Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Seventh Day of Christmas

In honor of Writer's newest e-book . . .

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Oops. Forgot to post this yesterday. . .

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Listening to Mahalia Jackson is a step back in time for me. Love the richness of her voice!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending His beloved Son

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

Today’s the first Sunday in Advent. Officially, the start of the new year in the Church.

I want to prepare my heart to receive Him, both as a newborn baby and as the King coming in glory. I invite you to join me.

Each Sunday, during the communion liturgy, we say, “Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.” While I absolutely believe all three statements, I'm not sure I always live like I believe all three.

If I lived like I remembered Christ has died, I would be more aware of how my sin contributed to His death. I would think more often of His amazing grace that saved a wretch like me. I would allow that grace to transform me — day by day by day.

If I lived like I remembered Christ has risen, I would understand that the same power that raised Him from the dead now lives in me. I would not be afraid. I would be confident. I would remember that I am but three days away from victory!

If I lived like I expected Christ to come again, I would live prepared for His return. I would be on guard. I would “take heed lest my heart be weighed down by the cares of this life.” (Luke 21:34)

Let us prepare for His coming!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Water Mule

This summer, my grocery shopping habits changed. The refrigerator in the apartment was small and a little cabinet served as the pantry. Everything I used to prepare meals had to fit in a bag I toted or in a cart I wheeled. I bought only what I needed for a day or two and what I could comfortably carry.

One afternoon, I walked up 3rd Avenue to a drugstore where bottled water was on sale. The ballerinas took lots of water with them every day and we couldn't fill their reusable water bottles at the apartment because the water there was cloudy. I bought three cases of water. Two easily fit in my shopping cart (not the lovely one pictured, but a servicable one nonetheless). The third . . . not so well. I managed to get it in, but the canvas top wouldn't completely close.

Feeling quite satisfied with my purchase and the bargain it represented, I wheeled my cart out the door just as rain began to fall. I pulled my purse strap across my body, pushed the button to open my umbrella, took a deep breath, and began walking. Uphill. In the rain. Pulling a cart with three cases of water.

Did we need water? Yes. Did we need three cases of water? Yes, but not that day. One would have been enough. Two at the most. Certainly not three.

You see, I made my burden heavier than it needed to be. I took what was a good and necessary thing and made it an overwhelming thing. The burden I carried that day was greater than the burden I needed to carry.

Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Being yoked to Him means I can't run ahead or lag behind Him. He sets the pace, balances the load, and gives rest. Oh, how I need that today.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The basket photo is from I know nothing about the company, I just like the wicker trolley. The water photo is from where I buy too many groceries at once, load them into my SUV, and store them in my pantry!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Last night I read the first chapter of Acts in the Greek-English New Testament. No, I can't read Greek. Yes, I occasionally like to read the New Testament that way because it is a literal rendering and it helps me look at the verses in a new way. Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.

Anyway, I was cruising along, got to the word καρδιογνῶστα, and came to a screeching halt. Heart-knower.

The NIV says, "Lord, you know everyone's heart." The literal translation reads, "Thou Lord Heart-knower of all men."

A difference without a distinction? Not for me.

Peter was leading the disciples in prayer, asking the Lord to show them who should replace Judas. When I read it in the NIV, "Lord, you know everyone's heart," my soul heard that as the Sunday school prayer. "Oh, Lord, please bless everyone today. . ." But when I read it in the Greek, my spirit said, "YES!!!" He is the Heart-knower. He knows MY heart.

I find great comfort and peace in the Heart-knower. I love having a new name for Him. Heart-knower.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spy in the House of Love

What do you get when you combine the memories of subway performers with the thrill of visiting the International Spy Museum?

An undercover musician.

And, yes, I made a contribution to the "tin cup." After I quit laughing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Boys Are Back In Town

The boys (Writer and Sketcher) joined us in NYC for Ballerina's performance. And what a show it was! The amount of talent and energy in that auditorium was unbelievable!

After the show, we went to Little Italy for a fabulous dinner with Writer's seminary roommate and his family. We picked up right where we were the last time we all were together . . . never missed a beat. We ate, laughed, and talked for hours.

The next morning, our family vacation began in NYC. In three days we went to the Museum of Natural History (Sketcher's first pick), ascended the Empire State Building (up 80 flights by elevator and 6 flights by stairs), and rode the Staten Island Ferry. We shopped at the Strand Bookstore (18 miles of books!!), Toys R Us, FAO Schwartz, the fruit stand on the corner, and at a collector's bookstore with books in the $4,000 to $85,000 range. We rode the subway, the bus, and in our SUV.

Sketcher loved Times Square! All the lights and motion and commotion!

He studied the skyline from 86 floors up,

and the subway map from many levels down.

Ballerina and I were glad the boys were in town!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beyond the Threshold

After weeks of dropping off Ballerina at the corner of 19th & Broadway, I finally got to go beyond the threshold. Woohoo!

Four flights of stairs later (74 steps to be exact), parents were allowed to observe a technique class (and listen to a world-class pianist).

I captured Ballerina in motion. She, as always, captured my heart.

(Click on the photo to see more detail)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Ballerina and I were so delighted to see Romeo & Juliet! It was the last night of ABT's season at the Met. Sheer brilliance. Curtain call after curtain call after curtain call.

Ballerina was especially thrilled because Irina Dvorovenko, the daughter of one of her favorite ABT teachers, had the lead role. The audience adored Irina and swooned over her partner, the new principal from Italy.

New Yorkers love the ballet. Every time we attended, people were standing outside saying, "Need two. Need two." Like a rock concert!!

New Yorkers also love a good deli. We went to Katz's at the urging of a friend from church. He gave us the scoop on
  • how it works (five meat cutters work simultaneously, pick one and get in line)

  • how to order (know what you want before it's your turn and speak up) and

  • how not to completely look like a tourist (we failed on that one outside so we could have the photo op, but inside we looked like natives)!

Ballerina and I shared a roast beef sandwich the first time we went and a corned beef the second time. We couldn't finish either one!

Before we came to NYC, the Professor sent Ballerina a birthday gift card to Chikalicious, a dessert bar. Chika is a Japanese chef, trained in Paris, who makes the most unique and delicious desserts. Three courses of treats. Completely unhurried. Beautifully presented.

We were positioned to watch the preparation. Detailed. Precise. Rhythmic.

The final course marked the occasion. Three selections for each of us (Ballerina 2 and her mom joined us there). Which looks best to you?

With All Your Heart

What do a beautiful ballerina, a burly meat cutter and a petite chef have in common?

They each put all their heart into their work. And it shows.

Irina Dvorovenko, a principal at ABT, danced the lead in Romeo and Juliet. Breathtaking. Stunning. Exquisite. She danced with all her heart.

The Katz's meat cutter joked, called all the women "Sweetheart," gave samples as he cut, and made sandwiches with all his heart.

The petite chef Chika created perfect desserts – each a miniature work of art and a feast for the palate – with all her heart.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23

Friday, July 10, 2009

Down Under

The subway provides not only transportation for us, but entertainment. We've heard a variety show's worth of Motown, Mariachi, Chinese, classic, and other music styles.

We're used to the airline restrictions about carry-ons and luggage. Apparently those rules don't apply down under. If you can carry it, you can ride with it. Here are a few things we've seen.

Going to a potluck? Bring your casserole and come on.

Wear your swimsuit, bring a towel and don't forget the lawn chair.

Subway doesn't take you all the way to your destination? No problem. Bikes allowed. Skateboards and scooters, too.

Member of a band or orchestra? Instruments welcome. The bigger the better.

Don't want to pay shipping and handling for that new flat screen tv? Bring it on.

