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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.

I can remember being a little girl and playing outside for as long as possible. I remember running through the neighborhood – with bare feet, of course – climbing trees, tossing a football, jumping on trampolines. I dreaded that time when the street lights came on because I knew my mom would be coming out on the front porch to call us inside. I would always try to hide from her or would just whine and complain with every step to the front door. I don’t want to go in! I want to keep playing! But I’m fine out here! I can still see! I know what I’m doing! I’m okay on my own! I can handle this! Let me do it!

It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that I’ve seen God the exact same way this past year. He’s been stepping out on the porch and calling me to him. The funny thing is, I’ve been scared to give him all of me; to fully step into his goodness. Why? Your answer is as good as mine…but it’s just that fear of stepping out in the unknown. Who wouldn’t be scared to leave home without a job to go chase after her life? Who wouldn’t be terrified to join up with the most solid team of people who know each other so well and have to not only be the new kid, but the young kid? Who wouldn’t rather hide when you make a huge mistake and have to regroup?

The painful beauty in all of this is that, with each time he’s called me to the porch, I’ve grown. I’ve learned to trust people in a whole new way. I’ve learned just who I am and what I’m capable of. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I can’t do everything, and I can’t do it alone.

A year ago, I wrote out the job I thought I wanted. God is still far more gracious to me than I deserve. And it just so happens that today is a pretty big day for me. Today marks my first year of serving with the staff that I now call family at Cross Point. A year of trials. A year of errors. A year of successes. A year of laughter…of tears…of misses…of fears…of happiness. A year of growth. I’m not dumb enough to believe that it hasn’t been all perfect, it never will be. But it’s been all good. There is beauty in messing up so bad that you have to have others pick you up. That kind of growth can’t be done alone. I am so fortunate that this day was a Tuesday where I got to see each member of my family and truly realize what a difference – not even a year makes – what a DAY makes. These people have changed my heart and my world and I am so thankful that they’ve allowed me in to their lives. I can’t imagine doing life without them, and I hope I never have to.

Tonight, we’re having our 2nd Worship Night here at the Nashville Campus. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than spending some time glorifying the one who freely gives it all for us and who has blessed me so much more than I deserve.

It’s time to get out of my own head voice for a minute.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I serve on staff at a pretty rockin’ church here in Nashville called Cross Point. I love so much about this place – the raw community, the desire to serve, the tough lessons I learn each week – but I am consistently standing in awe of the team I’m surrounded by. This summer will be no exception.

Our Senior Pastor, Pete Wilson is going to be traveling for most of the month of July. This left our team with a huge opportunity to create a summer series that would be both fun and something to really drive home conversation. Thus, our Creative Arts team came up with Summer Slam.

The whole premiss of this series is allowing our communicators to share scriptures that leave them with more questions than answers; things that they’re wrestling with. They’re inviting us in to their story and I couldn’t be more excited.

I love any time that we get to hear from our Bellevue Campus Pastor – Justin Davis and Nashville Campus Pastor – Blake Bergstrom. The wisdom and life that pours out of these two is just unreal. In this series, we’ll also get to hear from a couple of fresh faces: our Dickson Campus Pastor – Willy Maxwell and our new North Campus Pastor – Brent Hodge. But what I love about this series even more is that we won’t just be hearing from our pastoral staff. We’re bringing in a couple of our attenders to share their hearts and thoughts, which takes it to another level.

Carlos Whittaker is a worship leader and serves with our music team here at Cross Point. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite people because of his heart. He’s an advocate for worship, adoption and authenticity. I’ve never met someone with so much drive and passion who also lives out and backs up everything he’s saying. I count myself very fortunate to know him and call him friend.

Jon Acuff is an author and blogger working at Dave Ramsey. I’ve followed Stuff Christians Like, a satire blog of his, for a few years now. His humor is so relatable. I can vividly remember where I was when I first read my most favorite of his posts, Thinking You’re Naked. I giggled at the title, but by the time I got to the bottom of the page was practically in tears. He has a natural gift for speaking the truth, whether he would agree or not.

Check out this promo video…it’s pretty awesome:

It’s going to be a great summer at Cross Point. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn and grow more and to really come in to a place of leadership that I know I’m capable of. So thankful He’s not finished with me yet.

