God’s Not Done With You

bethesda snow

Would you bow your heads to pray.  

That was my cue to exit the church service before anyone could see my fragile state, or worse – try talking to me on my way out. I drove home in a fury, and as soon as the tires touched the driveway I bolted from the car into the house. Once the door closed behind me, I fell to the floor in a heap of tears.

Just as my knees had given out, so had my spirit.

On the ground, I raised my hands to signify my physical surrender to my circumstances. I couldn’t go on like this anymore. Adamantly I pleaded with the Lord for relief. Knowing there was no end in sight, I literally cried out in distress.

Is this what my life had amounted to?

“Just left something for you on your doorstep.” said the text message. Confused and shaken I quickly picked myself up fearing that my sobs and hysterical pleas had been heard by someone nearby! Relieved to see no one there, I opened the front door to find a book on the step. As I bent down to pick it up, a piece of paper fell delicately from it’s pages.

In disbelief I read the title of the loose sheet of paper, “It’s Not Over Till It’s Over.”

Comparing this mess called ‘Life’ to a long movie, the author writes these words,“…as the curtain falls and I think to myself, this is a strange way to end. I look again and see God pointing to the screen as if to say, ‘This my child, is not the end, but an intermission…’”

Just seconds after being in a fit of tears , the author’s next words, almost felt like they were instructing me in that exact moment. Like they knew…

“Can I encourage you to sit down, take a deep breath, stretch, and regroup? The story’s not over yet. Perhaps you are just at an intermission. We shouldn’t put a period where God put a comma.

Holy mother of Abraham Lincoln… that just happened!

If that wasn’t God speaking to me, I don’t know what is!

As I sat on the steps of my front porch taking in the depth of those words, I was reminded of yet another powerful story that I had heard years ago…

Alter Weiner, a Holocaust survivor, described the unimaginable circumstances he had endured in the 35 months he spent in concentration camps.

He spoke of how by March 1945, that he was so emaciated and weak as a result of starvation, that he could no longer work due to his frailty. The Nazi’s saw no purpose in a Jew who couldn’t work, and so he was sent by train to a neighboring concentration camp where he would be killed.

He described standing in an endless line with other battered and beaten Jews – all hopelessly watching groups of Jews ahead of them being ushered into gas chambers, their lifeless bodies emerging moments later as they were carried away to be cremated.

Feeling the weight of his reality with each step he took – stepping closer and closer to his imminent death.

In his book, “From A Name To A Number” he explains being both utterly terrified yet filled with a deep desire for the pain and torture to cease – even if it meant his life having to end to do so.

He couldn’t do it any longer.

“I was standing in line for the doomed, waiting to be gassed and cremated. I sniffed the offensive odor of burning flesh. I felt downright scared. The thought of being so close to death sucked the life out of me.

Then a German civilian approached me. My heart stopped. He shouted at me, “Get out of line, young boy!  You can still work!”

You can imagine the tension in that moment: not knowing whether you should shout for joy at the thought of another day, or if in complete frustration you should cry out to God for punishing you even longer! After all, he was saved, but only to be sent back to another concentration camp!

But Alter’s story was no where near over yet…

Amazingly, less than 8 weeks later  – in just two months – Alter’s concentration camp would be liberated by the Russian Army! He would be set free from the torture, and suffering he had endured over the years at the hands of the Nazi’s.

While Alter stood weary and hopeless in that line just weeks ago – coming so close to death that he could literally smell it – he most certainly believed he had reached the end.

And yet, it proved to have only been an intermission.

I wonder how many of us could identify the same desperation and emotional emaciation in our own lives. Our circumstances leaving us so frail and weary, that we are no longer recognizable to ourselves.

I know I can’t be the only one who has found myself a midst a raging storm in my life .

One so long and so hard that I have fallen to my knees, arms outstretched in surrender as I pleaded for the winds that were threatening to overtake me, to cease.

If that is where you have found yourself today, then please remember :

This is not the end, it is only an intermission…

The story is not over yet!

Your Liberator is coming for you!

In Isaiah 41:10 its says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

The Lord is making a series of promises.

I am with you…

I will strengthen you…

I will help you…

I will uphold you…

I think we could agree that the idea of Christ being ‘with us’ is a nice thought – kinda makes us feel all fuzzy inside – but if we are really honest, hasn’t the Lord also seemed so silent at times?

It’s like He is passively holding out on us, while in desperation we wonder:

When will His strength come?

When will His help deliver us?

And why – in this very instant – isn’t the Lord choosing to make His presence known by rescuing us from our current heartache like a prince on his stallion? Like now!?

Yet I have found that when the flood waters have risen; when the heat has been turned up to the ‘oomph’ degree; when the burden has become too heavy for me to bare on my own -THAT is when God has brought the deliverace that I have so desperately needed.

The Lord speaks about this in Isaiah 43:2-3

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

In our darkest days, these verses can offer an undeniable comfort. The comfort in knowing that even when we have fallen to the floor in a fit of tears with no hope of ever having the strength to get back up again, when we find ourselves so badly bruised and beaten that we are almost positive we have reached the end – even amidst the most unimagenable of circumstances – that the Lord our God will meet us there in our pain, and never leave our side!

And we will not be consumed!

Dear friends, I pray that each of us would come to fully grasp the fact that we are not alone, and that He is not done!

Wait expectantly on the Lord…

For your Liberator is coming for you!

Krista Signature

** And make sure to check back here next Tuesday for something really special.  My husband has agreed to take over the reigns, and share his heart on the 1 year anniversary of  a tragedy that broke our hearts and tested our faith in a way nothing ever had before! You wont want to miss it! **

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So You Think God Is Wrong?

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My eyes open to the sound of my toddler stirring in her bed. I close my eyes again and picture her stretching her limbs to get ready for the day. Oh no you don’t!  I fling the weight of the covers off of myself and hastily make for the door.  Over piles of laundry – against any obstacle – I make my way around the bed. I stop suddenly when in sight of her crib, and at the risk of her seeing me, I army crawl my way along the cold wood floors towards my only chance of even the slightest motivation for the day- my coffee!

It’s funny because I have never been much of a coffee drinker.

I made it through college, and worked for years at schools – where it could be argued that coffee was more key to survival than air itself! I even made it though my daughter’s first year of life without ever having as much as a sip of the good stuff!

So why do you ask, have I finally given in to the madness?

Toddlerhood.

It’s kicking my butt and it’s not letting up, no matter how loud I plead “Mercy!”

The plus side of my daughter’s new developmental stage however, is that we have been able to immerse her into an abundance of worship music lately. (I like how when I say that it makes me sound suuuuuper spiritual, when in reality it’s just proven to be the best way to drown out the tantrums!) It’s genius really – allowing you to be both in a constant state of worship while encouraging you to lower your escalating heart rate as your child screams bloody murder in the background!

And so it’s no surprise that after a week full of ‘the need for worship music’ (if you get my drift) that I found myself bolting for the kitchen every morning – in hopes of even just a mere 15 minutes – where, with coffee in hand, I could be alone in my thoughts.

With each sip, my thoughts would turn to daydreams….

Daydreaming back to the days when I had the time to do my hair and when the wind, or incoming subway, wasn’t always threatening to mess it up…

Relishing in the happiest of memories I shared with all of my pumps – who are now uniformly lined up in my closet with no hopes of ever being worn again…

Then after a few moments on Facebook – and after seeing all the beautiful babies being born – I would then begin mourning the baby my daughter wasn’t anymore.

Wishing for a laundry basket full of little onesies in every color of the rainbow, and the feeling of having a sleeping baby nuzzled in my neck, legs curled up under their bums… For a moment, I even missed the newborn cry (but it didn’t take long for me to come to my senses about that one!)

