Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kissing



When we were expecting Beka we attended a nice little church called Cornerstone.  While we didn't remain there, we did bring away with us some valuable lessons.  And after seeing living examples of young adults who waited until their wedding day to have their first kiss, we have opted to teach our girls to wait for marriage before giving their kiss away.  I hope that Sarah will make it but the truth is there were a lot of outside factors that make it unlikely.  And yet we still hope that she will opt to wait before giving her kiss to some random guy. 


Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  We don't think kissing is a sin, but Chris and I both know what our girls have yet to learn.  When you are dating someone and you give them your kiss it makes it very easy to slip into more intimate things.   So while we don't discourage the girls from holding hands, we are asking them to reserve their kisses for that one special young man that God has out there for them. 

Sarah is already experiencing the pain of breaking up with boys and yet, I wonder if it wouldn't have been tougher on her is she had given her first kiss to the young men she's liked.  And the truth is while I know that Sarah can make it, she is strong enough to make it til marriage, she has too many outside influences telling her she isn't worthy enough of waiting.   Some might call our hopes unrealistic, but I believe that we have sold our children short.  We've told them they are a slave to their hormones and I think Josh McDowell was right when he said that young people should feel insulted when the world tells them it's okay for them to have sex.

Moving on to the little girls, it helps that we have them with us most of the day with few outside influences, but so far they seem to realize that kissing is something to save.  They cover their eyes when people on TV kiss each other, they sometimes awkwardly say something in public.  But tonight was the best of all.  Beka drew some pictures and she told me one of them was me and that my mouth was my kissalip.  I had to chuckle as I asked her what was a kissalip?

She looked at me and sighed as if I should understand what she was talking about and informed me that a kissalip was where you get your kisses.   And that you don't get your kisses until you are married!  :D  I was so happy to hear that from her.   Now to see if they make it.  I believe in my girls and I am positive they have what it takes to make good choices.

I hope you all have a good week.
Love in Christ,
Maureen

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Universal Truths

The longer I am a mom, the more I realize there are some things in life that don't go as planned.
As I learn to let go of the little things, the more I realize that you have to laugh at the small things.
I've also learned that I live Murphy's Law sometimes, I think we all do from time to time so I thought I'd share a few of them with you.

1.  If you are allergic to every tree in North America it only makes sense that you will move to the Evergreen State!

2.  No matter how much you think your child will love the toy you searched high and low and finally purchased; your child will always, always, like the box better.

3.  Car keys are sometimes a great toy to distract a child - just make sure they don't put them in their mouths - gouging the inside of the mouth can be a serious wound.

4. If you purchase an expensive bottle of shampoo - the children will always be sure to dump THAT expensive bottle into the bottom of the tub instead of the cheap $1 bottle you bought for them.

5.  When you think you've taught your child not to take something that isn't theirs (i.e. shoplifting)  you will find something they have stolen from the store.  And of course, the store they take it from requires a 30 minute drive to return the item and make them apologize.

6.  Just because your child stays up until midnight does not mean they will sleep late in the morning no matter how much you wish they would.

7.  The one weekend you have nothing planned is the weekend that your children will get sick - all of them at the same time and leave you with massive loads of laundry and thus destroying your dreams of a lazy weekend in bed.

8.  The cable will always go out in the middle of your favorite television show AND you'll have to wait for it to go into syndication to find out how it ends.  Granted this one was more likely to happen before the Internet.

9.  No matter how nice their bed is, your child will find the oddest places to decide to sleep.  This accomplishes two things for your child.  First, it means you will go gray that much faster as you frantically search your house and try to find them.  Second, it means they will be keeping you on your toes for years to come!  I promise.

10.  No matter how many places you search for your child they will almost always be in the clothing rack you didn't search at the mall clothing store!

11.  About the time you think you are going to go crazy because you can't find your child after they sneak off from a public restroom - people will find said child sitting quietly in a bathroom stall in a kangaroo seat swinging their legs and singing Jesus Loves Me.  Oh yes, and before they find your child they will close down the visitor's center where you child has disappeared making sure no one can exit or enter until your child is found all because she decided she wanted to have some fun!

12.  Never laugh at the parent whose child comes running down the slide naked in a McDonald's Play Place.  It is almost certain that your child will do it shortly afterwards.

13.  You shouldn't judge the harried parent whose child is screaming in the grocery store.  This is true for several reasons.  First, The child may be special needs and you are making the parents life more difficult with your judgements.  Second, Maybe the child is having an off day or it's nap time or worse, maybe there is a huge change going on and the child is just expressing his or her frustration.  Finally, When you judge someone you open yourself up to walk a mile in their shoes and that special needs child you thought was a brat could be your child someday or grandchild.

14.  Children are a blessing and a lot of work, enjoy the precious moments you have with them, they pass way to quickly.

15.  When you are a teenager and think your mom doesn't know what she's talking about when she's trying to keep you safe with your boyfriend.  It comes back and bites you in the butt because your teenager won't listen to you either.

