Thursday, December 27, 2012


Christy’s Christmas Letter

Since Christmas technically is 12 days long, I am not late with my letter. From my watch, I am right on time. Yeah, I’m going with that excuse. I really don’t have much of an excuse since I have found myself pacing the house many times with both arms swinging empty ever since Roy came back home in September. Going from raising 8 kids in an old house with everything breaking right and left to having my man coming home is like going from an Olympic sprinter to a napping retiree in an instant. That is no joke! Roy is a worker and I…..am not. I had to roll up my sleeves and step up the game when he left for Afghanistan in September of last year. But once he came back??  Well, I guess I’ve just been sleep walking around here and eating snacks while I watch him work. I can see the look on his face every once in a while. It’s the look that says, “How in the heck have you kept this house and family together for the last year?!” Sorry. There was no gradual transition. For the lack of a better term, I just quit….and napped. I think I have milked his homecoming long enough. He has been back for 4 months already and it’s time for me to pick up the pace!

I have had a successful 1st semester of homeschooling. That is worth writing since I have had many semesters that were utter failures. I feel like I made some good choices for my kids this year. Nick had his first semester at the local community college that he really enjoyed and gave him hope for future success in higher education. I have Samantha and Josie in an all-day homeschool co-op at a former Catholic School twice a week. Max and Theresa are being schooled at home by me every day. My plan to make them best friends worked like a charm. They do everything together which always includes giggles and laughing with Mom yelling in the background to “Get back to work!!” Benjamin is in the local public school every day. What a gift! That boy is like the bouncy ball that never quits bouncing but at school….he is the star student. Although education is important, it really means squat to me when I visit with his teacher. I just want to know how he is behaving. He is kind and patient, hardworking, polite and disciplined.  Nick has been taking him to school and back every day which has bonded them. It’s cute to see Nick’s signature on Ben’s homework instead of Mom or Dad’s. Little Matthew just goes with the flow, wandering around as happy as a clam. He’s the perfect 8th child.

Mary Kate is turning 18 which means there is a ton of work to do!! I am working with a lawyer on getting guardianship of her. That is just a ton of fun:/  but it will be a nice field trip with the kids when we have our court date. After many phone calls, long lines and appointments, Mary Kate should be starting Social Security and Medicaid soon. After all of this gets completed, she will be ready to start a new day program for adults with special needs. It is a wonderful facility with very caring staff workers and plenty for Mary Kate to do every day. My one dream I have for her is to go someplace every day where people are genuinely happy to see her. She will have this here and it is a place that can be there for her entire life. She would still live with us, of course!

Along with homeschooling the kids, I went against all the advice from family and friends and became a bus driver for the semi-local public school. I don’t care what you say! I like it. It is only 3 hours in the morning and 2 of those hours, my kids are sound asleep. It can’t get much better than that. I thought it would take a little stress off the family if I brought in some money to help get us through the transition from one house to another with *hopefully* just a couple double house payments until we sell the house that we are in. I may be a little scared of the Junior High kids that have a thick aura of attitude that you can cut a knife with. I may only yell loud enough for the first 4 seats of kids to hear who don’t need to hear me anyway because only the good kids sit up front. And maybe I haven’t been able to catch the kid who is tearing the seams of the seats apart to throw stuffing across 10 rows. BUT, it’s working! I even get to borrow a bus to take dozens of innocent homeschoolers to a chastity talk in January who may or may not be scarred for life if they read what the kids have been writing on the back of the bus seats. If they haven’t been exposed to those words before, they will now….thanks to their chastity teacher.

The big news, which should probably make next year’s Christmas letter instead of this one, is that we are moving! We are moving in mid-February. It has been a long wait…thanks to Roy’s darn deployment. I found this house in March but couldn’t do anything about it until Roy got back into the states. The house is just 3 minutes away so the kids could just drag their stuff there on the back of their bikes. It is the last house on a dead end road with 11 acres. It has 2 ponds, creeks, a pasture and woods. It is surrounded by Army Corp of Engineer property and a walking/biking trail right next to us! We are still close to our church and still have a Walmart within 10 minutesJ  One great gift about this house is that it is owned by friends of ours that were only going to sell to us. We had no competition. They waited a year for us. Isn’t that nice?!  Now that Roy is home from his 12 month vacation, he will be fixing up the inside of this house with painting and carpeting and putting it on the market ASAP. Anyone what a 5 bedroom/3 bathroom house? By the time Roy is finished with it, you will have no idea that a family of 10 lived thereJ

