August 29, 2009

One More Saturday Post

Below is an email that we sent to friends and family earlier this week. If you read my blog, there is a good chance this email ended up in your inbox. But I'll post it again because great news is worth repeating!

Dear friends and family,
Earlier this month we celebrated three years of living in St. Louis. Just over three years ago we were living in Montgomery, Alabama, trying to prepare for the life ahead of us in St. Louis at Covenant Seminary. We had countless questions about our living situation, work prospects, and paying for seminary. So much seemed uncertain, except the sense that now was the time for us to go to seminary. In the past three years God has showed his faithfulness to us again and again and again. He provided a fantastic apartment for us and then a wonderful house, complete with a giant yard for the dog. He provided us both with jobs, friends, and a community in St. Louis that has loved us well.

And all through this process God has given us scholarships and generous contributions to pay for Lindon's seminary education, but often those funds have been more like a trickle than a waterfall. However, this summer has been a raging river of wonder for us. In early July we learned that Lindon was awarded a grant to be used toward schooling expenses. It was a sizable grant from a foundation that seeks to help students who have lived in Great Lake states, and the funds would have covered his tuition and left a little extra for Lindon to add resources to his pastoral library.

If our news ended here, there would be many reasons for rejoicing. We were astounded by this grant, and the idea continues to thrill us. But there's more.

Recently Lindon learned that he has received a full scholarship for his final year of seminary. All of his expenses will be paid, and his grant funding can be fully invested in furthering his educational and ministerial resources. We are so excited with this news, so we wanted to pass it on to you who have loved us and supported us so well for the past few years (if not longer!). We are thankful for God's provision in such tangible ways, and we are thankful for the ways He has used each of you to encourage and bless us. Whether it was your financial gift, your prayers, or your kind emails, God has reminded us of His goodness through your friendship and love. Sometimes it was a stream in the dessert; other times a waterfall that overwhelmed us.

As we look to the future there are still many unknowns. We don't know where Lindon will work when he finishes school next May. We have no idea where we will live after seminary. And then there is the small matter of adding a child to our ranks and the uncertainties that come with being parents (children come with instruction manuals, don't they?). But we have so many reasons to rejoice in our great God, and we look forward to how He will continue to reveal Himself to us through His gracious provision. As we reflect on the events that brought us to Covenant Seminary, God's hand is abundantly clear. We are grateful that His fingerprints continue to smudge our lives and shape our hearts, reminding remind us that we belong to Him. To Him alone belongs the glory forever and ever.


lindon, megan, and baby fowler

On Flying While Pregnant

I meant to include a follow-up post to my pre-travel post about flying while pregnant. I was a little jittery about flying at 29 weeks. It's not that I had concerns about going into labor on the plane, it's just that I wasn't excited about carting all my stuff around the airport and trying to get comfortable on an airplane, especially when traveling alone.

Well, when I got to my terminal on Thursday I had decided to ask if I could board the plane early. Typically I don't enjoy asking for things that seem like special favors, so this request seemed very forward to me. In retrospect, it's absolutely not, but at the time I felt like I was demanding a free seat or an in-flight massage or something.

Anyway, I explained to the sweet lady behind the desk that I was 6-and-a-half months pregnant and asked if I could board the plane when they called for passengers who need "extra time to board." Her eyes lit up, and she said, "Oh yes! Pregnancy is considered a temporary disability!" And with that she handed me an authorization to pre-board. She directed me to the terminal seats marked with the blue handicap stickers, and I sat there until it was time to board. It felt very strange to sit in a seat clearly marked for handicapped people. I didn't feel handicapped, and people seemed to look at my incredulously, as if they didn't believe I was really in need of a blue-sticker seat. But I had my authorization. That and the little kickaroo inside me confirmed that I was indeed legit.

A few minutes later a member of the flight crew asked me where I was headed. When I told him I was going to Cleveland, he said, "Let's go." And with that I was the first person to board the plane! Once on board someone offered to put my luggage in the luggage bin for me, and everyone encouraged by to take the spacious aisle seat. It was great!

My fellow travelers were not quite as sympathetic or supportive on the trip back to St. Louis. I had to hoist my own luggage, and passengers were not quite as willing to watch me board first. They also were not thrilled to wait while I got my luggage down to exit the plane. I did, however, get a refill of my in-flight beverage. But it didn't matter by that time we landed because I was so happy to be home and to see Lindon.

I think my travels during this pregnancy are over. I have no intention of going on any more trips until baby arrives. But in the future if I need to fly while pregnant, I fully intend to milk my temporary disability for all its worth.

