Blow Your Horn 


​Conversations from different rocks on Beauty Mountain. 


Me: This is very entertaining.  

Olivia: She Sucks!

Me: (various Bitmojis and Gifs)

Olivia: She sounds like you when you eat Mexican!

…..and the whole Mountain heard us cackling!!!

I’m going to miss this chick

#SummerAdventures #IAlreadyMissHer


There is nothing like watching a beautiful sunrise to remind us that we are lucky to be alive – right here, right now. Taking the time to gaze at the horizon while you watch the sun break through the morning sky is truly magnificent. It is a reminder of new beginnings and new opportunities.
It is just too bad that I hardly take the time (or wake up early enough) to make this a morning ritual.  
Think of all of the beautiful things I must have missed in my lifetime. I’m going to start taking more time for moments like this!

no ordinary life

To be continued……..


Seasons Change 


Every Spring, I am reminded of this beautiful passage of scripture.  

Ecclesiastes 3King James Version (KJV)

3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.



No water…..and Mr. Doody!!!

How can you describe my life?
Hectic. Chaotic. Humorous. Blessed!

Weekend started out with a Saturday morning basketball buzzer beater in which my son’s team lost. What a game!!
I was prepared for the worst as my son had the ball stolen from him in the last three seconds of a tied game, then SWISH!!
Game Over!!
He walked off that court smiling. He and the kid who stole the ball from him had some laughs after the game.
We never mentioned the game again!!

I had a “girls weekend” planned with the Secret Keeper Girl’s Crazy Hair Tour. My sister brought Caty and I tickets for Cat’s birthday present earlier in the month.
It didn’t seem right to leave Adam after playing (and losing) such a game. We quickly decided to ditch the Crazy Hair tour and invite Adam and his friends Robert along. (Basically out of pity, and I don’t want to have fun without my little buddy!)
Off to Virginia.
The drive was amazing. God out did himself this weekend! It is amazing what an ice storm can do to nature! It reminded me of the Disney movie Frozen!
The ice clung to every twig and branch through the Rolling mountains. It looked like diamonds glistening as the sun beamed through the hills.
Caty couldn’t stop saying “mommy look!!!” As she was snapping pictures from the back seat posting them on Instagram and snapchat.
Caty and my step-niece were listening to music and taking selfies while the boys in the back were playing games on their phones.
It was a fast trip complete with shopping, dinner and swimming in the hotel pool.
We don’t have cable at our house, so the boys spent the evening resting from their game and their dip in the pool by watching nickelodeon until they finally fell asleep.
My sis had the girls in a separate room. Apparently, they were forced to watch a Lifetime movie about Whitney Houston. Both girls agreed the next morning that they would have had more fun in my room watching nickelodeon!
We missed church!!
And I “missed” church.
Morning started out with Caty dropping a sprite on the way to my hotel room.
Adam was sitting in the floor next to me as I was using a flat iron to straighten my hair. When all of a sudden we were showered with an entire bottle of exploding Sprite!
I’ve never seen anything like it. It looked like a “mentos” soda rocket!
I kept my cool well. By the look on caty’s face, she was expecting the worst!
After cleaning up myself, Adam, the floors, walls and ceiling of the room we ate at a local
IHOP where the kids had their fare share of sugar!! Chocolate chocolate chip pancakes!!! I asked them to refrain from using syrup for fear of being stuck in a car with them and their sugar highs for the next two hours.
My sis has a Starbucks addiction. Of course that was our next stop.
“Mom can I have something to drink?” Caty asked.
“No sis, we just ate breakfast. You don’t need anything.”
“Pleeeease Mom!!!! I am thirsty!!!”
“I’ll get you a bottle of water!!!” Starting to get a little louder because i knew what was coming next.
“It’s not fair!! Aunt Kerri gets a drink! You are a ******!!” (insert your own imagination here)
This is where the disability comes in!! The one where you can’t rationalize because she has already focused on getting Starbucks!
“Fine Caty…..!!!!!” I just wanted to diffuse the situation quickly before it got worse!!

