Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sweet Obedience — from death to life!

Last week we got the privilege of witnessing Cornerstone's first baptism. It was a beautiful thing to see Jill Walters publicly proclaim her union with Christ. To God be the glory!

That's Nathan in there with them, instructing Jill's husband on the logistics of everything.
This is sweet Even, the Walters' little girl. I pray one day she would follow in her mama's footsteps by placing her faith in Christ and obeying His command to identify with Him in baptism.
We're so thankful for Jill and C. David and the love that they have for Christ and one another.
Though we do not perform paedobaptism, an infant was kind of baptized this day... Jill is due June 3 :)

"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." —Romans 6:3-4

This was definitely a time of celebration with the body at Cornerstone and it also served as a sweet reminder of my baptism as well. I was also blessed to be baptized by my husband in August of 2010 at Lakeview. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I'm so glad that our family was here to rejoice with us and that Katie had her camera ready :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

28 weeks

Today we are praising the Lord for keeping our sweet Haddon for 28 weeks. Please pray that he would stay in there full term and continue to be a healthy boy! We have been feeling lots of little movements lately and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face. We are so thankful for this precious gift...

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Bay Ridge Life

The view down 3rd avenue in Bay Ridge.
So you're probably wondering what the KamPughs are up to during our 6 weeks in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. As I mentioned in my second post, we get the pleasure of serving Cornerstone Church at Bay Ridge. It has already been such a sweet time [at the 3 week mark already!] and we're excited to see how the Lord continues to use us for the remainder of our stay in this city. Here's a glimpse of what's going on in the life of Cornerstone church...

The Saturday after we arrived, I was blessed to have the opportunity to immediately dive into the community here and meet a handful of the ladies of the church at their first bi-monthly fellowship of the summer. This morning was just an initial time of togetherness, but since then we've been reading through Francis Chan's Crazy Love. It's been encouraging to become fast friends with these women and get a glimpse of the community they have.

Other things on our weekly schedule include staff meetings on Monday evenings to discuss the upcoming week's responsibilities. We also attend small groups on Tuesday and Thursday nights [there are 2 different groups that meet, we just get the honor of gathering with both of them!]. During these times, we usually share a meal together, fill everyone in about our weeks, and pray for one another. On Wednesday nights, we have dinner with the Curtis family [the folks who are graciously renting out their basement to us!]. Paul Curtis is a pastor who planted a church here in Bay Ridge about 14 years ago. We've been able to have great conversations with him and his family about the work the Lord is doing here. There is much wisdom to be gleaned from those the Lord has put around us during this season. On Sundays, Cornerstone comes together for worship at a local hotel. Kameron and I are able to be on the crew that helps set things up for that to take place. I've also had opportunities to serve and teach in the nursery every other Sunday. There are 5 usual nusery-goers, all 3 years and under! It's been sweet to be able to love on these children.

Speaking of children, another way we've been able to serve the body here at Cornerstone is by watching over little ones so that parents can get some much needed away time. It's been fun to be able to give them that simple gift and it's definitely been good preparation for Kam and I :) Did I mention that he's a pro? All the kiddos love him...

These are the Tubbs children. Sweet Sophia is 2 and Caleb just turned 7 months. I may have teared up a bit when I took the picture on the right. Lord willing, that will be us and our little boy one day soon!
Another outlet of service for us interns has been at a neighborhood park. Cornerstone has become rather involved in one of the park conservancies around here, which has given them a great presence in the community and continues to open doors for loving on the people of Bay Ridge. We were recently involved in an event called It's My Park Day. A handful of groups got together [including the fabulous folks of Cornerstone] to do some volunteer park maintenance from 10:00-2:00 on Saturday the 19th. Our task was to clear an overgrown hill area. I discovered another talent of my husband's that day: weed-eating.

Tomorrow we have a team coming in to volunteer with Cornerstone for the day. I think we'll be putting up flyers in local businesses and possibly picking up trash around the city. This will actually be the only volunteer team we'll be able to work with while we're here. The bulk of them are coming after we head out, so pray that we'll redeem the time with this group!

