Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Mossy Creek

It is hard to describe they way you feel after someone leaves that has always been a part of your entire life. And to all who have sent texts, emails, letters, and other modes of communication expressing sympathy and prayers, I would like to say thank you. They are greatly appreciated by me and the family.

Recently I have been reminded of a couple things.

One of my home mates brought his bike to school and today I took it for a ride through Price Hill and up to a local park that overlooks the city. It was a little chilly, but I dressed for the occasion. It was fun, I hadn't ridden a bike in quite some time, but for some reason I really wanted to ride tonight. It's kind of funny how when you do something for the first time in a while it brings back memories of either the last time you did it or the first time. Well, tonight it brought back memories of the early days of biking. I still remember "the test" I had to do to get my training wheels off. I had to ride my brother's bike from our front porch to the end of the barn, which isn't too short of a distance, especially when you consider that most of the ride is in the grass.

I also remember the first place I was able to ride to without an adult accompanying my journey. It was to my great grandpa's house, only about a mile away. I felt like big stuff going over there by myself for the first time. It was Thanksgiving day and my aunt and a couple cousins were over there watching the St. Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I was a actually watching it at my house too, but for some reason I asked if I could go over there. When I asked I meant going over by having my mom drive me, but then she let me ride over on my own and made my weekend! I felt like big stuff to say the least.

As we sat and chatted, I knew that this was probably the last time we would all be together, at least in this house, I didn't want it to end. In fact, my cousin's husband and I decided to change the time on the clock in hopes that it would change the real time and we could stay there a little longer. (Sorry Aunt Deanna, I know that didn't make you happy, but I thought you should know that I was Ian's partner in crime)

As I reflect on great grandpa's life I just see so many good qualities that I want to carry in my own life. Grandpa was a man of great respect. Everyone in the family had respect for him even if you didn't have respect for anyone else. He was a man that deserved so much honor but never wanted praise, just a hug. The things he did were done because they were the right thing to do, and that was reason enough for him. No task was ever too big for him to handle, but no task was too important to take him away from spending time with his family.

It is very weird because many of us almost built it up in our minds that he might actually live forever, but this is just a reminder: this is one rule in which no one is excused. And I suppose that is why we put our hope in Jesus because in doing so we shall never actually perish, we just won't be seen on this earth anymore, but rather in a place where there is no more pain or weeping, where everything is brought to completion in perfect harmony with each other and the One who created us and everything we currently have. That is a pretty comforting thought in my mind.

Grandpa just left so many memories and a great legacy for the family. A legacy is "anything that is handed down from the past," it is a gift, and with all gifts comes a stewardship. So we now have a responsibility to do something with the legacy we have been handed. I pray that I will be able to do that in some way. I want to be able to get another grin of approval the next time I see him, this time not just for a task well done, but for a life well lived.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Experience: New York City

It is very difficult to tell what my favorite part of the whole trip was. There were so many fascinating things about each city and each city had their uniqueness to them that it is hard to compare. So, I figured I would break it down into cities. Just so you know, New York was not our first stop, but it is the one that is on my mind right now, so it is the I will start with.

Now, I'm not going to be naive and think that no one that is reading this blog has ever been to New York and has never seen the things that we saw. But I will say that I believe one of the most impressive things we did was experience everything we did in just two days. And they weren't even full days! So this is how we did it.

To truly experience each city we did a little bit of homework. Chris and Eddie are very good about asking people questions about what there is to do and experience in a city. It's kinda cool because they can just start talking to someone and it just seems natural, where for me, it is difficult to do so. I just feel like I am bothering them, so I would just as soon leave them alone. I would say that this is key #1. Key #2 is having someone that is in the city or is at least familiar with the city show you around and give you helpful hints on how to get around, where to be, etc. Eddie has a friend that has been working for Saturday Night Live for a couple months and she had a little time where she could show us around. This was a great thing.

We experienced quite a bit in two days, largely because of her help.

