Atheist’s Article..

This is an article I stole from Phil.. who stole it from someone else lol.. but it’s worth passing on! Here’s the first part of the article.

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset

hmm.. Interesting huh? You can read the rest of the article here… I would be interested to talk with this guy.. God’s obviously doing something with him…

Who Were YOU a Year Ago?

So, obviously since it’s the end of the year it’s kinda naturally the time where everyone looks back and figures out the year.. and tries to make decisions for the next year.. So, my big question is:

Who were you a year ago?
What was going on?
What were you worried about, thinking about, stressing about?
What had your attention and focus?
What changed your life this year?

So, who was I a year ago?

Well, a year ago I “rang in the New Year” with Ash and Megan in Chicago.. it was one of my favorite New Years memories EVER! 🙂 I was getting ready to go to Africa for the first time. I was a little worried about the dynamics of the trip, but SO excited that I was getting to go. I was stressing about my financial situation, both normally and with going to Africa.

My friend Lisa and I had dozens of talks about direction and God’s path for us.. I needed her and God knew that 🙂 (She also went to Africa with me:)

I was feeling “stuck” like I was in a situation I couldn’t get out of.. and had no plan or vision for how I was going to get out of it. Which is weird because I LOVED my family, living at home with them. I LOVED working with our teens and being super involved in our church, and I really liked the time I was getting with my extended family working with them and getting to know them… But, at the exact same time, I felt like I had graduated and taken the easy route, moved home to work for family, so I felt restless. I knew I had this desire and passion inside me but I didn’t know what it meant. I had a desire to do hard things with my life, but felt like currently I was doing the easiest well traveled path. Almost as though I was MADE for more, but had no way of attaining it. I felt blind and like I was in a heavy fog and couldn’t see God working in my personal journey.

I was operating on the concept that it didn’t matter how I felt… I KNEW God’s call to us is to, “Love Him, Love others” so I was doing everything I could to do that, regardless of how I felt. But, even still I felt a little like I didn’t have a direction.

I went to Africa for the first time. I LOVED IT!.. But, I was also frustrated at my/our lack of ability to DO more while we were there. I met two amazing missionaries that I love dearly, and I got to have some pretty amazing talks with them, and just really connect. I treasured that time with them 🙂 I accidentally was put in the middle of a lion pride and got stalked by a crocodile… It was a GOOD trip, wonderful next step, although at the time I wasn’t sure what to say about it.

February – April
After Africa, I became insanely involved all over the place. Looking back I’m not sure how I had time for ANYTHING… I got involved with a local martial arts school and taught karate a couple nights a week, I joined Compassionate Life Foundation as a board member, and became increasingly more involved with the youth group as other leaders became too busy or had other situations come up, I helped with the youth vision team, and joined the youth leaders small group, as well as help get the 18-30’s group started at my church… Not to mention the random little things like doing a dance for church, interviewing/informing the congregation about my trip to Africa, chaperoning youth events for my best friend who is a youth leader at another church etc..etc.. When I think about it I had things planned every single day and every single evening for each week, and I had roughly one night a week where I could fit friends in for hang out time. Whoa! I was seriously trying to do my part to make a difference, and I’ve always felt more like I was “on my game” when I was too busy to think!

Most of the after work things stayed the same, but in terms of work, Labor Day consumed my life because of working for Covenant Cemetery Services and as odd as it sounds “Labor day is like Christmas for cemeteries” because it is INSANELY busy.. we will see 80% of our people that weekend alone. So, things have to be perfect and together, and if we want to do any sort of survey or coupons for stones, memorials, shepherd’s hooks etc..etc.. that has to be in place before the end of the month. And, then there’s the marathon weekend that feels like it kills you every time. This also marked my one year with Covenant Cemetery Services, and a dramatic shift in location…

