Have you ever wondered how a single encounter could completely change the course of your life? That's exactly what happened to our guest, Olivia Vendetti, when a visit to church with her grandfather sparked a passion for Jesus that has shaped her life ever since. Growing up in a non-Christian Pennsylvania home with nine siblings, Olivia's journey to faith, education, and even international travel is a testament to the power of living each day to the fullest.
With the motto of living each day as it's the best day ever. Olivia shares how her faith inspired her to create the Best Day Ever podcast, where she connects with strangers and shares their stories. From her experiences as a community college student to her two-month journey through Central and Eastern Europe, where she volunteered as a videographer for young life, sharing the gospel, Olivia's dedication to living her life with purpose is undeniably inspiring.
But it doesn't stop there. Olivia also opens up about her time living in Albania, her love for the culture, and her desire to see revival. Offering practical advice on navigating tough days and keeping faith in God's plan, this heartfelt conversation with Olivia Vendetti serves as a reminder that living a life full of purpose and passion is not only possible but truly transformative. Don't miss out on this incredible story of strength, dedication, and the power of faith.
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Hello everyone, thank you again for joining us on another episode of the Dorsey Ross podcast. Today we have a special guest with us. Her name is Olivia Vendetti and she used to go with a big heart for years with one mission to live each day like it's the best day ever. Olivia can be found on a social media platform, through LiveFromJoy, where she documents daily her life, travels, faith and all the strangers she meets. Olivia, thank you so much for Coming on the show today.Olivia Spehr :
Dorsi, thank you so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.Dorsey Ross :
Absolutely Well, just a little background. Olivia and I met randomly, really at a Starbucks. she was in there and she was talking to someone I knew from a church and I went over to say hello to the woman from the church and the woman said, hey, do you know Olivia? And I was like no, i don't know Olivia. And then Olivia and I got talking and she told me about her podcast and what she does And we became friends and we talk on social media once in a while but she, you know, does a lot of traveling. We'll talk about the travels that she's done and what she does with her podcast today, but we'll go into some easy questions and then we'll get into her story.Olivia Spehr :
Yeah, let's do it.Dorsey Ross :
Where did you grow up and did that affect who you became? Hmm.Olivia Spehr :
Okay, absolutely It affected anybody. I'm today, i'm okay. So I'll start from the beginning. I grew up in Pennsylvania. I'm like local to the whole Xton, downingtown area. I am born and raised in Chester County and I'm actually one of nine children. I am the middle child of one of nine children and my parents actually were separated by the time I was five years old. So naturally that comes with just this responsibility of being the big sister, taking care of my family and just being, you know, the middle child. But I was also. Basically I grew up the middle child with my mom because my mom had nine children, but when I would go to my father's house, my father had five out of the nine children and I was the oldest. So I had two roles, like I was the middle child but I was also the oldest child when I went to my dad's house. So all in all it totally made me who I am strong, independent, driven. But all the good things I love people, i can easily adapt to places, i love traveling, i can easily find myself talking to literally anyone And I think just my experience, like growing up I was always surrounded with so much love and we all made it work Like, even through the difficulties and the struggles that everybody faces, and everyone has their own. The story, you know, and that was just my story was part of who I am. But yeah, it really just created like a beautiful. I feel like a whole redemption, as I continued all my life, of just how God has used me in so many people's life.Dorsey Ross :
Yeah, Now, how did you become a Christian? Did you grow up in a Christian home, and how did that come about?Olivia Spehr :
I did not grow up in a Christian home. I actually came into Christ just from my grandfather inviting me to church one day and I accepted Christ that day. It was March 10th 2019. I was 18 years old and I had no idea what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. I literally used to in my mind, i used to like just be like how are people like so Jesus? how do people talk about Jesus? Jesus, like I did not understand because I thought that I knew everything that there was to know about God, because I grew up going to CCD, i got my sacraments and I had no idea that there was like a real role, living, relationship with God that existed And I just I didn't understand that there was more to know about God than just him being in the clouds For the gospel. I heard that there's a story for me, that I'm chosen, i'm loved that God, literally uniquely chosen, crafted me to be the way that I am And I took that and I'm like I want more of this and I became a follower of Jesus and my life has been completely changed ever since that day on March 10th 2019. Now it's been almost four years of following Jesus.Dorsey Ross :
That's awesome. What is CCD? for my listeners that may not know what that is.Olivia Spehr :
Yes, so CCD is actually, i guess, what you a tradition that you go through as a Catholic. that's what I grew up like. I mean, i went to church like the occasional Christmas, easter, but in like the Catholic church, you go through these things called the sacraments and they're just I'm so bad I feel like I can't even explain it because I feel like I did not even know what I was saying. but CCD, you just go through these sacraments like confirmation, baptism as a child, like all these things. I don't even know how to explain CCD. I actually CCD means Confraternity, christian Doctrine, it just means the religious education of children who are in public school. Yeah, so, yeah, that's that.Dorsey Ross :
