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It's amazing when my 5-year-old comes home talking about the history behind MLK day. When I was in Kindergarten, we learned our color...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tornado Alley Still Full of Blessings

Since I moved here in 1990, I've been asked multiple times, 'Why do you live in Oklahoma?' 

And, as the weather has become more and more extreme, here in tornado alley, my friends across the nation shake their head saying, "Why would you stay there knowing you could get blown away by a tornado?"

Here's my answer ... every state or region has their issues.  I've lived in other countries and nationwide through the U.S.  I've lived through typhoons, tropical storms, earthquakes, ice storms, blizzards, and tornados.  So, to not live in Oklahoma due to tornado would be riduculous because when it's your time ... it's your time.

Here's why I live here.  The heart of this community is like none other.  We rise in the face of defeat.  We lift eachother up.  We breathe determination.  We love with a heart bigger than the heartland itself.  We smile when we pass a stranger in the street.  We give eye contact and say hello.  We show our neighbor kindess.

And when something as horrific as the Moore tornado devestates and rocks our state to the core, our hearts break ... but we push forward and circle around the victims to heal  and support.  I've never been more proud to be an Oklahoman than I am today.

And as devestated as I am for the families that are suffering from this tragedy, I know we will lift them up so that they may live with strength again.   And because we'll rally around our fellow Oklahomans, they will feel our love for them and know they matter.

Tornados have nothing on the spirit of survival, which every true Oklahoman displays.

That being said, please pray for my sweet state.  Please contact the red cross and donate in Oklahoma's name.  And please feel free to leave me a comment, letting me know where you live and what you've seen about our state. 

Look for your blessings in the madness - they're there!  And if we, Oklahomans, can find them ... you can too.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Evolution of Bullying

Bullying is such a hot topic in the media and amongst celebrity talk shows.  We see thousands of kids, who suffer from it long term ... and sadly some of them do the unthinkable, by taking their life to escape it.

My kid has had a run in or two with an aggressive kid, but what really constitutes bullying?

Some parents I've talked to say, "Oh, kids are just mean.  They're always going to be that way.  It's part of growing up."

Now, I get that.  I know we all have to go through dealing with our fare share of meanies. Even as adults, we still have those mean spirited types to deal with as bullies eventually grow up and  infiltrate the upper academic scene and work place.  I've been employed by a bully or two, who made it their mission to make others feel bad about themselves.

I think a bully is someone, who doesn't care about other's feelings.  They, out of insecurity, push those insecurites outward by taunting others.  By taunting others, it makes them feel better about themelves.

My son is currently dealing with a child, that I've tried to coach my son through.  How do you coach someone through another person?

Well, for starters if the communication lines are open between you and your child, you listen to what is going on daily in his/her life in regards to the bully - and help them learn to cope and coach them to speak up for themselves ... to take a stand.

At first, it seemed harmless with this other kid at my child's school.  This other ten year old was hot one day ...or cold the next.  My son would come home weekly either up or down depending on this other child's mood.  Either he'd made my son's day by being friendly, or made him upset by being cruel.

My answer to my child when seeing and hearing this go on for a long period of time:  "Kiddo, you can not get on that emotional rollercoaster.  You need to value yourself more - than to look to someone else for approval.  You're an amazing kid, and a great friend to others.  If this other kid valued you, as a true friend, he would not treat you this way.  A true friend would be there for you, not keep you guessing."

With that advice, my kid learned to cope pretty quick.

Then once my kid stopped reacting to the emotional rollercoaster, this other child started name calling.  He told my child that he was 'weak', 'small', or 'tiny'. 

Again, I coached my kid by telling him that he was none of those things, but on the contrary he was big .... in heart and spirit.  And that only 'small' minded people called others names and made fun of them.  I told him again... that a true friend wouldn't tear him down.  I told him to tell this other child to stop the name calling, and go to the teacher.

Again, my kid learned to cope and it seemed to even out.

Then last week, I learned that this child teasingly said, "You're so small that I could put you in the hospital because I know tae kwon do."

Okay.  If the other behavior didn't cross the 'bully line' ... this certainly did.  Looking back, instead of trying to keep my kid centered and strong through it ... I should have called this other child's mother sooner.  However, like other parents, I thought ... he's going to have to deal with a portion of this type of behavior as there will always be that kid, who gives others a hard time.

And no matter how old kids get ... that kid is there causing trouble ... stirring it up.

However, I also want my kid to get the balance that he can come to me if needed, knowing that I'll take care of it.  I want my kid fight his own battles, but know that if it's too hard - I'm there to back him up.

Through this experience, I think he's learned that.  He's learned what he can handle, and when to come to me.  Once I learned he was threatened (even if this kid swears it was joke), I called in the calvary with the other child's parent and other faculty members.  You see it doesn't matter if this kid was teasing ... after the year my son had in dealing with the other issues ... my son didn't feel safe. 