Time to renew our metro cards. Our month-long pass expires tomorrow. See you down under. I'll carry the groceries.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Liberty Weekend

We got an early start to the long weekend on Thursday night with student rush tickets (translation: inexpensive, good seats available on the day of the performance) to ABT's production of Sylvia. After the other moms and I purchased the tickets, I returned to the apartment to make dinner. Moroccan chicken with couscous, green salad with dried cranberries, salted pecans and feta, and French bread. Yum!

All six of us ate, changed clothes, and headed to the Met (ABT performs at the Metropolitan Opera House) via bus and subway. None of us had seen this ballet before. It was stunning! Gillian Murphy starred as Sylvia. Here's Ballerina with NJ friend outside the theatre (Gillian is in the poster).

Found out that van cabs can't won't seat 6 passengers. Cabbie said there were too many of us. Hmmm. Wonder what those extra 6 seats and seatbelts are for??? Not to worry. We retraced our subway and bus ride home.

Friday morning, we slept late. What a luxury! We then went to Century 21, a department store. Their slogan on the door, "Fashion Worth Fighting For," was the first clue to what was inside. Think TJ Maxx on steroids. Ballerina and I always love a good bargain and sometimes the hunt. We had a blast!

We then treated ourselves to a late lunch at Angelo and Maxie's. Every day we walk past this restaurant on Park Avenue. Every day we see the "Prix Fixe" lunch sign. This was the day to enjoy. Our three-course choice was salad, filet mignon, and New York cheesecake. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!! Tasted even better when we saw the real menu prices!!

Ballerina and I returned to see Sylvia again on Friday night, thanks to some extra tickets. Diana Vishneva and Ethan Steifel debuted in the starring roles. Their performance wowed the audience and earned many curtain calls.

On Independence Day, we went to The American Girl Place at the behest of Ballerina 2. Was a sweet trip down memory lane for us -- saw dolls and books and clothes that are now stored away at our house.

We stopped in at St. Patrick's. I love it when a house of worship reflects the glory of God! What a spectacular display of beauty. The photo is from their site; ours is too blurry.

We then made our way to the Sansha store in search of pointe shoes for Ballerina. Despite the bad online review of the store, we found the salespeople to be quite nice (good lesson in not believing everything you read!!). Ballerina decided to return to her old favorites, Suffolk Solos. Sansha had shoes to fit her right foot, but the left . . . not so great. In a burst of optimism, we bought both pairs. (Ballerina's feet are two different sizes. That doesn't matter in a street shoe or in a ballet slipper, but it does in a pointe shoe. To make it work, we always buy two pairs at once. Pointe shoes don't have a left and a right so she still ends up with two pairs -- we don't have to discard one shoe from each pair.)

By then, everyone was hungry. The ballerinas were ready some McD's fries to balance out all the fruits and veggies I've been feeding them! With a hefty dose of cholesterol coursing through our veins, we headed to the Hershey store, then the M&M store (yes, three floors devoted entirely to M&Ms).

July 4th in NYC wouldn't be complete without a photo with Lady Liberty. Love the pointed toe.

We found her again down the street at Toys R Us.

I'll let Writer break the news to Sketcher that we won't be buying enough Legos to duplicate it.

To complete the July 4th trifecta (burgers and Lady Liberty were the first two, in case you lost count), the girls rode the Ferris wheel at the toy store. Don't think I've ever seen an indoor Ferris wheel before. Have you?

This year the Macy's fireworks display was on the Hudson River, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the river. If it had been on the East River, like it usually is, we would have walked to it, but Writer thought it unwise to go to the west side because of trying to get back to the apartment with the crowds. Like you, we watched it on television.

Ballerina tried on her pointe shoes again and determined that the left really doesn't fit well so we returned to Sansha on Sunday. They're ordering the correct size. Ballerina and I spent the afternoon together, exploring. We returned to Redeemer on Sunday night for church. The perfect way to end a great weekend.

