Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

Wow...has it already been a week since my last post?? I guess traveling really stifles my online communication! Four days without the internet, and I feel like I have missed like 847 Facebook status updates--I probably have! But here we are, back from our trip to Chicago...more on that later. For now, here is:
Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

1) Tomorrow is my half birthday! Mom CANNOT believe how fast the time has passed! She is especially sad to pack away my 3-6 month clothes, but luckily they all still fit so it can wait a few weeks. To commemorate this special day, I am getting my pictures taken on Friday. My camera shy days of my first few months are over--now I am quite the ham and love to smile for the camera!
Cheese! Such a happy boy!
2) I ate rice cereal for the first time today! To date, all I had had was delicious breast milk and yucky pink medicine. Mom and Dad tried it too--Dad liked it, Mom did not! I ended up with a lot of cereal around my mouth, but I did open wide for the spoon...I was definitely ready for some real grub after reaching for Mom and Dad's for the past few weeks.

3) My cousin, Tavian, and I had a lot of fun together in Chicago! I showed him how to hold toys and roll over, and he is teaching me to suck a binky so Mom can get more sleep at night. We were the cutest boys around and several people even asked if we were twins! I love my best friend!
I even let Tavian suck MY thumb--I am such a great friend.

Mom dressed us up in matching outfits...I will let it slide for now, but she CANNOT do this when we are in high school!

Just playing.

4) I didn't sleep great on vacation but since returning home, I am back on track! Just recently I have begun rolling onto my side to sleep--it's so comfy!

5) Watching the US play in the World Cup was great fun! We are sad that they lost to Ghana. Maybe someday I will play in the World Cup...well, maybe not the World Cup...maybe just a travel squad! Mom says no football and no wrestling and no rugby and no thrill sports.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

From Augustine...

So, Mom is always on here sharing her deep thoughts and feelings...and I want to share the highlights of my wee life, too.

Hence, we commence:

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View.

Every Tuesday (give or take a day), please enjoy reviewing the highs and lows of the Vercollone house from Augustine's perspective.
1) On Sunday, I celebrated Father's Day with Daddy! He is the best Dad a boy could have!! I got him a card and a collage of pictures of us, and we took him out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We enjoyed watching World Cup soccer with him that afternoon, too.

2) I have now officially mastered rolling over--front to back, back to front, side to side, I can do it all!

3) In two days, Mom and I are flying to Chicago to spend the weekend with Mom's sister and my cousin--they are our Best Buddies!! (Cute pics to follow!!).

4) My nose has been stuffy for the past few days--yuck! It makes it hard for me to sleep...it makes it hard for Mom and Dad to sleep, too. Last night we had a sleepover in my room--me in the crib, Mom and Dad on the floor on a futon mattress (good times had by all...). I went to the doctor, and he said it is just a cold. Please say some prayers for my health!!

5) At the doctor yesterday, I weighed 15 pounds, 3 ounces and was 26 1/4 inches tall. The doctor says I am average height and skinny...but you should see my thighs!

After we let Daddy sleep in, I woke him up with lots of smiles.

Have a great week! I will be playing with Tavian in Chicago!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Story: The Charleston Era

One of my favorite places in the whole world is Charleston, South Carolina.

There is just something about it--

the slow pace of life,

the bea-u-tiful beaches,

the romantic piers,

the Cathedral and its angelic (seriously) choir,

the quaint southern style,

the history,

the incredible bridges and the view as you drive over them,

the carriage rides,

the fun restaurants and pubs,

the old cobblestone streets,

the awesome weather (if you're like me and like it h.o.t.)

the market downtown

did I mention it's BEAUTIFUL?...

...and specifically for me--

Playing in the ocean with the one I love.

Making wonderful friends.

Nannying for precious babies.

Taking long beach walks.

Frequenting the Pauline Bookstore.

Boating and wakeboarding in the SC sun.

Watching Battery soccer.

Attending parties at the Weir house.

Hanging out with fellow "WAGS" when Luke traveled.

Living all by myself for the first time.

Falling in love...or perhaps, falling more deeply in love...learning what love really is and how wonderful and perfect (and even hard) that can be.

Charleston is just a neat place to be.

