Skipping work and Herding Cattle

18342616_10213271225878652_4796085983945255617_nI called into work and told them I had to watch the fog rise, I couldn’t imagine being behind my computer.
They laugh, tell me to have fun and be careful….I promise to send some pictures, and I’m off.
Today I am particularly grateful to be able to work at a company that understands my need to enjoy The Greenbrier Valley and surrounding counties.
On beautiful mornings like this, they automatically expect the text or call saying “I will be in later, the fog on the mountains are too beautiful to miss.”
Real Estate is a fast paced business and we work very hard to make sure each and every one of our clients are taken care of.
Our goal is to help you sell and find your perfect home in a timely manner.
As a Marketing Director, I am not always the one that you see or talk to, and if I do answer the phone, I have probably accidentally hung up on you because transferring a call is nearly impossible!
I’m the calm behind this business, the one driving around in my car at 5:30am because the sunrise is too beautiful and I can’t sleep in.
I’m the one who gets a text message from Jill asking me if I am out getting pics of the Greenbrier Valley Sunset!
We at Greenbrier Real Estate Service don’t just want to Market your home or show you the perfect piece of property, we actually care about this sublime part of West Virginia.
We can tell you where to find the perfect sunsets, the best hiking trails, or give you directions to the nearest restaurant.
We will always be there to answer any question you have about this beautiful piece of Almost Heaven. 18402636_10213271226718673_876128545750808326_n
It’s funny what can happen when you sit on top of a quiet mountain by yourself;
I could quite possibly have the best job in the world, even when you have to perform an impromptu cattle herd.

September

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There is something about a cool September morning.   The subtle hints of pending Autumn were all around this morning as I took my morning walk.   Soon the trees will yield my favorite colors as reds, yellows, bronze and hints of burgundy fill the West Virginia mountains.   Mornings are filled with heavy fog lifting through those hills.  The bright morning sun makes the dew filled spider webs glisten  like diamonds.

The nights will soon be filled with warm bonfires, sweatshirts and children trying to squeeze in the remaining days before the snow starts to fall.     In bed, the open windows will soon replace the AC and quilts filled with their own precious memories and stories with fill the room with conversations and laughter as the kids and and I will tell stories of the good ‘ol days.

I switched the floral summer scents in my house to Pumpkin and lazy evenings are now spent finding new fall recipes on Pinterest.   Oh, and Starbucks in getting ready to give us some pumpkin spiced lattes!!!

Soon, we will make memories of our own as we visit the pumpkin patches, take long walks and drives, weekend trips and maybe a ghost hunt or two in October.

But for now, let me just savor the first few crisp mornings of September.

Have a beautiful and blessed Labor Day Weekend…..

 

You Should Write More.

“You should write more.”

That is what people tell me all the time.   I have become negligent with writing, because let’s face it, who wants to read a blog from a lonely, too busy, single working mom.   I probably wouldn’t read it either.

Most of what I write these days consist of some comedic episode that, all too frequently, happens with my kids.   I have used my blog to jot down memories recently.  The happy ones.   The ones that will make me smile 10 years from now when I sit down, more than likely by myself, and reminisce of my lovely little family and the memories we made together.  Just the three of us.

10 years from now, when my kids wont be kids anymore and they will be well on their way to becoming successful adults and possibly having families of their own, I will be able to look back and laugh at the time Adam licked the school bus windows from a rousing game of Truth or Dare.

Their first 10 years on this earth have already come and gone.   I blinked and they are both in Middle School this year.    Making friends, becoming more and more independent every day.

No one warned me….No one told me that there would be a time that I would no longer be a cuddle buddy while watching cartoons on a rainy Saturday morning.   I can still pour the cereal, but they rush out the door to meet their friends to go to the skate park or independently walk downtown to catch Pokémon and grab a smoothie at the local coffee shop,  “Later Mom” as the door swings open and they are gone before I can ask for a hug goodbye.

