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Blog

Fall Recap

Megan Bowker

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Fall seems to have come to an abrupt end here in the Midwest. We got out yesterday to enjoy the last of the beautiful fall that we have been having. They think it may snow next week.

 

 

 

Because of the cold outside, the London Fog in my mug, sleeping babies, and chicken noodles in the crockpot, here's a little fall update.

The last few months have been a blur. Newborn+2.5years has been a challenging combo to say the least. 

It took a couple weeks, but Liam has decided that he really likes his "Baby Cy". 

In fact, we're all quite smitten.

This fall we went to the zoo. A lot. We went by ourselves. We went with friends. We went multiple times a week. 

It's definitely one of our favorite places. 

We also went to the Deanna Rose Farmstead. Our other favorite place. 

 

 

 

We visited the Louisburg Cider Mill.

 

 

 

 

And the Weston Irish Festival. 

And there was a whole bunch of silly and adorable. 

And now we're looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas and family. It's my favorite. 

Cyrus Flynn

Megan Bowker

Four short weeks ago, another love entered the world. Another soul who is going to do significant and beautiful and important things. Another little one, imagined and designed by his greatest Love. 

Cyrus Flynn.

His birth was remarkable and lovely, and yet fairly unremarkable, as births go; but this moment, this moment is one I will truly remember.

Something about the again changed things. 

The induction. Again.

The pain. Again.

The epidural. Again. 

The work. Again.

So much was similar, but I think the again made me more aware and more alive. Knowing what was coming. Knowing what it feels like to be handed a slimy, squirmy, puffy, purpley-pink bundle of arms and legs and hands. Anticipating what he would look like. Feeling my heart expand and grow at the sound of his first newborn cry. Waiting for the calm, where all I can do is watch him take in a whole new experience and existence. 

It was beautiful and excruciating work, with the very best kind of reward. 

We love you Cyrus Flynn. 

Bowker Boy #2

Megan Bowker

Last week we got a sweet peak the very active child in growing in my belly. 

Baby Boy looks just perfect!

Baby Boy looks just perfect!

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Along with checking major organs and counting fingers and toes, we also found out that #BabyBowker2 is #BowkerBoy2! We are so thrilled to get the chance to raise another warrior boy for the Kingdom. Raising children is a privilege and a heavy responsibility, and our particular calling to raise up men is scary, but also very exciting. 

I have had a hard time connecting with the pregnancy, and this child. Insurance problems have kept us away from any doctor appointments until very recently, so we've only heard a little heartbeat (one of my very favorite sounds) once. It all felt kind like it wasn't actually happening. Thankful our insurance woes (thanks Obamacare) are mostly under control now, and we are looking forward to hearing his little heart beating way many more times before he decides to show up in August.

Knowing that he is a "he" is a big deal for me. It's has been a game changer in how I feel and approach this pregnancy. 

Knowing frees me up to really dream and pray for this child. 

We can start praying about calling and destiny and what the Lord has in store for this boy. 

We can start using "he" instead of "it". 

We care start talking about names. 

I know how to decorate the kids' (future) shared room in our new house. 

We are so excited to meet our next little gentleman and we want to thank so many of you for your sweet words of love and excitement! 

Walking with My Son

Megan Bowker

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Have you ever walked with a toddler? It's either trying to keep up, or trying to move them along. Most of the time, my guy tends to be the stop-and-smell-the-ooh-a-rock-look-a-plane-leaf! type. Our walks take forever and he is constantly stopping to explore and smell and experience the world around him. As I was hurrying him along one day, I realized I didn't know why I was in a hurry. We didn't have any place to be. We were just getting some fresh air in our neighborhood. But I was hurrying him. 

It was at this point I started thinking about the beauty of going slow. Not only there beauty in it, it is also a necessity in the season we are in right now. Mothering a toddler and a pregnancy that has, so far, left me exhausted on a regular basis has forced a slow down in my life. We are also a one-car family, so many days this winter the toddler and I have found ourselves homebound several days a week. 

The slow down has been good for us, good for me. Not suprisingly, it's all about Simplicity.  Simplifying our schedule means finding good rhythms, or routines, that give us enough space and enough connection, without over burdening or burning us out. 

