Thursday, March 31, 2011

We all bleed...


As I was driving home today I looked at the display on my radio and it said the name of the song was "Bleed Red." Immediately I thought this must be a mistake, because who bleeds red? We all bleed maroon, right?

Apparently not according to Ronnie Dunn. Good song though, about how we can all share in the same experiences and sufferings, that we all come from the same stock. We're all fallen, so let's do our best to realize it and live together in peace!

My favorite lines from the song:
Let’s say were sorry, before it’s too late, give forgiveness a chance/ Turn the anger into water; let it slip through our hands/ We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way,/ We all say words we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed red
So keep that in mind if you're ever faced with a stressful situation where you find it hard to forgive or see the good in another. We're all sinners, we all need forgiveness and each other's love and compassion. It will do you some good too! "If you are angry, let it be without sin. The sun must not go down on your wrath; do not give the devil a chance to work on you" (Eph 4:26-27).

I'll leave it at that tonight and save the longer post for tomorrow (as we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus!). And of course for all you Aggies out there I'll leave you with the song I was thinking of on my way home. For those who are not Aggies, at least it's a nice waltz! We bleed maroon!

Man I wish I were at the Hall right now!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A sturdy shelter

A few days ago I was looking up a song on youtube, and in the "suggested videos" box it listed a song by Jars of Clay. If you know me well, you may know that I first fell in love with Jars of Clay when I heard them sing from their album Redemption Songs, and actually in the span of about two years I think I saw them in concert three times! I think.

The song that youtube suggested to me, however, was not from this album but from their most recent one entitled "The Shelter," which I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of buying. Well, Providence must have played a part in youtube suggestions in that moment, because hearing "The Shelter" was exactly what I needed to reflect on this week. Jars of Clay has posted on their website a video explaining what the song means to them, and according to the guys, "Shelter was born out of an old Irish phrase that says, 'It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.'"

I approve of the Irish-ness.

Throughout the song, a chorus echoes the words "In the shelter of each other/ we will live/ we will live." What a beautiful reflection on the shelter that God has given us in each other and in the Church! I am truly thankful for the shelter that God has provided me here in New Orleans, the friends and family who have enabled me to make it through this very trying year. Without them, the storm of this life would surely have beaten me down. In reflecting on my own shelter, I am reminded of the words from Sirach 6:
14 A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treasure.
15 A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
16 A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
17 For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.
Indeed the Lord has placed so many faithful friends in my life that this shelter He has built around me is a bit more like a fortress than a mere lean-to! And praise Him for that, because the storm outside is ravaging my doorstep. The lyrics of the song continue to speak to me in this place:
May this place of rest in the fold of your journey
Bind you to hope
You will never walk alone
If there is any peace
If there is any war
We must all believe
Our lives are not our own
We all belong

God has given us each other
And we will never walk alone
So if you're ever feeling alone, give a friend a call and give this song a listen. May the hope and the peace that this truth has given me speak to your own heart in times of trouble.

Give the song a listen here. Then continue reading!

In examining the Jars of Clay website, I have discovered that they are going on tour, feating special guests Derek Webb and Audrey Assad! You have no idea how excited I was about this. They are coming down South in the first week of May to play shows in Niceville, FL (Rebecca!); Lake Charles, LA; and Jackson, MS. I desperately want to go to the show in Jackson (because it's on a Saturday and is the closest one to New Orleans. So who's in? We can go ahead and buy tickets now on the website! Prices range from $25 to $35.

I also want to share with you this incredibly joyful song which I found posted on the Jars of Clay website, featuring MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Matt Maher, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Afters, and Lecrae (you’re welcome Mr. Brian!).

Monday, March 21, 2011


At community group last Wednesday we discussed humility. What is humility? What does it look like? How do we gain it? And what would the Church be like if we were all more perfectly humble? It was a beautiful topic to discuss, especially since the Lord has been moving greatly in many of our lives to show us true humility.

Anyhow, we started off by reading 1 Cor 4:6-7. Paul beautifully reminds us that all we have is truly a gift from God: "I have applied all of this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?"

What is humility?

Because of the nature of our group, we got right to the particulars: defining the word humility. So we looked first at the root and origin to come up with a working definition: from the word "humus" meaning earth, we said that humility is--in a sense--being grounded in reality. Humility is about recognizing who you are: both your lowly origin and faults and your divine source and the gifts that flow forth from your Creator. Humility is also about recognizing who others are, and who we all are in relation to God. We are from the earth--from dust to dust--and yet from God's hands.