Our church family at Coronation of Our Lady has purged and grown. Now that we have our new priest of only a year and a half, the parking lot is full nearly every day and night. There is always something going on to increase the faith of the parishioners and you can find Fr. Hansen in the midst of it all.  He is everywhere! I can’t hide anywhere in that place without him finding me.  He even found me lurking in the bushes one night (don’t ask).  Our family is walking around with the goal to become saints now. Nick and I go to him for spiritual direction once or twice a month, we frequent confession and go to adoration every week. The girls have a club now where they care for the altar and vessels. He invited our Catholic homeschool group in for classes on Friday’s. He gives me a room & projector for our Theology of the Body class for Teens. He even gives our teens a short Benediction during their break every Wednesday. I feel like I not only have a spiritual Father, but a spiritual Daddy too. He has a genuine love for each one of his sheep. I love my new church family. We all help each other get to heaven. We worship together, pray together, study together, teach each other and care for one another. I was too na├»ve to know it could be so good. I know now and will never again take anything less than what my new church family has given me and what I have been able to give back.  

May you have a blessed 2013

 Love,
Roy, Katy, Nick, Mary Kate, Samantha, Max, Theresa, Ben, Josie, Matthew









Friday, December 21, 2012

Followers


When I was on a Summer retreat with my 8th grade class, I remember our leader asking everyone to divide up into two groups. If you considered yourself a leader, we moved to one side of the room. If you thought you were a follower, you moved to the other side of the room. I “followed” my friends to the leader’s side. I was only there for a moment when laughter broke out.  Everyone knew what a joke it was that I would see myself as a leader. In humiliation, I lowered my head and walked to the other side of the room where I belonged.
 I do not remember what this grouping lesson was all about but I do remember that it was a turning point for me. I was forced to define myself as a follower. Being a follower, I believed, was synonymous with being weak and a coward.  That could not have been further from the truth! What I did not know is that I was given this wonderful gift and a huge responsibility. Goodness, how hard can it be to be a follower? LOL. Actually, if you look around your school, work and neighborhood, you will see that it is VERY difficult! My hefty responsibility was to choose who and what I was going to follow and my choices as a child and teenager were not the cream of the crop. 
As a young Catholic homeschool mom, naturally, my posse was full of Catholic homeschool mom’s. Let me tell you, I feel like I am standing neck deep in the most abundant and fertile (yes, the pun is intended) crops. “Cream” of the crop is an understatement. You may feel this way in whatever walk of life you are in right now. I walk the life of a Catholic homeschooler. It doesn’t matter what direction I turn my head, I have someone there to follow, to emulate, admire, respect, adore, etc. The vice I struggle with is the other adjectives to add to the list….to be jealous of, to covet,  envy, to feel inadequate and inferior to.  Where there is a virtue, there is a vice. I have 2 choices. I can rise up, take what I learn from my fellow moms and be a better person or I can feel inadequate and give up. Hmmm. I think I know which choice is the right one. It is so difficult! I find myself giving up all the time and then pulling myself out of the rut. Taking so long to write my next blog is a good example. I read my friend’s blog’s and think that I could never measure up so why bother. The truth is, is that I will never measure up no matter what so what am I going to do about it? I know! I’ll crawl in the corner and die there. Well, that won’t work. The kids will keep pulling me out to feed them. I do not believe that I would be a very happy person. There MUST be another option.
Here is the option…..I have to embrace my “following” quality and get back on the boat. One gift that I have that I feel tops everyone else is that I am very good and picking the right people to follow. I might as well share this gift with youJ
Here is a short list of who I follow. I'm not going to embarrass my friends by calling them out by name. I am only going to include people that you can follow too.  This is not intended to be just an acknowledgment of their greatness….as great as I think they are. I just want you all to feel as inadequate as I do. LOL. NO, NO! I want you to feel as INSPIRED as I do to be a better wife, mom, Catholic, homeschooler, child of God, a better YOU.

