Trying something new, for a change
Well it’s been a few days since I last wrote. I’ll blame it on my 3 day long dull headache and keeping busy. But I’m back and have some fun things to share in this post.
Yesterday Josh and I drove to the middle of nowhere in Alabama to visit this ‘zoo’ we had been hearing all about. You see, if you’ve ever been to Ft. Rucker, you are aware that there is not much to do in the actual town we live in outside of the post – the surrounding areas are wonderful if you can manage driving a couple of hours – shopping, beaches, museums, etc. But in our town, not much goes on. So we decided to get out of the house, get out of the town, and take a little adventure to McCelland’s Zoo aka “Mike’s Zoo Critters.” First, let me just say that I can’t believe that it took us a year of living here to finally hear about this ‘zoo.’ But I’m so glad we did. We had a blast! I’m not going to chronicle our trip or describe this place in detail, so if you want to find out more you can visit their website. What I will do is give you some of the highlights of our trip.
Mike himself – a crazy Australian (?) animal enthusiast with a unique sense of humor – takes you on a tour of his zoo. Only in Southern Alabama will you find a zoo in the middle of nowhere with monkeys that drink Coke from cans and eat Lay’s potato chips and several other species indulging in sugary, fluffy, sticky marshmallows (like when Mike let a grizzly bear eat a marshmallow that he, Mike, was holding in his mouth). Those were all great parts of the trip, and the animals were awesome and beautiful as well, but the truly best moments of the trip appear below:
Holding a Burmese Python
Petting the Baby Alligator
Cuddling an Arctic Wolf Pup (not very scary but sooo much fun!)
You see, if you have known me for awhile, you know that the events portrayed in these photographs are NOT characteristic of me at all. I will just go ahead and I say it: I can be a wimp…a chicken… I am reluctant to do anything adventurous. I cried at Great America when I was 16 years old as my husband, then boyfriend, dragged me into the line for Vertical Velocity. I find enjoyment in the ‘safer,’ more relaxing things of life and have been quite content doing so. If you take me on a tropical vacation I would prefer laying on the beach soaking up the sun or relaxing in a hammock reading a book. I don’t like to try new things that may take some sort of courage or bravery often because they include some sort of risk. I much prefer to play it safe as I don’t find enjoyment in many such scenarios.(Now don’t think I’ve been a total wimp all my life having no adventures whatsoever; I’ve snowboarded, kayaked, snorkeled, rock wall climbed, and so on).
But here I am yesterday smiling with a snake coiled around my neck and holding a HUGE Burmese python – and just a note if you haven’t guessed, I am NOT a snake person… at all. They creep me out, really. Most things that are slithery, slimy, have scales, sharp teeth, etc. creep me out. Even holding the baby alligator was uncharacteristic of me – yes it’s only a baby animal and most baby animals are cute – but, me, the wimp, hold an alligator? Sure I hesitated when being offered all of these opportunities, but I was being given opportunities that don’t come along often, and I wanted to take them.
On a separate, but related, note. A few weekends ago we went to the range so I could learn to shoot our gun. Again, if you have ever known me, you know that I am not a gun person – my husband may be – but not me. I was not raised around people who own or carry guns, and they are quite scary to me. It took Josh (and some of our friends) months and months of convincing and persuading me to allow him to purchase a gun (which only happened because of safety features and certain stipulations in terms of storage, usage, and such). Agreeing to it was a significant milestone for me, but learning to handle it and use it, well that was an entirely different milestone for me – so much so that I now am more comfortable around guns and other weapons. I don’t squirm and gets knots in my belly when I’m around them so much anymore, and I actually enjoyed shooting the guns that I had a chance to try out. It was another opportunity not many people I know have or take, and I took it. Not only did that day potentially help me in the future in terms of using a gun for protection and what not, but it helped me step outside of my comfort zone, try out and learn something new, and it took some courage on my part to do so. Now I’m even being persuaded to purchase another gun, one that’s more suited for me to use.
These days and moments show how I’ve changed, or am changing, and I attribute it to my experience with Hailey, to God changing me. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone more, exhibiting more courage than usual, being more fearless, taking more chances and opportunities that are unfamiliar, slightly scary, and even intimidating, and having fun. I know holding a snake and shooting a gun are nothing like jumping out of a plane, fighting in a war, or anything really daring, but for me they’re a big deal. I’m trying to live each day of my life to the fullest and try new things and experience as much as I can while I’m given this time on earth. I’ve found a new source of courage to do this, and I’ve found a new sense of appreciating and enjoying life. Having and losing Hailey has changed me – it’s like I mentioned in the last post – I have nothing left to lose, nothing left to fear, and I’ve learned to really live in the moment.
(And no, Josh, this does NOT mean I will ever go sky diving with you – but I am more likely to try other things with you.)