Wednesday, December 31, 2014

so long, peculiar treasures.

     Peculiar Treasures, you have been so good to me. This link has met so much more than a '.com' to me, & I hope, for so many of you. I published my first words here that anyone could read - even before I tweeted or shared my thoughts on Facebook. You & I have went through a lot together in these past almost-four years. I have discovered more of who I am as a person, as God's daughter, & as a writer.
     But most good things have to come to an end. This will be my last regular-blog post here at PT.
     A new format has been itching under my skin for several months now. I will be launching my new blog - 1999 - in this new year. I am so excited for the fresh face of 2015. This chapter has closed, but I will begin writing a new one as soon as possible. In the words of Taylor Swift, "I've woken up every day not wanting, but needing to write a new style of music. I needed to change the way I told my stories and the way they sounded." Consider this my genre change. I'm staying true to my roots. But I'm acknowledging that every single day, we all change. I have been reborn & 2015 is the year my writing will be as well.

     Thank-you, friends for following me from day one. We've traveled from here.

      To here. 

      I couldn't be more grateful for how much I've grown up here. I also couldn't be more excited for how much more will take place over here at!

     Thank-You, Jesus, for using me here. Continue Your good work in me. May they hear more of You than they ever hear of me. 

     I'll close with our girl Taylor, "I've told you my stories for years now. Some have been about coming of age. Some have been about coming undone. This is a story about coming into your own, and as a result... coming alive. I hope you know that you've given me the courage to change. I hope you know that who you are is who you choose to be, and that whispers behind your back don't define you. You are the only one who gets to decide what you will be remembered for."

     So long, Peculiar Treasures, until we meet again. I'll never forget you. 

With a sniffle & a smile -
Yours truly & sincerely,
Emilee Kaye

Thursday, December 11, 2014

lattes of summer 2014.

Everyone needs a touch of summer in their winter. 

Every place has a story to tell. Or in this case, every latte has a story to tell (& a few have more than just a yummy recipe).


It was our last night in Ecuador. Most of our large team had decided to stay up all night because we would begin the security process at 4AM. Our day had already been a full one: we were touched by air conditioning for the first time in days, traveled in a bus for several hours, visited an iguana park, a cathedral, walked up & down 900 round trip steps to see the lights atop of Las Penas, said our tearful goodbyes to dear friends we'd just gotten close with, & had an exhausting team meeting on how to share about our experiences back home. I'd just had a fresh dose of extra-strength Tylenol & slipped on my first pair of shorts since the week before.

     We may have been in a rural area serving all week, but just an hour and a half from our new home away from home is the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The population is 2.69 million people. The views are breathtaking. The city resembles more of America to me than I have ever experienced in another country, but it has it's remarkable differences, too. The smells can be described, but never truly justified in words. The air was consistently humid even after the sun went down & the people speak at record speed.

     It was right there, in a sleek modern airport in a corner of Ecuador (a country that I didn't know existed until last year) that I walked back with one of our chaperones sipping from my coffee cup slowly at 2AM. I sat in that airport on an uncomfortable string of benches surprisingly energized. I sat there writing in my journal how hard it been to say goodbye to my sweet new friends & how painful (& rewarding) it was to climb 450 stairs. There's no way to prepare yourself fully for flying over a country you've just fallen in love with, not knowing when you're going to return. You're intoxicated by the thought of going home to normalcy, but you lose a part of your heart. Or maybe that's just me. I lost a part of my heart as we flew over Guayaquil, Ecuador at 7 o' clock that next morning. It was left in a tiny little church that is passionate about God's companionship & salvation.  I knew that what had happened that week was something as beautiful as sacred ground. When your cup overflows, make sure to sip slowly. Every experience, every place you take your suitcase, is molding you into the person you'll be tomorrow. Savor every step. 


