We've been in the hospital for 4 days now (if you count the visits we made on Tuesday and Wednesday) which you should. But let's just total up the hours of doctor visits, ultrasounds, car rides to and from, hospital visits, emergency hospital visits... add it all up and I think Laura and I have spent about 100 hours with "professionals" waiting for our baby girl.
I am thankful beyond words for God's provision to us great family, great friends (who will help do anything for us including bringing more chick flicks than you can imagine to the hospital, feeding our dog and cat, among other things) great insurance for all these "tests and procedures", money to buy food and the job that allows me to BE with my wife and soon, my daughter. Thanks Daddy God (abba).
Soon, you will share the joys of seeing our baby girl, Elisabeth Colletti. Our "ELLIE". I can't wait. In fact, I think I have been so eager that I have added to my fatigue because of my daydreaming... ice cream trips, backyard sleepouts, laying in the hammock with her, reading to her from scripture, tea parties... I just seriously can't wait.
Anywho, here I sit looking at Laura sleeping, looking at Ellie cooking and I can only think of one thing. The writing above my daughter's nursery.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
The main reason is that this time of the year is shaping up to be one of the busiest for both Laura and I. The fall is always busy for Young Life between camps, assignments, and clubs on Mondays and all that comes with that... But now with Laura teaching and directing shows - we see each other for about 2 hours or so a night...
Hmmm... Doesn't leave alot of time to eagerly want to blog, now does it?
Anyways, some cool things have happened since last time...
Laura has directed a Cabaret (variety show) and also oversaw a Haunted House at Centennial. She is lovin' it... (no pictures of the show - no flash photography allowed...)
I'm busy with YoungLife and WyldLife in Cave Creek. We recently had a FOOD FIGHT with 20 Jr. High kids at a park in CC and it was awesome!
We are excited for Winter Break for both of us and excited for what God has for us. There is no update on a house :(
Believe it or not... The Colletti's are looking to buy a house.
It's pretty crazy and leaves me curious as to how little I actually control in my life (the answer is very little)... 2 years ago we moved to Cave Creek. I went to work for Young Life and Laura went back to school to get her teaching license. We looked at the "cheapest" homes in our community and laughed at the idea of us buying a $350,000 house... Ha.
Well, unfortunately for folks who bought and are now needing to sell, but fortunate for us - the housing market in AZ has taken a dive. We are now in position to be able to not only buy a home, but buy one for less than what we want to spend! How blessed are we.
We are currently looking intently at two houses and they are both "Short Sale" homes. This means that the owner of the home is facing foreclosure and rather than getting foreclosed they agree to sell the home for less than what they owe on their mortgage. It is a win-win because if they stay in it and can't afford the payments the consequence is larger than if they sell it in Short Sale. The issue with short sales is that the bank has to agree to sell the home for less than the value of the mortgage (losing money is never fun for them...). As a result, it often takes a loooooooooong time to respond and counter and get a deal done.
That's where we are. 5 weeks in and still anticipating news... The longer it goes, the more anxious we get. But the beauty of it is that in the midst of it all God is teaching us what we are going to do with the home.
We'll have a room dedicated as a Young Life club room so that each week hundreds of kids from Cactus Shadows can hear about Christ! We are going to create a home office so I can become organized and have a central operating location for working with Young Life in Cave Creek. We are hoping to move my Grandmother in with us so she can be with family more often...
Whatever house God gives us we are going to give it back to him.
It's been quite a while since I've been on here blogging... I may have to come back and tell a little about life, but first...
You gotta check out this website that is guaranteed to waste a good 5 minutes of your day. That's me in 1966 in my Senior picture of High School...
This website allows you to plug your face into what the style of the day was in any given year form 1950-2000 and see what you would look like in HS then. It's pretty funny. Try it! No, seriously, you should try it - you'll laugh.
Click the Yearbook Yourself link to go to the site
We ate and I had a very good Hefe beer to which I forget the name, but kind people, it was a good beer.
