Friday, October 12, 2012

the road less traveled.

guess who's back to blogging after almost a 2 month break? Fall is here... and my heart has turned introspective. The change in weather definitely affects my attitude and the way I think here lately. Whether it's from certain clients I've been seeing or the time of year, there has been something pricking my heart lately... and I think it might be time to share it. Bear with me; these have just been thoughts in my head before this... try to piece my jumbled ramblings together :)

one of the worst and hardest times in my life was transitioning into my 20's. I don't know if it was the confusion of not being a kid but not feeling like a full adult... or a certain spiritual dryness I felt in that time in my life... I'm sure it was many things compiled and pieced together that made that time so difficult. I believe one major downfall was that I felt like I had no one helping me out... Granted, I was 19 going into my 20's. I knew how to do laundry and dress myself. But what about LIFE? I had big questions and felt so lost and confused about how to make my mark in the world but still stay grounded in my core beliefs. I wanted someone speaking truth into my life.

i chose to listen elsewhere.

When I was in 3rd grade, we had to memorize "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. As much as I absolutely hated my 3rd grade year and all the horrible memories from it... this poem was a diamond in the rough. It set me up to enjoy Robert Frost as a writer (I was a nerdy kid), and I found "The Road Not Taken" to be an anthem in my life for many years. I felt as though I had integrity and a "quiet strength" that many of my peers did not exude as we grew up. I was the "good girl" and faithfully enjoyed the title. I don't feel like I'm bragging here because I know the in's and out's of my life story, and the "good girl" title came to a screeching halt many times in my growing up years. 

so where and when did my ears begin to stray from my sweet Robert Frost poem? why did I stop listening in the first place? 

great questions, huh? I've asked myself many times. I think it came when I felt like I was "missing out" on something that seemed better than what I had. Remind you of anyone? How about Eve in the Garden? I tasted the fruit, felt my shame, and sat in it. I sat in it a long time. 

Too long.

I felt alone and empty. I was terrified of my future. I was ashamed of things I had done and people I was close to. But I continued to do it. Shame has a funny way of telling you lies about yourself that you believe, and you try to hide it by doing things that cause even more shame. I was trapped in this vicious cycle, and I didn't know how to get out. I wanted to be free of this guilt-filled prison. 

And I felt like people had no idea.

I felt like I had all this inner turmoil and no one would ever understand... and God forbid they would ever find out. I felt like most of my spiritual guidance was depleted, and I was forced to rely on myself (Anyone can tell you how well that goes). In the midst of all of my JUNK, I still wanted to appear like I had it all together. I was too proud to reveal that I was truly a mess inside. I had a secret life that no one knew about (in my eyes), and some of you may even be reading this now thinking "What in the world is she talking about?" Trust me, it was there. Secrets are powerful, and I felt that these secrets in my life had the power to seriously destroy my future.

Shame casts big shadows on small things. 

What I felt like was too big for ANYone to understand or accept was made to be too big to share . The more I tried to hide my shame, the bigger I thought it was getting. I felt like everyone could see right through me and see how big of a failure I had become. I was in positions to influence many young girls' lives, and I felt so guilty every time I tried to guide them in their pursuit of holiness knowing the hypocrisy I was spewing in my personal life. 
The absolute worst part of that time in my life was feeling like there was no one there for me. Granted, I did have good, solid people in my life who I could have gone to... but in the midst of my dirtiness, I felt like I couldn't get close to anyone because they'd never understand or look at me the same.


My biggest fear in that moment would have been the exact thing to free me from that horrible prison. I needed redemption. I needed to surrender and confess. I needed to stop hiding myself from other people to protect my own "reputation" and identity. I felt like my church had set me up for perfection, and I didn't meet it; therefore, I had to stay silent and appear perfect. It might have been my own perception of what Christianity required of me, but regardless, that was the driving force for me keeping quiet to others around me. 

I felt like I wasn't good enough...whole enough.. to be enough.

There is beauty in brokenness.

