Saturday, October 23, 2010

shattered window

when i first started working in brooklyn, i felt unstoppable.  although i had some initial fear of working in the 'hood, they quickly died and i became a little too comfortable.  last week was a bad week for me.  our car was broken into while working and my purse was stolen out of the glove compartment.  most people may say, 'you silly girl, why did you leave your purse in your glove compartment?' yes, i know it sounds silly, but carrying around a purse into low-income, not-so-safe housing makes me a target for crime.  thus, i leave my purse in my car.  i don't need any extra attention.  

i was so discouraged when my car was broken into.  i was literally away from my car for about 30 minutes.  i thought i was being smart: i parked on a busy street where there were several pedestrians, a grocery store and trucks unloading.  as i started to walk back to my car, i saw the passenger's window was shattered into pieces.  freaked out, i immediately started to cry.  i'm sure i looked like a fool - the only white girl in the neighborhood, crying on the corner of a busy intersection.  gratefully, a police officer was driving down the street and helped me file a report and find a glass shop to get my window fixed.  

(please note: the difference between detroit and the 'hood of brooklyn is police presence. in new york, there are police EVERYWHERE.  in detroit, there is no guarantee they will come to help you.)

i lost nothing - jeff quickly canceled my credit cards and i only had some spare change in my wallet.  the thief just got a cute clutch and a cheap wallet. no biggie.  yet, i gained a sense of fear.  i am in this exact neighborhood on a daily basis.  how will i come back? how will i park my car knowing that someone has already broken into it?  initially, i thought, "GOD! why would you allow this to happen! i am doing your work in this crummy neighborhood! protect me!"

when i called jeff and my parents, i expected a "i told you so - working in the hood isn't that great, laura" response, but they were so gentle and loving.   

anyways, our small group is currently studying 1 john.  this particular week, we were studying 1 john 1 which talks a lot about living in "the light".   

i was so humbled and blessed because after the car incident, one of the mothers i work with that lives in the area called me and said, "laura, don't give up on us. you are a light in our neighborhood. we need you." THAT was when i knew satan was attacking me when my car was broken into.  THAT was when i knew that god is using me in new york.  THAT was when all of the fear went away and i felt so much peace.  THAT was when i realized that God didn't 'allow' my car to get broken into because "god is light, and in him there is no darkness at all" (1 john 1:5).  

this incident was satan. but god still used it.  

praise god.

on another note, jeff and i are finally feeling settled into our home and our neighborhood.  this morning we enjoyed our local farmer's market, flea market and park (all within 2 blocks of us!)  we also got to eat lunch with seth and jax - some good friends from michigan.

we are now getting ready to head out to dinner with jeff's parents and brother.  happy birthday to my best friend (and hubby) and my mother-in-law :)

much love.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Brooklyn: The City of More and Less!

so, we are officially moved-in (see pic above of our living room - so cozy!)  we are "brooklyn-ites".  jeff and i have learned a lot about ourselves over the past week (learning is usually an unpleasant, difficult process.)  i understand why people don't move frequently: it's a pain in the butt and can really test your marriage. my girlfriend, leigh-anne, recently blogged about one of sara groves' songs that says, "loving a person just the way they are it's a hard thing. it takes some time to see things through." during the moving process, i quickly began to understand some jeff's weird quirks - and he definitely started to learn about some of mine!  our exhaustion and frustration led to calloused hearts. gratefully, some quality time this weekend together really forced us to dig into our issues and heal. marriage is good.  

so, there are many things i love about brooklyn.  i'm quickly learning how much MORE it has to offer versus manhattan. 
  1. space: we have more space in our apartment (almost twice the amount of space versus our old place!) and there are MANY more parking spaces (so important!)  jeff and i have even found some grocery stores nearby with parking lots! oh, the joys of semi-suburban life.  we also live 1/2 block away from a large park.  Barnabas (our future dog) will love this.
  2. restaurants: don't get me wrong - manhattan has some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world... although brooklyn has LESS choices, there are more QUALITY restaurants available within walking distance of our apartment that don't break the bank.  jeff and i tend to be cheap and indecisive so brooklyn is perfect for us.  
  3. grocery stores: brooklyn has grocery stores that are more accessible for drivers and cheaper. woohoo! 
  4. local markets: lastly, there is a fresh outdoors farmers market at the end of our block on Saturdays. fresh seasonal fruits, veggies...YUM.  last weekend, jeff also discovered a flea market two blocks away that sells antique furniture, gifts, art, books, personalized knick-knacks. pretty neat!
  5. families: our neighborhood has a lot of cute, young families pushing strollers around and playing in the parks.  it feels so much more "homey" than manhattan
Brooklyn also has LESS of a lot of things I loathed about Manhattan:
  1. birds: pigeons have infested manhattan streets. they are ALL over the place. since i was little, i have been terrified birds - especially the big, ugly dirty ones.  brooklyn has less of those ugly, flying rodents
  2. traffic: i drive for my job and have really appreciated the minimal amount of traffic i encounter throughout my day. it's glorious.
  3. hustle-and-bustle: there is so much pressure in manhattan. everyone is in a rush or competing with someone else.  i hate that tension. jeff and i have both experienced less of this here in brooklyn.  it's like a breath of fresh air!
as you can tell, i love brooklyn and am excited to experience it more with my hubby.  we now have two bedrooms, so please come and visit us! 

i have also learned a lot about how hurtful my bitter comments during a stressful situation can be to jeff.  i am really going to spend some time finding the root of this bitterness so i don't take it out on him anymore.  i am grateful and he knows it "takes some time to see things through".

much love.