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Hired help, Dolphin rings and a lesson in contentment

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

I wasn’t born a thief.

The first few years of my life I am almost positive I didn’t steal a single thing.

Until I turned 6.

My aunt Ella was working as a housekeeper and since it was summer vacation, I went with her.

She always gave me the same “Talk”- “Don’t touch anything!”

And I didn’t!

Until I DID.

I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I saw a silver ring sitting on the edge of the sink. The ring was in the shape of a dolphin, and…


Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

When I was a little girl, I had a VERY unhealthy fear of angels.

Yes. ANGELS.

From HEAVEN.

So if I was afraid of angels with their soft white wings and a direct line to my Heavenly Father, imagine what else I was afraid of growing up! These unsubstantiated fears caused me to have anxiety unnecessarily.

My mother was always careful not to give me too much to do at one time, and she was also hyper-aware of how I was FEELING- most of the time without a word from me!

Over the years I have been better able to…


6 year old me

I wasn’t born a thief.

The first few years of my life I am almost positive I didn’t steal a single thing.

Until I turned 6.

My aunt Ella was working as a housekeeper and since it was summer vacation, I went with her.

She always gave me the same “Talk”- “Don’t touch anything!”

And I didn’t!

Until I DID.

I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I saw a silver ring sitting on the edge of the sink. The ring was in the shape of a dolphin, and had a diamond eye. (FANCY!)

I was already wearing…


My BFF is a Monster (And I had no idea until now)

It was over 40 years ago, but I still remember the icing sticking to the roof of my mouth.

It was the perfect mixture of shredded coconut, powdered sugar, butter, and just a dab of McCormick blue food coloring.

Once assembled in a giant tattered, Tupperware bowl, the glorious blue mixture was whipped by hand by my mother.

“Is he gonna have a REAL COOKIE in his mouth?” I asked mama. When she nodded, I was overjoyed.

Later that day, mama sat the cake down in front of…


The 4th of July on Panorama Drive

My Aunt Gertrude thinks firecrackers are the work of the devil.

She thinks movie theaters are, too.

And short skirts.

And tank tops.

And women who wear a lot of makeup.

So I knew better than to ask her for money to visit the firework tent that had miraculously erected overnight, right next to the new Bojangles down on 1st North Street.

“FIREWORKS! ONLY 19.99!!!” flashes on a sign that is propped against the tent’s main entrance.

“It’s only $19.99!” I say to my Uncle Roscoe who is counting his crumpled dollars…


Big hair, big earrings, big EVERYTHING: why I always show up as my authentic self at professional networking events

“OH MY GOODNESS! You are SO BRAVE!”

I didn’t even think she was talking to me at first.

The networking event was crowded, and we were both waiting for our wine from the bartender.

But then she said it AGAIN, this time

even louder.

“YOU ARE SO BRAVE!!!”

I turned and looked at her, smiling politely.

“Brave?”

“Yes!” she said as she reached her hand out and touched my earrings. (Note: Don’t do this! Ever!)

“These earrings- I mean, they are…


How a chance meeting with my childhood friend at the NACE conference in New Orleans in 2018 lead to me being honored as a celebrity Author in my hometown in TN in 2019!

(1982, Me & Roxanne at Hank’s birthday party in our hometown)

Three years ago today, I was finishing up the second day of the NACE conference in New Orleans, LA when I saw a post on Instagram from a childhood friend, that made it seem like she was ALSO in New Orleans.

But how could that be possible?

Now. If you have attended week-long summer conferences before…


Realizing my dream of being one of the “rich and famous” writers in The Upper Room magazine.


Will I be forgotten?

Three years ago this month, I sat on the edge of my mothers bed as she recovered from hip replacement surgery. It was supposed to be a speedy recovery and they said she’d be back to her normal self within six weeks.

But almost immediately after I got her back to her home, I noticed something was different.

She seemed to be a little more forgetful and confused than normal.

But the changes went from gradual to changes you could not miss: She had three serious falls in early 2019, one that included a head injury.


Yesterday was mine.

If you want to know how I became obsessed with Mother’s Day, you can blame Mrs. Metson.

Mrs. Metson, with her Jordache jean skirt and her long, brown, Crystal Gayle hair.

CRYSTAL GAYLE! MS. METSON’S SIMILARITIES WITH CRYSTAL ENDED WITH HER LONG HAIR 🤣🤣

Ms. Metson was my second-grade teacher at West Elementary School in Morristown, TN.

That year for Mother’s Day, we each made a plant to give to our mothers.

When Father’s Day rolled around the following month, I asked when we would be making the plants for our daddies.

She said “Oh, Daddies don’t. like plants! They like ties made out of macaroni.” 👀

So that is where the tradition…

Crystal Senter-Brown

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