Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival

I was invited to join in this sweet little Carnival of all-things Catholic and blog-y called “Sunday Snippets.” ¬†I thought, what the heck!? I know I’ve looked for sweet Catholic blogs to read before, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has! ūüôā Also, I figure if I’m posting an update of the posts I’ve written that week, it will hold me accountable to, well,¬†actually¬†posting every week. (You’re welcome mom and sisters.)

So follow the link here to the host post for the week where you can see links to a bunch of other Catholic blogs.¬† The way it works (I think) is that you just click on any of the links in the blog post I just sent you to. ¬†Then, you get redirected to a post on a different blog with the highlights of what they posted that week. ¬†That way, within a minute you can head to many different blogs and check out different topics that interest you. ¬†So, why not get this Catholic missionary’s perspective thrown into the mix!? ¬†I’m totally excited to have more blogs to be inspired by!

Also, I’m thinking there might be a weekly question. ¬†(At least there’s one this week.) ¬†The question is “Who is your favorite Saint?” ¬†I will go with…St. Th√©r√®se of Lisieux since this blog is named after her and everything. ¬†(Though St. Felecity and St. Philomena are¬†not far behind.)

My posts for the week:

A long-overdue post about what a Thursday in the life of a missionary might look like.

And one about Friday too!

And I just finished a post about the Thirst Eucharistic Conference (a free conference featuring Cardinal Dolan, Scott Hahn, Dr. Sri, 6000+ Catholics and more!) that I went to this weekend in Bismarck.  (Spoiler: The conference was awesome and I tweeted all. about. it.  The blog post contains plenty of those tweets!)

So, here’s to Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival. ¬†Blog on!


Thirst: A Eucharistic Conference via Twitter

Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14

I just walked in the door from “Thirst 2013.” ¬†It was a three day Conference filled with all things Catholic. ¬†It was put on by the Diocese of Bismarck and–the best part–it was¬†totally free! ¬†It was quite amazing that the diocese, thanks to generous donors, could sponsor a free, three-day event for 6000+ Catholics. ¬†I’m pretty confident a lot of lives were changed. ¬†A lot of hearts were healed. ¬†A lot of souls redirected toward heaven. ¬†I know I’m in all three categories!

Anyway, we took 50ish students from NDSU and made the three hour hike west.  I wish I could post everything I learned/realized/etc. at the conference.  But, everyone would quit reading because the list would be so long.

The very first announcement made at Thirst was that they really wanted everyone to hashtag “#THIRST2013” on Twitter and tweet about the weekend. ¬†I decided to take that as a challenge and, instead of writing notes from the talks in a journal or notebook, I tweeted. Everything.¬†(Disclaimer: The next couple sentences won’t make much sense to people like my parents who don’t know (or care) about Twitter.) ¬†I tweeted¬†so much¬†during the conference. ¬†And, more importantly for my ego, was retweeted, followed, favorited, etc. more times than I can count.

Without further ado, I present to you a tweet (140 characters or fewer) from each talk I heard at Thirst.  The highlights*:

Scott Hahn: Apologist, Theologian, Writer, Convert, Converter, etc.

If the Eucharist is just a meal than Calvary is just an execution. #THIRST2013

Cardinal Dolan: The media’s¬†favorite Cardinal, loser in the Conclave, the-man-who-gave-such-an-awesome-talk-that-I-am-writing-three-tweets-here

JPII about canonizing so many Saints: I make Saints because it is indeed possible and we are all called to be Saints #THIRST2013

Reason without faith leads to government by a gang of thugs where suicide is the only escape #popebenedict #relativism #THIRST2013

Pope Francis has a heart like the Sacred Heart of Jesus: going out to those on the side of the road, broken with tragedy #THIRST2013

Not from a talk but from the infamous line for the ladies’ bathroom

Overheard in Bismarck: yeah Bismarck keeps growing. There’s at least 5 cars at every stop sign #theywereserious #THIRST2013

Debbie Herbeck: Jewish Convert, Catholic Mother Extraordinaire 

What produces perserverance in a disciple? #suffering #THIRST2013 suffer for the sake of the Gospel. It’s where mature discipleship occurs.

