Thursday, June 16, 2011

Changing my page

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to start doing most of my blogging under 

instead of this page.  Because my nickname is "Sunshine", it has confused people to see the "okiefaith" blogspot link with a blog and name carrying "Sunshine".  I will probably leave this page open (and I have changed the Title to "Okie Faith") and use it on occasion, but hope that you will follow me on the other page. 

Much love,


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dogged Dislikes

 Recently I've jumped back into the realm, albeit slowly, of blogging again.  I don't claim to be a writer and I don't claim to be any good, but I enjoy the distraction and release that writing brings to me.  Sometimes I may actually write, sometimes I may fulfill a "tag", but I write for myself so I'm not worried about it being wonderful.   If anyone else enjoys it or finds anything interesting in it, that is a bonus!   

 Today I am following the lead of one of my friends (and a terrific writer!), Beth.  You can check her out here:  Word Nerd .  You will thoroughly enjoy her writing and may even decide to participate in a blogging group she leads called GBE (Group Blogging Experience).  Beth did a list of things she is NOT a fan of.  With that being said, I'm going to post a list of my own.  Ruh roh....scary!   I think originally these were done with 100 items, but I'll keep it to 25 just because I LOVE more things than I will ever hate or dislike.  Life really is good! 

Sunshine's Dogged Dislikes

1.   Liver.  There is NOTHING that anyone could ever do to change my mind.
2.   Monday mornings.  Yes, I'm one of THOSE people.  :)
3.   The price of gas.  If prices keep going up, we'll be spending as much on gas as we do on rent/mortgages. Good grief!!
4.   Freeloaders.  Plain and simple, if I have to work for what I want then why should others expect handouts? 
5.   Double Standards.  This is an area that absolutely infuriates me I assure you that you will NOT like me when I am that mad. 
6.   Smoking. Sorry folks, but it bothers my allergies, it stinks, and I have cared for (and lost) family because of smoking (read CANCER)....and I don't want to be around it.
7.   False friends. I would rather have one REAL friend than 100 superficial ones. 
8.   Two-faced people. It doesn't matter to me if you like me - I don't need you to. Don't pretend to tho' and then talk about me behind my back. Have a backbone!
9.   The current trend in who is considered a "celebrity" and how they are almost idolized. Snooki? Seriously??? What a sad statement about society.
10.  Most politicians; I doubt much more needs to be said. 
11.  Bad drivers.  
12.  Going into a store with 30 checkout lines and only 2 are open!
13.  The fact that we don't have recess and naps every day as adults.  ;-)
14.  People who incessantly whine about having nothing to do, but never leave their homes.
15.  Political correctness.& Give me a break! This has gone way too far. 
16.  Kobe Bryant
17.  Needing to "dial 1" for English. Sorry to offend, but this is the United States of America. English is our primary language.  I should not have to dial something special to have English spoken to me.  Grrrrr!
18.  Disrespectful/inconsiderate people. 
19.  The fact that there aren't more zero's on the end of my paycheck.  :)
20.  People who think I can't be happy because I'm single. WAKE UP!
21.  Parents who don't control their children in public places.
22.  Bland food. Yuck! 
23.  Whining. 
24.  Jealousy. Stupid and an often dangerous emotion.
25.  Distance that I can't cover frequently. (My friends are spread around the world, which means I can't see everyone as often as I would like)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What would you say?

A milestone passed, new things begun, dreams as shining as the sun, a goal achieved, a victory won!
As I sat through another graduation on Saturday evening, it gave me pause for reflection.  I watched the faces of the students, beaming with excitement as they finished one chapter in their lives and were looking forward to another.  I watched the faces of the parents, filled with pride and perhaps a bit of angst.  My own emotions were a mix of happiness, pride, and perhaps astonishment over how quickly the years have passed with these kids that I have grown to love.

While I contemplated how fast the past four years had moved, the Class Orator began delivering his speech.  This young man is academically brilliant; his wisdom way beyond his years.  He is talented and well-rounded, but somewhat shy.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  He began by welcoming everyone, then sheepishly explained how he had been filled with anxiety trying to figure out what he would speak about.  He explained that he was having difficulty and had no ideas up until the night before.  Then he explained how he finally found his topic and how it flowed easily from that point. 

In his sixth grade year, one of his teachers had her students write a letter to their 12th grade selves as a writing assignment.  She kept the letters they wrote.  This year, she gave each student the letter they had written as a sixth grade student.  Our class speaker had not read his letter until the night before graduation.  He had wanted to read that when he felt it would be most signifcant to him.  He read excerpts from that letter in his speech and expounded on a variety of topics, including some of the differences, some of the similarities, and the growth between that 6th grade student and the 12th grade student.  It was truly one of the of the better speeches I've heard in a commencement excercise....and I've been to a lot of them over the years.  I wish I had a copy of it that I could paste here for all to read.  It encompassed wit, humor, intelligence, forsight, and wisdom that it often takes people a lifetime to gain.  He did an exceptional job and it prompted a lot of converstation after graduation. 

