Monday, February 27, 2012

Settling in...

I feel like I have so much to say so bear with me as I sort my scattered thoughts. So, since the last update a million and five things have happened. Very shortly after the post this girl named Candice from London stayed at our apartment and we got to spend some really sweet time together. I didn't know her before the day she came to stay for a week. I met her the night before at a show she played in a cozy lounge in SoHo. She was wonderful and talented. What was really great is that we got to talk about our lives with each other. And her story spoke to me. And me getting to talk deeply also was soothing to my soul. We stood third in line for an hour at a theatre on broadway for tickets to How to Succeed in Business, sipped lattes and ate brunch at a bistro, sat at Lincoln Center for fashion week and, of course, went and saw the show. It was great. And I met Nick Jonas...I'll get to that in a sec. To sum it up. My Jesus sent me her just to share life with someone. And it was good. So, Nick Jonas. I hung around after the show to see how he interacted with people to see if he, I don't know, was as genuine as he presents himself in other areas of his life. Everyone was yipping and squealing and pushing papers at him to sign and sticking cameras out for pictures. He would politely say thank you or you're welcome and smile for the camera. Well, the girls in front of me stepped out of the way once they got their autograph and I was exposed. I assumed he was expecting me to thrust my playbill in his face for an autograph, I didn't want an autograph, I'm not about them. He looked at me and kind of smiled so I stuck my hand out and said I just wanted to shake your hand and tell you you did a great job tonight. He looked stunned, fumbled out a, "thank you, thank you so much." And I returned the smile said you're welcome and turned to leave and he said, "you have a good night!" So I turned back around and responded with a "thanks, you too." I saw an unexpectedness and a thankfulness and humility in his eyes. That was really cool. He definitely lived up to the expectation I had of him as a believer. Hooray!  In other news, I've also been to the opera, the movies, a cool studio (where Beyonce shot "love on top"), had a few lunches, diners and other things, started a job, got lost on trains, went to a few shows and was an extra for a friends film for one of her classes at the New York Film Academy. So many cool "new yorkish" things, WITH PEOPLE! I think I really needed a desert time to realize how much of a blessing the road God has paved before really is. And it was such a short desert time. I am quite thankful for that as well. I'm sure they will come and go from time to time, I'm under no veil. After that quiet time I had prepared myself for a few months of that feeling, and I felt ready to battle it because I was fighting with the creator on my side. But His plan was different. AND THAT IS WELCOMED! I feel like I'm settling in nicely. I do have friends I can call up for lunch or coffee. Even dinner really! I don't feel lonely. I do still get bored sometimes though. But I'll take boredom over loneliness any day! I have made friends with some really cool people and am very excited to see how things unfold. I have an itch that something greater is in store. Like something is just around the corner that is great and big and wonderful and meaningful. I feel an itch to do something...bigger, more. And the anticipation is killing me but it is so good because I know that his timing is perfect and I'll wait. BUT OH GOSH! I can't wait. :) If you would, pray for me that I am present in my own life and paying attention to his presence in mine most importantly. I'll keep you posted. Onward!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Truth be told...

I'd be lying if I told you everything has been easy as pie, or gravy. But turns out it hasn't. The city is wonderful and a host of a great many things to do. This is the problem. Hardly any of those are things that I would want to do by myself. There are so many restaurants I want to try, shows I want to see. Here, I am painfully aware that I am new and I am far, far away from my community and family. From friends I can just call up and say, "hey, lets do lunch!" or "Lets go see Lion King on Broadway!" OR LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON. I have began to make friends and a few that I am SUPER excited to see where our friendship takes us in this city! But not quite a community and not quite close enough to just call up. I have no doubts that I will get there eventually, that I will settle in and find my niche because I know this is where he wants me. (Speaking of niches and nooks...I'm sitting at a coffee shop called Penny House Cafe and I think I found my homey neighborhood coffee...that is a great find for me in settling). So as I was speaking of my insecurities and loneliness to my besty Katie today, I felt a little lighter being able to externalize my internals. Ya know what I mean? I finished our convo and came in enjoyed my chai and bagel and relaxed. I started reading this book she loaned me called "Out of Solitude" by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It dropped some truf on me fa sho. He opens with scripture from Mark's Gospel, the story of Jesus going out to a lonely place to pray. And then he dives into the work that God does when we seek him, when we find those places of solitude to allow him to center us and focus us on whats really good and really right. He talks about how our lives are centered around actions but should be conversely centered around stillness and Christ and when they are our actions become an overflow of good rather than empty. It so makes sense and I have many stories to prove it in my own life. He talks about how in our business and action we start to believe that that is our worth and how when we believe that we have to live up to certain expectations. I can keep going on and on about the good things he called attention to but I wont. You'll just have to read it. The point of me telling you all of that is that having read that I have a renewed sense of my worth being here. Its not in my actions that I have enjoyment or worth but In Christ. I may be lonely but I am not alone and God does some crazy work when I allow myself to be undistracted for a time. I am ready to tackle this lonely season now because I can't wait to see what God does as I sit and listen. I can enjoy myself here, by myself, because my joy does not have to come from external motions and actions. That is great thing to be reminded of. I knew all these things before, but its easy to lose sight of truth when you surrounded by doubt...

