Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our calling...

I've been thinking about this for some time now: what is "God's will" for our lives, or what is "our calling."  So often it sounds far-off, and long-term or permanent.  Why can't God's will, or my calling for that matter, be temporary?  I wondered that when I quit teaching; I assumed that if I was truly called into education then that's what I was supposed to do for life.  (Aren't I teaching now?  I teach constantly!  "Addie, that's a pumpkin."  "That sound is an airplane.")  Then I read an article that touched on this, and today we talked about it for a minute in our Sunday School lesson, so now it's on my mind...  Don't we have multiple callings in life???

Take my mom for example.  She is a gifted educator.  I don't know very many others who could work for so long with preschool special ed and not lose their touch.  That is one of her callings.  She is also our Mama.  She get's multiple phone calls each week seeking advice on everything from should I take my child to the doctor to what kind of cleaner do you use on your new counter tops.  She came to help me pack our house 3 years ago when we moved to Pensacola.  She is also a daughter.  Mom takes care of, listens to, shops for, and often has to ignore my crazy, ailing Tutu.  She helps lead a young adult Sunday school class, hoping to grow that population in their small church and looking forward to mentoring young couples.  Most of all my mom is a wife.  That is certainly a calling!  She has given up all sorts of things for the sake of my dad's job.  She's is supportive and loyal and loving.  If we asked my mom what her calling is, her answer might depend on what she's doing and who she's focusing on that day.

I guess what I'm saying is, what is your calling today?  This week?  This season in your life?  Several years ago it became clear to me that God has blessed me with husband who is a minister.  (I know that sounds obvious, but it took some banging my head against the wall for me to get exactly what that entails.)  This means that Brad is not mine alone, and our plans for our family, like all followers of Him, are not really ours to make.  As a part of that, I feel that I'm called to be Brad's supporter and encourager.  When he feels led to do something and go somewhere, God showed me that I am to pray for Brad, talk through changes and plans, and to be open to whatever.  Now please understand: this does not come easy for me!  I am a planner by nature; I like timelines and concrete calendars.  The Holy Spirit is making me available and willing to face this new adventure.  I am "called" to be open to squeezing into a tiny rental.  I am "called" to make the transition as easy as possible for Addison.  I am "called" to make this move as easy as possible for Brad, not making him feel guilty or wrong for wanting to follow the dreams God gave him.  For the past year or so I have been so blessed by friends who have ministered to me almost constantly.  Perhaps this move is to put me in a place to do some ministering to others?  I guess that starts with my family.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

leaps of faith

Well it's official: we are moving to Birmingham.  Want to buy a house???  The seller is VERY motivated!

In just two short weeks, we will be packing up this sweet home and unloading into a different (and much smaller) one.  We have been praying about this opportunity for months, so while it feels rushed right now, I have felt like the process has lasted forever!  We decided about six weeks ago that this is where God is leading us.  Ever since, we have had that decision confirmed over and over again.  It just became official last week, and now our move to the Dawson Baptist Church Recreation ministry is in the works.

Phew!  It has been a few years since I have had such conflicting feelings about an event inside of me!  I spent some serious time in prayer against this move.  I've said for a long time that being an Army brat is good preparation for becoming a minister's wife, but moving is never easy.  That said, the move itself is not what held me back for so long.  There are several things, the biggest being that a stay at home mom survives on play dates, parks, and mom-friends who share not only children but joys, fears, laughter, and (for me) a passion for serving God and their families.  (Actually I'm pretty sure all moms survive on those things, but you know what I mean.)  We have several friends in Birmingham still, but few who are on the same "page" in life that we are.  In spite of Scripture ("be anxious for nothing...")  I am anxious to see what Addie and I's days will hold.  Leaving our sweet friends and wonderful family had me praying for weeks that God would allow us to stay here in Pensacola for a little while longer.  He has drawn me out of that place, though, and into one where I am holding my breath and looking forward to new adventures.

And I am thrilled about the opportunity for Brad.  He served at Dawson before; we were married and he was ordained there.  More than that, Brad loves recreation ministry, and Dawson has one of the largest in the southeast.  He is so sad to leave the kiddos that we are so close to, but excited about being a part of a ministry like this.

