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Proud to be an American and an Oklahoman

Being grateful is something you have to learn. Most of us don’t understand how fortunate we are until we watch a show, like Extreme Home Makeover, or watch the Discovery Channel, that focuses on life in a third world country. We take our luxuries for granted, like running water or food to buy groceries and pay the bills.

Even for those who seem to have it made, those with the silver spoon aptly shoved in their mouth when they were born, seem to be missing ‘something’–something they can’t put their finger on! It’s an intangible that is just out of their grasp, and wether they really recognize it or not…they’re not truly happy! Those are the sort that are so focused on making their next dollar, that they forget to enjoy the simple things in life, like their child’s first step or their good health.

I think if we took a look at our lives every day and focused on what we are blessed with and learn to be grateful, we’d be much better off as a country…as a human race. I think living overseas helped me grasp how grateful I was that I lived in the United States. Although I loved living in Japan and the many other places that exposed me to different cultures, I understood how wonderful it was to have been born on American soil.

I miss living in Japan, and it was a time I wouldn’t trade for the world. It helped shape who I am and it helped me appreciate another life or way of living. How many teenagers would have the ability to immerse themselves in the art of the Japanese language and their lifestyle? It was a blessing, but there’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. In fact, when my dad’s tour was up and we got off the plane, I almost kissed the ground!

I got to come home to the simple things like grocery stores, that stocked everything I couldn’t get overseas. In Okinawa, even buying milk was a chore. Our commissary did had powdered milk that you could mix with water….mmm…that was good (insert sarcasm)! We couldn’t get real milk unless we went into the country to a local market, which we rarely did due to the exorbitant prices. Buying fresh milk was a luxury, not a convenience. I’ve been in CONUS now since 1990, so life on Okinawa might have changed since then. And I’m sure mainland Japan wasn’t as remote with their conveniences for daily life. However, here in the U.S. you can go to a 7-11 and get it at any given day. This is one of the things I missed, simply going to a grocery store.

This is all leading up to DAY 2 of my challenge.
What in life do I thank God for everyday?
I am so thankful that I am where I am…not just in America, but in Oklahoma.

A lot of you out there probably don’t understand what a great state this is. Especially when I could have lived in any state in the U.S., why stay here? Living here keeps me centered. It’s a great state to raise a family, and live a good life. The cost of living is extremly low, so I can live in a house that I wouldn’t have access to in another part of the country. The development here is booming but not crammed to the max, like California. It’s the perfect balance of expansion that allows us the good things in life, without filling every space to capacity. I still can drive down the highway to find any convenience, like theaters, malls, museams, amusement parks, new housing developements, etc.., and still enjoy the green pastures and beautiful scenery of our state. Plus, it the traffic here is a breeze! I can drive 30 minutes across town in 30 minutes….not 2 hours!

Oklahoma is America’s diamond in the rough that shines throughout the heartland of our great country. Our work ethic and human touch proved true after the Murrah Bombing in 1995. I’ll never forget exactly where I was at that exact moment when the resounding BOOM rang throughout the OKC metro. People heard and felt that for 50 miles away from it’s center. It was one of the worst days in our state’s and country’s memory, but it also provided us the resolve to come together as Oklahomans and Americans to prove that terrorists will not have control over us. Our fire departments, police departments, volunteer organizations, and ordinary average state citizens immediatley responded to the need and task at hand, which was rescuing those trapped in peril.

For weeks, Americans were glued to their television sets watching the rescue that sadly turned to recovery. That wirey mess that had blown to pieces wasn’t the only building devastated that day. Buildings were torn apart for over 2 miles surrounding that explosion. People in our city and state, and nieghboring states came in tenfold to support and provide whatever they could to get us past that tragedy.

This being said, I wouldn’t live anywhere else. The heart of the people here make this place. We are givers, and we are healers. Listing all the amenities of our state is great….low cost of living, minimal traffic, wonderful job market, new development and expansions…etc. These things are all wonderful, but the real reason I’m so blessed to live here is because of all my nieghbors, friends, co-workers, and fellow Oklahomans.

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