Crystal Williams

Disability Advocate, Mental Health Advocate, Blogger, Kabuki Syndrome, Animal lover & Loves Travel

Hello I’m Crystal Williams! Thank you for taking the time to check out my website. I’m going to tell you a little bit about myself & why I decided to become a blogger. First off  I’m a person with a disability. I have a rare Syndrome called Kabuki Syndrome. It’s not as popular as autism or down syndrome. Most times when someone comes up to me & they don’t know me or do know but don’t know that I do have a disability it’s because you can not tell that I have one, part of my syndrome is that I have a hearing loss. I used to have a hole in my lip when I was born & that was called a cleft lip I no longer have that thanks to all of the surgeries that I had as a child. I also used to have very poor balance but thanks to therapeutic horseback riding I can now walk normally. I still do horseback riding today & I’m happy to say that I no longer need therapeutic lessons. Being a person with a disability doesn’t stop me from doing the stuff that I love, it just means that I have to work just that much harder than anyone else.

Now why did I want to become a blogger. I’ve always loved to write. Writing has always been a huge passion of mine. It has always been my way of expressing my feelings & it’s also been an escape for me. Now I want to be able to share my story with others & hopefully educate others. Being a disability advocate not only for myself but also for others who are not able to share their own voice is very important to me because I want to be able to educate others to understand & not be afraid to ask questions & want to get to know us better. I’m also a big advocate for mental health. I struggle with Depression & I want to be able to help others to come forward to share their story as well & know that they are not alone on their journey. We are all in this fight together.

Other things that you may not know about me. I’m a huge animal lover especially horses, dogs & cats. I love doing horseback riding. I love to travel. I married my best friend & the love of my life. We adopted a cat named Buttons. I love doing photography in my spare time.

Hello everyone!

Happy Saturday. I hope that everyone is enjoying their weekend. Today on my blog I’m finally going to go into details about my trip that I was on a month ago! Crazy to think it’s already February. So anyways getting back to my post for today. Last month I went away on a cruise with my family we did the Panama cruise that also went to Costa Rica & the Caribbean. We flew out from Vancouver BC to Fort Lauderdale Florida and got on our cruise. We took Princess Cruises and we were on the Caribbean Princess ship. The cruise was 10 days round trip from Fort Lauderdale Florida. It sure was really nice to get away right at the beginning of the month after Christmas and New Years. The weather on the cruise was great the whole time sunny and warm.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

So our first stop on our cruise was Montego Bay Jamaica. Our excursion in Jamaica was Dunn’s River Fall and Dolphin Cove. So first off we got to go swimming and climbing through these beautiful Falls which was awesome and so much fun. I thought for sure the water was going to be very cold but it was actually warm and refreshing. Then after going through the falls we took a short bus ride to Dolphin Cove where they had dolphins, Sharks and stingrays. I was really excited because I’ve always wanted to go swimming with dolphins. So we got to Dolphin Cove where they provided lunch for us first. Then after lunch our tour guide told Matthew that if he wanted to get in the water with the Sand shark he could and so I encouraged him to do it because sharks are my husband’s favourite animal. So I got to was him swim and hold the shark before we went over to the other pool with the dolphins. We each got to have two rides on the dolphins which was absolutely incredible. Then we also got to play and interact with them as well. It was definitely a dream come true of mine.

Cartagena, Colombia

Our next stop on the cruise was Cartagena, Colombia. We got off the boat and did the hop on hop off bus tour excursion which was great. The city was beautiful all the buildings were very colourful and had a Spanish vibe was was neat. One of my favourite stops on the tour was getting to do the walking tour through town square. It was absolutely beautiful. As we were doing the walking tour I got very excited seeing a horse carriage go by with this beautiful horse I really wish that it would stop but unfortunately it had people in the carriage going for a ride. Once the walking tour was done we went back on the hop on hop off bus. Got to see a little more of the city then later both Matthew and I wanted to get back on the boat. So My father In Law and Matthew’s Uncle wanted to stay out a bit longer which was fine with both of us. Once Matthew and I got off the bus then we started walking back towards the boat and they had birds and some different monkeys climbing around. We got to see three monkeys up close in the trees which I thought was cool after all I really like monkeys I think they are cool animals that you don’t get to see very often.

