Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Lessons of Loss

Sixteen years ago, our son Nathan was born. We were devastated to watch him take his last breath one hour and nine minutes later as a result of undetected Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Never in my worst nightmares had I ever envisioned such an event. My heart was filled with fear and sorrow as I prayed for God to spare his tiny life, to help him breathe. I remember as if it were yesterday, God tenderly saying, "No, Sarah," even as His arms held me and His peace surrounded me.

In the months following Nathan's death, I grieved. Sleepless nights were followed by agonizing days, filled with deep sorrow. Tears flowed until I felt drained, both physically and emotionally. The pain was so great that it felt like a huge knot in my chest that made it hard to swallow, to talk, even to breathe.

That summer is mostly just a blur in my memory, overshadowed by the pervasive cloud of grief that nearly swallowed me whole. I descended into a dark valley of depression, from which I thought I would never escape. I was barely functioning in the fog of my pain and grief, numb to every emotion but the sorrow of my overwhelming loss.

Through it all, I knew the presence of God like never before. He was there in my darkest hours - loving, comforting, and surrounding me with His care. His Word brought peace to my troubled heart and mind. When my friends avoided me or said the wrong thing in an attempt to comfort me, He gave grace to deal with the added pain.

Each hour of survival that summer was a milestone, and even now, all these years later, I can hardly talk about it without crying unless I keep everything at a very distant, clinical level. Not a day goes by that I do not think of him, how tall he would be, the things he would be doing, wonder what his personality would be like. The pain of loss never goes away, it just becomes a garment that you become accustomed to wearing.

God has used this child of mine to teach me many things.
His will is best for me.
His grace is sufficient for me.
His love is manifest for me in that He gave His only begotten Son to die for me.
His peace passeth understanding.
His Word lights my path, even in the darkest night.
His promise is sure, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
His strength upholds me when I am too weak to stand.

My life has been changed in ways I never thought possible. I know the sorrow and pain of loss, and my heart breaks for those who have also experienced this pain. I know how to pray for those who cannot utter the words past the lump in their throat. I know how to sit silently and give a hug because no words are enough to assuage the grief of losing a child.

I am a different person because of Nathan's life. While I would never have chosen this path for myself, as I look back over the past sixteen years, I can honestly say that I would not change a thing. God has brought me to this place of peace and surrender one step at a time. He has been with me every step of the way, lifting me up when I have fallen, carrying me in His mighty arms when I had no strength to stand, and putting my tears in His bottle.

On this special day, Nathan's sixteenth birthday, I want to remember him and thank God for allowing me to be his mother.

Friday, March 2, 2018


I'm just going to say, from the very outset, that giving haircuts to my boys/husband is one of my least favorite chores. Ever.

I think they look great when they are freshly shorn, but the process is so - well, messy. Little bits of hair drift all over my clothes in spite of my apron, cling to my hands, invade my mouth, and tickle my nose. Yech!

However, every four weeks or so, out come the clippers, cape (not my Superwoman cape - that's usually in the closet), and scissors and away we go!

I did not grow up cutting hair. In fact, the first haircut I ever gave was as a new bride to my husband of about three weeks. We were living in West Virginia, where he was serving as youth pastor that summer. We drove to the local "get-it-all-here" store and picked out a decent set of hair clippers, complete with case and instructional DVD.  We went back home, and I, with great trepidation, opened this Pandora's box of do-it-yourself grooming.

I was extremely nervous, and was so afraid of making a mistake, that the first haircut took slightly longer than an Atlantic crossing. I will say, though, that it looked really good. My husband, pleased with his newly acquired barber, went merrily on his way, looking very fine indeed. All was well in the world.

Several weeks later, the inevitable occurred. Another haircut was necessary to prevent the church folks from assuming that Cousin It had replaced their young assistant. No problem - I, the amazing wife, would come to the rescue!

Emboldened by my previous success, I scoffed at the suggestion of watching the instructional DVD, and began busily cutting, heeding my husband's request to "make it a little shorter this time."  Snipping, clipping, and talking, I made short work of the thick mop on his head. As I stepped back to view my handiwork, I was smitten with horror!  He was shorn so closely that his thin frame and the dreadful haircut contrived to make him look like a concentration camp survivor- minus the striped pajamas. It was a terrible blow to my wifely confidence. I had just scalped my husband, and everyone would know. I begged my husband not to leave the house for at least a day (as if waiting 24 hours was going to change his looks significantly in the hair department). He was very kind and told me it would be okay in a few days.  I was not significantly consoled by this statement,  but figured there was nothing left to do but wait for it to grow again.

