Travel, Writing

Elevate Update #1

IMG_2312Hey friends!

Since first posting my support letter on March 23rd, I’ve raised more donations and bought my plane ticket, making everything so much more real. Including my own investment into this project, I have now raised $627.64 out of $3,500 for my trip. Elevate still seems far away, but ALL funds are due April 21st. I still have $2,872.36 until I am fully funded.

I’m scared to death.

Without successful fundraising, I might find myself in the position where I will have to choose to pay out of my own pocket, or forfeit the trip. I’m begging Jesus that I will not have to make that decision.

When looking at the numbers and payment deadlines, it’s very easy for me to forget the power of prayer amidst all of this. I definitely underestimate it.

All of this is a faith journey. I’m leaning into God trusting that if this is his plan for my summer-and I strongly believe it is-then I can trust him to provide the means for me to get there. I strongly desire that anyone reading this, and has questions about Elevate and/or Resonate would not hesitate at all to ask questions, and most definitely ask God how they should support me in all of this.

This week these two life verses have become my lifeline:

“Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her” Luke 1:45

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” Proverbs 19:21

 

Prayer Requests

-My interview on  Tuesday, April 5th with the YMCA would go smoothly

-My faith in God’s provision would be more overwhelming than my fear of not support raising all of my funds

This might be helpful:

More about Elevate http://resonate.net/elevate2016#give-1 (the link says give, but there is more information about the project if you scroll up and down!)

 

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Travel, Writing

Montana Meanderings

I’m typing this blog post from a lovely little loft bedroom in my grandma and grandpa’s house in Chinook, Montana. It’s the type¬†of room I’d imagine Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, or Ernest Hemingway wrote their novels from. However, I suspect my room is much ¬†more comfortable, cute and neatly organized than any habitat those drunkards wrote in.

I haven’t visited Montana in close to six years. Since then they’ve moved from the forests and mountains of Libby to the prairie land that is Chinook.

The only sounds that I’ve heard this evening from my work space have been nothing more than the sound of wheels and horns from nearby train tracks and a couple of dogs yipping ¬†and yapping at each other from across the neighborhood. But for the most part, my stay has been beautifully quiet and still. Simple.

Today I proofread a newspaper article.I hadn’t edited another person’s work¬† in months. It was a beautiful thing to return to my element. My grandpa didn’t appreciate me marking up his completed article in red pen. Heck, at the last minute I almost packed my brand spanking new Associated Press Stylebook. But I didn’t. Only because I had too many other notebooks, binders and reading material to strategically pack in my one suitcase.

I’ve read more books these past six months than I have in two or three years. In one train ride I finished Franny and Zooey and over half of Catcher in the Rye, each by J.D. Salinger. I’m certainly not short on reading material. Nonetheless, I cannot figure out what to read next.

I shadowed my grandpa and followed him to his job at the Blaine County Journal ~News Opinon weekly newspaper, the grocery store, bank, library, and credit union. Did I mention we were able to walk to all of these locations? And it nearly reached seventy degrees? It reminded me of Pullman, minus the hills.

After these important errands we searched around hunting for postcards. I’m a cheesy tourist and couldn’t refrain.

I’m still¬†writing,¬†in case you were wondering. I’ve been working on a lot of personal ¬†projects all of which include writing of some sort. I won’t go into much detail but this includes learning more about writing from a handful of my favorite authors and applying those lessons. For more hints you can see my Instagram¬†profile. I¬†have been doing my best to make the most of this short blip in time where I am¬†taking a semester off from school.

One project that is not secret at all has been my Indiegogo fundraiser campaign I started for my service dog Charley—who’s litter has not been chosen or likely born yet. Boy has that been an experience. Hardly halfway through my campaign and already over thirty percent of my funds have been raised. ¬†A couple of others include two different news outlets, two dreadful sociology papers and my church back in Pullman!

Three. The number of times some dear soul has paid me to write.¬†Beginning and ending my job at the newspaper¬†was¬†awful. Not long after my first front page¬†article was published in The Daily Evergreen I had to abruptly leave. I had to abandon many people and classes and activities I love. I know soon I’ll be back. I’m not concerned about returning. I’m anxious about being uprooted again.

Not knowing is an awful feeling. Not knowing¬†when or where my health could suddenly take a downward spiral. More than a feeling this has been a journey of trust. On more occasions than I can count I’ve asked God “why me and why now?” I realize I placed so much faith and hope that moving out and being independent. November was terribly disappointing.

