Let It Hurt

Two weekends ago was the beautiful celebration of Ordination of Priests (ten of them!) for the Diocese of Wichita. It was such an exciting and beautiful day for so many, especially with my close friend’s brother being ordained, but it was also very bittersweet. It was the day that my friend Ben would have been ordained, had he not passed away just under 2 years ago giving his life to save another. (See his story here) But even though I couldn’t be down in Wichita for the Ordination, God has still found ways to speak comfort and peace into my heart as I reflect on Ben’s life and impact.

Last summer, while I was in Nashville for my friend’s final vows with the Dominicans, I had the awesome opportunity to attend a concert at the Grand Ole Opry, something I’ve always wanted to do. One of the first artists was someone I had never heard of before, and I was a little impatient to hear my favorite, Scotty McCreery, who was playing later on. But this artist touched my heart in a profound way. His name is Jackie Lee, and when he took the stage he told us that his mom had passed away from cancer the summer before (just a month before Ben), and he himself had been diagnosed with cancer just after. He had just recently written a song about his mom’s death, called “Long Year,” and it hadn’t yet been recorded or released. As I sat there letting the lyrics wash over me, I was struggling to hold back my tears because it felt like the song had been written for me. Ben passed away just 6 days after my 24th birthday, and the opening lyrics of the song were “It’s been a long year, and I’m a little tired. Lived a whole life between 24 and 25.” There I was, less than a month after my 25th birthday, thinking about how much Ben’s death had changed me in that year. Before that, I had never known deep, heart-wrenching loss, and that song spoke directly into that wound. Since the Opry concert, I’ve searched for the song countless times, but it still had not yet been released, and even sending messages to his record label proved unfruitful.

On the Saturday of Ben’s Ordination, when I woke up, for some reason that song was on my mind and I again tried to search for it. To my surprise and excitement, it had just been released 4 days before. As I played it, I realized just how intimately the Father knows my heart, and how incredible it is that He shows Himself in such small yet intricate ways. He knew that my heart needed this song right now, just in time for Ben’s Ordination day.

A line that has been resonating in my mind for a while now has been this: “It’s okay not to be okay.” A few weeks ago I was at Mass and we sang the same song that we sang the morning that my Grandpa passed away, this past April. I immediately began to cry, trying not to let anyone see. The weight of losing Ben and my Grandpa and missing them so much began to weigh so heavily on my heart that it felt like I was being suffocated, and all the loneliness and pain came to the surface in a rush of emotion. Over and over in the silence of my heart I heard the phrase “It’s okay not to be okay, Nikki. It’s okay not to be okay.” Sometimes it’s so much easier to hide or bury those feelings and pain than to be vulnerable and let them pour out. But later that night I came back to the church and I just sat in front of the tabernacle, looking at Him, and in that moment all I wanted to do was to pour out my heart to Him, to leave nothing hidden, to hand it all over. There’s so much healing that happens when we let Him see our wounds.

There’s another song that has been speaking deeply to my heart lately- “Let it hurt” by Rascal Flatts. There’s a line in there that has been convicting me in how to deal with loss and hurt and heartache:

“Let it hurt, let it bleed. Let it bring you right down to your knees. Let it hurt to the worst degree. May not be what you want but it’s what you need. Sometimes the only way around it is to let love do its work… So let it hurt.”

When I experience the sharp pain of loneliness and sadness, it’s such a temptation to distract myself with a million other things so that I don’t have to deal with it. But Jesus wants to meet us right there, in the darkness and in the loneliness. Let yourself feel it, let yourself experience the depths of that pain, but don’t do it alone. Invite Him into that pain, that brokenness, that wound. Allow Him to sit with you in that place of darkness, even if it feels like He’s never going to bring you out of it. The Cross is so present in our lives that I think sometimes we forget that we’ve been promised a resurrection. Allow Him to heal you in His timing, not your own. If you’re experiencing the ache of loneliness or a piercing sadness today, remember that you’re never alone. Rest in that promise. He is good, He is Love, He is with you in the darkness, and He will bring His light.

-Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

A DAY IN THE LIFE: Father Doug Liebsch

Father Doug Liebsch. Gosh there is so much to say about this guy! Father Doug is one of the youngest priests in the St. Cloud Diocese and has spent his first two years of the priesthood at St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Augustine. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Fr. Doug about what his typical day looks like!

