Sunday, May 31, 2009

Catching Up

It has been a little while since I last posted. We have been quite busy with ...well, life. I had planned to start school a week ago, but that got pushed up to beginning tomorrow because there still were so many items on my long list of things to do BEFORE that date. I still have not completed them all...but the ones not completed will just have to be done a little here and there.
One thing finally accomplished...Julia is now officially potty trained! I cannot believe it. No more diapers in the Fowler home. It is such a bittersweet feeling. I am glad that she is trained, but there is something very sad about not having a wee one in diapers.
For those of you that do not know...I have been experiencing some health problems throughout the years. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have had severe migraines, joint pain...other issues. I never liked the fibromyalgia just seemed like a name doctor's put on something they had no clue about. I have prayed fervently about these health issues and the Lord has brought me down some roads that have been leading to improved health little by little. I will not get into the long story here...but with a specialized chiropratic care I am now free of my migraines! Praise God for that. I am praying about the next avenue God would have me go. There are a few options out there and one that I feel He is leading me to is getting rid of the mercury in my mouth. Because of my health issues...there are sometimes gaps in my posting. Some days are better than others. But, God is so faithful.

Today in church, our pastor spoke about this issue. He was speaking on prayer, but he talked about how God does not always give us what we think is best. Sometimes he brings sickness and adversity to strengthen us make us ready for the battle. Because that is what this life is...a spiritual battle. And if He does bring full much more will I be able to praise Him for what He has brought me through. And if He chooses not to heal me fully...I know He has a plan and it is my job as His child to praise Him through it regardless. When I have difficult days just makes the thought of Heaven that much more precious. I suppose it must be that way for all Christian's faced with a disability of one kind or another. What about the blind person that will see His face first? The disabled child that will never need a wheelchair anymore? The Down's Syndrome young man that will never be looked at oddly anymore? I am thankful for a God that knows all our troubles...bears them for us...and never gives us anything that isn't for our ultimate good.

I will keep you all posted on my progress from time to time. For now, I would appreciate your prayers. My dh is doing well. He is preaching a couple times a month. He is involved in a Bible study and has some good men of faith he can fellowship with. I am very thankful for that. Yesterday officially marked the eighth week and on the 4th it will be two months. We continue to wait and pray....and trust God through it all. I pray you had sweet communion with the Lord this Lord's Day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Somebody's Five !

Today was a very special day. We celebrated Joel Micah's fifth birthday! Technically, he turned five on Monday the 18th, but we don't always "celebrate" birthdays on their actual dates. Sometimes life happens and we can't always manage to have the celebration then. So, this being one of those times, we celebrated it today. Joel is my fourth child and my second boy. He is such a unique little man...aren't all children special in their own way? It is hard to believe that he is five now. On his actual "birth" day, five years ago, his Daddy was deployed for the first time. And now, five years later, we are celebrating his fifth birthday with Daddy's second deployment.

Joel is the introspective one of the family. He is not a huge talker, but when he does talk, his volume button is on max. (smile) Joel and his little sister have a special bond. She follows him everywhere, wants to do everything he does, and he patiently, (well, most of the time) lets her come right alongside him. He is the spontaneous giver of the family. Out of the blue, I have seen him give up a beloved toy to his siblings, just because they wanted it. He is my "finder." When I lose something...Joel is right there to help me and most of the time, finds it before anyone else! He is the one who will lose his voice regularly because he is trying to sound like an animal or some creature in Narnia doing battle. I am blessed to be his mother. And I am thankful God has given us these five years together. I look forward to many more, Lord willing. This was his cake...nothing fancy, but with a few creatures and castle from Narnia!

Daddy and I got him this Alamo set. He likes the Alamo because of the battle...but he is most excited that he was born in Texas where the Alamo actually is!

Here he is lining up the Mexicans to make a run on the Alamo.

Young brother and sisters joining in on the fun!

Even girls enjoy setting up the Alamo.

The attack is almost ready.

The battle begins. I'm glad it is only pretend!

Oh, and here is one of his favorite toys. His Nana gave it to him. Yes, it is a black Minotaur. Boys, you just gotta love 'em! And Joel, we sure do love you! Happy Birthday son.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three Teens Define a Real Woman

Three Teens Define “A Real Woman”
Written by Philip Hainline, Heidi Reimer, and Maria Reimer at the respective ages of 16, 19, and 17.

