Growing up in Indiana was a simple, comfortable, yet sheltered life. Listening to nature’s symphony, complete with owls, crickets, and frogs always soothed me to sleep. My early childhood memories were idyllic. I remember our family together tilling the large garden in the backyard, later picking a myriad of vegetables at harvest time and lastly canning them in the glass ball jars for storage. We lived a slice of the American dream. Snowball fighting with my little twin sisters in the winter, taking piano lessons, entering 4-H competitions, riding our bikes in the neighborhood, playing endless hours in the sand box, gathering for nightly family dinners, and vacationing in Indiana’s state parks were among the earliest memories. Faith was a fixture in our household. Prayer before meals and at bedtime, as well as mass on Sundays, were the standard. Other than church, we partook in Indiana’s oldest religion. . . basketball.
In my last year of architecture school, a firm in New York City, finally accepted me for a summer internship after leaving them 25 annoying voice mails. With nervous support from my parents, I landed in JFK airport on December 31st, 2004, not knowing a single soul. That same night, I took my first subway train ride to Time Square and watched the ball drop, welcoming in the New Year and the beginning of a new era. As my graduation was soon approaching, an internal battle ensued. Would I remain in Indiana where a job and an apartment were guaranteed? Or would I return to New York City, where all I was certain to have was an entry-level position in New York? I took the unfamiliar road, and set course on an adventure.
“This is 23rd St, the next stop will be 14th street” shouted daily by the conductor on the N train as I commuted to work. Watching the stations fly by, I didn’t want New York to pass me by. So, I searched the web for a vibrant Catholic community, where I could make friends and grow deeper in my relationship with Christ. After some trial and error, I found a great community called Frassati Fellowship. Beforehand, I first attended a bible study group at St. Patrick’s Cathedral were I would meet my wife, Monica. After six months of courting, along with her mom’s blessings, I proposed marriage on my birthday. A year later, we married. Through marriage, I found freedom in Monica.
In 2010, it was decided by the doctors that Monica, save for a miracle, wouldn’t bear children. This was devastating news, one that challenged our relationship, our faith, and our purpose in life. Learning to be a real man, to love and accept my wife in the face of strife, was a new experience. Monica understandably struggled, which was painful to witness, but through our faith in God, our community, and family, we come out the other end stronger and more in love!
We channeled our grief by serving God. Serendipitously, at the height of our loss, I was asked to lead Frassati Fellowship as President. With my First Lady by my side, we led Bible Studies, hikes, mission trips, organized retreats and monthly dinners and holy hours, and also raised money and led volunteer efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Frassati Fellowship became our child. Serving God gave us purpose and brought healing to our broken, disappointed hearts. Most importantly, it prepared us for parenthood.
In a childhood fairy-tale, the prince slays the dragon, rescues the princess from the tower, and takes her back to his kingdom. The end. In real life, it doesn’t end there. The fair lady becomes part of his journey, riding on the horse of life together. Just because we could not conceive a child, it didn’t define the end of our marriage. Instead, it opened hidden doors that required many dragons to be slayed, but also brought in new possibilities, never envisioned, one being adoption. I firmly believe, these events had to take place in their proper time in order to receive this beautiful gift of life.
I can not wait to have a "real" woodshop; until then, my gracious wife allows me to take over the kitchen and turn it into a temporary woodshop. If you really want to make something happen, you have to work with what you got. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to build kitchen cabinets, counter tops, desks, media stands, and my favorite piece, a "hutch" for my desk at work complete with an outlet, usb hub, and audio! When I'm not building, I love to draw historic buildings and reading history and current events.