4 Lessons To Learn From Zoo Animals

IMG_6406
Robert, described as a gentle, old soul by the St. Louis Zoo volunteer. He reminds me to be content…

After visiting the amazing St. Louis Zoo with our family a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I had not been to Zoo Atlanta in decades. After dropping my husband at the airport yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a solo trip to check it out! An adventure of sorts. [pullquote]I love acting, but it’s much more fun taking the kids to the zoo.” Nicole Kidman[/pullquote] Having grown up in Decatur, Georgia, just a short drive from the Atlanta Zoo, I went there often as a child, sharing a picnic on the wide, grassy hills that surround the zoo.

IMG_6575

Did you know? The Cyclorama is no longer there on the shared property of the Atlanta Zoo. There are plans to relocate The Cyclorama to The Atlanta History Center in 2017.

Did you know? If you would rather not take your little goblins trick-or-treating, the Atlanta Zoo is having Boo At The Zoo for the next two weekends on October 24, 25 and the 31st, too. The decorations there are festive and they are giving out that prized candy, too!

IMG_6574

IMG_6554
This little girl is at Boo At The Zoo.

After visiting two zoos in two weeks, I realized there are a few lessons we can learn from the animals who live there:

(1) Be Content. For the most part, the animals we saw at the zoo were content in their natural habitats.

[pullquote]I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12[/pullquote]

(2) Trust.  Trust that all will be well and others will look out for you as you journey through life.

[pullquote]Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare[/pullquote] 

The zoo animals trust that they will be fed and treated well while living in the zoo.

IMG_6416
Donny and Walker hang out with a monkey at the St. Louis Zoo.

(3) Enjoy the miracles of nature. Again, living in their natural habitat, the zoo animals take in the beauty and comfort of nature.IMG_6409

(4) Be playful, loving and get along with others. Yesterday, when I was alone at Zoo Atlanta, I took the time to sit and observe the monkeys for a good 30 minutes. They were loving with one another and it was truly inspiring to watch.

IMG_6533IMG_6422 IMG_6412 IMG_6542IMG_6457I hope you get a chance to visit a zoo in the near future.

What other lessons can we learn from

the animals who reside there?

Happy Birthday Rocky Mountain National Park

Happy, Happy 100th Birthday to Rocky Mountain National Park!
IMG_5114

IMG_4843
“Tessa” and Evelyn were great guides on our first six mile hike.
IMG_4823
Jane Ellen picks us out some fresh corn at the Estes Farmer’s Market.
IMG_4825
Cindy and Ev find us some tomatoes and fresh green beans at the Estes Farmer’s Market.

As I shared in a recent post, Five Lessons From A Horse, Donny and I had the opportunity to spend four nights in the breathtaking Rocky Mountain area with friends we have shared life with for over four decades…Life doesn’t get much better than that!

It was in the Winter of 1997, when my family and I were driving in a rental car from Denver, Co., to Snowmass for a week of skiing and a conference for Donny. As we admired the snow-capped Rockies, Leah said:

“Look, the Rocky Mountains are all around us, just like God.” 

Leah Page Andrews, age nine

IMG_4836

IMG_4837

IMG_4835 IMG_4821

IMG_4828
Jan and JE at the Estes Farmer’s Market

Our friends Ev and Steve have resided in this delightful mountain village for all of their 3+ decades of marriage, raising their two children, Rob and Brooke in this quaint town of Estes Park, CO. One of our first stops was to the weekly Estes Farmer’s Market to stock up on fruits and veggies for our meals we would prepare together during our visit.

IMG_4841

Estes Park will be joining The Rocky Mountain National Park on September 4-5, 2015 in celebrating a 100th Birthday. Click here to read about the Five Top Reasons to Visit Estes Park for the Rocky Mountain National Park Centennial Celebration. The Estes Valley Community will be welcoming visitors of all ages, providing festivals, cultural attractions, world-class musical performances, downtown gardens, playgrounds, river walks, bike trails, and parks.  The Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks, attracting more than 3 million visitors each year!

In years to come when I am asleep beneath these pines, thousands of families will find rest and hope in this park. Enos Mills (1870-1922) an American naturalist and homesteader, the main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park

Most of you will easily recall President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression of the 1930s when millions of Americans were unemployed. This New Deal promised to create programs to put people to work. One such program was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In Rocky Mountain National Park, young male recruits at six camps built roads, trails, and buildings; put out wildfires; planted trees; and managed predators. As we rode horses on August 1, 2015, it was easy to observe the well-built construction of many of these original trails. It was during the 1930s, when labor was readily available, that the National Park Service built Trail Ridge Road. Visitors came to Rocky Mountain National Park in their cars. Unlike other western national parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Canyon, a railroad never served Rocky.  It was always an auto park. Because of this, road building was a high priority. Although the Fall River Road traversed the Continental Divide through the park, the road was outdated and difficult to navigate. The new, professionally-designed Trail Ridge Road, at a height of 11,796 feet, undulates between forests and meadows and takes drivers to spectacular heights.

Aside from these spectacular views and the amazing opportunities for snow skiing and snow shoeing, the wildlife, the aspen trees, and the wildflowers also draw multitudes to the Rockies.