It took me many years to grasp that idea. It's scary and vulnerable... but it's beautiful and worth it. I don't have to DO or ACT or BEHAVE a certain way to be enough. I'm enough because God has already done enough for me. I just have to BE. What a concept for my perfectionist, shame-filled heart. What I would have given to have someone share this with my back then. That is my reason for sharing this with you now. I hope I can be for you what I needed so badly back then.

I hope that anyone in any transition can hear these words and find some hope. My first thought comes to my old remix girls who are at this exact age where I found so much trouble, but it can be applied to anyone really. The worst part about sitting in my shame was that I felt like I was the only one sitting in it. I had no idea that so many other people felt that same way, and I believe it would have made a major difference for me to know back then. I hope that these words bring comfort to you if you're hurting and let you know that you AREN'T alone. At all. No matter what mistakes you've made or how bad you think you've 'blown it,' I promise you that you can bounce back. 

I know you can. I did it. My transition to my 20's was 5 years ago. My life is completely different now than how I pictured it as a beaten up, lonely, heartbroken 19 year old. I know some people won't share their stories, but I think we can find power in them. You can change the way your story is going right now. I hope you know you can. I wish someone had shared this with me and let me know these things. My shame and guilt catapulted me into a string of even worse decisions and relationships than what i had already experienced. I hope you can see God's redemptive power and realize that you don't have to do this on your own. In fact, if you want to, text me... email me... facebook message me... I will do whatever I can to help you. You are not alone.

For me, I took many paths in my transition into "adulthood." Many I wish I could take back, but the funny thing about the "journey of life" is that it's not always about the destination; it's about who you ARE and who you BECOME along the way.  My decisions and mistakes and relationships didn't continue to define me. I found out that who I AM is different than what I've DONE. I realized that it wasn't a bad thing to have the "good girl" title and valued that the pure in heart see God. I changed my path, and I have looked back to learn from my mistakes... and hopefully to help you in where you are now.

It's never too late to take a different road. 

And who knows, maybe you can choose the one less traveled... I know it made the difference for me.

The Road Not Taken
 Robert Frost
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

it truly has.

im thankful,
carrie anne

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day Thirty: A Picture

 I finally get to finish this darn blogging challenge. It only took me 8 months :) My last post in this challenge has to be "a picture." I can't think of a better way to end this challenge (and begin this Fall) than with my beloved Arkansas Razorbacks. Our season starts in ONE WEEK, and I'm so beyond excited. I cannot believe football season is already upon us... we wait all year for this: all summer, days seem to creep by... waiting and waiting for football season to come back again. Now it's here, and I feel like it's come so quickly. Crazy how that works. Regardless, I'm tremendously excited for this season and to begin college football. Be still, my heart!


im thankful.
carrie anne

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day Twenty-Nine: Three Wishes

Day 29: Three Wishes

Since it's been almost a solid 3 months since my last blog post, I thought it was high time for an update. Summer has flown right by us, and school has started again for my hubby and many of my friends. I'm still trying to remind myself that school is not on my agenda - it's hard to register when you're used to starting school in August for the past 20 years. It's a hard realization (if you can believe that) because I honestly loved school. 

Summer was packed full of amazing fun for us this year. We got to spend a lot of time with our friends, Kathryn & Darren, and our families of course. We went floating down the Buffalo River for the first time ever in May with Kathryn & Darren... We also went with them to the Poultry Festival up in Rogers in June -- plus countless other fun nights spent with them. 

Here we all are at the Poultry Festival! :)

Here is Ryan grilling out on our porch with our "grass." Many summer nights were spent out here with each other :)

Ryan took me to go see The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX opening weekend. I was FLOORED... I've seen it three times already, and it's in my top 5 favorite movies. Batman <3 br="br">

Other than that, we had birthday parties, fun nights, a trip to the lake with my family, and barbeques with family. 

Here I am with Bella on the boat on our family trip to the lake this summer :)

 And here I am with my sweetie <3 p="p">

Ryan and I also just got back from our 7 day cruise to the Bahamas last week. Summer has been full of awesomeness! It's hard to "get back to business" this week. 

