Friday, April 27, 2012

So I'm like done with college

...except I'm not really. I've still got a year of grad school left. But I'm done with undergrad. Officially. As of today. Holy cow.
This is totally different than I expected it to feel.
I guess all I have to compare it to is being done with high school. And I really don't think the two could feel more opposite.
Whereas on the last day of high school I was excited and looking forward to summer, now (although I'm still looking forward to the warm weather...) I'm looking ahead to months of classes and friends being gone.

I decided to follow in my friend Jessie's footprints and make a list of all the things I didn't expect from college
  • I didn't expect to make such great friends. I thought high school would've been the peak of deep, meaningful relationships.
  • I didn't expect to be doing YoungLife ministry at Halls for four years. 
  • I didn't expect to laugh so much.
  • I didn't expect to cry so much.
  • I didn't expect to have this many memories.
  • I didn't expect to pick up the nickname "Bubs."
  • I didn't know I would ever do some of the things I did.
  • I didn't expect such a wonderful community.
  • I didn't expect so many roadtrips.
  • I didn't expect it to be so fun.
  • I didn't expect it to be so hard.
  • I didn't expect so many late night adventures.
  • I didn't expect so many crushes- that's for you, Mom;)
  • I didn't expect to live with Jamie for FOUR years.
  • I didn't expect to grow, mature, and change like I have.
  • I didn't expect to stay so close to my best friends.
  • I didn't expect it to go by so quickly.
  • I didn't expect this.
  • I didn't expect these to be the best four years of my life.
  • I didn't expect to be looking at the end of my senior year feeling like this. I can't think of a more appropriate moment for the phrase "bitter sweet."
I'm not even done with school for real, but I miss it already.
If I'm being honest, and I usually am (brutally so) I'm a little scared. I am looking out into the unknown and I have no clue what to expect. Yes, I have an idea of what the next year will look like as far as school goes, but what about all these memories and relationships I've built over the past four years? And exactly how miserable will I be teaching full time and being a full time grad student next year (and not making any money at all)? The unknown in scary. But if all these things came from me not knowing what to expect, I cannot imagine what unbelieveably wonderful things are in store as we journey into this new chapter. Freshmen year of life (kinda), ready or not, here we come. Gag.

A little walk down memory lane these past four years (oh gosh, I can't believe it's been four years)
Class of 2008. And still my bffs. Wow. (Forgive me for the piknk- it was a phase)

Our first ever day of college. I'm embarrassed.
New years 2009.

We were such babies!

Still star-struck by athletes. Not much has changed.

Where I belong

That time we went to Oregon. And I got bad end of summer staff reviews. sigh.
These people have had an extraordinary impact on my life in college.
Remember that time we went to Cancun?

...And San Diego?

The summer of the Core Four

The original Red Saile house

FBXI crew

Trip to D.C. and became famous on Today's Letters.



One of the best decisions I've ever made.

Out of order, but that time it blizzard. And we took full advantage of it.


Marathon. Whoa.
And this is out of order too. From the day of the giant hail storm. Exactly one year ago. Weird.

I'm pretty sure it would take about the same amount of time to just go read every single blog post for as long as I've had this blog, but this was more fun. I had to stop myself from uploading every picture from college. I just love it all so much.
Wow. I've been so blessed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

He Got A Friend

I’m back! So let’s just be honest, so far this blogging experience has been a total fail. I made one post, which wasn’t even about anything other than declaring the fact that I was going to start blogging, and then I haven’t been heard from since. I was ready to just hang it up and pretend that one blog post had never happened, but this is this internet, and that stuff is out there forever. I’ve already crossed the line into the “blogosphere” and I can’t go back. I tried to squirm my way out, but I found myself pulling a Jack Shephard at the end of Season 3 of Lost and yelling at Kate “We have to go back!!!" Now….just pretend Kate was Jen Campbell, there was 1,000 times less drama and it was more like her calmly encouraging me to try another post. Let’s be honest, she probably didn’t even care if I did or didn’t, but I’m going to keep playing this “I’m not a blogger, I hate blogging, people keep forcing me to do it” card and hoping that no one notices that I actually just really enjoy writing. So, either way, thanks to the wonderful Jennifer Campbell and the rest of the exclusive Cheetahs for giving me the nudge to jump back on the keyboard.

