Saturday, January 12, 2013

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Last night I sat with my boys and waited to learn the identity of four fellow parishioners from Holy Spirit Catholic Church. The four were reported deceased in a car accident while traveling to the site of their medical mission in Haiti.  Together we paced and worried and prayed. Learning the identities of those we lost did not erase our angst. We were left questioning why such horrible things happen to good people. Why?

I'm no philosopher. I'm not even the most well-versed Catholic out there. So my answer is really more akin to a string of obscenities than anything uplifting.

When bad things happen to good people it sucks. It rains angst. It overwhelms our senses and causes us to question the core of our humanity and faith.

And, through that storm of uncertainty and sadness, we emerge. Humbled. Challenged. Changed.

In the past, I've stood on the brink of this storm and I've been awash in its chaos. I don't wish such a journey on anyone. Profound loss like this is a journey unlike any other. It's reason seems to escape even the most learned.

But, last night, while I was worrying over things that were out of my control, my 9-year-old son spoke up with an innocence and intelligence that defies age. He said, "Well, they must have been needed for something even more important. I wonder what it is."

Perhaps he is right. When bad things happen to good people, it may be that their goodness is being rewarded or is needed in another way. In another place.

We who are left to mourn and who seek some rational reason for the loss are challenged to swim through our sadness over time. Relying on the example of those we've lost to shape and balance our future.

When bad things happen to good people it still sucks. Perhaps there is a divine gauntlet being thrown to step up our game and be more good. Not at the risk of losing ourselves too, but with the challenge of being needed for something more a life that reflects the goodness of those we've lost.

Live on, my friends. Keep being good.

Peace and Blessings to Matt Kutsche, Mary LaPonsie, and Rita and Jim Cwengros and their families.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Snapshot of a Year Well Lived: 2012

January always gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the past year. It has had some high points and some tearful moments. But, along the way I've had a hand to fact, I often had two hands to hold. Lucky me! Here's a snapshot of what we lived and loved over 2012...

We are lucky to live close enough to Blandford Nature Center to walk to the back side of the trails. We didn't get much snow in 2012, but it made it so easy to traipse through the woods all winter.
Working the floor during a basketball game in the West Catholic High School kids league. 

Connor was sneaky at his school auction and put is raffle tickets into the bucket to win a cellular phone with minutes (even though mom and dad said not to!). After a heartfelt conversation, and a little nudging from his parents, he agreed that it made sense to donate this cool phone to a woman who was trying to find a job and take good care of her family. Here he is with Sharon Caldwell-Newton, Executive Director of Women's Resource Center, making his donation. We are so proud of the tough decision he made to help someone else!

Here we are on our first trip to Brewery Vivant -- Connor's rootbeer looks like a stout! Who wouldn't want to live in Brew City USA?! We love it!

Connor had a blast riding Aunt Lara Parks' horse, Dreamer, for the first time. He was a was watching in awe. He even helped Laura brush out Dreamer and give her a few treats. Who could imagine we'd have such gorgeous March coats!

We had a gorgeous place to hang out for Spring Break...right in Michigan! Connor and his cousins, Sarah, Rachel, and Reagan, loved the beach in Frankfort and we all soaked up the sun while exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Spring Break was capped off with a visit from Cousin Ryleigh and a trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies exhibit and run around in the Children's Garden. Fun!

Connor and his buddies from school just before they made their First Holy Communion. Big rite of passage for a Catholic. It makes my heart smile to see how reverently they all participated in this Sacrament...and how handsome they were in their best Sunday clothes. Love it!
Connor and his cousin Reagan were on the same Coach Pitch Little League Baseball Team this year...with Rick as the coach. Great season, they all improved their skills and showed a lot of commitment and spunk!
And, May brought the official Memorial Day kickoff to summer! This year we were lucky enough to rent a cottage for the whole summer next door to our brother's cottage. We didn't swim on Memorial Day, but we stuck our toes in the water!

Celebrating the end of another school year, Connor and one of his buddies are tossing the football into Lake Michigan. What a great way to kick off summer at the beach!
June was jam packed for us! In the middle of baseball, school ending, beach time, the Ladies Tee Party Charity Golf Outing, and the usual stuff like work, we zipped out to Denver for the annual Fitzgerald Family Golf Outing. While there Connor and enjoyed a little trail hike with his cousin Jessica in the Boulder area.
...and while we were in Denver, my oldest brother John married his sweetheart, Carol!  What a fun backyard wedding, perfect for the two of them...we were all thrilled that we could attend!

Ah, heck, why not add another photo to June? Here is the whole Fitzgerald crew who journeyed to Denver for the annual golf outing! Yowza!

This photo sums up our July at Lake Michigan. Ahhhhh!
Although, this photo also helps tell the rest of the story! Our Tiki Bar at the cottage was a hit for adults and kids alike! Something there for everyone. We'll miss it a lot!


I loved seeing my business logo on the new jumbo screen at Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps! This was during a women's business networking event that I organized at the ballpark. Cool!

It was the summer of the Mohawk for Connor. He loved it. But, alas, it's only a fleeting thing...once school starts it is back to the basics!

First day of 3rd Grade!

One last weekend at the beach before summer ends...what a journey!

First year of Rocket Football...oh my!
Best Birthday Ever! We celebrated Connor's 9th birthday with awesome seats to watch the Tigers...and helped them score a win! We had a blast in Detroit for the weekend.

Here's our very own Vampire Football Player from Vampire State! 

Connor and his Fitzgerald Cousins were in rare form to celebrate Great Aunt Kathie's 75th Birthday in Jackson. Wow!
Connor and Reagan were so proud to host their Fitzgerald Cousin, Kyle, and his two youngest children, at school for their Veteran's Day program. We are proud of all of our Active Duty and Veteran relatives (and everyone else who has served and continues to serve our country)!

We decided the best way to celebrate Connor's Mayan heritage was to throw a party on December 21, 2012 and celebrate the end of one Mayan Long Count Calendar and the beginning of a new phase. We had an awesome Mayan Pyramid cake and painted a few kid's faces to resemble Mayan Warriors or Princesses. Big fun. And, the world didn't end. You are welcome!
Goodbye 2012...Hello 2013! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us!