Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coming into Focus- and Savoring our Fortune

Well , it's hard to believe its only been 3 days since I last posted. It feels like its been a month. My life feels like it's been turned on its head (in a good way).  Why, you ask? Well, for those who aren't regularly on my family's adoption blog, my parents are expected to be in Eastern Europe by the 22nd of November. This means that packing, provisions, plane tickets, all that spiel needs to be in place in what is really a short amount of time. Throughout this, though, I've been messing around some more with my Dad's old SLR. I killed my first role of film within about 3 hours of usage, and my Mom bought me a 4-pack to last me a while. Most of the time, though, it's less of actually taking pictures and more of figuring out settings and whatnot. I LOVE to play around with the manual zoom and focus (its that part my hand with the watch is supporting). This camera from what I've seen of my Dad's old pictures is pretty sharp. You can get tons of great details in perfect focus and have a good picture altogether. But sometimes, it's better to get a lot of smaller pictures to capture just how beautiful it all is. That way you can enjoy your pictures more because they have more detail.  That can take some serious work though. Getting perfect focus when the camera is zoomed up is tough. Sometimes you literally have to brush the focus lense with your fingers to get that little green "take your picture" light to flash. 

I find very often it's a similar deal with God. It would be sooo much easier to just get a grand overview of everything and move on. There are so many questions about my future I have for God it would be nice sometimes to get a big, general answer in stead of another "for now" answer. But God didn't make us to get all the answers. Sometimes we (metaphorically) have to zoom in and focus on the here and now. Getting a clearer, more detailed view of today could be more wirth it then getting an wider view of today and tomorrow. I find once I'm focuseed in though, everything is much more happy and enjoyable then trying to figure out my whole life. I get more of a kick out of things like this:
(Yes, that is a vanilla ice cream mustache on my messy marvin little brother)

I tend to do funny things like buy this:

  (I triple dog dare you not to crack up at that Christmas Story T-shirt :D)

In other words, I try to savor the fortune the Heavenly Father has given us in each day. I think there are so many moments to relish in the second we're living; We're in a safe country being protected by brave men and women overseas. We have causes that need fighting for. Today is a new day.

"So breath it in, and breath it out,
and listen to your heart beat.
There's a wonder in the here and now!
It's right there in front of you,
and I don't want you to miss
the miracle of the moment.

Steven Curtis Chapman "Miracle of the Moment" 

Monday, October 25, 2010


Ah, Mistakes. Don't ya just love 'em? From the time you tripped on your own feet to when you set your grill on fire (or something like that. You catch my drift.), you only feel downright stupid after they've happened.

Lately, this has been a recurring theme in my life.

Mistake #1- On Sunday me and Elizabeth (my sis) saw Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (which was awesome) at our local theater. When we came back, everyone was in a tizzy. On Saturday, me and Dad had been grabbing some travel gear (luggage and some DVD's for the plane ride) for our upcoming Eastern Europe trip. As it so happens in the recurring Comedy of "Family of 7 splits errands and Kids," this time me and Dad only got the two- foot tornado (Addisu) to keep an eye on. As me and Dad were looking at manly films (Clash o the Titans, Iron Man 2, and How to train Your Dragon. Hey, dudes can like kid movies, can't they?), Addisu spotted his and Gab's (my other sister) new favorite movie, the latest Tinker Bell (the Fairy Rescue? I'm a guy, I'm clueless :D). Dad picked it up and Addisu had already watched it a couple of times at this point. After he watched it one of those times. I had literally walked with him into our Dad's office where he had stuck it in the office closet for no apparent reason. So here I am, helping my frazzled parents locate the brand new DVD my kid brother just lost. And just as Dad calls out where it was, it all comes back. Senile? Most likely.

Mistake #2- If there's one thing my mom and her blogging buddy Mrs. Spitz can do, it's write a good blog post. As I was trying to comment on one of Mrs. Spitz' latest posts, my comment continually got a message stating "your comment will be displayed after approval." Only after typing it about 3 or 4 times did  I realize that meant the AUTHOR and not me.  So needless to say, when Mrs. Spitz sat down to Blogger a short while later, she had triple clones of a comment by yours truly.

