It is no secret that one of the best parts about living in New York, in my humble opinion, is the access to the most incredible theater in the world! I have always loved theater. My grandmother sat me down in front of the tv to watch musicals since I was born. My babysitter from that time said I had SOUND OF MUSIC memorized at 6… in its entirety… including choreo…:) That started a love affair for musicals that grew to a love of theater. I loved the music, the dance, and the clothes!! Vera Ellen’s dresses that swirled around her as she turned across the floor, Julie Andrews turning curtains into day clothes for a litter of children, Marilyn Monroes beautifully ornate gowns. Period pieces, contemporary works of art… I just love the clothes that litter the stages and screens of the theater. I’ve been obsessed my whole life.
One of my favorite pictures I own is one of Jozlyn before she turned 1. She had a bad ear infection and would scream everytime I laid her flat. The only thing that would help quiet her for a few minutes at a time was when I put on SINGIN IN THE RAIN on my laptop. She would crook her little neck to watch Gene Kelly dance gracefully across the screen. I knew I had my theater buddy! I now have two little girls… two girly girls… and I have been anxiously awaiting the day that I get to take my baby girls to their first Broadway show. The day finally arrived for my oldest. We took Jozlyn to see ANASTASIA. She already knew most of the music since we had been watching it on repeat since we decided to go. And since I tend to the dramatic, I decided my little princess should go decked out as a princess.
I now have two little girls… two girly girls… and I have been anxiously awaiting the day that I get to take my baby girls to their first Broadway show. The day finally arrived for my oldest. We took Jozlyn to see ANASTASIA. She already knew most of the music since we had been watching it on repeat since we decided to go. And since I tend to the dramatic, I decided my little princess should go decked out as a princess.
She was so excited! When Anastasia came out on stage in this dress, Jozlyn freaked out! I love making my baby girl happy!
Here are some of our favorite shots of the day.
She was wide awake when we were headed home… at nearly midnight! haha
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This is not happening. I feel like this cannot be happening, but it is! I am sending my daughter off to school. Not mother’s day out. Not a two day a week day care….SCHOOL! What is happening!?
We found a great, Christian school in Queens and were blessed enough to find a way to get her in at the last minute! She was so excited that “going to school” became the go-to bribe for the whole week before she went. I would say, “Now Joz, you need to obey Mommy like a big girl. Big girls get to go to school, but babies stay home with Mommy all day.” Like I was actually going to consider not taking her to school! lol.
She picked out her outfit and I bought her a new jacket. Kenny was even unwittingly excited…not realizing she was going to be without her best friend during the day now. My big girl smiled the whole morning even though we had to wake her up earlier than practically she’d ever been woken. New York is amazing, but since we moved here during the summer, it’s been hard to for her to find friends. And Jozzy is a social girl, so no kids around is a bit of a problem for her. I knew school would solve a lot of her loneliness and have been so excited to see her little eyes light up like this!
I am so going to miss having her infectious energy with me all day, but am so excited to see how she blossoms in this new environment! I just hope the teacher can contain her! lol
So I’m way late on this post, but one of the first places we went when we got here was the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. We had heard so many great things about this place and I couldn’t wait to get the kids there. It’s located in the Upper West, so it took me a while to get the kids dressed, on the train and carted up there, but I just knew once we got there, it would all be worth it. My resolve was strengthened when I got out of the train station and saw Mandy Patinkin walking toward me!!! Day made!
Once we got in, I checked in at the front desk and paid the entrance fee… it’s $14 a person to get in which is normally pretty steep, but I didn’t mind since I had heard that no kids New York experience was complete without a trip here. After we checked the stroller and bags, we walked into the main room full of anticipation. It is a room filled with memorabilia and interactive displays about Islam and some countries where Islam is prevalent. Jozlyn was enamored with the room where there is a massive screen that you can control with a touch screen. You pick a spot on the globe and it will show you an interactive view of the Mosque built there.
There is also a space that shows how people shop in those areas: the spices, the tapestries and other things found in the markets. Then you can go and jump on the large ship and imagine you are navigating the waters of the Meditteranean. It was very interesting, but after about half an hour, my girls were pretty much done.
