What To Do With It?

It was cliche, really. I was sitting on the most beautiful beach, in the most perfect sunshine, toes in the sand. It was one of those I live where people vacation moments us San Diegians have to struggle through every now and then. I had just gotten coffee with, and was now sitting next to, one of my best friends. Twelve hours earlier I was on a date with a cute boy. Um, hi, perfect weekend.

And, yet.

I sat there, and couldn’t shake the news of Philando Castile ruling that filled my Twitter feed that morning. The Cosby mistrial. The – let’s be honest – shit show that is America’s government at the moment. I sat trying to come to terms with these two extremes: my seemingly perfect life and the heart breaking world we live in. I don’t know whether to mourn or be furious. I don’t know whether to start the charge or throw up my hands in defeat. I don’t know how to make sense of it.

Justice seems like something so far out of our grasp. Peace feels like a pipe dream. Read More

2017: Life Will Conquer Death

I’m not the biggest new year’s resolutions person (I find they typically involve weight loss and equally get forgotten about), but I do love dreaming up when the new year can hold. 

The latest craze, that I love, is choosing a word for the new year. One word. Focusing on it, digging deep into it, maybe reading a book or two on it or learning its origin. For the less nerdy, possibly just writing it on the front of their journal and calling it a day? One word. One. As much as I love this idea, I keep failing at it. I keep getting four.

Last year I tried so, so hard. I really did. I still got four. Maybe it’s my indecisiveness. Maybe it’s my love for words. I think it has more to do with a sneaky God who keeps reminding me it’s okay to live my life outside the lines I create for myself. Fine, Jesus, whatever – four it is. So this year, when they were spoken into my life, I didn’t even put up a fight. Yup. YUP. That’s it. That’s me. That’s 2017. Read More

A Year in the Life

The music was taking me back to another time, as music tends to do. Lyrics that hold so much hope, so much truth. Lyrics that shaped my middle school angst, my high school worries. Lyrics that hold more memories than I know what to do with. They were all coming flooding back as Relient K and Switchfoot switched from new stuff to old stuff to really old stuff to the somewhat new stuff. It took me on the sweetest trip down memory lane, but it also reminded me how much words matter. How much artists putting words to feelings matter. How much these specific words have mattered to me, in different seasons of life.

It was four days before my 25th birthday – the tickets a birthday present from my brother. 25 is a strange year, as you’re a legitimate adult now and should probably know and do lots of adult-y things… and yet you’re kinda just making it up as you go (I hear most of adulthood is like this, I’ll keep you posted). You feel a little on the young side still – you aren’t 30, after all. But you feel a little on the old side – it only takes 20 minutes with 20 years olds to make me crave an 8:00pm bed time.

I haven’t been dreading turning 25 at all – I think life is a gift and another year older is never something to complain about. But I have been feeling this upcoming birthday. 25. Quarter of a century. Halfway to 50. It’s been drawing near and I can’t help but start asking questions. Is this it? Am I doing it right? Should I change anything?mw1efru1qcu-natalie-collins

In the midst of these questions, seven days before my birthday the unthinkable happened. The week leading up to my birthday was a strange twilight zone: a time warp of memories of my youth and proof that I’ve aged, dreaming big dreams and settling for lower standards, so much celebrating and so much mourning. Read More

When the Root of the Problem is… Roots

It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Cliche, really. I was sprawled out on my bed, finishing up Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love (soo good, you guys!), when I heard it – a weird, giant sucking noise, followed by a loud gurgle. Um, what?! That’s strange, I thought. Maybe if I pretend it didn’t happen, I won’t have to deal with it, I thought (Maturity 101). No other noises came. On with my book. I was a happy camper.

Until, of course, I walked into my bathroom maybe 10 minutes later and saw nasty, dirty water seeping up out of my shower drain. Caught between “This is so GROSS” and “Oh my gosh, what if it fills the entire shower and leaks over onto the bathroom floor?!”, I did what any other 24 year old does and called my dad, freaking out.

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Non-Profits, No More

I’ve always been the non-profit girl.

Always. In high school, I was saving my spare change to buy a FEED bag. I was spending birthday money on TWLOHA shirts, Abort73 gear, Invisible Children campaigns. In college, I interned for countless orgs – local and international. For some reason, social injustices have always seemed to cut me just a little bit deeper than most people. I don’t care more than other people – I think everyone, on some level, cares about the broken state of our world – but I think I feel it a little more. I’ve always felt a bigger need to go, to do, to act. I’m the girl at the party, in the corner, talking about the international aid world and development problems in sub-Saharan Africa. Or the person on Facebook who’s constantly sharing feminist news clips and third world statistics. In college, I found myself putting my plans of law school on the back burner (as I discovered my passionate argumentative skills had other potential uses – advocacy). I found myself spending all my free time with a group of high school girls. I found myself on a plane to Malawi, three years in a row. The non-profit girl.

And when I moved back from Malawi? I started the American office of an Ugandan nonprofit. Which I’ve been overseeing, by myself, for the past year. When I came home, I got so many “This is perfect for you!”s, “Of course you found a job like this”es, and “I can’t imagine you doing anything else!”s. Because I was Krysti, the non-profit girl. I always have been. Except, now I’m not. Read More

Perfectly Happy, Yet Far From Perfect

2016 started out so great. So, so great. The first few minutes of the new year I was dancing next to some of my best friends – dressed up! – in a brewery filled, surprisingly, with a lot of people I knew. I am such a fan of going to an event and stumbling upon more friendly faces than you expected to see. It’s one of my favorite feelings. New Year’s Eve was filled with good food and good drinks and even better people, it had laughter and dancing, and I went to bed extremely late and extremely happy.

The first few days of the year continued to get better. I got together with friends to catch up, to talk about our holidays, to dream about the new year and what it might hold. Definite events and exciting unknowns. I spent a lovely afternoon with new friends and old, discussing what the last year held for us – high lights as well as low. I managed to get a motley group together to play banangrams at a bar, one of my current favorite hobbies, and I just love when my friends all mix together. I finished a few books (alllllllways a great feeling). After 31 long days of Dressember, I got to wear jeans! I’ve been on cloud 9. I find myself dancing in the car alone, singing out loud while doing the dishes. I’ve been so happy. Read More

Dressember 27: He is Faithful

For the month of December – in honor of Dressember – I’ll be blogging everyday! Thoughts on anything from fighting for justice to feminism, from dresses I’m wearing to books I’m reading, and everything in between.

There’s only a few days left in 2015, and I’m sitting here wondering where the year has gone. It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating Christmas in Malawi. It seems like only a few days ago I was getting off the plane in San Diego, excitedly welcomed home by so many faces I had missed. Was it really 10 whole months ago I started working for IGF? Eish.

As I realized next week is a new year – next. week! – I also realized I have no idea what 2016 holds for me. Sure, a few weddings I’ll be attending. A few big events I know about. But the the details, the in between? I have no idea. I realized I’m pretty much exactly where I was at this time last year: looking out on 2015 with excitement and hesitancy, exhilarated at the thought of all the freedom it held …and terrified at the thought of freedom it held.

But then I thought back on all that 2015 held for me. So much I didn’t see coming, so much I couldn’t have even imagined. Some good, some bad. But through it all, God was with me. Seasons I thought I would never survive came to a close, problems I thought could never be solved are gone, questions I thought would never be figured out are now answered. In everything, God surpassed my expectations. He never left my side, even on the days where I mistakenly thought He had.

He has been faithful in every promise. Today I realized (…or, re-realized) that He will continue to be faithful. Yesterday, today, and forever. This next year might be a mystery, there may be a lot to uncover in the months ahead and a lot of decisions to be made, but I don’t have to do that alone. I don’t have to doubt His goodness or His mercies, because He promises it’s unfailing and they are new every morning. I don’t know what 2016 will hold, but I know Who holds me.

Dressember 11: The Easy Route

For the month of December – in honor of Dressember – I’ll be blogging everyday! Thoughts on anything from fighting for justice to feminism, from dresses I’m wearing to books I’m reading, and everything in between. 

With the mornings getting colder (yes, I live in Southern California. Yes, I said “cold”), getting out of bed is getting incredibly more difficult. Getting out of bed is already my least favorite time of day, and something I already struggle with. I used to joke if college was meant to prepare you for real life, they should make a class in how to wake up on time – but, luckily, they didn’t require that to graduate, otherwise I would have never gotten a degree. Ask anyone who has had to share a room with me – I sleep through about 3 alarms, snooze through another 5, and then oversleep enough to jump out of bed and have 5 minutes to get myself together (read: coffee) before flying out the door.

But now that the mornings are cold, and my bed is so very nice and warm, I have even more incentive to stay snuggled up. Plus the fact that I work out of a home office….. I’ve been staying in bed for an embarrassingly long amount of time lately. If I had a coffee pot in my room, I probably would never get out of bed. Seriously. Sometimes I even struggle to the kitchen, and climb back into bed with my warm mug. I’m being real vulnerable here, public internet.  Read More

Climbing Blindly

I recently climbed a mountain blindfolded.

Before you think I’m crazy (or lying) – it was part of a leadership challenge for our Flood Youth student leadership team. We split up into teams, had to race to the top, and various members in our group had disabilities – blind, mute, a broken arm. I know, I know. I gave up my weekend to go on a student leadership retreat AND I was the voluntary blind member of our team?? I’m waiting to be declared a saint. Any day now… Read More