Thursday, December 30, 2010

Its Time for the BIG TALK

8 years ago, I put my order in for a red headed, brown eyed little girl. 2 out of 3 isn't bad. He gifted me with a red headed, BLUE eyed little girl. I was so blissfully happy! She (Theresa) could not have been more perfect. She was, by far, the best and easiest baby I had. I know this was a gift from God at the perfect time. 6 weeks after her birth, her dad got deployed to Kuwait. He was gone for 18 months. He missed all of those months of "firsts". Not to worry, no damage was done. She watched her brothers and sisters play with this "stranger" like he was part of the family. The look of confusion on her face was priceless. She decided to get in line with the other kids and wait for her turn to be flung into the air by this big man. "If the other kids like this, then I'm sure I will too." She did. It is a great story to show how our example trickles down to even the smallest of our kids. This example is best seen in our family's yearly flu shot visit. We looked Nick square in the eyes and said, "You don't have a choice! You must pretend to be happy about these shots and then watch all the other kids follow in your footsteps." Poor kid...well it worked. I wish you could be a fly on the wall when I tell the kids that its time to get the flu shot. The house roars with excitement. You would think I was telling them we are all going to Worlds of Fun. They are giddy and happy all the way to the hospital. They wiggle and smile and laugh while they wait for the nurse. They all beg to go first. Its toooo funny.
                                            Here they are, getting ready for the flu shot!!!

Whats this have to do with the big talk?? Uhh, nothing really. I just go off in tangents once in a while. Back to the subject at hand. My little red headed girl is turning 8 today. All of our kids know that the 8th birthday is the Big Talk day. That is the day that our child dresses up fancy and goes out to dinner with a dressed up Mom and Dad. We go to their favorite restaurant and talk about the most beautiful and wonderful gift that God has given us on Earth (aside from His own Body, of course...but very closely related as Christ gave His Body to us, the Church, so will Theresa give her body to her husband...if that is to be her calling). Such profound words for such a young girl! Yes it is but its the perfect age none-the-less. When we had this talk with Nick when he was 8, we were not 100% convinced that it was the right time. I mean...8...EIGHT. So, we didn't really share that decision with too many people. It "seemed" right to us at the time but several kids later, I now know that we are right and I'm ready to spread the word. I am even more confident now because of the 2 years of Theology of the Body (TOB) that I have been studying. No longer is sex dirty, sinful, tainted and evil. Its a perfect foreshadowing of the mystery that awaits us in heaven. Wow. That might be difficult for the non-TOB person to hear. It made my ears perk up and beg to hear more. I hope it perks up your ears too.

I read a book called How to Talk to Your Child about Sex by Linda and Richard Eyre. My oldest was probably 3 when I read it for the first time. Haha. I was desperate to learn early! This book, accompanied by the studies of TOB should give Theresa the best talk we've given so far. We also have the book, Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle that we go through page by page. Yes, it tells everything. We explain everything about sex but leave out what the world has turned dirty (porn, lust, masturbation). That will come later. For now, she needs to understand sex the way God intended it to be understood.

Why so young? Well, I'll tell you. It is the perfect window between young childhood and the moodiness and unpredictability of pre-puberty. They feel old. They feel like little adults with eager ears and have the capability of understanding it without the disgust and dirty faces. That will come later but guess what?? The talk will have already happened! Brilliant! Brilliant I say! LOL. This conversation will be jam packed full of God's love and his plan to call each of us to love as He loves. "...Husbands, love your wives the way Christ loves His bride, the Church." Eph. 5, verse something:) How does Christ love His bride? He gave up his BODY freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully. This is an "awe" moment. What is sex? Its the giving up your body freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully to your groom. Not for 6 weeks...not till the end of the semester...forever. Can I hear another "awe". It is so beautiful. More beautiful then I have ever been raised to believe. I can not WAIT until our afternoon out with my beautiful and lovely daughter.
                            Here is my baby in her new bathing suit. Yes, its a real bathing suit!

And how will we spend our evening after this wonderful talk about God's plan for love and sex? Partying and drinking too much pop and eating too much chips and pizza with our TOB for Teens class! What a life. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do you want to be healed?

