Posted by Crystal

Yesterday’s post brought in a lot of really good feedback, some positive, and some REALLY negative. My first reaction was the urge to fire back, then my second was to ignore it and TRY not let it bother me, and my third reaction was to let it inspire me to write this post. I have a really hard time holding things in. Talking about it and getting the chance to explain myself, makes me feel sooo much better. Maybe this is a bad thing, but I don’t care, I’m going to do it anyway.
So, due to this really mean comment someone left me yesterday I’ve chosen to not allow anonymous comments anymore. I don’t need mean people leaving me comments who don’t even have the guts to reveal who they are.
First of all, I’m really sorry if I offended anyone by talking about horoscopes and patriarchal blessings as if they were equally the same. I was simply trying to relate to the masses. Not everyone is LDS and not everyone even knows what a patriarchal blessing is, so I was just trying to find things that people could relate to as far as what they choose to believe.
And now for my real purpose for this post. The comment that inspired this was “why did people laugh when you said you wanted to go on a mission? Please don’t say something like, they thought I was too pretty.
Hah! Well, ya know what? That was not the reason AT ALL.
If people weren’t so quick to judge then maybe they’d learn a little something.  Without going into too much detail, all I have to say is,  you NEVER know what people have been through. Coming from a broken home, and moving every 6 months didn’t exactly give me any kind of stability a child needs. I was always changing schools in the middle of the school year, which of course put a lot of stress on me, trying to make friends, getting comfortable in my new area and  adjusting to the new school program. I always felt behind in everything, while the rest of the class seemed to be doing fine. I began to think that I wasn’t very smart, and my grades made me believe I would never amount to much.
Of course I’m grateful for these experiences now because I can see how it’s made me stronger as a person. It took a long time for me to believe that I wasn’t stupid. So with this bad self image brought a lot of bad life choices. Most everyone in my family dropped out of high school, got into drugs or alcohol, never went to college… it was all I knew. I believed that I wasn’t anything special and that I probably would never do anything great in my life. So serving a mission was the last thing people would have expected me to do, and it was the last thing I ever thought to do.
 After all these years of feeling this way about myself, suddenly a light turned on! I was starting to realize my true potential, and I didn’t have to settle for less. I COULD be amazing, I started to BELIEVE that I could do ANYTHING I wanted! Learning the truth about myself literally SET ME FREE from the bondage of self doubt.
Here is a picture of me on my mission with my natural hair color, no tan, glasses, and about 20 pounds heavier. I wasn’t anything too exciting to look at. And who ever said that “pretty” people don’t serve missions anyway? Each and every one of my mission companions were GORGEOUS! They didn’t choose to go on a mission because they couldn’t get married. They chose to go because they simply wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.

I don’t think I’m any prettier than the average person. Anyone can wear make up, hair extensions, false eyelashes, body shapers to look thinner, get braces on their teeth and bleach them to make them white, color their hair, and take a good picture.
What is beauty? Well, we all know that true beauty comes from within. I don’t think there is anything wrong with enhancing the way you look in some ways. The bad thing is when you think your looks are ALL you have.
I’ve learned that there is more to life than LOOKS. I love to share tips on hair, skin, and weight loss. It’s fun and it makes us women feel good to pamper ourselves and to FEEL pretty, but it’s only one small part of life. I also share my thoughts and life experiences that don’t have anything to do with beauty. It’s all about balance, and not getting too obsessed with any one thing.
Anyway, I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Thank you all for listening :)

Posted by Crystal
I’ve been doing a little soul searching lately. It seems that we all go through this from time to time. Wondering if we’re fulfilling our purpose, or living up to the expectations of motherhood. Are we making each day count? Are we sharing our time and talents with others? Are we working hard to DEVELOP our talents? Are we using our talents for the purpose of serving others, or for the purpose of serving ourselves?
I know what OUR purpose is, but I also know that each one of us has something extra special to offer the world, and whether or not we choose to fulfill it, is up to us.
In hopes to shed a little light on the subject, I started going through some of my old journals, studying my patriarchal blessing, and even reading my horoscope. By the way, what is your opinion on horoscopes? Do you believe in them? I’m still not sure if I really do. I would LIKE to, it would sure explain a lot about myself, which seems to be something that I’m constantly trying to figure out.  Perhaps it will ALWAYS be something that is not so clear. I guess it’s all part of this journey we call LIFE.
It’s funny, because everything that my horoscope told me, seemed to be VERY comforting, and in fact answered many of my questions. My NEEDS as a Pisces, is: A purpose, so as to focus thoughts and avert boredom. Quiet intervals, to foster a sense of identity and peace. To feel ENCOURAGED, trusted and loved. Pisces needs to stick to a schedule or they’ll get lost in their own dreams. Too much regimentation, however, will crush their creativity.

Horoscopes and patriarchal blessings are very interesting. If you choose to believe them, it unwraps the truth about ones self, and in a sense, setting us free to do MORE with the gifts/ talents we’ve been given. It enhances faith in our own abilities, giving us the reassurance that, YES, we are special, and even GOOD at certain things. It gives us affirmations of what we can ultimately become, and perhaps unveiling the hidden obstacles holding us back.

