May 25, 2011

Skydiving - My First Jump

I watched them jump out of the plane. One by one little patches of color lit up the sky. New friends, new adventuresome spirits that I had just met, drifting towards my patch of earth. And then, it was my turn. The small plane landed and I pushed through the wind of the propellers to crawl up into a tiny piece of aircraft. A few words, the tightening of straps, the rustling of metal, and then, silence. A leveling of the plane. A wave of the hand. Scooching forward as the plane emptied out, one by one in front of me, the bench cleared. All leading up to that moment, that split second when I looked down at earth, turning slowly 15,000 feet beneath me, and then...a jump. No thoughts. No hesitation. Just...jump.
Adrenaline twirled as we summer saulted and fell towards the Floridian coastline. Sky and earth blended together, air was in short supply, and all I could do was laugh as we flew. Then somehow my feet were facing earth and my eyes were heaven bound, and I felt the sudden jerk of a parachute slipping out of its bag and the free fall was over. Now, now it was time to fly. To twirl back and forth and spiral down, to watch the cars and waves beneath us. To see the place where shuttles launch into the sky, where astronauts fly through the same space of air, and to catch a glimpse of my world from a perspective that I've never seen it before.
I've taken off in airplanes a hundred times, more probably, I've felt the thrill of the wheels lifting off the ground and the cabin pressure changing, I've seen the sky and flown through clouds...but I've never soared through the atmosphere with nothing between me and the sky.  I've never jumped into the blue, stepping outside of my box and into a sky that only birds frequent. 
Soaring over earth, feeling wind press against my face until I could barely breath, separated from the noises of everyday life, just was a moment I could live again and again and again. Free falling. Adrenaline. A new perspective on searching for adventure. There was no reason to jump. Nobody was holding a gun to my head telling me to step into the sky. There was no big crowd to applaud my descent. So why did I jump? What is it that pushes me off the edge of safety searching for that thrill?
Life, life in all it's multicolored glory, isn't full for me unless it crosses a line of adventure. I'm constantly seeking the next challenge. The hunger for adrenaline is ingrained inside my heart, the thirst for something bigger than normal. I chase thrills. I chase dreams. I chase clouds. Falling from the sky I felt the same twist of the stomach that attracts me to the ocean, the feeling of being small, the feeling of being surrounded by something so much bigger than anything else I know. Mankind is put into perspective, troubles shrink back to their normal size, and earth, earth turns regardless of what you say or do. Yesterday, as I fell through the sky on the streets of eagles, I felt like a tiny dot in the landscape of this earth. A name attached to the smallest patch of polyester fabric floating through the sky.
There's something about taking a leap of faith, something about falling out of the sky and landing safely back to the ground, that gives me the feeling that I can do the impossible. I can fly. I can land. I can chase clouds into the blue and make it back to earth. There'll be no going back to normal now...not when there are more planes to jump out of and more adventures to chase. :) 

May 23, 2011

Disney - Skydiving Jitters

It's been less than 24 hours since that last blog post, and honestly, the only thing that's happened is a good night's sleep, a good meal, a nap, and another meal...but I feel like writing.

I feel like mentioning that my sister has officially moved into Pensacola for the summer, so the chances of me seeing her while I live down here just skyrocketed. I feel like mentioning that both me and my dad will be in an airplane tomorrow, except he'll be wearing a seat belt and I'll be praying for my life. I feel like mentioning that there's a lion's head staring me down across the wall as I write this...Africa somehow made it home with my grandparents when they moved stateside.

I feel like mentioning that I don't have the words to say half of the time, I don't have the wisdom I wish I had to answer questions that I'm confronted with, but I serve a God who doesn't require me to have the answers. I serve a God who is transforming me by the renewing of my mind, a God who has used the past few months to change me more than I ever imagined possible.

I feel like mentioning that I like overhearing my grandparents talk on the phone with their friend from Ethiopia, because the volume is turned up so loud that I can hear his incredibly cool accent from the other room.

I feel like mentioning that I have nothing to complain about...nothing at all, and I should really stop it. I feel like mentioning that Evan & Jaron has to be my favorite band of the moment...and it's a toss up between "Outerspace" and "The Distance" as far as favorite songs go. And last but not least, I feel like mentioning that at this moment in time I am VERY nervous, but VERY stoked for tomorrow...and I probably will be until the moment when I feel the parachute line go taut. Here's to tomorrow then.

May 22, 2011

Disney - Mile 7

I'm tucked away into a little corner of the woods right now, somewhere between the middle of nowhere and an outlet of murky water, water that I'm sure eventually leads to a bigger thing of water...I'd say a lake...but that's just my guess. In short, I'm over at my grandparent's house for the night. This was, as far as spur of the moment trips go, very short noticed. I called them two minutes before I hopped in the car to go to church, and after church drove on up. I love coming out here, it's so quiet and calm compared to Orlando, not to mention I don't have to pay to do my laundry. Why yes, I do have secret motives. 

 This week I'm pressing through the "mid-program slump" that I keep overhearing other CP's talk about. It's hard because now that everyone is gone, it feels like I should be going home soon too...and I've still got the last leg of this race to run out. It's like when I'm out on a long run, and I hit mile 7. For some reason, mile 7 kills me. Miles 1-6 are fine, if I'm in the right frame of mind I hardly even notice them pass by, but at mile 7 I suddenly become aware of every little thing that's discomforting. My shoelaces. My shins. My knees. The rocks. The sun. You name it, I notice it. But I have to keep running, because home is still miles away. And then, somewhere around mile 9, things clear up and I can finish off the run strong.

That's where I'm at right now. I started off hitting the ground running fast and strong, loving everything going on around me, and now I'm slowing down counting my steps to make it into the next mile. This is the point in my race where perseverance is more important than speed. Where proving to myself that I can put one foot in front of the other is better than proving to the world that I know what I'm doing.

Despite being tired and worn out, there's something in me that keeps fighting, something in me that loves the push of working hard when I don't want to. I like the adrenaline rush of jumping headlong into challenges that I don't know how to conquer. I like the thrill of the unknown. I'm hardwired to always be looking for the next adventure, the next opportunity, while still pressing through the current one. It's hard not tripping over my own two feet sometimes because I start getting ahead of myself.

Today was good though, great really. I love my church down here more than I ever thought possible, it always makes me really bummed when I work Sunday morning so I was happy to get to go. And I sincerely love every moment I get to spend with my grandparents, really, it's such a blessing getting to live so close to them. Talk about lives full of adventure, two hours listening to Papa's stories and I've been all over Africa, watching out for black mamba's, into war zones, handling close to a million dollars for relief funds, building a University, and camping with elephants. Maybe there's a reason why I'm hardwired for adventure, I have to do something to keep up with this family of mine! :)

...guess I'll have to go sky diving soon... 

May 18, 2011

Disney - Halfway Point

I remember hearing people say about working for Disney, "You'll have those horrible days, and within 24 hours something will happen and make it all worth it." And I'm finding that to be a very true statement. I have those days when I come home work and just throw myself on the couch going, "Whyyy??!" just to vent, and all my roomies will say, "Ahhhh I don't know!!" because they totally understand what I mean. Then the next day I come home after a long shift and I'm bouncing up and down happy because it was

It's weird, working for Disney and all, because it's so...normal. I feel like I've always lived here in Florida, I feel like it's nothing special, while at the same time I feel like I'm doing something pretty cool. I love it even though it can drive me beyond crazy into the zone of rock bottom on certain days. My life is up and down and all over the place, but when it all comes down to it, I really love living here. I love driving to the beach. I love coming home and having random adventures with my roommates. I love Orlando.

Monday was the halfway point for my program. A bunch of the Spring CP's left this week, and everyone is really sad because so many of our good friends are going home. I've never moved to a place where I've met so any new people and had so many great friendships right from the start. I've never moved to a place where everyone has to say so many goodbyes at the same time, it's hard, really hard, but the friendships were worth it. 100%. The halfway point is strange because it feels like a definite distinction because the beginning and the end of my program. From here on out, it becomes, "I have two and half months left" instead of, "I've been here three months." This year is going by so fast, I blink and a month has gone by. I sneeze and it's almost June.

So I'm running full speed and working and squeezing in adventures wherever I can. Like a certain one next week that will involve a parachute, 15,000 feet, and 70 seconds of free falling. But I'll tell you about that one if I make it out alive.

Disney - Adjusting Mid Program

Back from the beach again today.
Back from a week of being with my family.
Back from laughing with my dear friend Payton from home.

Headed into a week where I'm making some changes.
Headed into the second half of my program.
Headed into a long run tomorrow morning to pound out some nerves.

Wondering where this next stage will take me. 
Wondering how I went from the new kid to the "veteran" CP showing the new kids how to work the radio. 
Wondering if I should watch out for snakes on my runs these days. 

Hoping that I'm making the right decisions. 
Hoping that a chocolate cookie will find a way into my stomach soon. 
Hoping that there's mail in the mailbox for me. 

Thinking about traveling and where I want to go next. 
Thinking about the amazing friends I have in my life. 
Thinking about John 12:27-28.

"Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? 'Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place. I'll say, 'Father, put your glory on display.'" A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again."

May 13, 2011

Disney - Oiled Roads (Poetry)

Driving through the rain
To find God
No other reason
My fridge is stocked
My friends are working
No reason
But to drive
And see if He is somewhere
Driving these oiled roads
To find God

May 3, 2011

A Little Bit of Me

I'm eating a yogurt parfait right now and all I can think about are quotes from Shrek. 
I feel at home by the ocean more than anywhere else.
I love the number 42 for no reason whatsoever.
I have a constant case of wanderlust. 
I am claimed by eternity and living in the moment.
I don't like spicy perfumes. 
I am prone to see myself through rose colored glasses, and I want to change that.
I don't care if money grew on trees or not, but a chocolate river would be kind of cool. 
I like to think the best of people.
I think that I would have liked the person who came up with words like snickerdoodle and won-ton.
I am terribly cynical of having crushes.
I follow the speed limit and get my adreniline rushes wherever else I can.
I used to like grocery shopping a lot more before I realized how expensive it was. 
I do things that scare me just to one up myself.
I don't pretend to be something I'm not.
I have grease under my fingernails and cuts all over my hands from cleaning a popcorn wagon.
I wish I could see the stars from where I live instead of city lights.
I love the person who used to live in my apartment room, because they must have thought the same thing about the stars when they stuck a bunch of plastic glow in the dark ones on the ceiling. :)