Ave Maria Living Magazine | Issue # 1 | September 2016

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Sister publication of AveMariaLiving.com - the inaugural edition of the print magazine. Ave Maria, Florida - the town with a Catholic heart.™©

Ave Mar i a

LIVING

The Dix Family: Dixes Never Quit !

-Page 11

Issue # 1 | Septem ber , 2016

A Stella M ar is of FL Publication

Guadalupe Gardens:

A Love Story

- Page 4


Guadalupe Gardens:

A Love Story


T

here is a little-known

place on the outskirts

of San Marcos,

Nicaragua. It is rustic

and simple; poorly

funded, it remains largely

unfinished. But, if you ever get the

chance to see it for yourself, you

will come to know of its wonderful

beauty. It is lovingly tended to and

is an incredibly peaceful place that

is conducive to prayerful

meditation. It is clear that the

grottos and stone work were done

with a talented hand and inspired

soul. You are sure to get the sense

that the hands of the Divine are at

work here. This place is Guadalupe

Gardens? a missionary formation

center of the new

evangelization? and equally as

beautiful as it are the man behind

the mission and his new bride.

Paul Rush, an Ave Maria

University graduate, has dedicated

more than a decade of his life to

this place. Paul?s story is a radical

and inspiring one. It started 16

years ago with a conversion of

heart that compelled him to leave

his home in Delaware, his family

and everything he knew behind.

He desired to give everything he

had to Christ and follow His call.

One day, he just started walking.

All he had were a few personal

belongings and his faith. He

walked until he reached the state

of Michigan? Ann Arbor, to be

exact. Every time he tried to

continue on his journey, he found

a roadblock that kept him from

leaving town. It was there that he

discovered Ave Maria University.

He began to understand God?s call

to attend the university there, so

he did.

During his time at Ave Maria

University, he had the opportunity

to study abroad at the Nicaragua

campus. He enjoyed the people and

the culture so much that he

decided to stay for a second

semester. After returning to the

states and graduating from Ave

Maria University with a degree in

Philosophy, he worked with a

Celtic gardener. While he

developed many skills and talents

in that industry, he continued to

feel a tug on his heart strings to

work with the poor, making

frequent trips back to Nicaragua to

serve. Eventually, he purchased

land there with the intention of

developing a mission. He intended

it to be a place where

people? missionaries? from all

over the world could come to

unite and serve the poor in many

different capacities. It was a

daunting task to be sure, but he

trusted God?s plan. In his

?Statement from the Founder? on

the Guadalupe Gardens website he

wrote:

?So, here we are ten years later

with the initial question answered:

can a layperson just buy a piece of

land in a foreign country and

build towards a future mission?

Unequivocally, the answer is YES!

Sensing that the vision I had

would not be well understood at

first, I just decided to take the

initiative, make the investment,

and work towards the completion

of the inspiration. For the first five

years I visited Nicaragua often, but

lived in the U.S. in order to

finance this back burner mission

vision. After five years, I finally

gave my true fiat to The Lord. I

would love to say it was a

resounding 'YES Lord, I will sell

everything and go to Nicaragua!' It

was more like, 'Don?t you know I

am going to die, how will I

survive?!? If you really want this

Lord, you will have to sustain me.'

And that, my brothers and sisters,

he has.?

After becoming a full-time resident

at the mission in Nicaragua, which

is still without running water, Paul

lived completely on Providence.

Somehow, he always managed to

have enough to pay the local

workers who helped him build his

mission and always found the

4

strength to persevere even though

he often felt isolated and alone.

Years of loneliness and spiritual

warfare began to wear on him,

but God had a plan, a plan that

would unfold in HIS own perfect

timing. There was a woman on the

other side of the world who was

waiting for him.

Lorelei de la Cruz, known to most

people as Bing, was living in Los

Banos, Laguna, Philippines. She

was a professor of communication

and biology at Colegio San Agustin

? Biñan. Paul initially found her

"Can a layperson

just buy a piece

of land in a

foreign country

and build tow ard

a future

mission?

