An Easter Confession


It was too loud she said. The music. Even in the back where she sat with her family, she claimed it was much too loud. Her heart was blinded to the message of life by her unmet musical preferences. Instead of the lyrical voices of victory, her ears heard noise. Her mind shut out the resurrection story that injects hope into our imperfections. Her heart was spurned, although not unmoved. Because she thought the music was too loud.  

And then her tongue caught fire. In a chance meeting mid-service, she had the (unfortunate) opportunity to lash out at the girl with the big voice full of grace who had led us in worship. Her words were meant to cut. Her stare meant to intimidate. She aimed and fired at the girl with a voice so powerful you could feel the Spirit hover over her. The girl with the voice turned and found her way back on stage with a grace this woman knew nothing of. She would lead again – empowered by the Spirit of the risen King – and not hold back the truth she was there to proclaim.

But that wasn’t enough for the jaded woman. At the end of our worship (did she miss hers?) she made a point to fill the ears of other musicians with her disdain. Her one and only complaint…it was too loud. They listened…with patience. They responded…with grace. She expected…what?

The man with the gift of teaching brought a powerful message – bringing the stories of old to life – and it ended with a question. How will you respond? For many, the response was humble worship. Deep gratitude. Life giving praise. For the woman unable to endure the music, it was a sharp tongue. A harsh complaint. A misplaced focus.

For me…the response was organic. I had a compulsion to let them know – the musicians – that the worship was phenomenal. Their voices, their instruments, their very words prepared my heart for a tenacious message of victory. I shared my adulation with each of the gifted musicians, but I wondered if the woman’s grievances kept them from hearing. Did the grievous voice of one have the power to drown out the praise of many?

An overwhelming sense of justice arose as a fire in my chest as I found my way out of the masses. I wanted to correct her. I wanted to contradict her. I wanted to negate her foolish words. I had become judge. Judge. And there it was. I allowed her “too loud voice” to spurn my own heart. I had aimed and fired in my own mind. I had become as she…too distracted by the “sound” to respond appropriately.

Jesus forgive me.

And that is why He came. To forgive the sinful. And the pious. And the incompetent judge. He came to transform and renew and inspire.

He is risen. He is risen indeed.


Attempted Exorcism at Chick-fil-A


I’m not even joking!

It was a beautiful day for lunch on the patio at Chick-fil-A. The kids and I stopped for a quick lunch between appointments, and we grabbed an outside table by some friends. We were having a fun time catching up when I noticed a large group of kids settling into tables on the other side of us. They were very polite, even asking to borrow an extra chair we weren’t using, and so I paid little attention to them. But within minutes a woman yelling caught my attention. I looked over to see her in the face of a young girl…somewhere around the age of 12-14. At first I thought it was a mom correcting her daughter for rude behavior, but it quickly became clear the woman was not her mom. She was a total stranger. And yet she was irate.

The whole parking lot could hear the woman accusing this girl of being a bully (the irony was almost tangible). As she shouted at the girl she said the girl was filled with demons because only demons are mean. And the girl was demon possessed because only demons act the way this girl did. (I wanted to point out how this woman’s behavior refuted that very point.) The girl never uttered a word, but she must have rolled her eyes because that’s when the woman got serious. “IN THE NAME OF JESUS I CAST YOU OUT DEMON! ONLY DEMONS ROLL THEIR EYES!” (All I could think is every teenager on the planet must be demon possessed then.)

I desperately wanted to intervene. I even stood at one point, but I looked at my two kids and then at the irate woman and thought better of it. The woman never became physical with the girl, but I was uncertain I could maintain the same self control if I were to come face-to-face with her exorcising self. As we left, I looked around for the young girl because I wanted to talk to her, but she was nowhere to be found. My heart was deeply grieved for this woman’s damaging words. I wanted a chance to speak grace and love to the young girl, but I never got it.

As I laid down with a raging headache this afternoon, my heart was so troubled I couldn’t find rest. The whole scene kept replaying itself. I was upset with myself for not intervening. I wondered why no one else had intervened. I prayed for that young girl. I prayed for that lost, mean woman. I prayed for my own daughter and hoped someone would intervene for her if I weren’t around. And I thought about what ‘d like to say that young girl. This is for her.

