Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jesus is Returning...Someday (Jelly Telly Post)

This is my latest blog post for :

What were your first thoughts when you heard that there was a 5.8 earthquake two days ago, centered in Virginia and felt along the entire Eastern Seaboard? For most of us an earthquake centered somewhere like California wouldn’t cause us to think anything “strange” was occurring. But minutes following the earthquake, many took to Facebook and Twitter to make comments about this significant event, and more than just a few made mention of Matthew 24:7 “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

Of course this isn’t the only Doomsday talk that is circling the media. Earlier this year, Harold Camping announced that the Rapture would take place on a certain day at an exact hour–which obviously didn’t occur. He has since tweaked his ‘prophecy‘ and has come up with a new date! Then there is the famed Mayan Calendar showing that the world will end on December 21, 2012. Hollywood has even gotten on this bandwagon! While most adults can hear these predictions and usually put little credence in them, how does the Doomsday talk affect our kids?

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, who was interviewed by ABC News about the affects of Doomsday predictions on kids, was quoted as saying “It depends on how your children absorb media,” If they’re plunked down in front of the TV hearing ‘the end of the world’ a bunch of times and then seeing photos of the Missouri tornadoes, it may come together in their minds as something real and scary. Kids of preschool age have a hard time determining reality from non-reality and their imaginations are on fire.”

As a Christ follower who looks forward to the day when I can see my Savior face to face, I understand the excitement that many of us feel when we think prophetic Scripture is being played out. That being said, I don’t think we need to dwell on WHEN Jesus will return, because He made it clear that no one knows the exact hour, except God the Father. As parents, a good way to prevent getting caught up in the ‘end of the world’ frenzy and causing undue anxiety in our families, is to simply remember that we are called to stay ready for that glorious day when Jesus does return! But what does it mean to “stay ready”? And how do we instill that consistent righteous behavior in our kids?

Jesus answers this question by using an illustration from everyday life. Suppose a master is going away for a while. He entrusts responsibility for managing his household to one of his servants. A foolish servant would use the master’s absence as an opportunity to abuse the other servants while indulging his base appetites with too much food and drink, all on the master’s ticket. When the master returns unexpectedly, the foolish servant will be punished for his abusive and wasteful behavior.

In contrast to the foolish servant, Jesus explains: Luke 12:42-43 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.” The wise servant was ready for his master’s return, not because he spent his efforts trying to project the time of that return, but because he did well what the master had given him to do.

We’ll be ready for Jesus to come back if we bear witness to him in word and in deed, generously sharing the good news of the kingdom, the blessings God has entrusted to us, and even how the Lord is working in our own lives. I will be fully ready for the return of my Master when I am intentionally following him in every avenue of my life. As for our children, once they get to an age of reason, teaching them the idea of repentance and instructing them, how to personally ask Jesus into their hearts is also something that we can to do to help them stay ready for His imminent return. And if Jesus doesn’t return in our earthly lifetimes, we have the hope, given to us by His Spirit, that we will see Him face to face in the next life! What joy to know that no matter what, we will be reunited with our Master!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NYC Day 3

On our third day in the city, Dave and I took the "divide and conquer" approach.  Davey and I got up early-ish and headed uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We both quickly discovered that there would be no way we'd see everything we wanted to during this trip!  What a huge, and wonderful place to get lost inside!!  I think my son took a million pictures, ran his camera battery down to nothing, then took my iPhone to take more pictures--running my battery down to nil!  It was a definite "hit" with my little historian.

That same morning Joey wanted to go to the Toys R Us located in Times Square, because they have an indoor ferris wheel!  What fun!  Dave and Joe did the toy store thing and then met up with Davey and I at Serendipity 3 for lunch and dessert.

Ok, Dave and I had lunch.  The kids, being on vacation mode, decided that life was way too short to NOT have dessert first!  Each of them had a huge sundae for lunch-- I know, bad parenting!!  But, yeah, you DO only live once!

