Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

*Sigh*  New Year's Eve.
I was standing all alone in the kitchen, peering into the fridge in search of an afternoon snack, and mumbling under my breath, "Another year has come and gone and here I am standing in the exact same spot I was last year wearing my same stupid work clothes and eating another stupid snack!"  I slammed the fridge door, a little perturbed by the lack of fulfilling change in my life, and turned to my fish in the sink window.  "And what about you, Staccato. What have you done with your life this year?  Still sitting in your same stupid spot in the windowsill?!?  Well, congrats to you too."
(Yes, I do verbally abuse my beta fish.  I'm really working on it.  I know it's not healthy)
But then I tilted my head to the side the way a puzzled golden retriever would turn after hearing an unfamiliar whistle and examined my little Staccato fishy.  His year had changed...  He got a new fish bowl. 

I nodded my head to myself and looked around.  My life had adjusted too.  They may be the littlest of details, but they have changed none the less.  I started glancing through our family pictures from 2014 and cheered up.  What wonderful memories we made this year.  I turned my attitude around and quickly apologized to the fish.  Anyone experiencing similar feelings without dramatic changes in their lives over the last 365 days, I suggest sitting down and making a list of the little things that made your year special.  

Here's mine...

We took a trip to the coast.  A couple actually.  We had gone camping with friends and one time found an adorable Air B&B right by the water.  The ocean just does things to your soul.  I love sitting in the sand and soaking up the mystery.

Spent time with the Fam-Bam and friends.  We didn't get to do that much traveling this year but were blessed to have quite a few visitors come to The Dalles.  Lots of trips from my parents, Kenny came for a soccer game with Mitch, Mary came for a job interview, Mo&So, Matt&Keri, Scott&Melissa, Klint&Kim, Adam&Lisa, and Ben&Lydia.  Anyone I'm missing?  Wonderful memories.

A lot of exploring in the gorge.  Mitchell was on a new hike every week it seemed like and we fell more and more in love with the beautiful northwest.

My work got first place in the Cherry Festival Lip Sync Contest.  It was my first year winning and so much fun.

We celebrated the life of my dear, sweet grandma Hutchings.  She was an amazing woman and since she has been gone I have felt closer to her now than ever before.  I think she has been pretty busy this year as my guardian angel.  I've needed the help.

Congrats Mitchell!!!  He finished school and got his degree.  I am so proud of all of his hard work he put into his education and the wonderful man that he is.

Crockett family reunion.  All. of. us.  So many bright and wonderful personalities all rolled into one spot.  This was by far one of the best memories of the year for me.

Mitchell hiked across Oregon.  THIS IS HUGE!!!  I am so proud of my husband for following his dreams.  He trekked the Pacific Crest Trail starting from the California border and finishing in Washington.  I can never fully comprehend the pain and endurance, planning and preparation, or determination and courage it took to accomplish this task.  This man is my hero.

Attended my first college football game.  GO DUCKS.  It was a cold and rainy day, but I came prepared with my six layers of bottoms, six layers of tops, and four pairs of socks.

The hubby got a job.  Again, I am so proud of Mitchell this year and all he accomplished.  He had a big year.  I am so thankful for all his hard work he does for our family.

I have had so much fun writing this year.  It has been the most amazing outlet and has saved me.  I am ridiculously excited to go back to school and get a degree as soon as I can so my words can actually make sense when I write them out.

