Garden Gnome

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Glimpsing your flowers

I need not guess

to discern sunshine

the reason to your air

 

strolling your garden

I need not dig

to measure the depths

the root of your despair

 

dancing in rainfall

I need no gauge

to know it’s fertile

this soil we may share

 

growing together

we need not feast

to fulfill our souls

this one endless prayer

Provision in Transition

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I recently moved south. My dad and I packed up his truck and a trailer and hauled all my precious belongings on the twelve hour drive to my new location. One of the biggest struggles involved getting my head around the fact that I would have to do it all again once or twice more within a year or so; I never liked change, especially big ones. Yet there I was facing multiple changes in jobs and homes.

This transition period included radical changes in my living arrangements. I now live with my dad, with whom I haven’t lived full time in nearly twenty years, and I have 75 percent of my belongings still in the garage. Separating from my book and movie collections, among other staples of my routine, proved difficult. The first week when I stayed at his old house had me living from my suitcase and unpacking my anxiety over the upheaval. Then I moved to the townhouse and got my clothes in the closet how I would at home. My sense of stability improved immediately.

At least a couple times a week, I found myself thinking about an item not in the current arrangement. I racked my brain about which box held the coveted item and even occasionally asked my friend who helped me pack about them. Each time I was able to remind myself that my belongings rested safe in the garage and I would have them out in due time when I got a place of my own again. I had what I needed at the moment.

That truth kept me grounded. I missed having my books and movies surrounding me, and I longed to have my place set up exactly as I wanted; yet I had what I needed. God provided me a spacious home, a comfortable bed (in a cool bedroom) and plenty of healthy food. Earlier today I finally noticed the move had made me realize and accept these truths. I caught myself contemplating the security of my phone (with stuff I still need to back up) and my preferred Ink Joy pens. Yet I stopped any anxious thoughts about them and rested in the assurance that God provided what I needed in the moment and that He would also provide provision for my belongings and my future home and routine. I learned it would continue to be a day to day provision and a day to day trust.

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The Little Paris Bookshop and The Big Structure Workshop

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Yesterday I finished reading Nina George’s novel The Little Paris Bookshop, and for the first time I gave fewer than three stars to a book on Goodreads. While the story had some insight into loss and the healing power of books, it had no strength. This came from a lack of structure. I pointed to Jean finding Manon, additionally letting go of his lost love in the process, as the overarching story goal. Yet even he didn’t seem to pursue that objective very strongly. He went on a mostly aimless adventure and made friends along the way. The added characters provided some color, but the lack of transition from scene to scene did not. Those poor people had no foundation upon which to stand.

This reminded me of how I ought to adjust the pursuit of some of my goals. Not having set times and strategies for tasks like job hunting and novel writing made it take even longer to get started, let alone see my desired progress. If I tightened my strategies with definitive times rather than as soon as I can, I could see better results. My high aims for my routine, my writing, my career and my life can stand better on a solid structure. It also would make it easier for others to grasp beneficial ideas and insight from my structure and what’s built into it.

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#Write_On: Letter 3

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Egg Press and Hello!Lucky promote National Letterwriting Month through their Write_On Challenge. They even sent me a card kit to get me started on more letters and included a zine for inspiration. The zine has 30 ideas for letters, and I’d like to give those prompts a whirl here.

The third letter is to thank “someone whose good work may go unnoticed.” I’d like to thank the friendly and efficient workers at Mid-Continent Public Library.

Dear Mid-Continent Public Library Staff,

I’ve recently been into three of your branches for various events and personal ventures and have been graced by your presence accompanied by the shelves of books and movies every time. In particular, I’d like to thank the woman who guided me to Anthony Clark’s storytelling class last weekend when I got a little lost. You saw me and kindly offered help; then you went even further to walk me to the room and talk with me along the way to make me feel welcome. That eased my nerves and got me even more excited about accepting a course offered by your library. I’d also like to thank the woman who gave me my mug for completing the Winter Reading Challenge. It felt good to accomplish (and exceed) a goal and then to get a reward for it. I love that you guys are doing that for adults as well as for children.

Thank you all for your work and for giving the library an even warmer vibe with your presence. You make the library a place I always want to visit again to introduce me to new insights through the books and classes and people.

Love  Always,

Kayla

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#Write_On Challenge: Letter 2

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Egg Press and Hello!Lucky promote National Letterwriting Month through their Write_On Challenge. They even sent me a card kit to get me started on more letters and included a zine for inspiration. The zine has 30 ideas for letters, and I’d like to give those prompts a whirl here.

Letter 2 is a letter to my future self:

Dear Kayla,

I hope this note finds you doing well. I want to remind you of the good in your life thus far and encourage you to keep focused on that good. The continued shift in focus helps you grow and fulfill your dreams and purpose.

By now I’m sure you’ve found your name in print another time or two, maybe even finished one of those books. If not, keep working on them. Dedicate a regular time each day or week to write. Those projects are worthwhile. I know how happy you felt as you began that young adult novel and spent Sunday afternoons at the library with Sheila. That, your children’s novel about Kensia and your hero idea all have potential. That depth you put in the pages through genuinely sharing your imagination and experience create hope and inspiration.

Keep up your work and don’t let those doubts in your head have any validation. They only come from voices who spoke curses or lies over you. Your words have a purpose, and they will find their way out.

