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Sunday, October 20, 2013

10 Years of Change

Today, like most days I am really thankful for the life I have. As I sit in our living room typing this post, I get to look out on our pasture of cattle, the Boy is in a grain cart helping with harvest, and I can honestly say that 10 years ago I had no idea this is where I would end up.


This fall marks the 10-year anniversary of a pretty important decision I made. 

In August 2003, I made the move from Alberta farm girl to Kansas college student and livestock judging team member. 

I wasn't sure what the end goal was, but I knew that if I wanted to get on the right path I had to get to the Midwest. Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, seemed like the perfect fit. I had a student visa, scholarship, three bags of clothes, no car, and hadn't met any of my soon to be new friends and teammates. It was exciting and scary. However, if I hadn't taken that leap of faith there is no way I would have ended up here.

Two years of college at Butler and another two and half years at Kansa State University meant a lot of adjustment, growing up, friendships and heart break, however I knew the entire time I was right where I was supposed to be. 

It isn't easy leaving your family behind in Canada, and I know it wasn't easy on them knowing that I probably wasn't coming home. However, the opportunities down here were so much greater and bigger. My experiences in Canada had prepared me for the opportunities that United States was giving me. 

During the past 10 years I watched things moving forward at home without me, relationships with old friends changed, and there were new people filling the roles that I once had. But I knew that I was in the right place because what I was experiencing "down here" were things I couldn't get at home. 

I had seen vineyards in California, gone skiing in Telluride, seen the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, saw the White House and President Eisenhowe's home and farm, was an official photographer at the World Dairy Expo, went to Disneyland and Universal Studios, I've been to more college football games than I can count, got to go shopping on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, seen cotton and tobacco fields in Alabama, my name has appeared in stories or author of stories in numerous national livestock magazine and newspapers, I spent New Years Eve in Nashville, made new best friends, watch Garth Brooks in concert and learned what Red Dirt music is all about, I seen the Alamo and drank a margarita on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, I've been to every major livestock show.

I got to work for the largest cattle breed association in the United States, I can call some of the most respected cattlemen in the country my friends, I've traveled 26 different states, and have an amazing job with a company that gives back to agriculture everyday. 

Life has been really good.

One thing I like to remind people is that I am not the only one who has had all these opportunities. I am not unique. I however did decide to use my talents and take advantage of what was out there. 

And then I met my husband. We met in January 2009, got married in April 2011, and bought our first farm and home in July 2013. If I hadn't left Canada 10 years ago I wouldn't have found him. And he is the best thing about my life.   

So here is to another 10 years. There are things I want to achieve, and there will be other obstacles and opportunities that will pop up along the way. The only thing I do know is this is where I need to be to start on the next path. 


15 comments:

  1. Crystal,
    Great insight and thanks for sharing some of your past. Your story not only shows the amazing opportunities here in the states, but that with true passion, willingness to step out of your comfort zone and an open mind, dreams and more can happen!

    Congrats on an amazing 10 years and I hope the next 10 are even more outstanding. :)

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    1. It was not easy to see you go, knowing that you might not come back to us. But it has always made it a bit easier knowing that you are with good people and that you are doing what you love. You could live a few hours from us and not be happy. As parents that is all that we have ever wanted for you, to be with good people doing what makes you happy. You really haven't left us, with technology we get to keep in contact and live a bit of your life with you. We just need the airlines to get a direct flight from Edmonton to Cedar Rapids. :) Love Mom & Dad <3

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    2. Thanks Caroline. You are on a pretty awesome path too. Can't wait to see where you are in 10 years.

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  2. I love this, Crystal! So perfect. What a great 10 years!

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    1. Thanks Tiffany! I met you just before those 10 years started.

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  3. People often fear change but when one door closes usually so many more open! Congrats on your past 10 years and here's to your future journey's! :)

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  4. Congrats, Crystal! Change can be so big and scary, but so worth it. While my move to KC was nowhere near as big as the move from Alberta to Kansas was for you, I think I can fully understand it. Even when things fall through or don't seem perfect, it still feels like you're meant to be there. This really resonates with what's happening in my life right now -- I'm where I'm meant to be.

    Good luck on the next ten years (and many more!) -- and we're glad to have you here, south of the border :)

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    1. You are exactly where you need to be right now. I think the Midwest is good for the soul.

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  5. Congrats Crystal! You are a brave and strong woman and a truly a shining example for so many women. I am proud to call you a friend and can't wait to see where the next decade takes you. I feel like I have watched you "grow" via social media and through our couple IRL meetings over the past few years. Life has more big plans for you!

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    1. Thanks Katie. I am glad I have met women like you on my journey. I imagine my next 10 years will be more like your situation, and that means I am going to need a lot of advice from you!

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  6. Great post! Thanks for sharing and cheers to the next ten!

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  7. Congratulations on the past ten year and the future to come. It is great to hear about all of the opportunities you've been able to have by making that courageous move to the Heartland.

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  8. Loved this!!! What an inspiration to so many other young ladies who has hopes and dreams ... your a true testament to making them happen!! And the picture .. well its just beautiful!!

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  9. Congrats! Won't forget the first time meeting you... You were the AHA Intern and I was on the Jr Board. Glad to call you my friend! Cheers!

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    1. I remember that Nicole. I made so many awesome friends from that internship!

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