Person of Substance: Kaci Nicole Piccillo

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kaci nicole
Photo: Michael Cunningham (@atomcaat)

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Romans 16. I love it so much because it gives us a glimpse into the role women played in the early church and in the ministry of Paul. Our person of substance for this issue literally makes that chapter come to life.

When I first met Kaci, on the visually captivating streets of Instagram, my first thought was, Now here is a lady who would have made it into the 16th chapter of the book of Romans, had she lived in Paul’s days.

She has an authentic passion for the Gospel. A big heart to see Christ known in every nation. Wait, why am I spoiling this for you? Dear reader, now I introduce you to Kaci, a laborer in the Kingdom. She is a helper of many, including myself and now she’s about to help you too. (Romans 1:1-2)

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Yes!  As you can see, my name is Kaci and I’m a 24-year-old writer and blogger whose heart is to know Jesus more deeply, and to share Him with others.  I believe in asking good questions, heart-to-heart conversations, loving others deeply, chasing dreams, and living a life of creativity and adventure!

 

You’re obviously a gifted writer but before we talk about your writing, what other talent(s) is Kaci hiding?

First of all, thank you!  I don’t know that I’m hiding any other huge talents, other than singing in the shower if you appreciate a mediocre Taylor Swift cover.  I do enjoy outdoor activities like camping, hiking and rock climbing, I am a huge organizer and planner, and I have always loved making handmade cards.

 

How did you get involved with blogging and why?

I first got involved with blogging when I was studying abroad in London during my senior year of college.  I had just come out of a difficult season that left me feeling so unsure of who I was, and my time in London was a special time of growing in my relationship with God and learning who He created me to be.  I was so naturally passionate about the ways I was learning and growing during that time, that I wanted to share, and a blog seemed like the perfect way to do so.  To me, writing is a way of processing the things I’m learning, and sharing brings that process to completion.  I love everything about blogging—the writing, sharing my life, photography, collaborating with other creatives—all of it brings me so much joy.  The hope that I might encourage others along the way makes it all the more meaningful, and is truly the heart behind my blog.  All that to say, I’ve found that often our greatest passions are birthed from pains, and those passions are no mistake—they were given to us for a purpose.

 

Outside of blogging, what else are you involved in?

In addition to blogging, I work full time for a utility company doing communications and public relations related work, and the things I’ve learned in this job have definitely translated in terms of helping me with blogging.  I am also involved in my home church, 3Crosses—with the young adult’s community, Bible studies, and as a youth leader for the high school ministry.  Other than that, time with friends and family is a big priority for me, I love to travel, and I’m constantly planning my next adventure!

Having been in the blogging world for a while myself I have to say your blog and IG page are some of the best I’ve seen to date. A result of focus, consistency and intentionality I guess. How do you decide what to prioritize and what to ignore to make sure you stay focused and consistent?

Wow, that is a high compliment and means a lot to me—thank you!  As far as prioritization, and staying consistent, this is an area I’m continuing to grow in.  As you can see from my response to the last question, I am involved in a lot of different things, and right now I’m learning the importance of accepting I can’t do it all, and learning to say no.  I have found it helpful to define core goals and values for my life (I defined what some of those are in this post), and if something isn’t feeding one of those, I can probably say no to it.  I set goals when it comes to consistency and progress, then break those goals into small action steps, and protect their space on my calendar.  When other invitations and opportunities come up, it’s easy to “cancel” the time we’ve set aside to work towards dreams, because they aren’t paying the bills and we don’t view them as “hard commitments” in the way we would a coffee date with a friend.  But I’ve found it so important not to do this.  Of course there will always be days something inevitable comes up, but consistently treating those times as commitments is the way dreams move into realities. kaci piccllo

Who/what has been the greatest source of inspiration to you in life and why?

Hm, I am inspired by so many different people and things, I don’t know that I can pick just one.  Some of my biggest inspirations are authors, speakers, preachers, my friends and family.  But really, anyone who is living a good story, motivated by something bigger than themselves.  People like that—and they’re everywhere—inspire me to live with conviction, not to gain approval, and to make my one life count.  That’s what I want to be about.

 

I’ve noticed that you have this way of using just about anything, even the simplest thing, to communicate a really profound message. What’s your creative process like?

That’s a great question—it seems to be one people ask me about a lot.  What you’re referring to, in terms of using story and analogy to draw a deeper message from something simple, is honestly just how my mind works and how I learn, and it always has been.  Ask any of my friends, and I’m always the one coming up with weird analogies to describe things.  I guess it’s how God made me!  Often an experience or something tangible in my life will reveal to me an intangible lesson.  Other times, it’s the other way around—I’ll take an intangible lesson I’m learning and find a way to communicate it through a tangible story or analogy.  Ideas usually come to me in moments I’m not expecting them, and those are the coolest because I see God’s hand in them so clearly.  I get ideas all the time, and I track them either through the Notes app on my iPhone, or by sending myself emails.  Those become my pools I can pull from to pair with different events in my life when I want to write a post.  But even with a lot of ideas, writer’s block is a thing.  The biggest challenge with my creative process is that I often can’t write in the moment inspiration comes (because I’ll be at work, or driving, etc.), so it’s developing the discipline to bring the inspiration alive outside of the moment it came to me.  It’s the most rewarding thing!

