Halfway There: Bible In A Year

When the mid-point of the year arrives, I usually reflect on the first six months of the year or highlight something that I am thankful for. As we conclude the final day of the first half of 2021, there is one thing that I am especially appreciative of.

In January, I started the Bible in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. For those unfamiliar with general bible in a year programs, it is exactly what the name implies: you read the entire bible in 12 months. Or, in this case, you listen to it.

The Bible in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz is incredible.

Let me tell you, listening to this podcast has been such a refreshing way to start my day. I listen to it in the early morning on my way to the gym and usually finish it at home before I start work. Each episode is about 20-25 minutes. But how does it all work?…

Fr. Schmitz, a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Duluth (Minnesota), has put together an incredible plan. Although by December 31 we will have read the bible from Genesis to Revelation, we aren’t necessarily going in a straight line chronologically book-by-book. Rather, we read a couple chapters from a few different books each day. For example, currently we are reading from 2 Kings, Amos, and Psalms.

During these first six months, Fr. Schmitz has taken two breaks from the Old Testament books for “Messianic Checkpoints.” At these checkpoints he has devoted a week to reading through the gospels. So far we have read John and Mark. It is a nice way to shake things up a bit and help us to put everything in the Old Testament into proper context with the life of Christ.

After Fr. Schmitz reads from the bible he will offer a prayer and then follow that with some brief commentary. His preaching is amazing and relatable! He explains everything so well and then relates it to the grand scheme of salvation and to everyday life. His personality will grow on you as he provides humorous, but honest, takes. The bible at times has dark themes and it is nice to have someone like Fr. Schmitz navigating us through. His podcast isn’t one of the most downloaded in the country for nothing.

It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or another Christian denomination/non-denominational, this podcast will speak to you if you open up your heart. It is very well-done and impactful. Aside from numbering each podcast by day (for example, I just finished Day 181), the episodes aren’t marked by dates or current events. Thus, they are timeless. If you wanted to, you could listen to two podcast episodes starting today and go through the entire bible by the end of the year. Or, you could just start your bible in a year journey with one podcast episode per day and be done on June 29, 2022. It is entirely up to you.

Listening to a podcast on a daily basis does take some dedication but perhaps there is no better commitment to make than that of the bible. Personally, having stayed the course and completed the first half of the Bible in a Year podcast by Fr. Mike Schmitz, I am hoping that remaining on track for the next six months should not be an issue. Friends, if you desire a stronger understanding of the bible and our Lord’s love, please consider this podcast. Thanks be to God. Don’t Blink.

#GlenGotCarriedAway: Soon

It has been a long time coming but my brother and his fiancée will soon have their special day. They will get married this Sunday.

Glen and Carrie will wed this Sunday.

Like many other weddings that were scheduled in 2020, Glen and Carrie were forced to reschedule theirs because of the pandemic. Originally set to wed on July 4, 2020, they delayed their wedding and set a new date for September 2020, only to have to pull the plug on those plans as well. So, exactly a year from when their original #GlenGotCarriedAway ceremony was supposed to take place, the two will finally be able to tie the knot on Sunday, July 4, 2021.

I think we all share respect and empathy for those couples who had to cancel their special days at the height of COVID-19. For those of us who had the good fortune of actually getting married on the day that we planned, it is tough to imagine having the rug pulled from underneath our feet and scrambling to make alternative plans for that special moment in the sun that we all dream about.

Thankfully for Glen and Carrie, that moment is almost here…complete with extra sun. The heat wave in the Pacific Northwest continues and when my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law get married on Sunday afternoon it will be 100 degrees. Yes, they are getting married outside. I will have the privilege of sweating it out with them as I am Glen’s best man. Talk about one of the greatest honors of my life!

It will be a spectacular Fourth of July for two families and their friends. Heck, all of us have waited patiently for this day too! But who are we kidding? The two people who deserve this day more than anyone will be exchanging their vows at Trezzi Farm at around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Good things come to those who wait and I think that despite the delay it will all be worth it. Enjoy your wedding week festivities, Glen and Carrie. Don’t Blink.

