Friday, June 29, 2012

Coney Island Adventures

Our dear friends in Bay Ridge just spent a day in Coney Island with some volunteer teams so I thought it would be appropriate to share about the day we got to spend there during our last week in New York.

It was a beautiful day and I was very thankful for the nice cool wind that was blowing. Coney Island is basically a giant fair on the beach, but in my mind it has a bit more legitimacy than those creepy ones they set up in abandoned parking lots [given its more appealing location]!

As we were walking on the beach, I realized that this was the first time I'd ever been at the beach with Kameron. Hooray for making memories! I guess it was Haddon's first visit as well — me and my boys at the beach for the first time ever :)

A handful of families joined us on our adventure, so the picture below gives you a glimpse of some of the Brooklyn folks that have a dear place in our hearts. As I was going through my pictures to pick good ones to show, I died when I came across this one! Apparently, I snapped a shot at the exact moment sweet Sophia had an accidental splash in the ocean. I thought it would be fun to provide you with an up close view of the action :)

A famous part of Coney Island is the Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster built in 1927. My pregnant self was unable to ride, but Kam got to enjoy the adventure with his boys, Kevin and Jeremy.

Don't you just love my husband? I didn't think I had captured this until I zoomed in real close. Haddon's going to be a mess…

Aren't you so glad he got to ride the American Legend? Apparently 3 people have died as a result of this American Legend... I'm thankful I heard of these occurrences after my husband was safely by my side. 

Another iconic piece of Coney Island is Nathan's. My family [the Kleins, definitely not my husband!] has been enjoying Nathan's franks for a while [Kam hates hotdogs...]. They really are the best hot dogs I've ever eaten. Well at Coney Island, we got the joy of eating at the original restaurant. I had been dreaming about a corn dog at Coney Island ever since I heard it existed. The dream was finally fulfilled.

I promise I do care about our unborn child. I'm sure he appreciated the fries covered in nacho cheese and the hot dog surrounded by fried battered goodness…

We ended the day by going to the aquarium. I must have gotten tired of taking pictures because I have nothing to show from our time there. It was fun though. I'm glad we got to finish our day out there. It was even better being able to go for free [thanks Lesley!].

Thus concludes our Coney Island experience. Hope you enjoyed the recap!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Bagpipe, a Kilt, & a NYC Street Corner

I know I've been on a music kick here on the blog, so I might as well keep up the theme! This gem of a performance was welcoming us as we came out of the subway station at Union Square. I know nothing about bagpipes or the skills it takes to play one, but I'm pretty sure this guy was legit... Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Music Scene — Part 2: Hymn Sing

So I mentioned in a previous post, that my husband was 2 for 2 in his music discoveries during our time in New York. Here is number two...

We love hymns and we love Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken (Webb), so naturally we were delighted to find that this was going on while we were in town.

Kameron wanted us to pose for a picture underneath this banner, making the same facial expressions, but I wasn't ready for a photo op like that. Okay, so maybe that's not completely true. I may have suggested a pose of this nature, but only to make Kam nervous. I would never really make him go through with it :)

So how about that? A hymn sing in NYC with two of our favorite singer/songwriters! It was a refreshing night to soak in truths that have been sung for many years by many saints all over the world. It also added to the experience to be in the beautiful building where Central Presbyterian Church comes together to worship.

Just a little artsy pre-show shot for ya...

Above is a clip of some sweet husband and wife harmony action from the end of Thy Mercy My God.

So it was mainly the Sandra show with hubby as her backup [which was completely fine because she's amazing], but I do miss hearing Derek wail like he used to. Another clip for you...

Soon oh soon, when the trumpet sounds every knee shall bend, every heart will pound 
There will be a new world, where the servant is the King 
oppression will be over, and the slave set free 

Justice will roll down, oh justice will roll down 
From high upon those mountains with a mighty river sound 
It will roll down; It will roll down

This last video is one of my favorite Sandra songs so I definitely wanted to record it, but didn't have a good view of her. Therefore, I decided to give you a tour of the beautiful venue we were in. [lyrics listed below]

Not to be morbid, but I wouldn't mind this being sung at my funeral. [right J-Stow?]

Rock of Ages, when the day seems long 
From this labor and this heartache I have come 
The skies will wear out, but You remain the same 
Rock of Ages, I praise Your name. 

