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Selfies and updates.

21 Jul

The past several months have been busy! I got a part time job, quit said part time job, turned 29, Tom got fired and hired within a day, we went to Louisiana for a family reunion, I’ve been helping my mom find a new home (again,) and I’m planning a big chunk of a fundraiser for a family friend.

I worked briefly as a receptionist/executive assistant/personal assistant for a local insurance agent, but it didn’t work out. It was a favor for a friend, but what with Mom needing to get out of this apartment (from hell) a.s.a.p., and my own health suffering for it, I, along with the rest of my family, decided it would be best for me to quit. I’ve never had the luxury of just choosing to quit a job, since it’s almost always been because I needed to move or was laid off, so that was a new experience. It went well, and the boss told me to keep him in mind if I ever need a job in the future.

Tom also got a new job when his old boss lost a big contract with another company, and is working in construction. He gets to tear things up – it’s very cathartic. He also appreciates that he doesn’t have to think much or manage others, but gets to wear himself out physically. Plus, three day weekends!

Me, 29, and happy!

Me, 29, and happy!

I’m officially 29 years old, and I actually feel like it. I’m excited to be on the verge of 30, and to be learning new skills, like hooping and flow arts, and getting to dress creatively and make things. It’s good for my soul, and I’m in an okay place. I’m more consistently physically active, so my body is growing stronger, and I’m having fewer FMS flares. I feel like I’ve established a style, and learned how to dress myself like a good grown-up should. Seems like it’s going to be a good year!

Hooping my little heart out.

Hooping my little heart out.

Our trip to Louisiana to visit Tom’s family was fun and beautiful. We stayed in a cabin at Lake Claiborne that overlooked the lake. I got to play with nearly all of my nieces and nephews, who have grown so much since I saw them! It was a few days of good food, catching up, exploring the grounds, and very little social media – no TV, even though we had them in the cabins.

Our view from the loft bedroom in our cabin.

Our view from the loft bedroom in our cabin.

My mom is finally going to get out of the apartment complex that’s been going downhill for the past 3 and a half years since she moved in. The area has become more violent, and she’s had 3 different management companies, which means plenty of shiny new “issues” each time a new one takes over. I can’t wait to find a new place for her to live where she feels safe, and can have more privacy.

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Lastly, this spring our friend Tammy was diagnosed with cellulitis (a skin infection) in her arm, which then spread to her back, and into her spine. When she went to the emergency room within 24 hours of being released from treatment, they rushed her into surgery to remove the abcess that had formed, and she is now paralyzed from the waist down. So, a bunch of friends have gotten together to plan a benefit, Tam Jam, to raise at least $15,000 to help offset the medical costs, and remodeling costs to make her home wheelchair accessible. My mom and I are in charge of the silent auction, so we’re scouring the metroplex for unique items, that will accompany an all-day concert filled with local musicians at South Street Patio in Arlington. I’m also in charge of promotion and social media, so I created a website, and maintain the FB pages. You can visit the site here.  It’s hard work, and I’m just hoping it pays off!

So, that’s what I’ve been doing these past few months. I hope to be posting much more often again now that I have a little more time, and I hope this finds you all well.

Gentle hugs,

Chelsea

 

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Please help a friend in need!

23 Mar

Prayers for Carie

I’ve known Carie since we were in elementary school. I can say with total confidence that she is one of the sweetest, kind hearted people I will ever have the privilege of calling a friend. Although she and I don’t see each other often, when my father passed away last September, she and her husband, Tim, helped when we were cleaning out his apartment, and trying to raise money for his memorial, by buying a shelving unit of his. She also came to the memorial with her daughter, Norah, when none of my other friends were able to. Her support meant more than she’ll ever know.

Now, she needs help. On Christmas morning last year, Carie had a stroke. Within the past couple of months, she’s been improving significantly; she began speaking, and has recently been able to hold herself in a seated position, and has a little movement in her arms and legs. She’s still unable to open her eyes on her own. She still has a long way to go in her recovery, and her family is in need of financial assistance to pay for the treatment she needs.

A friend of the family set up an online fundraiser to help pay for those accumulating medical bills, and has raised almost $4,000! To make a significant impact on the cost of her hospital stay and therapy, though, that amount needs to be, at least, doubled. So, I’m asking you, if you’re able, to give a little to this wonderful family. If you’re unable to donate, please share the link to the fundraiser on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or whatever social media you use most! The more we can get the word out, the more money we’ll be able to raise. Click on the photo above to read more about Carie’s story and progress, and to learn how to donate.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

 

 

 

AMBER ALERT: My friends cousin Deaundrea is missing!!

8 Jan

My friend posted this today for her friend. Please reblog and repost, especially if you live in Indiana!

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This is my friend Tricia’s cousin Deaundrea. She has been missing since December 27th!
PLEASE re-blog this post!!!!

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Deaundrea (Dee) Williams has been missing since December 27th. She was last seen in the Hammond Indiana area. If you have information on her whereabouts please contact Hammond Police department (219) 853-6490

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“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Cicero

24 Nov

Why is it that the holidays are filled with grief for so many people?

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The year that we lost my grandmother was incredibly hard. It was close to Christmas, and, rather than our family coming together for the holiday, we came together to say goodbye to a woman who helped mold and shape us into the people we’d become. To top it off, I was in college, young, and self absorbed (it wouldn’t be long before I began living on my own,) and my world was being turned upside down.  It’s taken nearly a decade, but we’ve recovered by honoring some old family traditions, and starting new ones in an effort to move on. We share memories and visit her grave site. We keep her memory, and try to let go of the pain.

I find myself dealing with such similar pain again this year, but with more loss than I could have imagined in such a short period of time.

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A couple of months ago, when I lost my dad, I thought back to how hard it had been to lose Nana so close to the holidays, and I think about how different this experience has been for me than that one was. As close as I was with my grandmother, losing a parent has been a whole different kind of grief. We also had time to prepare, as a family, for my Nana’s passing, and she had time to prepare for the funeral arrangements, and to express her wishes to her children. While Dad was sick, all of us were taken by surprise when he died. He had no will, and even though he had two filing cabinets filled with papers, I’ve yet to find a current bank statement or phone bill to take care of his accounts. I’m also the only child, so I’m just thankful that I have my mom and husband to help ease me through the process.

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A couple of weeks ago, we lost my Uncle David (my dad’s brother.) He lived 30 years cancer-free after being treated for lymphoma in 1983, but suddenly became ill several months ago. What started as severe anemia lead the doctors to find an internal loss of blood, which lead them to find the tumors in his abdomen. They began treatment just days after Dad passed, and decided that we’d wait until Christmas to get together for the holidays, since his immune system would be so suppressed during chemo. After a short time in treatment, though, our family knew it probably wouldn’t be long before he joined Dad in heaven. My aunt and cousins stayed by his side for his remaining time here on Earth, which was spent mostly at the hospital. We attended his memorial today, which was filled with family, friends, fellow Army service members, and fellow firemen, including the Honor Guard, who performed their ceremony to honor him. We talked about how appropriate it was for him, the big brother, to follow closely behind the little brother on their way home.

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Yesterday, my mom called me to tell me that her dog, our family dog, Jewel, had become disoriented and could hardly walk. When I was in high school, Mom thought I should have a dog, but after I spent the first few days away at a school tournament, she really became Mom’s. She had been severely abused and neglected, and was so grateful to have a loving home. She returned the favor and then some by warning us when my Nana had a heart attack, and warning my mom before she nearly went into a diabetic coma. For the past couple of years, there were times when we thought she was close to death, but she would spring back to life the next day, and act like a puppy for days or months before acting her age again. She was 15 years old, had gone blind, and could hardly hear or smell. Then the dementia-like symptoms started. Just within the past few weeks, she began snapping at Mom, and we knew that if she didn’t bounce back this time, we may have to have her put to sleep. We honestly believe that she waited until Mom was well enough, after her knee replacement, to walk on her own before “telling” us it was her time to go. The employees at the vet’s office were so kind and respectful, and the process was very fast. Even though my mom and I know it was the right thing to do, it’s heartbreaking to lose an animal that was so much more than a pet to us.