 

It has been said that the best writers are best readers. Name any three books that you think everyone should read and why they’re top of your list.

This is SUCH a good question, and an equally hard one to answer.  There are so many incredible books!  I would have to say, in no particular order, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, because it shaped my understanding of story and what it means to live a good one with our lives.  Daring Greatly by Brené Brown because it gets to the heart of what it means to be human, and it will change your relationship with yourself and others.  The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it’s a timeless, masterfully crafted classic, and Love Does by Bob Goff because it completely shaped my understanding of what it looks like to love others and live fully.  That’s right, I picked four because it was impossible to narrow.  Know that my short descriptions don’t do these justice, and you should one thousand percent give them a read!

 

What has been the highlight(s) of your blogging journey and what lessons did you draw from it/them?

Ah, there have been so many!  My absolute favorite part of blogging, that I don’t think will ever change, is receiving comments, emails, and messages from readers saying that something I wrote was exactly what they needed to hear, or it encouraged them.  This is my favorite, because it’s evidence of God at work—and knowing I get to participate in the work He is doing is the absolute best feeling in the world.  Oftentimes, I see responses to pieces I didn’t necessarily expect to, and what I’ve learned from this is to simply be obedient to write the words God has put on my heart, because He knows what He is doing.  It’s not about trying to write something people will like, it’s about being driven by conviction, not approval.  I have also LOVED connecting with an incredible community of like-minded people in the blogging world.  Creative collaborations are SO fun to me, because it’s linking arms, and multiple people putting in their God-given talents to contribute towards something bigger than themselves.

 

If I were to say one thing about you it would be that you have a huge heart for serving others, example: you’re doing this interview with a new magazine lol. How important is the heart of service in today’s young Christian leaders?

It is SO important!  It’s easy to become wrapped up in the worlds of our own worries and wants, and the best way to combat that is to serve others—it helps us step outside ourselves and gives us perspective.  Following Jesus innately means being a servant, because that’s who He is.  A great sign of character is how we treat those who can do nothing to help us—and this is an area I certainly hope to keep growing in by practicing service.

 

As someone living to know Jesus and make Him knownin a world that’s bent on proving He’s irrelevant what challenges have you met and how do you navigate them?

I wouldn’t say that I’ve necessarily faced too many challenges, because a lot of my readers seem to be people who also want to know Jesus more and grow in their relationships with Him.  But I think that anytime we take a stand for something, we can expect to face opposition at some point.  When that happens, I think our response to people who disagree with us is something we need to be mindful of, because it’s either going to greatly help or greatly hurt our cause.  My heart is to showcase the beauty of Jesus in the things I write, so that those who don’t know Him, might also be drawn to Him.

 

In your view, what is the purpose of life and how can one identify and play their part in it?

Oh man, this is a deep question!  As a Christian, I believe our purpose is to love God and love people.  It’s a beautiful thing that we can continue to grow in knowing God our entire lives, and never exhaust that.  The outpour is our love for people, and reflecting God to people through the way we live, so that they might know Him too.  I believe God has given us each a unique purpose and way of reflecting Him to the world, and we find our purpose by pressing into and spending time with the One who gave it to us.

 

Let’s talk about God’s Word, how much of your success do you attribute to the Word and the impact it has had on your life?

God’s Word is everything!  Through it, the God of the universe speaks to us, reveals Himself to us, and shapes us more into His likeness.  It’s powerful.  I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t have the passions I do if I didn’t spend time in His Word and in prayer.

 

What would you like the readers of Rutiziro Magazine to take away from this discussion?

I would like anyone reading this to know that YOU have purpose.  God created you with your exact personality and passions for a reason.  The things you’ve gone through, the experiences you’ve endured, God will not waste them—He will use them for His glory and your good.  Don’t be afraid to step into those quiet whispers of your heart.  If you do, they’ll likely grow stronger, and they just might lead you to something incredible.

 

Maybe someone is reading this and they’re finally inspired to start blogging. How would you advise them to go about it?

I would say, to just start writing about what you are passionate about, and don’t stop.  If we are driven by success, we generally don’t have the endurance.  But if you are driven by what you love, you will keep doing it on the days you see progress, and the days you don’t.  Be prepared for the long game—for consistency, and perseverance.  Be prepared for some hard moments, but also a whole lot of joy.

 

How can people get in touch with you and gain access to your work?

The best ways to get in touch with me are over at my website, kacinicole.com, and on Instagram @kacinicole, Twitter @kacinicolep and Facebook @kacinicoleblog.  My heart is for these to be spaces of community, hope, and encouragement, and so I would love to connect with people there.

 

 

 

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