Peter and Debbie Herbeck: Renewal Ministries (just look it up), married, totally in love

The vocation of every person is to love. #THIRST2013

Dr. Margarett A. Schlientz: Holy, Has more degrees than I do pairs of sparkly shoes

The most essential thing you can do as a Catholic is pray every day. #THIRST2013 (**)

Dr. Edward Sri: Co-Founder of my employer (FOCUS), VP of Augustine Institute, Father of many (6 going on 7)

It’s ok to be troubled when the Lord asks you to do something. But don’t fear. Mary was not enslaved by her fears. #THIRST2013

Sherry Weddell: Discipleship Guru, Author of Forming Intentional Disciples

Less than half of #catholics in America believe you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. #sad #newevangelization #THIRST2013

Monsignor James Shea: President of University of Mary in Bismarck, friend of Cardinal Dolan

It’s crucial for all of us to ask what the crucifix means. Woe to us if it every becomes merely a wall decoration. #THIRST2013

Jesus begs from the cross “I thirst.” He gives no heed to His wounds but longs and thirsts for the world, the lost, the broken #THIRST2013

And, one last tweet to sum up the #THIRST2013 experience:

Unite our thirst to the reckless, raging thirst of our God. Hold your thirst up to Him. Let living water well up within you. #THIRST2013

For fun, here’s a pic of all of us who stayed at Nikki’s house:

Silly pic, of course!

Silly pic, of course!

If you’re interested in reading more tweets from #THIRST2013, go to @sparkleshoes12 Twitter page found at ūüôā

*These are the highlights of the talks. ¬†I actually enjoyed Adoration, Confession, and Mass immensely more than any of the talks. ¬†(Don’t think I’m like¬†way holy¬†or something because I liked that stuff more than the talks. ¬†This is a first. ¬†But, I’ll take it!)

**I know the tweet should say “everyday” not “every day” but, hey, you can’t edit tweets!

Day of Recollection Friday

The Friday from my random “week in the life of a missionary” was a bit different than most. ¬†But, like I’ve said before, there’s not a typical week. ¬†You never know what you’re going to get!

Friday was our first Day of Recollection. ¬†The rules for the day as texted to me by Bryan, “No dships, no meetings with students. Things to do: pray, go on a walk, call family and friends, go to Mass anywhere but Newman, lay in the grass and watch the clouds float by.” ¬†So, as a rule-follower, I followed the guidelines.

9:00 Rise and Shine
I slept in–it was glorious!

10:00 Coffee with Kimberly
Kimberly works on campus and Father introduced her to me a couple weeks prior. ¬†She wen to school in Ohio, got her masters, and now works with Residence Life. ¬†She’s also going through RCIA this year! ¬†So, we decided to be friends. ¬†It turns out we have¬†a lot¬†in common. ¬†She’s going to join the book club (grown-ups only, I should add) that Kelsey and I are starting.

12:00 Mass and Prayer

2:00 Grab Some Culver’s for Lunch
Yum–perfect Day of Recollection food!

2:30 Go to Barnes and Noble for the Afternoon: Coffee and Strengths Finder
I went to Barnes and Noble and did some book shopping. ¬†I got a couple gifts for people and also bought¬†Strengths Finder 2.0. ¬†I’ve been wanted to take that test for a while. ¬†And, Kimberly mentioned in the morning and asked if I’ve ever done it. ¬†So, I thought, no time like the present! ¬†I grabbed some more coffee (more on the coffee-overload to come later!) and I spent the afternoon taking that quiz, reading the book and doing some other reading–fun reading!

5:30 Stop at the Grocery Store and Head Home

I stopped at the grocery store to buy a pizza for supper (Kelsey was gone for the weekend so I thought I’d buy a pizza and cook it and then I’d have food for the rest of the weekend). ¬†I also stopped and grabbed some wine because it sounded totally delicious.

6:00 Work Out/Nap/Almost Die
I wasn’t hungry yet when I got home so I thought I’d workout. ¬†That went fine, but then I was¬†totally¬†tired so I thought, “Hey, a 20 minute nap sounds delightful!” ¬†And, nap I did. ¬†I woke up to my alarm 20 minutes later and here’s where I almost died. ¬†I think my alarm clock scared me; I think my coffee-to-food ratio was way off; I felt like my heart was going to stop beating. ¬†I may have been over-reacting. ¬†But, I hopped in the shower hoping my heart would slow down. ¬†It did, eventually. ¬†That’s the last time I ever nap right after working out on a day that I’ve had¬†way. too. much. coffee.

The rest of the evening was quite relaxing. ¬†I eventually made that pizza. ¬†I painted my fingernails. ¬†I went over to Bryan’s and watched¬†Hot Rod* with some people. ¬†Then, I came home and went to bed.


*Hot Rod.¬† It’s one of those movies that a lot of people would find¬†totally¬†dumb. ¬†It’s also one of those movies that some find totally hilarious. ¬†TJ is the former; Kelsey and Bryan, the latter. ¬†I’m proud to say I’m in the group with Kelsey and Bryan.


