Writing

All Things Considered

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Today I cried. It was the first time I had cried in a long time. At least from what I can remember and I haven’t been remembering too well lately. Short-term memory loss tends to make life difficult in that way. Anyhow, I cried and it felt really, really great. I cried first with my sister and then with my mom.

Moseying around our room at home today,¬† my sister asked me “are you OK?” I responded with “yeah, sorta, well actually no.” Cue tears. And she said that’s OK. Nothing is wrong with not having it all together. No one is asking or expecting you to be totally with it. I had a similar conversation with my mom. I am so thankful for these women in my life.

After coming home from spending two weeks in the hospital in Seattle, I wasn’t sure the kinds of emotions I would experience, but after one week in I’ve mostly felt overwhelmed. After being home for one week, there is still so much to process. That is to be expected.

Two weeks ago, I had a seizure that caused me to become unconscious. After not being able to communicate with me, my parents started reaching out to my school friends via Facebook. Finally, after sending my friend Andrew directly to my dorm room finding that I did not respond to his knocks, the police were called and the door to my room was broken down.

Before being flown to Seattle Children’s Hospital from Washington State University, where I had been enjoying my first semester.¬† I spent a short time in the ICU at Pullman Regional Hospital.

Things were bleak. I am no doctor, but I’m pretty confident that a lot of people were unsure of if or when I would wake up, and if so, what damage would follow?

Waking up, while clearly a great step towards recovery was nonetheless very confusing. I didn’t know where I was, who my parents were, or even what had happened.

In all of the confusion, there has also been¬† a lot of clarity. I’ve had to rely and trust entirely on Jesus and my doctors. Jesus has shown me that my priorities are out of place and I also need to take it easier on myself. His presence has been so imminent. One of the workers in the hospital told me “I am so glad you have your faith!” I am too. I cannot even begin to imagine where I would be without my faith.

I have never felt so loved in my life. By God, friends, and complete strangers. I’ve also learned that just because God throws us curve balls in life and we don’t receive what, does not mean at all that he does not care for us. This is not the case at all.

I feel strongest in my weakest moments. People have been calling me “miracle child” and more commonly, “fighter.” And while I know this is meant to be flattering, I rarely ever consider myself either one. I call it being human. I am who I am because of hope. Side note: many people who follow my blog, read a blog post I wrote in March titled Hope is Hard. If this post interests you in any way, I’d also encourage reading my thoughts about hope as it is a topic I have brought up.

When people ask me how I’m doing and how I’m handling everything, my typical response has been along the lines of “All things considered, I am doing great!” However, internally, I’ve also recognized it’s perfectly healthy and normal to recognize that there have been large bumps in the road and recovery, especially emotional recovery, will only come with time.

Everyone, whether diagnosed with epilepsy or not faces trials and tribulations of various sizes. Sure, the events which took place two weeks ago my not occur to everyone, but everyone has a story-one that is unique!

No matter what I write about, storytelling almost always becomes incorporated. I write and share with you only because I hope that it’ll prompt you to do the same! So tell me, what’s your story?

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Travel

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings: Adventure & The Daily Grind

Sunday afternoon ramblings:

Many days, such as today, I wish I were more spontaneous. I admire people who chuck¬†their agenda out the window and say “forget it! I’m doing something different today!” (Without having a nervous breakdown, I might add.) This action seems so freeing.

I wonder if I leave enough room in the margins of my planner for the unplanned. My guess is not so much.  What would I find myself doing , if each day I intentionally set aside time to do anything that just so happened to come my way? Would I do anything different?

I get so wrapped up in the future and what I need to get from Point A to Point B, that I forget about ¬†everything in-between. It’s easy–for me at least.

I started your typical four-year college plan my senior year in high school-as most students do. The biggest difference probably is that ¬†I chose the Running Start route. Mainly because I had no idea my senior year what I wanted to do with my life or where I wanted to go to school or how I was going to pay for it. ¬†What I didn’t plan for was taking¬†classes two summers in a row.

Not ideal if you ask me. But hey, these were and are necessary steps to fulfill my goals and plans, however, I still question if it’s the best plan.

The problem with being a transfer student working to earn my AA, is that I constantly need to be thinking about the future. One wrong move could set me back. This makes living in the moment hard.

I know I’m prone as much as anybody to society’s pressure on education as anybody else, but I still think it’s stupid. However,¬†according to my life plan, I don’t have the guts to ditch my current itinerary for a completely new one.

