All Things Considered

image4

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?

Advertisements

Don’t Be a Tourist

Don’t. Be. A. Tourist. This is easier said than done. If we I was completely honest. As I stepped on a plane to board my flight to Oahu, the temptation to buy a Hawaiian print shirt and pack my own lei in my suitcase was very real. There is nothing wrong with either of these things, but my goal here is to give you a few basic know-how tips to use on any vacation. I would not consider myself a seasoned traveler. In fact, most of this advice is centered around the hilarious and poor mistakes my family and I made while traveling.

1. White socks scream “tourist!”  They also leave a strange sunburn mark.  Don’t wear them. On the other hand, if you’re arriving back in a from a week-long excursion to place like Seattle, chances are your lovely burn or tan marks will have faded before you can wear shorts again.

2. Don’t overestimate your poor and pale skin by sitting out in the sun for four hours straight–especially on your first day in paradise. It’s a bad way to set up the rest of your week.

3. Your Instagram can wait. If you spend all your time clicking away instead of soaking in the moments, you’ll soon find that your Instagram was more of a success than your actual vacation.

20140708-163841-59921223.jpg

4. Waking up early is essentially an enormous waste of time if, in fact you don’t actually leave your hotel room until mid-morning. Drag your beach bum self out of your hotel room and get where you are going.

5. As I said previously, granting that your desire is to maximize time during your stay, planning beforehand is important.

6. So, you want to go snorkeling. I know from experience that mid-morning is NOT the ideal time to arrive at said location. Different marine life come out to explore, depending on the time of day and corresponding tide levels.

7. *This tip is specific to Oahu, Hawaii.* Assuming a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial-renamed World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument- is on your list of “to see” locations, careful planning is in order. My party of seven aroused from our restless slumber at 5:30am. Unfortunately, this is necessary for picking up tickets. What we failed to realize, is that although we appeared one of the first groups to arrive, we were told that we had a FIVE HOUR chunk of the day to enjoy.

  • Visit the North Shore
  • Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck–I’d fly back just for another taste of shrimp.
  • Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

We had a limited amount of time on our hands once we drove clear to the North Shore and back. However, we decided that on our next trip, this is a place  we’d explore further.

8. Hopefully this is a given, but coffee–or, if tea is your cuppa–indulge in your go-to drink. Everyday. Sure, your hotel probably has a Starbucks, but fuel your obsession with new flavors by experimenting, and tasting a few coffee brews.

9. I almost always regret packing to many clothing items. Never do I leave enough room for purchases, completed books, or bedraggled and dirty clothes.

10. Airplane movies are dreadfully boring. The radio is static-y. Bring your own tunes and shows.

Sincerely,

“Wishing I Were Traveling” in Sunny Seattle

 

Did I miss any important travel tips? Do you possess any wise words worth sharing?

 

 

The World Goes On

Khalid Albaih, Creative Commons
Khalid Albaih, Creative Commons

 

When I made my grand entrance back to Facebook the day after Ash Wednesday, it was not so grand as I had expected.

Only six notifications required my attention.

I found all my friends very much alive and well.

Wow, the world managed to do without me for forty-days. How ever did they do it? The painful truth of the matter is that the world adjusted to my absence. To my surprise, this didn’t injure my feelings.

It was quite freeing  to spend days unplugged. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to take a break until I actually took one. Of course, I hardly wanted to admit that to anyone. The bad habit is a tad embarrassing to share about.

I realized within the first few days of  my fast that my life  was so wrapped around everybody else’s life that I began to neglect my own. I didn’t attempt to grow in my relationship with God. I became easily frustrated and constantly felt I never measured up.  I began to compare and contrast my life to others. I found it difficult to achieve the happiness I so desired when I was convinced that somehow, I was missing out. I could not obtain the key to happiness. There is no key.

But this was not the case. I  looked at a very small part of my friend’s stories.

The one word that is absolutely detrimental to anyone’s  vocabulary is everyone. Everyone has a boyfriend, everyone is going on vacation. I’m convinced this single word is the source of so much of our ungratefulness. I’m sure there are others, but this one for sure is one to be wary of.

The biggest problem with Facebook is that users are able to choose what they post.  A little bit of this, a little bit of that. It’s the perfect place to paint an unrealistic picture of an unrealistic life. Not too many people choose to post about the crappy parts.

One goal that I have created over the course of time is to break down that facade. I desire people to know the truth about me: my life is a beautiful mess. I’ve learned a lot through my messy life and as hard as it is at times, I wouldn’t want my life perfect.

