A true story of a really horrible accident that grabbed National and International attention. When the story was first told on the news, no one was even sure that Lauren was going to live! Her story is not only told by Lauren but by her family members as well; each telling how tough it was, the victories that were gained and how God's love and loving, praying friends helped them get through the darkest days. Included are several sections with photographs.
I really liked this book and was so relieved that all the gory, bloody details of the actual accident were NOT gone into great detail. Personally, I can't handle that kind of information; but there was a lot of information about life as a family BEFORE the accident which I didn't really expect but did enjoy. It gave you a chance to really know each person as well as you can from reading many of their views on life as they saw it. The words that really gripped me where her life was forever changed by a sixteenth of an inch of steel. What followed was a challenge not only to her physical life but also spiritual and emotional health as well. She beat a lot of odds that were against her and is now even more able to encourage, and touch others with the love of God. I know I hadn't heard of her before this happened but now her influence has increased and like she wrote in several places- we were built for hope (my paraphrase) Oh did I mention that Lauren is a fashion journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief of LOLO Magazine, an online lifestyle experience magazine that covers food, fashion beauty, health and travel industries? You can view info on the magazine at Lolo Magazine
Yep, she's a fighter!
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I am stating that Tyndale House Publishers has given me a complimentary copy of this book.
(in other words, FREE) I am giving my honest opinion of this book in exchange.
Would you like to read a free preview of Chapter one? Here it is:
Chapter 1: An Unmistakable Premonition
Dad looked like a ghost.
Not one of those screechy phantoms you see in a horror movie, but
like a pale version of his usually cheery self—white as a sheet, except for the dark circles under his eyes.
“Cheryl.” His voice was thin. He coughed, then said, “I don’t know
if I can do this tonight after all.”
“You want us to take you home?” Mom said. “We’re not very far.”
Dad was behind the wheel, but he nodded at Mom’s offer, coughed
again, and turned the car toward home. Beads of sweat lay across his
forehead. It was Saturday, December 3, 2011, about 4 p.m.
From our house in West Plano, we were on our way to another suburb of Dallas called Flower Mound. We were heading to The Village
Church, where we normally attend, for a regular weekend service.
Advent season was upon us, and it felt like Christmas was in the air.
From the backseat, I reached over and gave my dad a warm pat on his
Page 2: shoulder. “Have some chicken soup,” I said. “Maybe a little oil of oregano mixed with orange juice. Fights infections, you know. I think there’s some in the kitchen pantry.” Dad coughed again and grinned weakly.
I wasn't in the habit of babying my parents, especially not my dad.
But there were definitely days I felt like a grown-up around them, a colleague more than a kid. At age twenty-three, I wasn't a child anymore.
True enough, I had recently moved back home to start my online fashion journal, LOLO Magazine. But living at home was just temporary.
I’d graduated from college with academic honors. I’d successfully completed two internships in New York City, where I’d lived on my own.
I’d traveled to Paris, Montreal, and New York to report on their Fashion
Weeks, the intensive seven-day stretch where all the next season’s new
designs are showcased. I’d done numerous video-reporting segments
where I’d interviewed actors, celebrities, and fashion industry insiders.
Nearly nine years had passed since the homeless man’s prediction of a
big life and a big battle for me. Life felt big some days, but nothing that
could be considered huge. At least, not yet.
The only reason I had moved home was that Mom and Dad were
being gracious, giving me free room and board for a season or two
until my magazine began to pay for itself. I spent every waking minute on LOLO Magazine. Most days I’d start at eight in the morning
and go hard until midnight. The staff consisted of me and Shannon Yoachum,
another young, entrepreneurial journalist who lived just
a few hours away in Austin. We were throwing our hearts into the
project. Our personal tagline was “Live Out Loud,” and that’s how
we approached our work—with the volume turned all the way up.
Shannon and I had been close friends since kindergarten, and these
days we were writing and editing columns, contacting press agents
for photographs, interviewing designers, connecting with industry
insiders, and soliciting articles from freelancers. The magazine had
been going only a few months, but already we were getting many
thousands of hits per month, and at least that many on a separate
fashion blog that I wrote.
