Meet the Smiths

Darcy and Morgan have been married for nineteen years and are parents to Drew, Jonah, Caitlin, Ben, John Paul, Dominic, Luke, Elizabeth, Amalia, David, and Ruby. Morgan works as the business manager for a power line company and Darcy is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. They live in Findlay and belong to St. Michael The Archangel Parish.

Here’s their story.

Please share the short story of how you met and began dating.

Morgan and Darcy were both enjoying a semester at Franciscan University’s campus in Austria. Darcy and 3 of her friends wanted to travel to Prague, but wanted a male companion for safety reasons, so Morgan was asked to join the trip and he agreed. Morgan and Darcy hit it off fairly well and ended up spending a lot of time talking over the course of the weekend. A fun friendship developed, and after Morgan spent some time discerning whether or not he was to pursue a relationship with Darcy or focus more on discerning a vocation to the priesthood, he decided to ask her out on a date and the rest is history!

What are some favorite family activities?

I really enjoy or time together in the morning before Morgan goes to work. What starts as a family rosary, often flows into some good conversation topics. We also enjoy playing games at home. A couple of our favorites are Scattergories and Charades. We like finding a movie that everyone will enjoy and squeezing together on our sectional couch to watch it. And of course, we all really enjoy going out for ice cream to Dietsch Brothers, our local homemade ice cream shop, and just hanging out and chatting over a yummy treat!

Share a time you all really laughed as a family.

Actually, just recently my 17 year old son Jonah, was bench pressing my 3 year old son David. Every time Jonah lifted David up, David would count. Everyone was gathered around, enjoying David’s counting. When they reached 20, Jonah brought David down and lifted him back up again and without hesitation, David continued his counting with, “twelve!” It was so unexpected, and we all just burst out laughing. It isn’t as funny in print, but it had all of us laughing out loud!

Share a “cute kid” story (or two).

When our oldest 3 were 2, 3, and 4 years old, they were playing one day with some toys that shot balls out of them. My oldest starts pointing the toy at each sibling and “shooting” it while saying, “Jonah, I shoot you to Heaven. Caitlin, I shoot you to Heaven.” He then turned around to me and said, “Mom, I shoot you to Purgatory!”

Describe a dream family vacation.

I asked my kids and the answer I got was….somewhere south for warmth and fun water sports… or somewhere west for rock climbing….. or maybe somewhere north for skiing. If you can’t tell, my kids enjoy things that involve strength and a certain level of risk and Morgan would be right in the mix with them. My one stipulation would be that the vacation would have no set schedule attached to it so we would be able to come and go as we please.

What do you love most about about being married?

Friendship and accountability. We can be open with each other about our struggles and about our frustrations and we know the other person will listen, but will also be honest in his/her response. Sometimes we need someone to lovingly tell us to get over ourselves…right? Our relationship with each other reminds me of our relationship with God. Just like we are able to go to God with all our ugliness and imperfection and still know we will be loved in return, we can do the same in our marriage.

What is your greatest challenge as a married couple and how are you working at it?

With 11 children, it is often hard to find time for Mom and Dad. We have so many things going on with the different activities for the kids or even just in the regular day to day living, that giving attention to our relationship takes a back seat. A couple of years ago, we started having a “date” on the 4th of every month, since we were married on the 4th of September. If the 4th falls on a weekday, we will try to meet for a quick lunch, or we will likely go out in the evening if it falls on a weekend. We have been less consistent with it recently, but typing it out here is a good reminder that it is a practice that deserves priority.

What do you love most about your family?

Fun!!! Honestly. Most people think that our lives must be so hectic and crazy all the time, and while there is a lot of truth to that, we have a lot of fun along the way. It isn’t the fun that comes from spending money or going on fancy vacations, but rather from conversations or jokes or just something silly that someone will do. The way we look at it, more people make for even more opportunities to laugh.

What is your greatest challenge as parents and how are you working at it?

Our greatest challenge right now is definitely trying to manage teens and infants and everything in between, at the same time. There was a time when we could go somewhere and bring all the kids along and everyone would have a good time. Now, what one child thinks is exciting, another probably considers boring. Or what is fun for one, is too hard for the younger ones. We have been working on finding a balance in that area for a long time and we manage, but I have a feeling it will be a challenge for some time to come.

Share a time you saw Jesus fulfill a real need in your family?

When our daughter, Caitlin, was only 3 years old, she was hospitalized in Columbus for a total of 4 weeks. She had many different symptoms, but there was really no answer to what was going on with her. We were told she had a brain tumor or that she had a seizure among other things, but all we knew was that she would not wake up for more than 1 hour total in a whole day, she lost her vision, her eyes went crossed, her face drooped. It was a very trying time for us as a young family and as a couple.

We had people praying for her from all over the world and it was the prayers of so many that brought her through it. She was treated for different things, not really knowing the cause of it all. One day, she started making jokes out of the blue and I knew she had turned a corner. She eventually began to walk and eat and talk again. Our little girl came back to us.

We were prepared, however, for her vision to be severely impaired since she was almost completely blind. Several months later, I saw her bend down and pick up a tiny piece of paper off the floor. A paper she would not have been able to see the day before. All of a sudden she could see. She saw colors and objects clearly and her sight was restored completely. What a beautiful day that was!!

A trip to an optometrist recently confirmed that her vision is not only still perfect, but there is no trace of there ever being anything wrong with her eyes in the first place. God worked a miracle in our little girl!

How does your family pray?

We typically gather in the mornings before Morgan goes to work. We will usually pray a rosary together and then talk, but sometimes we change it up a little and pray Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours or a chaplet etc. We will sometimes gather again in the evening for more of a family talk time, to talk about the day and close with evening prayer.

How do you measure success as a family, and what help do you need getting there?

I think we measure success as a family by what is to come in the future. What choices will our kids make? How will our relationships change or grow over the years? Will we see all of those hours we spent talking and praying taking shape in the lives of our children? Of course, the success wouldn’t be due to anything we did, but rather God’s grace working through us and our children. To get there, we need prayer and support. I firmly believe that support and encouragement from the Church and her members has so many benefits.

What are you moved to proclaim to other families?

First, we want to proclaim that large families are not a thing of the past. You don’t need a double income household or a fancy job to make it work. Also, don’t let technology get in the way of your relationships. It is so easy these days to throw your hands up and say, “Well, everyone else is doing it.” “I don’t want to be a mean mom/dad.” “My child will be made fun of for not having a phone.” You will never regret putting limits on the technology and holding off on purchasing cell phones, and in the end, your child will see your wisdom (even if he/she won’t admit it!)

How have Mass Impact and LIT Groups impacted your marriage and family life? Why do you think others should get involved?

Mass Impact has provided us with some great opportunities to experience Christ in praise and worship and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. While we are a bit far from many of the activities, we have been able to take some of the things we have experienced and put them into practice at home. We have also been able to meet some wonderful families who can give us the support and encouragement I mentioned earlier. The Live IT Guides are a great resource for families to use to jump start their family prayer time. Whether you have never had family prayer time or you have been doing it daily for years, the Live IT Guides can help get some great conversation going that is both faith building and fun!

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