Thankfully, my child has other friends to spend time with... friends that lift him up.  He's not letting this kid get to him anymore.  I'm proud of how my kiddo handled this. 

And it warmed my heart to hear in the end of all of this he told my mother, his nana, "I'm so glad I told my mom.  Somehow she always makes thing better."

I love that rugrat... Parenting is a day by day adventure and we don't always have the roadmap to success but at least my kid knows he has me to fall back on.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Review for VAST Restaurant in OKC

Anyone that reads my blog knows I stay upbeat with most things I post.  I try not to get negative or slam anyone or thing.  However ... I feel like I need to warn those, who are considering a trip to VAST, here in Oklahoma City.

VAST is a restaurant that sits high atop the Devon tower, which can be seen from most anywhere in the city.  It's 49 floors up and has a gorgeous view of our fair city, to which I'd promote just for the view.  It's beautiful ... but keep reading. 

My husband and I saved up to be able to go to VAST, as it's a trendy new place that seemed perfect for a date night.  The attire is dressy and the ambiance is supposed to be amazing.

However, I must say that this organization was not prepared to handle any food allergies. So if you have any food challenges at all - you need to think twice before going.

We clarified with our waiter, who was great by the way, that my husband had dire allergies and 'WOULD stop breathing' if ingesting the wrong thing.  To the best of our knowledge, our waiter knew of the severity and alerted the chef to our needs.

Within 5 minutes a food runner approached, holding two tiny plates, saying, "Vegetarian?"  To which I replied, "Um, no.  Gluten free."

He set our plates down and I asked - to be sure - and pointed to my husband's plate ... "Is his gluten free?"

The food server nodded and said, "Oh yes."  Then he left us to our food.

Now thankfully these tiny plates had tiny servings on them, as this was our saving grace.  Because within a few minutes our waiter approached, in panic saying, "Oh no!  You ate the wrong one.  That one is not gluten free!  I'm so sorry."  He pointed to my husband's plate and was openly upset.  I can't fault our waiter ... he really tried to do the right thing.

The manager however ... is another story.

After my husband the wrong item, to which he could have stopped breathing, we spent a very tense 20-30 minutes to see if he was okay. Granted manangement checked on us, but I feel it was only to make sure we were still able to pay our bill.

Why you ask?  Because after the smoke had cleared, and we finished eating the right items ... the manager served us a bill and said 'if anything would have happened to him, we'd have taken care of the bill-but since he ended up okay... you'll have to pay."

Are you kidding me? We had one of the worst experiences of our lives, and that comment was like a slap in the face. We weren't asking for anything to be comped, although it would have been nice if they had comped at least my husband's food, as he's the one that dealt with not knowing if he was going to stop breathing.

I would have thought that Vast, being a high class establishment, would have put customers first but all they cared about was our bill in the end -no matter the trauma we suffered.

So to you, considering where to dine in our fine city, make sure you remember to check yelp.com for all reviews for this restuarant, as I'm not the only one who have had issues there.  I think the owners need to restructure their management and policies to accommodate customers first and themselves second.  It's not worth the money if they don't care about your experience.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

One Amazing Lady

In life there are people that God brings into your life, who change you forever.  My best friend, Susan, is one of those people.

Our sons are the same age.
Our husbands are very much alike.
Our personalities and sense of humor align almost 99% of the time.

She is someone that I couldn't imagine not having in my life.

In September, she was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of Leiomyosarcoma, which typically doesn't respond to radiation or chemo.

Doctors didn't give her a good prognosis, as she was stage 4 and it is a very rare and aggressive kind of cancer.  However, from day 1 she told all, who would listen, "My God is my healer.  And I'm in His hands."

Throughout her journey, she's touched so many lives in being transparent with her journey.  Her cancer journal is here on FaceBook.

And I'm happy to say that true to form, she has been seeing miraculous results through her treatments.  Her tumors, from the first CT scans have shown to have decreased dramatically.  Her latest CT showed there to be no change since the last one.  These are great results! 

Her next step is to go to NY to see a specialist about surgery to remove the tumors.

God has been sustaning her along the way, with amazing results and support.  She's the first to say she's the one who has been blessed by the outpouring of love she's received.  However, I'm here to tell you that I'm blessed every day by her as she never complains.  She's always upbeat, and always has a smile.  She's a ray of light in this world.

God is working big things through her.  As I write this, she and her family struggle with the next step in their treatment ... on what to do or not do.  So please pray for my friend, Susan, who is beating the odds of a very deadly and rare cancer.

Lift her up and pray for continued healing and wisdom.  Thanks to all of you who read this and will follow through with keep her in your prayers. 

Here is a pic of me and my favorite friend in the whole wide world, Susan.  She's on the right, with her amazing smile, at one of her favorite past times ... Thunder Basketball.  How cool would it be if Kevin Durant were to see this and reach out.  It would be the biggest blessing!