Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oklahoma Citizenship Day!!

It is official, I have lived in Oklahoma for one full year.  Last year this time I was on the road with my trunk, back seat and roof full of the only earthly possessions that would be making this voyage with me.  Leaving the DVM (District, Maryland, and Virginia) was filled with a plethora of emotion.

This journey didn't begin when I left home, it actually began back in 1994 when I read a book by Oral Roberts on the power of prayer.  In the book he discusses his university and it was then that I knew that Oral Roberts University was the place I was supposed to attend.  Fast Forward eighteen years (almost two decades), the knowledge that Oral Roberts University (ORU) is the place where I should receive my higher education from had not disappeared.  In fact, the pull for higher education increased over the years.  In my attempts to pacify the pull, I enrolled in multiple schools for various things, but I knew that it wasn't what I should be doing.

Enrolling in undergraduate school at 34 as a full time student, moving to a place where you know absolutely no one and every job opportunity falling through the cracks is STRESSFUL!  Over the course of this year my electric has been turned off twice, phone turned off, car nearly repossessed, couple of ER visits, no money except for when people sent gifts, received an eviction notice and needed assistance from social services to survive.  But, God is faithful!

Even in the darkest days, God provided everything that I needed and even some things that I wanted.  Honestly, I didn't think that I was going to make it.  I was ready to throw in the towel and quit a few times (more than I'm willing to admit) but I didn't.  Being away from everything that I know and love is hard, but the Lord promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He hasn't.  I got connected with an AMAZING church here and it has been my lifeline.  The people have embraced me and loved on me and been an arm of community that I desperately needed.  My professors, boss and co-workers at school have shown so much grace towards me.

So today, August 7, 2013 I am grateful to be in Oklahoma.  Things are harder than I'd prefer, but this experience has been life changing and I'm starting to enjoy the ride.  Here's to another year!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Was My Momma Right?

I heard through the grapevine from one of my aunts that my mother never wanted me to work and go to school at the same time.  If I was going to work, I need to work.  If I was going to go to school, I needed to go to school.  She knew that my learning style require focus and committment with constant engagement on the subject matter in order for me to do well.  Secretly, even though she is in heaven with Jesus, I tried to prove her wrong!  I can do well at school and work at the same time if I try hard enough....right??

Obviously not for this kid. So midterm grades are in and I'm failing. This is what the breakdown looks like:
F - American History
B - New Testament Introduction
C - Local Church Outreach
F - Hermeneutics
F - Health/Fitness II

I don't know what to do with myself.  Failing is not an option, especially based on the scholarships that I've received.  Not only is failing not an option, I have to maintain at least a 3.0GPA!  Granted it's only midterm grades and a lot can change, but can it change enough for me to do well?  This week is currently Spring Break and classes start back up on Monday, March 25th.  There are 5 weeks remaining in the semester, which means I have 5 weeks to get this together. 

The million dollar questions - how do I do well at work while staying on top of my school work?  Do I resign from work?  But if I do that, how will I afford to live?  Oh Lord, what do I do?

Friday, February 22, 2013

I won't be evicted!!

I am so excited because I won't be evicted next week.  Ok, background info.... I was late with February's rent payment.  I ended up paying it (along with the late fees) on February 13th, but apparently eviction papers were filed before I submitted the payment.  I thought that because I paid everything, there was nothing left for me to do, but oh was I wrong!  I received another notice saying that I have to pay the court fees in order to avoid eviction.  I've been worried all week because I didn't know how I was going to pay the court fees.  Actually I came up with a "just in case" plan of what I would do if I got evicted.  I will not divulge those thoughts here but lets just say I'm grateful that I won't have to execute them.

Wondering how I got out of the eviction?  FEDERAL TAX RETURN!!!!!!  I just checked the IRS's website again and my federal tax return is scheduled to be in my account Monday morning.  I can pay the outstanding fees, March rent (on time), get my phone turned back on, pay my extra late car note and get caught up on bills.  It's like God made a way out of no way for me.  Could I have asked a family member for help, yes probably, but I felt like this was something that I had to work through myself.  Through all of the ups and downs that I've experienced here - the loneliness, the frustration, the lack - it's worth it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Interval Training

Today in PE we had to do interval training, of which I really didn't want to do.  Let me be clear, I don't have a problem with interval training, I think that it is extremely beneficial in increasing speed, strength and endurance.  The challenge for me is that my time or pace isn't up to par with what is expected for students.  My pace/time is not even on the time chart.  So before we start, I try to have a private conversation with my professor to see what she recommends I do.  Instead of listening to me, she kinda blows me off and raises her voice at me in front of my classmates. 

Immediately I get tongue tied and have a hard time trying to communicate my concern.  She's like, "this isn't hard, were you listening to the instructions", takes my book and flips to the back to show me the appendixes that I'm supposed to use.  Now not only am I embarrassed because she's treating me like I wasn't listening (this time I really was listening), but I feel my voice start cracking.  It doesn't stop there.  Tears start falling out of my eyes.  In my mind I'm like, "ROCHELLE!!  Get yourself TOGETHER right this instant.  You will not cry!!" 

