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What a Difference 5 Months Can Make

It is hard to believe it has nearly been 5 months since I left my marriage and Australia.

Even harder to believe is just how much my life has turned around since. Don’t get me wrong – the first couple of days I was in a semi state of shock – Did I finally get out? Did I finally do it? Am I actually back in the USA?

Then, a large sense of relief set in with the realization, “I will never have to live like that again”. While I returned home completely directionless – an overwhelming sense of freedom squashed a good part of my fears.

Over the years, my spirit had become completely crushed – I was an empty shell. I honestly had lost all sense of self, all sense of self worth and my confidence. I became unrecognizable to the people who had known and loved me my whole life – I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

All it took was one full month of removing myself from a toxic situation for my friends and family to begin making comments about how happy they were to see me smiling again.

Fast-forward 5 months… and I am still amazed by how much has changed.

On my return to the USA, I spent my first 3 weeks in Arizona. It was then I decided I would move to Arizona after spending the holidays with my family in New Hampshire. What can I say, I knew I needed them more than ever and I felt I had already missed out on so much with them over the years.

Once in New Hampshire, I decided I would focus on only three things: my health, my family and work.

Since I was literally starting from ground zero, was still emotionally beat up and knew a move was in the near future, I wanted to avoid getting overwhelmed with trying to fix too much at once.

The first thing I decided to tackle was my health…

In 2.5 months I lost just over 30lbs/13.6kg (amazing what the removal of drama can do). While I still have 40lbs./18.14kg more to lose (and will) – the changes in my face and body have been beyond exciting…

I am finally starting to see me again.

In addition to focusing on my weight, I picked up a seasonal job to get through the holidays and started focusing on turning my art into a career.

Then – right after Christmas – I made the big move/drive from New Hampshire to Arizona.

So – here I am – living in Arizona with my brother. I am 30lbs. lighter and covered in paint 90% of the time. I am still trying to find a job that will help pay the bills while getting the art going. I am doing my best to annoy family and friends any chance I get… And of all the things I would have never expected, I am now dating an amazing guy who encourages my silliness and creativity (even matches both) while making me laugh regularly.

While some struggles are still present and will be for awhile, I am currently the happiest I have been on a personal level in… 6 or 7 years?

I am so glad I finally said, “enough.”

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A New Start

I think everyone, at some point in their lives, experiences something that absolutely levels them. It may sneak up and completely catch you by surprise… or the thing will slowly and quietly eat you alive over years.

In either case – you are left broken.

You’ve hit bottom and you are not only faced with the daunting task of trying to get yourself back – you are also trying to rebuild your life from ground zero.

For all of us – the event will vary. The death of a loved one, financial troubles, battling bad health, the end of a relationship… regardless of what your “it” is, dealing with the aftermath can be both scary and (sometimes) liberating.

For me – without getting into too much detail – I finally decided to leave an extremely unhealthy relationship/marriage. This is not a decision I have taken lightly… and to be honest… I held on for way longer than I ever should have.

Why?

Because I loved him… Because loyalty… because marriage is forever… because relationships take work… because marriage is about forgiveness… because nobodies perfect… because I’m not a quitter…  

However, I have recently learned a badly needed life lesson:

Giving up isn’t always a failure. Sometimes – knowing when to walk – is the best and healthiest thing you can do for yourself.

It took me eight years to finally see through the fog but here I am.

In that time, I have half existed (not lived) in two countries. I lost everything financially. I gave up my career. I left my home, my family, my friends, my country… I compromised on way too much, lost my voice, lost my confidence… worst of all, I lost all sense of self.

And through it all my health – physically, mentally and emotionally – all took a major hit – which lead to me gaining 60 pounds…

…all because I put too much faith in the wrong person.

As someone who has always taken pride in being a “strong” person – this whole experience has been a tough pill to swallow.

The point of me sharing this with you isn’t to go through the details of the crap I have endured. Nor is it me asking you all to get your torches and pitch forks to take revenge on this person.

I guess, it’s just me putting myself out there.

You all know I married. You all know I had moved to Australia to be with this man… and I know there really is no way around addressing the change in my situation.

