This day two years ago we were living in Cypress, Texas. Our house was currently up for sale and our neighbors were still rebuilding from what is now knows as the “Tax Day Flood is 2016.” We we’re unaware of what might be waiting for us on the other side of our moving day which was June 6.
All of our friends of course wondered why we would be moving. We had created such an amazing community of friends. So many people in the neighborhood knew us from the parks and from our recent involvement in helping those who had flooded. Ryan’s work donated $2000 worth of Sheetrock to our neighbors and I organized other donations and food trains for those that flooded and even opened our home to kids whose parents needed to rebuild and needed childcare. I called in the churches to come and help with gutting and reconstruction. We had a few reasons for moving but we felt deep down we were being called to fulfill God’s will elsewhere.
Our reasons for moving:
Closer to Ryan’s work- this was true but we hadn’t really considered The Woodlands. We even thought about staying in Cypress because I would miss my friends.
Equity in the house- this was probably the biggest reason, we wanted to have cash for our entrepreneurial endeavors.
Move into a rental- we were looking for less financial responsibility. Being a home owner can be financially draining. We were determined to spend more time focused on becoming entrepreneurs.
Think and Grow Rich- a book that taught us how to affirm our goals and take action. So we did.
In 2014 I had attended a baptism class. Madelyn was about 6 months old at this time. In Catholic tradition your children are baptized as infants to remove original sin so that they can officially become members of the church. I was not required to attend a class for my oldest daughter. Mia was baptized at 6 months old, only two years prior.
During those two days of baptism classes our instructors emphasized that godparents must be active members of the Catholic Church. They also encourage that you choose people that can help reinforce the Catholic faith. I thought about how important my godparents were to my faith journey. This is where I got a big lump in my throat. I did not know any other Catholics near me. My husband was not Catholic. I only knew my mom and god sisters who lived in Dallas, four hours away. I realized that I needed a Catholic community…..desperately.
I grew up a cradle catholic, which meant that I have been in the church since birth. I attended Catholic school until the sixth grade, went to church every Sunday and was confirmed in my faith at fifteen. My stepfather was not Catholic and very rarely attended church with us. My mom had moved us right across the street from church. We walked to school everyday. My godparents and their four daughters lived on the same street four houses down. My mother knew that she needed to surround herself with positive influences to keep our family in the faith. My stepdad is my dad and he had issues with alcohol abuse. I truly believe that he was saved from a life of alcoholism because of our proximity to the church. My dad eventually became an employee of the church and friends with the priests. He sat on the porch a few mornings a week smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee with a few of them. He still did not attend church regularly and when asked why not? He replied, “I am at church five days a week, sometimes six and I am resting on Sunday.”
I believe that the only reason I am active in the Catholic faith besides my amazing mother, is my godparents and godsisters . They have always been a source of comfort for me when life was tough at home. They always brought me to church when I stayed over, they fed me, clothed me and spoiled me. I always felt like one of their children. At home I felt like an outsider. My younger sisters were half siblings and I often felt unloved by my step-dad during his darker days. I felt my parents preferred my sisters over me. This is my childhood perception which is probably exaggerated….. which most childhood injustices are. He was a great father to me and I am the woman I am today because of him. He taught me how to fish, fix cars and make friends with strangers. This is a story for Father’s day (to be continued).
We moved to The Woodlands two years ago 2016 with a mission to be more involved in our church and surround ourselves with Catholic families that would help us grow our faith and teach our children about God. What we found was so much more. We are so loved and overwhelmed with support from our family at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church.
Our first year in our new home we seemed to always run into the Wilkinson’s. We saw them walking in the neighborhood, hanging out at the farmers market, at the same preschool and finally at our church. They had switched their mass time to 11:30 because of their youngest son. Their usual time was 9:30.
We joined our church’s small groups and became more involved in education groups. I started teaching first grade faith formation this past year and volunteered for VBS (vacation bible school) last summer. The friendships we have made are some of the most meaningful relationships we have found. We are truly blessed and grateful for God’s plan. His timing is perfect and our faithfulness has grown as we watch the miracles that have unfolded before us each day.
Last August when Hurricane Harvey hit we were forced to evacuate our home by boat. We did not flood but a few houses on our street did. I called the Wilkinson’s and they did not hesitate to open up their home to us. They lived at the front of our neighborhood. We still only knew them in passing at random encounters around the neighborhood and at church. We only needed to stay one night but ended up staying two because we were having so much fun staying up late talking. We had so much in common. Our daughters were the same ages, we are Catholic, we attend the same preschool and we see ourselves living on a farm during retirement. The hurricane was devastating for many people but we found our daughters godparents and lifelong friends.
Madelyn’s baptism was long overdue. She is four and a half which is not customary. I am so glad I waited for God to send us the perfect godparents.
-Venice (written May 20, 2018)
TheWilkinsons and the Williams
Brunch at Black Walnut Café. The were so hospitable on the busiest day of the year! Thank you Jolene.Madelyn’s Baptism at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church. Father Pat presiding over 11:30 Mass. Two of the most funny and memorable moments. My niece Liviana making herself at home during the homily. Baby ninja Stephen squeezing through to steal Claire’s cookies. Our November babies two weeks apart.