Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Blogging’

The Holy Spirit is easily the most complicated person of the Trinity. He is hard to understand because it is impossible for our tiny human minds to understand how vast and great he is. I think Christ is easy to understand because he is human. There is concrete proof that he was a real man who walked on earth. We can imagine Jesus easily with hair, ten toes and fingers, a nose. He ate and drank, he smiled and cried, he had a mother and friends. It is easier to understand and relate to him. God the Father is easier to understand because of what we know about him in the Old Testament and what Jesus preached about him in the Gospel.

It’s hard to wrap our head around who the Holy Spirit is, but he has such and incredible role in our lives. Nicholas Sparks has a quote that I’m going to kind of rework to help me explain who the Holy Spirit is. Sparks says, “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it, but you can feel it.” This is such a beautiful image and it so perfectly how we can approach the Holy Spirit.

The wind has been a symbol for the Holy Spirit for centuries. There are some days where the wind is light and you can barely feel it when you step outside, but you know it’s there by the faint way it may rustle some leaves in the trees or by a flag flowing on a flag pole. Other days, it’s so strong and overpowering that it is blowing umbrellas, water, and even cars away. It can be harmless one moment, and absolutely terrifying and destructive the next.¬† I’ve had moments where I am outside and struggle to stay standing up when the wind starts blowing too fiercely.

Very similar to the wind, the Holy Spirit has moments where we can hardly feel him at all, then other moments he is so strong and overpowering in how he works in our lives, we can barely stand. It’s hard to know him. But faith is our eyes.

Even when we don’t feel the wind, we can see how the wind impacts the world around us. Similar to the Holy Spirit, we may not be able to see him work, but faith can be our eyes in seeing how he impacts the world around us, even when we feel nothing. Faith can give us hope in difficult times and help us identify that the changes and events that happen in our lives is by the workings of the Holy Spirit.

There are moments when we can hear the wind whistling in our ears, other times we can’t, but we still know it’s there by hearing the leaves rustle or the chain of the flag pole tapping the metal pole. Sometimes we hear the Holy Spirit in other people whether it be our youth ministers, friends, priests and religious. We can even hear him when we read scripture or when we read an article online or a book that has a powerful impact on us.

It’s hard to understand the Holy Spirit. We weren’t meant to completely understand him because there are somethings that God chooses to keep a mystery until we are united with him in Heaven. This explanation is in no way perfect, however it simplifies such a huge complicated aspect of the church a little bit.


Because this writer is suffering a severe case of writers block, yet tries really hard to write on Monday, she is going to take and easy route and make a list, because lists are easy to write and requires little effort. I’m running on about 4 hours of sleep here people, cut me some slack!

Any who, it’s summer and there is always the super fun question of what to read next, so I’ve compiled a list of really awesome books to read to get your spiritual life fired up. Enjoy!!

Do I have to Go? by Matthew Pinto and Chris Stefanick
The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn
The Bible’s Best Love Stories by Alan F. Wright (I know this one seems out of place but trust me)

Books on Saints or By Saints
Total Surrender by Mother Teresa
A Man of Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassati by Luciana Frassati
St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All Red by Fr. Godfrey Poage, C.P.
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisueux
The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
The Life of Teresa of Jesus by St. Teresa of Avila
Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert
Dating/Relationships/Theology of the Body
How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul by Jason and Crystalina Evert
Real Love by Mary Beth Bonacci
Man and Woman He Created Them by Pope Saint John Paul II
Anything by Matthew West

The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort
33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, M.I.C.
Wholy Mary by Chris Padgett
The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics by Raphael Brown

The Navarre Bible Series
Ask the Bible Geek by Mark Hart
The Holy Bible by God the Holy Spirit

The Meaning of Vocation by Pope Saint John Paul II
What Does God Want? by Fr. Michael Scanlon

God Help Me by Jim Beckman
Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft

Truth Be Told by Mark Hart
Yes or No by Peter Kreeft
Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons? by Matthew Pinto


There are so many other amazing books and topics that I know are missing. Please add the one that are missing in the comments and share the awesomeness of some of these books. So sorry this blogger is feeling a little drained today. And now I sleeeeeeeep ūüėõ

I have been looking to writing this post for over a month now and I am so excited about what I have to talk about. I just completed Father Michael Gaitley’s 33-Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration this past Saturday renewing my consecration to the Blessed Mother. I first consecrated myself almost a year ago on August 24, 2013 using St. Louis de Monfort’s Total Consecration, which was beautiful and required me to re-sight beautiful prayers that I have never heard before, however, it was difficult dive deep in prayer because my focus was on the complicated vocabulary and the constant repetitive nature of that retreat.

