Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We are moving!!!

We are not literally moving, but this blog site is moving. I am so excited to share with you that this blog has officially changed over to my own independent host site. This will allow for me to work towards my goal of inspiring others. I want to encourage people, especially women, that hope is always around the corner. One day I hope to be a published author but until then I will just blog and hope that you and other readers join me online. My new site is -

Simple as that! So come join me. Leave comments. Engage in conversation with me. 
You can also find me on Facebook -
Twitter: @crystaldfoster

I look forward to meeting up with you at the new blog! 
Crystal Foster 
Reflecting the Voice of Hope
Personal Blog- Crystal D Foster 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day--All about "ME" or Not

It’s Mother’s Day 2014 and I am in a very different place than I was even a year ago but a much different place than I was several years ago. For the first time in years I was excited about Mother’s Day again. However, I have always had the misconception that Mother’s Day was to be set aside to honor “me” once I became a mom. In so much that I thought like others that I would have a day of no work. Someone would do all the things that I normally do to make the universe operate and I would get the day “off duty”. Well, I got a dose of reality today and finally learned my lesson that Mother’s Day really isn’t the all about “me” show.
Don’t get me wrong, my children did honor me in their own way as best as a 5 and 8 year old can without assistance from adults. I awoke very early to my oldest ushering me downstairs to breakfast. She served me fresh cut, washed, and sugar added strawberries with a bowl of Special K and a cup of milk. It was precious and delicious. I was quite impressed with her skills and delivery. Then I was met with the gifts that each girl had made at school with the help of their teachers. They were sweet and funny. Kaitlyn’s card was accompanied with bath salt so I could take a relaxing soak. Kyleigh’s card was an interview about mommy where she described me as an eight year old that likes the color pink and weighs 55 pounds. J
I had posted earlier on Facebook that I only wanted peace in my home for Mother’s Day. That came crashing down about 5 minutes post breakfast when my children stayed true to their little personalities and started the sibling arguments right away. So, the idea of taking off the “mommy cape” for the day just doesn’t work when there is no one around to jump in and referee for you. So of course, I was on duty. I was reminding them to “treat others the way you want to be treated” and “make wise choices” while all at the same time cleaning up the Mother’s Day breakfast dishes and mess created from cutting up the lovely strawberries.
We made it to church and I really enjoyed the message today on worship and centering your mind on worship. For weeks now I have had to really focus on calming the brute beast (Psm 73:22) in me when I get angry as the kids are in the midst of a tantrum or meltdown. It is so easy for me to get caught up in trying to fix it for them or stop their behavior that I get upset too. Instead, I am trying to learn to just let the Holy Spirit guide me to remain calm, remove myself from the situation, and regain my composure. I am much more effective and a better mommy when I am a “beauty” and not a “beast” as shared by our lovely Pastor’s wife this morning.
After church the girls and I headed to spend the afternoon with my mom. We had a great lunch. My mom had pre-fixed most of the meal so all that was necessary was to warm it up today. That’s when I also realized, “hey she didn’t get the day off duty either”. I mean my dad did help her in the kitchen because he always does as he is a great man but she still had to cook. Then she and I cleaned up after the meal was over. So a mother, no matter who they are or which stage of life, ever really gets to go totally “off duty”.  We spent some time outside blowing bubbles and giggling and just having fun. Some of us even caught a small nap, but I won’t mention any names.
The girls and I headed home and then we finished up Kaitlyn’s homework. That is work for me too! She has to have me sit with her one-on-one and sometimes it can be brutal. By this point I had truly let go of my thoughts on today being all about “me”. This day was about my children, family time, and memories. But isn’t that what every day of the year is about. So I am going to try not to get caught up in the fact that today didn’t meet the expectations of a dream world Mother’s Day where I was doted on all day long for the endless things I do to keep the universe in order for my family. Instead, I am going to be grateful for the blessings in my life, for my family, friends, church, and my amazing children.

To Kaitlyn,

I love you because you are kind and sensitive and your strong spirit will serve you well one day. My prayer for you is that you find the confidence in yourself to stand strong and be courageous. You are clothed in strength and dignity and you laugh without fear of the future because you are strong. Prov 31:25

To Kyleigh,

            I love you because you are my miracle child. You are my fighter and this spirit and will to press onward will serve you well one day. My prayer for you is that you find a way to show your softer side to others. You seek out ways to be kind and loving to the world. For love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:7

To all Mothers,

            Happy Mother’s Day!
Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from God


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Will You Say He is Good?