I did a little thinking about why I skipped out on my blogging duties for the past two months and why I have been so reluctant to put any thoughts or stories out on the World Wide Web. It really doesn’t make sense; you would think I would be all about it. I mean, I will sit at a kitchen table over a cup of decaf coffee (preferably Dunkin Donuts) and tell you stories and talk about life all night, until you beg for me to be quiet so you can go to sleep. I write these long e-mails filling my friends in on my life and my thoughts and my theories to the point where they have to be sending them to their junk mail folder. I even love to write and have the evidence shoved in a notebook somewhere to prove it! With all that said, something about blogging had rubbed me the wrong way a little bit. I guess I just always felt a little too “self-promotional” if I had my own blog. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE other people’s blogs, e-mails, updates, calls and notes. I love hearing about all of you. I eat it up, so keep it coming. Don’t stop.

But for me, I just hit this spot where I realized how selfish I was and how concerned I was with my own thoughts and needs. I needed to talk about myself less, not more, so starting a blog was the last thing I wanted to do. But I thought, well it couldn’t hurt to guest blog a little for Chelcie. I’ll keep it short. I’ll keep it simple. I’ll keep it light. By the way, in just two posts I have already managed to fail miserably at all of those things. But I thought, Hey…i’ll just throw out a few funny stories and go from there. Well here’s what happened, I sat down to write each week and I couldn’t think of one funny story to share. Not one. Call it part of getting old and washed up, (I turn 24 very soon ya know!) but I’m running out of stories and I’m running out fast. I’m telling em way faster than I’m making em these days. (Quick side note: I am currently accepting applications for a story-making intern….the only qualification is that you get us into spots where lots of stories will happen to us. In return….well I’m still working on that.) So for real, I sat down and tried to be funny, and all that came out was really serious thoughts. Once again, the “24” syndrome hits….I think about serious things way, way too often. For a guy who used to slide by with a boat and a standup bit about sand, this is a problem! But I think I have the solution. My friends have always been way cooler than me. I like to say, and it’s true, that God just blessed me by putting me around the craziest and most incredible cast of characters. I mean seriously, there should be movies made about some of these folks. The stories have always been about them anyways. All the good in me has come from them, well from God of course, but through them. So here’s the plan…I’m gonna get a little serious on you from time to time…but I’ll make myself feel better about it by talking about my friends more than myself to start. So…now that the way-too long explanation of where I have been is done, let’s roll.

I’ve got a friend. (Hence the blog title, feel free to throw on “She Got a Friend” by Gucci Mane for the remainder of this post.) His name is Kevin Underwood. Many of you know him. I had about 2 pages worth of stories where I was going to brag on him, but I’m going to have to save those for another time because I’ve already caused half the readers to stop reading with the intro the size of a textbook. What I will do is share something he taught me about God, which he always seems to be doing.

I have a little theory, not a unique one, that the Gospel is so powerful it just bleeds into every aspect of life. It bleeds into art and music and literature and science and culture. No good story, no matter if they are based in Christianity or not, can be good without the roots of the gospel stuck in them. Most don’t realize it, but it’s always there. The gospel certainly bleeds into our relationships. Any good relationship possesses gospel attributes at it’s core. If we believe that we are created in God’s image, we have to believe that his fingerprints will be all over the way we interact with each other, right? Vice versa, we have to believe that our relationship and interaction with him would posses all the best and purest traits of our human relationships right? His love somehow captures the affection and relentless love of parenthood, the rawness and jealousy and passion of romantic love, and of course the innocence, comfort, honesty and pure joy of a great friendship.

There is something so exciting to me about seeing God show up in friendships, because I have been so blessed with such great ones. For those who don’t know, C.S. Lewis is my absolute favorite author. He has this incredible way of describing something I feel or know in a way that is better than I ever could have said on my own. He almost draws something out of me that I only knew subconsciously before. As I read him, I will often look up and say “Oh my gosh, that’s exactly how I feel, but I never could have told you before now!” Never has this been more true than when he describes friendship in an incredible essay in the book, The Four Loves. He basically talks about how all truly great friends have what he calls “A Secret Thread.” They essentially have something; a similar passion, idea, hardship, longing, secret or mistake, that binds them together. It could really be best described as a kindred spirit. You both see the same truth, you both have the same vision, and a friendship is born. Instantly, you separate from the masses and stand together in immense solitude as friends.

“Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether they want it or not. They would be glad to reduce it, the first two would be glad to find a third…. All who share [something in common] will be our companions; but one or two or three who share something more will be our Friends. In this kind of love, as Emerson said, ‘Do you love me?’ means ‘Do you see the same truth?’…Hence we picture lovers face to face but friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.”

Me and Kevin have this “Secret Thread.” I can’t even pinpoint what the thread is, it’s somewhat mysterious, but I absolutely feel it and I know it’s strong. Every time we talk, every time we are together, I feel like we are on the same journey. I feel like our eyes are focused and towards the same star in the distance. We “see the same truth.” I can just feel it. I wish I could explain it better, but you will just have to settle for reading The Four Loves.

What I can explain a little better, is what Kevin taught me about God, and then I will wrap it up, I promise! One day, I set out to thinking about how Kevin and I became the best of friends. Our relationship matches up perfectly with everything Lewis mentions about great friendships, but how did we get there? It honestly kind of just appeared out of thin air. Looking back, it feels ordained.

Lewis says the beginning of friendship goes something like this “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!”  I like to call it the “Step-Brother” moment. You are just kind of rolling along and then Bam! It hits you. You realize this guy likes building bunkbeds and doing karate in the garage just as much as you and you yell “DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS!?!?!?” I remember clearly the night I really thought to myself, “Wow, Kevin Underwood is one of my best friends…how did that happen?” And I realized, there was no trick, we just put in some serious mileage. We spent tons and tons and tons of quantity time together and every once and while, the quality time just bubbled up. The more quantity we had, the more the quality showed up. That’s how our friendship started, and that’s why Kevin is such a good friend….he was always there.

Kevin’s true friendship came into my life during the toughest season I’ve gone through. All of my best friends had moved off to other states and cities, I was trying to make the transition from being in college to working 80 hours a week, my heart had just been broken and I was lonely. And you know what? I didn’t need someone to tell me it was going to be ok. I didn’t need someone to make a plan to fix it all. I didn’t need someone to feel sorry for me. I just needed someone to be with me. I needed someone to just eat lunch with me and talk about sports with me and draw up crazy hopeless schemes to meet some wonderful girl or start a million dollar business. And that’s exactly what Kevin did. He just kind of showed up and didn’t leave. We must have eaten 10/14 lunches and dinners a week for three straight months. He was just there. And of course, he was there when I felt like talking about something serious and vice versa.

I think that’s how friendship works. You can’t force the intentionality. It has to grow. The famous words you hear in our circle of friends is “Let’s just be really intentional with each other this year.” Don’t lie, every house you’ve lived in has said it. Every small group you have been in has said it. And it’s good, I am all for being intentional, but I just don’t think it works like that….at least it doesn’t for me. You can’t just sit down with someone during a 15-20 minute block every day and say Ok, tell me something deep. Tell me something meaningful.” It just doesn’t happen. You have to put in serious mileage with someone and then just let the quality stuff come when it’s ready to come. You all have great friends, you know its true…it will come if you are just around and you are patient and you are ready to listen. Nine times out of Ten you end up hearing about Basketball but the tenth time will come and you will hear “Hey this has been killing me lately, and I don’t know what to do.” And then before you know it, the 9 out of 10 drops to like 5 out of 10. And that’s friendship.

And you know what else, that’s a relationship with God. I want so badly to just sit down for X amount of time every morning and say “Ok God, I’m here…talk to me!” I want to just show up to church every Sunday and feel his presence move in the greatest way possible every single week. But you know what…it doesn’t happen, and I get frustrated and I start to complain, “God, where are you? I’m making the time!” That’s exactly what I was saying a month or two ago, “God where are you?”…and then I thought about me and Kevin’s humble beginning to our friendship, and I laughed. I would never sit down with Kevin and complain… “Hey man, you haven’t told me anything deep in like 2 weeks, what’s the deal?” The truth is, we rarely go two weeks without talking about anything deep because the quantity of time we spend together is so large.

