Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just the Same, Only with Higher Heels

As part of our anniversary celebration yesterday, Steve and I saw the very romantic Iron Man. (Don't despair for us, friends, the real celebration comes at the tail end of June, when we're going away for a week. Just he and I, the beach, and a margarita or two.)

At the movie theater, we saw lines and lines of women, dressed in their very trendiest. Sex and the City was sold out all across town.

Steve glanced briefly down the line.
Huh. It's no different than when all the Star Wars fanatics dressed in character and lined up before the opening of Episode I.

Yep. Darth Vader with Manolo Blahniks. That's a nice visual.

Friday, May 30, 2008

He was Tall, Which was Good

I met Steve when I was 17.

He was tall, which was good, because standing next to him made my 5 feet 9 inches feel a bit more like the petite girls that I always eyed a bit enviously at my small Christian high school. He wore an old, ratty Gus Macker basketball tournament t-shirt 5 days out of 7. His hair he cut short, about a half inch long, to spite his natural curls.

He went to college in Glamorous and Far Away California and owned the role of Brooding English Major. He was moving to Germany for a year.

He intrigued me.

Two years later, I was in college in a cornfield in Indiana, and he was back from Germany, finishing his Brooding English Major gig. Email, in DOS format, had arrived in our computer labs. We emailed. He also started writing me letters-- the real kind, on college ruled paper with a black pen. Long letters, full of philosophy and stories and angst and humor. When he wrote, he pressed his pen so firmly into the paper that it left indentations on the next two pages, and his letters become as much about the texture as anything else. His handwriting was atrocious, almost illegible, so that I had to read and re-read to ensure that I read correctly. I can still remember opening my mailbox in the commons area, the smell of coffee and fake nacho cheese in the background, my heart beating just a bit faster as I checked to see if one of the thick envelopes was resting in the space. I loved him for those letters. I wrote back, hoping my stream of consciousness scrawlings would be enough to hold his attention.

We dated, long-distance, for almost 4 years. California/Indiana, Indiana/Michigan, Indiana/Other Parts of Indiana. We saw each other on weekends and breaks and whenever we could. I don't remember as much of college as I should; I was thinking of him and how he was where I wasn't.

He made payments on my engagement ring with the money he made from selling plasma.

We married as soon as was possible-- three weeks after I graduated college and two weeks after he completed his second year of law school. We lived in a $450/month apartment, which turned out to be 100 feet away from a railroad crossing. When the hourly trains came through, the noise and the horn were so deafening that we had to pause in our conversation and let it pass, resuming when the noise faded. I worked nights in the local hospital; he studied through law school and graduated with honors.

We moved back to Michigan, and Chloe was born not long after. I quit work to care for her; he worked all the harder to care for her.

It was not a surprise when he told me that he didn't think law was going to work for him long-term. I knew him well enough by then to know that his heart and his mind loved something different than law.

We talked and we prayed.
We talked and we prayed.

He went back to school --seminary. I went back to work. Jonathan came, and we were four. The years of seminary passed by quickly. It was a strange, limbo time in our lives. Goals and values re-examined. Faith enriched. Grace embraced. Lessons learned, over and over. Steve was a full time student, worked 20-40 hours a week, and cared for the children often. He was a rock.

The move to the city came almost two years ago. We told the kids to climb on our backs, we clasped hands, and we jumped. Wouldn't you, if you knew that was to be the next chapter in the story God (who loves you more than you can ever dream or imagine) has laid out for your life?

This day, Steve and I have been married 10 years.
I know him, I love him.
He still intrigues me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Now That's a Good Idea

For many a year, the "west coast" of lower Manhattan was home to decrepit piers, deserted buildings, and shady characters.

The Hudson River Trust saw an opportunity to create something beautiful. 5 miles of public use space--gardens, playgrounds, fountains, and the pinnacle of all urban space: Clean and safe public restrooms. My favorites are the playgrounds and green areas that were built on the piers, extending into the Hudson River. So clever.

We visited Pier 51 today.

See the kiddos? Totally unprepared for water play, yet totally undaunted by the thought of wet jeans.

Free to a Good Home?

I oftentimes wonder at the motivations of my fellow city-dwellers.

For instance,

What compelled the person who left their dictionary on the inside railing of our elevator?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Two with One Stone

Not long ago, Ben and Christy introduced me to Martin Sexton and his very eclectic musical stylings. It's great stuff...almost a new crush, if I'm honest, right up there with my ex-crushes, white hot chocolate, Hulu, and Sufjan Stevens.

