Thursday, December 31, 2015

Living with Intent in 2016

I've heard it so often lately, "2015 was a horrible year for me!"  I can't say that this was the case for our household as we saw so many blessings happen in our life but it definitely was a challenging year at times, to say the least.  Our year started out with my husband deciding that he wanted to go look at houses.  We'd discussed buying a house but never seriously.  I am a planner and I wasn't ready to plan for such a life changing event.  Not even 2 weeks into January though, I found myself riding along with my husband as we just "looked" at a house he had found listed online.  The next morning, without even doing any of the leg work, we made an offer.  By the end of the week, our offer had been accepted and exactly one month from the day we looked at it, it was ours.  I went from thinking we would never be in a place to be able to buy a house to God opening every door, including the door to our first real home as a married couple.  We spent the next month and a half commuting back and forth between our two houses that were almost 4 hours apart and me commuting 3-4.5 hours another direction for Remicade and iron infusions.  By the end of March, we were finally settled in our new home and the fun of home ownership began.

Some of you may not know, but we have horses.  We actually moved into this home with just our mare but as of this summer we now have 2.  We've added a 6 year old gelding to the mix and there was definitely an adjustment period for all.  He's like a 1000lb dog... fun, loving, and a major attention hog!!!  Our whole mentality about horses had to change and we spent (and are still spending) most of our time turning our property into the best possible place for them.  I thought life was expensive before but building fences, hay storage areas, stalls and the cost of feeding them during a year of drought was insane!!!  My perfectly planned budget completely went out the window!!!

Another thing that sent our budget out the window was that I decided in May to start my own business from home and Kindled Soul Designs was born.  I can honestly say that this has been one of the most challenging things that I have ever done.  It has completely taken me out of my comfort zone, taught me a lot about myself, has made me doubt my purpose more than a time or two, and has challenged me to decide what I want from life.  The hours are long, there are more unpaid hours worked than paid, and the balance between work and home life is nearly nonexistent. It definitely hasn't been what I expected it to be but I am crazy grateful for the journey and can't wait to see where 2016 takes it.

The other major challenge this year is still, surprise surprise, my heath. My health hasn't improved all that much this year either.  The move was great and getting out in the country has been good for me but stress is such a trigger in Crohn's.  There's actually a study out now that says that my stress might actually be triggered by my Crohn's and not the other way around... wouldn't that be "funny" if it pans out to be true.  I have started using essential oils and switching everything in my house to chemical free and it has been helping but we just can't find the root issue to get it into remission.  Also, after 3 years, my body decided to build antibodies to the Remicade and I had an allergic reaction after my last infusion.  We just recently started another medication that isn't usually used in Crohn's patients and are 3 weeks into the loading doses so we will see.  The hope isn't to be able to have this medication put me into remission but to have me tolerate it so we can stack it with another one.  To be honest,  I'm over it all again.  The side effects of this medication are by far the worst of any of the previous ones I have been on and could have a lasting effect on my future... but I guess when you're desperate, you'll do pretty much anything.  Okay, sorry to be a Debbie Downer... moving on.

It has been with these challenges this year that I decided on my focus for 2016.  (I don't think I have ever made a New Year's Resolution and probably won't ever but I completely encourage those of you who do.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, even if you don't end up making it a "habit".)  My focus for 2016 is to live life with intent!!! The challenges are going to come and go, that's never going to change.  Some struggles are overcome but some never seem to go away, so there really isn't a point in letting them stop you from doing what you want to and should be doing. 

~ I want to be more intentional in my marriage.  I want to put it all away when the husband walks in my door and remind him daily how much I appreciate his role in our family.  He is gone for 12-16 hours a day and I want to focus on setting it all aside for few hours that I have with him a day. 

~ I want to be more intentional in my business, my focus, my follow through.  I want to build something that reflects who I am and I want to do it better than my mind tells me I can. 

~ I want to be intentional in my blogging.  I have a tendency to step away from things that I am not consistent with.  That's why I go long periods of time without blogging... if I know that I won't follow through with it, I don't make time for it.  My focus on what I have to say is going to change some in this next year so that I can really use it as a tool in my personal life and maybe as an outlet of my professional life.

~ I want to be intentional in the future I'm building, whether it be my health, our home, my journey.  The daily grind is not what I want.  Sure, daily tasks exist and I will continue to do them all, but I want to do them with intent.  I don't want to get to the end of the day and try and take a moment for myself.  I want to live in the moment.  Find the joy in all things... be grateful in all things... be prayerful in all things... be praising in all things.  I want to let those in around me and let go of those cause me hurt.  I want to take time for me intentionally.. not as a last resort and not at the end of the day when I'm too tired to hold my head up.  I want to live a purpose driven life.

~ Lastly, I want more intentional in my relationship with God and with other in my life.  I don't want the people that are in my life to just be apart of my life, I want them to be present in my life as much as possible.  I have a tendency to get caught up in my own little world and I don't want to... no matter how gorgeous it is here.  I want my home to be filled with as much laughter and love as possible this next year.  So (hint, hint) friends and family... get up here and share it with us.  My travelling days are getting more and more numbered and will continue to be as I transition all my health care to more local locations.

