Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where The Heart Is

When I set off for this adventure to Portland without my boys I didn’t know how it would all play out. Grateful for employment in a place where I would be with friends I anticipated being busy with work and social activities and even sort of felt excited to be “on my own” for a while. After all, if this was the way it would be I might as well make the best of it, right?

When I started my job I was “on call” meaning I could work 40 hours in the week or 10 and I would not know which. Thankfully I worked quite a bit, out of necessity for the center but also, I think, because they saw that they’d hired someone who was there to work and work hard. With so many hours at work I was not left with much time to sit idle, a blessing to be sure, because the first weekend away from my boys was very hard. I spent most of the weekend in tears and second-guessed our choice for me to be down there without them.

It is an interesting animal, loneliness. One can be surrounded by friends who are loving, and who you love and still feel lonely. This was a surprise to me. I had never experienced it before and my soul mate, my best friend, was busy taking care of our family in a different state. I couldn’t share it with him. I couldn’t just sit next to him and have him hold me through it. It was an awful feeling.

I’ve been able to go home throughout this experience, which is also a different kind of scenario all together. I remember the first time I went home. I was excited but knew that Logan had established a routine with the boys and I didn’t want to upset that. I was to be a visitor… a temporary presence, in the life of my husband and children… that was difficult to navigate. I didn’t want to rock the boat, but I am their Mom at the same time… It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t fit there. And I didn’t quite fit in Portland without them. Suddenly this grand adventure became a survival experience. And I turned at first in the wrong direction… back to what was familiar before I had a husband and children because that was what I had known. And it was not healthy.

Oh, I didn’t see the bottom of a bottle of Jack or any silly thing like that. But how much does it take to turn one’s heart from God? Not much I imagine and loneliness became the norm. ~ It was so different. So hard. I was living with our dear friends the Russells. No one can ask for a more loving family to be a part of, though there are so many in the PUMP community. I felt welcome, comfortable, useful and loved… yet, lonely. What a paradox.

And one Sunday morning I woke up in prayer. I woke up asking God… Create a clean heart in me. Renew me. Cleanse me. Show me your way, God. This loneliness can’t be from you. This can’t be what you had in mind for me in this time away from my family. I’m yours.

Things changed after that. I became aware of just how much I should have relied on Him all along… I shake my head, thinking I should have known from the start, but Satan has a way of playing his game and I didn’t anticipate him being such a strong player. I am just so grateful that God is bigger and stronger and so forgiving. I am thankful that I can turn back to Him and immediately be next to The One who will fight for me.

My trips home have not been easy. I’m still not sure where I fit in with them yet. Logan is an amazing husband and father. He has a way with the boys that I didn’t recognize before. The boys are even less dependent on me now than they were before I left, which I keep telling myself is a good thing… And I have found a bit of my own way of doing things, found that some independence is satisfying… something I still wonder over whether it is okay or not.

Right now I am house sitting at Cash Mountain. It is beautiful. Quiet. Solitary. I have had a chance to think about the last several weeks while I sit in front of a crackling fire in a comfortable, cozy house. I wonder what the point of all of this has been. What is God up to in this? Well, this is what I know…

Jesus is still the most perfect man to have lived. His life and sacrifice are perfect partners because without one the other is pointless. The two together offer a kind of peace that is beyond human understanding. That this is freely offered to the world, to me, is unfathomable and it draws me to want to be everything He wants me to be. There is no loneliness when one stands in His peace.

I need Logan like a shadow needs light. I can be with the best of friends and have a good time, but I am only half as much as I can be without him next to me, in my life, every day. God has made us one flesh and I need to be next to him. This I would not have fully recognized without this time apart.

Our children will become more and more independent of us. So, we need to show them how important it is to be dependant on God, His grace and His peace. Every day.

On Christmas Eve I will go home for the last time. I have a one-way train ticket that pulls out of Portland at 8:30 that morning. We’ll spend Christmas together and every day after that. ~ That is eleven days away and I can hardly wait!

We’ll find a new normal in Portland, I’m sure. Many things will be different. Some things will be the same. I will still have a loving husband and wonderful children (and a cute dog). God will still be forgiving and faithful.