I swear though, while enjoying my coffee just a day later, my daydreams would be about the exact opposite!

Looking forward to the day that with a little more age, my daughter would be more self sufficient!

When maybe she could help me clean up or at least carry her weight (like literally, and preferably down the subway steps!)

My heart ached also at the reality that I might never experience having another child. Not because we wouldn’t love to, but because our new life in Manhattan doesn’t allow for that… comfortably.

My thoughts then wandered to whether Gia would be socially dysfunctional due to her future solitude as an only child… I then chuckled to myself knowing that according to a large amount of American moms she already will be – considering my decision to get an epidural AND to not breastfeed her as a baby! Which makes me smile because ‘realistically’ then, I have nothing to lose!

As I continued to sip my coffee, I casually flipped through a book and came across this poem which silenced my daydreaming completely.

It was spring, but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors.

It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.

It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.

It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature.

I was a child but it was adulthood that I wanted; the freedom and the respect.

I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated.

I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit.

I was retired but it was middle-age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations.

My life was over but I never got what I wanted.

This poem spoke loud and clear to me.

I mean we all live this way, right? I know I do! I was doing so in the exact moment that I came across it!

We could even continue the poem on to say…

I wanted a fresh start in a new city, but now I miss my friends.
I wanted a job promotion, but now I am working too hard.
I was engaged but then I wanted to be married.
I was married, but I wanted to be a parent.
I wanted to get pregnant 3 months ago, but…
I was a parent of one child, but I wanted another…and another.
I had a family, but now I just want some peace and quiet – even better, a hot date!

I realized that what I had originally entertained as ‘harmless daydreaming’ was not that at all… My heart was directly in the center of a raging battle of discontentment!

I had restlessly been longing for something else, something better – only further proving that my daughter wasn’t enough just the way she is.

Even worse, proving that God – who in all His mighty power was able to create the heavens and the Earth – was somehow wrong in the way He designed my life!

I knew in my heart that I didn’t believe that to be true…

I thought back to Psalm 18:30, which is a verse that has been penned countless times on the palm of my hand in an attempt to get me through some of my most difficult days. Its profoundness lies also in its simplicity.

 God’s way is perfect…

The word ‘perfect’ is undeniable!

And because of it, we can rest in the truth that when God calls you somewhere, or to do something, that you are in His PERFECT plan for your life!

Still, I found myself perplexed as I pondered this verse over and over in my head…

If I know I am within God’s perfect plan for my life, why does my heart still feel so restless, even unhappy at times?

I decided to take a look at that verse more closely.

I was surprised to find that over the years, there was a part I had missed entirely!

God’s way is perfect….He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.

The key to finding contentment in our current circumstances is as much about believing that God’s plan for our lives is perfect in its entirety, just as much as it is knowing that the Lord is available to be our greatest source of comfort – a place where our hearts can find what they so desperately need to be made whole again!

He can be… that is, “For all those who take refuge in Him”

This verse requires action. And it is our choice where – or whom – we find our refuge.

I pictured myself earlier that morning…
Realizing then that I needed to choose to run to Him – in that same desperate way at times – and throw myself at the foot of the cross, and not just the coffee pot.

Our hearts have failed in an attempt to find refuge in many other things as well. As women we have looked for it in our significant other – or lack thereof – falsely believing that true contentment will be found when someone “puts a ring on it” if you will…

In boredom, we have turned to Facebook, but then are surprised when our discontentment escalates as we begin comparing our happiness and successes to that of our friends…

On Pinterest, we have made ourselves believe that a bigger house, a vacation to go zip-lining in the Swiss Alps, making our own laundry detergent, or incorporating the’ Victoria Secret Angels work out’ is going to bring greater significance to our lives…

We could have the perfect career, have gotten married to someone far out of our league, had a family, bought the house and have all the pictures hung, and yet even still, we will be restless and longing for more!

The truth is, I have no doubt that even when I am in the ‘sweet spot’ of God’s perfect plan for my life, that even then the Lord will keep me a little less fulfilled than I would most desire – whether in my marriage, in my confidence as a parent, and in any life circumstance that comes my way – Always withholding a little of what I believe I so desperately need at the time, in an attempt to keep me in a constant awareness of my ultimate need for Him, and only Him!

As I leave you today, I would ask you to search your heart for what it is that you have aimlessly attempted to take refuge in? What is it that has hindered you from embracing the perfect way God has laid out for you?

I pray that God would help us to savor the season of life we find ourselves in – even if they are chalk full of tantrums and chaos- laden mornings!

I can promise you this: Living God’s way doesn’t always mean you will get whatever you want…
But I can assure you that you will indeed, always have everything that you need!

Krista Signature

Never Less than ‘Fascinated’ in Manhattan

I use the term ‘fascinated’ very lightly and a little – if not completely – sarcastically.

You have heard me say that I often feel like I am living in a foreign country, and that would be because everything from the way people in Manhattan park their cars, to the languages they speak, even the water they drink is different!

I often find myself thinking,

What.
The.
Heck.

Like for example, when you come across a sign like this.
curb your dog

Coming from Suburbia you might stare at this sign with complete and utter confusion like I did at first. But in time, a man walking his dog will come by and flawlessly illustrate for you what “curb your dog” actually means.

Because in fact, what the sign is really doing is telling you what not to do -which is not to allow your dog to pee on the grass, flowers, or god forbid, the trees!

Conveniently that narrows it down to only allowing your dog “to do their thang” on nothing more than the sidewalk directly in front of the people walking behind you!

And if you are even luckier to be one of those people traveling up hill – or even at the slightest incline – you may even get to dodge pee streaming down the street from the dog doing his business up ahead!

I like to think of it as a more raw, “urban version” of the Subway Surfer game- merging the stroller quickly in and out of groups of people on the streets of New York City, and receiving double points for successfully dodging the golden stream of urine flowing down towards both me and my offspring!

And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the streets of Manhattan often smell like on a hot day…

Like I said, “what -the- heck?!

Or the fact that in this city, it is a rarity to ever find a high chair -And changing tables, almost don’t exist entirely!

I remember the first time I had this realization while having lunch with my family at Mcdonald’s one day, and the full blown meltdown that ensued soon after – not from my toddler – but from me!

It happened.
And I have no doubt that this moment of pure regret of ever having moved here, will make it’s way into one of my husband’s sermon illustrations someday.

But don’t worry, I have since come to embrace the lack of those suburban conveniences in my life, and yet, I have no doubt that one of the better questions to ask a Manhattan Mommy might just be, “where’s the most random place you’ve ever had to change your child’s diaper?”

The answers would be endlessly amusing, I’m sure!

I also find it fascinating that it isn’t unlikely to find a man in his 90’s with more attitude than a 16 year old!

I had a run in with one of these lil’ fellas at the Post Office this last week! And was forced to make the decision to leave package-less when his cursing rants and raves towards another man in line went a little too far -even for my 2 year old, who if I am completely honest, was listening to the unedited version of the Black Eyed Peas while still in the womb!

downloadI also remember the first time I saw ( not to mention, smelled ) Manhattan’s system of taking the trash out each night –>

And the moment I became fully aware that the average mom with a child the same age as mine is going to be 10-15 years older than me! ( you would probably wait that long too if you knew there wasnt going to be any high chairs and changing tables! )

Or the moment I first realized my grocery store was both underground and had an elevator!

Even more “fascinating” was while shopping, seeing items like parsley for $3.00! A single frozen Digiorno pizza for $8.00! And a package of double stuffed Oreos for $6.00!!!