This is my friend, Susan Husband. Along with having 5 boys,, she finds time to blog about her life and what she has learned and contemplated through her soul searching. You know how all of us mom's think too much, especially when we are alone? Oh, is that just me? Well, she is a very fit and beautiful woman inside and out. As she does her daily jog, she compiles all of her idea's, thoughts and memories of her family life and puts them in her amazing blog.
Well, this is just about the most creative mom on the planet. How she finds time or even interested in doing all of these crafts is beyond me. I'm ready for a nap just by thinking about doing one more craft with my kids. Oh, how I miss being a young mom. I miss that energy and excitement about just being a mom. With this website, I don't have to think anymore! Yay! She does it for me and I can give my kids lasting memories with one craft at a time.
This is Jason and Crystalina Evert. They give chastity and purity talks to teens around the world. They changed my life and the life of my teenager and the lives of thousands of young people in how we are to look at sex, dating, marriage and true love.
 
http://duggarsblog.blogspot.com/
Now, here's a mom that can make the whole world feel inadequate. As we all repeatedly say that we can't handle the 2 kids that we have, Michelle Duggar is successfully raising 19 kids and has NEVER had to raise her voice. The angrier she gets, the more she softens her voice. She is my hero.

In my regular, day to day life, there are many people that I talk to. I have homeschool mom's and their kids, my parents, my kids, my priest and fellow church members. I have my fellow bus employers and the students. Everyone is different and in drastically different walks of life but everyone has something to offer me and inspire me with. I don't just have to search out the people with all the same value's, principles and faith that I have. Each and every person have gifts that are surpass my own. Each and every person can inspire me in some way. God is so good...

 

 

 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ghetto Bus Driver Lady


Back in May, Roy and I decided that we found the house we want and we are going to buy it. Actually, I decided this in March but I’ll pretend that this was *our* decision. So, I packed up everything in the house that I was not going to need in the near future so we could put the house up for sale. I scrubbed and cleaned, re-grouted the kitchen floor, spackled and filled holes, sanded, painted and had a daily bon fire going in my backyard. I burned up everything I thought the thrift store didn’t want and I didn’t need in the next 3 months. The poor tree in the neighbors back yard that hangs over our fence looks like a monster took a big bite out of the bottom of it. I covered up my enormous fire pit with sand. I hope the new owners don’t dig too deep!

Well, it turns out that it is impossible to show a house with 10 people living in it. Roy replaced Ben’s bedroom door that had an infinite number of holes of all shape and sizes. Within 2 weeks, my precious little man kicked a hole in it. The grout in the kitchen started to collect syrup and various liquids that are hardly ever clear, shiny water. Two kids went through the ceiling from the attic to the kitchen. The toilet came loose for no particular reason….and on and on. Now we have to resort to Plan B! We just have to be out of this house if we are going to show it. Asking my parents if we could move in only brought about laughter for a while until honest and goodness fear set in. Plan B is a no-go. On to our current Plan C which is to move into our new home and then fix this one up to sell it. Guess what that means? We will be owning 2 houses at the same time! We are very, very blessed to be in the position to own them both but as spoiled as I am, I do not like to be strapped for money. At one time, I worked for the Royal’s and Chief’s games in the concession stand. I enjoyed it but I was gone for nearly 6-7 hours with each game. That is a long time to be away from my family. After about 3 hours, I would have an aching feeling of remorse and guilt for being gone so long. I decided not to continue. I really wanted a job that would take me out of the home but not be gone any longer than 3 hours at a time. Yes, I needed to be out of the home. There is no home business on the planet that I can accomplish in the home without constant interruptions. My “3 hour” job would turn into 8-10 hours! I gave up on the idea that this kind of job was out there. 

My good friend and fellow homeschool mom, Ana, became a bus driver. She didn’t have too many nice things to say about it but it all sounded lovely to meJ All I wanted to hear is “2-3 hours in the morning” and “money”. Nothing else mattered. Lol. SO, off I went to Durham Bus Transportation on Grandview Rd. I walked in the front doors, took my 200 test full of weird questions and got hired. I am very observant when I need to be. I took a good look at everyone that worked there. I was a little worried. My first impression of my future fellow co-workers were not that great. I did not feel like I belonged there. I nudged forward, took my classes, got trained on the bus and got my license. My trainers were wonderful. They knew the bus and the rules and they genuinely cared about safety and I feel like they genuinely cared about me.
 
I was given bus #7. That is the covenant number. The perfect number! God's number. He loves me!!

