Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, was my last day in the city. I finished up some details at the apartment, cleaned it up and had the landlord inspection, dropped the cable box off at the cable office, met Mike for a snack and chat in a park, headed home for a visit from Jenny, and packed up everything except what I need for the morning of departure... I watched a movie (Baby Mama, which was funny) and tried to sleep. I didn't get much restful sleep as my mind was trying to process the fact that I was leaving my home in the city for the last time in the morning.

I woke up at 5am and spent a lot of time talking with God and writing in my journal. I felt sort of in a daze and could really feel God's grace and mercy over my emotions. I am truly excited about what God is planning for me and happy to be serving in Rogers, but I'm truly sad to be leaving NYC, too. I guess that means I am doublely blessed to have such strong emotions in both directions.

I got to say goodbye to Eduardo and let him in the apartment to get the rest of the stuff I was giving him. I turned in my keys to the rental office and sat on the stoop of my building surrounded by my luggage waiting for the car to pick me up for the ride to the airport. The driver was very nice, he drove very smoothly and safely and even used turn signals!! We made it to the airport in record time.

I checked in at curb-side which was wonderful to not have to wrestle my bags. Both checked bags were just over the 50 pound limit, but the guy let them slide, which probably had more to do with his hope of a nice tip than anything else... I parked myself at the food court for a plain whole grain bagel and orange juice. There was a table near a post with an outlet, so I charged up my phone the rest of the way. I got to work on a new Bible study for a while. The security check didn't take too long and I stopped by the restroom one last time before boarding the plane and made it to my gate just in time for my group to board. I was hoping to get a good view of the city when we took off. It all depends on which way they take off and such. Usually I just get a quick glimpse. This time we circled the city kind of low for some reason (smile) and I got to see it from every angle. It was awesome! I could pick out Lincoln Center which is at the end of my street! What a blessing from God to visually say goodbye.

The flight was good and I got a little nap on the way. It was a 4 hour trip to DFW for my connection. However, the pilot announced that there had been no head winds at all and we were getting in a whole hour early! I know it was because of all of the prayers for a good flight. Because of the early arrival, I had time to grab a bite of lunch before boarding again.

The flight to Arkansas was 46 minutes. I spent more time on a subway traveling across the city! We arrived in Rogers right on time. I was marvelling that everything looks so clean. Nothing like in nyc, even on a sunny day. Dont' get me wrong, nyc is beautiful in it's own way. It's just that everything just looks so much cleaner without the film in the air.

My friend Kellie picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at Nana Ruth's, where I'm staying for my first week or so. The door that was left unlocked for me ended up being locked, so I sat on the front steps surrounded by my luggage and reflecting that this is the way that I started my day, just in my other 'home city'. I also got the chance to sit and talk with God about things. It was very nice.

Nana Ruth and I went out for a quick dinner and then I crashed. It had been such a long day. I guess time travel can take it out of a person. It did feel like I had been transported to a different stage of life in a matter of mere hours. It was almost like the last 2 years in nyc were really only hours long, or that I hadn't left here at all. Maybe it was a dream. hmmm...

God is the creator and controller of time. He has the power to make moments fly by or last like slow motion. Time is precious and it makes me want to live in the moment and cherish each thought, feeling and encounter. I'm thankful for the way He has brought this so strongly to my mind this day. He is so awesome!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009

It's Monday, just a 2 more days of being a New Yorker. I can't believe how fast these past 4 weeks has went by. Actually, I can't believe how quickly the past 2 years has gone by! More and more, I look at life as a series of seasons. God is so generous in the experiences He gives us. I'm very thankful.

Friday night, the guy came to pick up my bed. He is a med student at Columbia and just moved here from California. He also took the nightstand and I gave him a really good deal on the table and chairs. I'm glad to know that the furniture will be put to good use. I'm sleeping very well on the sofa, just like I did when I moved here. I'm so thankful that God lets me have wonderful rest times.

