I do have a laptop, but we don't have wifi. Since I got my laptop fixed in December, I've only been able to get online twice. The problem is I don't have my own transportation so when I get to go to a place with wifi available, I'm hanging out with a friend. And when I'm doing that, it's rude to get online and do my own thing.
Anyway, I've thought of at least four topics I wanted to blog about since the last time I got online and now. And I can only really think of one now, the rest escape me. And that one is to sum up the adventures I've been having.
I'd mentioned to you my Sunday adventures with Lydia, my friend who is moving away in February. She's going to a Bible school/seminary type deal in California. The semester starts mid February. So until then she and I committed to spending each Sunday together since mid fall. I've told you about some of this.
It started when we went to Charlotte, which I told you about in "Spasdic blog".
After that trip we decided to commit to spending every Sunday together between then and when she leaves. She'd take me to all the regional churches and have other random adventures besides.
Simpsonville is the closest church to where we live, obviously, but it's not close. However, my dear friend Tabitha's husband works there and constantly is dropping him off at work and coming to my house since they only have one car. So I was able to get the quickest route from my house to Simpsonville and Lydia was amazed it was just as quick for her to go from her house to my house and then to Simpsonville Tabby's shortcut way then it would be for her to go from her house to the church the way she normally goes.
So Simpsonville was next. I liked Simpsonville, but it wasn't as awesome as Charlotte. Of course, Charlotte had been a conference. But having seen the way the meeting was conducted in Charlotte, I found the parts I liked best were condensed in Simpsonville and the parts I'd not loved were stretched out. Just a difference in preferences, I suppose.
Afterwards, we went to the park and I called Tabitha. Lydia and I had lunch while Tabby navigated there, and then all three of us swung on the swings. Then we went to the skating rink Tabby's husband manages and skated. Tabitha fell down and sprained her ankle and I slipped and bruised my tailbone. Lydia was surprisingly agile, since she denied she was any good, and put both Tabby and I (who had had more recent experience) to much shame. Then Lydia and I went and bought a birthday present for my sister, then Lydia left and I had dinner with Tabitha in the bowling alley while her husband bowled for his league.
Next she bailed on me. :) She had forgotten when we agreed to all the Sundays that she had a gig with the band she's a part of in Columbia on a Saturday. And she'd decided to crash Saturday night at a friend's house, so she'd wake up in Columbia that Sunday. We toyed with the idea of me staying at the friend's house, but she couldn't just invite guests of her own, so that Sunday we weren't together.
We decided to try Simpsonville again the next week, but we got lost! We just couldn't find Scuffletown road! So we ended up in Fountain Inn at 10:45 when the meeting had started at 10. So we went to the First Baptist Church of Fountain Inn. And we loved it. It was the kind of church, atmospherically, you expected to be stuffy. Even the teenage boys wore sport coats and khakis, and it was just decorated like that. But it wasn't that way at all. It was around Thanksgiving, because they actually opened the floor up to people talking about what they were thankful for, and Lydia stood up. I had been planning to, but she beat me to the punch. (She's faster to act than I am, in general. I'm a cautious, take a minute to think about it person). The talk was on a portion of the gospel relating to different ways in which people came to Jesus. Actually, that's what the preacher pointed out. I'd never noticed that theme to it until he did, but I could see it. Lydia and I both felt we were supposed to be there.
The next two Sundays we stayed in Spartanburg. I started telling the story of one, realized I was combining the two somehow, and so I will just stick to this: the first Sunday we went to my church, St Matthew's Episcopal. We first went to Sunday school. Lydia enjoyed it, though both of us found we disagreed with some of the opinions there. I'm an extremely conservative Episcopalian (which would make me a liberal Baptist, lol). My heart is nondenominational, but that's one reason I love the Anglican Communion. Every Sunday we pray for the whole Church-- not just those who go to Churches that call themselves Episcopal or Anglican.
Plus, the worship is just BEAUTIFUL. :)
Lydia is friends with two people who go to my church who I don't know that well. She works with the husband of the couple, and the wife goes to Converse now (which is both Lydia and my alma mater: we met during freshman orientation, actually). I'm told we'd get along famously, the wife and I, but we've only met like twice now. But we sat with them on Sunday, and then went to church afterwards.
One thing I love about the Episcopal (and most other liturgical churches) is that the sermon is NOT the focus of the service. The scripture and the Holy Communion are. The sermon is only 20 minutes on average, and I often disagree with part of it, and this Sunday that was true. Still, I love my priest and know He loves God and that's what matters. Lydia's friends didn't disagree with him though, so that was a conflict when discussing the service at lunch afterwards.
But all in all, it was good. Then Lydia and I went to Hatcher Garden and sang. Maybe you saw us there. It was lovely, it was wonderful, and I took an emotional snapshot to treasure later when Lydia is gone.
The next Sunday we intended to go Columbia, but it didn't happen. So we decided to go to a random westside church. But while the eastside for the most part has 9 and 11 am services at most churches, the westside seems to have either just 10am or 8 and 10 am. And we were looking just before 11.
At like 11:45 or 12 we went into a church that had started at 11 and I won't tell you the name. We were saddened by it because it seemed to worship prosperity in the world, and not in the Spirit, to sum it up in a sentence. Afterwards, we went to Lydia's house and crafted gifts/Christmas cards.
Then Lydia and her family went to her aunt's house for the holidays. She was gone the first Sunday and on her way home the second Sunday.
