Category Archives for "Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters"

Nov 02

Unplugged

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

These past two weeks, I have had the incredible opportunity of staying with one of my closest friends in New Mexico. The beautiful ranch she her and husband live on has everything you could want: mountains on every side, beautiful sunsets, and the heat that Minnesota unfortunately won’t see for a while. The only thing it does not have— believe it or not— is any cell phone service. When I arrived I quickly learned just how attached I am to my phone. I always have it on me and check it far too often, even though I honestly did not think I was attached at all. As time went on, I realized how much I enjoyed not having it on me 24/7! It was a breath of fresh air to be able to just focus on what I was working on and not get pulled in a bunch of different directions. I spent the past two weeks catching up with my friend Catherine, sleeping, relaxing, and reading. I have always enjoyed reading, but ever since college when I was forced to read so much I have backed away from it quite a bit and haven’t enjoyed it like I used to. I just never seemed to “find the time.”

 

One of the books I have had on my book list for what feels like forever is “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly. I have heard wonderful things about it but just never “had the time” to actually sit down and read it. Right before my trip a friend mentioned that I should read it, and when I got to New Mexico Catherine had it sitting on the coffee table. I took this as a sign that this was the time!

 

The first thing Matthew Kelly talks about in his book is resistance. He defines resistance as “that sluggish feeling of not wanting to do something that you know is good for you… the inclination to do something that you unabashedly know is not good for you, and it’s everything in between. It’s the desire and tendency to delay something you should be doing right now.” He goes on to state that resistance stands between you and happiness. I think back to all the times I opened a book and read no more than a sentence or two. I either got a text, Facebook message or email that I would much rather respond to. Or I spent that time catching up on my TV shows that I didn’t get a chance to watch earlier in the week. I didn’t notice feeling unhappy by any means. Reflecting on these past two weeks, though, I have realized how happy I have been. Sure, it could be that I just spent two weeks with my best friend, that I slept more than I have in the last many months combined, or that I got off the grid and had no distractions, but I definitely think part of it is that I beat resistance and read three amazing books.

I encourage you all to go “off-the-grid”, whether that means just turning your phone off for a while, going on a retreat at a place like Pacem in Terris, or going to southern New Mexico. I encourage you all to enjoy the silence and to pick up a good book.

 

-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.

Sep 06

Falling in Love with Jesus Again

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

It’s that time of year again: Back to school is in full swing, leaving me nostalgic for the smell of newly-sharpened pencils, the feel of new sneakers, first day of school pictures, and all of the excitement and anxiousness that come with the brand-new school year. Now that I’m no longer a student, the start of the school year doesn’t look quite the same (though it does still involve newly-sharpened pencils as a Faith Formation director!), but it still has me reflecting on fresh starts.

Throughout the year, we’re given so many opportunities for a fresh start—New Year’s, the start of the new liturgical year with Advent, the season of Lent and Easter, and even just the normal rhythms of the seasons, like the start of the school year. How can we best make use of these opportunities for a ‘fresh start’?

One of the most haunting lines for me in all of Scripture is this line from the Book of Revelation, part of Jesus’ words to the church in Ephesus: “But this I have against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Talk about a wake-up call! This slugger follows Jesus’ affirmations of their perseverance and ability to resist the lies of false prophets, reminding them that being on the defensive is not enough. He wants us on the offensive, to be drawing closer to His Heart. It’s not enough to be against what is evil; we need to be for Him, growing in intimacy with Jesus, allowing Him to break through the barriers of our hearts to love us more deeply.

Letting God love us, to truly love us, can be one of the most difficult things we will ever do. And it continues to be a battle day after day as we strive to open our hearts and let Him love us, because we resist His love in a thousand different ways.

But Jesus also gives us the remedy for this problem of falling away from our initial zeal of love in the very next line of the Book of Revelation: “Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first.” It makes me ask myself, what things did I do when I first fell in love with Christ that kept that love strong and vibrant and tender? How can I make a fresh start to shake myself out of my complacency, out of my fear and spiritual exhaustion and paralysis?

