Monday, December 21, 2009

New Milestone

Over the weekend, Killian officially broke the 5lb mark and has maintained that weight since. Though still a little peanut, he is more than twice as big as he was at birth two months ago!

Friday, December 18, 2009

2 Months and Growing

Amazingly, today Killian is two months old. He has come a long way and progressed so much in these weeks and he continues to do well.

Since my last post, Killian was transferred from the small baby NICU to another different floor in the same hospital where they tend to focus more on post-surgery babies, or babies with respiratory or digestive issues. It is a little less intense and their goals for Killian are to wean him off the nasal cannula, let him gain more weight and teach him how to eat. A couple weeks ago some tests revealed that his blood-sugar level was too low so they have been testing him regularly since then every 3-12 hours depending on the circumstances. They have been able to stabilize it somewhat, but he is still on the low end of the scale, so the hope is that his little body will be able to grow out of it and find the right level.

Last night he weighed a whopping 4lbs 14.5oz, and about a week ago his double-chin first appeared! We were thrilled to see a little extra baby fat on our son who has been thin for so long. Nina made the comment that now he looks like a regular baby, just miniature, instead of like a fragile preemie. His periods of alertness are longer and he interacts with us at times - he loves it when we kiss his stomach.

At this point he still has a couple hurdles to jump before coming home becomes a topic of discussion. Those steps are for him to be completely independent of any breathing aids, stabilize and maintain safe glucose (blood-sugar) level, and learn how to eat on his own without the feeding tube. With all of that, it seems as though we have 3-4 weeks to go and then we can take our son home...

Here are some pictures from recent weeks:


Snuggle Time with Mom

He's always happiest when we get to hold him.

After his bath

Looking good after a little clean up. Now that's a content smile!


He already loves sports...

Charlie Brown Bandaid

To test his glucose levels, the nurses have to prick his heal and then squeeze blood into a small tube. After each prick he gets a little Band-aid. This was his first one.

Binki Time

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eye Test

Yesterday Killian had his first eye exam. Thankfully, the results showed that he has not developed any cataracts (common among preemies), and the nerve endings appear to be attaching properly to the back of his eye. They said that he still has underdeveloped blood vessels, which is to be expected when you come out three months early, so they will go back and test his eyes again in two weeks to make sure they continue to form correctly.

He's continues to gain weight - yesterday he was 3lbs 5oz - and he seems to be very pleased with himself now that he is wearing clothes. Nina certainly enjoys being able to dress him every day with a new outfit.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stretching Out

Taking a little stretch after a nap with Mom before being put back in his isolette.

Killian, Small and Fierce

Killian, taking a nap with Dad under a blanket kindly made for him by my brother-in-law's great aunt. The blanket reads:
Killian Patrick Madrid
Small and Fierce
October 18, 2009
2lbs 2oz 14 inches

Killian at One Month

Today was the first day Killian was allowed to wear clothes. He seemed to enjoy the change and fell fast asleep as soon as the shirt was on him. His first outfit was an Irish-green shirt that read "I am the boss." He's a cute little fella.

After one month of life, our little Killian continues to grow and make good strides in recovery. He did very well with the surgery last week and now has small scar on his back to show for it. His breathing has been improving as a result, and his general health as well. He is on the nasal cannula and the doctors are currently trying to wean him off that - the first attempt today did not go well, so he is back on it for a couple days before the next try. He broke the 3-pound mark over the weekend and tonight came in at 3lbs 3oz. He is now taking exclusively breast milk for his feeds with a small amount of calorie fortifier to help him gain weight. This past week he has become noticeably bigger - it really is amazing to see him grow. He's still tiny compared to a normal baby, but he is huge compared to what he was a month ago.

All of his IV lines have come out and the only tube going in his body at this point is his feeding tube; all the other wires are just sensors and monitors. He had to spend some time with an IV in his forehead and we were very happy to see that come out! We hope and pray to see more improvement from Killian and are grateful as always for your prayers.

A couple days ago he was moved from Small Baby Pod to Baby Pod 1. The move literally 30 feet to the next room was very significant for Killian as it meant that he is no longer considered high-risk and the focus of his care at this point is not to resolve existing conditions, but rather to give him all the means necessary to grow, gain weight, learn to breath on his own, and learn to eat from a bottle. It is a major milestone in the eventful life of a preemie, and we are grateful and proud of Killian for reaching it so quickly after his surgery.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thank You

Throughout this unbelievable journey that our Lord put before us, Nina and I have often felt overwhelmed by the tremendous show of kindness and love from friends, family and strangers alike.  It has been humbling and touching to receive all your notes, best wishes and promises of prayers for our son, Killian, and it is difficult to adequately express our gratitude. We wish we could thank each one of you individually and assure you that each of you, your families, your own needs and struggles, are all in our prayers.

As a very simple but heartfelt way of trying to thank you, masses will be celebrated on December 2nd and January 2nd for the specific intention of the friends and family of Killian Patrick - all of you who have been praying for his safe delivery, successful surgery and continued recovery. Thank you, again, and may God bless you all.

Tim, Nina and Killian

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Growing Day by Day

We're now at Day 5 post-op and Killian continues to make steady strides of improvement and growth. As I mentioned in the previous post, the surgery on Thursday went well and he has been recovering since. He had be put under general anesthesia and they administered a paralyzing drug so that he wouldn't cough or move at all while they were operating close to his heart. That made it necessary for him to be intubated with a ventilator, and they had to give him all his nutrition through the IV. He had already gotten to know the feeling of having food in his stomach, so for the final 24 hours before the operation when he had an empty stomach he was not a happy camper! He was fussy and when Nina held him for the last time before the operation he was sucking on anything he could get near his mouth in search of food. It was heartbreaking to see him so hungry and we couldn't give him food, but he made it through all that and is on the mend now.

On Sunday, after the latest round of blood tests came back positive, the doctors decided to let him off the ventilator early as he was breathing so well. They pulled the tubes out of his throat and put the CPAP on instead (a mask over his nose). Killian was happy to have the ventilator out, but he wasn't satisfied with just that so he immediately began pulling and tugging on the CPAP. He's determined to get out of that place quick!

Right after the operation they had to give him another IV line for a third blood transfusion. He already has one in his leg and another in his hand, and they had attempted to give him one in his other hand and leg already. That meant the best option left was to apply it in his head just above his right temple. Of the many tubes and wires I've seen hooked up to my son, this was the toughest to see. Killian handled it very well and did not seem to mind, but it bothered me and Nina a lot to see that line going into his head. He received the blood on Friday and, following protocol, they kept the IV line in until it wouldn't flush anymore. Luckily for us, it closed up over the weekend and they removed it shortly afterward.

