Lee and Elizabeth Strang have been married for twenty years and are parents to Justin, Felicity, Alex, Lucy, Greta, William, and Thomas. Elizabeth is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, while Lee is a law professor at the University of Toledo. They live in Berkey, and belong to Holy Trinity Parish in Assumption.
Please share the short story of how you met and began dating.
Lee and I grew up in neighboring small towns in Iowa, but never knew each other. While I was home for spring break from Iowa State, my Dad and Mom took our family to a nearby town, Dyersville—most people know it because it’s where “Field of Dreams” was filmed—to experience a Latin Mass. I noticed a college-aged guy a few pews ahead of us wearing a “Loras College” sweatshirt (a small Catholic College located in nearby city, Dubuque, IA).
I remember thinking that the Mass was filled with old people, so this guy must be a good Catholic if he’s driving from his college dorm out to this old Mass! At the end of Mass I waited in the pew to see if this guy would talk to me as he walked past. He stopped by my pew and said, “Go ahead.” But then, as we exited the Church, he walked right past me to his car! While home that week on break, a high school friend, Jennifer, called and asked if I’d like to come hang out with her and attend a Christian concert her college was hosting. She attended Loras College in Dubuque. Of course, I told my friend about the guy I noticed at Mass a few days earlier!
While at the concert, I noticed him! I told my friend, “There! That’s the guy I saw at Mass…” But, she didn’t know who he was. So… still no name! After the concert, Jennifer and I drove to a local dance hall. As we were talking, I glanced over at the entrance door and again noticed that same guy walk in! I remember telling Jennifer, ”OK God is telling me I need to meet this guy! This is the third time this week that I’ve seen him! Come with me!”
I didn’t waste any more time and walked right up to him and said, “Hey, didn’t I see you at the Latin mass in Dyserville on Sunday?” He turned to his friend standing next to him, looked back at me and said, “Um… no, I don’t think so.” So, I turned around to walk away and I hear, “Wait! Would you like to dance?” I said, “Maybe. If you can find me around here later.” Well… Lee did find me and we danced, talked, and he asked me for my phone number!
What are some favorite family activities?
We enjoy walking around small towns and exploring their downtown areas and historic home districts, family hikes and picnics at parks, going to all kinds of museums, family movie nights, and weekly family library nights. The younger kids love helping raise our farm animals. Lee takes a different child out for early morning breakfast every Saturday. We love trips up North and visiting relatives in Iowa.
Share a time you all really laughed as a family.
Recently, our entire family was gathered in our living room getting ready to watch a movie when Alex told a funny story. We were all laughing, and that story prompted another child to talk about an event, which led to more stories/memories. We ended up just talking and never got around to watching a movie!
Share a “cute kid” story (or two).
Our youngest child, Thomas, always says….”I love you with my whole heart!”
Describe a dream family vacation.
We would love to rent a big RV and head out West!
What do you love most about being married?
Sharing our lives together and raising a large family!
What is your greatest challenge as a married couple and how are you working at it?
Resolving disagreements productively. We’re working on patience and humility.
What do you love most about your family?
Unique personalities of everyone, and watching our kids have fun and laugh together.
What is your greatest challenge as parents and how are you working at it?
The culture makes it more challenging to enforce rules about no personal internet electronics for the kids and determining modesty in clothes. We find it extremely helpful to read Dr. Ray books and ask advice from our friends who, we feel, are successful parents.
Share a time you saw Jesus fulfill a real need in your family?
When I was 10 weeks pregnant with Lucy, now 12yrs, and a blood clot nearly ended the pregnancy. I was put on complete bed rest for a week and told that miscarriages are very common and if I hadn’t had one yet…this would more than likely be mine. We spent the week praying the rosary and asking Jesus and Mary for intercession and healing. Towards the end of the week, horrible nausea I had experienced in my other pregnancies was starting and I knew everything would be fine.
How does your family pray?
We experience prayer together through: Sunday Mass, Adoration, Family Rosary, Meal-time and bed-time prayers, IGNITE and reading about Saints.
How do you measure success as a family, and what help do you need getting there?
Success as a family means our kids always know they are loved and faith is a gift that is taken seriously in our house, and they will desire that same type of family life when they are older. Success means our kids will find their own unique vocation and be willing to live it. Success means our kids will remain life-long friends and visit us often. We get the help we need to raise a family in this culture by surrounding ourselves with friends who have the same values and goals as we do.
What are you moved to proclaim to other families?
We enjoy talking to non-Catholic friends about the Early Church and sharing apologetics materials with them.
How have Mass Impact and LIT Groups impacted your marriage and family life? Why do you think others should get involved?
IGNITE is a unique and uplifting form of prayer and community faith building that our family enjoys. It’s a great way to meet more solid families within our community!
We would love to feature your family story!