Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Testimony

I know that I kind of wrote about my testimony in my inspirational post from a few days ago, but I really wanted to write about it, especially since I experienced an eye opening event today :) So here it is.....

I was born a Catholic, and I've been a Catholic my entire life. I was baptized when I was little, made my first communion in 2nd grade, and was Confirmed in 8th grade. I've always gone to Church every Sunday with my family. On the outside, I was doing everything right. I guess I've always done what Catholics "do" by attending Mass and taking part in the Sacraments. BUT, I wasn't doing anything right on the inside (which is what matters most). Sure, I was going to Church every Sunday, but I wasn't actually "there". I could never pay attention to everything, and I often found myself thinking about other things and not thinking about God. This was happening even this time last year. I always just went through the motions. I never put anything into Mass, and I never really got anything out of it.

However, over the past couple of months, I've started to change. It started with reading Eat, Pray, Love. I also started reading Kelly's Korner and Bring the Rain - both blogs about women who's faith BLEW ME AWAY. I wanted a faith like that. I always heard stories about people who say that God spoke to them in a specific way that caused them to turn to Him. This had never happened to me, and I longed for a connection to God like that. Well, you know what? I got it. It came to me slowly through those blogs. I got tired of always wanting somthing extraordinary to happen, so I took it into my own hands to pray to God and try to connect myself to Him. I think he knew that I could do it on my own :) And one day, I just laid on the ground and prayed. I can't even remember what I prayed about, but I prayed and prayed. And I did it the next day too. I just got a feeling of peace when I prayed that was unlike anything I've ever experienced. By continuing to read these blogs, I was inspired to start reading the Bible more often. I am in the midst of looking through it for verses that stand out to me and speak to me. And honestly, it's great! I've also started reading Gitzen Girl's blog and that blog has truly inspired me too.

So, I've been working on praying and reading Scripture, and I have DEFINITELY improved SO MUCH! But, I still found it hard to concentrate in Church. My mind would just continue to wander and wander, and it was really starting to drive me crazy! So, today, I decided to really pay attention to EVERYTHING, the songs, the readings, and the prayers. And let me tell you something, MY MIND DIDN'T WANDER! Everything became so much more meaningful to me. The readings were about how if you have enough money and riches to cover yourself, give to people who aren't as fortunate. (You can read the readings here) That is what God wants you to do! Father also said that "who you are is greater than what you have". This is somehting I've been praying about and trying to remember. Money really can cloud your mind, and it's hard to clean it out, but it can be done. It's better to be rich in love than to be rich in money, because your money isn't going to matter in the next life, but how you loved others will.

The readings have inspired me to start to give back to charities. I'm hoping to set aside some money each month and donate it to a worthy cause. I think that would be a nice thing to do, and I would be helping others too!

So, my testimony mainly takes place in the last couple of months when I really started to open up to God. I know I can't change the past, but I can stay on the right track in the future :)

P.S. This has nothing to do with my testimony, but today I was on a cleaning/organizaitonal spree and I cleaned out my closet and a little bit of stuff under my bed. Look at what I found:

Abby gave this to me in 5th grade! Hahahaha I couldn't believe that I still had it. It just cracks me up :) It was obviously before the days when we started using photoshop.

It's FINALLY Friday!

Today was a good day, and I really enjoyed a lot of the things I did today. We went to lunch this afternoon at O'Charley's and it was GREAT. I just absolutely love their food (and their rolls of course!). I really do enjoy seeing all of my family every week during the summer, and when I'm at school I really miss that opportunity. After lunch we headed over to Grandpa's house so I could clean for him. Tonight I went over Katie's house with some of my friends. I had SO much fun, especially I hadn't seen some of them in a really long time! I love hanging with my friends, and I think I laughed so hard tonight while we were playing Catch Phrase. These times with my friends are just what I need sometimes :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Babysitting Day :)

Today I didn't do a whole lot besides watch Maddie and Sydney this afternoon. I always have so much fun with those 2 little girls & I defintitely had a lot of fun today :) We watched The Princess and the Frog, played with Coco, colored, sang karaoke, and played air hockey. Everyone had a lot of fun, but I think everyone was beat by the end of the day (I know I was!). The girls decided to empty out all of the beanie babies - and a GIANT beanie baby decided to rest right on top :)

I thought it was really funny when I asked Maddie what she was going to do tonight and her answer was, "probably just go home and pray". I asked her if she meant "play" but she corrected me and said that she was going to "pray". Hahahaha I just thought that was so funny :)

Other than watching them I haven't been up to a whole lot. We went out to Graeters after dinner, and it was delicious! Black Raspberry Chip is just SO great :) Overall, it was a pretty great day!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Washington DC

Well, I thought I would give a little recap as to what we saw and did in Washington! It was a busy couple of days - I was EXHAUSTED every night!

When we got there on Wednesday, we headed to the Basilica & just walked around there. It was really pretty and absolutely HUGE! But it was really cool.

Then, we headed to Rita's! Ahhh, it was amazing. We went there 3 times while we there & I got the chance to try some new things too :) I had strawberry gelati the first night, chocolate oreo fudge blendini the next night, and a kiwi-strawberry gelati the last night.

The next day was monument overdrive! We saw SO many monuments that day it was crazy. I think that anyone who has ever done anything for the United States has something dedicated to them in DC. We saw the Lincoln memorial, Korea memorial, Vietnam memorial,and the World War 2 memorial - trust me it was a LOT of memorials, but they were really cool to see :) Then we went over to the White House, and that was so crazy to actually see something in real life that you see so often in pictures, movies, on TV, ect.

We also got to see the Thomas Jefferson memorial, and after dinner we went back to the Lincoln memorial and got some pictures of the monument lit up at night.

The next day we had our tour of the Capitol building, which was really neat! I really enjoyed that & I thought that the outside of the building was absolutely beatiful.

And this next picture just about made my day - to think that I stood in the exact same place that Nick Jonas once did was great. I just couldn't stop thinking about it! Hahahaha this was possibly the highlight of the trip (besides Rita's) :)

That day we also had a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (the money factory!) which was cool to see. We also went to the American History Museum & Rita's after dinner.

On Saturday we got up and went to the Archives and got to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. That was AMAZING to me - the fact that they still had the original documents that were created in the 1700s. And dummy me didn't even know that they were on display in DC until this past weekend. I had always thought that they were in Philadelphia for some reason - ha! Then we met up with Shelly for lunch at the Hard Rock cafe & went on a tour of the Ford's theater after lunch. After that, we went to the Old Post Office where we got to go up in the tower and get a pretty good view of DC.

I also really wanted to see the Hope diamond, which is a 45 carat blue diamond on display in the Natural History museum. That was unfortuantely the only thing we got to see in that museum because it was unbelieveably crowded. I thought I was going to pass out trying to see the Hope diamond - but it was totally worth it because I thought it was really cool and absolutely beautiful :)

That night we got to go to Rita's and I tried their Kiwi-Strawberry ice which was awesome. There is just nothing else like Rita's in this entire world. Well, that basically sums up DC. On the way home we stopped in Virginia and went to Monticello, which is Thomas Jefferson's house. It was neat to see. Today has been a day of resting for me because we were constantly going here or there, looking at monuments, walking, sweating, more walking, practically melting, ect, ect. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DC Bound!

Well, I'm heading off to Washington DC tomorrow, and I'm SO excited! I've never been before, and I think it is going to be a really cool city!

Just from looking at this picture, there is going to be a LOT to do there!

All of the buildings look super cool!

AND, you can't have a vacation without Rita's Italian Ice :) My family already has all of the Rita's in DC scoped out. We are planning on going everyday while we are there - what can I say? We are Rita's addicts :)

On a COMPLETELY different note, I wanted to add in something I experienced today. Ashlye & I went out to get the new Jonas LA cd today, and we went to Chick-fil-a for lunch. Yesterday I was thinking about how I really need to focus on praying more and being thankful for everything i have, not just at the end of the day, but during the day too! So, while we were sitting there eating lunch, I happened to notice that How You Live by Point of Grace was playing in the background. I have been thinking about this song a lot lately because the lyrics really speak to me. It was just a friendly reminder to me from God today, and I thought I would share it since it went along great with what my post from yesterday :)

Monday, July 19, 2010


I know that I haven't blogged in FOREVER, but I am feeling extremely inspirational right now, so I thought I should jot down my thoughts while I have them on my mind....

Today I was thinking about how everything in life is crazy, and how no one's life is perfect. Every single person on the face of this earth goes through hardships and sufferings. There is just no way to avoid them. God throws us curveballs. It's not about how many curveball you're thrown and how curvy they are, it's about how you choose to respond to them. Yeah, it might seem easier sometimes to just give up and not keep fighting. But where's the fun in that? We have to keep fighting, so matter how difficult it seems. And trust me, it can get pretty difficult out there. But if we have God with us, it helps to lighten the load.

Now, I'm not a crazy shove Jesus down your throat kind of person, but trust me when I say that he is REAL. And when you have him on your side throughout all of your suffering, the weight on your shoulders seems MUCH more bearable. It's hard to trust in something that you can't physically put your hands on. However, just spend a little bit of time praying, trusting in the Lord, and reading Scripture, and you will see that he IS real. It's not something you can touch, but it's something you can feel. And to me, being able to feel it is more real than being able to touch it.

I have been a Catholic for all of my life. I've gone to Church every Sunday for as long as I can remember, but until recently I never got it. I would simply go through the motions, pray every once in a while, but never fully feel connected to God. However, this past year I read Eat, Pray, Love and I was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's faith. I also started reading some blogs of other Christian women and their faith blew me away. It made me long for a faith like that, and I got tired of always wanting it, but never having it. So, I decided to change that. I started praying on a regular basis and reading through the Bible. It truly calms me down like nothing else when I need it. It gives me a sense of peace I can't find anywhere else. The feeling I get after I pray and read Scripture is so indescribable. I love it!

I really just wanted to write this post to get out all of my feelings, and give me something to look back on when I'm struggling. Remember, everyone goes through struggles, it's just the way that we pick ourselves up and place ourselves at Jesus's feet that makes all of the difference. :)

'I kept faith, even when I said,
"I am greatly afflicted!"
I said in my alarm,
"No one can be trusted!"
How can I repay the Lord
for all hte good done for me?
I will raise the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Too costly in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful
- Psalm 116:10-15