Oklahoma ROCKS! •Osage Hills State Park

Today was nothing short of amazing! An Oklahoma must see. We took a day trip to Osage Hills State Park, just 1 hour north of Tulsa in historical Bartlesville,Ok. I had never been to this park and honestly didn’t know what to expect. It completely took me by surprise. As we took to the trail, the serene peacefulness was immediate. Nestled between 2 Hills lays an incredible river, flowing above a rock bed. The peaceful roar played in the background as we sat by the river to eat lunch under the trees. 


In the midst of this adventure we came across animal tracks in the mud anxiously awaiting our encounter with the wildlife that calls this 1,100 acres home. Then in the brush stood our first encounter. An Armadillo! We took ADDA off her leash and it was off to the races! They both scurried off into the woods until ADDA gave up and lost graciously to the wild monster haha!  ADDA enjoys the hikes and it’s nice to have it be so quiet where she is free to roam! 

The rock formations add a unique quality to the park. Adding some fun climbing opportunities to your hike and giving younger kiddos a break from just walking. They even formed some awesome 20-30 foot cliffs off the side of the river, making this a hike one to remember. 


Oklahoma is really a beautiful place! I take for granted that these amazing natural treasures are yet to be discovered by some Oklahomans. Our total hike was 3.5 miles and it took us about 3 hours to complete, including our sit down lunch. With cabin sites, RV hookups, and tent sites available,  this is sure to be a great place to make memories! Spend some of your 2017 at Osage Hills, it’s truly remarkable. Click here to get more info on how you can experience it yourself. Say yes to adventure! 


-Caitie Brown

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Unexpected Beauty

God gives you gifts in unexpected times and places! Tonight after lighting a fire and turning on the radio, the Oklahoma sky turned as Spring storms rolled in from the south. People ask me what my favorite thing about Oklahoma is & without hesitation it’s the sunsets.


I don’t live on an acreage or on a hill. I live in a very typical suburban neighborhood, and this pic above looks like a million bucks. Listening to peaceful music and watching my son play under the trees was perfection. Then God allowed him to play under a rainbow. 


Even though this night had all of those beautiful elements, the best one was who God allowed me to spend it with. My parents and my husband were here to share it with me! It’s true that you can experience the adventures of a lifetime, but if you have no one to experience it with, it’s not the same. Companionship is one of the best elements of adventure. Even if it’s as simple as a beautiful sunset in your backyard, make it an adventure, and make sure you have people to experience it with. 

Our life can live on in the memories we create with others. 

-Caitie Brown

5 Places that Make Tulsa Awesome  

Think Outside

I was born and raised in Oklahoma. It’s home & I don’t see myself living anywhere else. I love to travel and see as much as I can, but don’t get me wrong, my roots run deep! Growing up here was amazing as a child. My mom taught me at a young age that Oklahoma is beautiful & my dad taught me how to go explore it! Here are 5 places that make Tulsa Awesome

Natural Falls State Park


The 77-foot waterfall at Natural Falls State Park is accompanied by several smaller falls that flow from the porous walls of a fern-covered rock face. Hikers can view the falls from a platform above and then walk down to the base of the falls to soak in the incredible scenery at eye level. You can spend hours exploring the beautiful land and natural springs. It’s located just an hour outside of…

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5 Places that Make Tulsa Awesome  

I was born and raised in Oklahoma. It’s home & I don’t see myself living anywhere else. I love to travel and see as much as I can, but don’t get me wrong, my roots run deep! Growing up here was amazing as a child. My mom taught me at a young age that Oklahoma is beautiful & my dad taught me how to go explore it! Here are 5 places that make Tulsa Awesome

Natural Falls State Park 


The 77-foot waterfall at Natural Falls State Park is accompanied by several smaller falls that flow from the porous walls of a fern-covered rock face. Hikers can view the falls from a platform above and then walk down to the base of the falls to soak in the incredible scenery at eye level. You can spend hours exploring the beautiful land and natural springs. It’s located just an hour outside of downtown TULSA. Click on the Map link for directions. 

Greenleaf State Park

 

Located in Braggs, Ok lies an amazing 930 acre heaven! 27 miles worth of trail loops, fishing, camping, sparkling lake, and much more! Just 25 miles from Muskogee and 65 miles from Tulsa. Take the whole family for a day to remember.  This is among a top favorite for green country and provides enough amenities to accommodate several days worth of adventures!  Click here for google maps. 