The next time he went into the office, he came home chuckling. The pastor, upon seeing him, did a double take and exclaimed, "Bless God! Did you get hit by a lawn mower, brother?"

It was that bad. I was mortified until it grew out, and after that incident learned to be more careful with those instruments. Almost 18 years and approximately 500 haircuts later, I still haven't watched that instructional DVD. I am sure that there are great barbering secrets and techniques available on it, but not watching it has almost become a matter of principle. A badge of honor. 

So, today I gave haircuts. They are grateful. I am happy that I can perform this little service for them.  This is my life, and I am still learning to love it - in spite of the mess.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love that Lasts

Recently, I saw a post asking whether people believe in "romantic love." The comments below the post were surprising and saddening in nature.  A great many people seemed to hope that such a thing as romantic love might exist, but they hadn't found it yet. Some were so jaded from past relationships that they doubted it was even possible.

All around me, I see relationships in "crash and burn" mode. Perhaps they survived for a few years, maybe even a decade or two together, but ultimately, more and more marriages are taking a fatal nosedive.

What causes this tragic epidemic of casualties, especially among Christian couples - those who claim to know the source of true love? I suspect there are many reasons that could be cited, and many complicated variations of those reasons. Sometimes there are very real problems that eat away at a marriage until it cannot survive. Whatever the reasons, so much heartache and destruction trails in the wake of a ruined marriage. Broken hearts, broken children, broken lives, and so much baggage - can it be avoided?

I believe it can. I have only been married for 17 years at this point, and I definitely do not claim to be an expert on marriage. However, in that time, I have learned some very important lessons about love that lasts.

1. Before you say, "I do," be absolutely certain that God is leading you together.
I cannot begin to tell of the marriages that have struggled from the outset because two people rushed into marriage blinded by passion that overruled their common sense and everyone else's objections. Marriage is a lifetime decision, not something to be lightly entered into, then discarded when it becomes inconvenient or uninteresting.  If you are married already, then God's will is for you to stay in that marriage unless you are in real, physical danger. I won't say anything more about that now,  but perhaps I will address it at a later date.

2.  Accept your spouse for who they are.  Too many people enter a relationship with the ulterior motive of "fixing" the other person's real or imagined faults. If you love them, you will not try to manipulate them into conforming into someone they are not. You wouldn't appreciate that, so why do you think they would? Love is not two perfect people falling in love - it is two imperfect people trying their hardest to love one another.

3.  Cultivate a sense of humor. 
Let's face it - marriage can be tough. Situations arise on a regular basis that can stress us out and cause us to snap at one another. Instead, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to find the humor in the situation. Perhaps it will, at the time, seem a little like "gallows humor," but learning to laugh instead of cry, scream, or blame can make a huge difference. This works best if you are laughing together, not at the other person. It takes some work at first to see things in a humorous light, but after a while, it becomes second nature.

4.  Be faithful. 
I shouldn't have to say this, but there it is. So many people destroy their marriage by neglecting this basic rule.  Perhaps they never intend to, but a word here, a look there, an inappropriate text or two, and soon the seeds of an affair, either emotional or physical, are sown.  Guard your marriage closely.  The pasture is not greener on the other side of the fence.

5.  Love deeply and unreservedly.
If God has blessed you with a marriage partner, He has given you a special ministry. Only you can complete that other person. Your job is to be the most loving, supportive spouse that you can be. Don't let little things drive a wedge between you, and never go to bed angry. You are not guaranteed tomorrow, and lavishing your love on your spouse will ensure that you have no regrets.

6.  Pray for one another.
It is the greatest thing you can do for your spouse. You, better than any other person, know their strengths, weaknesses, struggles, trials, blessings, and fears. It is also impossible to stay angry with someone while intervening for them before the throne of grace.

7Walk in the Spirit.
So much pain and heartache could be avoided if we just followed this rule for life. Things said and done in the heat of a moment can chip away at your love and the foundation of your marriage. Offenses are taken up and held closely, grievances (many of which begin as simple misunderstandings) are taken out, petted, and fed with bitterness until they reach epic proportions.  All of these destructive behaviors are an evidence of failure to walk in the Spirit.

