Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tough Questions and Good Books

Kennedy Stern has always led a sheltered life. Even though her parents are secret missionaries in China  she was sheltered, albeit privileged to see North Korean refugees training to go back to North Korea and spread God's word. Now a freshman at Harvard studying for pre-med nothing has prepared Kennedy for the tough experiences that change who she is and leaves her asking questions that could make or break her faith in God.

I started to read this box set of the first three books in the Kennedy Stern series because Alana Terry, a fellow author asked for reviews.  The set contains three books, UnPlanned, Paralyzed and Policed. What I didn't know was that I would find a set of books that are well written, thought provoking and that capture perfectly the time during a freshman year of college when many students find themselves asking tough questions about God and questioning what they truly think of Him and do they want a deeper walk with Him.

Here are the things I liked about the books.
1. Alana Terry does not back away from tough topics like abortion.  Which leads me to. . .

2. The first book UnPlanned doesn't have cut and dried answers and you see that in Kennedy's internal conflict.

3. Carl and Sandy Lindgren . . .these two characters are a constant source of support and nurturing as Kennedy faces abduction, being hunted by a killer and faces a corrupt cops actions and ramifications that she and someone she cares deeply for may face if she speaks out.

4. Interracial marriage and relationships.  This issue is discussed in the form of past experiences and present scenarios and even tackles race wars and what is happening currently.  The third book especially.

5. Questions about anxiety, depression and PTSD. After book 1 Kennedy has to face the aftermath of events in the first book. It is even discussed in book 3. Sometimes, God heals people from mental anguish, anxiety, depression or mental illness and sometimes he says no or wait.  This series covers that in a kind, compassionate way and even does a good job of explaining why healing may not always happen the way we wish it would (you know, right away instead of in God's perfect timing)

As someone who studied psychology in college as a major before leaving to marry and start a family and as the wife of a Veteran who struggles with PTSD, I liked how the issue was handled.

My only complaint? The books weren't long and left me wanting to find out more about Kennedy. . .I mean that is the best way possible.

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fur Babies

For several years I resisted the idea of getting pets.  Read through one of my older blogs.

Read here: http://koeppelclan.blogspot.com/2009/08/pets.html?m=1

We hadn't had a lot of luck.  But after buying a house here in Washington it felt like the time was right.  We have a larger yard, and a nice sized home that could accommodate an animal, it was time to begin praying. And so I began praying 


Slowly, after hunting and searching I found some good groups on Facebook and online and prayed. I prayed two things. First,  I asked God to bless us with the wisdom to know what dog would God wanted us to have. Second, I prayed for whatever dog we found, it's safety, protection,  etc. . .

A lot of times when we pray we want I stant results.  Being human it is easy to forget that God's timing isn't always ours, I know I struggle with this. I become impatient and want to know right away or to have something happen immediately.  As I grow older, God has gently taught me to wait because when He moves, everything happens quickly and falls perfectly into place.  

Finding Lily was no different. For two months I looked at dogs, read descriptions. I knew after prayer that we needed several things and didn't need several things. 

1. WE DID NOT NEED A FREE DOG.

In the past we were given free dogs. Really what this meant was the dog needed medical care or had behavioral issues the previous owner was unwilling or unable to address. In short, the dog was free because they hoped to get rid of the dog and so their problem became our problem.


2. WE NEEDED A DOG THAT HAD A SWEET TEMPERAMENT.

We seemed to get dogs with issues. Aggression issues, home broken issues, medical issues. It was a mess and what should have been an easy transition turned into a royal pain in the neck. We needed a dog who could be easy going, loving and low maintenance.  

3. WE NEEDED A DOG THAT WAS GOOD WITH CHILDREN.

We struggles with jealous dogs in the past, we needed a dog who was patient. 

We finally found all of those things in Lily. One day a new for sale add popped up on a garage sale group I was a part of. Lily was a little over a year old and needed a new home because her owner was gone a lot for work. She had a sweet disposition and was nicely house broken and her owner was just as excited to meet us as we were to meet him and Lily.  

We drove to the park a little nervous and wondering if we would meet our dog that day. We did! And we have enjoyed her immensely. She wasn't free, but she was worth every penny of the  $200. Truthfully, we should have paid more.  

We enjoyed her so much that when our oldest daughter came home to live with us she asked if she could adopt a cat.  She promised to take good care of the cat and be responsible for it. So we said yes. Lol, she found Mikhail and takes good care of him,  but I think he is adopting us. And he and Lily after a rough first few days play well together and are becoming friends. 

God answers prayers and pets are awesome, if you find the right pet. I have been sick a few times and spent yesterday sad (that's another story), both Lily and Mikhail never left my side. They snuggled me and hugged me. 

I'm so glad we changed our minds. I can't imagine our home without them. It seems we are pet people after all.

Have a good rest of your weekend.

In Christ, 

Maureen 



Friday, July 28, 2017

Friends

Once upon a time long ago (1988-1989) there was a girl. She was awkward, had low self-esteem and braces with huge Jane Fonda 80's glasses and her mom permed her hair. It was not a pretty picture.