Weekend Photos

Here are some pictures from our time in PA last weekend. We had so much going on all weekend, but it was a great time. On Saturday we threw a surprise 40th Anniversary party for Lindon's parents. It wasn't a surprise in the strict sense of the word (especially since it was at their house), but it was a surprise to them to see who came. And there were lots of people - we think about 100 total! It was a wonderful way to honor B&K and a great chance to see old friends.

And it was a chance to eat lots and lots of delicious cake! The gift from the kids (other than traveling to PA and throwing them a party) was a collage photo Lindon's brother created withfamily photos through the years (and a great Apple program). It's mounted below on the plant stand above the cakes.

My sister-in-law is pregnant with their second. In this photo she's about 21 weeks along, and I'm 29 weeks. It's really fun to think that our kids will be so close in age. My only first cousins are much older than me and live far away, so I am excited my little one will have cousins it will see regularly, even if we don't live near each other.

On Sunday my mom threw a baby shower for me and baby! It was a pretty low-key event, which I needed after all the excitement of Saturday's party. The cake was so perfect. I gave the decorator an idea of our party decorations and a color scheme, and this is what she created. I was so excited. It tasted amazing, too!

Sometimes it's amazing to reflect on life's adventures on how they bring people together, take them away, and bring them together again. Jana and her husband Tom were part of a small group with me and Lindon when we lived in Alabama. We watched them wrestle with whether Tom should start a second career as a pastor after a long career in the military. Finally they decided to pursue ministry, and in the summer 2005 they moved to Pittsburgh for Tom to attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. A year later Lindon and I wrestled with the same questions and ended up in St. Louis. Tom has since graduated from PTS, and he now pastors a church in Pittsburgh. We almost always try to see them when we go back to PA, and it was so special that Jana could be at my shower!
No Fowler baby wardrobe would be complete without a bit of Steelers paraphernalia!

August 19, 2009

All My Bags are Packed, I'm (almost) Ready to Go...

There are many things I should be doing right now, but for some reason a blog post seems like the most important.

Tomorrow is a big day. It's the day that baby and I will board a plane and head to PA for some time with my family. Plane rides are always exciting to me, but this will be my first plane experience while being 29 weeks pregnant. Woo.

I am very eager to get this show on the road...and also a little anxious. I flash a defiant smile at people who seem horrified that I am flying now. "They let you FLY this late in your pregnancy?!" they ask, and I remind them that I have had a perfect pregnancy until now. Stories of pregnant women going on last-minute trips and giving birth out of town do not frighten me. But still...I get a little jittery at the thought of a cramped plane. I have carefully chosen direct flights that will not take place over mealtimes and will not involve sitting for too long. I am prepared to ask for special seating because of my "medical condition" and plan to limit my water consumption so as to not have to use the plane lavatory. I even have my i-pod touch all charged so I can play games while I wait. But still...I'm a little nervous.

But once I get there! Then, the fun will start. I am so excited about my time with my family and Lindon's family. It's going to be a great trip, complete with a baby shower for us! There is lots to celebrate, and this is going to be a wonderful time of celebrating. I will get to spend time with people I do not often see, and that is wonderful.

The plane ride will be fine. I am confident everything will go smoothly. And it is going to be a great trip.

With that in mind, it's time to finish packing!

August 14, 2009

My recent addiction

Meet my recent addiction: slab pie. I discovered slab pie through the delightful cooking blog smitten kitchen, and I have made this dessert/breakfast/anytime snack twice in the past few weeks. It's a wonderful way to celebrate all the amazing fruit currently in season. Nothing says, "I appreciate you, blackberries," like couching them between two flaky, buttery crusts and topping it with a yummy glaze. I made it once with blackberries and once with mixed berries. Both were great.

And unlike traditional pie, slab pie is portable! Slice off an end piece and away you go. One thing Lindon and I both like about this pie is it is not too sweet. I ratchet down the sugar to not drown out the berries, and it works! Even with a little glaze on top, the berries are the star of this show. The amazing crust, however, wins the award for best supporting actor. If you're interested, you can get the original recipe here and start your end-of-summer celebrating!

August 10, 2009

A Good Thing to Remember

This afternoon the phone rang on three different occasions with the same name appearing on the caller ID. The first two times I answered with my customary greeting, but the only reply I got was dead silence. Understandably, I let her go to voicemail when did not pick up the third time the phone rang. After all, there's no use talking if no one is going to respond. But I could

A few minutes later one of my attorneys left the office to run an errand. As he exited he said, "You know [the name from the caller ID], she's nuts." I realized that the time I had not answered she had opted to transfer her call to the voicemail of this person, with whom she obviously wanted to speak. I told him about how she had called two other times and had not spoken when I answered the phone.