I’ve been listening to quite a bit of worship music from Bethel lately, and one thing I’ve been struck by is the deep intimacy with Christ that the songs speak about. Here are 3 of my top favorites (just click on the title for a link) that have helped to remind me to come back to that love I had at first:

  • “We Dance”—This song is so precious to me, because I love to dance and have always imagined myself dancing with Jesus, trying to allow Him to lead so that I can follow without trying to control or anticipate what’s coming next. My favorite line of the song is “Here in Your arms, You still my heart again, and I breathe You in like I’ve never breathed ‘til now.” When I’m allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, I’m able to breathe deeply of His love and peace, rather than being ‘anxious and worried about many things,’ as Jesus said to Martha.
  • “Closer” —The lyrics really speak for themselves on this one: “Your love has ravished my heart and taken me over… And all I want is to be with You forever… So pull me a little closer, take me a little deeper; I want to know Your heart. Your love is so much sweeter than anything I’ve tasted; I want to know Your heart.” That’s the kind of intimacy our hearts long for, and the incredible thing is that He longs for our hearts just as much as we long for His!

  • “Pieces” — This song has convicted me time and time again to keep Jesus as the center, and to give Him all of myself just as He gives all of Himself to me. The central lyrics are so simple and profound: “You don’t give Your heart in pieces.” He gives all of Himself, especially in the gift of the Eucharist, and all He asks is that we do the same.

When we allow ourselves to go deeper in intimacy with Christ, to allow Him to know our hearts in a profound way and to get to know His Heart, then we can learn to trust Him and to live from a place of freedom and peace. Then we can be content knowing that even though we aren’t in control, our God is and He is good.

-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 “Perpetual Posters” page.

Aug 27

Maria Guadalupe

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

At 8:42AM on August 3rd, 2018 sweet Maria Guadalupe officially made me an aunt for the first time!! The first time I got to hold Maria I was moved to tears at how beautiful the gift of life really is. The fact that my baby sister carried her for 9 months and suddenly here she is- breathing on her own, eating, looking around, it’s truly such a remarkable miracle.

 

I have had plenty of time to reflect on Maria’s life as well as my own throughout the hours I have held her. Looking down at her innocent little face, I admire her joyfulness and absolute trust in that I wouldn’t drop her, would change her, and would get her fed. Then I began to think about how quickly the innocence and joyfulness changes in this world. There is so much hurt and lack of trust today and I

The day I became Maria’s godmother!

began thinking of those children that are in homes that do not try and preserve this. Instantly kids in foster care came to mind. Those that are abused physically, mentally, and sexually, and those that are neglected and abandoned. These kids at one point in their life had this same innocence and joyfulness that Maria possesses, and it breaks my heart to think how quickly it was taken from them.

 

I saw this video a while back and recently rediscovered it. I think it is a heartbreaking realization of what a lot of kids go through when they should still just be worried about which toy to play with next.

 

“Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” -J.M. Barrie

-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.

Jul 28

Changed by the Encounter

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

Have you ever read a story in the Bible that was so relatable it could have been written about you? A story where, if you substituted your name in, everything would still make sense? When I returned home from our mission trip in Peru, I realized that my encounter deeply paralleled an encounter that Jesus’ disciples had in Mark 6. Let me explain.

Mark 6:30 begins with Jesus and his disciples ministering to a large crowd. These people were hungry for God’s Word—and they were also hungry for supper. Jesus’ disciples became responsible for providing the crowd with an evening meal, but they barely found enough food to feed themselves. Still, they presented their small offerings to Jesus: five loaves of bread and two fish. After a blessing, the food was passed out and a miracle occurred. I like to imagine the disciples scratching their heads in bewilderment as they collected 12 baskets of leftover food.

Working side-by-side

Often, this is where the story ends; but the second part of Mark 6 is what really stands out to me. As the evening continued and the crowd dispersed, Jesus sent his disciples off to the other side of the lake. But before they reached their destination, a storm rolled in that rattled not only their boat, but also their faith. Only a few hours had passed since their amazing encounter with Jesus, but it became apparent that the disciples were not entirely changed by it.

As familiar as these two stories are, I was amazed to find how perfectly they related to my encounter in Peru.

We were called to minister to large crowds!

We were also called to minister to large crowds. As we spent time in Picota and surrounding pueblos, we saw a great deal of need – not only for God’s Word, but for food, clean water, shelter, clothing, and love. We were responsible for meeting these needs as best as we could, but we felt terribly unequipped to do so.