On-Campus Thursdays

Sorry for the delay…but, onto Thursday. ¬†So, here’s what one random Thursday looked like:

7:30 Wake Up and Get Ready

9:00 Holy Hour

10:00-11:45 Prep for Discipleships and get things ready
Here I usually collect myself for the day. ¬†Sometimes there’s 1001 things to do in the mornings, so here, I have time to catch up. ¬†I also finish prep-ing for my afternoon discipleships, if need be.

11:45 Kelsey and I Decide to Eat Lunch at Panda Express
So, as you’ll read at 12:15 we “Team Barehand” at the union. ¬†On this particular Thursday, Kelsey and I decided to head over early to eat at Panda Express. ¬†As of this Fall, that glorious fast food restaurant opened. ¬†I always feel a little sick after I eat Panda Express, but, hey, it’s worth it!

12:00 Arrive, Get Our Food, Eat and Begin Barehanding
So, Team Barehanding (Short for barehanded evangelization) is where we (Bryan, Kelsey, TJ and I) split up into groups of two and evangelize on campus. ¬†We go and try and meet people on campus. ¬†The goal is to make contacts. ¬†Ideally we would love to make an invitation into Bible study and share the Gospel with the people we talk to, but it doesn’t always work that way. ¬†So, the main point is to just get out and meet people. ¬†(We model that after Jesus; He was totally about getting out and meeting people!) ¬†Kelsey and I sat down and ate with Paige. ¬†She had to leave shortly after we got there but we got to chat for a few minutes! ¬†It turns out Paige actually knows one of the girls that Kelsey is in discipleship with. ¬†So, we told Kelsey’s disciple to look out for Paige. ¬†(It makes more sense for someone who already has a relationship with a person to invest in them, so we turned it over to Rachel!)

12:30 Share the Gospel and Get Rejected by Savannah
Next, we moved upstairs in the union. ¬†We ran into this girl named Savannah. ¬†She was one of the people that helped move freshmen into Dinan Residence Hall with us during Fall Outreach. ¬†She was promoting a casino game night at the union that weekend. ¬†We chatted with her for the next 45 minutes or so. ¬†At 12:45 one of my disciples, Kelsie, joins us bar handing. ¬†So, Kelsie showed up and we continued the conversation. ¬†We were able to share the Gospel with Savannah, but ultimately she rejected the idea of prayer and didn’t desire a personal relationship with Jesus. ¬†So, we were rejected but not dejected. ¬†(Don’t forget, Jesus was rejected all the time. ¬†If we aren’t getting rejection, we probably aren’t doing our job.) ¬†Also, Kelsey and I have added Savannah to our prayer list and pray for the opportunity to talk to her another time.

1:15 Discipleship with Kelsie
Kelsie and I talked about our conversation with Savannah and debriefed. ¬†Then, we talked about SL2 (Situational Leadsership or Servant Leadership). ¬†I had written down every aspect of discipleship that I could think of (leading a Bible study, barehanding, discipling others, giving a Gospel presentation, daily prayer, life-long Catholic mission, leading others in prayer, sharing your testimony…) and then I walked Kelsie through the SL2 model. ¬†She self-identified where she was at. ¬†This gave a good gauge as to what we should do during discipleship! ¬†It was great!

2:00 Discipleship with Samantha

Samantha came over to the union for discipleship. ¬†We prayed together and then talked about SL2 as well. ¬†It’s such a great idea because everyone is at a different place in all the areas. ¬†I can’t assume all of my disciples are super confident leading a Bible study and none of them are confident sharing the Gospel because, well, that’s not true! ¬†Everyone is at a different place, and if I can help each person self-identify where they are in each situation I can better coach and encourage them.

3:00 Back to the Newman Center and Do Some Email Answering

4:00 Discipleship with Amanda
We prayed together, talked about each of the girls she’s discipling, checked in about life, and talked about what life-long Catholic mission looks like. ¬†This was a great discipleship! ¬†There were other things on the docket this week to talk about and do with Amanda, but I will certainly be visiting the SL2 model with her soon!

5:00 Home!

After discipleship, I went home! ¬†I ate supper. ¬†I decided to put in a movie (The Parent Trap–Lindsay Lohan style–I totally forgot how hilarious that is)! ¬†And, that’s when I spent some time blogging the first few days of my week. ¬†I also worked out during this break.

