Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas"

Imagine this: You're 16 and you've been dreaming of something for the last three years. It's a lifelong goal of sorts, and you're just brave enough to try it now! That's the true story in this book. Abby Sunderland has been sailing with her family since she was a baby. Her family spent more time on the water than on dry land. Abby grew up loving the adventure of it all. She was very skilled at captaining a boat even as young as 13... so she decided she wanted to sail around the world, alone. This book is part biography, part autobiography. We get to hear from Abby about how she was thinking, how she was feeling, as she set sail alone. There were some very good times for her out on the water. But then you get to see just how afraid she was when things finally went terribly wrong!

I remember this story in the news. Many were like, "what are her parents thinking?" I remember being afraid for this California teenager, but thinking that I would hope as a parent one day that I would be able to support my children in whatever dreams they have.

I really liked this book in many ways. I am a news producer by profession. This story took me beyond the news, to see the real people and their real story. There were some things I didn't like about the book, however. It goes into great detail about different problems with the boat, or different things about the boat. I know nothing about sailing, and I found these details weighed the story down a bit. SO, truthfully, I found myself skimming through these parts. But if you can get past that, the story is amazing.

WHile many thought it was crazy for Abby's parents to allow her to sail around the world, this was a great learning experience for her... and her faith became much stronger.

At the end of the book, she makes a very huge realization. One that everyone could learn from... She said,

"A lot of times the things that are most worth doing involve risk,
and I'm living proof that not everything works out the way you planned.
But I have learned an important truth: In stepping out and trying to
achieve great things, the only way I can truly fail is never to try at all."

Monday, May 09, 2011

I took a trip to the small north Alabama town of Ider on Friday, to see the tornado destruction there. It's a little less than an hour from Chattanooga. You can read about my trip here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Praising God in the Storm

Last Wednesday brought 18 tornadoes to the Chattanooga area alone. There is total devastation in many towns in our area. 73 people just in our area alone died in those storms. It is heartbreaking. I work in television news, so we see and hear a lot that the general public doesn't. As we rode out the storms at the TV station, our meteorologist spent the long day on air telling folks when to take cover. For me, as for many of you, it was a day full of anxiety...a day full of prayer. I spent much time asking God to please protect Chattanooga. As the day went on, we got word that parts of Alabama had been devastated as well. Tuscaloosa, where my mom, stepdad brothers, and friends live, just devastated. My co-workers told me, "Nicole, call your family... make sure they're okay." So I did. I was so happy when my step-dad answered the phone. Nearby where my dad and stepmom live-- same type story. But everyone is okay there as well.

So, as the night progressed, the storms got worse here in the Tennessee Valley. We learned after a really bad round, folks were trapped in homes in three different towns in our area. People were dying because no one could get to them. Rescue workers had to leave neighborhoods where people were screaming for help to take cover from another tornado. In our newsroom, we listened to all of this on the scanners. It was heartbreaking. As a journalist, I can usually put up a wall... to keep from feeling anything in sad stories, but Wednesday. April 27th, 2011, was just too much. I broke down-- and cried-- on more than one occasion.

I know how difficult it can be to praise God in the storm. I've been there. When the worst happens. When you believe God for a miracle and that miracle doesn't happen. When you trust Him with your whole heart and you don't get the answer you were looking for. Luckily my family and myself are safe. We didn't receive damage. We were lucky. But my prayer tonight is that those who were affected, those who lost their homes-- or worse-- lost someone they loved-- will run to the Lord, not run away. Because He is our refuge in time of need. He loves us. Despite the circumstances, He loves us. There were entire families who died together in this storm. I just can't imagine. I pray tonight that Jesus will wrap His arms around those who are hurting and give them peace.