So that’s what I learned, and that’s the takeaway of this way-too long blog post. Put in mileage with God. Keep Him on your mind more often. Find more time to be in the word. Find more times to worship. Find more time to immerse in the Gospel. You have to taste it, feel it, see it. You can’t just think it. Every time won’t be as quality as the last but He will show up. The beauty is, he will show up even when you don’t put enough mileage in….but I bet there will be more fruit if you do.

And you know what, do the same thing with your friends. Find more time together. Eat together, do homework together, drive to school together. Alone time is good too, but I want maximize the windows where a quality conversation might bubble up and a friend says “Hey I haven’t really brought this up before, but…” or “I know I keep talking about this, but…” and you can listen and then respond and then say Bam! “I think we just became best friends!” over and over again.

Hey, thanks to my friends for being as great as you are. Thanks be to God, for anything that is good is from Him. And thanks to the one or two people that may have miraculously read this entire thing. If you did, you crazy! Maybe we should become best friends? Kevin and I got a spot for you….

-Tyler Morris

P.S. I promise I will post next week and I promise it will be short. Scouts Honor.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's a Little Thing...

...but I really love it when someone gets my name right.
It's tough to spell.
For some it's even tough to say.
I love my name.
I love the uniqueness of it.
I love that I've never met anyone else like me.
I even secretly love that I don't feel a connection to other "Chelseas" because we really aren't the same.
I love that for my best friends "-cie" is the natural ending to the name.
But I especially love it when new people get it right.
People who aren't used to it.
People who take the time to notice the difference.
I appreciate it.
I guess it really is the little things in life, huh?
Chelcie. Boom.

Happy Monday, Bloggies.
(yay for the last Monday of classes being ova!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Buckle up, Bloggies. Grab a coffee. This might get lengthy.

The sermon series at NorthStar since Easter has been called "The Beautiful Exchange."
 On Easter, obviously, it was the wonderful beginning of the story of this new life we have because Jesus exchanged his life for ours.

This week it was about exchanging our dreams for God's.
My first thought was, my dreams match up with God. Make a difference for His glory. Check.
But the more Scott talked the more I was moved.
My dreams for myself are much too small.
Much too easy to give up on.
God's dreams are big. Huge. Perfect.
But a little bit scary.
How could something so good and so big be so scary?
...Because it doesn't match up with everyone else.
See, one of the things Scott said was, "The 'American Dream' will never align with God's dream."
The American Dream. It's what everyone wants.
To get married.
To be happy.
To prosper. 
To have 2.4 smiling, clean, beautiful kids.
To teach upper-middle class students, eager to learn.
To live in the suburbs.
In a house with a wrap-around front porch with rocking chairs.
And a little white picket fence. 
Sounds perfect, huh?
A safe, reasonable, good dream to have.
But where are we called to live a safe and reasonable life?
What part of this "dream" honors the Lord?
What part of is says, "I am doing whatever it takes to glorify my Creator? And teach others about Him?"
I'm guilty of this too.
I want this. I do!
I want to get married.
I want to have kids.
I want that picture perfect life.
But I want some other things more than that...
I want to honor God.
I want to love others because of His love for me.
I want to take care of orphans and love those whom others have forgotten about.
I want my life to matter.
I want to make my life count.
I want to make a difference.
I want to change the world.
I want to bring glory to God.

How easy is it to manipulate God's dream to fit our own. It's so simple for me to sit here and say I'm living God's dream for myself because I'm in college, leading YoungLife, living a "good", God-fear, peolple-loving life, and getting an education so I can teach and love people and show them the love of God.
And yet, I don't know if I can honestly say that this is it. That this is God's dream. His good and perfect dream. Really, this life is far too small.

So sacrificing one dream for a greater one.
Giving up my dreams in sake of His.
Because God's dreams will always exceed mine. 
It says so here: Ephesians 3:20-21
 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I want that. I want a dream that far exceeds my own.
Sometimes obedience will lead you into hardship. But God promises to be with you.
And so I choose it. I choose to follow God's dream. No matter the ridicule or the cost. No matter what I have to sacrifice or give up.
I choose giving up my own average version of the American dream for a God-sized dream that is immeasurable more that I can imagine.

