Each Friday, I share a Friday Feature where I hope to bring a little light and encouragement from other Catholics living out the vocation to married and family life.
I love witnessing how others are following Christ and am constantly inspired by them. My goal with Friday Feature is to bring you a breath of fresh air and some community by sharing their stories.
Enjoy, laugh, be inspired, and pray for all those you see on here. We’re in this together!
I’ve known Sarah for over 10 years. I owe a huge chunk of who I am today to her – from the first moment of our friendship all the way to today, she exhibits a radiance and joy in loving Jesus that is contagious. We met Danny when they got married even though we’d all gone to the same college. Danny has the same depth of authenticity and joy that Sarah has and as a couple they are unstoppable. He is determined to serve God in everything and lead his family to heaven. We were blessed to live just two hours from them for several months and in that short time they ministered to our family simply by their love and generosity in a deep way. I wish that every Catholic family could spend a day with them and soak in their authentic living of the Gospel in daily family life!
Angie (A): Share a little about your family and what God is doing in your lives right now.
Danny & Sarah (D/S): We have a little family of 5. Sarah is a stay at home mom and Danny works for a local Credit Union. We participate in the RCIA program at our parish as sponsors and Sarah cantors at the 8:00am Mass twice a month. We desire to teach our children about living a virtuous life that is Christ center. I mean as much as you can with an almost 4 year old, 2 year old, and 9 month old. But participation in daily Mass is one way we try to achieve that. We are just trying to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way (trying being the key word).
A: How do you make your home a little “domestic church”?
D/S: We try as much as we can to celebrate major feast days by eating something extra as a treat. We try to decorate according to the liturgical year. And you know just an everyday abandonment to Christ. We teach the kids to say thank you to Jesus each morning and praise Him when we do something we are enjoying. I think the basic way we try to tie in the “domestic church” into our little home is the basic understanding that Jesus loves each of us and we are created in His image and likeness.
A: What is your favorite way to pray as a family? What about as a couple?
D/S: Our favorite way to pray is when we attend Mass together as a family. This is the same for us as a couple. Sharing in the Eucharist is the central point of our prayer. Second would be our night time prayers. When we introduce new prayers and say our regular prayers with the kids it shows us their particular intimacy of prayer that they are developing.
A: Share with us your love of “sister poverty” and the joy it’s brought your family to focus on God’s blessings instead of earthly gain.
D/S: We have seen God’s providence over and over and over in our family and that is an experience we will not take for granted. We really do want to embrace the virtue of faith. This faith allows us to see that God will provide for us even when we are down to our last box of Cherrios for the week.
A: How has the Eucharist impacted your marriage?
D/S: We have realized how vital it is in our lives. The Holy Mass is such an intimate community prayer that we truly become united together in partaking of this Life-giving Bread. We have very recently seen the impact on our life when we have missed daily Mass. When the Eucharist is the start of our day it becomes the center of our marriage. When we are not able to attend daily Mass we have noticed the rise of arguments, laziness in our prayer life, and a lack of zeal in our daily vocation.
A: Was there ever a time when your marriage was really tested? How did you overcome it?
D/S: I don’t think we would call it tested but there has been a situation where if we hadn’t embraced Christ’s death and resurrection and His true healing, then there could have been a huge division in our marriage. We went right to the sacraments with frequent confession and daily Mass. We increased the “little t” traditions the Church has given us in different devotionals and a thorough “give it all you got” Consecration to Our Lady*.
A: What have you found to be the hardest part about parenting?
D/S: Bedtime… No but seriously I think the hardest part is to make sure we are parenting in true charity and not through wounds or anger. Our kids are our greatest joy and when I’ve put the two year old in a time out for the 4th time that morning, it’s easy to lose sight of that.
A: What are some ways you show each other mutual love and respect during disagreements or arguments?
D/S: This is always a constant learning curve for us. We have to remind ourselves often in an argument that the other has a right to tell their perspective. I (Sarah) try not to cross my arms because it shows I’m not willing to listen. For Danny, he does his best not to get angry and truly listen to what I am saying and many times what I’m trying to say but can’t articulate. There are times when we come to a stand still and periods of silence go by because we both don’t know what to say to resolve the conflict. This is when one of us will reach for the other’s hand or arm gently. In cases, very very rarely, where we are just at an absolute loss we just start praying. (This really should be our first go to method and not our last, but hey, we are always wanting to improve!)
A: What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to your family?
D/S: Just recently we were at our neighbor’s celebrating their son’s 4th and 7th birthdays. With a crowd full at the house and lots of little kids running around, Danny was flying solo with all three while I subbed for another musician at the youth Mass. Our oldest, almost 4, wanted to play in the little kiddie pool and Danny thought “you know, it’s ok if she gets wet. We live next door when she’s drenched I’ll just get her a pair of new clothes.” Not even a minute goes by when he looks back over and she had stripped naked and was all the way in the little pool. He asked the neighbors to keep eyes on the other two while he took her home to get her bathing suit on. Trying to protect a 4 year old’s innocence when they just want to play in the water can be a little tricky. Sometimes I wonder, how do you prepare for this??
A: What is one virtue that seems to be the theme of your family and God’s action in your lives? Why?
D/S: We seem to think differently on the specific virtue. So I’ll give ya both. Which you really can’t practice one without the other. Danny says the underlying virtue in our family that is themed the most is faith. Without faith we could have nothing of what we have. Without faith, how can we be assured of God’s plan for us? I see charity being the theme for our family. Have I loved them enough today in the way Christ is calling me to love them? Did I speak with charity instead of resentment or spitefulness? But these two are such fundamental virtues for the Christian life that they have to be practiced almost simultaneously.
Here are some great resources including prayers for Marian Consecration: