Explore Us: Episode 02 feat. Olivia @ The Cwtch - Writing/Youth Ministry


Say hello to episode two of the Explore U.S./Explore Us series!! As you read this, I’m probably listening to music and sleeping on the couch because driving across the country = getting up REALLY EARLY. But I’m cool with it (also cool with sleeping all day y’know?) I’M STOKED, because today Olivia is conquering the blog! EVERYONE GIVE HER WAFFLES AND A HUGE WELCOME. Because she is inspirational, SUPER talented, and wise beyond her years. (Like, whaaaat somebody explain this??) Thank you again, Olivia, for being a part of this!



01. WHAT IS SOMETHING(S) THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY EXPLORING?

Two of my passions are writing (at the moment I’m editing my NaNoWriMo novel!! Eeep!) and youth ministry (I’m a Sr. High small group leader, and I help with worship and occasionally give a sermon to our high school students on Wednesday nights.)


02. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WRITING AND YOUTH MINISTRY?

I love connecting and communicating with people, and I love that writing and youth ministry – in their different ways – both give me a voice. When I write, it’s my way of reaching out to others, or sometimes reaching inside myself to say “you’re not the only one,” or “is there anyone else out there like me?” Sometimes our problems can’t be solved with a snap of someone’s fingers, but they can be shared, and picking up a book to realize that the main character is just like you, or thinks the same way, or whatever, can help.

I’m passionate about youth ministry because so many high schoolers plod through their growing-up years with their heads down, just trying to get out alive, and there is so much more to life than that! We are being bombarded by negative messages at school, on TV, and sometimes at home as well, and I love the chance to be a part of a church that runs up beside students and says, “no, that’s not how it is. This is the reality: you are important. You are cared for. You will do great things with your life. You are special. Jesus loves you, and so do we.”


03. WHO OR WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START EXPLORING THIS?

I never decided to explore writing – it just kind of happened. As long as I can remember, I’ve been putting together short stories and poetry, and when I was in 8th grade, my wonderful Mum bought me the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum, which was when I sat down and intentionally wrote my first book. (LIFE = CHANGED.)

I’ve always been interested in youth ministry, but it was when I was out for coffee with a friend and mentioned that I’d like to get involved at our church and she said, “then why don’t you?” that my passion really caught fire. I started in our youth group in October 2015 and I am not the same person now that I was then.


04. HOW DO YOU REACT TO PEOPLE WHO "DON'T APPROVE" OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING?

SO MANY PEOPLE ACK. This is such a real problem when you tell people that you’re going to school to get your major in English. They ask, “what job do you want?”, “how will you make money?”, “are you sure this is a good idea?” Once, I told someone that I was majoring in English, and she laughed in my face.

So, I laugh along. I tell them it’s what I love, it’s one of my biggest passions, and maybe I don’t know exactly what I want to do with it yet, but I am very, very sure that this is where I want to be. And then I let them think whatever they want, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I’m so excited to major in English in the fall, I’m so excited to see what opportunities God throws at me after school, I’m so excited to keep reading and writing forever. And that’s what matters.


05. WHAT IS THE 'EXPECTATION VS REALITY' OF WRITING AND YOUTH MINISTRY?

Okay, so this is a super hard question to answer.

I guess the expectation for both is that if it’s what you love, it will be easy, and that is pretty much as far away from the truth as you could get. Today, for example, I have decided in my head that I need to sit down and get some writing done. Have I done any writing yet? Nope. Do I love writing? Absolutely!! So then why am I procrastinating? Because even though I love it, writing is hard work! And sometimes, I am lazy and I just don’t want to put the effort in.

With youth ministry, I think the expectation is that you jump in as a leader and bond with your small group instantly and off you go. That’s definitely what I was expecting! But the reality is, people are people! My 9th grade small group didn’t click with me right away; it was hard work to get them to talk, even about the little things, and then around Christmas all of them just stopped coming. (Do you know how hard it is to bond with people you never see? SO. HARD.) Thankfully, over the past few months we’ve covered some major ground, they all started showing up again and now I am so excited to say that we are developing some real relationships – but it wasn’t easy!!


06. NAME THREE PEOPLE/THINGS THAT INSPIRE YOU TO KEEP EXPLORING THIS:

My mum has always inspired me to keep writing. She reads everything I give her (even the 200 page novels) and encourages me with both positive and critical feedback.

My 9th grade girls totally motivate me to keep showing up on Wednesday nights. When I was their age, I had a couple of different leaders/mentors in my life, but no one who really stuck with me, and I want to be that person for them.

It’s what I love. I don’t know if this counts as a reason, but every time I get up after having finished writing a chapter, I glow inside. I think, “I just DID something. Wow.” Youth ministry is the same way. I’ll get a text from one of my girls, someone will stop me in the hall just to chat, or I’ll get a hug from one of the other leaders, and I just know that this is so right for me.


07. WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN EXPLORING WRITING OR YOUTH MINISTRY?

Just DO it! Don’t be freaked out by the pages you haven’t written, or the people you haven’t met; just throw yourself into a story idea, show up at church when youth group is going on, and try it out! Don’t be discouraged by the slow days, or the relationships that take a little more time than you’d expected. Persevere. Find your voice – and then use it.



