Saturday, March 29, 2008

(spring) Break

These past two weeks have been a change of pace. With the kids on spring break, Steve and I have danced a fine waltz of schedule rearranging and child entertaining. In the end, I worked less hours at the office, turned my eye toward warming up this white box of an apartment, and relished my role in this beautiful, dancing family of mine. I painted walls, arranged art, dusted, played Sorry and Old Maid and Memory and Labyrinth. I took long walks along the Hudson, listened to Rob Bell on my ipod, and encouraged the crocuses and daffodils as they reached for the sun. (I also chased away the squirrels as they ate the crocus blossoms. I didn't know they did that, did you?)

I ate well,
slept well,
was well.

Oh, I needed a break. I knew I needed a break, but I hadn't realized the magnitude of my need.
No one ever said this work (and by that, I mean all of it--moving the family, adjusting to city life, working full time in a challenging position, and the small matter of facilitating a Christian community from scratch in the middle of Manhattan) would be easy. No, in fact, everyone said it would be very, very hard. And it is.

Here's the most difficult part: every single bit of it. You see, it's all tied together. We meet people, we get to know them, we eventually invite them to be part of this great community, this thing that we believe in so very much... and if we aren't looking at it the right way, it's easy to think that the success of this plant is based solely on our personal likability and charisma. Or maybe it's based on our ability to plan an insightful worship service, or pick the right book for book club, or design the right logo. If a church planter isn't careful, and wise, their sense of personal self worth will become inextricably linked to the success of the church. On a large scale, that becomes a formula of: Church Success = Personal Value Increased.

But on a smaller, every day, scale, it could become a manic depressive roller coaster of something like this:
"Good" attendance at our gatherings = Great day, this church is great! I'm great!
Lower attendance at our gatherings = This is never going to work. What was I thinking?
Encouraging, full of praise email at 10:00 = Great day, this church is great! I'm great!
Email with one sentence of mild criticism at 10:01 = This is never going to work. What was I thinking?

We once visited a church that had an absolutely fantastic room for their youth group. It was full of video games, pool tables, comfortable furniture, and good music. And across the entire back wall, scrawled in letters 3 feet tall, were the words
It's not all about you.

Thanks for the reminder.

This church is God's church. He calls us to be obedient, to use the talents He's given us in the best way we know how. He will build this community in His way and in His time. The people in it are God's people, holy and dearly loved by the Almighty Creator of the universe. It's not all about me.

That being said, I can take a deep breath. I can celebrate the many, many joys of building a community, and I can face the challenges with the absolute certainty that my value lies in Christ's love, and that God's kingdom is being built. That's God's kingdom, not mine.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Crush, Spring of '08

It's true.
I have a crush on a website.
DW + Hulu = TLF

(Free movies and TV shows at a click. Up next: Arrested Development, followed by a riveting episode of Buck Rogers. The kids are enjoying Ice Age, and Steve will be happy to know that The Jerk is also available. It's been too long since we've laughed at Steve Martin's slapstick.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Sorry, Blogsville, but I'm turning on Word Verification for comments.
I've been getting comment spam all too often lately.

Bowling is Cool Again.

A spring break diversion for us-- a welcomed trip to suburbia, mallsville, and a (chic?) bowling alley, whose adverts proclaimed that bowling was cool again.

Not that I ever thought bowling was uncool.

Seriously, we radiated cool.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is risen, just as He said.

Our City Fellowship Church Easter celebration this morning was full
of smiling faces,
of Easter greetings,
of good food,
of worship,
of Hope.

Steve's teaching helped us rediscover the wonder of it all. If you've got an extra 10 minutes, you can listen to it here.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

(wish you were here)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Blue Skies

Look closely for some tiny Wolmas

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Note to Self

Dear Self,
When riding the apartment elevator sans offspring (offspring who regularly jostle to be the one to push The Button),
no one, no matter how kind they appear,
will read your mind and push the #5 button for you.
You WILL ride directly up to the floor of the person with whom you're sharing an elevator.
And, if the person happens to be a kind gentleman who holds the elevator door for you,
there will be an awkward moment when you realize you don't actually want to get off the elevator on his floor.
Plan accordingly for next steps.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How Considerate

How considerate of spring to arrive on precisely the first day of spring break. The event planner in me surely appreciates such a fine coordination of details.

