American Idol Contestant New Music…

Ever wonder what some of the American Idol contestants do after American Idol?..

Kurtis Parks made it to the semi-finals on season 4 of the show (in 2004, and the year Carrie Underwood won), and he also wrote a number one song Forever Changed after the Virginia Tech shootings several years back… Since then, he has written hundreds of songs, and is part of a new group, Kurtis Parks and The Anthem, and they are releasing their first self-titled EP March 30th. This is actually his 10th album, which is just crazy to me since he’s just a few years older.. That equates to a LOT of song writing and album producing!

I got the chance to get a sneak peak listen (sometimes it pays to have connections!) of his band’s new self titled EP; and, by sneak peak, I mean I pretty much had to protect it with my life (kidding… sorta haha), but, I am allowed to share what I think about it, and it is great, I definitely recommend getting it! The sound is a really solid blend of good music and engaging vocals. The style of music is perfect for fun and easy listening while you get things done around the house or while running errands… but, then the lyrics pull you in and cause you to really pay attention and engage in the music… Needless to say, I am a huge fan and have several favorite songs already… Once the EP is released and I can actually give up more information on my thoughts of each song, I definitely will.

Until then, thankfully, I got the ok to share the new single City of Lights… Which, Kurtis also let me in on the fact that he and The Anthem are letting their first single off the new EP be downloaded for free tomorrow! (whoop whoop)

Head over to to download it for free (tomorrow March 1st)!… If you are anything like me, be sure to listen to it several times in order to let the full dynamic of the song register, it is pretty sweet!

Also, if you are in the DC area, the CD release show is happening on March 30th, 7:30pm at Barracks Row Theater in Washington DC. They are doing a benefit concert for Champions in Action, an organization that works with high risk and at risk street youth in Guatemala City (and most of you know Guatemala stole my heart years ago, as does working with teens…). The show is a $10 cover, $8 in advance, and the first 100 people in the door get a free pair of 80’s themed sunglasses!

Hope to see you March 30th, 7:30pm, at Barracks Row Theater!
Pre-order your tickets here 

Am I Ugly?…

I read an article last week about the latest fad of young girls posting on YouTube asking if they are pretty or ugly… My heart broke.

When I was in college the version of “Am I pretty or ugly” that a lot of my friends used was, “Hot or Not” … Remember that?.. I hope not, because I hope like me you stayed far.. far away from that site. I did not venture even remotely close to that website because truthfully, I did not want others to rate me… Partially because I know my worth is so much more than a button someone clicks, and partially (if I am being completely honest) it was because I was afraid of the answer I would get… And then, I was fairly sure I would become obsessed with checking to see if anyone had said “hot” or “not.”

Today, I read a blog by Pete Wilson, I do not know him personally, but I follow him on twitter and read his blog (love social media!). He posted a letter today from his friend Annie that speaks to a fear lots of women have.. It is well worth the read.

This has me thinking.. How sad that we (women/girls) are so broken and so hurting that we post videos to YouTube asking MILLIONS of others to tell us if we are pretty or ugly… At such young ages.

First, parents, PLEASE remove your daughters video, and spend some serious quality time establishing her worth in who she is because of Christ.. NOT because of her outward beauty. Remind her that she is worth so much more than that.

Second, whether you are skinny, fat, chubby, tall, short, big boned, blonde, brunette, redhead, tan, ghost-white…

You. Are. Beautiful. 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are worthy to be chased, and you are a treasure because of who you belong to, not because of your perceived imperfections.

Do not get me wrong.. I have my days.. I have my moments… standing in front of the mirror wishing my stomach was flatter, my posture was better, my calves were not as muscular, my skin was clearer, my (fill in the blank)… I have been there (last week actually).. If I am being totally honest, I struggle with these same thoughts on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. I have to stay vigilant in reminding myself that my worth has nothing to do with the extra weightloss I feel like would make me much more attractive… My worth is not attached to anything I am or am not, can or cannot do, have or do not have…

What if I was shorter or less muscular, would the guys like me then?.. No.

