Tuesday, May 9, 2017

13 REASONS WHY



There is a hot topic going around that I can’t get away from. After several weeks of being forced to talk about this with various people, I thought I would stop and put all my thoughts on a page.
I, and my kids, have been hearing rants and raves about the Netflix series of 13 Reasons Why. In the beginning I simply read trusted Catholic blogs, such as Lifeteen.com, and shared them on my Facebook. From a distance, it looked as if this was a dangerous show for teenagers to watch. Because this subject wouldn’t die among my kid’s peers, I decided to watch the show myself. I figured #1 I was old and mature enough to handle a teenage show in spite of whatever sins they wanted to pollute my mind with and #2 It is difficult to be taken seriously when I haven’t seen the show at all. There are some movies/shows that don’t need your full attention to know they are bad (50 Shades of Gray), but where there is a gray area (no pun intended there), sometimes we have to go the extra mile. So, I watched most of the show....

My kids were having a hard time defending the position that this was a dangerous show to watch because they hadn’t seen it themselves. I also learned that there were parents who did not know their child was watching the series or did not know the content. So here I am!!

I am going to be graphic so if you are under 18, don’t read this unless your mom or dad reads it first! I need to be graphic because I am learning the hard way that there are still good parents out there that believe a little bit of pornography is ok under certain circumstances. (btw...this isn't a "litte bit" of porn). Sigh….. So, if you are that parent, the graphics are especially for you so you can determine whether it qualifies as something you would let your child see. Over here, it is a no. Pornography is a BIG NO even if (fill in the blank).

Here is what you will see if you watch 13 Reasons Why. Take notes….

* Masturbation scene. I went my ENTIRE life not seeing a masturbation scene until last year when I saw about 4 of them in various movies. Guess this is something new that is considered “acceptable”  
* 2 girls making out (which is what instigated the masturbation scene as a 17 year old boy was looking at a picture of this). One of the girls was struggling with lesbian thoughts and the other girl was just going along because they were having fun getting drunk.

* Full blown sex scene between 2 seventeen year olds.(disclaimer: this is graphic) Both were completely naked and he is clearly humping her repeatedly. I thought sex between kids was considered child porn? Am I just old school or something? They were juniors in HS. This is porn guys.
* A detailed rape scene. (graphic) A girl is in a hot tub with the boy. He approaches her and makes a move which she refuses. She tries to escape by turning around to climb out. He uses that opportunity to hold her in that position while he takes off the bottom of her bathing suit with one hand and holding her down by the neck with the other hand. He enters and humps her maybe 20 times or so while the girl narrates her feelings. You watch her go from fighting to giving up. Yeah....

* Another rape scene (graphic). A boy takes advantage of a drunk girl at a party while an observer hides in the closet. You see him take off her underwear and he takes off her underpants. He humps away, holding down her hands while she whimpers and cries. After this terrible scene is over, it is replayed in the mind of the victim and the observer repeatedly so you get to see this over and over again.

* The star of the show takes a picture of a naked boy through his window and posts it to all the kids at his HS in response to what he did to hurt the girl who had committed suicide. This was portrayed as a GOOD response. So, if you think this show sends a message that you shouldn't bully someone, think again. It actually shows that bullying someone 100x worse is a heroic response.
* Hollywood used another opportunity AGAIN to push their gay agenda by saying this girl with 2 dads had "the perfect family"
* A sexual encounter between the 2 stars was made to look appetizing because they both cared about each other.
* God's name repeatedly used in vain
Those are the facts.
Here are my opinions…..
One of the criticisms I had read was about how graphic the suicide was. I actually see that as a pro. Yes it was graphic but it SHOULD be! Life is a BIG DEAL! I’m of the opinion that those on death row shouldn’t die quietly with a few witnesses. Even though I’m against capital punishment, I think that if you are going to do it, do it in a public street for all to see. That is a LIFE. That is a human being made in the image and likeness of God. We need to see a life lost when it is lost.

This show glorifies suicide and this is why. The girl who took her own life, Hannah, had recorded 13 reasons why she had taken her own life. She blamed each of her friends and acquaintances for something they did to hurt her. She got the ultimate revenge instantly – forcing them all to live with the guilt that their mistake killed a girl. This payback for what all these people had done to her easily looked like it was well deserved and everyone learned a valuable lesson BECAUSE she killed herself.   Nowhere in the show did it show that she had hope. WE know that she had hope but the show only portrayed her downward spiral into a pit of depression to where there was no escape. I have no doubt that suicides will be on the rise if it hasn’t already since this show came out.

