Saturday, January 28, 2012


Last night and all day today, a few of my best friends and I went to the Youth for Truth conference. On our way there, we were kind of hoping that it wouldn't be the same as all the chastity talks we'd already heard... Little did we know that we would be blown away by how much new stuff we would learn and how much we would be influenced by all the talks. Throughout the weekend, we heard talks from Sara Sheerin, Chelsea Schmidt, Chris Walters, and Kyle Kuckelman, Alli Donohue, Molly Sanborn (aka The Cheeseball Chick), and the legendary Jason Evert. AMAAAAAZINGGG.

So, let's start with Jason's talk: "Finding Love in a World of Lust." This guy is absolutely hilarious. He talked all about how everything and everyone in our world pressure us to live unchaste lives, and they tell us that if you don't give into society's temptations, that you're the weird one. But Jason says that amidst our lustful society, it really is possible to find true, pure love. If we live out the virtue of chastity by saving ourselves for our future spouses, we are actually gaining freedom, not giving it up like many people think. We gain the freedom to have the most beautiful, Christ-filled love once we find the person God planned for us to be with forever. We have to be patient and wait it out so we don't miss that person, though. This idea led to my favorite quote of the entire weekend from Jason, "High school isn't for finding your husband. It's for finding your bridesmaids." This is the time in our lives that we should be forming friendships that will last for years and years and years. Jason also focused on the idea that we can always be forgiven in Christ for what we've done. We can't just cram our feelings down and put on masks for people to think we're just fine. He said, "If anything comes up, down just stuff it back down; push it up even further to the Lord." Offer everything up to Him. Another thing that I really took away from this talk is the idea of writing letters to my future husband. Any time you're tempted to do something, or any time you think there's no chance for love, write a letter to your future spouse. Pray for them, know they're out there somewhere. God's just waiting for the pefect opportunity for you two to meet.

Another talk of the weekend was Chris and Kyle's "Manimal: The Call of Duty." This talk was hysterical, mostly because it was Kyle and Chris. But these guys actually know a lot about the way guys think and the "call of duty" (haha duty....) that God wants all of us to answer. Chris started it off with a fantastic quote from Blessed John Paul II: "The duty of every man is to protect the dignity of every woman." Holy shnikeys. That pretty much sums it all up right there. Kyle and C-Dub used the analogy that guys can be like vikings or knights. The vikings just go around taking whatever they want and dumping it once it isn't useful to them anymore. Then there are the knights who would stand up for their beautiful princess, protect her, and even die for her. Kyle told all of us girls, "Every single one of you girls are princesses, and you deserve absolutely nothing less than a knight." Kind of amazing. Chris then went on to say that we need to protect ourselves from the vikings out there, but that we can't over-guard our hearts. He says "a guy can't be your knight in shining armor if you're the one wearing all the armor." True that, true that.

The next great talk was Sara, Chelsea, and Alli's "You are More than a Victoria's Secret Model." These ladies split this talk into three main sections: Beauty, strength, and mystery. For the beauty part, Alli focused on how dressing modestly is more attractive than those Victoria's Secret models who wear pretty close to nothing. Dressing modestly shows guys that we want them to look inside us at our personalities, not just our bodies on the outside. Then Chelsea talked about mystery. She said our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God, and that God wants us to share ourselves with only one person once we're married. We can't be flaunting ourselves like those Victoria's Secret models, because where's the mystery in that? What is going to be left for our future husbands if we've already shown all that to the rest of the world? We are special, and can't let anyone tell us differently. Then Sara focused on strength. She talked about how we have to be strong in our decisions of living chastity, but even more importantly, we have to be strong in letting the men be men. Many people say that chivalry has died in our society, but Sara says that's because we ladies killed it. We live in a society that tells us we need to be indepent and that we should do everything ourselves. But we need to let the guys answer the call of duty. Sara said, "If the guys want to be that knight on on their little white cartoon horse, let them."

The last talk was Molly's "Lies About Guys." This is what every girl hears all the time. All the lies that we hear about he we have to act and what will make us more beautiful. The lies that Molly dicussed were: 1. If he doesn't glace, get some tighter pants. LIE. Dressing modestly will attract the kind of attention you want -- a guy who won't just look at you, but look into your personality. 2) If you're not making out, you're missing out. LIE. There are so many better things we can be doing with our high school years than hooking up. Am I right? And 3) You need a boy to have joy. LIE. No guy will ever be able to complete us and make us fully happy. Only Jesus can do that. He's kind of a big deal... And my favorite thing about Molly is her motto: "Spreading joy to the world one cheese ball at a time."

This was a FANTASTIC weekend full of love, learning, and life lessons. If strongggggly suggest going next year, if you missed this one. I pinky promise it will rock your world, and get you thinking about pure love.

So for chastity, cheeseballs, and true love... GOD IS GREAT.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

#SaveTheBabies #March4Life2012

36 hours on a bus from KC to DC.
22 hours back home.
58 total hours on a bus.
All of that for the the most amazing 36 hours of our lives in Washington DC.