I think the concept of a letter to your future self was a brilliant assignment from the teacher that taught these kids in 6th grade.  I know it was also something those same kids treasured when given the letter as they were preparing for their graduation.

Have you ever had a similar assignment or done something like this on your own?  If so, how did it unfold?   Did it give you insight or teach you anything?   If you had to write a letter to your "future self" now, what would you say?  I would love to hear your ideas/feedback.      


Monday, June 6, 2011

I was lost, but now I'm found

I was fortunate to grow up in a close-knit family, without the trials that many others have to go through.  My parents loved each other, they loved us, and we had a good life as a military family.  We moved a lot and it was hard each time leaving friends, but I learned a lot doing so, I made friends quickly, and always adapted well.  I was popular, always in pretty good shape, participated in a wide range of activities and sports, and by outward appearances, had a pretty perfect life.  In many ways I was confident, and often almost fearless, but there was a monster growing inside of me and I never even knew it.

Homecoming 1980

In my 20's, and even 30's,  I started losing bigger pieces of myself.  Why didn't I know it or see it?  Why didn't anyone else?  As simple as it seems, I think it is because I was in denial.  I  had convinced myself that all of the problem was me.  I would never measure up.  Others couldn't see through the smiles I wore or they gave up on getting their message through my occasionally hard head.   (It IS my blog, so I can say it was OCCASIONALLY.  ha! ha!)   What was this monster?  It's simple,  I had become a

Yep, that was me......a diehard, people pleaser.  When you are living for everyone else or their expectations, you become a shell of the person you would/could/should be.   My insecurities built.  The harder I tried to please each person, the more I felt like I was failing.  It was impossible to live up to the expectations of that many people.  The more I felt like I was failing, the less secure I became and the more I tried to do.  I looked for security and happiness in external ways, the worst of which was my belief that WHO I was started to become less about me and more about the people I was with.   It became clearly evident in the way I chose relationships.  What a vicious cycle!   Don't get me wrong, not everyone could see that despair and very few even knew about it.  I internalized most of it because....well, I couldn't let everyone down.  I LOST my identity.  That sounds dramatic, but it is true. 

It wasn't until I was in my mid-30's that I really felt like I hit bottom.  I knew I had to make changes.  I filed for divorce, made some changes in my life, and started using the word NO more often.  Remarkably, life started improving.  I shelved the dating world for a while, so I could examine my life and become reacquainted with my own feelings, dreams, and desires.  I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but that was one of the most sound decisions I ever made.  As cliche' as it sounds, I had FOUND myself again. 

Now celebrating the 21st anniversay of my 25th birthday (hey, I can be 25 if I want to be! Tee hee hee!), I am truly happier than I've ever been in my life.  I don't have the body I did in my 20's, but I'm more secure in it.  I don't  feel guilty for living my life for me and my desires.  I don't care how that is perceived any more.  I am okay with saying no and meaning it.  I stand up for myself and I won't tolerate other people disrespecting me.  I am not afraid to remove toxic people from my life, no matter who they are.  I have a great family and the two most terrific kids that ever exisisted!!  My friends are TRUE friends; not the superficial type.  I have made significant strides in the kind of man I will accept in my life, although there is a little room for improvement.  Tee hee hee !   Is life perfect?  Not by any stretch of the imagination, but whose life is?  Life isn't supposed to be perfect.  It is about savoring the important things, growing every day, and EXPERIENCING everything there is to offer. 

Yes, I was LOST, but now I'm FOUND.........and I'm pretty damned happy.   If there is one thing I can ever pass along that I would want someone to pay attention to, it is this:  True happiness comes from within.  You will never find it externally.  You ARE something special !   Although I don't believe anyone is perfect, this song resonates with me because I believe we should all feel this way THROUGHOUT our lives.  (Excuse the language)


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When I grow up I want to be.......

When I grow up, I want to be.......

As a child, did you dream of what you would be when you grew up? Did you want to become an astronaut or a movie star? Did you aspire to be a doctor or a nurse..... or maybe it was a circus clown? Did you realize your dreams or were there expectations placed on you by others for something different ?

With so many changes taking place this year, it has been a time for a lot of self-reflection. Thinking back to when I was a small child, I wanted to grow up to swim with whales and dolphins. I didn't care about the science or the research. I was much too young to think about that; my desire was only to swim with creatures that fascinated me. Beyond that, I was never a child who had huge aspirations for anything specific, except in my child's mind, I wanted to "help people". I didn't even know what that meant exactly. On the other hand, my brother knew from a very young age that he wanted to work in the news department. He wanted to be the next Walter Cronkite. He walked around with a little Fisher Price tape recorder for years. I am extremely proud to say that at the ripe old age of 16, he got into the news buiness and remains there today, working for ABC in Los Angeles.

