Thursday, November 24, 2011


For a lot of things...

Thankful to be home safely from NYC. (We arrived home late Wed. night.) What a great trip with memories I'll treasure for a lifetime! We had an almost 2 hour delay leaving the airport in NYC which in turn caused us to miss our connecting flight out of Atlanta. With a couple of hours to spare, I walked to a nearby book/magazine stand and began perusing the many choices of latest novels and bestsellers. I had already finished one book during our travel time...Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. (Pretty good book and uplifting in an affirming-sort-of-way. I don't doubt that Heaven is for real, but I guess it was nice to hear about the author's son's experience and to see how they are sharing their testimony with the world. Jesus is for real!! Amen and Amen!)

O.K., back to my search at the bookstand...I couldn't believe I was even thinking about starting book #2! Woo Hoo! (I never have this much time for reading...) What's funny is that with the "leisure reading time" that lay before me, I WOULD choose something that relates to parenting. You can't run away from the season of life you're in, right? (And truth be told, I am thankful for the season I'm in.)

If you are a mom, you just might want to buy this one, too. (Heck, you can just borrow mine if you want to.) Well, at least when I finish with it. :)  See, it's so good, I had to share it with you now, and I'm only about half way through it. The book is 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom by Angela Thomas.

Now, some of you reading this are great moms already. I know 'cause I am blessed and thankful to call you my friends, and I have witnessed your "mom skills". But I think this book can give (and already has given me) some good reminders and ideas for leading our children with God's love and grace. I am thankful for being called "Mommy"!

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks be to the God in Heaven (who is as real as ever) and from whom all blessings flow.

Final Farewell to NYC

Our last day in NYC was spent wrapping up some last-day shopping at FAO Schwarz.

(Below) Me and the life size Indiana Jones made out of LEGOS!
Jan and the LEGO Lady of Liberty

 Then we decided to skip the walking endless blocks as we had been accustomed to and hop on the subway to head to Wall Street. (This turned out to be a smart transportation decision as the rain began to move in to the city.)
NYC Subway!!

With the rain beginning to fall, we strolled down Wall Street, admired Tiffany and Co., and then headed back up to Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel. (I said in an earlier post that I wanted to go back to St. Paul's Chapel and go inside, hence our trip back to the WTC site.)

Jan on Wall Street and in front of the NY Stock Exchange
 Tiffany and Co.
 The rear entrance to St. Paul's Chapel and the cemetary there..
 I took the picture below from the back door of the chapel because it shows the spot where the twin towers once stood.
"They fell. One tower, then the other. They fell, fell, fell. They fell with a rush, and they fell with a roar. The sky was blank where they'd been before." (quotations from: The Little Chapel that Stood by A.B. Curtiss)

"Some say the giant sycamore wood
had saved The Little Chapel That Stood."
 George Washington's pew and the Bible he read from.
"Since Seventeen Hundred and Sixty-Six, has stood this house of God and bricks."
 "Rescuers worked through the night and the day. In the chapel they'd pause, then go on their way."
 The view from inside the chapel. The beautiful chandeliers which could tell their own stories, right?
"It was something of wonder, a symbol of grace.
The steeple still there, not a brick out of place."

Being there is hard to describe. There were moments I cried when I read the letters left by family members searching for their loved ones and saw the pictures of the faces of people who lost their lives that day. And then there were moments I stood in awe and disbelief at what had taken place and how our country rose up from the ashes and destruction and at how people (Americans and people around the world) rushed to help in whatever way possible. Nothing I can ever write can accurately describe this experience...

After the St. Paul's Chapel experience, Jan had one more thing he wanted to do. So, we hopped back on the subway and headed to Chinatown. We did some street shopping...I just stood back and watched him bargain. haha This didn't last too long because the rain REALLY started to come down. We had thought we might head to Little Italy to eat, but we decided to call it quits and hop back on the subway to Times Square and our hotel.
When we reached our hotel, Jan's cousin, Clay, who lives in Brooklyn, called to say he wanted us to try to meet up with him before we had to leave. (He had just arrived back from being out of the country the day before.) We rested for a short while, and then once again, jumped on the subway and headed to Brooklyn. (I'm pretty sure I could get REAL good at this!) Clay and his girlfriend met us in the rain, and we all quickly walked a few blocks to a wonderful restaurant with a "fancy southern kick". We enjoyed some great food and time together. Jan and I opted for a cab ride back to Times Square instead of the subway. I'm glad we did because we got to experience coming across the East River on the Manhattan Bridge and seeing the city from a different angle. Even at night, it's an amazing sight.
So, there you have it...1st NYC trip is done!
Yes, I plan to return. Perhaps with my children when they are a little older and can "handle" this great city and possibly appreciate it for all its history and culture.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NYC 2011 (Continued)

Since the moment we planned this trip to NYC, I told Jan that one of the things on my "to do" list was to go to the top of the Empire State Building. I just love "Sleepless in Seattle" when Tom Hanks's character goes to the top of the ESB to look for Meg Ryan's character and that moment when they finally find each other. Remember that?! Ahh...we wish it were that easy, right? But it's just a movie. For a brief moment today, though, I felt as if I were playing the romantic role of a lover finding her soulmate atop one of the most iconic American landmarks.
Wow!! Love CAN be found at the top of the ESB!! :)
(It was only fitting that he kiss me since on this day 13 years ago, he asked me to marry him. Thanks for asking me, Jan. I'm glad you did.)

O.K., enough "mushy stuff". Besides, part of the reason I'm blogging about this is because my kids are reading this and seeing what we're up to in NYC!! hehe

Some other cool things we've checked off our NYC list in the last 24 hours include:

 Christmas decorations in NYC!!
 I videoed the Lord and Taylor department store windows today! They are spectacular!!

Grand Central Station
(And it's amazing what all is in under what you are looking at in the picture.)

Our first NYC vendor food! Jan bought some kind of gyro chicken thing...I opted for a warm pretzel.

This is a picture of one of the windows at the Empire State Building!
The model of the ESB here is made out of Christmas candy!!

This picture shows a comparison of the two structures Jan and I have traveled to the top of.
Today's experience was a lot different than our Eiffel Tower experience in Dec. 2004, but both amazing!

A beautiful day to look out from the ESB!

We decided to rent bicycles and bike through Central Park, and I am so glad we did. This was a great way to see the park and see it quickly, since our daylight was quickly fading! 
I just loved my blue bike!!

We have walked and walked and walked some more!
Then after biking, we decided to find a good restaurant and sit down for awhile before catching this...
Our 1st Broadway show...The Phantom of the Opera!
It was fantastic!
A wonderful way to top off the day in NYC!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Day to Remember

Today, we embarked on a tour of the 9/11 Memorial. It was unforgettable. Our tour guide spoke of the events surrounding that day and the murdered men, women, and children on Sept. 11, and it was undescribably heartbreaking to think about the horror that took place here in New York 10 years ago. We saw the efforts New York has made and is making to rebuild from the horrific event on Sept. 11, 2001. As I looked around at the buildings and people and as we walked the streets around where the WTC once stood, I couldn't help but try to imagine what that day must have been like. I thought about the documentaries I have watched about 9/11, and my heart was overcome with grief for the helpless people who suffered this tragic event. I can't begin to imagine what it was really like. I hate that things like this have happened throughout history. Hate can bring about such devestation... I almost felt guilty in taking pictures at the memorial. I felt like this was such a sacred place where so much was lost. I cried thinking about how many names on the wall represented family members and friends for so many people. I do not know any of them, but I can identify with the sudden loss. If anything, New York is showing the world that out of such a tragic event comes hope. This is a picture of Tower One, the Freedom Tower which should be completed in a couple of years.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is not yet open, but we walked past it on our way to the place where the Twin Towers once stood.
 And this is the Memorial.
The water flowing into a deeper void, a representation of the void felt by those who lost someone they loved that day and the lives lost by a nation. 

This is the only picture I got of St. Paul's Chapel which is next to where the towers stood. I read the Little Chapel That Stood to my students the week of Sept. 11th, and it amazing how this church suffered no damage when the towers fell. Our guide said it has survived city-destroying fires and the attack on the twin towers leaving it to be the oldest building in New York City, and it is believed to be God-protected. (Amen to that!) We are going to try to make a trip back there to go inside. (Our tour didn't include going in!) And I would like to see the Bible George Washington read from. :)
After leaving the financial district, we walked through the South Seaport area (beautiful) and boarded another boat to get to New York Harbor. On the way, we saw the Brooklyn Bridge,
the Manhattan Bridge,
and then...the Statue of Liberty!
(This picture is for you, John Owen, because you told me to send you a picture of the Statue of Liberty.:) I love you and miss you!!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New York Times

We are here!

Our airplane landed in New York City around lunchtime today, and we are having a great time so far.
The picture above was taken at Bubba Gump's in Times Square. We figured we needed to continue this tradition of eating here since we ate at the one in Kona, Hawaii almost 2 years ago. (Which also marks the last "just us" trip we have taken.) I can't wait to wear my "Run Forrest Run" t-shirt I bought...maybe I'll wear it in a future race or something. :)

Here's some of what we've done so far:

Admired the view from our hotel window!

Picture taking opportunity outside The New York Times building

 Look, it's Covington!
"There's no place like home..."

Hey, kids,'s McDonald's!

Jan in Times Square!

Radio City Music Hall
(It was even prettier after the sun went down.)

 Who lives in a pineapple under the sea,
but is visiting New York City just like me?
Who could be mistaken for a big block of CHEESE?
Nobody but the Spongebob and me!

Rockefeller Center
 and the Christmas tree!!
We won't get to see the lighting of the tree, but I am hoping all of the scaffolding will be gone by Wed. so we can see the tree in all its glory before we head home to spend Thanksgiving with our family. I am also hoping to ice skate there before we leave. :)

 Me at Rockefeller Center with "The Rock" in the background.
 These people probably felt like royalty getting married in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York!
 My favorite part...the singing of "Ava Maria"! Beautiful!!
Oh, and the architecture was breathtaking, too! 

A nice girl offered to take our picture together outside the NBC Studios which are housed inside "The Rock".

 "The Ball" which will be dropped on New Year's Eve!

Times Square in New York City...check!!