Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Blaze of Excitement

The past three days have been spent traveling 1,367 miles to our next destination in Cathage, MO.  Last night, after two very long days, we decided to spend the night in Alanreed, TX.  Alanreed is basically a wide spot in the road.  Downtown consisted of a one-stop gas station/post office/store/motel/ RV park.  Literally - that was it.  The population is somewhere between 20-30 people, so there is no need for a lot of amenities.  Paul originally parked next to the only other RV in the small lot, but decided to give the other person a little more room to maneuver if he were to leave before us in the morning.  We then parked on the other side of the RV, two spaces away. 

View from our trailer door of the burning motor coach.
At 4:15 this morning, there was a furious pounding on our door, rousing us from deep sleep.  The other RV owner was shouting, "My coach is on fire!"  We looked out the window, and could see the smoke rolling out of the vent of his motor coach.  We began dressing hurriedly, and Paul went out to see if he could help. The man was obviously distraught, and said to Paul, "Everything I own is in there."  I called 911, and they began to alert the volunteer firemen.  The Lord had His hand of protection on us during all of this.  Had we stayed where we originally parked, we would have been downwind of the fire, and only a few feet away.  Paul began unhooking our trailer and preparing to leave.  We were afraid that the propane tanks which are used for heating and cooking in most RV's, would explode, putting our family in danger.  There was nothing we could do except watch as the flames engulfed the motor coach.  The thick, choking smoke rolled over us as we hurried to leave the area.  The firemen were just arriving as we pulled out on the highway.  It was a very scary experience for me.  I thank the Lord for His protection and the safety He gave us, not just on the road, but in the RV park as well.  Within just 15 minutes, the coach was a total loss.  It reminded us of the fact that one day, our works will pass through the fire of God's judgment.  How many of them will survive the testing fire?

Thank you for your prayers on behalf of our family.  Events like this one remind us how fragile life is, and how only the Lord keeps us safe.  I praise God for His protecting hand in our lives!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A New Experience

Eagle Point Resort, Beaver, UT
It has been several days since I have last given an update, and those days have been quite full of adventure!  We left San Diego on Monday, headed for Richfield, UT.  We ended up stopping in Las Vegas for the night.  A church there allowed us to park the trailer on our way through. (We did not "invest" our love offering while there!)  Paul and I were looking for the trailer hookups in the dark, and could not find any.  I did find an unlocked door, though, and looked in the building.  When the door shut, an alarm went off!  Yikes!  Within 10 minutes, the security man was there.  We explained what we were doing, but he said that our statement had to be verified with someone from the church.  He couldn't get in touch with anyone ( they were probably all out on dates since it was Valentine's Day), so we had to pack up and leave.  As we were headed out of town, the assistant called us, and told us we could come back - it had all been cleared.  This was a tremendous blessing, especially since our children were sick and needed to go to bed.

The next day, we headed out again toward Richfield.  It was a drive of about 3-4 hours form Las Vegas.  We were about 60 miles north of the city when a car passed us, honking furiously.  We knew something was wrong, so we pulled over to the side of the road.  One of our trailer bearings had seized, and the wheel was locked up.  There was smoke everywhere, and we could not drive any further.  The wheel was on the driver's side, and Paul attempted to remove the wheel, but in order to do so, he had to lie down in the oncoming 70 mph traffic.  I told him I would rather not cash in on the life insurance policy just yet, and we began calling for help.  AAA told us they couldn't find anyone with a truck big enough to tow our trailer.  We called several service places, but the numbers were no longer in service.  I called a friend and got the number for the NV highway patrol, and after 30 minutes, they showed up.  They shifted traffic so that Paul could work on the wheel, but he could not remove the wheel.  We did some more calling, and finally found a mobile service that could help us.  We ended up having to chain up the  axle and drive to the next town to the repair shop.  By this time, we had been sitting on the roadside for several hours, and we were quite glad to be going anywhere.  The parts had to be ordered and shipped, so we had to stay in a nearby hotel while the trailer was repaired.  In the meantime, all the kids and Paul became sick with cough and high fevers.  Four of the six bearings on the trailer had to be replaced, but the shop did a tremendous job and completed it the day the parts arrived (that in itself is amazing)!

We headed out to Richfield once again, and I prayed fervently that we would make it all the way this time!  We pulled into town under one of the most beautiful moonrises I have ever seen.  The sky was a pale amythest and the moon looked like a giant, luminescent pearl hovering over the snow-covered peaks of the mountains.  It was such a tribute to the Creator!

