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I grew up in a home that was, in my opinion, fairly balanced. My mom brought us to church and encouraged us to grow in our faith and pursue our dreams. My dad taught us how to survive in the real world with logical thinking…and to also pursue our dreams. Really, we were sheltered; our parents protected us from having to learn anything before we were truly ready to handle it. We all have the basics: respect others, trust your gut, don’t take candy from strangers. Some other lessons were learned: things you’ll be grounded for, how to respond if someone disagrees with you, getting up after a fall (physical or metaphorical). I’d say they did pretty great. But for some of the millions of questions I’ve asked over the years or the snotty arguments I created for the lack of answers, it was always the same: Krystin, you’ll understand one day when you’re older. BARF! As a young (read: stubborn) girl, that’s the last thing you want to hear. Growing up doesn’t come with a manual, but I think if it did, this would be the chapter called: “Damnit, They Were All Right.”

I can remember a few choice moments where that stupid answer was given to me that in hindsight was the right answer to give.

When I moved to Tennessee, I was prepared to take over the world. I moved in with my mentor and thought I had officially made it because a 27-year-old Artist Manager for one of the biggest names in the local singer-songwriter circle was letting a 20-year-old move into her space. I, of course, was young and dumb – out until 2 and 3 in the morning getting nachos (which is smart at midnight…SARCASM), driving to love circle to admire a city that didn’t know we were the rulers of, throwing dance parties at each others houses with cakes for a treat…because nothing says dance party like cake. I begged and begged my mentor to come hang with me and all my friends, knowing that her presence would add to my own coolness. Repeatedly, she would turn me down. “Krystin, one day when you’re older and have a big girl job, you’ll understand the importance of your own bed and will appreciate solitude.”  Never!

Nope, she was right. Here I am, 27, with a big girl job that begins at 7:30 each day and rearranging my evenings to know what I can and can’t handle when I have to be up so early. I’m not saying I always say no to people when they call, I certainly don’t…especially if it’s someone I truly enjoy. But I do cut myself off and send myself home.

Way back when I was 14, I was a freshman in love (read: obsessed) with a senior boy. Seriously, it was bad. It’s not one of my better seasons in life and, deny it all I want, it’s still part of my story. I prided myself on being the youngest person to be a part of one of our teacher’s “Backyard Club” – a group of HS students that would all go hang out at her house. (There’s a lesson on appropriateness somewhere in there, but we’ll save that for a later time.) I’d go over and spend time at her house knowing this boy would show up and hoping he’d realize by getting to know me how perfect we were for each other. As a starter on the football team, I’d get him good luck gifts that made his lockergirl jealous. I remember one time while out purchasing gifts for this boy, my ever-supportive mother asked me if I wanted to really be doing all this for him. “YES!” She let me know her actual thoughts on the situation and gave me some “advice” on self-respect and what actual relationships look like. She followed the rolling of my eyes with a “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand just what a gem you are and how you deserve to be treated.”  UGH!

…………she was right. That boy was a jerk and a royal one at that. It was pretty devastating to my ego and worse on my heart. I wish I could say he was the last jerk that I let into my world, but that would be a lie (one of those things I get grounded for). Let’s just not open the can of worms on emotionally unavailable boys I’ve fallen for since then and what that says about me. Ha! Suffice it to say it’s a lesson that I’m still learning – even to this day. People accept the love they think they deserve. That truth hurts just a little, right?

In June of 2004, I traveled with Young Life to Egmont, British Columbia, Canada for a week-long camp where I ended up truly meeting Jesus for the first time. Quick backstory, I’m a planner. I like to know the details before just jumping into things – at least for the most part. I had been dreaming of the University of Texas my whole life. It’s all I wanted. So here I am, in Canada, a singular week after receiving my HS diploma and I have a little conversation with Jesus about who’s better at making plans: me or Him. Duh. It’s me…wait…it’s not? Crap. It was there that my whole world flipped upside down and the dream I had always had for UT, which I was leaving for in just two short months, dissipated. So, I asked what should I do if my dreams don’t mean anything? “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand that dreams can change.”  Blasphemy!

