Trail Runner

We live in a rural area. To put it less delicately: we live out in the sticks. It’s only a few miles outside of the nearest little town, and only about 25 miles from the nearest big city, but it feels far out enough to forget about what’s going on there. I’ve started running again, after taking the winter off. There’s a lesson in giving myself grace in there somewhere, but I’ll save that for another day.
I’ve spent the last two summers training to run a 5K race in September. I’m notably the least athletic person in my extended family. My lack of coordination combined with asthma sealed the deal, and I spent the better part of 30 years believing I should stay on the sidelines. It wasn’t until after I had borne two children and pushed my body to its limits, coming out stronger and better, that I thought maybe it was worth more than what I’d been led to believe. I had faced down childbirth and finally felt brave and strong for the first time in my life. So, I downloaded a tracking app, learned how to stretch, and slowly, so very slowly, put one foot in front of another until I could jog 3.1 miles without quitting. I’ve always done the majority of my training on our country roads. They are familiar. I know the landmarks: the big oak tree marks half a mile, the house with the two big dogs marks a full mile. I take comfort in the routine and the sights I know so well. Recently, Adam, as a surprise, carved out a trail in the back part of our ten acres. He spent days clearing out small trees in the wooded area and brush-hogging the pasture to create a clear, 4-foot wide loop that comes out to be a third of a mile. “Isn’t it great? You don’t have to run in the road or worry about cars back here, or dogs. I even cleared an area I’ll keep mowed down so the girls can play right here while you run. I recognized this immediately as an act of love, but I felt a little misunderstood. Doesn’t he know that I like running in the road? Or that I’m kind of terrified of what is in the woods besides cars and dogs? He walked me back through the trail, giving me the grand tour. “I think there’s something that lives in this burrow, but it won’t bother you.” Gulp. “And I did my best to cut these flush to the ground, but there’s a knot right here that you should try not to trip over.” Great. “Okay, so I have seen a snake near this pile of wood, but not recently.” Are you kidding me?! “Yeah, no. I can’t. I’m sorry, but I know I am going to fall down, and I’m positive that every living thing in here will come out in the broad daylight even if they usually sleep all day, and I know for a fact that I will step on a snake and die.” I said this with what I’m sure was a wild look in my eye. “What are you so afraid of?” “Everything,” I said in a small voice. “Just try it. I think you’ll like it. Good luck!” And with that, he walked back up to the house and left me to stew in my own fear. I walked the trail once, muttering to myself and dodging imaginary predators the whole way. Then I realized, very reluctantly, that it was actually okay. Maybe even a little nice. No cars, no dogs, no witnesses when I get a weird cramp and need to stretch in compromising positions. Best of all, I’d be running around a field of wildflowers. I put in my earbuds, started The Office Ladies podcast, and slowly began to trod my way through the trail. Over the course of two miles, I didn’t fall once. I saw nothing with scales or sharp teeth. I didn’t even wind up with a bug bite. I was a little brave that day, and each time I have gone out since, I’ve done so with a little more confidence. I’m turning into the kind of girl who runs through the woods. That literally makes me laugh out loud to say, but there you have it. This summer, instead of only focusing on one foot in front of the other, I’m stretching my courage along with my hamstrings. Strength and bravery are in me, somewhere. I’m ready to bring them with me on the trail.

Equine Neighbors

These guys live next door to us. The fence that separates our land from theirs is a little bit of a tease, because our garden is barely on our side. The horses often come over while we’re in the garden, maybe hoping to snag a vegetable to crunch. Their owner very rarely rides any of them, and they are pretty content to graze and soak up the sunshine. There are about ten of them in all, and they’re friendly. When we have kiddos over, most of the time they can reach right over and pat the horses on the nose. I sit on the front porch and just watch them graze often. They have all the grass they could eat, thanks to all the rain we’ve had lately. Like most of us, I bet they’re thankful for this somewhat mild Oklahomasummer. 

Thankful: Spring Evenings

Those evenings are coming. Those longer, warmer, sun-filled, happy evenings. A couple of nights ago, we got our first taste of one. We had dinner outside, played some one-on-one basketball, and ended the evening by racing the sun for a few minutes of fishing. It was a perfect evening. We talked about our future together. We laughed together. And we were quiet together, enjoying the blessings that make up our home. I’m grateful to have moments like this with Adam. I’ll keep the evening tucked away with grainy photos on this little blog. Hope you are having a great week, as well.
Love, Bekah
P.S. I give A a really hard time about his overalls, but I think he’s kind of adorable in them.

Here, Lately: 2/25

Hi, friends! Remember my list of new, regular features? This is the first of “Here, Lately,” which I plan to be pretty flexible with in terms of what I’ll be posting about. Hope you all are having a happy Monday and are staying in from the gray and wet and cold. Here are some photos from yesterday, when it was blue and sunny and warm. Enjoy!

| The sun lighting up my field, my favorite place.
| Bluer than blue sky.
| Thanks, chimney and fireplace, for helping to keep us cozy.
| Sunsets can be pretty facing eastward, too.
| Mismatched boots (Adam one: is very trendy and two: misplaces his shoes sometimes).
6 | Wood from a dead tree chopped up last fall to keep us warm this winter.
| A daily reminder: I do need to be reminded daily, or I turn into Oscar the Grouch.
I  wouldn’t mind a snow day or two if I can stay home in it. Hope you all stay warm and dry. Have a lovely week!