No one warned me of the dramatic hormonal bipolar teenage episodes that my daughter would have monthly!   You know, the one where she hurls her body on the couch claiming 14081026_10210706397879555_755076733_nthat she is dying a week out of the month!!    I go in for a hug…GET OUT spews out of her mouth like the Demon telling the priest to leave on the Amityville Horror!!

My son’s “dating” experiences are looking to be as productive as my own social life.   He meets them on Instagram, an hour later he changes his profile to “Taken”.     Two days later they break up.   You would think because they never really met in person or lack of communication since they just DM each other to say “Hey, WRUD?”   Sadly, most breakups are due to one of them finding someone else they just like better!!

I didn’t understand that, until I decided to try Online Dating.     Then I realized, that is EXACTLY what my son is doing on Instagram.  “Hey, WRUD?”  I respond.    There is chit chat.   Then boredom sets in quickly and I begin to wonder, what on earth am I even doing? How did my life change so dramatically?   I went from married to having a man pick me out of his own personal line up.

“This is how everyone meets people now!!   My best friend just met the love of her life on (insert dating website here)”   

We live in a culture where people are too darn lazy to actually go out and have an actual face to face conversation with anyone.   We hide behind our IPhones and computer screens.     Instead of properly asking a women out, you are texted something like this, “Hey, you wanna meet somewhere for a drink?”   Which means….“I haven’t met you in person, and I really have no idea if we will hit it off, so I am not going to waste my precious time or money on dinner.   A drink is cheap and if I don’t like you I can leave quickly!!”     The site that I signed up for, a man can actually send you a virtual flower!!    The tackiest thing I have ever seen in my entire life!    Oh, Thanks so much because a FREE virtual flower is so much better than the real thing!!    14126

My life consists of a random text message, “Hey honey, wanna chat”?     “What do you do for a living?”   and yes, the occasional _____ Pic!!     Like I really needed to see that!!                  Ok. Thanks. Bye.

Then you find “the perfect man”.    The handsome, likeable, stay up all night talking and feeling like a teenager again man.    The one that when your phone gives the magical “ding” you immediately smile.    The one that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.   Until you see that he has been online all day long, and reality sets in that you have willingly paid your hard earned money to an online version of The Bachelor.      Warm and Fuzzies gone, and nausea sets in!

“Why don’t you write anymore?”

“Because people always think I have it all together.  The kids and their weekly comedy routines are a great read.   my life? Eh, not so much.   I want people to see me smiling.   I don’t want them to see the real me!!”   

“You are missing the chance to inspire other Single Moms that are going through the same thing.   You are missing out on your actual calling in life.   To be an honest, straightforward, sometimes comical, strong woman who refused to let life knock her down!!”

So I wrote!    I am hoping my pathetic attempt at parenting and dating can put a smile on your face.   Maybe a Horrified half smile?      Laugh at my expense!   Go kiss your husbands ladies and thank them for loving you unconditionally!   Try to find your kids between 14111781_10210706771208888_1981914392_npractices, school, sports and video games and tell them that you love them….if you must, DM them or Snapchat them a picture of your face looking like a dog or Ozzy Osbourne or Faceswap with the Cat!!   Whatever you have to do, let them know that you are Right Here and if they need you, they know that you are accessible and ready to give them that hug!!

As for me, I am paid up for the month on this site.   I will make the best of it.   Who knows, maybe Prince Charming might send me a virtual flower or two tonight!!    A girl can only hope!

How Loving and Patient He Must Be….

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”        Jeremiah 29:11

Being a Mom is not easy.

My kids both had me in tears this morning as I was trying to get them ready for school.   My daughter wanted to use a different back pack (on the last three days of school!!!).   The straps had been tied in a knot and I was unable to get the knots untied.   Crisis!!!    Absolute-Teenage-Breakdown!!

My son, decided he would throw his own fit because his Cargo-shorts were dirty and I was going to make him wear a pair of shorts that didn’t have 7,000 pockets!  Apparently two pockets on a pair of shorts is not sufficient.     Hence, making me the worst mother in all of the entire world!

