Chrissie Bader
So much has happened since my last post I don't know where to begin! I have wanted to update and share the goings-on but hardly knew how to express my gratitude and happiness. So, I guess I will start where I left off.

It's been several weeks now since I got my lab results back. Excision surgery has come and gone. That was quite the experience. The multiple deep numbing shots were the worst part of the whole thing. They were very painful. I got the call within a week from surgery and the margins were clear! Got my stitches out at 2 weeks and the incision healed much faster than the biopsy site. I go back in January for another full body scan and will continue that indefinitely. All in all, the best possible news and I'm so happy that it's over.

This was with stitches still in. It's healed now but the scar is very sensitive and dark in color. 

Moving on to the best news in the world!!! Y'all who follow me know that I've been working on my big dreams for quite a long time. And if you don't know my story, maybe now is the time for me tell it! Because my dreams are coming true!!

So, some of my earliest memories are of attending Monday night meetings and skin care classes with my mother back in the very early 80s. You see, she was a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant back then in qualification to become a Director. I used to go with her to makeup deliveries. I helped her during skin care classes by wetting the washclothes for the ladies in attendance. I sat with her during recognition and through her Monday night business meetings. Even though I was under 5 years old I knew something really special was going on. My mom earned the use of her first Mary Kay car when I was 9 years old. And then my dad got a job relocation and we moved to another state. In 1989, it was difficult or totally impossible to coach a team long distance since the Internet hadn't even happened yet on a consumer level. My mom lost her team and I watched her dreams fall away. It must have struck a chord in me on some level.

Fast forward to 2004. My first daughter was born and I was working a terrible job in a crazy city with a crazy commute in a tiny cubicle with no windows and bad lighting. It was Hell. I still remember locking myself in a bathroom stall and bawling each and every day because my tiny baby spent practically her whole life at daycare and I hardly saw her at all. It was the definition of heartbreak. I never knew devastating heartache until that year. I decided one day that Mary Kay was the life for me too. I got my hands on some teaching tapes (aka personal development) and spent my days in that dark and lonely cubicle listening to what would become prophesy in my life.

Rena Tarbet was the angel who changed my entire existence. My mom used to listen to her in the car when I was little and now I was soaking in her words for myself. Teaching principles she had learned from John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and Napoleon Hill I soaked in ideas and universal laws no one had ever bothered teaching me in school. I started to believe in magic, y'all!!! That's totally what it seemed like at the time, MAGIC!! I decided that network marketing was my answer to being able to stay home with my daughter. Soon after going all in with my business I truly felt like God told me I would be a National Sales Director, which is one of the highest ranks you can achieve in MK.

Well, life has a way of happening and I did fairly well at first but fell off when life got hard. I got divorced and gained full custodial custody of my 2 year old girl and moved back in with mom and dad at the age of 26. I enrolled in esthetics school and while my path changed, my dream never did. I still felt destined for greatness in God's Kingdom. During my stint in Esthetics I was introduced to Electrology and felt called in that direction as well. That was a couple years and a couple miracles down the line (another story for another post) but that panned out as well! I became a nationally certified Electrologist in addition to a licensed Esthetician.

After a new marriage and 2 more kids I found myself in the same sort of predicament as with my first daughter. I was working 12 hour days in a tiny treatment room performing electrolysis on clients who could afford to stay home with their kids and I was barely making ends meet with all 3 of my kids in childcare, a husband in hospitality who worked double time, and me working part time but missing out on way too much. I also suffered terribly after my last two children with postpartum depression. After my 3rd in 2011, the PPD nearly took me. I was at risk of never recovering from that. My life was in a downward spiral. Yet, I still felt called to something great!

A friend of mine from an online Expecting Club 2 years earlier had started coaching with Beachbody and was incredibly successful! Being no stranger to how awesome MLMs can be and also being very intrigued in getting in shape after 2 kids I totally jumped on board with her. I had almost instant physical results with Beachbody! I was in the best shape of my entire life! I even ran a Spartan Race with my brother as many of you know! I blogged all about THAT! One of my greatest life achievements. :)

With the business side of BB I achieved moderate success but found it to be a struggle. Now, I am not opposed to a struggle and some hard work with business because I realize that hard work and hustle are required for success in any venture at all. And I was completely willing to stick it out for the long haul. I quit my part time job as an electrologist in October of 2013 to pursue BB full time. After almost 2 years in Beachbody I hadn't really advanced much but I felt like I was making progress. Until my grandfather died and we moved all within the span of a couple of months. I was thrown. I slowly began to lose all of my physical progress and with it, all credibility I had as a fitness and wellness coach. Things began to spiral after that.

