Friday, December 5, 2008


Thanksgiving at our house was very low key but wonderful! We didn't take many pictures but I did have to share Tyler's very chocolaty one!! This picture was taken after my sister blessed Tyler with a piece of chocolate pie on the face (I think he had it coming but the jury is still out on that one).

My sister and her family came over, the kids had lots of fun! My sister and I are close in age (20 months apart). This coming March I will turn 37, my sister will still be 37 until March 30th. When we were kids I was quick to let her know we were the same age and she could no longer tell me what to do, not my best moment but very true!

I see God working in our relationship, I see him helping us both grow. Kim is more than my sister, she is my sister in Christ. God is helping us to cultivate a relationship that brings glory to Him. I have to say that isn't always comfortable for me, at times- I desire my way instead of HIS! As I sat at the table with my sister and her family this Thanksgiving He graciously reminded me of the work He is doing in us. I am so very thankful for that. His care for me shows in so many ways but one of the biggest is in my relationship with my sister. I pray that God will continue to work in both of us and His will in our lives will be done! I never appreciated have an older sister as a kid, certainly not one who was right so much! My sister and I talk daily but more importantly she speaks into my life. She is still the wiser older sister, but thankfully not as bossy!

Kim I am thankful for you prayers and for your care. I am thankful that out of all the sisters in the world you are mine!

Boofy if you are reading this you know that you are the best little sister I have ever had!!

I love you both very much!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Madison!

I remember the first moment we met. Your strawberry blond hair, your red wrinkled skin. Your head was so perfect and round. I couldn't get enough of your smell. You were so sweet as you laid in my arms, it was love at first site. I would hold you all day and never get enough! I didn't want you to grow, I knew it was bound to happen but I fought it every step of the way!

Here we are 9 years later. I'm not even sure how that happened! I know it doesn't seem time has gone by quickly but trust mommy it has! You are such a sweet young lady. Being your mother is one of the greatest joys in my life. I am so proud and happy to call you my daughter. What a blessing you are to me and our family. I am amazed at how God is already working in your little heart. You are the best kitchen helper a mommy could ask for. You are smart and creative and on your way to being the world's best baby sitter!

Out of all the daughters in the world God knew you were the perfect one for me! My heart belonged to you the first time I ever saw your sweet little face. It blesses me to know more and more your heart belongs to God. Happy Birthday Sweet Princess!



Thursday, November 6, 2008

THE Ultimate Date Night

It may seem a little weird but I remember what I was doing this very week 8 years ago. Jody and I were on a date. The babysitter was watching (our two) children. Madison was almost a year old. She was about as cute and as much as I thought any one mommy could handle. Tyler was 6 years old and very smitten with Madison. He was really enjoying his big brother role (now there are days he doesn't seem to enjoy that same role as much:)! I'm not sure whether we knew it or not, but I was about a month pregnant with Jarred.

This was no ordinary date. This date would be unlike any we had ever experienced in our lives. After this one night we would forever be changed. I know what you are thinking, this must have been a pretty amazing date! It was! It was the most important night of my life! So, you would think a night that important I would remember all the details right? Wrong! Neither of us remembers much. This is where I can share one regret in my life -not keeping a journal! I would love to look back and see what I was thinking. I would love to know all the details about how I felt prior to going. Did I think Jody was crazy? Would I rather be going to a club? I didn't have a clue how that night was going to affect me (I might have chickened out had I known). This is my feeble attempt to tell the most amazing story of my life.

Jody and I were meeting some very special friends Joe, Jean and another friend Vanessa at Alltel stadium. We were going to the Billy Graham Crusade. When Jody and I reminisce about this day, neither of us knows why we went. I do remember Jody calling from work to tell me what was on the agenda for the evening. I still wonder what we were thinking? What was our motivation? Did we go because we thought we would be entertained? We could have gone because my mind set was "a date anywhere would be better than no date at all". Maybe we went because it was Billy Graham and we wanted to be able to say we saw him. Any friends I would of had at the time would not have been impressed. Ultimately I know why we went, but I still wonder why we thought we were going. I don't know what we were expecting, but what happened far exceeded any expectations either of us could have ever had.

This is what I do remember and what I will never forget. Everything seemed fine, I don't think I was very emotional (I know some of you won't believe that, but I used to be pretty tough)! Towards the end of the evening I remember bowing my head in prayer. The instant I did, something in me broke. I was filled with so much emotion, I couldn't make it go away. I was sitting next Jody but I felt as though I was there all by myself. I was crying and it wasn't baby tears, it was years of suppressed tears. The ugly kind that came with lots of snot. I was pleading with God to make it stop, I was embarrassed. I was having conversations with God and he wasn't listening very well! I thought for sure Jody thought I was going nuts. Why can't I turn this nozzle off? I refused to lift my head, it was ugly and I didn't want anyone else to see me. I demanded God tell me what he wanted so this could stop. Then I remember thinking "I am not going down there. I can't answer that alter call. If I go down on that field Jody will think I have lost my mind! God, this could cost me my marriage. I can't raise these kids on my own. I can't do this. I am not going to make that walk (from what seemed like the top of a mountain) down to that field! I might get lost in that crowd, there are so many people. I might not be able to find Jody afterwards. Heck, he might be so embarrassed, he may decide to leave me here. Orange Park was way too far away for me to walk home, I'm not good with directions. God you have the wrong person, this isn't for me."