College is a tough place to be. The said “time of your life” is also one of the most stressful. How is that supposed to work?

I was invited on two missions trips this summer and declined both. I cringed as I explained I had to take summer quarter.  Something about that response just sounds particularly lame.

The problem with having gone previously on two global mission’s trips is it’s easy to feel as though any volunteer opportunities ¬†aside from global missions are trivial and purposeless.(Well, maybe it’s not a problem, simply a grand new perspective that changes everything.) I’ll be honest, it’s not easy to view my school as a mission field after spending ten days in the wrecked country of Haiti. The truth is, everyone needs Jesus. And “everyone” is right here wherever I am.¬†Of course it’s also easier to talk about sharing and living the gospel than to do just that.

Scripture to ponder:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worth of the gospel of Christ. The, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my¬†absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel…”

Philippians 1: 27

-Kayla

Type your thoughts to me below!

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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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Bible, Writing

The Church Is Not A Building

The church is not a building.

I’ve always loved this concept. The church is not a building, rather, it’s a community of Christ followers. However, I came to the realization yesterday that the only place I’ve ever heard this concept discussed, is at church. The building. The sanctuary. In the pew. The irony of that fact hit me hard.

I was at college.

I attend a public community college. I wasn’t in chapel or in a theology class.

God moves everywhere. The bible study at my school,¬†Ignite Fellowship,¬†meets multiple times during the week. I haven’t been able to attend often because of a wacky schedule.

By God’s grace I was able to attend yesterday. It was beautiful. We met in a study room. Put our bibles on the conference tables in front of us.We sang a few worship songs and after that, we shared communion. We borrowed a small table and set it up in front of the small room and covered it with a table-cloth. A plate and goblet were set out.

In that moment, I had a revelation. When Jesus communed with his disciples as they were partaking in the Last Supper, they weren’t in a church building. No ordained pastor officiated it. I doubt anyone was dressed in their church clothes.

The last supper wasn’t pretty. I imagine the filthy dirt floors and Jesus and his devoted followers sitting around. I’m sure they were weary from going everywhere on foot. A steak dinner surely would have been accepted without a word. Nonetheless all that sat before them was a loaf of bread and some cheap wine. These twelve men had been everywhere with Jesus. And yet their going away party was anything from glamorous. In fact, right off the bat, Jesus puts forth a disclaimer: “one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:21).

Their meeting was somber. Tears were shed. I’m sure some felt a sense of abandonment and definitely confusion.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28

Why do we create limitations? The church was a body of believers long before it was a building. Jesus is the head of the church, not a building. If we forget the people part,we forget Jesus’s heart. He loved people.

I find it hard to see how the true gospel will effectively be shared if we (if I)¬†don’t live the gospel.

If we try harder to envision Jesus’s last supper, maybe then we will fully understand how important it is.

Watch out, the church is leaving the building.

-Kayla

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Blog Series, Writing

small is the new big: what a stranger told me about my faith

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Disclaimer: This post is slightly longer, but I think the story is awesome, so you should at least skim to the end.

I don’t know about you, but some days I’m quite sure that my life would be utterly boring without the Community Transit system. In class everyday, it’s not to hard to predict what that period will bring. With bus stops on the other hand, you just never know.

There is something about waiting for a bus with complete stranger(s) at the end of a long day that ¬†just makes me want to thrust my hand forward and start a conversation and say let’s be friends.

Said no ISFJ named Kayla ever.

I surprised myself one day during a twenty-some minute bus-stop wait a couple of weeks ago.

The conversation started with cats. ¬†Well, I didn’t mention exactly mention cats, but this nice man came walking down the sidewalk with a pile of books from what I assume to be the Re-Read bookstore across the street. Anyhow, I figured they were for his child or niece or nephew. The kid must like cats.

I notice insignificant minutia details like that all the time.

Anyhow this man dropped his pile of books and I helped him pick them up and whatnot. It’s always awkward going for long periods of time without striking up some sort of small talk, we talked about small-talkish things such as what’s the time and etc.

I didn’t expect to have a theological conversation. We talked about why we were riding the bus. He hadn’t had a car for a few years now he said and he didn’t see a reason why to go out and get a car.

My turn to share. I explained my predicament, how I’m legally not allowed to drive until I can manage to go six months free of seizure of any sort.

