It is not often that extended family can get together...but when it happens, I have reached that point in my life that I really do enjoy it! We all have a heritage that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have left to us. I am fortunate to have a great legacy in my family as well as in my husband's family. Since I have been around the Cullen family since I was 19, they have become real family to me. Todd's grandparents, Bill and Kay Boyd, have treated me from day one as if I were their own granddaughter. So, we had the opportunity to spend some time with them last week (as well as with Todd's parents) and it has been an amazing experience for Sydney to get to know her great-grandparents over the last 2 years. Grandma Kay is the rock to her family. She has been a tremendous influence in Todd's life and has been such an encouragement to Him to follow the calling on his life as a minister. I am so grateful for the legacy of Christian family and that my children will have such a rich heritage of followers of Jesus Christ.
OK, so you probably thought I dropped off the face of the earth...no worries! Just out of town alot and , yes, there have been other things to keep me away like the fact that I have been not feeling well because I'M PREGNANT! I know, just excuses, but I'm back, baby!
When I was younger, I never saw myself past the age of 35...I don't know...I just didn't think past that. Well, I'm 2 years away from that now so I have been doing some thinking about it! I dreamed big things for my life...growing up in rural South Louisiana was awesome, but I wanted to breakaway (thanks, Kelly Clarkson!) I had alot of things on my list as a kid that I wanted to do and see. I have made a dent in that list, but have alot more places to see and things to do. My dreams have been realized on many fronts, but there are some things on that list that I am still working towards. Where am I going with this? I just want to put it out there that these dreams and passions that we all have are so important. You may think they are childish and that you have already set the course of your life. I just want to say GO FOR IT! I am living in NYC now and doing things I did dream about. I could not have seen the course my life would have taken for me to get here and yes, there have been some really tough times. But I am learning that the suffering is the only way it happens...not through easy stuff, not through easy choices...only through pain and heartache..OH, BUT THE REWARD! As a follower of Jesus Christ, I surrendered my life to Him many years ago. Through that surrender and a personal relationship with Him, I have found that He has never desired for me to live my life in denial of who He created me to be. He has only opened doors for me to become the person He has created me to be. Do I get it all the time? Heck, no. Do I think I know a better way? oh yeah...But when I listen to Him and I read the Bible, He speaks to me and reveals to me His way...oh, and His way it definitely much better than mine. So, this is where I am today...go for it...you only have one life on this earth and then...in the words of Robin Williams from my favorite movie of all-time, Dead Poet's Society..."We are food for worms..."
It has been awhile since I have shared about what is going on at The Gallery Church...we had around 85 in attendance this past week. We have our 1st community project on Saturday - we are painting 10 classrooms at the high school where we meet, Rustin H.S. They are providing all the supplies and we are providing the labor! We are planning on about 50 people participating. We are ordering a new sound system this week as our Launch Sunday approaches (Sept 10th). We are looking for more church and individual partners for 2007-2008. Our partners meeting is at the end of August. If you are interested in partnering with The Gallery Church financially or with mission teams, please e-mail me so I can give you more info about that meeting here in NY. We are so pumped about the fall! As always, your prayers are the most important thing you can do for us. We feel very blessed and are so thankful that God has given us the privilege to be a part of this movement here in the city the last 5 months.
4th of July weekend was not the greatest weather we have had this summer. We planned a beach trip, but the thunderstorms kept us away. So, we made up for it yesterday! We rented a zipcar (pretty cool deal in major cities) and headed for Long Island to Long Beach. The weather was about 75 degrees and very sunny. This area was very non-populated - very quiet and very clean. It reminded us of the beaches in California. Syd wasn't too crazy about the noise of the ocean waves hitting the sand, but she liked the sand (check out our family blog for video clips). We had a dinner at a great seafood restaurant called Peter's Clam House. We topped off the day with a trip to Target! It was a beautiful night driving back into Manhattan over the Whitehall Bridge looking at Pelham Bay and all the boats - a postcard view of New England.
It took me several months to finish this very short read (basically, because I was interrupting it with my addiction to novels!) This is a MUST read for any artist who has grown up around church. Mr. Tuner flies in the face of so much of what I have had issues with inside the church when it comes to artists and their connection to the church. One of the last sentences in his book states for me the consensus that we as artist must accept...
"If we want to see art that challenges the prevailing secularism we need artists who are not only skillful but also theologically well equipped, grounded in a fellowship and living obedient lives."
We spent a delightful day yesterday with our former pastor and his family. It was a little bit of a surprise in the sense that we really weren't sure if we were all going to hook up, but we did. It was great to see them and to hear about our church in Atlanta, NorthStar, and what God is doing there. Good friends are hard to come by and Mike and Anne Linch are that...good friends. Their kids, Casey and Mary-Michal, are growing up into awesome people and it was so cool to see them having fun with Sydney. Anne's parents, Daddy B and Mrs. Judy were also here and we loved seeing them! We rode the Ferris Wheel at Toys-R-Us and ate pizza at the oldest pizzeria in the U.S, Lombardi's. Good friends are hard to find but even harder to keep. Todd and I are so grateful for this family and for their love and support in our lives consistently for the past 10 years.