Everything else… is just details.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Five years ago, just after 11pm, Nolan Keith Crumrine was born into this world. And from the beginning we knew he would be different from Kevin. He was a very laid back baby, loving his swing and preferring to go to sleep on his own... Yes, different might be mild in contrast to Kevin. Opposite is more like it.

When Nolan was six weeks old he was in the hospital with a severe case of RSV. I think I need to put this in here for myself more than for others. I don't want to forget this time because it means that I won't forget God's leading in our lives when we were so worried for him, or our family and friends who surrounded us when we prayed for him, or how much we cherished each breath he took, every smile he gave... and that he survived.

I don't remember when this was taken. But this is my grandpa (one of them). I love this picture. My grandpa had hands that were well worn by work and living. But they turned soft and loving when he held his grand babies. Nolan was one. ~ This is the only picture I have of them so close together.

Warping what feels like lightyears from then until now...

Nolan is five today. He is beginning to read and write. He loves playing Lego Starwars and digging in the dirt. He is intelligent, loving, imaginative, considerate, introverted and musical. He loves to sing.

There is no one else on earth like my sweet boy. I don't know what the future holds for him but I know it will be blessed by God and we will be blessed to have him in our lives.

I love you Nolan! Happy Birthday, my love!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend!

Last weekend we got to go to Portland. And we had a BLAST!

On Friday we tried to go to the zoo but it was so crazy busy that we couldn't find a parking spot... even after 25 minutes of driving around the lot. So we decided to go back on Saturday.

But not before the boys and I went and walked on "Caiti's Crew!" in the Light the Night Walk.

TONS of Caitlin's family were there, as were PUMP Church people and friends of the family. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Caiti and her continually amazing progress in the right direction with the Leukemia she is fighting. It was also a strong reminder that there are people every day who still fight for their lives, and some that loose it to Leukemia or Lymphoma. ~ I will walk for Light the Night every year that I am able. I cannot think of a more worthy cause.

The boys went with me at the last minute. I'm glad they did.

They got to be part of Caiti's Crew which was 65+ people strong. (I would post a picture of Caiti, but I didn't get a good one of her.)

Caitlin is doing well. You can read about her journey by clicking here.

On Saturday afternoon we went to Heritage Farms with the Russells and did a little playing around. A hay maze, a bouncy apple house... thing, a hay ride and a honey crisp apple later we were all exhausted and headed home for dinner and bed time.

But we got some great pictures in the process. Here are a couple.

Saturday morning, though the four of us went back to the Zoo to try to get a parking spot and scored BIG. We had an absolute BLAST! We had a great time together, got to see the new Predators of the Serengeti exhibit which was WONDERFUL and generally had a REALLY great experience. Even ZaZa got to go and posed for a picture with one of the lion statues.

Then on Sunday Logan led worship at PUMP which was also a great experience so we basically had a GREAT weekend on all counts.

Russells, thanks again for opening your home to us.

Gettin' In Gear

Well, I start a new job next Wednesday. I'll be working for First Gear Academy which is a day care under the Knowledge Learning Corporation. It's pretty much the ideal job to be going back into day care for (and since day care wasn't my first choice you can imagine that it would have to be a pretty sweet deal). Not only is the center brand new and state of the art, but I am being offered fantastic pay and benefits.

There's gotta be a catch, right?


It's not enough for our whole family to move to Portland on. So I'm going down ahead of the family and beginning work while they stay here. Kevin is established in school and Nolan will enjoy time with Logan. Logan will continue to look for work in the Portland metro area and we will work on getting the boys down to PDX as soon as possible. ~ It sucks. But it's the best of two difficult options at this point.

So we are investing in a web cam and plan to have our family time over the world wide web. I plan to read books to the boys over the web cam, we'll still do our Bible and prayer time over the net, and basically be able to check in with each other and even maybe hang out a little... sort of... We are basically trying to make the best of it... and if it becomes unbearable or is simply not working, we will re-evaluate it.

So all of that being said, I can say that I am pretty excited about simply having a job.

One question I get a lot is, "Where will you live?" Answer: Tim and Cheryl Russell have graciously offered me a place to lay my head and feel at home. I will take them up on it and be staying with them for a time. "Thank you" really doesn't express my gratitude, but it will have to do for now.

