Passing Through

tumblr_ltwtz9U3821qco6d5o1_500We are here for such a short time.  The fact that we are here at all is a miracle.  While we are here we experience all sorts of emotions, events, joys and sorrows.  We get sick. We enjoy good food.  We love people and our pets.  We witness magnificence and horrors.  We see the very best of humanity and its very worst.

One of my favorite philosophers/spiritualists is John O’Donohue.  ( He had such a refreshing view on death.  He posits that the souls of our loved ones don’t travel to another part of the galaxy but are right near us all the time.  They have merely loosed the constraints of our earthly bodies and have slipped through the veil to the other side.  They are merely in a different state of being.

While that view is comforting it does not appease the heartache when someone we love leaves us.  It does not quench the overwhelming sorrow.  At least not right away.  O’Donohue says that as much as we would like to take someone’s place when death comes calling, each of us must go it alone.  That passing leaves an awful hole in our life.

Mom passed away suddenly over 14 years ago.  That loss, while bearable now, can never be completely mended.  Other members of my family have also passed recently – four of them within one year!  It’s almost more than one can bear.

So how do we do it? Carry on, I mean?  I don’t have the answers.  I don’t think anyone has the answers to these types of questions.  We’re not supposed to have the answers perhaps.  So when a loved one passes through the veil I try to focus on how the world was impacted for their having been here.  How have they loved? Have they laughed? Have they made others feel special? Have they made others love and laugh?

When I pass I hope that others will celebrate my having walked on this good Earth. I hope they will celebrate life. I really do.

The Magic of Pizza

Flour, water, a pinch of salt, yeast, olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and oregano.

That’s it. In and of itself, it’s not that impressive of a meal.  But it’s what’s behind the large pie that makes the difference.

You learn to live on this stuff in college.  It’s the stuff dinners are made of and, if there is any left over, you eat it cold for breakfast.

People find their favorite pizzeria and swear by it.  We live in Bethlehem and our favorite pizza joint is Rosanna’s on Broad Street.  We like ours well-done and plain (mostly because Eileen is vegetarian).

So what’s the big deal about pizza?

On Saturday, Eileen broke her arm while ice skating. Instead of family time on the ice we spent it having family time in the ER.  She had surgery on Tuesday and had a few screws put in near her elbow.  Lots of excruciating pain once the nerve block wore off. Things have been a little crazy around here.

The word spread and the members of our church, Hopesprings Community of Faith in Bangor, PA, have volunteered to provide a few meals for us during the next week.  Now, I have been cooking lots of meals since losing my job in early November and no one has died yet.  So my cooking meals is not a big deal. But I have to say that when the first meal arrived last night (2 large pies from Rosanna’s) it was a very nice thing to experience – no cooking, just sit back and enjoy supper with the family.

Two simple pizza pies provided with love by people who care made a big difference in our family. Very nice indeed.

Thank you to all our “family” in Bangor for showing God’s love in a real way.


December 31, 2014

Greetings to all our Friends and Family!!

There is so much that has happened in such a short time span that it feels like it’s been more than a year since last we wrote to you. This past year has been an exciting adventure peppered with losses of dear ones, life renewed by newborns and renewed relationships.       10553576_10204174536434265_4277685635505497917_n

I suppose I should start with January when we said goodbye to the matriarch of our family – Adelaide Gentile. She lived a long life (101 years) and made such a big impression on those around her that it is impossible to have known her and not be influenced by her spirit. She was full of stories of growing up on the farm in Berwick, PA and moving to the Bronx as a teenager and meeting my grandfather, Pasquale. Her life was not an easy one but it was a rich one. She will be missed but never forgotten. (That’s her, second from the left in the back row, 2nd grade and her holding the baby in the photo below). 935482_369711566482173_209700262_n(1)


We also lost Uncle Domenick and my step-mother, Kathleen. Both were such happy people who enjoyed family, telling stories and oh how they loved to laugh! The loved ones we lose leave such a hole in our lives but we cherish their memories and the intensity of their souls on us.10505509_10204005746574624_8558481851172554418_n

Last year we told you about our orphan hosting experience. Daniela (as well as many other orphans we met in Latvia) continues to be a part of our family albeit from several time zones away. In March she gave birth to a healthy baby boy – Harry! She has demonstrated an innate ability to be a good mother and she has grown as a woman. We were blessed to see her and Harry this year in Latvia. What a joy!!!! 10428499_10203953544869614_2319008948365918925_n

What were we doing in Latvia, you may ask? We traveled to Latvia in June, September and November. We were taking steps to add to our family. So here is the big news … we have adopted Kristofer (that’s him on the right) !! He was born on October 30, 1997 and the adoption was finalized on November 6, 2014. He is in high school and is adapting to the American way of life quite well. He enjoys soccer, track, wrestling and fishing. We must tell you that the adoption journey was exciting and required a lot of faith that God would pull this together for us and He did. Many, many people participated with us financially and through moral/prayer support. For those earthly angels we are eternally grateful.10447624_788621954503158_7420902122307827849_n

Peace and love and a joyous 2015!

Phil, Eileen, Peter, Kris, Daniela and Harry