Tuesday, July 31, 2007
As so many of you know, last November I received orders from the Army mobilizing me to active duty from inactive reserve status. This mobilization was for the purpose of sending me back to Iraq for a second combat tour. The orders were quite a surprise and immediately became a source of anxiety for our family.
Shortly after receiving the orders, I submitted paperwork to the Army requesting an exemption or delay of the mobilization based on my desire to avoid disrupting my law school education and to avoid the dangers that would arise during combat from a preexisting medical issue with my shoulder.
For the past eight months we have been living month by month as the review process progressed. Twice my appeal had been denied, the most recent being two weeks ago. Our family became resigned to the apparent likelihood of my return to Iraq, and we had begun to make preparations. The prospect of hitting the pause button on our civilian life for almost two years was not one we looked forward to—but we were ready to perform whatever duty was required of us.
Today, however, we experienced an unexpected reversal of fortune. Today I was informed that the final Army appellate authority has decided to grant me an exemption from the deployment orders and discharge me from reserve status. In other words, I will not be returning to Iraq, nor will I be mobilized in the future. This news has been received, as you might imagine, with great relief in Gasperini-Ville.
We have experienced an incredible range of emotions today, as has been the case since this situation began last November. As we reflect on everything, we are most struck with a profound sense of God’s grace. Though we worked hard to put forth a convincing appeal, I am no more deserving of an exemption than any other veteran who has suddenly found his or her life interrupted by an involuntary return to a far-away combat zone. We have been so blessed by this news, and by the future it allows our family to pursue—but there is nothing I or B have done that entitles us to that promising future. The life we lead, the children we raise, the faith we share—none of it is of our own making. All of this is simply God’s unmerited favor. It is grace, and we are deeply, deeply grateful.
That gratitude is matched by our immeasurable thankfulness for the overwhelming outpouring of prayer and support over the past eight months. It is breathtaking to realize how many prayers have been offered on our behalf by our extended faith family. Unknown numbers of Christian brothers and sisters, many we will never know, have been prayer warriors for our family throughout this period. Countless intercessions by and to family, friends, the communion of saints, and the Blessed Mother have been offered for the Gasperinis. What a testament it is to sit here tonight and experience the fruits of that faithful solidarity. We are humbled, and we are grateful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
As we go forward, we in Gasperini-Ville are mindful of the great responsibility we have to use this blessing to glorify God. To borrow from a popular saying, ‘With great blessings comes great responsibility.’ Whatever that responsibility, we will only be able to achieve it with the continued intervention of the Holy Spirit, and it will be our continued prayer to faithfully and openly receive the Spirit into our lives. Additionally, we in Gasperini-Ville remain acutely aware of the hardships being faced by thousands of military families across this country. We honor their sacrifice and their fortitude. We will continue to offer them up in prayer, and seek ways to support the troops and their families until this challenge is done.
Thank you all, and God Bless.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I will be sure to write if we hear anything, but most likely you'll just hear from me tomorrow. :) Thank you for your love and continued prayers!
*Quick packing note: Don't you just love how there's no difference (with kids) packing for a one-night getaway vs. a week's vacation? Though you have fewer clothes to choose , the kids still need beds, high chairs, and everything else just as if you were packing to head away for awhile! This always amazes me and I'm never truly prepared for it... Crazy! :) God bless.
Friday, July 27, 2007
But aren't those french fries just the best?
And there are healthier options now too--hello, grilled chicken snack wraps? Maybe McD's is helping our children along the path of life, introducing them to choices and encouraging them to make the better ones. (Fat chance, but it sounds a little more redeeming, eh?)
Except for the french fries. They're always okay in my book.
As I write, I have them simmering in my belly, causing me to smile quite widely.
Hope you're having a good Friday too.
We'll let you know the latest Army news when it comes down the pipes. No word yet.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
|You Are a Cappuccino|
You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.
However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.
You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.
You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
We found out recently that GG's Army service has a smidgeon of a chance at being postponed, allowing him to finish law school, depending on the decision in Alexandria this week. There's always room to hope more! Prayers, prayers, prayers! We'll keep you posted as we hear the latest.
Monday, July 23, 2007
As luck would have it (sort of), a bomb scare (after GG and the gang left) postponed half of the game to this afternoon. So what did we do, but head back to the stadium this afternoon for part 2! And in the process, we saw some home runs and Papa caught a foul ball! Hysterical! In all my years of going to baseball games (and bringing my mitt every time), I have never been in the presence of someone catching a ball. And here M has it happen during his first game (part 2)! Pretty cool... Here are some glimpses from the game(s).
