all within 1 month!

Hello world! 

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, but with good reason, I promise!

So, we know I’ve relocated to Seattle to follow dreams, reach goals, and happiness. But what I didn’t expect was to reach many of those goals within the first month of being here.

Today marks the one month date exactly since I moved. And I wanna share with all of you what I’ve done.

  • snuggled with puppies

    buddy love

    buddy love

  • went to Chucks hop shop – so many beers! and Jess’ first time playingJenga

    don't mess up!

    don’t mess up!

  • went to Salmon La Sac on a short river float (due to weather) & camping with awesome new friends
    salmon la sac

    salmon la sac

    let's go! I'm ready!

    let’s go! I’m ready!

  • realized Seattle has “Little Free Library” which is nothing more than cute bird-house like boxes that you can give and take books from for free

    so cute!

    so cute!

  • Had a girls night at the house & FINALLY played Cards Against Humanity!

    this was for my sister

    this was for my sister

  • Bought a really nice rain coat (it needs to last)
  • Bought hiking boots!

    oh yeah!

    oh yeah!

  • Got my WA driver’s license
  • Went to Mt. Baker and hiked an8mile hike!
    almost there!

    almost there!

    IMG_7288

    so green 

  • Saw my first glacier!
it's so close!

it’s so close!

  • revisited Rock Box (great karaoke place)
  • went roller skating

    old school!

    old school!

  • Volunteered with the Human Rights Campaign & got to go to the Seattle Gala

    so awesome

    so awesome

  • went to many of the great local food places

    ice cream cupcake

    ice cream cupcake

  • Realized grocery shopping is almost an all day affair to buy local and healthy that is!

    so many options!

    so many options!

  • figured out the bus system
  • made espresso from home

    delicious

    delicious

  • found Sebastian (from the Little Mermaid) on the beach (personal fav)
  • Had a great girls night out filled with multiple wine tastings, dancing, a party bus and more dancing!

    flamingo & monkey = bff

    flamingo & monkey = bff

  • visited the Fremont Troll

    it's a big deal out here

    it’s a big deal out here

  • Completed lots of job applications (including one for my dream job)
  • BOUGHT A NEW CAR  (had to wait to pick it up)
    it's a BIG deal

    it’s a BIG deal

    it's blue!

    it’s blue!

  • was given the opportunity to volunteer with GLSEN
  • and today, got to pick up my new car and drive around on my own!

Now, sure, there are lots of things that I completed. But let’s stop and reflect for a moment, shall we?

Part of why I moved out here was to spend less time wasting time and more time volunteering and trying to better the lives of others simply because I can. Within one week I was able to volunteer with two organizations that I feel personally connected to.

The Human Rights campaign was an amazing experience. I got lucky, not having a job allowed me to help often and the entire day of the actually Gala. Tru Blood’s Joe Manganiello was there with his partner Sofia Vergara. So many beautiful people were there, participating as part of the movement to better the world; it was amazing to stand by and watch.

For those of you who don’t know about HRC, their mission statement is the following:

“The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.” ( http://www.hrc.org )

IMG_7524

GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) is an organization I’ll be able to volunteer at weekly!  Their mission statement is:

“At GLSEN, we want every student, in every school, to be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We believe that all students deserve a safe and affirming school environment where they can learn and grow. We accomplish our goals by working in hallways across the country — from Congress and the Department of Education to schools and district offices in your community — to improve school climate and champion LGBT issues in K-12 education.” ( http://glsen.org )

How awesome is that? Count me in!

 

Now, on top of the volunteer work, which has been incredible. I’ve realized how far my BA in Psychology can go. I’ve looked more deeply into ways I can further my education, deepen my impact on this world, and challenge myself.

And further, I was able to buy myself a new car (never had one of those before).

she's so pretty!

she’s so pretty!

SUCH AMAZING BLESSINGS! 


The reality of limitations will surface itself I’m sure. But for now, I’m going to take what I have and use it to benefit the lives of others and myself.

I'm so happy!

I’m so happy!

One month in and I’ve already accomplished this much! Just goes to show we are capable human beings. We are able to do ALL things as long as we push ourselves to do so. We have to believe in ourselves and in others if we are going to get the most out of this life!

I thank everyone for being patient with me as I put my life together, for supporting me though all of it, and for believing in me. It means more than you’ll ever know!

 

And remember:

it's true.

it’s true.

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Residential Work, Holidays and Hope.

When was the last time you said to yourself, “I am blessed.” 

When was the last time you stopped and thanked God for all you have?

Warm weather, cold weather, struggles, fatigue and laughter, that’s what this month included. It also included Easter – A Holiday based on celebrating the miracle of life, new beginnings, reflection and joy. I knew that I’d be working the Holiday and struggled with it.

