On the seventh day of Christmas, we spotlight Keith.
What were the greatest blessings of 2011?
The greatest blessings in my life in 2011 have been my family and a few close friends. I had a few clear high points in 2011, such as traveling out-of-town on business for nearly four months, vacationing in Puerto Rico, and completing a 2,300-mile motorcycle trip through Kansas and Colorado. All of these things were great experiences and all were made better by the fact that I had family and friends nearby.
Many things in my life excite or entertain me, but the moments I tend to treasure most are simple things: enjoying a glass of scotch with my father, sharing a meal with friends, playing with my nephews and nieces.
How has your approach to finding a mate evolved?
Over the years I’ve learned a lot about what I’m looking for in a mate. This has mostly been a process of learning about myself.
My experiences in past relationships have helped me to better understand my own needs and desires in a mate. When I was younger I dated a few non-Catholic ladies. Though they were wonderful people, when I went to church and saw so many happy couples and families celebrating the Mass together while I sat alone, I realized that sharing my faith with my partner was more important to me than I had previously known.
I came to CatholicMatch after trying several other dating sites and not finding many practicing Catholics. When I first joined CatholicMatch, my ideas were a bit narrow-minded. I was looking for “the girl next door” – or at least within about 30 minutes driving time.
Eventually I figured out that the woman I’m looking for may not live next door or within 30 minutes, maybe not even in the same state or country. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship before and I’ll admit that it is difficult, but as the saying goes, “Nothing worth doing is ever easy.”
What’s your CatholicMatch strategy?
In a word, communication. I send and respond to emails and emotes and get involved in discussions in the forums. I say hello to new members and often send happy-birthday wishes to members. I usually send a thanks-for-visiting emote to people who browse my profile.
Sure, I don’t always get a response, but that’s OK. Not every communication is meant to turn into a life-long romance, but every communication is a new opportunity for friendship, for growth, and possibly for love.
Why do you stay on CatholicMatch?
I’ve met a lot of great people through CatholicMatch. When I first joined, I treated CatholicMatch solely as a dating site, but I’ve learned it can be much more than that. It’s a place for making new friends, discussing our faith and growing.
My involvement in the forums has brought more enjoyment into my life than I would have imagined when I first joined. I have been exposed to different views on a great variety of subjects and shared some Catholic jokes in some of the humor threads.
I may or may not find my future wife on CatholicMatch, but I’m not ready to close the door on the possibility…After all, she may not have joined yet!
What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?
I was 6-years-old, and we were at my grandparents’ house, just like every Christmas. I was all comfy-cozy and asleep at about 10 pm on Christmas Eve when my mother woke me up to get ready for the Christmas Vigil Mass.
Groggy and disoriented, I got dressed and went to church with my family. I probably slept through part of the service. I woke up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, along with my older brother and sister. We would sit at the top of the stairs waiting impatiently while my parents and grandparents milled about, brushing their teeth or doing whatever else they could do to prolong the agony of three little kids waiting to charge down the stairs and see what Santa had brought for them.
Grandma and Grandpa would go down first and make coffee (they never drank anything else), then Mom and Dad would go down, while my siblings and I sat and waited on the stairs, as if poised for the finals of the Olympic 100-meter dash.
Eventually, we would be given the OK to go downstairs, and we would move faster than a kid should be able to move. We probably never even touched the floor until were right in front of the Christmas tree! We’d tear open all our presents, go through our stockings and then focus on our favorite toys to play with.
Around lunchtime we’d get in the car and drive 10 miles to my other grandmother’s house and join the rest of the family there for a big meal, lots of pies and cookies and a few more toys. By the end of the night, we’d be exhausted and ready for bed. (By the end of the month, I’d forget what I had received for Christmas.)
Flash forward 30 years: Now I spend every Christmas with my father. This Christmas went to Mass on Christmas Eve as a family. After Mass, several of my siblings – there are seven of us now – went to my father’s house. We shared soup and sandwiches and then went to the living room to claim seats. A couple of my nieces and nephews were charged with “Santa duty,” distributing presents from under the tree. We opened all our gifts, visited and entertained the little ones.
I no longer rise at the crack of dawn, if I can help it. When I did rise, my step-mother had made a pot of coffee and I headed to the kitchen to get a cup and then sit in the living room and enjoy the hot drink while opening stocking stuffers. Eventually I packed up and make the four-hour drive to my aunt’s house, where there were more family, another big meal and plenty of pies and coffee.
Christmas has changed a lot for me over the years, yet a few things remain constant. Coffee, for one; there’s always coffee. More importantly, though, is God and family. Without fail, I always spend time in worship with my family and celebrate just being together with those I love. I can probably remember a few of the gifts I received last year and maybe I could struggle to remember one or two gifts from two years ago, but I can say without a doubt that I was with family.
What is your hope for 2012?
I hope to win the lottery and retire to a nice tropical island where I will sip umbrella drinks, scuba dive and find a cure for my insomnia. I’m told that my chances of finding a mate are better than my chances of winning the lottery, especially since I rarely buy a ticket, so I’m hoping that by setting my sights on the nearly-impossible (winning the lottery), I can accomplish the merely improbable (finding a mate).
Make a prediction for 2012.
According to some, the world is supposed to end this year. I don’t buy that theory. I predict that the trees will grow, the flowers will bloom, the sun will rise and set, and in about 365 days, we’ll be back here again, preparing to celebrate another Christmas.
I’m trying not to predict any major home improvement projects in 2012, but a few small ones will probably pop up here and there.