August of that year (2014) was the catalyst. Like many families of 5 with small children we visited the pediatrician's office FREQUENTLY. It seemed like one of the 3 was always on some kind of medication whether it was an antibiotic, a steroid, or some kind of breathing treatment. My oldest was even on multiple ADHD meds. And though I felt highly called to homeschool my kids were in public school because I was terrified of going against the status quo. But August.

August of 2014 I bought a premium starter kit from Young Living through a friend of mine who was an avid oils user. I had been researching essential oils for a year or so and knew some about them from my time in Esthetics school. But I didn't know how amazing they were therapeutically. Being a desperate mama to keep my kids off Rx meds and out of the doctor's office, I bought my kit. Since that day, my kids haven't been for a SINGLE sick visit!!!! Not a single round of antibiotics!! Seriously!!

I was sold! And I wanted to shout it from the rooftops to other moms and share with the world the amazing new reality I had found!!! And so I did! And when I did other moms wanted to know what I was doing so I helped them learn what I had learned. And their families got healthier too!! It was this chain effect of health and vitality!! I was completely astounded!!!! And without even meaning to I was in the business side of Young Living and ranking up with little to no effort at first. Completely amazing!!! All for sharing my love of oils.

Once it began to sink in that this might be the opportunity God meant for me all along I began to see what the possibilities would be in this business for me and my family, which were HUGE!! I set goals accordingly and went "all in" just like I had with Mary Kay many years before. One of my first goals was to hit Silver rank with my team. Silver rank is considered by many to be "quit your job" earning potential. So, that's what I aimed for first. I am amazingly PROUD to announce that I made Silver rank in October of this year!!!!! WOW!!!! First of many BIG ranks to come!

My team amazes me each month! All we do is share our love of these God-given oils with our friends and family and the oils themselves do all the real work! And we are rewarded!! I had the incredible opportunity to go to Young Living Convention in June of this year and witness the farms and distillation process for myself and know that our company's Seed to Seal guarantee is the real deal! And there is NO OTHER company anywhere in the world who can say the same thing. From the very seed of the plant to the time the oil ends up in the bottle Young Living controls the whole process and verifies and guarantees 100% therapeutic purity. Absolutely amazing!! As an esthetician I can truly appreciate that and as a business person I am proud to have a guarantee like that to back my claims!!!

Mom and I at the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, UT!

Planting yarrow seedlings on the farm in Mona, UT!

Standing in front of the Lavender. 

So, there you have it!!! From skin cancer to Silver!!! My prayers were answered and my dreams brought to fruition in the same year. What a blessed 2016!!! I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!!! I'm looking at you Gold and Platinum!!! :)

Also, I need to welcome our newest family member, Kohala, our adorable yet HUGE 4 month old German Shepherd. She gives my heart all kinds of tickles. :)

My kids who are growing WAY too fast!!

Me with  new my Silver haircut and style! 

Chrissie Bader
So, it wasn't quite Pivotal Moment #3 but it was definitely a standout moment. Life isn't different forever based on that one phone call but I will, no doubt, remember the phone call the rest of my life. Let's rewind to the night before the call.

I went to bed very, very late as I tend to do because I'm a night owl. While showering before bed I began testing out different scenarios in my mind. How would I react if the results were this? Or that? What would change? What would never been the same again? It began as a preparation exercise and ended in total panic. The thought of leaving my children alone. The thought of our upcoming beach trip having totally different undertones due to it being one of our last as a family. So many awful thoughts flying at me at once. I began to pray. I crawled into bed and looked up scriptures in my Bible app on my phone and fell asleep reciting The Word.

Since our bedroom has been temporarily relocated due to last month's flooding, I don't have a night stand and currently sleep with my phone under my pillow. I don't recommend that, actually, because all notifications go straight into your ear and scare you awake. Anyway, 9am is early for me and that's when the phone started ringing. Typically, I'm extremely annoyed by a phone call. Nowadays, I prefer an email or a text but NEVER, ever call me. But it was an Atlanta number and my heart jumped into my throat.

