31 December 2013

It’s the Little Things…

It's almost the end of another year, and I was reminded (once again) of the awesomeness of God – even in the "little things". My mom and I came to Savannah, GA to spend the last few days of 2013 in a nice, relaxing "away from home" atmosphere. We chose Savannah because it was nearby (about a 3.5 hour drive from our home in Atlanta, GA), we have family/friends in the area, and there's a lighthouse at Tybee Island, just 20 miles outside of Savannah, and I wanted to climb to the top of it. [I LOVE LIGHTHOUSES!!]

When I was in eighth grade (many many moons ago) I lived in Savannah with my maternal grandparents while my newly remarried mother went to New York to establish a home for me and my brother. It was only for about six months, but what a blessing, because before the year was over, my maternal grandmother would close her eyes in death. The memories of the love, care and good food she showered on my brother and me will forever live in my memory and heart. So, one of the things I really wanted to do on this trip was to go by the old house and see it again. I told a friend of mine, "it would be so cool if the owner of the house were sitting on the porch and would allow me to take a picture or something." But because we were driving by on a Monday … morning … around 11:00 am … when most people are at work, I wasn't holding out much hope for that happening. I didn't pray about it. I didn't ask God to make it happen. I just put it out there in the atmosphere through a Facebook private message conversation with a friend.

Mom and I got near the neighborhood – and let me tell you, I haven't been back to Savannah since I left in 1978. To say things have changed (even as they remain the same) is an understatement. Your world when you are in eighth grade (and not driving) is a lot different than when you have a car and go hither and yon, and head in the wrong direction and make wrong turns. But, despite some wrong turns, my mom and I finally made it to West 36th Street in Savannah, GA. But she didn't remember the street address, and I surely didn't. So, a quick phone call to my aunt back in Atlanta to ask if she knew. Nope. None of the houses on the street looked like the house I had in my memory and for a moment, I had a flash of despair. My aunt was convinced that the house had been destroyed by fire and was no longer standing. My mom thought that the house was the one that was boarded up and marked for condemnation. I had no clue, because the house I remembered from childhood has a long wraparound porch that my cousins, brother and I would run around on, and none of the houses on the street had that kind of porch. But then my mother remembered that it was the house right next to the car lot (which was still there) and viola! There was the house I was looking for.

(You know what's coming next, right?)

As I got out of the car to look at the house more closely, the front door opened and this young man (he was kinda cute, too, but a baby – like 25 years old) comes out and looks at me like, "who are you and what do you want?" I explain to him that his house used to be my grandparents' house and that I lived there in the 70s. I asked if I could take a picture of the house to share with my family, and he was like, "Sure." By this time, a lady (Ms. Rhonda) came out to see what was going on, and when I explained the situation, she broke into a big grin and said, "I've always wondered about the people who might have lived here." This started a conversation that lasted about 10 minutes, but what a balm to my heart. The house HAD been struck by lightning and pretty much abandoned until she and her family bought it and restored it. Some things were different (like, no more wraparound porch), but some things were still the same, like the summer kitchen in the backyard that has now been converted into office space. (I think that's what she told me). She was very gracious about allowing me to take pictures of the house, which I have since shared with some of my family members.

As I drove away, I thought, "Wow! Thank you God. Even the littlest desires of our hearts are important to you." I stand amazed that the Creator God, Who has MUCH more important things to worry about as we approach another New Year, saw fit to honor my simple request that I didn't even formalize into a prayer for Him to answer. What an awesome God we serve – I really ought to serve Him better. Pray to that end for me, and I'll do the same for you.

God bless you and keep you. Happy 2014!

25 August 2013

Pencil v. Ink Pen Friends

In case you don’t know this about me, I am BIG on relationships. Friendships mean a lot to me – even when they are not mutually reciprocal or are lopsided in importance when it comes to me and the other person involved. Maybe it stems from being an Air Force brat who was constantly moving, every other year, for the first decade of my life. Kinda hard to forge lifelong friendships when that is the reality of your life. So, once I was in a “stable” place, I started forging friendships that would last an eternity. My best friend from childhood, Beth, and I have maintained a friendship since seventh grade, and I could tell you how long ago THAT was, but then I would have to inflict bodily harm – and nobody wants that.

Then when I was transplanted to New York City, my home life was one of such turmoil that, once again, I was unable to forge friendships of a lasting sort. In a recent visit back to NYC, I met with a group of high school friends who told me that when I was in high school, I was perceived as “snooty” and “stuck up”. ME?! ARE YOU KIDDING? So, I shared with them the story of my life at that time (which I never shared with anyone while living it) and it became clear(er) to them why I acted the way in high school. It wasn’t about snobbishness – it was about survival. (But that’s another story for another day).

Then came college, where at “The Oaks” (Oakwood College, now University, in Huntsville, AL), I was again able to forge friendships with men and women that have stood the test of three decades. Scroll through my Facebook friends list and I will guarantee that at least 40% of that list comprises of the names of people that I either met at the Oaks, or have made the connection with because of our mutual love of that school. (ok, maybe 50%). And then there are the friendships from the theatre, and from church, and from work, and…the lists go on and on.

Recently, I realized (again), that while I may value these friendships and relationships, they are not equally valued by the person on the other side of it. And where before the realization of that would have put me in an emotional tailspin – not so much anymore. I have come to realize that there are some people who are “pencil” friends, and some who are “ink pen” friends. And you have to know who is who so that you don’t lose your mind when dealing with them.

The “pencil” friends are the ones who only “pencil” you into their lives when it is convenient or necessary for them. You know the ones who call you up when they need your help – or advice on a restaurant to go to – or to see if you know what is happening around town – or to get travel tips on a destination spot. The ones who when you call them, they rarely answer the phone, or if they do, they “will get back to you later”, or who, when you make lunch/dinner/theatre plans, always call you the day before (if not the day of) to cancel for a myriad of excuses … I mean, reasons. You know the ones. What I had to do was recognize and realize who those friends were, accept them as they are, and then decide whether having them on the periphery of my life was necessary. Some people, I decided were – and others, I have distanced myself from them – and for the most part, they haven’t even noticed. And I’m ok with that.

And then there are the “ink pen” friends. The ones who are there for you when the chips are down. The ones who answer every phone call – even the ones at 2:00 in the morning. The ones who, when they say, “Let’s meet for lunch, I haven’t seen you in a while” actually mean it and will meet you for lunch, even if it doesn't fit in with their normal lunch routine - just because they know YOU work a nocturnal schedule and sometimes being up at 12 noon is just not do-able. (Ok, maybe that's just me). The ones who are your friends, even when it is inconvenient and/or uncomfortable to be so. The ones who champion your causes, celebrate your successes, grieve your losses and just support you when support is what you need. That is the type of friend I strive to be. Not always successfully, but I think I do better than most.

There’s nothing (necessarily) wrong with being a “pencil” friend. If that is all you can be – then, that’s all you can be. But the thing about pencils, the marks they leave on the paper of your life, eventually fade and are erased away. There might be a faint impression or a spark of memory years down the road, but it’s the “ink pen” friends that make the lasting, indelible, mark on your life.

There is one “ink pen” Friend that we all can have. You know who I’m talking about. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” is a promise written in His book of love to His children. And I’m glad to know that when I am in the throes of depression or in the midst of a trial or suffering another heartache – when I reach out to my friends here on earth and they are not available, there is Someone who is always there to answer and listen and soothe whatever is going on. Jesus is the ULTIMATE INK PEN FRIEND. If you don’t know Him, maybe you should get to know Him. He’s a good Friend to have.

Be blessed.v ©2013 Kristina E. Smith

24 August 2013

My God is an AWESOME God...

I had a very interesting telephone conversation with a friend last night. She said to me, (paraphrasing): "You have a very unique way of looking at God and your relationship with Him. You say things that I have never even thought about..." Really? So, what led her to say this? What outlandish statements have I made?

1) "When I get to heaven, I need to have a conversation with God. I need to ask Him if the life I was given was the ONLY life I could have that would lead me to salvation? I mean, couldn't I have been married to Shemar or Denzel or Boris and still made it into the Kingdom?" I already know His answer: Uh, no, my child. The life you were given was the life you needed to live in order to draw you closer to Me." And I will be ok with that - AFTER my transformation - because right now, HE AND I NEED TO HAVE A TALK!

2) I also know WHEN I will have that conversation with Him: See, it is my belief that when Jesus returns to take us to heaven, there will be a 1,000 year period (known as the Millenium) where the saints of God will be able to ask any questions they have, review any books they feel they need to review (like, why did SHE make it up here when HE didn't?). All this so that we will be satisfied that God is ... well, God. And that He made no mistakes in who was saved and who was lost. [SIDENOTE: That is why I have to be sure I make it to heaven, to see for myself that my blood-stained book of forgiven sins is indeed blood-stained. Y'all don't need to know ALL my dirt.] Anyway, I figure the line to talk to Jesus is gonna be pretty long when we initially get there, so I've already put it out there that I want to talk to Him on my birthday, year 898, so we can have to conversation mentioned in statement #1 above. A pastor friend of mine, upon hearing me say this, told me, "Kristina, when you make it to heaven, you will forget all about asking God any questions." My response to him: "Maybe so, but the God Who loves me will remember for me, and on that day, He will tap me on my shoulder and say to me, 'Uh, Kristina, aren't we supposed to be having a conversation today?' - and I'll be like, "oh yeah" - and I'll ask my question, He'll answer it and then I'll invite Him to my birthday party on Pluto. [I can't wait to visit Pluto - it was always my favorite (non)planet.]

