Friday, December 20, 2013

The 8 Year Old Talk


For the past couple of months, the bigger kids have been coming up to me one by one with serious fear and concern. They expressed themselves something like this….

“Mom! You can’t!!!”

“NO! MOM! He’s not ready!”

“He’s too young! Don’t do this!”

The day has finally come. It was time for Benjamin to experience…….wait for it…….THE SEX TALK! If you have read my previous blogs, you may have read Theresa’s 8 year old birthday blog. I’m not going to reread it. I want Ben’s blog to be uniquely his even if I am repeating myself which I’m sure I will since nothing about sex has changed in the last 3 years. Right? I didn’t get grief about giving any of my other 8 year olds this talk but Benjamin is different. He is just a different breed of a boy. I know this but he will still be a different breed of a boy when he is 9, 10, 14, 18, 30 something, etc.

This talk is scheduled for all of our kids when they turn 8 years old. I understand that it seems too young but if I went by the age that most parents gave the talk to their kids, they would never get it. Seriously. Did you ever get a real talk about the inner and outer workings of sex (no pun intended) from your parents? Congratulations if you said yes but all I ever got was gross looks from my mom’s face and “I’ll tell you when you’re older” (I was 18) from my dad.

So, at the ripe old age of 22, I got my hands on How to Talk to Your child about Sex by Linda & Richard Eyre. I was reading it in the delivery room right after I gave birth to Mary Kate. I know, I may have been a bit ahead of the game but I am making up for it now as I sit on my bed at 10:00 at night as the kids run wild around the house.

I am supposed to spend several weeks building his excitement prior to the talk. I am supposed to say things like…..

“Your dad and I are SO excited to tell you the most WONderful thing God gave us!”

“We are going to let you in on a very exciting secret.”

“This is really something fantastic, and it’s going to be such fun to tell you about it.”

But instead, all he heard was….

“He’s EIGHT! He’s getting the talk whether he’s ready or not.”

“We have to give him this talk before we lose the book again.”

“There is never a good time to tell Ben so get over it.”

I’m pretty sure Ben got more pumped up with what he heard then what the book said I was supposed to say. He is just that kind of kid.

The day has come! The restaurant he picked was the T-Rex restaurant WAY out at The Legends in Kansas City, KS. I told him to dress up really nice and he ran in my room screaming, “I’M READY!” in his race car shirt and camouflage pants. I sent him away to change into real church clothes. He comes in my room all dressed up and muttered,I’m ready”.  After Samantha takes our picture, the three of us, plus baby, are on our way.

Benjamin is SO excited all the way there. He can’t WAIT to find out this secret. I just love this age. The reason we chose eight years old is because, “it is a window between the disinterest of very young childhood and the moodiness and unpredictability of prepuberty.” (-Linda & Richard Eyre) I am reminded of this when the book that we use to read, teach and show the kids about sex was brought out of hiding. Theresa finds it, opens it and starts to giggle. She passes it along to Max and then Samantha. Pretty soon, I have a house full of immature giggling basketcases. Thank goodness Nick wasn’t home. He would have been the worst. Eight year olds are trusting, open, innocent and anxious to please.  None of my 8 year olds acted as infantile as they do now at 11, 13 and 14. Oh, and 20.

After we order our food, Ben is bobbing up and down, back and forth. “Tell me the secret now! Tell me now. Tell me now. Tell me now. Tell me now.” I was getting dizzy. This boy won’t sit still.

We went through the preliminary questions…..

“Name some wonderful things God made.”

“Why is a person awesome?”

“Where do you think babies come from?”

“How do you physically show someone that you love them?”

Now it’s time for Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle. This is the climax of the afternoon! (Sorry. I couldn’t help it!)

Goodness. Ben’s reaction was nothing like the other kids. He laughed and giggled and couldn’t believe that his parents would do such a thing. If nothing else, I know for sure he totally understood what sex is. I was not too sure if the other kids understood but this boy did. He totally did.

During our excursion with fighting and wrestling to turn back to the pages with naked people (cartoon), we accidently ripped out a page. All of us start to laugh. He was SO into this talk and so fascinated with this new information he just learned.

But now we are scared. It was not too early to tell the other kids but was it too early to tell Ben? I don’t know. He seemed more engrossed with this information then we wanted him to be. He was laughing and smiling more than we have ever seen. I am not sure what to think. All I know is that he is part of the older group of kids now. He can share and talk about sex with his older brothers and sisters but has been sworn to secrecy with everyone else.

From this day forward, Roy and I will be sharing with Ben what we learned from Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and he will understand. Our body is the visible reality of the invisible God. When a man and wife make love, they are renewing their vows. Their one flesh union is a sign of the one flesh union that we have with Jesus in the Eucharist.

Yes, he got this talk too but all he wanted to do is look at the naked pictures. Sigh….There is still time. Pray for him.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving. A day to reflect on what I am thankful for. Every day, I read my friends Facebook status’ on what they were thankful for. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3…..Day 28. My friends know how to celebrate this holiday. In our house, Thanksgiving is pretty monotonous. My parents come over. Yep. I’m done. That’s it. My parents come over. Mom and I work in the kitchen and set the table for all the same people that sit in those chairs every day. I’m sure I should be thankful that my parents are here. Not a lot of people my age still have their parents….as one of my School of Religion students reminded me of last week (in a not-so-tactful matter), but I have forever ached to have that enormous family. I want my doors to be open to brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, that eat, laugh, play games and drink.

