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.

Advertisements
Standard
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

Standard
Uncategorized, Writing

Thirsty

Thirsty. 768 million people are thirsty. Oh, so thirsty.

The¬†UNICEF Tap Project¬†is trying to provide assistance to ¬†those staggering numbers. All you need to do is put down your phone. It’s that easy. (Or is it?) For every ten minutes you don’t use or touch your phone, national sponsors partnering with UNICEF will give a day’s worth of clean water to one of those 768 million people.

This challenge was just too good not to share.

Some ideas for those of you who “must” use your phones during the day:

1. Do the challenge while you sleep. At some point in the day, your phone has to be put down.

2. Be strategic. Plan a block of time to answer your e-mails, update your FB status, post your Instagram pictures etc. You can start and stop, BUT, if you do, be sure jot down the number of hours/minutes you stopped at.

DO something with all the time you would’ve spent on your phone.

How long can you go?

-Kayla

P.S. I’m ¬†currently at 2 hours.

Standard
Writing

One Year

Happy One Year Anniversary to Coffee Shop Talk!

1 year,

48 posts,

and 86 drafts later…

here we are!

Craziness.

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis voices my sentiments not just about my blog, but about life in general. It’s incredibly easy to get caught in the daily grind of life that I almost forget where I’ve started and how far we’ve come. I’ve ¬†come a long ways in one short year. And no, I don’t mean in the past year I’ve become an expert blogger. But that was never really the whole point. I wanted to share my thoughts with the few people who wanted to listen. Not receive hundreds of views daily. (I wouldn’t complain if that happened).

Here’s to another year of more ideas, writing, more coffee dates, new people and new adventures. Another year of stepping out of my comfort zone and slowly but surely sharing my thoughts to close friends and complete strangers. Another year of risk-taking and introspection. Another 365 days to live and breathe and love and laugh and even cry. A toast to new risks and living for the moment without living in fear of what tomorrow will bring.

Thanks to YOU my readers, for motivating me and continually encouraging me to step out of  my comfort zone!

Standard
Uncategorized

Books, Books, and More Books!

115. That is the number of books on my shelves–or in my Kindle– I have read or am super-duper close to finishing. 40. The number of books in the Left Behind series ¬†for teens by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins.¬†I read them all in a matter of months. Unknown. The number of books I’ve ever checked out from the public library. 9+. The current number of books on my reading list this summer. 1179. The number of pages in The Count of Monte Cristo. The longest book I have read thus far aside from the Bible. 5. My age when I illustrated my grandpa’s self-published book–The Little Angel Gets A Big Job.¬†2. The number of attempts I made before finally finishing¬†Great Expectations¬†by Charles Dickens. 6. The number of Bibles I own. 1. The number of books I want to write in my lifetime. (At LEAST). 3. The number of boards on my Pinterest dedicated completely to books. Yes, I am a nerd 4 life.

Currently Finished and/or Currently (Attempting) To Read:

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Finished. Incredible.

Forgotten God by Francis Chan. You must read this book. You absolutely must. It’s convicting, encouraging, and thought-provoking. In the best ways possible.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.¬†The struggle is real. I’m only 241 pages in. And I started forever and a day ago.

Jesus The King: Understanding The Life And Death of The Son Of God¬†by Timothy Keller. (Previously titled King’s Cross). This is one of those good books that I need to just ¬†sit down and read. It just hasn’t happened.

Summer 2013 Summer Quarter College Reading List:

License to Thrill: A Cultural History Of The James Bond Films by James Chapman

License Renewed by John Gardner

Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Note: These books are actually a requirement for my History 255R class I just wrapped up this summer titled: Bond…James Bond. Who would’ve thought one could earn 5 college credit for learning about a fictional character? These are the questions I asked myself at the start of summer quarter. Well, the end has come and gone (thank heavens)! Not only am I NOT a Bond fan, but my favorite book wasn’t even written by Ian Fleming himself. Sad day. My advice to you: don’t take an obscure specialized class. It’s code word for fan club.

7: an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker. Ugh. School was crazy so I still haven’t finished the last 8% of the book. That sounds so wrong. I can’t get used to this whole Kindle thing.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. LEwis

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

How did I fall so behind in this precious series?!

Spontaneous reads:

1.¬†The Fault in Our Stars¬†by John Green. One of few books in the “young adult” genre that isn’t about zombies or vampires.