I did it….I just walked right out of the house.   I finally had enough.    I looked at them and proclaimed, “get ready by yourself!” and drove away.

*Before you think I really am the worst mother in all of the world, let me say that we go to my parents house every morning for breakfast.   Something that has been part of my kids routine since they were in Kindergarten*      So, as I walked out the door, Grandma was making them a healthy breakfast and looking at me with her own bit of desperation as to Why was she being punished?

I got in my car and did what any terrible mother would do.   I drove around the block a few times to cool off and came back, made sure they were ready and drove them to school.

My son was very well aware that I was not happy since just the day before he also proclaimed me The worst Mom ever when I didn’t get him ice cream after I got off work, picked home up from school, took him to get his hair cut, changed two flat tires on my lawn mower and mowed the grass….all while he was sitting in the garage (in the shade) playing on his IPhone 6 whining that I didn’t have any food!!  Grandpa, who was helping me with the mower, took him to their house, where I am sure he was served a bowl of cereal in front of the TV on the recliner!

Did he feel bad?  Sure he did.   Both last night and this morning, he gave me a kiss and told me that he was sorry.   Both times, I graciously accepted his apology, and I always welcome a kiss from the most handsome (entitled, selfish Brat….OMG, I created a monster) fella in the world.

The kids, the back pack, the wrong shorts…You are the worst mother in all the world!!!     I cried.   I cried ugly tears this morning!   I couldn’t stop crying.   The never ending cycle of never being good enough.   Not for my kids, not for my (ex) husband, not for my family, not even for myself.   I strive to be the best.   I exhaust myself so I can be the cool mom, the cool Aunt, the friend to everyone….I do it all because I have this overwhelming sense of needing to show people how much I love them.  To the point of forgetting to love myself, or feeling guilty if I plan a night out to go out to dinner with a friend, or (Heaven forbid) even a date.    As I took my long drive this morning to talk with God, my question to Him was “Why?”  One simple sentence, This isn’t how I imagined my life.    Once again, like most days, He didn’t answer.   It’s ok, I know He’s pretty busy.    Instead, I counted some blessings and went on with my morning.

My life.  Unpredictable.  Chaotic.  Full of Love.  Full of family and friends (even some random adopted strangers).  Lots of laughter and even some tears.

And yes…..Even being voted The worst Mother in all of the world!

There is a song that we used to sing in Sunday School….

He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.   It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be…..

He’s still working on me.

How loving and Patient He must me….

 

 

 

I AM

My girlfriends and I started a private group on Facebook a few months ago, mainly to encourage each other and let each other know that we have each other’s backs.    A very good friend of mine posted this yesterday:

21 day challenge starts tomorrow and here is your goal! I am reading The Power of I am by Joel Osteen and its powerful. I want to challenge all of us to post a status to Facebook and repeat it in the group every morning that says I am… Beautiful, strong, valuable, healthy… You get the idea. I am not going to stop there, I am going to write the sentiment on my hand so I look down and I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Who is with me? They say it takes 21 days to start a new habit. Lets start a new journey! If you write it on your hand it’s a great way to start a conversation and encourage others!

The beautiful posts and pictures started pouring in……

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I read their stories.  As tears started filling my eyes, my mind drifted back to 4 years ago.

This is what I wrote:

I am up for the 21 Day Challenge……But man, did it get me thinking.
I AM Crystal Adams Faulkiner. You are probably thinking, ok? Yes, that is your name. Well, to me, it is more than that. Let me explain.
Yesterday someone introduced me (twice) as Dr. Faulkiners ex wife. Unfortunately, this is a common theme for me.

