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Here’s to Our Hopeful World 2017

rising above the unknown

Cheers, to our hopeful world 2017!

While scouting out a site for our New Year ‘Hot Spring’ Break weekend my mind wandered to seismic activity.  After a few clicks and one  National Geographic article titled One of Earth’s Most Dangerous Supervolcanoes is Rumbling, my mind wandered back to the hot springs here in Northern California.

Were recent earthquakes the precursors to a larger disaster?

(a few more clicks)

Yellowstone is behaving as it has for the past 140 years…Odds are very high that Yellowstone will be eruption- free for the coming centuries.

– U.S.G.S. (United States Geological Survey)

Dodged that one.

fear of the unknown, you dirty b


2016 was a whirlwind that brought the United States President-elect Donald Trump. “A complete meltdown of humanity” in Aleppo; ISIS genocide, Civil War in Yemen, global warming, drought, and the declaration by the World Wildlife Fund  that 2/3rds of all species could be extinct by 2020.

The President-elect’s stance on climate change runs counter to physical evidence, near-universal scientific consensus, and analyses by military experts and the U.S. Department of Defense.

National Geographic

Trump promises to cut the Clean Power Plan, Climate Action Plan and the Paris Agreement and expand fossil fuel exploration on federal lands and waters.


Close your eyes, breathe deep, expand the abdomen, exhale and release, now open your eyes.

Lets remember the beautiful things that happened last year.

In 2016 we saw

  • an increase in minimum wage
  • unemployment at its lowest levels since the recession
  • withdrawal of  plans to drill in the Antarctic
  • Chicago Cubs win the World Series and
  • women of color got prominent government positions for the first time in history.

And a Tumblr post went viral called “Good Things That Happened in 2016” .

Our Hopeful World in 2017

Guess Who left the Endangered Species List

Here are a few of those Really

“Good things that happened in 2016”

  • The O-ZONE layer is in repair.
  • Scientists can now link prosthetic limbs to the glands in the brain that control intent, allowing those who need them to move without thinking about how.
  • Heart Disease related deaths are down 70% in the United States.
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge raised enough awareness to help the discovery of the gene linked to ALS. Which means treatment is on the horizon.
  • Pokémon Go fanatics placed tons of modules near children’s hospitals for the kids.
  • Bank to pay college tuition for children whose parents (employees) died in 9/11.
  • Precision cancer treatments have reached clinical trials and are working. Far beyond applying one treatment for all types of cancer.
  • South African man flies 80 rhinos from Africa to Australia – to create a veritable ‘Eden’, to protect the species from extinction.
  • 500 elephants relocated to a safe sanctuary, and tiger, manatee and panda numbers are up!

Human-kind relies on its ability to learn and adapt. As we watch the unraveling of our nation’s government surely we can live in peace and watch hopefully as it all unfolds.

Do NOT live in fear.

As our dear friend, author and motivational powerhouse, Hal Elrod says, you “can’t change it”.  If what’s done is done why worry about it – why give it your energy? Instead, how can we move forward, redirecting that energy?

For now we can remain hopeful that our environmental associations will remain steadfast during this time of unknowns.

Learn, grow, enrich and be gracious

More than ever we need to focus on uniting and understanding each other.

Our lives, our real earthly human-ess relies on our ability to love; to love our bodies and minds with continual growth and improvement; to love others not for what they know or do, but for who they are and what their life’s purpose is; to love giving, not for what you’ll get in return but for the empathetic means of sheer gratitude; and finally, love to teach others to love.

Love to radiate the exact love that you feel inside. Be a beacon of light in a hopeful world. Do not burden others with your fear, for that is yours alone. Share only the messages that uplift and enlighten your peers.

Teach your children. Plan for emergencies, practice and develop drills . When we were young my sister and I took part in fire and tornado drills conducted by our parents. Even though we never had to use them, we were mentally prepared should a problem arise.

It’s always best to be ready. Garden – teach your children to survive. Teach them to swim, to run and jump. Play in the dirt. Dance in the rain.

The power of government relies on control. But don’t forget who’s in control of your life. Don’t believe everything you hear, think or even dream. Focus instead on the present. Be part of our hopeful world.

Be happy with your choices. Do not burden yourself with fear anger or sadness.

Our Hopeful World in 2017 - Simone Biles 2016 Olympics

Simone Biles – 14 World Medals & the title of the greatest female gymnast who ever lived.