        Just a few days ago I lay on a cold hard table wearing a hospital gown and earplugs I had my body placed inside a small tunnel. While inside this tunnel, I had to lay perfectly still while loud sounds permeated around me. Sounds that mimicked planes, jackhammers, whirlies, tambourines, tinker toys, and many other loud noises. You get the picture. It was anything but pleasant. In the past, I was able to have my favorite music piped into the tunnel to soothe me but this time they were not set up for that option. I was slightly disappointed. So instead I lay in the tunnel and prayed. I prayed for God to just make the time go by quickly, to help me not to be concerned with the results, for God to help me not to move, for God to put me at rest and peace. I sang songs of worship in my head but not ones that would get me too stirred up because those that have seen me recently know that I can get really excited and move during a good song. Unfortunately, the MRI/MRA scan table was not my friend this time. I was in a lot of pain. The back of my head felt like it was being pinched and I could not take it any longer. I had to have them stop the machine three different times. I was in so much pain that I needed to move my head and massage it. By the end of the scan I was so relieved to be done but concerned nevertheless because I have had multiple MRIs and never experienced this sort of pain during one before. I have been waiting on the phone call since Monday morning. You know how it goes when you wait for that phone to ring, it never rings until you walk away and then come back and realize you have a voicemail. Well, I refused to have that happen. So today I decided to jump the gun and call them first. But before I did, I took a few minutes and spent some time with God.
      You see, I also had the privilege of sharing a portion of my testimony with some great ladies this morning after we talked about Job in the bible. Now I was quick to point out that I am nothing like Job and do not wish to be compared to Job because unlike Job, I have sinned and needed forgiveness. One thing I loved about Job even says, "should we accept only good from God and not trouble?' 2:10 Even Job, a man without sin, knew that he wasn't above persecution and suffering. Even Jesus himself suffered while on this Earth, so what makes us think we are better than him? Why should we think we are above suffering? I am not Job, but I have faced trials, small and large, and from these trials I have learned a few things. One thing I have learned is that you can get to the light. There is hope! So before I picked up the phone today seeking results I prayed-

              Dear God, 
                  Let me not forget that you have brought me through so many trials already. If this is not the         
                  news I want to hear let me praise you anyways. Let me trust you already have a plan and 
                  that you will work it out. God, let me rest in you and have faith that everything will be okay. 

Then I dialed the number. The receptionist/nurse told me she would call me back shortly. In the meantime I was reading a devotional and these verses catapulted off the page: 

Jeremiah 17:7, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (NIV)
1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (NIV)

So here I was asking the Lord to give me the desires of my heart but do so in His will. That if it is to be that I endure more suffering to help me accept that plan over my life and not react with the panic, knee jerk reaction that I always have when things go wrong. These verses were clearly telling me that I could have confidence that no matter what I could trust that He knows my wants, desires and needs. So I quieted myself and I waited, not knowing what the answer would be and praying I would respond with grace.

Within minutes my cellphone rang and Jennifer, the receptionist/nurse, spoke these simple words of truth that were music to my ears - "EVERYTHING LOOKS STABLE"! Praise you Lord! Blessings!
I do need to followup with my neurologist because the symptoms of tingling and numbness are persisting but I believe that it will stop because it has in the past. I am relieved to know that the hand of God is upon me once again! I guess my next trial will just have to wait, but I promise you I am not immune and my time is coming because with every mountain top--there is a valley. The difference for me this time is I am armed and ready! 

What about you--will you say He is good? 

Isaiah 12:2
See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mommy--What If?