He has been breathing well; his CPAP is giving him 25% oxygen (room air is 21%) and providing a little pressure to help his lungs expand and contract. They started his feeds back up - he is getting 6ml (1.2 teaspoons) every 3 hours and that will increase as his stomach builds up its tolerance to food again. Last night he weighed in at 2lbs 14.5oz and he is starting to look more and more mature each day. He's still tiny, but he's   already grown big in our eyes, and in our hearts...there's nothing bigger.

Our Lord has been so good to us in blessing us with this little life to care for. He has become in so many ways our greatest joy in the world and, indeed, has become the focus of our world. In the midst of the daily ups and downs, the emotionally draining episodes, and Killian's continual battle to grow and develop, God has kindly granted us an underlying peace and happiness that only he can give. "Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart's desire. Commit your way to the Lord; trust that God will act." (Psalm 37)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Surgery Was A Success!

This afternoon at around 2pm Killian underwent a successful surgical operation to close his PDA! Thank you everyone who prayed for this intention. Nina and I are immensely grateful for all your kindness and the beautiful comments you have left us on the blog.

The operation lasted about 20 minutes and there were no complicating factors (first time we've heard that in a long time!). Killian is on a ventilator - a tube that goes down his throat to his lungs and provides artificial breathing - and he is sleeping off the sedative medication he was given. The doctors expect him to start responding and waking up this evening and become gradually more active again tomorrow, along with slowly getting back to normal feeds.

Everything went as well as could be hoped for and now we just have to see how he does in recovery. The medical staff all said because he was surprisingly strong and active going into the surgery he stands a good chance of having a speedy return to good health - please keep up the prayers!

In closing I need to mention an unexpected, but very welcome, visit from Fr. Mike Lumpe, pastor of St. Catharine's Parish in Columbus. He is a good friend of ours and had heard that Killian was having surgery this morning and decided to stop by afterward to check in on us. He did not find out about the change of time for the surgery, so he ended up walking into the NICU just as I was signing the consent papers moments before the operation began. What a blessed sight to see God's ordained priest before us right as our son was going into surgery! He was kind enough to give Killian a special blessing and then went with us to the waiting room where he spoke with us for some time and then gave us Holy Communion. Having such wonderful priests as Fr. Mike, Fr. LaCasse, Fr. Blau and Fr. Stash and others so present and available to us through all of this has strengthened us in the walk of faith. Thank you Fathers, and thank you everyone who have been praying for Killian and his parents. More pictures to come after we catch up on some sleep...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Killian getting ready

Here's a pic of Killian from this evening, looking at Mom and Dad and hugging his teddy bear blanket.

Killian has been doing very well over the past few days. A couple days ago he was doing well enough with his breathing that the doctors decided to let him try it on his own without any aid. He did his best for two hours but then grew tired and had to be put back on the CPAP. He continued to do well after that so they shifted him to a smaller (and more comfortable) nasal cannula which you can see in the picture. He is already responsive to our voices when we are near his isolette and opens his eyes to look for us. Yesterday we witnessed his beautiful smile for the first time and he has flashed it numerous times since then...nothing like it!

He is a strong little lad. Today as I was holding him he decided he had enough with the position he was in, so he squirmed a little, then lifted up his head and turned to lay on his other cheek. Nina and I were both amazed.

The sad news is that Killian's echo test came back and he will need surgery on Thursday to close is the PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus). We had been hoping that the blood vessel would close on its own and he could continue to recover and grow stronger, but our Lord had planned otherwise. Killian will be put under general anesthesia and they will enter through his back to close the vessel near his heart. This is one of the most common operations among preemies and the surgery itself is not typically dangerous, but it will put him back at square one as far as his recovery goes. As I mentioned, he has been doing so well with his breathing, but he  will be put on a ventilator just before the surgery begins and he will be on it for around two weeks. He will have to learn how to breathe again and build his lung strength back up. This morning he was taking 19ml of milk, but starting this afternoon he will be weaned off the milk and sustained with nutrients through his IV, and after the surgery it will be another gradual acclimation to receiving milk again. The toughest part of all this for us is seeing all the wonderful progress he has been making erased and starting back at the beginning again.

Please continue to pray for Killian, particularly on Thursday that all goes well and according to Our Lord's will.

Taking a nap with Dad

He already has a full head of hair.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Test Tomorrow

Killian has now posted two consecutive days without any episodes of bradycardia or apnea and in general seems to be progressing along well. He is taking 13ml of milk at feeding time, is breathing room air and has the CPAP on one of the lower pressure settings. Looks like all your prayers are having their effect on him.

Tomorrow (Monday) the doctors will conduct another echo test on his heart to determine how large the opening in his blood vessel is, and then make the decision on the surgery. Please say a little prayer that everything checks out okay and he can continue on without the surgery...

Friday, November 6, 2009

We Are Family!

Killian holding our wedding rings. We were absolutely in love before we met our little Killian, but he has brought us together in ways that only a baby can.

Sleeping with the angels

He already has a Marian devotion

Killian enjoying some time with Nina and checking out the medal of Our Lady of La Leche that was given to her by Joan Eppick

Goodnight kiss


He's already playing games with us!

Daddy's here.

A very proud Dad

Killian is taking a nap behind me

Chillin Out

My Main Man!

Kangaroo Time

Nina enjoying some time with Killian

Living with Hope

The day we returned from the hospital (the first time) this solitary rose had bloomed in the autumn frost beneath our kitchen window...we called it Killian's rose.

Almost two weeks have gone by since Killian was moved to Children's Hospital and since we have been able to post any updates or pictures. So much has happened in that brief timespan that it seems more like months, yet in many ways the situation is very much the same: supported by the prayers and love of so many friends and family, we continue to keep watch by Killian's bedside as he fights to improve daily.

In the last post I mentioned that he would need to have surgery to close a blood vessel close to his heart. The team of doctors decided to postpone the operation for the time being because he was not showing very many symptoms from the condition. The hope is to at least give him more time to gain strength and weight before the operation, and at best give the vessel a chance to close on it's own. At the latest test yesterday the "murmur" was loud which could be a good sign that it has constricted and the blood is making more noise as it tries to go through a more narrow passage. On Monday they will conduct another echo test where they will be able to determine the size of the opening. Those results will determine the next step. If the surgery does happen Killian will have to be put on a ventilator and as the nurses tell us frankly, "he will get sick before he gets better." Again, this operation does not necessarily put him in grave danger, but it definitely puts his recovery back significantly and opens the doors to other possibilities. We are praying that he will be able to continue on without the surgery.

