It was 1996. I was 8 years old, and I remember like it was yesterday. It was a stormy Saturday afternoon & we piled in my dads truck & raced to the Yukon movies! It was the movie that brought more attention to Oklahoma than the oil boom in the early 80’s. TWISTER.
I was known as a dare devil growing up. The first rollercoaster I ever rode was the Shockwave at six flags over Texas. I was 4 years old and stood on my tippy toes to prove to my older brother I could ride after he dared me. As the train pulled away from the station and clicked to the top I freaked! All of the sudden I didn’t want to go, but it was to late. I had to ride this double loop giant rollercoaster all because my brother dared me to. I passed out and had to be carried off the rollercoaster. I loved every second if it. From that moment on nothing could stop me from adventure!
I was fearless, but that didn’t come natural to me. As a baby I would collapse to the floor anytime a plane would fly over our house or a clap of thunder would hit. It stopped me in my tracks no matter what I was doing. If it weren’t for my brother daring me to ride that rollercoaster, my life would look a lot different.
May 11th 1996 was the day my spirit was awakened & my mind was blown. The movie TWISTER was a story of a group of storm chasers from OU who were on a mission to advance the science of studying tornados. Joe, played by Helen Hunt, was my personal hero. She was beautiful, smart, strong, courageous, and unlike any other female character I had seen in the movies. She chased tornados with boys, & was the boss. How freaking cool is that?! That same dare devil that my brother brought out at age 4, evolved again at age 8. I live in Oklahoma where the greatest weather in the world takes place! I realized through watching the movie and living that day at six flags in my head, I could be anything I wanted to be. I was hooked! I started to read every book about tornados, watch all the documentaries, and stay outside all day just looking at the sky. The sound of thunder in the distance and flashes of lightening against the clouds sends my adrenaline into overdrive. Jumping in my daddy’s ford and flying down highway 81 in Canadian county with Gary England’s voice over the radio was my first big adventure! It’s the adventure that is still alive today. Still living in Oklahoma today, I always get excited when the sirens go off. It’s the fear, excitement, and the pure rush of knowing you can see something you may never see again!
Today I spend the majority of the spring and summer months studying radars, and looking at prediction models. I always love to predict high risk areas and Tornado Warnings. It’s a lot of fun when my chaser buddies go out and send me messages asking where they should set up. Although I love to storm chase, I try to do it as safely as I can. I try to only go where I know the road systems and have good visuals and cell service. Seeing a Tornado rush through the open plains is pure magic. Every tornado is unique and has its own spirit. Some are quiet and peaceful, dancing in a field against a Oklahoma sunset. Others are violent and destructive, taking peoples homes and lives away. Every storm presents its aftermath and Oklahomans know how to take care of one another. We know how to neighbor here in the heartland.
I believe I will always love Storm Chasing. It’s helped me become a brave woman, wife, and mother! I fear Oklahoma weather, but I am not afraid of it. Being an adult has forced me to become responsible and less of a FREE SPIRIT, however the reckless daredevil still lives deep within my soul. I will always choose to live life as if I am storm chasing. I may not know where it will take me, but I will follow the gravel roads and enjoy the ride.
This is hard to write. It’s not something I ever thought I would be talking about on this blog, but after reading the book and now watching the popular Netflix series, I feel as if not writing about it would be a mistake. In this story Hannah Baker leaves behind 13 reasons her life ended on cassette tapes. I must admit with all the controversy surrounding this show I was hesitant to watch. I’m glad I watched it. It wasn’t easy, and sometimes I had to look away. The images and scenes were portrayed in such a real way that I physically and emotionally hurt. Well done writers, directors and actors for getting it right. The book was hard to read and my imagination didn’t bring the scenes to life as much as the Netflix series did. The pain felt while watching it couldn’t even come close to the pain of actually going through it, and I don’t want to lessen the torture of suicidal thoughts. It’s not a cry for attention, being overly dramatic, and only for the weak. It’s very real and something you should never turn away or take lightly.
Here is my take away from watching this life changing series. No matter how many reasons you have to end your life, it only takes 1 reason to live it. If you find your 1 reason, you have the one thing Hannah Baker didn’t. HOPE. The smallest ounce of HOPE will make the 13 giants you face seem smaller, and give you a fighting chance. HOPE is what you need to have when the rumors send you home in tears. HOPE is what you need when you start to believe them.
Your job is hard! It keeps getting harder and more complicated as we expand our world. Dont let it distract you from the most important thing you will teach your children. Kindness & self awareness. Raise kind people. Let them see you treat people well, not only because it’s descent, but it may just save a persons life.
Help them become self aware of who they really are and what makes them bulletproof. The sooner they find their vision in life, the stronger their infrastructure will be to sustain the beatings they will get in high school & throughout the rest of their life. They may have 13 reasons to end their life, however if they find the 1 reason to live, that’s all they will need.