Father Doug’s day-to-day schedule is not very consistent, but he typically has his alarm set for 5:30 AM (he said that ideally he also wakes up at this time). He has Mass at either 7:15 AM or 12:05 PM and normally spends 6:15-7:15 AM in prayer unless he is playing basketball which he does 1-2 days a week at 6 AM. His mornings usually consist of meeting with people or popping in and out of classrooms at St. Katherine Drexel school. In the afternoon he might be making some visits to the Hospital or nursing homes and once or twice a week he looks forward to a potential nap! Father Doug’s evenings are consumed with meeting with people or attending different events, including some of the local sporting events.

Of all his priestly duties, Father Doug looks forward to hearing confessions the most. “I have experienced the Mercy of God so powerfully in the Sacrament for myself, both before and after ordination to the Priesthood. This same Mercy of God I am able to see at work in the eyes and hearts of so many who come to this great sacrament.”

Sundays are Father Doug’s favorite day of the week because it is the most fulfilling and re-energizing. He typically gets to spend most of the day with people but also has a little time to relax and spend time outside.

When I asked Father Doug what surprised him most about the priesthood, he said how normal it felt. He said everything didn’t necessarily come naturally, but it felt right.

When Father Doug was in kindergarten he wanted to be a firefighter. In first grade he wanted to be a professional basketball player and in second grade he wanted to be a priest.

 

 

Fr. Doug’s favorite:

Meal of the day: Supper  

Food: burritos

Sports team: MN VIKINGS!!

Favorite way to pray: “I like having adoration. One of the amazing privileges as a priest is having constant access to the Church and the Blessed Sacrament. Spending time with Jesus in His Silence is very, very peaceful.”

Favorite thing to do in his free time: “On my day off I am usually on a lake fishing, unless it is in the fall, then I will be hunting. Yes, I know, my mom says I need some different hobbies as well. Does bow-fishing count as a different hobby?”

We are so blessed to have such holy men serving us as priests in our diocese, living out their vocation with joy, humor, and heroic sacrifice! Let’s continue to pray for all of our priests and that young men who are called to this beautiful vocation would have the strength and courage to say yes to God’s invitation.

-Tricia

 

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

When God Shows You He’s Got You

If you recall I just posted about my grandfather’s sudden passing and how difficult it has been on my whole family (read about it here). Since my last post there have been so many ‘signs’ from God that have literally brought me to tears and I wanted to share my favorite.

The first day I went to Grandpa’s grave on my own was about a week after his passing. It was pretty cold so I kept my car running. As I slowly got back into my car there was a commercial on the radio that you could get a star named after a loved one. My eyes welled with tears as I had never heard a commercial for this on the station I listen to for hours every day. When I got home I immediately looked it up and sure enough— you can name a star. I kind of took this as a sign —I needed to get a star named after Grandpa to give to my dad, Grandma, and uncles for Father’s Day. When I bought the star, I got to choose a name for the star and I could pay extra to pick which constellation it would be a part of. Knowing close to nothing about the galaxy, I chose to have one randomly selected for me.

When I saw the huge envelope in the mailbox I couldn’t wait to see how the certificate turned out. As I scanned the page, I saw the name of the star- “Grandpa Duane Walz;” I saw the coordinates; and then I looked at the bottom of the page as to which constellation it is in- Delphinus.

I instantly broke out in tears. Delphinus is Delphine in Latin, which is my Grandma’s name. What are the chances that Grandpa’s star would be in Grandma’s constellation? And who knew Grandma had a constellation named after her?!

I have a science background, so I naturally had to look up how many constellations there are and from what I have gathered there are 88 constellations that Grandpa’s star could have been a part of, but God knew how much I needed the reassurance that He already has the whole plan written.

It was another reminder that even if I don’t know or understand God’s plans I can trust that He is good and we are never alone.

–Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

 

Lessons from Mary

This blog post is part of a series on Mary during the month of May.

May is one of my favorite months. Not just because the air no longer hurts my face, but because it is the month of Mary. I have always been a huge fan of Our Lady and made a consecration to Jesus through Mary when I was a teenager. The peace I get when I pray to Our Lady is unreal and she is the perfect example of who I am striving to be.

The last couple of weeks have been the hardest weeks of my entire life. Friends have told me how hard it is to lose a grandparent, but I could never have imagined just how hard it really is.

