Update #11: Second half…already?!

January 5, 2010 at 8:49 am (Uncategorized)

Wow, I cannot believe how quickly the past months have gone by.  Tomorrow I’ll be flying back to St. Paul for one week of training before hitting the road again with my team.  We have quite the route scheduled.  We’ll be in Wisconsin, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington DC.  It’s crazy that they say the second part goes even faster.  I can’t even imagine how that is possible.

Sadly, I received some news about my team.  My teammate Stephanie will not be serving on the road for the second half due to health reasons.  Even though I was absolutely crushed, Stephanie needs to be taken care of properly and she can only receive that care at home.  Please keep her and all of the team in your prayers as we seek God’s bigger plan in this.

On a lighter note, Christmas break was great.  I was able to see quite a few people and talk with them about life in general.  I caught up with a few of my high school teachers this afternoon.  I also had plenty of time to just relax and even to sleep in.  It was a wonderful treat.  Even so, I am thrilled to be reunited with my team and all of the NETters tomorrow.  It’s funny how you can have two homes and always be missing one or the other.

I can hardly wait to see what God does through us all this half.  He always seems to surprise us with the ways He pours Himself out and changes lives.  For instance, we had a retreat of 150 6th-8th graders.  That’s a pretty big crowd for that age group.  As prayer ministry time came around, we were all wondering how we were going to keep them all respectful through Adoration and the like.  To our huge surprise, two boys asked to move closer to the Blessed Sacrament.  Jandi then announced that anyone who would like to could move forward as well.  A movement began and by the end of it about 140 of the retreatants were kneeling before the Eucharist in Adoration.  It was absolutely beautiful and not at all what we expected.  Like I said, God surprises us in such amazing ways.

I have to cut this short seeing as it’s insanely late and I have an early day tomorrow.  Please keep all of the present NETters and all of the NET alum in your prayers as we all travel to Minnesota for a week of catching up and learning more.  You are all in mine!

Peace in Christ,


Permalink 1 Comment

Update #10: Time flies!

November 20, 2009 at 8:19 pm (Uncategorized)

Wow!  I cannot believe it is almost Thanksgiving already.  We’ll be back at the NET center in less than four weeks.  To keep you updated, Michigan has been lots of fun.  We haven’t had too many retreats here so the number of days “off” has been large.  However, our days off have consisted of drama, music, and AME practices.  Along with that, we have been able to attend a few different Bible studies and Confirmation classes.  We essentially were a pseudo-parish team for a week.  Yep, that’s right.  We were in the same host homes for an entire week!  It was really cool to get to know everyone so well.  I think we met many a future NETter.

The overnight last weekend was a lot of fun.  We ran on God’s grace rather than sleep.  Unfortunately, I messed up my knee last Friday.  It’s doing a lot better and I’m hoping that rest will heal it.  I’ll be avoiding the doctor at all costs.  You know me.  😉

Overall, I cannot wait to see everyone in Minnesota.  Even more so, I can’t wait to see everyone back home.  Apparently, I’ll be quite busy.  I even heard a rumor that I’ll be playing at the worship night.  Who knows?

In other news, we have yet to see snow!  Considering we’re in the Midwest in November, that’s fairly shocking.  Some of my teammates are anxiously awaiting the first snowfall because they have never seen it…ever.  Whoa.  That should be a fun time.  Even if we don’t see snow while we’re in Michigan, we’ll definitely be seeing some before Christmas whether it be in South Dakota, Minnesota, or Missouri.  It’s bound to happen.

Our supervisors, Steve and Kayla, will be visiting us within the next hour which is pretty exciting.  We need more people to fill the empty space while Johnny is back home for his sister’s wedding.  Thankfully, we’ll all be reunited again in a few days.  However, until then, I’m the AME leader.  That’s pretty entertaining in itself.

Well, my time is coming to a close.  Expect pictures.  Eventually.

Peace and God bless,


Permalink 2 Comments

Update #9: The end of Ohio…

October 25, 2009 at 9:56 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve snatched another few moments on a computer to update this blog.  There are so many things that have been happening that I can’t even begin to tell you all of them.  First of all, the backspace key on this computer won’t work.  Just so you know, it takes a heck of a lot longer to fix a mistake.  Haha.  We just finished a full Friday through Sunday retreat and the team is pretty much exhausted.  The retreatants were absolutely amazing.  Lots of fun for sure.  Other than that, we’ve had standard one day retreats.

