Thursday, October 24, 2013

facebook blog

I'm thinking of switching to facebook for blogging...

Like me over there if you're interested.  Maybe I'll get Kev to post a time or two?  or the kids?  :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Halloween Heroes

I love Halloween!  The true celebration of All Hallows Eve.  Celebrating and remembering heroes of the faith.  Missionaries.  Martyrs.  It's really a good holiday!  So let me share my afternoon game that I created.  It's Halloween Hero Go Fish!  :)  Print two of each on card stock paper, cut and...  that's it!  Go Fish!  (Do you have Brother Andrew?)

Every October we read a Hero's biography.  And we also read Hebrews 11 - the Hall of Faith.  And we usually read about Stephen every year, too, the first known Christian Martyr.  This year, I'd like to make some luminaries with verses about light on them.  I'll just have the kids search "light" and pick what strikes a chord with them!

Happy Halloween!

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders 
and the sin that so easily entangles. 
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. 
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, 
scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, 
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Adopt... an Embryo

We have big news!  It looks like we may be on THE PATH toward adoption!  After 15 years...  could this be IT?!

There is only one class left that we need to take to foster/adopt here in North Dakota.  It looked like we would just chase after fostering to adopt (which we still are open to...) when a new twist on adoption popped up in front of us!  I saw a couple online that recently adopted embryos!  Both Kev and I were interested.  There are around 600,000 frozen embryos in the US.  Families who do InvetroFertalization have several embryos created and some of them end up not being used...  thus the thousands of embryos that are frozen.  Some families donate the extra embryos to science (therefore they are killed), some pay for them to stay frozen for years, and some put them up for adoption/donation!

Tiny babies need families!

Our kids are interested in the idea but of course have different takes on it.  They had questions like will it be a boy or a girl?  Twins?  What will they look like?  (what race will they be?)  Some of them didn't really want to discuss how babies were made.  And the idea of babies being made outside a mama is confusing.  And babies, frozen?  To make it simple for his little brother, Benjamin said that they are frozen, like Han Solo.  So we need to call one Solo if we have a boy!  Ha.  A few days after we discussed the idea with them, our eight year old came home and said to me that he thought God was speaking to him.

"About what?"
"About the tiny frozen babies!  God didn't speak in a loud voice but I just can't stop thinking about them...  I think it's God."

So he has been sure to have us pray for them everyday (and has asked people at school to pray for the frozen embryos, too!).

Well, we are praying and we are also pursuing.  The first initial form has been sent in.  We have to schedule an initial appointment with a fertility doctor in either Denver or Mpls and also have a home study done.  There is another form to send in, as well, along with the initial fees for the adoption program.  We are taking steps forward and are excited and nervous to see if this is finally IT for us.  God will still have to pull of some big financial miracles for it to happen!  We already saw Him work a miracle in regards to donating toward our adoption but sadly, when the donator heard of our missions debt, they said to go ahead and use it for that...  Don't know why God had it go that way.  But we know He is still able!  He is big.  And babies who need families are loved by Him!  Set the lonely in our family...

I've always prayed that our babies out there would be safe and loved...  never imagined that they would be frozen!!

Let the fundraising begin!!

We still have an adoption fund and there is a paypal link on the side of this blog...
Help us spread the word?  We're excited to give a baby life.


In the spring, we lost our two dogs...  we also got new puppies!!

His Princesses Dance Recital

Band Day!

Mr Baseball

School's over!  Ice cream part-a!
Fire pit summer!  Best Christmas present, ever!

Playing at the parks in the summer

Benjamin and Pastor Jordan on their way to missions in Chicago!
Hannah got to go with Pastor Dan and Sara to help be part of the leadership at camp FaHoCha!

Fourth of July!
Camp Crawford!  Ruth and Elijah didn't get to go to kids camp (because Ruth was having eye/ear problems) so we had our own camp at home!

Blake (my brother) and Crystal and our nieces came to visit us!!

17 years!

back to school...
And Uncie Darin came to visit us the week school started!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Basement windows and God's will

Last night we asked the kids what their prayer requests were in regards to fostering/adopting.

-That the boys would be able to move into the room downstairs (-clean up and put in a larger basement bedroom window)
-Add more rooms to the house!  ;)
-Playground...  heh.
-Concerns about what the baby will look like:  cute baby  :)
-That it's a girl!  
-That we would know God's will!  (this was their own request)

On top of their requests we pray that we'd be prepared and patient.  That our hearts would be soft and flexible.  That we'd have wisdom to know which path to take...  there are a couple different programs to go with that are similar but different, too!  That we'd be tight and united as a couple and a family.  That we'd understand the challenges these kids face and be able to help them through them...  and help our kids understand it all, too!  (A lot of talk about problems regarding meth at our foster meetings...)  That I'd be able to establish a connection between the church and the area foster kids.  That our finances would line up and not be a hindrance.