I’m noticing a trend in my life lately. I think it’s safe to say that I’m smack dab in the middle of a personal rebrand. Call it selfishness, call it wisdom. Call it whatever you like…I just know there’s something different going on.

At 25, I’ve ventured off in a direction I never could have imagined when I first moved to Nashville. If I were doing what I had initially set out to do, I would be living in East Nashville, working at a management firm (preferably Red Light), have about 3 artists and be traveling all over the world. God is pretty funny about things like this, though. Now, I’m working at a great church, living in a house with 5 girls, and nowhere near involved in the music industry. I wouldn’t say so much that I gave up on my dreams, but that my dreams changed.

I have the most amazing friends who are absolute rock stars. I love hearing their stories from the road. But I wouldn’t trade my life for theirs any day. I’m not a gypsy, I’m a homebody. I love knowing that at the end of the day, I know exactly where I’m gonna lay my head. I love that I know almost down to a ‘t’ what my schedule is going to be like on any given day. I mean, I LOVE having a set schedule. I’m all about spontaneity, don’t get me wrong. I love jumping in the car and driving to wherever I might feel like going at that exact minute. I’m just learning to appreciate the art of planning trips and rendezvous’.

I’ve always been a spoiler. I’ve been known to give until I can’t give anymore…and a lot of times, I’m still that way, but I’m starting to see me use my time and funds on…wait for it, this one’s big…me. It’s a really crazy concept. But I think that is part of the balance. I like being able to go out and buy things that are a little bit selfish; sunglasses, kicks (which seriously is becoming my go-to), clothes. I’m also starting to notice that when invited to things, I know what my answer is going to be when I know how many people are going to be there. My rock star best friend once told me that everyone has a quarter sized circle of friends that can fit about 5-10 (at the very most) names in it. Those are the people who you’re truly walking through life with…really investing with. Then you have a half-dollar sized circle where there’s another 20-25 names – friends you can hang with and be just fine knowing them on a slightly deeper than surface level. Then, there’s everybody else. As a people-pleaser, it is so very necessary for me to not just know, but practice this balance. I’m blessed with friends that continue to invite and invest with me who know that there are plenty of times where I say ‘no’ to things.

I’m nowhere near done with change. Like I said, I’m smack dab in the middle of this rebrand. The question is, will I be able to find the balance between who I’ve been and who I’m becoming?

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?

I had written out an entire blog yesterday about the power of our words, but never found the time to post it. I was really bummed, too….because I thought it was good. Then, I found out at the last minute that my old roommate, Christa Black, was speaking at our old church (that I still love) Grace Center down in Franklin. At first, I was a little upset that no one was available to come with me. But the minute Christa started speaking, I was glad to be there alone.

First off, just seeing my sweet sister was good for my heart. I honestly think I hadn’t seen her in at least 3 years. She and Luke were part of my daily life for a very long time and HUGE encouragers of my spiritual growth. Being able to watch her grow into this even more amazing (if that was even possible) form of herself and to be able to have this huge platform has been such a blessing. She began touring with the Jonas Brothers (no, really) and their fan base welcomed her in with open arms. Because of them, she started writing a blog and now, that blog is a really successful book – God Loves Ugly. She’s an amazing communicator. I’m so proud.

Last night at Grace Center, Christa got up and spoke about…the power of our words. WHOA! Think I needed to hear that? Christa explained that we were made for love and to give love. She talked about a scientist who literally spoke to water both words of love and words of hate over the water.

When Dr. Emoto said to the water: ‘you make me sick!’, this is what the molecules looked like:

When he said: ‘I love you, live!’, the molecules looked like this:

I know this seems a little far fetched, and to some of you it may be. But follow this: John 10:10 says ‘The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy…’ I’m sure you could think of all the words that have been spoken over you that steal your joy, kill your livelihood and definitely destroy your heart. I know I have. I can remember the cruel words that have dictated so much of my life…’you’re ugly’…’you’re fat’…’you’re never gonna be anything’…’no one will ever love you’…and on and on and on and on. My childhood wasn’t all flowers and butterflies, so words of hatred have always been what I see in the mirror. I tend to be a pretty tough girl, but I can’t tell you the nights I’ve spent in my room crying over the life I knew I’d never have. But, thankfully, the verse doesn’t end there! It continues: ‘…but I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly!”. How then, can I (or you, for that matter) continue to speak anything but words of life over ourselves and others?

