25 April 2012


I am a big fan of the essay series, THIS I BELIEVE. I keep saying I am going to submit an essay, but am not sure which “truth” about my life and belief system is the core foundational belief that supersedes every other belief. I believe in the theory of reciprocity. I believe I am “the” Favorite. I believe in the power of music – and food – and coffee. I believe the life is too short to keep people in your life who make you cry. And as Kevin Costner famously said in his movie, BULL DURHAM, “and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.” (yeah, it’s been a while since that has been a reality in my life, but I still believe in them.) I do NOT believe in “fate”, “luck” or “coincidences.” Instead, increasingly, I believe in “divine appointments.” I believe that God puts people in our path for specific divine interactions and purposes if we will just open ourselves up to the possibilities.

For most of my life, I have never felt “comfortable” witnessing to others about my relationship with God. I have never been a person who could just pass out a track or start up a conversation with random strangers about my relationship with God and what it means to me. I tend to be more of a “let my life show my relationship” type of witnesser. That doesn’t mean that I won’t talk about God with my friends, but the random stranger – yeah, not so much. Even with this blog, I feel like I am talking to my friends who already know me (and my craziness), so it is easy to talk about it. And even though increasingly more and more “strangers” are reading my thoughts and opinions, I guess I feel like I am a step removed from the witness. But because God has a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with His Favorite Child (that would be me), He has begun placing me in situations where I am compelled to speak up and out about Him.

This past Monday, I had a meeting at the bank to refinance my home. Before meeting with the attorney who would be handling the closing, I had a brief conversation with the mortgage broker, Mr. Carter, who’d been holding my hand through the process for the last month. During the course of our interactions, Mr. Carter had become aware of the release of my book and in fact, has a copy of the book in his possession. He asked how book sales were going and chastised me for not “shamelessly promoting [yourself] and the book every chance [you] get.” With that condemnation ringing in my ears, I walked into the refinance room and spent a good 45 minutes with the closing attorney, Mr. Jones. At the end of signing my life away (again) so that Mom and I could continue to have a roof over our heads (but at a lower interest rate and therefore, lower monthly payment – woo hoo!), I casually mentioned that I’d just published a book, and handed over a marketing card. When Mr. Jones asked what the book was about, I told him that it was about my relationship with Christ and how He shows up in my life in very simple, everyday, ordinary ways, but how that in itself is extra-ordinary to me.

All of a sudden, this ruddy Irish man turned even redder in complexion and his eyes filled with tears. Very quietly he said to me, “You don’t know how much I needed to hear that. Everyone has trials in their life and I am going through a very rough time in my life right now and today has been especially hard for me. I truly appreciate what you just said to me.” I was stunned! For 45 minutes, this man had laughed and joked with me and made what could have been a tedious process “enjoyable.” I would have never guessed he was “going through” anything. And if I had stayed true to form, I would have never opened up to him about me, my book or my relationship with Christ.

But God had a different plan – for me and for Mr. Jones and even for Mr. Carter, who feed into me that I needed to “shamelessly promote” myself – which led to the conversation that Mr. Jones and I were supposed to have. I am glad that I listened to the prompting and stepped outside my normal comfort zone in order to be a blessing.

And just as I was placed in the Wells Fargo bank on Monday, recently, two of my co-workers were placed in my path to bless me when I needed it. Without going into detail, a great big “thank you” to Marques Richards and Tamara Cotton for feeding into my soul when I needed the blessings they gave to me. Even when you are “the Favorite”, you need human encouragement and consolation and when I needed it, these two people gave it to me and I am forever grateful.

As you move through your day, I encourage you to keep your eyes open for the “divine appointments” God has set up for you. You will be blessed, as will the people with whom you interact.

Be blessed.

©2012 Kristina E. Smith

24 April 2012


It is a well-known fact that I am a lover of music – all music – well, except hip hop, rap, heavy metal rock, but (to me) most of that is just “noise” and not music anyway, so like I said, I am a lover of music. I have been blessed to have seen some phenomenal artists in my life. Classic foundational artists like the late Etta James, the incomparable Nancy Wilson (BEST CONCERT EVER!!!), and the amazing Harry Belafonte. Contemporary greats like the late Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Will Downing and Lalah Hathaway. Gospel giants like Commissioned, Take 6 and Richard Smallwood. And some lesser known (or critically acclaimed) artists like Bobby McFerrin (he has done sooo much more than DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY), Hiroshima, Pieces of 8, Dianne Reeves and Alex Bugnon.

Recently, a good friend (and fellow music-phile) and I were discussing which artists (living and dead) we really wanted to see in concert – and topping both of our lists was the legendary Roberta Flack. Every time she has ever performed in Atlanta, it has been on a Friday night – and as a “good Adventist Christian”, I have never been able to go. So, imagine my absolute JOY at hearing that she would be performing at this year’s Dogwood Festival – in a FREE concert – on a SATURDAY!! Granted, it was 7p – well within the Sabbath hours – BUT we’re talking about ROBERTA FLACK!!! Surely, God will understand.

