Author Archives: LK

Sizing It All Up

 

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It fits!

I recently found a bra that fits me well. This may seem like a simple thing, but it took a lot of time and effort to get to this point. I had to suffer through years of wearing bras that rode up high on my back and slid around with my every movement. Those bras seemed too big at times, and yet other times they felt much too small. I knew that there was something not quite right with the way that my bras seemed to migrate up my torso, but I couldn’t seem to solve my fit issues even when I tried different sizes.

My frustration led (as is often the case these days) to a googling spree, and I soon found myself browsing the pages of information at r/abrathatfits, a subreddit dedicated to helping individuals find their correct bra size. I used their bra size calculator to determine my true size, UK 26FF. At first, I was skeptical. I did not know that size even existed. I had been wearing 34B bras for a long time, and did not consider myself to be large chested.

Despite my doubts, I began the process of hunting down a bra in this new mythical size. The hunt was difficult. Retail stores near me did not stock any bras with a band size lower than 30. I was still hesitant to order an expensive bra online and have to return it, so I attempted to get a better fit by “sister sizing” to a 30DD/E bra. This bra did fit me much better than anything I had ever tried, but after a couple weeks of wear it became apparent that I was still experiencing fit issues.

Style, Not Just Comfort

I made the decision to order some bras off of Amazon, where I had some options in the next sister size down, 28F. These bras seemed to be another step in the right direction, but they had their own problems. All of the bras were unlined, which was a style I was not used to and I felt self-conscious in thin shirts because the seams would show. I thought it was a little scandalous.

These bras also dug into my sternum quite sharply at the bra’s gore. When I removed my bra at night, there would be a deep red groove in the center of my chest. I put up with this discomfort for a couple of months because I felt better despite the unpleasant stab of the gore. I felt more confident most days, and these bras actually supported me unlike the old bras. Ultimately though, I began to wonder if I could find a bra that would give me those things without the pain. Finally, I made the decision to order a bra in my true size.

Twenty-six band bras are even less widely available than 28. Searching on r/abrathatfits led me to consider a Polish brand, Comexim, which made lined bras in my size. I decided to order through a US company, Wellfitting, because I was too intimidated to order directly from Poland. After browsing their website, I ordered 2 bras. The first was a practical beige t-shirt bra, and the second was a demi bra with a cat print on it, because why not?

Since the bras are made to order, and because they had to travel all the way from Poland, it was a couple of months before they were finally delivered. During this time, I kept wearing my pokey bras and prayed the new ones would fit me so I wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of returning them all the way to Poland. When the box arrived, I opened it carefully in case I would have to pack everything back up to return. I tried on the first bra, and I was amazed.

The band did not feel loose, it felt snug. The support was good, and the bra was invisible under my shirt. Best of all, there was absolutely no stabbing. I felt triumphant. Months ago, I had been wearing a bra that could only perform the function of offering nipple coverage, and look at me now!

A Learning Curve

The journey was long and full of deciphering things like wire width and breast shape, which were things I had never once considered. To finally find a bra that fit, I had to learn more about myself. For too long I had been ignoring many of my personal characteristics, shoving myself into a bra that I thought should work, and then feeling miserable about myself when it didn’t work.

I finally found a bra that fits me well, but I have also found something that is more significant than the undergarment. I now know that with some trial and error, I can find things that fit me well and I don’t have to settle for a bad fit anymore. It is more work, but it is worth it in the end.

I have applied this philosophy to other aspects of my life, this refusal to accept the conventional or mainstream when it does not fit me. At times it can be a bit frustrating, but when I find the best fit, it feels empowering. I used to feel like nothing ever fit me right because there was something wrong with me, but now I know that there is nothing wrong with me, I was just looking at the wrong sizes.

By Emily W.

Grow Organically

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By LK

Not everything that grows starts with a seed. A friendly co-worker said I should go see the Chairy Orchard next time I was in Denton, TX. So I did.

It was at once chaotic and wonderful.

From the diminutive toy chairs to the giant Papa Bear chair with a stuffed bear sitting in it, the empty lot that was christened the Chairy Orchard was just the right diversion. The story goes that the children of the lot’s neighboring houses used to play there often but have since grown up and gone away.

The adults wanted to make use of the space and created a whimsical respite for all ages.

I hope you enjoy the images and consider making the trip for yourself. Bring a chair that needs a home; all are welcome here.

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An Arranged Marriage

By Tony W.

The pastor of the church my wife and I attend frequently speaks about the huge difference our perspective can make as we navigate life. For example, make a big mistake at work and you can see it as a valuable lesson that will help you in the future or as a confirmation that you will never be successful. Same mistake, same workplace, same you – the critical difference is your perspective.

