Monday, May 20, 2013

Letters from God

The last five months have been a true test in our lives. Test of faith, test of skill, test of our emotional and spiritual strength. Words cannot describe the highs and lows, and for those close family and say our life has been a rollercoaster? Maybe the understatement of the year.  It are times like these, I tend to rely on faith and the belief that absolutely everything happens for a reason. As much as I can sit here and type that statement, I know my human heart and mind can drastically disagree. It's as if I give it up to God, and my sub-conscience say, "Oh wait, just kidding....I'd like that back now."

After questioning the 'why' over and over again. It might as well jumped up and smacked me in the face recently. We might think we have control; we might think we have a timeline and ideas of what our lives should look like...but not even close.

It is times like today, I like to imagine the Big Man Upstairs sitting down and writing me a letter. In my mind it would go something like this:

Dear Maura,

I know you think you have a lot going on right now. Truth be told, to you, you do. A little one running all over tarnation, juggling the day-to-day in your life, Jeff's crazy-busy schedule...just to name a few. 

The last several months I've heard you. I've heard you your whole life. While I know I have placed a few obstacles in your path, have I ever failed to bring you out of them? The next time I choose to try and test you, or have something better in mind, please just trust Me. I promise, I will not disappoint you in the end.

I love you,

P.S. I hope we don't have to have this conversation again. 

Maybe that's some crazy piece of imagination. Something my mind wandered upon during my 55 minute commute to/from work? Possibly. Nonetheless, in this moment, I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for where I am in my life. My Faith, Family, Friends...and yes, Football. I continue to be the biggest believer in everything happens for a reason, and in the timing it is to happen. Looking back on my life thus far, I have nothing that would argue differently.

Now, about that giving it up and trust issue... my human-hard-head often has a different response email that would follow. But in the end it would be wrong. Maybe I should just heed the advice of my beloved Aunt Jane... "In the end, it will all be OK. If it's not OK, don't's not the end."

Two of my favorite bible verses:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Removing the "Smart" From My Life

Distractions. Everyone has them. Whether it be at work, in the home, while driving....the list goes on and on. My biggest? My smartphone. I have battled myself in the past year with how much time I spend with my phone; either in my hand or at an arm's reach (unless it is charging). From the Droid to the iPhone--I love them both. Living thousands of miles away from my family and beloved friends, it's been fantastic for keeping in contact, especially for social media! Many days as a stay-at-home-Mom, it's my only adult interaction in the town that we live in. Needless to say, I think I have had an addiction to my iPhone. That is until last Saturday...

I was cleaning out my car after the LA Tech Spring Game. My sweet husband was relaxing on the couch, watching The Masters on TV and "watching" Maggie for a few minutes. Unfortunately when I walked back into our home, I found both husband and toddler in the half bathroom with dripping iPhone in hand. The iPhone had met its match--Mary Margaret Koonz. 

I will admit there have been plenty of times she leaves a room and I have to chase her down; or turned my back for a second and she's found trouble something interesting to investigate. I will take full responsibility for leaving my phone on the coffee table. I will accept the fact that I declined insurance not even two months ago when we purchased my phone. My mistakes... But you can only imagine the look on my face (and the feeling in my gut) when I saw Jeff, waterlogged phone in hand. Knowing that in that moment Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera, amongst other renowned golfers, held the attention of Mr. Jeffrey... Nearly four days later, I can honestly say I have forgiven almost forgiven him. ;) 

After 48hrs in rice, Jeff took it to the Verizon store. No help and no luck on his part. Being the SF (selectively frugal) person that I am, I absolutely REFUSED to spend hundreds of dollar to purchase a new, or even slightly used iPhone. We have a working phone that is in near-mint condition that I can use. It is not an iPhone. It is not a Droid. It is nothing like a Smartphone...but at least it's not a flip phone?! I have found a silver-lining in all of this mess. This will be GREAT for me (I think...)!

I'm unplugging and removing the "smart" phone from my life. Realizing I often post to keep in contact with my family and friends who live afar; I need to make more of an effort to stay directly in-touch with those who I love most to ensure that years down the line, we don't just have an "online" relationship. MOST importantly through all of this, I will be spending less time looking down at the phone and more time interacting with my daughter. I know the moments will become a fleeting memory all too soon.When I look back on this time, I want to know I did the best I could do with the time God has given me with our daughter. I'm hoping this will force me to take more pictures/videos with our cameras. I have set limits to only be on the computer or iPad if necessary when she's awake.

