The Best.


My brother texted me earlier this week and asked me when I was going to write a blog post about our family's trip to the lake house in Texas.

I said I'd get to it eventually and asked him why he wanted to know.
"Because I like it when you blog about our family," he said.

That, my friends, is why I blog. New followers are always fun, and the $1.76 a month I get from Google ads buys me a chai at Starbucks every now and again. But one of the best parts of blogging is knowing that my family enjoys it.

So, Austin, this one's for you.

When I say we went to the lake house, I always feel like I need to clarify that this is my aunt and uncle's lake house that they kindly let us borrow. I don't want to give you the wrong impression. My parents don't own a bunch of extra houses. There's just the one in Italy, but that's it I swear.

Our weekend at the lake was a last hurrah to summer and a celebration of my brother's graduation from his master's program. Master's of social work! Holler. 

Daniel was a little sad that he graduated in the middle of the summer and didn't get to walk, so my mom got a cake made and dug out Daniel's old cap and gown from Moody, and we had us a mini graduation ceremony with yours truly playing "Pomp and Circumstance" on the violin.
^^"Okay, now take Pioneer Woman's cookbook and pretend you're handing him a diploma." Good one, Mom. BUT IT LOOKS SO CANDID.

My sister and I shared a bed, so that was a fun blast to the past. Saturday morning, we woke up to this:
Yes, please.

Earlier in the week, my brother had sent a group email to tell us that he had a "project" we were going to do. When we asked what it was, all we got was "it could get messy." We were all a little scared that he wanted us to play the raw egg game again.

Turns out, the project was painting a canvas! No raw eggs needed. Austin had gotten a black canvas and acrylic paint at Hobby Lobby. He'd brought enough paint for each person to have their own color, and he wanted us to take turns spilling paint on the canvas so he could have a piece of art to hang up in his new classroom. (He just graduated from college and is going to be a math teacher!) 

My dad got the color pink because he was the last one to pick. You snooze, you lose, Dad. Literally.
We laid the canvas on a garbage bag before we started, and my mom made a pretty big deal about how we weren't supposed to get any paint on the grass.

And then on her first squirt, she missed the canvas completely and sprayed the grass with purple. So that happened. It was hilarious. The final product was really cool, and I wish we had more canvases, because I want to make one now! Such a fun idea.
After that, we set up a ping pong tournament. 

And by tournament, I mean my brother beat everyone per usual, and I got smoked 11-21 in the only game I played and swore to never touch a paddle again as long as I live. Or until the next time we go to the lake.

After that, other stuff happened like jet skis and mega hammock and seeing Bigfoot. You know, the usual.

After we got over the shock of actually catching Bigfoot on camera (in case you were wondering, the film is currently with the FBI being verified for authenticity), we played bags. I'd be lying if I said the rage didn't come out a little bit when Jordan and I lost to my brother and sister-in-law. We were up SIXTEEN TO THREE and ended up losing 19-21.

Fun fact: I am not a very good loser.
I may or may not have stomped off the bags court in a blind rage. I have problems.

The pictures below are of my brother and sister. He's taunting her in the picture on the left and gloating in victory in the picture on the right. My family's not competitive or anything.

While at the lake, Jordan did some fishing. Last summer at our family reunion, he and my little cousin Brooke had a competition to see who could catch the most fish. I'm being nice when I say he lost by a lot. He didn't enjoy handing over his man card to a ten-year-old girl.

There was eating, of course. I would have taken a picture of the huge bowl of puppy chow, but I was too busy chowing it down. (See what I did there?)
And now, allow me to get cheesy for a moment. (Pun not intended with the cheesy lasagna in the above picture. That's just a happy coincidence.)

I'm so grateful to my parents for raising a family of children who genuinely have a lot of fun together. We have our moments like anyone else. I really don't want to paint the wrong picture. There were some this weekend too.

But we work through it and move on, and we're stronger for it.

These are my people.
My favorites.
The best.

The Lady Okie's Closet Confessional [Vlog]


Hello, friends! Today I'm linking up with Kiki and Jenna for a closet confessional vlog.

Apparently I make vlogs now. It's a thing. I actually made another one this past weekend, but I'm going to wait a few weeks to share it so you don't think I've gone vlog crazy.

Below the video is the list of the questions I answered, and hopefully this will be a fun glimpse into my closet! I apologize for the weird lighting. I'm sitting on the floor next to my closet because I was too lazy to move my clothes aaaaaall the way to the other room. It's a hard life.

I put the times next to the questions in case you get bored and want to skip ahead. NOT THAT YOU WOULD GET BORED*
*You might get bored. I am talking about clothes after all.

