Soooooo... what's something you've always wanted to know about me? During the reader survey you guys answered a while back, the thing that kept popping up was you guys want to know more personal things about me, which I'm happy to do... but then I get writers block! I have no idea what to share with you!

Here's your chance- click on the form below and ask me any question you'd like! You can leave your name and state, or it could be completely anonymous. Depending on the amount of responses, I may to a series of posts in... drum roll please.... a video! Yes! I hate to be in front of the camera, but after watching many bloggers do short videos on their blogs, I feel like you get to know them better than reading a post. Answering your questions on a video feels pretty personal to me! I hope you guys enjoy it!




I'm so excited to hear from y'all!
The Artsy Cajun- Tell All

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 Hey! I know, who is this lady writing to you? I've been busy trying to get over this Fibromyalgia flare up. Yeah, not my idea of fun. But camping IS my idea for lots of fun! The first weekend we thawed out here in Chiberia, we took off for some nature!

   I won't say exactly where this is, (in case this turns out to be our favorite to-go place)  but it's a state park, and it's gorgeous! We stayed 2 nights, 3 days... and it was heaven, my friends! Our spot was really an RV spot, but it was so nice and the campground host allowed us to stay there, even though we were tent camping. Remember to always ask!

    We put our tent on a level spot as close as we could to the water, and to wake up to that was heaven! Not a great spot for fishing, but we had fun just watching the water. It's so mesmerizing.

Ginny has to know where her humans are at all times!

   The thing that hinders our outings is... you guessed it, my Fibro. It is the worst feeling in the world to learn about somewhere new or something exciting you want to go see, plan it, and then it's one of the days where I can't get out of the recliner because just breathing hurts every inch of me. Such a let down, and you're angry you can't go, even though it's no one's fault, so you just grumble all day because, who are you going to yell at? Ya know? Anyway, so I have been researching like a fool for Fibromyalgia helpers and tips to make camping happen. And you know, besides the basics, there's NOTHING out there about how to help Fibro. sufferers when they go camping! I guess there isn't many that need nature and are willing to risk a flare up for it. But, when I'm already in the middle of said flare up, then nothing will stand in my way!

Here is how I survived camping with Fibromyalgia:

1. Plan, Plan, write a million lists, and then plan some more!
     - I planned so much I had about 20 pages worth of notes and lists. I planned what we would take, in what bag, in what tote, putting it where in the car... it goes on and on. The best thing I could've ever done was plan so much. I think we forgot maybe 2 things, and we really didn't need them anyway. Maybe you're not a planner, and that's okay, but for me- lists and planning eases my anxiety. I know it's going to be more pain just because it's a lot of setting up and tearing down, so if I can handle the logistics, then I don't have to stress about things- do we have ____? questions get me every time.




2. Bring your comfort items!

  •  I brought extra blankets, because cold really aggravates the Fibro. and pain is intensified. Something so minor could really set you back hours! 
  • Those SalonPas or Icy Hot patches. You may have electricity at your site, but the idea of bringing a heating pad and having it in a spot where you can use it really doesn't fit with camping. So these hot patches actually warm up & help so much when you're getting sore! 
  • Lots of activities. There was times where the Mr. wanted to go fish, and I just wanted to stay in my zero gravity lounger (a must if you ask me when camping) but I knew I'd get bored with no one to talk to, so I had my bible, journal, planner, sudoku book, novel, pens, highlighters, and anything else I could fit into my "Busy bag". It could be a life saver if you are too sore or in pain to go do what everyone else is doing. Say everyone you are camping with want to go for a hike, if you're not feeling up to it, your Busy Bag will save the day!  I love nature more than the average person, but even I get bored with just sitting there. PLUS- books and busy work keeps your brain active when you need distractions away from the pain. 
  • Soft bedding is the most important of all. I knew that I would never survive a night on a tent floor in a sleeping bag. My doctor FORBID it anyway. So I googled/Pinterest-ed glamping. Yep, the fancy schmancy camping. And I saw airbeds, some even bring actual memory foam mattresses. I knew that I move around way too much and the Mr. doesn't appreciate it on one air mattress, so I ordered 2 twin size, double tall, mega support ones from Coleman, and it was amazing!!! I also brought twin sheets- because the velour feeling makes my skin crawl and it's hot, and then a sleeping bag that zips all crazy ways to get the temperature just right! 

