Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Some Pictures

So today we went to a waterfall, we were going to go to a place called Rainbow Falls but the trail was closed because of damage so we didn't get to go where we wanted. But we were still able to get some pretty sweet waterfall shots and other great pictures.

And I am working with some of the best people ever. Everyone is super photogenic and loves taking pictures and having their picture taken. I sometimes forget to take my photos because I'm too busy posing for others (because I kinda like that side of the camera better....) and everyone is so nice and encouraging. We all have our different strengths and even though some of the students are clearly more advanced, they aren't condescending and they're here to learn. It's great!

Anyway, here are a handful of shots that you can look at and enjoy. And if you're friends with me on Facebook, get ready to vote for a picture of mine that IPS will put on their page as a contest for us. The picture with the most votes is the winner and gets a prize. :-) Be looking for that tomorrow!

Click on the photos to get a closer view.

My stop motion. I'm in love with stop motion water photos

Self portrait that you take while spinning around so that the background blurs. 

This was taken by Holly Bentley. We have lots of fun!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Life goes on and on and on

Long time no blog! Life has been happening like I can't believe, y'all! And I've got so much to tell you and not a whole lot of time to write so I'm not even gonna try to sum up everything that happened and I'll just jump in with what's going on now.

I am in Colorado! I'm taking a weeklong photography course in the cutest little town called Manitou Springs. I hope sometime this week I'll be able to put up some of my photos.

It was quite the adventure getting here. My flight to Colorado was canceled so I had a huge layover in DFW until I could get another flight. I sat on the floor, people watched, bought an awesome cherry strudel, listened to music, checked Facebook, put pictures on Instagram, and was basically bored out of my skull until my flight finally took off. Unfortunately, my luggage was not on the same flight as me and that was a bit frustrating to have to go without until it came in today but I have some really good friends here who don't mind letting me borrow their clothes.

Also, I hate altitude sickness. Colorado is BEAUTIFUL but I could never live here because supposedly it takes about a year to completely adjust to the altitude and I have been feeling off since I got in last night. I had a nosebleed this morning because the air is so dry and I have random moments of nausea and headaches. Drinking lots of water is supposed to help.... but maybe I'm not drinking enough because I haven't noticed any difference  yet.

I'll be heading back out on Saturday but I'll let you know more details about that when I get back. I'm learning so much about photography and it's been so fun. The group of people here are super great and we've all hit it off really well. I know I prefer modeling for the other photographers here than actually taking photos but I'm getting better and I'm really excited about our shoot tomorrow at a place called Rainbow Falls. It's gonna be great!

Anyway, I think that's all for now, I'll try to post some pictures this week of some shots I've taken and give some more updates. Hope y'all had a marvelous Monday! <3 p="p">

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sing a Song Sunday

Well, it's Sunday and that means it's time to share with you another one of my songs that I like. :-) I've got a few more blog posts in progress that (I hope) you should see this week. Trying to keep to a schedule is a little more work than I thought, it requires a plan which requires more thinking and I seem to be really resistant to anything that resembles responsibility and maturity and you know, grown up stuff in general so that's good for me to plan and think these things through a bit.

This week's song is "Alligator Sky" by Adam Young (Owl City). He writes a lot of fun, random, happy songs and is most well known for the song "Fireflies." My housemates and I were all listening to Owl City this morning while we got ready for church. We would just kind of break out dancing at random moments, usually with a section of our hair curled up in the curling iron, or with mascara wands or makeup brushes. It was a great start to my day!

"Alligator Sky" is currently my favorite of his, it's just kinda random and fun. I take it as it's talking about a fun adventure and here's some advice like remember to breathe because it'll take your breath away, remember to scream because you're gonna be lost for words, remember to live because you're gonna be thrilled to death, stuff like that. I just let my imagine go with this song and it makes me smile. I hope you smile too. :-D

The Song:

The Lyrics:
Where was I when the rockets came to life?
And carried you away into the Alligator Sky?
Even though I'll never know what's up ahead,
I'm never letting go, I'm never letting go!

Remember to breathe, because it'll take your breath away,
When the engines cough, and you blast off.
Ignite the night with a firecracker flash.

Remember to live, 'cause you're gonna be thrilled to death,
When the stars collide and your eyes grow wide.
Take it in with your breath against the glass.

Remember to dream because it's gonna be a starry night,
Over every town, if you look down.
So harmonize with the singing satellites.

