Monday, May 31, 2010

Putting Mommy First This Time

Bra Shopping
As I've shared before, my husband is in the middle of job hunting after being laid off from Cessna, while he was deployed(Yes it is legal, I looked into it big time and asked many questions before taking it lying down). With this knowledge, comes the knowledge that we will of course, need to cut back.
Since I know I am going back to college to finish up those last few pesky classes that I need in order to finish up my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, I figured, I would hold out until we had a little more cash before worrying about certain articles of apparel. Namely undergarments. Now if you are a man, you will most likely stop reading from this point on, if you don't, I warn you to tread forward with careful thought and remember I am not writing this for your reading pleasure.
As a woman, we all know that at least once a year or each 18 months we will all have to do that lovely task of bra shopping. It got me thinking about it as I realized that I was probably going to need to do this soon. My bras are still quite comfortable, because they are those great Hanes Comfort bras, but alas I hadn't realized that I was in such sad shape until tonight.
Tonight I went out with Chris for dinner and some much needed Mommy-Daddy date time. It was nice, I introduced him to Il Vicino's pizza. Then we headed to the mall. Now, at first, when I got ready, I thought maybe I was just being self conscious that my bras were in need of replacing. I foolishly told myself, I could hold out, after all, as a mom and wife, I tend to be sure the girls and Chris are taken care of first, then if we can afford it, I take care of my needs. Those of you who are mom's are most likely shaking your heads and nodding, because you know you do it too. But as we walked around Towne East mall tonight I passed the mirror and realized, I needed new bras and I needed them probably a few months ago.
Passing that mirror in the mall, I did not see a woman with two breasts. Instead, I saw a woman who had what could maybe pass as two sadly deflating water balloons on her chest. Thus is the joyful remnant of having nursed two children. While I wouldn't change that I do slightly miss my former perky breasts. You know the ones we all had in our twenties, unless some genetic anomaly rendered them in a less than perky state from the onset of puberty (It has been known to happen). Seeing these poor sadly shaped things attached to me I told Chris with no room for question,
"We have to go bra shopping. Let's find Sears." To his credit my handsome wonderful husband respond.
"Okay, honey, let's go."
I have a good man. He joyfully went with me to Lane Bryant where he the proceeded to help me find the right size, shape and color and cup size for my now drooping breasts so that I could at least pretend they are still perky for a while (At least, until I have to shop for new bras again). Now I love my husband, and I love his sense of humor, so I had to chuckle, when he followed me into the dressing room and noted.
"If I could see myself doing this when I was 15 yrs old, I'd be very happy. I used to dream about being able to be this close to a girls breasts."
Ah the nostalgia of youth. I had to laugh a bit, because we tried on several types of bras. I like the t-shirt bras, but I'd like them better after I loose some more weight. It has a nice dip down so you don't have to worry about showing your bra off too often, but I am not sure I like the way the cups made me feel like I was falling out of the top of them. I finally settled on the new bra line that smooths the back and rolls. While I don't have that many back rolls, I do still have some excess skin after my weight loss surgery. So after trying on multiple bras and having to leave Chris in the dressing room because he was too intimidated to ask a question for me about bras (Why is it he can face bullets and five star generals, but you ask him to ask a question about a different type of bra and he gets all unsettled? Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?), I decided on the back smoothing bra and found two of them in my size. So for now, I am in better shape, brawise, I mean. Now on to walking at the zoo each morning now that I have finally conquered the cold I fought off for two weeks and time to get back to my former semi-svelte figure.
Hey it sounds good in theory right? Right? Oh and if you were wondering the picture of a laughing Beka, is her chuckling that she helped Mommy's breast become the previously mentioned partially deflated water balloons.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Following Christ

I have a confession to make. This last year, while Chris was deployed, was Chris' turn to grow in Christ. The last deployment it was my turn and I flourished, even though I faced a lot of adversity and obstacles. Well flourished spiritually that is . . . this time, not so much.

This in no way means I don't love God or think He couldn't carry me. But I suspect in the effort to steel myself so I could take care of the girls, I kind of shut my heart off to a lot of things, and sadly I know that included God. I also know for a fact I shut down and held myself away from my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ. I wish it were due to me just being a pain or stubborn, but it was born by the feelings of failure that happened while Chris deployed the first time.

I will leave it at this, when I attended an unnamed church, well lets just say the support was less than stellar. . . nough said on this topic.