I cried and cried. It felt as though the tears were never going to stop, it seemed as though there was no end in sight. At some point, Jody very softly took my hand and placed it in his. I needed my hand to wipe the tears and snot away but I needed Jody to hold it even more. Apart from holding my hand I don't know what Jody was doing. Time stood still, those few moments seemed like hours. I was busy, I was battling God and trying to get him to see things my way! I kept arguing and praying. There was a thought that I couldn't get out of my head. It had to do with Jody and a past experience with religion. I felt like religion was going to be off limits. I felt I would have to make a decision between Jody and God and I was telling God my decision and it wasn't going to be God. I thought I would go mad sitting there. My life was just starting to make a little sense and now it was getting turned upside down all over again. "God" I pleaded "I can't do this! It will cost me my marriage. God I love this man. I don't know how or when that happened, but I love him! I don't want to live without him"

At that very moment- that man, that wonderful, beautiful, deep man whom I loved with every inch of my being, elbowed me. I hesitated to look up. I didn't want him to see me looking the way I did. He gently elbowed me again. I slowly raised my head, the tears and snot still rolling. He wanted eye contact. I was scared. I was embarrassed. I had no idea what he was thinking and I didn't want to know. I finally looked into his face. His eyes were filled with water and he gave me a look I had seen only a couple of times before. The first time I saw this look was when I tried to end our relationship (prior to being married). The next time I saw this look in his eyes was the day we got married. Again, I was seeing the same serious, deep penetrating look. It terrified and comforted me at the same time. The way he looked at me made felt like he could see into my soul. After a few moments, he very quietly said "I think we are supposed to go down there". All I could do was stare back at him. I couldn't move my eyes away from him. I just stared into his eyes. Again, very tenderly he said "I think we are supposed to go down there". This time through the sobbing and crying I responded "I do too".

He took my hand and led me down what seemed like the longest walk I have ever taken in my life. I didn't look at Joe, Jean or Vanessa as we began our descent. I was too embarrassed. I couldn't even imagine how I or it must have looked. I was hoping as we passed thousands of people we didn't know, that they wouldn't stop me. I hoped they didn't know my every secret. I hoped they wouldn't be able to tell my past. I was afraid. I was afraid someone would be standing at the bottom and they would know, they would send me right back to my seat. It seemed to take forever and I wasn't sure I would make it. I hid my face in shame. I didn't want anyone to know I needed to be rescued, let alone saved. I didn't raise my head once to see where we were going. Jody had my hand and led me the entire way. He held my hand tightly, I'm sure he knew how scared I was. He might have known given the chance I would run. I was frightened by what we were doing. I didn't know exactly how it would affect us. Would our marriage make it through something like this? If we changed would we still want to be married to each other?

We finally reached the end of the stairs onto the field. I remember thinking O.K. Now what? There were volunteers from different churches on the field. A women came over to pray for us, I think at some point someone wanted to pray separately for Jody but Jody wasn't going to leave my side. He knew I needed him, heck I might even get lost. He held me close to him, pressed my crying face up against his chest (finally somewhere to wipe all those tears and snot)! I hugged him and we prayed. I hugged him and I hugged him. He was never going to leave my side. I felt more loved in that one moment of Jody's obedience to God than I had ever felt in my life.

Our car ride home was a little strange. We didn't talk much about what happened, it was all too surreal. Those words that Jody so quietly spoke to me "I think we are supposed to go down there" are still the most romantic and sweetest words I have ever heard him say. Our lives were changed that night. I still don't know what our motivation was for going, I will probably never know. I do know why God brought us there that night. I know that since we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior our lives have never been the same.

On one hand it seems all this happened a lifetime ago. On the other it seems just like yesterday. I remember how I felt, it was a very confusing and exciting time. I could never thank God enough for what he has done. He has been so very good to Jody and I. I am so thankful for my sweet husband and the wonderful marriage God has given us.

Eight years ago we had less money, less house, more kids than we knew what to do with, but they are the most precious times of my life. I will cherish those moments forever. My fondest and most romantic memory to this day is of Jody reading the bible to me before bed, shortly after we got saved. I don't believe there has ever been a time in our marriage in which Jody has been sexier to me! It was and is the sweetest time of my life.

My Companion

My Companion

My Dear Sweet Child,

I have walked beside you every day

I know your every burden

Every pain you have ever felt

When you were desperate and crying

I never left your side...

I was there when you hurt yourself

I was there when you hurt others

I was there when you thought you could hide

When you thought no one could understand

I never left your side...

When the pain was too much and you felt like giving up

When no one could make the pain stop

When the pain came from those you trusted

When others who said they loved me, hurt you

I never left your side...

