Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm back!

I know you guys missed me! Sorry I have been MIA (missing in action - for those who struggle with acronyms). If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I was on a fabulous one-year anniversary trip with my amazing husband, Karl. I will say I do not feel like I have been married for an entire year - I've had way too much fun! Below is the latest in my world in no particular order!

1. My amazing grandpa
My grandparent's car after their accident
My grandparents were in a horrific car accident almost two Thanksgiving's ago. They were in a head-on collision the night before my grandma was going to meet me for my FIRST EVER bridal gown fitting. I didn't realize how bad it was until I saw some of the pictures. The man who hit them shouldn't have had a license. He had been in and out of jail and seemed to keep getting free passes. This confused me. How can we let someone who had a two-page long record continue to drive? He was behind a semi on a two-lane country road when he pulled out to pass in a no passing zone and hit my grandparents going about 60 miles per hour. My grandpa didn't have any time to react. My grandparents were in the hospital for many weeks. They eventually made it through and even danced at our wedding (which meant the world to me) but the accident took years off their lives. I know they survived because they have always been so active and have this amazing strong faith in God.

Right before Karl and I left on vacation my grandpa was rushed to ICU by helicopter. His brain was leaking blood again - he was experiencing dizzy spells and his leg wasn't moving correctly; his speech was slurred. They drilled another hole in his head and drained the blood. This was his second time getting a hole drilled in his head since the accident. He had to lie in bed for 12 hours without moving. The last time this happened, they took him off his blood thinners and three large clots formed around his heart. One broke off when I was with him last July and he almost had to have his leg amputated. He is off thinners for good now. This is scary. It's one thing after another and I know time is short. This kills me. I love my grandpa so much. He's the coolest guy in the whole world and I'm not ready to say goodbye. But are we ever ready? How do we prepare? I spent an entire night on our trip thinking horrible, sad thoughts and couldn't sleep. Then I started wondering more and more about heaven. What is it like up there? Do you think our loved ones will be up there? If anyone has any answers, please let me know..

2. Trip out to the Northwest
The world's largest Spruce Tree (1000 years old)
What a trip!!!!!! I think I'm going to highlight this trip in my next Star Tribune blog, so you'll have to look for more on our awesome trip there. The world is so huge and full of so many beautiful places. I wish I could spend my life traveling with Karl. I'm trying to figure out how we can visit places all over the world, and I can spend time tweeting and blogging about them (and make some money)! Is that too much to ask for? Talk about dream job!

3. Summer don't go away!
I know summer isn't officially over until September 22 (also my super awesome grandpa's birthday) but I can't help but get depressed! I'm not ready for the cold. I feel like summer has just started! I saw snow in Oregon and Washington and I'm just not prepared. Being cold causes me to get crabby - sunshine and warmth makes me smile! I think I need to start planning that tropical Koester family trip during the cold, winter months. Maybe that will help. According to a post I saw on, Farmer's Almanac says we're supposed to have a normal winter with three major snow storms. Three?? We'll see about that!

4. My book status
I was excited that I spent the entire flight out to San Francisco writing! I am so close to being done with my manuscript (ms) that all I want to do is write, but time isn't allowing that! I would love to bury myself in our house all weekend and finish it, but again...we're on the go! I hope to at least dedicate maybe a half of a day this weekend to writing. I'd like to say a full day, but I don't think that's possible. I'm trying to shoot for smaller goals. I think what I'm most excited about is starting back at chapter one and reading the entire ms. I know I have holes right now because of my schedule and it's hard trying to find time to write several chapters at once. I lose track of where I am at. I'm ready to fill the whole story in and send off my ms to my friend Luke for his opinion! I also joined a chick lit critique group. It'll be nice to hear a variety of opinions from both sexes. Karl also wants to get his hands on my ms. He reads more than anyone I know, so he'll be great at this...I'm just nervous what he might think of me. LOL! I can almost taste how excited I'm going to be when I finish this. I actually feel like this book might go somewhere, but I do tend to live in a fantasy world too... Sigh!

5. Is my schedule normal?
I know everyone says they are busy, so I have to wonder if I even fit in that category? What is "busy" in people's minds?  I mean...I work 40 hours, I have a freelance job where I design newsletters for a small engineering company in New Ulm, I write for KSTP, I write for Star Tribune, I have this blog, I am quite obsessed with Facebook and Twitter and email...I'm writing a book, I play volleyball, I workout, I'm involved in my church, I'm reading three books at once...I cook and clean and try to pay the bills...I try to make happy hours and coordinate fun events. I rarely ever just sit on the couch.  Is this a normal type of schedule? Because sometimes I feel really overwhelmed, but then I hear people go on and on about how busy they are that I just don't know if I compare? I guess I just feel like I need to prepare myself for motherhood because I feel like I'm going to have to learn to juggle a lot. How am I going to do it though? For real... Any advice?