This show gives no weight to mental illness. MANY people suffer the type of bullying this girl endured without committing suicide. The entire blame for her life was all put on a group of kids that were already struggling through the tortures of adolescence. It is ironic that I am making this point because I am known for complaining that no weight is ever put on circumstances and bad choices and unhealthy relationships that lead to depression. Everyone always wants medication to solve depression and don’t realize that if they stop rebelling from their Father in Heaven and start making better choices, that might be the medication a person really needs. But the tides have turned and here I am on the other end of the spectrum.

Is there a good message through all of this sin? If you dig hard enough, maybe. The one “pro” I can put my finger on is this…..Every encounter with another human being has an impact. We can't think that every bad joke, every rumor, gossip, or bad prank is no big deal because you were "just kidding".

We are at war. We are at war with the lies society give us. We are at war with Satan, who slithers in our lives like a thief in the night. He plays around in our minds like a kid on a playground by simply taking something good and holy and throwing in his lies. The devil doesn’t have his own clay. He can’t create anything. All he can do is take something good and twist it into something sinful. I want to normalize purity!! Don’t we all want to normalize purity with our kids? Wouldn’t spiritual reading and saint movies be more inspiring to our vulnerable teens than bombarding them with sadness and pornography from Hollywood?

“But Katy, suicide is a real thing” Yeah…..my kids still can’t watch porn

“You can have good and productive talks with your kids.” I don't need Hollywood's help with this

“You can’t shelter your kids from everything” They still can’t watch people having sex…..or masturbations scenes, or rape scenes.

Try as you might, my kids can’t watch porn, sex, masturbation or rape scenes, even if _______________.

I am positive that there is a better way to send your child a message on how we are to treat one another without filling their minds with disordered sexual content. You do not need this show to have productive talks with your child about these issues. You don’t need Hollywood at all. I had productive talks with my kids about sex, masturbation, rape, homosexual lifestyle, etc. long before this show came out. God will provide. HE will provide these opportunities for productive talks, not Hollywood. Finding the good-ish message in this show is like buying Playboy for the good articles or supporting Planned Parenthood for......something good they might do. I can't think of anything good they do so maybe that's a bad analogy. Maybe they give free mints at the front desk.

Let’s ask ourselves, what is the BEST answer to getting people to truly empathize with the struggles teenagers are going through. The endorsers of this TV show have said that we need to open our eyes and not shelter ourselves to their reality. We need to watch and see real bullying. We need to share in their pain by watching their experiences and talking about what each person could have done different.

Let me share with you an alternative. Imagine a family suffering the death of a child (for whatever reason – accident, suicide, cancer….). Who are these people coming out of the woodwork to console the family? Who are these people that come over every day to check up on mom and dad, help them with chores, keep them company, cry with them, etc.? Are these people those that “observed” other parents who lost a child? Did all of these people lose a child themselves?

I’ll tell you who these people are. They are people that have kids of their own and who have experienced that DEEP love for a child that no one else can truly understand. Childless couples are left to only imagine and desire to experience this kind of love. It is powerful and deep. To lose this is an unimaginable pain that I can’t begin to ever understand unless it happens to me. But, BECAUSE I have this unique love for my own children, THEN I am in the position of offering unconditional love and support for another parent that has lost a child.

So, your answer to how to treat other people does not lie in watching their pain. It lies in loving every human being as a unique and unrepeatable child of God. Every teenager, every stranger, every rapist, every thief – everyone, is God’s baby. If our goal can be to see people in this manner – always being imperfect just as it will always be imperfect for a childless couple to understand the heart a parent has for a child – than THAT is when we can be the very BEST brother& sister to our neighbors at school, work, grocery store, etc. THIS is how we can be considerate and kind NATURALLY. Our actions will be out of love and not out of fear of a person's hurt feelings.

Turn off the TV. Let us challenge ourselves and learn how to love each other instead.





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pre-Roy Christmas 2016

How can so much happen in one year? How can it fly by so fast but be full of 5 years’ worth of changes? It all began with me planting my bottom in my recliner every day and watching one Netflix movie after the other as I moan that I never want to be pregnant again. Then our year truly began on March 7th. I put my order in for a red-headed, brown-eyed little girl and that is exactly what I got. God is too good to me. As if laboring for hours wasn’t exciting enough, Roy got a call that he was going to be deployed for 9 months beginning April 1st. My stunned reaction had to be delayed since I was about ready to push a 9 pounder out of my body. Samantha and Theresa were there to witness the birth of baby #10, Juliana Maria Christy.

