Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Little Rocking Chair

We have a friend at church who absolutely loves our kids.  Well, lots of friends who love our kids, but several in particular have become special to our children.  Christine Trevellian & her mom Carol are a couple of those friends.  Elaine has trouble saying “Christine” so she has been nicknamed “Miss Chrine.”  A couple of weeks ago, Christine & Carol gave the kids matching rocking chairs.  Elaine was…elated.  And Nolan quickly got on board with the excitement.  Now that I have my camera back, I was able to capture a few pictures of them putting their little rockers to use.  Thanks, Miss Chrine & Miss Carol!

{click pictures to enlarge}

2012 - Page 055

2012 - Page 056

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Playtime at the Klaus House

My friend Maggy was a lifesaver and babysat our kids on Friday while we took the survey trip to the Bronx.  She had our kiddos, plus her two kiddos…all day.  That’s four kids under four, people.  And in the midst of all of it, she managed to capture these awesome pictures of our kids having fun together.

Elaine loves having Havilah for a friend, and I’m sure Ian & Nolan will be best buds…one day.  We enjoy getting together on a regular basis.  I’m so thankful for good friends who live relatively close!

Playday with the Klaus'
Not sure what’s going on here…

Playday with the Klaus'
…but Nolan looks quite pleased with himself!

Playday with the Klaus'

Playday with the Klaus'

Playday with the Klaus'
They have matching headbands!

Playday with the Klaus'
Havilah introduced Elaine to the joys of playing dress-up.  Princess dress-up.  And she sent Elaine home with a “Belle” outfit and princess shoes.  It has been difficult to get Elaine to take them off for bath time, church, and bedtime.  Each evening she asks if she can please sleep in her yellow princess dress.  Thanks Havilah, for making Elaine’s day!

Playday with the Klaus'

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Armory

On Friday we took the first step toward knowing specifically where God is calling us to start a church in NYC.  There is an area in the Bronx where Pastor Bickel {our pastor} and Mr. Craig Hartman {Shalom Ministries, Ben was an intern with this ministry during college} have been praying about a church plant.  We don’t have specific leading toward any particular neighborhood, so we wanted to survey the area in the Bronx and be able to pray more specifically.  Mr. Hartman grew up in the Bronx and knows the area, so he and Pastor were our guides.

For those who don’t know…New York City is divided into five boroughs.  Each borough has a president who works under the mayor.  The boroughs are Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.  The Bronx is the northernmost borough.  Manhattan is technically an island and what most people think of as New York City.  Brooklyn and Queens make up the western part of Long Island.  And Staten Island…is an island.

There are several things that we want in a location for church planting.  We would like a good mix of commercial and residential.  This will give us foot traffic from people who perhaps don’t live in the neighborhood of our church.  But we also want to be able to reach into the community of people who live right there in the residential area.  We need there to be some parking available for church members, and we would like to be near a train stop.  Ben would like to be able to minister to Jewish people and Spanish-speaking people specifically.

We viewed several areas in the Bronx that have potential for church planting.  The Bronx is the smallest borough, but there are not many good churches in the area.  I learned that the Bronx used to be one farm, owned by the Bronk family.  People would say they are going to visit the Bronk’s.  Eventually the “ks” was traded for an “x” and we were left with “The Bronx”.  It is very hilly, with lots of trees and rock formations.  It was very lovely!

Four Neighborhood in Bronx
“A” is Riverdale, “B” is the Armory, “C” is the Grand Concourse, “D” is Morris Park

Riverdale is a large Jewish community on the north western side of the Bronx.  It was also the more wealthy area.  There are two highways which divide this neighborhood, and it seemed more exclusive and sprawled out.  It also looked as if everyone had a car.  It definitely had a more suburban feel to it, though it is still NYC.

We also drove through Morris Park, a well known Italian community on the Eastern side of the Bronx.  We saw some good possibility in this neighborhood also.

The focus of our trip was an area near the center of the Bronx – Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse.  Fordham Road runs east and west, and the Grand Concourse is a main thoroughfare from the north to the south Bronx.  This was a very busy commercial area – there were tons of people.  It is near Fordham University.

Not very far from this prime commercial area is a quiet neighborhood near an old landmark which everyone knows well – The Kingsbridge Armory.