Unequivocally,

the answ er is

YES!" - Paul Rush

on Catholic Match, an online

dating website, but her trial

account didn?t allow her to

respond to Paul?s many messages

so she searched for him online

and was led to the Guadalupe

Gardens website. Coming from a

missionary family herself, she was

compelled to contact him. This is

what she wrote:

?What an inspiring mission yours

is. Indeed, God needs more

missionaries like you to tend to

His children. I admire your

selflessness and utmost BRAVERY

in venturing way out of your

comfort zone to help make the

world a better place. I also

commend your resolve to put your

hand on the plow, so to speak, as

Continued on Page 6


?Throughout my entire 30?s I toiled with the call to build a mission and

serve the poor? something with which I am still toiling. More than a

year ago I awoke one day utterly exhausted and unable to go on?

and yet, found myself continuing for a little while more. Plagiarizing

yet another saint, I recently read a quote saying: ?The Lord asks us to

do what we can until we no longer have the capacity? and then He

takes over and does it.?Well, I was at that point? I couldn?t go on, and

then He sent me the most beautiful angel my eyes have ever seen. Her

name is Lorelei. Our discernment for a future life together began to

burst wide open as we decided to do a 33-day consecration retreat to

Our Lady.?

During a trip to the Philippines, Paul proposed with his grandmother?s

ring. Lorelei made the courageous decision to leave everything

behind: her family, her friends, her home, and her job, to unite with

her future husband in continuing the mission. They were married on

April 26, 2016 in the Philippines and, after joining Couples for Christ,

traveled to Nicaragua as one to continue building up Guadalupe

Gardens together. They know that the road ahead will be a difficult

one and they are prepared to experience the cross of marriage.

6

a lay missionary, with such an initiative as this. I am sure

that it was not the easiest decision you have made, but as

your namesake, St. Paul, has written in Romans 8:28, 'to

those who love God, everything works together unto

good.' I would love to go visit Nicaragua someday and

partake in your mission, God willing. I come from a

missionary family myself (my parents have gone on

mission to India to establish Couples for Christ there), and

I have been to the southern cities of the Philippines

during my high school years to establish Youth for Christ

there. Right now I am involved in Gawad Kalinga, a

poverty eradication movement with programs for shelter,

health, education, livelihood, values formation, community

empowerment and environment. Please email me back. I

would love to hear more about your mission and perhaps

we can exchange best practices that can help us improve

in our respective missions.? Bing was also active in

Singles for Christ.

It was this response that sparked conversations that

quickly developed into a relationship, a quenching of the

thirst for companionship that Paul so desired. As they

continued to discern their vocation together, they were

amazed at the numerous confirmations Our Lady and the

Holy Spirit showered upon them. Paul writes:

At their wedding, they followed an old Croatian tradition for marriage. Lorelei writes:

?Aside from the

traditional

bouquet, I

carried a

crucifix and,

before w e

kissed, w e each

kissed the

crucifix first."

- Lorelei de la Cruz Rush

?Aside from the traditional bouquet, I carried a crucifix and, before we kissed, we each kissed the crucifix

first. It is a practice from the Croatian people of ?iroki Brijeg in Bosnia and Herzegovina that reminds

couples that their married life is their way to salvation. Each may, at times, be a cross for the other

because both are sinners, and Christ is manifested in their marriage as their salvation.The crucifix used at

their weddings is placed in a prominent place in the couple?s home, and in times of trouble, they look upon

the cross and are reminded of their wedding vows. It is effective, for indeed, no record of divorce has ever

been filed among the 26,000 residents of that town.?