No really… What-in the-Heeeeeeezy is a stay-at-home mom supposed to do without a package of double stuffed Oreo’s hidden away in her pantry like a well guarded treasure?!? You know, just in case. And no doubt, only to be savored come nap time, so help me Lord Jesus!

photo <– Or how about the first time I saw cars parked like this!

Or the moment I walked onto the playground and found myself a midst a sea of nannies!!!

And deciding the only logical thing you can do is to play a light-hearted game of “Where’s Waldo?” like me and Rachel so often do – but instead of looking for Waldo, we look for a ‘Real Mom’!

I wish I could tell you that I was kidding…

Or that it wasn’t as much fun as it is!

Even funnier though was the time, my husband was questioning how I was “soooo sure” that the young blonde wearing sweatpants and pushing a stroller with a black haired child that looked nothing like her was a nanny…

Only to notice in that exact same moment,  that my young, blonde haired self,  was both wearing sweatpants and toting my daughter around -who indeed looks not even the slightest like me!

awwwwwkward.

But For the record, I still stand by my assumption regardless! She had N –to the– ANNY written all over her!

But unfortunately, there is no denying, that indeed so do I!

Now for just a moment, close your eyes and think back to my now infamously tiny apartment, and the kitchen that looks like it was plucked straight from the glory of the 1980’s! ( or if you were lucky enough to forget, click here and take a quick trip down memory lane! )

Now, did you know that the average MINIMUM price for a one-bedroom NYC apartment is $500,000?

Half a mill, baby!!!!!

And MY little gem of an apartment, would actually be worth even more!!

(You know you want to say it…) WHAT. THE. HECK?!?

Did you also know, that in NYC there are over 200 languages spoken?

Which means it’s not unlikely that while in an elevator you could hear 3 different languages all being spoken at the same time! And if you are like me, you will sometimes find yourself having no idea what languages they are!

Even more fascinating, according to http://www.nyc.gov, about 1 in every 39 people living in the United States reside in New York City!

That means, that here in NYC there are more people than 39 out of the 50 states!

I love those last two facts because while complaining to your husband, “why eeeeeveryone in the world has to be in line at Trader Joes at the exact same time!”, you are actually exaggerating much less than he will say you are…

Boom. Roasted.

Now before I go, I feel it is my duty to inform the masses of the “fascinating” epidemic that is sweeping the city…

Patterned pants and sparkling water!

My silly, suburban self unknowingly seemed to believe that things like water in it’s original state, and that pants – minus the vivacious floral print – could still fully serve it’s purpose…

But apparently, I am sadly mistaken!

Yet, one thing is for sure…

I Will
Never
Be
Less Than
Fascinated
In Manhattan.

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Krista Signature

Fear Not

Late last Saturday after everyone else was fast asleep I found myself wide awake, tears streaming down my face, and consumed by a fear that I had never experienced in my life…

Earlier that day my family and I were exploring the Union Square area of NYC. One of the places we went to was the Grace Episcopal Church.

We stopped in our tracks right when we laid our eyes on it – the soaring steeple peaks painted across blue skies, the chime of church bells echoing down Broadway Avenue, the Gothic design & architecture that draws you into a state of reverence…It was one of the most stunning cathedrals I had ever seen!

And when we spotted a sign welcoming people in to pray, we decided to go in and check it out – even if we had little, or no, intention of actually praying! We just wanted to take a look and maybe get some good pictures!

(Gasp!) I know, we are hoodlums. But it’s probably best you know that about us right off the bat anyway! 😉

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When we walked inside, we were both awestruck by the captivating beauty of it’s architecture.

It’s splendor almost demanded that you pray! And believe me, when a church with ceilings that tall demands you pray, you do what you are told!

imageWe walked down the aisle nearing the front, there stood an easel with an old prayer book open to a page where many others had written out their prayers before us.

I wrote,

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that you use us in New York City

We are willing…

Might seem like a simple prayer to you, but for me it was an offering of complete surrender – one that I had made years before when we first began our ministry back in Washington.

5 years later, I can remember the exact moment the plane lifted off and soared over the sun setting on the Columbia River as our flight left Washington and we headed for our new lives (and ministry awaiting us) in NYC. I recall looking down at all the lights twinkling below and remembering each relationship we were leaving behind, and reminiscing each moment that my husband and I were able to see God work in miraculous ways during the years we served there.

I remember rubbing my tired eyes in an attempt to disguise the tears grazing my cheeks, but truthfully there was no denying the emptiness my husband and I both felt.

It was as if our hearts were left back on the runway…

We had given everything we had to the community we lived in – walking people through their lingering questions about the Lord, supporting couples as they struggled through conflicts within their marriages, unexpectedly visiting families in the hospital, or making home visits to those who had suddenly lost a loved one. We even did the best we could to walk alongside our church last summer as we, together, faced an unimaginable tragedy.

We would have had it no other way – leaving our hearts back in Washington – but as our plane lifted higher into the air I questioned whether I had anything left to offer the people of New York.

Having spent my life in the “ministry business” as both a pastor’s kid and then a pastor’s wife, I was all too familiar with the fact that serving the Lord in full time ministry – no matter where the location – required nothing less than what Jesus so graciously gave until his very last breath. Everything.

Ultimately, I knew that God could use us in New York City just as he had in Washington.

We just had to be willing.

644108_358190154263995_579495783_nIt was about an hour or two after our visit to the Grace Episcopal Church, that we met up with Rachel and David for the remainder of our day. And while the guys were in a nearby store, Rachel and I stood outside on the street, our little girls giggling and eating snacks in their strollers, as we caught up on each other’s new lives on the east coast.

At some point during our conversation a young man approached us casually asking for 25 cents to help him go buy some liquor in the store next door.

We apologetically told him we didn’t have anything and casually dismissed his request while joking among ourselves that at least he was honest.

He disappeared for a few minutes and then returned suddenly once again only to ask again, this time a little more desperately, and for $1.00. Although we could both sense something wasn’t right, we politely denied his request and told him once again that we had nothing to give him.

We went on with our conversation, only to have him come back once again!

This time coming a little closer, a little more aggressively, and now asking for $2.00! Rachel could see him eyeing my purse…

(What happened next would shock anyone that knows me really well…)

Although I’m known for being deathly afraid of confrontation, I very calmly but boldly called the man out!

“Excuse me, you have asked us 3 times for money! We don’t have anything, so you need to leave us alone now.”

He argued with me, so again I respond, this time more sternly, “You need to walk away right now!”

I remember him saying something along the lines of how he didn’t like the tone of my voice.

“Would you like me to go get my husband? ” I snapped, as I motioned to the store he was in.

It was obvious that the request infuriated him but I continued, “If you don’t walk away RIGHT NOW I am going to go inside and go get my husband!”

His yelling became louder but he indeed started to walk away…

And then luck would have it that at that exact moment, both of our husbands popped up right behind us as they were exiting the store they had been shopping in.

The smiles on their faces and their light conversation were interrupted by Rachel’s attempt to quickly fill them in about what had unfolded, all while the persistent man stood a good 15 feet behind us, still watching every move we made.

The man then quickly ran up behind the guys, and started yelling and cursing at them – specifically at David, and directly in his face! I can remember clearly the look of terror on Rachel’s face as we attempted to walk in the opposite direction only to have him follow us and make physical threats that could only be made out of pure rage and insanity!

All this while pushing our precious baby girls in their strollers!

The man let up at some point…How long it took?? I don’t know.

And I will admit, I was the first to dismiss it humorously apologizing for all of the “loonies” in NYC and reassuring them – and quite honestly myself – that moments like these don’t happen often around here.

But once the night had come to an end and I crawled into bed with what should have been a heart filled with the joy after sharing an amazing day with my closest friends, I was instead consumed with an immense fear that I couldn’t shake. I felt almost haunted by the clear image of the man’s face.

I could hear the intensity in his voice rising, the tension increasing…

Coming closer…and closer as he spoke.

I could see his eyes on my purse…

And I found myself left with one lingering question ”Did I do the right thing confronting him?

And then thinking of my purse, or even worse, our baby girls – I pondered the even scarier question, “What if I hadn’t?

The fear within me swelled to the point that the tears flowed freely down my face.

In the darkness of our room, I felt my husbands arms wrap around me. He held his hand to my cheek, sadly confirming the tears that he sensed, and he began a prayer of thankfulness to the Lord for keeping us safe and then requested protection over my dreams that night.

I savored the solace that his touch and the comfort of his words brought – but only for a moment.

Then I could feel an almost sinister thought remind me that the constant strength I found in my husband, the same undeniable faith that I had in my “back up plan” when I motioned to the store and threatened to go get him had that man refused to leave us alone, is the exact person – the same protection – that I would be without tomorrow.

My heart began racing as I thought back to countless other times in the last few months that fear began to make its way into my heart…

I remember watching the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, and the security measures that were instantly put in place in New York City because of it, only serving as a reminder that my new home is so often the “bull’s-eye” on the target for those looking to create a catastrophic attack against our nation.

imagesI also remember the day after the bombings, before it was revealed that there was a planned attack on New York City, my husband arrived to his office a little over a block away from Times Square where he saw swarms of police officers wearing tactical gear and holding machine guns.

Throughout the day I recall praying to the point of tears for my husband’s safety.

Staten-Island-Ferry-EscortEven last weekend, while taking the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, take in the scenic views, and snapping family pictures in front of the city skyline we were eerily escorted back to Manhattan by the US Coast Guard boat wielding a machine gun due to “heightened security”.

I didn’t realize it, but over the past 3 months my fear had been surmounting!

If I’m to be honest, in that moment curled up in my bed, my heart did not portray the same willingness I had offered up to the Lord just hours before.

Basking in the Cathedral’s grandeur, the sunlight reflecting down through the faceted stain glass and the stillness that seemed to offer the perfect environment to embrace the Lord’s divine presence, it made it almost simple to offer Him all that I knew He deserved from me.

But in a quick moment of complete chaos, when the glamour and bright lights had faded, and the city has reared it’s ugly face, it became difficult for me to stand by my words and continue to be wholly surrendered to the city that the Lord had so clearly called me and my family to.

While restlessly tossing and turning that night, John 10:10 came to mind,

 [Satans] purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  [The Lord’s] purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Without a doubt, I know that the Lords purpose for us is to live a rich and satisfying life – a life ‘worthy of a story‘ like we had talked about previously – but what I failed to grasp was that there are forces oftentimes working equally as hard to destroy the same plans the Lord has so intricately and amazingly designed for our lives.

Those plans are perfectly outlined in Jeremiah 29:11 when the Lord says He has “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.”

As I meditated on these verses, I realized that the same fear that had suddenly taken a hold of me was also threatening to steal, kill, and destroy ‘the good story’ the Lord was rooting for me to live!

I love the way Joyce Meyer’s defines fear: “Feeling fear is simply the temptation to run away from what we should face and confront. I learned that I had to stop running and stand still long enough to see what God would do for me if I let my faith in Him be larger than my fears”

No matter how great or how small the fears you are currently facing in your life right now – whether it’s fear for your safety or for the safety of the ones around you, fear that the Lord wont be able to provide for your every need, even the fear that you aren’t smart enough, beautiful enough, or successful enough – whatever it is, I pray that instead of believing the lies of the enemy and cowering down in fear by running from our insecurities, that together, we would have the courage to seek out the rich and satisfying life that only the Lord can offer!

God desires to use us in miraculous ways,

We only have to be willing…

To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do -to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst- is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you, that is more wonderful still.

The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed, secures your life also against being opened up and transformed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         – Beth Moore

Krista Signature

A Love Letter to the City I Am Learning to Embrace

I gotta be honest. Its been one of those days…

You know the ones where your toddler pees on the couch, eats your makeup sponge, and sneezes yogurt all over the place because you mistakenly thought her open mouth meant she wanted “more yogurt” when really, she just had to sneeze!

…And its only 9 in the morning!

And yes, there is yogurt E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E! Praise Jesus!!

So because I foresee this being the kind of day where my daughter and I both don’t get out of our pajamas, this post is going to be a way more pictures than profound words. So bear with me my friends.

Anyway…

Last week I had a dream that my husband said we were moving back to Portland!

What took me by surprise most was that not only was I super bummed, but I was extremely mad at him!

I couldn’t believe it, but I adamantly did not want to leave New York City!

When I woke up, it got me thinking…  If in my sub-conscious state I love this city, then maybe I truly do enjoy New York more than I had originally thought.

And so for the last week I have been venturing out around town, jotting down thoughts and taking pictures of all the things that set New York City apart from anywhere else I could ever live.

And ultimately I found that in fact, I do, sincerely love so many things about this new life I am living.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. You can have literally anything delivered to your door!

You can do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered to your apartment. OR you can actually go to the store and do your shopping like normal, but once you’ve paid and are ready to leave the store, they’ll take all your purchases and then deliver it to you in a few hours.

We personally, have done similar things like this at places like Trader Joe’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, and even Costco.

Uh-flippin-mazing!

McDonald’s even delivers! Not that we need it because I know for a fact that I can literally walk there and back without my fries getting cold. But it is indeed available should my heart desire a greasy burger that I am too lazy to walk a block to go get myself.

Even better though, I have an app on my phone that allows me to order takeout without ever having to talk to someone! You literally search for any type of food you want- look on an online menu- check everything you want- pay online- and it will be delivered to your door in 30 minutes!

I may or may not have tested this system out in the name of “studying” for this post!

The things I do for you guys… 😉

2. This. —>

Go ahead, click on it! Its fascinating, I don’t care who you are.

And if you tell me it’s not, you lie!

(And because we are all about being honest here, I will admit that because I live on 84th and 2nd Ave, it’s possible that I have stalked Madonna’s apartment- but only because my husband suggested it!)

Quite possibly the most fascinating thing about so many celebrities living here is that they walk around just like everyone else! Whether it’s shopping at Whole foods, or strolling through Central Park. They look totally normal!

And people here, let them be normal!

New Yorkers don’t run up to them asking for autographs and pictures- they treat them like everyone else! Maybe only saying something cool and composed under their breath like, “Good game last night.” Or, “Love your show” (no high pitched screams included!)

That is, until they leave their presence! Then as fast as their fingers will let them, they text as many of their friends that they can!

You wont believe who I bumped into….”

I am not gonna lie, those are my favorite texts to receive from my friends.

IMG_0020And while on the topic of celebrities,

(and because you and I are such good friends now…)

You might find it just as amusing as I did that my husband’s (church) office is 1 1/2 blocks from Times Square and is on the same floor and directly next to one of P. Diddy’s recording studios!

Pure awesomeness, I tell you… pure unadulterated awesomeness.

3. I also love my apartment!

Yep. You heard right! That apartment I had nagged about earlier… (You know the one without the garbage disposal, closet space, oh, and any space to breathe-) it does have one major thing going for it!

Location!!!

If you walk directly out of my apartment, you are in exactly what you would imagine New York City to be like -Complete with way too many people, an insane amount of taxi cabs, and an energy like no other.