What does humility look like?

It was then important for us to differentiate humility from humiliation... and even from self-deprecation. Because we as humans tend to put so much stock in the work we do, often giving it over-importance, we came to realize through our discussion that humility is in great part about finding worth not in what you do, but in who you ARE in Christ. It's about truly being humbled by our own limitations but realizing that despite these difficulties, we are still inherently worth something in God's eyes.

As an aside, the regional directors of Teach for America visited my classroom on Thursday during my absolute worst period. I had to smirk at the irony of this visit immediately following our discussion about humility... and how God was really pushing me to internalize this concept! Hah. It's easy to see--and I will readily admit--that the only way I've made it through this year is because God has shown me that my worth is not derived from the work I do, but from who I am in Him. Every day I am humbled as I realize once again that certain things remain out of my control... and I have to give it all back to Him again.

How do we gain humility?

In talking about humility, we realized there is not a lot we can do to grow in humility. We realized that it's truly a God-given grace. Despite being able to impose little humiliations (mortifications) upon ourselves, there's nothing quite like God smacking it to us.

Being the ever-curious individual I am, I had to look up what the Church has to say about humility. So naturally I ventured to Here are the best snippets I found from the site, and it makes far more sense for me to post them in their original form than to attempt to rephrase and explain them when already they are so clear and concise!

Humility as a gift of the Spirit

Humility in a higher and ethical sense is that by which a man has a modest estimate of his own worth, and submits himself to others. According to this meaning no man can humiliate another, but only himself, and this he can do properly only when aided by Divine grace. We are treating here of humility in this sense, that is, of the virtue of humility.

Humility as virtue

It [humility] removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace according to the words of St. James: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth his grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Faith is the first and the positive fundamental virtue of all the infused virtues, because it is by it we can take the first step in the supernatural life and in our access to God: "For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Humility seen in the example of Christ and His Saints

From the example of Christ and His Saints we may learn the practice of humility, which St. Thomas explains (Contra Gent., bk, III, 135): "The spontaneous embracing of humiliations is a practice of humility not in any and every case but when it is done for a needful purpose: for humility being a virtue, does nothing indiscreetly. It is then not humility but folly to embrace any and every humiliation: but when virtue calls for a thing to be done it belongs to humility not to shrink from doing it [Emphasis added].

St. Thomas on Christ’s Humility

“Though the virtue of humility cannot attach to Christ in His divine nature; it may attach to Him in His human nature and His divinity renders His humility all the more praiseworthy, for the dignity of the person adds to the merit of humility; and there can be no greater dignity to a man than his being God. Hence the highest praise attaches to the humility of the Man God, who to wean men's hearts from worldly glory to the love of divine glory, chose to embrace a death of no ordinary sort, but a death of the deepest ignominy" (Summa Contra Gent., tr. Rickaby, bk. IV. ch. lv; cf. bk. III, ch. cxxxvi).

And what would the Church be like if we were all more perfectly humble?

So it seems in all of this that humility is 1) a God-given virtue 2) which helps us to receive all of the graces God wishes to shower upon us, 3) and even helps us to be courageous in answering the call of virtue to righteousness. So much for equating humility with “meek” in the “submissive” and “mild” sense! Finally, 4) the most perfect example we have of humility is in the life of Christ--fully God yet fully man--who came down from Heaven as a lowly infant to take on human flesh and indeed to take on all the sins of man, dying a most wretched death. How greatly He humbled Himself for our sakes!

Christ as the perfect example of humility

As Paul tells the Philippians in chapter 2:1-11:

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God became man? Whoa. And we as Catholics believe that He not only humbled Himself to come in the infant flesh at Bethlehem, not only to die a wretched death upon the cross, but that He continues to humble himself each and every day to come in the Eucharist and be our very food! The depths our Lord will go to reach us in our lowly estate!

Mary as the perfect example of humility

As if the Lord had not blessed us enough He gives us His holy mother as a shining example of what it means to live a life of perfect Christian humility. You may say, “but we already have a perfect example in Christ!” And indeed, He is the prime example. But Mary’s life and love serve as a witness to the very life and love of Christ and show us that perfect Christian humility is attainable! She helps us to see that any normal human can attain sanctity if we open ourselves to the will of the Lord and let His light pierce our darkness.

If we look at the fiat of Mary, we see that it serves as the perfect pattern of humility. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word."