Remember to scream because you're gonna be lost for words,
When the sparks erupt and they light you up.
Dip your toes in the galaxy 'cause it's yours to explore tonight.

Where was I when the rockets came to life?
And carried you away into the Alligator Sky?
Even though I'll never know what's up ahead,
I'm never letting go, I'm never letting go!

Rollercoaster through the atmosphere,
I'm drowning in this starry serenade,
We're ecstasy because cavalier,
My imagination's taking me away.
Reverie whisper in my ear,
I'm scared to death that I'll never be afraid,

Rollercoaster through the atmosphere,
My imagination's taking me away.
Let's hear it for the Universe,
Where it never hurts,
Diving in head-first.
Take a taste of the melting Milky Way.

And remember to laugh 'cause you're living in a crazy world,
Where you'll never guess what could happen next.
Give the outer limits my regards as you float to fly away.

Where was I when the rockets came to life?
And carried you away into the Alligator Sky?
Even though I'll never know what's up ahead,
I'm never letting go, I'm never letting go!

Where was I when the rockets came to life?

And carried you away into the Alligator Sky?
Even though I'll never know what's up ahead,
I'm never letting go, I'm never letting go!
The Alligator Sky,
The Alligator Sky,
The Alligator Sky.

P.S. I also really like "Meteor Showers", "Galaxies", "Hello Seattle", and "Saltwater Room". Just to name a few more. If you want to listen to a really funny song and have a good laugh, look up "Deer in the Headlights" on youtube. The song is hysterical and the music video is even better!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


But this time it will actually be more wordless because the pictures kinda speak for themselves. These were all taken by me :-) Enjoy!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Imagine that you have just committed a crime of unspeakable evil and you were caught by the authorities. You're sitting in the courtroom waiting for the judge to deliver the verdict: Guilty or Not Guilty

But you already know the answer before the judge even speaks.


You committed the crime, you pay the price. As the death sentence is being spoken someone steps up and offers to take your place. Nobody is more shocked than you, especially given that the person willing to take your punishment as his own, is none other than the judge's only son. And he was the most stand-up guy you could ever meet, never breaking the law, never doing anything wrong. He was the model citizen and he just asked his father for your death sentence.

Now, you are no longer guilty, but innocent. Someone else is paying for the consequences of your actions as if they had committed the crime and not you.

But accepting your innocence, and living in the freedom of your innocence are two different things. Yes, the prison cell is open but are you still living inside?

We are humans. We are a far cry from ever being perfect while we live on this earth. But God doesn't require perfection, he just asks for progress. When we fall, we need to get back up. God forgives us and we can move on. Read that again.

Why do let ourselves dredge up our past and all the guilty feelings that go with that? If you've asked God to forgive you, he has and you don't need to keep punishing yourself for something that's been taken off your record and removed from you. That no longer defines you.

Guilt is not from God. This is something I've been repeating to myself constantly these past few weeks because it's not a concept I'm familiar with. Yes, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sin and took my punishment. Yes, I believe that he offers grace and mercy and love and freedom. Yes, I believe that I have been forgiven and that in Christ I am a new creation, that when God looks at me, he sees Jesus and not my sin.

But I don't live like that. I live like I'm the scum of the earth, not worthy to even be entering the church doors. That I don't deserve to fellowship with other Christians who, you know, have it all together (because everyone has it all together but me, right?). That if they knew the struggles that went on in my heart they wouldn't want to have anything to do with me (never mind that this has been disproven countless times, I still FEEL that way every now and then).

So if I say I believe one thing and then act like I don't, what does that make me?

It makes me a hypocrite. And we all know how much everyone loves a hypocrite. That God's word isn't enough for me. That yes, he's forgiven me but I still have to punish myself because Christ's gruesome death on the cross wasn't enough for me. What? How can that not be enough!?

How can Christ's death on the cross not be enough for you?

Live like it, people. Live like you believe his death is enough to cover your sins and stop punishing yourself for past mistakes that you've already asked his forgiveness for.

We sang this song in church today and I am always so moved by the words. Our names are written on God's hands and our life is hid with Christ. God made an end of all our sins (including past, present and future sins) we only need to look to him. 