Today, December 29th, our family celebrates my 2nd childs 16th birthday. Allow me to introduce Mary Kathleen Christy. In traditional Catholic times, every family was all but required to name their first born girl after our Virgin Mother Mary. My first name is Kathleen so...walah! Mary Kathleen, Mary Kate for short. It helped that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were cute and adorable back then:)  She came out not looking anything like her orange faced brother that was just birthed 12 months earlier. Her eyes were crossed a little more then the normal newborn. Signs began to appear little by little that were abnormal for a baby. I dutifully took her for all of her checkups throughout her first year and found myself saying "no" to the long list of questions asked. "Does your baby...roll over, sit up, grab objects, put hands together, pick up food, put things to her mouth, crawl, etc. etc." "no, no, no, no, no". I was beginning to physically hurt by continuously repeating "no". At the age of 15 months, the words, "mental retardation" passed the lips of the developmental pediatrician. Thank God that my brain can be slower then sap most of the time. I didn't break down until I was in the parking lot and buckled her in the car. From the beginning, she/I broke every rule and expectation a parent makes for her child.  It was most evident when she was sitting up on the living room floor with her hands at her side like they always were. She never moved them. Somehow, she bumped the plastic grocery bag next to her. It made a sound. She liked it! She bumped it again, very slightly, and it made the crackling sound again! Rule #1 was about to break! I took out every plastic bag I could find and surrounded her. I made sure she was surrounded by plastic bags every day, all day. I put them in bed with her even! Parents with special needs kids know exactly what I'm talking about. I can hear them giggling now. The expectations I have for her are vastly different then what I have for my other kids. I will say one thing to Mary Kate and turn and say the exact opposite to another child. There is a great poem written about this. It describes our life perfectly. Do not forget though that we have 7 children from "Italy".

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley

Now, here is our question. We have a special needs child. Do we WANT a special needs child? If we were given a choice before conception to have a normal child or a child that will forever be mentally retarted (term changed to developmentally delayed a little while later and just this year changed yet again to intellectually delayed...the terms are getting closer to explaining the rest of us. LOL) what would we choose? I ask this question to all of the kids here and there and it causes them to really think. Unanimously, we all would choose to have Mary Kate exactly the way she is. She gives us a foretaste of what the angels must be like. She has qualities that can not be found in another human being. She has a heart of gold. She is simple and kind and does not know a stranger. Convincing her that there are bad people in the world is like convincing you that a beautiful bloomed rose is an ugly weed. So, do we want her to be "healed"? The answer is simple. She already is. We should all be asking ourselves this question. Do YOU want to be healed.

Happy Birthday Mary Kate. I, and the rest of your family, love you beyond words.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Congratulations to Hugh Hefner and his lovely bride to be

Did you hear the news? When I signed into my computer this morning, the news was everywhere. Eighty-four year old, Hugh Hefner, popped the question to his 24 year old girlfriend, Crystal Harris. I'm sure there was an "awww" moment all across America. Do I hear laughter? Why do we laugh? Whats 60 years between lovers? Who's counting. The 3rd time is the charm right? I snickered a bit when I was reading the on-line People magazine article. I am ashamed that I did even that. In my studies of John Paul II's Theology of the Body, Hugh Hefner is used quite a bit as an example, both positive and negative, in relation to how we see the male and female body. Before the sexual revolution, the common Christian has viewed sex and the body as bad, sometimes referred to as evil. When the sexual revolution came about, 2 prominent figures rose up. Hugh Hefner and Karol Wojtyla (pre-Pope John Paul II). They both said the same thing. The body and sex are not bad. Metaphorically, they both pulled out the naked body and said, "this is good". This is where the split between these figures begins. Hugh Hefner displays the naked body for all to see and use. Karol Wojtyla covers the body and says "this is too holy and good to be exposed". We are to honor a persons true mystery that we could not do if he/she were exposed. Why is the bride veiled? Is it to hide her ugliness? I think not. What does the church veil? The church veils what is holy, the Tabernacle.

When Mr. Hefner was asked why he started Playboy, he said, " was a personal response to the hurt and hypocrisy of our puritan heritage...There was no hugging or kissing in my family." He started Playboy because he was starved for love. Its a starvation that we all have. If we can not find the banquet to satisfy our hunger, where will we turn? The dumpster. God provides the banquet. Pornography will provide the dumpster.

If you are interested in learning more about John Paul II's Theology of the Body, please visit Don't think for a moment that I could be this insightful. I have been studying this teaching for a couple years now and it has opened my eyes to the mystery of our purpose. It has answered questions I have had since my "talk" as a child. I will be facilitating an adult group on TOB at my local parish this coming Lent season. I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry X-Mas! Happy Holiday's!