But really, I find peace and quiet terrifying. I like being distracted and doing things and being busy. I enjoy it. I crave it. I (wrongly) believe I thrive in it. I'm realizing, though, it is a way of hiding, a form of running away. If I don't have to be quiet, I don't have to think. If I don't have to think, I don't have to face the reality of financial stress and making-new-friends stress and being-in-a-new-town stress and just-moved-to-a-new-house stress and I-have-a-two-year-old stress and I-have-a-whole-lot-of-junk-I-would-rather-just-ignore-and-pretend-isn't-there stress. 

I also don't have to fight the lies that say I'm not enough. I'm not doing enough with my kid. The Lord can't possibly love me because I haven't talked to Him today. My ground is shifting and shaking and I need to find out how to make it stop. I'll never be enough. I'll never do enough. I'll never earn it (which is nothing and everything). I won't be happy unless i have this or that or am treated like this person. 

So I'm running from the Lord. I'm running from myself. I'm running from the lies. I'm just running. 

But then I sit and everything comes rushing in, and I have to wade through it all. 

I can feel it coming, so I put on another show or open Instagram or do anything so I'm not still. But social media can only distract for so long. And eventually it comes anyway.

There are seasons when to be still demands immeasurable higher strength than to act. ― Margaret Bottome

Here's to the courage to be still and to be quiet and just be. To really experience the Lord and, therefore, experience myself, as well.  To doing the hard work of listening and hearing and responding. 

Welcome

Megan Bowker

Well friends, welcome to the brand new meganbowker.com! 

After a lot of work and many phone calls to my domain servicer, here we are! 

This space has had many changes and adjustments and overhauls in the last 3 years, but that's ok because I have, too. 

One of our major focuses this year is Simplicity (you can read about that HERE), and I wanted this space to reflect that. You'll find it cut back, streamlined, and reimagined, just like we are working for our entire lives to be. 

You are invited into the journey.

We desperately need one another. We need to encourage and support each other. We need "me too"'s and "let me tell you how God changed that for me"'s. We need hope, and get can gain hope through testimony, stories of God's goodness and grace. So let's share. Let's prop each other up, believing for good for someone else even (and especially) when they can't believe it for themselves.

I'm so glad you're here! 

Also, if you're following meganbowker.blogspot.com, please change your subscription over here!

Believing for Spring

Megan Bowker

It's March.

I love March. It's the beginning of the end for winter in the Midwest, and I will always be happy to see it. I think most of us are ready for the winter to be over (except maybe all of you who perpetually warm and sunny climates).

It's spring, I believe it in my heart, but right now I'm sitting at my desk, drinking an iced chai latte (which is this pregnant mama's biggest craving right now), with a space heater pointed at my feet waiting for 4-6 inches of snow to begin falling.

This is exactly how I feel about it. 

This is exactly how I feel about it. 

It doesn't feel like spring. But I'm believing.

Because I have to. 

You see, season shifts nearly always line up with season shifts in my life. And I don't think that I am the only one. Fall (my favorite season) brings relief from the summer heat, spring brings new life. Our lives move along in rhythm, and our seasons do too.

But the last two season shifts (summer to fall, fall to winter) have not brought relief or change. We have been stressed out and stretched thin, some due to our own folly and some through the intended (and unintended) harm of others. Whatever the reason, we have been stuck. Stuck in hard and tension and questions.

But spring will be different. I can just feel it.

We're believing for a reviving of our souls, our relationship, our situation, and our future.

Simplicity+Abundance has some to do with it.

In fact, renewal was promised.

Cut back so I can give more. Give more so I can give more. Commit more so you can bless others as I bless you. Live abundance even in scarcity, and abundance will come. 

So we're choosing to live abundance, even when abundance feels so far away.

And I'm choosing to believe for spring, even when the snow is falling.

Simplicity: The Plan

Megan Bowker


Guys, I'm so excited about Simplicity. When I felt like our "words" for this season were Simplicity+Abundance, I was all for Abundance. I mean who doesn't like THINGS? (more on how that's not at all what it's about later). But Simplicity, that carried a lot heavier weight for me. Turns out, though, that I love Simplicity. I mentioned earlier, Simplicity is basically the only thing that I can do. Abundance flows from the Lord, and requires space to fill. If we haven't simplified and cleared out room, how is Abundance going to come? Anyhow, as we're nearly a month and a half into the new year, we've finally gotten some clarity on what exactly Simplicity is going to look like for us.

Obviously this isn't a comprehensive list. We have no idea where the Lord is going to take us, but these are the areas that Kelley and I have identified as needing simplification the most. 

Possessions - One of the easiest and most obvious (at least to us) is cutting back our huge amount of stuff. We have moved twice in the last nine months, and moving really highlights all of the things your family has decided are needed. Our mantra is this: 

"Have nothing in you house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."  - William Morris

One of our goals with simplifying our possessions is to own less, but own better. Meaning, we ditch the low end, almost-but-not-quite stuff that we tolerate and replace it with things of higher value that we really, really love. We will also be rearranging, redecorating, and rethinking our space to make it open, breezey and free. We want our space and our stuff to feel good to us, to energize us, and to bring peace to our lives. 

Wardrobe - Although this could fall under "possessions", it is such a huge project that we decided to separate it. Have you read this book yet? It's author Haley Morgan writes, 

Every woman should be able to choose and outfit in less than 10 minutes regardless of the plans for the day, the state of the weather...or her laundry. Meaning, when your feet hit the floor in the morning - you should be thinking about the delicious cup of coffee that awaits than whether you will look cute in you clothes. 

Kelley and I are both facing dressing challenges currently, he with a brand new job and I with a growing pregnant belly. We have a shared closet and separate dressers full of clothing, but we both constantly feel like we have nothing to wear. I'm so thankful for The No Brainer Wardrobe (it's only $7.99 right now!) and look forward to purging my non-pregnant clothing, as well as knowing what (few) key pieces I need to pick up! 

Health - About a year-and-a-half ago we went through a complete health overhaul; food, diet, mental health. Everything was included. The stress of the last half a year have thrown our systems and commitment out of whack, and we just haven't found our groove again. We look forward to working with a nutritionist friend and smoothing out the wrinkles. 

Schedule - Right now we are in flux, and we really have been for months and months. With the moves and three job changes, you can understand how we got all disjointed and unbalanced. We're going to be working on building in flexibility, better communication of our plans, giving each other personal (ahem...alone) space, making room for the things that excite and energize us, as well as quality family and couple time. For myself, sometimes the day gets away from me. Being a stay-at-home mom is really difficult, and I have a tendency to spend my day being very intentional. Simplifying my schedule at home means making time and space for the important things (toddler-care, self-care, and house-care), as well as fulfill my commitments to different groups I'm a part of. 

Systems - Did I mention that my husband is an INTJ-super-system guy? Because he is. And I am a loosey-goosey, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-heart kind of person. Thankfully, he has brought a lot of potential of balance to my life, but it's hard for me. Together we are going to be working on clarifying and simplifying our systems. Some examples are communicating and keeping a schedule (see above), the budget, grocery shopping, meal plan, laundry, and others. This is going to be a challenge for me, but will definitely bring out the Judging side of my Judging/Perceiving split

Spending - I realize this is a system, but it's so big it needed it's own category! Without getting into too many details, we are anticipating having more money coming in than we have in the last year or so. Because of this, we absolutely have to have confident and solid direction on how and what we spend our money on! We desperately want to be good stewards with our finances, and we also are aggressively going after our student debt so we can move to Ireland. Proper spending (and not spending) is critical. 

Focus - Kelley and I both tend to over exert ourselves. Simplifying our focuses will help us be better time-and-energy-users. Our anticipated focuses are each other, Liam, Baby #2, paying off student loans (see above), and really investing in our town and our church community. 

So there you have it. I have a binder sectioned off for each of these that is quickly filling with sheets and sheets of thoughts, prayers, and plans. We are excited what the future holds and we are making our plans and executing them (slowly). We are also anticipating and waiting with expectation for the Abundance that the Lord has promised us. We can't cause the Abundance, but we can make room for it! 


You can follow along with our journey of Simplicity+Abundance HERE

Simplicity: Liam's Birthday Party

Megan Bowker

Our sweet boy just turned two. He is a smart and constantly hilarious little guy who keeps us on our toes. We held off celebrating (except for a trip to the local cupcake shop) until Saturday, when our families could get together to love on sweet Liam.

