End of the Year

It’s been quite a journey, eh?

I started this blog just about a year ago. As I packed up my belongings to move to the Mid-west, I wanted a way to keep in touch with people on the West Coast. In the beginning, it was a way for me to document my new life in Chicago, writing weekly updates full of photos and big-city adventures. In the summer, it became a way for me to share some of my thoughts as I enjoyed the quietness of Colorado. More recently, things on this blog have become a little lacking, as life is going full speed in school and work.

I have decided to say goodbye to my wordpress blog.
For keep updated on my creative life, you can follow me on tumblr. http://www.lovekyliedesigns.tumblr.com
As for a personal blog, I haven’t decided where I’ll land, yet. If, by chance, I do end up continuing to post here, things will look a bit different. Keep an eye out, okay?


Thanks for following along, for your support in this journey.
Blessings and love.


UPDATE: personal blog here.

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A Song, A Prayer

“Breaking Dawn” – The Wailing Jennys

Take me to the breaking of a beautiful dawn
Take me to the place where we come from
Take me to the end so I can see the start
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me to the place where I don’t feel so small
Take me where I don’t need to stand so tall
Take me to the edge so I can fall apart
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me where love isn’t up for sale
Take me where our hearts are not so frail
Take me where the fire still owns its spark
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

Teach me how to see when I close my eyes
Teach me to forgive and to apologize
Show me how to love in the darkest dark
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me where the angels are close at hand
Take me where the ocean meets the sky and the land
Show me to the wisdom of the evening star
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me to the place where I feel no shame
Take me where the courage doesn’t need a name
Learning how to cry is the hardest part
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

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A whole different kind of life.

I’m in Chicago again, living a whole different kind of life. One full of reading and the dining hall, elevators and transit passes, marked by living with lovely women, a full dose of laughter and silliness, and ongoing conversations about the church, loving people, and studying God. Here’s a taste of life here, a description I shared with a friend about my previous day:

9am class, Intro to Disciplemaking.
Convocation chapel, full of Moody tradition, i.e. singing Great is Thy Faithfulness and other hymns, and Hogwarts-esque robes warn by our beloved professors. Awesome.
Class, Survey of the Old Testament.
Find out I don’t have the pre-req for a class so I decide to add a different class, Discipling and Mentoring Women, 10 minutes prior to its start, a class that may change my entire major.
Visit a dear friend, Jess, on her floor.
Barter at the book faire in the plaza, a mad scramble to find/sell texts for cheap. Not very successful.
More bartering.
Phone chat with Samantha while sitting on the roof (after which the attached photo was taken). Blessed.
Get to know new roommate, Moriah.
Organize syllabi…. err… syllabus’s? syllabi’s?
10pm Girls all Hall Meeting – basically like being at summer camp, a meeting to welcome all the girls, a loving fatherly talk from our Dean, and some silliness.
11pm surprise birthday party with candles, cake, and ice cream for a girl on the floor. Joy.

Life here, in some ways, is polar opposite to my summer or life in California. Instead of making plans with friends, I must make plans to be alone. Instead of studying literature, I’m studying how to study Scripture. When I take a step back, I can marvel at the utter uniqueness of this season, where my main responsibility is to be a student, a student who’s homework is to read an article about discipleship, who studies how to minister to women, who listens to some of the wisest professors, who studies alongside peers who’s futures will no doubt be a vibrant collection of stories of Kingdom redemption from all corners of the world, serving our mighty God in all sorts of creative ways.

Trying to soak it all in.


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Because She Says it Better…

“I have a thing for California, possibly because the four years I lived there during college were the wildest and most disorienting years, punctuated by some of the sweetest moments in all my life. Possibly because California, both in its geography and its personality, is so many worlds away from the Midwest that just being there makes the world feel bigger. I love California for its otherness, for its profound non-Midwest-ness. I love the smell of eucalyptus and salt and the attitude and the stucco houses and the ubiquitous tiny Toyota pickups. There’s an order to the Midwest: flat land, predictable seasons, apples and cherries and white Christmases, a sense of tradition and stability. But California to me is entirely other, and the fact that Kristen [and my grandma!] has a lemon tree right in her backyard never fails to delight me. A lemon tree!”

-from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist (one of my absolute favorites)

It’s true, really. It’s difficult to even prepare myself for the upcoming semester in Chicago because life there, and life here, is so incredibly different. Like two different worlds, two different lives. I soaked up the liturgical rhythm of the Midwest: Sunday morning walks to church in a cathedral downtown, the sound of my classmates singing hymns during chapel, the comforting consistency of a city set up on a grid. But, I definitely have a thing for California. Something like a ferocious love, a match in my heartbeat and the rhythm of the tide, and a distant longing. Summer in California is hot and sweet, like a melting ice-cream cone or the blaze of the sky just before dusk or a bowl of fresh strawberries.

California, thank you for our time together. I look forward to seeing you, and all the people here that I love, again soon.


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A Semester in Review

I spend a lot of time looking back. Sure, sometimes it’s distracting to look over your shoulder; sometimes doing so provides prolific insight and understanding, focus and purpose. I like to see lessons learned. Because I’m infinitely skilled at forgetting, I force myself to remember.

Let’s reminisce a litte, shall we?

Here’s a look at Spring 2011.

A season of firsts:
first semester as a student at MBI, not as a community college student
first time moving away from home
first experience with the Midwest
first Chicago winter.

Calling it Spring 2011 seems ironic. Spring barely made her appearance. Most of the five months occurred under a blanket of snow and with visible breaths.

I’m going to shoot straight. This is what I learned.

