Life here in Washington has been great and it’s so weird to say that I have just over a month left of my trip here. A few posts ago, I mentioned I was feeling pretty lonely, and I’m happy to announce that that is not the case anymore. I’ve been blessed with a great community group of college girls who have totally welcomed me into their lives. So far, we have done a bible study every Tuesday, gone an hour up north to the city of Anacortes, had a girls night out and a girls night in, and tonight will be ultimate frisbee (I’m still debating my attendance of this one.) In addition to all of those fun things, every week we get a “sister date.” We all write our names down and pull out two at a time and those two girls do something one-on-one during the week. It has been the perfect way to get to know multiple people pretty well.


I feel incredibly blessed.

Things are still going well with Donna, of course. The highlight of our week is usually Wednesday when I come home from work, we eat dinner together, then prepare our desserts which we enjoy as we watch American Idol. Except, this past week, we had an even better time than watching people’s dreams be crushed on national television. We lit one of her many oil lamps, turned out all the lights, and enjoyed dinner by the light of the fire. It was perfect. Donna thought it would be appropriate for eating old country style stew.


For another photo of our dinner click here.
Also, have you seen my new website, which I coded by hand?

I hope you are doing as well as I am!

God is good.

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

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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’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but every time I would try I felt I couldn’t start it properly so I’ll just give you the facts. On January 9, my Grandma Sharon was diagnosed with Stage III cancer. After a surgery to remove a tumor in her colon, they discovered it was cancerous and the cancer was in her lymph nodes as well. Today, she had her first chemo treatment. She will have a chemo treatment every two weeks for the next six months. The prognosis is good. The cancer is in no other organs and the doctors expect the chemo will clear it out of her lymph nodes. Praise be to God!

But what’s affected me the most during this process has nothing to do with medical reports (although there’s a good chance Grandma doesn’t feel this way.) What has affected me the most, and in the best way, is watching my Grandma through it all. I’ve always known my Grandma to be a wonderful woman of God. From a young age I’ve looked up to her as a role model and inspiration. She would always encourage me as a kid to memorize scripture, to read my bible faithfully, to always attend church. And not only that, but she’s been a continuous example of what it means to be joyful in Christ. I hardly know anyone, except for her two daughters (my mom and Aunt Christy,) who know how to turn any moment into one of laughter. All three of them are pranksters and jokesters, in the greatest way. She always played with me as a kid and sang to me. She would sing “Beautiful Feet” a child’s gospel song as she would draw funny faces on the soles of my feet and on the feet of my cousins encouraging us, reminding us that “beautiful are the feet that bring good news.” And boy, has she been an example of that to me my entire life.

The joy has not stopped since her diagnosis. I read her journal on CaringBridge whenever there is a new post about her journey. Every post brings me great joy. She shares about the opportunities she’s been given to pray with others and tell people about the great God that we serve. She shares verses God has given her as encouragement. She tells of laying in bed reciting scripture, which she so accurately states is more rewarding than counting sheep, a true testimony to the value of the lessons she’s instilled in me since childhood. And yet, she is so authentic. She admits she wishes that she didn’t have to travel this journey, but that she does look forward to how God will use her through this. The joy is not false, but rather a trust in God that has manifested itself in the most beautiful form.

Thank you, Grandma for showing me time and time again what it looks like to put Jesus first, to trust in Him and His will even when that might seem nearly impossible. You are an incredible woman and I am eternally grateful for your influence and involvement in my life. Keep living the way you do and God will certainly continue to use you to share His love, as you already are. I love you so much and I pray for you everyday and will continue to do so until you are healed of this disease. It seems it’s almost harder for me to trust in God with this than it has been for you, but by your example and the power of the Holy Spirit, I am putting you in His hands, trusting he will be faithful to you, to us your family.

Thank you for everything, Grandma. You have beautiful feet.

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

A few days later than I would have liked them, but here are the photographs of the second day of my drive. Do you remember when I went to Portland last time? And I got those really yummy doughnuts. I requested we stop at VooDoo Doughnuts again as we drove through Portland and my mom and grandma agreed. That was probably the highlight of day two.

Since I’ve been here, things are great. Not what I expected. I’m lonelier than I anticipated I would be. But it’s a healthy kind of lonesome I think. The kind that has allowed me time to read and create things, which is when I think I’m at my best anyway. Donna, the gracious lady who has welcomed me into her home during my stay is more fabulous than I could have asked for. We pray and eat together and have the most rich conversations. She’s teaching me to be a better listener.  And my internship? I love it. The people there are wonderful, and my only friends here thus far. I love to go to work and just be around these people, basking in their positivity. Everyone is uplifting in the most genuine sort of way; I’ve never been in a more enjoyable work environment.

I think things will work out splendidly. God is good.

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

On Friday, December 30 I left for a Seattle. My mom and grandma are driving with me and all my things up to the Evergreen State where I will start a new chapter of my life interning with Rwanda Partners for the coming semester. Our first day of travel ended in Susanville, CA. Below are some picture I took. Today’s photographs will make their way on the blog in the next few days. Enjoy.

Sincerely,
Kendra Leigh

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