Friday, September 21, 2007

Will's birthday

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

God is good...all the time.

Tim shared with friends that "grief and joy come back to back in life a lot." Nine years ago I woke up to empty arms and struggled to prepare for a memorial service. One year ago today I woke up to a 9 lb blessing named William Matthew.

Last year on Josiah's birthday we refused medical induction for our baby that was 2 weeks overdue. I didn't have a problem with Will being born on 9/19 if that was God's plan, but I didn't want it to be at the convenience of the doctor. We left the hospital and came home to spend the day with our boys and wait. I went into labor that afternoon and we arrived at the hospital at 11:00 pm. William Matthew was born at 12:30 am on September 20th.

God chose to give us a visual reminder of his goodness. This morning I woke up next to this reminder. As he rolled over and rubbed his eyes, I was able to thank God for his faithfulness. I was also reminded that he pours out his blessings in our lives when we don't really deserve them.

Many times in life I am reminded of different characteristics of God but I think one that is sometimes overlooked is God's goodness. People will talk about God's love, his faithfulness, kindness, mercy and so on. Those are all a part of who God is. When we struggle with difficult times it is hard to remember that God is good. God by his very nature can not do bad. When I see things happen that I don't understand I have to remind myself that even though I don't understand the God I serve is bigger than I am. He sees eternity and has a plan. He is good ... all the time.

Job1:21b

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Remembering Josiah - Nine Years Ago

On September 19, 1998 I gave birth to our first baby. Josiah James was stillborn at 22 weeks. We found out on September 16 that JJ didn't have a heart beat and we went to the hospital on the 17th. JJ was born Saturday night. He weighed 8 ozs. I easily held him in the palm of one hand. It was a night that forever changed my life.

I read in one grief book that when you lose your parents to death you lose your past but when you lose your child you lose your future. While that is true in so many ways I want to spend today remembering what I gained.

By going through the loss of our first born I gained an ever growing empathy for so many women who have suffered that same loss. It made me stop and realize how many times I had shared platitudes with people who were literally knee deep in grief.

By holding JJ I gained an understanding of how gracious and loving our heavenly father is. He willing laid down the life of his son for mankind.

I also gained a new realization of what a blessing it is to have healthy children. God is very generous by loaning us the precious gifts for a time.

I also gained a new understanding of the faithfulness of God. Prior to losing JJ I knew in my head that God was faithful. I knew that the Bible taught about his faithfulness and I really believed it. But when the world collapsed under my feet I learned first hand about God's faithfulness. I learned that even when my circumstances change, my God is still faithful. He still loves me, he cares about me and he never leaves me alone.

In the loss of a child I did lose some of my hope for the future. I grieved the loss of something unknown. But God was so loving and gracious that he opened the doors of heaven and poured out his blessings in my life. He comforted me with his comfort and walked with me during some of the darkest days of my life.

This was the scripture that one of my dear friends shared with me.

Psalms 20:1-5

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant your support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will live up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.

If you know someone who has suffered the loss of a child, I highly recommend the book Mommy, Please Don't Cry. This is written like a children's books with simple text and beautiful illustrations. It will bring many tears but also much comfort in knowing that the children we mourn are in the hands of a loving heavenly Father.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Love and Respect

We started our new Bible Study tonight. We had a good group and really had good discussion. We are actually doing a study that is for married couples called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggrichs. Four years ago, Tim and I attended a Love and Respect conference. I have to admit at the time I didn't want to go to the conference. We had a 3 month old baby. I was tired from the baby and we had recently moved and to be honest we had a decent marriage. I am so thankful now that Tim's supervisor said that this conference wasn't optional. It was a tremendous eye opener for me. I learned why we were so different in the ways we communicated and how to change things for the better. I also feel like this has been valuable in teaching me how to deal with my sons. I highly recommend this series for anyone who is married or thinking of getting married. It is a great resource.

www.loveandrespect.com

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fun Homeschool links

I thought I would make a list of some fun homeschool links for everyone.

Pizza Hut has a program where students can earn pan pizzas for reading books. We have already gotten our material in and are ready to start in October.

http://www.bookitprogram.com/enrollment/homeschool.asp

Letter of the week is one of my favorite programs for preK/K. Katrina has put together some awesome book lists and ideas for teaching letters/sounds/shapes/colors. She also has a great list of journaling ideas for older students. We are going to start using the journaling ideas in January with G.

www.letteroftheweek.com

Resources for homeschooling for free. I haven't checked all of these out but there are lots that I like here.

http://homeschool.withpurpose.com/

These are a few homeschooling sites that I visit.

http://www.ahomeforhomeschoolers.com/forum/index.php
http://www.queenhomeschool.com/
http://www.thehomeschoollibrary.com/forum/
http://www.winterpromise-forum.com/
http://www.homeschoolreviews.com

Also I have on my list of websites

www.amitymama.com

There is an active alternative learning forum that I love. Amitymama is probably where I spend most of my time on the web. It is a great alternative site with lots of great info on a variety of subjects.

www.simplycharlottemason.com

This is one of my favorite sites. Lots of CM info and great schedules and book recommendations. We are using their science curriculum this year and really love it. Also we are using a geography curriculum that is recommended from their site. Lots of good info there.