         Each night is the same bedtime routine at my house: 
brush teeth
read books
lights out (except night lights)
sound machine on
prayers and kisses
This past Saturday night instead of me walking out the door after kisses, I found myself holding my oldest while she cried. I waited until her crying was soft and she could talk. Those that know my daughter can appreciate that she is wise beyond her years in some ways yet quite sensitive and still very young at the same time. She expressed her fears in the following statement: 
"Mommy, What if I wake and you are dead? What if you die and go to heaven and it is just me and Kyleigh? What will happen to me? What will I do? Who will adopt me? Will anyone love me? Who will take care of us?"
I grabbed that little face, wiped away her tears and did what any mother would do. I kissed her. I told her that she is safe and she is loved. I told her that as far as I am know this mommy isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I don't have any plans of heading off to heaven, I don't have a ticket punched or bags packed. I told her that our God, her Heavenly Father has already planned out our days before we were even born and He knows those plans. He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. So our God is not going to do anything that is going to hurt us. I told her that she has a mawmaw and a pawpaw that love her very much. I reminded her that she has people at church that love her and her sister very much. I told her that people are standing in line to care for her and Kyleigh if anything ever happens to mommy. But then I told her she needs to give that fear to God because it has no place here. I reminded her that daddy made a choice that mommy will NEVER make (yes-there was a time in my past that I could not have boldly made this statement) and that although she misses daddy she will see him again. 
        I ended the night praying over her the verse from 2 Timothy 1:7 - "for God gave has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control". Today I found another verse about sweet dreams from Proverbs and I have posted both verses above the girls beds. Kaitlyn is always asking me to pray that her dreams are sweet and peaceful and her thoughts are good thoughts so this next verse was perfect. Proverbs 3:24 "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." The great thing about this is she found great comfort in these verses being written above her bed. She loves prayer and she truly trusts that God has her best interest at heart. I know this will help her through this season of grief we are in right now. I know these questions are far from being over and one day I will one day endure hearing them from the youngest. It's natural. It's reality for these little girls. But it doesn't have to be their destiny! And that is what I love about the whole thing is truth- they are going to overcome!! (1 John 4:4) They can overcome the past that was given to them and the generational curse of this world. They have hope and a future. (Jer 29:11) He promises to restore the years that the locusts have eaten! (Joel 2:25) Our God is just that great and He loves us just that much and more! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is it a "Happy" Valentines' Day? Changing the Perspective-

So I wonder how many women are sitting at home today sulking? Sulking because it is Valentine’s Day. That holiday that comes once a year but is decorated in every store, celebrated in every restaurant and commercialized by every jewelry store in America – the cupid, the red, white and pink, the day of “love”. I have been guilty of it myself. Even when my husband was alive, I would be bitter if he was working at school and Valentines’ Day was on a weekend because I wanted that day to be all about “me”.  I would be at home with the kids and wonder, “how dare he go off to work and leave me home with the kids on the day of “love”?”. I mean sometimes going away to work is easier, let’s just be honest. Staying home and entertaining children and keeping up with the house is not an easy task. So I wonder how many women are in that boat today, mad at their spouse because they are at work either by force or choice?
Or how about the woman that was in a relationship but is recently single whether it is a break up from a boyfriend or divorce, either way that is a harsh reality on a day like today. I imagine today is hard for them. They are either playing it off as no big deal, and silently crying behind closed doors, angry at the entire day and its shenanigans or still in a state of shock. Maybe you have always been single, no kids and maybe no pets. That is also a road that isn’t easy to walk. What about the single mom that wishes her knight in shining armor was right around the corner with roses and chocolates? Actually she probably just wishes for a babysitter—hahaha!  Anyways, this day has the potential to be so discouraging to so many people—men and women actually. I don’t mean to have a one-sided conversation. I realize there are single men out there hurting just as badly and raising children alone too. I just am writing from my own experience as a flying solo woman in this world.
What I hope you and others take away from this entry today is that your Valentines’ Day doesn’t have to come from all the energy you put into your spouse or significant other today. In fact, if you are putting your faith into a human to meet your needs of intimacy and love then you are going to be truly disappointed every single time. The truth is that humans cannot fulfill the deepest needs and wants of intimacy that we have. I am not talking about sex here, I am talking about “love”. I was guilty of this too. That waiting for my husband to come home and make my “Valentine’s Day” complete, was thinking he was the key to love. The concept of , “I can’t live without him or her” is another false belief of “love”. You CAN live without your spouse and you should go on living without them. You lived before they came along so why should things change when they leave? That was my biggest mistake and I would do anything to help someone else avoid this mistake. You can’t find your identity and shouldn’t find your identity in your spouse or significant other. They will never truly satisfy you. Instead, look up and see that the God that created you and me is truly and madly in love with us. He wants to be your Valentine. Not just on February 14th but every day of the year! God created us in his image (Gen 1:27) and to do good works that he ordained in us before he created us! (Eph 2:10) In other words, God didn’t think about us after the fact, he created us for a purpose! He wanted us, he loved us, he wants us, and that my friends is love!
            Maybe you are reading this and you wonder if God is love then why are you single? Or why do I feel alone in my marriage? Be encouraged my friend that God knows your hurting heart and he is just waiting for you to bring your hurt to him. You are not meant to walk this journey alone.  Maybe you have been praying about this situation for a long time. I prayed for deliverance from my pain for almost two years. Two years!!! For us, that seems like forever but to God that is just a moment in time. So don’t give up. Keep praying and have others stand with you in prayer. Maybe you are reading this and you don’t have this intimate relationship with God that I am talking about. You wonder how I can freely talk about prayer and love on Valentines’ Day given my past. It’s easy. God is my Redeemer. He loves me unconditionally. In him there is no condemnation of my past. He holds no records of wrongs like a spouse would and he sent his one and only son Jesus to right all of our wrongs.
            If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, if you have never accepted Him in your heart, if you have never asked God to be your Father, then simply reach out to him today and make this a Valentine’s Day to remember. Pray this prayer-
                        Dear God,
                                    I know that I am sinner. I know that you have
sent your Son Jesus to save me from my sins and he
died on the cross for me. I ask you to come into my heart
today. In Jesus name.
You see, it wasn’t magical and no fairy dust appeared. You probably didn’t float about as you prayed either (I hope not anyways). But if you prayed this today, the next step is to reach out and tell someone. Call a friend at church, call me, get to a church on Sunday and connect to someone so you can continue growing in your spiritual walk with God. You can’t go wrong from here! God doesn’t expect you to clean up your mess first, he wants to bring you in the house with mess and all, then you can clean up. Kind of like what us moms did this week during the snowstorm. We didn’t make our kids undress on the front porch. We brought them inside, slushy mess and all, then we cleaned them up! God is even better than the best mom!
            I will leave you with this – words from Laura Story “Blessings” – when you get a chance listen to the entire song, it’s a good one! It helps remind me that despite all the bad stuff and circumstances that God is still sovereign and his love for me is undying. He is my Valentine!