Continued on Page 7


Peter Scheck (far

left) with Paul,

Lorelei, Kendel

Jordan (an Ave

Maria 2016 graduate

- in blue) and a local

family who help

care for the

property at

Guadalupe Gardens.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Guadalupe Gardens has grown

and developed much since its

infancy. As of June 3, 2016, it was

granted non-profit status by the

IRS. Recently, it has seen an

ever-increasing amount of

missionary activity? several

groups of high school students

from Ave Maria?s Rhodora J.

Donahue Academy have

participated in mission work

there, as well as several young

adults who made longer term

mission trips there this summer,

two of whom just graduated from

Ave Maria University. There is a

young missionary family from

Wisconsin (a couple and their

one-year-old son) who have

committed to spend a year living

there and helping the newly

married Rushes with the mission.

Ave Maria?s own Peter Scheck,

who had spent a great deal of

time in Nicaragua working at Los

Quinchos, a holistic rehabilitation

center whose mission is to

reaffirm the human rights of

street children? a secure home

with food, shelter, an education,

and the right to a peaceful

childhood, has now spent nearly

two years as a missionary at

Guadalupe Gardens.

It has taken much time to

develop, but Guadalupe Gardens

is starting to become that

missionary hub that Paul had

envisioned from the beginning.

As the mission continues to

flourish, it?s clear that the wait

has been worth it; as Paul and

Lorelei both know very well,

God?s timing is always perfect.

By: Taresa Fassbender

From left to right: Elias Allan, Peter Scheck, Ken Longley, Erik Cervantes, Ben Houde, Lucas Fassbender, JP Klucik,

Joseph Dauphinais, Chris Perez and JP Diodati at Guadalupe Gardens

7


Article Title


Need a Will? Does Your Attorney Make House Calls?

By : Robb Klucik

The attorney can visit the client to conduct an interview, start drafting documents, contact relatives or

others whose input is desired, and plan the rest of the process. Then, on a return visit, there is a signing

ceremony during which final documents are executed in the presence of a mobile notary.

- Romans 8:28

Many people know they need a will, but have a hard time getting it done. Who

wants to guess what documents the attorney will need, spend an hour in the car,

and wait at his office? And who wants to trust one of those on-line legal services

where you don?t even get to meet an attorney face to face?

That is why some attorneys make preparing a will and other documents easy by

offering to bring some or all of the process to you at the location of your choice.

And some attorneys will work to minimize or even eliminate any extra costs

associated with a house call.

This service is ideal for seniors and people with limited mobility, but it is also ideal for those who work

and have difficulty making daytime appointments, or for others who simply want to be served in the

comfort of their home.

Sometimes life events force people to think about the urgency of having a will ? those who have

purchased a new home and realize their out-of-state will is not valid in Florida, or whose marital status

has changed, or who want to provide for grandchildren or pets, or who face a medical event or other

transition.

Planning your estate doesn?t have to be difficult or time-consuming. It can be quick. It can be informal

and relaxing. And it can give you peace of mind so that you never have to think about it again.

Attorney Robb Klucik has been practicing estate planning law in Ave Maria, Florida, since

2009.

9


TH E DIX FAM ILY: DIXES NEVER QUIT! By: M eli Neubek and Tar esa Fassbender

___________________________________________________________________________________________

For those of us who are newer to Ave Maria, it is

hard to imagine the town without Maple Ridge,

Publix, or the Oratory, but the Dix family knows the

town before those things quite well. When they

moved to Ave in 2007, the Oratory was just a

skeleton of what it is now and the vast majority of

the current residential areas were inhabited by

wildlife alone.

The patriarch of the Dix family, Daniel, was present

for the groundbreaking procession as a couple

hundred folks walked in prayer through the tomato

fields and Ave Maria became a town. Daniel and

Monica were also the first to sign a commitment to

open a business in Ave Maria? that business was

The Bean of Ave Maria.

Standing outside of Sunday Mass, Monica Dix, wife

and mother of five, shares that their offertory

envelope is number 27? those envelopes were

handed out to residents starting with number

one? another fact proving their status as one of the

original families in Ave.