When you mocked me to others

When the faint whisper of my voice disappeared

When you thought you weren't worthy of saying my name

When you thought too much of others and not enough of yourself

I never left your side...

Through all the confusion

Through all the pain

When you wanted to knock at my door but were too ashamed

When you thought you could never belong to me

I never left your side...

I know all of your secrets

I will not refuse you

I forgive it all

Call out to me

I never left your side...

It will take courage- but come to me

Lay down your head and rest

You will be safe in my arms

I will hold you forever

I never left your side...

No longer will you be scared

I have peace to offer you

Love to give you

Be still and hear my voice

I never left your side…

I will restore what you thought too broken to fix

All the dreams you once dreamed, I have held in my hands

Waiting for the day you would reach for me

My sweet child, you are mine

I never left your side...

You may not feel like a treasure but you are more precious than gold

I laid down my life for you

This love can be hard to accept, especially when you think yourself unlovable

You tried to end it all, but I had a better plan for you

I never left your side...

Now you can hear my voice

Welcome home my precious child

I have been waiting for you

I have great plans for your life

This is my promise to you....

I will never leave your side…
I will never leave your side…


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Home School Crotsley Style

There has been at least one person in our home not feeling well since Celebration. This picture was taken last week on the one day we had a reprieve.

All of our home school days do not look like this, but when attitudes are good and little ones are being focused it sure does make school a lot more fun (for all)!

One of my favorite things to do is surprise my kids with creative ways to serve their snack. They love for me to hang a towel over my arm and pretend to be a butler or maid, if I can throw in an accent all the better! Another favorite during the day is reading outside. My kids love to sit in their fort or swing on their swing while reading. Next spring I think we might work on some kind of secret garden in the back yard for all of us. I'm sure it will quickly get turned into a military base in the afternoons, we have boys and that just happens! Madison and I will have to reserve it during school hours and set boundaries early on:)!

We love being outdoors and the fall weather (fall, NOT winter- for me)! I wish all home school days looked like this, but to be honest that just doesn't work for us. The kids understand there are perks with having good attitudes and being on task, and I really love the opportunity to bless them!

Everyone is finally better in our household and I am praying whatever they were exposed to is now gone (and gone for a long time)!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Total admission.... I have not been feeling well and as far as I was concerned this was the worst time to get sick (I know... when is a good time to get sick?). I was really looking forward to a retreat we attend with some other Soveriegn Grace Churches here in the south. It was in the woods (and usually) an amazing time of hearing the word, beautiful worship and a time of fellowship.

Well, I strongly suspected this wasn't going to be the same amazing experience considering I couldn't breathe, my nose was trying to run off my face and I couldn't sleep (something to do with not breathing). I was exhausted! When we arrived, I wondered if I would be coherent enough to even hear the word that was being preached?

The first day we arrived I was so exhausted I considered staying in the cabin and trying to sleep while eveyone went to the first session. Then I remembered... I couldn't sleep so that didn't make any sense at all (even for me who wasn't thinking straight at the time)!

We went to the first session and through my head pounding, eyes watering, and nose trying to run away from my face- God gingerly and sweetly spoke to me. He spoke to me through wonderful times of worship. He spoke truth into my life through the gospel. He allowed some sweet times of fellowship and I am so grateful.

This year was a little different, it was a little more low key. We saw some of our friends but probably not as much as in previous years. Jody and I spent a lot of time on our bikes gathering kids and trying to make a few moments of QT (Jody would be flying out on Sunday and gone for a week so some sort of family time was needed)!

Little did I know- once again I was exactly where I needed to be, sickness and all (you would think I would get this by now). I am always right where he wants me to be! I am not sure why I would think a little sickness would be greater than "My God who can move moutains and is mighty to save" (I love that song)! What was I thinking?

What a wonderful time of encouragment, conviction and feeling God's ever present hand in my life! I love God! I pray as I have the freedom to celebrate Him I will continue to do so. I want my life to show I am aware of His work, His gifts and His deeds. God really convicted me on how harsh and demanding I am with my children at times. Usually when I am wanting something done and (if I am being completely honest) I want it more than I care about my relationship with my children or how they are seeing the gospel lived in me. If I am living my life aware of His love for me - I will not be harsh, I cannot be demanding.

I don't have the strength on my own to resist this or any other sin. But with His gracious help I can overcome, I can say no to sin. I have the freedom to do that! I have the freedom to rebel against sin, and not against my wonderful saviour who has shown love to me in ways I cannot begin to measure.

God is faithful even when I am not! I constantly thank God that He is the one in charge and not me. His plans for me have far exceeded any I ever had for myself!



Friday, September 12, 2008

What's in a name?

When Tyler was born a whopping 14 years ago his name was going to be Mason or Tyler. When he entered the world he was definitely a Tyler, not Mason. His middle name was always going to be Frances. There were many different people in our lives that had Frances as a middle name- my very special Maw Maw (that had already passed away), my Dad's middle name (he is actually my stepfather but who I know as my father) Tyler's biological Grandfather, my other Grandmother- Me Maw. So many people, it was a given.