In all other ways, he continues to beat the averages for his age and condition. As a medical fact, white boys tend to have the toughest time as premies - hence the name they've been given in NICU, "Wimpy White Boys." Killian seems to be more of a Feisty White Boy. He has gone from 2lbs 2oz to yesterday's measurement of 2lbs 10oz and is now very happily taking 11ml of Mommy's milk every 3 hours. He loves to kick and throw his arms around, and when he gets mad he will let you know about it with a little cry that surprises all the nurses for it's strength. His favorite position, though, is with both hands next to his cheeks - exactly how he was on our sonogram picture.

This week started off with three bad days and two bad nights when he had severe spells of bradycardia and apnea. One of those times the nurse called us at 2am to tell us that the spells had become so severe that they had to increase his doses of caffeine to the highest level and they upped his CPAP to the highest pressure. They also took blood samples and found that his white blood count was high, so they gave him a general antibiotic for infection. It turns out that the blood count was high because of a urinary tract infection that he had gotten over a couple days before but his system was still adjusting from it. After all that he needed a second blood transfusion. Mom and Dad had a little talk with our boy the next morning and told him that he wasn't supposed to be doing all that. I think by the time he has his first birthday I will have a complete set of gray hair!  Those are the kind of things that he does day to day to keep us on our toes. Since those rough times he has done VERY well the past couple days and nights.

Last night Nina and I attended a Parents' Pizza night for the parents of kids in the NICU. It's a chance for couples get together and spend some time with other people who are going through the same situation so we can support each other. There were about 20 people there and we all gave a little intro about ourselves and our babies, where they had been and where they were at the moment. It struck us that some of the other people in the room had extremely difficult situations with their children. One young woman told us that her son had been in the hospital for 2 years and had every imaginable condition with his lungs, heart, digestive tract and brain. Others were also dealing with heartbreaking circumstances with their children and most all of them showed a joy that could only come from a suffering love such as theirs. We realized that, though our spot is a little difficult and not what we expected, there are many others that are suffering so much more and are so heroic about it. Killian is very healthy to so many of the babies around him and as of now he does not have anything that will be a permanent condition, so our heart goes out to those whose children are suffering from serious conditions. We are grateful for the many graces our Lord has granted Killian so far, and we continue to ask him to guide us on the path that he wants us to travel as a family.

One of the many resources that Children's provides for the parents is a monthly newsletter and information packet. In that packet was a something written by two parents of a child who was in NICU. Nina and I both identified with it in some ways and we wanted to share it with you as a way of expressing some of the emotions and experiences we are going through, as some of you have gone through as well:

I am not the patient, but please:

Help me
I am not supposed to be here. This wasn't supposed to happen. What is going to happen to my baby? Three months till discharge, you have got to be kidding. We can't see that far into the future. I am afraid to hope.

Support me
The story book image of pregnancy and birth has crumbled before my eyes. I feel alone, everyone else that we know has had a normal pregnancy. They don't understand what we are going through. How do I balance family life with life in the ward?

Counsel me
I feel broken and defective. What did I/we do wrong? The gremlins are knocking on the door. How can I get through this? You say that it might be 3 months before we go home. All of the everyday pressures are compounded by my child's illness, finances or job concerns and family issues to name a few. The bills are mounting, what should I do?

Involve me
I feel inadequate. I'm the dad, the fix it guy. There is nothing I can do to help my child. There are daily decisions regarding my child that are potentially life altering. Lacking any medical knowledge, I still want to make an informed decision. The technology you use to assist my hcild is intimidating. Allow me to understand what is going on.  I'm the mom who has someone else taking care of my baby.

Empower me
I am supposed to be my child's advocate, let me get started. I know I can do this if you let me. I don't care how insignificant it seems, it starts the healing process for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Father-Son Time

Spending some time with my "Mini-Tim" as Nina calls him. She is still holding out hope that at least his eyes look like hers...

Released from bondage!!

Nina on Monday - thrilled she is not in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV (her new best friend).


After we left the hospital on Monday, we drove through a nearby park to enjoy the beauty of autumn.

Four Days Old

Looking Back at Two Weeks of Grace

Two weeks ago we never would have guessed what God had in store for our family. It all seems so surreal...

Some of you may have been expecting or hoping for some posts in the days following Killian's birth to let you know about his progress - which has largely been due to your prayers - and about Nina's recovery. As you can see, I have not posted anything for several days, and that was intentional. First, let me reiterate once more that we cannot express our gratitude for the many sincere gestures of concern and all the countless prayers offered for our young family during labor and delivery. Thank you. And God bless you for that. The reason we have not posted anything is that shortly after Nina was discharged from the hospital following delivery she experienced  several complications that were both worrisome and emotionally draining for us. We finally arrived home today - having spent the last two weeks in the hospital. When she was diagnosed on Wednesday morning around 5am we were absolutely exhausted both physically and emotionally. Though we appreciated every word of kindness and all the prayers from all of you, we felt that we needed to keep things very private and have only our very immediate family as our support group. We were overwhelmed and just needed some quiet time to ourselves in the midst of all the unknowns.

Killian was born on Sunday October 18th and Nina was released from the hospital the following Tuesday at 7:00PM. We went home and were looking forward to the first night of more than 3-4 hours of sleep to try to recuperate. However, Nina woke up at 1:30am that morning with unbearable pain in her chest and abdomen, particularly when she breathed. We went straight back to the hospital; this time to the Emergency Room. They hooked her back up to the IV, gave her some pain killer, and sent her for a CAT scan, X-Ray and ultrasound - all in ER fashion which is not quite as civilized or caring as the Maternity Ward. When the results came back they found that she had pulmonary embolism ( a shower of blood clots in her lungs), she had a little pneumonia, and they also found that she had gall bladder stones. Needless to say, we were shocked. We had left the hospital no less than 10 hours before and she was in great shape, and here we were again.

