Starting Over

Just a note to say I’ve moved to a new site – Positively Crystal – and will be starting over again.  Just a few years, or so, later.

I thought this site would’ve been deleted by now, but came across it by accident and started reading some of the stuff I posted.  Man!  What a few years can do.  And not do.

Isn’t this a pretty pink color?  I’m loving it.  What great taste I have!

Oh!  I wrote about THAT?!?!  *cringe*

I would’ve written that differently.  Cut that part out.  Added something here.

Am I a genius?!?  Straight up, I’m pretty sure I am.  I need to tell somebody.

Just a few random thoughts as I scrolled.

Anyway, if anyone wants to pick up and start over with me, check me out at the link above!

It’s brand new.  Three posts in, but the engine will warm up and get trucking soon!

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My Weekend

Happy Monday, everyone!

That sounds awfully bubbly even in my own mind.  I promise, I’m not that perky.  I’m never that perky.

Last week someone in my building was using speaker phone to repeatedly call this number that went to voice mail with this chipper, ‘Hi!  This is Rachael!  I’m not available right now so leave a message and I’ll call you back!!’ that played each time he called.  At one point I hear a guy in another office say, ‘Crystal!  I don’t think Rachael’s available.  You can stop calling her now.’

‘I’m not calling her.  She’s too young to be my friend.  She’s probably in college or around that age.”

‘Now how do you know that?’

‘She’s way too excited about life to be my age, Joe.’

Like I said, I’m not that perky.  So anyway, my weekend!

james

Friday night my little brother, James, who I talk about a little here came up to stay with me.  This is the first time he’s done this spend-the-night thing since his stroke (or before, really)  so it was kind of a big deal that he stayed at all.  It went really well!

Since this stroke and all is fairly new and he’s still learning this new version of his life, I pay a lot of attention to him, what he says, and what he does.  That probably has a lot to do with the fact that we’re just now getting to know each other as well.  But I’ve noticed that he seems to have a certain level of embarrassment or possibly shame about his current physical condition.  Like he doesn’t want to meet any of my friends, or go anywhere he might see any of his old friends.  He doesn’t like busy restaurants.  In stores he likes to push the cart/buggy so he can rest his arm on the handle and “people can’t tell he’s handicapped”.

The way I look at my brother I see the amazing story he has to tell.  What he’s survived, how it’s changed/saved his life.  To me he’s kind of like a walking miracle, an answer to prayer.  So I guess it surprises me when I see things that make me realize he doesn’t think that way.  Yet.  It’s something I’m going to work on.

 

 

I’ve had it in my head for a few weeks now that I would be a grilling queen if I only had a grill so  when a planned beach trip fell through, I decided to take a portion of that money saved and invest in my tiara-ed future.

grill

Ok so it’s not all that impressive in size…  This is my first charcoal grill and it’ll fit about 4 – 6 items on the grill at a time.  Since it’s normally just me I thought this would be plenty big for my needs.  Only $70 at Academy Sports!

grill2

James instructed me when you first buy a grill you need to “burn it out” which basically means burn an $8 bag of charcoal with no cooked food to show for it at the end.  Which also means I had to go to the store Saturday to buy another $8 bag of charcoal so we could cook an actual meal.

For those of you inspired by these impressive grill pics to invest in your own charcoal dream, buy two bags of charcoal, save one trip to the store.  You’re welcome.

Second bag purchased, I ended up going grill crazy with the meal.  So we had grilled pork chops, with grilled corn on the cob, and a side of grilled veggies from a foil pack I put together.  The only part of our meal that wasn’t grilled was the sweet tea and trust me, if I could’ve I would’ve.

 

 

 

dead kindle

In sadder news, on Saturday night/Sunday morning my Kindle froze so I couldn’t turn a page in the book I was reading or go to the home screen.  At some point in the night it started a reboot from which it never returned.  *sad face*

Fortunately I have a co-worker whose daughter has never really used her Kindle Touch (that tends to happen when you turn around and buy them an iPad…) and so I’m hoping to buy that one from him this week.

RIP My 1st Kindle.

 

Hope you all had an excellent weekend too!

Just Sayin’

I’m 35, which is like waaaaaaaay past……painfully far past……what I figure to be the average MTV-viewing age.  For the most part I don’t watch much on MTV anymore, but last night I’m relaxing, scanning the guide on my TV and suddenly there. it. is.

guide-001(not the actual photo because I lack foresight)

Something happens that I can only compare to a Pavlov-like reaction and suddenly my mind is a mushy-brain train with one lone track in sight and all I can think of is….

ct

CT.

I made his name it’s own sentence because…..really,do you need a reason?