As per tradition, we partied all year of Roy’s deployment – signing the kids up for everything, incubating, hatching, and raising 100 ducks and chickens, getting myself a job and dragging Samantha and Max in with me, buying a motorcycle, losing 40 pounds (yay me!), taking over Roy’s truck, his bed, closet and garage, took up the hobby of drinking alcohol, popcorn for Thanksgiving, swiping the debit card 30 times a week, and buying more stuff we didn’t need. Ceiling collapsing, cars breaking down, ducks pooping everywhere, chickens roaming the house, naked babies, messy house, stopped up toilets, etc.   It has been a whirlwind of a year.

Roy is scheduled to come back in January to put a stop to the madness with 40 days off to fix everything we broke, lay down the law, take the wine out of my hands, and try to corral the chickens back into the coop. In no time, he will miss his quiet home in Kuwait.  But I know there is nowhere else he would rather be than right here with his family.

Roy made sure his presence remained in this house while he was gone. He ordered all the junk food that I refuse to buy for the kids and had it shipped to the house. Theresa always had Dad on her mind and heart with each box of macaroni noodles she poured into her boiling water. He bought all of the kids’ Christmas presents online and had them shipped to his mom’s house so I didn’t have to do anything but make cookies all season. He called mechanics and computer people for me so they wouldn’t have to deal with my tears. He was here whether we saw him or not. Sounds like a great analogy for the hand God has in our lives.

We know the time is near when I start ignoring the warning lights on the dashboard and Roy gets transferred to the 90-man bay so his replacements can take over his home.

Stay tuned for Christmas letter #2 – Post-Roy Christmas 2016 and see all the changes that took place while he was deployed. It has been an interesting year to say the least.





Sunday, October 23, 2016

Girls.....Be the Bell


Today, I got to serve at Cerner, a large company that helps young adults get experience in the field of computers and technology. They had a 3-hour event outside full of games and food and fellowship.

There were plenty of servers working this event. So many, that my only job was “pop and water”. Since there was free beer there, my job was really only to watch the ice melt on top of the pop and then put more ice on top of it. 3 hours of watching ice melt!

While I was working hard at watching Coke and Mountain Dew get cold, I also found time to people-watch. Out of the 500 employees that came out to this everything-free event, about 490 of them were between 21-25 years old. There were so many young men that were tall, bearded, and wearing plaid shirts. Then, there were the women with colored hair and skinny jeans. No matter how much effort we put in to try to be different, we all really end up alike.

 There were groups of young men playing catch with a football that flew my way a couple times. I got my chance to shine as I spiraled the ball back to them and did my victory touchdown sign. That took about 20 seconds off my 3-hour shift. Then, there were those huge balls you jump in and run inside like a hamster. I want those so bad for my property but my dream-squashing kids would pop them - $500 down the drain in 5 seconds flat.

But then I spotted this little gem....



You know this game. I didn’t google how old it is but it at least dates back to the Grease movie, right? It is nicknamed the Strong man’s Game. The player hits the lever and a puck flies up with the goal being to hit the bell at the top. The harder you hit the lever, the higher the puck goes. After making sure my pop was safe, cold, and lonely, I watched the men and women play this “game”. The only reward is to hear the bell ring at the top of the tower but there is something very intriguing about this game that keeps people coming back to it and has kept it popular among carnivals for decades. On the surface, it looks rather boring and useless. What exactly is accomplished here? The only goal is to hit it hard enough to hear the bell. So??

Here is what I observed and learned during my people/pop-watching. The men and women were consistent. One by one, a woman would hit the lever with the mallet and the number would go up to a certain number. She would hit it again and again but only got weaker with lower numbers. Even with cheering and encouragement, they never pounded the hammer more than 3 times.

Then, there were the men. One by one, they each went up. Their first slam of the mallet never hit the bell but here is where they differed from the women. They never gave up. Each man stayed and kept hitting the lever over and over while the puck ascended higher and higher until it hit the bell. No man gave up. Not one. Once the bell was hit, he swung the hammer with a smile and pride. There was no need to keep hitting it anymore because the goal was accomplished. He had reached as high as he could go.