Bronx Map
“A” is the Armory, “B” is the intersection of Fordham and the Grand Concourse

There was a decent amount of parking in this area.  There is an elevated train a block away.  There is talk of renovating the Armory and turning it into a recreation center – an ice rink, etc.  The neighborhood behind the Armory was quiet and very lovely, lined with many trees.  There was a mix of high rise apartment buildings and individual homes.  There is a high school and Lehman University down the street.  There was a little park.  There are some businesses, and the possibility of finding a store front in which to begin a church work.  And just a few blocks away is the center of the Bronx, a major commercial area.

The Bronx Armory
The Armory. 
{I didn’t get many pictures or very good ones because I was using the video camera.  My camera is still being repaired}

The Bronx Armory
The neighborhood behind the Armory – tenement buildings

The Bronx Armory
Lots of trees and a fairly quiet little neighborhood

The Bronx Armory
The elevated train is close by

We really liked this area and it seemed perfect for church planting.  We would have the possibility of reaching into Riverdale and ministering to the Jewish people who live there.  If we could tell people, “Our church is near the Armory” then everyone would be able to find us easily.

We still don’t have specific direction, but we have much to pray about.  There is a good possibility that that Lord could call us to this needy area.  But perhaps He has something else in mind for us.  Here are some of the things we are praying about:

  • Specific and clear direction regarding church planting in the Bronx, or elsewhere
  • Co-workers to help us start the church work
  • Timing.  “Our” timetable would say we are aiming for church planting in 2014.  But…we need to be on God’s timetable!
  • Should we raise support?  Should we use a mission board?  Which mission board?  How long to do deputation/how much support do we need to raise?  We need the clear leading of the Lord in all of these considerations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Nolan’s Ice Cream Cone

My camera is in for repairs, so I don’t have any new pictures to post.  These are from a couple of weeks ago, but they never made it to the blog.

A Day in NJ at the Jackey's House

A Day in NJ at the Jackey's House

Monday, September 17, 2012

Visits with the Hamiltons

Over Labor Day week we got to spend a lot of time with Ben’s family.  We made the trip to Mass. on Sunday to spend the holiday with Mom & Dad Hamilton.  The kids & stayed until Friday while Ben returned to work on Tuesday.  We did lots of fun things – playing outside, bouncing at the bounce house play area in the mall, going to the lake, riding in the wagon, and watching Cinderella every. single. day.  I also squeezed in a Wal-Mart trip and a stop at the thrift stores.  I don’t get to do that in the City!

Onato Lake in Pittsfield
The kids enjoyed the calm lake water…as compared to the ocean waves in Brooklyn.

Onato Lake in Pittsfield

Onato Lake in Pittsfield
It was a beautiful day!

Onato Lake in Pittsfield
This is Fezzik.  He is Grandma’s dog.  And the reason that my kids call her “Grandma Fezzi”.

Onato Lake in Pittsfield

The Ball Pit at Grandma Fezzi's House
Grandma brought the balls home from work to fill the swimming pool and create a ball pit.  Elaine especially enjoyed this!

Watching Cinderella
The daily dose of Cinderella.

When we returned to Brooklyn we were blessed with a visit from Uncle Evan….and his “special friend.”  We finally got to meet his girlfriend Elise!  We did a quick trip to the City to see the 9/11 Memorial.  Then we walked home across the Brooklyn Bridge and let the kids ride the carousel again.  It was supposed to rain all day, but it wasn’t until our last stop in Boro Park that the rain finally caught us…to Elaine’s delight.  We finished the night with a Fresh Mozzarella Pizza…if you’ve never experienced this treat for the taste buds, come and visit us!

Brooklyn Bridge with Evan and Elise
Elise & Evan on the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge with Evan and Elise

Brooklyn Bridge with Evan and Elise
Empire State Building

Brooklyn with Evan and Elise
She finally got to use her umbrella in the rain!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Praying Specifically with our Children

For a few weeks Elaine and I have been praying for two specific things that the kids needed for this winter.  God has been very faithful to provide for all of our needs.  Though we could have scraped together the money to go and buy these items new, we decided to pray about it, with Elaine, and see what God would do.  And, there’s no rush because winter is not upon us yet.

Sometimes I forget to pray for these items, but Elaine reminds me.  Yesterday we had the first part of our answer to prayer.

Nolan needed a winter coat.  I had gone through all of the hand-me-downs, but the coats we had were either pink or too big.  I even checked the thrift stores when I was visiting my in-laws.  Yesterday as I put some of the fall clothes into the kids’ dressers, and hung up some clean clothes in the closet, I spied a blue winter coat.  It was shoved way in the back.  I was sure it was the 3T coat, too big for Nolan…but I decided to check again. To my delight and surprise, as well as Elaine’s {and Nolan’s, because he got to try it on} it was an 18-24 months winter coat. A brand new coat. 

