Kaitlyn's Blog

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Liberty Debate CSER

I’ve written a lot about all the Community Service (CSER) work the Debate Team does together. And it’s not just because that’s all I do with my free time (Free time? What even is that?), it’s because I LOVE the work I do with the Debate Team.

Everyone at Liberty does CSER, but some of us get to do our CSER with our favorite dysfunctional family! I spend most of my time with debaters: working, eating, laughing on bumpy bus rides or sleeping on long flights. So it’s nice to be able to spend time with them doing more than debate work – serving our community and building stronger relationships with each other.

Every semester, we do a whole day of service projects, where the whole team runs around Lynchburg serving in different areas.

Here’s a peek at some of the projects we completed this semester:


1. Worked at the Park View Community Mission food pantry – sorting food and clothing donations, cleaning, and helping serve people.

One of our debaters, Lucas, sorting bread donations. 

Lucas and another debater, Abby, sorting fruit donations. Clearly, Lucas is more excited about the apples than Abby is. 

Sorting clothes donations into categories so people can find clothes in their size.


2. Cleaning and painting at Living Word Baptist Church! Living Word is a local church a few debaters attend, and every year we help them in a variety of tasks – washing windows, pulling weeds, painting baseboards, and mopping floors.


3. Holding a bake sale in the Jerry Falwell Library to raise money for the Blue Ridge Women’s Center! A few of our debaters are walking in their annual Walk for Life, and we sold baked goods in the library to raise money for the walk!

Hannah and Mike doing a great job selling baked goods at the bake sale!

4. Running in the Donut Dash 5K!

The Donut Dash was a 5K race sponsored by the non-profit Fish & Bread Project. The race raised money for The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, Axiom Sports United, and the Hill City Crash. Three debaters raced their hearts out and ended up with some donuts!

Mike and Odessa signing up to get running!


At the end of the day, we were all exhausted in the best possible way. We got to serve our community while learning more about each other.

Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 8:24 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, April 15, 2016

Millie's Living Cafe

Even as a senior at Liberty, I’m still discovering awesome new place to eat, get coffee, and hang out with my friends before I graduate!

Recently, a friend and I checked out Millie’s Living Café, a little spot connected to Health Nut Nutrition.

The food - an Acai Bowl and a gluten-free Carrot muffin!

My friend is gluten-free, and she was excited to check out their gluten-free bagels and muffins. Millie’s also has a great selection of vegan sandwiches and wraps, as well as our personal favorite – smoothie bowls! Seriously, I could eat one of these bowls every day for the rest of my life.

I got the Classic Acai Bowl - it has banana, acai, kiwi, pineapple, granola, and coconut!

You can check out Millie’s menu or other information to go try one of their awesome bowls! I’d highly recommend the Classic Acai Bowl – so good!

With food this pretty, you have to shamelessly take a few pictures. My friend Alli needed to photograph her Dragonfruit Bowl!

As a soon-to-be-graduated senior, my friends and I have been creating a list of “Lynchburg spots” we either need to check out for the first time or need to make sure we visit one last time before graduation.  Millie’s has made the list in two ways – it started as a place we needed to check out before leaving, and it ended up being a place we need to visit one last time before leaving!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be checking other spots off the list – our favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and outdoor spots!


Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 3:45 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Two Favorite People

Recently I got to take a much-needed break from school and go home! And to be honest, the best part of going home is always seeing two of my favorite people on this earth.

I was blessed enough to be given incredible parents I have strong relationships with. My parents have supported me in every dream I’ve had – from law school to seminary. They drove me to speech competitions and debate tournaments in high school, and once I got to college they learned more of our technical debate lingo than some debaters. They have been my biggest fans, my strongest support system, and my best friends.

I’ll be graduating in a few weeks and lots of people will congratulate me, but they should be congratulating my parents.

My parents have listened to every tearful outburst and every excited happy dance. They (despite some fighting and frustration) helped me with physics homework, taught me to drive a car, and proof-read and proof-read and proof-read everything I’ve written.

And since we’re a military family that’s still moving all over the place, “going home” doesn’t mean hanging out with friends or visiting my old high school. It means watching way too much HGTV with my mom and talking politics with my dad. It means baking and painting and watching cop dramas.