Tricia with her grandpa

I had breakfast with Grandpa that morning on the day he passed away. He was joking around, giving me hugs, acting completely normal. I had no idea the hug he gave me as he left St. Peter’s that morning would be the last hug I would ever get from him. When I got the panicked phone call from my dad that night, I knew something was seriously wrong. I raced out to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and after about 20-30 minutes of CPR we were given the news we were dreading- Grandpa wasn’t going to make it.

Our Lady has really been helping me through this tough time. Not only in bringing me much-needed peace in the moments I begin to realize grandpa is really gone, but also through all of the people we have encountered in these past few weeks. People came out of the woodwork for Grandpa’s wake and funeral. It was so comforting to hear of all the lives he had touched, whether he knew them his whole life, or only met them a couple times. I had never taken part in planning a wake or funeral before, but the workers at Williams-Dingmann seemed to be sent directly from God for our family. Their patience and the small things they did for my family throughout our time with them was so unbelievable. Just one example was that when we arrived at the wake, there were two teddy bears in the casket. Emily then told us that one would stay in the casket with Grandpa and the other was for my sister’s baby who will be born the end of July– Grandpa’s first great-grandchild. Small things like this meant more to us than they will ever know.

Countless people took on the spiritual and physical roles of Mary for my family after my Grandpa’s death. Not only were there a ton of people praying for us, but Masses are being offered for Grandpa’s soul all over the United States. We were also taken care of physically, with people dropping off all kinds of soup, fresh bread, cookie bars, donuts, so many kinds of flowers, and much more. Not to have to worry about what to make for dinner was such a big relief, and each act of kindness toward us reminded us of the tender care that Mary provides for us, through her motherly heart.

This whole experience made me realize how much these ‘motherly’ acts are appreciated and how we especially as women are made to nurture and to be a refuge for others. I encourage you to look at your life and see how you can resemble Mary to someone in your life that needs you, through your tender love and care.

-Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

 

 

My Top 4 New Favorite Catholic Women’s Ministries!

I have been falling in love with some incredibly beautiful podcasts, blogs, and videos lately, and since I was introduced to each of these by some dear friends in my life, I want to return the favor by passing them along to you! They have really spoken powerful and beautiful truths to my heart, and there have been so many times in the past few weeks reading or listening to these when my mouth hung open and I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me! It’s so funny how the Holy Spirit can speak directly into what’s going on deep in my heart, even when I try to hide or distract myself with the busyness of life. These resources have challenged me and brought me peace in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I pray that God will bless you through these as well!

1. “Abiding Together” Podcast— Abiding Together is a gem of a podcast, featuring Michelle Benzinger, Heather Khym, and Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT (from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity). They have so much fun with each other on the podcast, and they often talk about the gift of laughter, which they share a lot of! Their mission is “to provide a place of connection, rest, and encouragement for those on the journey to live out our passion and purpose in Jesus Christ,” and they talk about really seeing God at work in the various seasons of our spiritual lives. I was introduced to the podcast when preparing to speak for the “Made in His Image” Tea Party hosted in Paynesville last month, since they have a podcast on each of the 4 marks of the Feminine Genius, and I quickly was captivated by the beauty and depth of their discussions. My personal favorite podcasts are the Feminine Genius series (It’s seriously so beautiful it will make you cry!), “Breakthrough vs. Breakdown,” “Creating Community Wherever You Are,” and “Striving vs. Abiding.” You can find these under “Episode Archives” at abidingtogetherpodcast.com!

2. “His Own”—His Own is a band & Women’s Ministry out of Nashville, TN, featuring 3 lovely young ladies who have a beautifully inspiring friendship! I first discovered this band when a friend of mine sent me their song “Making Me New,” which led me to finding my new absolute favorite song, “Little Girl.” Some of my favorite lyrics of their songs are “Your dreams over me are bigger than my own,” and “The King is calling your name; the King is seeking your face… Little girl, get up and live.” So much beauty! I also love their weekly “Makeup-less Mondays” videos on YouTube, where they talk a lot about dating, as well as the feminine heart, authentic friendships, etc. You can find them on YouTube at “His Own Music” or at behisown.com!

3.“Made in His Image”Made in His Image (MIHI) is a ministry geared toward women who have been victims of abuse in any way, to help them in their journey from being victims to survivors, but I really think it speaks to every woman. It was started by a woman named Maura, who uses her own past experiences to speak life into the hearts of those still going through those things. Even though I have not experienced those sorts of wounds personally, her words are so powerful and beautiful that this one needed to make the list! I highly recommend following Made in His Image on Facebook and other social media, because the posts are just so good. Her tagline is “You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.” Who doesn’t need to hear those words more often?

