Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My amazing husband!

Dan and I have lived in Boise for the past couple of months.  I accepted a job in Mountain Home and am currently working as a LCSW with the Airforce.  Dan is enjoying his job with his new company, and we planning to close on our new home around the 15th of May(finger's crossed).  Dan and I have been married almost 6 months, and not a day goes by that I don't feel grateful for the love he freely gives each day.  Looking back on my life it's amazing how much my perspective has changed, and how this adventure of marriage has made me the happiest I've ever been.  I can't imagine my life without my amazing husband and my beautiful step children.  Each day I count my blessings of love, family, and happiness.
I have always prided myself in being an independent successful woman.  When I was single I didn't realize that I could still be independent and a man would appreciate that.  I joke to Dan all the time that I need to send his EX a thank you card.  Instead of doing that I want to thank him publicly for all that he does.    I tell him all the time that I could write a book and several novels on reason that I love him.  Instead I will focus on 10.

1.     I love him because he is the most supportive and loving person I know.  Not a day goes by that he doesn't tell me that he loves me.  He supports me by making me dinner, doing household chores, and by giving me back and foot rubs.  It's the little things in life that make all the difference, and I appreciate all the love and support he gives.
2.    I love him because he is such an amazing father.  He takes time to listen to his kids, to laugh with them, and to provide for them emotionally, mentally, and physically.  I love watching him with Leksi and Brenn, and I'm so grateful that I get to support and love them too.
3.    I love Dan because he makes me laugh.  I'm laughing just thinking about how much fun we have.  He knows just what to do to make me feel better, and I appreciate that so much.  It's great knowing that no matter what life throws at us we can laugh our way through it.
4.    I love how hard Dan works.  I love the fact that Dan is passionate about what he does.  He is always working to better himself.  He is good at what he does, and always works to improve his work skills.  I love how he pushes me to do the same and encourages me to reach my goals and dreams.
5.    I love how much compassion and empathy he has.  We argue most about this because he doesn't think that he has any.  LOL!! I've never met a man with more compassion and empathy than what Dan has.  He doesn't hesitate to help a stranger, friend, or acquaintance when needed.  I appreciate all he has taught me about being more compassionate and empathetic.
6.    I love how Dan is a family man.  Dan loves his family so much, and he talks about the many memories he has with his parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins.  I love the importance of tradition and memories that he takes pride in.  I'm so grateful that I get the opportunity to enjoy and build on those memories and family with him!
7.    I love how active Dan is.  He loves many of the things that I do like hiking, working out, running, golfing, and being out in nature.  Dan is not afraid to try new things, and I enjoy being able to spend time with him.  I also enjoy beating him(I'm competitive what can I say....I love how I can say I beat him at whatever activity we do and he will just give me the "REALLY" statement or look).   
8.    I love how patient Dan is.  I mean come on he married me.  LOL!!! Dan is so good at dealing with my wonderful girl emotions, and my "so can you clarify" statements.  I appreciate the time and ENERGY that he takes in answering my questions and providing for me emotionally.
9.    I love that Dan holds my hand, kisses my forehead, and gives me hugs without asking.  He makes me feel appreciated and loved.  I appreciate all he does to show me love each and every day.
10.    I love that Dan encourages me to be myself, and accepts my faults and short comings.

My family use to tell me that my standards for the "perfect guy" were too high.  I'm so happy to say that I found not only the perfect guy for me, but one that exceeds all my expectations.  I'm grateful for your love, kindness, and for the humor we are able to share each day.  I look forward to sharing my FOREVER with you.   

Crystal Angel      

Monday, April 14, 2014

How thinking positively changed my life!

