This is what we do for the joy of the King,
For His peaceable Kingdom,
For a world in despair.
And this is why we bring any hope we can give,
Any bread from the table,
Any touch of His hand.
This is what we do.
This is where we go.
This is why we sing.
This is how we live.
This is who we are.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Happy New Year, friends!!!!  We just got back to the room from the whole Times Square New Year's Eve experience. It was great fun. We only stood out in the unbelievable cold for two hours.  A young couple, celebrating their 4th anniversary today, had been there since 9am!!!! They'd driven from Fort Wayne, Indiana the day before...spent the night in Queens.  They have to deal with catching a cab or subway back to Queens, then driving 15 hours tomorrow. Wow! Some anniversary! But they seemed to be having fun.  I felt guilty just walking 50 yards to our hotel!

Anyway, we started our day by walking down to Macy's on 34th Street. (Lyn wanted to buy some New West perfume--the only place in USA that sells it now.)  On the way we stopped at Bryant Park to watch ice skaters.  It started snowing while we walked there.  (Picture above.)

Right behind Bryant Park is the NYC Public Library and their famous landmark "mascots," the twin lion sculptures.  Since I'm such a book freak, I wanted my picture here.  A young couple inside the library took the picture below of Lyn and me at the library tree.  I dropped my camera right after this picture, and I was afraid it had broken....fortunately Canon makes tough cameras!

Here's Macy's in NYC.  I was NOT impressed.  I love the history of it, but the store itself is nothing to write home about.  The crowds were horrible!!!!!!  We rode their wooden escalator to the basement. (They call it "The Cellar.") A nice experience, but it doesn't compare to a southern CA store. The window dressings were cool--they told the story of "The Miracle on 34th Street." This picture is right at Herald Square--on Broadway--center stage for  the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

In the afternoon we went to the AMAZING show, "In The Heights."  I would recommend this to anyone!  Great family-centered story. Fun music. Incredible dancing. Dazzling lighting. Definitely deserved it's 2008 Tony Award! The pic above is Lyn in the outfit Kristi and Curtis got her for the NYC trip.  

Lyn in line to enter the Richard Rogers theatre for

The stage for IN THE HEIGHTS.  The director sure
made good use of the space!  Wonderful production!

Tonight we had dinner again on Restaurant Row.  Afterward we went back to the hotel.  We didn't really plan to go out onto Times Square, but we figured we'd regret it a lot if we didn't do it.  So about 10 o'clock we went for it.  A wonderful Marriott employee willingly escorted us out into the fray.  It was such fun!

Here's where we wound up....right by the hotel entrance.  With a perfect view of the Toshiba-sponsored New Year's Waterford Crystal Ball.

Yes, Lyn was very happy.  She looks a little tipsy, but
it's just joy!  She only had coffee for dinner!  :)

When the ball dropped, the confetti began to fall.
It was like a deluge!!!  Beautiful experience!

More confetti....

Thank you, Marriott!!!  It was a night to remember, 
for sure.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day # 2 in NYC - My early New Year's Greeting

Hello, everyone.  Good-bye 2008 (almost).  Today was both a great day and a little disappointing one.  It began with a delicious breakfast buffet...down in the lobby of our hotel. (The picture above was taken from just in front of our room door, looking down into the lobby. The restaurant itself is hidden behind the elevator shaft--on the right.)  We're on the 17th floor--there are at least 30 floors above us!)  

From breakfast, we checked in to activate our transportation tickets at the City Tours office. We jumped onto a bus right away for the Uptown Tour.  Now THAT was much fun.  We had an amazing guide who was about 60 years old. He was raised in Manhattan, so he had tons of stories to tell.  When we passed the sprawling and upscale Lincoln Center area, for example, he told us that it had originally been a violent, gang-ridden area of the city.  (WEST SIDE STORY was filmed right on the property--it was covered with tentement housing back then.)  We saw the apartment buildings of Madonna, Yoko Ono, Jerry Seinfeld and others.  We saw Grant's tomb (I always wondered where it was--haha). The guy was a total fount of interesting (and entertaining) information.

We went through the campus of Columbia University and drove by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine...where Bill Clinton attends services occasionally.  We then went through Harlem.

This is the famous Apollo Theatre in the
heart of Harlem.  The Apollo is famous for its
nightly "amateur night."  Some great musical
legends had their beginnings at the Apollo.

Also in the middle of Harlem is the 
building in which Bill Clinton has his New York
offices.  (This is the Adam Clayton Powell office building.)

Before we got to Clinton's office, I noticed this
Hardware/Housewares store on the street.
I took a picture because of the Clinton name...Lyn
said, "This must be where he picks up his girls."
I thought I had to share!

We left the bus at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art.  Amazing, amazing, amazing place.  BUT,
it was ridiculously crowded.  (One of the employees
welcomed us to the "Fifth Avenue Zoo!"  He wasn't
exaggerating.)  It was like being at Disneyland on a
crowded day.  Definitely NOT the way to visit a
world-class museum.  And I thought the Louvre was
crowded when we were in Paris!!

This is one of the great corridors housing artifacts
at the Met.  (Actually, this appears to be
the space between two different buildings.)
Beautiful sculptures here!

I enjoyed taking some photos of
Lyn in one of the more picturesque halls.
And they weren't terribly crowded!  YEA!

When we were in France, we visited Claude Monet's 
country home in Giverny.  Lyn fell in love with
the bridges and lillies on the estate.  She wanted
to be photographed with one of his famous 
bridge paintings.

The Met has a wonderful exhibit of musical
instruments--European and international.
They had some beautiful "double harpsichords"
on display.  I'd never seen one "live" before, but
have read about them for years.

And I thought our 9' grand at church
was "fancy!"  Isn't this gaudy?  (But beautiful
in a "rococo" kinda way.)

Not only were there double harpsichords, but 
there was this amazing double "virginal."  A virginal 
really IS a harpsichord, but the strings run parallel
to the keyboard.  (In a harpsichord, strings
run perpendicular to the keyboard, like a grand piano.)
This particular virginal was made for a mother and
child...the mother played the keyboard on the left.  The
keyboard on the right played an octave higher than the 
"adult" keyboard.

After we left the Met, we walked through
Central Park.  Lyn suggested that I
take some pictures.  I'm glad I followed
her suggestion.  I love how these turned out.

Love this park blends with
the bare trees in a beautiful way.

Disappointment #2...(with #1 being the crowds at
the Met.)  We had SOOO looked forward to
a "City Lights Tour" as part of the touring 
package we purchased.  It should have been
a great tour, but we had a young, uninformed, uninteresting
guide who was the polar opposite of the guy we
had this morning.  He was so pathetic that many of
the passengers left the tour at our Grand Central Station
stop, and took a Subway back to their hotels.  This guy
was so bad that he spent more time talking about the menu
at a Todai restaurant we passed than ANY other
landmark on the tour!  It was so bad it became funny.  
Oddly, he looked genuinely surprised when people
weren't tipping him when the tour was over!
(The picture above was taken on Times Square as we
first embarked.  Our expectations were WAY too high!)

(In his defense:  at the end of the tour he showed
us where Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie and Janet Jackson live.)

When we got back to Times Square, it was
really hopping.  They'd just conducted a
test run of the ball drop.  All the media crews
were there calibrating equipment and making
sure the cues all worked.  It was
fun being in the melee!

You can see the name of our hotel (Mariott) down
below the Kodak sign in the center of the shot.

Soooo....let me be the very first to wish
you a Happy New Year...with the lighted 2009
Times Square sign to affirm it!

GOD BLESS!   More to come tomorrow....

Monday, December 29, 2008

First Day In New York City

Well, it's 12:30 a.m. in the Big Apple.  I should be in bed, but wanted to get a few pictures posted.  New York, is such a GREAT city.  There is no doubt that this time of the year it is at its very best.  Cartier's gives you the right idea in the pic above....the city seems to wrap itself up as a gift for everyone who lives and visits here.

For ages, Lyn has wanted to ride one of the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park.  Today we got to.  It was a lot of fun...a beautiful winter day, full of sunshine and great memories.  We shared a carriage with a mom & daughter from Aruba with these great Dutch accents.    The ride ended right in front of the amazing Plaza Hotel.  We went inside and explored a bit.

Here's Lyn at one of the many ornately decorated spaces in the Plaza lobby.  I could have taken hundreds of photos at the Plaza alone.

This beautiful tree was tucked away in a little lobby near the hotel restaurant and bar.  I thought it was gorgeous.  One of the neat things about the Plaza is this conservatory-type space where they hold formal afternoon teas.  Lyn sorta wanted to do it, but it was 50 bucks a person for teas and crumpets/cookies.  Uh, no thanks.  (But it sure was a pretty place to drink expensive tea if one were so inclined!)

I've been to many cathedrals in Europe, and I halfway expected to be disappointed in St. Patricks.  I wasn't at all.  It is truly a beautiful edifice.  It took my breath away. It was so clean and pristine...looked like it was brand new.  I was truly impressed.  (Especially since I just completed--for the 2nd time--Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, all about the building of the fictional Kingsbridge Cathedral in England.) I want to go back earlier in the day to see the sunlight stream through the rose windows.  Exquisite.

Tonight was incredible.  After dinner at a randomly selected Italian restaurant on Restaurant Row (a very good one, by the way), we went to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular.  We saw their road version last year in LA.  It was like a kindergarten show in comparison to what we experienced tonight.  We were both blown away.  I expected corny but was radically impressed--especially with the technology.  It really upstaged the Rockettes in my opinion...or at least equalled them.  I kept wishing Shane, Billy, and Curtis could have been there to see it.
This is the lobby of the Radio City Music Hall.  Sooooo pretty!
This is just ONE of dozens of incredible HD-projected set designs that looked so real you would have sworn they were three-dimensional.  This was supposed to be Santa's Toy Warehouse.  

We ended the evening at the Top of the Rock--the 67th floor of the Rockefeller Center.  I got this shot of the Empire State Building. From this distance, we were able to watch a "dress rehearsal" of the dropping of the New Years Eve ball on Times Square.  It was so cool--lots of new LED technology. I took pictures and video, but don't think they'd translate well here.

It was an awesome day #1!

Off to bed!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New York--Here We Come!

Well, Lyn and I both had a bout with a 24-hour bug
and we're all set for the Big Apple now!
Can't wait to see New York in December.

Lyn wants to ride one of these in Central Park.
Does look kinda fun, huh?

Central Park--walking or skating, it's so
beautiful.  Looking forward to soaking
in the beauty.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas to all of you!  Lyn and I are enjoying just hanging at home sans any schedule.  Slept in.  Moseyed downstairs to watch TV, check email, drink wassail and just crash.  It's neat to be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus without the typical Christmas "rush."  (We love the rush, too.  It's just cool to have a low-key Christmas Day.)  The Disney World Christmas Parade is on ABC now.  I'm eating a cookie and drinking coffee while the bands and floats are passing down Main Street.

Since we opened presents last Friday with all the family, the big focus of my week was Christmas Eve and the five services we had. The picture above was taken between our 3rd and 4th services last night.  I wish Jennifer, Brian, and Emily could have been with us, but they're out on the high seas enjoying the holidays with all of Brian's family.  (I know they're having a wonderful time!)

The pictures below are of our time with Haley and Lexi on Christmas Eve Eve (23rd) and Christmas Eve.  Since we had no shopping or wrapping or last-minute panic, we were able to just chill with the girls--literally and figuratively!  On the 23rd we joined the masses at Crystal Court and South Coast Plaza so the girls could ride the train and carousel.  We had lunch at Ruby's. Then on Christmas Eve they spent part of the day here with Lyn while we were doing run-thrus and services at the church.

The girls enjoyed riding the "Santa Express" at
Crystal Court.  Haley may only get to ride this 
one more year...they have a maximum height limit.

I love this picture.  I call it "Audience of One."
Haley loves music--duh--and really wanted
to listen to the carolers.  She'd had a conversation
with them before they started singing.  They seemed
to have fun singing to her!

Lunch was at Ruby's.  The girls shared some mac & cheese.
I had a bowl of vegetable soup and Lyn had a very blah salad.
(The "blah" was my assessment....she liked it.)
Anyway, Lexi REALLY enjoyed the bumper car 
on display right beside where she sat!

Then we hit the Carousel at South Coast.  They
replaced the usual horses with reindeer.

Lexi looked really introspective as she rode.

On Christmas Eve, the girls hung out with
Lyn here at the house.  Haley made herself
comfortable on the countertop while she 
wrote Santa one last note.

Lexi enjoyed being Santa's Helper.  Actually,
Mama Lyn's helper--a fresh batch of
Chex Mix was the project of the afternoon.

Before going to church, the girls posed in their
Christmas dresses.  Lyn didn't realize that
Haley had her gloves on.  She wears them
pretty constantly.  You can tell that Lexi wasn't
feeling very well.  She was dealing with a stomach virus all day.
Boo.  :(

Our very best wishes to all of you for a wonderful and
blessed Christmas.  I look forward to posting 
from New York in a few days!

God Bless!