Writing

Empty Shelf Book 13: My Sister’s Keeper

Title: My Sister’s Keeper

Author: Jodi Picoult

What’s it about: A lot of things. Ethics, morals, family dynamics. But mostly two sisters who love each other a lot.  Kate has  acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Her younger sister Anna, is her cure. She’s been a part of Kate’s treatment since birth. But now that she’s thirteen, she’s not so sure she wants to keep contributing to her sister’s well-being. You’ll have to read the book to discover how she navigates her way down this messy path.

Why did I read it: First of all, I read this lovely novel because It’s been on my “To Read” list for years. Secondly, I love meaningful fiction. Picoult is a lovely writer and this book really tugs at your heart-strings.

Favorite idea:  “It is so easy to think that the world revolves around you, but all you have to do is stare up at the sky to realize it isn’t that way at all.”

Where you can buy it: here.

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Blog Series

something for sunday

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. For me, the best part of being on Spring Break is all the time I have available to read and write. It’s introverted bliss. These are all great articles I read online so just click the title and it will lead you to the site. If you read something awesome lately, comment on the side and I’ll check it out!

What Guarding Your Heart Actually Means by Alex Harmening via Relevant Magazine

I love reading various articles written from different angles about this topic of guarding your heart. Proverbs 4: 23  says”Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” What does this verse mean? How are we supposed to apply it to our lives? Harmening broaches the top well and she has many valid points.

No Degree Necessary by Phil Gathany

If you’re a student like me, this is for you. Phil reminded me that God is going to use me no matter how “ordinary” I am. He’s going to use you too. Jesus’ twelve disciples were about as ordinary they go and they all went on to do extraordinary things.

6 Reasons Why You Should Touch and be Touched More Often by Christina Miller

Four hugs a day. At least. Are you meeting your daily hug quota? Maybe those free hug signs aren’t such a silly idea after all. For a person whose love language definitely isn’t touch, I found this article quite intriguing.

Writers get all aboard Amtrak’s train residency program by Sarah Sheffer

The fact that this is an actual thing just makes me happy.  Amtrak is actually sending people on train trips for one purpose: to write. I’ve ridden the train numerous times. My longest trip was from Edmonds, Washington to Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.  It was quite the  adventure and one I probably took advantage of.

-Kayla

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Writing

Empty Shelf Book 12: The Pursuit of God

Title: The Pursuit of God

Author: A.W. Tozer

What’s it about: The Pursuit of God is about just that: pursuing God. Tozer discusses how we can get pursue a closer relationship with God.

Why did I read it: Tozer is an awesome theologian.

Favorite idea: “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.” This is absolutely beautiful. God want us to pursue Him so badly.

Where can you buy it: Right here

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Bible, Blog Series, Writing

Reading The Bible Is Hard

Reading the Bible is hard.

I won’t lie, some days, I just don’t feel like reading the Bible.

Occasionally, I’ll use the excuse that I shouldn’t read it when apathetic. But I’ve realized that’s pretty pathetic–as most excuses are. That’s like saying I’m only going to read the New Testament because it’s more “relevant” or “understandable.” If I based my habits around this then I’d pick and choose passages and never allow myself be challenged by God’s Word.

My problem is that before I even open up to a book I expect words to just come flying off at the page at me.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with these sentiments.

In an earlier post, I mentioned how I am fasting from Facebook for Lent.  What I’ve discovered is that it’s much easier to fast from something than to fast and make an intentional effort to grow spiritually during that time.

That being said, I’ve decided to try something new that will hopefully help re-ignite my passion for God’s word. I’m going to write out the book of Ephesians.

I’m not sure what I’ll learn, or if I’ll learn anything at all from studying the scripture in this way.

But Paul is cool and I like writing letters so there’s that too.

I was kinda sorta inspired by Lucas Chadwick who, in 2012 set out on a journey to write out the entire Bible. It’s a crazy cool project and you should definitely check out his Facebook page.

-Kayla

P.S.

I’d love to hear any stories about how you grew closer to God through his word. Join me on this challenge?

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Writing

Empty Shelf Book 11: Blue Like Jazz

Title: Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Author: Donald Miller

What’s it about: Christian Spirituality. Miller talks about a variety of emotions, such as depression, loneliness, relationships, love, finances and etc. I feel like it’s so, so relevant to young adults. He talks about all of these issues from personal experience which makes it even easier to read.

Why did I read it: I’ve heard so many good things about this book. From youth pastors, favorite authors and peers. I love Miller’s honesty and transparency.