When they moved to Ave, they were a family of five,

with the youngest two girls not having been born

yet. Now, they are a family of seven with one dog,

Bob Lee Swagger. The Dix girls are: Isabella Ray,

?Bella,? 13; Gianna Carolina, ?Gigi,? 10; Josephina

Maria, ?Josie,? 9; Gabriella Lucia, ?Gabby,? 5; and Rosa

Emiliana, 2. Daniel and Monica had very specific

plans for their girls?names. Firstly, all of their

names have Italian roots, and most also honor a

family member or patron saint. But secondly, Monica

said, ?we wanted to be sure their names could work

if they wanted to be diplomats or rock stars.?

While unsure if the future has either of those two

careers in store for any of the girls, their current

interests are certainly varied, including track and

11


field, martial arts, reading, sailing,

fencing, book-writing, video game

playing, and coding, to name a

few.

While their schedules haven?t

always been full with the

multitude of activities they are

now, Daniel and Monica are no

strangers to long days and

packed schedules.

The two met while Monica was

studying ceramics and sculpture

at -Quote Carnegie Author Mellon University and

Daniel was finishing up his

degree in art history while

working as an art conservator at

the Carnegie Museum of Art in

Pittsburgh, PA. They fell in love

and Daniel proposed while on a

seven-week bike trip together in

Europe. Monica, who was a cradle

Catholic, although not practicing

her faith at the time, wanted to

get married in the Catholic

Church. This was a bit of a

problem for Daniel, who was a

practicing Christian, but had no

real allegiance to any particular

denomination at the time. His

problem came with the vow to

raise his future children in the

Catholic faith. Daniel took this

vow very seriously. After

discussing it with his own family

and because it was something

that Monica felt strongly about,

the two were married in the

Catholic Church.

Before they got married though,

shortly after their engagement,

Daniel left Pittsburgh to put his

journalism degree to use by

taking a job in management at a

daily newspaper in his hometown

of Wooster, OH. Monica wasn?t

thrilled about the idea of moving

to Wooster, so she stayed in

Pennsylvania believing it might

be easier to find work

somewhere she was already

comfortable. It didn?t take her

long to realize that she needed to

be where Daniel was, ?I was like,

?what am I doing? I?m ruining this

relationship I?m supposed to be

in? Daniel proposed! This isn?t just

dating anymore? I had made a

commitment to Dan. And

ultimately, I missed him? that

was really the biggest part. So I

moved to be with him,? Monica

said.

While she was happy to be with

Daniel again, she struggled to

find work. They would often talk

about starting a business that

they could do together and

Monica was interested in the

nascent coffeehouse industry. As

fate would have it, while Daniel?s

parents were on their yearly

vacation to Sanibel Island that

year, they had noticed that a

coffeehouse called The Bean had

gone up for sale. Monica said,

jokingly, ?let?s buy it.? Next thing

she knew, Daniel had obtained

the financing to purchase the

business and they were looking

for the least expensive house

available on the island. They

quickly sold their house in Ohio

and moved to Sanibel sight

unseen.

After a year of working and

learning, Daniel and Monica

expanded the business and The

Bean of Sanibel Island became a

smash hit. It had a cool island

vibe, great staff, and the Dixes

were always there forming

relationships with their

customers and working alongside

their staff. They had no problem

pulling in revenue; they could

make their rent payments from

souvenir sales alone. They sold

t-shirts, mugs, and popular

bumper stickers that said ?I heart

the Bean.? They asked their

customers to take photos of

themselves with their Bean

bumper stickers and to send them

the photos to hang on the shop

wall. Their customers did not

disappoint? the walls were full of

photos.

Due to their success, they decided

to open not just one, but three

more coffeehouses? two in the

new Fort Myers airport and one

in Cape Coral? all of which were

wildly successful not only in

providing a good caffeine fix, but

in offering a place for people to

come together. Continued on

Page 14

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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During this time, they also

decided they were ready to try

for a baby, something Monica

wasn?t so sure about in the

earlier years of their marriage.