Panama Canal, Cristobal Panama

For Panama both Matthew and I stayed on the boat while my Father In Law and Matthew’s uncle got off the boat and did a day tour through Panama. While we stayed on the ship and watched the ship go through the Panama Canal and the locks. They had someone on the speaker telling about the locks and the canal which we both found very interesting.

Limón, Costa Rica

We all got off the boat together and went and walked around Limon , Costa Rica. Unfortunately there wasn’t to much around to see but we went close to the water and walked around town for a little bit and then got back on the ship.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Island

For our last stop before heading home was Grand Cayman we were all supposed to go swimming with the stingrays but unfortunately they had to cancel the excursion because the water was to rough and I guess it wasn’t going to be safe which was sad because that’s the excursion that Matthew really wanted to do. So instead we just went through the town and found a beach to go swimming in and then walked around the town before heading back on the ship.

Then we got back into Fort Lauderdale, Florida and flew home from there. Over all it was a great vacation. We all got lots of rest and relaxation. I read lots of books while we were on the ship. We all went swimming in the pools a few times. I went to the spa a couple of times. We went for dinner to the specialty restaurant and also in the dinning room. The food and drinks were all great. Anyways I hope you enjoyed reading this post for today. I will post a bunch of the photos from the trip below. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend.

~Crystal~

Beautiful Sunset

Dunn River Falls
Dunn River Falls
Matthew with the sand shark at Dolphin Cove
Me laughing because I’m having a blast with the Dolphins at Dolphin Cove
Matthew with the Dolphin at Dolphin Cove
Town Square walking tour in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia
We saw him as we got off the boat in Limon, Costa Rica
Cute stray cat in the market at Limon, Costa Rica
Matthew, Me & My father in law in Grand Cayman
The beach we found in the Grand Cayman very close to where our ship was.
Found this neat Waffle House had to stop and get a picture of the name.
Matthew and I for one of the formal nights.

Hello everyone,

Happy Wednesday. Today is a very important day because here in Canada we have a great cause for mental health called Bell Let’s Talk. It’s to help anyone who is struggling with any kind of mental illness. For me I have been struggling with depression for ten years and it has really made a difference in my life because I’m able to share my feelings with my loved ones and I have an incredible support system. Over the last couple of years I have found that the more I talk about my struggles with others who are dealing with the same thing it’s seems to be more helpful and it also feels like weight lifted off of my shoulders. Before I would feel like I wasn’t able to share my feelings about my depression because I was sacred. embarrassed, I felt alone and I also felt like I was not worthy. Now I feel like I’m on a mission to help others by putting myself out there to be an advocate for mental health. If you know someone that you love who is going through mental illness please just remember to be patient with them and just be there for them weather it’s just giving them a hug or just sitting with them and listening. Sometimes it could also just be telling them that things are going to be okay and that you’re there for them as well. I still have my good and bad days but from what I have learned is just take one day at a time and do the things that make me happy. Sometimes when I’m having a rough day and my depression gets the better of me, I have to really push myself to get through the day and remind myself that I’m worthy, I’m strong and that I deserve to be happy. I hope that by me sharing about my mental illness will help someone else who needs it. Just remember that you are never alone. We need to keep talking about mental health everyday. Let’s keep the conversation going! #bellletstalk

-Crystal-

Hello everyone!

Good Afternoon Happy 2020! Sorry I’m a little late writing my New Years post. Better late than never right? Well my husband and I were away on vacation at the beginning of the month and we got back at the beginning of this week. Anyways I will post about our vacation in my next blog next week. This week I just wanted to jump on and do my New Years post. Wow it’s already the middle of January where has the time gone so far for this month. This year I’m planning on doing some bigger changes to my blog that I’m really excited about. For 2020 I’m planning on doing more blog posts each month not only about my life, travel, mental health and being a disability advocate. This year I’m going to be doing interviews posts from people that are making a difference in the world not only for individuals with disabilities but others as well who have a story to tell and that I think is important to share for others. I hope that you are excited to see where I’m going this with this for 2020. I feel that because I have a voice I want to be able to help others share theirs as well. So please stay tuned for theses changes that are coming for this year. I hope that you have had a great new years and are starting the year off to a good start. Well that’s all for now. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post about my vacation but until then. I hope that everyone has a wonderful rest of their day and a great weekend!!

