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Downton Abbey in Midtown

Downton Abbey in Midtown

I’m not even a little bit ashamed to say I love Downton Abbey. I watched every episode and lived for each chance I got to see into the lives of these characters I came to love. So when I saw that there was a Downton Abbey exhibit opening up LESS THAN A BLOCK FROM MY APARTMENT, I could not wait to go! Unfortunately, life has been in the way for quite some time, but with family here who are also fans, we finally made it happen.

And since I know I am not the only fan…here are some shots of the exhibit…just like you were there!!

The exhibit starts out with you appropriately downstairs in the servants quarters….

oh hi daisy!!!…

I’m pretty sure my grandmother had this exact one..ha


and the chasm by which the worlds were seperated…


so we headed upstairs

to Mary’s bedroom.


The costumes in this show were so beautiful.


I found the one 1920’s gown that fits my hips…:)


We had so much fun. This exhibit is open on 57th and 7th. If you’re in midtown… it’s a beautiful exhibit.


Thanks for checkin in guys! love ya’ll!


the grizzards


A New Park and New Friends

A New Park and New Friends

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.

Brooke, Finn and Ally


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!



the Grizzards



A little while ago, I posted about the importance of choosing your friends. I know that there are people that will be in my life forever because they are the kind of people that I want to surround myself with. I learned how important this is from my parents.

My parents have been in ministry my entire life and some of those years were very hard. Those of you in ministry know that there are times when you can feel completely alone, betrayed, and judged. But in spite of those emotions, we have chosen to be vulnerable and real with people. It is not always easy…it’s actually most of the time very difficult. However, some people make it absolutely joyous! For my parents, it was the Neely’s and the Williams. These two couples were my parents “forever people”.

we look the exact same right?? ha

The Neely’s were a sweet family from my dad’s church in South Carolina. They were kind of like the cousins we didn’t see often but loved from afar. Well, times have changed! The Neely’s oldest daughter lives right up here in Brooklyn with her husband and two precious little ones! Isn’t God amazing like that?


Tonight Laura Beth’s little sister was in town, so we decided to have ourselves a little girl hang reunion on the Brooklyn Bridge!



If you make this trip, start out at New York City Hall…they just don’t make architecture like this anymore!

And then, grab some lunch and check out the park….

I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful this place is. I can’t believe I’ve been here so many times and never done this. I thought that when you walked the bridge (which did not sound like fun initially, but it was a girls night!) that you would be walking next to the cars under the cables and things… nope! You are elevated above the traffic so you always have a 360* view of the city. It is absolutely beautiful!

On top of the world.




After we made it across the bridge, which only took about 15 minutes, we made our way to dinner at Grimaldi’s. I feel like this place is kind of “touristy” even though there are chains of it in other cities… but I don’t care because
it is delicious and in a quaint, sophisticated little block directly under the bridge. Not to mention this building is a beautiful stark white that makes it stand out amongst all of the other architecture. I just couldn’t get over the windows, painted black from the inside….<sigh> love. When you come visit me, you should absolutely take the trek over here…skip Times Square and go to DUMBO.





And by the time you leave this NY staple, if you are like us, it will be pitch black because you will lose touch of time for all the great conversation you’re having. But it’s a good thing DUMBO has one of the best views of the city sky line in all of the city. And it is never more striking than when all the lights are lit up against a pitch black canvas.

Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Bridge









Just an incredible night with friends. Don’t miss this next time you’re in the city. And if you have kids, there is an adorable carousel here as well that they will LOVE!

Thanks for checking in! Don’t forget to subscribe to see new posts. Love ya’ll!


the Grizzards




Coney Crazy!

Coney Crazy!

I don’t know about y’all, but I did not have much knowledge of Coney Island. The only frame of reference I had was from a scene from an old Gene Kelly movie, ON THE TOWN. The lead girl (Vera Ellen) has to work as a kind of “cooch” dancer out on Coney Island to pay for singing lessons. She dances alongside freak shows and other less than classy acts, so for all I knew Coney Island was full of two-headed men and bearded ladies! Rest assured, it is not… well not anymore anyway! ha Apparently, a few years ago, it was kind of sketch, but not so anymore!

The boardwalk is gorgeous! If you are in New York with kids and want a break in the monotony of the city, take a day trip to Coney Island. You can hang on the beach (which also has a playground and water features), eat at the original Nathan’s for lunch and spend the day on roller coasters. It’s not the cheapest. An unlimited pass is $50/person or you can pay per ride (we spent $40 for Jordan, me, and Jozlyn and we were fine). They have rides for all ages! There are rides for younger kids… a pretty good amount, but there is also another park that seems to be designed for young kids. It is extra to get into that area, though.

It’s not the cheapest. An unlimited pass is $50/person or you can pay per ride (we spent $40 for Jordan, me, and Jozlyn and we were fine).  Jordan did pay extra for a “specialty ride”, but other than that, we were good. They have rides for all ages! There are even rides for younger kids… a pretty good amount, but there is also another park that seems to be designed for young kids. It is extra to get into that area, though.