Saturday I met Andrew for brunch in Alphabet City on the Lower East Side. It was very yummy! I had a vegetable plate prepared with some good (and new to me) herbs and spices. We then walked around and made our way back to Union Square and Andrew's workplace. We saw a parade (they pop up all over the city for various reasons). I took a few pics. I found the people on stilts interesting. I walked around and took more pictures of interesting buildings and such. I met Christi for a smoothie after her dance class. I then took the train home for a very much needed nap. I had plans to see a show in my friends theatre, but was just too tired. I really wish I could have went to the show, but the old body could only take so much excitement for one day. ha

Sunday was a nice morning of Bible Study and a little more work on the 'stuff'. (remind me never to buy anything again...) Parable met in Bryant Park and then we proceeded to a diner for some food and fellowship. I got to share with everyone what God has shown me in the 'Twelve Extraordinary Women' Bible Study. I really enjoyed and grew through that study. Anyway, it was a really nice evening. I feel like God has eased me through the 'goodbyes'. We've all agreed it's more 'so long for now'. I'm so thankful for these wonderful friends and coworkers in God's work here in the city.

Today I was blessed to work with a special team of 6 from LA. I was really thankful to spend time with them. They are such a treat to work with, too. They understand how ministering to people is different in each location, and they are sensitive to being a blessing to the people they are serving and the missionary/ministry leader. They had a blast serving meals at Coffeehouse and Clinton Senior Center. They now have the information to connect with the Directors in the future and serve here anytime they come to New York.

I've been praying for God to show me how to use each day to accomplish His plan. I make a tentative game plan and each morning ask God to direct me. It gives me such a peace. Even in the midst of all the changes, as long as He is in control, I can follow His plans. He has helped me to continue to serve and minister to people in different ways as I've been spending lots of time on my relocation process. I didn't want this time to just be about me. I'm thankful for His coordination of everything each of these busy days.

Today was really nice. Early I caught Eduardo (a maintenance guy here at the apartments) to hand off some items that didn't sell, then I headed over to the post office to mail the last box of books (cheaper at the po), stopped to buy some blackberries from a street produce vendor, then went to close my nyc checking account (just enough money for shipping the last 2 boxes), then home to do a little computer work, then off to meet the team at their hotel. We visited in the lobby of the hotel and caught up on what God is doing in our lives. The team split up and I accompanied one group to Coffeehouse and got to say goodbye to Alfonso and Augustine... hugs all around. Then I stopped at a bank that has a change counting machine. I cashed in all that loose change and had plenty to buy my last nyc souvenir, a New York hoodie, from a store in the subway. I stopped by the TSAC building to say goodbye to Carmen in the rental office and also ran into Ed, the Pastor of the church on the 6th floor (divine appointment). Then I walked up 9th Ave to my favorite healthy juice bar and had one last carrot-orange-pear-ginger drink. It was sooooo good! I walked up to the Clinton center to meet up with the 2nd part of the team. I got to say goodbye and get hugs from the peeps there. It was nice to see everyone one last time before leaving.

The team took me out for lunch and I suggested Uncle Nick's Greek restaurant. It was a hit. I told the team to 'just stick with the fat chick and you'll find good food'! ha We all did enjoy the lamb and gyros very much. We then walked around a little, Firehouse at 48th & 8th Ave, a stroll down the Diamond District, a stop at Rockefeller Center, and a visit at St. Patrick's Cathedral. I left the team there for them to continue with their exploration of nyc. I walked up to catch a bus home and took some interesting pics on the way.

I quickly walked the last 2 boxes to the shipping place and celebrated that the boxes are all gone!! I picked up my dinner from Maoz, that great Mediterranean/Vegetarian restaurant that I have visited a lot these last 2 weeks. One last load of laundry (there was just enough credit left on my laundry card - perfect planning, Lord!). A double bag green tea and another dose of vit c and zinc to ward off the cold I felt was coming on. More connection with people via email and facebook. Catching up on the blog and then it's time for a good night's sleep.

It's been a good day. Besides all the great things happening here, I also found out that there is a car for me to use in Rogers, I'll have an office space at the church to work from, and I got a letter from the IRS confirming that they will allow me to make payments on the taxes I owe for 2008. It's been a very good day.

