Archive for ‘Family’

May 31, 2012

Welcome To This World, Coraline!

by pastortimfowler

baby feet close up!

I went to see my friend and his wife and their new baby last night. It was their first child and they were thrilled. I love seeing first time parents with their new babies, especially the dad. In this case, the baby was delivered via “C-section, so mom was still under the influence of the pain meds. They had both seen the baby in the delivery room, but she had not yet been brought from the nursery into their room yet. The nurse had been in checking on mom and said that they were going to bring the baby in a few minutes. At that time it was only me and the parents in the room. Some of the immediate family were on their way and showed up right before they brought the baby in, but I got to hang out with them by myself for a few minutes.
I don’t know mom that well. I have met her a few times but never had the privilege of hanging out and getting to know her. I play cards with dad once a month and have done so for over two years. Because I don’t know her that well I won’t make fun of mom and some of the things I observed as she enjoyed the pain meds. But that is one of the fun things about visiting a mom who just delivered via cesarean. They think that they are acting normal, but they are not.
Dad was trying real hard to act normal, but you can’t after your first child is born. You would think that they shared the pain meds with dad sometimes by the way they act. Of course I never acted goofy when my kids were born because, well, have you met my kids? This guy was doing pretty good though. He showed me pictures from right after the birth. Very few babies are cute then, to outsiders, but to dad they are gorgeous. Cesarean babies do look better than those born the other way. Those babies look like cone head aliens, to outsiders, but normal to parents. This was a cute baby. I watched the pride swell with each picture he showed me. It is a special moment.
For a few minutes the conversation went from the tough delivery to our next card game and then back to how beautiful the baby is and finally the family came in. I don’t like to hog time from family in any situation that involves a hospital. So I decided to wait until they brought the baby in and get a look at her in person and then head out so the family could have their time. Suddenly the door opened and the nurse came wheeling in the bed with this gift from God in it. They picked her up and handed her to mom and then I got to see that moment that is worth a million moments. It is the one where dad stands next to his wife who is holding their new-born child and he tries with all he has to smile, but tears just start flowing down his face as pride and joy and reality overwhelm him.
With that memory firmly etched in my mind I went over and hugged him and told mom that everything was awesome and bid farewell to the family I had just met. I knew that I had just seen the greatest life changing event a man can go through, other than knowing God. I believe that it is hard to look at this event in life and not consider that something this awesome just doesn’t happen without the God of love that I believe in. It never gets old and never ceases to amaze me how a grown man can be turned into a speechless and weeping ball of emotions all because of a little baby. I always thank God for that experience and hope that He never stops blessing me with the chance to see His gifts of children being brought into this world.
Congratulations Dru and Wendy! Welcome to this world Coraline. (Yes, I spelled that right)

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December 22, 2011

From Me To You

by pastortimfowler

This will be my last blog for a few days. It will be Christmas soon and we are traveling several times. Although they are short trips of less than two hours, it is still traveling. I only get to spend time with my family like this a few times a year and this is always special since my kids have married and moved away. Christmas just keeps getting more special to me, a guy who use to despise it and regretted the whole family ordeal.
Christmas for many of my early adult years was spent acting like I enjoyed the facade of family when in reality I was bitter and hateful. After marrying my wife and meeting her family it was hard to watch so many people loving each other so openly and I had a hard time with it. But they were not putting on a front, they were real and I learned to like it. Then as I got older and God became more real to me and called me into the ministry I began to see things with a better light. It was about family and it was about getting together, but more so it was about Jesus and Jesus has given me even more family through kids and grand kids and my church. I am richly blessed!
This is the time of year when Christ is in the forefront. It is the celebration of His birth, regardless of what anyone says. And it is because of His love for me that I am no longer bitter and angry at Christmas, but joyful and at peace. It took time, but God is patient.
So for Christmas this year I get to drive to three different places on three different days and hang out with family and friends. I get to see kids smile and adults laughing and I can look in the mirror and see a once broken and bitter man now filled with Christ’s love and joy. This only happens because I took a long look in the mirror too often and saw something that I didn’t like and couldn’t fix. It was not until I personally met Jesus and allowed Him to be the meaning of Christmas and the Lord of my life that I was able to find the peace that I had longed for.
I hope that you have joy and love and peace this Christmas. I hope that your families are able to get together and celebrate and I hope that Jesus is the reason that you are celebrating. But if you are like I was and you struggle with this, take some time to get alone and see if God will meet you there. He only wants to know if you believe in Him. He will only help if you ask. God does not intrude where He is not wanted, but will meet you anytime you ask. The transformation takes time and the joy is hard to recognize at first. But with time and you seeking to know Him, God reveals this joy, gives this peace, and fills with love, even the hardest and most bitter heart, like mine.
Merry Christmas to you. Peace, joy, and love, from Christ the Savior.

