These past 2 1/2 weeks have been the most challenging in all of my life. Naively, up to this point, I was convinced school and health related issues were the absolute hardest hurdles I could overcome. However, since being here in La Jolla, I’ve realized that God is constantly growing me. We’ve also been talking about how a relationship with Jesus is not founded on feelings, but on a constant trust that despite the hard days, I still need to lean into God because He is unchanging. Because of the people in my community I have constantly been reminded that  it is also possible to be faced with challenges and not live miserably. I have grown more in my faith in my short time here than during any other time period in my life.

I wish I could go into deep detail about every single day, but I could probably write a book and I’m obviously having trouble keeping consistent with my weekly updates. I’ll try to keep this update brief and highlight some key milestones so far.

On the eleventh day of being here I finally found a job at Pottery Barn Kids. As many of you know, I was convinced that based on my experience last summer as a YMCA camp counselor, I thought I had that job in the bag. That being said, I came expecting to attend the group interview only as a formality- I had a Skype interview prior to arriving here and felt pretty confident about having a job there. So, I thought I’d have two weeks to chill until training and camps started. (Because I assumed I had the job). I was so wrong.

I reached a point where my village leader lovingly reminded me that I am not beneath any position. And so, I started applying anywhere and everywhere. I camped out in a mall for about nine days and applied to over forty establishments. Only three interviews resulted from over forty applications. The reason why I’m here is to carry the gospel. My job is just a means for me to do that. I didn’t come here to improve my resume.

Since job hunting has ended, but work hasn’t started, I’ve been filling my time at the San Diego Food Bank. I am meeting so many awesome people there and having very fruitful conversations. This specific food bank feeds over 400,000 people. That is about 1/5 of San Diego’s population that is unable to afford food.

Many people wonder, why do a mission trip/ discipleship program in La Jolla, California? The answer is this: on a list of 117 top churchless cities, San Diego is number thirty-six on that list. It’s easy to assume that because a place seems wealthy or not seemingly poor, that it doesn’t deserve to hear the good news. I forget that La Jolla, California needs the gospel as much as Tijuana and Haiti. Any person who has not heard the good news needs the gospel. That is why we place so much emphasis on serving at our different churches and throwing beach parties on Sunday nights.

One thing that has been revealed to me as I dive deeper into community and DTs (Devotional Times) is that many times I believe the lies of Satan more than I believe the truths that God gives us in His word. This has not been an easy thing to learn, but realizing the root of the problem has been so so good. Right now

Prayer requests:


-Casual conversations lead to gospel conversations and more friends at beach parties

-Understanding that the truth that is in God’s word and from God Himself trumps Satan’s lies.

-Selflessness. That I would always come full circle back to the gospel.

-Intentionality with new friends that haven’t become family yet.


Thank-you so much for bringing me here. Words cannot even begin to describe everything I’ve been learning and I can’t wait to have more in-depth conversations with you when I get back to Seattle and Pullman in the fall.


Kayla (a.k.a.  Ku’Wanga)

P.S. I apologize for any spelling mistakes. I’ve been awake since around 6am and have been gone for most of the day. This project is taking me all over the city!








Bible, Travel, Writing

Elevate Update #3


Elevate Update #2

IMG_0927.JPGHello Friends! Wow, I am so stoked to finally be here in La Jolla. Thank-you so much for your prayers and financial support that brought me here in this with all of these amazing people.  Our team arrived hear on Friday, where we immediately dived into things. We kicked things off officially at 5:00pm.  I am so happy to be placed in my room, The Grove. Meredith (my friend and room leader!), Emmalee , Jillian, Molly, Amberlynne, Hannah, and my bed buddy Beth are quickly becoming fast friends. It is incredible living in community with so many people.  We are slowly but surely unpacking into our beautiful room at Residence Inn-La Jolla. I still cannot believe that I am going to be here for ten weeks.

