Archive

Family

Hello All,

Yesterday we went on a little family adventure. I got home from work, we packed up the boys (Levi + Max), and headed for The Cloisters/Fort Tryon Park.
Incase you don’t know I’m talking about, Fort Tryon Park is a little gem tucked away up on Fort Washington in uptown Manhattan. You wouldn’t think its there because you have to drive through Washington Heights, AKA: The Dominican Republic, to get there. If you know anything about Washington Heights, you know what I mean. Nuff said.
Anyway, so the surrounding neighborhood is right off the Henry Hudson and is home to lots of old pre-war apartment buildings that are beautiful and still pretty well kept. It really is a little get away from all the craziness that encapsulates Washington Heights.
When you first walk into the park you’re met by a beautiful and newly budding botanical garden. Dummy me didn’t take a picture. Next time, I promise.
Past that are a couple of trails that all lead you eventually to The Cloisters Medieval Museum and outside grounds. Even if you don’t go into the museum, which I recommend you do, the park area and the views of the Henry Hudson River are more than enough reason to make the trip.
I’m not a big fan of New Jersey but it does look good from a distance. Not to mention the view of the George Washington Bridge is beautiful from the grounds there as well. The area is perfect for a family picnic, play time, jogging, a nice walk, or even just to curl up with a good book on a park bench.
Well here are a few pictures from yesterday’s trip. I would’ve had more if my iPhone didn’t die on me.
Next time! Enjoy!

20130420-094132.jpg

20130420-094147.jpg

20130420-094202.jpg

20130420-094214.jpg

20130420-094225.jpg

20130420-094236.jpg
That’s Levi hugging a tree. He just does that.

Advertisements

Well, it’s been a while since my last post, several months actually. Lots has happened since then. I think the biggest thing is that we relocated back to NYC after five years of living in Charlotte NC.
It’s crazy, you never really know how accustomed you’ve become to something until you don’t have it anymore.
Charlotte really changed us. In some ways good, in some ways not so good. But all were lessons learned and permanently branded into who we are as people.
It almost feels like we’re re-learning how to be New Yorkers. Whether its readjusting to the volume and speed that people speak at or making sure that I don’t take my sweet time moving after the traffic light has turned green. I mean I swear, you would think that someone’s life depended on how quickly you got going after the light changes.
Anyway. I think we’re doing a pretty good job considering. It’s taking some time, but we’re getting there.
It’s really hard sometimes though. I sometimes feel like God does something big and monumental like this, then kinda drops off the scene afterward. Now I know that’s not true, but it does feel like that.
I sometimes wish God would just speak to and guide me continually. Like every step of the way. At least that how I think a times. I used to think that God wanted to micro-manage every little detail of my life, but I’m not so sure about that anymore.
One morning while in prayer I was talking to God about this very thing and I felt like He spoke something to my heart. He said that its not so much that He wants control of every detail as much as He wants to have my whole heart. If He has my whole heart, then the decisions I make will always be in light of wanting to please Him. And if that’s true, then He can lead and guide me as I try to navigate and figure out what His will is. Also there’s the taking steps of faith in that process. If we always just waited for God to bark directions at us, them where is waking by faith and not by sight?
I understand this is my mind, I get it if I meditate on it enough, but I’m so quick to forget when it’s crunch time.
There are a number of areas that I know God has given me new understanding in, but I still have yet to see these revelation if you will, burned into my heart.
I so desperately want that.

Well, another cool thing is my son Levi turned two years this past February. He’s such a little miracle, such a character, such a joy and challenge all at the same time. How is that even possible!? How is it that you can love this little person so much but wanna headlock him also at times? Crazy.

Anyway, I’ll end this now, but I’m definitely gonna get back to blogging, hopefully much more often, even if its just quick entries. I gotta get more consistent with this.

Blessings!

It’s official.
I didn’t think the day would come, but it has. And I didn’t see it coming.
My kid is that kid. Yes, that kid.
You know, the one. The one that is screaming his head off in the isle of Target or the Supermarket.
The one that you can hear from the other side of the store, and you stop and stare because it sounds like his parents are killing him, when in reality he’s doing it all by himself.
Yup, that one.
Levi was such an easy and quiet baby, but it seems as though those days are passing right before our eyes.
The truth is he’s still a really good baby, but he’s teething real bad. Not to mention that he needs that mid-day nap, because if he doesn’t get it…. boy.
He’s got this defiant cry that to me just came out of no where. I mean he cried before, but of he’s really tired, hungry, or is trying to tell us what he wants compared to what we’re telling him, there it comes.
High pitch, shrill, strong and defiant.
I gotta be honest, his crying doesn’t bother me, but when he cries like that, like we’re killing him, it gets underneath my skin. Few things send me “there”, but for some reason that cry just does it to me. And it doesn’t take long.
Shamefully, I admit it takes all the patience I can muster up to keep from losing it at that moment.
Yeah, go ahead and give me the look but you know you’ve been there, done that too. I’m just saying what you’re thinking.
I’m just being real. Parenting is incredible, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My son is perfect, but I sure am not.
I’m only human.

Recently I did a four-day fast with a friend of mine.
It went from Tuesday morning to Friday at sunset.
And let me say that I use the term fasting loosely because although at one time I was very disciplined in fasting, I’ve let myself go quite a bit in this area.

