Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Love, The Christy’s

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dog Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twilight Zone


I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mary Poppins

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