Monday, July 31, 2006

Old friends

I love all kinds of friendships for the variety of functions and purposes that they serve, but there is something special about old friends...

This past Saturday, and old friend came down to Montgomery for the day. We had the best time talking and hanging out, and I couldn't believe how fast the time passed. It was one of the most refreshing days that I've had in a long time, and it made me think of all the reasons why I love old friends.

1. Old friends know where you have you have been. They know your history, so you don't have to qualify answers or reasons for things.

2. You can pick up right where you left off fairly effortlessly. Time stops.

3. Old friends have supported you through crises, celebrated your happiness, and mourned your sadness.

4. You have been through many phases of life together: high school and all of the corresponding drama, college and major life decisions, disappointments in jobs and other friends, sad break-ups, exciting marriage journeys, deaths and new lifes.

5. You never have to guess where you stand or try to impress. You can just completely be yourself and know that you love and are loved.

Thank God for special friends... Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sadie and Maggie: Friends Forever

Last night was the big meeting: Sadie and Maggie. It went well considering that there was a 51 pound puppy meeting a 2 pound puppy. There was some mutual hiney sniffing, some staredowns, some mini growls and excited yelps, and some great pictures. Sadie gave Maggie a tennis ball and a football. She loves both of them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Welcome home, Maggie!

She has arrived! Our wonderful little bichon pup, Maggie Moo Crawford, entered her way into our hearts and our home yesterday afternoon. She is so tiny and marshmallow-y, weighing just 2 pounds. She has a spunky personality like her mom, Miss Feisty! After a rough 1st night (lost of yelping and destruction), she is settling in nicely. She has found her special bathroom places in the yard, and she is playing hard and crashing all the time. Her sister Sugar Sweet sent her a package of goodies today (thanks, Suzanne!), and her friend Titan brought her a present (thanks, Hnnah!). She is really excited about meeting her cousin Sadie, and her friends Princess Fifi Rodriguez and Chloe. All is well in the Crawford household. Hope you enjoy some of our recent pics.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ciudad de Angeles

We have returned from Cozumel where we spent 8 days working with the City of Angels. I was not looking forward to this trip; I had been anxious, almost dreadful, in my anticipation of my week in Mexico, but God's power and truth and love provided my week with so much purpose and love. I seriously did not want to come home.

Our time in Cozumel was spent working with the orphanage called "Ciudad de Angeles" which is an organization that has brought in 21 Mexican children who have been abandoned, removed from abusive homes, and have nowhere else to go. We put on a VBS for the angels, did a work project in the community, and put on a sports camp for the community. Each individual element of our trip provided us with the opportunity to step outside of ourselves, serve the Lord, and show unconditional love to these angels.

My specific job in the VBS was to teach the older angels ranging from ages 10-14. Last year, we had difficulty connecting with them, and so we put an extra effort into making the lessons and crafts more age appropriate. God truly blessed us in forming close relationships with them.

Whenever I come back from a mission trip, my initial reaction is to gush over every story and try to articulate every experience to my friends and family. I'm not sure how effective that type of communication is, even though my motives are to just make them feel a part of it all. This year I feel a bit more reflective in just trying to see what God wanted me to see in these children, in our teens, in my own walk with him. He was very good to me, and I feel as if he is truly restoring my soul. Patrick and I definitely caught the passion of this ministry, and it was refreshing to me since I have not bought into church-type stuff in the last year and a half or so... I know that God was gently reminding me that my faith is in HIM; my Christianity is in HIM. And because of that reminder, I feel like He may be ready to use me again. Patrick and I are praying about how we can be a part of this ministry long-term. Please pray for us in those ways.

God bless your day, and may you find purpose in your walk today.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Pilot's Wife

In less than 24 hours I have completed a fascinating book that my good friend Carrie lent me, The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve. (This was a former Oprah book club book and was written in '98.) I have been wanting to read her work for awhile, and yesterday Carrie brought over several of them for me to take on my trip to Mexico. (Yes, I am leaving for Cozumel in 12 hours and have yet to begin packing due to my entrancement with this book.)