All of that mess was redeemed. And through people and events that only God could orchestrate. You and I will consistently fall for the the lie that good things cannot come through difficult circumstances. But God breaks our fall. He doesn’t leave us abandoned. He intervenes. I say this now, after he’s picked me up. I offered no pleasant words to God or anyone in the midst of my mess. ¬†It’s OK to not be OK.

Much love,

Kayla

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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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Uncategorized, Writing

Life is Crazy and Writing is Hard

The most busy and awesome week of my life has been the week I moved out of my house and on to college. The night before I left, I wrote¬†a post concerning transition.¬† The only reason why I know today’s date is because it’s a holiday weekend and I don’t have school tomorrow. I’m already procrastinating on my first paper of the semester. Rather, I’m taking much too long write a two-page paper. I’ll give myself credit for having completed a shitty first draft.¬† ¬† I didn’t realize I was still in summer mode. The first week of upper level classes flew by so quickly. I’m the junior-transfer student who has an academic advantage on other students, nothing more!

These past eleven days I’ve shaken more hands of more people than I’ve ever met at one time. Additionally, I’ve introduced myself to some individuals not once, but twice. Laughter has been unavoidable. I’ve said yes to some event or get together pretty much every single night since I arrived here. A football game, volleyball, dinner, sing-along movie night etc. At one point during these past few days I must’ve blinked because I feel as though I just arrived here. Only yesterday did I finally take out the very last cardboard box to the dumpster.

I’m becoming somewhat acclimated. It’s only under sixty-six degrees this evening and I’m shivering in my dorm room, ready to break out the sweatpants. I was actually able to sleep under all of my covers last night and turn off my fans. Progress.

While this new part of my life is thriving,  I  am failing recently to put forth effort into my writing, which I proclaim to love. My relationship with words is more of the love-hate type. Writing is certainly  easier said than done.  A recent trend in my posts has reflected an obvious struggle in simply sitting down and putting my pen to paper-or in this case, fingers to keys. There is no doubt that a resistance is present. And also winning.

¬†A Few Excuses I’ve Made to Not Write

  • Time-there isn’t enough
  • I’ll never stand out
  • My story isn’t important
  • I’m not progressing and growing
  • I don’t have money to invest into my website

The excuses mentioned above are hardly justifiable. Boy how I wish they were. To clarify, never do I lack a topic to write about. Many believe that writer’s block is due to the absence of subject matter. I’m learning that this is not the case. It’s pure laziness.

At lunch today, my friend Megan asked me “So are you just writing all the time?”

I was honored that she’d think I’m so disciplined as to maintain a disciplined writing habit. Unfortunately, I could not respond affirmatively and call myself an honest person.

*Gulp.*

I responded something along the lines of “Ummm… yes? Well, sort of, like if I’m not writing I’m thinking about what I’d like to be writing. I mean, lately, not really.”

Not exactly a straightforward answer. And lemme tell you, this isn’t the first time recently these encounters have occurred. I’m always thankful for friends who ask me these questions. The hard ones. Only hard questions provoke action.

I’m writing today because life is crazy and writing is hard-even when life isn’t so insane. I don’t have anything profound to share, but I tend to relate best with people who share their stories from day-to-day life.

There. You are all updated on my life. If you are new here, welcome. Old friends, it’s so good to see you again.

 

Until next time,

Kayla

 

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Writing

When Transition is Absolutely Necessary

 

Creative Commons// Darin Marshall

I am back! These past couple of weeks have been rather busy these past couple of weeks wrapping up my summer classes and tearing apart my room. Since I’m in the currently in the middle of a transition, I’ve decided to share with you my thoughts, and why I personally believe transitions are important!

Before I go any further, you should know that I despise packing. I’ve always been one to over-pack. It’s really silly because I could bring everything with me to wherever I’m going and still be convinced that I don’t quite have everything I need. For me,¬† traveling is never enjoyable until the moment I actually arrive at my destination. Nonetheless, transition and change are very healthy. Moving is hardly enjoyable, but it forces me to re-evaluate my life. Putting my life into boxes is a wonderful reminder of what I value. Trust me, I’ve spent the past two weeks attempting to determine what I consider the bare necessities-turns out those items are practically everything in my closet. Ha! While discussing this with a friend she commented “it takes a move.” It really does. I’m not sure about you, but aside from a light spring cleaning, I don’t annually do a deep cleanse of square foot of my room. I’m just not a clean freak.I somehow managed to fit all of my belongings into the car. Well, my brother did most of the strategic packing, but I was an overseer of the whole operation. Trust me, had you been able to catch a glimpse of the trunk of our suburban, you would understand why this was such an incredible feat. I’m sure some of you resonate with my potential dilemma.

