Archive for ‘New York City’

February 13, 2012

I’m sorry, John.

Yesterday morning on our way to church, a homeless man approached me on the subway.  With no regard for the game I was playing on my cell phone, he loudly greeted me, “Hi.”  I look up and say hello, noticing that this man is certainly not in his right mind.  I see Adam turn on “protective husband mode” immediately.

“My name is John.”

Hello, John.

John goes on to explain that he knows a lot about the Bible, that he lives on the train and goes to Coney Island so that he can stay alive.  John throws several expletives in and seems not only mentally unstable, but angry.  Then he says it,

“I’m sick of the way people are treating me.”

His words are like a punch in the gut.  I give John a dollar, tell him to please get something to eat.  And then Adam and I both say to John, “John, we’re sorry for the way people have treated you.”  John looks right at us, says thank you a couple of times, and goes on his way.

And then I watch him approach others.  I watch others blatantly ignore him.  I watch people give him looks of utter disdain and disgust.  I wonder how he deals with that and think it must make him feel less and less human.

But then I watch him sit down.  Adam tells me someone has just asked to pray for him.  So John sits down and this man prays for him and gives him a dollar.  Off John goes again.

At this point I’m crying, realizing how many people like John I’ve neglected.  And I pray that Jesus would give us eyes to see the Johns of this city, the ones who are sick of the way people are treating them.  I pray we would help where we can, bringing physical healing and also the healing words of an Almighty God and a merciful Savior.

I turn my Bible to the parable of the Good Samaritan and read the very words of Jesus.  Who was the man’s neighbor?  Not the priest, not the Levite, but the Samaritan–the one who showed mercy.

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37)

I’m sorry for the way people have treated you, John.  And I’m sorry for all the times that person has been me.

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April 20, 2011

Pray for MOVEMENT NYC

 Movement NYC is a new church launching on Easter Sunday morning in New York City.

You can see a short promo video at: http://vimeo.com/22152794

Or learn more about it at: www.movementnyc.org

Please pray for:
– All the details to come together for the launch
– Favor with the managers
– God’s hand of blessing and anointing to be upon it
– For the Holy Spirit to move, Jesus to be made famous, and God to be glorified.

April 3, 2011

My friend Kat.

For those of you who don’t know her already, please meet my friend Kat:

How do I know her, you ask?  Well, Kat and I met for the first time here in New York City, at the Manhattan Diner on the Upper West Side in the spring of 2009 to be exact.  She was in the city looking at apartments because she would be moving here that July for grad school.  But before that happened, she and I, along with a team of other guys and gals, would be traveling to Ethiopia.

To make a long story short[ish], Kat has become one of my dearest, closest friends.  Besides the fact that she is hilarious and a great home chef, Kat knows and understands and loves something very special to me: Ethiopia.  For as much as I knew I would return there (and did… and will again!), I’m inclined to say I felt even more strongly that Kat would be back there.  She loves and cares for the Ethiopian people and their beautiful country so deeply.  The desire of her heart is to serve them.

Well, God has opened the doors for Kat to return to our favorite place this summer… for the WHOLE summer!  I couldn’t be more thrilled for my friend.  I cannot wait to hear about every detail and all that God does while she is there.  Would you please join me in praying for Kat?

Read Kat’s blog post HERE to learn more about the trip and how best to be praying for her.  She’s also giving you and I the opportunity to partner with her in financially supporting some of the organizations she works with while there.

Kat, I am so, so happy [and, ahem, a little jealous] that you will be back in Ethiopia loving and serving those that are always on our minds and in our hearts.  I am praying for you and praising God for all He has done and will do through you!!!  You inspire me, lady.  And I know I’m not the only one.  Love you!

March 30, 2011

Are you ready, NYC?

Two things I’m absolutely, positively thrilled about and excited for:

I’ll be sharing more on these in the coming days… but for now, would you please pray with us for God to move powerfully in New York City?

January 24, 2011

The In-Between

Reverse culture shock.  Re-entry.  Whatever you want to call it, it happens.  I’m finding myself in this weird place between life here in New York and my two amazing weeks in Ethiopia.  It feels like life here was placed on pause, and on Tuesday night, January 11th, I pressed play and jumped back into it.  My life in Ethiopia feels so far removed from my life here.  I’m still fighting to reconcile the two, to find a place where they can converge and be meaningful.