Rock of Ages, You have brought me near 
You have poured out Your life-blood, Your love, Your tears 
To make this stone heart come alive again 
Rock of Ages, forgive my sin 

Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages 
Bind your children til' your kingdom comes 
Rock of Ages, Your will be done 

Rock of Ages, when in want or rest 
My desperate need for such a Savior I confess 
Pull these idols out from my heart embrace 
Rock of Ages, I need Your grace 

Rock of Ages, broken, scorned for me 
Who am I that You would die to make me free? 
To give me glory, You took the death and pain 
Rock of Ages, my offering 

Rock of Ages, "It is done," You cried 
The curtain's torn and I see justice satisfied 
Now write Your mercy here on my heart and hands 
Rock of Ages, in faith I stand 

Rock of Ages, my great hope secure 
Your promise holds just like an anchor to my soul 
Bind your children with cords of love and grace 
Rock of Ages, we give You praise

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Cornerstone Setup

It's hard to believe that our time in Bay Ridge is done and I'm sitting in my living room in Auburn typing this post. As my husband so accurately put it, "We're excited to get home but not excited to leave." Well, we're home and it was sweet to be back with our Lakeview family, but I couldn't help but think and pray about our sweet Cornerstone friends gathering together 993 miles north [yes, I googled the distance]. I also had the added bonus of my husband heading out to New Orleans for the Southern Baptist Convention early this morning, so needless to say, I'm feeling really sorry for myself right now :)

Given my current sentiments, I thought today would be a good opportunity to give you a glimpse of what is happening every Sunday morning at the Gregory Hotel in Bay Ridge Brooklyn as the Cornerstone family gathers for worship. A lot of work goes into this set up, so don't neglect the opportunities to serve your church in what may seem like not very important ways. All manpower is a huge blessing to those that are doing this on a weekly basis.

So as I mentioned earlier, Cornerstone meets in a room they rent from a local hotel. The hotel is gracious to have chairs and tables already set up, but more often than not, they need to be rearranged :)
Due to people's schedules, music practice happens Sunday morning before the service.

Kevin is on the left. He and his wife, Kristi, came to Cornerstone in March through NAMB and are committed to serve for at least 2 years. He, like Nathan, is bi-vocational. David is on the right. He and his family were the first to join Nathan and Lesley as they began this new work in Bay Ridge.
David rocking out on the left. Nathan and Lesley [the Tubbs] on keyboard and percussion.
Jeremy doing it big in ProPresenter. He and his family are faithful members of the Cornerstone family.
There's always a guarantee of coffee and donuts for all to enjoy. Sophia [left] is Nathan and Lesley's oldest. Even [right] is David and Jill's oldest—they just had their second girl on the 1st.
Pre-service: main room, full view.
The other side of the room [which they block off with a partition] is transformed into the nursery. They have done a fabulous job of bringing this together to have a fun, safe place for the kids to go in order to free up their parents.
So there's a glimpse into what's going on Sunday mornings for the folks at Cornerstone. I pray that the Lord would continue to bring people their way to the point that they may need to do some rearranging!

And since I'm missing my husband, here's a little love shot of us at roomie Jessa's wedding a while back. Man he's good lookin... Happy Father's Day to that cutie!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Music Scene — Part 1: Brian Elmquist

If you don't already know this, my husband has incredible taste in music. He rescued me from a world of Ludacris and Dashboard Confessionals and led me to the light of Andrew Peterson, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Red Mountain Hymns and much, much more... I [and I'm sure many others] am thankful for this transition. Now don't get me wrong, I can still enjoy the occasional hip hop or emo jam, but thanks to Kameron [and a new heart, of course] it's in a much more redeemed way.

Continuing to brag on my husband [I'm sure he won't mind], because he loves good music so much he's really good about finding opportunities to hear good music wherever we are. He proved himself again during our time here in New York and was 2 for 2 with his music finds...

Our first adventure on the music scene here was to see a guy named Brian Elmquist. Kam stumbled upon this event while trying to find out if Zach Williams & The Bellow would be playing while we were here. They're based out of Brooklyn and pretty awesome. The video below is one of our favorites by them.

Back to Brian Elmquist— he's the other guy in the band singing [not Zach], so Kam thought it would still be a quality show [especially since Brian T. Murphy would be backing him up on the piano]. So one night, we headed to Rockwood Music Hall with Jeremy & Joanna Lugo [one of the many Cornerstone couples we've grown to love]. I must give a quick shout out to our pre-show dinner at the Meatball Shop. It was fabulous! Sorry, I was too hungry to take the time to document the meal...

