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Last October, I posted about a girl named Katie Wagner, who went to the same church as me. She was diagnosed with Stage IV bone and lung cancer and began a long battle with several intense rounds of chemo therapy and radiation. 

Recently, I’ve become more closely acquainted with cancer when in January, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer as well. 

Cancer is an enemy of mine and someone I hope never introduces itself to anyone I know ever again.

But today I bring songs of praise and thankfulness because God has brought a miracle. This week, Katie’s scan came back CANCER FREE. This is so rare with her type of cancer that they are running extra tests this Thursday, but she is confident that God has cleared her body of cancer. She still has nine months of chemo and radiation, according to her Facebook post Tuesday night. 

Please continue to keep Katie (and my grandma) in your prayers as they continue to endure this rough battle.

BUT MAN! Is God good or what?!

Thank you, Lord. You are so faithful.

Sincerely,

Kendra Leigh

 

The weather has been strange here lately. The sun warmed the Seattle air up to the 60s just a couple of weeks ago, but it has retreated into hiding and rain and 40-degree temperatures have taken over once again. I expect the cold, rain and darkness, but somehow it becomes less bearable just after such a beautifully warm and sunny week.

I’m finding the same is true internally. The emotional dark and coldness becomes increasingly unbearable when it’s one you sink into after just dancing in the sunlight. You might guess that this emotional roller coaster is the result of the loneliness which has received brief mention in my earlier posts, but you’d be wrong. This is an emotion I’m almost entirely unfamiliar with: jealousy.

Throughout my life, I’ve not been much of a jealous person. But recently the story has been different. There are so many beautiful, talented women I know whom, when I lie awake at night, I’m comparing myself to. And I always fall short. I find I second guess myself in nearly every department. I’m not nearly as pretty as her. She’s so much more creative than I am. I will never be able to make art the way she does. If only I had a voice like that.

It’s as if I’m consciously walking away from the sunshine and then wondering why I’m so cold.

You’ll never get anywhere through comparison.

A good friend told me the way to overcome an all-consuming jealousy was through celebration. 
Celebrate the person for all their uniqueness, for the gifts God gave them.
And then celebrate myself for my uniqueness and the gifts God gave me.

I’ve never received such practical advice.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

So today, instead of comparison, I choose celebration.
Instead of clouds and 40 degrees, I choose the warmth and comfort of a late-morning sun.
And to those I previously demonized through my own envy, I celebrate you; I celebrate your art, your perfect hair, the way you know how to play every instrument and sing the way I imagine we all will one day in heaven.
Come dance in the sunshine with me.

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

I started to become disgusted with myself. I walked out of work one day this week and noticed how close the Space Needle was. How had I not noticed this before? On the drive home, I saw a tree that stuck out to me. It was significantly larger than the others around it and majestically beautiful. I drive by this tree every day and had never taken note of it. I realized what had been happening to me: I was becoming so wrapped up in my schedule, my routine, my emotions (still feeling a little lonely, by the way) and I forgot to look for the beauty in the world around me. God has put so much work into making this world beautiful. And what a brilliant job He’s done! I encourage you today to go for a walk or drive you’ve been on before, but this time make a point to see the hand of our Creator in it.











Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

Cheyken.

Cheyna and I started a new photo blog this week called Cheyken (pronounced like “shaken”, a combination of both of our names.) Each month we will explore a theme and each show our  individual interpretations of it once a week. This first month’s theme is reflection. To read about it and explore with us, click the image below. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

I am thankful for..

-My new church, Redemption, and the church I volunteer at, Praxis. I am thankful for all those that gather with me in fellowship and come alongside me. I am thankful for my students who let me into their lives, and allow the Lord to work in them.

-My school, even though this semester has made me want to give up, on more than one occasion. I am especially thankful for my professors who have not allowed me to do so.

-My new job working with special needs children. They bring so much joy and humor to my life and teach me lessons no one else could.

-Coco Chanel, the puppy, even though she still poops on the floor sometimes. She is cute and fun. (Plus I have way more followers on Instagram because of her.)

-This country and the freedoms I have. I can’t imagine life without the liberties that make my life what it is.

-The simple things. I am thankful for the taste of an iced chai from Cartel to ease the stress of all the homework I do there. I am thankful for trips to the farmers market. I am thankful for the current weather. I am thankful for the way the sun feels on my face when it’s just a little too chilly without it. I am thankful for the way pears taste. I am thankful for the smell of coffee. I am thankful for the way it feels to put on a new shirt that you know fits just right. I am thankful for laughter– the kind that hurts your stomach and makes you cry because it is so grand.

-Good literature and music, the kind that provokes thought, encourages you, refreshes you, confronts you, searches your soul, affects you deeply.

-Technology: for the way cameras freeze my favorite moments, allowing me to cherish them forever. I am thankful for the internet and the way it allows me to communicate and research and explore places I cannot access otherwise. I am thankful for the products I have that allow me this functions and all the other games and fun that come along with them.

-My condo. It’s location, it’s layout, everything.

-Family. This year has been particularly interesting and has made me extra thankful for my parents. I moved out of my parent’s house in July, which has brought a deeper appreciation of them than I could have imagined. They have been so supportive and helpful (especially with my car that has been having difficulties recently). They love me so immensely and seize every opportunity to display that. There’s absolutely nothing more I could ask for. Thank you mom and dad for loving me for me. For wanting what’s best for me and helping me achieve that. Thank you for making me feel appreciated.  You are so generous and loving. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect example of Christ’s love than what I receive by interacting with you. Dalton, thank you for being an awesome brother. You are so smart and creative. Moving away has been hard for me since I can’t see you all the time. You and I need to make an even greater effort to hang out more often. I love being around you and in your presence. Your happy-go-luck spirit is contagious and uplifting. Thank you. Extended family, thank you for loving and listening to me and being there to support me whenever I need it. I’m glad God has placed you in my life.

