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Eleven Benefits of Meditation : Connect with Mother Earth (Gaia)

Eleven Benefits of Meditation : Connect with Mother Earth (Gaia)

Eleven Benefits of Meditation : Connect with Mother Earth (Gaia)

Benefits of meditation

Elevating to a Higher Consciousness with Meditation

Meditation on a regular basis is good for the mind, body and soul. There are many benefits of meditation. However, many humans still don’t do it. And I’ll be honest with you, I have to be very conscious about committing the time for it myself, even though I know its many benefits.

Since last year was a huge challenge for all humans on Earth and this year seems to be no different, we could all benefit from meditation so that we can bring a higher consciousness to the world.

The benefits of meditation:

  1. Reduces stress. Even just breathing will help you calm down when your emotions flare up. One known method of not reacting in an aggressive manner when you get triggered is to slowly and consciously breathe before speaking or acting.
  2. Boosts your immune system. Studies show that when we’re wired and stressed, our immune system is more susceptible to illness. Since meditation helps us reduce stress, it will also benefit our immune system.
  3. Enriches sleep. I don’t know about you, but when my brain is fried and going all over the place and I lie down to calm it down with a long meditation, I fall asleep and am able to have a good night’s sleep. That said, please don’t meditate while driving or handling dangerous machinery. Common sense clause.
  4. Improves self-confidence and acceptance. Did you know that the typical human has anywhere between 12,000-60,000 thoughts a day and 80% of them are negative and 95% are repetitive? That’s a lot of doom and gloom! Source: TLEX.

    During meditation, we have the ability to curb our crazy thoughts during meditation. We can actually control the self-sabotage we constantly expose ourselves to every single day. Meditation teaches us to concentrate on our breathing, our set intention or the soft voice guiding us and when our minds drift off into one of those 12-60,000 thoughts, we learn to circle back to full concentration again.

  5. Improves brain stimuli. Meditation generally helps enhance your focus, memory and concentration. It can also help you to process information more efficiently.
  6. Relieves pain. If you suffer from pain, either chronic or just an acute headache, it’s time to meditate on a regular basis. This will give your mind such much-needed time to relax and when it does that, it heals, relieving you of pain. Please still visit your doctor if you suffer from pain.
  7. Reduces blood pressure. Because of its calming effect, regular meditation has been known to improve circulation, which in turn opens up blood vessels to help the blood flow more easily. Some people no longer have to take medicine because they’ve made meditation a daily habit. As with any medical illness, listen to your doctors if you have high blood pressure.
  8. Improves relationships. When we regularly meditate, we become less reactive to the things that trigger us because we’re becoming more conscious of our own behavior patterns. When we’re more conscious, we listen and learn more as opposed to reacting.
  9. Improves creativity. Ever have a writing block? Or not know what to draw or how to inspire your children to clean their rooms? Meditate. I often hear people say, ‘I’ll meditate on it’, meaning, they’ll meditate with a specific goal or intention in mind to see if the answer just pops in their brain during these quiet times. It’s why we often have incredibly creative ideas in the shower or while walking in nature. Our minds are clear of all those crazy thoughts, allowing for such ideas to easily flow in.
  10. Helps curb addiction. Substance abusers have had success with meditation to combat stress and improve their control over their addiction because it helps them become more conscious of how their addiction affects them and their loved ones.
  11. Helps you listen to your intuition. You know, that gut feeling you keep talking about? Regular meditation helps you connect with your inner soul and gives you the space to receive messages that you may not hear if you’re always on the go.

I’m sure there are more benefits of meditation, but these are enough to say YES to making it a daily habit.

Regularly meditating, even just for a short time every day, will help calm your mind and increase your emotional intelligence.

Benefits of Meditation
Benefits of Meditation

This is my meditation/yoga/reading room. I love this room, but you don’t need one to be able to meditate. You can lie on your bed or couch or sit in a chair, whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

 I’ve just learned the benefits of meditation and connected with Mother Earth and my inner soul with this guided meditation. 

Connect to Mother Earth (Gaia) with my guided meditation

Because there are so many benefits to meditation and I feel we need to help raise a higher consciousness to our world right now, I created this guided meditation below.

My intention with this was to help you and your loved ones connect with Mother Earth. To feel her embrace and her gratitude. And to help you find gratitude, another important pillar that helps us raise our consciousness.

Your kids can and should join in too! The earlier children learn how to meditate, the more they will reap the benefits, now and in the future. This is why schools are starting to add it to their curriculums.

Do you want more videos like this above?

Do you know of any more benefits of meditation? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you and your family a relaxing and peaceful new year!

Namaste,
Sharing is Caring

International #FridaysForFuture Demo: The Day the Students Spoke

International #FridaysForFuture Demo: The Day the Students Spoke

International #FridaysForFuture Demo: The Day the Students Spoke

Fridays for Future Demo in Dortmund on March 15, 2019

Making an Impact!

The younger generation have a strong voice!

Whoever attended the #FridaysForFuture demo this past Friday will probably agree that it was incredible!

Hundreds of thousands of concerned students, parents and teachers around the world gathered to talk about our future on this beloved Earth.

Greta Thunberg, the initiator of this movement is not only leading the way to force the government to finally crack down and make some necessary changes so that we can survive as a species, she was just nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

Climate Change is Real

Scientists agree that our planet is resilient so we won’t get the opportunity to completely ruin our planet. Whew, right?

The only thing we will accomplish is to ruin our chances to exist on this planet.

We‘re actually leading the way toward our own extinction. Until stricter laws and regulations are written and enforced and we humans become more mindful with our own consumption, we‘ll just continue to speed up this process.

Which is why millions are now taking their worry and anger to the streets.

The younger generation is scared because we‘re not leaving them much hope.

And I don’t blame them.

So, my daughter and I decided to join them on the streets!

Breaking the Law

When the demos started in February, two students came into my daughter’s classroom to talk about it. They were trying to inspire students to participate, but also warned them of the consequences.

In Germany, school is mandatory and the school district sent out an official statement saying that if students attend the demo, they’ll receive an F for each class missed that day. My daughter will get 6 Fs for March 15, 2019, and it will show up on her report card.

And I‘ll attach a photo of her at the demo to her report card.

That said, she‘s an excellent 6th grade student and I don’t believe this will affect her overall grades this semester.

So as soon as I found out about the international demo this past Friday, I called the school and talked to her teacher so that it was very clear my daughter’s attending the demo. I explained that we both understood she will get these Fs on her report card.

Later that evening, I received an email from her teacher explaining that the director mentioned there may be further consequences if we follow through.

I, as the parent, am responsible for my daughter’s actions and may receive a fine to pay or I may have to do some type of community service. I have no idea, but I wrote back thanking her for this additional information but that I’m ready to be held responsible and she’s ready to get those Fs because climate change is important for us.

I also sent her teacher an image of the poster my daughter drew and the speech she prepared and that I‘ll be the last person to take this experience away from her.

Her teacher is very nice btw and understands our position but also has to do her job according to the school district rules and regulations.

The Next Morning

Leandra polished her speech and read it out loud a few times. I could tell she was nervous, but also very curious and excited.

Little did she know how this one day will shape the rest of her life.

I knew it though.

We arrived at the Rathaus (City Hall) in Dortmund, Germany right on time and tried so desperately to hear the speakers, but there were too many people and the microphone wasn‘t loud enough.

So we heard what we could and yoohoo’d when others did.