Then we walked the streets some more searching for Georgetown University. It appeared close to us on our maps, but after an hour or so we gave up and called it a night.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Head back to Midway and fly out to Baltimore. I get on the flight and arrive at 1045p.
(Now, this is a part most mothers and worrysome folk should simply scroll down a bit...) I am grabbing a train to D.C at 630am - so I figure what the hay, I'll pack a blankie and catch some ZZZZ's at the airport. I get off the plane last (I'm not in a hurry...) and the airport is barren. Me, my blanket and a custodian vacuuming...
I get up and head to D.C - about 35 min on the Metro system. I get into town about 8 hours ahead of my 2 counterparts, so I head out for some more adventure. I go to the SUPREME COURT (where I see a lone woman praying over the steps for Pro-Life), THE CAPITOL BUILDING and THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
I notice on the map that there is a Catholoic Church boasting of the "World's Largest Mosaic Image of Christ". I figure as a old church, big Jesus picture fan - I have to go.
I think the church is beautiful and the Jesus mosaic is quite... Ummmm... Intriguing?!? Yeah! Intriguing! Along the way though, I also learn some interesting doctrine through a tour about Catholics.
Apparently, 1Peter 3:18-19, teaches that when Jesus dies on the cross he goes to Hell to tell those in Hell about the Gospel. Hmmm... That's where that comes from. I am confused, so I ask the tour guide about it and he can't explain it to me... "Oh well..." I think. I head back to the Metro reading my bible and looking up commentaries on my Blackberry...
To my surprise, there's a priest on the platform waiting for the Metro too. I think that's pretty convenient... So I ask him about it. We had pretty cool discussion which basically ended when he didn't respond to my question of what Jesus means when he tells the thief on the cross he'll be in paradise TODAY with him... How could Jesus be in Hell if he was in paradise?
The questions, thoughts, prayers of those minutes left me hungry for clarification in a way I've not had for a while. Then I thought about the fact that I'm just entering Seminary (anyone wanna help pay for classes?!? ;) and I got excited about knowledge I'll gain through that experience...
Then I checked into the hotel and slept...
(Pictures will be updated to these posts on 8/15)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
We've seen a lot of the USA (He's been to Europe and Australia...thus having 2 continents up on me in our race to see who can get to all 7 continents first...).
Today, the adventure starts out solo. My mom-in-law hooked me up with a standby pass on Southwest Airlines and I am hopping a flight to Chi-town. I will end up in Baltimore tonight, but first I have about 8 hours to kill in Chicago. The plan: catch the train to WRIGLEY FIELD and try to score a ticket to the Cubs game for no more than $40... They're playing St. Louis (A huge rival!) so getting in might be difficult...
Wish me luck!
(The newest mobile device I am using has NO camera - so pictures will follow after the trip is over... Sorry, I know BLOGS with pics are way more interesting)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Human Bowling... Oh yeah!
Finishing a competition...
Me teaching about what it means to be a man.
Keep praying for kids and leaders at OakBridge. More to come.
Anyways, we got the privilege to take 10 kids to Young Life camp this year from Cave Creek. We also had great leaders with us. The blessings are hard to recap, but I hope you can sense the Lord in these pictures from our trip.
Cactus Shadows HS at Crooked Creek. 7 girls, 3 boys, 4 leaders. God is moving in CC.
Left to right: Joey, Sam, Alex, Marcus, Shelby (God is pursuing all these guys... pray.)
Marcus at Say So at the end of the week - "...Let the redeemed of the Lord say so..."
Emma (CC WL leader and campaigners girl) and Onusa (Exchange student from Thailand)
PV and Cave Creek Young Life at Crooked Creek Ranch - 91 kids and leaders! Wow!
A great week. A great calling. A great place to be. Keep praying for Cave Creek kids.
Each night at Young Life camp we get to talk in a small group about life, pain, Jesus and where it all fits together. After hearing about Sin (Putting ourselves above others and God at any cost) Marcus heard about Jesus' great love for him by offering himself as a replacement for the cost of Sin in his life.
