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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.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and dreaming. For most people, this is a very exciting process. For me? It takes a minute. Everything is internal. If there’s something on my mind, I can guarantee you I’m playing out the scenario and every possible option/outcome that may or may not happen just to prepare myself before I’ll allow anyone else to be a part of the decision…and usually, at that point, the decision has already been made.

I do realize the problem in that is we were created to be relational. Part of relationships is allowing people to see the parts of yourself that aren’t perfect. I’m not saying that I want or need to broadcast every bit of my life to everyone, but I think it’s only healthy to allow people to walk through life with you in an intimate way. I’ve got a bad habit of allowing people in to my life who will say and do things to make me feel good, but won’t call me out when I need it. Clearly, I can handle the rest on my own. (That was sarcasm, just incase you missed it.) I’m so fortunate that God has plopped some pretty influential women (mostly northerners, go figure) in my life who not only encourage me, but push me to be the best version of myself possible – and in that, it’s time that I get back to what’s on my heart: high school students.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I was abused as a child. It’s not a secret, but for the longest time I lived like it was. That pain, that damage caused me to do things that I regret and created a skewed and septic self-image that sometimes still is hard not to believe. But God, with all of his humor, has given me influence over High School students for years. It’s so funny to me that while I was one of them, I knew no one could ever know who I truly was and what I’d been through because I would end up having to eat lunch in the bathroom because of the shame. Yet now, the pain, the hurt, the confusion are all tools to show that God can take the ugliest and most disgusting things about ourselves and use them to show others how He can restore, renew and revive a life! It wasn’t until opening up to my girls in my parents’ living room two Christmases ago that I was truly able to be free…and let them know that they are not alone or solely defined by what has happened to them.

Recently at Cross Point, we introduced a song to our congregation. These are the words that consistently echo in my head:

He lavishes such love upon us. He calls us now His sons and daughters. He’s reaching out…

We each have a story. We each have a history. I’m not going to say that I would have ever asked for mine, but I also can’t imagine where I’d be without it. To be able to be used for good despite what has happened to me is the most overwhelming gift I could have ever received. I am so grateful.

I woke up in a weird mood today. I’ve been feeling very burdened lately; everything just seems heavy. It’s causing me to see things in a light that I normally wouldn’t and also allowing me to be really honest with myself.

This past weekend I allowed a dear friend to see a very ugly side of my heart. I knew that if anyone could understand the whereabouts of my heart as of late, it would be her. It shouldn’t have surprised me in the least when she knew what I wanted to talk about…even called me out on it. Guess I’m not as mysterious as I’d like to think.

Matters of the heart are tricky. Everything turns into this big gray mess of blurry lines and sometimes it’s hard to figure out how you got to where you are. All I know is that the things I always thought would come easy are the most difficult things to deal with. It’s seems so easy to be just who I am and to allow people in to my story. But when people start reading a little deeper in to the chapters, I just want to snatch the book out of their hands and throw it back under the bed. I keep hearing people say that everybody wants to be known, but honestly, the feeling of being truly known just makes me want to vomit.

I could tangibly see the fear in my dear friend’s eyes as I invited her to see the brokenness I’ve created for myself. And just when I was getting ready to close the book, she allowed me to read a new chapter in her story, too. I realized then that her fear was that I was going through the very things she saw herself go through at my age. There wasn’t an ounce of judgement in her face or the tone in which she spoke to me; sincerity was all that flowed from her heart. And just like that, I decided to leave the book in her hands.

I believe that God puts us with people at just the right moment. My heart really is going on a path all its own and I really don’t like it. But I’m so thankful that I have an amazing friend who will walk beside me even when the chapters get messy.

I want to go back to the importance of our words.

If I close my eyes tightly enough and really try to drown out the noise, I can almost hear my mom saying ‘baby girl, watch your words…God doesn’t want you to be a liar.’ Right now, that is repeating in my mind over and over again.

I’ve spent a good while thinking over the things that I’ve said…specifically analyzing my thoughts on a boy. What I said from the start wasn’t that I loved him, or even liked him – but that I enjoyed him and wanted to know him more. I never wanted anything more than an answer from him, one way or another, and I would be fine. Monday, I got that answer…and it wasn’t in my favor. I handled it really well. So well, actually that I thought I should try to make myself cry about it because of my all-around indifference to it. I was just what I had said I wanted to be: fine. But in this moment, deja vu struck and I realized that I had been in this situation before. I dove in to some of my old journals. As I flipped through the pages, I found myself short of breath and barely able to blink.