This was totally a Theology of the Body lesson for my teens!! I repeat over and over again to the girls….”Raise your bar and the man will rise to the challenge.” Too many women lower the bar so every man can hit the bar with the first try. But the woman who has her bar set high attracts the men to her. That is where the challenge is. How many men would find the game fun if anyone who hit that lever were able to ring the bell? Once the word got out about how easy that game is, no one would play it. It would be boring and unrewarding.

I ran this blog through my head as I people-watched this game. Girls need to be that bell. Girls need to raise their standards and men will start lining up to try to reach that bell. Sure, some men might give up but none of them did who chose to play that game today. If a young man didn’t think or want or care to ring that bell, they just didn’t play at all. The type of young men interested in my daughter are the type that see the high bar and don’t walk away. They stay and rise to the challenge. They stay until they hear the bell – the wedding bells.

And as I ran this analogy through my head, someone else was pouring ice over my pop. I only had one job……..

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas 2015


It boggles my mind how much can change in just a year. The only thing that has stayed consistent for 3 years is how deliriously happy the family is about living in our home that still seems so new to us. I still smile when I turn down my street and see the Dead End sign. Even the No Dumping sign brings a smile to my face. I still turn my head in all directions as I cruise down our street – looking for deer, checking the river level, observing the wildlife and trying to spot the blue pelican that periodically graces us with her presence. Just outside our front door, we have a turtle habitat on the left with guarded turtle eggs that the kids anticipate will be hatching any day now. There is a duck habitat under our bay window and a ramp that leads in and out of one of our 3 koi ponds that Roy built over the summer for all of our baby ducks. We hatched ducks and chickens all year long and watch a momma hen take care of her little chicks. Bridges have been built, 4-wheelers fixed, new trails blazed, a sniper stand and walls added to the air soft war, etc. We look for every excuse to bring people over and share our blessings with them. God has blessed us beyond measure but he has blessed us infinitely more with the people He has brought into our lives – our own family.

Nick has temporarily moved into a house just across the state line with 4 other young men to be a missionary with the St. Paul’s Outreach. It is a Catholic young adult program that ministers to the students at the local community college as they struggle with faith and relationships. Nick doesn’t talk much but he does make visits here and there to pick up props for inspirational talks he gives to the students, takes some time to play Frisbee with the kids, and get his monthly haircut from Samantha. He’s happy, safe and faithful.

Mary Kate is still attending Developing Potential – a program for adults with special needs so she can continue her education and stay busy with activities and field trips. The whole family loves to call her boyfriend “her spoochy-spoochy” so we can see her go nuts. She is still the kindest and most generous person you will EVER EVER meet. She is always happy, even in the wee hours of the morning when no one wants to hear it.  

Samantha had a summer that changed her life forever. She spent 4 weeks at two different Catholic retreats. She came home a new young, confident woman. She read the stack of books about her faith and purity, goes to daily Mass, helps me without me having to say a word, cares for the kids, is joyful all the time, studies hard and has very high expectations for her life in matters of faith, modesty and chastity – the only components of life that really matter. And even though the boys seem to be lining up on our doorstep, she is perfectly content having her daddy be the only man in her life.

Max is 15 and has a permit! He grew quite a bit over the summer and was constantly asking me for new clothes at the thrift store. I couldn’t keep up! He is a freshman in High School now which stressed him and inspired him to try harder with his school work. He spent a week at Camp Savio where he was the popular man on campus. When I arrived to pick him up, I heard so much murmuring from boys, girls and staff about Max and what joy he brought to the camp. One of the leaders told me about a girl that Max sat down with to talk about her dignity and worth.

Theresa is 13 years old. She also attended the same camp as Max and had the time of her life. She wants so bad to do everything that Samantha and Max do and gets so frustrated when she can’t. She loves her friends and tries to love her enemies even more. She is always reaching out to people, especially if these people are challenging (quiet, unsociable, or simple don’t work well with others). She is there to bring them around. She is not scared of anyone no matter how big or old they are. She could back a grown man into a corner if she needed to.

Benjamin is 10 years old and still a handful. There is always a lesson or 2 or 20 to be learned by him every day. He has inspired us to make a list of grueling punishments taped on our refrigerator. #1 is to listen to Mary Kate for 15 minutes lecture him on doing the right thing. Yeah. He lasts for about 2 seconds and is ready to pull his hair out. In March, Ben played Michael Banks in Mary Poppins with Calvary Bible College. Ben was the perfect choice. Michael is a noisy, mischievous boy – just like Ben. There was not much acting on Ben’s part. He made me the happiest mom on the planet.