I learned that winter in the city is unlike anything else: dark, grey, bitter, and biting. Living in such conditions can be especially harsh on a California girl’s heart, like mine.

However cold the winter, there are things you must do in order to survive, to make it until spring, to believe that you will, in fact, see the sun again (after 28 days of grey).

The best thing you can do is be intentional.

Go for a walk to the lake. Take the bus to the river. Get outside. Embrace the frigid wind on your face. Refuse to use the underground tunnels unless absolutely necessary.

Layer up. Pile on sweaters, scarves, jackets, gloves, boots, and socks. It is preparation that will keep you warm when the wind howls.

Surround yourself with love. It’s true that love warms our hearts. Make a point to make conversation, build relationships, cultivate community. Love your roommates, your floor, your professors, your school, your far-away friends. These ties you create will be the joy to help you push through the lonely winter.

Do something spontaneous. Break the routine that typically provides much needed rhythm. Allow yourself to run through the city to join a part of a flash mob, just because. Just to feel the cold mist on your face and the hard streets under your boots.

Create an interior space that is vibrant, settled, and inviting. Fill it with peace, trust, creativity, and a lot of laughter.

Be honest. Share your heart; tell a few secrets. Your own vulnerability allows others the strength for honesty too, moving both closer to living in the light. This is absolutely necessary.

Walk in grace. Allow yourself to be human, in need. Desperate. Broken. The Lord is faithful in these moments to provide all you need for life and godliness.

Write about it. Write. Write. Write.

Believe. Believe that He will keep His promises. That spring and summer will come. That you’ll feel the soft Colorado breeze in your hair, the warm California sun on your cheek once again.

Here’s to a semester worth looking back on, a God worth relying on, and a future worth looking forward to.

Thank you for being a part of this journey, even if simply by reading this.


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Oh––Hey there, blog.

Days since my last post: 27
Reasons for my lack of posting: 0
Things I could say, but will most likely get lost in the frolicking of summer: 375 (okay, maybe 18 or even 4)
Apologies I have for you: 0

You see, I’ve flown/drove/bicycled about 3289 miles in the last three weeks. Phew. I’m exhausted/excited just thinking about that. Except, miles bicycled probably equals less than 5 or even 1 of those, perhaps.
Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, and back.

Friends, this has been a full, full summer.

And my camera is on the fritz (I dream about buying a Canon 60D or even XTi… sigh), so my photos have been a mismatch of camera phone quickies and point-and-shoot shots (which is, also, missing in the suitcases piled in my brother’s room). Are you getting the feeling that I’m a little all over the place yet? Because I am. All of my own cause, I know. But, are you beginning to see how blog posting is lacking? And yet, there are zero apologies in store here because this.is.just.how.summer.goes….. ya know?

I have nothing else to say in this let-you-know-I’m-alive-as-if-you-actually-care-that-I-haven’t-been-blogging post. There’s enough numbers in this post to make me stop reading, anyways. More to come friends; thanks for hanging in there ;)


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Fruit that Lasts

written last Saturday

I’m sleepy. Today I spent hours outside photographing the new additions to my summer line. I lost myself in the process of shooting, styling, uploading, editing, listing, and promoting. As I’m snuggling into bed after a long day (long but lovely), I’m reminding myself why I do what I do. I’m reminding myself to see the forest through the trees, as they put it.

You see, the last thing I want to happen with this whole etsy shop is for me to work to make a name for myself. However, there is a fine line in the world of business––especially creative business. In a lot of ways, it feels like in order to sell my work, I have to sell myself. Tons of etsy advice givers encourage you to do so. I’m learning to balance the act of promoting my store without pridefully desiring success.

What you may not know is that the main reason I’m opening an etsy shop is simple: to pay for school (the other main reason is to encourage creativity). I have a pretty large financial need in terms of paying for school (as I am doing so myself), yet I’m blessed to pay only a fraction of what other students must pay. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of generous people donate to Moody Bible Institute so that students can be lifted of the burden of tuition. That’s right, MBI is tuition-covered. What’s left is housing and meal plan. I’m able to further my education largely because kind souls decide we want to take care of you so that after graduation you can help take care of others in your service (without debt). Even still, I know the next three years of school will be a financial miracle. Every cent of profit from my etsy shop goes directly into my school savings account. All of it.

I’m studying Pre-counseling, with the goal of getting a Masters in counseling and working in that capacity. I’m going to learn about the mind and heart, the brokenness we experience and the hope and healing available. I long to speak words of truth and encouragement into the lives of longing people, and studying counseling will equip me with tools for this kind of service. I look forward to growing in these areas.

Here’s the thing. It’d be entirely foolish for me to get caught up in making a name for myself. Not only is it tried and true that God does not bless those sorts of endeavors (e.g. Tower of Babel and Psalm 127:1-2), but it’s counterproductive for my own heart. I hope to in the future sit across from another person and listen to their every word––telling them with my eyes and heart that I’m present and that it’s all about them. It will be impossible for me to genuinely do so if I spend the next three, five years trying to convince people how great I am and building a life focused on me. Foolishness.

I want to bear fruit that lasts. Fruit that blossoms in the lives of others that I love and care for. Fruit that is rooted in Christ’s love and tended by his Word. Fruit that will continue into eternity.  A profitable etsy shop will not make it past this earth. Crafting will not last when it’s all said and done. Faith, hope, and love––however––will.

So yes, I will let you in on my artist process. Yes, I will advertise and promote and spread the word. Yes, I will have reasonable prices. Yes, I will sell for a profit. Yes, I will relish the blessing of making art and crafts, exploring my creative self. Yes, every penny will go directly toward my education. But God of Heaven so help me if for a second I start to make this all about me. It’s always been about Him.

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