December 21, 2011

Christmas Giving

by pastortimfowler

Christmas is a strange time of year. It is the time when most people are the most joyful, and at the same time it can be a time when they are at their lowest. It is a time of giving and receiving and spending time with family and friends. This is the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I would like to share what I get to be a part of every year at my church and I will try to remain as humble as possible, but at the same time I am running over with pride.
We are a medium-sized church of about 150 people and this number changes, lately it has been increasing. We reach a unique group of people, mostly young families and people who do not fit the typical “churchy” crowd. Like their pastor, many of these have been turned off by religion at one time or another and even hurt by the politics that often ruins what church should be. But for whatever reason, God has seen fit to bring us together under the roof of a building and in a church family called The Body, A Church for Anybody.
With the economy being as bad as it is, we find ourselves in fellowship with several families that are struggling to make ends meet and because these are families with kids, it is a difficult time to celebrate Christmas when some may not be able to give gifts to their kids. Giving gifts is a custom of the season that allows us to escape the reality of hard times and focus on putting a smile on the face of children, but when you lose a job or income gets cut, it can be difficult to make this happen on your own. Without a second thought, the people in our church have taken to the spirit of giving and made sure that these kids smile on Christmas morning. There are 5 families that will be blessed by receiving, but probably 20 more that will be blessed by Christmas giving.
One family told me today that they sacrificed giving their adult children gifts, with those adult children’s blessings, in order to provide for another family with children who still live at home. They took the $100 that they would normally spend for those gifts and bought for someone else. Today I was told that they received an unexpected bonus from work that doubled that amount. You just can’t help but think that God was showing how much He likes Christmas giving too.
On Christmas day, we will gather for a morning worship and after church several of us are going out to a restaurant that is open to sing a Christmas Carol and give a gift to those who are working. As grateful as they must be to have a job, it has to be tough to work on Christmas day. So we have been collecting “tips” for about two months now for the purpose of giving to those who are waiting tables and serving others on Christmas day a bit of Christmas cheer that will hopefully make their Christmas sacrifice well worth it. We have chosen a restaurant that only has 5 or 6 people who are working that day and because of the generosity of the people in my church, each person who is working will receive a Christmas card with over $100 in it.
Again, it is hard to be humble when you talk about something that you are involved in, but I am blown away by the love of the people who I serve at this church and it does truly humble me to know them. They love others and show it through their actions and the biggest action this time of year is in their Christmas giving. I love it!!!
Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2011

