Mike&Sarah

Tag Archive: New York City

Adoption Day

It finally arrived. The only thing that stood in our way was Hurricane Sandy, but once power was restored to downtown New York City, we were able to reschedule the appointment that the Hurricane wiped out.

Good thing, too. The judge who finalized our adoption is retiring at the end of the year and if we weren’t able to get this very important date squeezed into her schedule in this calendar year, then we’d have to start all of our paperwork all over again in 2013.

That stress never materialized despite my efforts at freaking out. We took the 1 train and transferred to the 2 to make our way to the Surrogate Court on Chambers Street where we met up with our lawyer in the beautiful lobby and rode the elevator to the fifth floor. There we waited in an majestic court room flanked by two fireplaces designed by Tiffany & Co. The room also had a gorgeous, wood-carved viewing gallery on the second floor.

After a short wait while the Judge’s staff assembled, we were ushered into her private chambers, which was larger than our entire apartment and had a marble fireplace. It was a grand room to be called a “private chamber.” Sarah’s sister Carrie appeared just as we entered, so she slipped in with us to photo document the auspicious occasion. Thank you Carrie!

In between questions and statements from the Judge, we raised our right hands and swore to be Phoebe’s parents. It was a great way to kick off Thanksgiving.

As of the day before Thanksgiving, on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, Phoebe Irene Evers became legally, officially, as recognized by the State of New York, forever and ever OURS. Amen!

With humility we gratefully thank her birthmother for her courage, endurance and bravery.  She chose life and we are forever grateful and forever changed by that decision.

With joy we thank our family, friends, and community for celebrating and supporting us through the swift introduction to parenthood.  Our closets and bookshelves are bursting with your practical, tangible help and our nursery is a reminder of your love.

With deep thanksgiving we praise our God who gives every perfect gift and does all things well. Thank you Jesus for building our family in this redemptive way!

Boxes of Love

Photo by Aemiessence Fine Arts. www.aemiessence.com

Photo by Aemiessence Fine Arts. www.aemiessence.com

The power of modern technology ends when the lights go out and batteries die, and Hurricane Sandy sent that message loud and clear to many people in New York City and the surrounding area.

Our NYC apartment was fine, we never lost power, and our neighborhood only suffered a few fallen trees branches.  

But as you know, the areas surrounding us suffered far more damage.  Our friend took pictures in the NYC neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Breezy Point and the Rockaways within days of the devastating storm highlighting some of the drastic effects.  I posted three of his pics here, and you can see more on his photo blog Aemiessence Fine Arts.

With so many people still hurting and trying to dig out, Mike and several executives and marketplace professionals involved with Cru spent hours at the Here’s Life Inner City warehouse in Queens cleaning up hurricane damage and packing Boxes of Love™.

The assembly line at the HLIC warehouse in Queens to pack Boxes of Love for needy families and Hurricane survivors

Each box feeds a family of 6 physically and spiritually.  In partnership with local churches, individuals and other ministries, the act of compassion by giving food to a family in need opens the door to telling people about Jesus. As Pastor Andrew Jagessar from The Worship Center of Queens in New York explains, “Being able to distribute something as needed as a Box of Love has helped position us as a church that is involved in the lives of our neighborhood.  It is invaluable.”

For the New York executives we minister to, being able to serve in a tangible way helps them connect with what’s really important in life: loving God and loving others.

In addition to helping to pack the Boxes, we gladly fed 3 families in need by giving a special gift towards Boxes of Love™ for Hurricane Sandy survivors.  You can, too, at www.HLICNYC.org.

 

Photo by Aemiessence Fine Arts. www.aemiessence.com

Need New Budget

“We need a new budget,” Mike said as he reviewed our most recent receipts.  We returned from our neighborhood exploration walk, having stopped for groceries to get us through the next few days and the impending snow storm.

We stopped at one small bodega for milk, a can of soup, hot chocolate and mayo.  That was about $7.00.  But the stop at the next store, for a few pieces of fruit, one green pepper, granola bars, rice and sausage cost us a whooping $50.89.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I just double-checked our receipt.

That means we spent nearly $60.00 on three bags of groceries.  And those bags weren’t full.  Yikes.  Mike is right.  We need a new budget!

