Crystal Williams

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

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~

Hello Everyone, Happy Friday!

It’s been way too long since I have done my last blog post, so today I’ve decided to get back to my blog and talk about my fitness. For me I’ve never really enjoyed working out. For me working out for the longest time was not really my thing but once I started realizing how it has changed my mental health for the better and it also benefits my horseback riding. It really changed my mind set for the better not only for my physical but also my mental health as well. I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who can agree with me that do have trouble with mental health and how fitness has been a great way to change their lives for the better. So for me what I really like to do for fitness besides horseback riding is use the stationer bike, yoga, kettlebell & squats.

The biggest thing that I have found to really help me with my fitness is to keep track of all of my workouts by writing them down on a calendar so that I can be accountable for myself because let’s be honest it’s all up to me and I do feel much better after I have done a workout even on the days that really do not feel like doing a workout. I do know for a fact that when I skip one of my workouts I do regret it the next day. One of my biggest goals for this year is that I want to do the Grouse Grind and I’m really excited that my husband has agreed to do that with me. We are planning to do that at the end of the summer. It does make a difference when my husband and I are being supportive for each other.

Well I hope that my blog post for today has helped you by giving you some motivation or if you just enjoyed reading about how it has helped me for the better. Well that’s it for me today everyone have a. great day and a great weekend!

~Crystal~

Hello Everyone, Happy Friday. So it’s been a couple of weeks since my husband and I went away on our Alaska cruise. It was really nice to have a relaxing get away together. We had been planning this trip since after Christmas. We first thought about doing this trip when we saw the brochure for it while we were away on our honeymoon back in October. First off we thought about tricking our family that we had booked another trip while on our honeymoon but then once we really thought about it we were both like yeah let’s book the trip and I’m so happy we did. We did a 7 day cruise to Alaska from Vancouver which was a round trip. It was aboustley beautiful it defiantly felt like we were at home while we were away with all the nature. So we went to three different places in Alaska.

Our first stop was Juneau. In Juneau we took a bus tour to see one glacier and a water fall. The weather that day was rain although it wasn’t that bad. The glacier was defiantly beautiful. They had a couple of different trails that you could take and some of them were longer then others. Along the different trails they had all kinds of different information about the trails, glacier and water fall. They also had a welcome centre where you could go in watch a movie about the glacier, a gift shop, more information about the glacier and a beautiful look out spot to see the glacier.

Our second stop was in Skagway we did a zip lining excursion which was so much fun. We were both pretty excited about getting to do zip lining again. We both really enjoyed it because we got to do ten different zip lines some of them were short ones and they also had a few longer ones as well. Matthew and I really enjoyed it because we got to do tricks on the different zip lines oh and the scenery was so breath taking. On our way up to the zip line course we saw some seals in the water and a bald eagle in a field. We got to drive through the small little town as well. Also while we were in Skagway they had a local come on the cruise ship with some of his dogs that had puppies so we got to cuddle and interact with six week old sled dog puppies. Oh my goodness were they ever adorable and so well behaved.

Our next stop was the Glacier Bay National Park. We stayed on the boat that day and got to be very close to the glacier. You could see parts of the glacier falling off and it sounds like lighting. Matthew and I stayed on our balcony in our room for the glacier. We even ate outside that morning which was beautiful but a little cold and also so worth it.

Our last stop in Alaska was in Ketchikan. We both decided to do some shopping that day and just walk around the town that day. It was a beautiful small town it really reminded me of Fort Langley back home. With all the different local shops and architecture. There was lots of information everywhere about Ketchikan.

We both did a lot more reading on this trip which was great. I spent most of my time just relaxing and reading which was what I really wanted to do. We had lots of great food and drinks both of the speciality restaurants on the ship were great. Well that’s pretty much it about our trip. Here’s some of the photos that we got.

~Crystal~

Hello everyone!

Happy Good Friday & Happy Easter Long Weekend!

