Today is the day I launch my new website! sherricrandall.com… All things faith, family, and hospitality
I want to especially thank Mike Ruman and Danni Hauer for the beautiful design and functionality of this site – you both are incredibly talented. Thank you!
You will notice that I have listed a new job and that too is exciting news! Beginning January 8th, I will be the Global Ministry Director for MOPS International. I am beyond grateful and excited to start this new position with MOPS and look forward to working with the global leaders around the world impacting and empowering moms in the name of Jesus.
It is not easy saying goodbye to Mission Hills Church where I have spent the last 10 years on the Women’s Ministry Team. It has truly been an honor to serve the women of Mission Hills. I love you all so much! I am so blessed to have worked with a staff who truly are like family to me. My family will still be attending Mission Hills and we are excited to be part of all that God is doing through MHC.
Thanks for your support everyone, I look forward to connecting with you all here on the website.
Solitude, A Precious Gift to Yourself
First published at 1Corinthians13Parenting.com
Posted on August 19, 2014 in Just for Mom, Sherri Crandall, Special Topics
“In solitude I sit quietly and listen to the whispers of His wisdom.”
Those words are written on a plaque that is propped on my bookshelf in my home office. Great words, but I have not been so great at practicing the art of solitude – just spending time alone with God. No agenda, no music, no set study, just being quiet…
Noise, lots of noise.
Most of my life consists of being around a lot of people. Naturally that creates a lot of noise. I am a mom to four kiddos ages 12 to 22 which means each child has a group of friends and noise makers. My husband and I love that our house is the place where the kids like to hang out. We have tried to make our doors the open doors where all are welcome. On any given day you will find a group of teenage or college age guys at our kitchen table or in the basement along with a group of loud giggling middle school girls. I have joked they are like locust in the kitchen. They step in and the next minute all that is left is wrappers and crumbs. Teenagers have a different time table of noise too. Just as I am winding down my day their noise level starts to reach the highest octave.Solitude, is there such a thing for moms?
Solitude, is there such a thing for moms?
I awoke early today before anyone else, even the dogs were still sleeping quietly. I tip-toed to the coffee maker scared if I made too much noise someone would wake and join me. Selfish? Maybe, but I just wanted some time to myself. Most of us spend so much of our lives doing, striving, struggling, coping, trying to meet our goals and deadlines. Being outgoing, being available going here and there and everywhere that we become fragmented and less productive, less, just less.
I made my cup of coffee and sat out on our back deck watching the bunnies nibble away at my flower garden. Soon I was joined by a few hummingbirds and various other feathered friends eating from the feeders in the yard. I closed my eyes and just listened, taking in every sound, and then the sound of silence. It is overwhelming when you really become a part of the silence. It is uncomfortable for most of us just to sit and be. I began to pray, not reading from a book or doing a set devotion but just praying from my heart. I sat for a few moments with my eyes closed, snuggled beneath a blanket in the chill of the early morning. Alone, refreshed.
We all tend to schedule time for others, for work and chores and various obligations but how often do we schedule some time just to be alone? My answer is seldom.
How often do we schedule some time just to be alone?
Why is that?
I walked back into the house and heard alarm clocks going off and the dryer telling me it was time to retrieve the laundry and the dogs were stretching and ready to be fed. A brief moment of refreshment that didn’t last long, but… a perspective change happened. No one else is going to give me my own quiet time, that is for me to create. I stepped forward into my day with a renewed sense of the importance of finding time to be alone.
No one else is going to give me my own quiet time, that is for me to create.
The rest of the day was filled with lots of people and noise and obligations and I enjoyed every moment. However, tonight I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than normal just so I can start my tomorrow in solitude. I have learned that quiet sacred time does not just happen – it must be created.
Be still and know that I am God
How do you carve out time for solitude?
– See more at: http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/blog/#sthash.JLx4vyyB.dpuf
Grocery Store, Guatemala, and Gratitude
First published at http://www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com
My stomach was literally growling so loudly that others could hear it standing next to me. I awkwardly smiled and went about my business of picking out peaches. It was the 4th of July weekend and I was preparing to go on our annual camping trip. My list was rather long so that I could accommodate everyone in my family’s favorite holiday foods. Some of us like green apples, some Honey Crisp, and some just Red Delicious. Don’t forget the traditional summertime watermelon and of course the fixings for s’mores.
The grocery store was filled with an abundance of choices.
In the midst of all of this abundance my thoughts kept returning to a little village on the out-skirts of Guatemala City where the kids don’t have abundant choices. With the exception of its natural beauty and its warm, friendly people, this area of Guatemala has few resources. I had so many choices in front of me that could appease my grumbling stomach, knowing these little ones didn’t have that choice made my stomach ache in a different way.