After Monica became pregnant,

Daniel started feeling like he

needed to learn more about

Catholicism. That oath from his

wedding day was hanging over

his head now that he had a child

on the way. He went to the local

priest on Sanibel Island and

began to ask some questions

about the issues that are typically

the most difficult for people to

accept about the faith: "What

about all this Mary stuff... and

praying to the Saints, what's that

all about? What's the problem

with contraception and what

about homosexuality?" The priest

asked Daniel two questions:

"Daniel, do you believe that you

have to learn about something

before you discredit it?" Daniel

said, ?yes.? The priest then asked,

"do you believe in God and that

you should pray when you need

guidance?" Daniel said, ?yes, I do.?

So the priest said, "if you do those

two things, learn about the faith

and pray, the Church demands

that you follow your conscience."

This was something he could

accept; no pressure? learn, pray,

and decide for himself.

Just as he began to take steps

toward learning about

Catholicism, Monica miscarried

their first child and Daniel

stopped pursuing Catholicism for

a while. Within another year and

a half, Monica miscarried their

second child. During her second

pregnancy, the local priest had

started a program of one-on-one

instruction and Daniel became

engrossed with the early church

fathers, St. Augustine, the

encyclicals of John Paul II, and

other church teachings. These

interests became part of the

foundation that would guide him

to get his master?s degree in

theology.

14


While the miscarriages were

devastating, they didn?t give up.

Monica became pregnant with

Bella very shortly after her

second miscarriage. Daniel, who

was really "seeking" at that time

with an open heart and mind,

began to experience his

conversion and Monica

experienced a reversion back to

the faith. She said, "there's

something about becoming a

parent that really makes you

want to improve yourself and be

the best example you can be for

your children. Even when they

are very small and they don't

understand, you know that they

will one day, so you had better

start becoming a better human

being now."

While visiting Monica?s sister in

Steubenville, Ohio, Daniel

happened upon a brochure for

Ave Maria University's Institute

for Pastoral Theology program.

While there, they also attended a

charismatic Mass at Franciscan

University, which was unlike the

Catholic Masses they were

accustomed to. It seemed

serendipitous that he would go to

this Mass and find a brochure for

the IPT program that was located

in Naples, not far from where

they were already living; he felt

called to join, and so he started

the three-year journey. The IPT

was demanding, required

constant study and a lot of hard

work, so while this period of their

lives was extremely busy, the

young couple still always found

the time to develop spiritually, to

spend time with their family, and

for Daniel to pursue his theology

degree.

When he started the IPT program,

Daniel said, ?we had one

coffeehouse and one child. When

I finished the program, we had

four coffeehouses and Monica

15

was pregnant with our third

child.? Monica said, "we just kept

saying yes to God." They were

open to new opportunities and

things just kept developing.

Owning coffeehouses had become

their way of life, not just because

it paid their bills, but because

they enjoyed it. So when they

moved to Ave with a four- and

two-year old, and a six-week old,

opening the Bean made sense.

When they opened The Bean of

Ave Maria, they decided to cash

out on their other coffeehouses,

and the new Bean became a

second home to them and their

children. Bella, Gigi and Josie

could often be found helping

behind the counter and around

the -Quote coffeehouse. Author

Some years after opening the

Bean of Ave Maria, the developers

of the town approached them

about opening a restaurant in La


COME VISIT US IN THE AVE MARIA TOWN CENTER

5064 Annunciat ion Circle #104

Ave Maria FL, 34142

Piazza. Another investment in the

struggling town of Ave Maria was a scary

proposition but, Daniel said, ?more than

anything we wanted the town to grow

and survive. We have always been fully

invested in this town.?