We are headed to dinner at the steakhouse here :) dressed up!

this is on our suite's balcony leaving Nassau, Bahamas... 

Beautiful view from our balcony :)

my favorite quarter game in the casino paid off! 

So it may take me forever, but I plan on finishing this darn 30 day blog challenge : ) Today is "three wishes." As much as I love Aladdin, this post is semi-lame. I could make it very serious and wish for world peace and all those things, but I'll make it fun and light hearted... so you won't judge me if I leave off something serious you really care about :)

1.) A permanent vacation with my boo. 

Tell me who wouldn't want this?! Since returning from our vacation, all I can do is think about going on another one. We keep talking about our "post vacation" depression and how wonderful it will be to get to go see other parts of the world together in the future. I can't imagine a 'permanent vacation' where that's all we do!! I'm sure it would get old at some point, and I'd want to get back to counseling... but I'd want to try it out first :)

2.) Eating without getting fat.

Now, c'mon... isn't this every woman's dream? If I get a wish, I want this one for sure. I love a lot of healthy foods, but I REALLY love some bad ones. If I could eat fried catfish, cheetos, french fries with a side of Kit Kat and a big ol' Diet Dr Pepper.... without adding a single pound or "unhealthy" part to me... you better believe I'll wish for that!

 3.) A HUGE music festival with only my favorite artists.

Think about this, music lovers... can you imagine getting this once in a lifetime opportunity to hear all your favorite artists (living or deceased) in one place for however long it might take? Mine would include (but not limited to) the following: 

John Mayer, Coldplay, Incubus, Queen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Cocker, The Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Brian McKnight, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Grace Potter, Dave Matthews, Blindside, Amos Lee, Jason Mraz, Zac Brown Band, Adele, Ne-Yo, Three Dog Night, The Rolling Stones, Chicago, Carrie Underwood, Dream Theater, Deas Vail, August Burns Red, Eric Clapton, Galactic, Garth Brooks, Jimi Hendrix, ELO, Foreigner, and many others... I think my festival would last a month :) what a freaking wish, though! :)

So I just may be back to blogging usually :) I've missed it... Plus, there's too much to catch up after 3 months. It's been a summer to remember, that's for sure!

im thankful.
carrie anne

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Share Your Story

A while ago, I offered to "Share My Story" on the Pless Press Amber had a great idea to get some people so share their stories on her blog each week, and I volunteered to give it a go :) To give you some background information: I am 25 years old, married to my best friend (Ryan Keith) for over a year now, and we live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I'm licensed as a professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. Besides school and work, I absolutely LOVE the Arkansas Razorbacks (I've been a fan my entire life), and I love to travel to new places with my hubby. Family is super important to us - so we spend a lot of time with them, and we love watching movies/or doing anything that'll fit in our newlywed budget. 

When I first saw that Amber was starting this blog project, I immediately thought it was a great idea. Being in the counseling field, I truly have seen how the power of sharing a story can bring healing and encouragement. Rarely have I been on anything but the receiving end of those conversations... so actually sharing my story will be a little different. 

To start, I was raised in church my entire life. Much of my belief set (like many people) was taught to me by my family. My sister had cancer when she was 5 years old, and my brother was her bone marrow transplant donor. She, praise God, was healed from terminal cancer and is now 32 years old with a beautiful baby girl (read her adoption story here). But we were raised in a family of great faith. My parents were always encouraging... always supportive of whatever I felt like I was supposed to be doing, whether it was moving across the country to Atlanta for a summer or having a party in their house to celebrate someone's birthday in the church... they were always supportive. 