"Oops!"  The Partners in Crime...

Will I miss my phone? Most likely. Would I switch back if by chance my iPhone works tomorrow? Probably. Until then, I am going to continue to disconnect from the online world and reconnect more with the world around me, especially those who I love most. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's Been a Few Days...

So it has been a few (hundred) days since I last posted on my blog. A few (hundred) things have happened--including, but not limited to: getting married, buying a home, having a baby and job changes for our family. While I journal sporadically...yes, with old-school paper and pen... I've decided to come back to blogging. Surprised? Me too. It might last a few weeks or months, but I'm hoping years. It also helps connect those family and friends that are not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  thousands of miles away. Welcome back, and thank you for checking-in! 

Name: Maura KOONZ!  
Our FABULOUS wedding party! Outside the Grand Harbor Resort
Dad walking me down the aisle in Mom's dress.
Wedding Mass at SThe Cathedral of St. Raphael
Married Jeff, my best friend on July 8, 2011

We Bought a House....

We found a perfect home in Ruston, with a nice backyard, friendly neighbors and plenty of room for visitors!! :)  

We had A BABY!! 

We welcome Mary Margaret (Maggie) Koonz into our family on April 6, 2012! (For those of you wondering... Yes, we planned to have kids right after getting married). Call us crazy, but we absolutely love being parents! 
Mary Margaret's Baptism
1st Family photo of Maura, Jeff, Cujo & Maggie
Our family! It has been a crazy-busy 11 MONTHS since Mary Margaret's arrival, but such an amazing role of being her Momma!! I am so very blessed with a wonderful husband, sweet littler girl and fun-loving puppy! God only knows what He has in store for this family!! :)
Getting ready to drive to Iowa for Christmas 2012!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The First Addition!

My Family's Farm in Iowa.. MANY memories here!

Growing up on a farm, I was always surrounded by animals.  Some of my most cherished memories come from playing with a dog or cat just a few strides away.  My family had most of our pets outside, and by pets I am not counting the cows, horses or farm cats.  However, after the tragic loss of my outdoor puppy (who tried to play chicken with the tractor), I was able to twist Mom and Dad's arms into getting an INDOOR DOG! Macks was a loyal loving Shih Tzu puppy; he saw our family through many hard times and laid at my Mom's feet when she was sick and undergoing man years of treatment.  Unfortunately, Macks passed away about a year ago, and I have not lived at home or with pets since I left for college.  I love animals, and it is something I miss dearly about being away from the rural life I grew up with.
Kiddie Kattle Kapers @ Iowa State Fair w/Dad & Luke (my bro).
My Grandpa Thiel, Luke & Buck (dog)
Showing Hawaii @ County Fair

Enter Cujo!
Hi! I'm Cujo!
Maura met Cujo when she was browsing (just looking) at puppies one day at Pick of the Litter in Ruston with her friend, Blair.  As fate would have it.. there was Cujo! Now many of you may be laughing thinking about this Cujo.... However, this little Multi-Poo may be the cutest little 1.6lb puppy you will ever meet.  Of course, his owner may be slightly bias too. ;)
The boys (Jeff & Cujo) catching some Zzs

So far puppy training is going OK, but I definitely look forward to Cujo growing into his adult dog years (and sleeping through the night)!  I am so excited to have Cujo in our lives, and am absolutely ecstatic to have a pet and animal friend again!  In my opinion, there's just a joy that pets/animals bring to humans that cannot be described.  And while I no longer live on a farm in small town Eastern Iowa; this pooch is a much welcomed and wonderful little Cajun addition!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maura, meet Jeff; Jeff, meet Maura

Most of my family and friends don't believe me.  The day after signing day, February 3rd, I honestly reintroduced myself to my fiance'.  After a month of being on the road, working to recruit the next members of the Bulldog family, our time together was abundant somewhat sparse.