Last year as we pursued changing Tyler's last name I started to second guess my decision. It never carried the same weight for Tyler as it did for me... He wasn't close to the people he was named after... I didn't feel he felt honor the way I thought he would, when I named him... It flowed really well with McGuire but would it sound right with Crotsley?... Would Tyler want part of Jody's name (his stepdad but the only Dad he knows)... These were thoughts that ran through my mind as we walked through Tyler's name change. Winter came last year & we decided to postpone changing Tyler's name, until Tyler pursued us again. I laid it down and forgot about it until today.

Today a UPS truck pulled up with an envelope addressed to Jody. Inside was Jody's birth certificate with his biological Mom's name listed- Joan Frances Mac Clellan. A small tear welled up in my eye. I owe this women a lot! She did not raise Jody, but gave birth to the most important man in my life! Jody has a wonderful stepmom, Linda, she raised him as her own son. She gave up much for her children I am sure!

There is a reoccuring theme of stepparents in our lives. Jody and I pray our children would see this as an exception and not the norm. We pray it would end here, our legacy would be different. Our hope is this would be the beginning of a new standard for generations to come. Our mistakes would not be re-lived but God's transforming work in our lives would be what they would remember. The fact that God changed our lives in November almost 9 years ago, would be what they would share, and what they will hopefully want to model.

For whatever reason receiving Jody's birth certificate brought all of this to mind (Jody says I am just mushy, but that is how God and I roll)!

My life has been a puzzle. God has been gracious to fit some of those pieces together so I could see His goodness in my pain. Several pieces of this puzzle I will never be able to put together this side of heaven. It doesn't matter, I know all of it has been for my good! 14 years ago when I was confused and feeling the loneliest I had ever felt, God was there! He used it all! Even a sweet little middle name like Francis. Tyler Francis McGuire is who God intended him to be, he was given the name he was supposed to have and until God leads us differently that is the name he will have.

God I am amazed at how very good you have been. I am thankful out of all the millions lost YOU found me. I pray I don't ever forget where I was, and the sinful life I was so happy to lead. Thank you for being merciful in my life and softening my very hardened heart. God I pray I would care more about you than I would what others think of me. I pray I would not be shy in sharing the very real work you have done in my life. God, I thank you for all the people you put in our path (Jody's,Tyler's and mine). Thank you for stepparents who were and are willing to raise others as their own. Thank you that you used it all, even if we never understand why. Thank you that it didn't depend on us, and you are the orginal promise keeper!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Love Love Loved This!

As I was investigating High School information (yes that is what it has come to) this year we are in 9Th, 3rd and a little 2ND grade. I ran across this and loved it (I think is was the HSLDA website). I am going to post it throughout my house to serve as a reminder as school begins.....

When you are convinced that the
Lord loves you lavishly, completely,
and unconditionally, you'll want to
love your children in the same way.
You'll be able to love the unlovable.
You won't shy away from training
and correcting, but you'll do so
with tenderness, compassion, and
humility- as a fellow sinner in
need of grace. None of us have the
power to do this on our own, but
the Lord can help us do the impossible!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I said I would NEVER

My husband has finally done it, this one is pretty big and might take a while for it to really sink in!! There were a lot of things I was willing to do and change, but this wasn't on my list! Jody can be very persuasive and (even though it has never been proven) might have some brainwashing abilities. When I least expect it I am doing something I said I would never do. I am sure you know what I am talking about, it went something like this; "I will marry you, BUT I am not a camping kind of girl. I love being outside, the beach is one of my most favorite places in the world! I can stay in a cabin, even a rustic cabin, but camping is a NO!!" I think his response was something like- I will never make you do something you don't want to do!

So he used his special brainwashing powers and the next thing I knew we were in Dick's sporting goods picking out a tent and camping gear! I am not sure how it happened but it did. I was there (almost like an out of body experience) watching myself help pick out a tent and enjoying it! I don't know what happened next but when I awoke from the trance we were driving to Hannah Park. The trailer was loaded, food packed and camping gear on board.... we were going camping?! I don't understand I thought I made myself clear? How did this happen?? There must have been some break down in communication???

We had a great time camping and I am so glad that I have a husband who is willing to sleep outside in a tent (with a bad back) and expose our kids to things (that for sure! their Mom never would)! I love spending time with my family. I am thankful that my husband is creative and makes sure we do. It wasn't possible for us to go on family vacations when I was a child, so even camping for a day is really important to me.

Jody you have the best ideas and I am so glad that out of all the husband's and daddy's in the world you are ours!

One last note we will not be camping at celebration! Taking a shower and still feeling wet afterwards due to the humidity is not my idea of fun! Jody is letting me have this one, thanks hon!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I did, I DO and I certainly would again!


On July 24th Jody and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Yep! By the grace of God we have been married 9 years! Most of those years have been wonderful but I can honestly say I made a couple of those years pretty tough for Jody. I loved my husband, but I had some serious independence and trust issues. When Jody and I got married, God (in all of His sovereignty) yanked the rug right out from under me. I gave up my apartment, I was pregnant, Jody decided that I needed to quit my job and my life didn't look anything like I had ever envisioned. We were having conversations about me staying home and raising kids (what in the world was going on)!! It all seemed so crazy. Sadly there were times I wanted to run far away from our marriage, run far away from myself! I was afraid of letting Jody get to know the real me. I was afraid of another man in my life letting me down.