IMG_4846 IMG_4888 IMG_4844

IMG_5065
Wearing our “KARL’S KURE” t-shirts, the girls and I stop by Mills Lake to give a thumbs up for Karl, Lisa, and Amelia back in Georgia! RIP KARL WERGINZ and God Bless your precious family!
IMG_4851
Jan peeks around a massive rock on our girls’ 6 mile hike.
IMG_4852
Tessa LOVES her exercise in the Rocky Mountains!

The ptarmigan is miraculously camouflaged perfectly in summer, with “mottled rock” color, and in winter, when it takes on the color of snow.

Ptarmigan

rock ptarmigan

Another interesting creature that frequents the Rockies that Evelyn told us about is the bighorn sheep. One of the most important features of the bighorn sheep is the unique structure of its hooves. Rather than being hard like those of a horse or cow, the sheep have rubber-like hooves that allow excellent mobility on steep rock faces.

Bighorn Sheep Climbing on the Rocks. Montana Wildlife.

IMG_4882
On our way to Jewel and Mills Lake on the Glacier Gorge Trailhead…one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen!

IMG_4961 IMG_4886 IMG_4884 IMG_4876 IMG_4854

IMG_4903
The guys prepare for some fly-fishing at Jewel Lake.
IMG_4907
Jan munches on a sandwich on our huge picnic rock at Jewel Lake.
IMG_4919
Great place to hang my ENO hammock in the woods by our picnic rock overlooking Jewel Lake.
IMG_4912
David gets ready to wet the line in Jewel Lake.
IMG_4999
Cindy takes a break in The Rockies with her horse, Whisper.
IMG_4949
Sid fishes in Jewel Lake and catches a trout to grill for our dinner.

We visited The Stanley Hotel on my birthday after we rode horses through The Rockies.

IMG_5144
The front porch of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO.

The Stanley in itself is an experience and famous for scenes in a Stephen King movie entitled The Shining in 1977.

IMG_4979
THANKS to Ev and Steve for another amazing visit to The Rockies!
People are made of stories, not atoms. Jarod Kintz, author of This Book is NOT FOR SALE

If you’ve never had the chance to visit the majestic and awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, I hope you will add this to your bucket list and plan a visit soon. Thanks for stopping by and joining us on our 2015 trip to Estes Park, Colorado!

Click here to listen to John Denver sing his famous Rocky Mountain High song.

Atlanta Steeplechase 2015: My Four Favorite Things

Considered the city’s largest lawn party, the Atlanta Steeplechase this past Saturday was quite an event! It was so fun taking time out to enjoy an adventure which we had never been on before.

IMG_2646

[pullquote]All equestrians, if they last long enough, learn that riding in whatever form is a lifelong sport and art, an endeavor that is both familiar and new every time you take the horse out of his stall or pasture.”
Jane Smiley[/pullquote]

The setting was beautiful, lush and green. The strong horses raced at about 30 mph. The rain held off until later that day. Did you know? The Atlanta Steeplechase celebrated 50 years this year.

My four favorite things about our very first Atlanta Steeplechase:

IMG_2643
Donna and I have known each other since 1989.
IMG_2642
Pam, from Ohio, and I met today and found out we had a lot in common, including graduating the same year from high school.
IMG_2651
Donna and Jack Cashin

(1) Saturday was a great chance to meet new friends and catch up with longtime friends.

It was especially cool meeting Jack Cashin, who along with his wife, Helen founded Chukkar Farm Polo Club in 1980. As we chatted throughout the afternoon, I considered how there are always new things to learn. ( I knew very little about polo, and I learned new things by talking with my new friend, Jack.)

(2) I always love participating in worthwhile fundraisers, and The Atlanta Steeplechase was no exception. This year proceeds go to help Bert’s Big Adventure, a nonprofit organization that provides a magical, all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families.

IMG_2664
Friends gather at the dk Gallery/Susan Easton Burns tent at the 2015 50th Atlanta Steeplechase.

(3) We celebrated with Artist, Susan Easton Burns. As both a rider and a painter Susan has been immersed in the horse community for more than 20 years. Chosen as the Official Artist of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Ms. Burns created a dynamic portrait of the greatest horse race in America at historic Churchill Downs. Her knowledge of the equestrian world is intimate and her treatment of the horse on canvas reveals a powerful honesty of connection. 2014 represented the 140 Anniversary of the Run for the Roses. Susan’s art was also used as seen below for the Atlanta Steeplechase 50th Kingston Downs 2015 and can be found at dk Gallery in the heart of downtown Marietta.
IMG_2661(4) In no particular order, one more of my favorite things was being outside in nature, taking in the majesty, beauty, and strength seen in the horses and their jockeys. We have been getting a lot of rain in Georgia and having a dry day to be outside was so refreshing. It was a perfect day to enjoy a new adventure in this life.

IMG_2652
Artist, Susan and dk Gallerist, Donna stand with Susan’s painting.
IMG_2658
Donna enjoys a moment with her assistant, Ashley.
IMG_2657
Friends gather at the 2015 Atlanta Steeplechase

IMG_2640

[pullquote]

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller

[/pullquote]

Is there an adventure that you have never been on

that you’d like to make plans to go on in the weeks and months ahead?