Perhaps this is a bit simplistic,  and not at all exhaustive in nature, but following these basic rules will give you a love that lasts for years.

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's to many happily ever afters!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Long Drives

Many of you may wonder what life on the road is like. Perhaps, in your mind, it is romanticized as being one great road trip after another, filled with adventure, unusual sights, and scenic by-ways.

While it can be very exciting at times (usually not for the reason you might think), and we do get the opportunity to see things along the way, most of the time it is just a long day in the truck.
Three kids sit in the back, and the youngest, loudest, wiggliest one sits in the front between Paul and me.

The drives like today's of over 800 miles, can physically exhaust everyone. Aching backs and necks, cramped legs, and slightly stale recycled air tend to either induce a state of lethargy or incite homicidal tendencies in our children. 

The drives are broken up by infrequent stops for food and/or fuel (think every 300 miles). All bathroom needs must be taken care of during these stops, and pity the child who drinks too much at lunch!

My own space is dominated by my projects - usually some kind of yarn, needles, and patterns in a bag by my feet. Phone charger cords snake around my ankles, and my water bottle is usually close at hand. During daylight hours, I work on my current project, or sometimes doze off in the warm sunshine, usually to be awakened by hysterical laughter from the back seat, or a particularly rough stretch of highway.  After darkness falls, I tend to gravitate to my tech - the ever present cell phone or my traveling library (I am soooo thankful for my Kindle Paperwhite). I have spent many hours reading while on the road.

There is generally some kind of music going throughout the day. Today we listened to streaming radio via Classic FM out of London. Lots of lovely music, and the funniest British ads!  Sometimes we pick favorites, where each person calls out a song and we listen to their choice.  This evening we listened to the entire Messiah, singing at the top of our lungs as we drove down the road. At other times, we practice music for our meetings or sing for our own enjoyment.

Before you ask, no, the children are not always content and sweet in the vehicle. On rare occasions, we have imposed mandatory silence upon them for their own health and safety. However, that is the exception rather than the rule, thank goodness.

Conversation ranges from trivia to theology, music to technology, and everything in between.  My kids ask the most interesting questions at times, and their insights and perspectives can be quite surprising!  Sometimes everyone sleeps (except Paul, of course, since he is driving).

As I write this, we are driving into our hometown. Familiar sights are a blessing, and a sign that we are almost at the end of our journey. Happiness is knowing that at the end of a long day, I can still climb into my own bed!

Just a small glimpse into the day-to-day life of the evangelist and his family. It's a good life, and despite the occasional difficulty and discomfort,  we love it, and wouldn't change a thing!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Back from the Busy

Okay, to be honest, I was going to say back from the dead, but that was a bit of an exaggeration.  I've actually just been too busy to blog.  Something in my life had to go, and I chose, among other things, blogging. I missed it - the regular sharing of my daily life and the somewhat meandering ramblings of my thoughts.

Not that anything has actually changed as far as the pace of my life or the busyness of my schedule - I just decided it was time to pick up the proverbial pen and start writing again. At this point, I don't know how often I will be sharing (so don't get your hopes up too high), but I will make a concerted effort to write regularly.

What's been going on in the several years since my last post? Thousands of miles traveled, oodles of school papers finished, about a zillion yards of yarn turned into fun and beautiful things, hilarious adventures, family struggles, ministry blessings, exciting mission trips, new friends, old friends, laughter, memories, and even a few boring days, too.

God has blessed us so abundantly,  and I almost feel guilty about not sharing it with all of you for so long. But I digress.

I have kept up with things a bit more on Instagram  and you can see everything you've missed by following me there @rvmamacrow.

So, here's to new beginnings. I hope you will follow along for the everyday adventure that I call my life!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Busy Needles

It’s that time of year when the cold weather descends with a vengeance and compels me to pick up my needles and find a skein of yarn.  Yes, almost all of my spare time has been dedicated to needlework these last several weeks.  I love it!  There is nothing more satisfying than saying, “I made it!”

My dear husband tolerates these forays into the fiber world with amazing composure, although I am sure he would like to toss all that yarn out into the yard at times.  The couch is my main work station, although you can also find half-finished projects in other rooms (like the schoolroom) where I can work on them while away from my main station. 