Then I discovered that someone with super superior taste had created this Scrubs montage using a Martin Sexton song. A couple of my favorites in one 2-minute bite. Now that's some pleasant efficiency. (Bit of an abrupt ending, tho.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"If That Makes You Feel Better About it, Dana"

That's what Steve said to me when I posed this theory:

"Maybe David Cook doesn't really want to win American Idol. Maybe he's deliberately throwing the competition because winning American Idol would decrease his ability to be a real artist. You know, make him into a product of the machine? Right? That's why he picked such poor songs? Right?"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Value of Family Mealtime

I recently read an article exhorting families to make time for dinner together, to give room in their busy lives to share a meal and discussion, to reconnect and process their lives together.

The article came to mind on Thursday as my family gathered around steaming plates of spaghetti and meatballs.

Jonathan offered up the conversation opener.

I have a joke. Why did the... (he glanced wildly around until his eyes fell to his plate)... Why did the spaghetti and meatballs cross the road?

Wait, wait! Steve said. Don't tell me. I know this one.

Jonathan didn't even pause. To get to the fort!

Steve didn't pause even more. That's what I was going to say.

Chloe paused for a long, long time.
That's not really funny.

And I said nothing, thinking that the article had a point.

Spatial Relations Aren't My Thing

"Anything you want to be, really. No, wait, maybe steer clear of engineering type jobs."

These were the words from my high school guidance counselor as she reviewed the aptitude test I had taken a few weeks earlier. She was right about the engineering thing. I remember how flummoxed I was by those unfolded box questions...really, who did know what shape they would make if they were folded on their creases? Not me.

Steve's high school aptitude test suggested Bus Driver as his #1 best-fitting job.

And now I find myself considering what the next step might be in my multi-layered panorama of a career. My current position is changing... compensation policies morphing... and after much thought and prayer, Steve and I have decided that it's time for me to move on. We're good with that decision, but the question remains: Move on to where?

Not engineering, apparently. Or box making.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sing Along with Jonathan

It seems that Jonathan has hijacked the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Oh, my.

and that's why I'm bananas for the Lord

PS: There's the line in there that says, "He prunes away my branches when my branches get too high."
Jonathan was under the impression that it was "britches" and not "branches"...
All I can say is, I do try to get him new britches when they get too high, but he grows so fast it's hard to keep up. Maybe some pruning is necessary after all.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good Ones

One of our favorite movies is Family Man, starring Nicholas Cage. It's the story of Jack, a high-powered Wall Street hostile takeover kind of guy with (almost) everything he ever thought he wanted. Jack awakens one day in the suburbs with two kids, a dog, and a job working for his father-in-law as a tire salesman.

There's a great scene in the movie where Jack, after realizing the deep and difficult joys of family and putting others before yourself, is asked if he has any children.

"Yeah," he answers with a touch of wonderment. "Two good ones!"

Two good ones.
'Tis indeed a Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

We Love Street Fairs

Yesterday's was the Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair.

(No, there were no celebrity spottings, just lots of strollers, free gifts, and fun.)

Jonathan busts a move at the Verizon lounge. Is it that the chicken dance?

And we made our own indie films, too:

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Permit Me a Bit of Pollyanna

Rarely, and I mean hardly-ever-close-to-never, do I appreciate having a public laundry room 3 floors below me rather than my own personal washer and dryer. But today, with 5 loads of Back to Reality laundry facing me, I was inordinately happy to find 5 open machines, toss all the business in, and be done with the whole thing in about an hour.

It's amazing what a few (80 degree and sunny) days in Florida can do for one's spirits.

Steve and I were at a church planting conference in Boca Raton, so we were certainly not just lying in the sun the whole time (tho a very uneven and streaky sunburn on my left forearm proves that we did go to the beach at least once). Our host in Boca was the welcoming Spanish River Church, a thriving community of Christ which has been supporting and encouraging fledgling churches like City Fellowship for 20 years. More than the sun, we basked in the energy and creativity that flows when you bring together 50 church planters from around the globe.

We were surprised to find how our nose to the grindstone viewpoint had become a bit heavy, weighing on us more than it had the right, and causing the joy of our call to be once removed. It was good for us, and probably for the church, to look up for a few days and see the panorama of God's work in the world.

It was also good to enjoy a margarita on the beach. Just saying.