Here’s an excerpt:

I am a mistress.
No, not like that. Let me explain.

I will do anything to take care of the guy that I truly care about. I’ll feed him. I’ll make creative gifts for him. I’ll take him shopping to show him what looks best on him. I’ll send him little notes with gift cards. I’ll help him when he needs help at his house. I’ll take care of his friends and make sure they feel welcome when they come to town. I’ll bring him soup when he’s sick and rub his back after a bad day. I’ll show up at his work with his favorite treat for no reason at all. I’ll do everything in my power to keep a smile on his face. In doing this, I’ve found that the guy usually gets used to it and, in turn, becomes needful of my time and attention which I, of course, am more than willing to give. He starts to turn to me for advice or to call me when new things are happening in his life that he’s excited about. I start to feel comfortable with the casual flirting and the back and forth of it all when…it happens.

I get the call.
The one that brings me to my knees.
He’s in love.
But not with me.
Yet, he still wants me in his life.

I’m the mistress. I’m the woman he needs, but not the woman he wants.

This was from a previous “friendationship” and was a lot more damaging, but the situation was familiar and the sad truth is that I was completely okay with living like this. This current boy’s “no” did not break my heart. Not in the least. But it was the catalyst I needed to see the underlying truth woven in these words…and it has shattered my world.

My best friend came to the office yesterday and I told her about what’s been going on in my life…I tend to bottle up my emotions and problems and push them to the side so I don’t have to deal with them. In sharing these issues, I finally was honest with her and myself about how scared and insecure I’m feeling lately. I’m coming to terms with my childhood and the root of all of my fears…and it’s a scary little world to reside in. I’m realizing how I am so scared to let anyone too close because they’ll see me as damaged goods and run for the hills.

His “no” didn’t break my heart. My brokenness did.

I’m realizing just what it means to truly forgive. And the truth is I can’t do it on my own. Just like Eustace in ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ – when he turns into a dragon and Aslan has to tear off the layers of scales with his claws – this is a painful, painful process…but it’s necessary. This is where it stops: the anger, the hurt, the fear.

This boy’s “no” is bringing me one step closer to victory. And for that, I’m forever thankful.

There has to be a reason why I’m standing here
the water’s getting higher but I’m fighting fear
cause I can be still in the middle of a storm

There had to be a breaking for my heart to change
the winds have blown against me, but I’ve learned to stay
cause I can be still in the middle of a storm

You give me peace to rest my soul
inside this hurricane that blows
and I will anchor in the harbor of your love
Within my weakness you are strong
to stand against the rain that comes
you give me peace to be still
in the middle of a storm

I’ll sail into the gentle waters of your heart
I’ll rest within the haven of your open arms
I know where to be still in the middle of a storm
yes, I know where to be still in the middle of a storm

You give me peace to rest my soul
inside this hurricane that blows
and I will anchor in the harbor of your love
Within my weakness you are strong
to stand against the rain that comes
you give me peace to be still
in the middle of a storm

You give me peace…

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 nineteen 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

I’ve really hit a wall when it comes to this post. I’ve been avoiding it, actually. I’ve spent most of these entries talking about other people that it weirds me out to talk about myself…and then on top of that to have to tell you what makes me different? That’s like telling your interviewer you don’t know what your weaknesses are…too braggy.

I will tell you this, I’m really good at making myself emotionally exhausted. There’s a lot on my plate right now and it requires a lot of deep breaths and long pauses. I can honestly say that I’m terrified like I’ve never been terrified before.

Have you ever had something that seemed tailor made for you? It’s amazing, right? A friend, a house, an animal, a job…when you find that something that you fit in to like a glove, like you were made for it, it’s just perfect. But what happens when you have to give it up? I was talking with a friend about this very thing yesterday. How do you trust God when he sounds like a hypocrite? “Here have this…oh wait, nevermind…let me take that back…” That’s where I feel like I’m at right now. It makes me sick.

I forget. In all of the crazy chaos that is my life, I sometimes forget that God is always with me. And a lot of times I feel like he’s not…and yes, I know this is a lie. The truth is that I tend to let my worry and insecurity take over. And it’s in those moments where I have to stop and sing this song…even if it’s just in my head:

God you know my heart
I’ve laid it down before you
God you know my deep desire
How I only want to honor you
And I know that you’ve got the desires of my heart
And you’ve got them set apart
And you know the better things
I’ve simply got to trust
That if you choose not to give me what I want
You’ll give me something better

Speaking of songs, I LOVE the latest Katy Perry record. Seriously, LOVE. And every time I hear this song, it feels like it was written just for me. And I feel like, electronic pop aside, this is my heart right now…

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ’em what your worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
As you shoot across the sky
Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gonna leave ’em fallin’ down

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow
Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

It’s always been inside of you,
And now it’s time to let it through

You have my life in Your hands. You know what’s best for me, even when I don’t fully trust that. If You choose to take this away – though it may hurt – help me remember that it isn’t my role that defines me, but who You say that I am: a daughter to an amazing set of parents, a sister to the best brother and sister I could ask for, a granddaughter to the most loving grandparents (some not with us anymore), a niece to the most caring (and fashionable) uncle who I wouldn’t take any other way, a cousin, a friend, a mentor and so much more. I am a daughter of the King. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I wear many hats, but my hope is to have many crowns…crowns that I can return to their rightful Owner when it’s finally time to go home.

What makes me different? Nothing, really. Just the understanding that who I am is enough.


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 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 fifteen 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

A lot of these posts have to do with other people. Today especially, with a theme of who you miss the most, it’s hard to pick just one. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized who this post had to be about. Allow me to introduce you to the girl who saved my life: Sarah Kelley.

On November 11, 2007, I moved from Nashville back home to Texas and my world fell apart. The move was my choice, but because things weren’t going my way, I blamed God. It was a rough patch for me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary, it was just a very bitter and dark season in my life. Fast forward to May of 2008 and I begin working for a church. How I got hired on when I wasn’t pursuing Christ is just a God thing. Over that summer, a lot of the youth group kids were coming in and out. (Sidenote: I have a soft spot in my heart for High School kids. I feel like they have so much pressure and so many expectations coming at them from every angle and I just want to be their friend and let them know it’s okay not to know all the answers.) So, in walks this group of teenagers – loud and laughing a lot – and they immediately ask me if I’m single. Cool. There’s only one girl in this group of boys. Instantly, I was drawn to her. For the rest of that summer, I’d get to know those kids and that one girl still stood out for me. Sometime around November of that year, she was forced into a public speaking gig – which may sound insignificant, but is something that literally cripples her in fear. I don’t know where it came from, but my inner mama bear came out. From that moment on, I was responsible for her.

Sarah and I bonded real fast after that. We were inseparable. And the more I learned about her, the more I realized that she was me…in High School. I had to watch her go through all of the same things that I went through and could only offer up the “here’s what I did’s” and let her make her own choices or mistakes. It was painful. It opened up a lot of wounds that I had chosen to ignore for years and years. Don’t get me wrong – High School was SO much fun, but there was a lot of pain and broken-heartedness and just all around insecurity…which I’m sure everyone can attest to. Reliving my teenage years certainly was not the plan I had for myself in moving home. But don’t be fooled. We had our fun.

I knew that I would be mentoring Sarah, but I had no idea just how much walking through life with her was going to change me. She calls me her sister. Though I have a sister of my own, this is a sister that chose me…and that’s something special. Her family took me in as one of their own and have gone above and beyond to make me feel like I matter to them. I’ve traveled with them, spent birthdays with them…really invested my heart with this family. It was in the broken places of my heart that God used Sarah to wake me up. She showed me just what it’s like to have child-like faith, even as we go through the tough stuff. She showed me what it means to truly love God and love people. She showed me just how strong you have to be to turn the other cheek. Through her weaknesses, God broke me. He showed me myself – all of my stubborn arrogance – and just how selfish I had been acting. Slowly, the walls on my heart began to fall…and now, though there’s still a few bricks stacked up, I’m finally open to all that God has for me.

I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to repay her, but I’m so thankful that God sent Sarah to me. She truly has saved my life.


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

You’re reading part four of my 30 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 2 — Your parents – Barry & Carla

For the longest time, I wished I were an only child. Seriously. It’s kind of ridiculous. But, I’m not…even though my siblings claim that I’m the favorite. And although I’d like to think that I am, again, I’m not. And honestly, that’s a very selfish thought because I have two AMAZING siblings.