The medical staff then took an ungodly amount of blood from her (they went in 6 different times before they successfully drew the blood) to run tests for every possible genetic deficiency to explain the cause of the blood clots. They also put her on blood thinner to help move the clots along. We stayed for several more hours in the ER until they moved us to the Clinical Decision Unit which is intended to be a kind of temporary holding area for no more than 23 hours. We spent three days there because there was no room for us in the main hospital. This unit was in the basement, with no windows, very small, and Nina was in tremendous pain. Though the causes of her pain were known, the solutions were not simple. Her condition was further complicated by the fact that she was only a couple days postpartum so that some of the "normal" treatments were not feasible for her. We spent a lot of time waiting, praying, and listening to the group of doctors who were in consult about what to do with her situation.

The most pressing issue was her pulmonary embolism. To resolve that, the first step they took was to install a filter in the primary vein leading to her heart which would serve to catch and resolve any future clots before they passed to her lungs. The operation was successful but of course added some more discomfort. That filter combined with the blood thinner ensured that Nina would be out of harms way, though she still had to get out of pain's way.

The next objective was to get the gall bladder taken care of. After a lot of back and forth and various specialists weighing in, the surgeon decided to go ahead with an operation to remove her gall bladder on Saturday. The procedure was a success and he said the sack was "full of rocks and sludge" so it was a good thing we got it taken care of sooner rather than later. They also had her on an antibiotic which kicked the pneumonia right out of her system.

Since then Nina has been recuperating and going across the hospital to see Killian as much as she could. It seems as though he took all the good health with him when he left the womb! Both of them have done incredibly well with all the medical interventions that have been necessary over the past weeks. A couple day ago we were able to start doing the "skin to skin" time with Killian where the doctors let us hold him on our chest so we can establish that bond with him. Words cannot express what those precious moments mean to us to hold our fragile little son. Nina has had 3 of these "kangaroo" sessions with him, and I have had one (mommy's privilege!). He just melts into you, settles in and sleeps for an hour without moving a bit. He is always a happy camper when he's with Mommy.

Killian has been doing well in most all aspects. He is breathing room air, though he has a nasal apparatus that applies pressure to his lungs to help him breathe even that is on the lowest setting. He has gained a little weight since his birth, and he loves to kick off as many of his sensors as possible. He is a feisty guy and is living up to his name "small, fierce."

The lone major set back he has encountered so far is a small vein that babies in utero have. It is a by-pass of sorts that sends blood from the lungs to the heart. When babies come to term the blood vessel closes on its own and everything is fine. With babies that are born premature, that vessel will remain open unless treated. The first step was to give him some medication through the IV that coaxes the vessel to constrict and close itself off. Killian was given two sets of that medication and the latest tests still show an opening. He is in stable condition and not showing any symptoms of that vessel still being open, but we have to get it closed, otherwise ultimately his heart would enlarge with the increased blood flow and eventually cause heart failure. The solution at this point is surgery. Killian was transported this evening from the hospital where he was born to another hospital in Columbus that specializes in child care. They will go in through his back and isolate the vessel in question; then they will clamp it off with a titanium clip which will stay there forever. It is not open heart surgery, but it is very close to his heart and requires a large opening in such a small lad. Because of this he will be back on the ventilator for a week or two and they will have to watch his feeds again. This operation is somewhat common among children as premature as Killian and they are confident it will go well, but that does not entirely ease our concern and worry about our little boy, nor does it take away from the fact that he will have a more difficult recovery period.

Please continue to pray for Killian above all, and also for his parents that we may be the instruments that God wants us to be in his young life. We'll be posting some more pictures and information in the future, and we hope you understand the reason for our silence the past few days. Thanks again for all the prayers and support.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Love at First Sight

This moment made 80 hours of labor worth it!

Killian's Baptism

Shortly after delivery, once Killian was stabilized, Dad baptized him. Nina's mom and sisters were allowed to witness his entrance into God's family.

Holding Hands

Killian and Daddy holding hands for the first time.

Nina and Killian in NICU

A very happy Mommy Nina with Baby Killian in NICU. The puppy on top of the unit was given to us by the Dominican Friars at St. Pat's. Fr. Blau visited this afternoon to bring us communion and other gifts including this "Junkyard Dog."

Pictures of Killian

Today was the day and now both Nina and Killian are resting after a successful delivery. Nina is much relieved to be in a more comfortable recovery bed instead of the stiff emergency bed she spent four days in, and Killian is being well-taken care of in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). God is good and so are all of you who have so kindly stormed heaven with prayers on our behalf over the past few days. Thank you again.

We must give special mention to Dr. Michael Parker who was our obgyn. He oversaw everything and made himself very available to us in every circumstance, even when he was not technically "on call". His expertise and wisdom in dealing with the constantly changing situation were calming for us and he proved to be the tremendously good man and doctor that we all know him to be. Thank you, Dr. Parker from Nina, Tim and Killian.

Here are a few pictures so that you can share in the unspeakable joy that we now have in Killian:

Killian Patrick Is Here!!

Our little man, Killian Patrick was born about 11:15am today. He measured 14 inches and 2 pounds 2 ounces and is very healthy. He is in the IC unit and has a breathing tube though the nurses said he is trying very hard to breathe on his own. His lungs look great and his heart rate is right where it should be. We'll post some pictures soon.

Thanks again for all your prayers. God bless!


Killian will be born today...everything is underway.

Sunday Morning

Nina was able to get some sleep last night but has been up since 4am with stronger contractions at increasingly closer time intervals. Some blood work just came back and all the levels are normal, but Killian is starting to move around more and there are some other indications that might precipitate delivery soon. Nina has been in labor for 3 days now and they took the epidural out yesterday so it has been exhausting for her. St. Luke, pray for us.

I found out last night the Killian means "small, fierce." Seems fitting for our little man.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Day of Grace

Thank you all very much for the continued support and constant barrage of prayers. I read to Nina all the comments on the blog and the emails and texts we are receiving and they have been very encouraging. Your prayers are invaluable. Thank you - each one of you.

As today comes to a close Killian is still safe inside Nina, and Nina is asleep and well. The pendulum swung back and forth all day - several hours of strong contractions about 5 minutes apart, and then hours at 15 minutes apart. As evening set in the contractions gradually subsided and are less frequent now so it looks like she will stay this way through the night. It appears both are still free of infection. The nurses did an ultra sound today and found a little pocket of water under Killian's head in the womb - Our Lord left him a pillow! Just one more sign of the wonderful intercession from all of you, and one of the reasons why he has remained so calm in the midst of all this.

As you can imagine, it is an emotional roller coaster with all the factors involved and the frequent adjustments, changes, visits from medical staff, and so on. Nina has been very strong through it all and is doing very well with it all. Her two sisters and her mom have been with her constantly and are a great support.

