As a married couple and individual Christians seeking God’s face and presence, we hope to help family, friends and any of the Lord’s people who cross our path to fall deeper in love with Him and develop a richer everyday spirituality.
First and foremost, we want to answer our calling to a marriage that, although less than perfect, is a sign that points to Christ living in this world. Just behind that is our calling as parents, as well as other aspects of family and extended-family life. We also want to be open to the needs of our friends, parishes and communities.
DONNA spent the first 12 years of our marriage as a fantastic stay-at-home mom to our four children. Somewhat accidentally – more accurately, by the unseen and unexpected hand of God – Donna found herself working for many years as the youth minister at our parish in St. Charles, Mo. Even after our children graduated high school and moved on from their “youth group days,” God continued calling Donna in the area of ministering to young people. She worked for a decade in youth ministry at a nearby national shrine and now is the youth minister and Confirmation coordinator at a Catholic church in Maryland Heights, Mo. With several colleagues, Donna also is in her second decade as the program director for Youth Sing Praise, a week-long combination theatre camp and retreat held each June.
In reflecting on her life as it currently shapes up, she said, “When I am asked what I do, my first instinct always is to answer in terms of my vocation. I consider myself first and foremost as a wife and partner, and a mother. It is this calling that has taught me and shaped me. I learned how to manage a small business (try keeping schedules straight and finances on track), how to plan events (family vacation anyone?), be a nurse (stitches, Kara?), how to be a counselor (no more broken hearts, please), and I have enjoyed learning from and being challenged by my husband and children to grow and stretch in every area of my life.
“I have so many interests that I couldn’t begin to name them all, and you would be bored silly with quite a few. I love music, art, learning, good books and learning ridiculously useless facts. I am learning to enjoy travel and meeting new people, and am passionate about mission with the poor or abandoned, environmental issues, and experiencing deeper spirituality.
“In short, I am continually in awe of how blessed I am and filled with joy to be living this life.”
Raised in St. Charles, Mo., MIKE graduated from the prestigious University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism a few decades ago. From the age of 10, he dreamed of becoming a sportswriter and covering the St. Louis Cardinals; he realized that dream during his 18-year employment at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and won several awards along the way. About 14 years ago, for personal and professional reasons, Mike resigned and left the Post behind to become a financial advisor with a major brokerage firm. After more than five years in that role, he accepted a job offer to work at the firm’s home office as a supervisor of advisors. He couldn’t leave writing behind. An author of two baseball books, including the comprehensive “The Cardinals Enyclopedia,” Mike strayed from that subject with “Hence My Eyes Are Turned Toward You: Confronting Depression With Faith and The Prayer of Jehoshaphat”, published in 2009. This book could open a bridge into managing a life with depression for those who are its victims and their loved ones. He also has been writing his monthly “Man of the House” column in the St. Louis Review, the official weekly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, for more than six years, takes on an occasional free-lance opportunities. Recently, his work has begun to appear on national Catholic websites www.catholiclane.com, www.thechristianreview.com www.blog.catholicwritersguild.com and www.catholicstand.com.
Donna and Mike met on a 1982 Teens Encounter Christ retreat and were married January 12, 1985. They are blessed to worship as part of the special St. Cletus Catholic Church community.
Donna and Mike are accustomed to a full house. There are daughters Kara, who is building her business as a massage therapist, works another fulltime job and married Tom Jarka in 2014; and Erin, a who has a degree in Visual Communications and is trying to build a business as a photographer while working fulltime at another job. Joshua, their only son, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columba with degrees in Psychology and International Studies, and he is working in the IT department for a major restaurant chain. And Jessica, the eldest, works as an assistant manager in a convenience store and is married to Donny Seiffert. They have two sons: 7-year-old Colin Seiffert and 2-year-old Lukas Seiffert, who call Mike “Pops” and Donna “Mimi.” Each has been gifted with many talents, special hearts and never-ending laughter. Indeed, the best part of any day for the Eisenbaths is when all are able to gather around the dinner table.
Oh, and the household includes dog Macy and kitty Charlie.
We have a special place in our hearts for helping, in whatever way possible, those who struggle with clinical depression as well as those patients’ spouses, other family members and friends.
During the last dozen years, we have experienced both sides of depression: Each of us has suffered some degree of emotional depression and, as spouses, we have supported each other during that suffering. We have come to learn we are not alone.
Mike’s book — “Hence My Eyes Are Turned Toward You: Confronting Depression With Faith and the Prayer of Jehoshaphat” — has provided some tangible and spiritual assistance to people dealing with depression as well as lent understanding and support to care-givers. We also hope it can help erase some of the stigma attached to mental illness and give people affected by the disease a way to emerge healthier rather than burdened by guilt.
Mike has been a guest on radio programs to discuss his journey and has presented numerous times on retreats and to groups of all sizes. Donna and Mike are certified speakers with the “In Our Own Voice: Living With Mental Illness” presentation program, in conjunction with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you would be able to help Mike and/or Donna find a guest spot on a radio program or to provide their IOOV presentation to your group, please contact them with an email to email@example.com.
We pledge to be present to all in need of understanding, prayers and care. Please feel free to email us with your stories, prayer requests and difficulties. If you would like one-on-one assistance, would like to share your story or ask for prayers, please see our email information in the “Contact Us” section of this website.
We have participated in many aspects of ministry at the parish level during the last 31 years, ranging from youth ministry to parish council, marriage preparation to Sunday school, vacation Bible school to coaching sports teams.
Numerous service and ministry opportunities present themselves through Donna’s work as a parish youth minister and our involvement in activities at our home parish. We are involved in Stephen Ministry at that parish (St. Cletus) — Donna as a leader, Mike as a minister.
We also are dedicated to the annual “Youth Sing Praise” week-long retreat and performance in June. For more information about Youth Sing Praise, please go to http://youthsingpraise.com/.