Softball and Camaraderie

The best thing I did this weekend was definitely play softball. On Saturday morning, Sidney and I seized the opportunity to hit the diamond with some of our favorite friends. But our weekend fun would not have happened without the vision and hard work of others.

Our pastor at St. Mary Parish in the Spokane Valley, Fr. Jeff Lewis, loosely challenged our Young Adult Catholic group to develop a recreational opportunity, such as softball, for parishioners and others to partake in. Brian and Hailey Eames, a dynamic couple in our group, took Fr. Jeff’s challenge and ran with it.

Members of our Young Adult Catholic group surround Bishop Thomas Daly (center, with hands in pockets). Also pictured is Fr. Jeff Lewis (back row, tallest person in photo). People in this picture who played on the softball team include Dylan, Fidela, Brian, Hailey, Sidney, and myself.

Brian and Hailey chatted with their neighbors who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They pitched them (no pun intended) the idea of parishioners from our church playing a softball game against members of their church. The planning took place in June and a date for the matchup was set for August.

Toward the second half of July, Brian and Hailey held practices for us. Man, how nice it was to pick up a glove and bat again. Our coaches were so organized and encouraging that it made the practices a blast and instilled confidence in us for gameday.

A look at one of our practices held on a ball field at St. Mary Parish in the Spokane Valley.

At about 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sid and I left the house and headed in the direction of the Mormon temple. Our Latter-day Saints brothers and sisters were gracious enough to host us on their fields. Our worthy opponents generated a lot of interest among their ward, attracting enough players to field three teams compared to our one Catholic team. Although outnumbered, the arrangement allowed us to play a tournament.

Sidney up at the plate. It was nice to play on a team with her.

Our team won our first game. The team that was victorious on the other field then came over to play us. In a competitive nail-biter, our Catholic squad hung on for an 8-7 victory and a tournament championship.

Yeah, it was cool to win, but the morning was more special for various other reasons. Fr. Lewis and Fr. Kevin Oiland, the other priest who founded our Young Adult Catholic group, were both present to cheer us on. Also, Sidney and I got to play on an organized team together! Not only that, but we batted back-to-back in the lineup and played right next to each other in the field (me at first, Sid at second). I even got to meet some St. Mary parishioners for the first time.

Another person in the crowd was my brother. He took this photo of me. When our team was at-bat, I would serve as the catcher.

But the absolute best part of the day was the fellowship with our new friends. Everyone on the Latter-day Saints teams were kind, supportive, and humble. Players from both sides played hard but there was a lot of humor and encouraging words mixed in. After the softball concluded, our two groups walked to the picnic area for a joint cookout. Does it get any better?

What a thrill it was to play softball with our Latter-day Saints brothers and sisters.

On a sunny Saturday morning, Catholics and Latter-day Saints prayed, competed, and ate together. As we enjoyed the cookout, one lady approached us and mentioned that cars driving down the road by the fields were literally stopping to watch the action taking place on the diamonds. Of course they wouldn’t know that two faith communities had voluntarily come together in such a meaningful way, but that would be cool if they did. In a day and age where division is so strong and toxic, the example that was set over the weekend was a powerful one.

After the softball was played, there was a cookout for players, families, and spectators.

Thanks to Brian and Hailey and their Latter-day Saints counterparts who worked so hard to make this thing work out. What a success! Don’t Blink.

Friends For Life

When you get a text message notification from your parish priest, it is natural to tense up a bit. Did something bad happen? Did I do something wrong? Is he summoning me to confession? Those thoughts quickly ran through my head a few months ago when Sidney and I received a text from Fr. Jeff Lewis, our pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church in Spokane Valley. But before my thoughts could get too out of control, I simply ripped the band-aid off and opened the text.

Hey, good afternoon. So, do you two still want to be mentors to an engaged couple?

You bet!!

By saying “yes” to Fr. Jeff, we would end up meeting this very special couple.

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Nearly seven years ago, Sidney and I wrapped up our Pre-Cana program with our sponsor couple, Tim and Kathy McCormick. The McCormicks embody what a beautiful, fruitful marriage is all about and they provided us invaluable guidance as we prepared to get married in the Catholic Church.

The experience with Tim and Kathy was inspiring and faith filled. Beyond instilling in us the magnitude and beauty of marriage in the Church, it was also the beginning of a special relationship that Sidney and I hold extremely dear with them to this day.

I have always hoped that Sid and I would get the chance to give back and help prepare a couple for the sacrament of marriage in the same loving way that the McCormicks did for us.

Sidney and I with our sponsor couple, Tim and Kathy McCormick.