     It was my last few hours in Uganda. This summer I made a rule for myself: when you're preparing to leave a country in a matter of hours, take less pictures & just soak it in. For obvious purposes, I took several pictures as my trip ended, but I kept myself accountable to sip slowly. I knew that all of it was going to be over all too quickly. I would need those moments where I sat back, looked into the eyes of the foreign countries people - God's people - & say, "This is Uganda". "This is Ecuador" & I've had the privilege to have the pictures come to life. I've made a child giggle & acted as someone risen from the dead here, because Jesus rolled the stone away making way for them to be raised, too. A photo says a thousand words, but that's not enough. My memory would be most stimulated when I thought of how I prayed over the city of Guayaquil as we practically stood on top of it or how I cried silent tears when God spoke to me in the Entebbe traffic.
     We had been driving all day long. The city of Entebbe and the capital Kampala are... loud. There are people yelling, horns being honked, motorcycles weaving in & out of taxi buses. There are people walking everywhere & there are more people on the street corner than inside their buildings. The city is filled with action & it can be overwhelming, but there's not many things I love more than to be in the middle of it all.
     This particular latte is unique, because I ordered it at a coffee shop in a mall in the 'big city' to find that the cups had Greek words written on the side. Greek is a dead language overall. You can imagine my excitement - I screamed when I revealed to everyone around me that my favorite language had been written on this cup. "God loves me" I said, even though this wasn't the proof. I was aching with needing to leave, but God sent me a message on a side of a coffee cup: I love you this much. I care about the details of your life as much as I care about theirs. I'll take care of your family here in Uganda & your family in Ecuador better than you can, even when you're there. I've got these children & wanderers, Emilee. Submit them to me. You'll be back.
     So I laughed hard & sipped slowly & hugged tight. He's got the whole wide world in His hands.


     Using Snapchat for the first time in two weeks can be embarrassingly exciting. I'm coming home, baby I sang. It was a foggy day in London town. (I also, annoying for everyone around me, sang that song our whole entire layover. There were no gates open, so we walked right off the plane on a little stairway with steep mist-covered steps. I had only seen pictures of celebrities walk off planes like that at Heathrow & I was grateful that it all worked out as it did. The only reason I found the clouds even more beautiful is because I WAS IN LONDON. Everything is beautiful when you choose to be fascinated with the smallest details. Heathrow is a huge airport, but I became familiar with the whole place's sense of direction as I finally had the chance to shop around after their extensive security processes. Our group had several hours to burn before we needed to find our gate. I wanted to check Twitter, decided to wait, edited pictures from the Mediterrean Sea sunrise earlier that morning, & SnapChatted friends that were all asleep at home with my 45 minutes of free WiFi. I bought tea & a mug & drank my Starbucks usual. Walking by British people with strong accents was a personal favorite of mine. 
     I may have been heartbroken to leave, but there is nothing like coming home from thousands of miles away. 

Late August

     A new season with good friends. Maxi skirts & memories. Loud Taylor Swift songs & taking detours. My summer had not yet ended, everyone's school year had begun. I sat with my friend AuDrey after our full day walking around KSTATE. Kansas was still warm with only teases of Autumn. I talked with a twinkle in my eye about boys that break hearts without knowing it & love yearned for & C.S. Lewis & being content after mountain-top experiences. We made promises to ourselves that are hard to keep, but worth it.

     A book end.

     An invitation to bring these experiences that God wrote in my heart into a life well lived in this season & beyond.

let your fear be righteous

     One of my biggest fears, just below flying in airplanes & going under anesthesia, is writing insincerely to you. I don't want to be a hypocrite or say things because I know it's what you want to hear - or what I know I should believe.
     That is the reason, almost 90% of the time, why you don't hear from me on a weekly basis. Because this last month has been rough & rushed & that last word is against everything I believe about a grateful life. I don't want to write something that is hypocritical or unnecessary or screams naive teenage girl. But I've managed to slow time by making lists of things I'm thankful for big & small, by taking time to create, by letting people know I'm thinking about them. "Trust is the antithesis of stress" is what Ann Voskamp says. Every day is a test for how well we trust God. How well we prioritize what's really important. Like going shopping with a girlfriend that will be in college at this time next year when she has a day off school & taking time out of my day to sincerely hug a kiddo that needs to know that not all big kids just look down at them.
     As someone that knows what feeling truly alone feels like, I have this desire to let everyone know that being alone is the last thing that describes them. In fact, it doesn't define them at all.
     I want to be one of those people that is intuitive. Someone that can read what's going on in between the lines. Someone who has the decency & - moreover - the passion to make someone feel truly loved, cared for. Someone who might just give a hug, a compliment, or a good laugh. I want to be someone that people get excited to see, because they know me for my prayer life & my kindness. I want to write what I am itching to scream to the world - & I don't want to be hindered to say those things by my ugly bully of insecurity.
     What's really important takes dying to yourself. 
     I'm feeling worn, y'all. Straight up exhausted (with an occasional side of no motivation).
     But that's not a good enough excuse to sit on the sidelines & simply watch all of these other exhausted people walking around. We're all the same. We need each other. We need to be pictures of Christ in our weakness & in our strengths. There comes a time for rest - & there is a time to act on the golden rule. If you're feeling this particular way in this season, how can you encourage someone else in a similar situation? If we want to make an impact, we have to fill up with Jesus & literally subtract ourselves from the entire equation.
     I talk about (not really random) acts of kindness more than I could count on my two hands I'm currently typing with. I write & talk about these things - these love letters - because they matter.
     What you desire to say to the world - whether it's how you raise your kids or write that paper or work with your hands - matters to God. The Message says that we are bankrupt without love.
     So, when this year ends, don't look back on it & see a lack of love. I encourage you to make an outline of the main events that happened this year. Look back over that list. When you look at those situations & circumstances, how can you move forward ministering to other people in love through your unique experiences?
     The last thing I not only want for myself, but for you, is to begin your next year feeling insincere, unloved, or regretful. We have the chance to jump start our new ways of life before the new year.
     Let your only fear in taking these new steps be only in this: fearing the Lord & fearing being insincere. Let it be that your fear is not what people will think when you step out in faith, but who will remain unloved or unreached if you don't.  Let your fear be missing glimpses of God in your everyday life, in your sojourner's eye.
     In five years, what will you regret not doing more of - or less of - today?
     I can't answer that question for you. So go find your answer.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