Very full tummies and the *obvious addition of triptophan to the ice cream products, caused us to head back to the hotel for a little while to rest and digest.  Then we were off again for the Statue of Liberty.  Or so we thought!

I had bought tickets online and read the fine print incorrectly.  Thinking the last ferry left Battery Park at 6:15, we just took our time walking downtown until we felt we could get a cab for the remainder of the trip.  It was 4:30... in New York.  Dumb, dumb, dumb move!  Why is it when you're on vacation, it seems like everyone else in the world MUST also be on vacation?  Well, surprise---these people who weren't on vacation were getting out of work, and taking cabs.  All of them!

When we finally got a cab, he took us the "long way" to battery park.  "Because of the traffic", he said.  Yeaaahhhh...okkkay?!

We went via the East River and were nicely surprised to be able to show the kids the Brooklyn Bridge, which really is a beautifully designed bridge!  But still in bumper to bumper traffic, all we wanted to do was just get to Battery Park!

Upon arriving to the Park, we were pleasantly surprised that there were absolutely no lines to get on to the ferry to the Statue!  SCORE!!  We knew if we timed things correctly, we could beat these insane crowds!  As we power walked our way to the dock area, where we assumed a security check would occur, we found no one.  Not a soul.

Come on!  It's only 5:15 and the last boat leaves at 6:15!!

No.  I was totally wrong.  The last boat leaves the Statue at 6:15.  The last boat leaving Battery Park was at 4:30.  Oh man!!  We were all so disappointed!

We decided to walk a couple blocks up the street to Ground Zero and look at the progress being made through the windows of the Financial Center.  While there we met and spoke to a security guard whose re-telling of the events from a personal perspective brought tears to our eyes.  He also told us that the Marriott, which Davey and I would have been asleep in that morning was actually crushed when WTC2 fell.  A new set of chills came over Dave and I!

The Freedom Tower is going to be amazing!  They are already over 70 stories into its completion, and the 9-11 museum is almost ready for the September 11 opening this year.  So many emotions came over us during this visit.  While the Statue of Liberty is an important symbol of the freedoms we Americans are blessed to have, seeing this area where terrorists attempted to steal our freedom from us was even more meaningful in many ways.

That night we headed back to midtown, and decided to take in the Empire State Building.  It was 8:30, and the building was open until 2am. How long could this take?  Maybe 30 minutes, right?  OH>>>MAN!!
(to be continued)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NYC Day 2

Yesterday started with all of us getting up very LATE--which meant my schedule plans exploded!  Did I tell you that I am 'that' person while on vacation? You know, the woman who has an itinerary and keeps everything flowing smoothly???  Well that's me!  So, getting started at 9:30 am was really messing with our plans of hitting the Statue of Liberty at 8am, before the mobs of people arrived at 10am.  Darn!

So we went with an alternative plan,  and took a cab up to the Natural History Museum.  My boys love the animals and dinosaurs at museums like this.  Me?  Well, my heart wanted to be across Central Park at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I sort of feel like my lifetime fossil viewing allotment has been reached--thank you.   But the kids enjoyed it, and that's what mattered.

Before we went inside the museum Joey desperately wanted to try a hot dog from one of the street vendors.  As crazy as it sounds to those of you who know my typical  OCD tendencies, I bought him one.  He did fine, no food poisoning (whoo hoo) AND he listed THIS $3 experience as one of his "favorite things done while on our vacation"!

Like I mentioned in my previous post, it is BUSY here in NYC.  Much busier than I have ever seen it.  It's Disneyland-summertime-busy!  (People from California will get that analogy).  Which means a lot of waiting and security checks, everywhere.  If you want a coffee-- or if you want to eat at any restaurant--or if you want to see any site in the city... there's a looonnnnggg line. To include the museums!