I thought I would share a few projects that I have finished as well as peeks at a few that aren’t finished yet.  I am also going to share my much-coveted Rainbow Ripple afghan pattern, for all of you who want to make one for yourselves!  :)

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This delicious wool/silk/mohair self-striping yarn was a gift from a friend.  I learned several new knitting techniques while doing this scarf, and I was vastly pleased with the results.  I love how the  colors just blend into one another!  (Casablanca by Cascade)

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Here is the finished product.

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The awesome thing about this scarf is that it goes with so many different outfits!  All you have to do is twist the scarf around so that the color you want is showing, and voila! (Right here and now I am going to mention my complete intolerance for people who do not know how to spell voila and insist on using it anyway in their blog posts, texts, etc.  It is NOT spelled wa-la, wahlah, or even wallah!  If you are going to use a foreign word, please spell it correctly… or any word, for that matter.)  Okay – the lecture is over.  You can go back to reading now.

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Here is another side of it.  Please ignore the unfolded laundry on my bed at the time of this photo.  Anyway, you get the point!  I love this new scarf, and it is so warm, too!

Then while I was trolling through Instagram (follow me there @rvmamacrow), I saw another lovely scarf that I just had to make – the Tuesday Night Cowl (  It had all these lovely cables and I knew I had to try it.  I used dark gray wool for this, and it turned out so well that I will probably end up making another one in a different color!

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Here it is in the mid-stage of creation.  See all those lovely tucks and folds?!  Yum!

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I even finished it on Tuesday night!  Well, almost.  It was a little into Wednesday morning, technically!

Of course, I have also been keeping up on the #crochetmoodblanket2014 project.  I am really enjoying that, and my blanket is getting larger all the time.  I think we will be able to use it as an RV cover when I am finished!

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This is my latest picture of the project.  One square each day for the entire year will make a nice blanket.  If you haven’t joined the movement, it’s not too late!

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This is the month of January – looking pretty good!

I also have a knitted wrap in progress.  It is taking me a long time, though, because I keep getting distracted by all these side projects like the Fisherman’s Ring granny squares (see further down).  This is not the first one I have made, but it was several years ago when I made the other one, and I would like to think that my knitting skills have improved in that time!  Here is is in all of its unfinished glory.

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Not the greatest picture of it, but you can see where it is heading.  It has to be about 64” long.  Only about 40 more inches to go at this point.

Here is a better picture of the yarn color. (Red Heart Soft in Seafoam)

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Then I found the Fisherman’s Ring pattern by Priscilla Hewitt.  I had to try it.  And I love it.  So I have plans to make another blanket with these squares.  I need to stop exploring all these needlework sites – I have more ideas than I will ever be able to finish!  It sure is fun, though!

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So, let the snow fly and the wind roar.  At our house, we will be snug and warm in all the crocheted and knitted goodies I have made this winter! 

And now you can make a lovely afghan, too, with this Rainbow Ripple afghan pattern!  Some of you have asked about it, and I finally got around to writing it down.  Here are some pictures (I made two of these this past year).

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Without further ado, here is the pattern:

Rainbow Ripple Afghan – Sarah Crow

Hook size: I (4.5 mm)

Yarn: 1-7 oz. skein each of white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, lt blue, dark blue, and purple (or colors of your choice)


Decrease stitch – uses 2 st. YO, insert hook in stitch indicated and pull up a loop. Draw through two loops (two loops remaining on hook), YO, insert hook in next stitch, pull up a loop, draw through two loops (3 loops remaining on hook), draw through remaining 3 loops.

Chain 209

Foundation row: Turn, 2 dc in 4thch from hook (ch3 counts as 1st dc). Dc in next 3 ch, work 2 decrease stitches, *dc in next 2 ch, work (dc, ch 1, dc)in next two stitches, dc in next 2 ch, work 2 decrease stitches, repeat from * across to last 4 st. Dc in next 3 st, 3 dc in last st.

Row 2: Turn, ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), 2dc in same st. Dc in next 3 dc, work 2 decrease st, *dc in next 2 dc, dc in ch 1 sp, work (dc, ch 1, dc) in next two dc, dc in next ch 1 sp, dc in next 2 dc, work 2 decrease st, repeat from * across to last 4 st. Dc in next 3 dc, 3 dc in last dc.

Finish off. Change color. Repeat Row 2 twice for each color stripe until you have repeated the rainbow pattern 3-4 times. Finish off, weave in ends, and enjoy!

Now go get  a hook and get busy!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome, 2014!