My hubby says everything is more enhanced when you are with the one you love--the sunsets are more beautiful, the rainbows more colorful, the lemonade sweeter--it sounds kinda sappy, but it's so true...making Charleston a very special place for us.

After meeting in Colorado in October of 2006, Luke and I only met up four more times before I moved to Charleston to be closer to him in May of 2007. How on earth God convinced me (someone with a self-professed inability to make big decisions and who had always cringed at the thought of ever living anywhere but Colorado), to move to South Carolina for a boy I had only known for eight months and had only spent a handful of days with, I don't know...but I am SO GLAD He did!

As much as I had longed, and still do long, to live near my family, those days in Charleston were priceless. Our relationship was a living example of (Matthew Kelly's notion of) "carefree timelessness." That is not to say we didn't work--we did! I was putting in 45 hour weeks as a nanny for two infants, while Luke was playing soccer everyday and coaching when he could. (I will save his off-season job descriptions for another post...) But when we weren't working, we were together.

I had never been so content and happy, despite the fact that I was not doing anything I thought I would be doing at that point in my life.

  • Marry at 22? Try 25 (my four siblings got married at 20, 21, 21, and 22...making me the Old Maid)
  • Attend graduate school after FOCUS? Being a nanny for two newborns is kinda like that, right??
  • Buy a house in Colorado? Nah--let's rent a FROG (furnished room over garage) in South Carolina instead.

But I was right where I was meant to be...

Less than a year after making the cross country move, I was married to my best friend.

Aren't God's plans always so much better than what we come up with for ourselves??

This past weekend, Luke had a game in Charleston, and Augustine and I were able to make the trip down there, too. Here are some of the highlights:

This is the exact spot on the pier where Luke told me he loved me for the first time (almost three years ago)! Beautiful Charleston in the background.

Augustine playing in the fountain near the pier.

Augustine is sitting on the rail of the pier...and apparently thinks it is funny!

Luke taking Augustine swimming in the ocean for the first time!
(Yes, that little black dot in the center of the photo is Luke holding Augustine).

Augustine playing with his friend, Greta.

This is (seriously) what Augustine really thinks of the beach...
He pulled his hat down over his eyes every chance he got. He does not like the bright sun...everytime I take him outside he nestles his squishy face into my shoulder and hides.

Trying to play, but Augustine is still taking cover.

At the beach with Gretchen and Greta.

There's a smile!

This is my beautiful friend, Erin, and her precious baby, James. Erin and her husband, Cody, were two of my first friends in Charleston. Just days after moving there, Luke and I were at daily Mass and saw this young couple there! We ran into them outside after Mass. "I have been praying to find friends," said Erin, who had also just moved to Charleston with Cody. "So have we!" I said. God is so good! We miss them dearly.

Erin and Cody have two boys, Sean and James. James and Augustine are only 3 1/2 months apart.

James is a lot skinnier than Augustine and has an itty bitty newborn head...but he is just as tall! (Don't let Augustine's about-to-fall-off sock fool you into thinking he is taller...it's just a ploy).

Sean LOVES babies!!!

Paul, Gretchen,and Greta (...and Baby Boy on the way) are wonderful friends! We love staying with them when we make it back to Charleston to visit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

They will know You by Your Love

I often wonder if people I don't know would guess that I am a Christian:

the cashier at the grocery store, the strangers I pass taking a walk, the barista making my coffee, the Comcast employee on the other end of a frustrating phone call.

And--even scarier--I wonder if the people I do know would guess that I am a Christian:

family members, friends, fellow parishioners at chuch, casual aquaintances.

Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

I try to love well when I think about it...but other times it's like life passes me by, and an opportunity to love has just expired when I snap back to reality:
  • walking too quickly or looking down without taking time to greet others in my path;
  • mechanically paying for my groceries...or setting my cell phone down just long enough to utter a "hello" and swipe my card;
  • forgetting that Comcast employees are children of God, too (it's so much easier to love the barista who hands me a steaming hot cup of vanilla flavored coffee...), and that it is not their fault that my internet is not working;
  • giving an innocent man at Target the stink-eye when he picked up my box of diapers (the very last box of that variety and size)...that I had put back on the shelf...while I contemplated whether or not DryMax Pampers were really going to give my child diaper rash for the rest of his young life.
  • and the list could go on...