If you haven't heard about www.paperbackswap.com yet it is a great site. You list various paperback books that you are ready to get rid of. When someone requests a book you have. You mail it to them. You pay the shipping cost. For each book you mail you get one credit. You then spend the credits on books you want. I have gotten several books for school this year through this site. It is great because you can set up a wishlist of books you are looking for. They will email you when a book is available and you can decide if you want it or not. If you don't have credits you can purchase them for a modest amount (less than the cost of a paperback). If you sign up please use my referral code robindfolwer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why A Little Bit Country?

The reason I chose this name for my blog is because I feel like it fits my life at this point. I grew up in the rural South (Arkansas to be exact). When Tim and I got married we moved to Tulsa and that became our first "city" to live in. We loved it. It was an easy city to get around in and it was a great way to break in to kids from small town America to a larger place.

After that we moved to Indianapolis and we lived there for close to 4 years. We actually lived in the suburbs and again we loved Indy. There was always something to do, there were neat places to eat and shopping was easily accessible. Our next stop was Louisville, Ky. Again lots of positives and not many negatives (especially if you learn to think traffic is the norm). We then moved to the country. We lived in a little town between Cincinnati and Louisville for 6 months. We never really made the switch. I continued to commute to Louisville to work and so we still had easy access to "the city".

We left Kentucky on a cross country jaunt to Spokane, Washington. Again a nice city with lots of amenities. We were only in Washington about a year. That was long enough for me to figure out I am not cut out to live in colder climates. I really prefer more temperate weather.

So if you like warmer weather where do you think we ended up but on the opposite coast in Florida. We moved from Spokane to Stuart, Florida. While Stuart isn't a "big city" if you have ever been to the coast of Florida then you know that the one thing Florida has lots of is people. They are spread out in lots of little towns running up and down both coasts. Stuart is actually only about 30 minutes north of West Palm Beach, It is a series of towns called the Treasure Coast. The population when we moved there was over 100,000 on the Treasure Coast and it has grown even more since then. We stayed in South Florida for 3 and 1/2 years. We loved it.

Now I know that there are some people who don't care for Florida, they don't like the people, the sand, the sun, the hurricanes, the hustle, or whatever, but for us we couldn't figure out what wasn't to love (except for hurricanes). We moved from South Florida to an Orlando suburb where we lived for a couple of years. It was great to be able to go to the theme parks for an afternoon and not feel the stress to do it all. We were still within driving distance of the beach (on either coast).

When we were looking at moving from Florida we decided that we wanted to be closer in proximity to our families. My parents lived in TN and Tim's parents were in NE AR so we ended up moving to Nashville, TN or rather town very close to Nashville - Murfreesboro. It was large enough to have lots to do, we were close enough to Nashville to enjoy it but didn't have to fight the traffic on a daily basis.

Our next spot was the midwest or St. Louis, Missouri to be specific. Again we were in the suburbs (see a theme here) and again we loved it. We went to the Zoo, to Cardinal games, had lots of cool shopping and lots of sports.

This is where the country part comes in. When we left St. Louis we thought we were moving to North Carolina for a job. We packed all our stuff in storage and took a week vacation to Galveston and the beach. We stopped in Alabama and visited family on our way to NC. Something in this job just wasn't "right". Well we ended up not taking the job and therefore we were homeless.

Fortunately we have awesome family. Tim's brother and his wife have a finished basement and let us "land" with them while we tried to figure out where God was leading us. It was an interesting time for all of us. We had 3 children at the time and they also have 3 children. We spent the summer with them and while our kids played we began searching. We were searching in both our hearts and also for ministry positions.

Tim went to work at a pizza place for a friend. In June he got a call to "supply preach" at a little church out in the country. (Do you see where this is going?) Well he preached there and they kept asking him back. This is a country church that is over 100 years old. They were in the middle of conflict and were trying to figure out how to work things out. This was totally different from anything we had ever done (that is another post) but we loved the people and we knew God had placed us here.

In October of that year they offered Tim the title "Interim" and that told us that they had a parsonage that we could live in until they hired a pastor or we found a full time position. So we made the trek back to STL to pick up our belongs which had been in storage since April. We moved into the country. We are about 30 minutes outside of the nearest "town". We are about 6 miles from our little town which has a population of 3,000. Our county has a population of about 40,000. We are now officially in the country. Our church is wonderful but they often get a kick out of some of our "citiness".

We have been in the country for almost two years now. This will be our 3rd Christmas in this house. While it has been an adjustment for Tim and myself, the boys absolutely love it! The men cleared some of the land to the side of our house and so now the boys have woods to play in. We have a huge front yard with a long driveway that is great for riding bikes. They love seeing snakes, rabbits, deer, and especially all the bugs they find. And this summer we finally gave in and got not one but two dogs. Every little boy in the country needs a dog. So that is the origin of this blog "A Little Bit Country".

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My First Post

I registered for this blog a while back and never used it. This week I have been reading some blogs and decided that this was something that I would enjoy so I started playing around with a couple of different blog sites to see which one was the easiest for me to use and I really like blogger.com.

I am sure I will blog about a combination of things that make up our lives. We have 4 boys and homeschool so that is a major role in our lives. My husband is a pastor and I love being a pastor's wife. So the local church is something else I will write about.

I love different crafts, some things I currently do are scrapbooking and crocheting. I want to learn to sew, quilt and knit but haven't had the time yet to do so. I love to read (see the list of books that I am currently working on)! I am currently involved in a Ladies Bible study and when we finish our current book (Conversation Peace) I will lead the next study (Love and Respect).