My favorite (I’ll punch you in the face) question:
“Why ARE you still single?” ..
It always brings out the (worst) best answers I have such as:
“It’s my violence that keeps the men at bay…” or “Because I’m actually a Witch (insert different word…) behind this smile and laugh…”

The reality is, only God knows why I am still single, why the men do not chase after me like they do my pretty friends (referencing the letter Annie wrote)… When I guarantee, my beautiful friends (I swear I have the highest ratio for beautiful friends possible) struggle with these same thoughts… The truth is also that, I am (you are) worthy, and I am (you are) beautiful.

Are you ugly? If you let Him, my sweet savior will whisper the truest response to that question: Not a chance.

Act of Valor Movie…

I saw the Act of Valor movie tonight, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were definitely parts not for squeamish, and other parts not at all good for those who get motion sickness while watching movies… However, if neither of those things apply to you, go see this movie.

I am naturally a huge fan of action movies, I enjoy as my roomie calls them “shoot ’em up, bang bang” over most any other kind of movie. Probably thanks to my brothers and dad, I really enjoy military movies, and appreciate when things are done right, and realistically… This movie, is definitely all of those things. The sacrifice made on both the sides of the men who are the Seals in the movie (who actually are Seals in real life as well), and their families is definitely highlighted in this movie.. Which I am very thankful for.

At the end, they show the names of all the Seals who have given their lives to protect us since 9/11, my friend counted and said there were 60 names.. That is so many… But, really considering how high the number COULD be, and the fact that is has been more than 10 years now, that is not very many at all…

There are several scenes in the movie that are just crazy, and amazing… and really awesome. The fight scene they go through to rescue the CIA agent that was taken captive is fantastic, and definitely on the side of “guns blazing.” Several points throughout the movie the camera takes the view of the Seal, and gives the feel of a Call of Duty style video game, including listening to the breathing… There were also a couple moments that were confusing as to why they were doing something a particular way as they set themselves up, then as you got to see it unravel, it was crazy to see how well they know and were prepared for what was going to happen.

While pretty much everything about this movie is awesome (even from this girl’s perspective), you cannot help but walk out of the movie completely thankful and so very humbled to know that this is a fictional story inspired by real people.. real families, and real sacrifice.

I highly recommend going to see this move.. and would even say it is a must see… (unless you’re a little squeamish).

True Joy…

My name is Krista Paula Beata (bee-ah-tuh). While it is unusual, and may sound odd, my name is very dear to me, there is an incredibly rich history behind my name… and I enjoy having two middle names.

You see, my parents named me (and all three of my siblings) based off of the meanings behind the names, they prayed for us, and felt compelled by the meanings they felt held true to who we were meant to be. My beautiful little sister and I both have two middle names, a tradition my older brother and sister in law kept when they had my most adorable niece (known to mankind), and one I will likely keep as well if I ever have a daughter. Making the history even deeper, both of my middle names come from my grossmama (German for grand-mama) and grosspapa (grand-papa), but even more than that, my name literally means “joyful little Christian.”

I love it because every part of my name and the history behind it fit me. I very much enjoy the uniqueness that is the story behind my name, I love that the meaning fits me exactly…

Joy has typically been a fairly tangible characteristic of mine, and even more than that, I (like my dad) have a fairly loud laughter that gets more comments than anything else. It took me a while, but now I love the laugh that is often just a little too loud, very distinctive, and causes my entire body to partake in the laughter. One of the things I have found is that my laughter has a direct correlation to my joy… I laugh easily and often… and usually loudly when joy is down the core.

Joy is a choice, joy is hard… But, joy is also a gift I am so thankful my parents have been praying over me since before I was born, and one that seems to be woven into the very fibers of who I am because joy is where I am the most comfortable in my own skin. 

There have definitely been periods of my life where I literally could not find joy, it was as if it had evaporated like the mist in the morning, and all that remained was a sweltering day followed by a pitch black night. During those times in my life, when I laid in bed at night, I remember thinking several times, “where has my joy gone?… Oh Lord, find it and bring it back to me…”

Every single time, the joy eventually comes back, not always right away, and sometimes it takes much… much longer than I would ever willingly choose, but it also brings with it an unexpected layer of faith that once again my sweet savior protected me through the heat of the day and carried me through the overwhelming darkness. Each time joy returned to my life, it brought with it an additional understanding of the difficulty it takes to choose joy, but also the absolute importance of joy as well.

