Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bloom where you are planted

Mike was offered a job in Illinois recently. When he first brought up the possibility of interviewing for the job, I cried. I was so hopeful. Back to Illinois! Home! Then, I went about my business here in Tulsa, but secretly I was googling the area. I was checking out the schools, the cost of living, the proximity to family...I was planning Thanksgiving gatherings in my mind. I didn't say much to Mike because after the interview, he wasn't even hopeful for an offer. I didn't want to nag or press. A week or so later, he did receive an offer. Then it was real. He had some thinking to do and we had a huge decision to make. Ultimately, we made the decision to stay in Tulsa. The move would have been difficult for the kids, especially the college and high school kids, but we know they would have adapted, so that wasn't the deciding factor. It just wasn't a smart move job wise.

We have lived in Tulsa for sixteen years and I still think of Illinois as home. As a married couple, we have lived in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Ohio again and Oklahoma. We have spent the longest time together here. Yet, I have lived this life here as if we will soon be leaving. Leaving and going home. We bought a beautiful house about 5 years ago. I have only done the bare minimum when it comes to decorating. It really doesn't feel like "ours". I have always had this lingering feeling in the back of my mind that I ought not get too attached or go out of my way to really fix it up, since we aren't staying. It wasn't a rational feeling or even one I was highly conscience of, yet it was there.

When it became clear that moving "back home" wouldn't be a good move, I was a little angry. Perplexed. Why would God present this opportunity to us, then when we prayed about it, make it clear to us that Tulsa is where we should stay? What was the point? Then I understood. We were faced with a choice. We weighed pros and cons. We chose Tulsa. We were forced to look at what we have here in this city, in this state and say to ourselves, "This is home. This is where we are staying.". I have a new attitude about Tulsa, born of contentment. I will be content here. This will be home. I may never know the reason we are supposed to be here, but I can accept it and embrace it.

In my 16 years here I have kept a short list of "Things to Appreciate about Tulsa" in my journal. I have tried to find the beauty. Reasons to love living here. Here are some pretty awesome things about T-town:

1. I have a good friend, Denise, who is also a transplanted Tulsan. She grew up in Seattle. She once mentioned to me that in her own search for beauty in Tulsa, she realized that crepe myrtles are something that do not grow in Washington. They are beautiful. I never saw them until we lived here. We have two in our front yard and they thrive every year, rain or shine, no matter how hot it gets. Ours are white and our neighbors have violet and bright pink. They are striking to see and they are survivors. You have to love that.

2. The music! Tulsa is home to The Cain's Ballroom, a legendary music venue and historic landmark that has been around since 1924. It was the site of the radio broadcasts of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in the 1950's. In 1978, The Cain's was one of the few venues that opened their doors to The Sex Pistols. From then on, The Cain's was recognized as a pioneering force in the music industry. I was surprised when we moved here at the eclectic array of bands that come to play. And now that the BOK Center has been built, huge arena bands come to town, also. There are also multitudes of musicians from Tulsa. The Hansons, Garth Brooks, The Flaming Lips, Roy Clark and Patti Page to name a few. Now, if only I could make it to some concerts.

Philbrook Museum of Art
3. Tulsa has two art museums, an Air and Space Museum, a Planetarium and a Children's Museum. There are beautiful gardens, breathtakingly beautiful parks and oil boom architecture. The Blue Dome district has some cool art deco buildings and Cherry Street has hip shopping establishments and restaurants. There are bike trails, a riverwalk and some top notch private schools. The University of Tulsa is one of the best small, private colleges in the United States. Tulsa Tech graduates are recruited from all over and is a highly respected school for computer technology. Opportunities abound in this town.

4. Tulsa isn't as big as Chicago or Cincinnati. It is big enough to do just about anything you want to do, though. Whenever I am in heavy morning traffic, I think back to the days when we lived in DeKalb an I had a teaching job in the Chicago suburbs. It took me 90 minutes to drive about 30 miles every day, each way. And I paid about $5 in tolls a day. I haven't seen a good car fire since the early 90's! I used to either see one or hear about one every day. That was bad traffic. In Tulsa, we just have minor inconveniences.


                                          I used to imagine Tulsa looked like this....
Your teepee or mine?

....and this.

But, it really looks like this....

I don't like it when it looks like this, though...

There is beauty in Tulsa. Five of my six kids were born in Tulsa. Mike has a great job in Tulsa. Tulsa is home. 2013 is the year I'm going to bloom where I have been planted.


  1. What a great post! I love the new look, and you're going to have to tell me how you did it, since I want my blog to look like yours! Or similar.

    It is excellent advice: bloom where you are planted. When I lived in Austin, I felt much the same way, even though Austin was an incredible city. I hated the heat, but it was awesome and I miss it.

    It's hard to put down emotional roots when you don't want to because your emotions are tied to another place. But it's worth it. It's your kids' hometown, so it's home to them. It'll be a low process, but one that's worth it in the end.

  2. Thank you for the comment! I'm not sure why I drag my feet. I have some friends and neighbors who dove into Tulsa like it was their destiny realized. Time for me to do the same.

    I googled "free blog layouts" and found this one at It was pretty easy to install, following the directions on the layout section of the dashboard. I think you'll find something awesome! Maybe some day I'll get a custom blog facelift, but this will do for now. ;-)