But when I woke Easter morning, I got to watch the glorious sun rise above the ocean as I drove into work. It was then that I paused an thanked God for my life, my family and my job. 

sunrise

The view Easter Sunday

The day should have been my usual 8 hour shift as a House Counselor at a residential program for teens. But those of us who work in fields such as Social Work, know that what “should be” is rarely what “is.”

So, as God saw it fit… My 8 hour shift became a hectic 12 hour shift.

Now, we’ve all felt the aggravation of not leaving work on time. The strain of feeling burnt out. The frustration that comes with the unexpected. And the guilt that comes from being away from family for longer than expected (especially on a Holiday). I’m sure we could all find a few choice words for such situations. But for some reason, even as the 10th hour approached, I found myself overcome with grace.

Let me explain. Most of the youth I’ve worked with don’t have the option of going home for the Holidays. Nor do they have family or friends to spend days with. That’s when I realized, I have no idea what it’s like to be in their situation. No right to claim I know what it’s like to walk a day in their shoes. But through that heartache I came to realize – I’m the lucky one. Not because I get to go home at the end of the day or because I have a home to go to. I’m lucky because I’ve gotten to spend many Holidays with individuals from all walks of life. Individuals who have more strength and courage than I will ever know. Individuals who can teach us a thing or two about life. 

On many occasions, especially Holiday’s, while going about my day at work, a single thought crosses my mind – being someone these youth spend the day with is something I should be celebrating, not complaining about. We forget that they’re always watching; other’s are watching. Why shouldn’t we be celebrating moments like these? These youth have so much to give, we should feel blessed to get the opportunity to meet them!

We have all (in some way, shape or form) faced struggles. We all know that person who’s been hurting lately. We have all seen the news stories that break our hearts… this world is hurting. And our youth are trying to “figure it all out.” Now is the time to heal, love and support. Let other’s know they matter.

Anyone and everyone who is facing trials in life, YOU have so much potential and promise. You’re full of purpose – we all are. Too often we speak of changing this world, but so often we forget that changing this world is something we can do everyday. Every minute, we are given the opportunity to make a difference and better this world. Everyday, my job gives me the opportunity to show empathy, joy and dedication. I get to relay the message that there is more than what meets the eye.

Think about it… What message are we sending to our youth and others if we show up angry about needing to work? What hope are we giving them if we make them believe they are just a part of our job? A countdown to the second we can leave and go home? Wouldn’t these thoughts hurt you?

We all matter,” isn’t that what we tell our family & friends? Shouldn’t we let the youth of this world know that they matter too!

They deserve to know that they matter. That they’re important – their story is important. That there is more to them than their past, more than their current situation.

Their life has been hard, but that doesn’t mean they’ve reached a dead-end. We aren’t there to make their life harder! We aren’t there to “fix” things – they don’t need to be fixed, they’re not broken! They’ve just been dealt some crap cards. 

What we should do is tell them, “life is hard, but worth working at!” We shouldn’t lie to them and tell them “it’ll be fine,” we don’t know that. What we do know is that life will keep throwing stones. So, let’s remind them that they are capable of making it through whatever predicament they may be facing. Tell them that life sucks and is unfair, let them know that it’s okay to face struggles and to be angry. But bring hope through those words. Honesty and support, it’s what they need, it’s what we all need.

Let them know they can make it! We can hold our heads no higher than theirs. We are all equal. We all deserve time to sort through things and time to start over. We all deserve to know that someone believes in us.

Whether we’re family, friends, coworkers or complete strangers, we all deserve to know that there will always be someone to share the day (or Holiday) with.

We cannot let the beautiful people in this world believe they are “paperwork.” They are not another section on our resume or just another speck on the map. They are human beings. They are just as important (if not more) than you and I. They have feelings just as we do. They have hopes and dreams for themselves. So please, let’s take this opportunity to help them get through it, teach them ways they can continue to healthily survive, give them “tools” they can use in the future. Life is a battle no one should have to face alone.

All that being said, from my heart to yours – I trust you are able to face daily struggles with a sense of hope. I pray you find peace within yourself and through the presence of others. I believe you are stronger than you know. And most of all, I hope you know you are never alone.

From one stranger to another, I am so proud of you for being alive,

Kylie

IMG_0782

“From one simple life to another, I will say, ‘Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope. You’re gonna do great things, I already know. God’s got his hand on you, so don’t live life in fear. Forgive and forget but don’t forget why you’re here. Take your time and pray.'” -Sidewalk Prophets

Ten Years Ago Today…

Ten years ago today I was sitting on a beach in San Diego, California with my cousin debating my existence. 