A real woman . . .
…is glad she’s a woman and rejoices in her femininity, expressing it through her attitude, appearance and bearing. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
…does not compete for equality with men or chafe at God’s design for male and female, but delights in and understands the importance of her calling to complement man’s role. (1 Timothy 2:11-12, Ephesians 5:22-24)
…values the cultivation of her mind and diligently seeks after wisdom and knowledge. (Proverbs 22:17-21, 2:2-6)
…realizes her imperative need to allow the Holy Spirit to control her emotions and expressions of them. (James 1:19-20)
…does not wallow in self-pity or make a habit of voicing complaints, but radiates cheerfulness and joy. (Proverbs 15:15, Proverbs 17:22)

A real woman . . .
…appreciates her father’s protection, and respects and submits to his authority. In so doing, she is preparing herself to exercise the Biblical role in her relationship with a possible future husband. (Ephesians 5:33-6:3, 1 Peter 3:1-2)
…is trustworthy and gains the respect of those around her. (Proverbs 31:11)
…restrains herself from listening to, or participating in gossip, but instead speaks with wisdom and discretion. (Proverbs 11:12-13, 22, 20:19, 3:11)
…encourages and builds up those around her instead of criticizing and tearing them down. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29)
…does not have a nagging, contentious or manipulative manner in which she deals with others. (Judges 16:16, Proverbs 21:9, 19, 26:21)
…is not boisterous or loud in her speech or actions but is characterized by a gentle and quiet spirit. (Proverbs 9:13, 1 Peter 3:4)

A real woman . . .
…portrays chastity, modesty and reverence in her manner, and wears the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is her true beauty. (1 Peter 3:3-4, Titus 2:4-5)
…is not offended by respect shown her through gentlemanly courtesies (opening doors, etc.) but cultivates the differences between the sexes that make her worthy of this deference. (1 Peter 3:7, Mark 10:6)
…seeks to make God her number one desire and the Lover of her soul, knowing that only He can fully satisfy. (Psalm 73:25, Psalm 63:1)
…uses her years of singleness to seek and serve God without distraction, and is content to leave the details of her future to Him. (Psalm 73:25, Philippians 4:11)

A real woman . . .
…does not relate to members of the opposite sex in a flirtatious or forward manner, but instead saves all her passion for her future husband. (Thessalonians 4:3-8, Proverbs 6:25, 1 Corinthians 7:1)
…holds her virginity before marriage sacred and will not compromise it for anything. (This one goes for guys too)
(1 Timothy 5:22)

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Quote Concerning the Lost Art of Femininity

"It is time for women of biblical faith to reclaim our territory. We know the Designer. We have His instruction manual. If we don't display the Divine design of His female creation, no one will. But if we do, it will be a profound testimony to a watching, needy world."--Susan Hunt

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Starting a New School Year

Well, we are officially finished with our school year for 2008-2009. We are taking two weeks off from school before we begin our new school year. This week is the end of our first week off, so I have one more week before our new school year begins. I like schooling year round. It gives me the opportunity to take off during the year when emergencies, special events, or whatever else may come along that needs my attention, without feeling as though I won't be able to complete the 180 day school year. I have also found that just taking off a few weeks here and there doesn't give the children as much opportunity to forget concepts and dates that we have spent time drilling the previous school year. I do a lot less reviewing this way and we just continue on. It also gives the children structure to their days and makes the time off more special. They don't have so much time off that they get bored, and those special times off of school come sprinkled throughout their year and in different seasons and it is like a big celebration. I have been using this time to get much needed projects that have been weighing heavy on me accomplished. I still have MANY more to do. Before beginning a new school year, I weed through all our last year's books...put the ones away we will not be using this their work from last year...rearrange the school shelves to better accomodate us...and acquire any new materials that we may need for the coming year. I will use this next week to work on school planning...not just the weekly, but taking time to look at the overall year and come up with a reading list from our classics and historical fiction...deciding which ones I will read aloud and which ones I will assign to the children. I have decided to create a different school week this year. At one point, I was going to have a four day schedule, to allow for errand running and other things on one day a week. Jonathan was so very good about helping me with running errands to relieve some of that for me since I homeschool. Without him, I had to come up with some other idea where I could get essential running around done and not take too much time out of my school day. Having Joanna joining our school full-time this year means a lot of working on phonics and reading so I cannot just leave and have them complete their assignments on their own. Therefore, I will have our major school subjects on the first four days of the week...math, English, spelling, writing, history, etc. The fifth day will be a fine arts day...a music study, art, completing work in their science notebooks, creative pursuits, piano lessons. That way, if I do need to take the whole day for something...a good many of those activities the children can do while being watched and without me. And when I return home, I can complete the piano lessons...that they cannot do without me. I will let you know how it goes! The great thing about homeschooling is that if it doesn't work...I can always rework it! Today marks officially the sixth week since my dh has been gone. The children are settling down some with their behavior issues. My little man Joel is still having the hardest time with that. But, he is doing much better. The pain of not having Daddy around is still just as strong...they are just realizing the inevitable and that I am not their enemy in all this. I give them time to talk about it. The other night we all sat around on the couches and talked about the things we missed most about Daddy...then to lighten the mood some I had them to think up with me an imaginary way we could get to the desert and kidnap Daddy and bring him back home! The boys especially loved that one! They are beginning to talk about it more...which is good. Joel is the only one that will not open up to me about it. That concerns me and I would covet your prayers on that one. He feels so much, but says so very little. So, I hug and tickle him and try to do special things with him and all of them to let them know they are still loved very much. I constantly remind them that it was not Daddy's choice to go...that he loves them...and he misses them...and he is praying for them. Sometimes I feel my own emotions are on a thin thread from dealing with my own feelings of aching for him, yet trying to be strong and hold up for our children. And it is in those times I am reminded that I cannot do it in my own is only through Christ in me that I can accomplish this. I pray you all have a wonderful Lord's Day tomorrow!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Laughter in the Midst of Loneliness