Several months ago I had the privilege of traveling to the beautiful country of Guatemala. I was part of the first Latin American MOPS conference and while I was there our team traveled with a team of local Guatemalan moms to an area where there is great need. I was speaking to the moms who live in this village on the importance of being a mom, that what they do to take care of their children really matters. We met in an old abandoned school house. I was standing in the front of the room watching their beautiful brown eyes looking at me and soaking up every word I was telling them. Several with tears in their eyes, being told God loves them was overwhelming. I too was feeling overwhelmed.
Oh, how much I take for granted.
In addition to meeting with the moms we had the opportunity to help feed the kids of this village. ADORABLE! Even though they don’t have much in terms of material things or even food for that matter, they are joyful, loving, and kind children. They were patiently waiting for the food to finish cooking and being entertained by all of us taking “ selfies” with my camera phone. When mealtime came around they were all so grateful and I was smiling from ear to ear as one after another said, “ Gracias, gracias, gracias !” The food was simple – beans, rice and a corn tamale with lemonade to drink. Not one child complained. I watched as several of them put the lid on their reusable dish and I was told they would take this home and share it with other family members. On our drive back to the city my thoughts wondered to a few weeks prior when I was serving cupcakes to my daughter’s elementary school class and several of the kids were complaining about the choice they had, “ I don’t want chocolate”.
Sometimes an abundance of choice can leave us with a complaining heart.
I started to think about how often I complain, how I grumble about carrying all my groceries into the house. How I don’t like to unload the dishwasher or how annoyed I can become over the piles of laundry. Those complaints I have come to realize, require an attitude change. I am thankful I have food to eat and laundry to wash. I realize I take many of my modern day conveniences for granted along with my abundance of choices. Just today I stopped to get a coffee and thought, “Wow, so much to choose from.”
So what do I do with that knowledge moving forward? My heart that hurts for others in need. I know we cannot solve the world’s wrongs all by ourselves, but each of us can do something. My family will continue to serve and give to others but with a new found attitude of gratitude. Many times we have heard “To whom much is given, much is required,” this is true. I believe “without a grumbling heart” should be added to that.
The gift I received from those beautiful children is to live in joy despite any circumstances.
I am reminding myself of how important it is not only to observe all God has done for us but to take that and pass it along to others. The gift I received from those beautiful children is to live in joy despite any circumstances I perceive as being difficult, there are many others whose circumstances are harder, yet they still have a joyful disposition. When you have next to nothing, you take nothing for granted. God, help me to remember.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
How do you encourage your kids to have an attitude of gratitude?
First Published at www.1CorinthiansParenting.com on June 24, 2014
I was startled by the leaves brushing against my shoulder. They appeared out of nowhere dangling from the old elm tree that stood guard over the historic home we were about to enter. “Wow,” I stated, “Now that is a tree!”
We were arriving for a tea party. An old-fashioned artist salon tea party where we learn about an artist, the art he created and the life he lived. A perfect retreat from my modern day busyness. My friend and I were seated inside the beautiful old home on a windowsill bench. We turned off our phones, took a deep breath, and began to enjoy the deliciousness of the food and the history being taught to us. This day we were learning about Federico Barocci, a master Renaissance Painter. He is referred to as “The Painter of the Loveliness of Life”. Soon we were transported to Urbino, Italy in the 1500’s. A time so far removed from my suburban existence. I say to my friend, “Let’s go visit Urbino one day soon.”
As I listened to our amazing hostess and presenter tell us in detail about this man I was once again struck by the thought of leaving a legacy. What does that really mean? I was not gifted with the ability to paint beautiful paintings that would stand the test of time. My skills are not of grand proportion but reality is most of us don’t have those type of skills. Then our hostess shared a personal story and it was etched in my heart the importance of the ordinary and the effect our choices can have on generations to come without us even knowing. The legacy we all are capable of.
The story was shared about how when our hostess was a young girl, her father abandoned their family. Leaving her mom in debt and with the responsibility to raise five girls on her own. As you can imagine times were very difficult. She began to tell us that this old historic neighborhood and the beautiful elm trees that line the streets were threatened many years ago with elm’s disease. Her neighbors were quite worried about their historic trees and a campaign began to have all the trees sprayed. Her family could not afford this so her mom gathered all the girls outside and told them they would do what only they could do, they would PRAY that these trees would not be affected by this disease. So that is what they did, they stood together encircling the tree with prayers. They didn’t have the money to care for the trees but they trusted that God would take care of it.
Several trees in the neighborhood were destroyed but their trees remained and now some forty years later they are the majestic focal point of the property, standing guard over the beautiful family home. You can’t miss it as the splendor of the elm graces the front yard standing as a symbol of God’s amazing provision and faithfulness -those leaves that touched my shoulder.
A profound gesture as we look at it now. A simple prayer offered by a mom and her daughters did more than save a few trees, it is a legacy of faith to share with others for generations to come.
How can you leave a legacy in your everyday life?