Mistake #3- I normally wake up at a good time on weekdays for schoolwork. 7:00 a.m. or a little bit earlier. I ALWAYS remeber to set my alarm. But to just continue my stupid streak, I forgot to and opened my eyes to a clock that read 8:46 a.m. Bravo, Mr. Early Rise.

But in reflection, I realized something: none of these matter. We found the DVD, I got all my schoolwork done today anyway, and I think (read hope) everybody has made some mistake with Blogger. So in the end, I don't think it'll change anything major in the long run :)

Anyway, Other things have been happening!

As I said, Eastern Europe looms in the very near future. We're expecting to get a travel date this week or next! I'm really getting myself mentally braced for this. It's this soon? It's all really going to happen? Well, I'll just go with God's flow and see where He takes me.

In other news, I've been looking at one of these lately:

   Canon Powershot SX20 IS. It's a superzoom ,so even if it's not a formal DSLR, the fact that it's meant to make a good looking picture at 20x zoom and it's 12.1 megapixels gives it an almost better looking picture (in my opinion) than even a Canon Rebel. But since I've just recovered from my point and shoot and dont have anoth $350, my Dad lent me this:

 His old Canon Rebel SLR. I think I've fallen in love :D This thing is an awesome trainer camera. I'm gonna be learning how to take a good shot without even seeing it. Why, you ask? Notice how there's no D on the front of that SLR back up there? This thing takes film, people. You know, like they used back in the stone ages? Just kidding. I have had so much fun that within about two hours I've totalled about 2/3's of my role of film. Pictures will come soon :)

So what exactly am I trying to convey here? Well, laugh and accept your mistakes. You're only human after all. And while you're at it, take some photos with your dad's antique camera. You might learn a thing or two about photography.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


America. Land of opportunity, freedom, and a lot of other great things. People come over here from other countries to start a life here. They're blown away by the tales of success and a better life. And we accept that. But the problem is...

We don't know why.

Lots of bad things go on in foreign countries. I'm not going to get into that because this would be an EXTREMELY long post if I did. But I am going to focus on one little thing not many people know goes on in other countries (mainly Eastern Europe).

The kids.

In America, kids are pretty well taken care of from the second they're born. We have entire stores and clothing lines devoted to kids and toddlers. We have types of food meant for our tykes. We think nothing of it.

But let's travel a couple thousand miles to a region known as Eastern Europe. The little kids there are treated well.

Except for one "useless" minority.

The Special Needs ones.

Almost none of them are actually kept. Almost all of them get dumped into an orphanage. They've got a 4-5 year window of opportunity to be rescued before they get sent to adult (yes, like full grown people) mental institutions, where the small amount of care they were given in the Baby House (orphanage) is eliminated. After about a year, well, you can guess what happens.

The REALLY sad part? These are the secrets that are rarely whispered. When they are, only so many find out. For all the work that those few dedicated to the cause can do, only a small amount of the kids actually get that God-sent rescue.

And most of the world remains clueless to it.

I was talking with a friend this morning at church, explaining this situation. Giving a few of the stories that I've heard about what happens there and the effect it has on the kids. He had no idea any of this went on.

That's why we're doing what we are and fighting for the cause.

We're rescuing one. I know of about 30-45 families who are adopting these kids, some 2 or 3 at once. But the issue is..

There are so many more to be saved.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Loosening Up a Little

So my week has been another set of 12 hour work days to get it all done. A lot of work starts to weigh on you after a while. So, when your down, Addisu will turn it 'round:

The Wacky Dancing Boy! from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

How very appropriate that the little heartbreakaker should like a song called "Break Your Heart." How ironic.

Otherwise, life goes on in a normal fashion. We're still waiting for a travel date to EE, and waiting STINKS. On ice.

I feel more than ready to finally meet this little cutie in person! We're all hungry at least for some new pics and videos of our little princess as well!

I've also been kinda doing something else lately... photography. I am a complete photography junkie.