Splash Pads in Spokane

I discovered the best summer hack ever: splash pads.

Sloan has discovered splash pads and she loves them!

Our state is in a serious and unprecedented heat wave with numerous consecutive days of 100+ degree days. It is pretty day. Now while I realize the best course of action for many is to just stay inside, a certain 4-year-old girl has other ideas. Sloan needs to be outside and doing things.

Oh yeah, Sloan isn’t the only one who enjoys splash pads…Beau does too.

So, we have been making the rounds at various parks in the Spokane and Spokane Valley areas. As I have mentioned before, the parks in this area are beautiful, green, and spacious. They have creative playground equipment, hiking trails, designated picnic areas, plenty of shade, and more. They almost all have splash pads too.

Can you spot Sloan? She is playing on this splash pad at Mission Park in Spokane.

For parents, the splash pad is a perfect attraction because kids can cool off without getting too wet to do anything but swim. Splash pads are usually situated right next to the playground so Sloan can go back and forth between each one. On these days that are scorchers, Sloan can run through the splash pad and then hit the play equipment that would otherwise be too hot to play on if not for cold water protecting her body. She can then spend time swinging on the monkey bars and going down the slides until she needs to cool off again on the splash pad.

After getting wet at the splash pad at Edgecliff Park, Sloan will then run over to the playground equipment.

The splash pads are terrific social centers. From what I have observed, they bring kids together as they laugh and splash as water shoots up and pours down. A camaraderie develops around the shared experience of getting drenched with cool water. Sloan has met several other kids on the pads and their newfound friendship expands to the playground as well. It is like magic.

Beau scoping out the splash pad at Greenacres Park in Spokane Valley all while keeping an eye on his sister.

Splash pads help parents fend off heat strokes too. It is a way for us to stay cool during these sizzling days. Although I don’t run through the pad myself, I do put my hands in the water and cool down my neck or arms. Also, the mist that develops and finds its way to the adults standing on the perimeter of the pads is very much appreciated.

The splash pad at Riverfront Park is pretty spectacular.

From what I have seen so far, all splash pads are different in Spokane, making it even more fun. Layouts, fountains, geysers, and funnels are all unique at each park, making for a special experience at each one. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Sloan and her cousins love hitting up the area splash pads. This is at Edgecliff Park in Spokane Valley.

Perhaps I am just on such a splash pad high because we were taunted by them last summer. Sloan and I would visit all these Spokane parks and see the elaborate but roped-off pads. Damn you, COVID. You sure know how to break a little girl’s heart.

Beau doesn’t mind getting wet.

So maybe we are making up for lost time. Or maybe it is just really hot out. Or both? Yeah, both. Thank you to our area parks for installing splash pads, they sure are fun! Don’t Blink.

Miriam Thursday Rundown

Oh my it is HOT! HOT! HOT! We are looking at triple digit temperatures for the next several days. Is this real life? Let’s get started with tonight’s Thursday Rundown…

Baptism Anniversary – A wise person once told me to treat a baptism date as a birthday, giving it the same, if not more, reverence. Well, Sloan’s baptism anniversary is tomorrow. She was baptized at St. Andrew Catholic Church in front of friends and loved ones from both our families. Administering the sacrament of baptism on Sloan was Deacon Bob Jones. On that day, Deacon Jones’ wife was also in attendance. Miriam Jones worked behind the scenes to make sure that her husband had everything he needed to perform the baptism. Earlier this year, Miriam passed away unexpectedly. As we reflect with Sloan on the significance of her baptism this weekend, we will remember Miriam and pray for her. Thanks be to God for June 25, 2017.

In this photo Deacon Jones holds a newly baptized Sloan. Standing in the background is Miriam Jones, a wonderful lady who passed away in March 2021.

