The full moon hanging in the night sky made the huge chunks of sea ice floating in the bay glow like they were lit from within. It was beautiful in an eerily transportive way, like I was suddenly a part of something that had gone on forever and will continue on in eternity without me. On my face I felt chilled wind… the same wind that was just in the bay pushing the ice.
How did I get here?
Green’s Bay, Newfoundland, Canada.
1,204 miles from home in foreign country.
A lurching beast.
Well it’s simple.
I got here because I fed the elephant.
“How do you eat an elephant?”
Most of my life I would spout that phrase when the topic of hard work or perseverience or overcoming huge obstacles would come up. Years earlier it had struck a cord with me and I’d used it ever since. The answer, by the way, is “One bite at a time.” Of course… because eating it all at once is impossible. Anything is possible one small portion at a time.
Sometimes people come into our lives right when you need them the most and become your heroes. Maybe it’s just blind luck. Maybe it’s some divine intervention, or possibly “The Universe” put special people here on Earth to affect every life they touch. Kara who is the mastermind behind Kara’s Couture Cakes is that type person.
I was bobbing around in the cake social media world for years starving for FaceBook likes and Instagram followers but with such little traction I was considering walking away from it all… until almost on a whim I enrolled in her blogging course. (If you have one ounce of interest in blogging, take this course. She will be offering it again. Sign up for her newsletters and she will let you know when. Invest in YOU.) See what I did there? I just gave you a taste of what she does. She teaches people self worth, and how to get out of our own way. I don’t want to give away too much of the course study… but it’s worth it.
Back to my elephant. In one of our FaceBook conversations in our Private Ultra Secret Blogger Groups… OH, did I forget to tell you about the Private Ultra Secret Blogger Groups? Take her class. You’ll find out. In a conversation something came up and I spouted my deep intellectual wisdom about eating elephants and sat back waiting for everyone’s “ah-ha” moment.
This is what I got back from Kara.
It was posted back in Kara’s fun, sassy way…
… but it zapped me. The Universe used its cosmic “Ninja Change Agent” Kara to get me to look at things differently.
Why eat the elephant?
I never told Kara this part but that one little poke got me to shift my thinking… but maybe it was her plan all along. She is sneaky that way. Sniper Ninja Teacher. Sneaks in and makes you think before you figure out what she’s doing.
Maybe I don’t have to try to eat an elephant. Maybe I want to grow an elephant. Create an elephant. If I spend all my time trying to eat that elephant mentally I’ll be full. How about I feed a damn elephant and grow it as big as I want?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I STARTED FEEDING MY ELEPHANT?
The other elephant left the room. The other elephant stopped sitting on my chest. The huge insurmountable obstacle I was trying to defeat turned to a wisp of fog.
I started blogging. I’ve relearned how to do IMPOSSIBLE things like “Turn on a computer” and “How the hell do I delete a picture” and things like that. I also delved into the gritty underworld of blogging… you know, installing templates on WordPress and wrangling a MailChimp. Have I impressed you yet? Mostly it was a clear case of “Monkey see, monkey do” following Kara’s teaching to the letter. As time rolls on the finessing of the actual look and focus of my blog will happen… Nevertheless, I did it.
Then something amazing happened!
Two giants in the cake industry, Aaron McInnes and Kara Andretta, joined forces and organized an exclusive cake retreat and class experience. I expressed interest… and I got an interview! With Kara! 😃😃😃
What an amazing opportunity!
I’ll be super honest here since it’s just us… I’m a homebody. I don’t like being away from home. I like the idea of traveling and seeing the world but…
What if I get a headache or get motion sick? What if something happens to my 14 year old Pomeranian Dingo and I’m not there? What if I’m on the airplane and coffee does to me what coffee does to me? (Some of you people know what I’m talking about.) What if? What if…
WHAT IF WHATIFWHATIF???
I’m not the kind of person to say “yes” to something like this. Sorry… I’m just not.
…and people. I’m an introvert. All that talking about myself and trying to explain the things that go on in my mind… I was exhausted already just thinking about it.
Nope. Not for me. Can’t say yes…
…but I did.
I said yes to the elephant.
…the one I am feeding.
…the one thats growing.
Footsteps on crunchy wet gravel broke the moon’s spell over me and I zoomed back to 1am in Newfoundland.
A beast lumbered before me carefully making it’s way down a hill pathway. The day before there was freezing rain so the beast was wise to step carefully to avoid icy spots. The moonlight aided me in seeing the beasts head bob around wildly as it scanned the path.
8-10 people were already gathered around an RV parked close to a barn where we had been meeting daily. They were softly speaking to one another and there was an anticipatory tension in the night air. When the beast unleashed its fury on an RV, pushing it and shaking it, climbing up the back ladder and jumping, making it bounce.
