Category Archives: Travel Log

New York City!

My brother and I have both talked about visiting New York City and how amazing that would be. I was thrilled we were able to go together last week!

I took so many pictures. So many. Only a fraction of them are in this post, but if you ever want to see more (and have a couple of hours to spare) I’d love to tell you all about it! In the meantime, enjoy a little peak into our adventure…

Saturday

We landed in NYC Saturday afternoon, and spent some time walking around, getting a MetroCard, finding a place to eat, and checking in. Our first tourist stop was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the Freedom Tower.

The huge memorials, at the site of each of the fallen towers, continually have water running down the sides into the large square in the middle. The lights at night were beautiful, and it was all a very touching tribute.

Inside the Museum were many physical examples and reminders of the tragedy, as well as photo slideshows and audio memories of the victims, as recorded by their family and friends. Many fire stations in NYC have memorials on their walls.

Sunday

After church Sunday morning, we spent the afternoon exploring Central Park and Times Square. I loved Central Park so much.

The weather was gorgeous. We found a sunny spot in this meadow and ate hot dogs from a hot dog stand.

Times Square has everything! I had never known that it actually covers a couple of “squares” or blocks. So many people!

Yes. Everything. Look at all these M&Ms!

Monday

Monday was rainy, rainy, rainy. Thankfully, we had great weather the rest of our trip, but Monday was so very wet. My thoughtful brother let me use the mini umbrella, but even then we tried to be inside as much as possible. We checked with several Broadway shows before getting tickets for Phantom of the Opera and we explored the Wall Street area. We tried to eat at DŌ, a cookie dough dessert store, but when we got there we learned it was closed on Mondays.

We ended our second full day with a brief trip to the American Museum of Natural History, or the Night at the Museum museum, if you’d rather. We had a great time racing through the exhibits before closing, looking for as many Night at the Museum references as we could find!

Tuesday

One of the things that surprised me about NYC was how not busy it was. Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of people in New York, and traffic can be crazy! But going with the understanding that it is busy and there are a lot of people, it really wasn’t as ridiculously crowded as I had imagined. We were always able to find a spot on the subway (even if we sometimes had to stand up), we didn’t bump into people as much as I thought we would, and the lines typically weren’t long at all.

Except at the Statue of Liberty.

We stood in a l-o-n-g line to board the ferry (though we were on the ferry exactly at the time our ticket said we would be), then had to funnel through the security line, then had to go through more security at the island, then had to get in line for the next ferry, then the next ferry…

But it was so worth it. The Statue of Liberty is an iconic representation of freedom and, well, liberty. I loved it.

And its views of Manhattan are lovely!

(The Brooklyn Bridge before our Statue of Liberty tour.)

I never knew that the Statue was recognized as a worldwide symbol. Very cool!

We didn’t spend nearly as much time at Ellis Island, but it was very interesting! At its peak, over 5,000 people would pass through this room every day.

That night we went to see Phantom of the Opera. It was very well done!

Wednesday

Our last day in NYC was packed! We toured the Intrepid, an aircraft carrier and now museum. As part of the museum, we also toured a submarine (Growler) and saw the space shuttle Enterprise.

Our last major thing to do on our trip was to see the New York view from Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center. It was beautiful weather and we had a hard time convincing ourselves it was time to go back down and eat dinner.

  1. It was such a treasured experience to do and see and visit all of this with my brother. We will always remember this.

If you ever get the chance to go to NYC, do it. We made so many memories and it will be a treasured experience for years to come!

 

What Corrie Would Have Told Us

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The ten Boom family living room

I’ve never been one to have a bucket list. But if I did, meeting Corrie ten Boom (or getting as close to that as I can) would be on it.

It all started with a book. “I should read that,” I thought, wondering how I graduated high school without reading Corrie’s classic, The Hiding Place. So one afternoon I started into the first chapter, and I would finish the last page that night while the rest of my family slept. The ten Boom story floored me, and I have revisited those chapters many times since. Their example of faithful work and love in a time of horror illustrates so well how Christians are to live in a world that opposes the very idea of God. As we face an increasingly hostile society today, we are encouraged by remembering the faithfulness of people like the ten Booms in harder times than these.

So I was thrilled to visit Corrie ten Boom’s house last spring.

One crisp June morning in Haarlem, The Netherlands, my brother and I entered the kitchen door right by the window with that telltale Alpina sign. I was seeing the family living room. Climbing that impossible staircase. Feeling the tweed fencing around the railing of the roof, built to hide illegal guests while they savored a few minutes of fresh air. There were space limitations in the cramped house, and we could only be in the house while on a guided tour, but I lingered as long as I could in each room, trying to be the last one to leave, taking one final look.

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Our guide was Aty, an older Dutch woman who shared ten Boom stories I hadn’t read in any books. Over 800 people were saved through the work of the people in that unassuming little house. “This is a story about the family ten Boom, not about heroes,” Aty told us. “This is a story about God…who still works today like He did in the past.”

Poetic. Like she’d read the book.

It was something Corrie would have said, too—and she did, many times. The ten Booms filled their days with feeding guests, cooperating with other workers, and serving strangers. It was God who orchestrated the details and led them along the path they had no map for. And Corrie knew that. That’s the story she told.

The medicine bottle that didn’t empty. The world-renowned architect who quietly and without any recognition built their secret room. Fred the meterman and Rolf the policeman, who used their unique positions and skills to meet specific needs.

“That night Father and Betsie and I prayed long after the others had gone to bed. We knew that in spite of daily mounting risks we had no choice but to move forward. This was evil’s hour: we could not run away from it. Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.”1

Nazis. Bombings. Hunted people. It was an epic time with epic problems and epic heartaches. But the struggles Corrie and the ten Boom family faced were not isolated to desperate times.

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The only picture I have of our tour guide, Aty (you can just barely see her on the other side of my brother). I so wish I had taken a better picture with her!

Forgiveness. Courage. Love. Service. Day after day after day. Through epic circumstances God was present in her life, working in her heart, writing a story we only know in part.

In my less-than-epic life the same is true. I am slighted by people who see things differently than I do. I meet people who base their life on things I know won’t last forever. I am surrounded by people who have hurts I may never know or realize. I’m faced with others’ needs when I feel I have enough of my own.

Forgiveness. Courage. Love. Service. And we’re called to do it all again the next day.

My brother and I sat in the living room not of a legend or hero of the past, but a child of the King. One who followed Him in the muck and mire of earth and now praises Him in glories unknown to me with others who have gone before us.

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The visitor in front of me disappears into the hiding place through the secret entrance.
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The secret door from the inside of the hiding place.
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Six people hid here for over 47 hours.

As Francis Schaeffer said, “there are no little people and no little places.”2 Not when God is there. And He is. Here. Working in and through us like He did (and does) through Corrie, the ten Booms, and Aty the tour guide. Whether or not our dreams are realized or bucket list completed, He still works. And that’s where the real story is.

“This is a story about God…who still works today like He did in the past.”

  1. The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom
  2. No Little People, Francis Schaeffer

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