Needless to say, this has been a very hard time for our family. I don’t know what to do with this grief. It’s hard to speak with friends, because I have such little good news to give them. The tears often come unexpectedly, and I feel like my brain is only capable of meeting the minimum requirements right now. I barely even thought about Thanksgiving until a couple of days ago, and again today when my aunt and cousins invited us to share the dinner they decided to go ahead with this Friday. So, life goes on, and we deal with all this loss in the best way we can.

We do our jobs, and get back to our routines.

We have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and look for a new dog to rescue.

We’ll make new traditions, and maybe, in a decade or so, we’ll feel close to normal again.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

5 Years Married – Giving Love a Good Name

11 Nov

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My husband and I have had a rough week. It’s been a week of arguing, sadness and mourning, revelations, and heartfelt conversations. We’re both drained, but – can you believe it? – happy. Friday was our 5th wedding anniversary, and although it didn’t go as we’d planned, we made sure it ended up being a great day. That’s something we usually manage to do together – help each other end the day on a good note. Since the 5th year’s traditional gift is wood, I bought us each a pair of chopsticks and carved our initials into the ends, and ’13 with a heart on each chopstick rest. We had a delightfully greasy brunch at Waffle House, browsed some thrift stores for furniture, ate sushi and yaki udon at our favorite Japanese restaurant, and rented “Now You See Me” to finish off the day, along with some wine and movie snacks. Pretty normal and low key.

Yesterday, since Friday’s celebration started later than planned, Tom took me to do something I’ve been thinking about for years. I got my nose pierced. There were some other sweet ladies getting theirs pierced, and we showed ours off and traded piercing stories (I have 7 in my ears, and my navel is pierced.) I have to say, it was much less intense than when I had my belly button pierced, but there was more initial and residual pain, although that’s not saying much. It’s just a bit sore, like a small bruise. I chose a tiny little spike, rather than the more usual rhinestone, only because I know I can easily find a rhinestone after the piercing heals.

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After the piercing, which took all of ten minutes, we went across the street to a cute little diner for lunch, then down the street to peruse the local apothecary shop. I’m considering going back for a piece of amber jewelry. Lots of moms of teething babies swear by the pain relieving and healing properties of amber, so I wonder if it would do anything to help with FMS pain. If nothing else, it’ll be pretty!

All in all, we’ve had a lovely weekend, despite the stresses of the world. I’m so blessed that I’ve been able to spend the last five years with my best friend, and that we’re able to help each other grow as human beings, and as husband and wife. It’s the biggest, craziest learning experience I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t trade a second!

Gentle hugs,

Chels

I have no shame – please help me win!

4 Nov

If you’re a regular reader, you already know how much I love Halloween, because it’s such a creative outlet for me. You may also know that I’m practically blind as a bat, and I wear glasses or the occasional pair of contacts. So, I was super excited when I saw that Zenni Optical, my favorite site for glasses, is having a “Master of Disguise” contest! So, I entered my costume from last year, which was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, I’m wearing contacts in the photo, so I didn’t get to incorporate glasses (which gives me an extra chance at winning,) but I could still win an iPad Mini, which we could really use for our small business! I could also win a gift card to Zenni Optical for a pair of glasses, which my husband needs badly.

So, please go vote for me here!

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https://www.facebook.com/ZenniOptical?sk=app_519185638168922&app_data

“Like” the page, then scroll down to “vote now,” and go to page 12 to vote for Chelsea K’s mermaid costume. You can vote once a day, so don’t forget to favorite the page and go back and vote through November 11!

Gentle hugs,

Chels

Vote and win!

15 Sep

Hi, everyone! My mom and I have entered the second annual Martha Stewart Living American Made competition this year, and we could win anything from a gift basket and feature on the MSL Sirius Radio station, to the grand prize of $10,000 toward our business, Buy Me Love, and a trip to New York’s Grand Central Station for the American Made expo. There’s a week left to vote in the first round (one winner will be chosen from each category to go on to compete for the grand prize,) and you get 6 votes to spend every 24 hours.

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Click to vote for us daily through September 22!

Every time you vote, you enter to win prizes from MSL, like an American Express gift card, and now you can win prizes from us, too! After you vote, head over to our blog giveaway to comment and pin to enter to win a $25.00 Etsy gift card, and an awesome handmade prize package.

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Don’t forget to share the giveaway with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites!

Thanks for your support, friends.

Gentle hugs,

Chelsea