KYLead

I am so excited to announce the new project that I am working on with some of my closest friends! This project is allowing me to take many of my passions and combine them into one!

Kentucky Youth Leadership, Inc. (KYL) has been around since the 1980’s and I have had the opportunity to sit on it’s corporate board for the last three years and volunteer with the programs it has hosted for nine. Since its inception it has hosted youth programs in Kentucky and now the organization is launching its very own program, that focuses on college and career readiness for youth. The program’s curriculum is designed to align with Common Core standards and will set kids up to excel as they enter high school, college, and beyond. 

Students who participate in the program will be invested in for two years, while they are in the 7th and 8th grades, with a variety of program approaches that include basic business etiquette, money management, fundraising, civic engagement, cultural immersion and more. At the culmination of the program, students will be offered an opportunity to study abroad for 9-12 days and earn a high school credit.

The KYL team believes in an intergenerational approach and will not only be investing in the youth, but their families as well. We desire that any student who wants to learn and travel is afforded the opportunity. We are actively seeking ways to provide students financial support so that no one is disqualified due to their financial situation.

Please let us know if you would like to invest in these students and their success through hands on volunteer time or fiscal support. We would love your help and support investing in the today and tomorrow of our state, nation, and country.

I am beyond excited to have my passions for students, leadership, education, international travel, and individual growth into this program!

You can follow the program through our Facebook page, KYLead, our Twitter, @KYLead, and our Website, kylead.org.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to get involved.  I am sure you will hear lots about this program as I get deeper into it and we begin to prepare for our first class of students.

Thanks for your support y’all!

Grace & Peace,

Kelsey Diane

2015 – Words, plans, & goals

Yes, I realize that we are 5 days into the new year and I am slightly behind on the new year post of plans and etc. but I have been crazy busy for the last two weeks. With a trip to my parent’s, Christmas, A trip to Virginia for school through New Year’s, a trip back to my parents house for the Barber family Christmas and then a day of family time and homework, I have not spent any time at my home with my pups and have not had time to think much about the new year. Now that I am home and had an afternoon off, here are my thoughts for my 2015.

Word(s) of the year – Faithful & Challenging

I want to remain faithful to the Lord, myself and my commitments this year.
I want to challenge myself to step out of the box and do things that aren’t just the “easy” things to do. I want to challenge myself to follow through on commitments and be the best that I can be.

Goals
-Consistent Bible Study, prayer and journaling
-Go to one new place every month (restaurant, state, landmark, etc)
-No soda
-Live a healthier lifestyle
-Write one note every week (email or card)
-Intentionally blog

Well here’s to hoping for a faithful and challenging 2015!

Grace & peace,
Kelsey Diane

2014 is coming to an end…

…and it has been a whirlwind of a year. 2014 has brought lots of ups and downs, new things and old things, and changes galore. Here’s a short recap of what I saw in 2014…