         I was talking to a friend at lunch today when she said "How do you do it?"  My response was "How do I do what?"  She said "You've had some awful stuff happen to you over the years, but you're still so cheerful.  What gives?"  This statement threw me off.  I know that I haven't always been the most positive person out there, but this theme has been coming up a lot.  My husband just last night was telling me how he admired by optimism.  I've had clients and coworkers comment on my positive attitude.  Yet, this hasn't always been the case.  I've actually been a very pessimistic person in the past.   So, I told my friend "Believe me there are times when I don't always feel positive and there are times I complain, but I've spent too much of my life focusing on the negativity.  I don't know when the light switched for me, but time flies by so fast.  I don't want to reach the end of my life and regret my life because I didn't appreciate it enough.  What I know is that no matter how difficult life gets..... it works out.....it always does.  You just miss the good when you're focusing on the bad.  So, I choose to look at the good."  I shared with my friend my 99% principal.  After our 25 minute chat she felt better, and said maybe I need to look at life differently too.  She said I like your 99% principal I just need to change the way that I view things.
          You're probably thinking what's the 99% principal?  First, let me tell you where it began.  About three years ago I felt depressed.  I wasn't sure where my life was going.  I felt like a hypocrite I was counseling people to change the way they think to help themselves feel better, but I wasn't doing it myself.   That year I went to a conference on "How Positive Psychology Changes Lives".  What's funny is my supervisor suggested I go.  With much hesitation I went but thought "Great another conference on being happy.  This will be a waste of my time."  They presented a lot of research on how people who thought positively lived longer and more satisfied lives.  At the conference they talked about techniques that could help one reduce depression, anxiety, and live happier lives by doing one thing.... thinking more positively.  One of the suggestions the speaker made was to try these techniques on ourselves before trying them on our clients.  I took the challenge of doing a gratitude journal for a month.  That month turned into a year.  What happened to my perspective changed significantly!
          What I noticed is that throughout my day I would experience many things (good, bad, and indifferent).  When I focused on the bad things it would become 99% of my day.  When I focused on the good things it would become 99% of my day.  However, at the end of the day I did my gratitude journal whether I was having a good or bad day.   On my "bad days" I was forced to look at the good, and believe me this was so HARD sometimes.  What was amazing is that even on my worst days the good outweighed the bad.  I realized that 99% of my day was good and 1% of my day was bad.  The thing was I was focusing on was the 1% and not looking at the 99%.  My 1% of negativity became 99% of my day.  Throughout that year I knew I had the challenge of doing my gratitude journal nightly so I was forced to look for good things throughout my day.  What I found was 99% of my day was generally good I just was moving too fast to appreciate it.
Another technique they touched on in my positive psychology conference was being mindful.  Being mindful was a new concept for me.  Again, I taught it to my clients, but I didn't ever implement it into my life.  I started to apply the concept of mindfulness throughout my day.  When I rode to work in the morning I started to look around and appreciate everything for what it was.  I paid attention to the sun rising, the trees, flower, people driving, the birds, sun sets, and yes even the squirrels (it's really hard to appreciate those rodents).  When I ate I tasted my food, when I exercised I listened to my body, when I spoke to my friends and family I listened to what they were saying, and when I touched something I felt it.  I was no longer on auto pilot.  Again, what I started to notice was a shift in myself.  Thinking positively, paying attention, and enjoying life were all encompassing.  I felt better, less bitter, and more confident.   
          After I practiced doing these things I started to teach it to my clients, co-workers, friends, and others who would listen to me.  What I found was when people choose to adopt the principles of thinking positively it changed their life.  Don't get me wrong there are days when I choose to view the negativity (bad habits never die right), but for the most part I choose to look for the silver lining and appreciate life for what it is.  We cannot stop the bad things from happening in our life (loss, hurt, pain, grief, etc.), but we can choose the way we think and view those things in our life.  There is beauty and good in our lives we just have to look for it.  If you can't see it you can choose to change your view by moving your feet.  As I have chosen to change my perspective it has opened me up to love and happiness.  My favorite quote is "Happiness is not just a package we can open up and consume, but we must learn to recognize the elements of happiness and enjoy them as they last."  I continue to be so grateful for my life and the things that continue to bless my life each and everyday.

Crystal Angel

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kristin Josie

My oldest niece just turned 13 years old.  I find that hard to believe.  It’s amazing to me how fast life fly’s by.  She is growing into the most beautiful young woman, and I’m so lucky to have her in my life.  The first time she was placed in my arms I knew I was in heaven.  I had never held something so perfect and tiny.  It’s amazing to me how something who wasn’t in my life before could mean more to me than I could imagine.  Kristin has always had the best personality and sense of humor.  She is loving, kind, and a joy to be around.  I’m hoping that she gets her gnarly sense of humor from me, because she has to be the funniest girl I know.  The times I treasure most is us planning practical jokes on everyone.  It cracks me up thinking about it.  The other times I enjoy is having our Crazy Aunt Crystal parties. It was awesome being single for so long, because I got to enjoy my time as an aunt and getting to know all my nieces and nephews.  I continue to be amazed at the person she is becoming, and thank god everyday that I get her in my life.  What she doesn’t know is she has changed my life in the best possible way!   I love her so very much and wish her the best birthday ever.  I love you lots!!!



Crystal Angel