I have seen and experienced so much.  I have rediscovered a place and a people that I love deeply and miss terribly.  My heart has been overwhelmed and overflowed, broken and overjoyed.  There are moments I well up with tears, sometimes of joy, sometimes of sadness.  There’s a loneliness I’m struck with, the idea that no one here can understand.  Missing my team, my family for the past two weeks.  Wishing I could transplant myself back in time and back to Ethiopia where life just makes more sense.  And yet it’s also a place where life makes absolutely no sense.

My heart aches for my friends who have no place to sleep tonight.  My heart aches for my friends who probably did not eat dinner, who have no shoes on their feet, who have no family to go home to.  And I log on to Facebook or Twitter and see post after post about things that do not matter.  I see complaints and greed and self pity and then I get angry at the world for not knowing any better.  Then I’m reminded that there was a time that I didn’t know any better.  And even worse, a time I knew better and disregarded it.

Living in ignorance seems ideal, doesn’t it?  “Ignorance is bliss,” we say.  But our ignorance does not erase the pain of the world.  Just because we pretend something does not exist, or even honestly don’t know that it does, doesn’t make it any less real.  For so many people it is their reality.  Homelessness is their reality.  Poverty is their reality.  Abuse is their reality.  Prostitution is their reality.  Being orphaned is their reality.  Illiteracy is their reality.  Disease is their reality.

What do I do with those realities?  That is the question I bring to God.  May He teach me and lead me and guide me.  May He deliver me from my selfish tendencies and my fleshly craving to live in ignorance.  May He continue to provide opportunities for me to be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world.  May He continue to change and soften my heart.

Jesus came and died for all those harsh realities that are so very wrong with this world.  May the love He gives and the hope He brings be that which drives me and that which I long to share.

“I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I’ve received I will sow.”

May 14, 2010

What's cookin', good lookin'?

Forgive me for the cheesy title to this blog post.  It’s early, and these things are still funny to me.  Okay, fine, you caught me… I always think cheesy things are funny, 7:30am and any other time of day.

I believe it’s been a while since I made you all hungry by writing about my recent adventures in the kitchen.  I’m not sure how many photos I have to truly taunt you with (you’re welcome!), but I do have some… Including some glamor shots of the LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES I made last Saturday.

I suppose I’ll start by telling you about those…

There’s this great brunch spot in the city called Sarabeth’s.  It came highly recommended and if you know me at all, you know I love a good pancake.  Breakfast/brunch foods in general bring me much joy.  I think this is the case for two reasons: 1. Breakfast foods are delicious (it’s that simple); and 2. As a kid, my parents used to make a big breakfast on the weekends. Sometimes it was Dad making french toast, other times Mom making monkey bread. Either way, I just remember the huge spread on the dining room table, complete with real Vermont maple syrup (for which there is NO SUBSTITUTE), and eating breakfast together as a family or with friends after a sleepover.  Brunch just brings me back to those happy memories and makes me feel like a kid again.  I often say I wish I could be five again.  A much simpler time, and I was also a little peanut (seriously, I was adorable… and I’ve got pictures to prove it.)

Proof!

Anyway, back to Sarabeth’s… so not only was their restaurant on the Upper West Side quaint and the outdoor seating lovely, but I got these pancakes… these delicious, sweet, creamy (and did I mention DELICIOUS?) pancakes: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  Now, while I anticipated them to be good, I have to admit, I was still a bit unsure.  I mean, does liquid gold (real maple syrup) go well with lemon ricotta pancakes?  Because, as a Vermonter, I can’t NOT use maple syrup… it’s an egregious sin.  Well, here’s the verdict on these pancakes:

  1. Delicious (because I think I forgot to mention that before… Oh, I said it twice already?)
  2. They taste like lemon poppy seed muffins turned pancakes and sans poppy seeds
  3. The texture is really light and creamy and fantastic
  4. They taste amazing WITH maple syrup or without (but as I mentioned, the maple syrup is a must for me)
  5. If I was a guy and Sarabeth was a real girl and not a restaurant, I would propose

Alright, that last one was awkward… but I dare you to try these pancakes and disagree.