My story changes as I get older, though. I started studying different things in college, and I had some less-than-ideal experiences in my local church. My heart started to harden, and I became very bitter at the "church." I started realizing how emotionalism and materialism played into my relationship with God... it was something my church had taught me, but it was something I had also learned and accepted. There are many times that we are faced with opportunities to accept something as truth, and we do simply because we trust those in leadership above us. I've learned that skepticism can be very healthy. Ask questions. Research. Dig in. Find your own answers. Talk to other people about your thoughts. Email your pastor. There are so many ways to safeguard against blind obedience

Back to my story -- I was blindly obedient to leadership I shouldn't have been in my early 20's. I've come to a point where I don't have to push blame on anyone. I can accept the fact that I had some responsibility, and I got hurt because of my blind obedience. I don't believe I'm the only person who has been 'hurt by the church'... I'm actually very positive that I'm not. Sometimes those wounds cut so deep because we except more from a church leadership and our disappointment hits a deep low point. It's what we choose to do afterward that makes the difference.

In my case, I made some pretty rough choices. I chose to rebel. I chose to disobey what I knew was right. I chose bitterness against the church and the people in it. Those were some very rough years for me. I made decisions that still have ripples that affect me to this day. If I believed in regret, that would be the time in my life I would regret. But since I believe more power comes from learning and growth, I know that I've learned something (actually, learned many things) from that time in my life that can be used for good now. One of the greatest things I've learned is:

We are hurt and healed in relationships. 

My biggest hurts and greatest joys in life have been in the midst of relationships. My bitterness and hurt from church years ago has been healed through my relationship with Christ and also with His body. My husband and I joined a newlywed small group last year, and we've made some great friends who have encouraged us and given us some amazing community among each other. Not to mention my holy union with my husband and how MUCH of an impact that has had on my heart and personal relationship with Christ. If there's ever a chance for more conviction or more sanctification - it's in a marriage. 

I've said many times on my blog... and will continue to say it here: God writes the best stories. He planned my entire life out for me, and it brings me great comfort to know that all my experiences, decisions, low points, high points, and in betweens were all appointed by Him. My story is definitely mixed with belief, bitterness, and brokenness... but I've come to a place where I can truly say that brokenness is beautiful. It's the place where God can truly put our pieces back together the way He intended... and He still thinks we're beautiful. Some of the most beautiful stories I've ever heard were marked with pain and suffering... but also victoryVictory that only God can bring. The beautiful stories are the ones that can only be explained by pointing to God and saying, "It's because of Him." 

That's where my story is now. I look back on my life, and I realize I have made some very, very poor decisions. But I also see the redemption that has been given to me throughout my life, and I am infinitely blessed because of it. There are no "moments" in my life in the past few years that I can point to that were "turnarounds" or "breakthroughs" for my relationship with God, and I think that's significant. My relationship with Him (my story) is constantly growing, changing, and deepening. There is no "start point" for me just like there will not be an "end point." My story will continue to be written until I meet Jesus face to face, and I will continue my story with Him for eternity. 

God writes the best stories. I can't wait to live the rest of mine. 

im thankful.
carrie anne

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day Twenty-Eight: Something that Stresses You Out

Day 28: Something that Stresses You Out.


decisions stress me out to the max. I remember being a senior in high school (and years before that), completely stressed about college/degrees/life... Those days seem so simple now. One of the biggest reasons that making a decision is so stressful now is because I am no longer just ME. I am a wife.
my life is now connecting to another human being, and my decisions directly impact his life as well. 

So choosing what college to go to as an 18 year old isn't nearly as stressful as making a decision to go BACK to school as a married 25 year old. Perhaps you caught on in my last blog post that some things have happened in the past few months... I've obviously been so busy that my blog has been stagnant and empty. Part of me wishes that I would have been posting so i could go back and read through some of my thoughts/feelings, and part of me is glad that this is the first time this will be said...

I have decided not to enroll in the Ph.D program this year.

Are you as shocked as I still am?

Yes. What I said is real.

I'm still grieving over this decision, but I know it's the right one. I've tried many times to explain and describe how this makes sense to me, and I hope I can do an adequate job in this post to help you understand, too.
 ((To clarify, I have notified the school and my family before publishing this post. This is simply to share my heart and also not have to explain this to everyone individually)).

