Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall News!

It's been a while since I gave an update on the boys, so I thought I'd fill you all in on what's new (and old) with them.
Here's a little brotherly love to get us started!

Luke is growing, growing! It never stops, does it?? Right now some of his favorite things are:

Blue's Clues!! He only has one DVD that has 3 episodes on it but he loves to watch it. His favorite episode is the one where Joe and Blue are playing store.... which leads me to his other favorite thing, playing store! He plays with some of our old gift cards for his 'money'. I think it's crazy that when I was little I played with fake money.. not cards! Anyway, he doesn't have a cash register (Santa's bringing that!) so right now he uses either his v-tech computer or his tackle box for his cash register. He still loves to play trains or cars and he loves for me or Daddy to sit and read books to him. He also likes to 'read' books back to us. He is very interested in letters and is asking all the time, what letter is that (pointing to a word) or what letter does ____ start with. We still do different learning and crafts throughout the week and he always enjoys that. This week we made the classic turkey out of his hand print. He had fun gluing all of the feathers on and then coloring the turkey with markers.

We also found some leaves that had fallen to press between wax paper. I did all the ironing but he helped me lay the leaves out on the paper and also he helped me cut them out. He's doing pretty good with his scissors but he gets impatient and then just wants to tear it! Hopefully we can make a scrapbook of them sometime soon. Here is Luke with his favorite leaf:

As far as other issues, Luke is doing well with going to the potty when he has to pee... Not so much for the other. Actually never. I'm trying to stay positive and just know that he will go when he is ready. I do have to make him go sit on the potty to pee though otherwise he holds it and either is making a mad dash to the toilet or has an accident.

Feels strange to move from potty talk to food talk but oh well... such is my life! Luke is still a very picky eater. I often joke that he would starve if we didn't have chicken nuggets and bread. Luckily, I make sure we never run out so we're ok. The Hubs and I are sticking to our guns at supper time. He eats what we eat or he doesn't eat. Our rule is that he must put two things that we are eating on his plate (that way he doesn't just have a roll on his plate). He may not eat it but it has to at least be on his plate. He's doing okay with this although he does sometime still want to throw a fit just for having something like green beans on his plate. I do allow him to substitute a veggie or fruit for one item. For instance last night we had taco soup and corn bread. He had corn bread and apple slices. Sounds like a horrible meal to me but I refuse to make him chicken nuggets or grilled cheese every night. I just keep praying that one day he will grow out of this. Yesterday he did eat fish sticks for lunch, which was a first. I know it's not the healthiest of things but it's nice to have another alternative to chicken nuggets! I had tried them with him before but he refused to eat them. I didn't tell him what they were this time. I just put them on his plate and he started eating! I mean it's breaded and crunchy, must be good right?? Ha!

Now for my littlest man, Eli. He is a mess! Whoever coined the phrase "Toddler Tornado" hit the nail on the head with him! He is in to everything! If it's on the floor or within arms reach he is going to get it and put it in his mouth. Luke was never bad about putting things in his mouth but Eli is a different story! (This means that as soon as the trash gets up to his height in the trash can... we take it out!) One of his favorite things is to empty things out... Luke's book shelf, Luke's wagon full of cars, the tupperware cabinet... just to name a few. This little guy loves to climb too. His newest thing is to climb up on the couch and then climb up on the back rest of the couch. I'm really getting anxious about putting the Christmas tree up! It should be interesting!

This actually just happened and I thought the picture was perfect for following this paragraph. Orange crayon.

Surprisingly, he also likes to play quietly alone by himself some. Occasionally, it will get quiet and I'll get nervous! ;) Then I'll go check and I'll find Eli sitting alone in Luke's room looking at a book or playing with the Little People Barn. He's a big fan of that barn! Santa's bringing him Little People Noah's Ark!