~Crystal~

Hello everyone! Happy Sunday, Christmas is almost here. Where did this year go. Today on my blog I thought I would post about all the great things that has happened this year for me and my husband.

Not too much happened at the beginning of this year. We celebrated my husband’s birthday. We took a quick trip to the island to help honour Kim Samuel one of our friends who received an award at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo BC. We got to go to the Special Olympics Summer World Games in Abu Dhabi as guests. We celebrated Buttons first adoption anniversary with us. I got to do a demo ride for my riding stable Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association at Thunderbird show park. We took a cruise to Alaska for a week. Then celebrated my birthday. I got to go to a concert with one of my girlfriends to see one of my favourite female Country artists Carrie Underwood at Rogers arena. We took an other quick trip to the island to visit Matthew’s family in Sydney BC. I went to Merritt BC to visit my grandparents for a weekend away. We went up to Osoyoos BC to visit more of Matthew’s family. I completed my summer goal to do the Grouse Grind. We got invited to go Georgia Atlanta to visit people we know who work for Special Olympics Georgia. Matthew got to speak to their staff members about his Experiences with Special Olympics. We both got to take part in a podcast with a fellow Special Olympics athlete. If you’re interested his podcast is called Special Chronicles. We celebrated our 1st Wedding Anniversary. We went back up to Osoyoos BC for a family wedding. We went to Toronto for a symposium hosted by our friend Kim Samuel for social connectedness and a right to belong. We also went to Washington DC.

Overall this year was full of lots of travel. Lots of new experiences. One of my favourite things about this year was getting to spend lots of time with my family and my amazing friends. I hope that everyone also had a great year as well. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a Merry Christmas. Sending everyone lots of joy and happiness going into 2020. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Here’s a few of my favourite pictures from this year.

~Crystal~

Me with one of the horses at my riding stable
Loretta, Matthew and I
Matthew and I riding a camel
At Thunderbird Show Park doing a Demo ride on Taco for
Valley Theerapuetic Equestrian Association
Matthew and I on our Alaska Cruise
A beautiful View on our Alaska Cruise. Still one of my favourtie picture from our trip
My friend Kristen and I at Rogers Arena waiting for Carrie Underwood to preform

Carrie Underwood

Just a really cute picture of Buttons
More horses at my riding stable. My favourtie place to be.

In Osoyoos BC for a family weekend

At the top of Grouse Mountain after finishing the Grouse Grind
Brendan and Kelsey’s Wedding Day!
Matthew and I all dressed up for a family wedding
Buttons and I having a cuddle

Hello Everyone,

Happy Wednesday. It’s been a couple of weeks since I have done my last blog post. Hopefully everyone is excited and looking forward to the holidays coming. It’s hard to believe that Christmas is two weeks away. I absolutely love this time of year. Spending time with family and friends over the holidays. I love being able to decorate our place for Christmas, watching holiday classics Christmas movies and baking Christmas goodies. For me the holidays are very special because not only do you get to spend time with all your loved ones but you also get to reflect back on the year that you had and all the amazing memories that you have made during the year. Well that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for taking a couple minutes out of your day to read my blog. Here’s some pictures of our Christmas decorations in our place and a picture of Buttons. Have a great day!

Hello everyone,

Happy Sunday I hope that everyone had a good week and is enjoying their weekend. It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted my last blog. I was going to post something last week but I had a lot going on and I was also sick. I’m feeling much better now. I’m excited to share what I was up to from two weeks ago. My Husband Matthew and I went to Washington DC. This was a very quick trip. We left on Monday November 11 and came back on Wednesday November 13. So we left early on the Monday morning and got to DC that evening for a surprise dinner for our friend Kim Samuel. It was for her birthday we were both excited to be there for her. We saw her a couple weeks before in Toronto for her symposium which was absoulty awesome. It was so hard to keep it a secret from her but boy was Kim surprised. Anyways the dinner was great. We got to see lots of people we both new and got to meet lots of new people as well. Then the next day it was the annual Special Olympics International board meeting that they do every year. Now my husband Matthew was apart of the International borad for many years and he recently step off of because his term is up. We both went to the board meeting to listen in for about two hours and then after that we got to go tour around the city because after all it was my first time being in DC. We went to the White House, The Washington Monument, The World War ll. Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and also The United States Holocaust Memorial museum. It was definitely a jam packed day but the good thing was that everything was pretty walkable and close by to get too as well. Then later we got back to our hotel for awhile to relax. Then later that night we met up with a few people that we knew from the board and went out for dinner with them. Then the next day we flew back home. It was a very quick trip but I definitely had a great time. Well I hope you enjoyed reading this post today. I will post a few pictures from the trip. Anyways have a good rest of your day!

Hello everyone happy Sunday. Hopefully you are having a great weekend. I’ve been enjoying my weekend as well. This past week my husband and I were in Toronto for a couple of days. We were both invited to go to Toronto to attend The 2019 Global Symposium: Reimagining Community In The 21st Century hosted by the Samuel foundation. Kim Samuel is the Chair & President of The Samuel Family Foundation and also the Founder for The Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness. Now I’m sure you might be wondering how I know her, Well my Husband Matthew worked with her on The Special Olympics International Board for many years and so I’ve got the chance to meet her through my husband that way and were both lucky to call her a friend. Back in February of this year Kim invited us both to join her in Nanaimo as she was getting an honorary Doctorate from The Vancouver Island University. While we were there she had talked lots about this Symposium. So going back to last week. There was 170 people invited to this event and there was 150 people that was there. There was people from all over the world North America, The Untied Kingdom, Africa, Germany, Australia and many more countries. There was so many different great organizations and Businesses that were all there working towards inclusions and belonging. I loved that everyday there was different panel discussions and each panel had a Q&A. That way you got to learn even more about the people and what their organizations were doing. I was so happy to see that Special Olympics was there getting to educate more people who had never heard of it or even people who just wanted to get to know more information about all the great work that it has done for individuals with disabilities. There was a lot of talk about Inclusion and Belonging. which I loved because it doesn’t matter if you’re someone like me who has a disability or not. everyone wants to be included and a right to belong, wether it’s in sports, in your everyday life etc. One question that was brought up a lot to the different panelists was What Gives You Hope To Belonging? For the last couple of days I have defiantly gave it a lot of thought and here’s my answer to this question. For me what gives me hope is that being able to educate more people about people with disabilities and also educate more people as well people who are struggling with mental health by being able to continue telling my story but also helping others who may not be able to share their stories in the same way I can. One of the panelist from one of the discussions said something that really stayed with me and I really loved it. They said that we all have something to give wether it’s big or small. I found that to be very true and also very helpful as well. For me being able to share with others is what I have to give. Overall the symposium was an amazing experience. From all the different panel discussions to the breakout sessions. The thing that I’m going to take away and has helped me. I have learned that I need to stop putting myself on the back burner and I need to start thinking about me a little bit more to be able to do what I love but also what I want to do in my life. Well that’s all for this blog post today. I hope you have enjoyed reading it. I will be making some changes in the new year on my blog. I hope you stay tuned for them. I’m very excited about what is coming next for me but for now you will have to wait and see what I have in store. Hope you all have a great day! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. Here’s some pictures that I took from last week! Enjoy

~Crystal~

Hello everyone! Happy Friday, today on my blog I’m talking about a cool thing that I recently did with my husband Matthew. We were asked by a fellow Special Olympics Athlete and Global Messenger Daniel Smrokowski to go on his very own podcast show called Special Chronicles. We met him while we were in Abu Dhabi this past March for the Special Olympics Summer World Games. It was such a pleasure getting to meet Daniel and we both thought that it was very nice that he asked us to be guests on his podcast show. I felt very honoured to be apart of the show.Let me tell you I wasn’t sure at first because I was little bit nervous about doing the show because I’ve never done something like that before. We got to talk about our life together married, how we both met, Special Olympics, Valley Therapeutic Equestrian, our family and much more as well. If you would like to listen to the podcast I will put the link at the end of this blog post for today and I definitely recommend going to his website and also following him on social media. For those of you who would like to listen to our podcast episode on Special Chronicles it’s called SCP350: Achieving Marriage Dreams. You can also download it on podcast through Apple and google podcast. Here’s the link to Daniel’s website on the bottom of this post! Well that’s all for today. Have a great weekend everyone!

