Hope Is Hard

Hope is hard. It’s a fact of life.

But hope is also beautiful. It means we’re choosing to believe that there is indeed a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That, my friend, is no easy feat.

Hope is counting on and clinging to what we cannot see. Hope is what we grab hold of as we’re searching for peace in the middle of a war. Hope is not always comforting, but sometimes it’s all that’s left.

If hope were a person, I wonder what he’d say or what he’d do. I’d like to believe that he’d take my hand and say “here’s my hand, you can squeeze it.” Hope would know that if I can’t change my present circumstances, I’m better off knowing I don’t need to endure the battle ahead alone.

Faith and hope work closely together. Without faith, how could we hope?  How else could we confidently say,”everything will work out.” Hope is the product of faith in something. In anything. In anyone.

C.S. Lewis once said that “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” Sounds a lot like hope doesn’t it?

Not everyone may believe in God or a supernatural being, but it’d take an incredible amount of convincing for someone to tell me they didn’t have hope. We hope in our friends, our family, our circumstances. In tangible things.

However, I’ve found the most beautiful sort of hope is that which can’t be seen or heard or touched, but still believed in. 

-Kayla

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Waffles vs. Spaghetti: For the Guys

Dear Guys,

First of all, if you don’t plan on reading this entire post read this —>  waffles are much different from spaghetti. In fact, I think the only characteristic the two foods share is the insane amount of carbs.

If you remember this concept, I predict that any sort of relationship with any woman you have in your life will improve drastically. Maybe all it means is that you understand your mom better. Or your friend. Or your sister. Or any individual belonging to the female species. You do not need a survival guide. Or a book.  Or a list of rules. Spaghetti must become your new favorite food. Second only to the Bread of Life. (Cheesy pun intended).

If you failed to notice, girls are really good at not giving away anything. You could be talking to her about one thought  while she’s thinking through a million–at the exact same time. This is called multi-thinking.  To play it safe, assume that if you haven’t thought it, she’s thinking it.

Let’s create a scenario to work with. You’ve just met this girl? You start the small talk etc. Now imagine this, she’s already thinking about whether you’ll be simply friends, or if there are deeper intentions. She’s thinking of the possibility of a first date. Here’s a glimpse at the female brain:

“Does he like me?” “Is he going to ask me out?” If so, “when?” “Where will he take me?” “What will I wear?” “How tall is he?” “Can I wear heels?” “Has he dated another girl? If so, “who?”Is he still dating her?” If not, “why?” “Does he have certain standards, boundaries, and expectations?” “What is he passionate about?”

The list goes on and on and on and on and on.

She’s thinking of every detail. 

NOW, that was an example of multi-thinking. I hope I didn’t scare you. I’m only being realistic. Another thing,  this IS NOT to say all a girl ever thinks about is her future wardrobe and dates.  This is not true at all. If I asked these exact questions with every guy I met I’d be in an even more complex state of mind.

She needs your help, but she forgets to ask. Multi-thinking is a habit that is constantly occurring. It occurs in the subconscious and conscious. It’s exhausting. If you would be a gentleman and  lay out your intentions-whatever they may be- right away, she will be eternally grateful. She’ll only have to think and inquire about what you haven’t brought up. Her brain will be less likely to explode.  Girlfriends have trouble assisting their girlfriends think about one thing at a time. It’s nearly impossible.

If you’re still with me, AWESOME.

As my friend McKenzie would say, “Does that make you feel…good about everything?”

Since you have the enviable ability to think things through slowly and thoroughly, and even one thought at a time, let this marinate your thought process for the next 24 hours. 

P.S. I’m writing a post just for the girls too. What do they need to know about guys? How are waffles distinct?

-Kayla

Mark it Up!

I don’t know about you, but…

I write in my Bible.

A lot.

I mark it up.

Maybe it’s simply because I love annotating and post-it notes, and highlighters and journals and gel pens.

Maybe not.

God gave his word to US to devour and share and hide in our hearts.  How incredibly blessed we are with this gift?!

