Monday, April 6, 2015

Peta, "Friends of Woodland Park Zoos Elephants," and Seattle-ights in this category....what is wrong with you?

Warning-long post....about OKC Zoo and elephants :-)

Is anyone else flabbergasted with Seattle and the people who are angry with the Woodland Park Zoo  right now and their anger that the elephants that they could not take care of are coming to the OKC Zoo?  The main activist in this is part of the group called "Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants"  Edited:  Here is a Facebook page of the group that I have now posted on, wondering if they have ever been to the OKC Zoo that they claim is so bad.  They have yet to respond but were quick to point out their fact list of why OKC Zoo is so bad, which I already addressed said facts in this post.  I suppose they only want to read articles and subsequently share them on their Facebook page, that are totally against all zoos all together.  So tell me, if GOOD zoo's are not allowed to exist because of the bad ones, where are all of the animals going to go now they they have been born and raised in captivity and have no knowledge of how to live in their natural environment...not to mention many Zoo animals do not have natural habitats anymore.  I also wonder if any of them supported the "Crocodile Hunter" aka Steve Irwin.  Do they know that the Irwin family owns a huge conservation Zoo in Australia that is doing marvelous things for conservation (like the OKC Zoo)?  Is that Zoo an "OK" zoo because it is owned by a famous family?  Or do they stick to their all zoo's are bad?  They are hell bent on keeping "their" elephants from coming to OKC, because they "care so much."  I wonder where those friends were when the previous two elephants died...(I will get to that in a minute).  Even Peta piped in (in a shocking-particularly uneducated way!).  They would rather the elephants go to a sanctuary that has one very large roaming area.  That area does not have a barn/enclosure.  The heard that is already in that sanctuary there has tuberculosis. And that sanctuary cannot afford to build one!  But to Peta and many people of Seattle this is what is best for elephants that they have not cared about before....keep reading and you will understand why I say that.

If the elephants from Seattle would go to the California sanctuary, that is full of TB and doesn't have a Barn or second "field."  They would have to be quarantined but they have no where to do that.  On top of that they said the second best place would be the sanctuary in TN that is not even sure of it's own future!  So all of these people are raising arms and even having their children "pray for the poor elephants" that are going to one of the most state of the art Elephant facilities in the country, OKC ZOO and Botanical Gardens.

These people that care so much did not care about the atrocities that occurred while these elephants were in the Zoo in Seattle.  You see, originally they were a herd of 4.  But they euthanized an older (but younger than OKC's oldest elephant) because it could not stand up one day.  After much searching I can find no information stating that there was no fight for it or alternative options evaluated with zoologists or elephant veterinary specialists.  THEN, as if that wasn't enough, their 6 year old elephants died from an UNKNOWN fatal case of herpes.  They found out how she died after the fact.  In the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden​ (the supposed worst possible place for these precious girls) the elephant staff do preventative care and regular check ups of the heard of 5 (a new baby was born a few months ago!!!).  NOT ONCE have any of the elephants been sick in their care (at least since they have created the new elephant enclosures).  The arguments are that the elephants cannot roam and do not have as much space per elephant as they do in Seattle.  Well when you calculate space based off of half of your herd of course it will be more space.  I will mention what their enclosure looks like in a moment.  When it comes to space...These elephants have always been zoo animals and elephants are very social and emotional animals.  They are healthiest when kept in the lifestyle that the are use to.  And they are endangered animals and need conservation and proper MEDICAL CARE!

One of the factors that is so important for these two elephants is one is younger and one is older.  They are bonded and elephant bonds are so intense that elephants that have outlived their love have been known to literally not move, or eat, and sink into a depression and then starve themselves to death because they are in such mourning!  One of the biggest arguments from the Seattle and Peta people that hate the OKC decision enough to take it to court (court over turned their arguments and said that OKC is great for them) is that OKC zoo has an elephant show where the elephants "perform."  I don't know about any of you but I have seen the elephants "perform" on their playground (part of their grounds where they roam) without a single trainer/handler in or around their pen.  I have also had the show go on without the elephant because the elephant wasn't in the mood!  The show is an educational display to teach the conservation that OKC ZOO is doing!  As well as to teach children and adults alike about the amazing Asian Elephant!!