I am very blessed to only have a morning route. I leave at 5:50am and I’m home by 9:30. Since the first day of school was a ½ day, I volunteered to pick the kids up from school too (the afternoon bus driver was not available). WOW!!! I am NEVER, EVER, EVER doing that again!! To make this short and sweet, the kids were RUDE!! Ok, forget that I said “sweet”. I don’t mean loud and not listening or following the rules. I mean, I was treated with more disrespect than I had ever experienced in my life. Every kid wanted to be dropped off at their front door and every kid wanted to be dropped off first and it seemed like they have never NOT gotten what they wanted when they wanted it with a big cherry on top. Me and my rose colored glasses actually believed that this only happened on TV and movies. But nope! What happens on the bus in TV and movies actually happens in real life. SOOO, that was the last day I ever worked in the afternoon. No thank you!!!!

Now for the good news….they are all dead tired in the morningJ!!!! Yeah! They are probably dead tired from all the torture they are giving their afternoon bus driver. Its not my problem nowJ After my experience with picking them up from school, I went to Adoration and Benediction at my church. I prayed for my students and asked God to protect them from the wickedness and snares of the devil. I then filled up my Holy Water bottle and I was ready for the next day. I sprinkled Holy Water on every seat and said the St. Michael prayer 3 times to protect my students from harm with a small extra prayer to keep them tired and quiet for me. I say this prayer every day on the bus. If nothing else, my prayer life has improved.

It has been 2 weeks now. In that 2 weeks, I have said “Hi” or “Good morning” to every person who has gotten on the bus. On the first day, one young man said “hi” and no one else. No one. Not one kid out of the 115. 2 weeks later, nearly everyone (except the 2 girls that I wrote up) either look at me and grunt or nod or actually speaks a “Hi” or “Good Morning” to me. I am seeing some progress.

Do I like driving the bus you ask? Well, first, thanks for askingJ And second, I LOVE driving the bus! I feel powerful. I get to have the biggest bus on the lot, an 87 passenger snub nose bus. The tires are behind me so I can maneuver around corners with my front end going over the curbs and ditches. I freak out a couple girls in the front seat on one particular turn and I love it. I feel like I have skill. I also enjoy driving the bus because I know I can be a friendly and consistent face that all of the students can begin their day with. I am not influenced by their rudeness they harbor until the end of the afternoon.  
I wish I could talk every anti-homeschooling person into driving a bus for just a week. Its all I ask. Then, I will forgive you. There is no need to beg for mercy.
On the flip side, to every one of my fine friends out there.... Although we teach our children and believe ourselves that everyone has dignity, deserves respect and is made in the image of likeness of God, being a bus driver will put you to the test. I am so glad I took this test because I could see that I was no where close to where I needed to be.  I need to pray and beg for God to give me the gift to see everyone the way He see's them.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What makes a Saint?


Its Summer time! In this family, Summer time means Saints time! We may not school all year round but as a mom and teacher, I have to do something educational over the Summer. We learn about the Saints of our church during the school year but we can really focus and relax and go more in depth about their lives during these hot months.

My beloved local Catholic Church, Coronation of Our Lady, was gifted with a new priest 10 months ago who repeatedly says that he wants to be a Saint. Now, I don’t know about you but I have only heard these words come off the pages from actual Saints from hundreds of years ago.  I have not actually heard a live human being say that they want to be a Saint. Kind of strange, huh?  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a Saint?   As our family learns about one Saint at a time, there are common threads they shared with one another. If I want to be a Saint, the best place to begin would to read and learn about other saintly wives and mothers so they can be my example. If my priest wants to be a Saint, I would guess he would emulate the lives of other canonized priests.

My kids enjoy learning about their own patron saints. I have 4 boys and all 4 of them were named after Saints that were priests. I want to briefly tell you about a handful of priestly Saints. It would take a man of very great faith and courage to want to imitate what these poor souls had to suffer.

St. Nicholas
I love reading about this Saint every year on December 5th and then setting out the shoe’s for St. Nicholas to fill in the night with candy coins and other treats! His life was not full of treats and gift though. As a very young boy, he was disliked by his Roman neighbors. He was mocked, yelled at and threatened for loving God. When he became a priest, he was downright hated.  The only people that dared to go to Mass were only the holiest of holy people who love the Eucharist more than they feared persecution. When Christianity was outlawed, Nicholas (now a bishop) was tortured, chained and thrown into prison until the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity again. St. Nicholas attended the very first Ecumenical Council in response to the current heresy where he is to have slapped a man in the face that spread this heresy that Jesus was not really God.
St. Maximilian Kolbe

“What will become of you Raymond?!”  ~mama Kolbe.  Raymond was a mischievous boy and his mother was frustrated with him. Little Raymond was praying when he saw a vision of our Blessed Virgin Mary. She offered him 2 crowns, a white one and a red one. She asked which he would like and he said “both”! He knew that he was called to live a life of purity and die a martyr’s death.  As a priest, he used modern technology to spread the faith. He named his paper after Our Lady whom he had consecrated his entire life to.  He used his monastery as a refugee for Jews and anyone else that were being persecuted by the Nazi’s. He was eventually arrested, put in a concentration camp at Auschwitz. He never stopped ministering to all the prisoners. Even as he lay dying of starvation, he still sang songs, prayed and preached of God’s mercy and salvation to lift the spirits of the other frail men.