------------


don't leave this blog until you show olivia some love in the comments, people!!

xoxo,
abbiee

52 comments

  1. That's awesome that you're so involved in your Youth Ministry Olivia! I try to attend my churches Youth Group and the activities that they do every week, and I enjoy it a lot. I haven't really gotten opportunities to serve there, but I do serve my church in the Nursery, which is fun and challenging sometimes. XD This was definitely encouraging to me, especially the writing part! Thank you! ❤️ -Abbie C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abbie, I love that you spend time in the nursery! I have actually never done that... I bet it is challenging from time to time!! :p I think it's awesome that you serve where your passion lies. Those kids are so blessed to have you! Thanks for leaving me such a sweet comment :)

      Delete
    2. Y'ALL ARE SO COOL :')

      Delete
  2. I love your post, Olivia!

    My twin sister is an English major, and she has exactly the same problems--they're even people who tell her that she's doing well because English is an "easy" degree compared to, say, Math or Biology. But that's not true at all, and they're actually a LOT more jobs open to English majors than some people might realize. If it's what you want to do, go for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex, this comment is LIFEGIVING!! Thank you so so much for the encouragement! I will store your words up in my heart ♡♡ that is a reaction I get all the time... I will remember this when I feel discouraged. :)

      Delete
    2. OMG TRUTH. <3 *nodsnods*

      Delete
  3. OHMYGOODNESS, Olivia. First of all, you are amazing! Just from reading this, I can already see that you are on fire for God. I just went and gave your blog a follow, and I am SO excited to read your posts. Thank you so much!! This was soo encouraging! I am also a student leader in my senior high youth group, and I agree.. it can be SO hard sometimes!! I am really wanting to get more involved and purposeful with the others in the group, especially since this next year is my last! I loved what you said about writing as well! In general, great post!! :) And THANKS TO ABBIE FOR HAVING YOU POST BECAUSE NOW I HAVE FOUND ANOTHER FAVORITE BLOG. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MEGAN. ACK. You are too sweet and I am actually dying here. Seriously, though, you are so lovely and this comment means the world to me! It's so great that you're leading at your Sr high group, too! Let's compare notes and ideas over the next year! :) I'm needing a little inspiration at! ;)

      Delete
    2. OLIVIA IS AMAZING YES I COMPLETELY AGREE ;)

      Delete
  4. This is so awesome! :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU are so awesome!! Thanks, Hannah Joy!

      Delete
    2. *cries with happiness bc i have the best frens*

      Delete
  5. I didn't know you were so involved with your youth group like that! SO FANTASTIC!!! I would love to do that kind of stuff xD You're so encouraging. I'm sitting here like "I NEED TO DO SOMETHING NOW"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, I know the feeling!! Run RIGHT into it, girl! Go find what you love and then do that - or better yet, try something new and see if the love follows after a few months :) now is the time for experimenting! You rock it!

      Delete
    2. SAME JULIA SAME. i am just over here like aaaAAAACK OLIVIA IS SO INSPIRING I CANT EVEN ❤️

      Delete
  6. Wow, I loved this post, Olivia! That is so fantastic that you're into youth ministry and things like that. I think that that kind of stuff would be so rewarding and fun at the same time. And also the fact that God uses you in other people's life would be incredible <3 You're so BLESSED.

    oooh, yes, I've never really explored writing as "writing" much ever. I've always been drawn to it and it's something that's always been a part of me, ever since I was little. I love your blog, Olivia =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Autumn! ♡ youth ministry is one of my heart-passions, my loves, and it is so rewarding! However, there are definitely moments of frustration! But so worth it. :) I love that writing is something you've grown up with! It's the best feeling, isn't it? Thanks for the magnificent comment!!

      Delete
    2. GAHH YES. also also i feel like i can relate to the writing being always a part of you as well like EEEEEP YES. <3 :')

      Delete
  7. Yep, I definitely relate to procrastinating on something you love. I love writing letters, and it's a huge passion of mine. And I tend to write looong letters, and I love it when I'm at it, but sometimes I just don't feel like it, even though I LOVE it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I KNOW THIS FEELING SO MUCH. HELP. I think it's awesome that you like to write letters!! It's a dying art and I love when I find someone who still does it. :)

      Delete
    2. SO MUCH SAME, MAGGIE. i need lots of procrastination help, Olivia XD HELLLP

      Delete
  8. So glad you're doing this!! It's so interesting to read, and these questions are so good! This is so awesome!
    Abby
    http://quillsandcurtsies.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I AGREE. Abbie is the awesome st (and super creative, and GORGEOUS, but I digress) for thinking of this series!!I loved doing this post with her :) thanks for the comment, Abby!

      Delete
    2. ASDSGDJHAFDGAJ TOO MUCH KINDNESS :'''''') MY HEART IS SO HAPPY RN THANK YOU BOTH

      Delete
  9. Ahhh, Olivia, you're literally the coolest. I knew you were a fabulous writer, but I didn't know you were so involved with youth ministry! That's so awesome!! I loved reading this post so much. XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GRACE

      I AM FLAILING

      (Not literally, don't worry. That would be quite a sight!!)

