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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

20th Anniversary Photo Collection

July 1, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of our marriage. God has blessed us in so many ways over the years, and I thought a few pictures would be nice to put on the blog.

1989. Here we are saying our vows. The color is due to the natural light rather than a flash during the wedding:

1990. Our oldest son, Dominick, came along in April:

1991. The following year brought us our first daughter, Bernadette. She looks very serious in the picture:

1992 is the year we were blessed with Theodore. He slept through the shoot while I had to hold Dominick:

1993. Nathaniel arrived right before the end of 1993. I recall going to the department 'Holiday' party a few days earlier, and everyone kept grabbing Carolyn's belly. It just drove me nuts - I would never do that to someone else's wife! Note a recurrent theme in this picture: sleeping baby and squirming older brother.

1995. Augustine was born in March of that year. Dominick and Theodore were just doing their own thing when this picture was taken. Theodore had a red ball in his hand that we could not get away from him.

1996. San Antonio, Texas. Benedict was just a few months old when we moved to Texas. This was our almost last time getting our picture done at one of those 'studios.'

1997. After four boys in a row, Genevieve joined us in June. She was the first Texas Native, the first Air Force baby(at least on while we were on active duty), and our largest baby to date. The Air Force didn't believe in inducing labor, so she was born on her due date at 11#, 4 oz. No obstetrician has let Carolyn go full term since. Here Genevieve is giving a big Texas Howdy! to all the folks:

1998/1999. This picture is either really late 1998 or early 1999, because Jacinta was born in December of 1998. Also, there is no way we would be wearing jackets in the summer in San Antonio.

1999. One day after our 10th anniversary, we lost our first child when Carolyn had a miscarriage at about two months. We named our little one Anastasia Innocent. This was a painful lesson in realizing just how much our children are a gift from God, whether we have them for years on Earth or just a picture on an ultrasound.

Several months later, our parish started to put together a directory with family photographs. On summer evening we posed for this picture in a sweltering office. The photographer later disappeared with all the money he had collected, leaving just proofs behind. Some of the children were noticeably wilting in the photo:

2000/2001. January, 2001 shows that we learned our lesson, and we now take all family pictures during the cooler Texas months. No more August photo shoots. Cornelius was born in August, 2000. He was the first complete 'civilian' child we had, as I had separated from the Air Force in July, 2000.

2001. September 9, 2001, Marcellinus was born, and he came home on 9/11.

2003. In 2002, we moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. One of our wildest adventures in this neck of the woods was building a house. Here we are posing in front of it with our first Dallas child, Maximilian:

2005. You can barely tell we are posing around one of our tractors in this picture. Our youngest daughter, ZelieLouisa is sitting on Carolyn's lap. Note the brown grass - that is what happens when it doesn't rain for months.

2006. Note the boys are getting bigger in each picture. Our numbers have not grown, despite our prayers for more children.

2007. Once again, the joy of a new life became sadness as we lost another child at just a few weeks after conception. This year we posed by our picture of Divine Mercy, and we took consolation in the prayer which ends with the words "....Your Will, which is love and mercy itself."

2008. In the picture above, Theodore stood by the picture of Divine Mercy, with his head inclined toward it. Theodore died suddenly on April 3, 2008. In the picture below, we included his portrait as a reminder of how much he remains in our hearts.

2009. This photo montage helps explain why for years the customary greeting I would hear was, "how are you? Is Carolyn pregnant?" It appeared that those days were over, but God smiled on us again, and in January of 2009 we were blessed with another son, Bernard. He is a blessing to all of us, and here he is braving the 100+ heat in San Antonio last weekend:

Our life together has been blessed beyond our comprehension with our children and friends, and most importantly our Faith. We have tried to do the Will of God in our marriage, and in particular we have been open to life since the the beginning. Over the years, rather than wishing for this part of our lives to end, we find ourselves praying and begging God for more children. Our children are the only gifts we have on Earth that can follow us to Heaven, and we intend to see all of our children there one day.