“Good morning, welcome to Starbucks. Can I take your order?”
“Yes mam, I need an iced caramel macchiato with an extra shot and a Strawberries and cream frappé!”
I go to the next window to wait for the drinks. Looked in my rear view mirror at a Mom (I am certain she was a Mom). She looked frazzled. Hair a mess. Driving her minivan. Sweatshirt. She was rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and playing with her very tousled hair! She didn’t smile. She had a look of pure stress on her face! I could tell she needed her shot of caffeine. As I looked at her, I could feel her strain. I could relate to her.
When the cashier took my money. I told her I wanted to pay for the ladies drink behind me. Cashier smiled and gladly took the extra $5.
As I was leaving, I told the cashier to tell the woman to have a “wonderful day”! It looked like she needed a good dose of encouragement. And I needed to Pay It Foward. Nothing wrong with doing a good deed for a stranger every now and then.

Ok the way home we became aware of a diesel spill that happened in our town. We were coming home to NO WATER!! we took advantage of the local grocery store as we stocked up on gallons of water and bottled water. I stayed in the car with the boys as my sis and the girls took on the store to grab our supply of water.
After piling in our water (which made us look like a bad episode of Doomsday Preppers) I asked Cat what she did with her Starbucks frappé. “I didn’t want it mom.” as she was tearing open her bottle of water!!!!
Yes I said WATER!!!!!
I chuckled. Because that is what you do when you are on the verge of a mental breakdown.

We were about 45 min into the trip when the kids nearly ripped each other’s heads off for a package of beef jerky!!! (My kids reallllly like beef jerky!!)
Beef jerky massacre was diffused by me yelling that I was going to stop the car and throw everyone out!!! Then I’m moving away and not giving anyone a forwarding address.
Rest of the trip was uneventful except for Adam pulling out his tooth!!!
(oh, I’ll be right back…..I need to play tooth fairy before he wakes up!!! Good thing I reminded myself while blogging!!!)
Got home.
Unpacked car.
ok, so did you get that?
I colored my hair forgetting that we had NO WATER!!
The first gallon of water that we stockpiled went to rinsing my hair!

Then came the questions:
Why don’t we have water?
Can I take a shower in your room?
Does the hallway bathroom have water?
Does grandma have water?
What if I need to wash my hands?
Are we going to die?
Can you die because of no water?
What are the dogs going to drink?
I have to pee!!! Can I still owe?
Can we flush the toilet?
Why is diesel in the river?
Is that bad?
Can you drink diesel?
Will that kill you?
When can we take a bath?
Do you smell something?
Adam needs a bath mom!! He had basketball practice!!
Can Adam at least take a bath?

Ohhhhh. This went on for hours!!!!

Caty doesn’t understand “change”!! She gets so stressed out!!!
I answered every question. Numerous times!
Chucking once again!! Only this time ending with the Serenity Prayer after getting the (already expected) phone call that school was cancelled!

…..Lord help me to accept things that I cannot change………..😜

Then this happened…

“Come out come out Mr. Doody…….”
My son sang that song loudly as he was taking a dump in the bathroom adjacent to the family room!!!

Mom, Adam is singing the “Mr. Doody song”!! Is the house going to stink?
How can we flush “Mr. Doody” down?
Do we have water yet?
Why did Adam have to poop?
Where is grandpa?
Grandpa can fix this!!
Can grandpa flush the toilet?
Mom, you need to call Grandpa!!!


Let’s have a dance party!!!
(Um, lord. I did say SERENITY NOW!!!!!!)

Two hours later…..and the Pitch Perfect version of “Like a Virgin” along with a recording of the kids singing “When I was Your Man” I was ready to call it a night!!

We watched a sweet movie about a Christian Youth Camp. Kids calmed down a bit!
Until they all started playing some game on their phones which, apparently, is difficult and stressful. My niece threw her phone. The other one threw her jacket across the room. My Step-niece whined! Caty laughed because she thought the game was fun and easy!!!
Adam’s eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head!!!!