3 blocks from my apartment
3 blocks from my apartment

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Our apartment is literally right around the corner from stores like H&M, GAP, Urban Outfitters, and Barnes and Noble. And right across the street from adorable family owned diners on every street corner, and one of the most delicious bakeries in town.

Not only that but we are conveniently only 126 steps from the grocery store.

Ha, Don’t ask me how I know that.

4. I love the view from my living room window.

Although it is much less tradtional than the suburban spacious backyard, it is still charming nonetheless!

I love peeking out the window at night to see lights strung overheard, music softly playing in the background, and people laughing and passing big plates of food around the table to the ones they love.

I know it’s not for everyone – considering you might very well think having a restaurant out your window would be a nightmare- but for me, it is one of the little things I cherish that always seems to bring me a surprising amount of unexpected happiness.

That is until someone climbs up the fire escape and knocks on my window! In that case, I am moving back to Washington or getting a tazer!

Possibly both.

5. Central Park!

I have to share with you some of the pictures we have taken because unless you have been there yourself, its likely you have yet to see how truly breath taking Central Park is. And because it is only a short 8 minute walk from our apartment, we have already made many memories as a family here.
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Looking at the turtles in Turtle Pond
Looking at the turtles in Turtle Pond

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6. And lastly, I love the way the city has the ability to give you butterflies each and every day -if you allow it!

I have my 16 year old brother to thank for teaching me this lesson.

After first moving here, my little brother was asking me about any and everything! Wanting every detail, even down to how I got to church.

Although I was confused, and questioned where exactly he was going with this, I outlined each step for him;

-I take the subway from my house to Grand Central Station…

-Then take another train to Times Square…

-Then another to where Madison Square Garden is, and our church is located directly across the street.

He squealed with delight!

His reaction took me aback, and at first, I struggled to grasp what it was that I had said that deserved such an over exuberant response!

I quickly realized that in just a short period of living here, I had already allowed the exciting and the monumental, to become mundane.

I needed to be reminded that, people spend their whole lives dreaming about coming to NYC; scribbling in their journals about their hopes and dreams to ‘make something of themselves’ in this majestic city who’s opportunities are unparalleled.

The rest of us, myself included, have saved endlessly so that we can vacation here just long enough to feel the heartbeat of the city that has captivated so many generations before us.

image I realize now, that every day I should feel honored that I have been given the chance to live here in New York City!

And so I pray that I never take this amazing opportunity for granted!

I pray that the immensity I first felt staring up at the magnitude of the Empire State Building never fades, and that the sound of the pilot’s voice over the intercom announcing our final descent Into New York City- and the instant realization I had, that This is home- will never cease to give me butterflies!

New York City, I think its safe to say you are growing on me…

And I kinda like that.

Krista Signature

A Life Worthy of a Story

imageMy husband and I make a really good team.

I think it’s fair to assume that because I have been so open and honest with you about the many negatives in my new life, that I think you will allow me to pat myself on the back just this once!

I mean, I did go as far to admit to you that I puked in a mixing bowl

Anywho back to my point.

Some of our greatest accomplishments and feats, are often things my husband and I have done together. Even some of our most mundane daily tasks are made better when done together.

Like in the upkeep of our home.  He took care of the outside of the house, while I took care of the inside.

When entertaining guests, I was in charge of making the meal and cleaning the house, while he was in charge of lighting the candles and later, making the witty remarks and sharing humorous stories while passing the peas. Once the night was through and the goodbyes were said, we would always end the night doing the dishes together.

Even once we had our first child -in what we were warned would be the dreaded ‘newborn stage’ that threatens to steal your joy, and transform your weary state into that of a zombie- we found it be anything but!
(I know, I know, you hate me now… but for us it was true!)

We took turns getting up and feeding our daughter throughout the night but would often find that although it only took one person to do the job, we would both end up getting up together.

Yes, this picture is proof that my husbands genes are more dominant than mine. I gave birth to his twin.
Yes, I know, this picture is proof that my husband’s gene’s kicked my genes butt considering I gave birth to his twin.

It often times felt like a sleepover! An excuse to stay up late, and an almost giddiness that came out of not wanting to be asleep for fear of something awesome happening that we might be left out of!

People would ask us how we were doing… you know the way they do when they are almost implying you are doing terrible! Only to end their question with a lingering look of pity to heighten the implications of the awfulness they were so sure we felt.

Everyone was always astonished when our response was, “We are doing great!”

And we really were doing great! Not because we had a perfect marriage, because on the contrary, we can bicker like nobody’s business, and I occasionally have to talk myself down from changing the locks when I find him leaving dirty q-tips around the house! And its most definitely not because I was a natural ‘super mom’ because I still often find myself having no idea what I am doing even to this day!

It was because we were in it together. We were always such a great team no matter what life threw at us!

I reminisce about these past moments, because these days, I know more about what its like doing things alone.

With my husband’s new 6 day work weeks and often late hours, I have an entirely different reality of quiet meals alone just me a Gia, and errands that need to get done whether my husband is home to lend a hand or not. (Remember: ‘extra hands’ have a whole new value when you don’t have a car, and both your groceries and 26lb. toddler have to be brought up to a second floor apartment!)

And it’s true, I could very well wait for him to get home and take down the trash… I could even wait for him to make us some new friends… and  wait for him to get home till I venture out, that way I don’t have to risk getting lost in this scary big city by myself.

But that would indeed be a lot of waiting,  and waiting doesn’t make for living a good story!

imageThe term “Living a good story” has become common language in our house ever since first reading “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” over four years ago.

Donald Miller’s whole premise is that life is best lived when it tells a Good Story… That, in fact, God has created us to live Good Stories -Stories that are filled with meaning, discovery, and purpose.

But, as we all know, in any Good Story there is always some sort of conflict -conflict that seeks to deter, discourage, and even destroy.

But what makes a Good Story “good” -just like in life- is when a character experiences major conflict and chooses to overcome it with courage!

Miller reveals how a new life can emerge from even some of our most boring realities, and transform into a “meaningful narrative”! And he ultimately compels his readers to live a life worthy of a good story.

All I can say is, that book messed us up!

After we both had savored the words of each page of this book; high lighting each meaningful phrase and scribbling thoughts into the margin as we searched for its significance as it related to our own lives, we found ourselves no longer content just watching reruns of Dateline NBC, or walking the aisles of Kohl’s on rainy weeknights where you could easily make the excuse that there was “nothing better to do”. We also no longer saw the purpose partaking in shallow friendships that only selfishly satisfied nothing but the most shallow parts in ourselves.

We wanted something more! We wanted to laugh harder, and love others in a way that made us cry more often. We wanted to embrace God as the master story teller of our lives! And that meant embracing every PERSON that God placed in our path, every TRIAL, and every MOMENT as a chance to live life so fully that it would be almost contagious to others!

I would be lying however, if I told you that after making that decision, that it has been roses every day since! Too often I have found myself playfully smacking my husband and mumbling under my breath, “See what happens when you want to live a good story…”

Or once, when I got this random idea that I wanted to replace the front door of our house with one a little more contemporary, I remember my husband jokingly responding “yeah! lets save all our extra spending money for the next few months so that we can replace a perfectly good door! That would reeeeeeally make for a FASCINATING story!”

The reality of making a decision to live a good story was that it couldn’t help but to permeate every single area of our life- even down to how our extra money would be spent! And after making fun of me endlessly, he encouraged that maybe we could use that money towards a vacation of some sort.

