Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Things

Would you believe that today is the first day all WEEK I have logged on to Blogger? I can hardly believe it myself. Life is crazy around here! I just started my new job recruiting for the State of Idaho and its been a great change for me, but I haven't been able to get online like I did at my old job!

I am going to resume my Meet the Maids series next week, and fill you in on some life updates, as well as share a few things that God has been teaching me.

But today, I just want to share five little things I LOVE about my fiancé. Seriously, he blesses my socks off on a regular basis.

1. He encourages me to rest- You guys, I am STRUGGLING with how to "do it all." If any of you have this down, please, share. I have been struggling with some anxiety about everything I feel like I have to do, all the tasks and phone calls and chores that seem never ending but Ronnie encourages me to put  all that aside and just rest. He reminds me that God calls us to have a day of rest, to uphold the Sabbath and recharge.

2. He is obedient to God's calling on His life-God has loudly been putting some career changes on Ronnie's heart, and even when I am full of fear and doubt, he confidently leads me in the direction that God is calling Him. He trusts God's provision and faithfulness even when I struggle to hold onto that truth at times.

3. He cares for me in ways I need it most- Last night, I came home to a clean house and laundry done. Ronnie doesn't live in our house, and my girlfriends and I are the ones who messed it up doing glittery wedding crafts, but He spent his afternoon cleaning for me so I could rest without stressing over a messy kitchen.

4. He isn't afraid to speak truth into my life-When I am struggling, I know Ronnie is right there to speak life-giving truth into my life. He encourages me to walk a little closer with Jesus and trust Him even when I can't see what He is doing. He reminds me that God is ultimately in control, and gently helps me loosen my grasp on all the things I want to control myself.

5. Even when we disagree, he is respectful and loving-Ronnie and I have never got into an actual "fight". We have disagreed, and have hurt each others feelings, but I can honestly say we've never been truly angry or mad at one another. I get so anxious when we disagree, and he is always so loving and reminding me that it is okay to not agree on everything 100%, that it is normal and healthy. I know his love for me is constant and isn't dependent on our circumstances.

I love that guy. So incredibly thankful God has joined our lives to take one path. Can't wait to marry the love of my life!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meet the Maids: Lea

Happy Thursday, friends! Today I am introducing you to another one of my amazing bridesmaids. Lea and I have been friends since we were little tykes. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and although she lives across the country, our friendship is real, deep, and such a blessing in my life.

All my bridesmaids are SO beautiful
Beautiful Lea, inside and out!

How did you meet the bride?
 My family moved to Boise when I was 5 or 6 years old, and as overwhelming as that was at my age, Brittany was one thing that made it better. I was her new neighbor, and her family was kind enough to welcome mine to the neighborhood. In a place of unfamiliarity, Brittany quickly became something familiar. She was a friend that I could relate to, and annoy our parents with by spending hours upon hours at each other’s houses, and ultimately, a friend I’d be able to confide in through the years as we grew into the strong women we are today.

Just babies swimming in Lea's parents pool in Arizona

Lea came back to Idaho to visit me during middle school

What is your favorite memory with her?
 There are too many crazy adventurous memories I’ve created with Brittany, but nonetheless I’ll share one that definitely stands out from recent years. A few years ago she came to visit me while I was living in Arizona going to college, and I was able to show her around Arizona, highlighting the local hot spots. From there we drove up to Las Vegas for a girl’s night to remember, which ended up being pretty mischievous, most of it remaining our little secret. However, I can say that we went to a country bar….(yes, of all of the bars in Las Vegas we could have experienced, we went to a country bar; Toby Keith’s Bar to be exact) and we watched a live band that we definitely chatted up after the show.

The night of said mischeif...*coughLEAcough*

 What are you most looking forward to while planning and being in her wedding?
 I’m really just looking forward to being a part of this new chapter in her life. From being 6 years old playing with dolls, to turning our attention to boys, to high school, college, and then starting a career, it’s truly going to be a beautiful moment to watch her embark on her marriage. It’s such a honor to have been able to grow up with Brittany as a friend even though we had to persevere through the many miles that separated us at times. The most beautiful discovery that true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart and that's what Brittany and I did. I’m just so excited she has chosen me to share in this important moment that’s she’s going to remember the rest of her life.

 Have you witnessed any “bridezilla” moments from the Bride yet?
No, no. I have not, but I’m sure as the days count down to the big day the stress level will increase. Although, Brittany has such a fun, lighthearted, sweet way about her that is so refreshing to be around, that I don’t see being possible for her to be a “bridezilla”.

Tell her reader’s one piece of marriage or relationship advice:
It's important to use "I" statements. (I feel...../ I want..../ I need....) It's not the others persons job to read your mind, and guess what you're thinking. Honest communication!