*I started out the year planning a trip to Ukraine for July, which was cancelled a few months later because of the turmoil there.
*I started the second year of my Master’s program in Educational Counseling
*I was stuck in an airport overnight because of a crazy snow storm that hit Alabama of all places.
*I spent a crazy fun weekend with some high school girls for a church retreat – and received my first concussion because of it.
*I got to visit with my friends who live in Ukraine who came back to the states for a couple months because of the war raging there.
*I bought an iPad!
*I got to host Kelly in my home while she travelled into L-ville once a week for her seminary classes!
*I completed my first (and last) seminar as LSC.
*I watched my beautiful friend and mentor Emily get married.
*I started working out again and training for a half-marathon (only to fracture my foot and have to put that on hold for a few months).
*I spent many mornings and evenings by the pool, reading great books and soaking in the sun.
*I got to serve my friend Ashley as she got married!
*I helped plan and organize my roommates wedding and served as her wedding coordinator (which is something I love to do!).
*I flew to Texas for some TI fun (not complete without some plane crazy on both ends – I think I am doomed when flying in the country).
*I found out my dad had pancreatic cancer (he is doing well, but still in the middle of treatments).
*I went to Leadership Advance, which was a God send in more ways than one!
*I left the job at Panera that I held since my college graduation,
*I moved!!!
*I started a new and exciting project that is set to launch in the new year! (Stay tuned for more details on this and ways you can get involved!)
*I started teaching (as a substitute) and loved it! Which only confirmed my career path.
*I spent my first (official) weekend on the bourbon trail (since I grew up in the Bourbon capital, I had never actually travelled to distilleries with friends).
*I took my first personal vacation and trip to a beach on the Atlantic ocean (Virginia Beach).
*I celebrated my 25th birthday.
*I joined a new church and life group (that I love!)
*I started cross-stitching again!
*I participated in my first Bless a Stranger Christmas Swap.
*I put my personal story on the blog for the first time ever.
*I fell in love with books on tape (aka CDs now).
*I had an actual Christmas break that I spent at home with my family from near and far.
*I am spending my last few hours of the year and beginning of 2015 in class in Virginia.

While it has been a great year and I could not be more thankful for how the Lord provides, I am excited for the new year and all it has in store for me in my life.  It is sure to hold its ups and downs, but I am going to be clinging closer and closer to The Lord and planning for what is next!  Stay tuned, because one of my goals this year is to blog more this year and to include more meaningful posts and content for y’all to read!

Have a blessed New Year Y’all! Get ready for all The Lord has in store for you in 2015!

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:16 NLT

Grace & Peace,

Kelsey Diane

This is My Story…

A few weeks ago at church the series has been called “This is My Story,” the series made me think about my story and how I have gotten to be where I am today.  The ups and downs, happy and sad moments, the good and bad are all things that I have maybe pointed to, but never actually written out on the blog.  I have shared my story with college students while serving with the BCM as a student and minister.  I have shared with high school students while working at a church, volunteering at another, and serving at various church events.  I have shared with people all across the world while on various mission trips to Ukraine, Haiti, East Asia, and all across the United States.   But never have I shared my story here, but that is going to change today.

Where to start…

I could start with birth, or yesterday, either would work, but I think I’ll start with seven years ago, when life started for me in a newly real and amazing way

Just over seven years ago, I was in my first year at WKU, seventeen years old and truly away from home for the first time that seemed to matter.  I had skipped my senior year of high school to be a part of a new program in the state of Kentucky, The Academy, as it is often referred to.  Young, excited, and ambitious, I was ready to take The Academy and WKU by storm.  I was ready to get away from small town life and the craziness and focus on me and my future.  Little did I know that something else was planned entirely.

Now that something else didn’t pull me away from WKU or The Academy, it did however put my life on a trajectory that did not lead towards a pre-med college focus, medical school, or some high paying job.  It did lead me towards discovering the true meaning of life, my passions, and an even better way to serve people outside of medicine.  During my first year at WKU, I met Jesus and came to know him as my personal Savior.  Now don’t stop reading here, because I promise, while my story and life are changed and shaped because of my relationship with Jesus, they are not boring or static because of it.

Now let’s jump back to the true beginning, birth.  I was born in 1989 in a small Kentucky town to someone who I respect and admire a ton, my birth mother who decided that the life she could provide for me was not the best for me, so she gave me up for adoption (Like SERIOUSLY!! Who doesn’t respect that!!??!!).  I was adopted by a wonderful couple who lived in Oregon and jetted across the country at three months old to begin my life with the couple I now call my parents.

Life was good!  About a year after I was born, my parents had a baby, my little sister Carolyn.  About five years after that, we packed up our Oregon home and headed to Kentucky where my dad calls home, to be closer to family.  We headed back to the state where I was born to move into the town and house that I have called home ever since.  I jumped around to several different schools after we first moved to Kentucky, while we waited for our house to be built, but finally in the second grade after attending four different schools, I landed on my fifth and final school for awhile, FES.