My insanely creative Mom is helping me decorate for my apartment and this was the very beginning of something that would become beautiful.

And when I hopped on a plane to Lynchburg, leaving this little puppy face was almost as heartbreaking as leaving my two favorite people.


So thank you, Momma and Daddy. Thank you for teaching me, guiding me, and loving me. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus in my life.


Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 3:46 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, April 1, 2016

Exploring Boston

The Liberty Debate Team travels all over the country (and sometimes, all over the world – check out my blog about our London trip). But it’s unusual that we get to spend any time in any of the cities we visit – we’re usually too busy debating all day in the school that is hosting the tournament. But for the last big tournament of the year with the whole team, we got to leave Liberty a day early and spend a day exploring Boston!

All the debaters ready for a day of exploring!

We started out at Faneuil Hall, a historic marketplace and meeting hall where many famous Revolutionary-era politicians gave important speeches and held meetings.

On the second floor of the Hall were these historic steps with the names of the original states on each step. 

We saw many historic sites, including the Old North Church, where Paul Revere famously hung the lanterns to alert revolutionary forces that the British were coming to attack during the Revolutionary War.

The church was both historically interesting and simply beautiful. 

My little group at the Old North Church - Moriah, Claire, Hannah, and me. 

We finished our off-day with a delicious dinner at a seaside seafood place.

The ship rirght next to the seafood restaurant.

Let's just say that the seafood place had some music we liked - Amanda, Brianna, and Alli especially enjoyed it. 


But the best part of the weekend didn’t come until we were done exploring and had started the actual tournament. During this last tournament of the year, we have a tradition on Liberty’s team – we spend a few minutes talking about what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown spiritually over the course of the season. It always gets me emotional, but this year was even worse – I was finally the senior I always saw crying during the meeting. I love my team, and I loved getting to tell them all how much they have meant to me.

Amanda and Alli sat next to me and laughed at how emotional I got!

 And even better, our novices (first-year debaters with no high school experience) took home the championship!


Our trip to Boston represented everything I love and everything I will miss about the Liberty University Debate Team – loving each other, having fun, and learning more than I ever imagined I would learn.


Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 3:46 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, and we had a beautiful and moving service at Convocation this morning.

The worship was beautiful and incorporated some older and newer music, spoken word, and different musical styles.

Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development David Nasser spoke on the meaning of the day we call Good Friday. He spoke about how too many churches and Christians want to avoid the messy, gruesome, gory details of the crucifixion. They want to skip right on to Sunday, where we celebrate life, not death. But he encouraged students that those uncomfortable details are what bring meaning to the resurrection and accurately describe the price Jesus paid in our place.

All morning, I kept thinking about the passage in Matthew that describes this day in history.


Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land[g] until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

~Matthew 27:45-54


The part of this passage that’s been running through my head all day is verse 51: “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”

The veil has been torn.

This symbol of our fundamental condition of separation from God has been broken. We have unbelievable access to a holy, omnipotent God.

I like to imagine what it would be like to live during Jesus’ lifetime. How incredible would it have been to live in a time when God was faraway and distant, and then…not. God being far from our lives was not a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of His Word, it was truth. Can you imagine living in that harsh reality, and then living through the day when the death of our Savior destroyed that barrier?

One day, a distant God had become flesh and dwelled among us. But there’s more. He died on a cross to save our lives, and He didn’t even stop there. He could have died for us to one day have access to the God our sin separated us from. Instead, He tore the veil and guaranteed we’d have incredibly access while still on earth. Every time we utter up a silly and frivolous prayer, He is listening. Every time we cry out because of the pain in this broken world, He is listening. Every time a lost soul cries out for a Savior, He is listening. Praise Jesus!

Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 3:52 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, March 25, 2016

Looking Back at Liberty Memories

It’s almost halfway through the semester, and I’m starting to get nostalgic! I’m on my last semester here at Liberty, and after four years here, I have a lot of memories. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today if not for the four years I spent learning and growing here at Liberty. Here’s a look back at some memories from my freshman year – if you’re a freshman or about to start your time at Liberty, hopefully it’ll remind you to savor the moments while they last; and if you’re nearing the end of your career here as well, hopefully it will remind you of your treasured memories!