3. Get the site closest to the bathroom/showers. It seems like a no brainer, or maybe you want to be on a site on your own, away from others, and that's fine. But, I'm so happy we were a couple sites away from the potty because at 3 am, after drinking too much water, in 45 degree cold weather.... it can cause more pain to get out of the warm tent and walk to the bathroom than you want! I couldn't imagine having to walk across a campground to go. So that's something to think about. Also, make sure you have plenty of lighting! We have a little lantern that can hang from the center of our tent, but I also bought headlamps in case I didn't feel like carrying a lantern. Extra tip- wrap the head lamps around an empty toggle by the door of your tent. When you need to get up and it's pitch black dark, it's easy to reach for them by the door.


4. Layer up! I wanted to bring the least amount of clothes as possible. I'm not a high maintenance gal who needs 4 bags of clothes and just stuff to go somewhere for a couple of nights. At the same time, I wanted enough where I could be totally comfortable in whatever temperature mother nature would give us. Bring layers and be prepared for anything. You'll be happy you did!

5. Bring extra medicine! And I'm not just talking about extra pain medicine, I'm talking about a travel bag full of every kind of medicine you may need- Pepto, benadryl, alcohol wipes, bandages, sleep medicine, etc. When you have Fibromyalgia, and you are extending yourself- like being out of your comfy home and into a new place for a couple of days, it's better to be prepared than to suffer all night because of something that would've been fixed with a little medicine. Also, don't forget the basic camping stuff like mosquito spray, citronella candles, and sunscreen! I found a great product that has mosquito repellent (DEET free) AND sunscreen! perfect for me!




Camping is a great way to use up your samples! 


6. Prep food at home It's so much easier to make your meals at home, where you can take a break and get off your feet in between, rather than try to do it at the camp site, on a table, with possibly ants and flies- it could be a stressful situation. And, of course, you all know that every doctor, physical therapist, nurse- everyone in the medical field will tell you to avoid stress at all costs when you have Fibro. It just makes your body tense up even more, which enrages your already overactive nerves. So if you think about camping, actually visualize your whole day and all the activities, try to do everything at home so you will have the least amount of work to be done while camping as you can. Like prep all the meals at home so where when camping, you just have to throw it on the fire pit and cook it.

7. Bring EVERYTHING for your spoiled pet.  Ginny is spoiled. That's obvious when you come to our home! I also researched and wrote lists for "Camping with a Pet" because they can get stressed being in an unfamiliar place. Basically, bring their beds, favorite pillows and blankets, and just try to keep them close to you. Me saying Ginny is a lover is a gross understatement. This girl reminds me of a little floozy gal, just giving her love to anyone! So, we had to use the tie down close to us where she could jump in our lap and get love whenever she needed it. Thank God he sent a doggie who loves the outdoors as much as we do!





8. Remember to relax! That's the whole point of our camping is just to get away from the everyday things and routines and enjoy nature. If you've prepped everything, checked your lists, and arranged things how you like them, then you should be fine! Remember to bring your favorite floppy hat, and just enjoy the sun on your face, the fresh air, and the birds singing to you! It does my heart good to be outside!



We LOVED camping, and are planning on going every weekend we can! 

What are some of your tips for camping? Comment below!

A Camping We Will Go...