I left last night in sobs (not in front of anyone…I don’t cry in public). I talked with Jesus the whole way home and just pleaded for him to fill the holes in my heart so that when love came to speak the truth in me, it wouldn’t just slip out. I prayed for myself to be able to see people the way he does and for the opportunities to speak life and love to everyone around me.

I’m doing 40 days of notes for lent, and after last night, I’m excited to keep writing to the people in my life. I can’t wait to see how God uses these next 33 days.

All for love
My Jesus You gave all for love
I’m standing in the wonder of
Your great love

You’re reading the last part of my 30 (ish) day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel
Day 2 — Your vices – Just Read It
Day 3 — Your parents – Barry & Carla
Day 4 — Your siblings – Barry & Daryl
Day 5 — Your dreams – I’ve got lots
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you – Stacey
Day 7 — Your job – Work in progress
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend you’ve never met – Stephanie
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet – George W. Bush
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to – Alyson
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to – Papa Jim
Day 12 — Your dream vacation – Italy
Day 13 — Something you look forward to – Sundays
Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from – Marci Marie
Day 15 — The person you miss the most – Sarah Kelley
Day 16 — Someone not in your state/country – Mallory Gilbert
Day 17 — The place you wish you were from – Port Neches
Day 18 — The person you wish you could be – Erica
Day 19 — Something that makes you different – knowing who I am
Day 20 — Your favorite TV show – Criminal Minds/Law & Order/How I Met Your Mother

Don’t worry…I’m alive. I’ve decided rather than drag this series out any longer (because it’s clearly lasted way longer than 30 days), I’m just gonna power through the next 10 topics and be done. So, here goes.

Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
That would have to be my best friend Kate Carlson. It was maybe my third week attending Cross Point and she was up on stage leading worship. I knew instantly two things: 1. I’m not cool enough to go to church here. and 2. she and I will never be friends. Now, on any given day…if you need to find me, I’ll either be at work or hanging out with Kate. I hope you get the pleasure of meeting her. She’s seriously a huge light in my world and constantly challenges me to pursue Christ in a whole new way…and not by any other way than how she lives.

Day 22 — Your pet peeves
Easy. Loud chewing, mouth breathers, the metal part of the eraser on the pencil scratching a surface, obnoxious baristas, people who hide behind smiles, cats, needy people (not people in need of benevolence, people who are only looking for what they can get from you), and I’ll stop there.

Day 23 — The last person you kissed
His name is Justin. But what’s more interesting than the last person I kissed is the last 8 I’ve kissed. 7 of the last 8 married the next person they kissed. The 8th is about to get engaged. Just call me Good Luck, Chuck. I’ll be here all week.

Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
That’s a tough one. I have so many amazing memories that I can think of. But I would have to say it was being on hurrication in 2003 with my cousin Erica. For sure.

Day 25 — A life changing moment
June 4-10, 2004, I attended my first Young Life camp at Malibu in Canada. on June 9th, I finally gave my whole heart to Christ. I could take you back there and show you exactly where I was sitting. Such a special place, such a huge day!

Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
That would be Kelsi Fulton. We were both working too many jobs and didn’t have any sort of life, so we made a pinky promise to each other that we would quit our unnecessary jobs. I did…she did not. Boo.

Day 27 — The thing you most enjoy doing
There’s a lot that I enjoy doing. My job, spending time with my friends, driving, shopping, singing (in the shower…because trust me, you don’t want to hear that), researching for the perfect dog, and so much more. But more than anything, I love getting to stand in the back and watch my friends shine. I seriously have the most talented friends and I’m so proud of all of them.

Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
That would in no doubt be my mentor, Jess. She took a very young (and obnoxious) Texas girl under her wing, showed her the ropes for the music business, gave her all sorts of opportunities, allowed her to live in her kickass house, and so much more. I’m sure that I put her through hell, but I’m so thankful for the influence that she has in my life. And now, she’s a mom! I’m so excited to see her raise up a beautiful baby girl! 🙂

Day 29 — Your talent
I’m really talented at making situations awkward and falling in love with people who are horrible at expressing their emotions.

Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror
That’s a tough one. I tend to only like my reflection on certain days. Days when my hair is just right or my eyelashes look exceptionally long. I have a horrible self-image, in all honesty. I’ve battled with eating disorders and not being healthy. It’s a hard thing to ever recover from. But for as many hard things I’ve been through that I would never wish on anyone, its the imperfections in my reflection that show the life I’ve lived so far. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

So, now that that is done, we can move on to lots of other things. I’ve got a lot to say…but I’m sure you do, too. Thanks for sticking with me through this.

You’re reading part seventeen of my 30 (ish) day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel
Day 2 — Your vices – Just Read It
Day 3 — Your parents – Barry & Carla
Day 4 — Your siblings – Barry & Daryl
Day 5 — Your dreams – I’ve got lots
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you – Stacey
Day 7 — Your job – Work in progress
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend you’ve never met – Stephanie
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet – George W. Bush
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to – Alyson
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to – Papa Jim
Day 12 — Your dream vacation – Italy
Day 13 — Something you look forward to – Sundays
Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from – Marci Marie
Day 15 — The person you miss the most – Sarah Kelley
Day 16 — Someone not in your state/country – Mallory Gilbert

Three years ago today, I packed everything I own into the back of my dad’s truck and moved back home. Three years ago today, I spent 13 hours thinking this was the biggest mistake of my life. Three years ago this morning at 5:32 a.m., I crawled into my parent’s bed and sobbed in my mother’s arms.

I chose to do this to myself. My best friend was getting married and I wanted to be there for her as the rest of the bridesmaids were scattered all across Texas, one even in Peru. It was nice to be home, but having only been home for small bursts of visits over the past two years, having all this time was a little more than overwhelming. Through a series of events, I found myself with no one to hang out with. I felt completely alone.

To let you understand a little better, my brave best friend – Stacey – created a photobook of sorts called Black and White and Nashville All Over. She spent an entire year taking pictures and collecting stories from people – none longer than 100 words. Regardless of where you are from, I think it’s a great look into the human psyche and is worth your money…and it makes a GREAT coffee table book. The point is, she included me in this process. I had been back in Texas for over 8 months before I made my first trip to Nashville. I was excited to spend time with my brave best friend and was real excited to have her do another shoot with me (ANY of the pictures on my facebook that you see and think, that looks good…all her handiwork). I didn’t expect my shoot to turn the way it did. When I was asked to write my “100 words” of where I was in life at that moment, this is what I put:

I’m living in the same city I spent the first 19 years of my life, but I’m an unwelcomed stranger in a foreign land. Surrounded by familiar faces and still alone. These people try – honest they do – but I’m finding that the loneliest word is honesty. If I’m being honest with myself, I have to say my only love is a far away city and it’s people who make me feel alive. So here it is – my honest admission: I’m lonely and the only place I want to get to is home. Truth hurts, but truth is all i have.

And I meant every word.

Today, I’m supposed to talk about (yes, that was the prologue) the place I wish I were from. I would put money on the fact that you’re thinking Nashville. It is every bit of who I am. But I can say, with 100% certainty that who I am would be nothing without where I’m from. And though moving home when I did was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, it was the smart decision. I wouldn’t have known, nor had the pleasure to introduce you to people like Marci or Sarahor Mallory. I wouldn’t have been able to have the pleasure of serving on staff here at Cross Point.

If you want a picture glimpse into the past bit of my life, check out this blog that I never keep up with (sorry, Steph). It’s all sorts of pictures from January – May of my day-to-day life. Pay special note to how RIDICULOUS my high school football stadium is…

I love where I’m from and whole-heartedly believe that home is where your story begins.

The last two and a half years weren’t nearly as awful as they started out seeming they would be. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t going there. I wouldn’t be who I am without the people I’ve met in the past few years alone. I can’t imagine life without them.

I may come from a small town, but I’ve got big dreams…just wait and see.