Thinking back to who I was a year ago, I have realized that I am so much different.  There have been so many experiences that have shaped me into me at this moment and I am so excited to see where I will be a year from now.  Happy New Year everybody!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Testimony Tuesday

I love disclaimers.  Mitch always teases me because I am obsessed with using them...
            Disclaimer #1: I have shared part of this thought recently in a testimony meeting, so anyone in my ward who reads this may find it repetitive.
            Disclaimer #2: I’m not sure many people will be able to relate to this post, but I have had this feeling pressing on my mind that I need to share this, even if it is only meant to help one person out there somewhere. 
            A few months ago I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with my mom to Portland for a Time Out for Women conference.  There were many fantastic speakers and talented artists who performed that weekend and the spirit was felt so strong.  That evening one of the singers shared a touching experience about the struggles she used to have involving infertility.  Her heart reached out to all those in the audience who were facing the same trial. 
            I believe that sometimes we are given trials so that we can be there to comfort others who later go through similar struggles.  And I know this to be true with this individual sister because she was there for me when I needed her.
            The other night I was feeling down and heartbroken about not being able to have children.  I was pondering if I was missing something, if there was something God was trying to teach me that I still hadn’t figured out yet or if there was anything I could do to make it better, and I felt a strong impression that it was finally time.  Time for me to share exactly what I am going through and be there for somebody the way this lady was there for me.
            Whoever you are, wherever you are, if you are wrestling with this trial of infertility as well, I want you to know that I love you and I am here for you and I know exactly how you feel.  You are not alone.

            Yes, I know.  I too have scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed and seen four different ultrasound picture birth announcements in the same day.  I have congratulated my pregnant friends that got married after me with their first child… and second… and their third.  I have watched my friends who struggled with infertility along side me move on and have children of their own.
            I know how it feels to sit at church where every moan of a baby slowly scrapes at the inside of your heart.  To miss someone before you have even met them. 
            I have been there too at the grocery store or at work when the impatient parent who is having a hard, tired day verbally abuses their son or daughter and I am screaming on the inside thinking, “You have NO IDEA how lucky you are to have that precious child in your life!”  It has frustrated me too.
            I have felt the pain of the stinging hope that disappoints you every month when you receive that negative test.  Every time.  You always know it will say no, but you allow that vulnerable “maybe” to take over your emotions and shatter you.  Again and again and again and again.
            I’ve felt the emotional pain that is so overwhelming that you physically just want to throw up, desperately searching for any way to get rid of the heavy unhappiness that weighs down on the organs inside of you.  I too have soaked the blankets in tears as I pleaded in prayer beside the foot of my bed.

            I have always had wonderful support from my amazing husband, my friends, and my family.  Like this experience with the sister at the women's conference, I have always been grateful for the comfort of those who have gone through this trial in the past and have shared their similar stories, telling me how “someday your turn will come.”  I wanted to be one of those people.  I have tried to keep this inside of me so that in the future I could be that mom who is there for someone in a similar experience and share with them how someday their time will come. 
            But I feel like I need to share this now while I am still experiencing it.  Because I want whoever that someone is out there that might be going through this with me to know that there is still so much joy, even now, while we are here.  Life is so beautiful.  You can feel it when you look up at the dazzling stars or hear it through the twittering birds of springtime.  Even though we don’t want to admit it, we can catch a glimpse of relief when we get to sleep in or spontaneously leave on a weekend trip without a care.  Or the awesomeness of having guests over with kids and maybe they will destroy your living room in that 24 hours while they stayed, but as soon as they leave you can wipe up the mess and vacuum the spilled Cheeros and relax again in your fresh home.  We can enjoy what we have now.

            Find a passion that distracts you from the pain, close your eyes and enjoy the peace, smile, count your blessings out loud, write them down even, SERVE OTHERS.  There is no better way to be happy than by losing yourself in the service of others. 
            These have been the hardest years of my life.  But with that, I have never been closer to my Heavenly Father.

            Let me tell you the second part of my experience at that women’s conference…  When this sister was speaking and telling me the same thing I am telling you right now, I was crying like a baby.  Like, UGLY crying, where you let your hair drop in front of your face to keep the people next to you from seeing how gross you look.
            While I bawled and listened to this speaker, my mom was sitting beside me and when I looked over she was weeping too.  As far as I know, it was never hard for my parents to have children.  This moment meant so much to me.  Even though this wasn’t her trial, her tears were for me.  She was aching because of the pain I felt. 
            I can’t help but think we are given parents in this life to catch a glimpse of the love our Heavenly Father and Mother have for each one of us.
            I don’t believe God is up in heaven, sitting on his throne looking down on us and thinking, “Suck it up!  Everyone has been given adversity so just deal with it!”
            I think He aches for us too.  I think it brings Him sorrow when He has to watch us in pain. 