Yet, we gave our meager offerings to the Lord in the form of food, money, clothes, skills, and service. Then we watched as they were multiplied. We, like the original disciples, were left scratching our heads in bewilderment as we realized that the very little we had was miraculously turned into abundance.

Holding true to the Gospel of Mark, it wasn’t long before we, too, were sent on our way. I wouldn’t be surprised if our conversations mirrored those of the disciples as we departed. “Can you believe what happened?” “Did you see the looks on their faces?” “We should do this again sometime!” Surely, both groups of disciples shared confidence in God’s power and assurance that nothing could shake our rejuvenated faiths.

And then… the storm.

Admittedly, my storm wasn’t as perilous as the one that the disciples faced. After returning home, my storm rolled in as an overwhelming to-do list, some misplaced paperwork, a little sleep deprivation, and the disheartening fact that the daily trials of life were exactly where I had left them. Yet, the storm affected me and the disciples in the same way: it took our eyes off Jesus and off his great works. It made us forget what we had witnessed. It made us doubt the power of God. And like the disciples, I was forced to face the fact that my encounter hadn’t entirely changed me.

However, this storm also made me realize how badly I wanted to change. I did not want my life to return to the way it had been before Peru. I wanted to be changed from the inside-out. I wanted to be changed by my encounter.

Learning a few songs to share with the people of Peru

But what exactly would a changed life look like? How could my life reflect those changes when nothing else at home had changed? I realized the answer was simple. I must try to live in America the same way we lived in Peru. Doing this would require:

  • Becoming a better steward of my many blessings including clean water, daily meals, and reliable shelter
  • Being intentional when spending time with others
  • Serving selflessly
  • Waking up early (even with the roosters) to spend time with the Lord each day
  • Trusting the Spirit to guide me to the necessary places, people, and situations
  • Knowing without a shadow of doubt that God will provide in each situation—and that those provisions will be sufficient.

Worshipping by candlelight

Pope Francis is quoted as saying “Each encounter with Jesus changes our lives.” I realize that I encountered Jesus on that mission trip—but I want that change to be one that lasts forever. Not just until the next storm of life rolls in. It might be slow and it might be difficult, but that change is what I long for.

That is my prayer for each of us who encountered Jesus in Peru—and for everyone at home who hears of our journey. Because when we encounter Jesus, everything changes: from our hearts, to those we walk alongside, to our little corner of the world. Whether we are in the jungles of Peru or the “concrete jungles” of Minneapolis, whether we are modern day disciples or those from 2000 years ago, we are each being called to a deeper encounter with the Lord. And once that happens, things begin to change.

 

Alex loves finding great quotes and is trying to live her life by these three: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” “Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching,” and “Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love.”

Jul 26

I Didn’t Want to Go on a Mission Trip

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

I didn’t want to go on a mission trip. I have never been a real big traveler. I have always been perfectly happy at home with the people I love, just enjoying the everyday parts of life. I knew friends in college who studied abroad and “just had to travel,” and I didn’t understand them. Then I was asked by Tricia, who I had just recently met, if I’d want to go with them on a mission trip to Peru. I surprisingly wanted to say yes. Summer is a hard time to get off of work, so I prayed about it and decided that if I could get the time off, that was my sign from God that I should go. I got the time off without issue. So, I signed up for the mission trip! This trip was something so out of my comfort zone, and yet from the moment I said yes, I had such a sense of peace about the decision. I usually worry and panic way ahead of big events, and have to know every single detail, but this time, I was so at peace about the trip and felt very much like everything was going to be work out just fine. I should have known then how blessed this trip would be!

As the trip grew closer, I was having a bit of a struggle with my faith. I still went to church, played piano in choir, prayed every day, but just believing full heartedly in God was harder than it had been in a while. With this, I looked forward to the trip to help “fix” my faith.

Finally, the day arrived and we travelled to Peru! It was beautiful and the people were so kind! The first night already pushed me out of my spiritual comfort zone. We jumped right into praise and worship songs as our “easy” prayer. Everyone else seemed to know all the songs. Never having done much praise and worship singing, I remember tearing up, already nervous in this chapel in Peru. Maybe I wouldn’t know how to pray on this trip. Would it be like this all the time?

