Sunday, September 25, 2005

Real Women Have Curves

Okay, so today I bought a pair of Lucky Brand jeans. Now, I've bought a lot of jeans in my life, but I've never, ever paid this much for them. Not gonna say how much, but it was probably too much, depending on your point of view. So why, you may ask, did I pay a most likely inflated price for a mere pair of jeans? Well, as most of my fellow girls (hmmm, that sounds funny) know, a good fitting pair of jeans is really priceless. I shall just say here that over the years, my body shape has changed from a nice, well proportioned size 9 to, well I'm not really gonna say, but let's just say I'm somewhere at the top of the size chart, and sometimes those are tight, but I'm too small for the plus size clothes in most stores. So what's a girl to do? I've given serious consideration to designing my own clothing line of hip, yet age appropriate, stylish and GOOD FITTING clothes for women size 14 to 18. Clothes that don't look like someone's grandma, and clothes that don't have huge armholes or presume that if you are a larger size girl, you have huge boobs and a huge waistline. Where are the shirts whose buttons don't gape open at the chest, and yet have a neckline that fits me instead of a linebacker for the 49ers? Where are the tshirts that fit without clinging, come down past the top of my pants, and yet don't have sleeves down to my elbows and armholes down past my bra? Where are the jeans that fit waist, hips, thighs, snugly but with room to breathe and move around without cutting off my air?

I digress. Back to the jeans. So I went to The Gap and tried on a pair of their new "curvy" jeans. I'm a curvy girl, right? Should be just the ticket. So I got the largest size they had in the store, which is the size I usually wear. (They make larger sizes but you have to order them online - I would never order jeans without trying them on!) Put them on, with some effort. Very tight in the thighs - I felt like that girl in the Moto Razr commercial. Zip - button. Look in the mirror - not bad, a little tight but not bad. Turn around for the all important butt view, and what have we here but my old friend the "butt gap." You know the one, where the waist fits you in the front but when you turn around there's about a 3 or 4 inch gap between your actual waist (or hip) and the pants. So I go out to show Lindsay, and she says "just wear a belt." Well, I don't like to tuck in my shirts due to another anatomical problem area, so that's out. Then the helpful young sales clerk guy said "Maybe you should try the Curvy Jeans." To which I replied with just a hint of sarcasm, irony if you will, "These ARE the Curvy Jeans." "Oh," he said.

So we're on to Lane Bryant. I've never had much luck buying clothese there are their smallest size is usually too big for me, but I'm willing to try anything. So the nice salesgirl, who was about my size, brought me some jeans to try on, and she was quite sympathetic to my plight. The jeans were okay but didn't really fit the way I wanted - Linsdsay called them "mom jeans," you know, the ones that come all the way up to your waist. So then the salesgirl tells me that she gets Lucky jeans at The Buckle. I comment that I can't afford Lucky jeans (celebrities wear them, if that tells you anything), and she remarks that a good fitting pair of jeans is worth it and she just gets one pair and wears them all the time.

So we move on, try a couple more stores but we are at the opposite end of the mall from The Buckle and Sam's getting tired and I'm weary of trying on clothes that don't fit, so we go home.

Then today I decided, what the heck, I'll go alone to the mall to try them and if they are just awful no one will know. Well you can guess what comes next, they fit pefectly! Well, actually the first two I tried on were too tight, but just like Goldilocks, the third pair was Just Right! They are sized by waist size, so I had no earthly idea what size to even try for, and I did not want a pair of the popular shredded ones that look like they are ready for the rag pile. A very nice young lady helped me find the right style and size and didn't even smirk or chuckle when I told her I was shopping for me rather than for one of my children. (If you know The Buckle, it generally caters to the 13-25 crowd.) They are a bit too long, but bonus, they do free alterations! She offered to pin them for me right then, but I asked if I could take them home and try them with different shoes so I could figure out the right length. You know, you have to get them long enough to wear with boots or shoes with heels, but not so long that they scrunch up too much at the bottom if you wear flat shoes.