Josie is 8 years old and still cute as a button. She loves the attention we give her about her cute chubby cheeks. She is at our local public school for her last year before coming home for 3rd grade. She is a confident girl that never gets her feelings hurt and always happy. She is easily pleased, playful and helpful. She got the traditional “8 year old ‘talk’” and feels more grown up and part of the older kids ‘club’ now.  

Matthew is trying to keep up with 7 older brothers and sisters. He fights and wrestles all the time! One time he went to school with 4 black eyes and he only has two eyes! Yes, I got a call.  The public school is not well educated on big family dynamics. He sneaks up to any one of his siblings, whacks them with something and then runs like hell in the hopes a wrestling match will ensue. He gets his wish 100% of the time. We have added glasses and a nifty looking pirate’s eye patch to help fix his vision.


Andrew is 2 and being so dang cute! He is talking more and more and we all surround him to watch the new thing he has learned. He loves looking at his large audience and then shy’s away with a big grin on his face. He isn’t throwing tantrums yet. I’ve been pretty blessed to not have any terrible two year olds since Max. Max made up for everybody though. I deserved a long break.

Roy got to have an amazing summer at Camp Savio with his kids, Boy Scout camp, and a high adventure 70 mile hiking trip with Max in Philmont, New Mexico. He escaped another year from being deployed but we know another deployment is in his future. He still works his tail off every day and night. He can’t stand to rest or even play with the family if he knows there is work to be done. He always ropes in the kids to work too so there is plenty of time to bond. Whenever a boy comes to visit Samantha, he is dragged off by Roy to split wood for hours while Samantha puts up her feet and eats a bowl of ice cream. If a boy is ever able to get close to one of his daughters, it will only be after years of blood, sweat and tears.

I am very blessed to be 43 and carrying another baby in my womb. I don’t deserve all of these kids. I fail as a mother and a wife daily but God still gifts me with everything I have ever asked for and still gives me exceedingly more than my imagination has ever ventured to imagine for myself – house, land, fertility, faith, health, husband who spoils me, kids who bring everyone joy, etc.  Roy and I are very busy with teaching our chastity class every week for our 8th year. It is so much fun and the kids really enjoy it. I can’t imagine ever giving that up.

I pray you had a fabulous 2015 and an even more blessed 2016.

 

Love, The Christy’s

Nick, Mary Kate, Samantha, Max, Theresa, Ben, Josie, Matthew, Andrew and baby #10


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dog Update


6 months ago, our family gave away our beloved black Labrador to a wonderful family just a few blocks away. We had got Jake 3 years ago. He was Max’s dog and he loved and cared for him every day. He trained him well but nothing could squash his inherent instinct to be curious and wander about. He came when he was called, obeyed our every command but when things got quiet and attention wasn’t fully on him, he would sniff and explore until he found himself on our nearby jogging trail – visiting, licking and jogging along with whoever came by.

After paying out the nose to Grandview’s animal control to release Jake repeatedly (they gave up on calling the # on his tag), we finally decided that he had to go.  Jake met his new owner on our walking trail and now it was time for her to meet us. She stood in my driveway with a gentle smile and a distinct emotional pain in her eyes. She had only been separated from her husband for a couple of weeks and in a new town she knew little about. We knew it was God’s will that Jake go with this family. He has a fenced in yard and is providing much needed comfort to this single mom and her 2 kids.

As I was doing my spiritual reading from Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe, it says that we must consent to situations that we did not choose. We must allow ourselves to be used as God sees fit. We were supposed to have Jake for a short time even though Max thought it would be forever. Max unknowingly prepared and trained him for a new family.

We had visited Jake several times and established a relationship with the new owner. She says that Jake is the best thing that could have happened during this difficult time.

Max hasn’t shed one tear knowing that he opened himself up to be used by God and experienced the rewards.

Now we have a territorial dog that follows Max everywhere. Instead of wandering off with curious instincts, her instincts are to work, protect and serve. Her name is Rosie, a full bred German shepherd. Her job consists of scouting the property – looking for anything that could threaten her family. She frequently checks on each member of the family. She is content when everyone is safe and accounted for. Max is just now beginning to fall in love with Rosie. It has taken a while since his heart was given to Jake the instant they met.
 

