July 21, 2009

Life moving at the speed of, well, life

This summer is moving on at a mind-bogglingly fast pace.

It seems like just yesterday Lindon was relishing the sweet taste of freedom for the summer, and now it's late July! How did this happen?

It doesn't help that we have already been out of town twice and had company once. Currently Lindon's father is in town to spend a week with us. Then we have roughly two weeks off before my younger brother comes to visit for a few days. Then we head back to PA for some family time and a baby shower. Then classes begin!

And in between visits and visitors we are trying to wrap our heads around the idea of becoming parents and the idea that this might be our last summer in St. Louis. AND Lindon is serving as a church intern and, with the arrival of his father, beginning his house renovation projects. So basically my life is chaos right now.

While I don't mind a busy life, I find that during the busy times I crave extra control - control that I do not get. Our busy summer has also been dotted with bad news. In our families there have been some serious health scares this summer. Last week friends gave birth to a son with a troubling heart defect requiring major surgery (see "the elusive jaguar shark" blog on the right to learn more about how little George is doing). A pastor who is special to us is currently recovering from brain surgery, and other friends have had to suddenly leave St. Louis for very sad reasons. We do not know if we will ever see them again.

Yikes. When I see all of that written down it's no wonder I feel kind of stressed. And it's no wonder that I have had a hard time updating my blog. It's hard to know where to begin. I am trying to cope with the chaos in my life by not scheduling too many additional obligations and spending time with friends who can encourage and energize me. And it seems that keeping the kitchen clean helps me to not feel as overwhelmed.

So that's my life in one blog post. Also, I really chafe at unsolicited pregnancy advice. I was just thinking about how much I don't appreciate when people saying things like, "If you think life is crazy now, just wait until the baby comes!" or "If you think you're tired now, just wait until you have kids. You're going to be tired like this until the last one goes to college!" Words cannot convey how unhelpful these comments are or how much they make me want to slap the giver of such advice. Interestingly, these comments seem to come from people who do NOT know me, do not really understand my life, and are not in a position to be giving advice to me in the first place.

So, if that's the best you've got, please know that it's in your best interest to keep your mouth shut.

July 14, 2009

And one more thing...

In our house there is a large F hanging in our hallway. That F is a gift from Jere Scott and Dorothy, and it has become one of my favorite decorations. There is a great story behind it, too. It's too tedious to write down, but suffice it to say Dorothy taught me to appreciate being a Fowler with a capital F.

I Know the Feeling...

I just read my friend Dorothy's blog for the first time, and it made me cry. Dorothy and her husband Jere Scott were some of our best friends in Alabama, and now they have just moved to Philadelphia to attend Westminster Theological Seminary. I cried because I remember all too well the excitement and terror of leaving the familiar for a new adventure filled with uncertainty. In some ways Dorothy and JS might even have it worse than we did because on top of leaving friends, jobs, and their native culture, they are moving away from their families for the first time in their married life.

That's not easy. It takes tremendous courage to follow God's calling away from the comfort of the familiar. Many people take it for granted that a pastor's family will move around the country, and it's true that moving does often come with the territory for pastors. But that doesn't alleviate the loneliness of living away from loved ones. It's been 4 years since I have celebrated a Mother's Day with my own mother, and it is always hard. Same with Father's Day, family birthdays, and the small life events that one misses living in a day's drive from family.

But while it is difficult to leave family and start a new life, we have found unbelievable joy in the communities we have developed in the absence of family. When we lived in Alabama, we were part of 2 fabulous small groups where we were loved and cared for so well. We have been away from Alabama for 3 years, but we still feel very special connections to the people who welcomed us into their lives and made us part of their families.

One of those couples was Jere Scott and Dorothy, and we are so grateful to them for their friendship over the years. Lindon and Jere Scott were both youth directors, and they often planned events together. And Dorothy and I bonded over the craziness of being married to someone in full-time ministry.

One of the things I love about Dorothy is her great talent for cooking and entertaining with casual elegance. The first time she and JS had us over for dinner, she made Bananas Foster for dessert, complete with dimming the lights and igniting the pan. It was amazing! I have learned so much from her about cooking and making people feel welcome in my house. For Christmas she gave me a collection of recipes for every season, and it is one cookbook I use all the time. I cannot wait to see what great recipes she posts on her blog as she cooks her way through seminary.

Good luck, Jere Scott and Dorothy. You're in for quite a ride, but every bit of it is worth it.

July 13, 2009

Weekend Update

If last weekend had a theme for the Fowlers, it was rest. Lindon and I spent some time catching up on housework and beginning some new projects, but we also spent a lot of time napping. We needed it because last week was a bit of a stressful week for us.

Friday night we had a quasi-date, which meant we ate out, ran an enjoyable errand, and watched a movie at home. Our errand was to Babies R Us, where we purchased our stroller, extra car seat base, and baby carrier. It is so exciting to watch the office/ nursery fill up with baby things, especially big baby things. Each day we are more and more eager to meet this little one. Less than four months remaining!

We came home to watch a movie that we both enjoyed watching. That is rare. What is not rare is us having to stop the movie early because I am too tired to keep my eyes open any longer. That also happened on Friday.

On Saturday we both spent time doing work around the house. We cleaned and went grocery shopping in anticipation of our friend Andrea coming to visit on Thursday. We also finished watching "Expelled." We still liked it. And we both took naps on Saturday as well, which was nice.

Sunday we went to church and took long naps in the afternoon. The St. Louis rain made it hard to stay awake, so we both slept very well.

So in general, it was a pretty boring weekend, but we needed that. The rest and time for relaxing was so wonderful. We will both be going in all sorts of directions over the next month, so any time we can get to rest now is well worth it.