Saturday, April 9, 2016


I'm just finally sitting down to my computer for today.

I spent the day doing normal things. Garage saling. Grocery shopping. Picking out some paint. Buying a pair of pants (I really need to lay off the Dr. Pepper...), just to detail a few errands. Very normal things.

Five years ago was oh-so-different. "Normal" was a distant thing, something I dreamt of but worried would never be part of my life again. For eight months, I'd lived in a hospital room, sleeping mostly on small pull out couches or, more often, pull out chairs beside my daughter's hospital bed. I'd relocated my whole life there. I had a "desk" set up to work from there as much as possible so she could continue to have insurance. I as much as ignored my other children much to my hindsight regret. I manically bought her clothes, hoping, believing, that she would make it home to wear them. But normal? Oh, something so sweet, so taken for granted--I just wasn't sure it existed anymore.

Five years ago, as I type, we were getting a ray of hope. A glimpse that just maybe, someday, we could experience some version of a new normal.

Annabelle's new heart was arriving. I remember specifically because it was around 7pm that they called us, telling us that she was prepped and ready to receive the heart, and the heart was almost there.

And even though I tried REALLY hard not to think of it, lest I completely have a nervous breakdown, a small part of my heart wept. Wept at the realization that my daughter was having a chance at "normal" while another family was having that ripped away from them. Their lives would really, truly never be the same. They were experiencing what I had nightmares of for 8 very long months. A reality that I lived in as a possibility every single day of Annabelle's life. That my child would die.

Five years later, I look at my sweet girl. Life is not perfect. Goodness, is it ever?!? The road has not always been an easy one, but goodness, is it EVER? But my beautiful daughter--- oh I am so thankful.

So thankful for a family who gave a precious gift in their time that their world was being wrecked. That they allowed a sweet little girl (Oh, sorry, BIG GIRL, as Annabelle so often corrects me lately!) to live.

This sweet girl loves all things Hello Kitty and pawprints. She is an amazing singer and even though you don't always understand the words, the melody is almost always 100% spot on. (Her aide at school told me she was singing a Chris Tomlin song while she was swinging the other day.) She loves smiles and giggles and being silly. She LOVES playing with her big sisters and (mostly) loves playing with her doggy Hope. (Hope is big and sometimes overwhelming!)

She loves pizza and spinach and goldfish and dipping everything in sight in either ranch or ketchup. She's come from not eating a thing one year and being fed via a tube to eating everything she get her hands on with gusto.

She is not perfect. Sometimes her sillies come out when they should stay in our pockets for silly time. Sometimes she screams when she should talk nicely. Sometimes she throws a fit when she doesn't get what she wants. She has some really big fears that we are trying to tackle as gently as possible, not the least of them are "pokie pokies" that she has to get WAY to often.

So today, we celebrate Annabelle. We celebrate a God who has brought beauty out of great sorrow. A God who knows the pain of losing a child because he lost one too. And we celebrate the gift of "normal" days. May we never look at a normal day and frown that it isn't as great and fabulous and adventure filled as others.

Because even normal days are great gifts.

Gifts to be treasured, because they are not always promised, or guaranteed.

Happy "normal" Heart Day, sweet Annabelle. Your mother loves you more than the very breath I breathe.

And to a family out here who is grieving today, please know that a part of my heart will always ache with you. I will never forget the gift you chose that day, and continually pray for you all.

~ Krista

Memory Lane from Heart Day 4/9/2011

First Family Picture! (Look, she liked Hello Kitty even then!!)

Sweet Nurse Jessica made her a heart necklace to wear!!
The traditional "wagon ride" around the pod with "it's my heart day" signs!

Mommy and sweet Annabelle. This picture is a good reminder of just how sick she was. :-/

All goals changed this day!!!!
Post op. She looked so sad... yet so pink!
2016 -- NORMAL Day. Momma's hair is a mess. Annabelle is in pawprint pajamas (she got new today on her special day) and big smiles by all! SO VERY THANKFUL!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Different Kind of Worry

If I wanted to sound really Christian, I would title this post, "A Different Kind of Concern" because....

Christians aren't supposed to worry, right? We call it "concern" to make ourselves feel a little more holy.

Actually, I should own this one and say this is what *I* tend to do.

It's such a balancing act, this whole worry/concern thing as a parent. The Bible tells us NOT to worry. To trust Jesus in everything. And I don't think he was exempting parents from that command.

Yet --- for those of us who are parents, he's given us this grand responsibility of training up children, of making sure they are fed and clothed and nurtured and loved and safe. So how do we do our best at that without worrying--or being, uh, concerned?

And that brings me to my challenge. As a mom of a kiddo with special medical needs, my worries/concerns have changed. Like, REALLY changed.


Typical Kid: Eh, it's a tickle in their throat. Have some OJ just in case. Mucinex-R-US. Fine, I GUESS you can stay home from school, but you're probably just fine.

Annabelle: Is this heart failure? Did she aspirate? Is it the flu? RSV? Do I call the ped or her cardiologist? Is it ER time?


Typical Kid: See, I TOLD you not to eat that candy! Here, lay down, watch some cartoons, and here is a pot just in case. Oh, and some Pepto for good measure.