FES became home.  A small school of four classrooms and less than 100 students, first through eighth grade, the teachers, students, and their families became a family.  A group where everyone knew everyone and many people were related in some way or another, FES was where most of my foundation was laid.  Life was grand during my time at FES (except for maybe sharing a classroom with my sister every other year – 😉 )  I played basketball, did lots of 4-H activities and competed in academic team all while watching my sister dance and later also join the basketball team.  We had fun, friends and a family that seemed to be perfect.

In 2004 after graduating top of my class at FES (and best defensive basketball player), I headed to high school at WCHS.  Little did I know, but these would be some of the hardest years of my life.  I jumped into the high school atmosphere at full force, marching in the band, performing in the concert and jazz bands, playing softball, trying to force my knee to let me play basketball, participating in 4-H, FCCLA, Spanish Club, Academic Team, NHS, Beta, and a variety of other school activities.  Never letting myself have a free moment.  I stayed busy, busy, busy during my high school tenure, not wanting  a moment to escape without living it to the fullest.  Little did I know that my seemingly perfect family, would have some major challenges that would push me further into the path of busyness.  One year, my family hit some major financial problems that caused some major tensions, another year brought some challenges to my sister and how she lived her life and in the midst of it all I stayed busy and tried to seem like the perfect, put together student and daughter who could carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, all while secretly beginning to suffer and become depressed under the weight of all that responsibility.  Throwing myself into the activities I was involved with as well as my grades, I jumped at the chance to leave a year early to participate in The Academy at WKU.  So I applied, did a lot of sweet talking to my parents, interviewed, was accepted and moved my life to WKU’s campus in the fall of 2007.

Now we are back to where we began 🙂

So in 2007 I began to hit the books as a college student.  Little did I know that I would struggle more than ever before.  School was suddenly very hard and that secret weight began to weigh heavily on me.  I no longer was the best student and I slowly felt like I didn’t have to live up to the standards that I felt had been controlling my life.  I stopped attending church (something I had done all of my life), started caring less about my grades and school, and tried to discover me for me without the weight of my family, home, and high school life weighing in. But as my grades slipped and school became more of a struggle, I felt the weight in a whole new way, as something that was telling me I was a failure.  The hints of depression that had been peeking in during high school, flared and singed my life.  I began to feel like a failure, stopped caring about life, started feeling like my appearance was no good and needed to change, and really just wanted to hide where no one would see me.  The depression led me towards an eating disorder, that I worked hard to hide from my friends at the time, and led me towards thoughts of ending my seemingly failing life.

Enter in some awesome friends.  While my life was in a tailspin, I did have some friends who had convinced me to go to the BCM with them every week for a Freshman Family Group and who encouraged me to go to the BCM’s worship service with them.  While the concepts and presentation of things weren’t altogether new to me, I had grouped them in the back of my head with the “church” impression I had from growing up and saw the events as things to do and at best social gatherings, more than I saw them as events that presented any form of meaningful information.  One night when things seemed to be at an all time low and I wasn’t sure that I could make it through one more day, a friend knocked on my door and asked me to come to worship with them. I figured why not since I didn’t have anything to do. That night the speaker during worship talked about his son who had committed suicide and what that had meant to their family. It hit me that depression and suicide was not going to solve anything. He also shared about the saving power of Christ and that the ultimate love was not from parents, friends, or success, but in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of everyone. I burst out in tears. I knew that what I had been doing and thinking was wrong. I had a long talk that night with one of my friends about Jesus and accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

Accepting Christ became the single most important decision I have made in my life. And even though it was THE BEST decision I have ever made, it did not end all of my problems. I continued to struggle with my self image and eating disorder, but The Lord began to do work in my life and helped me begin to see what he saw. God didn’t just see a girl from small town KY, who was an overachiever, just wanted people to like her and would do anything to get approval and recognition. He saw a girl who needed love, comfort, peace and renewal and he began to slowly give those things to me.