We hear more and more about this generation, your generation, not accepting Christ or not going to church as often as the older generation would. I know you said you did it the first time you went to Kirk on that Sunday. What was it about that Sunday, and why do you think your generation, and maybe the group that you hang out with, don't go to Kirk that often anymore?Olivia Spehr :
Yeah, i think I feel like there's so many layers to it. So I'll start. I uniquely had this desire about my life that I wanted to be different, i wanted to stand out. So it was so easy for the gospel to appeal to me because I already was sort of like I wouldn't say it was an outcast, because I had friends. But in my high school experience I never partied, i never drank, i never did any of the things that typical students experience. I never did any of those things And I definitely felt so lonely and isolated, but I would never call myself lonely because I still just had the best time ever. I just enjoyed my life and I think God really put the spirit in me, before I even knew him, to just kind of not desire those things. I'm very grateful for that because it definitely saved me from a lot of heartache And so I'm grateful for just how he prepared my heart. So I'm really grateful for how God had already prepared a heart for me to just want to be different and not take that typical route. So it was so easy for me to receive the gospel because I was already like this soul that needed that spot filled and I instantly just like made sense and it clicked and I'm so grateful for that. But I think, in general, a lot of people, i think it just comes down to the fact that they just don't know the love of God and they're more focused. They think of church and they just think of the rules and the regulations and I have to dress a certain way and I have to be a certain way and how maybe the church as a group as a whole may not be welcoming, based off their experiences. I think you're absolutely an outcome of just kind of your environment. That doesn't mean your environment has to label you. Just because you didn't grow up in a Christian household, like me, doesn't mean you can't ever receive the gospel. but I just think there's probably a lot of hurt that has been done and I think a lot of people think that by following Jesus you are. I think people think you lose a part of you. But actually, because I just think about my thoughts and actually what I came to found is I actually found who I am, because you can only find who you are and the one who made you God the Creator, made us as His creation, and why are we going to all these other places to find our purpose, when the one who was our maker made us for purpose. He's the one who knows the answer to our purpose and we need to be going to the one who literally crafted us. That's where we're going to find. He is our life source. That is where we need to go to find the true hope and joy that dwells in Jesus. So there's so many different experiences, different reasons for why I just think, in general, people just don't know the love of God and they're missing that. They're missing that when they hear about Christian faith, jesus, they just and I think us as believers, we have the answer now and we have the ability to walk into the street, walk into stores, go places. Every person you meet. You can encounter them with the love of Jesus and we need to do that more.Dorsey Ross :
What are your biggest challenges in life?Olivia Spehr :
One of my biggest challenges in life that is, you're asking some really good questions today. Okay, one of my biggest challenges in life, i think recently I'm finding that I have always had a very go, go, go different places, moving to my mom and dad's house, traveling like I lived in an apartment. I just had a life that was so like not constant, like I never had any consistency in my life. I feel like there were just so many moving pieces, moving parts of my life, and right now, i think one of my challenges that I would say I'm encountering right now, in this moment, actually is just finding peace, to be exactly where I'm at, without needing like the I guess expectations of like the next place, like I feel like in my mind I would always have like a next place I was going to, and even though my motto is living every day because the best day ever, i was able to do that easily when my life was so busy because I could only focus on that day ahead, but now I have like nothing going on. I'm like a recent college graduate. I'm not used to not being in school I've never not been in school my entire life And I'm used to just have so many moving parts that for the first time in my life is like everything is still and I have nothing else to run to anymore And so I have to. I'm really being like. I feel like God's just challenging me to really know like what it means to just like sit in the peace of Him, and knowing like what it means to just sometimes have like a quiet season where you're not always go, go, go like doing all these things, going to all these events, and just finding peace truly in today and still knowing that you're walking in the purpose of Him. Even if you're, even if what your expectations of that looks like might be different, it's like I'm still walking in His purpose.Dorsey Ross :
And then what, what, what did you go to college for, and where did you go to college?Olivia Spehr :