I hope the rest of your life is going well also. You have so much going for you. Whatever you chose to pursue for school and career in terms of counseling and teaching, I hope you find fulfillment in your job and that it has the right balance of writing and engagement with people and ideas. Best of luck in all your endeavors. I love you more than you know.

Love Always,

Kayla

#Write_on: Letter 1

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Egg Press and Hello!Lucky promote National Letterwriting Month through their Write_On Challenge. They even sent me a card kit to get me started on more letters and included a zine for inspiration. The zine has 30 ideas for letters, and I’d like to give those prompts a whirl here.

The first letter is a thank you note to someone you see every day. As there aren’t many people I see every day, the people who first come to mind are my co-workers at Target. This one goes out to my teammate Chris.

Dear Chris,

I want to write a quick thank you to you to let you know that I enjoy our discussions. Talking about Supergirl and Limitless in passing after new episodes gives me a sense of something regular in my life. First I have the show, then I have an excited friend to greet me with exuberance about the latest episode; that gives me a chance to take my thoughts a little further as I share them with someone who respects them and adds to the discussion. I don’t know nearly as much about the comic world as you, but it’s fun to learn more through our dialogue.

Most importantly, I want to thank you for listening to my recent story idea. Not only did you let me voice it, but you answered my background questions and made it sound like my idea has potential and the depth to which I aim. I trust your knowledge in the subject matter and appreciate your respect to my contribution.

Thank you for being you. I enjoy your comic book and sci-fi geekiness and how you let it shine. Thank you for sharing the excitement and inspiration of Supergirl with me.

Salutations,

Kayla

 

Meetings Follow-Up

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This week has started well, especially as I mentioned the importance of meetings in my last post. I made it to church yesterday morning and my support group this evening. As I’ve ventured out from my dip in isolation, I’ve found several supportive peers and friends eager to see me and encourage me. Tonight especially, I was repeatedly reminded that I need not travel this healing road alone and that sharing my struggle (as well as my victory) frees me and opens the lane for others coming down the same road; the content of the lesson on principle 8 associated with the twelfth step in the 12 Steps, which focuses on sharing God’s word and work by example, and a personalized word of encouragement from a woman who shares a similar experience as me have made me realize a truth that’s been on my heart: I need to continue forgiving and sharing my hurts, habits and hang-ups. I NEED to take this action.

Fortunately this action can make use of my spiritual gifts of writing, encouragement and teaching…and that’s just from sharing it via writing. Here’s to sharing my recovery journey, me seeing my healing and others seeing God’s light shining in and through it.

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Lent Reflection: Meetings

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Lent started just over a week ago, and today I start a new project of sorts to give me a better focus on God during this special time (yes, it’s okay to start late). Rather than fast from a particular food or activity during this season, I typically carve out some extra time to focus on God by using my spiritual gift of encouragement. This project I’ve mentioned involves taking that in a different direction. I plan to carve out time a couple times each week to reflect on my healing, how God has fulfilled it. For me, that is best done through writing or journaling (which I already do on a daily basis in the interest of maintaining my overall health).

The past couple weeks, I’ve contemplated the importance of regular meetings. “Meeting” can allude to an array of subjects to discuss at said gatherings. While I have noticed that having regular meeting times provides my life more structure and meaning, I have also contemplated the effect of regular meeting times for worship and community with God’s family.

In college, I found it easier to manage my symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD.  I created a routine and stuck to it, successfully accomplishing my goals to regularly exercise, pray, have mealtimes with friends, maintain my leadership position at Campus Christian Fellowship, attend worship services throughout the week and complete my school work and projects. I felt good about these tasks and my activities; I felt connected and enriched. I could see my growth. I have only recently noticed the pattern of meeting in the context of worship and spiritual growth having a significant role in keeping my focus and perspective on track. I was regularly reminded of Scripture and how God’s love fulfills it on a daily basis. I also met with a counselor and mentor to help me apply that to my life to keep my focus on the light rather than the darkness that tends to hover around me. All those meetings took up a considerable amount of time, but they made it possible for me to continue moving forward, and, most importantly, in the light.

The transition from college to the so-called “real world” can prove rough for everyone. Fortunately, I know I am not alone. Several friends have shared my struggle in finding a meaningful job or selecting the direction they want to take their careers. Transition of any sort has its difficulties. I just can’t help but see the importance and benefit of transitioning into more meetings to maintain the structure and stability of corporate worship and community. Even someone at a recent support group meeting mentioned how attending three different support groups every week for a while made it possible for her to step away from her destructive path; she even emphasized that continuing to attend meetings (this is more than fifteen years later) keeps her on that track. Sadly, as this same person shared, she’s been around long enough to see people get sober from drugs for years and then go back once they stop attending meetings. We all need constant meetings to keep our focus and accountability in perspective.

That brings me to a new goal. The past several weeks, I have adjusted my schedule to make it easier for me to regularly attend the church service where I feel most comfortable and the Celebrate Recovery program I feel most at home. Even a couple weeks of attending both meetings gave me a better structure and a sense of stability to keep me on track to progress my healing. I know I will add more meetings, but that gives me a good start. I can also rest assured that both those meetings maintain a focus on God’s grace and love.

 

Lent is a time to fast and focus. God can use focus and perspective through meetings to keep us on track. What meeting can you commit to attending, even just during Lent to give your time to improve your relationship with God and your life?