Introduction

Hello and welcome to Exceptionally Average!

Exceptionally Average is a project I have been dreaming about for a little over a year now. Finally, with a little courage and encouragement I am launching.

For the last few years I have spent many days being what my husband and I like to call “exceptionally average”. It is a state of being where we are by no means doing bad but we know that we can be more, do more, and help more. We are conditioned to think that to cure this case of average-ness we needed to pursue conventional success. We should get a good degree and a good stable job with room to move up the corporate ladder. I chased this, the worlds dream, for several years now.

Here is the thing though, we are not all called to lead those lives. I personally feel that I have been blessed with a heart to serve. It gives me peace and a sense of purpose. I have even gone as far as to do a few mission/service trips to Africa, Jamaica and a few here in the US. These started at the age of 16 and went until my sophomore year of college. At that point in time I got lost in my pursuit of conventional success. I therefore stopped doing, stopped helping, stopped serving. I suppressed my burning need to help others and this planet that we are caretakers of. And so I fell into an exceptionally average life that I had built for myself.

The great news is we are in total control of what  our life to looks like and with effort, heart, and persistence any dream can come to fruition. So here, I will share my effort and heart with you all. It is my hope that you will share yours with me as well!

Now the purpose of Exceptionally Average is simple. I want to highlight the good in the world. Specifically, people and organizations that are making a positive impact on people and the planet, and how we as a community of people hoping to do more can help them in their cause.

Eventually, it is my hope that we can expand and become a non-profit where we are the ones going forth into the world and our home communities. We will plan trips, and events that will leave our own impact on the only earth we were given.

For now, let us be inspired! We have no need to feel exceptionally average. We can do and be whatever we have enough motivation and perseverance to be.

 

If you know of any individuals or organizations that you would like highlighted on here please share! You can comment here or email me at exceptionallyaverage@outlook.com.

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“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” — Gandalf

 

Puppers and Cattos

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To continue the theme from my last post I am going to highlight another company doing good for our furry pals (or not so furry if you have one of those cats that look like a Dobby from Harry Potter). This company was introduced to me by my soon-to-be sister-in-law when she sent a bag of treats for Lincoln (my exceptionally beautiful and happy Australian Shepherd) that are now her personal favorites.

The company is Open Farm Pet. They are creating ethically and sustainably sourced pet food for your pals. Now, that is a title that is thrown around quite frequently and many companies do the bare minimum to stamp that on their bag and add a few dollars to the price tag. But Open Farm Pet is TRULY ethical and sustainable. Honestly, it is better than most people food.

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How can you tell? Well, for starters, they are certified humane. This means that they take care of and can track the treatment of the animals from birth to death. During that time they also go through several audits to keep them up to standard. And this is just for the ingredients! Open Farm also allows you to see exactly where they source these ingredients. But then they take it a step farther.

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The packaging for their products is also sustainably made packaging. They confirm on their site that they have a partner in TerraCycle, who is helping provide free recycling of your pet food bags and creating new products with them.

Overall, it is food for our furry pals that is well cared for and nurtured into an amazing product, and giving new life to the packaging that would otherwise end up in landfills. Check them out and grab some treats for all of those good boys and girls.

All of the Doggos

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First, please forgive my absence. I started a new job and it took more of my time then I had anticipated. However I am back and full of positive stories and companies who are making this world a better place.

Now, some of you who know me know that I am OBSESSED with my dog, and really, all dogs. I believe they all need love and care and we are all quite capable of providing that to them. Also, as many know, (and as my new job shows) coffee is a major part of my life. So it is no shock that an ad for a company that combines these two showed up on my Instagram.

The company is called Ground & Hounds Coffee Company.

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This company donates upwards of 20% of all of their profits to organizations that rescue pups and help give them their second chance. The stats on their site show that they have donated to over 275 rescue organizations! They also use the funds to provide meals, transfers, and spay/neuter services.

The tag line of “one cup and one pup at a time” is not only catchy but it is endearing. I think it is the two of those characteristics working together is what draws me to this company. They are making a wonderful difference in the lives of our furry friends, and by extension, those of us who will own them. But also providing joy to many through our favorite morning beverage.

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One thing I also look for in all companies is how everything is sourced. I am therefore thrilled to hear that they are also a fair trade company! This means that those workers involved from the farm to the bag are paid a fair and livable wage.

If you are not yet convinced to support this incredible company, their coffee has also the cutest names such as the paper and slippers blend, the morning walk breakfast blend, or the sit and stay blend.

Go on and order yours here. I am waiting on my Morning Walk Blend to come in.

Our Parks

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I think there is something that needs to be called to attention. When I have been talking about the National Parks I have often been referring to them as our parks. I think this is such an important distinction.

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These lands are ours. We are meant to care and look after them. While on the shuttle, winding your way in the shadow of Zion Canyon a voice talks about the responsibility that has been bestowed on us to care for and nurture the lands we have been given.

I personally that God gave us this beautiful, wonderful, mysterious, and oh so powerful Earth so that we may cherish and care for it. Just as you would respect anything else that is yours.

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Keep It Wild Co. shares this vision with me. They too believe that we are to nurture the land that we have so freely been given and should do what we can to keep them from harm. Keep it Wild reaches beyond National Parks and heads up cleanups in state and local parks as well.

They take the funds from their store and sponsor wilderness cleanups. You can buy some of their gear in support of the work that they are doing. OR you can even be a part of the cleanups! Check out more here: https://keepitwildco.ticketleap.com/

Keep it wild, my friends.