“Ok guys we have to go to bed!!!!”

Adam and my oldest niece quietly went to bed!! Well, not before she spilled an entire can of soda on the kitchen floor!!! (Second gallon of water used to mop the floor!!!)

The other three girls………
I’m thirsty! Can we drink the water?
Why isn’t there any water coming out of the faucet?
I have to pee!!
Ohhhhh gross!!!!! Adam pooped!!!!
The bathroom stinks!!
How long will the bathroom stink?
It stinks!!!!

GO TO BED!!!!!
For the love of all that is Holy!!!!!
Just go to bed!!!!!!!

I can’t go to bed without a TV!!
Can we sleep on the couch?
Do you have blankets?

Go to bed!!!

2:30am. Still giggling!

I’m up!
Can’t wait for the water questions to start again!

I’ve already asked God for copious amounts of patience.
I prayed for the mom in the Starbucks line this morning. I think she really needed it.
Hoping she may say a little prayer of her own for the lady from WV that bought her coffee for her!!

Have a blessed day everyone!!
Thank God for your water supply!!!
Looks like we may be out for a few days!!!

I may keep Mr. Doody around to annoy the girls!!!




If you could do it all over again……

I was redecorating my daughter’s room last week. Complete with a floor lamp that glows with red, pink, green, yellow and orange bulbs. A hot pink blow up chair. Bright yellow walls and Owls as her theme.
We already had the Owls and the wall color but I felt it was time to accessorize.
….and accessorize we did!!
Before the room was complete, she left for an overnight stay with her daddy.
I ended up working in her room until it was dark outside then found myself relaxing in the hot pink chair watching the soft glow of the colorful lamp. I picked up one of her books and started reading it. Put it down when I spotted the pink guitar in the corner of the room. I don’t play guitar. (Neither does my daughter) But I tried.
It turned out badly. I didn’t hit one consecutive note. But I still tried.
While I was sitting there in the silence with the soft colors of the lamp bouncing shadows off of the almost fluorescent yellow walls, I pondered what it would be like to be a kid again. Plunking on the pink guitar sitting in the plastic hot pink chair thinking about what it would be like to start all over again.
It didn’t take long to confirm that I will never be a musician. It took me forever to get my butt out of the chair as it swallows you into a comfortable position that makes you want to grab a blanket and camp out as long as possible.
While sitting there, I also realized that it’s not possible to time travel, so 40 years will soon be an inevitable reality.
I asked myself this question:
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Tons of things came to mind. I held back the tears.
I walked downstairs to a new living room. As I sold the 87″ television and replaced it with one that is less than 40″. The room was bigger now. It seemed less busy.
The reminder of an ignored marriagewas finally out of the house!
In the stillness of the wide open, newly decorated room I opened a new book and read until I fell asleep.
Peace. Less than 12 hours of peace!!

Saturday morning came quicker than I expected. Kids were knocking on the door at 6:45am because daddy had to be at work by 7. Basketball games started at 8:30am.
One of those days that was planned before I got out of bed obviously!
Basketball game was a nail biter! Adam’s team lost but they gave 100%.
Unexpected surprise:
Adam got invited to join a private travel league! I left it to him if he wanted to join. He graciously accepted! I regretted the decision of him accepting almost immediately.
More running. More practices. More traveling. More basketball.
Although, I am so proud of his hard work and athletic abilities, I sometimes wonder if I can put anymore into a day that is already packed so tight I cant breathe as it is.

Back to Saturday.
Travel team had a game! He was invited 5 hours prior and he’s already playing a game!! Scored 8 points and beat the opposing team (all older boys) by almost 20 points!!

3:30. I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Time to do something for me!
(Or so I thought)
“Let’s go to the movies!!” I asked, almost giddy.
“No!! I don’t want to go.”
After an hour of begging I lost! At this point I wanted to go home And cry.
Sis went home with her Great Aunt and Pop Pop for the night. Adam goes home and glues his eyeballs to YouTube as he watches endless videos of Minecraft!
After an hour of listening to Stampy Longnose and Beijing Canadian, I sat on the couch. Feeling defeated. Tired. Ready for quiet.