I can have joy on a Friday night in the city as I sit alone. I can have joy as I sit alone in the subway on my way to central park by myself. Because truthfully, I'm not alone. I take a deep breath. Let it out. Smile. And continue this day renewed and encouraged by the greatness of what God offers. The peace. True peace. I am grateful. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as this world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27. "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off. Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:9-10 (sidenote on the Isaiah scripture, as I finished reading in O.O.S. I opened my bible randomly just to see what comes up. This is what I open to. And my page marker is here which is strange because I remember mostly putting it into my place that I left off in 2 Corinthians yesterday...I was affirmed, again, in His word that he is with me and he is sustaining. This time was good)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Little Exploring...




So today I went exploring. THE TRAIN WAS PACKED LIKE SARDINES! And super slow. There were many "whoops'" and "excuse me's" and "pardon me's" being thrown around. Most of them communicated by looks really. I left my apartment in Brooklyn intending on checking out the American Museum of Natural History (the one on night at the museum) but I got off the stop and the line was so looooooong. I decided to wait another day. So instead I got to spend extra time at central park before sundown/cold time. I surfaced on 76th and entered the park after a chap stopped me to talk about human trafficking. I called an audible and treked to Starbucks for a keep-me-warm hot chocolate.When I finally meandered back into the park slopes and lakes and people and rocks greeted me. It was a sight for sore eyes. I'm already missing green. But There is tons of it here in Central Park! Hooray for me! It was beautiful and wonderful and truly a breath of fresh air. My first stop in the park was this little peninsula where you can see across most of the lake with the building playing peek-a-boo over the tree tops. There were pretty little mallards with their emerald heads swimming across the glassy water. So lovely. Then...


Bow Bridge. I loved this bridge. It was so romantic. Like Jane Austen herself wrote it into existence! I really would have liked to sit here a while longer and imagine but there was just so much more to see. And it was a bit to chilly to just sit around. Just around the bend from here is Bethesda Fountain. I was on the steps for maybe 10 seconds when I hear these wonderful sounds. It was voices. It sounded like so many so I followed my wanting ears to the tunnel between the stairs. Five people were standing in a line (it turned out to be a family: two boys, two girls ranging from 12ish to 25ish and a dad). I wish I could put into words what it was like to hear them sing. The guy around 20ish was bewitching. I would rather listen to him sing than John Legend any day and thats saying a lot. It was like the notes drifted from his humble mouth and wrapped gently around your face to hold your attention. They were harmonizing hymns, giving them new life full of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness. And each of them possessed the humility and kindness in their words, their song and their voice. The middle girl came up to me and asked if I wanted a cd. They were $10. I only had $5 so I gave her the $5 anyway and said "I'm sorry I don't have enough cash but I please take it anyway." She gave me a cd and said don't worry about. Super cool. Cause now I can keep listening! I hated to leave the beauty but I felt a little creeperish staying as so many others came and went. I did listen to three songs after all.




The other side of the tunnel called my name. Immediately on the other side I saw a mega sized bubble blower with a girl dancing behind the bubbles getting her picture taken. She was character. Then it was rollerbladers doing tricks. Then almost getting run over by a skateboarder. Then a saxiphone player. Then a dog with a ball. She dropped it at my feet, sweet thing. I threw it for her. Then art booths. Then a walk down 7th to Times Square with lots of lights and people. Then the subway. As I walk down the steps to the platform I hear a soulful, raspy voice of a 40/50 year old man singing sexual healing. He really had a great voice. He then sang Proud Mary. He invited me to sing along. I did! It was fun :) He told me that he thought I looked happy and that he doesn't usually get to tell people that. We chit chatted and his kind words were refreshing. He dedicated a song to me that I didn't quite know but was familiar with, it was sweet and hilarious. Then he sang Ain't No Sunshine, which happens to be a favorite of mine. He was a kind soul. I caught my train back home and now I'm here. Exhausted. And ready for bed and its only 9.  And thats no good because I know if I go to bed I'll just wake up in a few hours bright eyed and bushy tailed. I guess pinterest and coffee will be my awakeness helpers. Wish me luck! Thanks for stoppin' by folks! Miss you TEXAS!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My First Day...

