Friday, December 26, 2008


Karin continues to make us smile with her four-year-old thoughts and words. Here are a few that have cracked me up or warmed my heart lately...

  • After ordering and listening to the worker announce our total through the speaker of the Taco Johns drive-through, Karin's voice came from the back: "why does she live in that box (referring to the attendant)?"
  • At a recent dinnertime the conversation turned to what our bodies will be like when Jesus returns and takes us home with him. Of primary concern for the three kids was what color we will be. Jay hopes to be golden. Ethan said he wants a golden head, but a normal everything else. And then Karin weighed in: "I want to have a dark brown body, just like Eva (her best friend, recently adopted from India)!"
  • Christmas morning, as Karin enjoyed her new wooden kitchen from Mom and Dad, she suddenly informed/asked me, "I've been thinking about if God likes bacon."
  • Karin's understanding of the intangible has been growing everyday, especially since she asked Jesus to be her savior earlier this fall. The other day, as I was leaving her to take her usual rest time in an unfamiliar place (we were staying with friends while our house was being worked on), I attempted to reassure her by letting her know that she would be in the room alone but I would be nearby. "But God will be with me," she replied.

In a book lent to me by a friend recently, God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos, the author says that God "most often... uses the people around us to guide us and teach us," usually the ones we are with the most.

For me that would be my kids, and of the ones that are home all day and that talk intelligibly, that would be Karin.

I think I'll be listening a little closer...she says great stuff!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kitchen Update

You guys have been praying... I could feel it the day after I wrote that last post! Three and a half weeks under our belts, here's the update:

The kitchen, downstairs bathroom, and pantry are completely gutted, their remains in a maxed-out 20 yard dumpster out front. I've had the silly idea of listing it on ebay as "used kitchen for sale--some assembly required". Our carpenter has finished framing the necessary walls and doorways, and by week's end we will have a brand-new back door and beautiful new windows.

Last week went a bit off-schedule when we discovered we had special ordered the wrong size door. We'd hoped Lampert's would take it back, but nope, they wouldn't. Then we figured we'd just live with a smaller door, but nope, the city of Hudson wouldn't allow it. So if you're in the market for a 2'6" exterior steel half-lite door with aluminum cladding, let me know--we'll give you a good deal.

That was a blow, and forced us to move ahead immediately with another part of the project we had decided to take on...the staircase. Those of you who have climbed my stairs know they were a deathtrap. Pretty much everyone in our house except for Brian have fallen down them at one time or another, as has my mom. They were more than 45 degrees steep and had treads only 9+ inches deep with a 2 inch lip that made them only 7+ inches deep on the way down. So, with the ceiling downstairs opened up and the staircase accessible, we decided now was the time. The day we discovered the door mistake and redirected to take out the stairs I had just over two hours to pack up the entire family and move out (with our only working bathroom on the upper level, there was no way to live here without stairs). Those two hours showed me what it would be like to be evacuated due to a natural disaster or nuclear war! Our bags packed, the Crim refugees migrated to Wade and Kara's for three days while the staircase was torn apart and rebuilt. The amazing result: a code staircase in a 100 year old house! It makes me smile.

Upstairs Jeff the carpenter also framed in a wall above the stairs in the hallway where my new washer and dryer will go. Mom told me she and my stepdad wanted to get us a new set, so soon I will be doin' laundry in style! The first time I run a load on those beautiful front-load steam machines I think I will break down and weep for joy.

Last night Brian told me he thinks we won't have a functional kitchen for another month, at which point I promptly threw down a pencil and bolted upstairs to cry. Expectations are tough to change. We worked through it and are moving on...what else can we do? There are days when I don't think I can wait one more day for this project to be over, and there are days (like today) where it just doesn't seem so bad. We have been blessed by friends who have made us meals or had us over for dinner and who have invited me over to do laundry, for which we are so thankful. Brian is carrying a lot of stress right now with the project, his other job as youth pastor, his stressed-out and intermittently crabby wife, and a sermon to preach in 10 days, so I worry about him. But we're just taking things one day at a time.

Probably more detail than anyone needed here, but that's the scoop. I know this is all going to be worth it someday. Really. But in the meantime, please keep up the prayers!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Intercession Needed

Brothers and sisters, pray for me. What small shred of sanity I may or may not have been in possession of two weeks ago is rapidly disappearing...

For a long LONG time now we have planned on renovating our kitchen. The 36 inches of countertop (not including the top of the washing machine conveniently located at the end of the counter) just didn't cut it for a family of six. Add to this that everything has been breaking down or falling apart. First it was the floor coming up. Next it was the front of the silverware drawer falling off. Then, the portable dishwasher stopped working and the door to the pantry fell off. And then one day (this one's my favorite), as I went to adjust the temperature on the oven, the knob fell off...and SHATTERED on the top of the range, thereby making it pretty difficult to tell what temp. the oven was at. It had become painfully obvious that a new kitchen was not a want, but a need.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to go for it. The carpenter (Vonda's dad) whom we were planning to do the work became available to do the project, and Brian had some time off left for the year. So, last week we spent several days gutting the existing room, right down to the studs and joists. There was paneling, then drywall, then lathe boards, then wool insulation. There were two layers of linoleum, two layers of wood floor, and then subfloor. At points the dusty debris was close to a foot high before we'd shovel it in the garbage can and wheel it to the dumpster.

Now we have a bare room that is starting to be slowly rebuilt. But since last Sunday when we pulled out the appliances and sink we have been without a downstairs water source, a stove, or laundry facilities (remember the conveniently located washing machine). I have set up a mock kitchen in our school room (which also has one wall gone leaving a gaping hole into the kitchen) with a microwave, toaster oven, and plastic container holding water that I use like a sink. Every morning I think of Little House on the Prairie as I "fetch" water from the bathtub upstairs.

Those of you who have kitchens realize that they are pretty important in the daily functioning of a household. And although I know it is going to be a glorious improvement when the project is done in about a month or so, I'm just pretty darn crabby about the whole thing in the meantime. At this point I am fairly certain that I will never again have a house that is in order--too many things have been shoved in too many corners to deal with later. My days are filled with researching appliances, running over to Lamperts to choose new doors and windows, phone calls to the plummer, the lumber yard, the dumpster guy. And with Christmas in only 22 more days, well, it's just a new level of crazy over here.

So if the name Jen Crim or the word kitchen comes to mind over these next few weeks, please follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and fervently intercede on my behalf, as well as for my family, who has to live with the crazed woman without a kitchen. It's one day at a time over here, and 2009 just can't come fast enough!