I had my group interview with the La Jolla YMCA on Monday morning. Our whole project has been out and about from 9:00am-5:00pm every day this week job hunting. Next Tuesday I have an interview at Potter Barn Kids.We’ve been  searching at University Town Center, Fashion Valley, Clairemont Town Center, Pacific Beach, and a variety of other places. Today we went to Prospect for the first time and scavenged along there as well. We’ll be doing this everyday for the next two weeks until we sign official papers and have a job confirmed. Three out of seven people from The Grove have been hired already. Praise Jesus for that. Please be praying for the rest of our room, and everyone else on the job to be hired  and no one is sent home on June 3rd.

Our routine for each of the next ten weeks is as follows:

Monday: DT’s (Devotional Times),Work, Celebration Night, and Room Time. This summer we will be celebrating weekly through worship and giving thanks for God’s provision.

Tuesday:  DT’s (Devotional Times),Work, Teaching Night. We will be hearing from different staff members and walking through DT’s

Wednesday: DT’s (Devotional Times), Work, Village with The Pit and Tenboom (two different rooms).

Thursday: DT’s (Devotional Times), Work, Free night.

Friday: DT’s (Devotional Times), Work, Free night.

Saturday: DT’s (Devotional Times), Work (?).

Sunday: Rest, Worship, Serve and Reflect. New Song Church-Parkside every Sunday. We’ll be setting up and tearing down every week. They are a mobile church like Resonate and meet at an elementary school. (I also signed up to hold babies during one of their two services!) Evening beach parties!

More to come as I fall into the rhythm of things here in La Jolla!

Travel, Writing

Elevate Update #1

IMG_2312Hey friends!

Since first posting my support letter on March 23rd, I’ve raised more donations and bought my plane ticket, making everything so much more real. Including my own investment into this project, I have now raised $627.64 out of $3,500 for my trip. Elevate still seems far away, but ALL funds are due April 21st. I still have $2,872.36 until I am fully funded.

I’m scared to death.

Without successful fundraising, I might find myself in the position where I will have to choose to pay out of my own pocket, or forfeit the trip. I’m begging Jesus that I will not have to make that decision.

When looking at the numbers and payment deadlines, it’s very easy for me to forget the power of prayer amidst all of this. I definitely underestimate it.

All of this is a faith journey. I’m leaning into God trusting that if this is his plan for my summer-and I strongly believe it is-then I can trust him to provide the means for me to get there. I strongly desire that anyone reading this, and has questions about Elevate and/or Resonate would not hesitate at all to ask questions, and most definitely ask God how they should support me in all of this.

This week these two life verses have become my lifeline:

“Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her” Luke 1:45

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” Proverbs 19:21


Prayer Requests

-My interview on  Tuesday, April 5th with the YMCA would go smoothly

-My faith in God’s provision would be more overwhelming than my fear of not support raising all of my funds

This might be helpful:

More about Elevate (the link says give, but there is more information about the project if you scroll up and down!)


Travel, Writing

Elevate 2016-Fundraising Letter

Hey Friends!

About two months ago, God placed it on my heart to spend my summer in California. While this may sound like a no-brainer, easy decision for some, those who know me well know that I have always felt most comfortable close to my home and family.

Back in January I was invited to a dinner for budding leaders. It was there that God placed a desire in my heart to attend Elevate this summer. Elevate is a 10 week-long summer project through my church Resonate here in Pullman.

During the first two weeks of our program, all of our energy will be poured into acquiring a job in La Jolla, California. Our work place will be our mission field and will give us a platform through which we can build relationships with our coworkers and share with them the beautiful story of how Christ can change their lives forever!

In addition to working, throughout the week members of our tema will learn how to live missionally, and in community. We will learn the tools we need to be fully equipped leaders in the church and host Village (small group/bible study). On the weekends, our main focuses are 1) church planting and 2)beach parties. The beach parties will be a safe and inclusive environment where we can invite our coworkers to have fun, and learn more about the gospel.