9:00 Mass

10:00 Cookies, Crayons and Coloring
Every Thursday night the Student Advisory Board of the Newman Center puts on an event. ¬†This week’s was “Cookies, Crayons, and Coloring.” ¬†While I didn’t participate in the actual event, I stuck around and chatted with people for a while. ¬†I had a good conversation with McKayla (a freshmen who came on our Labor Day camping trip and comes to all the Thursday night events).

11:00 Home for the night!

Worthless Wednesday

So, after some hate from little sister Emma, I’m back with more of my week’s schedule!

5:40 Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead! (see Ephesians 5)
Time to wake up, brush teeth, put glasses on, change out of jammies, leave

Every Wednesday we start out our day with an absurdly early holy hour. ¬†We pick a place on campus and go pray there. ¬†This time it was Kelsey’s turn to pick and she picked frat row. ¬†We walked by all the frats/sorority houses while praying our Rosary. ¬†Between decades of the Rosary we stop and do some intercessory prayer. ¬†We pray for anyone we may know in the frats/sororities as well as any other intentions we have.

7:00am-1:00pm  off-time
We have off on Wednesday mornings after power hour. ¬†Which, you might think sounds like a lovely time to catch up on personal things, maybe do laundry, enjoy a leisurely morning with a whole pot of coffee–WRONG! ¬†This is where the “worthless” part of Wednesday comes in. ¬†On Wednesday’s we (as in all the missionaries in the Great North Region) only drink water to be united in sacrifice and prayer. ¬†So, as a result of getting up at the crack of dawn and not consuming any caffeine*, I’m pretty worthless on our mornings off. ¬†Usually, I nap.

On this particular Wednesday I felt good when we got home. ¬†Kelsey and I both made breakfast and then sat down to watch the first episode of Father Robert Barron’s¬†Catholicism. ¬†It started off great and then next thing we knew, it was a couple hours later and we had both fallen asleep…for a long time. ¬†Oops! ūüôā

1:00 Conference Call for Student Leadership Summit 2014**…or so I thought
We usually have team MPD at this time (that’s when we all go to our office and work on our Mission Partner Development (MPD), or fundraising). ¬†But, I am the SLS (Student Leadership Summit) liaison for our campus which means I had to skip out for a conference call. ¬†I got all ready: Computer on, ready to call into the number given, and then I checked the details again. “Oh crap! It’s 1pm MST, I totally missed the conference call!!!” ¬†After some freak-out, texting various people, googling time zones, etc. I realized that I hadn’t missed it. ¬†The call was in an hour. ¬†So, off to team MPD it was!

2:00 Not Team MPD, but the SLS Conference Call
Here’s where I was planning on going to team MPD but, instead, had my conference call!

3:30 Finish up MPD stuff, administrative things
I did just that. Some more GSDing (getting stuff done).

4:00 Holy Hour
I headed to the adoration chapel at the Cathedral in Fargo to pray my holy hour.

5:15 Mass

6:00 Home for Supper and to get some snacks ready

7:00 Bible Study
I have Bible study at my house.  We had a great discussion on Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve.

8:30 Work Out
Kelsey has her Bible study at 8:30 in our living room so I jammed out to some Jillian Michael’s (workout video) in my room during her Bible study.

Shower, email, Facebook, read, talk to Kelsey, go to bead (probably around 11 or 12).

And that, my friends, is my Wednesday.

P.S. This is what I normally look like on Wednesday’s:

Photo on 10-11-13 at 1.28 PM #2

*It just occurred to me I could¬†totally¬†have chocolate-covered espresso beans on Wednesday….jackpot!

**Summit is a huge event that we are having this year in Texas.  There will be 2,000 student leaders from around the nation gathered in January to learn how to be more effective disciples of Jesus.

On Thérèse

Today is the feast of the patroness of this blog.  Celebrate!  Kelsey and I hosted our MWML (Men, Women and the Mystery of Love) book study tonight.  And we celebrated with these:


Little Flower cookies

Store bought cookies with hand-piped “little flowers” on them. ¬†(You’ll remember that Th√©r√®se is often referred to as the Little Flower!) ¬†Anyway….

There’s a common Church hymn called¬†For All the Saints. ¬†The first line of the hymn is, “For all the saints, who from their labors rest.” ¬†This song popped into my head while I was reflecting on what I should post about Th√©r√®se on her Feast day–I knew I had to post because of this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 9.38.47 PM

Well, I realized that¬†For All the Saints–at least the first line–may not apply to Th√©r√®se. ¬†As I state in the Prayers from Whom?¬†section of the blog, Th√©r√®se wanted to “spend her heaven doing good on earth.” ¬†I think that she is working just as hard in heaven as she did on earth. ¬†Though, her struggle is over for she has seen the Face of Love and is with her Spouse and Lord. ¬†I think her¬†labors¬†are far from over!

