Stepping Away (for awhile)

This year I decided to participate in the Catholic holiday that is Lent. I’ve always admired people who have fasted from something (or even multiple things) for such a long period of time. For me, forty days could easily feel similar to forty years.

I’m not catholic nor do I have anything against catholic and in the big picture none of this has anything to do with Catholicism anyways.

I adore creating excuses. So much that I create excuses for creating excuses. (This is a skill). That being said, making the decision to commit to fasting for 40 days was a big deal. If anything, this experience will hopefully teach me to be honest with myself.

I took a look at a list of the 25 most popular things people give up for Lent. It’s quite interesting. Many aren’t very unusual. Chocolate, sweets, that sort of thing.

I chose Facebook.

I could come up with a million reasons why, but I’ll try to whittle down the list. Here are two things I struggle with that are made worse by social media (specifically Facebook):

  • Jealousy
  • Comparison

These two often go hand-in-hand and often end in an attitude of doom and gloom.

Sometimes, starting your day off by skimming through engagement pictures and watching your friends one by one change their relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ isn’t healthy. It just isn’t. Not because marriages are bad or relationships are bad, but because maybe it’s not what’s best for me right here in this moment.

When ‘everyone’ A.K.A those two or three people filling up your news feed seems to be doing something you aren’t it’s waay to easy to second guess my own actions. Starting off the day criticizing myself is probably not the best way to bring about a good ending.

If we’re friends on Facebook (and if we’re not), it should be clear that I’m not the type to limit my status updates to only grand spectacular events occurring in my life. Let’s be real. Everyday isn’t perfect, so why pretend that it is?

I’m not the perfect student. I’m a hard-working student, but not necessarily the one ringing in all 4.0’s. When the end of a quarter comes around, I tend to beat myself up over the fact that I, unlike ‘everyone’ else didn’t get as many 4.0’s as I should have.

As I said before, these are only two focuses. And the big picture isn’t Facebook. Or relationships. Or good grades. If you’ve been reading my posts, hopefully you’ll have noticed that their topics may vary, but I always attempt to pick out the life application. I don’t want you to read this a post, see that whatever is written is only applicable to me, and go on with your day. I desire more out of my writing than that.

Ultimately, by the end of these full forty days, I want to choose joy over jealousy and comparison. I want to rejoice in others when they are happy, not plaster on a fake smile. I do not believe the myth that if my friends Facebook timelines are perfect, so are their lives. For me, it’s an easy lie to believe.

Lent should be about giving something up to invite God in and fill what was before an empty space, temporarily gratified. Leave room for God.

Question to ponder: If God is the absolute best, why don’t we choose Him above all else every time? 

-Kayla

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

Thirsty

http://tap.unicefusa.org

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.

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!

A Paintbrush Is An Ordinary Object

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with persona poems–as I was a couple of weeks ago– a persona poem is an attempt to tell a story or paint a landscape through the eyes of another person. The poet must lay aside their own biases and even voice in order to effectively do justice to the person they are attempting to essentially be. I chose to write about Mother Teresa to write about because I’ve always admired her ability to see the power in ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. We can learn a lot from her story.


Mother Teresa

1946

Mother Teresa  1946

The streets of Calcutta perturb me.

Ditches, slums, and waste.

The busyness and disquiet

muffle the sounds of the poor and sick.

I see big dark eyes searching for light in dark alleyways.

The hungry cries of malnourished little ones pierce the air.

The noise reaches deaf ears.

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely

and the unwanted.

They too, deserve our love.

I received a call from God.

Now I live with the poor, as a ghost, blending perfectly in. Alongside them,

in a position of authority I work like

a servant.

My only adornment is a blue-bordered sari.

Attention is not what I seek.

I consider myself a little pencil in His hand.

I am an artist. Drawing His picture.

I believe in doing small things with great love,

In helping one, rather than none.

Long ago I turned my back to worldly pleasures.

I turn my eyes upward to

my Creator and it was then

that he opened my eyes to what He sees.

The world is my canvas.

Revised on March 13, 2014

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!