4. “Blessed Is She”—I first discovered “Blessed Is She” through “Abiding Together,” when they interviewed the founder of Blessed Is She (BIS), Jenna Guizar, on the podcast. BIS is a very popular and growing ministry, and my favorite part of what they do is the daily reflection based on the lectionary readings posted on their Facebook page each morning. These reflections are written by a large variety of faithful Catholic women, of all seasons of life, so they’re very applicable and inspiring! There’s a great video on blessedisshe.net under “About,” which explains all of the resources that BIS provides, including “Blessed Conversations” Bible Studies, “Blessed Brunches,” regional groups, the annual BIS Retreat (coming to St. Paul this August!) and so much more! I highly recommend starting with watching that video to get acquainted with the ministry, and you can also follow them on all forms of social media!

Do you have any other favorite resources that speak to your feminine heart as a Catholic woman? I challenge you to spend some time over this last week of Lent allowing the Father to speak truth into your life through one of these podcasts, videos, or blogs. Truth brings freedom, and true freedom leads to the kind of genuine joy that could never come from this world. As the Father has to continually remind me, you are beautiful, you are valuable, and you are enough. Ask for the grace to believe that and trust the Father with the deepest desires of your heart. God love you!

-Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Musicals, comfort zones, and other things that scare you

“Do one thing every day that scares you” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Can you believe Lent is here already?! I can’t believe how much it has snuck up on me. It feels like yesterday we were putting the Christmas decorations up!

I have been spending the last couple days really praying and trying to figure out what I am going to give up and do for Lent. One word that keeps coming to mind is “different.” This Lent I want to be different.

The song “Different” by Micah Tyler explains this perfectly:

“I want to be different, I want to changed, ‘til all of me is gone and all that remains is a fire so bright the whole world can see, that there’s something different, so come and be different in me.

I don’t want to spend my life stuck in a pattern, I don’t want to gain this world but lose what matters.”

Something that I have been trying to do lately and I am going to do throughout Lent is stepping out of my comfort zone to do things that scare me. A perfect example of this occurred just this past weekend: performing in front of over a hundred people each night in our performances of the musical “Guys and Dolls”! I never would have imagined myself in a musical if I am being honest!

St. Peter’s Church put on the show and my sister Nikki and I were asked to be in it. I immediately wanted to come up with an excuse as to why I couldn’t do it, but I felt a nudge to go for it, and was cast as General Cartwright. Even though this opportunity was incredibly out of my comfort zone, it was such a rewarding experience. Not only did I meet some awesome people and gain life-long friendships, but I also realized how capable we are of things we put our mind to. Our comfort zones are just that—comfortable—but comfort can often keep us reaching our true potential. Like St. John Paul II said,

“This world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness!”

So this Lent I am going to try to step out of my comfort zone and be different. I want people to wonder why I smile when things aren’t going my way and why I am excited to go to church. I challenge you to be different this Lent and to do one thing every day that scares you.

-Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Most People are Good

17 dead. When will these senseless mass shootings stop? Parkland Florida, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook… the list goes on and on.

When I heard another shooting took place, I immediately got super angry. How can someone think they have the right to end someone else’s life? Or was it a mental illness that went untreated that caused them to act this way? As I have been reflecting the last couple days on not just this shooting but all the past shootings, I thought about the shooters, how lonely, angry, or hurt they must have been to do something so horrible. I thought about each of the victims’ families and how horrible that moment must have been when they were told they would never see their son/wife/sister/etc. again. Then I thought about each of the victims and the split-second decision they had to make to be either selfish or selfless. In a moment when they could have been just victims, so many of them stepped up to be heroes.

  • Aaron Feis was the football coach and security guard at the school in Florida. He died shielding students from bullets.
  • Sonny Melton was killed while covering his wife during the Las Vegas Shooting as they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary.
  • Firefighter Steve Keys was shot while performing CPR on a woman in Las Vegas.
  • Fire captain Mark McCurdy carried his sister-in-law to her hotel in Vegas after she was shot and ran back into the danger zone to see if any more help was needed.
  • Jonathan Smith, 30, saved about 30 people before he was shot in the neck in Vegas.
  • First grade teacher Victoria Soto from Sandy Hook hid her students in closets and cabinets. When the gunman entered her classroom, she convinced him the students were in the gym so he killed her and left.
  • Jose Martinez was saved by Christopher Hansen and Carlos Rosario in the Orlando shooting. One held onto Martinez’s rosary while the other stuffed a knotted bandanna into Martinez’s two gunshot wounds to save his life.