I think the tears came out because she wasn't listening to what I was trying to ask. In that moment, I didn't want to yell or do anything disrespectful so tears coming out was the only thing I could do.  Only a few tears came out, but it was enough to get her attention.  She understood what I was asking and I did what I was told.  I actually ended up doing better than we both expected. 

In our exercise today, we had to run around the track at full spead twice within a certain time period then pause for 60 seconds to bring our heart rate down, repeating the process 5 times. Today now my life can be compared to interval training.   The school & work reponsibilities have me going at full spead, but there are pockets of  60 second "recovery time" each weekend that I'm learning how to really take advantage of.  Although I hate the process sometimes, the benefits far outweigh the work. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Letter C Vocabulary Word

Word of the Week: Conundrum

It means riddle or mystery.  I like this word because it's so different by has a simple meeting.  To pronounce it, break it apart into three separate sylbols Conundrum: co-nun-drum (easier to pronounce when you break it down).

Sentence: Jesus spoke in a conundrum which makes it hard to understand the Bible sometimes, ya know?

How would you use it in a sentence?

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Time to Dream

Traditionally I HATE going to chapel, like I really hate it, but oh am I glad that I went this past Friday.  Dr. Rutland, current ORU President, spoke about the concept of "dreaming".  It was pretty timely as the Inauguration, Celebration of Dr. King's birthday and anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
would be celebrated a few days after chapel service.

I'm not going to steal his thunder, but essentially the message was that it is ok to dream and never allow anyone to stop you from accomplishing the dream.  Although chapel was a few days ago, the topic of "dreams" has consumed my thoughts since hearing the message.  I must confess, there are things that I use to dream about and longed for, but stopped.  I don't know exactly why I stopped dreaming....maybe I was sold a bill of lies and didn't believe that it could come to pass....maybe I realized the amount of work necessary to accomplish the task was more than I was willing to assert....I don't know why.  Do I even know what a dream is?

What exactly is a dream?  Is it an idea that floats around your mind while sleeping?  Is it a strong desire for or too accomplish something?  Is graduating from college a dream or just something to do?  Personally I feel like it's the stepping stone to do what I want to do, so does that make it a dream?  Is the idea of getting married and having kids a dream...or something that I'd like?  When Dr. King spoke about the life that he would like for his children one day, was he speaking about a dream or was he hypothetically speaking about something from his perspective that would never happen (no disrespect)?  

So I'm left with a few questions:
 - what is a dream?
 - how do you do it?
 - what keeps a person from taking an abstract dream and transforming it into a reality?

.......TBD cause I have homework to do...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letter B Vocabulary Word

This is what gas looks like in our intestines
Word of the Week: Borborygmus

I would be the one to choose this word, borborygmus as it means, "A rumbling noise caused by the movement of gas through the intestines".  So ya see, just because you may hear noise coming from your stomach, it doesn't mean that you hungry, it could just be the gasses moving around inside.

Sentence: The borborygmus coming from my neighbor was distracting.

How would you use it in a sentence?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yesterday was FANTASTIC!!!!!

I wait all year long for January 13th to roll around.  It doesn't matter what is happening in my life, January 13th always brings me great joy.  For that one day, I LONG for time to stand still, but unfortunately it does.  Traditionally I get my hair done, wear a new outfit and have some festive party to celebrate, but this year I didn't do all of that.

I did do my hair, but I didn't have a new outfit to wear and I didn't have a big party but boy did I have a fantastic celebration.  My day went like this:
 - Church Service: while here in Tulsa, I attend The Church ( where Pastor Alex talked about the tithing principle.  Essentially the points were to give God the first of your week, the first of your day, the first of your consideration and the first of your finances.
 - Sushi Date: a friend took me to a sushi restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious sushi lunch.  It was actually the first time that I've had uncooked sushi.
 - Loops: I'm really into crocheting and I want to learn how to potentially knit.  There is this store in New York that has fantastic yarn and when I heard about Loops here in Tulsa I could only hope that it was similar.  My visit was slightly disappointing.  They have yarn, but it didn't have the volume of selection that I was hoping for.
 - Target: as my birthday present, I wanted to get a new DVD to add to my small collection.  I ended up getting Bridesmaids because it is super funny and it was super inexpensive.
 - Cupcakes: one of my friends from school ended up coming over and we made cupcakes and just talked.  I love talking and she loves talking so it was a very lively conversation.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted.  I receive an abundance of FaceBook posts, Tweets, Text Messages, Phone Calls, Emails, made me feel like I wasn't far away from home at all.  I don't know if I can wait until next year to celebrate.  I had a thought though...dogs get to celebrate seven times a year, why can't I?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Birthday Eve

The eve before any major holiday, families and friends come together to celebrate the occasion and each other.  January 13th is not a major holiday recognized by communities around the country, but it is a day that I celebrate with robust delight.  It's a day that I celebrate life.  My life that should have been snuffed out before it even started.  Snuffed out from the multiple suicide attempts during my early teen years.  Snuffed out from the host of bad decisions and choices I've made that have had a negative impact on my body and even my soul.