16.  Your breasts will always leak at an important event or someone's child will cry causing you to leak when you least expect it and at the worst possible moment!

17.  You will go on a small getaway with your spouse to get a break from the kids and discover that all you do is talk about the kids!  Oh and you'll leave that great five star hotel just because you miss your kids too much and you'll leave a day before you  have to check out.

18.  The great five star hotel you booked for a great price?  You'll discover that you liked the La Quinta hotel better because it has an actual flat screen TV AND it serves breakfast, unlike the so called amazing hotel that would have cost you an arm and a leg w/o a good deal.   Oh and the water at the La Quinta Inn is actually free - the water at the posh hotel is $6 a bottle.

19.  You're newborn will always have a blowout diaper on the outfit you carefully picked out for their photos BEFORE you get to the photo place.  Every blasted time!

20.  You'll discover you are overdrawn about two minutes after you realize you just used your last diaper and pay day is not for another two days. 

21.  You'll renew your vows and the day after everyone leaves your spouse will get the e-mail that his unit is mobilizing and deploying shortly after Christmas.  Not funny per se but it happened to us.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Maureen

Christmas and Need

When I was a girl I was in a single mom family.  My dad had died when I was five and after my mom divorced my step-dad we hurt financially.   I probably wouldn't have known, but sometimes when you hear your mom weeping as she prays to God asking him for help to make the bills, it's hard to stay oblivious.  I learned some amazing lessons from those times.  But I also learned that it stinks when you are watching others open a lot or some very expensive presents and you have one toy and that's it.  I think the person it was hardest on though was probably my mom.

As mom's we try to protect our children and we only want them to be happy and healthy.  I'm sure that it was harder on mom - especially when Matt and Meg never seemed to realize it wasn't about stuff and they really wanted.  My brother seems to have figured it out and maybe now that Meg is older she has too, but for a long time she was angry with Mom for not giving her what she thought Mom should have provided for us.  She's a mom herself now so I'm sure she has begun to realize it's never easy to see your children suffer or struggle. 
 
So yes, I 'm going to send you links to http://www.bethelfoundationusa.com/ so you can help out.  I've been one of the over 600 children who will have nothing under the tree for them.  It is not fun, it's heartbreaking for the children and it is heartbreaking for the mom's who have to watch their children struggle.  Because most of these children won't be sitting with one toy while their families open more toys they can't have - they will have no toys at all.  You can help that not happen.  You can make a difference.  You can share this blog and this link http://www.bethelfoundationusa.com/, you can go to the link and donate some cash to the paypal account you'll find if you scroll down a little bit, or you adopt a child if you are in the Oklahoma City area.  Anything helps out.

Love in Christ,
Maureen

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 for the Koeppel Clan


It's that time of year again.  Christmas is here.  This year has been a momentous year for the Koeppel Clan.  Just as February 2010 saw Daddy coming home from deployment and a year of funerals and no job prospects, February 2011 saw change coming to our house.

Shortly after the New Years 2011 Chris and I both sensed that God had something over the horizon for us.  But as January dragged on, we started to worry a bit.  Chris began searching for a unit with which he could deploy.  We hated the idea, but he had sent out 2,000 job applications and we were getting a big fat nothing.  The closest thing we saw to something promising was an interview he had with Boeing.  They said they'd be in touch in a couple of weeks, but it turned into several more weeks and so Chris started looking into deploying again.  He found a unit with which to deploy but we weren't thrilled about the idea of it happening.  The unit Chris was deployed with in 2009/2010 was a terrible unit.  They didn't take care of all of their soldiers, only the ones from Nebraska, they degrade, humiliated and kept information for the leading soldiers and to cover their butts they threw Chris under the bus.  The unit he was looking at promised to be no better and possibly worse, but we were running out of options.  So Chris put out feelers and I started praying.  I knew there had to be something different than deployment for us.

The day Chris was getting ready to sign the papers to transfer him to the deploying unit, actually the moment before he was going to sign the papers, his phone rang.  It was Boeing requesting a second interview but for a different position.  They set up the interview time and date in a week and the Unit Administator (who was also the Commander as luck would have it) agree to hold his transfer papers until he knew what was happening.  One week later, Chris went in to interview and after waiting patiently for a short time was given an offer to work for Boeing!  They even paid for us to move, they hired the movers and paid for our temporary lodging.   I spent 2010 praying that God would send Chris the right job, the one He wanted Chris to have and one that would realize Chris' leadership skills and where he would love his job and have an opportunity to move up the ladder.  Boeing has proven to be that and more.  So we knew then we were moving, to Washington and we were excited.  We'd talked about it before the second interview.   Yes, we worried a bit about the girls and especially Elizabeth but I also knew God would have a plan for her too and it would all work out.