God never gives us more than we can handle, so I did not have to wait long to have one of my major “God moments” of the trip. The very next day, we started talking about testimonials, as some of us would have the opportunity to give ours to some of the Peruvians later that week. One of the full-time missionaries gave hers and it really struck a chord with me. She talked about how she knew God, and the Holy Spirit, but did not have a real relationship with Jesus, until her conversion story where she talked about having a vision of Jesus taking a bullet for her. I started panicking again, thinking, “Do I have a real relationship with Jesus?” After her testimony, we were given some time to work on ours, and I headed straight to the chapel since I didn’t want to have others see me cry. There I prayed, and was graced with Jesus saying, “You know we’re friends.” I tried resisting, thinking I’m not good enough, insisting my relationship with Jesus is not the same as the way I see it with friends. In Jesus’ goodness, He asked me, “Who do you turn to when times are the best? Or the worst?” and the answer is clear, I pray. Not long, elaborate prayers, but little ones. “Thanks, Jesus.” Or “Help me.” But, that’s exactly how I am with my best friends. In a relationship, I don’t want or need extravagant, flashy gestures. I want loyalty and consistency, and Jesus does all that all the time, perfectly. He is available when I’m up at three in the morning panicking. I can give praise when a whole set of my favorite songs come on the radio. He always, always loves me, and is never too busy or distracted when I need someone to listen to and love me. In all its wonderful corniness, I know Jesus is my friend! And I never have to earn his friendship, it is freely given in the most loving way!

The chapel at Centro Pastoral where we prayed that first night.

Now, typically when I have these kinds of revelations, I have to jump right back into the normal daily grind and try and cement my faith and joy while living in the busy, high-tech world. But in God’s perfect timing, He revealed all this to me on the second day of the mission trip! So, I had lots of time with the amazing short-term missionaries, long-term missionaries, and people of Peru to allow this to truly settle in my heart! The people of Peru that we served on this trip are so incredible! Even though they have so little, they have such joy, and were so grateful for any praying, physical work, or joyful smiles we gave. The people also were so authentic; they did not try and show a fake self, and all the missionaries, short and long term, embraced that as well. Our time was so blessed in being able to share our testimonies with each other and the locals, praising Jesus throughout the day, singing praise and worship songs whenever the spirit moved us, and being able to give proper credit to the Holy Spirit whenever it re-arranged our days for the better! (Including an outrageously joyous cross-cultural dance party, rather than the planned quiet prayer time!) Another amazing opportunity we had was laying on hands and praying over those who were sick (something I had never done before!). Calling on God and giving people suffering a sense of community, love, and hope was a great way to bring God into these pueblos (towns). This experience also helped us to focus on God’s great power and reminded us to utilize intercessory prayer! Being able to serve the people of God daily in service projects, home visits, praying over the sick, and simply being an example of someone on fire for Christ allowed my faith to grow so much stronger during this very short period of time!

Praying together.

Near the end of the trip, I explained this increase as that my faith was always this little ember which, praise the Lord, never goes out. My faith definitely increases in size in bursts as I have encounters with God, and decreases during struggles, but there is always this small ember that is constant. This trip expanded the size of that ember that always burns for God, and I am incredibly thankful for God and the people He placed in Peru: locals, those that travelled with me, and those that live as permanent missionaries who made it possible. Obviously, I feel that I received so much more than I gave while on mission, but I know God worked through us in Peru and I’m sure our efforts had more effect on people than we were privileged to see in our short time. I know my time there continues to have an effect in my daily life as I see God and feel close to him so much more throughout the day. For someone who would have said she never had the desire to go on a mission trip, I am eternally thankful that God decided I should go!

Victoria Hammond is a St. Cloud area native and cradle Catholic currently enjoying the single vocation. She works as a pharmacist at the St. Cloud hospital and enjoys serving at her parish in music ministry. In her down time she enjoys crocheting, taking walks, and hanging out with her friends and godson!

Jun 07

Let It Hurt

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

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.

May 25

When God Shows You He’s Got You

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

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.

 

May 07

Lessons from Mary

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

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.

 

 

Apr 13

My Top 4 New Favorite Catholic Women’s Ministries!

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

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.

Feb 19

Musicals, comfort zones, and other things that scare you

By From the Heart | Nikki and Tricia Walz | A Tale of Two Sisters

“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.

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