3) (and this was what prompted my friend's statement today): When I get to heaven, my mansion is going to be a beachfront mountain cabin, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE the beach and adore the mountains - so why can't I have both? Ok, here on earth, no such place exists - you don't have mountain regions next to large bodies of water. But in heaven, anything is possible. I remember having this conversation YEARS ago with my godsister, Linda, and another good friend, Sue, and them shaking their heads at my imagination, but watch! You are all invited over for a Sabbath meal in said mansion.

4) Finally, one of my favorite foods is LASAGNA. Just call me "Garfield' or as my grandparents used to call me, "The Lasagna Monster". Loves me some lasagna, and have often remarked that heaven will not be "heaven" if there is no lasagna. Now, this has prompted all kinds of debates about how we will revert to the original diet when we get to heaven (fruits, nuts, grains). But won't there be cows in heaven? Won't they still need to produce milk (meaning, I can have me some cheese) and it can be veggie lasagna, I'm good with that (since we won't be killing animals anymore). Why can't I have me some lasagna in heaven? A friend of mine hearing this said, "You know, God could work it out that there will be a tree in your yard that bears purple fruit (my fav color) that tastes just like lasagna." See! That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! He could! (Probably won't, but He could!)

All that to say this: I think we limit the awesomeness of God. I think we forget that He knows us, loves us and wants us to have the desires of our hearts - not only when we join Him in heaven, but also while living here on earth. We just have to open ourselves up to the possibilities of His power and then stand back and watch Him work it out on our behalf.

I also know this: I truly need to serve Him better to ensure that I am on the right side of salvation, so that I can prove all the naysayers to my beliefs wrong when I serve purple fruited lasagna at my birthday party on Pluto. By the way, you're all invited.

01 June 2013

SERMON NOTES: “Suffering and Comfort” – Pastor John Nixon, II

I don’t take notes during sermons at church. Haven’t for a while. But today’s sermon, preached by our new Pastor at my church, was one that was heaven sent and noteworthy. When Pastor Nixon started his sermon, he remarked that “some of you will not like this sermon. But it’s coming STRAIGHT FROM THE BIBLE, so you know it will be true, and that will make it ok with you.” (Ok, my paraphrase of what he said, but you will see my point by the time you finish reading this.)

The scripture for his sermon was 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. When it was read in church, I was … put off. Don’t know if that is the right phrase, but Paul, the author of the book, has a way of tangling up stuff so that you don’t immediately know what he is talking about. (Ever heard of that verse: “the good that I should do, I don’t, but the evil that I shouldn’t, I do”? Yeah, that’s an example of a verse written by Paul.) Anyway, so I hear the verses read and go, “Ok, where is he (the pastor) gonna go with this confusing mess of scriptures about suffering and comfort and salvation?” Well, here is where he went:

POINT ONE: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: God does not say that you will not suffer, but He does say, that in your suffering, He will provide comfort.

All of us go through stuff. As Christians, that is just part of the package. There are some trials that you (and I) will go through JUST BECAUSE we are followers of Christ. For these trials, God comforts you freely in proportion to the suffering you suffer. (Ok, now I’m beginning to sound like Paul! Ugh!) In other words, as long as you are in the will of Christ, doing what He asks you to do, there will be trials. There will be people who will despise you JUST BECAUSE you serve God. As a result, they will persecute you, strive to cause you harm, make your life miserable. In these trials, you can rest in the peace and the comfort, that God gives you – knowing that He will work things out for your good.

But then there are the trials that are the result of our own stubbornness and foolishness and our will NOT to do God’s will. In those trials, we will never have the peace of God. Ok, when Pastor Nixon said this, I went still to my very core. I won’t go into details, but I KNOW a trial I am going through that is a direct result of my unwillingness to give up something that God has commanded me to give up. (Stubborn to the core). Y’all pray for me. Just because I am His Favorite don’t mean that I am not also spawn of the debla. And I’ll leave that there and move on.

POINT TWO: 2 Corinthians 1:5: God provides comfort in your suffering, so that you will provide comfort to others when they are suffering.

How many of you know that until YOU personally experience something traumatic: loss of a loved one, go through a divorce, miss a step in your walk of faith – you do not have sympathy for others going through that same trial? If you have never grieved the loss of a parent, you cannot say to someone who just lost theirs “I know what you are going through.” BUT ONCE YOU HAVE, you are never the same again. God uses our trials, our sufferings, and the comfort that we receive from Him during those times to help us be able to minister, strengthen and uphold others when they go through the same or similar trials. I didn’t have the heart I have for “caregivers” until I became one myself. I bet you can emphasize with this reality as well.

POINT THREE: 2 Corinthians 1:6-7: God allows suffering in order that you can find salvation in Him.

