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.

The SAVE Farm

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I was hiking just last Tuesday and I stopped (conveniently at the top of the hill- because exercise) and listened. The whole world was humming. It was as if the world was vibrating with life. It is the familiar sound that comes with spring and continues through the summer. It is when everything and everyone has a little bit more life and energy in them.

Now, what if that sound stopped? What if the Earth stopped humming its happy life-giving song? Well, take a moment, look closer. What is the chorus to that hum? If you see what I do it is those wonderful bumble and honey bees I love so much. They are transporting life from place to place spreading their energy.

With the massive decline off bees I have become more and more aware of every time I find local bee keepers. So, it is no shock that last Saturday at our local farmers market I happened upon a local keeper in the area who is doing more than just sustaining a few hives.

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Not only are they sustaining their hives and creating amazing honey (some with infusions– we just used their jalapeno honey to grill chicken with: YUM) they are also part of The SAVE Farm. The SAVE Farm stands for Service-member Agricultural Vocation Education. It is an educational farm that takes service members (and sometimes dependents as well) and teaches them skills to enter the farming industry and start a career.

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This is also meant to be a place of healing, to re-integrate members into a society where they feel they have a purpose again. Lastly, they help place and transition the graduating members of a program into working farms. They don’t limit who can participate either with equipment designed for those who may have disabilities.

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They work on a variety of avenues in farming that include livestock, vegetables, apiaries, orchards and croplands. My favorite part is the training in beekeeping! Veterans are given the opportunity to live on the farm as they learn and grow, with a Healing Center and counseling also available to them.

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Now how can we help? 

  1. If you are in the Manhattan, Kansas area consider volunteering some of your time. I will be in the coming weeks and will be back with an update on what I learn.

  2. Donate! Super easy and a tax write off!  thesavefarm.org/donation 

  3. Here is a list of items they need if you have the means to provide some equipment to them.  thesavefarm.org/needs 

  4. Use them as your Smile organization at Amazon. A portion of your purchases will be donated to them.

  5. Lastly, purchase some of their products. That jalapeno honey we used is from Reme Bees LLC. You can email her for some of her products at kruemel_96@hotmail.com or find her on Facebook at  RemeBees 

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