Being the hostess, cook, mom, provider of the meal, I was the last to sit down. I was exhausted. I smoked up the house with burning grease on the bottom of the oven. My turkey was already cold from the fan blowing the smoke around the room. I sat down with the greatest dejavu moment I have ever had. I have done this very thing almost every year. The same smoke, the same guests, the same cold food, the same kids, the same resentment I have trying to find Roy when it’s time to eat. Everything was the same (except, this time, I didn’t leave any forgotten food in the oven or microwave).  I was a little sad, a little upset and exhausted.

Max asked everyone to take turns around the table and tell what they are thankful for. I was so grateful that I would be almost last because I wasn’t in the mood to make up a list. One by one, each child and my parents announced a litany of everything they were thankful for. This reminded me of why Catholics repeat their prayers. After several times hearing the same thing, it starts to resonate in the soul. Every child had been thankful for our neighbor, Mr. Smith. As his name was mentioned, the next person had a deeper affection/fondness for him then the child before.  I could see God’s plan for monotonous repetitious prayer unfolding before my eye’s and ears.

It is coming up to my turn and I am ready to announce what I am thankful for and I am ready to share it with you too. Here is the long version…..

I am thankful that I have been open to God’s plan for my life years ago and gifted 9 kids as a result. I sometimes see a large family with a mom, dad and 6+ kids. I watch them interact with one another and get a small moment of jealousy as I imagine how rich their lives are. I stop and look all around me. I have this very same gift! I know this sounds strange. Have you ever admired and envied a car your neighbor has and all the while, you have the same car in your driveway?? OK, maybe not. It’s just me I guess. When this reality hits me, I get a giddy and warm fuzzy feeling all over. I could have stopped at 2 kids and been at the table thanking God for them. But choosing to be open to having God give me as many babies as He wants, gives me a feeling that no word in the dictionary can describe. Indescribable joy. Supernatural happiness. Roy just said yesterday, “When the Christy’s come, it’s a big deal. When the Christy’s don’t come, it’s a big deal.” And he is correct. We once went to a boys house, who has spina bifida, for his birthday. He wasn’t having a party. We just wanted to drop by some presents from the kids. This was my first experience with realizing how important my family really is to other people. We didn’t just drop by. We made this boy look like he was having a real party just with our presence. His dad pulled me to the side, had tears in his eyes, and thanked me for coming by. Do you know what I did to deserve this thanks? Nothing. I just brought the family by. God had done the rest. He is the one that gave me these kids and I can see the blessings being poured all over our lives because of it. You can’t fathom the blessings God has in store for you when you are open to His gifts. I am not just talking about being open to life. I mean, giving up your entire life to Him, including your fertility. Everything!

 

I am thankful for my life here on earth so I can have the opportunity to give God every part of it and watch Him do His work.

And make a profit……

Need to have an emergency party or warm bodies to make your event look well attended?? The Christy’s are for hire for only $199.99/hr.!!

What a way to end the blog……J

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas 2013


 
What an eventful year! There is so much to say that I am actually starting this in July. The year began with a terrible tragedy. Max’s close friend, only 13 years old, passed away in the middle of the night for no reason. He went to bed perfectly healthy and just didn’t wake up. It was so sudden and devastating. His death has been shaping the lives of everyone who knew him throughout this year. We have learned to calm down about stuff that just doesn’t matter. Who cares if my washing machine is broke or my windshield had a golf ball thrown through it…..another kid needing stitches, losing our dog, chicken or ugly snake. I mean, really? Anything that would normally send someone over the edge has all of a sudden become meaningless. But what DOES matter has become much more meaningful…..our children, our faith, our principles and morals and the salvation of every soul we could possibly touch. That being said, we have actually had an amazing year. When your mind has been shifted from the meaningless to the meaningful, it can change your world!

He's dang cute and such a happy boy
At the end of January, all of the homeschool community got together to do an extreme makeover on the house of the family that lost their little boy. I knew then and now that this wouldn’t make them happy. All they wanted is their little boy back. His name is Nolan and he is the oldest of their 5 children. I could fill up pages of this letter about how wonderful he is. I say “is” because I see his blessings showering down on everyone, including me.  Nearly 70 people were involved in the reconstruction of Nolan’s home. It was supposed to be just a clean up/fix up kind of project but turned out to be so much more. The homeschool community pulled together like I had never experienced before and, most likely, will never experience again. It was amazing. People that never met this family showed up ready to work. Everyone wanted to be a part of it. But what was so amazing is that everyone that was a part of this was doing it for the right reasons….to provide some comfort for the grieving family. We knew this wouldn’t make their tears go away but we wanted them to have a soft and clean place to lay their heads in sorrow.

Two weeks later, Roy and I got possession of our new house!! As I am typing this, we are STILL moving in! I am never doing this again! It is so difficult to look passed the work, clean-up, painting, 2 mortgages, pregnancy.. etc, etc, so we can enjoy the benefits of our new home and land. The kids will have to remind us because they certainly took advantage of the move. The gifts are BEYOND measure. We had the biggest snow storm in history while we were here. The kids were sledding and sliding and 4-wheeling with sleds all over the place. We had the biggest flood in history that brought “awe” moments on each kids face. The water came up to our 4 foot high mail box. Thankfully, we sit on top of a hill so it would never reach the house. Our neighbors are too good to be true….generous, kind, helpful and have taken a liking to our kids. We affectionately call them Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The weather was beautiful all Summer so we could play comfortably in the creeks, ponds and land. Multiply these gifts by a thousand and this is where we live….12 acres of it.

Selling our old house has been our Summer project. Roy wanted it to be perfect before it went on the market and I wanted it gone a year ago. I finally put my foot down at the end of June and we put it on the market even though it was still under construction. In my opinion, I sincerely thought that the first person that looked at it would want it because I had fallen in love with it 16 years earlier. It was my dream home but my desire for my dream land was even greater. I was right! 3 days after it went on the market, our realtor called and said that someone was putting an offer on it and wouldn’t you know, it was an excellent offer. Roy’s hard work had paid off.

Our school year is something new, different and wonderful. One of our local Catholic Schools had shut down due to debt and low enrollment. The homeschoolers have taken it over. The homeschoolers brought in about 140 students and it is all being run by their parents. Now this is the way a school should be run…..by parents…..people that have an invested interest in the social and academic growth of these children. It would be an amazing dream if every Catholic school could be run by groups of domestic churches who follow the Magisterium of the church. This isn’t a pipe dream either. We are doing it at Christ the King and I am so happy to be a part of it.

The kids in a nut shell:

Nick – He has been going to the local community college, working, and socializing with friends. Roy swore Nick into the Army in September and will be leaving for basic training on January 6th. I’m not the least bit worried about him. I believe his relationship with his girlfriend, Kaylee, has deepened his faith and has given me comfort that he won’t be swayed into immorality when he leaves. I am proud of the direction he is going in and pray that he finds the path that God wants him to be on.

Mary Kate – She is still home and loving all the exact same things that she has loved since she was 2…..Musicals, coloring on dry erase boards, walking, and you! Yes, YOU!  It doesn’t matter who you are. She cares about you, loves you and wants to know everything about you. And when you come for a visit, she will show you her new room with all of her Special Olympic medals. She is still the kindest and most caring person you will ever meet.

Samantha – She is 14 years old and turning into quite a beautiful lady. For a little while, she was having a teenager attitude but that seemed to break after she started babysitting other people’s kids. She came home after her first job and was kissing, smiling and playing with her brothers and sisters! She knows now that we are normal. We are not so bad after all. Actually, we are quite nice and fun. Boys are taking an interest in her which is totally freaking out her dad, Nick and Max. It is so much fun to watch them react. Samantha is eating up all of the attention (from her family, not the boys!)

Max – Is 13 years old and awesome in every way. He searches for ways to make people smile and laugh. He wants everyone to believe he is awesome so he does everything he can to prove it with his generosity, mannerism, socializing and humor. It is working too. Everyone who has met Max falls in love with him. He just needs to work on controlling himself when a boy talks or looks at his sisterJ He is living his dream on our new land. He always has some project or adventure going. He is rebuilding a couple of old homes that were once on our property to try to preserve their History.  He fishes and traps animals from his new canoe on our pond. He is building his first tree house with Roy. And the best news….he is getting his homework done early so he can run outside and tackle his current project. He is one happy boy.

Theresa – She is 10 years old and we frequently make little jokes that if you want to stop a bully, call Theresa. She tells people the way it is. She doesn’t come crying to mommy when she gets her feelings hurt. She goes straight to the person and has a “talk” with them in her most sincere and charitable tone. She is good. I mean, she is really good. She is also our little lawyer. No one can win a debate with her, except me. Yes, ME! She can’t pull the wool over my eyes but she can over her dads and everyone else in the family. You will lose almost every argument with her because she thinks before she speaks, admits when she is wrong and thinks of solutions to get what she wants.
Ben – He is 8 years old and pure boy……dirty and stinky from head to toe, always in trouble, hiding live animals around the house, throwing chickens on our roof, eats like a cave man, etc, etc. His pose in the Christmas picture was all too accurate. Setting him quietly on a step with an innocent smile would be a LIE!  BUT, he still snuggles and holds my hair for comfort. He is kind and generous to other people. Even though I have gotten dozens of phone calls from his school or other parents, it is never because of any disrespect. He will be something special when he grows up. He will either be putting in a lot of time at church or just be doing a lot of time. We’ll see.

Josie – She is 6 years old and cute as a button. She has a cowlick  
smack dab in the front of her forehead which lead me to give her a perm to grow out her bangs. She is SO DARN CUTE with her curly red hair, perfectly round face and round and big blue eyes. Every story she and Ben tell me include big round eyes that light up when they talk. I wish I could capture that look on camera. Her job is to gather the eggs from the chicken coop and into her cute little Easter basket each morning. Sometimes she needs a reminder and she pretends to be put-out with the job while trying not to smile. She is too cute.

Matthew – Is 3 years old and still the boy of my dreams. No drama, no fighting, no screaming. He is just a fun little guy that everyone in the family loves to pieces. He is easily spoiled because he is so easy to please and so grateful for every gift he is given even if it’s just a stick. He will grow up never knowing about the life in the city that his brothers and sisters had. He will only know the outdoors, creepy things, 4-wheelers, ponds, creeks, tree houses, trails, etc.


Andrew – Arrived on October 5th. The whole family wanted a girl (probably thanks to Ben). The family is in love with him. He’s got the same grumpy boy look that my other boys had but is able to fly me over the moon with each little smile he gives me. What a gift. I never want to stop having kids….(that’s your cue to stop asking….lol). Yes, Andrew is in the picture. Look close!

This was the most eventful year we have ever had. We don’t deserve to be so blessed and happy. I worry that the other shoe will drop at any time and I hope I am prepared for it. I know that everything I have belongs to God and not me. I pray that I will remember this when it is time for God to take something or someone away. Until then, I will be happy with everything I have been gifted with.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Love,

The Christy’s

Roy & Katy, Nick, Mary Kate, Samantha, Max, Theresa, Ben, Josie, Matthew and Andrew

Some of my favorite photo's

I'll never forget that feeling in my gut when I saw Theresa swing on this vine before we bought the house. Priceless
Max was surprised with a canoe for his birthday
Our neighbor found a use for all of our shoe's that didn't have a buddy. Yes, we had that many.
Again, our neighbor used his creative gifts to surprise our kids with a haunted trail on our land. We had a couple hundred people go through it just this year. I can't wait until next year!
CW4 Roy L. Christy Jr. swears in his son into the Army Reserves. Again, priceless




 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Homeschool Co-op 2013-14


Every year, I involve the kids in some sort of co-op setting with other homeschoolers. Most years, we just met once a week for various classes, usually non-core subjects like Art or PE. There were 3 years where 4 families’ rotated houses and each mom taught one or two different subjects. I think that co-op was my favorite because I bonded with the other 3 moms and my kids have tight relationships with the kids they schooled with. Our High Schoolers were graduating and the grade levels were beginning to not match up well, so it was time to move on. 