These are not just any ordinary beach parties. These parties are a way for us to continue fostering relationships with our coworkers.

The cost of living in San Diego California this summer is $3,500 + the cost of air fare. Securing my spot on the team alone requires a deposit of  $350. I was unable to support raise the cost of the deposit before the deadline, and so I paid this amount out of pocket. Thus far, I have only support raised $100.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to serve the community of La Jolla and grow in my faith. Please consider joining my financial team or my prayer team. Both are equally important. I strongly believe that God hears my prayers and yours, and will provide.

Would you consider donating $50, $75, $100, or some other amount to my trip? If you would like to join me in this, please make your check payable to “Resonate Church” and put “Elevate” in the memo line. You may return your check to me or send it directly to Resonate Church: P.O. Box 1605, Pullman, WA 99163. Please don’t put my name on the check, but rather include a slip of paper directing it be applied toward me and my trip.

There is also a way to give online If you prefer to mail the check to me, instead of directly to the church, please personal message me for my address.

Prayer requests:

-My Skype interview with the La Jolla YMCA would be successful (once scheduled).

-I would catch up on fundraising. The deadline for all $3,500 is April 21st!

-The rest of the school year would go well

-Bonding between our team would go well.

P.S. Your donation is tax deductible, but non-refundable. 

Update 03/24/2015: $2,994.96


New Beginnings

About, Writing


Yesterday, I finally told God everything that I felt weighing on my chest. The emotions I felt inside were nearly inflicting physical pain. I wrote it all down. While God knows all that is on my heart, I truly believe-yet sometimes forget- that He nonetheless desires us to come to him with whatever sh** we’re dealing with at the moment. To most people, being vulnerable is usually an admirable and brave action, but to humble myself to the God of my life is an incredible gift.

I’ve done a lot of reflecting on these past eight months. Reflecting, questioning, accusing, and comparing. After working hard in school for eight consecutive quarters before transferring to a state university, I was absolutely crushed. Devastated when my health spiraled sharply downwards in less than 48 hours.

I convinced myself-once I became cognizant enough to do so- that after all I had already been through, I wasn’t deserving of a strong shove off the beaten path. A shove that screwed up my four year plan, and in my mind, wasted two years at community college for only three months at university.

By now, even writing this, I can trace a pattern. I dug myself into a grave that I almost didn’t escape. Can’t get a driver’s license? Failing at relationships? Relying on nonexistent relationships to move from Point A to Point B? Let’s direct all of that energy towards school. Now that I am able to control. I can either fail or flourish in this. All by myself. Shovel in hand I dug a grave eight feet down and climbed in. image

I should’ve learned, especially during the aftermath of these events, how destructive pride is. However, even now I find myself reaching for that shovel. Or, conversely, spilling out all my guts and expecting too many people to understand too many feels. Desperate for any word of encouragement or empathy. Those conversations-usually short- end with whomever is at the other end saying “you’re such a fighter.” Instead of swelling with pride and taking advantage of such a dramatic story, I remain deflated.

I thought I wanted something to brag about. But what I’ve always truly wanted is to be understood. For someone to reach out to me. More sacrificial relationships and less of me explaining myself and experiencing the need to say “I promise I’ll pay for gas, I just want to talk to people again!”

After I was hospitalized and could not return to school immediately, I began to experience what I imagine many post-graduates go through. Community isn’t only right across the hallway or the parking lot or next to me in a lecture hall. I must actively seek it. The get well cards, flowers, balloons, and texts stopped coming. I realized how much I’d taken advantage of such a close knit groups of people that will always be different than those after college.

As I prepare to go back in less than a month, I’m afraid I’ll have to start over again with new people. That sounds easier anyways. It’d be a fresh start in many ways. But relationships-strong ones- aren’t easy. I’ll admit there are so so many times where I am sure that I’m the one being more slighted than others. I need thicker skin than that. IMG_5577

Physical wounds are so much easier than emotional ones. Speaking of emotions, I received new pictures Charley girl recently. School hasn’t started yet but I’m already counting down the days until I am able to meet her.  I could so use her by my side right now.