The developers suggested an Italian

restaurant, but the Dixes understood

their market and envisioned another

idea: a bar. Not just any bar, but a pub.

They had no interest in owning a typical

American bar, but a pub was a different

entity all together. Their vision was not a

place to sit around and drink, but rather

another social gathering spot similar to

the spirit of The Bean; a place for

community to gather and strengthen

their relationships. The Queen Mary Pub

and Grille opened its doors on September

11, 2009. Much like the Bean, the

townspeople embraced this new business

with open arms.

Due to the struggling economy, Daniel

started getting a bit desperate to support

his family. He needed to take on

additional work to pay the bills. Ave

Maria was having a bit of a problem with

bears making their way into La Piazza at

night to sniff out the garbage and the

town really needed someone to collect

the garbage at night to help prevent this

problem. Daniel needed more work that

would fit into his already busy schedule,

so he took a job driving a golf cart

around at night to collect the trash. He

recalls local friends and patrons, like Tom

DiFlorio, calling him up to ask if they

could come along and collect garbage just

to give him a hand and hang out for a

bit. He would also often take his

daughters with him. When Bella tells me

about her experience collecting garbage

with her dad, her face lights up! Who

would think that a teenage girl would

have such fond memories of collecting

garbage? But, then again, it's not really

about the garbage. It?s remembering the

community?s love for her father, the

appreciation for his hard work, and the

special time spent bonding with her.

Continued on page 18

16


?You have to

understand, there is

a bond in this

community unlike

anything I have ever

seen before. People

care about each

other in a w ay that is

hard to put into

w ords.?

- Daniel Dix

At this time, Monica also worked at the Montessori school

and cooked meals for a family in town as a private chef.

Monica?s experience in becoming a mom had also led her to

become a Bradley Method instructor. The objective of the

Bradley Method is to help women through a pregnancy with

the least amount of interventions. ?It was really cool too

that my mother-in-law did the classes with us, and then

she went off and took training to become a Doula. She was

there for Bella and Gigi?s births,? Monica said.

And speaking of family members being present at births,

Bella was at Rosa?s birth, which was a special moment for

the family. She had expressed interest in being there from

the beginning of Monica?s pregnancy and though Monica

was worried that it would be a long labor and Bella might

get bored, Rosa didn?t take too long to come out and Bella

got to be there for the whole thing.

So, even though they were tired and struggling financially,

they were very appreciative to be a part of this great

community; a community that was always willing to help

when there was a need, even if it was just through the

power of prayer. It was neighbor helping neighbor, truly

caring for one another. And the Dix family was

well-accustomed to their neighbors?generosity. Daniel said,

at one time, there was a regular Queen Mary patron who

asked him how much it cost to send his children to Ave

Maria Grammar and Preparatory School, now Rhodora J.

Donahue Academy. After that conversation, Daniel would

periodically receive a check in the mail for exactly that cost.

One of the local priests who lived near them in La Piazza

would often put money in an envelope and leave it at their

doorstep. ?You have to understand,? Daniel explains, ?there

is a bond in this community unlike anything that I have

ever seen before. People care about each other in a way

that is hard to put into words.?

Looking back, Daniel said he remembers many a time in the

early days of the Bean that people from the community

would come to ask if they could buy some milk or eggs. He

said they were a bit of a convenience store considering

there was nothing else around for several miles. Although

they felt the business was a success, because it was

something the community really desired, it was a

financially difficult time for the country. ?Practically

everyone in town was a customer,? Monica remembers,

?but after the housing collapse? there just weren?t that

many of us.?

Eventually, the town started to grow and the financial

situation of the Bean and Queen Mary Pub began looking

up. By 2014, both businesses were doing quite well but

Monica and Daniel were ready for a change. Monica was

pregnant with Rosa at the time, and Daniel was looking at

other career options that didn?t require rising before the

Continued on page 20

18


- Daniel Dix


sun and going to sleep early into

the next morning. They sold both

businesses.

