Lazy Daisy

I remember being told I was lazy a lot when I was younger.  I’ve struggled with motivation and keeping my passion high on any one thing for a long period of time.  It’s not that I get bored of what I’m doing; it’s more that I enjoy so many things that it’s hard to be passionate about only a few.

I read something the other day about my astrological sign, cancer, that makes a lot of sense:  “Cancer spends about half of their life enjoying the social or more interactive scene and the other half in a reclusive, “I-want-to-be-left-alone” state.  For them, it is very pivotal to have a balance between these two spectrums.” ~Thezodiaccity.com  I’m not deep into astrology but sometimes it makes sense and helps me explain myself in ways I can’t on my own.

I remember hurting my dad’s feelings a lot as a kid.  I would get to to their house where I was the only child and feel a sense of release and relief.  There isn’t much calm and quiet in a house with three other kids so I remember feeling like my dad’s house was a sanctuary and a place where my reclusive half could recharge.  I would only want to hang out in my room and relax.  It had nothing to do with not wanting to hang out with my dad or stepmom…I just needed to recharge.  As an adult I reflect on those times and feel deeply sad that I hurt them and gave them the wrong impression.  I also wonder if this contributed to the impression of me being such a lazy kid.

Let’s be honest, kids are lazy.  They need to be taught how to be a productive individual and do their part.  I am sure guilty of that.  What I’m unsure of as an adult is how much of my need to recharge is being lazy and how much is healthy?

This is a picture of my dining room table yesterday.  I have two computers open and stacks of papers everywhere.  I completed 17 things on my to-do list yesterday.  Some big and some small.  Many of the day’s activities were not on my to-do list.  And yet, with a full and productive day I still felt lazy.
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It is important for us to give ourselves time to recharge and permission to not be running ourselves mad.  It is important for me to realize that there is only so much that can get accomplished in a 24-hour period.  There is a point where busywork will lead to inefficiency.  I have always struggled with this balance.  Somewhere in the back of my mind there is a constant voice telling me I’m lazy if I’m not pushing myself to the max every single day.  When I listen to that little sucker I end up frustrating myself for my own unrealistic exceptions.

Don’t be like me….give yourself a break.  Give yourself a reasonable amount of stuff to do in a day.  Don’t stress about not getting the ironing done or the laundry fully put away.  Pace yourself and don’t forget to pencil in some time to enjoy your day.  Trust me.

xoxo,

Christi

Daily Tidbits

  • I’m hungry for my Arbonne breakfast shake.  Tummy time!
  • Violet is slowly waking up.  She is so funny to listen to as she moans and mumbles and grumbled about getting up.
  • We are working on some projects around the house.  It feels good to finally be turning our attention to putting our own stamp on this place.  🙂
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How to Survive a Shitty Year

One of my favorite things I’ve posted on Pinterest is a saying that goes, “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.” I won’t explain myself or apologize for the title of this post. Sometimes an almost-cuss word just won’t do the trick.

This calendar year has been a tough one on my little family. We started out New Year strong with close friends at our house having a night of fun and laughter. It seems like things have been challenging ever since.

I started my new job in November of last year but didn’t really start traveling until January 2016. These kinds of careers, like all, have challenges on any family situation. We are adjusting to it in our own way and in our own time. I finally feel like we’re starting to hit a cadence with the travel schedule 3 months later.

My health has been concerning as well. With the extra travel and time on my feet and in unusual atmospheres I have been noticing more swelling, soreness and overall fatigue. After speaking with my amazing Rheumy we are pretty sure the increase in travel is what is taking the toll on my tired joints. More decisions to follow regarding this 2016 challenge.

Probably the biggest and hardest part of our year thus far has been losing our majestic boy, Denali. He was 185 lbs. of pure awesome and we miss the hell out of that big guy. Sometimes I have to stop myself from thinking of him to avoid bursting into uncontrollable sobbing in public places. I prefer to cry alone and in private, thank you very much. When my heart can type more I will have an entry on this specific topic and the grieving process of it all.

Our girl, Violet has had a tough time coping with her brother’s passing as well, which has added stress onto this year. She is the sweetest, most gentle soul you’ll ever meet in your life. I’m not sure what if feels like to lose a twin but she must be very lost. We are trying to do everything we can to help her heal.

