Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Events of 2011

10. Researching Compassion

Working with Dr. Allen was an incredible experience. I learned so much about compassion and gained so much experience in designing research. Unfortunately we couldn't continue this semester, but we will be starting back up again this spring! #compassionfactory 

9. Leading a Bible study & Discipleship

I love my small Bible study of three girls, and I love 2:42. FOCUS has been such a great thing in my life. Meeting with Lori in the spring and Dana in the fall weekly has pushed me to go deeper into my faith. I love that these Christ-centered relationships allow us to be real with one another and to walk through life together. I'm grateful Lori saw leadership potential in my last year, asked me into discipleship, and started me on this journey with FOCUS. Dana picked up right where she left off and has been an incredible role model, mentor, and friend. 

8. FuturesQuest

Oh my gosh, FuturesQuest was one of the most incredible leadership experiences I was able to have to date. This incredible group of mentors worked together in teams to mentor men who had just joined their fraternities. We introduced the idea of value based living and value based fraternity to the participants and had so much fun while doing it. The best part of FuturesQuest was it took place at Camp T. At that point in my life, camp & greek life were the two biggest things I was involved in. It was such an incredible experience to have those two worlds collide. I will never forget being one of three women with Mia and Kate, carrying Kevin's flag while he carried mine on our silent walk through camp, standing around the fire at the council ring with the participants and then just the mentors, and saying DG's Oath right outside of Teton under the beautiful Tecumseh winter sky with Kate.

7. Initiating Stephanie

The moment I learned what a legacy was and that I could initiate my legacy, I secretly hoped Steph would join DG. I knew she wouldn't come to Drake since she wanted to do nursing, and I knew that chapters were different at every campus, so I tried not to get my hopes up even after she chose a school that had DG. I think I was more nervous than she was during recruitment and more excited than she was on bid day. The second she joined I put her initiation date on my calendar and tried really hard to keep it a secret. I was successful and was able to surprise her during the ritual. It was really neat to see the differences in Eta Theta's initiation ceremony and to pin Stephanie. As I've gotten older, TDH & Delta Gamma have only grown in my heart. I am so excited to be able to share this with her and I can only hope that it will give her what it has given me. I can't wait to share more things about our chapters as she gets more involved and walk with her as we become double sisters for life.

6. Living with Carley & Emily

I love having my own room, cooking for myself, making Carley braid my hair, making Emily hug me, sitting in our living room, watching weird NCIS shows, watching them creep on people, and always, always laughing. 523Love. 

5. Mission to the Bronx

I can't say enough good things about this trip. I was amazed by how alive Christ is in such a huge city. I was constantly challenged and inspired by the missionaries, friars, sisters, and other students on the trip. I grew so much in my faith in such a short amount of time. I turned 21 on St. Patricks day in NYC, went to mass at St. Patricks' Cathedral on my birthday, and celebrated by wrapping presents with the Sisters of Life for women in need. It was such a great experience and will forever serve as a reminder as to why I love the Catholic church.

4. Panhellenic

I was so nervous for a new council. The 2010 Panhellenic Council was incredible and there were so many women that I looked up to on it. Leading it was going to be a big change. I have absolutely loved working with every single one of these women and have never been more proud to be a part of group. They thought outside of the box, tired new things with their positions, were forward thinking, and helped challenge Drake's greek community to stick to their values. I have made some great friends that I will miss sitting around a table once a week with. They are all outstanding leaders and I can't wait to watch Rachel and Sarah be presidents of their chapters for this next semester. Recruitment Barbies For Life.

3. Being Pathfinder Coordinator 

There are two great parts of this job. The first is leading the unit and the second is getting to live with the oldest girls at camp in Teton. Never in my life would I have thought I would have applied to be Pathfinder coordinator. Every year, they were my last choice in unit and then in November of 2010 I found myself applying to lead the unit. Being coordinator was nothing like I thought it would be and everything I thought it would be at the same time. The kids were incredible, Ben had a great vision for the unit, and I loved the opportunity to write programs that taught kids about social excellence, relationships, and service. The best part about being coordinator was working with Mike, Tom, Ben, Stacey, & John. Second period coord time was always crazy busy and crazy hilarious. When things got hard over the summer the LV leadership team was there to support me, remind me of camp's vision, and inspire me to keep going. 

