Friday, July 29, 2011

Down By the Sea

We have just returned from a few days by the sea with family and friends that are like family. It was such a lovely few days. I think my favorite activity was just sitting on the porch and visiting together, but all of it was fun.

We enjoyed the surf.

We enjoyed the sand.

Mik and Alex found that flying a two-string kite is more difficult than expected.

We learned that stand-up paddle boarding is harder than it looks.

Mark found this was the best way up handling the paddle board.

Julie thought this was the preferred way to paddle board.

Ann found her yoga training useful and was able to actually stand up on the stand-up paddle board.

Tim and Gary thought the kayaks sounded like a lot more fun.

We are glad to be home, but we did have fun down by the sea.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why I Teach VBS

After a very hot week of Vacation Bible School I am very tired today. Each night for the past week I told an exciting, wonderful story from the Bible. It took a lot of energy to make these wonderful stories come alive three times every evening for a group of very energetic children. This morning I am feeling every one of my seventy years, but I am also feeling that sense of happiness that comes from being part of a something important and successful.

Faith in the almighty loving God is at the core of who I am. I want to pass that faith on to another generation so they will feel that same love and security that can only come from God. So we sang and danced and even went inside the smelly belly of a whale to hear exciting stories about the God who made them and loves them.

Every night I received wonderful hugs from some of the children. I listened as they excitedly told their parents about the story of the night. I don’t know that they will remember all the stories, but I do hope they always remember that they are loved by the loving, powerful God.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time for Grandsons

We have just returned from a three day vacation with our two teen-aged grandsons. We went to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA where we rode some scary rides, saw some silly shows, watched the fireworks, played in the wave pool and floated along the lazy river. We had discussions about important topics like whether pretzels taste better in twisted shapes or straight and the fact that grilled cheese sandwiches should always be cut in triangles. There was also some talk about what they wanted to do with their lives and what they need to do to achieve their goals. Our sixteen year old with his learner’s permit drove the whole way there and most of the way back. He only scared me a couple of times.

In my head these two are my little boys. In reality they are now man-sized almost adults. I am always surprised at how quickly children grow up. Enjoy each precious moment with your little ones.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

TG Fowler

During communion last Sunday I began to think about all the people who helped to shape my faith. There is a long list, but Sunday my thoughts centered on my grandfather, TG Fowler. My memories of my grandfather are of an old man who loved me enormously and told funny stories. He was a preacher at a large Church of Christ in Texas. I did not know him when he was a young man, but I have heard a lot of stories. The world has gone through a lot of changes in the past hundred years. I wonder what he would think if he could see us now.

I have a book titled, “Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail.” It was published in 1911. It contains stories of men who were preachers in the Churches of Christ at the turn of the twentieth century. My grandfather was one of those men.

He was one of eleven children born on a cotton farm in Tennessee. His help was need on the farm and he was not able to attend school as a child. He was sixteen when he was first permitted to attend classes. He could not yet read. I have a very hard time imagining a life without reading, but it was a common experience in the 1890s. He was able to go to school for three months each year for the next three years. When he left home at age nineteen he was just barely able to read. After he married my grandmother he enrolled in the Gunter Bible College, a small school run by the Churches of Christ in Texas. He attended classes there for three semesters.

My grandfather may have lacked formal education, but that man loved God and he loved the Bible. When I was little we would play the Bible Game. I would read a verse from the Bible and he would quote both the verse before and the verse after mine. It was very rare that he wasn’t correct. He had the entire book memorized. I thought he was amazing. His faith was innocent, pure and contagious.

My mom told stories about going to hear him preach at arbor meetings. He would preach every night for two weeks and crowds would gather under the shady arbor to listen. She and her sister would sit in the buggy and listen. After preaching each night he would baptize people in the river. I think it must have looked a bit like the baptism scene in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.”

I now worship in a Presbyterian church, but sometimes during communion I remember my grandfather. He was a good man. He and my grandmother raised five children who all loved God. My mother is the laughing one on the left in the back row.

This is the article published with his picture in book from 1911.
THOMAS GIDEON FOWLER was born near Lewisburg, Tenn., April 20, 1883. His parents moved to Texas in 1893. Thomas was old enough to be of service in the raising and gathering of cotton. Being the second boy and fourth child of 11 children, the father unable to work, it was necessary for him to stay out of school and assist in making a living for the family.
He was 16 years old when he entered school, at that time not knowing his letters. He attended a small country school three months for three years. The day he was 19 he began life for himself. Seven months later he again entered school and continued for nearly two years.
September 14, 1904, he was married to Miss Jessie Mullins. November after his marriage he entered Gunter Bible College, where he was a student for nearly three sessions.
He began preaching the first year after entering Gunter Bible College, and by the grace of God, and the help of his faithful wife he has continued to preach the word with success --- though at times he has had to teach some in the public schools.