Some trials that we go through are placed in our lives for the sole purposes of drawing us closer to Christ in order that we can be saved eternally with Him. Now THAT is a paradigm shifting statement if you really think about it. We go through things – trouble in our family lives, loss of loved ones, stress on our jobs – because, it is through our trials, our suffering, our tribulations, that we draw closer to Christ and the salvation He offers us. Wow. How many of you know the TRUTH that when you are going through something, you spend more time in the Word, on your knees, and in the presence of the Lord? I know this is true for me. I wish it weren’t so, but when things are “going good”, it is easier NOT to do the things that strengthen your relationship with Christ so that you can handle the times when things are not “going good”.

So, that’s what I took away from Pastor Nixon’s sermon today. I wonder what else I might have taken away, if I’d taken notes.

Be blessed.

©2013 Kristina E. Smith

If you want to watch the sermon for yourself, see what I missed, our church services are broadcast over the Internet at http://www.decaturchurch.comcastbiz.net/decatur_rebroadcast.html. Search for today’s date (June 1, 2013) or the title SUFFERING AND COMFORT. I guarantee, if you open your heart, you will be blessed.

09 April 2013

Alternate Realities..

I have been thinking a lot about the "What if"s in my life. For example, what if I'd gone to Howard University in Washington, DC (on a full scholarship, mind you) instead of Oakwood College (now University) in Huntsville, Alabama when I graduated from high school? What if I'd pursued a career in journalism (my passion in high school) instead of choosing a "safe, sensible" career major like accounting (which I don't even use in my current career choice)? What if I wasn't a "foodie"? What if I'd been born into the Catholic/Baptist/Buddhist/anything but Adventist faith? What if my answer to that marriage proposal has been "yes"? What if I had chosen to have children? What if I have been born into a different family or in a different time in history or in a different part of the world? What if I really were an only child? What if Shemar Moore was as much in love with me as I am with him? What if I knew what bacon tasted like and loved it as much as some of my friends do? What if...what if...what if...

There are a lot of science fiction movies that have explored this possibility when offering up the theory of alternate universes and/or alternate realities. There is always the implication that the hero or heroine's life is "better" whenever they made different choices at key times in their lives. But I somehow believe, deep in my heart, that you are who you are and that, because there is a plan for your life, you end up where (and with whom) you are supposed to end up. Does that mean I believe that our lives are preordained and we have no control over our lives? Not at all. It's hard to explain, but let me take a stab at it.

Take any regular "ideal" family - a mom, a dad, two to four kids, a pet of some kind, a home full of love and a drive to be all that you can be. This mom and dad raise all of their children the same - and yet, due to personal choices made by each child, one becomes a responsible, give back to society, successful family person; another ends up on drugs, irresponsible and feeling like nothing is his/her fault and that everyone "owes" him or her because s/he never asked to be here anyway; another one gets pregnant out of wedlock; and the final child just takes off to live his/her own life in their own way. Of course, these are extremes, but we all know a similar scenario. How does it happen that children, all raised the same way, with the same set of values, mores and guidelines, sometimes turn out so differently? Because of their personal choices and the decisions they make along the way.

Most people who know me know the story of my teenage years in New York. For years, I didn't talk about what happened behind the closed doors of our home in the Bronx, but as I've grown older, I have recognized the value - not only for me, but for others - in being honest about that time in my life. I strive to always be conscious of that fact that while it is my story to tell, I must be respectful to the fact that it is also the right of the others impacted by the circumstances to either tell or not tell their own truths about that time. Now, having made that as clear as mud, and having said that as cryptically as possible, let's move on. One of the things that I learned from that experience was that I could either use the experience as a "stepping stone" to overcome all of the negative things that were said to me over the course of years in New York. I could prove my stepfather wrong and become so much more than he said I would be. Or I could use his words as a "stumbling block" or an "excuse" to become exactly what he said I would become (and believe me, there wasn't a lot of good in what he tried to feed into my psyche and soul). Let's not get it twisted - there was a time in my life where I did try to live up (or should I say, "live down") to all of his predictions. It is only by God's grace that I didn't stay on the path that I started down in my mid-to-late 20s.

With God's help and patience and leading, I eventually got off the "stumbling block" path and chose the "stepping stone" path for my life. I finished college (yeah, it took me 8 years instead of 4, but I did it). I bought my first home at the age of 32 and praise God, have never been late with a single payment and have been able to bless and be a blessing to others through it. A year ago, God blessed and I wrote, edited and published my first (maybe not last?) book. And while I never imagined that I would be single at this age or that I would have spent the last 16 years living with my mother (I mean, I left home at 17 so that that would NOT be my reality!) - I have learned to make life as beautiful as I can right where I am. I am not trying to say life has been easy, or that I always took the high road , or that I always made the right decisions along the way ... but here I am - still standing, still strong, and still praising the God I was introduced to as a child.

And I wouldn't change THAT reality for anything in the world.

12 March 2013


There is an interesting phenomenon happening across the world these days. People who never had a voice are finding their voices and are speaking out – for some, it is for the very first time; for some, it is against oppression and tyrannical dictatorships; for some, it is against abuses of all kinds: mental, physical and spiritual. People are speaking out against their governments, against big business and especially (it seems) against the current President of the United States.