As the girl entered 9th grade she found herself welcomed into a group of kind and caring people. They talked and laughed and included her. But of all the group who welcomed her one boy stood out. His name was Curtis but everyone called him Kent. He sat with her often and even helped her out of a few scrapes. He was cool. He was older and he had A CAR! But morw importantly,  he was her friend. He didn't care that people said she was weird or the other stuff they said and he made 9th grade bearable.
Flash forward to today. Today my friend is losing the fight with cancer. Today he is being kept comfortable in hospice care and friends are encouraged to visit. Sadly,  this friend, the girl who wishes she could fly to see him cannot be there.

Living in Washington has a lot of nice perks; beautiful landscapes, 
amazing places we can explore and the list could go on. But today it is too far. Too far to afford a ticket or gas money to drive to see my friend. Too far to say goodbye to the boy who made this girls days a little brighter even though, high school pretty much sucked. He made me laugh,  he was hard working,  generous when needed, and willing to talk and listen when I needed it. No words will ever be able to say thank you enough to Kent.

So today I am sad, wistful and wishing for a short time I could go back to Oklahoma and say the things I need to say, but this blog will have to be enough.
Thank you, Kent for being my friend and for finding me on FB so I could get to know you again. I love you and I am praying for you.

In Christ,
Maureen, the girl who needed you as a friend.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Changing strategy

I spent my childhood attending public school. I survived, albeit sometimes by the skin of my emotional teeth. Middle school was the pinnacle of the tough times. I am still here but I suppose you could say I am proof of the proverb, That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

The school Elizabeth attended in Wichita, KS was an excellent school for her. I share this because it is easy to assume that as a mom who has homeschooled her girls for six years that I am anti-public school. But I'm not.  I was just against Everett Public schools. I struggled with seeing apathetic teachers walk the halls and listening to educators with a Masters Degree using poor grammar, the list could go on and on, but I'll spare us all that story.

In August 2016 we moved further north from Everett and Seattle and settled in a beautiful small town that quickly felt like home.  The feeling of being home had eluded me since our move.  I found Washington a tough state to enjoy while we stayed living in limbo.  Now that we no longer reside in limbo, I find I LOVE where we live.

All of that to share that after prayer and thinking it over, I asked Chris about placing our girls in the schools here and he agreed. Why now? That is a good question.

1. I felt God prompting me that the time had come to revisit public school as an option.  I was willing to consider this because. . .

2. It no longer feels as if putting our girls in the schools that we would be throwing them to the wolves.

3. Parents here actually teach their children manners and to be kind to others. That was a huge one for me. When we moved to Everett I met many parents who seemed to not care that their child was unkind, or that they bullied others and they themselves behaved just as badly.

4. I LOVE our home and town, so I'm more willing to embrace our girls becoming a part of the community here.

5. The people here are amazing!  When Beka went missing for those horrid 6 hours people on the garage sale groups went out in their cars and began searching as well. People spoke up who saw her so we would know she hadn't been kidnapped.  Living in Everett, I would never have contemplated this as an option. 

5. I am not really a good teacher. I know how to write a term paper, I can outline and take notes like a champ. However,  I cannot figure out how to teach the girls write these.  I want the girls to have a very good education, and I am willing to admit I cannot provide that for them.

6. I am tired. I love spending time with the girls a lot. But I will be honest, I am ready for some quiet time. Time to work on my doTerra business and more importantly time to spend quietly with God. I struggle with both of those right now.

7. The girls are lonely and fighting with each other constantly.  If Beka and her adventure of Lizzie continually falling and crying for attention showed me anything it is that they want more social interaction.  I am a homebody,  so I admit they need friends. I can be a hermit for months on end and not think anything of it. The girls cannot.  So there you have it.

I hope everyone is having a good week. Enjoy your summer.

In Christ,
Maureen

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Heroes!

Heroes are rare or so the media would have us believe. We rarely hear stories about positive people making a difference in the world. Thankfully, there are new sites dedicating themselves to sharing inspiring and praise filled stories for those who help when others won't. 

http://www.liftable.com/carolynfultz/28-yr-old-screams-psycho-starts-rape-homeless-man-1-answers-cries/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=bencarsonistheman&utm_campaign=dlvrit&utm_content=2017-07-05

Maurice Osborne the man in the article above is such a man.  But heroes may also be doing little things that may not seem like a big deal but it helps brighten another's day.

Today I have three heroes. Mr. Osborne who dared to stop a rape in progress, Jake the AAA guy who helped jump start my car after the battery died at the gas station today and my handsome husband, Chris.

Chris is often my hero as it is, but today he came, he didn't say I told you so, or I can't believe you didn't do this. He instead picked us up at McDonald's grabbed a new battery for our Kia and then gave me the Volvo so Beka and I could come home to air conditioning while he made certain the alternator wasn't really the issue.

But he's often the hero of the day. The man who decided to not become his dad and chest or abuse me. The man who makes it his goal to be an A+ dad, despite his own poor example.  He works hard to make sure the girls and I are doing well and taken care of.  He was right beside the nurses helping change the cold towels on my face, hands and arms when I burned myself. He made sure I stopped and rested and still makes sure I get rest as my hands finish healing. It's a million little things that make him not just my best friend and husband but my hero.

Who is your hero? Who inspires you to work hard and try to overcome challenges or who will come along side of you to help with the day to day things that threaten to overwhelm you.

Have a good weekend.
In Christ,
Maureen