Crystal Rowe

On Being Home

San Francisco Family
We are just coming off a two-week vacation. A two-week vacation that included celebrating a third birthday, an 8-day trip to San Francisco, celebrating a fifth anniversary, and an extra long weekend at home. Usually family vacations exhaust me. But not this one. It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was a dream.

We did not want to come home.

And yet, as the trip part of our vacation ended, there was a part of each one of us that was ready to be “home.” We were ready to be in our own house, with our own beds, and our own shower (with amazing water pressure). We were ready to see our neighbors, to cook in our fully stocked kitchen, to go to church.

It has always been a dream of mine to live in the Bay area. Since working there for two summers during my college years, I have always dreamed of going back. And as we walked the amazing city of San Francisco, we talked about whether or not we could see ourselves living there one day. And it was amazing … as much as I loved every minute of my time there … I just couldn’t imagine picking up everything we have and making that home.

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Crystal Rowe

The Need for Jambalaya

Jambalaya by Mark Brooks
I’ve been thinking about what it might look like to have a little jambalaya in my life. What would happen if I took some shrimp, sausage, chicken, rice and some spices and mixed them all together? I’m being figurative, but think about it … those are things that might not seem like they’d go together well, but in fact, when you use the right recipe, turn into something really awesome.

I long for a community that has that same kind of diversity. The diversity of jambalaya. I’d love to figure out just how to gather a bunch of people that look differently, act differently, live differently, and help them mix into one true community. It has to be possible, but I just can’t seem to find it … anywhere.

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Crystal Rowe

Releasing the Hold Money Has Over Us

Money
What is it about shopping – about spending money – that gives us such instant satisfaction?

We are living an intentional year of spending around here … which means no shopping unless truly necessary – and we have to agree upon what is deemed “necessary.” Our list of purchases for the month includes: groceries (mostly local, but definitely nothing that will sit in our pantry and go un-used), toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, a new sippy cup for the tiniest, and some things for around the house using a Home Depot gift card we got for Christmas.

But lately…these last few days that have left me exhausted and wanting an escape…all I want to do is shop. I’m not even sure what I would shop for, I just have this intense desire to spend a ton of money on myself. Or on the people I live with…it doesn’t necessarily have to be on me.

I can’t figure out where the desire stems from. I don’t need anything. I have everything I could possibly need. We are getting ready to go on a cross-country vacation, and I could be using my time to get activities ready for our flight. But instead, all I want to do is shop.

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Crystal Rowe

A Carousel Life

Carousel
Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil running around and around on his wheel! Or maybe more like a carousel – going around and around and around again. Days are so monotonous … we do the same thing over and over and over again. We may have a slightly different scene, or find ourselves in slightly different circumstances, but all in all, it’s the same grind … day in and day out.
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Crystal Rowe

The Beauty of A Shower

Shower water by ohkylel @twitter
Before I became a mom, I can remember reading about mothers who never got a chance to take a shower. Finding time for a shower will be difficult, they said. Sleep is more important – don’t forget that!

But I have to disagree. Do you know just how nourishing a shower really is? There’s something so transforming about taking a shower. Think about it … when you get in, you are full of dirt, grime, heavy emotions, exhaustion, and who knows what else. But when you get out, you are transformed. You are clean. Refreshed. Renewed.

It’s been a long week around here (and yup … it’s only Tuesday). E isn’t sleeping well – and so I’m feeling a little strung out. But it’s my job to stay home with my two precious munchkins … so I have to pull myself out of bed and put on my game face. And this morning – after being up most of the night – all I wanted to do was sleep. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Top 10 Books of 2014

I didn’t read as much this year as I usually do. It probably has something to do with the fact that we welcomed another tiny to the house. When I actually get a few minutes alone, I realize how much I’ve missed cracking open the spines and diving into the words on the page. As I try to limit myself in making my 2015 list a manageable length, I’m reminded at the good books I did get the chance to read this year. I’m no New York Times, but here are my favorites from this year. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

The Birth of a Story

Today’s post comes from a friend of mine, Allen Madding. Allen just published his first novella – and I had the privilege of being his editor. The book, Shaken Awake, is the story of a downtown church that has been forced to shut down the majority of their ministries. When a huge ice storm comes to town and a homeless man is found frozen to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities. Here’s a glimpse into how the story came to be. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

CSA Adventures – November Week 1

CSA Bounty Week 7
It’s hard to believe it’s already November! This is week 7 in our 10-week Fall CSA, and surprise surprise – we received more greens in this week’s box! This time we have collard greens … which I’ve only had once in my life – and I was not a fan. But – we’ll try them again this week in a new and creative way. My Whole Foods paper bags tell me that collards are the new kale … so they must be good, right?

Here’s what we brought home this week:
2 pounds Sweet Potatoes
1 big bunch Collards
2 Watermelon Radishes
2 bunches Napa Cabbage
1 head Buttercrunch Lettuce
1 bunch Arugula
6 small eggplants
A bag full of Sweet Peppers
20 (or so) Jalepenos
4 Cayenne peppers
1 Radish bunch (with greens)

And here’s what we did with it: Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Living Life As Invitation #shereadstruth #hospitality

SRT-Hospitality_day2

Love your neighbor as yourself…~Matthew 22:36

This has always be an interesting verse to me, because in order to love your neighbor as yourself, you have to first love yourself. Really love yourself. I can’t help but read this study and think about how I mother my children … probably because I’m still living in that “new mom of two” stage. Trying to figure out what that looks like – and how to do it in a graceful, peaceful, gentle way.

Loving myself doesn’t mean being selfish. No – it means accepting myself for who I am … for who God created me to be … rather than wishing I was the person society might want me to be. It’s only when I do that that I can truly accept others for who they are. Once I accept – and embrace – the person God has created me to be, then I can reach out and accept others for who they are. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Hospitality and the Little Ones #shereadstruth #hospitality

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me …”

SRT-Hospitality_day1This verse smacked me on the face today. It’s been a rough couple of weeks around here. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I just can’t keep up as mom of two. More than once the last couple of weeks I’ve felt like I was a better mom to an only child. The honest truth is – before E was born, I really loved being a mom – at least most days. But lately … lately I just want to disappear for a while and let someone else mother these two.

Particularly when it comes to nap time. E has mostly been a dream when it comes to sleep – but now we’re getting to the stage when she has just about outgrown her miracle blanket and she hasn’t quite figured out how to fall asleep without it. And A … well A is a terrible sleeper. And she hates sleep. And what works to help her fall asleep one day doesn’t work the next. There’s no consistency … no matter how hard I try … and it drives me batty.

So today I was in the midst of a mental breakdown when I looked over and saw my new Hospitality journal. I took a deep breath, made a new pot of coffee, cut a piece of apple cake and sat down with my Bible and journal and took a break. And wouldn’t you know that this passage from Matthew was one to be read.

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Crystal Rowe

CSA Adventures – October Week 4

CSA

Since we started our Fall CSA, we’ve been meal planning based on what we get each week. It’s getting difficult to come up with creative recipes using greens – but we successfully didn’t make any soups the last two weeks!

Two week’s worth of CSA goods:
1 lb Okra
Hakurei Turnips (& the greens) – 2 bunches
Buttercrunch Lettuce
Arugula – 2 bags
Red Russian Kale
Hot Shot Spicy Mustard Mix
8 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms
1 bunch Celesta Radishes
Shishito Peppers
1 bunch Vivid Choi Pac Choy

Here’s what we did with it: Continue reading