With 4 kids, a broken bone was bound to happen. If you would have asked Ed and I who we thought would break a bone first, we would have told you Emerson. If you had asked us how we thought she would break it, we would say “climbing really high” or “going across the monkey bars.”

This week, two of those premonitions came true. Emerson did indeed become the first person in our family to break a bone. How did she break it? Being pushed off a chair by Kinsley as they were playing. It happened last Wednesday as Ed was coming home from a strategy planning meeting for next year in the city. On top of Emerson hurting her arm and crying for 30 minutes (which she never does because she is a tough cookie!), Brynn wouldn’t stop crying and had pretty much been crying or fussy all day long and Blake stripped and then pulled clothes out his sister’s drawer and came in dressed like this.

In the midst of trying to get in touch with Ed to ask him how to tell if Emerson’s arm was broken, a crying baby, and trying to get dinner fixed for us and a friend who was coming over, desperation set in and desperate times call for desperate measures. So, I paid Kinsley $3 to hold the pacifier in Brynn’s mouth so she wouldn’t cry and calmed down Emerson enough where she wasn’t screaming bloody murder. After Ed got home, he rushed her to the pediatric urgent care and we discovered that it was indeed broken. After the pain meds took affect, she was so proud of her broken arm.

After almost a week, we went to visit the orthopedic doctor to get her cast. Here she is on the bus on the way to the doctor.

Here she is after getting her pink cast:

If she looks rough, it is because it was a heck of an afternoon getting that cast. After two hours at the doctor because they overbooked on new patients, a bus ride home which involved a crazy person who was ranting and raving, and a walk home in the wind and pelting rain (while trying to keep her cast dry), we were DONE. I felt this way too!

To add to the medical saga that is currently our lives, we found out that Kinsley has something called flexible flat feet (which means she doesn’t have an arch when she stands and her feet fall over) and they are turned inward. After seeing a podiatrist, we are praying and seeking through whether to get her orthotics or do a surgery called HyProCure where they would insert a stent that would help her foot grow correctly and become aligned. Please pray for wisdom for us as we try and figure out what the best option is.

Guests Galore!

One of our favorite parts of being here in NYC is having friends and family visit us and fall in love with this city.  It is exhausting but SO, SO fun! S

Two weekends ago, Ed’s parents visited. We did a bunch of touristy things, like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Trump Tower, American girl store and Disney store (to get Kinsley’s birthday presents), and visiting the 9/11 Museum. Ed and I had done all of this, except for the Museum and let me tell you, I was very, very impressed. It is so well done and packed with information!  It is so somber and heartbreaking, but I honestly would love to go back again because I know I didn’t see half of what they had. Highly recommend this if you come to NYC! We also got a date night courtesy of them…what did we do? Try a new restaurant and go to Kohls, of course.  Such is the life of a parent…no kids means a time to get errands done. And, we got to eat at Stickys which is seriously one of our favorite chicken places to eat in the city.

Then, this past weekend, our old neighbors from NC visited us. It was so good to see them and to show them the city. We did a lot of the same things as above, but also visited Central Park, Statue of Liberty, and ate pizza in Brooklyn at Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the city. We also went to Black Tap, an amazing restaurant with these huge crazy milkshakes. Man, they were full of sugar but SO, SO good. Guess we should have known when every location we tried had a 45 minute to an hour wait. Blake has been dying to have a hat like daddy’s, so after visiting a store and finally finding a child’s size hat, he couldn’t take it off. It really made him look like a little boy!

We graciously had a ministry partner give us some money under the condition that we used it to make memories with our family, so Ed took a vacation day yesterday and we spent the day going to the Central Park Zoo and viewing the mummy exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. It was a long day, but so much fun!

Add in Easter (which we celebrated with church family, friends, and teammates) and normal life things like a spring concert at Kinsley’s school, nicer weather so we can enjoy the park and spend hours playing, and Brynn turning 2 months old, and it has been a very full last few weeks. Here are the last few weeks in pictures!

Let me pause to tell you about the picture above. The girl in the pink shirt beside Kinsley in the bottom is a girl who just came from Japan and only speaks Japanese. She has been paired up with another girl in the class who also speaks Japanese in order to help her understand and translate. Poor thing left early the first 3 days of school and one day she was crying – I can’t even imagine coming in the middle of the year, not understanding very much or being able to speak the language, and having to sing in a spring concert just a week later. Bless her heart.

Hope you enjoyed! Now, if I go MIA for a while, just know that I am recuperating!


Focusing on Jesus

To prepare for Easter, may Christians will do something different in their life – give up something for Lent, read a special daily devotional focusing on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, or attending extra services at their church.

At our last women’s time (a monthly gathering of the campus staff women on our team), we read through an excerpt from “Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement” by Donald Macleod. It was so, so, so good for my heart. I don’t know about for you, but for me, it is so easy to get caught up in the daily demands of my life – kids, homework, tests, newborn routines, campus responsibilities, and even lately for us, the stress of our kids being placed at two different schools for the fall – and I feel that my focus has been on ALL of these things and not on Christ. So, as I read this excerpt, my heart seemed to take several deep breaths and start beating to its natural rhythm again. I have tried to spend every day reading some of this in hopes that my eyes will continue to be fixed on Christ and not just because it’s the season for it with Easter approaching.

I am going to share a few part of this excerpt in hopes that you, too, can breathe, put aside the demands that threaten to suffocate us, and place our focus back on the One who is worthy.