The atmosphere was alive and the chants were abound: „Wir sind hier, wir sind laut, weil man uns die Zukunft klaut!“ The translation in English isn‘t as good because it doesn‘t rhyme. „We are here, we are loud because you’re stealing our future!“

My daughter then asked nervously, „Mom, should I go up there and speak?“

I said some encouraging words, but it was crowded, we could barely hear the speakers and it was a little overwhelming to her, so she didn‘t want to do it.

She folded the piece of paper of her speech and put it in her pocket.

I gave her some more words of encouragement because I wanted to motivate her and not give her the feeling I‘d be disappointed if she didn‘t. Because I wasn‘t.

She was there, she was loud and I was proud of her with or without her speech.

Entire classes from supportive schools viewed this as an opportunity to teach their students more about climate change and give them a lesson from the School of Life.

Who was there 

We saw more students than anyone else, but there were also parents and teachers there. 

We saw entire classes from supporting schools who viewed this as an opportunity to teach their students about climate change.

And groups that have formed over the past couple of weeks such as Parents for Future!

Of course there were students who apparently were only there to get out of school and smoke, but they were in the minority.

And outshined by students I overheard talking about these world issues. Discussing them with intelligence and action-oriented mindfulness.

By the young artist who used chalk to draw a whale who died from eating too much plastic.

And the young poet who read her beautiful words about Gaia, the ancestral mother of all life, the primal Mother Earth goddess in Greek mythology.

And the many who spoke on stage.

And the hundreds who cheered them on.

Then We Took to the Streets

After about an hour, we started marching along the Wall, the main road that circles the city center in many German cities.

Business owners stopped and watched us from inside the comfort of their warm, dry store. It had been raining for the past two weeks and Friday gave us no relief either. But that’s OK, we were dressed appropriately.

This part of the demo was the most fun because we were moving. It felt different and we met some nice like-minded people along the way!

After arriving at the big church an hour later, we listened again. The acoustics were a little better, but still, we didn‘t hear a lot.

Then we marched back to the Rathaus.

Only about 500 people were left at that point. They mostly scattered after the stop at the church which was OK because we were finally able to hear the speakers.

There is no Planet B

Speaking and Taking Action

Leandra's sign at the Fridays for Future Demo in Dortmund on March 15, 2019
Leandra on Stage at the Fridays for Future Demo in Dortmund on March 15, 2019

Since the crowd was now more manageable, my daughter asked me again, „Mom, should I speak now?“

And that was that, she knew the time was right and it was now or never

So, I escorted her on stage to stand in a short line of others who wanted to speak from their hearts.

Isabelle got up there and talked about joinjulianne.org, a 20 member group of young activists who are suing the US government for their continuous use of fossil fuels. So of course, I spoke to her as I don’t meet many Americans in Dortmund at demonstrations.

And soon enough, my daughter was on stage:
„Hi, my name is Leandra and I‘m 12 yrs. old…“

She didn‘t want me to publish her whole speech, but a photo was allowed.

She talked about not only that we have to change too, but also gave a few suggestions of how to do this in addition to where the gov‘t needs to step up.

She did it! Her first speech ever. Making her the youngest speaker in Dortmund that day. On such an important issue and event!

The School of Life

This was an experience of a lifetime for my daughter and many other students. Not only is this experience invaluable, during the entire demo, she was alive, motivated and thinking about ways to reduce her own carbon footprint by suggesting to ride the bus to ballet instead of having me driving her.

She even used the word impact!

I’m often very proud of her and so standing up there on stage was the cake.

But the fact that she’s still talking about how to help is the icing which is so much sweeter!

That Friday, on March 15, 2019, she attended the School of Life which will be a super exhilarating and positive memory forever.

Power to the People.

My Favorite Sign

Massentierhaltung überwinden! = Get rid of industrial farming! 

Want to help protect our environment?

Were you also at a demo? Either with Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion or another group? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring

Respectful Communication Makes the World Go Round

Respectful Communication Makes the World Go Round

Respectful Communication Makes the World Go Round

Be an Animal Hero

Photo: @MK817, pixabay

Happy New Year!

On Setting Intentions

What a year it’s going to be! I don’t know about you, but my intentions for this year are very clear: Have more fun with my family and work, connect with more like-minders and make more of an impact by saving as many animals as I can.

For that, I’ve defined a few objectives: Publish Lily Bowers and The Uninvited Guest, create an online course for my business to help ethical brands with their marketing strategy, start working on a book on how to create an ethical marketing strategy, give back to more animal and nature conservation efforts, take a voluntary trip to an animal rescue sanctuary in Africa, sponsor and judge the Be The Change Awards in London in the Brands That Give Back category, present my topic of how to market for animals and nature in an online ethical marketing summit, etc.

That’s just a few things on the business side, I also have many plans with my friends and family and money pit house! We still have to decide on where to go on vacation, organize a few day and long weekend trips, get the photovoltaic unit installed this month and finally get the basement finished as we want a huge family game room and I’m tired of looking at concrete floors and abandoned spider webs! Yes, I’d rather see the web dwellers than what they leave behind!

What about you?

My Vision

My intentions and objectives defined above are not just random things I want to do. They all align with my vision of living in a peaceful and respectful world.

I envision a world of healthy choices and opportunities for all animals, humans included. One with no more child labor, sweatshops, animal abuse and testing, pesticides, GMOs and harmful chemicals on the foods, clothes, meds and products we consume. And a world without poverty and war.

Do I believe in fairy dust? Absolutely!

But I also believe in the power of people and the changes we can create together!

What Kind of a Message Do You Want To Send?

If you have a similar vision, let me ask you, how are you trying to make it come true?

When I reflected on last year and planned this new year, I thought about how I can help create a kinder world. One way is to collaborate with like-minded people because I can’t carry this burden on my shoulders alone and neither can you. We have to work together.

I also thought of how to communicate my message because where there is understanding, there is love.

And that’s where things can go wrong. Seriously wrong because communication is key. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s to watch my language! I’m not talking about swearing. I’m talking about respectful communication.

How to Create the World You Want to Live In

Being the emotional empath that I am, I can get into heavy conversations because it breaks my heart when harm is done to innocent animals, human included.

With the political split in my native US and in Europe where I now live, it’s challenging for me to stay calm because I feel those in power and those who support them want something else which breaks my heart even more.

Since I was taught to speak up and tell my truth, I tripped a few times and had to learn the hard way how to speak without upsetting others. It’s still a work in progress.

I was called a Nazi because I live in Germany, I was told I had no voice in the US election because I’m an expat and was unfriended by a close relative and a few not so close FB friends because I don’t agree with the current US administration.

Thing is, I’m not patriotic because I’ve been here for 23 years and my heart and soul belong to the Earth and Universe and loved ones, not to any government. Of course I pay my taxes, in both countries, but I feel no ‘allegiance’ to a flag and this seriously upsets some Americans.

And, I’m a vegan which upsets some people, too. More on that below.

Fact is: Every human has their own values and views and that’s a good thing, because with our differences, we have the power to help create the respectful diverse world we want to live in together.

But, we can only create this world if we respect each other at all times, even those who think differently.

To educate is to tell others about a particular topic. To inspire is to show others how an idea or action can enrich their lives. Let us inspire.

How Inspiration Creates Change

 I cannot write a blog post about respectful communication without thanking my dear friend, Friderike Hirsch-Wright, for turning me on to Marshall Rosenberg. If you have 3 hours to spare, please listen to one of his seminars on non-violent communication. This quote of his that sticks in my mind is “Enemy images are the main reason conflicts don’t get resolved.”