I went to college at Westchester University and I studied political science, international relations, because of the very fact that I love people, i love travel and I love documenting life. And I was like halfway through it was COVID. I was like I just need to pick something. I was originally there to study computer science and engineering. I was like during COVID that this career feels not for me And, to be honest, i actually never had a desire to go to school but like, fortunately I did have like the resources and I had been working my butt off. So I was like I'm just going to do it. And I worked hard and I got no debt out of university and I decided political science, international relations and technically I mean, i guess it all came full circle, cause here I am in Albania.Dorsey Ross :
Your motto is live each day like it's the best day ever. How would you, how do you, how do you want to do that, and how would you tell others to do that and to be like that in their, in their life?Olivia Spehr :
Well, dorsey, do you know why today is the best day ever? Do you know why today is the best day ever? It was yesterday in the past, and are we guaranteed tomorrow?Dorsey Ross :
We don't know when they go tomorrow. Yeah, so what are we?Olivia Spehr :
left, with Right today, right. So how I just tell people to kind of how I would kind of apply that when I share this with other people is it doesn't mean today, doesn't? it doesn't make today the best day ever by always doing something crazy and exciting and fun. Literally, today is the best day ever because it's literally the only day that we're living and it's the only day that you have, and that doesn't mean you need to go run rampant and go crazy and do all that stuff. But it's like, what can you do today to really be more satisfied? or maybe just make that small impact, like how I feel, like we just need to. It really just starts with like opening up our eyes and realizing that we don't have forever to live and we're not guaranteed forever in the future, but at the same time, like we're in a, like we're alive today and that should not be wasted. And I think we get so used to the mundane and the routine that we forget how much of a gift it is that we can breathe and that we have a like that we can use our, our skills or our passions and our gifts to share it with the world. And so I just hope that when people hear that, it's kind of like a shock. It's like what, what do you mean? today is the best day ever. I remember when I first heard that it was during COVID and I actually put on this podcast I was crying. It was such a hard day. During COVID I turned on a podcast and the person was saying one of their best pieces of advice that they had been given by their dad was that they should wake up every day to get the best day ever. And I literally was like I was like what? That's like the worst advice ever. And then I think it. I think it like I actually like it kind of like shocked my heart, though I I not that I wasn't saying it gets the worst advice ever, but like I was just kind of like what, like how, like how can it? because, like, when you hear that, you think it has to be something extraordinary, but actually it is extraordinary that we have today, and I think something in that moment pierced my heart, because it was such a difficult, challenging day And I was not one to usually like express my emotions. So to hear that phrase in that moment I was like wow, like it started to awaken something in my soul to be like today does not need to go wasted, like we only have today. And then it turned into like a year later, so where I ended up like really making it my motto and creating a podcast out of it. And so I simply do it by just starting my day off by just asking God, like how do you want to use me today? Like what do you want to do with my life today? Put people in my path. It's for me, i think, it's the most fulfilling to just know that I'm making impact on someone else's lives by just being me, and everybody can, just by being. Then they can make an impact.Dorsey Ross :
Yeah, and I think, especially when you hear that you know during the pandemic and everything that we were going through, i can see how it could be a shock to hear them be like wait what? What are you talking about? Do you know what's going on in the world right now? How can you say today's your best day ever when we're going through a pandemic of disproportion?Olivia Spehr :
Yeah, it literally pierced my heart And I feel like I actually watch other people when I say that. I feel like I see a shock in their eyes, like it almost like gives them like that pierce, because it's like when you first hear that that's just so not normal. You hear, like have a good day, but like to genuinely tell someone, like not just like under your breath, like how's the best day ever, but like to genuinely mean like today is the best day ever. It like it does something, it stirs something in someone's heart And that's what I want is for them to take advantage of this day that we are gifted.Dorsey Ross :
Yeah, tell us a little bit about your podcast and what made you start the podcast.Olivia Spehr :
Yes, i would love to talk about this. I only had one year at Westchester University in person because I was a community college student at Delco Community College for my freshman year. Then I took office semester and I transferred to Westchester for five weeks and then COVID hit and I was online for one year and a half. Then my final year. It was my first full year as an in-person student. I just had this feeling on my heart that God was telling me that he's just going to use me as a light on campus. He put me through a refiner during COVID. I learned so much about myself and I just felt like he was just going to use me. He's going to use all that. I felt like during COVID. I went through a refiner and he was going to really use me. I was writing in my journal it was August of 2021. I was like God's going to use me as a light on campus. I had no idea what that meant, but I just felt like the Holy Spirit had just come so alive in my life. I really could see so clearly the joy that he has given me Through the joy of the Spirit. I just remember the very first day of university. I had no idea that I was going to create a podcast, but