June – August
Beginning of June, I shifted the way I worked for “The Company” as we all called it 😉 and I went to part time, moved to Ohio and work for Camp Carl as a boat driver. haha That to me is one of the more random things I’ve done. I still offered my knowledge and services to the company… But, even though I LOVED working with family I was seriously doubting my abilities. I fought so desperately hard for everything, and was then told I didn’t understand, didn’t get it, was too young to understand etc..etc.. I began to believe it and it began to seriously effect my view of what I was able to do and what I was GOOD at. So, I went back to camp on a fluke e-mail that spiraled into a job offer. There was also a good chance I would be able to get a full time job in the fall, and since I love camp so much and I love the people I worked with I was PUMPED to say the least! I “went home” to camp and loved the ability to work hard, be outside ALL day long, soak up the sun (seriously I was the darkest I’ve ever been), meet new people, love on old friends, reconnect with myself, and get to know and laugh with hundreds upon hundreds of kids… I got to read a lot, laugh a lot, hang out with friends from college who I desperately love and missed like crazy! I learned to wake board.. almost broke my ankle.. wiped out on roller blades… and had THE most “American” 4th of July ever. I got to work with people who showered me with love and affection all the time! It was a GOOD summer 🙂

However, God and I did a lot of arguing throughout the entire summer.. I wanted direction NOW and didn’t want to wait anymore. God told me to be patient. I was not thrilled with that answer and complained to him constantly. He essentially laughed at me and told me his answer was final. 🙂 I still argued (man am I stubborn). I think he seriously made me wait until THE LAST MINUTE.. cause I found out the weekend before our last two weeks that things were not going to work out and I was not going to be able to stay in Ohio… So, out of “spite” I applied for about 20 jobs online over the weekend all over the world. I felt very “HA! See, I can do something fun and exciting cause I’m able to!”.. (not sure why I felt this way though… or even WHO I felt this way towards lol).. But, none of them replied, and if they did it was “thanks but no.” And, then I get a random e-mail from a non-profit in VA asking me to apply for the job cause I look like I have the qualifications for it. So, I did. Set up a phone interview for a couple days later… began wrapping up camp.. Drove home, flew to VA, interviewed again, flew home, got the job, accepted the job… went camping, moved Megan to Mass., packed and moved to VA.

September-November (Pre-Thanksgiving)
The first month was one of the… weirdest, loneliest, scariest, exciting, “green house” time with God that I’ve ever had. The first week was scary and lonely cause I seriously KNEW NO ONE. I couldn’t get anywhere, and I couldn’t understand the “real southerners” without reading their lips.. lol I had to adjust quickly to not being in the same environment, I never got touched (which seems like an odd statement, but I’m a touch person.. sooo…).. It was so incredibly good though, I got really acquainted with myself. I went from not thrilled about my 45min-hour drive to and from work to treasuring it and finding that time I covet almost more than any other time of my day… I get MY God time, Him alone is what I get while I drive to and from work.. It’s great 🙂 Then I found a Sunday school class, a small group, a roomie, moved again (only 2 miles though), found another small group, met a million people that are now my friends, figured/figuring my way around town now, did a couple service projects, got connected with a girl who introduced me/convinced me to go to Ghana, met the rest of the team, God said “Go” so I trusted Him and made plans to go. I prayed for about a month prior that God would really break my heart and I would FEEL Him. And I went.

November (Post-Thanksgiving) – Now
I went to Ghana, learned more things about love, service, submissiveness, support, faith, trust, and comfort zones than I have ever before. I saw practical examples of what I desire most, and was able to have my “aha!” moment in multiple areas God’s been patiently trying to teach me. My life is completely different. I felt like finally dozens of pieces of my puzzle have all come together and I’m beginning to see the picture and it’s beginning to make sense to me now. I feel God differently now than I did before. I see His plan, feel His heart, and desire Him more than I have ever that I can remember. Things that I struggled with have begun to take a back seat cause it’s not important compared to my purpose and my mission. I’ve realized how truly, totally, and completely blessed I am. I have parents who everyone should know (and love clearly) 🙂 I have a family that is one of the most supportive and loving families I know. I have friends who are pushing me to grow towards God like never before. I sincerely see the world differently now. Which is what I prayed for. 🙂 I am content, I mean truly content, joyful, happy, and peaceful. I am not where I want to be because now I know what I want.. but I also know I’m where I’m supposed to be.. And that gives me contentment but also keeps my drive and passion alive and pushing.

So, a year.. Wow so much has happened. It seems like a whirlwind, and I am so thankful for God working on me even when I objected loudly. I am grateful for the dozens of times He told me “no” “not yet” and “be patient”… especially when it came to guys 🙂 I am excited about this next year.. cause it’s possibilities are ENDLESS!! I can’t wait 🙂

My Joy in Christmas

I seriously have never been able to figure out how people don’t like Christmas.. I mean what’s not to like?!