 "Don’t compare your love story to those you watch in the movies; they’re written by screenwriters. Yours is written by God."


Isn't Lea just the prettiest, sweetest thing? She is such a doll and so much fun. I was shopping when I got her e-mail with the answers above to the questions, and I was crying while reading them aloud to my mom. "The most beautiful discovery that true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart and that's what Brittany and I did." 

I am so excited to have Lea standing up next to me on the most important day of my life. She will be in town the Wednesday before my wedding, and I am SO excited to see her! <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Engagement Sneak Peek

The long awaited day is here-our engagement pictures are back!! I just wanted to share a couple of my favorites, but there are so many incredible ones, I don't know how to narrow them down!

Our photographer, Carli Hobson is incredible. She has been so much fun to work with already, and she captured moments and pictures that were so us, and just our style. I am so excited she is going to get to share our special day with us in just a few months! If you're in or near Idaho, check her out!

While I am here, I just wanted to share with you guys something God has laid on my heart and shown me once again, how much I need Him and His grace in my life. 

"For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart." -Matthew 12:34-35-

I read this last night, and I've read it countless times, but last night, it struck my heart and made me step back, and prayerfully ask God what kind of words I am speaking. Am I speaking words to and about others that bring life, hope, and encouragement? 

Honestly, no. Not all the time. I am sinful and there are times my words are negative, harsh, and judgmental. I hate to admit it, but Satan doesn't want me to bring this to the light, He wants me to keep it hidden in my heart, never being dealt with. But like with all sins in our lives, once we bring them to the light, ask God for forgiveness and help to overcome our sinful nature, He will do a work in our heart and continue to purify us to make us more like His perfect son.

So for the rest of the week, I am committing to speaking words of life, of encouragement, of hope, and joy. Will you join me?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fit For Life 10k

This weekend I ran an entire 10k pain free. I ran the entire time, and didn't stop once. The race I ran, the Fit for Life is special to me because I ran the half marathon last July, just a couple months before I got sick. It was the last race I ran before my RA Symptoms started, the longest distance I've done in the past year, and it was right before Ronnie and I became an official couple, and he came out with some of our other friends to cheer my friend Jackie and I on as we ran.

When I first got sick with RA and the doctors finally figured out what it was, they told me there was a possibility I might not run again. That my joints might not be able to handle that much impact, and even with medication, my running days may be over. Over the next six months, I started to believe that. I believed I would never feel good enough to run again, and to be honest, I had a season where I was in a dark place. I learned that I found my identity in being a runner, that I turned to running as my comfort, my stress release, my security.

I am not saying I think running is bad, because it isn't. It is so good for me, mentally and physically but I do believe that God took it away from me for a season to remind me that my identity isn't found in being a runner, it is found in Him. He showed me that He wanted me to come to him first with my emotions, with my anger and fear and stress and let him heal my heart before taking it to the streets and pounding those emotions into the pavement, never really dealing with them.

About three months ago, I saw a different doctor in my Rheumatologist office. He is the actual Rheumatologist doctor, and usually I see the Nurse Practioner. He saw how much pain I was still in, even six months after being treated with medication and said what I had known that that medicine was NOT working for me and we made a plan to switch me to Enbrel. I will never forget when he said to me "We are going to get you running again." I was scared to believe him, to even hope for that.

Little by little, my joint pain has all but disappeared. Karissa and I started running together, and I had to deal with some pride issues as my knees weren't quite ready at first, and then even when they were, when I couldn't run a whole mile without a walk break, and then when I could do that, my mile time was almost two minutes slower than before I got sick. But all that didn't matter this weekend when I completed an entire 10k, 6.2 miles, without a walk break. I didn't do it fast, I didn't beat any personal records, but I was running again. Pain free.

Karissa and I ran almost the entire race together. Our speed demon men took off right away, and we saw them about half way through the race as they were heading back to the finish line and we were heading to the turn-around. We chatted about life, weddings, trips, friends, dogs, and being homeowners and even felt bad about our lives when this lady doing a run, walk, run, walk pace was beating us.

I have to mention this small detail: the longest run we ran preparing for this race was 3.1 miles, and we had at least 2 walk breaks during that. The longeset we had ran before this race without stopping was maybe 2 miles and I might be stretching that. We ran approximately 2 times between the June 27th color run and the July 13th 10k. But when we reached the three mile turnaround, we were both still feeling great, and kept running. By 4.5 miles, I decided that I hadn't walked yet, so I sure as hell wasn't going to walk the last 1.5 miles. I decided to pick up my pace and try and get that dang race over with. I struggled probably the last half a mile, I was tired, my body was aching, and I was kind of bored without my running buddy to talk to. Finally I saw the entrance to the stadium where the finish line was and almost cried as I crossed that finish line.

I am so happy, so proud, so thankful. I really couldn't have ran that entire race without one of my best friends, and favorite running partner right next to me most of the way. Running now isn't something I take for granted, its not where I find myself , but it is an important part of my life I am so thankful that I am able to do. Yesterday morning I dragged myself out of bed early and ran 3 miles before work because I am going to try and accomplish one of my goals I set in January, to run a half marathon in 2013. To do that, I am going to need to get my butt out of bed before work because this girl doesn't do running in 102 degree heat. No way.

Not going to lie, never thought I'd get to the point that was even possible, but, I am once again in awe at just how BIG God is.

Friday, July 12, 2013

God's Provision and Perfect Timing

I realize that announcing I was offered a new job is going to make me sound crazy if you read this post about my new job offer a few months ago. And then if you read this post, about why I backed out of that job last minute, you are going to think I am even crazier. Its fine, I know I am crazy, my fiance knows I am crazy, my friends know, and now you know.

Long story short, I have worked at good company doing a hard job for the past year and a half. I accepted the job knowing that the plant that I work at was facing an upcoming shutdown. I work in Human Resources for a food processing plant, and it is shutting down in December this year. There are three plants shutting down, and one new one opening that is going to out produce all three plants combined. Anyway, do the math and you know there are going to be a LOT of people out of work when we ring in the new year.

I applied for a REALLY great Human Resources job working for the State of Idaho and thought no way would I get the job, but I might as well try. Then I got called for an interview a month later, during the same week I was called for interviews for promotions at my current company. I almost turned down the interview at the State because I wanted to see how it panned out at my current company. But, thankfully I went to the interview and a few days later, I recieved a job offer. I receieved that job offer a day before the company I work for told me I was not the candidate they picked to do my job at the new plant.

For months I was living in fear and anxiety about my future. I was so worried I would be unemployed at the end of the year. Then we bought a house and I kept thinking to myself, how are we going to make the mortgage payments if I don't have a JOB? I doubted God, didn't have faith that He would provide for us, and had such an anxious heart. But God came through in such a big way. He quieted my heart and showed me again that He is worthy of my trust. Over and over again God's faithfulness has been proven to me, yet sometimes I still doubt Him. I fail Him, but His love presses into me and he shows me that He keeps His promises, He never will fail us, never will leave us, and really does know what He is doing. Wouldn't life be just a little bit easier if I trusted Him when He said He loved me and wanted good things for me?

So for real this time, I am leaving this company and moving on. I am so blessed-not only did he provide a job, it is a GREAT job doing exactly what I want to be doing in the field of HR that I am most interested in. My last day is next Friday and I start my new job Monday the 22nd.

This time, I am full of excitement, in wonder and in awe of how GOOD God is. There is no fear, doubt, or uncertainity like the last job I accepted and almost, but didn't leave for.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Meet the Maids: Karissa

Hi friends! For the next four weeks I want to introduce you to my wonderful Bridesmaids!! Today I am so excited to have you meet my Maid of Honor, Karissa! This girl is seriously a blessing in my life. I haven't known her my whole life, but our friendship is something special. I know God crossed our paths at work for once specific purpose: so we could become besties. :)God brought her to Simplot during a really dark, scary part of life for me and she brought light, joy and hope into that season of life and we've been insepearable since!

How did you meet the bride? Brittany and I met while working together at Simplot. She was my trainer, and the only other cool/great/pretty/funny person that I worked with so we were bound to become best friends.

What is your favorite memory with her? Brittany and I been have running together. While that isn’t actually fun, she is a huge source of encouragement for me. We just ran a 5k together and are now running at 10k on Saturday. There are MANY times I want to stop, lay on the grass, and cry and Brittany will have none of that. I would not be able to do it without her! We also are basically neighbors which makes running together a lot easier.

What are you most looking forward to while planning and being in her wedding? Her bridal shower. I’m pretty much in charge so I’m excited to host a fun little party for her! I’m also really excited to see her in her beautiful wedding dress.

Karissa in HER stunning dress!
Have you witnessed any “bridezilla” moments from the Bride yet? B can be a little spicy. I get a few texts in all capital letters with some mad cat emojis on occasions when things aren’t quite perfect, but nothing bridezilla worthy…..yet.

Tell her readers one piece of marriage or relationship advice: Talk positively about your spouse! Of course things are going to tick you off and occasionally you need to vent to your girlfriends, but you need to hold your spouse in a positive light to other people. How can you expect the people around you to love, honor and respect your marriage if you don’t have anything good to say about it? Krieg does so much for me and I really try to focus on talking him up, not down, to other people. There are SO many positives in marriage and I think keeping that the focus in your mind and in your conversations is really important.

