Pause. Breathe. Decompress.

More than convinced. I was more than convinced that while on vacation, I would get an incredible amount of writing done. I’d write everyday in my leather travel journal and share all the details with you, my readers, the very moment the plane ascended, the blue Wi-Fi light turned on, and I trudged into the chilly terminal in Seattle. After all, I somewhere in the description of this blog, I threw something in there about loving to travel, right?!

I’m sure, at some point in time, I will talk about my crazy Hawaiian adventure. But on this particular vacation, more than any other trip in recent years, I realized just how hard it is for me to live and breathe and function in the moment. I’m sure , whoever you are and whatever you, you can relate to this feeling. No matter how hard you try, there always seems to be a thought lingering at the back of your mind. A task on your To-Do list, which hasn’t been completed yet. An e-mail you need to respond to. A phone call you need to make. A conversation which needs to be held with a friend or family member.  You get the idea. It’s too easy, in the midst of all the bustle and hustle to forget to pause.

For me, personally, writing is my best escape. Not only do I take the chance to pause and write, but because I decompress at the same time. So when I say writing isn’t going all that hot, it means I’m stopping to pause, but all those crazy thoughts are building up inside of my head. And with nowhere to go, the pausing and breathing doesn’t do too much good.

That being said, last night, I finally started out my crazy thoughts. With no intention of anything being perfect or even making sense. The random nonsense probably isn’t blog worthy. However, there’s power in putting words on paper. It restores some sanity. Especially when we can’t always hop on a plane and escape to the beach. That vacation taught me the importance of creating a consistent sabbatical. Whether that be Sunday or Wednesday  is not important. Perhaps frequent staycations are the answer.

How do you carve out time in your day to pause? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

Enjoy this long weekend! Don’t forget to Pause. Breath. Decompress.

 

-Kayla

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Excuses Excuses

Creative Commons/ Alan Cleaver https://flic.kr/p/7NcEL3

Writing is hard a habit.

This happened last weekend:

“So, you keeping up with your writing?”

*Squirm*Cough*Eyes downcast*

Out come the excuses. “Well school, y’know, it’s hard to make time.” Blah blah blah. Sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen a career involving more public speaking. I’m good at obnoxiously rambling. I’m sure I looked quite pathetic.

It’s a bad deal y’all.

I was asked this question at a graduation party last weekend. To say my response was vaguely pathetic would be an understatement.  when talking to someone you haven’t seen in several months, it’s more than tempting to sugar coat things.

I didn’t quite sugar coat things, but I didn’t quite tell the truth which would be: no, not really.

A blog post here and there doesn’t exactly count as writing.  True writing is a habit. Habits require a person to make time. Nobody  has the time. It’s a choice to get up early or stay up late or forgo any bit of free time you have to simply veg out.  It is important I point out that “free time” is different for everybody. Maybe it’s your thirty minute bus commute or your lunch break  or while you’re eating you’re waiting for your coffee to finish brewing.

You may be wondering why I write so many personal reflections. I’m a relational person. I also learn a lot from people who are down to earth and totally transparent. I’d say more so than someone who sits down and says “so this is the right way to live life.” It’s important to establish credibility. No matter if you write or blog or whatever you do. It’s always good to be real.

Anyhow, back to my writing (or lack thereof), I need to up my game.  I keep saying I’ll do so in the near future. But let’s be honest.  I push a lot of things to the future. It’s easier to do so because it means I don’t need to do anything. This is me vowing I’ll try harder, regardless of the fact that it’s practically finals week. There will always be something trying to get in the way of what I love, but if I say I love it, then I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I continue working hard at it.

Whatever it is you love, DO IT.

Today is the start of a new week, filled with new opportunities.

-Kayla

 

 

When wanderlust becomes a problem

Recently, I’ve been struggling with pride, jealousy, and comparison. Am I the only one? I didn’t think so. Anyhow, these are sin issues I’ve always struggled with. Constantly, and through various situations, I’ve been humbled and convicted.

Some days my life feels absolutely mundane. No doubt it’s hectic and busy and wonderful and full of many blessings,  but recently I’ve been consumed with wanderlust. I’d say this is a common yearning.