I've often wondered as an adult if I have been successful. I've questioned whether there was something missing because I didn't have aspirations to do the so-called "huge" things or because I couldn't define what I wanted to be by a specific career or role. I have felt insecurities at times based on others' perceptions of me because of those things. Sometimes I even felt as though I had somehow let people down. However, yesterday I saw a quote that resonated with me on a very deep level. Perhaps it could even be said that this has been my life's "mission statement".

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life." ~John Lennon

When I read that quote, it was like someone was speaking from my soul. You see, I will probably never be a CEO or a famous actress. I will probably never have millions of dollars or a mansion on a hill. I have held jobs that some would never consider and I have sometimes lived in ways that make me appear simple. I am far different than I am perceived, however, the perception of others no longer weighs on me.

I have been present and watched countless numbers of people taking their last breath; moving from this life to whatever awaits in their personal eternity. I have held their hands, listened to their last words, their wishes, their sorrows, and their regrets. How ironic, that in death, life becomes clear. The things that become crystal clear when you are staring death in the face are those things a lot of people may have perceived as trivial previously; i.e. spending time enjoying the beauty of nature, the giggles of a child, the unconditional love of a pet, and the time spent with family and friends. You don't hear people speak of how much money they have in the bank, or how proud they are that they are the CEO of a corporation, or how nice that car in the driveway looks.

I'm about as far from perfect as one can get, but when I look at myself through my OWN eyes and not through others, I see someone who has been a big success. I've held roles that were meaningful and truly helped society, but my greatest success is that I am happy and I have helped PEOPLE. I got to be exactly what I wanted as a "grown up".

Have you become what you wanted to be when you grew up ??

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wild Women Do.....

Wild woman.  Bimbo.  Cougar.  Barbie.  Slut.  A variety of labels.  Some more degrading than others, but labels nonetheless.  What do they mean and why are they randomly thrown about?  Who decides whether these are appropriate and who is deserving of such a label?  Why do women seem to be subjected to more labels than men, even by their own gender?    Which one would you give me.... or would you label me at all?

I've heard things that have been said about me, but the two labels that seem to have been tied to my wagon the most frequently are "wild woman" and "cougar".   I don't find the term "cougar" flattering and I certainly don't wear it as a badge of honor, although if someone else chooses to do so, I have no problem with that.  First of all, I don't see myself that way at all.  I do not pursue (and am not interested in pursuing) men way younger than myself.  My daughter will tell you tho', I seem to draw the 20-something crowd.  They seem to seek me out, NOT the reverse.  In another aspect, it annoys me because of the double standard that exists.  If a woman seeks a much younger man, she is called a cougar.  A man, however, is not only EXPECTED to pursue younger women, but celebrated when doing so.  That same double standard seems to apply with sexual patterns/behaviors.  If a woman has sexual relations with many men, she is a slut.  A man is applauded, sometimes even rewarded and celebrated, for the same type of behavior. 

I had a friend in high school that was labeled a slut.  She was tormented, talked about, teased, and truly bullied.  Her life was a living hell for several years.  She changed schools, her family changed phone numbers, and they eventually moved.  People accepted that label of my friend at face value because a popular football player started it.  Interestingly enough, my friend was a virgin until she married. 

What about the Wild Woman label that is so often attributed to me?  What consitutes a "Wild Woman"?   I enjoy life.  I live it to the fullest and I know how to have fun.  Why does that make me wild?   I am judged on what people PERCEIVE me to be doing versus what I am really doing.  I am NOT permiscuous.  I DON'T drink a lot.  I DON'T do drugs.  I may occasionally break a minor rule or law (i.e. speeding), but under most circumstances, I am a law abiding citizen.  Have I danced on table tops?  You betcha (and completely sober too)!  Do I sometimes spend time with people half my age?  You bet I do!  Do I enjoy a variety of music and go to (*gasp*) concerts?  Bet your boots I do!   Is that wrong?  Does it make me wild?  If that is the case, call me WILD!!  :-)

Why do we have to label people?  Do you accept labels at face value or do you try to get to know a person as the individual they are?  I admit, I have been guilty of things like this in my past, but as I've aged and hopefully matured, I have learned that much of the time, a person is NOT what many people perceive them to be.  One of the most remarkable things in the world to me is the person who is UNIQUE.   Who wants to live in a world where everyone is the same?  BORING!    Let's try celebrating our differences!  

I am unique!  I am an indivdual.  I am ME!   I might be a WILD WOMAN....and that's okay with me !  :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is YOUR choice?