Ironically, that same money I was going to use for my beloved door, we ended up using for my first trip out to New York City that summer!

imageYears later we have found ourselves living in that exact same place that we had visited years ago. And I have recently wondered if we would still be embarking on this journey -that is far bigger than our small town roots ever prepared us for- if it wasn’t for that initial decision to live a good story that we made as a family years ago!

I have wondered also, if in this new life that I am living,  if I have the courage to live in that same way Sunday-Friday when it means I have to do it all by myself.

Sometimes I feel like the odds are against me:

It’s just too hard to raise a family in NYC…
I feel like I am living in a foreign country…
With all the time I’m spending with her, I’m going to mess my daughter up:)
There is just SO much to learn…
I can’t possibly do this by myself

But then I always think back to a story that I once heard a pastor by the name of Perry Noble tell.

While visiting Atlanta, he and his wife decided to go out to dinner. Although it was getting late, afterwards they decided to make the most of their time in the city and decided to venture out and explore the surrounding area before they left the next day. Soon after though, they found themselves in a seedy area that they instantly got the sense they shouldn’t be in.

Interestingly enough they decided to keep walking instead of returning back to the hotel.

The next day Noble was telling a man, born and raised in Atlanta, about the previous night. When he told him where he had gone, the man was shocked that they had kept walking in THAT area!

Noble then surprised the man further by saying that the reason he hadn’t been worried was because his wife had a black belt. He went on to say how surprising it is when you find yourself having the courage to do things others couldn’t imagine themselves doing -not because of your own ability, but because of the confidence you have in the ability of the one you are with!

In Matthew 28:20 The Lord says, “Behold, I am with you always…”

I have had such an immense amount of peace these last couple of weeks, as I rest in the truth that I am indeed, not alone even when I most feel like it! Even better, is that the Lord is the one continually by my side, and He possesses all that I am lacking at any given moment. With His strength, I can do things even I, could never have imagined myself having the courage to do…

Even when it means choosing each and every day to continue to live a good story -even on the days spent apart from my husband!

We must remember that the Lord desires to write a magnificent story in each of our lives! Better than one we could ever write for ourselves! A story of tragic lows and overcoming highs. And like me, a story of new beginnings and sold out abandon to Him -and only Him!

It’s as simple as ’embracing the potential greatness of the story we are actually in’ and learning to trust The Lord in a way that allows for us to let go of the pen just long enough, for him to actually begin writing it.

Who knows, maybe you will find yourself living somewhere crazy like New York City 😉

There is a force in the world that doesn’t want us to live good stories. It doesn’t want us to face our issues, to face our fear, and bring something beautiful into the world. – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Krista Signature

Dear NYC Mommy

I know I promised “glitz and glamour” for this week’s post, and I swear to you that I indeed had every intention of delivering and telling you all about how Madonna and Ricky Martin are my neighbors (or something like that.) …But then I got inspired by something entirely different.

Adapting to life in New York City has proven to be quite an (enormous) adjustment for me, but becoming a ‘Manhattan Mom’ has no doubt been the single most difficult part.

And since the Mother’s Day flowers have long since wilted and the handmade cards are now stashed away, I want to use this post to empower some of the strongest mom’s I have ever met; The New York City Mommies.


Dear NYC Mommy,

1. In one of the hardest-working parts of the country, you will work just as hard trying to raise a grounded family in this Big City.

As Manhattan moms its easy to feel like a bona-fide single mom 5-6 days out of the week. And for that reason, you are so much stronger than you realize!

The incredible strength you possess is such a pivotal part of what holds your family together, so always give yourself an immense amount of credit for that!

2. Don’t ever feel guilty if you find yourself (in a desperate and fleeting moment) envying a nanny.

Yes, she is dressed waaaaaay the heck better than you. Yes, she is getting paid top dollar to do what we do for FREE (not just 5 days a week like her, but 7 days a week…EVERY week… For what feels like may be the rest of our existence!) It’s okay, be jealous. Heck, you might even entertain the thought of what it might be like to have a nanny — For even just One. Flippin. Hour! It happens to the best of us.

Rest assured, knowing you will soon come to your senses and realize just how lucky you are to be there for your child’s every giggle, cuddle, and maybe even every tantrum. (Maybe… but if we are completely honest, probably not.)

3. DO NOT, in any way, compare yourself to Suburban Mommies on Facebook and Pinterest. 

It’s not a fair comparison. Their laundry rooms are the size of our living rooms, and the reason they have more kids than us, is because they don’t have to physically wear them on their bodies for longer than the 9 months they are in the womb (While we will physically wear ours in an Ergo until they max out the weight limit — 45lbs baby!)

Case in point.
Case in point.

Pinterest is a jerk, and will keep you stressing endlessly about making your family a gourmet and nutritious meal every night. All while failing to take in account that – making even the simplest of meals – for you, means lugging every ingredient back from the grocery store. Only to then, risk the stove heating up your entire apartment to the point that your chocolate chips melt and your eyebrows perspire.

Instead, may I suggest, that we embrace the (trillions) of takeout menu’s on our fridge. And while we are at it, tell Pinterest to shove those unnecessary expectations, #YouKnowWhere!

4. Say goodbye to the heals, not the glamour.

While living in one of the fashion capitals of the world, we’ve all found ourselves walking up and down Madison Avenue peering into windows of some of the most glorious – and most expensive – pumps we have ever laid our eyes on. Discouraged, because we will forever feel limited to flats, even on the most smokin hot date nights.

But I can assure you, even in flats, you aren’t any less glamorous! Suburban mommies  would KILL for the calf muscles you’ve acquired over the years from walking up and down (and up…and down…) those subway stairs — So rock those instead!

Or if you are feeling super ambitious, opt for a wedge. (And then secretly tuck a back-up pair of Nike’s in your purse. Yah know, just in case.)

5. You work out… I repeat, YOU WORK OUT!!!

I swear, to the Lord Almighty, if one more NYC mom tells me she doesn’t work out…(Insert: eye roll.)

You may not go to a gym, and yet, you burn more calories bumping a stroller up and down the subway steps, and by carrying a diaper bag, a gallon of milk, and your flailing toddler up a flight of stairs, than most people do on the elliptical 5 times a week!

You are a beast — Own it!

6. The way we parent is not wrong, it’s just different.

Its true, we will likely never be able to give our kids all the latest and greatest toys, due to the lack of space needed to house all that madness. But instead of toys, we give our children experiences.

In Times Square with Daddy
In TImes Square with daddy
Charming people on the subway
Charming people on the subway
Picnic with mommy in Central Park
picnic with mommy in Central Park

If our children want a toy that lights up in every color of the rainbow, we can take them to bask in the bright lights of Times Square. If it’s music they want, then it’s a simple as stepping off the subway and listening to any of the given talented street performers (maybe even Michael Buble’ if they are reeeeally lucky)  who are always there, entertaining the masses on the subway platform.

And God forbid, your kid asks to do a craft (…bleck. Shoot me...) In that case, just talk some sense into them and take them to Central Park to play with Sarah Jessica Parker’s children… (Because, nope. For real. I cannot risk getting glitter and glue in my apartment! #SorryNotSorry)

New York City Mommy, what you do day in and day out is not for the faint of heart. What is new and so often overwhelming to me, you have skillfully mastered. And watching you, helps me realize that (in time) I will soon possess the strength you have, and maybe be lucky enough to one day provide the same wisdom to someone else.

I have the utmost respect for you,

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Home Sweet Home… or something.

imageLet’s talk about

the INTRIGUE,

The FASCINATION,

the GLAMOUR,

that is a New York City apartment.

There is not one single topic that comes up more when talking to people back home, than about my apartment.

I gotta be honest, I may have fielded off requests for the first month in the name of “unpacking”.

