Monday, December 24, 2012


"A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices..."
hope is a funny thing.
It's hard for me to define.
Hope is expectation. Waiting for something desirable.
That sounds good.
Something desirable is typically something good.
Yet, to hope is risky.
But more so, to hope is... thrilling.

I'm sitting here by the fire. Listening to Christmas music. The presents are wrapped. My fingernails are painted Christmas red. I'm pretending the rain outside is snow. And I'm thinking about this wonderful, mysterious thing we call hope.
Oh what a thrill it is that we get to hope in this precious baby, our Savior!
We hope and rejoice.
We, the weary world. And isn't this world so, so weary? It seems especially evident this month. 
How thankful I am we get to celebrate. Not in this world, but in a thrill of hope. The promise of salvation. Our King and Savior come down to Earth. To be with us. To save us. Bringing comfort and joy to this weary world.  
I am so loving this song this season. Once again I wish I was a more eloquent writer so I could adequately express all my thoughts. But for now, they remain jumbled up in my mind.

This quote by Tim Keller doesn't exactly go perfectly, but I love it so much.
Hope. How risky. How thrilling!
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God With Us

So. Much. To. Blog. So much, in fact, that I feel overwhelmed. I'm going to take it one blog post at a time for now.
So, this post: The tragedy of Friday.
Horrific. Heart-breaking. Terrifying. Sad. Upsetting. Unforgettable. Indescribable.
Words seem so weak and insignificant.
I didn't really hear about it until after school on Friday. And even then, I didn't fully know what happened until I got home. Sitting in the kitchen with my roommates, we read articles on our phones, talked about what happened, and cried. Lots of tears.
I cried for the first graders that were murdered. Lives ended way too young. I cried for the parents who dropped their children off fully expecting to pick them up after school. I cried for the last view those parents had of their babies, carrying over-sized backpacks on their tiny shoulders as they climbed onto big yellow buses or skipped up the sidewalk into Sandy Hook Elementary. I cried for the teachers, some of whom literally gave up their lives to protect their kids. Others who comforted and silenced elementary schoolers as they hid in fear. I cried for the principal who died trying to protect the kids at her school. I cried tears of thanks because I know that my principal would do the same. Every day he ends the moment of silence with "may a hedge of protection surround our building." I cried for the siblings of the first graders. The ones in the school with them. My brother and I shared our schools all the way up to college. I can't imagine the thoughts running through the older siblings' heads as they hid and worried about their younger brothers and sisters. I cried for the first people on the scene. I cried for the shock and horror they found themselves in. I cried for my own second graders. I imagined them in that situation. I cried for their fear. For their terror. I cried for the loss of innocence. I cried for this world. I cried for the pain and the brokenness of it. I cried for the homesickness of heaven.  
I am a hopeless optimist. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. I "assume the best in people" (there's a little giggle for those of you who read this and really know about recent events in my life...). But it's true. I'm always looking for the good spin on things.
But this I want to feel. I want to continue to feel this literal, physical pain in my heart. I want to look at the faces of the tiny victims and have tears well up. I don't want to grow numb to this. I want to feel it. Deep in my being I want this to effect me.
I love what I do. In fact, early on Friday morning I sent a text to my mom that said, "How is it possible to love other peoples' children this much?" I love these kids. Every single one of them. Every day I do my best to give my best to these kids. Part of the mission statement at our school says, "Today I will do my best to be the best. What I do today will make a difference..." I believe it is true. I believe what we do today, and every day will make a difference.  May we chose to make it a difference for the better.
In wake of this tragedy, I want to remember to fully feel the weight of my own sin. I don't know how to comfort people. I don't know if there is any comfort available in this world. Our comfort will come later. I want to feel the hurt of this world. But I also want to cling to the goodness of our Savior. I want to do what I can to bridge the gap between this world and the next. The one I hope and long for. I want to do what I can to love those God has put in my life. I will hug my second graders a little tighter. I will speak words of truth to them. I will tell them they matter and they can make a positive difference in this world. My life is lived in my self-consumed bubble. But I hope to reach out of it and touch some lives. I hope that through these second graders I spend all day with, I will be able to expand God's love and goodness. I want to love them, and everyone, unselfishly. I want to love deeply. This world is not safe. And it is not always good. But God is always good. Always.  
Christmas is approaching. There will be gifts under the tree for the six and seven year olds that will remain unopened. There will be countless broken hearts this Christmas. And so, as we are called to, I will weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. I will look this event square in the eyes and feel it. And I will hope in Christ. I will continue to trust in His goodness. And I will be thankful for His unending grace and mercy that I am always in need of. And I will remember that God wins. In the end, through it all, He is with us. He is Immanuel.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