For the past 5 years, I was participating in and out of a Catholic co-op group that met on Friday’s at St. Bridgets parish in Pleasant Hill. This was such a blessing to our family because we all got to meet and become friends with other like-minded families. Now my kids were starting to have real friends and real play dates with other kids. I had put Theresa in 1st and 2nd grade at our local public school and I would never let her have a play date. It is not because I didn’t know the parents. Most of the time, it was because I DID know the parents. I didn’t trust anyone. In the co-op group, I didn’t just have one meet-n-greet talk with the mom’s. We had full conversations for weeks on end and developed bonded friendships before our kids knew that play dates were even a possibility. I love it! I am SO strict about who my kids spend time with and they don’t even know it. If you asked them, they would say that I am the most un-strict mom.  I hardly ever say no to play dates no matter who they are and it is all because I trust everyone that they are surrounded with at the co-op……like-minded Catholic-Christian homeschoolers.

Josie and her cute little friend, Emily. They called each other and color coordinated their uniforms
When I was a young mom, I had other Catholic homeschool mom’s in a particular category. I was scared of them. I thought only moms who thought highly of themselves would take over the job of educating their kids. They must believe they are smarter/better/stronger than all the surrounding schools and teachers. They must be self-righteous. I have 15 years of meeting family after family that homeschools and learned 2 very valuable lessons. If you read nothing else from this blog, I hope you read this…..#1 We all think that everyone else has it all together and everyone else is doing it better. It is our own insecurities that make us believe that other homeschoolers are self-righteous. #2 These moms are nothing more than regular, faithful and insecure women who are all struggling to do what is best for their kids. These are NOT self-righteous women. They are the most humble of the human species. They are the polar opposite of self-righteousness. They are humble. They are scared. And they are insecure. They do not want to screw up their kids because they know there will be no school or peers or teachers to blame. This is a heavy burden to carry. All of these myths and misconceptions about homeschoolers can be laid to rest when you actually develop friendships with these moms. They LOVE to hear stories of each other’s struggles and failures so they can be reassured that they are not alone. Sure, I know about 2 mom’s that may fall into that self-righteous category but I know hundreds more that are in that category that are not homeschoolers.  This is a character problem. Not a homeschooler problem.

The St. Bridgets group made a big change this year. They decided to move to two days a week and took over Christ the King that had just closed its doors as a diocesan run parochial school.  We now teach core subjects on Wednesday and Fridays from 8:30-3:20 and wear uniforms. Uniforms!! We have about 140 students. We get the experience of being in a real school but this time, it is run by parents and taught by parents. Meeting only 2 days a week keeps us in line with homeschool laws too.  I think that spending 5 days a week with your friends is what brings about conflict and arguments. Meeting only twice a week allows our kids to miss their friends and be excited to see them again each week. It keeps the friendships alive and healthy.

Here is a little taste of what we do…..

I am the Algebra 2 teacher to 7 High School students. This is my favorite class. Really, any High School class would be my favorite class because I LOVE teenagers, especially those weird boys. I don’t know what disconnect that God put in teenage boy’s brains but it makes them so funny and strange at the same time. I just love God’s design. He clearly has a sense of humor. And these boys are pure and modest in their conversations. After being a bus driver for several months, I will not take for granted the gift of being surrounded by modestly talking teenage boys. They DO exists.

I am the Human Anatomy teacher for 12 fifth & sixth graders. They are all a bunch of jumping jelly beans. I would like to say that they are just super excited to be in my class but I think all of their teachers have a bit of a problem keeping them still. I love this class in spite of their vocal enthusiasm. They all act like I am their favorite teacher which warms my heart and makes me more forgiving. My Algebra class makes me feel that way too.

The diocese has a program for adults that want to learn more about their faith called BHI (Bishop Helmsing Institute). They agreed to do a little adjusting and teach our High School Religion class. So, Dr. Brennan teaches the class and I assign and grade the homework. I LOVE this. I have to grade about 20 papers at a time with everyone giving the same answers. Believe it or not, I do not know everything about the Catholic faith. GASP! I know, right? LOL. After reading the same answer to a question that I didn’t know the answer to 20 times, the answer slowly moves from my short term memory to my long term after the 10th paper. I’m getting smarter and smarter just by grading papers.


I love these guys. I call Noah's smile the "I-have-nothing-important-to-say smile".....which is nearly EVERY time he raises his hand.


The Edible Cell! I was everyone's favorite teacher by week #2. Yay me!


Ben goes to public school but on 1/2 days, I let him get in uniform and come with us. Poor guy feels left out. One more year buddy!


Max has study hall during my Algebra 2 class because he laughs too much in the regular study hall
 
Homeschooling this year has been a huge success. It has kept me on track. The kids feel overwhelmed with homework but that is only because they are not allowed to fall behind like they are so used to doing when Mom was their teacher. For the first time, they will FINISH the book in ALL the classes. The kids are participating in projects and experiments that they don’t get at home. They do oral reports that they put effort into so they don’t look embarrassed. The kids are so excited about school that they get up EARLY and doll themselves up before I even roll out of bed.  I never have to hurry anyone along. I love having a successful year. I love helping my kids with homework 3 days a week, instead of 5. I love being away from my kids 2 days a week while smiling and waving at them through classroom windows or down the halls. I love those big smiles as if we haven’t seen each other in weeks when it’s only been an hour. This really has been our most successful homeschool year and I am so proud to know all of these fine ladies and their children.
We will always remember Nolan. He passed away on Dec. 31st, 2012

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Andrew Benedict Christy



The baby is finally here!! The whole family is SO happy that we are all wandering around happy and confused. Everyone wants to hold the baby at the same time and I can’t keep track who is next. The only thing that is really consistent around here is that I get my baby every time that he cries. As soon as he is calm, I have a swarm of children demanding that they are next to hold him. It is day 4 and nothing has changed. I need to have some dry erase board and a timer at my bedside so I can keep track of who holds him next and make sure they don’t go over their time or I will certainly be hearing, “Theresa has got to hold him for 100 hours….” Or “Samantha has had him AAAALLLLLL day!” Or, “I’ve never got to hold him.” It is a problem but a good problem to have.

I did not find out the sex of the baby. I found out the sex of Mary Kate and it took the element of surprise away so I decided to never do that again. The whole family, including Roy, wanted a girl this time. We do a boy/girl/boy/girl pattern so we did not want to mess that up. Plus, raising boy’s has been a challenge. Keeping them alive is the first problem. Then there is….keeping them out of trouble, keep them from embarrassing me in public, keep them focused, try to get them to care about academics, manners, cleanliness, etc. etc. My biggest fear is the challenge it takes to get them into heaven. What I love about girls is their desire to love and to be loved seems to be so much more visible. They want to love God and be loved by Him. I see boy’s as being a real challenge to desire this same type of love-exchange. This may be all in my head but there it is. This is what goes through my head. I need to get all of these little people to Heaven. It is the job I was entrusted and I don’t want to screw it up. If this is not accomplished with one or more of my children, I will surely blame myself on some level whether there is any credence to it or not. It scares me. Now that I have convinced you that I wanted a girl, I will say in the same sentence that I am happy with my boy. I don’t get to choose what I get. I don’t even get to choose how many or how long I get to keep any of these children. They are not MY children. They belong to God and only He decides how many and how long I can have them. My job is to lead them to Heaven and to trust that He knows what He is doing. He has a reason and plan for giving me Mary Kate, the special needs child, and He has a reason for giving me a boy or a girl. He is WAY smarter than me and I hope to never pretend that He isn’t. If He ever takes one of my children early, I pray and hope that I can carry this same attitude through my grieving process. Until then, the words are easy to say and believe but the actual experience is totally different.

I sincerely believe that this little baby was conceived as a result of my prayers to my friend’s 13 year old son who passed away unexpectedly, Nolan Connors. As I was driving to his house on that day, I begged him to intercede for me. I felt like I got to him first. Maybe he would go to God with my prayer because I was first in line. Maybe that is selfish and childish of me. I am running to the front of the line like its Black Friday or something but I was really wanting another baby and I wanted to seize my opportunity. I got pregnant that month and gave birth 3 months shy of the one year anniversary of Nolan’s death. Forever and ever, little Andrew will be reminded that God answered my prayers because of Nolan’s intersession. This also might be why I had a boy. Maybe he will resemble the same love for nature and the outdoors like Nolan did. I will spend years doing comparisons between the two boys. Nothing will surprise me.

Since Samantha had such a great experience watching the birth of Matthew when she was 10 years old, I thought it would be nice to let Theresa watch it this time with Samantha. Well? Maybe I was wrong. I was expecting the delivery to be the same as the first 8 where I felt NO pain at all because of the glorious and wonderous epideral. That didn’t exactly happen. I had a new doctor fresh out of college and who clearly had somewhere else to go after the delivery and she didn’t have time to wait to give me more of the good juice. I told her that I wanted the pain to go away and she told me that delivering a baby would get rid of the pain. I wanted to slap the…….nevermind. Anyway, my pain was too much for poor little Theresa to bare. She watched as much as she could and hid in the bathroom for much of the time. Samantha dragged her out to see the baby come out but even that didn’t out-way her trauma. Oops. You win some and lose some I guess. When I brought up the idea about letting Samantha watch the birth to my doctor 4 years ago, he said, “That would be a great way to scare her off from getting pregnant.” I made my confused face because that was not my goal at all.  My purpose was to bring my girls into the miraculous experience of life, birth and motherhood. I wanted them to desire this joy for themselves. Not scare them away. Fortunately, Theresa understands. She understands because it was the real deal and she had real loving feelings for the baby. I have preached my hatred toward those stupid fake babies that teenagers come home with from the public school. There is NOTHING real about it. When my REAL baby is asleep at night, I stare at him in the hopes that he wakes up soon so I can care for him and feed him from my life-giving milk. If I had a fake baby crying, I would pick it up from its ankle and toss it in the trash outside. The schools are teaching that they are one in the same.  The real reality is that with one baby, the care you give to him is driven by love.  The other baby, I/you are only caring about ourselves and our peace because we know in our heart of hearts that it is not real.

WARNING!!!!! This picture below is TMI…..nothing graphic but the graphics are implied. I didn’t even put it on Facebook but the girls faces are just priceless and funny. I wish I could have captured Samantha’s face years ago. It was NOT the same expression. LOL.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After you recover, here is the rest of the story. …..
 
We had no name for this little baby. We considered Charles, Andrew, Phillip, Simon, Patrick and even Nolan. After several hours of votes and we were all allowed to vote as many times as possible, all hands went up for Andrew. Then everyone thought it would be cute to have the initials ABC. That was my initial (no pun intended) thought too but had to remind myself that this is not a game and this baby isn’t really ours. What would God want? Naming him after the vicar of Christ popped into my head… Francis! It didn’t take long to remember our former vicar, Benedict. Ah ha! Thank you God. You are too kind.
Andrew Benedict Christy
 
 
The New Buddy
Benjamin Richard Christy
 
Like the other pregnancies, all of the kids anticipate who the next buddy will be for the new baby. We picked out Benjamin as the buddy for Andrew. It seems fitting on many levels. I knew this baby would be a boy because he was so aggressive in my womb. He was just as aggressive as Ben. He will have so much to teach this little guy which, in turn, will teach Benjamin a lot of responsibility. I hope it will teach him the patience he needs to be happier and content with his daily life. Ben is so proud to have this responsibility and tells everyone about his new job. He really is a good boy. He may be more high maintenance then the other boy’s were but he brings us such indescribable joy.




 
Time to come home with my new family:)
 
 
 
 

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Faith Conversion Story


Everyone has a conversion story even if they have lived a good and faithful life. Everyone can think of turning moments that brought them even closer to God. Well, I have one too. I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Maybe it’s because I have been talking to so many people on Facebook lately that have not yet had a conversion. It makes me appreciate my story so much more.

I grew up a Catholic. My mother was Catholic and loved her faith. My father was a Christian that didn’t feel the need for an organized religion. I coasted through my youth with weekly Mass and twice a year Confession. I attended Catholic grade school and High School, leaving with little knowledge about my faith. There was a gift that I left High School with that I can only describe as a revelation from God. For some reason, God chose me to know from the depths of my heart that the Catholic Church was the True church. I knew that whatever she says was Truth. I haven’t a clue why I knew this since I didn’t know anything about my faith but it kept me out of trouble….and helped me get OUT of trouble.  I know that my list of facts and History that I have since learned cannot bring anyone to the Faith. Only God can do that. I am proof of that. I can only be His instrument. I can only throw out seeds and pray.

When I was 23 years old, married with 2 little kids, I started to feel trapped. Even though I loved my husband dearly, my friends were all still single and I was beginning to miss that life. After several months of confusion and rebellion in my little cage of a house, Roy and I decided to make a drastic change in our lives. We quietly put our friends aside and I made a resolution to learn about my faith. It was the best decision I ever made but the road was extremely tough. I completely understand why it is so difficult to bring people to the Catholic Church. Not only did my church offer nothing to help me with faith formation but as I was reading and learning, I was finding out slowly that the parishioners in my church were not following the rules that I was reading. It was a rough and rocky road for several years. YEARS!

Since my church offered nothing to help me learn about my faith, I thought it would be a good idea to begin by reading all 16 documents of Vatican II that I pulled off my Mom’s bookshelf. Umm, I don’t recommend this as being your FIRST read about the faith. Nevertheless, I still learned and it brought up question after question.

Allow me to give you a little insight about myself. I believed that there was an explanation for everything that didn’t look…..up to par? So, when I read that the bread used in Mass was supposed to be without yeast or honey, I went straight to the president of our Altar & Rosary Society and asked why there was yeast & honey in the bread. I asked with the mindset that there was a reasonable explanation that I was missing. Maybe the rules changed or the rules were for different churches under the Vatican’s umbrella. But to my surprise, the president felt caught and nervous and had no answer for me other then it just tasted better. This was the beginning of dozens and dozens of discrepancies that resulted in dozens and dozens of questions. I had read that the faithful were supposed to give some sign of reverence just before receiving the Eucharist but the lines of people didn’t do anything that I noticed. No bow, no sign of the cross, no genuflecting. Nothing. So, I just made up one. As we approached the Eucharist, our family did the sign of the cross. It wasn’t until I went to a church across town where all of the parishioners genuflected before communion that I saw what I was looking for. I was so excited. I found something that others were doing and I could copy as a way of being in community with other Catholics AND follow the rules I had read in these long winded documents.

The questions and discrepancies were growing in number and even though I was only looking for answers and on a hunt to learn about my faith and practice it, it was resulting in me becoming a real nuisance for my parish family. They were sick of my questions and sick of trying to defend themselves to a young little girl. At the time, I was very hurt and confused. But as I look back, I can see that what I was reading about the Church was right and they were the ones that were wrong. I mean, what is so upsetting about my questions if they were all doing the right thing? In my innocent little mind, I actually thought that all of my elders had read the same documents that I had. If it was on my mom’s shelf, wasn’t it on their shelf too? NOPE! I see that now.

The clincher before I moved onto a different parish was a meeting I had gone to with the Parish Council. I was not on the council. I was only there to ask permission to bring in a guest speaker to the parish to talk about how to raise kids Catholic. The lady I was wanting to bring in was going to teach the parents about the family rosary and sitting up close in Mass, saying common prayers and wearing the Miraculous Medal…..aka, things I really wanted to learn since I didn’t know where to begin with my own kids. The parish council refused. They didn’t want anyone coming in to talk about the rosary or wearing the scapular or Miraculous Medal and they called those idea’s “pre-Vatican II”. Well, I just so happened to have brought my thousand plus page book of all the Vatican II documents with me. I politely said that I hadn’t read anything about this in the documents and if they could point me in that direction, I would love to see it. If everything I was asking is pre-Vatican II, that MUST mean that Vatican II brought up these subjects, right?  Believe it or not, I meant every word. I was not condescending in the least. I only want to do what the church teaches and if it said ANYWHERE that the rosary has lost its purpose or is unnecessary, I would have tossed them out that day. Everyone looked at me completely stunned but then some of the looks turned into anger. They flatly refused to allow anyone to come into the parish that spoke about the faith. I was heart-broken. What the heck kind of “Catholic” Church was I in? Were all the Catholic churches like this? I began feeling deeply alone. I felt young, na├»ve and alone.

I moved to my current parish, Coronation of Our Lady in Grandview, MO. The first thing I did is corner the priest and ask, “I don’t know much about my faith so I need to trust that you are in communion with the rules. Are you?” The poor man felt cornered too but I was desperate! I didn’t want to be nervous about what may or may not be true. He assured me that he was faithful to all the teachings. Whew! This still left me with a problem. There was still no adult faith formation to help me learn. I finished the Vatican II documents. What was next? I licked my finger, stuck it in the air and chose to study the BibleJ Wouldn’t you know, there were NO Bible studies in any of the Catholic churches in the entire diocese. I’m sure that would put smiles on the faces of all my Protestant friends. ARG! So, I went to my Protestant friends Baptist church in South Kansas City for their Bible Study. What a turning point in my life!! It was AMAZING but not for their Bible study. That was actually disappointing. Each time I went, the teacher, who was excited beyond words to have fresh, young, Catholic meat in his room, would only preach about one or two verses in the Bible. I wanted to understand it from front to back but that was not that kind of Bible study. Who would have thought that being fresh meat would be such a blessing. Everyone wanted to save me from the wicked Catholic Church. They were all fun and loving people and extremely engaging to be with. They had big hearts and clearly cared about me and my salvation. I made several friends and participated in their church functions for nearly a year, all while still attending Mass in my own church without fail. I was bombarded with questions about my faith. Some of the questions stumped me which forced me to find the answers. My first source was my mommy. I always called on her firstJ I also started to buy apologetics books to help me defend some of these questions. Now THAT is where I would recommend a person begin if you want to learn about the faith. Not Vatican II documents. LOL. God has a plan and reason for everything. He knew that the “pre-Vatican II” argument was going to come up in that meeting and He had prepared me. What a good God.

The Protestants were asking me questions and I was sharing my answers. They weren’t quite prepared for my questions thoughJ At one point, a group of Baptists came to my house to have a “talk” with me. That was exciting. I sure wish they would visit me now when I know so much more but, I won’t be greedy. I was happy to have them in my home and happy to hear all of their points. The ring leader of the group gave me a 3 page list of verses that refuted what the Catholic Church was teaching…..or so they thought. I kept that list, highlighted every one of those verses in my Bible and began to study and study and memorize. It was great. I was on fire and I couldn’t stop! One verse written to convince me that Mary wasn’t a virgin her entire life called Jesus’ brothers by name. But through my studies, a couple of those brothers had a completely different mother in just a few short chapters later. I ran back to share my news and all it did was upset them.  The people I was defending my faith and asking questions to were not interested and turned away. Why couldn’t they do what I did and find the answers?

Maybe the one who needed to learn about the faith was me.  

This was the beginning of my faith journey. It is still going on and will be until I’m incapacitated. Lol. I know this was long. You must love me bunches if you sat through this whole blog. Or maybe you are just up late and bored. Either way, thank you.

The good news is that since the institution of our wonderful new Bishop 6 years ago, there are Bible studies and adult faith formation classes everywhere. This has been a thorn in the side of so many “Catholics” who were happy being ignorant and believing what they wanted. Now, people are learning. The church I went to now has a priest who follows the faith, the bread is free of yeast & honey, the parishioners are leaving in herds to find another parish who practices the “I’m OK, you’re OK” preaching. Fortunately, as new, well-educated seminarians are being ordained in higher numbers, they will slowly be replacing the older pastors and the bad Catholics (sorry. That’s just the best name for them) will have nowhere else to go. We are well on our way to being a faithful diocese and it is EXCITING! The church is getting smaller but it is getting more faithful! This is an exciting time to be a Catholic!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and the best news……my Dad converted to the Catholic Faith just over a year agoJ

 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sharing My Joy


I have debated about writing this blog. I am not much of a show-off. I am proud of my kids and like to show off their gifted personalities and qualities that exemplify true character. I don’t mind writing about them but what about material goods?  A friend of mine told me about a friend of hers (with no kids) that wrote a Christmas letter and about ¾ of it was about her new boots that she adored. That story made me chuckle. I don’t want this blog to look like that but I have a joy that I am just busting at the seams to share with everyone!! It’s about…….

Our New House!!

When you travel, do you look from side to side at all the houses and land and make comments about what is just right and appealing about them? Or is that just me??  My entire life, as our family travelled to Ohio or New York and back, my sister and I would stare at all the cute little towns, the vast green plains of crops and farm houses, mansions, cattle, hills and beautiful Fall tree’s. We pictured ourselves living in all of these places and imagined what our life would be like.

For the past 10 years, as my family kept getting larger and larger, this imagination became more of a real possibility. In a secular world where broken families is the new normal and Catholic bashing is just as accepted as bad Spelling, I had a great desire to move where we could be free to be who we want to be. We want to be unashamed, moral, principled and crazy Catholic’s. We want to lie on our roof and look at the clouds without the neighbors knocking at my door to tell me that the kids are on the roof again.  We want our neighbors to be nature….tree’s, squirrels, owl’s, geese, ponds, streams, creeks and critters that only boys could love (or shoot with a BB gun).

For 2 years, I have been seriously looking for the perfect property. I am so picky! This is what constituted the perfect property……

1.     The street was quiet enough for my kids to play in

2.     The land would be wooded in some parts and clear in others

3.     We would still have neighbors that can hear me scream if I needed help

4.     It would be within 10 minutes of a Catholic Church

5.     At least one creek

6.     Have at least 5 acres

7.     A hill  for sledding

Bonus* - A cemetery close by for Mary Kate to visitJ

I looked and looked and I was falling in despair. I was certain that the perfect house was not out there, would never come up for sale, be bought out from underneath us, be too far away or be too expensive.

For nearly that whole 2 years of searching, a family friend from Cub Scouts kept asking me to look at her house. She was sure that it was perfect for us. For some reason, since I had been to her house before, I just wasn’t interested. Finally, I decided that it couldn’t hurt to take another look at it. Roy was in Afghanistan so I invited my parents to tag along with me. The husband, Bob, showed me the entire house and all of the property. I fell in love. My mom was eyeballing me with this look that said, “Poker face! Poker face!”  She was a real estate agent in her former life and knew that if I looked like I couldn’t live without this house than there would leave little room for negotiating. Fortunately, the owners were not one bit interested in cleaning it up to put on the market just to lose 7% of the selling price and they were perfecting willing to wait for us to get our act together, get Roy back home from oversea’s and move in whenever we were ready. WHAT A DEAL!!!! Not only did I find the house and land of my dreams but the owners were ONLY going to sell to us. We had NO pressure of it being sold to anyone else and the owners were happy to just sit and wait!!! Could that be a better blessing?? In my opinion, that gift is unheard of.

In my excitement, I packed up everything that I didn’t think I would need in the next year and had an ongoing bon fire in my back yard to burn everything that was burnable in the house that I didn’t think a thrift store would want. I loaded up the back of the truck about 5 times full of trash and items that were too big for my bon fire or too ugly for the thrift store and waited patiently for the Grandview clean-up weekends to come along. I regrouted my kitchen floor (which is back to its original ugliness. But hey! I learned something new and am ready to do it again!). I painted and made repairs and cleaned like a machine. I was SO ready to put the house on the market when Roy came home for his 2 week R & R. Much to my dismay, there were too many internal problems that needed hired help to fix before we could sell our house. I was faced with the realization that we were going to have to move and own both houses at the same time. Thanks to Dave Ramsey and Roy’s deployment, we had saved a good chunk of money to be able to own them both for quite a while.

I know God has a plan for everything but I couldn’t figure out why I did all of this work around the house and packed up nearly everything when it turned out to be entirely too early. Even my 20 pound weight loss and burst of energy all seemed to fit into this serious packing and purging, fixing and repairing just perfectly. What could have been God’s plan??? Well, guess who became almost utterly useless when moving day finally arrived thanks to a first trimester pregnancy?! ME!! And guess who already packed up the house months before when I was at my peak of energy? ME! Oh, God is so good. He knows. He really knows!! I was lying on the floor and moaning my normal “Roy ruined my life for the 9th time” whoa’s, while dozens of boxes flowed from the attic and onto the trailer to the new house. I had already done my job and didn’t even realize it.

So, here I am at 15 weeks of pregnancy, feeling much better and staring out my massive window that overlooks the Longview Lake creek that’s big enough to kayak on, our bunnies and chickens, tree’s with ropes to swing on and a sledding hill that beats all the sledding hills we have ever been on before. To my left is our stocked pond with geese and frogs.

So, how does this house compare to my list? This is my new perfect list….

1.    We are the last house on a dead end street. Not only is the street safe for the kids to play on but it’s empty of cars since we are the last house.

2.    The back of the house faces the street so NO ONE can see the front of the house and our 11+ acres of land. We can totally trash this place and no one would know.

3.    We have too many creeks to count

4.    Our land is surrounded by Army Corp of Engineer property. Not only will no one ever build on it but we are allowed to roam on it too.

5.    Our neighbor on the North is the Longview Lake walking/biking trail. There is a hiking trail that goes from our house to the trail.

6.    Our neighbor on the South has a Bobcat that he loves as much as Roy loves driving his truck in 12 inches of snow. He is cutting out even MORE 4-wheeling trails for us. Those 4-wheeling trails will also be a Stations of the Cross walking path sometime in the future.

7.    Our neighbor to the East is hundreds and hundreds of cleared out land (with more 4-wheeling trails that we are probably not allowed on….;)
 
8.    We have 2 ponds (at least one is stocked full of fish)

9.    The front porch has 3 sliding glass doors that all slide open. Thunderstorms in 65+ degree weather are breathtaking with those doors open.

10.Screened-in porch

11.A tree with the longest vine that is perfectly placed with no obstacles for the kids to swing as fast and as high as possible.

12.A laundry room upstairs and downstairs

13.The kids can ride their bikes throughout the spacious house and hardwood floors

14.The dining room as PLENTY of room. We could put three 12 person tables in there but, thankfully, we only need one.

15.A kitchen upstairs and downstairs

16.Custom built house. Not too big. Not too little. Not your cookie cutter house. You’ll get lost.

17.Not only is there a Catholic Church 3 minutes away (not 10), but its MY Church! We only moved 3 minutes away from our old houseJ

18.It’s an old house. We don’t have to worry about scrapes on the trims and doorways. They are already there. YES! This is a gift!

This house couldn’t be more perfect for us. There is a plot of empty land at the beginning of our street. If that becomes a new cemetery, I swear…….I swear…..I will let you all touch me so you can be healed. Lol. Really, I feel so blessed, it is unimaginable. I don’t deserve this. I would give it all up if God would bless me with another child….and guess what….:))) I have that too. I truly feel like I have it all. And I truly feel like many of you are wanting to punch your computer screen to get me to shut up. To all things, there is an end. This time in my life is fleeting. This feeling I have is momentary but this time is now and I want to share the joy while it is still here.

That's Bens first little fish that he caught in the pond. He tripped and fell on top of it as he ran to show me:)