Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hospital Blues and Godly Confirmation

 I find it slightly humorous that my last post was about wondering if Annabelle getting sick is conveniently timed by God to as a sign that it is not in the cards for Mommy to go back to work.

Three days later, we were driving 90 miles an hour to the hospital with a very, very sick baby girl. And another 4 days after that, we're still in the hospital.

I update Annabelle's progress on her prayer page on Facebook, so feel free to go to Prayers for Princess Annabelle for the latest update on how she's doing. I try to update at least once or twice a day while she is ill.

Well, anyway, the princess has pneumonia. She's doing a lot better now, just having a very difficult time coming off her oxygen... she REALLY needs to do some good, productive coughing!

Needless to say, I am resting in a lot of peace that we are exactly where we are supposed to be right now: I know... peace? In the HOSPITAL? But yeah. Other than a few moments of medical frustration, God's given me quite a bit of peace this hospital stay. Annabelle getting the medical care she needs to get better and Mommy perfectly free to stay here without worry to take care of her, and when she is better, I can go back to writing the books God puts on her heart and taking care of my children just the way God has called me to do.

Finances and book sales and all that stuff pale in comparison to what is really important. God knows all of that, and I am, again, confirmed that at this moment in life, I'm on the path that God has put before me.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Sign from God

My pondering for the week:

How do you tell a "sign from God" from regular ol' crazy life?

This is what I've been mulling over the past week-ish.

A year or two ago, I started pondering the "idea" of going back to work full-time. Writing books, while totally the passion of my heart, doesn't come with a very high (at all...) paycheck. In fact, according to the IRS, I operated on a "loss" last year even though I had a book come out. So my "job" is essentially costing ME money at this point. (The goal is once I get enough books out and enough sales to where that changes, obviously, but yeah. Obviously that needs to happen quickly, LOL!)


If you could take a peek at my budget, you would understand why the thought of going back to work continues to weigh heavy on my mind.

But each time I contemplate it... each time I open up careerbuilder.com and start to search, just to see what's out there, I get this sick feeling in my belly.

At first I brushed it off as nerves. I've been "home" except for on-and-off consulting work for 4 years now. Maybe I just don't WANT to go back to work....??

And then.... Annabelle gets sick. Usually within 24 hours. I kid you not. It has happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I've started thinking about going back to work.

Sometimes it ends in an ER visit.

Sometimes it's just a fever and a peds visit.

But each time, it reminds me that, if I were working outside of the home, it'd be REALLY hard to care for her. And most jobs wouldn't look kindly on a new employee being out with sick kids every few weeks.

So I trust God with our finances, and push the job thing aside.

Until something else happens that makes me wonder.... is it time NOW?

And each time.... Annabelle gets sick.:-(

Last week, I had like one day that I was bombarded with thoughts. Annabelle goes to kindergarten this August, so I'll have a LOT more free-time during the day to actually get stuff done. YEAH. And in the back of my mind, I'm thinking... does God want me to go back to work NOW?

My own thoughts are so conflicted it's hard to tell my reasoning from God's speaking. Well, one day, a well-meaning person texted me a picture of a job opening. And on that same day, THREE recruiters sent me messages through Linkedin.

Three. 

On the same day.

It was... weird. A sign maybe?

I talked to my sister and told her my fears about Annabelle. Would my contemplating a job again make her sick again? Should I just ignore them?

She advised me just to leave it up to God, pray that Annabelle wouldn't get sick, and well, that's what I did. I replied back to each recruiter, not turning them down but also letting them know my VERY limited availability right now (super part-time/temporary), and that I pretty much wasn't available more than that until fall. I felt a peace about my answer. I was leaving it in God's hand.


Well, guess what.

2 a.m. rolled around.... I woke up to an Annabelle with a 104.2 fever.

GRRRR!!!

BUT!! Two hours later, her fever broke and she woke up happy and dancing and well, with only a lingering cough. She's been fever free since.