-New friends. I’ve made many new friends this year and thank the Lord for each one of you. If you and I have shared a conversation, a phone call, a cup of coffee, or a meal sometime this year, then I’m talking about you.
A special thanks to: Kori, you have quickly become one of my greatest friends and confidants. Everything about you is radiant. Thank you for lifting me up and encouraging me continually. It’s been an interesting ride on the journey that has been this year. Our lives, seemingly too similar, have meshed together in the most beautiful way. Thank you for all the times you’ve slept over even if it meant getting up at 6:30 a.m. and for talking with me, even when it isn’t convenient for you. You are so selfless. Thank you thank you thank you.  Cheyna, how blessed I feel to live in the same place as you. Your friendship is something I so greatly cherish and I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to get to know you. You add such a deep flare of creativity and refreshment to my life. I can’t wait to see where our friendship goes, even (especially) if that’s across the country.  Gabby, I can’t believe we had a class together last semester but are just now becoming close. I’m glad you feel safe with me and allow me to feel safe with you. Thank you for listening to me in moments of great sadness and extreme joy. Your listening ears are so profoundly appreciated.

-Old friends. To those of you who are still around, I’m not sure why you’ve decided to stay, but I’m sure glad you did. Molly, thank you for helping me so much in Geology and school in general. There’s no one else I would rather endure those heinous tests with than you. Thank you for your kind words and great sense of humor. You are too great and I’m glad we’re friends. I cannot wait for our hangouts to NOT involve school. I love you. Thank you, Hannah for caring about me so deeply, even if our hang-outs have been few and far between. Your advice is always appreciated. Thank you a million times over for your friendship. Let’s get together more often, especially now that it’s almost winter break and we should have more availability in both of our busy schedules.Kaylee, my soul sister. I am so proud of you for caring so deeply about the Lord’s desires. The way you have exhibited this in your life is so powerfully influential on mine. Thank you for the times you have advised me and prayed for me in this. You are so wonderful. Thank you. I love you. Dianne, you are so amazingly edifying in my life. I thank the Lord for you  and your unconditionally caring heart. Thank you for the honest and kind words you have poured into me. I hope you are prepared for me to continually turn to you in moments of desperate advice and prayer. Let’s get together again soon. I’m ready for more Chino Banditos, yeah? Carli, you are a great cousin. I’m so glad we’ve been able to get closer this year and that we are more compatible than ever. Even as I sit across the room from you, right now, I can’t wait for you to come back home from Christmas and we can spend many more nights in conversation, connecting with one another on such an intimate level. You are so great.

-My best friend, Megan. This year has been on heck of an adventure. Moving out together has been nothing short of a learning experience. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but I genuinely thank you for the effort you have  put into working things out and getting us to where we are now. Thank you for putting up with me when I forget to do the dishes (or choose not to out of laziness) and understanding all the times I’ve needed to do laundry at one a.m. because I realized I had no clean underwear for the next day. Thank you for being committed to good communication and open honesty. Thank you for cutting my hair and dying it even when I know you hate doing it outside of work, just because you know it works with my schedule. Thank you for letting me raid your closet on a daily basis, and being richly generous with all you have. Thank you for never being afraid to confront me about my decisions, when I need confrontation. Thank you for lifting me up when I am feeling so down. And some how always knowing how to tell the difference between the two. Thank you for sleepovers and meals and driving me to school when I take too long to get ready. Thank you for sharing Coco Chanel, the dear little puppy who sometimes sucks because she’s still not potty trained but we still love her anyway, with me. Thank you for teaching me how to cook noodles that don’t come in a box with specific directions. Thank you for all the times you’ve stepped forward when anyone else would have stepped back. Thank you for your profound beauty inside and out. I can’t wait to keep getting closer and closer to you. You are such a treasured part of my life. I thank the Lord for you.

-Above all, I’m thankful for my God who is my strength and my song. For His Word as given in the Bible that allows me to grow closer to Him. I am thankful for Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for me on the cross that guarantees my spot in heaven, a promise of eternity with my Savior. I am thankful for the infinite chances I receive and the grace He pours over me. I am thankful for a love so tangible and real to me that I may never deny it. I am thankful that His love never fails and that it is not dependent upon my actions. I am thankful for the example of Jesus, showing me how to live and love others. I am thankful for a reason and purpose to live given to me by my Heavenly Father. I am thankful that He has deemed me worthy to be a follower of His and His willingness to walk me on the journey as I learn to be more like Him.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

I don’t know Katie Wagner. I’ve never met her. In fact, I never even knew who she was until about a week ago. For those of you in a similar boat to me, let me tell you what I know. She is 15 and a student at Boulder Creek High School. She attends Christ’s Church of the Valley. She was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung and bone cancer. She has just been admitted to Phoenix’s Children’s Hospital where she will undergo chemotherapy.

I have an incredibly strong faith in my Lord Jesus Christ. But in times like these, how does one not throw up their arms and plead with God “WHY?!” Why oh Lord? Why Katie? Why such a sweet, young girl who loves you and has her whole life ahead of her? WHY! And I want to demand answers.

I don’t know what God’s plan is in this. I don’t.

All I can do is pray. There are so many people steadfastly praying for Katie. It’s so beautiful to watch the community to come together. But in the moments when you who are praying feel weary, here is the only encouragement I have to offer:

Psalm 107:28-30 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven

Matthew 7:7 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Mark 9:29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Katie.

People gathered outside Katie's hospital room.

There is an undeniable power present in the moments  we bring our hurts to our God.

Please pray for Katie today. Please.

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

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