adventures in MN: mini roadtrip summer 2015

I spent the [double long] weekend in Minneapolis. I tried to write a Facebook status update on Sunday about it. It kept turning into a blog post it was so long. Now it’s Thursday and I’m trying to recreate what I had (except that’s impossible, and also I saved it somewhere and think my phone ate it.

Anyways. After a super chill day at camp on Friday (my wish was granted: I got such a chill camper on Friday. He was awesome. He and I hung out in the bean bag chair filled tent for a bit and both discovered we were going to Minneapolis for the weekend, so we talked about what we were going to do there, and he told me these crazy stories from dreams he’s had, and then our morning activity never showed up so he basically played soccer for two hours. Then after lunch (pizza!) some coaches needed to stay back to clean up while the kids and coaches went to the pool/splash pad… I agreed to stay back, and after 45 minutes camp was disassembled, loaded into a couple vehicles, and the kids memory books were assembled. That left… an hour and a half to hang out with the other coaches and camp director and eat freezies. For real.), I left camp early to hit the road to Monticello, MN with my aunt and grandma. The border people are pretty okay with the answer of because Dean is going to school/working in America for the summer, they get tired of us quick and let us keep driving :).

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Minion Twinkies? Yes, please! [I also bought Banana Creme Pie ones. With Minions. Because obviously.]

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The next day, we drove to Minneapolis. Eventually, Dean let us into the building (he had to pay with a check [not cheque] for our guest apartment!), and then we went for a drive to the park.

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Because I like subjecting people to my ADHD sometimes, here’s a picture from back at the apartment. BAGEL WEDNESDAY! Which is not the same as FREE BAGEL FRIDAY from WheezyWaiter videos of old.

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Back to “real time”.

We went to Breugger Bagels and then back to the park to stand on a boat for a couple hours.
It was hot out but there were photogenic things so it was fun. (Are things photogenic or just people?)

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Pano-park-rama.

And here are a bunch of out-of-order pictures from the riverboat tour.

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I took about one decent picture indoors. Then we went outside so that’s the last one with glare.

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Our boat had a crown. Minnesota Queen. (Also, yes, it was the Mississippi River, and yes, there at one point was a Mississippi Queen tour, or maybe there is. And no, they did not play Mississippi Queen by Mountain on there.

Dean was disappointed. Obviously.

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But then we made faces inside a lock as our boat rose. I didn’t intend to look quite that ridiculous, and I probably intended to at least be looking at the camera.

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This is an interesting tree.

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Bridge graffiti interests me.

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Here’s a landslide. Weird, eh?

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We went to Punch Pizza for dinner later that day. I love that place. If you’re in Minneapolis, I highly encourage you to check it out. Also another thing I learned about the next day, is WHIRLYBALL. Yes, that sounds ridiculously fun, even without knowing that it is basically lacrosse in bumper cars. My friend Heather told me about it at lunch at Houlihan’s. Also, when Heather (and her service pup Becca, who gave me a hello shoulder nudge when I got in the car!) picked me up, Heather surprised me with E. L. Fudge cookies! (There was a brief period of time where they disappeared from Dean’s Target, and this worried him. Heather went on a mission, and sent me a picture one day. And sure enough… provided me with E. L. Fudge cookies of my very own! :D).
 
Heather, Scott and I have made it a tradition to get together if at all possible when I’m in the area (they are AWESOME and I highly appreciate this!). This time, we had to sandwich it in between Scott playing basketball in the morning, and Heather having art class in the afternoon. BUT, it totally worked… mostly! 🙂 Scott and Heather ended up tag-teaming a bit, because basketball was super awesome—so, unfortunately, they had minimal hang-out time with the three of us, but I got lots of hang out time with each of them :). Scott drove me back to the apartment where I hung out briefly and then we went to Cupcake on University. (Obviously I love that place, and think you should go there too, if you’re in the area.)
 
When we got back, my aunt continued preparing dinner at the apartment—risotto, garlic mashed potatoes, salad, and chicken wings for the meat eaters—a proper-ish home-cooked meal for Dean and his roommate Derek (…and us, of course). We also went and played frisbee on the lawn of the architecture building briefly. Derek is better than I, but we both aren’t great at catching. Also, it’s hard to catch when Derek repeatedly threw the frisbee six feet higher than me. ;))
 
The next morning, Dean stopped by at 6:30 AM to say goodbye before he went to work (concerning bridges, actually). My aunt took a trip to Breugger Bagels again (because they kept giving us surveys where you got three free bagels?!) for bagels and cream cheese, and then we packed up and hit the road…
 
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Goodbye, Minneapolis.

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…by way of Albertville outlet malls, a Target for lunch (if you’re a smarty like Gerry, no, there is not a dining area in Target!), a Dollar General in Barnesville, Fargo’s West Acres Mall…
 
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and on to Grand Forks for Erbert and Gerbert for dinner (yes, I’m having pb&j and broccoli and cheese soup!)
 
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…plus I still had a cupcake and a half to eat…  
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…and some shopping. 
 
Oh, and the hotel pool at the Expressway in Grand Forks was awesome. Not only was it asthma-friently salt water, we think, it also had pretty coloured lights in it! And a basketball hoop in the pool!
 
And that’s about it, so we went home. (Or that’s about it because we went home. Whatever.)
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I still want to play Whirlyball, obviously. It’s on my list for next time. 😉

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six years.

Always, always when I think of this, on this day, a wave of disbelief and dizziness in reliving those moments of desperation passes over me.  The day comes and goes, year after year, where I was so close to losing it all, and then in an instant, got it all back.  And I still don’t know what to say about it, what to do about it.  In a moment where everything was crumbling in front of my eyes, the darkness that surrounded everything around me and everything in me became light.

Six years later, I am still without words for the redemptive love of my amazing Saviour who saved my life.  Protected me from myself and saved my life when I was so, so close to throwing everything away.  Throwing my life away.

I have no other words.  I am still alive.

And thank You will never be enough. But those two words, HOPE for tomorrow, and a heart of love for my God is all I have.  Hope that only begun in me six years ago today, and love that I try to let shine through in my life.

I don’t deserve this.  I don’t deserve to be transformed, to be changed.  I don’t deserve the amazing people around me, my amazing jobs, the amazing kids I work with, my amazing church.  I don’t deserve all of the things I’ve been blessed with.  I don’t deserve the love of my God after all the times I pushed Him away and smacked Him in the face.

Yet He loves me despite it all.  He loves me enough that He opened my heart that September day in 2005 by telling me that I didn’t have to end my story then and there.  That He alone could get me through everything I was facing–lighten my darkness, take the depression, and heal my grandma of the cancer that invaded her for a few more years.

I’m living a life that six years ago I’d have never dreamed.  I’ve had amazing ups, and I’ve had huge downs.  I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve danced, I’ve cried.  I’ve reached my arms to the sky in worship and fallen to my knees in desperation.

I’ve created new chapters of the same story that God is writing.

I am ALIVE.