Change doesn’t scare me. I’m simply not in the habit of taking new risks and attempting new things. I constantly tell myself that this should not be so.¬† I suppose moving out of the house that I’ve lived in for ten years is a perfect opportunity break open that cozy cocoon of comfort. I may only be six hours away from home, but I may as well be in a different world in Pullman, Washington. Over the mountains and through the woods to Washington State University I go!

Transitioning is not easy because there is no telling what the future holds. But I promise you, change¬† is absolutely necessary. Necessary for growth and perseverance and also for fun!¬† There comes a time to start fresh and move upward and onwards. When you’ll discover when that is, I don’t know. You may not know either-at least not yet. Undoubtedly, it will be both easy and hard and with its own ups and downs. That is obvious.

You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips.

Airplanes and passports  and

New songs and old songs, but

People more than anything else.

You will need other people.

And you will need to be that

Other person to someone else,

A living, breathing, Screaming

invitation to believe better things.

-Jamie Tworkowski-

People are important. I deeply desire for everyone to find community. I’ve learned a lot about those deep bonds and the importance of both having friends and also being a friend.

Thank-you for continuing to read this blog and be a part of my story, despite my inconsistency and imperfections. If you write, surely you understand how impossible some writing days are. But whoever you are and whatever you do,¬† I really cannot express how much your readershipmeans to me. I’m excited to update you all on this exciting new adventure that is university!¬† Knowing that you care about what I have to say is what keeps me going. If you’re going through a transition, embrace the challenge, you’ll grow and learn from these new experiences.

 

Much love,

Kayla

 

P.S. I’ll be continuing with my next reading list very soon. I’ll be back after my move!

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Travel

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.

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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?

 

 

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Writing

Pause. Breathe. Decompress.

More than convinced. I was more than convinced that while on vacation, I would get an incredible amount of writing done. I’d write everyday in my leather travel journal and share all the details with you, my readers, the very moment the plane ascended, the blue Wi-Fi light turned on, and I trudged into the chilly terminal in Seattle. After all, I somewhere in the description of this blog, I threw something in there about loving to travel, right?!

I’m sure, at some point in time, I will talk about my crazy Hawaiian adventure. But on this particular vacation, more than any other trip in recent years, I realized just how hard it is for me to live and breathe and function in the moment. I’m sure , whoever you are and whatever you, you can relate to this feeling. No matter how hard you try, there always seems to be a thought lingering at the back of your mind. A task on your To-Do list, which hasn’t been completed yet. An e-mail you need to respond to. A phone call you need to make. A conversation which needs to be held with a friend or family member.¬† You get the idea. It’s too easy, in the midst of all the bustle and hustle to forget to pause.

For me, personally, writing is my best escape. Not only do I take the chance to pause and write, but because I decompress at the same time. So when I say writing isn’t going all that hot, it means I’m stopping to pause, but all those crazy thoughts are building up inside of my head. And with nowhere to go, the pausing and breathing doesn’t do too much good.

That being said, last night, I finally started out my crazy thoughts. With no intention of anything being perfect or even making sense. The random nonsense probably isn’t blog worthy. However, there’s power in putting words on paper. It restores some sanity. Especially when we can’t always hop on a plane and escape to the beach. That vacation taught me the importance of creating a consistent sabbatical. Whether that be Sunday or Wednesday¬† is not important. Perhaps frequent staycations are the answer.

How do you carve out time in your day to pause? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

Enjoy this long weekend! Don’t forget to Pause. Breath. Decompress.

 

-Kayla

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel, Writing

When wanderlust becomes a problem

Recently, I’ve been struggling with pride, jealousy, and comparison. Am I the only one? I didn’t think so. Anyhow, these are sin issues I’ve always struggled with. Constantly, and through various situations, I’ve been humbled and convicted.

Some days my life feels absolutely mundane. No doubt it’s hectic and busy and wonderful and full of many blessings,¬† but recently I’ve been consumed with wanderlust. I’d say this is a common yearning.

Here’s my confession: I’m jealous of my friend’s adventures for the summer. I have friends going to Haiti, the Philippines, Nicaragua, California, Guatemala, Thailand, and God knows where else.

And then there’s me. Still in Washington. Since 1999 I’ve been living within the same five-mile radius. Not much has changed except the malls keep growing and so does the traffic.

And I hate shopping.