Page 3: We dropped Dad back at home so he could lie down and fight his cold,
and Mom and I headed to church by ourselves. I love hanging outwith just my mom. She’s one of the most intelligent, caring women I
know. She and my dad both work as marriage counselors. They travel
all over the country sharing their story, and they’ve written a book that
helps a lot of couples have better, stronger relationships.
We got to church early and saved seats for friends of my parents,
Mike and Shannon, along with three friends of theirs. The plan was for
all of us to head over to Mike and Shannon’s house after church for a
chili feast. I’ve babysat Mike and Shannon’s daughter plenty of times and
tutored her with her homework, and I house-sit for them when they’re
out of town. I’m like one of the family over there.
Everybody arrived at church, and the band cranked up. We all stood
for a time of worship and sang along. Then Paul David Tripp, a guest
speaker that night, took the stage.
“I don’t know if you’ve thought about this or not,” he began, “but
you’re hardwired for hope. You don’t live by instinct. Every decision you
make, every choice you make, every response you have to the situations
and relationships of your life is fueled by and motivated by hope. Your
story, the story of your life, is a hope story. Your happiest moments are
hope moments. Your saddest moments are about hope dashed, hope
destroyed. You’re always looking for hope. You’re always attaching the
hope of your heart to something.”
I had no inkling yet of the journey of hope I would soon embark on,
but I could relate to what Paul said. Already I hoped for a lot. I wanted
my magazine to be a huge success. But it wasn’t just about numbers. I
hoped my magazine would help people live better lives. Sure, it’s about
fashion, about looking good and feeling good. But it’s also about being
confident, expressing who you truly are. It’s about going places and
doing things that matter.
I also hoped for that special someone. I guess everybody my age
does. Only a month before, I’d broken up with my boyfriend, James.
It felt like the right decision at the time. James is six feet tall and has
dark brown hair. He’s in good shape, and plenty of girls would line up
Page 4: to date him. He’s one of those sincere, solid guys who’s always there
for you, always says the right thing.
But . . . ah, what was it exactly? In the back of my mind roamed an
image of another guy. He was only a figment of my imagination, an
ideal whose existence I pondered. I could picture him—the ultimate
boyfriend—tall; beachy good looks; laid-back yet driven personality;
tender and caring; funny and genuine; a heart for God; and a clear direction in life. But I needed to be honest with myself. This was real life,
and James was everything a girl could ever ask for. Almost, anyway. But
this other guy—this idealized image of the perfect mate—well, maybe
he was worth holding out for, at least a little while longer. Or maybe he
was just a dangerous fantasy, like a glossy picture in a magazine.
James handled the breakup in a totally good way. We reassured each
other we’d stay friends. We always did. We’d actually broken up once
before and then gotten back together. “Promise me you’ll be really careful, Lo,” he said when he dropped me off at my house the night we broke
up. “I can’t quite explain it, but I have this feeling like something bad
is coming your way.”
I nodded, and we hugged, even as I shivered a little. James had always
been there for me. He saw God’s purpose in things, even difficult things.
What more could a girl ever want?
When church was over, we headed to Mike and Shannon’s house in
McKinney, which is about twenty minutes from our house. Sometimes
it’s hard for someone who’s not from Texas to understand the size of things
in this state. For instance, if you go to a restaurant and order a soft drink,
they don’t have small, medium, and large. They have small, medium, and
“Texas-size.” People just do things in a big way around here.
Mike and Shannon are no exceptions. Everything Mike does, he does
in a Texas-size way. Mike buys and sells companies, in addition to being a
real estate developer. Their home is one of about 130 houses built around a
private airstrip. One of Mike’s hobbies is flying, and he owns three planes.
We all ate chili and salad around the long wooden table in Mike
Page 5: and Shannon’s dining room. Some other friends came over. There were
maybe a dozen people total. Christmas music floated in from the sound
system. Everybody was just talking and laughing. Nobody was drinking
that I remember. It wasn’t that type of party.