25348_WFather Gaitley came to Franciscan towards the end of first semester to promote his 33-Days to Morning Glory book and I had to cover it for the Troub. I hadn’t thought a lot about me consecration since. I bought a consecration chain (a chain worn around the wrist to serve as a reminder of the sins in which baptism and the consecration has freed us from) but I would only wear it every once in a while so I lacked a daily reminder.¬† Gaitley’s words captivated me as he discussed the beauty of a Marian Consecration and offered an easier and (in my humble opinion) better way to consecrate myself to the Blessed Mother.

When his book was on sale in Franciscan’s Bookstore, I decided to grab a copy and begin as soon as I got home from school. Both Gaitley and de Monfort suggest that you schedule the 33 days so it will end on a Marian Feast Day. I choose the feast of the Immaculate Heart because it was the soonest feast day. The consecration itself is four weeks plus 5 days of preparation and reviewing before the final consecration day. Each week is devoted to a particular Saint with a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. Gaitley reviews that Saints charisms and throws quite a bit of Mariology¬† (the theological study of Mary) in with the mix. So it’s different everyday versus the constant repetition of de Monfort’s consecration.

At the end of the 33 days, you say a long and beautiful prayer promising yourself to Mary and to Christ. Gaitley suggests you print your own copy of the consecration to sign and date on consecration day and every time you renew your consecration after that.

New Consecration Chain

New Consecration Chain

Consecration Prayer

Consecration Prayer

Despite completing a consecration before, I decided to start fresh with a greater understanding of the significance of a Marian consecration. So I printed and laminated my consecration prayer to hang in my room and I bought a new consecration chain from Home Depot that I liked more than my original and was more permanent so I wouldn’t be so tempted to take it off and avoid the daily reminder of my consecration. Consecration Round 2 (as I affectionately call it) was over all so much more fruitful than my first consecration. It was easier to understand and I felt much more enthusiastic at the start of the retreat than I did the first time because I was better educated concerning what a consecration to Mama Mary was.

So my dear readers, I have a challenge for you; Consecrate yourself to the Blessed Mother. If you are already consecrated, reconsecrate yourself. Do some research and get excited about preparing for consecration. Their are thousands of books devoted to this very thing and Gaitley’s version just so happened to be the way that worked for me. Their are plenty of consecrations written by St. Louis DeMonfort, St Maximilian Kolbe, Pope Saint John Paul II, and more.¬† Do some research and find a way that works for you whether it be by resiting prayers like DeMonfort’s consecrations, or¬† by reading about the Theology of Mary like in Gaitley’s version. Read the introductions to have a solid understanding of your commitment (one mistake I made the first round) and enjoy it because Mary is awesome. I’ll be praying for y’all in the meantime!



I don’t think a lot of people realize that what a huge role church plays in their lives. I’m not talking about THE church as a whole or about the old guys in Rome who seem to know a thing or two about God. I mean the actual structure of a church and the people alive. It drives me crazy when people say “I don’t need a building to worship God. I can worship him quite comfortably at home.” Okay yes, the second part of that statement is true, personal prayer at home with the Lord is so important, but there are some crucial things that a person is missing if they aren’t making a commitment to their church. So I have compiled a list of 4 easy things to do at church (aside from attending mass) in order to make the most of what the Lord has to offer through¬† your church:

A. Be a family member

It is so tempting to simply rush into mass with your children or your parents then pile back into the car and go home. Catholicism gets a bad rep when people say the church is outdated and full of old people. The church is actually very alive and active, except the people aren’t sticking around long enough after mass to be part of it. Get to know the people in your church. Stay for the donuts after morning mass and get to know that woman who sits behind you with the amazing vocal range. Shake hands with your priest and allow him to remember your name and face so he can pray for you and your intentions.