Riverside Riverparks


Located in the heartland of Tulsa is a 13 mile paved trail that connects south Tulsa all the way to downtown. Complete with playgrounds, River scenery,  splash pads, Frisbee Golf, and the iconic Blue Rose Cafe. This attraction is the perfect fit for every generation! The heartbeat of Tulsa is adding the Gathering Place in 2017 which is sure to be a show stopper. Pack an ice box on Sunday and stay the whole day! 

Fort Gibson-Sequoyah State Park
 


Fort Gibson is just a 45 minute ride from Tulsa and jammed packed with activities! This state park offers the public a golf course, horseback riding, cabins, water sports, trails, swimming, camping, a nature center and so much more! Wildlife is abundant in the park. You will see amazing animals throughout your trip. Deer travel by the dozens, groundhogs pop up as families, coyotes howl through the night, and owls are always in sight! The perfect day trip that is sure to brings lots of joy and make many memories. Click the link for directions. 
TURKEY MOUNTAIN

 

Just along the west side of the river is a Tulsa favorite! Turkey Mountain is truly a unique piece of nature in the middle of the city! Complete with Bike trails, hiking trails, river access, and horse trails. You are guaranteed some adventure. With some moderate inclination it makes a perfect training trail and is a great way to burn extra calories! It has been rediscovered by citizens who voted to preserve this one of kind treasure and is quickly becoming a major attraction for the city of Tulsa. Click here to find your way to Turkey Mountain! 

Tulsa is a fantastic place to visit. Its forever left a mark on my heart. Come see what Adventure awaits in Tulsa, ok. 

-Caitie  

                      

Think Outside “The Office” – Leading People to Become Innovative 

Working within 4 walls, mainly sitting, can deplete your productivity! Whether you’re in sales, business administration, or management etc. you know your creative mind kind of disappears within that environment. This can kill the growth of your company! There is nothing more deadly to an organization than complacency, and nothing more powerful than intreprenuership (entrepreneur within an organization). Being creative is a great asset to any company, because with the lightning fast speeds of technology, you either adapt or die! According to Business.com there is no room for complacency. The ability to be innovative in today’s world is crucial, but how can we stay inspired and creative? The majority of our day is spent in an atmosphere that kills creativity. Think about it. Blank walls, cubicles, &  dark offices make up that majority of office buildings. 

I get it. We have to have offices, and cubicles. We can’t get around that. They are efficient, inexpensive, and practical. So how do we make sure to maintain a good balance of creative energy as well as productive energy? Some companies that have a larger budget are going to a more modern design with new architecture of bright colors and natural light . For example; GOOGLE. A company leading in innovation and as you can see in this photo their offices in Dublin are far from boring! This is proven to help increase company morale, productivity, and business growth.

So what do you do if you don’t have a fancy remodel, or a google size company? One of the easiest ways to bring creativity out in employees is by spending time outside (weather permitted) . It’s pretty simple! There are several opportunities to make this happen in any given 9-5. 

  1.  Any meeting that is non-confidential can be held outside. This creates a more casual atmosphere, breaks down barriers, and lowers stress levels. All of this helps your team think more clear and make better decisions. It also makes brainstorming ideas more effective by being in a natural setting as oppose to typical conference rooms. 
  2. Team building exercises are better outside. Our department did a half day Zip Lining tour at a local lodge in town & it built a morale between us that wasn’t there before. Plus, there is nothing more hilarious than seeing your colleagues flying down a steel rope in funny helmets screaming at the top of their lungs! Talk about bonding at its finest, with a little bit of black mail material to use later. Just kidding! 
  3. Break rooms can be designated in an outdoor setting. More architects are designing break rooms to incorporate natural lighting, courtyards, gardens and even walking trails with water sources. Hilti has an amazing outdoor courtyard that is an employee favorite! 

Putting these into practice will help develop a more innovative team and company. Don’t ever get stuck in the same ole routine day in and day out. Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying some new styles of managing can be scary but it’s worth it! Others may not understand it and call it weird, but that’s okay. Your job is to create an environment that allows your team to thrive, and that will help the entire organization. Some of the greatest things come out of simple ideas! Start today. Go outside and see what new ideas lead to a better team and a better company. 
-Caitie

    “Good Boy Mo” 


    Caidon rode his first horse this weekend! His name…. Mo. Mo is a good horse from Missouri. 12 years old and an expert trail horse. Caidon LOVED him! It’s funny how you go into situations expecting one thing but get something totally different. I was just wanting some fresh air and a day out of the house, however I got so much more than that. 

    The average horse weighs 1400 pounds and can run up to 30 mph! That’s amazing. I was also very aware that this was the only form of transportation for 6000 years, and we’ve only had cars for a little over 100 years. They were used for warfar,  medical transportation, and food carriages. Horses were essential in families for generations. Now you just see them used for recreational purposes. 