Dave's cousin told us about a great burger joint that happened to be located inside the Le Parker Meridian Hotel.  This is a fairly nice place in uptown, so we were worried they might trick out the burgers with truffles or other non-necessary frou-frou things.  Nope.  It's a real burger joint that serves what smelled like amazing hamburgers.

Yes, smelled-like.  The line was out the door, and ever table was full, and I had two kids who were about ready to ...$3 street hot dogs!  So we went with what we knew, and headed down town to Little Italy.  Total score!!

My oldest son somehow knew about this little pizza place, called Lombardi's.  It was AMAZINGLY good!  In fact, the best pizza we've had!  Afterwards we walked in what Dave calls "the old neighborhood" and bought a few things to take back home.  Tennessee is awesome, but I do miss the good Italian food and groceries that either coast (and Chicago) has to offer.   Dave was walking around like he belonged there, and honestly, he blended in pretty well!

After coming back to the hotel, I stood in the mile long TKTS line to see what Broadway show tickets I could get for that evening.  I wanted Mary Poppins, but everyone with larger amounts of testosterone chose Phantom of the Opera. I got the tickets at 50% off face value!  Great seats, too!

Many, many years ago I sat in that same theater with my new husband dreaming of the day we would bring our children back with us to see a real Broadway show.  Last night was a bucket-list moment.  Both boys did great!  It was hard for Joey to not talk during the show, but he managed to be "mostly" silent!  As for the French couple who sat in front of us...I hope they recovered from my "mommy-death-stare" that I save for people who try to mess with my kids.

After the show we took the kids to Sardi's for an after dinner treat.  They loved looking at all the caricature pictures on the wall, guessing who was who.  Their favorite celebrity picture was that of Kermit the Frog!

As we left Sardi's an earlier light rain had turned into a full on down pour, so we hopped in a cab for the three block drive back to our hotel!  The cab driver actually argued with Dave about taking us "only" three blocks.  My poor husband had literally reached his limit with cab-driver attitude, and to me it sounded like he somehow channeled his inner Tony Soprano after the kids and I left the taxi.

After getting our "second wind" we noticed it was 1am and we were all still up, not sleepy at all.  Uh oh,  I bet we have trouble getting up in the morning...again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NYC or Bust

This is our first vacation since Dave got sick, back in 2007.  While Dave and I would have preferred a week (or two) on the sand somewhere tropical; the kids wanted action and so we decided on New York City!

Dave and I used to come out to NYC every year, mostly for Dave to work and to catch first run B'way shows (because I used to actually be a drama geek...) Many times we'd drive up to the New England states to experience fall in all its beauty!  

Obviously in the last 12 years, times have changed.  New York has changed, too!! Like, what's with all the trees and planters?  Urban renewal, I suppose.  It's lovely but the city is unrecognizable to me in many ways. 

The last time we were scheduled to come out to NYC together was September 8, 2001.  Dave was called to town for a meeting and the three of us were going to stay at our usual hotel, The Marriott World Trade 3. 

For some reason (I'm going with God on this) that particular trip was cancelled two weeks prior to us leaving.  That hotel fell between the Twin Towers on 9-11.  I remember that morning so vividly.  To think Davey, who was 3 years old at the time, and I would've been asleep just floors away from what happened that fateful morning... No words.

Today was the first time I have seen Ground Zero since the terrorist attacks of 9-11.  At first glance, I couldn't breathe.  Then I cried.  Again, no words...

Traveling with a child who loves to see everything and one who tires easily because of over-stimulation, can be tricky.  We take turns going back to the room with Joey and hanging out for a few hours, while the other explores the sites with Davey.  It's our "normal".  

New York is proving to be as exciting as always, and we're looking forward to seeing as much as possible with the kids.  The usual touristy stuff, and well as some local hang outs that we got to know about during our travels out here years ago.  Nothing better than having dessert in Little Italy al fresco! Or sitting in Central Park in just that perfect location, sipping coffee and watching all the people walking by mid-day. 

And yes... some B'way shows are definitely on the agenda! 

More to come...Stay tuned!