Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm a Catholic and I'm Frustrated with Pope Francis

As you probably already know due to the social media and news explosion, Pope Francis was in America this past week. As a Catholic myself, I anticipated the event with much curiosity. I know some people who were waiting with baited breath for the pope to announce some of the Church's teachings to be invalid. I am so sick of people who call themselves Catholic thinking that the pope will do this!

Nobody, absolutely nobody, can declare "oh, well, {insert issue here} is actually okay to do. We've been wrong for 2,000 years and Jesus was wrong, so yeah." Nope. Not a thing. The Catholic Church is never going to be okay with abortion, birth control, same-sex marriage, etc. (I feel like I should note that the Church still loves and accepts people who practice these the sinner--we're all sinners--hate the sin, and all that.)

And why is that? Because Jesus founded the Catholic Church and Jesus designed the human race for perfection. Sin takes away from perfection and distances us from Him. The things that the Catholic Church (and Jesus) doesn't allow us to do is for our own good.

SO I don't have an issue with Pope Francis and I don't doubt His spirituality nor loyalty to the Church or to Jesus.


I had MAJOR issues with the pope's speeches at the White House and to Congress. Everything he said was so...easy. One of my friends commented that he was basically throwing cotton balls. Nearly every single person in America would agree with the majority of the things he said...

But it wasn't necessarily what he said that upset me. It was what he didn't say.  He did say that human life is to be valued, but that was it. He did say that marriage is under attack, but that was it.

What he didn't say was that abortion in this country needs to stop. What he failed to mention were the thousands upon thousands of babies that are being murdered in their mothers' wombs in the United States. What never escaped his lips was a cry to defend the unborn. He had the opportunity to explicitly defend them, and he didn't.

What he didn't say was that marriage is between a man and a woman and cannot be redefined.

I have a huge amount of respect for Pope Francis and the papal office. But I was disappointed, disheartened, and perhaps a little angry at the missed opportunity.

I know that he did a lot of good while in the United States, and brought up these themes while he spoke to the bishops and other Catholics. I'm not discounting that.

But what frustrates me is that he could have boldly proclaimed the truth with love to the president, the congress, and the nation and that he merely glossed over important facts without taking a solid stand. The bishops already know that the Catholic Church is against abortion and that homosexual unions are wrong. It's awesome that the pope brought this up to them! But how much more needed were these truths to be told to the rest of the nation?

I have stood up for the Church imperfectly, but I have still striven to make known her truths with love to those who do not understand. I, and countless others, have been discriminated against and hated for believing what the Church teaches. I felt so let down that the pope did not make a declaration of support of the unborn and traditional marriage to the United States government, when both are in jeopardy.

But, you know what? I am at peace. Even though I was definitely disgruntled...the Catholic Church is more than one man. The people that make up the Church are only humans and we sin. We do not always lead perfectly, and we do not always love perfectly.

I do not hang the truthfulness of the Church on the pope, nor do I hang it on any nun, priest, bishop, or lay person. But I follow the Church's teachings because they were administered by Jesus Christ, and that's who I am striving to follow.

I know a lot of people have left the Catholic Church because they have been let down by those entrusted to lead her. I know many who have been disappointed by the leaders of the Church. I'm sure that I have some ex-Catholics who read my blog. And, in the name of the Church, I am so, so, so sorry. I am sorry for the ways that the people of the Church have hurt you have mislead you, have failed you in any way. I hope and pray that you will find it in your heart to forgive whoever wronged you, and the Church as a whole.

And please remember...the Church is not defined by the failings of its members, or it would have died long ago. The Church is defined by our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Since we're on the topic...does anyone have any questions about anything the Catholic Church teaches? So many people believe things about the Church that aren't true, and I'd love to dispel some of the rumors for you.

(ALSO...if you're a teen doing NaNo and would be interested in joining an email-based NaNo support group, please email me:! Don't know about NaNo? Visit or

Have a great week, everyone! May the peace of Jesus reign in your hearts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Busy, busy, BUSY!

It's been a while since I have written about writing! Perhaps my subconscious is still recovering from my writing themed A-Z Challenge. Let me let you in on what I have been up to.

