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!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Actively Enduring

IMG_2026

 

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.  😉
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Animal Therapy

IMG_1054

 

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.

IMG_1057

 

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.

IMG_1058

 

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…

IMG_1045xo,

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

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Resources

IMG_0333

 

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.
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Land of the LIVING: 2014 Year In Review

cropped-IMG_0904-Version-41.jpg

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Deer Me

 

IMG_1008

 

On Saturday while chatting with my mom around the table we noticed a small pack of deer crossing the creek behind the house.  I ran into my office and grabbed the camera.  They were so beautiful against the frosty backdrop and so elegant while walking and crossing the ice.

We had a fantastic Christmas with tons of love, laughs and good times.  I am taking some time today to recuperate, however.  Even the best Christmases can be exhausting!  I hope these images help you unwind a bit in your mind too.

 

IMG_1007

IMG_1006

IMG_1005

IMG_1004

IMG_1003

IMG_1002

IMG_1001

IMG_1000

IMG_0999

 

xo,

Christi

  • I’m not sure that yoga class has ever felt as good as the one I took this morning!  I must have needed it!
  • I was worried that my gym membership ran out at the end of December.  I found out this morning that it ends at the end of January!  Wahoo!  I love my routine these days.
  • Let me know your favorite Christmas memory.
  • We’re in another cold snap today.  With windchill it currently feels like -20 degrees.  Its only going to get colder.  Brrr.  Time to make some soup!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

IMG_0898

I took the dogs for a walk the other day at a local park.  It had been foggy the night before so the overnight freezing temperatures coated everything in a beautiful frost.  I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures.

IMG_0913

IMG_0925

IMG_0943

IMG_0951

 

While we walked I saw Violet itching to break out into a full sprint and play until she dropped.  She’s always been the more active pup of the two.  This year, however its been a bit different.  Denali has a confirmed tear in his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in his back left knee.  He’s been hobbling around for a while but the vet confirmed the tear last week.  He will need surgery and 12 weeks of recovery to get back to a working knee.

As we walked at the park that day I saw him happy but working hard for each stride and step.  I could see Violet’s excitement to play with her brother and run and eat snow…but Denali couldn’t keep up.  He knew he was limited and needed to take it easy.

It made me think about how many times I’ve been with others who wanted to run ahead and put in a full force effort and I just wasn’t able to.  I flashed back to being with Chris in Alaska and trying to climb a trail and having a very hard time.  You know what though?  He waited.  Every.  Time.  He took care of me.  He asked if I needed breaks.  Although I encouraged him to go ahead without me he said no.  He told me he’d rather wait with me than be hiking up without me.

For some reason that day Violet seemed to finally understand that Denali couldn’t run and play with her.  So, she walked with him.  Sure she’d run ahead just a bit but she always came back to check on him.

In this season of holidays I find myself ever more thankful for all of those who stand by my side and support me when I can’t keep up or when I’m down on my luck.  Without them stopping to take breaks and take care of me I’d be a lot worse off.  I know I’m lucky and blessed.  I want you to know I’m also so incredibly thankful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xo,

Christi

  • There’s a killer storm trying to roll in.  The wind is just blowing like crazy out there.
  • I’m preparing to host for Christmas.  My favorite part is preparing to host for my furry guests too.  🙂
  • I think it’s time for something warm to drink.  That wind is making me feel cold even though I’m inside!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

O Christmas Tree

IMG_0852

Through the moves over the years, the apartment living and being single neither Chris or I had a very nice Christmas tree option.  Since we moved into the new house at the beginning of December we thought it would be nice to buy a new tree for the new house and start our own holiday traditions.  To that end, one cold dark Black Friday morning my sister and I headed to Home Depot to purchase new trees.  Our mom had seen the special on this Martha Stewart Living Tree and that it would be more than $100 off!  Since every little bit helps when you’re moving into a new home we agreed this would be the perfect tree for our new place.  My sister needed a new tree too and ended up getting the same one!  I love that.

There were several attractive features about the tree right away.  First, it comes in 3 sections.  No color-coded branches to align; no cords to plug in.  You literally stack the parts together in order, fluff the branches and plug it in.  Nice, right?!

The second cool and completely unnecessary feature was that the lights are remote controlled.  I have a few tree sensors that can time the lights to come on or help turn them on quickly but we get quite a kick out of having a remote controlled tree.

Thirdly, the lights are LED and come in white or multi-colored.  The tree itself has 3 settings:  alternating white & multicolored with flashing, all white or all multi-colored.  We have tried all three options.  I’m beginning to prefer the white lights during the day and the multicolored at night.  As you can see from the pictures the multicolored lights add so much saturated color to the room at night.  There’s even a Northern Lights affect on the ceiling!

IMG_0850

I slowed my shutter speed on my camera, turned the tree on the white & multicolored flashing setting and captured what the tree would look like if you could turn both the white and multicolored on at the same time.

IMG_0854

 

At the end of the day we are in love with the new tree.  We can’t wait to have our families over on Christmas to enjoy it with us.

I thought it would be fun to include a few of our favorite Christmas tree ornaments in this post as well.  We have more, of course, but these are just a few that we love.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0669

 

We took a vacation to Maui in October 2013.  Last Christmas we bought this ornament to remember that trip.

IMG_0672

Chris and I love going to concerts and were able to attend several in 2013.  He also plays the drums so we thought this would be fitting to remember both of those fun life events.

IMG_0673

When Chris returned to our hometown his mom purchased this ornament for him and his little apartment tree.