Sometimes we have a hard time looking past our differences and only see our ‘right’ from their ‘wrong’. This can turn into a nasty argument where no one wins.

But this isn’t a game. This is life. And we all want a better world for ourselves and future generations. We just have different ideas of what that world looks like and how to achieve this but if we all want to thrive in a diverse, free and peaceful world, remaining tolerant and respectful is vital. And I still believe it’s OK to get angry and vent, as long as it’s not a personal attack.

How can we create a kinder world?

——

To educate is to tell others about a particular topic.
To inspire is to show others how an idea or action can enrich their lives.

Let us inspire.

Angry Vegans vs. Guilty Omnivores

As an example, I want to talk about veganism because it’s a very personal topic that seems to attract violent communication and honestly, I’m sick of politics so don’t want to used that as an example again.

Short background: I wasn’t born a vegan. I was forced to eat bone dry chicken and wash it down with lukewarm powdered milk because we couldn’t afford real milk, let alone quality beef, so our homemade burgers contained many bone chips which made me gag.
This seed was planted: Meat + Milk = Gross!

Another seed was planted: My parents taught me to respect animals and nature. I spent a lot of time in the woods in our backyard on Long Island in New York. We often went camping and my mom rescued, cared for and released many wild animals.

These seeds were nurtured and turned me into a pesche vegetarian in 1992, a vegetarian in 2012 and vegan in 2016. It took me a LONG time to turn vegan. All I can say is cheese.


Veganism: oh, how this topic triggers!

Many times when I eat with others, I get asked why I’m a vegan. I give a simple answer: Because I don’t want to support the cruelty in the food industry.

That’s my answer. Plain and simple and understood, but wow, it triggers and I think I know why.

When I say that above, the tone of the rest of the conversation depends on who I’m talking to and how they feel about the treatment of farm animals. It’s not about me, it’s about them.

And that’s why I wrote ‘Guilty Omnivores’ above – having a double meaning: 1) I’ve read many comments from (angry) vegans who blame/point fingers and demonize non-vegans for supporting animal cruelty, perhaps forgetting that they weren’t born a vegan and had to go through some kind of a journey to become one themselves and 2) many non-vegans react defensively around this topic, even when they bring it up.

 Because let’s be honest, no one in their right mind wants this cruelty. After I answer the why question, some tell me why they aren’t vegan which makes me wonder. You only make excuses if you feel a little guilty, right?

I’ve been there. I felt guilty for eating fish and cheese and made excuses as to why I ate it. Silly really because I don’t need any excuses as to why someone eats what they eat and I certainly didn’t need to make excuses to myself. I realized I either need to be OK with fish or not and I chose not. And I tell people that I have no judgement, it’s just the one thing I can control, what goes in and on my body and I don’t want any harm done in the process.

And hey, I love my omnivore family and friends! Are they evil? NO! Was I evil when I wasn’t a vegan? NO!

And do I believe if everyone turned vegan, our planet would be saved? NO. Just as little as I believe controlling guns will sole-handedly solve the shooting situation in the US. There are MANY things that need change in order to save our environment, it’s not just about what we eat. It all starts with out mindset about respecting all life.

It’s sad though because I see a lot of aggression about veganism on social media and my heart bleeds when angry vegans yell about murdering, saying it’s the ONLY way to live as much as when omnivores comment on vegan-related posts with animated gifs of someone slowly cutting roast beef.

Why?

“Spread Hummus, Not Hate”

~ Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum

Respectful Communication in Progress

What we need more of is respectful communication, like this and this! Two incidents when a farmer and slaughterhouse owner released their animals with animal rights activists after they sat down and talked to each other. After they found common ground. And understood each other. This is success and we need more of it.

Vegans are a rare breed and all we want is to save as many animals as possible.

This compassion does not make us holier than thou – or weird. We just want to eat in peace.
Eating meat does not make omnivores evil – or murderers. They just want to eat in peace.

This is where we need to agree.

My heart would sing if we discontinue viewing animal cruelty as normal, so that we can start working towards creating a kinder world.

If we all respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of, we would be at peace with ourselves. If we are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace with others. When that happens, we would have world peace. I firmly believe that.

We’re far from world peace, but we can start taking the steps by communicating respectfully with each other and find a better solution so that the industries will start to improve conditions.

For the love of all living beings:
All opinions matter and we need to speak with respect to create change.

Inspire ’em with kindness.

It works.

So, what’s it gonna be: Spread hummus or spread hummus with guacamole?

Do you also have a heart for animals?

Have you had some difficult conversations about your values, political views or what you eat? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring
Animal Heroes of 2018

Animal Heroes of 2018

Animal Heroes of 2018

Be an Animal Hero

Photo: @birdiesnapdragon, pixabay

To all Animal Rescuers out there, I salute you!

The end of the year is a good time for reflection and looking forward to the year coming up.When I look back, I not only think about my own impact and how I can improve in the coming year, I also remember and honor fearless and amazing heroes who’ve saved the lives of animals.Looking forward, I’m seeing all animals, human included, thrive. I’m seeing brands that give back and doing something good in this world shine. The future looks bright because we’re working together out of love and compassion!This post is solely dedicated to the changemakers who show unconditional love and respect for all living beings and our planet.And, I’ve got a couple of special announcements at the end that will help you shine!

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Where to start! There were so many animal heroes this year and I know for a fact that I didn’t list them all, so please, if you know of other animal heroes, let me know in the comments below.There’s no better resource for animal love stories than The Dodo, so I’ll start there!

Boys and their Best Friends

Happy Dog
This young boy is amazing! At just 4 years old, Roman started to help find homes for dogs in shelters. He’s saved over 1,000 dogs and is still counting! You rock, Roman!And this pumped up savior, Lee Asher, is also inspiring and yes, insane – I love it! Stop life, get an RV and find homes for these fun pups!

Shelter Life isn’t always Hard Knock!

Oliver was hanged, but luckily had enough loving people to help him through his trauma and is now a happy pup at one of the 4 shelters in Tanzania. Only 4 shelters in an entire country???

Ever wonder what life is like at a shelter? Especially as an older dog who apparently no one wants to adopt? Nonsense, says this senior dog hospice; heaven on Earth for these sweet canines.

And wow, talk about fun at this no-kill, free run stray dog paradise in Costa Rica! Squeeeeeee!

There’s no place like home. For all animals, human included.

The Bee and Butterfly Heroes

Bees especially are so very important for our own survival that I couldn’t have an animal hero post without mentioning saving them. And life without butterflies would just be sad, very sad.
This video of one lucky and grateful bee went viral this year. I truly love Fiona Presly’s compassion. The fact that she noticed this little bee had no wings is amazing in itself, but to also build a haven for it to thrive proves that stopping to smell the roses has its advantages and there is faith in humanity.My friend, Sian Conway from the renowned Ethical Hour, wrote me about her experience of getting a text from her boyfriend and running outside – in her pjs – to try to save a bee! She wrapped it up in a kitchen towel soaked in sugar water and laid her in the sun and 20 mins later, she was moving her legs! She couldn’t get full strength to fly though, so it was probably her time to say goodbye. But last year, Sian did the same thing with another bee who gained her strength enough to fly away! YAY!Not only that, Sian planted 16 trees on her #PlantATree day and invested in 5 @standfortrees projects!And thank you, Barbara Lewison, aka my sister, who saved 7 Monarch butterflies in their 2nd stage of metamorphasis, the caterpillar stage. It all started when she saw a Monarch butterfly feeding off and laying eggs on a Milkweed plant in her garden. After losing 10 large caterpillars to predators and 1 chrysalis to fly infestation, she decided to take action! She brought 7 caterpillars inside her home to provide them sanctuary during their transformation. Monarchs are in danger because Milkweed is the only plant they eat and with the increased use of pesticides and drought conditions, Milkweed is currently a threatened plant which has led to decreased Monarch populations over the past decade.
Bees
Monarch Butterfly Rescue
monarch free