We have lost human friends as well this year. You know the kind …the ones that make us question if we are good friends to those we let into our lives. Do we give enough time to the people who matter to us? The challenge here is that once we let someone in, we love him or her completely. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day to spread the amount of love, laughter and friendship around that we want to. In the end we’re left wondering if we loved enough.

Our other big stressor this year has been trying to figure out why we haven’t been able to start a family. We’re fairly private when it comes to things we’re currently dealing with. I’m not sure why. I think part of it is that we want to figure out how we really feel about our situation before opening ourselves up to suggestive advice or emotions of others. We realize there are many who want to be there for us but in the early phases and stages of things unfortunately that kind of “love” hurts us and doesn’t help us.

Probably the biggest stressor is helping to care for one of my family members in their time of need. There is no avoiding the situation and no ignoring it. Someone has to take the reins and help share the load. Even though it is out of love it does add stress to take care of others.

A laundry list of stressors… Even with the long list and short explanations I gave it still pails in comparison to what others are going through this year. Someone very close to me asked my husband recently what I meant when I said, “It’s been a tough year.”   Although this person had full knowledge of all of the struggles we were going through their personal challenges were, to them, more center stage than what we were going through. Although it hurt my feelings a bit I came to realize that I couldn’t expect people to put our issues before their own.

So, you might ask, “How do I get through a shitty year, Christi?” Well, I’ll tell you what I know to be helping me cope so far. If I think of any more I’ll keep adding to this post.

  1. Rely on your support system. They said they wanted to be there for you. Pick something they can listen to you talk about or something they can do for you.
  2. Find an escape…or two…or three. Make sure you have mechanisms in place to help you take your mind off of all the things that are happening around you. It might be music, movies, reading, yoga, mediation or gaming. Whatever it is do it in healthy amounts not to avoid dealing with your situations but to give your mind a mental break from them every now and then.
  3. Eat Right. If you succumb to the emotional eating habits of your 13-year-old self for all of the months that your stressor is in your life you’ve just added another stressor. Congratulations if you wanted to feel worse. Shame on you if you didn’t. Allow yourself indulgences. They’re important. Don’t down a carton of ice cream every other night and expect to have your mind, body or self-esteem feel good in the morning.
  4. Don’t Self-Medicate. It is important to go through all of the emotional stages of whatever you’re going through. They’re not fun. They don’t feel good all of the time. If you don’t feel it now day by day you will feel it all at once some day.
  5. Find a way to laugh. Laughing is healing. That’s all I have to say about that.
  6. Remove the negative. Hard times have a way of exposing relationships for what they truly are. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship (intimate, friend or otherwise) it might be time to examine what should be done. Although it might add a stressor to your life it is better to deal with it and be free than to put up with something that isn’t going to help you heal.
  7. Learn to say no. There are times you need to be more selfish with your time and your energy. When you have a personal situation going on, learn how to say no to others who need your time and attention. You’re of no use to anyone if you aren’t in good shape yourself.

That’s all for now.  Good luck to you.  I’ll see you out there…

xoxo,

Christi

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Taking the Scenic Route

Picnic White Sands National Monument

 

Over the past few years as I’ve been getting to know my husband I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about myself and how I want to be. I was thinking about all of the things he’s taught me while we headed out and about the other evening.

You see, I am a control freak who loves to pack as much into one trip as humanly possible. I am the person you’ll find with arms full of crap hauling more than I should to make less trips. I love to find the most efficient way of doing things and in the quickest amount of time. Some call it a sickness, I call it a gift.

This particular evening his idea was to sweeten our time together with a trip to our amazing local ice cream shop. True to form, I threw in an added step of taking our dogs to the newly opened dog park. As he often does with my scheming, he agreed with effortless calm. And, off we went.

While we were driving away from the ice cream shop (he had an Oreo or cookie dough shake – I can’t remember which and I had huckleberry ice cream) I started wondering, as I often do, why he wasn’t taking the most direct and quickest route to the new dog park. It wasn’t just indirect; we were headed in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to go.

He must be developing a spidey sense of what I’m thinking because he’s getting better and better at anticipating my comments, questions or remarks. Within an instant of me swallowing my bite of ice cream in preparation to ask “Where are we going?” he turned to me and said “I’m taking the scenic route.” It impressed me that he headed me off on the topic at my thought process and knew exactly what I wanted to hear. I mean, who does that?

