Highs in the Midst of Lows

Even despite a harder semester, the Lord has provided immensely for us. Here are three big ways (and I could list so many more) we have seen the Lord provide over the last few years:

1 – School for the girls

Though we have had our fair share of drama and social issues in the girls’ classes this year, they have loved their school, PS 101, and have thrived under great teachers. The pressure on the kids in school in this city is unreal, but our kids are being challenged but also nurtured at this school. The girls didn’t finish until June 26th, so the last few weeks have been filled with an award ceremony and end of the year class parties (the little kids LOVE that they get to join in). So thankful that Blake will be going to 4 year old preschool at their school next year, even though I will miss him being at home so much!

Last day of school picture! They will miss their friends, but are so excited for the summer!

2 – Community for our family

We highly, highly value having a great community that we are like family to us, since our family doesn’t live close. Sometimes after moving, it can be so tough to find good, solid community with people you and your spouse and your kids really enjoy. We are so grateful that God has provided it so quickly for us here.

This is a picture from our last small group of the year. It was a great time of sharing what God has been doing in our lives and what we are trusting Him with for the rest of the year. So thankful for this group that feels like family.

We have found quite a few friends here whom we really, really enjoy. I always struggle with posting a picture with one of those for the fear that someone will feel left out. So, please note that this picture is just a representation of the deep and life-giving friendships God has blessed us with here. We went to the beach with these friends the other day and not only was it relaxing, but our kids enjoyed it and didn’t want them to go home!

3 – Such fun experiences

There are so many things that we love about living in NYC, but one of the things that we really, really appreciate is that there is never a shortage of things to do. Check out some of the fun things we have been able to do lately, most of which are a direct result of living in a big city that offers so much.

We went bike riding in Flushing Meadows park in Queens (remember this unisphere from Men in Black?).

My friend Amy (and teammate) and I won free passes to see a concert on The Today Show. Even despite the nasty, rainy weather, we had a great time making memories and experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime thing together.

The playgrounds and splashpads here are amazing. They are literally everywhere and it is so fun exploring different ones.

Every Saturday, in Queens, they host something called the Queens International Night Market. Basically, a bunch of restaurants, food trucks, and caterers set up tents and sell small portions of their food for a really reasonable price. They offer food from ALL over the world, and often, they are things that we have never heard of, like octupus balls, coconut pancakes, and many more things that I can’t even type or pronounce. They also have live music, a large grassy area for people to sit and play around, and merchants selling items. This was the first time we took our kids and they have already asked when we are going back.

We signed our family up for The Compassion Experience. To explain it concisely, they give you headphones and a phone where they tell you a story of someone overseas who is in poverty or facing helpless conditions and we walk through a model of their “house” and get an idea of what kids in our places are going through. It was very educational and eye opening for our kids and we even signed up to get a Compassion kid at the end. His name is Mario and the kids are so excited about helping him and writing him letters.

The movie that filmed on our street a few months ago returned to reshoot a scene, and they parked this fun car in our driveway. It was fun to see the shots and all that goes into making a scene, including tons of “rolling” and “cut”. It wasn’t fun to stay up until 2 am so they could use our living room, but the good outweighed the bad.

Our family also budgeted to get a Bronx Zoo membership because it gives us access to zoos all around the city. Recently, we loaded up and spent the day there, seeing the animals, riding the monorail, riding the carousel, and walking close to 15,000 steps. It is a fantastic zoo that really does so much for animal conservation. It is also fun to see the same things in person that we saw on the TV show “The Zoo.”

I am done with classes, but Ed is finishing up his reading and videos for his class next week, and we are hard at work preparing for the next few weeks in SC by lining up appointments and speaking engagements. We are excited to see family and friends and to be back in the South for a while 🙂