Farm Animals

As a vegan, I can’t help but cry when I see farm animals being saved. Get your tissues ready!Farm Sanctuary for the disabledHow this Vegan Farm Sanctuary was bornThe moment when 35 rescued farm animals turned into 70 at Broken Shovels Farm and how the community came together to offer help and support.Trying to understand animal body language
Riding on the Power of Others by Ren Hurst
I read a book earlier this year that really makes you think: Riding on the Power of Others* by Ren Hurst (*affiliate link). She describes her long and painful journey of being a high roller in the horse industry to turning vegan and owning a sanctuary where no horse will ever be ridden again. To truly respect them on a level that is unheard of in today’s society is not only transformational but also deserves my utmost respect because the pain she must have gone through to completely stop doing something she loved most in this world – riding – is immense. But she is now free of that pain. And so are her horses.

To those about to save animals, I salute you! Animal heroes rock! Let’s honor the love and compassion of these beautiful souls who actively saved animals this year.

The Bravehearted

Here are short snippets of animal heroes both human and non-human, interspecies and all in the family. Which rescue is your favorite?Getting a little help from your friendsAdrenalin kicking in to save a dangerout bearSaving the Whale WitchDogs save lives all the time

Natural Disaster Rescues

Oh my, this year was rough on many living beings. Here are just a few examples of heroic actions during the aftermath of a natural disaster.Hurricane FlorenceHurricane FlorenceMudslide and flooding in IndiaCalifornia firesHurricane Michael

Just a Few Brands that Give Back

A special thanks goes out to those brands with a serious mission to save animals by bringing their talents to conscious consumers and supporting organizations that protect/rescue and care for animals in need.Critically Endangered Socks designs sustainably-made comfy cozy feet huggers and give 20% of their total sale price to 4 charity partners around the world.Elephant Gin and Ivory Ella both have a BIG mission to save the largest land mammal who is severaly threathened from poaching and habitat loss. Honestly, there’s nothing more surreal than seeing elephant families in the wild and I’ll never forget my trip to South Africa and Botswana in 2016. I’m ready to go back!And who wouldn’t enjoy a quality fairtrade and organic cup of java knowing that you’re giving rescue dogs a good home? At Grounds & Hounds, they turn passion into action!At Pet Plus, you’re in good hands as a pet owner and every time a new PetPlus member signs up, they’ll donate a FREE membership to a Best Friends adopted animal. Best Friends is America’s largest animal sanctuary.

Buy1Give1

Speaking of Giving Back

My mission for Ethical Brand Marketing is to help save animals and our environment by working with brands in a strategic and ethical way so that they can master their marketing and thrive in this marketplace.After donating to a couple of larger organizations, I felt I wanted to really know where my money went and as soon as Sian Conway from Ethical Hour (my bee-saving and ethical marketing friend above) gifted me a day of watermelon-eating fun for chickens at Edgar’s Mission, a rescue sanctuary for farm animals in Australia via B1G1 (Buy1GIVE1), I thought, this is IT!B1G1 makes giving back easy and transparent and since I’m all over easy and transparency, I became a proud member today and won’t have to wonder where my money actually goes. And I no longer have to spend much time finding ethical non-profit organizations that I can really trust because B1G1 does the proofing work for me.If you’re interested in becoming a member, too, talk to me so that I can send you a personal invite which will give you $11 of giving back credit and let the giving back begin!

Be The Change Awards 2019

Giving Back has Never Been More Important

And because giving back is a perfect way to help save animals, humans included, and our planet, I’ve just now become a proud sponsor of the Be The Change Awards for the category of BRANDS THAT GIVE BACK!This event will be held on April 26, 2019 and organized by Sian (yeah, she’s everywhere!), from Ethical Hour and Jo Salter, owner of Where Does It Come From?Not only that, I’m also on the judging panel! I’m SO excited to be a part of this ceremony because it’s people like you who are moving mountains and it’s a great honor for me to celebrate you!
Be The Change Awards 2019
The first ever Be The Change Awards in 2019 will bring together ethical and sustainable brands across a range of sectors that have a powerful impact story to tell.Entries are open now until 31st January 2019. It’s FREE to enter so check it out today to try to walk home with an award in April!

Are you an animal-loving business owner, too?

This year is ending with a powerful and harmless BANG! I’d love to hear the impact you’re making in your business, so please comment below and let’s talk! In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season with your family! I’m looking forward to seeing you in the new year!
Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring
When Nature Cries Out for Help | A German Forest Love Story

When Nature Cries Out for Help | A German Forest Love Story

When Nature Cries Out for Help | A German Forest Love Story

Brown coal excavation area which destroyed most of the Hambach Forest in Germany

Photo: KitzD66, pixabay

A Small Triumph for Nature-Lovers

The Oldest German Forest in Danger

Hambach Forest, aka. Bürgewald, is Germany’s oldest forest. It’s 12,000 years old, but unfortunately, it’s owned by RWE, a utility monger who’s been slowly but surely tearing it apart to excavate brown coal for decades. There’s only about 10% of the original forest left. 10%.

Well now, RWE wants to dig up 50% of that 10% starting next week! Germany’s been in an uproar over this the past few weeks, maybe you’ve heard about it.

Steffen M., a blogger, journalist and forest friend, died trying to walk from one treehouse to another via a man-made bridge that collapsed because the police wouldn’t let him and others document the situation from the ground, so they had to seek refuge in the trees. That was on September 19th. May his soul rest in peace.

Yesterday, the Münster court put a stop to the destruction – for now anyway. The main reason was to save the Bechstein’s bat, a near-threatened bat species.

And the court in Aachen uplifted their demonstration ban for today, so 20k people are expected to protest today! UPDATE: There were around 50,000 people there on Saturday!!!

Mystical German Forests

When you think of Germany, does its magical forests come to mind?

Think of the fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm set in German forests.

Rheinhardswald is located along the fairy tale route right next to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s also where Lily Bowers lives.

And of course the famous Black Forest, known for its mystery and beauty. And yummy cake.

The fall forest colors are amazing in Germany, too. Incredibly amazing! My birthday is next week and I’ve always, in all the 23 years of living here, enjoyed a lovely Indian Summer birthday in a country where grey skies are the norm.

So, yeah, Germany is well-known for its magical forests and I enjoy getting my #forestfix every day with my labrador. I’m not the only one. It’s been proven that spending time in a forest will improve your health.

Unfortunately, German forests are in danger of being destroyed little by little.

Rheinhardswald is in danger of being partially ripped up to make room for wind turbines – which btw are also not very sustainable. Not only because we rip apart forests for those, but those huge turbines are also made out of plastic and are NOT biodegradable!

And the Hambacher Forst has been destroyed, chunk for chunk, for decades and is in danger of being completely destroyed.

Germany as The Environmental Leader ???

Brown Coal Excavation Area

© Google. Click to enlarge to see the brown coal excavation area from FAR, FAR away.

Germany leads the way when it comes to tackling environmental issues but still ends up struggling with producing sustainable energy. I live in NorthRhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr Valley Area, where coal mining was the main industry in the 50s/60s/70s.

