New Favorite Book (so far…at 22 years old!)

If you’re curious what this book is all about, the author will explain her story (not necessarily what’s in the book) in the first half of this video:

I was inspired by this book. I want EVERYONE to read it, but I understand that the likelihood of this occurring after this sentence’s plea is SLIM-TO-NONE. So I’m taking the tone out of the book and applying it to my blog, in the hopes that it will inspire you to care about the pages that scream Truth hidden under this somewhat-cheesy title, Kisses from Katie.


I will blog in diary-form today in honor of Katie’s choice to share many diary entries in her book, which brought her words into the New York Time’s bestseller list. I hope that my words will just bring you to read her words.

August 9:

I had a beautiful day. I felt more love than I’ve felt in years (!!!!!). I WAS myself as the Lord intended in giving my time and effort toward those He wanted me to have in my day. I also don’t feel like striking up a text conversation/phone call just to tell someone all about this. Instead, as I know through God’s grace, it will reach the correct audience via this blog and allow my friends to continue with what typical 22-year-olds do on their Thursday nights (which is not listening to all this!).

I go through a day loving (and receiving love) that I can’t exclaim over social media, and I honestly don’t even know that it’s my place to take a photo to remember it all, for reasons of finding guardians that aren’t present to give permission. In today’s example, I was not about to whip out my iPhone for photos with the camp kids while the Sisters of Charity needed my help in every way BUT documenting our day’s experience. (YES- sisters of the Missionaries of Charity = Mother Teresa’s order. The fact that I was invited to now work with my role model’s order is God’s plan, and I love to get to know their role in a community). 


Two sisters of Charity with whom we worked with today! Such INSPIRING women who said yes to their calling to a supernatural vocation! For those who are called, it so obviously brings so much joy!

I feel that I am more loved today than I ever have been in my entire life. I believe that this is false, only because I believe in something greater: I know that God has loved me so much every day even before I could realize what love He had to give (and gifted me in every second, unbeknownst to me).

Facebook may ask for a relationship status. How does this sound: In a relationship with…’God, loving His children, and being there for my neighbors.’ (Or, more accurately, sounds like something I’d never write up for Facebook). I’m not asking for this reality to be flaunted any more than God asks me to, but why does all the love I receive not have a place to convey its power and strength and INFLUENCE on my life?


Where can I talk about how my spiritual director is really set in my heart as a spiritual mother, for how much care she has for my life? How do I explain how precious every moment is working alongside my lifelong best friend- the one who will be entering a cloistered community of nuns and whom I will only be allowed to visit a few times more in our lifetime? How do I explain the joy I know in discovering more about myself to know better how to work as an occupational therapist one day? Under what circumstances could I explain my highlight of the day in a newsfeed post when it involves showing my non-religious friend a church that moves her so much that she asks for a tour and she is the one lagging behind to pray in the silence for longer than I realized we’d be there? Where do I talk about how my nanny children list the three days we have together this summer as their top three parts of their summer *and I am just as excited as they are)? In what place of my Facebook profile do I write about the little brother I love and care for in prayer every day as he goes through intensive surgeries to fight to keep one of his senses in good condition to live a normal, happy, active 5-year-old life? Where can I mention the inspiration that my brave best friend brings me when she takes huge steps to stop ignoring the vocation she’s had since she was 14, but now is sharing this essential part of her life with me, so I can grow and learn through her experience, as it is so different from my own? Where do I mention the tears concerning the countless children in orphanages whom I will never meet, but am aware of after volunteering at enough orphanages to know that they definitely exist and most certainly could use more hugs, laughter, and attention? Where do I babble about my new favorite parts of my week: playing tennis with my dad, precious moments being happy and talkative with my 17-year-old little sister (for the first time in her teenage years and my young adulthood), unexpectedly sharing a mass with friends in my UST community, sharing time around the house with my mom, and cooking nights with my siblings Alyssa and Ryan?

Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’m writing this post completely for those I know right now. As much as I love all my readers, I think this post will be written to be used for something unknown, because otherwise I wouldn’t feel comfortable or brave enough to actually hit ‘post’. Maybe one day, I’ll want to explain this period of my life as it has passed in my heart, not as my Facebook timeline shows it.