Oklahoma Skies: Home

I snapped this the other day when Adam, the dogs, and I were out exploring. The dogs were supposed to be looking for rabbits, but it was a beautiful day, so I think they were just happy to be out wandering with us. This is an open area at the back of our property, and it might be my favorite part of it. Sometimes you’ll see deer, but often you’ll just see the neighbors cows grazing on the other side of the fence. They will lift their heads every so often to make sure we are staying in our area and then go back to their dinner. We have to go through a small patch of woods to get back here. Adam has cleared a nice little road to make it easier. It’s a peaceful, lovely spot that has a prime view of the sun setting. Country living is alright.

The Creatures

Hi, dear readers! Did you miss me? Hope all is well in your world. Things have been fine around here; just working, occasional fun events, and animal encounters. I don’t know that I fully thought about how living in the country meant living alongside animals.
A few weeks ago we were sitting on the front porch having dinner, and a hummingbird flew by super close to my head—I actually thought it was a bat, because I’m nuts. So, we put hummingbird feeders out the other night. Apparently they like sugar water, and they’re more likely to want it if it’s red. I only had pink food coloring (me, pink? duh), so I was a little worried. But, the next day I came home to a hummingbird flitting around drinking the sugar water! They’re pretty adorable. Not all the animals out here are sweet and tiny, though. The other night, Adam and I were running (more about that in another post), and out of nowhere I hear this weird noise. A deer blew at us! I mean, it just blew out hard and fast and took off! I wasn’t freaked out until I knew what it was and realized a deer had been a few feet from me. Apparently that’s their hey-I’m-right-here-and-you’re-in-my-space-so-I’m-getting-out-of-here-now noise. Of course, Adam knew what it was, wasn’t frightened, and told me to quit being ridiculous. Naturally.
So whatever, a hummingbird, a deer. Well, several weeks ago (and some of you have heard this, so bear with me), I came home from church one night. It was dark out and our pole light isn’t super strong, but I can see to get in the house and all. Well, I was walking up the steps to the back door and opened it, and as I was stepping inside, there was a SNAKE! A SNAKE! Just wriggling around on MY doorstep. Not his doorstep, MY doorstep. So obviously, I tore into the house yelling at the top of my lungs. I mean, I was screaming like the thing had taken my firstborn.
“SNAAAAAKE! There is a snake on the doorstep! Adam Wesley Warren!” He wasn’t concerned. It may be because it’s not uncommon for me to be yelling frantically about something—I need medication, I tell you—but either way, he was taking his sweet time.
After he had finished rummaging around in the refrigerator, he said, “Now, what? You think you saw a snake?”
This only infuriated me. “Uh, yeah. I know I saw a snake; I stepped right over it. Why does he think it’s okay to wriggle around on MY doorstep?! Well, go get it! Are you a crazy person or what?” He gave me a look that plainly conveyed just who he thought the crazy person was and went outside. He came right back in, and admitted that there was indeed a snake and that he had taken care of it.
I went outside to confirm the wriggling had ceased, and he had the nerve to say, “Well, it’s not like it was big or anything.” Now if you see him and ask about this, he will tell you it was no bigger that an earthworm. Do not believe this tall tale. The thing was definitely bigger than an earthworm. I’m sure it was almost a whole foot long! Either way, I don’t care. A nasty snake is a nasty snake, whatever its size, and it is NOT allowed in my home. Or on my doorstep for that matter.
So, I’m now very watchful anytime I’m outside. I think I’d like to get a little gun to carry with me while I’m tromping about the grounds, just in case. Chances are, I’d completely lose it and not keep my head long enough to aim properly, so that may be dangerous, but it’s a thought. I haven’t seen any of those vile creatures since then, but I know they’re out there, waiting for me. Ugh! Hope all of you have lovely, snake-free weekends.

Country Roads

Hi, friends (and family, because I’m fairly certain it’s mostly my mom and grandma that read this at all).

Today I have a little post about what I’ve learned about driving in the country.

1) People blatantly disregard stop signs. Unless there is someone else at the intersection, but really even both parties just might slow down out of courtesy. 
2) People also blatantly disregard speed limits. Unless you happen to be running late, then you can guarantee there will be a truck hauling a trailer, a giant farm truck, or a tractor. Those vehicles will always be going well under the speed limit and will also take up the whole road so they cannot be passed. 
3) When you’re driving, especially if you’re in a truck, you’re expected to give other drivers the “wave.” This wave is done by lifting up two or three fingers from the steering wheel in a casual manner. You may also nod once while you do it if you’re feeling extra friendly. Surprisingly, I’m pretty good at it, but Adam is still working on it. He gets rejected by the other drivers. 
4) You will see animals, and they will be in the road RIGHT IN YOUR PATH. Some animals I’ve seen include: Squirrels, rabbits, cats, and dogs (duh),  turtles (I helped one across the road), snakes (ew, ew, ew), deer (so, so many), cows (babies and mamas), and a lynx. Yes people. A lynx! Also, driving home alone the other night, I saw what can only be described as the feline version of the Grimm. It was a humongous, black thing that had a cat’s face, but it was HUGE, you guys. I told Adam about it, and he said, “That sounds like a panther. You didn’t see a panther.” He then went on with his life while I contemplated moving because I saw a panther a quarter mile from our house. The next day, he told our neighbor about it (who, by the way, is almost 80 and has lived on this patch of land his entire life and knows what he’s talking about), and he told us, “Well, there have been some sightings in the area recently.” We’re moving tomorrow. 
4.5) Just kidding. We’re not moving. But I hope we don’t get eaten by a panther.
5) You will probably hit an animal, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. I hit a squirrel, and the worst part is, it didn’t die right away! I hit its back half, so it had to drag itself off the road with its little arms! Oh, the humanity! I was very upset and told my grandma, who said, “How’s he going to store nuts for the winter? And he probably had a family… He’s probably still dragging himself around!” Thanks, Grandma. Thanks a lot.