And those who do know me--those who know I am a Christian--do I treat them as such? Sometimes, but not always.

It's so easy for me to lose focus of the universal mission to love and to let selfish desires get in the way.

We are (or at least, I am) too often aloof--indifferent, dispassionate, unresponsive, apathetic, unconcerned, distant (talk about a list of unattractive words). I know how I want to live and how I ought to live, but I get distracted by the world and forget to love.. or don't feel I have the energy to love...or don't think it matters if I love (When I have to wait an hour to see my son's doctor, the secretary doesn't really expect me to smile on my way out, does she??).

I have heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.

But if we "take" Jesus with us--if we let Him guide our hearts, we will never be indifferent.
When praying the Rosary, I often meditate on the Visitation:
Elizabeth greets Mary, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!"

As I ponder this mystery of our Blessed Mother (pregnant with our Lord) going to visit her cousin, Elizabeth (also pregnant--with John the Baptist), two things I am reminded of are:

1) Mary's perfect charity (she always chose to love).

2) How Mary "took" Jesus with her wherever she went.

In the story of the Visitation, Mary quite literally took Jesus with her when visiting her cousin. But it wasn't just this one occassion; she always took Him with her. I would guess that it was always clear to others, strangers and kin alike, that Mary was a Christian.

While I was pregnant, I would pray that I could take Jesus with me wherever I went the same way I took Augustine with me wherever I went. Granted he took awhile to really show himself, but for the last several months of my pregnancy there was no guessing: I was pregnant. I had only to walk into a room and everyone who saw me knew I was carrying a little one.
Wouldn't it be great if it was just as obvious that we were Christian as it was that I was pregnant (and believe me, it was obvious!)??

Very pregnant on Christmas Eve...one day after Augustine was due.

I want to live my life--I want to act in a way--so that I have only to walk into a room and others know I am a Christian. Not for my glory, but for the glory of the Lord.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

It is a constant battle, a continuous conversion, but I desire to be a disciple of the Lord and to grow in my relationship with Him, so I must chose to love...more often than I do now.

(This is not meant to be preachy...just sharing some thoughts and reminding myself of some things...).

Let us pray for one another!

If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Official...I'm a "Blogger"

This morning I was catching up on my friend's blog (Finding Great Joy--if you haven't been, you really must), and her latest post was about winning a cyber award for being a "Versatile Blogger." I nodded in perfect agreement--Cynthia is hilarious and passionate and warm and creative...and she is an incredible story teller! She inspires, humors, and encourages through recipes, personal anecdotes, and relevant advice. (And being that we are both (sorta) new wives, new moms, and awesome Daughters of God, I can usually relate to what she writes).

As a newbie to the blogging world, I didn't know such awards existed, nor did I know that when you received one you had to divulge seven random facts about yourself and then pass the award onto fifteen other deserving bloggers.

Pretty fun, huh?

So in copperation with the rules, at the end of Cynthia's (always-so-good!) blog, she listed the fifteen bloggers she wished to honor. As I scrolled down the list, there it was:

The Luckiest

Surely, there must be someone else with the same title as mine, I thought. So I clicked on it, just to be sure...and up popped my blog!

I just have to say that I am honored--not only to receive my first (and perhaps only) award-- but mostly because it came from Cynthia, who I consider a wonderful person and blogger.

In lieu of passing on the award just yet, I will hold onto it until I know at least fifteen bloggers (I currently follow seven...).

But I won't keep you waiting on my seven random facts:

1) I have a HUGE sweet tooth. You may not guess it by my slight frame, but I love love LOVE ice cream! We presently have five half gallons in our freezer... (M&Ms are also particularly wonderful).

2) I have passed out at every medical arena you can imagine--the medical doctor, eye doctor, dentist, chiropractor. (Yes, the chiropractor. It went something like this: "Stand over there by the wall, and I am going to push a button to take an x-ray of your back." The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor waking up).

3) I had major OCD tendencies as a child. My hands were always raw and my knuckles bleeding from all the hand washing, and I would sneak out of bed at night to make sure our front door was locked. I also refused to eat anything red for about a year--pasta without sauce is just not good, my friends. (I am pretty sure the situation has not completely resolved itself...).