(Blogger has messed up this picture.. the original isn't all grainy like it turned out. Weird)

As far as eating goes, Eli is a good eater. You can't tell by his size though. He is tiny! I get comments all the time on his size! He will try most anything I put on his tray. Occasionally he will refuse something new but most of the time he will at least put it in his mouth. I do feed him though, and he does eat! He just burns every thing off because he never stops! And for those who are curious, I am still breastfeeding him, 3-4 times a day. I can't believe it either but I am thankful for it! He normally nurses when he gets up, before nap and bed and if he gets up during the night.. which out of the past week he's slept all the way through the night 4 times!! WOO HOO! Most of the time, if he does get up at 'night', it's around 5ish am and he goes back to sleep. I have not yet had anyone (to my face) say anything about nursing him beyond 1 year but I do know of a few who are just 'surprised' to find out I'm still nursing. I'm totally okay with that. I just find it funny that if he was bottle fed and they found out he was still taking a bottle before bed, they wouldn't bat an eye! I mean he's only 14 months old! I'm just taking it one day at a time and right now, I know he needs it. Not nutritionally so much, but emotionally. It's comfort, just like a blanket, stuffed animal or a pacifier. But those things are just that, things! His comfort gets to come in the form of me, his mommy! And I think that is a wonderful thing. I find it sad that in our country extended breastfeeding is looked at as strange. Ok, I'll hop down off this soapbox before I go any further! ;)

In other great news Eli is now staying in the nursery the entire time!! So, I get to go to church!!! YAY! He's been doing this for about 3-4 months now! He does cry when I drop him off, in fact he cries sometimes when we pull in the church parking lot! But he cries less than five minutes most days and ends up having a blast playing! A few Sunday's ago, the Hubs dropped Eli and I off and I went ahead and walked him in. Well, of course he cried when I left him. I went to see where the Hubs & Luke were at and saw that they were almost to the church. By the time they got in the door, Eli had already calmed down and was reading a book with one of the nursery workers. He'll be moving up classes soon though and I hope he adjusts well!

Well, that's enough news for now. Have a great weekend!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reformation Sunday

Yesterday, our church celebrated Reformation Day (just a few weeks late!). We started off the service with a short description of what the reformation was and then we had corporate affirmation of each of the Five Sola's. If you're curious to know what our church is about (and I know some of you are!), read each of these carefully and it will tell you a great deal about what we believe about Christ and the Scriptures. I've also included videos of the songs that we sang after each affirmation and some Scripture. I hope it's an encouragement to you as much as it was to me!

Sola Scriptura- Scripture Alone
Sola Christus- Christ Alone
Sola Gratia- Grace Alone
Sola Fide- Faith Alone
Sola Deo Gloria- The Glory of God Alone

These five affirmations are taken from The Cambridge Declaration. In each of these below, we are affirming what we as a church believe and what we as a church deny. These things matter, contrary to what some may say. I am thankful to attend a church that all things we do with the Scriptures. I challenge you to go deeper....

"Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith."

Sola Scriptura: The Erosion of Authority

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Sola Christus: The Erosion of Christ-Centered Faith

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." Colossians 1:15-20

Sola Gratia: The Erosion Of The Gospel

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us" Ephesians 1:3-8

Sola Fide: The Erosion Of The Chief Article

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.

We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

"just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Galations 3:6-11

Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion Of God-Centered Worship

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:36

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 11/9 (Chicken & Dumplin Review)

Ham, Green Beans, Potato Salad

Homemade Pizza, Salad

Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken, Corn, Asparagus

Taco Soup

I rolled over two meals from last week because we had something different than I had planned one night (spaghetti) and then we had chicken and dumplings 3 nights in a row! It made SO much! I had laid hamburger meat out to thaw, to go in my Taco Soup but for some reason or another it never got cooked and put in the crock pot. So here it was, almost supper time and I needed something to make. I almost always have spaghetti noodles and jarred spaghetti sauce or a spaghetti spice packet and some kind of canned tomatoes in my pantry. I also have a saved recipe from allrecipes that I've used that is SO good for homemade spaghetti sauce. But again, that's for when I have more time because the sauce needs to simmer for a while. Lets face it, some days don't go as planned! We often do sandwiches on those kinds of days but sometimes it's nice to have a quick, hot meal as an option too!