Let's go.

To listen to this podcast click here. Suriously... Check it out! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Unknown

In lieu of one week of college left. And graduation just a couple of weeks away. And my entire life about to change. And my friends getting grown up jobs. And my friends moving. And not having a clue what I'm going to be doing a year from now. Or where I'll be. Or who I'll be with. Or what in the world I should actually be doing. In the long run and even tomorrow. Or next weekend. Or whatever. There is so much unknown.  
I don't like the unknown all that much. I like the comfortable. I don't like change. I like having a plan. Knowing how life is going to go.
But this is life. This is where we are. We're livin' it.
Freshmen year of life. Bring it on.

You're wasting your time figuring out your future. Your Lord has already figured it out and he simply calls you to trust and obey.
-Paul Tripp
Please and thank you. I love this so much.
Gotta love Twitter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm a sneaaaakyyy roommate :)

Hello blogger world!! This is in fact NOT Chelcie Crawford posting on the world wide web tonight, but one of her roommates. One of her sneakyyyyy roommates at that! I'll leave it up to you to figure out which one.

Chelc so graciously gave up her computer to me for the next few hours because mine doesn't have PowerPoint capabilities (lame right??...clearly I'm not up with the times). Hopefully she won't be TOO upset with me when she sees this post, but I thought I'd just take a quick minute to brag on her. :)

I've known Chelcie a long time. We go wayyyy back. Our friendship has spanned over a decade. I've known her for OVER half of my life. Sometimes I joke that we're distant family because there's a Crawford/Long hospital in Atlanta (probably just gave away which roommate I am..whoops!). But really, I feel like Chelcie is my sister. She is my family. She's my 4 years going strong roommate. She's one of my best friends. She's my happy place.

I could tell you a lot of things about Chelcie. Good and bad (just kidding! .. they're all good.) I know her better than probably most. We have a lot of funny stories, a lot of good memories, a lot of life lived together.

But I guess the biggest thing I've learned about this girl from the time I've known her, is that she has a heart like none other.

Chelcie has a way of always making people feel really special. And really loved. She knows how to care for people. She puts others needs before her own. She loves on high school girls in a way that I can't even describe. She is a wonderful daughter, sister, roommate, and friend. I know someday, a man will be VERY lucky to call her his wife.

Chelc, I'm thankful for you. You're the best roommate and friend I could have asked for these past however many years. I'm proud of you! You're going to do GREAT things in life. You already are :)

Love you! BFFAR4L.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Somethin' to Read

It's been too long since I've blogged. According to one of my dear friends. And probably the one who is this little blog's biggest fan.
Don't expect anything deep.
So here you have it.
My favorite. List form.
1. If I was the stressing out type, now would be when it kicks in. So many lessons/projects/papers/presentations to do. So little time. But I don't really stress. But I should.
2. I. Cannot. Believe. It's. Only. Monday.
3. Two more weeks of school and then I'm a college grad. More blogs on this to come I'm sure. (Excuse me while I burst into tears now)
4. I'm already exhausted (and see number 2). Like Thursday night after club exhausted. Someone save me.
5. Speaking of my beloved Thursday nights...
a. Halls prom was Friday. And I can confidently say that these girls are the most beautiful ever. They looked like total babes (and always do, of course). I'll upload pics asap!
b. My new team is the I'm sure they'll get a post for themselves soon too.
c. I'm leading music on Thursday. If you've got any great song suggestions holla atcha gurl. The last time I led music it was off da charts. So I have high expectations to live up to. 
6. I no longer have a toenail. It's my new favorite topic of conversation. #single
7. I'm really thankful for my family.
8. When I finally give up on the day, I climb into bed and watch FNL. I'm almost done. And it's so good.
9. I'm about to do number 8 now. It's not even 10 yet. Judge me.

Happy Monday, Bloggies! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

"We are too quick to live this life and forget that there is another world to come...this is not the end." 
AW Tozer

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

"His mother grieved, His friends scattered - but heaven just started counting to three..."

Thanks social networking and retweets for this quote. I think the original poster was Scotty Smith.