The real difference, the real change was the real man that enter my life, Jesus. He was never going to let me down. He wasn't always going to let me have my way, BUT He was always going to be there for me! He is the one that gave Jody everything he needed in order to lead me (Jody needed lots of God's strength to deal with such a difficult and confused wife). My life, my marriage have never been the same since that day. I am so thankful to God for my husband! God knew what I needed in a husband. He knew the exact person for me. He took something that was ugly and rotten and made it wonderful and so very beautiful! I will be forever grateful to HIM for the love and the sweet sweet marriage to my handsome, sweet, strong and funny husband.

Jody what I love best about you is that you know me, you let me be me, and you still love me. You laugh at all my crazy ways and you are still without a doubt the best friend I have ever had!

The picture is of Jody playing Golf when we went to Panama City Beach for our anniversary. We have gone golfing on our anniversary a couple other times and I think it might be a new tradition for us. It wouldn't be much fun if I did it too often but once a year watching the man I love play a sport he really loves is fun! I enjoy the view and watching Jody make shots that seem impossible (sometimes making them)! I also enjoy adding a little pressure and letting him know how many shots I expect him to get the hole in (regardless of the score sheet- small view into the world of Shawna)! Sorry no pictures of us together on this trip. But it was a wonderful time celebrating the hardest and most rewarding 9 years of my life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And they're off......

It's time to celebrate big J turning 7! The birthday boy and Daddy loaded up the borrowed kayak, packed up the trailer and headed to Suwanee State Park. Jarred spent most of the day calling to share all the things I was missing! Tonight he said he would be having a lot more fun if I were there....Well, little does he know, we will be there tomorrow (balloons and birthday cake in hand). We can't wait to surprise him! I don't know what he was thinking- did he really think he was going to celebrate his birthday without his mommy???? (still not so sure how I feel about this whole growing up thing)!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My little ones and my not so little sin

As I wrote the previous post I mentioned my little ones. Well, my little ones aren't so little! I usually refer to Madison and Jarred that way because they are much younger than Tyler. God (who uses all things) used that little phrase to point out and area of sin in my life. Here is the story, I will do my best to make it short....

The last couple of mornings I have been greeted by my son (that we refer to as the youngest) Jarred. He is our happiest little morning person! He is doing a daily countdown until his 7th birthday. This morning he greeted me with his usual smile and said "Mom only 7 more days". It is only 7 more days until he turns 7! As he is doing his morning countdown, the reality of how old he is has been a little sad for me. All of my babies are growing up! I can't keep referring to Madison and Jarred as my babies forever (well, I can, and I probably will because they will always be my babies- but you know what I mean)!

Now, for you to understand how God has used all of this I will have to take you back a couple of years. When Jarred was a baby, Jody and I prayed and made a decision to prevent our family from growing any larger. I've struggled with that decision because it was made so early in our walk with the Lord. Part of my struggle has been that I was very overwhelmed when I had Jarred. I felt like that may have played too much of a role in our decision. (In steps God again) A couple of months ago I was joking, with friend, about stealing her baby since Jody and I weren't having anymore. Later that day I was convicted about what I said and called her to repent. I knew in my own way I was undermining my husband by the way I was joking (because of my own heart). Now, I have to be completely honest and tell you that friend knows at any given time if her children are left unattended I might steal one and attempt to make it a Crotsley! But since then I have really tried to watch my words and try not to joke in that way so I was not undermining or disrespectful to my husband. I was very thankful to God for convicting me! I repented to HIM, to my husband, to my friend and thought it was something I needed to be aware of but that was that! How wrong I was!

Jarred's countdown started and this little desire started creeping into my heart. Last night when all was still and quiet in our house my thoughts began.... Jarred's little countdown... The fact that I am getting older...... All of this resulted in listening to myself and not talking to myself; that doesn't look good! It looks like a wife who is questioning her husband's leadership (yuck! That is not what I want to put on)! I laid in bed last night with my sweet husband and asked again if he realized how very old Jarred was... Was he aware that we didn't have any more babies??... Was he sure he didn't want to have any more children?... His answer was sweet, gentle and firm. He is content with the size of our family and feels like God DID give us an answer. He pointed out that this might be an area where I am not being content (ouch)!! So I spent most of the day searching my heart and was made very aware of lots of areas where I am not being content!

God's word clearly says I am to be content.. "be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you"-Heb 13:5. "In whatever situation I am to be content"-Phil 4:11. "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment" 1 Tim 6:6. If there is great gain in godliness than what am I putting on??? The opposite=lack of gain in godliness by not being content (double ouch!).