4) Cleaning is hugely theraputic for me...but I am not without my preferences. I could fold laundry and vacuum carpet all day. If I never had to dust or vacuum hard wood again, that would be more than ok with me. Cleaning bathrooms falls somewhere in between.

5) Being a Mom is something I have always felt called to. The question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was never hard for me: "A Mom." ...Except for that year or two I flirted with "A Pediatrician"...like that would have panned out (see #2 above)??

6) One of my favorite things about being Catholic is the sacrament of Reconciliation. Although I don't go as often as I should, I think it reflects how perfectly loving and merciful and comforting and accepting and understanding and compassionate our Lord is.

7) My husband plays soccer, coaches soccer, and runs his own coaching business for a living. Because of this, he travels a bit, has a crazy, unpredictable schedule, and soccer--in one form or another--is a staple of our weekends almost year round. But I wouldn't trade it for anything because Luke gets to work from home a lot and his schedule offers flexibility...it is rare for us to go 8-5 without seeing each other, Luke is often home to see Augustine's smiling face when he wakes up from a nap, a few days a week I get to make him lunch (and enjoy it with him), at least once a week we get to go to daily Mass together, if he's out doing sales calls, he can stop in and visit me at work on the days that I nanny...and his "office" is just up the stairs and to the right, so I can steal kisses whenever I want!

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Child...

After Augustine was born, the mother of Luke's childhood friend sent this to us.
As I read it again today, it was very comforting and full of hope.
Sometimes, in the midst of taking care of Augustine, I forget that someone is taking care of me, too! I need to be reminded that God is my good and loving Father, that He loves me despite my imperfections, and that He will never stop longing for me.

My Child...

You may not know me, but I know everything about you (Psalm 139:1). I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139:2). I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). Even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31). For you were made in my image (Genesis 1:27). In me you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28). For you are my offspring (Acts 17:28). I knew you even before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:4-5). I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12). You were not a mistake (Psalm 139:15-16). For all your days are written in my book (Psalm 139:15-16). I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17:26). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I knit you together in your mother's womb (Psalm 139:13). And brought you forth on the day you were born (Psalm 71:6).

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me (John 8:41-44). I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love (1 John 4:16). And it is my desire to lavish my love on you (1 John 3:1). Simply because you are my child and I am your Father (1 John 3:1). I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11). For I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48). Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand (James 1:17). For I am your provider and I meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33). My plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18). And I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40). For you are my treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul (Jeremiah 32:43). And I want to show you great and marvelous things (Jeremiah 33:3). If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me (Deueteronomy 4:29). Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). For it is I who gave you those desires (Philippians 2:13). I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine (Ephisians 3:20). For I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you (Psalm 34:18). As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11). One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:3-4). And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21:4). I am your Father and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus (John 17:23). For in Jesus my love for you is revealed (John 17:26). He is the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1:3). And He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31). And to tell you that I am not counting your sins (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you (1 John 4:10). I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love (Romans 8:32). If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me (1 John 2:23). And nothing will ever separate you from my love again (Romans 8:38-39).

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen (Luke 15:7). I have always been Father and will always be Father (Ephesians 3:14-15). My question is Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13). I am waiting for you (Luke 15:11-32).

...Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Our Story--In the (very) Beginning

Before the birth of our little one five months ago (who is now--quite deservedly--at the center of most conversations we have with strangers, friends, and family alike), people were really interested in us--you know, US--me & Luke. And naturally, in the course of getting to know us, people inevitably ask, "So, how did you two meet?"

Since talking about Luke always gets me excited (especially when it's about romantic and lovey things)...I am happy to oblige such inquiring minds.

The short story, when time does not permit for me to gush into the whole story, is:

"Luke visited my homeland of Colorado to train for soccer...and stayed with a mutual friend of ours...who introduced us to each other at a bar."
It's simple enough.
It's all true.

It gets to the point.

...But it’s not the whole story.
The whole story--the long story--is much more fun!

First, a little background:
*While Luke was in college, he was involved in a Catholic campus ministry program called FOCUS.
*His mentor during this time was a missionary named Thomas (who moved to CO after Luke graduated from college).
*Since Thomas knew all the missionaries, at least half of whom were women, Luke often told Thomas, “You gotta find me a good, Catholic girl.”

*Shortly after graduating from college, I became a FOCUS missionary and got to know Thomas through “work” gatherings and trainings.
*I never asked Thomas to find me a “good, Catholic boy,” but let’s face it, it was no secret that I was waiting patiently (eh, enthusiastically seeking?) for my Vocation!

Our Story begins almost two years before I knew Luke existed.

Let's flashback to January of 2005. For some reason, I was the FOCUS poster child that year, and there were three pictures of me in the brochure for our annual conference. Luke saw the brochure and asked Thomas about me. “She has a boyfriend,” Thomas replied.

No big deal for Luke…there are more fish in the sea.

Fast forward one year (December 2005). On his way from Boston to California, Luke stops in CO to see Thomas. While looking at FOCUS pictures on Thomas’ computer, a few shots of me come up. “So, what about this girl?” Luke asks again. “Oh, she just joined staff, and she is on a dating fast.” (First year FOCUS missionaries have to go on a year long dating fast…but that’s a whole other story…).

No big deal…there are more fish in the sea.

Well, winter turned to fall, and Luke found himself in CO again…this time to train for soccer.
Each year FOCUS puts out the infamous “map”—a large, full-color poster with the name of each missionary, along with the university at which they are serving and their picture. Now I don’t know what the boys do when the map arrives in their mailbox early in the fall semester, but us girls get quite giddy about it. We study the map carefully, mentally noting who would possibly… maybe…you know if it worked out…if they happened to be at the same school—or even the same state—would make a good spouse. It’s like your junior high year book all over again—I would not rule out little smiley faces or stars (or the more subtle asterisk) being strategically placed beside those with the most potential. Sounds crazy, you say, but there have been many, many successful marriages within FOCUS…and I would venture to guess several of them started with the “map.”

Luke's copy of "the" map. He saved it and gave it to me in a scrapbook the day he proposed.

Apparently, Luke happened upon the newly distributed 2006/07 map during his stay with Thomas. Denver is just a stone’s throw away from Boulder, where I happened to be serving my second year. Upon this discovery, Luke said, “Hey, that girl is in Colorado now. I want to meet her.”

Single? Check.
Off the dating fast? Check.

That evening I got a voicemail from Thomas--something along the lines of, “Hey, my bro, Luke, is in town, and we want to come hang out with you and your team tomorrow night.” (I literally thought his brother was in town…). It sounded good to me, so I rounded up most of my team and we met Thomas and Luke at an Irish pub in Boulder.

Let’s just say Luke and I did not exactly hit it off.
He thought I drank too much and played with my hair the whole time.
I thought he dressed funny—very east coasty—and had no idea that he was there to meet me…and I had no intention of falling in love with someone who lived all the way across the country anyway.
At the end of the night, we all said our goodbyes and that was that.

At this point, I am sure Luke was a little disappointed with the reality after the fantasy he had surely conjured up in his head about me over the previous few years.

But God would not let these less than favorable first impressions get in the way of His Will!

The next evening, through an odd series of events, I ended up going to Mass at the Cathedral in Denver for the first time in over a year. And who do you suppose was there? Luke!

Now remember, I still had no idea that he knew I existed, let alone was interested in getting to know me.

After Mass a bunch of young adults went out to the Rio for some food and margaritas (…just two—the fellowship and the Rio—of the many, many reasons I miss CO). Luke spent quite a bit of time talking with me, and as I was leaving he asked me if he could get my number from Thomas—you know, so he could come hang out with our team (…right).

Thick as a brick, I was, still failing to pick up on the obvious “I think you’re neat” cues he was giving.

Well, he got my number and called the next day to see if I could hang out. I told him I was busy ALL day but that my team would love to have him over for dinner. It was finally coming clear to me that Luke wanted to see me more than the rest of my team. We had a lovely night—ate dinner at home with the team, cheered on the Broncos with some students (yes, as a missionary, even first dates involve students), and met up with friends for drinks.

Before he left to go back to Denver—possibly never to see or hear from me again—Luke gave me his email address and said to “do with it what you will.” (I had every intention of using it). And then he added, “if you make it to Denver before Thursday, let me know,” as he was heading back East Friday morning. That night, my teammate Julia (who in now in the convent) said she was going to pray that Luke and I would go on one more date before he left—like THAT would ever happen, I thought.