But anyway, we were praying and agreeing for a couple of things, mainly breakthrough and direction. My main prayer during those four days was, “Lord wake me and my wife up from spiritual sleep, wake us up!”

I can honestly say that on the first day I felt like my prayers were reaching heaven, and then the rest of the week life happened, and there went my fervent prayers. They were more like a drive through, on the way to whatever I was doing at the moment, oh let me utter a quick prayer because I just remembered I’m supposed to be fasting and praying, so I better do it.

Well, despite my feeble efforts, Jesus heard my prayer and is answering…. but not the way I anticipated. Isn’t that how it usually goes?

Let’s digress for a second.

I work in the Collections industry, which at the end of the day, boils down to numbers. I was pulled into my manager’s office and told that my pay was being reduced because I haven’t met my monthly quota, and if I don’t meet my quota this month my pay will be reduced even further. And honestly the reduction is drastic. I’ve been trying to do my best, but it hasn’t been working. And there are a number of factors that contribute to that, not to mention that the way we collect debt is shady.

The funny thing is that I know that I know that God gave me this job when I needed it, but that’s another blog post. The other thing is I haven’t been doing good for a while, despite my best efforts, but by the grace of God, my pay remained intact.

So to say the least I was pissed, frustrated, and I wanted to give up, curl up into a ball, and just sulk. I get paid just enough to cover everything, that way Diane can stay home with Levi, raise him at home until it’s time to go to school, and she can continue to build her photography business, so hopefully we can actually live off of it one day. And again I’m trying my best but it’s not working. On the other side of the coin, I want out of my job badly because it is so shady, and I’m tired of it. I don’t want to work in this industry or environment any longer, not because I’m lazy, spoiled and ungrateful that I have a job in the midst of rising unemployment rates. It’s really become a moral issue. Nuff said.

So I’m freaking out, I tell Diane, she’s stressed because this is yet another issue added on top of some other things we’re facing. She’s tired and frustrated because we can’t ever seem to get a break. I tell her it’ll be ok, but inside I really don’t have any faith or grounding to base that on. The truth is I’ve been having some really hard times in my relationship with God, and I was becoming more distant and prayerless.

A day went by and I’d been thinking about it all, and I realized, “You prayed for God to wake you up”. HELLO! That’s like praying , “Use me Lord however you want, take me where ever you want”. I might as well have placed a large X on my chest. I also realize that the Lord had been waiting for me to pray this kind of prayer, and was all too happy to take me up on the request. And so instead of just answering my prayer and zapping me which is what I was hoping for, He’s put us in a circumstance to cause us to seek Him, which will cause us to pray, and wake up.

And it’s working.

Two weeks ago, Pastor Steven preached his last installment of the sermon series “Room 101: Facing your greatest fears”. One of his points really hit home after the Lord brought it back to my memory while praying. He spoke about how Elijah prayed for Elisha’s eyes to be opened so that he could see that they that were with them were more than they that were against them. Elisha’s eyes were opened and he saw the hills were full of horses and chariots of fire.

His point was that provision was already made ahead of time for the problem despite Elisha’s inability to see it. And it wasn’t a matter of God providing, it was a matter of Elisha’s eyes being opened to what was there all along. This is one of the verses I’m holding onto during this time. I keep telling myself, “the hills are full already, the hills are full”.

I gotta be honest, I didn’t anticipate my prayers being answered this way, but I’m so glad they are. I feel awake, alive, despite the trial. My faith is rising up as I’m reminded of God’s past faithfulness and provision every time we’ve needed it. And it’s causing me to have faith that this will be no different. I also know that this is an act of love because He won’t leave us where we are.

Something else that the Lord reminded me of was of a scripture He spoke to me through at the beginning of the year. James 1:1-4 states:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”.

The disciples of that day were familiar with trials and suffering. It was a normal part of their Judeo-Christian experience. Also, their view of suffering was very, very different from ours in this modern church age. In this verse, Paul instructs believers to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds”.

Pure joy? Really? Yup, that’s what I said. But Paul explains why we can have joy, because trials are an opportunity for God to grow and mature you further, so that you lack nothing. And the reality is that God wants to continually make us more like Jesus. His ways just aren’t our ways.

Hebrews 5:7-9 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.  Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…”

The truth is, if Jesus suffered, we’re gonna suffer.
The good news is that we don’t have to fear the world because Jesus overcame the world.

But the other thing that trials offer is an opportunity for God to do something awesome on our behalf. He gets to show off. And He gets the Glory. He gets to show us how much He loves us by not only allowing a trial to perfect us, but He also gets to show His love for us by bringing us through and displaying His power and provision.

So at the end of it, we really are better off when we face trials. And I know that’s counter-cultural, but it’s true. I know this trial we’re in is gonna pass, and God will bring us through, displaying His love, provision and power, and we’ll be more complete because of it.

My prayer right now? God give me the reverent submission that Jesus had, to endure and trust, as we wait on you and we see the chariots of fire that have been there the whole time.

~Marc

The family and I had an awesome Easter weekend! I led co-led worship with London Gatch at Elevation Church‘s Seven Mile Miracle, at our Uptown location. It was amazing to see over the course of four experiences, multiple upon multiple hands go up to accept Christ as savior. It just never gets old.

Afterward we spent some time with friends. The next day I was off from work so we packed the boys in the car and headed over to Jeton Park in Huntersville for some sand and sunshine. Here are a couple of pics from the weekend.

Enjoy!

~Marc