Hiking adventures.

In January I had high hopes for 2017, but they were quickly replaced with disappointment. Although, I have made the best of each situation that has come my way it has still been a rough year. So, in June with the prospect of summer on the horizon I needed a goal. I have always wanted to spend a summer of weekends hiking, I love being on trails, challenging myself and enjoying the outdoors.

So the solution was clear, I got myself an Empire Pass (a season pass to all New York State Parks) and set a goal of getting my moneys worth. The average park admission is $7 so with my $65 investment I had a lot of hiking to do. In total, I hiked over 10 times and let me tell you how cool I felt when I drove up to the gate and said I had an Empire Pass. It was like having a golden ticket!

Christi_Hiking post_4My backpack was supplied with the usual day hike things. Some minor first aid equipment, water and a snack or two, but I also had some wonderful extras. I never hit the trail without my inkDori stored in my backpack along with a home-made altoid watercolor kit, paintbrushes and some other journaling essentials. Most of the time I also had a thin, but sturdy hammock with tree straps, my Fuji Instex camera and my e-reader. What can I say, I like to be prepared for anything.

Christi_Hiking post_journal page_3Christi_Hiking post_journal page_2Rarely, did I hit the trail with a specific plan. All I knew was I wanted to be outside and moving. Each hike brought healing and made me stronger, both physically and emotionally. My favorite part of any hike was when I would set up my hammock and relax. Usually this was near the end of my hike and I used this peaceful time to read and journal, a few times I am sure I fell asleep listening the the wind or a close by waterfall.

There were a few times when my heart was heavy that I wrote and reflected in my inkDori and found peace. One of my journals was for my hiking adventures and nothing else. Within its pages are a record of a beautiful summer spent achieving a goal that seemed unreachable. I marked each hike with Instex pictures, watercolor, pressed flowers, and leaves. I saw so many beautiful sites and watched the season change slowly week by week.

Christi_Hiking post_2I love each bump and bruise my inkDori suffered from being carried in my backpack and used on the trail. Each time I look in my journal I am reminded of what I have achieved and how wonderful it feels to meet a goal. There are still pages left in my hiking journal that I am saving for another year of adventures. Who knows what the future will hold, but with each passing day I look forward to the next time I can hit the trails with my inkDori in tow.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.


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Good habits.

Over the past few months I have slowly fallen out of good habits. I knew it was happening, yet I did little to stop it. I was not running or working out like I should have been. I stopped making myself meals worth eating and settled for simple things like grilled cheese or pasta. Although, I always had my inkDori with me, I was not using it like I should have been. In some ways I simply became a bump on a log and did the minimum it took to get through the day.

It will take time to get back into the good habits that have carried me this far. Choosing to recognize what I am thankful for through the end of the year has helped me to truly see what I let myself become. Falling out of good habits is easy, so I know it will take time to regain the constancy I once had, but I also know that getting there will be worth it. After all, the first step to a solution is recognizing the problem.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.


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Steadfast & thankful week 3

Another week thankful. It was a busy week that ended with a wonderful adventure with friends. I am looking forward to a lot more time with family and friends in the coming weeks with so much to be thankful for.


Day 13:
All happy mail should be delivered on Mondays, because at the end of the day it is nice to come home to something happy. Today I got an envelope of fun from Rebecca, the owner of Grace & Salt ink. I was thankful for a wonderful surprise at the end of a not so fun day.

img_3041Day 14:
Today my beautiful new inkDori completed its trip from England to me. The two weeks it took to get here felt like forever. I was starting to get worried, so I am thankful for it’s safe delivery.

img_3399Day 15:
This evening was made
for kitty cuddles. I know
I will regret my unproductive
evening tomorrow, but I am
thankful for it today.

img_3402Day 16: 
Tomorrow we are having a Thanksgivings feast at work. I volunteered to make pies. When it comes to making pie crust, I am always thankful for my aunts fail proof recipe and the rolling pin made by my grandpa.

img_3409Day 17:
Today we had Thanksgiving dinner at work. We laughed, ate, and had a great time together.

img_3445Day 18:
Today I got an unexpected
call from a friend. It was a
welcome surprise. I am so
very thankful for her friendship.

img_3450Day 19: 
This evening was an amazing bonding experience for Amanda and I. We went to a play then meet up with her husband for froyo. I continue to be so thankful for their friendship and all the fun adventures we have planned over the next month!