My husband’s grandfather was a coal mining manager and was killed after a mine collapsed. He went back in to save one of his guys, but couldn’t save himself and left his wife alone with 5 children.

When I moved to Germany in 1995, I could not hang my clothes out to dry on the balcony because they turned black after just a few hours.

I wasn’t allowed to buy a clothes dryer either because that was just not good for the environment, words I NEVER heard together in the United States btw.

This contradiction boggles the mind, right?

Germany’s since terminated most of their coal mining plants and turned them into exhibition halls where art and culture festivals are celebrated. And I can now hang my clothes out to dry once again. Well, mainly because I live out in the country right near a forest, but Dortmund, where I used to live, has cleaned up its act too.

But not all of it. Coal is, by far, the dirtiest source of energy. And the top managers at RWE know it, but yet, they dig and dig and dig.

Even though residents living in these coal mining areas have to deal with sudden earth collapsing incidents that damage their homes.

All for the name of money.

It’s our responsibility to protect plant and animal species that have no other place to call home.

Respect Mother Nature and All She Takes Care Of

There is absolutely no reason to produce brown coal and RWE couldn’t convince the Münster court of it either, so they lost. For now anyway as this is a temporary 2 year stop.

RWE will take a huge financial loss. And energy costs may rise because of it. Or something even worse may happen in our attempts to get energy from another source. But this conversation NEEDS to start so that we don’t continue to use the most damaging source of energy anymore. Those days are over and humans have become more conscious and more intelligent. Let’s not move back in time, but strongly demand more sustainable sources of energy.

When you think of Germany, what comes to mind? The Black Forest, Rheinhardswald and now the Hambach Forest. It’s our responsibility to protect Germany’s most beautiful feature, the forest.

Hope is in the Air

My heart sings a beautiful love song today as the animals in the Hambach forest are safe, for now. And the trees can continue to breathe and provide us with clean air and hope.

I truly believe that if every human being would be one with nature and respect all that Mother Nature provides us, there would be world peace. Yes, I do believe in fairy dust, but I also believe in the power of people and in the opportunity to be the change. This event proves that we DO have the power to inspire change and for that, I’m grateful.

I don’t know what will happen to this magical forest after this 2 years are up, but I do know that humans are not above nature. Nature will prevail. Always.

Let us sing.

How are you helping to save animals or the environment in your own community? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring
How Real-Life Experiences Inspire Change

How Real-Life Experiences Inspire Change

How Real-Life Experiences Inspire Change

Experiences Inspire Change

Let’s Talk about Expat Life, Mid-Term Elections, Global Warming and Animal Abuse

This post is super long, but I’ve had so many experiences this year that I just have to share them with you, so I’ll just jump right in.

Expat Life is GOOD

Monday, September 17th was my 23rd anniversary in Germany. That very day in 1995, I landed in Frankfurt without a clue of what I was doing. I was young and in love, that’s all I knew.

When my German fiancée asked me where we should live when we were living in Atlanta, I immediately said, ‘NOT here’. One reason was because of a gun assaulter at the parking lot of a pub who got no money from me but invaded my life in the most horrible way and another reason was my wanderlust that I haven’t yet been able to pursue.

I had no clue I would permanently stay here at the time of my move, let alone realize what other benefits I’d have being a European resident.

The list is long and ranges from: gun control = increased safety to paid maternity leave & real vacation time = happier & more productive employees to affordable healthcare = happier & healthier people to less toxicity in products & food = healthier people who enjoy higher quality food with flavor.

Honestly, the food in the states has decreased in quality so much that I’m actually scared to eat there! It’s disgusting!

Moving to Germany wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do. I had to pack up my whole entire life in 21 boxes, 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on and leave my family and friends to move to a strange place without knowing anyone but my husband and not being able to communicate. But I can tell you it was the best decision I’ve ever made!

Best Experience Ever!

Although I had many challenges as an expat in my early years here in Germany, that move gave me a new perspective on my own country and my life.

It showed me that the American dream is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be.

It taught me to appreciate very important basic human rights that we have in Europe but not in America.

It taught me to be even more compassion for nature, animals (humans included) and our environment.

It taught me about what’s really important in life: relationships, not money.

The list is so long and evergreen. I am truly grateful.

I would love all Americans to experience these feelings too and one way is to vote which brings me to the next topic: Mid-Term Elections.

Your Vote Counts

On November 6th, US citizens have the opportunity to make a change in the administration. And in the loving, tear-jerking words of one of my heroes, Dr. Jane Goodall, “And my goodness, don’t we need to change the world?”

It may not be a huge change that we’ll see, but If the Democrats win the majority, we’ll hopefully see some light in the darkness that’s been hovering over us for the past couple of years. More on this.

As an expat, I have to request an absentee ballot for every presidential election, mid-terms included, so I’ve just sent that in. If you’re an expat, here’s the link for more information.

Please be patient and diligent though because they don’t make it easy for expats to vote! One time, I was told to put my email address in all caps to confirm my ballot and low and behold THAT worked. All caps? Really? Thanks guys for making this easy! As a marketer, I’m all about usability, but this is a whole other level of user-unfriendliness. This is a crime!

If you’re not having any luck with that website, please contact the voting registration office of the county where you last lived and just keep on them. Please do NOT give up your right to vote, because we NEED it! But if you have any questions, please just contact me and I’ll do what I can to help you out.

Can’t we all just get along? It’s time we all learn how to communicate in a more respectful and non-violent way.

Be Respectful with Non-Violent Communication

I often worry and talk about global warming and so I posted something on FB the other day about exercising your right to vote to make some positive changes in our government regarding our environment.

Upon reading a few comments, one stuck with me. It read: ‘fake news’. Now, I knew there were people who didn’t believe in climate change, but I’ve never actually ‘met’ a climate change denier, so I sought the opportunity to discuss this issue further because although I know I won’t change his mind and he’ll never change mine, I honestly want to understand the motivation behind environmentalists and scientists to downright lie. This is the information I’m missing, so I asked about that.

But after reading the bloody fighting match that brewed between two other fb friends and the person who denies climate change, I feel it’s time we all learn how to communicate in a more respectful and non-violent way.

I know that my passion can turn into rage within a millisecond. This, however, does me no good whatsoever. I can’t sleep, I feel exhausted and sometimes when I get in an argument with a close friend or relative, I make myself sick!

So, with this newly gained knowledge of self-sabotage, I know if I keep this up, I will indeed have a heart attack.

Become your Higher Self

This year, I’ve done a lot of self-care because I’ve had a LOT on my plate and was feeling overwhelmed and constantly exhausted, so I sought help and through my work with my dear Burnout Coach, Jess Bonasso, and with my divine leadership mastermind group, I’m slowly learning how to channel my anger and am now practicing a more respectful way to communicate and guess what: it feels SO good.

I now feel more aligned with my higher soul’s purpose of inspiring others to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of through my writing. I’m truly grateful for all my new friends who’ve helped me along the way.

It’s challenging though because of how I was raised and how I feel about certain events that harm humans, animals and our environment. All this upsets me – I mean REALLY upsets me – but I must remember, this is SO important if I want to help create the peaceful and respectful world I want to live in!

Also, I think non-violent communication is the best gift we can give our children.

Experiences Shape Our World and
Form our Higher Soul’s Purpose

There are Many Forms of Animal Abuse

Circus Animals

Not only did I start the conversation about global warming, I felt the need to do the same with a lady who rang my doorbell the other day begging for money for her circus animals.

I politely said no but wanted to explain more and ask her questions about their animals and their care, but she immediately rolled her eyes and walked away to knock on my neighbor’s door.