Tomorrow will be my last full day in nyc. It seems surreal. I'm so very thankful for the way God has worked out all the details of my life, especially 'assignments' like serving in nyc. When I try to look at the big picture more through God's perspective it helps to keep everything from being so overwhelming. God is so faithful in every little detail, every lesson to be learned, every encounter. I'm so thankful He watches over me. I'm so thankful that I am His.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15, 2009

It's Friday evening and I'm waiting on someone to come and buy/pick up my bed. It's kind of nice to have a reason for sitting here resting. I even took a nap on my bed for the last time this afternoon. I packed and shipped another box today. The shipping place is halfway to one of my favorite restaurants of late. I just discovered it last week with my friend Ashley. I ate there for lunch twice last week and four times this week! It's reasonably priced, healthy and so yummy!!

The people at the shipping place know me by sight now. I've been shipping a box a day (approx) for the last 2 weeks. I bought two more boxes today and was carrying them out of the store (all flattened out) and mentioned that I was glad that the wind wasn't blowing. The guy said if it was, I should make sure that it was blowing in the direction of AR! I think I'm the only person he's ever met from AR. I hope I represented the state well to him! ha

It was beautiful today. Sunny and in the 70's. I ran down the street to pick up dinner and loved the walk. As I have been waiting on people to come pick things up, I have enjoyed sitting outside my building on the stoop. I may take an evening walk after the guy picks up my bed in the next hour or so. Gotta soak up the city while I'm still here!

Wednesday night I had dinner at Jason and Erin's place down in Alphabet City. Another friend of mine used to live just a few doors down from them. I remember getting so lost down there before. Now it seems much easier to find my way around the city. It was a great time with the Hardy's and the cats. We have a comfortable connection that I know will last a long time, no matter how far we are apart from each other. I'm blessed by them.

Thursday I met Jenny and Keith and Mike for lunch at a great Greek restaurant on Columbus Ave. I had a really good lamb dinner. I had not eaten lamb before I came here. It's pretty tasty! I tried a dessert of Greek yogurt with honey and other stuff on it. The yogurt was very tart but so good with the sweet honey and other goodies. I love trying new foods. Thanks to Jenny for being my 'foodie idol'. She'll keep broadening my horizons!

Mike and I had fun chatting and strolling down Columbus Ave to his subway stop. I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my day and opted for a nap and more work on the apartment. And, of course, more connecting with people, this time via email.

This morning Alfredo from the Clinton senior center brought his cart over and we packed it up with more stuff I'm donating to the folks there. That made room for me to move my suitcases and clothes over to one side of the apartment so the guys can get in to move the bed. Sometimes I feel like the Keystone Cops, all by myself. Or maybe the ball inside a pinball machine. Boing, boing, boing...

Well, it's time to bounce off the walls a little more. Then I'll tuck myself into bed on the sofa. I slept on this sofa for the first 2 weeks that I lived here. Going back to the beginning... I like it.
God is bringing me full circle on this journey. I praise Him for being my tour guide through this life. I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

It's Tuesday night and I'm sooo tired. It's been a busy time of dealing with all this crazy material stuff. It is fun to give stuff to the people at the shelters, though. Packing and shipping isn't all that much fun, but I'm trying to be a good steward. (I just keep asking myself - what to keep? what to sell? what to give away? so many options... so many decisions... so many blessings)

I have gotten the chance to visit with dear friends a lot these past few days. Of course, you always wish you would have spent more time with them all along instead of just before you leave, but it's sweet to be together no matter what. I love these people so much!

Sunday night we all met at Bryant Park for a little while and then proceeded to a restaurant and had good food and lots of fun sharing stories about the last 2 years. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many dear friends. They wished me Happy Mother's Day, since I've been like a mother to them all. I will really miss living in the same city with them. I know we will be connected in our hearts for a very long time.

After dinner, I hung out with a few of the guys in Bryant Park until they closed up and told us to move along. We just walked down 42nd street a ways. I didn't want the night to end because it would one day closer to me leaving. It was so nice to just 'be' together. Sunday is when I started to actually aknowledge how many days till I leave. I enjoyed riding my bus home that night and just looking at the streets. I'm just soaking it all in. I'm appreciating it all more deeply. I really want to do the same with all aspects of my life from now on. Each day is truly a treasure and gift from God. I want to love it and celebrate it and really live it. I want to find Joy in each day.