St. Benjamin

Yeah. This is a little too gross to talk about. Persecution is an understatement.


St. Matthew the apostle

This is a man, along with all the other 11 apostles that were kicked out from town to town as he preached the Gospel. BTW, when I say “Gospel”, I am not talking about Scripture or the New Testament as it was not written yet. This was oral teaching that was handed down to him by Jesus Christ himself. After being persecuted and mocked for years on end, he was eventually axed to death.

These are the priestly patron saints of my boys. Here is another one that we will be learning more about this summer.....

St. JoseMaria Escriva

I just love this name. It makes me feel super Catholic just to say it. If you haven’t seen There Be Dragons, rent the movie! It tells the story of this remarkable saint. He founded Opus Dei, an institution to help people of every walk of life to be a Saint. We are all called to be saints. This is not just for priests and religious. He only had a small group of people to begin this mission. During the Spanish civil war, he had to celebrate Mass and listen to confessions in secret. He put his life in danger repeatedly for the Sacraments, including rescuing the Eucharist from the Tabernacle in a church before it was desecrated by soldiers.

I do not know how many priestly saints there are and googling it does not help but I am sure the number is quite high. I want to plead with my Catholic brothers and sisters to read about the lives of all of these Saints. This is what you will discover…… What these men have in common is that they spread the faith to those that didn’t want to hear it. They were unpopular in their neighborhoods. They had a small group of faithful and holy people to support them. They had a much larger group of people that hated and persecuted them. They had a great devotion and consecrated themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They all desired to be a Saint.

Yes, my priest is right on track.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One down, seven more to go


Commencement. The end of one thing, the start of something new.”  Norman Osborn/Green Goblin

Graduation, what an exciting time. While our kids are giddy and excited to be recognized for their years of grueling math problems, research papers and Science projects, the audience looks back on where all this time went. How did they get so big, so fast?  I was just holding this odd & orange colored baby in my arms just a little while ago.  As a matter of fact, wasn’t I just at my own prom? If it wasn’t for the invention of the camera, I would swear that Nick went from toddlerhood to college with no in-between. If you want to know why I have so many children, this is it. I want my parenting days to last longer than a blink of an eye. Eight blinks is a smidge better.


Where will he go from here?

GREAT question!! Nick is a home boy. He has always loved being with his family. He has been changing diapers since he was six years old…..CLOTH diapers I might add. He’s been pulling babies out of the bassinet in the wee hours of the night to sleep and care for them since he was five. He’s been cleaning up vomit, giving baths to tiny people, washing markers off the walls, etc. for years on end. And you know what? He is not one bit interested in stopping. Just today, he asked me how long he had to wait before buying me a pregnancy test (Roy just left from his 2 week R & R from Afghanistan).
Nick and Samantha


 In order to continue his desire to be home AND continue his education, he will be going to our local community college, Longview. He says he will be joining the Army reserves next year.  If I do have another baby, I’ll have to keep that a secret for a good long time or he will change his mind!