Many people know me by my nickname, Sunshine. I've been told on more than one occasion that it fits me well. Most people assume the nickname is because I am upbeat and happy most of the time. It isn't why I have that nickname, but I try to live up to that "image" people have of me. I assure you that I am not always happy and upbeat. There are times that I am carrying ten pound bags under my eyes and could probably wrestle a lion in to a pretty good choke-hold, but I TRY to focus on the positive on a daily basis.

I am sharing those things about myself because recently I received an email from a friend who is really struggling right now. She asked me how I can manage to be so upbeat and optimistic when life sometimes seems so dismal. I am not sure why, but it sort of surprised me that she saw me that way. All I could do was encourage and support her -- and explain to her what worked for me. I hold no claim on knowing what is best for others. I definitely don't believe I am a "wise counsel" or an example in any way, but I was willing to share what works for me. That is simply all I know how to do.

I have not always been a "Pollyanna". I have had my fair share of negative things in my life. There were times in my life that I was miserable and unhappy. Fortunately, I had the good luck of being slapped in the head by the whispers (or screams) of the universe. If I wanted happiness, I was the person responsible for finding it. Thank the heavens that I was granted at least enough wisdom in my life to listen to the whispers. :)

Even now, my friends joke that I'm one of the only people they know that really does have a black cloud hanging over them. We laugh about it a lot. I'm the one they preface or end stories with the phrase "only you". Isn't that all in perspective tho'? Honestly, how can I complain? I haven't lost everything in my life to a Tsunami and earthquake. I don't have a life-threatening illness. I am not sleeping on the streets in the cold/heat. I am not living in fear for my life every day because of violence where I live. When I look around me or at the world at large, there are so many people that have much more difficult circumstances to deal with than I do. How selfish would I be to whine daily and dwell in constant negativty because life isn't easy? Who said it would be easy?

Some of the people who "have it worse" are also some of the very people with the most positive attitudes I know. They are a source of inspiration to me. The people of Japan have astounded me in the way they have handled tragedies of such immense proportion. For people familiar with where I live, Oklahoma City has been a role model in overcoming tragedy and building from the experience to give meaningful lessons and purpose to LIVING. I have a dear friend who lost a child three years ago, yet he has gone on to start a foundation to support and encourage other kids to be successful and happy in their lives. I have a friend in the hospital right now that just had surgery for a tumor on his brain stem. His entire life is impacted, but he is keeping everyone else in good spirits with his humor and his determination, instead of the other way around. If people in situations like those can find joy in life, why can't everyone else? My firm belief is that happiness is a CHOICE. Yes, I said it. HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. Life might not be what we want or dream of, but why not choose to find joy while you are living? The alternative is death. Doesn't sound real appealing to me right now. ;-) Having said that, let me also add this, even if staring death in the face, wouldn't you want your last days/weeks/months/years to be filled with positive influences so you could enjoy the time you had left? What purpose would it serve to allow yourself to become so mired in negative mindset and negative behavior that you spend the time you have left without any joy or happiness?

How do you find joy or optimism when life is tough? That can be difficult sometimes, but it can be done with determination. Sometimes it takes determination. Personally, for me, it has been a lot of simple things that led me to finding contentment and joy. Every morning I find a quote that gives me purpose or focus. I post it on Facebook to encourage myself. Guess what? Other people started responding and soon I found myself taking pleasure in encouraging/inspiring other people or just initiating a thread. I surround myself with things that I love. I work in education, so there isn't a lot of money to splurge on things I love, but you don't HAVE to have money to find pleasure. I throw that in because I always hear that as an excuse or an obstacle to happiness. Water relaxes me, so I find myself walking around the lake or indulging in a hot bubble bath often. I LOVE music, so there is ALWAYS music in my life, whether that be on the radio, a CD, or somewhere else. I keep myself busy. If you don't have money, you still have opportunities. Volunteer, take turns cooking dinner or go out on occasion with friends, start a fun group activity, seek out the FREE things to do in your community, read, write, or find your inner child and play in the park again! There are countless ways to find pleasure, but you have to DESIRE to do so. Some days it may seem like an effort, but do it anyway! It will sound contrite and cheesy, but once you begin to focus on the small, positive things you have in your life, the troubles don't seem so insurmountable. Find role models, read inspirational stories, or ANYTHING that will keep you from focusing on what you find negative in your life. The following quote may seem simple and some may even laugh, but I CHALLENGE you to heed the words, live by them, and see if there is a difference in your life and your outlook soon.

Think excitement, talk excitement, act out excitement, and you are bound to become an excited person. Life will take on a new zest, deeper interest and greater meaning. You can think, talk and act yourself into dullness or into monotony or into unhappiness. By the same process you can build up inspiration, excitement and surging depth of joy. - Norman Vincent Peale

What is YOUR choice?