The other question I get a lot is, "What will you do if Logan gets a job somewhere else?" Answer: I go where he goes. If he gets a job in some other town I will go too. It's that easy. But we are hoping that he is able to find something in the Portland area (Vancouver, Gresham, Beaverton, Oregon City are all acceptable places as well).

Friends and family, many of you have prayed for us for a VERY long time. Thank you for that. Please, we still covet your prayers for us. Please pray for Logan to find a job, for Kevin to continue to do well in school and for Nolan to continue to thrive.

Peace to your house.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Well, I have done it again. I've managed to turn a relatively harmless kitchen utensil into a blood thirsty harbinger of pain and destruction.

In the kitchen of the house where we currently reside, lives a brand new cheese grater. It is marvelous for grating cheese quickly because it is sharp.

Very. Sharp.

So sharp, in fact that one should not blink while using it. That was my mistake today. The cheese I had in my hand turned in my fingers as I pushed down on it and the grater and I managed to grate the end of my thumb... off.

Gone. My thumb curves around up nicely from my palm to the nuckle to the base of the nail and up to the tip like normal and then... flat. Gone.

In an instant my thumb was bleeding like nothing I've ever experienced before. And it didn't stop bleeding for quite some time. Two soaked pressure bandages and some hours later it managed to stop and now it's wrapped up nicely so I can try to get some sleep.

Logan has been a tremendous help and even Kevin has too. He has been a great helper for me and coached me through Logan taking the first bandage off, "Grit your teeth, mom.... keep breathin' mom... ohhhh that's a good one mom... look at all that blood dad... don't look mom, you don't want to see it..."

The moral of this story... Beware of the Cheese Grater!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things I have learned in the last three days...

That walking away from the computer and email for two days is not greater than or equal to the world falling down around one's ears.
One's self image can be corrected with a full length mirror and a good light.
That yelling at one's kids is neither helpful or healthy.
Luna was right, "No matter where it is, home is a wonderful place."
The whole of one's meaningful worldly possessions really can fit in one bag...
...and that a good bag will have at least one good Post-It pocket.
One cannot catch up on sleep.
Grape vines are a wonderful metaphor for the way Jesus grows, or wants to grow in one's life. The vines are deeply rooted and reach all the way through the branches, curling and intertwining itself to make it stronger.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moving, A Kind of Testimony

Four years ago, when we moved to Portland, we promised ourselves that we would never make a decision about where we lived based on the church in the area. Having gone through some difficulties and learning some hard lessons we thought that was a good decision... a wise choice. - We didn't realize we were challenging God.

We have learned what it means to be Christians at PUMP... how to trust God, how to love people unconditionally, how to worship without shame, how to invite people to Jesus' banquet table, how to see that God is alive and active in this world...

So less than a year ago when Cascade announced it's closing there was one thing we talked about that night... we love PUMP church and want to stay in Portland. And for the last several months the concentration of our job search has been in PDX. But the economy is what it is, and to date, there have been only "Thanks but no thanks" letters and a quiet phone.

Where do we go from here? Further into God's plan for us. And right now we know that He is providing for us the way He always has. We are blessed to have two sets of parents who have opened their homes to us. And we find ourselves humbly accepting... a little puzzled at the fact that it is so far away from PUMP... but trusting that God knows what we need, both physically and spiritually.

So on Monday morning we will roll out of Portland for a time, we pray, and head to live with my parents in Marysville, WA. Anyone who knows my parents and has been to their house knows that they are empty nesters... sort of. - When they moved into that house they had a dedication party. The house was prayed over and promised to be a place where God would be glorified and family and friends would be welcome. And that is what it has been. So it's our turn to occupy the Casparek basement, to enjoy the blessings God has given to them, and to see what God has in store for us next. We pray every day... sometimes every hour, sometimes every minute... that God will open doors for us in Portland... because we love PUMP and the impact we are making on Northeast Portland, and on each other. (God showed us, didn't He?)

One thing we have learned is that God goes before us, is with us, and looks forward to us realizing He was there all the time. That he really was, is and always will be... So while we aren't waiting for work to fall from the sky, we are trusting in Him, that He guides our hearts and so He guides our decisions.