This was my first football game and my first roommates! The girl on the far left is Hannah, my first prayer leader! She was the best kind of prayer leader - kind, nurturing, and a lover of Jesus! Next to her are my two freshman year roommates, Sarah and Angela! We had a lot of fun together, from late night coffee runs to Sunday brunches. 

Here's Sarah and I again - this time, we're celebrating her birthday by dressing up and eating dinner at one of our favorite local places - Macado's! (We really go for the giant cinnamon roll!)

Another important part of my freshman year was my introduction to the debate team! I would end up spending all four years at Liberty traveling around the country, debating with my team. I've learned more from this activity than anything I've ever done.

I also met some pretty amazing people on the debate team. This lovely picture was taken over the Easter break my freshman year, when a group of us went home with my friend Meagan. I was still in my Easter church clothes when we broke out the nerf guns and went to war!

And I can't forget my first Coffeehouse! Liberty's annual variety show occurs at the end of each semester, and it's always a great time. Here I am at my first Coffeehouse with another debater that would become one of my best friends, Vida. 


Whether you're a freshman, a senior, or you haven't even started your time at Liberty yet, I hope this trip down my personal memory lane reminded you to treasure the memories you're making!

Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 3:52 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sick Day!

It’s that time of year – everyone is sick and contagious.

I’ve already been sick a few times this semester, and let me tell you – it’s not fun.

And the worst part of being sick at school is trying to do your homework and go to your classes when all you want to do is stay in bed.

So here are some tips and tricks for getting healthy quicker and staying productive even when you don’t feel good.

1. Know the signs and stay healthy!

If you feel your throat getting a little sore or you’re getting tired more easily, act preemptively!

When you live or work on a college campus, there are a lot of germs, and it’s pretty likely you’ll get sick at some point or another. So take action before it happens! Eat plenty of fruits and veggies that naturally give you the kinds of vitamins and nutrients your body needs to maintain a strong immune system!

Or you can get your fruits and veggies together! This is one of my favorite smoothies I get from the Natural! smoothie shop in Green Hall.

This one has spinach, apple juice, banana, and oranges!

Another super important way to ward off sickness is to get plenty of sleep! College students are prone to pulling all-nighters, but it’s during those stressed-out times that you need sleep the most! Being tired means your body doesn’t have the strength to fight off those nasty diseases around campus!


2. Stock up on the essentials!

Whatever kind of illness you get, make sure you get the right remedies to make sure you feel as good as possible.

I recently had a bad cough, so I stocked up on cough drops, a decongestant, and some additional vitamins!

Make sure you do your research and know what kind of medicine is right for the symptoms you’re experiencing.


3. Take breaks and don’t try to over-work yourself.

During my latest sick day, I tried to write five more pages for the latest draft of my senior thesis. Normally, I could knock that out in a couple hours, with the research, wiring, and editing. But in my condition, that was unrealistic. Set goals that you can actually meet and prioritize the assignments you really need to focus on.


4. Rest in the God who has it all under control.

One of the most frustrating parts of being sick for me is feeling unproductive. I hate knowing how much work I could have gotten done but didn’t have the energy to complete. I get frustrated with my very human condition – I’m weak and fragile in the face of tiny little germs. Sometimes, it’s in this place that He finds me and speaks the loudest. When I believe the lie that I am in control and can orchestrate my life all on my own, He allows a little cold or flu to remind me that I’m dependent on the God of the universe, and I need to surrender my illusion of control to Him.


Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 9:41 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shane & Shane and Rick Burgess Convocation

This week was a good week for Convocation! On Monday, we listened to NFL Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Tim Brown, and today we heard from FOUR incredible people – Shane & Shane and Rick and Sherri Burgess.

Shane & Shane have been making music together for about fifteen years, and have produced eleven studio albums. They sang “Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts)” from their new album Psalms, Vol. 2 (which is AMAZING), as well as some favorite covers including “Good Good Father” and “No Longer Slaves.” Shane & Shane are incredible musicians, and they beautifully set the stage for what Rick and Sherri Burgess would speak about.