With that said – as shitty as it all is – for the first time in years I can finally breath. I am starting to think clearer without the endless drama and confusion. And, for the first time in a long time, I am excited to actually regain control of my life.

I’m not going to lie – part of me is terrified since it is a 100% rebuild but it’s better than the alternative.

All I can say is, I am insanely lucky to have such a loving, amazing and supportive family and friends.

I am also grateful to you.

There are so many people I have never met in person, who have cheered me on along the way. I sincerely couldn’t be more appreciative.

So, what’s next for me?

Step 1: Get Kris Williams back.

Beyond that, I have absolutely no idea but I have all the faith in the world that it will work out.

And for all of those who are also going though a bad stretch – hang in there, you are not alone.

Lots of Love,

Kris

P.S. I would love to hear your stories below in the comments… what was your ground zero moment? How old were you and how did you bounce back? What lessons did you gain from them?

Posted on 44 Comments

A Break From The Norm – Three Paranormal Questions Answered

What can I say… I received an email from Kim Thurston – a fan of the para shows I previously worked for – containing three questions… and although I have avoided para talk like the plague for the last several years – I felt like responding.

Maybe it’s my return to the USA that’s got me in a good mood? 😉

Instead of answering Kim directly through email – I decided to share my answers here for anyone with an interest in reading what my silly ass has to say.

That said… here we go!

First Question: “Did you ever see a no doubt, clearly seen, absolutely, positively, clear as day, “ghost”? During 18 years as a police officer in the south, I have been in many civil war era homes and some used as hospitals that the owners say are haunted, but I never have seen anything. I do believe there are such things but my belief is they are more interdemensional beings somehow and in some cases actual demons presenting themselves as “harmless ghosts”

No, I have never seen a “no doubt, clearly seen, absolutely, positively, clear as day, ghost”. Not once. I have seen and experienced odd things – shadow figures, disembodied voices and the like – however I still am not sure what I had seen or what I experienced nor do I feel comfortable labeling something I do not fully understand. There is still the chance my past experiences could be explained.

I will be completely honest and say, as soon as I hear “interdimensional” and “demons” my eyes glaze over and I tend to lose all interest. In the 4.5 years I had actively looked for signs of paranormal activity, I had never encountered anything – not one thing – I would dare classify as demonic.

Does that mean I don’t believe in the possibility of demonic activity? Currently – having no experience with it personally – I leave some room for an open mind… However, with how freely and often the words “demon” and “demonic” are thrown around these days – they hold little weight for me. Its like the whole “boy who called wolf” story. For that reason – the mention of such things are more likely to receive a queit eye roll from me instead of fear or interest.

Unless of course, the stories come from investigators I trust whole-heartedly – who don’t throw such terms around willy-nilly.

Second Question: Did the shows ever re-create something for the cameras? Not make something up (unless they did make something up, and if so, what) but re-create something that actually did happen but just wasn’t caught on camera?

As far as recreating – I have not been involved with recreating or faking anything regarding paranormal experiences.

However, once the investigation session was finished in a room the filming crew might have asked us to re-enter or exit a room if they missed it. Had they not caught one of our questions during an EVP session – they might even ask us to repeat it. But that was the extent of interference or “do overs”.

With the clients, who were not used to being in front of a camera, there could be a lot of stop, starts and do overs… This did not interfere with evidence or our investigation at all since they were simply telling us the story of the location, claims, etc. However, once the investigation started – it was usually on our (investigators) terms.

I say usually because GHI was very different from GH – unlike GH it was more production lead.

If I happened to experience something odd and the cameras did not catch it  – I did not recreate it. If the experience was worth mentioning (was similar to a client’s experiences, etc.) I might mention it but under no circumstances would I do a “do over”.

For the most part – if we didn’t catch the experience with the cameras rolling – the experience didn’t count.  

Third Question: “Do you still do investigations for fun or as a hobby?”

No, I do not.

Unlike other investigators – investigating was not something I was into my whole life. It was not a love or a passion. My family always enjoyed sharing odd stories we experienced over the years and had an open mind – but I didn’t live for the paranormal.

I lived for history. My father has always been a history nut and it rubbed off on me at a young age. Then I got into genealogy at the age of 11 – from there my history obsession only grew.