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
The great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is written on His hands
My name is graven on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless Rightousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Letter To My Body

Ok, so I know this might look strange, but seriously, writing this was really, really, really hard. I was inspired by this post here (and you really should just stop right now and read this one first. It's jaw-droppingly real and honest and so so powerful) and I decided to do something similar. I was pretty surprised at my reaction. I teared up, I got angry, I had to stop a few times because facing this ugly side of myself was overwhelming. I felt some old wounds reopening and I started to question why I had even decided to do this but then, as I pushed through and kept writing, I began to see some healing. (And seriously, you should go read Lauren Nicole's before you start mine.)

Dear Body,

I need to tell you something. I know what you're probably thinking, that this is going to be another one of my rants against you like I usually do whenever we talk but that's not it. This time, I think you'll actually like what I'm going to say.

I actually have two things to tell you. 

I'm sorry and thank you.

I know. You're probably shocked. I've never told you I'm sorry or thank you before in the almost 21 and a half years that you've known me. Maybe you don't believe me but it's true. Things are going to be different between us now, I promise. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to realize how awful I've treated you but I've been brought face to face with my anger and hatred towards you, my selfishness, my ungratefulness for all you've done and the only thing I can do is to try and apologize.

There's so many ways I've wronged you that I'm not even sure where to start but here's my most earnest attempt at reconciling with you.

I am sorry for all the judgmental and critical looks I've given you in the mirror as I get ready for the day. 

I'm sorry for all the negative comments I've thrown at you, for the way that I constantly compare you to others and berate you for not looking more like them. 

I'm sorry for always wishing you looked like everybody else, even though everybody else doesn't look anything alike.

I'm sorry for not appreciating everything that you can do for me and cursing you for not being able to do more. 

I'm sorry for ignoring your pleas to stop and pushing you harder than you were able to go and then hating you for not being able to keep up.

I'm sorry for not treating you the way that you should have been treated, taking care of you instead of neglecting you.

I'm so terribly sorry for wanting to kill you with a handful of pills when you were fighting so hard just to stay alive when your kidneys failed.

You've never really asked for much, but I still complain that you need medication regularly even though you're doing all you can to stay well. I just hate trying to remember to take them every day and then I feel guilty when I don't remember. It's just hard sometimes, you know? Of course you know. I'm the one who doesn't get how hard it is for you to keep accepting a new organ that you weren't born with. 

I'm seeing now, that if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have been able to see God's power in my life. His strength being made perfect in my weakness. I wouldn't have experienced his love being poured out on me and through me to reach others in an awesome display of glory. 

So thank you. Thank you for being the way you are. Every tiny detail is perfect and I don't want to change anything about you now that I see you for what you really are. When I railed against you for not being what I wanted, it wasn't you that I was mad at, it was the one who made you. 

How could I have hated this gift of my body that was made so perfectly in the image of a loving God who only gives the best to his children? The fact that every little thing about you was so lovingly designed and hand-crafted with uniquenesses that aren't like anybody should thrill me, and I hope you know that it does. It does now. It's not easy sometimes, because I'm human and I want things that I don't have, but I promise that I'll work on being content with what I've been given and remember that there's a reason for everything.

When I look in the mirror, I promise that I will look at you in a whole new light, the way you were meant to be looked at. I will not start nit-picking at flaws, because you aren't flawed. I will love your little quirks and be glad that I have something that isn't like everybody else. I will love you the way that you are and stop wishing I could change you because that would mean changing the story that God meant for us to have and it's a beautiful story that doesn't need to be changed at all. 

Yours always,
Kristin Lanae

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not-so-Wordless Wednesday

It's Wednesday! Several blogs sometimes do a wordless Wednesday and post a bunch of pictures instead of writing anything. Well, I'm a woman of many words and I like pictures so I'm bucking the trend and Wednesdays here at Life Happens will be not-so-wordless days with pictures that I decide to share, either my own that I've taken or random pictures from the internet that I came across.

A beautiful red dress from Pinterest. I wish I had a dress like this, I would wear it all the time.

From the Good Women Project, specifically from this post, here. I like the statement. I like the girl's smile. And her hair. And her tattoos. :-) 

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Another one from Pinterest. It's more a quote than a picture but I still felt like sharing it. This was repinned onto my "Words that Inspire" board. 

And that's only three pictures.... next time there will be more and I'll even pull out my camera this weeks so you can see some original ones from me. :-) Have a great night (or day, depending on what time you read this) everyone! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sing a Song

I have a new plan for my blog and one of those is to have a sort of "theme" for each day of the week, just to keep me on track, and give me a little motivation to put new stuff up regularly. So for Sundays, I'm going to be sharing a youtube video, with the lyrics posted below. I do realize that we all have different tastes and standards in music and my intention of posting these songs is not to offend but to share with you what's encouraged me in hopes of encouraging you. If the music I like is not something you enjoy listening to, don't listen! I don't mind. :-) That's why the lyrics will be included in the post as well so that you can read them without listening to music that you're not fond of.