Students rose up when a young man was brutally killed in the streets and all of a sudden, we had an “Arab Spring” (Summer, Autumn and Winter). A young Yemen girl, sold in marriage to someone three times her age (by her father!!), fled to a court, appealed to a judge and was awarded emancipation in a country where girls are undervalued and not appreciated.

Voices are being lifted in song, praise, poetry slams, reality shows, blogs, vlogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, self-published manuscripts, YouTube videos, photographs, fashion, music, you name it, it’s being done – voices, voices everywhere.

Normally, I would applaud this liberation of the vocal (or mental) chords. And I do. Deep down in my heart. But along with this “freedom” to express (our)selves, I am noticing a disturbing trend: People tend to want everyone to listen to their voice, without extending the same right to the audience of whom they are demanding attention. The last political campaign in my beloved United States is a prime example of this. I cannot tell you how many times I had to bite my tongue when conversing with people of differing political views. They wanted to rant, rave, yell and scream at me without giving me a chance to (calmly) state my position on the matters. It appeared as if their voices mattered, but mine did not. You can only imagine how THAT went over.

And everyone knows my love of social media. But lately, even there, (maybe especially there) my voice and the voices of several of my friends are being stymied, criticized or ridiculed. It seems like people are working on the premise of “Well, ‘your’ voice isn’t the same as ‘my’ voice. So, one of these voices must be wrong, and it must be ‘yours’ because ‘mine’ is right.” People have begun using the power of their voice to become instant armchair critics of everyone else:

• “You are too critical of people, you need to be nicer.”
• “You post too many pictures.”
• “I don’t like that you are always posting inspirational quotes…nobody is THAT perfect.”
• “How come you change your profile picture every day?”
• “Why do you have so many ‘rules’ in your group page?”

For the record, for anyone who is my Facebook friend (or who otherwise have access to my page through a network of mutual friends), if you have a problem with my page, my posts, my many (many) pictures of food, cloud formations, sunsets, me – GET OVER IT!! To paraphrase a song that was popular in the 60’s: It’s my page and I’ll post what I want to. Now, mind you, I strive to be respectful of my family, friends and relatives who don’t want their pictures splashed all over Facebook – if you tell me, don’t – I won’t. I expect the same from you. (But I really am beginning to resent the automatic statement spoken almost the minute after I take a picture: "I wonder how quickly will this be on Facebook?" Believe me when I tell you - I DON'T POST EVERY PICTURE I TAKE! Geesh. But I digress...

I know you are wondering how I’m going to tie this all up in a nice, spiritual bow as I normally do in my blogs. (Yeah, so am I.) All I can come up with is this (and it’s a bit of a stretch, but here goes):

I am striving (again) to read through the Bible this year. Currently, I am in the book of Joshua, and have just finished reading how God dealt with the children of Israel (for 40 loooong years!) before bringing them into the Promised Land. Shortly after leaving Egypt, the Israelites camped at the base of Mount Sinai. It was there that God handed them the Ten Commandments, written with His own finger. In it, God basically told the Israelites, “I have chosen you to be My people and I will keep the promises that I made to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. BUT, I have a couple of rules that I want you – no, scratch that – that I DEMAND that you obey in order to reap the benefits of My blessings.” In other words, God said “This is MY page – if you don’t like it, you will be cursed.” If you think I’m making this up, check the following facts: 1) God gave them rules; 2) they broke them (over and over again); 3) therefore, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness; and 4) finally, NONE OF THE ORIGINAL children who left Egypt (except Caleb and Joshua) made it into the Promised Land, not even Moses. See, God had a voice and He used it also.

I am not saying to squelch or quiet your voice. By no means. Use it loudly and proudly. Just be respectful of the voices of other people – and be mindful of any “rules” that might be in place.

Be blessed.

© 2013 Kristina E. Smith Tuesday, March 12, 2013

27 January 2013


You may have heard this already, but I was BLESSED to attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC recently and saw Barack H. Obama sworn in, for the second and final time, as President of the United States of America. The picture attached is a picture I captured just as the sun was peeking over the crest of the Capitol Building, and is one of my favorites from that auspicious day.

I did not attend the inauguration four years ago. I chose to spend it with my then-89 year old grandmother, in the warmth and comfort of her home in Palatka, FL. Watching her emotional response to seeing a Black man sworn into office was worth missing out on the crowds, cold and excitement of Monday, January 20, 2009.

In planning for this inauguration, there was a lot of concern about the weather: would it be frigidly cold again? What should be the plan of attack when it came to dressing for the event? Would the excitement of being in “the place” be enough to keep a sista warm? Yeah, all of that ran through my head as I packed in Atlanta to travel to our nation’s capital. The secret: layers, layers and more layers.