……………………………………………..I really do have a hard time admitting when I’m wrong, so doing it three times in one post is KILLING ME and, I digress. He was, and still is, right. See, if I’d gone to UT, I never would’ve come to Nashville. I wouldn’t have the friendships that I have today that are continuously shaping me into who I’m becoming. I’d never be able to tell you stories about getting a best friend out of Hootie and the Blowfish, or being on Kelly Clarkson’s guest list, or playing Dream Phone for hours on end because it’s the funniest thing you haven’t seen since you were ten. My life here isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for me. So, I don’t mind admitting that I was wrong on this one.

If you’ve found yourself here for one reason or another and are just so sick of hearing someone tell you “one day when you’re older,” know you’re not alone. But know, that the journey of learning you were wrong is probably going to be one of the best times of your life. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and forge ahead ready to be wrong again. If nothing else, you’ll have some hilariously embarrassing stories about yourself for the future.

Hi.

Remember me? Boy, have I got a LOT to fill you in on…

Since we last spoke – almost a year ago – everything has changed. And oh, do I mean everything.

Let me just see if I can give a brief recap of this year, at least: January and February were pretty normal. There was a boy that showed up, but that was done quicker than it would take for me to type out the details. Lots of planning for my church’s move and preparing for my second trip to Haiti.

March 2nd, I left for Port-au-Prince, armed with a single duffle bag (be proud, mom and dad, even though I left an ENTIRE BAG OF TOOLS…) and an editing copy of my brave best friend’s book. Let me tell you, unless you have a duffle bag chock full of kleenex, it’s NEVER a good idea to read about someone else’s journey in Haiti, while you’re on the way to Haiti, remembering some of your fondest memories of Haiti. All. The. Tears. My heart was already a little more on edge this go ’round as we weren’t going back to the same place we’d been before; I wasn’t going to be reunited with my little Louventa and I wasn’t happy about that. But I was very fortunate to have one of my funniest friends – Jami – along for this trip. The safety of having someone who can make anything seem better or more fun or more calm or more whatever you need it to be was a gift. The trip went great. It didn’t end up being even remotely close to the same experience…it was infinitely better. We built a house for a BEAUTIFUL woman named Kazi, a single mother of 5 and a new grandmother.
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55 years old and she looks younger than I do. Day 1 she takes me by the hand, leads me into her tarp house, sits me in a chair and hands me the most precious little boy – Stephen.
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I told her I was taking him home. She couldn’t speak english, but I know she understood that because she shook her finger at me! Kazi welcomed us into her family as we built her a sturdy home. It was hard work, but being able to go back to my room each night with some amazing friends and read more of my brave best friend’s journey helped me lead this trip better than I could’ve on my own.

I came back from the third world to an unbelievably frantic world. We were less than two weeks away from our relocation as a church. Our normal workload, combined with all the details of moving, on top of not even being sure the building would be ready was an exhausting combination. Oh, and Easter Sunday was the very next week…no big. ::sarcasm should be noted:: It was the blind leading the blind and hoping no one would see how truly tired, drained, and ready for some sense of normalcy we all were. Sometimes, I think I’m still trying to catch up on that lack of sleep. Another boy showed up in the midst of the chaos and what a great distraction! It’s so freeing to have someone you don’t have to pretend around, someone you just enjoy.

In April, I went back to Disney World for the first time in almost 10 years. It was twice as magical as I remembered.
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I really am glad that I got to go to the happiest place on earth for a little while. I had no idea that my world was going to be flipped on it’s head upon my return.

My time at Cross Point came to an end. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences I’ve had in my life and that hurt is something I’m still processing through. But everything in life is seasonal and if we quit anytime our feelings were hurt or our character misjudged, we wouldn’t be where we are today, right? So, we keep moving forward.

So what’s new?

I moved into a stunning little house in East Nashville, thanks to my good friends the Joneses. Every day, I go home and just feel at peace. This house truly is my sanctuary.

I made the tough decision to close out the chapter I’d been in with the new boy. It’s never an easy choice when you’ve invested so much in one person. But I’m holding onto truth – which told me it wasn’t going anywhere and I really didn’t want it to. Scary what taking a step back and looking at a situation with your eyes open will actually reveal.

Last week, I began a new job at a Children’s Home here in Nashville. I’m excited at what we’ll be able to accomplish for this state and for the kids we care for. Being able to be in a role where I can truly see the reward of my investment, where I get to live out Mark 9:37, is such a delight. And then finding out that my dad is on the board of a similar organization back home and we can walk through this together? So great.

Newness. All around. So thankful.