You have to forget

I've decided to run another marathon. This time my friend Jessie is my partner in crime. I am SO excited about this. I love Jessie. I love talking to her. I love the perspective she brings to things. I love that I don't have to make sense when I talk to her. I love that I can be honest and real around her.
All that to say, I am excited to get to spend countless hours training with her. We won't be talking the entire time we train (insert miles 19+ here), but I'm excited to get to spend time together.

So the marathon. Again. 26.2 miles. Again. That wall that doesn't leave. Again. Hours and hours of training. Again. The most difficult thing I've ever done. Again.
I've heard that "you have to forget running your last marathon before doing another." I believe it.

I think that applies to a lot of things in life.
You have to forget how much it hurt.
You have to forget how hard something was before you're ready to try again.
You have to forget how things didn't turn out like you hoped and expected.
You have to forget how you thought things were "supposed" to be.
You have to forget certain dreams.
You have to forget how things were.
You have to forget what things were like the last time. Or the first time. 

Forget how much it hurts and try again.
I'm working on forgetting.

I saw this on Pinterest a couple times...
Simple form: God's plans > my dreams. Always. Thank goodness.
Happy weekend!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So Much Thankfulness

Big time haircuts! (Funny what little impact this actually had)

Short hair don't care. Positive: I get to be twins with PM. Negative: Today a friend said, "You got a mom haircut! Looks great!" Thanks for nothin'.

Thankful for arts and crafts!

Reach Them to Teach Them. Awesome.

Thankful for being welcomed to second grade with open arms!

Peaceful times spent with my sis.

Mornings. The greatest. Sunrises make getting up at 6 so worth it. (As do getting to spend all day with kids I LOVE).

Reunions. Glad I get to experience new phases of life with old friends.

My sister. The soccer pro.

Thankful these girls can match my enthusiasm for T. Swift and will JAM to "Never Ever Getting Back Together" with me.

The champions. I told ya she was a pro.

Thankful that I got to hang out with my favorite college guy.

Impressive football dives.

Love. This. Girl.

THESE ARE MY FAVORITE PEOPLE OF ALL TIME. So thankful to get to have this crew to do life with. 

Yes to movies. Always.

Chit-chats with 6 (and a half) year olds.

Sneaking onto the championship fields. Foreshadowing? Hope so.

This book. Y'all. I will be blogging about this soon. A lot.

I am so thankful for this life. I'm learning and growing daily. So much to be thankful for. On Thanksgiving and every day. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