When my lil sister and I got to our seats on the Capitol lawn, we remarked that the weather was actually pretty pleasant. Especially after the sun rose and shone down brightly on the crowds gathered. In fact, at one point, the comment was made about how “balmy” the weather was and how good the sun felt touching our skin. It was all roses, sunshine and romance then.


The difference in the temperature was palpable, immediate and noticeable. It wasn’t long before my toes felt like frozen popsicles and the tip of my nose was surely as bright as my hot pink “pop of color” jacket. Gloves were pulled out and put on, then the second layer of gloves applied. Hunkered down in my sheepskin coat, there was a time when all you could see of my face was a pair of dark brown eyes peeking through the space between my hood and my coat collar. Yeah, I shoulda taken a picture of THAT, but it was too cold to be holding a camera. The wish was often expressed, “I sure wish the sun would come back out from behind the clouds.”

Notice, I never questioned where the sun went. I KNEW it was hidden behind the clouds. I just wanted it to make an appearance. I just wanted it to show back up. Anyone who has read my blog with any regularity should know where I am going with this: How often are we basking in the glory of the Sonshine, taking for granted the warmth of His love for us, only to have a cloud come by and mask or hide the Son from our view? It may be the cloud of depression, or the loss of a loved one, family member or friend. It may be the cloud of unemployment, or disappointment by a spouse or in a child, friend or parent. It may be the cloud of “oh no, I done messed up again, how will God ever forgive me (again) for this sin?” There are a lot of clouds that come our way that seem to block the blessing of the Son shining in and on our lives.


Even when it seems like He is hiding, and no where to be found – HE IS STILL THERE. When it seems like He has moved away and on to bigger and better things than you and your hurt, despair and anguish – HE IS STILL THERE. Knowing that, holding on to that, keeping that knowledge buried in my heart and soul, has helped me overcome a lot of hurt, pain, anguish, despair, self-loathing, and other negative things in my life.

Whenever you are in a valley. Whenever it seems like the clouds are overshadowing every aspect of your life. Whenever it feels like you will never be warm again…just remember, the Son (Jesus) is still there. And just like the sun did break through again on inauguration day, the Son will shine again in your life, on your problems and issues, at the appointed time. Hold fast to His Hand. Trust in His promises. And know that He loves YOU with an everlasting love.

Be blessed.

©2013 Kristina E. Smith

25 January 2013


It is only 25 days into the New Year and already, the news of four deaths within my church family has reached my ears. On Monday, I will attend my second funeral of the year. It should be my third, but I was out of town and missed one. Already I am wondering if this year will be a repeat of 2009, when I stopped counting the number of funerals I attended when it hit 30 and we were only in June, with six months remaining in the year.

Death is a part of living, and I have reached that age where it is inevitable that I will experience the passing of my parents, my friends’ parents, my aunts and uncles – blood related and heart-tied, seasoned saints and other elders in my life. It’s a reality and foregone conclusion. It is just a fact of life - and on some level, I accept that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I don’t have to like the fact that I can never pick up the phone and hear that voice again. I don’t have to like the fact that I will walk into church and never hear that booming voice or see that wide smile or feel that gentle handshake ever again. I don’t have to like it – but I do have to accept it as a part of life.

Acceptance. Easier said than done. However, as with all things, I have a choice. I can either spend the next few days wallowing in the morass of sorrow that threatens to overtake me when I think about the souls gone and departed. And there have been moments when that is all I want to do: go crawl in a corner and just have a good ole-fashioned, ugly, mess up all the makeup, don't even try to come and take a picture, cry. Yep, I could do that. Or, I can cherish the memories of the good times we had together on this side of heaven – knowing that, if I live my life faithful to what I believe, I will see them again on the other side of heaven. And when that happens, there will be no further separation because of death. We will live forever and ever in God’s presence and with each other.

I chose to remember and cherish. Remember the good works of those who have passed on. Remember the words of encouragement, love and support. Remember the laughs and smiles. Remember the admonitions to care for those less fortunate and to share the bounty that God has blessed me with. To honor the memories of those who have been laid to sleep until His return by living my life to the fullest and by keeping their memories alive in my heart and actions.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 reminds us that:
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
Nothing happens without it being the prescribed time for it to happen. Life, death, happiness, sorrow – it is all a part of the cycle of life. I may not like this particular “season” in my life right now, but I know that it is only for a little while – and then the next “season” will come. E’en so, come quickly.

Be blessed.

©2013 Kristina E. Smith

11 January 2013


But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. - Matthew 6:3 (KJV)

One of the things that I want to do this year is participate “daily” in engaging in my world through random acts of kindness (“RAOK”). The acts don’t have to be big, or cost a lot (or any) money – all they have to be is … random.