2. The Great Gatsby by Francis-Scott Fitzgerald I almost cried. So. Sad.

3. This Side of Paradise by Francis-Scott Fitzgerald.

Just starting:

1. Rooms a novel by James L. Rubart

Praise for rooms: “Rooms is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year. If you like¬†The Shack, I think you’ll like¬†Rooms.¬†If you didn’t like¬†The Shack,¬†I bet you’ll love¬†Rooms.¬†This story got under my skin and it’s going to be there for a long, long time.”

–Randy Ingermanson, Christy award-winning author of Oxygen

My curiosity is officially aroused. I read¬†The Shack¬†and I’ll be honest: I did not enjoy the read at all. There, I’ve spit that out. Whew! Let me just say I found it very controversial. But hey, that’s exactly why I enjoy writing. Not because I enjoy controversial things, but because I enjoy discussing anything and everything. ¬†Read it for yourself, and tell me what you think!

Journalism 125 Textbooks:

I would jump up and down with excitement, but I can’t do that while sitting.

1. News Reporting and Writing by Missouri Group Twelfth Edition.

2. Associated Press Stylebook Tenth Edition.

Always Reading:

1.¬†My Upmost for His Highest¬†by Oswald Chambers. This devotional is so inspiring. Chambers does an excellent job writing in-depth snippets of goodness. It’s one of those books I don’t want to read through because I’m afraid I won’t want to read it over again!

Always Loving:

“The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all others, and in all conditions of human life.”

John Quincy Adams

What are you reading?

-Kayla

Standard
Writing

What to Write When You Can’t Write

I’m going to cut straight to the chase. I hate writing prompts.¬†“What is your earliest childhood memory?”¬†or, my personal favorite,“Write about a memory associated with a certain smell.”Um, what?!With all the books and websites out there dedicated to overcoming writer’s block, I’ve found very few helpful. ¬†Not only are these prompts unhelpful, they’re also constricting. Instead of using the bank loaded with our own ideas, prompts tend to produce cookie cutter results. Where does all the extra dough go?! With roughly 15,700,000 search results for “writing prompts” on Google alone, I expect more original and fresh ideas. Writing often feels more complicated than it actually is. Depending on who you’re writing for–yourself, an audience, or both– you shouldn’t feel the constant need to crank out a novel every time you sit down with a piece of paper. Every bestseller, freelancer, blogger, and journal-keeper had to start somewhere. So, instead of suggesting cliche writing prompts, I’m going to take you on a trip back to the basics.¬†

I’ve come a long way in my writing–at least I’d like to think so–but one thing I know for sure is that I still have an incredibly long way to go. My starting point included lists of my favorite foods and games of MASH from long, hot, and non-air conditioned bus rides to camp. ¬†My journalism journey–if you even consider lists and games of MASH journalism–moved from the Little League team to the All Star team. I waved goodbye to “listography,” and in ninth grade ¬†I committed to being more consistent. I wrote down as many details, big and small, that I could remember from each day. Although I was fairly consistent, the amount of content in my entries varied. I found that when I attempted to write lengthy and wordy entries, I ended up writing LESS. I had to face the fact that some days, my most exciting activity might very well be having a dissection in science class.

Moral of the story? There is no shame in lists and “Dear Diary” entries. Trust me, inspiration doesn’t fall from the sky the way rain falls in Seattle. That would be waaaay to easy.

What to Write When You Can’t Write

1. Lists– lists and sub-lists are great ways to brainstorm.

2. Thought bubbles.

3. One line a day. This can be useful if you feel you don’t have time to keep a journal. I often leave space in mine to go back and expand on entries. Record something such as a Facebook status or something that will trigger your memory when you go back. Try and be specific. Just writing “I ate Cheerios for breakfast today” isn’t going to be of much assistance to you if you plan on going back and expanding.

4. The Method (Writing Analytically by David Rosenwasser). This is an exercise my English 101 teacher in college had us do often. This really helps turn gears. I don’t read poetry, but we had an in class essay where we read a poem and analyzed what we read. The Method asks four questions. 1) What repeats? 2) What goes with what? (strands) 3) What is opposed to what? (binaries/opposites) 4) What doesn’t fit? (anomalies). For all of these questions, ask the “SO WHAT?” question. It sounds like homework, but trust me, it is a really helpful tool.