My friendwhomihaveknownforwaytoolongtonotcallhersister Becky came over early (okay, it was like 11) today. We painted our nails, talked about boys, hopped in a car and drove down the highway listening to country music. We ate at a Texas original restaurant and shopped til we couldn’t anymore. Then we got back in the car, talked about boys a little more, made onnnnnnnne little stop at Nordstrom, and then the sun set.

After a mildly frustrating arrival at home, I decided to go to Target. A song came on a mix cd I found that I hadn’t heard since high school during the drive. It reminded me of a much simpler time and a person who I feel like I sometimes lose sight of. It made me miss getting in trouble with Mackenzie. It brought back the very distinct sound of laughter that follows hours of scarf jump-roping. In that moment, I became hyper aware of who I am today. The problem – in my opinion – with my society is that we can be anyone we want on social media. We can support a cause without giving them a single penny or second of our time, we can criticize government and injustice without getting out of bed, and we can boost our own ego sitting alone in a coffee shop. I’m guilty of it, too. And honestly, this wasn’t the point I wanted to make. What I’m really trying to say – or ask, rather – is who the hell are you, anyway?

The one thing I can always remember my dad telling me growing up was to never act like I’m better than where I came from. Any of my friends here in Nashville will tell you that I LOVE my hometown. And love it, I do. But more than a city, I loved who I was there. I was bare feet running through my neighborhood. I was jeans and a tshirt for as far back as I can remember. I was the sound of loud (go figure) laughter with a friend into the wee hours of the morning. I was the middle child of a middle class family whose love was never not shown.

I believe that, in leaving home, you have to branch out of your original story. You add chapters and new characters come into the picture. But, I never want to forget the worst trouble I ever got into throwing a party with Mackenzie. I can’t imagine not sitting in Anessa’s bedroom telling her bedtime stories. I don’t know who I’d be without Sarah, or Marci, or Mallory. I never want there to be a time when my heart doesn’t explode with joy at the sound of my dad’s laugh or hearing my mom sing. And for that reason, I am so glad that I get to have a little piece of home here in Becky. Having someone who knows not only who I am, but who I’ve been and who I always will be, is the most comforting thing. I love her here for those times when a single look says a million words that only someone you’ve known since you were seven could understand.

Little sister, I am grateful for you more than you know. I am so proud to see you fully come into your own. I love getting to share this adventure with you. And I had the best day with you today.

So I found an old picture of me the other day. It’s probably my most favorite picture of myself I’ve ever found. Take a look:

I’ve been completely captivated by it. I keep looking at it with mixed emotions…I think she’s cute and all but it’s hard to not be jealous of her. Instead of letting all these thoughts just sit in my head, I decided to write her a letter.

Sweet girl,

Do you remember where this picture was taken? I do. I remember this day. Mom was still pregnant with Daryl and we were visiting Josh’s grandparents. We played on the swing set. If you look closely, you’ll see that your nose is running…which means you were playing just a little too hard. You always did. But that’s okay. Keep doing that.

You are going to have so much fun over the years. So many adventures, vacations and friendships that you are going to remember forever. But sadly, you have no idea the significance that this picture holds. Life isn’t going to be easy for you, sister. Everything is going to change for you, but keep that smile. You’ll need it.

You are going to do some amazing things…things that you never dreamed possible. You are going to make friends with amazing people who you can’t even imagine. Know that things change and friends will leave, but don’t take it personally. Everything in life is seasonal. You’re going to meet people who live life differently and believe differently than you. That’s okay. Everybody has to find their own way. Don’t treat people like they’re broken and you’re the only one who can fix them. That’s just silly, but keep that heart…you’re a helper and that’s going to come in handy. Don’t be devastated when things don’t work out…sometimes the way things happen (or don’t) is a blessing. God will save you from doing a lot of really stupid things over the years, but don’t regret a single step you take. That’s what this journey is all about. Keep pushing forward. Keep dreaming. You’re gonna be just fine.

Do me a favor and go hug tight on Granny & Poppi and Grandma Lottie & Papa Jim. Remember the way you feel in their arms. Eventually they won’t be there anymore…but you’ll remember their laughs, smiles and the way the made you feel…which is loved (and a little like a princess…which you are!). You and your brother will eventually be great friends (but he’ll still have that weird sense of humor…just laugh, it really is funny). Be a little nicer to your sister. She just wants to be like you. I know that seems silly and is a lot of pressure, but just oblige her. You both end up leading very different lives and wanting very different things…so it’s not a big deal to wear the same outfits and get the same presents. Besides, pretending to be twins and mannequins together will be some of the funniest memories you’ll have. Mom is really the best. She’s very wise, so don’t roll your eyes at her so much…she really does know what she’s talking about. Dad will be your best friend, but don’t deceive him. It never works and you end up just hating yourself for it.