I answered and, sure enough, it was the dermatologist's office. I can't remember if my palms started sweating or if I lost all sensation in my body in anticipation. I was terrified and anxious about what the next few moments would bring into my life. She asked me if I had time to speak and I answered yes.

"Mrs. B, the pathology came back for the mole on your left thigh as moderately dysplastic which means that the cells cells are changing. Since we already removed the mole we typically just monitor the site and do full body scans every 3 months." Okay, breathe, breathe. I had expected some dysplasia so I'm not shocked; relieved actually that they'll be checking me more frequently.

Then her tone changed. I'm not 100% sure that I didn't imagine it but I'm quite positive that there was a shift in her tone for this part, "The pathology on the mole on your right thigh, however, returned severely dysplastic which is one step before melanoma. It's good you came in when you did. The doctor would like to do a complete excision of this area." My head was spinning and my heart was pounding so I can't even remember if I made her verify "not melanoma" or if I made it up. But I held to the part that severely dysplastic is before melanoma.

So, I caught it in time???!!! My heart was trying to celebrate while my brain was reminding me I still had to have more removed. And another pathology report to wait on. AND I'm now at a higher risk of developing melanoma at any other point in my life. Which means my kids are too. I couldn't celebrate.

I ran to the kitchen to my calendar so I could schedule the excision procedure while I was on the phone with the doctor's office. The first date she gave me was the date we were due to leave for our final beach vacation of this year. I asked her if it could wait an additional 2 weeks and she obliged. So, my excision is scheduled for September 26.

I went back to the bedroom to tell Mike, who had been waiting patiently since my phone rang, the news. He was much more enthusiastic than I was. I, who had been ok the whole time, burst into suffocating tears after I finally got the words out. All of the buildup of fear and uncertainty had weighed on me and all came crashing down at that moment. I wasn't dying. I wasn't going to die soon. My life didn't even have to change a whole lot for now. I need to be cautious, yes. But I can still pursue my dreams full speed ahead. God's promises to me still stood!! I was just overcome with so much emotion.

So, I'm in the waiting again. Waiting for my excision appointment. Waiting for my biopsy sites to heal. That has been hard. Those biopsy sites have hurt, itched, not healed quickly, and generally been awful. It has been HARD. I just needed to say that again.

But I'm ok. In fact, I'm better. I see things differently. I realize that life is shorter than I even thought before. I was still living with the idealistic views of an adult in her 20s when the world is your oyster and you have all this time ahead of you. Now I know that it can vanish and end before you're ready. I have prayed more, been grateful more, tried to be angry less, and tried to be a better mom.

That brings me to today, in the van with the younger two kiddos. Caleb asked me about Heaven. So we had a discussion about it. We talked about what the Bible says about it and what others have said we could expect about it. The conversation came around to when we each die and go to Heaven. I told them that when I die I will be watching over them and waiting for them so we would all be together again someday. Kiki said, "If you died, I would be so sad." Caleb said, "When you die I will want to die immediately so I can keep being with you." Oh. My. Heart! I just can't even. I love those kids so much it hurts me physically. Little did my sweet 7 year old know he described losing a parent perfectly. Even for those of us that are 36 (37 in a week). I imagine the same exact reaction when 'nightmaring' losing one of my parents. I would want to die immediately to be with them. Jesus come get us all!

Anyway, it's better news that I had imagined it might be. Still in a waiting pattern for awhile longer.

Peace out!

Chrissie Bader
The mind is so interesting. How it can choose on its own to be in total denial of the truth. Even when it has been trained to pick up on certain things and knows that it should be alarmed. And yet, it says "no" because you've made plans and you have goals and it knows that if you take time out for "something like this" that you will be sidetracked, or even derailed completely. And you just can't risk that right now. But the mind doesn't properly balance the risk because one thing definitely outweighs the other.

So, you're probably wondering what in the world I'm talking about; or maybe you're even a little frustrated that I'm being vague. Let's rewind....

The last week of June, my mom and I went to Young Living's Convention together; a wonderful, incredible, memorable mother/daughter adventure. We have had several over the years but this one might be the best because it wasn't just for me that we had gone out there. My mom and I are building a business together and we went out there as a team to meet our team! We learned together. We grew together. We cried together. We gained passion and enthusiasm together. It was awe-inspiring. I will have to do a whole post just to describe the amazing week we spent in Salt Lake City together. But this story begins there.

