Sunday, September 26, 2010

Money ...

I have been debating on writing this post for a few weeks, and God has really stirred my heart to be transparent with all of you about where we are right not in regards to finances.  As some of you know, we have been trying to raise support all summer to help us get through the next 2 years.  We have been amazed and humbled by the generosity of some of our family and friends.  I have been brought to tears many times by the love and support that we have received - it has been truly amazing.  Thank you so much to all of you who have given so sacrificially - we are doing our very best to be good stewards of every penny!

With all of that being said (and here is where my heart starts racing as I type) ... we still need help.  Bryan has been the one that has been writing our support letters and meeting with people to ask for help, but this is the first time you are hearing from me - and my take is a little different because for one, we are actually here now ... and for two, I am seeing the burden that Bryan is carrying.  And it is just really hard.  So ... I have been told that in support raising it is best to just lay it all out there ... so here we go (deep breath Corrie). 

If we were to raise 100% of what we need for the next two years - we are only about 37% there.  With that being said - we have raised enough to pay for tuition and books which is AWESOME!!!  What we still have to pay for is rent, health insurance, car insurance, groceries, electric bills, etc.  All the regular day to day stuff.  And please trust me when I say, that we are trying to cut wherever we can.  But living costs money as we all know.

Bryan is working at On The Boarder waiting tables.  He feels real purpose in being there and is excited to see what all God has in store.  But he is having to work a lot to make the money that we need (and to be honest we are still coming up short).  Supposedly this is the slowest time of year for restaurants.  The last number of weeks he has worked 5 nights in a row with a double shift on Saturdays.  And he has class on Monday nights, so we have had him home one night a week.  Thankfully, we do get to see him at random times throughout the day and at lunch which is a blessing.  But he is having to spend numerous hours a day at the library to study and get all of his school work done.  So needless to say ... between school and work, he is one busy guy.

We honestly hadn't planned on being able to raise 100% of what we need for the next 2 years - not that God couldn't do that!!  We did expect that we would need to work some ... just not quite this much.  The pace has been a bit nuts to say the least.  And that is why I am writing this - to ask for your help to ease Bryan's load.  If he could work more like 3 or 4 shifts a week, it would make a HUGE difference in not only his life, but our life as a family.  Here are a couple of ways that you can help:

1.  Financial Support.  We have a scholarship fund that our home church has established for us where donations to our account are tax deductible.  Monthly or one-time gifts are huge.  Simply make checks payable to Fellowship Bible Church with our name in the memo section and mail them to:

Fellowship Bible Church
attn: Rosie Stephens
PO Box 7123
Little Rock, AR  72223

2.  Resolve to pray!  It is so exciting for me to think about how God might surprise us in this way!  I want to ask that you would pray specifically that God would bless Bryan financially at work.  One night he had a table that gave him a $50 tip from a $45 ticket - it was amazing.  When Bryan told me about it, I really felt God saying, "Corrie, I have got this.  You just have to trust me."  Oh how He loves us!!!

Well, thank you for reading this.  I literally just let out a deep breath ... this is just hard stuff for me.  Bryan said it best for both of us in one of his support letters.  He wrote, "I hate asking anyone, for anything, ever.  It exposes my pride and humbles me at a real level.  But God has convicted me that I often don't have because I don't ask him or his people."  I couldn't have said better.  Again - thanks for reading and for loving and supporting us.  It honestly means more than you could ever imagine!


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."  Eph 3: :20-21

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Work, Playgrounds and Beth Moore!

I kinda still can't believe that we are doing this whole seminary thing.  Oh it is all very real ... but I am often amazed at how God brought us to this place and at this time in our lives.  He is so creative!  And as Beth Moore so aptly put it this week ... NOT BORING!!

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur.  Bryan started training at work last week and worked 5 nights in a row - with a double shift on Saturday.  So I was pretty burnt out on motherhood by the end of the weekend to say the least.  But alas, Monday came (which may be quickly becoming my favorite day of the week - weird!) and I had my husband home for a few days.  So nice!  Then he went in last night for his "final exam" and he passed with flying colors!  Woo hoo!   It was a bit overwhelming for him to have to study for work (learning the menu) and study for school - so we are so thankful that training is done!  And now he is working for the next 4 nights with a double shift on Saturday again.  At least now he will be making tips!  I think they are trying to give him the best shifts since this is a slower time of the year for restaurants and they know that he has a family and is in school - such a blessing in that respect.  But for Mama and kiddos - we are missing him.  So we are trying to fill our time with fun stuff until sweet Monday arrives (Bryan can't work on Monday because of his night class).

