Friday, July 25, 2014

Forgiveness & Dirty Diapers


I have been reading a book called Boyhood and Beyond with my 13 and 8 year old sons throughout the year. I love this book because each story is only 2-3 pages and they each teach a valuable virtue in a language they can understand.

Today I read a story called Forgiveness & Dirty Diapers. The boys loved it because it started off telling about a man that collected dirty diapers. Every time he met someone, he would try to confiscate a soiled diaper from them. Whenever he was around people, he loved to show off his collection. He would always try to find the dirty diaper that belonged to his guest too so he could share it and remind him where it came from. His friends dwindled as time went on because they couldn’t endure his smell – his house, his car – HIM. He smelled of soiled diapers all the time.

This is a total BOY story isn’t it?! My 8 year old was bug-eyed the entire time.

Then the author used this story to talk about the “dirty diapers” that people give us – insults, hurtful comments, gossip, pride, etc. When people give us their…..lets say…..CRAP…..What do you do with it? Do you save it? Do you share it with others? Do you make your friend see it and smell it every time they come over? Do you make your other friends see it and smell it?

If you do any of these things, eventually, your friends will not want to be around you. They will be disgusted by you. They don’t want to know about other people’s “crap” and they certainly don’t want to be reminded about their own.

So. What are you supposed to do whenever you are given a “dirty diaper”? THROW IT AWAY. Keep a nice, sweet smelling home and toss out anything that soils or stinks it up. KEEP THE PERSON but throw away everything that keeps you from being kind and joyful.

What are we supposed to do when we give someone one of OUR dirty diapers – when we offend or hurt someone? We are to ask for forgiveness, ask them to throw away our offense and promise to never do it again.

Valuable lesson, eh?

All 3 of us were tempted to blurt out other people we know that have hoarded “dirty diapers” but this lesson was not about them. It is about US. How many dirty diapers do we have that need to be thrown away?

The boys and I gave several examples of the dirty diapers we were hanging on to – an annoying friend who said something insulting a year ago…. gossiping about another mom who sent me hurtful e-mails.

My friends and their friends want to be around someone who is happy, kind, sweet in speech and is secure that they will not be led into sin when they are with us.  

If you are interested, I highly recommend this book, Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Totus Tuus

Totus Tuus (Latin for Totally Yours) is a Catholic program that brings 4 college students to a parish for what other denominations would call, Vacation Bible School.  These students could be local or come from states away but wherever they are from, they come for one purpose – to spend the entire summer teaching youth about their Catholic faith.

I had tried mercilessly to get my priest to bring Totus Tuus to our parish. Actually, I never really asked the priest. All decisions that went on in our parish were left up to the office staff and our deacon. When we got a new priest 3 years ago, I didn’t even have to ask. He told ME that they were coming!! And it turns out that the priest is actually in charge of decision-making in parishes. Who would have thunk?!

This year, our family was able to attend Totus Tuus on 2 separate weeks. The first week was at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harrisonville while my bigger kids were in Guatemala. It gave my younger kids something to do so they didn’t miss their siblings so much.

It turns out that all 4 of the Totus Tuus staff were on staff at Camp Savio back in June. All of my kids knew them already! I knew Samantha and Max would be jealous if they knew who I was spending my week with so I took selfies with all of them to send to Roy. My evil plan worked. They were jealousJ

This past week, we were all hoping and praying that the same team would be at our parish so Samantha and Max could spend more time with them.

They were!

Samantha spent all day and evening with them as they played and prayed together.

The week ended with an evening party at our house. We had Gaga ball, volleyball and basketball.

All 35 of us walked our hiking trails as we prayed the rosary together.

After all the students left, the Totus Tuus team and our family relaxed, talked and prayed together.

We are so blessed to be fortunate enough to host gatherings for such remarkable, selfless people. They inspire young people to keep their faith as they grow into adulthood. It takes great courage and self-discipline to keep and grow in your faith just after you leave home and are considered “free”. Yes, they are all free. They are free to choose the good. They are free to love and serve God. They are free to love and serve hundreds of young people this summer. They served my children and I can’t thank them enough for sharing themselves with them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pitching for Priests

There have been posters and advertisements for an event called Pitching for Priests all around the Catholic world. They were $10 a ticket so I was pretty sure that I was not going to make it. I couldn’t dump $100 on an event plus I frequently make the excuse that I already do enough “Catholic”stuff. I can’t do EVERYTHING.

