Oklahoma: Great! Not just OK.


We are moving.

Not down the street to the green house we have been eyeing for the last 4 years.

Not to somewhere exotic or alluring like Paris.

We are moving to Oklahoma.

Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Dave has taken a new position within Schlumberger, and his base will be in a little town called Kellyville, just outside of Tulsa. The new job is exciting, from a safety guy’s point of view, and promises to keep him challenged for months, maybe even longer!

It is a good move.

It is also a hard move.

Very hard.

In all honesty, I am feeling fragile in a way I never have before.

For my entire adult life, I have identified as Alaskan. Even through our previous moves to the midwest for grad school, I still thought of Alaska as my home.

Over the last 21 years, I have learned to embrace all things Alaska.

This former Minnesotan learned to eat and enjoy fish.

I have helped to butcher moose.

I have driven into Anchorage from Wasilla with the head of a moose sitting next to me in the truck.

I have thrown up over the side of a number of boats.

I have camped on the Homer Spit, in Chicken, on the Denali highway, and many places in between.

My first baby went on his first hike when he was just 6 weeks old. Because that is what one does in Alaska.

I drive ridiculous, huge gas guzzling trucks.

I wear boots and wool socks like they are stylish.

My jewelry is made of ivory.

My scarf is made of Musk ox fur.

On the coldest of days, I don seal fur mittens.

Alaska is where I fell in love with Dave

Alaska is where I fell in love with Dave’s family.

Alaska is where the Covenant became our church.

Alaska is where my boys were born.

Alaska is where the World’s Best Dog will take his final breath.

Alaska is where my dearest friend calls home.

I have said before, that when I live in a place, I throw my self in fully, and when I leave, a piece of my heart gets ripped out and stays behind.

This time, it feels like I am taking just a tiny piece of my heart with me while the biggest part stays rooted, firmly, defiantly in Alaska.

And for this very reason I am determined to LOVE Oklahoma.

It would be easy to move to Oklahoma, a state I have driven through once, when I was 10, and only miss Alaska.

I could move to Oklahoma, and throw my self into reading and watching all things Alaska. Wishing I was back in my sweet little house, surrounded by the lush beauty and the grandeur of the mountains every where I looked.

I could do that. It would be easy.

And it would be awful…

For my husband, for my kids, for me, to wallow in our pain, our sadness.

So, we are going to embrace Oklahoma.

The heat

The tornados

The thunderstorms (I can hardly wait!)

Swimming outside in the nearby lakes.

The plains.

The endless sky.

Cowboy boots.


And I am going to read every book I can find on Oklahoma’s history, and pour over maps to find places to go that I have never seen, and never dreamed I would see, and visit the museums, and take in lectures at the universities, and find a church to call home. And I know, I truly know
That Oklahoma will not be just OK.
Oklahoma will be GREAT!

6 responses »

  1. Great post. You are crossing as many cultures as I did moving from MN to Ukraine. You’ve got the right attitude though. Come in as a learner, my only advice.

  2. ukraineguy sent us this link. My husband was raised in Alaska and I lived up there for around 5 years. It took me 3 or 4 years after leaving Alaska to realize the truth of Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” It was a very emotionally painful process – I never, never wanted to leave Alaska – but I was a whole lot younger then, 32 years ago! 🙂 A part of me still longs for the Alaska that you described, but it is a healthy longing now. So glad to read your post. I’m sure you will find a lot to love in OK (especially those thunderstorms!) just as I’ve learned to love some parts of Ukraine (OK and the part of Ukraine we live in look an *awful* lot alike). We still have a lot of family in Alaska so the ties are still strong, mostly in the Fairbanks area. I think I’ll be reading through your past posts over the next few weeks. 🙂 🙂

  3. Sandie, great post. It sounds like you are approaching this in a much more healthy way than me when we moved from Wisconsin to Oregon 20 years ago….it took someone someone saying, after i’d been in Eugene for 2 years, in an elevator, no less,. ‘don’t you think it’s time to move on’? They were right,.. Grieving gets tougher when there’s severall losses….and it sounds like for you, there are many. So be gentle with yourself, celebrate the goings and comings and, like your friend said, hang tight to Jesus… I’m thinking of/praying for you….

  4. We lived in Enid Oklahoma for 4 years in our first tour of duty in the Air Force. Really loved it, a great place to raise kids (then) – just make sure you have a storm shelter. Also, don’t worry about fixing your hair, because the wind blowing will always muss it up anyway. Oklahoma is “ok” – best of wishes we will follow you guys. My younger brother Tony lived in Duncan Okla and worked for Schlumberger many years ago. Good luck!

  5. Sandie, Please do let us know how you, Dave and the kids make out with the move. Welcome back to the “lower 48!” Love you always! Vanessa

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