Matthew 6:8 says that our Heavenly Father knows what our needs are, even before we ask Him for them.  This is how God chose to answer our prayer – before we even asked for it.  {And then He just had to remind me it was there, because my brain is really mushy these days.  I blame it on my kids.}

Ben also had a specific prayer request.  The day after he told me what he had been praying for, we received a card in the mail which answered 20% of Ben’s prayer.  Then after our trip to Massachusetts we sat and talked about it, realizing that God had indeed provided the exact amount for which Ben had prayed.  It came a little at a time, from new and old sources, but just when we needed it.

Now Elaine is still praying for one other item.  And I’m not going to tell you what it is.  But I know she is even more excited to see God answer it now that she has seen what Nolan got!  And I am thankful that God allowed us to show our little two year old daughter the power of prayer to our powerful God.

Onato Lake in Pittsfield

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

11 years ago I was a student at BJU. {Wow, that makes me feel old!} I was on a break between classes.  Suddenly students started rushing into the student center and crowded around the TV. I couldn't see or hear what was going on, so I shrugged it off as nothing. When I returned to my dorm, I learned that it was a big something - a massive terrorist attack in New York City.

I never would have imagined that I would now be living in New York City.  We were finally able to visit the 9/11 Memorial last Saturday.  It’s very moving to be there, to look down into the masive hole, to think about what used to reach to the sky from that spot.  Then you start to read the names of those 2,977 victims. 

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise
I thought this one was particularly sad – Renee A. May and her unborn child.  It’s also interesting to me that when someone else takes the life of a pregnant woman it is a double murder, but when the woman takes the life of her own unborn child, it is a legal abortion.  But I guess that’s a different topic.

9-11 Memorial with Evan and Elise

I visited New York City for the first time in 2007.  Ground Zero was still a big mess.  I never got to see the Twin Towers rising on the skyline.  But now I remember, every time we drive home from church.  Because there stretching up above all the other buildings is the Freedom Tower, lit up in brilliant red, white, and blue.  We will never forget.

9-11 11th Anniversary

Never Forget!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Revisiting My Childhood

Today I did something that I haven't done in forever.  In fact, as I was thinking about it...I'm pretty sure I haven't done this since before Elaine was born.  That's almost three years ago, people.
My kids joined me in this activity.  And while it didn't involve Starbucks or chocolate {two of my favorite things}, retail therapy or eating {two of my favorite activities}, we still had a blast.
This particular activity is something that I grew up doing with my own daddy.  At least once a week...summer or winter...rain or shine.  He taught me how to do it, and to do it well.  What is it?  Maybe this picture will help you:
Yes...we washed the car!  By hand! For free!  When I started driving, I "traded" washing and cleaning the inside and outside of the car every week for my insurance payment.  Dad is pretty picky when it comes to his cars, so he taught us to be picky about taking care of them.  I kept it up through college. But then I became an apartment dweller and the weekly car washings went by the wayside. 
In Virginia Beach I would go to the quarter wash with my bucket and chamois and hand wash my car in the long as no one was waiting.  But in NYC I don't even know where a quarter wash is.  So I go once a month on Wednesdays to the car wash to save 10% on "Ladies Day."  Once a month.  If I'm lucky.  That's a far cry from once a week!
Since we are visiting the Hamiltons in Mass., and since they have a hose, and since it was a warm afternoon, I grabbed a bucket and went to town.  Nolan had soap everywhere - even between his pacifier and his mouth.  Elaine had soap everywhere - mostly on the ground.  I filled that 5 gallon bucket up 3 times!
How's that bubble beard look?

He desperately wanted to spray the nozzle, but since he isn't strong enough he finally settled for the sponge.
So, Dad.  I introduced my kids to car washing...the real way...for the first time today.  The first time!  It's not likely to become a habit since we live in the City.  Next time they will return to their original definition of "washing the car": pay to take it through the machine.  But I tried.  For you. 
Love, Andrea

Wordless Wednesday: A Fun Labor Day Weekend

Playing with Faith in her "dolly house"

Trip to Mass. to visit Grandma & Grampa Hamilton.  Yes, he is holding a baby doll.  Yes, he spends too much time with Mommy & Sister.  Yes, one day he will trade the baby for a baseball bat!

Playing in Grandma's "ball pit"