Here’s my confession: I’m jealous of my friend’s adventures for the summer. I have friends going to Haiti, the Philippines, Nicaragua, California, Guatemala, Thailand, and God knows where else.

And then there’s me. Still in Washington. Since 1999 I’ve been living within the same five-mile radius. Not much has changed except the malls keep growing and so does the traffic.

And I hate shopping.

Here’s the deal. I’m missing the point. All of these wonderful people are there for the sake of expanding the Kingdom of God.  And that’s a different type of wanderlust. It’s more than a desire to see the world, it’s a calling. One which involves sacrifice. They left behind friends and family because God called them to. It’s not my job to be jealous, but to be happy and supportive of the wonderful work they are doing.

I’m bad at comparing my adventure with those of others around me. (Not excluding those halfway across the world). While I’m busy wasting time lamenting over everything I haven’t seen and done, a lot of opportunities fly by me.

I need to learn to love where I live. Because at some point, I’ll  most likely move away from this place I’ve grown up in. And if I don’t learn to be grateful for where I am now, then why would I suddenly appreciate the next place I go?

My biggest fear is living a life that’s boring. Not just boring, but purposeless. If done right, going to Wal-Mart can be made memorable.

Let’s define purpose, because I know for a fact that it means something different to everyone.

Purpose

noun

1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.

3. determination; resoluteness.

4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.

5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

I love the first definition.  It reminds me of how God sees his children. Existing for a purpose. It’s not about how far you travel, the number stamps in your passport, but how much you loved, right where you are today. Not where you are tomorrow, but in this very minute.

It’s not that I believe God is endorsing that we live in a bubble or that we best fulfill our purpose-whatever it may be- within a five mile radius we’ve lived our whole lives.

Look at the fourth definition. How do you define purpose? What is the subject at hand?

Some of the most rewarding experiences aren’t  glamorous or worthy of the latest issue of National Geographic.

 

“Beautiful things don’t seek attention.”

{The Secret Life of Walter Mitty}

 

I will never tire of this quote or the story it came from. I could go on a long rave about the movie, but I’ll save a full-fledged review for another post.

-Kayla

Stay tuned for more posts over the next few weeks!

 

 

The danger of a single story

4980421657_5278242c15_b
Barry Silver, Creative Commons

 

I’ve watched very few TED talks. I’ve watched one or two from school and that’s about the extent of my viewing.  Anyhow, my aunt is frequently e-mailing, shipping, and texting me materials that challenge me to stretch my ways of thinking and improve my . To offer a few examples, before I left for Haiti in 2012, she bought me a beautiful chocolate brown leather sketchbook, encouraging me to completely wreck with pictures, sketches, doodles, and words. As a graduation gift, she sent me The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style &  the Third Edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage. She also encouraged me to follow Brian Garner on Twitter, which I did. She’s leading me down the path of the elite writers.  Surely, you’re thinking,
So what about TED talks?”

Today, she messaged me the link to a beautiful talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Regardless of whether or not you are a writer, I’d encourage you to watch this video. It’s a tad long, about twenty minutes, but definitely worthwhile. Her story provides a very convicting and powerful perspective on how we view one another as human beings. Thank-you,  Aunt Lela for always challenging me!

 

 

 

What are your thoughts? Are you, like me, convicted of the only telling the single story?  I love to hear from you!

Something For Sunday

photo: jeff kubina, creative commons
photo: jeff kubina, creative commons

 

On the weekends, I enjoy sharing articles I’ve read online during that week! I’ll never share anything that’ll take you hours upon hours to read–unless otherwise noted. Happy reading!

5 Inspiration Writing Quotes by Writer’s Circle

If you’re a writer of any kind, these are motivating, must read quotes from the experts.

Keep A Diary by John Berendt

This is a fantastic *short* piece on how to turn a diary into a story. If you hear “diary” and immediately think of your little sister’s Hello Kitty notebook, this little quip is for you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate for blogging, but it’s certainly better to write for yourself than to not write at all!

Writing Your Story Could Be the Most Important Thing You Ever Do by Claire De Boer

Everyone should keep an account of their life story. If you’re anything like me, then this is a task which is difficult, especially if you plan on being consistent about it. I found Claire’s own experience in writing her story to be both useful with the technical details of writing a memoir, but also the the personal, roller coaster side of your story.  This is something to read regardless of whether or not you have any plans for a book in your near future.