A Letter to a Young Girl

You didn’t deserve what that woman said to you today. Whether her accusations were true or not, you didn’t deserve to be humiliated that way. NO ONE has the right to speak to you that way. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do, no one has the right to belittle you and call you names.

Even godly people do ungodly things, not because they are filled with demons but because they are human. All of us are capable of being cruel and selfish and mean. That doesn’t mean we have to cower and beg forgiveness from a harsh God who is waiting to punish us…as that woman suggested. Jesus forgave our sins the moment He died on the cross. All we have to do is accept His amazing gift.

I don’t know whether you were falsely accused or whether you did, in fact, bully another kid. But it doesn’t matter. We all make poor choices from time to time. Jesus doesn’t look at your sin and shake His head in disappointment. He looks at YOU, and He walks past your heap of sin to put His arms around you and say, “I love you, girl. Let’s sort this out together.”

I don’t know your name, but I know what the Creator calls you. He looks at you, young girl, and He says this…

“You are my precious child. My beloved. The apple of my eye. You are dearly loved and deeply wanted. You are my beautiful daughter. My chosen one. My favorite work of art.”

Sweet, young girl, know this…

That unkind woman was wrong about you. You are a gift. Don’t let her accusations trouble your tender young heart. Don’t let her words take root in your innocent young mind. Don’t let her behavior cast a shadow on your beliefs about Jesus. He loves you and would never berate you…even on your worst day…as that woman did.

I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m sorry I didn’t intervene. I’m sorry I didn’t find you and give you a hug and look into your hurt eyes and say, “She’s wrong.” I’m praying for you, young girl. I’m praying one day you will rise up with tender courage and stake your claim as a child of God. You are His…regardless of what anyone else tells you. YOU. ARE. HIS.

An 18 Month Battle



It started with a flooded basement. A swing set. An angry neighbor. A nasty email. Accusations. Threats.

It lasted for a year and a half. Eighteen months that we never saw coming.

And today…I woke with stress. I prayed in earnest. Friends reached out…covered us in prayers…lifted our spirits.

God brought an end to the battle. God delivered us. We prayed big, and He delivered bigger. We celebrated with tears and shouts of joy and praises.

And at the end of the day…our joy remains…our thankful hearts swell…our weary souls long for deep rest…our minds ponder…

What just happened? What did we just come through? Is it really over? Did God really do that? For us?

And this is what I realized…

  • Even when the floodwaters broke through, God commanded His angels to form a protective barrier around my boy.
  • When damages far exceeded our means to repair them, God brought forth thousands of dollars He had earmarked a decade earlier for this very purpose.
  • As our neighbor’s heart turned angry and bitter toward us, God granted us favor in the hearts of those in power.
  • Each time our enemy rose up against us, God told us to bow low so He could defend us.
  • God trained up a mighty warrior and gave him to us as a friend 15 years before he would be called to speak on our behalf.
  • Closer friendships with our other neighbors would be the fruit of one relationship gone bad.
  • Grace means not bad mouthing someone even when you’re justified in doing so.
  • Prayer swallows up pettiness every time.
  • When God fights for us, our enemy will step down.
  • Ultimately, God can remove the fight from our enemy’s hearts and cause them to live at peace with us.

The words are simple and ineloquent in the aftermath of battle, but the transformation of our battered hearts is profound. Our knees are tougher from months of kneeling in prayer. Our voices are quieter from countless nights of crying out to God. Our souls appear tougher but are actually softer from persevering through ongoing angst. And our trust, well, it’s bigger and louder and more resolved than it ever knew it could be.

Great Plans


I woke up feeling empty. Spent. Weary.

The hard of my life began to overwhelm. The voices in my head filled me with dread as I faced another day of mundane predictability. My heart longed for passion and something more. Something other. Other than…pain, broken relationships, distant friends, illness, fear of the future, a sense of failure.

Through a torrent of tears, I searched God’s love letter to me and came across these words…

“My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word.” (Psalm 119:28)

And the word that came to me…

Great plans I have for you, Cristina.

My soul inhaled a deep breath of relief. Peace began to seep in through the cracks of my brokenness. His sweet grace came to me and banished the anxiety of my heart. And I fell into Him. Into His rest.