Staying stuck in the past is not beneficial to anyone, but choosing to learn from the past and even celebrating the future is where victory happens.  This year I'm celebrating triumph and victory over my past and celebrating hope and possibility over my future.  Tomorrow is the dawning of a new year for me, a new year that holds a great deal of promise and adversity.  Tomorrow is my birthday and I will be 35!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Bucket List

I go back and forth regarding New Years Resolutions.  I think they are beneficial as they help you foci on accomplishing a particular task.  But I think they are sort of a waste of time at the same time based on my own track record of not accomplishing the resolution that has been set.  Not accomplishing it makes me feel like a failure/looser which further perpetuates an endless cycle.

Over the past few days I've been thinking about things that I would like to accomplish before I die.  We never know when our eyes will close on this side of heave never to open again, so why keep putting things off?  Some things just can't be done immediately.  Like I can't go on a 10 day excursion in Switzerland because of school and money, but there are things that I can work on and accomplish now.

So, my Top 10 Bucket List things that I'd like to do this year are:
1. Expand my vocabulary by learning a new word a day. (I'm wondering if this is practical, maybe it should be a new word a week - that is more realistic).
2. Take a 30mile bike ride along the Riverside Trail here in Tulsa.
3. Take Karate Lessons (I think that this will be so cool!!)
4. Be in a TV Commercial or photographed in a Magazine
5. Complete 100 push up continuously
6. Create my own superhero logo and character (I feel like a superhero sometimes, I should have an image to go along with it)
7. Learn to shoot a gun (I live in green country now and everyone has guns)
8. Take a few sewing classes.  By the end of 2013 I'd like to know how to sew my own skirt, dress and slacks (this will be totally awesome!!)
9. Learn to play the bass guitar
10. Complete a 400 meter swimming challenge

Thursday, January 10, 2013

So much to LEARN!!

My spring semester started this past Monday.  I have 6 classes (16 credits): American History, Hermeneutics, Health, Local Church Outreach, New Testament Introduction and Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment.  I'm waiting to see if I can enroll in one more class (fingers crossed on that one).

Thus far I've learned that I don't know anything!!!!  I thought that I was prepared with have a pretty solid foundation on biblical knowledge, but boy was I wrong.  My professors have already started quoting dates and various occurences in history that I had no clue about.  I knew that I didn't know much about history, but there is so much within Christianity that I just had no clue about.  Actually, it's probably good that I'm taking the classes that I am because I'm able to see how Christianity (and other religions) has developed throughout history.  Today, for example, we learned about Islam and the picture that is painted for us throughout media images is accurate.  I LOVE LEARNING!!!

The class that I am most excited about is Local Church Outreach.  We have a project to complete where we will develop a plan of action to demonstrate kindness meant to impact the local community of Tulsa.  Not only will we be responsible to develop a plan, but we have to implement it.  That is exciting to me because I will be putting to practice what I'm learning now verses years from now.  The class that I'm most hesitant about would be Health.  The class is broken up into two parts - Lecture and Lab.  The Lecture is simple, just show up and listen but the tests are brutally hard.  Although the tests are hard, your grade really comes from how well you do in the Lab section of the course.  My lab is today at 1:50pm and we have to do a 1.5 mile field pre-test.  Our run/walk is timed and we will repeat the exercise at the end of the semester.  Our grade is determined by our age and how fast we complete the run/walk.  The conflict is that I don't know if I feel like putting in the necessary work, ya know?  I know that putting in the work is necessary to do well in the class, I just have to make up my mind.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's Official

I had to wait before sharing this news publicly to ensure that nothing fell through the cracks.  But it is official, I HAVE A JOB!!!  I have been hired by Oral Roberts University as the Assistant Building Manager for the new student center that is opening up on campus this coming February 1st.  I applied for the front desk attendant position because of the hours, not because of the position.  Since being here I've applied to nearly a hundred different jobs but to no avail, nothing would materialize as I'm either over qualified, not what they are looking for or my school schedule conflicts with the needs of the company.

This position is in the evening which will not impact my school schedule (which, by the way, requires A LOT of reading!). I am doing almost exactly what I did in my previous position at home, minus the scheduling aspect.  How do I feel?  Like an Oreo Cookie. Fear and Excited are sandwiched together with the delicious cream of being amazingly Grateful.  I'm not scared of the job per say.  I think I'm a little hesitant about balancing both school and work together with the intensity of my classes - will I meet the challenges that both will bring and do well?  I'm excited because IT'S A JOB!!  I feel like I triumphed.  Hard and difficult situations didn't get the best of me - even though I wanted say, "Screw it all!!" (I actually wanted to say more choice words but I signed an honor code).  I'm excited with an extra shot of excitement because working on campus will help me build relationships.  That just makes me happy inside.  Then I'm amazingly grateful to be in a position where I will be able to financially support myself.  It has been killing every aspect of my pride to have all aspects of my life dependent on others but grateful that there have been people in a position to support me (totally a catch 22).

Training doesn't begin until January 18th and the New Hire Orientation is on January 22nd, so I won't start working working until probably January 28th (probably) and won't get a check until February sometime.  But, God has been faithful and provided up to this point, I'm confident He will continue providing.