About Crystal

I have always loved writing. When I don’t hate it. Maybe I should say I’ve always had to write. That’s more accurate. It calls to me and I’m compelled to answer. Read more »


Clever Elsie

“She can see the wind coming up the street and hear the cough of a fly.”

Dancing Skeletons

Recollections of growing up with a big Mormon family in a small Oregon town.


Like a Bronte

I hate moving. I hate it a lot. It’s physically demanding, emotionally draining, and there’s no time for resting. You have to interact with people you don’t know, who will likely become an impactful part of your new life. So you know—first impressions. During this...

read more


The first baby came while my husband was still in the demanding years of his undergrad program. I brought in the bulk of the money and worked clear up until delivery day. We made the decision to live off of basically nothing so I could stay home and take care of our...

read more

The Day Dad Let Me Cut Wood

Our two story home had no central heating. The only source of heat came from a single wood stove in the living room. During the drizzly winter months few things were cozier than standing in front of the stove to warm your backside. Sunday afternoons, after church...

read more

If I Could Have Any Power

Someone introduced my family to The Last Airbender. I was pretty skeptical at first. I mean, it’s a kid’s cartoon. But would you believe I totally got sucked in? And not just me, but the husband too. Enough that we had to make a rule that the kids can’t watch it...

read more

My Beloved Library

I remember the plastic smell of my first library card. My sister helped me spell my name in childish scrawl on the strip on the backside. "C-R-Y-," letter by letter I painstakingly worked my way to the L before realizing this little strip was grossly inadequate for...

read more

Foot Races and First Kisses

Our house was dominated by girls. Six out of the nine of us were girls. And I was born right smack between two brothers. Caren and Cami would spend hours laughing and giggling and referring to inside jokes. They shared the same clothes and went to the same events...

read more

It’s Against the Law to Marry Your Cousin

Tyler Bay was not my first crush. Not if you count the first boy who spoke to me in kindergarten. He had my undying devotion for about 30 seconds. But even before that, there was a brief infatuation with a cousin who came to visit from out of state. We went over to...

read more

“Oooo! Tyler Baaaay!”

(*Name changed) I loved school. My family only knew about kids at school if I talked about them. And kids at school only knew about my family if I talked about them. It was like creating two separate worlds and I could decide how much these worlds collided. I also...

read more

The Day I Learned My Family Was Big

Clarissa Reeves approached me in line at the monkey bars. She was not like the delicate blonde girls in our second grade class. Freckles spattered the bridge of her nose just like mine. Her hair was much longer than my own frizzy curls, and just a shade darker. Her...

read more

The Reality of Homework Packets in 13 Painful Steps

We sit down at the table. It’s noisy and distractions abound, but it’s the center of the home which makes it the most logical place for me. The child pulls out his homework slowly. He leans against his hand and fiddles with his pencil. I look at the first problem,...

read more