We have learned a lot and look forward to this new adventure for our family.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oh Joy!

Yesterday was a good day.

New purse.

New wallet.

New planner.

New Post-Its.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Missing You

We missed you on Saturday. Jordan and Andrea got married, but you already know that don't you? Andrea was beautiful and Jordan was so handsome and "grown up". - I've only ever known Andrea as an adult so maybe that's why I was so giggly about my "little cousin" getting married. And to even see him dancing... what a sight!

When the grandparents were seated, I thought of you. But I thought you would be happy that Mr. and Mrs. Green sat in your place. ~ When Jack stood up at the front to welcome the bride and groom into the circle of matrimony I thought of you. I thought of my wedding and your place there, and I missed you here. ~ And when the M.C. talked about the quilt that was passed down through generations for the new Crofts, I thought of you. ~ When I looked around at all of our families that were there, all of the grandparents in our family now and the new generations getting their "good clothes" all grassy, arm wrestling at our feet and throwing rocks in the fountain... I thought of you. How you would have liked to see the incredible arrangements on the tables, Andrea's bouquet and the boutonnieres. Mom and Janie crafted the flowers, they were beautiful.

When I drove by your old house on Everson Goshen Road, I thought of you... I couldn't tell if the little play house was still there without going into the yard. And I didn't think the owners would appreciate a grown woman milling around on their property... looking starry eyed with memory and emotion. So I just imagined that it's still there and spent some time enveloped in memories... of playing soft ball with Leonard, motorcycle rides with Neal, tea and crackers in the play house, picnic lunches in the woods, picking and eating the blackberries in the woods...

I don't know when I'll be back up that way, but I do know that I love thinking about you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

...on my birthday...

Well... I'm 31.


Sunday, June 21, 2009


This day has gone by with break neck speed. Now, I sit in a quiet house, catching my breath and preparing my mind for the week. Here are some snap-shot-thoughts from the day and about the coming week...

Reading the Bible has not been a priority for me lately. I find myself feeling remorseful for that.

There are only 24 hours in each day. No more. No less. Sitting idle is not an option.

I miss Fiona already.

Today is Father's Day. I love my Dad, my Father In Law and my Husband because they are men who choose to seek God and show my boys how to seek God. 

I am struck with peace when I step out of my house and look at the garden I built with my mom this weekend. 

Controlling my tongue comes with more challenges than I anticipated. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sitting Outside on a Warm Spring Evening

It's hard to describe the feeling of freedom I've been experiencing over the last couple of weeks. And if you've never been a Residence Director or maybe an apartment manager or worked in a job that required your residence to be your place of employment, you may not understand the kind of freedom I am talking about. 

See, for the last four years as we've worked as RDs we've experienced a sort of... bondage... though that's not the best word for it, I can't think of a better one right now. While students were on campus there was always an expectation that we would be available no matter what time of the day or night. And to some degree that was true. So it caused me to feel like if I didn't want to talk to anyone (who doesn't have those days?) or if we were ill or just needing a reprieve we would have to shut ourselves up in our house. And even with the blinds closed, the door shut and the lights off, there were still bound to be students who came to our door for one thing or another. Seriously, sometimes even going from our front door to the car was tricky. Sometimes it seemed as if they were watching from their dorms to see when we would go outside (or wait in the lobby in York Landreth as the case was for three years) and then make a bee line for us.

Now granted, when we had a student come to our door with his head split open because he pushed the bunk bed above him off of the pegs, that was a legitimate need. But, really, it's not my problem that you've forgotten your key at 3 o'clock in the morning. 

Okay, back to the freedom part. 

This evening I am feeling sort of tired, and it's been around 87 degrees today in Portland. Not a dry heat like we enjoyed last weekend in Ellensburg. I don't feel like doing much. So I made a cup of herb tea (mom will be happy about that) and am currently sitting outside in my garden chair next to my fuchsias and petunias, blogging about the experience and enjoying the cool breeze the... hum of the freeway... and... the sirens... Hm, now that I pay attention to the sounds, it's not so peaceful, but that's not the point. The point is that I can sit outside with a cup of tea and my dog at my feet and enjoy the freedom of being outside without feeling obligated in any way to socialize or take care of any sort of issue. 

