Wednesday, September 17, 2014

God in the midst of tragedy

I don't go to the office on Wednesdays, but rather I am blessed to spend time at home with Norine, be an at-home dad and to do some freelance translation and consulting work. It was hard at first to move to a 32 hours a week. I felt guilty, like a student that skips a day of school. I have now learned to love it. The time I get to spend doing things with everybody in the family is priceless (while for everything else, of course I use my... Visa and MasterCard).
This morning I drove Emma to Front Range Christian High School. She loves it so much and I am so happy we are able to send her there. I love taking the kids to school. It is such a bonding time.

It was a cool Colorado morning at 7:30AM when I dropped off Emma and so I stopped at Columbine park to jog around Johnston Lake. I braved the 50 or so temperature with shorts and no gloves, which is big for me. After running around the lake once I heard the Columbine marching band practicing on their field and remembered that the park borders Columbine High School.
The Columbine is the state flower of Colorado. It is rare and quite elaborate. Beautiful, but surely not my favorite.
So, I decided to jog toward the school that became so sadly famous in April of 1999. I have never been there.
I wanted to find the memorial that was built to remember the 13 people that tragically lost their lives on that day. And there it was...very discrete on the side of a small and unimpressive open-space hill covered with a few brush flowers along with sparse, long and prickly grasses.

You have to know it is there or find it by mistake as you walk the path. There are no signs until you reach it to tell you of its location. Or at least, I did not see any.

It's round in shape, probably 150 feet diameter and carved in red rock, On one side of the circle water runs out of a half wall onto four flat red surfaces and drops four feet into a shallow and narrow pool with a soft sound.
On the other side a taller wall holds quotes from students and parents that experienced April 20, 1999. They are carved in rectangular frames of a different red.

The center holds 13 large slates each with a quote by a person that died on that day or a reflection by their family. I read probably eight of them. They all talk about God and Heaven, about the joy and desire to be with Jesus. Tears wet my eyes. Such young people with such strong faith. God has been removed from public schools in the US, yet all these students clearly clung to him during their lives and even during their last moments. God was surely there. "God is not dead".
It made me pause for a few minutes. If I was asked: "Do you believe in God?" like one of the girls that died at Columbine that day, would I be able to reply: "You know I do!".  Peter faced that question too... It is harder than I ever thought it would be, but I hope I would.

I want to go back to take some pictures, but for now, here is a link to photos I have found.
http://www.brentpix.com/Colorado/Columbine-Memorial/i-qPnrWtV




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Colorado rainbow

We enjoyed a morning rainbow this morning over the mountains. Quite unusual for Colorado. God is wonderful.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

A visit to Illinois and northern Indiana

Thank you Anne and Natalie's family for your great hospitality and generosity. It was a pleasure and a honor to share into your daily life, to see you in your house and talk and learn from each other. Spending time together helps us appreciate each other more and, hopefully, help us think about each other when we are not together. Time, space and the busyness of life make us forget the beauty of the time spent together. We hope and pray we can bridge the gap and remain closer together in the months ahead.
We enjoyed the water park, the drive-in movie, playing at the beach, a great dinner at Tina's sharing with college friends, a breakfast treat in Gurnee, Italian gelato, the jelly belly factory tour, listening to James improvise on the base (what a  blast), wonderful vegetation, cool weather and cool lake Michigan waters, Dave's readings before meals, sleeping with cousins and almost-cousins, the hand-me-down clothes, bike rides in the woods and so many more great moments together...
We love you - The Contolinis


Yes, this is in Wisconsin



feet-ies by Lake Michigan (Lake Forest beach)


Norine's favorite car

(old) college friends



Norine and Anne

Norine and Mary

The Bean




cousins





Sunday, July 13, 2014

Camp Wojtyla

The girls just came back from a week at Camp Wojtyla.


Watch the video- it says it all.

High School Girls from Keenan Fitzpatrick on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

More photos of the Grand Canyon Trip

Better later than never. Here are a few more shots from our trip to Arches, The Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde.
Driving in the desert is a different experience. You have time to think. I feel free and relaxed. I marvel at the amount of space and beauty this nation has. I think about the people who moved west on covered wagon or horse back not too long ago and how much harder their life must have been. I learn to appreciate what I have.   It's strange to see people living in such poor conditions in the middle of nowhere. I think they may have lost their dignity and joy to be satisfied in living this way.  Most of the Native Americans we met did not seem happy. They surely have not been treated well.














Sunday, June 29, 2014

A new craze. No more "selfies"


"Feet-ies" - Arches National Park

"Feet-ies" - Grand Canyon National Park

"Feet-ies" - Grand Canyon National Park

"Feet-ies" - Grand Canyon National Park

Crazy jumper 1

Crazy jumper 2

Crazy jumper 3


"Hand-ies" - Arches National Park. Whose hand is that?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A drive to the Grand Canyon

We have been home for a couple of weeks and I finally find some time to upload some pictures.
Day 1, Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. Red rocks and blue skies.