Ten years ago, I was struggling with my sexuality.  

I was lost and confused, trying to find some clarity; much of me believing I didn’t belong in this world. At the time, depression had boxed me in. I spent more time trying to navigate between right and wrong and how to exist without upsetting others than I did trying to let myself be me. 

Everyday was a battle against my demons: I had grown to believe that God hated me and therefore religion couldn’t possibly exist in my life. I believed my family was disappointed in me, and therefore I was unworthy of their love. And I felt my friends were unsure of me. All of which lead me to doubt myself and my choices. 

Unfortunately, despite the multitude of people in my life, I believed I was a disgrace to all of them. I knew I wanted to love, and couldn’t understand why that was so hard for people to understand. I spent most of my time apologizing for who I was, beating myself up for desiring someone of the same sex – I spent so much time doing it, I forgot how to live. 

2004, call it my personal blackout. I was so out of my mind depressed that I don’t remember much of that year. It’s painful to think about, to know that I felt that lost. 

Now, back to that sunny beach in San Diego. 

Call it fate, God remaining by my side, or just luck. Unsure of many details, I know that it had been some time since my mom and cousin had spoke, but in 2004 they did. The result of their conversation was me going to San Diego. 

Stereotypical lesbian moment, I listened to Tegan &Sara and T.A.T.U. on my CD player for the entire 6 hour flight. 

Stepping off the plane, I knew nothing of my cousins life for the last few years, and she knew nothing of mine. Two strangers, we greeted one another as if we had seen each other yesterday. (Now let me insert here, that growing up, her and I were inseparable. When I was a baby, she was the only one who could make me truly belly laugh. We had a special bond, and I felt comfort in knowing that). 

Anyway, she was busy with her life and I was confused and disoriented in mine. I spent everyday wondering the streets of San Diego and sitting on the beach. I remember eventually telling her about liking girls, I also remember waiting for her reaction to be judgement, only, it wasn’t. Instead, she looked at me and said “okay.” 

Looking back, I can only laugh at the expression that was probably on my face. I was so used to waiting for people to voice their opinion about how it’s “wrong” that her simple “okay” response and wanting to hear more about my first relationship with a girl, stunned me. Despite whatever may have been running through her mind, she let me speak, and while I spoke, she listened. I think it was then, that I began to come back to life. Began to realize that my life was just that – my life. 

My cousin and I didn’t spend too much time together, again, she had her life to attend to. But for the first time, I felt like I had my freedom back, I could do what I wanted, and didn’t feel like eyes were watching my every move. 

On February 16th, 2004, she took me to a beach. I remember her getting excited over finding a hammock someone had set up between two trees, she sat in it and I snapped a picture. We walked along the beach for a few, until the sun began to set. We sat ourselves in the sand and pulled out our journals. We chatted while we let ourselves express whatever we felt necessary in our journals. I didn’t write that day, instead I sketched a very simple outline of the view before me. 

I’m not sure why it was there or then, but it was there that my hope returned. Hope for life, for myself. Hope for better. 

2.16.04

2.16.04

I returned from my visit to California with a new sense of self. I still had those demons, still felt the judgement from others. But I also felt alive again, I felt strong and able. 

Now, let’s go back for a moment, don’t get me wrong, there were people in my life in 2004 who supported and loved me, people who had my back . But I was so unsure of myself and so depressed that I couldn’t see them. I only saw the hatred and judgement. So to my friends who were around in 2004, you know who you are – Thank You. Thank you with all my heart. To my family, I know we’ve had our moments of uncertainty; we’ve cried, yelled, argued, and debated, but through that, we loved. 

So, if you’re still reading this, thank YOU. As you know, we all face our own demons. And just as we’ve faced them, I’m sure many of us have also overcome them. If you’re facing something right now, know that you’re not alone and know that you have the strength to get through it.

 

It’s through God’s grace that I’m here today. 2004 was a difficult time of growing. A time of change. I can accept who I am now, and that doesn’t mean that times are all butterflies and rainbows, the difficult times are still there, but I’m okay with them. The pain reminds me that I’m alive.

I exist now in 2014 with my head held high. With a belief in God, with hope for this world, for myself, and for everyone else who may be struggling. I believe that every day we can make a difference by existing, by sharing our stories, by loving and supporting one another. 

We are all the same, this is our world, this is our time. Let’s cover it with what matters most: acceptance, kindness, support and love. 

To everyone STILL reading this, everyone who is or has been a part of my life, thank you for your kind heart, it means more than you will ever know.

Hugs & Hope, 

Kylie

 

Colossians 3:12

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”