More often than not we must fail before we succeed. And when we do succeed, it’s not always in the way we originally expected. 

During my fast, I felt this sense of peace and joy that I had not experienced in a long time. A very long time.  I believe it’s natural to feel somewhat obligated or inclined to stay in touch. We want to converse.  We’re humans. It’s in our nature. It doesn’t matter how introverted or shy or “socially awkward” you are. At the same time-whether we are aware- we have an inward desire for a life which is more fulfilling. We chase after many different people, material objects and wander various trails to accomplish this feat. It is my understanding that very few people find what they *think* they are looking for.

Upon my return to Facebook, I realized several things almost immediately:

1) I didn’t miss Facebook, I missed my friends. Maybe this is unfair, but I didn’t tell anyone right away that I was fasting from Facebook for Lent. Nonetheless, I suppose one or two texts asking whether or not I’m alive.

2)  Facebook brings to my attention insecurities I thought I had identified and taken care of.

3) Social media is good in moderation.

4) I need to spend more time on my real, tangible friendships.

Before I let you go…

Did you give up something for Lent? What did you fast from? Did you learn any lessons during your experience? Leave a comment if you are comfortable sharing!

-Kayla

 

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

 

“Packing Light” Giveaway

I’ve decided it’s about time I do my first giveaway. The timing is appropriate because I have just created my first Facebook Page: Kayla Bonar, Writer. I can’t think of a better way to promote.

1 “like”= one entry

1 “share”= 2 shares

New subscribers= 3 entries

The winner will be announced on my Facebook  page and Twitter one week from today (4/26).  If you “like,” share, or subscribe but are NOT, interested in being entered into the drawing, please indicate on my page so that I know not to enter your name.

It took me all of about ten second to decide on the perfect giveaway book. “Packing Light” by Allison Vesterfelt is fantastic read. I read it recently and it has significantly influenced my writing habits. This book played a huge role in my decision to finally make the decision to create a page dedicated to my blog content. At one point during the book, Vesterfelt was challenged by a friend to finally start calling herself a writer. For so long, she had made up excuses. She objected that she’d never been published, let alone  receive a paycheck by writing.

I more often than not, we create a ceiling for ourselves. Let me unpack this statement for you. I strongly believe that what we call our “9am-5pm” jobs are, in reality,  a very small part of what really defines us. Or maybe you are a college student like me and have only dabbled in odd jobs and define yourself as a student and nothing more.

However, my guess is that  in your free time you love to write or read or create or play music. BUT, this isn’t how you make your living. Does this mean you aren’t a writer, creator, or musician? I hardly think this is the case.

I’ve decided it’s time I stop making excuses.

-Kayla Bonar, Writer

P.S. Who will you be today?

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

5 Apps Worth Using

After much deliberation and resentment, I’ve “joined the I-Phone family.” My plan was to be that cool hipster person with some sort of Android. It appears I’m too mainstream. Anyhow, I thought I’d share my thoughts on  some neat apps I discovered

1. Happier. It’s like Facebook except, well happier. It’s less of a social media site and more a way to share “happy moments.”

2. Werdsmith is AWESOME.  It’s keeps track of your word count, you can share what you write, set goals for writing projects, etc. AND their logo is a mustache, so if you’re into facial hair, Werdsmith is clearly for you.

3.Dictionary.com. This one is for all of my fellow nerds out there. I mean, it’s not only a dictionary, but a thesaurus as well. Did I mention it works offline?

4.OK DO THIS. Maybe I had high expectations, but I found Instagram a little anticlimactic. I mean, that’s what you do when you get an I-Phone, am I right? It’s possible it’s only a cooler experience for those who are InstaFamous-if you know what I mean. Anyways, if you enjoy Instagram (or if you don’t) OK DO THIS will blow your socks off. If you currently feel as though you are contributing to a pool of already large #selfie and #food pictures, this app takes everything to the next level.

5. Flipboard. Because everything that you used to read in the paper is now online. Why not create a personal, organized platform where you can read articles from papers, magazines, blogs, and social media sites? Like most apps, it takes a little playing around with to really understand it’s purpose.

P.S. I’m looking for a new Bible app. The You Version is great, but it keeps bugging out on me. Suggestions?

I am on instagram, and you can check out my feed at the bottom of the page. My username is kaylanbonar. I’d still highly recommend that you check out OK DO THIS. 

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

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.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: