Best Books of 2022

Some people read less when they are stressed; some people stress read. I am most definitely the latter – the more stressed I am, the more I inhale books. Books or puzzles. I won’t go into why 2022 was a lot for me… I’ll let the length of my book list speak for itself.

I can’t talk books without talking about my love for Book of the Month – such a fun way to get new reads I would have never otherwise picked up, and fun to text about with your fellow BOTM-er friends to see their pick for the month. Some months it is the only reason I know the calendar month is ending – because it’s time to pick a new book. So it also helps you keep track of the date.krysti-wilkinson-best-books-2022

I read WAY more than I expected to this year (lil naïve 2021 Krysti didn’t know what was coming) – but also I read some GOOD books this year. So many that I had to break them out in various categories, because I just couldn’t leave any out…

As always: favorites at the top; full list at the bottom. Add me on GoodReads and/or tell me what I should read next!! Read More

A New Life from Scratch

We threw an air mattress on the floor like you throw a frozen meal in the microwave. You know it won’t be satisfying, but you know it will get the job done. And quick.

We lived on fast food and fast options, the same clothes from the same suitcases for 3 weeks. Snacks to mitigate the need for meals, crumbs of progress. Somehow never seeing what you wanted, somehow never having your cravings fully met.

And then we were here, with a living room full of boxes and a house with no hot water. A jarring blank slate, an empty life to be created. Read More

Preexisting Conditions

Preexisting conditions
started in whispers

The world had a new villain
spreading quickly, mysteriously
but we were told not to worry
for it was only harmful to those
– drop your voice now, to sound tactful –
with preexisting conditions

With the first deaths
on American soil
each news story made sure to note
the real reason they actually died:
preexisting conditions

We were told it was only
they very old
and the very sick
that needed to be concerned
and I thought to myself
but shouldn’t that concern everyone?

We were told again and again
only a small fraction of the population
should be worried
and that worried me
how little we all seemed to care about protecting them


Preexisting conditions!
I was lectured by more than one Christian
That’s who have to be worried here
Those are the people at risk

They are not we
So why should we care?

I struggled to find
a soft place to land
in the face of their callousness
a way to explain
that we were talking abut me

For it wasn’t only
the very old
or the very sick
it was also
the very unlucky

those of us
like me
with preexisting conditions Read More

Best Books of 2021

Ohhh what a year. In what was otherwise a revolving door of crazy, books were a constant for me (along with puzzles and my cat).

This year I finally did what I thought I would never do: I joined Book of the Month. I discovered not only the joy of a new hardcover book arriving by mail each month (you get to pick from 5!), but also the added fun of getting to gift the book to friends after. It seriously upped my fiction game, and it’s only $15! If I sound like a salesperson, I am just sharing the good news I wish I discovered earlier.

I also started another new tradition this year: book swaps with friends. Less choices than BOTM and no app to download, but the price is amazing (FREE) and in this never-ending Covid world of ours, coming home to a gift from your friend on your doorstep is the best. Having a friend with good book taste is truly a treasure. Read More


Once upon a time I started a blog called Pursuing Passion (Spoiler alert: you are reading it). I was 21 and had turned down a legal internship to spend my last summer of college in south eastern Africa. After graduating, instead of pursuing law school, I moved there. Later, I moved back to the states to work for a different non-profit, this time based in east Africa. After that, my life became a ping pong game of looking for a job that paid enough, a job my skillset was actively being used, and – most of all – a job I felt passionate about.

I could find a job that hit two of those requirements – but never one that landed perfectly in the middle of that Venn diagram.

There were seasons I was making next to nothing, but I enjoyed work. There were seasons I was making too much money and was miserable on my daily drive to and from the office (and, at the office). In every season, I would start off being okay with the two desires being met, but as time went on I’d grow uneasy. I need more money! I guess I don’t need to love my job. and I would switch. Money is not worth this! Can’t put a price tag on liking work. and I would switch again.

I spent so long looking for this magical solution that was going to balance it all. My need to pay rent, my desire to actually like what I spent 40 hours a week (plus a commute) doing – and who I was doing it with, my hope of making a difference. Looking for balance, but ending up falling over time and time again. Read More

Year One

 Somehow, it’s been a year.
A year later, and we’re still grieving what that day was. Still grieving what that day held. Mostly, what it didn’t hold. They say time heals all wounds, but I’m not really sure it heals. More like it just gives you space to get used to the loss.  One year later and we’ve cancelled two weddings, two rehearsal dinners, two honeymoon trips to Costa Rica. Does it hurt less? I don’t think so. Is the hurt further away? Sure. That’s all time does.

Read More

Big Friendship, Big Love & Big Grief

I’ve never really been into Valentine’s Day.

Well, I should clarify, romantically. I am all for fake holidays. I have been known to throw National Cookie Day parties and celebrate National Ice Cream day like the holiday deserves. So Valentine’s has always been a good excuse to buy chocolate (50% off the next day!), send friends cutesy, punny, ridiculous cards that are targeted for children, and obviously celebrate my gals like Leslie Knope taught us. Even the times I happened to have a boyfriend for the occasion, February 14th felt the same as July 17th or November 3rd. In my book, you never need an excuse for a cute card or surprise chocolate. That happens year round.


But this year I found myself ordering Valentine’s Day gifts a month ahead of time. I planned an epic galentines (guys and girls!) virtual Netflix party, complete with the same snacks from Target being delivered to all our doors. I scoured Etsy to find the perfect chocolate treat to show up on my friend’s porch. I venmoed some of my favorite ladies a surprise coffee-on-me Saturday morning surprise. Valentine’s, this year, felt as exciting as Christmas.

Read More

Best Books (and podcasts!) of 2020

In a year where we couldn’t count on anything, we still had books. (Although most people had way less brain space to actually read them. Myself included.) True to form – 2020 can’t ruin everything! – here’s my end of the year book list. Not as many as I hoped for, but this year I have learned to take what I can get.

As an extra bonus, I’m including both audio books and podcasts! Early this year I invested in an Audible account, since my new job came with a new (aka long) commute. Although they aren’t as great as actually reading actual books – I’ve learned my audio book niche: they have to be read by the author and said author has to be a comedian. That is my sweet spot and I’m not going anywhere. Everyone has a podcast these days, but I found the great ones helped me get through the year the same as a good book did. Some of the best writers have the best podcasts – so it kind of fits the theme? Whatever. Just go with it.

As always – let me know your favorite reads of the year!! Always, always looking for a good novel to add to my forever growing list. Read More

We Spent the First Month of Marriage Grieving

I got a text from a friend the other day that mentioned our “newlywed bliss”. I audibly laughed and turned to read it to RJ. Bliss isn’t quite how I would describe marriage thus far. If I had to pick one word to sum it all up, it would be grief.

we spent the first month of marriage grieving krysti wilkinson

For the loss of a wedding
July 18 was beautiful in its own way and sacred at times – but mostly it was really, really sad. We never wanted to livestream family in. We never wanted a small, intimate moment – we wanted a huge celebration, the best party you could imagine. Not only did our little ceremony in the park feel a bit underwhelming, the week of felt like a nightmare that wouldn’t end. Ricky got the news of two tragic deaths on Monday; I was in the ER on Thursday. In the weeks leading up, people kept asking us what we had planned and for details and we would give them blank looks and say …..well, we’re going to get married? We’ll figure it out soon. Except soon never came. The day of we didn’t know if my dress was going to fit over my mysterious bloated stomach, we hadn’t written our vows, we hadn’t packed for our honeymoon. We barely made it to July 18, in more ways than one. Instead of enjoying our wedding week, savoring it even – we were trying our best to survive it. We weren’t eagerly anticipating incoming flights of loved ones or looking forward to the weekend’s activities, we were putting out fires left and right. For the happiest day of our life – it felt like so much loss.


For the loss of celebrations
I don’t know how to put into words how lonely it feels to get married in a pandemic. A day you thought you’d be surrounded by 200 of your favorite people turns into a day of silence from the majority of them. We got some phone calls that week, but not a lot. We got some texts the day of, but not too many. We had some of the sweetest surprises – our community group pitched in and bought me a bouquet, we had goodies left on our doorstep the morning of – but they were few and far between. Materialistically, the lack of presents was hard to come to terms with – mostly because it was a stark reminder of lack of presence. Covid has caused so many “We cant wait to celebrate with you one day!!!!” messages which is sweet and all, but what about right now? Our marriage started! Can we celebrate now? Can we celebrate this?



…and then the loss of a second wedding
The saving grace for July 18 was we had October. October was going to be round two, the real celebration with friends and family. Every decision made was “well we’ll do this this time, but in October we’ll do _____“, “in October this can happen”, “in October we get that”. In October, we can finally have this and that and this other thing.
Two days after coming home from our honeymoon, our wedding venue cancelled on us. We could have scrambled for a new venue, changed our all plans, tried to force something – but 2020 already held too much heartache for us at this point. The idea of rescheduling again, just to have Big Rona rear her ugly head, was too much.
Slowly the reality that we might just never have a wedding is sinking in. We want one. I can’t tell you how badly we want one. I can’t tell you how painful Pinterest is to scroll through, with ideas for decor or bridesmaids dresses or tips for a seating chart. I can’t tell you how infuriating it is to look at Instagram and see other couples having big giant weddings like we aren’t in a pandemic at the moment. I can’t tell you the beginning of how I feel about this loss, because I don’t even know how to go about it. I can’t even process the thought that I might never get the dance party with my best friends, the walking down the aisle and seeing everyone who loves us, the tacos at sunset we dreamed of. Corona has brought a lot of tragedies worse than this, but I won’t pretend this doesn’t make the list.


For the loss of life
The week of our wedding RJ heard about two tragic deaths, back to back. Selfishly I thought, “Of all weeks for this to happen? Really??” Our wedding (or lack thereof) had already been through so much. We tried our best to navigate planning the logistics of an elopement and weighing family desires all while sitting in shock. Doing our best to mourn during a week everyone told us should be the best of our lives. Trying to figure out what celebration looks like in the middle of deep, deep grief.
Then, two weeks after our wedding, sitting at my desk at work, I got the news that a friend who had been rushed to the hospital the night before didn’t make it. I started at my computer screen for 30 minutes without seeing it. Got up and walked to a meeting I don’t remember attending. The friendliest, most extroverted person I knew – quite literally friends with everyone she met – was no longer with us. No longer laughing. No longer posting her daily Spotify listen or tweeting about Jeopardy. It didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t. I don’t think it ever will. It’s been two weeks of shock. Of anger. Of disappointment and grief. So much grief. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over H being taken from us so soon. It will never be fair.


And for the mysterious physical pain that pervaded every moment
About 2 weeks before our wedding, my abdominal pain started. I thought maybe I ate too much, thought maybe it was some strange one-off thing – but after 5 consistent days of pain and strange bloating I made my first trip to the ER. Everything looked fine, no serious test results. I went home to lay in bed for 3 days straight, wondering how I’d be getting married the next week. Two days before our wedding I was back in the ER. More pain, suspiciously on my right side. No new news, no nothing. I was sent home with new medicine to try and best wishes on my wedding. On July 18 I had friends praying my dress would fit over my insanely bloated stomach (it did!) and that I’d be able to walk upright. I spent our honeymoon walking around holding my stomach like I was 5 months pregnant. It’s been a month of too many calls to insurance, two (virtual) doctor visits, one upper endoscopy and still zero answers. A month of only wearing elasticated clothing, of “Please don’t touch me right now” and “I’m going to bed at 8pm, the pain is too much”, of carrying around a jug of liquid antacid in my purse at all times.

This is what they call newlywed bliss, right??


It’s been a dark, dark month, to say the least. It’s felt heavy and unbearable, like no human should ever have to go through all of this at the same time. There’s an emotional weight to grief, but there is a tangible weight, as well. I feel it in my shoulders, I feel it in my bones. It’s felt like we’re treading water in a sea that somehow keeps expanding. We thought shore was in sight, and it turned out to be a mirage. With every new wave that keeps rolling in, I sink a little bit lower and swallow a little more water. I know life is hard, but it feels unfair to be this hard. Especially in this season. Our wedding was already ruined, couldn’t our first month of marriage catch a break?? Can someone, somewhere turn on a light for us?

And then I was listening to a podcast with Barbara Brown Taylor, and she talked about how people are always scared of the dark and dread the dark – but how some beautiful things can only be done in the dark. We dream in the dark, we see stars in the dark. Kissing is more fun in the dark.

I thought of the darkness we’ve been living in. And I thought of the stars that have peeked through, stars we couldn’t see in the light. I’ve learned laughing in the dark tastes sweeter. Cuddling, kissing, (am I allowed to talk about sex??) is all so much more intimate in the dark. So much more healing, in a way.

Because here’s the thing: just because you’re grieving doesn’t mean you aren’t healing.