5. Your mom’s grocery list.

6. Book reviews/reports/summaries.

7. Letters. There is nothing I love more than receiving a handwritten letter. I’m sure you know someone who would love to receive one.

8. Stories. If you want to make yourself known, sign up for a free account at cowbird.com, it’s a pretty awesome website.

9. Your school schedule.

10. Take notes in class. This is just a good habit. It doesn’t necessarily spark creativity, but repetitive learning skills improve memory.

What to Read When You Can’t Write

1. Garner’s Modern American Usage. The title is sounds big and scary, but it is a WONDERFUL reference. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, you might as well take the time you’re not using to write to improve your grammar.

2.¬†Word Power Made Easy¬†by Norman Lewis.¬†Etymology at it’s best. Great for advancing vocabulary.

3. Books, books, and more books. If you don’t read, you’re writing is lacking its full potential.

4. The Newspaper. If I were you, I would choose something more wholesome than the Seattle Times. But, that’s just me. Flipboard is a great FREE app if you’re on the go often.

5. Word Dynamo (dynamo.dictionary.com). This is what nerds like me do over Christmas Break: expand their vocabulary count to and estimated +30,000 words.

6. Magazines. Try out Relevant: Faith, Culture & Intentional Living

7. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing¬†by Mignon Fogarty. This is a great book and very easy to read. I have yet to finish it!

8. Read a picture. I bet you didn’t know you could do that! “A picture is worth a thousand words”~Napolean Bonaparte.

Where to Go When You Can’t Write

(Breaks in recurring schedules are very relieving)

1. NOT Facebook.

For those in the greater Seattle area:

2. Green Lake Park. I went here just the other day. It had been forever since I’d been there. Which is a shame considering it is only about a fifteen minute drive from my house.

3. Alki Beach. If you have a lot of time on your hands, this place is awesome.

4. St. Edwards Park

5. Bothell Landing

6. Seward Park

7. A coffee shop. I find inspiration in listening, talking, and observing. The Aloha Cafe in Edmonds or The Lyon’s Den in Bothell are ideal–unfortunately for me only one of these two is convenient. Because Starbucks is overrated, just more convenient.

I don’t splurge very often, but when I do, I consider the small indulgences as money well spent. If you’ve never owned a Moleskine notebook, I highly recommend investing in one. I usually use college ruled spiral notebooks, but these often give me motivation, especially if I’m close to wrapping up a notebook. I’m sort of obsessed with gel pens as well. They bring a whole new meaning to “color the rainbow.” (I especially enjoy using them for my school planner). They add some excitement. My #1 tip is to keep a notepad with you at all times. There is nothing worse than letting a great idea slip through your finger tips. My #2 Tip is to share your writing–whatever type of writing it may be– with other people. Tip #3 Not everyone scrapbooks. I am one of those who does not. instead, I tape memorabilia into my journals with photo adhesives and/or scotch tape. You’ll be glad you did! Last, but certainly not least, Tip #4! If you’re writing for an audience, big or small, DO NOT cater your words solely to their tastes. Many people try so hard to keep up with the newest trends in the media and whatnot that their writing loses its passion. Especially non-writers. Your writing probably has a bigger effect on people than you think. We are often our biggest critics. Every expert in any field of work began with the basics. Don’t forget to review them!

P.S. I need to take my own advice more often.

I hope this inspires you!

Kayla

Standard
Blog Series

Smile!

Take One, Please Do

“If you smile a lot, when you’re older all your wrinkles will be in the right places.”~Terra Gilbert

I’m one to talk. I don’t smile nearly enough. ¬†Maybe it’s the fact that finals are in two weeks. Maybe it’s the fact that I got a C on my last economics test. Maybe it’s the fact that it has been rainy in Seattle for five months straight. Maybe I have a problem with excuses. There are so many things to smile about!

Where do I start?!! Where would you start?!

1. Jesus loves me. I could just end there.

2. My family loves me.

3. My friends love me and ALWAYS give me an extra dose of laughter.

4. My  teachers care about my success.

5. Psych is back!I just need to catch up on the past seven or eight seasons….

6. Only ninety-nine more days until high school graduation!

7. No schools on Friday next quarter!

8. Only twenty more days until spring!

9. My bed is awesome and my pillow is even more awesome

10. Coffee and tea exist.

11. The sun came out yesterday.

What have you smiled about today?

-Kayla

~

Standard