Day 1

We started out our Monday by sitting in on a Church Planters get-together, orchestrated by Eddie. He follows a guy on Twitter and sent him an email and he hooked us up with this. It was pretty neat to sit in on the meeting and see how ministry is done in the busiest city in the U.S.

Then it was time to hit the streets after a quick bite to eat.

We started off at the public library. I know this sounds like a boring trip so far, but this wasn't just some library, it was huge. We were told that it was well worth going into and they were right. We went into one of the neatest buildings ever. I wish we had more pictures of the inside, but there is a "no flash" policy in there, so it wasn't easy getting a good picture. But believe me when I say that it is well worth your time!

In a "New York Minute" we were off to see St. Patrick's Cathedral (extremely impressive place). Then it was on to Rockefeller Center. From there we went to get the experience of Time Square, pretty unique and very fast-paced. Definitely sensory overload. We also hit up the M&M Factory while we were there! What was fun was that we took the subway from possibly the busiest part of the city to Central Park, possibly the most peaceful part of the city.

Me, Molly, Eddie, and Chris (Central Park)

To finish off day 1 of NYC we hit the Empire State Building, right at sunset. We got the view from both levels, so one level it was sunset and by the time we got to the next level it was dark, which was so neat. Super cool view. Walking around, you are surrounded by huge buildings and every once in a while you just have to do a 360 and look everything up and down because you can't quite fully experience how big everything is just walking down the street trying to get somewhere. You have to stop and soak it in every once in a while. Then you get to the top of Empire State building and you are above all of that just looking down and the best way to describe it as is something else. You just see a sea of humanity.

This ended our Day 1 in the Big Apple. We went back to the Searle's for some dinner, relaxation, and taking turns on the foot massager! (Another key to our journey)

Day 2
Tuesday consisted of a visit to Ellis Island, we stopped by our dear friend Lady Liberty (or more correctly, as we found out, "Lady Liberty Enlightening the World"), then we headed from there over to Wall Street, Trinity Church (from National Treasure), and Ground Zero/WTC memorial.

Chris and I explaining what we are doing:

Ellis Island

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

This one speaks for itself

And there was evening and morning the 2nd day

It was a pretty good couple of days overall.

After feeling well accomplished tourists in the Big Apple we loaded up in the car and headed up to New Hampshire. (Stay tuned, there is still more before and after this)

Everything was a little surreal. Walking around, everywhere we looked it seemed like was a part of a movie or tv show or something. It was kinda cool.

The whole experience made a certain September happening really come to life for me. Hearing numbers and statistics and seeing pictures can only do so much, but when you are there and you see how big these buildings are and realize how much bigger the Trade Centers were really made me see how much it effected the city. Everything is so close that I have no clue where everything went or how more buildings weren't destroyed. I think one of the biggest things I took out of this was a new appreciation/understand/broken heart for those who were involved. Numbers can only do so much, but when you put a face and a name on something like that and you hear them tell the story or the spouse of a deceased talk about the last time the saw their spouse, it breaks the heart.

You might be thinking, wow Jordan, way to end on a somber note. But, that is how our day ended on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Road Trip!

To complete my college experience I went on a week long road trip with a couple of guys from school, whom I have been living with this semester. The goal was to visit some of the big Northeastern Cities of the U.S. (Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston). We wanted to be able to "experience" each city in a day or two. By experience it, we meant: eat "the food" of the city, see "the thing" of the city, and just get a feel for something the city prides itself in.

So, we loaded up in my grandparents Hybrid (aka: knockout gas mileage) and we hit the road.

In the blogs to follow there will be more pictures and what we experienced on the trip. There were some good lessons along the way. I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I feel like my eyes are opened to numerous possibilities after this trip and I believe that it was definitely well worth it. But, first I have to edit some pictures so you can get a glimpse of what we experienced. Then I will start the journey of telling you all about the things we did.

By the way, I didn't mention that we didn't spend a dime on housing. More on that to come!