P is for Passion

In small group on Monday our "ho hum", if you will (I think it would be more accurate to say our "yos and woes"-whateve, our "kickoff"), was to share three things you are thankful for. Fitting since Thanksgiving is a week and a day away. Wait, what?! Whoa. In the spirit of a teacher (I've said it time and time again, someone stop me before I totally fall into this role and become a teacher in themed vests and jumpers with frizzy hair and completely awkward interactions with adults), the three I shared were "themed" in that they all started with "P."
My three thankfuls were: passion, possibilities, and perspective.
There's only time to focus on one tonight.
I. Am. So. Thankful. For. Passion.
I am passionate about A LOT of things.
Maybe that goes hand in hand with being both opinionated and a "feeler."
In this particular post, however, I'm focusing my one "thankful p" on one passion.
I am so thankful that I have a passion for teaching.
I've said this before and I'll say this again, I am unbelievably blessed to know I am doing exactly what I was made to do. My passion is teaching kids and changing lives. I get to do this every single day!!! I get to love kids and teach them and mold them and impact their lives and help them figure out what is important and who is important and who they are to become. What an unbelievable blessing!
It's hard. I'm not going to try and cover that up. I pour myself out all day long. Second graders are needy. They need help spelling and tying their shoes and communicating and working through problems and figuring out who they are becoming and realizing that their lives matter and they can make a difference. On top of that I have bunches of work for grad school. That's hard too. They're definitely making us earn this Master's degree. AND I started all the way over. Everyone else in this program is cruising in their placements and I'm learning new procedures, names, schedules, routines, management, and how to interact for the third time. Please don't view this paragraph as a rambling complaint, I just want to be honest in saying that living out my passion is not easy. There have been moments where I have to make a conscious effort to not complain, but to continue to push through. It's not easy, but it's so good.
But it is wonderful. Oh it's so wonderful.
I cannot imagine going to work every day at a job that is just "okay" or even "not bad." I LOVE what I do. And I know that is so very rare. I don't even get paid yet! Overflowing thankfulness.
Part of the mission statement that we say everyday at my school is "What I do today will make a difference." Teachers and students alike say this together, and the great thing is, we all mean it. I hope I live this out daily. What I do makes a difference. Thankful and I hope I don't every forget this blessing.
Okay, enough with that. Just wanted to share how thankful I am to have such an evident passion and encourage y'all to find something you absolutely love and is your God-given passion.
Over and out, Bloggies :)
Happy Wednesday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Endings and Beginnings.

I always feel the need to put a disclaimer at the start of in depth blogs. So here it is. Be warned. Lots of thoughts here...

Endings are funny. And by funny I mean not really funny- or fun- at all. There's been lots of "endings" in my life recently.
The beautiful thing about endings is that the end brings a new beginning. Is that cliche? Maybe. Sorry 'bout it. But it's true.

Recent ends:
1. End of the Jetta.
2. End of YoungLife at Halls for me.
3. End of first grade teaching.
4. End of not being able to relate to Taylor Swift's songs.

"Our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off is... the truest index of our real situation." -C.S. Lewis (can I take a quick second to give a round of applause for this guy- what a wise man! He said so many good things!)
This quote so speaks to where I am right now. Longing for so much. A difficult place to be, but what a fantastic parallel to "our real situation."

Beginnings are exciting and funny and fun and sad and scary and confusing and make me want to laugh and make me want to cry and make me so unbelievably thankful all at the same time. That's a heck of a lot of emotions to feel all at once. But I don't do things just partly. I invest, engage, care, get involved, and therefore feel, deeply. Sometimes I wish I could back off and only put half of myself into things. Disappointment is easier to handle when your expectations are low. The less you care the less you can be hurt, right? Minus the car, if I had cared less about the other three "ends" I would be feeling a-okay now. ...But why settle? I'm not saying I was (or am), but why not put my all into everything? We weren't made to be average, we were made to excel. Realistically, I have no choice but to give everything my everything.  

So. These endings were the beginning of things too...:
1. ...I'm driving Dad's gold Camry. And totally rocking it. It brings me back to my glory days of driving my first car, the black Camry. Plus, sharing a car with my dad on the weekend REALLY takes me back to those glory days. Nothing like having no choice but to stay at home-home. And share a bed with your little sister. Knees in the back. all. night. long. But really, this new-old place is a growing opportunity. In many ways. (Side note: keep an eye out for my car stuck parallel parked on campus. Two weeks and counting...)
2. ...finding NEW ministries! I am so excited about this! I can't wait for God to reveal a new place to do ministry (I am blessed to "do ministry" every day in the classroom, but I'm excited about going beyond that. I did YoungLife and taught so I know I am more than capable of teaching as well as find another way to tell people about Jesus). Whether this still be through YoungLife (which I still adore) or somewhere new.
3. ...TEACHING SECOND GRADE AT MOORELAND HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! This is the biggest blessing of the new beginnings. Truth be told, a few tears were shed over not going back to my sweet six-year-olds. But MHES is an incredible school. All the staff is absolutely awesome and truly love what they do. It's unlike any school I've been in. Seven-year-olds make me laugh just as much as the six-year-olds did (maybe even more). My new mentor teacher is the I can already tell that I am going to learn so much through teaching with her. I know, without even a tiny bit of doubt, that teaching is exactly what God has gifted me to do.
All I want to do is change the world through teaching kiddos. I can't settle not doing this. Pursing God's goal. What a blessing this new beginning is. Speechless.
4. ... Taylor's new album, Red = perfection. I love being able to blast these songs and sing along at the top of my lungs. At this moment, Taylor is singing to me. Glad this girl can speak words I can relate to in a whole new way. I probably should be embarrassed that, not only am I now pretending I'm on a first name basis with T. Swift, but also I am publicly advertising the fact that I'm relating her album to my life. What of it? Taylor rocks. Lyrical genius, that girl.  

