When Darren and I first came to Fortress Church (in 2003), we kept hearing stories of Joe and Laura. Joe this. Laura that. Joe and Laura had ministered at Fortress for a couple of years, but had moved to Brooklyn just a few months before we arrived, so we never knew them.
Then they learned that there was a problem with Laura's pregnancy, and since so many of my Fortress friends were concerned for them, and since we prayed for them constantly, I began following Joe's blog. We met once when he and Laura visited Fort Worth when she was still pregnant with Ira, but only briefly. Our friendship was really born in blogdom. I'd comment here and there, and Joe commented on my blog here and there as well. We began chatting occasionally, and once, 18 months ago, our family actually stayed overnight at Joe's parents home in West Texas on our way to Colorado.
The afternoon we spent in Brooklyn was the first time Darren and I have ever sat down and talked with Joe and Laura face to face, just us. But we weren't strangers. It was like seeing old friends again. We were comfortable with each other, because we KNOW each other. I think it's amazing how small the internet makes our world. But more than that, I love how our common bond - our commitment to and love for God - connects us in such a real, authentic way.
ANYway, when we saw the sign, with Joe's name on it, I couldn't contain my excitement! It might as well have been on a Broadway marquee!
After church, we walked another block to Joe and Laura's brownstone apartment, where Laura had lunch ready for us in the crockpot. We were expecting to take them OUT to lunch (we'd offered ahead of time), so eating in was a huge and welcome surprise. (Yes, even *I* get tired of eating out. And besides that, eating out in Manhattan is way more expensive than it oughta be!)
Their apartment is TINY - maybe 900 square feet. Two small bedrooms (as in, barely enough room for a bed.) No patio, no deck. And yet, they're happy. Sometimes they miss having a yard, and space to get out and move around, and privacy. And they miss their families. But they're happy. They LOVE Brooklyn and NYC and feel totally at home there. He were are on their stoop (Ira was already down for his afternoon nap):
After a couple of hours of chatting and being made to feel completely welcomed and at home, Joe announced that he was taking us to the Brooklyn Promenade for an amazing view of Manhattan.
We spent a good hour strolling along the promenade, talking about how the skyline has changed over the years (there are some really cool bronze plaques that show the skyline, beginning in 1776.) Joe gave us some history about Brooklyn. Then we took another couple of photos with the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan in the background. Joe obliged us for another cheesy kissy pic. :)
The air was so crisp, the sky so clear.... that I insisted we walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. Darren was hesitant because of my dumb ankle, but in the end, I won and we did it! So cool. One of my favorite things we did!! (And it was FREE. Woo hoo!) It was all kinds of cold up there, but SO worth the views! My ankle was only a little worse after the trek. The only
time it gave me any trouble was on the downhill side of the bridge.
It was a perfect way to spend our Sunday!