Actively Enduring

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I’ve been unsettled the last few months.  I’ve started a new job, moved into a new house, got married and had a few other major challenges.  None of those are bad; they just have me feeling quite out of a routine lately.  Do you ever have that?

I can’t seem to get a new rhythm into my life.  I keep trying to make sure I get all of my tasks or to-dos done each week but I seem to still remain unbalanced.

A new job is always an adjustment but especially in a new industry.  I have switched from healthcare technology to energy and although the work and tasks are largely the same I am learning new terminology, new methods and techniques as well as new people.  Add that to the fact that I’m back in an office environment after having worked at home for the last 7 years and its easy to see why the transition has left me in a fog.

Denali (our boy dog) had TPLO surgery on his rear left knee to correct a torn ACL.  This has been a challenge of it’s own.  He has had several complications and only recently did we learn that it’s all stemming from a staph. infection that has carried over from his surgery.

Married life to the man of my dreams and my absolute best friend is more amazing that I could have ever dreamed.  With any new phase to a relationship there are changes and discussions to help us get on the same page.  In addition to the relationship growing pains there are also adjustments at home.  Chris moved in very shortly before we were married to help with Denali’s surgery recovery.  I don’t care if it’s the best person in the entire world, a friend or a random roommate…learning someone else’s living style and meshing yours with theirs always takes some work and time.

I’ve been wondering why I haven’t blogged or put up a YouTube video in a while.  A lot of it has to do with the demands on my time but it also has to do with not feeling completely settled with all of my new recent changes.  Although most of them are so spectacularly wonderful, I am still foggy.  As I slowly get into my new routine I am excited to navigate through all the nuances in my days.

My pastor said a few weeks ago that “Perseverance is not passive waiting but an active endurance.”  I took that very much to heart.  Things take time.  There is constant growth.  There is always something to learn.  And with that I will continue to navigate the place I have in all of the new magical and wonderful chaos.

xoxo,

Christi

  • Our town has a wonderful music festival every summer.  I was out there most of the day yesterday enjoying friends, family, sun and music .
  • I’m addicted to “London Fog” tea lattes.  If you like chai tea you should check them out.
  • I’m on a fashion and lifestyle refresh cycle.  I’m looking at clothes, make-up and home decor in a more refined way.  Maybe there will be some of that coming soon to the blog and to Youtube.  😉
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Picking Your…

….Wedding Date; not your nose you sicko!  🙂  After you get engaged, this is one of the next important decisions you’ll make.  Picking a date is even something you need to do if you are planning on eloping!

There are so many factors that go into picking a wedding date that the task can be quite daunting.  I’m going to list a few considerations to help you try to think of everything that might interfere with your loved ones and friends attending.  As always, keep in mind that this day is about celebrating your love for each other…NOT about making everyone else happy.  Got it?!  Ok…moving on.

Even if you’re trying to plan for the majority of the people you love and cherish to be there the day you get married remember that it is impossible for each person to make it.  Prioritize those that you must have at your wedding and reach out to them for their schedules too.  Also, don’t expect everyone to drop or reschedule things they might already have booked, paid for or committed themselves to.  Many don’t have the flexibility in our work and/or family schedules to re-schedule or drop everything if we’ve already planned it out.

Finally, be flexible and above all understanding.  These are the people you care about the most in the world, right?!  Then make sure you treat them with love and respect as they may face difficult decisions about where to commit themselves to.