So.... I'm trying to figure out this sign. Honestly, I'm almost scared to even THINK about going back to work... but am I overthinking signs? Am I putting God's voice into something that is natural? Is it all just a coincidence? 

My sweet husband tells me to stop fretting about it. That we've got this TODAY, and let God worry about tomorrow. And obviously God doesn't want me to get a job TODAY, so just focus on the here-and-now and leave the future to God.

And ya know? He's right. I married a wise man, don't you think? I REALLY need to stop fretting about it and just start trusting. Start trying to be the best mom I can be, TODAY.

I just have this tendency to want to "plan" and I look into the future and see it full of scary question marks. I want to get back to where we are being WISE and saving well for things like retirement and college for the kids and WEDDINGs (yikes!!!)  We were doing a pretty darn good job before my sweet princess came along. Now? Yeah, all of that is gone, and we are living in that mode of super thankfulness that God supplies our everyday needs.

So there is another pondering for you.

How do you balance being wise in money-planning for the future yet focus on trusting God TODAY and not fretting about tomorrow?

I don't have an answer for it. Thus the reason I'm pondering it.

And since I think these are all things we ALL struggle with from time-to-time, I'd love to know YOUR musings on the matter.

And REMINDER! We're walking in the CHD heart walk in May to support research for our heart kiddos... and we'd LOVE for you to help support us if you can! We hit our original goal thanks to some AMAZING donors that totally blew me away... so we went ahead and upped that goal to see if we can do even more! THANK YOU SO MUCH to those who gave! http://events.congenitalheartwalk.org/goto/kristaforannabelle

Thursday, April 9, 2015

HAPPY 4th HEART-BIRTHDAY ANNABELLE!!!

http://events.congenitalheartwalk.org/goto/kristaforannabelle
This is probably the most exciting and the most difficult post to write each year.

FOUR years ago today, our daughter received the most amazing gift. The gift of LIFE. Not of eternal life---we know that gift comes from JESUS as we just celebrated.

But no, a gift of life here on Earth, of extra time to dwell here with us, extra time for hugs and kisses and laughter and joy.

Four years ago, we got a call at about 4am telling us there might be a heart match. That our sweet little 8 month old, who had never been able to come home, who lay in a hospital bed, struggling to hold onto life each day, working SO hard for each little breath she breathed.... was going to have a chance to live. To thrive. To come HOME.

And I know that at that same time, some family was experiencing the most horrific loss, the loss of a child. They were being asked to make an unthinkable decision, to donate their child's organs to save others.

There are no words to adequately express my deep sorrow for what that family had to go through, but also my eternal gratitude for their choice amidst their pain.

In HONOR of today, of Annabelle and her fight, and of the heart that beats on within her, my request is a bit different.

Our family is SO excited to particulate in the CHD heart walk in Nashville this year. We've never gotten to particulate in a walk for heart research before, but we are INCREDIBLY honored to be able to walk WITH Annabelle and try to raise money for research. Funds for research for Congenital Heart Defects, which is the #1 cause of death in children, is very low in comparison to other childhood diseases, so our hope is that we can raise even a little bit to help the cause, so that maybe, someday, hearts can be made better, be made whole, without having to have a transplant.

Because while we are SO THANKFUL for Annabelle's heart, it comes at a price. She's at great risk for every contagious disease . She'll always be on immune suppression meds. She is at greater risk for cancer. Pesky things like the flu and chicken pox could easily be deadly for Annabelle. And she's always at risk of rejection, because her heart is not her own, and her body doesn't understand that and likes to fight against it.

That said, we'd LOVE to have you partner with us on our "heart walk" to help raise funds for research (supporting both the Children's Heart Foundation and Adult Congenital Heart Association).

Here is the link where you can donate in honor of Annabelle! http://events.congenitalheartwalk.org/goto/kristaforannabelle

To date, we've raised $275 as a team, and our goal is $1,000! 

Seriously, even if it's just $5, that's $5 closer to our goal!!


ALSO! If you're local to the Nashville or surrounding area, we'd LOVE for you to join our team and walk with us if you can! The walk is in the morning on Saturday, May 16th!