This is my current camera- Canon A3100 IS.  I swear its the best $150 I ever spent. I use it so much and take so many pictures that I've bought a second battery pack for when I kill the other one :D. I have a serious problem :D. Anyway, I've taken all the photos you see on my blog with it, and I've been trying out some "photography style" angles.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

                          (Yeah, that's an Aslan Figure. No Geekier love :D)

      (only Addisu can rock a ten gallon cowboy hat thats WAY too big for him. Go figure :D)

To round this all out, I think most of us prayer warriors may appreciate this:

Don't blame me if you start cracking up in the middle of your next prayer group if somebody says Hedge of Protection. And DON'T institute it into the Daily Evening Prayer's intercessions (DAD!).

Well, I hope this has helped to relieve any stress you might've had! It's the weekend! I am personally more than ready to relax for a little bit!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Ah, Bloggery. Is that even an actual compute world term? Ah, who cares, I'm coining it now: Bloggery- the art of producing, running, and writing a blog (As well as keeping it fresh and relevant). Over the past couple months, I hope I've given you a look into my little world and who I am as a person. But so far, I haven't exactly given the story behind the whole shebang.. so here it is!

Believe it or not, there was a time wen I new naught of the blogosphere. Gasp! I knew what a blog was, but how exactly you started one or what you wrote on it was beyond me. Then when we were in the adoption process for Addisu, a little blurb popped up on our agency's website asking everyone to pray for a family who had adopted an older Ethiopian girl. This girl's adoptive little sister, Abby (from Guatemala) was diagnosed with Leukemia at 3 years old. And that brought my Mom into the Blogosphere- and hence the rest of the family with her. Slowly it went form Cancer Blogs to adoption blogs into adoption form all different countries. Shortly before we entered the process for Jenny, we set up an orphan ministry blog called Before that, it had been my Mom's interest mainly. But at this point, the blogosphere was a little bit more  influential in my Family's life. I had met a friend through her family's adoption blog my Mom had found, and my Dad was running his own little site ( At that point, my Dad was seeing the benefits of having a blog: being more private than Facebook, it still gave you a place to share your thoughts, photos and videos without having to friend anyone or worry about getting a recommended as a friend to other people. All of the other kids jumped at it instantly. I took a sec to think about it. was it really that worth it? Did I have something worth saying? I decided to give it a shot, fueled by the fact that I'd have my family members making their maiden voyages in the blog world as well.

And that brings us to today! I feel blessed to have the followers  I do, and to know that at some point, someday, my blog may affect some one's life in a positive and uplifting way. I look at my blog not only as a place to post my thoughts and experiences, but a place to spread God's love  and messages around. There are so few popular blogs that I've seen that demonstrate any kind of decency. One blog I saw that had some 1500+ followers basically carried the message of "this is my life and I'm not drunk if I act crazy." (???) Regardless of how popular I get, I figure it's better to reach those I can than worry about who's got  the most comments or followers for that day.

In terms of what I read/who I follow, the list is a little farther down the page. My entire family is on there. Check 'em all out if you haven't already!

We also have Miss Jodi (Artoma/Hunter from Reece's Rainbow's mom). If you want a good laugh or adoption from Ukraine stories, head on over there (and don't be worried if you don't get the Llama joke between her and her buddy Kristin. It's a blog mom thing :D)

We also have the Spitz family. Our moms have gotten to know each other really well and I admire them so much. They have been through the wringer multiple times in their process, and I extremely admire the endurance and persistence. Can't wait to meet 'em, here or Eastern Europe!

Next we have the Nalles. This family has certainly redefined paving the way for adoption, and their sweet little Aaron is so dang Cute!  I suggest you get over there right now and look at the pictures of "little boy who likes to burn things in big bonfire" :) Absolutely adorable.

Last but certainly not least are the Hook family. I pray every day that their sweet little Evan will be home soon in their arms. They have waited more than their fair share of tiem to get her home.

So there you go! My blogging persona nad how I got there are all out on the table. Read and enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Nice Weekend (a little change)

Well, friends, I come to you, for a change, not completely burnt out and exhausted :) That may not mean I've been at the spa for the weekend, but for once it was the perfect balance of things.

