Thursday, October 25, 2012

Family Update

I've been hesitant to publish life details on the blog this summer, but it will do me and you, dear reader, some good to back it up and write it down. So, here is our summer recap.

On Memorial Day weekend, we had some major events happen. First, Lindon preached at a church where we believed there would be a need for a interim pastor, or at least a need for weekly. Turns out, the church was not in a position to talk with Lindon about either of those things. We had hoped this position could be Lindon's transition to pastoral ministry, but though Lindon did get a handful of opportunities to fill the pulpit over the summer and fall, it did not turn into a regular gig.

Before we had a chance to be disappointed about that turn of events, Lindon got a phone call from a friend offering him a job in sales. While the job description and salary sounded very interesting, the catch (of course!) was that for the first three months, Lindon would need to work out of the company's office in Lock Haven, about 3 hours from here. After lengthy discussions and a bit of moaning (by me, of course!) about why things could never be easy, we decided that Lindon should take the job. He started July 2.

In late June, we traveled down to Tennessee for Fowler Family vacation. We discovered that vacationing with small children is exhausting, but loads of fun - especially when there is lots of cousin time and gorgeous mountains.

In July, Lindon started his new job. We also had Shields baptized and celebrated a few birthdays. Lindon was in his friend Matt's wedding, too. And we got to see the Loaneys, some precious friends from St. Louis who came to the area for Matt's wedding. It was a joy to reconnect with them, even if it was just for an evening.

In August, my sister got married, and we traveled with Lindon to Lock Haven for a week. Lock Haven is gorgeous, and being there felt peaceful and rejuvinating. We brought along the double stroller and walked everywhere, exploring the many parks and playgrounds throughout this darling town. Every day I thought to myself, "I could definitely live here!" When I saw the Lock Haven Jaycees temple for sale right on the riverfront, I began scheming how we could purchase it and turn it into a Reformed church right in that lovely college town...

In late July Lindon learned that one of his former classmates urgently needed a place in St. Louis to live. And we had such a place! So now we have tenants for our house, and we are looking for our own place to live. This process has been emotional, but knowing we are getting close to once again having our of space is comforting. We are so grateful to our families for letting us stay with them for all these months, and we want to show our gratitude by not overstaying our welcome!

And that - along with lots of trips to the parks, getting to know new friends, learning to catch a ball, learning to hit a ball with a bat, figuring out how to crawl, and learning how to stand - pretty much summarizes our summer.

So now that we have all of that written down, I plan to take a break from posting on this blog and eventually shut it down. There are other things that demanding my attention, so it's better that I not even put this on my to-do list. It was a short-lived endeavor, and one into which I never really put too much effort. But with two small kids, there are other things I need to do.

Like playing in the leaves, chasing a mad crawler, or going to bed at a reasonable hour.

And I am going to work on that last one right now!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why the Long Silence?

Hi Friends,
Well, we know it has been quite a while since we updated this blog. The long silence has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the fact that there has been nothing of consequence to write. Lindon continues to work as a construction contractor, and we continue to live with family while we look for a call and try to sell our house in St. Louis. We just keep on keepin' on.

But! There is a 'but.' We do hope that in the next month or so we will have something of consequence to post on this blog. It might not be a position, but it might be a plan. Or it might be a position. We're not sure yet, but something is coming.

In the meantime, I will console you with a photograph of our children, who continue to be amazing. Levi talks like crazy, Shields smiles like crazy, and we are crazy for the two of them.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Hard is it to Find a Ministry Position?

In our experience, the answer is, "very hard."

This article offers a glimpse into the struggle that has been our life for two years. We will write more on our experience later.

Please keep praying for our family and a pastoral call for Lindon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A World of Difference

There is a world of difference between...

... "Let me know if you need a meal," and "What time tonight should I bring your dinner?"

"Let me know if there is anything I can do," and "I can watch the kids for you on Wednesday."

"If you need any help with packing, let me know," and "We are coming over tomorrow night and bringing boxes to help you pack."

"We should have a play date for our kids some time," and "Please join our play date on Monday."

Since the beginning of December our family has needed a lot of help. When you need a lot of help, you begin to understand what it means to help. Offers of real help involve specifics. They involve concrete actions attached to dates and times. They put little responsibility on the one who needs the help.

Since I have been on the receiving end of a LOT of help, I have been convicted of how often I extend half-hearted offers of help. Left to my own devices, I am a bad helper. When someone just had a baby or is getting divorced, recovering from surgery, or moving, "let me know if there is anything I can do" means little. There is so much that can be done. I need to pick something, commit to it, make a specific offer, and do it.

I have been spending time with a group of mothers at Gateway and am impressed with how they have actively included me in their activities. They don't say, "Let's get together some time;" they say, "Come meet up with us tomorrow." What is more, they talk about Gateway as a church that actively and tangibly helps its members and the community. Each woman had stories of the church helping them in really important ways, from laundry to house cleaning to child care.

The help I have received and the helpfulness I have seen in others lately has me thinking about what kind of ministry I want to have. I want our family's ministry to be one of real help, tangible and practical. Being helped has inspired me to be the hands and feet of Christ, to offer a cup of cold water to someone in His name. This is real ministry.

And it makes a world of difference.

Have you experienced this tangible help when you really needed it? What impact has it had on you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

10 Crazy Days

Note: I started this blog a few days ago, but because of the craziness of life with two kids, it didn't get finished until today. So pretend you are reading this last Tuesday, which is when it should have been posted.

Well, we are here.

"Here" being Western Pennsylvania. East Brady, to be exact, will be our home until we can get our feet underneath us. We are living at Lindon's parents' house while they are out of town.

It boggles my mind to think about how much has happened in the past 10 days. Packing, doctor appointments, time with dear friends, and illness (yes, illness) sucked up every second of our time.

In vaguely chronological order, here are some of the highs and lows of the past 10 days:

 - We had a very special farewell dinner with some of our dearest St. Louis friends. Charlie and Lindon were classmates, and we both started our families around the same time. Now we have four boys between us. After an amazing meal, we sat around the table for hours and just shared some of our favorite memories. From "I remember the first time we met..." to "Remember that day when my dog died..." to "How many home improvement projects did we work on together," it was a wonderful time of reminiscing and celebrating how much life we had experienced together.

 - Megan attended her last Bible study with a group of women who have been her closest friends and best support network during our time in St. Louis. The groups decided to forgo the typical time of listening to a sermon and just sat around and talked. Had Shields not been fussy the entire time, it would have been a precious meeting. Crabby child notwithstanding, it was wonderful to have one more evening with these special friends.

 - While Megan was at her last Bible study, Lindon spent quality time with two of his closest St. Louis friends. Naturally, their get together involved packing, but he was thankful to have one last evening with them, even if it involved putting junk in boxes.

 - Megan and Shields had their final post-natal appointments. We have often thanked the Lord for the amazing medical care we have received in St. Louis, and it was hard to bid farewell to these fabulous doctors. Megan's obstetrician has navigated us through two pregnancies with competence and kindness, and we have appreciated not only his expertise, but his Christian understanding of his work. Our St. Louis pediatrician was a smart-Alec doctor who seemed quite pleased when we discovered how much he likes to joke around. We will miss his practice and his sense of humor.

 - Of course, since packing and caring for two children left us lots of free time, Levi decided to add some spice to our life by getting sick. He caught a brief stomach virus that had been circulating throughout the city, and while it did not last long, we certainly did not enjoy having it visit our house. And when it hit Megan Friday morning (yes, the morning we were leaving), we were especially displeased. Mercifully, it was a very, very brief virus, and Megan still got underway Friday afternoon.