For the Hannah Bakers:
You are not the things people say about you to bring you down! You are not the horrible things those boys did to you. You may be broken and your soul may feel lost but I promise you, you are a masterpiece! This may be your story, but it does not have to be your ending. Don’t write your book based on other people’s manuscripts. It’s not to late to cut your strings, and take back your fate. God loves you and the ultimate healer of your pain is Jesus. He is close to your broken heart and that is why you are reading this now. He wants you to know that you are not forgotten. He holds every tear you shed. He sees every unspeakable thing you go through, & cries with you! You are never alone.
As far as the show goes, the 2nd season will reveal more haunting discoveries and will surely be another hit sensation. Always remember at the end of the day it’s a TV show. The cliffhangers and drama are here for our entertainment and we shouldn’t take it to seriously! However the overall message shouldn’t be discounted as just high school drama.
Please Call now if you feel like you can’t ask anybody for help.
This may be your story, don’t let it be your ending
Having a passion for the outdoors is a blast! Some people like a hint of adventure, some like A LOT OF ADVENTURE. Whether you are an extreme, all in adventurer or once a year kinda person you can purchase a few items today that will make you more prepared tomorrow. You can purchase as your budget allows or as you need them. The goal is to not go broke but instead get excited about trying new things!
1. Inflatable Kayak $65 – $97
The Intex Challenger is an all in one kayak that comes with your paddle, pump and repair kit. This is perfect for day trips and is super convenient with easy storage. You can get a single or double kayak that holds 220lbs to 400lbs! Fun for the whole family and a great affordable option for anybody on a tight budget or just looking for a space saver! Having a way to get on a safe body of water and go wherever the stream takes you is a very cool feeling. Click Here to gets yours today!
2. Durable Backpack $35 – $65
The Makino 60L backpack is the perfect bag for all your adventure needs. It will fit your needs on a day trip or even your most challenging overnight excursions. It comes with a rain cover to protect your gear and even contains technology compartments that will fit laptops and cell phones. Getting a good backpack makes any adventure more convenient, but make sure it’s the right fit for your style of adventure. Sometimes it takes a couple of uses to decide if its the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to shop around and always keep in mind that more expensive doesn’t always mean BETTER. You can always find a good backpack for less than $100. Check out this sweet deal on Amazon!
3. Outdoor Shoes $79-$150
This is an item you need to be a little more picky on and may need to pay more than $100 on! You can purchase items at Gear Trade for gently used equipment that is high quality at a low price. Good shoes can make or break any adventure. Crappy shoes = crappy experience. I recommend getting waterproof , ankle support shoes. This is really important for your long-term health because hiking and walking is good for you but if you have the wrong footwear it can cause long term joint pain and issues. Make sure you have good shoes. You can even go to places like fleet feet or a Podiatrist to ensure your shoes are the right fit for you!
4. Lightweight Tent $35 – $75
Having a lightweight tent is good for hiking and classic tent camping! They are very compact and easy to travel with. Remember that you’re only going to be sleeping in a tent so it doesn’t have to be elaborate, just enough to keep you protected from weather elements. If the weather is right,a tent, some blankets and food is all you need to go on an adventure! I always recommend something under 5 pounds to help lighten your load. Click here for a tent priced at $47.99
5. Compact cooking set
This makes any overnight camping trip a breeze. With all your utensils and carrying case, you’re sure to have everything you need to cook a descent meal. You can easily go to Wal-mart or Target and pick up different items for under $100 and make your own compact kitchen. I wasn’t that crafty and didn’t have the time, so I went online to purchase one the was already put together for me and it works! Click Here for a 13 piece set weighing under 2 pounds!
6. Fishing pole and Tackle
One of the greatest aspects of adventure is hunting! Going out into nature and hunting prey to feed you and your family is one of the most adventurous things you can do! Although guns and ammo can get pricey, Fishing is an inexpensive way to explore hunting for food. It’s also a great way to introduce this idea to kiddos. With parental supervision you can show kids how to put bait on a hook, cast a line, and reel in dinner! It’s empowering for anybody to catch a fish, but its even more empowering for children to. You can go to any local Wal-Mart for basic items, & shop at Bass Pro, Cabela’s, & Gander Mountain for specialty items. It doesn’t take much to get started!
7. Adventure Books
I know it sounds so silly, but when you start to read, you start to dream. Reading awakens the soul and mind to new possibilities. That is why I am so passionate about writing this Blog! I truly believe if more people read about how to achieve their goals they would do it. Reading books about hiking trails, camping spots, outdoor how to guides, etc. will inspire you to go out and do more adventurous things. Read to be inspired and don’t be afraid to plan your next big adventure! Here is a great gift idea or coffee table book to keep handy if you’re in need of some inspiration or a conversation piece!