Christmas meal

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday was our church’s annual Christmas meal and this has become one of my favorite things about our church. We take all the chairs that normally form a semi-circle seating pattern for worship and set up tables and chairs for a family style eating extravaganza. Extravaganza is one of my favorite, but least used words in my vocabulary. The men and women of the church cook turkey and ham and all the favorite holiday type foods that you can imagine and after a brief, yet wonderful sermon, we eat and laugh and hang out until most of the food is gone. Then those who are able, load people into wheelbarrows and take them out back to sleep it off.
Our church is my family. No, I am not dissing my wife and kids, but this is a special relationship that we all share and it is truly family. We share food, share laughter and share tears. No one is left alone and everyone does their part of making it all work. Like in most families, there is always the grumpy person and the weird aunt or uncle that everyone tries not to act like we are avoiding, but other than that we can’t get enough of this special fellowship.
God wants His people to have a closeness. We are told that people will know that we are His because of how we love each other. I don’t think that there would be much doubt of that if you were to have been there yesterday. And, I can proudly say that most anytime that you visit, you will find the same love among the people. None of us are “holier than thou” and many of us are as “messed up as thou” and that makes it easy to find common ground.
As in most churches, there are always a handful who work hard to manage the chaos and organize the efforts. Those who did it this time are amazing in how well it was done and the love at which they used to bring us all together. It was not just a list of things to do but an effort to think of how people’s needs would be met. I believe the biblical term would be ministry, which means serving, which Jesus says makes you great, and I can only say that there were some great people organizing this whole thing.
The day did not end when the meal was over. Lots of folks stayed to help with the clean up. After that, many of the guys and youth stayed to watch football as many of the moms took the younger kids to see Santa. They are the brave souls in the crowd.
Later that night our youth had their Christmas party and another group of servants showed their greatness to make that happen. With nearly twenty youth and a handful of adults, the music was loud, the games were wild and the family was happy. I was the smartest of all; I went home after welcoming them and opening the party in prayer.
Christmas is a special time and can be difficult to those who don’t have family. Some people are alone because they have moved, other because of hardship. Some have been shunned by family and friends and others have condemned themselves because of past experiences. My plea is that you not allow the past to ruin the future. God can and will forgive you for whatever the past holds. God will provide a place and people for you to celebrate if you chose to seek it. I would like to invite you to be a part of my family and our celebration of God’s great love. We don’t judge, we don’t condemn, we don’t exclude. We are The Body, A Church for Anybody, and especially you.
Merry Christmas!

December 8, 2011

Spending Time With Kids

by pastortimfowler

Tomorrow I am heading to Washington DC to see the Army/Navy football game being played there Saturday. This will be the second year in a row, and I am stoked to get to do it again. Being a Navy veteran and the son of a Navy veteran, it has always been a special game for me. What makes it even better is that my son is going with me again. It would be great if both of my sons, and even my daughter, could go, but that just isn’t possible.
I have been blessed to have a great relationship with my adult children. We can talk about most anything. Our favorite subject is their mother, but that is another blog for another time. We enjoy hanging out and have fun when we do. And this all started when they were small children.
I was definitely not the perfect parent when they were little. But I had a desire to spend time with them and to try to be. From the time my daughter was in preschool, we went to dances and father/daughter date nights and I rarely missed a game that she cheered for. My boys and I fished, play video games and I coached their teams when they played sports. I even played “roady” for my youngest son’s band for a couple of years. My wife and I tried to take vacations that had us all spending time together rather than finding a place to entertains us as individuals. Sure we had some vacation nightmares, but for the most part, we always enjoyed our time together.
So now that they are adults, we still find time to hang out. What is cool is that I see them spending time with their children now. Taking them to ballgames, cool vacations, and special events of music and plays. I can’t tell you how special that is because I know that these times spent bonding now will last a lifetime and will grow into a habit of spending quality time together for years to come.
Don’t think that your children don’t want to spend time with you. Parents don’t have to be best friends in everything, but they do need to be examples of how to have a good time with the one’s you love. Those things are priceless lessons that embed in the heart and grow to be memories that never fade and continue to be made every time you get a new chance to spend a special moment together. If parents teach children how to have a good time, then they won’t have to learn it from other kids who have no parental influence in their lives.
So tomorrow there won’t be a blog. I will be driving to DC with my oldest son to spend Saturday at the stadium watching a game that I have loved ever since I was a kid watching it with my dad. GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!