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-

These Things Are Good

I’ve broken my reputation. I drank tea. Not for the first time, but for the first time in a long while. This is a big deal. I love coffee and hot chocolate. Even better, caffeinated hot chocolate. Simple. Hot coco mix+sugar-free creamer= a dose of heaven in a mug. But lemme tell you,  there is nothing more disappointing than drinking a cup of Joe and then finding out it is decaf. That is not coffee. Tonight,  I decided to try something new. I drank decaf, Wild Sweet Orange Tazo tea. Let me tell you, it was delicious and invigorating. You know you your mom is an R.D when she says, “If you’re still tired and have stuff to do tonight, maybe you should take a short walk, drink some hot tea, and get comfy in your sweats.”  Even without the caffeine. It was still good. Now, I’m not saying tea is my new favorite thing, I’m saying that regular coffee isn’t going to do you any good late in the evening. I’m not quite ready to change Coffee Shop Talk to Tea Room Chit Chat. My friends, I think I have found my  healthy alternative. I’m declaring myself no longer coffee dependent.

While I’m on the subject of new things, in celebration of finishing our first Spanish 122 chapter test of the quarter, my friend and I celebrated-quite naturally with Mexican food. Here’s the deal, they didn’t have enchiladas or taco salad on the menu. These are my usual go-to Mexican dishes. Therefore, I was forced to try something new. Flour flautas. Yes they were amazing. My friends, if you ever find yourself driving up 196th towards Edmonds, I must exhort you to stop and  check out Taqueria La Raza. I’m talking homemade salsa and guacamole. I was also pleasantly surprised that my food wasn’t greasy. This ain’t your average Taco Bell.  It’s reasonably priced and college students get discounts on burritos and quesadillas.  You should be salivating right now. I’d recommend making a microwave quesadilla and helping yourself to some  Costco tortilla chips and salsa. I do it practically every night. Except for tonight. Because I broke my reputation and whetted my appetite with tea and my mother’s delicious pumpkin-spice-cake-butterscotch chip muffins.

I love fall. I love the vibrant colors of leaves changing. The falling of the leaves represent room for new beginnings. The smell of wood smoke in the air. I could have sworn I smelled Snickerdoodle cookies in the air when I went for a stroll to take a break from studying. It signals the beginning of a new quarter/semester, new classes, new friends, new foods, and a new exercise plan to keep from gaining the freshman fifteen. JUST KIDDING.

Have you tried anything new lately?

-Kayla-

P.S The recipe for the muffins consist of only three ingredients: 1) Canned pumpkin 2) Spice Cake Mix 3) Optional Butterscotch chips. Yes, something this good can be that simple.

Since I’ve Been Gone

First off, to all my followers and viewers, I’m terribly sorry I’ve been so inconsistent in posting. I knew right off the bat consistency would be a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong though, I have nearly 30 postings in the work! My creativity has not dulled.  I’m awakening from the lethargy and sickness that Spring Break wrought-at least that is my hope. My new quarterly school schedule has me up at sunset twice a week for English 102.  As for all of my other time, I am somewhat flexible. In other words, it has me easily procrastinating on every other area of my life. As of right now, there are 46 days, 21 hours, and 12 minutes until graduation. Yes I have been counting since pretty much the beginning of the second semester.  Some say “don’t do that.” Well, I finally know what I THINK I want to do so I’m ready to be done. I have yet to meet someone who says they want to go back and do High School all over again. It’s been fun, but frankly, I’m quite done.

Senior year has consisted of a lot of firsts. My life up to the point has consisted of many changes. Mostly good. I’ve turned eighteen, my brother turned has started driving, while another brother lost his first tooth. I’ve relapsed once again into my yearbook duties after a nice long break. I had my first last Spring Formal at the lovely Canal in Seattle, partnered with a very awkward first last senior recognition. And no, I was not the cause of this awkwardness. Cap and Gown pictures have been taken and everything is official. Senior sneak is coming up.  I obtained my first official non-driver’s license ID-you may be wondering, what good is such a thing? Unfortunately, it is useful in many instances and more convenient than carrying around a passport everywhere. Some major decisions are up in the air which at times has been quite taxing. And as my friends like to say I am “sleep exhausted.” Keep persisting friends! I’ve made it this far and intend to see through to the  end. Until then, Keep Calm and Graduate! (;

Keep Calm 1

Kayla

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