Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Summer Lovin’.

It has been ages since I’ve updated my blog. I have been busy and unfortunately writing is always what gets pushed aside til later. So much for wanting to be a writer, eh? I should probably sit down and make a more conscious effort to be consistent. However, this summer I managed to do many things that one could only imagine. I will list them here, with pictures of course, but then each will get it’s own post. At least that’s the plan.

One of my best friends was married – way back in May.

The happy couple (photo taken by Rachael Chung Ceballos).

June was relatively uneventful, unless you count my little one getting pneumonia. We made sure to stay out of the pool which made out hot summer even hotter. He’s doing much better now and we’ve spent the last couple of weeks pretending to be fish. I finished physical therapy for my knee, funny story there – another time though. I agreed to be a Cub Scout Den Leader. I finished having my wisdom teeth pulled and agreed to be VBS director for my church. Okay, so June was more eventful than I originally thought. 🙂

July was just as eventful, more so maybe, as I was travelling out of state with a group of high-school students and recent graduates. I am nearly finished with my degree (May 2013!) but was lacking a physical science so I opted to take Geology over the summer. The class actually turned out to be a ten day trip through parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado. I would say this is the absolute best way to learn Geology, or maybe any course if the trip is planned accordingly.  Of course I was also in the midst of planning VBS. Note to future VBS Directors, do not travel out of town for two weeks the week before VBS begins unless you have someone acting as your second brain. Here are some places we visited.

The Great Salt Plains near Jet, Oklahoma.

When driving to the Salt Plains it looks as though an ocean has formed right in the middle of Western Oklahoma.

Dinosaur tracks found at Clayton Lake, New Mexico.

Aside from what the museums hold, this was my first encounter with dinosaur tracks. Definitely a place I want to take the boys before they outgrow their love of dinosaurs.

Capulin Volcano about 50 miles north of Clayton Lake, New Mexico.

This was taken from inside the Capulin Volcano. This is another very cool place to take my boys.

Westcliffe City Park, Westcliffe, Colorado

The City Park in Westcliffe, Colorado was a great place to stop for lunch and let the kids high school students run off some energy.

Local Residence, Westcliffe, Colorado

While waiting for our rooms at the lodge to be readied, we made a necessary pit stop at a friend’s home in Westcliffe, Colorado. where we watched a storm roll in over the San Isabel Mountains.

Hermit Basin Lodge, Westcliffe, Colorado.

Hermit Basin is Colorado’s best kept secret. This is the view from the bottom of the ski slope. That building is where we ate our meals and held class.

Indian Sunshine from the Rhyolite Quarry just outside of Westcliffe, Colorado

This was the first quarry we visited after arriving in Colorado. We found a plethora of Indian Sunshine as well as Opal.

Obsidian Quarry outside of Westcliffe, Colorado.

The white nodules are made of Rhyolite and the black is the Obsidian. It is a very sharp rock and we were cautioned against trying to climb the sides.

Canon City, Colorado.

Everyday we were in Colorado it rained. Canon City is about an hour from Hermit Basin so the goal on this particular day was to make it back to the lodge before this storm came in. We were mostly successful.

Phantom Canyon Road.

Phantom Canyon Road. Words cannot express the sheer terror we felt at meeting other cars while driving this road, if it can be called a road. There are places where the drop off the shoulder is a mere 2,000 feet.

Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Cripple Creek, Colorado is the quaint little town at the top of Phantom Canyon Road, roughly 10,000 feet elevation.

Molly Kathleen Gold Mine, Cripple Creek, Colorado.

We rode the lift to 1,000 feet underground in order to tour a previously active gold mine. There are stretches of the mine that are still active and the story behind it is very interesting.

Whitewater Rafting on the mighty Arkansas River.

I don’t recall ever seeing the Oklahoma portion of the Arkansas River with this much water in it. Yet, we were able to raft down nine miles of the Colorado section, a well earned day of fun before heading home.

As you can see summer has been a blast so far and I haven’t even touched VBS. Vacation Bible School was pretty amazing. Normally a VBS director will have six to nine months in order to plan, pay for, and decorate the necessary items for VBS. I had six weeks. All in all it worked out just fine. There were roughly thirty children in attendance throughout the four days and five of those accepted Jesus into their hearts. That’s what it’s all about, spreading the undiluted message of Christ to the next generation. I’m ready for next year!

Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS Cake

Probably the best part of taking the Geology trip just before VBS is that the trip matched the VBS curriculum. During VBS we shared about the Paracutin Volcano in Mexico. Well, the Capulin Volcano that I visited is a nearly perfect cinder cone volcano and nearly identical to the Paracutin. This is just one example but there were many times during my trip that I was reminded of God’s awesome power.


Boys vs. Girls.

Not long ago I was in the doctor’s office with ZigZag and was struck by something I’d never truly considered before. Here was my son, waiting for his appointment, being a bit rowdy with the toy trucks and completely oblivious to the fact he’d taken over the waiting room from a quiet little girl who ran to her mom as soon as ZigZag began to play. Fortunately it was a slow day and we were the only people in the office aside from this little girl and her mom.

Maybe it’s because I have boys.

Most of the girls we know have brothers so they can hold their own but boys and girls are so different! I know. I know. That’s kind of a ‘duh’ moment for most of you.