      I don't even know what to say. I'm so grateful for you! ♡

      Delete
    2. OLIVIA IS LITERALLY THE COOLEST. ;) this is such an accurate comment Grace Anne im hugging it oki bai

      Delete
  10. This is so inspiring! Youth ministry is something I've been interested in for a while, and now I'm thinking I should take your advice, and just do something. There's not many opportunities around where I live, but I'm sure God's got something up His sleeve. ;)

    Thanks so much for sharing, Olivia, and to you too Abbiee - this series is already blessing me so much. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jessica, YES!!! wow!!! You go, girl! I am so so excited for you -- God definitely does have a plan and a purpose for you and the idea that it could involve youth ministry thrills me to bits!! Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
    2. EEEEEP I AM SO HAPPY I CANT EVEN

      Delete
  11. I love this post! :)

    Great learning more about Olivia.

    Allie D.
    www.alliesblogdesigns.blogspot.com
    www.friendlovesatalltimes.blogspot.com
    www.sincerelyallied.blogspot.com
    www.spreadingmyjoy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OLIVIA IS FABULOUS. (just sayin') ;)

      Delete
  12. Hey Abbiee, I tagged you for The Rising Authors tag over at thedepthofmyfaith.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course you did because ABBIE IS AWESOME

      Delete
    2. HAHAHA OLIVIA THANK YOU. and eeep can't wait to check out the tag, Allie! :D

      Delete
  13. Oh this is great! So inspiring!<3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hugs to you, Clara! ♡ thanks for commenting!

      Delete
    2. IT SERIOUSLY IS OMG ❤️

      Delete
  14. Wow, this is fabulous! I like how you mentioned that both writing and youth ministry give you a voice; I can tell you use it well and use it for God! Awesome! Normally, I'd say it's hard to know a person based on a blog post, but I can tell you're a genuine, sweet person. Rock on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ashhlyn, I'm so happy you liked the post - and thank you for leaving such a kind comment! I am so touched. :)

      Delete
    2. EEEP YES YOU'RE RIGHT ON, ASHLYN. Olivia is just super authentic and awesome and BASICALLY GOALS. <3 gah

      Delete
  15. OLIVIA GAH THIS IS SO INSPIRING. do you agonize over every single word you write??? bc everything you said was so perfect anD ITS LIKE YOU'RE SPEAKING INTO MY SOUL. thank you for sharing this, and wishing you all the best in these endeavors <3 so much love for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OLIIIIIIIIVIA

      I HAVE NEVER SPOKEN TO SOMEONE'S SOUL BEFORE

      BUT PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN TO MINE

      SO I KNOW THE FEELING AND I AM HONORED.

      ♡ all the love for you too ♡♡

      Delete
    2. SAME OLIVIA...KNIGHT HAHA. XD seriously you speakin' to souls all o're da place, woman. ;) THANK YOU FOR THIS. ❤️

      Delete
    3. this right here reminds me of my struggle on Instagram. "IT'S A DIFFERENT OLIVIA!" lololololol

      Delete
  16. This is so sweet! I totally feel ya when you talked about how you were planning to write today...but you haven't written yet. I procrastinate writing so much, it's not even funny! So I can TOTALLY relate to that. Also, I love your heart! Good for you for getting involved. There are some girls in my church that I want to step up and help mentor, but I'm not sure how. Writing and youth ministry are passions close to my heart as well, so this was radical. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin, you are so great! Thanks for reading/commenting!! The procrastination feels are real. ;) best of luck with those girls in your church! They would be so lucky to have you for a mentor! I hope you figure out a way to get that started -- Starbucks date?

      Delete
    2. SAME ERIN. THE PROCRASTINATION IS REAL. xD but yesss Olivia has given us so much inspiration and encouragement and sdfghjk I CAN'T EVEN. <3

      Delete
  17. I really liked this post! Writing is something that is slowly trying to die among the youths and this is really inspirational! Keep on writing girls!!

    xo-

    JacyRayn

    ReplyDelete
  18. CAN I JUST QUOTE THIS ENTIRE POST BACK TO YA BECAUSE MAJOR RELATING HAPPENING RIGHT HERE?!?!?!?!

    Olivia, i recently started a job in my church's youth and I feel the struggle of trying so hard to get to know the students and then failing. I feel your passion for connecting souls. I understand the dilema of not writing (Basically the past year of my life). (Oh, and I did OYAN too!!! Finished my first book that way :))

    Let us keep finding the beauty of hard work and the kingdom of God in the students we help! I loved this posts and (obvs) related SO MUCH!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I honestly don't know HOW I JUST GOT TO READ THIS! I loved this SO much! It was so interesting to hear about your ministry and passion, Olivia! I really, really enjoyed this post and it was so well-written!

    ReplyDelete

Nice comments brighten my day x100000! I read and respond to every single one (and I also give my commenters free virtual waffles, so that's a plus.)