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 silly...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 horrible...to 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 all.day.long.....do you notice them? ...do 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!

xoxo,
Kayla



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.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Skuut skuut


Best deal ever!!!! $40 for a Skuut balance bike on Craigslist. 

Jack was hesitant at first, but after many hours of practice is loving it and can almost balance enough to go fast! 


Thank you Skuut for saving our walks! We were desperate for something to entertain Jack while we took our daily walk, he would often cry and need to be held instead of walking. I am so glad the Skuut worked out for us. Summer, here we come!

xoxo,
Kayla 

Things that make me happy: bay edition

I truly live in the most beautiful place. It is so glorious! 









How could I ever leave this place?

xoxo,
Kayla

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last class


I just taught my last class at Dancing For Joy.

I don't quite have words. I am a lot more sad than I thought I would be.

It's not that I wish I wasn't leaving, because I know that this next season of my life will be worthwhile, but I am tearfully so grateful for the experience of working at DFJ...

Things I didn't even realize I was blessed by!

-the old slippery floor in Studio 2
-music, loud all over.
-plies at barre
-my sweet girls and their silly stories they HAVE to tell me
-my co-workers whom I dearly love and value
-stretching, always beginning with stretching
-the confidence I grew in as I taught there
-journals where my girls wrote to me about what's going on in their hearts
-praising God through movement

...so much more.

I am blessed. I am so deeply blessed by Dancing For Joy.

xoxo,
Kayla

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Last DFJ show!


I barely have words. 

The usual craziness of show week. Long hours at the theater. Children glowing with excitement. The wonder and awe of it all.


....seeing God glorified through movement. 

nothing compares. It makes all the work worthwhile. 


with my Lyrical girls after they danced....so very proud of them!

This was my last year teaching at Dancing for Joy. The show was very bittersweet for me. I shed some tears. I tried to remember every detail of that week, to be fully present so that I could honor the moments because I wouldn't get a do-over. I treasure the time I spent at DFJ. It has been an unexpected and glorious gift in my life. 

Thank you, God. Thank you for the pure gift of that place and the dancers in it. 

xoxo,
Kayla 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

What it's like to not be (right there)

I'd label our strawberry picking adventure under.... Unexpected Drama and Why We Can't Have Nice Things.


It seems that no matter how well I plan, LIFE happens and things get crazy fast. 

Drove out to a strawberry field with all four sweet ones. Three hours after our planned departure time. The drive was lovely, no fighting or crying, country roads and excited children. 

The first few minutes of picking were picturesque. Girls in floppy hats, some of Jack's berries going into his bucket, the perfect amount of sunshine and breeze. 




...then the whining started.

...then the pleading.

...then the fighting.

...then Jack eating ALL the berries he picked, getting dirt and juice everywhere.

...then a full-scale Jack meltdown overtop the strawberry plants, piercing screams, kicking and spitting.



I almost lost it. But, I've been practicing "Life is not an emergency" and "grace. wait. breathe"

.....I was determined to make this fun. 

Pay. Pack everyone back in the car. Drive to the farm store.

"Okay girls, you can pick ANY FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM YOU WANT!" in a waffle cone! 



In an attempt to let the children be more free-range I let them play on the farm playground when they each finish their ice cream.

Jack goes over with Maddie. 

I see him start to climb the stairs on a very tall (9 ft high) old-fashioned metal slide. 

I start to walk across the field to keep an eye on things while I finish my cone. 

He makes it to the top. Cassie is there to catch him at the bottom. and then.. 

and I know what is going to happen right before he changes his mind and goes to stand up.

Jack loses his balance. 


and falls. hard. and far.


I drop my cone and run to him. I've never ran so fast in my life. The whole time?

Prayer. I pray to God that he is okay, that he's safe. unhurt. 

He ends up being okay, just needing some cuddles and kisses. And I can do that, I can be that person for him. But the whole time I'm kissing, loving, rubbing comfort into his back? I see him falling in my mind's eye. I hate that I wasn't RIGHT THERE when it happened. I feel disappointed in myself. I believe in free-range children. I believe in letting them be as independent as they want to be.... but I wish I could have gotten to him quicker. I wish I had been right there as soon as he needed me.

We drive home, children happy from a day spent in the sun, picking and running free.

the next time we see a slide? I'm cautious. I'm [right there]

Hows' that for free-range? liiiiife. 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Growing up...




I used to think that I needed to accomplish many things and acquire various skills in order to become "a real woman"....I even had a list that I would add to when I found something worthy of carefully penning onto my "real grown up woman" list.

...you know what?

I don't believe that anymore. I don't believe that I need to be able to cut a strawberry in my hand, cook amazing healthy meals, have read all the classic women's literature, be selfless, a good hostess, or have a closet full of fashionable clothing to make me into a grown woman.

Why did I think that all the things on my "list" mattered so much? What made me think that I wasn't worth it if I did not complete everything on the list?

I threw the list away yesterday.

and today? I felt like a real grown up woman. A woman who saw God in the faces around her, counted the ways God loved her moment by moment, and when things didn't work out the way she planned? She prayed for God in those places instead of throwing the moment away as a failure.

I'm growing up. It is glorious.

xoxo,
Kayla

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

numbering



349. coffee with Ilse
350. twin words at bedtime - whispered words countless times - knitting us back together after challenging days
354. the sweet memory of Les' ice cream
355. sweet sister coming alongside me and holding me close during worship. gift to my soul. 
364. torrential downpour and endless blue skies
368. loud frozen sing-alongs in car
375. hand caressing comfort into little back
390. trees around Alger - looming glory
398. fire-words at church
401. swinging. peace abounds.
408. remembering scripture when it matters 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Trees

They get me.


"Let all the trees of the forest dig in and reach high with songs of joy before the Eternal, for the Eternal is on His way" 
-Psalm 96: 12,13 (The Voice)








I see so much of God's glory in the trees. Gazing upon their beauty reminds me of God's promises, speaks God's love to me....it is in those moments when I stop to look that I hear from God best. 

I am grateful for trees.

xoxo,
Kayla 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Things that make me happy: home edition


I absolutely refuse to put my advent calendar away, even though it is Spring now. It's too beautiful! 

I'm obligated to include this adorable photo of Hattie, since she lives at my home. 

xoxo,
Kayla