Once I finished unpacking It was because I was “decorating”…

then “organizing”…

then rangling wild monkeys off the coast of Somalia…

Then one month turned into two, and I started running out of excuses.

You see, the reason it took me so long to share pictures of my new place, is because me and this new home of mine had some getting to know each other to do. We needed a little “alone time” to work out some kinks, and we may or may not have butt heads a few times (give or take a few curse words).

There was some major acceptance that had to be done on my part.

And the insane cost didn’t make the adjustment any easier. An apartment in Manhattan is craaaazy expensive, there is just no way around it. I said it before but my rent for a 1 bedroom 650 sq ft apartment, is nearly double my mortgage on my 4 bedroom house back home.

Quite possibly crazier, is that in order to even get into an apartment or house on the east coast you have to pay a non refundable broker fee (which in nyc is the equivalent to 15% of your rent for the ENTIRE YEAR) Then with the added first months rent that you pay at the same time, we ended up putting more money down to get into our apartment than we did to buy our first house back in Washington!

And we are RENTING!

Whew! forgive me… All this reminiscing is making me sweat.

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You should also know that while living in New York City, your suburban luxuries are gone. Now you very well may not look at the following as luxuries (I sure didn’t!) but ask anyone in the city and they will tell you otherwise.

The majority of us have NO cars- which means no convenience of a drive thru, no luxury of being able to buckle your kids in their car seat and turn up the music when they scream bloody murder, and no filling your car with loads of groceries after a Costco run. Heck, since I don’t drive anymore I can’t even remember the last time I listened to the radio. Now, that’s just weird…

NO car also means NO garage- which might not seem like thaaat big of a deal, but go look at your garage and imagine what it would be like to either have to move all that in your house or get rid of it. We chose the latter and got rid of EVERYTHING. Including our beloved Christmas tree which I don’t know if Rachel knows is currently in her basement. Merry Christmas Rachel!

This is what it looks like when your laundry is returned to you. this quite possibly could be my love language.
This is what it looks like when your laundry is returned to you. This quite possibly could be my love language.
We also have No washer and dryer– gasp. I know, its cruel. we rely on the good ol’ laundrymat. Which I gotta say, definitely has its bonuses… most of the time. I mean who wouldn’t want to go online and order for someone to come pick up all their dirty laundry and deliver it back to them all clean and folded?

But obviously it also has it’s drawbacks. Too often I have found myself washing my underwear in the bathroom sink, or crying continuously when my daughter decides the best way to get attention is to cry to the point of making herself puke.

Another thing about apartments in manhattan, is that a family lives in a one bedroom. Maybe two… maybe, (like if you are rolllllllllin’ in the dough $$$$$) But even then, it’s likely that your second bedroom is no bigger than a walk-in closet, And yet you pay double the rent. So needless to say we have a one bedroom for now, and it’s about the same size as our last bedroom. The only difference is we share it with a crazy toddler who is learning that just because mommy and daddy are in the same room as her doesn’t mean we want to party with her at 3am or get up and get her “melk!” at the crack of dawn.

It is also a guarantee in the city that your kitchen is both tiny AND ugly. So if you are like me, you just put chalkboard stickers all over the cabinets so that your kitchen can be tiny and ugly, yes, but FUN! image

You should also know that my kitchen is considered a really good size.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Also, In the kitchen there is NO garbage disposal, NO pantry, and usually NO dish washer- thankfully, the Lord had mercy on my soul and provided one for me. All our new york friends are quite impressed!

Now before I go on, go hug your dishwasher and dance in your garage… Just because you can.

And to better illustrate what real life in an apartment like ours can be like, lets just say your toddler gets the stomach flu. In New York City it creates quite a few more complications then it might in the confounds of suburban living.

In a matter of 6 hours of my daughter puking, we were able to go through both sets of sheets, every blanket we owned, and all the towels in our house with the exception of one. Which produces two problems: yes, we have no more clean sheets, blankets, or towels, AND no washer and dryer to clean them … But we also have a bunch of throw up smelling linen lying around in waaay too small of a space, making my febreeze air fresheners work on overtime but to no avail!

Because…

my.

entire.

house.

Smells.

like .

vomit.

That’s when you undoubtedly find yourself half asleep, hunched over the bath tub, scraping puke off with your hands and using shampoo to scrub off as much of the smell that you can.

Then because of the tight living quarters and the germs swarming around it, you can bet that a couple days later, that both you and your husband are going to get sick at the same time. Literally.

In that case, because your husband is currently getting sick in the bathroom -your only bathroom- you may find yourself in the living room…

puking into a mixing bowl.

Like I said, me and my New York city apartment, had some kinks to work out.

On a positive note, I have been able to stump my mom twice when I called her in a frantic “what do I do?!?” scenario! TWICE! and I have only lived here a little over two months! Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Before we hang up, we usually come to some sort of conclusion that the only thing you could logically do, is not live in New York City.

And so there you have it.
I know You may have pictured me living this glamorous urban life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, when really I am just puking in a mixing bowl and laundering my underwear in the bathroom sink.

We will talk all about the “glitz and glamour” next week. And about all the reasons why New York City (and even more specifically my apartment) can be the most exciting place to live.

But for now,
As I, sit in the corner, rocking back and forth in fetal position, whispering over and over to myself, “this is where my shepherd had lead me.. this is where my shepherd has lead me…”

I.

Must.

Mentally.

Recover.

From the madness.

That is my New York City apartment.
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Krista’s Journey from Suburbia to the Big City- Part II

imageI had my dream job staying home with my baby girl, my husband had his dream job as a local youth pastor in an amazing church. We owned a beautiful home, had all the friends you could hope for, and we were excitedly trying for another baby…

But then God threw my eggs in the creek.

I’ll explain…

I had been reading a book called “Scouting The Divine” By Margaret Feinberg. The book is about a woman on a journey to bring to life some of the Bible’s greatest analogies that often get dismissed due to the fact that we aren’t able to fully comprehend them in the modern world we live in.

One of the analogies is one in which Jesus refers to Himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’. In Feinberg’s search, she follows a skilled shepherd named Lynne seeking to learning her craft firsthand, and because of it, find the power behind the words Jesus used to describe Himself.  Not surprisingly, she finds the shepherd to be a loving and patient leader who wants the best for her flock…no doubt in the same way that the Lord relates with us.

However, my revelation came when I read what Feinberg describes as “One of the most meaningful lessons about God”…

It came from the geese in the barn.

I remember that they were constantly walking around.

“What are they looking for?” I asked Lynne.

“They’re looking for their eggs,” she [the shepherd] said.

“Where are they?” I asked.

“I threw them in the creek,” she said.

My eyes bugged in disbelief. I couldn’t help blurting out, “Why?” Her action seemed so cold and cruel- a far cry from the shepherd who loved her sheep.

“Because they were infertile,” she said. “They would never hatch. I need to get these geese back to their regular life. For three months they have been sitting on infertile eggs. The only way to get them back to the way they are supposed to be living is to take away their dead eggs.”

Her answer helped me understand her action as one of compassion and wisdom. I couldn’t help but wonder how often I have sat on dreams that were never going to come to fruition or, worse, sat on empty promises of the enemy that would never yield life- only self destruction and death.

I thought back to the numerous times where God has been faithful to remind me, “It’s time to get onto the life I have for you.”

The words might as well have lept off the page! I could instantly feel the weight of them on my heart!

You see, that lovely life that I was so content living – that I was truly happy living – it had changed abruptly. One day it was exactly as I had described, and the next it seemed almost unfamiliar.  No doubt, life has a tendency of doing that to all of us at some point – a health issue is found, a friendship comes to an end, a family is torn apart, a job is lost, a loved one passes, or a combination of such things occur – and mine was of the latter category.