Nick's closest friend is going to Conception Seminary to
discern his vocation to the priesthood. This is a completely
"normal" vocation ;) Congratulations Jared Samson!!!!!!!!
So, did I pass or fail as a parent? This is the deciding moment! When kids are a disappointment to their parents, Mom & Dad can usually blame school and friends whether it’s true or not. Since I have been his teacher his whole life,  I have no one to blame but myself. That is a hefty responsibility. No wonder parents do not want to homeschool!  It is so much easier to pass the buck and blame on someone else. I will gladly take credit for Nick! Lucky for him, his salvation will not depend on his gradesJ He is a pure and innocent young man. This is one reason why I am grateful that he is staying home for college. The life I wanted him and my other children to have is a life that makes purity, intact-mom & dad families and strong faith in God seem completely normal. I remember telling my parents, “everyone else is doing it!” in order to get my way. I wanted Nick to see that everyone else is pure. Everyone else has a strong faith. Not everyone has a girlfriend. Everyone else is doing their homework!! That may not be what everyone else was really doing but now that he is 18 and in the work place, he sees the hurt that impurity causes and the effects to a child that a broken home brings. If he would have grown up seeing all of this hurt and pain, he would think that THIS is normal and THIS is what he can expect for himself.  He has developed a maturity and strong foundation that only years upon years can build and make strong and sturdy. An 18 year old is not as interested in being like everyone else as a 10 year old is. A 10 year old cannot fight off a wolf as well as an 18 year old can. Don’t throw your kids to the wolves and tell yourself that it will build character! Nick is reluctant but he is ready. He has the tools he needs not only to keep himself pure and pleasing to God but he has the tools to lead other people in that direction too. I am SO proud of him.


I would like to take full credit for this young man. LOL. Yes, yes. It was ALL me. Calm down, I’m JUST kidding. Thanks to having kids, my prayer life and penance has GREATLY increased. Everything good in me and you and Nick and each member of the human race is because of God’s gift. The ONLY thing we can call our own is our sin. Everything else belongs to God.

To give credit where credit is due….Thank you GOD for the gift of my son, for listening to my prayers, for excepting my sufferings in exchange for Nick’s strong faith and for gifting him with faith to love and serve you. This is a never ending battle. Never will I be able to say, “I’ve arrived! I’m finally perfect!” I pray that I never let go of the wheel, that I pray unceasingly for all of my children and halt any moans and groans of suffering and offer them up for my children and my own poor and unworthy soul.

Its late. I get sappy when its late.




Saturday, April 28, 2012

Teenagers


I cannot count the number of times that I have been warned about having a teenager.  I am sure you can relate. Not only am I warned all of the time but I remember being a teenager myself and listening to my parents friends, family and acquaintances give them the oh-no- a- teenager  look and the better-get- off-the-road, she-has-her-license comments. Why is this? Why do teenagers get such a bad rap?

As I was teaching Theology of the Body to the teenagers, one main point that I stress is that they are at the age of training themselves in faithfulness. I thought, why would they only be training themselves in faithfulness? Why not train themselves in every virtue? Of course, it was making sense now. The strong urges that teenagers have do not have to be limited to sexual urges. Have you noticed your teenager may have an urge to snap at you easier than they had, say, when they were 10? They have an urge to cry faster and easier.  Their patience is wearing thin. They begin to have desires for material things that they have turned into a need. Maybe some self-centeredness is trying to rear its ugly head?

I had a talk with my 13 year old, Samantha, today. I talked with her about what the teenage years would bring but they were not full of doom and gloom. It was full of excitement and challenges that I wanted to motivate her to conquer. The teenage years are not a phase that we have to put up with and just get through. This is an exciting time in their lives! This is the time that God knows your child is ready to be challenged and trained. We don’t hand an 18 year old a tank in the time of war and say “good luck”. They have a period of training and it is extremely exhilarating to finally be allowed the responsibility with something so valuable and destructive and even lifesaving. This is what teenagers are being given.  They are being entrusted with vices that can destroy other people including themselves or they can be conquered with the virtues they have grown up. It reminds me of vaccines that carry a mild dose of the ugly virus to build up the immune system.  This is the time they transform themselves to outstanding, responsible, patient, generous and exceptional human beings. What an exciting time! It is not so exciting if they have never been taught these virtues growing up. Waiting until they are teenagers to finally bring this up will make this experience much more painful for them and you. If you have young ones, start now! Even a little baby can learn to wait for their milk. A toddler can be taught generosity.   A child can learn to choose the carrot over the cookie. Ok, I failed with the carrot/cookie exampleL  You get the idea. Our family spent the year working on PACE virtues. We worked, studied and practiced one virtue every month. I would put sayings up all around the house for the kids to read while they walked down the hallway or got into the refrigerator or spent time in the bathroom.  By the way, if you want your child to memorize ANYTHING, put the quote in front of the toilet. They will memorize it whether they want to or not. This year was the perfect time to go through these virtues and practice them. They were fresh in Samantha’s mind as we had our talk. It was time to put these virtue’s to work. Will she fall into her vices or will she conquer them with these virtues?! We are both excited to go through this adventure! This is not doom & gloom!! We will not stand by and quietly (or not so quietly) suffer.  Bring it on!!