Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best moments and photos of 2019

In no specific order.

UMary at sunset

Cancun with the boys

Missouri river walk in Bismarck, ND

working at the bakery

Mount Snikau

One of many great hikes...

Mass at 12500 feet

college fun

Isabella on the Incline



Norine completes the Incline


The tree - attempt #1

The tree - attempt #2

During a run

Isabella in Guatemala

Green Mountain with Pietro


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Christmas, running and suffering

Christmas, running and suffering are three words that I reflected a lot upon recently.
What if they had something in common? I finally made a connection I had never made before and that now seems so apparent. Life brings with it a lot of suffering and hurt that can reveal itself in many ways: sickness, loss of a loved one, rejection, loneliness, loss of a job, uncertain future, etc. Our western society tries to eliminate suffering; it considers something to be avoided at all costs. But is it? Running (and many other endurance sports) is characterized by suffering too, both physical and mental. Yet, we don’t shy away from it, we actually look for it and “enjoy” it. Tougher workouts, longer races in extreme environments or conditions, less sleep, stricter diets to perform better, injuries (well, we don’t actually search these out) all consume our thinking, energy and time. We look forward to some of them and endure others; all for that goal we have in mind, for that sense of accomplishment, to be better and stronger. Suffering in sport is OK then, because it has a bigger meaning, because it is a stepping-stone toward something better.
Ah! What if the other forms of suffering we experience in our life were meant to also have a deeper purpose, to sharpen the iron, to make us better people, more compassionate, more holy maybe. What if our suffering was for the good of somebody else (like when we donate monetarily to the needy)? As a Christian, I have heard this concept many a times, but I often struggle with it. After thinking about what I put myself through to be a stronger runner, I got a better insight into the mystery of suffering.
Sport is interesting, because we can dictate the time and intensity of the pain we endure when we exert ourselves and we can decide when it’s too much. Pain in life usually does not give us that privilege. Suffering often comes unexpectedly. But we can control our attitude and how we face it; we can feel angry, call it unfair, or we can confront it the same way we confront a tough race or workout when our brain says that we should give up. The mystery of the Incarnation we celebrate each Christmas brought with it a lot of suffering for somebody who did not deserve any of it; yet he endured it for a greater purpose; he endured it for us. Can I do the same?

Thursday, January 10, 2019


This is a blog about our family and travels, correct? Then we need to share about Isabella and Emanuela's opportunity to attend the 5-days SEEK2019 conference in Indianapolis last week. Thank you to all those who made their trip financially possible.
17,000 Catholic college students met to pray and to learn about truth and be energized as 21st century disciples by hearing from many of the most prominent Catholic speakers in North America.
What a blessings to be able to take some time to reflect and be strengthened in our faith. We are made of body and soul and need to feed both daily to experience true joy and to be the best version of ourselves.

Old friends met among the crowd

With Kevin and Lisa

All the talks were streamed live, but it will take weeks before we can watch them all.
Which one to recommend then?  They are so many amazing ones.
I am going to pick Scott Hahn's "The 4th Cup" because ... Well, my words won't do it, just watch it. You won't regret it. (The video below will automatically start with Scott's talk, but it does contain the full 12 hrs of streaming from day 3, in case you want to see more ;) )

God's blessings in 2019!