I am astounded by the generosity of you all. My community Everyday, $34,000 becomes more and more easy to comprehend. More than the money donated, it’s the sentiments shared by you all that gets me the most. I love that it has become an opportunity for people to encourage, empathize, and share stories.


4 Fabulous Books for Non-Fiction Readers and Writers

Creative Commons

Recently, I’ve been spreading myself pretty thin between various writing projects and extensive. Unfortunately, my blog has not received the attention it deserves. However, I wanted to share some great titles I’ve finished while I’ve been away. I’m quickly learning that it’s no easy feat to write 1,500 words towards my memoir in addition to my blog.

My nose has recently been in these memoirs listed below.

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro absolutely rocked my writing world. I’m absolutely devastated that I don’t own a copy yet, but when Tina Bustamante, my author and blogger friend  recommended it to me I immediately sought it out at the library. Thus far, this book has undoubtedly been the most influential regarding the specific craft of writing.

Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness  by Marlena Graves proved to be a wonderful memoir. As I begin my own journey learning memoir style, I’m exploring different memoir styles while I’m early on in my first draft. There isn’t a better way to learn than to read books published by authors who interest me.

On Words: Insight Into How Our Words Work-And Don’t by Paula LaRocque. Although not necessarily considered memoir, On Words is similar to Still Writing. I am learning that I enjoy short blurbs of wisdom, with chapters or sections only being 2-4 pages in length. Although this may not match up to my actual style of writing, as far as reading goes, I appreciate brevity in non-fiction. It’s so easy in memoir to want to give away all of what you have to say all at once.

Help. Thanks. Wow. by Anne Lamott. This book has been on my To-Read shelf for far too long. I was delighted when I discovered a copy of the on my grandparents’ bookshelf. Her books need not be geared towards writing in specific to positively influence my writing voice.

Also waiting on my shelf:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. I ordered this book nearly a year ago now. However, I have no recollection of reading it whatsoever. This makes absolutely no sense to me because everything I’ve read by Anne has made an impression on me. It’s likely that I ordered the book along with four others and couldn’t keep up with all the material I had started reading.

In Search of Light: The Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow by Alfred A. Knopf. The Chinook Public Library might not have any works by literary genius Anne Lamott on their shelves, but I found a couple books about the life and career of Edward R. Murrow. Murrow is the namesake of the College of Communication at Washington State University. Go Cougs!

Follow me on good reads or Instagram to keep up with all that I’m reading!


Status: Active

I’m baaaaaaackkk!

I would like to sincerely apologize for posting less frequently on the blog. I never intended to suddenly stop. I’ve been doing an insane amount of reading and writing. Ironically, I’ve even been working through a blogging course with Jeff Goins’ Art of Work Course and Intentional Blogging. Heck, I’ve even started listening to pod casts about writing.  In the past month I’ve read about four different memoirs, as well as various entrepreneurial books that discuss the subject of  writing throughout. I’m gleaning anything and everything about writing and doing my best to apply what I learn.

Thank-you for your lovely comments regarding my last blog post I published in April. I hope you’ll be able to use it as a resource Before Opening Your Mouth. It was a joy to write and as always a joy to see that others resonated with the words I had to say regarding the difficulties that come with having a chronic medical condition.

I’ve neglected the largest audience I have thus far obtained since starting this blog and that’s you! As much as I wish I were simply sitting around writing and reading all day, I finally gathered up the strength to join the working world and started working again a month or so ago as a substitute teacher here at the elementary and highschool. It has been an incredible experience working predominantly with special needs kids at both schools. Occasionally, on weeks I’m not caught up with the schools I’ve been picking up stories to write for the Blaine County Journal News Opinion here in Chinook.