Marcus decided that he had a "few" questions that he wanted to answer... I put the word "few" in quotations because Marcus began asking questions about 11:45pm and I closed my eyes at about 2:15am. Marcus, myself and about 5 other Young Life leaders sat in a room in northern Colorado and read scripture after scripture and invited Jesus to reveal himself.
The next night came and Young Life club happened. The speaker, Glenn, invited us all to go spend some time with our creator. We sat nestled in the Rocky Mountains with the stars creating a roof no one could help but try to touch... After these 20 minutes, we returned to our room to have another small group time. I sat intentionally across from the door to be able to catch Marcus face when he walked in the room. He walked in and there was a glow about him... He walked over to me and asked "Hey Joe, before we start, can I say something to the whole group?" I knew what he wanted to say. I nodded and felt tears welling.
"Hey guys, just wanted to say that I think I am ready to give Jesus a try" he said. A few questions were asked and then Marcus chimed in again and said "I was looking at the stars and after I realized Jesus was real and that he loves me, I felt like the stars formed a smiley face...I know He is happy about me realizing this..."
Marcus and I joined 10 others this morning for our after camp campaigners. He came eager to learn, eager to ask and eager to share. I praise God for his love, compassion, pursuit and use of fools like me and others before me. Thank you Jesus.
We stayed in a nice hotel in town and had a "Shopping Spree" during the day. Fun times and it was amazing to see how quickly you could spend a few hundred bucks if you wanted to...
Laura's turn... She surprised me and on Sunday told me we were going to Sedona the next day for a few days. We had always really liked Sedona and haven't been since we got married. We left Monday mid day and got to the hotel around 2p. We stopped on our way up at this chapel in the Rocks - it was really pretty and had a cool story of dedication, perseverance and vision behind it.
Tuesday, we got up and hiked a small trail called Marg's Draw. Ehhhh... I've seen better. Then we had some lunch and climbed Cathedral Rock. I have to admit, I was not very excited at first.
I saw the trail and thought "Wow, walk for an hour and look at rocks! Yippee!" But then Laura started to struggle on some parts, and I chuckled, like any good husband should and I began to think "this could be fun to watch for a little longer"... So we continued. I am so thankful we did because it was one of the coolest hikes I have ever done in my life. Easily.
The views were amazing. The color was awesome. The feeling when we got to the summit was great. And best of all I got to be with my amazing, thoughtful, caring best friend the whole way. (I know, I know... Awww!) But seriously, check out these pictures!
This one (up) is my favorite. Reminds me of "The Land Before Time" which is a childhood fav
As you look, thank God with us for the beauty of the places we were as well as our time together. I think in the season we are in right now, these precious 60 hours or so were absolutely the most amazing gift we could have been given for our anniversary.
Thank you God that you know what we need before we do, what we desire more than we do and that you give to us what the heart truly needs and desires. I love you and I thank you.
I love that part of the Young Life experience is that we get to "take kids to camp". I love it for many reasons, most of which, is that people think camp is a place where you have big fires and roast marshmallows and sing while holding hands and all joining in unison with Marty the group leader who wears Weezer glasses and has Brawny guy beard...
In fact, it's not like that at all... Laura and I, while on our honeymoon in St. Lucia could be quoted saying "Wow, if they didn't serve alcohol, this place would be a Young Life camp for adults!" The essence of Young Life camping is excellence and we stop at nothing to make good on that... From heated floors so your feet stay warm, to as much great food served to you as you want, to awesome laughter and entertainment, to great chances to do once in a life adventures, to great speakers to share stories of life, love and God with... Young Life does a great job of "camp".
If you are reading this right now, please stop and take 45 seconds and say a quick prayer over these names of kids and leaders going to camp from May 31 - June 8 in Colorado. Pray for lives to be changed. Pray for willingness to open their hearts, eyes, ears and mouths to enjoy what God has for them at camp. Pray for leaders strength and rest to abound. Pray for safety. Pray.
BOYS FROM Cave Creek:
Christian, Shelby, Marcus, Sam
GIRLS FROM Cave Creek:
Morganne, Nicole, Emily, Kayla, Liz, Becky
Leaders from Cave Creek:
Check back in June for the best part... Getting to hear what YOUR prayers have done to be a part of the story of what GOD is doing in kids lives in Cave Creek...
