Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fall is on the way

While the days are still warm, nights are getting cooler in Colorado. The fresh air feels refreshing on the skin.  The air is moist and rain has kept our yard green without much need for watering. Creatures that are not commonly seen in Colorado, appear along our evening walking path.

Colors are more subdue and for some reason I feel inspired to take black and white pictures. I am not ready for snow yet, but I am grateful for this time to prepare.

We decided to try something new, before water and air get too cold for it. Tubing down Clear Creek in Golden. What a chilly fun adventure.

Keep your watchful eyes and protect us Mary, gentle mother of our Savior and, please, help us make Him a constant presence in our daily lives. It is only by spending time with others that we get to know, understand and love them and it is no different with God. As St. Augustine said: "You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in you". Amen!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Midwest trip Report

We are back home from our trip. We have never driven so long for vacatin before, so here are some statistics and some final pictures from the 2 weeks on the road.

Miles driver: 2889 (4650Km). Wow!
States visited: 7 - Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan and eastern Colorado
States license plates seen on the road: 41 and two Canadian provinces.
Favorite spot: The beach at St. Joseph, Michigan: http://www.stjoelighthouse.com/
One short note about each state:
--> Nebraska: flat and muggy, but home of great friends, good snow cones and the downtown concrete park slide.

--> Iowa: more hilly than we thought and where Paolo learned to like water towers.

--> Illinois: we don't like the unending toll roads and crazy traffic of Chicago, but we loved the gelato at Mariano's and our friends in Gurnee.

--> Wisconsin: truly the biggest air show ever in Oshkosh and where Pietro bought a cheesehead hat.

--> Indiana: the almost constant calming sound of trains in the distance in Chesterton and fun with cousins.

--> Michigan: great fun at the beach house, monopoly shack and empty beach. Paddleboards, ice-creams, sailboat watching on the pier, wonderful enormous trees and vegetation, blueberry picking, calm M63 road, generous friends, State Street Stuff store, charming St. Joseph.

Downtown fun in Omaha

Jonathan seagull

Paddleboard on lake Michigan

Guess who the swimmer is

St. Joseph pier

Penguin has traveled with Isabella for 10+ years now.

"Atticus" is a famous character in which book?

Largest selection of ice cream flavors (55) in Michigan, maybe...

Omaha pool

in what state?

House in Oshkosh... Not where we stayed

Oshkosh visitor

cheese head - Go Packers

We took almost 600 photos, so if you want to see more, you may have to come visit us.
Back to school (August 17), marching band (tomorrow) and to work (tomorrow) now.

Happy travels.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand

The following is a famous poem by British Edmund Spencer:

ONE day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washèd it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
Vain man (said she) that dost in vain assay        5
A mortal thing so to immortalise;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wipèd out likewise.
Not so (quod I); let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame;        10
My verse your virtues rare shall eternise,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
  Where, when as Death shall all the world subdue,
  Our love shall live, and later life renew.

I have always liked this poem, since I first read it in high school in my English literature class, but during this vacation it brought about a different reflection: as humans we can be scared of death and of the unknown associated with it,but it does not have to be that way. 
When we grow up we first obey our parents because we are scared of the consequences; as we grow older we learn to obey them, because we trust that what they are telling us and what they ask us to do is for our good and wellbeing.
We need to reach the spiritual maturity of trusting God the same way; where we know that what He is asking of us and what we are called to do on this earth as his children is for our good and the good of all humanity. If we can do that, then we will no longer be scared, we will no longer fear...  How do we do that? The formula is prayer, continuous prayer as St. Paul said to the Thessalonians (chapter 5):

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lake Michigan

Strolling St. Joseph, Michigan - giant bath art

What a fun time we are having on Lake Michigan. I have been wondering if Great Lake is better than warm, caribbean ocean. I asked the children and the answers differ.  Cool water vs. warm water, salty water vs. not salty, manicured beaches with lots of tourists vs. more rugged beaches with very few people around.  In the end, the quieter and simpler atmosphere always wins with Norine and I. Tonight we watched the sunset on a completely empty beaches, sitting on a towel with beach lamps. If you don't know what those are I suggest you watch the movie Bella. It's an inspiring and touching story and the beach scene with the lanterns is one of my all time favorites.
What does the gentle sound of waves on the beach bring to mind?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A birthday of thanksgiving

I have spent my 44th birthday-week roaming around Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and now Michigan with the family.  I am grateful!
A couple of years ago I read a book titled: "1000 gifts" which encourages readers to write a list of the simple gifts we experience every day. What am I thankful for?
While we have not written in our thankful journal for a few months, it has been a helpful exercise. Vacation is a great time to work on this practice as I am not so distracted with all the day to day responsibilities.
So, on my birthday I am thankful for:
- a beautiful and peaceful sunset over lake Michigan,
- for friends who let us their beach house,
- for tall, majestic trees that line the beach and the roads,
- for the opportunity to experience different places and building memories with my family,
- for special food eaten together and with friends during vacation time,
- for the Eucharist that nourishes our soul. Christ told us He is with us every day and He truly is in the Eucharist.... For the opportunity to attend Mass anywhere we go and for the priests that have offered their life to be the vessels of God's sacraments.
- for being able to walk and jog without pain. And yes, I am also thankful for the period this spring when I hurt my back and could not walk or jog, because it has helped me appreciate one of so many gifts that my body enjoys every day and that I so often used to take for granted.
- for my breathing the fresh Colorado air or the humid air of the Midwest.
- for the lake breeze on my skin,
- for fireflies that sparkle on and off in the evening dusk. I could watch them for hours tying to guess where the next one will appear,
- for the sound of the faraway trains going by in the distance in these Midwest small town. It's such a comforting noise at night and one Norine and I associate with the peace and simple life,
- for waves touching the shore time after time without stopping, like a gentle caress.

And yes, I am also thankful for the loving, responsible and generous soul of each of my children and for the sweet and gentle love of my wife.  You all help me to be a better person, a better father and husband.  You all help me be more generous and less selfish.

Chicago botanical gardens

Norine and Anne

Sunset over Lake Michigan

55 ice-cream flavor choices at Oinks