Last week Adrienne came to visit. We met at Grand Central and had the best (unplanned) day in the city. The weather was blue skies but brisk, a hint of the spring we are just dying to have appear. After walking around the 9/11 Memorial, we found a cafe in Battery Park and sat in the front window, sun streaming on our backs, eating hot sandwiches and talking about life. With no schedule to follow, we left an hour later to wander through Battery Park and down to Whitehall Terminal to board the Staten Island ferry. The ferry is free and gives great views of Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty, and lower Manhattan -- it did not disappoint! After a few minutes on Staten Island debating whether or not to stay, and enjoying a talented group of street musicians, we decided to head back to Manhattan to find some farmers markets. Rather than taking the Subway from Battery Park, we decided to walk the High Line. The High Line is an old elevated railroad that has been converted to a city park -- a genius feat of architecture, adding greenspace and walking trails above a busy city (see more http://www.thehighline.org/about). We walked the entire stretch of the High Line and then a couple more blocks north, and while the farmers markets weren't exactly what we expected, I got some fresh vegetables for dinner and some insanely cheap flatbread. (And a sincere desire for farmers markets nearer to me!) With tired feet, we had dinner near Times Square and then picked up some Ben&Jerry's (of course) before heading back to the train home.
After church on Sunday, some of us sisters tried a new wood-fired pizza place in Milford and then came back to my place for dessert. Monday and Tuesday went fast and then I was driving Adrienne back to Laguardia to fly out. We had gorgeous views of the sun setting over Manhattan as we crossed the Whitestone Bridge and my heart was just full, of this stage of life where this can be a reality. Of friends that can come visit for the weekend and the love of Christ which brings us together.
The new transportation building going up near the 9/11 Memorial
Mariner's Memorial, with Statue of Liberty peaking out in the background
walking through Battery Park
Staten Island ferry terminal
"give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free"
riding the ferry
view coming back into lower Manhattan
views of Chelsea from the High Line
As I look back on my journal for the past three months, I see travels and cooking and friends and snowfall and life lessons. January brought an extended weekend trip to Chicago & Remington for time with dear friends and a few days of Chicago-based work, visiting Unilever plants and spending evenings of ice cream and girl talk with Tiera. Soon after I got back, New England got snow and I woke up to a Saturday in white. I made waffles for lunch and for the freezer, did laundry, wrote thank yous, swept, made Minnesota wild rice soup, watched the snow fall, drank wine, and a read a book. That night I slept in freshly washed sheets with fourteen inches of snow outside, and it was the perfect day. From January to February there were car troubles and friends stepping in when I needed them, lessons about what is God's and what matters most. There were Bible studies in James about the power of the tongue and sermons about not holding life too tightly. I went to Rittman for invite-a-friend, a whirlwind of late night driving, snowy roads, and steady friendships, and later to Croghan and Clarendon with the Rockville SG. Later, a spontaneous trip to the beach and sat wrapped in an old comforter with a friend, examining life and its changes.
Two weeks ago, God sent us warm weather -- sun and 70s. And it made me realize how deadened I have been, more focused on plodding through the weeks than praising God for them. I keep a journal and a blog to remind me to appreciate life, to celebrate each conversation and friendship and new experience. And I look back to remember the good times, to keep myself from dwelling on the hard ones. But that isn't to say they aren't there. I hope this writing never insinuates that my life is one of roses. My life isn't perfect, and it hasn't been easy. This is my ninth month on the east coast and there have been tears and tough nights and long phone calls and so many prayers for guidance. I don't often write about them here because I want and need to focus on the positive. I want to look back on these experiences with a sigh and a half-smile and know why God has done these things in my life. And the tough times are all part of this too, but that part of the story is between me and God. I write this note with the hope that anyone reading will realize that words on a blog are never the whole story, and not to judge your life (or mine) against what is written here only.
Finally posting the last few pictures of Australia.
We flew back to Sydney just in time for the infamous New Years Eve fireworks over the Sydney Harbor. With just a day and a half left in Australia, we did what our family does best: settled into our AirB&B and spent our days swimming in the backyard, soaking up sun, playing games, and eating fun Australian foods. The last day we took a walk on Manly Beach and then picked up pizza to take back to our place for dinner. Casual evenings seem to mean the most these days.
Packing up our backpacks for the last time, we headed to the airport to start the first of many flights home. Fourteen hours later, after clearing San Francisco customs, we found a place for lunch and then talked and laughed and reminisced until we had to go our separate ways home.
Fun little airB&B
Aussies love their ice cream too
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.