Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trekking 'Cross the Country

Well, Friday was day five of walking, and I can honestly say that the past week (or so) has been one of the best times of my life. I am so blessed to be traveling with these 9 other incredible Catholics.

This week, I walked with Josh, Stephanie, and Zechariah. Amanda was on our shift as well, but she's been feeling under the weather and hasn't been able to walk.

This truly is a spiritual journey as well as a physical journey.  We're going to mass everyday, which truly a blessing.  It's the first thing we do in the morning as soon as the night shift returns and day shift wakes up.  We're praying morning and evening prayer together as a group (and we're praying for intentions- you all are in my prayers!).  We also pray at least one rosary every 5 miles (which is a typical shift).

I'm not going to lie, this whole Crossroads journey is hard! We're all in pain at this point- blisters are in abundance, two of us have knees that have given out, my ankle is hurting, our muscles are sore and we're ready for a break. Sleep happens, but we're on the floor, two to a bed, in the back of the van, etc.

I was so grateful for this weekend- we stayed at a retreat house on the property of some sisters right outside of Spokane.  I slept in a real bed tonight *happy sigh*!!

One of the most amazing things about this trip is the people we meet.  Two of the parishes have had literally 4-5 people at mass besides us.  It's such a wonderful sense of community and faith.  People are welcoming and invited us to coffee with them, whether that was at a local coffee shop or the basement of the Church.  It's soooo encouraging to meet people who are supporting what we are doing.

I've been pleasantly surprised at the positive responses that we've gotten over the past week.  Many people honk as they drive past, and we've had a good number who have stopped to see if we need a ride. There are really people out there who care about others, and that's really great to see.

Yesterday (Sunday), my parents and godparents picked me up from the retreat house and took me to my godparents' lake house outside of Spokane.  It was nice to spend some time with them- it had been 2 years since I'd seen my godparents and over 10 years since I'd seen their kids!!  I had a nice day to rest, but I missed my team.  In one short week, they've become my second family, and I'm truly grateful for that.

I'm hoping to get some pictures up next time I have internet!  This west coast is something beautiful!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The First Couple Days

I've now been here for 3 days (plus a couple hours...) and it's been so wonderful. Thursday was our training day, and even though lots of the information was tedious, we still managed to have fun. That's what I love about this group- we're all able to make light of a hard/boring/annoying situation. I think that will make things easier later on, especially when we're walking and tired and hungry.

Yesterday (Friday) we went into Seattle with our PRO-LIFE shirts on (they just came in the mail yesterday so we were all super excited to wear them out in public). We went to the market where the (apparently) famous fish market is. John, our "fearless leader" held a fish and we all got a picture. We also experienced some nice and not-so-nice comments from passers-by. The best comment of the night, by far, was from the owner of "Bayou on 1st" where we ate dinner: "if you guys finish all the food, America will be pro-life.". Needless to say, we finished the food... There is hope, America! The northern walk can eat food and save the nation!

Tonight, we're giving our first talks to parishes. We're all splitting into pairs and going to 5 different churches. I'm looking forward to it :)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is Crossroads, really?

First off, I want to welcome all those of you who are just joining me on my blog. Thank you for all of your support for my walk this summer.... It means more to me than you could possibly imagine.

(This is my first time posting from my phone, so please forgive any funny or strange spelling or grammar errors :D)

So, I know many of you have been wondering some of the details about my walk- how long I walk, where I sleep, how I eat, and how many people will be traveling with me. I'm hoping this post will help clear up some if the confusion!

Crossroads was founded 17 years ago by a Franciscan University student. Since then, it has grown exponentially. This year, there will be a total of 6 groups walking- 4 in the states, one in Canada, and one in Ireland.

On my walk, the northern route, there will be 12 walkers. We walk from Seattle Washington to Washington DC. We have an RV and a van with us- the RV is where we will typically sleep, and the van serves as the "support vehicle" for those who are walking. The van will stay within 5 miles of the walkers in case they need anything. In general, we will do our own cooking, but there will also be times that we will eat with host families or at parishes.

While it is my shift to walk, I'll walk with some if my teammates for five miles (give or take) and meet the van. At that point, 2-3 other walkers will walk for 5 miles and I will ride ahead to their destination (which will be about 5 miles ahead).
(this is one of the most difficult things that I have ever tried to explain... Someone please let me know in the comments if that was unclear!)

As I write this, I'm actually in the air over Olympia Washington, and we're due to land in around 10 minutes. I don't think anyone can really understand how excited I am!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Everyone, I'm done.  I'm officially finished with my freshman year of college.  So now I've got a question: Where did the time go?

I was told that as I got older, time would fly by faster.  At the time, I thought nothing of it.  But now, I'm not so sure I like that.

It didn't really dawn on me how fast time was a-flyin' by until my mom texted me a impromptu picture of the family the other day.  My oldest niece, who is 10 1/2, had grown at least 5 inches since I last saw her! No exaggeration, I kid you not, she's over 5' tall!!  Since when is that allowed to happen?  It was also very clear that one of my nephews had grown a significant amount as well.  And I'm positive that when I see them all next weekend, it'll be crystal clear that they've all grown.  I don't like this growing thing.  It means that soon I'll be a short aunt.  Not cool guys, not cool.

I leave for home tomorrow.  I leave for Seattle in 8 days.  I graduate from college in 3 years.

3 years.

That's really not all that much time.

I've been thinking about time.  How we really don't have that much time here on earth.  How we should make the most of the time that we do have, because it'll be gone in an instant.

My sister-in-law posted some of her bucket list on her blog (go check it out!) yesterday.  I started my "dream list" a couple months ago, and had been thinking of posting it, but she made me decide to go ahead.  (Thanks!)  Sooooo..... keep a look out for a bright new shiny tab up above just for my dream list.  ;)

I'll keep you all posted over the next couple days about the prep for my trip.  I appreciate your prayers as I come down the final stretch!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Time to say goodbye

Last night, the Franciscan University community said goodbye to a wonderful friend, Neal Rylatt.

Neal was a freshman here last semester, but had to leave school because of leukemia.  He had been getting progressively worse and made a pilgrimage to Lourdes with his parents over Easter.  We've been praying novenas and rosaries for his recovery daily, but the Lord had other plans.  Neal was called home to Jesus last night about 7 pm, surrounded by his family.

He was actively involved in the pro-life movement in high school and while he was in college.  His example of living life to the fullest even in the midst of a serious sickness will never be forgotten.  I only met Neal once in passing, but will never forget that he had the ability to light up any room with his presence.

Neal, thank you for your powerful witness to us all.  You'll definitely be missed by both those who knew you well and those of us who didn't have that chance.  May we stand for life as you did even when it was difficult.  Pray for us, that one day we will all meet you again in heaven.

Neal Rylatt, Pray For Us!

Saturday's Silly Saying

"Guard the deposit, defend the twitter!"

This comment is from my Catechetics class (which I will greatly miss...).  Anyway, my professor was asking how we all received our Church news, and a couple girls commented that they used Twitter.  After a couple minutes of teasing those of us who use twitter (yes, I included myself in that.  Go ahead, look shocked.  Really.  It's ok.) and the two girls defending twitter, Prof. M came out with that (^) hilarious statement.  Ya know, twitter is a really good catechetical tool.  Just sayin'.

This, of course, also comes after a fire alarm went off in our residence hall two weeks ago.  We had been speaking in Catechetics about "guarding the deposit of faith".  My friend who is in the previously mentioned Catechetics class heard the fire alarm, grabbed her Catechism, and as I ran down the stairs, I heard her yell at the top of her lungs, "It's ok, people, I'm guarding the deposit!"  So Prof M's comment was well timed.

Look at that, you got two silly sayings today.  :D


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Final Countdown

People.  This is exciting!  I've only got 6 days left until I'm done with freshman year (aaaahhhhhh!!!), and even scarier, 14 days until I leave for Seattle. 14 DAYS!  What the heck?!?!?  I honestly feel like I just started freshman year, like I just applied to take this crazy trip.  (ok, if we get technical, it's after midnight so it's really 5 days and 13 days, but I haven't been to bed yet, so I declare it's not a new day yet.  It's my blog, I can do that.  Hehe).

Yes, it's time for exams once again.  Time for (almost) perpetual quiet hours in the dorm and late night coffee runs and early morning paniked studying.  The week when everyone seems to emerge from their rooms and sit in odd corners of the dorm.  Finals for first semester were stressful, but I feel like spring finals are worse because you have to worry about packing at the same time.  And not just packing for a trip home, packing to move home.  Seriously, when do we have time to fit packing into this equation?  It'll happen... at some point. :D

I should go.... I have 5 exams calling my name.  *headdesk*