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?

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!

something for sunday

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. For me, the best part of being on Spring Break is all the time I have available to read and write. It’s introverted bliss. These are all great articles I read online so just click the title and it will lead you to the site. If you read something awesome lately, comment on the side and I’ll check it out!

What Guarding Your Heart Actually Means by Alex Harmening via Relevant Magazine

I love reading various articles written from different angles about this topic of guarding your heart. Proverbs 4: 23  says”Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” What does this verse mean? How are we supposed to apply it to our lives? Harmening broaches the top well and she has many valid points.

No Degree Necessary by Phil Gathany

If you’re a student like me, this is for you. Phil reminded me that God is going to use me no matter how “ordinary” I am. He’s going to use you too. Jesus’ twelve disciples were about as ordinary they go and they all went on to do extraordinary things.

6 Reasons Why You Should Touch and be Touched More Often by Christina Miller

Four hugs a day. At least. Are you meeting your daily hug quota? Maybe those free hug signs aren’t such a silly idea after all. For a person whose love language definitely isn’t touch, I found this article quite intriguing.

Writers get all aboard Amtrak’s train residency program by Sarah Sheffer

The fact that this is an actual thing just makes me happy.  Amtrak is actually sending people on train trips for one purpose: to write. I’ve ridden the train numerous times. My longest trip was from Edmonds, Washington to Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.  It was quite the  adventure and one I probably took advantage of.

-Kayla

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.

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.

‘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-

Constant In the Trials

I can’t sleep tonight. My heart is aching. Breaking. Tonight my heart is with my brothers and sisters in the Philippines and those I know who have served there. Last night their world literally crumbled beneath their feet when a 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu.
When I hear of news like this, I feel helpless. Simply because I cannot be there in physical form. But God sent His son, SO THAT we could intervene. He wants us  to come to Jesus with our prayers and concerns. For we cannot handle these trials on our own. My lack of faith astounding. For God tells me if it were just as large as a mustard seed I could move mountains!
God is changing me. Humbling me. Reminding me how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and four walls enclosing me. Everyday when I cone home from being educated at school I am welcomed with parents and brothers and sisters who love me. I have never known starvation or poverty. I’ve seen these things with my own eyes, but it is hard for someone so blessed with material items to follow the narrow path. I have so much to lose by following Jesus. But if I really give Jesus my all, I make an eternal investment. I previously did not take this passage in the Bible very seriously. Then I started thinking. Just because I’ve given him my life doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve given him my all.
I have a powerful God who loves and protects me. Always. Even when I stumble and sin against him. I am reminded and grateful for all these things as all around the world many are struggling. Significantly.

But God is constant. He is the anchor to which I cling to and the one I must trust.

For we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Hebrews 6:19-20

Lord, heal those who are broken, strengthen the weak, and call those of us who are able to you. Thank-you for loving us always. Thank-you  for being the only One we can always count on; through every storm, up every mountain and down every valley.

Did You Feed Me?

From Left to right: Me, Kay, and Brianna.

Meet Kay. Kay turned 86 in May. For over twenty years, Kay has been serving the homeless men and women of Downtown Seattle. Mission: serve the soul, not just the stomach.

Kay’s ministry is titled The Lord’s Table. The location is at 6th and Columbia, directly underneath the freeway. On the second Thursday of every month, my church: Northshore Baptist Church in Kirkland serves with Kay. Our branch of the ministry is called Isaiah 58.  Sixth and Columbia is home to many big hearts of the people who flock from the Union Gospel Mission, Pioneer Square, and all (literal) corners of Seattle for a warm meal of hearty Spanish rice.

Kay's 86th Birthday

In sixth grade, my friend and I were both looking for a ministry to become involved in. We stumbled upon Isaiah 58 after asking our youth pastor’s where we could serve locally. We’ve missed a few months here and there, but we both agree that it seems just yesterday, Kay was 80. I suppose it’s because her stamina and passion hasn’t wavered from year to year.

Kay thrives off of this verse:

Isaiah 58: 6-7

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

A cup of coffee is capable of going a long way. Or tea. Or water. Or Kool Aid. Jesus constantly reminds us that the issue isn’t a matter of liquids. It’s a matter of the heart. The Lord of the universe can dwell in your heart if you allow Him to. He is the only free gift on earth that you don’t need to work towards. There is no checklist to acceptance.

Seattle wants Jesus. They crave Him.  They flock to 6th and Columbia because Jesus is evident in Kay. She treats them like her equal. She doesn’t turn anyone away.  She knows many patrons by name. More importantly, she bleeds the gospel.

Over the years I’ve encountered many fun characters. Seattle is a colorful place. I remember the man who could pop both eyes out of his sockets, the woman who asked me if I could give her pet mouse, Phoebe, a chocolate cookie. The regular  who walked through our line and always asked for “Bill’s Famous Tea.” I remember gazing up through a space in the freeway where the two lanes came apart and feeling as if I were in the movie The Dark Night. I remember when in junior high, Brianna and I collected donations from the youth group to buy Christmas gifts. I remember the British security guard with an Australian accent. Did I mention he dressed in a way that made him look as if he were the captain of a fine vessel? We’ve seen some interesting characters walk through those food lines.

I tease Brianna endlessly for passing out too many desserts. To say Kay is frugal would be an understatement. “Just ONE cookie Brianna” and  “Oh those  will  last until Monday,” is common phraseology around her. Her influence (among others) has made me think twice about waste. I’ve poured perfectly filtered drinking water down the drain with my only pretense being that it had been sitting out too long.  Thrown away food because I’m too full. Ditched socks because of one hole in one toe. Once monthly, for almost seven years I’ve served with Brianna. Last month I served with her ONELASTTIME. (Indefinitely).

New volunteers have made their  appearances! Over the years as the youth has been a part of this great opportunity and we’ve begun spreading the word through social media,  a large variety of people show up each month. It’s always exciting to see volunteers come and go. But to see those who stay? Ahhhh, now that is quite a joy to see.

While Kay may never be replaced, the organization is looking for a new leader to take over all responsibility. The vocation has become an immense responsibility for just one person. We trust in God’s provision. Always.

This one is for you Kay!

Kayla

A One Way Ticket.

Alex and I went on our first trip to Haiti together last summer in 2012. Deep down somehow I knew that first trip wouldn’t be her last. Your time, talent, and treasures will send give Alex and her multiple teams they need to make this world a better place, and what’s more, shine Jesus’s light in one of the world’s darkest places.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. by faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11: 8-10

From Home to Haiti

Dear family and friends,

A few years ago I was having a conversation with a friend when she asked me, “What kind of person do you want to be when you’re older?” and I surprised myself by answering with, “I just want to be someone in love with Jesus.” It’s a simple concept really, for me to be someone in love with the man who bled and died for me specifically, the man who in constantly seeking to spend time with me and loves me no matter how many times I fail Him. The tough part is trusting, trusting that He knows His plans for me and that I need not worry what tomorrow holds or where I will be in 10 years (or one to be completely honest here). We as a fallen people try so hard to hold on tightly to the control and direction of our lives…

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