"Yeah," he said. "I don't remember much about her. But I do remember that she's crazy."

That's a good thing to remember.

August 6, 2009

Another Crash Update

So yesterday I called the Wildlife Center to check on our little guy. The nice lady who answered the phone had to go check on Crash and call me back with an update. She said he is doing fine, but "he's not out of the woods yet." The more I think about that phrase, the more it makes me laugh. Crash is indeed out of the woods. That's how his troubles began! But he is certainly on the mend and in good hands with the Wildlife Center staff.

Lindon also told me that when he dropped off Crash at the Wildlife Center of Missouri, the woman who received him said it was "baby squirrel season." That means this is the time of year when many baby squirrels are found and brought to the Wildlife Center. Currently they have 2 or 3 baby squirrels in addition to the one we brought them, "so he'll have friends," she said. It makes me happy to think that when Crash is strong enough and old enough, he will have other squirrels to play with before they are released back into the wild.

And when Crash is finally out of the woods, he will get to go back into the woods.

August 4, 2009

Crash Update

As of about noon, Crash is in the caring and capable hands of the Wildlife Center of Missouri. Lindon dropped him off, and the staff said we can call 24 hours later and check on him. So cute! I am determined to NOT call the minute it has been 24 hours because I know these people will take care of him. But they told Lindon we could come tour their facility some time, which we will probably do some time.

Like Lindon has been telling me all along, it's going to be fine.

Fowlers to the Rescue!!

Meet Crash.

Crash is a baby squirrel, probably between 1 and 2 weeks old. Our next-door neighbors found him on their driveway yesterday evening, still alive. We think he took a fall from their attic, hence the name Crash.

Because we love animals, and Lindon especially loves squirrels, we decided to do what we could to save little Crash. We are following the instructions of the Wildlife Center of Missouri and making concerted efforts to make sure Crash is reunited with his mother.

We will let you know how the endeavor goes. Crash has been a sweet little guy so far. We didn't hear a peep from him all night, which is fine with me because if he would have been crying for his mother it probably would have broken my heart. He spent the night in a ventilated shoe box in our sunroom. Since he's so tiny and furless, we tried to keep him nice and warm. Nash was VERY fascinated by our house guest last night and this morning, and he wanted desperately to play with his new friend. Naturally, this kind of interaction was not permitted. But it was so cute.

As I said before we have a huge soft spot for animals, and mine has only increased since being pregnant (sometimes it's really ridiculous how much I care about animals these days). I know there is a chance that little Crash won't make it, and that's just the way nature is sometimes. But I definitely want this little one to get a second chance. But as Lindon keeps telling me, "Megan, it's going to be fine."

It's going to be fine.

August 1, 2009

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today Lindon and I moved to St. Louis. It was a Tuesday afternoon when we rolled into town with a 26-foot Penske truck that contained all of our earthly possessions. I remember we hit traffic because of construction on the Martin Luther King Bridge, so I got to sit and just admire the Arch for a while. Our apartment was much nicer than either of us expected, and our new neighbors all came over to help us unload the truck. We couldn't believe how nice everyone was or how quickly they unloaded everything!

That evening we were very tired and very hungry and very clueless about where to eat, so we just started to driving. Some 20 minutes later we were still driving and still had no idea where we wanted to eat when I finally said, "I think Chili's sounds good." There was no way for us to know how to get to a Chili's or even if there was one in the area. But within minutes we saw a sign for Chili's ahead on the left. I remember nothing else about that dinner, other than it was good.

So much has changed in the past three years. We have moved from that apartment into our sweet little house. The cars in our driveway are not the cars that were in our Gulf Drive parking lot. Lindon has grown tremendously as a student and future pastor. We have learned so much about each other and about the life was want to have together. And now we have a baby on the way (something that was definitely not in the picture in 2006).

But for all that has changed, some things are still the same. The God who called us to seminary is still faithful as He calls us into the role of parents. This is still the place where we need to be, even though at times school is tremendously difficult and frustrating for Lindon. We know a little more about the post-seminary plan than we did three years ago, but not much. But that's ok. I don't worry as much about that now as I did three years ago (one good thing that has changed). We are in good hands, and I know that three years from now we will be able to look back and continue to marvel at how much has changed and how God is still faithful.

We are so thankful.