This teaching about the importance of perspective combined with an article I read about the statistically higher success rate of arranged marriages led me to an “A-ha!” moment about marriages in general and my marriage specifically.

wedding1If you prayed about finding the right person to marry, wouldn’t you consider when you did find them that the match was arranged by the Ultimate Match-Maker? Especially if it took awhile to find your match and it came about in an unexpected manner? This Match-Maker’s done some impressive work in the past – Adam and Eve, Ruth and Boaz, Joseph and Mary. What if your marriage also was personally arranged by Him?

The article said cultures with predominantly arranged marriages have much lower divorce rates and now research also has established those in arranged marriage are just as likely to report being happy with their spouse as those in “love” marriages. It’s complicated but experts believe husbands and wives have diminished expectations going into an arranged marriage so then are happily surprised when their spouse exceeds those expectations. Conversely in love marriages,  when spouses feel they have found their perfect match, the expectations are much higher and often result in disappointment when incompatibilities emerge.

The Waco Back Story

My wife and I often say how fortunate we were to find each other and how unlikely it was that we both were in Waco, Texas at the same time, working at the same company. It certainly wasn’t love at first sight. When I was first attracted to her and asked her to lunch hoping to get to know her better, she accepted but promptly let me know over Chinese food that she was dating someone and would want to be my “friend.” Over a year went by with us occasionally talking at work or having a meal together, sometimes in a group situation. All along I was visiting churches and praying on a regular basis (it’s what you do in Waco) and I’m sure those prayers sometimes mentioned my future wife by name.

As I got to know her better and did, in fact, become her friend, there always seemed to be a quiet voice inside me saying “she’s the one.” The voice seemed to note each positive quality about her that came to light as we talked.

“Wow, did you hear that? She really would be good for you.”

And then one day, things between us changed. She started to see me differently. Within a few months, I went from being her “friend” to being her fiancé, then being her husband, and

  • moving across country together for her dream job,
  • having a beautiful baby girl,
  • having a wonderful baby boy,
  • moving back to Texas,
  • buying a house together,
  • raising our children and two boys from my first marriage,
  • growing ever closer as we’ve aged, plus
  • still being in love after 22 years.

So while it’s not a big leap of faith for me to think a Higher Power brought us together, I had never considered the idea of our marriage being the purposeful act of the Ultimate Match-Maker. Churches talk about putting God at the center of your marriage, and maybe one of the best ways of doing that is to simply consider your marriage as having been arranged by Him.

Not So Heavenly

If He brought you and your spouse together, wouldn’t it make sense that He is taking an active interest in keeping you together? I’ve come to believe He does. Sure, we have friction and challenges but the Match-Maker never told me my wife would be perfect. He just kept emphasizing all that was good about her and that it might be possible for her to be my wife one day.

When I’m feeling a little neglected or misunderstood, I take those complaints to Him. But because he is all-knowing, there’s no fudging on what I’ve done or not done to further a situation. Before I address a problem, I start by thanking Him for finding my match and acknowledging what a great addition my spouse has been to my life. When I do this, things are sure to get better soon.  Part of the reason this works is that He put into both of our hearts a focus on what we like about each other, not a fairy-tale expectation. “A-ha!”

Yet Another Tree Story for Earth Day

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In 2000, we started looking for our first home. This place was too small, that one was too expensive. Then we found one where the size was good and the price right because the couple was divorcing (it happens). I was sold on it at the curb because of the trees.

If you live in North Texas, you understand the attraction. You seek trees in hot parking lots and sports fields and just about anywhere else really, especially when there’s no breeze. I used to make the kids crisscross the street to the shadier side on their walk home from elementary school.

Two trees on the west side of our front yard provide a canopy of cool as you walk up the curvy sidewalk to the door. The first one you see is the Bradford pear.

This much-maligned ornamental lives 18-25 years because as it matures, the canopy spreads, pulling down limbs as it grows, even to the point of splitting at times. Some people don’t like the way they look so they cut them down. Their growth pattern makes it easy for nature to carve out a tree that IS hard to love.

Part of the issue with our property is that after we moved in, we realized that two other mature trees, not Bradford pears, should be cut down. The one on the west side of the house was dead. The one on the east side of the front of the house seemed to have three trunks and we feared one branch might be splitting and possibly falling onto the neighbor’s house. Nope, another goner.

I’m not just rooting for this Bradford pear’s longevity because now I only have two trees instead of three in the front yard.

No, I’m partial to the pear because it’s full of life —

even though it’s been cracked open by freezing rain,

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neatly pecked by the street woodpecker

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and otherwise disturbed by microbursts.

(I’m sure our neighbors across the way hate the view.)

So my husband carefully prunes those heavy branches. We sweep the flower detritus from the walkway and rake the leaves as the seasons require. And after every storm, we check on the Bradford pear first.

This is our welcome tree: Beautiful in its imperfection and ferociously resilient. I would like to be like that.

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(By the way, the second tree, a native live oak, is doing well, providing shade over the roof and protection from hail. The squirrels love it, too.)

