Catholic Convert and Purgatory

Note: This is Jared, Ruth Anne’s husband and father to her five beautiful children

I have always had an issue with the idea of Purgatory. For me, growing up an evangelical charismatic Christian, the idea of Purgatory – some way stop between earth and Heaven – seemed outright blasphemous. I couldn’t find it in the Bible – to be honest, in the Protestant or Catholic versions, it just didn’t make any sense. I argued with religious education officials as my family became Roman Catholic, and I argued with my wife. I scoffed at the idea. My good ol’ boy, evangelical, charismatic roots would not budge. Even with my own personal assertion I was more “Catholic” then not, I could not, would not wrap my head around Purgatory.

Then came the death of Jack Chick. Chick, notorious for his evangelical tracts, full of anti-Catholic propaganda, among other things. I grew up with these tracts – in fact, I probably read everyone available during the late 1980’s when I was a young boy. I don’t remember them very well – they were entertaining (obviously), and I’m quite sure some scared the hell out of me – much like Pat Robertson did on the 700 Club around the time I was five years old or so. I remember hearing, at a young age, that Catholics were evil. Ironically, my parents and the church they went to – my dad being an associate pastor there at the time, began to move towards the Sacramental nature of worship more and more. Communion and liturgy joined speaking in tongues and raising of hands. John Michael Talbot became a staple in church and in our cars driving down the road, and ideas of incense and robes became more acceptable over time. Eventually my father would be ordained a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church – not Anglican by association, but Anglican in liturgical tradition, and myself and my brothers found ourselves being educated at home using the Seton Home Study program – a traditional, pre-Vatican II accredited program. I found myself then, twenty years ago, being drawn to Catholicism – even though I had dreams of being a priest and married – following in my father’s footsteps, but Catholicism still drew me. I ended up just being a sinner myself, going band forth, but ultimately my wife and I made the decision to become Roman Catholic.

To get back on topic – I’ve always had an issue with the idea of Purgatory. I have always seen it as demeaning to Christ – who allowed Himself to be humiliated, beaten and crucified for my sins (yours too… oh, and Mr. Chick’s as well). We believers go through life sinning, yes, but we should also be confessing those sins – as Catholic’s we have the Sacrament of Confession. Protestants have their own ways as well – doesn’t matter, part of being a believer in Christ is confessing – our beliefs, our faith and our sins, and then receiving God’s Grace and forgiveness. I’m not here to argue the finer points – both my Catholic and Protestant friends can do that on their own time. What I am saying is, I simply could not believe that God the Father would allow us to suffer after everything that the Son of God went through for our sins. Granted, we suffer on earth, but that is because of original sin. We get baptized and that stain is washed away, yet the earth itself has not been reborn, so we remain in this world, but not of it. Though we are clean, we are still human, but thankfully washed in the Blood of Christ. I had a hard time believing that my father, who died in 2014 after suffering from a debilitating stroke seven years before that, would have to spend more time suffering to atone for his life – which by the standards of most people, was actually a pretty good life, full of blessing others, faith, love, charity and good works. Then came the death of Jack Chick.

Jack Chick claimed to be a believer in Christ. He encouraged people to repent – mainly though tracts that spoke of the evils of this world and well as those in it. This included free-masons, Catholics, and others. He often depicted all of these things a demons and great temptations. Going as far as labeling things the Antichrist, etc. For all of his faith and love for God, the man was full of hate. I am not God, so I take people at face value as much as I can. I believe that he believed – in other words, I believe he had faith in God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Though he had faith, I believe he was corrupted – as we all were and are, and that corruption had taken root and was allowed to grow. I can say this about a lot of people, both dead and still alive. An example would be the one who led to me to Christ at the young age of five years old or so from a television screen. These men and women, as well us who put ourselves above them, all have a corruption. Thankfully, we also have Baptism – and so, more than likely, did they. The problem is that we still live in a corrupted world, and that corruption in turn affects us. It’s like a disease, starting small at first, but if allowed to continue to grow, can totally consume us. We still have faith, we still believe in Christ, we still love God – but depending on the level of corruption from the world we live in we let in, the more or less blind we become to the truth. Jack Chick was blind to the truth, nothing more, nothing less. This does not excuse the lies and slander he wrote and published. However, it does not give us the privilege to gloat and judge in his death. He was man, a believer and sinner, just like us all.

