Friday, November 22, 2013

30 before 30

I desire to live the exciting life.  As I'm getting closer to 30 I find that my annual list of things I want to accomplish in the year has become more... safe.  So here is my list but I am totally open to this being a 1st draft if there are better suggestions. 
(No particular order)

1. Read 50 Books- Last year was a little over ambitious with 100 books
2. Write a letter a week to someone who has impacted my life
3. Conquer a fear
4. Ride a motorcycle
5. I really do want Ellen DeGeneres to say "Lindsay Core"
6. Polar Bear Dip
7.Edge Walk on CN Tower
8. Ice skate on a pond (Learn to ice skate)
9. Tour on the Hippo Amphibus (Toronto)
10. Blue Jay's Game
11. Hockey Game
12. Casa Loma
13. Cavalcade of Lights
14. Run from my house to the CN Tower and back (18.4k = 11.43 miles)
15. Tap a maple sugar
16. Enjoy a winterlicious meal
17. Go to Wonderland
18. Visit the Ripley's Toronto Aquarium (check)
19. Take a painting class
20. Take a road trip alone
21. Meet someone famous... and then pretend I'm doing them a favor by saying hello
22. Be an extra in a film or music video
23. Adopt of child
24. Ride an elephant
25. Go to a play in Toronto
26. Get a massage
27. In an effort to learn to be more encouraging, verbally encourage someone else each day
28. Learn sign language
29. Keep a plant alive for more than 3 months
30. Join a league while in Toronto

Ok so I really am going to try to document the things I am accomplishing or at least my attempt to accomplish... first is the aquarium.  Very cool Octopus!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Welcome to Canada

Now that I've lived in Toronto for a full 2 weeks, I'm clearly seasoned enough to help host a team from America... NOT!  However, the team of youth from 2nd Baptist in Missouri were such an encouraging group, I believe their timing was impeccable. 

For the past 5 days, I've been on my feet from 7:00am-10:00pm and then I immediately crash in the bed with plans for the next day running through my head.  For weeks and months Jenn and Holly have planned the camp I was leading for the week and inviting families in the neighborhood.  There were expectations for success.  The question is "What is the measurement of success?"  Numbers are important but numbers are out of our control.  God sending children to our camp is His responsibility as long as we are faithful to invite.  Believe me, we invited.  But it seems that Toronto has more camps than there are children.  The children not already signed up for camp were not old enough to join the camp.  So, then we ask "what is our goal for the week?"  Answer:  To love people in the neighborhood and invite them to a community that seeks to walk this journey together towards God.  We decided to paint faces in the park.  Every day we had a steady line of children and parents waiting for face paintings and inquiring about who we are and why we would volunteer our time there.  Shallow conversations were able to become more meaningful as we heard people share their own stories.  One boy did come to our camp 3 days this week and now we are able to love on his family in a way that could be life changing.  The measurement of success?  Being used as an instrument of God.  Allowing God to invest in individuals.  Watching God love his people.

I got to help lead a group of youth from the states.  It was fun to see their excitement in the city and be awed by all the city has to offer.  I'm new enough that I'm just as awed.  But in the end, I got to be part of conversations that hopefully help shape their view on the Church's responsibility to love others.  In the states we work hard for God.  Our relationship with God is correlated to the amount of work we do to please him.  In Canada, our relationship with God is correlated to the way we love others because he loves us.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blurred Lines

There is a line drawn in any moment a choice is to be made.  The line represents some standard a person sets for when one choice is considered appropriate.  But on the other side of that line is always the question "what if".  The problem is the line can be blurred or adjusted for each circumstance and person.  So how do we know when to cross the line?

Three scenarios I've encountered this week that has brought me to ask the question "what if?" 

1. Since I've known that I was coming to Canada I've been briefed on the differences between Americans and Canadians.  There are clearly relational differences and on top of that there is strategy in opening communication about Jesus Christ.  So I've been careful.  The line drawn is when is the appropriate time to mention Jesus Christ... 1st encounter, after a relationship is built, when they start the conversation in a spiritual direction?  I was at a small group where non-believers had come.  We went to a park and had a picnic.  The point was to fellowship, build relationships.  I don't know anyone for more than 3 days so what is conversation supposed to be like?  In North Carolina it would be a no brainer... I talk about what God is doing in my life so people can see how awesome he is.  This night I talked about what God did in my life in NYC so that people could see how awesome he is, and immediately regretted it thinking I blew it!  But did I?  "What if" I kept my mouth shut?

2. I went to Tim Horton's with a friend yesterday.  It's been nice to get to know Jenn and bounce ideas off of one another.  While sitting there a situation began to develop.  A man in his 30s was sitting to my right enjoying his... whatever.  On the opposite side of him was a man approaching his 80s sipping on what I'm sure was a delicious cup of coffee.  The older gentleman seemed to have a bit of a cough... in which 30 something old guy flipped out!!!  He began to educate "old man cough" on the traveling speed of germs and the appropriate way to cough.  This guy was a specialist in being a jerk and continued to throw profanity at old man cough and belittle everything about him.  The line drawn indicated a choice to ask the guy to chill out or as I chose... to look away.  The line was blurred by safety but "what if" I stood up for old man cough?

3. I've been reading in Daniel (in the Bible) and it isn't a great epiphany to realize that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had a choice: to bow down to the king's idol or to stand up for their faith in God.  The line for most people would be adjusted or blurred if they knew they would be thrown into a furnace where they'll burn alive.  It was law!  I most likely would feel comfortable going through the motions of bowing down to the idol so that in the privacy of my own home I could have faith in God.  But could I stand before God knowing that fear drove my decision instead of faith?  Does the line blur because of safety or doubt?  What if these guys didn't take a stand?  We wouldn't be reading how God protected them in the furnace. 

Blurred lines represent the things that keep me in comfort.  What if blurred lines were meant to be crossed?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"I like your shoes"

Ladies!  Great tip:  When you move to a new city, wear awesome shoes!  It apparently is the best way for me to meet new people. 

When I moved to North Carolina, I met one of my dearest friends, Amanda because she liked my bright red pumps that I wore to my orientation for school.  She commented on the shoes and I begged her to be my friend!  (Amanda, I hope you are enjoying the platform heels I gave you.  I miss them already... and you, ha!)

Driving to Toronto, my car was packed to the max.  The only way to fit all my shoes was to store most of them inside the mini refrigerator in my back seat.  When I arrived at the house I was greeted by Melissa, her 5 year old daughter Leila, and a friend Jenn.  The most exciting part about unpacking my car was looking at all the shoes in the fridge... even to the point that Jenn told her roommate Hannah about the selection.  Obviously my shoes are doing me a service in making quick friends.

Today, I visited Starting Point Church.  I wore my new pair of shoes, black peak toe wedge sandals from Charming Charlies.  One of the best purchases I've made in a really long time.  Anyways, I'm sitting there and this really awesome girl named Heather just loved my shoes.  I told her I've lived here two days (which means I know no one and need friends) so we exchanged information and I can tell we will be quick friends. 

The best part about making new friends is when you feel comfortable enough to kick off your shoes and enjoy time together.  Sharing meals, watching movies, and getting coffee is quite the life. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Week I Was Homeless

WARNING:  This blog is not for the weary reader!

Ten days ago I was packing up to move to Toronto.  It was a no brainer.  I was given the opportunity to work with two church plants in Toronto.  I had struggled through all the implications of quitting my job, leaving the familiarity of my home, friends, family, stability, ministry.  This move was an answer to prayers I have had for about 10 years.  I prayed with doubt that a job ever existed that I could go to a big city, live life with people, and not raise support.  And now I know, God's purpose is beyond my doubt.

Monday July 1st I set off on the roads with my car packed purposefully and explosively with what I considered worthy of this journey, including my friend Kari.  We stopped in Pennsylvania where some of her family stay.  Our first stop was at Wilbur's Chocolate Co. which means we know how to start a trip right.  Then we stopped by her grandfather's house.  What a man of God!  He took time to challenge us, encourage us, and pray for us.  He prayed specifically for my time in Toronto and for me to find a husband which means a prayer from a man like that, I may be married next week!  Then we visited Kari's aunt and uncle where life is care free.  But life is not care free.  In fact, there is plenty to worry about, but they live their lives enjoying the now, trusting the later, and looking forward to the eternal.  It is evident the family loves one another with a selfless love.  I'm thankful for my time in Pennsylvania!

Tuesday July 2nd We set off again with my stomach in knots.  Moving to Toronto was the least of my worries.  I kept telling Kari that I was nervous about the border.  I thought I was nervous because I didn't know what to do when I got there.  It turns out I was nervous because Canada rejected me... twice!  The questions they ask are legit.  I understand they don't want me to be a threat to their people or jobs.  I thought I had all the right answers: "I'm coming to work with a Church... No, my church in NC is supporting me... Yes, my job is helping the church in Toronto with whatever they need... My job title? Children's director... Yes, I quit my job to come here. No, I didn't get fired... I don't know what I'll do after the year is up.  I'll come back to the states and figure it out... No my church in NC doesn't get anything out of supporting me... Yes I understand this is an amazing opportunity."  Their response "you can't come in without a medical!"  Being the problem solver that I am, I thought it wise to try again as a visitor to the country: strike 2! "Ma'am, we do have the right to ban you from Canada forever.  Just go get the medical."  So of course the closest doctors they approve are in Canada (which I'm not allowed in) or NYC!

Wednesday July 3rd I call the doctor and make an appointment for Monday 1:30.  Great!  5 days in NYC.  Kari and I head to NYC.  We got a late start so we could rest and get free breakfast at the hotel my boss provided.  I'm an idiot.  This puts us traveling through NYC 5pm the day before Independence Day!  No worries, I'm a wicked driver and Kari is quite the navigator.  Somehow we made it through Manhattan, the Holland Tunnel, and Brooklyn where my wonderful friend Alyson is waiting for us.  No coincidence that she arrived back from Florida the very hour I needed to come stay with her.  Next problem: what to do with a car full of all my possessions in Brooklyn?  Alyson found an enclosed lot for the night.  She said the guard only let us bring my car in because of my predicament.  It was too expensive for my entire stay but it would do for the night.

Thursday July 4th time to say goodbye to Kari.  It was almost like it was okay that I had gone through everything because I had the steadfast prayer and calmness of Kari.  I couldn't help but cry.  But it was so sweet to be able to pray and give thanks for her friendship, who she is, for her and Tyler, for their baby, for the times I'll still need her in my life.  We got her a cab, she cried, then she was gone!
Alyson and I went to get my car out of the lot where we met a guy from Nigeria.  First thing out of his mouth, "you must be VIP to have your car in here.  God takes care of those that have faith in him." Amen! We drove my car to one of her professor's house in New Jersey where they invited us for a quaint bbq.  We spent the day talking, eating, laughing, and playing and for a brief moment I forgot I wasn't supposed to be there.  His family and grandchildren just naturally fit my idea of a good family day.  I am also grateful for their willingness to keep my car at their house in safety!

Friday July 5th I go with Alyson to look for apartments.  Without going into details I must say God is unbelievably in every detail.  Even is our rash decisions, our doubt, our stubbornness, and the emotional roller coaster that money and deadlines create.  It was neat for me to hear Alyson ask for very specific things in her prayer to God and then be able to give thanks with her when those were answered.  We are still in the process of trusting God for her apartment but I'm also still in the process of waiting for Canada.  So, we're in it together, not alone, not in panic, but in faith!

Saturday July 6th Alyson takes me back to Jersey to join in another bbq and pool party.  The purpose is to be with friends but also to minister to some newer friends they had met by serving after Hurricane Sandy.  These families lost everything!  The only thing they know to trust is what they have and its gone.  But they moved on with the help of believers.  The day was such an awesome time but mostly because I was able to hear stories of the struggles these families faced in Russia and here and they're still moving forward.  I pray Alyson and her friends continue to take every opportunity to share.

Sunday July 7th More apartment negotiating for Alyson.  I'll spare you! Oh yeah I also had to get a passport photo id for the doctor.  Something as simple as going to the pharmacy I have found a way
to make much more difficult.  We go to the first place, they take my photo, and then realize they are out of photo paper (what?).  They suggest going to Target.  Upon arrival we are told they do not provide that service.  Finally, we call WalGreens for confirmation that they have both the service and paper.  I get there and the camera stops working, (it's time to laugh)!  Just a change of batteries needed, whew! Simplicity is not a friend of mine.

Monday July 8th Doctor Day!  Ok so again I got super nervous about going to the doctor.  I don't know why.  All they will do is take a look at me send my results and be done.  I'm a little morbid and thought about the possibility that maybe I went through all of this just so the doctor finds some crazy rare disease that they are able to cure in NYC.  We all have our moments.  I went in, they took my measurements, pressure, blood and money, then sent me off to get an Xray.  Got the Xray and all looks fine!  Wonderful!  I'm healthy and broke and now have to walk 2 miles back to Alyson's office to let her know Im here another 5 days until the results are in.  I realize being "stuck" in NYC is not the worst thing in the world but my heart had been prepared for Toronto for the last few months.  I'm a nomad now.  I feel lazy, useless, and stuck. I'm in a spiritual journey that has been rocked.  I'm suffering doubt, temptations, and self-pity.  What a disgusting state to be in.

Tuesday July 9th I'm on my own for the day!  I tried to find a team I could help while I'm here but it would seem God gave me some time alone.  There is clarity in being alone with God.  I'm no longer "stuck" in NYC, I'm in an adventure.  God is strengthening my desire to be in Toronto. God is confirming the problems aren't necessary a road block but may be guiding me (I stole this thought from some author).  I have been affirmed from all directions, prayed for by people all across America, and able to encourage as well as be encouraged.  God is providing for me and placed other believers in my path unexpectedly.

I'm thankful for my week of being homeless. It's taught me to not depend on myself.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A New Chapter

It has been awhile... busy with my list.

I've actually crossed off some things on my list for the year: I've read 35 books so far, rode a train to a new place, ran the diva half marathon and improved my time, went on a cruise and it was the most relaxing vacation ever (with a little romance ;) ), went on a canopy tour, reached my goal weight, and taken a picture for every day so far.  I also went to Canada which is the new country I visited. 

As if it weren't enough for me to set up all these new challenges, God seemed to think my list was too easy.  I will be moving to Canada for a year starting July 2!  This blog has now turned into my journey in Toronto.  I will be working with two church plants as the childrens' director and serve in the community around.  I'm stoked to be going but a new chapter is always bitter sweet.  Over the next week I'll take time to tell the story of how God brought me to this place, the struggles, answered prayers, and then eventually I'll be able to share the things God is doing in Toronto once I get up there.  I have so much to be thankful for. 

Tonight I'm sleepy... good night!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Fun To Be Had

Mmmm Another birthday has gone by.  I'm 28!  There, I said it!  But more importantly, I have another year to live, push myself, conquer fears, learn new things, and make a difference.  So I have a made a list of things I would like to accomplish while I'm 28 (Nov 9th 2012 - Nov 8th 2013).  Hopefully I can share with you as I complete the list.

(These are in no particular order)

1. Read 100 books
2. Conquer a fear (ride a horse)
3. Learn something new (how to ride a bike)
4. Go to a new country
5. Ride a train to a new place
6. Run the Diva half marathon
7. Ride a motorcycle
8. Swim with dolphins
9. Go on a cruise
10. Take a picture a day for the year
11. Try out for a production in the community theater
12. Canopy Tour
13. Reach and maintain goal weight 135lb
14. Penpal with an overseas soldier
15. I want Ellen DeGeneres to say my name "Lindsay Core"

I'm always open to new challenges.  Feel free to add suggestions!
I'll let you know the progress!