Miracles. Yes.

It’s official.  We are living in a miracle!  All I can say is “I’m humbled.”  God sees us.  I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but when you live in the middle of choreography like this, it is hard to NOT stand in humbled awe before the living God!

For those with little time:  We are moving to Brooklyn in January!

For those with a little more time:  Let the story begin.

On Friday (10 December 2010) Mike and I both returned emails which we received on Thursday while we were out of internet range (that still happens, you know.  People take breaks from the internet.  On purpose.).

The email Mike received was from “R” asking if we had tenants for our Orlando townhome yet. R and “A” are getting married in January and had yet to find a place that they thought was the right fit for them.  The email I received was from a good friend in Texas who had just returned from a missions trip in Rwanda.  While there, he had met a gal from NYC whom he thought I’d really enjoy.  He suggested I email “C”.  So I did.  C and I emailed back and forth on Friday and Saturday, and Mike set up a showing of our townhouse with R&A for Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning C emailed me asking if we wanted to sublet her Brooklyn apartment for six months. While we emailed on Friday and Saturday, she was interviewing for a temporary position with a fair-trade clothing company in Central America.  To accept the job, she needed to find someone to take over her apartment lease starting in January.  She felt like God told her to offer us the right-of-first-refusal.  But she’d need a response by Friday so she knew if she could accept the job.  Giddy with the possibilities (and the affordability of the sublet, even though we aren’t yet at full support!), I mentioned the idea to Mike on the way to church.

We were both warm to the Brooklyn sublet because two weeks prior one of our new supporters (who joined our team in March) felt led by God to triple her support, bringing us just shy of 50%.  Without that boost, we wouldn’t be financially able to afford this fully furnished opportunity. Pieces were falling into place…

Tuesday morning R&A called to say they wanted the townhome.  We have renters! Wednesday R came over to sign the lease and drop off a deposit check.  We called C, and talked with our Leadership Development supervisors, getting approval for an unusual arrangement.  We were approved to move to NYC and join our team part-time in January. CCC normally requires you to be at full support before reporting to your ministry assignment.

Our two hurdles for accepting C’s Brooklyn offer were needing renters for our Orlando townhome and needing approval for the move.  And both hurdles were cleared!  We’ve been praying for renters since January 2010, and have had several showings, but God had the right people tucked away for just the right time.  Apparently they had been looking for a home for a while, and the week prior A felt discouraged about finding the “right” home.  And then they saw our place!   I was praying for a newly married couple to take the home.  I think it’s a great place to start life together.  Hooray!

C couldn’t accept her new job without subletters.  And here we are!  Imagine the choreography in the heavenlies as God arranged and rearranged events so that both of these people would connect with us at the same time, just after we got a big boost in our support from a generous financial partner, and all these pieces fell into place at just the right time!

So now Mike and I are packing up our lives.  We’re storing our items in our garage for six weeks and will return to Orlando in February to pack up a Uhaul and drop our things in storage.  It’s just too quick to get everything completely out in a week.  Pray for us… this is our first move together and we don’t have a lot of time!

I’m truly humbled and overwhelmed by God’s goodness and generosity. He sees me!  Thank you Jesus.  Only you could work all this out for ALL OF OUR good!

Fireworks

Mike wanted to go.  But I didn’t.  Nothing within me thought it would be a “fun” memory.  Turns out, I was wrong.

M&S, just before the Fireworks on the Hudson River. 2010.

But first, I was concerned.  Maybe I have a  genetic predisposition towards a phobia of crowds and traffic.  Or maybe I inherited that personality quirk from my dad.  Regardless of the source, that phobia of crowds and traffic is powerful.  It’s not a traditional phobia, as in, a paralyzing fear, but rather a sense of angst, and frustration:  my goals are blocked and I feel powerless to maneuver myself through a mob of pedestrians or a traffic jam.

But Mike wanted to go see the Macy’s Fireworks.  And not from our rooftop.  No, he wanted to go to the Hudson River.  And he wanted to go early so we could stake out our spot.

Oh, I think I forgot to mention how much I don’t enjoy being hot.  And we just started a heat wave here in New York City.  It was at least 10 degrees hotter in NYC today than it was in Orlando.  What is happening in this crazy world?