I've compared the way I feel to anticipating a wedding, and I'm the bride. I was dating Regent for a while... things got serious, and Regent asked me to marry him. We set a date for August of this year, and that's when our marriage would begin. After my acceptance of this proposal, I started to doubt whether or not this marriage would be the right thing for me. I felt myself getting sick and worried over this decision, and I knew I needed to practice what I preached in marital therapy... and know that this can be undone before a "marriage" takes place. Regent doesn't deserve a half-hearted, unsure student, and I don't need such a huge commitment to something I'm not 100% sure of now.

This is almost comical to me, though... Coming home from my interviews in Virginia, I wanted this SO bad. I was so so so so so nervous waiting for the news as to whether I got in or not. Every time my phone buzzed, I jumped... I went out of town and made my parents check the mail... I got the news really really early on a morning before a workday. I RAN down the hall and starting tearing up as I got to tell Ryan that I GOT IN. I texted and called family and close friends, tweeted and Facebooked the good news... I was so excited. I felt like I was joining something so amazing, and I was so HONORED to be chosen by this university. I felt nothing else at that point. It was bliss!

Until about a few weeks later.

Maybe I was getting out of that lovey dovey phase of the relationship with Regent... but whatever it was, I absolutely could not shake it. At first, I felt that it might have to do with the fact that I didn't know who else was in my cohort with me, and I just needed some connection. Then I thought that maybe this could be me getting scared of such a huge challenge, and I needed to start preparing for this big stinkin deal. 

That's when I decided to spend some major time in prayer.

I knew these feelings and thoughts were going on for a reason, and I wanted to know why. I spent a lot of time writing out pros and cons of enrolling and not enrolling in the program... I started having an open mind to both sides... I had very deep, difficult conversations with my husband... I even went back and tried to find some sermon video that I felt like would help me with this. Over the course of time, I genuinely felt like this was something I needed to give up... even though a big part of me wanted to hold on to it. 

This is what stresses me out: trying to make the distinction between the good and better decisions. Doing this program and getting my Ph.D in a few years would be a good decision... absolutely. I believe (and obviously the faculty did as well) that I could do that work and gain a lot of wonderful things from that program... however, I don't think that's the better decision for me at this point in life. This is where 'could vs. should' come into play -- I could do it, but should I? 

And the hard part is that the Bible/God seemed to be pretty silent on what I should do with this Ph.D program. It's not like there was a glaringly obvious answer as to what I should do in this situation... I kept feeling myself pull away or avoid even thinking that this is something I shouldn't do anymore. I didn't like that... I don't like avoiding anything, and I felt some hypocrisy since that's exactly where I want people to go in therapy. I started listening to what I was "preaching" to my clients... and I went there myself. Slowly but surely, I came to realize (and eventually accept/ing) that I need to give this up.

There was one particular day when I felt this so much more than other days. Every Monday for weeks I woke up with the first thoughts being "I'm so tired. There's no way I'm doing this Ph.D program." I thought that was SO weird. There's months before the program even starts, and why in the world would it just be on Mondays and the FIRST thing I think of... It caught my attention. Regardless, this one particular Monday, I finally felt like I was ready to verbalize my thoughts that I wasn't going to do this anymore. I was driving home from a workout, and I just started crying in my car. I was (and still am) grieving the decision. I remembered a sermon I heard at CBC weeks before, and I pulled off the road into a random parking lot to pull up the video. The link to the clip I found is below.

"God is less concerned with what happens to us and far more concerned with what happens in us." 

This sermon spoke directly to my heart. My mind was consumed with, "WHAT SHOULD I DO?" instead of "God, who are You?" Once I focused on Him, my decision seemed to come rather easily. Once I grasped onto the fact that He will bring good out of this no matter if this is "right" or "wrong"... I was free to make this extremely hard, gut-wrenching decision. 

