Tulsa All Lutheran Messiah 2011

Handel’s Messiah

The lights dim and a hush spreads throughout the church. The choir enters from the rear engulfing the listeners, softly humming the beginning strains of “O Come Emanuel.” Thus begins the 91st presentation of Handel’s Messiah.

What started with a small choir at First Lutheran has grown to become an all Lutheran tradition including over 100 participants from 19 area Lutheran churches. You, too, may include yourself as you join the choir in singing the Hallelujah Chorus. It’s an experience of sight and sound and something wonderful deep inside.

The presentation are held at First Lutheran Church, 13th and Utica in Tulsa, on two days: Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th Presentation times for both days are 5:00 pm and 7:15 pm.

“And He shall reign forever and ever!”

ADMISSION IS FREE

Happy Thanksgiving you guys

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This has been a hurry up and get there so we can relax and enjoy ourselves kind of week.

Hurry up and get home from school.

Hurry up and finish laundry, groceries, cleaning, pack the truck, drive like crazy, unpack, pour some wine, cook dinner, clean up dinner, pour more wine, everyone talk like mad at once…

Hurry up and get there so we can enjoy the moment and relax.

We get so busy trying to hurry up and get there (whatever “there” is for you) that we forget to breathe. We think it’s all about the destination and not the journey.

I’m guilty.

Monday- hurry up and clean before C-man gets home. Hurry up and finish my meetings so I can see him.

Tuesday – hurry up and get groceries, order D-Mans cap and gown, drive, etc…

Wednesday – Hurry up and cook Thanksgiving food, rake leaves, burn leaves, find store in middle of no where to get things I forgot to bring

I spent three days hurrying up just so that we could enjoy today.

I’m up at 5 am because my dogs have small bladders and no sense of decency. Pies need to be baked, bread needs to be attempted (making bread that won’t rise is my annual ritual), and the turkey needs to go in the oven. In 8 hours everyone will be in a turkey coma watching football. Hopefully, we’ll stop all the hurrying and enjoy eachother.

I lost a friend last month. This will be her family’s first Thanksgiving without her. As I sit on my porch waiting for my oven to hurry up and heat up already, I can hear the dawn of this new day waking up: the brook just over the hill slowly bubbling and making it’s way to the lake,the owls calling good morning, the cows heading to the waters edge to drink and the geese taking flight as the rising sun kisses the lake.
No one is in a hurry. Maybe I can learn from them. I take this moment to remember Tiffany and her joy. I’m thankful I knew her.

Today I will slow down and take the time to fully engage in this moment of life. A thankful heart is an engaged heart. Notice the people around. Drink deeply. Breathe slowly. Live fully.

The trick to riding

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I love this sign. I see it every time I saddle up to ride. Funny thing is though now that I’m learning how to barrel race and eventually rope, Jo thinks it might be good for me to learn how to fall off a horse safely.

I’ve never really viewed falling as something I do safely. I always thought falling to be the equivalent of being unceremoniously dumped on my butt.

To help me better grasp the concept Jo changed her verbiage. Rather than thinking of it as falling, it’s really an emergency dismount. I don’t want to show you how to fall, I want you to learn how to land on your feet and stay out of harms way.

I fall off my bike a lot but I’ve never fallen off a horse. When faced with dangerous situations, dismounting is sometimes your safest bet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a horse or a bike. A rider should always pay attention to their surroundings.

Knowing when and how to fall, is as important as knowing how to ride.

Good News, It’s not the Gluten, it’s the Advil.

A bottle of 50 200mg Advil caplets

I have believed for over a year that I am gluten sensitive. Turns out I’m not.

Apparently if you are popping Advil like it’s candy and your doctor asks you what medications you are taking, it’s probably a good idea to tell him.  It’s especially a good idea to mention that if you happen to be, oh I don’t know, in the emergency room of a local hospital at say 3 in the morning.

“It would have helped if you’d told me you’ve been taking Advil. No wonder your gut is messed up.”

yeah yeah yeah.