Parks!

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In keeping on topic for the month of August. Lets continue celebrating our National Parks!

I was perusing a comprehensive list of national parks and found I have only been to a measly 9. Out of 60! I must say I am quite disappointed in myself and am going to make a much greater effort to see more in the (hopefully near) future. See the list below (to count again after last week).

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Overall this makes me realize the amount of profoundly unique and breathtaking landscapes make up our great country. With just a few of those places protected and preserved in the form of our National Parks.

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On my most recent trip I drove from Kansas, where I live, all the way out to Zion on my way to California. I pitched a tent and had a magical two night stay in the canyon of reds and oranges. It was after this stop on my trip social media introduced me to an organization called Parks Project.

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This company is an outdoor outfitter whose proceeds go to.. you guessed it projects that help our parks! Their clothing and accessories are something to swoon over. I am personally eyeing their map of the US National Parks. And with the proceeds actually benefiting and preserving our beloved lands, it is money worth spending.

Take a look for yourself! get something that looks great for you, and no need to feel guilty because you are doing good too! You can also then track the progress of projects they are supporting such as grassland restoration and planting native species.

Stay Wild.

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I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that encouraged the outdoors. We spent time riding bikes, going to parks, and boogie boarding to our hearts content. With all of this time spent out there I came into a long term and loving relationship with nature.

This love is compounded every time I set foot in a National Park. Their untouched feeling and grand landscapes can make anyone’s heart soar.

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I want to take this month to highlight these magical landscapes and the companies helping to keep them up, running, and looking more beautiful every year.

The obvious start to this month is the National Park Service. The NPS is the curators and caretakers of our National Parks. They make sure the wildlife, and the visitors are safe and well cared for so that the parks can be enjoyed for generations to come.

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They are one of my favorite organizations and they hold a special place with me for all the work they do to keep some of my all time favorite places looking beautiful.

There are 60 National Parks in the US. How many have you been to?

One More Wave

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As a native California girl I live for the days that my skin is coated in salt. I find nothing quite as equally exhilarating and peaceful as the cold rush of the ocean waves. It is a place where ideas come, feelings are released, joy is tangible, and life seems just a little more vibrant.

It came as no shock to me to find out that surf therapy is an active field. Water is a place of healing and something that washes away impurities and imperfections. In Christianity it is a place of baptism and rebirth, in Baha’i it represents truth, in Hinduism it is believed to hold a power of spiritual cleansing. No matter what background we may come from water has power. For me, it is a force God created that can change landscapes, and bring me into his presence.

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And for the organization of One More Wave, water and specifically surfing is a place of healing. What makes this non profit so unique is who they are serving. One More Wave works specifically with disabled veterans to get them out on the water for therapy. Their process is fairly simple.

First they identify a wounded veteran in need of help, that veteran is then asked to apply for help, if they are reviewed and approved the real fun gets to start. One More Wave then designs them a surfboard to fit their unique needs. Then the veterans get to get out on the water and start surfing.

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This is such a unique company that has a vision that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the restorative powers that water can bring. To help them out they use one word donate. You can donate your money, your time or even your stocks.

Help a veteran get the help they need.

Also check out One More Wave on Instagram @1mwave !

 

 

Bling Bling

Bracelets doing more

I think we can all think of at least one company using bracelets to raise money and awareness for their cause. But do you realize just how many there are? And how much good they are doing?

I am a big fan of this form of style that is coming about. I myself wear 2-3 different bracelets supporting different causes daily. It is a great way to express style and help spread awareness. All it takes is one person asking where you got that bracelet or why you wear it to make a cause go just a little farther.

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What causes do I support currently through bracelets?

  1. 4Ocean: This is such a cute and classy bracelet that goes towards a cause that I am 100% in favor of. With each bracelet purchased, 4Ocean pulls 1 pound of trash from our oceans. Not only do they pull the trash out but the beautiful bracelets are actually made from the recycled material! Their goal to save marine life and our oceans is always something I will support.
  2. Colors X Good: These bracelets were introduced to me at my place of employment. They are crafted by women in Yucatan, Mexico to provide them with employment. Not only does it employ and empower the women who make them but they are ethically made and the profit go to support many other causes (such as feeding the malnourished children in Venezuela and more!)
  3. PuraVida: This is probably the most well known brand in my bracelet wardrobe. This brand does something similar to Colors X Good in that they employ impoverished people in Costa Rica. Well, at least that is how it started but this company has taken off and the bracelets employ artisans around the world and support numerous charities– cancer, animal activism, military, etc. (You can even add your own) They have things other than bracelets now too!
  4. 17 Strong: This is a bracelet that NEVER vacates my wrist. Seriously I have a whole album of photos of me at formal events still wearing my maroon and grey 17 Strong bracelet. This is an organization that means the world to me and deserves its own post all to itself. It is the brain child of Ryan Teixeira, who is still changing the world after his passing. This organization sends young adults battling life-threatening illnesses on Victory Trips.
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These are just the few I wear on a daily basis. There are so many other companies doing great things that are supported by the sale of their bracelets. Some of them include Meraki Journey and Divinity LA Bracelets.

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No matter where you look there are plenty of people and companies looking to make the world better one step at a time. We can all do our part to help them by purchasing a bracelet or donating to their cause.

Know of any others? I would love to hear! Feel free to email me at exceptionallyaverage@outlook.com.