One of the disappointments for the day was finding out that we couldn't get the OSU football game on the hospital TV. It turns out OSU lost so maybe it was better she didn't see it to get all worked up! I tried to make it up for her by showing her and her sister a funny clip of the Colbert Report...she started laughing at one point and it caused her a large contraction...we're learning as we go!

We are trying to follow the saints of each day to draw some inspiration and spiritual growth from their example and writings, and to invoke their intercession. Thursday was the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. Friday was St. Gerard Majella who is the patron saint of expectant mothers. Today was the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. We read together his Epistle to the Romans which contains this gem: "Only request in my behalf both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. For if I be truly found a Christian, I may also be called one, and be then deemed faithful, when I shall no longer appear to the world." Serves as a reminder for us to keep our trust and hope in Christ whom we profess to follow. We are in good hands. Good night and God bless.

Hopsital Update

Hello everyone,

First off, thank you for all your support and prayers. Words cannot express our profound gratitude for your nearness. We feel ourselves very much part of the communion of saints and your prayers have been very effective. When we arrived at the hospital all the doctors and nurses thought that Nina would deliver Killian in minutes or hours, but they have been able to maintain the status quo and buy Killian more time in the womb which is invaluable for his development. At this point, just being in Nina's body does far more for Killian than any medicine or technology in the world. That's what only a mother can do for her son.

We have been inundated by phone calls and texts from many caring friends and family members and we have been doing our best to keep you up to date as events unfold. We are grateful for the genuine concern and interest in how everything is going but at times I feel like a broken record repeating the same thing dozens of times; even then, sometimes not everyone hears the news. To make things a little easier for everyone, I hope to be able to post on my blog any updates on Nina's condition in the days to come for those who are interested.

We have been humbled and are very grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support. Thank you!

Just to recap for everyone:

Thursday: Nina woke up about 2:30 am with severe pain in her abdomen. Nothing could relieve the pain. Around 3:00 she began bleeding and we rushed to the hospital. They set her up in a triage and the obgyn on site thought delivery was imminent. Her water had broken and the placenta was abrupted - she was going into labor at 26 weeks and 2 days gestation. They said that for some reason there had been too much water in the womb (the experts still don't know what causes this). Because the sack was too full, it broke early and sent Nina into delivery, at the same time the placenta began to separate from the uterus. That was the pain she felt at home.

They got her on an IV and gave her a high dose of magnesium which serves to slow the contractions and helps the baby in last-minute development. The side effect on Nina was severe nausea and aching. They gave her an epidural in case we had to go to an emergency c-section and took many blood samples for the lab. Nina hates needles so all of that was very difficult for her but she underwent everything necessary to improve Killian's chances of survival with great strength and love. He already has our hearts in his tiny hands; he measures about 13 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds.

The high risk specialist and the neo-natal care specialist met with us in the midst of all this to discuss the situation and potential scenarios. Because he is so premature many of his organs are not sufficiently matured. His blood vessels are still very fragile and could led to bleeding which could cause stroke, cerebral palsy, damage to the nervous system, etc. Also his lungs are not ready to breathe, nor is his digestive system ready, and so on. The list was extensive and sobering for us as we were faced with the mountain our little boy had to climb. But we are in God's hands. They gave Nina a dose of steriods to help with some emergency development of those vital areas and hoped he would stay in the womb for at least a few hours to let them work. Every hour counted.

They were able to stabilize her, and Killian was looking great. Nina was battling the effects of the magnesium and the discomfort of all the tubes and needs in her, along with the contractions. The staff was amazed and pleased with Killian deciding to basically chill out inside Mommy. His heart beat was regular and strong (exhibiting behavior of a 32 week old) and he moved enough to let us know that he was okay but not enough to cause any problems. He seemed very happy to be where he was.

We spent the day waiting and praying. So many factors were at play and they would shift in each direction with the passing of time. The doctors would think delivery was coming soon, then the contractions would ease off and space out, then grow intense again some time later. We waited and prayed and family members from both sides came to visit and be with us. We made it through the day and night came with some much needed rest.

Friday: The sleeping pill helped Nina until about 3am when she woke and couldn't sleep again. At 8am they took the first blood test of the day. At this point Nina was so de-hydrated that they inserted the needle 4 times before any blood would come - Nina was not happy about that! The test results came back showing everything stable and where the doctors wanted it. Everyone's intent was to buy Killian more time in the womb so that the steroids could work, but at the same time being very cautious about any infection developing since the water had broken. It has been a fine line to walk. Again, just a lot of waiting and praying.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"If we stand up to evil, we may lose. If we don't stand up to evil, we will lose."

Earlier this week, the Envoy Institute at Belmont Abbey College honored Archbishop Charles Chaput with its Envoy of the Year award at its annual gala event. Renowned for his penetrating intellect, indomitable courage, and dedication as shepherd of souls, Archbishop Chaput shares some of his wisdom and inspires us to be zealous apostles:

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Belmont Abbey, 10.8.09

Thank you for being here tonight. I‟m very grateful for this award -- although I need to share with you a quick story. You know, mothers are wonderful tutors in the virtue of humility. Some years ago, when my own mother was still alive, I got a very kind local award in Denver, and I telephoned my mother to tell her. Her response was instructive. She said, “That‟s marvelous son, but why did they give it to you?”

Mothers have the gift of helping their sons see how implausible it is to imagine oneself as a big shot. So the lesson I‟ve learned is this: The greatest value of this award, or any other award in life, is the generosity of the friends who bestow it.

I've been a priest for nearly 40 years. One of the satisfactions God has given me is the number of extraordinary men and women I know as friends. Friendship is the heart of every Christian vocation, from married life to the priesthood. My life has been filled with it. And many of the people I admire most are here tonight: My friend Patrick Madrid and his great witness with the Envoy Institute and Envoy magazine; my friends George Weigel and Jody Bottum; the kind messages from Carl Anderson and Father Corapi; friends from Belmont Abbey and the Becket Fund; and so many more of you that I can‟t name or we'd be here all night. This is what makes life rich.

People can sometimes earn the respect of others by their actions. But nobody earns the love at the heart of a real Christian friendship. That‟s a gift. It can‟t be forced. It's freely withheld or freely given. And when it‟s given, it means more than any award. So again, I thank you sincerely for this kindness tonight -- but I'm much more grateful for the friendship all of us share.

My mother taught me the virtue of mercy along with the importance of humility, so my comments tonight will be brief.

