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