Friday, November 29, 2013

A Rasmussen Thanksgiving

When Ronnie and I bought our home, one of the first things my family said to me was “Great, it’s your turn to host the holidays this year!” They were only half kidding, but since then, I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas all year.

I mentioned our family is spread across the country-my dad and brother are in Alabama, my extended family in Colorado and Ohio. Ronnie’s parents live in New Mexico, and his siblings in Chicago. My mom, step dad, brother and his family are all in Idaho though, so we have some family here! After buying a house and getting married in the same year, we made the decision to stay in Idaho for Thanksgiving and Christmas as plane tickets aren’t in the budget. Being away from much of our family, we are familiar with the ache of being separated from those you love during the holidays. When we agreed to host holidays, inviting friends, co-workers, and people we attend church with who don’t have families to share Thanksgiving with was a no brainer for us.

We didn’t have a long conversation about it, we didn’t decide on who to invite or how to invite them or clear it with my family who’s Thanksgiving we’d be interrupting. Instead one Sunday afternoon, while Ronnie’s friends were over for lunch after church, I asked “What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Are you going home to see your family?” And when they said no, I told them dinner was at 2:00 and invited them over. I didn’t look at Ronnie for approval or permission, because I already know his heart for people. His heart for loving them and serving them, so I knew what he’d say.

Two days later, Ronnie came home and told me of someone else from church he invited over. And I nodded, and mentally prepared to set one extra place at the table. And when he told me three days before Thanksgiving, he invited someone else from church who has no family in town, I thought to myself “Good thing I bought 12 place settings.”

The day before Thanksgiving, I invited my entire Facebook Friends List-if anyone doesn’t have someone to spend Thanksgiving with, come over to our house and we’ll feed you! What’s the worst that could happen? So our guests would eat off mismatched plates? We might have to bring out some TV trays for people to eat on the couch if there wasn’t room at the tables? I can eat on the couch. I eat on it basically every night! At least no one would be eating alone, they’d feel loved and welcomed and cared for. And that’s what Thanksgiving looks like for us.

Thankful for the incredible people God has placed in our lives, near and far. A celebration of each person gathered around our table, for the big and small ways they’ve impacted our lives. Thankful for the gift of people and the ways God uses them to help us grow into who he’s made us to be. Family and Friends, our door is always open to you, on holidays and regular days. We’re so thankful for you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

This is our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, and we are actually hosting Thanksgiving this year as well. Our families are spread across the US, in Colorado, Alabama, Ohio, New Mexico, and Chicago and this year, we are staying in Idaho for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom and step dad live here, along with my brother, his wife and my niece and nephew, so they will be coming over, as well as a few friends of ours from church who do not have family here. The more the merrier, I always say!

Last night we began to set the table and prep for Thanksgiving. For my bridal shower I got a long fold up table that has already proved to come in handy. Our house isn't huge, so the two tables together pretty much take up the entire dining/living room, but we have so much food and plenty of wine, I don't think anyone will mind.


Also, I wanted to tell you all about the CaraBox exchange I signed up for! If you haven't heard of it, go over to Wifessionals blog and read about it there! Its a way to meet bloggers and send love and gifts and encouragement. Last time around I got two of the most incredible partners, so when they announced we would be paired up with bloggers in our state, I couldn't wait to participate! I only know one other Idaho blogger, who also happens to be one of my BESTIES, Karissa so I am crossing my fingers that some more Idaho bloggers sign up!

If you know any Idaho bloggers, tell them to sign up. Or just tell them to be my friend.
A Lone Idaho Blogger

All joking aside, I hope you have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving! You are loved!
Don't forget that for a few more days, you can get ad space here at Happy Is A Choice for as low as $2.50! Use Code: HAPPY Click HERE for more information!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Runner's Diary: I Can Do Hard Things

I've learned a lot from running, and I've learned a lot during my break from running 
after I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Its been a slow process, finding my groove after taking about 8 months off.
During those 8 months that I was in too much pain to run, I longed to run.
I vowed to never take running for granted again.
I also learned that my identity isn't just in being a runner.

The first time I ran a full mile without stopping after the long eight month break,
I cried tears of gratitude and relief.
I heard my doctor tell me gently I might never run again, but I learned that day,
I can do hard things.
That first mile was hard. Every run since then, has been hard.
I ran a 10k this past summer, and struggled to finish it, but I ran the entire time, refusing to let a disease take what I loved from me for one more day.
I can do hard things.