My little boyfriend Colton (6 1/2 months old) was so much fun to play with Sunday night, as well as yesterday when he and I and his mommy and daddy all had a double date together. He is such a cutie!! And I enjoyed time with mommy and daddy, too.

I've started packing my suitcases so I can see how much will fit and how much I need to ship in a box. I leave a week from tomorrow. I can't believe it! I will live out of my suitcases for a couple of weeks before I move to my new digs. I just know I'll accidentally pack something in a box that I'll need in my suitcase. But, wait... if I need anything I can just run to Wal-Mart! I forgot about that luxury!!

I'm looking forward to being back in Rogers for awhile. I'm excited about working on missions back at my home church, and getting to network with ministries in the area. It will be different not being on staff like before, and being 'in the field' in my home town rather than far way, but it will be great. There is so much to do and be involved in. I'm going to hit the ground running, I'm sure.

I was walking down the street today thinking about how much I'm going to miss living in this city. As bittersweet as the emotions can be, I'm thankful that God allowed me to fall in love with this place so much. I love serving Him and reaching out to others for Him. It is such a privilege to live this life. I appreciate all the hard times that go along with it. And I love all the blessed times, too. I'm really grateful to everyone who makes it possible for me to serve full time.

I know these next months in NWA will fly by and I hope to be diligent and a good steward of time and resources to accomplish all He has planned. I also look forward to the next season, whenever and wherever that will be. I pray He continues to find me useful to the Kingdom. I want to be more and more prepared for whatever He has in store.

I pray that He is guiding you and equipping you and sustaining you as you walk in His plan for your life. He is worthy to be honored through our obedience.

Now it's time for me to rest a little and be ready for another big energy day tomorrow. Blessings!

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009

This is a copy of the letter that was sent to my prayer partners today.


It’s May 8, 2009. Exactly 2 years since I arrived in NYC to start this journey of serving. I can’t believe that 2 years has gone by. It has been an awesome time for me. Just as boarding that plane in NWA was an emotional moment, so is the return flight in less than 2 weeks.

How exciting to be on this ride that we call Life. I’m very reflective and sentimental as I prepare to leave the city. I think of all that I have been allowed to see God do here in the last 2 years. So many life touches, people finding Christ as Savior, luke-warm believers finding a renewed relationship with our God, people looking outside themselves and serving other people, volunteer teams learning a new aspect of missions, bonds created that will last past this life to heaven, sharing of burdens, and rejoicing together. I’ve been able to experience the joys of budding romantic relationships (my friends – NOT ME!), the sadness of losing loved ones, triumphs of career and educational programs, disappointments of artistic rejection and postponing life dreams. There has been sickness, both long and short term, life goals reached, the closing of certain chapters of ministry and the birth of awesome new ministries. It has been a very full experience.

There have been some ‘firsts’ in my life that have occurred here in the city. No big deal, really, except for the fact that I’ve enjoyed the type of culture here that encourages stretching and reaching beyond my comfort zone. Here’s a partial list. (I imagine you smiling as you read some of these.) In the past 2 years, I have learned to text on my phone, successfully read a subway map, learn to only purchase what I can carry home with 2 arms, travel on the sidewalks like a New Yorker (vs. like a tourist), tasted a Bubble beverage in Chinatown, ate lamb, fell in love with falafel and hummus, enjoyed gelato, dined on Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, carried a messenger bag (rather than a purse), fell in love with produce street vendors and farmer’s markets, tried sushi, received a tattoo for my birthday, become a fan of public transportation, met people from many, many countries (some I have never heard of before), learned a ton about the world of off-off-off Broadway theatre and actors and singers and dancers and… I’ve enjoyed meeting all types of people, from Pastors of all denominations to homeless street people to performers of various levels of fame to volunteer teams of varying levels of urban ministry understanding to, well, you get the idea.

This is definitely a place for people-watching and broadening your horizons! It’s also a great place to get a glimpse of God’s creation of earth. SO many nationalities and cultures in one place. It makes a person humbly realize that this world is a lot bigger than the western culture of North America. God has created every living being, and He loves each one as His own creation. We are merely a part of the whole population of the world. We are to first love God, and then love each other, no matter how much or little we resemble each other (inside or out). The one common denominator (and the only one that matters) is the bond of belonging to God, our Father. Making those connections should be our objective in life. And that can be done in as many ways as there are people.