The Church was built because Christ brought together a group of extraordinary people and allowed his spirit to work through them to build the church we know today. Allow the same Spirit to work through your relationships with the folks in your church too and you could gain some truly amazing and godly companionships.

Their is a reason the priest uses the words “my brothers and sisters….” in the mass.

B. Be a Servant

Get involved in your church because they are always looking for extra helping hands. Individual churches always need help in their Religious Education and Youth Ministry departments because the children of the Church need people who they can look up to and aspire to be like, thus holding onto their faith into their adult lives.

Be a small group leader in the RCIA program, offer your public speaking skills to the church by reading in mass. Have a deep passion for the Eucharist? Hold the body and blood of Christ in your hands and give it to your brothers and sisters to share the great mystery of Communion.

C. Be a Witness

How have you encountered the Lord in your day to day life? One of my favorite things is listening to some one talk about how the Lord as impacted them in their lives and changed it for the better. I love it because I can hear the story and gain hope because if the Lord does that kind of work in that person’s life, what can/will he do in my own life?

Share your testemony and your encounter with Christ with those in your parish. You never know when you will help them find the glimmer of faith that the Lord has not abandoned them in their trials.

D. Be Understood

Show the members of your parish who you are so they can understand your passion and love for Christ and aspire to do the same. Be real with them and don’t pretend. It does not do anyone any good when you sugar coat when you are having a difficult time because your brothers and sisters in your parish can pray for you and for clarity of mind. Remember to remain humble and honest.

It’s okay to admit that you don’t have it all figured out because nobody does, not even the holiest of God’s creation do. Be unafraid to share how you are still working on yourself with God.


Since I got home from school, my sister and my mom have turned me onto house flipping shows on HGTV. What people do on these shows is take a house that is foreclosed that they bought in auctions for ridiculously low prices (without seeing the property before hand) in order to turn around and sell them for a profit. The problem is that most of the time, these houses are in really, really bad shape with tons of mold and termite damage, junk from previous owners, bad pluming and electric systems, poor support structures, and horrible 50s wallpaper that is a pain to take off.



It’s amazing to see the transformation that these houses undergo.¬† There are always the infamous before and after pictures of the house. At the beginning of the show, people walk into the houses going “woah” with their noses wrinkled in disgust, then they work for weeks on fixing it up so people who are potential buyers walk in saying “woah” to beautiful home with their eyes wide with wonder.


After: From HGTV’s Flip or Flop

Because I’m a nerdy writer who tries to see connections and metaphors to things as silly as a house flipping show, after getting hooked on the show, I had to pinpoint the exact reason why I enjoyed these shows so much. It wasn’t the flippers because most of the time, they are really obnoxious about the unexpected errors that occur in every episode. It wasn’t that they are only on late at night for me to watch instead of going to bed. It wasn’t the fact that they are HGTV shows because most of the shows really annoy me.

I loved the idea of a house being so broken and damaged, yet these people saw such amazing potential in them and decided to get their hands dirty to make it beautiful in ways I never would’ve thought or imagine. See the cheesy predictable connection?

Yes, this is yet another post about God’s incredible healing works and how he is a healer to those who seek him. I talk God as a healer so much because that is how much I believe in it. It is through healing that I had my first encounter with the Lord, and it is through continual healing that I continue to encounter him in different ways.

However, the difference between God and a flipper who works on these abandoned homes is that He is more than just a doctor who fixes us up and sends us back out to the world. He is a God who is a father, a king, a friend, a comforter, a counselor, a savior who is with us no matter what.

So what are the little things in you that are keeping you from being a beautiful home?

Is it the beams in you that are failing to support you because they are rotted with lies and deceit?

Is it the dead grass in the front lawn that isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs from reading scripture?

Is it the dining room that is filled with termite damage and mold because of neglecting to dine with Christ at Mass every Sunday?

Is it the broken roof that is allowing the sin and the damage into the house because it isn’t being strengthened by prayer and conversation with God??

No matter the damage, Christ is knocking on the door with a sledge hammer and hard hat with an entire army of angels and saints as his crew ready to knock down the walls and rebuild you into the beautiful home that you are meant to be.

The question is, are you ready and willing to let him in?