I like the band, Flyleaf, a lot and listen to them pretty regularly. I relate a lot to their songs and I like the deeper meanings in most of their songs. The lyrics don't always make sense right away until you think about them.

This song is called "This Close" and I've been listening to it a lot this summer because it's how I've been feeling. Like I'm walking dead, in slow motion, watching everyone else zoom past me and I'm missing something, whatever it is, that will wake me up and break the wall that holds me back from being real again. Being me again.  I don't know what I'm doing, but I know I'm  closer than I've ever been.

I had a dream that we were dead but we pretended that we still lived
With no regrets we never bled and we took everything life could give
And came up broken empty handed in the end

In the hearts of the blind something you'll never find is a vision of light

With the voice of the dead I'm screaming
I don't know who I am anymore
Not once in life have I been real but I've never felt this close before
I've been looking in your window, I've been dressing in your clothes
I've been walking dead, watching you long enough to know I can't go on

I had a dream that fire fell from an opening in the sky
Someone warned me of this hell and I spit in his naive eye
And left him crying for my soul he said would die

In the hearts of the blind something you'll never find is a vision of light

With the voice of the dead I'm screaming
I don't know who I am anymore
Not once in life have I been real but I've never felt this close before
I've been looking in your window, I've been dressing in your clothes
I've been walking dead, watching you long enough to know I can't go on

In the hearts of the blind something you'll never find is a vision of light

With the voice of the dead I'm screaming
I don't know who I am anymore
Not once in life have I been real but I've never felt this close before
I've been looking in your window, I've been dressing in your clothes
I've been walking dead, watching you long enough to know I can't go on

I've been looking in your window, I've been dressing in your clothes

I've been walking dead, watching you long enough to know I can't go on

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Catch-Up Time :-)

So.... yeah it's always awkward trying to get back into blogging when you've let things go. Especially after making a promise to have a series of blog posts and such. But life happens and I'm finally back after a crazy, crazy summer.

Picking up where my last post left off, I pretty much failed at getting my life back on track. Mostly because I was too busy trying to do things on my own (when am I ever gonna learn that I can't. I mean, seriously!) and because I was watching my life derail because of bad choices, having my priorities mixed up, and pretty much ignoring God I kinda forgot about my little blog here. But y'all probably wouldn't have wanted to read my thoughts during that time anyway but I'm sure I'll be sharing some things from those experiences later on now that I've put some distance and time between myself and those situations.

Needless to say, God cared enough about me to give me a divine intervention by working everything out for me to go to a girl's training camp (very last minute, but it was exactly what I needed) called STEP and then, since I'm currently jobless, I was provided with the opportunity to volunteer at the International ALERT Academy (IAA)  with a full-time job working under a very Godly couple and having all my basic needs covered.

That was a shortened version of the last three months of my life but it's enough to get everybody all back on the same page with where I'm at now.

I'm in the process of making some pretty big decisions but I'm pretty excited about what the future holds right now and I'm looking forward to seeing what God's gonna do next. Big things are happening  and I'm just along for the ride on this crazy adventure of life. If I had to pick on big lesson that I've gotten out of this year, it's to hold on tight.  God likes big roller coasters that go so fast and so high that you feel like you're going to fly right out of your seat, in spite of the the fact that you're buckled in with those big, V-style harness things that swing down over your shoulders and lock into place so that you absolutely do not move.  But you still feel like they aren't enough when you're flying down a hill and the g-forces are pulling the flesh back on your face and your body seems to be suspended in that small space between your seat and the harness. Pretty much, all you can do is hold on because that's how life is sometimes. The biggest, scariest, most rewarding roller coaster of all time.

I am really excited to start getting back into my blogging though! Things are going to be a little different around here but I think you'll like the changes I make. I've got so much to write about and so much to tell y'all about my life, and the things God is showing me, and the ideas bouncing around in my head and whatever else that I decide to post over here in my little corner of the internet.

Enjoy the ride!

This picture doesn't really have anything to do with this post, I just like it. It's a reminder to me that God sees the big picture and I only see a small piece. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

This means war.

