Sunday, September 12, 2010

Becoming a grown-up in Brooklyn

Alas, it's true - Jeff and I are growing up.  We have grown-up expenses, grown-up jobs, are renting a grown-up apartment AND just put a deposit down for our first family member, a puppy!  

I spoke with my mom this afternoon after she left NYC. I was crying, of course - missing home.  Although she sympathized with me for a minute, the conversation ended with a tone of, "Laura, it's time to grow up."  It's true. Growing up is upon us.  

Grown-up Expenses
Do you know how stressful it is to have money? Jeff and I are by no means rich, but we do have a steady stream of income (Praise God for our jobs!) My thought life has been more consumed by money and finances when compared to my financial situation in graduate school (some weeks I would have $5 in my bank account - God STILL provided.) It's an obsession. Having more has definitely made me want more. Yuck. As Jeff and I were reviewing our finances, it seems as though our fixed costs have grown exponentially.  In all honesty, when compared to others at our life-stage, we are doing "well". We are saving, giving and enjoying BUT we don't want to hold ourselves to the "wanting more" lifestyle that consumes our culture (do you know how many people have an unhealthy amount of financial DEBT in our country?!)  I am so grateful for Jeff who has set our marital 'saving standard' much higher than I would. I really appreciate how he desires to be a good steward of what the Lord has blessed us with. We know that money is what destroys so many marriages and relationships and we don't want to let it control ours. Our church is offering "Financial Peace University" by David Ramsey - a seminar on using and viewing money in a way that honors the Lord. We are looking forward to that :) 

Grown-up Jobs
I know I've posted about this before, but I love my job as a speech therapist. Although it's so fun to hang out with families and their babies all day, I interact with individuals with very 'grown-up' issues. Sexual abuse, abandonment, poverty....issues that are bigger than what a 0-3 year old can handle.  In addition, jeff and i are dealing with questions about insurance options, 401K, life insurance policies - how did we get here so fast?  What is life insurance and why do we need it? isn't it for old people, like our parents?  :)

Grown-up Apartment
(See pic above of a street in Fort Greene - ours looks similar!) Although we haven't officially signed the lease, we have put down a deposit for an apartment in Fort Greene, Brooklyn! It's a beautiful apartment in a brownstone located 1/2 blocks away from a large park and 1 block away from Jeff's subway stop. The Lord is good.  We will be moving September 30.  I feel really lucky that my mom even got to see it this weekend - she loved it! We are praying that the Lord would use us in this neighborhood for HIS glory.

Growing Family
I grew up with a family dog, Brodie, who is still missed.  Ever since we got married, Jeff and I have really wanted a dog.  Well, the time is right and we have done our research: we will be welcoming a Portuguese Water Dog into our family in January!  We are so excited!  My mom, Jeff and I had fun thinking of names for our soon-to-be pup this weekend.  Some contenders include: Barnabas, Wolverine, Scooby, Brooklyn, Eddie or Frank (for Frank's Hot Sauce.)  

well, it's 9:15pm - my bedtime. thanks to my momma for a great weekend!

much love.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

US Open!

Jeff took me to the US Open Monday night- we even say Roger Federer play! What a special experience shared with my hub.

This pic is taken at the US Open which is located near where the Worlds Fair was held years ago in New York (hence he globe.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick Prayer for my Dad


(I only feel free to post this request because I know my dad is secure in his sobriety, and will freely speak to anyone interested about his addiction.)  

As many of you know, this has been a long 2 years for my dad.  In October of 2008 my dad and his wife relapsed with drugs & alcohol.  Although he is approaching his 2 year sobriety date (praise God!), the Lord really has humbled my dad through this experience.  He lost A TON: his marriage, his house, his job, financial security and his relationship with his son.  My dad loves the Lord and has faith that the Lord will be faithful in providing for his needs (I have a lot to learn from him.)

My dad is a pharmacist, and because of legal reasons, he has not been able to practice since his last relapse in October 2008.  This THURSDAY, September 9, my dad will visit the court to determine if, and when, he can go back to work.  Gratefully, my dad has followed any and all probation regulations, has remained sober, and continues to be dedicated to his sobriety and living a clean life.  

These past two years has also been really stressful on me (& Jeff), Peter and even my mom.  My dad doesn't have ANY family and few friends to keep him company, help him in time of need or just hang out with.  I feel extreme guilt when I visit Michigan because, although I spend a good deal of time with him, I am torn between time in Grosse Pointe with my mom and friends and time in Howell (1 hour away from 'home') with my dad.  I am in constant fear of a relapse, or some other accident.  Who will find my dad if he falls down the stairs or into the lake?  Does my dad have enough money to eat?  The Lord has been doing a great deal of breaking my co-dependent thinking with my dad, but it still sucks.  

So, I am asking that you would please pray for my dad and his court date on September 9. If it is in the Lord's will for my dad to go back and work as a pharmacist, pray he would open that door.  If it is not in the Lord's will for my dad to be a pharmacist, but do something else, please pray for that.  My dad is getting bored and really desires a schedule (and some extra money!)

Thank you so much.

Much Love.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska is a dessert made of ice cream, spongecake and meringue.  I had a little too much Baked Alaska on our Alaskan Cruise last week. In fact, I had too much of ALL food last week.  Oops.  

Jeff and I went on an Alaskan Cruise last week with his brother, parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle and three cousins...a Chin Family affair.  We were celebrating Mr. Chin's 60th birthday and checking an item off of Jeff's Grandpa's bucket list (I know, it's a bit morbid.)  

Our trip started in Seattle.  The Oosterdam (our ship) set sail from Downtown Seattle and we had the opportunity to enjoy the city prior to leaving.  The time difference really didn't affect me - in fact, I continued to fall asleep at about 10pm Eastern Standard Time throughout the trip (even though that was about 6pm Alaskan time, haha.)  
Here we are on our boat outside of Seattle - beautiful!

Jon enjoying all of the fish at Pike Place Market. Jon manages the seafood department at Whole Foods...Seafood is his passion (which is obvious if you ever ride -or smell-his car.)

Jeff and I enjoying Pike Place Market

Two brothers enjoying Seattle together..Dressed in clashing plaid 

After Seattle we set sail for Juneau, Alaska. We spent 2 days at sea and visited "glacier valley". It was beautiful!  HUGE mountains, glaciers and whales swimming around us.   (see other posts for pictures of glaciers and other alaska photos i took on my phone.)

Downtown Juneau was my favorite spot. We shopped in the morning and hiked Mt. Roberts - 3.5 miles up hill in the wet mountains.  Saying it was my FIRST hike ever, it was a tough one!  

Jeff's mom, brother and three cousins hiked with us. Here's a picture of us at the top!

Mrs. Chin was a trooper - she fell in the mud (it was slippery!) and her pants got pretty dirty. For some reason I thought it was appropriate to rub mud on my face so she didn't feel left out :)

"Hi, my name is Jeff and I won't look at the camera to take a picture." :)

So beautiful!

Our last two stops were Katchikan and Sitka.  They were .... small towns.  Fun (and beautiful!) to see, but not much there.  The best part was seeing THOUSANDS of salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Jeff and I bought some heavy-duty rain boots and got to STAND in the stream with the fish (gross, but cool.)

Overall, I am grateful for this opportunity to go to Alaska. Cruises aren't my FAVORITE thing, and I probably won't go on another one (the smells get to me), but it was a great vacation!

Much Love.