it was my first day of university. I stepped outside my house and I just had this feeling. The Holy Spirit was just like this is where it all begins. I was just more focused. I literally felt like my only purpose of getting a college degree was just so that I could end up being on campus senior year to share Jesus with people. I walk out my apartment and I just see someone standing right there. Instantly I just go hey, good morning. This is when we were still having to wear masks on campus. Nobody has been socializing for a year and a half because of the pandemic. Everybody thought I was the weirdest person ever, but I just love people. I genuinely just have a heart for people. I love people. I love watching people smile. I love doing the smallest thing that makes someone feel a scene. Right away. I step out of my house and I see this kid and I go hey, good morning. They're like hey, and we just start walking to class and we're just talking. So many moments like that were built up that by October it was only a month. By October I was like I am meeting so many people, hearing so many stories Every day. I was just gathering names and names of people. I was writing them in my journal. I've been praying for these people. Some people would even actually have conversations about Jesus with. I would just sit with people in the library, strangers, like all these people. I was just gathering so much stories that I was like I need to wait to document these lives, that I was like maybe I'm like a YouTube channel, maybe I'll like maybe I don't know. And then finally, through all this, how should I channel all this? I ended up making the best day ever podcast, because it really is the best day ever, every day that I would meet someone, and I think it was such a miracle that you ever could meet a stranger, and I think God was just revealing so many things and thoughts and I was just finding so much all in God. During those days, i just felt like God was in every single moment with me as I'm meeting all these people, meeting all these strangers, just sharing, like using me to just share his love and share his light. No-transcript, all these strangers. So I end up creating the best-sever podcast because I wanted a Platform for all these individuals to share their life and share their story. Rather, they were believers or not believers. Everyone was created by God, and you can actually learn more about God by knowing someone else, because We were all made in his image, amen.Dorsey Ross :
So you're Opinion right now correct And I I would follow you before you got to Albany. I would follow you on your previous trips and, like every other week, you're like in the, in a different country somehow, and Tell us about, telling about that and telling about how that, how that got started. You weren't even on the mission trip. You were literally a fuck, i know by yourself traveling to these different countries.Olivia Spehr :
So this past summer actually I was doing an internship. I was doing an internship this summer with a ministry called a young life and I had just got done Leading a young life ministry at my local high school for two years. I miss them so much. But I was a young life leader basically, where we have clubs and meetings with kids, introduce the gospel to kids who've never even heard about Jesus. So I did it for two years that when I graduated, i Always knew that young life international existed. So I did some researching and I just I feel like it was just a God thought on my mind. I just look up. It was like right before I was graduating University, i had no plans and I just felt like he was telling me to look up young life International. So I did and that led me on a two-month journey traveling all across Central and Eastern Europe. We went to the Balkans, albania, bulgaria. Now we went to up north in Poland, we went to Hungary, czech Republic, basically went to all these places for camps that were hosting The whole week of Jesus, like learning and sharing about Jesus. These kids And I had the honor of being the videographer, so every day I would create a daily recap of that day and it was insane And I made like over 60 films this summer. I was working with the program team creating skits. It was a journey, but it was the most beautiful thing ever. The best part Was not only just all the fun and adventuring and all the close relationships and friendships I was able to build, but it was the that I was watching all these other nations and tongues and languages Praying to the same guy that I believe in, and I just had never experienced or witnessed like people from other countries praying and I think that just opened up my eyes to just see how like, like how much of a in a bubble I was living in not really ever fully grasping just how widespread like God is moving and like The, the movement of Jesus, how he's been moving for centuries I Was like such an amazing thing to experience. That's cool.Dorsey Ross :
Now, how do you end up being in Albania?Olivia Spehr :
I ended up being in Albania because one of the camps that I got to experience Was took place in Ersekha and I loved Albania so much. I love the culture. It just really Like struck me during my whole internship and I just knew I needed to come back here. And I actually had the opportunity to come back here for the month of September. I lived here for one month and during that time I got more plugged into just ministry here that When I went back home for the holidays I knew I had to come back here, along with the fact that my boyfriend actually lives here in Albania and so, through obviously my new relationship and then ministry and wanting to see revival happen here, i just love the culture, the beauty. Like Albanians. I love people ever about Albanians. They just have this like They're just, they just live with so much like honor and respect for people and especially their own people, and I just love how Alive the tradition is after all these years, like they have existed a Like. The country of Albania is such like a crazy story and they've overcome so much and so I'm just really excited to be here and just to see how God will use me and It really gets just the beginning.Dorsey Ross :