4 years ago next month, the man I vowed to love For Better or Worse left me.  It was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I remember thinking, “What am I going to do?” “How will I ever survive ALONE?” This fear of NOT being Dr. Faulkiner’s wife anymore terrified me so much that I agreed to go to therapy. I was ready to go in and tell the Therapist all the things I was willing to do to get my family back.
I walked in (tissue box in hand) and sat down. The first thing she asked me was, “Who are you?”
My response, “I am Caty and Adam’s mom….Kelby’s wife……….”
“NO, I didn’t ask that!” She quickly cut me off. “I said WHO ARE YOU?
“I am a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter……”
“Crystal, WHO ARE YOU?” This time she raised her voice.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not understand what she was trying to get me to say. I never wanted to be anyone else since the day I met him, I knew that I wanted to be Caty and Adam’s Mom and I was so proud to be Dr. Faulkiner’s wife. She made me so incredibly angry, I vowed to never see her again. Yet that question, WHO ARE YOU? still haunts me 4 years later.
So this morning, I get on Facebook and all of you lovely ladies are all beginning this challenge together….thank you for allowing me to be a part of it….but as I was looking at all of your “I AM’s”, I found myself in the same predicament again 4 years later.
I am still trying to be a Mom, Aunt, Sister, Daughter, and sometimes I even try to be a Girlfriend. (which is nauseating to me!! haha)
Somewhere along the way I lost myself.

So today, I have decided that……

I am ready to find who I am to let go of who I used to be.

I AM Crystal Adams Faulkiner!!

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no ordinary life

To be continued……..

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Tired of the Rain?

” Seems just like yesterday it rained (or snowed) , it looks like it might rain again today , boy I wish the sun would shine and dry up this rain” Have you ever felt like that, you are just tired of the rain?

If your like me, when it is summer you want it to be cold, when it is winter you want it to be hot. One moment you are tired of rain the next your ready to go swimming just to get wet. Many of us are just never satisfied. I’m guilty of that daily.

In life, there are many storms. Some involve rain, others because of the lack of rain. Sometimes I cause myself problems other times problems just seem to find me. Whatever the case may be everyone  has “problems”.

I’m reminded of a story where Jesus sent his disciples to cross the water. while he stayed on the shore . While they were rowing, a storm came upon them. Of course they panicked like all of us.  Jesus, who was still on the shore, saw them struggling. (Mark 6:48)  They were terrified but Johns (6:20) account says Jesus called to them and said, “Don’t worry. I’m here!” What they didn’t know was Jesus sent them in the storm on purpose, I believe He wanted to teach them and us that not only will we go through storms, sometimes He sends us directly into them just so we will trust him.

As a Mom I’m reminded of how my children act when they are scared. I can imagine my kids grabbing my hand and holding on tightly, it makes me feel good that they trust me and know I will always protect them and never leave them.

God never worries, He is not afraid of the storm, nothing is too big for Him , but He does want us to trust Him. He said he would never leave us. He said he would be with us even until the end. He promised that when we leave this world we would be in his presence. Paul said it like this, ” If God be for us, WHO can be against us?” These are some of His promises and everyday He’s asking us to stand on them.
Jesus is alive, so hold tight, Hold on to the promises of God.

Thankful.

THANKFUL. GRATEFUL. BLESSED.

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!!!!

Homework Strikes Again!!!

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Well, it’s official.  I am a failure as a mother.

Apparently, I have this nasty habit of trusting people.   I look back on my life and realize that may not be the wisest thing to do, yet I continue to do it over and over again……and I continue to get disappointed.

This morning while getting my son ready for school, he tells me he didn’t finish his homework.  Now, that can’t be right.  He told me he finished his homework Monday night.  He also reiterated to me last night that his homework was complete and I even checked it!!!

This morning, he pulls out a math test that he made a whopping 50%. (he must be Houdini, because where he “pulled out” this math test is nothing short of magic, since I just checked his folder less than 10 hours before.)

Oh wait, it get’s better…….

Mom, I need to finish this math homework!!   (he tells me 10 minutes before we leave for school)

Rushing around trying to finish math homework while he eats his cereal, I am spraying his head with a water bottle trying to tame the wild hair sticking up from his sleeping soundly with apparently no guilt at all  for lying to me about having ALL of his homework finished.