As hard as it is to focus on the positive in situations like this, it is very comforting to know that even though there was one ‘bad’ guy, there were countless selfless and generous people involved. These situations show us that in the times when the worst of humanity comes out in its cruelest form, the best of humanity is sure to emerge in its wake, stronger than ever.

“I believe this world isn’t half as bad as it looks;

I believe most people are good

I believe if you just go by the nightly news,

Your faith in mankind would be the first thing you lose.”              – lyrics from the song ‘Most People Are Good’ by Luke Bryan

-Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

The Strength of a Woman

I came across a blog by Abby Johnson a while back that really struck a chord with me. It was titled “7 Things I Learned at the Women’s Convention About Feminists and Abortion.” There were a lot of crazy things she encountered at the convention as a pro-life feminist (in the truest and best sense of the word), but the truth that has been resonating in my heart since reading the blog was this: that the abortion industry, now more than ever, is playing on women’s fears and insecurities in order to convince them that they’re not strong enough, not ready enough, to be a mother. Abby wrote:

To them [the abortion industry], being able to kill women in the womb is totally pro-woman. Being able to exploit women’s fears of not being strong enough to be a parent is empowering. But pro-choice feminists know nothing of women’s empowerment.

“Oh, you are pregnant and in school? Well, there’s no way you are strong enough to finish your educational goals and be a mother. We will capitalize on your fear, make you feel weak, and give you an abortion.” Or maybe, “Oh, your boyfriend just left you and you are pregnant? Well, there’s no way you are strong enough to be a single mother. Let’s just get this abortion taken care of so we can keep convincing you just how weak you are.”

Pro-life feminists refuse to choose. We can be mothers and have careers. We can finish our education with children in tow. Is it a challenge? Yep. But women are made for challenges. We are strong enough to handle the challenges presented to us. It’s what we were made to do.”

Women are made for challenges. Can I get an amen?! This article has really made me start to think about what it means to be strong as a woman. What, at the very core, is the strength of a woman?

I think the feminist movement (in its worst form) has distorted what it means to be a woman so horribly that “strength” is often be equated with physical power or intimidation or ‘lording it over’ men, or even just trying to be like men and proving that we can do everything they can do. But if God made us male and female, He obviously had a reason!

Women weren’t made to live for ourselves—we’ve been given such an ability and desire to nurture in a maternal way, even if we’re not physical mothers. The feminine heart wants to love intensely, even when it’s hard and scary and there’s the risk of that heart being broken by loving broken human beings. But we were made for this challenge, for the challenge of loving with everything we are.

I think of the strongest person I know—my mom. She’s physically strong, born and raised a true farm girl, but her deepest strength lies in her love, giving herself totally to others and allowing her heart to be broken out of love. I think of Mary, the ultimate example for all women, allowing her heart to be broken by love, courageously suffering the incomprehensible agony of watching her son die the worst kind of death. The strength of a woman lies in this kind of love—giving ourselves completely and risking the pain and demands of love. I once heard that our capacity to suffer is in direct proportion to our capacity to love, because when we love another person with everything we are, their suffering becomes our own. What a beautiful gift— and a daunting challenge! It reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis from The Four Loves that pierces to the heart of what it means to authentically love:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

This is true strength. This is the strength of a woman. It’s not “strength” to abort a child in order to avoid the messiness and demands of love. Selfishness is the antithesis of strength. Let’s stop trying to convince women otherwise. You are strong, you are beautiful, and you are enough. Don’t be afraid to let your heart be broken for others—It’s what you were made to do.

–Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Wisdom for the Best Year Yet!

It’s that time of year when we all start making our list of New Year’s resolutions. We feel super optimistic that THIS is the year we are going to change our lives! Making it to the gym past Feb. 1, paying off student loans, and catching up with old friends are common occurrences on my list.

This year I started thinking about my resolutions, and they started to look quite similar to past years. So instead of just repeating last year’s list, I decided to talk to some people I look up to in my Catholic faith and ask for some help. I asked each of these people what advice they would give a young person in college, or in their 20s or 30s, so that we can live our lives more fully and make this year’s resolutions more meaningful than the usual vague goals we have set in the past. I never expected to be touched as much as I was by their advice!