IMG_0675

When we first started dating he fell in love with my Keurig.  (You thought I was going to stay me, didn’t you?!?) 😉  One of our favorite things to do is have morning coffee and start the day together.  Since we were long distance I bought him a Keurig machine for his apartment and at the end of the year we both ended up buying this same ornament for each other.  Yes, we have two of them.  His and Hers Keurigs.   I think its adorable.

IMG_0676

This is one of Chris’ favorite ornaments and reminds him of some times he’s spent in Vegas.

IMG_0677

My wonderful friend Judy gave me this White House Historical Society ornament one year for Christmas.  It is such an intricate piece.  I love the history it represents.  I would like to start collecting these and have a tree full of them each year.  The create a new ornament every year and only so many are made.  Now that I think about it…maybe I shouldn’t advertise this and encourage other’s to buy a limited amount of what I want too!  Haha.

xo,

Christi

  • I can clearly see the Rocky Mountains from my office window today.  I LOVE THIS VIEW!
  • I am going shopping with my mom tonight for one last Christmas present and then I’ll be ready!  🙂
  • Christmas cards are starting to roll in. I love seeing friends and family’s special moments throughout the year!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Christmas Movie Season

IMG_0440

Every year starting after Thanksgiving I watch some of my favorite Christmas movies.  There are new and exciting films coming out each year so my list just keeps growing.  Since I don’t have cable service I often rely on my Netflix account for television entertainment.  This year I am very disappointed in the selection of holiday movies available on Netflix.  Luckily, I own many of the movies I like to watch.  My friends or family own a few that they let me borrow or come over and watch, plus I am adding some more to my wish-list.

Movies I Own

  • Stepmom
  • The Santa Clause
  • The Holiday
  • Four Christmases – Electronic version via iTunes
  • Elf
  • Just Friends
  • If You Believe
  • Christmas Story
  • White Christmas
  • Christmas With The Kranks
  • Charlie Brown Christmas – Electronic version via iTunes

Movies I Don’t Currently Own

  • Love Actually – Currently on Netflix
  • Family Stone – Added to my wish-list
  • California Raisins Claymation Christmas Special – My mom has this on recorded VHS from my childhood
  • Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer – We bought a set of these specials this year
  • Frosty the Snowman – Included in the set we purchased with Rudolf
  • It’s a Wonderful Life – Added to my wish-list
  • Home Alone 1 – Added to my wish-list
  • Bad Santa – (don’t judge…haha); Currently on Netflix

IMG_0442

 

There are so many more out there and I’m certain I’m forgetting to name some of my favorites too.  What is your favorite Christmas movie/special to watch?

xo,

Christi

  • My mom and I are finishing a book club at our county public library tonight.  I think the idea of a book club run by the library is a great idea, however I wasn’t thrilled with all of the book selections.  We’re thinking of starting our own.
  • I’ve been out of Scentsy back-up light bulbs for over a year now.  Chris’ co-worker’s wife hooked me up at their Christmas party the other night.  Yippee!
  • It’s a frosty morning outside my window today.  All of the branches are frosted over.  Yes, of course I snagged some photos!
  • Christmas is only 8 days away!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Home Sweet Home

IMG_0646

 

Hello again!  My apologies for being gone for several weeks.  I am finally settled into our new home, decorated for Christmas and ready to get back to full-time work.  In the meantime I thought I’d share with you some quick snapshots of the house decor at this point.  I’ll get more posts up now through the end of the year and continue to show more and more of the house.

The picture above is of the decorations on my dinning room table.  For some reason every single berry ornament/decor I have for Christmas has been sheered off during their storage this past year.  I suspect its due to a severely disgusting infestation of mice at my last rental house.  All I’ll say is I’m so incredibly thankful I moved!
IMG_0659

I like to recycle my 3-wick Bath & Body Works candle containers and use them for cactus or succulent planters.  It’s a quick and easy way to up-cycle while adding some greenery to your space.  This view is looking out onto the creek from our kitchen window.

IMG_0661

 

This adorable tree is still holding its berries which provides a beautiful contrast during the snow.  This view is looking down on the tree from our upper balcony.
IMG_0667

 

I love how this palm plant that we graciously accepted from Chris’ grandma’s funeral plays into the wood blinds and Christmas greenery that we used on top of the curtain rods.  We haven’t decided on decor for each room as of this post so we chose to not put up many curtains or wall decor until after the holidays.

IMG_0679

My moment of panic during the unpacking process came when I could not find my beloved Crosley Record Player that Chris gave me for my birthday this year.  I finally remembered our decision I discussed above to not put up regular decor in the living room until after Christmas was taken down.  This gem was at the bottom of the living room decor box I stored away.  I was so incredibly relieved to find it and get it set up.  Having several Christmas albums has made this season even more special.  (Please excuse my Wii cords in the background.)

IMG_0684

 

And finally for today I’ll share with you the first glance out my office/craft room window upstairs.  It snowed a little last night and re-froze the creek behind the house.  Our property looks over the creek and the empty un-developed land between our Recreation Center and the college in our town.  With the two complexes owning the land behind us the chance of anyone developing immediately behind our house is very remote.  For now we are enjoying the different view on town and watching the deer and antelope walk along the creekside.

Stay tuned for more posts coming soon.  Thank you for your patience during the move!

xoxo,

Christi

  • If you haven’t heard of it already be sure to check out Darling Magazine.  It is my new obsession and is completely ad-free.
  • My mom gave me the Starbucks advent calendar this year for our annual Thanksgiving/Trim The Tree present.  I love this magnetic set.  I can refill it each year!
  • The puppies are LOVING the new house.  They had the usual amount of anxiety about the move but they are enjoying the larger space and view from the back yard.
  • 9 more days until Christmas!  I love this season so much but I’m always sad to see the countdown get smaller.
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather