It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I am very late on the writing of the post, but I think it’s better late than never.  And we’re still in the midst of what I think is the most wonderful time of the year.  However, I have to admit, that commercialization of this season is really starting to get to me, and I almost faltered, not doing ANY pumpkin flavored recipes until this past week.   Continue reading It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Do One Green Thing- Produce, Meat, Dairy, Poultry, and Eggs

Embarking on this journey to live fit and green has been empowering, but I am very grateful that I am not going at this on my own.  I have found a plethora of books that have helped me make better consumer choices and create healthier, more environmental habits.

Recently, I have been reading an enjoyable book, “Do One Green Thing” by Mindy Pennybacker.  I like it for its simplicity and positive focus on small changes one can make in their diet, homes, and travels to help the planet.  Do One Green Thing: book by Mindy Pennybacker Continue reading Do One Green Thing- Produce, Meat, Dairy, Poultry, and Eggs

Once Upon a Time: The Beginning to My Love for Animals and Nature

One of my favorite phrases is “Once upon a time”.  It’s probably the most ideal phrase to begin any statement in which you need my undivided attention.  Those words are what propelled me to be the person I am today.

The first time I heard those words, “once upon a time”, was not from a Disney film.  I was maybe three or four, and my grandfather would re-enact the tales of Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel at bedtime.  Poppi had a terrific voice for the Big Bad Wolf.Little-Red-Riding-Hood-Wolf-4

With all the stories of evil predatory creatures of the woods that wanted to devour small children, one would assume that I grew up with an unhealthy fear of the forests.  Instead, I saw the fantastical interaction between fairy tale characters to be intriguing. Continue reading Once Upon a Time: The Beginning to My Love for Animals and Nature

Learning to Fly

Earlier this month, I received a rude awakening.  All summer, I had been preparing and fine-tuning my presentation for this project that has become near and dear to my heart.  My chosen venue to debut EarthFit was the International Congress of Zookeepers in Germany.  To me, sharing this program with the zookeeper community was a no-brainer.  EarthFit had been developed while I was a zookeeper, and it had truly benefited me as a zookeeper. Continue reading Learning to Fly

Vision Quest Testimonial

While writing my original testimony, I had an epiphany.  I found it ironic that I would join a gym called Vision Quest and then partake in an experience remarkably comparable to the Native American’s version.

Native Americans’ vision quests are based on their medicine wheel, a circle with points in each direction, with a special attribute connected with each direction, and a spirit   animal that helps guide them.

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Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.09 PMThe first place one starts on a vision quest is the south, the place of the mouse.  They say that a mouse can’t see past it’s whiskers, so it must rely on others in order to survive.  The south is a place of trust.  This is an incredibly difficult attribute for me to grasp, as I’m truly the last person who would let a group of random strangers into her life.  But historically, being alone has often been my downfall.  That voice that sabotages every good thing in my life always creeps in and tells me I don’t deserve this, I’m not good enough, that no one likes me.  But this time around, I had a  support group of “random strangers” that had invited me into their lives, encouraged me, worked out with me (some of you got up at the buttcrack of dawn to do so), and accepted me.Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.20 PM  Without you, that voice would have taken over, and I would not be where I am tonight.  So I Thank you for teaching me that friendship and trust are risks worth taking.

The next stop is the West, the place of the Bear.  The bear is a strong animal, but not just physically.  The bear displays inner strength as well.

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The trainers here have been my bear guides. Whether that was playing the role of my awkward and suggestive nemesis, or positively encouraging me to push through mental blocks during your grueling bootcamps, you taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to.  I mean, you got me to RUN!  Without a dangerous animal chasing me!

The confidence you taught me helped in more than just my fitness goals.  About midway through this challenge, I went on a little sojourn across the pond to Ireland and England in pursuit of a dream. If it hadn’t been for you believing in me, I wouldn’t have to tell you how much I’ll miss you all at this time next year, as I’ll be participating in a program that will very likely lead to a permanent position at the Dublin Zoo.  And you all played an  important role in my achievement, giving me the inner strength to succeed.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.38 PMAfter finding inner strength, a person ventures on to the East, the place of the Eagle.  Here, the eagle flies high, and can see the whole picture.  It sees the truth and how everything fits together.  And I have one hell of an eagle guide, folks.

Gareth, you wanted to be my nemesis, but after all you’ve done for me and all we’ve accomplished, I could never view you as a nemesis.

When I came here, I was lost.  I mean, literally lost, I had no idea what I was doing, or where  anything was.  I was lost, and you gave me direction.

One of our first sessions together, you called me OLD!  And, looking back, maybe I was old. But I don’t feel old anymore: you have provided me with a fountain of youth.Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.48 PM

I was down, and you lift me up.  Sometimes you simply lower the weight so I can lift myself up, but you are there giving me that boost.

But the most profound change you have given me is my perception of myself.  For the first time, I see myself for who I am, and I can say it because I believe it- that I am a beautiful woman.

For most people on a vision quest, the east is as far as they go.

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But there are a rare few that find themselves venturing to the north, the place of the buffalo.  The native Americans have a term for buffalo in their culture.  It’s “Tatonka”, but it doesn’t mean buffalo.  It actually has two meanings.  The first is “teacher”, and it’s a respectful term for an animal they so heavily depended upon. 

The other meaning is for those that have gone to north, and have had such an experience that they are not the same person as before.  They are Tatonka, the Wounded Healer.  And it is their responsibility to share their experience, strength, and hope with others.   I am standing here tonight to share with you my journey. I have come through the other side and discovered that this experience has changed every fiber of my being.  I AM a Wounded Healer, and I invite you to join me in your own quest.  You will make new friends, find inner strength, and discover the beauty that resides in all of us.  And I can’t wait to greet you with open arms on the other side.

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Resolutions

I know resolutions usually take place in January, and honestly, that’s when I made most of these resolutions, but I heard March is a good month to re-evaluate, re-assess, and re-new resolutions. In essence, re-solute. I’m a little behind, and I kept putting it off further and further because I was getting behind, but I’ve wanted to do a blog for a LONG time, and so now in this re-newal, I am going to make it happen.

Continue reading Resolutions