Sunday, July 22, 2007
We love you both so much...
We've been laying low since Friday and reveling in time together. GG and the boys have been enjoying some good male bonding, particularly a McDonald's date last night while Mom suffered a short-term stomach bug (what great timing, huh?)
Mostly we've been talking through the what-if's of the coming months, creating plans for all sorts of scenarios. We are desperately trying to let go of our expectations, offering up our thoughts and plans. This isn't the first time we've had to "let go and let God." GG's first deployment (while he was actually in the Army) came in the midst of our supposed plans for him to apply for the JAG program and enroll in law school a year early. Unfortunately, the deployment meant he was overseas during the application period and LSAT prep. Plans changed and we had to change too. I remember feeling so exasperated that we couldn't follow through with our dreams and desires... Welcome to life. Never are we certain of tomorrow. God teaches me that lesson quite often!
The hardest part of this whole scenario is imagining GG being absent from our boys' lives for an unknown period of time. My heart just aches thinking of this, especially as GG is M's hero. There is nothing better than "Daddy" in Gasperini-Ville. GG has also expressed worry about little T not knowing him when he returns. Okay, heart now falling out of chest...
That's not to mention our "plans" being put on hold for another 3 years! GG will most likely serve for 2 years and then will have to take a 3rd to finish law school. This is a long time from when we'd imagined things. Note: Above rationale applied; we are working through our letting go.
Above all, we know we can make it through this, particularly with the support of our friends and family and with the saving grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you again for your prayers. We are so bolstered by your love.
God bless you on this Lord's Day.
Friday, July 20, 2007
It is now in the hands of the powers-that-be in Alexandria, VA, who will make their decision by next Friday. That will be the end of our appeals process and the start of GG's involuntary Army service.
I am beyond anger, beyond tears (though they've still been falling), beyond exasperation...
Gasperini-Ville is under heavy fire tonight. Please pray for us and for our brave soldiers in combat. Thank you.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
No news yet on the appeal... We should know something soon, especially if GG's packet was viewed on Tuesday (though we're never quite sure of dates when dealing with the Army!) Thank you for your awesome support. Hugs back!
11-mos. into his little life, T baby is shaking up his world (and his parents') with non-stop curiousity and adventure. While M was a more placid, predictable baby, T-babe is keeping us on our toes (to say the least). Just the other day as GG looked away for a second, T crawled up the stairs for the first time! Oh Lord!!
Here are two glimpses of life with a pre-toddler... Enjoy and God bless!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
No keys, no cell phone, no nothing...
At first I didn't know what to do. I freaked out a little while attempting to pursuade him to unlock the door. I really tried not to panic (but failed miserably) and then went around back to check to see if any doors were open. They weren't. [I'm a freak for locked doors! :)] I did get to see M through a sliding door, though, and assure him I was okay. After, I went back into the garage and patiently coached him to unlock the deadbolt... He did it! Hallelujah!
My lesson for the day is attitude in motherhood is EVERYTHING! My approach to all the day-to-day details directly influences how family responds to those details. When I started to openly worry about being locked out, M became scared and sad, unresponsive to my coaching. He just needed to see that mom was okay and then was open to my joyful instructions. Lesson learned.
Hallelujah, I'm back in the house.
**T-baby said "bye bye" today for the first time while waving! [I think he also said "baby" at breakfast while we were talking about a baby. Maybe? Who knows? All I know is he's growing up!!]
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Our priest began with a story about his father's dog, Bridget, a very well-behaved Pointer, going crazy one day in the presence of a fox. While normally tame, the dog became wild and unwieldy in a setting provoking his instincts. In the same way, the story of the Good Samaritan seems like a tame one, learned when we're children and incorporated into societal norms and laws. When Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan, however, it was wild, uncouth, and quite challenging to people of the time... as it should be to us today!
Why is it so wild? He touched on the following points:
1) Christ used an enemy of the Jews, a Samaritan, to teach a lesson. He taught compassion, love, care, and generosity via an enemy. This would be like using an al Queda member to show us compassion. Whoa. I can't imagine a better way for Christ to show the people humility, especially when admitting that one's enemy did the right thing. Very tough!
2) Christ showed two very "good" people using religion as an excuse and reason to keep their distance. There were certain laws and rituals governing the behavior of these religious leaders, which is why they ignored the injured Jewish man on the side of the road. How often do we use our busyness with church activities/religious affiliation to avoid really reaching out to those in need?