  • The story of the cross is proclaimed in all four Gospel books, and the first thing that strikes us is how much space it occupies in the overall narrative. It is clear that the evangelists had no interest in writing conventional biographies of Jesus. His childhood, adolescence, education, and early manhood are passed over in almost total silence. They preached “Christ crucified”. However important the teaching of Jesus, it is not there that his primary significance lay. Muslims may glory in the teaching of their prophet. Christians glory in the death of theirs. (Gal 6:14)
  • Jesus was poor beyond our imagining, owning only the clothes he stood in; homeless, without a pillow for his head; oppressed by crowds demanding a sign and plying him with endless questions; often exhausted, as when he lay dead to the world in the stern of a tiny fishing boast caught in the eye of a fearful storm (Mark 4:38). He was misunderstood by his family, who feared for his sanity; pursued by the sick and their desperate relatives; stalked by the Pharisees with their undisguised hostility and their sly coadjutors with their entrapping conundrums (Mark 12:13). His whole life followed a pattern of rejection: rejection in “his own country”, Nazareth; rejection by the religious establishment; rejection in public opinion, always fickle; and rejection, at last, by his disciples, who all forsook him and fled.
  • We skip lightly over he words “made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14) forgetting that he had come from “highest bliss down to such as a world as this: a world where he was surrounded on all sides by the sights of misery and wickedness, the sounds of profanity and blasphemy, and the stench of poverty, death, and corruption.
  • At Jesus’ baptism, the Father acknowledges him as his beloved Son, but in words clearly reminiscent of the command to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac…and sacrifice him…as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you.” (Gen 22:2). Jesus was to be God’s Isaac. The words of John the Baptist, spoken shortly afterwards, confirmed that this was indeed the path Jesus was to tread. He was the Lamb of God bearing the sin of the world (John 1:29).
  • When the crowd around the cross mocks (Mark 15:29), he must remember the voice which came from heaven and gave him honor and glory (2 Peter 1:17). It is as if Abba were saying “Son, in all you are now going to face, never forget who you are, never forget that I love you, and never forget how proud I am of you.” Whatever the pain of his ordeal, it would be a pain in which the Father would share.

I hope these thoughts and truths from the Word encourage your heart as much as they have been encouraging mine.  May we ever keep our eyes on Jesus.

The Reality of Moving

Moving is hard. If you have ever moved, you know what I am talking about.

Imagine Sarah (from the BIble) just tending to her house when Abraham comes home and says “God has told me to leave here and move to another country. I don’t know where we are going, but I know He has commanded this and I must obey.” I can imagine Sarah’s heart as she hears this and thinks of all that she will be leaving behind. She went with Abraham out of love, commitment, and obedience, but I can imagine she was torn and her heart was wrenched as she left the comfort and security that she had always known.

Or take Moses….yes, he was moving to save the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and fleeing from Pharoah, but after leaving Egypt, even through the miracle of crossing the Red Sea and hearing God’s promises, I am sure he had moments of wishing he could just go back the comfort of Egypt, especially after hearing His people complain day after day about how hard their new lives were.

I, too, understand this. Even knowing God has called us to this beautiful city, there have been many hard moments wishing for the things we left behind in Raleigh such as a great team, wonderful friends, good church, being close to family. Like I mentioned before, in February, we went on a retreat outside of the city to process with counselors and other city staff about our move to the city.  Then, my sweet friend, Jenn, sent me this book that she raved about called “After the Boxes are Unpacked” by Susan Miller. Through both of these things, I am learning so much about the process our hearts go through when moving. Having moved before, I had experienced all of these things, but through this move, I have begun to give words to the feelings.

Even despite moving being so hard, it is so very necessary for my heart. Here are the things that I feel like the Lord teaches me through each move:

  • While I love having an earthly home, my true home lies in heaven and I will never be “at home” until I get there.
  • My security does not come from a house, a church, or even knowing how to navigate my daily life. My security comes only from trusting in God for what lays ahead.
  • It takes a lot of faith to face the unknown.
  • I will never grow if I always stay in my comfort zone. Spiritual maturity comes in relying on God and God alone to meet my needs.
  • Things are just that – things. While there are so many good memories associated with the rocking chair in my baby’s room, the toys my kids play with daily, and even my car, they are just things and they should not be held too tightly.
  • I choose how I will respond. While its okay to cry, grieve, and miss the things I left behind, I choose to look ahead and walk with God with a positive ahead and being thankful for what He is teaching me or I choose to walk away from God.
  • When EVERYTHING around me feels like sinking sand, God’s promises remain. He has been faithful to me in the past and He will continue to be faithful because that is who He is.
  • I have to have faith God is working through every detail of my move and relocation. Even now, with my kids placed in two different schools for the fall and having to wait for the process to work itself out, God is at work and is in control.

Susan Miller, in her book titled above, says that there are steps of grieving that movers experience – denial, anger, depression and sadness, and finally, acceptance. I do not know that I have experienced denial and anger with this move as much, but the last few months have definitely been spent in depression and sadness. While there are bouts of that still for me, I mostly feel I have moved to acceptance.

I am learning to love my subway commute or my long walk to get to the store as I get a chance to pray and listen to worship music. I am learning to love that on the weekends, there are farmers markets and street fairs just a few steps outside my apartment door. I am learning to love that although I have to go downstairs to do my laundry and pay every time, I get it done in one big chunk rather than doing multiple loads every day. I am learning to love hearing all the different stories of people that live here and how they and their families came to live un the US. I am learning to love seeing how God is so evidently working in this city, even though it is so dark and so easy to believe otherwise. I am learning that although moving is hard and there is still so much I miss from what I left behind, Jesus is worthy of my trust and I can have hope for what lies ahead.