December 2, 2011

Child Discipline

by pastortimfowler

She is at it again, my friend who asks me to blog about stuff that usually gets me into trouble. Today it is about child discipline according to the Bible. People tend to freak out when you quote the Bible and it goes against what “the experts” say, but I tend to lean towards what the Creator says to get my beliefs. The Bible is not an outdated writing that needs to be changed to fit our needs, it is God’s instructions for living a life the way that He knows is best for us.
First, yes it is okay to spank. Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not hesitate to discipline a child. If you spank him, he will not die. Spank him yourself, and you will save his soul from hell. The King James actually says to beat him with a rod. This is a reference to the good old hickory switch. So let me put in my two cents worth.
I don’t believe you should whip a child with your hands, those are for hugging and holding as instruments of love. I don’t believe you should whip your child if you can’t control your anger, and certainly never while angry. Just like our legal system has a guide for punishment to fit the crime, parents should establish the same. For example. If you child does not do what you tell them to, the first time he or she is in time out. The second time they get 2 swats with the weapon, I mean the instrument of correction. If a whipping is warranted, you tell the child what he has done wrong, the punishment for what he did and that in 15, 30, 60 minutes, (however long it takes for you to not administer this in anger) the 2 swats with a belt, or switch will be given. Then they go to their room, remind them of the disobedient act and the punishment and administer it. If both parents agree on this and even write it down and post it where all can see, kinda like the 10 Commandments, then punishment is not done on the spur of the moment and will always fit the crime.
There is a difference between spanking and abusing and spanking is not abuse but rather correction. Pain is a powerful teacher and we know that sometimes we all have to learn the hard way. Excessive and abusive physical punishment comes when parents react in anger instead of love. It is defined by whelps (not red marks) or bruising and in worst cases blood. It should always be administered under control and on the meaty part of the buttocks. If you are angry and out of control, you will hit too hard and miss where you need to strike. Again, NEVER whip in anger. Anything with a closed fist, strike to the face or head, or with an instrument that can be damaging even under control should never happen. And, if you are whipping a child too frequently there is a problem and you should seek counsel. If discipline is administered properly, whippings should be few and far in between and should decrease in need as the child gets older.
Second, it was asked, what amount of authority should a parent have over a child and should a child speak against or defy a parent? Colossians 3:20-21 Children, always obey your parents. This is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, don’t make your children resentful, or they will become discouraged. Children should always obey their parents while they are minors. They should be taught responsibility and given liberties that are equal to their ability to reason, but always be in submission to the parent. Disobedience in the smallest of things leads to disobedience in bigger things. Parents should NEVER allow a child to be defiant on purpose. They must learn obedience at home or they will lack it elsewhere and especially with God. Proverbs 3:11-12 Do not reject the discipline of the Lord, my son, and do not resent his warning, because the Lord warns the one he loves, even as a father warns a son with whom he is pleased. Revelation 3:19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act.
Parents must learn to communicate with their children, telling them about right and wrong and the consequences of disobedience. We should find ways to let our children tell us why they did what they did. It may not have been disobedience as much as misunderstanding. Our children should never be scared to defend their actions when they believe that they were acting appropriately. But when they cross the line into defiance, we as parents do them no favors by allowing it to go uncorrected.
Parents teach children who God is by their actions as much as by their words. God thinks it is so important for a child to respect its parents that He made it one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live for a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