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Steadfast & thankful week 2

This week had a lot of ups and downs. There were some days it helped to record something that I was thankful for. It was a week that felt like it had too many days in it, yet somehow not enough time. Here is my week 2 round-up for my “steadfast & thankful” challenge.

img_2775Day 6:
It was not a bad Monday, but I definitely had some Monday blues. So when it came to dinner I was thankful for some yummy comfort food.

img_2781Day 7:
I am thankful to live in a country that has so many freedoms.

I voted today.
Did you?

img_2819Day 8:
It’s this pretty girls (approximate) birthday! She has not always been the most well-behaved cat, but I am forever thankful for her “grooming”, head butts, cuddles and unfailing kitty love.

img_2862Day 9:
I’m feeling a little yucky today, but thankfully my coworkers let me go home early. Hopefully with a little extra rest I’ll be ready to take on Friday.

img_2943Day 10:
I am always thankful
for Saturday’s that I
don’t have to set an
alarm for.

Day 11:img_2968
Today is Veteran’s Day, a day that we pay tribute to all those who served.
For the past four years my mom has had her 6th grade students interviewed local veterans who served in a time for war. From these interviews they create videos that are shown on Veterans Day at the local theater. This year the videos featured veterans from WWII and the Korean War.
I am thankful not only for the veterans, but also for the unforgettable experience these kids were given. After all, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

img_2974Day 12:
It was a little dark at my desk in the evening and I know it will only get worse as the winter goes on. Today I got a not so pretty but very effective light. I am thankful for a bright spot to work and create.


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Steadfast & thankful week 1

Through most of 2017 it has been difficult to be thankful. So I decided that for the last 61 days of the year I was going to find something every day to be thankful about. I am sure that some days this will be a difficult task, but I am up for the challenge. Every day I will post what I am thankful for on my Instagram account with the hashtag #SteadfastAndThankful. Please feel free to join me in this quest, I would love to see what you are thankful for too!

Colossians 4:2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

My goal is every Sunday to have my blog post be a compilation of what I have been thankful for through week.

img_2645Day 1:
Today I am thankful for becoming a part of the Grace & Salt ink brand ambassador team. These beautiful inkDori traveler journals have been such a God sent this year. A definite bright spot in a sea of darkness.

img_2657Day 2:
Work today was a terrible. One of those days you are glad to never have to live through again. But I am thankful that we all pulled together as a group, got things done and did our best to stay positive through the frustration.

img_2663Day 3:
I spent my evening putting together these fun little packages. I am thankful I was inspired by Grace & Salt Ink’s “I Sent Love In An Envelope” and started to send out fun goodies to friends.

img_2666Day 4:
Today two of my friends got married. It was a beautiful wedding and I was thankful they allowed me to be apart of the setting up process. They are both so amazing, I know they will have a wonderful marriage.

img_2726Day 5:
Today my cousin ran a half marathon close to me. Which meant my parents and I went out and watched. It was a lot of fun to spend time with family and I was very thankful for the wonderful memories we made.


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Grace & Salt ink.

Somewhere in 2014 I came across the talented Rebecca on Instagram. I instantly fell in love with her feed. She posted pictures of her beautiful quilts and other sewing projects. She was also one of the first people to introduce me to Bible journaling, a hobby I have finally taken up after admiring others for so long. Never would I have imagined the path the simple act of following her would be.

In the time since the fated day I followed her, Rebecca has had an adorable daughter and started her own business called Grace & Salt ink. She still makes beautiful things and occasionally posts pictures of sewing projects and Bible journaling, but for the most part Rebecca fills my feed with journals via her business. She makes beautiful leather travel journals that she calls an inkDori and are made for adventure.

img_9857img_2616Currently, I am the proud owner of two of two inkDoris. One I purchased early in my recovery process. It has bumps and bruises showing how well loved it is. I have carried it on all my hiking adventures and it is rarely far away from me. My second inkDori was a prize for winning the Grace & Salt ink’s pocket prayer journal photo contest. It was a huge honor to be recognized by her and I was excited to add to my collection.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person”.
Colossians 4:6

Today, I am happy to announce that I am joining the Grace & Salt ink’s brand ambassador team

img_8425Throughout the past months having an inkDori has helped in so many ways. My pocket sized inkDori has turned into a safety blanket that is always by my side. I am so thankful for the strength and courage I have gained from journaling. Needless to say I am excited to join the Grace & Salt ink. team and help spread my love of the brand.

Do you want your own inkDori to document your adventures? Visit Grace & Salt ink’s website to see their amazing selection of inkDoris, notebooks and other journaling tools!


Visit Grace & Salt ink on their website at graceandsaltink.co.uk 
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The unopened package.

