Sunday, January 31, 2010

Help Is On The Way- Part 4

After Christmas Freddy T. was headed to Atlanta to be a Community Group leader for Passion '10. The thought crossed my mind that our help would come from someone in his group but I didn't mention it to anyone. Come to find out the thought had crossed his mind and my best friends mind as well. Anyway, when Passion was over and we were all back in New York he told that two girls had approached him at Passion saying they wanted to come to NYC. He told them to get in touch with him after Passion, but did not give them his contact info (his twitter info might have flashed on the screen for 30 seconds, but that was it). We've learned that you can get a bunch of people to move to the city, we needed someone who was serious and really wanted to be here. Sometime within a week or two after Passion one of the girls, Lydia, emailed Freddy to see how they could be useful in the city. We both spoke with her on the phone sharing what our needs were and what we could offer, etc. We had a great conversation. Later that night she sent us her background info, family, school, faith, that kind of thing. We asked her to get us 5 references. I was encouraged. Kind of nervous since I've never met her, but felt comfortable pursuing her.

On one of our first conversations with Lydia she was asking about internships with the church. Her best friend Mary, the other girl who approached Freddy T. at Passion, wanted to come up as well. Freddy sent her to a website where that info. can be found and they wrapped up the conversation. As soon as Freddy T. hung up he looked at me and said "what do you think about having them both come up to live with us?" What? Two people? That certainly never crossed my mind! We talked through the possibilities and agreed we would throw it out there to Lydia and Mary. I think they were as shocked about it all as I was! We proceeded with the same process with Mary as we did with Lydia. In the middle of all of this one night I looked at Freddy T. and said "If this is the way God is answering our prayers, I never saw it coming." I could hardly believe this might be the answer. Somewhere God turned my heart of uncertainty into faith. I mean, we have been praying. Why couldn't this be God's provision, right?

So last weekend we spoke with Lydia and Mary. They committed to coming and we put a date on the calendar!

So without further adieu..

Meet Mary and Lydia, respectively...
Mary and Lydia are both coming from South Carolina. They are planning on loading up the car and driving up here on March 1st. We are SO EXCITED to have them. I just showed Jack this picture and said "Jack, this is Mary and this is Lydia. Do you know who they are?" He smiled and said "They're coming to live with us!" Jack is excited too! They'll help me out in lots of ways and will be able to help out at The Gallery as well. They'll also be getting part time jobs.

Will you join us in praying for them and for us?

As excited as we all are we know there will be big adjustments.

- Pray for Mary and Lydia as they prepare to move in with this crew. Pray that they will find good part time jobs. Pray for their families as they send them this way. Pray for them to quickly feel settled. They'll be sharing a 9x10 room! (bunk beds have been ordered!)

-Pray for us as we adjust to having two more adults living with us. Pray for Jack, Lillie, and Elliott that they will really enjoy being with Mary and Lydia.

So there you have it. Our big news... Help Is On The Way! Thanks for journeying through this with me. I knew it would require some explanation and one blog post wouldn't do it justice. Pray for us. Pray for Lydia and Mary. We are grateful for them and to the Lord for his provision.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Help Is On The Way- Part 3

During the month of August Freddy T. and I started talking about needing to move to a different apartment than where we were living. I loved our neighborhood. Our apartment was ok, nothing special, and we had the best neighbors. We loved them! But our rent was really more than we wanted to be paying and knew we could move to a bigger apartment for less rent in a different neighborhood. We decided to move to Harlem based partly on knowing that someone was coming to live with us in January. We moved into a 3 bedroom apartment so our helper could have their own room and we actually have an extra bathroom too, which worked out great. Things seemed to be coming together well. October through December were challenging months for me as far as wanting to get out with my kids and not having a lot of options of places we could go without using public transportation. I remember telling Freddy T. that I was so hopeful about having help. It was going to open my world up so much and really enhance my experience living in the city and the kids too. (I could go on and on about how it would help.)

Not long before Christmas we got sad news. Our friend who was coming had to make a hard decision, for personal reasons, and decided that now was not going to be a good time for her to come live with us. Our hearts were crushed. We understood and certainly supported her in her decision, but that didn't answer my question of "what do we do now?" There was only one other person I could think of that we knew from working at The Gallery this summer that could be available to come. After a phone call with her and a few days of prayer she decided that it wasn't going to be the best option for her to come either. I was discouraged. I had no idea who could come, but the fact remained... I needed help. Part of what was so comforting about the other situations was that we knew them. There was a history, they were not strangers. After Christmas I kind of mentally shifted my thoughts and decided that it just wasn't going to work out and began making plans in my mind about how we were going to use the extra space.

The Lord does answer prayers... last post tomorrow.

By the way. Earlier this month a friend of mine posted on Facebook "she rises while it is yet night"... this lady sets a difficult standard..." One of her comments read "she also has maidservants to help her do her work..." SHE HAD HELP! What a relief!