Wrong Pandemic Prediction – Back in May 2020, I entertained the idea that the handshake might be gone forever, even after the pandemic was ancient history. I even suggested that bowing might become “a thing” in western culture. Looks like I was off the mark on both those fronts. From what I have observed, handshakes are back and widely embraced, even as we aren’t completely out of the pandemic woods yet. I think people jumped to a lot of conclusions as COVID started to ravage our country, myself included. But no, the handshake is not going extinct.

Despite my earlier predictions, the handshake will survive the pandemic.

The Donut King – I watched a really interesting documentary on Hulu this week. It was called “The Donut King” and it told the story of a man who immigrated to California from Cambodia and started a donut enterprise. After opening a single shop, he started to open more and helped countless Cambodian families open up their own donut shops as well. The documentary takes you inside the Cambodian donut world and chronicles how many of the people inside it achieved and embraced the American Dream. I really enjoyed it.

“The Donut King” was an enjoyable documentary.

Three Dads – This picture is special to me. On Saturday night I had the honor of standing next to a couple of great dads who I look up to. My dad is in the middle and my brother-in-law is on the left. Jay and my dad have been great role models to me and to get a Father’s Day Eve photo with them was cool.

I take pride in this photo. My brother-in-law, Jay, is on the left and my dad is in the middle.

Strike 14! – I saw this in the comics yesterday and it instantly brought a smile to my face. From time to time I will take Sloan and her cousins outside and throw them batting practice with whiffle balls. I will say that each person will get five pitches but it always goes way beyond that as they plead for more. Many times we will reach that 14th strike.

In our family, registering a 14th strike is not uncommon.


I know I have said this before when concluding my Thursday Rundowns but I really mean it this time…stay cool everyone! Enjoy your weekend and I will catch up with you all next week. Don’t Blink.

Swimming for Gold…Or Copper

Yesterday Sloan went to her first ever swim lesson. She went to the Liberty Aquatic Center in Spokane and splashed in the water with two other girls in her “seahorse” level class. They jumped in the pool, blew bubbles, and practiced different strokes underneath the careful hands of their instructor.

A photo of Sloan right before her first swim lesson at Liberty Aquatic Center in Spokane.

Watching Sloan laugh and learn in the blue water on a gorgeous summer day brought me back 25 years to when I was enrolled in swim lessons. My friends and I took lessons from a family in our neighborhood that built a pretty impressive swim instruction business. Every day during the summer the large back yard at this house would be the place to be. The pool would have a couple lessons taking place in it and then the sloped lawn surrounding it would be packed with kids who either just finished their lesson or were waiting for their own to begin.

Sloan standing with the other two little girls in her class.

I remember structuring my entire morning off swim lessons. My friends and I would ride our bikes to the house about two hours before our lesson was to begin, get in the pool when it was finally our session, and then loiter around the yard well past the time our lesson concluded. We had a lot of fun.

Sloan perfecting her stroke with her swim instructor at Liberty Aquatic Center in Spokane.

But my fondest memory from the Davis Swim School was the aspect that made it stand out. When the lesson was almost over, every class would get to dive for pennies. The instructor would toss pennies across the pool floor and allow us to swim down and scoop them up. We all thought it was the coolest thing. When we would come back to the surface with some copper in our hands we would deposit it into red solo cups with our names on it.

Then we would take our loot under the deck and exchange it for gumballs, licorice, and other items. It truly was one of the highlights of our summer and a fond memory I have to this day.

As Sloan continues her lessons over the next two weeks she won’t be diving for pennies. But it is all good because she doesn’t need the money incentive to enjoy her swim classes. All she needs is some water and a swimsuit and she is the happiest seahorse you will ever meet. Don’t Blink.

Google Reviews

Over the past month or so, I have picked up another digital hobby, and/or, perhaps, a form of public service. I am now making it a point to write Google reviews.

I am now sharing my experiences from restaurants, hotels, and shops with the internet. Since May I have written 10 different reviews. Prior to that, I had written two Google reviews in my lifetime. Every couple weeks or so I would get a notice from Google stating that those reviews had earned thousands and thousands of views but didn’t think much of it. But with my own reliance on reading Google reviews and the pleas I see from many businesses asking for people to submit Google reviews, I decided I would start contributing.

