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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Oshkosh is about 1,200 miles from our house, yet we made it. Here is Pietro with some of his favorite finds.
Working on the B-25

Touch Screen Display

Icon A5 - you fold the wings and load it on a trailer

Honda Jet - Serial number 12

Phenom 300

Looks like a bug

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fun in Omaha, Nebraska

We drove 500+ miles on the way to Chicago and Oshkosh. Spending time with friends.

Boys Town

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I raise my eyes toward the mountains....

... Where will my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. 
Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. 
The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. 
The sun will not strike you by day, or the moon by night. 
The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. 

Today, Isabella, Emanuela and dad Enrico climbed Mt. Bierstadt, their first fourteener (see for more info of what a fourteener is). It's a 7.5 miles round-trip hike starting at about 11,000 feet and reaching the peak at 14,060 feet. There were some tough moments when one or more of us wanted to give up, there were some technical spots where we could have slipped on a rock, but we endured and reached the summit. The view from the up there was breathtaking. Even coming back down is not easy when the trail is steep and the rocks are wet and slippery. Climbing a fourteener is a good analogy for life with its ups and downs. 
Psalm 121 tells us beautifully that our God will never leave us alone and help us every step of the way, even when we feel like giving up. But it's up to us  to recognize his presence and let him help.

Mount Bierstadt. Yes we climbed to that top.

6AM hike start
On the way up!

At the top. To the back and to the left of  the small lake in the background you can see the road and the parking lot where our hike started

2 hours and 30 minutes was our time to the top

I love girls. We missed Pietro who was sick and could not make it and Paolo who is still not very excited about climbing a 14er and maybe too small for some of the large boulders at the top.
"Forget me not". These are for you Norine. We know you love them.