Not, "Behold, I could be the handmaid of the Lord" or "I guess I'm the handmaid of the Lord," but I AM the handmaid of the Lord. She rightly recognizes that she is His and His alone, and that it is good and right that she is His servant. In saying "Be it done unto me" she acknowledges also that the work that He would do in and through her is not something she could do herself. It is not something she can do alone. She must instead open her whole heart to His perfect will so that His Word may take effect in her life.

So what would perfect humility mean for the Church? What would it mean if we all more perfectly imitated the example of Christ and the example of His Blessed Mother? For one thing, we’d see a Church in which we are all more open to receiving God’s graces and more open to doing His will. We’d see a Church full of redeemed sinners who are living in right relation with God. We’d see a Church that is more courageous when it comes to doing what righteousness calls us to do. And we’d see a much healthier, holier, more unified Bride of Christ. If we as the Church lived in perfect humility, we would be the perfect Bride for the perfect Bridegroom.

Prayer and song of thanksgiving

A ministry I was involved in during college spent an entire semester focusing on humility and introduced me to the beautiful prayer below, which I was able to share with my friends at community group on Wednesday. Take a moment and pray it yourself! Then check out this website with more interesting things to say about humility.

Litany of humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled...
From the desire of being honored...
From the desire of being praised...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted...
From the desire of being approved...
From the fear of being humiliated...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes...
From the fear of being calumniated...
From the fear of being forgotten...
From the fear of being ridiculed...
From the fear of being wronged...
From the fear of being suspected...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I...
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease...
That others may be chosen and I set aside...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should...

-- Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

We ended the night by singing this song by Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot. "Your Love is Strong" ...which so beautifully goes back to the gospel reading I wrote about in one of my earlier posts - about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field - why do you worry?

(Side note: humility is currently in the top 20% of searches on

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Being transfigured in Christ

At Mass today the Gospel recounted one of my favorite stories from the life of Jesus: the Transfiguration. This passage is special to me for a multitude of reasons, the foremost of which is that it was this image of the Transfiguration that we employed on so many youth retreats that I was a part of at my home parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The story of the Transfiguration lends itself wonderfully to this because the experience that many have while on retreat is similar to that of Peter (and presumably James and John as well). We are told that Peter said to Jesus,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He had been led by God (in the person of Jesus) to a place of intense communion with Him, where He saw Christ more fully than ever before--indeed, in all His glory. It was on that mountain that Peter came to a deeper understanding of who God is, because God had chosen that place and time to reveal something intimate about Himself to these disciples. But then almost as quickly as the experience had begun, it was over, and Jesus charged the three to go and tell no one.

Likewise, it's easy for us to say, "It is good that we are here, so let's stay a while!" And indeed, it is good to be in that place--that moment--with God, for He called us there in the first place! But He also calls us to return to the world. Christ does invite us to remain with and in Him, but we must realize that we have a mission in this world and that Christ is calling us to share His love and life with all the world.

So despite our deepest yearning to build an encampment on the mountain of God, we are sent. Indeed, the very meaning of the word "Mass," where we are called to an intimate communion with God, tells us that we are "sent." Unlike Peter, James, and John, (who were told to go and tell no one about the vision until the time of the Resurrection) we get to leave and immediately start telling everyone of the wondrous vision that God has revealed to us. As we leave this place of revelation, we are being sent to carry the message we have received to the world and to truly let it transfigure not only our own hearts and lives, but the hearts and lives of those we meet. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations."

Let us pray this Lent that the Lord would reveal Himself to us in new ways that will bring us to greater discipleship and propel us with force into the world He created, to transfigure the world anew.

These are the reflection songs we used on those beautiful youth retreats:

Life is a beach

Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to the beach in Mississippi with 6 great friends. Turns out the beach is not too far from home, and much to my own surprise I rather enjoyed the beach! This was the first time I'd been in maybe 8 years? We're hoping to make this a regular occurrence.

This past week was pretty hectic and unfortunately I didn't get to write very much. I managed to eke something out on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I began writing a new post on humility, but it's quite a behemoth of a topic so I want to give it due time to produce. After a long day at work on Thursday I was blessed enough to meet the Aggie Catholics who had come to New Orleans for the spring break service trip. Even though I didn't know many of these Aggies, our conversations about Aggieland and St. Mary's served as a beautiful reminder of why I loved Texas A&M so much! Since it was St. Patrick's Day and my new friends could tell I had Irish blood pumping through me, they made me show them how to Riverdance. Please note that I am nowhere near as good as Michael Flatley.

Again, I'm currently working on a post regarding humility which I hope to put up soon. Until then, enjoy this EWTN article about the tradition of the St. Joseph's Altar which continues to run strong in the Archdiocese of New Orleans! Does your church do anything similar?