I laughed when I read in my horoscope that I NEED to feel encouraged :) I’ve noticed that about myself and I believe it’s a weakness. It holds me back a little in life, provoking me to second guess myself A LOT!  I remember when I first started telling people I wanted to serve an LDS Mission. People literally laughed, thinking I was joking.  This caused me to really doubt my abilities and think maybe I was fooling myself at thinking I could ACTUALLY do something like this. I knew I had to rise above the negative comments and go forth with my endeavor. It’s not easy for me to ignore the nay sayers, but I know it’s the only way to succeed.

I think it’s human nature to compare ourselves with others, and in so doing, we tend to compare our weaknesses with others strengths. Why not be happy with who we are and what we have been given? I ask myself this all the time. It’s hard to always be aware of the unique abilities we each have, and not be jealous of others gifts. I’m always doing this to myself, not realizing at the moment the harm it’s doing to my self confidence. I read other blogs and I’m completely blown away by the talent these other women have. I can’t help but feel less as a person, completely inadequate in every way. Comparing yourself to others is guaranteed to bring you down and make you feel worthless. Therefore leading you in the opposite direction of finding true fulfillment in life.


In a world that’s ever changing and clocks that seem to be going 100 miles a minute, it’s hard for us to take time to relax and enjoy the little things. Maybe I should just speak for myself. I’m constantly trying to remind myself to slow down and relax a little, always feel like there’s something more I should be doing,  like there is never enough time in a day to accomplish it all. I’m reminded of the quote by President Ezra Taft Benson, “When we put God first, all other things fall into place.”

 I know I’m in the season of motherhood and that in itself is something to be grateful for and proud of. I also believe very strongly that it’s so important for us mothers to have other hobbies that don’t include wiping bums and making bottles. It’s important for us to set aside time for ourselves to refine our minds and develop talents.

“Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children.”
-Elder M. Russell Ballard

I want to try harder to fulfill my purpose by allowing the truth to set me free, rising above the negativity, quit comparing myself to others, and hurry less in my season of motherhood.

Posted by Crystal

Yesterday I decided to read a little bit out of my missionary journal to refresh my memory of all the important lessons I learned while I was there. I’ve heard that a mission teaches you 15 years worth of lessons all compacted into 18 months-2 years. And boy do I believe it! My mission was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but of course wouldn’t change a thing about it. What it has given me, is priceless.
As I was reading, I came across one, of the many entries, that talked about my struggles out there lol. I had written down parts of this Ensign talk that really spoke to my heart at the time. I want to share it with you because it is SO inspirational.

Be Not Afraid
by President James E. Faust
“I learned the lesson that life’s burdens don’t seem to be so great if we don’t allow ourselves to get paralyzed into a stupor of inactivity by our sorrow and pain.”

He goes on to talk about the children’s classic The Secret Garden, author Frances Hodgson Burnett. The author writes this commentary:
“So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical half-crazy little hypochondriac who knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring and also did not know that he could get well and could stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthier through his veins and strength poured into him like a flood…Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has sense to remember in time to push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. ‘Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.’ “
Sometimes we allow ourselves to fall into this trap of self pity and doubt, and forget about the huge potential we really have. Most of us don’t even know what we are capable of, and sadly may never know. It takes great strength to rise above our burdens.

The beginning of my mission was especially rough for me. I couldn’t speak the language yet, so of course my companion ended up doing most of the talking. During our appointments I’d be struggling to stay awake, partly because of boredom, having no clue what was being said, and also dealing with the affects of jet lag. I was completely exhausted, homesick, and feeling inadequate in every way. It took a little time, and a lot of patience before I began feeling like I knew what I was doing, and could say what I wanted to say.
In my first city, I had the opportunity of participating in the beginning stages of a women’s conversion. When I say participating, I mean just being there, with a smile on my face. Due to the language barrier, I really had no part in it at all :) Anyway, she ended up getting baptised a few months after I left the city. And now 7 years later, I receive an email from her, thanking me for serving a mission, and telling me how happy she is. Her conversion has lead to many wonderful blessings. She has fulfilled numerous callings in the church, taken out her own endowments in the temple, her daughter is now a member (after years of investigating the church), and was recently sealed in the temple to an amazing young man.
I don’t believe I personally had any part in this. I didn’t say much, didn’t do much, was just simply there, and for that I am most grateful. I didn’t see a whole lot of lives being changed while I was there, and sometimes wondered why I had come in the first place.
Two main things I learned on my mission, was;
#1- My mission was mostly for me. To strengthen my testimony, to go through the ups and downs, and to prepare me for the life I was about to lead. Every lesson I learned out there applies to my life now in so many ways.

#2- We may never know of the lives we’ve touched or the people we inspired or helped along the way. All we can do is be mindful of others who may be in need of encouragement, kind words or even a little love. We may be an answer to someone’s prayers without even doing much but simply being there with a smile on our face. We should lift one another, rather than tear them down because of jealousy. Be grateful for our OWN individual talents, and have faith that we too, have something extraordinary to offer. Push out those negative thoughts, enjoy the sunshine, stand up on our feet, and do it!

Love the bread in Germany :) The chocolate too, that’s probably why I put on the pounds. Or it could have been crepes with Nutella every night for dinner.