Now if this thing will be a long-term thing, or do you think you'll come home at some point, or you don't do that a day like a Good thing and get waiting on him?Olivia Spehr :
I Would absolutely say it is all in God's hands. I'm just feel like I'm here for the ride. I have like a, i have a vision of what I would like to do. I'm currently here for a set for like five or six months, but it really is just all in God's hands and I'm gonna just wait on him to give me that, to wait on that answered prayer and then We get ready to end here.Dorsey Ross :
How do you want to be remembered?Olivia Spehr :
I Wanted. I want to be remembered for I feel like I, when I really dig deep. I want to be remembered for living simply a life that is under Jesus' name, like I want to be someone that has lived a life that is just truly honoring to God, and I think it just starts from just having a heart that has just been refined so much that I feel like I'm gonna be on that journey my entire whole life of constantly, everyday battling like flesh or spirit, but really just loving others like how Jesus did, making my small, small impact in God's great story. And, yeah, i just want to see people come to know Christ.Dorsey Ross :
And then this might be a little bit of a curable question for you, but some people may look at this interview either they'll hear it later or they'll walk in on YouTube or walk part of it on YouTube or whatnot. They'll see a very happy, very outgoing young lady and they'll be like how is he so happy all the time? And we know, obviously we know it's here, because we know it's God in your life. We know that 110%. But when you have a bad day in your life or when you're having, you know obviously in the Bible say you know troubles and hard times will come. You know and obviously you'll put you know how do you deal with that? I mean, obviously you know we all turn to God and whatnot. But when you're having a hard time, a bad day, you know how do you get through those bad days.Olivia Spehr :
I feel like if you believe that Jesus is who he says he is and you believe just the words that he's spoken, that God has a plan for you and that he's gonna use everything for good it's crazy but it's true that he just provides a uncomfortable amount of peace that I just kind of I feel like I just what did I? it's like in a song, and obviously verses in the Bible. It says like the joy of the Lord is my strength and whether you're a believer or non-believer, like the joy of the Lord really is alive and he is real. And if you believe in him, there is like this joy that can like overcome you in all circumstances. And I think that it just in my, it's just like in my brain, like in my DNA. It gets just like knit that like none of these things define you, like the things that we experience here on earth like do not define you And the only thing that defines you is who God says you are and you're loved and there's nothing that can separate you from his love. And but to be more practical because I will, i'll get more practical I would say what I do on a hard day is first I journal. I definitely journal. I will like maybe step outside. I go for a walk. I just need to process my thoughts. I take a lot of time like processing. I'm like a very like internal thinker, so I do a lot of just like praying, journaling. And if I need to take the next step after going to God, i will like talk to friends or I'll just do something to like re-channel my attention back going the day and not to get too in the thoughts. So I think everybody has things that are unique to them that they can do, but for me it's just being creative, making videos and just keep going sharing the love.Dorsey Ross :
And then last question I used. I asked all my guests this question what encouragement would you give to the listening?Olivia Spehr :
All these questions you're thinking I like wish I could just sit with them for like a day and just really dive deep, but that's probably better than I just get asked on this spot. But I would just say whoever you are, god is not finished with you yet And there really is just a beautiful life ahead of you And you are so valuable and your presence makes an impact. You don't know it, but there's people that you encounter during the day that maybe they don't say anything to acknowledge it, but you make a presence and you make it impact in people's lives. So don't stop shining your light and don't stop being who you are, because you are beautiful.Dorsey Ross :
Hey, man, well, i love you. Thank you so much again for coming on the show today. I know that we've almost to the last minute of talking about this and getting this taken care of and we'll see how a difference to where you are. So thank you so much for coming on the show today.Olivia Spehr :
Yes, thank you so much for having me, and can I just like mention like my platform? Oh, go ahead, okay. So yeah, once again, my name's Olivia Vendetti-Spar. If you're looking to get some any positive content or if you have any questions, feel free to just reach out to Instagram. All my platforms are actually under this username. At livefromjoyliv F-R-O-M-J-O-Y. I would love to dive deeper in any questions and you can also tune into my podcast Best Day Ever podcast with Olivia. So hope you guys have a beautiful day. You're loved, you're chosen. Dorsey, thank you so much. It was an honor to be on the podcast with you and you are amazing. Keep shining your light, keep doing what you're doing, because you really do make it impact, and I pray that God bless you this year and that you just keep carrying on the love.Dorsey Ross :
You as well. Guys and girls, thank you so much for tuning in again. I hope you like and share and review this podcast and this episode and have a great day and until next time, God bless, bye, bye. God bless, bye.