I've hit an identity crisis of my soul. I'm at a crossroads with one path leading me towards compromise, confusion and spiritual enslavement to the things that I know are wrong. The other path leads me towards discipline, control, and freedom to walk in the grace and faith of Christ.

The first on requires very little effort on my part, in fact I hardly have to do anything except give in and let spiritual defilement take it's course. I have to stop thinking, stop fighting, stop trying and just pretty much go with the flow of my feelings. It wouldn't be very hard at all.

The latter path is different. It's going to mean blood, sweat, and tears. It's going to require sacrifice. It's going to mean constant attention to my heart and emotions to keep them aligned to what's right. To walk this path is to say no to myself and yes to God, no matter what the cost may be. It means making war.

There will be a series of these posts over the next coming weeks as I document my battles, victories, failures, lessons learned, war strategies and stuff like that. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I can't do it.

I can't do anything good on my own. Anything good that you see in my life is from God working in me.

I can't do anything that doesn't come from a selfish motive. Anything I do that is for God is because He helped me take the focus off myself and put it back on Him where it belongs.

I can't be brave in the face of trials. Anytime that you see courage in my life is because I asked God for it and He gave it to me.

I can't be strong when life is hard. Any strength you see in me is from God being strong for me.

I can't be joyful on my own. All my happiness is because God put a new song in my mouth and filled my heart with praise when there was nothing but grumblings and anger.

I can't be disciplined to do the hard things. That's God helping me keep my room clean, to work out, to wake up early, to do my job.

I can't love others when they treat me like dirt. But God can love them through me.

I can't choose to respond to criticism with gratefulness. God can give me a teachable heart and a thankful spirit.

I can't even read my Bible regularly. That's God giving me a desire for His word.

I can't move forward when I'm frozen with fear. God can melt the icy fingers and helps me step forward in faith.

I can't achieve my goals, plan my dreams, or make those big life changing decisions without God giving me the passion and the drive and means to go forward with them.

I can't guard my heart against wrong emotional attachments unless He stands firm in the convictions He gave me.

I've had a rough week.  I've made a lot of mistakes, I've given up, I've given in, and I haven't asked God for His help when faced with the little decisions throughout my day. I've complained, I've gotten angry, I've indulged in fleshly habits, I've wasted my time, and I've let myself go. I've lost my vision and passion and purpose for life. I'm a complete mess and I don't know what I'm doing. 
It's a comfort to know that I'm a work in progress and that God's okay with my mess. He sees something in this wreck of a person that's going to be beautiful someday. Like the person who can take a beat up piece of furniture from the dumpster and turn it into something fresh, new and beautiful, God is going to do that with me. He's going to take this completely crazy, wild, unpredictable, unstable, rebellious, angry, selfish, scared little girl and turn her into a free spirited, passionate, determined, focused, loving, gentle, bold woman that He can use to accomplish something wonderful and great and exciting. I can't.  But God can.

There is one thing I CAN do, though, and I can get out of God's way and let Him take over.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My 21st Birthday Wisdom

Last night, I had my birthday party that a sweet friend threw for me and I asked for the girls that were older than me to pass on any advice they have so that me and the younger girls there could learn from and I wanted to share them with you here. Mostly so I can write them down and have a place to remember them but also because what these ladies shared with me was just so good that they can apply to anybody at any stage in life.

1. Put God first in everything
Nothing you do will matter if God is not in it. If God is not the first and foremost and central part of your life and any plans that you make than you will fail.

2. Obey what God tells you
This piggy-backs with #1 because when you're keeping God first in everything and obeying what He is telling you to do, than your life will be a success.

3. Know yourself and never compromise
I love this. When you know yourself, know who you are in Christ, the world will try to pull you away from that, away from anything that is good. I'm already dealing with a similar situation where I'm asked out to drink regularly, or why I don't smoke, or why I'm still single and have never dated anyone and then when you've given your best answer, you'll be mocked for not being "like everybody else." That's where you have the choice to compromise who God called you to be, or to stand firm in your convictions. 

4. Learn from other's and your mistakes so you don't repeat them
This one also piggy-backs of #4 because we are human and we do make mistakes. Just recently I compromised myself in a way that could have had severe consequences that God was gracious enough to protect me and to give me a chance to learn why not compromising what you know to be right is so important. Also, learning from other's mistakes helps to make and solidify your convictions so you'll know why you need to avoid going down that wrong path.