And let me just say before I go any further: I think God does understand. But now is not the time for me to go into a long discourse about the holiness of the Sabbath hours and how most Adventists (whether they will admit in polite company or not) have a HARD time keeping ALL the hours of the Sabbath holy, especially in the summer months when the Sabbath hours don’t end until well into the night. That needs a whole blog to itself.

So, I hear about the concert and I start making my plans. I call my good friend to see if he can come to Atlanta to go with me. Nope. I call a girlfriend to see if she will go with me. Nope, she has a conflict. And while my mom’s eyes sparked for a moment, she bailed on going with me as well. The time of the concert is growing closer and closer – what’s a girl to do? For the record, I am not scared to go places by myself, but Piedmont Park (the venue of the festival) can be a little sketchy when the lights go out. Not sure EXACTLY where in the park Ms. Flack would be performing, I was anxious about parking and traffic and … you guessed it … I talked myself out of going by myself. Which turned out to be the wisest course of action. Right about the time of the concert, the skies above opened in a torrential downpour – well, in my neighborhood anyway. So, I took that as a sign that it was a good thing that I kept my happy behind at home.

Two days later, hearing people who went down to the park for the festival and who talked about the concert, I don’t think I missed anything (except checking that item off my “bucket list”). I have a feeling that Ms. Flack will come back to Atlanta before either she or I die – and it will be in a comfortable theatre venue with adequate parking on a night when I don’t have a conflict of conscience and when I will have a friend that will go along with me. I think God will make that happen for me.

What do you think?

Be blessed.

©2012 Kristina E. Smith

20 April 2012


As a “published author”, it PAINS me to write the following sentence: I have become a “collector” of books, as opposed to a “reader” of books. Argh! How did that happen? The whole purpose of books is for them to be read, enjoyed, and passed along to others to enjoy. I blame two good friends, the Brown sisters of Nashville, TN, for this new flaw in my reading habits. Well, them and the Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy phone. Thanks to Kindle, it is easy to download books to my phone and tablet for “later enjoyment”. Thanks to the Brown sisters, I am now subscribed to two email lists that tell me about FREE books to download and enjoy. (PixelInk and InspiredReads). So, I currently have over 100 books just sitting on my “shelves” waiting to be read.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the books that I have borrowed, renewed and still returned unread to my local public library recently. Yes, I still believe in the public library and REAL books. With the advent and popularity of e-books, a lot of people have moved away from the pleasure of holding a book in their hands, smelling the pages, and then curling up on the couch, in the bed, in a chair – and reading. Until recently, I could have said, NOT ME, but lately … I haven’t taken or made the time to do what I used to love to do.

Granted, it was a lot easier to find the time to read when I was using public transportation to commute back and forth to work. That was a guaranteed 30-45 minutes, twice a day, where I could get some reading in (if the rocking sway of the bus didn’t put me to sleep). It is a little harder to carve out the time to read now that I work an overnight shift and have to drive myself to and from work. (Oh the horror!)

Having just published my first book, I have a whole ‘nuther perspective. Was it worth pouring out heart and soul into a book if no one reads it? Several of my friends very enthusiastically purchased copies of my book when it was released – and I am extremely grateful for their support. I solicited feedback and have been humbled by some of the stories I have been told about how friends have been blessed by reading something I wrote. (God amazes me constantly that He trusts sinful beings like me to help promote Him, but that’s the subject for another blog on another day.) But, I have also been surprised to hear some of these same friends (when I ask them for feedback) tell me, “Oh, I haven’t started reading it yet”, followed by the reason the book is now sitting on their coffee table or bookshelf, waiting. And while I understand it – after all, I bought a book to support a fellow author friend of mine recently and haven’t cracked the spine once – there is always a moment of “well, why did you buy the book if you weren’t going to read it?”

I wonder if that is how God feels when we don’t pick up the book He wrote especially for us? The Bible is consistently the number one best-selling book in the world – and yet, how many of us are guilty of buying it and then putting on a shelf – forgotten and unread? I know I am guilty. I have various versions of the Bible – each one purchased with the intent of “this time, I’m going read this through”. Yeah, I have YET to read the entire Bible through in a year, no matter what version I have to read. I wonder if God sits there and shakes His head that He has provided all the guidance, instruction, encouragement, and examples we need to make it through any situation – and we don’t access it because our Bibles sit on the shelves, instead of being in our hands and hearts.

So, while it’s all well, good and convenient to have all the books I have in my virtual and literal collections, I think I will be better served when I actually start reading them. What do you think?

Be blessed.

©2012 Kristina E. Smith