Today, I'm cooking a big ham that I got on sale! So, tonight we'll have that and instead of having ham sandwiches with the leftovers tomorrow night, I plan on making breakfast: biscuits, ham, scrambled eggs & fruit. Whatever is left I will freeze for soup!

So, for those of you who are interested in how my chicken and dumplings turned out.. they were really good! I used the frozen dumplings. I was afraid to try my own the very first time I made them! I cooked three chicken breast (about 3 lbs, bone in, skin on), one chopped onion and a big tablespoon full of garlic in about 5 quarts of water until the chicken was done and pulling away from the bone. I took the chicken out of the water to cool and added a little extra water to the broth. Some of the liquid had evaporated and I wanted to make sure I had the right amount. I brought the broth back to a boil and started adding the frozen dumplings, one at a time while stirring often. I only added half of the packet of dumplings. I could have added them all but I just wasn't sure, it seemed like a lot to me and turned out to be plenty. After the dumplings were all in I brought it to a rolling boil and then turned it down to simmer and covered. They cooked for about 45 minutes. I just stirred them every so often. During the cooking time I shredded my chicken and then around the 45 min mark I added the chicken and seasoned with salt and pepper. I actually added some salt & pepper earlier just to the broth and chicken but I had to add more after everything was back in the pot. It wasn't as thick as I wanted it so I took about a cup of the hot broth out and whisked in about 2 TBS of flour and added it back to the pot and brought it to a rolling boil. This helped but I'm just not sure if there is a way to get that much liquid good and thick without making a rue or something from the very beginning. I'm going to work on that and get back with you! If you have any tips, let me know! I think I had in myhead they should be like Cracker Barrel's chicken and dumplings... big, chunky dumplings with a really thick sauce. These were thin dumplings with a brothy sauce. They were SO good though and had a great flavor. And actually I think my dumplings (hah!) have a better chicken flavor. I must say that on the 2nd and 3rd day they were much better than the first! The broth was much thicker after it sat in the refrigerator! Maybe that's the trick, make them a day ahead! Eli LOVED the chicken out of it! He couldn't get enough! Luke, of course, wouldn't touch it. Next time I am going to attempt my own dumplings!

I've also been working on biscuits! I've found a recipe that is really good but it needs a little tweaking! I made the biscuits Friday night to go with our leftovers. The recipe made 9 biscuits and I was thinking that we'd have some for breakfast the next day. Nope, our little family of four ate all nine biscuits in one night! So, I guess they're pretty good as is, but I think they can improve! I'm determined to one day have kids and grandkids who rave about my biscuits! :)

Check out for more menu and recipe ideas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

M2M Blogroll Scavenger Hunt

You know, I debated on whether or not I was going to participate in this for a while before I decided to do it. We currently aren't in a pastorate. In fact, the one year anniversary of the Hubs being fired is coming up. So, it's longer than most I would guess? And I have a feeling it may be a while before God leads us to a ministry position. I have never spoken publicly about the details of what happened and I don't plan on it. Like I've said before, it's delicate. Not in the sense that I don't want anyone to know what happened. It's just that there are others I have to think about when speaking publicly. I have shared my feelings and how God has worked. And I'll continue to. But I do want to take the opportunity to let anyone out there in the Ministry Wives' world that I am here to listen if you need a shoulder. I didn't have many friends that I felt I could call anytime and just pour my heart out to when it all happened to us. Don't get me wrong, I had wonderful friends of support and encouragement. Wonderful! But sometimes you just need to vent and cry. Sometimes I still do.

My husband hasn't 'left the ministry'. I know it's a desire that burns deep inside him. We will just wait on God and I know He will be faithful to us. He is always faithful.

1. First Name. Crystal

2. State and Country of Residence. Sweet Home Alabama

3. Husband’s Ministry Title. He was Associate Pastor/Youth Minister

4. Length of time in Current Ministry Location. We were at our last church for almost two years.
5. Children? If yes, give gender and ages. Yes!! I have two boys, Luke (3) and Eli (14 months)

6. Number of unique homes in which you’ve lived during your marriage. We have been married 5 years and have lived in 5 different houses! The most unique being my parents house. We lived with my parents for 8 months right after my husband was fired. I never expected to move back in with my parents at 27, with my husband and two small children!
7. Cook Sunday lunch or eat out? I cook most Sunday's, even if it's just sandwiches! And honestly, most Sunday's it is just sandwiches!

8. Typically on time for Sunday School or not? Seriously?? We have two small children, what do you think? Most of the time we're right on time!

9. Favorite TV Show. I love the Duggars! They fascinate me! I have even read their book! I'm also a BIG fan of The Cosby Show but I have no clue if re-runs even come on anymore! What happened to good TV? I do have the first season on DVD that I pull out every once in a while!
10. Something you watch/like/do that you would never tell the church people. (Except now you just did…lol) I must be completely and totally boring because I can't think of anything. This is totally lame.. but the only thing I can think of is that I stay up waaay too late. I usually go to bed around 12am. I need to work on that!

11. Most annoying church-related pet peeve. One thing that comes to mind is when people hold strongly to opinions on things that aren't biblically based. So many base their opinions on something they've been taught (by man) or tradition.. not the Bible.

12. One thing you need to throw away but can’t bring yourself to do it. I have a huge folder of recipes that I NEVER look in. It's followed me everywhere. I need to just chunk it. That and clothes. Last year I finally went through my tiny, strappy cute shoes and got rid of them. I kept thinking that my feet were going to shrink after I had my first. Nope. They never did. I will forever be a 1/2 size bigger. Doesn't mean I can't buy cute shoes.. it just means I can't squeeze my feet into that small size anymore!!

13. The one food you can not live without. Caffeine... either in the form of Diet Coke or coffee.. wait, is caffeine food? I say yes.

14. Parsonage or have your own home? That is a no brainer, right? We're renting a house from my dad currently. What a blessing!

15. Freak when the doorbell rings or always ready for a visitor? I tried to always be ready for visitors. We didn't have many though. Now? You better call me before you come over! I'll probably come to the door.. but it might not be pretty! :)

I'm looking forward to learning more about the other women who are part of The Preacher's Wife, Married to the Ministry blogroll!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Love of God

Today I am choosing to bask in God's love. I know He loves me unconditionally and endlessly. But I also know I don't understand that kind of love. I'm asking for more understanding. I'm asking Him to pour His love on me today. I am so desperate for Him.

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." Psalm 36:5

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ... " Ephesians 2:4-5

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." John 15:9

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Frederick M. Lehman, 1917

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I decided to join my bloggy friend, Xandra, in the 2009 Giving Thanks Challenge. I think it's a fantastic way to focus on the things, little or big, that we are thankful for. After all, that's what this time of the year is about!

All you have to do is post something you are thankful for, for each day in November. It's as easy as putting them in a list on your sidebar. Leah actually posts a short little post on each thing she is thankful for, which is a great idea too! I definitely think it will help me reflect on all of the blessings God has placed in my life! I hope you'll participate, too! Jump in even if you're a few days late! Head over to Leah's blog and grab the button and start your thankfulness list! Make sure you let Leah know you're participating by signing in on her post!

May God be magnified through our thanksgiving...

"I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving."

Psalm 69:30

MPM 11/2/09

Chicken and Dumplin's, Green Beans, Corn

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese (I'm adding cubed ham to make it a 'meal'), Veggie

Taco Soup

Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken, Purple Hull Peas, Roasted Potatoes

Last week was a busy week, which is why I didn't have a menu up. This week I'm making chicken and dumplings for the first time ever! I hope they turn out! Alrighty.. I've got another post up my sleeve for later.. hopefully tomorrow! So that's that. Have a great week!

And check out for more menu's/recipes!