Another one of the naysayers arguments from Seattle is that it is bad for the elephants to be so close to the amphitheater because the loud music and occasional pyrotechnics are bad for them.  I do not know if the elephants are bothered by the music/shows that happen on weekends in the summer (and not every weekend but that doesn't really matter).  I have been at the zoo during a show and have never seen the elephants display any sort of agitation frustration or stress signs.  In fact, my daughter is very sensitive to crowds and loud noises (any reader of my blog knows this but if you are new she has rare seizure disorders that cause her to seize anywhere between an handful and hundreds of times a day).  And none of us have ever been bothered by the amphitheater.  It was never so loud that we couldn't hold conversations or even walk ahead of each other and call back to each other while walking around the zoo with our five children.  BUT because of the amphitheater they would rather send them to a TB infected field that could not afford to build a barn/enclosure/shelter...smh

Another argument is that OKC temps are too different from Seattle, both colder and hotter days.  That is why they have an enclosure with climate control.  Do they think that weather does not happen in California or Tennessee?  Tennessee gets a lot more snow than we do.  I feel like this is an extension of their tantrum when OKC bought their failing NBA team and then treated the team better than they had been treated in Seattle, which will happen for their two elephants headed this way!  I am so glad that the medical team in Oklahoma will get their hands and eyes on these elephants to make sure that they are healthy and continue to be so.  I am also happy that the younger elephant has a chance of bonding with one of four other female elephants, Asha, Chandra, Malee (the first baby who is about 4/5 years old I cannot remember off hand), and Achara (the new baby).  OKC has set the bar for elephant care - super high and it really ticks me off that people would be so blinded that they would rather put the elephants in harms way just because they think it is more important to have a free-for-all field to roam in than a "zoo."  I am sure that if the OKC zoo could make larger pens (their pens have a play area, a waterfall, GREEN GRASS (the Seattle elephants enclosure from the pictures that Seattle shared-is all dirt), and friends!  They also have a barn with stalls and open areas to walk and be treated.

OKC zoo also does not keep secrets about their animals.  Visitors can view inside the barn, the birth of Achara was filmed.  I will admit that watching the mama elephant give birth with cuffs on her feet was very upsetting to me, but that is because I also prefer for animals to be in natural habitats.  However, in conservation and saving endangered species different measure have to be taken and the OKC zoo had no problem explaining why she was delivering the way that she was.  They do not shy away from the care that they give because they have nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of.  Moreover, if you read anything at all educational about Asian Elephants in captivity and especially Asian elephants breeding in captivity you will note that it is very often the case (around 50% chance) that the elephant calf will die within the first month.  This is due to improper care AND improper environment, aka enclosures.  Yet the OKC zoo has welcomed TWO healthy baby girls into the herd with absolutely no illness occurring before or after their conception.  Finally, the OKC zoo does not plan on separating mama from baby.  This is a very bad thing to do to Asian elephants as herd bonds are permanent in their social structure.  In fact, there is one case of a wild Asian elephant witnessing her baby being killed by farmers "due to an accident."  *Warning this is graphic as is the link to an animal planet explanation*  She declined so rapidly in mental state and blamed humans to the point of being the only elephant on record to consume humans!

OKC's elephants have never shown any signs of being unhappy or agitated and the care given to them is obvious when you visit the zoo.  When the elephants need rest and a break from humans watching them they get it, and you can even check in via their elephant cam (I am not finding the link but have watched before-it could be a seasonal thing not sure).... Keep up the good work OKC Zoofriends​ Okc Zoo​

Sunday, April 5, 2015

He is Risen! The knowing of eternity...when dealing with Loss and what God taught us through the death of His Son!

I have been wanting to post over the past week or so, to show you some really sweet flower clips that Avagrace was given to wear on her helmet, or to share some of the other "happy's" that have happened over the past week or so.  You know that little things that mean so much.  But to be honest we have been going at a full sprint and haven't had the chance.  I try to post in Instagram when I am unable to write, edit and post what I have captured, or even update Facebook.  But with our house MANY MONTHS DELAYED and the major problems associated with that, I have spent most days on the phone (which I detest) talking to our insurance company and hoping that they will continue on this new kick of integrity or trying to keep our builder honest and praying that there will be NO MORE delays!  We cannot take another one-literally, it is too expensive and it will ruin many things that we have in the works.

Easter from 6 years ago!  Oh my goodness, look how long Gracies hair was how how little the three littles are!  And Aidan's face, so Aidan!  I love this so much!

But that is not why I am writing this today.  Today I wanted to steal away for a few moments.  Moments to share what has been on my heart in the midst of all of these trials.  You see, I am keenly aware that over a year ago our child's doctor told us that she had one year to live.  I am also aware that she is not a text book case of any one medical condition.  In fact she has three main diagnoses that make her anything but predictable.  Even still I know something that some people do not.  I know that God is our creator and that only He knows the number of breaths each of us, including my oldest daughter, will take.  I know that He is the Master Physician and that HE has divine authority and ability to use all things for the GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM!  We have free will.  We are not robots nor slaves.  We are adopted children of the King of Kings and we are open for His intervention that could come or not come, at any moment.

We have SO MUCH to REJOICE about (hear the JOY in that word?)  Today of all days, on Easter Sunday we are reminded that HE HAS RISEN and that because HE paid the price of our sins, we no longer judged by our works to gain entry into HIS EVERLASTING KINGDOM.  We are BOUGHT AT A PRICE.  We have been given a membership pass to STREETS OF GOLD!!  We have A ROOM IN HIS HOUSE prepared for us BY JESUS!!!  He has OVERCOME DEATH and owns it! 

And here is my HOPE and MY FAITH....What I KNOW to be true and what I pray over my friends who no longer have their *child* in their arms because their child has gone on to be with our Creator.  Because of God sacrificing His One and ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, they/we will be in heaven with our children in our arms again!  And oh what a reunion that will be!!  If only you BELIEVE and ask Jesus to be your Lord of Lords, YOUR Savior, to take up residence in your heart and to guide you through this life!  A simple question, a life changing decision that will call you to Higher Ground.  Although His YOKE is easy and His burden light, that does not mean that there will not be temptation and things to trip you up causing you to stubble and fall away.  That doesn't mean that you will be perfect or sinless.  That doesn't mean that you will not make horrible decisions at times.  You may even break the law or fail to show love (the first and MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT).  The important thing is that you keep picking yourself back up by His outstretched hand.  That you continue to redirect your life and continue to ask that He will help you and guide you.  Just like taking your thoughts and emotions under your self-control to find the JOY, you must use your self-control to follow Him and HIS WORD!  

Being keenly aware that in each moment it is vital to grab ahold of my emotions and my thoughts so that I can choose Joy and choose freedom from the weight of the world.  I want these moments to count.  I want my days and hours with my children to be permanently etched into my brain.  I want to know that I have done my best and made the best of it.  I want to know that I fought for them and rejoiced with them.  I want to make a difference and I want to live in the hear and now.  I want them to know that I am present, in this time, in the now, with them, experiencing life together! This does not mean that I am perfect or even good at doing this.  It is work.  It is a constant redirection and reminder.  Some days it is easy and some days it is very very hard.  Today, after a long night of seizures, followed by my own anxiety attacks from lack of sleep and being a caregiver that witnesses so many seizures in my own precious child each day.....the struggle is very very real.