What he said next was EXACTLY the reminder I needed.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Matthew 17:20

It wasn’t at all critical or in a holier-than-thou tone.¬†It was incredibly refreshing.It was a reminder that my God is so much bigger than any earthly obstacle. ¬†God isn’t punishing me. He’s molding me and making me into something beautiful. He can make you beautiful too.¬†

-Kayla

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About, Writing

Pixie Perfect

I chopped off all my hair.

April 2014 photography by EdCC TritonLife.

April 2014 photography by EdCC TritonLife.

I thought about it for an incredibly long time, but if I’m really honest I was incredibly terrified.

I waited until the most opportune time, and sure enough, my school was doing a locks of love event.

I was scared, even though I knew it would grow back–if I wanted it too. I became even more scared when they sat me down in front of a mirror to do the ceremonial cutting of the pony tails.

It took chopping off all my hair to realize how incredibly hard it must be for men — women in particular–to lose part of their identity. Because whether we admit it or not, hair is something that defines us women and it’s part of what makes us feel beautiful.

I would never go so far as to say I now know how it feels to struggle with cancer or alopecia or other diseases or treatments which cause hair loss. But here’s to hoping that this experience, has broadened my perspective more and maybe increased my ability to empathize.

I don’t mean for any of my posts to inflict guilt, just provoke thought so take away what you will from the following: I believe in giving what we have. If I possess hair that grows back, but others do not, why should I not take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity to share my treasure that God has bestowed upon me?

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of¬†your inner self,¬†the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

3 Peter 3:3-4

P.S. I cut my hair all the way back in April of 2013. I kept pushing off this post because I was afraid I’d say the wrong thing. Don’t be afraid of telling stories. You are completely unaware of the wonderful actions your story could inspire.

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Rhymes With, Writing

Some Days It Rains

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There are days when bus stops are no fun.

But still, you drag yourself  on and on.

Lectures are taught when the sun is  behind shrouds of clouds.

The coffee isn’t strong,

And your tea  is not hot, but nonetheless, you step out the door to whatever lies

Beyond.

Sweaters are too bulky, particularly around the cuff.

Parking lots are still empty,

Some students seem tipsy.

Your brain is still fogged–

It shows right there on your blog.

Words not coherent ‘n’ all that good stuff.

Socks aren’t quite long enough,

and rain-boots too squeaky,

You find yourself thinking of your trip to Waikiki.

It’s the first week of classes, don’t forget your school passes, bus passes, or glasses!

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Writing

The Girl With The Purple Pen

A little bit of fiction, to kick off ¬†31 days of writing.¬†My 500 Words¬†is a challenge created by Jeff Goins. ¬†It’s intended to inspire daily writing habits among writers in all stages.

Chapter 1: The Girl With The Purple Pen

**About Me**

It’s a nickname unheard of among most college students. I accepted it. It was in no way offensive. In fact, I take it as a compliment.¬†I am indeed the girl with the purple pen.¬†Like most names, there is a story behind it. My favorite color is purple. My real name is Brittney. However, most people call me Brit. Naturally, I feel inclined to pen my thoughts with this seemingly majestic ink. Few students in my field have such a strange fetish. However, nothing motivates me quite so much as the flow of fresh ink across a Moleskine journal–another leisure I sometimes indulge myself in.¬†

¬† I’m a communications major. Journalism and Media Production, to be more specific, is my area of expertise. A dying art.¬†Pursued by few.The internet has already occupied the jobs of more than a few ¬†journalists. ¬† Even fewer who pursue it are successful. I’m considering a minor in¬†professional writing. You¬†know, something I can do outside of my 8am-5pm job. A hobby that could possible help with the student loans I will inherit once I’m on my feet. My goal is to pay them off ¬†before I presumably get married, have children, all that jazz.¬†

In the summer of 2012, I found myself in Port-au-Prince Haiti. A location desired by few high school students. It was there, I knew I wanted to write. I shared my experiences via a ¬†blog and was told “hey, you’re not half bad at this.” My travels were really a turning point. Kake, Alaska, Tijuana, Mexico, ¬†and Port-Au-Prince Haiti make for some pretty exciting adventures. They aren’t your typical vacationing spots. But I wasn’t there on vacation. All three times I was there for relief work. This purpose opened my eyes to instance I like to call “beauty in the broken” experiences.

In Haiti, I first became aware of beauty in the broken. Life in death. Joy in the most depressing of places. Sweet music in streets filled with political riots. Hope in a land wrecked with economic strife, uncertainty, ¬†and violence. I’ve found that most people don’t understand to the full extent what I’m trying to say, where I’m going with all of this. Third world countries open your eyes to things which we are otherwise blind to in filthy rich America. Believe it or not, being well off has it’s downsides.