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

So I may be snowed in with my two kids and have cabin fever. I may not get my yellow roses and favorite Japanese dinner this year, but I am still blessed beyond all I deserve. I have loved and been loved. I have life and I am living life like I never lived it before. I am truly happy and it isn’t because of a box of chocolates- although that does help (just keeping it real !).
So do something nice for yourself. Celebrate YOU! Celebrate the life God gave to you! Relish in the love of God!
Happy Valentine’s Day 2014!!!    
    Love to All- Crystal 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Mommy's "Time Out"

        I had to be real with myself this Sunday morning as I stood in the worship service and sang the words, "You are Good" by Bethel Church. I was convicted of a whiney heart. Yes, I, the mom that can't stand it when my children whine. The mom that puts them on their bed to think about and reflect on what they really want to say needed a "time out" today. Recently, I have been so consumed with what has been going wrong in my little world. If I was honest with myself, I have had a good old fashion pity party with me, myself and I in my bed with the covers pulled up to my head at night. But what has that accomplished really. I have vented and whined to anyone and everyone who would listen about my petty problems. The same person that just a few weeks ago scorned people for forgetting about being grateful they weren't facing real problems in this world like cancer and daily hunger and homelessness. That was me, hypocrite, a person looking for sympathy from a crowd of people that I hoped would stand in my corner and tell me I was right. I wanted, like my children, validation for my whining.
       Can I tell you something, during that song this morning, as the words flowed from my lips, I found myself pausing to confess to God that I was a whining mom and I needed a "time out". I needed a new perspective on the tough times I was facing. As the song says, "in my darkness night, you shine as bright as day" I must agree that God has always come through for me regardless if I have felt his presence, spent time in prayer, or whined like a baby because the truth is my relationship with Him isn't based on what I deserve. If that was the case then what I deserve is much worse than a "time out". But God loves me no matter what and in Him is no condemnation but total forgiveness when we come to him and confess that we have made a mistake. I confessed to Him at that moment that I was sorry for being whiney this week and that I needed Him just as much today as I have needed Him before today. I need Him to direct my path and guard me against decisions that I make out of desperation instead of out of prayerful consideration and waiting on His guidance. 
        After that I was able to really participate in worship today and release the guilt and shame I had placed on myself for being selfish this week. I am making it my anthem to follow through with the words of this song this week -- "I'll sing because you are good, and I'll dance because you are good, and I'll shout because you are good, you are good to me!" May my life celebrate with praise from my lips that no matter what in sunshine or rain that God is good to me and that circumstances of this life and people in this world do not determine my attitude. Only I can determine my attitude and I no longer want to be a "whiney mom" but instead a mom that models to her children and others how to handle the bumps of life with dignity. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our "normal"