Here’s a list of date considerations to think about and check on while trying to pick your perfect day:

  • Your calendar – Try to pick a day that works best for your work schedule or school schedule.  This may seem obvious but it’s often overlooked.  If your busiest time as a tax accountant is around the first 3-4 months of each year you might want to plan your wedding day for later in the year.
  • His calendar – Again, this should be obvious but try to think about his priorities, commitments, etc too.
  • Weather – Be sure to pick a day for the weather you want.  If you want snow, …do I have to elaborate?
  • Travel – Be sure you know what weather conditions you and your guests might encounter during the time of year you’re looking at.
  • Work & Vacation Schedules – Check with others you wish to invite for their availability if they are a priority guest for you
  • Holidays – I really like to plan events around holidays because a lot of people have holidays from work and have to take less vacation days, but you may also run into those holidays already being booked or committed.  Again, just check with your priority guests.
  • Miscellaneous Family Events – Is someone going to give birth around the time you want to have your wedding?  Do you have any graduations coming up in your family?  Try not to stretch your families who need to travel too thin.  They’ll feel like they have to pick between events and that isn’t comfortable for anyone.  Its like a huge wedgie right in the middle of your family.  (you’re welcome for the visual)
  • School schedules – If you have or have guests who have kids in school you can easily look up school schedules online.  I don’t recommend doing this for each family you invite but definitely for the priority families with school-aged children.
  • Other Wedding Events – Also think about what you both want to do for your bridal shower, bachelorette and bachelor parties.  If you want nice weather try to plan for that time of year where you’ll get married.

Above all else be sure to give yourself enough time to plan the wedding you want.  If you want an elaborate and detailed wedding you will need time to plan, organize and hire vendors to help you with that.  If you want a small backyard wedding that is beautifully simple you likely could get away with far less prep time.

Good luck to you and happy planning!

xoxo,

Christi

  • I can’t wait to go to bed tonight.  So.  Tired.
  • We have found a new station on Spotify that we love:  Search “80s  Lounge Essentials”.  One of the artists we really love is Orleya.  Its lounge-type 80s covers.  Pretty awesome.
  • Did I mention that I have the hottest husband in the whole world? 🙂
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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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Animal Therapy

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Every season after the holidays are over I experience a bit of the January blues.  Its similar to a sugar or caffeine crash after a noon binge.  There are far less things to do, people to please, presents to shop for and overall happiness in everyone you greet.  I know the holidays are a stressful time but I often miss the rush and over scheduling part of the season.  I know…I’m crazy.

Most of the time when I’m feeling blue or sad I end up snuggling with my fury kids.  These dogs; these massive and beautiful creatures have a way of lifting my spirits regardless of the mood I’m in.  I know I’m closer to my animals than a lot of people are.  I realize some people are allergic.  I really feel bad for those folks.  I’m a total animal lover and rely on them heavily when I need a pick-me-up.

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Regardless of what you’re going through this January or at any stage of your life its important to lean on those that help you refocus and regain the love for life you usually have.  One hug on the neck of these gentle giants and I instantly feel better.  There have been many times where I’ve kept pushing through for them because they need me.  Being needed is such a driver for getting through the hard days.

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Besides…who couldn’t love these majestic faces?  I’m honored to be their mom and I truly believe they became my fury kids because someone knew I would need them by my side through my RA and life journey.  So hug a dog, a kitty, a bunny or a friend.  Then get out there and enjoy the day…

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Christi

  • I have a chill running through me today.  It’s a sweater and hot tea kind of day.
  • I found a lady’s wallet in an empty shopping cart in the parking lot today.  I called her, met her and got her wallet back to her.  I’m thankful it was me and not someone with bad intentions!
  • I can’t wait until Chris moves in!  I just love all of the time we get to spend together.  <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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Anniversary Gift Idea



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Christmas Eve this year will mark my mom & stepdad’s 30th wedding anniversary!  30 years is a long time but even longer when living in close proximity to the other person.  Ha!  Earlier this fall they took themselves to Hawaii for their 30th anniversary trip.  The kids all went in together and bought them a new luggage set complete with the 360 degree wheels that make traveling a lot nicer on your towing body.

Although we already bought and gave their present I want to do something special for them on their actual anniversary day.  A few months back I saw the cutest idea on Pinterest and decided to replicate it.  It counts the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds that are in 30 years.  The one I saw was a digital printed version.  My version includes some scrapbook material to make it have more layers and textures.

I started with a background page/design that I liked.  Since the 30 year anniversary gift that is customary is opal or diamonds I chose the page and details that either looked like opal or sparkly diamonds.