We finally get in the car to head to school, and the lecture starts as I call his father and we both harshly tell him the consequences of not doing well in school and lying to his parents.   Hang up from Dad as we pull into the school drop off…….

Mom, this is all your fault!!!!!!

Pardon me?  What is all my fault?

You knew that I had to redo my math test so I could get a better grade!!!!!

I am Fuming by this point, certain that steam was coming out of my ears as I screamed a nasty little profanity that obviously shocked my son as he broke down and started bawling that I am the worst mom in the world!!!!

YOU HAD TO REDO YOUR MATH TEST?!?  AND HOW IS THIS MY FAULT?  THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE HEARD ABOUT THIS!!!!!

I squealed out of the school parking lot and headed back home to get the failed math test that he saw me take out of his folder and place on the kitchen counter this morning as he was devouring his second bowl of Corn Flakes!

I barrel into the parking lot like a NASCAR driver, put the car in park and told him to go get a pencil and his test and bring it to the car.   What felt like “5 hours later”  (the famous timeline on SpongeBob) he made his way to the car.

Now let me pause for a brief minute and explain to you that 4th grade math is absolutely the most ridiculous waste of precious time in the history of the world!!!!

You have to add 500 ten thousands to 70 hundreds to 782 ones and then round them off  to the nearest 10s and estimate the missing numerals after writing it in expanded form……..And if you get the first answer incorrect, then the whole darn test is a complete fail!!!

So, correct me if I am wrong.   I have a possible solution to kids NOT failing tests.   Check the first answer, teachers.  Then let the kids finish taking the test.  That way they wont miss the next 12  questions and fail the test.

Now, back to the story of my son…The Drama Queen.

We started arguing immediately because I knew I had the FIRST answer right and he said I was totally wrong.   After 5 minutes of yelling back and forth over who was right, I called his father again.  (basically so he could tell his Father goodbye for the last time because I was getting ready to murder him)

His dad and I both did the math problem together and I WAS RIGHT!!  It  took every thing in me not to jump out of the car and do some embarrassing happy dance that would have included the “Roger Rabbit” and “The Sprinkler” followed with a “split and spirit fingers” for my grand finale.  But it was all cut short when my son proclaimed to his father that I said the “F word” to him.   Imaginary Happy Dance over…Insert Violin music…as my son tries to have a pity party for himself at my expense.

I do not condone using profanity at your children.  I had already  forgotten that I lost my mind and even used the dreaded “F Bomb”.   (and I am truly sorry and embarrassed that it came out of my mouth!)

By this time, He has decided he is not going to even finish the work, His dad is telling him (over the phone as I sit in the Medical school parking lot) to finish his work.   I am in tears at this point.

We are all in tears at this point!!!

Homework finally complete…I guess, unless he had other work he magically forgot to finish!!

Off to school…LATE.  He tells me he is not going to school because he was crying and his friends will laugh at him.   Well, I am the one taking you to school in yoga pants, hair in a messy bun, no makuep or BRA!!!!! 

Finally get him out of the car, sign him in…turn around to give him a hug and kiss goodbye….he’s gone!!!  Houdini strikes again!

Another morning in the life of a single mom who is quite sure she is screwing everything up.

Now off to finish a deadline at work, homeschool the other Hoodlum, write a Bible lesson for class tonight, and do laundry!!!

Bible lesson entitled….even Mom’s need to ask God to forgive them!!!

Ohhhh…. there will be some apologizing tonight and some extra hugs and kisses.  That is, after homework is complete!!!

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COUNTRY ROADS

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”

-Joe L. Wheeler

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Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile.”    

-William Cullen Bryant

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Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale”  

-Lauren DeStefano

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”  

-Albert Camus

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“Autumn carries more Gold in its pocket then all the other seasons”  

-Jim Bishop

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“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”  

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Almost Heaven, West Virginia