I recall a comment from a book on marriage which has stuck with me for years. It said that choosing a good spouse would bring a bit of Heaven into the marriage. I have been blessed with my wife Carolyn. She is my best friend, and she is motivated by the desire to see her husband and all of her children get to Heaven. It helps that she loves God so much, for I can be difficult at times. I thank God for my wife, and I thank Carolyn every day for saying 'I do' to me twenty years ago.



Front Row: Genevieve(12) holding Bernard(11 months), Marcellinus(8), Cornelius(9), and Maximilian(6)
Middle Row: Carolyn(young), ZelieLouisa(4) held by Bernadette(18), Benedict(13), Jacinta(11), Stephen(old)
Back Row: Augustine(14), Nathaniel(16 today, 12.30.2009!), Dominick(19)


...and for good measure, here is a picture of Carolyn and I from over the Summer. Carolyn is so beautiful, and I am so blessed to be her husband.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE:  Here is our latest picture from January, 2013.  Note that the children are getting bigger while we seem to be shrinking.  Also, the photographer neatly arranged it so the Native Texans are all in the front row, while the 'Northerners' are in the back.  Actually, since I was born in California I should be in a row all by myself.

Back Row, Left to Right:  Nathaniel (19), Augustine (18), Carolyn, Stephen, Dominick (22), Bernadette (21), and Benedict (16)

Front Row (The Native Texans): Marcellinus (11), Genevieve (15), Maximilian (10), Bernard (4), ZelieLouisa (7), Jacinta (14), and Cornelius (12)  

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prayer for Priests in this Year of the Priest

Dear Lord,
we pray that the Blessed Mother
wrap her mantle around Your priests
and through her intercession
strengthen them for their ministry.

We pray that Mary will guide Your priests
to follow her own words,
"Do whatever He tells you."

May Your priests have the heart of St. Joseph, Mary's most chaste spouse.
May the Blessed Mother's own pierced heart inspire them to embrace all who suffer
at the foot of the cross.

May Your priests be holy,
filled with the fire of Your love,
seeking nothing but Your greater glory
and the salvation of souls.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Aardvark Update

The Aardvark started the celebration for 190,000 miles a bit early, with a mysterious 'Check Engine' light appearing on the dashboard.


Hot blowing wind on a Saturday afternoon
with a bit too much gasoline in the air
I stopped, clearing dirt and grass off the radiator housing
(otherwise the Yamaha engine dies in the far end of the field)
distracted by a glimmer of reflected sunlight
made by gasoline spraying over the muffler
like Asperges only evaporating faster
I did the math, realizing one last leg of the triangle - oxygen, fuel source, spark -
was all that kept me from taking up long term residency at Parkland, complete with debridements, duodenal feeding tubes
and the burning technical question whether Precedex ever replaced ketamine

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Birthday Thoughts

Today my second-oldest daughter turns 12 years old, and although I am presently crashing a wedding recwption, my thoughts and prayers are with her. God bless you, sweetheart!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where is the Sacrifice?

Where is the sacrifice when the menu for tonight's dinner consists of:

Grilled salmon
Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tuna
Grilled yellow squash from our own garden
Homemade macaroni and cheese(for those who do not eat fish)
Fresh fruit

Don't get me wrong. I love meat, especially chicken and beef, and barbecue is one of those things which is done best in Texas. But grilled seafood is what made me realize that there is more to life than tuna fish and fish sticks. Recall that I am still observing a vow which I included in this posting.

For a picture of grilled Mahi-Mahi, look here.

Skyline Drive, Northern Virginia, September 2008.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Squash Anyone

After torrential rains here in North Texas, we harvested a bunch of squash, a few peas(they seem to be dying out), and thinned the carrots and scallions. Praise God for the gifts from the garden of Texas delights!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Garden harvest

I picked some peas, beans, and thinned the carrots this evening. There will be some yellow squash and zucchini ready for picking later this week.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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