Don’t get me wrong, I¬† love being Catholic. I love the church, the Magestrium, Pope Francis, and our traditions that have survived over two thousand years. One of the issues I do have is that we are loosing young people to the secular media and a relativist world. Our young people are not in the churches, they are online. With that in mind, I compiled a list of my favorite Catholic Media sites that I believe do an awesome job reaching out to young people in the church in efforts to bring them home:

downloadChastity Project

Perhaps I am a little biased in putting this on the list due to my work with them, but they are so deserving of being on this list. The project was started by Jason and Crystalina Evert who work to make resources available to students about the importance of chastity in a world that doesn’t encourage it.

They have traveled around the world spreading their message and run an awesome website where visitors can view their books and chastity resources, as well as a blog where writers (like myself) share their thoughts and reflections on chastity. Their work is so good and their message needs to be heard.

download (1)LifeTeen International

Life Teen is an organization that provides resources for parishes in developing a youth ministry program. I’m a big fan of their site because, like the Chastity Project, they post amazing blogs that cover thousands of topics about the faith. I visit the site and walk away learning something new about the faith.

It’s a great resource, it’s easy to navigate, and they are doing some great work for the rest of the world. It was launched out of Arizona in 1985 and now serves over sixteen hundred parishes in over 31 countries around the world.

imagesSteubenville Conferences

The Steubenville Conferences are headed by the Christian Outreach Office at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. They host 14 youth conferences and 6 adult conferences every summer in which thousands and thousands of people come to hear amazing speakers, a one of a kind adoration experiance, amazing praise and worship, and (of course) an one on one encounter with Christ.

Luckily, the conferences don’t have to end at the end of the weekend. Most of the talks and homilies are posted online for those who don’t have the opportunity to go, or those who need to hear the message one more time. I like watching them when I’m lacking in my faith and need a reminder of my time and growth at the conferences.

Each talk is so fruitful and well done. It’s an organization that has brought and will continue to bring thousands back to the church.


Fellowship of Catholic University Students was founded in 1998 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas by Curtis Martin to  evangelize to Catholic college students across the country. College is when most young people tend to leave the faith mostly due to seriously seeking an encounter with Christ.

FOCUS goes to their colleges and universities to change their hearts and and set their faith on fire.

logo-word-on-fireFather Robert Barron’s Word On Fire

I was introduced to Father Barron’s ministry very recently and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite resources for all things Catholic. Father Barron’s church is the media and he works hard to deliver the truth to thousands. He has amazing YouTube videos in which he discusses the church in the most basic terms and what makes him unique from other YouTube Channels, he reads every comment made on each video and tries to respond and answer every question on each comment.

His books are amazing and¬† his ministry is doing some serious good. It’s a must have resource.

This first year of college has flown by so quickly. Even with it being finals week, I find myself procrastinating by reflecting on what the Lord has done for me since August when I arrived. There is no doubt that I’m going home this summer a different person.I’m very happy and very excited to go home, but there is also a lot of sadness in leaving, especially because I won’t be back on campus as a student until Fall of 2015. What has this city on the hill taught me in the last year.

Gaudete in Via Crucis Womans Household.

Gaudete in Via Crucis Woman’s Household.

1. Naps are a magical gift from God delivered by a chubby naked baby with wings wrapped in a bright red bow.

2. The Office is (without a doubt) one of the greatest sitcoms that graced American cable.

3. It’s really hard to study in the dorm rooms. There are way too many distractions.

4. Always be grateful when the WiFi is running smoothly without many glitches.

5. Don’t be too quick to judge anyone. You never know the kind of struggles they are going through.

6. Family doesn’t end with blood. I have to thank my household sisters for teaching me that.

7. St. Michael the Archangel is one of the coolest saints I have ever met. Get to know him because he is a boss.

8. The same goes for St. Joseph. The man literally raised God. He’s pretty awesome too.


The Troubadour Staff 2013-2014

9. College has a lot of free t-shirts to offer. And they’re actually really cool and creative (Thank you
Troubadours, March for Life, Gaudete, Last Class Luau, and Student Government)!

10. Colorado has no idea what cold is like. The cold in Ohio literally touches your bones. In Colorado, you go inside when it’s cold and you warm up right away. In Ohio, you go inside, and it takes at least 10 minutes to defrost yourself.