That's just a little snapshot of our life here. As always, there's more to come. Thanks for your interest and support. Kam and I are so blessed to share this season of our lives with you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2 Years of Marital Goodness

May 22, 2010: Day One! So technically we weren't Mr. & Mrs. just yet, but I just liked this smooching one :)
May 2011: Year One! Anniversary weekend in Birmingham, before heading to dinner at Bottega.
May 22, 2012: Year Two! This was last night before we navigated the subway system by ourselves for the first time on the way to our surprise dinner destination. Good thing we gave ourselves plenty of time to get there :)
I finally guessed the surprise destination when I caught a
glimpse of this plastered on the side of a building one block
from the restaurant!
So how fortunate were we to be spending our second anniversary in New York? My sweet husband took the initiative in planning our evening and I must say, he did an amazing job. I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I'm a carnivore. Don't you dare take my meat away from me. Now that we're one, Kam knows this about his wife. So he goes for the kill by taking me to a famous steakhouse in Brooklyn— Peter Luger Steakhouse. [I think my mouth watered by merely typing the name...] If sweet Haddon didn't love meat prior to this experience, then he definitely does after his mama devoured the best steak she's ever tasted...

This is from their website, but it gives you a better idea of the
steak's structure. My before picture below doesn't do it justice.
So the way it works at this place is you order "Steak for Two"— a.k.a. a 42 ounce USDA Prime Beef, family selected, dry aged in their own aging box Porterhouse. This [medium rare], as well as their highly rated German fried potatoes and creamed spinach [I know, right? But everyone recommended the spinach] served as our meal. Oh did I mention the bacon appetizer? That's right. Bacon. One fat $4 slice of bacon as an appetizer. If we tallied points in the KamPugh family, my husband's definitely went off the charts with that one...

Pre-dinner. They, of course, had their own special steak sauce. That they wouldn't let you put in your to-go box...
Our waiter was a wonderful little Austrian man named Alouicious. Like "aloe" + the "icious" in delicious.
Don't worry, we didn't have two plates of this monster, I just gave you a couple of angles. They actually served some to us prior to this picture, so this isn't a legitimate "before" but it will do. In case you're hungry, you can click on the images and they'll get larger :) If available, I would buy a bottle [or a bucket] of the steak juice that comes on your plate... that, with a tiny bit of their steak sauce was crucial for the best bite ever.

After we recovered from this meal of a lifetime, we headed to Carvel to finish the evening with dessert. I put Haddon in a coma with this beauty— a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie Sundae Dasher... No big deal. Just layers of chocolate soft serve, mint soft serve, crushed thin mints, and hot fudge topped with a nice helping of whipped cream. Have you noticed yet that this girl loves food? My husband sure has :)

Here concludes our anniversary eating festivities. I know there's so much more to an anniversary than a dinner date, but I just wanted to show you one of the many ways Joseph Kameron Pugh is so great. What a blessing to be his wife for as long as we both shall live, or until our King returns!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Never fear, Brooklyn is here!

So the events of New York are piling up that we need to share with you, so I might as well start somewhere! I'll attempt a chronological update for you...

First, a little context for you... Part of Kam's seminary internship program with Lakeview includes spending time during the first summer with NAMB church planters in New York. We were blessed to be placed with the Tubbs family of Cornerstone Church at Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. Nathan Tubbs is actually a graduate from the same program Kam is going through, which makes it even sweeter to be paired with them. He and his wife, Lesley, moved from Auburn to Brooklyn after the program with the desire to plant a church in the area. They now have two children— Sophia (2) & Caleb (6ish? months).

So this is why we're in Brooklyn for 6 weeks. 

I'll begin by telling you a bit about our eventful journey here. We flew out on Friday, May 4th from Atlanta. We were thankful to get to the airport earlier than we expected, which ended up being even more of a blessing than we thought after our bag checking fiasco...

