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

46b26bf2422dfb4f15674b533fae01a1

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……

13095748_10207402325948712_6531227570270529729_n13102773_10209533087306974_605639493506495201_n13103256_10209536176424200_5645371642766338520_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!

13081716_10209730239476205_20581058_n

no ordinary life

To be continued……..

13002615_10209702541183765_1783241415422472768_o

Confessions from my Cubicle

I try to stay away from “sad” posts.   I want to be known as the single mom who has her stuff together.     Today, may not be one of those posts.

A friend of mine asked me recently to write about my dating experiences as a single mom in her (now) 40’s.    We had dinner one day and I can’t remember ever laughing so hard at myself before.   The tears of laughter that was shed that day prompted me to write this.   Keep an open mind while reading this and don’t be afraid to laugh at my expense.

12202456_10208353736824499_1109560606_n

So as I sit at my desk and polish off a box of Crunch and Munch, a container of raspberries, 4 cherry tomatoes, beef jerky and un-sweet tea, I am evaluating my life and exactly how I have gotten here…..Not here, as in “on this earth”  but here, as in this cozy little Cubicle.

I have recently come to the realization that I am ready to date.   I just threw up in my mouth a little…could be from the excessive amount of food I have eaten in the past 2 hours…but nevertheless, the thought of being in an actual relationship gives me mixed emotions of excitement, nervousness and indigestion.

I have dated in the past three years, unsuccessfully.

There was the Doctor who  brought me a bottle of his very own wine and proposed to me on the FIRST date.     He ended up talking to me like a baby…I am not kidding…he literally used a baby voice and said things like I WUV YOU and he sent me pictures of flowers and wrote me poetry.   He lasted a week.

Then there was the guy who had to move in with his parents a month after we started talking because he lost his job due to him getting drunk at the office Christmas party.   Once he finally got his life together, he left me for a women he met in his apartment complex.

A friend fixed me up on a blind date.    I met him at his house and our plans were to go out to dinner.     I pulled in his driveway and he met me at the door with his 3 year old son.   (He forgot to tell me that he was bringing him along.)  No worries!!   I adore kids.      But wait, he also forgot to tell me that we were going to his son’s Karate demonstration at the preschool where his parents and ex wife were also going to be there.      It gets better, he then asks me if his parents can go to dinner with us….that way they will pay for dinner!!!     His parents declined. Before I bolted out the door, he made one last request….”Would you like to lay in bed with me and my son and watch TV until he falls asleep?”      Um No, Goodbye.       I never saw him again.

The man I recently dated slept all the time and barely spoke.

There have been a few first dates that never turned into second dates.

There is even one that I would consider “the one that got away”.

Through it all, I learned a little more about myself.   What I want and don’t want.  What I am missing and what I don’t want to ever experience again.  Dating in your late 30’s and now 40’s isn’t as easy as you would think.    I could have married the first man I spoke about, who knows it may have been a nice life.    I could have gotten discouraged when my dates became disasters.    I could easily dwell on the one that got away.

I was messaging back and forth with my best friend today and I told him my fears about being alone.  It was prompted by another friends Mother who recently passed away…she had been a divorced single mom for as long as I can remember and as I was thinking about her this morning the thought crossed my mind that she must have felt so alone as she was exiting this earth.  I have to admit, it made me very sad.     As one of my biggest fears is being buried alone when I die.

It took me almost three years to finally get over the shock of my husband leaving me for another woman and his confession to five affairs while we were married.    The one question I ask myself is “why did he marry me”?  there was no obligation, there was no pressure.   One day he just got on his knee and promised to love me forever.    Forever lasted almost a year before he had his first affair, 13 years later he tells me that he doesn’t love me anymore.  Just like that, it was all over.

It has taken me three years to say this…

I don’t know what real love feels like.   The kind of loves that makes you feel safe, cared for, comfortable and not afraid.     The kind of love that you know that you are the “only one”.   That you don’t have to fight or defend yourself.  You don’t have to prove your worth.   The kind of love that makes you walk with confidence instead of cowering in a corner for fear you are going to be hit or made fun of. 

 Ladies, there is nothing dramatic about an abusive relationship!!  I don’t think he realizes what he did to me that day and the weeks after that.   He stole my self esteem.  He made me feel like I was unworthy….now I know who is unworthy.

So, thank you men that I have dated…thank you for the proposals, the wine, the dinners, and even a few good laughs.    You have given me the confidence to face my fears and start dating again.   Although, unsuccessful to say the least, I haven’t quite given up on finding “Prince Charming”!

**A letter to the man that may be actively searching for ME!**

Dear Mr. Charming:

Dating has been quite a learning experience for me.  Marriage EVEN MORE!    But it is time to get serious as my last birthday was a reminder that I am not getting any younger!

I am going to make things easy for you as I have officially made a list of things you must have or be to qualify for a chance at my heart.

  • You must love Jesus
  • You must love children
  • You must love to laugh
  • Don’t be boring!!
  • Taking long drives is a necessity
  • I want you to love sunrises and sunsets to the point of being unbelievably dramatic when seeing one!!
  • Love me when I am having a bad day
  • Love me when I am having a good day
  • Just love me everyday will be sufficient
  • Compliment me
  • Hug me….you know the kind of hug when my face is buried in your chest and I can’t breath, yet I don’t want to leave your arms for fear I may never feel that way again.
  • Make me smile
  • Make me laugh
  • Play with my hair
  • Kiss my forehead
  • Talk to me!!
  • Must have ridiculously amazing parents!!!!

Now Mr. Charming, in return I shall promise to:

  • First and foremost, Love Jesus!!
  • Love my kids (and yours if you have some)
  • ……the rest, let’s just see what happens

**FYI…the above lists are meant for kicks and giggle except the “Must love Jesus!!”**

There you go. A rare glimpse into my life….the single (not mom) life.

There you go Lori, I wrote it!!   Now everyone laugh and cry if you must.   But remember, there are far more better days ahead than what I am leaving behind!!

sldf