Wednesday night of Convention week, Mom and I were sitting on our beds in the hotel room applying Cool Azul sports gel to our legs and feet after spending the whole day at the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, UT. It was almost 100 degrees that day and, dry heat or not, it was HOT! We walked a lot that day. Like, A LOT! And even after soaking our feet in the icy cold stream that comes down from the mountains (that despite being nearly 100 degrees still had snow which is crazy to this southern girl) and runs through the farm property, were still aching and sore. So we went to the farm store and each purchased the amazing Cool Azul sports gel which is like aloe with wintergreen and peppermint oils. And we were massaging our feet and legs with the minty goodness after our blessed showers that night and oohing and aahing over how wonderful the gel was when my mom noticed the dark mole on my upper right thigh. The mole I've had my whole life that's always been darker than the rest and so, even though it had recently gotten darker and different looking, I had paid it zero attention. That is, until the look on my mom's face shook me out of the denial I had been in.

She adamantly told me to have it looked at as soon as we got home from Convention. So, I looked at it and agreed I would. And I wondered why my trained eye had not caught it sooner. I obviously knew that it had changed but hadn't, myself, been alarmed about it. How long had it been? I'm an esthetician and electrologist by trade; I am TRAINED to notice skin abnormalities. I have even referred several people to the dermatologist to have a spot looked at, yet failed to recognize it on my own body. Did I fail to recognize or did I just fail to act because I didn't want to be inconvenienced? And oh boy, the inconvenience. But what may it have cost me in the long run now that I have waited? And how long did I truly wait? I honestly can't remember how long it has been since I noticed the changes. The level of my own stupidity amazes me. I still waited another 3 weeks after getting home from Convention to call around to some dermatologists offices and get an appointment. And once I made the call, it was another 2 weeks of waiting for the appointment date. Of course, once I had the appointment scheduled, that's when I started freaking out about time. Because I know how quickly things can progress and how important time is in cases like this.

So, while I waited, I took pictures of all the moles on my body that I definitely wanted to point out to the doctor during the full body scan I had scheduled. Obviously, I wanted her to look at the dark one on my right thigh that Mom had pointed out but I found a couple other suspicious looking ones, also in moles, and on my thighs. I had two that were particularly concerning to me and as I counted down the days until my appointment, my mind that had previously been in total denial caught up quickly to the terrifying reality of the situation. And let me tell you that things got REAL. The "M" word was popping up everywhere! I couldn't get away from it. The father of my closest childhood friend passed away during this time of waiting....from the "m" word after having only been diagnosed 7 months earlier. In an attempt to hide from reality I began binge-watching Grey's Anatomy (great choice, right?) on Netflix and Dr. Izzy Stevens was diagnosed with Stage 4 "m" word during one of the seasons. I was horrified.

My mind went to some horrible places. Some dark and scary places. I began to imagine life for my husband and kids without me in it. What would happen to them? I homeschool my kids for very specific reasons and beliefs. Would they have to go back into the public school system? And oh God, my precious daughter, Reagan!! Legally, I still share joint custody of her with my ex husband who has been absent from the picture for almost 5 years without word. Would she have to go live with him? Would she be absorbed into "the system" if they couldn't find him? After everything we've been through and all the progress we have made with her, my heart sinks and I grow nauseous thinking of her life being suddenly turned completely upside down. She wouldn't just lose her mother but her whole family. This thought alone inspires me to take major action despite the outcome of my situation. This needs to be taken care of because it's an issue if anything happens to me, not just "m" word.

Adding 'find an attorney' to my massively long To Do List (which is massively long because of crazy home repairs due to the disastrous month of July in which our septic tank backed up into our house, flooding our master bedroom right before the AC went out during 95 degree weather causing the flooded carpet to mildew, resulting in our ripping out the carpet and relocating our whole bedroom into the second living room and having to install a door and new flooring. Then World War III with ants in the kitchen and throwing away nearly everything that was in the pantry cabinets. And oh, let's not forget when the pipe under the bathtub began to leak and then burst, flooding the underneath of the tub in the master bathroom, resulting in Mike having to bust the tile to get to the pipe in order to repair it. So, now total master bed and bath renovations are under way.) Whew! No wonder I'm so incredibly tired lately. That could have been its own post! I think I need a drink and a nap!