Here is some of the wisdom that was shared with me:

“Take your faith seriously and have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

 “Value your relationships and health; don’t take it for granted.”

— Linda, 70

“The best gift you can give is your presence.”

 “Write down your dreams and the things that mean something to you. Use those things to remind you of who you want to be.”

 “Giving is like receiving twice; it’s the best gift you can give yourself.”

 “Read good things, even a little quote frequently; feed yourself like you do lunch and supper. Feed your soul and it will change how you think.”

 “Stop criticizing, condemning and complaining; find something good in every negative experience you encounter, and you will never be upset again.”

— Diane

“My dad’s uncle told me as I was going into the service in 1955 just three words: ‘Pick your company,’ and I have lived by that rule my whole life.”

 “Do as your parents ask because after they die it’s too late.”

 “Learn the hard way to forgive and forget.”

 “Learn what you can before it’s too late.”

— Gene, 83

“Make sure you find your servant’s heart because every day there is someone that needs a random act of kindness.”

— Karen, 62

“Enjoy life and follow the Ten Commandments. Keep your faith strong; stay active in your faith.”

— Father Greg, 80

I think the greatest thing as I reflect on these pieces of advice is that these people actually live this out, which touches my heart in more ways than I can put into words. I truly hope I can be like all of them one day — giving advice that I actually live out. These holy people inspire me to make real progress this year and I hope they inspire you as well! I encourage you to pick one of these and make a specific concrete goal for this upcoming year. Happy New Year!

— Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

The Power of a Gentleman

“A guy is a boy by birth, a man by age, and a gentleman by choice.” -Vin Diesel

This past weekend I got to attend a beautiful wedding in Texas. The wedding was for the brother of one of my best friends, and the whole weekend was just so great. I not only got to meet Catherine’s family, but I also learned a valuable lesson while in the warmer weather!

One thing I immediately noticed was how gentlemanly the men are in Texas. I was a little skeptical that this was true all the time, thinking maybe it was just a good day, maybe a good hair day?! 😉 As the weekend went on, I realized that there was a culture of respect in Texas in a way that I had never experienced before. I rarely opened my own door the entire weekend!

When we were on the shuttle bus from the airport, it was incredibly crowded. People were standing and an older couple loaded onto the bus. Instantly, the young man sitting to my left got up and tapped the older lady on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, ma’am, would you like to have a seat?” She was very appreciative and took the seat. We also went to Whataburger for lunch and a young boy, who must have been around 7 years old, held the door for us as we walked out. I thanked him and he smiled really big with a couple teeth missing, and said, “My brother and I try to hold the door open for the ladies.” Not only did these instances melt my heart, but it also gave me hope for our next generation.

Another great example of these gentlemen was my friend’s brother, Samuel. Samuel is 14 and from the moment we got there he was very attentive to our needs- if we needed a plate he would grab one for us, or if we were all leaving the house he would stop dead in his tracks and tell us to go ahead. When we went into the kitchen for breakfast, all of the men immediately stood up so the women could take the limited seats around the table. Samuel also put together a cot for us so that we would not have to try to figure out how to put it together ourselves. If more 14-year-olds acted like Samuel, this world would indeed be a better place!

Since I got back to Minnesota, I have seen gentlemanly behavior but, sadly, I’ve seen more of the opposite extreme. In fact, in the airport a guy shoved his way to get out of the door before me. These extremes amaze me, that some men can treat women with so much respect while others don’t make any attempt to act like gentlemen. Talking with Nikki about this, she remembered seeing a quote from Jason Evert that mentioned this problem in another way.

“Authentic femininity is a combination of class, tenderness and virtue. When a woman possesses these traits, a man will naturally want to be more of a gentleman around her.”

-Jason Evert

We as women obviously don’t have total power over how men act, but we do have more power than we think we do. We can help men to grow in virtue by being women of virtue ourselves, and from our example we can help them to want to rise up and treat us with the dignity we have! It’s a two-way street; both men and women need to be respectful of the opposite gender and expect to be respected as well. How beautiful is it that we as women have the power to help men become all they’re called to be?! Women- I challenge you to live out Jason Evert’s quote and raise the bar for the men in this world today, and men- never forget that there is nothing more attractive than a true gentleman!

–Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.