Being an introvert has its advantages. I have utilized my quiet nature to observe, analyze and assess. How do I always know what to get people for their birthday? I’m always listening. Ok, that’s sounds creepy. The truth is that being on the less vocal side of group conversations allows for greater reception of information. Obviously this doesn’t always work with one on one convos. Things would get boring very quickly if I never participated. Being an introvert has helped me become a better listener. I muster up enough outward energy to make a friend and then I sit back and listen. I learn a lot about people and life this way and I find it most enjoyable.

Being an introvert also means that I find relaxation through non-social interactions, especially ones that do not require me to go outside of my comfort zone. If you want to see an introvert shrivel up and die, make them to do something they have no confidence or knowledge in, with a group of people they don’t know, and they will shrink faster than Dorothy throwing water on the wicked witch.

There is a strange side effect that occurs as an introvert. It’s called the extrovertabe syndrome. It is the intense desire to take the fascinating person trapped in our brains and plaster it to the front of us like a cardboard cutout. This way we can be daring, carefree, exciting and impulsive all while being immune to the intense fear inside of us. Unfortunately this syndrome is a common recurrence for many introverts. We so desperately desire to get out of our own heads, to be able to communicate without hesitation, to act without careful calculation of every move. We try, oh we try to be more than our turtle selves. We push until we hit the wall. You know what I’m talking about – that wall that sends you into your closest with a pillow, blanket and bag of M&M’s.

I’m glad that the world is full of extroverts and introverts, we push each other to be more than what comes easily. To all my extrovert friends, thanks for helping me get out of my closet and my head. To all my introvert friends, thanks for screaming along with me as we explore the world on the other side of our front door.

A Distant Blessing

imageWriting for me has always been a form of therapy. There is something satisfying about turning all of my swirling thoughts into a tangible work. I started this year with a goal of writing something once per month. Why I thought this was likely to happen, I really don’t know. I may have left my daily office job for bibs and diapers but my amount of free time has anything but increased. Life with a 6 month old baby and 1 year old puppy is in constant motion with little sleep. I foresee my midlife crises being the need for an amazing bed and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

At some point in my recent hours of half consciousness a phrase came to my mind – a distant blessing. I have no other words to describe this current phase of my life, especially as I often find myself falling asleep while sitting still. Yet, so often these three words fit points in life. It the difficult moments it can be hard to keep our situations in perspective. Distant blessings can seem much too illusive and distant to emotionally hold on to. As we push on through the struggle, I think it’s our past successes that remind us of the triumph or just plain relief that lies ahead. God thoughtfully gave us the gift of memory to encourage and inspire us on to victory.

As Ecclesiastes 3 says, to everything there is a season. I look forward to future joys and know that without the trying moments I would not enjoy the happy ones near as much.

It’s Only Water

imageWith small children, there is never such a thing as having a plan for the day. My mixing bowl full of muffin ingredients had been sitting on the counter gelifying as the healthy oatmeal I added so thoughtfully had begun to absorb all liquid in the batter. The baby was no longer happy to play on the floor with her toys and the dog was incessantly begging to go outside and partake in the beautiful weather. I figured at this point what would a few more minutes hurt the muffin batter.

So, I embraced my inner monkey and managed to scoop up the Bumbo with my foot and headed out the back door. I now see that I made the very critical error of bringing the baby outside first. As I dashed back inside to grab a bag of frisbees and a hat for the baby, a great wailing came from outside. My baby had realized she was now all alone. Thankfully, after a few moments of consolation her alligator tears ceased and frisbee playing could commence. My dog happily flew through the air after her favorite toy and after a rather hard crash into the grass it looked like I had thoroughly tired out the pooch. I thought that I might now get to take a breather and sit in the grass next to my little one. It was at this moment that I noticed mosquitoes swarming my dog. A deep fear began to rise from within as I realized my poor child had been sitting stationary in the grass. I quickly gathered up our things and dashed inside only to be followed by said evil flying creature.

I was on high alert, but after no sightings of the mosquito, I lit a few citronella candles and hoped for the best. On my way to fill up the dogs water bowl I glanced over at my little one who was happily playing in her highchair only to see a mosquito the size of Mississippi on top of her head. My arm attempted to stretch across the dining room table and as I ran to squish the living daylights out of this evil creature, I did not think about the glass of water that I was sitting down on the highchair. As the mosquito and I entered into battle, I heard a loud clunk beneath me and soon felt a cold sensation pelting my shirt. The shock on my baby’s face, from the recent tidal wave that had soaked her, quickly turned to delight as she realized her tray was now full of a liquid substance.