Since Rosie is a working dog, Max trained her to run and drag him up a steep hill. It blew me away! Max stands at the bottom of our hill that only young energetic boys can climb, and yells, “Help me Rosie!” Rosie stands next to Max. He grabs her collar and she drags him up this hill with all her might. I can’t believe it. It is like something out of a movie.

NOW we have the dog that God had planned for us J…… I think! I hope! We need to always be open to God’s will and not our own. Thy Will Be Done!

Twilight Zone


 

I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone!

#1  It is after midnight and I’m on the internet. That always puts me in some other dimension far, far away.

#2  The world has gone completely upside down! In the media right now, there is a former Olympic star grandfather that is mutilating himself and attempting to turn himself into a woman. I can’t believe that there is even one person on this planet that thinks this is a wonderful thing to do.  I can’t believe that there is one person that doesn’t think this man is mentally deranged. I think America is still on board in thinking that a girl who cuts her wrists needs counseling, right? Maybe?  Britany Spears cut off all of her hair only 8 years ago and the world reached out to her to seek professional help. 8 years later, a man castrates himself and he is labeled as a hero. What the hell happened in 8 years? – Except that we got a new president….

Also in the media, the Duggar family from 19 kids and Counting has been in the spotlight because the police chief in Arkansas gave a tabloid the sealed records of their 14 year old son and the victims of his molestation.  She gave it to a tabloid! And you would think that America would be up in arms at this injustice. How dare this system promise these children privacy so they could feel free to pour out their hearts and then give this report to a sleezy tabloid 12 years later?! But nope! No one seems to care. In this twilight zone of a country we live in, everyone wants to tar and feather the repentant child and ignore the victims.


We have Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, New York and (insert the next towns in the next few months) that are rioting, killing, stealing and destroying their towns. People MADE UP stories of the poor humungous young black, unarmed thief that had his hands up demanding that he not be shot. People wanted to believe this story so bad. Why? They WANT racial tension? They WANT the rioting and violence?

Then we have our local Catholic bishop. He wrote a letter to everyone in the diocese about the dangers of pornography. He instituted the God’s Protecting Children program that every blessed person 14 and up have to take if you think about being in the same vicinity of a child. We had a bishop that did more than any other bishop in America to protect children and guess who is the first bishop forced out of his position because one of his sheep was caught (caught because of God’s Protecting Children program) with child pornography? You guessed it. Sin is alive and well in this country folks.

WHY are people desiring and thirsting for sin? Why do people grab on to bad news and HOPE that it is true? Who are these people?

I know that God made everyone in His image and likeness. I also know that this fact makes everyone desire Him whether they know it or not. The people that believe they can do a better job than God Himself still desire Him and that results in a raging fight between good and evil.  It is like a rebel child fighting against his good father. The good father never gives up. He is always trying to win his son’s heart. The son who wants nothing to do with him fights and then turns ugly and vicious as his daddy continues to search for him.  That is just what is going on with the people that thirst for evil and call it good and at the same time thirst for evil from a Christian and smile. It is the same smile Satan gives when a Christian sins.

I have this sign hanging on my wall. (My dear friends had this hanging over every door way in their home before they moved but forgot one. Now its mine:) They had put this up to have a constant reminder about Who they are truly thirsting for. When I am frustrated or desiring something big or trivial, I will pass this sign and remember that my authentic thirst is for God. I am going to hang this over every one of my doorways too!

I know that Christians are losing battle after battle but I know who will reign in the end. I know that God is a good God that allows us to choose Him or not to choose Him.  God would not be a good God if we couldn’t choose Hell. If only Heaven existed, then all of the suffering on this earth would be for nothing and that makes God a tyrant.

Do I have hope for our future? Well, I have hope for the eschatological man. We will each get what we choose. Who do we love more? God?......or our sin?

We each get to choose and a good God will give us what we have chosen.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mary Poppins

How many activities have I signed my kids up for in the past 20 years? I should have kept a tally. Fall Soccer, Winter Soccer, Spring Soccer –times 1000, Baseball, Basketball, Dance, Dance and more Dance – Parkour, piano, Special Olympics, Football, Karate…..OK, I’m just going to stop. This will take forever.
As I look back at everything we have ever done, there is something they all had in common…
I was always thrilled when a practice or game was cancelled!  That always meant that I had a free day or night at home where I could do whatever I wanted! Well, I mean – I got to do the laundry or wash those stains out of my carpet:/ How sad that I get excited about that!
There is one activity that I didn’t put in that list. This activity didn’t have that common denominator. This activity took up every single evening, Monday thru Friday. Eventually, it even took up our days and Saturdays too. You would think that eventually, any one of us would grow weary and look forward to the day that this would end.
We never got to that point. No one wanted this to end. This was –
 