So now as I sit here and reread The Shack and listen to the amazing cd "The Loving Kind" by Cindy Morgan, I am convicted. I know in my head that Jesus understands the fear of being failed, the pain of knowing that the people I foolishly believed would be there are the ones who dropped the ball and caused the most pain. I know Christ knows this, He shows us this in the Garden of Gethsemane and while I know in my head He never fails, it's in mankind that I find my faith in the good of man is seriously lacking.

Oddly enough while you would think I would become bitter and cynical, I find instead it makes me search even more so for the good in my fellow man and brothers and sisters in Christ. I search because I think deep inside I need to believe that not everyone fails you. Not every pastor looks at his flock with disdain, nor does it really mean that all people will gossip behind your back. Instead, I search in hopes that those who are struggling and hurting will find in me empathy and a shoulder.

So I offer my sincerest apologies to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Please forgive me for being hardened and for not giving you a chance to prove you wouldnt fail my family. Forgive my cynical view, but also please understand my distance was in an effort to protect you from yourselves as well. I wished to protect you from proving me right, or showing me that all in the Body are hypocrits and will fail. I retreated in an attempt to protect you from yourself, but also to protect you from me and my tongue which is much looser when I am under stress. I am not at my best when Chris is gone away, and the stress and strain of juggling it all even with God's help often gets the better of me. This means that at times I find it much harder to keep my tongue so in an effort to keep you safe from the thing which I know is one of my worst attributes, I withdrew and kept to myself.

I wish you all a good weekend and a safe Memorial Day. Please drive safe and return home safely if you travel.

Maureen Koeppel

Saturday, May 22, 2010

School's out

The Last Day of School
Sarah finished her first full semester at Word of Life school on Thursday. And I am sure the word thrilled does not possibly explain how happy she feels that school is out for the summer.
This has been an interesting school year to say the least. We live in a less than ideal neighborhood. The neighboring high school has one of the highest gang activity rates as well as teen pregnancy rates in the city. So Sarah attending that public high school was not an option. So first tried, IQ Academy an online high school. Let's leave it at, the school was not very good nor the teachers. So we ended up with a very intelligent girl flunking out of the online high school. I then turned towards, Switched on Schoolhouse. This proved a much better choice. Sarah got A's and B's and seemed to excel, but she felt very isolated staying at home w/no other classmates to interact with. So after discussing it with Chris, I searched out a private school that wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg. After a lot of searching, I stumbled upon Word of Life and it has proven itself to be an excellent choice for Sarah. She excels, has friends, and is blossoming - even if she is currently suffering from the typical teenage syndrome of "I know everything even if I am only 15 yrs old and you are 36 yrs old."
So now summer sits ahead of us, and while apart of me is interested in seeing what will happen this summer, there is another part of me that does not look forward to dealing with Sarah and her teenageness. So we shall wait and see.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Memory Lane

Going back to the past can be a tricky thing. Sometimes, the things you revisit affect you in a way you least expect. I learned this recently when I returned to my dad's one and only pastorate in Lindsay, Oklahoma.

Chris and I took a nice quiet weekend away, just the two of us to San Antonio, TX. While it was nice to get away it was also equally nice to return home. But the trip isn't the point of this blog.
On our way home we decided to stop in Lindsay.

My parents moved to Lindsay in January 1977, shortly before my third birthday and we lived there until November of 1979 when we moved to Yukon after Daddy died. It's amazing how the memory plays tricks on you. The tree that seemed so huge to me as a small girl no longer seemed so towering as a grown woman. The front porch was different due to renovations and structural changes to the house. The small church that once boasted the name, Lindsay Church of the Nazarene is no longer of the same denomination. It was interesting how seeing the house, a few things fell into place for me. The slant of the driveway explained why it was so easy for the jack to slip from beneath the car, falling on my dad and ending our meager, but happy existence as a family.

Walking towards the church though and seeing the yard, for a split second I could see a group of children playing games with my dad as the leader. I could see Dell and his motorcycle and the rails that served as a parking area was all still there and also the basketball net my dad put up for the youth in town to use. But walking toward the doors of the church I found myself weeping.

