My Aunt Chris, The Dragon Lady

Chrissy wanted to be where the wild things were….

Something mystical surrounded her…..a magic covering of sorts, that would envelop you when close to her.

And she always pulled you in close…

The concrete world held little for her – she sought relief in the sun, took solace near the everglades, letting the palms hug her near. Though she melted into this tropical paradise, she was never reclusive….

She took those she loved into the jungle…..where beasts howled for her, were tamed by her presence, and followed her home.

She invited us into her adventure…..unlocking her treasure trove, so we could drip with her jewels, playing in the shadows of the foreign lands she had visited. These borrowed treasures never felt as such – it was as if they were our own.

This vine enveloped world she created extended far, reaching all the way to the north, and we craved to be in her world. A world where mermaids swam above her, where Dragons circled round her, drawn to her fiery being, snuggling their scaly bodies close to her warmth.

Her magic traveled near and far, captured with brush strokes, woven into fabric her loved ones would wrap around themselves when the cold crept in. The sun and Florida moon could be felt in these gifts. Her well of mystique ran deep, rooted in histories uncovered by her curiosity. She must have heard whale songs and train whistles, for she told the history of those who came before us clear as day.

Her credo was clear: Are you spending each day in a way that makes you happy? If not, make a new plan and change your life.

She embodied this, lived her way, loved and gave with every color in her soul. And now, she gets to swim among the creatures she brought to life for the rest of us. Gets to roam  and be Where the Wild things are.

 

To my aunt Chris, who gave with all of herself to those she loved. May you rest in peace and be forever happy.

One Year of Marriage: The Good, the Bad, & the Happy

It’s been 365 days since we got married, in our backyard in Colorado, where we have made an amazing life. It’s been quite the year indeed!

We’ve bought two investment properties, sold one and have the biggest project for our company Happy Homes ltd. to date in front of us.

We got Avalanche certified , skied and explored countless mountain towns together, in every season (Crestone, Jacksone hole, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Salida, Fort Collins to name a few!) and survived a backcountry ski accident together, where our patience and trust for each other was put to a test.

We’ve ridden mountain biking trails, hiked to Alpine lakes, skinned up hills and skied down sky chutes.

We’ve drank at countless breweries, enjoyed hundreds of home cooked, garden grown veggie meals, where both our strengths came together beautifully, him growing the food I’m cooking.

Our year has been productive, full of adventure, with times of frustration & sadness sprinkled in….but most of all, the year has been full of happy.

I married “late” in life, waiting until I knew myself a bit more, until there was no doubt in my mind that the person I was joining forces with was going to be a true partner. Now, I’m not naive; there are no guarantees in life and for things to work well, you have to work at them. So, in reflecting on this past year, here are a few lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning) about being married…

  1. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important, so make sure you know yourself and nurture your passions. Far too often I hear of women putting their needs aside for their family, their husband, sacrificing their own wants because they don’t want to appear selfish, they are busy taking care of everyone else’s needs to bother with their own. Well, I think that is horse shi#£. And I say this because I too am guilty of it. For turning down a dinner with a friend because I feel I need to cook dinner for Mike. For not going for an afternoon swim, because I have laundry or cleaning to do that Mike hasn’t offered to do. For not going to that Sunday morning yoga class cause maybe we’ll do something. It is ok to put my needs first sometimes and Mike is almost always fine with whatever I plan for myself, and often encourages it! Don’t make excuses for not pursuing your own stuff. I’m not saying you should give in to every whim you have, say ‘screw you’ to your family responsibilities, but when you make time for you, and those things you love, well, I know I’m a happier, more productive person and bring that to the marriage table.
  2. Know and appreciate each other’s strengths and recognize each other’s weaknesses (and don’t use them against each other!). I’m not a patient person. It’s a weakness for sure, one that I’m actively working on. I also have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so often get so wrapped up in wanting to do more, make each day epic, that I can miss what’s in front of me. But, I’m organized, great at planning, and have a knack for cooking. Mike can get lost in the moment, a perfectionist with certain things, so can take longer to do tasks and can only handle one at a time. But he can fix and build anything, is a master gardener and loves to do yard work. We each bring our own set of goods & not so goods to the table, but where I may lack, Mike picks up & vice versa. He may never plan a trip, and definitely needs a lesson in housekeeping, but he packs the car after I’ve laid it all out, and brings me fresh grown kale for salads. I’ve learned not to throw his weaknesses at him (trial and error for sure!) because I know our individual strengths make us a better team & we need to flaunt them!
  3. Use your words. There have been times I’ve not said I was annoyed, but was, times I’ve not wanted to go down that run, but did anyway, times when I’ve gone silent because feelings are stupid. I’ve found out that if I’m annoyed, I need to say something, explain my side and why and let him talk through his. Mike is not a mind reader, nor should he be, and my feelings and perspective (expressed in a respectful way) should be considered. If I remain silent, then shame on me. Confrontation sucks and it can be unpleasant, but the times when we did talk through things have turned out much better than the times we didn’t.
  4. You can have different play books as long as you’re on the same team. We are individuals, handle things differently, approach situations with different perspective. As long as you’re on the same page about the objective, goal or end result (and communicate along the way) be open to, and patient about, how the other person is accomplishing their task at hand. Just because you wouldn’t do it that way (and your way is most definitely better) doesn’t mean the job won’t get done.
  5. Take care of, and responsibility for, your own sh$#. I can check the air pressure in my own mountain bike tires, can change a flat on the bike if needed, and can get it in and out of the truck myself. I used to just expect Mike to do it, so let him. Then I got a flat on a trail, without an extra tube, and something clicked. I need to take responsibility for the things I participate in….the good, bad and annoying. This goes for Mike as well. I’ve stopped folding his clothes (unless I have time to) have stopped packing for him, and don’t usually stock the house before I leave for a business trip. We are both adults and have the capability of taking care of ourselves. This is not to say we don’t do things for the greater good of the partnership. When I cook a meal, I don’t just serve myself. When I clean the house, I don’t dust around Mike’s things. And when Mike plants and nurtures our garden, he is proud to share the fruits of his labor. It is not about what you won’t deal with or do for the other person, I think it’s more about having mutual respect for each other and the things that you partake in.
  6. Be honest & patient with yourself and with each other. If I’m being truly honest, I am not that good of a mountain biker (yet) but I want to be at Mike’s level, so instead of picking the trails myself, I’ve let him pick. I’ve also not been putting in the time practicing or strengthening during the week, so halfway into our ride, I’m usually frustrated, feel like crap cause I can tell Mike is frustrated, and my confidence is shot. That’s no way to get better! This past weekend, on our anniversary trip (to Grand Junction, which I’ll write about!) I was honest and said I should probably stick to green trails, maybe head to some blues, and once I did that, we both had a better time. But, I did need to ask for Mike’s patience as I get better, as my ACL heals (although I do use that as an excuse) and know I need to put the work in. A similar patience needs to come from me for Mike. As an example, our current Happy Homes investment property is taking a lot longer due to the scope of the project and frustrations around lack of movement on his end, for not having a project to keep him busy, has been spewed towards him. We finally discussed it calmly (after the yelling of course) and I realized he had done as much as he could at the state the project was, and he already felt frustrated with himself about things, so my harping wasn’t helping. Patience, honesty and communication poured out from both sides was the best remedy.
  7. Be Happy. It’s just that easy, huh? Yes. I truly believe you have a choice in dealing with things, especially the hard things. If you have a sour attitude, think only of the bad, focus on the negative, you will only attract the bad, the negative, the sour. If you focus on the happy, the abundance, the good, those things will flock to you. You attract what you put out into the world and if you greet each day with a grateful, happy heart, well…happiness will find you. Life is precious and the love I have for our life, for my husband, makes me happy. Everyday with each other is a gift, so treat your partner with respect, love and happy.

