Thursday, May 24, 2012

Open Letter to OKC Leaders and the Thunder Organization

To our Oklahoma City Leaders and the Oklahoma City Thunder Organization,

Unfortunately our city experienced an event the night of May 21st that nobody wants to happen.  We had a shooting in the Bricktown area of Oklahoma City.  If the world were perfect, this would not happen anywhere, but our city is not immune from bad judgment and violence.  Another unfortunate aspect to this event was that it happened right after what should have been a joyous occasion in our city; the OKC Thunder winning in round 2 in the NBA playoffs.  Thousands of fans gathered in what has become known as “Thunder Alley” to be a part of the excitement and festivities for a team that the fans adore.  National media saw and reported on both events.  

Our leadership has now decided to eliminate the broadcast of the game in Thunder Alley due to safety issues, crowd size, and inability to control the situation.  This saddens me, angers me, and gives me pause to reflect on what I’ve always been proud of in our city.   May I share why I believe this is the wrong decision?
·         The shooting did NOT occur in Thunder Alley.  It may not have any connection whatsoever to the area or the game.  

  1. ·         The motto our city and the Thunder have collectively used has been “Rising Together”.  Much of that stems from the fact that our MAPS initiatives arose after the OKC Bombing and our city leaders had foresight to stand strong against terrorism, to build, and to become better.  Those initiatives were voted on by the CITIZENS, who agreed to be taxed to pay for the changes, which included the arena so we would have an opportunity to have an NBA team in our city.
  2. We, as a collective city, cannot condone violence, nor should we allow those who wish to cause trouble the perception that they wield the power to shut our city, our events, and our citizens and leaders down.  If they see us back down in this instance, what is to prevent them from opening fire at “Opening Night” or the Arts Festival or any other well attended event?  Are we going to shut those down too? 
  3.  This truly eliminates the lower income demographic from being a part of the festivities and joy of our NBA team and the successes we have reached.  Many cannot afford cable and cannot pay to take their families to a restaurant that MIGHT broadcast this coverage.  Nobody is entitled to this privilege, but we pride ourselves on being a collective community.  Let’s not take it away from people who don’t have the means…..or people who want to show support and can’t find a ticket to buy
  4. The National Media gave a lot of attention to the fan support in Oklahoma City.  During the game, the cameras focused on Thunder Alley many times and the broadcasters spoke of the support in our community.  What do you think they will ask when they come back for the next series and the fans are not there?  You cannot avoid media coverage on this situation, so we need to put a positive spin on it.  There is already talk of an “Occupy Thunder Alley” movement.   While not necessarily in agreement, I do see the point.  Again, a large crowd, but it will draw negative press.  We are better than that. 
  5. There has been much speculation and even adverse comments about Oklahoma City being able to handle an NBA team and becoming a competitor to the “Big League” cities.  We have proven them wrong time and time again.  The perception once again will be that we are not ready if we are not prepared to control large crowds and celebrations.  This is another opportunity for a community who knows how to face challenges to prove that we are prepared and we DO know what we are doing. Obviously it is true.  We do this every year with “Opening Night” and the Arts Festival.  It is about a strong law enforcement presence and the stringent enforcement of ordinances, laws, and regulations. 
  6.  Lastly, we have not eliminated the problem by canceling the broadcast.  There will still be crowds in Bricktown in the restaurants and clubs.  There will still be crowds filing out of the arena.  There will potentially be crowds that would have been (or may still be) in Thunder Alley that will be in the area.  The same number of people will still be in the area of concern.  The same scenario could very likely happen again.
 Please reconsider your decision.  Don’t punish the very people who have supported our leaders and our NBA organization.  There are measures that can be taken (and truthfully should already be in place) to keep this from being difficult.  We realize it may require a little more money in the budget, but again, shouldn’t this already be in place?  Surely large crowds were an expectation with the draw of an NBA team.  Certainly there will be a parade and celebration if we win the Conference finals or go on to win the NBA Championship?  That crowd will be immensely larger and more excited.  

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer suggestions.  I’m quite certain you’ve thought of these, but as a citizen, I have spoken with many others who are willing to make concessions to be a part of this exciting time in our history.
  1. Keep the Thunder Alley Broadcast.  Set up a fenced perimeter or several areas.  Put officers or security /event staff at the gates.  Keep certain pathways open for emergencies and for pedestrian flow (easily done with concrete barriers).  Perhaps add a few personnel. 
  2. If necessary, eliminate alcohol.  Not a favorite choice of the responsible people in attendance, but one they would concede to.  There were people carrying 12 pks, coolers, and cases of alcohol the other night.  Not once did I observe an officer attempt to walk through the crowd or stop anyone.  If there are gates, they can be checked at the gate. 
  3. If the above is not available, why can we not set up a different location and stream the game?  We’ve done that in our history for other events.  If available, use the Ballpark or the Convention Center……maybe even the fairgrounds. 
I truly do appreciate your concerns for the safety of our fans, but this has now become an issue much larger than that.  You have had the foresight to make this city into something special.  You have had the foresight to stand against terrorism.  Whether it is at the hands of a group, an individual, or in one shooting incident, violence of any sort is terrorism when it used to diminish the quality of life or restrict the freedom of other persons.  Please don't allow fears to override the need for strength in this situation.  Once again, let's RISE TOGETHER and let our voices be heard. 

Angie Milligan,
Proud fan of MY city, Oklahoma City,  and the Oklahoma City Thunder

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 !  :-)