When you get tired of the same Ole, same ole, go out and try something new. You can always build on your equipment overtime, however these 7 items are what I have discovered to help me go out more! My personal favorite & the most fun is our kayak. We can spend hours at the river or fishing coves just letting time move a little slower. Letting the stream take us wherever it leads it’s a perfect example of letting go of the things that don’t matter and enjoying the journey.
Oklahoma has hidden surprises EVERYWHERE! Just north of Owasso (about 15 Minutes from Tulsa) there is Lake Oologah. With 29,500 acres of water, 209 mile long shoreline, 11 lake side parks, and 18 amazing Hiking trails, Lake Oologah has a little something for everybody! With deep waters and perfect wind conditions, Lake Oologah offers sailboat classes and rentals that people from all over the region travel to learn from!
With all of these awesome amenities to choose from, there is one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Located at the far southwest corner of the lake contains Kayakers Paradise. Its known as Hawthorne Bluff just west of the Dam. Among locals this is a popular fishing spot, however the mile long loop secluded between two rock bluffs is a dream for kayakers! With 6-8 foot cliffs surrounding you there is no wind, plenty of shade spots and at the end of the cove is a fun spot to eat your lunch, jump off the cliffs, and go exploring. It does have a natural flow to the cove, but you will get a slight workout paddling to your destination! With its peaceful serenity you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed.
For kayaking close to home or traveling from afar, Hawthorne Bluff will NOT disappoint. Bring all your paddling gear and if you don’t have access to paddles or kayaks, Redbud Marina does have all your water gear available to rent! This is truly a special place for Oklahoma. Just pay $5 for parking and get access to a beach, Frisbee golf, boat docks, fishing docks, restrooms, and some fun parks for the whole family! Click Here to get to kayakers paradise!
It’s filled with rolling hills of trees and snow caps. It blesses you with peace and clarity. Let’s you know God is closer than we realize. Its’ 5 million acres humbles you with appreciation! I am dreaming. Dreaming of the Adirondacks! It’s not a famous getaway place, nor have many people heard of it, but it’s my dream vacation. The New York we dream about isn’t the city lights, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, or China town. The New York We dream about is filled with forests, stars, waterfalls, and peace. It isn’t filled with noise; it’s filled with clarity. Just 200 miles north of Manhattan is a place worlds apart.
Just a few hours north of New York City, the Adirondack Mountains offer an outdoor paradise. These mountains lie within the Adirondack Park, and contain millions of acres of protected land. Pristine and expansive, the Adirondacks’ mountains and rivers have inspired generations to hike, paddle and play in nature. Representing the largest protected area in the contiguous United States, the Adirondack Mountains boast more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails, over 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 1,200 miles of rivers.
America’s 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt, was quite fond of the Adirondack Mountains! He was known to go exploring there often. The history of the Adirondacks is as diverse as its geography. A battleground through three wars, the turf of loggers and miners, the vacation destination of Gilded Age magnates and home to two Winter Olympic Games, the depth and breadth of the region’s heritage is only matched by its glorious scenery. You’ll find forts, museums, historic homes and “Great Camps,” excursion railroads and even sunken wrecks in the Adirondacks. Events ranging from Woodsmen’s Field Days to the No-Octane Regatta to a French and Indian War Encampment bring history to life.
Every June Americade Bike Rally takes over Lake George! This event attracts people from parts of Canada and the USA. Thousands of people come for music, motorcycles, and beer. With this and all of the other amentities Lake George has to offer you will have a great time.
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.
I have never been a fan of gyms. The only gym I have ever been addicted to was the one I couldn’t afford because it was more like a country club. You know the gyms, the ones that have the incredible locker rooms, child care and showers. The plush towels, saunas, and hot tubs. The gym that has the Olympic size swimming pools with amazing spas and cafes, yeah those gyms. I wasn’t going for the exercise, I was going for the atmosphere! Even though all of that was amazing, it still at the core was a gym. Gyms historically are not beneficial but they get your monthly dues every time. They know it because they study this. They know how to make a fortune off you not even coming…. lol. Exercising outside is way more beneficial and less expensive!
We have built a small garage gym over the course of a year. My husband found a weight set with barbells and bench at a garage sale for $125. We purchased the Schwinn Exercise bike for less than $800 on amazon, have purchased some clearance kettle bells & bought a variety of inexpensive resistance bands. With all of that we have started working out together by doing 20 minutes every evening in our garage! It’s a small step in a life changing habit. This way we can be outside as a family and while Caidon and ADDA play in the front yard, Brandon & I can use our garage gym that include all of the benefits of exercising outside.