I really can't think of ANYTHING more special to do on this day of celebrating the gift Annabelle received than to try and make a difference for those little ones to-come or who are still fighting.

SO Happy Heart-Birthday sweet Annabelle. You're so incredibly sweet and beautiful and... your Mommy loves you more than words could ever describe. I am so thankful for EACH day God has gifted you to us.

Love--

Mommy.


Blast from the Past Blog Posts (I spent part of yesterday reading through these---and tearing up---because wow... what memories!):

http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-heart-day.html
http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/2011/04/our-morning.html
http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-started.html
http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/2011/04/they-are-finished.html

http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/2011/04/post-op-day-1.html
(look at those BLUE FINGERS that are now PINK!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

HOT TOPICS and Christianity - How to "share" smart

I'm struggling lately.

I'm a woman of pretty fierce passions and strong opinions, some of which are not widely agreed with or popular in the world today.

Everywhere I look, I find people in my face (usually, on Facebook) blasting their opinions about "hot topics" in the world using some pretty ignorant fallacies or broad generalizations that make me want to roll my eyes, both on the side I do NOT agree with and the side I DO. Then they point out each others errors in order to make each other look stupid, and in the end, both sides are turning their wheels.

And considering the world will ALWAYS take offense to Jesus (and the Bible says in the end will be destroyed because of it) this isn't something we're going to ever get away from.

So I spend a decent amount of time gripping my tongue--and my fingers--in fear of writing something that offends or comes off as rude or unhelpful.

Now I KNOW some are going to say that we need to not worry about offending and need to speak our mind loud.

At one point I might have agreed on that.

And maybe to a point, I still do.

But I find myself contemplating the "worth" of each soapbox. Does speaking out for OR against a particular issue truly further the Kingdom of God? Does it lead people to Christ or away from Him? Is it edifying to the church, or destructive? Am I trying to "convict" sinners who are of this world instead of showing them that God loves them and wants to FORGIVE those sins? And further more, what about my OWN sin? Am I focused too much on THEIR sins that I'm not seeing and working on the ones right in front of my nose?

I tell my kids ALL THE TIME that the only person they can truly change is themselves, so before casting blame at others (uh, usually each other...) they need to look into their hearts and see if their motives are pure and if THEY are blameless. 99.99% of the time.... they are not.

I don't think this is a new problem. It's always been there, but social media has taken the problem and like a magnifying glass, blown it up so it is super clear and even more damaging.

I see posts being shared on Facebook by well meaning people of God that are NOT edifying, that contain gross exaggerations in order to further their agenda (which I KNOW they view as God's agenda) but does God really condone us painting such broad, one-sided viewpoints just to rile people up? Does he really want us casting a net of condemnation and defensiveness for, literally, all the world to see?

In reading the Gospels and reading the teachings of Jesus, we find that Jesus was SMART. His responses were calculated and sharp and accurate, and left people with mouths hung open, no response ready. Did that make the pharisees love him? Nope, it actually made him more of a hated man because he befuddled them and made them nervous.

THAT is what I want to be. I don't want to just throw out posts and words that preach to the choir and gain shouts of agreement from my allies while providing fuel to my enemies. I want my words to be swords of truth that strike the enemies dumb, that pries open the eyes of men to God's truth.

I am under no delusion that all will like me. And maybe I DO need to speak out more about the things that so heavily lay on my heart.

But my desire is to ONLY do so when prompted by God and given words of truth that will strike dead on.

You wouldn't go into battle with a sword, eyes closed, just swinging everywhere, hoping you get lucky.

Don't go into the world and do battle with your words (or Facebook/twitter posts) the same way.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." Hebrews 4:12 NLT

"In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:16 NLT

Let's Chat - How do you decide what to share/post on Facebook or other social media? Do you pray before you post/share something controversial?