When I was asked to join GH by Jason and Grant – as much as I appreciated the offer – I turned down the opportunity several times. Like I said, I had an open mind and my family and I had stories… I just had no interest in being seen as a “ghost girl”.

When I finally agreed to join the team – it was following a year I had lost 5 family members and friends in 11 months. At the age of 26, I had not experienced the death of a family member since I was 4 years old. I had not grown up in a church, I had no faith background to fall back on – I found myself lost.

To be honest, I was absolutely broken.

At that point – joining the team became a need. I needed to know there was more to death – I hoped that we didn’t just end. So, when I finally agreed to sign on – even though I didn’t want to be a “ghost girl” I put everything I was into being what I needed (hopefully) for others… an honest voice.

I knew I wasn’t the only one struggling with the death of a loved one, so I wanted to be as honest and straightforward as I hoped someone would be with me on the topic.

That said – by the time I tapped out in October 2011 (the last show I filmed) and 2016 (the last event I had done) I felt the field in general had changed so much – I couldn’t stomach being involved.

As I said above – the word demon and demonic were thrown around like the words “if” “and” and “but”. Skepticism seemed to have been tossed aside completely and those who questioned were verbally beat down and unfairly written off as non-believers and haters.

So, I removed myself for these reasons (along with others).

I had tagged along on one investigation with a friend in 2016 (it was the first investigation I had been on without cameras) for fun. It was nice to be back with friends – a little visit to the past of sorts.

Outside of that, I have spent the last nearly eight years focusing on the living – which is something most of us don’t do nearly enough…

I hope this answered your questions Kim, and I thank you for your support and kind words. I would also like to say – as I always do – I can only speak for myself and my own personal experiences.

I ask that you please keep that in mind when reading my answers.

Hope everyone is having a happy Monday!!! I cannot tell you how amazing it is to be back in the USA! 🙂

Lots of Love,

Kris

Posted on 12 Comments

Gold, Gunslingers and Presidential Profiles

I would like to thank Holiday Inn for partnering with me to make this post possible. As always, all opinions are my own!  Kris Williams

My trip to Deadwood was spurred by a desire to see Mount Rushmore. When Holiday Inn told me they had two locations perfect for such a trip – one in Rapid City and one in Deadwood – I jumped at the chance to visit the old, rough and tumble, gold mining town.

Named for dead trees found scattered throughout its gulch, the legend of Deadwood has far outgrown its 3.83 square mile border. From the discovery of gold in 1874, the town’s colorful history and Gold Rush Era architecture to its notorious residents and visitors, it’s not surprising the entire town of Deadwood is listed as a National Historic Landmark District.

As with all of my trips, I looked for a starting point – a place to get my feet wet with the local history and it’s prominent players.

The Adams Museum was not like other small town museums I have encountered in my travels. Unlike others who fill their walls with junk they’ve tried to sell as some historically significant treasure – the Adams Museum was bubbling over with some of the most interesting artifacts I have ever laid eyes on.

 

From a two-headed calf and odd artifacts connected to U.S. Presidents to exhibits covering Deadwood’s history of gambling, mining, transportation, clothing, brothels, gunslingers and Native American tribes – there was no shortage of things to look at!

Of all the bits and pieces they had, my favorite corner of the Adams Museum revolved around, James Butler Hickok – better known as “Wild Bill” Hickok. This American, Old West lawman and gunslinger met his demise in a Deadwood saloon shortly after his arrival.

Photographs of Wild Bill and his personal effects covered the walls. Some of the items in the collection included a handwritten letter to his wife, his 1860 Army Colt revolver, straight razor, a “good luck” stone found in his boot and cards from the deck he was using when he was shot.

There were even two detailed, hand drawn portraits of Wild Bill – one of which – left me feeling like I had come face to face with the handsome legend himself.

Beginning as an illegal settlement on land that was granted to the Lakota people, I decided to have a better look at what put Deadwood on the map for thousands of fortune seekers, gunslingers, painted ladies and lawmen.

Broken Boot Mine was a fun family friendly stop that gives visitors an opportunity to tour what was once a working mine and gives them a chance to try their hand at panning.

The tour wasn’t very long but it was fun to walk through the chiseled out pathways, learning about living conditions for the miners, tools they used, lighting they worked by and the minerals that could be found. I also really enjoyed having a look at the wooden structures and supports built to help reinforce the pathways.

I honestly couldn’t imagine living or working in those conditions!

Following the tour, I paid a little extra to give panning a go. Lead to a covered outdoor area that had large basins filled with water – I was given a bag of pebbles and a plastic bowl known as a “pan”. Dumping the pebbles into the pan, I was given a lesson on panning techniques. With a lot of patience, persistence and soaked clothes – I got pretty excited when sparkling little gold flakes started to surface!

With every bag of pebbles visitors are guaranteed to find something – nothing you could retire on but a cool experience nonetheless.

If you are a fan of the Old West and its larger than life characters and events, you really can’t pass through Deadwood without making a stop at Saloon No. 10. While it is best known as the saloon Wild Bill Hickok was shot down in by Jack McCall – this is not the original location of the saloon.

After the original location burnt to the ground, Saloon No. 10 was moved to Main Street – where the front section was built to replicate the original saloon. From the worn woodwork, saw dust covered floors and thousands of photographs, animal heads, artifacts and antiques that cover the walls to the slot machines, live music, drinks, food and historical reenactments (where you can regularly watch Wild Bill meet his demise) – there is no shortage of entertainment.

  

One of the weirdest artifacts can be found on display above the saloon’s entrance – Wild Bill’s “Death Chair”. Supposedly, this was the chair Wild Bill sat in while playing a game of poker when he was shot from behind.

While Saloon No. 10 is a fun mix of past meets present and museum meets bar, the thing I enjoyed most about it was…

I walked in feeling like a tourist but left feeling like a local.

Over looking the little mountain town of Deadwood sits Mount Moriah Cemetery – burial place of Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and many other notable residents.

For a small entrance fee, I was given a map of the cemetery (highlighting points of interest) along with access to the restrooms. It has always struck me as funny paying to get into a cemetery – especially when paired with a gift shop on site.

We are weirdly morbid creatures, if you think about it!

 

For the most part, I really enjoyed this stop. It could get a little busy at times since tours would come through with bus loads of people but there was enough time between each tour to have some quiet time to yourself.

The graves of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane were littered with offerings from visitors – everything from bottles of alcohol to silk flowers, stacked rocks, coins and bullets.

Beyond visiting the graves – the view of the town from the cemetery is well worth the trip. You get a birds eye view of everything from the Holiday Inn Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort (large building on far left) to the main street of Deadwood (center to far right).

Speaking of which, I have always wondered… why do the deceased have some of the best views?!

For my final stop – the one that inspired the entire trip – I spent the afternoon exploring Mount Rushmore. After years of hearing people say, “Mount Rushmore was a lot smaller than I expected” … I was finally getting the chance to experience it for myself!

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I turned a corner and spotted Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln perched on the mountaintop for the first time.

I was still driving and there they were watching over South Dakota!

Standing at the main viewing platform, I could understand why people might walk away feeling like it looked small. However, they seem to be forgetting these faces are sitting at the top of a rather large mountain.

Up close – they would be enormous!

One thing that I almost missed out on – that I highly recommend doing – is the Presidential Trail. Its about a half mile trail and isn’t hugely strenuous. There are some twists, turns and stairs but the views cannot be beat. The trail gives you the opportunity the view Mount Rushmore from many different angles.

I cannot tell you how many times I put my camera away thinking, “Ok, I have enough photos” only to pull the darn thing out again because a new angle left me awestruck.

From the allure of old stories surrounding fortunes built on gold and the infamous gunslingers it attracted, to the profiles of some of our countries most beloved presidents – my trip to Deadwood did not disappoint.

I want to thank Holiday Inn for providing me a place to hide away from the world while I escaped to the past. I will never forget the opportunity I had to walk in the footsteps of legends – who lived in a time when the world danced on the line of lawlessness and law & order.

 

 

 

Wondering why Saloon No. 10’s floor is covered in sawdust? Or why I almost missed out on the Presidential Trail? Looking for tips on visiting or places to eat? Join me on Instagram or Facebook where I will be posting more photos, tips and stories from my trip – Hope to see you there!

Kris Williams

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Holiday Inn. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Easy Do It Yourself Minion Cupcakes

 

I love baking, so when my favorite little minion turned six, I was quick to pull out a fun cupcake idea I had tucked away months earlier. Where I found it, I have no idea… it was posted online somewhere – Facebook? Pintrest? Instagram?

Who knows – It was just too cute to not save and try.

Overall, they were pretty easy to make. The biggest drama I had was – of all things – finding Twinkies in Australia. My poor guy, after trying several places with no luck, I sent him out to one shop that sold them individually. $30 it cost him… for one box!!!

They are what? $4 to $5 dollars a box in the U.S.A.? Flippin’ crazy.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted Twinkies that badly…

 

 

Beyond the insanely expensive Twinkies, I bought a few other things:

  • Vanilla Cupcake Mix (Normally I make cakes from scratch but due to lack of time – box mix it was!)
  • White Frosting
  • Food Coloring (to turn white frosting yellow)
  • Blue Cupcake Liners
  • Smarties (or Rockets as they call them in Australia)
  • Large Smarties (or Rockets)
  • Blue Tubed Hardening Writing Icing (Used for overalls)
  • Black Tubed Hardening Writing Icing (Used for facial details)
  • Red Tubed Hardening Writing Icing (Used to color in tongues)

Following the directions on the boxed cupcake mix the night before, I placed the blue cupcake liners in the cupcake tray – filled them with batter and popped them in the oven. Once fully baked, I let them cool then placed them on a plate and covered them with plastic wrap for the night.

I did stray from the original photo I had gotten this idea from by going with only blue cupcake liners. Minions wear blue overalls… being a bit OCD when it comes to anything artsy… my damn minions weren’t about to have pink, poka dotted bottoms.

Besides – let’s be honest – nothing gets by kids! I’m sure, had I used anything but blue I would have been lectured on proper minion attire for half the party.  

 

 

The next morning, I mixed some yellow food coloring into my white frosting until I got a color I was happy with and covered the tops of the cupcakes. Once all covered, I let them set for a bit while I cut the Twinkies in half.

For every one Twinkie, you get two minion heads.

Returning to the cupcakes, I used the Twinkies to get the right spacing for the overall straps then used the blue writing icing to draw them on.

From there, I moved to the faces using a dot of yellow icing to stick the Smartie eyeballs in place then outlined them with the black writing icing (further securing them) – adding the goggle band, eyes, mouths and other facial details.

With the faces, I strayed from the original photo idea again…

The photo that originally gave me the idea, had the same face for every minion – where’s the fun in that?!

Instead of a bunch of two eyed, smiling minions – I made one and two eyed minions, some smiling, some sleeping, some sticking out their tongues, some yelling and others surprised. Using the red writing icing, I colored in the tongues that hung out and added blue Z’s to the one who was sleeping.

If you’re going to make them – have fun with it! Why make them all the same?

Just keep it PG if its a kids party.

 

 

Helpful Tip: Thanks to the suggestion of a lovely lady on Twitter, I did not assemble the minions until I got to the party. Using containers, I transported the cupcakes in one and the minion heads in another (keeping them cool in a cooler or “eskie” as the Aussies say). I didn’t have a problem with the eyeball smarties sliding off but depending on the frosting and writing icing you use, they could easily be a problem. Leaving the heads cool and laying flat will help avoid this.

 

Once we got to the park, I assembled the heads and cupcakes. To help secure the minion heads, I brought some extra yellow frosting in a small container and applied it to the bottoms – lightly pressing them in place on top of the cupcakes.

It only took a couple of seconds to assemble – totally worth avoiding runaway eyes!

 

 

In the end, the kids loved them and got a kick out of picking out which minion they wanted by its facial expression.

Being Australian little ones… they were all a bit confused by Twinkies. It was funny watching them take a few bites, trying to decide if they liked them or not. For those who weren’t a fan, they still had the vanilla cupcake to destroy.

Outside of zombies movie, does anyone actually like Twinkies???

After 36 years, this American has finally found a good use for them thanks to the good ol’ internet. Overall it was a relatively easy, fun and creative alternative to the standard birthday cake.

I would definitely recommend giving them a go if you have a little one who’s crazy for minions!