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

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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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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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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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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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A Snub or Not To All Things Wedding

I’m beyond excited to start my series on everything wedding.  But first I think there are some important things you learn about me.

I never wanted a traditional wedding.  The idea of standing in front of a crowd of 500 of our closest friends and family makes me break into a panic sweat just thinking about it.  I don’t like to be the center of attention in a huge group of people.

I also plan things as a profession.  I organize, make lists and plan things all day at my job and the last thing I want to do is add yet another “project” for me to manage, organize and plan.  I’m good at it but adding another huge one in my personal life is less than appealing.

All of the dread I had leading up to Chris’ and my wedding day was so quickly diffused when the day turned out so incredible and more amazing than I could have ever dreamed of.

So, I write this for you girls who dread your wedding day; who dread 300-1000 eyes staring at you.  I believe if you follow one basic rule you’ll have the time of your life.  That rule is simply this:  MAKE IT YOUR OWN.  We are long past the days where you have to have the factory wedding that anyone, any thing or any magazine tells you to have.  You have the choice to decide what it is included and excluded.

If you still chose to elope or march yourselves down to the courthouse you have my unconditional support.  I hope you will read this series before deciding for sure because you could be a resister of all things wedding up until the very end like me and find so much more bliss and fun than you could have ever wished for.

Thank you for joining me on this series while its fresh in my mind and I wish you all of the happiness for your wedding day regardless of what you chose to do or how you design it.

xoxo,

Christi

  • I’ve had a terrible canker sore for a week now.  One of my medications makes me more susceptible to these.  If you ever have these try a product called Glyoxide.  It cleanses the area, makes it feel better and helps it heal so much faster.
  • I’m re-joining the paper planning world!!  I just ordered my very first Erin Condren planner.  Stay tuned for a post & review in the next few months.
  • I’m looking for interesting things to do with my wedding dress.  I hope to wrap that into this series as well.  Comment below with any suggestions!
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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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Voices of Faith Devotional Bible

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Today’s post comes right from my hotel room in Sin City.  As ironic as it is, I’m going to tell you today about the devotional bible I’ve been using since the beginning of the year.

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I’ve never been consistent with any daily devotions but I have always believed in the power of a spiritual balance to each day.  So, for the first time ever I am trying to have almost daily devotions for my faith.

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I purchased this Voices of Faith Devotional Bible from my local Hastings at the beginning of the year with Christmas money I received.  I picked it out of all the others because it adds commentary from historical figures as well as current figures in Christianity.  It also guides you through a section of scripture which happily starts with Genesis Chapter 1 and moves you through the entire bible in a year.  I was very excited to find this would take me from beginning to end of the bible throughout the course of my study.  Also, this was a weekday daily devotional with a weekend devotion.  Although I don’t think it’s a bad thing to devote time every single day it is nice to be able to take a break on one day during the weekend.  I usually end up doing my weekend devotional on Saturday since I get spiritual enrichment on Sunday too.

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I haven’t missed a day until this last week when I was battling influenza.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been that sick and it took me the entire week to recover.  I decided to table the entire week of devotion after losing the first three days.  I am thirsty to pick it back up tomorrow and get back into my study.

Have a great week!

xo,

Christi

  • I am in Vegas for work this week.  I’m enjoying the very nice client and the warm weather but missing my sweetheart and puppies more than I can express.
  • I am in constant awe of the fountains at the Belagio hotel here.
  • Less than 2 months until I get married to the best man I’ve ever known!!!
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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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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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