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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Blog Series, Writing

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

 

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Writing

More Than A Case Of The Blues

For a few weeks now, I’ve debated internally about whether or not I should share about my struggles. it’s personal and messy and I’m not sure I want to reveal that to the world. Well, here I am. Messy, broken, but healing. In an attempt to make sense of my experiences, I wrote- a lot- about the question I believe many people ask: what is depression?

I came to the conclusion in that depression, unlike other medical conditions, varies drastically from person to person.

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San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive, Creative Commons

Depression is_______

  • unable to be defined.
  • wanting to enjoy the company of friends and family, but ignoring them when they reach out to you.
  • lying awake at night and dragging yourself through the night.
  • telling yourself that you’re the only one who feels this way.

Isolating yourself is the worst possible action you can take if you’re struggling with depression. It’s tempting. I created excuses not to go to birthday parties, and many other activities. I didn’t have any reason not to attend these events, but I convinced myself that I wasn’t wanted. Surely the party would be more fun without me.

I loved this excerpt from Donald’s Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz:

We see those cigarette advertisements with the rugged cowboy riding around alone on a horse, and we think that is strength, when really, it is like setting your soul down on a couch and not exercising it. The soul needs to interact with other people to be healthy.

Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller

In the past, I was naive in believing that depression was black and white. In other words, I thought you happy go-lucky or suicidal. The truth is that there is a large gray area spanning between those two extremes.

I’d say my depression peaked my sophomore year of high school. I was trying hard to fit in. Trying to finally become friends that I had eaten lunch with since 5th grade.

Whether or not I realized it at the time, writing became my therapy. It helped me come to terms with feelings I didn’t know how to share in depth, even with my closest friends.

Here’ what I found about writing:

Writing heals you from sicknesses that before, you never even knew you had.

When you write (if you do), my guess is that you tell a piece of paper more than you tell most people. People wonder why I’m such a crazy advocate for keeping a journal. I guess I hadn’t previously connected those experiences with my writing habits. There’s no doubt that they’re related.

I knew I was depressed when I denied having any feelings at all. I threw myself into school, church activities. Not to mention other people’s problems. It was bad.

Only recently have I really been able to do more than just write, I’ve come to the point where I can wake up in the morning and decide for myself that I’ll get out of bed and choose joy.

Regardless of how my day goes. Unfortunately, that is one thing I don’t have control over.

That decision may seem action may seem small and insignificant, but not everyday is as happy-go lucky as we’d like. It’s not something we should discredit. Recognizing the smallest of achievements is important.

For me, depression is something that doesn’t really go away once it’s begun. I’ve ¬†simply learned to cope with it and recognize the red flags which let you know the real you is being stifled by someone else. Since my freshman year of high school I’ve filled over twenty journals with practically everything. I’m not saying that to brag, but to emphasize that a lot of life happens in short amounts of time. If we’re not careful, life continues on it’s way before we are able to learn anything from our time spent in the pits. And thus the cycle goes unbroken. Nothing gets better.

Choose joy!

-Kayla

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Writing

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

 

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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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Writing

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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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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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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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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