College was over soon after it started and in December of 2010, I graduated from WKU with degrees in Psychology and Religious Studies (not quite the Biology, Chemistry and Math degrees I started pursuing) and was headed to SBTS to begin a Master’s degree in Youth Ministry and Apologetics, only to be offered a job with the BCM at Berea College a semester later. And thus began the whirlwind of crazy in my life. I moved to Berea, worked at the BCM and served with the Gilmin Group for recovering drug and alcohol addicts for a year, then felt the call to move back to Louisville, but not return to seminary. About 8 months later I started a new Master’s program in Educational Counseling. I stayed in Louisville for just over two years and recently moved to Lexington to begin the next phase of this journey of life that The Lord has called me to. While God has led me down some rough and crazy roads, I have learned more than anything over the last several years that God has a plan and if I trust Him he will show me the path. Things aren’t always easy, but they are much better when HE is at the center.

I’m not perfect, but my GOD is! While I still have human struggles and fall short of His call in my life daily, I have HOPE for a future with THE ONE AND ONLY GOD OF ALL CREATION!

Thanks for sharing in my story today. There is always more that can be said and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I love sharing my story of how The Lord has worked and is working in my life!!

Grace & Peace,
Kelsey Diane

Thankfully November 30

The last day of November has come and a month has gone by way too fast!
Here are a couple of things that I am thankful for to wrap up the month.

Crafts! I love crafty, doesn’t matter if it is a needle and thread in my hands, paint and a paintbrush or something else, if I am crafting, I am having fun.

Amanda and her love for movies. I have seen more movies in the last month than I saw all of last year because of her movie obsession. This months picks were Interstellar, Mockingjay Part 1, & Maze Runner.

Christmas Decorations! So thankful for the Christmas season and the joy it brings! I am incredibly blessed to be able to decorate my little home for the holidays! As I sit here I am basking in the light of my tree, admiring the beauty of my mantle and listening to the relaxed snores of my pugs. Love love love the Christmas season & love the reason for the season!

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While this is the end of my Thankfully November season, I am looking forward to blogging more in the coming weeks and months!

Thankfully yours,
Kelsey Diane

Thankfully November 27 – 28 – 29

So so much to be thankful for! I can’t even describe how thankful I am this week. With a few days off from work and time with my amazingly large family, the thankfulness is overflowing.

I am thankful for time off from work and not having to work the holidays any more. After four years of working in the restaurant world and only having Thanksgiving day and Christmas day off, I am beyond thankful that I don’t have to work Black Friday, Christmas Eve, New Year’s or any other holiday. It is one major perk to working in the school system now!

I am thankful for adoption. My life looks way different than it could have because of adoption. Because my birth mother sacrificially gave me up for adoption, I have been blessed by the amazing family who chose to adopt me.
adoption

I am thankful for the families that have let me pour into their kiddos over the last seven years. I have loved getting to pour into the lives of their kiddos and them. These families have become some of my best friends and I can’t imagine my life without them or their sweet little ones!

 

So so much to be thankful for, I could make post every days for a year an not run out of things that I am thankful for!  I lead a blessed life for sure!!

 

Thankfully yours,

Kelsey Diane

Thankfully November 25 & 26

Today I am thankful for time at home and quality time with my parents!
Yesterday at the end of two crazy work days, I packed up the Pugs and drove to my parents for the Thanksgiving holiday.
I spent a relaxing evening at my parents house, enjoying time crafting, listening to my current Nora Roberts audiobook and sipping a bottle of champagne.
Today I had some quality time driving and shopping with my mom & watching the news while enjoying some popcorn with my dad!
I love me some family time (usually 😉)!!!

Thankfully yours,
Kelsey Diane

P.S. Don’t forget to enjoy some yummy food and great conversation with family & friends tomorrow!!!