To be completely honest I didn't want to post this and I cried like a baby (not new for me) when I knew I had to ask my husband to review this prior to posting. I am not content and God is gracious to bring it to my attention! HE is slowly working on my heart in areas where I am not content. All of this stems from where He has shown me I lack contentment with myself, the physical changes in my body. How I can lack joy and contentment in my parenting, and in my marriage. God wants to do this work in me and sometimes I would rather run than have (what feels like a floodlight) shining on my so very sinful heart! God doesn't let me run, HE is so very patient and continues to little by little do HIS transforming work in me (the one he wants to do not what I want Him to do)! All of this has to be done in order for me to be more like Christ (boy do we have a long way to go)! I don't enjoy seeing my sin most of the time. I am aware of my need to see it, but most of the time I would rather stroll down easy street and not have to "take off" in order to "put on". I am not pursuing God and trusting all that he has for me when I lack contentment! I have to trust God in all things, that includes the size of my family, the size of my body, and exactly where God has me today and trust where he will have me tomorrow! I also have to have peace about the decisions Jody and I prayed about (even in the beginning of our walk) and felt like God did answer! I have to watch my thoughts and not get confused with the (good) desires God has given me, and the emotions that my heart and feelings tell me (they have a tendency to lie to me)!

Right now the biggest area God is revealing to me is the lack of contentment I feel about myself since changing physically after having 3 sweet babies! God is shining a light into this area of my life! If left to myself (this like many others) I could and would justify all day long. I have to do things the way God wants them done and not as I would do! I have to rely on God, my cup cannot be filled elsewhere! God has been so very good to me and I am grateful for all the work he has done and is doing in me!

If you think of it please pray for me, pray that God will reveal the issues that continue to lead to my lack of discipline. Pray that God would show me the root to the heart issue that continues to lead to my lack of being content! Please pray that I will be content where God has me and whatever He has for me!

(It took a couple of days to post this so we are actually only 3 days from Jarred's birthday as of today). He will be 7, God is good, and I am thankful for the oh so very special family God had just in store for me!! Shawna

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our 4th started like this.....

Ice skaing on the 4th of July in Florida??? I would have never guessed that one! The kids not only had the chance to ice skate, but they also got to see their cousins (what more could a little one ask for)! It was a wonderful start to our Fourth!

Wish it could have ended better for Madison.....(but God is good in everything)!!

Our 4th ended like this......

Madison being fed applesauce in bed. She started feeling bad and was confined to her room. She was still our beautiful 4th of July butterfly, but didn't feel much like flying which resulted in room service by her sweet daddy.

Monday, June 30, 2008


By the grace of God I have a tender heart! I have never been thankful for having a tender heart or for tears! I can't give my full testimony to someone, without the flood gates opening! By the grace of God I have (for the past 9 years) had an awareness of what God has done for me! He has made me aware (almost daily)of where I was and where I was headed, the seriousness of that has made me very grateful to Him! My desire is to walk closer to God and continue to let Him do His transforming work in me (no matter how many tears come)!

What God so gently showed me this morning was the tears all began when I became pregnant with Madison. He was softening my heart! I would sob uncontrollably and God used that in many ways. It helped Jody make the decision for me to quit work (I would have never done that without God softening my heart)! I cried so often, it made it hard for me to do my job. God used my boss to help those tears flow, I saw him as a real enemy. That man is now someone I pray for! I pray blessings for him, and much wisdom. My prayer is that he and his wife would affect others the way they have affected me(that is evidence of God's work in me- I am not a forgiving person without God interceding)!

What God revealed was that would mark the beginnng of a huge work He was/and is doing in me. And it all began when I became pregnant with Madison. I always thought it was hormones, I never put it together. She is 8, almost 9 and I am still crying (God is very patient, He knows I am a little slow)! It was a beginning. A fresh start to place I would have never known and never choose on my own. It was the beginning of my life changing forever (more on that soon).

Prior to being pregnant with Madison I couldn't cry. I thought it was a sign of weakness! It was all about being tough or at least appearing to be. I didn't want anyone to think I was I weak! In steps God.... I am weak! I am, right now, weaker than I have ever been in my life (I am stonger in HIM, but I am weaker than I ever thought I could be)! I can't stand alone! I need God every minute of everyday! HE is so very faithful to be there for me, and with me! I love God and HIS graciousness to show me that the tears I cry are from the work He has done/and is doing in me! I am weak (have I said that yet?)! I know that without HIM to lean upon I would have fallen to the depths of Sheol! I know that He is my foundation, my rock to stand upon, all else is sinking ground (words from a song that really brings me to tears)! The tears that seem to abundantly flow are to be celebrated! There are many times I would like to get through worship without bawling like a baby (I love our worship leaders)! I would even love to wear mascara to church on a regular basis! But for the last 6 years that has not been God's plan for me!

I cry over what God is doing in my life, the transforming work I see him doing in my family, and my friends. I cry over others and plead with God to soften their hearts to hear the gospel. I cry over his faithfulness to me and that HE would send his Son to die on the cross for a wretch like me!! I am humbled and amazed at God and his care for me and for others! God is so very good!