Today was a bit of an eh day. I have never been much for Halloween, but I usually come up with some kind of costume to wear to work, and it is always cat themed. I have been a pain old cat, a crazy cat lady, Schrödinger’s cat and this year I was Puss in Boots. I went for a run during trick or treating to check out some of the costumes, but because it was a colder evening I was not able to see much because of coats and sweatshirts. Over all a pretty uneventful day.

Although my day was pretty slow I was able to impact someone else in a big way. At the beginning of the month I sent out a package full of goodies to a friend far away. It took the long trip across the ocean to England and there it sat on her desk for a few weeks (yes weeks). I tried to be patient waiting for her to open it hoping she would like what I sent, but I am not a patient person. I tried to not bug her too much, I know she is busy and has had a crazy month of her being sick, then her daughter getting sick, on top of owning her own small business. But once a week or so I asked her if everything got there ok, and every time I got the same answer, she was saving it for when she had a chance to enjoy the contents.

img_2637Tonight she finally opened it!

She posted a lovely picture on Instagram and commented on how God used it to teach her that sometimes it is important to MAKE time for things, because the perfect moment may never exist. She also sent me a string of messages about how excited she was about each thing inside. There was washi tape, some of her favorite pens that are not available in the UK, candy and a few things of my own creation.

This package must have been a God thing in many ways, because He used it not only to impress a lesson on her, but also one on me. Sometimes, it is impossible for us to know the full reach of our actions. Most of the time we do not get a huge pat on the back via social media when we do something that impacts another person in a positive way. Like this package that sat unopened for weeks, the result of our actions may not be known for weeks or be trackable back to us. In the end, none of that matters. The truth is every day if we live our lives with a happy spirit and spread love to others, we could be just the thing to make a difference for someone else.

I was so blessed that God used my package to brighten her day and to remind both of us to seize any opportunity that could bring happiness. I think that is a lesson that we all could stand to be reminded of now and again.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.


Here is her beautiful comment that was posted with the picture above:

It’s the end of October and what a month it’s been! I feel a bit like it’s just been one thing after another! Our bathroom at home tried to come downstairs via the kitchen ceiling, I was ill and in bed for a week (which I never do), then our daughter has been ill. It’s been the Christmas sale, which is awesome and exciting but also involves a lot of work before and after, it’s been non stop. This amazingly beautiful #happymail arrived a couple of weeks ago. Yes *weeks*, and it’s been sat on my desk unopened. “Are you nuts!?” I hear you gasp. Well yes, I might be. The problem is, I’ve been blessed to have had a lot of beautiful happy mail arrive this last month, and with all that’s been going on I haven’t replied to a single one yet. And when this arrived the guilt I felt was huge. I thought of all the mail I haven’t yet replied to and how I haven’t even really fully appreciated the goodies I’ve been sent because I’ve been so chaotic. I saved this parcel, to open when I had “more time” to appreciate it and then thought maybe if I saved this one until I had more time I would not have another guilt upon me. But actually that was just plain stupid. I felt guilty for not opening it, as well as not replying to everyone! Today when I woke up (after a bad nights sleep stressing about everything) I decided to make a change. Instead of being chaotic and letting things get on top of me, I was going to be intentional and make time in my day. I got up early and had some quiet time with my Bible. I confess, this is something that I haven’t done in too long! I got stuck into the Psalms and remembered why I love them so much. This evening, once little one was in bed, I did some work and then I took time for me. I had some “self care” time, ate ice cream and watched a movie. Then I have come and sat on my bed and opened this beautiful parcel and my heart has just exploded! My sweet friend Christi sent this to cheer me, the letter actually starts “I know you have been super stressed…” it’s full of fantastic treats like chocolate and my favourite biros that you cannot buy in the UK, as well as some awesome craft treats and the sweetest letter. If I had made time when it arrived, how much it would have blessed me in the stress! And would have cheered me no end whilst I was ill in bed. Not opening it was so daft! So what am I saying? (Other than I can be an idiot!?) I think I just want to encourage you all to not wait until you “have time” for things, instead MAKE time for things. Make time to look after yourself, otherwise you just end up burning yourself out. Make time for self care, whatever that looks like for you. Let your friends love you and care for you, even if you cannot repay the favour straight away! Make time for the things that bring you joy and restore your soul. You’re not too busy to do these things. You can be intentional too, and I promise you won’t regret it if you do. I am going to bed tonight so much lighter and happier because of the things I made time for today! Look after yourselves XO


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