            I KNOW that our Savior knows our pains.  He knows EXACTLY what it feels like to be going through what you are going through.  If my words don’t help bring you comfort, at least let the Savoir into your heart and know that He can bring you peace.  He can give you strength when you are trembling and feel there is no more hope left.  He loves you, your Heavenly Father loves you, and my heart aches for you too.  I pray and wish you happiness, whoever you are out there.  If I could reach out and give you a giant bear hug I would.  I would love to be that shoulder for you to soak your tears into.  Know, please know, that you are not alone.

You are not alone.


For more #TestimonyTuesday videos click HERE.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Year's Resolution

We all know her.  The woman of flawlessness who on her worst day rushes out the door without putting on makeup and still presents herself as absolutely impeccable.  Because she looks amazing without makeup and she seems more beautiful in her cute sweats than you felt on your prom night.  I can go on and on about her gorgeous children or her unbreakable charm, her beautifully manicured fingernails and her unbelievably delicious smelling homemade cookies.  No seriously, I don't believe it.  Even the store-bought bakery ones don't smell that good.  What is her secret?!

They come in all shapes and sizes and they are different to each individual.  But no matter who we are, no one can deny the existence of the "Perfect Patricia."

In comparison, here's how good I am at things...

I remember my P.P. growing up.  She was the mom of one of my best friends.  Her hair was always fabulous and flipped out like she just had it shaped at a salon.  She was my seminary teacher and I remember trying to pay attention to the lesson, but kept finding my mind wondering to her cute shoes and where she must have purchased them.  She was an interior designer, so her home looked like it was featured in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine, but even better than that.  It was too good for BH&G.  The guest bathroom was themed after Book of Mormon heroes with big green ferns and low lighting to make you feel like you were deep in the jungle with the exploring Nephites.
Oh yes, she was my role model.  When I grew up, I wanted to be Sister Perfect Patricia.

We've all heard this story countless times.  How we shouldn't get down on ourselves and compare lives.  And how we shouldn't stress over our worst qualities and liken them to our heroes' best ones.  It's unhealthy!  But it's also really easy to catch yourself doing.

Another time showing me being good at things... Like making collapsing gingerbread houses.

I remember sharing these feelings with my husband once.  I explained to him my Perfect Patricia and asked why I couldn't be just like her, why she made it look so easy to do and here I was feeling helpless.  And I LOVED the advice that Mitchell responded with.

He said, "Baby girl (because that's what he calls me), don't EVER desire to be somebody else.  That's coveting and that's breaking one of the big ten.  You can look at the qualities that you admire about a person and in a healthy way desire to improve those in yourself, but never want to be anyone except for you. If you want to dream of being a better person, dream of a perfect version of yourself to shoot toward."

Isn't he awesome.

Just be your best YOU.  No more comparing yourself to others!  I think that's why I have always loved non-team sports.  Like track.  When I run or jump, I don't have to think about the person competing beside me.  I could get last place in an event one day and be in the best mood because, guess what, I broke my own personal record!  I could take literal measurements and see a new improvement in myself and that was all that mattered.

For the last lesson of the year I am going to give the YW this handout at the beginning of class and have them constantly thinking and recording all of the ways they want to improve themselves.  At the conclusion, I'll hand out color pencils so they can fill in the boxes to label each goal.  Then they can underline and select a time when they want to begin working on them.

Download HERE

I started filling one out as an example to show how I color labeled each category.
Happy New Year everyone!!
Be your best you!!
Forget about the Perfect Patricias!

P.S. We still love you Perfect Patricias.  Thank you for always giving us hope that maybe someday we can all look like we have everything together.

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