We're so thankful we serve a big God who has a heart for the "fatherless" and the "least of these".  Praying our hearts would beat with His.  Stepping out and fixing our eyes on Jesus!  Equip us with everything good for doing Your will, Lord.  Work in us what is pleasing to You.  Thank you that You are the God of Peace!  (You brought Jesus back from the dead...  what problem is too big for You to handle!?)

Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace, 
who through the blood of the eternal covenant 
brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, 
that great Shepherd of the sheep,
equip you with everything good for doing his will, 
and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, 
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

foster to adopt

This weekend we start taking our first big steps toward fostering to adopt!  We've already had one short meeting but this weekend we will start taking classes that will bring us closer to having a foster baby/child in our home with the hopes to adopt.  Crazy!

As I look back, I can see God's hand leading us here.  For Kevin, his side of the family has had a lot of experience with fostering and adoption.  Aunts and uncles have fostered and adopted.  And his parents have always worked with needy kids.  They ran a youth home while Kevin was growing up and have also worked with unwed moms and adoption.  His grandparents, as well, were involved in the same ministry to unwed moms.  He has a heritage of ministry to needy youth.

I've always just loved kids.  Babysitting, teaching and aiding in preschools and classrooms.  Together Kev and I taught Sunday School when we dated.  I've been involved in MOPS (Mother's of PreSchoolers) for years with our five babies.  And I also worked to earn my 4 year degree in Early Childhood Education.

This is one way I see God's hand leading me.  I had to pick a topic for a paper in one of my classes in college.  I picked Abuse and Neglect.  Heavy.  Why did I pick that topic?  Not sure.  Then as college rolled on it was just easy to build on the topic I already had researched so my final paper, along with several papers in between, was on Child Abuse and Neglect.  I even thought maybe I should pursue Social Work but my heart is really to be involved more personally in kids' individual lives.  (I know some Social Workers are involved personally, too.  Maybe just for a shorter period of time?  Maybe the job just seemed intimidating...?!)  Now I see how God was probably preparing me, 15 years ago, for this season in our lives.  He's so cool that way.

I have to say that I took several Special Needs classes, too...  Not quite enough for a second degree, though, but several.  Hum...

We have been blessed with our own special needs baby.  And we have worked in a special needs orphanage.  We have already pursued adopting two little girls overseas with special needs and been open to adopting a third little girl who we were told needed a family.   (The first two have families now and we are still open to adopting the third, though it looks like she has a family, too.)

We are excited (and nervous) to see what's next!

Following His leading with my eyes alert and my heart reflective.

We Love Snow!

March in North Dakota...  It can either be 70 degrees or -10!  This winter we've had a few good days of snow storms with even a blizzard or two.  Most people right now are talking about how tired they are of winter and how ready they are for spring!  It's the first day of Spring, anyway!  Where's the sunshine and tulips?! 

Well, our family dances to our own beat, I guess.  I told the kids today that we're supposed to get another 2-4 inches of snow in the next day or two...  Whoo-hoo!!  They were so excited!  They even wish we'd get more snow.  Their sleds are ready.  Their snowpants are getting holes.  They're on their third or fourth hat of the season...  Our kids make the most of the snow!  Forts, slip n slides, snowball fights, snow angels, sledding.  One of our kids even made a snow baby who has since melted/broken away....   While they were playing in the last snowstorm, I heard one say that they wished it was more windy!?  Ha!  One hopes we get enough snow to swim in!  More snow!  We love snow.

Snow is like manna from heaven for us!  It's like God just dumps tons of white imagination in our yard and we bundle up and play hard, come in and drink tea and hot chocolate and snuggle down to a movie or some such thing.  So fun.

Their excitement got me to thinking.  Why does our family love snow when the others are ready for summer already?!  Why do I like the snow?  Well, for one thing, I like it because the kids love it and have so much fun imagining and playing together.  They play hard and come in ready to snuggle down together.  Good for everyone, right?

I also think I like the snow, and even the storm, because when we are all home and safe inside, we look out the window at the wild wind and the white flakes flying by and we sip our tea and hot chocolate.  It's crazy out and cozy in.  Kind of like the life of a Christian sometimes.

We can have crazy situations flying around us.  Moves, financial problems, broken down cars, family or kids issues...  Life is flying at us.  But we can retreat and sip some refreshment in the Word.  Refocus.  The Lord is a safe, quiet place in the middle of chaos.  We an sit back and look at the storm around us with His Word in our lap and know that we are protected and safe.  He sees us and He sees our storm.  And He is our refuge, our provider, our comfort.  He is the shelter in the storm. 

