Family Projects, Family Love

Today’s guest is Karina Fabian, co-author of the hugely popular book, Why God Matters.

Many times one sees Roman Catholicism explained using either closely reasoned theology or an appeal to ancient writers of the Church. While both are legitimate approaches, the average reader looking to explore the faith is often left cold. In their collaboration, Why God Matters, Deacon Steven Lumbert and his daughter, Karina Lumbert Fabian, delineate the Catholic Faith as experienced by a pair of average, everyday people like the great majority who make up the 24% of Americans who share this religion.

If you want to find out more about Why God Matters, visit the author’s website at


Family Projects, Family Love

By Karina L. Fabian

Every family has its way of bonding: camping trips or Saturday night card games, movie nights or regular, enforced, discussions at table. For my family, it’s always been projects projects.

One of my earliest memories was of preparing our  yard for our new mobile home. While Dad worked on the foundation, my sister, Gina, and I cleared the yard and joined my mom in asking the neighbors for jugs of water. I don’t remember much about that trailer, except that years later, when it got too small for us, my dad’s solution was to buy another smaller trailer, set it alongside and begin the long process of tearing out doors, walls, and windows to make them into one large home. This, too, was a family affair, and my sister and I worked at our parents’ sides and learned how to do everything from painting  to laying linoleum to rewiring the walls. Our house was our project, and we were very proud of what we created.

As Gina and I got involved in school activities and clubs, the projects were smaller and perhaps less important than building a home, but my parents threw themselves into them with the same dedication. Mom sewed dresses for our girls’ club (for friends as well as us), Dad made costumes for the building blocks in The Velveteen Rabbit. They helped organize fundraisers and always pitched in to help. We used to get annoyed at Mom washing the cars a second time to make sure the job was perfect, but we never doubted how important we were to them, or how much they wanted to be a part of our lives.

We went to college, married, and soon had houses and projects of our own. Inevitably, there were Mom and Dad ready and eager to drive over–sometimes across the nation–to help. When my family and I moved to Virginia and bought a house with an unfinished basement, my parents stayed for a month doing the framework, plumbing, and vent system. Rob and I had the ideas, and my father, the expertise. Again, it was a family project; only this time, it included my children–even Liam, who was not quite two, but loved to wield a paintbrush. Being a military family, we’ve lived in many houses, but that one will always be special because it was a project that involved three generations.

It’s been several years since the Summer of the Basement. We’d all gotten busy in our lives–me with my writing and my family and my parents with Dad’s deacon work. Our phone calls and IMs had degenerated into a kind of laundry list of our days–not unusual in our family, but lately, had left me wanting something more. We were never much for just sitting and talking; most of our conversations came as we were working on something together. We needed a project.

Then Tribute Books asked me if I’d be interested in writing a series of Catholic faith stories and life lessons for a small book called Why God Matters. I hesitated, intimidated at the thought of doing it alone, and unsure I would reach their audience with my personal stories. Then it struck me–this was a project! My father, a deacon in the Catholic Church had fantastic stories, and I had the writing expertise. I called him and he eagerly agreed. Maybe he was missing a project, too.

As we wrote the stories, we shared our pasts in ways we hadn’t before. I learned a lot about my dad’s bad-boy childhood. I got the full story of the time he was almost shot by an escaped convict. He shared his former ’60s attitudes toward religion and self-reliance–not quite what I expected from my conservative father. Our relationship took a new dimension as I was put in the editor’s role while we worked his stories. It was a project, indeed, and probably one of the most important in our lives, for we not only created something of lasting value, we got to know each other in ways we never would have otherwise.

Will there be other projects like this for us? I don’t know; we’re both so busy. I do know this: no matter what project the future brings, I can depend on Dad, and my whole family, to pitch in their talents and their love.


Filed under Guest Bloggers

3 responses to “Family Projects, Family Love

  1. Thanks for letting me share my story with your readers on As The Pages Turn.

    How does your family have together time? Comment here or on our website, I’d love to hear your ideas!


  2. Only 24% of Americans are Catholic? Hmmm, that surprises me.

    Great article, Karina. I’m glad you and your dad got a chance to work together.


  3. I’m a firm believer in teaching girls/women how to do things around the house – glad the Lumbert family feels the same way :)

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