I mean think about it.. This is when God SHOWED us that not only did He love us enough to create us, give us this amazingly beautiful world, and each other.. and not only does He desire for us to truly LOVE Him in return.. So, He has all that… and then He gives us the most important thing to Him!!… In the form of an adorable little baby boy 🙂

Then, on top of that amazing wonderful reason to be happy and excited.. we have the celebration of all of that! I mean don’t get me wrong, sometimes family get togethers with extended family can be much close to world war III.. but I love them still. One of my favorite things is to just sit and watch them, laugh at their antics.. to truly take a minute to cherish and BE in the moment. I know it won’t last forever and I love when my family is simply being my family 🙂

And, I have gone to probably 12 Christmas parties this year between work related ones and ones my friends have put together.. and I’ve loved every single one of them. 🙂

AND THEN.. as if all that wasn’t enough to love Christmas.. Christmas day is just wonderful!… My family has such a great time just interacting and laughing and giving each other gifts. It’s so much fun 🙂 We laugh and exchange hugs, open serious gifts, joke around, we get each other things we’ve been needing or wanting for a long time.. Then, we eat good food and just hang out ALL day playing 🙂

It’s great. It’s why I drove 15 hours in terrible weather through the night.


I have a whole slew of things bouncing around in my head.. but I can’t seem to get anything coherent or solid to grab a hold of. It’s like I have a list of things I want to talk about or process through, but nothing that has solidified to even give me a starting place.

Some things I have been thinking of…

Hope isn’t just “wishful thinking” it’s a solid foundation.
Which then brings a whole new meaning to:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Joy has nothing to do with happiness or circumstances, and actually is better described as the motivation… or even better the motivation despite terrible circumstances.

Who Am I?

At some point in everyone’s life I think we wonder who we are.. Where do we get our value? You see it in teens all the time, they sway from one thing to another trying to find out who they are. Heck in all reality, you see it regardless of the age, I could list half a dozen people without even trying that are incredibly obvious about their search for value.

So, who am I?

Well, lets start with the basic obvious ones… I am Krista Paula Beata (be-ahh-tah). My name means Joyful Little Christian. I have the names of two of the most amazing people with strong convictions, stubbornness, beauty, love, and compassion that you will ever meet. (Someone mentioned once that since I already have 4 names I should choose a middle name to get rid of, keep my current last name instead of add a name or simply get rid of my current last name when I get married.. That was the worst most horrible idea I’d ever heard! It’s like choosing who you love more..) I have two amazing parents who have taught me in every possible way the truth about this world and the truth about the meaning of life, and I go to them with anything I need help processing. I have 3 siblings who have instilled more qualities (whether good or bad) in me than any other people in my entire life; I consider them my best friends first before any other. I have a ginormous extended family that has taught me the importance of love, patience, community, and family. I have some of the worlds greatest friends who love Jesus and inspire me constantly, and have insisted on being my friend when I didn’t even know I needed them.

So, those are the basics of me.. some of what has built my foundation. But, who am I? Who is Krista Paula Beata, Joyful Little Christian?

I am a wonderfully and beautifully made daughter of my Savior.
I am extroverted to the extreme.
I am joyful and full of genuine laughter.
I am observant.
I am good at making others better.
I am passionate and express it constantly.
I am loving.
I am always trying to understand people and why they do things.
I am stubborn and full of convictions that won’t be moved.
I am independent yet reliant on others.
I am in love with my Sweet Jesus.
I am harder on myself then I convey.
I am always struggling with self worth.
I am easy going but easily excitable.
I am loyal.
I am still learning what it means to be a Christian.
I am learning what it means to be wise and not a fool.
I am unsure of my looks.
I am a quick thinker and use it to my advantage.
I am loud and laugh louder.
I am trying to figure out how to completely rely on God.
I am stronger than I realize.
I am weaker than I admit.
I am trying to figure out where God wants me.
I am blunt.
I am in a never ending battle with my worries and my reliance on Jesus.
I am confident and self assured.
I am still trying to figure out how to show true compassion regardless of how I feel.
I am a black belt.
I am seriously and truly in love with my Sweet Savior.
I am unsure of myself.
I am trying to figure out how to change the world.
I am devoted to my task of loving people for Jesus.
I am thankful for the hard times.
I am confident that God will use me.
I am always on the go.
I am animated.
I am learning how to operate with a hurting heart for the lost.
I am learning how to hurt for the lost.
I am learning how to love the lost.
I am learning how to serve the lost.
I am confidant of my goals.
I am defiant of the devil.
I am secure in the promises of my Lord.
I am figuring out how to move forward without knowing.
I am constantly praying that I will be who God wants me to be.
I am a never ending mix of who I am and who I am pushing to be.

