Travel

Don’t Be a Tourist

Don’t. Be. A. Tourist. This is easier said than done. If we I was completely honest. As I stepped on a plane to board my flight to Oahu, the temptation to buy a Hawaiian print shirt and pack my own lei in my suitcase was very real. There is nothing wrong with either of these things, but my goal here is to give you a few basic know-how tips to use on any vacation. I would not consider myself a seasoned traveler. In fact, most of this advice is centered around the hilarious and poor mistakes my family and I made while traveling.

1. White socks scream “tourist!”  They also leave a strange sunburn mark.  Don’t wear them. On the other hand, if you’re arriving back in a from a week-long excursion to place like Seattle, chances are your lovely burn or tan marks will have faded before you can wear shorts again.

2. Don’t overestimate your poor and pale skin by sitting out in the sun for four hours straight–especially on your first day in paradise. It’s a bad way to set up the rest of your week.

3. Your Instagram can wait. If you spend all your time clicking away instead of soaking in the moments, you’ll soon find that your Instagram was more of a success than your actual vacation.

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4. Waking up early is essentially an enormous waste of time if, in fact you don’t actually leave your hotel room until mid-morning. Drag your beach bum self out of your hotel room and get where you are going.

5. As I said previously, granting that your desire is to maximize time during your stay, planning beforehand is important.

6. So, you want to go snorkeling. I know from experience that mid-morning is NOT the ideal time to arrive at said location. Different marine life come out to explore, depending on the time of day and corresponding tide levels.

7. *This tip is specific to Oahu, Hawaii.* Assuming a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial-renamed World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument- is on your list of “to see” locations, careful planning is in order. My party of seven aroused from our restless slumber at 5:30am. Unfortunately, this is necessary for picking up tickets. What we failed to realize, is that although we appeared one of the first groups to arrive, we were told that we had a FIVE HOUR chunk of the day to enjoy.

  • Visit the North Shore
  • Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck–I’d fly back just for another taste of shrimp.
  • Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

We had a limited amount of time on our hands once we drove clear to the North Shore and back. However, we decided that on our next trip, this is a place  we’d explore further.

8. Hopefully this is a given, but coffee–or, if tea is your cuppa–indulge in your go-to drink. Everyday. Sure, your hotel probably has a Starbucks, but fuel your obsession with new flavors by experimenting, and tasting a few coffee brews.

9. I almost always regret packing to many clothing items. Never do I leave enough room for purchases, completed books, or bedraggled and dirty clothes.

10. Airplane movies are dreadfully boring. The radio is static-y. Bring your own tunes and shows.

Sincerely,

“Wishing I Were Traveling” in Sunny Seattle

 

Did I miss any important travel tips? Do you possess any wise words worth sharing?

 

 

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Writing

Empty Shelf Book 17: Love Does

Photo by Kayla Bonar

Photo by Kayla Bonar

Title: Love Does

Author: Bob Goff

What’s it about: Love Does. Does what? Loves how? Loves who? Loves what? These are the questions which have been lingering on the the forefront of my mind. I challenge you to read this book and be inspired to love more and love harder. There is no doubt in my mind that if you accept this challenge, your world will be rocked in some way.

Why did I read it: My sister entered and won a drawing a few months ago and this book was included in the package she received. I’d heard of the book previously, and was excited to read it first! I’d recommend purchasing this one, I frequently found myself underling and marking up the pages.

Favorite idea: “That’s one of the things about love. It doesn’t recognize boundaries and never obeys the rules we try to give it” (213).

Where you can find it: here

Also! All proceeds from the book are donated to Restore International’s Leadership Academy in Uganda.

 

Have you read the book? What did you like most about it?

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Travel, Writing

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!

 

 

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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!

Writing

“Packing Light” Giveaway

I’ve decided it’s about time I do my first giveaway. The timing is appropriate because I have just created my first Facebook Page: Kayla Bonar, Writer. I can’t think of a better way to promote.

1 “like”= one entry

1 “share”= 2 shares

New subscribers= 3 entries

The winner will be announced on my Facebook  page and Twitter one week from today (4/26).  If you “like,” share, or subscribe but are NOT, interested in being entered into the drawing, please indicate on my page so that I know not to enter your name.

It took me all of about ten second to decide on the perfect giveaway book. “Packing Light” by Allison Vesterfelt is fantastic read. I read it recently and it has significantly influenced my writing habits. This book played a huge role in my decision to finally make the decision to create a page dedicated to my blog content. At one point during the book, Vesterfelt was challenged by a friend to finally start calling herself a writer. For so long, she had made up excuses. She objected that she’d never been published, let alone  receive a paycheck by writing.

I more often than not, we create a ceiling for ourselves. Let me unpack this statement for you. I strongly believe that what we call our “9am-5pm” jobs are, in reality,  a very small part of what really defines us. Or maybe you are a college student like me and have only dabbled in odd jobs and define yourself as a student and nothing more.

However, my guess is that  in your free time you love to write or read or create or play music. BUT, this isn’t how you make your living. Does this mean you aren’t a writer, creator, or musician? I hardly think this is the case.

I’ve decided it’s time I stop making excuses.

-Kayla Bonar, Writer

P.S. Who will you be today?

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Writing

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.

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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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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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