Also, enjoy one more video. How could you resist this one?

p.s. Friends, we need to get a boat. That is all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jam session

It turns out being a teacher is not nearly as much fun as being a teacher on Mardi Gras break. My prediction held true!

The last two days have been absolutely exhausting. I forgot how much it drains you to stand up all day, walk around the classroom 14,000 times, and yell at random students who are off task (and by random I mean about 95% of them). I'm really at a complete loss for what to do with them, but I continue to try stepping off on the right foot every day and getting the work done that will help them to succeed. It's really up to them to accept my help.

Despite all of my frustrations with work, the late-night praise and worship jam session with the roommates that is currently emanating throughout my living room seems to make it all better. At least in these moments we can find peace and solace in the familiar tunes of late nineties/early aughts singing praise and worship to our Strong Tower.

Always remember, friends, "God Will Lift Up Your Head."

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Tonight as I prepared for my inevitable return to work, I got extremely pensive. I started listening to Audrey Assad. I also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. That actually turned out to be a great success!

But my biggest mistake in procrastinating tonight was looking back at old facebook photos. Confronted with so many happy memories with friends who are now physically (though certainly not emotionally) distant, it made me dread going back to work that much more. One of the hardest parts of moving to a completely new city was leaving all of the family and friends I know and love. In fact, Christmas break was bittersweet because I was able to see so many people I loved, but I knew that our time was going to be so short!

Don't get me wrong, I love the people that I've met here in New Orleans and could see myself living here for quite some time, but I find myself at once longing for a return to days past and yearning for a future with some real substance, some real stability. It's a confusing place to be. But at the same time I realize that God has me here for some reason, and that He'll bring me to where I need to be as well. He just wants me to work on patience. And a lot of other things while I'm at it.

I just want to badly to be "there" already! Does that make sense to anyone?

While you're here, check out Audrey's song, "Restless." Pretty much explains where I am right now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Disturbing behavior

The makers of this video weren't exaggerating when they said it contained "disturbing behavior." Some of the things said and done in this video were entirely shocking to me. Yet they really get to the core of the problem with the modern mindset regarding personal freedoms and "what is best for me."

What are your reactions?

Friday, March 11, 2011

The power of symbols

One more post for the day and then I promise I'm done. Hah, I'm sure that next week when we're back in school I won't be able to write as often, so I might as well get as much of my thoughts out right now as I can!

Tonight as I was walking around my neighborhood talking to a great friend and former roommate from college, I stumbled upon a car that had a window decal which I particularly loved. Quite the austere decal, it simply read "AMDG." Despite its simplicity, those four letters hold a lot of meaning for me. In fact, I was even wearing a shirt at the time that has the same acronym on the back of it - my Team Manny shirt, for those who remember that awesome day!

This got me thinking about the power of symbols, which I'm sure my friends who are English teachers (and also those who are sociology majors) will appreciate. We as humans have the tendency to inject a lot of meaning into otherwise mundane
things. For some who are reading, AMDG might possibly be only four obscure letters of which they can't discern the meaning (without the aid of google). For others who have been introduced to it before, they realize that it stands for "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," a Latin phrase meaning "For the greater glory of God." Still others might realize it is the motto of the Society of Jesus (aka the Jesuits). Yet these meanings don't even begin to address the deep personal meaning that my experiences have invested in those four simple letters.

And so it occurs to me that there are symbols all around us that not only have their own "intrinsic" societal meaning (that which has been invested in it by groups of people) but also have a deeply personal meaning to the individuals whose experiences have animated that symbol with a more external, individual significance.

So I pose my first question(s) to my "readers" (whomever you may be): What are your favorite symbols and what special meaning have you invested in them? What implications does the meaning of this symbol have on your life? And how is this different from what another person might see in that symbol?

Please post your responses below in the comments section, and I will divulge more about a very important symbol in my life in a future post!

Catching up on my reading

I have been working throughout the break to catch up on my reading of the blogs that I "follow." I say "follow" in that really that just means that I am subscribed to them on google reader and after about a month's hiatus I try to make it through all of them.