3) We should be offering charity to every man, despite our insecurities. We should be loving the homosexual couple, the illegal alien, the poor, the man on death row... Challenging stuff, especially to an affluent, white parish! Very cool.
4) And when it's all said and done, we come back to the Eucharist, to Christ, for renewal, for reason, for acceptance ourselves. Yes!
I looked over at GG after the priest finished and he mouthed the words "boo yah".
You got it. The priest brought down some BOO YAH to challenge all of us... It was awesome. So awesome that I had to share!
Hugs and prayers for an awesome day! May it be richly blessed.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Some days it's nice just to be together not doing a whole lot...
It's a quiet way to celebrate the Lord's Day.
Just the way we like it.
I'm going to laze today, but tomorrow will fill you all in on an awesome homily we heard today at Mass. Good stuff to report.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
*your toddler comes down with the same fever the baby's had all week.
*you go to pick up your car from getting work done, the overdrive stops working, and you have to have the car towed back to the dealer for this new problem. Very frustrating!
And then you realize that this is life and you just have to deal with it!
Hope your weekend is off to a better start than ours!! God bless.
Friday, July 13, 2007
1. Mail electric bill.
2. Mow lawn.
3. Call to schedule make-up at Romp 'n Roll.
4. Check on car maintenance.
6. Review marathon training programs.
Isn't it sad that I have to include showering on a to-do list?
And isn't it equally as pathetic that it's the last thing on the list?
Cleanliness before godliness? Not here. :)
Once in college, my roommate, Kellie, and I forced each other to sign a pact, promising to shower once-a-day. We were so busy with school, sports, and junior papers that showering became a low priority! And now amidst motherhood, I am once again finding it last on my list.
As long as my kids are clean, I'm okay with it. They get a bath every night.
Cleanest kids on the block. :)
So for now, I'll just have to keep putting it on the to-do list and *hope* it gets done.
Cheers to squeaking clean today. God bless.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
His temp. just registered at 104F, the highest he's ever had.
I am so worried... and have been up reading about fevers. If it doesn't break by morning, we will be heading into the ER and praying simultaneously they take our out-of-state healthcare.
Dear Lord, please bless this wee babe.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
This verse has been on my heart all day, repeating itself as my subconscious deals with issues far beyond our day-to-day. What hope it gives--that God works for the good for those of us who love him. What a precious and optimistic sentiment.
The Good Word especially called out loudly today as I was sharing our future "plan" if GG has to return to the Army and Iraq. Where would we live? How would we get there? Who would help? were a few of the questions on the mind of the person with whom I was sharing. Inside I began to feel that familiar panicky sensation that returns when I don't really have a plan and I don't have things laid out in my mind. The control freak in me surfaces and I begin to doubt the Romans message above.
But then the words ring out clearly...
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
And I am brought back to the reality that we can make it; we can feel "at home" wherever God chooses to plant us; we can endure any situation and come out with our heads above water.
All things are possible. All outcomes are for the good, no matter how they may seem here on earth to our limited human minds. God's in control. We're not. And in the end, that's the way I'd prefer it to be.
God bless you today.
Monday, July 9, 2007
While M doesn't share a whole lot... of anything. The rest of us just keep sharing and passing around the latest bug, virus, etc.
We are excellent at sharing germs and horrible at sharing our toys.
How does such a phenomenon happen?
I must report, however, some amazing brotherhood emerging in our home. M loves little T so much that he hugs him and won't let go. T-baby crawls forth from the hug, carrying his older brother along with him. Today I found myself saying, "M, you need to hug and let go." What a great problem to have--my son is smothering his brother with love. That can't be all bad! :)
Hope your day is full of love of the smothering kind. Apparently, we need 8 hugs/day to fill our emotional quota. Have you gotten yours? I'm off to pursue some...
And speaking of love, happy 30th wedding anniversary to our beloved Mimi and Papa!! What a feat and what a marriage! We love you both so much!! Here's to 30 more!God bless.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Yesterday's canal ride was full of entertaining sights and sounds, not to mention a train overhead to boot! Can you guess who was absolutely thrilled? [See: wide-eyed toddler below!]
M couldn't stop to be tired and cranky (he was overdue on a nap) because of all there was to see. Thank goodness! Hope your weekend has been blessed...
Saturday, July 7, 2007
What would it be like to be the mother of Jesus?
How would it feel to be full of grace?
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
I pondered these things today while praying this silent prayer.