It seems that each year flies by faster and faster, and that the upcoming year approaches more rapidly than the previous one.  I can hardly believe that we are already in 2014!  The holidays at our home were especially sweet, with showers of unbelievable blessing falling upon us.  It was a wonderful end to a rather difficult year for us, and I am thankful for God’s miraculous provision.

We had a first – a Christmas eve party.  It was just our family, and a low-key, fun time for everyone.  Of course, we had all kinds of yummy party food that everyone enjoyed.


Then we opened a mystery package which contained goodies for the whole family – new PJ’s, a special ornament for each child, and a movie to watch together.  I think it will be a new tradition.


For New Year’s Day, we spent some time with new friends, and enjoyed getting to know them better.  We also enjoyed getting to know this yummy dessert pizza.


This is our last school-free weekend, so Monday, we will hit the books again.  Trying to keep a smile on my face as I think about this…  The kids are no more excited about it than I am, but we will all manage just fine.  I know they will be glad when summer comes and they get out in the beginning of  May. 

In addition to all of my holiday baking and traditional sewing (doll dresses for each of my girls each year), I spent a great deal of time sewing, crafting and brainstorming with my friend Kristen while we were home.  We set up an Etsy shop for all of our goodies, so if you are looking for some nice handmade items, visit us and look around a bit.  We are currently adding to our collection, and not everything is posted, but keep an eye out for new things!  Our shop name is AllThingsLovely4.



We left our house right after Christmas, so un-decorating was a bit rushed.  After being out of the trailer for several weeks, it is almost like moving when we have to load up again.  I always worry about leaving something important behind, especially when we are in a rush.  Of course, that would never be because I procrastinated.  Never.  :)

Long road trips are great for making large projects, and I am almost done with my latest project – another rainbow ripple afghan.  The colors are so happy and bright that it cheers me just to look at it.  I have one more repeat  and then it will be done.  I might do two, if I have enough yarn.  I ran out of yarn the other day and had to buy more of a weird shade of blue.  Matching yarn is not one of my favorite  things to do.


Speaking of yarn, I started a year-long project – the crochet mood blanket for 2014.  Simply put, you choose a color each day (or week) that represents how you feel, and make a block.  At the end of the year, you will have an afghan as well as a mood calendar.  My husband just smirks when I talk about it.  I can hear him thinking, “Females.  A mood blanket?!?  What will they come up with next?”  That’s okay.  He hasn’t actually said anything, so when it is finished, I might let him use it.  Ha!  I think the hardest part was choosing the colors I wanted.  Michael’s was having a huge sale, so I got 13 different colors as well as white for the outside blocks and joining.  I don’t know that I will actually have that many moods, but that is beside the point.  I find it hard to resist a pretty yarn, especially when it is on sale, and I can justify using it for a fun project.  The only thing that is killing me is that it will take a whole year to finish it.  I do not like long, drawn-out projects.  I understand that breaking it into small pieces makes it easier for some people to complete the task, but I can tell you that, around March, I am going to be so tempted to finish all the blocks and put it away.  Forget March – I already feel that way. :)


I chose a  retro circle pattern that is so adorable!  I already love the blanket, and it isn’t even big enough to cover both of my hands! 


The colors so far are bright and cheery, and I can’t wait to see the finished project.  I was dragging the yarn around in a huge bag, spilling it on the living room floor, and getting it tangled around things.  Something had to change.  While I was at Hobby Lobby, they had all their Christmas things on clearance for 80% off, and I found a giant round decorative box (I have a weakness for those boxes, anyway) that I knew would be perfect for my mood blanket yarn.  I also stocked up on wrapping paper and tissue paper for next year.  I was feeling pretty thrifty after that trip!   Here is my newly organized #crochetmoodblanket 2014 yarn.  Hooray for adorable storage!


We are in sunny south Florida this week, and our meeting starts Sunday.  We are praying for great things to happen, and know that God’s Word will not return void.  In the meantime, I am enjoying the warm weather and the chance to wear sandals again.  Of course, I had to repaint my toenails, since it had been about three months since my last paint job and I had about a half inch of paint on my big toenails – all the other toes were bare.  Shameful, I know.  It gave me a good reason to stop everything and paint my toenails in a fresh new color for the new year!


Well, this has been a huge catch-up post, since it has been forever since my last blog post.  Hopefully things will settle down a bit and my news will become regular again.  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year!  Looking forward to what this year will bring.