I cringed at the price, but I consoled myself that I will only need this one pair (maybe for several years!). One bright side, I went to get a pair of all purpose jeans/pants shoes with a heel, to replace a worn out pair I got rid of last winter. I can't do tall boots because of yet another anatomical problem area - big calves and ankles. Maybe I need to design those too. So I found a pair that kind of look like boots under jeans, but they are really comfy. I looked all over the mall and found these at Foleys, and was prepared to pay more than I usually do for shoes just to get a comfortable pair, since comfort is almost as important as style these days. So when I went to check out, they were about half the price I thought they were! Double bonus! Don't know if they were on sale, or if I just read the price wrong, but either way, it took a little of the sting off the jeans tab.

Okay, so if anyone reads this who can design clothes and has any ideas, get with me and we'll start a specialty clothing line. I even have a name for it. Reality Chick. Yep, that's my idea. But I have no idea what to do with it. I just know that there must be other women out there who have the same fit problems I do, who are not plus size, but are on the "real woman" side of the size chart. Who want to look stylish, trendy, even edgy sometimes, without looking like a grandma (well, I AM a grandma, but you get my drift) or a sad woman clinging to her 20s. Oh, and the clothes don't need to cost as much as a ski vacation either!

I don't want much. Just clothes that fit. That fit a real sized woman with an imperfect but well proportioned moderately plus size body and make me look FABULOUS! Yeah, that's it . . .

Saturday, September 24, 2005

He has plans for me . . .

Wow,haven't posted in a while. Just not much to say, been waiting around for my license. But . . . I GOT IT, FINALLY. Well, sort of. I mailed in my stuff on July 22 and have been checking on it, and was told it was "in the mail." Finally, last Thursday, I was fed up and I called and just asked if they could please send me another one since this one obviously got lost in the mail. Well, the kind lady told me that they don't reissue temporary licenses, but that she could fax me a verification document that states I've been licensed. Now, I wish someone had told me that a couple of weeks ago . . . but I'm thankful this lady was kind enough to tell me. I had her fax it to the church, and I picked it up Friday. So now I'm official! I framed my little faxed piece of paper and hung it on the wall in my massage room. Now - well, now I'm really scared, to be perfectly candid, that I must now put all this learning and wishing and planning into action, and actually find clients and get them to come to me for massages and enjoy it so they will come back, and actually make a living at this. In my whole adult life, I've never been in a situation like this where the amount of money I make is totally unknown and dependent on my efforts and on good fortune or luck or whatever. It's very scary. I know I can always get another kind of job, but still, I've invested a lot of time and a lot of money both in school and supplies and in just living off savings while I have not been working, and I don't want to be a failure and have it all be for nothing. Of course, a couple of good friends have counseled me, wisely I know, that just the fact that I had the courage to really reach for something new that I wanted is an accomplishment in itself. But we do have bills to pay, so I can't be frivolous about these things. I am putting it all in God's hands, or should I say leaving it there, because I believe He is guiding me on this path, and so I believe things will happen the way they are supposed to.

On that note, I have an awesome story of God's incredible grace and demonstration of how he has such great plans for our lives. Today I had a long phone conversation with my dear friend Sandy, who moved to Arkansas last spring because her husband Mitch was called to serve as music minister in a church. She and I are very much alike in so many ways, and we both have the best of intentions of staying in touch but we just get busy with life. We think of each other often, but we just don't seem to get around to calling. She just happened to be at home and have time to talk, and we had an aweseome conversation. Last fall, she had just started doing the Believing God study by Beth Moore, and she and I and a few other women went to a Women's Ministry conference in San Antonio where Beth was one of the speakers. It was a totally cool and fun weekend, with some great conversation and sharing and laughing. Just one of those memorable weekends with girlfriends where everything just gels really well. During that weekend, Sandy and I both felt that God had specifically ordained us to both be there, as there were some things that came up that we both really needed to hear, and also we just had some similar things going on in our lives with our daughters, who are the same age and both are married with young toddlers. We just found that we were both dealing with some issues and it was great to share those things and pray with each other. We committed to be email prayer buddies, but that all kinda fell apart when she moved away, because the move kind of happened suddenly. Tying back to the Bible study - at the time she began to do the study, she and Mitch began praying for God to bring him a church position (he had been out of the ministry since his divorce some years before) and the position in Arkansas came about much sooner than they would have dreamed. Well, during the conference, which was BEFORE they knew for sure they'd be moving and accepting this church position, Sandy and I had several conversations about her recent deep conviction that God was moving her to work with children and troubled girls. Now she confessed to me that she had never ever wanted to work with children, and she couldn't really understand why she was feeling this, but that maybe she would work in an afterschool program or something along that line. She also shared with me at that time that she felt a strong pull toward working with troubled young girls, but wasn't sure where that might lead either.