This little girl was so completely shy. She hid under her momma’s legs and played with one of the smaller cars. By the time she was called back for her appointment she had stepped out a bit – she was playing ‘catch’ with ZigZag by rolling the cars back and forth to each other.

But it dawned on me, my son didn’t even notice her until I pointed her out. Not that I’m trying to marry him off at the age of five or anything like that but that he was so wrapped up in his world that he couldn’t spare even a moment to see someone else.

Often times we, as Christians even, get so entirely wrapped up in what’s going on around us – in our own little worlds – that we don’t notice those around us. Those people we love to keep up with on Facebook but only if their status update shows up in our news feeds. Or those who we see only at holidays or birthdays, family reunions or funerals. Or those we talk to only when it pertains to our own dire need right at that moment.

When is the last time you called someone just to say hello?

and truly meant it in a ‘just saying hi’ kind of way?

Or smiled at a stranger?

Or helped someone carry their items?

Some things I’ve learned recently by stepping outside of myself to check on the well-being of others:

Two amazing people are officially parents and bringing their son to his forever home as I type this.

One amazing young woman left her home for Wales to spend the next nine months training in a foreign country to be a missionary to Africa permanently at the end of that time.

Many of my friends are engaged or pregnant – too many to count at this point! (Thank you Oklahoma Blizzard!)

The point is

the world is bigger than you and me

Period.

It’s bigger than all of us and it’s time we set aside our own agenda’s and started actually caring about those around us.

I can hear you now, “but what can I do? I’m just one person”.

So is Jesus.


God Said It.

Okay. I know I said I wasn’t going to post anything new until I finished up the rest of the drafts I have started but there’s something weighing on my mind. Besides, I’m down to just 4 drafts left anyway. As my kids say, “easy – peasy”!

There’s a misconception surrounding some things in my life. Most people assume that because I’m the one who filed for divorce that it didn’t bother me at all to actually go through it. That’s false in so many ways that that topic alone would be enough fodder for one post in and of itself so I’m not going into it here. What I am going to dwell on this time around are some things I have learned in the last 2.5 years since it was final, most especially the last 6 months or so.

Have you ever notice that it’s so easy to do many things by ourselves but when it comes to church most people cop out because they don’t want to be alone?

Late last summer and into the fall God told me that the boys and I need to be back at Rhema for church. More often than not last year we were not in church which truly bothered me. Between my insane work and school schedules, E’s soccer schedule, and the fact we live 45 minutes to an hour away from most churches the boys like we were rarely able to go. I told God that if He really wanted us back at Rhema He needed to provide the time and a job that gave me that time and would still let me raise my boys.

The holiday season drew closer and if you know anything about being a photographer you know that any holiday is going to be crazy, especially Christmas. Rather than getting more time to be able to drive into Broken Arrow I was working more and more. Between school and work I think my parents saw so much more of my kids than I did. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I would come home only to hug and kiss them goodnight and send them to bed, an hour or two past their bedtime. At least with working for myself I could plan my hours, working for someone else put me at their beck and call and meant that I worked every holiday.

Things at work went from bad to worse. I ended up putting school on hold for the Spring 2010 semester so that my girls at work (and my customers) would have some stability with all the changes that were happening. We lost 1 manager to maternity leave and 1 to a job transfer. In the midst of all of the details involved things got so bad that I was given no choice but to give my notice and leave. No, I wasn’t fired. I just would have spent more money on babysitters than I would have made which is not a good thing. So, I left. On the same day I left so did two of my girls and what had been a fantastically great thing came to an end.

Right around the same time all of this was happening, I interviewed for a job working with my best friend. Several days later I went back for a second interview and was hired. All in all, I spent about 5 days in between jobs and felt like I’d had a mini-vacation. I got to go to nearly all of Winter Bible Seminar which was a huge thing. with my new job, I’m working more of a M-F “bankers hours” schedule so to speak. I also somehow managed to join the choir part of the Easter production “The Choice” performed at Rhema over Easter weekend – mainly so my oldest son could also be in the play.

Since January the boys and I have been back at Rhema. It wasn’t easy going alone at first and still isn’t super easy but I’m getting used to it. I’ve met some very nice people over the last few months. And with a church as big as Rhema it’s very easy to sit in the same place every service and yet not see the same people around you twice.

I have always been a people person, for as long as I can remember anyway. But with the divorce I learned not only some things about myself but who my real friends were/are. In short, my world became very small. I’ve spent the last 2.5 years or so raising my boys and figuring out me, trying to at least. Figuring out when I was most happy and the things that I like to do because I like them not because everyone else does and I tolerate them. One of things the struck me as a “happy time” was volunteering in church, both at Rhema and Victory. That was when I was most “me”.

But, the “me” now has been afraid to go back to the “me” then because that means stepping out of my little world that I’ve become so comfortable in. Taking that huge step and getting back to the basics, going home so to speak. Rhema is after all the reason my family moved to Oklahoma to begin with. I was content, too content, and would have just kept going on the same path I had been on. Not destructive or anything like that just complacent and settled.

But, I did it. I took the huge step of getting out of myself and stepping back onto familiar territory surrounded by unfamiliar faces. I did it because God said to. And you know what, I’m so much happier now that I’m “home” and my kids actually enjoy going to church. God knows what He’s talking about!


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