July 25, 2011

An Apple All Day

New to the world of Apple products, I have to admit that the iPhone I received for Christmas has become a game changer for me. I did not beg for it. I didn't really know what I was missing. But I a fully integrated user now. The calendar allows me to make plans on the spot with people, and I am proud to announce an end to that cycle of needing to call people back once I get home to check my paper calendar. I now can give you an immediate answer. "Yes, we are free for a family hang out night 3 weeks from Tuesday." Or, "sorry to miss out, but our 8 year old is already attending two birthday parties that day. We better not add a third." (That has actually happened.)

The camera is amazing. I take pictures and videos and instantly email them to the grandparents. This photo project was often postponed until I could get home to upload pictures. Half of the time, that never actually happened. Let me know if I owe you a picture from some event we attended together. I'll get right on that.

That smart little phone is improving my integrity. I can now instantly accomplish the things that people ask of me, and therefore keep my word before life intereferes.  In May, the FaceTime capability on the iPhone4 allowed me to see my newborn nephew Ryan for the first time. That video chat melted the miles for this aching aunt.

Add to the list that I can listen to worship music on the iPod feature, and I have a solid case that the iPhone has improved my life in so many ways. Last night, I accidentally left my phone at home for a few hours. I was suprised at how many times I reached for it to check something or send a quick email to someone. Prior to owning this phone, my phones were always hand me downs from my husband. I was often sporting last year's coolest new technology, but without a data plan, I could not surf the internet or check my email. As you can tell, I am a fan now.

All my boasting is in the Lord. (I heart the Apostle Paul.)This post is not intended to brag on Apple or smartphones in general, but I would like to recommend to smart phone owners: YouVersion, the Bible application. Currently, I am reading through the Old Testament, a project I have needed to tackle for quite some time, using the YouVersion app on my iPhone.   The thrill of looking forward to checking my daily Bible reading plan that I can access wherever I am, whenever I can. My lifestyle and my schedule is subject to the needs of four other people, and that is on a slow day.  In August, that number will rise dramatically when I am working full time.  As I am reading through Genesis and Isaiah, I often select the option to have the passages read aloud to me. A deep, soothing voice reads that passage from the NIV, and then I often re-read it in several other versions to grasp the full meaning of what I am studying.

In an effort to post about the blessings in my life, I must highlight God's Word. I am so thankful to have Bibles on every flat surface in this house. I am having so much fun, exploring the Word through YouVersion on an Apple all day long.

July 22, 2011

Reading and Writing

My children all love books. It is a Crawford thing. Each day, members of the Crawford family each take a book and disappear to read. This was a novel concept to me when I began dating Dan. My family read too but I mostly talked, and my house was loud. It was difficult for me, the socializing instigator that I was, to concentrate on a book. I never wanted to leave the hub of activity and conversation in our family den. But Dan's family loves to visit and talk and then politely leave one by one, to be alone to read. On my first visit to their home, I could not figure out where everyone was. Had I missed an announcement? Where was everyone? Reading? Really? I didn't even bring a book!

But now I do. We all bring books when we visit. We laugh and play games and watch movies and then escape to quiet places to read. It's so peaceful. I have learned to love that option. And our kids understand that. They know how to unplug from media and from conversations to escape and enjoy quiet reading.

Jesus often found a quiet place to pray. He separated Himself to talk to the Father. He stepped away. That is a great practice for me as well. As a socialite,  I require quiet to read and to write and to pray.

As I prepare for the school year as an English teacher, my thoughts are often on reading and writing. And I am often praying. My prayers include thankfulness for my mother, the writer, who transformed my brown paper lunch bags into keepsakes. (One day I will share those poems, riddles and stick people cartoons with you.) She has written volumes of letters to me, exhorting me to march forward with the Lord. Her personal testimony has been shared with many seekers, and her original phonics songs have helped many learn to read. Her gifts and communication skills are unsurpassed.

More heartfelt gratitude to God for my husband, the writer. Dan is a songwriter and a quick wit. He can weave impressive dialogue for a screenplay. He can concisely share something in passing about a Scripture that he recently read. His small observation will change my perspective for years. His creativity is contagious.

My 89 year old granddad writes new poems every week; almost everyday he calls my parents to read his latest piece. A lifetime of wisdom or a moment of silliness may come forth in his rhymes, but his experience is valuable.

His precious late wife once told me that poetry was challenging work. Grandmother taught me that poets had to make each word do the job of several other words as well. She fine tuned her daughters' and my works so that we could be proud of our accomplishments. Her diligence was admirable.

The Lord is dropping hints about what I should share with my classes this year. My hope is to share the gifts that were kindly given to me: a quiet place to learn and think, communication skills, freedom to be creative, wisdom, and the diligence to finish what you start.

Blessings, All.

July 3, 2011

Employees Must Wash Hands

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you
Oh, the joys of work life. One of our favorite family anecdotes is when my brother David graduated from college and began working at his first job in Atlanta. One weekend, while visiting with our Mobile, Ala. family, our 7 year old nephew reminded him "that you better wash your hands in the restroom now that you are an employee." It makes me laugh to think how many times he probably read that sign and misunderstood its meaning. 

[energizing and creating in you the power and desire],
Over the past dozen years as a full time mom, I have frequently worked part time jobs as well. Eight years ago, I became ministry- minded. The Holy Spirit nudged me to start writing and sharing devotionals that could encourage other moms. Hosting play and pray dates was my favorite part, I think. Three years ago, Dan and I home schooled the girls. That year, we toured the Southeast for me to speak and lead Encouragement Events for the friends of our friends. Writing workbooks that complemented live events was fruitful. Devoted Living Media continues, but is primarily a website ministry at present.

both to will and to work
At the end of April 2011, I accepted a six week substitute teaching job at our daughters' school. Something amazing happened to me. I fell in love with teaching. Let me qualify that statement: I fell in love with this age group, at that school, working for that principal. When that principal offered me a full time job at that school with that age group (high school) for this new year, I joyfully accepted.

for His good pleasure
So, my pursuit of a corporate marketing position has been detoured, and I'm peaceful about it. Dan and I had already planned for me to return to work this year. My resume was posted on Monster.com. My inbox was filled with job listings in my area. This family was almost ready for its full time mom to return to the marketplace. Well, one kid was crying about it, because she admittedly does not like change of any kind.

and satisfaction and delight.
All three kids were already registered to be in school together this year: William in K-4, Charlotte in 3rd grade, and Julia in 8th grade. We now understand that God planned for me to be there too.

- Philippians 2:13 from the Amplified Bible