Friday, October 6, 2017


As a young girl growing up without a father in the home, life wasn't always easy.  But God, in his infinite wisdom, grace and mercy, always saw fit to bless my family (both as a child and as an adult), with  some of the best men on the planet.....Godly Men, Great Pastors! They served and taught and guided....AND, they loved our family unconditionally and often with great sacrifice.   

When I think of life in the big picture (and in the everyday too), 

Eventually, I would go on to marry a Godly Man, one who is also a Great Pastor.   Our journey has been one of great honor!  Thru all the loving, serving, teaching, exhorting, and equipping ---- we've done life and ministry in a lot of places and with a lot of people.  
We've collected our own box over the years, filled with notes of encouragement, gifts of appreciation and stories of "making all the difference", and we treasure them deeply.   But this October, and every October really, we look beyond ourselves and say THANK YOU to all the Great Pastors who have played a part in our lives....Shaping our family, our story, and our own call to ministry.  
To the ones who serve us......
To the ones we serve with.....
Thank you for making a difference. 
With gratitude and appreciation for Pastors everywhere.  

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you 
and give you peace."  Numbers 6:24-26

Thursday, September 28, 2017


 Realizing there are likely more years behind than in front, can be quite sobering.  But I learned a long time ago, put anything in the right perspective, and it becomes an opportunity.
In honor of ALL the seasons that have quietly shaped me,
In celebration of ALL the seasons that have loudly and boldly made me,              
And ALL the ones still to come, here are 50 LIFE LESSONS ON MY 50th     (#hashtagsincluded)

  1. FAITH, FRIENDS AND FAMILY…these are everything!
  2. Surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to CELEBRATE you, CHALLENGE you, CARRY you… these make all the difference. (coming soon, in my blog:  A Portfolio Of Friendship—50 Years and Counting)
  3. Vulnerable communion is a risk….but a risk WELL WORTH taking.
  4. Communicate well! Listen well!
  5. FEAR GOD and OBEY HIS COMMANDS. (period)   Eccles 12: 13&14
  6. A STUDENT and a TEACHER….be willing to be both, IN EVERY SEASON!  
  7. Every road travelled teaches something new.  
  8. Experience is GREAT….Virtue and Character are GREATER.
  9. Fruit doesn’t lie! (and I’m not talking about apples, oranges and grapes) #thefruitofyourlife
  10. Meaning comes not from filling oneself up, rather it comes from pouring oneself out.  #bepouredout
  11. BE PROACTIVE!!---a great phrase, a great philosophy….just ask my kids.  
  12. Don’t put off for tomorrow, what you can do today. (kinduv goes hand in hand with being proactive)
  13. The Truth WILL set you free!  Always seek to KNOW The Truth.    
  14. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.  Prov 3:18
  15. ACTIONS speak louder than WORDS. (lining them up, takes character and maturity)
  16. There IS power in prayer!  #prayoften   
  17. Spend LESS TIME keeping up and MORE TIME enjoying right where you’re at!  #golden
  18. There is a time for everything!  EXPECT CHANGE!  ACCEPT LIMITATIONS!  ENJOY LIFE!  Eccles 3
  19. Making a living isn’t the same thing as making a life.  #learnthedifferencefindthebalance
  20. A job worth doing is worth doing right!   #mymotto  
  21. On Parenting… THERE IS NO GREATER CALLING!!  #stewarditwell
  22. On being a BRIDE… It’s about your day!
  23. On being the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE…. It’s about your daughters day!  Knowing the difference allows for a perfect, beautiful, special, one-of-a-kind, forever memory, shared with deep joy and great honor.
  1. On the Empty Nest…it’s a time to reminisce, but more importantly, a time to re-discover. Falling in love with the same person over and over never gets old (but it does take intentional work and commitment).
  2. On Grandparenting...stay tuned, I’ll know in a few short weeks.  #JustcallmeNANA.
  3. On Failure…it isn’t as daunting at 50 as it was at 25. (I’ve experienced it, lived thru it & grown up because of it)
  4. On life’s hard knocks…don't fear them.  Face them! They refine, make wise and strong. #ittakesguts
  5. “There really is a silver lining in every cloud, you just have to want to see it.” -Alice Jane Blythe 1914-2016 (from my in-home interview with her in 1998) #sheisright