I’m still uncertain about what the summer holds for me. Thankfully, this uncertainty is less frightening than it once was say six months ago when it seemed my entire life was in complete shambles. Montana has been so good to me, there is no doubt about that. Washington and Montana may have to battle for me this summer. I’m currently torn between both states, waiting to hear back from potential employers in Washington. For now though, I’m enjoying today, living in the present.

That dreaded sociology paper  you’ve likely heard me ranting about at one point or the other is finally finished. Praise Jesus. Aside from four classes I need to attend this coming school year, fall semester is behind me, unless there are surprises lurking behind the corner waiting to jump out at me.

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about how I should be writing. I know that sounds obsessive but any writer can attest to the love-hate relationship with the blank page.  And my “to-read” list. I’ve not idea how I’ll ever finish the eighty books that I want to read eventually. Follow me on Instagram @kaylanbonar for a look at what I’ve been reading  in the past few months. I’ve been more active on there than my blog.

I’m writing a memoir and I couldn’t be happier than when I’m brainstorming how to use words to share this story that God has called me to live. I took a huge leap of faith and shyly asked an author I deeply admire to help guide me and check in with me weekly.She said yes!  Writing is an isolating task at times and I finally gathered the courage to ask someone with more expertise than myself to shepherd me along as I navigate these new waters.

Washington D.C. is officially in the books for this coming June. I’ve never been and am absolutely ecstatic about traveling someplace new.

Thank-you for following along my journey.

Much love,



Before Opening Your Mouth

These past couple of days, I’ve had some really great conversations with people about the healing process and how difficult it is to be an individual struggling with a disability. Emotional healing, physical healing, the whole spectrum.

I’m not sure why it didn’t quite hit me before, but most people are unable to provide adequate comfort and and use discernment around people-such as myself- who have undergone serious emotional or physical trauma. This shouldn’t come as surprising.

Although we- me and you- talk openly about trials and tribulations of all kinds, but when it comes to be affirming and empathetic, the discussion ends. An excuse I’ve heard for not practicing affirmation and empathy is that some people cannot understand because they haven’t gone through the exact same experience. While it would be great if we could all relate in this way, that would only mean more people suffering. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

After I returned home from the ICU in November I was struggling with borderline PTSD and severe anxiety and depression. The plethora of questions and promptings from friends and family that encouraged me to rehash the serious and unfortunate events was not something I was ready for. In fact, it’s been about five months now and only recently have I been emotionally prepared. Nonetheless, I answered the questions, but didn’t realize later on that re-visiting this trauma was horrible for emotional healing.

I’m sharing this with the hope that you will read and hopefully think more seriously about how to approach a friend or family member whose physical and mental health is in a shaky place. I want my experiences to become a teachable lessons that I can share with others through my spoken and written words.

Do Not Say

1. God has a plan.

2. Jesus loves you, therefore, you have no reason to be depressed. Depression is sinful.

3. You’re such a fighter!

Explanation: When I was hospitalized, I felt like my life was falling apart. It DID fall apart. When my plans for school, work, and relationships fell apart in a matter of twenty-four hours, I did NOT feel comforted or encouraged by the phrase “God has a plan.” I didn’t disown God, by having these feelings. Depression is a mental disorder. The many stigmas Christians have attached to the word “depression”  and “anxiety”  are wrong and the result has been a lack of healthy discussion about the issue. In the hospital intubated, and in a wheelchair and at home when I found myself crying about my situation, I did not feel strong. I don’t feel worthy of praise for merely surviving a life-threatening event.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for my friends and family who helped keep me standing these past few months and I’m not disqualifying anything they said to me. If you read this and thought “oops I said that to her” it’s OK. No long term damage was made. My goal with this blog post is to promote better conversations, not idle on ones that weren’t my favorite .

Do Say

1. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

2. I’m sorry that you feel this way. What can I say or do (if anything) that would make this better?

3. I don’t know what you’re going through and I’m not going to pretend that I do. Forgive me for anything that comes off as insensitive and if you feel like talking, please help me understand your situation more fully so that I can better serve you and help you with this healing process.

Explanation: this may sound weird, but have been many times when I asked people like my sister or my mom to simply sit with me. I said “if I feel like talking, I’ll speak up, but for now your presence is enough.” Sometimes it is that simple. Instead of assuming you know the right words or actions, ask! What can I do or say? Another “do not say” would be, “I know how you feel.” No you don’t. Everyone is unique and so are there issues.

Lastly, nobody likes a heart breaker. Don’t pretend to care and then leave. Let’s try and be better supporters of our friends and family who are struggling!

Travel, Writing

Montana Meanderings

I’m typing this blog post from a lovely little loft bedroom in my grandma and grandpa’s house in Chinook, Montana. It’s the type of room I’d imagine Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, or Ernest Hemingway wrote their novels from. However, I suspect my room is much  more comfortable, cute and neatly organized than any habitat those drunkards wrote in.

I haven’t visited Montana in close to six years. Since then they’ve moved from the forests and mountains of Libby to the prairie land that is Chinook.

The only sounds that I’ve heard this evening from my work space have been nothing more than the sound of wheels and horns from nearby train tracks and a couple of dogs yipping  and yapping at each other from across the neighborhood. But for the most part, my stay has been beautifully quiet and still. Simple.

Today I proofread a newspaper article.I hadn’t edited another person’s work  in months. It was a beautiful thing to return to my element. My grandpa didn’t appreciate me marking up his completed article in red pen. Heck, at the last minute I almost packed my brand spanking new Associated Press Stylebook. But I didn’t. Only because I had too many other notebooks, binders and reading material to strategically pack in my one suitcase.

I’ve read more books these past six months than I have in two or three years. In one train ride I finished Franny and Zooey and over half of Catcher in the Rye, each by J.D. Salinger. I’m certainly not short on reading material. Nonetheless, I cannot figure out what to read next.

I shadowed my grandpa and followed him to his job at the Blaine County Journal ~News Opinon weekly newspaper, the grocery store, bank, library, and credit union. Did I mention we were able to walk to all of these locations? And it nearly reached seventy degrees? It reminded me of Pullman, minus the hills.

After these important errands we searched around hunting for postcards. I’m a cheesy tourist and couldn’t refrain.

I’m still writing, in case you were wondering. I’ve been working on a lot of personal  projects all of which include writing of some sort. I won’t go into much detail but this includes learning more about writing from a handful of my favorite authors and applying those lessons. For more hints you can see my Instagram profile. I have been doing my best to make the most of this short blip in time where I am taking a semester off from school.

One project that is not secret at all has been my Indiegogo fundraiser campaign I started for my service dog Charley—who’s litter has not been chosen or likely born yet. Boy has that been an experience. Hardly halfway through my campaign and already over thirty percent of my funds have been raised.  A couple of others include two different news outlets, two dreadful sociology papers and my church back in Pullman!

Three. The number of times some dear soul has paid me to write. Beginning and ending my job at the newspaper was awful. Not long after my first front page article was published in The Daily Evergreen I had to abruptly leave. I had to abandon many people and classes and activities I love. I know soon I’ll be back. I’m not concerned about returning. I’m anxious about being uprooted again.

Not knowing is an awful feeling. Not knowing when or where my health could suddenly take a downward spiral. More than a feeling this has been a journey of trust. On more occasions than I can count I’ve asked God “why me and why now?” I realize I placed so much faith and hope that moving out and being independent. November was terribly disappointing.

All of that mess was redeemed. And through people and events that only God could orchestrate. You and I will consistently fall for the the lie that good things cannot come through difficult circumstances. But God breaks our fall. He doesn’t leave us abandoned. He intervenes. I say this now, after he’s picked me up. I offered no pleasant words to God or anyone in the midst of my mess.  It’s OK to not be OK.

Much love,