5. Don't waste the time you have now to invest
As a young single Christian woman, I have time that I won't always have to invest in my spiritual life, to set regular devotion time, to memorize scripture while my mind is sharp. I also have time to invest in the lives of the girls who are younger than me by giving them a example to look up to, and to help mothers with young children by giving them a break by watching their kids so they can go out to eat with their husbands or just go run errands without dragging 4-5 little ones behind them.

6. Surround yourself with good friends and learn to be a good friend
Watch your reactions to your friends sometimes. A true friend won't always tell you what you want to hear but they will tell you what you NEED to hear. They won't let you wallow in self-pity or complain but they will encourage you in righteousness and be willing to pray with you when things are rough. And that's the kind of friend I need to be to others in my life.

7. Don't let anyone look down on you because you're young
But be an example to the believers in the way you talk, in the way you act, in the way you love, in faith and in purity. This verse (1 Tim 4:12) was given to me by one of the younger girls that I was driving home after the party.

I was humbled, encouraged and challenged by this and if any of my party guests are reading this, please know that you have helped to empower this crazy 21 year old girl that loves lime green, animal prints, purple eyeshadow and orange nail polish, and isn't afraid to wear all of that at once (haha!), to love the Lord more, to put Him first in my life, and to never compromise who He has called me to be.

Thank you for loving me and know that I love all of you very much. :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My 21st Birthday

I'm turning 21 this Thursday. Less than four days and I'll be considered "legal". No longer a minor. A full-grown adult.

It's strange. 21 seemed so far away just a couple years ago. When I was a young teenager, I always figured I'd be living on my own by now, with a great job, married or at least dating someone, finishing up school, and, of course, having a ton of fun hanging with my friends during my free time.

But here I sit, about to be 21 and I've got a minimum wage job as a waitress at a retirement home (a job that I am VERY grateful for but not the "great job" that I was aspiring towards). I still live at home with my parents. I busted my car and will probably be shelling out about $500 tomorrow to get it fixed. I am as single as you get (which I'm completely OK with but you know how it gets sometimes). I have very little free time (what's that?) and my friends have responsibilities too, which means that we can't just hang out whenever we want to. I'm in a constant battle to keep my bedroom and my car clean. I'm trying to workout regularly, eat healthy and put on some weight which means more time management to fit workouts into my schedule and staying aware as to what I'm putting in my mouth at what times. Oh and then there's sleeping, I never seem to get enough sleep lately.

Not exactly the ideal picture of what I thought the big 21 would look like and that was even leaving out the most important part. God. And that's why my idea is completely different than what my reality is. Because God had other plans.

I would like to include this letter that I wrote to myself. My 18 year old self. Because I would have made a lot better choices if I had been given this letter three years ago, saved myself a lot of regrets, kept myself from a lot of unnecessary pain. So I'm writing it now. So I don't forget what God's done in my life. I still need it just as much now as I did three years ago.

Dear Kristin,

So you're 18 now. You just spent your Birthday in the hospital because of some crazy infection that made you feel like you were going to die but you made it through. You're still alive.  And now you're back on your feet again, shaking it off and getting ready to finish high school once and for all. 

I know what you're thinking. This is your year to grow up, to finish school and then learn to drive. Then you're going to get a job or go to college. You haven't decided yet but you know that whatever it is, you're gonna give it all you got because that's how you do everything that's important to you. 

Just stop for moment though, and really look at your life. You think you know what you want but do you really? Would you just take some time and really think about what it would look like if you got that job or went to school? Are you doing the best you can to take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy? 

Listen carefully to what I'm about to say. Remember, I'm you three years from now so I already know what's going to happen. I learned a lot of things that, if you can learn now, might keep you from making the same mistakes that I did. It's not going to change the storm that's coming, but it will help you remember that no matter how much the waves toss you around, you're still anchored to the One who will never let you go. 

 You have to give up your life to God. You can't hold on to these plans for your life that you think are from God when you really just filled in the blank spots yourself instead of trusting that He knows what He's doing. Because your life is going to shatter if you don't let it go. All your carefully written plans are going to go up in flames if you don't burn them now on the altar before God's feet and surrender your plans to Him.

These next three years are going to change everything about your life. Everything you thought you believed will be challenged. Everything you didn't care about will become important and everything that was important won't matter anymore. You have to be flexible, you have to roll with the punches, you have to accept and embrace the fact that you're not in control. It's hard. But that's the point. Because you can't be molded into perfection without the fire from furnace.