Today on the blog I’m going to talk about the LMQH Bazaar fundraiser that I took part of two weekends ago now. Every year at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley BC they have a big event with lots of different vendors, music, entertainment, kid zone, clinicians, disciplines, demos & much more. Every year my riding stable Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association takes part in this big event. This year the event was on Sunday April 7,2019. I felt so horned to be able to take part in it. They had asked me if I was interested in doing a riding demo & also do a speech about how Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association has helped me & also talked about my disability. For those of you who have never heard of Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association or just want to know a little more about this amazing organization. Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association first started in 1983 & is a nonprofit organization. They currently have ten horses. All of the instructors are all cantra certified. We are always looking for volunteers for in the barn or in the arena to help with the lessons. We are open to all abilities. If you would like more information about them you can contact them by email, phone and on social media. Here’s the link to the Website & Facebook page

VTEA Home

https://www.facebook.com/VTEA83/

Now I would like to talk about my experience with Valley Therapuetic Equestrian Association & why this orgiantion is very important to me. I first started riding at Valley Therapeutic Equestrian when I was three & a half years old because of my disability I had very poor balance & my fine motor skills were very delayed. I have been riding there for about twenty years. I love being there not only because I get to ride but also being able to volunteer as well. Getting to give back to them for all they have done for me is so important to me because I love getting to see all of the other riders who also have disabilities be able to improve their skills as well. Valley Therapuetic Equestrian Associationis my home away from home. Whenever i’m having a bad week or a bad day I always look forward to my day at the barn spending time with the horses & the amazing people. Now I horseback ride independently & I’m even doing some compactions as well. So I really hope that you enjoyed reading this blog post! Here’s a couple of pictures of myself from thunderbird riding my current horse Taco!

~Crystal~

Hi Everyone,

It’s been three weeks since my Husband Matthew and I got back from our trip to Abu Dhabi. It was definitely a trip of a life time that we both will never forget. I’m sure a lot of you have questions Well, first off it was for the Special Olympics World Summer Games. Matthew and I were invited to attend the games as honored guests because he’s a former Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and also is a former Special Olympics International Board Member. We were there for the whole time for the games. Matthew got to walk in with one of the countries for opening ceremonies and he also got to MC two different events while we were there as well. I was very proud of him. The opening ceremonies were absolutely amazing I was completely blown away. The entertainment was great but what I loved the most was getting to see some of the athletes getting to be a big part of the ceremonies. We got to see a little bit of team Canada compete. We watched a bit of team Canada’s soccer team, got to watch two of the Canadian’s bocce players and we also got to watch team Canada’s basketball team as well. It was really nice that we were able to spend a little bit of time with some of team Canada. We got to do a some sight seeing while we were there. Getting to see The Grand Mosque was incredible I was completely speechless. It was absolutely beautiful. The whole architecture was beautiful and all of the designs on the walls were spectacular. The whole time I was in the Mosque I had no words because I was in awe. We also did a tour in the desert where we got to ride camels with the Global Messengers and some of the Special Olympics staff. Getting to ride a camel was preety cool it’s a little bit different than riding a horse but I would defiantly do it again. We got to watch the sunset in the desert then had dinner and watched some performers. I was super excited to watch equestrian at the world games. We watched a new event for equestrian that i’ve never heard of before which was pretty cool, it was called walking trails. We got to go watch some of the global messengers take part in a unified beach volleyball game it was very exciting. Matthew and I got to also take part in a unified game of tennis which was harder than i thought it would be and also it was a lot of fun too. We went to Warner Brothers World to check it out it was so neat to see all the different characters walking around we got our pictures with a bunch of them while we were there. One day we went to Dubai with the global messengers and Special Olympics staff members for part of the day. We all got to go up in the tallest buliding in the world which was crazy but what an incredible experience. While we were in Dubai we also went to a local market that was an interesting experience on it’s own. We had a few receptions that we attended for dinner one was at the emirates palace and the other one was with the Shriver family. The closing ceremonies were amazing as well great entertainment and the speeches were great as well. Overall it was an incredible experience all around and definitely a trip of a lifetime for sure. The food was all amazing and everyone was very helpful and very friendly. Well that’s pretty much it. Here’s some of our pictures and i hope you enjoyed this blog post.

~Crystal~