The Burgesses shared the story of Rick’s success as a speaker and radio show host, as well as the tragic story of their young child’s drowning. Rick powerfully shared the truth that God uses trials and difficulties in our lives to shape us into people who are more like Him. He explained that the “wealth, health, and prosperity gospel” didn’t hold up to the truth in the actual Gospel: we will certainly face suffering but God will use it for His glory and our good. Sherri joined him and explained how difficult the tragic event was to endure. She shared that while she once questioned why God would take her son from her, she can now see how her family’s trial became a powerful testimony of God’s grace and deliverance.

Shane & Shane rocking it out! 

Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 2:58 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Galentine's Day!

If there’s anything college students like, it’s late-night chocolate.

And this week, the girls on the debate team celebrated “Galentine’s Day” by eating late-night chocolate!

A few days after Valentine’s Day, we dipped marshmallows, graham crackers, and other goodies in chocolate while making valentines for everyone on our team.

As busy as we all are, we decided to carve some time out of our busy week to spend time bonding over chocolate and crafts!


Here’s part of our group!

After getting a sugar rush from our chocolate, we started working on our valentines!

More crafting!

Making valentines isn't all fun and games!


Even if it’s not Valentine’s Day (or “Galentine’s Day”), spending some time with friends and chocolate is an important break in any student’s life. 

Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Weekend in the Life of a Debater

We’re reaching that point in the semester: the one where you give up on all of your well-intentioned plans to get your homework done ahead of time, the point where you rely on three cups of coffee a day to stay awake, and the point where seniors like me start counting down the days until graduation.

One aspect of my schedule that simultaneously adds a lot of stress and gives a lot of joy is the debate team. The Liberty Debate Team travels a few weekends out of every month, and our trips usually take three or four days. Since most people have no idea how debate tournaments work, I thought I’d bring you along on our most recent trip and show you how we spend our crazy weekends! This weekend, we were traveling to a large national tournament in Austin, Texas.


We get picked up from our dorms at 5:00 AM to drive to the Lynchburg airport. (That’s one important feature of debate tournaments: waking up early!)

We flew from Lynchburg to Charlotte, and then from Charlotte to Austin.

First stop upon arrival in Texas: BBQ!

We didn’t have any debates our first day in Austin, so our day consisted of tacos, preparing for the tournament, settling into the hotel, and, of course, BBQ.



We woke up at 5:45 and left the hotel at 6:30. We had four debates this day!

Each debate takes around 2 ½ hours. There are eight speeches – four nine-minute speeches and four six-minute speeches. Two-people teams debate each other, with each debater giving two speeches. After the debate, a judge takes some time to think about the debate, and then gives the debaters their decision for who won the debate, as well as comments about what they could improve on.


Again, we wake up at 5:45 and leave at 6:30 for four more debates!

At large national tournaments, there are usually over 150 teams debating. These preliminary debates show which teams are the best and will advance to elimination rounds on Monday.


Elimination debates! The 32 teams that have advanced to the elimination debates are organized in a bracket and debate each other until only two teams are left, and that debate determines the winner of the tournament.

These debates are either stressful (if you’re debating in them) or really fun (if you’re not, you get to watch really good debates and learn a lot).


Travel day – We flew back from Austin to Lynchburg early Tuesday morning. At closer tournaments, we often ride on Liberty buses to the tournament, and the ride home looks a little more like this:

This is Ana, who had great dreams of getting Biology homework done on a ride back from a tournament. 


Debate tournaments aren’t as physically exhausting as sports tournaments, but they are mentally exhausting. We’re debating for long hours every day, traveling for long hours, and trying to finish our Stats homework on bumpy busses.

As stressful and time-consuming as debate tournament are, they’re also rewarding and fun. It’s a special feeling to know that your hard work has paid off, and you’ve accomplished something you’re proud of.

During this chaotic part of the semester, let’s all keep our focus on working hard, no matter what our pursuits are. Let’s work hard, not for earthly success, but for the value of using the talents our God has given us well.


Postedby Kaitlyn Schiess at 11:32 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

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