If you don’t have the time or resources for a garage gym, there are some amazing fitness programs around the globe that take this concept outside. In Tulsa, the number 1 outdoor fitness program is BOOTCAMP TULSA! It has 6 area locations including Owasso, Broken Arrow, and jenks. Founded by nationally recognized conditioning coach Jonathan Conneely, Bootcamp Tulsa takes fitness to a whole new level! All boot camps are held outside(weather permitting), with 1-2 coaches per location motivating you to do your best! Men and women are seeing dramatic results even after being stuck in a gym for years! Studies have shown that working out in groups creates better results, so if you cant find an accountability partner to workout with you, Bootcamp Tulsa is the perfect combination of outside exercise with accountability. For more information got to Boot camp Tulsa’s website.
Always keep in mind that it doesn’t take a lot of change to make a BIG DIFFERENCE . It just takes small steps one day at a time. You can start by taking walks outside, involve your kids, let them see you active and enjoying nature. Build on that and expand your exercise on that small step and you will be AMAZED at how different your physical health will look like in a couple of short months. Go have some fun!
It’s one of the most scenic lakes around Tulsa! Nestled in the middle of Leonard Mountain you will find clear waters, an ancient hiking trail, and a beautiful waterfall run off. It’s called Lake Bixhoma. Located 8 miles southeast of Bixby, ok.
It’s a quiet lake that is peaceful and serene. Not a ton of traffic but just enough activity to let you know others are near by. You are allowed to have motor boats on the water (low wake) and there are 2 boats ramps located on the north and south side of the lake. Kayaks are a lot of fun to have at Bixhoma! Stand up paddling also takes place with a group on Wednesday evenings for a sunset paddle, and Saturday Mornings. Go to Sup Oklahoma‘s website for more details on rentals and start times.
On the northwest side of the lake holds the Ichabod Crane Trail. This trail is filled with what’s estimated to be 300-400 year old trees that were documented by the Indian Natives. Rumors have spread that there is an ancient gravesite located off the trail. It’s about a 3 mile loop with moderate inclination and difficult surface terrain. Although there isn’t swimming allowed, you can catch a break from the heat as you hike down the spillway just off the NE side of the dam.
This hidden wonder is located 30 miles south of Tulsa, and with all the city of Bixby has to offer, you are sure to make many memories with your friends and family! The city of Bixby will be making improvements to the surrounding areas of the lake to make it better accommodating. They recently added some new grill and picnic tables, as well as a new jungle gym by the north side boat ramp. So grab a day pack and go enjoy this adventure! You’ll forget your’re only 30 minutes from home!
Click Here to go to the Hidden Paradise
You’ve heard everybody say “get some fresh air”, “get your vitamin D”, etc. It is actually true that the great outdoors can prevent illness and aid in the healing of diseases.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you’re likely to be. The study took an objective look at 345,143 Dutch people’s medical records, assessing health status for 24 conditions, including cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological diseases. The records were then correlated with how much green space was located within 1 kilometer and 3 kilometers of a person’s postal code. And what did researchers find? People who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space. – Source
This concept does not have to be complicated, and you don’t have to be super adventurous to enjoy the benefits of nature. Simply walking outside instead of on a treadmill does numerous things for your body. According to Everyday Health walking just one hour a day reduces women’s risk of breast cancer by 14%, reduces osteoarthritis by reducing swelling and inflammation, and reduces Knee injuries by strengthening cartilage. Walking helps in reducing your risk for diabetes by lowering your blood sugar by 24%, lowers you blood pressure, and cholesterol! Being outside was actually more effective (in some cases) in combating depression than the leading anti-depressants. This reduces stress which allows your brain chemistry to stay balanced. Walking outside has also shown to decrease brain degeneration, lowering your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Check out this awesome article published by Age Matters for more details!Before there was technology and healthcare advances, people used sunlight to cure certain types of diseases. In the 1800’s tuberculosis was cured by a process called Heliotherapy. This used sunlight to fight bad bacteria and increase vitamin D. Heliotherapy was used to cure common infections and skin diseases, but when penicillin was discovered in the late 1920’s, heliotherapy was forgotten.
This information is vital when raising children. With technology being such a profound aspect in all of our lives, children need to learn how to disconnect, and go enjoy the great outdoors! It is very important that kids know how to leverage technology and stay educated/ up to date with it, however being able to go outside and disconnect from a loud world is important as well. Students that played outside for 30 minutes before school sessions reportedly tested higher than students who didn’t. This study showed that these same children decreased their risk for ADHD and anxiety disorders as well! Kids that play in the dirt and in trees build natural antibodies which aids in the prevention of certain allergies and builds their immune systems. The younger this takes place the healthier they will be as adults. Help your kiddos stay healthy by giving them play time outside!
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir
I was born and Raised in Mustang, Ok just about 15 miles southwest of OKC, Ok. It’s a great place to live, and many underestimate all of what Oklahoma City has to offer. Here are 4 places that make Oklahoma City Great!
Oklahoma City is an amazing place to make memories! Make 2017 your most memorable year yet.