women of Jesus' genealogy: scandalous, broken, & redeemed

     Our church, my beloved CCCOV, began our Advent Preparations this morning. One of our ways of doing that was by giving out Women Advent Devotionals written by some of the women of our church themselves! I was honored to be in the mix. Here is my original contribution:

     I’m in love with the Christmas season. When stores hang up their glittery ribbons and red cups begin to stock in the back room of Starbucks stores around the world, my heart rejoices. I love snow flurries and long walks in them that turns my nose and cheeks a vibrant red. I love celebrating Jesus’ birthday in a hundred different traditions. If I’m not careful, that’s all that Christmas becomes for me.
     Especially during this time of year, you might feel obligated to sugar coat yourself. You might think that Jesus (or your kids, or husband, or friends) need your peppiness more than He (or they) needs your heart. It’s time we’re honest with ourselves, honest with one another, and honest about our sacrifices.
     I struggle with deep loneliness on a daily basis. If I hadn’t chosen to begin to take daily victory over it in 2010, it would have swallowed me whole by now. I am beyond sensitive and emotional. Most days, I measure my worth to be loved in my abundance or lack of inappropriate thoughts or my silly productivity. In the words of Taylor Swift, I could build a castle out of all the bricks they've thrown at me.
     I’m broken. I‘m a sinner. I am not perfect.
      I’m also brave. The moments when I open up and let the church see my true colors - that’s where I find life. Jesus fills my deep void when I healthily commit to Him and then to His church. I’ve read this truth recently that states that we’re on this earth simply to walk one another home. We can’t walk each other home if we’re too busy in our errands that go nowhere for the Kingdom or if we’re too worried about our self-esteem being hurt in the process of vulnerability.
     The five women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 are apart of this sinning humankind in situations that seem to chase us wherever we go.  We have more in common with the people in Jesus’ lineage than you might think. 
     Those five women are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.
     Tamar was an adulteress that tricked her father-in-law into laying with her in order to receive more power, only to create more chaos in her already frantic life.
     Rahab was a prostitute. She was greatly used by God, but we remember her as an adulteress woman. Imagine how her community’s confusion when she all of the sudden came under God’s calling for her life.
     Ruth is remembered as a godly and loyal woman, as she should be. But she is of the Moabite heritage, a rebellious people, and disgrace was associated with her name.
     Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, caused much turmoil wherever she went. She was an adulteress. Her husband, Uriah, was soon murdered by the man she was having sexual relations with, King David. They soon learned that covering up lies just creates more lies. Opening up with the promise of repentance was - and is - the only light at the end of the tunnel.
     The Son of God grew in Mary’s womb, but because she became pregnant, Joseph had the power to have her stoned in the culture they lived in. Instead of the virgin that she truly was, they had every reason to believe she had committed adultery. At the age of thirteen, she already had wrinkles on her face from shame. She had almost lost everyone. But Mary had an even more powerful strength given from God for the specific calling on her life. Imagine her gratefulness when Joseph decided to join her in that faith, too.
     Disgrace. Hopelessness. Sin. Brokenness.
     These women are all in the family tree and blood of Jesus Christ. The blood that cleanses us from all similar sin.
     Jesus doesn’t see our weakness as our worth. He came for our weakness. In this Advent season, we have the privilege of celebrating this. Jesus is perfect, but his earthly circumstances surrounding Him were not. His lineage is the perfect example of the kind of people His children are - sheep in need of someone to guide them.
     As we go through this next season and beyond, we need to reflect on why the Holy Spirit chose to highlight these five women in the genealogy of Jesus.  Their names could have been hidden for the sake of Jesus’ family being less messy without them. But God hand-picked their stories to reveal His faithfulness to us. We’re not alone in our struggle. The only way we can truly worship the Lord this Christmas season, is if we let go of our unrealistic expectations for ourselves and, instead, give ourselves as a gift. Like the innkeeper, we’re overbooked and just plain exhausted. Give Him your weariness. Jesus came to give Himself to us. He wants our journey, our heart, more than our turns-to-rust gold. This won’t be glamorous. But if it’s real, it’s Kingdom worthy. In the beautiful chaos of popsicle stick snowflakes with your kiddos, multitudes of hot drinks, and masses of presents, let His Presence revive your dry bones this Christmas. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

if i had been tweeting: Ecuador & Uganda 2014

   Do you believe in the saying 'Better late than never'? Yes? Splendid. Because this summer during those beautiful three weeks of no social media, I kept track of what I would have been tweeting if I would have been near WiFi. We'll start with Ecuador on July 8th excited for my summer of brand new adventures & stretch to August 15th when exhaustion was overtaking me & home was within reach.
   Enjoy the good, the bad, & the ugly of the simple tweets of my mission trips. I recorded these in my journal day by day. 

   ECUADOR 2014

-Sitting in the airplane before take off is just like the alchohol swab before the shot. #apprehensionstinks 

-Jkz. Flying is horrible & I'm anticipating being in South America. #soon&verysoon 

-When you sit next to strangers (even if they're an answer to prayer) you have to act brave; which leads to silent screaming.

     So I mainly tweeted about flying for most of my trips. But, trust me, it was simply because I didn't have time to write down tweets about everything I wanted to when I was working on the most important thing day after day - relationships.


   Approaching supper time with no food in my stomach but a strip of beef jerky & total exhaustion from running through airports with rude staff... 

-I really should've taken Mom up on that offer for a nut roll before I left. 

-Remember when I said I hated flying? They just brought me a Dr. Pepper. #temporarilyhappy #anditwasthelastone #score 

   On one particular flight, the only flight all summer I sat by 'myself', I got my very first view of the ocean! I was in awe. For the beginning of that flight, I kept the window closed, due to the fact that I wasn't going to look down. But when I opened that window to take a peek, to see if the sights had changed, I saw this. My first view of the ocean. I couldn't stop smiling for a half an hour as I gazed at the clear water below. 

-That gahhgeous ocean, though. 

   ...& apparently I was lost for intelligent words as well. 

-Oh, just listening to Spanish radio with Ranson & interpreting the song based on tone of voice. Lizzie McQuire & HSM belting was also a highlight. #internationalmemories 

   That flight mentioned above was one of my favorites. Singing, dancing, giggling, & landing in Guayaquil was so much fun. The lights of the city were beautiful & I was traveling with a slap happy, clever group. Not every mission trip member can say they landed in a brand new country singing the 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's theme song, now can they? 

   This was the next day, after we'd settled into our host's home at 2AM & gotten a nice-considering-the-circumstances nights sleep. 

-Walking through cocoa fields on the way to lunch... #wegottotasteittoo

-Some people need to accept the ten second rule. Right, Evan? #necessary 

   You may have had to been there.....

-Sitting in the middle of Ecuador, under a palm tree. #thebeautifulsweatylife

   There were many plants surrounding our family's house (including COFFEE)! It was beautiful.
   Also, sweaty is an understatement. Believe me when I say that it was unbelievably hot.


-So, um, I just asked an American girl here how she & her husband met during our second conversation. #ilovelovestories

   As this picture portrays, our standing-in-line-for-the-bathroom conversations sprung into a sweet friendship by the end of the week. 

-Shout out to SheaSmith for not pushing me off our bed while I was hogging it. 

      Our living room converted bedroom was full, to say the least. 

-Two churches, two languages, one God. 

-What we do to entertain ourselves... #waterbottlebalancing 

      This is what a late night among traveling teenagers with no WiFi looks like.

-It's easier to public speak when you have a translator beside you, surprisingly. 