By LK

 

 

The Cal State Fullerton Treatment Room

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I have a successful dental practice in a relatively remote location in Northwest Arkansas — a resort-retirement community. My office has three treatment rooms, each one decorated with pleasant pictures, to put patients at ease. The Cal State Fullerton room pays homage to my undergraduate years and I still follow this school’s sports teams online, especially baseball.

One day, Preston was welcomed to this shrine. He asked if I’d gone to school there and when. He shared that he had grown up there knowing another “Bushay.” Before we knew it, he was making a connection to my family.

I was skeptical until he said he knew my dad AND his brother, Brent.

Byron and Brent were only 11 months apart. Preston said he didn’t remember Dad having any girlfriends in school (he and Mom got married before graduation). But he recalled Brent having several and that rang true.

He mentioned that both brothers seemed to know the principal well!  He reBBushaymembered Dad joining the Army soon after high school and the newspaper article about his death.  And even my Dad’s program to have seeds sent to him in Vietnam for distribution to farmers.

Even though I was running way behind on the day’s appointments, I just pulled up a chair and settled in for a good chat. Preston knew my Dad from first grade on.

He said he might be able to locate his yearbooks, which could have pictures I’ve never seen. Over 49 years after Dad’s death and 1,576 miles from where I was born, I got to know more about Staff Sergeant Byron Haley Bushay, who died as a result of friendly fire in 1966 during the Vietnam War when he was only 22. Everything I knew about this 11F-Infantry Operations and Intelligence Specialist I got from my Mom and official documents. I wasn’t quite two years old when he died.

Preston is the only person outside of my family that I have ever met who knew my dad. Now I have a bigger picture of my Father from a complete stranger who just happened to need a dentist in a little corner of Arkansas. What are the chances of that happening?

By T. Bushay

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A Show-Off Flower in the Rose Vase

My husband has a knack for finding good deals. I love him for this.

Last Sunday was no exception. He purchased a bouquet that included red roses, baby’s breath, unopened lilies and some netting. Quickly discarding the netting, he arranged two vases. One for his lovely Mother who he was visiting that day and one for me. We have had several conversations and he knows that I am NOT his mother. But I can enjoy flowers like one.

My Not-My-Mother flowers sit on the window counter right above the kitchen sink so I can’t miss them. The roses are what I would call true red but the lilies were not in bloom so their color served as greenery. I recalled that I don’t appreciate the way lilies smell (there are worse smelling flowers) but tried not to think about it. After a little while, you know, as you go about your day, the flowers inevitably became an invisible fixture, something like the toaster.

Until mid-week that is. The only lily of the bunch opened, screaming “LOOK AT ME” with its flamboyant pink color, delicate rippled-edged petals and hefty anthers supported by slender green filaments. I didn’t even notice any odor.

Wow. What a show and what a treat. I think the roses are a bit envious.

By LK

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Time to Embrace your RBF

My RBF

By Melinda Y.

I used to be offended when someone called me a snob or told me I was unapproachable. But now I really don’t care.  I’ve learned to accept the fact that I have a condition called Resting Bitch Face or RBF.

This condition is found in women around the world and while some try to correct it, I’ve learned to use it to my advantage. Rather than overcompensate by adding smiley faces to every email, plastering a big fake smile on my face when meeting someone new or laughing at every little joke in the workplace, I let my face be.

Yes, that sounds bitchy, I know.  In my life of 70-hour work weeks, a daily 2-hour commute, swim team, early morning UIL competitions, single parenting teenagers, OCD cleaning tendencies and marathon training, my time is limited. I am an introvert so forcing myself to be friendly with people who don’t really care is not something I go out of my way to do. This isn’t about being mean, it’s about being real.

Do you wonder if you might have RBF? Chances are you do if you been the focus of these unsolicited remarks:

  1. Smile! We hear this from strangers without any warning. I should add that their reason for smiling is rarely one that I find smile-worthy.
  2. I thought you were a snob. Because we are naturally more reserved or quiet around people we don’t know, we get this comment all the time.
  3. You look so mad all the time. Chances are we have a million things on our minds and your perception of our lack of ‘smiley-ness’ is not a top priority.
  4. Wow, you’re actually really nice. This is usually said after the other person has taken 5 minutes to get to know us.
  5. Show some emotion. Women often are seen as cute and vulnerable when they cry at a sappy movie or a hurt puppy. For those of us with RBF, our reactions are different. We act rather than react.

So if you have RBF or you know someone who does, keep in mind that with this person:

If you get a smile, it is genuine.

If you get a laugh, you’re truly funny.

If we show emotion, it is heartfelt and should be taken seriously.

If you make a friend, you’ve got a loyal, hard-core woman in your court.

We are the women who don’t let emotions run our lives. There is nothing wrong or bitchy about that.