Monday, March 21st the movers arrived and began packing up our house.  You don't realize how much stuff you have until you are packing it up.   Tuesday they loaded up the moving truck with the gray Plymouth Acclaim as well and we headed to our hotel.  We met with friends, we had dinner with all of our friends and family one last time and at 5 a.m. Wednesday, March 23rd we drove out of Wichita, KS and headed towards a new adventure.

After a short but nice visit with Chris' mom, Mary  in Nampa, Idaho Chris, Elizabeth, Beka and I all drove to Everett and found a nice place to stay.  We met with an apartment hunter and found our current apartment complex.  While it's not always perfect, it is a cozy little place and it fit into our budget nicely while Chris was getting established in his job and learned the ins and outs of inspection.

The nice thing about Chris' experiences at Cessna is that it has made learning the job at Boeing fairly streamlined for him.  While they have different lingo and some different systems the principal is still the same so he's picked up the tasks he needs to do rather quickly.   Which has been nice, but he has to deal with some changes, as do all of us in our family these days.

Elizabeth seems to struggle the most.  She had a tough time getting adjusted to her new school and an even tougher time making friends.  After a lot of talking and praying we decided it was time to bite the bullet and to home school her and Rebekah.  Washington is not at the bottom of the list but after living in Wichita, which is ranked number 9 Nation wide for academics, Washington had a tough time living up to our expectations - they are ranked number 19 and their special needs program isn't what we were used to in Wichita.  Add learning a different system and Elizabeth never having moved before and it was just time.  We'd discussed it before but if we had stayed in Wichita, we would have started home schooling her in middle school, this just bumped me up a few years.  So this year we are intermixing 3rd grade and 4th grade and next year we'll do all 4th grade curriculum.  It might be a small step backwards, but I want her to know her stuff before I move forward.

2011 has been a year of changes for our family, but also a year of new adventures.  We've enjoyed having our family come and visit us (Mary, Mom & Bud) and getting to show them around the area.  We've enjoyed finding our current church home, and making new friends.  While it's going to take us a while to learn all of the ins and outs of being in Washington, we are willing to learn and willing to explore and find new things out.

I hope you all have a good week.
Merry Christmas
The Koeppel Family.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Survived Being Bullied

These days I have a very nice life.  I have a wonderful husband and three beautiful children and I enjoy being in church and helping out.  What most people don't know is that in middle school and ninth grade, I was bullied. 

I was the odd girl going into middle school. My mom had been married to an abusive man and he was not nice to us and I didn't know how to handle it and had a vivid imagination and I loved to sing.  All of those things and a penchant for talking made me a social pariah.  

I hated middle school.  I would walk down the halls and boys would bark at me, I was told by fellow students that if I looked in the mirror it would break.  One boy's favorite thing to do was kick my knees from behind me causing me to fall and my books to scatter everywhere.  The girls weren't a lot better, they made rude remarks about how I dressed and looked. 

I was 12 years old, in a single parent family, we were broke, I had those terrible huge Clark Kent sized glasses from the 80's and braces and to add insult to injury my well meaning mom kept giving me perms so I looked like a poodle on crack.  I was awkward and gauky and I hated everything about myself.  It was so bad by the end of 9th grade that my mom and her best friend had come up with a plan to get me out of there.  

Mom had finished her Master's Degree in Chapter One Reading (YEAH MOM!) and she and her best friend, Ginny had decided they'd pay for private school anything to get me out of the school system I was in at the time.  I was depressed, tired of the crap and suicidal. 

But there were two things that helped save me; books and music.  I discovered a love of books early on, but I really got lost in books in middle school.  I became friends with the librarians at school and after while they'd see me and help me find a new book or they'd set one behind the counter for me that they thought I would enjoy.  Music was an outlet and a way to be someone other than an awkward girl who didn't fit in.  When I sang I was someone, something and I could do something that not everyone else could. 

My mom did get a job and we did get to move and I still loved books and music.  I even became friends with the librarians in my new high school too, but I was able to make new friends.  No one knew me and no one knew anything about who I had been and we kept it that way.  And by college I realized something.  I love to sing, but I didn't want my voice to define who I was as a person.  Until then I'd been the girl with the amazing voice, I wanted to be a different person who still sang but I did it on my terms and it wasn't how others would see me. 

If you are being bullied in high school, middle school or elementary school know that you are not alone.  There are other kids who are bullied just like you and that people care.  Tell someone, if they don't listen keep telling until it stops, and know that the people who are bullying you are more than likely being bullied too, maybe by another kid or a parent or an adult in their life.  You don't have to feel badly about who you are, it isn't really your problem, the things they are saying aren't really true, they just say what they think will hurt you.  If you are being cyber bullied, report it to the website - that is considered an offense and a lot of states are starting to crack down on cyber bullies.   

I hope you all have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen