About

Photo: The Letter Ji
Photo: The Letter Ji

Writing is what I do and who I am. Newspapers. Magazines. Books. Journals. Lectures. Sermons. Essays. And now a blog…more than a decade after blogging became the seventh major food group. I don’t know if that’s pathetically trite or quirkily retro. Or both. Or neither. (I like to keep my options open.)

Loves: C.S. Lewis, YA fiction, thrifting, motorcycling, bird nests, Jesus, old suitcases, doodling, Young Life, Middle Earth, Lord Peter Wimsey, T-Bone, birch branches, fountain pens, unlined journals, J.S. Bach, family, old books, libraries, flip-flops, babies, afternoon naps, Broadway, standard transmission, zip-up sweatshirts, dry shampoo, banana bread, 32 ounce fountain pop in styrofoam cups, Narnia, old english, gospels, epistles. Not necessarily in that order.

(All content copyright Crystal Kirgiss unless otherwise noted. As with all things in the blogosphere, feel free to “share” and link back to any blog post. If you want to quote or repost small sections of a blog entry, here are some helpful tips on how to do that credibly, as outlined by my friend Adam McLane, especially bullet points 2-4.)

More details (for those who want to know):

Though I’ve been writing for my whole life, I’m not one of Those Writers who suddenly woke up one morning with a fully developed novel floating around in her head. Or whose first book unexpectedly hit the New York Times Bestsellers list. Or who will be able to retire on the royalties she made off her books.

I’m one of Those Other Writers who plunks away at the assignments, one by one, little by little, while trying to do all the other things that need to get done in a day. I rarely finish either one to my satisfaction. But life keeps moving anyway.

My B.A. was in Piano Performance. Go figure. I made a pretty good life of teaching, performing, and accompanying, all while raising a family of three active boys and working alongside a husband in full-time youth ministry.

On the side, in my spare moments, I wrote (because I couldn’t not write). First a few things for Campus Life Magazine. Then some bits for Youthworker Update. Then some things for Youthworker Journal. Then a newspaper column that grew from every-other week to twice a week (and won a few awards in the process – National Newspaper Association, Second Place for Best Column, Serious Subjects 1995; Minnesota Newspaper Association, Second Place Best Columnist 1995 and First Place Best Columnist 1997). The Chicken Soup series picked up some of my columns (Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother’s SoulChicken Soup for the Christian Teen’s Soul), as well as Alice Grey’s Stories for the Heart series (More Stories for the Heart, Stories for a Mom’s Heart, and Christmas Stories for the Heart). I was asked to write some books (you can find some of them here) mostly for teens or people who work with teens, and then was asked to write two monthly columns for YW (Youthwalk Magazine) which I’ve done for almost ten years now. Most recently, I was part of the core writing team for The Way (New Living Translation, Tyndale, 2012).

About seven eight nine ten years ago, I went back to school. Just because. I’m One Long Paper away from finishing finally and officially finished with my PhD in Medieval Language and Literature. Go figure. I’ve made a pretty good life of teaching undergrad English classes at Purdue University, all while my own kids became adults and my husband continued in full-time youth ministry.

Life is rich. And full. And unexpected. And challenging. And rewarding. And hard. And everything else.

But behind and before and beside and around all of that rich, full, unexpected, challenging, rewarding, and hard stuff is Jesus. Precious, sweet Jesus. Powerful, mighty Jesus. Jesus of the cross. Jesus of the resurrection. Jesus of creation. Jesus of redemption. Jesus, who is in nature both very God and very man. Jesus, without whom life is empty and with whom life is Life. That guy. That God. He takes my breath away. Every single day.

13 thoughts on “About

  1. mp July 17, 2012 / 9:07 am

    Crystal, I am so excited to be “following” you! Didn’t you once write for the Daily Herald when you lived here? Wayyyy back in the dark ages?? I love your thoughts~
    mp

    • ckirgiss July 18, 2012 / 9:38 pm

      Hello friend! Hope you are well. I don’t remember if I wrote for the Herald or not – maybe a reprint of something. My newspaper days were even before that, in MN. Time moves too quickly…

  2. Jessica @ The Abundant Wife August 13, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    Hi Crystal! Do you have a Facebook page for your blog? Just curious! I’m excited to read your blog!

    • ckirgiss August 13, 2012 / 4:22 pm

      Jess- there’s not a Facebook book page right now. Glad you’ll be reading. Hope you, Brad, and the kids are doing well!

  3. Summer July 22, 2013 / 7:53 am

    Hi, Chrystal

    I discovered you while paging through the Medieval Congress literature from Kalamazoo–feel a sort of kinship w/ some of our common interests. I am wondering about the C.S. Lewis society at Purdue–how can one join?

    • ckirgiss July 22, 2013 / 9:12 am

      Hi Summer – There’s no official ‘joining’ process. We are just a small group of folks who gather monthly to read and talk. The schedule for fall meetings should be set in the next few weeks. Are you in the Purdue area? If so, we’d love to have you join us (in the “hey, here I am” way, not the official way).

  4. healthcoachpaula August 28, 2013 / 10:39 am

    I just found your blog…I’ve been led to you and I am blessed! From an adult small group volunteer to being placed into a leadership role for our entire youth ministry, I’m in search of guidance and support and your writing encompasses that and so much more. I thank you and thank God.

    • ckirgiss August 28, 2013 / 11:42 am

      Paula (I hope that’s right) –

      Hello! So nice to meet you. “Being placed” into a leadership role implies that you possess the leadership skills and attitudes necessary for the job, AND that those skills and attitudes are apparent enough for others to see and recognize them. Bravo! Youth ministry needs people like you. Teenagers need people like you. And people like you need other people like them. So it’s all good, and exciting and amazing and exhilarating and exhausting and stupendous and outrageous and fantastic and difficult and everything else. It’s going to be a great ride!

  5. quirkyjazz January 23, 2014 / 10:42 am

    I found your blog through your post about the shootings yesterday. Thank you for your words. So many of my family and friends work in education (including me) and each time this horrific scene plays out somewhere in our country I can’t help responding with fear, anger, frustration, and disgust. I also respond with PRAYER. You and the campus community there were prayed for continuously yesterday and are still being supported.

    After browsing through some of your older posts, I am joyful to have found a kindred spirit! C.S. Lewis, his books, and his wonderful way with words — how can anyone disagree with his fabulousness? You might be interested in reading one of my posts: http://haskerj.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/tears-of-joy-happy-happy-joy-joy-daily-prompt/

    There are only a few things in your list of loves that I don’t also love: motorcycles, standard transmissions, flip-flops, zip-up hoodies, and 32 oz. styrofoam cups.

    I have a B.M.E. in music education from Wheaton College and piano was my major instrument!
    I taught for about 10 years and then was a stay-at-home Mom for 8 years and then….
    well the story continues but you get the idea!

    One of my friends works in campus ministry at Purdue with the Wesley Foundation (UMC). Her name is Lana. (She was in HS when I was a fresh-out-of-college music teacher back in the late ’80s and was in my choir and band.) I wonder if you have crossed paths there at Purdue?

    This ended up being way too long, but I’m not going to delete it.
    I’m looking forward to following your blog, and am very happy to have found you here.

    • ckirgiss January 23, 2014 / 12:02 pm

      Ah – I am very happy you have found your here as well because who doesn’t love hanging out with other piano-y, Lewis-y, Jesus-y folk? I am very grateful for your message, especially at this particular time, and very much looking forward to reading your words. I do not think I know Lana, but my husband is part of the University Religious Leaders group and likely has. I will keep my eyes open for an opportunity to meet her. (I am very glad you did to delete this message – it would have been my loss if you had.)

      • quirkyjazz January 24, 2014 / 1:36 pm

        I am still praying for you and for the Purdue campus community and will continue to do so. My friend’s name is Lana Robyn (Co-Director at Purdue Wesley Foundation, Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Campus Ministry at First United Methodist Church West Lafayette, IN and VIM at United Methodist Church in Africa — all that is from her facebook page.)

      • ckirgiss January 24, 2014 / 7:48 pm

        I hope I have a chance to connect with her. Thank you for all this information.

  6. darealztalk August 14, 2014 / 11:01 am

    Fantastic read my friend. I look forward to reading more post from you my friend!

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