Y​​ ​the L Not be fullYLoved?

Y​​ ​the L Not be fullYLoved?

The biggest thank you to Young Life for providing me with a community of living life being fullYLoved and providing the opportunity for me to genuinely fall in love with God. I learned to desire His love on my own time; which is something that cannot be rushed.

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I gave up on God; how sad these words make me now. I was experiencing an extremely difficult time during eighth grade and freshman year. An extremely close family friend whom I grew up had just passed away due to cancer; I always looked up to Johnny. Right before, we had to make the choice to put our golden retriever down due to cancer.

A little while after those heartbreaks, I found out my Papa was now on his fourth battle with cancer. All these horrible things kept happening in my life and then I fell as a victim too. I was incurably sick with never ending chronic pain; leading to many several week hospitalizations that put me out of school.

I didn't think God would possibly keep allowing me to slammed to the ground like a rag doll, each time one of these events occurred. I was not one of His strongest soldiers; I was begging for Him to take back the toughest battle. Then I was brought to the foot of the cross, Younglife, by my freshman year boyfriend. Everything changed.

I began to go weekly after our winter weekend retreat, Polar Bear, and that year I found out how sweet God's love is. I was not as sour as I used to be; constantly reading through the Bible for answers. I actually got in trouble for reading the Bible too much and neglecting homework at times if I'm honest. If I could help it, I never missed a Younglife meeting. A cool part of Younglife is the upperclassman always drive the underclassman; this really helps with allowing for relationships to develop.

The atmosphere of our gatherings is something one can try to explain but the feeling cannot be put into perspective, even with careful words. You walk into the room and everyone yells your name, whoever you pass by gives you a hug while asking how you are or mentions how glad they are you're there, friends will cram into the crack of the couch just to be by you, your leaders will follow up with you on how that certain thing from the past week went. It is the most loving environment of kids, and adult leaders investing t their genuine time into you, I have ever experienced. The amazing thing is, it's a universal quality throughout younglife. No matter what school's Younglife you went to that night, you would be loved equally and experience God's love.

My biggest piece of advice is to GO TO SUMMER CAMP. I don't care if you're a camper, summer staff, work crew, an intern, a full-time employee, I guarantee your life will change for the better. I fell full force in love with God and living His ways the summer after my sophomore year of high school; I was at Sharptop Cove in Jasper, Georgia. My heart longs each day to be back there and I know I'll return someday soon.

I want to say thank you to Naperville & Aurora Younglife; you have my entire heart and so many sweet, beloved memories. To Kelly Ann, Caleb, Pat, Alex, Brooke, Tim, Matt, our college leaders, and the high school senior leaders who lead me — thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys showed up at my best moments, such as my graduation party; yet you all held my hand in the worst of times, as I laid in the hospital bed with my faith quietly shaking.

My faith no longer shakes because I know I have this community to fall back on and God to carry me through. My life is changed forever; shoutout to Sharptop. I hope you find this peace in your heart; even if you're going through a rag doll stage in your life. Just know that "for it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:8).

Go to be fully loved and fully love others. Honestly though, Y the L not? Thank you Younglife, for being a perfect example of what being fullYLoved is. Here's to screaming "welcome to Younglife," paint wars, the many games of signs and gaga ball, sharing our happys and crappys, so many group hugs, long overnight bus rides, the tears and meals shared, singing My Lighthouse while dancing, late night cabin talks, and screaming "you don't have to go home but you can't stay here" as goodbye. Luckily, there's always another meeting.

Younglife - You made me who I am.

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!
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I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!


1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"


A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.


Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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Calling People Hateful Is Not A Productive Dialogue

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

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The political climate is rough. I don't enjoy commenting on it because of how controversial it has become. Every once in a while, however, I come across something that rubs me the wrong way.

As I was walking through campus the other day, chalked on the side of a cement wall was a phrase claiming the College Republican club on campus was a hate group. I don't know anything about the person who wrote this statement or anything about the College Republican group on campus, but I do know one thing: this statement is false.

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

Just because someone has a different opinion from you doesn't mean they are hateful. There is room for disagreement.

A psychology professor of mine once said something that impacted my perspective toward both political parties: "Both sides think they're right, but both sides can't be right." Both sides make decisions based on what they think is right. A person's opinion is not "wrong" if it differs from yours. It's just different.

It's important to recognize that people won't always agree with you, and that's okay. That doesn't give you the right to call them mean or hateful. It allows an entrance into discussion. Besides, if you want to persuade someone that your belief is more accurate, name calling won't get you anywhere. It will only cause the other person to view you as inconsiderate and unwilling to understand.

How can you convince someone to believe you when you won't listen to their perspective? How can you expect people to listen to you when you won't do the same in return? Not only is it important to recognize a person's beliefs, it's important to understand why they believe what they do.

In order for people to engage in productive dialogue, both sides need to listen to each other and respect each other. Tossing labels around progresses nowhere and doesn't benefit anyone.

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