Needless to say, I bawled even more as I realized that this was the right/better decision I needed to make... and letting go would be very hard. I came home and bawled all over Ryan's shoulder and barely managed to get the words out to tell him what I felt was right. We stood and hugged (as I continued to cry) ... as it felt like a really big weight was being lifted from us. It's hard to explain, but there is peace in this decision as well. As we told immediate family, the reaction was not what I expected... they were relieved, too. I have felt nothing but tremendous love and support throughout this entire process. My family has been amazing, and this gave me even more reason to love and cherish the amazing people I get to call my own kin.

As if this blog isn't long enough already, I'm sure you might be wondering what were some reasons I changed my mind...?  Here are the big ones:

Life Goals

Time: I've been in school full-time since I was 4 years old. The longest break I've had from school were summer vacations in between school years. I went to my Masters a few weeks after ending my Bachelor's. It's nice to have some time without school deadlines, studying, etc. It's something I'm not used to, and it could actually be more of a challenge for me to get used to NOT being in school.

Energy: Working full-time takes a ton of energy. Not to mention my recent focus on health and fitness... and my energy is always there for family and friends. My main point with identifying energy is just the fact that a Ph.D takes SO much time and energy... Energy that maybe I'd like to put toward something else.

Life Goals: It's been my dream since starting grad school to own my own private practice. That's what I want, and I want to make decisions to lead to that in the future. Trying to balance a Ph.D program, full-time work, marriage, and transitioning toward owning a private practice would be insanely hard! Plus, life will take some unexpected turns, I'm sure...

Money: Of course I had to look at this financially... Money wasn't the #1 reason for this decision, but it definitely played a part. Since all we have as far as debt goes is student loans, we would be paying off my Ph.D as I completed the program, with no loans. Things change when you realize just HOW much money that is and where else it could be going... loans don't give you that feeling. Knowing that, I realized that we could buy a nice, small house in full with the money that would be put toward that degree. Like I said, it just changes things.

Family: Before Ryan and I ever started dating, he smoked cigarettes (this has a point, I promise). At one point, he told me, "I'm not going to smoke forever. My kids won't have a dad who smokes." I felt his authenticity, but I said back, "I understand that, but maybe your kids deserve to have a dad who doesn't smoke now. If you quit now, you get to be an even better dad for them later." Again, I took my own advice here. Knowing that we want to have kids in the next few years, I need to take care of myself now so I can be the best mom for my kids later. I want to be healthy, rested (as much as possible), and prepared for children... and be absolutely READY for them - instead of planning them around dissertation deadlines and trips to Virginia. Pushing back having kids so I can cram in a Ph.D doesn't sound like I'm being the best mom for my kids now... I want something other than that. I know some people can manage to do this, but I'm choosing not to. God and family will come first in all my decisions, and this is no exception.

So there is my news. I have been holding it in for weeks now... and I can finally share it with you. I hope you can see the true vulnerability of my heart here and realize this was not an easy decision to make. Of course I'm feeling some embarrassment, pride, envy, and many other emotions... but I'm choosing peace and assurance that this is the best decision for me and my family to make at this point. I deeply value your prayers and support as I head to a very different road ahead, one that does not include formal education, that I believe will shape me into the woman I hope to become. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- God writes the best stories. I'm in the middle of one where I have no clue how it will end... but those stories are the best kind.

im thankful.
carrie anne

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day Twenty-Seven: Pets

day twenty-seven: pets

well, it's been SO long since I last had a blog entry... I'm not quite sure even how to recap. I just looked, and it's been over 2 months. It's amazing just how much happens in that short period of time. Last post, I was preparing to head to Virginia for my interview at Regent. The interviews went extremely well, and I had a really great trip. I found out a few weeks later that I had been accepted into the Ph.D program, and life felt really, really awesome. 

I even skipped blogging on my birthday! I turned 25 on February 19th, and I had a great celebration with my family. As one of my birthday presents, Ryan got me a month of unlimited classes for BarreAmped. I'm now almost finished with my 2nd month of classes, and I'm down 4 inches in my waist! I love it, and I plan on continuing that healthy part of my life :)

I'm still working at the same place... I've been there almost 5 months now - hard to believe! I'm really loving my work. That's about it for the past couple months: throw in a few concerts, trips to Hot Springs, Northwest Arkansas, Dallas, birthdays, Easter, and construction on my parents' new house.... we've been busy!

