About, Writing

Fear of Average

Fear of Average

Making Voices Visible

  1. Last night I finished the book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff. Let me tell you, that book scared me to death. Once I finished it, I was afraid that I’m already to average to be awesome. However, as Acuff said “Voices are invisible bullies, and they hate when you make them visible.” If you haven’t read the book, read it. It’s OK to be scared so long as that fear doesn’t paralyze you.

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Bible, Travel, Writing

Did You Feed Me?

From Left to right: Me, Kay, and Brianna.

Meet Kay. Kay turned 86 in May. For over twenty years, Kay has been serving the homeless men and women of Downtown Seattle. Mission: serve the soul, not just the stomach.

Kay’s ministry is titled The Lord’s Table. The location is at 6th and Columbia, directly underneath the freeway. On the second Thursday of every month, my church: Northshore Baptist Church in Kirkland serves with Kay. Our branch of the ministry is called Isaiah 58.  Sixth and Columbia is home to many big hearts of the people who flock from the Union Gospel Mission, Pioneer Square, and all (literal) corners of Seattle for a warm meal of hearty Spanish rice.

Kay's 86th Birthday

In sixth grade, my friend and I were both looking for a ministry to become involved in. We stumbled upon Isaiah 58 after asking our youth pastor’s where we could serve locally. We’ve missed a few months here and there, but we both agree that it seems just yesterday, Kay was 80. I suppose it’s because her stamina and passion hasn’t wavered from year to year.

Kay thrives off of this verse:

Isaiah 58: 6-7

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

A cup of coffee is capable of going a long way. Or tea. Or water. Or Kool Aid. Jesus constantly reminds us that the issue isn’t a matter of liquids. It’s a matter of the heart. The Lord of the universe can dwell in your heart if you allow Him to. He is the only free gift on earth that you don’t need to work towards. There is no checklist to acceptance.

Seattle wants Jesus. They crave Him.  They flock to 6th and Columbia because Jesus is evident in Kay. She treats them like her equal. She doesn’t turn anyone away.  She knows many patrons by name. More importantly, she bleeds the gospel.

Over the years I’ve encountered many fun characters. Seattle is a colorful place. I remember the man who could pop both eyes out of his sockets, the woman who asked me if I could give her pet mouse, Phoebe, a chocolate cookie. The regular  who walked through our line and always asked for “Bill’s Famous Tea.” I remember gazing up through a space in the freeway where the two lanes came apart and feeling as if I were in the movie The Dark Night. I remember when in junior high, Brianna and I collected donations from the youth group to buy Christmas gifts. I remember the British security guard with an Australian accent. Did I mention he dressed in a way that made him look as if he were the captain of a fine vessel? We’ve seen some interesting characters walk through those food lines.

I tease Brianna endlessly for passing out too many desserts. To say Kay is frugal would be an understatement. “Just ONE cookie Brianna” and  “Oh those  will  last until Monday,” is common phraseology around her. Her influence (among others) has made me think twice about waste. I’ve poured perfectly filtered drinking water down the drain with my only pretense being that it had been sitting out too long.  Thrown away food because I’m too full. Ditched socks because of one hole in one toe. Once monthly, for almost seven years I’ve served with Brianna. Last month I served with her ONELASTTIME. (Indefinitely).

New volunteers have made their  appearances! Over the years as the youth has been a part of this great opportunity and we’ve begun spreading the word through social media,  a large variety of people show up each month. It’s always exciting to see volunteers come and go. But to see those who stay? Ahhhh, now that is quite a joy to see.

While Kay may never be replaced, the organization is looking for a new leader to take over all responsibility. The vocation has become an immense responsibility for just one person. We trust in God’s provision. Always.

This one is for you Kay!

Kayla

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Bible, Travel, Writing

A One Way Ticket.

Alex and I went on our first trip to Haiti together last summer in 2012. Deep down somehow I knew that first trip wouldn’t be her last. Your time, talent, and treasures will send give Alex and her multiple teams they need to make this world a better place, and what’s more, shine Jesus’s light in one of the world’s darkest places.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. by faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11: 8-10

From Home to Haiti

Dear family and friends,

A few years ago I was having a conversation with a friend when she asked me, “What kind of person do you want to be when you’re older?” and I surprised myself by answering with, “I just want to be someone in love with Jesus.” It’s a simple concept really, for me to be someone in love with the man who bled and died for me specifically, the man who in constantly seeking to spend time with me and loves me no matter how many times I fail Him. The tough part is trusting, trusting that He knows His plans for me and that I need not worry what tomorrow holds or where I will be in 10 years (or one to be completely honest here). We as a fallen people try so hard to hold on tightly to the control and direction of our lives…

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About, Bible, Blog Series

This is My Story

I’ve written a lot. I adore writing.  I’ve written about practically anything and everything. However, I dislike I talking about myself.  It is the one topic I avoid  at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve filled journal on top of journal filled with life. But wait, sharing this knowledge? That’s a totally different story. God has been convicting me of something lately (as He always is); God turns our messy lives into messages.  I can make Him famous by sharing my story. We all have stories. They started the day we took our very first breath.  Our lives are a book written by God. Each day is a page. Every decade a chapter.  We were created to be read. We were written to put God on the Bestseller list!

 God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive–a living soul!

Genesis 2: 7

If that’s not crazy, astonishing and thrilling, I don’t know what is.

Apparently, I am really good at putting on a poker face.  I don’t try to look like I have it all together. In fact, oftentimes I feel like screaming “I’m not strong, but He is! Every waking minute Jesus is holding me!” It is because of His strength that I am capable of being strong in my weaknesses.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the LIFE of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-10

Before I begin sharing my story, I want to exhort you to share yours. Your story may not sound exciting to you, but you never know whose life you can touch without sharing it! If it means anything, your story matters to me.  If God, the one who created us to be full of purpose, shouldn’t we have faith that He is using it for something epic?

I’m going to share with you mine . I would start with day one, but I’m 6,791 days old.

Eleven years ago, at the age of seven. I had my first epileptic seizure. I conked out on the floor of the Olive Garden Restaurant on 196th St. in Lynnwood, WA. Here’s the catch: I was perfectly healthy, and nobody knew it was a seizure. We didn’t even call an ambulance.  I took a sip of water and finished eating dinner with my family. I felt fine after gracefully smashing my head on their then-brick floor. (OK, I make that sound much more exciting than it actually was). Nothing showed up on my post-fall MRI. Not even a minor concussion! Clearly, angels do exist.

My mom scheduled an emergency appointment of course. She figured the whole thing was just a fluke. It wasn’t. You may be thinking “wow, that is unfortunate.” Well, you are wrong. That day changed my life forever. OK, now you’re thinking “well duh.” It was a good life changing experience. I’m still not sure exactly how it has changed my life for the better, but everything takes some figuring out. Can I get an amen?

In the beginning I saw three different doctors. These three doctors proposed three different diagnoses:

– Most likely Vasodepressor Syncope

-Colloid on 3rd ventricle

-Small chance the episode was a seizure

I went through so many tests it’s CRAZY. EEG’s, MRI’s, blood tests, the tilt-table test, cat scans. The whole bit. I even wore a heart monitor for about one month. God was there. Holding my hand. He was upside down with me when I was strapped on that table.

My mom, being the awesome woman that as she is, finally pull out her handy dandy Taber’s Medical Dictionary from the bookshelf, performed her own research and she basically said, “Let’s take the focus off the heart and look at what is going on in her brain.”

Since my diagnosis of absence seizures has been confirmed, life has been a whirlwind. I’ve been tossed hither and thither. Since that time I’ve tried two alternative treatments to medication: 1) The Modified Atkins Diet and 2) a Vegas Nerve Stimulator. Concerning the MAD, let me just say this. After six months of eating fifteen and 10 carbohydrates per day, I obtained a whole new appreciation for bread and an extreme dislike for milk and peanuts which I practically thrived off of.

The Vegas Nerve Stimulator brings me to where I am today! Contrary to popular belief, the Vegas Nerve Stimulator is NOT brain surgery. Think of it more as a pacemaker for the brain. Well, I remember the day of my implant. I was supposed to have a history exam that day and all I could remember was that April 9th. The date of my surgery was ironically a date in history I needed to memorize. What a strange coincidence! Fast forward to today, 9/13/ 2013. Today I am recovering from the surgery  I underwent yesterday  to have the device removed. Why, you ask? I was given two choices: 1) replace the battery or 2) remove the battery. As of today I am fifty-one days seizure free! It’s these little victories we must embrace.

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VNS Implant. April 9th, 2009. This is my non-poker-face.  Seattle Children’s Hospital.

A few days ago I received my OUTPATIENT NOTE in the mail. One sentence written by my physician stuck out to me: “She has been approximately 40 days seizure free. It is not clear to us the reason for the increased efficacy…”  To doctors, these instances are just medical mysteries. I read this and thought to myself, Clearly, Jesus is at work in my life right now. I realize that while he is always at work in my life, I tend to only recognize this truth when I am having either a really bad day or an extraordinarily good day. Something about that needs to change. Whether or not I’m having a particular high or low day, I need to  start off each day saying these words:

This is the day which the Lord has made;Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118: 24 (NASB)

God is consistent. That being said, I shouldn’t “shelve” God. I ALWAYS need Him. I should never take Him down when I think I need Him and marginalize Him when I am under the impression that I can do things myself. So how is your storybook going to look? On the cover of my current journal, I wrote “The story of how Jesus wrecked my life and put me back together again.” He knows exactly what is wrong in our lives and puts us back together the way he sees fit! So why do we worry? We’re still human. God recognizes that. We are extremely blessed because He looks at us the way He looks at His Son. Incredible!

Your story matters.  How will you use it to change the world?

Kayla

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Bible, Blog Series, Writing

Let’s Make Jesus Famous

God turns our messy lives into messages. We all have a story. Our story began on the day we took our very first breath.  Our lives are a book written by God. Each day is a page. Every decade a chapter.  We were created to be read. We were written to put God on the Bestseller list!

Child of the One True King, saved by His incredible grace

Stay tuned for more on making Him famous…….

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About, Uncategorized, Writing

For the Fresh Peoples

I learn as I go. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anything right the first time. I’ve learned more by making mistakes than I think I would’ve if I hadn’t made them.  I believe it is my duty to impart with some little snippets of wisdom.  From one fellow grammar Nazi to another, please, feel free to keep any corrections to yourself. I only drank one cup of coffee today.  WARNING: SARCASM INTENDED. STOP HERE IF YOU CAN’T LAUGH AT YOURSELF.

So, without further ado, here are a few things you should know about college:

  1. you no longer have the ability to be the teacher’s pet. you are ONE fish in one very large school.
  2.  friends will come and go. some people are placed in your life for a season. Others for longer. the latter are usually able to stand two tests which either make or break  friendships: 1) distance 2) time.
  3. i’m assuming a majority of you drink coffee or some caffeinated liquid. look at your class schedule. plan accordingly for caffeine crashes. if all of your classes are in the morning, by all means, help yourself to a cup of Joe, tea, your chock-full -of-energy drink of choice. If you intend on accomplishing your homework in the afternoon, you might wanna have a second cup after lunch. believe me. i’ve learned all of this by trial and error. don’t be that person who orders three extra shots of caffeine in their coffee. if you’re that desperate, there is a cure. it’s called sleep.
  4. summer classes. i took a fifteen credit load in the summer. entirely online. i spent 130+ hours on one five credit math homework. imagine a year-long math class, then a semester class and then a quarterly class and the an 8 week class. 130+hours for one class alone. plan accordingly so that you do not have to put yourself through something that stressful.
  5. you’re only human. not everybody places into calculus first semester the way ALL freshmen are supposed to. it’s OK. i placed into Algebra. i worked hard and received a B. better to work hard and receive a B than not work at all.   worth ethic will get you a LOT farther than 4.0’s.
  6.  in case of an emergency, take a tip from Gracie Lou Freebush. A.K.A, Miss Congeniality, Gracie Heart, Sandra Bullock etc.  and just S.I.N.G! Solar Plexus, Instep, Nose, and Groin 😉 Congratulations. You’ve just mastered your first self-defense lesson.
  7. ask questions.  find out EXACTLY what your teacher wants. make sure things are crystal clear. For example, does your math teacher expect things done a certain way? Let’s face it, most teachers prefer assignments done a particular way. if you can’t  ask  your teacher, ask the TA, if you can’t ask the TA, ask someone who has been in the class before, if you don’t know someone who has been in the class before, ask a different teacher in the SAME DEPARTMENT. your math teacher may know your English teacher, but his or her English skills probably won’t be that great.  don’t try to cozy up to your teacher so much that you become that extremely obnoxious person who sides with the teacher concerning everything. there is no such thing as a stupid questions. except, well y’know…..i just won’t go there.
  8.  english class. always give constructive feedback to classmates. the least helpful thing for a person to hear is “oh that’s cool,” or “oh that’s stupid.” Always answer the five W’s.
  9.  notes are important.  i’ve learned that the hard way this quarter. however, note taking is  only of good use to you if you a)  number the pages b) preferably keep them in a spiral notebook. neat writing is kind of pointless if you have half of your lecture notes in a binder and the other half somewhere on your desk.
  10.  you’re sharing a room with someone you’ve either never met before, share nothing in common with, will only keep their room clean until the first day of school starts, or is TOTALLY AWESOME. Be prepared for anything. you can only stalk a person on Facebook so much. the “e-harmony” of roommates only works so well. how do I know this? i talked with a friend at a going away party and she said her current roommate is actually on the waiting list for a  single room. #awkward.
  11.  amazon isn’t always cheaper. i recently recoiled in horror at this terrible revelation. i found out that one of my school textbooks is actually half the price at the school bookstore than online. this is the first time it has happened in five quarters so…..
  12.  if you aren’t the type of person who annotates and underlines frantically (like me) you should try renting books.  so step 1) figure out how you best retain information.
  13.  so, sometimes you can find the older version of a textbook for a lot cheaper simply because it’s a different edition. e-mail your professors and they may let you make copies of material not included in the older editions. not many people do this. mainly because they’re too lazy to make the extra effort and ending up spending more money than they’d like. and honestly, not many teachers are happy with their salaries and may therefore sympathize with your insane materials cost.
  14.  hopefully you are at school for an education so, try to come away educated. harsh, but y’know.
  15. Finals: UGH.  here’s my best advice. Set a tentative game plan. take out your handy-dandy planner schedule out the week preceding finals carefully. follow that as closely as possible.  then be prepared for that entire plan to completely failed. so after plan A fails, choose the class most vital to your degree and make sure to not fail that one class. 
  16.  academic integrity. let’s get serious.  you can bet I’ll write a separate post on this issue because I feel so strong about this issue. don’t cheat. please. it’s not worth it. i know “everybody” is making the decision to Google answers to that take home test. well guess what. you are not everybody. i could probably be an honors student if i weren’t an honest student. life isn’t fair. the bell curve isn’t fair. but YOU MUST think about how the decisions you make now will decide your future. don’t fall into that peer pressure. here’s the deal, many times people will try to justify cheating simply because things aren’t communicated clearly between your professor and the class-directly. look at your class syllabus. look at your test and/or homework instructions. if something seems fuzzy, clarify with your teacher. ASK if you can use extra. there’s nothing wrong with that.
  17. student accounts : “welcome! you’ll need our services for the next four years of your life at (insert school name) please expect delays from day one of account creation. we no longer communicate via paper. WE’RE ADVANCED. therefore, from here on out, we’ll have our IT department open 24/7, because the best part about our services is that nothing EVER works perfectly. expect unexpected changes to occur with each  log in and lack of communication and understanding from your teachers. we’re hoping that these dire circumstances will increase creativity among our students, who we desire to be as well-rounded as possible.” sincerely, The Team at ( insert name of school and account type).
  18. scholarships. brag away, because we all know that YOU are the reason YOU are here today. i.e 2.0 G.P.A, that one time you did that one thing with ASB. ahh but here is an idea! my third cousin twice removed was one-quarter Cherokee Indian. SCORE. no. just no.
  19. FAFSA. congratulations you are just rich enough but just poor enough that this one $5,000 Stanford student loan POSSIBILITY will hardly make a dent in the $200,000 + you’ll be paying for school. welcome to the middle class. WE ARE THE 99%.
  20. Need a Monday pick-me-up? Watch a Blimey Cow YouTube video. They recently started doing podcasts as well!
  21. Find your jam. And crank it up.

-Kayla

eldest of eight, recent High School graduate, current community college student and future transfer at God-knows-where (He does)

Jeremiah 29:11

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