MARY POPPINS
In November, 4 of my kids, Samantha, Max, Theresa, and Ben all auditioned for Mary Poppins that would be performed through Calvary Bible College. We LOVE the director whom we affectionately call, Ms. Bobbie. She was the director for the homeschool theater several years ago until she cut her schedule down to one directing job at Calvary. Now, whenever she needs younger people for her performances, the Christys are on that golden e-mail list.
I had high hopes that Samantha, Max and Theresa would make the cast list. I was unsure about Ben. He was called back for the lead role of Michael Banks and nothing else. If he didn’t get this role, he may not be in the play at all. When the kids went to the 2nd audition (the call backs), Samantha, Max and Theresa circled Ms. Bobbie to tell her of their reservations about Ben. They warned her that he was obnoxious, couldn’t focus, disobedient, goofed off too much – the normal complaints anyone has toward their little brother.
Apparently, Ms. Bobbie saw something in Ben that appealed to her. Little Michael Banks was an obnoxious, disobedient goof ball. Hmmmm. Jackpot!
The cast list was sent out that Ben got the part of Michael Banks! I was jumping and screaming in excitement while Samantha, Max and Theresa were moaning and sighing and pleading their case that Ben could never last in this role. Truth-be-told, I had my reservations too. OK, they were more than reservations. I was pretty confident that he would be booted from the play within the first week. Two weeks tops! Fortunately, there were 2 roles for Jane and 2 roles for Michael. If Ben couldn’t step up to the plate, there was another Michael to take his place.
Days and weeks of rehearsals were going by. Each time the kids stepped inside the door, I asked, “How was rehearsal?” accompanied very quickly with, “How was Ben???!”
Night after night, I heard, “Ben was fine.” Then the answers turned to, “Ben is really good.” Then, “I can’t believe how good Ben is at acting.” –  “Ben is really funny and cute.” –  “Everyone loves Ben.” – “Ben likes girls now.”
 
WHAT?! These are words that have never been spoken in this house. Things were changing around here. Everyone was seeing Ben in a different light. I had been telling him for years that he has what it takes to make the greatest saint or the greatest sinner. God gave him the qualities to be exceptional at whatever he desires. These are the same qualities that can drive a multitude of people into utter despair and emotional turmoil. My job is to steer him to use these qualities for what is good and holy. It’s a slow process.
 My entire household is turning upside down. The complaints were turning into compliments. It had been several weeks and I haven’t gotten that expected e-mail about his behavior. How long will this last? I was having proud mommy moments that I didn’t want to end.
The rehearsals were coming close to the end and Ben never showed any signs that he was in Mary Poppins at home. He didn’t come home laughing and giggling like the other kids. He didn’t tell me every detail about rehearsal. This is Ben…….
 
This is Ben while everyone talks and laughs and tells me how wonderful he is. Stop. Wait…..I am having a de-ja-vu moment right now. He is just like his brother, Nick. This is Nick……
This is Nick while everyone tells me how social and wonderful, kind, and mature he is.
I’M SO CONFUSED!!
Shake it off Katy! God will explain this to me later.
It is time for the very first Mary Poppins debut! 15 minutes before we leave the house and head off for the play, I get an e-mail saying that the lead character for Nelius (the talking, singing statue) was out of the play and Max will be taking his role. Max’s eyes light up. He is shocked. Then scared and nervous. He had been the understudy for only a couple weeks and was convinced that nothing would come of it. He had never even worn the costume or make up. Would he even be able to do his back flip while dressed up like a stone?! I’m so glad he didn’t tell me how nervous and stressed he was until after the play was over.
Friday night arrives. It is night #2 for the kids but #1 for Ben. I was more excited than I had ever been in my life. I got there an hour early but it easily could have been 2 or 3 hours. All I did is wait for time to pass so I could get to this play. Every person I made eye contact with made me want to shout, “I’m Michael Banks mom!!” I held back though. What if he totally bombed his part and embarrassed himself on stage. OH. MY. GOSH! ……What if he passes gas on stage??! That will totally RUIN the next 3 scenes as the stage managers try to get him to stop laughing! I would have to leave with a bag on my head. Better not announce that I’m related until the end of the play.
The play was FAN-TAS-TIC! Ben worked the crowd (probably more than he was allowed to) but was able to make them laugh and “awe”. I even caught him winking at an old lady in the front row and I watched her heart melt for him. You don’t know him lady!
 