I wouldn’t be popping Advil if my ankle didn’t hurt so badly and I didn’t think it was relevant.

Doctors hate me. Have I told you that recently?

I’m the knight in Monty Python, “It’s only a flesh wound. Come here and let me bite your knee caps.”

I hate going to the doctors and they hate seeing me half dead. I’m a classic tough it out kind of gal. Fortunately, I’m married to a man who wouldn’t be caught dead in the doctor’s office himself but truly does not mind taking me. Sadist.

I woke up with stomach pains a few weeks back and tried to walk it off when my husband woke up. I was trying to be quiet about it and not be a problem.  I’m pretty sure  my grabbing the foot of the bed and crouching like a lion every time the pain hit was less than subtle and a mild cause for concern. When the admitting nurse asked me to rate my pain I gave her a four.

Husband interjects at this point: “Four?! She’s doubled over, dropped over, can’t walk, can’t breathe and says her organs feel like they are going to fall out. I’m thinking it’s higher than a four.”

Hello morphine.

They took blood, injected dye that made me feel like I’d wet the bed (lovely) even though I hadn’t, and scanned everything. The best they can come up with is inflamed cilia. No kidney stones, blockages, appendicitis, pancreatitis or hepatitis, just inflammation. I was ready to say “see, I don’t need to be here.” when the chest pains hit.

That made me cry. Those hurt words than the stomach pain.

I’ve got to tell you, nothing makes an ER staff jump higher than chest pains, shortness of breath and vomiting. Suddenly, I am the most popular person on the ward, not counting knife wound guy. They wired me for sound faster than you can blink an eye and lo, my heart rate and oxygen levels were perfect.

This is why I hate going to the doctors — I feel stupid when they can’t find anything. Once they realized I wasn’t actually dying, they gave me this pretty purple drink that tastes horrid, numbs everything, and the chest pains stop just like that.

Anxiety attack?

No.

Esophageal spasm.

Those aren’t nice, just sayin.

Once everything is calming down, my husband sweetly whispers in my ear, “Honey, I know you are a girl and everything, but can you please just fart so we can go home?”

I’m not sure if it’s the joke, the lack of sleep or the morphine, but I laughed for the first time all night.

I’m ready to be sent home when I find out that chest pains get you a golden ticket to stay for observation. I’d already had the full gambit of heart tests in September, I really did not want more but I didn’t win that argument.

Once admitted into my comfy room I send hubs home to sleep. I wanted to sleep, but like I said, chest pains make you more popular than a double D bra cup does in high school. Every time I drifted off to dream land someone came in to ask questions, draw blood or wire me to another machine.

It wasn’t until I met the nurse practitioner that we found the culprit. Advil overdose.

My NP noticed my right ankle was swollen larger than a baseball and she thought I had some water retention thing. Once I explained that I’d shattered my ankle as a kid and it swells and hurts at night when I’m active and that I pop Advil PM to help me sleep, she knew exactly what was wrong.

How long have you been taking Advil PM?

On and off for about three years.

Doctors hate me.

Possible side effects of Advil:

All medicines can cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; gas; headache; heartburn; nausea; stomach pain or upset.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; trouble breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody or black, tarry stools; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; depression; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; mental or mood changes; numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent stomach pain or nausea; severe vomiting; shortness of breath; stiff neck; sudden or unexplained weight gain; swelling of hands, legs, or feet; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual joint or muscle pain; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision or speech changes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

See also:Advil side effects (in more detail)

OOPS. No more Ibuprofen for me. I’m now eating Greek Yogurt and Kefir daily as well as taking Vitamin D to heal my gut. All this time I thought I’d developed a Gluten issue and it was my advil habit. It turns out they did find something wrong. They also gave me a flu shot, which I thought was nice until I saw the bill. $285.00 for a shot I could have gotten at Walgreens for $25.00. The shock alone was almost enough to bring on the chest pains again.