Help Is On The Way- Part 2

In August Freddy T. and I had the chance to go to Charleston, SC. Freddy T. read scripture in a friends wedding there and we made a 5 year anniversary get away out of it. It was a great time just to be together and have an uninterrupted chance to talk about life and reflect over the past year. We were aware at the time of a good friends desires to move to NYC and were brainstorming about how we could get her here quickly. We love her and knew she would be such an asset to the city. Freddy T. threw out the idea of having her come live with us to help me out. I immediately had some reservations. I wasn't sure I was ready to consider having someone live with us again. We did a lot of talking.

As God would have it the other man who was reading scripture at Tom and Esther's wedding had served as a missionary in Africa for 17 years with his wife and 3 kids. We asked them if they ever had regular help in Africa with their kids. (I can't for the life of me remember their names) The wife's immediate response was YES! They were just the encouragement I needed to begin to think about having live in help again. She told me two things that really have stuck with me. 1. She said "We've had good experiences and not so good experiences with people who have lived with us. When it's good it's like having family with you. And it's wonderful! When it's not good, it's just hard, and usually doesn't last that long. And from our experience the main thing that makes the difference is the maturity of the person living with us." 2. "Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you have to invite everyone and anyone to live with you. You're inviting someone to live with you. You can be as picky as you want." These words were golden to me!

You may be thinking why not just get help from someone who lives in the city? Why do they have to live with us? Good questions. If you live in the city you are paying a lot of money just for rent, so you have to have a job. Coming to our house a few times a week and not getting paid would not provide for you. We are not in a place where we can pay someone what they deserve to help us out like we need. It is expensive to have a baby sitter here. I called a girl that nannies for our old neighbors to baby sit one night when the Gallery had a function. She said for my 3 kids she would charge $20 an hour, with a 4-5 hour minimum, plus a cab ride home back to Queens which would have been around $45. She didn't come, but do you get the idea? We are unable to pay our baby sitters what they deserve. The ones that come over and keep our kids are very kind to us , we are thankful! All that to say, it would be REALLY expensive to have someone come over regularly. If we have a live in helper then we are providing their living quarters and meals and will be as generous to them as we can, but the reality is it will take a special person who wants to come to the city to serve rather than have a job.

So we had a conversation or two with our dear friend and within a week she called us and told us she wanted to serve our family exclusively. We were really excited. I was hopeful. God was working, but not the way we were thinking.

Still more to come...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Help Is On The Way- Part 1

When we were preparing to move to New York we knew that while our moral values would not change, the way we operated as a family would. We were going from one child with all the family help in the world at our finger tips to three children, far away from family... not only family, but from anyone familiar at all (with the exception of a handful of people). We were going from 2 cars to no cars. A house and a yard, to a 22 story apartment building with a laundry room in the basement. I was going to need help. I did not know what it was all going to look like, but Freddy T. and I both agreed that it was going to be hard to do it alone. So we brought someone with us when we moved with the intentions of having her for 6 months. After 3 months, our help decided to move back home and it was just the 5 of us again. I learned a lot in our first 3 months of living here having someone living with us. I'm by nature one who is pretty content doing things on my own. So while I was loosing an extra set of arms I kind of felt like I was gaining my independence back. On a side note... at the time we were living on the Upper West Side. It's a very family friendly neighborhood, one block from Central Park and the Gallery met 8 blocks from our apartment, so it was an easy walk to church. There was no real need for me to go anywhere that I could not walk to. Anyway once January hit we had family or friends in town several weeks each month. I was always excited for the help and company to come and then enjoyed a week or so break before more came. This was the consistent pattern pretty much through the summer. Honestly the thought of having anyone come and live with us again was not a thought at all. I had pretty much dismissed it altogether.

More to come on this...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nap Time With A Twist

There isn't a lot going on here the past few weeks. Everyone has been sick at least once. I haven't made it to church for the morning service since before Christmas due to someone being sick. Hopefully this Sunday we'll be back in our regular routine. Makes for some long weeks when we have sick ones!

For now...
Here is a new twist to nap time for Jack.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Numbers

I never dreamed my children would learn to identify numbers by riding in elevators asking where so and so lives and me pointing and saying "they live on floor number ..." This is NYC!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Tired

Bless his heart he just didn't get all his sleeping out during his nap today. He got out of the bed and went to the couch and has been there asleep ever since.

Here She Goes!

Lillie is walking!!! She has been for about a week now. This isn't a great video, but you get the idea. Elliott has taken quite a few steps too, but he still uses crawling for his main mode of transportation. Lillie is mostly walking now.
video

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Silly Girl

If there is an open box, bucket, basket, whatever....
That's where you'll find Lillie!
(and whenever I told her to look at the camera she stuck her tongue out)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sweet Jack

Jack LOVED Christmas this year. Every house we went to he would really take in the Christmas tree.

