Sunday, May 30

Day Two: Driving Lessons and Kelley's Island

Wednesday morning began with devotions and breakfast at Emily’s grandmother’s house. We had a small feast, and after we were completely stuffed, we headed out the door for some driving lessons and practice in Emily’s car, Dory, which is a manual transmission car.

Beth-Anne began. She drove around the small neighborhood, and then ventured out onto a slightly more populated road. She did amazing! This only served to make me more nervous. I had not driven stickshift in several years, nor had I ever been particularly good at it. Thankfully, when it was my turn to practice, I managed to get around without much event. Then Emily decided we needed to practice starting on slight hills so we headed over to a small garden park area she knew. “There are hardly ever any cars,” she assured us.

As I stopped on the slight incline, a car was pulling into the garden behind me. I began to panic a little bit, but managed to get going without terribly much trouble. We looped around the parking lot, headed back toward the incline at the entrance, and then I realized that I was going to have to make a 3-point turn on a bridge to get back to the incline. Have I ever mentioned that I hate reverse? I stalled—twice—while trying to reverse. Finally, slightly flustered, I managed to get turned around and practiced starting on the hill again. I did this a total of three times, and was finally beginning to feel comfortable enough.

Beth-Anne took the driver’s seat and began her session. She did incredibly well, though she rolled a little bit the first time. But as we were doing this loop, we noticed that there were actually quite a few cars coming through, and a park ranger was standing by the side of the road, glancing suspiciously at us each time we came around. We finished up and left the ranger in peace to wonder at our odd behavior, thankful that he hadn’t stopped us to question us.

After getting groceries and a pretty plant for Emily’s grandma, we were off! Emily drove at first to get us out of stressful driving situations, and then I took the wheel. Amazingly enough, we only had one nearly catastrophic event. I was driving behind a super slow tractor and decided to pass him on a one-lane road. As I moved into the lane for oncoming traffic, I began to shift, but realized I had shifted into neutral and didn’t know which gear I should be in. A car was coming from the other direction, and I (thankfully) did not panic and managed to pass the tractor and get back into our lane in time to avoid colliding. Needless to say, I think Em’s and Beth-Anne’s heart rates jumped quite a bit. Other than that, our only real excitement before we reached Kelley’s Island was stopping for an 85-car train (yes, I counted).

We arrived at the ferry to Kelley’s Island at about 3:30 pm and waited for the 4 o’clock ferry. Once across Lake Erie to the island, we headed for The House on Huntington Lane, a bed and breakfast owned by an Irish woman named Patty. She gave us a tour, we put down our stuff, and headed out on the bicycles to explore the island. We biked for about 2 hours and visited the local library, discovered some summer snow (cottonwood seeds), and went to the north coast where we took some pictures. We also saw a water snake that is indigenous only to some of the islands in Lake Erie and took some pictures on the rocks. Then we headed up to see the glacial grooves, and biked on the road next to the shoreline back to our room.

At one point, we scouted out some of the shops, including the general store. I asked the guy behind the counter a few questions about the postcards and some of the landmarks on the island that we wanted to see in the morning. Then… I tried to give him a Steps to Christ. And failed. Miserably. I was quite discouraged as we left.

Thursday, May 27

Day One: TN to OH

Emily, Beth-Anne, and I have been planning a road trip for the last several months. As it came closer, I got more and more excited, and nervous. I was excited to spend time with them, do really fun things, and see new places. I was nervous because we had decided that we would step out of our comfort zones a little bit. Each of us agreed to hand out one Steps to Christ book to someone each day of our trip. Maybe this sounds trivial to you, but for three introverted girls, it’s huge. No amount of reasoning that I would likely never see these people again has been able to assuage my anxiety.

In any case, Tuesday began with me being late, as usual. But I had baked some cookies for our trip and to leave with Matthew as a thank-you for letting us borrow his wife, and I made it to Matt and Beth-Anne’s home after an uneventful drive.

Beth-Anne and I decided to take my recently repaired car the 7 hours from her house to Columbus, Ohio to meet up with Emily at her grandmother’s home. We made our way through sunshine and indecisive rain that wavered back and forth between a downpour and a sprinkling. Suddenly, Philbert (my car) decided he was done with quality time with Beth-Anne and me. The engine light came on just as a Good Year Tire and Service building came into view. What perfect timing. We coasted in, and after conferencing about our options, we decided to drive the 40 minutes back to Beth-Anne’s to get her car, Ellie.

As we were almost to the church where we were going to meet Matt and trade cars, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a red SUV had sped up, then slowed down to drive right next to us. Beth-Anne and I looked over to see two young boys grinning widely and waving at us. I turned my head back to the road in front of me real fast as my face began to turn red. Beth-Anne and I laughed so hard. They really looked like they couldn’t be much older than 16, but then again, who am I to talk. Thankfully, they turned off soon afterward, and we were able to avoid eye contact with them again.

The rest of our journey once we exchanged cars was rather uneventful. We made one detour in Ohio to visit with my aunt and cousin for a few minutes, and then made it to Emily’s grandmother’s house by about 10:30 pm.

Friday, May 21

Sabbath Blessings

I bowed my head and began to pray before my devotions one Sabbath morning. I felt myself starting to get more and more tense and anxious as I prayed about the things that had been weighing heavy on my heart. How ridiculous, I thought to myself. I’m presenting my concerns before the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and instead of bringing me peace, it’s causing me to feel more stressed. I realized that I was considering the problems rather than the power of my God to work in each situation. I went through a few cycles of anxiety giving way to trust before I decided that I needed to leave my problems alone for a while and do my devotions.

“God, please give me a Sabbath blessing today,” I finished praying. I was really feeling a desperate need to be truly blessed. My week had been difficult, and not only did I feel a need for rest, but also for a regenerating day.

I opened my Bible to Luke, where I had been reading for devotions each morning. As I found where I had left off, I laughed. It started in Luke 12:22, which has the heading “Do Not Worry.” Point taken.

I went to Village Chapel for church, and when we got to the responsive reading, the man who got up front to lead out announced that the reading had been changed from what was in the bulletin. I turned in the back of the hymnal to the new reading and was astonished to see that the title was “Do Not Worry.” Alright, God. I get it. I smiled and prayed a silent prayer of thanks.

When the pastor got up to preach, he announced that he had decided to change his sermon that morning. His new sermon title was, “He’s Able.” The pastor led us in singing the children’s song, “He’s Able,” and I sat back to listen. I truly believe that God had him change the sermon for me. As he talked more and more about how God is able to guide us, save us, and keep what we have committed to him, I felt more and more at peace. His sermon was a deeper reiteration of my morning devotions, and it was exactly the blessing I needed that morning.

Wednesday, May 12

New Apartment

There is much joy in this apartment...

... and also many K(Ch)risti(e)ns.