Annabelle: Does she look dehydrated? Let's check her temperature and oxygen levels. Does her stomach look distended to you? Let me press on it and see if it is hard or soft. Do I call the ped or her cardiologist? Is it ER time?


Typical Kid: Here's a tissue. Probably allergies. Get your butt to school.

Annabelle: What color is the snot? Does she have a fever? Is she breathing okay? Let's check O2 levels just in case. Do I call the ped or her cardiologist? Is it ER time?


Typical Kid: Crap. Probably strep. Get in the car, swab time. Oh, and here is some Ibuprofen. You'll be fine.


Now, I will say. I've mellowed a bit as she's grown. I'm better at identifying a cold-cough from a congestive-heart-failure cough, or at least I know what signs to look for and am more confident in my abilities to see it. I still start discreetly putting things in a bag just in case at pretty much any fever level, but the panic has abated somewhat.

So where does Jesus come into play? What does handing our kids and worries to him look like when you have chronically ill children?

The more I've thought and prayed about this, the more I see worry as a focus, not an action. It is WISE to do things like check snot color and temperatures and oxygen levels and heart rates. It's part of the norm for us medical-mommas.

And we would not be human if our pulse didn't start pounding harder when those numbers aren't what they should be. It is a normal, visceral reaction that God created us with, and that Mommy gut instinct is important to listen to.

So "not worrying" doesn't mean we become unfeeling parents who don't take responsibility of our children. Worry comes in when we focus on the problem and our lack of ability to fix it rather than on Jesus, the only one who can.

On a practical level, it looks like, when you have that oxygen monitor on your kiddos fingers and are seeing the number, what is going through your head? "Oh my goodness, my child might die. She might be in rejection or heart failure. What am I going to do?!?!?" vs. "Thank you Lord for oxygen monitors. Be with my sweet girl. Give me wisdom to know how to take care of her well."

It doesn't mean you don't care for your children. It doesn't mean that don't look for all those signs and be diligent. It means you do it while trusting God to walk with you, every step of the way. While depending on his strength rather than your own.

In preparing for this blog post, I was reading Matthew 6 -- the verses starting with 35 that talk about not worrying. This thought hit me that I wanted to share.

In the past, I've viewed worry as a sin. There are opinions both ways regarding that particular point, and I don't know. Maybe it is technically.

But what I don't see anymore is God sitting on his throne, frowning at me for worrying about my sick child. He is a GOOD God who loves me, and He knows all about watching a child suffer.

No, I think instead the Holy Spirit is sitting beside me, urging me to turn to Him. To set my worries in his capable hands and rest in the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that only trust in God can bring. He doesn't want this for Him. He wants it for us, because it hurts Him to see us hurting.

I've said this many times, but looking back, some of the most peace-filled moments in my life were sitting in that hospital room with Annabelle, hearing machines whir and beep, with her life hanging in the balance, and feeling the unexplainable peace that only the Love of God can bring. There was no explanation except that God was near. He never promised me one additional day with Annabelle. I have always viewed each day as a gift. But He did promise me that he would be near to me each and every day, no matter what. That his strength was sufficient. That I could trust Him.

Worry brings no good, friends. It helps no one. It only festers and wears you down and inhibits your ability to make good decisions. It is the weapon of the enemy who wants to see us trampled on and crushed.

Trusting in God and going forth in his power and grace, that is when true peace will come.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

True Love

When I started on my most recent book, A Side of Love, I struggled a bit.

Love comes in all forms.

Of course, GOD is Love. And I wanted Jesus to be the focal point of ALL my books, so definitely this one too.

And I write romance, obviously it would have romantic love in it. All my books do.

But what could I do to really highlight LOVE as the theme?

As a mom of a teenage girl and a tween, I am just now starting to navigate the fun waters with my children of young love. Girlhood crushes that may or may not turn into something more. So I had fun using the "high school crush" angle in this book.

But even more than that, I wanted to show that love should be sacrificial.

Garrett has returned to Sandwich to care for his aging mother. He left his dream job, chef of a prestigious upscale restaurant in downtown Chicago, to be the chef of the Sandwich Emporium. I mean, I love the Emporium and all. It was created by my own imagination, so I have a special love for it. But---it will never compete or whole the prestige of Garrett's former position. But it gives him more time off and stability in a small town, and the ability to care for his mother.
And then we can also back up in his life to high school, when he had a crush on his best friend's sister. His dad convinced him to hold onto his feelings for later. That it would be selfish, as a senior in high school getting ready to move away to college, to entangle the heart of a freshman who had her whole high school "career" ahead of her. So he set aside his own feelings and wants at the time.

I loved these subtle undercurrents of love. Yes, love can be found in the mushy, ooey-gooey feelings of attraction we feel. It is a fun love and important one. But it shouldn't stop there. Love is so much MORE than that. It's what I REALLY hope to teach my girls as they start to navigate the boys/dating waters.

Let's Chat! Do you have any examples of sacrificial love in your own life? Either that you have shown others or others have shown you?

Monday, February 29, 2016

It's finally here!

