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New site!

Hello, dear ones. There’s an update!

New site!

It’s tough – write it down – www.crumkunst.com. See, you gotta take out the “.wordpress” part of the address. That’s right!… our own domain!

Come on over and celebrate with us with some free music.

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The end. 

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Horse and carriage and horse and…

Love and marriage are like a horse and carriage, amiright? I think what they’re saying in that song is that one follows the other: man and woman fall in love, ergo, they get married. But it’s not that straightforward. I propose that they’re cyclical. Not only does love lead into marriage, but being married creates a situation for love to grow deeper, fuller and more complex. Here’s a story to illustrate:

My husband and I, we met at 18, fell in love at 23, and married at 24. In between there, we lived a whole lot of life separate from each other. That’s not a bad thing – we brought a lot of variety in movies, music, experiences, food, etcetera to the lives we created together. But there were also things that, once we were together, still made us feel separated from each other.

Some of those things were still sneaking into our marriage, even though they were deeds long and dead. (Sin can outlive its sinfulness, morphing instead into guilt or blame, other sinful beasts in themselves.) But we were married. We both knew those lives were behind us, and only our lives together in front of us.

Then that “together” grew to include three. We found out we were pregnant on our six month anniversary, and welcomed Copper shortly after our year anniversary. Ladies… childbirth is rough! (Married men, pay attention, too.) I asked and asked those who had gone before what it was like, and they were all vague. I’m not here to be graphic, but in the hospital a day or two after our son’s birthday, I wondered how in the world single women do this. I needed help for everything. And at first, there were nurses. But very soon, it was just my husband, our tiny baby, and me at our house, and I still needed help. I strained too much during labor and couldn’t raise above absolutely flat or a stress headache would take me over. I had to check on stitches. I had to do Sitz baths three times daily for 20 minutes each, during which time I couldn’t do anything to help myself, let alone the poor newborn. All in all, I was pitiful and helpless.

And my husband was there, through it all. He helped me get to, from, and off the toilet. He got my Sitz baths ready and emptied them out. He made sure I ate, that dishes didn’t organize to overthrow us, that the household downstairs continued on. He drove me to and from endless checkups while I was prostrate in the passenger seat, or he let me lay in his lap in the waiting room. Ok, here’s a good one – he was there for the whole inglorious act of labor, wherein I was reduced to pure muscle and inhuman sounds, incapable of anything remotely resembling a lady – and thought it all glorious.

He loved me, through it all, by very clear actions.

While we were planning our wedding, my brother was overseas. He returned a few weeks before the ceremony, but I wanted his input, and it would have been too late by then. I emailed him, and he replied with a suggestion from his comrades at Capenwray where he was studying: a feet-washing ceremony. It visually represents the servant-like attitude Jesus taught and himself took on his last night.

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We did it to illustrate what we would, with God’s help, make our marriage, and we did it to remind ourselves of that if it got tough later on. And that was what Cody was living and breathing in that time after our baby was born. He was bending low, serving his wife and son, stooping lower than even I, constantly on my back.

It’s this what marriage is made of. It’s consistently bending low, not just for the big stuff like childbirth, but for the little things – cleaning the cat litter without fail since the day you let your wife get them. Making sure he goes to work with lunch, even if that means you get fruit and cottage cheese again. Getting up and going to your crying child in the middle of the gripping paragraph in your book so you can kiss it and make it better.

(My brother also pointed out the opportunity to practice servant-like love at its best when Copper was born: there is nothing that old-man looking infant can do for you for quite a long time, even if we count “make you feel loved” as a goal. They can’t even see you, folks. But meantime your entire life – and income – are poured into them. Do they recognize it? … do you remember thanking your parents?)

I realized over a year later that, when we were first married, I felt much more like two people who were married. Now, we are much more clearly one. When Genesis 2:24 says “they become one flesh,” maybe it’s not meant to be read as an instantaneous change. In some senses, of course, it is. But in others, it happens over time, through trials and tribulations that you face together, as one being and of one mind.