So that brings us to the new year! We've had two adventures thus far, and they're big:
The first was Columbia. Lydia spent the night at my house (which is in the southern part of Spartanburg county and at least half an hour closer to Columbia) so we could start out with more sleep. We got there just a few minutes late because, surprise surprise, we got lost. :) But it was terrific, and I adored the people. It was a little kookier, but in a delightful way. If I had a car, I'd probably come down once a month to worship with them. They loved me and I loved them.
Afterwards, we went out to each with them at an "Asian fusion" restaurant.
I hate Asian food.
Well, I adore Indian food. But they didn't have it on the menu.
I got an egg roll. And at other's insistance I tried a Califorinia roll. But I don't like avocados. Still, if I had to eat at a sushi restaurant, I could endure them. lol.
Afterwards, we went to the park. It was SOOOO cold, but I had gotten an easel for Christmas, so I wanted to paint! I did a landscape in Riverfront park while Lydia sketched my face. She's more an artisan than an artist (I'm both) but she had fun. Mainly she explored the park though, while I stayed put. I experimented with pastels/watercolors and had lots of fun. Lydia has been collecting art, and I gave it to her and she seemed happy.
Sunset from behind the Nickelodeon.
Then I ate (we had brought food) in the car while Lydia tried to get directions to Starbucks. Her friend works at one down there, and she figured there was a good chance the closest one was where her friend worked. She got directions, but then was sure they were wrong and made us turn prematurely. But we saw a coffeehouse she remembered from when she was a teenager, which delighted her (it was closed). And we stopped in the Nickelodeon, the non profit independent movie theater. But we were on a budget, and couldn't afford tickets. But then her friend texted her the location of the Starbucks and we got directions from people at the theater.
So Lydia got to see her friend, who used to live in Spartanburg, and they hugged since they probably won't see each other for a long time with Lydia's impending move. And we got free drinks! :)
On our way out, to go home, there was a musician outside. Lydia and him did shoptalk (she's a musician) and I just enjoyed the tunes.
Then we headed home.
The next weekend we went to Athens! We'd actually gone to a prayer meeting on Wednesday in Simpsonville, and there Anna, a girl who is a semester ahead of Lydia at the school Lydia's about to start, revealed she needed a ride to Athens (not knowing of our plans) So we volunteered to take her.
I spent the night at Lydia's after Bible study on Friday, and the next morning we went to Simpsonville to pick up Anna. Then we headed for Georgia.
Anna and I hit it off! I adore her and she I. The love of Christ is so apparent is her, and she said the same of me. It is amazing the kinship of the Body! So all three of us were talking and reading scripture and somehow we over shot our exit by 40 miles! But we all laughed and said oh well and just got to Athens later than we'd planned. But none of us had to be anywhere until two hours after we got there anyway, so it was no big deal.
We went to a home meeting Saturday night. It was a bit like Bible study, but without the Bible study. I talked with Lydia and she explained that home meetings vary greatly in her tradition. Basically, this was a college age guy's meeting, and we ate, sang hymns/scripture songs, and then played the Wii. :) (There was a depressing moment there when I realized every guy there was way younger than me).
Afterwards, we still weren't ready to be down for the night, so we heard there was a game night. But when we showed up, it was on the verge of being cancelled because the woman's house it was at had her sister's children staying there and board games get loud.
So we ended up moving to the house Lydia and I were staying at and played taboo and an impromptu version of spoons. Then the other girls left and Lydia and I settled down.
It got really cold and I kept waking up from it. Plus, I was sleeping on a futon in which I could feel every single metal bar. Also, I found wifi and got online with glee. So all in all, I slept two or three hours before we had to get up to go to the Sunday meeting.
It was held at the UGA student hall. I was shocked to learn later that UGA has 38,000 students. People, that's more than the entire population of Spartanburg. Coming from Converse, with less than 800 undergrad, 1000 graduate students that's just an unfathomable number.
The meeting was good, though I confess I couldn't concentrate on what the men said. In this church tradition, there's a portion where people stand up and share what the Lord wants them to share. The women, I could pay attention to, but the men I just couldn't seem to absorb. I think it was just low or high voices. Women naturally hear higher pitched voices easier, men gravitate to lower pitches easier. So it just took more concentration than I had in me after 2 hours of sleep to process the men. Plus, no woman spoke for more than two or three minutes, but one guy spoke for like 20. :) Which is abnormal. The men do lead the meetings, but no one man does a "sermon". They have no formalized clergy, though they have "full timers" whose job it is to be there for whatever the church needs, but often this is like cleaning up or setting up, not glamorous leadership. They see themselves as the recovery of the first century church. In many ways, it's healthy and even healthier than other churches (small 'c') but we're not the 1st century church. We're the 21st century church. Looking backwards is both good and bad. But that's a HUGE blog for another day. :)
This Sunday, Lydia bailed again. We were going to go to Columbia again, and then afterwards go to Chapin to see my sister and brother in law. My parents would be joining us in Chapin. My sister lives in FL, but her in laws live in Chapin. My other sister made it too. As it was, it ended up being 17 people, but Lydia was not among us. She wasn't feeling too hot and heard falsely there may be sleet (we saw none). So she cancelled Saturday night. I was bummed, but Lydia has a tendency to keep going and going and going until she falls ill (just like my friend Tabitha, just not as often or severely as Tabby) and so it actually shows maturity that she realized her own limits.
Maybe I'll talk about Chapin another time.
I'd like to go back to Charlotte, to see a meeting that's NOT part of a conference. And we're supposed to go to Atlanta, the last regional church in the list. But when/whether that will happen, is yet unknown. If there's anything I've learned living with Jesus, He always keeps me guessing!