Day 18 — The person that you wish you could be
Day 19 — Something that makes you different
Day 20 — Your favorite television shows
Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
Day 22 — Your pet peeves
Day 23 — The last person you kissed
Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
Day 25 — A life changing moment
Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
Day 27 — The thing you most enjoy doing
Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
Day 29 — Your talent
Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

You’re reading part thirteen of my 30 (ish) day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel
Day 2 — Your vices – Just Read It
Day 3 — Your parents – Barry & Carla
Day 4 — Your siblings – Barry & Daryl
Day 5 — Your dreams – I’ve got lots
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you – Stacey
Day 7 — Your job – Work in progress
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend you’ve never met – Stephanie
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet – George W. Bush
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to – Alyson
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to – Papa Jim
Day 12 — Your dream vacation – Italy

Call me late to the ballgame, but it wasn’t that long ago that I learned what “type a” and “type b” personalities were. My poor best friend…she taught me and I ran it in to the GROUND! I was telling everyone I could that I was type A/B. Seriously, everyone. My justification, of course, is that I like organization but I’m not opposed to organized chaos. I’m structured, but I’m pretty chill. And the more I’ve thought about that over the last few years, the more I believe I’m an idiot! I’m SO unbelievably type A. I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with “what I’m looking forward to”, but follow me on this rabbit trail.

Earlier this morning, a girl in the office came up to my desk and commented on how I stock the refrigerator. She said it was nice and straight and organized. My mom would be so proud. And I am, too! I think people don’t take enough pride in their work…especially the small things. That being said, (drumroll please)I’ll now bring you to the point.

Sundays.
I look forward to Sundays.
Sundays are a LONG day for me and anyone else here on staff. Most people who join us on Sundays don’t know just how much has to happen or how many people it takes for one service to go right…and we have four! Yesterday, with our county fair, was a 12.5 hour day for me. But once our 6 p.m. service hit, I was overwhelmed by the reason I love this church so much.

I’m in charge of coordinating the First Impressions team. These are the people who hold open the doors for you as you come to worship with us. These are the people who hand you a program or help you make coffee or tell you where you need to go when you’re lost. They all have smiling faces and sweet dispositions. But more than that, they each have a story. They each have a lot of things that are going on or wrong in their life, but they come in and serve. In a lot of ways, I think that this is the easiest way that you can minister or be ministered to. In the same way that people don’t value their work, people forget just what a treasure it is to have someone, anyone, acknowledge you, smile and tell you good morning. Last night I had people coming in through my door saying hello before I could say it to them. I’d like to think it’s because they know how warm and welcoming this church is and feel right at home. It made my heart so happy. Then to turn and see my team smiling, greeting, being helpful…without complaining…there was just so much JOY! It’s contagious!

I had to bring something to our campus pastor Blake’s office earlier today. He asked me if I was having a good day. I said yes, because well…I am! I also said there’s no good reason to have a bad day. And I truly believe that. Do we have them? Clearly. But do we have to give in to them? NO WAY! I choose not to let my emotions get the better of me.

I loved my time at North End so very much. It taught me a lot about who I am and who I should and should not be, but Cross Point is different. I’ve never seen people with SUCH a heart for their community, which doesn’t just mean Nashville or “Cherokee/Sylvan Park”. The people who come here truly want to get involved with each other’s lives and to walk beside each other and then, turn around and help out in the community – with the homeless, with children, with whoever needs a helping hand. I get so much joy out of my job that I don’t want to call it a job. It’s a straight up ministry. I love that, a lot of times, I get challenged just in knowing that I’m the very first person who a new visitor is going to talk to or be greeted by. Their entire view of the church could be skewed because I’m having a bad day and decide to not be nice when I pick up the phone. They could come here one time and be made to feel less than welcome and never come back. That’s on me! What a great reason to make sure my heart is in check! And yes, I do know that some people are not easy to please and that there is nothing that you can do to make them happy…but that doesn’t give me a right to be just as mean or cynical as they are. That was never my calling in life.

So, I look forward to Sundays. Sundays are where my volunteers get to shine and I get to feel so proud of them. Sundays are where I’m challenged by the word and then encouraged by a stranger’s smile. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And for the record – a few selfish things I’m looking forward to:
– Young Life banquet tonight
– Shopping this weekend (I haven’t shopped in 3 months)
– Bible Study with my amazing girls on Thursday
– Going home in 10 days.
– CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!


Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from
Day 15 — The person you miss the most
Day 16 — Someone that’s not in your state/country
Day 17 — The place you wish you were from
Day 18 — The person that you wish you could be
Day 19 — Something that makes you different
Day 20 — Your favorite television shows
Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
Day 22 — Your pet peeves
Day 23 — The last person you kissed
Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
Day 25 — A life changing moment
Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
Day 27 — The thing you most enjoy doing
Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
Day 29 — Your talent
Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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