And then there's living in LV12. Memories of getting bombarded with flies for obnoxiously cheering "Hoorah for Teton," hour and a half long devotions, crying campers at the end of the week, laughing so much, having incredible DC counselors in the cabin, and making great friends with 15-year-old girls will always remain in my heart. I love Teton as much as the rest of the camp hates our cheer. But the best part was getting to work with Mary Catherine. MCT was an incredible partner. She has incredible patience, found teaching moments in everything we did, and always knew how to relate whatever we were doing back to Christ. Her rock solid faith inspired me so much and I know it helped our kids grow all summer long. She is a saint for putting up with me this summer and I am blessed to call her a friend. 

This was hard, embarrassing, and incredibly grounding. Though I wouldn't have asked for this to happen, not getting this job was the reality check I needed. The incredible thing about not getting this job is the peace Christ has given with about what is going to happen after graduation. Yes I am terrified because I have no idea what I want to do, but I have peace knowing that if I remain close to him I will be doing something incredible.

1. Consecration

I'm really bad at describing what this is, but I will try. Mary is the most perfect human to have ever lived. She was constantly a servant to God and never thought twice about doing his will. She is incredibly kind, loving, and humble. She was Christ's mother and she is our mother. She is so incredible humble that all love, devotion, and prayers that are asked of her she immediately directs towards and brings to her son. This makes her the perfect vessel to help us draw near to Jesus. At Fatima, Mary told the children that more should be devoted to her. Total consecration to Jesus through Mary is when one consecrates, or devotes, themselves to Mary in order to draw closer to Christ. These 33 days of prayer taught me so much about myself, Mary, and Christ. I now wear a simple chain on my wrist to remind myself that I am a slave to Christ, and I do all things with Mary, through Mary, and in Mary which will allow me to do all things with Christ, through Christ, and in Christ. I hope that this consecration will continue to lead me deeper in my faith in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

10 Memorable Photo Moments From 2011

1. Spilling the popcorn kernels after the recruitment movie night. So stressful. So hilarious. So upsetting.

2. Turning 21 with the Sisters of Life.

3. Visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral. Twice.

4. I captured this precious moment during one of our many Chick-a-ton times.

5. Malik loves Kenevil. I love this picture.

6. Camp T campers love to have their friends sign their shirts on Fridays. Sarah & I were talking during a theme dinner & we turned to our left to see this boy asking the kitchen staff to sign his shirt. Such a beautiful moment.

7. We are seniors. So weird.

8. Right after Steph's initiation.

9. Doing what I love most - performing at closing campfire with Show Choir Clinic.

10. Look here if you don't know what this is referencing.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him!

Isn't this just the greatest gift ever!? My sister got me this journal for Christmas. I can't even wait to start filling out my autobiography in list form. Some of the lists are really funny. I think this will be a great tool for reflection, procrastination, and inspiration. 

Steph and I are all ready to continue our baking and cooking adventures. Now we can do it in high fashion.

Christmas at our house was low key, but it was great to spend it with family. On Christmas Eve we went to mass at Nativity, where I lead junior high youth group in high school. It was great to be back in that beautiful church. I even spotted some old friends from high school from afar. The priest started his homily by quoting the opening song, "oh come let us adore him." "What a perfect song to sing," he said, "as love can now be tangibly understood." He talked about how as humans we want nothing more than to be loved, forgiven, and to be shown compassion. We are all fascinated with the idea of love, but we cannot quite explain it.

And then Jesus came down to earth to be with us and our understand of love can now be tangibly understood in that act of humility. Further, we are shown an even greater act of love thirty-three years later when Christ dies for us. He challenged us to reflect on those images, especially the one of the nativity scene, and to thank Christ for his sacrifices for us. Oh come, let us adore him.

After mass we had dinner, opened presents from family members, and watched "A Year Without a Santa Claus." Even though we hadn't seen the movie in years, almost everyone remembered all of the words to the songs.

As we are now onto the second day of Christmas, I pray that you all had a great weekend with family and friends. During this Christmas season, let us truly be able to reflect on the love of Christ and act it out in tangible ways for one another. Keep spending time with your loved ones, not just during the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Pintrest-Inspired Christmas Baking!

I love Christmas. One of my favorite family traditions is baking on Christmas Eve. This year, I added some new foods I found on pintrest.

Found on Pintrest

Per usual, Steph made a delicious and AWESOME cake. This was not from pintrest - just the genius of her creative-baking mind.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs were a delicious pre Mass & dinner appetizer for Christmas Eve.

And then today for breakfast, I made a french toast bake, an egg bake, and chocolate chocolate-chip muffins.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

today, i want to go on an adventure.