I was trapped in my circumstances with no way out. I felt like the life that I knew – the life that I loved – was crumbling. Some of those closest to me, those I had relied on the most, now felt like strangers to me. There were even some looking in from the outside, not knowing my situation but sensing a change, who met me in my heartache with equal amounts of gossip and speculation.

Like a goose looking for my eggs, I was frantically trying to piece the perfect life I had created back together!  Never once considering that – maybe, just maybe – God never intended for my life to be put back together exactly the way He had found it.

Maybe my life wasn’t crumbling because of outside forces or because I wasn’t strong enough. Maybe the Lord was holding the chisel – slowly picking away, stripping me of the unnecessary relationship expectations that I had put on people, when instead, I should have been relying on Him. Ridding me of the deep baggage that I had been carrying for far too long, not even realizing how it had been holding me back. Even chiseling away at the dreams that I had been pursuing, knowing ultimately they didn’t align with what He had planned for my future.

I began to ponder, “What if what I am going through, this heartache I feel, is Divine?”

I could feel the Lord beckoning me back to Him saying, “It’s time to get back to the life I have for you.”

I then became curious, “What kind of life could He possibly have for me?” (I can’t help but smirk to myself as I type that)

Months later, my husband came to me like he had done a handful of times before, with a job description he had found. He began reading aloud the extensive qualifications needed for the available position.  Not even a minute into it, I remember stopping him, snatching the paper from his hands and continuing to read the rest out loud myself! My heart was pounding and I found myself having to stop every couple of sentences to take a deep breath.  

I couldn’t believe it! They were SO specific…and yet, they were looking for Ricky!

The Location?  No other than New York City!

My daughter Gia
My daughter Gia

So I went in search for the life the Lord had designed for me…

And 6 months later I have found myself living here, in a 650 sq ft apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I have traded my 4 bedroom house in suburbia, for a one bedroom apartment in the city that costs nearly double the price. And the sound of crickets and frogs that was once outside my window, have now, humorously, been replaced with the sound of continuous honking that goes on into the night. We no longer have our two cars, but instead rely on the subway and a good pair of Nike’s to get us where we need to be. We have also (although at times, painstakingly) decided to set aside our hopes for another baby – possibly indefinitely – unless the Lord were to tell us otherwise.

So where, do you ask, is the Hallelujah in all of this?

I can tell you that it isn’t in the fact that my heartache has magically disappeared now that I’ve relocated to the other side of the country. On the contrary, I am only beginning my healing process. But instead of feeling paralyzed by my pain, I am empowered by it; knowing that God can still use me in spite of my hurts…quite possibly even, because of them.

Knowing also that although I am far from everything I have ever known in the suburbs in what feels like a foreign country at times and living a life I would have never thought I had the courage to live…that even on the most difficult of days I possess the overwhelming sense of peace that I first found in a daydream just months ago.

The peace in knowing that THIS is exactly where my Shepherd has led me.

The lord is my Shepherd, I have everything that I need.
Psalm 23:1

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Krista’s Journey from Suburbia to the Big City- Part I

Last fall, I would often find myself daydreaming; imagining where God would take me and my family next.  I could always clearly visualize myself in a room filled to the ceiling with boxes of all of our belongings in our new home. I would go on to wonder what the rest of the house would look like, and in what city our new beginning would be located in. The part of my reoccurring dream that always resonated the most to me was that, instead of feeling the substantial stress associated with the task of moving, or the loneliness of being so far from the loved ones we left behind , was that there was always an overwhelming peace that was able to lull the other feelings almost entirely. Peace that can only come from the confidence you have, when you know you’re exactly where God wants you to be.

Oh, how I longed for that peace…

Because after all, that was a daydream.

At the time, I thought I knew so clearly what God wanted for me and my family… My husband Ricky and I were happily living in the beauty that is suburbia at its finest (Shout out to Camas, WA!!!)  Ricky had a great opportunity as a youth pastor of a church that was not only everything we could want in a church, but the people attending there became an integral part of our lives.  I am almost at a loss for the accurate words to describe how much they all meant to us; they were our family in every sense of the word.

Me and Rachel
Me and Rachel
I was also lucky enough, to have some of the most uh-mazing friends! Couple friends, mommy friends, girls night out friends (you know, the ones you get reeeally loud with and laugh till it hurts! Cheaper than therapy as I can attest to, and a heck of a lot more fun!)  I even had a friend who was nearly 25 years older than me that served as my mentor for years. And then there was Rachel. Never in my life have I experienced a friendship like the one I have with Rachel.  We had only been friends for 4 ½ years and yet it always felt like our souls just ‘got’ each other. We instantly connected and the rest is history.

Rachel is always the very first person I call. One specific time I remember calling her when I was in the face of an unimaginable tragedy. And when I no longer could find the words and my tears filled the silence, I can recall her lifting me up to our Heavenly Father in prayer as she fought back the tears herself. I also remember calling her when I was 7 months pregnant and was sent to the hospital because I was having signs of preterm labor. I of course tried to call my mom, and more importantly, the man who got me in the ‘initial condition’ to begin with; My husband. But unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get ahold of either of them. Even better, my husband was out of town for the week and had no cell service. Yeah, that was a pretty bad day. Without even having to ask, Rachel instantly left work after hearing the situation I was in and drove 40 minutes to be by my side in the hospital. If I ever need a good laugh I just think back to what it would have been like for me and Rachel to deliver a baby by ourselves. Oh my… Thankfully it didn’t come to that. But yes, she’s THAT friend in my life. Always will be.

imageWhile in Washington, we were also lucky enough to buy our first house. We bought it brand new but it wasn’t anything super fancy. Although, compared to what I am living in now- well, that’s another story for a different time. We never felt like we HAD to buy a house though.  We were completely content with what we had, when it felt as if God literally dropped the house into our laps. From the moment we moved in, we made the decision to use what He had so graciously given us to bring honor to Him any way that we could. We were always having bible studies, play dates, movie nights with our teens, premarital counseling sessions, and deep fry parties! Bet you never considered bringing glory to the Lord Almighty through a vat of bubbling hot oil!  Ohhhh, Why yes indeed!  And you absolutely must get one. Like right now. You will thank me.

The neighborhood we lived in was charming. It picturesquely surrounded the local elementary school that I had so often imagined walking my children to. The tree lined streets seemed to come alive in the fall, turning every color of the sun, only to transform into pink and white blossoms by the beginning of spring.  Each night, with the windows open, we would  fall asleep to the tune of crickets and frogs. Even better however, was that we were only 2.1 miles to the nearest Costco and Walmart! Which if we’re honest, is all that reeeeally matters isn’t it?

Our neighbors were rare in that, our families were close. We would often come together and have barbeques on the street, or the little boys next door would ring our doorbell and ask if our dog could come play (seriously, have you heard of anything cuter?)  I often joked that checking the mail would take an average of 45 minutes because you would “get stuck” …er,… be “catching up” with someone down the street. The conversation would usually end with an invitation for either family to stop by for dessert and coffee that night. We accepted nearly every time.

imagePossibly the most exciting thing, was that our little family of two was growing! About 4 years into our marriage, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Gia into the world. I was lucky enough to stay home with her from the very beginning, and I remember throughout her first year of life being so captivated and cherishing nearly every moment I got to spend with her. So much so, that soon after having her, my husband and I began trying for a second child. We had the names picked out, the new nursery room predetermined, and I had stocked up on prenatal vitamins…

And then God flipped my seemingly happy life upside down.

Yes, God.

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