A little over a week ago, we had a visit from my dear husband's parents. They came down and spent a few days with us and the visit was like cool refreshing waters in the middle of our desert times. The children always love having company, but when that company happens to be grandparents...the excitement is overwhelming at times! Before they arrived they must have asked me a hundred times..."Now when are they going to be here?" "Didn't they say it the afternoon?" And on and on and on! After a while, I had run out of creative ways to answer that question and I just said..."They will be here when they get here." Of course, that is never good enough for the six and four year old! During their visit, they helped do some things that my husband would have done if he was here. It was such a help to me.

But, I suppose the most memorable occasions for the children were when Grammy Poppa wrestled with the one time...all five of them at once. Now, that job is left up to my husband when he is here. I don't even attempt that any more. But, Grammy Poppa...a retired military man, former Ranger, Special Forces kinda guy...they didn't scare him...not one bit!
He gave them a run for their money! I sat there watching all this unfold thinking....How does this man do it? He is almost 73 and he can run circles around fact, he could probably run circles around a lot of 20 somethings I know! He is unbelievable!

I wish I could bottle up all his get up and go and market it. I would be a rich woman.

But, the greatest part of all of this, is that he took time to make memories with the children...memories usually made by their father...ones they miss so desperately. It was an act of love and tender kindness and it reminded me of how God provides for us even in the direst, and loneliest of circumstances. We have felt at times that we are living in our own desert...apart from the one we love so dear...that our family is not quite complete... it is so very hard at times. But, for that brief time, God provided streams of water in our desert and He did it through the love and concern of my husband's parents. It was a special time and one that we will never forget. One that once again reminded me that God looks after His children...if a sparrow cannot fall without our Father seeing and caring...then He can bring special people to help ease the pain of my little ones loneliness. We serve a great God.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A World Full of Good Books

The other day, I walked into the den to find four of my children all lined up in a row, each with a book on their laps. It was definitely one of those Kodak moments. Being a homeschool family, we just relish our books! We are constantly trying to find ways to get more and trying to be creative in ways we can store them in a home with limited space. Books are something we take very seriously in our home. One of the reasons we try to surround our children with books is because we can control those books that come into our home and therefore, can control what our children read. There are so many authors today that are trying to rewrite history and reshape our understanding of what our founding fathers truly had in mind for this nation. Therefore, I rarely buy history material that is not told from a Christian perspective, or was written much after the 1950's. I also do not want my children reading popular books that just fill their minds with unsuitable material...such as Goosebumps or the Babysitter's Club. I remember reading the equivalent of books such as that when I was a child. What a waste of time! And not only that, but it filled my mind with things that either scared me at night, or had me thinking more about boy/girl relationships than I ever should have. It is amazing what power the written word has on us. It feeds our imagination...and gives us an appetite either for good, or for bad.

So what type of books does one have in a home when trying to cultivate a Christian worldview? We have all types of books. Many of them are overtly Christian. If you are not familiar with Lamplighter books, I highly recommend them. We have not bought a book from them that was not wonderful. We buy most of our school books through the Veritas Press book list. They have some great Christian historical fiction. We do not get all of them, because even their lists do not meet completely our personal convictions of a proper book. We also like to look at the Sonlight Curriculum lists. Since they were founded mainly for Christian missionaries, they have a lot of books about Christian missionaries. We try to get good Christians biographies and autobiographies. We look for appropriate art and music books as well. As far as a catalog that has great standards for reading material both for children and adults, one cannot beat Vision Forum. I find such encouragement in their materials for the whole family.
We load our science shelves with books that have a Creationist viewpoint and we also have field guides on insects, rocks and minerals, butterflies, trees, flowers, etc. We continue to buy books from Apologia science and those recommended by Answers in Genesis.

Even our children's section must meet certain criteria. We do have DK and Usborne books, but we are careful of pictures that may be unsuitable. I will actually go through and color clothes on certain inappropriately drawn characters. I talk with my children about differing worldviews and explain to them the errors based on scripture. Our children's stories are mainly about people and places and we strive to find books where brothers and sisters love and care for each other (The Miller stories are wonderful). We look for books where the father is not painted as some goofball (which is why we do not do the Berestain Bears anymore) but instead is a vital and respected part of the family. If you read many children's books today, the nuclear family is broken, or if the family is in tact, the father is a leaderless figure that relies on others to come up with any sound advice. Many will say that these books are necessary because so many children can relate to them...those without fathers, etc. A few, told from a Christian perspective, may be justified. However, how does a child have an example of what a family is supposed to look like, if not from what they watch and read? Many times, this is the only example many children will see when being raised in a broken home. So, I encourage you...look out for what is going into the hearts and minds of your children. The written word is not neutral. There is always a religious/moral viewpoint in the plot. Will that be a Christian worldview or a humanistic, anti-God one?