So since I'm determined to finish this "Blog Challenge," today's post is supposed to be about "pets." What a sad time for me to have to talk about this! It's been 8 days, and my heart is still heavy. 

Last Saturday, my family and I put down our family dog, Freckles. It's still very hard to believe that he's not around, chasing his tail or barking at random noises. It had to be one of the most difficult things I've had to experience, but I'm also really at peace knowing that he's not in any pain anymore. 

we all got to be in the room with him, holding and loving on him while he drifted off to sleep. We stayed in the room and said goodbyes and cried as a family. there are few times I've seen my father cry, and that day was one of them. All he could say was, "He was a good dog." 

Needless to say, I was a wreck that day and a few days leading up to then. It's so hard knowing that something bad is coming. I think I'd almost do better with bad things just happening all of the sudden... At any rate, my tear production was at an almost all-time high. Freckles meant so much to me...

When i was a kid, I literally BEGGED my parents for a dog. it was all I wanted... I'm not sure where the love for the dog came from, but it was there and not going away. I remember exactly when we got Freckles, too. I was 12, and I was going to bed with my sister the night before Christmas Eve. We were talking before we went to sleep, and my sister said, "Carrie, you know that you're probably not going to get a dog for Christmas, right?" My sweet sister preparing me so I wouldn't be heartbroken that year. I sighed and said that I knew that was probably true.

The next morning, I might have gotten the biggest surprise of my life. There's a picture of me somewhere that shows my reaction of COMPLETE SHOCK as my mom and dad tossed a sweet, adorable little cocker spaniel puppy on the bed and said WAKE UP!!! I was in utter disbelief. I don't know if my parents could have given me a better Christmas gift. I immediately fell in love with my puppy, and we were absolute best friends.

 isn't he just ADORABLE?!?!

 at my 13th bday party.... and there's Keely in the background <3

before a Junior High dance :)

From that point on, Freckles became my constant companion. He was a workout partner, secret keeper, sleepover buddy, fuzzy pillow, entertainer, trick doer (I even taught him how to sneeze on command), loyal, loving dog. There are so many of my favorite memories that involve him. Every house party, every holiday, every event... he was there, and he loved being around everyone. 

Saying goodbye to my dog had to be one of the hardest things I've ever done... because he was more than a dog to me. From ages 12 to 25, he was a fixture in my life and was my friend at times when I felt like I had none. He was there when I cried alone in my room as a teenager and when I put on my cap and gown to graduate. He was there as I experienced so many life milestones over the past 13 years, and the difficult part is adjusting to life without him around now. I just miss my puppy.


 such a cutie

 what a sweet face

he didn't care for the hankies too much, but he looked so cute :)

no matter how cold it is, there's ALWAYS time to chase a squirrel :)

 he always managed to end up under all the paper at Christmas :)


September 24th -- Freckles' birthday meant a trip to Petco every year!!!! 

 Bella loved that pup!

my best friend. 

 our last birthday trip...

So here is my pet. he's the best pet I've ever had... and he will always hold an extremely special place in my heart. I know some doubt that pets are in heaven, but I'd like to think that they are. If so, I know that my best friend, Keely Ann, is taking such good care of my Freckles until I come see them both one day. There couldn't be anymore more perfect to take care of Freckles than Keely Ann.

Losing a pet feels like losing a family member, and I struggle with feeling embarrassed that I get so upset about a dog. That's when I remind myself of the constant companionship of my sweet pup and know that denying myself the chance to grieve it will only make things worse. So I cried all the way through this honor and love my puppy and say that it's okay to be sad about him dying. His life made mine so much richer, and his love and loyalty got me through some tough teenage times. There's never been a time I've been more thankful that my parents budged and gave me something I wanted. Freckles truly was the best dog.

im thankful.
carrie anne

Freckles Cinnamon Craig
September 24th, 1999 - April 14th, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day Twenty-Six: Picture of Your Family

Woo! February is here... Can't believe it! As of yesterday, I have been working at the new job for 2 months. It's completely flown by. I'm assuming that's how this entire month will go. Something EVERY weekend... and big decisions to make. 