Some of you may not be familiar with Real World or Road Rules (which they began way back when I was in my MTV-age years), which means you’re also probably not familiar with the offspring of those shows called The Challenge.  Which means some of you poor, poor souls are not familiar with the double-sexy-dipped ball of hottness in that picture up there.

Well there he is, folks, in all his pretty boy glory.  Yeah, he has the typical good looks one would expect of a TV show celebrity.  He has the pretty blue eyes and the perfectly styled hair, the just-long-enough beard stubble, the sculpted body….Yeah, he has all that.  While it’s nice….yawn.

Let me just tell you……none of that pretty boy stuff matters.  This guy IS. A. BEAST.  I mean, he originally caught my eye a few seasons ago when this confused little fella tried to punch him in the face.  It was so cute, bless his little heart.

Later CT’s  stalking around in a circle outside like a bull with his gravelly voice and his Boston accent yelling and trying to catch this kid with like five grown guys trying to keep them apart – or keep CT corralled – either way.  And here I am watching at home and I can’t stay still in my seat because….I liked it.  You know.  Quite impressed.

ct2

Last season he carried a guy on his back like some kind of robo-beast:

backpack

You know, every girl has those certain men who, regardless of rhyme or reason, just make them lose their minds.  And morals.  And anything else that might get in the way.  That one right there does it for me.

I’m just sayin’.

Blessed.

I was talking to a guy at work yesterday afternoon.  His 19-month-old daughter has had severe health problems over the past year with multiple hospital stays.  She’s been diagnosed with the two rarest forms of immune disorders as well as a non-functioning liver.  Due to the rarity and severity of her condition they have recently been traveling to Duke University to see specialists.

During our conversation yesterday he was updating me on their latest trip to Duke.  He was talking about how his family had to spend a few days in the hospital there.  With his daughter in her current condition, he talked about seeing all the other sick kids.  He says to me, ‘You think you’ve seen sick kids.  You haven’t.  Even at the hospital in Birmingham (closest Children’s Hospital), I thought those kids were sick.  Those kids are nowhere near as sick as the ones at Duke.’

He goes on to tell me about seeing a family….mom, dad, healthy sister….all crowding around the sick sister trying to help her walk and listening to her howl in pain – sometimes almost collapsing from the ordeal – her family holding her up.  He told me it was so hard to watch even a nurse who sees things like that daily had to get up from her station and walk away when she started crying.

I tell you all this to say…on my way to work this morning I was thinking back on what he’d shared with me.  What especially stood out to me right then was how he said I haven’t seen a sick kid.  He’s right, I haven’t.  Myself, my friends, and my family have all been blessed with relatively good health. Most of them have been blessed with healthy children.  Beautiful children.

I thank God for my health on a regular basis.  “Thank You God for my health.”  This morning it struck me that I don’t even realize what a blessing that is; how thankful I should really be.  I say it so nonchalantly.  I’m ignorant to how bad things could be.  Thank You God that not only do I have my health, but also that I haven’t had to experience how bad it could be.  I should be on my knees in tears thanking God for my health alone.

There are people in this world who deal with health issues so horrible they would break me down in mere minutes.  A little girl who is in so much pain she howls when she walks.  Earlier this week I had a pinched nerve in my back and a guy walked in my office to say good morning.  I’m pretty sure I almost punched him in the face.  Because my back was hurting for about 3 hours at that point.    That little girl’s family would probably want to punch me in the face.  I don’t have a clue how bad it could be.  Thank You, God.

And not just with health, with life in general.  I go to sleep every night in a comfy bed with a solid roof over my head in a place I call home.  I don’t know what it’s like not to have a home.  Or a bed.  Or a roof over my head.  I don’t know what it’s like to miss meals because I have literally no money and nothing to eat.  Even worse, to have children who can’t eat for that same reason.

I just…..I don’t know why this hit me so hard this morning but it did.  Like a brick wall.  So I’m driving to work and I’m thanking God.  Not just for my health and possessions and these things I know I have, but I thanked Him for the things I don’t even realize I should be thanking Him for.  The blessings I don’t even know I have.  I thanked God for blessing me with that ignorance.  Not in a sense that I don’t want or need to know about it, even knowing “about” it doesn’t give me the knowledge I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the ignorance of what it’s like to live it on a daily basis.

I hope my point is coming across the way I intend it.  In a roundabout way this story is another way to put it:

“The Cross Room”


The young man was struggling, weighed down by the immense weight of the cross he carried each day. Then one day he came upon a room, opened the door, placed down his cross and walked inside. The room was filled, wall to wall with crosses.  He was surrounded by them. As he walked about the room he saw crosses of all different shapes and sizes, all different weights and woods.