Appointment day arrived finally and Mike went to the appointment with me, thankfully. I was scared and not sure what to expect so I was very happy for the company. The "m" word doesn't run in my family. My mom has had several basal cell carcinomas excised and one squamous cell carcinoma. Pretty sure my grandfather had some basal cells or squamous cells removed as well. But no one in my family that I know of has ever had the "m" word. So, during the appointment the PA examined my whole body (I have many moles and freckles due to being the whitest person on the planet). She looked at my moles under a handheld magnifier with a light on it. The two moles of greatest concern to her were the same ones I had identified which confirms my training. I was right.

She biopsied them that day. The shots hurt SO bad! I was really glad Mike was there for me to hold his hand during all of this because once the epinephrine from the shots hit my bloodstream I began shaking and feeling nauseous which kicked my fear up a notch and the tears began to flow. I didn't actually feel her removing the moles. In fact, I felt nothing in those areas for many hours after which is a definitely blessing because one of the biopsy sites is deep. The first one she mentioned to her assistant "dysplasia" which is what I suspected too. The second one, the one my mom noticed, and the worst of the two, she used the "m" word when speaking with her assistant. That is in no way a diagnosis until pathology comes back, of course, but it hasn't helped my fear level in the least.

So, now we wait. They said 7-10 days and it has been 4 so far. I have been changing the dressings on the biopsy sites twice a day and applying essential oils to them. I have been alternating Ravintsara and Frankincense oils for healing. Today, they hurt less than yesterday and the day before. But if I stand too long, they begin to ache. Here are some photos for those who may be going through something similar and are curious. I know I was when I was scouring Google Images for photos of biopsy sites and moles; anything that was similar to mine that I might read about someone else's journey and get hope for a positive outcome. There aren't many stories out there of hope that I was able to find. Hoping mine will be one of many to come.

Mole A from my left thigh just above my knee. Notice the dysplasia and that it's slightly raised. I've had this one my whole life but it began to change in the last year or so. 

Mole A the day after biopsy after removing the original dressings. I applied Ravintsara oil to the site and recovered with bandages. 

Mole A, day 3 after biopsy.

Mole B, the one of most concern, on my upper outer right thigh. Notice the borders are uneven, and the very dark splotchy colors inside the mole. 

Mole B the day after biopsy after removing the original dressings. It looks like part of the mole was left behind but that's actually where the doctor cauterized the flesh to stop the bleeding. 

Mole B, day 3 after biopsy.

I have found some healing and positive scriptures to hang on to during this period while we wait for that call from pathology. I try to remain positive and hopeful, to speak faith over the situation. But sometimes it's hard and the darkness creeps in. I wait in dread of the phone call and wonder if it will be one of those calls where I rejoice over the good news and then proceed with my life. Or will it be a call that becomes one of those pivotal moments in life. Ya know, the moments where right before, in the seconds before, life is normal and everything is as it should be, and then your life as you know it is over. Everything is changed and can never go back to the way it was just mere seconds ago. Curious and strange, those moments. Pivotal.

I have had exactly two of those moments so far in my life. The first is when I woke up one July morning in 2003 and peed on a stick just for the sake of my sanity because I was late and I wanted to rule out pregnancy. But there were two pink lines where I was expecting only one. The moment that preceded my looking at that stick was my old life. The moment when I saw those two lines was my new life. It was a very strange moment and I grieved for that old life for months after. I hadn't wanted that old life to end; I loved it and didn't want it to change. I didn't adjust well to the new life and neither did my marriage.

Enter pivotal moment #2: New Year's Eve 2005 in the car with my husband on our way home from a New Year's Eve party. I opened my mouth and spoke the words that had been haunting me for months. I wanted a divorce. Once you say those words, you can't take them back. Everything was different from that moment. The atmosphere in the car just moments before those words was lighter, more comfortable, and the new normal that our lives had become since pivotal moment #1. Now it was dark and sad and scary. Life has never been the same for any of us since that moment.

We have adjusted and moved on and life is good. Life is really good right now. We are dreaming and planning for the future. We are steady and happy despite our money pit house situation (think Tom Hanks and the bathtub scene). We have a church family, Reagan was baptized, we tithe, we pray. Literally, my dreams are coming true and I get to watch it happen. Life. Is. Good.