11. Working out is so much more than just trying to get the perfect body. It can be so much more fruitful and more than just a physical action.

12. Always keep a full stock of White Cheddar CheezeIts, Twizzlers, Mug Cakes, Cheesy Noodles, Annie’s White Cheddar Mac’N’Cheese, Chi Tea, and Cream Pie. If one or all of these things run out, it’s a sad thing indeed.

13. The bookstore’s stuff is so ridiculously overpriced. I got a book for $5.00 on Amazon that was $26.00 at the bookstore. This includes textbooks, guitar strings, luggage, everything.

14. Priests and religious people are wonderful. Believe it or not, they are not all the same. They have their own personalities and funny quirks. Get to know some, because they are awesome.

15. If an opportunity comes your way, do not be afraid to take it and run with it, even if it seems beyond your reach.

16. You are your own harshest critic. I learned this when I wrote my post for the I sent it in several weeks before it was posted. While waiting, I decided to re-read it and immediately thought, “I cannot believe I sent them this crap?!” Luckily, people seemed to like it.


The one and only Father Nathan.

17. It’s not a good idea to procrastinate. Deadlines come and go so fast and you’ll really regret it if you let that happen.

18. Rugby is far more superior than football. ‘nough said.

19. It is very, very easy to over pack. No you really don’t need that extra set of sheets and towels or an entire shelf of books. You do laundry and just stick the sheets right back on the bed, and you don’t have time to read all of those books. Choose two or three and if you (by some miracle) get through them, just raid your roommate’s books! (Chances are they’re not reading them either)

20. Kids grow up really fast. I left for school and came back four months later and my brother was literally a foot taller with a deeper voice and pimples. The heck?

21. Learning how to play the guitar is really cool! It’s become an escape for me and it’s kind of cool to brag about.

22. A year after leaving the high school speech and debate team, I’m very out of practice when it comes to public speaking. I should probably get back on mastering those skills again…

23. You don’t have a come to Franciscan and just be a Theo/Cat major. There is so much more to the school than those departments. The nursing department is amazing and cranks out some really great nurses. The education department is huge and the student in that program do really well. The Communications department is fabulous as well.

With Billy the Elephant

With Billy the Elephant

24. Guys get broken hearted too and sometimes just need to rant. There is no need to be caught off guard if they do. Just be there for them.

25. The social aspect of high school really doesn’t matter in college. Nobody really cares anymore who hooked up with who in high school and who was considered cool and popular then. The world is a big place, and if you’re stuck in high school, you might miss out on how awesome college is.

26. Twenty bucks is a lot of money. If you have a 20, hold onto it and never let go!

27. I am more like my mother than I thought I was when I left in the best ways possible. When I’m stressed, I clean my room. Mom does the same thing which used to drive me crazy, but now I can sympathize.

28. Quarters are a rarity in college. But they are so necessary when doing laundry or getting a snack from the vending machines in the academic buildings between classes. Bring a huge ziplock bag of them every semester no matter how much security at the airport or your friends judge you. You’ll regret not bringing a bag when you are running around campus trying to find a machine that has enough quarters to break your $5.00. (Hint: if you do end up in that situation, go to the vending machines, put your money in a vending machine and hit return change, it’ll return the money to you in all quarters. Magical!)

29. Be thankful for two ply toilet paper. I’m not kidding, it’s one of the things I really, really missed about home.

30. Treat yourself every once in a while. Nothing huge, but you deserve it!

31. You don’t have to go to every event on campus. School comes first.

32. As weird as they may be in the classroom, most professors are really cool and awesome when you visit them in their office. They tend to get bored during their office hours. Visit them if you need help, they are really nice about it and more than willing to help.

A beautiful day in D.C with my bestest buddy.

A beautiful day in D.C with my bestest buddy.

33. You can’t choose your family. Especially not your extended family. Love them for everything they are including the good, bad, and the ugly.

34. It’s okay to do something crazy every once in a while, like shoving balloons up your shirt and taking fake pregnant pictures with your best friend to recreate when you’re actually pregnant or wake up 2:00 in the morning to watch history in the making, when Pope Francis canonizes Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI present.

