It was SO cool to watch "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" tonight with the family. This had to be one of my favorite years in a LONG while...Jamie, Harry, Tony, Faith, Beyonce...artists who can REALLY sing! Beyonce on the roof with St.Patrick's Cathedral behind her? Yeah,THE money shot. Lighting is everything, but I digress. NYC is so enchanting this time of year. I don't care how many times you visit or if you live there, the holidays are magical. Even being there last week, the city was already coming alive for the holidays. We never attended the Rockefeller Tree Lighting in person when we lived there (we chose to do the Lincoln Center Tree Lighting) but I never needed an excuse during December to take the 1 train to 50th Street and walk the few blocks to see "THE TREE." We did the parade and made it to Macy's to see Santa last week (20 minute wait - Todd was very happy!) Sydney and I went ice skating in Bryant Park....Magical...the only way to describe it. If you haven't been, go...if you have, you know what I'm talking about.
"The American people may have "Iraq fatigue," but that doesn't mean they've stopped paying attention. A few days ago, the Gallup/USA Today poll reported that, over the past four weeks, belief that the extra troops in Iraq were "making the situation better" rose to 31% from 22%. The percentage who say the new troops don't matter dropped to 41% from 51%. Somehow people have found their way to reports that Gen. Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy is toting up gains on the ground.
Here in the U.S., any such news a half-world away from the troops in Iraq will be processed immediately into the chopped meat of our politics. Example: If the Iraq commitment turns steadily positive, the Democratic leadership's domestic antiwar strategy may leave the party's candidates on thin ice as they slip and slide toward the primary season. This ensures that the war, the one in the U.S., will be fought with recrimination and accusation.
Imagine the surprise, then, when the most cathartic experience I've had recently in matters of war or peace was seeing a stage play about . . . war.
The play is "Beyond Glory," written and performed by Stephen Lang at the Roundabout Theater in New York. In barest outline, Mr. Lang, who originated the role of the accused Marine colonel in the Broadway production of "A Few Good Men," brings to life eight recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Without interruption for 80 minutes, Mr. Lang recreates eight different men, who relate the hellish events that earned them the Medal of Honor. As described recently by Journal theater critic Terry Teachout, this is "acting of the highest imaginable quality, a performance that will sear its way into your mind and linger there forever after." An understatement..."
- An excerpt from opinionjournal.com BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Thursday, August 9, 2007
To read this entire article, click here
So we pull out of the city in less than 40 hours - no, we are NOT done packing! But, we will get it done! The movers come on Thursday the 22nd and we close this chapter of our lives in Manhattan. It has been a week of goodbyes, tears, frustrations, fatigue, and absolute gratefulness in my heart. So many emotions - don't really know what to do with them all. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have made this year - new friends that have become a part of my life. I am overwhelmed at how I feel this city has changed me as a person and I can't wait to see as I integrate back into non-urban life just how it has really has done that. I am so grateful for the new little boy in our lives and that he is doing so well at 6 weeks. I am still on the mend fighting another case of mastitis, but I really feel God carrying me right now and whispering to me every moment, "It's gonna be OK." Todd has done the impossible over the last 3 months - selling our house this past week in the middle of trying to do most of the packing as I am spent on the kids and my own health. He is amazing and I celebrate being able to do this journey with him. We leave here with sad hearts at those we love and will miss, but eager to see the beginning of this new life in Hilton Head and the new ministry that awaits us. No blogs for awhile as we move so I will see you on the flipside...
I went out yesterday by myself for about 4 hours in the city. It was refreshing to be outdoors even if it was 30 degrees! There are just a couple of places I have wanted to visit before we move in 2 weeks and one was the The Strand BookStore. It was really cool. I picked up a copy of E.B. White's essay called Here is New York. I was overwhelmed with sadness at leaving this city that has become a part of my DNA. So many people here...so many people who have not discovered why God created them and why they are here on this planet. I look at people differently after living here. I see more clearly how God made each person so unique and so special. The diversity He created among us - it is truly remarkable! I leave here 2 weeks from today with even more of a passion to serve others, to love others, and to give of myself more than I ever to love people. This city has given me a great gift - the ability to see others maybe for the first time truly how God sees each one of us with our gifts, abilities, flaws, and personalities. The whole package is what makes us who we are. I am so glad we have a creative God!
Todd gave me a pre-Valentines treat the week before Sean was born and we went to Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to hear the NYU Jazz Orchestra with guest artist, Lenny Pickett. You may know Lenny as he is the musical director and sax player for Saturday Night Live. If you have a chance to check out this venue, it is awesome! Probably in the top 3 of the coolest things we have done in the city in the last year! The food was excellent and the atmosphere was perfect for listening to great music.
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!
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 performances 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...
Yesterday was one of those enchanting days living in the city...it rained really hard all morning, but then the sun came out and revealed more beautiful colors than were there before. After attending a Fall festival in the morning with Sydney and her friends, we made our way across the city through Central Park. Not all the leaves have changed colors yet, but in Central Park it has really started happening! A lady saw Todd taking pictures and asked if we wanted her to take our picture - she was a photographer, so we got a couple of great shots of the family. Enjoy these photos of the city!
Yesterday, I gathered with about 60 other people representing church leaders, actors, models, photographers, musical artists, TV executives, and other creatives at the Times Square Arts Center to pray and worship together and claim New York and its creative people for Christ. The event was sponsored by Artisan. I was so blessed and encouraged to meet men and women from so many artistic backgrounds who are so burdened for their respective industries. The group met from 3-6 pm and we prayed together, as well as in groups - we read scripture and worshipped together. It was amazing! God is truly doing something fresh here in the lives of people who are believers in New York and there is a fire and passion to see Jesus lifted high above all else in this city.
I started today a new part-time job (5-10 hours a week on Fridays) with a wonderful couple here in the city - Barbara Siesel and Keith Torgan. Check them out at Tugboat Music. I will be assisting them with contracts for performances, database management, and bookings (in the future). They have such a passion to see children embrace classical forms of music in a creative and innovative way. I am really excited about this! Todd and I have been praying for something like this for me to do on the side from home since we moved here in December so we are thrilled with this opportunity. More to come...