Mary was an incredible woman and mother. I imagine her being so full of grace that she could only have been completely graceful and peaceful. I sigh deeply every time I think of Mary. Thoughts of her are so calming.
If only I could be more like her in the day-to-day--when the children are crying, when I can't find my sunglasses, when the car keys are missing, when I've lost the kids' sunblock, when we've missed the boat tour and have to wait another hour before the next one, when my toddler fails to eat a good lunch, when the same toddler awakens as I attempt to transfer him mid-nap from the car to his bed...
These are just a few of the moments from our day today when I could have been a little more graceful... a little more like Mary; ultimately, a little more like Christ.
Have any moments like these today? If so, I hope you've been blessed through them.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Looks like He already has. What a wonderful gift to all the pregnant women out there.
Almost makes me want to join the club again.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I also keep reminding GG that my ultimate date would be a trip to the planetarium. Really.
Call me crazy, but I have always loved seeing the night's sky while sitting in a cozy lounge chair. That's without mentioning the monotonous voice of the man talking about stars. Oh, I could lie there forever... :) GG has yet to take me, but I know when he does it will be special. Until then, I will wait. Ho hum. :)
God bless your zzzzzzz.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy Independence Day!
Today marks the anniversary of a funny occurrence that was later printed up as a story in our local paper...
12 years ago, my high school friends and I went out to a local town's fireworks display, held at a Rev. War battle site. At that time, we were really big into playing ultimate frisbee and had fierce competitions that would go on for hours. We arrived at the fireworks site and parked in a nearby neighborhood, realizing upon parking that we had accidentally left our frisbees at home. Some folks were sitting on their front lawn, so we approached and asked to borrow a frisbee. They kindly obliged and we were happily on our way. The game was a rough one and no sooner had we engaged in play, but the frisbee took a bad angle and snapped on the grass. We were done for the evening. Later after the display, a few of us realized we had no frisbee to give back to the owner and began to scrounge for change and money to reimburse. We found a random piece of paper and scribbled an apology note, leaving $2.75 on their porch (all we could find among three of us--pathetic!) and heading on our way. We gave no thought of it until seeing an article in the local section of our Ohio paper... The frisbee owners had written in, so grateful for our honesty and willingness to own up to our blunder. While the incident hadn't been a big deal to us--you borrow something, you return it; the integrity our parents had taught us... To the frisbee owners, it was remarkable. We had restored some of their hope in youth (and had gotten a front page article to boot). Pretty cool.
It was a tale that warmed my heart so. One good deed can go a long way in the heart of another. That's my lesson for this holiday.
Happy Independence Day and God bless.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Today I feel itchy and now I'm paranoid of Lyme Disease. Yuck.
Hope your day is tick-free and wonderful... God bless.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Baby orange skin (medical condition): Carotenemia is an excess of beta-carotene in the blood. It is a common and mostly harmless condition in infants usually appearing when infants begin to eat solids. When they eat too many foods containing beta-carotene (e.g. pumpkin, carrot, most yellow or orange vegetables), the baby receives too much beta-carotene and some is deposited in the skin. This gives the skin a yellow or orange coloring. www.wrongdiagnosis.com
While the appeal process makes us weary, we are so grateful for another month together.
In the meantime, let's all be sure to hug the ones we love and let them know we care. You never know what tomorrow brings...
*We initially headed up to northern VA to visit some friends, who have just welcomed their third sweet baby! What a joy it was to meet the little man and see the family! Our shots include all but one of their sweet cherubs... Thank you, Brian and Julie, for a wonderful afternoon.
*We then headed to western VA for some countryside adventures, including canoeing and kayaking in a small mountain lake. M had been anticipating this particular excursion for days. While in church that morning I leaned over during the consecration to explain to him that Jesus was going to be present. Instead of responding, he looked at me and said, "boat". I think the kid has a one track mind. :)
You can imagine his excitement when it was time to set sail... Thankfully we had a mama present to sit with him in the middle and Mimi around to stay with T-baby. We all had a great time. Highlights include getting to paddle with Daddy and seeing cows "grazing" in the surrounding forest. Slightly weird, but entertaining nonetheless.
*Our last true adventure was enduring M's first bloody nose yesterday afternoon. I'm afraid he's inherited this susceptibility from a long line of nose-bleeders, from Pappy to Mama and now to poor M. What a little trooper he was to be surrounded by adults and covered in blood, yet not totally freak out (as his mother was doing inside!) Poor thing. We all survived and are stronger for it.
Hope your weekend was equally as adventurous and of course, blessed.
God bless your Monday. Let's get it started... :)