The FINAL Sandwich Novella releases TODAY!

A Side of Love is Beth and Garrett's story, and oh. My. Goodness. I had a blast writing it.

It's funny. I write very seat-of-the-pants, which means I don't do a ton of outlining or plotting before I sit down and write. I usually get a few chapters in, then sit back and do a really, really rough plan of where I'm going.

This story -- I got to that point and tried several ideas --- but they all felt stupid. Trite. Boring. Like I was trying to hard to figure out the story other people would want to hear.

So I sat back and just brainstormed, trying to come up with the craziest, goofiest ideas I could come up with.

I dismissed probably a hundred of them. And then I had this hilarious idea. It was gonna be stupid, and no one would probably think it humorous except me, but I decided for kicks and giggles to start down that path anyway.

THis is the first book in a while where I've actually laughed while writing it. Because I was literally writing for my own pleasure just to take the story somewhere it would tickle me.

I figured the whole time, I'd have to toss the whole thing because I'd be the only one who remotely thought it was fun.

But in the end, I figure -- if I liked it, then SURELY someone else would too, right?

Now you're probably wondering what in the world I wrote. There is a decent chance you'll read it and be like --- uh.... okay? But I'm hoping maybe someone else will get a kick out of the story as much as I did!

Regardless, my hope is that you'll be reminded of the beauty of love, not only romantic love (although definitely that too!) but of the Love of our Savior as well.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Side of Love: Cover Reveal!

I feel sheepish posting this. My blog is sniffling from my neglect and not happy about the matter.

On the plus side, I've been busy writing so that makes up for it a bit, right?!?

Wanted to share with you the new cover for A Side of Love! It will release in February (probably toward the end, still finalizing my publishing schedule) and I'm so excited to share with you Beth and Garrett's story. This is the LAST Sandwich novella. They've been fun little books to write!

It has always been my heart to round out the Sandwich series with a full length novel (The Greatest is Love) but after a lot of prayer -- and honestly me finally laying down MY plans and listening to GOD'S, I've decided to put that project aside for now. It is a story near and dear to my heart, but needs to lay fallow for a bit.

But I'm working on some other very fun projects that I'm excited to share with you soon, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, I'm going to try and be more diligent about blogging at least once a week, but be warned. It won't be very serious stuff. Another thing God has been reminding me of is my tagline that he gave me a few years ago.

Finding Joy in the Journey.

A writer friend of mine pointed out to me recently that IS joy in the journey... quite literally -- and wouldn't you know it? It's a little joy sandwich.

My heart and calling has always been to make people smile, to find those precious gems of joy midst the turbulence that life can be.

Anyway, this ended up being a little deeper than just your run of the mill cover reveal blog post. My apologies. Eh, what I am I saying. I'm not really sorry about it. I <3 fun="" p="" tangents="">
Love you all!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015


It's been a crazy busy month and I've put a HUGE priority on focusing on my family and not overwhelming myself (it--mostly--worked) thus the lack of posts.

SO excited to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS though and let you know that that my Christmas novella, A (kinda) Country Christmas is FREE through Saturday on Amazon via ebook, my Christmas gift to you!

Would love for you to go check it out and share about it if you can!

Now, I gotta go have some Christmas Eve fun with my kids! BLESSINGS to you all!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


(I posted this on my author page on Facebook -- but I thought it would make for a good blog post!)
I'm reading through the various versions of the Christmas story and events surrounding it in my (should be but not always) daily Bible reading. I found this one today and am pondering it.

We talk about the word BELIEVE a lot at Christmas time. I've always thought of it as the tie in to Santa -- that kids BELIEVE (or not) in Santa.

But I think when I see the world BELIEVE in Christmas decorations now, I'm going to think of this verse. To how Mary believed the impossible -- that she, a virgin, was carrying a baby from God. That she BELIEVED even though this pregnancy could cost her her life. That she BELIEVED that God would do what he said he would-- even though His words definitely didn't match up to how she thought her life would go.
Krista's blog addition:
What promises are YOU believing today? A promise in your life that seems impossible but you are believing anyway?

Be careful --- for ME, I find it really easy to confuse God's promises with my own desires. 

For example, last Christmas was --- ugh. NOT what I wanted it to be. The flu hit our house the week of Christmas, so Christmas day was spent with Daddy puking on the couch and delusional out of his head with high fever while the kids quietly opened presents to not disturb him. We had to go to our family Christmas and leave him behind :-(

I've begged and begged God to have a no sickie Christmas this year.

And what happens this week?

Strep happens. Annabelle had a fever all weekend, Gabby came down with it on Monday and Scott on Tuesday.

Thus far the other 3 of us are sickie free, and I'm praying and begging God to keep it away from us. For the girls to get through their final exams this week without getting sick. And for us not to have ANY sickness on Christmas.

But -- God never promises me an illness free Christmas. I learned 5 years ago, that he doesn't even promise us "first Christmas at home" with our baby.

He does promise to be with us every step of the way, though. And He does hear our prayers and I'm hopeful that we WILL be all well next week. 

Ah, such a hard thing sometimes, to distinguish between our own wants and desires and God's promises.