I also want to add that there is no dancing at the end of this video. I just didn't want you 
to watch all the way to the end and be disappointed. I hate to let down my fans.

1. What's the newest piece in your closet? (0:30)
2. What's the oldest piece in your closet? (1:47)
3. What's the least expensive piece in your closet? (2:28)
4. What's the most expensive piece in your closet? (3:00)
5. What's the biggest bargain in your closet? (3:38)
6. What two items are you loving right now? (5:48)

Click on the button below to check out other confessionals and link up! 
In Its Time

Nicaraguan Adventure // The Vet Team and Eye Clinic


In my last post, I shared an overview of our time in the village, but I don't feel like I actually talked about anything that happened in the village. This post is about specifically what Jordan and I spent our time doing, and if you don't read anything else, please know that I am collecting old/outdated prescription glasses to send to the people of Nicaragua. I'm trying to get the word out about donating so BMDMI has more options to offer the people who come to the eye clinic. Donating is as easy as mailing in your old glasses to an address in Mississippi. Email me if you have any pairs of glasses you don't want/need anymore, and I will get you the address.

Okay, so like I mentioned in my last post, we did get to choose which area we worked in during our time in the village. I chose the eye clinic because I am a -5.5 in each eye (if you don't know anything about prescriptions, -5.5 is pretty bad), and I wanted to help some people to see better! Jordan worked on the vet team because the leader of the vet team specifically asked Jordan to help out.

Eye Clinic

Basically what would happen each day at the start of the clinic is people would get registered and then start in the medical room with the actual doctors and nurses, who would talk (via a translator) to the people and ask them what they thought was wrong. Anyone who mentioned anything to do with eyes (burning sensation, seeing spots, blurry, red eyes, etc.) was referred to the eye clinic.

Everyone lined up outside the door, and one at a time we called them into the room to see if we could get them what they needed. Eric, the local optometrist who works full time for BMDMI, would sit the person in a chair and use an eye machine to read their prescription. The computer would then print out a list of all the prescription glasses we had (all labeled by number), and Eric would circle the numbers that were the closest to the person's actual prescription. It was rarely a perfect match. 

Below is a picture of the boxes of glasses. When we arrived in the village on Sunday, we put the shelves together and lined up all the boxes. These are all donated glasses and is where yours will go if you donate!
We would direct the person to sit in a chair by the wall while we looked for the numbers we needed, and then the person would try on the pairs and hopefully find one that worked! 

Here's Monica and I in our little eye room. This is pretty much what we did all day long.
Sometimes we couldn't find a pair that worked, and it was really sad. But it was AWESOME when we were able to fit someone with glasses! Seriously, it was the best to see someone's face light up when they were able to see more clearly. We also gave out a lot of reading glasses and sunglasses. In all, we saw over 500 people in the eye clinic over the 3.5 days.

^^^ This is a picture of what Monica and I called "The God Box." What happened is we ran out of reading glasses by the end of Monday, but we had this random box of reading glasses. We didn't know what prescription they were, but when someone came in who needed reading glasses, we decided to just grab the box and let them see if they could find a pair that worked.

I am not kidding you when I say that usually when we grabbed a random pair of glasses from this box, it worked on the first or second try! Only a few times were we unable to find someone a pair from the God box. By the time the last day of clinic rolled around, we had given away all but maybe four pairs from this box! It's hard for me to describe just how miraculous it was that so many of these pairs fit the people who came in, and I do not for one second think it was just coincidence.
There were many things that stuck out to me during my time in the eye clinic. Here are just a few. I'm writing them down so I don't forget:
  • The little boy who was blind in one eye and needed glasses to improve vision in his other eye. We had only 3 pairs in his prescription, and 2 of them were huge old man bifocals that didn't fit his face. The last pair were the cutest little glasses that fit perfectly and helped him see!
  • The blind woman who came in. She could barely see to find the chair to sit in and was being led by her 7-year-old daughter. She had 3 kids under the age of 7, and her husband was working far away and didn't come home very often. I helped her get rice and beans and clothes for her children, and we did find a pair of glasses that she said helped her to see a little better.
  • The old woman who said she wanted reading glasses so she could see to read La Biblia.
  • The old man with gray hair poking out underneath a weathered cowboy hat and a bright smile who, when I stood back and asked him if he could see better with the glasses on, said that I looked "bonita." (beautiful)
  • The twenty-something girl who we gave sunglasses to. The next day I saw her back at the clinic with a friend she'd brought. She stopped me and pointed to her sunglasses and said, "Sexy, no?" and smiled the biggest smile.
  • The sweet old lady we found reading glasses for. She clapped her hands, smiled, and then kissed my cheek.
What amazed me the most is how grateful the people were for the glasses, even though they were used, donated glasses, some of them old and scratched. We always feel like we need the best, the newest, the most expensive, and instead maybe we should spend more time being grateful for what we already have. 