Cheers to our hopeful world 2017 because now we’ve the fuel to rebuild.

Thank our mother earth for giving us this moment of realization. Thank humanity for continually amazing and for inherently loving, because when it is all said and done…that is why we are here.


Enriched | Fortified |Refined | Pasteurized

Those ever elusive words that plaster the products lining the aisles of your favorite grocery store; enriched, fortified, refined and pasteurized.

What do they really mean?  Why are these processes performed, and what are they doing to our bodies?

According to the USDA we should be consuming wheat and dairy products on a daily basis in order to function properly.  In addition to that we are told that all of these manufacturing processes are completed in order to keep us safe and healthy.

Is that really the case?  Should we as humans ingest the milk of a cow and consume manually altered, genetically modified starches?

The following charts depict what the government believes to be proper daily portions of both grains and dairy.

USDA Preferred Grain Intake

One ounce for example is equivalent to 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1 pancake or 1/2 of an English muffin. USDA Preferred Grain Intake

Rather taking a dive into commodities and subsidized farming we’ll leave the politics aside for another post.  Feel free to surf the web for more insight into our governments backing control over our farmers.

For now, let’s break these concepts down a bit…

Enrichment is the addition of nutrients to food when said nutrients have been lost during processing.

Fortification involves the addition of vitamins and trace minerals that were not lost during processing but rather have been added for the nutritional benefit of the consumer.

“…so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health…” – World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Refinement involves the removal of impurities and unwanted elements during the production process.  For grains this means removing the germ and bran of the grain in order to reduce rot and lengthen the products shelf life.  These foods are then enriched or fortified  in an effort to replace the nutrients removed.

“..the germ contributes “some of the most valuable nutrients to the flour, including much of its protein, folic acid, and other B vitamins”, what is left is the endosperm, basically a “big packet of starch and protein” that is high in calories and low in nutrients (similar to sugar). – Michael Pollan, Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, UC, Berkeley, author, Cooked: A Natural (original article here)

Pasteurization involves the heating  and sterilization of milk past 160 degrees.  Thus removing the casein content within the milk protein, rendering the milk inorganic and unable to be assimilated by the human body.

So what does all this mean for our precious shrines – our bodies – are one and only temples?


Enriched  flour sends your body into hyper-drive as if it had just consumed a vast amount of sugars, filling you with energy and crashing soon after, which can be detrimental to your health.

“Cancer tumors develop, in part, by feeding on sugar in the bloodstream. If you eat lots of sugary snacks loaded with simple carbs, you’re loading your bloodstream with the chemical energy needed for cancer cells (and tumors) to proliferate.” – Natural News

Love white bread? I was dumbfounded by this statement.

“All white flour is nutritionally deadly. Really. White flour kills you. If you tried to live off of white flour for 60 days, you would literally die. That’s because white flour lacks all of the healthy elements found in the whole grain of the wheat berry. Whole wheat grains contain important minerals like magnesium, healthy oils like vitamin E, health-enhancing insoluble fiber, and a long list of important vitamins.” – Natural News

On to fortification, which in itself is not a horrible process, however, the over consumption of unnaturally fortified nutrients such as folic acid have been linked to breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.  This is because our bodies cannot break down these added elements without their naturally occurring counterparts.  Our bodies require 400mg of folate each day which we can get from a number of foods shown in the chart below.

Recommended Folate in Foods

Recommended Folate in Foods

When we decide instead to choose fortified foods rather than natural alternatives our bodies become confused and these elements pile up within our systems leading to further complications.

“At a high intake, the body can’t process all the folic acid into folate…High folate status may reduce the response to antifolate drugs used against malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and cancer. In the elderly, a combination of high folate levels and low vitamin B-12 status may be associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and anemia and, in pregnant women, with an increased risk of insulin resistance and obesity in their children. Folate has a dual effect on cancer, protecting against cancer initiation but facilitating progression and growth of preneoplastic cells and subclinical cancers, which are common in the population.” – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Refined carbohydrates or “fast carbs” are found in breads, cereals and soda pops, you name it!

“Over time, eating lots of “fast carbs” can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes as much as—or more than—eating too much saturated fat.”- The Nutrition Source

Finally, pasteurization

“Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.” – Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Foundation, USA

While the sale and support of raw milk is still up in the air, 30 states have began selling it from local farmers.  However due to the natural organic nature of the milk, illnesses have been reported.

I suppose that’s not so surprising…

While I support anything natural and had drank milk for about 26 years of my life, I still find it odd that humans consume milk from cows – and I’m a cheese lover.  Furthermore, when we are open to the idea that pasteurization can be harmful to our bodies then we can begin to look for alternatives that may still please our dairy desires – such as raw milk cheese! And almond or coconut milk.

It may take time to alter our lifestyles and diets however, the more time we spend eating healthy, the more time we have on this precious earth.

In short, eat natural, live healthy.  LOVE YOURSELF!

Need some tips on how to move forward and apply this new-found wealth?

You’re all familiar with the traditional food pyramid that encourages you eat lots of breads and meats and wonderful things that the USDA would have us consume until we’re blue in the face and their pockets are overflowing.  Well, here’s a link to a really great NEW food pyramid that gives you a great look into what foods make your body happy.

Here’s another really simple food chart that I like.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 3.11.52 PM


Everyone’s diets are different and many of us have restrictions, such as no meat or dairy, gluten, nut or nightshade allergies…these are simply things in mind when your reading labels.

And as always, I’m not a doctor. 🙂

Please share this information with those you love.  Avoid enriched, fortified, refined and pasteurized foods and eat happy – live healthy.



Triple Falls – Oneonta Gorge, OR

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Dear able bodies,

It’s been a while…  However, it was not a lack of passion or subject that restrained my thoughts, but an onslaught of experiences.

Within the month of June I took my first solo train and bus rides, attended my first Sustainable Business conference, slept on a couch and gained time with new friends, and treasured time with old ones.  I spent much-needed time with my family, attended our fifth annual canoe trip in Wisconsin, visited Oregon for the first time and learned a lot about myself in the process.


Alyvia Rose, Age 12 (2014) – Poplar Bluff, MO

I learned that no matter how much time passes and how much you feel that you have changed; the world around you has changed and you have merely drawn your own path through the madness – the wonderful madness that is life.

That no matter how much you yearn to be close to your loved ones, it is the distance and the challenges associated that can make you feel near when afar and even further when you’re near.

As we grow we change.  Time changes us and we change our lives.  We discover what drives us and what crushes us.

We yearn for passions least explored – and we ponder on chances lost.

So which path is best?

The safe bet near home and loved ones?

The challenge of exploring yourself among those who challenge you?

Or the path that guides us internally and is ever-changing as our minds grow and our souls encounter passions and movements that encourage our breadth?


Aly (12), Sierra (19), Mercede (10) and Dan – a little softball in the sunset, Poplar Bluff, MO

Ultimately the choice is yours.

My only request is that you choose.

Don’t allow those you love and those you fear to negate your passions or deform your spirit.

Pain exists so that we can treasure the pleasure.

Sadness creeps in periodically so that you can remember the happy moments.

Fear is inescapable.  It is guidance.  It is advantageous.

Because it means your growing.


Sunlight Through the Trees, OR

Grow strong and wild and let your path find you – let your heart be your guide.

Secure your roots with those who teach you and feed your soul and share love with all those around you.

Hug often incessantly.

Find pleasure where others cannot and broaden their minds with your stories.

Be yourself.


Canoes at our camp site – Mazomanie, WI

Float on.

Change time – create amazingness.



  • “More than 1000 cell phones are activated every minute.
  • There is now one cell phone for every two people in the world.
  • That’s 3.3 billion cell phones in about 25 years, and according to Nokia, that number will grow to 5 billion by 2015, when two-thirds of the people on earth will have cell phones.
  • An iPhone has more processing power than did the entire North American Air Defense command in 1965.”

So what are we doing with all of this networking capability?

Have we strengthened our relationships, distanced ourselves from meeting in person, or has it just gifted us with convenience?

My family lives in the Midwest and I am on the West Coast and I know that without my cellphone I would only hear their voices but once a year.  However, I know that given the ease of communication that cellphones offer, that I could hear those sweet sounds every day.

I am making it my goal for the year to talk to someone in my family (this includes friends in other states as well) every week.

It can really make your day if you just sit down and dial.

As a matter of fact, just this week I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face after I face-timed with a best friend of mine out in Colorado. 

Honestly, there is really only one thing better than hugs… and that’s smiles.

So share some smiles and laughter with your loved ones this week.  I promise it will feel amazing!


Werbach, A.  (2009).  Strategy for sustainability:  A business manifesto.  Boston:  Harvard Business School Publishing