Next time, I don't think I will be so bothered when the tears begin to flow. God has used them in great ways to soften my VERY hard heart! He has used them to help me grow. A lot of tears have been shed because God has made me aware of a sinful habit or a heart issue that He would like to put to death! I am so thankful for conviction! He has given me a tender heart that I would not have with out the tears I have shed! God has broken me and it is the best thing that has ever happened in my life! I know I am (very slowly) becoming who God wants to me be. I am trying to see myself the way He sees me (that is hard for me)! I am a child of God and He wants good for me! It is HIS mercy that brings things to my attention. I would not be able to see them let alone appreciate them without HIM!

Recently a friend told me that she might put up a good fight for the cry baby award at home group! This is one title I will be be both glad and very sad to give away. For now we might have to become really good friends and cry and praise God together! :)


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Pro's and Con's of Homeschooling

As this year is ending and next year changing so much for me (because I will attend a school two days a week) I thought I would list what I thought the Pro's and Con's of homeschooling are:

Food ( This one is probably one of the most important to me.) I have access to food anytime (well almost anytime) I would like. My lunches are much better because they are made right here!
Pace It is really nice to work at my own pace. Usually I went ahead and was almost done with my classes by Christmas.
Work I have been able to have my own business because of the flexible hours I could work. God has given me a great work ethic that I am proud of. It also has given me a nice sum of money!
Homework This has been great! I'm really thankful that home school doesn't include homework. I would do school and BAM it was done! No homework! That will probably change now that I am going to school. I will most likely have loads.
Family This one has not necessarily been my favorite but has been the best for me! When I say family I am wrapping a lot of stuff in that. Being home schooled has helped me work on heart issues and more importantly my relationships with my family. I know for a fact that I would not have been the same if I had gone to middle school. It was in God's great plan for me that He had my parents home school me. There has been a significant change in me! I have alot of time to spend with them and our relationships have grown closer because of it.
Vacation This is intertwined with a lot of other con's. To sum it up home schooling is not rigid. If you've had a long night you can sleep in. If your family decides to go one vacation without any notice you can just go! There is a lot of freedom in home schooling


The Con's are nowhere near as long as the Pro's but still stink...

Isolation/Friends Homeschooling can be kind of isolating. That can be a good thing in two ways. First it has helped me stay focused and on task. (I still struggle with being distracted and distracting to Madison and Jarred).
2. It keeps me away from the influences of the world and away from the peer pressure of fellow classmates. I might not have been ready to stand up for myself or for what I believe in. I might have been a follower instead of a leader.

The hardest part has been not having friends that live nearby to hang out with.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Things Madison is Thankful for today!

These are the things I am thankful for:

Mrs. Olsen gave me a card and it was very nice!

I saw two of my friends today, that was fun!

I was very thankful for my brothers today.

Me and my mommy baked some bread-p.s. I made it. I messed up on the bread on accident and mommy didn't care.

I am thankful for my daddy even though I haven't seen him yet.

I am thankful for Jesus that he died on the cross.

Love Madison

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thoughts From Little Ones & Not So Little Ones (over the weekend)

Jarred- Mom, Mr. Olsen is so nice.
Mom- What makes him so nice?
Jarred- I don't know he is just really nice!
Madison (interjects)- I think it is because he doesn't have a temper.
Mom- Who do you know who has a temper? (I hope this answer isn't Mom)!
Madison- Well, I don't really know what a temper is but I don't think he has one!!


Jarred- Mom, I think I am going to start treating my room like it's my room and not like it's a dump!!


Madison- Mom, I really, really feel sorry for Mr. Watt.
Mom- Why?
Madison- He has that whole yard to cut. They do have a riding lawn mower but that is a lot!
Mom- I think Jonathan cuts it.
Madison- Oh, O.K.

Tyler- Mom, I think we should have fillet minon for dinner (not sure he has ever had it).
Mom- I know you do, son!
Tyler- Mom, my wife is really going to need to know how to cook (running theme with Tyler).

Tyler- Mom I think in the importance of things my wife should be godly then I will need to make sure she knows how to cook-(we have a lot of conversations about food)!


Jarred- Mom, I think this song on my radio isn't appropriate!!
Mom- Did you change the station?
Jarred- No! It is still on the christian station but this lady is singing that we should be HAPPY that Jesus died on the cross!!
Mom- Jarred if Jesus did not die on the cross we would not have salvation so we can be happy that he would do that for us.
Jarred- Mom, I understand but we should be sad too!
Mom- Yes Jarred. What he did should make us sad too! But the song is appropriate and we can leave it on.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My boyfriends back!

My wonderful husband is headed home TODAY!! Jody has been out of town for only a couple of days, but he has been gone for some portion of the week, for almost a month now. In between traveling he came down with a pretty bad case of bronchitis. Which means, while he was home he has been recuperating. He has still been working which meant he needed to sleep when he was home, in order to be well enough to travel again. Sickness + traveling = it seems that he hasn't really been home in a month.