Ohh... the irony of recognizing that something can be so good and so hard at the same time. It's a complex and challenging place to be. But it is so beautiful to know, not that God will do what you want, but that He will do what is right. I am so grateful we don't serve a careless God. He has it all figured out. He knows every need, struggle, desire. He is, after all, a supernatural God. Every moment, every experience is part of His divine plan. Whoa. Talk about humbling and motivating.
So, new beginnings,

Sunday, November 4, 2012


by Russell Kelfer 
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait." 

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word. 

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign. 

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply." 

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Highlights (not the hair kind...)

I am so overwhelmed by the amount of life to catch up on. It is so good. Busy, overwhelming, exhausting, sooo funny, unexpected, and full. I truly am so grateful. On this blog I feel like a broken record about this gratitude. But in real life I overlook it far too quickly. Maybe it's the sitting (laying) down and reflecting that stirs it up. Anyway... highlights:

YoungLife is back at it! Nothin' like a little team bonding with home cooked meals, beautiful sunsets, country roads, bonfires, and ten of my favorites. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
Words cannot describe how much I love these people! So thankful for them.
Few things give such an accurate "East Tennessee" picture like the Tennessee Valley Fair. Man oh man, I love this place. I used to have my birthday party at the fair. I'm not entirely sure this is something I should willingly confess, but it has always seemed so magical. I love it.
Reflection + Flashing lights + Sunset = Fair perfection

Anyone who goes to the fair and doesn't get a funnel cake deserves to be exiled. Okay, a bit harsh, but seriously- definite highlight of the night/ my life.

Hey look, it has three horns! ... Except it only looks like it has two from this angle. Whoops.

Easton Corbin. Really Kip Moore. Nathan and I are working on our ability to read poster advertisements. So there's somethin' 'bout a truck...
Being 23 is weird. And old. But so far so good.

My dad sent me this picture in honor of my birthday. 17 years later he's still rockin' the "Chelcie is six" shirt. Proud of him.
                           This is how we celebrate birthdays first grade style:
Of course we have to notice the short a in our song!

Amiyah and Miss Crawford have the same birthday! EXTRA special day!

Cupcakes for everyone! Shh... don't tell.
The kiddies made me birthday owls. It makes me smile over and over. I'll never get tired of seeing "I lov Mis Crawfrd" and "Hape birda to you!" written in crayon. LOVE this job!

Even Chickfila knows how to celebrate. TWO free cookies. Which are my favorite things in the world. One of the many reasons why I love this place. God bless Chickfila.

Birthday bonding with all the roomies in the Enos. Yes. Not our best look, but still... these girls are babes.

And birthday dinner time. Nothing like having your one birthday candle blown out by youngest brother. What are brothers for anyway?
I love fall. Largely due to college football games. And I love the VOLS. Glad we are back in action. And by "in action" I mean being on the field... we are still working on the winning games part...
He's famous and I know him!

Stripes on stripes on stripes. GBO.

Second row (for a short time). Go Vols!
Ice cream Olympics. I love this time. What could be better than covering your friends in ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream, being in danger of contracting hypothermia, and waking up still smelling like soured milk?!! Answer: Nothing!