We all fit into God’s plan to reach the world. We walk beside each other, send each other out to our various callings (be it fulltime missionary service, reaching people in our workplace, raising our families, etc), financially supporting a ministry, or lifting up people in prayer. Every part is God’s plan for reaching others in His name.

For the last 2 years I have been blessed to be a part of a Team to share Christ with people in New York. I’m just part of that team. I happen to be the feet. Many of you have been the financial support, and all of you have been the heart as you lift me up in prayer.

I’m so thankful to you for partnering with me on my journey to serve as a fulltime missionary, wherever God sends me, in the past, present and future. I can’t do this without you, and I truly believe that He intends for us to work together on each phase of His plan.

I’ve tried to be faithful in my communication through my blog (, and I hope that you have been blessed in reading about the people and places and experiences I’ve encountered these last 2 years. Due to privacy issues, I haven’t gotten to share a lot of details about people on the blog, but please feel free to have a conversation with me, and I’ll be glad to tell you more about how God has touched lives here.

Some of you receiving this email live in NWA and will see me in a few weeks. Some live in NYC and we will be saying ‘good-bye for now’ soon. Some of you live all over the country and we are now connected electronically. No matter where you are or how often we get to see each other, I treasure our relationship and our bond in Christ.

I wish you much happiness, good health and God’s love for yourself and your loved ones. I will continue to be in touch through the next phases of God’s plans for me (and you fellow team members). Our journey is not over. This is a milestone in that walk. So I want to say:
Happy Anniversary to us ALL!!

Following Him Always,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7, 2009

Thursday evening. It's been a rainy week, off and on. So I've run errands when the weather is clear and spent a lot of time inside dealing with the process of leaving the city. It's much easier to move here than to move out, it seems.

I've met some interesting people by posting items for sale here in the apartment building and also on craigslist. It's been fun crossing paths and sharing bits of our stories. It's natural to ask where are you moving to, what do you do here, etc. It opens the door to share my trust in God and His plans for my future. Please pray for me not to miss any opportunity to share about Him.

I'm trying to touch base with many people before I leave. God has blessed me with many friends here in the city over the last 2 years. I've really been blessed. Lots of dates for coffee or a meal or exploring a common interest. It's hard to believe that I'll really be leaving.

Two people came by yesterday to buy some items. One guy bought some plastic storage drawers. We had to put them into 3 trashbags. He was going to be taking them on the subway (2 different trains) to Astoria Queens. One girl came by subway to buy my floor lamps. She ended up getting the 6' tall (skinny) pantry, a crockpot, and 3 sacks of misc stuff. She called a taxi to get it all home. It took us 30 minutes to fit it all into the taxi. These are just normal examples of the hassles of transporting stuff around the city. I'm not complaining about it. Just pointing out the differences of living in a city which depends more on public transportation than personal vehicles. I find it interesting.

A girl came by tonight to buy a small bookcase. She only lives about 10 blocks away, so just carried it down the street. That's a normal sight.

During the break in the weather today, I ran a box to the shipping place, stopped by the bank, picked up lunch at my new favorite Mediterranean/vegetarian neighborhood restaurant (I ate there for lunch yesterday, too), stopped by the street vendor for bananas, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. I will miss the street vendors with their fresh produce at low prices.

My senses seem to be on hyperdrive lately. I think it's because I'm trying to impress upon my memory all the sights, sounds and smells (well, most of the smells) of the city. People keep asking what, besides the people, I will miss the most when I leave. I've been thinking about it alot. There are many things that I will miss. But after thinking and talking with a friend about it, I think I will miss the most the Me that I am when living here. God has grown me so much personally, emotionally and spiritually over these last 2 years. There have been good times and difficult times. As long as I'm in His plan, I will accept 'all' times. My most fervent wish is that I am faithful to His call and bring honor to Him.

