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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson


Updated: Sep 9, 2019

Des Moines Oct. 2018

(Note Ali sporting Minnesota and Luke in UNI)

Who hates Iowa? We hate Iowa!!!

It’s the favorite cheer of the U of M student body, a chant employed not only at games against the black and gold, but also (so I’ve been told) at pretty much any game against any Big-10 team. And as a college freshmen, Luke ate it up.

Shhh. Don’t tell Grandma Bev.

As in, Ali’s grandma, and all the other aunts and uncles and shirttail cousins calling Iowa home, and oh-my-hawkeyes-goodness I’ve never seen the like. Or the bling. These people are FANS. Two weekends ago Luke and Uncle Matt were the only dudes at a bridal shower in Muscatine, Iowa. The same Uncle Matt who slipped a magnetic pig into his note of congratulations, a not-so-subtle reminder of Floyd’s long stay south of the border. I thought Luke handled it well.

It was the first of two long weekends I’d spend traveling from one end of the state to the other, and if I don’t end up getting a complimentary speeding ticket in my mailbox before the end of 2018 it will be a miracle and then some. Iowa’s like the Big Brother of the Midwest with its hidden cameras and postal citations and who hates Iowa? Just saying.

Of course, I hate Minnesota, was the phrase Felipe uttered first thing this morning, given our November snow and ice. Fortunately for him, his Eddie Bauer parka arrived in the mail yesterday just in time, and when he’d asked a couple of weeks ago if we’d buy it for him, I laughed out loud. You’re a true Minnesotan now, I’d told him. That first winter, refusing a coat, calling a sweatshirt his jacket. A Columbia windbreaker the next season (u-not-o, mind you, and no relation to the boy’s Colombia of origin.) And now this year, wrapped in a -40F parka with no shame whatsoever, scraping ice from his windshield before heading to class.

We’re all adapting, the word I wrote in my notes last week at a Family Ministry network session featuring Michelle Anthony, a favorite of mine. She opened with a story about years ago, as a young mom joining her husband for a four-month stay in Kenya, and he’d told her it would be just like living in Southern California, which of course, it was not. She told about picking bugs out of pie dough, and the first few weeks she could hardly eat a thing, but by the fourth month she’d bake those bugs along with the dough, which is how she knew she’d eventually ADAPTED.

And I’m thinking about four years, not months, and we’ve adapted, too. The guys and us, both. Michelle said this, too, how at first it’s offense and fear of the unknown, but the goal is Redemption in a culture of Love. I’m taking notes in Sharpie on a glossy promotional card, amazed at how she’s using all of my phrases.

We simply love people, while creating a culture for them to become spiritually formed through God’s Spirit… She’s talking about church, but I’m thinking about home, and how it’s the very thing we’ve been trying to do. Adapting is one thing, redeeming another, and Monday over coffee Angie said what I’d been thinking. How Redemption is the most amazing miracle of all.

So we buy coats online and we cook up one more pot of chicken and rice, adapting both ways. All the while doing our best to create a culture that chants I LOVE YOU, in any state, in all kinds of weather. Even Iowa. We love you, too (;

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