I am Krista, daughter, made and seriously agaped by my Savior. I can never do enough, and I can never do too little.

I am His alone.

Laughter’s Power

I got to thinking today after a co-worker commented on how a couple of our kids have mistaken my laughter as flirting… with other teens (haha.. yeah no). Much to my delight my co-worker (who is a girl) pointed out I act and laugh exactly the same around her, and the other teen girls, and our 60-something married couple we work with… So, clearly unless I am flirting with ALL of them I must not be flirting at all.. but simply finding joy in them.

So, mixing that very amusing story with the incredibly painful last couple weeks God and I have had, I got to thinking about the fact that even though I’m going through these things with God and it hurts.. I’m still joyful, and my laughter is still genuine. In fact, I’m laughing more, and I’m truly content.. (can you be joyful, hurting, and content at the same time?!) I began thinking about the things that change my feelings.. laughter is the biggest one. I can be in a terrible mood, lazy mood, depressed, sad, whatever I’m feeling laughter can change that… When I’m hurting laughter feels like it helps to heal it a little bit.. and at the very least it helps it to be a little more numb and less of the hurt itself.

I found this, and it makes sense.. “Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits.”

I like the fact that my name means Joyful Little Christian… and I like the fact that it’s true. Even when I’m hurting laughter can make a difference inside where there isn’t much that can touch the inside.

As my lovely friend says “Laughter is inner jogging” 😉

To be still and know…

I am really struggling today. I hurt for real. For small things or for someone else’s pain… tears will come to my eyes today. I just feel blah, like I need a huge long hug and a reminder that God is still in control, nothing has changed and the pain will go away.

We had to make significant changes at work due to our budget. It was pretty intense and I hurt for the people I work with. I feel guilty that decisions were made the way they were (even though I was not a part of it), and I am completely overwhelmed by the task ahead. I don’t know how to turn things around and make them better.. in all honesty I’m not even sure where to begin. *sigh*

I miss my friend Kyle who died two years ago yesterday. Man did he love Jesus, and he seriously showed that love to all of us. I miss him.

I really just don’t want to do anything. I want to be still, to know God is God and I am just me. In the last week I’ve gone to bed several nights just aching to be with Jesus… actually tearing up from the ache. Weird huh? I mean not really.. but kinda if you think about it. I’ve never felt that way before. I mean I’ve always wanted to go to be with Jesus, but I’ve never ached for it before. But, somehow in the last little over a week I just don’t want anything but Jesus. I’ve hardly listened to the radio cause I’ve just needed time to talk to him.. or just be numb.. silent.. whatever. I keep getting frustrated that I don’t have more time to do that. I keep feeling like I should know exactly where I’m heading like I should be close enough to Jesus that I could have an idea of what He’s trying to teach me or where He’s guiding me. But.. I don’t.

For right now I just need to know Him. To know He is my God, my Savior, my Jesus, my Leader, my most intimate, my most fulfilling, and the most consistent thing in my life. But, I still would rather be there. I mean really, think about it.. if I cannot be doing what I’m made to be doing.. what I was CREATED for.. why wouldn’t I desire then to simply be with Him instead? Makes sense when you think of it that way because you feel fulfilled when you are doing and moving exactly the way you were created to… and if you’re not doing that, it’s supposed to feel wrong or at least weird and off… So, if it feels weird and off, we’re supposed to desire being with Jesus more than where we are currently.

The sucky dynamic thrown in there, is I think I’m supposed to be exactly right here doing this right now. Lameness. I’m supposed to do everything to glorify Him, be diligent in the small so I can have more later. But, I’m impatient and I just want either to be doing what I was created for… or to be with who I was created for.

So.. today I just need a big long comforting hug, and to be reminded that I’m safe, loved, ok, and that God is still my God.. He hasn’t forgotten me, I’m not hurting for nothing, this pain is to shape me more, and all I’m supposed to do, is be me doing what I’m doing for Him.

To be still and know…