You're a fighter and that's a good thing. You have a purpose that God needs someone with a strong spirit to fulfill. But sometimes you fight the wrong person and that's not a good thing. When you fight against God, you can't win. Do you hear me? You can not win if you fight God.  You'll make yourself miserable and your spirit will be broken and useless for anything except for maybe digging yourself deeper into that messy hole you created by your misplaced efforts. Fight for God when the world is calling your name, fight for the truth when all you hear are lies, fight for what's right when everything seems wrong and fight for the light when all you can see is darkness.

I want you to enjoy living your life. Laugh a lot. Don't take your health for granted, take care of yourself and be as healthy as you can. Wear those crazy, bright colors that you love so much and always wear the big, loud flowers and bows in your hair. Don't be like everybody else, be yourself. Keep strengthening those friendships because those girls will end up being as close to you as sisters and you need that support system in your life to encourage you in godliness when things are hard. Tone down the makeup a little, you don't need to paint your face to be beautiful because you are already beautiful. Read your Bible often and apply what it says to your life. Live in a way that you know God would be happy with. God loves you and He will never give up on this work-in-progress that was started the day you believed in Him  Fight hard and don't ever give up. Ever.

You'll make it, babe. With His help and the people He's placed in your life, you'll make it.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When God moves

Oh, how my heart is so incredibly full right now. Full of joy, fears, newfound hope, old struggles, excitement, sadness, victories, failures, triumphs, trials, fellowship, rejection, awe, frustrations, healing, hurts....

You name it, I'm feeling it. 

I love it and I hate it but I'm glad for it because no matter what thought or emotion is pulsing through me at the moment, I'm feeling it. And I feel alive. 

I feel like I've been asleep for the past 20 years of my life and all of a sudden I'm waking up and I'm seeing things for how they really are and I'm feeling things I've never felt before. No, I'm not in love with anyone (I'm still very single and very ok with that) I'm just at a point in my life where everything has changed and I'm starting over. 

I don't know how many of you have watched your life shatter into a million pieces before, or watch your carefully crafted plans burn to ashes in front of your eyes, or feel like the rug was pulled out from under your feet and you were left lying there feeling like the air was sucked from your chest but I have. 

Just once, but it was exactly what I needed because without that devastating incident in my life that took so much away from me, I never would have become the person that God meant for me to be. 

And because of that change that's happened in my life I am thankful for my kidney disease. 

You have no idea how hard it is for me to write those words. I never thought I would ever say that I was thankful for the very thing that ruined my life but if my life hadn't been destroyed than I would have missed the life that God had for me instead. 

I'm still human though. I still get frustrated over some of the things in my life that are difficult because of my illness and there will always be rejection hanging over my head. That's not fun. I also have some serious emotional issues that I will most likely be spending the rest of my life trying to resolve but that's ok because God's big enough to handle all of our mess and still do something great with us. 

I am a work in progress (Philippians 1:6) and life is hard. A lot of things are changing, God is rebuilding, and I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. But I'm ready for it. 

And I just wanted to write and tell anyone who is still reading this that when God moves, you better listen. Because something big is happening and I don't want to miss it. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The wound still bleeds...

Not too long ago, I wrote this post here about how my wounds were healed. There's a picture of my scarred stomach, my battle wounds from the previous year of all the surgeries I had. Those wounds are healed and I can honestly say that I've never felt this healthy in my life. I'm definitely not in the best shape that I could be in, and I'll never be completely healthy (Immuno-suppressant drugs sorta make that impossible) but health-wise, I am doing amazingly well and words can't really express how grateful I am because for a while there I did not think I was ever going to be able to get out of bed again.

Physically, I'm well again. I'm all healed. My transplant kidney, Lefty, is working well and we're getting along great.

I thought I was doing that well emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well but this past week, God showed me that I still have a large, open wound that is still bleeding and still in need of healing.

Emotionally, I'm still shattered. I still shudder when I think of some of the procedures I went through, still cringe a little when I remember the pain. If I think about it hard enough, I'll still cry when I remember the huge disappointments I endured and the broken dreams I had wished so hard would come true.

Mentally, I'm still paralyzed with fear. Fear of getting sick again. Fear of hope, and dreams and plans for the future. Fear of disappointment. Fear of not being able to do it (whatever "it" is, I just want to be able to do it) Fear of trusting God.