Reminder! A Side of Hope is now available! Only $2.99 on ebook (also available via paperback)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

~~~Party Winners!~~~

Thank you SO MUCH for joining in the party yesterday! It was a blast and just such a smile-worthy day! 


If you didn't get a chance to attend, we missed you!

You can still, of course, get your copy of A Side of Hope at the following retailers:


Amazon (available in print and ebook)
Barnes and Noble (available only in ebook)
iTunes (I can't link to this one, but just search it on your ipad/iphone and it'll come right up!)


Now, for WINNERS!

I'm SO pleased to announce that Beverly Baird won Giveaway #1!


And Jessica Ebersole won Giveaway #2!



CONGRATS you two!


And again, thank you all for your kind words and support! My prayer is that Jesus fills you with an extra measure of HOPE today for whatever you may be going through!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

~~~~A SIDE OF HOPE BLOG PARTY!!!~~~~

SHE'S HERE!!!!!!


Yes, my THIRD book baby has officially been born!





Isn't she so cute??


(yes, all my books are girls. I mean, it's only fitting for a mother of 4 human girls, right?!?)

I'm SO excited for you to be here celebrating with me!

If this were a REAL, in person party, I'd anticipate a few things.

#1 - Food. (see Dr. Pepper and cupcakes.... I'm sending them to you virtually!)
#2 - Talking/conversation. And with conversation usually comes questions. So I'm pretending YOU are asking me some common questions--- and then giving my response. Sound fun? Let's go! At the end, I'll ask YOU some questions!

So Krista, tell us some fun facts about your new baby book!

Oh. well she weighs 5 ounces and is 8 inches long and 5 inches wide! (I, uh, may have weighed her on the kitchen scale...)

But some other fun tidbits....

- A Side of Hope features Tilly as the heroine, who I named after my Grandma Crum's sister. Sadly, my grandma and her sister are no longer with us, but the one thing my mom could remember about Aunt Tilly was that she was a bowler, so I couldn't help but put that little bit in the story!

- Tilly's house in the book is actually modeled (mostly) from my Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's old house in Sandwich, location and all! I took a lot of leeway in its description, so it isn't 100%, but it was so fun to close my eyes and picture the house from my memory! Such AMAZING memories of that little Center Street house!!

- This is the first book that I've incorporated, on a very tiny scale, my experience as a heart-momma. You'll find out how once you read the book, but it was so humbling to start to be able to use Annabelle's story, even in such a small way, in my writing. Someday, I'll write a book where it is the focal point, but that is down the road for me.

- Adam and Tilly's backstory is deeply personal to me. While there are some pretty big, obvious differences, my husband and I too married at a VERY young age with some big, grandeur dreams of how "living on love" would look like. I'm happy to say that our story progressed very differently than Adam and Tilly's, but it was interesting to explore the "what if's" that come along with such a young marriage.

- Adam and Tilly are the oldest couple I've ever featured in a book. Since I married young, and am still in my 30's myself, it was a bit of a challenge for me, but I enjoyed telling their story. 40 is the new 20, right?!? (or so I tell myself as that age inches closer year-after-year! LOL)


So... I heard there are prizes at this party. Can I see them?

Greedy, greedy, always thinking about prizes!

KIDDING!!

I'm SO EXCITED about the prizes for this book! As I'm writing, I keep an eye on "themed" gifts that would be good for this very party (a quick hi to MIKE at the Cool Springs Lifeway, as I may-or-may-not have stalked his store more than a few times in the last 6 months-ish looking for HOPE stuff!)


Without further adu, here is the loot!

Giveaway #1 - ~$70 retail value


- A copy of Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope devotional
- A gorgeous mirrored cross that says, "Our Hope is in the Lord" because wow, isn't that so true??
-A "HOPE" necklace to wear as a reminder to NEVER lose hope
-And of course, a signed copy of A Side of Hope (or an ebook copy, whichever preferred!)