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I LOVE her advice. Isn't that so true though? I never have heard her talk badly about her husband, and I really admire her for it! I definitely want to hold myself to that same standard of always speaking encouraging and positive words to and about Ronnie.

Karissa blogs over at The Start of the Shaws and she is hillarious, stylish, crafty and adorable. I love her a lot, and you will too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

RA Diaries: What My Doctor Didn't Tell Me -Fatigue

I am 25 years old, and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. When you think arthritis, you probably think of your grandmas creaky, aching joints because of all her knitting. I didn't know until last year that "arthritis" wasn't just for elderly people.

I have Rheumatoid Athritis, that is actually an autoimmune disease. My immune system for some reason woke up one day in September of 2012 and decided, on its own that my joints were foreign, and they should be attacked immediately. My immune system tries to fight these foreign things by attacking and eating away at my joints like my knees, hands, ankles, elbows, etc. My doctor explained all of this very well when I first was sitting in the exam room, wondering why my elbows wouldn't straighten, why my hands were swollen and typing hurt, why my knees looked like two ballons, and why I suddenly had cankles that were too sore to put weight on.

What my doctor didn't tell me about this disease is the sometimes debilitating fatigue and exhaustion that comes with it. I guess its hard work for my body to be fighting my joints all day long which in turn causes physical and mental fatigue. For the first 6 months, I was tired ALL THE TIME. And even now, I have days of the week where just working an eight hour a day office job exhausts me. I am mentally and physically drained. I used to take a nap literally every day after work. Sometimes I take a "nap" at 5:30 and don't wake up til 6 am the next morning.

I've been feeling so much better due to the medication I am on, I am not in pain anymore, I am finally running again, but the fatigue still lingers. Some weeks I am feeling so good, I think to myself that maybe I don't NEED the Enbrel. I delay giving myself that weekly shot because of the nasty side effects, but then I notice the familar fatigue and exhaustion creeping in if I miss that dose.

I find myself exhausted, which makes me cranky and irritable. When I am tired, I am emotional, my feelings get hurt more easily, I am more likely to snap at the people I love the most, and I don't want to be around anyone, I just want to sleep.

It finally clicked last night. Skipping a does of Enbrel is more that my joints being a little stiffer than usual. Enbrel doesn't just manage the pain, it manages the exhaustion and fatigue by giving my immune system a break from constantly fighting and attacking my joints. It helps manage my mental state by giving me more energy, and helps me protect my relationships. I have to take my Enbrel not only for me, but because the people around me want to be healthy and happy as well.

The Enbrel side effects are challenging, and sometimes I want to skip my dose to delay those side effects. But they're a small price to pay for a pain free body, enough energy to function through life, and a healthy mental state.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Saying Goodbye

One of my least favorite things is saying goodbye to people I care about. Although they are a part of life as God calls each of us to different places and sometimes, just has us somewhere for a short season, they make me sad.

Today, I am writing with equal parts joy and equal parts saddness.
You see, I am saying goodbye to one of my dearest friends, Steph this month.

I only met Steph a couple years ago at church, and even before we were good friends, she reached out to me and encouraged me, offered to pray for me, and shared some wisdom with me. When Ronnie and I started dating, Steph and I grew close, and she quickly became a dear friend. Her heart is beautiful, I've never met someone who loves and trusts the Lord so faithfully and obediently.  She is married to one of Ronnie's best friends, who is the worship pastor at our church, and Steph has taught me so much about what it means to be in a godly relationship, how to honor God through engagement, and a perfect example of a Godly wife to me.

Steph is the friend I  know I can count on for good, biblical wisdom in any situation.  I am blessed with so many godly women I call friends, and Steph is one of those friends that even if we are separated by many miles, our friendship will remain strong.

Steph's husband Jordan was recently offered an amazing opportunity at Elevation Church where
he will be working with the worship leaders there with the intent to hire him after his internship is done.
This has been a dream of Jordan's for years, and God has blessed the Shaft family with this amazing opportunity and we could not be happier for them.

You can read more about their story and journey to Elevation on Steph's blog. They have one adorable and charming one year old daughter, and are expecting their second little girl ANY DAY now, so if you do the math, they will be making a trip from Idaho to North Carolina with a one year old and a newborn. I have been praying for them daily, and am so excited for this new chapter in their life.

I pray that their time their is blessed, that they have a safe and easy travel, and that they are welcomed into the Elevation community with open arms to give them both support, friendship and community.

Steph, I will miss you more than I can put into words but I am so encouraged by you and Jordan's obedience to God's calling on your lives. You two have and always will be such an important part of mine and Ronnie's life, and we are thankful for the season that God had you here in Boise.