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty,
nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches,
but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
– See more at: http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/symbol-faith/#sthash.l01xJT5C.dpuf
First published at www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com on May 27, 2014
“Your just going to have to trust me.” Said the gentleman on the other end of the phone conversation. I was ordering flowers from a florist in another state and I wanted this arrangement to be just perfect. I was asking a lot of questions and he could tell I was skeptical of his abilities. Trust… it is hard for us to do. He gave me a web site to check out and see pictures of his work and as I learned more about him I was able to trust that he could do the job I had asked him to do. Trusting someone is hard because we have to give up the control. After I hung up the phone I felt this overwhelming thought that I do this with God too. Do I really trust he can do the job?
Over the years I have read many books on the topic and listened to many sermons about it so I should be really good at this trust thing, right? Well, I must admit that is where I usually mess up. In trying to remedy the situation I start to put trust in myself and others. Everyone and everything except for God. Why?
I think trust requires a perspective change. If we look at every life event, every sorrow and every prayer with the unshakable conviction that God is trustworthy, we can start on the amazing path of trust. We cannot trust someone we do not know. In order for me to trust the florist I had to find out more about him. In order to trust God we must get to know him. How do we do that? Try these 3 strategies…
1. Read from your Bible. As already stated, we can’t possibly trust in someone we don’t know. Get to know who God is. He has graciously provided all we need to know about Him in His holy word… The Bible. Start to underline the promises He has made and read the history of God and His provision to so many throughout the ages.
2. Talk to others about their life stories and share your stories too. Often it takes someone else to look into your life and point out God’s faithfulness or seeing God working in the life of a friend gives you that sense that God is trustworthy.
3. Try changing your perspective by asking this question, What is the alternative? Would the outcome of the situation be better if I relied just on myself, if I trusted others who also are also unreliable or have limited human wisdom and capabilities, or do I put my trust in the almighty God.
Sometimes our troubles or pain are so great that all we can do is cry out to God, “ Guard my life” as the psalmist did.( Psalm 86:2. ) And often when there is no relief in sight all we can do is acknowledge the greatness of God, wait for better days ahead, standing in the firm belief that God answers prayer and He is the one who sustains us in our difficult times.
Will you Trust Him?
Those who know your name will put there trust in you. Psalm 9:10
Two weeks ago my sister’s life was forever changed. On an ordinary Thursday she lost her home and barn to a fire.
My sister and her family live a simple life out in the country where she loves to tend to her garden and animals. She fiercely loves her husband, three kids, grandson, and all the children she cares for as a Children’s Ministry Director at her church. She is kind, loving, and a wonderful sister.
Three weeks ago, we met at Ikea, had lunch and looked at all the stuff we might need. Then we went over to the mall and looked at all the clothes and accessories we might need.
Smoke and fire clearly mark priorities.
She is thankful. She has nothing, nothing material left. But she has her family.
The morning after the fire, I wrote a post on Facebook explaining what happened and telling everyone she needed help. Beginning that afternoon people who have never met my sister started leaving clothes, shoes, diapers, cash, and gift cards on my front porch. My e-mail and phone were overflowing with messages of concern and love. My sister’s friends went to the store for her and bought all the necessities that we don’t think about: underwear, toothbrush, hairbrush, shoes. And silly things like Chap-stick, hand lotion, and nail clippers. Friends offered her a place to stay. Family arrived to care for them. Her church (and mine) began praying. My sister and her family could feel God’s love and care for them through the people in their lives.
Powerful prayer. Powerful care. Powerful community.
The last two years in Colorado have been brutal with all the damage caused by fires. I would read stories in the news about these families and think how sad for them. There were times when I would stop to pray and ask God to show them love and care. Then I would go on with my day. Now it is my family people are reading about.
How different it is when tragedy gets personal.
During a hard time most people don’t know what to do, so they do nothing. They may give the open and empty promise of “Call me if you need anything”. Having faced difficult times myself, I never called those people, because I didn’t even know what I needed. Friends and strangers who just show up are the ones who blessed me beyond words.
Next time God gives you an opportunity to be his loving arms, try these 4 ways to be a blessing:
Just show up. Even if you don’t know what to say, express that. Don’t wait to be asked, just do something.
Listen. Let them tell their story
Realize trauma is messy and hard , suspend all judgment and criticism. You really don’t know how you would react to something until you are in the middle of it.
Don’t forget them. Continue to show up for the long haul.
Two items were salvaged from my sister’s home. A prayer angel carved of wood. (My nephew found her sitting in the kitchen as if she was praying for all of them.) And a pewter bookend that is a replica of the famous Philadelphia sign of LOVE.
Tragedy reminds us, we need prayer and LOVE.
As a family, we stood in a circle outside the shell of my sister’s home. We cried. We laughed. We held hands. We prayed. Then we cheered. We cheered for new beginnings!
What are some ways you have reached out when tragedy strikes?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
– See more at: http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/4-ways-blessing-tragedy-strikes/#sthash.QPIQaVN3.dpuf