I am reading the book One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer and a line popped out at me the other day.  "Often when external blessing seems to elude us, internal spiritual gifts come tumbling our direction."  That seemed to tie in with my snow storm pondering.  When life looks like a a mess and we're left under a pile of snow, that can be the time that we receive the most from the Lord.  Or perhaps, that's when we look up and notice the most of the Lord's blessings?  This seems to be the time we grow the closest to Him.  Picture driving up in front of a house and through the whiteout, your eyes make out a glowing light coming through the window.  You run up, open the door, and take off your coat and foggy glasses.  Outside is crazy.  Inside is cozy.

I love being safe and warm in the middle of the storm.  Kind of like - In yo face, blizzard!  You can be wild and out of control and I'll sit here with my tea, and the Word, and watch you - knowing that God's got it all under control and takes care of me. 

Maybe we'll just go out and build a snowman in the morning!?

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Friday, February 08, 2013

family pics

 Fall 2012
us at the pumpkin patch in Grand Forks

 Crawford Christmas 2012
just us for Christmas this year...  part-a

Happy Birthdays!

Hannah turned 12 in October (she and Ruth are on the right)

Isaiah is One year old!!


Superman is 8!

How long an MK?

It's been two years since we've lived overseas as Missionary Associates in Armenia.  After having lived in a foreign country for two years, our kids have now been back in the states two years.  We are settled in pretty good.  They are in their second year of school.  All four of them have great grades and have made friends.  We're involved in church.   Sometimes we are just Americans.  Nice.  But other times they are still MKs.  For better or for worse.

Our kids have had experiences that other kids here just are not exposed to.  They spent time each week at a special needs orphanage.  They put on a puppet show there in the Armenian language.  They did ministry with balloon animals, play doh, face painting, etc.  They went to dance and basketball in a different culture, with teachers who spoke only Armenian.  (Besides the word "stOp" in dance class!!)  Our neighborhood was comfortable and we knew others who spoke English but at any given time we could have someone come up and not understand what they were saying.  All of the kids spent time in Turkey, growing with other MKs.  Doing new things.  Seeing new things.  Understanding in ways that kids in the states just don't get the opportunity to do.  I'm so proud of them and glad that God had that as part of His plan for us and for them.  Who knows how He will continue to use that in the future!?

But one of the downsides of our years away was that we also missed stuff here.  Our girls missed out on awards at dance this year that were given to the kids who had spent 5 years in dance.  Well, they have danced for five years, just some of that time was not in this country...  Hannah also missed out on being an Honor Star at church.  I didn't realize it as the year went on but when two of her friends were crowned, she shared her disappointment with me.  You need to spend 3 years in the Stars program and we were only states side for one and a half of those years.  Missed it.  There I sat with my arm around her thinking that I wasn't expecting to have MK issues still.  Now her little sister is working toward her Honor Star goal and we are remembering again how she just missed it. 

Benjamin played baseball last summer, too, after not even having a bat to swing those two years.  He almost just said forget it, even though he loved baseball.  He felt way behind.  But in the end he decided to try and did well.  He'll be playing again this summer, I'm sure.  Elijah might give it a go this year, too.  He didn't get to do t-ball or anything so he hasn't been sad about what he missed out on...  he doesn't know!  Heh.

We get settled back into life here but our kids will kind of be MKs forever, I guess.  Good or bad.  God has a plan for them and their tender hearts.  They missed stuff here that they just can't go back to redo but they also did tons of stuff overseas that I wouldn't want them to miss out on either.  All their experiences will be worked out for good.  And Armenia will forever be engrained in our hearts.  I like that part...  :)


This verse was saved as a draft a while back and I remember thinking it was important.  I will read it again and share with you how it speaks to me now, several months after the last impression.

Matthew 14 

Check out the three "immediatelies" in Matthew 14 and the story of Jesus walking on the water.  The first one comes right after Jesus feeds the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.  (v. 22)  "Immediately" he makes the disciples get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake while he dismisses the crowd.  I wonder if they wanted to stick around.  Maybe to help clean up?  Or to protect Jesus?  Or to see how he'd send the people away after such a great miracle?  Would the people go?  Did he need help?  (yeah...  um... 5 loaves and 2 fish...)  If I was at a conference as a leader, I know I'd be hesitent to leave immediately after supper...  There's still stuff to do, right?  But it appears that they obey and get in the boat and go.