So you might be asking, "Corrie, what do you and the kids do while Bryan is studying or working?"  Well I can answer that in one word ... playground!  Jordan has made some really sweet friends here and loves to play outside with them.  Most of them are boys - so one game she is getting really into is Star Wars!  That's my girl!  I think we are going to have to have a Star Wars movie night soon so she can have some context and know that she can be Princess Leia. =)  And check this out, her birthday is coming up and she is asking for "a gun, a guitar, a puppy and chocolate."  Thankfully, the dog that she wants is a stuffed animal.  She cracks me up!

A fun trick she learned from Daniel.

This is Daniel Chapin - such cute friends!

Drew may be the one that is missing Daddy the most.  He is always really upset when Bryan leaves and asks for him a few times throughout the day.  Thankfully, he is being a bit of a momma's boy right now so that is actually helpful.  He has started to say a few more words this week which is really encouraging.  He has just been so much slower to talk and it has made me curious about this hearing - but I have talked to a number of people who say that can be pretty common in boys.  It just makes this stage harder when he is frustrated that I can't understand him - which makes me frustrated.  So we are working on that.

On Tuesday night we got to go on a date!!  It was much needed and so much fun (thanks for watching the kiddos Aunt Kat)!  We went to a Mexican restaurant that had an amazing patio.  We ate great food, talked, laughed, and just enjoyed being together outside in this beautiful weather!  We watched the sunset and were in no hurry.  We were there for probably an hour and half.  We tried to take a few pictures, but they don't quite do justice for the view.  We really did have such a great time.
Our view!

A huge highlight for me this week has been this Beth Moore Bible Study that I am going to on Wednesdays!  It is at a church close by and we are doing her new study which is called Inheritance - and it is going to be awesome!  This was the first week and it just got me so excited about what God is going to do this semester.  One of the things she talked about was that life with Jesus is NOT boring!  It is an exciting and wild ride!!!  She used the example of driving vs. riding in a car.  When YOU are driving, you know when you are going to turn and where you are going.  You are in control so the drive can be fairly boring.  And then she asked "How can you be on a wild ride when you are in the driver's seat?"  I feel like I got thrown out of the driver's seat this past spring when we were faced with the decision to go to seminary.  But man, what an exciting adventure it has been.  And I am so thankful that my Daddy is driving this car and not me - because he is going places that I could have never imagined!  He is so amazingly good.

This whole blogging thing is still a bit funny for me because a number of people have said that they are keeping up with us through it - which is awesome!  But it is just cool to me that friends like you actually read my scatterbrained thoughts and care about what is going on in our lives here in Colorado.  It honestly means more to me than I would have ever thought it would.  So thank you for caring and praying for us.  We love you all so dearly. 

Prayer Requests:
- Please continue to pray for us financially.  That God would provide exactly what we need in mighty ways.
- Pray for Bryan as he in now "on his own" at work.  Pray that things go smoothly.
- Pray for Bryan as he is trying to balance family time, study time and work.  It is a LOT!
- Pray for the kids and I - that we would make the most of every day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Adventures

The last two weekends have been full of fun adventures with family.  As I said in my last post, Grammy & PaPa came 2 weeks ago.  And this past weekend we were able to spend some time up in Keystone with my Dad, Nancy, Kat, Sean and Tate which was so much fun!  So I am feeling a little whiplash with jumping back into things now.  We had this laid back weekend - and then it took us double the time to get home due to traffic coming down from the mountains which was frustrating, Bryan jumped back into classes yesterday and has his first official day at On The Boarder is tomorrow.  So this is the first week of what our "new normal" will be - kinda weird.

Yesterday was the first day that I really felt homesick.  I think some of that is because I was looking through some pictures from our home church that someone posted on Facebook.  A number of our dearest friends either help lead worship or are campus pastors - so it was so fun to look through them.  But I found myself sad afterwards.  We also found out this weekend that a woman that Bryan worked with for 4 years passed away very unexpectedly.  It has been kinda hard being here when so many people we know are grieving that loss.  I also found out that one of my small group girls is going to be on the homecoming court which is awesome - but I am just sick that I am not going to be there.  So yeah - it was a weird day yesterday.  Not that I am not enjoying it here ... I truly am.  But I found myself missing my friends and family in Little Rock ... and I know that that is ok.  It just made me sad.