On Friday afternoon, we all met for a send-off mass with everyone from the Archdiocese of KCK. Fr. Gary's homily pertained specifically to the fact that when we do good things for the world, people and other forces are going to oppose us. After seeing the effects of driving straight into a huge snow and ice storm on the bus, we realized that truer words have never been said. Satan obviously knows the impact that the March for Life has on so many people, so he tried to stop us. Several times. Stopping the busses for the ice storm, getting us kicked out of a mall and left trying to find somewhere for food, and stopping our busses at yet another wreck on the highway. But did Satan stop us from saving those babies? Absolutely not. Satan's got nothing on us.

The first full day we were DC, Kyle found something on Twitter that totally changed our outlook on the entire march. The tweet said that the March for Life wasn't just a pilgrimage, it is the front line of battle. That hit all of us like a ton of bricks. Standing up against Roe v. Wade and the killing of 1.3 million babies per year is not something that we should take lightly. This is spiritual warfare we're dealing with here. That's intense stuff. So from that point on, we referred to all of our actions as preparing for the battle. The battle between life and death. And as Archbishop Naumann always says, "Vitae Victoria Erit" -- LIFE WILL BE VICTORIOUS. We will pray, fight, and march until our side, the side of LIFE, claims victory.

Another thing I realized on this fantastic trip: The power of PRAYER. Prayer is our number one weapon going into battle. It's peaceful, purposeful, and powerful. One of the first times we saw this power on the trip was when our bus was stopped for three and a half hours on the highway. Someone suggested that we pray a Rosary while we waited. Literally, the second we all picked up our Rosaries, the traffic began moving and the bus started inching forward. That moment definitely called for an "Ohhh yeahhhh, Virgin Mary, yeahhh!" But it all seriousness, we realized that God had his hand in every little thing that happened that weekend, as he always does. Prayer is our way of knowing that he's there all the time, watching our backs, and getting us through. Praying to St. Michael was another method of prayer that we found really helpful. The St. Michael prayer is absolutely fitting for our battle for LIFE, considering that it begins with "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil." With St. Michael, Mary, all the saints and angels, and of course Jesus on our side, how could we not be confident going onto the front lines?

The actual march itself was mind-blowing. Over 300,000 people marched the streets of our nation's capitol, and those people ranged anywhere from newborn babies to toddlers to teenagers to college students to middle aged people to the elderly. This is a fight for everyone. Why? Because it affects each and every one of us on a personal level. Because we all have life... Seeing all of these people marching for one cause was life-changing. Especially because the media totally downplays it, in fact, they don't really cover it at all. But that's alright, because we don't do it for the media, we don't do it for attention. We do it to save lives. If even one woman decides to keep her baby instead of abort it, because of our efforts, then we've done well. At first, I had this mindset of "Yes! Let's go save the world!" And this isn't totally impossible, but we have to change the world little by little, one person at a time. Like Mother Teresa said, "There are no great things, only small things with great love."

The final big idea I have to share about what changed me at the March for Life is the idea that our generation has so much power. The youth of church has sooooo much potential to do so much good for this world. “Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity” (1 Timothy 5:12). We can be leaders. Especially through all the technology we have available. On the march, we realized that if we want young people around us to care about being pro-life, we had to bring this pilgrimage to them, through Twitter especially. Everyday, we all tweeted hundreds of times using #savethebabies. So simple, yet so impactful. Technology can be our friend if we use it correctly.

So overall, it was an absolutely fantastic trip. It opened our eyes, hearts, and minds to the thing we should all be fighting for -- LIFE.

#March4Life #savethebabies

Monday, January 2, 2012

Marriage. WOAH BABY.

The past few weeks, I had the pleasure of helping set up a bunch of stuff for a wedding. No, not just any wedding... Sara and Michael Sheerin's wedding (aka, basically the coolest people I know). So the suspense was building... We were making place cards for the reception, decorating centerpieces for the tables, tying bows on the worship aids, and other fun stuff. I started getting caught up in the craziness, but then I took and step back and I was like, "Holy crap and a half. They're getting MARRIED."

Marriage is pretty much the coolest thing of all time. When you say "I do," you commit yourself to that other person FOREVER. Forever is a reallllllllly long time. You promise to always be there for that person through all the highs and lows, and to love them no matter what. Unconditional love. That's where it's at.

Oh, speaking of unconditional love. Coolest thing I've ever seen... A couple girls and I got to the wedding early to pass out worship aids and we were going to talk to Michael, but he was like, "Hold on, I'm going to confession really quick!" Um.... WOW. Getting his soul all clean for his beautiful bride. That's a man right there. And that's unconditional love.

Later, at the reception, there was an old couple who had been married for 48 years. Dang. And they were giving advice to Sara and Michael... The man said, "My advice is: She's always number one, and I'm number two." Then the woman followed by saying, "My advice is: He's always number one, and I'm number two." Sacrificial, unconditional love yet again.

So congratulations to Sara and Michael. I love you both, and I know you guys are going to do amazing things for this world... And you already have. I'll be praying for you guys.

For the beautiful sacrament of marriage, for Sara and Michael, and for unconditional love... GOD IS GREAT.