I want to go on an adventure. I don't really know what that means, but I want to do something new. I want to push myself. I want to be doing work that is hard. I want to do work that I love, but secretly hate a little bit because of how hard it is. I want to have to push myself to go further, to go deeper, to keep going. I want to discover new terrains that expand deeply in all directions. I want to hike. To explore. To dream a new dream. To learn what the words family and love and respect and hope and charity and faith mean to other people. I want an experience that makes me learn something I didn't know about myself. I want to live so beautifully and so simply that those who have become accustomed to this first world that we live in would think it was dreadful. 

That kind of simple living is the richest. You have nothing to surround yourself with except for the other humans there in that place. And in that environment you learn to go deeper, to connect with each other and with God on an intimate level. There are no TVs, computers, or cell phones to hide behind. There is only relationship and humanity and the thrill of discovering all of these new things. I want to live so simply that it makes me uneasy, that it makes me quiver inside at who I once was. I want it to uproot what I thought I knew about the world and I want it to deeply change me.

Oh, I've had my adventures. I moved 500 miles away from home, I went off to college, I worked at camp, I visited El Salvador. But I want a full, unguided, unedited immersion that scares me half to death because I have no idea what I'm doing. I want to get out of this suburban bubble and just live. I want to do something important. I want to change someone's life. I want to be deep. I want to encounter new wisdom. I want to be so uncomfortable that I cry out to God asking why he led me to this place, but know the depths of my heart I'll be longing to go back when it's all over.

And when it is over, I want to come back and be so relieved to see the all of the matching houses in a row, to have running water and cell phones, and the internet. But after soaking in the goodness that is the technological world, I want to miss the beautify simplicity and clarity of the life I had. I want to reflect on what has happened, and what has changed, and I want to learn to incorporate the experiences in to my person. I want to be grateful for my experiences. I want to share it with others.

I want to travel. I want to grow. I want to change the world.

I want to go on an adventure. 

I want to live.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I think that sometimes, it is way too easy for us to buy into the gendertypes that our society pushes at us. Our women should be thin, tan, beautiful, and submissive. Men should be tall, muscular, make the money, and aggressive.  Media and advertisements perpetuate these stereotypes. We might say something about it, or be offended by it, but then we continue on our way and nothing changes. The media continues to define our roles.

Take the Dr. Pepper 10 advertisement campaign.

I understand the thought process behind it. Diet drinks have become associated as products meant for women. Dr. Pepper is trying to combat that by marketing this low calorie drink towards men. But, really? It's not for women? I'm pretty sure I can drink this soda and nothing horrible will happen to me. Except maybe hating myself for buying a product that is so blatantly sexist.

I was walking around Macy's with my mom yesterday, looking for slippers for my Dad and I was overwhelmed by the sexual advertising in the shoe department for men. Really? That man needs to have his shirt off to wear those slippers? I'm buying slippers because I'm cold, so I'm assuming that's why you're wearing them. You probably wouldn't be cold if you put a shirt on. I just rolled my eyes at the ridiculous ad and kept on shopping.

Then today, I found this on facebook:

I love this concept. I love that someone has decided to actively take a stand against out popular culture. I love that people are joining this cause and are taking a stand. Maybe it's small. Maybe nothing will change. But then again, you should "never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.

Check out their movement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Welcome to finals week.

St. Catherine's is a great place to study. It's full of the FOCUS team, friends, late night breakfast, and when you want it, distractions.

We played Operation. Seejo lost horribly.

Last night, Father Joel blessed our brains so we would prepare for our finals well. We also prayed for St. Thomas Aquinas' intercession to help guide our studies.

Rachel & some of her bible study girls wrote a parody to "when will my life begin?"Mixing tangled with jokes about finals week is great, so obviously we recorded it. You can watch it below. Ignore the embarrassing ending.

Right now, I'm taking a break by studying. In 45 minutes lots of friends will arrive to eat breakfast. It smells like pancakes. Mike is sad he doesn't have his mustache anymore. I got him to shave it off by telling him I'd follow him on twitter if he did. #win

But I think my favorite procrastination method so far has been our hashtag. Some of my favorite tweets:
  • "it's kind of scary how quiet it got when @nataliergadbois @Michelle Lippoli & @andipiela left"
  • "Moustache is gone. Me: "I thought you looked 10 years younger." Therefore I'm now following @bigmikeselenski #imsofunny @Dana4Life"
  • "YOU PULLED A @Dana4Life!!!"
  • "So far this finals week I've learned that the DSM Catholic Church needs to better utilize social media."
  • "I said NOTHING! And then you came over here & hit me in the face!"

I have one paper and two test to go. I can't wait to continue to #occupystkates until I'm done. #tweeton

Monday, December 12, 2011

I found this on pintrest. I think it reflects what I'm trying to do in my life right now.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy.

Instead of starting with a backhanded brag about how much work I have to do this week (it's that "I'm busier than you are, therefore I'm better than you" attitude I'm combating), I'm going to talk about this quote some of the other FOCUS student leaders and missionaries were putting up on facebook this weekend.

We live in a world, especially if we're on a college campus, where being busy indicates success. Unfortunately, I've become conditioned to become a believer of this mindset. The fuller my scheduler, the less free time I have, the better I feel. I thrive on my to do lists and constantly having a project to do or an event to plan. Last Monday night, I didn't have anything to do and it stressed me out. I felt lost. One of the reasons I'm sad about passing the Panhellenic gavel on Wednesday is because I won't have anything to do anymore.

"What is the biggest obstacle facing the family right now? It is over-commitment; time pressure. There is nothing that will destroy family life more insidiously than hectic schedules and busy lives, where spouses are too exhausted to communicate, too fatigued to talk to the kids. The frantic lifestyle is just as destructive as one involving outbroken sin. If Satan can't make you sin, he'll make you busy, and that's just about the same thing." - James Dobson

When I look to my days that are super busy, I see a trend of not taking the time to stop and pray. Busyness in itself is not bad, it's what we do with it that makes it destructive. If we make ourselves so busy that we do not have the ability to stop and pray, or stop and make time for those who need us, we are isolating ourselves from God's will. Throughout the history of the Bible and looking to the lives of the saints, God is found in the silence and stillness of our hearts. In this world, silence is almost an unheard of concept. We constantly have access to distraction and ways to keep ourselves busy.

So as we enter into this season of finals and the holiday rush, I am challenging myself to purposefully plan in quiet time in my schedule. My prayer is that if I can find silence in this crazy world, God will give me the peace and strength to get through finals. I know that if I can ground myself in him, I will have access to a calm that I wouldn't have if I just let myself become consumed with the intense time pressure of senior year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

thoughts on why it's been so hard for me to keep writing this semester

I stopped writing as frequently over the summer, mainly because I was exhausted all the time. Another reason was because camp was a little different and challenging in a more professional way this summer. I transitioned into a leadership role, and it was more demanding than being a regular counselor. I loved every second of it, but it was a lot more exhausting that what I was used to.

When I got back to Drake, I immediately transitioned into a recruitment machine. I lived, breathed, ate, and slept recruitment. With recruitment consuming my world, there wasn't much to write about, especially since 90% of what I was doing had to remain confidential. After that, the theme of this semester has been risk management and mediations. This is an extremely stressful process and again it is extremely confidential.

While all of this was going on, I was struggling to figure out what it meant to live out of the house and transition into being a senior. Things were busy, but not in a way that I was used to. Instead of lists of endless tasks to do, I was consumed with endless conversations and extreme emotions. Keeping in contact with friends from camp had gotten extremely difficult and I felt almost completely cut off from people as we were in this transitional phase of life.

I was able to refresh and get excited about school over fall break. I was able to spend 10+ days away from school with my family and friends from high school. And then I was able to spend the next weekend with friends from camp and reconnect. After both of these events, I was ready to write and even made a public statement about writing everyday that week.

And then, I didn't get a job that I was positive I was going to get.

I was shocked, hurt, confused, wounded, and mainly embarrassed. A lot of people knew I had applied for this job and I was counting on being able to know what I was going to do next year so early in the game. But then that plan came crashing down around me, and I didn't know what to do. Luckily for me, I am incredibly blessed to have an extremely supportive discipler in my life. Dana came over that night and we talked through it.

A lot of things have gone wrong and not as I have planned them this semester. It's one thing to say that Jeremiah 29:11 ("For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.") is one of my favorite verses, but it is a completely different thing to actually believe and trust it when things come crashing down around you.

I thought about blogging about it, but honestly, I couldn't get over the shame of admitting I had failed. To me, not getting this job screamed "YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH" in my face, and as much as I try, I still feel as though a lot of my worth is tied up in my titles, positions, involvement, and recognition. And after analyzing the fact that I didn't get the job and why I was feeling the way that I was all semester again and again and again, I came to a realization: I was letting my pride get in the way of everything in my life.

I've been reading a lot of verses and writing about dying to oneself and following Christ. This message is everywhere, and to truly follow him one MUST give up everything. Easy to say, so hard to do. When Dana and I were talking that night, she asked me, "are you willing to let this go because Christ has something better for you? Not something that is easier, more convenient, or more glorified, but something that is truly better for you?" And for me, I think there is a lot I need to die to or let to in order to fully and truly follow Christ.