Halls has it. Crazy about these kids.
Love. This. Girl.
Sometimes I take my aggression out on people with chocolate syrup... Sorry 'bout it...
Note the foot holding him down. This was war people!

Photobomb of syrupy goodness.

Still teammates and bffs, despite me kicking his butt.

Might as well end this post the way I started it. These people rock.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This doesn't even deserve a title...

I've failed at this blog. In the midst of balancing the rest of my life, it has fallen through the cracks. Therefore, this is my formal apology to my mom for being mad she didn't keep up with her's (she is such a good blogger, though! What a shame...)
With that being said, lots to catch up on!
So much to say. So little time and energy.
Actually that time and energy is channeled in other directions. Sorry.
But soon, very soon I will fill the world wide web with exciting tales of my not-so-exciting life :)

-Miss Crawford
Over and out.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Catch up

I feel like I am constantly "playing catch up" with this blog. But I am LOVING my life. Man, oh man, I don't think I'll ever say it enough... I am so unbelievably blessed.
Grad school is a weirdo stage of life. Monday-Thursday I feel like I am unbelievably young. I am by far the youngest teacher in my grade level. Not that it really needs to be pointed out, but I also apparently look young for my age. Several people react in surprise when I tell them I actually graduated from college in May, not high school. So I'm the baby teaching babies at Norwood. Then in the the college world that I'm still partly in, I feel so old. I'm in between the wonderful world of college life and the lame real world. But living in limbo has it perks. It really is the best of both worlds. I am getting the experiences of teaching without the pressure of totally messing up on my own :) And I'm teaching first grade and loving it. Which is something I never ever thought I'd say. I don't have to be a real grown up adult and figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life (although I already know...) like some of my friends are having to do right now. I still get to get the benefits of being in college- the community, the freedom, the football games, embracing the young life for one more year...
So life is good. Real good.
The roomies are babes.

Rainy days remind us of great promises
And even after the crazy, exhausting, draining, funny, emotional, unexpected adventure that was the Ironman, we are still saying life is good.

I am amazed by ALL the men and women who completed in the Ironman. Especially these five guys! Cheering them on from 4am to midnight was so fun! Seriously.

For example:
 And my favorite athlete. What a stud. So proud! (Does this count as PDA again? Who have I become?? Whoops.)

I'm thankful for a day spent cheering for strangers 95% of the time. Thankful for athleticism at its finest. Thankful for whoever figured out how to let spectators track athletes on their phones- genius. Thankful for new friends. Thankful for old friends (aka great neighbors) who know me and keep me calm and drive me 4 hours home at 1:30 in the morning. Thankful for mentor teachers who can see exhaustion and take it easy on me. Thankful for EMTs who pay attention. Thankful that 137.4 miles out of 140.6 is something to be incredibly proud of. Thankful that I know a guy who doesn't find his worth in completing an Ironman. Thankful again for those neighbors who make not funny moments hilarious. Thankful that not being remembered by someone who should definitely know you doesn't last forever and is a little tiny bit funny. Most of all thankful for good friends and good times and that Ironman side effects only last a week. 

After a slightly less than perfect week, this weekend was awesome.
On Friday THE TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS WON! More than just won, they dominated. I am SO pumped that football is back. GBO.
Saturday I spent the day watching football and parties for friends' birthdays. So thankful to have friends that I love celebrating.
Boomsday was last night. I'm pretty sure it was the most memorable Boomsday of all time. We went to the lake. And got hit by a giant storm. But that was only a short delay in our lake fun! Napping on the ride home was the perfect preparation for the real event of the weekend. I totally forgot to mention that my bff came back from New York this weekend and completely surprised a whole bunch of us. He was nice enough to invite Becca, Nathan, Grant, and me out on his boat to watch the fireworks from the water. Which is hands-down the best place to watch. It was perfect! ...Until the monsoon started. We did the best we could to squeeze together under the tiny boat covering. We laughed and shivered and sang Rocky Top at the top of our lungs. Then power walked back to the car afterward. Although my runny nose and sore throat aren't fans of last night, I've got to say that it was memorable night and so very fun!