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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.

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 two of my 30 day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:
Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel

 Today, I’m talking about my vices. Sure, most people talk about the things they’re addicted to or bad habits…and if I were to do that, I would say the show Criminal Minds, Sunset nachos, driving around aimlessly, not returning phone calls, letting the polish on my nails chip and crack and still not remove it (sorry, mom), and so many other things. But that’s not what I think of when I think of ‘my vices’. I see my failures. I see my shortcomings. I see all the things that make me unworthy of love, success, and grace

I’m working with the youth group at my amazing church, Crosspoint, here in Nashville. We meet on Wednesday nights for “Charge” and last night was unreal. It was an out-of-the-ordinary kind of night. Instead of a normal hang out>worship>message>hang out plan, we had a night or prayer and worship. There was a method to the madness: we prayed Upward, Inward, Outward and Forward. Before the night even started, you could feel the presence of the Lord. And it was heavy. Once the service began, hearing those kids shout prayers and praises to God – Upward -, seeing them pray about their lost friends and friends who have lost their way – Outward -, and seeing them pray about the future of their group and leaders and each other – Forward – was just amazing. I know that God has a purpose for me with these kids. But let me tell you about the most real moment of the night. Inward. We passed out notecards to each of the kids for them to think about the things that they felt were their, well, vices. The depravities of their hearts and lives that God was calling out in them and calling them to lay them at his feet. Pat, our family ministries pastor, and the rest of the Charge leadership team took it one step further. They brought in a large wooden cross, some hammers and some nails and told the kids that they could come and nail their burdens to the cross, if they felt led to do so. One by one, they got up…and the sound of them hammering in their cries for Christ…it was overwhelming. When I closed my eyes, I could imagine Jesus there – being nailed to the cross, taking on their sins, looking at each of them and just shouting his love for them. I think for the first time, some of them experienced true healing for their hearts. And it’s just what they needed as they start a new school year. I came home last night feeling so encouraged. Yesterday was all about encouragement in my life. And in the middle of the night, I learned why. See, the Lord really speaks to me in my dreams. Always has. My dream was a flashback to that service…except I could see myself sitting there. It was kind of creepy and weird. But then my dad showed up. And that got me excited because he’s my best friend and I haven’t seen him since July and that makes me sad. But he looked at me and told me I was beautiful…but then asked what my problem was. He said that he didn’t raise me to be so prideful. That there was no shame in admitting where I was wrong. He told me that I would never be able to move Forward until I looked Inward. Then I woke up. Immediately, I began to pray. So today, I’m putting out my vices for the world to see

I am selfish. I am deceitful. I am quick to anger. I don’t always trust that God is who He says He is…and I don’t always believe He’ll do what He says He’s going to do. I am prone to wander. I am unfaithful. I am everything that He says I shouldn’t be…and then some.

I’m reminded of a David Crowder song that says this:

I am full of earth, You are Heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me, You are divinity

It wrecks me everytime I hear it. But thank GOD that’s not where the song ends. The very next bit says this:

But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

WOW. Just, wow. What a beautifully painted picture. I may not have actually nailed my card to the cross last night, but my Father knows my heart and how, regardless of how many times I fail, I still long for Him. To know that He sees all of my awkward, bad, destructive vices and still uses me to make something beautiful. It’s more than I can fathom.

This life is a daily process. I daily have to choose Him, as we all do. But how can I not choose Him now when He chose me before time began?


Day 3 — Your parents
Day 4 — Your siblings
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

I can’t tell you how many times I start a blog only to let it fall by the wayside.

I’m hoping this is different. I’m hoping this is a way that I can be a better version of me. I’m hoping that somehow I’ll be able to hold myself accountable to maintain this thing. And, suprisingly, I feel like I do have stuff to say. I am, however, gonna start with a 30 day series that I’m stealing from my friend Stephanie.

It’s gonna look a little bit like this:

Day 1 — Your best friend
Day 2 — Your vices
Day 3 — Your parents
Day 4 — Your siblings
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

So…here we go!