Please don't hate me for sharing this ;)

Please don’t hate me for sharing this ūüėČ

35. Don’t put off laundry. You’ll regret it when you have to do four loads to get it all done. It eats up those quarters!

36. Don’t let your earring holes fill in even a little bit because it really hurts to re-pierce them when they are partially closed.

37. Appreciate the opportunities you have to go off campus. They are rare when you are a freshman, but much needed.

38. You don’t really know stress until you get to college. When I think about it, I was never truly that stressed in high school. College takes stress to a whole new level.

39. Get to know the history of your school. It’s cool knowing it’s story and gives you a greater appreciation for it as a whole.

40. Drink lots and lots of water. You feel better when you do. I was never good about drinking water as a kid, but now I think it is the best stuff in the world!

41. Don’t be afraid to do things for you. I spent a lot of time wondering how my decision to go to Washington for a semester next spring instead of back to Franciscan would affect my relationships with my friends and the activities I’m involved in. It took a friend telling me to go to Washington for me, not for anybody else, to ultimately decide it was what I should do.

42. Keep your computer updated with all the latest programs because after a while, it will get mad at you and not want to connect to the internet and you may not be as lucky as I was to have nice IT people who are willing to fix it at no charge.

Knocking on doors

Knocking on doors

43. Having a boyfriend in college or looking for the “MRS” degree isn’t everything. What I really need is someone who is able to keep up with me, my schedule, and my weirdness.

44. Playing sports is actually really, really fun when you have the right people playing. Go Weapons!

45. Franciscan is not that different than other colleges. We’re just all Catholics with Christian values and morals. There are the hippies with the long skirts and hair who wear rosaries as ankle bracelets, that guy that always has a guitar who knows every Matt Maher song by heart, the Matrix wannabes, the extremely pale girl who is always in the library, the guys who never leave the gym but don’t appear to be doing a lot of working out, the guy with the ponytail, the girl who is involved in literally everything, the girl who always has snacks, the RA who takes their job way to seriously, the guys who always seem a hungover, the guy who doesn’t study or work hard but is still somehow able to graduate with honors, and so, so many more. I could have a lot of fun making a list.

46. You family’s lives will go on without you home. They’ll miss you a lot, but they are still going to take an awesome vacation to Florida without you, but it’s okay, you’ll get live an entire semester in Europe without them. Love you guys!

47. Be weary of your actions. You never know who you maybe hurting.

48. Do something you wouldn’t normally have the guts to do. For me, that was praying outside of an abortion clinic. It was really hard spiritually and emotionally but I am so glad that I went the few times that I did and wish I did it more often.

49. You meet friends in some of the most unexpected ways, whether it be while beat writing endless Student Government meetings for the Troubadour or while filling out applications together at the job fair, you just never know.

Cuties <3

Cuties ‚̧

50. Finally, I learned the most about myself. I learned that I am a risk taker, I like surprising people and myself with what I can do, whether it be writing a story in a couple hours about a fire scare in an academic building without an¬†adequate amount of training or resources or leads; writing a post for a blog known around the world; making the decision to leave everything I know and live in a new country for a whole semester; surprising someone I love with 50 cat facts all over her side of the room; praying outside of an abortion clinic; fearlessly knock on strangers doors to promote a political candidate. Even the choice to leave my family and friends in Colorado to live in Ohio (of all places) without any inclination what the Lord was calling me to do with my time in college was a huge risk. People are different here, the air is different here (literally), the lifestyle is different. But I’m glad I decided to make the move.

I’m going to miss Ohio like crazy next year. I’m spending fall semester studying in Austria, then taking an internship in Washington D.C. for the spring semester, which means I won’t be walking around as a true student at Franciscan for a little while. I admit, it makes me sad thinking about that because this hill is my absolute favorite place in the whole world. This year has been long and difficult. Many temptations have risen that I haven’t had to face before and a lot of insecurities resurfaced. However, the Lord blessed me with such amazing opportunities that I will be forever grateful for. If you were to tell me a year ago everything that has happened this year, I would find it difficult to believe. Never in a million years did I think I would go to Austria so soon, write a blog for one of my favorite organizations, win writer of the year, or make friendships that will last a lifetime. I wouldn’t take back a single moment of any part of the year. Despite the stress and the struggles I wouldn’t want to have any of them any where else.