I spent the next several minutes becoming annoyed with the inefficiency of our route and the amount of time we would waste taking it. Then, it hit me. Who freaking cares? Why was I in such a hurry to spend quality time with my family in a different way than I had previously planned in my head? Did it matter that we spent more time together in the car taking a scenic drive? Does it matter where and how you get your quality time in? The answer, in case you haven’t figured it out yet is: No. It does not.

I shamed myself a bit over my initial reaction. I have always reacted this way when someone isn’t doing exactly what I thought the “best” way. It’s stupid and selfish, I know. Then I decided that there’s a reason why we surround ourselves with others. It isn’t to have people that think and act exactly as we do, it’s to have influences to help us continue growing and learning. Enter my husband stage right.

He teaches me patience, calmness, forgiveness, kindness and most importantly on this night, he taught me to enjoy the scenic route. After I accepted his proposal to wander off my almighty course I relaxed and settled in. As he drove, I watched the sun kiss and hug its way through the buildings and the trees. I watched the people we passed. I noticed the homes we drove by and beheld their exterior design. I enjoyed my aimless meandering in my own mind. In the end, I enjoyed every single second of my renewed perspective on our current path.

I’ve thought about that night for several days now. It makes me wonder what other paths I put myself on that should have been scenic routes instead. It’s something I will try to keep in mind as I move forward with all decisions in life. Since it is against my nature I know I will struggle. Luckily, I have a wonderful partner who compliments my personality with his. Lead on my handsome wanderer…lead on.

xoxo,

Christi

  • I had THE best southwest chicken salad for lunch. Yum!
  • I’m throwing a friend an 80’s bachelorette party on Saturday. I’m dreaming of all the makeup looks I can put together. 🙂
  • For Labor Day we’re going out to the lake with my mom’s side of the family. I’m so excited to spend the day with them. I’m very ready for a long weekend!
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Poshmark or Smoshmark? A review.

The Backstory

My rheumatologist has been telling me for years that I need to wear better footwear than the Payless flats that I love so much.   With that, my current shopping wish is a pair of Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor sandals for the summer that, ironically, is almost over.   With a goal in mind and recently acquired birthday money in hand I set out to find the best price on these summer sandals to treat myself.  You see, recently we participated in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes.  Since then I’ve been looking at ways to decrease my spending and make smarter buying choices.

Of course there are local discount retailers locally and online options such as eBay but I was looking for something a bit different.  I had heard the name Poshmark before but I haven’t ever checked them out…until now.  I know it’s been around for a while but what can I say?  I’m late to the party.  Poshmark is an online retailer that allows you to buy and sell your fashion items.

Of course, as with most sites now, I had to sign-up to join their website.  You can create an account with email, Google or Facebook.  Although it’s undoubtable easier I prefer to use my email that way I control the direction of the information instead of granting access to my other accounts to another website.  Rant over.

I used their search box and menu to find exactly what I was looking for, however you can also search by category, designer or navigate one of their showrooms.  Some items are brand new and some are gently used.  I read reviews, shopped for “new” since these sandals mold to the owner’s feet form and looked through other styles and colors until I found the perfect sandals for me.  It was love at first search.  😉

I used a gift card for my purchase and once confirmed I immediately received an email from Poshmark confirming my order with a description and order number.  Then my inbox beeped again with the familiar “You’ve got mail” chime I’ve assigned to my email.  The second email from Poshmark included a greeting, welcome and quick run-down of how Poshmark works, what I could expect, etc.  I found this second email extremely helpful and a great idea for customer service to new members.  If I hadn’t received that I wouldn’t know how the payment terms, etc. are designed.

Business Model

One thing that impressed me the most was that the seller doesn’t get paid until they send the purchase.  Here is their sales pathway:

The buyer places the order & makes the payment to Poshmark –>

Poshmark sends the seller a shipping label –>

The seller ships the item to the buyer –>

The buyer receives the item, confirms condition and receipt of the

purchase through their online account –>

Poshmark pays the seller

I’m in love with this business model.  There is no risk for anyone in this situation.  The buyer has transferred their payment to a secure account.  The seller knows the money is secured and doesn’t have to pay and arrange shipping.  Poshmark just holds the money until both parties agree that the transaction is completed.  Unlike eBay where you pay the seller up front and rely on their approval ratings and reviews to trust that they’ll send you the goods you just purchased the Poshmark model takes the risk out of the picture.