Here was the place where I was happy as my Daddy's buddy. His little girl, who he loved and snuggled, but also disciplined with a firm but loving hand. Here we spent several Christmases and welcomed Matthew home after a difficult pregnancy. For one moment I could see Tolly's dad Mr. Stroud giving my mom Dad's glasses and she and Elmira sat on the couch weeping because he would no longer come into the house. No longer would we hear his laugh or hear his goofy jokes or enjoy his entertaining us with acting like a ham. No more playing on the "map" as I used to call it where Dad did tricks and played with me. Or sitting and having "motions". I lost a sense of security, Matt & Meg didn't get to know him. Never would they know what a sweet man he was or how much he truly loved God. And even though for a while my mom used to wonder if it was worse for me because I had memories of my dad; I think Matt and Meg are worse for not having known him. My memories of him colored how I measured young men in high school. I knew I wanted a man who would love God and let Him work in his life. I knew I would want a man who would temper discipline with love. My sister did not have these gifts, the gift of knowing what a good man and a good husband are and they have colored her choices in men.

Matthew grew up the only boy in a house of women, there was no dad to teach him the things that men teach their sons. How to treat women. Even now after 31 yrs of him being gone I miss him. Although what was once a deep anguish is now a longing. A yearning for the things that might have been for Matt & Meg. A curiosity of how all of our lives would have differed had Daddy been with us into adulthood. What type of marriages would we have? I have a good marriage, but I don't know that I can say that for my sister, for only she knows what truly happens in her home. Matthew cannot keep a girlfriend, he is selfish and a jerk. I love him as my brother, but liking him is often a different matter entirely. What type of man would he have grown up to be. How would that one moment have changed everything for my family if only Daddy had done one simple thing - placed blocks under the car.

We have a generation of young people who want what they want no matter what the consequences. A generation that has yet to realize how one person's choice impacts so many others. A generation that seems even more so to feel it is invincible and as they learn this is not true, it shakes them to the core. So while walking down memory lane is not always easy, it can be said that it does give one a chance to reflect on choices. How do your choices affect those around you? Do you even realize that they affect people? Whether it be something small as speaking in a rude and disrespectful tone to your parents in front of your siblings, or choosing to act out by vandalizing another persons property. These choices impact people. Because when we model behavior or choices for others they see it and it colors the choices they make.

While there is a part of me that would give anything to see my Dad and hear his voice again, I know that the life I have now is the life I am meant to lead and I am the better for it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The joys of teenagedom

Sarah, the Stupdendous:
Recently I realized, I don't blog much about my teenage daughter, Sarah. There are several reasons behind this. The first, and probably the most important is, that Sarah is at the age where she prefers that I not discuss her often. No matter how funny the things she says are to me. Second, She tends to lean more towards, the I'm going to make you insane with my teenageness (yes, I'm sure it isn't really a word, but it is out there now nonetheless).
Sarah has had an interesting year. She started homeschool, but we've now found her a very good private school, where she seems to have found her niche. She is constantly striving to find new and costly ways to explore who she is as a person. Her latest endeavor is soccer at this juncture in time. And while this may seem minute and not great thing to celebrate to someone else, it is good to us even if it does cause our pocket books to stretch a bit. It is a step away from middle school and old friends, towards new adventures and new friends who are maybe a bit beter choice for the direction she has told us she would wish to move her life.
She is learning so many new things, for example: "You are known by the company you keep." I cannot take credit for this tidbit of wisdom. I got it from a good friend of mine who learned it from her dad. She is learning that the people who were friends in middle school are maybe not who she wishes to associate with now that she is coming to the senior portion of her childhood. I know that Chris and I are very proud of her for choosing her friends wisely. We also know she is facing tough decisions ahead of her, like how to sever ties with old friends (which as yet to come, but we see on the not to distant horizon laying in wait for her). Where does she wish to go to college? What is she searching for in a boyfriend? What is it she really wants to do with her life after high school?
In all honesty, after her early years, I will happily help her tackle these questions. In comparison to her former morbid questions in her favorite game "What if". While we didn't mind, "what if I were . . . an elephant." We did take it as a sign to worry when she began asking, "what if I die?" It has been wonderful to watch the little girl who used to always cry at the drop of a hat turn into the amazing young woman who will stand up for the kid at school who is being teased or tormented. Watching her go from the little girl with an invisible bullseye on her back that invited bullies to torment her, to the young woman who will stand up for herself and walks straight and tall.
While I wish I could have experienced more of her childhood (that's another story for another time), I will gladly take these last 5 years with her and enjoy them. Now the question? How do we let her go as she grows up and becomes an adult?