In a way, I was already writing reviews. Over the past 10 years for my blog I have written tirelessly about restaurants, attractions, services, and hotels. Why not optimize my work past Don’t Blink? I am already putting in the labor, why not let a larger audience benefit from it?

So I am now an official Google reviewer. I am pretty easy to please as I tend to distribute stars on a pretty liberal basis. Details, names, and photos are all things I aim to provide when writing my reviews. It does give me a bit of satisfaction when a representative from the business I reviewed replies back or when I get a notification that lots of people are benefitting from what I shared.

I envision myself continuing to write Google reviews at least through the summer. We have a very busy few months and I want to reflect in an honest way on the businesses we patronize. If anyone out there is an avid Google reviewer, please let me know. I have some questions for you. Don’t Blink.

Damon Thursday Rundown

Greetings my friends! Not much small talk this evening, just five topics coming your way…

Golf With Dad – Since my family was still in Myrtle Beach last weekend, I did something that I normally don’t have time to do: I golfed. My dad and I went on a father-son outing and played 18 holes. We golfed at Esmeralda, my first time ever playing the course. We were paired with two other young men and we had a great afternoon. My game needs a lot of work but it was so nice to hit the links on such a beautiful day.

My dad and I golfed 18 holes at Esmeralda in Spokane.

Honeymoon – When these mid-June dates come around, I always get giddy looking at my Timehop as it takes me back to our honeymoon. Five years later I can still mentally put myself back into our Cancun resort and remember the sights, smells, and feel of the air. All of these sensory memories are so pleasant because there was so much joy those five days in Mexico. I wrote about our honeymoon and discussed some of the tangible things that made the trip the best ever (hint: going with the best person ever sure helped).

I wrote in depth about our honeymoon.

The Departed – The best movie I saw this past week was 2006 Academy Award winning best picture “The Departed.” I had never watched it from start to finish and I am glad I finally did. Jack Nicholson is perfect as a gangster and one of my personal favorite actors, Leonardo DiCaprio, did not disappoint. I also didn’t realize key roles that Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin played in the movie. The last 20 minutes of the film is a real trip and just the general premise of the cops and gangsters both trying to figure out who infiltrated their organizations is highly entertaining. Definitely recommend.

“The Departed” will keep you intrigued!

Spokane Tribe Casino – On Saturday night, I went with my parents to the Spokane Tribe Casino for dinner. The gaming center/resort opened just a few years ago to compete with Northern Quest Casino and this past weekend was my first time visiting the premises. It is a spotless facility with a nice restaurant area. The menu has several enticing options as I went with the spaghetti Bolognese. But what makes the Spokane Tribe Casino stand out is its beer special. All pints are just $2. It doesn’t matter if you get a Bud Light, a Blue Moon, or an IPA, it will only set you back $2. In an era where 16 oz. of beer usually costs $5, the low cost of $2 for a large selection of brews is much appreciated.

It is $2 for all draft beer at Spokane Tribe Casino.

An Incredible Force – This meme is right on, man. I have spent some frustrating moments in my life trying to separate buckets like these. If teams stuck together like 5-gallon buckets do, I don’t think there is any doubt that they would win championships. Thanks for the meme, Lindsi.

Have you ever tried to pull apart 5-gallon buckets? Hard!


Thanks for taking time to read my post. Remember that the longest day of the year is on Sunday so make sure to get out and enjoy it. Don’t Blink.

Storms Are Better With Family

I think we all might have a childhood middle of the night storm memory. We went to bed only to awake in the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of hard rain and pounding thunder combined with the spectacle of brilliant white light generated by lightning bolts.

For many of us, the experience delivered a plethora of emotions including excitement, wonderment, and perhaps a little fear. It was a special and random occasion, one that the whole family shared together during an hour when usually everyone was asleep.

Watching a lightning storm in the middle of the night was always special as a child.