As I mentioned HERE, our focuses for this next season of our lives are Simplicity+Abundance. It seems, though, that Simplicity must come first. It paves the way for the Abundance. Without space, Abundance cannot come. So we're simplifying, slowly but steadily. We have a whole three-ring binder filled with ideas of both how to simplify, and where we are expecting and praying into abundance. It appears, at least to me, that simplicity is mostly work, and abundance is mostly faith (which is also work, but a different kind). We can't force abundance in our lives, but we can choose to simplify.

One thing about Simplicity that I was not expecting is how much it would attack and bring out my sense of entitlement, desire, and comparison. I suppose looking back now it completely makes sense, but from where I stood at the beginning I was expecting to feel joyful and free through the process. I'm anticipating and hoping to feel that way at the end, but my goodness the work!

For Liam's birthday, I would probably have planned a huge blowout, complete with a theme (construction/dump trucks) and coordinating decor and snacks. It would have been so fun; I would have been a wreck. Due to our decision to simplify and the incredible exhaustion included in this precious pregnancy, things became something much different.

Liam's party was simple. No theme, no decorations. Just family and chili and a carrot cake. Oh, and presents. Lots of presents. My 'big' camera's battery charger is MIA, so the few pictures we do have are from my iPhone.

I felt bad. I felt bad that Liam wouldn't have some super special, exciting 2nd birthday with a huge number of photobooth pictures to prove how loved he was. I thought I felt bad for him.

 In reality, I felt bad for me. I felt bad for me because wouldn't have a bunch of photobooth pictures to put on facebook to prove how loved my kid is. It was never about him, and it was always (and is usually always) about me. 

Driving home from my parents house, with an exhausted Liam sleeping buckled snug in the backseat, Kelley and I couldn't stop talking about how much fun we had. Almost all of Liam's very favorite people were there and we ate and talked and laughed and watched Liam perform and show off for everyone. It's not very often that our families get together, and when they do it is a huge reminder of how blessed we are (and of how hard it is going to be to leave them). 

Happy Birthday sweet Liam. You are so very loved. 

Disclaimer: To my sweet friends who have thrown (or are getting ready to throw) splashy, exciting birthday parties for your kiddos (theme and photobooth included), let me just say how wonderful that is! We've done it, and I'm sure we will do it again. For us, for this season, this was the best choice for us and does in no way pass any judgement on you. Party on!!


You can follow along with our journey of Simplicity+Abundance HERE

Abundance

Megan Bowker

All photos thanks to Kimberly Ann Photography

All photos thanks to Kimberly Ann Photography

A while back I started talking about our "words" for the next season of our lives (you can read about it HERE). Simplicity & Abundance. These words are become closer to my heart the more I learn and discover about them. There are so many facets and implications of both.

Today, though, abundance is on my heart.

A large amount.

An ample quantity.

My very first thought was of Jesus. Of Jesus feeding people.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here has five barley loves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loves left by those who had eaten. -John 6:8-13(ESV)

There is so much to say about this story, and others like it. I will be delving deep into this abundance, learning and applying and believe God for it. I believe the main point, the things I am to grasp ahold of this season are these:

There will be enough.

And then there will be more. 

Our family has been trudging through the desert. Broken, thirsty for community, hungry for blessing and change. It's been exhausting and challenging. We felt abandoned, confused, hurt, angry and a whole bunch of other ugly things. It has caused us to really bear down and decide what we believe about God, and we all came out the other side for the better (you can read a bit about this journey HERE and HERE).

And we, indeed, feel like we have come out on the other side. At the very least we have touched our weary, dirty toes in the rushing waters. We feel that we have stepped out of the grueling desert into an oasis. A place of growth and green. A fresh breath. A drink of peace and love and blessing. A place where we are loved, just really, really loved. A place where our gifts aren't as important as our hearts. A place where new friendships are starting and old ones are deepening. We are so thankful for the abundance we are already feeling, and we are excitedly anticipating much more abundance.

In fact, the Lord has promised it.

One of our abundances in 2014 is joy.

Another is love.

These abundances, joy and love, will be growing in a big, big (and squishy and tiny) way this August.

We are so thrilled about this exciting change. Whether you are have been our friend for a long time or have just found our little story in this post, we are so thankful for you, and we are so excited to walk this journey out with you! 


You can follow along with our journey of Simplicity+Abundance HERE