The Interview: Christi Estes

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This month, The Paper publishes a pair of Interviews with champions of two, big, local non-profits. They share some life history and lessons. The second of the two interviews is with Christi Estes of Can’t Never Could.

Briefly describe yourself and what you do/did.
I am a Newnan native, and a Newnan High School and UGA graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design. 

I practiced design in Atlanta for three years before returning to Newnan to practice at Panoply Interior Design from 1997 to 2010. I now run my own business, No Place Like Home Design, where I provide interior design services to clients throughout the southeast.

I am the proud mother to Robert (20), who attends UGA, and Sara Ashley (17), who is a senior at The Heritage School. I am the widow to my late husband, Rob, (my high school sweetheart) and was his caregiver and cheerleader during his fight against brain cancer from 2013 to 2017. Together we co-founded Can’t Never Could, a non-profit started when Rob was diagnosed with cancer. CNC helps those battling the adversity of illness through monetary donations and hope in Christ.

I also enjoy writing and sharing life experiences through social media, and blog posts. I continue to explore other spiritual and professional opportunities that will help me grow and meet and serve new people.

Best piece of business advice you’ve received.
Never assume anything.

If I had it to do over …
I would worry less and explore more. Life is short and so very unpredictable. I would take more chances and connect with more people. We can all learn from and help each other.

You are going on an extended solo trip. What three albums and three books would you take?
This is a very difficult question for me! I love many types of music and my favorite songs are on a mixed tape/playlist, not a single artist album. But if I had to choose, I’d say Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, the Grease Soundtrack, and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.

The three books I would take are: The Bible, New International Version, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Tell us one thing about yourself that few people know.
The movie The Wizard of Oz has been a constant presence in my life. As a child, I loved to watch the movie annually on television. At age 12 I played Toto, Dorothy’s dog, in Bettina Carroll’s local ballet production. As a high school senior, I was Dorothy in the Newnan High School Senior Play production. I have a large collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia and used it to decorate my children’s Wizard of Oz themed nurseries. The song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” holds special meaning for me with its message of hope and following your dreams. I named my design business after the movie quote, “There’s no place like home.” Both the concept of home and the idea of self-discovery – main themes of the movie – continue to play huge roles in my life.

You are hosting a dinner party for six. What five people, living or dead, would you invite and why?
Jesus, because I long to sit at His feet and worship Him; my late husband Rob, so that I can see and touch him, hear his voice again and hear all about heaven; Martin Luther King Jr, because of my immense respect for him and to ask him what he would recommend we do to solve today’s world problems; and my son and my daughter who would love to see their Dad again and would learn so much from the other guests.

Name an as yet unfulfilled dream.
I would love to be a published author. I have so many life experiences that have shown me God’s faithfulness and the strength of the human spirit. I hope I can successfully share and communicate those gifts at some point.

If you weren’t doing what you are, you would be …
I love to write and have been encouraged by many to write a book about my life and faith experiences. Stay tuned…

I am also entertaining the idea of getting into real estate. With my skill set in interior design and home staging, as well as my love of working with people, I think it would be a perfect fit for me.

Who knows what life holds, but I look forward to working hard and having fun!

Your go-to food.
Veggie Pizza (no olives) with extra sauce. I love cheese! I also love pepperoni but since developing the Alpha Gal allergy from a tick bite in 2017 I have been unable to eat any mammalian meat. Wear your tick repellent people!!

Favorite movies(s).
The Wizard of Oz, Grease, The Notebook, and Rudy.

Dogs or cats?
Both.

I have two dogs – Maya, a chihuahua we brought home from Belize, and Kirby, a chihuahua/German Shepherd mix we adopted from a local rescue group.

I also have two cats – Alley, found in the basement of Panoply, and Jerome, recently adopted from the local shelter.

Your favorite quote and why?
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.2 Corinthians 1:4

These words have given me the strength to share my struggles in hopes that God will use me and my story to help and comfort others who are also struggling.

Name something that you are extremely glad you did or accomplished.
I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to be my late husband’s caregiver, cheerleader, wife, and advocate for 21 years and then 51 months as he battled brain cancer. Taking care of him, researching treatment options, joining him in his vision for Can’t Never Could, and being by his side as he fought cancer, and then left this world are the biggest accomplishments and honors of my life. These roles have changed my perspective of life, my ability to give  grace to myself and others, my empathy for others, and my desire to live life to the fullest.

What advice would you give your younger self just starting out on their own.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Each chapter holds pain and pleasure that will teach us going forward.

Have faith in God’s plan and patience with yourself and others throughout the journey. Sometimes the journey itself, not the destination, will be the biggest gift of all.

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