Same Sun, Shifting Perspectives: Cru Millennials Retreat by Amanda Liew

As a Californian, I've taken a lot of things in life for granted. If I could do my high school years all again, I would have marched the few blocks down the street to the beach every single day and soaked in as many blissful moments of sunshine as I could to negate the next 6+ years on the East Coast. One thing that didn't even occur to me, though, was that I would lose something very special: sunsets over the water. Believe it or not, a funny little thing called geography kind of gets in the way of that when you switch coasts. So despite a total lack of sleep during this past weekend's Cru Millennials Retreat, when I got Paul's blast at 1am saying a sunrise viewing on the beach was happening, I decided 4-5 hours of sleep was sufficient.

There are few things in this world that I will wake up early for, but the opportunity to experience a snippet of my old life, just differently, was well worth it. We lucked out with just the right amount of clouds, just the right amount of evolving colors, and just the right amount of awe & wonder to settle into our souls. The thing that I love about sunsets and sunrises is that in the span of less than an hour, you have the same sun, but shifting perspectives. As the minutes go by, the sky changes, your squinting needs to adapt, even how you view people begins to shift. And somehow, that's just the perfect way to encapsulate what the weekend retreat was like. 

Cru Millennials is an incredible ministry that seeks to create a community among young adult Christians in New York City. They have a huge heart for connecting wide and connecting deep, and I was lucky enough to hear about the annual beach retreat to Ocean Grove, NJ this year. With zero expectations beyond the promise of the ocean, I dove straight in, and found such beauty. From the lifting of shame to the necessary reliance on God's strength instead of our own, there were so many verses that were exactly the same, but was now viewed with a different perspective. As we broke out into smaller groups, it continued: seeing these same topics now through the eyes of others, learning from their wisdom, sharing my own. It never ceases to amaze me that even after 10+ years of being a Christian, I'm constantly learning to see through different lenses. But then again, I suppose that's just reflective of the infinite beauty of knowing God. 

Many thanks to all the staff & volunteers of Cru Millennials for making this weekend as beautiful, fun, relaxing, and welcoming as we all needed. And if you'd like to learn more or get connected, don't hesitate to reach out!

Sunsets on the Hudson: Pier i by Amanda Liew


Taste: 3.8 / 5Ambience: 5 / 5 Would you want to eat there again?: Definitely - more for the environment than the food, though! Was the price worth it?: Yes!

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to celebrate two very special people at Pier i: Tutu, who had just turned another year older, and Victoria, who completed her first half-marathon. We threw the phenomenal pair a semi-surprise party (one where they only knew something was happening, but not exactly what) and Pier i was the perfect location! It's often difficult to find locations where you can find good food, solid drinks, an excellent ambience, decent prices AND not have to deal with getting caught in a reservation. For events where you know people will trickle in here and there, perhaps spontaneously bring another friend along, forget to RSVP, etc., you need flexibility for your fun, and Pier i offers exactly that. Set along the Hudson River at 70th & Riverside, Pier i offers a wide variety of food options, but is also casual enough that you can easily pull up more chairs and tables as people arrive. The food, while quite tasty, is definitely not the reason you're coming here. Since there's no such thing as a secret in New York City, it's always tough to first stake out a good spot, but the wait is always worth it - I promise. If I didn't live on the East Side & wasn't so incredibly lazy, I would be at Pier i every other weekend.

What we ordered: Maine Lobster Roll, Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Calamari, Fresh Blueberry Lemonade_DSC0307_SemiSurprise _DSC0305_SemiSurprise _DSC0311_SemiSurprise _DSC0317_SemiSurprise _DSC0313_SemiSurprise _DSC0362_SemiSurprise _DSC0294_SemiSurprise _DSC0342_SemiSurprise _DSC0354_SemiSurprise _DSC0355_SemiSurprise _DSC0359_SemiSurprise