(And, as I’m saying this, it’s works both ways. I’m emphasizing the effect that serving has on the overall marriage, but when I talked to my husband about this, he thought he saw the most growth and change in himself. was served and felt its effect, but he served and through that, changed as a man and a husband and grew to love me more through serving me. Fiddler fans, what does Golde reply when Tevye asks if she loves him? … )

What I’m saying is that love grows so deep through selfless service, which is perfected in marriage. You don’t have to have kids to experience this (though I clearly think it accelerates it). But I really believe you have to be married. Without that dive, you’re holding back and waiting to make sure you’re not missing out on anyone else. It allows for an escape route in case cleaning up the other person’s mess gets too messy. But right here, in the midst of the wild abandon that marriage is, it lets us see how God was wild in his abandon for his love for us. We’re the bride Jesus came to serve. We’re the huddled masses, unable to help ourselves out of bed, and he comes and carries us. That’s what marriage it, and that’s what love is.

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Whenever possible, I’ll be recommending Tim Keller on all things Gospel-related. So here’s one for the topic at hand: The Meaning of Marriage

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A Community’s Spiritual Mentor

Most people don’t know who Charles Edward Crumrine Jr. is, but everyone in Ligonier knows who Kip is. Through his belief in serving others in the name of Jesus, he has touched the lives of many of the inhabitants of the town of Ligonier, PA, and not just the youth who attend weekly meetings. Hardly anyone knows his given name. Still, Kip is something of a celebrity both in his hometown and beyond.

Charles "Kip" Crumrine

Charles “Kip” Crumrine

Kip says his physical characteristics are fairly nondescript. One blogger describes him as “that cool older brother that you always wanted.” His wife says it was his hiking boots and socks that first attracted her to him, because she could tell that meant he was “adventurous and practical.”

But the reason everyone in town recognizes Kip is his commitment to full-time ministry. Kip has been executive director of Valley Youth Network, an interdenominational youth ministry, since its inception in 1994. At that time, none of the area churches had a thriving youth group of their own. Instead, as is their nature, teens wanted to hang out together, not just with those within their own church. Now they can: VYN commonly has between 80 and 160 teens in attendance at its weekly Thursday night meetings called C.H.I.L. (Christ Happening in Lives). VYN is housed on the first floor of an old barn, and the main room is filled with over a dozen couches. There’s a bar filled with taps of water, with vintage stained glass lights overhead. It provides a comfortable area for teens to relax in the evenings, and a trusting atmosphere for Kip and his wife, Sandy, to build relationships. In a poll of the area high school, over half of the students have been to at least one VYN activity and one-fourth attend at least once a month.

Group activity at C.H.I.L.

Group activity at C.H.I.L.

VYN’s primary mission is to serve. Sandy, 53, is the ministry’s assistant director. “He’s been intentional about being part of the community of Ligonier,” she recalls. Volunteer work includes Habitat for Humanity and the Juvenile and Youth Council, where teens who have gotten in trouble are required to spend time with Kip. VYN teens take an annual mission trip to serve people in need, usually through building a home or other structure. To qualify for the trip, they must complete a minimum number of service hours in their own hometown. Kip leads many of these smaller service projects.

Sandy recalls one such project. An elderly woman was continuously fined due to a disheveled barn on her property, but she was unable to repair it herself and had no one to help her. A local police officer called Kip. He knew he directed service projects and could bring a group of teens to disassemble the structure.

As a result, Cody Crumrine, Kip and Sandy’s son, 26, also remembers how his dad was the man everyone thought of when they needed something. On more than one occasion, Kip would receive a phone call late at night from a widow who heard strange noises from her hot water heater. Cody says his response was always, “Yes, I’ll be there in a minute,” no matter what time it was. Sandy loves that “people call on him because they know he’s that kind of guy.”