Saturday was the event day. We were heading up to Albany for a day trip to see the Catholic Bishop's Cathedral up there, and we were going to stop by the New York state Museum of Natural History, which is only about a fifth of a mile from the cathedral.

This has been my inaugural photo for almost every album lately, and I just haven't bothered to show it yet. this is Addisu's "I'm going to take a picture of you with my air camera since you people constantly point those things at me" pose. Priceless.

The trip up was quick and beautious. Exhibit A:
                                  All right, so it ain't "Boston in the fall" but its darn close.

I've been building up an endurance to prepare for a certain 12 hour plane ride coming up: Things need to feel quick and easy :).

Once we got up there, my photography spree really kicked into gear:

Just in case you'd want to know, all three previous pictures were taken from a car going 64 mph. I was amazed how well these came out. 

One word can describe things once we got out into the open: Wind. It was cold, it was loud, it was hard. But once we got into the cathedral, all that vanished:
  This place was any photographer's dream. I went ballistic in there taking pictures. If you are a fellow photography nut (or just want to see a nice church) you can check it out here. We had an excellent (and very thorough) tour as well.

Even if it was lacking a couple Catholic necessities, it was still absolutely beautiful. Especially this depiction of the greatest Love ever known on earth: 

After a quick lunch, it was off to the museum. I'd been there a couple times before, so it would be neat to reminisce to past times when I'd been there.  As we were signing in, a little girl came over to us. She said she lived just down the street, and that she'd like someone to tour the museum with her. We took her along, and it was actually pretty fun to have another person in the group. I just felt so bad for this little girl though. She couldn't have been more than ten, and while she told us that her parents had just been busy, I don't know if I could've fended for myself at that age if I had been in her shoes in a big city like Albany. But she was a sweet little kid and she gave us some company for the day. Each time I go, I see soemthing differently; for example, this time, I realized that if I pointed my camera at the right angle, it could look like the army vehicle was shooting the Mammoth Fossil:

On a less humerous note though, soemthing else left me with a hard spot in my chest. Last time I'd been, I was in fourth grade. I was still a little bit young ot see the footage of 9/11. The year I was homeschooling for 7th grade, I asked my Mom if we could watch one of the news specials on that day that year, to learn the full impact. She said I didn't have to, but she wouldn't mind. Having come back and having seen the footage, walking through an exhibit of wreckage from that day was incredibly emotional:

That was a Fire Truck. You know, those big trucks we used to play with as kids that looked so indestructible? One group of people's wrong actions had the power to cause that, and so, so much more:

At one time, that was probably a foundation piece or a crossbeam. It help up hundreds of thousands, probably even millions of tons of material and people.

What really bugs me beyond the destruction and indecency? We are STILL a country that just hasn't received Jesus. It really ticks me off that people could see stuff like this say that its God's fault. Wake up and smell the roses, smart ones. God wasn't piloting the planes that were on an annihilation mission that morning. He was just as sad as we were to see it happen. this is WHY we need God, not why we don't.

The day was rounded out with a little Merry-go-round fun.

                                    And somebody LOVED it. Guess who?

I swear, if we're gonna have a smile as wide as his was when he got off that ride once we get to heaven, then bring on the Pearly Gates!

Today was nice and quiet. but no Picture Perfect (no punn intended) day is, well, perfect without pictures.

A nice little weekend. Just nice. The whole time, though, I've been thinking about it. The fact I'll be in Eastern Europe in less than two months. The fact little Jen is gonna be home shortly before or after Christmas. The fact that there's no way I'm gonna be the same person coming out as I will going in. 

Passing through darkness into my own world
Will I be more than when I left (than when I left)
Never letting go of the lessons I learned
This will make a change
A change within me  

Kutless, "More Than It Seems"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Music- Yes. What You'd Expect, Not So Much.

Well, I promised a music review, and that's what I'm gonna give. Just with a slight curve ball to the ballgame.