God reveals a lot to me when Jody is sick or his back is out. Sometimes, I think Jody is sick or is in pain so God can work out my lack of compassion (isn't he lucky to have married me :})! I am amazed at how sinful my heart is! God uses all things for HIS glory (even my husband's bronchitis)! God has shown me that I can be compassionate when it doesn't interfere with my plans, or even if it just a short spell. But after a couple of days a dark ugly cloud of selfishness reigns over me! I quickly forget how very dear my husband is to me! I forget this is the precious man that God hand picked for me! How quickly I forget HE used him in a very real way to bring salvation to us, both. I am humbled by God's care for me. He loves me enough to bring this to my attention. HE loves me enough to convict me of my sin. I am also aware of his care for me in conviction. At the same time God reveals my sin to me he gives me hope, mostly through his word and accountability partners. But, this time has been different. One of my favorite blogs is dealing with the same issue that keeps rearing it's ugly sinful head in my life.

Sometimes I stare at my husband in awe and amazement. He truly loves me with all his heart. It is a kind of love that I have never experienced! It is a giddy love that has continued for almost 9 years, now. What gets me is God's real presence in our marriage and how unworthy Jody and I are for all he has done! As much as Jody loves me my savior loves me so much more! When I sit and stare at Jody it is because I cannot fathom that kind of love. HE sent his son to die on the cross for me! I can try with my feeble mind to understand, but until I am in heaven, meeting my father face to face, I will not understand. I am not capable of comprehending that kind of love. It is overwhelming for me to even try!

God has been good and he is bringing my husband home. I am SO very thankful for HIS love and care for me (even if it comes in the form of bronchitis)! My husband is better and I have made (a very small amount of) progress in this one sinful area. I am more aware of my need for a savior and where I would be without one!

But God is good! Madison woke up this morning not feeling well with a cough that sounds a little like a dog barking (a cute little dog, but a dog). HE might be giving me another opportunity. An opportunity to serve my family, to show compassion, and to put to death my selfish desires of doing what I would like.

He is so very good to me and to our family


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Plan B

The weather didn't cooperate with our plans of going to the beach. Our afternoon turned out kind of crazy. Jarred went to play with a friend, Tyler went to work, and Madison had a friend over. Unfortunely Madison's friend had to endure about 2 hours of errands in order to get the ultimate reward (a day of play on a slip-n-slide). The girls have sore tummies this morning from running and sliding on it for hours, but boy did they have fun!

So this morning I am thankful to God for relationships! Our children have friends that God is using to help work on their little hearts. Our kids (even at their young ages) have sometimes been forced to work on deeper relationships with a few people,rather than surface relationship with lots of people.

Tyler (our oldest) has a whopping total of 5 boys his age at church. They are all totally different. They all have their stengths and I am sure have their weaknesses, but they are a bunch of young men that are growing in grace. I pray for them! I pray for their relationships with one another and with their parents. I pray that they will be warriors for Christ! I pray that what they are learning from one another will bring Glory to God. I pray that when the world has all it has to offer, that isn't good, they will have each other to point them back to the cross. I pray they will have the support and accountability they are going to need.

God has been very good to Jody and I. He has given us a small church that is the perfect size to pick up a friend last minute. He has been gracious to allow us to homeschool,even when some of us (me), weren't really interested! My kids have relationships with their cousins and their friends that are going to benefit them in this walk with the Lord. We are blessed beyond measure! I am so thankful to God for everything he has done in our lives and in the lives of our children. We are truly blessed!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Comments from the oldest

Mom all I have to say is- AWESOME!!

Sleeping in
No school
More time for friends and everything else.

This ROCKS!!!


Summer, really?

It is here,we are officially starting summer tomorrow! What exactly does that mean when you have a mom that is a little task orientated? I need to release but I also understand idle hands can lead to possible bickering and too much time on the PlayStation! So for us, the Crotsley Crew, that is going to be a little interesting this year. So far I have decided no school on Friday! That is reserved for beach days and those fun errands (Costco, Sam's, Wal-mart)! We will need to continue to do math (we don't want their brains too mushy). We will need to read- you really can't stop reading! If I could just get them to not want to read all things star wars (even Maddy)! Solution -Mom going to the library more, kids going to the library less. I will pick up books for them, maybe 3 good books for every 1 super hero/star wars book. We need to stay with our time line cards (I can't imagine relearning those). We probably need some kind of handwriting (just to keep little fingers remembering the right formation). Not sure what the summer looks like for Tyler-hmmm lots of reading????

The kids can wake up anytime they choose, that will be really hard for me, hate to see the day wasted on sleep (not sure how that works for Tyler because of Harley). They can take their time doing their school and morning chores but can't have any real privileges until they are done (hopefully that will lead to self motivation-mom release! Don't mention what hasn't been done -if their friends call they will just have to decline the invitation) .

So it is here in writing, Mom is going to release. Kids did you get that? Summer is starting! That means that if I start adding to your curriculum you can tell Dad (forewarning though, he probably won't be opposed to you learning more)!

Love Mom

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jarred's thoughts

At first I didn't know what a blog was, but now I think it is pretty cool. I hope my granny will see it, and like it. I just want her to know that I love her.