Went to the dryer to grab a fresh warm load of laundry to fold on the couch as Adam is still watching Minecraft trash on the tv.
Clothes were warm.
I leaned against them and decided to watch Adam ignore me as he filled his rotting brain with squeaky British accents and people conversing (loudly) with each other while strategizing on how they are going to defeat their opponents!


I woke up at 3am Sunday morning still sleeping on my pile of clean laundry!
Adam sleeping next to me.

Bed or couch?

I found laundry quite comfortable.
Couch won!

Back to the question:
“If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?”
This is exactly where I am supposed to be!
A mom!! And a darn good one at that!!
Looking back never did anyone any good. Memories last forever and I cherish every second (good and bad) spent with the people I love!
Everyone makes mistakes.
Learn from them. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Move on!
Make more memories! They aren’t going to be little forever!
We will look back one day and laugh.
The day mom fell asleep on the laundry!!


Farewell 2014

It’s that time of year again.
Where does time go?
I will be saying goodbye to 2014 with mixed emotions.
It has been a year full of happiness and even great sadness.
A year of firsts and lasts.
This year has made me a better person and it has also showed me where I need much improvement.

So I say farewell 2014.
Thank you for the lessons you have taught me.

I hope you Make 2015 the year you only look forward. Leave the past behind, but always be grateful and praise God for the memories!
Never miss a chance to say I love you or thank you for making my life just a little brighter!
Love and be lovable. Be kind. Happy. Content. Grateful. Caring. Compassionate.
Go to church. Pray for your friends, family and your enemies!
Make new memories.
Learn to let go.
Embrace the future!

God bless you my friends. Have a safe a very happy New Year!
Bring on 2015!!!



Whatever you want to call it, ’tis the season to let someone know you are thinking about them.  sometimes a simple Thank You or a phone call just to let them know that they are on your mind can make someone’s entire week!!!

It is also a time to reflect on what is important in your life, or maybe things you are grateful for.

How do I even begin?

Here is my thankful list in no particular order:

  1. My strong faith in God
  2. My two beautiful children
  3. The Past, Present and Future
  4. My furry kids.
  5. My Daddy
  6. My Momma
  7. Sisters
  8. Extended Family
  9. Photography
  10. Pottery
  11. Cheesecake
  12. My church family
  13. Health
  14. Teenagers
  15. Books
  16. Awanas…Kids, volunteers and the ability to make a difference in these kids lives!
  17. Chocolate
  18. Red Bull
  19. Haiti
  20. Pandora
  21. Homeschooling
  22. Passport stamps
  23. Blogging
  24. All Four Seasons
  25. My Ex Husband
  26. My squeaky ceiling fan
  27. Snooze button
  28. Cell Phone
  29. Pictures
  30. Ability to forgive
  31. …..and forget
  32. Lifetime movies
  33. Unsweetened tea
  34. Roller Coasters
  35. Sports Bras
  36. Yoga pants
  37. Naturally curly hair……and my Flat iron
  38. my couch
  39. Lawn Mower
  40. Crushed ice
  41. Matching Socks
  42. Good Night Prayers
  43. Good Morning Kisses
  44. Grass Stained Football pants
  45. Mismatched socks
  46. Frozen Blueberries
  47. Disabilities
  48. Breakfast Food
  49. Naps
  50. Netflix
  51. SnapChat
  52. Sad songs
  53. Flowers
  54. Random dancing in the kitchen
  55. Ice Cream and Milk
  56. unconditional love
  57. Missing Shoes
  58. Long Drives
  59. sleepovers
  60. Best Friends
  61. Old Friends
  62. New Friends
  63. New Relationships
  64. Cartwheels
  65. Trampolines
  66. MEMORIES!!!!

This is my short list!!!

Many blessing to each one of you who follow my Blog.    Have a happy and safe Holiday!!!

Until next time….Make your own thankful list!!!!

Monday Morning Greenbrier County, WV Style!