And I currently live in fear of pivotal moment #3. I hope it's a long way off. Like, a really long way off. I need more time. I'm not done yet. There's so much left to do and see and experience. I'm not done. And God said that He had plans for me, to prosper me and to give me hope and a future. So, I'm holding fast to that promise and fighting against the dark places every day. Sometimes every minute.

Peace out!

Chrissie Bader
I guess I maybe had it in me my whole life. This longing for adventure and wilderness. I grew up in Central Florida surrounded by orange groves, sand dunes, and creature infested swampy lakes. I used to spend my days catching tadpoles and frogs for pets, covering myself in Spanish Moss and pretending like I had long hair and was a swamp princess, and going on all day outdoor adventures focused on avoiding snakes and gators. My childhood was pretty. freaking. amazing.

When we moved to Georgia in 1989 when I was 10 years old my outdoor adventures consisted of wading in creeks and traversing "cliffs" of clay over creeks and riverbeds. Being indoors was never a good option in good weather, but especially during thunderstorms, which was a mandatory front porch event (still is).

Truth is, I've always been in love with being outdoors and having adventures. But it wasn't until a trip to St. Louis with my dad one summer and a visit to the Gateway Arch museum and intro to Lewis & Clark that an obsession was born. My family is from Missouri and that's where, I guess you could say, my genealogical roots are established. So, one summer, I'm thinking it must have been 1993 or 1994, after our annual trip to my grandparents' house we drove up to St. Louis for a side trip. I get my spontaneous side tripping bug from my dad who would often, on the weekends, load us into the car and just start driving for nowhere in particular.

We went to the Gateway Arch museum and watched an IMAX film about Yosemite and walked the museum for hours reading and learning about the 'gateway to the west' and Lewis & Clark. I fell head over heels in love with the entire story and Lewis & Clark became my everlasting heroes. My dad bought me books to take home and study on their adventures.

A year or two later, in 1995, again on our yearly summer trip to Missouri, my grandparents invited me to go with them on their annual trip to Colorado. I was 15 going on 16 and full of wild rebellion. I wanted a great adventure! I wanted to experience the world! That was the age when the 'rebellion' overtook my soul, I believe. I couldn't understand being tied down to a place or a thing or a job. The world was mine to be explored! I said yes very emphatically to going with them on that trip.

The very best part of this is that I had just begun journaling at that time in my life so I very much documented my trip west. Albeit in a young teen's words but the sentiment at the imagery and the scenery is still awe-inspiring to my heart, even today. I feel it all over again when I read my own 'teenager's heart' words. My first sight of the plains of Kansas. My first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, which in my journals I imagined must have been extremely similar to what Lewis & Clark felt the first time they glimpsed the tiny specks on the horizon and the immense awe they must have felt daily as they beheld the "specks" growing larger and larger and wondering just exactly how large those mountains could be really be!!! Oh, the wonder of it!!! I get excited all over again just remembering how amazing it was!!

I remember mostly that whole week, while driving around the towns of Colorado and Manitou Springs feeling envious and angry that the people who lived there must take their view for granted on a daily basis. Did they not know what a blessing it was that they lived in the shadow of such beauties every minute of every day? It was unfathomable! And the beauty yanked on my heart the entire time I was there. It weighed on me. It beckoned me. I felt one with it. I felt as if I should be enveloped by it. The moon and the stars seemed to speak to me. The mountain peaks seemed to speak my name. I felt peace and fear all at once. Peace because it felt like "home" and fear because there was adventure yet to be had. It was wild and unpredictable and I wanted it. I wanted it so much!!

See how close we were standing to the edge? Most people would freak out but he and I were both exhilarated. He was my "on the edge" buddy for sure. :)

Mammaw wouldn't stand at the edge but only by the inner snow banks, lol. The heights terrified her. 

We took every opportunity there was to stand "on the edge" of the mountain and look down on Forever. 

Alas, I did have to go back home to Georgia. But that calling to the wild, unexplored places of the earth remained in my heart. It has been a core place in me since that time. My life's desires are focused around returning to that which is timeless. It may have been 20 years for me. I may look and be 20 years older than when I was last there but I guarantee those mountains are just as majestic and breathtaking as they ever were!