That about concludes my thoughts for the day! More to come on our trip and other goods!

Of all the things granted us by wisdom, none is greater of better than friendship - Pietro Arentino

Karl and Christie in Crater Lake in Oregon

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Star Tribune Blog...Dreams DO come True!!!!!

My latest blog featured in Star Tribune YourVoices about following YOUR dreams!

What are you waiting for? Chase after those dreams!

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
- Gail Devers

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Writing is like Running a Marathon

I can't believe I made it to page 202 in my manuscript, Wanted: Groom for my $100k Wedding, this weekend!!! The most I have ever written in my life was a 60-page paper for a class my junior year in college. I procrastinated and gave myself two weeks to write it - my grade reflected how little time I spent on it. I was horrified.

Writing an entire book has always been a goal of mine. I minored in health in college and for one of my classes I had to write five measurable goals for my future. I wrote them out, stuffed them in a box with a noise maker and was to open the box two years later when all my goals were [hopefully] met.

I found my box buried in my closet six years later. I smiled when I picked it up and dusted it off. I anxiously opened it and my heart sunk when I realized not a single goal was met. I couldn't use the noise maker to celebrate. Instead, I was crushed. All those goals and dreams were just that - words on paper that I had imagined would come to life without trying.

Today, with a lot of determination, I am making them come true. My motto: if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. I stand by that because believing in myself has worked for me thus far! (I wish I knew this back in the day!) I can already cross off one of my goals. Next on my list - write a book.

As my neck ached and my fingers cramped yesterday, I kept telling myself, "okay, if I even write a hundred more pages, I will be happy." 

"Just a little further - you can do it, Christie!" I'd cheer.

Even today, when I start thinking how much more of my manuscript I have left to go, my motivation starts to dwindle. It already seems like so much time has gone into this book and I'm only halfway to the end. How much longer? Will I be able to stay on track? Will agents and publishers love it as much as I do? I have a long journey ahead of me. There will be rejections and criticism and lots of red ink - I will have to edit and adjust and re-edit.

Then I started to remember when I first started running. I always hated running in my teens. My least two favorite days of school were the day I had to run the timed mile. The worst day of volleyball was always the first day of preseason in college -we had to run a timed mile. I hated every second of pounding pavement. I would start breathing heavy two minutes in. My mouth was dry. I thought I'd pass out. Then one day I realized how mental running was.

My body was rocking. I was in great shape. I should breeze past the mile runs. What was my problem? A friend of mine forced me to sign up for a 5k after I moved to Minnesota. I was so nervous I thought I would pass out, but for some reason I fell in love with it. Running was fun! I wasn't doing it for the best time or to get more playing time on the volleyball court. I was doing it for myself. Soon I started doing 10ks. I'd see how far I could go without walking. Then came my first half marathon - it was in Chicago. It was a hot summer day and I went out drinking the day before. Not smart. Even before I crossed the start line, my heart was pumping and a pit in my stomach kept telling me...

"You're not going to do this!"
"Christie - do you realize how far 13 miles is???"

My finish time was embarrassing. I ended walking most of the half.

Spectators yelled to me as I walked by, "But, you're athletic! You can do this!"

Physically, I was in the best shape of my life, but mentally I was weak - doubt filled my head the entire time.

"What were you thinking, Christie?" I demanded of myself.
"You can't do this! Why did you think you could do this?"
"It's too hot!" 

I let the excuses win: Yes, it was too hot! I was dehydrated! I was tired! I should have trained more! I should have...I could have...I would have...What if...

Even though I crossed the finish line, I wasn't proud of myself one bit. Deep down I knew I could have done better. I let my negative thoughts win. A year later I decided to try again - maybe because I knew I could do it. I wanted to try another half marathon but in Minnesota. I trained, and mentally prepared myself. I was ready. And I finished in just over two hours. I felt unstoppable. Something came over me while I was running. I couldn't feel pain, I wasn't breathing heavy at all and I was light on my feet. I did it! Yes, doubt started to creep in, but even before I crossed the start line, I set a goal - I would do the run so I would be proud of myself. I knew that feeling and I wanted it. And, yes,  I was so proud. I became hooked. I ran another and another, but I always shied away from a full marathon.

Once I saw mile marker 13, I couldn't imagine running ANOTHER 13 miles to make a full marathon. How would my body function? So instead of running a marathon, I'm writing a book, which feels like a full marathon in a way. I have just completed my half-marathon in the book world - I'm halfway there! To me, another 13 chapters seems insane, but I know I can do it. I will do it. And when I cross that finish line, the moment will be priceless!!

"Encourage each other to build each other up." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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