Packing for 6 weeks can be a bit of a challenge and staying up until 3:00am the night before doing it probably doesn't ease the pressure very much, but I was SO proud to have gotten everything into my one big suitcase. Well, that pride was quickly crushed when the lady checking our bags told me there was a weight limit and home girl's bag [that would be mine] was 25 pounds over that limit. Yes, my bag weighed 75 pounds. Yes, the size of an average 11 year old. We had two options— #1: Pay $125 dollars to be able to check my suitcase the size of a 5th grader or #2: check a second bag for $35 dollars [we had already paid $25 each for our first checked bags]. I'll let the logic of these numbers sink in. If they make sense to you, please let me know. We went with door #2.

This picture was definitely not taken in the moment,
but at a later date for posterity sake.
So where did you get a second bag to check, Olivia? Why that's a wonderful question, friend. Kam and I scurried around the Atlanta airport looking for a bag and I got this beauty for around $25 [it was even on sale]. Now if you know me, I'm not a zebra stripes and hot pink kind of gal [it's okay if you are]. Let's just say this fancy thing will be up for grabs when we return and I will not judge you if you want it.

Then we proceeded to open my suitcase in the middle of the airport in order to expel 25 lbs. of luggage from there and into my sassy new bag and both of our carry-ons. I'll save you the suspense, we were successful. At the second weigh-in, I was at 49 lbs. 6 oz. Thanks for the weight loss, kid. The Lord is so kind.  

Whew. Finally, our bags were checked and the KamPughs were headed to security. Spoiler alert: They weren't home free just yet. [Not sure why I just switched to third person. Just shaking it up a bit...]

Don't worry, we weren't patted down or violated
in any way—but this interesting little hand screen
thing did happen.
When my sweet husband walks through the metal detector, he is kindly notified that he has been chosen for a random TSA screening. His barefoot and pregnant [literally] wife walks through immediately behind him in the same line and is also notified that she has been chosen for a random TSA screening. Good times continue to roll for the KamPughs.

Isn't it grace that we can laugh at these things? Okay, so maybe we weren't laughing at the luggage debacle, but our security experience did get the chuckles going. All things for good, right? Let's be real, it could always be worse. And if you're concerned about the extra money we had to spend on our luggage, no worries—I had a sweet friend slip me $200 that morning. I say it again: the Lord is SO kind.

That concludes our airport festivities. We had a successful flight to Raleigh, NC where my husband had a very gospel-centered conversation with the Georgia Tech student sitting next to him, Lukas. He wasn't a believer, but was very engaged in the conversation. Pray the Lord would open his eyes so that he would see his sin and find salvation in Christ alone.

Riding in the cab with my cute husband. I'm so
glad I get to go places with him.
From Raleigh, we flew into good ole LaGuardia airport. Due to our time of arrival, it was recommended that we get a cab to our home away from home in Brooklyn as opposed to folks having to fight traffic to come get us and fight traffic on the way back. So we immediately embraced the big city culture and hopped into a cab. Kameron proceeded to engage our sweet cab driver, Taj Muhammad, [who happened to be a Muslim] in conversation. A few minutes into their conversation [after learning who we were and why we were here] Taj asks Kam, "So who is God?" How about that for a gospel, opportunity? Why is it so hard for me to trust that the Lord will provided these for us... Kameron proceeded to share with him and Taj had lots of questions, definitely coming from his Islamic upbringing. Please pray that Taj would truly see who Jesus was, and is, and is to come. Pray that the Lord would make him restless until he rests in Him—the one true God. 

Our first, somewhat foggy, glimpse of the NYC skyline from our cab window. 
Taj got us safely to our Bay Ridge destination around 7:45 [Eastern time, of course] where we were greeted by Nathan at the home we would be staying in during our time here. We are currently living in the basement of the Curtis family. Paul Curtis is a pastor of a local church here, and they rent out their basement to international students, as well as the occasional intern [like us!]. There are two bedrooms and one bathroom [Rachel, Nathan's sister is in the other bedroom until June. She has been interning at Cornerstone since January]. The basement also houses a pool table, foosball table, and large TV for video gaming. [The Curtis' have 2 boys, Jae (14) and Daniel (10), that come down and hang out here since it also functions as a playroom for them]. There is also a kitchen table for us, along with a full size fridge, microwave and toaster oven. We're very thankful for the opportunity to get to know the Curtis family and enjoy this cozy little abode!