We need to SOAK IT UP.

We need to make it personal.

“A bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Charles Spurgeon

Our Bibles can’t stay on our nightstands collecting dust. I realized how important making our Bibles personal when I left my Bible at church on Sunday. I could have borrowed a Bible or used one of numerous others lying around my room and house, but there is something about the bible we use on a consistent basis that helps us dive into the Word with a profound eagerness. In my bible I’ve written prayers, scrawled in the margins, asked questions and made comments. It’s practically a journal.

I’m resolving, TODAY, that I’m gonna be in the word more, because frankly, I haven’t been too appreciative lately of the fact that God gave it to ME to use! I look to everything else except what’s right in front of me, readily available. Aside from giving himself to me Jesus has given me the truest form of wisdom to be found.

“…he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Hebrews 11: 6

Will you resolve to seek Him as well?

-Kayla-

I appreciate your feedback! Comment below and tell me what you think (:

Four Years, Four Lessons

@Kayla Nicole
Louisa and I

Today marks four years since a devastating earthquake demolished Haiti, a country already deep in poverty and full of economic woes. In the summer of 2012, this country taught me four lessons I will never forget.


Love

Today I realized that actions speak louder than words. The language barrier must be broken down by finding new ways to communicate. 

If I speak in tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love I gain nothing.

1st Corinthians 13:1-3

Journal entry from July 25, 2012.

Thankfulness

Every time I think of Windy,  he reminds me to be thankful and value every single second of every minute, every hour, every morning, every evening, every night, seven days a week  of every single month of the year.

I took away many things from Windy, but the most important thing I learned is to value life. To value every second of every day. I was convicted strongly when I thought of all the HOURS I’ve spent worrying and not doing. Even during this time of sickness he [Windy] refused to be anxious. 

Journal entry from July 26, 2o12.

Faith & Trust

My friend, lets me tell you something, when you already say God has control, your bad situation gets worse or even you saw you are in front of death; you must say you are good in Jesus’ name. And God will say you have faith say you have faith in him. So my friend, I am very good in Jesus Christ.

Windy’s favorite bible verse was Exodus 14: 14 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.Windy was a ddisciple, servant,pastor, teacher, friend, brother, son,student, Kirk Franklin fan, father to the fatherless, pastor, EMT, founder of the Jehovah Nissi school in Cite Soleil, dreamer. 

Windy Sauver,  March 22nd, 1985-December 9th, 2012

Thank-you Windy for teaching me to see the beauty in the broken.

Facebook-Like-Button

I’ve noticed a recent influx of articles from various venues such as Relevant Magazine and USA Today College telling me I should give up or attempt weaning off of the internet.

For example, I watched a 10 minute long video promoting #nointernetweek (see video No Internet Week). And yes, it was worth my time. Believe me, I have a short attention span and am convinced I’m slightly ADD when left alone to be “productive” or at least appear productive.

Did I mention I had seven tabs on Google Chrome, Outlook, and Microsoft Word open? Twitter, Facebook, and just to balance things out a bit Wordle and Dictionary.com were among a few things I was reading/skimming over.

But, come on, I had Microsoft Word open. I was being productive! In fact, I was multitasking A.K.A. being “multitastic” as my little brother enjoys calling it.

OK, point taken. I’ve been using the dumb phone excuse for two long now. New Year’s resolutions: evaluate my face-to-Facebook ratio, write more, read more, experience more. I’m pretty sure people could survive without me posting a daily status or changing my profile picture. Everyone knows it there was snow on the ground in Washington yesterday.

Adventure is Out There

@ All Rights Reserved
@ All Rights Reserved

“We always have some kind of adventure, it’s fun”

May 25th, 1994

Mae “Annie” Bonar

This picture was clearly not taken in 1994, both of my great grandparents were in their ’80 s at the time of my grandmother’s journal entry. In this particular instance, the adventure my grandmother was writing of was a country drive turned day long road trip. They missed their highway exit which caused a setback. Except she didn’t remember it as a setback. Rather, she saw it as an opportunity for adventure.