Facebook, you’ve got me wrong. You show me with 286 friends, 92 photos, and a few likes and comments here and there. You don’t show me with:

  1. A heart more full than I realized a heart could be

Example: Being present and involved with my family is the hugest blessing I’ve known so far in my life, and I’m just starting to piece together the importance of announcing this, too. Serving my family brings me my proudest moments and greatest happiness; I know it likely will never be valued by my home city’s society or current age group, but that will never stop me from loving such a simple, pure joy.

(Call me ridiculous, but I am also overjoyed to treat my dog with attention and give him the simple things in life- a walk every day, someone to tell him goodnight, and someone to allow a few scraps to fall from the table).

  1. A sadness so great as to construct goodness from its pain (only by the grace of God)
    1. To know who you can help often means to see who you realize who you cannot help, and this brings anxiety and sadness
    2. Can one truly live without regret? My greatest feelings of unworthiness and sadness stem from regret and recognizing my moments of cowardice or inaction
    3. Seeing myself fail and not being okay with NOT having the answer. If God has the answer, I am already taken care of. It’s one thing to believe it and another to live off of this belief, so I’m sad to see where I fall short in living out this reality.
  1. The understanding and more often than not, even FEELING, of a love that words won’t describe, because words are of this world (and in my case, of a human with limited writing skills), and this love is not of this world; it’s of Him. Yeah, it sounds weird to want it more than romantic love, so anti-current-culture, yeahyeahyeahyeah. I don’t want jewelry, I don’t even want flowers like I used to always want, I don’t want physical connections I thought I needed…I just want more of this Love.
  2. Romantic love in my future will be better than ever now that I give it the expectations it always should have had. I know I am good for Him, and therefore, I am good for who He wants me to love romantically. He’ll probably keep me waiting, too. He asks His favorites to wait through their own feeble attempts at creating only what He can make out of their life. So, I wait. I work to not ask for any rushing or hurrying along, even when most of my summer weekends will be spent at weddings of friends and relatives. I won’t hurry anything to the tune of expectations or ‘what I deserve’. (I deserve nothing, actually) + (God gives me everything, and I have ALL*THIS*IN*MY*LIFE to be grateful for) = (*WOW* I never knew I had a capacity for such love, joy, and happiness, until I accepted the Truth that God is in my life).
    1. Sometimes I’m really happy and I wonder if I need to show it to others. I reason that I shouldn’t make a point of touting around my happiness, as this wouldn’t be genuine; I believe this so very often that it worries my parents sometimes; I swear they wonder about me sometimes, hehe! Therefore, this post will be evidence that I still have my stupid little moments of being upset in the day, and I don’t talk to others about the True brilliance in each day, but now I am writing with all those who have ever felt worried about me in mind: do not ever worry for my sake again. Instead, pray for me, please, to keep stumbling upon more than I had ever asked of this life to bring to me (*big difference*).

THE END- take what you may out of this, I only intend positive change/contemplation to come from reading this; hope it helped you be more firm in what you believe or think about what you’d like to believe!

If that post was not your cup of tea, maybe her words will inspire you to read more of where they came from:

“I believe that nothing is a sacrifice in light of eternity with Christ.”

“I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally, absolutely, with all of ourselves, so much that hurts, and then more.”

“I always hope my friends will live here on earth with me, but I tell them with a new sense of urgency about Jesus because mostly I want them to live with Him, experience His profound, unconditional love, whether here or in heaven.”

“I see sadness, but I also see redemption.”

“Maybe I am not surprised that He heals. He says that He can. But I am always surprised that He loves me enough to allow me to be a part of it.”

“I am young and I know that the most difficult times are not behind us. But as I rest in Him and draw near I am learning much and I am remembering that I am one of His favorites. And even in the middle of a storm, even when I can’t see the good yet, He can. And He is looking at me with that twinkle in His eye, just waiting to surprise.”