My main project has been drafting TBN (which, obviously, still has yet to be named). I started September with the goal of finishing by the end of the month...not quite sure if that is going to happen. The month has been so hectic. I worked twenty-six hours last week, plus add school, other volunteering obligations, and family's been insane. There have been a few mornings where I have woken up an hour or two early because the day was so full. 

But! The good news is, I'm just over half way done, so I have made quite a bit of progress. I have been enjoying this draft more than any other I've ever written. I've been told a million times to be okay with your first draft being crap, but I've never been able to actually believe it. For some reason, it's finally stuck this time around. 

I have been able to completely accept my draft as it is and plow forward, just putting words on paper. I'm not judging my writing, which is huge for me. I know that I can write better but also that my draft is how it needs to be for now. It's okay, and it will get better.

Life is super beautiful when we learn to let go, let God, and accept ourselves, completely and totally, flaws and all.

By the way, thank you so much to all of you who commented kindly on the poem I posted a few weeks ago! I was blown away by your sweetness.

I have been cranking out more poetry, slowly but surely. I really wish that I could put music to it and write songs, but alas, I'm not that talented. I'm pretty excited about this poem I've been working on, based on Song of Songs and the Gospels. Perhaps I'll post it when it's ready?
I just wrote two essays last night for my NET application (just one to go!), which launched me into a very reflective mood that I have yet to break out of. The topics were my faith story and how my relationship with God has changed me. They were actually surprisingly hard to write! But the Holy Spirit took care of me and they're thankfully done. The last one I have to write is on two ways I can improve in the way I relate to people which will be very short because I'm perfect. Joking. I should probably start writing now because I might not be done by the time I graduate...

I've been pondering doing NaNo this year. Because, you know, I will have just finished a draft in need of major edits and am working an average of 15 hours a week...oh, and plus, I have to put together a youth rally/retreat for my dad's ministry. Oh! And school, essays and reading! Plus college visits! So why not do NaNo?!?!?! My crazy is showing. 

There was only one year I was able to complete NaNo and it was absolutely awesome...and a long time ago. It's been five years since then, and I think it would be a great addition to my senior year. Also, I'm not sure when I'll be able to do it again. And I do have a story that I'm just itching to write...

Who else is doing NaNo? I was thinking about starting a teen NaNo support group via email. If you're interested, please leave your email in the comments below! Or shoot me an email:

What have you all been up to? Have a fabulous remainder of the week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Tag of Happiness: With a Touch of Duck Dynasty

Opal, who makes me incredibly happy happy happy, tagged me in this happy happy happy (if you didn't just read that in Phil Robertson's voice, we can't be friends) tag, The Tag of Happiness. Opal can make you happy happy happy too, but you have to go to her blog

  • Take the banner and put it in your post
  • List as many things as you want in each category
  • Come up with more categories if you wish
  • Tag as many people as you want

Songs that make me happy happy happy:

Musicians that make me happy happy happy:
Echosmith, Needtobreathe, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Johnnyswim, Us the Duo, Eddie Vedder, The Civil Wars, Kodaline, Vance Joy, Ingrid Michaelson, Taylor Swift, Bethel, Steffany Gettzinger, Jesus Culture, Tenth Avenue North, For King & Country...I should probably stop now.

Places that make me happy happy happy:
Rita's Italian Ice (Erie, PA) | Down the street from my old house.
St. George Catholic Church (Erie) | The church I grew up in, for the most part.
St. Joseph Bread of Life Community (Erie) | Spent a lot of time here...beautiful, beautiful chapel.
Presque Isle (Erie) | Stunningly gorgeous peninsula featuring amazing beaches and hiking.
Blasco and Millcreek Libraries (Erie) | We went so much that we became besties with the librarians.
Frontier Park (Erie) | My siblings ran many, many races there.
Dublin, OH | Where my grandparents live.
Charlotte, NC | Where I vacationed with my family (immediate and cousins).

Books that make me happy happy happy:
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, The Help, Harry Potter, The Secret Life of Bees, Sense & Sensibility, The Fault In Our Stars, The Book Thief. 
(Well, lots of books make me happy, but these make me the happiest.)

Classes that have made me happy happy happy:
9th Grade Theology Class | Became very close with the teacher.
Latin I (freshman year) | Best teacher I have ever had, he made everything so clear and was so sweet.
English II | SUPER hard class, but learned so much (still look at my binders from it!).
American History (sophomore year) | Taught by a brilliant football coach. Awesome discussions.
Medieval History and Literature | Loved the history/lit combo!
(holding off on mentioning my classes this year, because we'll see how it goes...but absolutely loving my American Economics and Government, Literature 12, and Catholic Doctrine classes!)