Realizing that there was really nothing else I can do at this point, I let her play and splash and returned to my neglected muffins. The highchair and surrounding floor are now cleaner and the water provided such an excellent source of entertainment that I may have to do it again. Oh, and the muffins turned out moist and delicious.


Sometimes in life we have so much emotion we cannot express ourselves. Today I find myself staring at yet another dead end. Finding the motivation to pick myself up and head back up the trail in pursuit of success is becoming more difficult with each passing day. I lament to myself that all I want is for a door to open, for the opportunity to grasp onto normalcy again. If I speak honestly though, I realize that my heart desires a specific lifestyle. My mind is focused on my mental picture of normalcy and perfection.

In this moment I must ask myself what am I truly asking for? What is it that I am refusing to compromise over? It is not wrong to want to avoid struggle and strife. It is not wrong to desire for release from worry. It is not wrong to desire more than just enough financially. However, if these things become more important than my faith, then I fear sin has won the day.

The weight of paying bills is daunting and I cringe every time I open the mailbox. Yet, I am given small reminders of my inward focus. I look at my perfect baby girl and then I read a story of a young child who lost her arm to cancer. I wake in the morning frustrated at another day of leftovers and then I hear of refugees starving in their plight for freedom. I become impatient with my husband and then I see the uniform hanging in his closet and think of all the wives currently counting down the days until the deployment is over.

Life is difficult, unfair, frustrating, discouraging and heartbreaking but it is also a gift. Perspective changes everything.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Unperfectly Perfect

Have you ever wondered what perfection looks like? Me too! Yet, if you asked me to describe myself in a few words, perfectionist is probably one of the words that I would use. I’m not the perfectionist that I use to be, but I still like to have a tidy house with clean floors and a spotless kitchen before people come over. My closet is organized by color, season and clothing type. Putting on lounge clothes or yard work clothes that do not match is a great struggle. I will keep rearranging furniture or decor until it looks Pinterest compatible and I’ll fuss over a dessert until it looks as good as it tastes. Yes, I am guilty of perfectionism when it comes to my outward appearance and home.

The difficulty with perfectionism is that nothing is ever quite perfect. Houses don’t stay clean, desserts are eaten, clothing gets worn and after awhile you get tired of the same furniture arrangement. I’m thankful that since getting married I have learned to relax a little. My husband is completely opposite of me when it comes to organizing and cleaning, but that’s ok because it helps both of us find balance. The more I let go or realize that things will never truly be perfect in this earthly life, it allows me to grow in patience, compassion and flexibility. I’m learning to embrace the day to day and all of it’s imperfections, because that is when memories and relationships are made.


Marriage and Baseball

IMG_1277My three year wedding anniversary is within weeks and I find myself reflecting on words and advice of what to expect as life progresses. Pre-marital counseling, blogs, magazine articles and books often referred the first year of marriage as the only enjoyable year and to expect the following years to reveal a relationship filled with fewer moments of romance and increasing disagreements and butting of heads. I understand that many of these articles desire to bring an honest perspective to a Cinderella saturated world. While I don’t find my marriage falling prey to this downward slump, I’m not sure it has had the chance.

Since getting married, Austin and I have found ourselves on the defensive from a series of life’s hard balls, curve balls and fast balls. We no more than recover from one strong pitch, only to be fronted with yet another. We try to be prepared and anticipate the incoming, but each time the balls come flying from a different direction. While the balls sting and sometimes flatten me to the ground, if there is any positive result from them, it is the fact that I haven’t had time to become complacent.

Complacency in life and marriage is a silent killer. Truly, it is in the struggles that we overcome, where we find the most growth. In the immediate, there is nothing pleasant or desirable as we struggle. However, when the balls stop flying for that brief moment, it is then that we see how much we have grown. I’m currently waiting for my brief moment and praying for enough strength to keep holding up my catcher’s glove.

Life sucks, but as God has been reminding me lately, there is great hope in eternity. In all honesty, it is hard to grasp that when stuck in earthly time constraints and to have the courage to make it through the next 50+ years of curve balls. However, I find comfort in the promise of God’s presence. He doesn’t guarantee anything will be easy, but he does guarantee to walk with me through life. If I have the creator of galaxies on my side, paying my bills doesn’t seem quite as intimidating.