The second "immediately" happens a little bit later.  (v. 27)  Jesus has dismissed everyone and has had some good alone time that evening praying on the mountain when there's a storm, or at least a great wind, and the disciples out on the lake are being tossed around.  Now it's the fourth watch of the night.  That means it's the last "watch" in the night which falls around 3-6AM.  I don't know about you but after spending many nights up with our babies, I can tell you that those hours are the longest, most exhausting hours to be up!  The disciples look out across the lake are "terrified" because they think they see a ghost.  It's Jesus.  And guess what he does?  "Immediately" he says to them, as they are crying out in fear, "Take courage.  It is I.  Don't be afraid."  He comforts them. 

Alright.  This is the one that kinda got me to think.  Immediately.  They are out on the boat.  Jesus sent them out alone.  He's not there.  The waves come.  They are afraid.  Terrified.  Where on earth is JESUS?  He should be here now.  When, immediately, there he is.  But they wanted him there just a few minutes earlier, right?  Like, before the waves got huge.  Before they were tossed around.  Before they were terrified.  That's when they wanted to have Jesus with them.  But when was he there?  Immediately.  Right when they needed him.  There he was.  He knew when the time was right to be there.  And when he shows up, what do they do?  Cry out in FEAR!  Heh.  So like us.  They doubt if it's him.  "Is it you?"  He already said it was.  So of course Peter asks to come walk out on the water with him.  (Love his courage.)  Yup, there he goes...  walking on water, too.  What does he do half way out?  Looks around and starts to sink.  Peter.  He's afraid again and cries out, "Lord, save me!"

Here's our third "immediately"...  (v. 31)  "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him."  The he says to Peter, "You of little faith...  Why did you doubt?"  Hold up.  The guy just walked out on the WATER.  To Jesus.  Give him a little credit, right?  Heh.  But he did look around and sink, too.  Big faith.  Big doubt.  Isn't that just like us, too...  Uff. 

I can be all 100% full of faith.  Ready to do anything for the Lord.  "Use me!"  "I'm ready!"  "Yes, Lord!"  For me, "Send the orphans to us!"  And then I have to wait.  And I don't see Jesus working out the big stuff I thought we were going to do together.  Where is he?  Or I start going and then things come into the picture that weren't part of the plan.  They seem too big to overcome and I wonder if this will really work?  Has he still got me?  Is this still the thing?  But just then (and not before) he shows up.  Immediately.  If he had shown up earlier, I would have just thought, "oh good...  clear sailing!"  instead of "Wow...  only God could do that!"

As soon as Peter and Jesus get in the boat the wind dies down and the other disciples worship Jesus and say, "Truly you are the Son of God!"

Sometimes what we go through, or the times we just wait and stay faithful to Jesus, are all part of the set up for us and others to observe.  Then when he comes, in his own "immediately" timing, we see and worship and know that He is God.  I'm looking forward to seeing him show up in the middle of our faith.  'Cause when he does, it's gonna be big.  And we are going to worship.  Immediately. 

too busy with life

Okay!  I haven't written on here for. ever.  I guess I've been too busy with life!  Ha.  I have, instead, written a few blogs in my head, mostly while showering because that is my quiet place!  :)  When we were overseas there was a lot that was new and I knew there were several of you here in the states wondering what life was like over there!  Now we're back and stateside and our lives are pretty similar to most of yours again!  School, work, baby, church...  So maybe I'm not pushing myself to keep up with this thing here!  However, I will try to post a time or two each month instead of every 6 months!  :)  If you happen to be one who is still reading this...  Nice to see you again!  And thanks for caring about what's new in the land of the Crawfords!! 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School...

Summer came and went!  Wow!  We were mostly busy doing, well, not much!  Sweet.  We did have a new niece born to Blake and Crystal, Laura Anne.  That's pretty exciting!  The rest of the summer was pretty basic stuff, like camps and parks and the pool...  Lijah learned to ride a bike!  We had a nice time sleeping in and doing whatever we wanted to that day!  Now it's back to the old routine!

The kids are at Trinity Christian School again and are loving it.  Ruth's disappointed that we have a three day weekend because she'll miss school on Monday!  Heh!  Teachers are fun and awesome...  and this year the kids are old pros.  They went to school last year and are pretty comfortable now.  (The previous three years we homeschooled so sending them to school last year was big stuff!)

Kev is back to school, too!  He's teaching Bible again at TCS as well as doing their tech/computer work.  It's been a busy month of preparation for the new year!  But now they're all off and running!

I'm home with little Mr Adorable.  We hang out with the puppies and try new things like applesauce and cheerios, sitting and rolling all over the house, and reading new books and singing songs together.  It's a pretty good deal!  :)

our five out at Springlake Park

first day of school...  2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grades!