As far as the chest pains – yes, I’ve been checked out by a cardiologist. My cholesterol is 165ish, I have zero blockages in my arteries, I passed the stress test with flying colors, my lungs look wonderful and aside from a slight heart murmur and a small dose of Lisinopril for blood pressure, I am in better cardiovascular health than my physically fit husband. Yes this kills him.

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Side Note: I shattered my ankle when I was eight. I’ve had surgery to correct it when I was younger and now it’s beyond repair according to my present doctors. I’ve been to two specialists, both agree I can either get a metal brace or have it fused. I refuse to do either and I’m hoping that losing weight will relieve the daily pain. Everything I’ve tried so far (walking, running, Zumba, aerobics)  just makes the pain worse so now I’m riding a bike.
Cycling does not put pressure on my ankle, I can ride for miles with no ill effects – other than falling off repeatedly, and no more Ibuprofen.

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Hallelujah Chorus – Quinhagak, Alaska

I’ve seen the flash mobs, the bottle players, and the monks, but I’ve never seen this one before. A friend sent me this video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska. It was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area. It’s already received almost a million hits. I think it’s cute. Hope you like it.

Poetry: The Brag, I Live

I Live

A brag poem, written for Poetry Boot Camp.

I’m not supposed to be here.
I’m only 15 and an average student.
Broken Home
Missing Father
Alcoholic mother
Working to pay my way.
Kids like me
don’t get scholarships over seas.
Until now.
I’m in the middle of nowhere,
Grimslov College in Sweden.
Which is somewhere really
When I think about it.
A holding place with 50 others
from around the world.
I’m in orientation
Waiting to be set free and
chomping at the bit.
The scent of Polo Cologne
And expensive cigars
Sends me over an edge
That I never recover.
I can close my eyes
And still drink deeply
The scent of a man.
Leather, Wood
Tobacco and moss
Mingled with sweat,
fills every waking pour
And I believe I’m finally alive.
I haven’t forgotten her
Half woman
Half child.
Sheepishly,
I remember him.
Eyes so blue they melt the soul
A countenance so kind
That girls swoon.
Yale Boy: A sheep among wolves.
He is wise beyond his years
He satisfies nothing immediate
And points me rather to life.
There will always be boys.
This year is a gift.
Live it.
The fact that I am only 15
And he is 18
May be aiding his wisdom.
Oh, what a year to live.
I live a year of museums and art
Of the pomp and circumstance of the Nobel Awards
And meeting the king
Even if I do accidentally call him short.
I live and swim in the Baltic Sea
Tumbling backwards down a hill
When I my host family strips nude
In front of me.
I live trying wine and Italian food
In Stockholm with friends
Only to throw it up while
Watching The French Lieutenants’ Woman
Because I’m too young to live so quickly.
Stranded
With no money or cell

I live hitchhiking

Back to my town.
Picked up by Iranians,
I live and lie like a rug
convincing them I’m from Australia
and not an American.
I live beneath the Northern lights
wearing only baby doll jammies and ski boots,
because at 16
on top of the tallest mountain I’ve ever seen,
that seemed the appropriate attire.
I live to face down a drunken lumberjack
who doesn’t yet know he’s in drag and tries to kiss me,
by kicking him in the shins with those same ski boots.
I live to see the boys
who weren’t supposed to be in our cabin
jump out of the second story window
like lemmings off a cliff when I run to be rescued.
I live to see Duffy
foolishly stay behind
and receive a black eye
defending my honor.
I live to come home again and chomp at the bit.
I live many years
Through careers
Through marriage
Through sickness and health.
I live in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma
which is somewhere really.
Raising a family
That’s almost grown.
I live and I wonder what’s next for me.
I remember the scent of a man,
wise beyond his years,
and it does nothing to satisfy the immediate.
It just points me to life.
 There will always be boys.
This life is a gift.
Live it.
This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.

Adventure: It’s a Bike!