So, it’s hot.  And it’s crowded.   And we’re not exactly sure where we ought to go.  We rode the subway, then walked a long time.  We finally made it to 47th Street and 12th Avenue.  The avenue was closed to cars and trucks so the people spread out blankets and chairs.  Some people had picnics, many were hiding under umbrellas to protect themselves from the hot sun (even at 6pm it was hot!).  We had our beach towels, a bottle of water each, and a few hard pretzel sticks.

I grew restless.  No books.  No magazines.  Hot, strong sun.  No sunglasses (major oversight!).  The concrete road we were sitting on was so hot I had to fold over my towel several times for a little more insulation.  Eventually (ok, maybe 20 minutes later) I was so restless I left in search of better seats or a deck of cards.  Which ever I discovered first.

Though our fireworks adventure started out on the “not-so-great-for-Sarah” side, Mike was delighted.  And my attitude turned around once we started playing card games.  (Mike won most of them and I was a good sport, not a sore loser.)  When the crowds rushed the barricades for good viewing position, we were ready to dash forward and won coveted spots along the metal railings.  To have a better view than we had, you would’ve had to buy a ticket for the INTREPID, the aircraft carrier turned museum docked in front of us.

It was a spectacular view and a spectacular evening.  Wanna see a bit of the show?  I shot a bit of the finale with my point and shoot camera.  Enjoy.  It was wonderful!

Day 3

Summer in the City Day #3:

So, today started early for me.  I went to Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series in Central Park because Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones gave a free concert.  The GMA website advises people to get to Central Park when it opens at 6am, but I wasn’t worried about being first in line.  I figured out the trains, navigated Central Park and found the concert location by following the music.  The performers were running sound checks and filming promo shots for the morning show when I arrived.  Forty-five minutes later George Stephanopoulos introduced the live TV performance.  Each woman performed a song for the program, and then played two more songs each for a web concert.

It was a smooth morning, even after I got turned around in Central Park on my out.  I still made it to my morning meetings on time!

After our training, development and planning meetings, our team headed downtown to the East Village to enjoy dinner at Khyber Pass, an Afghan restaurant.  (I tried the quorma with eggplant and lamb.)  We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (1.13 miles long), then ate at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (wow) before taking the water taxi to the South Street Seaport.  By the time we got home to Mid Town at 10.45pm, I was wiped out.

Tomorrow is a work day for us.  Our interns arrive tomorrow, and the students arrive on Tuesday, but we’ll get to take Monday off.

Today was long and tiring.  But a good day.

Downsizing

Garage sale.  DONE.

Donations to charity.  DONE.

Sell Mike’s car.  DONE.

Yes, you read that right.  We just sold Mike’s car to his brother and sister in law, and his nephews in Wisconsin can’t wait for the car to get home!  Selling that car was just another step in our efforts to downsize before we leave for NYC, but I felt sad for Mike as his car pulled out of the driveway and we waved good bye to his brother, for that car was his dream car.  He was so excited about his sporty little grey two-door Mustang.  We decided to keep my car for a few more months since it’s a 4-door sedan with more trunk space, and therefore more practical for hauling our belongings up and down the east coast over the next few months.

Sniff.  Sometimes you’d rather be sporty than practical.

Chaos

One of my girlfriends is on her way over and I feel some inner tension, though it has nothing to do with her.  She’s coming over to help me sort and pack up the remaining items after our garage sale this weekend.

But I feel a bit exposed.  The house is a wreck.  Mike and I tore it apart looking for more items to purge for the sale.  Now my friend is coming over to help put this “humpty-dumpty back together again” (and I need the help!), but I don’t want her to see  the mess.

It’s one thing to talk about other people’s clutter and chaos, but somehow, when it’s MINE, well, that’s when it feels exposing, humbling, vulnerable.  Ironic, isn’t it?  She’s fully aware of the chaos.  I think she even enjoys making order out of chaos.  She’s choosing to spend her free time with me, in my mess and chaos, to help relieve me of the tension and stress I feel when I think about my house.  It’s at the point where I feel a little stuck.  Her fresh eyes, perspective, and enthusiasm will be helpful.

Time for a deep breath.  Time to let in my friend.  Time to release the chaos.