I have three simple points I want to talk about: the nature of the state; the nature of our Christian faith; and the nature of the lay vocation. But before I do that, I need to offer two caveats.

Here's the first caveat. I love this country. Some of you know that I belong to the Potawatomi Indian tribe through my mother. I take great pride in that. Because of it, I'm very well aware of the sins and flaws of American history – both toward the native peoples of the United States, and often toward other countries. But I also know the great generosity and goodness in America, and I believe in the genius of America‟s political institutions. I take great pride in that, as well. We all should.

Here's my second caveat. No bishop, priest or deacon can do the work that properly belongs to laypeople. My job as a bishop is to be a good pastor – in other words, a good shepherd and guide for the people of my local Church. The word “pastor” means “shepherd” in Latin, and it comes from the Latin verb pascere, which means “to feed.” My proper work is to teach the faith, preach the Gospel, encourage and console my people, correct them when needed, and govern the internal life of the Church with love and justice.

There may be many times when a bishop or group of bishops needs to speak out publicly about the moral consequences of a public issue. But the main form of Catholic leadership in wider society – in the nation‟s political, economic and social life – needs to be done by you, the Catholic lay faithful. The key word of course is faithful. We need to form Catholic lay leaders who know and love the teachings of the Church, and then embody those teachings faithfully in their private lives and in their public service. But once those lay leaders exist,
clergy cannot and should not interfere with the leadership that rightly belongs, by baptism, to their vocation as lay apostles.

Having said this, I want to turn now to those three simple points I mentioned: the nature of the state; the nature of our Christian faith; and the nature of the lay vocation.
Here's my first point: the nature of the state. I said a moment ago that I love this country. I meant it. America is a great nation; a good nation. This is my home, and I know all of you feel the same. For Christians, patriotism is a virtue. Love for the best qualities in our homeland is a noble thing. This is why military service and public office are not just socially useful vocations, but – at their best – great and honorable ones.

Beginning in the New Testament and continuing right through works of the Second Vatican Council, Christians have always believed that civil authority has a rightful degree of autonomy separate from sacred authority. In Christian thought, believers owe civil rulers their respect and obedience in all things that do not gravely violate the moral law. When Jesus told the Pharisees and Herodians to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (see Mt 22:15-21), he was acknowledging that Caesar does have rights.

Of course, he was also saying that Caesar is not a god, and Caesar has no rights over those things which belong to God.

To put it in modern terms: The state is not god. It's not immortal. It's not infallible. It's not even synonymous with civil society, which is much larger, richer and more diverse in its human relationships than any political party or government bureaucracy can ever be. And ultimately, everything important about human life belongs not to Caesar, but to God: our intellect, our talents, our free will; the people we love; the beauty and goodness in the world; our soul, our moral integrity, our hope for eternal life. These are the things that matter.

These are the things worth fighting for. And none of them comes from the state.
As a result, the key virtue modern political leaders need to learn -- and Catholic citizens need to help them learn it by demanding it -- is modesty; modesty of appetite, and modesty in the exercise of power. The sovereignty of states is a good principle. But every state is subject to higher and binding truths.

Here's my second point: the nature of our Christian faith. What we believe has consequences. Catholics believe that each human life has a unique but interrelated meaning. We were made by God to receive love ourselves, and to show love to others. That‟s why we're here. That's our purpose. And our purpose has very practical consequences -- including the political kind. The Christian vocation to love each other is never simply an emotion, or it isn't real. Real love is an act of the will; a sustained choice that proves itself not just by what we say or feel, but by what we do for the good of others.

Working to defend the sanctity of human persons and the dignity of the human family is an obligation of Christian love. Therefore, the Church can't be silent in public life and be faithful to Jesus Christ at the same time. She needs to be a mustard seed in the public square, transforming every fiber of a nation's social, economic and political life.

Here's my third and final point: the nature of the lay vocation. In May this year, speaking to a pastoral convention of the Diocese of Rome, Benedict XVI made a comment that many people overlooked. But I think his words have exactly the right spirit to guide us, beginning tonight.
He said that the Church needs “a change in mindset, particularly concerning laypeople. They must no longer be viewed as "collaborators‟ of the clergy, but truly recognized as "co-responsible‟for the Church‟s being and action, thereby fostering the consolidation of a mature and committed laity.”

Christians are in the world, but not of the world. We belong to God, and our home is heaven. But we're here for a reason: to change the world, for the sake of the world, in the name of Jesus Christ. That work belongs to each of us. Nobody else will do it for us. And the idea that we can somehow accomplish that work of changing the world without engaging -- in a hands-on way -- the laws, the structures, the public policies, the habits of mind and the root causes that sustain injustice in our nation, is a delusion.

Laypeople are not second-class disciples in this task. There's no such creature as a “second-class” Christian. Baptism is a sacrament of redemption; but also of equality in God‟s love. Laypeople have exactly the same dignity as clergy and religious -- and this moment in history cries out for mature, intelligent, zealous and faithful lay leaders like Patrick Madrid and all of the rest of you in this audience tonight in an urgent way. Every Christian life, and every choice in every Christian life, matters eternally. Laypeople, not clergy, have the primary task of struggling for the soul of the secular world. And only you can do it as God intended. The good news is that you're not alone -- and you‟re also not the first.

A Catholic layman once wrote that: "Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure . . . are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."

That layman was Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, the first Catholic U.S. senator, and a cousin to the first Catholic bishop in the United States, John Carroll. As a Catholic attorney in then-Protestant America, Charles Carroll knew the sting of professional discrimination and religious prejudice firsthand. But he believed in the soul of this country. He served its best principles. And he demanded and worked tirelessly for his freedom to live and worship as a Catholic.

Today the bigots we face are different. Caesar wears a different suit. He has great media handlers. He bullies religion while he claims to respect it. He talks piously about the law and equality and tolerance and fairness. But he still confuses himself with God -- and he still violates the rights of Catholic believers and institutions by intruding himself where he has no right to be.

It's one of the great ironies of the moment that tiny Belmont Abbey would have the courage to challenge Caesar over its right to be faithfully Catholic in its policies, while so many other American Catholics seem eager to give Caesar honors. But God is a God of ironies, as the Philistines discovered, among others.

One of the deepest truths of the human predicament is this: If you stand up to evil, you may lose. But if you don’t stand up, you will lose. Belmont Abbey, to its very great credit, has the character to stand up and defend its right to be Catholic. The Becket Fund stands with it. Patrick Madrid and the Envoy Institute have been standing up for the Catholic faith for many years. We have the duty to support all of them with our prayers, our financial resources and pressure on our public officials to stop today‟s government interference with the identity and policies of faithful Catholic institutions.