Day 1 – My Best Friend Rachel

Honestly, I don’t know where to begin. No, wait…I totes do. Fraser, Colorado. Summer of 2005. Crooked Creek Ranch. I’m there to bring my Young Life kids to experience the ‘best week of their lives’ (and it is…guaranteed). Each day has a different theme(s) or activit(y/ies)…this particular day is ‘tableau’, where all the staffers, summer staffers, work crew, etc dress up in theme wear to help kick off Carnival Night. Crooked Creek, being a ranch, is western themed…so all the different people are dressed in old west gear and set up at many different stations – the doctor, cowboys & indians, bar scene, fight scene and, my personal favorite, the wedding scene. Here, we have a boy and a girl holding hands in front of a priest and a few guests…frozen in place so our kids can get a better idea of what kind of costumes to put together. So, picture me…a 19 year old, who acts like a five year old, toting around some of my kids when we walk up to a wedding scene. GAME TIME!!! We’re allowed to talk, taunt and tease these people and they’re not supposed to break character…frozen in place…and they have to deal with me. Lovely. Of course, myself and one of my HS boys pick the wedding scene…I stand behind the bride and he stands behind the groom…both of us whispering in their ears about the other one…”he looks beautiful”…”you’ve waited for this day your whole life!”…”look at those lips, he’s sooo kissable, don’t ya think?” BOOM! A shotgun rings out in the middle of the mountains and suddenly, the characters come to life. The bride looks at me. I take off running. I don’t remember seeing her again that week, though I know I did. Fast forward 6 months. I’m at a friend’s house here in Nashville for a Super Bowl party. I’m introduced to two girls and we seem to hit it off pretty well. We talk about life, where we’re from, Nashville and then get on to the topic of Young Life. We start talking about the camps we’ve been to/worked at. Crooked Creek comes up. We realize we were both there at the same time. Then, it hit me like a brick. She was the bride. And she must’ve seen it in my eyes because all of a sudden, she points her finger at me, cuts her eyes and says ‘YOU!’ I wanted to take off running again, for old times sake, but instead we both laughed. And then we were joined at the hip. For almost two years, we walked through life together. It was Krystin and Rachel taking on the world…or Nashville, at least. We laughed together, cried together, got put on Kelly Clarkson’s guest list in Chicago together. She stood beside me through my failures and hospital visits (which I’m ETERNALLY indebted to her for) and I stood beside her through awful roommates and learning about her condition of having Celiac’s disease (which is not probably what you’re thinking…it has to do with the food she can and can’t eat). Then, I left Tennessee. She walked with me through the first time my heart has truly ever been broken and never judged me whenever I called or texted that stupid boy again. Then, life took her back home to Colorado. Now, I’m back in Tennessee. And although it’s not, nor will it ever be, the same without her, we’re still walking through life and dealing with boys and distance and changes. I’ve never been so honored to have someone like her in my life and I don’t know what I’d do without her and I don’t know what I did to deserve her. But, she’s my amazing best friend…and I can’t imagine anyone else who I could talk about here.

Nashville is swell so far. It’s been rough – having to relearn what it’s like to live with someone again, realizing I’m the only one who can make my life what it is, and I’m the only one who is responsible for myself. It’s not easy, but I know God has brought me back here for a reason and I’m gonna figure out what it is and what it’s going to look like.

I had coffee with my amazingly talented friend Adam today. He is in the single most amazing band I’ve ever listened to: Neulore. I told him today that his EP has single-handedly changed the way I listen to music. And it’s true. It’s amazing. It’s conversations from the perspective of Adam (Biblical Adam) talking to Eve (also Biblical Eve). Its the words that everyone has been thinking about and no one knows how to say. And two years after first getting my hands on a copy, it’s still in my top 5 favorite albums I own. When he and Troy first started this thing, I honestly don’t think they had any idea what it was going to turn into. And after spending some time with Adam today, I have such a hope for his future. I love when my friends are driven and talented and just so passionate about life. I left him feeling so encouraged and ready for life, just in the way he talks about his. He has an amazing heart. I hope you get to know him one day. And I hope the world gets to hear his music. It’s unreal.

Seriously, I just have the most amazing friends. All so different; from different places and backgrounds, and yet, all walking through this amazing race we call life. I’m humbled to walk through it with them.

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about my vices. I’m kind of scared about that…

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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