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  Happy Friday, Y'all! I'm so excited for this weekend! As you're reading this, I'm currently unplugged and off the grid camping with my Love! Ekk! It will be our first time camping this year, and I think we have everything we need.... at least I'm praying we do. This will also be our first time camping with Ginny- EVER, so prayers are needed that she does well!   The only thing I'm concerned about is the weather. Pollen is high for this weekend, and it will get in the mid 40's at night, but I told the Mr. nothing will stop me from going! I neeeeeeeeeeddddd out in nature something fierce!

  Anyway, today I co-host with the ever so talented Aimee from Aimee-LynnPhotography for Finding Beauty!  Link up with us, sharing your favorite photo! It doesn't have to be perfect, I know mine aren't, it's just gathering to share a bit of beauty!


  One of the co-host duties is to pick my favorite photo from the previous week's link up. I choose Emily's photo! The lines, my oh my- they are gorgeous! Go over to her blog, Scattered Horizons Photography to see what I'm talking about!

Now, here's my photo for this week:



  I may have shared this photo already, but it's one of my very favorites! This is from the Sears Tower here in Chicago. it's pricey to get to the observation deck, but it's so worth it! This is SkyDeck, and what you're looking at, is 103 floors up! You can barely see the roads and cars below! This was in January, when there was snow everywhere, so you can see it on top of the other buildings. Y'all! My heart dropped when you step out at first, but it was exhilarating! I can't wait for someone else to come visit us just so we can go here again!

  Hope y'all have a good weekend, and I can't wait to update you on our camping adventures next week! And don't forget to link up with us and join in on our love of beauty and photography!


Yeahhhhh!

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Fancy meeting you here! I've been MIA and I know, it's a total blogger cliche' to get burnt out and not blog for a while.

 The thing is, you guys know I've been having lots of trouble with my Fibromyalgia. The doctors are working on getting the right medication cocktail, and when we think it's getting close, the insurance company puts their two cents in and stalls the process. In the mean time, I run out of the main medication to treat my symptoms, and then it takes days or a week to get the Doctors, the insurance company, and the pharmacy to all get along. Needless to say, these last couple of months it's been pretty crappy.

  With all of this going on, it was nearly impossible for me to continue at the pace I was going. I have come to a screeching halt and be real with myself. I am not the super woman that I thought I was, and I've come to terms with the fact that I can plan away- but if the energy tank is dry, nothing is getting done.  Sometimes, you just have to listen to God when He tells you to slow down and prioritize. 

You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your Word to renew me. Psalm 119:114

So, I'm trying to prioritize and know what I can slow down on and what I really like doing!
 I've slowed way down on my Etsy shop, and my blog. But what I felt most guilty about slowing down on, was the Prayerful Bloggers group. After a heart to heart with Aimee, I decided that I would step down on leadership and she would take it over again. THEN, she had the best idea that we outsource and get some of the gals in the group to take over specific jobs! That's why she's my Yoda!

  For now, I'm still handing the blog portion, Prayerful Bloggers. Since starting school (finally) on getting my Theology degree, I figured the majority of my posts on here would have some degree of Faith in them, so it's easy to crank out a couple of posts for the Prayerful Bloggers blog. Oh! And if you're interested in joining us, check out our blog on how to do that!

All of this is to let you in a little more about what's going on in my life, and why there hasn't been that much new content on here. What can you expect from me now? Probably 2 posts a week, on a variety of subjects. I will try to keep rotating them, from DIY's to finishing my European Travels from 2012, (yeah, I need to finish that)  to current recipes. One of the things I heard loud and clear from the Reader Survey responses, is that y'all want to hear more about my personal life... which is pretty boring, if you ask me! But, I try to accommodate you guys, and I think the best way to do that is to drag my little Sony camera around and make short videos, or maybe a weekly/biweekly update video made up of short ones. That way, I don't have to sit here and type it out. Less energy to blog may = more posts!

I seem to update my Instagram more than any other social media outlet, so if this blogging schedule isn't enough for you, keep up with me on Instagram!

I hope y'all had a great weekend!
Yo!

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