Shows that make me happy happy happy:
Merlin, Duck Dynasty, Downton Abbey

Movies that make me happy happy happy:
Pride and Prejudice (BBC), The Young Victoria, Tangled, Avengers (I & II), Captain America (I & II), North and South, Cranford, Wives and Daughters, Cinderella (WHICH IS OUT TODAY!)...the list goes on. 
(We recently saw Little Boy which was amazing, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed When The Game Stands Tall!)

Colleges that make me happy happy happy:
Belmont Abbey | North Carolina
Franciscan University of Steubenville | Ohio
University of Mary | North Dakota
Ava Maria | Florida 

(Just a few) Bloggers that make me happy happy happy:
Opal | Jessica Wolf | Ashley G | Katie Grace | Cortney Pearson | Elizabeth Seckman | Emily | Faith Hough  | Rebekah Joan | Sky | Skye Hoffert | Jay Noel | Leandra Wallace | Grace K | Candice Williams | Jenny | H.M. Wilson | Wendy Paine Miller | Chrys Fey (and many, many, many more...probably you, too!)

I know that everyone has a million tags to do, so I'm not going to tag anyone. But if you feel like doing this, consider yourself tagged!! What makes you happy happy happy?!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My Weekend With A Three Year Old: Roar Back

Little kids, man. They're crazy.

I spent this past weekend with some cousins, including little Catherine. Catherine is three and has vivacious curly blonde hair that matches her personality. Her big blue eyes exude spunk and sass. Every other word that comes out of her mouth is "why?"

I admire Catherine so much, and perhaps even envy her a bit. She is so filled with wonder at everything...she doesn't have to worry about the SAT or student loans. She's not concerned about her weight or how people react to her personality. She doesn't know how to be anything else...besides who she is. Besides who God made her to be. She hasn't been hurt by other people, she doesn't know really know how to do anything besides love unconditionally. She's so trusting, reaching her pudgy arms out to anyone who will take her.

Maturity is a beautiful gift. But how often do we willingly give up aspects of childishness that we should keep? 

Catherine kept calling the boys (there were about seven total, ranging from seven to sixteen) "hedgehogs". I'm still not really sure where that came from. The word guys has officially been replaced by hedgehogs in my vocabulary. Sorry, hedgehogs.

My sisters or I would be holding her and say "Hey, Catherine, what do you want to do?"

She'd lift her arms towards the sky, as if preparing for battle. Her ever-present grin would widen as she would shriek: "LET'S GO TICKLE HEDGEHOGS."

Lots of hedgehogs got tickled this weekend.

When they would try to tickle her back, she would scream, "BAD, BAD BEHAVIOR!"

Catherine also has figured out how to play her parents. It often occurred that she would ask Mommy for something, only to be told no. Then she would go find Daddy, who would absent-mindedly answer yes. 

The sass that this child has is unparalleled. She was giving her mom a hard time Sunday morning, so I attempted to help put her shoes on. While doing this, her mom wiped some powdered sugar off her face.

"HEY!" Catherine yelled. "DON'T DO THAT!"
"Your mommy is just trying to help make you pretty!" I explained.

"I was talking to Mommy not you." came the response. 

"I'm scared for what she'll be like in ten years..." my aunt shook her head.

Catherine sat on my lap during church that morning, which was so fun. She started out with my sister (also named Catherine), but at age thirteen, she weighs only like two pounds (not joking at all), and Catherine nearly broke Catherine's arms. Make sense?

Anyway, Catherine was super good for the most part. She sang along and stayed put. At one point, the church was completely silent, and she looked at me and whisper-yelled, "HOW OLD ARE YOU?" (I swear, she only has one volume.)

"Seventeen," I answered, holding back giggles. It wasn't even that funny, but her little voice and intense stare killed me.


I could not get a grip. Again, it's not even that funny, but she's just such a stinker.

There was one point in the course of the weekend when my dad was talking to her parents and asked when they were going to come visit us. Catherine looked up from her watermelon and cocked her head thoughtfully, saying, "But my mommy and daddy would miss me too much."