-Oh, to finally be used to the beautiful mix of English & Spanish. 

-It rained this morning & the mist under these fruit trees is blissful. #thethingsthatbringjoyinEcuador

-@chloejane73 "I read it on Pinterest is has to be true!"

   One day, we piled 17 people on the back of a pick-up truck & headed to a banana plantation. I know, it's not something you get to do everyday. On our slightly-bumpy ride that was an absolute blast this was requested to make my list of tweets:

-Jesus is bae. 

     The day declined. I was in pain from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday night due to my surgery in May. It brought a lot of tears & messiness to my personal trip, because I wasn't able to do several important activities or be fully useful at the activities I was already at. But, for some reasons I'm still not sure of, God worked through all the pain (literally & figuratively), like He always does.

-I'm so thankful that there's a doctor on board. #graciousDrPenner

-That's Entertainment in Ecuador, folks. #MrAladdinSir #goEvan

-Late night conversations with my favorite couple in the kitchen make me laugh deep. 

-Oh, the joys of seeing Ricardo after being in a house by myself with only Spanish speaking people. 

    ^for what seemed like hours. It was one of the hardest things I made myself do - not go door to door to evangelize in the community. I was completely alone in South America, besides a kind-hearted woman & a few young girls that only spoke Spanish. I was able to read a tiny bit, but mainly rest  & listen to nature outside our windows. I cried as the sky got darker & darker outside our window, because I wanted to be with my team. Looking back, it was one of the most stretching & beautiful afternoons in Ecuador - maybe because it made me appreciate Ricardo's familiar face & my team's loud banter like never before.

-Bo & Paige win at life because they've seen me leaving-a-foreign-country-ugly-cry twice. 
     It's not pretty. Just sayin'.

-So bitter & bueno. 

     Wrote this on our bus ride back to the city of Guayaquil. I sat by myself, enjoyed me first air conditioning in seven days, & wrote about the the sadness of leaving our wonderful host church. 

-The man that admitted me to the U.S. again called Michael BublĂ© bad names & this is not okay with me. 


   UGANDA 2014 


-You know you're not in Kansas when a single KSTATE shirt is not available to purchase at the airport gift shop.

-Keep speaking to me, British people. #DallasToLondon 

-I'm basically the happiest person on the planet. I'm back! #theresreddirt #andmybelovedfamily

-Ugandan people speaking my name will not grow old. 

-When it says to not grumble & complain, that doesn't include to your journal, does it? #imisscertainpeople #icouldusesomesnugglingblackbabytime

-Home sweet guesthouse. #iloveuganda #oursafehaven

-First a whale, now an elephant... #youdontwannaknow #latenightgiggles @Dana @Diane @MommaV

-Slashing grass, cooling pooridge, car washing, & counting... #allinadaysUgandanwork

-Just scarfed a whole bag of beef jerky. #unashamed

-"I imagine Jesus cut loose a couple of times..." #lolz

-Not very many people can wake up in a banda in Uganda with one of their best friends saying, "I brought you coffee!" #blissfulmornings

-Carpetball with Lake Victoria in the background is a much different experience. 

-Count it all as gifts... #PreachGospelToMyself

-Being reminded of a God that stoops on our behalf. 

-Sometimes when you're in Uganda & you take a morning off for sanity, you need to lay in your tent, listen to the rain, & have some TSwift therapy. 

-I've met or reunited with so many beautiful people this summer. #thelistgoesonandon 

-I'm at that emotionally-unstable-because-I-don't-want-to-leave-but-these-people-are-driving-me-crazy phase.

   I love my team y'all, but after being with any group of people you don't usually live with for two weeks straight...The Lord gives you many character-building opportunities. I may not have accepted them too well after a full summer. 

-If they only knew... #finishthatsentence 

-Apparently security chooses the girl that is sobbing to randomly inspect her whole bag. #leavingUganda #itwasme

-Knowing how to get around at the London airport... #thelittlethings

-I'm going to miss these British passengers & flight attendants. #BritishAirways #classypeopleallaround 

-Update on Emilee's life: I still hate flying. #justsayin #twomore 

     There it is, folks. A simple glimpse into the not-so-glamorous side of mission trips. Don't let this be the only blog you read about Ecuador & Uganda. ;) I'm so glad I wrote these, because it was a way for me to jot down quick memories if I didn't have time to journal about them. Thanks for reading.

     Have a beautiful rest of your week, mi amigos! 

Much love,

P.S. I miss introducing myself as Emilia. Tear.