Friday, July 18, 2014

How gratitude is changing my life...

I have been intentionally practicing gratefulness for six months now. It feels brand new and forever at the same time. I can confidently say - I am not the same woman that I was before.

My heart has changed. I honestly feel like a new woman. A woman who is rooted in God's love and sees Him work every single day in her life....all because of gratefulness.

Before starting on this journey of gratitude, I was so empty. I felt unfulfilled, dry...I was just going through the motions. I struggled with what my purpose in life was. I knew that God loved me and I knew that there were plans in store for me...but as a whole my life felt shallow and lacking. I didn't believe in those good gifts God gives...because I didn't see them.

...but then I started to read One Thousand Gifts...I read about Eucharisteo and how it could change a life. How it could lay a foundation for a life of joy in all the things God gives us. I began writing a gratitude journal - a list of things I am thankful for...and through that? I started to see the gifts, began to feel the undercurrent of joy in my life.

Because of gratefulness I am pausing to see God in the moments...the most beautiful, little, simple moments of my daily life. You guys, so many of the things on my gratitude list are SO 'unimportant'...but they matter to my heart because they show me God loves me.

Because of gratefulness, I am slowing my life down to see the gifts, to take in every moment. I used to get so overwhelmed by the children I care for - I would lose it with them...just countless times every day. I was always racing to complete the next thing on 'the list' and to just get through each day. It was live without enjoying life and what had been handed to me. But when I stop to see gifts - even gifts that don't feel like gifts - to see God in those moments with them? ... grace. joy. 

Because of gratefulness I see God in the faces of those around me - the sweet faces of the children I care for, the faces of my friends and family, the faces of strangers and bank tellers and grocery store baggers.

Because of gratefulness I count the ways that God loves me - intimately and daily - and my heart changes to become more like His. It does. It truly is a miracle. Slowing down to see God? It makes my life so much more meaningful.

Because of gratefulness I have a new way of speaking. I say thank you. I point things back to God, without even thinking about it. I don't have to try to count gifts anymore because it has become second-nature to notice them and to say 'thank you' for them. I speak in a way that shows others that I am grateful and joyful....because I am.

Because of gratefulness I smile more. I do. I can't even help it! That joy in me just won't stay hidden.

Being thankful, grateful, expressing my gratitude for all the things God gives me? Even when it is hard and it hurts and it feels like the last thing I would ever do? It brings unimaginable wholeness and healing to my heart. Gratefulness has brought abounding joy to me! It is overwhelming. The joy I feel in my heart is.....I don't have words to explain how incredible and deep it is. Even through difficult times and moments when I don't feel grateful....when I stop to give gratitude to God....I am filled with joy. It is miraculous.

All this to say: Gratitude changes a life. and it could change yours.

Do you have a gratitude journal? Are you keeping a list of all the ways God loves you every day? If not....why? I promise that God will change you through it. He is faithful. He's giving you gifts you notice them? you stop to say 'thank you'? God loves you so much!

 I sound like a broken record about this, but it's because I believe it is so life-changing. Go read One Thousand Gifts (it's only $7!) Subscribe to Ann's blog. Start your list!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Birthday - part two

Kimber and I are really into our birthday. We always have multiple parties....can't even help it. 

Here are pictures from our family party we had this weekend. 

Kimber makes the absolute BEST cakes. Chocolate, fudge filling, cream cheese frosting and fresh roses on top

My brother Bryan got me TWENTY FIVE Krispy Kreme donuts for my birthday. whew. so much sugar. 

We have taken this same picture for years and years and years. It never gets old. Being a twin is just the best. What a gift to have a best friend for always.

xoxo, Kayla

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'm twenty five!!!!!

I'm 25!!!!!!! crazy. The God-gifts were positively delightful and numerous all day long. Thank you, Jesus!

My nanny children were wonderful to me - the most perfect amount of drama. We took a morning bike ride down to the beach, which was wonderful and a little bit dramatic (Maddie parked her bike on the train tracks, Cassie put a crab down Jack's shirt, Stella fell off her bike). The weather was perfect. I think God delights in making July 9th the most perfectly warm and sunny weather. Always an excellent gift. 

private beach. loooovvveee it!!

my big girls <3

Pandora played literally every single one of my favorite songs, in a row, for hours on end. God-gift, again. 

Enjoyed a lovely drama-free picnic at Boulevard with the kids and my friend Megan.

The littlest one took a very long nap while the girls and I chatted, read books and made crafts. 

Then I drove down to Burlington for dinner with Kimber, my dad, and our BFF's who are also twins. 

It always feels so absolutely wrong to not be with Kimber the whole day on our birthday. We only got to spend a couple hours together that evening. She is the greatest gift to my life, I treasure her. Twins are the best, aren't they? I love you, Kim!!! 

Aren't we cute? 

Some gifts counted today:
551. Sissy telling me 'happy birthday' first
552. Lavender- fresh picked
553. Trailing blooms
554. Glitter skirts
556. Having Kimber to share our birthday with
557. Sounds: airplane, bubbling boy laughter, bikes
558. Birthday crown - silly joy
560. Golden-hour sun on endless evergreens
564. Your lavished love all over my day today, so many gifts I can't count them all
567. Ache in my chest prayers
568. Sweet texts all day long - I am loved.
571. Cotton candy sunsets and big doctor moon

xoxo, Kayla

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July

What an excellent day!!!!

In an effort to be as obnoxiously patriotic as possible, I wore the following outfit...

Went to the parade downtown and had SO MUCH FUN!!! I love parades. Everyone was dressed in red, white and blue...the patriotism and pride were extravagant - as expected. 

Cari and me 

Sang a bunch of American songs with Kimber, went to Jersey Mike's for a sandwich and was treated to a free air show! How exciting!

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at a friend's BBQ. It was delightful. Nothing better than childhood friends, sparklers, and a little bit of predictable PNW rain on the 4th. 

xoxo, love you America! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer is here!

Praise God in Heaven! It is summer! And I have two days off this week! If you need me, I'll be by the Bay...reading and trying to avoid a sunburn. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ways he loves me

441. Hattie's purr loud against my cheek
463. kind words that warm my heart and cheeks
468. answers to my questions - anytime
478. long dress blowing in wind
490. being held tight, being known
495. lunch with daddy
499. fresh flowers on cake
504. "heads up" with friends

Saturday, June 28, 2014

To remember..

Things I want to remember about today:

-Stella coming to me in the hurry of the morning asking "will you hold me?" ...Stella my in between girl. Not quite a little kid but not a big kid either. She has never once asked to be held. But I did what I have vowed to always do when a babe asks to be held - I picked up all 45 pounds of her and held her close. Her head laid heavy on shoulder, arms wrapped around neck. And my soul breathed deep into that moment. My hips swayed that gentle rocking motion that somehow intuitively happens when a babe is held close. And my heart? It was so blessed by that moment.

-Dropping the girls off for their second full day at "Rock Camp" ....a joke to me, but they love it. Saying "See you in the morning" to Maddie because she would be going straight to a golf tournament with her dad that day. I never thought I'd be sad to say those words, but I was bummed to not see her later today.

-Morning donuts with Stella and Jack. My favorite part? Sitting all quiet on a bench out front eating our donuts...watching Jack eat the chocolate and sprinkles off first. His hands still look so small and baby-plump.

-Stopping by the bay to let Jack practice some more on the Skutt bike. He is so proud of himself! Chatters the whole time he's on it, going sooooooo slow. Endearing.

Nothing very dramatic happened today, which I was glad for. I'd say we are maxed out in the drama department for this month.