OK? OK

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 six 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.

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Pixie Perfect

I chopped off all my hair.

April 2014 photography by EdCC TritonLife.
April 2014 photography by EdCC TritonLife.

I thought about it for an incredibly long time, but if I’m really honest I was incredibly terrified.

I waited until the most opportune time, and sure enough, my school was doing a locks of love event.

I was scared, even though I knew it would grow back–if I wanted it too. I became even more scared when they sat me down in front of a mirror to do the ceremonial cutting of the pony tails.

It took chopping off all my hair to realize how incredibly hard it must be for men — women in particular–to lose part of their identity. Because whether we admit it or not, hair is something that defines us women and it’s part of what makes us feel beautiful.

I would never go so far as to say I now know how it feels to struggle with cancer or alopecia or other diseases or treatments which cause hair loss. But here’s to hoping that this experience, has broadened my perspective more and maybe increased my ability to empathize.

I don’t mean for any of my posts to inflict guilt, just provoke thought so take away what you will from the following: I believe in giving what we have. If I possess hair that grows back, but others do not, why should I not take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity to share my treasure that God has bestowed upon me?

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

3 Peter 3:3-4

P.S. I cut my hair all the way back in April of 2013. I kept pushing off this post because I was afraid I’d say the wrong thing. Don’t be afraid of telling stories. You are completely unaware of the wonderful actions your story could inspire.

2013: A Year In Review

Facebook doesn’t accurately highlight my year. Not everything that happened was declared in a status.,

32 Things I learned in 2013:

  1.  Graduation ceremonies are overrated.
  2.  I’m a very horrible party planner.
  3.   AOSS (Awkward Older Sibling Syndrome) is a very real and prevalent disease.
  4.  Summer quarter is no fun.
  5. Handwritten letters are a dying art. I’m still struggling to enter the twenty-first century.
  6. “It’s only awkward if you make it awkward” is a true statement. That being said, I’m guess awkward is my specialty.
  7.  I’m an ISFJ.
  8.  Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha is starting to taste like toothpaste.
  9.  Spontaneous trips to Chipotle with the siblings will be missed.
  10.  Facebook debates are immature.
  11.  Skype is probably my favorite technology.
  12.  Time and distance are the ultimate tests of friendship.
  13.  Awesome friends ask you challenging questions.
  14.  Chivalry is not dead.
  15.  I don’t recommend procrastinating on essays that are worth 10% of your grade unless you work well under pressure. (Thankfully, I do most of the time).
  16. Textbooks are expensive.
  17. God is very good to me.
  18. We have so many things to give.
  19. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness.
  20. If you want to hear God, you need to listen.
  21. Many people won’t agree with you.
  22. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry too much.
  23. Small acts of kindness have huge impact.
  24. God has a strange way of placing people in our lives. Sometimes it takes awhile to discover why they’re there.
  25. “EVERYONE” and “I’M THE ONLY ONE” are some of the most destructive phrases.
  26. Miracles happen.
  27. My sister picks out good Christmas trees.
  28. I don’t like being an adult.
  29. It’s OK to let go of those autographed Jump 5 posters.
  30. AT&T is annoying.
  31. His mercies are new everyday, not January 1st.
  32.  I cannot function without coffee in the morning.

Also in 2014:

  1. I chopped off all of my hair and donated it to Locks of Love.
  2. I graduated from Highschool.
  3. I got accepted to Washington State University. Go Cougs!
  4. Remembered  Windy<—read his story!
  5. Started this blog!
  6. Drank coffee with some pretty great people.
  7. I went 107 days without a single seizure.
  8. I had a successful  surgery .

I’ve always been somewhat on the fence about New Year’s resolutions. Nonetheless, here are some things I want to be more consistent in! (Not just in 2014).

  • Joy. In the worst of times, and in the best of times.
  • Writing.
  • Reading.
  • Pursuing God. He pursued me first! Before I knew Him, He wanted me? Why? Because our God is full of grace.
  • Love more.
  • Worrying LESS.

Have a fantastic New Year! I hope to see and hear from you during Coffee Shop Talk 🙂

-Kayla-

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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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.

IMG00011-20090409-0939
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

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

Since I’ve Been Gone

First off, to all my followers and viewers, I’m terribly sorry I’ve been so inconsistent in posting. I knew right off the bat consistency would be a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong though, I have nearly 30 postings in the work! My creativity has not dulled.  I’m awakening from the lethargy and sickness that Spring Break wrought-at least that is my hope. My new quarterly school schedule has me up at sunset twice a week for English 102.  As for all of my other time, I am somewhat flexible. In other words, it has me easily procrastinating on every other area of my life. As of right now, there are 46 days, 21 hours, and 12 minutes until graduation. Yes I have been counting since pretty much the beginning of the second semester.  Some say “don’t do that.” Well, I finally know what I THINK I want to do so I’m ready to be done. I have yet to meet someone who says they want to go back and do High School all over again. It’s been fun, but frankly, I’m quite done.

Senior year has consisted of a lot of firsts. My life up to the point has consisted of many changes. Mostly good. I’ve turned eighteen, my brother turned has started driving, while another brother lost his first tooth. I’ve relapsed once again into my yearbook duties after a nice long break. I had my first last Spring Formal at the lovely Canal in Seattle, partnered with a very awkward first last senior recognition. And no, I was not the cause of this awkwardness. Cap and Gown pictures have been taken and everything is official. Senior sneak is coming up.  I obtained my first official non-driver’s license ID-you may be wondering, what good is such a thing? Unfortunately, it is useful in many instances and more convenient than carrying around a passport everywhere. Some major decisions are up in the air which at times has been quite taxing. And as my friends like to say I am “sleep exhausted.” Keep persisting friends! I’ve made it this far and intend to see through to the  end. Until then, Keep Calm and Graduate! (;

Keep Calm 1

Kayla

I Should Explain

I feel as if I should explain something, it’s sort of a confession.I created this blog because I failed miserably at Tumblr. I never got into the whole re-blogging thing. Sure I love cute quotes just as much as the next person, but I also enjoy bloggers who occasionally create their own work. Yes, I realize that sounds harsh and I admit I’m generalizing, but I realize I was pining away for a different audience.  As an aspiring writer I was searching for a new motivation and I just didn’t find it. The problem is what I was really searching for was perfection. I was looking to do the same amount of work and receive different results. I was terribly inconsistent. They say practice makes perfect and I have yet to prove that theory wrong. I want Coffee Shop Talk to be a place for practice and constructive criticism. Because that’s what Coffee Shop Talk is! Imperfect yet extraordinary. Simple yet complex. How many of you can say that you have never walked into any coffee shop and ended up talking to someone you weren’t expecting to talk to? If you haven’t experienced this, I’d suggest you get out of the house more,or try someplace less mainstream than Starbucks.

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