  6. Dark times are never easy, but just as the color black adds depth and contrast to the artist's creation, so the dark times in life add depth and contrast and give beauty to the whole.  
  7. Life’s brightest moments often come after the darkest hours. Scripture says it best, Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
  8. It takes GREAT TRUST to believe in the smallness of beginnings. (revelations from a church planters wife )
  9. First steps are the bravest, they start the journey.  Don’t fear the first steps…..
  10. But finish well too.  
  11. Look beyond your scope of comfort. There’s always more to see (the people in #2 will help you).
  12. Those who are confident are often misread by those who aren’t….BE CONFIDENT ANYWAY!
  13. The good you do today, won’t always be noticed.  DO GOOD ANYWAY!
  14. “Don’t compare what you know about yourself with what you don’t know about someone else.”  (wise words from a wise man, aka Pastor Rick, my husband of 26 years.)
  15. Country life, City life…they each have their place.  I much prefer the country.
  16. Open your windows and let the sunshine in.
  17. Eat healthy.  Indulge sparingly.  Exercise Regularly.
  18. Don’t be afraid to “pluck thistles” figuratively speaking….but, plant your fair share of flowers too.
  19. Black and White really is sometimes Gray… took me a long time (like 50 years) to learn this.
  20. There is always room at the table.  (evaluate often who is at your table)
  21. BUSY is a choice.  STRESS is a choice.  JOY is a choice.   #choosewell!
  22. Shake hands, look people in the eye and say PLEASE and THANK YOU  #commoncourtesy
  23. A merry heart doeth good, like medicine.  (Be Joyful)  Prov 17:22
  24. Laugh often, but don’t be afraid to cry either.
  25. SIMPLIFY….and when you lose sight, simplify again….and again.
  26. As much as my 40’s were fueled by ambition, I want my 50’s to be fueled by compassion.  
  27. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is His Faithfulness, Oh Lord.  Lamentations 3:22-24
Hello 50,  I'm so Grateful! 
C R Y S T A L 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


It was 1995 when the first Toy Story Movie hit the big screen.  By 1999 Toy Story 2 was being released, and we had a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old in the house.   It didn't take long for those famous words of Buzz Lightyear to become a frequent part of our household vocabulary.  "To infinity and beyond".

In our meager attempts as parents to quantify the great love we had for our small children, it often became a Saturday morning (and even sometimes, a bedtime) ritual.

Cushions removed and placed on the floor (for safe landing), their tiny legs would climb up the couch and they would wait.
"How much do we love you?"  With gleeful, "fullness of life" squeals, they would take flight,  leaping through the air (just like Buzz), proclaiming proudly and joyfully, "to finity and byond!" (that was the 2-year-old). 

The couch and the kids. Couldn't find an action shot, sorry :)

The word infinity has many forms. Infinite, infinitely, finite... all defined by some means of endlessness, boundlessness, limitlessness, or without measure.   In other words, the love for our children was and still is so big and so great it never ends, it is without limits...."To Infinity and Beyond!" 

It isn't surprising that God (in all of His perfectness) uses the words of the Apostle Paul to reveal his great love for us.  As a young wife and mother then,  his words found a resounding place in my heart.   Words that would confidently carry me thru many miles and changing seasons.  Words that have profoundly marked my walk. 

And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.  Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now glory be to God!  By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.   Ephesians 3:18-20

As I sit on "that couch" (one of the few remaining pieces of furniture in our home today, from that era),  I am keenly aware... despite life's fears and failures, despite any obstacles or unfulfilled dreams...

What are you daring to ask for?  What are you hoping for?  His mighty power is at work!  
Even when we don't fully understand it, we can be filled with the fullness of life that comes from it!  Walk with confidence in his "infinitely more".