After trying these amazing pancakes, of course my first thought was: How can I recreate these at home? So, I went on a little search for a recipe.  I found one on my favorite community-based recipe site, Tasty Kitchen, and decided I would start there.  I’ve also bookmarked several other recipes that vary, be it using more ricotta, less flour, etc.  I’ll be trying a new one either tonight or tomorrow morning and will continue to search the whole wide world until I find the recipe that creates the most Sarabeth-like lemon ricotta pancake.

Here’s a look at the pancakes I made (click here for the recipe):

Told  you it was a glamor shot…

These pancakes were, taste-wise, on the mark.  Super yummy.  In terms of texture, though, they were a bit fluffier than the Sarabeth’s version.  I’d like to get that creamy texture and think that the recipes that call for less flour and a bit more ricotta will definitely achieve that.  I’ll certainly keep you posted.  However, if you like a fluffier pancake, the recipe linked above is worth trying.  My roommate Anna said they were the best pancakes she’s ever had, so you can’t argue with that!

Next on the list are cookies I’ve made a few times before, but I think are probably the best cookie recipe I’ve found to date. Nothing too crazy: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.  I love cookies with oatmeal but raisins ruin everything.  It’s funny because I love a good Raisinet, I really do… but start throwing raisins in cakes and cookies and I start throwing a fit.  I’m sorry, I don’t know why, but it can’t be stopped.  Carrot cake? Love it. Carrot cake with raisins? Don’t you dare.

I’ve gone a long way to tell you that this is why I love Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies… they’ve got everything good going for them.  The oatmeal, chocolate chips, and don’t forget the pinch of cinnamon that gives ’em that little something extra… And this recipe I’ve been using is nearly perfect in my opinion.  When I first made it I thought the amount of oatmeal was a little absurd, but really, I just love everything about these delightful cookies.  And you can verify all of this information one of two ways: 1. Make them yourself; or 2. Ask the friends I’ve made them for.

Hopefully I’ll have some more delicious recipes for you to try out in the near future.  I really need to find some taste-testers to keep on hand.  Is that what getting married and having kids is for?  Sign me up!

April 19, 2010

love your city.

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? Whoops…

If I were to update you on all my goings-on, we’d be here for far too long.  I went to a friend’s photography show at SALT Gallery, celebrated Easter Sunday with a sunrise service in Central Park, went to a NEEDTOBREATHE concert, spent time with friends old and new, went to the Lausanne 12 Cities, 12 Conversations NYC gathering, reunited with some friends from my Venice trip in 2007 and, as usual, cooked and baked up a storm.

I really, really love spring in New York City.  Everything just starts to look alive again.  Everyone is outside, walking in the park or sitting at outside cafe tables.  The park looks absolutely beautiful.  I could wander around for hours on end with no destination.  That actually tends to happen quite a bit!

I could say it a million times but I really just love this city.  I know most of you remember 16-year-old Brittany who couldn’t wait to move to New York.  Sometimes I look back on that and it hits me how cool it is that I’m really here.  As much as I’ve always loved it, God has really given me a heart to see this city reached with His love.  For all the cool, trendy, exciting things happening in New York, it’s still a really dark and hurting city.  Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church here in NYC) said something interesting at the Lausanne event last week: everything, both great and dark, is magnified in a major city.  The good stuff is really, really good.  The bad is really, really bad.  I’d even say that things that appear “good” can have a dark side.  For instance, success and money drive so many people here.  In the world’s eyes that ambition and drive is good, but at the end of the day there are a lot of really successful and rich people who are totally hopeless and empty.

I feel like I always go back to Ethiopia when I think about that stuff.  I just think about the people there who, by our standards, had nothing and should have been hopeless and miserable.  But they weren’t. They were kind and joyful and selfless.  And then you have New York (and probably most major cities), where we’re filthy rich in comparison to most of the world. We have more than we could ever really need and we’re empty and selfish and discontent.

New York City is full of people who desire more and who aren’t content with where they are, what they’re doing and what they have.  I am so thankful for the hope that I have in Jesus, because without it, this city would probably chew me up and spit me out.  I’m thankful for the family I have in Christ and for the opportunity to reach this city with His love alongside them.  I love the tagline for Redeemer’s City to City website, and feel that it sums everything up pretty perfectly:

LOVE YOUR CITY TO LIFE.

“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
Jeremiah 29:7