Okay ladies and gents, I have some great news. Are you ready?

I bought a bike.

I know, that news seems pretty anti-climactic really. Especially after telling you guys how I totally lost my mind (or found it, either way) and went Democrat this fall. Compared to that, buying a bike may not sound like all that much.

You see it’s like this. I own a five speed and I hate it. You have to pedal like crazy just to get it to change gears. It can’t handle hills, it hurts my back and I can’t keep up with my friends when we ride the river.

Why do I own a five speed that I hate? Because my husband insisted I get a different bike, and I was in a mood that day. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a man or he’s the primary bread-winner and I feel… well I don’t know how I feel. I just know that  the more he insisted I’d hate it, the more deeply my stubborn heels dug into the concrete and linoleum floors of Wal-Mart.

Who buys their bikes at Wal-Mart?

We do. Or rather we did. We purchased four bikes that day and he didn’t want to go broke doing it.

Like a lot of married couples I know where one partner works outside of the home and the other inside the home, there are at times power struggles. We were eyeball deep in just such a struggle the day we purchased my nasty bike.

My husband chose the store and the price he wanted to spend. He’s the breadwinner and I was in a… well let me just say a bad place in regards to how we handle things financial in our home. So when he picked out my bike, I balked and walked over to this really pretty dark blue five speed. The more he insisted I get the bike he picked out, the deeper my heels dug into the concrete and linoleum floors.

Home she came.

One ride up and down the moderate hills of our bike trails in Tulsa and I knew he was right. I hated it. Did I tell him that? Nope.

That was four years ago and yes, I’ve ridden a bike that I hate for four whole years because I am not about to tell him he’s right.

Now, I have a dilemma.  I’m trying to lose weight  and I have a bad ankle from a childhood injury that makes running, walking, and anything aerobic really very painful. Cycling, is my best option.

A lot of my friends ride. Some of my friends even compete. They are a wealth of wisdom. This time, I didn’t take my husband shopping with me.  Applause for stepping out of my normally timid, hugely co-dependant/male-dependant butt would be appropriate here. Really, I won’t mind.

This time, I did the research and picked out a bike I knew I would enjoy, be able to ride and could afford.
20111114-073911.jpgFor starters, I didn’t go to Wal-Mart. I went to Tom’s Bicycles in Tulsa. Tom’s is locally owned and operated. If you want to save jobs in America support locally owned stores. Toms has two stores in Tulsa, one on 68th and Peoria and one in the heart of MidTown on 15th (Cherry Street). I know nothing about bicycles and their staff helped me make the best choice for me. You can click the photo of the water bottle above to learn more about Toms.

20111114-073855.jpgThis is the bike Jenny helped me pick out. It’s a Giant Brand and is just my size. I’m only 5’4′ and I did not know bikes came in small, medium and large. This is the first size small I’ve had in years. This dieting thing is working already. I love this bike. It has 18 speeds. The bottom nine are on the right handle and the upper nine are on the left. I can changed gears up or down with a simple click of a switch.

This is a street bike. It’s not a blend or mountain bike. The tires are thin and oddly bare. I didn’t expect that. Not sure how it’ll handle on wet roads, but I’ll find out.

 Click on the photo above if you want to more about Giant Brand Bicycles.

Now, this bike does have one slightly annoying quirk. It likes to throw me off.

20111114-073814.jpgThey say that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. “They” have never met the likes of me with a new bike and toe straps. See this photo? That little bugger held my left foot hostage five minutes into my maiden voyage and I crashed right in front of my house. I have gravel in my hand and elbow and my left thigh and right breast are deeply bruised by the handle bars. But you know what, I got back on and only crashed one other time.

Toms is closed on Mondays, but come Tuesday, the straps come off the pedals and I head back to Toms for gloves and a helmet. I’m thinking that’s probably wise. Don’t you?

So there you have it. I Deana, researched and purchased my very first street bike.

Let the adventure begin.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. November 14, 2011. All rights reserved.