decision as to what program I engage during this year (or two) before going to divinity school. While I know that working for AmeriCorps would have been a wonderful opportunity, and one that I might still do sometime, I am so glad to be living and working alongside a group of young women that hold the same values and ideals as I do. We can (and have) talked about race, sexism, immigration, faith, church, friends, family, life plans, and how we can encourage each other to live the life we want to live. They’re great. I’m blessed.

So, yeah. That’s my list. Since I’m in a listing mood, I’ll give y’all another list:

Things I’m thankful for:

  1. gardens–including the dirt, bugs, sunburns, and weeds they come with
  2. Skype–I’m taking advantage of this a lot! It’s a great way to stay in touch with my loved ones. Sometimes it’s so nice to see someone’s face after a long day.
  3. walking–my housemate Elena and I went on a 3.47 mile walk yesterday, all around our neighborhood and a nearby park. Even though it was 91 degrees, we lasted very well and I felt energized all day.
  4. Oberlin connections–a good friend of mine from Oberlin just moved here to start at Vanderbilt Divinity School in several weeks. It was a blessing to see his face yesterday and know that some good friends are nearby!
  5. church–I love church. And I’m defining church as a community of people that get together and support each other and enjoy fellowshipping with each other. I was invited to a church this morning through some Peace Camp connections, which was so uplifting and inspiring. The service was beautiful and familiar, and I’m super glad I got to go.
  6. Country songs that I know–my house has been exploring the area a bit and has stumbled into some cool venues for country music and dancing. I feel really good when I know the songs–but my country music knowledge is in need of improvement. If you have some favorite singers, send them my way!

Food for thought: What are you thankful for today?

 

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