About Me

When I was young, my dad always said, “Crystal, you can choose your attitude.” One day I chose to believe him. I’m not sure when my perspective shifted, but over a lifetime I’ve learned that I can’t control everything. I can’t control what other people do or say. I can’t control illnesses or natural disasters. As a matter of fact, the only thing I can control is my own reaction to whatever happens.

Like that time when I found myself alone on a road trip with my son Drew. Three hundred and seventy-six miles from home, my mild-mannered, soft-spoken son transformed into a bizarre, frantic person behind the wheel.  “Are you racist?” He asked, more accusation than question, his sideways glance revealed suspicion.

Anyone who knows me would think the question strange.  At the time, I taught high school English at a diverse suburban school, and I love my students—my other kids.  I breathed in through my nose and exhaled through my mouth. I shook my head back and forth. “No, Drew, I’m not racist.”

He raged from one accusation to the next, as if someone held the remote, flipping channels.  “Read your wrung.  What does that mean?  We sped down the highway.

“What?” I thought I had misheard him.

“Read. Your. Wrung.”  Drew slowed the statement, but not the car.  “That’s what you said to Mimi.  She’s a witch.  You’re both witches.”

I braced myself in my seat, knowing without doubt that we had a major problem—not brain damage like Drew believed—a psychological, perhaps psychiatric problem. I didn’t know the difference. He had heard me cast a spell? “No, Drew, we are not witches.”

For six solid hours, Drew expressed suspicions, delusions, and perplexingly incomprehensible thoughts. In my head, we veered full speed into oncoming traffic. I wanted to text my husband, but there was nothing he could do and no textable explanation.  I did not in any way want to heighten Drew’s hysterics. So, for six solid hours, I prayed to God for our peace, our safety, and our lives. This was the beginning of my son’s mental health journey, before the schizophrenia diagnosis, and since then God has shown up for me over and over.

Yes, I’ve learned I can’t control everything. Like that time when Hurricane Harvey flooded my house. Looking back, I only grabbed what I needed for an evacuation and packed what I could carry in an over-the-shoulder bag. The night of our rescue after a slosh on foot to the nearest pet-friendly hotel, I dug my orange journal out of my bag, the journal with embossed letters that spelled Gratitude, and this is what I wrote:  

 Aug. 27, 2017

Today Kody, Drew, Rain, and I were rescued by HFD on an emergency truck with sixteen people including our neighbors and first responders and seven dogs. Water shin deep flooded our house when we left. Our yard was submerged to my knees. I’m thankful for being able to communicate via cell phone and Facebook. I’m thankful for those who have prayed and continue to pray for us. I’m thankful for the La Quinta and breakfast and a room, actually a suite and space for Drew, and for a shower and dry clothes and for our next-door neighbors Boaz and Megan (also sheltered here) who brought us water and snacks and for the restaurant at the Hilton across the street that had wine!!

********

I suppose in that moment I realized I needed God and gratitude. I can’t imagine living in a La Quinta for ten months any other way.

Yes, I’ve learned that I can’t control everything, and in those times when my world shakes so hard that the sky falls off my life, my dad’s words echo, and I choose my attitude—faith and gratitude, peace and hope.

22 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Wow! SO proud of you! We each have a story to tell. May God lead you with memories and reflections and clarity to tell yours. Parenting challenges, the Hurricaine, rare diseases? Thank God for dentists and oral surgeons who know what they’re doing! Your life sounds full of interesting content for writing. Don’t give up!
    Glad you are feeling better.
    And – Welcome to DailyBiblePrayer.wordpress. May God bless you with encouragement, direction and protection as you grow in your relationship with Him through the scriptures and spending time in prayer!
    Be sure to click on the scriptures at the bottom to read and see what God will share with you personally!
    Laura

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I swear, the things we worry about almost never happen, and the things we wouldn’t imagine in a thousand years do. I’m thankful for the faith that brings me peace and hope through it all. Thank you for visiting, Laura! And for the encouragement!

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  2. Hi Crystal,
    Your story certainly resonates atm with much of the world bunkered down at home from the coronavirus and many more unable to find any form of effective shelter and forced to take their chances.
    We are managing well at home and it’s not that different for me due to my health issues, although the threat the virus poses to me is intense. I’ve made my peace though. AS long as we hide away, we’ll be safe. Not a perfect guarantee but the odds are at least in our favour.
    I felt your terror trapped in the car with your son having an episode, but I also felt your love and have experienced that interplay myself at times as a parent and a wife, but not quite to that extent. It is great to connect with you and I hope to get to know you better.
    Best wishes & God Bless,
    Rowena

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    1. Over and over, I’ve had to remind myself to stay out of my own head and not believe everything I think. We’ll get through this one, too. This I completely believe! Thanks so much for reading and reaching out, Rowena!

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      1. I’ve been researching Australian soldier’s experiences serving in France during WWI rather intensely for the last six months working towards a series of books and hopefully paid work. I have read so many stories of people going through dreadful battles like Pozieres where everyone around them is killed and they come out without a scratch or sometimes even a bullet hole through their helmet, their pocket and perhaps they’ve been wounded to some extent. Then there were people away from the front line and killed outright when a shell takes them out. There are also those unlucky one who just happen to stick their head up a fraction too far, and pay the price. If we as individuals are vigilant, we’ll be unlucky to get it, but the greater the levels of community infection, the harder it is to keep away. I have this strange faith that if I stick to the plan, I’ll be okay. I check on local infection rates and they’re almost at a point where we’ll get our shopping delivered. The way I see it, we’re in for a marathon not a sprint. I remind myself of these things when I start to stress out and they give me a sense of agency, even if that does fall a bit short of control.
        Take care keep in touch. We need to stick together.
        Best wishes,
        Rowena

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      2. Sounds like fascinating research and good luck with the series and all! Your faith is the epitome of faith. I always feel like I can choose hope or not, and our faith gives us hope.

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  3. Good to ‘meet’ you Crystal via my WordPress article. Thank you for reading! I have three sons, so feel your pain and admire your courage and attitude. i am a Humanist and respect everyone and their views/faiths. How could I not?! Like you, I wish for peace and love in the world. Best wishes. Cheers! Joy x

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    1. Hello Joy! It’s good to ‘meet’ you. Thank you for visiting. My attitude continues to need adjustment, so I greatly appreciate your kindness and encouragement. Peace be with you.

      Like

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