“Hey, Mike, you mind if I borrow your plane?” one of Mike’s friends
asked. “Help yourself,” Mike said. “You know what to do.” Mike and his
friend, I knew, both had their pilot’s licenses.
“Who wants to go flying?” the friend asked. “The Christmas lights
are going to be great tonight.” A bunch of people waved their hands.
I don’t know how or why I got to go for a ride first. Everyone else
must have been feeling generous. So I followed Mike’s friend out through
the backyard and into the hangar that’s directly behind Mike’s house.
Another friend, also a licensed pilot, came along to help me board the
plane. On the far end of the hangar is a huge garage door for the planes,
and beyond that lies a tarmac area. Then there’s a taxiway, and beyond
that a runway. It’s like a house built around a golf course, except Mike’s
house is built around an airstrip.
With the guys’ help, I climbed over the plane’s stabilizer bar and slid
into the seat behind the pilot. It was a small plane with only two seats.
We put on headphones so we could talk to each other once we were
in the air. The pilot went through his checklist, started the plane and
warmed it up, and we taxied out.
The night was dark and rainy. Shadowy clouds were thick above us
in a starless sky. For some reason I began to feel cold. The heater was on
in the tiny plane, but what I felt wasn’t that type of cold. It was more
of a tingle. A shiver. I took a deep breath and looked out the window.
“Nice lights,” the pilot said.
The feeling shot up my spine again. Unmistakable fear. This is stupid,
I thought. Completely stupid. Not the experience of flying but this definite feeling of dread coursing through my body. Mike had vouched for
his friend as a strong pilot who was qualified on several levels and owned
his own plane. Get a grip, Lo, I told myself. You need to relax.
Page 6: Up in the air, the atmosphere grew calmer. The rain let up and turned
into a slight mist. It might have even stopped. There was no thunder
or lightning. No strong winds. All I heard was the friendly drone of the
plane’s engine and the occasional crackle over the microphone’s earpiece.
But I still couldn’t shake this crazy fear.
I couldn’t shake it at all.
My body grew tense, and my breathing became shallow. My heart
thumped in my chest. It wasn’t like me to be afraid. Certainly not in
situations like this. I’m the type of girl who loves an adventure, particularly a tame adventure like we were having tonight. I like to ride bikes and go snow skiing and slalom waterskiing. In my bedroom is a very cool street longboard with a Hawaiian sunset motif that I’ve ridden for years. Even when Brittany and I were five-year-old kids
and Dad took us skiing at Vail, my sister would ease down the bunny slopes while I’d bounce through black diamond moguls. So why was I so afraid of this flight?
I gripped both sides of the plane’s seat even
tighter. And then it hit me. We’re going to crash. I thought my heart
was going to explode. Jesus, I prayed. This plane’s going down, and
we’re both going to die. I just know it. Oh Lord, my parents and sister.
Please watch over them. Jesus, Jesus. Whatever happens, God, my life is
in your hands.
I’m sure the Christmas lights were pretty that night, but I was too
nervous to really concentrate on them. I don’t remember anything in
particular. No landmarks. No huge display at a shopping center. Just
darkness and lights and the fields and streets around McKinney. The
plane flew in a big circle.
And then we landed.
The air went out of me like a rush from a leaky tire. My fear went
along with it. We were safe. Completely safe. The plane taxied back to
Mike’s house and pulled up facing into the wind and parked on the
tarmac, all set for whoever was going to fly next. Hmmm, maybe I’m
cracking up, I thought. I wonder what that was all about?
I don’t remember the pilot saying anything directly to me. I don’t
remember anything he said at all. He might have said something. I just
Page 7: don’t remember. It was hard to hear him without my speaker on. It’s still
pretty loud with the plane’s engine running, sitting on the tarmac.
I remember sliding out of the plane.
I remember my feet touching the tarmac.
I remember the sky was black; I was on the dark side of the plane.
Those three memories took place in a split second, about the time it
takes to walk two steps.
It was December 3, 2011, and after that split second, I remember