Spring Break wk 1 DONE!

While some kids head to the beach to party and sit on the beach for their Spring Breaks, over 100 students decided to come to NYC to be missionaries for the week as they reached out to other college students. NYC staff hosted/will host college students from all around the country for two weeks and the first week is done!!

This first week was really fun for us as we had a lot of students from the South, including Ben (on the left in the glasses below) and Matthew (right behind Ed). Ben, who I have mentioned before, goes to University of South Carolina, is the brother of my brother’s college roommate, and has been in NYC for the past two summers on summer mission with us. He brought along 5 other guys from USC with him, and one of those guys was Matthew. Matthew is from my hometown, his mom was a teacher of mine in high school, and his parents are ministry partners with us. It was so fun that they were in NYC doing ministry with us, but even more fun that they got to go on campus with Ed almost every day AND got to come eat breakfast at our house one morning. It was also nice to have good, Southern people around 😉

Unfortunately, they did run into opposition from the administration at St. Johns, which we are continuing to experience, so please pray with us that our students at SJU are able to meet with the powers that be and smooth things over, and that we are allowed to remain on campus at SJU.

Over the week, students were trained in effectively sharing their faith, they attended a weekly meeting at NYU, they went on campus 3 days to share their faith, they partnered with other Cru ministries in the city to be exposed to and to serve with them, and they had free time to explore the city. They even saw 11 students place their faith in Christ!  Hopefully, local staff will be able to followup with discipleship with these students and get them plugged into a local church and a local body of believers.

We also had another big happening in our family this week – this man turned 36!  So thankful for him and his willingness to serve and provide for our family. We get to go cheer him on in a half-marathon in the city tomorrow morning.

I also attended a workshop about testing anxiety at Kinsley’s school. NYC is intense with their education and testing. With so many high achieving parents and surrounded by cultures that are really focused on grades and achievement, kids here are driven to succeed and there is lots of pressure to do well. Starting in 3rd grade, students undergo state testing in Language Arts and Math and the school’s ranking is determined by how well students do (aka lots of pressure to do well from the school as well!) and then in 4th grade, the scores students can determine where they go to middle school. Getting into high school here is like college application time, with schools sometimes requiring interviews, essays, portfolios, try outs, etc. Needless to say, poor Kinsley, our over achiever, type A, worrier, has already been stressing about the test since its pretty much all she has heard about all year. So, I went to this workshop hoping it would help me to help her better. It was good and I walked away with quite a few takeaways. Thankful for things like this that help us to help our kids, especially when anxiety and stress are so prevalent in our young people.

On to week 2 of Spring Break…..

Latest Happenings

It has been a full week and a half since returning back from Disney. Rather than bore you with all the details (you wanna hear about our dentist appointment or how much snow we have gotten?), I will show you a few highlights in pictures.

For part of my birthday present, we scored tickets to see the New York City ballet. This was a bucket list item for me so I convinced Ed to tag along 😉 It was so beautiful to watch them perform and I am so amazed at their talent to stand on their toes for about 2 hours straight. It was a performance of Sleeping Beauty and we found a great deal on our tickets so I wasn’t sure how good they would be, but it was perfect. The scenery at Lincoln Center was also amazing.

This little one is officially potty trained!!  We have been wanting to train her for a few months as she has been showing signs (asking to use the potty, aware of when she goes in her diaper, etc.), but we didn’t want to do it before Disney, so literally, the day after we got back, we began. It took her about 5 days to fully get it, including a regression after the first day when we went from a bare bottom to underwear, but she finally go the hang of it and is now telling us when she needs to go. Whew – those 5 days though are rough – I forget with every kid just how much I hate them! Just diapers at nap and night…so close to being done with diapers FOR GOOD!!

We had a little going away party at our house for Stephanie and Fady, who are leaving our small group because they are moving to Philly for a new job. They were the first ones in our church small group and are so near and dear to our family. In fact, our girls got dressed in their pretty dresses for their going away party. We already do and will continue to miss them – things won’t be the same without your smile, your directness, your kindness, and your laughter!

We had the head priest for the athletic department at St. John’s, Father Rock, join our Athletes in Action Bible study last week. Mecara, one of our student athletes, lead the Bible study and did a phenomenal job! Because AIA is newer and because we aren’t an official organization, we were a little nervous about what Father Rock would say about the Bible study and AIA. Turns out, he is super supportive and wants to push to make us an official organization and get the word out to other teams that we are at St. John’s so other athletes can join in.

We have been trying to win Hamilton lottery tickets since we moved here (tickets to see the broadway show Hamilton with usually great seats at only $10 a person!). We have friends who have won it before and got amazing seats up close to the stage, so we figured that at some point we would win it, right?

Saturday was our time and Ed won after entering!  Even better than winning was having some amazing friends babysit our kids – they had been offering for a while and it just so turns out (coincidence? I think not!) they were available Saturday as well. I did feel bad that they had the kids for like 5.5 hours since Hamilton is 3 hours long, but they were troopers and we are so grateful to them for making it possible. When we got to will call to pick up our tickets they handed us a little piece of paper that said “No drinks in the front row” so we knew we were in the front row, but we were even more shocked that we were front and in the middle. Literally, were you see us in that picture above? That is where our seats were. We got to see them dance, spit on each other (seriously, that close!), sweat, and even got to see the top of the head of the guy who lead the orchestra/band. It was SOOOOO good and I would have paid way more than $20 to see it. That picture above shows what tickets were going for on the day of the performance. So thankful for this very sweet blessing from the Lord!

And lastly, I finally caved into my family’s wishes and started watching Star Wars with them. Correction – they have seen them all but I refused to watch them and get sucked in and thought I wouldn’t like it. But after Hollywood Studios and all my kids loving it (and my mom’s push that I will probably really like them), I decided to give in. They have loved helping mommy discover and understand all things Star Wars.

Today, the kids are home from school due to our first snow day of the year, so I have to go referee some more, but more updates to come!!