The month of January (and May) for any coaching family is the time when our coaches are on the road scouting out potential recruits, recruiting the potential next years' players and building/developing the relationship with the future players of our team.  For the first time that Jeff and I have been together, we have officially gone through a "normal" year.  And by normal, I mean... no moving, full recruiting year, full season in his position, etc., etc.  This has been/is a monumental year for our relationship... and while I know things will change even more after going through the married-life transition, I am pleased to announce that a year after discovering Ruston, Louisiana, I could not be happier.  We are so blessed to have a wonderful coaching staff and their families, a great community and I have learned more about being a "coach's wife" here than at any other school or book I had read.  Not to mention, the opportunity to get to know the players and their families more this year, too!
Jeff and I at the 2011 Recruiting Dinner

It has been wonderful getting to know my fiance again (aka just spending a little quality time together) after a whirlwind season and recruiting season! Congratulations to all of the LA Tech Coaches, incoming Bulldogs and team!  I'm really looking forward to this next year, but first I think I'll enjoy February! :)
Link to the 2011 Bulldog Recruiting Class 

P.S. A HUGE thank you to all the wives, girlfriends and fiancee's for being such a wonderful group of women- I'm truly grateful to be surrounded by so many amazing women.  And a special thank you to Jeff who ALWAYS made time for me with his crazy, crazy schedule!

Welcome Bulldogs!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Loss No Words Can Express

Many of my close family and friends have heard me talk about my friend, Michelle Bynum. She is one of the most inspirational women I have ever met in my life, and her story is one that relates all too closely to my own Mom's battle with breast cancer. Michelle's smile is one that no person could forget; her hug is one that after she had wrapped her arms around you, you knew you'd been hugged. If there were any way to bottle Michelle's personality up... I would carry it around with me wherever I went-she was truly infectious. This past Wednesday morning, January 26th, Michelle passed her torch, but her warrior spirit will live on forever.

I became close to Michelle after meeting her the summer of 2009, while working with the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, she was our Race for the Cure Honorary Chair, and our partner in crime for the first ever Horns for Hope football game with the University of Texas! It didn't take long before our occasional passing became friends meeting up for lunch or coffee. The similarities of our stories paralleled all too close. A tenacious mother battling stage IV breast cancer, with a child (or children) breathing life against her the fight; and giving mom another reason, another glimmer of hope, and another minute to share, with a time clock that was counting down to an unknown amount of time.

After hours of laughter and tears, Michelle would always thank me for the time that we had shared together. But what I could never convey to her, was that the time I was blessed to have with her was just as, if not more, therapeutic and meaningful to me. If I could impart my story, my life, and more importantly reveal the insights of my experiences with my Mom's battle...the time shared together would never be enough.

I cannot explain the emotions that have gone through my body these past days. The sadness of losing a close friend, the empathy I feel for her family during this difficult time and memories I choke back, just four short years after my Mom passed. But as Michelle always reminded me... it was God who brings us together on Earth, and He will reunite us again one day. There will be no more pain, treatments, Dr. visits or scans.  Michelle-I cannot begin to express how much you will be missed, but I am so grateful for our friendship and the time I was so blessed to have with you these past two years.

Komen Crew @ Horns for Hope Event (Michelle and her husband, Brad, are in the Center)

Michelle & I at the National Championship Football Game in Los Angeles

Michelle & I at the Hope for a Cure Luncheon
Make sure you watch over those Longhorns for us, and may everyone learn how to "Eat life with a big spoon."  And as you always said, "Thank you for loving me."

Click below for:
-KVUE Tribute to Michelle

-Komen Austin's Tribute

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Welcome to Creative Writing & Journaling for Grownups! =)

For the last few months I have been entertaining the thought of starting a blog. I have a few friends who have blogs; some with witty insights and others with adorable pictures and updates on their I wasn't quite sure what my purpose of creating a blog would be, but (with the encouragement from a few Facebook friends) I decided I would write one anyway!  I don't know how often I will keep up with the blogging, what topics will come, or if anyone will follow; but it will be great to look back and see the various entries!
As for the name of the blog... it came down to my three four main F's. My Mom and Dad instilled the importance of Faith, Family & Friends throughout my life, and as I was growing up. Little did I know, that I would add another F to my life after meeting Jeff, my fiance.... FOOTBALL! Jeff is a D1 college football coach, and needless to say our lives are often scheduled around football (including our wedding date)! The pictures to the right explain it all the initial 3Fs will always trump, but whether it's spring ball, recruiting, summer camps or football season... it will play a huge part of as a part of my life, and as Jeff and I begin our lives together!  I first saw the football platter to the right at one of the coach's home, and LOVE it!

I can't always promise whit, humor or genius insights; but here's to the future excitement, fears of the unknown and whatever life will bring!