This was not a typical Monday morning.
For those fortunate enough to live here in the Greenbrier Valley they got quite a spectacular show.
Was it just me, or was Greenbrier County GLOWING?

The dew glistened through the fog and the sun beamed through the sky lighting up the ground with millions of twinkling drops of water.


The spiders got to show off their newly made webs covered in dew as they clung to the fences and trees.   A handiwork so amazing only God Himself could have created.


After dropping the kids off, I started driving. (and driving and driving)
I had no particular place to go, but I knew God was showing off in Greenbrier County and I wasn’t going to miss this Monday morning  for anything.
So, with music turned up and everywhere to go, I drove down every back road I could find, snapping pictures along the way.



Anyone that knows me can tell you I love nature. I find beauty in everything.  But this morning,  I found myself overwhelmed and speechless with what I was seeing.  Now I know why they call WV Almost Heaven.


In case you missed this morning, I strongly suggest slowing down a bit tomorrow. Unless, of course, someone is following you then I suggest pull over!!  Hah.



How lucky am I that I get to call Greenbrier County my home!!


Until next time….No matter where you live, slow down a bit and take in some of God’s great handiwork!!!

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.”
-H.M. Melchart




I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.

My help comes from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, He keepeth Israel shall neither slumber or sleep.

The LORD is thy keeper:  the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite me by day, nor the moon at night.

The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.


Can I just go ahead and get this out of the way…..GOD IS SO GOOD TO ME.

This is the last view I had, the last memory of Haiti.   Hand in hand with new friends listening to the beautiful chapter of Psalms 121 as I struggled to choke back tears.   Maybe tears of sadness, some tears of joy, but mostly tears of incredible gratitude.

Gratitude.  I am grateful.  Always have been.  I can give you a list of hundreds of things I am grateful for.  Yet, this trip…this wonderful, life changing trip gave me a new list of things I am grateful for.

I am so grateful that God allowed me to get my first passport stamp to a place I have prayed about going to ever since I can remember.    My heart was already in Haiti when I landed in that beautiful, poverty stricken country.


Grateful….When you pass through these streets you look around and don’t see many things these somewhat forgotten people would have to be grateful for.    Trash consumed the streets, people were standing in the road pushing their way to your vehicle as you came to a stop, begging for you to buy something from them; whether it be a cold drink, some bread, live chickens and goats, I even saw a women selling wash rags.   No Merci (no thank you) is what we would tell them as we made our 3 hour voyage in the mountains of Haiti.   Yet, I found beauty everywhere I looked.  The colors in the trash infested streets consisted of mangos, bananas, mandarins, plantains, bread….then there were the most insanely colored vehicles I have ever seen, Tap Taps lined the streets as they carried the weary hot travelers whether it be back home or wherever they needed to go.   These vehicles almost always had Merci Jesus or some sort of Scripture painted on their Tap Taps as they barreled past you honking their horns loudly as if you are sitting still with about 50 passengers stuffed in the back and some even sat on the hot roof, I am sure saying Merci Jesus the whole way home.


It is good that man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.  Lamentations 3:26

(verse written on the Tap Tap pictured above)


I was reminded one night while we were doing our devotions together how grateful I am.   Our main focus all week was The Lords Prayer.    We got to “Give us this day our daily bread” and I was ashamed, grateful and incredibly overwhelmed with emotions.  I sniffed back a few tears as I heard one of our translators from this forsaken country give us his take on that particular line from The Lords Prayer as he explained that in our country (the US), we didn’t have to worry about food,  But every day as they wake up, they don’t know where their next meal may come from, and some days, they just don’t eat.   He said that they fully rely on God to supply their needs.  Grateful?  Yes, these beautiful people praise God for their rice and beans and maybe a fish or two…and they are grateful.