Okay, back on track—Brian Elmquist. It was really fun. His sister came and sang with him and we were pleasantly surprised to find that Zach Williams and the other chick that makes up the rest of "The Bellow" [I tried to find her name, I promise!] were there and came up to sing a quick song with Brian and the rest of the crew.

Unfortunately I didn't think to film some of this musical goodness until the song was almost over! Here's a little taste of what we got the privilege of enjoying that night. The clip above is when he was joined by his fellow "Bellow" members :)

Earlier in the show, I noticed a guy in the crowd holding a trombone. I was hoping that meant that he would make an appearance— I was not disappointed!
When the trombone showed up, so did Kanye West [a.k.a. hippie chick on the left]. Since my absence from the hip hop scene, it wasn't a song I recognized but I definitely enjoyed their rendition of "All of the Lights."
Homeboy knew how to get down!

Just  another day in the Bay Ridge life. We sure will miss it here!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Subway — Stay Fresh

Oh the subway... a classic New York experience. Even though our time here is almost done, I finally think I'm getting the hang of it. I was completely intimidated by this mode of transportation initially, but I've come to appreciate our underground friend. I thought you might like an inside look...

True life: things shown in video below really happen. Often. And unfortunately these guys are subpar compared to what else is out there [still entertaining though]. Kam and I are still working on our act. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tourist Time

First of all, Kam and I have realized that we're really bad tourists. Bad in the sense that we have no idea what we want to do with our time here... We didn't come with a bucket list of landmarks. We don't know where to go or where we're going. We don't know what impresses us. So when we get home and you ask us if we got to see this or that or go here or there, please don't be disappointed when we have a blank look on our faces and we meekly answer no.

On another tourist note, I've noticed my hesitancy to be super camera happy because I don't want to be that tourist. Why hello fear of man! How silly is that... Part of me wishes I would have just fully embraced  the tourist life, fanny pack and all. I'm sure Kam and I really could have had fun with that. Oh well - another adventure for another day.

Anyway, enough of my blabbering. We have gotten to see and experience quite a bit during our time here. Take a tour with us...

Well hello Brooklyn Bridge! Even though we live in the Brooklyn area, this was not a daily view for us. This beauty is about a 45 minute subway ride from good ole Bay Ridge. We went there one evening with a group of Cornerstone friends to enjoy some pizza from Grimaldi's which ended riverside with some lovely ice cream from the Brooklyn Bridge Ice Cream Factory. We arrived just in time for sunset and the view did not disappoint.

This was the view across the water of Manhattan. I attempted to get rid of the obnoxious crane silhouette in Photoshop, but I found myself getting angry at all the shades of color in the sunset and resolved it wasn't worth it. Thank you Lord, for all the shades of color in the sunset :)
[Feel free to click any images to get a larger view]
Can you spot Lady Liberty?
Hooray for a camera with super zoom!
 I'm not sure what the whole quote is that was cut out here, but I thought it looked really neat against the skyline.  Again, ignore the crane...
The smaller bridge in the background is the Manhattan Bridge.
A lovely end to our evening.

On another occasion, I went with a Cornerstone friend out to eat in the city while the boys played some pool. She took me to a few iconic spots around town and I was that tourist so that I'd have photos for your viewing pleasure.

The Flatiron Building. Made me feel a bit claustrophobic just looking at it...
This was a neat little green space called Bryant Park. The New York Public Library is the white building at the far left end of the park. The building lit up in a greenly fashion is the Empire State Building.
Left: Chrysler Builder  |  Right: Empire State Building
Chrysler Building again, Grand Central Station in bottom left corner.
The interior of Grand Central Station was amazing. Such a beautiful place!

This was a place in Grand Central Station called the "Whispering Wall." We didn't test it out, but apparently you can stand in one corner of the arches, whisper something against the wall and the person standing at the opposite end of the arch can hear you. Crazy.  
Last but not least, we made a stop at Times Square. This is a mosaic as you come out of the subway. Lots of stops have ornate mosaics like this. I love them!
Another Newsies shout out!
Times Square at night is definitely the way to see it. I was there in the daytime during a trip in high school and it just wasn't the same. It was almost comical how big everything is. Definitely a lot of larger than life imagery to take in! I'll leave you with a short clip of what I saw. Enjoy!