Coney Island is so much fun! We got to spend the day with some sweet friends and their 5 kids… all of whom are so sweet and have been so encouraging to my girls. They love on them and make them feel special which has just been such a blessing! Jordan luckily was able to come with us as well, so we were a FULL group! The Knight tribe is 7, Kyle, Carrie Anna, Jordan, me and the girls! We looked like we had taken a school field trip with chaperones, but whatever… we had a blast.


Here is a video. Check out what Coney Island is like now and shatter that old image of paint chipped side shows!

the MET’s fashionistas!

the MET’s fashionistas!

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.

we probably could’ve taken a train, but it was rainy and it just felt like a cab kind of day.
the kids first time at the MET.
they really were works of art… beautifully crafted.
Jozzy fit right in!
Mr. Jeff! It was so good to get to see him again.

Jozlyn with Laura Beth and her 2 kids, Jackson and Neely.


It ended with costumes that looked like they belonged in WICKED. People are so talented.

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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Water Park Babies!

Water Park Babies!

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.

and, of course, we also had to hit up the swings.
Trusting I AM

Trusting I AM


You guys… I wish, with everything in me, that I could take credit for this idea! The only thing I can take credit for is having impeccable taste in friends (shout out to all my girls!) because this came from a very wise girlfriend of mine named Amy. She said this to me as I was falling apart on her couch; the mommy in me crumbling under the weight of fear of depriving my children of all the incredible things I knew Plano has to offer my growing girls. It was so unlike me to just LOSE IT like this.

When Jordan and I decided that it was finally time to make the move to New York. I kept waiting to feel that euphoria that I’d always assumed I’d feel. I mean, I’m a  musical theater major! This is the city I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. This is the city that I wanted to be in so badly that I broke up with the man that I loved so I could put myself in the best possible position to end up in that incredible city! So why weren’t feelings of absolute jubilation hitting me today? I didn’t feel like calling all of my friends and squealing like a high school girl! I didn’t feel like starting the gigantic task of purging all of my stuff and getting ready to sell my house. I didn’t feel like brushing off the dust from my vocal book in preparation for audition season. I felt nothing like I thought I’d feel. I felt fear, anxiety, stress, tension… I felt like every muscle in my whole body was wracked with tension. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I was sitting in a home that I absolutely adored. It was basically my dream home. It wasn’t really extravagant, but it was perfect for us. It had just enough space for people to feel like we all had “our space” without feeling like we could hide from each other. I loved my home.  I would sit in the house the days following our decision and just sit….quietly. This was my safe space. How could I leave this perfect place? I love it here.

Whenever I would visit New York, I felt like I belonged there. It truly felt like home, but I’d never lived there. How could I be sure? How could I be sure that my kids would thrive there? How could I be sure that I could give them a life like the life they would be afforded in Plano? How could I be sure the schools would be good or they wouldn’t hate sharing a room? How would they handle not having a backyard with a big swing set they can run through, jump off of, and fly through the air by? How did I know I could stand having them attached to me without that backyard or the huge game room?? Am I ready for that? Am I a good enough mom for that? Do I have enough patience, humility, grace and kindness for this adventure? Am I doing the right thing for my children? All of these thoughts went racing through my head in that one decision.

Every time I mentioned a slight concern about what we were giving up (which I tried not to do often because I knew that we were following the Lord), the response was always about what we were getting. I’m getting the opportunity to raise my children in an incredible place! You never had to sell me on how amazing this city was. I had fallen in love with it the first time I stepped off the plane in LaGuardia when I was 16 years old. I knew the city was amazing. I knew in my head that there were women that raised children in the city…and loved it. I had sat with women that I loved and respected who were doing it and told me that they would have it no other way. I knew in my head that it was going to be great for them. They wouldn’t have all the comforts of Plano living…and that, on one hand, made me sad because who doesn’t want to give their children every comfort and luxury they can?? But on the other hand, I was so glad that they wouldn’t have it so easy. I was excited to see the character that would develop out of them and me through figuring all of this out together! But none of those reasons made me feel any better. I still felt this sense of uncertainty and anxiety.

When talking with the church, we knew we had heard from the Lord. He very clearly said, “It’s time”. That’s what I kept hearing over and over, “It’s time”. I was so excited to hear Him so clearly. I am not someone who is able to brag about hearing His voice as often as I would like, but I knew I had heard it this time. It didn’t sound just like my voice in my head… it was deeper, softer, and came from somewhere else. It was so beautiful. And I only got two words… I’ll take it. But that had been months ago. When I thought about the move now, I was still left with anxiety. I would cry out to God for more answers! MORE CLARITY, LORD PLEASE! I’d beg Him for more assurance. A sign that we were doing the right thing! But nothing ever came.

Jordan and I prayed, talked, went back and forth on the decision so many times. It seemed like daily we’d change what we thought we should do. Until we had kind of run out the clock. We had come to the final “checkpoint”. We had met everyone we needed to meet. We had endless phone conversations, asked every question, seen every aspect of the church, prayed without ceasing and we needed to make a decision. I would fall on my knees in my closet and pray. I would pray in the car after dropping the kids off. I became so angry with God. WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME? WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME? I studied the lives of David and Job when they cried out to God for an audience with Him. Why would He leave me with so much confusion? I know that that was not from Him. I knew I could cut through the chaos with a word from Him but I heard nothing…I felt abandoned. I felt like He continued through life without me.

