Sunday, March 1, 2015

"I'm booking flights like no problem, no problem, no problem."

We didn't get the two hour delay we were hoping for Friday morning, but that meant I got to spend time with these bible study girls. Right after school I picked up Chloe Green and we got to spend the afternoon talking about friendship and faith and leadership and the kind of people we want to become. It was one of my favorite conversations this week.

The last home basketball game of the season was also Senior Night so I headed back to the student section with Katy, Hope, Emily and Julia one more time. The bleachers were packed and all of the Seniors were wearing crowns along with tshirts from the schools they'll be attending next year. I'm sincerely going to miss this crew of Seniors. They were my first students and have been doing YL with us from the start.

Hope is a riot. I'm thankful for any time I get to spend with her and tonight she was particularly goofy. She taught me all her cheer moves and danced hard to all the pep band music.

Some of my favorite sophomores, Caroline, Kegley and Julia, were all the game to so we got to talk during half time. They're pretty fantastic and people that I'm proud to call friends. Katy P and I hung out in the stands the whole time which never fails to be entertaining. We spent the last quarter of the game making pic stitches with people's animal look-a-likes.

Huffer was back in the student section tonight, Katie Beegle was cheering for her Senior Night and our friend Jack, who comes to Capernaum, led the student section roller coaster. It was pretty awesome seeing these kids in action.

Saturday afternoon I got to have a lunch date with five awesome Senior girls at Steak n' Shake. Lauren, Natalie, Hannah, Shelby and Courtney are some of the sweetest girls you'll ever meet and I love when our paths overlap.

Sunday afternoon I got to adventure with my friends Julia, Hannah and Liz Koch. My YL friends Tony and Abby had ventured to this Ice Tree on Saturday and when I saw their picture on Instagram I knew I had to come see it too. Only a 45 minute drive from Fishers, it wasn't difficult to find Veal's Ice Tree. 11333 Southeastern Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46259 

I think I expected the Ice Tree to be in the middle of a giant field but it was right in the family's backyard. You park in their driveway and people just walk over to check out this monstrous thing. There are informational handouts available and lucky for us, Jeff Veal, one of the builders was in the driveway talking to visitors. His father Vierl started the tree in 1961. Then Jeff and his siblings John and Janet took over the building. Now the grandchildren Wynter and Chad are in charge. Jeff said most visitors come on the weekends and they estimate about 500 to 1,000 people a day stop by to see the tree.

There's not actually a tree inside of the ice tree. They start with a frame of scrap lumber and twine. Garden hoses are attached to the frame. The hoses pump from the pond in their backyard (so their water bill doesn't sky rocket) continuously so the water never has an opportunity to freeze in the hose.

Once the water freezes on the original structure they add brush and tree branches, relocate the hoses and the process continues. They usually start working in January when there are five or more days of temperatures below 30. Luckily we came on the second to last day before they start letting the tree melt for the season.

Color is added to the Ice Tree by mixing powder food coloring dye with water and then spraying it on the tree with a garden sprayer attachment on the hose. If you check out the Instagram account for the Ice Tree you can see how the color varies from year to year and how it's most vivid right after the color is added.

As we talked with Jeff and his kids we realized the daughter goes to Indiana Wesleyan, they're involved in their church and they're all strong Christians. The pamphlet goes on to talk about faith after the details of the tree.

The tree reminds us of memories with our late father, the Ice Tree creator. He had a never failing positive outlook on life. He once wrote, "God states in the Bible we can be happy in adverse circumstances." He didn't always enjoy the winter weather but he did love to create beauty from adversity. Repeatedly, Daddy found that many events that look like misfortunes to us are really God's opportunity for us to find greater happiness. 

The awesome beauty and grandeur of the Ice Tree is impossible to describe--you must experience it in a personal encounter. Many people think us truly strange at a mere explanation of this winter wonder. But, when those same people discover with their own eyes the majestic splendor, attitudes change from doubt to speechlessness.

The exact same truth holds up when speaking of the beauty and grandeur in a relationship with God. Some people feel a personal encounter with God is non-sense, old fashion, or just plain strange. But, upon a personal encounter the doubt changes to speechlessness. 

Chad, the son and a Junior in HS, took us to the back side of the Ice Tree to go inside the ice cave. We climbed up and around the perimeter of the tree and then inside a tunnel. It was all ice so we had to slide down on our butts and got wet but it was worth it.

You crawl forward a few feet and then the tunnel opens up into a cave. The ceiling is the plywood and lumber fort that started the ice structure. Inside the cave we could hear the water from the hoses above us and see some of the water trickling down. It was like being inside a giant freezer. So, so cool.

We couldn't believe that the Ice Tree has been around since 1961 and none of us had ever been here before. No doubt that we'll be back again next year and we'll send more friends to visit too. Maybe next year Chad will let us climb to the top of the Ice Tree with him if we bring our own spikes.

Honorable mention blog titles:
"Oh like when people say, 'Like a pickle on your back.'"
"She's bad because she taught me the two S words... Stupid and Shut Up."
"But I know the Lord wasn't happy with me in that moment because we'd been working on that."

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