Was the beast a polar bear? Locals told stories of polar bears floating in on icebergs into the bay and pillaging towns until they were tranquillized and taken back north. What did the beast want? Why did everyone seem so amused at the prospect of an RV being attacked?
That’s an inflatable T-Rex costume.
I suppose the entire thing is my fault.
- My mind: “You know… you are going to meet your hero. You’ve got to get a haircut and pack some nice clothes and…”
- Also my mind: “PACK THE INFLATABLE T-REX COSTUME”
- My mind: “Noooooo”
- Also my mind: “GUT, BACK ME UP”
- Gut: “Kara says to always follow your gut instinct. Pack the T-Rex Costume.”
- My mind: “Oh, well, I guess I need to pack the Inflatable T-Rex costume.”
The entire retreat had been remarkably shenanigan free. My mind was sort of relieved that the inflatable T-Rex didn’t make an appearance. The timing really just never was right. We were incredibly busy the entire time. There was all the eating, and all the time in the spa and all that time getting professional headshots done by the AMAZING Alex Stead Photography.
I call this one “The Gandalf”
You shall not pass.
This one is called “Help. A small animal is chewing my ankle.”
This one is called “Why no, I don’t have an inflatable T-Rex Costume. Why do you ask?”
Clearly if this cake thing doesn’t go well, I have a modeling career to fall back on. Look at the range of emotion.
Anyway, the retreat was over, the amazing cakes we learned to make were boxed up.
Meet “Puff Daddy” the Puffin.
There were 4 of us walking back to the Inn from the cake workspace. It was Aaron, Kara, Kelly and myself. Everyone else had retired to their rooms to pack and get ready to leave the next day since it was about midnight. I casually mentioned:
“You know… I brought an Inflatable T-Rex Costume.”
What happened next was solid proof that I was among my own people. Not a single one said:
The resounding question I got was “…and you didn’t put it on?”
Cakers are brilliant, imaginative, creative fun people. Of course nobody questioned WHY I brought an inflatable T-Rex Costume. Of course I brought one. Why WOULDN’T I?
That’s how it went down.
There was a non official “Screech In”… after which a plan was hatched. Now, there is some contintion as to what was said next… but one of us ended up in the T-Rex suit. I’m not saying who it was…because it’s not my story to tell.
We spent the next hour terrorizing the halls of the Inn… banging on doors and thanking people for attending the Cakers’ Escape ’17.
The entire group of Cakers ended up at the RV of the owner of the Inn who was staying on-site to cater to our every whim. The Doctor’s House Inn and Spa never stood a chance. The evening ended with an amazing group hug
This is all I knew about the entire thing as I boarded the plane, and that is all I’m going to tell you about it. Aaron and Kara are planning another one, and I don’t want to spoil the surprises for anyone who might be lucky enough to attend. I’ll just say that if you get the invite… GO! You will not regret it.
People will tell you to never meet your heroes.
…because heroes never live up to the expectations we create in our minds.
…that’s the theory at least.
Go! Meet your heroes.
My one hero in Kara multiplied into 20 heroes. Every person involved, from the shuttle driver who picked me up at the airport to the people who run the amazing Rodrigues Winery we toured, all of them are heroes.
To all of my Co-Caker Escapers… you are ALL Heroes! Believe it. Live it. Invest in you. I can’t wait to be a part of all of your careers!
Aaron! I knew I was going to like you the instant I looked in your dead eyes. Your drive and passion for the industry and your knowledge base is amazing. I learned so much from the class! Everyone should go check out Man versus Cake. You inspire us.
…and Kara. What can I say? You are still a 100% inspiring hero to me, and a friend. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thank you. You will always be a Cosmic Ninja Life Change Agent to me. Words fail me…
A HUGE “Thank You” to all the sponsors: American Cake Decorating Magazine, The Doctor’s House Inn and Spa, Alex Stead Photography, Spotlight Events, Satin Ice, Sprinkle Pop and Arkon Mounts. Thank you for investing time and products in our amazing retreat!
…and how did my Type-A Uber Organized On-The-Go Husband deal with being a stay home dog daddy for4 entire days? Well, he washed and folded all the laundry, went through his clothes to donate things he doesn’t wear anymore, organized his home office, organized the roll top desk where he pays bills, renegotiated the phone service bundle for a cheaper plan, went through the pantry looking for out of date canned foods, organized the condiments in the fridge grouping like things together…
…and even ORGANIZED THE JUNK DRAWER AND ZIPLOCK BAGGED LIKE THINGS TOGETHER.
Does anyone know the personality traits of a serial killer? …asking for a friend.