All of the plays were great! I know that Ben had to have made the director nervous. He was a little unpredictable. The other actors were never sure what to expect from him. Ben acted like an ornery boy even when it wasn’t in the script. I’m quite sure Ms. Bobbie was not biting her nails when the other Michael Banks was on stage. He was professional and obedient. Ben wanted to venture outside the box and test how far he could go. It was VERY clear to the audience that he was having fun on stage.
We can’t forget that I had 3 other kids in the play! Max played a triple role. He was a banker, a chimney sweep and Nelius. He told me that it was absolutely crazy back stage. Two people were trying to dress him while a third was painting his face or cleaning it off…..or painting it again. He said the only time he got to relax was on stage. That is the story of our life anyway. Roy can only really relax at work – or in Iraq or Afghanistan. Max is just taking after his dad.
 
Theresa played 2 adorable parts besides her main role as a chimney sweep. She got to poke her head out of Mary Poppins purse & she got to be a shooting star, if you can imagine that.
 
Samantha was a chimney sweep which seemed like the climactic scene in the entire play – the scene that puts the audience on the edge of their seat.
 
The magical experience of the performances was not why we didn’t want the play to end. That was just a bonus. Roy & I got to hear 3 little chatterboxes (Ben just played CandyCrush) after every rehearsal. My kids were talking and laughing and sharing stories. Even unpleasant stories were enjoyable to talk about.
Calvary Bible College is a non-denominational Christian college. The Christy’s were the only Catholics in the bunch. What I enjoyed the most about this experience is all the conversations my kids had about their Catholic faith. If they couldn’t answer a question, they asked me, but THIS TIME, they cared about the answer! It makes this momma’s heart happy when my kids care about their faith and share it with others. My kids weren’t questioned just here and there. Every night, they came home with more topics of discussion. Even during the day, they were texting apologetics to their fellow cast mates. It was AWESOME! I wouldn’t be as strong in my faith if it wasn’t for my Protestant brothers and sisters questioning me. I had no choice but to read and learn. Mary Poppins has made my kids learn and love their faith.
God was a visible reality in this show. I couldn’t step into that building without feeling God’s presence all around. His grace was showered upon the students and staff. All of the students were filled with the love of Christ and would shine through to each other. That makes for a building full of blissfully happy people. Who would want that to end?
 
I rushed. I left the house frequently. I misunderstood the schedule a couple times which got me in troubleL I packed loads of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Roy spent his weekends building the set. I signed too many papers to count. I sprinted out of co-op – screaming for Ben to get in the van because we were late for a scene show I forgot about and yelling at the closest teenage to take over my Science class lab. I had to stay home with only little kids every evening with no older kids to help me. We didn’t eat dinner as a family more than once a week. We didn’t do this – or that – or the other thing. We were late for everything outside of rehearsals from January to March. And guess what? We still did not want it to end! De-ja-vue moment again…..This is a lot like being open to life. God’s presence and graces, trusting Him, and letting Him work HIS “magic” makes all the sacrifices joyful. Joyful sacrifices!
The only thing that kept me from weeping like a baby when the final performance was over is when I thought about the few students that had their final performance after spending 4 years at this wonderful college. While my kids played in 3 musicals in 5 years, these seniors participated in every play throughout the school year, lived in the dorms with their cast mates, and took acting and other classes with the same people – for FOUR years! They ended the best years of their life with a bang and the tears were flowing.
 
These are 3 of the seniors. Inseparable twins, Luke and Paul and their good friend, Moriah. They are awesome people. They have already had an amazing youth. I can only imagine what God has in store for them as adults. God has a unique plan for everyone but only a few are open, ready and excited to dive right in and find out what it is – and these are 3 of them. What a blessing to have known them as long as I have.
Ms. Andrew tries to give Michael Banks cod liver oil but for a brief moment, Winifred thought it was for her. LOL
Mary Poppins was played by Ben's Mama Kangaroo in Seussical
A lot changes in just 2 years
 
By the way – I DID get that behavior e-mail about Ben just a week before the play was to debut. But look how long it took! He had a good run and had an extraordinary ending.
This is Ben as the audience was trying to tell him how wonderful he was.