Then one day, I was mingling in the back of church when our family’s adopted grandma, Grandma Marie, asks, “How many tickets do you want for Pitching for Priests?” She didn’t ask if we wanted to go. She asked how many tickets I wanted.

“Uh… Well?.....” I didn’t want to give her my ungodly high number.

“How about I give you 7 tickets.”

Yay! I bummed Roy for 20 bucks for 2 more tickets and we were set!

For the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to figure out how I can get a group of Catholic young adults (18-25) to come together on a regular basis to play, learn about why they are Catholic, eat and play some more.

Light Bulb!  Why not invite everyone to tailgate at the Pitching for Priests game for a meet and greet?

Little by little, the invitations were getting out of hand. I invited about 250 families from my homeschool loop to stop by with their young adult child. Nick inadvertently invited EVERY Catholic he knew. And then my priest announces that our family will be tailgating before the game. Roy and I looked at each other in shock. We envisioned hundreds of hungry and thirsty people hovering over us with no real plan to meet or greet anyone.

We bought 54 burgers and 80 hot dogs. Roy spent a couple hours packing up the truck on Sunday with the grill, chairs, tables, etc. I spent hours filling up our van and car with food, drinks and all the necessities – paper towels, cups, plates.

We took 3 vehicles and headed off to T-Bones stadium.

What a night. Yes, we have flocks of people – including one homeless man….maybe a woman… was hard to tell – that visited our party. The young adults played Frisbee, talked, laughed, ate and never noticed the older crowd from my circle of friends and church family sitting nearby.

After my darling husband packed up EVERYthing, we headed in the stadium to watch the game.

The game was between the priests on the Kansas City/St. Joseph Missouri diocese verses the priests on the Kansas City, Kansas diocese. Undoubtedly, the entire stadium of 2,500 people were all Catholics. Instead of the typical music heard at a baseball game, we heard Ave Maria. When a Monsignor was up to bat, the crowd would clap and chant Mon-SEEN-YER! Mon-SEEN-YER! There were Catholic banners and t-shirts everywhere. The atmosphere was so warm and full of those fuzzy feelings we get when we are with a mass group of people we love. We all had something so dear in common. We were all Catholic. We all loved our Mother and we loved our Eucharist.

The priests came up to bat one by one. I knew most of them which added to the fun.  Each batter, each hit, each out, each strike, walk, run, base hit – every moment was exciting. I think what put all of us in a state of awe was the fact that all of these young and professional looking men were priests AND normal. They played GOOD! Who would have thought that you could bring 20 priests together and actually see a good and intense and enjoyable game?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Treasure with a View

I got a text message last night from our neighbor, asking if Samantha would be home in the morning because he had a treasure hunt planned for her when she wakes up.

What an intriguing message. If I were a few years younger, that may have kept me awake with anticipation and excitement. But no. I’m too old for that and slept like a baby…..a sound sleep like those of the NyQuil commercials and then awake every 3 hours throughout the night.

At 8 am sharp, Samantha received her first text message clue……

“Every day, rain or shine, the mailman comes with letters so fine. It is there you find your next clue.”

Benjamin walked with her as she went from one destination to another. I had to stay back to mess with my camera. It was one of those moments when you need something to work right NOW but couldn’t! I will spare you with my camera drama and jump to the next chapter.

First she runs to the mail box - then to the gate to the Longview walking trail - to the tree house - and then to her final destination. How I WISH I was there to see her face!! But issues! Ugh! 

Samantha runs in the house, puts her hands on my shoulders, looks me in the eye and pauses. She knows, as even the 4 year old knows, that I might not hear a word you say unless I am looking right into your eyes just inches away.

“I’m not telling you what it is. You have to see for yourself” She says with an uncontrollable smile.

She wakes up all the kids. As everyone moves around in slow motion, Samantha figured out the problem with my camera and we were ready to go. Six of us and 2 four-wheelers went on an adventure through our land and then on the beautiful hilly land just east of our property.

There, we all saw this…..

The neighbor took a fallen tree and carved out a chair WITH steps!


This is the view that Samantha will see every time she sits in this “chair”.

Isn’t this amazing?

Several times, the kids wake up before the sun and travel to this area to watch the sunrise – always with the neighbor – and all the while, I am in my sound sleep with someone’s foot in my face.

Now she can watch the sunrise from her chair.

Read her books

Settle down after an argument with me
Settle down. Period.

Contemplate the purpose of her life

Enjoy and rest in God’s creation


As each friend comes over, we jump on 4-wheelers to show off this gift. This is your invitation! Come on over and enjoy the view!!