Posted by: pendrops | April 8, 2009

shower spray love


As the scent of ylang-ylang dissipated in our bathroom this morning, I set the shower spray back in its place and laughed. I was remembering Jason’s and my first fight not a few weeks into our marriage.

“I just think you’re using too much,” I told him one morning as he set down the bottle of ylang-ylang shower spray.

“Babe, seriously, how expensive is this stuff?”

“That’s not the point. I just think you’re spraying too much. It’s wasteful.”

“I just don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

We went round and round about the shower spray until silence overtook our weary argument.

And now, three years later, three years into this marriage thing, I can’t help thinking about all the love we’ve laid as our foundation since then. All the times we’ve laughed together, danced alone, cried with each other, and dreamed one another’s dreams. At the same time, I also can’t help seeing all the petty fights and hearing all the words I wish I’d never said. But I suppose when it all comes down, so many of Jason’s and my disagreements are about something deeper than whatever surfacy thing gets our blood hot. It’s about our need for compromise. For communication. For humility. For love. Words we keep learning and steeping ourselves in.

Tiffs are gonna happen. We’re both gonna keep saying stupid things that frustrate one another. And as rookies at this covenant stuff, we still have decades of unfinished business where love is concerned. Because we are unfinished.

But then there’s the hour-long conversation over dirty dishes and cold chicken. There’s our out-loud laughter in the quiet library. There’s a sweet baby boy on the way, the evidence of our overflowing love. And I just can’t imagine that there’s anyone else in the world with whom I’d rather grow and learn. No one else with whom I’d rather journey and fall down and get up again. No one else with whom I’d rather fight over shower spray.

(And, for what it’s worth, Jason was right about the shower spray all along.)

Happy Anniversary, my most beloved.


Posted by: pendrops | April 2, 2009

the word


I’m not pious, I’ve got a foul mouth, I’m ill-tempered,
but in my best moments…I try to make the decisions for love.
Because love wins.

-Cathleen Falsani

As I looked at the six-letter word on its appointed page and thought about the hundreds of hot-off-the-press copies of my first published book gathered around me like a gaggle of unruly children, I sighed.

“Too late now,” I laughed, staring at the unsmudgable ink. Alone and feeling the weight of disapproving voices, I closed my book and left the apartment. I needed a walk.

On my stroll past budding bushes, I thought about the book I’d been working on for nearly two years. Mostly, I thought about the word and the handful of judgments about my choice of verbiage.

“Why did I put it in there?” I agonized and ruminated with each step, frustrated and flustered by the whole matter, angry that it had only taken a little criticism to make me cave. Self-doubt was stealing the happy author joy I had fantasized about since I was a little girl sitting at my Brother electric typewriter. My book was published, released into the world – what could possibly bum me out?

The word, that’s what.

No. Wait. Not the word, but my second guessing the word. Second guessing every word – not just the word. And wondering where I got off trying to be some kind of revolutionary, some kind of radical truth-speaker, an authentic voice in a mass of nicer, conciliatory writers.

I followed this line of thinking in a fearful, nauseating and otherwise self-flagellating way for the rest of my walk. And the better part of a week, for that matter.

But then I came upon a life-altering chapter of Sin Boldly, the 2008 book release from fabulous Chicago Sun Times religion writer Cathleen Falsani. And I remembered something. I remembered my heart. No, better than that…

I remembered my purpose. My passion. And the people I had in mind when I wrote my book. People who have questions, who are searching, who are recovering from addictions, who are getting it wrong and making a hairy mess of life, who are frayed and on the fringes, who are lonely, who are sinners and know it, who are full of glory and beauty and don’t know it.

And, to quote Cathleen:

They are the reason I wrote what I wrote. They are the reason I do what I do…my audience is not the big, bellicose voices of God’s professional bloviators. If they want to read over the shoulders of the marginalized, hurting, scared, ostracized, wounded rest of us, more power to them. But they’re not the point.

Nearly two decades ago, Brennan Manning said the very same thing in his priceless book, Ragamuffin Gospel.

This book is not for the super-spiritual. It is not for the muscular Christians…the academicians…noisy, feel-good folks…hooded mystics…Alleluia Christians…fearless and tearless…red-hot zealots…the complacent…the legalists. If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out.

As I re-read Cathleen’s own tale of disapproving readers and remembered Brennan‘s words, I thought about the people who matter most – the people for whom I wrote As Is. And, among other monumental things, I realized that they couldn’t care less if I use the word.