I walked around trying to find the way to another room, but couldn’t find any. I finally asked someone if there was another space and was directed downstairs to a basically empty room filled with “block stations”. I was pretty perturbed that this was all there was for $14 a person! Kendall was pretty much done, but we were going to suck every penny out of this place that we could! And so I forced Kendall to find something to play with down here.
After about another 30 minutes and a total meltdown by Kenny, we decided to take off. We found the elevator to get back to the main floor. Once, in the elevator, I saw signage…. for 4 OTHER FLOORS OF EXHIBITS! haha I felt so ridiculous! We quickly ran through the other floors, but Kendall was not going to last long, so I made a mental note to come back and explore fully.
We made the second trip recently, so here are the pictures from both of our fun times at the CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN. If you are bringing young kids to the city, it’s a great place to let them loose! I know a lot of families feel like they have to keep a very close eye everywhere they go here, but this place is safe and so fun for them!
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I was originally going to title this post What your worship pastor really wants you to know, but I am not a worship pastor, don’t speak for all worship pastors. I am married to a worship pastor, but I don’t even pretend to speak for him. So this is just the passions of a woman who loves to worship God and is heartbroken when people misunderstand what worship is for what we can more easily understand.
If you ever engage Jordan or me in conversation for more than about 10 minutes, our faith is probably going to come up. It’s just something that drives us and has become entwined with our DNA. We see this as nothing but a positive thing. It helps us have compassion, generosity, love, humility, grace, and patience… all of these attributes are not ones that come completely naturally to me, for sure. And don’t get me wrong…. we are far from perfecting these actions, but we are working on it.
One thing that has helped me is to stay intellectually motivated by a good library of books. I am proud (and shocked) to say that I have recently (very recently) become a lover of books! Why this love did not develop in high school I will never know! It would have been very helpful in getting through Oscar Wilde. I love authors like Francine Rivers, Gail McWilliams, Tim Keller, and, of course, Josh McDowell. Recently, we’ve been absolutely obsessed with a book by Zachary Neese out of Gateway called HOW TO WORSHIP A KING
We took our last team through this book, and the kind of discussion that was brought out due to its content was humbling. It’s provocative and unafraid. It dares to ask questions of our thought processes and traditions. It challenges you on what you think of when you hear the word “worship”. What worship is and isn’t. Is there danger in defining it? Is there danger in NOT defining it? Why do people care so deeply about it in our churches?
“Worship” is a very controversial concept. Whenever change is considered to the “worship”, people get very upset. Why? Why is it that the worship seems to cause so much conflict within the walls of the church? But what is meant by “changes to the worship”? Most of the time, it’s referencing changes to the music style or atmosphere. We have all heard “worship is a lifestyle”, but is that true? And what does it even mean? If it means, it’s anything we do with pure hearts in motives… is that biblical worship? Or something else?
Though, I know well intentioned, I hate this catchphrase. It does nothing to further our understanding of worship. It was intended to encourage believers to live a life focused on God, but what it’s become is to believe that everything you do FOR God is worship. And that is just not true…biblically. We can do a lot of great things for God. We can praise, we can serve, we can teach, we can pray, but there is an actual definition of “worship” and, I would say, that actual “worship” is something that makes a lot of believers incredibly uncomfortable and so not done often.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this… leave a comment.
Here are a couple things that have really stood out to me when speaking with worship pastors:
Worship in scripture was a physical posturing before a Holy God. It actually meant “to bow”. (To learn all the usages and meaning, please read the book…can not recommend it enough) Now, before someone says that that does not mean that you cannot worship in music, let me say…of course you can. But it is by no means synonymous with the word. When you can understand that your worship is not affected by the music because you can reflect on God’s character and nature no matter if there is a rock band or an organ playing, then we can stop the battle happening on both sides of the proverbial aisle. Everybody has a preference of music. My husband is trained in opera and sang in a metal band. He would sooner put on some band I refuse to name because I don’t like it enough to remember the name than my Broadway stuff. That’s just a preference of style. There can be no music at all and we can reflect on how holy God is. If you CANNOT WORSHIP due to the style played…that is a reflection of your heart, not the “worship”. No leader can affect your response to God…it is solely your choice to worship Him or not.
My husband was encouraged to write a philosophy of worship in college. We’ve spent many times in the car (when we had one) talking about it. I’m sure it will be ever changing but here’s what God has brought me to today:
I think when we are in a space to understand the awesomeness of God, we will have no choice but to fall on our face in worship.
If you are someone who has ever been frustrated at the music or the leader or been that leader, I seriously encourage you to read the book.
I feel like I could almost do a city-wide tour of the parks…or at least I will be able to in no more than a month at this pace. We checked out the Clinton Dewitt Playground over on 53rd and 11th today. It was more or less similar to others we had been to except that there was a mini-mountain that you know Jozlyn just HAD to conquer despite my mild heart attacks as I watched her climb all the way to the top. She kept saying ” Mom, I can do it! I’m using my imagination!” How am I supposed to keep her from doing that?
I met another sweet mom today, Brooke. Brooke is a friend of a good friend of mine from Dallas named Amy. Amy used to live up here with her two kids and was a source of encouragement as we were praying through the decision to move. Side note… Amy writes an amazing blog on discipleship! You really should check it out! You can find it here!) Brooke has lived here for 6 years I think, in 3 different areas with 2 kids. She was extremely helpful in “talking shop” about pros and cons to the neighborhoods in which she lived, school, what to do with the kids and church stuff. All of the areas we talked about were areas we are considering looking into; Washington Heights, Upper West, and Midtown, so her knowledge was invaluable.
You may be interested to know that one thing she said that stuck out to me was that she was a huge advocate for raising kids in the city. For those that are nervous or concerned for us or have that instinct to purse your lips, tilt your head and shake it side to side upon hearing that we’re raising two kids in NYC (not judging…that’s my immediate reaction as well) just know, I have met so many amazing, Godly women who say it is an AWESOME place to raise kids… don’t worry, mom.
She has two adorable kids and Jozzy loved playing with her new friend! Here are some shots from our adventures today!
This playground is smack dab in the middle of Midtown…an area that I thought of as unattainable, not family friendly and really not an option… my options just flew WIDE OPEN again! ha. leave a comment and let me know where you think we should look!
I am loving seeing old friends here and meeting new ones, too. Today, we got to hang out with some very old friends. Laura Beth and I have known each other all my life. My dad pastored their church in South Carolina where I was born. Her family has always been one of the greatest encouragements to my dad during his ministry and now she lives in Brooklyn with her husband. They are church planters over there and she invited me to go to the Met with her! Her dad was even in town!
There was a fashion exhibit with elaborately designed dresses that we thought the girls may enjoy. Kendall seemed less interested in the dresses and more interested in touching everything she wasn’t supposed to so she remained confined to the stroller… only one meltdown… WIN.
After the museum, we were planning on going to the park for playtime, but the weather was not working with us. We walked a few blocks to a NEW YORK STAPLE! haha. That’s right. I go to New York City and still Panera is one of my favorite lunch spots! I’m so classy.
We had so much fun hanging out with our new friends. Praise God for momma’s in the city who are a few years ahead of me in this thing.
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It was a rainy, dismal day this evening, but I promised Jozzy that we could take her scooter to the park once it got here… and don’t you know, my precocious little 4 year old would NEVER forget a promise. As soon as we told her the shipping boxes were in daddy’s office, it was over. “Can we go to the park with my scooter??”
“I don’t know baby. It’s kind of rainy today.”
“but mooooommmy, you promised.”
And I’m done. “Let’s go, kids!”
We packed up snacks and jackets and Joz jumped on that scooter as soon as we got out of the elevator.
She rode it all the way to the park….then she saw the water. There is a large sand pit at the playground, and they have a water feature next to it, that I think is predominately there to help kids wash off the sand. However, for my kids it was a shower head. Jozlyn basically went head first as soon as she saw it! Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.