I had such a great time with Jenny at a coffeeshop this afternoon. We talked a lot about life and living in the city and God's plans and just stuff. She has lived here all her life and says that I make her look at the city through fresh eyes. She's a dedicated foodie and plans on going to cooking school soon. We share a love of exploring different cuisines. We will always have that in common and she inspires me to try new things and to learn to cook outside of my comfort zone. She is a cherished friend and we'll be sharing our love of cooking exploration for a long time. I'm very thankful to call her friend.

I succumbed to the temptation to have real coffee tonight. I try not to do caffeine, but I do love coffee. This coffee place was special and smelled so heavenly, I just had to have a real one! It was very nice and I enjoyed treating myself. And sipping coffee and chatting with Jenny was sweet! (even though it's midnight, I'm nowhere near ready for sleep! oh well)

I'm planning on getting a lot more work on the apartment done tomorrow. I have a lunch meeting and also someone is coming by to look at a few more items for sale. I'm trying to schedule more meetings with ministry people to finish up my work here. My days are busy, but not too crazy. These last weeks are sprinkled with different things to take care of, personal and work related. I have less than 2 weeks left. I know it will hit me harder when departure is closer. I'm very excited about my new assignment in NWA, so it's not going to be all sad... just very emotional - up and down. But, God created us with a wide arrangement of emotions and I'm going to celebrate them all.

I am so truly thankful for all the prayers and financial support and encouragement. I pray blessings on everyone of them. These days I'm experiencing a new level of joy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It's been a week since my last post, but nothing much has been going on except for spending time at home sorting, packing, planning, Bible study, reading, and babying my body which has decided to revolt against life in general.

Connecting with people has been less in person and more through phone and email this week. So, even though I have been restricted to home, I have been able to continue the people business of my work. Sometimes there is no substitute for the opportunity of sharing your heart, uninterrupted and totally thoughtful, in a letter. Other times, a physical hug is all the words you need. It's the same with God. He speaks to us in so many different ways. And we can communicate with Him through multiple options.

When the weather was super nice over those 2 glorious weekends, I was able to celebrate and thank Him for the beauty of springtime in nyc. When it's rainy and I'm mostly inside, I can have quiet times in prayer, reading the Word and studying. I've loved the Bible study about 12 Extraordinary Women. It's a reminder of how unique God has created each of us, how specific He has planned our lives, how perfectly He has equipped us for His purpose, how forgiving He is when we interfere with those plans, how deeply He loves us, how sovereign He is and how worthy He is of honor and praise and love. I love having those quiet times. Not just a short time each morning, but long periods of just 'being' with Him. What a gift.

I have been a little frustrated with the rainy weather for the fact that it complicates the process of taking boxes to the shipping place, and also, taking donations to the shelters. I did get to make a couple of trips to ship boxes between the rain showers yesterday. I haven't minded living in just one room, but there is only so much room for boxes before everything comes to a stand-still.

I posted some items for sale on Craigslist yesterday and got lots of calls. If it quits raining long enough, there is quite a bit of stuff ready to walk out the door. Of course, everything that was on the shelving units is now stacked all over the apartment, but that's progress!!

I'm thankful for all the material things that God allowed me to use these last 2 years. This was a glum little basement room when I walked into it. God brought me wonderful bargains on things to make life here comfortable. It has really been a sanctuary for me here in this crazy busy city. I pray over each item as it goes to its new owner. I want them to get as much use and enjoyment as I got. I hope it blesses their home.

They have shown my apartment to about 4 people lately. One girl really liked it, but the timing didn't work out. They are going to re-carpet and paint and put in a new 'all in one' kitchen unit as well as a 'real' apartment size refrigerator! That will really doll the place up! A lot of students live in this complex. It's so close to Julliard and just down the road from the schools at Columbia and others. It's a pretty quiet neighborhood and I've loved living in the area. God blessed me with a perfect place for what He wanted me to have. Nothing fancy or too comfortable. Basic and with the potential to put my personal mark on it. Definitely full of memories.

In case you haven't noticed, lately I'm waxing sentimental. I've kept a journal and I'm so thankful for all of the things that God has brought me through while serving here in NYC. Even though I will be separated physically from people here, I know that I will be with them in Heaven and I look forward to that reunion!!

Okay, more packing to do and some more emails to take care of.
Have a blessed day.