Speaking for Christians around the world, this Advent season was a time to prepare for Christ's birth. We set up our Nativity scenes around the house and hide the baby Jesus until Christmas morning. We will read about the generosity and history of St. Nicholas. We set out our Jesse tree with ornaments that reflect Old Testament History leading to Christ's birth. Our family reads one of a 3 set series, one chapter a day until Christmas. We have Advent wreaths, secret santa's, Advent calendars and prayers. We make cookies in the shape of the entire Nativity scene or build one out of craft sticks and clothes pins. We write our good deeds on strips of paper and lie them in the manger that Jesus will be born in. The more good deeds we have, the more comfortable Jesus is. The list goes on and on. Anyone with experience in these traditions will tell you that if you try to do them all, your kids will end up with and stressed and angry parent! We must choose wisely what we will do during the season so we can truly celebrate the season that gives glory to God.

During the season, I have noticed some discontented, but good intentioned people that spend much of their preparation upset with the commercialism and lack of the "true" meaning of Christmas surrounding them. I heard of one man yelling at a cashier in response to a "Happy Holiday's" greeting. He rudely "corrected" the employee that it is NOT "Happy Holiday's", it is "Merry Christmas!".  (I cleaned up the words for you:) I wish I was there to correct this customer on what "Happy Holiday's" really mean. "Holidays" comes from the words, "Holy Days". So, what this cashier was REALLY saying is Happy Thanksgiving, Happy St. Nicholas Day...I hope your shoes(boots) were filled to the rim with all the treasures of your heart!.. Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Happy Feast of St. Lucy, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Happy feast day of Mary the Mother of God and Happy New Year! The cashier just covered every Holy-day for 6 weeks! How insulting of this customer to expect this employee to delete all of these Holy-days!

Here is something that can rip the heart of a Christian. Crossing out "Christ" and replacing it with X. Merry X-mas! What is the history of X-Mas? Well..."X" is Greek for Chi which stands for Christ....the REAL Christ. The "X" actually identifies Christ as being the REAL Christ. It separates the word into "Christ" and the "Mass". I am not familiar with how it got started per say but I have an educated guess. I have a theory that Christians were starting to notice Christ slowly being faded out from Christmas so in order to make it clear and remind others that this is about Christ, people started using "X" and separating it from the "mass". This is about Christ and the Mass people!

On December 5th, I enjoy reading  A Special Place for Santa by Jeanne Pieper. It begins with 2 women complaining that Santa is taking over Christmas and people are forgetting the real significance of Christmas. Well, Santa overhears this and his feelings are hurt. So, he does what every good Saint does and turns to God. God comforts Saint Nicholas and reminds him of all the good he did when he was on Earth back in the 4th century...his generosity and his secret gifts he left for people. He builds up St. Nick's spirits to continue his work. Its a wonderful story. I have to beg the question to those who believe that he is the result of people forgetting who we are really celebrating this season...could it be you that has actually forgotten? Something to think about.

I pray that you had an Advent full of gifts you have given to Jesus for His birthday. Was it full of generosity and kindness to those in the parking lots and the stores and the lines? Did you give to others in need? Did you sacrifice yourself for the good of others? Did you focus on Christs birth or were you upset that others didn't? Thank God for Gods mercy and forgiveness. I pray that every one of us can give God our hearts completely and totally by treating others...even atheists, sinners, the in-laws (haha! jk) with compassion, patience, kindness and generosity. Remember, every person you make eye contact with was made in the image and likeness of God. That person you see from a distance or that stranger behind the counter was put here to make visible what is invisible. Merry X-Mas and Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Blog for the Christy's

Well, I finally did it. I finally have my own blog. I can't believe it. My hold up was trying to come up with a name that was just right. I wanted it to be define me in just a few words. It finally hit me. Veni quid veniat...Come What May. I took it from a movie I had seen last year. Without giving away the movie, it was about choosing to do the right thing even if it resulted in ugly consequences...Come What May. That is how I feel every day because of the choices I have made. On any given day, I have the free will to change my make different choices but I won't, even when I'm tempted. I have decided to Come What May. I think this title will be evident as I relay my life through this blog.

Next, I had to decide what my subject matter is going to be in this blog. Should it be about my family? My opinions? Politics? Religion? I could have a separate blog for each! I have decided to limit this blog to my family. But guess what?! My family includes my heavenly Father and heavenly Mother and all my brothers and sisters in Christ. Fear not. I intend to relay the beautiful and fun and exciting life I have. One so exciting that its worth blogging about.  I have SO much to say. I am learning every day and so excited to share my life with others. Stay tuned! For now, this is just my hello.