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I also found a ribbon that would coordinate with the paper detail.

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I always try to layout the materials and samples of what I’d like the end product to look like before I tape or glue anything together.  This helps me visualize the design and make sure it will turn out the way I intended.

 

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I designed and printed out the wording that I wanted to be sure the sizing would fit on the design I had created.  I used my 12″ paper cutter to cut it into smaller pieces.  Then I used a design scissor to cut around the edges of the paper and add a special touch.

 

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I also used my 12″ cutter to trim the barcode bottom border off of my background page.  I love how you can line up the page exactly and get the most precise cut regardless of the detail design of the paper.

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The first thing I assembled was the ribbon on top of the accent diamond cut of paper.  I used a paper adhesive and cut the ribbon long enough to wrap it around the side edges of the diamond-shaped paper.  This gave it the appearance that the ribbon carries all the way around the page.

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I then glued the diamond-shaped paper to the background paper and centered it.  Next I worked on adding the lettering of their names to the bottom.  My favorite tool to use for placing stickers or small items is my Creative Memories lift and placing tool.  I don’t think you can buy these from Creative Memories any longer but there are similar types of tools at any craft store.  I find this tool to be the easiest to use for small pieces when my fingers aren’t cooperating or when placement needs to be exact.  
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I really hope they like the final version.  I thought it was such a sweet decoration to commemorate this big anniversary!

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xoxo,

Christi

  • The weather is finally above zero!  It’s around 38 degrees out there right now and melting some of the snow.
  • I have White Christmas playing on the TV while I write this and take care of a few other details of the day.  I love this movie!
  • The wedding planning is coming along nicely.  Chris booked the ceremony and reception venue today!  🙂
  • I feel string cheese in my very near future!
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Vinyl Obsessed

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My vinyl obsession continues.  Yes those are Christmas albums you see here.  What?!  I am preparing for the holidays.  🙂

Truly, though…my grandparents called me one summer evening this year and asked if I would like a box of older vinyl records from my great aunt’s house.  I immediately said yes without knowing what was included in the inventory.  My parents then brought them back  after a trip to see Grandma & Grandpa.  When I picked them up I was so excited to go through and see what treasures had just been gifted to me.  Among the many I found around 8-9 Christmas albums and a Soundtrack of Oklahoma!

So, you see, I’ve been waiting all summer and fall to play these Christmas records to see if they’re any good or if I need to get rid of them or turn them into crafts.  So far they have all been amazing!  It’s like listening to your favorite Christmas song on an old victrola.  Somehow I’m transported back to being 10 years old and listening to Christmas music in my pi’s and socks.

I had purchased a few inexpensive Christmas albums also from my local Hasting’s store.  They carry drawers and drawers of used vinyl records.  You have to spend some time but you’ll find some treasures buried among the crud.

I don’t yet know which one my favorite is but I’m hoping by the end of the Christmas season to know for certain.  I guess I’ll have to keep playing them until I have a definitive winner.

Here are a few of my favorite album covers:

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I love this one that looks like a cross stitch piece.  How telling of the time to make it look like a popular crafting technique.

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I also really like this one with the reindeer.  Anyone who knows me well might guess that I like it because of the stars that are incorporated into the design.  They may be right.  I think I also just like reindeer at Christmastime.

In addition to the holiday music I’ve been listening to I finally got a chance to listen to two very special records that I found a few months ago at an antique store close to my hometown.  My mom, sis and I went for the day to a neighboring town to visit a few of our favorite shops.  When I came across these fun albums my mind immediately entered a daydream of sitting in front of the record player with my future kids while they listened intently to the story being told.  (Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a daydreamer?)

Drumroll please….I bought The Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan albums that day.  They both had the vinyl included.  Each of them have a story book within them, however both are missing pages.  I was hopeful the record would make up the deficit and I wasn’t disappointed!