Facebook Basics

I am very very very glad I found this easy to read, simple, overview of Facebook for Business. Similar to everything else, Google has millions upon millions of “solutions” or “how to” suggestions. Obviously, I couldn’t read all of them and had to start somewhere. If you’re thinking about starting a page for your blog or book or business or whatever, it’s definitely worth a look into. With a whopping ’65’ likes, I’m not the best individual to model after, but I’m learning! I still have a lot of work cut out for me.

 

Before you go…

Read anything exceptional articles this week? If so, share below!

 

-Kayla

 

Empty Shelf Book 15: Packing Light

Title: Packing Light

Author: Allison Vesterfelt

What’s it about: One country singer, one blogger, one road trip, and whole lot of adventure.

Why did I read it: I stumbled across Branden Harvey’s “Story Portrait” of Allison a while back. I think that was my initial introduction to this wonderful author. More recently, I noticed that I followed a lot of people on Twitter that were sort of in the same circle.  Not long after that, I decided to follow her on Twitter and read her book.  I absolutely loved it. She’s so raw and transparent.

Favorite idea: “The problem with rules is that they don’t protect us like we think they do. Sometimes they don’t protect us because we don’t follow them, sometimes they don’t protect us because we become obsessed with them, and sometimes they don’t protect us because they were leading us in the wrong direction all along. Some rules are ill-advised, and we just keep following them blindly.”‘

Where you can buy it: Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage

Final thoughts:

I do hope you read this fantastic book, regardless of whether or not you enter the on Facebook. (Giveaway details can be found here).

-Kayla

 

Empty Shelf Book 14: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

What’s it about: This book is about the immortal life of the HeLa cell line, grown  from an African-American woman who died of cervical cancer in the fifties. Henrietta Lacks cells were the first human cells to be immortal. When Lacks was operated on at John Hopkins hospital, her cancerous cell tissue was taken without her consent.

Why did I read it: This book was part required reading material for my Women’s Studies class I’m taking this quarter. I don’t like the class so much, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about  Lack’s story and her incredible contribution to science.

Favorite idea: In the book, Skloot writes about two of Henrietta’s adult children seeing their mother’s cells for the first time. When discussing genetics and DNA, a researcher at Hopkins explained  “They [the HeLa cells] all look the same–they’re just clear until we put color on them with a dye. You can’t tell what color a person is from their cells.”

Where you can buy it: here.

Something for Sunday

Hey there! Here are some cool articles I read throughout the week. In case you missed  my first weekend reading list, just click the link. Enjoy!

How Can You Make Your Weekends More Awesome? by Eric Barker

Make the most of your weekend! This is an article full of great methods (backed by science) which just might help you to enjoy leisure time while not being completely lazy. Psst! With all good things comes some measure of hard work.

Happiness Is Not the Goal by Tyler Ward

I found this article on happiness very interesting. The idea that we spend so much time prioritizing happiness that we forget to be happy is intriguing. Key thought: Tyler writes, “The key to finding happiness is to not let it guide you. It’s electing a better, more meaningful guide in life that will create a reason to be happy.”

29 Ways to Stay Creative by TO-FU

This is a super cool 2 minute video. Got a creative block? Looking for some fresh ideas? Check this.

Creative Faith: Living and leading with an artist’s heart by Cole NeSmith

This is a longer read available at Noise Trade, but if you have an hour or so, it is most definitely worth your time. I love NeSmith’s approach to creativity, faith, and how the two are intertwined.

 

Empty Shelf Book 14: Rooms

Title: Rooms

Author: James L. Rubart

What’s it about: When Micah Taylor inherits a mansion in Cannon Beach from a long dead uncle who he has never met, he’s not quite sure what to think. After stepping out of his comfort zone, Taylor decides to visit this mystery house. In the house, he encounters rooms which force him to face bits and pieces of his painful past-and the faith he thought he had abandoned for sure.

Why did I read it:A friend recommended it to me and I thought “why not?” It’s probably something I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, but I’m glad I read it nonetheless.

Favorite idea: “Despite the unanswered questions and being within miles of where his heart had shattered, he felt at peace.” This feeling resonated deeply with me.

Where you can buy it: here

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