One night, we were being really silly and I told her my name was Ed Boots. (Isn't that the most fantabulous name ever?! I have a step cousin on the other side of my family named Ed Boots and I'm eternally jealous of his name. My cousin and I want to write a whole series on him, even though we've met him like three times. And that was like...ten years ago. But still. That name, though.) After that, everyone became Ed Boots. 

"Nice to meet ya, Ed Boots, how ya doin', Ed Boots," she kept saying every three minutes out of the blue. It became a chant of sorts, accompanied by a little hip shimmy and head bob.

Catherine is also quite talented in the art of fake crying. We had a fake outburst at least every hour, which was cured with a good tickle. 

This weekend, I was wrapping up Sense and Sensibility (GREAT GREAT GREAT BOOK!). My uncle keeps their house literally below zero, so though it was over ninety degrees, I spent the weekend wrapped in a blanket and covered with pillows.

Saturday afternoon, I was reading when Catherine came over and demanded to bury me. Then, she issued a decree that I was "never, ever, ever, EVER allowed to move ever ever EVER again, Ed Boots". I obliged for a bit before peeking my head out. She was curled up on the other couch, holding my book up to her nose and occasionally page turning. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. 

With a mighty roar, I broke lose of the pillow dungeon. She shrieked and reconstructed it, giving the same orders. This repeated itself two or three more times, each occasion ending with her back on the couch, reading Sense and Sensibility.

Perhaps my most profound thought of the weekend occurred when the boys hedgehogs kept saying "RAWR" to get Catherine to scream. And scream she did. I've never met a child who loved screaming so much. Except maybe myself, I feel like I was a screamer. Anyway, my eardrums are still ringing.

Eventually, the strain on my poor ears was too much to handle, so I told her to counter their roar with an even louder one. It took her a few tries to get it, but eventually, she was roaring rather than screaming. 

She would inhale half of the breath in her room, so much that her lungs were probably bursting and let out a roar larger than herself.

So many people try to get us to scream. They roar at us, try to scare us...and, oftentimes, we do. To quote Catherine, "Why?" Because it's what's easy. It's what is socially acceptable. We would rather not fight, we would rather just nod and move on. We submit, cower, and scream.

But what if we roared back? Roaring doesn't mean being hateful, and it doesn't mean being rude. But what it does mean is standing up for ourselves and what we believe in.

Catherine challenges us to be ourselves. To love fully. To be ourselves. To be silly. To tickle hedgehogs. To be fearless. To bounce back. To roar back. 

Children are such a beautiful gift. They bring us joy, they bring clarity to our lives, and show us deeper truths. And they don't even try! So how do they do it?

Simply, by just being themselves. 

Let us never take them for granted. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Inkheart, Plotting, and Moose Tracks: It's snowing in the summer!

Well, actually it isn't. It's ninety degrees where I live and I'm dying. Well, not literally. Actually, technically, yes, literally, we're all dying.

Happy Labor Day! I hope that you're all having a relaxing weekend. I just got back yesterday from some time with my extended family which was decently nice and produced some thoughts for a (hopefully) kick butt post later this week. So stay tuned.

Today I bring to you the adorable Alexa Winters from over at Summer Snowflakes (what a great blog name, am I right?!). Enjoy, then go visit her at her blog!

What was the last movie you saw? Why did you (or didn't you) like it?
Heh. I actually had to think about this one for a little, lol, because I don't watch movies very often. BUT, I managed to remember: the last movie I watched was Inkheart and I loved it because the story is just so fascinating to me, and being able to read out your favorite characters or go into your favorite book is basically every bookworm's dream. Yet in the movie (and the book series) it kinda gets turned on its head and you see how there actually might be some problems with having such a power. :p Plus, it's just a really great, fun movie with crazy, quirky, amazing characters. One of my favorites for sure. :)

I saw Inkheart for the first time years ago, but I recently rewatched it with my siblings. My mind goes crazy with that story! It's so incredible, and especially great for writers. The book is awesome too!

What is one writing trait you'd like to improve on during this school year? 
Hmm... I hadn't really thought about this, but now that you mention it, I want to get better at plotting. I'm a pantser so I really just write whatever comes to me at the time and, while that's fun, it also leaves an extraordinary amount of space for plotholes. :p So yeah, I'd like to get better at plotting my stories, so I can fix the plotholes with less pain, stress, and tears, and maybe keep some of them from happening in the first place. :)

I've been working at getting better at plotting for the past year and a half. It's a serious struggle (well, for me, anyway), but it's so worth it. I enjoy drafting so much more after putting in a lot of work with the outline. Plus, there are a lot of awesome plotting worksheets on Pinterest! ;) 

Markers or crayons?
MARKERS. I love markers because I love watercolors but I'm very not good at painting. So markers give me a similar look but they're much easier to control than a paintbrush.

I saw on your blog that you're homeschooled! *fist bump* How does homeschooling help your writing and how does it make writing more difficult?

*fist bump back* Homeschooling for the win, hehe! Well, for one thing, I can count writing as part of my schoolwork, and my mom is really cool about it. Last year, she even said I could take off math the entire month of November as long as I used that time to work on my NaNo novel. So yeah. She's amazing. :D
The only thing that's a bit more difficult is when I'm writing about public school or something, because I don't have any personal experience to draw on. I have to just trust TV, movies, and books (which are not always terribly accurate :p), and I often end up asking friends really obvious questions about school, then just hoping I get it right, lol

Ahhh that is so sweet!! I used to find that hard too, before I went to school (my freshman and sophomore years of high school), but there really isn't a whole lot to it.

Do you share your writing with anyone? If so, at what stage? (First draft, edits, etc.)
I do, and it depends. I used to ask for critiques only when my stories were as close to perfect as I could get them. Lately though, I've started asking earlier in the process, around second or third drafts, because, like I mentioned above, I've realized I need help with things like plotting and making sure the storyline makes sense.

Very smart! I do the same. Though, I think I struggle with the temptation of sharing too early sometimes...
Ten years from now, where do you hope to be with your writing? 

Well, unrealistically, I want to be a bestseller with 20 million published novels (yes, I have that many ideas) and half of them made into movies, lol.
Realistically, I'd like to have published a few books and really be getting my name out in the market, but still writing and learning every step of the way. :)

You go girl! Best of luck to you.

What was your favorite part of this summer?
CAMP. I got to go a mission camp this summer and it was EPIC. We had the best time, just learning about God and having fun together, plus we got to serve Jesus, and the community. It was great. :D

That sounds amazing! The camp I went to was definitely one of my favorite summer memories as well.

What are you working on right now, writing wise? 
I just finished a character-driven YA thriller (that has about a million plotholes, but whatever. Editing exists), I'm taking a break on my contemporary story, and I'm in the process of editing a dystopian with a friend. I also write some fanfictions and—obviously—my blog.

Oooh, busy!  Good luck editing...definitely not my favorite.

Who is your favorite main character that you've ever written? 
OH MY GOODNESS I DON'T EVEN KNOW. All of my babies are too adorable for words <3

However, I think I'm gonna have to say Elliot. He's the MC in my contemporary story (that might be called Sketchy Moments and might be called Low Expectations, I'm really not sure yet), and I love him because he's cute and sarcastic and broken and adorable, but also, he's my first original MC since I really got passionate about writing. So he'll always hold a special place in my heart. <3

Aww, author/character love. Gotta love it.

What is your current favorite song? How does music inspire your writing?
Hahaha, okay so here's the thing: I get so obsessed with music that I'm not even sure what my favorite song is. I LOVE IT ALL, lol, and I get randomly addicted to different artists, so my favorites can literally change by the day. By the hour, actually.
At this very moment, though, I'm going to have to go with either Flares or Paint The Town Green by The Script or Better Than Revenge by Taylor Swift. Honestly though, none of the above influence my writing at all. I mean, Flares a little bit (I could use it for a few characters maybe) but they're really just fun songs I listen to whenever—maybe while writing, maybe taking a break... just whenever. :)
I'm the same way. And I have never heard either song by The Script, I'm going to have to check them out! 

What is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
Coffee. But also moose tracks. And mint moose tracks. And bunny tracks. And girl scout Samoa cookies.

I could probably go on for a while (but I will stop) because I really love ice cream. It also holds a very special place in my heart.

And I don't think that I could end that in a better way. So we're just going to leave it at that.

(Head on over to Alexa's blog!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Farewell, Summer...Thou Hast Been Cruely Ripped From Me By The Evil School Year.