A peek at the Pugh room—fully equipped with a desk, futon, closet and dresser. 

In closing, [don't worry, I still have MUCH more New York episodes for you, but I don't want to get too long winded on my posts] I'd like to give you a little insight on this post's title. I'm not sure how many Newsies fans we have out there, but it is one of Kameron's favorites, and a lot of quotes and songs have been coming out during our time here [Brooklyn plays a big part in this musical]. We actually just found out that they've made it into a Broadway show that is running during our time here. Too bad tickets are outrageous... It's okay, I get enough Newsie reenactments from my entertainer-husband. We don't need no stinkin' Broadway show...

So I thought I'd leave a little clip for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy a glimpse into our world of entertainment :) [The link will take you to an exact spot in this excerpt that I wanted you to see, feel free to watch the clip in full!]
P.S. It blew my mind that the character's name is Spot Conlon, not Spot Collins...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And so it begins...

Blog created. Whew.

This was my fear — a blinking cursor in a blank white field, waiting for me to permanently post my thoughts for anyone and everyone to see. I think I'm psyching myself out... Must. Move. Forward.

My sisters (in law) have really great blogs [yes, Lynn and Katie, I'm calling you out], so naturally when I became a Pugh, Kam would ask when I was going to start a blog. My response would rotate between- When we have kids, I guess. [or] When we have something to write about. Well, Pugh #1 is on his way [a.k.a. Joshua Haddon, we'll call him Haddon - it sounds like it's spelled, not to be confused with Hayden :) ]. Therefore, a blog was looming in our future. I know I'm being really dramatic about this, I really am excited about it. It's just the initial jump that makes me nervous...

Then one day a few weeks ago, I was having lunch with a sweet friend [shout out Mary G.] who suggested that I start a blog while Kam and I are in New York for 6 weeks. For once, starting this thing sounded like a legitimate possibility. What a perfect opportunity, to have something to keep people informed about and easing me into the blog world pre-baby as opposed to trying to start a blog with a newborn. [Not real sure why I thought blogging would come so naturally then!] Oh my, looks like I'm going to be a blogger with lots of asides.

Back to the birth of our blog... well, we're in New York—been here 12 days already. After a few more blog requests from loved ones, I knew it was now or never. So there you have it, welcome to our world.

Now I know a lot of you are here, wanting to hear about New York. I'll get there. I promise. Just not in this post... I couldn't just start without a beginning. Some sort of preface or stellar intro to the blog placed here on this earth to represent the KamPughs. [I'll probably use this phrase a lot, since there are a handful of Pughs  out there and I want to make sure you're clear on which ones are being referenced.] Well, this is us...

This was actually us almost a year ago and this was Haddon on March 13th, but you get the drift. Kameron and I will celebrate our 2 year anniversary a week from today (May 22) and Lord willing, the Had-Man will be here on August 19th (give or take a few days...) I love our little family and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us for however long He sees fit to keep us here.

Speaking of the Lord, I'll close with a few thoughts on the title of our blog. Yes, I went the super spiritual route — even more intimidating! This blog is not going to be a series of heavy theological discussions imparted to you from the KamPugh family. I'm sure they will occur, but that's not necessarily what I had in mind for our little blogspot. So why the Jesus title? you may ask... Great question, friend! Jesus has completely transformed our lives and made us the family we are today. By His grace, He will continue to shape us and guide us, perfecting us until the day He returns to set up His kingdom in the new heavens and new earth. This truth now affects every aspect of our lives. Our mission here on earth is to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light [1 Peter 2:9]. This is a weighty mission [and it is one forever etched in my memory because I had a little trouble repeating it in our wedding vows...] but it's what Kam and I long to do. Pray that this will be sweet Haddon's mission as well.

So may we proclaim Him, Jesus — in all things, because the gospel is transforming all things. That's why I'm okay with filling this blog with who knows what, because we as believers can proclaim Him in all we do. May it also be a reminder to my wandering heart and may it also be our constant prayer. For this we toil... Please join us.

"Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me." —Colossians 1:28-29