When Daniel was interviewed by

the Ave Herald after selling the

businesses, he said, "The early

years, though hard financially, will

always be fondly remembered by

my family. The faithful pioneers of

those days were a truly

remarkable group of people. I feel

very fortunate to have had a small

part in the birth of this amazing

place. I have made some of the

best friends of my life in that

coffeehouse and in that pub.?

Their current lifestyle allows them

more time as a family. One of the

activities they enjoy is running

races together. Monica said that

when Bella started running Track

& Field in the fourth grade, it

made her want to get involved. ?It

just looked like so much fun. It

motivated me. Plus, it?s something

we can do together. In fact, one

time, Bella helped me to push the

stroller with Gabby and Rosa

across a finish line,? Monica said.

?And she used to ride in it, the

same stroller that I?ve had for 11

years, and here she was pushing it

over the finish line. It was really

cool.?

You can find Daniel and Monica

running around town before the

sun rises with other runners in

the Ave Maria community.

The family lives in Emerson Park

and owns a few other rental

properties throughout Ave. Daniel,

who has always been interested in

real estate, is an agent for 84 o Real

Estate, a job he really enjoys.

Monica describes Dan as a

problem solver, and he feels like

helping people to learn about the

industry, buy, sell, and find the

right homes for their families,

allows him the opportunity to help

solve problems every day. He also

manages the Braden Clinic, which

is located in La Piazza. ?I have two

very rewarding jobs,? Daniel said,

?and I continue to feel blessed by

this community. I have lived in

France, Italy, Washington D.C., all

over, and Ave Maria is where I

want to be.?

Monica has enjoyed staying home

with her five beautiful girls whom

she had been homeschooling, but

is now transitioning into having

four of them in school in Naples

and just having Rosa home with

her. She?s looking forward to

maybe taking an art class or two.

When she was pregnant with

Rosa, she would come home from

working at the Montessori school

feeling so sick, she would just sit

in a chair and rest. She recalls not

being able to read or watch TV

because it would make her feel

nauseous, but drawing made her

feel good. She started drawing her

family while they were watching

TV because it was the only time

they would sit still and realized

the drawings were pretty good.

?I noticed that people who had

known me for six or seven years

by then had no idea I was an

artist, and I thought, ?who?s fault is

that?!?? I felt like I was hiding a

part of me,? Monica said. Since

then, she?s always made time to

draw.

Daniel and Monica celebrated their

19th wedding anniversary this

August and enjoy living an active

and healthy lifestyle. They feel so

blessed to call this wonderful

community home.

These days, on a Sunday after

Mass, the family of seven (eight

including Swagger), can be found

together at home. Chet Baker plays

on their stereo, while the family

enjoys a spread of bread, gluten

free crackers, meats, cheeses and

fruit. The girls excitedly talk about

the upcoming start of school,

cracking jokes with each other and

taking turns sharing stories.

It is great to see the love and

admiration that the girls have for

their parents and their

perseverance through the more

difficult times. One of Daniel?s most

priceless memories is from when

?I noticed that

people w ho had

know n me for six

or seven years by

then had no idea I

w as an artist, and I

thought 'w ho's

fault is that?!' - I

felt like I w as

hiding a part of

me.?

- Monica Dix

he was running the Napa Valley

Marathon in California and Bella

was watching the race with her

aunt. Daniel suffered a pretty

severe injury during the race

which slowed him down

tremendously. Bella waited and

waited for him at the finish line.

After learning of the injury, Bella?s

aunt suggested they go looking for

Daniel because perhaps he

wouldn?t be able to finish the race.

Bella insisted no, they should not

do that because ?Dixes never quit!?

Shortly after, she cheered loudly

as she watched him hobble across

the finish line. She was right. If

this example alone didn?t prove it,

every piece of their lives leading

up to it has made it abundantly

clear that if one thing is for

certain, it?s that Dixes never quit.

20


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