Ok - let's move on to the more fun stuff!

I LOVE the mountains!!  The are just so majestic and stunning!  One of my favorite things that we did in Keystone was go on an 18 mile bike ride from Copper Mountain down to Dillon!  The views were amazing and the weather was perfect.  Bryan is the biker in our family - but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it (although my rear was telling me a different story the next morning - haha)!  We had the kids in a "basket" that Bryan pulled behind his bike and they loved it.  Jordan has not stopped talking about it.  The only bummer from the day was that my Dad took a fall and had a minor concussion.  We are pretty sure he fainted after going up a hill.  He is doing well now - but it was a little scary!  Here are a few pictures.

This is where we started - beautiful!!

Happy us!

The kids just got to sit and enjoy the ride!  Way to go Daddy!

The rest of the weekend was great too.  We watched football and cheered for our Razorbacks as they won their first game - Go Hogs!  We ate good food.  We did some shopping - great outlets!  And Kat, Sean, Bryan and I played one of the longest games of Spades ever!  But there is something about being in the mountains that is so peaceful to me.  It is just one of those places that God speaks to my heart - and just tells me He loves me.  What an awesome God we serve!  I hope that we get to spend a lot of time in the mountains while we are here - Bryan and I both love it!

I need to go for now.  They kids are down for their naps and I need to take a break!  But here are some cute pictures of our kiddos - don't they look so Coloradoan!?

He is getting to that age where it is hard to get him to stay still for a picture!

Happy girl!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And so it begins ...

This has already been a big week for the Crowley family!  First of all ... BRYAN GOT A JOB!!  Thank you all so much for praying.  He will be waiting tables at On The Boarder - very fun!  He also started classes on Monday and has been spending a lot of time at the library (he actually left a few minutes ago to spend some more time there).  Bryan's parents were in town Saturday - Tuesday which was great.  The kids were in heaven having them here ... and Drew is still "seeking" PaPa after playing so much Hide-N-Seek.  Thanks for making the trip Grammy & PaPa!  We love you!  So yeah ... we have been busy.

Needless to say with this week ... our lives are changing.  Thankfully Bryan and I aren't the type to shy away from change, but that doesn't mean that it won't take some getting used to.  I am so proud of Bryan and his attitude towards school.  It has been fun watching him get organized with his "school supplies" and think through what method will work best for him.  He is so determined to stay on top of everything - that is his biggest concern for school.  He hasn't started work yet.  He is waiting for his training schedule, so I will keep you posted!

I think I am adjusting well so far.  I was reminded this morning of God's amazing blessing to us of living on campus.  From about 9:30 to 11:00 I sat outside talking to a friend while our kids played (actually, Jordan wanted to hang out with Aunt Kat so I just had Drew).  We came inside and had lunch.  Kat came by for about 20 minutes just to hang out, and then Bryan came home and helped get the kids down for naps.  In a time when it would be so easy to feel alone and isolated, God has me in a place where there is always someone around - and not just "someone," but other women that are in the same stage of life whose husbands are doing the same thing.  And amazing women at that!  God has been so sweet to me throughout this whole process.  He is so good!

This may seem small, but another huge blessing for me has been exercise!  After doing Body & Soul for 3 years, I was really missing aerobics and strength training as part of my week.  Not only was it fun and I loved the music, but it kept me in shape!  And thanks to some precious friends of ours who paid for me, I have been able to start going to Jazzersize!!  Katherine and I have been going together and we are loving it.  I thought I was in decent shape going into it, but I have been huffing it in each class!!  Whew!  How long can I blame that on the altitude!?

I would say the only bummer lately has been the fact that I have poison ivy and it has been driving me crazy!  And it is in the most random places - my wrists, under my arm, and on my inner thigh??  What in the world!?  I got it when we went to Estes Park so thankfully I am on the downhill slope.  I haven't had it in so long I didn't really know what it was at first.  I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something.  But alas, it was just plain old poison ivy.  Lovely!

Well, the kids are waking up so I need to wrap it up.

Prayer Requests:
- That God would continue to provide for us financially (we are still raising support)
- That Bryan would pick things up quickly at work
- That we would be able to find a church home here
- Balance

Here are a few pics from the week!

First day of school picture!  Love it!

PaPa is such a fun toy!

Pure joy!

A great visit with Grammy and PaPa!