WARNING! THIS ISN'T SHORT::   So, here I am. Its official. I live in NYC. How 'bout that? I hate to admit it but I came here with the preconceived notion that the people were going to be...well...frankly...rude. Let me tell you of my experiences. So I get off the plane and head to the oh-so-fun baggage claim and decided it would be a grand idea for me to get a trolly since I had so much figgin' stuff. The machine wouldn't take my money. A car driver then informed that I "never need to buy one. There are always ones around ready for me to take." I told him how great of an idea it was and his car driver friend (who, by the way, beamed of kindness and gentleness) affirmed that it was true. So I start to head off to grab one and then the driver (the first one) said, "let me go get it for you, my plane hasn't landed yet." I was completely taken aback! My bags come and he hasn't returned so I looked around for him and didn't see him. The second driver comes up to me assures me he is coming back and then returns to his post. I walked up to him and admitted my notions of the people in NYC and that neither of them fit my notion. He said, "there are some of every kind. But you're nice, you'll find nice people and God will put nice people in your path." What a soul. I was warmed by his kind words. The other driver retuned with my cart! Hooray! And he loaded my bags for me too! So I head to my cab hopped in and was on my way. The cab was on $27! I was expecting $50. I called my new roomie so she could meet me outside and show me the way. A person of small stature and build comes out of the building towards me so I wave. It wasn't her. It was a guy. Whoops. So I apologized and explained to him I thought he was someone else. He said no biggie and asked if I was going somewhere as he pointed at my mountain of things that accompanied me. I said no, that I was actually moving in. "Cool," he said and extended his hand in introduction stating that he was "James from 214." Thats great because I'm in 114, we share a ceiling/floor. We small chatted and he headed off. 3rd nice person. Victoria come out with arms wide for a hug and a big smile that was a breath of fresh air. She helped me in and I met Liz who was also quite welcoming and warm with a hug. Victoria made me cupcakes in welcome! So great, because I was starving after having not eaten for 12 hours! She also made me a grilled cheese, clutch! Nice people 3 and 4. The other two roomies made it home. Also nice 5 & 6 accompanied by Britt, who is GREAT...nice #7. The next morning I went for a walk and coffee and a croissant at Sit and Wonder and the barista was sweet. Nice person 8. Went to the grocery and stood dumbfounded at the $7 miracle whip. As I was attempting to figure that out a firefighter came up and was looking for something near me. I felt like a dummy just standing there so I made a comment about the grocery prices. He gave me great tips on saving money on groceries. Nice #9. (Lets abbrev. to n#9). Next, I needed to get to Ikea for hangers and a towel and an alarm clock (SINCE MY PHONE ONLY HAS RECEPTION STICKING OUT THE WINDOW IN THE LIVING ROOM). I wrote my stops on my hand so I didn't have to pull out a map, I have no desire of looking like a tourist. A large gentleman with tattoos and bald head sits next me. I smiled as he sat and he returned the smile. He a few minutes later asked if it was permanent as he pointed at the scribble on my hand in curious manner, not condescending. I said, "no, its my stops. I moved here last night and didn't want to look silly with a map. But don't tell anyone!" He laughed and assured me he wouldn't. We chit-chatted about his tattoos and other things. Turns out he was in the marines and stationed in Corpus a while back. Who knew!? N#10. I get out at the terminal and couldn't find the stop for my bus that was supposed to be right of the terminal. I walked circles around the building. Finally found it and waited. (It was right out of the terminal, it was just marked shuttle and not b6whatever like it was supposed to be) While waiting a man with a news camera asked me if he could ask me a few questions. I said maybe. So he told me that so-and-so was making a state of the burough speech and he was tasked with finding out what people in the burough thought. I informed him I had only been here since last night so I wouldn't be that great of a person to ask. He asked me a couple of questions about that. He was nice. N#11. After waiting a while longer I read that the shuttle only runs after three. I looked at my watch it read two. So I go to starbucks get a coffee and sit on the steps of the building on the opposite side. I looked at my watch again. 2:35. Then I realize that my watch was still set to Texas time. Dummy. I missed the bus twice. I made it back and got on the 4 o'clock shuttle. I got my items after having to figure out the two story maze that ikea was. I checked out and headed to the door where two security guards greet you to check bags and receipts. Turns out the lady didn't charge me for everything. I froze thinking I was going to get pulled in for shoplifting. I swore to him that I wen't through the line and bought the bag so I ... Him and the other guard believed me and said no biggie. And make jokes about the cashier. He took me back to get me checked out properly. He had to write what happened in a little book and was making jokes with me during the process. So was the other guy. N#12, 13. I make it home finally! My plans for the evening were to meet a friend for dinner on Canal Street. We did. She and the dinner were both great!! We trek to Lincoln Center to see the beautiful buildings and a huge line of police cars parks along a row of nice cars. We make our way a little closer so we can see what was going on. We got bold and asked the tall gentleman security guard what was going on. He told us it was just a drill. Maybe he was telling the truth :) We chatted for a while and turns out he is from Gambia (West Africa). N#14. He called over his other security guard friend so he could introduce us. He was Mike from Brooklyn, an Italian who grew up there. We all chatted a while longer. Mboob (sec. guard 1) had to leave and Mike called over his friend Zhi who's parents were from just south of Brazil. We kept chatting for a while. We absolutely bantered about where we were from and accents and other things. N#15 and 16. Chantilly and I went back to her place to see her new puppy. It was 12 and I was exhausted so it was time to head home. Two hours later!!! I made it. So sleepy. Now I sit my second day here completely dumbfounded by the caliber of niceness I have encountered. I'm glad to say that those notions were shot down %100. Now, I'm sure that I will meet people that fit the rude criteria but that will no longer define the city as a whole. I am so excited about what God is going to do while I am here and what people he has in line for me to meet. But for now, I must go! I'm meeting Alison for dinner. YUM! Sorry this was just sooo long. Take care, Pray for me and the city?!