P.S. Thanks to all of you who've emailed or called and asked about my injuries. I'm fine. A little bruised and sore still, but fine. And, I returned to the scene and got some comfy sandals. With the gift certificate, I paid a whopping $9.99 (plus bruises).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Falling Shelves

Just a quick note, sans photos, to tell about my little mishap yesterday. I was standing in the aisle of a shoe store, searching for the elusive comfortable pair, when I got hit by a display rack. Apparently a store employee and a customer were trying to go through the same narrow passageway, one of them tripped, hit the 5-foot display, and it came crashing down -- on me! My left ankle, hip and side are pretty bruised and sore, but nothing's broken (or so I think!).

After about 45 minutes with some ice and multiple discussions with various managers, I limped home. Signed a waiver that I wouldn't sue the store in lieu of a gift certificate! Will return later to get the shoes!!

Please pray for speedy and complete healing -- and that I find the perfect shoes.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slide Show

When I started sorting through photos for this post, I had a flashback to some time in the late 60s. I was a young child, sitting on the floor in a living room in the D.C. area, watching a slide show of another family's vacation. Ktch, ktch, ktch. The slide projector moved from one image to another. I got sleepier and sleepier and sleepier.

If your eyes are glazing over as you read this, you have my permission to get up, take a walk, take a nap, check Facebook, sip a Coke, or whatever! If you choose to stay with me, welcome aboard!

Almost a week has passed since I last wrote and what a week it's been. Last Thursday night, Ballerina and I got tickets to ABT's performance of Swan Lake with Paloma Herrera, Ballerina's favorite dancer. The entire evening was perfect. The sets and costumes were beyond amazing. The orchestra fine tuned. And the dancing. Oh, the dancing. It was exquisite!!!

After the performance, Ballerina and I caught up with Blaine Hoven, an ABT corps member who trained at Mobile Ballet. He did a superb job as Benno, the Prince's best friend. His mom would have been so proud!!! Not only did he perform well, he was gracious and kind to an aspiring dancer.

Fast forward to Saturday when we played tourist. Our first stop - the Staten Island Ferry.

We rode it from Battery Park to Staten Island, raced through the terminal and got right back on the next ferry for the return trip. We had great views of the Manhattan skyline, Lady Liberty, and garbage barges.

The girls loved having their Lady crowns! They wore them throughout the weekend and brought smiles to lots of folks (and several cute comments)!

When we got off the ferry, we took the subway back to the Brooklyn Bridge stop for a trek across the bridge. What a massive structure. We helped the enterprising salesman who had something cold to drink at the halfway point!

When we got to the other side, we took the DUMBO exit (down under Manhattan Bridge overpass) and walked down to Grimaldi's for some of their famous pizza. The hour-long wait in line was well worth it. Hand-made, homemade, baked in a coal oven.

We topped it off at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory down by the pier. Apparently the pier is THE place to go for wedding photos. Saw three wedding parties there. Our girls sure looked cute against the skyline, even without their wedding attire!

Time for popcorn now. The next show begins in a couple of days!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walk On

Yesterday a couple of the moms and I WALKED to the World Trade Center site. We hadn't planned it in advance, so my shoe selection wasn't the best. Let's just say that I'm lovin' Blister Band-Aids today. Fifteen Three or four miles later, we saw this.

Still so much to be done. Work goes on 24/7.

Although my feet hurt from the walk, I'm glad we went that way rather than by subway. We got to see NYU, pretty neighborhoods, interesting shops and restaurants. Stopped for tea. Found a mini-Chinatown as we crossed Canal. NJ friend bought a "Gucci" bag from a basement room. Quite exciting!

We then took the subway uptown, transferred to another going downtown, then walked some more, searching for another pointe shoe store. Ballerina's affection for Freeds is waning. Looks like we need Suffolk Solos again. The trip was a blur, like this subway photo.

We got back just in time for NJ friend's afternoon yogurt before picking up the girls from ABT. Another good day . . .