~Crystal~

https://specialchronicles.com

Good Evening everyone, happy Saturday! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! So I know I usually do a blog post on Fridays but I just didn’t really get the chance to do it yesterday. So I’m doing it tonight while I enjoy a nice hot cup of tea & enjoying a nice quiet Saturday night. So last week my husband Matthew & I were away in Georgia for a few days. We got invited to go down awhile ago. We got invited to come visit the Special Olympics Georgia head office by the CEO of Special Olympics Georgia. Matthew knows the CEO of Special Olympics Georgia because they were on the International Bored of Special Olympics for eight years together. It so happens that last year they both stepped off the International bored at the same time. She had invited both Matthew & I to come visit her and her staff in Georgia for a special trip.

While we were there Matthew & I got to go to their head office and attended one of their meetings. Matthew spoke to all the staff about his life involved in Special Olympics, The impact that it has made on his life, Talked about being a former Special Olympics Global Messenger & former Global Congress Chair, about his Ted Talk that he did & also talked about his life outside of Special Olympics. We got to take a tour around their office and also got to talk to all the staff members that were there. We also had some time to do some sightseeing while we were there. We went to The World Of Coca Cola. It was very interesting to learn about the history of Coca Cola. We got to try some different types of coke flavours while we were there as well. Then we got to go for a walk through the centennial olympic park which was very cool. Then after passing through the park we went on the Farris wheel that they had in the park & you got to see pretty much most of downtown Georgia it was absolutely gorgeous. Then we walk a little ways farther down the street to see where the football was and then we walked back. We had a great tour guide to take us around that day. To end that day we had some really good greek food that night.

The last day we were there we went to an honorary lunch-in that Special Olympics Georgia does every year. It was at this beautiful country club. Now that place was aboustley gorgeous with all of the decor, chandeliers & etc. They had one of the rooms all decorated for the lunch-in. Matthew got to speak to all the guests & the staff members of Special Olympics Georgia about his experiences with Special Olympics, his Ted Talk, being a former Global Messenger, being a Former Global Congress Chair & life outside of Special Olympics. Matthew did a wonderful job on his speech, I’m always so lucky & proud to be there watching him do his thing in-front of people. There was an Athlete from Georgia who also did a speech as well and she did a great job too! After the Lunch-in was over we got to go for a bit of a drive around to see some more of Georgia. Then later we went back to our hotel to relax for a little bit and then get ready for dinner that night. Both Matthew & I were excited to both try some REAL southern food. We got to try some fried okra. There was a lot of people that had some mixed feelings about it. Some people told us it was absolutely amazing and then other people told us that they didn’t like it and not to try it. We both liked it the best way I can describe it was it basic tasted like asparagus. We also tried Frito pie, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles & grits. Over all the food was all very good.

We both had a great time there everyone was so friendly to us and kind over all the experience was amazing. I had really enjoyed getting to go down there with Matthew and getting to meet everyone that worked at the Special Olympics Georgia Office. Even though it was a short trip I still really loved being there. Here’s some of the photos that we took while we were there. I want to give a shot out to the Special Olympics Georgia CEO for having both of us there. Thank you so much for hosting us we had a great time with you & your staff members.

~Crystal~

Hello everyone!

Happy Friday. I hope that everyone had a great summer. My summer was good not to busy this year which was nice. Over this past weekend I finally got to go and do the Grouse Grind with my husband and family. I’m really glad that they were able to do it with me because they all were very supportive seeing as they have all done it before. For me it was the first time for me doing the grind. The first part of it near killed me but I think it’s because I have never done it before. Plus at the start I got over heated in my jacket and I did feel a bit dizzy but it sure helped drinking water and having some trail mix along the way. I did have to stop along the way to take breaks but I did manage to get through it. Anyways once I got to the halfway point it got a little bit easier for me. Yes it was tough but I have to say that it was defiantly worth doing it. Once I made it all the way to the top I felt so good. It felt so good to complete my goal that I have been working so hard for. Getting to see the very top of the mountain and also getting to see the gorgeous view of Vancouver was absolutely beautiful. Too bad it was a foggy day but hey I was just happy that it wasn’t raining that day. Not only do I feel good but so does my mental health which to me is very important. Well that’s about all for today’s blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading this and everyone have a wonderful weekend!

At The Top of Grouse Mountain.

~Crystal~