Spiritually.... I have no idea. I know I have come along way from those dark days of illness and just wanting to die because I believed I had no future. But I also have a long way to go to get to where I need to be. Or maybe, I'm exactly where I should be. Perhaps God is big enough to handle my questions and my doubt and my fears. But more than likely, "they" are right and I should never question God, only trust and believe. If I just read my Bible more or I just prayed more or I just trusted more, than maybe I would understand more and be more grateful for what happened.

I'm told I have a great testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness and love. I'm told that what happened to me has been a huge blessing to a lot of people and that God answered their prayers. They tell me I encouraged them by the way I responded to this trial in my life.

But I wonder if they know how dark my thoughts went during that time? I wonder if they know how much I cursed God out because I was so angry at Him for what was happening? Do they know that I still struggle to this day with some of that same bitterness and anger that I had during that time? Do they know that I still look at that year as the worst year of my life and I feel such a deep sadness when I think about what could have been had I not gotten sick?

I felt like I watched the story of my life, a thick book full of 19 years worth of life experiences, goals, dreams, plans, a purpose and a passion for something great, thrown into a fire and burned to a crisp. And that burning was a painfully slow, agonizing burn that lasted for a year before there was nothing left but a pile of gray ashes.

I guess you could say that I moved on. I've picked myself back up and I started working, started saving, started trying to live a life of some sort. But I found myself looking at that pile of ash and wondering if there was anything worth saving. Anything worth going back for.

Maybe some day I'll be brave enough to look for the answers that I want.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's a brand new year

I don't know why the new year just tends to make me nostalgic and reflective and motivated but it does. Something about the fact that it's new and you feel like you have the chance to make a fresh new start and have a better year than the one before.

2010 was the worst year of my life. So many disappointments, so much heartbreak, so much pain on all levels. 2011 was definitely an improvement. I completely recovered physically from a kidney transplant about six months into the year, I got a car (and learned to drive it), and started my first job as a waitress working full time.

Still some disappointments, still some pain (recovery is always difficult) but there were a lot of victories and some triumphs. I wanted to write briefly about some things I've learned this year, some I've just learned in the last two months because of my job, and others have just been learned because of the experiences I had this year. There's no order or rhyme or reason to the list I have here, it's just a random listing of lessons learned that I want written down so I'll remember and maybe they'll be beneficial to you as well. :-)

• You can't put any time limit of recovery, everyone will recover at the own pace. But it does help to have good friends and family to help push you (gently) back into life again.

• When I get old, I want to remember to be kind and enjoy life wherever I'm at. To smile and make people enjoy being around me. Those are my favorite residents at the retirement home where I work and the fact is, I can be that person now so I'll be that person 40-50-60 years from now.

• Rest is important. It's not being lazy, it's being healthy to take time out to do things for yourself. Take care of yourself, go to bed on time and wake up on time, exercise, eat right and be good to your body and soul. You can't take care of others if you aren't taking care of yourself.

• Smile. And laugh. It's surprisingly contagious and it's a super easy way to brighten someone's day.

• When you don't act like the world (i.e. you don't cuss, you don't smoke or drink, you don't sleep around just for the fun of it, you don't tell dirty jokes, etc.) you get two responses: Ridicule and respect. Sometimes both at the same time. The ridicule is hard to put up with, the respect is nice, getting both from the same person is confusing because you never know exactly where you stand with them. But knowing that you're making the better choice is a reward in itself.

• People are looking up to you and are learning from you whether you like it or not. It's humbling to be able to invest in someone's life and to set a good example for them.

• Be a grown-up when you have to. Be a kid the rest of the time. But always be responsible.

• Enjoy the little things in life. Stop to smell the roses (literally). Enjoy how pretty blue skies and green grass looks when you're driving to work. Lay on your back and look at the stars. Watch a fire burn in the woodstove. Take a closer look at the fly that's landed on your arm. Buy a crazy green wig (or pink or blue) and wear it. Really taste and savor that cake you're eating.

• Stay in touch with good friends. The kind of friends that you can call anytime, even in the middle of the night, and you know they'll be there for you. The kind of friends that will encourage you and give you the motivation you need to push through those difficult moments in life. The kind of friends you can tell anything to.

• Complements can make people's day. Tell someone that you like their shirt, or that their hair looks good, that they are good at the job. Appreciate what people do and tell them. Use your words in a powerful, positive way.

• God is everything. He is the most important priority, He is enough, He is it. Nothing matters without Him. If God isn't in your life then you will fail. If He's not in the standards you're holding, then it's not worth it. Love God and put Him first.

Here's to 2012.