As I type, I'm uploading a video for my Ph.D interview process -- a mock session that Ryan and I filmed together (he's the best fake client I've ever had). I don't know if I'll ever like seeing myself on a video, but hopefully my interviewers like what they see! 

So today -- A picture of my family. I'm choosing 4 pictures, actually. Not that I have that many families... we are all one family... but it I just don't have a recent picture of ALL of us together. Plus, this way - they are all kind of separated and organized :)

Here are the Craigs: 
Yes -- so here is my family! Jason (brother in law), Bella (niece), Chrissy (sister), Casey (brother), Carole (mom), Ryan (hubby), ME, William (daddy), Janie (Mammaw)

Here are the Feeros:
 Here are my In-Laws!!!  Bev (Grandma), Rick (Grandpa), John (Ryan's brother in law), Kelly (sister in law), Nana, Gramps, Stephen (brother in law), Robin (mother in law), Ryan (hubby!), Bryan (father in law), Jonathan (brother in law)

 Here we are with our parents. LOVE this picture :)

The Newest Feeros
And here are Ryan and I... the newest Feero family :) 

I love that we have such a rich, awesome family heritage to follow. We love our family traditions and the opportunity to carry and pass on such great love and encouragement we learned from our parents to our own kids one day... right now we just share it with each other :) 
We love you all SO much. You are the most important people in our lives. Can't imagine life without any of you... I'm so so soooooo proud to call you my family :)

im thankful.
carrie anne

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day Twenty-Five: iTunes on Shuffle, 1st Ten Songs

I'm home sick from work today (yuck). I really don't like missing work now... makes me feel even worse that I'm not there. We had a full weekend, and I guess my body just got worn out - woke up this morning with a horrible headache, nausea, and a fever. 
After a full Friday night eating, watching movies, and drinking coffee with Ryan's parents... Ryan and I made the trip back to Little Rock this weekend to retrieve Mammaw from her week with Aunt Helen. We got to spend the day with her and then met up with the rest of my family at my mom and dad's house. Lots of fun being with them. Sunday was also full: eating, visiting my parent's new house, and going to see The Grey. So good :)

February will be a busy, busy month for me. This weekend is my sweet niece's 2nd birthday, and I'm so excited to celebrate Bella :) I have lots of preparing to do for my next big adventure, which is in less than 2 weeks... my trip to Virginia for the interview to get into the Ph.D program. I'm flying out there alone and staying 2 nights (eek!)... then the next weekend is MY BIRTHDAY! Lots of exciting things happening - I love February <3

Blogging Challenge for today: List of the First 10 Songs with my iTunes on Shuffle

Rusty Halo - The Script
--LOVE The Script... First heard them a little over a year ago, and I still love this album

Hold Me Close - Starkz
--been listening to Starkz since junior high/high school days. They played an acoustic show at my 18th birthday party at my house - coolest thing ever :)

Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
--typical... mainstream... guilty pleasure

 I'm On a Boat - Lonely Island
--little embarrassed that this one made the list. I listened to this when I went to South Carolina and first started talking to Ryan <3

 Consumer - August Burns Red
--reminds me from my days of black hair and piercings... still love a good breakdown

 Airplane - Imogen Heap
--mmmmmm... Imogen Heap.

 Hey - Leeland
--listen to this song to make any day a happy one.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Brian McKnight
--always have/always will love Brian McKnight... seen him in concert twice - SO amazing

Hog Call - University of Arkansas Marching Band
--SO proud that this came on shuffle. LOVE my Razorback album... it's my alarm in the morning :)

Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting - Elton John
--Good ol' Elton. Love classic music

so there's the scoop on life lately and my random songs. Hoping to feel better and get back to work... and start preparing for this upcoming month. I'd rather be busy than bored.

im thankful.
carrie anne