In my last blog, I had mentioned having "Catholic" and "daughter of God" bubbles in my identity Venn Diagram - the former living inside the latter.  Having both bubbles is important to me because my family and many of my religious experiences are interdenominational.  However, my struggle within the Venn Diagram project, and a good chunk of my life, was determining how I treat those two aspects of my identity in relation to each other.  What it looks like to claim the identity of "Catholic Christian" versus simply "Catholic."  During high school, I started by trying to understand what it means to be a Christian.  In undergrad, my pursuit shifted to me deepening my understanding of Catholicism.  It was during this time that I also became aware of divisions I had been blind to most of my life.

It was within this journey that I volunteered to talk at the Christian Unity Prayer Service being held by my Newman Center and the University Lutheran Churc…

Who Do I Think I Am?

These past couple of weeks, I've been reflecting on the questions I asked in my last blog post.  And this week, my questions to answer were "What do I treat as my primary identity?  Why?  How does it manifest?"  I knew this series would take a lot of introspection to answer.  Thankfully, an activity in one of my classes jump-started the process for me.

As a "get to know you" exercise, all of us in my Translational Evidence and Theory for Practice class were asked to draw and share a pie chart of who we are.  I'm a pretty visual person, so I liked the concept of the exercise; however, it had a flaw.  It doesn't take having a math degree to know that all the "slices" of the pie chart have to add up to 100% and that there cannot be overlap between said slices.  If you give Jack and Diane two slices of pie, you don't tell Diane that some of Jack's pie is also hers and Jack that some of Diane's pie is also his.  They will give you weird…


Around this time of year, it's pretty common to hear people talk about their New Year's resolutions.  What they are, how they've already fallen short but are trying again, how long they think the resolutions will actually last, etc.  And then there's the group of people who boycott New Year's resolutions because of how they rarely make it past the one month mark.  I guess you could say I'm half-boycotter and half-resolutionist (sure, that can be a word).  Instead of choosing a goal like "exercise five times a week" or "wake up at 6:30 every morning," I choose a word to focus on for the year.  For example, the first year I did this I chose "humility" with the intent of growing in that virtue.  This year, my word is "everything."
I know, it's an odd choice that sounds extremely vague.  The idea came to me while reading and reflecting on an Advent devotional centered on Mary.  While the devotional definitely emphasized t…

Looking Forward and Looking Back

What a year!  2018 had so many ups and downs, mistakes and lessons learned, beginnings and endings. Following the lead of many others on Facebook, I thought I would share some snapshots of my past year.  However, I want to do so in a slightly different way.  Next to each major event, I'm going to add something I've learned from it.

Started off 2018 with a mission trip to San Lucas Tolíman, Guatemala with friends from my Newman Center and University Lutheran. What I learned: the story of Bl. Stanley Rother who served his parish in nearby Santiago Atitlán during the Guatemalan Civil War, knowing it would lead him to his death. Also learned how fun it is to ride standing up in the back of a pick up and how terrible it is to have amoebas.My Grandma Wiskow passed away in February, suffering from the effects of her second stroke the previous summer.  While I still miss her, especially at family gatherings, I know she's where she has longed to be ever since I was a freshman in hig…

Thinking About Missions

Ever since I was in high school, mission trips have been a part of my life.  I participated in home
repair trips, community service trips, and an international mission.  One summer, I chose to work for the organization that did so much to spur on my faith and ran a mission trip site with two other people.  Motivated by this and knowing I was going into public health, I also took a class last year that critically looked at humanitarianism.  So when a friend of mine recently questioned how much good they actually do, I felt like I was just the person to give an answer.  But, as per usual, I did a mediocre job at best trying to explain that on the spot with limited time. So, I want to try to do a better job of it now.

Having had so many different experiences within the realm of mission trips, I have seen plenty of great and not so great things.  I read many of the articles circulating social media a couple years ago that denounced and challenged mission trips (here and here are some exam…

Mental Illness Week

I know I'm a little late, but I want to recognize Mental Health Awareness week. The purpose of this week is to educate and increase awareness of mental illness. So, I want to do my part. I've had my own battles with mental illness. Specifically, I have a history of depression and anxiety.

The first time I suffered from depression was my freshman year of high school. However, I was never officially diagnosed and never went to a counselor for it. Stressors seemed to continuously pile on. Transitioning into high school meant playing less sports I loved and being surrounded by more people who were better than me in areas I had previously been a top performer in. Adding to this, I felt an increasing distance between me and my grade school friend circle. As we all started making new friends, I noticed how I increasingly heard names everyone but me recognized and shared stories about. To cap it off, my grandpa was diagnosed with and quickly died from pancreatic cancer.

Once he passe…

Soundtrack to My Life

Arrowhead grads - do you remember how during sophomore year we had to give a bunch of speeches in our English class? While I don't remember what most of them were about, there is one that has stuck in my memory: The Soundtrack to My Life speech. Not because I got up there and froze or gave the best speech of my life. It's because the speech was about how some of the songs we listen to tell a story about us.

We had to talk about 4 songs that resonated with us at various points in our lives. According to the outline I found, I chose "Graduation (Friends Forever)" by Vitamin C, "Tomorrow" from Annie, "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne, and "Real World" by Matchbox Twenty. Looking at this list, I wanted to go through the basics of this assignment again. Updating my list to reflect the 7 years that have passed (wow).

So, here's a snapshot of my life via song. I've linked music videos to the song titles in case you don't know what the …