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November 2006
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January 2007

2007 is here!

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Another year...I was reading WORLD magazine's year-in-review yesterday - kinda depressing the way they were recapping all the events in the world this past year.  For me, I would have to say this has been the most challenging, exciting, frustrating, and dependent-on-God year that I have in my life.  Our move to NYC last December was such a leap of faith and and a true test for me of how REALLY dependent I am on God.  Sydney became very ill within days of arriving here - God provided a great doctor...I had a miscarriage in March and then got pregnant again in June...God provided an AMAZING doctor for me through all of this.  Sydney has been healthy all year since her sickness last December...God is good.  Todd has grown so much this year in ways that I have never seen - as a husband, father, friend, and minister...we are celebrating 12 years in 07 - it has not been easy or perfect, but I am so thankful for him and wouldn't want to do life with anyone else but him.  Sean David is going to be here in about 5 weeks or so - I can't believe I am going to be the mother of 2!  2006 was amazing...wouldn't trade it for anything...whatever 2007 holds, I know that this year redefined for me some major things in my life in the areas of trusting God and seeing the value of my family in my life.  Take some time to think back about 2006...and then move on...2007 is here...here we go, friends!


The meaning of all this

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I wanted to do something this year at Christmas that my 2 and 1/2 year old could grasp about this time of year.  We live in the most enchanted city in the world at this time of year with the lights, trees, Santa at Macy's, etc...BUT, I wanted her to understand the REAL meaning.  I bought a Noel Calendar from John Pipers' ministry last year that his wife, Noel, designed for their family and Sydney really has gotten into that - I Highly recommend it (www.desiringgod.org). BUT, how do we make this real?  How do we experience the joy of the Savior's birth now?

Todd and I decided to make bags for all of our neighbors in our building with homemade cookies and some candy and include an excerpt from One Solitary Life. Then, we made a couple extra bags for some of the homeless that we know in our neighborhood with a little cash added to them.  Syd was all into it today - making the cookies, stuffing the bags, delivering the bags to our neighbors...then we left tonight with our 2 extra and just decided we would give them to who we felt like we were being led to give to.  We found one guy and Syd walked right up to him and handed him the bag - he was very appreciative and thanked her.  Then it started to rain and get colder - so we knew the homeless usually find shelter off the streets when that happens...so we kept walking - I just asked God silently to lead us to the last person... we were crossing the street at 96th and Broadway and this woman was on crutches trying to hold the hand of her daughter who looked like Sydney's age.  The little girl fell in the crosswalk and Todd immediately went over to the mom and asked if he could help her.  She was very thankful for the help and Todd asked her if he could pick up her daughter and carry her for her.  She had about 6 more blocks to walk.  You know where this is going...she is a mom trying to make it without her daughter's father in the picture.  She thanked us over and over again for our help and I told her that we were meant to meet tonight.  She agreed and immediately begin talking about her faith and how she feels judged by her life and she needed to sense something good this Christmas.  I simply told her that God doesn't judge her and that He loves her just the way she is even if others judge her.  Sydney gave Helen (the little girl) the bag we prepared and we said Merry Christmas.  I put Gallery's website on the card I had inserted already and maybe she will visit sometime.

Todd is putting Sydney to bed as I type this - I hear her singing "Jesus loves me" upstairs with Him...tonight was the tangible meaning of all this coming together for me (probably more than for my daughter)...

"Jesus loves me this I know - for the Bible tells me so - little ones to Him belong - they are weak, but HE is strong...."

May the joy of the our Savior's birth become real once again to you this year...


Gallery Ladies Christmas

Each month,the ladies on staff and some of our key leaders get together for brunch. This month was at my house and we exchanged 5 dollar gifts with each other and had a great food (I had it catered!). Carmen, our lead pastor's wife, is reading to us from one of the coolest gifts yesterday - it's called The Night before Christmas in NYC...


Gallery musicians celebrating Christmas

I spent most of the fall auditioning and finding out who the musical artists were that attended the Gallery. This past Sunday, Dec 10th, was the pulling together of all of that as we had about a 12 voice choir and a 5 piece rhythm section for a great Christmas service. The overwhelming thing to me personally is that a year ago, this church did not exist and no one was singing "Glory in the Highest" to the God of the universe on 18th street in Chelsea in lower Manhattan in this corporate environment...


Christmas date night

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Some of the greatest advice we have ever been given is the importance of continuing to date each other as a married couple.  This has been such an incredible thing to us especially now with a toddler.  We had 9 years of just the 2 of us, so going out and having fun is something that we have made a priority at least every other Saturday night. Every December. Todd and I always try to do one special date night where we have a great meal and then go to something very "Christmasy".  This year, we went to Lincoln Center and saw the New York Ballet Company present The Nutcracker.  This was the original dance company that performed this for the first time in the 1950's.  It was magical!  Todd chose the restaurant - Pair of 8's. It is a very intimate place here on the Upper West Side that he read great reviews on this year - it is fairly new and it was incredible!  They have a new menu everyday.  Todd and I have this thing where when we try a new place, we see who can order the better meal.  Todd won hands down...roasted venison.  I had salmon that was amazing, but his venison was the clear winner!


Christmas at Lincoln Center

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One of the traditions in NYC is the lighting of the tree in Lincoln Center.  This happens right in our neighborhood and truly is an event that brings out New Yorkers.  Vendors set up all down Broadway between 66th and Columbus Circle with food, music, and carolers.  We attended with a few friends and it was great!  They had short Img_9160performances from the Nutcraker, Alvin Slaughter and a great choir, and the Magic Flute. It was beautiful! Sydney got a Christmas Dora balloon - that was the highlight for her...