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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 three 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

We’re gonna excuse the tardiness of this post because I got off from work late and then had to drive 45 minutes home and I’m just going to do another plug for it tomorrow.

Today is going to be difficult. Not because I can’t think of enough nice things to say about my parents, but because I can’t put into words just how truly amazing they are.

See, there were four of us kids: her oldest son, my brother, myself and my sister…that’s a lot to keep up with. Birthdays, no problem – except when it comes to me and my sister, of course, as we’re a day apart. Christmas, however, is it’s own beast. During my Christmas trip back home in 2006, my mom told me about a Christmas fiasco I was too young to remember when it happened but now, I’ll never forget.

“Santa” and “Mrs. Claus” were finishing wrapping presents and setting them in their respective child piles. But then my dad…er, um…”Santa” realized that sweet little Krystin didn’t have half as many presents as the rest of the kids. How this happened, I don’t know. But dad wouldn’t have it. Here it is, like 2 a.m., and he puts on his clothes and gets in the car. Problem is: we’re from a small town. Everything closes at 10. And on holiday? Forget it…city shuts down at 6. What does he do? He starts heading to Houston. HOUSTON! An hour and a half away! There were some other details to the story: like how I ended up with the most presents and how I tore through them all and didn’t care because I was too young to understand. The day she told me that story, however, I went to bed early (early as in right after that story) and just cried.

I have this picture of me and my dad dancing at Christmas time (which is my favorite) that I have always loved. Excuse the quality – its a picture of an old picture and I TORE up my room looking for it.

It is honestly one of my most prized possessions. I think the thing I love about my dad is that our friendship comes so easy. I’m daddy’s little girl, but the joke is that I’m also his favorite son. I’m a sports fanatic and I’ll sit down and watch anything with him. But it started out because I just wanted to be anywhere he was. He’s such a great dad, partner in crime and best friend.

My mom and I are just alike. Anyone who knows us or who has seen both of us together would tell you that I’m the spitting image of her. I loved it when I was little. It drove me absolutely crazy once I became a teenager. But it’s more than our looks: we think just alike, we react to things just alike, everything. So I already know how she’s going to react to this post because I know how I’m responding to writing it. What she may not know, and it’s my own fault for never saying it to her, is how much I absolutely adore her. She’s loved me since before I ever was. The story goes something like this: she was young and had her first son but fell asleep one night and began to dream of a beautiful, brunette, green eyed baby girl. She held her and sang to her and loved her. And then she put the baby girl in a basonette and went to another room and came back to no baby. So, she gets down on the ground and starts crying out for her baby girl. Insert my grandmother, who wakes my mom up and in her sleep is literally crawling around on the floor looking for a baby girl and is convinced that she had one. Two kids later, here I am. For the longest part of my life, I hated that story. Mainly because a perfect dream baby girl is a hard expectation to live up to…especially when you don’t like who you are. I hated that baby. But the more I’ve gotten to know my mother as I’ve gotten older, she doesn’t care if I am perfect or not…it’s not the dream of me that she loves, it’s me. And that’s all I could ever ask for.

When I moved to Tennessee the first time, I had been here for about 3 1/2 weeks, I opened a drawer in my bathroom that I didn’t realize I had. Inside was this little treasure from my mom.

It’s from an old The Wilkinson’s song “26 Cents”…the first line says “She was sitting alone on a bus out of Beaumont” which is the neighboring city to us. I cry every time I hear that song.

But even better than my parents separately is them together. I’m blessed that my parents just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on August 11th…and are still as disgustingly in love as they were when I was 5 and pushing them apart to try to make them stop kissing because it was gross. My parents have shown me unconditional love. It may not have always seemed like it, but it was. And even more than their love for me, they’ve used their relationship to show me what “real love” looks like. It’s the way that they are selfless – how they will always take care of us and their other friends and loved ones before themselves. The way that even though they do argue (never badly) and sometimes go to bed mad, they can’t imagine not going to bed together. They’ve struggled and had their moments where I’m sure they didn’t like each other, but they’ve chosen to stand beside each other – hand in hand, through thick and thin – because that’s REAL love. And if I’m being honest with myself, I think the reason I’m so scared of committment and I’m so scared to really allow myself to love someone is that I’m never going to be so amazing and graceful as my mother and I’m never going to have the strength and compassion of my father. In the worst time of my life, my 9th year, my parents had to watch me suffer and battle with myself and not know how to respond, but still my mom supported me and showered me in love and my dad chose to forgive the person who hurt me and was so patient with me as I was dealing with my fears of being hurt again. I don’t know how they did it and though there were times I wished I had different parents, I don’t think I’d be able to cope without them. God truly was showing off when he made them. And I’m so glad he gave me the blessing of being able to call them my parents.

Sidenote: if you ask me to tell you these or any other stories about my parents, please don’t do it in public. I’ll cry like a baby and embarass us both. And for the record, my favorite story about them is how they met in a bar…where my mom was the bartender. Coolest. Parents. EVER!

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

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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