And I still want to show my kids! That part was born also! A desire to show my kids all the beautiful things that exist in the world and to have them experience them like I never truly got to. It is my WHY, which has evolved since I'm now living what it once was. Now I want to witness them as they witness the Earth and all the splendid things God created for us all to behold. Beauty is His greatest gift to us and I intend not to miss it.

Peace out!

Chrissie Bader
As I sit on my front porch today enjoying the blessing of a 68 degree day in May, I notice the way my house looks at this particular time of the day when the sun shines straight down through the leaves of the oak tree making the undersides of each leaf glow neon green and the shadows dance on the ground. I feel such incredible peace.

I think back to a time when I had bought my first home and was pregnant with my first baby, Reagan. I had been laid off from my job during that time and so I spent the majority of that pregnancy at home with my dog, Jackie Dog, getting things ready for baby. I fell in love with the way my kitchen looked midday when the sun would come in through the kitchen windows. I loved having coffee on my porch with Jack and watching the birds in my backyard. I knew then that I belonged at home. 

When I went back to work after Reagan was born I thought for sure it would kill me to, not only be away from my baby for 10 hours per day but, to be shut away inside a dark and gloomy building, huddled into my tiny cubicle, shuffling papers day in and day out, missing all of the things I loved so dearly. And I think it nearly did kill me. I remember locking myself in a bathroom stall and crying daily, eating my lunch at my desk and looking at a picture of my beautiful baby, knowing that she was with someone else that couldn't possibly love her like I did. 

My obsession with personal development began during that time as I listened to hundreds of hours of leadership training while I worked away inside that cubicle. I knew then that Network Marketing was the answer for me and my hope grew during that time. I never imagined that the dreams that were planted in my heart back then would take root the way they did and grow into something as amazing as what I have now. What a journey and adventure I have been on!

And today, 13 years later, I got to wake up to the sounds of my kids' laughter and have coffee on my front porch. I got to have a picnic lunch my homeschooled kids and enjoy the way the sun looks while shining on their awesome faces in the middle of the day. And I still get to pursue my goals and chase down my bigger dreams! 

How blessed I am! And even more blessed to be out from under the dark shadow of depression that kept me from knowing how blessed I was for so many years and robbed me of so much time. Thank God for leading me to the right places and the right people and for giving me the courage to follow Him and my dreams. So much of my adult life has been basically doing trust falls with God, lol! The cool thing about that is that He is always there and I always fall right into the middle of His will for my life. It is easier now to take those leaps of faith because I know that I know that I know He will be there to catch me. 

Peace out!

Chrissie Bader
I wish I knew what made that little switch flip. Ya know, the one when you've finally had enough of everything that's wrong and you just decide you're not going to live like that anymore? I suppose this is about the 3rd time in my life I've reached that point. I love this meme that I've seen go around on social media. It was so extremely true for me 3 years ago when I just refused to live in the fog of postpartum depression any longer.

I had been living inside a deep dark depression for two years and I knew if I didn't do something about it that it would destroy me. And for some reason, at the very pinnacle of my health and fitness, I threw it all away. I definitely got thrown for a loop after I completed my Spartan Race. I think there was just so much that transpired during the months surrounding that race. Reagan's health issues and trouble in school finally hit the fan, I withdrew her from school and in a whirlwind decided to homeschool her, I quit my job, we moved out of the house my children had been growing up in, a home where we had been happy, my grandfather died, and the race I had been preparing myself for, mentally and physically, was over. 

The race was so physically demanding that I took some mandatory rest days after. During that rest period I finally had to face all of the other issues that had required my attention. I didn't know what to do about anything and I felt like the identity I had worked so hard for over the last year was now into suspension and I didn't know what was next. My rest period never ended. I have jumped back into my workouts here and there but haven't stuck with it in all that time. And now, here I am, 50+ pounds heavier, depressed again, and more miserable, physically, than ever. 

Well, this week, that switch flipped again. Enough is enough. How long can I justify destroying my health when I have SO much to live for? My career is finally in a really wonderful place!! Seriously, God is doing some absolutely amazing and wonderful things through my career. I couldn't be more excited watching my and my family's dreams coming true! What an incredible blessing! Homeschooling is going fabulously as well! Reagan has her first drama club performance next week. She will be Linus in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She is doing pretty well with her school curriculum and her behavior since we started chiropractic and essential oils has made a complete 180. It's astounding! Caleb is reading and Kiki starts Kindergarten in a few weeks!