The husband and I are spending New Year's Eve at home tonight for the first time in the past 17-18 (can't remember which) NYEs that we've been spending them together.  It's a little different, but kind of perfect to ring it in with just my favorite person in the entire world.  Much love from us to you and I pray that you allow God to bless you abundantly in 2016!!!  Let me know what your plans for 2016 are.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Thunderstorms and Clear Blue Skies

Oh my goodness, I'm actually sitting down and using our computer!  It almost feels like a miracle... to be actually sitting down and also to be typing on something that doesn't fit in the palm of my hands!  It has be a CRAZY past 5 1/2 months!!!  It was a super dark time filled with one thunderstorm after another and I am so thankful to be looking at the clear blue skies ahead!!!

The end of October I got sick, really sick.  I blogged about it so I won't go into too much detail but let's just say it got worse, a lot worse.  By the middle of December I couldn't handle the pain any more and was pretty much bed ridden. On December 17th I ended up having a procedure done to figure out what was going on inside and to alleviate some of my pain.  Let's just say that it did more harm than good...  Immediate after coming out of recovery, I could tell that my speech was slurred and that my tongue felt funny but the nurses thought that I'd bit my tongue and that the breathing tube might have scratched the top of my throat as it was being taken out.  I was still pretty groggy from coming out of the anesthesia so I really didn't know what was what.  When I got back to my parents' house, I was still slurring all my words so I was showing them where I bit my tongue and my dad gave me a funny look and said, "I think something is wrong, your tongue is crooked!"  So I looked and this is what it looked like...

After it wasn't any better the next day and my speech was the same, I called my surgeon and he sent me straight to the emergency room to be checked out to make sure that I hadn't had a stroke while I was under sedation.  I was diagnosed with Unilateral Hypoglossal Nerve Palsy.  It means that there was damage to my 12th nerve from the breathing tube during surgery.  There has only been 5 other reported cases of this happening ever, so I was like the freak in Room 12.  I was visited by every ER nurse and doctor and some even came over from the rest of the hospital to take a look.  I also learned that it could be permanent and that only one case had a fully recovery (after 5 months of therapy).  Thank God though my speech improved after 2 weeks!!! My tongue is still crooked but not nearly as bad.  My neurologist can't find any damage to any other area that the 12th nerve controls so I will take that as a blessing!!! 

The reason we did the procedure in the first place didn't pan out either.  The pain and the flare just wouldn't go away and I was continuing to lose weight like crazy!!!  By the middle of January, I was down 18 pounds and on a small framed girl like me, there isn't many places the weight can come from!  I felt like I didn't know who I was any more.  My life felt SO out of control and to top it off, my husband's job was coming to an end and we had to figure out where to go next.  And then BOOM... without any preparation or putting any extra money aside, my husband decided that we were going to buy a house!!!  He literally said it, he found a house he liked, we contacted a real estate agent, she showed us the house a few days later, we came home and got financing, put in an offer, and closed exactly one month after the day we looked at the house... it was one of the quickest closings that I'd ever seen!!!  But oh my goodness, was it stressful on me (especially since I had no clue what to expect)!  Trying to read and sign everything, and communicate with a real estate agent, a loan officer and your spouse (who wanted me to be the one to handle everything) while you are in so much pain, weak, and suffering from the most severe and constant migraines of my life had me living in a dark room and only getting up to find the next piece of information they needed or to go throw up whatever small amount of food I had managed to get down!

Once it was all over though, I had one last storm to get through... the actual moving and commuting between the 2 houses.  We weren't expecting to find something so soon and close so quickly so I ended up packing the house after we signed and we rented a uhaul the same weekend and moved the majority of our stuff to our new house... 4 hours away from the current one we were living in!!!  It was crazy! We spend Valentine's Day moving and returned the next day.  For the next month, I commuted back and forth between both houses weekly and we had so many extra trips to get the rest of our stuff because my husband was living at the old house while I was living at the new one.  Finally in mid-March, my husband got his lay-off and we were officially both in our new house!!!  

We have been crazy busy! The house is small but perfect for the two of us but there are many projects ahead to make it our own!  So far we've gotten a new refrigerator and a washer and dryer.  So happy to not be using our TINY refrigerator any more and not to look at it after my husband put it down on top of my foot... I'll save you the gory pictures of that one (my foot is still bruised and messed up but at least it isn't broken).  We've also started on our project list.  My husband is AMAZING and can build anything I ask and never stops working so we make the perfect team... I design and he makes it come to life.  He's already built me shelving in the linen closet, made me a new custom closet, and built shelving in our laundry room/pantry.  I'll post all those later as we finish things up but for now, I'll leave you some pictures of the view!  It's literally heaven on earth here!!!

One side of our house faces Whitehorse Mountain!

These are the mountains on the other side of the house!

And this is the view from my living room window!!!

See why I'm in love!!!

... and one more because it's just so dang gorgeous!!!

Enjoy your Easter/Resurrection Sunday!!! 

Until next time...