“Every morning, when we wake up, our goal is to be available: to one another, to the sick who come needing medicine, to the homeless man on the sidewalk, to the short-term missionary seeking community in a new place… just available to share the love of Jesus whoever God puts in front of us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach my children this.”

“We only hurt this deep because we loved, were loved, and that is how we keep loving sometimes.”

“Life just gets harder, but there is purpose in the hard. That is how God’s grace works, I think. I believe I am at wit’s end, that this must be the hardest moment in my life, and He carries me. Then I reach harder moments, laugh at myself for once thinking I had done the hardest moment in life already, and remember how He carried me. He always carries us. The hard places, the desert places, they mold us and they teach us who we really are- broken and completely dependent on God’s grace to give us one more day.”

“There is truly no greater gift than to give yourself away. The more we give, the more He fills, and this is fullness of joy. I give and I trust Him, and as I trust, I overflow with joy and peace. We pour out and He fills us, time and again.”

“God uses us in our brokenness. We simply have to be willing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my life would look like this- I am a normal, flawed, selfish, ungraceful human being. Why would He use me? Because He created me in His image and delights in me and can pour His wholeness and perfectness and extravagant grace into any open hand or heart that is surrendered to Him. If He can use me, He can use anyone.”

Also, I’d like to pose a question that also applies to Instagram and Twitter (and blogging, even):

(To be honest, how do we feel when we check our Facebook pages? I love when I can get into contact with those living across the country or world! I love staying up-to-date with best friends who no longer live near me, and I love the ease of posting something to a great friend’s wall or wishing someone a happy birthday. It is great to see what my relatives are up to, and I can even add prayers to my day when someone will post asking for this. Yet, I notice what others have in situations that I “could’ve had”, and (depending on how ‘sensitive’ the topic is), it makes me sad, because I’m not seeing the blessings that they must go without– yet I receive in excess, because I can’t imagine God blessing one person more than another, it’s just that some blessings can be displayed better on Facebook than others. I do notice people who have stopped ‘liking’ my posts, and unfortunately, I even wonder why. So, I don’t know where I stand on Facebook! Readers, please comment if you have an opinion!!)

Much, much, much love to my readers- as always! Here’s the book I am hoping you’ll hunt down:



Ann: When Words Don’t Suffice

There’s this super special best friend for life/basically-sister/mind-reader I have, and I want everyone else to know about this priceless person who is called Ann Duevel by many and Duev by a select few.

First of all, Duev treats me well when it would be difficult to do so…through the ‘stickier’ parts of who I am, she sticks with me (aw, how punny…!).

I met Duev sophomore year. We got to know each other via our swim team connection, though this wasn’t ever the glue that held our friendship together (especially when she decided that practice was no longer worth dealing with because of the presence of our coach…heheheh, oh Kevin!!)

She always buys me stuff for no reason, and it’s always the most thoughtful thing- and SO meaningful. She will listen to a story one *million* times, and try to understand my point of view *two* million times. She will take the time in my pitiful moments and encourage me when I feel like I am not enough. She gives new perspectives and thoughtful insight, and I listen carefully to Duev because I know how much she holds in her heart; I know how much she cares.

She will help me out of a bad situation, but she pushes me to test my limits to improve myself through experience, and inevitably, mistakes along the way. She let me borrow a fabulous bright red Nebraska sweatshirt for months and when it was finally time to give it back, she was happy to just let me have it because it would be a great reminder of an even greater person in my life who I won’t be seeing in person for 8 months.

Sometimes she’s the backbone of our friendship, and sometimes I’ll take up the role. She’s the one who deals with my need for friendship breaks, and taking back unecessarily-made friendship breaks. She’ll listen when I feel like there’s something to say, and it doesn’t always have to be pleasant. I guess this is how lifelong friendship goes- giving a lot and receiving a lot, never 50/50 all the time, but somehow, it evens out (As of this post I still owe you a lot of gas money though hahaha…there’s no even part about that….so that will be coming soon to a car near her!)

Ann, I think I’ve laughed the hardest in my life in your presence, I think I’ve made my biggest mistakes knowing you’d catch my fall, and ultimately, I’ve made some huge life changes (even without you necessarily understanding every bit about them) knowing you’ll stay by my side. This takes a miracle, but luckily, miracles do exist: you as my best friend!!