Just then the man heard the voice of God, “What are you looking for my child?”

The man replied, “My cross is so heavy Lord, that I cannot bear it another day…let me take another one, God, a lighter one that’s more manageable and easier to carry.”

“Very well,” God said, “choose whichever cross you’d like…”


Some crosses were far to heavy to move, others were so large that they extended into the darkness of the room, toward a ceiling so high that their tops could not be seen. The man walked through the rows of crosses, hundreds upon thousands of them, until he focused in on a small cross in the corner, far smaller than the rest.

“I choose this one, God, this is the cross for me.”

“But my son, ” God replied, “that’s the cross you came in with…

Author Unknown

 

It’s like this morning I walked through that room overwhelmed at how huge all the crosses are until I spied that small one in the corner.  Then I realized it was mine.

Detour?

Well, my high school-esque crush is having to take a detour at the moment.  Or a permanent vacation, whatever.  Turns out a new baby with another woman isn’t so conducive to starting a new relationship.  Go figure.

Anyway, he’s faded to the wayside and left me in limbo I guess.  I do completely understand it’s a difficult situation so I do not completely close the door on him.  Maybe later is all I can give it at this point.  If I’m still available.

In other news, I’ve ordered tarot cards.  I mention them here in a previous post.  I did my first reading and the condensed version is that I’m ready for the new chapter in my love life.  Hallelujah and Praise the Lord!!! 

A specific reading regarding the situation with that crush – Bean – showed what I assume to be the baby mama as what is holding us back right now.  I would assume that refers to his feelings for her.  But for the future it actually shows a pretty awesome outcome.  So we shall see I guess.

Anyway, disappointed but I’m glad it didn’t get more involved before the baby showed up.  This way it didn’t get ugly and you never know what may happen in the end.

A Father’s Love

This weekend I took my step-grandfather to see his family 4 hours away.  He’s in his 80’s and has Macular Degeneration – a condition causing loss of vision – so he is unable to take himself.  A man who has been self-sufficient and worked hard his entire life – who is still physically capable of doing pretty much anything he might want – is now forced to depend on others.  Live his life often dictated by the whims of other people.  That alone is motivation enough for me to use one of my vacation days in order to get him over there before dark falls, as it makes him nervous to travel at night.

His family consists of his daughter, granddaughter, and three great-grandkids.  To say his daughter is the highlight of the entire trip would be a gross understatement.  Of course he loves his entire family and looks forward to seeing them, but make no mistake about it, in his world the sun rises and sets over his daughter.

About the time we first enter the town his family lives in, the excitement starts to show.  He contains it well up until that point when it becomes too much for him.  His eyes light up, he begins talking non-stop about anything and nothing at the same time, his fidgeting that was once easy to overlook becomes comparatively loud and boisterous.

I don’t personally know much about a father’s love.  What it feels like, how powerful it is.  My father cut me out of his life about 16 years ago but even before that, I don’t recall it being anywhere near the realm of what I witness between my great-grandfather and his daughter.

A man who I never see cry steps away from hugging his daughter hello with tears in his eyes.  The entire weekend they are virtually inseparable.  He spends time interacting with the grandkids – both adult and child – but it all orbits the daughter.

I’ve questioned him before about these occasional weekend trips.  Who are you most excited to see?  With tears glistening in his eyes, he replied, ‘My daughter.’

I guess it’s just an odd thing for me to witness.  I have no concept of it.  It’s strange to me, but a beautiful interaction all the same.  That kind of love is not in the cards for me, but for some reason I still love to see it for other people.  Like Christmas…despite numerous painful and hurtful experiences, it still remains my favorite holiday.  Just for the hope of what it could be.

Where is God?

This is something I’ve struggled with for a while now.  I have friends who talk about feeling God’s presence.  They have a whole heap of faith – at least compared to me.  Personally, I can count on one hand the times in my life when I could have possibly felt His presence.

I have read books, I have prayed, I have cried, begged, and pleaded.  I’ve tried to do the “right things”.  I’ve been positive, I’ve been negative.  I’ve tried time and again to read the bible regularly – that thing is boring.  Sit, be quiet, and listen?  I heard ringing in my ears and finally gave up.

I’ve been a good person for a long time….it doesn’t get me anywhere.  I’ve done things that would be frowned upon…doesn’t change anything either.  You can go into pretty much any situation expecting a certain outcome and you’ll find what you’re looking for – good or bad.

I would love to believe there is a higher power out there.  That there’s a purpose to this life.  I just can’t find it.  Where is He?