So, with all of the pros and cons involved, we are taking this leap of faith to head back to Birmingham.  Last week when we drove up there to finalize some things and house hunt, I couldn't help but remember how I used to feel driving into town every year for college.  I love, love, love that city!  Uncle Lewis (a band from Samford when we were there) had a song that plays through my head anytime I just think about being there; it's like a soundtrack for me and the "Magic city," about coming to a place that feels like "home."  It may not feel like home when we pull into town on November 10th, but I am confident that God is faithful and it will soon.

I was reminded this morning during my quiet time that we've done this before: when we left Birmingham five and a half years ago I was not at all happy about it.  When we left Dothan I was upset about leaving my amazing friends, my wonderful job, and my sweet cheerleaders.  Each of those "leaps" has eventually led to a deeper faith, stronger marriage, and therefore a happier me.  I stress the word "eventually" because there were some serious trials in the mean time.  (I'll spare you most of the stories, but one involved a huge student backing me into a corner and asking if I wanted him to kiss me (he was later accused of raping a girl), and another student who was so pregnant in class that her belly got stuck under the desk, all in the same day.  Yikes!)  I do not doubt that this is where God is leading our family.  The "eventually" is what concerns me.

So until we leave I'm avoiding all of the unpleasant moving tasks by spending lots of time out and about.

More to come on the crazy life of the Gowings as we work on leaving town.  Happy Halloween!  Our gal's going to be a duck - of course she started refusing to say "Quack - Quack" about a week ago.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Month in Pictures

Good grief - it's been a whole month!  I had good intentions every week or so of updating this silly thing, but  each time thought of something else that needed doing, or was too lazy, or thought "who even looks at that stupid thing?" so I put it off, and now it's been a ridiculous long time!  Two people have mentioned it this week, though, so I need to update.
Hmm... what have we been up to?  Lots!  Here's our month in pictures:
Addison and I went to my NC to visit my family...
on our way to a "Hoe Down" at my grandmother's assisted living residence
with  Addie's newest cousin, Holmes

Favorite thing to do with Holmes?  Give him kisses!

Fewer toys at Rara's means we play with Mommy's makeup!
We got home to a long list of "to dos" around the house... I believe in fall cleaning instead of spring cleaning I guess!  We cleaned out the attic; Addison helped clean out my school boxes.

We went to the beach "one last time" this year.  Please check out the narly pig-tails.

Our friend Big A taught my "little A" how to give the "Stink Eye."  She does it well, huh?

We went to the zoo for the first time.  The Gulf Breeze zoo is kind of a hike from here, but it was so worth it!The pigmy (is that a word?) goats in the petting zoo area got a little out of hand... they practically over-ran our sweet kiddos and nosed through bags looking for food, and one crawled into my stroller!  It was hilarious!  And A has been making animal noises ever since!

I've also been taking monogramming "lessons" from Brad's mom. She has an embroidery machine and does such a good job on stuff for Addison, but I feel bad for always giving her "orders," when I know she has other things to do.  So she's teaching me how to use it!  Yay!  I'm a slow learner, but here are some things we've worked on:
I embroidered Holmesy's little pumpkins... which thankfully you can't tell are the
slightest bit crocked.  Missy did Addie's shirt.  So cute!

It started with this series of pants I made Addison, which turned out really great after a
couple of really dumb blunders on my part, haha.  Here are the brown cords...
Here are another pair of cords.  I took the extra fabric and appliqued this "a."
The backing of it is a little off, but you can't tell from the front.  Trial and error.

This is my favorite!  I guess Brad's mom technically made it, but I'm going to steal credit for the design!  I love the sweet colors and the Kath Cidston looking fabrics!

up close.  Notice the "vintage" stitches!
This whole monogramming thing could become a serious addiction for me!  Well, I need a room that I could close off and not see the mess when I wasn't working on something.  I don't have that right now, so I guess it's not too big of an issue.

Lets, see, what else is new???  Did I mention on here that I'm a rep for 31 Gifts?  I love their bags, and didn't know anyone else selling them, so I started a couple of months ago.  I've recently started my Christmas shopping and driven Brad through the roof with a few new bags for myself.  :)

Oh yeah - tomorrow is my birthday.  I turn 30 - woah!  The number does not bother me at all, but the gray hairs I keep finding in my bangs do.  Coloring my hair is simply not in the budget right now, so we'll just deal with a few stray strands.  :)  Add that to the list of things to try to be thankful for I guess, haha.