Ironically enough, I was going to be in Denver on Wednesday…but I would be there to see my girlfriends coming into town from Kansas…not to see a boy. I decided early that I would not call him, even though I wanted to.

First stop in Denver was the seminary for Mass—and who did I run into? Yes, Luke. “What are you doing here?” he asked, obviously surprised to see me, given that I hadn’t called.

Guilty as charged!

I began explaining the situation about how, yes, I was in Denver, but I was here to see my girlfriends, yada-yada-yada. He suggested getting coffee later, but I knew I wouldn’t have time because I needed to be in Boulder to attend Mass with my disciple that evening (but I had already gone to Mass that morning…).

Thankfully, Luke was persistent, and as my afternoon with the girls was coming to an end, I looked down at my phone and saw this text message:

“Aight girl! So if ur not goin to 530 mass and uld like to let me get u a cup of coffee after u drop ur gals off, that wld b awesome. Let me know.”

My very understanding disciple encouraged me to go with Luke and just meet up with her after Mass.

Luke and I did, in fact, go out for coffee…on a scooter. Off we went, two of us on a one man scooter driving down four lane traffic in Denver without helmets. Did I mention we had no idea where we were going? But it was wonderful.

Looking back, just in that short week, we can see the Hand of God working in our relationship in so many ways!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…

Little did I know that less than a year later, Luke would be my fiancé!

…look for that, and other stories about our relationship, coming up soon!

Luke and I early in our relationship.

Oh, and I did not find out the details concerning our meeting until a few months later...sneaky boys!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Trapped a Troll in the Closet...

Folks, the story I am about to tell you is allegedly a TRUE story--it happened right here in Richmond (it makes me almost as proud as when I found out the "Balloon Boy" was from my hometown of Fort Collins, CO...). The story is about a healthcare professional (who works with a friend of a friend) and her sixteen year old son. Her son (we will call him Randy for simplicity's sake) is autistic--though highly functioning and usually does just fine at home by himself. But this day, about a month ago, was a different story...

While at work that evening, the lady received a phone call from Randy--who was home alone:

"Mom," said the urgent voice, "I trapped a troll in the closet, and you need to come home now"

"I can't come home," his mother replied, "I am at work." A bit strange, she must have thought, but not enough to compel her away from her job.

An hour rolls by, and her phone rings again:

"Mom, I trapped a troll in the closet, and you need to come home now"

"I'm at work," explained the exasperated Mom, "I can't come home."

Minutes later her phone rang again:

"Mom, I trapped a troll in the closet, and I am feeding it m&m's under the door. You need to come home now!"

This time the Mother decided she better go home and check things out.

She pulled up the drive, walked in the front door, and followed her son to the locked closet door, where there was indeed evidence of Randy sliding chocolate candies under the door.

But nothing--nothing--could prepare her for what she found behind the locked door...

a midget! Yes, a midget!

During his door-to-door rounds as an employee for the Census Bureau, this midget had found himself in an unfortnate situation when he crossed paths with young Randy who mistakenly took him for a troll! The mortified mother apologized profusely and begged for no charges to be pressed against the over zealous, ill-informed--yet well intentioned--teenager.

So why do I tell you this story??--aside from the obvious hilarity (once you get past the fact that an innocent man spent a few hours held captive in a stranger's closet...and the political incorrectedness of the whole situation).

I tell you because once I stopped laughing (initially, at least...I am still laughing!), I felt an odd camaraderie with Randy. I find myself feeling genuine compassion for the boy because he was just doing what he thought was right. He had good intentions. He was trying to protect himself and his loved ones from what he perceived as a threat.

He was scared.

And yet, he was very wrong.

In the story of my child's life, I very often play the part of the young man...and a host of innocent people, things, ideas, practices, etc. become the troll. I know what it is like to feel threatened by something--to be afraid of something--and to feel compelled to do something about it...to not be able to let it go...to be consumed by it...to feed it and fuel it (ok, so not with the world's most delicious candy, but with other very good things--like my time, my energy, my joy, and my sanity!).

And then, to find out in the end, that the threat was really not a threat at all--it was just something different, something I had never seen before, something I didn't understand, something out of my comfort zone. It's a hard pill to swallow...to be so convinced that (fill in the blank) is bad for Augustine, to fixate on it, to try to pin it down and fix it, to think irrationally and give it my time and energy...and then, just short of losing my sanity, to realize there is nothing to fear after all.

I put so much energy into fighting fights that don't need fighting...like Randy, who locked up the harmless man from the Census Bureau.

I admit, I am an overzealous, yet well intentioned, Mom. But, I pray that I can learn to handle my fears better with each passing day...
...sometimes instead of locking them up, we need to let our trolls go free...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Good Cramps

*This is just a fun little something I wrote last April...and I thought I would share it with you all.*
God is so good!

After tearing a tortilla up into my bowl of soup and eating almost all of it, this is what I found in the bottom of my bowl...the day after we found out the joyful news!

Today is April 20th, 2009, and I am one happy wife...and MOM! For the past few weeks, Daddy and I have been wondering if you existed, and until a few days ago I was conviced that we would have to try again next month. Any time I would start to get my hopes up that I was pregnant, I would remind myself (and Daddy) of all the reason I most certainly was NOT pregnant--namely, the PMS headache I got a few days ago, the relative un-soreness of my boobs, and these lingering cramps that just shout, "Your period is within minutes of making its grand entrance." Three days later, however, they were still just cramps, and I couldn't shake this feeling that maybe, just maybe, You really were there.
So last night, I let my guard down a little, making comments like, "When do you think we should take another test?" (we took one a week earlier) and "It's been 16 days since I ovulated." Daddy was understandably hesitant to get excited, but neither of us could help it and just thinking that there might be You inside of me kept us undeniably high for the next few hours.
In the mean time, we were watching tv and Daddy went upstairs at a commercial break to print something, so I ran to the laundry room to put the clean clothes in the dryer. After all the clothes were removed from the machine, I saw my Miraculous Medal in the bottom of the washer, having fallen out of a pair of my jeans. I quickly decided to roll it up in the elastic waist of the stretch pants I was wearing so that it would be close to my womb...and hopefully You, my baby. We have been praying for you for months, and I know our Blessed Mother has been interceeding a lot!
Daddy and I met up back on the couch and finished watching the show (Celebrity Apprentice). When the show was over, as Daddy was turning out the lights downstairs and getting things settled, I ran upstairs and began to google "cramps." Afterall, I had been warning Daddy for days that my period was going to start "today" because of all the cramps I was having. Much to my delight, one of the options that came up was, "cramps as an early sign of pregnancy"! I went on to read about how many women experience cramping early in pregnancy, and it is nothing more than their bodies stretching and getting ready for the long haul. When Daddy came up a few moments later I had him read it. This time, he was the one who suggested taking another test!
In my excitement, I grabbed a cup (plastic and disposible) from downstairs, ran to the bathroom, and pulled down my pants...and the Miraculous Medal practically jump into the...toilet! I quickly explained what had happened (and why the medal was rolled up in my pants). Daddy liked the story and bravely stuck his hand into the pee watered toilet to get the medal! (We are saving it for You to have someday!).
For the first time ever (and there have been many times), we watched as the results appeared in the small window of the pregnancy test. As we recited a very frazzled Hail Mary, first one line...and then a faint, yet ever darkening, second line appeared! We couldn't believe it. I kept asking Daddy if he saw it...and he didn't really answer me. But after a moment I knew it was there, as faint as it may be. I remember reading that a faint line is as positive as any line and took off dancing around the room in joy, as Daddy, still not comfortable making a verdict, continued to stare intently at the Dollar Store test resting on the countertop.
When the results were more convincing Daddy and I celebrated together. He held me and kissed me and we were so excited and so in love! We are going to try to enjoy each moment of our pregnancy and look so forward to meeting You in person in nine months!
We thank God so much for the gift of You. We trusted that He would bless us with You in His time and according to His Will, and we are so thankful and blessed. We thank our Mother Mary for all of her intercession as well!
So, before I went to bed, I just had to know when you are due...and again we see the hand of God, as you are due on Christmas Day! What a beautiful day to be born! We love you!
Mommy & Daddy

You were here celebrating Daddy's birthday with us--we just didn't know yet!