When my world feels like its spinning out of control, I can lace up my shoes and leave my anxieties on the pavement, feeling lighter with each step I take.
When I feel like my legs can't carry me another step, I praise Jesus for giving me the strength, the power, the grace to overcome a disease that threatened to sideline me from running.
When I can't imagine running another 30 minutes straight, the Lord whispers "Patience." 

I can do hard things.
Running has shown me I can make it over that hill, I can run for an hour straight, I can commit to a goal, I can overcome the odds.I can choose grace for myself when I have a bad run. I can overcome the anxiety that threatens to control me at with endorphins instead of medication. 
Running has taught me I can do hard things.

Happy Thanksgiving Week Friend! For the rest of the week, use code HAPPY to get 50% off all ad spots because I LOVE YOU and want to hang out with you for a full month!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Things I've Let Go Of

Last weekend, I snuggled up on my couch on Friday night and worked on a paper that was due on Sunday, trying to get it out of the way so I didn't have to stress about it all day on Sunday. I thought to myself, my, how my Friday nights have changed since I was 21.

I'm 26 so naturally, its time to have let go of some of my ways of my early twenties. I've traded my Friday nights (and Saturday nights, sometimes even Thursday nights) of drinking downtown with my girlfriends for nights staying in my home we bought this past summer, sometimes by myself, sometimes watching movies with my husband, and sometimes having people over for a meal and conversation.

Here are some other things I have let go of:

1. Saying yes to everyone and everything-One thing I've learned is that I am not superwoman, and I can't do it all. I have learned that saying no to something might mean saying yes to my mental health, or saying yes to focusing on my school work, or spending quality time with my husband. I've learned to set boundaries in my life in order to keep myself healthy and happy.

2. Comparing my life to others- I think that this is obviously a trap that we as women fall into so often, but I have really tried to let go of coveting my friends homes, or bodies, or perfect job, or their perfect children. I think social media and blogging makes this such a dangerous trap, to see the perfect picture that so many people paint on Facebook and think "Why isn't my life like that?" I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to talk about all the joys in your life on social media, because who wants to read negative nancy's status. It is our job though to NOT compare our real life with what people post online!

3. Toxic friendships-this is a hard one because I always wanted to be the friend full of grace and love for everyone, but I've had friendships that were toxic, damaging, and hurtful that I eventually had to let go. Looking back, I am thankful for life giving friendships with girls I've known since elementary school and girls I've met in the last couple of years through church, my husband, and work.

4. Having a time line for life events-I always had a picture in my head about when I'd get married, when I'd be working a certain job, when I'd have babies, etc and so far, none of those events have actually happened by my "deadline" date. But I've let it go, and feel so grateful I didn't get married when I was 23, that I didn't have children at 25. Because I wasn't ready for marriage at 23, and had I married the guy I was dating, I would be crying in a corner because he wasn't who God had for me. And if I had a baby or two right now, I wouldn't be able to sleep in on Saturdays or focus on getting my masters degree like I am now. I honestly believe that God's timing is SO much better than my own and He knows me much better than I know myself. I've let go of the deadlines and learned to trust God's plan for my life.

What have you let go of?

I am linking up with my friend Meg at Life of Meg for Mingle Monday! Hop over there to discover some great new blogs!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Its Time to Get Serious About My Health

Its time! It is time for me to say it out-loud, and time for me to do something about it. I am linking up with Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars this week, while a bunch of us in blog land are making the commitment to get serious about our health and fitness!

In the past year and a half, I've gained approximately 15 pounds. FIFTEEN.

Me at my thinnest | Me this past summer with the extra 15 pounds

It started with when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was quickly put on steroids to manage the pain, and for 8 months, I was still in too much pain to exercise. Those pounds creeped on quickly, and even after I went off the steroids in March of this year, they didn't just fall off like you''d think they should.

Thankful for forgiving dresses, but 15 pounds extra  shows up anyways.

Before I continue on with my excuses, you should know that I love food. Carbs, cheese, sweets, I love anything that helps you pack on the pounds. I love wine and margaritas, chips and salsa, and Chick-Fil-A.

I have recently been trying to find my groove with running again. After taking so much time off from it, it has been a hard getting back into it. Hard staying motivated, humbling when I struggle to run 3 miles when I used to run five as an easy, daily run.

July 2012. In shape, fit and healthy. Months before I was diagnosed with RA.