Actually, I don’t think, I know she is still working hard in her little, now perfect, way!

My team and I have been praying fervently for many young men and women from NDSU to join staff as FOCUS missionaries.* ¬†Today in Mass I knew that our prayers were being heard by Our Lord. ¬†(I mean, I know that prayers are always heard…but, sometimes you just¬†know a little extra than usual.)

I know that St. Th√©r√®se¬†so¬†longs¬†for the same thing we pray for–many new missionaries from NDSU this year. ¬†I was filled with joyful confidence that she, too, is praying for more missionaries!

At this point, I’ll take the liberty to pretend I know what St. Th√©r√®se thought while on earth: ¬†So, I’m sure she didn’t want to be a missionary because it’s easy, and because she’d have to leave her (beloved) family behind, or because it’s such an alluring job filled with worldly perks (like raising your own salary, a dating fast, moving wherever “the powers that be” deem appropriate**). ¬†I would confidently say that Th√©r√®se wanted to be a missionary because she wanted to fulfill the Great Commission.***

She desperately wanted to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. ¬†And, so, she knows the more FOCUS missionaries there are, the more souls there are that are reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ¬†So, duh, she’s praying for us and wants (probably definitely) even more missionaries to step up from NDSU than I do! ¬†Please join my FOCUS team, St. Th√©r√®se and me in praying for new FOCUS missionaries from NDSU! ¬†Let’s spread the Gospel to the darkest ends of the earth which, unfortunately, include the college campuses! ¬†And, though the day is nearly over, I hereby give you permission with all the authority that I don’t have to celebrate St. Th√©r√®se tomorrow if you didn’t do it today!****

*Side note: Applications for the interview weekend that is in St. Paul (Oct. 18-20th) are due this Friday so please offer some prayers for those who are still deciding if they want to fill them out or not!

**I should mention that these “perks” of working as a missionary are turning out to be¬†huge¬†blessings. ¬†I love what I do. ¬†I just kid because, to the world, these things are ridiculous. unnecessary. ¬†cruel. and, I say again, ridiculous! ¬†(My point: to the world, being a missionary doesn’t make any sense and these reasons aren’t why people become missionaries.)

***Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. ¬†And, behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.”

****Tomorrow is the Feast of the Guardian Angels, so there’s another reason to celebrate!

St. Th√©r√®se the Little Flower…girl

Thérèse, the little flower girl

Th√©r√®se, the little flower…girl

It’s St. Th√©r√®se’s feast day which means it’s my niece, Th√©r√®se’s day to celebrate her namesake! ¬†So, I thought I’d post a picture of maybe the cutest flower girl to ever roam the earth! ¬†The highlight of Libby’s big day back in Wisconsin (besides the whole wedding part) was Th√©r√®se, who road in the limo with us, asking “Where the scary man went” when our driver walked away!

Also, I’ve recently stumbled upon some writings of St. Th√©r√®se (not niece Th√©r√®se since her writings are more like scribblings…) that I’ve not read before. ¬†I read her letters to her brother missionaries. ¬†Which. Were. Awesome. ¬†I’d encourage any of my fellow missionaries (or, really anyone) to read these…especially V, VI…okay, and VII, VIII, I, II, III, etc. ¬†They’re all great!

But, I’ll post for you here something that I read this morning. ¬†It makes me want to keep going and work hard on days when I’m too tired or too burnt out or have worked too hard and deserve a break and deserve to whine and complain about everything I’ve done that day!

It’s from the epilogue in her autobiography Story of a Soul,¬†entitled “A Victim of Divine Love.”

While still a child she had acquired the habit of never excusing herself or making a complaint; at the Carmel she strove to be the little servant of her Sisters in religion, and in that same spirit of humility she endeavored to obey all without distinction…The Infirmarian had advised her to take a little walk in the garden for a quarter of an hour each day. ¬†This recommendation was for her a command. ¬†One afternoon a Sister, noticing what an effort it cost her, said: “Sister Therese, you would do much better to rest; walking like this cannot do you any good. ¬†You only tire yourself!” ¬†“That is true,” she replied, “but, do you know what gives me strength? ¬†I offer each step for some missionary. ¬†I think that possibly, over there, far away, one of them is weary and tired in his apostolic labors, and to lessen his fatigue I offer mine to the Good God.”

So, dear Thérèse, pray for me that I may have the humility you have.  May I love the Lord as you did trusting that not a single act if done with love, no matter how small, will go unnoticed by our Lord!