Essential Oil Deodorant that WORKS!


I’ve heard from lots of friends who’ve tried homemade deodorants that ended up not working, so I was weary of investing in all the ingredients without a tried and true recipe. Thankfully, my friend Stephanie shared her recipe…and even gave me some of the deodorant she had made. I tried it for 6 weeks and decided I LOVE IT! So I want to share the recipe with those of you who have been looking for a good one.

It’s important to realize this is not an antiperspirant. You will still sweat, which is a good thing. But unlike most of the natural (and expensive) deodorants from the store, you will not stink! And I did find that I sweat less with this deodorant.

I purchased all of the ingredients on Amazon…except for the Arrowroot powder, which you can get at the grocery store…and the essential oils, which I get from DoTerra (I am a member and will share my wholesale price with anyone who is interested)…and the lime juice came from the grocery store.



.375 oz Kokum Butter

.375 oz Illipe Butter

.25 oz Mango Butter

.875 oz Shea Butter

1 oz Coconut Butter

1 oz beeswax pellets

1 Tbsp Baking Soda

2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder

1/8 tsp lime juice

10 drops Lavender oil

10 drops Lemongrass oil

10 drops Frankincense oil

Measure out and melt all butters and beeswax over medium heat stirring constantly. When it is all liquid, turn off heat. Add oils and stir. Add baking soda and arrowroot powder and stir. Add lime juice and stir. Pour into deodorant containers and let cool.


You can substitute any oils you like for scent. I made some with Cedarwood for my husband.


I thought this would take a long time to make, but from start to finish – making two batches for 4 deodorant bottles – it took less than 20 minutes. If you have leftover that won’t fit into your containers, simply pour it into a glass jar. You can melt it down again when you make your next batch!

Birthday BBQ


My girl turned 11 last weekend, so we planned a Birthday BBQ and invited 11 middle school friends to join us. These girls were so fun!!!



We had a silly string fight, water balloon war, three-legged races, Wii dance competition, and lots of other games.







Nate even convinced some of the girls to play Hex Bugs with him. (They were so sweet!)


And we celebrated the birthday girl with homemade ice cream and a cheeseburger cake.




I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since God blessed us with this beautiful, funny, smart, talented, loving little girl. She brings so much joy and laughter and light to our home. I am beyond blessed to be her Mamma.

28 Day Mantra


“28 days” has become my mantra. When I’m tempted to yell at my kids (or catch myself in the act), I say to myself, “28 days”. When I’m frustrated and want to lash out, I remember, “28 days”. When I’m full of anxiety or fear, “28 days” rolls through my mind. How would I react respond if I knew I were living in my last 28 days? I dissected this thought further here at this blog post. And then a sweet friend of mine left a comment that I cannot stop thinking about. With her permission, I share a portion of what she wrote.

“…what my mom did with her last 28 days…she lived. She did make a special trip to see her granddaughter, she did say things that needed to be said, she did dance once last time, but in all that…she was living the best way she knew how at that time. I think it is much more important to make sure we are doing those little (big) things now so that, in those last 28 days, we don’t have to ‘do’ anything except live, breathe and love.”

Don’t you just love that?! Live in a way now so that when you reach your last 28 days all you have to do is live, breathe and love. Selah.

But then I find I am tripping over Grace once again. Grace because so often I look back on the day and wish I had done something different. Said something kinder. Thought something sweeter. And there’s the catch…most of us aren’t given the grace of knowing when our last 28 days are upon us.

Thoughtful living takes more than just a mind shift. It takes a heart change. A transformation. The only way I know to live as if I am ticking away my last 28 days is through surrender. And I am terrible at surrender. I like being in control. I like gratifying my own desires. I like the comfort of my own making. So I no longer just trip on Grace…I plunge into it head-first. Without Grace…woe is me. But with Grace

With Grace…I am free to fail because Grace picks me up. I am free to forget because Grace reminds me. I am free to wander because Grace pursues me. I am free to crumble because Grace rebuilds me. I am free to cry because Grace sings over me. Grace is an endless ocean…a bottomless sea. There is no end to His affection for me. And so “Grace” becomes my new mantra.