Barry is crazy…but crazy in a good way. He is CRAZY talented. We have a video from the Christmas when he got his bass guitar…first day he’s ever had it and had never played one before…picks it up and starts playing behind my sister who is singing for the camera. And he’s on beat and in tune. He can draw better than anyone I know. He went to the Art Institute and has his degree in computer graphic and gaming design…I think that’s what its called. He is super funny. So funny, in fact, that I didn’t become funny until he left for college. He makes the best sound effects and can make a roll of paper towels seem like the most hilarious thing in the world. He’s got a natural gift for making people feel comfortable. We’ve had our ups and downs, but who hasn’t. When I was about three, we watched Peter Pan…I think it was my first time to see it. Afterwards, we went to our room and got on the top bunk. Peeking over the edge, he told me that if I believed and thought happy thoughts I could fly, too. Now, you would have to see Barry at this point in his life. 4 years old. Light brown ringlet curly hair. BIG green eyes. I loved him and wanted to be just like him. His natural ability to captivate you was already in full swing. Like a doofus, I believed him. So, sat up on my knees, spread my arms out beside me, closed my eyes and thought happy thoughts. In the next three seconds, I remember being in the air and soaring across the room. Of course, I crash landed on a fire truck and proceeded to cry. Barry got in trouble. He had a little mischevious side to him…and still does. I know what you may be thinking: KIDDING?!?! But the only thing I remember about that moment was the feeling of soaring.

My sister is one year and 364 days younger than me. She won’t let me say two years. She makes me sick. She’s the cute one. When we were little, she had these HUGE brown eyes that could melt your heart. HUGE! Seriously, the girl could get away with murder. We did everything together. Our parents dressed us alike, we had all the same friends (and for the most part still do), we were ALWAYS given the same birthday gifts. Daryl and I used to always have pageants in our living room and make our parents judge. I feel like I always won because of my “swimwear”, which was my maroon crushed velvet gymnastics leotard, but I’m sure we’re pretty even. The best thing about her being the baby was that she would always do whatever just to be included…and Barry and I would use that to our advantage sometimes. The only time she would not play with us is when she was “it” at Hide & Seek. The moment she became “it”, she was done. Which is hilarious. She idolized me, which has always been a tough cross to carry, but putting myself in her shoes, I’d probably do the same for her.

Fast forward and we’re grown-ups. Well, sort of. Daryl is 22, I’m 24 and Barry will be 26 in November. Life isn’t as simple as it used to be. We’re dealing with relationships and different thought processes and having families. Just here recently, I’d say that my brother went through the hardest thing I can imagine he’s ever gone through before. My heart was devastated for him. I cried and got angry with God and was so bitter. And although I wasn’t there to see him, the way he handled it really checked my heart. He stayed strong. He stood up to the situation and made it to the other side. He’s got such a big heart. He’s a great man and, whether he believes it or not, he carries all the best qualities of our dad and our grandfather. He is going to be a wonderful husband and an amazing father. And Daryl? She’s amazing. She is working and working on her degree. She spent the past couple of years with a guy that was not for her. She may not see it, and she and I have talked about this, but he changed her. She lost sight of who she was and who God has called her to be. It devastated me. It was so hard to watch. And of course, you never want to believe that or keep hearing that when you’re in the middle of it. But she is so beautiful and has such a big heart and is capable of loving so much and so fiercely and to see it be wasted on someone who could honestly care less just broke my heart. I’m so glad that she is surrounding herself with good people and reinvesting in relationships with her best friends. She has all the qualities of our mom and grandmother. Strong willed, fiercely loving, great cook! haha! She will be a great wife to her perfect match. And holy best mom ever award! She’ll be a great mom. When I moved to Nashville the first time, she told me that God gave me wings and that I was meant to soar and get out of our town and be great. The thing is, she doesn’t realize she’s been given her own wings. They’ve been hidden for the past few years, but they’re starting to come back out again. I can’t wait to see where life takes her.

Seriously, I’ve been spoiled. Amazing parents who’ve shown me real love. Amazing siblings who have shown me real life. Nothing is perfect. It never has been and it never will be. But we’re finally all getting our footing and the world should watch out. Together, there’s nothing that can stop us.


Day 5 – Your Dreams
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you
Day 7 — Your job
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend that you’ve never met
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to
Day 12 — Your dream vacation
Day 13 — Something you’re looking forward to
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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