So, as I said in yesterpost, I got this:

The Celtic Thunder: Christmas Album. I don't think I mentioned them on my music page (link is in the sidebar), but I'll give them the plug now. I found out about them about 3 years back when their first recorded concert aired on my local PBS. They're all pretty solid singers and I absolutely adore the presentation, talent, and effort put into their shows. Getting to see them live was the epitome of all that. I was more than happy to get the album that was the second half of the show I saw. and it gave me a good excuse to start listening to Christmas music in October :D. But one of the things I like most about them was also one of the detriments here: the lyrics. There's nothing wrong with them ,it's just all fluffy pop stuff. While one guy is designated the heartbreaking bad boy of the group ("Ryan, cough,cough*"), most of the lyrics are pretty much showbizzy-romance-secular songs. But it leaves something to be desired at the same time. Another good album, but its secular stuff. Love, Santa and Christmas. Not a whole lot of songs devoted to Jesus or the miracle of the Incarnation.

Coincidentally, another album came out that day: this:

My Dad picked up the Deluxe Edition, DVD and all. This COMPLETELY blew Celtic Thunder out of the water. I'll be putting Matthew's Amazon Page in my Music page pretty soon. I found out about him through his smash hit, the Motions. I lived Something to Say, and I was ecstatic to hear about his new album. As God would have it, he's also a friend of my friend Tori over @ Shining City Teens. Go figure. This album is purely fan-inspired. He had all of us fans write in our personal stories to him, and through that, he would take some time off in a cabin in the countryside of Tennessee to write an album based off them. Most of these stories are poignant and personal, and that makes for an album very much that way. The lyrics are all uplifting, even if they start with some heart breaking situations (not explicitly or graphically talked about though). I absolutely LOVE this album. If you're an MW fan, pick it up. If you're not, pick it up as well.

In other news, we are submitted into SDA approval and are awaiting clearance! The clearance this time equals, you guessed it, TRAVELLING! Unfortunately, though, it looks like I might be gone around Christmas time. But for all that, as a friend pointed out, I'll be spending Christmas with Jenny in Eastern Europe. That's awesome.

Eh, maybe fluffy Christmas Music won't be so bad after all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yet ANOTHER crazy weekend (Sound familiar?)

Well, School keeps me busy. My weekends? They're quiet, but quiet doesn't mean "Not Crazy" either. It just means I'm not partying it up or anything. Instead, there are plenty of quiet little activities.

My weekend begins Friday night. Hangin' out @ the house, going to Academy (like CCD or Sunday School on Friday Nights), or going to a Youth Group at a local Bible Church, or seeing a movie,I always try to do something. This Friday exceeded the normal craziness. We had some family up from Georgia visiting, so we would see them that night, then I would go to Academy at 4, and then, a little something special. The local Veteran Association was going to have some soldiers from Walter Reed (the military hospital. Like, badly wounded to the point they will never go back into war again)up for the weekend to have a little vacation with their families. The local Knights of Columbus were going to have people lining the streets leading to the Hotel where they'd be staying, and we found out through a knight who goes to our church where to stand. The academy group headed over right after to join the festivities.

Well, friends, I can tell you one thing: we were certainly quite a roadside spectacle :D It was a great time, and we all enjoyed getting to talk while we waited to welcome 5 men who have given their lives for a greater cause.

Saturday was relatively quiet. I did, however, see this in the theaters:

I've gotta say, I was very pleasantly surprised by this 3D kid's movie. I really enjoyed it! The story could be put into the following math equation: Owls+Narnia+ Lord of the Rings+ well done 3D= satisfying Saturday popcorn flick with a good story to it :D After that it was a last-minute babysitting job at a neighbor's. It's really more like a house-sitting job since the baby sleeps like a rock, but its money in my pocket and a private study hall, so I can't complain.

Sunday was Sunday Mass. After that, I was expecting to have the day pretty much open to anything. We actually got invited to do a local nature walk that was up from Georgia to visit. Thanks to my increasing Photoshop skills, I pulled this together:

Poet's Walk to the tune of "Concerning Hobbits" from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

For my fellow Lord of the Rings dorks, yes, that's the Shire theme :D

Monday was gonna be a day well spent. I had a cousin in town visiting who'll be shipping out for army training soon, and this was gonna be our last opportunity to see him for months. It was a bittersweet day indeed :( We started off the day by doing some apple picking (they don't call us the empire as in the apple state for nothing)

 See all those little trees up on the left side of that hill? Those are ALL APPLES.