I called a woman that I have incredible respect for. I told her through tears about what my heart was struggling with and she told me a story:

A woman had a dream that she couldn’t interpret. She brought it to her mentor to see if she could help. There were three women crying on their knees. They were clearly in severe distress. Jesus went to the first woman. He knelt down with her, wrapped her in His arms and spoke words of compassion and guidance to her. Then got up and continued walking. He went to the second woman, and seeing her distress, gently placed His hand on her head, and stroked her hair in comfort. Then continued walking. When He reached the third woman, who was now wailing in distress, He simply walked near and past her.

The mentor asked the woman, “What do you think it means?”. The woman said, “I don’t know. All I know is I felt such pity for the third woman. Jesus must have had an incredible love for the first and apathy for the third. Why doesn’t He love her the same? What did she do?” The mentor smiled and said, “I think Jesus loves them all the same, but He knew what each woman needed. The first, maybe young in her faith, needed that extravagant affirmation and attention in order to be prompted to follow Jesus. Maybe she hadn’t walked with Jesus long enough to know His voice, and so needed His embrace. The second, maybe maturing, needed a little nudge. Just a tender reminder that her Savior was there before she could muster the courage she needed to stand in her strife and follow. The third woman had garnered so much respect from the Lord that He knew all He needed to do was cover her in His shadow and she would know to follow Him.”

I fell apart. Could it be that when heaven goes silent, it’s because it’s our move? Could it be that God had already given all the instruction that I needed to accomplish the next step of His will and now all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and remain in the shadow of the Almighty God? Could it be that His silence was not out of anger but out of love and even respect? All of my fears of “Can I do this? Is this what’s best for my children?” All of my insecurities about HOW to do this…. weren’t nearly as important.

I was studying the lives of David and Job, but God showed me Moses. When God invited Moses to intimacy with Him at the burning bush, He charged him with a job. A job that would cause him discomfort and challenge him through change. Moses HEARD the audible voice of God and still his head was immediately filled with doubts.

“Who am I”. Is that not what we always do? “Who am I?” How can I do such a thing? The answer is so obvious. No. I can’t, but the response God gave Moses is the same that we need now. “I Am”. I CANNOT DO THIS. I cannot uproot my family from their very comfortable existence and endless luxuries and move them to a hard place. “I AM”. I can’t go to a place where I don’t even know HOW to grocery shop or do laundry.”I AM”. I can’t go to a place that is so hardened to hearing the Word. “IAM”. I can’t go to a place filled with people who don’t recognize their need for a savior! “I AM” I can’t do it! But He can.

It is amazing to me who God uses to speak into your life. I was searching the scripture for a word through someone else who hadn’t heard from God. Someone else who had experienced the silence of God and see how they got back into communication and intimacy with Him. I thought there must be a reason that God was not speaking to me and that He would show me the way to get back into good graces with Him! Surely, there would be a to-do list in Proverbs or something. But God directed me to a man, not who DIDN’T hear from Him, but one who did. And not in a soft whisper, but in a booming loud voice! He didn’t direct me to a time when God was silent because my situation is not about the silence of God, but about an action that I had been called to…a job I had been given. David and Job’s situation was not the truth I needed to be reminded of. I needed to be reminded to trust and obey. Remember that old hymn?

Trust and Obey

For there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus

But to trust and obey

About a month later, I was trying my hardest to live out this truth. I wasn’t really praying as much as just taking an exacerbated breath and said to God, “Give me peace Lord.” And then there it was…. “Follow Me.” It wasn’t as clear as before, and I honestly cannot tell you if it was for sure Him or my brain bringing back to mind the story I was told about the three women. That story had so affected me in a powerful way that I had not been able to keep it far from my mind ever since I had heard it. But either way, it was truth. And either way, it brought me peace.

You see, when God told Moses to go and rescue His people, it wasn’t because of how incredible, equipped, talented and amazing Moses was. Moses was an outed slave by birth who had been ostracized due to a committed murder. But He was called by the I AM
and the I AM would get the job done.

Who knows what New York has in store for me and my girls, but I do know that, as harsh as it sounds, it’s better for us than what would be here for my family. That’s not because Plano is any less, but because what God has for us is not here. So, no matter what anxiety I may have, I know that what’s best for my kids is in Manhattan. Because I AM will get the job done.


My kids are going to be great. I am going to be great. Not that everything is going to be great at all times, but the best place for my kids isn’t Plano… because God told us to go to New York.  The answer to obtaining peace in the midst of a time of doubt and uncertainty is not to make a pros and cons list of what you are losing and what you are getting. It is to acknowledge the I AM and live in the truth of His voice. Did He speak? Did you move? If so, find rest. If not, start walking. I’m taking my first steps….


the Grizzzards

Starting something new: Love, the Grizzards!

Some exciting news for the Grizzards! It’s going to get a bit crazy around here!

I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

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