I had to sit with my rage for a while and then I acted by posting in our local FB group to 1) warn my neighbors that they’re back again and 2) to inform them with an article in German about circus animal abuse as to why they shouldn’t support this cause.

Animals do not belong in a circus

The reactions were positive and it sparked a fellow member of our local animal rescue unit to post a different resource to inform our community.

I don’t think I need to preach to the choir and explain why we shouldn’t support circuses with animals, but if you want to know more information, please contact me.

————————————

Animal Testing in the Medical Field

Animal Testing is inhumane, inaccurate and more expensive than alternative methods

Also, during my ‘summer break’, I joined the German organization, Ärzte Gegen Tierversuche e.V. (Doctors Against Animal Testing) who are very active in spreading awareness about alternative methods to testing on animals in the medical field such as in vitro, in vivo and in silico.

But they don’t just inform adults, they inform children (8+) too which is perfect because I’m writing my first fantasy book on the topic of animal testing for middle-graders, so I’d like to work more closely with them.

On Monday, I spoke with a biology teacher of the school my daughter attends and asked if I could send her information about this organization so that she can present it to the school board to invite a representative to speak to the students about this topic.

Education is key when it comes to conservation and children need to know the truth about these topics. Children love animals and usually don’t know how much pain and suffering they unnecessarily have to endure in these lab experiments, so if you’re also interested in learning more about it, please visit their site or find a similar organization in your own country.

And would you know: This year alone, I’ve declined two well-paying voiceover medical projects because I don’t want to support the pharmaceutical industry that make animal testing in the medical field a requirement. I also declined an offer to narrate a campaign video for a US politician who had extremely opposing political views. I don’t like saying no to potential clients, but I couldn’t live with myself if I had said yes.

————————————

The Animal Food Industry

In July, my 11-year-old daughter went on a school trip to visit a pig farm. She thought it was going to be an organic farm, but to her dismay, it was a traditional one. She came back home with tears in her eyes and anger in her voice.

During her visit, she was very active and asked the farmer why they weren’t allowed to go outside and why they were stuffed together like sardines and why that pig was bloody, etc. I think she really put him to the test! #proudmama

He explained that this was normal. Some background info: I’m a vegan, so my daughter already knows a lot about animal abuse and the farming industry.

Farm animals need and deserve our love and respect

We’ve visited several dairy farms, but never a pig farm. The thing is, when I didn’t look happy during our last visit to this ‘modern, high-tech’ dairy farm where our dear friend worked, my daughter criticized me for frowning. She didn’t want our friend to feel bad.

I told her that I’m sorry and I don’t want to hurt her, but I can’t be happy when I see cows in small spaces, stepping on their own poop with no chance to see the sunlight or to be with their calves. I just feel so sad and I can’t hide my own feelings by putting on my happy face. She said she understood back then, but now I know she really understands!

There’s nothing better than to have her experience the reality herself. I could talk all I want, but she won’t really be able to understand until she sees it herself.

This is how change is inspired!

My daughter now asks gma for either organic meat or a vegetarian meal at gma’s house, who is, by the way, NOT too happy about it, but will do anything for her granddaughter. Me, her daughter-in-law? I have to bring my own food if I want to eat at her house, but that’s OK because she’s challenged with vegetables and pours a sugar dressing on them!

And I guarantee you my daughter will make the switch to vegetarianism and then to veganism at some point in her life. For me, this is her choice and her choice only, but I can clearly see that she’s already shaping her own path and I’m so proud of her.

Experiences Shape Our World and Form our Higher Soul’s Purpose

Through these – and many more – experiences, I’ve come to realize how I can make a difference.

Through my work as an experienced marketer, I help ethical brand owners and marketers who are making an impact in this world create and implement a marketing strategy that rocks.

I’m currently writing about the adventures of Lily Bowers, a 10-year-old girl who finds out she has an amazing gift, but with that amazing gift, she has the huge challenge of having to save someone very dear to her.

This will be the first book of a fantasy series that addresses various animal rights and environmental issues because my soul purpose on this beautiful Earth is to inspire people, especially children, to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of through my writing.

My work and the changes I want to make inspire me to get up each and every day. What about you?

What differences are you making in your life?

How did your very own experiences shape your life and the work you’re doing today? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and Love,

An Open Letter of Apology to Mother Nature

An Open Letter of Apology to Mother Nature

An Open Letter of Apology to Mother Nature

Southern White Rhino

My Heart Bleeds this Week

Sudan, the last Northern White Rhino male is Dead

I’m sure you’ve heard about him. Sudan was put to sleep on Monday. He was old and it was his time to leave us. His death was painful though, not just for me but for many other caring humans. I’ve been following him and his family for quite some time now. Ever since I found out about Suni, the 2nd to last male, who died in 2014.

The image above is of a Southern White Rhino, NOT the Northern White. There are about 20,000 left of this subspecies which is considered ‘Near Threatened’ according to the IUCN Red List Classification. What’s inspiring though is that in the early 1900s, there were only 50-100 left in the wild, so that’s good news, but still, it would be better if no animal were to land on the IUCN Red List at all.

I had the pleasure to visit the Plettenberg Game Reserve in South Africa through my work with Safari With Us, an ethical tour operator located in Johannesburg.

It was the last stretch of my family’s 3-week tour of South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and I hadn’t seen any rhinos yet. Knowing about their fate by poacher’s hands, I felt an enormous surge of hope when I spotted them. Tears streamed down my face as the driver looked in his back mirror and said, ‘I think someone’s very happy.’ He knew all I wanted was to see rhinos in their natural habitat, free of fear. Of course, rangers were near to protect them in that reserve, because poachers are everywhere and have the GPS technology to locate their prey and quickly kill rhinos for their rhino horn and elephants for their tusks.

 

What’s up with Rhino Horn Anyway?

Rhino horn is sold in a few Asian countries because the myth is that rhino horn, when broken down into a powder, can cure cancer and act as an aphrodisiac or a hallucinogen. It’s also considered a symbol of wealth.

The reality though is that rhino horn is made of keratin, the same stuff our nails are made of. So, anyone who believes rhino horn is magic should just bite their nails if they want to get healthy, horny or high.

I’m sorry for being sarcastic, but it’s unacceptable for us to drive a beautiful species into extinction for absolutely no reason.

 

It’s Also My Mom’s Birthday Today

My mom holding me in 1972.
She was only 22.

Not only did we lose Sudan, I’m still mourning my mom’s death. She passed away at the age of 66 on July 20, 2016, the same day we arrived in Johannesburg to start our 3-week tour in Southern Africa. I stayed on that trip because it was her wish. She knew she was going to die, but didn’t tell us. She had a cavernoma close to her optic nerve, but not in her brain that was surgically removed one week before my trip and survived that harsh surgery and we thought all was good, but it wasn’t. She had a pulmonary embolus and didn’t make it.

On the flight home, I wrote about her death and my grief during that trip and submitted it directly to the Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. She wrote back and immediately gave me access to become a contributor. She also mentioned that it was her last day at The Huff Post because she founded, Thrive Global, of which I’m also a contributor. I’ve never had contact with her before, but this just proves how amazing this woman is. She’s a celebrity, but took the time to write me in my time of grief. Maybe because she felt her own grief when she lost her mother several years ago and wrote about her profound passing. But from what I’ve heard from others, that’s just how Arianna is – a beautiful woman who cares deeply for the well-being of others.

