Directing Our Kids’
Footsteps to Heaven
A Catholic Author Interview with Susie Lloyd, Please Don't Drink the Holy Water!
by Lisa M. Hendey
Read an excerpt from this book
With her new release
from Sophia Press Institute Please Don't Drink the Holy Water!
(September 2004, paperback, 200 pages), Catholic homeschooling wife and
mother Susie Lloyd takes a humorous look at life in a large Catholic
One of the best
treats in life is the gift of laughter, and in this sense Susie Lloyd has
given parents, grandparents, and anyone who spends a significant amount of
time caring for children a great present - the ability to laugh at life!
This wonderful book is highly readable - enjoy it a bit at a time or sit
back a spend an afternoon giggling your way through the whole thing. Even
though I'm not a homeschooler, and I have boys rather than girls, I
recognized myself and my family in many of the vignettes that fill the
pages of Lloyd's book.
Susie Lloyd shared
the following with me about her own Catholic family, homeschooling, and
looking at life’s little joys.
Q: Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
A: The biggest news
is that Greg’s motto, "Blessed am I among women" still stands. We now have
six girls! Our littlest, Melanie Hope Emmanuela, was born on Dec. 29,
2004. Now I am back in the good graces of the other five girls – they
prayed I’d supply them with a baby. Our eldest, Kate, who is 15 is her
godmother. The other big sisters are, Maureen, age 13, Gracie, age 12,
Eileen age 8 and Bernadette, age 4. Greg and I will be celebrating our 17th
wedding anniversary this year.
Q: What prompted you to write this book? Please give a
brief description of the book.
A: I’ve been a
magazine contributor for some years and often insert humor into the
various pieces I do, whether it is a feature, a review, an interview, a
saint bio or an opinion piece. An editor originally put the idea of
writing a book into my head. Holy Water is basically big
family, Catholic, homeschool humor.
Q: How does a busy, homeschooling mom find time to write a
A: The manuscript
had been in the slow cooker for quite some time. I started it well before
Sophia bought the proposal – which was handy when they called and asked
how much material I had. After we signed I had a year to complete it.
During the school year I did snatches of it at odd times, being careful
not to let it interfere with lesson time. I told the kids I’d be obsessing
over it all summer. But we got them a backyard pool so they were happy.
Q: What are some of the biggest rewards and challenges of
A: THE biggest
reward has to be intimacy with the kids. We know each other very well and
can talk about almost everything. We get and give a lot to each other. The
biggest challenge is having to find or invent everything. All of
the books, courses, tutors, social activities, extracurriculars – you name
it. Right now having a new baby makes those sorts of things even more
difficult. You just get pulled in so many directions. But this will pass –
and anyway it’s part of the "real world" (my favorite expression) and
that’s what we are supposed to be preparing them for, right?
Q: For families who do not yet homeschool but are
considering it, what would you recommend they consider prior to making
A: Hmmm, there are
so many angles… Rather than getting into academics or social stuff let’s
just look at in general terms. On the one hand homeschooling is a huge
commitment. It falls mostly on the mom and she will have to give it as
much stability as possible. It becomes a way of life, not just a school
choice. Her housework, her cooking, her relationships, her career, her
sleeping patterns – all are affected by it. On the other hand, it is not
good to look too far down the road (a thing I always have to tell myself).
Sometimes I have to stop myself from freaking out thinking that I still
have at least 18 years left. I tell myself that I’ll stay with it as long
as it is working and I’ll adapt it when it needs adapting. Hey, it’s been
11 years and I’m still at it – and happy with it. Another thing to
consider is that you should LIKE the idea and not just do it because you
feel trapped. I have met people who have felt that way and they were
constantly focused on the pain. Then again, they didn’t care for various
schools either. A real big determining factor is the husband. Greg is very
supportive but he’s also very understanding when things don’t go right.
He’s never pushing me to either stay with it until death or quit. He also
tries to help as much as he is able. I would say, don’t even attempt
homeschooling without the husband’s support. I’ve seen women just crack
under the pressure.
Q: For families with children in school but still wanting
to teach their children in the home, are there some aspects of
homeschooling or faith formation that can compliment an "in school"
A: Yes definitely.
I was not homeschooled myself yet my parents saw to it that I got a solid
Catholic education. They had me taught once a week formally in a little
catechetical center coop for about 11 years straight. Of course, they set
a good example. They weren’t money and things oriented like our suburban
neighbors. Heaven was the first consideration.
Q: How did your children feel about your writing and about
being the stars of this book?
A: The girls were
tickled pink actually. There were definitely some parts where I stretched
the truth about them (and about a lot of things) but I always showed them
first. They’re my proofreaders and best audience. Bernadette likes to see
herself as a cartoon too.
Q: How can non homeschooling parents benefit from reading
A: You definitely
do not have to be a homeschooler to get it. Don’t we all suffer from
clutter that has evolved the power of reproduction? How many of us know
what it’s like to be asked by perfect strangers if we plan to have more
kids? All of us have kids who when they hit a certain age suddenly wonder
if we know what we’re doing and treat us like we need to have our mittens
pinned to our jackets. There is actually more in there that is just about
Catholic parenting than there is about specifically homeschooling. But of
course, homeschooling is the backdrop.
Q: What message do you hope to share with this book?
A: Messages are too
ambitious for the likes of me. But I do want Catholic parents to
feel like they are not alone – that other people GET IT. There really is a
large community of people out there trying to hang on to the faith and
direct their kids’ footsteps to heaven. And there is also a lot of doubt
and guilt – among mothers. I’d like to show them that they are not the
world’s worst mother but that people who seem to be so competent (I’ve
been told I’m one of these) really are a lot more ridiculous than they
seem. We are all struggling with Original Sin. And if you’ll recall,
ridiculousness is one of the effects of Original Sin: after death,
sickness, darkening of the intellect, weakness of will, inclination to
sin, comes the tendency to be ridiculous. At least that’s what my
version of the Baltimore says.
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you'd like
to share with our readers?
A: There is a time
for penance and guilt and grief but in the end, the best thing you can do
to further the cause of God in your family is be joyful! I hope Holy
Water helps with that.
For more information
on Please Don’t Drink the Holy Water visit
or purchase this book at
the Catholic Company
Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two
sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including
http://www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader of Catholic
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