We’ve made some extreme trips happen together and it’s really true that travel is going to make or break a connection with someone (thank goodness we made it!!). Ann, I don’t say any of this stuff enough to you, or even worse, I’m not sure that I’ve ever expressed all this to you before. Well…I’m always giving you belated birthday gifts so let’s call this post an early birthday gift (don’t worry I’ll mail you something on your birthday too!!)

*Finally*, this girl is always making the most out of life and experiences offered (modeling was in the works somewhere in between bartending and the next new big thing I will not yet announce, and this will surprise no one!).

Here’s a little bit of what she’s been up to:


Always the piano player! Even when pencils get dropped into baby grand pianos…no worries! We’ll fish ’em out! No fingers broken!


Is it legal to be this amazing on your birthday? (THAT SMILE)


This group may look usual, but we are SILLY together. So much fun at hotels under construction!!! Hahaha. Future cruise buddies, it better happen!

Sometimes Ann feels calm and expresses this for a photo…


…but usually not…hehehee….

The best drink for Duev? Look no further…


Pisco Sour for second place and all its glory when mixed with Duev..!

The best meal she’s ever not paid for? You know it’s right here…(of course there’s a story behind this!)


She may have asked for extra grease on that, we’re not sure…

The best expression she’s ever given to a camera she didn’t know was on? Oh, it’s been documented:


The best friend she’ll ever have?

Not sure, but here’s a great photo of her in a poncho with some ridiculous kid who probably had to pay to get a photo with such an amazing person:


Duev, I’ll put one normal photo in. Enjoy:


The Wake-Up Moment

(Julia defines) ‘The Wake-Up Moment’- a situation (often slightly dangerous) that allows you to take a moment to evaluate where your life is going, what you want to get out of it, and if you’re on the path to make it to these essential goals.

I have ‘wake-up moments’ every time I’m in an area with grizzly bears, or wolves. I have ‘wake-up moments’ right when a flight is taking off or touching down. I had ‘wake-up moments’ in the few times I’ve ever been seriously sick enough to get really worried about a future (I was overreacting terribly, all was taken care of correctly each time– just some lag time due to the language barrier in understanding that!).

I just had another ‘wake-up moment’ yesterday when walking to my duplex from my lovely friend Claire’s apartment-I was walking on the sidewalk behind the baseball fields at my school, and I never considered the possibility of a homerun creating a small, dangerous object flying at me…until it happened! Luckily it missed my head by a few feet!

Anyway, of course it put another ‘wake-up moment’ in me right in the middle of my finals studying, so this post will acknowledge it and I’ll come back to it for my own purposes later- but for you, reader, does this ever happen? Am I crazy with this phenomenom? Just thought I’d share because these moments really do inspire the action needed to put me where I need to be, and they take out fear from the picture!

Wishing you all successful ‘wake-up moment’-inspired action in your lives!
Much love, readers.

(Also, random recent photo included:)

la foto 2



You are amazing in so many ways.

You send me kind letters that still even have a few pieces of Seattle grass in them!

You tell a story how it is…I like this, because it gives the world a few more people to pray for.

You love with all your heart- this makes the family you’re caring for SO lucky to have you.

You care about friends. Once a friend, always a friend.

You’re artistic like CRAZY. I hope you never lose that; you inspire me to pick up a pencil and draw a bit!
You know the value of friendship and remind me of this- hence the best thing you’ll get to a letter until I figure out

how to better utilize the mailing system here…(as it stands now….the mail takes far too long and costs FAR too much…I’m working on it…)

Continue reading

Screen shot 2014-01-26 at 10.49.02 PM

So of course I’ll miss Taylor quite a ton, but I might not miss her joking about how this gringa will handle her overpacking madness. It’s funny because it’s true though..I’ll give her credit where credit is due.

I’m writing from Arequipa, Peru next. I love everyone and everything for getting me to this point…if you’re wondering how I feel right now. Just pretty excited and happy and so, so blessed.