We’re headed to Michigan in six days which is pretty exciting.  Word has it we have a few overnight retreats.  Those are tons of fun because we get extended time with the young people, getting to know them and the like.  We have two all boy retreats this week and one all girls retreat which should be interesting…we’ve never had those before.

I led music for our women’s session this weekend.  Let’s just say I was impressively nervous, but, nonetheless, we had music.  Cool.  Three members of our team were/still are sick.  Please keep us in your prayers.  We need everyone in full health for the crazy lives we lead.  In case you weren’t aware, we lead retreats six days per week usually running on an average of 5-8 hours of sleep.  Intense. 

All for God’s glory!  Anyways, I’ve gotta grab some dinner and the like.  God bless and keep praying!  Write me oodles!

Permalink 1 Comment

Update #8: Quick and simple

September 19, 2009 at 1:53 am (Uncategorized)

It’s actually me!  I stole a moment to get on the internet for the first time in about a month (aside from the Apple store).  Haha.  Here’s what’s new in my world.

We put on our first training retreat on Wednesday for 53 8th graders.  It was awesome.  The schedule pretty much went out the window from the beginning.  God made it all work out just fine though.  I gave the talk “Soul Satisfaction” which went fairly well.  I got approved to give it on the car ride to the retreat.  Speaking of which, we had to get up at 4:30 am in order to have everything accomplished on time.  Insane!  Prayer ministry was the highlight.  No surprise there.  I was set for a prayer station with Stephanie and the PCP (parish contact person) came up and asked for prayers.  That was cool.  What was even better was that once she got up, we saw that a line of girls had formed for individual prayers.  They wanted to know Christ deeply and have the ocurage to stand up for Him.  It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  We ended up adding three more prayer stations and I would guess that more than half of the retreatants asked for prayers.  Then, about ten of them shared their experience.  So much was happening taht we had to extend prayer ministry by twenty minutes.  The Lord is amazing.  I’d share more, but my time is up.  So long for now!

Pray for us!

Peace in Christ,

Permalink Leave a Comment

Update #7: The Highlight Reel

September 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ll start with the details everyone has been waiting for! Team announcements. Team 2 is made up of 7 women and 5 men. We’re all very excited for the upcoming year though we’re still not sure where it will take us. There is a lot of talent and a lot of variety which ensures that we’ll be able to efficiently minister to very different teens.

Now for the highlight reel from the past two weeks of training.

1. The healing night was spectacular. After Confession I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet for everyone who was struggling. Right after, my heart started aching so badly that I cried. I went to be prayed with and the woman suggested that I have the spiritual gift of intercession. Basically, the Lord puts that pain on me and I’m called to intercede (pray for) them. Since then it’s been confirmed many times. Very cool.

2. Women’s Mass. We all dressed up and received colored crowns. The chapel was dimly lit with a white aisle lined with candles. The readings were focused on the image of marriage to Christ. To top it off, all of the men, all dressed up, entered with flowers while we were singing the closing song. They then escorted us back to the streamer-decorated dining hall for root beer floats and pictures. What a beautiful family.

3. Holy Spirit Night. We gathered with our small groups and took turns praying over one another. I prayed that anything that was preventing them from fully receiving God be placed on me. It was! My chest was heavy and I just wanted to fall before the Eucharist and cry. I jumped into praise and worship and the weight was lifted. Amazing.

4. Swing Dancing. A group of us learned moves from a few practiced people. One of the brothers even flipped me around a bit. It was a little scary but a lot of fun!

5. Sisterhood. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent so much time with women. It has taken some time, but I’m really getting used to it. I appreciate my female support system and we have so much fun!

Well that’s all I really have time for. I’ll update as often as possible. Don’t forget to write.

Peace in Christ,

1 Cor 12:12-26

Permalink 1 Comment

Update 6: My days are numbered

August 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized)

I leave in four days.  Actually, according to the countdown it’s 3 days, 21 hours, and some odd minutes until my plane departs.  I’m starting to experience a bunch of my “lasts”.  Goodbyes and see ya laters.  Tonight is my last youth group at Holy Apostles until Christmas.  Considering that church is my second home, it’s pretty weird to think about.  I’m giving a talk about trusting God’s will and stepping out of your comfort zone.  Ironic.

The good news is that my tears have dried, I’ve grown stronger.  God keeps nudging me toward the bright side and I see it all so clearly now.  There is so much in store for the future.  I’m pretty much psyched to head out on Thursday, despite the troubles I’ll have letting everyone go.  It reminds me of when Jesus tells Mary “Stop holding onto me” because he’s got stuff he knows he has to do.  So, let me tell you all…let go of me.  It will bring you and I much more peace.  And don’t worry, I’ll come back for you.  🙂

I have even more good news.  That I’m aware of, my money count is below the $1000 mark!  I sent out a few more letters to some family.  Aunt Judy and Uncle Jack donated $200 and then spread word of my plans to Judy’s sister who also donated $200.  My total still needed is, at most, $783.  Woot!  God is good and people are so generous!

Well, I’ve got to get back to writing my talk and packing my suitcase.  Keep all of the NETters and future retreatants in your prayers!

God bless,

Permalink 1 Comment

Update 5: Let go and let God work

August 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm (Uncategorized)

As of July 31st, I am still in need of $1513 for NET.  Overwhelming?  Maybe a little.  However, my dad pointed out (go figure) that if this is God then it should all work out.  Yep, go dad.  So, since then I’ve sent out a few more letters, been in the Woodstock Independent, and had a going away party at which I was given donations.  That I know of, I’ve at least raised another $330 which brings me to $1183.  Fr. Sherry said the church would cover the remaining amount, but I’m going to keep stabbing away at that number first.

Aside from money, I’m preparing other things.  My “things I need” list always seems to grow an item a day.  I’ve started packing up my room since we’ll be moving while I’m away.  I’ve been returning items to their respective owners finally.  Everything is starting to wrap up.

The mission trip really undid some of that neat “wrapping up”.  I strengthened old friendships and created new ones.  Bonds were formed that won’t be broken.  It’s going to be really hard for me to leave these people behind.  All of them.  They’re my best friends, adopted siblings, real family.  We’ve shared many laughs, cries, and everything in between.  They mean the world to me.  That fact helps me to let them go because if I do, they get to shine in my place.  I’m so proud of all of them.

Everyday draws me nearer to leaving and it’s funny how I can be so excited and still feel that tugging at my heart by all the things that I’ll leave behind.  God’s will be done.  The sacrifice of such beautiful people just makes NET so much more amazing.

Peace in Christ,

Permalink Leave a Comment

Update 4: Brevity is key

July 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ll keep this short and sweet.  🙂

Yesterday morning I had an interview with a reporter from the Woodstock Independent.  Keep an eye out for an article about my future plans with NET.  Hopefully it will help bring in some more sponsors.

On that note, I have $1663 left to raise in about 41 day’s time.  Intimidating?  Maybe a little.  Impossible?  Definitely not.  I’m still waiting for some of the sponsor letters I sent out to reap benefits.  We’ll see where that puts me.

So, I’ll be keeping you updated as to when the article gets published as well as how the fundraising is going.

Peace in Christ (Phil 4:6-7)

Permalink 1 Comment

Update 3: The next chapter begins

June 29, 2009 at 6:53 am (Uncategorized)

That’s right.  On June 27th, 2009 Mike proposed to me.  Now, you probably already knew that.  What you’re really looking for is the juicy story.  Here it is:

After a fun evening hanging out with friends, we took Taylor home.  On the way back to my house, Mike said we were going to the Chapel.  It was about 12:45 a.m. but I’m always up for some time with Jesus so I agreed to it.  I also had the sneaking suspicion that he was going to propose.  In the hour of time we spent in Adoration, Mike asked me nearly five times “what I was thinking” or “how I was feeling”.  I brushed it off as him being nervous.  After all, I didn’t want to call him out on the proposal and ruin the surprise.

Little did I know, Mike had spent that hour praying for confirmation that it was the right time.  My answer would have been that final confirmation…too bad I never told him I had that “feeling” that it was the right time.  We left the Chapel, discussed our separate experiences there, and then laughed/kicked ourselves when we realized we had missed that opportune moment.  We had almost gotten engaged at 2 a.m.

We resolved to go back later on.  Mike and I went to the 7 a.m. Mass that day.  Following that, we walked around the Chapel and prayed aloud together.  Finally, after completing our circle around the pond, we came to the brick rosary walk and sat down on a bench.  He told me he wasn’t going to say all of the cliche stuff for two reasons.  1) He obviously wanted to “spend the rest of his life with me” and “wake up next to me everyday” etc if he wanted to marry me. 2) He tells me that all the time.

So, instead, he told me things he admired and appreciated about me.   About my faith, purity, and how I’ve inspired him.  We prayed the Our Father line by line, alternating.  I was a little teary, as he finally asked me to marry him, but it was no surprise.  Sure, it may not sound like the fairy tale, but he made a good point.  We’ve made every decision in this relationship as a team, with God and us.  We’ve stayed consistent in that.  No surprises, no one being out of the loop.  Why should this even bigger moment in our lives be any different?

It was perfect in every flawed, goofy, ridiculous way.  We leaped in faith, please keep praying that we land safely.

God bless,

Permalink Leave a Comment

Update 2:Aren’t you kind of young?

June 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm (Uncategorized)

It is crazy.  Once I came to know God, I realized that the “dating game” was not something I wanted to waste time with.  In fact, I told myself I wouldn’t date until after college so I could stay focused on God’s will in my life.  However, we all know that once we make plans, God just laughs.

Mike and I are pretty unsure of when we really met for the first time.  We’d seen each other around at events because we shared a number of friends.  Finally, we were officially introduced during the summer of 2005.  I was warned jokingly by our mutual friend that he “dated every girl she introduced him to”.  For those of you who know me, you know I’m pretty stubborn.  From that moment on, I was determined to not be another number and I was determined to wait until after college anyway.  No big deal.

Mike and I hit it off pretty much right away (aside from his arrogant Catholic comment ;)).  We have been best friends for the majority of the four years we’ve known each other.  Because we lived so close, we spent almost everyday together, talking, joking, walking, laughing, crying.  He walked with me through some of the toughest times in my life.  The beginning of my faith in God, getting over my insecurity and mistrust of everyone, my parents’ divorce.  I stood by him as he struggled with his trials and I showed him the meaning of forgiveness and compassion.

However, I was not moved by his profession of love for me.  He was just my friend, almost a brother.  Little did I know, God was moving in his heart.  In fact, he was praying about me daily and God continued to tell him very adamantly “Wait”.  And wait Mike did.  Mike waited for me to give him a chance for two years.  Sometimes he was so discouraged that he tried to move on, but God always brought him back.

Finally, I started feeling miserable.  There was a weight that I knew I needed God to take care of.  I felt drawn to the Adoration Chapel, more than that, I was drawn by Christ in the Eucharist (though I wasn’t aware of it yet).  One night, I sat there, praying and praying, demanding peace and understanding.  When I finally shut up and let God talk, He had much more to say.  I looked upon the monstrance and I saw perfect love in the death of Jesus for me, a sinner and a failure.  Love isn’t always beautiful.  It hit me hard.  God had a plan for me alright and it was not waiting until after college to date.

I left the Chapel with so much conviction.  Mike and I spent a few months talking to every adult we looked up to who was living in Christ.  We prayed a lot.  We talked with each other a lot.  We made a list of pros and cons.  This was serious.  Obviously, you know how this story ends up.  On June 27th, 2007 Mike and I started dating.  The coolest part of that?  He never asked me out.  We were just talking and decided, sitting in the park that night, that this was it, the moment.  Then, we sealed it with a prayer.

Mike will probably tell you that Prom was when I turned around and recognized that he was it.  No doubt it was an important night in our path, but ultimately, the Eucharist is what turned me, just as Christ always turns our hearts.

Now, this may not have been the explanation you were expecting.  Perhaps  you were expecting my justifications for getting engaged at the young age of 18.  Maybe you expected a detailed plan to prove that we have life under control.  You know what?  It would be a lie if I told you our plan, because, as I’ve just shown, God changes them up fairly often.  I can’t rationalize what’s happening.  God does crazy things!  What I do know is this.  God set Mike aside for me and I for him.  We love each other because it’s a choice, a commitment, a conviction.  We’re trusting God and leaping in faith.  Pray for us.

Peace in Christ,

Permalink 2 Comments

Next page »