Favorite idea: I underlined something in every chapter of this book, but my favorite idea is this: “I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel, I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. but it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful.”

Where you can buy it: (and I highly recommend you do)

How to Join the Empty Shelf Challenge: join

You should really, really, really read this book.

-Kayla

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Blog Series, Writing

College Is Hard

College is hard. Ummm, no one ever told me this.

Sometimes I think college is  overrated.

I hate how our society prioritizes higher education. Like, if you can’t divide polynomials you’re a failure. More than anything, I hate how I prioritize it. I hate how I worry about it. I hate how I base my identity on something so short-lived as school.

“The devil loves it when we say we believe, then prioritize everything in our lives ahead of God.”

A.W. Tozer

The devil loves to use to use our priorities and our worries and expectations to drive us away from God.

I read an article recently talking about how we think approximately 70,000 thoughts in our lifetimes. Only 70,00o?  And then I started wondering how many thoughts I’ve wasted. This isn’t meant to be a downer of a blog post, and if it is, I apologize.

However, this issue of worry (at least in my life)  is something that someone recently pointed out to me. At first I was offended. In my mind I  got all “who are you to think that I worry to much?” 

It took me about three months to realize that I was trying to justify my worry. And then I felt stupid because what he was trying to tell me- in a loving way- is  that God doesn’t want us to worry and that worry is a sin. Even now, I still struggle with this. Big time. Happiness isn’t found in living up to the expectations of others. 

The difference is that I recognize it as the devil trying to tear me apart. And I can choose to succumb and listen or walk away.

Here’s what scripture says about worry:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

And Joy:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

You are awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you anything differently. Regardless of what anyone else says. If you can’t divide polynomials, welcome to the club, I still think you’re cool. (I’m sure a lot of other people could care less too). There are bigger dreams out there worth chasing.

-Kayla

P.S.

My friend Phil wrote an awesome blog post about what God expects of us as Christians, particularly Christian students. It’s a must read, if you’re a student of any kind.

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Bible, Blog Series, Writing

Hope Is Hard

Hope is hard. It’s a fact of life.

But hope is also beautiful. It means we’re choosing to believe that there is indeed a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That, my friend, is no easy feat.

Hope is counting on and clinging to what we cannot see. Hope is what we grab hold of as we’re searching for peace in the middle of a war. Hope is not always comforting, but sometimes it’s all that’s left.

If hope were a person, I wonder what he’d say or what he’d do. I’d like to believe that he’d take my hand and say “here’s my hand, you can squeeze it.” Hope would know that if I can’t change my present circumstances, I’m better off knowing I don’t need to endure the battle ahead alone.

Faith and hope work closely together. Without faith, how could we hope?  How else could we confidently say,”everything will work out.” Hope is the product of faith in something. In anything. In anyone.

C.S. Lewis once said that “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” Sounds a lot like hope doesn’t it?

Not everyone may believe in God or a supernatural being, but it’d take an incredible amount of convincing for someone to tell me they didn’t have hope. We hope in our friends, our family, our circumstances. In tangible things.

However, I’ve found the most beautiful sort of hope is that which can’t be seen or heard or touched, but still believed in. 

-Kayla

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

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Blog Series, Writing

Waffles vs. Spaghetti: For the Guys

Dear Guys,

First of all, if you don’t plan on reading this entire post read this —>  waffles are much different from spaghetti. In fact, I think the only characteristic the two foods share is the insane amount of carbs.

If you remember this concept, I predict that any sort of relationship with any woman you have in your life will improve drastically. Maybe all it means is that you understand your mom better. Or your friend. Or your sister. Or any individual belonging to the female species. You do not need a survival guide. Or a book.  Or a list of rules. Spaghetti must become your new favorite food. Second only to the Bread of Life. (Cheesy pun intended).

If you failed to notice, girls are really good at not giving away anything. You could be talking to her about one thought  while she’s thinking through a million–at the exact same time. This is called multi-thinking.  To play it safe, assume that if you haven’t thought it, she’s thinking it.

Let’s create a scenario to work with. You’ve just met this girl? You start the small talk etc. Now imagine this, she’s already thinking about whether you’ll be simply friends, or if there are deeper intentions. She’s thinking of the possibility of a first date. Here’s a glimpse at the female brain:

“Does he like me?” “Is he going to ask me out?” If so, “when?” “Where will he take me?” “What will I wear?” “How tall is he?” “Can I wear heels?” “Has he dated another girl? If so, “who?”Is he still dating her?” If not, “why?” “Does he have certain standards, boundaries, and expectations?” “What is he passionate about?”

The list goes on and on and on and on and on.

She’s thinking of every detail. 

NOW, that was an example of multi-thinking. I hope I didn’t scare you. I’m only being realistic. Another thing,  this IS NOT to say all a girl ever thinks about is her future wardrobe and dates.  This is not true at all. If I asked these exact questions with every guy I met I’d be in an even more complex state of mind.

She needs your help, but she forgets to ask. Multi-thinking is a habit that is constantly occurring. It occurs in the subconscious and conscious. It’s exhausting. If you would be a gentleman and  lay out your intentions-whatever they may be- right away, she will be eternally grateful. She’ll only have to think and inquire about what you haven’t brought up. Her brain will be less likely to explode.  Girlfriends have trouble assisting their girlfriends think about one thing at a time. It’s nearly impossible.

If you’re still with me, AWESOME.

As my friend McKenzie would say, “Does that make you feel…good about everything?”

Since you have the enviable ability to think things through slowly and thoroughly, and even one thought at a time, let this marinate your thought process for the next 24 hours. 

P.S. I’m writing a post just for the girls too. What do they need to know about guys? How are waffles distinct?

-Kayla

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Writing

Writing Is Hard

Writing is hard.

Every writer has this defining point in their writing journey where they ask themselves the questions:

 “Why am I writing?” “Is it all worth it?” “Who should I write for?” “Should I write for high stats, or what’s on my heart?”

I’ve been blogging for a year. I haven’t even reached 2,000 views. I’m pretty sure I get the most views when my mom shares my posts on her Facebook page. My fan-base is limited. (I’m not sure it even qualifies as a fan-base). I’ve signed up for about every suggested social media site one could think of. And, consequently, I haven’t seen much change in my stats.

I continue writing. If I don’t write, I feel as if part of me is missing. Still, it’d be nice for a complete stranger who is more successful than I have been to recognize my work. There is no denying that wishful thinking.

I hate sounding cliche, but no great thing comes easily. Good things come with hours, weeks, even years of hard work.  That’s what I missed when I first began my journey. I missed the tears, the calloused fingers, the rejections, the failed attempts. The ceremonious burning of drafts. The promise to get up, leave, and never write another word. Those are defining moments in any artist’s life. The rise to fame hardly compares to the time spent laboring to arrive at that point.

So if it’s not easy, why do it? I’ll tell you why. Because that one person who is impacted by your writing, makes up for the lack of viewers, the low stats, the rejection letters.

One of my Twitter followers responded to my post stepping away for awhile with these words: “You shine.” Folks, that’s why I keep writing.

If you write for numbers, there’s good chance you might not write anything great at all.

Keep at it.

-Kayla

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Bible, Writing

The Church Is Not A Building

The church is not a building.

I’ve always loved this concept. The church is not a building, rather, it’s a community of Christ followers. However, I came to the realization yesterday that the only place I’ve ever heard this concept discussed, is at church. The building. The sanctuary. In the pew. The irony of that fact hit me hard.

I was at college.

I attend a public community college. I wasn’t in chapel or in a theology class.

God moves everywhere. The bible study at my school, Ignite Fellowship, meets multiple times during the week. I haven’t been able to attend often because of a wacky schedule.

By God’s grace I was able to attend yesterday. It was beautiful. We met in a study room. Put our bibles on the conference tables in front of us.We sang a few worship songs and after that, we shared communion. We borrowed a small table and set it up in front of the small room and covered it with a table-cloth. A plate and goblet were set out.

In that moment, I had a revelation. When Jesus communed with his disciples as they were partaking in the Last Supper, they weren’t in a church building. No ordained pastor officiated it. I doubt anyone was dressed in their church clothes.

The last supper wasn’t pretty. I imagine the filthy dirt floors and Jesus and his devoted followers sitting around. I’m sure they were weary from going everywhere on foot. A steak dinner surely would have been accepted without a word. Nonetheless all that sat before them was a loaf of bread and some cheap wine. These twelve men had been everywhere with Jesus. And yet their going away party was anything from glamorous. In fact, right off the bat, Jesus puts forth a disclaimer: “one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:21).

Their meeting was somber. Tears were shed. I’m sure some felt a sense of abandonment and definitely confusion.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28

Why do we create limitations? The church was a body of believers long before it was a building. Jesus is the head of the church, not a building. If we forget the people part,we forget Jesus’s heart. He loved people.

I find it hard to see how the true gospel will effectively be shared if we (if I) don’t live the gospel.

If we try harder to envision Jesus’s last supper, maybe then we will fully understand how important it is.

Watch out, the church is leaving the building.

-Kayla

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