    Seeing caidon’s face when he met “Mo” was priceless. His childlike innocence was perfection! He respected his horse, and did everything he could to make sure Mo was safe. My prayer for Caidon has always been that he respects nature and animals. God blesses you beyond measure when he allows you to witness your prayer come to pass in your child.  Seeing his little hands pet the horses’ mane and hear him say ” Good Boy Mo” is enough to make my heart burst with joy! 

    Life moved slower on the horses. We were in no rush to go anywhere. With cars going an average of 60 miles per hour, we get used to going no where really fast. It’s becoming more clear as I get older the slower we go somewhere the more accurate our destination becomes! I hope with all of these adventures we become more aware of time & understand just how fleeting it is. 

    I know it won’t always be like this

    Life can change as quick as a kiss

    It’s not over yet and I already miss

    Today 

    – Brad Paisley 

    How to be Adventurous on a Budget


    I know, I know, it’s the worst word in the world. BUDGET! However, I’ve become quite fond of the budget, because it gives me permission to spend money and still be on a game plan for financial success. In my previous Blog Post, How we paid off $35k of debt & still had fun, it contained some ways we still had fun while paying $3,000-$4,000 a month on Debt. This mainly consisted of exploring the outdoors.

    With any activity or hobby, you will need to purchase some essential items in order to get started. It doesn’t have to break the $bank$ though! Being adventurous is great because whether you spend $1000 or $100, you can still have a fantastic time. You can determine what kind of adventure you want to go on and it can be at any level you see fit. You probably think where you live is lacking in the excitement factor, but I can assure you, you can find an experience of a lifetime right in your backyard. Spending hundreds in travel costs doesn’t have to be the case.  God has blessed us with an abundance of natural wonders that we have to preserve and respect. In order to do that you MUST go out and find them. Adventure awaits, enjoy the ride!

    Essentials- Necessity Items

    You will need a few essentials when you are started out and can easily be found around your house.

    1.Good Backpack or overnight bag. You can snoop around the house and find an old backpack from college, or some carry on luggage you can reuse to pack your day trip essentials. You can even find some really good bags at thrift stores and Goodwill that will last a long time. Never underestimate the ability to find a hidden gem at a garage sale this spring. If you cant find a used one around the house you can purchase an all-in-one bag for less than $40 on Amazon or eBay. I recently purchased the Huwaijianfeng Backpack for about $35. It’s suitable for 2-3 day backpacking trips and comes with a rain proof cover to protect all of your gear. I’ve only used mine a couple of times, and so far its been GREAT!

    2. Reliable Footwear. To start out you may get by with some decent tennis shoes that have some good support, but I would recommend a shoe specifically for rough terrain surfaces such as hiking, running, mountain climbing etc. A good pair of hiking boots could run you a pretty high bill. There are some alternatives to consider before dropping a car payment on them. Gear Trade is a fantastic place for all things adventure! They have some great used options. You can also shop the clearance sections at Bass Pro and REI during off season and find some steals!

    3. Emergency First AID  Kit. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate just something basic and lightweight that doesn’t cost you much or take up much space. Having an emergency kit is definitely essential on any adventure! Cuts and scrapes are going to happen so you want to be sure you have Band-Aids, Gauze, some rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment etc. You can either make your own or buy a pre-packed one. I found one for less than $10 at Amazon.com.

    4. Clothing. Unless you are going to be in 0 degree weather, clothing can be basic. You can find a lightweight jacket, jeans, and t-shirts that you don’t care to get tore up or stained. If not you can pick up some great inexpensive items at Wal-Mart or Target and not drain your wallet.

    Some other great ways to save on outdoor excursions is RENTING! Renting is a great way to save hundreds and still have some fun. Some equipment you can easily rent include, Mountain Bikes, Kayaks, Stand Up Paddles, Jet Skis, and repelling gear to name just a few. SUP OKLAHOMA Is a great resource in finding gear to rent.

    Image result for Standup Paddle

    Being adventurous is about feeling free! You can’t feel freedom when you’re worried about paying for your adventure.  Be SMART. Start Small.

    – Caitie

    Top 10 reasons to Cut State funding for Parks and Recreation 

    Oklahomans recently found out that more than 15 state parks possibly face closing in light of new budgets cuts. Here is my top 10 reasons this “should” happen. 

    10. State parks provide people a place to relax and de-stress. Everybody needs to be uptight and irritable 

    9. People will go to Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas for Tourism. Oklahoma is way to crowded with visitors!