I want to close with one of my favorite stories from history. It‟s about an emperor -- a good Christian emperor -- just to show I have no ill will toward Caesar. In the early Fifth Century the Huns had a very lucrative blackmail operation going against both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. Every year a Hunnic delegation would show up in Constantinople threatening to invade. And every year -- out of Roman weakness and cowardice -- they'd leave with a big payoff.

Then a new man came to the throne. His name was Marcian. He was a former general. And when the Huns showed up the next year for their tribute, he gave them a simple lesson in economics. He said, “I have gold for my friends, and steel for my enemies.” Then he threw them out. The Huns thought about it for awhile. Then they turned west for easier targets.
Of course today we live in different times, don't we. But there‟s a lesson here, even today, for Catholics and all religious believers. If we stand up to evil, we may lose. But if we don’t stand up we will lose. Our God is a God of justice; a God who does not abandon his people and who rewards courage in the face of evil. So have courage, serve the truth, love the Church, take confidence in the Lord, and stand up to witness for your faith. We've got nothing to lose. We have everything to gain. Thanks, and God bless you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Truth About Abortion's Consequences

One of the most sinister lies pervading typical abortion rhetoric is assertion that aborting a child is "in the best interest" or "for the good" of the woman involved. Nothing could be farther from the truth; abortion not only damages the baby in the womb, but also causes deep trauma in the mother of that child.

Some in the anti-life camp would have you think that any kind of post-abortion trauma is simply scruple-induced product of religion, but Post Abortion Syndrome is a reality. Ask the countless women who suffer the loss of their child after an abortion. Ask the countless women who deal with grief, anxiety, depression, loneliness and depression that they go through. They know it is real, and they certainly were not told of that possibility when they were coaxed into thier abortion.

Dr. Priscilla Coleman is a mental health professional who has done extensive scientific and medical research on the effects of abortion on women.  She will be visiting Columbus, Ohio on July 17th to present her groundbreaking investigation and the facts that abortion providers around the country are hiding from their "clients."  She will expose the lies of the abortion industry and show that abortion is by no stretch of the imagine for the good of the woman.

For more information please visit Bethesda Post-Abortion Healing Ministry.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"I always wanted to be a parish my parish is 2.5 million people."

Tomorrow at 1pm est Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be installed as the new archbishop of New York. Dolan is well-known and loved across the US for being an orthodox, courageous, humorous and talented leader in the Catholic Church. He brings many gifts and talents to lead the largest diocese in the US, but his greatest - and most noticeable - trait is that he is a PASTOR tending God's flock.

Check out this impromtu press conference he had on the steps of St. Patrick' Cathedral in New York: It's evident that this is man of God who will do tremendous things for the Church. Cheers to Archbishop Dolan and to his very fortunate flock!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bethesda Formation Day

Here is an article that ran in the November 30th edition of Columbus' local Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Times. It may help give a clear idea of some of the things that Bethesda Healing Ministry is doing. For more info visit

In a very poignant and touching episode from the Last Supper, the Apostle John leans and rests his head on the chest of Jesus. John is deeply troubled and concerned, so he puts his head next to Christ’s Heart as though he were trying to listen to that Heart, as though he were attempting to find out what that Heart feels, as though he wanted to make his own heart like that of his Lord, abounding with love and forgiveness.

That scene in the Gospel (John 13:25) continually came to my mind as I had the privilege to participate with Bethesda Post-Abortion Healing Ministry at the annual Companion & Seminarian Formation Day. Disciples of Christ listening to His merciful Heart, ready to share that experience of hope with others.

On the weekend of Oct 3rd and 4th, 2008, Julia Shelava, Director of the Project Rachel program for the Archdiocese of Washington DC, and her two assistants Luz Menjivar and Sister Assumption, came to experience the richness and depth of Bethesda’s Companion & Seminarian Formation Day. Prior to the Formation Day, they also joined members of Bethesda Healing Ministry and Becky D’Alesio, representative of Project Rachel in Columbus for a day of prayer and dialogue. Project Rachel carries out tremendous work as a network of counselors and priests to assist those suffering from an abortion. In the Columbus Diocese, Project Rachel refers many of those wounded by abortion to Bethesda to experience God’s forgiveness and healing.

Bethesda strives to be a confidential, safe place providing support, prayer and reconciliation, and spiritual renewal for anyone wounded by the tragedy of abortion. In providing that care for souls we have been blessed with having the support and participation of seminarians and priests from the Pontifical College Josephinum. Our clergy obviously play a crucial role as they bring sacramental forgiveness and spiritual mentoring to those in need, and it is the great joy of Bethesda’s to be able to host the Companion & Seminarian Formation Day to help future priests serve in the vital, yet highly delicate ministry.

Thirty-five participants came for the Formation Day on October 4th, which included talks and presentations on topics related to post-abortion ministry, mass, testimonies from several women who have gone through the healing journey with Bethesda and now serve as Companions for others, and a panel discussion with Q&A. Theresa Shively, the Companion Coordinator for Bethesda, facilitated the day’s events and Fr Dean Mathewson, Bethesda’s Ministry Chaplain, offered advice to the seminarians on how they might incorporate these ideas into their priestly ministry in the future, teaching them how to approach and handle pastoral situations with the heart of Christ, and how to make sure the mercy of God does in fact reach souls. These were priests and future priests once more listening to the heart of Christ.

Nowhere was this more evident than when the Companions gave their testimonies. These women shared with everyone present their heart-rending stories of having made the sorrowful decision to abort their babies, the subsequent grief it caused them, and the effect it had on their lives. They spoke of the painful period - often years - when they struggled and grieved until they finally came to rediscover the love and forgiveness of God. They summoned the courage to start on the difficult journey of healing. They sought to come home to be made whole, to be forgiven. And they were.

There was not a dry eye in the room as these women spoke from the heart.

Afterward, one seminarian commented, “Now I know what my priesthood is for; now I know what it’s all about.” His classmates nearby all agreed and voiced similar sentiments. These seminarians and all those present for the Formation Day sought to make their hearts more like that of Jesus who is meek and humble of heart, like that of Jesus who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in search of the one lost sheep, like that of Jesus who died on the cross to forgive us our sins – even those that grieve us most.

