Christmas Eve Mass

Christmas Eve Mass

Christmas 2014Crespi Men together during visit


It’s Christmas Eve 2014 and early in the morning, still dark and rain is falling.  Yesterday a book arrived for me from Tan Books with my name imprinted on its amazing gray leather cover with a sword over the top pointing down.  I held the recently published book, Manual for Spiritual Warfare, by Paul Thigpen and felt like I had just been knighted.  Wow! Being a girl in the spiritual army rocks and I am happy to be a part of this.  I have felt for a very long time that one of our greatest assets in our suffering is mercy mirroring Our Lady of Grace.  Even imagining the battle, the tears begin to flow. Being strong often means crying our hearts out to God and battles are won in ways unexpected and divine.

So I scanned the index of my new little (perfect sized) book and turned instantly to the back. I like the back of books and often read the final chapters; this bothers my kids but I am always looking for the final happy ending. I turned to the indexed hymns for the battle and got chills (good chills which seem to mean for me that the Spirit is willing to inspire). The hymn noted is “Christian, Do You See Them?”  There are notes that state: “The lyrics of this eighth-century hymn imagine a dialogue between Christ and the soul in spiritual warfare.”

“Christian, do you see them, on the holy ground, Powers of darkness stalking, raging all around?

Christian, up and strike them! Worldly gain is loss.  Choose instead the power of the holy cross.

“Christian, do you feel them, how they work within, Striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin?

Christian, never tremble, never be downcast! Gird yourself for battle.  You will win at last!

“Christian, do you hear them, how they sweetly say, ‘Must you always fast, keep vigil? Must you watch and pray?’

Christian, answer boldly: “While I breathe, I pray!” Peace will follow battle; night will end in day.

“Well I know your trouble, servant dear and true.  You are growing weary; I was weary, too.

But that toil will make you someday all My own.  Sorrow has its ending when you reach My throne.”

Attributed to St. Andrew of Crete, 8th Century. 

I especially like the part “While I breathe, I pray!” I am inspired and that speaks to me of this past year and where I feel we are heading. So, let’s reflect on 2014 and look with hope to 2015. 

Tessara and Samantha would be 14 and in 8th grade if they had lived beyond 5.  We miss them every day and look with hope to the day we join them in their heavenly state, but back to earth and this day.

Dylan (now 22 and sporting facial hair) graduated in May with highest honors from Belmont Abbey College with a double major in Accounting and Business Management.  Then he went on to Notre Dame this August to work towards a Master of Science in Accounting degree to graduate in May of 2015.  Sad for me that he had to move from home but an 11 hour commute is probably too long.   He took and passed 2 parts of the CPA (Certified Public Accounting) exam over the summer and ended the fall recruiting season by accepting a job with the international professional services firm EY (Ernest and Young).  He will begin in late summer of 2015 and – big adventure – the job is in Atlanta, Georgia; a 4 hours’ drive from Charlotte.  Still too far to commute, I guess he couldn’t stay in his room forever, nor would we want that, but we miss him being close. The inner family’s radius expands.

Joshua (now 18) graduated in June from Providence High School and went on to the Belk School of Business and BHP (Business Honors Program) at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He loves living on campus and has adjusted well to BHP and college life; all A’s for the first semester which sets a great base for the future.  Josh is declared as pre-accounting and, so far, seems to be walking that path.  Who knew that David and I meeting in Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting fraternity at Sac State (California State University at Sacramento), all those years ago and we would be here right now with all this accounting talk? Obvious answer:  God!

David has spent the year at Albemarle Prison about an hour away from our home.  He is a geriatric aide and spends his days pushing guys in wheel chairs to meals, med lines, etc.  He also has other responsibilities, like clothes exchange, which keep him very busy.  He has been medication free for over 6 years and continues to thrive in his faith and wellbeing.  We connect on a daily basis through collect calls and our once a week, 2-hour visit. Encouraging matters are in process on David’s case and we hope to get back to court soon to undo the wrongful plea.  We will post progress to the website.

Jessica (now 26) and I have been holding down the home front with the dogs, Hunter and Bailey, and the cats, Dude and Tiger Lily. We love our animals and enjoy their antics.  We, Jess and I (Kim) – not the pets, learned to knit and crochet this year (how old are we???) and we have worked together to maintain our antebellum style home here in North Carolina.  We have figured out this lawn care stuff and enjoy it greatly.  We work together on the inside stuff as well.  The house is quiet without the men (David, Dylan and Joshua) but we are strong women and welcome the men back when they are able.  Please pray for where we need to live in 2015.  This home has nurtured and served us well over the years but we are open to the adventure of where to go from here?  Definitely a journey of faith with lots of emotions.

Lyme disease has taken Jessica and all of us on a path totally unexpected and so hard.  She remains unable to thrive outside of our home.  We battle the dis-ease of Lyme disease and feel like she is having more good days than bad but has made adjustments to center her days based at home.  She is working on an online study program that ends in being able to take on contract medical record transcribing and editing which could provide some needed resources while working from home.

After all the adjustments this year with our family, I found myself very tired with a lot to do at home and very little energy.  I needed a boost and some fun exercise to break from the stress of all that surrounds our home and health.  J.jill and its comfortable clothing styles, amazingly nice workers, and lovely clientele have provided that break for years so why not take the offered job only about 10 minutes from home.  I am so grateful that I jumped into this and am now one of those workers.  I am enjoying the 10 to 20 hours of work each week outside of our home.  Our financial picture indicates that a higher paying job in this family of accountants may be needed in the new year but J.jill is perfect for me right now and the energy is returning.  Thank you God!!!

In 2012, we participated in an amazing documentary called “The Dark Side of a Pill” done out of Denmark.  Towards the end of 2014, it became available on a public documentary site which makes it viewable for all; please check it out at special blessing of 2014 was a local interview done by Maureen O’Boyle of WBTV -great interview and available to watch at are all at risk of medication side effects and knowledge can help. 

We press on to 2015 with hope

for home, health and healing for you and for us

Love and prayers to all