Before I left the States, I wanted to purchase some treats and gifts for the children in Mizak, Haiti.  I took the kids to the Dollar Tree where we stocked up on candy, stickers and glow sticks.    I spent less than $25.   Let me tell you something, That $25 I spent was worth $1million to those kids in this tiny little town.      I wish you all could have been there to see these kids when I cracked open the first Glow Stick!!   My intention was to sit 20 plus kids around me as I told them about how Jesus is the light of the world (I practiced the  Bible lesson in my head for days).    All it took was one glow stick…one green illuminating Glow Stick to cause the biggest riot I have ever seen in my life!!!  There were tiny little dirty hands all over me!!   As I struggled to open the bags fast enough, my friend Laurie (who was supposed to be responsible for crowd control) started stomping her feet and clapping her hands as she started singing the most soulful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” I have ever heard.   Each kid held their most prized possession in the air and we all sang as loud as we could.  I couldn’t help but smile as I watched their eyes beaming over something my kids take for granted everyday, a simple little package of 5 glow sticks that cost $1.    And once again, I found myself grateful.


The pastor who we were staying with asked us if we would go with him after church that Sunday to pray with a lady in their community who was ill.  After church, we filled up our water bottles and made the VERY LONG walk (in the scorching afternoon heat) to the young lady’s house.    We heard singing and praying as we made our way to the front porch of the house.  The tiny house was consumed with neighbors, friends and churches from the community.   Rhonda looked over at me and said “Crystal, you are getting the real Haitian experience.”   I humbly agreed as I tucked my camera away and started singing and praying with them.    After the first crowd of what seemed like 50 people slowly creeped out of the house that is only big enough to hold 5 people comfortably, we were asked to come in.   The pastor started out saying his own prayers as the word was getting to us that this young lady hadn’t spoken a word since her mother passed away the week before…she was consumed with a broken heart, and as I looked in her eyes I could somehow understand the grief she was feeling and I literally felt my stomach hurt as my own heart ached for her.   We sang “Kumbaya” as people laid hands on her.   The pastor asked Steve (one of our team members) to pray.  We all stretched our hands out as Steve prayed one of the most touching prayers I have ever heard.  I didn’t try to sniff back the tears this time. I was reminded of a verse in the Bible.   God is near to the broken hearted.

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It was that night as we were all sitting in the dimly lit room reciting the Lord’s Prayer as we held hands in a circle that I realized something.   I am going to see all of these beautiful people in Heaven some day!!   And once again, I cried as I found myself unbelievably grateful!

“Can you come and see my Baby?”   This young man who hung out a lot at the clinic cornered Laurie and I after work one evening.   BABY? DID SOMEONE SAY BABY???  I couldn’t get there fast enough…I love babies!!     As we walked into the tiny shack that they called home, it was love at first sight as I slathered antibacterial lotion all over my hands and arms and anxiously reached for the tiny little un-diapered 22 day old miracle.   As I carefully held her in my arms, my hand rested on her bare butt that was covered in scabies, she opened her tiny eyes and looked at me and I found myself grateful.    Grateful for healthy babies of my own.  Grateful for the Birthing kits I carried in my suitcase from the States.   Grateful that I know God holds that tiny little baby’s future in the palm of his hand.

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Grateful.  My heart feels like it is about to explode as I write this.   Guys, the things we take for granted in this Country……No one knows unless they see it first hand.

On the way back home, I was thinking about everything I saw while my week stay in Haiti.  I thought about what Heaven is going to be like.  Then I asked God to please let me walk in Heaven hand in hand with one of my new friends from Haiti.   I want to see their reaction when they see the streets of gold, as they walk to their mansion and we all enjoy our first feast in Heaven.    I guarantee you this, they will be first in line to bow in front of Jesus and say Merci Jesus.

I am going to stop here for today, but stay tuned for some pretty amazing little stories I cant wait to share.  I haven’t even started talking about the people that came from miles around to come to us for glasses and the rusty deserted ship wreck we saw in the Caribbean.   I want to tell you about Steve some more and what a blessing he was to me.

I will leave you with this….the entire week I spent in Haiti, this song kept resonating in my head. I sang it all the time!!!   I want to share it with you.

“Little Is Much When God Is In It”

Until next time….find something you are grateful for.