Welllll, that was a bit dramatic.

Yesterday was my last first day of high school, thus ending my last summer while I'm in high school.

I feel like I'm nearing a cliff, unable to see what's below. But my pace is becoming so rapid that I can't stop...and even if I could, the speed and the mystery and the excitement is exhilarating, despite the occasional explosion of butterflies caused by a bump in the road. I'm so close to this end, and yet so far...and when I reach it, what next? Will I fall, or will I fly? Will I want to go see what's below or take to the sky?

Anyway. Before I get carried away with thoughts of the end of this year, here's a bit about this past summer.

I grew in my relationship with Jesus. He continues to fill me with wonder and draw me into a beautiful, passionate relationship with Him. It's really hard to be a Christian today and not get discouraged by the world and despair, but choosing to live in His hope and His love is always worth it. I also grew in my relationship with His mom, Mary. I know that a lot of other Christians believe that Catholics worship Mary, but we don't. Jesus entrusted her to His apostle John (and in doing so, to us) and entrusted St. John (and us) to Mary when He was dying on the cross. Mary leads me closer to Jesus...kind of like how if I want my dad to do something, I'll ask my mom first so that she can help petition him. Anyway, this summer I consecrated myself to Mary. Basically, I went through a retreat sort of thing in order to entrust myself into her care. It was really awesome and definitely helped my spirituality.

I met amazing men of Christ. At summer camp, I was awed by the incredible guys I met that are so desperately in love with Jesus it brought tears to my eyes. They really strengthened my resolve to keep my expectations high and hold men accountable. Also, they helped me to trust God that He has someone for me who will lead me closer to Him.

I met amazing women of Christ. Also at summer camp...they inspired me to trust more in Jesus and abandon myself completely to Him. They inspired me to let only Him define me. They showed me that it's not a one time thing, but an every day process and decision that's difficult but so, so worth it.

I lost a friend over my beliefs. That hurt. Unfortunately, though, it's life. We are called to share our beliefs with love. Sometimes, even when we're loving, hate is the response that we get. I struggle at times to still be loving even after that...but God always provides the grace necessary to fulfill everything He asks of us.

I set aside my fear and confronted someone who needed to be confronted. This was really tough. Like up all night before and sick to my stomach tough. But again, God always provides the grace necessary to fulfill everything He asks of us, and I truly believed that He wanted me to do even in my fear, I talked to someone who had really hurt me. It didn't solve everything and things didn't necessarily get better, but I walked away from the meeting with a new found peace and closure.

I realized that a lot of people are fake. As negative as that may sound, I feel like it's a reality that everyone has to experience and discover in life. I also realized that I can't be the only person in a relationship to be making effort.

I unexpectedly gained a new best friend. A family friend came and lived with us this summer to do some interning for our nonprofit...despite living down the street from me when I lived in PA, Anna and I were never really close. However, this summer, we shared so much...from shopping and ice-cream and making dinner together, to deep late night talks featuring lots of laughing and tears. It was seriously incredible, I'm so blessed by her and miss her so much!

I spent lots of time with my cousin. If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I'm super close with my cousin, Alex. We spent every day together in the summer when I lived in PA, so living four hours away from her is really difficult. Anyway, I was so blessed to be able to spend collectively about three weeks with her. We did a lot of fun stuff: put putting, shopping, swimming, typical girly summer stuff that was 100x better because it was with her.

I did a lot for Mass Impact, the ministry my family runs. I worked the table at our local Christian music festival and got to talk to a lot of amazing people. We also had a pretty big festival that we put a loooooot of work into. That took up most of the summer...but it was cool to serve so many families and help them grow closer to each other and to Jesus!

I'm feeling increasingly validated to do NET. I've talked about NET before, but for new readers-- NET (National Evangelization Team) is a ministry that trains and sends teams of young adults all over the country to do retreats for high school and middle school students. I'm in the process of applying for next year (2015-2016). I've definitely had some doubts as to whether this is what God really wants me to's hard to give up a year of my life! Especially since I'm excited to go to college. This summer, though, God made it increasingly clear through other people's support and different events that that is where He wants me to be.

So there you have it, folks. It was an insane summer, and I'm looking forward to this school year God taught me so much this summer and blessed me in so many ways...cannot wait to see where He takes me this year.

How was your summer?