Here’s the deal. I’m missing the point. All of these wonderful people are there for the sake of expanding the Kingdom of God.¬† And that’s a different type of wanderlust. It’s more than a desire to see the world, it’s a calling. One which involves sacrifice. They left behind friends and family because God called them to. It’s not my job to be jealous, but to be happy and supportive of the wonderful work they are doing.

I’m bad at comparing my adventure with those of others around me. (Not excluding those halfway across the world). While I’m busy wasting time lamenting over everything I haven’t seen and done, a lot of opportunities fly by me.

I need to learn to love where I live. Because at some point, I’ll¬† most likely move away from this place I’ve grown up in. And if I don’t learn to be grateful for where I am now, then why would I suddenly appreciate the next place I go?

My biggest fear is living a life that’s boring. Not just boring, but purposeless. If done right, going to Wal-Mart can be made memorable.

Let’s define purpose, because I know for a fact that it means something different to everyone.

Purpose

noun

1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.

3. determination; resoluteness.

4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.

5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

I love the first definition.¬† It reminds me of how God sees his children. Existing for a purpose. It’s not about how far you travel, the number stamps in your passport, but how much you loved, right where you are today. Not where you are tomorrow, but in this very minute.

It’s not that I believe God is endorsing that we live in a bubble or that we best fulfill our purpose-whatever it may be- within a five mile radius we’ve lived our whole lives.

Look at the fourth definition. How do you define purpose? What is the subject at hand?

Some of the most rewarding experiences aren’t¬† glamorous or worthy of the latest issue of National Geographic.

 

“Beautiful things don’t seek attention.”

{The Secret Life of Walter Mitty}

 

I will never tire of this quote or the story it came from. I could go on a long rave about the movie, but I’ll save a full-fledged review for another post.

-Kayla

Stay tuned for more posts over the next few weeks!

 

 

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Barry Silver, Creative Commons

 

I’ve watched very few TED talks. I’ve watched one or two from school and that’s about the extent of my viewing. ¬†Anyhow, my aunt is frequently¬†e-mailing, shipping, and texting me materials that challenge me to stretch my ways of thinking and improve my . To offer a few examples, before I left for Haiti in 2012, she bought me a beautiful chocolate brown leather sketchbook, encouraging me to completely wreck with pictures, sketches, doodles, and words. As a graduation gift, she sent me The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style &¬† the Third Edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage. She also encouraged me to follow Brian Garner on Twitter, which I did. She’s leading me down the path of the elite writers. ¬†Surely, you’re thinking,
So what about TED talks?”

Today, she messaged me the link to a beautiful talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Regardless of whether or not you are a writer, I’d encourage you to watch this video. It’s a tad long, about twenty minutes, but definitely worthwhile. Her story provides a very convicting and powerful perspective on how we view one another as human beings. Thank-you, ¬†Aunt Lela for always challenging me!

 

 

 

What are your thoughts? Are you, like me, convicted of the only telling the single story?  I love to hear from you!

Blog Series, Writing

Something For Sunday

photo: jeff kubina, creative commons

photo: jeff kubina, creative commons

 

On the weekends, I enjoy sharing articles I’ve read online during that week! I’ll never share anything that’ll take you hours upon hours to read–unless otherwise noted. Happy reading!

5 Inspiration Writing Quotes¬†by¬†Writer’s Circle

If you’re a writer of any kind, these are motivating, must read quotes from the experts.

Keep A Diary by John Berendt

This is a fantastic *short* piece on how to turn a diary into a story. If you hear “diary” and immediately think of your little sister’s Hello Kitty notebook, this little quip is for you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate for blogging, but it’s certainly better to write for yourself than to not write at all!

Writing Your Story Could Be the Most Important Thing You Ever Do by Claire De Boer

Everyone should keep an account of their life story. If you’re anything like me, then this is a task which is difficult, especially if you plan on being consistent about it. I found Claire’s own experience in writing¬†her¬†story to be both useful with the technical details of writing a memoir, but also the the personal, roller coaster side of your story. ¬†This is something to read regardless of whether or not you have any plans for a book in your near future.

Facebook Basics

I am very very very glad I found this easy to read, simple, overview of Facebook for Business. Similar to everything else, Google has millions upon millions of “solutions” or “how to” suggestions. Obviously, I couldn’t read all of them and had to start somewhere. If you’re thinking about starting a page for your blog or book or business or whatever, it’s definitely worth a look into. With a whopping ’65’ likes, I’m not the best individual to model after, but I’m learning! I still have a lot of work cut out for me.

 

Before you go…

Read anything exceptional articles this week? If so, share below!

 

-Kayla

 

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