Blooming in recovery
With five “clean years” under their belts, Medford couple Krystal and Jason Perkins are hosting a Mother’s Day event to both celebrate their new lives and bring some beauty to mothers in Southern Oregon this weekend.
Known for a unique glass garden-flower business she built while recovering from addiction, Perkins said she hopes to bring beauty into the lives of local moms the same way her glass craft brought beauty for her after hitting rock bottom five years ago. Sales from the event will be used to help the family open a food truck.
Operations manager for the Medford Salvation Army, Perkins, 36, marvels to realize she was homeless and without hope just five years ago, wrapping trash bags around her young son to protect him from rain.
The couple were both addicted to drugs when they met in 2014. Together, Perkins said, they would eventually fight for “a life without chaos.”
“We had both been addicted pretty much since we were teenagers. We had lost everything that mattered in our lives — his children, my children, our family relationships. We were as low as you could go before death,” said the mother.
“Rock bottom, for me, was when I truly had no place to go with my son. I remember standing out in the rain after dark, on an empty church patio with my 5-year-old little boy. He's 11 now. I had no way to get him food and no way to get him shelter, nobody to turn to. I had burned every bridge, and he was suffering. I remember some ladies giving me garbage bags to poke holes into them so my son could wear the bags.”
She added, “I knew my son should be wrapped tight in his covers in a bed and a safe home.”
Working on sobriety but still homeless, Perkins sought help from child welfare officials.
“It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life but, rather than take him away, they held my hand and helped guide me onto solid ground,” she said.
“Three months later, my now-husband, Jason, joined us, but in sobriety and not in the life of addiction that we had shared for many years. We never looked back at that lifestyle, and all we've done since is grow.”
Perkins said the couple were passionate about not simply maintaining but truly living life. Gaining custody of their children one by one, pursuing careers and education, the couple began to strive for more.
Krystal threw herself into helping others, working for Rogue Retreat for a number of years, recently being hired in an administrative capacity by The Salvation Army. In her spare time, she discovered a passion for creating large glass flowers with metal, Italian and Turkish glass and upcycled materials such as cups and teapots.
While she’s built a good life working with the community – the couple provided front yard Santa encounters to over 500 households last year – and selling her glass flowers, the couple’s plans are for Jason to trade a physically demanding construction job for the food truck business and for her to eventually go to law school.
Brittani Workinger, a friend of the couple, marvels at all they have built. Beyond staying clean, she said the couple strives for the best.
“Not only have they overcome drug addiction, they continue to strive for the best for their family financially, spiritually and emotionally. Krystal worked tireless hours with a local nonprofit while putting herself through school, all while maintaining this glass garden business,” Workinger said.
“The funds they raise will be put to opening a food truck, which you can be assured will be serving up even more love and happiness for our community.”
Perkins said she hopes the glass flower event will become an annual event for the community and a beautiful reminder of all the couple have strived to overcome.
“Mother's Day has been my biggest selling day of the year for the last three years, so I decided to put on this event and make it beautiful and fun,” said Perkins. For the event, the couple crafted 150 flowers — more than half are solar lit — for which they will sell just 100 tickets to ensure variety. Each ticket holder and their guests will be treated to refreshments, games, prizes and a flower from the glass “gallery.”
“We've successfully saved more than half of the money we need to purchase our food trailer, and our hope is that we can sell enough (from the event) to cover the rest,” Perkins said.
After five years of living life on her terms, Perkins smiles to think of how far she and her family have come.
“I never saw our lives here. I thought I was destined to die in that lifestyle. I never thought I'd have the drive or desire to get up and go to work every day. I never thought I could finish high school, let alone go to college. I didn't think I was smart enough,” she said.
“I didn't think I could ever be a good mom or support my children. Our lives have changed so much in five years. … I can’t wait to see what we do with the next five.”
For ticket information, call Perkins ay 541-301-7448, or search Facebook for Krystal' Glass Garden Mother's Day Gallery $100
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.