Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Looking Back on La Paz

This morning I awoke and found that students from GEBC serving in La Paz had updated the blog and pictures had been posted. As I read the students words, I couldn't help but remember my time as I entered a world unknown to me last summer as I, along with many others, led a group of students into the unknown of La Paz and have a yearning in my heart that makes me wish I was there with them...even if it's hotter than it is here right now. My adventure last year was like none I'd ever experienced. You can read about it here. (It's long...) Something welled up inside of me as I browsed the pictures, saw my sister, many students that went with me last year, places I knew, and some of the amazing fellow leaders that I worked with. My heart loved La Paz differently than it's loved other places. I look back on the different mission trips I've experienced both as a student and a leader...each one was so unique and even when I was in the same place more than once, it certainly wasn't the same. There will probably never be a time when I know exactly why La Paz was so different but some of the reasons are irrefutable:
  • It was my first time leading a trip outside the US.
  • It was only my second time leading a trip but I wasn't the main leader in charge, see here for a taste of that experience.
  • My sister and I were there together although I was not in her room and I worked most closely with other girls.
  • God taught me a lot about patience with one of my best friends and how to love him despite my utter frustration with him at times.
  • God began a restoration of that same friendship and allowed us to have some very special moments that I'll never forget and always cherish in my heart.
  • Although I had very little, some might say practically no(ne), Spanish speaking skills, I was able to grow more in one week than I had in my one semester in college (a whole other story you can ask about later).
  • God changed my heart and I'm confident that God has a plan far greater than any I could ever imagine for myself.
As I impatiently await the arrival of my sister and the other students to come home, I have to remember that God has them there for a reason. Just as he had me not help lead this trip for a reason, and I think I'm starting to see why.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Things Fitness in Chicago

In my last blog post, I ranted and raved about the amazing opportunities for fitness in DC. Although I still really think that trail has a leg up on Chicago, and it's -land, I have to recant and give Chicago the credit it deserves. I've been more observant and tuned into fitness opportunities as I've driven and visited so many different places in Chicago and the 'burbs since my trip. [Side note: I drove into downtown Chicago on my own for the first time last week. I normally take the train or graciously let someone else drive.] While taking a day trip for my sister's birthday last week, I realized there is plenty to do along the lakefront of Lake Michigan...it is just a matter of how much I'm willing to pay to do so. To go jet-skiing for 30 minutes, it's $75...not in my budget...that's basically half my gas allowance each month. The beaches are great as long as you get there early to avoid the masses and you also won't have to walk miles away either. I have yet to bike or run along Lake Shore Drive...but it's in the plans for the near future. My brother and I have gone out to Geneva twice in the last year to ride bikes along the Fox River. I found out this time, that is goes much further than I realized and that you can rent paddle boats too.

So although I love DC, Chicago and the 'burbs have some neat things to do if you just look for them. I've compiled a list of just some of the wonderful things you can do fitness-wise in the area:

1. Bike/Walk/Run along the Fox River
2. Rent jet skis and other water equipment along the lakefront
3. Enjoy the splendor of the Western Trail or the Prairie Path
4. Bike/Walk/Run along Lake Shore Drive
5. Swim in Lake Michigan

Go find your fitness area...and if you find some neat places...let me know.