So I press on. Another day, another week, another year. I will take risks, I will choose to love and by golly my catching arm is going to look the Hulk by the time I reach the end of this journey called life.

Chocolate Cake from Scratch!

IMG_0822I am so impressed with this cake that I had a to write a blog post about it! For quite some time I have been on the search for the perfect homemade brownie and cake mix. Up until recently, I had come across a couple brownie recipes that were close but not great. Then it happened, I had to make a cake ASAP for a family dinner and the cake mix that I thought was in the pantry had disappeared. In desperation I tried Beatty’s Chocolate Cake and I was thrilled with the results.  Here are a few tips from my experience:

  1. Using high quality cocoa powder makes a difference. I’m not 100% sure why, but a high fat, high quality cocoa will make your cake much more chocolatey in flavor. Nothing is more disappointing that biting into a rich, beautiful chocolate cake only to be left searching for the actual chocolate. Currently, I purchase my cocoa powder from Penzeys Spice.
  2. This cake bakes rather strangely. Within the first 10-15 minutes your cake will begin to bubble up in the center and form a mound of wart-like bumps. This was quite a startling discovery during my first attempt, but the good news is they go away!
  3. I have not yet tried this, but I’m going to add a little extra flour to the batter next time I make this cake. Also, I plan to heavily flour the cake pan. This cake is very moist, which is perfect for eating but makes it sticky, heavy and quite difficult to remove from the pan for a lovely tiered dessert. (The sides basically stay in the pan).
  4. You really only have one shot when it comes to inverting the cake onto a plate to begin the stacking process, so don’t plan on being able to move the cake once it has been dumped. I had to dump the top layer onto my hand and then slide it onto the filling.


Before I got married I loved doing all kinds of craft projects. You name it, I’ve probably tried it when I come to crafts. When my husband and I bought our house a little over a year ago, you can imagine how excited I was. I had entire house to use as a craft project! Well, as like most things in adult life, it is never quite what it seems. When you scale the size of the project from something you can complete on a folding table to the size of a bathroom or living room, the time frame scales with it.  The hidden factor is this thing called life and it tends to add weeks if not months to a project completion date. Currently we are in the process of painting our living room, which extends into the kitchen and basement (this is what going to Homearama does to you, be forewarned). I’m excited to see the end result and get all of the painting supplies put away.  Next time I find myself longingly gazing at backyard landscaping ideas on Pinterest, I need to remind myself of this post and the state of the bank account, haha.

Are you a Disciple or a Convert?

By Tyler Edwards
Relevant Magazine

What if I told you that Jesus didn’t want us to win converts? What if I said that in all of Scripture we are never told to convert anyone? What if I proposed that people accepting Jesus into their life does not fulfill our mission?

We may share the Gospel, but it’s not always the same Gospel Jesus shared. Our version can be a little softer. It can be easier. The message, too often, has been watered down. Many of us don’t want to be called radicals. May of us take the message of Jesus, and we omit some of the more intense parts because they might scare people away.

An Inconvenient Truth

Out of our desire to win converts we’ve often tried to make Jesus more convenient. That’s what our culture is all about. So watering down the Gospel to reflect the culture can be an easy trap to fall into.

We often make following Jesus comfortable and easy, reducing the expectations: You don’t have to do anything different. Just believe.

When we sell people on a Jesus who is easy to follow, can we really blame them for bailing out or drifting off when things don’t go smoothly?

Carrying our cross has been reduced from a radical relationship of self-sacrificing love and humility to cheap advertisements with bracelets, jewelry and bumper stickers. We turned following Jesus into little more than eternal “fire” insurance. In so doing we made Him something He is not: safe.

What happened to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s idea of, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”?

The Consumerism Gospel

When we sell people on a Jesus who is easy to follow, can we really blame them for bailing out or drifting off when things don’t go smoothly?

It shouldn’t be surprising living in a consumer based culture, that many times people bring the same attitudes into church: It’s my way, my preferences, my desires that are important. If I don’t get my way, I’ll take my business elsewhere.

In watering down the Gospel we have taken what is all about Jesus and made it all about us.

Jesus is a part of our lives when He should be our life. He is life. Following Him requires all our life. The disciples ate, drank, sweat and slept ministry from when Jesus called them, to the day they died. Jesus wasn’t a part of their lives. He was their life.

We all are guilty of putting things above Jesus. Whether its health, wealth, comfort, causes, dreams, hobbies or interests, we all come to Jesus with expectations of what He will do for us. We all have our passions and causes.

But Jesus didn’t come to take sides. Jesus came to take over.