Still, the fact remains that there are some who may be disturbed by the word as well as some other content that shows up in my book. There are some who think it’s poor taste, who think I won’t sell many books, who think I’ve made myself look bad. And maybe they’re right. I’m willing to plead guilty. I may look back and say the word was unnecessary, poorly placed, downright wrong. Hell, I may take it out in some future edition (but I doubt it).

After several walks, several sessions with Brennan and Cathleen, and several more conversations with God, I was finally able to answer my question. I finally knew why I put the word in my book. I put it there because, for better or worse, the word is a part of my daily lingo. The real me. Not the marketable me. Not the airbrushed glossy me. Not the Sunday-morning-best me. But the Wednesday-afternoon me, the stuck-in-traffic-and-feeling-hormonal me, the fired-up-and-ranting-about-stuff me.

In a book – and a life – with as-is-ness written all over it, that word (and a few others) are bound to show up. And if I can’t be that me along with the best me… If I can’t “speak what I feel, not what I ought to say” to quote Shakespeare’s Lear… If I can’t be honest about who I am as I try to live and love and write and connect with humanity… Then what’s the point of being an artist, being a communicator, being Krista?

But more than this word or that one, I realized what I had been hoping for all along: that love would win. Every time. Because if the sum total of my book isn’t ultimately love, then all the crisp, clean and Christian-y words I could craft are just clanging and jangling and adding to the noise.

And I think we’ve got enough noise.

Posted by: pendrops | March 30, 2009



The cardinal outside my window made me think of Gram this morning. If she were sitting here, she would have seen it, too. Would have heard it chirruping and warbling. Would have watched it for a long time, caught up in some thought or prayer.

It would be her birthday tomorrow and, though I may not remember how old she would have been, I remember the important things. Like that Christmas Eve I spent the night at her house.

After we made peanut butter cookies with criss-cross fork marks and a Hershey’s kiss in the center, we spread peanut butter on pine cones and rolled the sticky cones in bird seed. Then we hung our little craft project from her tree just outside the kitchen window and watched for the cardinals. They came all afternoon, bright crimson against the pristine snow.

Gram sang like a bird, too. Her own lilting song filling the house as she hit soprano notes in a steady vibrato that made anyone in hearing distance smile. Her laugh sounded that way, too. A lovely strain of tweets and trills.

I remember so many things about Gram. The way she always smelled of Freedent gum and dime store perfume. The way she ate a triangle-cut, white-bread-and-ham sandwich always with her pinky finger properly held aloft, her long lovely nails making her dainty mannerism all the more elegant. But today I linger on the way she loved birds. And how I can almost hear her singing along with the cardinal at my window.

Or maybe that’s just some memory of her laughter I hear.

Posted by: pendrops | March 16, 2009

because grace


Because grace makes beauty out of everything.
“Grace,” U2

I was driving down Franklin Road today, my mind caught in a garble of thoughts and contemplations. With just a week to go until we release As Is, my first book, my brain is jam-packed with to-dos, should-haves, and general excitement.

On top of that, throw in the hormones and queasy stomach of this 25-week-pregnant woman who had just come from taking the dreaded glucose tolerance test (pregnant ladies, you understand). And for the cherry on top, let’s add three loads of laundry staring me in the face back at home.

You can bet I was not in my finest form as I unknowingly sped down the rolling lanes a few miles from my home. In fact, I was scowling, feeling the wrinkle between my eyebrows grow deeper with each overwhelming thought.

And that’s where I was, racing down Tennessee byways and mental highways, when I saw the man in the orange sweatpants. If you’re regularly in the Franklin area, you may have seen him. In addition to eye-catching clothes, this older man – probably 60-something – dons a set of old school Walkman headphones and literally dances down the side of the road as he walks.

I slowed down to get a closer look. Then I laughed. Not at him. But at the beauty. At his fluidity and freedom. At the absolute dignity of this spunky little man.

With the memory of his movements still lingering in my mind, I laughed again and suddenly realized I had just encountered grace. This unexpected, unformulated, unplanned moment had found me, me in all my undeserved-ness.

I‘ve just started reading Cathleen Falsani’s brilliant book, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. In the first few pages she says, “Life is beautiful. And I’m an idiot who doesn’t deserve any of it. But that’s the thing about grace.”

Those words hit me hard as I slowed to a stoplight half a mile from the dancing man. And it got me thinking about the other graces and beauties I miss. So I started remembering.

Grace has tenderly touched my belly countless times as baby Jude performs his own fetal dance inside my womb.