It's nice.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cutest Blog On The Block

I tried to add a back ground from this website, but I think you may have to pay for the back ground to be able to keep it. Maybe it's designed to expire, causing you to go back to the site... or maybe just get frustrated and take the darn thing back off of your blog and go back to a pre-designed template from blogger. 

Either way, I'm settled on this background for now. I'd like to find a cool, cute, modern background for my blog, but doing that is at the bottom of my to do list and I'm not willing to pay for it at this time. 

So, here you go... for the three readers that keep up with my blog. :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Please excuse the naked nature of my blog. I had a cool background added but it disappeared. I'm not sure what I did wrong or whether it was just a temporary one...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How are ya?

Lately when someone asks me how "things" are going, I find myself somewhere between the cordial, "We're great. Everything is fine," and "Do you have a couple of hours?" I mean, really, we are looking for work which is compounded by finding (and paying for) a new place to live, my best friend is moving to Texas (with blessings), our church is navigating a significant spiritual awakening (which we don't want to move away from) and Logan and I are trying to get healthy (just thought I would interject one more parenthesis statement). - Don't get me wrong, there is peace among all of these things. God is showing his provision for us daily and I don't doubt that something will work out for us in the long run. He has always been faithful to us despite our human-ness. But my point is that I don't really know what to say to someone who says, "How are you?"

That's all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dwelling in the Word

This is what I've been dwelling on lately...

  "Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home. Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 
  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 
  About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost. But Jesus spoke to them at once. "It's all right," he said. "I am here! Don't be afraid."
  Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water." 
  "All right, come," Jesus said.
  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.
  Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. "You don't have much faith," Jesus said, "Why did you doubt me?" And when they climbed back into the boat the wind stopped. 
   Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed.

A few thoughts and questions that have been going through my mind about this...

-Do you think Jesus walked on water to prove his sovereignty over it or out of convenience? He'd had a hard few days: he was rejected in his home town, his cousin was beheaded, he'd just finished feeding thousands of people and then went and prayed all night... Do you think maybe he was tired?

-Jesus' response to Peter was "instant" but Peter never answered Jesus' question.

-I have had some "get out of the boat and trust me" events in the past year. I desire so deeply to be able to keep my eyes on Jesus and not notice the waves.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some months in review...

October, 2008

We played in a huge pile of leaves right outside our apartment.

Nolan turned 4 on November 9th. Kevin turned 6 on November 16th. For both we had a small party at home with some of the boys' student-friends. It was fun to see everyone watch "Kung Fu Panda" and "Star Wars" and visit with the boys.

We had Thanksgiving at my Mom and Dad's house, and set up some Christmas decor to take some pictures for cards. It was so nice to spend time with the family. There was a LOT of laughter and good time together.


... and Nolan fell in love with Light Brite at Gramma and Papa's house.

We added a little one to our family.

This is Chukha (chooka).

And played in the snow a LOT.

We got to spend Christmas with Grammi, which was a lot of fun too.

And, this is my favorite picture right now.
Not pictured here are the events of the last few weeks: helping friends move into their new house, shopping (yes, I said shopping), time with good friends and the transformation that PUMP is under, along with other events on campus and in the Portland area. I hope to blog more soon, but life is busy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

There are several drafts in my dashboard about various things that I want to formulate and post, but life is busy and my connection is slow so the motivation to sit and wait for pictures to upload or spending the time at the computer to get it all written down is just not there. 

Since I posted last there are several events that have taken place that have struck my heart or my mind in a way that causes me to feel differently about people and places. Even my self image and esteem have changed in ways that is difficult to express. Work is different, church is different, changing and exciting, home is steady and peaceful and health is tumultuous at best. 

Through all of it there is a truth that never ceases to prove itself over and over again: Jesus Christ is the Messiah, my Savior, the one perfect man that I can count on... the one the men in my life try to be like, the one my sons learn about, the one I lean so heavily upon. God has always and will always provide for our family... in a way that carries no monetary value... which I think is the kind of provision He wants us to be focused on.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.