The Vet Team
While I was in the eye clinic, Jordan worked on the vet team. He and the team left in Dr. Nicaragua's Toyota every day to drive out into the country and vaccinate the farmers' animals. They vaccinated pigs, dogs, horses, cattle, and sheep (and one goat!) for anthrax, B-12, and some other stuff. This is important work, because animals are these people's way to eat and live, and vaccinations keep them healthy.
While they were working with the animals, they also shared the gospel with the farmers. It was hard work, but Jordan had a blast working on the vet team. Every day around noon they came back for lunch, and it was fun to eat lunch together.

What I loved about this trip was being in the clinic and getting to meet all the people who came through. Since they had gone to church before coming to see us in the eye clinic, I tried to be very conscious of the fact that we were living representations of the gospel.

What would it say about God if the people went to church and heard about love and mercy, and then came to the clinic and we were mean to them? Our lives are a testimony just as much as our words, maybe even more. I always try to think of that, not just in Nicaragua.

So that's the end of the recap of the clinic! I have just one more post from Nicaragua, and it will be pictures from our free day on Friday when we got back from clinic. Here's a preview! Can you guess what we did?

Email me if you have glasses to donate! I'll get you the address.
Anyone else have prescription worse than -5.5?

Runners Tell All Linkup: Where I Take You Running with Me!


"Runner's Tell All" is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month we'll have a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here. We are accepting two sponsorship spots for each month, who will receive a sidebar ad on both blogs as well as entry links in the giveaway. 100% of your sponsorship money will go directly toward running-related giveaways. Find more information on sponsorship here. We have 2 spots available for September!

This month's topic is: your training routine

As quite often happens, the idea for this post came to me while I was running. You know how they have those slogans like "I run for cupcakes"? Well, that's true. Obviously. But I think I also need to add "I run for blogging" as a personal slogan, because so many of my best ideas for posts come to me while I'm out on a run. This makes me wonder if all of life's troubles, little and big, could be solved if everyone just decided to go out for a run every now again.

For today's post, I decided that instead of writing out the ins and outs of my training routine, I would take my camera with me on a Saturday run and let you come along for the ride. Or, run, if you will.

As I've mentioned numerous times on this blog, during the spring and fall I do most of my Saturday long runs with the Oklahoma City Landrunners. They meet every Saturday at 6:30, and it's completely free (although I do pay the $20 annual membership fee because I love them and want to support them). I know it sounds all hardcore of me to say I get up at 5:45 on a Saturday morning to run, but the truth is, if it weren't for the Landrunners, I wouldn't do it.

Fall training recently started up again, and I thought it would be fun if you came along with me for an 8-mile run along Lake Hefner. (Note: the location of the run moves around from week to week, so my Saturday runs don't always look like this).

I carried my little point-and-shoot with me the whole time and stopped to take pictures along the way. Just in case you're interested, here is what your mile splits will look like if you do this: 

So let's go! Come run with me.
^^^There's really nothing better than hearing the sound of hundreds of feet pounding the pavement. The light chatter of voices and the beeps of Garmins getting turned on. The beginning of these training runs is one of my favorite parts. That and the end, when I stuff my face with all the calories I just burned off. You think I'm joking.
^^^This is one of about 50 attempts of me to take a cool, artsy, shot of my legs and the pavement. Note to everyone: these pictures make no one's legs look good. Ever. Hashtag cellulite.
^^^Do you like how I hashtag my pictures so we can all pretend we're on Instagram right now? This is what I get for not having a smart phone. 
^^^One of the awesome things about the Landrunners is that they provide water stops along the route. For this out-and-back loop, we had water stops at mile 2 and 4, and then we caught it coming back at mile 6.
^^^It figures that the day I decide to take my camera on a run, there's a hot air balloon taking off pretty much right above me. Blogger's luck. Also, artsy shot of my leg and the pavement coming up! You're welcome. (Quick shoutout to Kari for the inspiration of blurry running pics.)
Did you like our run? Well it gets better! I have a video for you too. Oh yes. Since I can't actually take you all on a run with me, I figured a little video was as close as I could get :) Enjoy!

(Sunday, September 21)

Your Race Bucket List
What races would you love to do if you had the time/money? 
These can be as realistic or unrealistic as you want!

Please check these girls out! 
They both are awesome running blogger friends.

Runners Tell All Linkup Rules

  1. You MUST leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners! Don't be lame.
  2. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (I've done it before too, so I'm not joking.)
  3. Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button below and add it to your post. 
  4. Have fun!