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By the time I finished listening to both of these records I was transported back to being a kid again.  It must be something about this time of year that does that to me.  🙂

xoxo,

Christi

  • Tonight my Dad is taking me to see the comedian Paula Poundstone.  I’m very excited!  I listen to her often on my favorite radio show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”.
  • I’m trying out a new purple lipstick.  I’m loving it worn a bit sheered out.  It is a Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless.
  • It’s been in the negative temperatures here for many days in a row.  I finally broke the pups out of this house and let them run around at the park.  They loved it!
  • Our engagement picture session is tomorrow!!  I can’t wait to start this process with my main squeeze.  So in love…
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Autumn Turns Into Winter



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This past weekend a long-time friend of mine laid her father to rest.  I use the term father in the meaning that he was her dad regardless of biology.  He was the one she looked to for strength and support growing up.  I am so deeply saddened by his loss for her.  It’s later in life when you truly start to dread the hurts of those you love and care about coming true for you as well.

I don’t consider myself a morbid person but I do think about losing my parents from time to time.  I have been blessed with 4 amazing parents who have been nothing but supportive and helpful in getting me this far in life.  I tear up thinking of the day when I have to say goodbye to any of them.

I was reminded of the transitions we go through in life today with the real first winter storm blowing through our community.  Yesterday was just another fall day but today is cold and snowy with dropping temperatures promised overnight.  There are so many times in our lives we go through changes and they’re not always for the better.  Sometimes things transition and our lives are forever changed; like the loss of our parents.

I have much to be thankful for as we move into this winter season but I did want to take a moment to think about those who have loved and lost and those who have given everything for us.  Veteran’s Day is tomorrow.  As a woman in love with a Veteran I am certain that no amount of thankful praise or love will ever explain to him how deep my gratitude goes for his sacrifice and service.  It’s a debt that can never be repaid and I will forever be thankful for him and all of the millions of others.

Allow yourself to experience the transitions in life.  They are here for all of us.  All of us have a season of love, grief, happiness and sorrow.  Allow it to develop and learn how to dress for the new season.  If you need a jacket of warm hugs make sure to surround yourself with those who can provide that comfort.  If you need rejoicing time please include people who will wholeheartedly rejoice right along side you.

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xoxo,

Christi

  • I love the change of seasons.  I love the beauty of freshly fallen snow and the mashing of two seasons together.
  • I admit it…I have Christmas music playing right now.  🙂
  • I’m so in love with my fiancé I can hardly contain my excitement to have found the partner I’ve longed for.
  • We had a date night the other night with one set of parents.  Never underestimate the fun you can have double-dating with your parents.  Love them!
  • The puppies are happy to be sleeping the days away when it gets colder.  Can’t say I blame them.  😉
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We’re Going to the Chapel…

Site of our proposal

Site of our proposal

On Saturday October 11th, 2014 the love of my life proposed to me in a remote location in the mountains west of Laramie, WY.

It was initially intended to be a birthday trip for him to see some friends he hand’t seen in quite a while and visit his college town.  It turned into a celebration for both of us and I couldn’t be happier.

We’ve shared the engagement story with our immediate family and very close friends.  He did such a great job surprising me and making sure that I had no intuition about the proposal whatsoever.

There are no concrete details yet with the exception of the fact that we are crazy in love and both feel incredibly lucky to have finally found someone who makes us the absolute best version of ourselves.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for all of the well wishes and congratulations.  We are truly blessed with love.

xoxo,

Christi

  • I thought I’d try a fun idea that I learned from Emilynoel83 on www.youtube.com and thru her blog at http://www.beautybroadcast.net and add little random snippets from my day at the end of my blog posts.
  • I’m still working my way through that amazing Hawaiian pineapple.  It is so tasty!
  • It is 2:48 am as I write this.  I am exhausted but sleep is avoiding me tonight.
  • I think my boy dog, Denali has sleep apnea.  Can dogs have that???
  • We asked the puppies if they wanted to be a family after Chris proposed.  They were beyond cute with their excited response.  Guess he passed the puppy test. 😉
  • I hope I’ve emptied my brain enough to sleep now.  G’night all.  🙂
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