Well, today she told me that recently their church asked Mitch to take on youth ministry as well since they had lost their youth minister. He was already handling music and family ministries, so he told the church that he could not handle it all, but that if they would hire Sandy as his assistant, that would be great and they could do the job together. So, she is now the Children's Coordinator!!!!!!! On staff at their church!!!!! When she shared this with me today, I just got all teary eyed, and reminded her of our conversations back last November, and we just talked about how God is so good and how he was preparing her even then, before she even understood why, to do the work he had for her this fall, almost a year later!!!! It is such an incredible testimony of how her obedience and her believing God to do something amazing in her life and to use her however he wanted has resulted in her being given more than she could ever have imagined. She is also teaching the Believing God study several times a week to women in her church. Now that might not sound so amazing, but if you know Sandy, she has always said, oh I could never teach a study or get up in front of people and talk. And now she is doing something that a year ago she would have told you she could not, would not, ever do! I just had to share this amazing testimony, and I know that some of you who read my blog know Sandy will rejoice with her and for her and will pray for her continued blessings in her ministry.

It was such an encouragement to me to talk to her today, and honestly I don't know what prompted me to call her today, of all days, when I've been meaning to do so for months. She is firmly convinced that all of these great things have come her way because she made a choice to believe God for great things in her life when she was doing that Bible study. And that very same Bible study, which I started after she shared with me how amazing it was, is the very thing that was the catalyst in starting me down the road of changing careers and starting on a new adventure in life.

I kinda wonder if God prompted me to call her today because I was feeling scared and worried and discouraged and wondering if I have made a big mistake, and talking to her was just a reminder that God will do wondrous things in our lives if we will place them in his hands. My favorite scripture since I made Jesus Lord of my life has been Jer. 29:11-13. That pretty much says it all right there, and it has proven true in my life over and over again. He does have plans for us - all we must do is seek Him with all our hearts. Thanks Sandy for being Jesus in my life today!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Unto the least of these . . .

Watching TV last night and Harry Connick Jr. was in NO to help out. He grew up there, and was in his old neighborhood to check on his father's house and see if it withstood the storm, which it did. Then a neighbor came by and told him about a man who was lying on his porch down the street or somewhere else nearby (can't recall) and needed help. They drove the boat down there (yeah, they were in a boat) and this old, frail black man was lying on his front porch, totally naked, too weak to move or go for help. Harry had on waders and a t shirt, and he took off his t shirt and put it on this poor man to just give him a shred of dignity, and then carried him to the boat and they took him to get food and shelter. I just teared up - it brought to mind that Jesus told us, whatever you do for the least of these, you have done it for me. What a beautiful example of this very thing. Giving that man the shirt off his back and carrying him in his arms like a baby, taking him to safety. I know plenty of celebrities are doing concerts and benefits and telethons, but the ones who are impressing me the most are the ones who are personally going into the trenches and getting sweaty and dirty and serving and loving on people. You can see in their faces that it's not just for publicity. Harry, Julia Roberts (no makeup, jeans and a t-shirt, hugging and crying with women and their babies and some teenage girls), John Travolta and his wife, Lisa Marie Presley, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, just to name a few. Doing what they can to help and to encourage and love on people, to make them feel they have value. That's what people want - they want to feel like they matter. Don't we all?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thoughts from the Safety of My Home

Wow, so I am blown away by the Katrina coverage. I've been watching every day, and it just gets worse and worse, and I keep feeling I should do something. Yes, I'm going to purchase some needed items and donate them through Jay's work. But that just doesn't seem like enough. To quote Casablanca, paraphrased, my problems don't amount to a hill of beans compared to those of the survivors.

It has been made clear in the last day or two that they are hurt and resentful at being called "refugees," understandably so. They live here, they are not seeking refuge from another country. They are survivors.