I'm so glad we get to count to three.
He is risen!!
Happy Easter.
A little cousin lovin' on Easter

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday (on Saturday...)

Yesterday was Good Friday.
I can only imagine what a horrible, awful day the very first "Good Friday" was. But I am so thankful that looking back 2000 years later we can joyfully describe it as good. And how good it is.
Some people ask, "Does God love us? Really actually love us?"
All those years ago how clearly He showed His love.
Every bead of sweat.
Every tear that fell.
Every drop of blood.
Every moment of sacrifice.
Every prayer cried out.
All of it proclaiming how He loves us.

Completely innocent.
Offering Himself as a sacrifice for all of us.
The good and the bad.
The ones who love and the ones who hate Him.
None of whom are worthy.

The perfect sacrifice.
The perfect act.
The redemption of the world.

Oh, how He loves us.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

What an extra Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Birthday time!

First of all let me introduce you to one of my very best friends, Abby.
I still call her Abby Troutman.
But she's now Abby Fennell.
If you've ever read this blog before I'm sure you recognize her.
She was one of my first roommates in Red Saile.
She got married last June.
She and I ran an entire marathon together (in case you've forgotten in the past two posts).
She is an incredible friend.
And today is her birthday!!
Abby is seriously probably the most thoughtful, kindest, most loving, most encouraging, and sweetest person I know. I'm not just saying all those things because it is her birthday. She really is.
I could list tons of ways she's gone above and beyond the roles of average friendship in my life. She is awesome.
Have you ever heard that saying, "Be the type of person you'd like to be friends with?" Well she is living it.
Abby is nice to everyone. I honestly cannot think of a time she's ever said or done anything to hurt my feelings. And that is incredible.
I'm trying my hardest to put into words what a blessing this girl is. I'm pretty sure I'm failing at it. Just trust me when I say that if you aren't friends with her you are missing out. Big time.
I'm just so, so thankful we get to be so close and share so much.
She is an inspiration and source of joy to everyone who knows her.
Thank you for this, Abby.
Just a little walk down memory lane...

Abby and Chelcie take on D.C.

One time I let Abby pierce my ear

All the way back to high school best friends

We've come a long way

One of my favorite spring breaks of all time

Abby and Chelcie take on the Smokies

High school. Once again we've come a long way.


I adore that we get to be in small group together

One of our most adventurous nights

So thankful we got to go to Nicaragua together. Twice!

Bride and bridesmaids

Abby and Chelcie take on dance party.

One of favorite fall breaks of all time.

Freshmen year of college nights

Vols four years ago.

Our Extreme Makeover debut.

Camping nights

And of course, the oh so wonderful marathon.
Happy, happy birthday! Love you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Let's Talk Phobias

...Specifically, let's talk my phobias.
Spiders? Snakes? Heights? Not entirely pleasant, but they really don't bother me much.
My all time biggest phobia is getting stuck in places. Specifically small places. But really anywhere without a way to escape. I don't like the thought of being stuck. With no way out.
Therefore, I'm not a big fan of airplanes, long tunnels, subways, rooms without windows, crowed places (exhibit A: Neyland Stadium on game days), trunks of cars, or elevators. Insert foreshadowing here.
They have a name for this. It's called Claustrophobia.
I'm not sure how I developed this fear. I don't remember ever being locked in a box as a small child. My parents are pretty normal so I don't think child abuse is the cause. I did get my head stuck in the railing of the stairs at my neighbor's house once. That was awful. And seems even worse now. Anyway, I don't know where this fear came from. But I have it.
So back to the elevators...
My friend and I park on the bottom floor of the parking garage and walk up five flights of stairs every day. Why? For exercise. And because I refuse to get on the elevator. (She is a very good friend).
Unfortunately she wasn't on the oh so wonderful spring break cruise with me though.
And because of that I faced my biggest phobia head on.

To begin with a cruise ship is a claustrophobic situation in itself.
How so? You're on a boat. In the middle (well not quite middle...) of the ocean. No way to escape that thing.
From there imagine that 2 of your closest (about to become much closer) buddies convince you and 17 more of your friends that the night is young and dancing is how all y'all should spend the next few hours. They're right. So all of you excitedly agree. So you all leaving salsa dancing and head to another place to keep movin' to the music. Adrenaline and pure joy are your best friends right now. It is the first night of spring break after all! You all hurry to the elevators. And this is where you pause. Because 1. you hate elevators and 2. there are a lot of people and this is a small elevator. But everyone encourages you to come on. And you don't know where to go if you don't follow them so you agree. Spoiler alert: You'll regret this decision greatly.
So here we are. 21 of us on a very tiny elevator. I'm already having a little bit of anxiety. But I'm squeezed in with so many of my friends so I'll be okay. Or so I think. The doors close and someone yells "grind on the person next to you." True life. Everyone laughs because there is not even enough room to breathe or move. Not to mention grind on someone! The laughter is cut short because we all notice far too obviously that the elevator only moved up about 4 inches then stopped.
Here is where I start to panic. I HATE ELEVATORS people. Fortunately, my friends were much more level headed (to begin with anyway). They ring the alarm. It dings. But that's all. Literally all that is happening is an alarm is ringing in our ever shrinking elevator room.
It's an mirrored elevator- you might think this is a good thing right? Makes it seem bigger. WRONG. They mirrors fogged up immediately. We were all so hot from dancing. Plus we were squeezed in so tightly that the body heat was unreal. Not only do the mirrors fog up, but the air gets unbelievable thick. This is increased for me because I started hyperventilating. Yes. I did. Way to hold it together, Chelc.
The boys go into "save the day" mode and attempt to pry open the doors with their hands. Shockingly it doesn't work. At all. But there's a "use in case of extreme emergency" door on the ceiling. Yes please. In my mind there is absolutely nothing more of an extreme emergence than this. So the guys try over and over to get that open. Absolutely no luck. Zero. Somewhere about this time someone prayed for us. Glad we have a God we can call out to in moments of extreme panic!
I'm already in full out panic mode, but by now others are quickly catching me. Well, not catching me, I was way too far gone. Crying, sweating, hyperventilating, shaking. I'd lost it. But others were really getting worried too. We stopped talking. I'm convinced the oxygen really was running out.
This is when I had the bright idea for someone to get out there phone and call someone, anyone. My dear friend Thomas came to save the day. He pulls out his phone and in the silence and despair of the elevator crew, with the alarm ringing constantly, we hear, "Mom? Hey. This probably is costing a ton of money but I'm still on the cruise and I'm stuck in an elevator with a lot of people." Later we laughed about this for a long time. But at the time I was beyond thankful that some other human actually knew we were stuck. Thomas ended up hanging up on his mom because one of the boys found the elevator phone. Finally. He talked to a foreign cruise worker who told him they knew we were stuck and they'd be there "soon." At least that's what he thought the guy said. Either way, we need to work on the definition of the word soon. Because it seemed like days before they actually got there. We ended up calling back again. And maybe they picked up on the shortness of breath and panic in our voices that time because shortly after call number 2 we heard voices a floor up telling us not to panic and they were going to get us out.
More tears. Then finally the elevator went down those 4 short inches and the doors opened and we were free. I don't think I've ever breathed that deeply in my life. Freedom. And more tears.
Needless to say, I hate elevators more than ever. This experience taught me that my claustrophobia is very real. As is possible death from being stuck in an elevator. I might be being a little dramatic, but I'm convinced we were mere minutes away from being on the front page of the Knox New Sentinel as the most random and tragic deaths of UT students on spring break.
But we survived. And I owe my personal survival to my best friend who instantly knew that she had to squeeze through the five feet of our friends between us to get to me because she knew I was going to be panicking. And a couple of the boys were incredibly kind to me. Although the things they were telling me were lies, they were so, so nice and did their absolute best to calm me down.
We were on the elevator for about 20 minutes (which is probably about how long it's taken you to read this post- I just really wanted to paint a complete picture for y'all). That is a long time to be stuck in more ways than one.  

Notice the hanging heads and looks of defeat. NO WAY OUT.

The fog. Steam. Sweat. Rolling down faces. Even the camera is foggy. Miserable.

