Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Pursuit of Happiness

One of my all time favorite movies scenes is in the Pursuit of Happiness, where the character played by Will Smith gets told that he's been promoted and life is about to get very good for him. He is so relieved and so happy, that you can see the joy with out him even breaking a smile.

The giant joy and relief he felt in that movie, kind of captures how I have felt this week.

As you may or may not know, a little over a year ago marked the start of an extremely hard time for me. I had been attacked in the night by a violent teenager. While I was left fairly uninjured physically, it shook me up bad emotionally. Within a month of that I witnessed a suicide by hanging, and a friend collapse and die of a brain aneurism. 

Each event I tried to shake off, and tell myself I was ok. But all the events combined did in fact take a huge toll on me. The nightmare got worse when my doctor said the answer to my problems was anti depressants.

I learned later when I switched doctors, that anti depressants were NOT the answer, because I did not have a chemical imbalance causing my troubles, I just needed to talk and process about what I had been through. But the road to learning that was extremely costly. The anti depressants made me manic, which lead me to spend a gut load of money, money I didn't have, and I racked up a mountain of debt. All my life I have been remarkably skilled with money management. I had never had to deal with debt, because I always found ways to deal with it right when a cost came up. But due to this fiasco, I was in over my head.

Fast forward to this year, I have bounced back mentally and emotionally from the whole ordeal, but have still been dealing with a ton of debt that I couldn't pay. I have been trying my best, but still haven't been able to get the collections calls off my back. It has been very stressful and felt like there would be no end to it.

Then last Thursday came. The day of grace. A check came in for some grant money I had been awarded 2 years before. As I was handed the check I could hear Jimmy Cliff playing loudly in my head... now sing it with me, it's gonna be a bright, bright and sun shiney day....

With it, I was able to pay off all my debt, get some much needed car repairs done, and actually go out to eat at a nice place for a change. `Tis a good day!

Btw, have you seen my new haircut?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chasing the sun

Found while walking out in the woods.  How perfect?

Easter was a cold and rainy day in Tulsa. I decided that's not how I wanted to spend my day. So instead I went chasing after the sunshine.
I got online and looked at the radar and found where there was the nearest area with no cloud coverage. Then I headed that way, hoping the road would lead me to a sunny place to have an adventure.

It took me 2 hours west to Boiling Springs State Park.

There I spent all day in a tank top and shorts, enjoyung the sun while walking through hiking trails.

While 98% of the population spent the day hunting for eggs, and the 1.9% of the population spent the day stuck at work, I was the 0.1% that spent the day hunting for the sun.

`Twas a good day.

My Easter Lily...Totally didn't notice the cross beside her before taking the picture

Conked out on the whole drive home after a long day of playing

The final pictures I took for the day before driving back into the storm.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sitting in a bathtub....with 4 people and a dog

At this moment, one week ago, I was having a first time experience. It was my first time ever being huddled into a bathtub with 3 other people and a dog.
Spring has just begun, and weather experts are saying Oklahoma is in for a wild tornado season. Last week we had the first twister of the season. It was almost a complete disaster, but a miracle happened.

I was driving when I saw the lightning begin. About 5 minutes later the hail began coming down. It was a normal pea shape sized, but I saw later that just 10 miles away it was coming down baseball sized.

Here is a picture of the hail that was 10 miles away from me:

Just as I got inside the house, the sirens began to blare out. At ORU there are underground shelters. In my 3 years of living in Oklahoma, there has only been one time that a tornado was ever close enough to sound the alarms. When the alarms sound, in means that there is a tornado and there is potential of it hitting where you are at.

Last week was my second time having the sirens sound, but there was no underground shelter. So I followed the lead of my 3 companions who have lived through many tornadoes. They took part in what I am told is an Oklahoma tradition, of standing outside watching.

They said on the radio that a tornado had touched down in Sand Springs (About 15 minutes away from me) and that there was potentially another one forming over Tulsa near the airport (really close to me...too close).
We were out in the back yard looking out in the distance towards Sand Springs, trying to figure out if we could see anything.
All of a sudden one guy, Michael, says, "Uh, guys..." I turned back to look at him. His jaw was dropped and he was looking up, pointing at the sky right above us.
When I looked up, I realized that there was a massive circular cloud in the sky all around us. I later heard that it was a low and wide formation, about half a mile wide. They said if it had touched down, it likely would have wiped out half of the city.
I don't remember who said it. Everything in those moments after seemed to happen in less than a second, even though it was longer. I just remember someone shouting, "Get inside!" and almost instantly all four of us, and Lily, had run through the house and shut ourselves in the bathroom, and were huddled in the bathtub.

There was a loud roar, that amost had me believing it was a train driving by, that rattled the house. I was gripping on to my dog, and closing my eyes, and holding my breath thinking any second the top floor of the house was going to be ripped off and I was going to be soaring through the air. The power went out and the radio station and all of our cell service died.

After a few minutes of sheer panic, the roar went away. A few more minutes and the radio came back on, saying one of their towers had been knocked over by flying debris. About 10 minutes later the radio announced that the storm was moving away from the city, and we felt safe enough to come out of the bathroom.

It took about an hour for our power to come back on, and my cell service was out for about 3 hours.
There had been some strong wind that damaged some things, but everyone agrees that the tornado  forming miraculously dissolved before something horrible happened. I might not be writing this now if it had.

It was extremely cold the next two days. Now, it's been extremely hot the last two days. Tomorrow they are calling for more severe weather that may produce tornadoes.

Please keep Oklahoma in your prayers.