A seller has 7 days to respond to Poshmark’s shipping label email or the buyer can cancel the order.  Unfortunately, this was the issue on my order.  I utilized my Poshmark account to send a reminder to the seller that I was still waiting for the sandals.  A few days later Poshmark sent me an email letting me know I had the right to cancel since the seller wasn’t responding.  I did cancel the order and within seconds Poshmark emailed me to let me know the credit was applied back to my card and some general timeframes it takes to get the money back on the card.

Additional Thoughts

I mean….what an awesome way to buy used!  Sure I’m disappointed that the purchase of my summer sandals has been delayed but do you know the first place I’m going to look for a deal?  POSHMARK!  I am incredibly impressed with this company, their business model along with the terms and responsibilities they hold buyers and sellers to.  We’re all adults here, people.  If you want to sell your junk you have to respond.  No games, no delays…just send it.  How awesome to have an infrastructure that removes the anxiety of purchasing from someone you don’t know.

I thought I’d share my new favorite site with you!  Have a great week!

xoxo,

Christi

  • I’m so thankful for the mild summer we’ve had so far.  It’s been so beautiful.
  • If you follow me on Instagram (simplychristi) you’ll know I received the most beautiful flowers from my longtime friend.  Love those kinds of surprises!
  • We’re having a family pizza & game night tonight.  I can’t wait!

 

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Anger is as anger does.

I had someone ask me the other day about the anger I experienced when I was first diagnoses with RA.  I was completely honest with them.  It was an anger like I’ve never experienced before.  For the first time I was mad at my body for limiting me in ways I never dreamt.

I spoke of RA’s influence on my childbearing prospects, my ability to mindfully participate in my sister’s wedding and overall how in one appointment my life was different.  People don’t often know or think about the moments that their lives turn and go a new direction.  November 2, 2011 changed my life.  It changed my dreams.  It changed my immortality outlook.

Although anger is an important part of the grieving process for anyone who has been diagnosed with a chronic illness it is a scary one to accept.  You’re expected to be sad.  You’re expected to be transformed.  I’m not sure many people are aware that you’re also expected to be angry.

I’m not an expert.  All I know is that whatever situation causes you any type of emotion can be a game changer for your life.  And if you don’t deal with the feelings you’re having you might not be able to move onto the next phase of your grief.  Experience your anger.  Find a healthy outlet for it and let it process itself out of your system.  No one has a magic formula for how long this will go on.  You have to ride it out until your mind and body are ready to move on.

Find those that understand and give you strength to weather the angry storm.

xoxo,

Christi

  • Its finally warm enough to start planting outside here.
  • The puppies are shaved and so soft with their fuzzy hair coats.
  • I’m working on redoing my phone pictures and music.  I wish it was easier.  Lol.
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Back in the Groove

Hola!  Let’s start with an easy question such as “Where have I been?”  The answer is EVERYWHERE!!

Chris and I have survived some of life’s most challenging and stressful events over the last few months.  We moved into the new house one at a time.  I started a new full-time job.  Our boy doggie, Denali, had ACL repair surgery on his knee and has been recovering.  We finalized our wedding plans and got hitched at the most amazing and love-filled ceremony ever.  We just returned from our honeymoon to Cancun late Monday night.  We’ve been blessed with so many exciting things in a short amount of time and now we’re trying to process it all.

If you’re still reading, I thank you for your loyal following.

Over the next few weeks we’ll find our new rhythm here at our house and I hope to get back on a constant posting and filming schedule. One thing I learned for absolute certain is that it is OKAY not to do everything all of the time.  I set goals for blogging that I was truly unable to fulfill during the last few months.  And you know what?!  It’s OKAY.  I give myself the permission to not dwell on over dreaming.  Be sure to give yourself a break as often as you give others theirs.

Stay tuned!!

xoxo,

Christi

  • Chris and I are working through “House of Cards” on Netflix.
  • Denali went upstairs for the first time in 7 weeks today.  It was a special field trip for him. You could almost see him smiling.
  • I have married the most amazing man.  I can’t stop looking at him thinking it’s a dream.  <3
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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Resources

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Today I wanted to take an opportunity and list some of the RA resources I find most helpful and encouraging.  I tend to like communities that encourage and try to uplift each other in contrast to those that create an environment of negativity.  Please don’t misunderstand me…sometimes it is hard for me to remain positive about my diagnosis, how I’m feeling or the prospects of what its doing to my life.  I do think it’s important to have a community that supports you when you need to air those frustrations.  I also believe that its important for my mental health to surround myself with a team of forward-thinking individuals.