Now, Purgatory. I still don’t totally understand my thoughts in regards to the possibility of a place between Heaven and Earth, but I can understand the notion for a place that we are brought to after we die for God to fully reveal his truth, love, mercy, grace and FORGIVENESS to us. Whether we are Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant (non-liturgical), we all have or notions/rituals towards confessing of sins and God’s absolution of those sins. We all believe that God has wiped the slate clean in His mind, however, we are still corrupted by how the world views sin. The fact that we actual have to deal with right and wrong, good and evil. As a lot of people do, part of me fears death. Not because existence ends, but because I know who I am. I know the things I have done, said, thought, etc. h/ave I confessed, you betcha. Do I believe god has forgiven me, absolutely. Am I totally free from sin?!?! Hmm… in reality, yes, but in my mind, I am still haunted, sort of like those Jack Chick tracts. I still have the random thought. My beautiful wife insists on reminding me of something. My children tell me what I forgot to do with them. I see a memory on Facebook that I would rather not be a memory, or be on Facebook. God has forgotten, but I have not, and neither has the world. Newsflash – the world never forgets, and unless you get amnesia, nor will you, or your friends, your spouse, your kids, your parents, your neighbors, etc. Everyone has always told me that Purgatory is simply a place for cleansing. I like to think of it as the shower taken before entering the Throne Room. Wait… I said it, I like to think of it. I still don’t 100% agree with everything that everyone likes to tell me about it, however, it is beginning to make sense. God sees us as clean, but every time we look at ourselves, all we see is dirt. We go to confession, or we pray to God and confess our sins – we hear the words or remember the Scripture – but still, as we look in the mirror, all we can see is the dirt. Likewise, when we look at other people, often times all we see is dirt, and unfortunately, we like to show other people the dirt that they don’t see that we do, and vice versa. I don’t know about you, but before I take my place as part of the Bridegroom of Christ in His throne room, I’d like to see myself how God sees me, clean, washed in His Blood, made white then snow. In this, I can see the purpose of Purgatory. It is not a punishment, I don’t even believe it is painful. I believe that it can be, up to that point in our existence, the most glorious and liberating thing we can experience. It is my prayer that Mr. Chick, as well as many others, experience a well needed shower before the reach their final destination. I also hope they leave some hot water for me.

Final thought: We are all in need of forgiveness and cleansing – We receive God’s forgiveness through confessing our sins. We also need to seek forgiveness from others, as well as our self. There are countless people who believe in Christ who die in a state where they did not have a chance to confess their sins, or who had self doubt in relation to those sins. Baptism is the ultimate shower we receive, washing away the “old man” and making us into a new creation in Christ. Nothing can replace the new birth we receive upon having this sacrament. However, even after we get cleaned from a life of dirtiness, we are bound to get a little dirt here and there, from time to time, and it is quite possible that we don’t get a chance to take that final shower before we go to meet our collective Bridegroom who is Christ Jesus. Personally, I like to see Purgatory as that final shower before our wedding feast.

Garden Notes

Late September, my dad gifted me a gift card to a local garden shop (agriculture shop? I dunno, they sell things for the garden, chickens, hay, etc…) Anyways, Kat and I took off one Saturday a few weeks back to see what we could find. A few of my garden tools died last winter after being left out (funny thing, all that snow, ruining wooden handles and things…), so I was aiming to replace them.

Z. just goofing. (How could I not include it?)
Z. just goofing. (How could I not include it?)

We browsed and browsed (and browsed some more) and finally managed to come up with a few little tools and garden gloves for the kiddos (I briefly considered some for myself, but I realized I’d just be super frustrated with the bulk of them, and decided I’d just rather have my hands be dirty than not be able to work).

Anyways, I had also been really, really hoping they would have garlic. I have been wanting to buy garlic (for planting) for several years now, and just never seemed to get around to doing it at the right time. And then this year, I finally remembered, but then I was overwhelmed with the online selection. But, they had the garlic there at the store! Just a few heads left, so I bought them!


Homegrown garlic is probably one of my very favorite things to come out of the garden 🙂

The little pamphlet I picked up mentioned that the soil should be nice and loose, etc….


This is the location I was wanting to plant.


Ok, so it was the other end of the box, but they used the entire box for the same purpose. And they’ve been using the entire box for the last four months or so.

And the dirt was SO trampled down.

So, I set my handy dandy helpers to work turning over the soil:

They tried to take turns with the tools. And LOVED their new gloves (Kat’s actually had a hole in them, which I’ve since fixed, but maybe that’s why she wasn’t thrilled?)

We ended up not doing the actual planting that day. So we came back to it a few days later:

There are still two more heads waiting to be planted. Don’t know why we didn’t just do all of them that day. But, maybe tomorrow?

The other garden-y thing I want to do is replant our Day Lilies. We have two plants that haven’t been touched in a few years and they’ve become quite dense. So, maybe I can manage to squeeze that in tomorrow as well? Here’s hoping.

Oh, and I guess it’s semi-garden related, but I’m meeting with our neighbor tomorrow about a tree overhanging our yard. The tree has a few problems (#understatementoftheyear). The major one being that *IF* it were to, say, fall or lose anymore branches (two have already fallen, just this summer) it would land on our yard. Now, fences and houses can be repaired, but I have little guys that would not be so easily repaired if it were to land on them. I have a quote to have it removed, but it’s quite high. So, hoping we can work with the owner to have something done so I can let the kids out back without being super afraid for them. Prayers?


(Also, please let me know if the video doesn’t work)~~~Country Kids

Siblings {October}

I made the effort in the last few weeks, and it paid off!

Six (6) photos of The Siblings for you folks {or as we tell the kids when trying to get them to cooperate “look at the camera so we can send this to Grandmama” (who lives two days drive from us)}.

Top to Bottom

~ Kids all leaving {at the same time}. What I especially love about this photo is Kat has Nicholas! She then proceeded to carry him out to the car, which left my hands totally free for locking up. Big kids guys! They can do big things for mamas! 🙂

~ Attempted line up shot. Z was not interested. And once he saw the camera come out he immediately tried to get down to see the picture.

~ All the boys in the wagon…

~ Panned shot of the doctor’s office waiting room, where I managed all five for a few minutes before my mom came for back up.

~ Flying kites with Grandma and Papa. (All five are there… Promise.)

~ At the beach house.

Flash back to last summer at the same beach house (different part of the porch).


{This post is part of an ongoing project to take at least one photo a month of them all together. Intro’s here}

The Me and Mine Project

No school this week (QTs #31)


No school this week

There were several reasons for this, but mainly I realized that we were going to have a few too many doctors visits this week, and days when there are doctors visits always mean school is kinda hit or miss. So, I’d like to think I have excellent planning skills and arranged this all to nicely coincide with the holiday on Monday… but… I don’t. All coincidence.

I did however notice that other homeschoolers are taking this week off too (pure chance). And I think I like the reasoning behind this, do six weeks of school, take one week off. Now, I don’t school year round.. well… not intentionally anyway, but I still think this schedule would work well for us.

Mini (mini) vacation

We went away Sunday and Monday. (A few photos of our walk in the rain). It was fun. I tried my hand at Instagram Live… but that idea faltered once I realized we were out of cell phone service (and internet)… So…. yeah, that’s where we were 🙂

But the kids also got to fly their kites which they have been anxiously waiting to do ever since they received them, oh…. six months ago?


Doctors Appointments

I had a routine ultrasound on my thyroid (you’ll all be glad to know every thing came back with no change, which boils down to little concern for anything cancerous to be happening – always a good thing!)

Kat and Johny’s annual physical. They’re healthy. And growing. 🙂


Nicki turned 7 months this week too!14714802_10157519066585627_322769073644610387_o

He’s currently perfecting:

Chewing on Cords to the Point of Breaking

Mommy is still trying to figure out how it’s been seven months. Like, for real guys, I still think it’s the beginning of 2016. It still feels weird to be writing 2016 on my checks…


I’ve been slowly starting on working on cleaning/organizing a space for myself to have an office in the basement. This week I managed to get a few things tossed out courtesy of our friendly neighborhood curbside removal service.

I have ideas folks. But, the implementation is slow.

Working on the company blog

I’ve been logging some serious (for me) computer time trying to figure out how to move websites around for my dad’s company’s blog (which I “manage”).

This is what my brain feels like after I do that

dUyjod038*3&@2)00(4-keweoid9245n13dc%k*djwiq2 !#$$ 9fdjaoknc8ejq0xl9(&4212jdnnnw….

But, I *think* I’ve got it figured out now (famous last words, right?), so just waiting on authorization to make the actual move. 😉

Projects still waiting to be done during this week “off”

Hang windows shades in the big boys room, and Katherine’s room.
Work on the next square of Johny’s unending Star Wars afghan.
Plant more garlic.
Put away excess boxes of kids clothes

Good thing tomorrow is Saturday!


Linking up with Kelly. Happy Weekend to all!


Outdoors in the rain

We had a rainy day last week. I know, big deal. It rains. We need it. But, honestly I rarely let the kids go outside in it. Not so much because I’m concerned about them getting sick by being out in the weather (I don’t really buy into that particle notion, but moving on…), but more for the mess factor. And the fact that if I let them go out, there’s more chance that have to go out and I don’t really find that all enjoyable.

But, anyways, the link up this post is linked to is hosted by a woman in England. Where it rains. Frequently. And I notice when I look through other linked posts, there are ALWAYS some that show kids going for walks in the rain. So….. I figure if they can go for walks in the rain, we can go for walks in the rain.

This was during our 24-hour “vacation” over the weekend. The walk was made more fun by umbrellas I think, especially the brand new one Kat received for her birthday a few weeks back. I mean, what better way to break it in than a nice rainy walk on the beach?

We also were able to watch the crazy surfers. And attempt not to slip and fall in the mud on the path down to the beach – no one did to my recollection.

There was only a minor catastrophe while walking back the wind was getting a bit more intense and Johny managed to have his umbrella flip inside out and catch his finger in the process (it was mostly a pinch, but he’s my sensitive guy). Switching umbrellas, promises of a warm fire, cozy blankets and board games brought the world back to rights.

Nicki did great, although he was a little confused.

I’d have to say overall a success. Although I am partial to beaches in almost any weather. And if I can procure some more rain appropriate clothing I think we’ll be all set! 🙂


Country Kids