It’s only been a year, and I’m really no expert on relationships, but with happiness and hard work on our side, I feel the next year of our marriage will be just as amazing!

Core, Connect, Nurture

My girlfriend Katie and I have been loving the #mindbodyyogachallenge. It’s funny, Katie and I couldn’t be more different. Here are a few of the biggest differences between her and I:

Katie  @mamasteyoga
Katie
@mamasteyoga

Katie has 4 (gorgeous) children, loves to shop, wear makeup, (quintessential girl in that respect). She has lived with horrible back pain for most of her adult life, and since she started her yoga journey (over 7 months ago) it has subsided. In her younger days, she would tell you she was never an athlete, never worked out. She’s always been very tiny though, but an ‘unhealthy’ tiny. Yoga has dramatically changed her body and drastically reduced the amount of pain she lives with.

Catie (me) @clawrencester
Catie (me)
@clawrencester

Now, onto me. If you’ve read The Kids section of my blog, you know I don’t have or want children.  I’ve never been a shopper, in fact really don’t enjoy it at all & love to save money. In the past year, I’ve probably worn makeup a handful of times, and would consider myself a tomboy at heart. I grew up playing sports, skiing, playing volleyball, swimming, I have been working out for years and doing yoga for about 7. Just in the past year or so, I’ve gotten into practicing more and more. Thanks to participating in Yoga Challenges, I know practice daily and have completely adopted the yoga lifestyle.

And that’s how we connected. So, Day 7, 8 & 9 speak directly to our new found friendship.

Day 7: Core
Affirmation: I am strong at my Core.

What’s a strong Core? If you know who you are, if you are always true to yourself, if you listen to your gut, your will have a strong core. In yoga, building core strength happens almost immediately – you engage your core in almost all poses. The strength in most poses come from your core.

Colorado
Colorado

 

Day 8: Connect
Affirmation: I am connected to my true self and connect to others with love.

I wanted today to be about true connection. The way we connect with others, ourselves, those we love. Sometimes I feel true connection happens only when you have a true connection to yourself. That can be super tough. To be honest with yourself, to be in touch with yourself, to ground down. Mike and I have been in Colorado for almost a year to the day and I already feel so connected to this place. Find your joy, your happy, what makes you come alive. Find that and pursue it vigorously.

My Body is a Temple
My Body is a Temple

 

Day 9: Nurture
Affirmation: My body is brilliant & I worship it like a temple.

Most people workout to change their body. Not strictly of course, but that is often at the forefront of someone starting a routine. Yoga truly nurtures your mind, body and spirit. Once you’ve decided to make a positive change to incorporate exercise, the Pandora’s box of health opens up. Taking care of your body with physical activity, good nutritious food, and positive thoughts, truly can change everything. It’s never to late to start either. Make that commitment to yourself to be healthier. Why not try Yoga!?

 

Happy Healthy Living!