Jack keeps telling us as soon as it snows again we'll have Christmas and he and his Daddy will go out and get a new Christmas Tree. The morning we celebrated Christmas here in New York City there was snow on the ground. He told me we didn't celebrate Christmas in Tennessee because there was never snow on the ground. Poor thing, he doesn't understand.
This is at Freddy T.'s Aunt Cindy and Uncle Andy's house. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with all of Freddy T.'s family. Jack had a blast! But for a few minutes while all the other kids were off playing somewhere, he laid across this ottoman and enjoyed the tree.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Really Jack?

Jack just called me into his room to see something. He pointed to his puppy lying on a pillow and told me "This is Baby Jesus... and I am God."
So much to teach and learn...

On that note. I've started reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to Jack before nap. We've started with the first story and each day read the next. He really enjoys it. It has great pictures and is written so well. Every story points to the story of Jesus. Really good. At night Freddy T. has been reading a few verses of scripture to Jack to begin teaching him about God's character. It's really amazing how much a 3 year old can retain. We have such a huge responsibility to disciple our children. Lord help us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mental Escape

I've found Elliott in this position several times lately. We don't have much of a view at this apartment, so there must be something a little peaceful about doing this. Maybe it's his escape from the chaos happening in the room directly behind him!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Small Encouragements

I read this on December 5, 2003, about a month before I moved to New Brunswick, NJ. At the time I wasn't sure if I would be living in NJ or NYC. Lots of fears, lots of unknowns, lots of excitement. I had no idea at the time that 5 years later I would still be encouraged by this.

I said: "Let me walk in the field"
God said: "Nay, walk in the town"
I said: "There are no flowers there"
He said: "No flowers, but a crown"

I said, " But the sky there is black
There is nothing but noise and din"
But he wept as He sent me back
"There is much more" he said, "There is sin."

I said, "But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun"
He answered: "Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone."

I said "I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me they say"
He answered me, "Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you or they."

I pleaded for time to be given,
He said "is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven,
To have followed the steps of your Guide"

I cast one look at the field,
Then I set my face to the town.
He said, "My child do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"

Then into his hands went mine,
And into my heart came he.
And I walk in the light Divine,
The path I feared to see.

-George MacDonald

And this prayer from one of Elisabeth Elliott's books... I read this sometime in 2003 as well, I'm still asking God to help me and make this true in my life every day.

"Lord I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept your will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to you to be yours forever. Fill me and seal me with your Holy Spirit. Use me as you will, send me where you want me to go, work out your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."

Two Totally Different Kids

Would you believe that I spoon fed them both? How Elliott stayed fairly clean and Lillie looks like she took a bath in spaghetti is beyond me!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Our Christmas Family Picture

A friend of ours gave these Santa outfits to the twins for their birthday. Jack could not understand why he didn't have one, so I went out and bought him one too. These aren't things we would typically buy, but it was fun to be with them when they were wearing their outfits. The kids wore them on the plane ride from NYC to Nashville. We typically draw attention at airports, this time we really did!
Christmas 2009

Alfonso Family Picture

While Freddy T. was at Passion the kids and I spent time with my Dad's family in Atlanta. For one night we had my grandparents 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 14 great- grandchildren all in one place.
It was a special time.

My cousin took this picture. I still can't believe how good it turned out!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Will You Entertain Me?

We are back in NYC and I'm working hard to get our apartment back in order. We haven't even received our Christmas gifts that had to be shipped up here yet, so I'm trying to at least get what's here in order, so when the packages arrive I'm not adding to chaos. The first set of packages could be here any minute...

Yesterday I took the Christmas tree down. We have a live tree and it's been up for over a month. It was a mess. I had to break branches to get the ornaments off, that's how dead and hard it was. I love Christmas, but it's always good to get things back in order.

A friend of Freddy T.'s, and ours, has been living with us for 2 months and yesterday he moved to Brooklyn. We've been reserving our extra bedroom for a family helper to join us this year, but it's not going to work out for that to happen right now. While I was really excited and hopeful about having an extra set of hands around here, I'm trusting God for his provision and strength (I'd appreciate any prayers in this area). On the positive side, we gained an extra bedroom and I'm grateful for the space. We are trying to decide exactly how we'll use the room, we have several ideas.

Hopefully in the next few days we'll be a smooth running machine around here and I'll get back to my regular blogging. Till then will you entertain me? According to Google Analytics we get about 100 hits a day on this blog. I'm often shocked when someone tells me they follow the blog. I'm going to be around here all day today working at home, so will you add a little spice to my day and let me know who you are? I want to know your name and your city and state. Make sure you leave your blog address too if you keep one. I'm sure there are many I'd love to follow if I only knew you blogged. So, if I know you or not, let me know who you are!

Off to more straightening... after I dry my hair. Did you catch that? Shower, blogging, dry hair, then back to work... maybe my priorities are a little out of order this morning!