Today was so fun. Our friend, Miq, got us into the Central Park Zoo and the kids had a blast! This zoo is smaller, which is perfect for the girls. My sweet little 2-year-old couldn’t handle something too much bigger, but with the stroller and the beautiful park… it was perfect. Jozlyn was especially excited to see “the lion”…which they didn’t have. I believe, she was referring to either the sea lion or the snow leopard … not sure. But she loved both, so either way..it was a win. Here are some shots from the day.
We had a blast. If you come to New York with young kids and need something to occupy not a lot of time that the kids will enjoy, check this spot out. It’s got penguins (the enclosure seen in Happy Feet I believe), two large Boas (there ya go Dad), otters, sea lions, birds, two grizzly bears and a snow leopard. There are bigger zoos in the city, but this one is perfectly located in Central Park! Anybody ever been here before? We had a blast!
We survived 3 days! The hard part is truly over right?? ha
We’ve been intentionally trying to keep these first few days both exciting but relaxed as possible for the kids. Our mornings have been packed with exploring the city. Basically, whatever Jozlyn says she wants to do, we try and do. So far, we’ve hit up two parks, rode the train to Brooklyn and Queens, got lost on the train to Brooklyn and Queens, and went to get cookies from an awesome New York spot.
The first day was just getting settled in, but as soon as we could, we found the nearest park! The girls needed to burn some energy, and luckily, Central Park has the Heckscher Park just a couple blocks away, so I have a feeling it’s going to be a staple for us when daddy starts work. It’s awesome. It has slides, swings, a large area to run around, and a fenced in sand area (apparently it’s a normal thing up here)…which made my florida-self feel right at home. Jozlyn was quick to rip off her shoes and sink her toes in the sand while Kendall stayed on the swings basically the entire time. Any time I stepped away to see what Jozzy was up to in the sandbox, I was met with a quick “Mommy push!” from Kendall.
We decided the next day, it was time to buy a stroller. We headed to a store over by Union Square and on our way, we walked past another park and had to promise the girls they could play after we went to the store. This park was even better than the last! It has a large area with a squishy floor so I don’t have to worry about my little Kenny falling (as she does often) and hurting herself. It has more climbing equipment and a sculptural element to its design. In addition to that, though, it also has the large litter box and swings! Kenny even got brave enough to climb up and go down the slide by herself!
After, a morning full of play and shopping, we got to go to church at Hillsong. Jordan doesn’t start at Calvary until the next Sunday, so we decided to take advantage of the week and see where some friends go. It was such a cool experience.
I was kind of hoping that all those times I visited New York would help me with understanding the train stations, but I am still completely lost. I have been assured by friends that I will get it… I keep repeating that mantra in hopes that one time it will convince me. I took Jozzy out to a kids consignment store in Queens only to find out it was closed, so we headed to one in Brooklyn… we got a little lost. We’ll call it good mommy/daughter bonding time. It would probably be more appropriately named “Jozzy got so tired that my high energy, talkative, outgoing daughter fell asleep on the train home”.
The next day was the best yet. We decided that our new philosophy is going to be dessert in the morning!
The first few days have been packed with fun things for the kids and the nights have been full of setting up house! I need more ideas! Who has been here and found something fun for kids? Please leave a comment!
The house is pretty much as set as we’re going to get it for now…seeing as how this place is temporary. Hopefully, soon I’ll feel good enough about it to put it up for ya. I’m trying not to fall in love with this place…it’s hard.
Praise God for happy kids and a city with lots of fun things to do! Send those ideas!
“Kayla, you need to be endearing.”
This is what I heard on a near daily basis from my mother growing up. I was one of those that prided myself on being “right” and not really caring if I was kind. So I had a tendency to be a self-righteous jerk very often. I have spent several conversations as an adult apologizing for that attribute to those that had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and, therefore, becoming the victims of my immaturity. Because that’s what it is… absolute immaturity and selfishness.
I still have issues with this. Taming my tongue is a daily struggle, but I’m getting better. I find that the less I talk in general unless I’m prayed up, the better of a person I tend to be. It’s not even that what I’m thinking (and keeping myself from saying) is incredibly witty, or overly intelligent, but I find my mind very often wants to pounce on those moments when someone is incorrect and make sure they know that they are incorrect. I know! I’m horrible! How arrogant!!But you know what keeps you humble?