The reason why I’m writing this today though is that today, March 23, is my mom’s birthday. She – and my dad who passed away on August 8, 2017 at the age of 65 – taught me to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of. I grew up in a household of rescues. To this day, I take spiders outside, either that or just leave them where they are. If they’re too big, I call my husband to take them outside. They deserve to live a safe and happy life, just like we do.

It’s our responsibility to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of. It’s our obligation to stop harming animals and forcing precious species into extinction.

Dear Mother Nature,

I deeply apologize for your suffering. Throughout time, we have shown how easily we can drive entire species into extinction. We were given this power and have taken it for granted.

Although you have shown us time and time again via natural disasters how upset you are about our destructive ways, we still haven’t stopped harming animals (humans included) and our environment. The unnecessary torture continues.

I don’t know what to say except that I am truly sorry and hope that we can collectively help turn things around and make real changes in this world. We respect and love you and want you to thrive. Please forgive us and give us the strength and power to help you heal.

Dear Mother Nature, I deeply apologize for your suffering. Throughout time, we have shown how easily we can drive entire species into extinction. Please forgive us and give us the strength and power to help you heal

What Can I Do?

Over the past few years, I’ve dealt with a lot of loss, not only my parents but also all my grandparents and my father-in-law. I’ve come to accept that life is short and we’re on this Earth for a reason. I’ve realized what my life’s purpose is and that is to:

1) Help ethical brand owners market their incredible business so that they can make positive changes in their industry. In order to heal Mother Nature and our planet Earth, we have to support the good guys. They have to thrive!

2) Inspire children to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of through my writing which is why I’ve started the first of a Middle-Grade Children’s Book series addressing animal rights issues. It’s children who have a powerful voice and the ability and motivation to initiate change. If you want to help me on my mission, please subscribe to receive a updates, free Kindle copies and much more. Feel free to share this link with others too: https://jesslohmann.com/lilybowers

3) I’m also now a vegan because I can’t support any animal cruelty, so I don’t eat or wear animals. I’m not perfect though and take meds when I need them which are tested on animals, but that’s why I’m a member of Ärzte Gegen Tierversuche e.V. (Doctors Against Animal Experiments), a German organization with the sole purpose of stopping the cruel and many times, useless animal experiments in the medical field.

 

What Can You Do?

Think before you buy! As a consumer, you have a choice. You can either shop consciously or not. Every dollar/euro you spend says a lot about the world you want to live in. If you care about endangered species, child labor, your own health and the health of others, then make sure you know how stuff is made before you buy it. Do your research. The more you support horrible industry practices, the more harm will be done and your grandchildren will pay an even higher price than you.

If you need help in finding an ethical brand, please contact me. I can help you find one you’d be more than happy to support!

I have talked about how much of a pain it is to shop consciously, but I strongly believe that if more people are mindful about their shopping habits and if ethical brand owners continue doing good, the bad industry practices will fade away.

Through my work at Ethical Brand Marketing, I’ve met a lot of amazing people who are trying to make positive changes in their industries. People who care about our lovely planet Earth and every living being who inhabits it.

They make sure their materials and ingredients are ethically sourced and healthy, not toxic. They put great care into their employee’s welfare and believe in the value of Fairtrade. They also see to it that no animals are harmed in the process.

This is the world I want to live in. This is the way life SHOULD be!

Humans are not here on this Earth to conquer and destroy, although we’re doing a pretty good job of it. So, which side are you on? Do you want to live in a peaceful and ethical world or do you want to continue conquering and destroying it? It’s your choice.

Do you also have a heart for animals?

How are you helping heal Mother Nature? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and love,

Gone Vegan: How I Show my Respect for Mother Earth

Gone Vegan: How I Show my Respect for Mother Earth

Gone Vegan: How I Show my Respect for Mother Earth

Mutual Love: Vegans love cows and cows love vegans

Celebrating Earth Day 2017

Saturday is International Earth Day and I’m celebrating it big this year!

This year’s theme is: “Environmental & Climate Literacy”. Earth Day will be celebrated more than any other Earth Day in the past, partly because of the lack of support of the new Trump administration, but also because we need to do more to help save our beloved Mother. She is sick!

The official March for Science in Washington DC – as well as smaller marches around the world – are taking place on Earth Day to spread awareness of how important science is to saving our planet. Please take a moment and look for an event nearest you.

My Contribution

I’m not marching this time because I have other nature-related plans, but I’ve got something to announce! It’s official, I have (finally) made the transition from vegetarianism to veganism!

I’ve been working up to this moment, both emotionally and physically, for a few years now, but after talking with a few amazing women and receiving more information about the dairy industry, the last straw was drawn yesterday and I didn’t even get to eat my Easter veggie lasagne leftovers.

Dear Cheese. I’m sorry, but we’re done. Cheese was the only thing holding me back from living a vegan lifestyle. And believe me, I honestly was addicted to cheese, regardless if science proved otherwise.

Although my decision really has nothing to do with Earth Day, there is a strong connection with turning vegan and my love and respect for Mother Nature and everything she offers. I feel her presence every time I go on a walk with my dog, sit down to pick the weeds, plant a new tree or harvest a hokkaido pumpkin or rhubarb stalk in my garden.

When I’m outside, either digging in the dirt or walking in the woods, I’m most happy. I was basically raised in the woods and as a family, we camped a lot. My mom was also the one who taught me to respect all living creatures, big and small, weak and strong. May she rest in peace.

Now, it’s time to give something back to Mother Nature. Even if it’s just a little drop in a huge ocean, every drop is important when decreasing the demand for an industry that is severely doing harm to animals. And a little less methane in the air can’t hurt either.

“Humans have the responsibility to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of.

For me, living a vegan lifestyle is a small step taken on the right path.”

Jessica Lohmann

Why Vegan? Why so Extreme?

I have a few reasons why I made this decision.

1: It Breaks My Heart

I don’t know about you, but when I watch films and a human dies, I honestly don’t care or shed one tear, but euthanize Marley and I lose it! I was raised in a world full of animals. We had a dogs, cats, birds, fish, a guinea pig and many rescue wild animals along the way. I always had a heart for animals.

ALL animals have feelings. They are able to communicate and show respect and love. They feel pain and they can get depressed. It breaks my heart when I see any kind of animal abuse, whether it be putting a lion in a cage at a zoo, or a bird in a cage in your house or taming an elephant for a tourist to ride or for a circus stunt.

So if this stuff bothers me, how can I live with myself when male chicks get shredded, cow udders get infected or their tails cut off without anesthesia and of course when farmed animals spend more time inside than out? Answer is: I can’t. I’ve been living with this guilt for a long time and although I feel guilty for not taking this step earlier, I have to forgive myself and welcome the transition now.

2: The Animal Food Industry is Unnatural

Baby calves are taken away from their mothers shortly after birth. We’re told because it poses a threat for the baby since their survival rate is low, so it’s better to separate them early and feed them with a bottle. Hhmm, what’s wrong with this picture? Female mammals are physically equipped to feed their baby. Period.

And, I guarantee that if you just had one cow mama and her baby in a field and provided them with freedom, shelter, food and water, they would thrive like you wouldn’t believe.

3: I Have Trust Issues

I do not trust the food industry. With all the chemicals, gmos, antibiotics, steroids and processing that is done to food, no wonder so many people are getting sick. It really scares me and I certainly don’t want to eat poison.

Thank goodness for the internet and social media because now, we are able to do our own research. However, we’ll never know the whole story because many things will always be hidden from us. So, with veganism, I at least know I’m decreasing the poison just a little. yay!


btw: I’m not a Judge

I’m the only vegan in my family. Sure, I have to walk away from the table when my husband eats a chicken neck. What the??? But, I don’t try to change my family, nor anyone else and they certainly know they’re never gonna change me. We all want to eat in peace, right?