 - After we packed the furniture and boxes on Wednesday, we realized how many things still needed to be packed. At this point panic set in. We had envisioned Thursday as our cleanup and say goodbye day, but it turned in to our frenzied packing-all-of-our-junk day. Once again our faithful friends came to the rescue and helped us finish all the packing Thursday evening. We were touched by their kindness, generosity, and love for us. The evening ended with them praying with and for us before saying goodbye, a memory we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

 - As mentioned before, Friday began with Megan getting sick, and because of this, our departure from St. Louis did not go as planned. We had hoped to have a moment to pray and savor one last look at the precious house that had been our home for over five years. Instead, Lindon jammed the last of our belongings into the car and the truck while Levi whined and Megan, well, let's just say she didn't help. Still, Lindon, Levi, and Nash set off in the 26-foot Penske truck and made the 12-hour trek in one day. Due to snow and stops for the kiddo, it took them longer than 12 hours, but they made it safely. Megan and Shields made it to Indianapolis late that night and finished the drive on Saturday.

 - Sunday was the first time we attended the church we expect to be our new church home. Gateway Community Church proved to be a warm, welcoming group. Megan met two other mothers who delivered boys the same week Shields was born, and she left church with contact information for three different women who wanted to get together once life settled down. We spent the afternoon with family and enjoyed a chance for someone else to watch the kids. It was also nice to bid farewell to loved ones without wondering when we might see them again. 

These are just some snapshots of what we have experienced in less than two weeks. We continue to process everything, and that includes a bit of sadness in addition to hopefulness. We still have a lot of adjusting to do, but we are doing a little better each day. If Shields would sleep for seven or eight straight hours, we would be even better still. But God is our Sustainer still, even when change, uncertainty, and exhaustion threaten to throw us off balance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Prayer Requests

As you think of our family and desire to pray for us, here are some specific requests that we have. We have also added a page to this blog where we will update our requests and share how they've been answered. Thank you for your prayers! Without further ado...

 - A full time job for Lindon in ministry.

 - The quick sale or lease of our house in St. Louis (preferably sale).

- Grace and strength as we pack up our belongings, especially with two children now in the mix.

 - Smooth and safe journey to PA for Megan and Shields in one vehicle and Lindon and Levi in another.

 - Long-term housing situation in the Slippery Rock area.

 - Health! Lindon and Megan both feel a little bit under the weather. Nothing major, but with all that needs to be done, pray that they are free from illnesses mild and severe. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

About the Blog Title

by Megan

I love words. They make me happy. I wear terms like "wordsmith" and "grammarian" like badges of honor. Using just the right word in just the right place brings me tremendous satisfaction. This also makes me a big nerd, but that's another story.

As much as I love words, however, there is one word that never sits well with me.


As in, "Where is 'home' for you?" or "Are you going home to see your family this Christmas?"

When people ask me these questions, I cannot craft a good answer. Maybe it's because I've lived in five different states and have left pieces of my heart in each one, or maybe it is because the length of time I have spent in those different states does not correspond to my feeling of belonging there.

So this move to Pennsylvania is complicated for me. Do I have connections to Western PA? Absolutely. I went to high school and college there, and my parents and younger siblings live there, not to mention my husband's extended family. But traveling to Pennsylvania has never felt like coming home. It's not that I don't love certain things about it (like the fact that our families are there). It just never felt like MY home. Lindon, having spent 26 years in PA, has no such qualms with calling it home. In fact, for as long as we have been married, he has talked about our trips to Pennsylvania as "going home," and I have always corrected him by saying, "Home is where our house is. We are going BACK to Pennsylvania to visit." That's a word nerd at work.

So what will happen when the place where my husband is from, the place where most of my family lives, and the place where I live all meet? Well, I guess I will be home. But what will that feel like? What will that look like? How much does a sense of belonging play into feelings of home? What about the sense that I am FROM a certain place? And to what extent is a sense of homelessness justified this side of heaven? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I guess I will learn.

This blog will be, in part, a place for us to come to terms with what "home" means for our family life and ministry. It sounds a little nerdy, but the implications feel very practical for me. You can watch my wrestling (or floundering) from the sidelines, but I would love to have you enter the conversation, too.

Have you lived many different places? If so, where do you consider home? If you've lived in the same place all your life, what makes that place feel like home? Anyone else out there ever feel "homeless"?