Last night we had a storm in Spokane that reminded me of the ones from my childhood. The sky was in a constant state of illumination and the rain poured heavy for several hours. Our master bedroom is on the top floor and a large sliding door that leads out to our personal deck is by our bed. I prefer to keep the curtains open at night to admire the Spokane Valley skyline. As you can imagine, it provided an incredible view of the storm.

But something was missing. I had no one to share it with. Monday evening was the last night without Sid and the kids. Since I had no one to watch Mother Nature’s theatrics with, I eventually got up and closed the curtain.

I picked up these two (and Sid) at the airport today.

If another wicked storm decides to roll in tonight (which I know it won’t), I will be watching the entire show. My family arrived in town at lunchtime today and I feel complete once again. Life’s little pleasures just mean more when you can enjoy them with those you love. Don’t Blink.

Summer 2021 is Here

Summer technically doesn’t begin until next Sunday but that is just a formality. In my opinion, summer is already here. School is out, pools are open, and the vibe is evident. To put it simply, it feels like summer.

I came to this realization yesterday. I was over at my parents’ and we went on the back porch to have a beer. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the air smelled like chlorine from the two pools in neighboring yards. By the time we grilled some steaks and ate those outside too I definitely knew it wasn’t spring anymore.

It dawned on me yesterday while I was drinking this (don’t judge) that summer is here.

So, as I tend to say when a new season is upon us, enjoy it. Savor the long days, soak in the sunshine, and get outdoors. If you have children, make these next few months special for them. It is my belief that summer should be a more relaxed, carefree time. Come on, grab an icy cold citrus beer and enjoy yourself.

Also, do I need to remind you? This isn’t the summer of 2020, folks. The COVID tide has changed and we will be able to do things this year. Don’t take it for granted. Seize the opportunities to watch a minor league baseball game, splash at the water park, and attend that fireworks show. While you enjoy those things, remember to be thankful.

Our family has a big summer lined up and we hope you do too. Remember to have lots of fun! Don’t Blink.

Our Fifth Wedding Anniversary

What do golden rings, the Great Lakes, fingers on one hand, and the marriage of Sid and Brent have in common?

You can put a “5” in front of each one.

Today, Sidney and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Although we have never been farther apart geographically for an anniversary, we have never been closer in our relationship. That type of stability can make a few thousand miles seem like nothing.

It was a beautiful feeling walking back up the aisle with Sidney after we were married.

The keys to our strong marriage, aside from the unshakeable love we have for one another, continue to be the same ones I outlined in our third anniversary and fourth anniversary blog posts: Outstanding examples from our parents, a matrimonial union rooted in the Church, and the gift of children.

There is not a day that goes by that those three blessings don’t have some type of influence on our relationship. As I look back on this latest year of marriage and think about what strengthened our marital bond beyond “the big/consistent three,” I can point to, appropriately, five things…

Let’s Begin a Life Out West – I suppose there had to be some trust with this one, right? Although it was hard to leave our life in Myrtle Beach, Sid and I worked together to make a major move that was beneficial for our family.

Weight Loss Challenge – We embarked on a six-week weight loss challenge together. Yes, at times we wanted to flip out on each other as hunger and fatigue set in, but we survived. We saw the challenge to the end and enjoyed some great results.

Meet Like-Minded Couples – Sid and I joined a Young Adult Catholic Group in our area and met some other married couples who are at the same stages in life as we are with careers, children, and faith. Having our parents as examples of what a loving marriage looks like is huge, but having peers who also have strong marriages is important too.

Two Is Better Than One – This past year of marriage was the first full 52-week cycle of having two children. If you think having one kid will bring you closer to your spouse, go ahead and have another. Thanks be to God for Sloan and Beau.

Spend Every Waking Hour Together – The pandemic allowed me to work from home all year and with Sidney shifting into her role as a stay-at-home mom, that meant we were under the same roof pretty much 24/7. If we didn’t kill each other with that arrangement, I would say our marriage is on pretty solid ground.

I am so thankful for my wife. She is a rock star and makes me so happy. Can’t wait to get working on the next five years and beyond. Happy anniversary, Sid. Don’t Blink.