Surrender

To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely for Him and for Him alone.

Oswald Chambers

Embracing the Unexpected

Peace

Unexpected

*Surgery and a month-long recovery

* Cold turned-sinus infection

Expected

*Expectations

*Responsibilities

Promised

*Grace

*Second chances

Jesus Calling, November 4th

by Sarah Young

Walk peacefully with Me through this day. You are wondering how you will cope with all that is expected of you. You must traverse this day like any other: one step at a time. Instead of mentally rehearsing how you will do this or that, keep your mind on my presence and on taking the next step. The more demanding your day, the more help you can expect from Me. This is a training opportunity, since I designed you for dependence on your Shepherd-King. Challenging times wake you up and amplify your awareness of needing my help.

When you don’t know what to do, wait while I open the way before you. Trust that I know what I’m doing, and be ready to follow My lead. I will give strength to you, and I will bless you with peace.

Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 33:25; Hebrews 13:20-21; Psalm 29:11.

Embrace the unexpected journeys. Keep in mind the spectacular view from the mountaintop. Your journey is not the same as others. Cross out the words “always” “everybody” “perfect” and “failure” from your vocabulary lists. Remind yourself that if you continue to make attempts at living up to another’s expectation for what should be God’s plan for your life, you will never be happy. Worrying displays a lack of faith in God. He desires to do whatever it takes to  “wake you up.” You are only human. Nobody is perfect the first time around. Or the second time. And even the third time. Rejoice in new mercies each morning.

-Kayla-

‘Tis the season to give back

I strongly believe that we underestimate the power of our own abilities. And God’s. At least not the full extent of it.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”

Matthew 18:20

For whatever reason, when we hear of any major crisis. We feel numb and helpless. Helplessness doesn’t move a person to action. I want to challenge you to do what you can with what you have.  If you live in America, you’re rich. Now, I’m not one to use statistics for the purpose of burdening you with guilt. So I’m not going to go there. Just know that you’re richer than most of the world.  So if you just found out you didn’t receive the pay raise, let it go, and have faith that your needs will be provided for. Guilt does not move a person to action either. Guilt cries out,” You filthy, rich, spoiled brat. You should be ashamed of yourself.” I’ve been down that road. It took me nowhere.

I believe that every individual whether you’re a “broke college student” or a person making six figures every year, you’d be surprised with how any amount has the potential to contribute to life saving relief and relational efforts. From the time I was in elementary school, I always gave each of my teachers a small Christmas present. I continued it on all the way through High School. I believe I was a sophomore in High School, when I stopped competing with other classmates on who would buy Mrs. Clark the biggest chocolate bar. My mom had the brilliant idea of giving five chickens through Samaritan’s Purse in my teachers’ names. In our American minds this sounds rather lame. Because my teachers’ didn’t get anything out of it. However, I found that each year, they were rather touched. They felt they were part of something bigger. When we give, or partake in an effort that on the outside bigger then ourselves, something inside of us comes alive. It’s the flicker of compassion in our hearts sparking to a bright flame.

So where am I going with all of this?

In case you were unaware, and I hope this is not the case, on October 15th of this year, a devastating 7. 1 earthquake devastated the Philippines. It was heart breaking and tragic. BUT, it brought people together, to fight something that appears to be so much bigger than themselves. This week, a category-five super-typhoon, struck the Philippines. It is currently the worst hurricane ever recorded in recent history (and possibly ever). Keep in mind that the earthquake already displaced almost 300,000 residents all across the country.

You have the power to give back, and fight something, bigger and stronger. Donate to Help Bohol as they partner with  Montana on a Mission. Damage from the earthquake has already been assessed. Funds are being adequately distributed.

Montana on a Mission is tax deductible  http://www.razoo.com/story/Help-Bohol-1

Keep in mind that finances aren’t the only way to support a cause. You can share this link without having to give yourself. Serving comes in the form of time, talent, and treasure. Which will you choose?

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”

William Wilberforce

-Kayla-

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

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