Friday we went skiing with the pastor and his wife.  Neither Paul nor I had ever been skiing, nor had the pastor, although his wife had been once before.  I was quite nervous, but excited as well.  We headed onto the slopes with an instructor and great trepidation.  The first ten minutes were pretty good, but once we headed onto the beginner slope, things went downhill fast - literally!  It was amazing how uncoordinated we all were, wiping out all over the hill.  I spent more time on the ground than on my feet, I think!  Paul wasn't feeling well at all, and although he cut some pretty smooth moves, he was frustrated over his lack of control.  We agreed that it would have been more fun if we had spent more time skiing and less time falling.  Maybe next time we will do better!  I considered it a successful trip in that we all came home in one piece.  I have been quite sore for the last couple days - evidence of my inexperience on skis.

The meeting in Richfield started yesterday, and we had several visitors throughout the day.  Please pray that the Lord would open the hearts of the hearers, and that we would see some people saved this week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wonderful Evening

Sweethearts

The view from our table
Beautiful shore of La Jolla
My husband is now the undisputed Emperor of Romance! :)  He planned such a wonderful afternoon and evening for us.  We dropped the kids off at a friend's house, and drove to the La Jolla Shores.  It was a cool, cloudy day, but as we walked by the ocean, the clouds began to burn off the horizon.  Soon the sun was shining brightly, and the water was beautiful.  We saw some sea lions, and laughed at their barking voices, which could be heard all over the cove.  We walked downtown and looked in several shops.  Our dinner reservations (yes - reservations) were for 5:30 at the Marine Room restaurant.  This unique restaurant is situated directly on the water, and when the tide is high, the water laps on the windows of the dining area.  Although at this time of year, the tides are low in the afternoon, we had a wonderful view of the setting sun from our table.  The meal was delicious, and they even gave us a free hibiscus-lemon tart in honor of our anniversary.  It was so lovely!  Praise the Lord for nearly eleven years with such a wonderful man!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Romantic Remembrance

My husband has been planning a "secret" date for us all of last week.  The date is planned for tomorrow, the anniversary of a very memorable event.  Eleven years ago, Paul asked me to be his wife, and, of course, I accepted.  I think it very romantic that he has planned such a special event for this normally little-celebrated milestone.  I don't know what all he has in store, but I do know there is babysitting (a must for any romantic date), dinner, and an ocean sunset in the works.  Sigh... How romantic!  Anyway, I know we will have a good time together, just the two of us!

I also have practical plans for tomorrow.  Since we are going to be out of the trailer most of the day, I am having the carpet cleaned.  It really is disgraceful how awful it looks.  There is not really a good way to keep off-white carpet looking nice when you have four kids tracking dirt, spilling drinks, dumping plates, having various and sundry "accidents," in addition to the wear of normal use.  This also means that I have to do some major house cleaning just so the cleaners can get to the carpet.  All the furniture has to be moved out, and the kid's belongings have to be stacked, piled, shoved, and hidden in various places.  Ugh.  I will need a romantic evening after all that! :)  I will be so glad to have clean carpet once again - it will be almost like having a new trailer!

I redeemed my Swagbucks today for another Amazon gift card. I love earning rewards!  My Amazon account is slowly growing, and I am hoping by the end of the year to have a lot of Christmas shopping paid for through Swagbucks!  Sign up today for great savings!

Here it is- the picture you've all been waiting for! I finally got the program to upload, and this is our most recent, unedited, candid, family photo!  Left to right: Esther, me (Sarah), Paul, Daniel, Abigail, & Josiah.  In the background, you can see the Pacific Ocean.  I love it!  Wish you all were here!

Crow Family - February 2011



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Well, sorry to get your hopes up.  I cannot get the program to upload the picture.  You will just have to wait another day or two until I can find out why it isn't responding.  Anyway...