Bethesda is a ministry of compassion and understanding, open to all men and women who have been wounded by abortion. We strive to guide these grieving women and men through a healing process to rediscover forgiveness and love. These two events enabled us to form more people who will guide souls on the path to healing, and helped us to reaffirm our own identity. We pray that all who suffer from the tragedy of abortion may find Bethesda to be a place of comfort and healing in the heart of Christ who offers the invitation to all, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are weary, for I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11-28)

November 30, 2008 The Catholic Times

Monday, March 9, 2009

Numbers Don't Lie

Just a little tidbit of information for all you members of Buckeye Nation (and others). Go to and search in Columbus for "abortion." You will be given two options: "abortion services" and "abortion alternatives." The surprising bit is that there are 17 businesses listed under abortion services, and 23 businesses providing abortion alternatives.

That is astounding! In a major US city there are more agencies dedicated to providing women with health, safe and good alternatives when faced with a crisis pregnancy than there are agencies dedicated to the destruction of innocent life. The numbers don't lie - there are many Americans who oppose the tragedy of abortion: we numerically out-weigh the anti-life groups here in Columbus.

Take that to prayer tonight! God is good. It's a good chance to step back for a moment and realize that we do not stand alone in our struggle to uphold the dignity and sanctity of life!

Back in the Real World

Yes, it has been quite some time - over a month - since my last post. There has been plenty of things going on and scores of topics that I would love to be blogging about, but alas, tempus fugit! I may use the excuse "I have been really busy" far too often, but in this case it really is true. Two words will instantly validate my claim in most people's minds: just married.

On February 14th I joyfully celebrated the sacrament of marriage to my lovely bride Nina (Pezzutti). The wedding ceremony was beautiful and everything we hoped it would be. The reception that followed was a very fun time with friends and family all around. Nina and I both felt tremendously blest to be called to a vocation.

We spent our honeymoon in Italy - 4 days in Rome and 4 days in Positano (a small town on the Mediterranean coast south of Naples). Bella Italia!

Now we are back in the real world and I assure you that my posts will be more frequent and a little more regular. So until the next post from the Crossroads, ciao!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Superbowl Men

The Superbowl is just a couple days away and this year not only do we have the pleasure of watching two good teams play (Pittsburgh has THE best defense in the league, and the Cards high-powered offense will certainly test that), but we also get a marquee match-up of two authentically good "men." Ben Roethlisbgerger has won accolades from coaches and peers alike from his college days at Miami of Ohio up to the present day with the Steelers. He is hailed as a genuine leader, a man willing to put in his share of work in practice and get banged up for the team. Off the field he is said to be polite and well-spoken - the kind of guy you wouldn't mind having as you next door neighbor.

We all have our faults and failings and no one is perfect, but these men - Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner - are decent men that appear to stand on principles. Unfortunately, that is not something we see a lot of in the world of sports these days.

My loyalties are rather split this Superbowl. The Steelers are the closest thing to a pro team in Ohio since the Brownies and the Bungels don't really count, not to mention they have a legendary tradition and aura about them. Add to that fact that my soon to be father-in-law is a die-hard Steelers fan, there are some reasons to throw in with the Iron Curtain. Nevertheless, my swing vote usually goes to the underdogs - in this case, the Cards.

In this case, the equalizing factor comes back to the QBs. I think they are both good men doing a fine job of leading and guiding their team through the war zone we call a football field. They both have valor, the ability to lead, and personal stature.

I would be just as happy to see either of these men walk of the field rewarded with another Superbowl ring to add to their collection.

To give Warner his share of the lime light, here is a story that has been circulating. Check it out:

"In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new
voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4.
Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and
decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a
distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She
was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock
to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at
him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card,
He walked out only to see her start walking up the road.
Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her
a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he
dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of
She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't
afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter.
Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following
Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her
tell him that she was unable to go with him.
The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said,
"Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but
again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought
him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just
as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a
He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come
with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with
two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first
husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary -
- -
he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and
the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him.
When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his
wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At
the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to
marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children.
Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl?
Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona, where he is
currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League
Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the hunt for a possible
appearance in the Super Bowl. Is this a surprise ending or could you
have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl

Also coming from left-field...

Just in case someone 50 years from now (or 50 minutes) should look back in the annals of history and, reading the first couple posts, think that this is meant to be a blog of ceaseless pondering of existential questions and intellectual squabbles - a correction is in order. I certainly intend to post some amount of thought-provoking material, but it will be accompanied by a fair share of humorous, interesting, bizzare or otherwise off-the-wall posts. Just hang with me!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Keep It In Perspective

The renowned late Father Richard John Neuhaus passed away earlier this month after a conversion to the Catholic Faith and many years of courageous defense of the Church. Here's a profound yet short excerpt of his that helps keep life in proper perspective:

“When I come before the judgment throne, I will plead the promise of God in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I will not plead any work that I have done, although I will thank God that he has enabled me to do some good. I will plead no merits other than the merits of Christ, knowing that the merits of Mary and the saints are all from him; and for their company, their example, and their prayers throughout my earthly life I will give everlasting thanks. I will not plead that I had faith, for sometimes I was unsure of my faith, and in any event that would be to turn faith into a meritorious work of my won. I will not plead that I held the correct understanding of “justification by faith alone,” although I will thank God that he led me to know ever more fully the great truth that much misunderstood formulation was intended to protect. Whatever little growth in holiness I have experienced, whatever strength I have received from the company of the saints, whatever understanding I have attained of God and his ways - these and all other gifts received I will bring gratefully to the throne. But in seeking entry to that heavenly kingdom, I will…look to Christ and Christ alone.

Richard John Neuhaus. Death on a Friday Afternoon

And So It Starts...

After steady prodding from my soon-to-be wife I have finally come around to actually posting something on this blog that I set up several weeks ago. Truth to tell, it's as much of an experiment as it is a vehicle to voice opinions and participate in the social dialogue, so hang on for the ride!

By way of introduction, I chose the provisional name "Crossroads" for reasons both personal and societal. I'm getting married in two weeks and that of course brings with it lot of changes, joys and trials so I find myself at a very joyous crossroads in my life. At the same time our nation and our civilization in general face a myriad of crucial and devastatingly far-reaching decisions in the moral arena. The lines of battle have been drawn up and we all find ourselves at a crossroads; we must choose which path we trod and which banner we rally behind.

So this is my simple attempt to shout into the world of blog. Let's see how it goes.

Right now this post will just echo in cyberspace since no one knows it's here, but I'm confident the echo will resonate with some people out there.