Grace knelt beside me as I took the Eucharist yesterday, remembering forgiveness and life.

Grace listened in on a good phone call with a friend a couple days ago.

Grace smiled as my midwife hugged me and told me to call anytime with any questions at all, even if I had just called the day before.

Grace whispered truth to me again and again in a week filled with false accusations.

Grace put her arms around my husband and me as we talked late last evening.

Grace even shushed my racing mind and brushed her fingers through my hair while I slept through the night for the first time in weeks (a grand feat for any pregnant woman, I might add).

Yep, grace has been there in so many moments. In all my moments to be exact. And I’ve been an idiot, too blind to see her. But she has been there. And that’s the thing. Maybe the most important thing. She is always there. The bonus is when I stop my madness to get a whiff of her perfume as she enters the room. Or when I shut my own voice off long enough to hear her sing and sigh. Or when I finally look up to see her dancing down the side of the road in her bright orange sweatpants and Walkman headphones.

Posted by: pendrops | March 7, 2009

ever growing


I caught a glimpse of myself – my 24-weeks-pregnant self – in the mirror this morning while getting ready. And I started crying.

Because it is beautiful.

The curves.

The ever-growing bulge.

The soft cocoon that is housing my most precious gift.

It is beautiful, this place where he lives and breathes, where his heart beats and legs kick.

Yes, I love my pregnant belly. How could I not love this place that is home and haven to my sweet baby?

Posted by: pendrops | March 2, 2009

i am an author


When the green semi rolled in with twelve heavy boxes of my labor of love, I became something I have longed to be since I was eleven…maybe younger. A soft winter breeze cooled my face in the light of February sun rays as Jason pulled out his pocketknife and sliced through a thin layer of tape to reveal the shrink-wrapped stacks of my book.

I think it was Anne Lamott or maybe Stephen King who differentiated between writer and author. She or he said that a writer writes. (And this is a good thing, to write. Because we must always, always, write.) But an author is published.

As the exhaust fumes of the semi diffused around me, I became an author holding her published book in hand. In so many ways, I can hardly remember the woman I was when I penned my first post, “I am a Writer.” Funny how things come full circle.

As I enter this strange and exciting season of author-ness, it seems the most appropriate occasion to point you to another site. My official author site. (That’s my pen name…don’t wear it out!)

If you’ve enjoyed Pendrops at any level, I think you’ll love It has some of the same hints of quirky observation, current reads, and links to “Finch Friends.” In fact, for a short time, my posts on Pendrops will be duplicated there.

But it will also have a fresh delicious flavor, seasoned with video blogs, info about upcoming readings and signings, and other funky, Finchy stuff.

So please visit often or sign up for an RSS feed.

And if you’re in the Nashville area, please stop by the As Is Release Party on March 24, anytime from 7-10 pm at The Franklin Mercantile. I would love to see you there!

Finally, thanks for being a Pendropper and supporting my writing habit. Whatever I’m called – writer or author – you have encouraged me more than you will ever know.

Posted by: pendrops | February 16, 2009

type-a list-makers


A friendly tip for fellow Type-A List-Makers:

Save one to-do list. (I know this goes against the very great pleasure you take in admiring your fully crossed-off list or transferring undone items to a new list, and, finally, throwing the beastly list away at the end of the day . . . do it anyway.)

Then look back at it in a month. All the details done and undone.

Remember how keyed up you were about that pile of laundry or that mail-in rebate or the gift for your husband’s step-brother’s step-daughter or making that appointment?

Thirty days, five laundry cycles, and a dozen appointments removed, all those scribbled-off to-dos from January don’t seem so important, do they?

Posted by: pendrops | February 8, 2009



It was time for Eucharist. And as we sang, “Hosanna in the highest” in preparation, dozens of children scrambled into the sanctuary to find their parents. We knelt and prayed; it was surprisingly quiet. You could have heard a pin drop while the priest broke the Bread. The remaining moments were filled with a melodic rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

But then, just as the first row of congregants was silently directed toward the front to receive the elements, a simple cry echoed against the tall ceiling.

Daddy, the little girl called out.

The reverberation interrupted my awkward and distracted prayers for mercy, for forgiveness, for grace. The solitary exclamation reminded me of my own lone plea.

And I followed the little girl’s lead. Daddy was all I prayed, a cry bouncing off the high walls of my heart. A child, eager to be in His embrace. A daughter, desperate for His grace. And skipping up to the table He’s prepared for me.

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