Floor 5. We hate you.
Sorry this got so long so quickly. I guess I just still have a lot of emotions regarding this event. I could make so many parallels from this experience. But I'll save them. For now. Total YL move: maybe I'll use it in a talk ;)

Monday, April 2, 2012


That's right, I've joined the club that only .01%-2% of the USA's population belongs to. I've run a marathon.
Definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.
My legs and feet have never hurt so bad in my life. BUT WE DID IT!
I'm still hurting though. From my toenails to my jaw and everywhere in between. Seriously.
But it feels so worth it to be able to check that off the Bucket List.
26.2 miles. Pshew.

I must give credit where credit is due though:
1. To the Lord. I've said this before, there is no way I could have even had the courage to start this thing without confidence and strength through Him alone.
2. Abby. My sweet, sweet friend and running partner. She was awesome. She encouraged and helped me the whole way. She is such a great friend and there is honestly no one I'd rather run my first marathon with. I woulda hopped on one of those medic carts for sure if she hadn't been with me.
3. My family. Whoa. Y'all don't even know what an awesome family I have. My dad and youngest brother got up and picked us up at 6:45 in the morning. That's early for a Sunday, Bloggies. My other brother drove allll the way from Chattanooga to cheer me on. My sister made TWO awesome signs. And my mom was the ultimate picture taker. My grandparents even came out to cheer and watch me finish. They all cheered and supported and loved me so much. "Thank you" just doesn't seem good like a good enough way to show what I'm feeling.
4. My sweet, sweet friends who came out to cheer specifically for Abby and me. They spent hours of their Sunday driving and running around Knoxville to cheer us on. As much as I say it they will never fully understand what their support meant to us. So BIG thank you specifically to Becca, Becca, Jamie, and Delaney. (Also, sorry the marathon is all we've talked about for the past 3 days. Thanks for not killing us)
5. All of our other awesome friends there cheering us on. Once again, I am so grateful for y'all. Unexpectedly hearing someone yelling our names was such a treat and a HUGE encouragement. Seriously, I hope I can repay each one of you one day.
6. ALL the other supporters and volunteers. Even though they didn't know our names, just hearing them yell "good job, girls!" or "you're looking great" or "you've come so far" did so much to keep us going. I cannot even explain it.
7. The other marathon runners. It felt like such a community while we were running. Encouraging one another to not give up and recognizing we were not in this alone brought tears to my eyes. So proud of all of us. 

So just a little recap:
At the start the race coordinator said, "This day is a celebration. Today we are celebrating all the hard work you've done up to this point!"
So yesterday, we celebrated! Weirdest/most difficult/most accomplished day of celebration ever. 
The first half of the marathon was so easy and great. Fun, energetic, crowded, full of cheering and music, and a total blast.
I had a couple of moments I teared up though. Out of thankfulness really. When I saw Drew. And when I read some signs people were holding. PEOPLE ARE SO ENCOURAGING! 
My favorite part of this half (other than seeing my supporters, of course, was a sign at the bottom of Nolton- the infamous most dreaded hill in the whole course- that said "This hill is easy.... APRIL FOOLS! It made me laugh out loud. Then kick Nolton's butt)
As soon as we hit the split between the marathoners and the "halfers" it got so lonely. No people around running or cheering. Just Abby and me doing our thing.
Then came that oh so wonderful proverbial wall...
I slammed into it and I'm pretty sure it didn't move until we were finished.
It started hurting at about mile 17 and never really stopped.
(My friend, Tyler- "marathon pro" as I like to call him- called me yesterday and told me this, "Ya know, sometimes you hit the wall and it hurts then gets a little better. Then sometimes you hit it and it just never stops hurting until the end. But you know what? It always hurts." He's right. It hurt.)
The last 3 miles were absolutely terrible. The worst three miles I've ever run. Many more tears here.
But we made it.
We "finished at the 50."

So, will I ever run a marathon again? This has been a very popular question.
The answer..........
....hold on to your seats people.....
I actually think is yes.
Even though I still can't walk and avoid stairs at all costs, I actually do want to do another marathon. I think I could do better next time. And it was quite the experience. I heard it gets in your blood. Apparently it really does! Eek!

Some pictures of the big day:

I know that some of these pictures are in here multiple times but I am still to exhausted to care or fix it right now. So enjoy the extra pics :)