So now I am working on being honest with myself and who I want to be. I am praying fervently for a death to my pride and an increase in humility. I want to be real, I want to recognize that things aren't always perfect for me. I want to let go of material and prideful things so that I can create more space in my heart for Christ.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I don't really have much I want to say right now, but I said I'd blog everyday this week. And I'm going to do that.

Today, I'm grateful for:
1. Sarah Mooney's hugs
2. Starbucks coffee
3. Friends who bring you McDonald's
4. Father Joel's jokes in the middle of mass
5. Dinner with Rachel
6. A conversation that was an unexpected blessing
7. Hour long Panhel meetings (15 minutes of actual meeting, 45 minutes of being friends)
8. Dancing with friends in my apartment
9. Honesty
10. Our WV CA picking up our trash tomorrow morning

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our apartment is a place of insanity right now

Today was a good day. My three hour class was canceled, so it felt like I had SO MUCH TIME to do things! I obviously took the opportunity to do my laundry, hang up pictures on my wall, and add more quotes around the apartment. And study for my test Wednesday.

Later, I had a meeting to finalize the details for the second "Night of Unity," and a 2:42 meeting.

2:42 was a great time to sit and reflect upon the purpose of prayer in our lives. We've been talking a lot about prayer this year and just how important it is. We talked about how when we're praying, we are simply participating in a relationship with God and how he is constantly working in our lives and we just need to show up and do it. If we just show up, he will do the work. All he needs is our yes to continually work in our lives.

Tomorrow is a big day for apartment 523, so we may or may not just finished running around and screaming/laughing/making a scene from anxiety/stress/insanity.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


It's been really hard for me to write lately.

I'm not sure why. Ok that's a little bit of a lie. I think it's because life has been a little hard lately, and I'm used to being a positive, faithful person who knows exactly where I'm going and where I want to be. But that's not how I've felt for this past month. It's been hard for me to connect to God, and I feel like I've been really disconnected from who I am and who I want to be. And I haven't wanted to share those struggles.

I think one of the things that is hardest for me to admit is that I am not perfect. Somewhere along the way these past four years I've developed a thick external shell that does not allow me to need others to take care of me and does not allow me to make mistakes. But the crux of this shell is I need other people to make me feel loved, wanted, and whole. I need others to support me, keep me accountable in who I say that I am, and help me stay close to Christ. One of the reasons this past month has been so hard is because I've felt so distant from my friends. And it's because I've been going through life simply engaging in acts of trivia. I've been going from meeting to meeting to class to meeting and not stopping to spend real and intentional time with my friends. I didn't realize it right away, but that time being disconnected was eating away at my soul.

The other issue goes a little deeper, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to share those underlying factors with the world yet. But I think the important part is that I am acknowledging that for some reason I have a need to seem strong, and independent, but that's not necessarily what's good for me. I'm working on this.

This week, my goal is to write something every single day. And to post it. It doesn't have to be super deep or insightful, I just have to write. I love writing because it helps me sort out my thoughts, my feelings, and my relationships. I am most connected to myself and to God when I am writing. And when I don't do that, I get lost. So this week, I am going to write. And I'm going to remember who I am.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Break

Right now, I'm blogging from my kitchen at home.

My weekend was pretty packed. I babysat for Quinn Thursday night. She is precious and has grown up so much!

On Friday I took a six hour drive southeast towards Saint Louis.

I picked Steph up at SLU, and we went straight to Six Flags. We had so much fun wandering around the dark park, getting lost, and avoiding the people dressed in scary costumes that follow you around. High of the night? Getting put in the same ferris wheel cart as a couple on a romantic date. #awkward

Saturday we went shopping and got lost downtown. We drove through an occupy wall street protest, past the arch, and into an area with basically no buildings. Luckily, google maps got us back to campus safely.

Sunday I drove home to Kansas to finish my midterm for my aggression class. I was impressed with how productive I was able to be at home. Carly and I joked the rest of the day about being primed for aggression. We like to make psych major jokes.

I love being home. Last night, I baked for my family and got to decorate cupcakes. Three of my favorite things.

Speaking of family, did you know I'm a grandma? Well, a DG one anyways. Dana's new little is Hannah. She's great and is so excited to be apart of our family. Big/little reveal was SO fun. I loved watching how excited everyone was when they found out who their big is!

I'm glad to get to be home for the next few days. It's good to get away from the stress of college life and refocus.