When March of your 4th grade year comes along and that fateful day approaches that changes how you see yourself, remember that you are loved. I know what happens is so confusing, but when you start to doubt that your parents care, know that they’re doing the best they can. They’ve never dealt with this either. I promise people can’t see it all over your face, so don’t hide from them. Not everyone is so dark and cold. And as hard as it is, forgive him. He may have been old enough to know better, but he was hurt, too. You don’t have to love him or even like him, but you have to let it go. It’s not healthy to be this angry all the time…trust me, I know. And you may not believe it, but this horrible thing will be a catalyst to connect you to so many other girls.

You are loved, baby girl. Hold on to the good times. They really do far outweigh the bad ones. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. This world gets crazy, but it’s a beautiful place. Take lots of deep breaths and enjoy it. You only get to do this once!

Don’t you ever grow up,
Me

I love going home. It’s so great to be around my friends and family and to have no pretenses. It’s not like I could pretend anyway…these people have known me my whole life. But good GRIEF is it exhausting. There’s a constant battle that anyone who lives far away from ‘home’ must endure: friends + family / time = vacation. There never seems to be enough time to spend with the people I want to spend time with. It’s also rare to just go home…usually, there’s an agenda involved and that totally kills any and all practicality in planning visits. Case in point: my parents decided to have a little birthday party for me while I was home. My dad grilled, which is my favorite. They got red velvet cake, also my favorite. My family was over…it was a sweet time….for the hour and a half that I was there. 1 burger, no cake, 2 presents, 30 minutes in the pool later, I was out the door and on to my next gig. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Don’t get me wrong. I was there for a purpose. My sweet sister Marci got married. I was so honored that she asked me to be a part of it. It’s amazing to see how God brings people together…Marci and Travis are no exception. To be a part of their day, and to be called to hold them accountable in their marriage is one of my greatest honors. I don’t feel like I got to participate in that process as much as I wanted either. Taking time off from work is difficult when your job circles around one specific day. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I get stressed when I’m away from it for more than two days. I missed out on bridal shower and bachelorette party, which was a bummer – and also not like me. I’m an all-in kind of girl, so just doing things in halfsies sort of way really makes my skin crawl. I came back from this weekend saying ‘I need a vacation from my vacation’…and I hate that.

Here’s the thing. We live in a day and age where we over-commit ourselves on an almost daily basis. I’m probably the most guilty of this of anyone I know. But there has to be a better way to find balance.

How do you do all things you need to do or have to do and still find time for just you and what you want to do?

You can ask anyone that knows me well enough, and they’ll tell you that I’m the worst at keeping in touch. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve been silent for a few months. Lots to say, just not the best forum for a late night post. I can be pretty dramatic when it comes to words on a page.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could dialogue about my life and journey here in Tennessee. Something that would be accessible to my family, since I never pick up the phone…see also: worst at keeping in touch. I still don’t think I’ll ever keep it going every day, but here goes…

I’ve been serving on staff at Cross Point for 8 months now (which doesn’t seem possible) and love it just as much as I did on day 1. At times, I feel completely inadequate and unworthy, but those are the times when the amazing staff I serve with remind me that God doesn’t call the equipped. I can’t remember what my life was like before this amazing family came into my life, and I know that I couldn’t do this life without them. So many new friends have been brought into my life and I’m so thankful for them.

I’m going back to Texas this weekend for a wedding for my dear friend, Marci. I’m honored to be a part of her and Travis’ day. Going home is painfully exhausting, though, and I always wish there were about 7 of me to divide up between my family and friends. I’ve yet to travel home and make everyone happy. If you have any secrets, I’d love to know ’em.

I’m so excited and will be 100% selfish of the time I’ll be spending with my family. If you didn’t know, my parents are pretty fantastic. I can’t wait to see our new house…er, their new house…I think we’ve reached that point where my parents have grown up and are finally living their lives. And they are SO much cooler than I am. Seriously though, my parents go to more concerts than I do and I live in Music City! I love them!

At what point do our parents start living life better than we do?

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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