When so much of my life is finally taking off in the right direction, why do I still lean on the same old crutches that I used to justify because of a bad first marriage and a heartbreaking divorce? It's been 10 years. Really, it's been 10 years ago this year. It's time to move on. 

So, I'm on Day 2 of 21 Day Fix (again, lol). But the switch is flipped, my diet is on track, and I'm feeling great! Forgot to take my starting measurements so I will try to do that tomorrow. Join me on myfitnesspal and let's cheer each other on! :)

Peace out!

Chrissie Bader
So maybe I won't have some crazy deep reflection on the last year and what all of my intentions are for the upcoming year. It's just not in me like it usually is. I am profoundly grateful for so many blessings we received in 2015 and I feel big things on the horizon for 2016 but I just don't feel an abundance of words for all of it. It's more of a secret stirring in my spirit that I want to hang onto for a while longer.

Last year, I experienced blessing, achievement, disappointment, and failure in my business. I excelled in some areas and fell far short in others but believe I have learned necessary lessons for going forward. We took the bold step in faith to homeschool the kids and have been blessed in so many ways by that. Mike got a promotion at work right before Christmas that he worked hard for and we prayed diligently for. And our families came together to help us give the kids a super awesome swingset for Christmas, which has been a dream of mine for many years. So, you can see that 2015 was very, very good to us.

Kiki and Danny Gator going down the slide together. :)

I decided to start this year pretty much the same as last year, with the Miracle Morning (which if you haven't read yet, you absolutely must). So, yesterday and today, both, I woke up at 5:30 and came downstairs for peaceful and quiet prayer, reading, journaling, and of course, coffee. It is absolutely glorious to have that hour or two completely to myself (plus a couple snuggly kitties).

Miracle Morning Day 1

Kai and Koa love miracle mornings too. :)

This morning I was extra tired even though I got more sleep and I just didn't "feel" that same connection that I did yesterday in my devotion.

Miracle Morning Day 2

The sky was just starting to lighten when Mike left for work and I got up to make a second cup of coffee. I felt this pull to go outside. I can't really explain other than to say that I felt like God wanted me to go outside. Caleb woke up while I was waiting for my water to boil so I got him set up with some breakfast and a movie, got bundled up, grabbed my steamy cup of coffee and went outside just as the light was filling the sky; those moments of light before the sun has fully emerged from the horizon.

It was 28 degrees outside with frost everywhere but I felt absolutely amazing. The birds were chirping and a familiar smell in the air. I could see my breath and the steam floating off my coffee cup. I suddenly felt a great sense of peace that I haven't felt in a really long time. I absolutely love frosty mornings with hoodies and cups of hot coffee. I love birds and trees and campfires and sunrises.

You see, one of my big scary dreams in life for almost as long as I can remember, has been to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. It's my ongoing fantasy daydream. I read books, watch documentaries, search blogs, and basically absorb all I can about thru-hiking the AT. It was a seed planted in my spirit when I was probably 10 or 11 years old and my family had just moved to Georgia from Florida. We didn't have a lot of money growing up but gasoline back then was cheap, so on weekends Dad would take us up to the mountains in North Georgia and we would hike and explore.  One particular weekend hike, we ended up on a section of the AT and I asked my dad what it was. I was intrigued. I couldn't believe there was a footpath that went all the way to Maine! My curiosity was peaked and so my love for the trail was born.

As a teenager in our church youth group, we also took a couple camping trips up to the Nantahala River. And my love for camping, rafting, campfire coffee, and frosty mornings in the trees was birthed. Another youth group trip to the mountains of West Virginia one year enlarged my passion for the beautiful Eastern mountains and wide open spaces where your soul can meet God unhindered.

As I was remembering these things on my freezing porch this morning, just behind the trees, a soft orange glow began to rise up. It began to look like the trees were on fire. It was so beautiful that I quietly thanked God and praised him for urging me outside into the cold this morning. At that, I felt overwhelmingly loved, more so than ever before in my life. It was the most incredible feeling!

So, now that my dreams are imbued with fresh energy, I begin my day and my 2016! Happy New Year, everyone! May you find yourself loved and your dreams renewed this year!

Peace out!