Considering he also coaches little league, soccer, and is a seasonal ski patroller, most people have few degrees of separation between them and Kip. He also spent 10 years as a camp director for the Christian sports camp called Summer’s Best 2 Weeks. Through all of this, he has had a tremendous influence on the youth of Ligonier and beyond. A Google search of his name includes two testimonies naming Kip as a major influence. One recounts rafting trips with him that ended with a campfire, where Kip would “tell of adventures, his love of his wife, and reflect on all the mighty things God had done that day.” Cody says his dad starts every rafting trip by having the explorers join hands and praise God for what he’s created.

VYN group on a missions trip in Alabama, 2012

VYN group on a missions trip in Alabama, 2012

Growing up, Kip was the oldest of three, raised in the city of Cincinnati by two ministry-loving parents themselves, Chuck and Betsy Crumrine. Kip recounts fond memories of his parents creating interactive games with them and the Sunday School classes they taught. One such game included a “time machine,” where participants enter one side of a cardboard box dressed in present-day attire and emerge at the other end, dressed from another era. He remembers his parents reappearing as an Indian chief and squaw: “I Chief Crummy. This Crummy Squaw.”

Chuck and Betsy attended two Bible studies each week. Kip remembers one in particular called “The Strugglers.” Several couples continue to meet together 50 years later. Kip remembers Robert Charles “R. C.” Sproul, author, theologian, and pastor, was part of this group. Chuck and R. C. were also weekly golf buddies, so the Crumrines were there when the Sprouls were first called to establish Ligonier Ministries. Cody says you can mention either his father’s or grandfather’s name to R. C. as you leave his church, and he lights up at the mention of an old friend.

Kip credits this upbringing as first fostering his love of the Lord, but he also cites the influence of a magician. He recounted when he first gave his life for Christ. It was at a Christian magic show. The performer ended his show with the gospel message, telling the youth in the audience that what Jesus did was no illusion, and that he really died for them because he loves them and wants a personal relationship with them. Kip said it was at that moment that Christ became real to him and he gave him his life.

When he’s not working, Kip takes joy in his wife and family. He credits his wife as the largest contributing factor to the growth of his faith. They have been blessed with three grown sons, and they make a point to stay close even though two of them have moved away. Kip says he is most at peace when he’s on the lake on their annual family vacation. All five members of the family take a week at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

But Kip clearly has many joys besides. Whether it’s enjoying an outdoors adventure, playing board games at CHIL, or relaxing in his home in the evenings, Kip has many things that bring him joy. It’s only fitting for a man who has been a spiritual leader, mentor, coach, and even ski patrol rescuer to many.

Kip and Sandy

Kip and Sandy

Sources:

http://lagassee.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/the-place-that-changed-my-life/

http://sintons.net/about/mandy_ test.html

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“About”

We do this a lot: sum ourselves up in a succinct section titled “About”. What does one hope to find in a blog’s “About” section? If it were a cooking blog, you would probably find out how they first became passionate about preparing food. If it’s a home décor site, the author would likely list his resume and body of published work. Likewise, the “About” sections of Tom and Ray, the Tappet Brothers of the Car Talk radio show, includes their education and relevant anecdotes of their mechanic experience.

All of this brings us back to this “About”. You’re here to find out about me and why you should be reading my blog. I can’t say there’s much about me that sets me apart from other bloggers: I’m a stay-at-home mom with an almost-11-month-old son (we joke that, when you measure life in months, it’s always “almost” another milestone). I was fast friends with my husband for five years before I had any romantic interest in him; I blame the five inches of height difference I have over him. My education includes the vaguely-named public school of West Branch, where my graduating class was around 90, and Grove City College, a much more competitive school than its community-college-sounding name suggests.

West Branch, home of the Warriors

Little known fact: I qualified for my high school’s “enrichment” (read: “gifted”) program, was third in my class, graduated from college cum laude, and am currently this close to achieving my Master’s Degree – but haven’t the faintest what I’ll use any of that for.

Grove City College

Grove City College

Meanwhile, I’ve finally learned to be at peace with the life I’ve been called to, with aforementioned husband and son, here in rural Pennsylvania where we can only see another house when it’s winter and the corn has been reaped. Praise be to God!

Regent University