I am very impressed by Anita Shreve and the way that she writes, and I was very disturbed by many of the things in this book because they were so real and gripping on me emotionally. The major plot of the story is about a woman who is widowed when her pilot husband is involved in an airplane crash (doesn't give me peace about flying tomorrow :)) and the investigation that follows. Her world is shattered when she learns that her husband is living a secret double life with another family, and all of her once-fond memories are now weighted with this all-consuming discovery. She cannot even grieve her husband because she realizes that does not know who he really was. There were so many things that she was naive about--bank records, his accomodations while traveling, his childhood. It really blew me away and made me feel sort of nosy, although I guess I'd rather be nosy...

Reading this book affected me personally. In my life, I have been blessed with a dad who has shown an example to my sister and me of how to be a good husband who not only loves but enjoys every aspect of his wife and his marriage. I am so thankful for that. I am also blessed with a great husband who seeks to be God's man and is selfless in giving love. However, I have also, in my life, experienced the pain and destruction that unfaithfulness in marriage causes for anyone related to the situation through several friends' and family's experiences that I have been closely connected to. For a long time, I wondered if I would ever be able to trust a man besides my dad. For a long time, I put off the thought of being in a serious relationship with anyone because I was afraid that I could not trust "him." For a long time, I kept Patrick at such an arm's length because I could not differentiate him from another... Thankfully, God continues to heal my heart by reminding me to trust in HIM. Thankfully, God is showing me that love can be pure and good and true--even when it gets hard.

One of the things that struck me in this book is when the wife, Kathryn, is talking to her friend Robert. He mentions that having a memorial service to honor her husband is something that God would want her to do. She reflects that never, in her 16 years of marriage, has she thought about what God would ask of her and Jack. Those words made me sad. I hope that no matter how high or low I feel spiritually, that I will always strive to do what God asks of me and Patrick. In premarital counseling, Jim emphasized in every meeting that "marriage is HARD WORK." He said it over and over, and I'm thankful for that. I have learned from situations that I've been involved in that people don't just wake up one morning and decide to be unfaithful (emotionally and/or sexually). Instead, somewhere, at some earlier point in time, the couple has stopped working at their marriage, has stopped connecting, and has a void that desires to be filled. Thinking about that freaks me out because it is so easy to just put your marriage in "cruise control" and coast along... I am committed, now more than ever, to work and pray and seek God in our marriage.

Upon finishing this book, my reactions are similar to how I felt after reading The Shofar Blew, by Francine Rivers... although at that time, I felt like I was watching that book being lived out...

Next on my list of Anita Shreve's are All He Ever Wanted and Wedding in December. Thanks, Carrie!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My country tis of thee...

Happy Birthday America!

I love the 4th of July. I always have. Some of the reasons I love this particular holiday are...
1.) cook outs
2.) watermelon
3.) homemade ice cream
4.) fireworks
5.) red, white, and blue
6.) time with family

I have many memories of beach trips, lake days, cookouts in the back yard, and always ALWAYS some good ole' homemade ice cream. This year we were able to meet all of the items on my list except for spending time with family... SAD. We are leaving for Mexico on Saturday, and with the holiday being in the middle of the week, we were unable to make a trip anywhere...
Since we couldn't be with our family, we decided to have some friends over who are also transplanted to Montgomery and couldn't be with their own fams.

I have really come to love having "parties," especially when there is a theme. I have been looking in magazines all month (well, including June) trying to come up with fun theme-ish food items, decorations, etc. Unfortunately, our party-planning budget is pretty tight, so I was not able to bring any of these ideas into fruition... Instead, I just came up with some make-shift, spur-of-the moment decorations, but it was fun and definitely 4th-of-July-ish. We took a few pictures to document the event... (Note: Pictures were taken after the party-which means that most of the food is gone, and, yes, I did halfway reset the table for effect. Also, we sort of forgot to take pictures of our friends who came... But we had fun, Hannah, Jan, Lindsay, Jeremy, Lance, and Jeremy!)

We ate hamburgers with all of the fixins, baked beans, chips watermelon, homemade ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies. Yum. Then we played an intense game of Cranium: guys vs. girls. It was neck and neck, but the girls were victorious!!! Overall, it was a fun night. God bless the U.S.A.