So far, I have been pretty successful. I have randomly bought coffee for a person standing behind me in line at my neighborhood Starbucks. I’ve purchased pizzas and delivered them as a surprise lunch to the post office employees where my mail is delivered every day. I have written (and mailed) numerous cards – thinking of you, get well, thank you, birthday – you name it, I’ve probably sent one out already this year. Small things that I pray have brought smiles to faces, brightened gloomy days, and touched a heart or life in a special, significant way.

Today, I posted a status about the pizza delivery with my friends on Facebook. Probably not the best move.

All of the comments in response to the status post have been wonderful – and complimentary. Which, on some level, embarrasses me since my reason for posting the status was not for accolades or congratulations or statements of “you are so wonderful.” Not even a little bit. It really and truly was posted to share the reaction to the gesture with my friends. The looks of surprise and thanks from a group of people who are often publicly reviled as being lazy or hostile or any number of other negative things. Postal workers don’t get enough love, if you ask me. Another reason for the status post was to hopefully encourage others to step outside their personal comfort boxes and take small steps to share themselves with their world.

As the accolades and commendations poured in (27 likes and 6 comments at last count as I write this blog), I was reminded of Jesus’ words in the first few verses of Matthew 6. He tells us that when we do stuff, we should not stand up and tell everyone what we have done. Matthew 6:1 (KJV) says: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” I believe the key words in this text are “to be seen of them”. In other words, it all boils down to “motives” when it comes to doing good deeds. Are you / Am I doing the deed so that others can say, “Ooo, look at what a great Christian (or person) she is!” ? If that is the case, then shame on you and shame on me.

The Bible further tells us in Matthew 6:4 (KJV), “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” In other words, it may not be my “job” to encourage others to show kindness randomly by posting/sharing what I have done. I just need to do it, and let the chips … or, in this case, blessings … fall where they may.

So, having said that, I believe that going forward, I won’t post statuses about my RAOK. I will log them in my journal and keep them close to my heart. I will also choose to believe that I have great friends – and that maybe they will read this blog post and make a decision within their own hearts to randomly touch the lives of those around them in positive, meaningful, heart-rich ways.

Be blessed.

©2013 Kristina E. Smith

04 January 2013


I have posted (many times before) about the value of scheduling, how I love my calendars and how important it is to have a “routine” – especially when it comes to devotional time with the Lord. Last year, I dropped the ball – and dropped it HARD! As a result, my routine got skewed. I didn’t have – ok, truth moment: I didn’t take the time to have daily time in prayer and meditation with the Lord. I didn’t write blogs focused on His goodness, grace and mercy. My focus shifted from Him to me, and that ain’t neva good. Some relationships were scratched up and bruised because I didn’t have the proper discernment to see what was actually going on behind the scenes with my friends, and probably didn’t use the greatest levels of tact as I told them how they needed to get it together. Yeah, 2012 was not my “best year ever” when it came to that. So, with the New Year, I am striving to refocus. Spending time in devotion, prayer and meditation as soon as I open my eyes. Instead of immediately reaching for the smartphone and clicking the Facebook app to see what my friends have been doing while I was asleep, I am reaching for a devotional, MORNINGS WITH JESUS, published by the wonderful people at Guideposts, and attempting (again) to read through my Bible in a year, using the YouVersion Bible application. I know we are only 4 days in, but already I see a difference. When you start the day with the Lord, your “tone” for the day is set differently than when you don’t. Of course, as soon as I get off my knees – cause you GOTTA pray every day to start your day – I jump on Facebook. (see reason above – I’m nosey like that). And usually, what I have just read in devotion, comes to the forefront on my favorite social website. For example, today my morning devotional read was talking about setting long term goals – or, as the writer said, “long time dreams.” Plans that won’t be fulfilled in a week. Plans that are gonna take faith and trust and reliance on the Lord to come to fruition. As I read, I was like, “Hmm, yeah – I don’t have any of those.” Then, I jump on Facebook and one of the first posts that I read from a friend admonishes me that (paraphrase coming): “When you have a goal or a dream, keep it to yourself. The greatest asset your opponent has over you is gaining knowledge of your intentions. The greatest strength you have over your opponent is keeping your intentions to yourself. “ I agree wholeheartedly. For example, when I was deciding in 2011 to publish my first book, I kept mum about it. Very few people, including my mother – who I live with! – knew what I was doing. The five women who helped me proofread the “final” draft were pretty much sworn to secrecy, and even within my circle of friends, it was a surprise to them when I just handed them the actual, bound copy of the book. My mom asked me, “Why didn’t you tell me?” and my response was, “I didn’t want you all up in my head, asking ‘How is it going? Have you heard from the publisher? When is it going to be released?’” Some goals you have to keep to yourself. So, why am I putting it out there that I want to have a closer walk with the Lord this year? Why set myself up for the comments that are sure to come: “Are you still doing that prayer and devotion thing every morning?” Because, sometimes, you need to be accountable to someone other than yourself. In Romans 15:14, it states: And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. And in Exodus 17:8-12, we are given the example of Aaron and Hur, who held up Moses’ hands whenever he got tired, so that the Israelites could prevail in their battle against Amalek. In other words, it is my hope and prayer that, as I move through the year, if I falter, YOU will be there to “hold up my hands”, “hold my feet to the fire”, and encourage me to get back on track. In return, if you ask me to, I will do the same for you. ‘Cause the only way any of us is gonna make it through whatever lies ahead in 2013, is at the feet of Jesus. Be blessed. ©2013 Kristina E. Smith

02 January 2013


Wordle: Innuendo in Your Words

Let’s get something straight from the very beginning:  I LOVE the art of communication.  I love having a pretty extensive vocabulary.  I love words and the power they have.  I love being able to express myself in writing and vocal conversations with my friends.  I love reading and all the adventures inherent in immersing yourself in a book that takes you far, far away, just by the turn of a page.  I love all that.  HOWEVER, I learned early in life that everyone doesn’t feel the same way I do.  Just because you have a thought in your head, and have the vocabulary to express it – sometimes, maybe a thing is better left unsaid.

So…early on in my life, I learned the power of the innuendo.  I learned that I could say what I wanted to say, all while implying that I was saying something else.  I learned that mental pictures, painted by the crafty use of string of words, placed together with precise detail, would garner the desired result – without (necessarily) exposing any nefarious thoughts I was seeking to express at the time.  It especially worked well with members of the opposite sex because men are visual creatures.  Give them an image – mental or actual – and they will run with it every time.  (Sorry guys, but you KNOW this to be true.)

However, lately, I am finding out that it is more important to just be forthright and honest with people.  To stop hiding behind the innuendo and just say what I mean – but more importantly, to mean what I say.  It tends to take people off guard because we live in a society where honesty is NOT the first thing people give each other.  Between the lies we promote on Facebook about the “fabulosity” of our lives to the 140 characters we tweet on Twitter to prove how witty and clever we are – we are rarely honest with ourselves, much less with each other.  So, when I step out from behind the innuendo armor that I have worn for so long, and state my views and feelings with honesty and openness, people are taken aback and I get the nervous response, “Kristina, you are so funny – or silly – or…whatever.”  Nope, I am just being honest.

Our words have power (or they should, anyway).  In Luke 4:32, it states:  “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.”  When Jesus walked this earth, the people followed after Him because He was unlike anyone they’d ever seen before.  He was not like their local priest or elder or prophet.  He spoke the truth – and He spoke it with power and conviction and certainty – because HE knew the truth of what He was saying.  He didn’t speak in innuendos for nefarious reasons.  His parables were teaching lessons, usually drawn from nature, that the people could relate to and take home with them to ponder and understand.

I have been blessed to have two male friends in my life who, lately, have really been pulling me up whenever I cross the line with my statements of innuendo.  And, at first, I was “mad” at them.   But I realize that God places people in your life for HIS purpose and not necessarily for your own.  So, I’m just gonna take the verbal chastisement and (hopefully) learn my lesson.  Pray for me to that end, won’t you?

Be blessed.
©2013 Kristina E. Smith

Wordle: Innuendo in Your Words


Happy 2013!  Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know it has been a while since I have posted anything to my blog, but I’ma do betta in 2013.  Or, at least that is my goal and intention.  2012 was a remarkable year with a LOT of changes, excitement, challenges, and activity – and somehow, in all the hoopla, writing took a back seat.  But in 2013, I pray to put it front and center again.  (Fingers crossed – toes too!)

Country singer star, Brad Paisley, in referring to the New Year, is quoted as saying “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one.”  Interesting thought, when you consider the veracity of it.  Each year, we are given a “clean slate” – or so we like to believe.  A clean slate to start all over – to eat better, exercise more, spend more time with friends and family, seek new adventures, etc.  There is just something about January 1st that makes you feel positive and happy and hopeful and ready to take on new challenges.  And while it is a faulty premise – January 1 is a day just like any other day when you think about it – we NEED New Years Day because it does hold within it, that hope for “better.”

But, isn’t “better” always within your grasp?  Isn’t the power to change always within reach?  Can’t you promote change on January 1st or May 15th or my personal favorite day of the year, November 14th?  On any one of those days (or any other day in the year), you can CHOOSE to write your story, change your circumstances, broaden your horizons.  It is within your power.  You just have to get up off the couch, put down the potato chips and do it.  (Or maybe that is just me…)

As a rule, I don’t make resolutions.  After all, why frustrate myself when I traditionally fall short of the mark, usually by mid-January?  I am going to set some goals for myself.  Maybe I will share them with you all later.  But regardless of my stance on the whole “resolution” thing, I do take great joy in hearing about my friends’ resolutions, mandates and goals for 2013.  Lose weight, eat better, love more, argue less, promote kindness – all good things to do and embody into the fabric of your life.  I wish them well.

365 blank pages.

What are you going to do with yours?

Be blessed.
©2013 Kristina E. Smith