Giveaway #2 - ~$50 value

- A HOPE coffee mug
-A HOPE paperweight
- A GIVING KEY stamped "Hope"

Let me pause right here, because this is a SUPER special gift, and I wanted to explain it if you have never heard of The Giving Key. A local boutique here sells them (ONE Boutique--AMAZING owner--if you are local check them out!) and the owner was so sweet and gifted me a key last year when I REALLY needed it. It just so happens that my key said FAITH on it. Appropriate, no?

Well, The Giving Keys are not meant to be kept. They are meant to be GIVEN AWAY when you find someone who "needs" the key more than you. Then, when you receive one, you can go onto their blog and share your story if you'd like! Proceeds from the Giving Key are used to transition people out of homelessness. You can read more about their mission and history on their website, but it is so inspiring, and I'm SO excited to be giving away a HOPE key today!! My prayer is that whoever wins it will need a dash of hope, and will in turn find someone who needs a little hope to regift it to!

I've already given away my Faith key to a super special woman at God's prompting back in February, and am so excited to give away another!

And of course, the winner of this package also gets a copy of A Side of Hope (ebook or signed paperback, your choice!)

So.... how do I enter?

Well, as usual, I'm using my friend Rafflecopter to help! This is a ONE DAY giveaway, so entries are ONLY accepted through midnight tonight! There are a few different options for you to earn more entries, but the one you MUST do is comment on this blog with either a QUESTION for me or SOMETHING YOU ARE HOPEFUL FOR. 

That's it. Easy peasy.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

So... what's this little baby book about?


So glad you asked!

It's about hope, duh! :-) (sorry, couldn't resist)

Here is the synopsis!

Tilly Davis is meeting her forties head on. Happy and healthy, she doesn't need a man to complete her. But as she blows out her candles, she makes a halfhearted wish for maybe just a little excitement to spice up her life.

God must have misunderstood her wish, though, because moments later, He brings her the one person she never wants to see again.

Her husband.

 So... Where do I get this little baby book?


Geez, full of questions today! I LOVE IT!!! This is a GREAT question, actually!

Below are the links for purchase... and if you want to check out the OTHER sandwich books (Sandwich, with a Side of Romance and A Side of Faith) their links are on their book covers on the sidebar!

Amazon (available in print and ebook)
Barnes and Noble (available only in ebook)
iTunes (I can't link to this one, but just search it on your ipad/iphone and it'll come right up!)

ALSO, I ALWAYS appreciate reader's feedback on books! So once you've finished the book, I'd be oh-so-grateful if you'd post an honest review of it on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble. Your feedback helps other readers in making their book selection choices--and helps an author out too!)

Okay. YOUR turn!!! If you have any more questions to ask me, bring 'em on in the comments section!


Otherwise, I'd love to chat about hope. It's such an awesome topic. 

What does hope mean to YOU? What are you HOPING for right now? Has there been a time in your life where HOPE in God has impacted you? Let's share!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

RELEASE DATE!

It's Spring Break here in our house--- and Mommy is out of her mind busy! Thus the reason for a wimpy blog post today.

Forgive me for being completely void of dazzling words (not that they are normally dazzling) or witty wisdom (HA HA HA-- yeah probably not found here anyway too) but, yeah, this post is gonna be lame.

Well, not TOTALLY lame.

Because one of the reasons I'm out of my mind busy is that I have a official RELEASE DATE for A Side of Hope.

I've put it off, making excuses, but I'm putting it off no longer!

I said it would be out this month, and by golly, it will!

MARCH 31st!

Yup.

End of the month. Last day. By the skin of my teeth, but it will be out!

I'm so excited to introduce you all to Tilly and Adam!

Did I tell you Adam is a doctor?

Yup. He deliver babies. He's pretty cool!

So yeah. Mark your calendar! We'll have a GRAND ol' party here on my blog that Tuesday to celebrate, complete with giveaways and all that jazz! If you'd like, you can sign up for my newsletter (see link ---> in my side bar on this blog to sign up, as I'll be sending out an announcement newsletter!)

If I haven't said it recently, let me just say. I'm SO thankful for each and every one of my readers, both my blog readers and my book readers! Your support means SO much to me!

Hope you all have a FANTASTIC week!