Furthermore, I am a fan of true and accurate facts.  You’ll notice that I have very few medical references for RA because I feel medical advice and data should be presented only from a reputable and peer-reviewed source.

I hope you find some of these resources helpful if you’ve found me but are having trouble navigating the waters of internet information and communities.  As with any type of health related information it is always most important to speak to your health care team about symptoms, possible diagnosis and treatment options.

National Health/Arthritis Organizations

Blogs I Enjoy

  • All Flared Up:  An Arthritis Blog
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy
    • He provides a very honest look at RA and I enjoy hearing from a male perspective too.  It helps me remember that we’re all in this together regardless of gender or specific ailments.
  • RA Warrior
    • Kelly is very knowledgable and has a proven track record for advocating and learning all she can about RA.  There is a lot of information available through her site.

I have long searched for YouTube channels that would provide a face to a name or a face to associate with someone else who was suffering or had questions about RA just like me.  I haven’t found one that is specifically dedicated to Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is primarily why I started my own channel.  I have found another girl out there who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder and RA and she has the best outlook on how to handle the highs and the lows.  I am a lover of make-up and beauty products which she covers as well but many of her videos log the day-to-day struggles of someone dealing with chronic illness.  Coupling that with her fun personality I will forever recommend her to anyone looking for a face to connect with in the virtual world.

 YouTube Channel

As always check in your local community as well for local chapters or resources that may be able to help you get in touch with others in your area.  Don’t be afraid to reach out on social media as well.  Search hashtags; search Pinterest; keep searching until you find a place for your heavy and questioning heart to land.

I wish you happy searching.  Until you find your happy place I’ll be right here for you.  🙂

xo,

Christi

  • I’m getting so excited for our wedding day.  I’m mostly excited that I get to live with the man of my dreams starting that day.
  • We had Dickey’s BBQ for dinner tonight.  It’s rather new to our community.  Do you have one where you live?
  • I was able to touch base with several of my girlfriends throughout the day today.  I am so blessed to have such incredible women in my life.
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Land of the LIVING: 2014 Year In Review

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Thanks for joining me for my year in review.  A lot has happened this year and I think it’s important to remember all of the good AND bad things from the past year and reflect on all of them.  

Challenges

  1. Losing loved family and friends. 
  2. Being laid off
  3. Losing health insurance (see #2)
  4. Denali’s torn ACL

Blessings

  1. Moved back to my hometown
  2. Being laid off
  3. Traveling to London, Ireland, Stonehendge, Alaska, Montana and Nashville
  4. Getting engaged <3
  5. Moving into the new house
  6. Holidays with my families
  7. New contract job opportunities
  8. Actively used my gym membership (and LOVED it!)
  9. Lived as fully as possible

The majority of my year can be summed up by referencing the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The main character, Walter, redefines himself through a series of events.  In the end, being forced to examine himself and his life outside of what he’s known for 16 plus years was the best possible thing for Walter to finally start living the life he was destined for.  Part of me loves this movie for its amazing representation of true Wanderlust.  Most of me loves this movie for helping me make the choice to take a lay-off in the early summer and return my life, actions and decisions to not only myself, but my love, my family and my friends.  Its all too easy to get busy with life that we forget how to LIVE.  I am not perfect at it yet but I know I’ve never been happier (and more poor) than I am at the end of this year.

I had the chance to take stock of what truly matters to me in this life.  I had a glimpse that few get and an opportunity to make the changes I needed to save my life for LIVING.  My goal for 2015 is to continue to take a look at the most important parts of my life and spend my energy there.

A few years ago I finally realized and understood that not everyone is granted the same amount of time on this earth.  Far too many are taken away from us too young.  I vowed then and there to not speak in vain of any birthday, revolution or milestone that I may reach or surpass.  It’s an amazing thing to feel what these words mean:  Every day is a gift.  And it truly, truly is.

May you chose to LIVE in 2015.

xo,

Christi

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