True joy is not a result of naivety or a way of choosing not to see reality, there is something about true joy that ushers in hope, that paves a way for faith, and that replaces fear with peace. More specifically, the joy I am speaking about is not to every be confused with happiness, and definitely not to be mistaken for fake or fleeting. I am talking about an unmitigated joy to the very core. The type of joy that could only come from my Lord, my king. The kind of joy that resonates from within and somehow finds a way of reaching to the very core of those it touches as effortlessly as a feather wafting along on a breeze. True, authentic, unhindered joy… That is the joy that returns to me faithfully, brought to me like a perfectly wrapped gift from the God of the universe.

I am so thankful for true joy in my life.


So, I have clearly taken a little hiatus from blogging.. It is not that I did not have things to say or share (I pretty much always do), it is that I needed to instead get my life together, and spend some serious time just thinking…

I had an extended weekend, that turned into hang out time, organizing my life, cleaning my room… and let me just mention, I have the cleanest most organized room that I have had since… maybe ever. Since I have moved 14 times in 9 years, I typically never completely unpack. I either do not care enough to unpack everything I have and love or I do not have places to put it. Along with that comes months upon months of bills, paperwork, cards, letters etc.. that I usually stick in a box somewhere and catalog it away in my head to remember which box I put which month’s/year’s stuff in. So, this last weekend I bought file folders and commenced to cataloging and organizing for real. I filed (no joke) the last 8-10 months of bills and paperwork appropriately.. I cleaned, unpacked, and put everything In. Its. Place.

How bizarre.

How refreshing.

This must be what people feel like who have a stable place they have established “roots.”

It only took me 5 hours on Sunday night before I was able to look around my room and see it mostly accomplished.. I mean, there are still clothes to organize, hems to fix, and jeans to patch… but that can wait until another weekend.

I even went so far as to get a couple baskets for the mail that I will inevitably set down to take care of later… I am pretty sure I have never had my personal life this together. Weird.

On a totally different note, today marks day 8 of the 21 days or prayer my small group is doing… What a week it has been. This 21 days of prayer has been dramatically different than the last, and I have found this time that I more often than not, do not have words to speak… Almost as though I have spent more time praying with feelings than words… Which proves to be challenging for my mind to be still for extended periods of time, especially when it feels like I am not getting anything done.

But, through it all these two verses keep coming up as relevant (two versions of the same passage):

“But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.’”- Exodus 14:13-14 (NASB)

“Moses answered the people. He said, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. You will see how the Lord will save you today. Do you see those Egyptians? You will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you. Just be still.'” (NIRV)

Ok, I get it. I am working to be silent and still while the Lord fights for me…

This is… interesting.

Colossians 1:9-12…

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it,
        we have not ceased to pray for you
                                                           and to ask that    you may be filled    
with the knowledge  of   His will   in   all  
                                                     spiritual wisdom and understanding,
 so that   you    will    walk   in   a   manner   worthy   of   the   Lord,

to please Him in all respects

bearing fruit in every good work
                                            and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all power,
                                                  according to His glorious might,
                for the attaining of all  
                                     steadfastness and patience;
joyously giving thanks to the Father,
                                    who. has. qualified. us.
                                                               to share in the 
                                           inheritance of the saints in Light.”

~ Colossians 1:9-12

So Frustrated…

Today has been like nails on a chalkboard on the inside…

Not in the physical sense, meaning I am not ill nor do I feel like I am getting sick. I literally mean it feels like the aggravation you have when someone is grinding their teeth or scratching a chalk board…

I am lacking a serious level of patience, I have little grace today for those who frustrate me, and I certainly have no place in my vocabulary to be understanding and helpful.

I have no idea where this is coming from, and have spent a decent amount of time just praying for clarity.. maybe it is just me, maybe I feel like being a jerk for no reason, there is always the chance that I am feeling tension because of my own issues, and maybe it has more to do with my own pride than anything else.. I don’t know.

What I do know is I am aggravated, I lack patience, I am frustrated… and something is wrong. I wish I could place it. Slide the missing piece back into its place and move forward. But, instead I am sitting here just frustrated.

I want clarity. I want understanding… If I am supposed to be feeling this way so I listen to what God’s trying to tell me better, I am not sure it is having its desired effect, but I certainly am talking to God about it more.

All I know is I am aggravated and frustrated, at mostly nothing in particular… Awesome.