November 21, 2011

New Fan

by pastortimfowler

This past Saturday I took my 6-year-old grandson to his first USC Gamecock football game in Columbia SC. He already likes the Gamecocks but knows very little, if anything, about football. Because this was a game that they were supposed to easily win, and they did, I figured that it would be a safe bet to go to this one in case he lost interest and we had to leave. He didn’t, and we stayed the whole game and had a blast.
In a stadium with 80,000 screaming fans it is not the place to try to teach a 6-year-old about football. I tried. It is a great place to teach a 6-year-old how many different ways that you can mold cotton candy before you eat it. I also discovered that stadium cotton candy, by weight, is more valuable than gold. One bag that weight of almost nothing was $5.00. We had two bags and a bucket of popcorn the size of a new Prius and pizza that was older than most Priusessesseessss.
I am not rich, but I need to be if I am going to keep taking grandkids to the Gamecock football games. Between tickets and food and parking, my wife and I now live in her mini-van. Thank goodness it is bigger than a Prius.
Most everywhere we take our 6-year-old grandson he has to use the bathroom, and this was no different. As we entered the stadium there were rows of port-a-potties set up for the fans who were waiting to come in. He wanted to use them. I said no, we will go once we are inside. I am not prejudice against port-a-potties, I just want better for my grandson. Some of my best friends use port-a-potties. So once inside and after we ate the pizza left over from the first ever game held in Williams-Brice Stadium, we went to the bathroom. It started off with the normal walk toward that urinal and then panic set in on my grandson’s face. This was the first time he had ever seen the public pee trough. Sorry ladies, but that is what us guys get in many stadiums; a metal trough with water running and drains along the bottom.
Most little boys are not to worried about where they pee. In fact, most are perfectly fine with a tree or a bush. Give them your typical toilet bowl and they will pee on the floor half of the time. Give them a chance to basically pee on the floor on purpose and it really freaks them out. But we made it through the experience and he learned the what every man learns: the brick wall stare.
Did you know that most colleges have male cheerleaders? He didn’t. Did you know that those male cheerleaders spend a lot of time touching girls butts and looking up their dresses? He didn’t. Did you know that there is no good way for a 6-year-old to really understand that it is okay but he shouldn’t do it?
Did you know that the chicken can dance? Did you know that the chicken doesn’t touch girls butts and look up their dresses? I do now.
Did you know that if you try to explain everything that a 6-year-old boy notices in a stadium filled with 80,000 people who you will not see every play, especially the really good ones? Did you know that it is hard to explain why everyone gets excited when your team gets a first down when all the time the cheerleaders are asking us, “whadaya want? TD, What’s that? touchdown”?
Did you know that the poor fellow who was sitting beside us was really a patient guy because my 6-year-old grandson can talk to a tree if he had to?
Did you know that the cotton candy guy in the section below you could throw the cotton candy to us? Well he can’t but 6 year olds know more than I do and waiting for one of those guys to come to our section is not worth the wait when I could miss some of the game to go to the concession stand and get some.
Sorry for all the questions, I just wanted to share the joy.
We did make it through the game and we won and he told me that it was awesome to get to come to the game with me and that makes it all worth while. Hopefully, the Gamecocks truly have a new fan now. I know the cotton candy guy does.

October 21, 2011

What To Do, What To Do?

by pastortimfowler

As the weekend rolls in and the workweek ends, it is time to think about what to do with the family. If you are like most, money is tight and many are choosing to sit home and yell at the kids and make the wife clean house while dads watch football. Sure this sounds great, but I want to give you some suggestions that might score a few brownie points with the family and don’t cost a whole lot.
One thing I like to do is catch a football game on the weekends, but NFL and NCAA games are expensive and usually sold out this late in the season unless you are a Panthers fan, and then who really cares. But there are a lot of smaller colleges that have teams and the tickets are very cheap and they rarely get an enthusiastic crowd. What if you took the family there and tailgated with several other families from your church and everyone act as if they were at “the big game”? If you don’t have a small college, do it with a local High School team. If everyone has a good time you are a hero, and if not, you didn’t waste much money and are close to home.
This is a great time of year for driving to a pumpkin patch, taking a hay ride, or driving around to look at fall colors. Before you leave, you can make some hot apple cider, bake some cookies and tell everyone to have the cameras ready. If you don’t like or can’t make cider, maybe the preferred drink would be to heat up some good ol’ cow squeezin’s and make hot chocolate. For the ride to look at the fall colors, you don’t even have to spend much in gas. Ride around your town and judge the best trees in town, either in different neighborhoods, or public parks.
Many churches are doing fall festivals now. These are usually free, with lots of activities for the family. If your church is doing one and you aren’t working it, check out a few other churches and spread the love. Some churches even have their versions of haunted trails and “helloween” dramas. I would check out the age appropriateness before choosing these.
If the weather is nice and none of these seem appealing, you can always spend the day at a park. This is a great time of year to walk a nature trail, swing and climb monkey bars. Take the portable grill or a picnic basket and make a day of it. Have the kids make a leaf collection them go home and iron the leaves between wax paper.
Then there is the old faithful, movie night. Pick something that everyone has seen a bunch of times and randomly yell out the lines before they are said. Make up alternate lines that you would rather have them say. Of course you will need plenty of popcorn and drinks and don’t forget the Milk Duds, or as I like to call then, Cow Squeezin’s Duds.
There is no excuse for not having fun this weekend with your family. If you don’t have a family, I will lend you mine. I hate doing this kind of stuff…just kidding. One last thing that you can do with the whole family is rake the leaves into a pile then take turns jumping into them. This will get that pesky yard work done and have a little fun too.
Now you have no excuses for not having an answer when someone asks, What to do, what to do?