I would, however, love to see veganism go beyond the ‘trend’ and become a standard way of life for many others. And for vegan and cruelty-free companies to thrive.


Amazing Resource on Transitioning to Veganism

I’m adding this incredible resource from Future Kind to help you with your own transition.

I wish I had read this when I transitioned in 2017, but since they also wrote about having to deal with the numerous ‘questions from family and friends’ and provide nutrition guidance, I still find it valuable today. The polls of how others transitioned are also very interesting as we all have our own reasons and experiences.

I’m curious, are you a vegan or vegetarian or are thinking about becoming one? Care to share your experiences below?

Sending the very best,

Sharing is Caring

Celebrating my 20th Anniversary as an Expat – This is my special #TBT

Celebrating my 20th Anniversary as an Expat – This is my special #TBT

Celebrating my 20th Anniversary as an Expat
This is my special #TBT

Welcome to Germany

Twenty years ago today …

On September 17, 1995, I landed in Frankfurt, Germany – ready, excited and feeling a bit nauseous to start my new life as an expat. I never left the US before. I didn’t know German except ‘My name is’, ‘I come from’, ‘I am ?? years old’. I knew a total of 5 people.

Since I was engaged to a German, I had someone to hold my hand and I couldn’t have been more grateful. I lived with my fiancée’s grandmother (Oma) and she was great! I was left alone with her for the first 2 weeks while my fiancée went to work. She talked and talked and talked and I understood a word here or there… We laughed a lot, although I didn’t know why. She was so good to me. She not only took me in, but also my cat and my yellow collared mini macaw. She was cute. I miss her.

After those 2 weeks, we were in our own apartment and I started German lessons at the Auslandsgesellschaft (Ausländer = foreigner) in Dortmund. Get this: for 6 hours a day, 8 months straight, I learned German! In that time, I got 2 migraines in a total of 4 in my life. Yes, it was that intense. But, it was good. I learned German, you bet I did! I also learned while watching Star Trek Next Generation and Little House on the Prairie reruns after language school. I learned German while dreaming. I learned German on the tram and on the street.

I still have an accent.

In fact, some companies hire me to do their German voiceovers because they like my accent! That’s fine by me!

Feeling Comfortable

It took me about 4 years to ‘get used to’ the German way of life. Experts say that’s normal. I was homesick when I ate at a Mexican restaurant and they didn’t know what jalapeños were and put ketchup on my nachos. I was homesick every time I went into a store where ‘customer service’ was non-existent. I got homesick when I was told I’d have to put in another 5 years of college because my bachelor’s degree meant diddly squat. I proved them wrong! I got homesick when I was criticized about the American way and our gov’t being bad. I got homesick when I couldn’t watch David Letterman anymore. But am thankful for YouTube that lets me view some special moments. I got homesick when I had to ride the public transportation system for years before I was able to drive with a German license. I got homesick when a family member or a friend was having a celebration. I get homesick when I can’t physically give someone my shoulder to cry on or a big hug. I got homesick when my grandfather died and since then 4 other grandparents and I couldn’t attend any of the funerals.

I still get homesick, but now it’s only because I miss my family and friends.

‘Why on earth are you living here?’

People used to ask me this question all the time. My answer was and still is, ‘I love the beer’ or ‘Not because of the weather’. Both are true, but there’s more… The social system is not perfect by any means, but it is more humane. The business ethic as well… They don’t and are not allowed to just throw you out without any notice from a job. The gov’t cares for their employees and for companies large and small. They take care of immigrants, the ill, the weak, the poor, the mothers AND the fathers and the educators… Did you know there are only 2 countries in the world who doesn’t guarantee maternity leave? Guess which ones: USA & Papua New Guinea. That’s just uncool.

For the most part anyway. It’s not perfect as I wrote. Utopia does not exist.

Europeans seem to be more environmentally conscious, even though I’ll still see people flick cigarettes out their car door windows! They take care of their animals and make sure they have time for them before welcoming them into their homes. They take breaks and value their vacation time.

For the most part anyway.

There are exceptions to everything I’ve written above. There is still corporate stuff to deal with, more red tape than you have ever known in your life and enough sour apples to ruin entire batches, so it’s definitely not perfect over here, but for me, it’s better. And that’s why I’ve chosen to stay.

And oh, let’s not forget the forests here! What beautiful forests Germany has!

But strangely enough – or perhaps obviously enough – I don’t get asked that question anymore. Things have changed drastically over the past 20 years in the states and it’s not all good… But, what are ya gonna do?

Beam Me Up, Scotty

I am still waiting for someone to invent the ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ technology though. C’mon, there are gazillion incredibly brilliant engineers over here, why is this so difficult? The auto industry, that’s why. I knew it, sigh…

So, here I sit with my Skype on, wondering who I’m gonna call tonight on my 20th anniversary of living in Germany. I think I’ll call my parents who brought me to the airport the day before my landing. Or one of my dearest friends of all time who came to say bye. Back then, they were allowed to stay with me until I boarded. They remember that day well.

Tears were shed and no one had a clue it was going to be forever… And who knows, it may not be forever, but for now, I’m here and I’m sorry mom and dad. I’m sorry everyone. I love you and think of you all the time.


As I look back and reflect on this moment of stepping off the plane in Frankfurt and the past 20 years, there are so many memories that I can’t put them all in this blog post. But I would be more than thrilled to discuss anything with you in the comments. Are you an expat? What have you experienced? What was your biggest challenge? Your biggest fear? Your largest triumph?

Sending the very best,

Sharing is Caring

Passionate about ‘Speaking for the Animals’

Passionate about ‘Speaking for the Animals’

Passionate about ‘Speaking for the Animals’

Passionate about speaking for the animals

Every child and animal has the right to live a healthy and happy life

I had a recent rude awakening as I watched a documentary film in German about the leather industry in Bangladesh.

In English, I found these two videos:

Stella McCartney Takes On the Leather Trade: Watch

The Skins Trade in India, Narrated by Pamela Anderson: Watch

Leather is no longer an option for me.

I was a Pescetarian from 1992 until 2012 when I completely cut off fish from my diet. I am also the webmaster of my local animal rights protection agency. I do what I can, but I’ve realized I haven’t been doing enough!

So I thought about it. I cannot donate as much time and money as I would like, but what I can do is donate my voice. Today, on my birthday, I decided to give PETA a gift and wrote them a letter offering my voiceover services.

Today, I called 37° from ZDF to find out if they are planning on producing their film in English. At the moment, they do not have plans to produce and air this in other countries, but because so many people have been moved by this report, maybe there will be a chance in the near future. I am crossing my fingers.

Since this German documentary not only speaks about the ghastly animal abuse, but also goes into further detail about the horrible child labor conditions and poisonous tanning chemicals the workers are literally swimming in, I would like everyone to be aware of what buying leather actually means. I also offered my voiceover and translation services to produce this film in English for free and thanked them for making me think and changing my habits. The writers and producers at 37° and PETA opened many eyes, not just mine. RESPECT!

There may be an alternative in the future to leather btw. Please check this out: Andras Forgacs: Leather and meat without killing animals: Watch

Want me to voice your animal rights project?

This post today actually stems from pain and the urge to spread awareness as I have shed many tears watching these films and if I reach just one person today or tomorrow with this post, then I know one small step has been made… But as we all know, many more steps have to be made.

Sending the very best,

Sharing is Caring