Anyhow, in Mexico and Haiti, I kept a consistent journal. Not your typical entries i.e. “This morning I woke up and had Cheerios for breakfast.” Not that there is anything wrong with this information. In fact, it’s where I started out. I’d like to think I’ve made progress since then, but I some days are less exciting than others, and that’s OK. Many new writers are discouraged by this. I’ve been trying to emphasize to my friends and family that it’s not about¬†what¬† you write, it’s just important you write at all. Even those who right for a living didn’t wake up one day knowing they were going to write a bestseller.

I’ve been writing for quite a while. I tried my hand in the field as early as elementary school with the typical “dear diary” entries. Didn’t we all? Some of us develop a habit, of it, others don’t.

**About The Roommates**

They’re an odd bunch, but not too Crazy. Emily is up there with the STEM people. In other words, her major is math related and there are times when I wonder if she’s related to Einstein. She’s not so math oriented that I can’t hold a conversation without her going on about how much she loves functions. She’s human, and for that I’m grateful. ¬†I’m not quite sure how I got paired up with her. The math, the thinking, I just don’t get it. We have a deal. I’ll help her with words if she’ll help me with my poor technology skills. Thus far, the arrangement has worked out pretty well.

Lizzy is down to earth. She’s part of the Communications College like me. We have a couple prerequisites together this quarter. You might say she’s my study buddy. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but our one common ¬†thread is this: we all love what we do and we want to do it well. That’s good enough for me. I’m not gonna lie, I’d heard enough horror stories about bad roommates, that I’d nearly given myself a complex waiting to hear back after submitting my housing application. So, I was relieved to hear that in spite of my awkward tendencies, I’d been placed with people who won’t judge me.

Welcome to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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Writing

An Open Letter to Humans: “Oh the Drama!”

“Can we all just get along?” Rodney King asked that question in 1991 and it embodies the sentiments of many people still today.

Actually, yes we can. The real question is “will we?”

Some people are under the impression that drama and gossip only ever occur in high school. This could not be farther from the truth. Graduation is more like an¬†opportunity¬†to act mature and all grown up.¬†¬†You see, there is this myth out there that the day after you graduate high school, you wake up a sage old soul full of wisdom “beyond their years.”

Now, just to be clear, this open letter isn’t meant to be a passive message. In fact, passivity is something I’d like to address in this post. I never intend to use any of my blog posts as a form of vengeance. So. That being said, think what you will. Much drama that I’ve witnessed first hand or second-hand is worsened because of passivity. I think the best definition of passive in this case is this¬†¬†2.¬†not¬†involving¬†visible¬†reaction¬†or¬†active¬†participation.¬†It’s often “subtly” or “indirectly” hinting that so-and-so (supposedly) said or did something.

1. Don’t be a passive.¬†Especially on social media. Save yourself the heartache of blowing up something that’s already a problem. I believe venting can be healthy. However, it requires the right place, time, and if you’re not writing it down in a journal, as I often do, the right person. When I say the “right person” it’s usually someone who has gone through the same thing, but with different people. Otherwise you’re just throwing a gossip party–not something that’s typically healthy or constructive.

2. To keep it simple, if you hear something about someone, don’t be naive and believe everything you hear. Go to the person who is the subject of all the controversy. I’m no statistician, but I can almost guarantee that most of what you’ve heard is either completely a lie, or blown out of proportions.

3. Remember:¬†you can’t take back what you say¬†or¬†don’t say for that matter. You could be a positive. Also remember that social media is a whole new level of bad. Social Media is¬†¬†another post in itself.

4. It doesn’t matter¬†if a rumor is true or not. It isn’t your business.

5. Another myth.¬†Just because you aren’t the one talking, doesn’t mean you aren’t ¬†partaking in the gossip.

6. On that note, it does matter¬†that you find it in you to say “Hey, you know what guys? I don’t want to be a part of this conversation. There are better things to talk about.” The decision to be the person in your friend circle is hard. But it’s totally worth it.

7. Saying,¬†“ugh. I’m so tired of drama” is ¬†kind of claiming superiority over those who are dramatic. Ironically, you more often than not come off as dramatic as well.

As I like to say, “if it bothers you, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.” It’s much more effective than writing a Facebook status or Tweeting your feelings of frustrated.

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