None of my clothes fit me well anymore. I basically live in oversized sweaters and leggings, because it hides everything about myself I don't like. I don't want to live like this anymore, its time to get serious about my health, and take back something that is mine. Over the past few weeks, I felt my self slipping into a "funk". I was down, almost depressed at times, and had no explanation to why I was feeling that way. I realized, it was because I hadn't been running. Running is a vital key to my happiness. I need those endorphins, I just am not a happy person without them.

Even with RA, I can be fit, I can be healthy, I can be in shape. I've overcome so many of the ways it has held me back, I can continue to press on and thank God that my body is capable of working out again.

Here's how I am going to do it:

1. Run
I am going to run 3-4 times a week. I've also signed up for a Turkey Trot Race on Thanksgiving, and am going to sign up for a 10k in December to keep me motivated to run. 

2. Meal Plan
Meal planning is key for us, or else after work when I am tired, I am more tempted to just order a pizza in or run to Chick-Fil-A like last night. I am going to focus on a paleo-inspired diet, eating less grains and dairy.

3. Strength-train 2-3 times a week. 
I am never really good at this part of working out, with my limited time to work out at lunch, I think running is more effective, but I know that I need to be building muscle and toning my entire body along with my cardio. This means I will probably have to go to the gym after work or on the weekends a couple days a week. *GASP* 

4. Ease up on the wine. 
I am crying. :( I love having a glass or two of wine after work, and I am going to try and limit it to one day a week.

Do you have any other tips for me? If you do, please help a girl out! If you're on this journey too, let me know so I can follow along and cheer you on as well!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Finally, Friday!

Its Friday! Can I get an amen? We made it through another week, friends. Did your week fly by like mine?

Heres what I've been up to this week:

1. Dinner Club with my friends Karissa and Stacey and our husbands. Every other Monday, we all gather around one of our dinner tables, depending on who's turn it is to host. This Monday was my turn, and I made Chicken Fajita Bowls and played Apples to Apples. I love our bi-weekly Dinner Club so much, they make Monday's a little more bearable!

2. Ronnie and I had dinner with my parents, which was one of the first times we've had dinner all four of us since we got married. It was my step-dad's birthday, so we celebrated that and enoyed our time with them.

3. I re-vamped the Sponsorship options here at Happy Is A Choice! Go check them out, and for a limited time, I am offering 50% the largest ad space, the Venti Coffee space! Use the code HELLOGORGEOUS and come hang out on my sidebar! Check out the options here!

4.  I ran at lunch twice this week. Both days were cold and it had just finished raining before I went out, which is my favorite running weather. Although I prefer to jump in a hot shower and drink a hot cup of coffee in my yoga pants after a chilly run, not hurry up and put my work clothes back on and go to my cubicle, running at lunch just works best for my schedule. I am heading out today at lunch again. My goal is to go 3-4 times a week to keep those sneaky holiday pounds at bay.

5. Speaking of running, My step-dad signed me up for my first ever Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving Day! I haven't ran a 5k race since the Color Run this past summer, so I am excited to get back out there and race again!

6. I did some serious reading on my Kindle! For my birthday my dad sent me a giftcard to Amazon which to me equals books, books and more books. I love downloading books on my Kindle. If you need a book recommendation, read Defending Jacob. I could not put it down! I am re-reading Catching Fire before I go see the movie next week, and I also have started the book, Mile Markers which is a book about running.

7. We have a Fall Favorites Give Away Winner! Congrats Rhianon, you are the winner of some of our favorite things! We will be contacting you shortly. Thanks for playing, everyone of you who entered. If you're new around here, I hope you will stay awhile! 

This weekend I'll be doing some baking, and we have a wedding to go to on Saturday, and I hope to get a big chunk of our Christmas shopping done also. What do you have planned this weekend?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rasmussen Wedding: Our First Look

Get ready for a picture overload. I really couldn't pick just a few favorites.
Our first look was so fun and so special. I was so excited to see my groom, and our photographer and her videographer husband were just so sweet and fun to work with, I knew I'd love each one of these pictures. I am so excited we did a first look, these moments together were just what I needed before our big day. I will treasure this time together for the rest of our lives!

There we have it, the happiest day of my life! <3 
Stay tuned for bridal party, family, ceremony and reception pictures!

You have one more day to enter our Fall Favorites Giveaway! Its full of great prizes that I really want to keep for myself but I love you so much, I am giving them away!

Also, I am over at Nikki's blog today, sharing some things that I am thankful for in marriage. She is getting whisked away on a fun bachelorette weekend, so she let me hang out over there for a day!