Yet today of all days I should be rejoicing more.  I should be able to be in control more.  Referring to self-control.  Yet I am weary and when I am tired everything is harder!  I have heard that so many times in my life but never fully grasped it until the very beginning of this year.  You see I had a sleep study done because my husband told me that I was snoring and some of the other medical things that I was experiencing can sometimes be manifestations of sleep apnea and misdiagnosed as something more serious.  In my sleep study we found out that I was never making it past the second stage in sleep and that I was waking up due to lack of breathing 59.6 times an hour.  You read that correctly, I was waking up just about every single minute.  The doctor explained it to me as being tortured for years by my own body.  You may think that is extreme, if so feel free to read this article from Psychology today.  I am not sharing this as a "poor me."  I am sharing it because it was shocking to find out and AMAZING to learn.  The very first night of sleeping with a CPaP machine changed my life.  I am not joking or being dramatic.  I only was able to sleep for 3 hours and still had many "episodes" of not breathing.  However, I woke up and felt like I had the best night of sleep since became a mom almost 13 (oh my gosh that is a whole other blog-YIKES) year ago!  If you are struggling with sleep, please do not be hard on yourself.  Please try to rest even if it is not in the typical schedule or pattern that is recommended to keep.  Some sleep is so much better than no sleep.

*Up until this point I have been talking about parents that have lost their children.  This is something that I see around me regularly.  It is something that nobody wants to see and something that nobody wants to experience.  This is not to say that what I am writing is not applicable to my sweet friends who have lost their twins, their siblings, their moms, their dads, their husbands, their friends, the family or other loved ones.  I still find myself mourning the loss of Breya's twin (lost in the second trimester).  Identical to Breya, one of the cutest most determined kids ever.  Grief is Grief is Grief.  It is not something to judge.  It is relative to the person and the life in which is mourning.  Mourning and grief are not negative.  Grief is not something to be fixed.  Grief is something that one must endure to transform the pain.  From grief one goes from visualizing what was lost and never experienced (the sad) to visualizing what they have experienced during the life and from the pain (the blessing/joy).  Less than a year ago my Grandmother, my second parent, my love went to be in Heaven.  How I miss her.  How I wish that I had more time with her.  Yet the times that I had with her, the things that I learned from her are so much more valuable now.  I appreciate them so much more.  From Christ's death we mourn the suffering that WE put Him through and we have Visual Proof of what our poor decisions do to others.  We learn to visualize the consequences of our actions.  We better appreciate the weight that was spared from us so that we may live free from any sort of pain for eternity.  Without His pain the multitudes would not have been able to walk through the Gates of Pearl.

The kids and I with my Grandmother "Nanny" Virginia less than a year before she passed.

Without the loss of many of the lives that I have seen end in this world, handfuls to thousands of people would not have learned, loved, or been saved by organ donation, organizations that were started to provide life saving medicine or medical devices for people who could not otherwise get them.  Support groups for parents in the thick of caring for a medically fragile child would not have begun.  Awareness and education would not have happened.  Research on safe sleeping positions for infants would not have saved the lives of other babies who might otherwise be lost to things like SIDS.  From death comes new life.  Christ modeled this and His creation copies this in various ways.

**A different sort of child loss...I have lost children in utero, as I mentioned above in regards to Breya's twin, at varying times of their development.  It is not something that I like to talk about or think about.  But if you have lost a child just as soon as you found you were pregnant or you have delivered a stillborn baby.  I firmly believe that in your womb as God was forming your child, He already knew your child and how long your child would live.  Life begins at conception and just because the child was not ready to take a breath on their own that does not make them less of a child.  That does not mean that God started a "project" but "didn't finish."  God created a baby and just like any of His children He gave it to you for a time and called the child back to Him in its own proper timing.  Mourning for the loss of this child will still occur as you did not loose a "lump of cells" you lost a child that you will meet in heaven!