                                             Need I explain more? 

               Little siblings look so cute when they're focused on something.
              Or when they're just walking around, ignorant to the world.

       Somebody was also happy to find an apple worthy of picking at their height :D

 It also helps when they have pumpkins on the farm as well:

           It's also nice when your little sibs will pose for a Kodak moment:


After that, it was another hike at the nature walk I had done the day before. The whole day wrapped up with a nice quiet dinner @ home before goodbyes. A nice end to a nice weekend.

And then this arrived:

And made my whole week :D Music review coming soon?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the Not Too Distant Future...

So good news for those of you following our adoption! Our paperwork is safely in Eastern Europe and is being processed! This means we could start this travelling extravaganza mid-November and have her home by Mid- December God willing! This is majorly exciting! And on another hand, it's made the resolution on the picture of life (and you wonder why my prized possession is my camera) come into focus some more.

I'm actually gonna be in Eastern Europe (yes, I hate not getting to tell you the actual country as well). I knew I was gonna be on a plane for 12 hours give or take. I knew I was gonna be over there for about 6 weeks or so getting our sweet Jen out of her old life (on paper and mentally) so she could transition into the new one awaiting her in the U.S. But then, my mental lens focused when I didn't expect it to.

I'm gonna be thousands, maybe even millions of miles away from the town I've grown up in since I was 7 1/2. I'm gonna be LIVING in Eastern europe. SMELLING Eastern Europe. TASTING Eastern Europe. Hearing it. We will probably be there in a season of perpetal snow (and this boy from the 9 month arctic of NY says Yeah!), where we will be driven at 90 mph through the snowy roads to get to her orphanage. Jenny will probably flow with most things, but eventually she's gonna wonder "What the heck are these two people who I don't really know doing with me?"

and oh, yeah...

This isn't some far-off dream anymore. This is serious reality here. She'll be home soon God willing. I know no amount of pictures or anything is gonna prepare me for the gut-wrenching sights that await my oblivious eyes in that tiny little place known as a Eastern European Orphanage. But I'm more than excited; this is gonna be a new experience for me.

In a very short while, 
I will have gone miles, 
and miles away from my home.

My ears will hear sounds,
my eyes see small towns, 
All over the country that holds
My new little sister, 
and, oh, how we've missed her
More than she'll ever know. 

We'll wrap her and hold her,
where love will enclose her,
and she can be safe and sound.

And home we will come, 
To where all begun and 
Jenny will finally  be ours.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back in Action

Well, no weekend lasts more than 48 hours. No weekend of late has been without insanity either :)

I don't think there is a such thing as a "Bad" Weekend at the Seminary. It's great there no matter what. I always have a good time, even if I'm not well-rested (note to self: old stone buildings get insanely stuffy because of heating at night. DO NOT bring flannel pajamas unless you want to sweat like a pig).

On a slightly more pleasant note, I've assembled a slideshow I'm really proud of (I've learned to master photoshop. Yay!)

Dunwoodie Garden Slideshow Final Cut from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

Anyway, today was my little brother's Confirmation. I came up early from my Prep weekend to make it, and I was also gonna be serving. needless to say, it was gonna be a day.

3 of us sharp lookin' men (fourth behind the camera) in sized order. I think this is my favorite picture of all of us boys.

Then came the mass. The church was packed. Insanely. We literally had almost no room left by the end. The whole morning, I had promised myself  I wouldn't get nervous. But as we were lining up (I was carrying the cross and was gonna have a lot of eyes staring at me) I could feel that weakness creeping into my legs. We made it through the mass with flying colors, and afterwards we headed over to the restaurnt where my parents had their wedding reception and Gab had her Communion Brunch (after her first communion in June).

Another great, packed weekend indeed. Now, though, I'm tired.