As we stepped into the massive place I told Laura "We are here for a few things on my list and a few on yours and we are outta here babe." After taking an amazing picture for my membership card, we strolled on through the aisles and familiarized ourselves with the store.
It took us about 2 hours to stroll the store. It was ridiculous and scared me a little to think how easy we could buy something simply because "it's such a good deal!" I was tempted to buy 2 gallons of milk for $4.41 because "it's such a good deal!" until my wife reminded me that we barely drink a 1/2 gallon of milk in a week...
I am scared for our recent introduction to CostCo. Pray for us. Ok, don't pray for us about CostCo... but still pray for us - we would love it!
She paused and responded "Ladies and Gentleman, good to be with you today. Where we going anyways..." (imagine a drunken slur). Then we continued to pick people we would not want to hear aweful things from... A very easy way to pass and hour or so.
I am pretty sure we stole it from Who's Line Is It Anyway...
"It's a simple math formula" he said, "You give out and don't get filled back up - therefore after a certain amount of time - you will run out of what you got to give" Hmmmm... thought I. Why didn't I think of that?!
It amazes me how much I allow my world around me to dictate what I want to do with the most precious resource I have - my time.
So tonight, I spent about 45 minutes doing some things I wanted to do...
Here's what occupied some of my thoughts:
I really wish I wasn't a SUNS fan, because then this guy wouldn't bug the crap out of me so much! UGHHHH! Why can't he figure out how to call timeouts, manage the greatest PG of all time and figure out to beat this pizza faced freak!
I also gangked some newbs in some XBOX live with some of my YL guys! (Laura played too... she's really good with a sniper rifle...)
I spent a few minutes continuing my search for a new car... I am pretty sure I want this box lookin' thing - they are sick and get great gas mileage.
All in all a good night of relaxation.
Anyways, I was studying the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and a bunch of things stood out to me. Too many to write... but here is one from this small passage.
Matt. 6:19 ¶ “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matt. 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt. 6:22 ¶ “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
Matt. 6:23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Matt. 6:24 ¶ “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Matt. 6:25 ¶ “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Matt. 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matt. 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matt. 6:28 ¶ “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Matt. 6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Matt. 6:30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matt. 6:31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matt. 6:32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Matt. 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matt. 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Thoughts from an Italian Man:
Why do I waste so much time worrying about money? How to get it? How to spend it? How to give it? How to spend it?
Why do I waste so much time worrying about my daily needs? How to care for them? How to pay for caring for them? What would be best to care for them?
I am annoyed that our view of things is so skewed... Why? I have no concrete answer. I just know that God's world and my world are opposites.
It's like God's world to my world is the same as Superman to Bizarro!!
Here's what I am left with:
1. We must run hard after God with everything we have in our being
2. We must not care HOW but know that our needs WILL be taken care of.
At least this guy knows what's going on...
Rather, as of today, April 7, 2008 - she has taken a position at Centennial High in Peoria. The drive is a bit further (79th ave and Thunderbird) but the job security, pay and ability to do what she loves to were all too many benefits to pass up.
The lesson is clear: God provides. Not what we think we want, but what HE knows we need. I am thankful to watch my wife process with her God about what her life will hold and I am blessed to see his faithfulness to her.
As of January 2008, I am an ordained Minister. I can marry if you need this particular task taken care of... I have a good friend who is getting married on Saturday and I am officiating the wedding. I am scared... humbled... anxious... excited... but most of all I am glad. I am glad because this has given me new eyes to see my heart, my marriage and my wife in fresh ways... Prepping this wedding has been very convicting - in marriage you see the best and worst of yourself lived out before your eyes. You say things, do things and act in ways you would never allow yourself to and if your lucky this will only result in a short "discussion". ;)
I love my wife. She is amazing. She supports me. She forgives me. She gets me. And I blow it... often. And she forgives me. I love her and am thankful for her being such a blessing in my life.
Ahhhh... Marriage. :)