This is America - things like this don't happen here. I mean things like looting and raping of children and people left to die in filth beyond the comprehension of most all of us, people who have nothing and know nothing and are hopeless and helpless. I have been hearing lots of people saying, would this have happened if the hurricane had hit in an affluent, predominately white area? I must confess I seriously doubt it. It seems to me that race and class have played a part here, though most of us don't want to acknowledge that, most importantly our government. On Oprah today, she was touring New Orleans and talking to the Chief of Police and the Mayor. The Chief was almost unable to speak while telling Oprah about small children who were being raped and even killed inside the Superdome, and telling her of one of his officers whom he had convinced to take a day off and who had gone home and killed himself. The Mayor is angry - many of you have probably seen or heard him on the news. Angry with the righteous anger on behalf of the people under his jurisdiction whom he is helpless to aid. I saw and heard stories on this Oprah episode that made me cry like none I've heard on network TV. Lisa Ling was walking the streets with a camera crew and came across a family just walking around hoping to find a place to sleep for the night. Dr. Oz, a regular Oprah guest, was at the airport trying to help ill people and also talking about the huge problem with dead bodies and why they pose such a health threat. He came upon a young woman on the side of the highway who was already getting bloated. He covered her with a shirt he found nearby because there was nothing else he could do to give her a bit of dignity.

Almost all of these people are black - 2/3 of the population of New Orleans is black, and a great number of them are poor and had no means to leave the city. I'm so tired of all the rhetoric on TV about blame, where the buck stops, etc. These people are dying, homeless, and separated from their families. I have been proud, though, to read that Texas has been praised for it's quick and efficient response, taking in over 200,000 people, though as the majority of the survivors are coming to Texas, at least first, our resources are quickly reaching their limits.

I am finding that this is more painful to watch than the 9-11 coverage. There, people were reaching out to help each other, not killing each other. These are are fellow Americans, not victims of terror, but now increasingly victims of other fellow Americans. This shakes me to my core. I feel it is just a taste of what could come, someday, in our country. We are only one disaster away from this very experience ourselves. I urge anyone who reads this to find a way to do something to help. Sorry for such a downer of an entry, but this is what's on my mind right now.

Just When You Think You Know Yourself . . .

I've been suffering from a vague malaise lately (used that $5 word in a tribute to my English nerd friends like Julie and Josh), just feeling restless and bored, in spite of the fact that I have plenty of "projects" around the house that need tending to. I felt mildly depressed and just found myself wandering around this weekend. Jay and I talked about it Saturday night and came to the conclusion that my problem is most likely - da da da dum - A LACK OF STRUCTURE. Isn't THAT exciting! Of course, if you know me very well at all, that will not come as a big surprise to you, but in a way it was a surprise to me. I've always wanted to be a stay home wife and mom, but until this summer, I have never been unemployed and at home with this much unscheduled free time since - well in my entire adult life! Two stints of six week maternity leaves, but of course I had a baby to take care of, and a school age child also, so that really was not unstructured free time. This time, since we returned from our cruise and I have been waiting on my temporary massage license, since the end of July, I have pretty much been free to do whatever I want with the small restriction that I have to pick my high school age child (the only one left at home) up from school at 2:45, and I have to be at the school at 7:30 each Tuesday morning for a couple of hours to bake cookies. Other than that, there are no particular demands on my time. Yeah, I have to do laundry and buy groceries and pay the bills, and do a few other home administration type tasks, but those take up only a small portion of my time. In theory, all this free time should be liberating and joyful . . . and it was for the first few weeks. But now, as discussed in prior blog entries, I feel guilty if I goof off too much because of aforementioned "projects," and so instead of reveling in having time to read books (which I've done little of, in spite of my love of reading), have lunch with friends (I have done some of that, but it costs money to eat out), sleep late (have done some of that, and it is glorious, I'll confess), or catch up on movies, I feel guilty that I don't get more accomplished and just feel a vague sense of unrest which I have now identified as the fact that I need structure, and apparently need to either work or have some place to be and something I am supposed to be doing at least some portion of every day. It's been a relief in a way to figure this out, but also kind of startling and unexpected to find, after years of longing for less structure and demands on my time, of wishing I didn't have to go to work, that I actually need and want to have some work to do. Of course, the real answer is, I need and want to have fulfilling and meaningful and interesting work to do, which of course are the pieces that were missing before. That said, my hope and prayer now is that my new massage therapy career with the cool women at Integrated Healthworks will indeed fill all those gaps and will be the career that meets all my needs - interesting, fulfilling and meaningful work and a schedule that allows the free time I long for when I need it. I'm still shaking my head at myself and this new understanding about me that caught me totally by surprise. In fact, I didn't really figure it out, it was Jay who said maybe lack of structure was my problem. He's my personal live-in psychologist - I'm sure blessed that he is able to look objectively at things that are making me crazy and help me sort them out. Of course I'm blessed to have him for so many other reasons, but that's certainly a nice bonus. Honey, you are the BEST! BTW, one of my classmates emailed me that she received her temp license on Saturday, so I'm hoping that means mine is on the way!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Movie Thoughts