Disciples vs. Converts

Many people come to Jesus thinking it is enough to believe, to stand on the sidelines and root for Him. Jesus isn’t looking for cheerleaders. He is seeking men and women who will follow Him at whatever the cost. He is looking for radical devotion, unreasonable commitment and undivided dedication.

Jesus isn’t looking for converts. He’s looking for disciples.

Converts are new believers. We all start as converts. Too often we stop there. We make Christianity all about what we believe. Converts aren’t bad or wrong. They are like babies. There’s nothing wrong with being a baby. The problem comes when that doesn’t change. When a baby acts like a baby it’s cute. When a 35-year-old does, it’s sad. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

For years churches have worked to get people to make a decision to accept Christ, which is a great thing. It’s important. But what happens next? Where’s the follow up? Do we train new Christians the way we train up?

Not only is a disciple willing to die for Jesus, but they are dedicated to living every day of their life for Him.

Our mission isn’t to win converts it’s to make disciples. So what is the difference?

1.) Converts are believers who live like the world. Disciples are believers who live like Jesus.
2.) Converts are focused on their values, interests, worries, fears, priorities, and lifestyles. Disciples are focused on Jesus.
3.) Converts go to church. Disciples are the church.
4.) Converts are involved in the mission of Jesus. Disciples are committed to it.
5.) Converts cheer from the sidelines. Disciples are in the game.
6.) Converts hear the word of God. Disciples live it.
7.) Converts follow the rules. Disciples follow Jesus.
8.) Converts are all about believing. Disciples are all about being.
9.) Converts are comfortable. Disciples make sacrifices.
10.) Converts talk. Disciples make more disciples.

A disciple is someone who whole-heartedly follows the life and example of Jesus, who makes His mission their mission, His values their values, and His heart their heart.

A disciple is someone who desperately seeks to be like Jesus. A disciple is someone so committed to the cause of Christ that they would follow Him through the gates of hell and back.

A disciple is someone who finds their entire identity, purpose and meaning in Jesus. Jesus is the center of their lives. They are all in, fully committed.

Not only is a disciple willing to die for Jesus, but they are dedicated to living every day of their life for Him.

A Change of Heart

Jesus doesn’t call us to be converts or to win converts. Jesus calls us to make disciples.

Jesus offers us grace and love without condition but not without expectation. When we try to water down the message by saying things like, You don’t have give up sin, you don’t have to change, you don’t have to be transformed, you don’t have to die to yourself, you just need to believe. In this not only are we depriving people of the truth. We are denying them access to a real, transforming relationship with the almighty God.

Christianity isn’t just a system of belief. It isn’t a lifestyle. It’s a life transformed by Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t call everyone to leave everything everyday. He calls us to be willing to give up everything at any point.

His call for each of us is different. He has uniquely gifted every person to carry out a unique and valuable function in His kingdom. While what we are called to may be unique, the call is an extreme standard: Jesus must be greater than everything else.

Things to Come

Like everyone else who lives in a climate that experiences all four seasons, including cold and snow, I have cabin fever. As my boss and I laughed about today, we are painfully optimistic in our current outerwear choices. Spring can come as soon as it likes! The signs of future warm weather are all around. The grass has gone from brown to mostly green and my tulips are getting a little bigger each day. After the harshness of winter, spring is such a welcome reminder of renewed life and things to come.

Yesterday Austin and I celebrated our engagement-a-versary and wow…so much has happened! Life has not gone anywhere how I expected, but without surprises there would be no adventure. I love going on adventures and traveling to new places, but getting to my destination is usually the most tiring and exasperating part. I have found that is pretty much how life goes too. However, once I make it to my destination the difficulty or craziness of travel looses much of its potency. This doesn’t necessarily make the journey any easier, but it certainly makes you appreciate where you are at more.

Three years ago as I stood out in the sunshine as Austin proposed, I could not have imagined my perfect little house next to an outlet center that I avoid shopping at because Austin and I are being very intentional about our spending. I could not have imagined our fun neighbors that deliver veggies from their garden in the summer, the ugly basement centipedes that Austin has waged war against, all the ups and downs of employment for both Austin and I, or the new ladies that my brothers would introduce to the family (sisters? maybe???).

I have no idea where life is headed this year, but I am excited to see where we end up. Regardless of the journey, I have to say I have the best travel partners. One knows where we are headed and the other is a constant reminder of the exciting things that are bound to lie ahead.

For such a time as this – Krista.