Anyhow, I was reading a post on Millennial Catholic (which I must have heard out about through Mary's Aggies) that offered a reflection on the Gospel reading from a few weeks ago. I remember thinking at the time how pertinent this passage was and is to my life right now because in it Jesus addresses the human tendency to worry. Through a lot of beautiful imagery and analogies, He essentially says, "Don't worry about it, yo! God provides for those whom He loves. And He loves you A LOT." My favorite line is this:
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
~Matthew 6:26. Read the full passage here.
What really struck me about Millennial Catholic's post, however, was a few paragraphs in which it addressed what is called "functional atheism" by an author named Parker Palmer.
Functional atheism “is the belief that ultimate responsibility for everything rests with me. It is a belief held even among people whose theology affirms a higher power than the human self, people who do not understand themselves as atheists but whose behavior belies their beliefs! Functional atheism is an unconscious belief that leads to workaholic behavior, to burn-out, to stressed and strained and broken relationships, to unhealthy priorities. Functional atheism is the unexamined conviction within us that if anything decent is going to happen here, I am the one who needs to make it happen."
This was most striking to me, I believe, because I see it taking hold of a lot of people in my life. Honestly, it's even taken a hold of me some this year as I struggle with the difficulties of being a first-year teacher (and a teacher in New Orleans at that!). It's easy to think that everything depends upon me, because in a great part the success of my students does depend upon my work in- and outside of the classroom (and also because that's kind of what Teach for America teaches us corps members -- see Academic Impact Model, addressed briefly here).
But I have to remember that there is One who is above it all, and that in truth, I must place all of my cares on Him and trust that He is doing what He wills in my life--so long as I let Him.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Holding on to what matters

Tonight was the first meeting of a community group that I was invited to join by my friend, Alex. This meeting was truly a blessing. I had talked to Alex before about how--even though I feel I have gained plenty of friendships here in New Orleans--I felt I was still lacking a Christian community that would challenge me to grow and keep me focused on what was important.

And that is exactly what we discussed tonight: focusing on what is important. We read a few key passages that deliver that message, one of them being 2 Corinthians 4:16-18...
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner man is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
We talked a good deal about how suffering can be very fruitful for our spiritual growth, but one of the most phenomenal images I recall from the evening was when we began to talk about the weight of God's glory and power. God truly is the fullness of being, the height of all perfection, and His power exceeds all knowledge. What is great about the Christian story, we realized, is that you always know how its going to end... because as we've been told before "The battle has already been won." And the image that was painted for us was that of the final battle during the end times: Previously I have always imagined an epic battle scene with angels and demons and humans all fighting to the death, but what we imagined tonight was how the weight of all God's glory and power is so great that as soon as He arrives on the scene, everyone's knee bends and all fall down in worship of the Lord. Imagine that: instead of an epic battle lasting days and months and weeks, it is all over in less than a moment as soon as God arrives.

We also looked at Romans 8:19-21, which says, "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God." And from here we get to what this post is really all about: holding on to what matters. It is important to remember in everything we do that all is futile if it doesn't bring us or others closer to Christ. We can let our lives be consumed by the things of this day or our worries for tomorrow, or we can focus on what really matters. All else is transient, but what is eternal--what is lasting--is what truly matters.

As we delve deeper into the season of Lent, may we be reminded to cling to Christ in all things so that we may truly find that we are holding on to what matters.

Christening the blog

I write this post on my new blog after having considered beginning a new blog for several weeks. Though it is past midnight and no longer truly Ash Wednesday in my time zone, the beginning of Lent is what finally convinced me that I should begin this project.

I have tried on many different hats when blogging before. There were the days of Xanga, where I rambled on incessantly about every menial thing my days included; there were the days of the "Sapient Sap" which hopefully have been somehow erased from the annals of the interwebs; and then there are the two (yes, two) posts I made when I first began teaching last year. In each case, these blogs never took off because my heart simply wasn't in them, and with time I lost interest and prioritized other things before my writing.

But they always say to "Write what you know," and though I'm relatively new to New Orleans, there is one thing that I know quite a bit about, and that is being Catholic. I have always been Catholic, and because of the wonderful family and opportunities I have had throughout my life, have been able to grow quite a bit in my understanding of the faith. Essential to this growth was my formation throughout college at St. Mary's Catholic Center at Texas A&M, and it was there that I began to see my Catholic faith as not only a belief system, but a way of living life. I look back on the words I wrote in my last semester as I prepared to start a new phase of my life:

I’m leaving with the knowledge that our faith is more than merely a history, creed, or religion: it’s lens through which I view the world, a lens which enables me to praise God for the glory He has created and to see how He is calling me to serve. And this is something I can take with me wherever He leads!

It is a beautiful reminder not only of where I have been, but what along my journey has led me to this point. And I hope that in writing this blog, I will be reminded time and again to have faith in the Lord to bring me where I am meant to be.