Watched the movie Fight Club today. Not sure why I'd never seen it before, and how I managed to never hear the twist ending (glad I didn't), but it was one of the most interesting movies I've seen in a long time. Won't give away the twist, but I just want to say that if you have not watched it because you thought it was just about a bunch of guys hitting each other, it is much, much more than that. It is a commentary about basic human nature and the search for some way of feeling alive in the numbing lives that so many people live, where they are defined by what they own or where they work, etc. It was so much different than what I expected, and I find myself thinking a lot about it in the aftermath. In light of all the things going on in New Orleans right now, where both the best and the worst of human nature is being played out on nearly every TV channel and all over the internet, this movie is a reminder of how civilized behavior can turn on a few choices in the wrong direction. Lord of the Flies is a novel that illustrates this quite well also, as does The Stand (by Stephen King). All in all a fascinating, disturbing and important movie (cool music too). Can't believe it took me so long to see it.

Also watched Sin City the other night. Wow, what a visually stunning movie! Like a comic book/film noir/B-grade detective movie come to life. Very violent, but like Kill Bill, violent in the cartoony sense (unlike Fight Club). Mickey Rourke, who used to be one of my favorite actors, is almost unrecognizable but is great in his role, and Bruce Willis is the perfect choice for this kind of movie. He can say the sort of cheezy detective speak without sounding foolish. If you are a movie buff at all, you should see this movie if for no other reason than to appreciate and marvel at the film techniques used.

Friday, September 02, 2005

School's In . . .

Still no temporary license in the mail! Still no income! This is getting kind of scary - can't go on forever not bringing in some moolah, and I'm getting pretty anxious. I have believed ever since I started this new venture that God was blessing it and taking a hand in working things out for me, and up until now things had been rocking along very smoothly. Now I know that just because it seems a little bumpy right now doesn't mean He is not still involved in what's unfolding in my life. In fact, it's quite likely that this time of uncertainty should be used as an opportunity for me to trust God even more with our finances, and with providing for our needs. It's really one of those times when if there was anything I COULD do, I would take steps to solve the problem, but I'm really helpless to do anything at all. Maybe that's just exactly where God wants me right now. I've been, well not exactly drifting away from God, so much as just not communicating very much in either direction. Taking Him for granted I guess, knowing He's there but being too caught up in my own stuff to talk to Him or more importantly to listen. My personal experience has been that sometimes God brings about a circumstance in my life in order to get my attention when He has a lesson for me. Not saying He causes bad things to happen, and I can't exactly explain what I mean, but if you've had the experience you'll understand. Sometimes you know without a doubt that a situation is the way it is because God has rung the schoolbell and it's lesson time. So I guess I'm at the place right now where I'm ready to listen and learn, because there's no other choice. Isn't it too bad that so often we have to get to the place where there's no other choice before we will turn to God? It's just so much our nature to try to fix things on our own, to bring about whatever we think needs to happen (a la Abraham and Sarah) instead of letting God's plan unfold on its own. So here I am, waiting - I'd like to say patiently, but I don't feel so patient - and still believing, though shaken a bit, that I am on a path that God is blessing and that I have made the right choice. And that if I am wrong, God will work that out for my best interests as well. The waiting, the not knowing - so hard to do. I pray for strength, trust and patience. And perhaps a little divine intervention . . .