A Stranger

Matt Chandler always says "Your life can change with a phone call."
With that in mind, Tori called me this afternoon.

She had chosen to stay longer than usual this weekend to help with wedding decorations. We got so much done, and we were working until 9:00 Sunday night. She has class in Chattanooga at 1:00 on Monday, so she chose to drive back in the morning.

"Hello." I said
". . .Did you hear what happened?" She said in an unsettling voice.

- at this point in a conversation things run through your head at rapid fire. Every situation comes barreling down on you at light speed. I didn't even know brains were capable of such speed. I shut my office door and sat down all in one fluid, robotic motion. I had somehow analyzed that even Tori herself could have been in a tragic car accident, even though she was the one on the phone. Apocalypse, death, disease, explosion, heart-break. . . I don't know why we do this, anyways. You are clearly about to find out what happened in .5 seconds, but somehow our mind decides it needs to prepare itself. Maybe if you think of it first, it won't be as much of a shock to the system. Beat the system. . .
Nobody in my family died. Nobody in my family was injured physically.

Have you ever driven to Chattanooga? Seen the declines and curves and run-away tractor trailer ramps? Well, Tori was driving to school when a man in a jeep possibly drifted to sleep or checked a text and veered into the guard rail. He then began to flip back in the opposite direction until he ran into the side of the mountain, being ejected from his car. Tori was there, behind him, to witness and to help. She stopped on the side of the road. Called 911, and sat with him. As everyone drove by, nobody else stopped to help. They all left it to little Tori. They left it to Tori to run up the rode until she found a mile marker. To run back to the man and try to talk to him. To try and fix his head wound. To try and ask about his wife who will get a terrible phone call today. To pray for him.

When the paramedics arrived, they asked for her account of what happened, then sent her on her way. They sent her away without knowing what would happen to him. If he would live or die. When would his wife find out? Did he have kids? Did he know God? They told her to leave.

In these intense, adrenaline-filled moments our body goes into auto pilot. It's almost like it is hard-wired to deal with it. It knows what to do. Then when it is done, it doesn't seem to have happened to us. Was it real? How long did it last? Did I wipe off all the blood?

I am insanely proud of Tori today. To immediately stop and help without a thought of whether or not she actually needed to. I don't know what I would do. Would I have assumed someone else more capable would help? Do we ever consider ourselves capable of such a task? Sitting with a stranger while their life hangs by a thread? Whose task is this, really? What were the other hundred passer-by's thinking as they drove by? "They have it handled" . . . Yea, Tori had it handled. I am sure those other people would be ashamed of themselves if they realized they left this job up to a 20 year-old girl with no medical knowledge. Needless to say, she did it, and she will probably be forever changed by this experience and the stranger who she may, or may not, ever hear from again.

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
Edward Everett Hale


In Eleven Days

Wait just one minute. When did this happen?? How is the wedding a week and a half away?
I can't fully wrap my brain around this. It is a strange feeling to plan a wedding for so long, that when it is no longer in the distance, but right in front of your face, it doesn't seem real. It feels like a mirage. All of the sudden we have so much to do, and so little time to do it. All of this is hitting me while Daniel is away at training, which totally adds to the bizarre emotions and reactions I am having to the reality of the wedding being eleven days away. Daniel isn't around for me to lean on. He can't tell me opinions on decorations or help with them. He is concentrating on being a leader, and a responsible man. I am sure succulents and chalk boards do not exist in Daniel's brain at the moment, and I am glad they don't. All he has to do is show up on time, and bring a ring.

"Sometimes on the journey toward marriage (or anything else one may want badly), our sights veer off the purposeful path when we set our passion on décor rather than the declaration of oaths and promises. We lose focus on what it means to be a good woman to a man and good man to a woman, in union before God. By exchanging words that seal the covenant, there is a glory in the transition from selfishness to dedicated selflessness—a sacrifice that is too important to not strive after and protect." The wedding isn't meant to be about mason jars and flowers. The wedding is about making a promise to each other, for the rest of your lives, that you will put the other before yourself and take the effort to serve them. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. When times get hard, you work harder. Isn't this the whole purpose of relationships? Learning that you are different from one another, with different flaws, and loving them anyways. It is hard work, but it is rewarding. This love is deep and honest. It is gentle, passionate, forgiving, and dedicated.
It resembles Christ's love for us. It is focused on God's grace and power, the Creator of marriage and of love. This is the marriage I will strive for. Imperfect, but forgiven.

This journey is glorious, and I can't wait for it to begin in eleven days.

Quote from Tracy Le


A House.

Daniel and I started house shopping this week. It seems crazy. I honestly didn't think it was going to be difficult. "I am super easy to please" I thought. "All I need is a tiny cottage." "I can rip out carpet. I can paint walls. I can tile." These thoughts floated around my head all day long, but they kept floating right on out of my ear holes and I no longer want to lay tile or rip out carpet–I want to move in furniture. It isn't possible to find that cute little cottage (like above) with shingles and panes and character. So far, what Daniel and I have experienced has traumatized us a little bit. Holes in the walls, holes in the ceilings, flooded basements, termites, scary neighbors, and cigarette smoke. I feel so petty that I can't see past this stuff. . but I really can't see past it.  I want to tell you that we found a tiny little house for us to make our own and eventually live in close quarters with a pup and lots of love, but we haven't.

This is very difficult. I will keep you posted, and we will continue to pray for a house, and an open heart and an open mind, and selflessness, and humility, . . I don't need storage, right???

With that in mind I would like to present an amazing quote by C.S. Lewis, because when wouldn't this quote be relevant?? 

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

Sincerly, a frazzled and distracted geekwithpompoms.



Climb, Jump the Crevice, Get Lost, but Don't Look Down.

A definition of what it means to slack line as provided by Kyle:

 "Living in the moment, being immersed in the wilderness, challenging your body, developing your mind, confronting, controlling, and conquering one’s fear of death, and the pure, true, and honest unbridled feeling of freedom to do what you want is the foundation supporting the Slacklife."

Yesterday we had planned to go to Center Hill and enjoy a day on the lake, but we changed our minds and went to Chattanooga instead. We went climbing at a place called Stone Fort (LRC). While Kyle and Daniel trained in the technique of rock climbing–Tori, Matt, and I trained our minds to "get to the top by any means possible." The three of us were sloppier than the duo of technical praying mantisses, but we had just as much fun in our journey to the lost world of rocks that all look the same after a while. We got lost and found ourselves on a very tall cliff with no way down other than backwards.

We decided a research study is needed to determine how much effort one puts into jumping over a gap when the drop is small, compared to when the drop would be deadly. What causes your brain to determine a skip is all of the sudden way more challenging than you remember, and how do you surpress that tendency? Should you learn to surpress it? Just some questions I found myself asking yesterday.


For Those Who Enjoy Fellowship With Nature

When the weather is questionable and your body is on the verge of passing out, something in your brain decides that a preplanned hike just won't work today. This is the situation we found ourselves in this weekend. The time is 4:45 p.m. and Daniel just returned from drill. The clouds are ominous, our bodies are tired from a work out and sunning session, dinner is around the corner, and a lack of knowledge about the hiking trails around us made it difficult to get up from the comfortable bean bag and say "LET"S GO!"

 Daniel left it to me.
 "Decide" he said.
 "Let's Go," I said.
Enter Adventure.

This weekend I learned to say "Yes" in difficult situations, which might not always work out, but it is a step out of comfort for me. When you step out of comfort, you meet new people and grow to know those around you better. You find connections that you didn't know existed and possibly build relationships with that person you keep noticing on campus. You grow past stereotypes and judgements and break into the core of people, while breathing in the heart of nature. I think something that we all long for is a genuine experience and genuine relationships–leaving behind the plastic, shiny beauty of what can be assumed as man made environment and man made appearances. None of us are perfect, and those flaws are what make us real. While society yells that we must be shiny, new and perfect, nature is whispering to us how beautiful and meaningful we all are. These are the types of things I discover by saying yes to less-than perfect circumstances. One day I might not have the option to say "Let's go." My health may not always allow it, so I will use my abilities in these moments in order to have them forever.



Today I went canoeing for the first time. Joining me on this adventure were four friends I gained while in the graphic design program at school. We graduated together, and haven't seen each other since last May. I couldn't have asked for a better day. We barely even rowed for fear of our time together being over too quickly. Our canoes floated slowly down the river while we talked and caught up with each other's lives. We laughed about how young we all look, followed by some college kids floating by and asking us how old we were. I guess we were right. Two of us got lost along the way, but it added to the adventure. The weather was beautiful, the water was beautiful, the open field we found was beautiful. I'd be okay if I had to do this every day, but I am thankful for just the one.

This field looked like Hyrule field from The Legend of Zelda. We stopped to run wild and free in the flowers and grass. 



Camping, Hiking, & Falls

The Destination Isn't the Important Part.

© Lauren Elizabeth Design & Photo

"It's not the destination, it's the adventure along the way and it seems cliché to say that but it's really how it is,"