ABOUT ME

Hi! I am Kathleen Billings – welcome to my page!

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Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I developed an appreciation for the different seasons. Each season has its own unique rhythm and brings not only various weather patterns, but also different experiences that have etched a multitude of memories in my heart.  Summer has always been my favorite season, with Fall a close second. Winter would be nice to have for just one month instead of three and  Spring was highly anticipated as new life sprung up everywhere indicating summer was on its way again!  As I grew up and my life began to unfold, I developed a more mature appreciation and understanding for the workings of God in the SEASONS OF LIFE!

At different times and in various ways, the seasons of my life have brought me to my knees and have lifted my heart in exuberant joy. I have been refined, molded, edified, transformed, broken and rebuilt – throughout the seasons of my life. I have experienced great loss and tremendous gain. I have cried tears of deep pain and tears of deep joy. I have lived through devastating circumstances and have come out stronger and with a richer faith life. I have survived what some might think is the unthinkable, but through it discovered an inner strength that could only come from God. Throughout every season, Our Lord has been my travel guide extraordinaire, knowing full well the terrain and having the best travel plan for me – accommodating for all my strengths and weaknesses, on this journey called LIFE.

HERE IS MY STORY………………. 

I grew up in a strong Catholic home with both my mom and dad, and  two younger siblings.  We knelt in this little prayer area that my mom created and we would pray together almost nightly as a family. Although the faith was alive in our home, there was also a lot of turmoil between my parents.  At the tender age of 14, I was blessed to go on my first Catholic pilgrimage with my mom and sister, a trip that altered my life forever. It was on this pilgrimage that my faith, for the first time, became fully alive in my heart and personal. Sadly though, just a few years later, when I was 18 years old, my parents divorced – the effects of which permeated throughout different area of my life in the years leading up to it and the years beyond .

After high school, I went on to study at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana and it is here that I met Troy, a student at Notre Dame, and a young man who would play a significant role in my life down the road.  After two years at St. Mary’s as a theology major and a dance minor (I love to dance and competed all throughout High School,) I felt called to transfer to Franciscan University of Steubenville for my last 2 years. While at Steubenville, a dynamic Catholic college in Ohio, I was blessed to study abroad for a semester at a breathtaking 14th century Carthusian Monastery in Austria.  IMG_2644

When I was in Austria, I had the opportunity to travel all over Europe – Rome, Assisi, Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje and many other amazing Catholic sites which opened my eyes up to the true nature of what it means to be CATHOLIC –UNIVERSAL!

After I graduated, I worked as a Pastoral Associate in West Virginia for 2 years. During this time I met a gentleman and we were married in January of 1997. From the beginning, our marriage deeply struggled with very serious issues which tore at my heart as my faith was and is everything to me. After much prayer, counseling and spiritual direction with a very holy priest from the Community of St. John in Peoria, Il ,(where we lived at the time) I became acutely aware that my marriage was annullable and I made a decision to divorce my first husband after seven years of marriage. I will never forget my spiritual director saying to me, “Sometimes it takes more courage to get out of a situation than to stay in it.” Going through a divorce as a woman whose faith is my life and as a woman who had a seed planted in my heart back in my college days to someday do marriage ministry – WAS DEVASTATING – but, GOD HAD A PLAN! 

During the time I was married to my first husband, we were blessed with three beautiful children: Joseph, Gemma and Dominic. Sadly, Dominic died of SIDS at 4 months of age. Losing Dominic was one of the most heart wrenching experiences of my life, but also one of the experiences that has stretched me and grown my interior life the most!
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Dominic Fulton – 3 months old

Shortly after I went through my divorce, God brought Troy back into my life. We had not been in contact for 7 years. Troy, whom I met and briefly dated in college, had also lived through a similar situation with a young woman he was married to for 3 years, no children. Unbeknown to both of us, we had lived very parallel lives.

During his time at Notre Dame, Troy, a former Episcopalian, felt called to become Catholic and he asked me to be his sponsor. Two weeks before Troy was scheduled to be brought into the Church at Notre Dame, someone anonymously sponsored him to join a local Opus Dei group going to Rome for Holy Week that year. Totally cool – Troy was brought into the fold of the faith in Rome (no “sponsor” for this sponsor, though!) 

When God brought Troy back into my life, I was in Peoria, IL and he was in  St Paul, Minnesota. We  both had our marriages annulled and dated long distance for  2 years.  In February of 2006,  in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, Troy got down on one knee and asked me to be his partner for life. We were married June 9 that year and we began our live together as a married couple in St. Charles, Il.img_2585IMG_2584

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six months after we were married, Troy adopted Joseph and Gemma, a dream come true for both of us !  Four months after the adoption, we were blessed with a son, David, then 2 years later Marianna and 5 years later, Anthony.  We also have two other little souls that we lost through miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy.

 

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 Our life is full – full of love!


We have a big van to accommodate all of us!

 

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Four years after we were married God made it clear it was time to grow that seed HE had planted in my heart back in college, allowing the vision He gave me several years prior, to finally become a reality.  All in God’s time, right?  Troy and I, along with a team of 3 other couples, began a parish based marriage ministry called BAM – Building Amazing Marriages.

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By God’s grace, the ministry has grown and flourished over the past 6 1/2 years. It brings my heart such joy to see the couples lives that are being touched and the marriages that are being strengthened. 

Troy and I have been richly blessed over the years, but not without our own seasons of struggles that have grown us as a couple and as a family. God is so good and merciful! I can honestly say that Troy is my best friend. I love our life together! We strive to continue to DATE EACH OTHER and I truly believe this makes all the difference!

 

 

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Troy and I are tremendously grateful for the family that God has blessed us with.  We strive daily to build a culture and civilization of love in our home. I am a stay at home mom and I home school my four youngest children. Troy works from home as a Global Program Manager for SAP when he is not traveling for his job.  As a family -we are very active and we maximize the minutes and moments we have to share together!

Here are a  few highlights of special family building moments doing things we enjoy…….  dancing, hiking, horseback riding, sailing, swimming in our pool and gardening.

 

 

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Dancing with my daughter, Marianna

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Padre Island, Texas

 

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Goodies from our Garden

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WE HAVE SMALL FAMILY VINEYARD

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AND….WE MAKE WINE!!

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Pressing the Grapes

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WE CELEBRATE SEASONAL AND LITURGICAL TRADITIONS

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We always chop our own Christmas tree down!
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During Lent, we light a candle as we pray each Station of the Cross.
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Our Homemade Advent Wreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE DO OUR BEST TO EAT CLEAN AND HEALTHY

 

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AND

WE PRAY TOGETHER

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   A FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER

Fr. Patrick Peyton

 

It is my hope and prayer that this blog will INSPIRE  you in your walk with God, to grow in holiness with your family while enjoying the journey, to deepen your marriage, to develop healthy and holistic habits and to care for the body that God has given you through physical fitness and clean eating.  Likewise, I  look forward to being inspired by and learning from you!

LIVE LIFE WITH PASSION AND PURPOSE!

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