    8. Thousands of people use the state parks every year, and their opinions don’t matter. 

    7. Oklahoma doesn’t have enough housing additions, so we desperately need development to take over. 

    6. State parks provide wildlife refuge, and there is entirely to much wildlife. Such savages.

    5. Nature parks can cause major allergy outbreaks. If we defund them our allergy symptoms will decrease. 

    4. State parks provide families with affordable vacation options, affordable vacations are way overated. 

    3. Going to state parks may require physical activity. Oklahoma is 11th in obesity, we really need to reach the top 10! 

    2. State parks can cause families to make memories & no family should ever be subjected to such trauma. 

    1. If we cut funding there will be more money to allocate elsewhere. The government known for their ability to handle money. 

    Please help our voice be heard by signing the Petition to stop the defunding of our great state parks! Our citizens deserve a chance at experiencing some of the best things about Oklahoma. 


    Natural Falls State Park 

    -Caitie 

    Think  Outside Your Marriage & Make it Great! 

    Marriage is not for the weak at heart, nor the type A/OCD . In fact, most people who identify with type A can find it extremely difficult to stay married! The majority of all unhappy marriages have one common denominator: unmet expectations. I know because I was one of them. 


    Think about it; your previous fight with your significant other probably escalated do to the fact that an event you had mapped out in your mind, didn’t go according to the playbook leading to “unmet expectations”. You start to argue, stress builds and boom you do/say something STUPID! This toxic cycle will often lead to an unhealthy relationship or divorce and we, as a society, have lost the art of self awareness to understand “WHY” we do this. 
    WHAT CAUSES BAD REACTIONS? 

    The key thing that I have recently learned from experience is my ability to make good decisions when I am faced with conflict in my marriage.  
    Let’s face it, you’re married, you WILL HAVE CONFLICT, not maybe, YOU WILL. It’s important to have a gameplan when you do! 
    The very thing that prevents me from making these good decisions is stress. Stress is a chemical reaction as a result of how you perceive and interpret a situation based on the meaning in which you allocate it. For example, you come home, and find your spouse has done something you don’t agree with and you immediately go “oh my gosh, this is bad!” Your body feels stress releasing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol magically makes you stupid by lowering your IQ by up to 40%!  Then you react under the cortisol spell making a reactive decision in which you would not have made if the cortisol spell was lifted. If you don’t believe me, let me ask a question. Have you ever broke something or shouted in anger while being stressed? 


    Just think about your last visit to Target during Christmas season! We do this in our marriages as well, & it’s essential to understand how to handle this. 

    CAN WE COMBAT THIS? 

    Absolutley! Praise the Lord! The only thing that can  biochemically lower cortisol is DHEA. DHEA is produced when a human feels gratitude for something by meditation or deep breathing. If you are constantly in a state of discontentment, whether you hate your job, financially stretched, over-worked, feel like crap, etc. your cortisol levels will be elevated and your DHEA levels will be depleted. This causes great strain on your ability to handle conflict, and can damage your marriage. 

    3 Ways to fight the cycle

    1. Before interacting with your spouse, be sure you have a mindset of gratitude. Be thankful for them. Go destress by giving yourself a breather. Keep a journal of all the ways they bless you. Keep it handy so you can be reminded easily. A heart full of gratitude will leave no room for discontentment! 
    2. Do more of what makes you happy as a couple. Think about what you did while dating. Go do more of that and allow yourself to go have fun. Brandon & I were constantly outside the first year we knew each other! We went camping, drove to the ocean, floated the river, and HECK we got engaged on the beach! Getting back to this has been awesome for our marriage. We’ve both been reminded of how much we love it. There is something so naturally romantic by nature. The stars, camp fires, a river flowing nearby… perfection! And the best part, it’s Free. 
    3. Do more of what makes you happy as an individual. Being happy with who you are  & what you’re doing is essential to a GREAT MARRIAGE. This will lower your stress levels allowing you to make better decisions when faced with conflict. 

    Think Outside your marriage and make it great! How does my this happen? By recognizing if your heart is full of gratitude or discontentment. I pray everyone approaches their relationships with a heart full of gratitude. 


    -Caitie

    Reaching the World!


    In 48 hours my blog has been visited by over 35 countries! To me it’s pretty unreal how sharing your story can touch so many people. Making positivity louder is so important to me, and by the rapid fire spread of my last blog post it shows that the rest of the world is craving positivity too. It’s my hope that I can continue to make positivity louder. I will continue this journey and document all the positive outcomes as well as the negative ones, because I’m determined to create happiness even out of the negative. It’s crucial that we make the most of every moment. If you were lucky enough to be a human, you seriously have nothing to be pissed off about! Follow me as I take the Road Less Traveled. 

     #makepositivitylouder

    -Caitie

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