A Jolly Holiday

Today dawned bright and beautiful and we decided to take the family to see the Pacific Ocean.  We drove up the coast a little ways, and found a rocky stretch of beach where we could spend some time in solitude.  The kids all loved the water, except for Daniel who was afraid.  The surf was crashing rather loudly, and the waves were all foam as they washed onto the coast.  The only people we saw were a few surfers trying to catch the waves off in the distance.  We played in the chilly water a bit, and the kids dug holes and built a "house" out of rocks.  We dubbed it the "Foolish Man's House" because it was built on the sand.  I have no doubt that when the tide comes in, it will go CRASH just as it did in the song!  It was so much fun just to relax and enjoy spending time with our children.  I took the opportunity to attempt another family picture.  That always adds excitement to the day.  I think we will be able to salvage at least one, perhaps more if I "photoshop" them! :) So, here is our most recent (only a few hours old) family picture.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekly To-do's

I know everyone has their weekly list of things to do, but sometimes, it seems as if the week between goes so quickly, and BANG - it's time to do those things again.  That is what I am thinking as I sit here laboring over my home school lesson plans.  Already?!?!?  I must say, though, that my week goes so much more smoothly when I get my lesson plans done on Friday.  There is also a huge stack of papers to grade and record.  I was amazed this week to find that the approximately 100 pens and pencils I placed in the pencil box before leaving Indiana have all disappeared, along with my two really nice red pens and a red pencil.  Of course, no one knows what happened to all of the writing utensils... We don't even have a dog, so we can't blame him for eating them.

I have a lot on my plate right now, but I think most mothers of young children do.  I actually got a decent night's sleep last night, in spite of the fact that I had terrible dreams from which I woke trembling with fear.  That is unusual for me, but when it happens, it takes me forever to get back to sleep.  Perhaps it was the apple soda for lunch - I tried something new! :) The kids are all pretty much over whatever they had last week, thank the Lord!  I hope we can all stay well for at least a few weeks.

I enrolled in a new company today.  It is Paybox.me  a site similar to Paypal for online buying and selling.  They are offering $25 to everyone who signs up for their Early-bird program .  The best part about this is that you do not have to enter any personal information - just your email along with a password and user name.  I signed up, and already have $25 in my account.  You will be paid for referrals and feedback as the company develops.  So, check it out today and get $25 free!

Today is Mega Swag Bucks day, too! I love getting Swagbucks for doing searches, playing games, and printing/ redeeming coupons.  Every redeemed coupon earns me 10 Swagbucks in addition to saving me money on my grocery bill!  Start today!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yank-ee Doodle

We now have another toothless wonder in our house!  Abigail has been wiggling her loose front teeth for what seems like forever.  I finally exercised the mother's privilege of deciding that the tooth was going to come out.  I do not particularly enjoy pulling teeth, but I am the designated "yanker" in our home.  Her teeth were giving me the creeps, because they were so loose they stuck out of her lips sideways when she closed her mouth!  Ewww!  I pulled the right front tooth out several days ago, and she cried, bit me when I stuck my fingers in her mouth, and was, in general, a very reluctant "yank-ee."  So, when the left front tooth started to follow the wind currents, I decided that it was time to pull it, too!  She was immediately opposed to the idea, and began the theatrics as soon as I put my finger on the tooth in question.  I prevailed, though, just short of sitting on her chest and putting a dental prop in her mouth.  Of course, as soon as it was over, she was all gap-toothed smiles and giggles.  I am officially documenting this great milestone in Abigail's life and invite you to share it with her!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love Notes

"How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways..."
Ahhhh!  February is here, and our thoughts tend to be a little more "romantic" as we anticipate the upcoming Valentine's Day.  Admit it - you are already dreaming of chocolate and roses, kisses and romance.  I am - especially the chocolate part!  I had the most wonderful thing happen to me last week.  My oh-so-wonderful husband surprised me with a series of love notes tucked away in places he knew I would find them.  There was one in my Bible, where my daily reading marker was placed, one in my makeup bag, one in the kitchen, and so forth.  Each note contained a specific reason for his love for me.  I was so touched!  This is not the first time he has done something like that, but it doesn't happen every week, either!  I am thankful for a husband who daily expresses his love for me in words and actions.  Today, start thinking of reasons you love your spouse.  See how many you can come up with before Valentine's Day, and surprise them by writing the reasons down.  They don't have to be great big things.  For instance, I am thankful that my husband puts his own clothes in the hamper when he takes them off!  Something little, yes, but after ten years of marriage, that has saved me a lot of extra work!  Too many times we focus on what they don't do, or what we wish they would do.  This year, write your own unique set of love notes, and tell your spouse some of the reasons you love them.  It will give you an increased appreciation for them.  It will also encourage them to keep doing the "little things" that become everyday romance.