      It's been a while since I have written to you as an audience. I have been re-writing my book and taking some time to reflect on life. We have been busy in the Foster household this year. Kyleigh turned 5 in December. It was a wild celebration day as it was a high of 66 degrees while we played at the Little Gym. Quite different from the previous four years of ice and snow with temperatures freezing. Unfortunately she still had very few friends show up at her actual party this year and they couldn't blame it on the weather this time so I must admit I was disappointed but she didn't seem to mind, as she still smiled and had fun. That's the beauty of being a child, they don't seem to be bothered by the same things that us adults get all worked up about. In fact, she was just happy to be able to jump around to music and eat cake!
      Shortly after her birthday of course we celebrated Christmas with my family in Thomasville and then again in Lexington, SC. My niece, Amber had come in from Ohio and so we traveled to see her and it was a great visit and meal by my sis-in-law. Which, may I congratulate her on becoming a registered nurse as well - Elizabeth Kelsey-Maynard, LPN-RN -- Whoop! Whoop!! So very proud of all her hard work! (I hope I put all of the initials in there correctly, I am sure she will tell me if I didn't).
Then just a few days later, after packing like a mad woman, my church family came and moved us from our home to a 2 bedroom apartment just 10 minutes down the road.
       Yes, that is correct--I sold our home and we moved on December 28, 2013! It was totally a God thing as the house went on the market right before Halloween, went under contract November 25th and signed on January 3rd. Talk about a quick sell! We are settled now in our cute little apartment. I am happy here. In fact, it is nice to have less space to take care of, a maintenance crew to call when things break and need fixing. The girls share a rather large bedroom, they were able to keep their own beds. Both bedrooms have a walk-in closet, which for an apartment is a great accessory. There is a patio and storage area attached to my room. We also have a little sunroom off the living room that works as a play area too. It is just enough space for us. The girls were able to remain at their current schools and that was also important to me. Kaitlyn is very attached to her teachers and other staff at Pearce and they love her. Kyleigh is in preK and changing her now would be very difficult. I am still on medical leave with the state department.
         I am working on re-writing the book that I self published. I am excited about the opportunity to attend the SheSpeaks conference in July with Proverbs31 Ministries. I hope to meet with a publisher and get my name out and possibly if it is meant to be get a contract. I want to return back to the work force but I have no idea what that looks like for me right now. I do know that it doesn't look like returning to full time teaching. So until the door opens and I have a clear cut answer, I wait and I pray and I write.
        I have come off of most of my medications. I am doing very well medically speaking. I am using Essential Oils now to help manage my migraines. They are helping me tremendously as well as going to the chiropractor once a month. I believe there is a connection between your health and your spine. I also believe that we have moved away from using healing treatments of the past that were proven to work such as Essential Oils. I truly believe and I can say from experience that if Frankincense Oil was good enough for baby Jesus then it is good enough for me to use to control my migraines. Trust me when I say it along with the combination of other oils has helped keep me away from emergency rooms and pain killers since Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for learning about this natural way of treating migraines.
         Another major thing that has occurred since my last entry is that we have reached our "normal". What does that look like? What does that mean exactly? I remember hating it when people said to me back in 2011, "you will find your new normal one day". I just wanted to punch them and scream. Honestly, I wanted to say to those people, "So when you woke up today were you hoping to find a new normal?". Of course not, no one wants to find a new "normal". Re-doing life is hard and painful and for lack of a better word- it sucks! I remember sitting with a close friend from church and we tried so hard to come up with a word to describe how hard this journey was going to be and there was not a single word in the thesaurus that fit better than "sucks". I didn't want "new normal". I just wanted things to go back to how they were before May 13, 2011. I wanted my "normal". Come to find out in this journey of healing that I have been on, my life before 2011 wasn't "normal", it was far from normal and it wasn't healthy. I had to endure a lot of growing since that awful day. My children are still dealing with the after effects of that day. But the good news is we are reaching "our new normal".
        I remember the day very clear. It was January 8, 2014 and we were walking across the parking lot of the grocery store to the car. We had just returned back to the car from going inside to use the restroom and we were holding hands, interlocked, and swinging our arms back and forth as we walked. There was a slight breeze in the air and the sun was shining just so through the clouds as if the rays were wings of angels. I could almost hear singing. Right then, at that very moment a smile crept across my face and a giggle bubbled up from inside my soul to my lips and out of my mouth. My girls and I skipped to the car hand in hand as if this is what we have always done our entire lives. Just us three, together. It was NORMAL. We were Happily "even" after the storms of life had tried to take us down.
There you go--I gave you a little glimpse into my book with that last sentence. I hope you are smiling with me right now knowing that we are doing just fine.

Blessings from the Foster Girls!
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