Four Things

Well, Friends, I've not been blogging as much as I would like... things with work and with church have been sapping my energy lately and though I have flashes of blogging brilliance while riding the subway or walking to work, the flashes stay at the periphery, and I'm not able to develop them into fully formed posts. BUT, Spring Break is here for us, and it's two full weeks of a less stressful schedule. I'm looking forward to grabbing hold of some of those half-formed blogs and building them into something worthy of a post.

In the meantime, Diane recently tagged me with Four Things.

1. Four Jobs I have had in my life:
-Hair sweeper upper at BoRics
-Hospice home care worker
-Country line dancing waitress at Lonestar Steakhouse
-Graphic designer(ish) at a funeral supply company

2. Four Movies I would watch/have watched over and over:
-Sense and Sensibility
-The Sound of Music
-Lord of the Rings trilogy
-High School Musical and High School Musical 2 (watched multiple times because my kids have it on at least once a day)

3. Four Places I have lived:
-Caledonia, MI
-Anderson, IN (shout out to High Street)
-Valparaiso, IN
-New York, NY

4. Four TV Shows that I watch:
-The Office
-American Idol (rock on, David Cook)
-How I Met Your Mother

5. Four Places I have visited:
-South Korea
-San Francisco

6. Four People who email me regularly
-Anne Marie
-Fresh Direct communications department

7. Four Favorite Foods
-Chipotle burritos
-Chocolate chip cookie...dough
-Chicken Korma

8. Four Places I would like to be right now:
-Having brunch on a sunny sidewalk cafe
-San Diego
-Anywhere in the Caribbean with a margarita in my hand (never mind that it's 8:37 am)
-Napa Valley

9. Four Things I am looking forward to this year:
-Seeing City Fellowship Church unfold
-Celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary
-Summer on the Battery Park City Esplanade
-Being more healthy

10. Four People who should post Four Things:

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hurrah for the Time Change

Friends with very young children,
I know that the time change messes with your sleep routines. However, I am singing the praises of the time change. It's 6:48 pm and the glorious sun is just beginning to set. What a gift! I love long evenings when I can walk down the esplanade, the Statue of Liberty silhouetted just off shore...

Wait a minute.
It's almost my kids' bedtime, and no one has thought of dinner, much less made it.
Darn it.
Time change.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Rainy Days and Saturdays

I present to you the yield of a rainy Saturday afternoon:

My laundry in the background, Jonathan's lego ship/rocket ship on the right, and Chloe's rockin' doll party in the foreground. (I'm delighted to see that Barbie had enough sense to put the campfire out front to keep away the damp, tho it seems the rain has not necessitated putting the top up on the convertible.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Joining Elvis for Lunch

Since I began working full time last spring, Steve and I have tried to set aside the first Saturday of every month to do something special and fun with the kiddos.
We kinda figured, "Hey, we live in this great city with so much to do, we really need to take advantage of it!"
So we marched right out and went to the movies.
But after that, we started doing fun, unusual stuff,
like shopping for the kids' clothes at Old Navy. They thought it was not at all special or fun. Neither did Steve. But we all got new socks that we desperately needed, and aren't new socks fun?

After that, recognizing that old habits are hard to break, we took the (wall street) bull by the horns and planned a bit better for Saturdays.

We've done a variety of things together, sometimes as a family, sometimes just me or Steve with one or the other of the kiddos. This past Saturday the whole fam visited Peanut Butter and Company in the Village. The place is tiny and retro and serves only
(you guessed it) gourmet, freshly ground peanut butter related foodstuff.

Steve surveyed the menu and settled on The Elvis, minus the bacon: peanut butter, honey, bananas on whole wheat, grilled.
Chloe went for The Peanut Butter Cup: nutella and peanut butter on white.
Jonathan (in an effort to align with his increasingly large and poofy hair?) went The Fluffernutter route: peanut butter and marshmallow creme on white.
And I, a bit nauseated by the thought of The Elvis, went with the very kinda as-mature-as-you -can-get-in-an-all-peanut-butter-place Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, which came with a lovely cinnamon flavor and thinly sliced golden delicious apples and raisins embedded in the peanut butter...mmm, mmm, good.