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In early April, we had the blessing of meeting Kailey and Corbin, a young engaged couple who will enter into holy matrimony in August. Fr. Jeff placed his trust in Sid and I to serve as their sponsor couple. With our pastor’s vote of confidence came our promise that we would do our best to help prepare Kailey and Corbin for their lifelong commitment. Over the course of six different lessons, my wife and I vowed to give an honest perspective on the joys and challenges of marriage.

Before we jumped headfirst into the heavy stuff, we invited Kailey and Corbin over to the house for dinner. Over pizza and wine we got to know each other. It was immediately apparent that we were in the presence of a very mature and humble couple. The evening was delightful and a seed was planted for future growth!

The marriage prep program we did was the Beloved series presented by Formed, a Catholic digital content apostolate. As I mentioned, this particular program had six different lessons, all delivered via video. The weekly lessons explained holy matrimony through its relevance, history, self-sacrifice, reliance on the Cross, and sacramental bond that it establishes. Each of these themes would address certain specific aspects of marriage such as conflict management, hardships, children/family planning, past baggage, traditions, sexual intimacy, and more.

The marriage prep program that we did with Kailey and Corbin was called “Beloved.”

Kailey and Corbin would watch the video together while Sid and I would watch the video together as well. After we had viewed that particular week’s video with our respective partner, Sid and I would send reflection questions to Kailey and Corbin to consider. The four of us would then gather and discuss the questions. These discussions were always deep, honest, and thoughtful. Although these conversations were designed to primarily benefit Kailey and Corbin, I can unequivocally say that they were such a blessing to Sid and I as well.

Our fruitful meetings didn’t always take place on the same day of the week nor at the same location. Although most did occur at our home, we also incorporated one lesson into a couple’s date night in Post Falls and another lesson we did entirely over Facetime. But perhaps the final lesson was the best of all. We met at a Mexican deli for dinner and a special guest joined us—Fr. Jeff!

What a joy the evening was. Fr. Jeff sat at the head of the table but basically allowed the four of us to navigate the lesson ourselves, waiting to offer his incredible insight and guidance as we came to an end of a discussion question. As we concluded that final lesson, we asked Fr. Jeff what themes he usually preaches about during his wedding homilies. He told us that he underscores the value that God places on marriage. Not only was marriage instituted very, very early on with the creation of Eve, but it went from important to sacramental by Jesus Christ himself. Jesus didn’t just sanctify marriage with his teachings, he did it with his actions as well. Christ’s death on the cross is the ultimate model of self-sacrificial love, the same self-sacrificial love that we must embrace and give in marriage.

After our final marriage prep lesson, the five of us, Fr. Jeff included, took this picture inside De Leon’s Foods.

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During that final lesson, Sid and I gave a resounding recommendation to Fr. Jeff that Kailey and Corbin are ready for marriage. On all levels—including spiritual and emotional—those two are ready to be joined as one. They are an impressive couple who will no doubt accept God’s grace throughout the course of their marriage and enjoy many years of happiness together.

What makes that positive outlook even more exciting, at least from the perspective of Sid and I, is that we plan to be part of those many blissful years. Just in the same way that we have a special relationship with our own sponsor couple, all signs point to a similar bond with Kailey and Corbin. We grew close during our marriage prep sessions and as Kailey mentioned in a Facebook post, that time together has resulted in us becoming “friends for life.”

It is an understatement to say that we are excited to be part of Kailey and Corbin’s special day when they are married this August in Hawaii. It will be a joyous and holy occasion.

Corbin and Kailey with Fr. Jeff at the end of their marriage prep program. What a blessing it was to get to know them!

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There is only one final thing to say and that is thank you. We extend our gratitude to Fr. Jeff for allowing us to be a sponsor couple and to Kailey and Corbin for letting us mentor them. As we stood outside the deli, Kailey explained that Pre-Cana has been her favorite part of the wedding planning/preparation process.  But for any good that our time together did for Kailey and Corbin, it did just as much for Sid and I. To dive deeper into the awesomeness of what makes a marriage rooted in the Church so holy made us appreciate our own vows even more. What a blessing that we were able to come to this realization while journeying with the future Mr. and Mrs. Schafer. Thanks be to God!

Please pray for Kailey and Corbin as they inch closer and closer to their wedding date. Don’t Blink.

Daly Thursday Rundown

Wow, I can’t believe it is already Thursday evening. I hope everyone is doing awesome tonight, thank you for giving me another chance to throw five random topics at you. Let’s get started…

Evening With the Bishop – On multiple occasions in this blog, I have mentioned the Young Adult Catholic group Sid and I are part of. Well, this past weekend something pretty special happened. Our group had the opportunity to host the bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, the Most Reverend Thomas Daly. Our friends, Brian and Hailey, opened the doors of their home for the gathering and Bishop Daly brought the energy right when he walked in. It was so neat to be in such an intimate audience with him and to hear his thoughts and guidance. I even had the chance to speak with him one-on-one not long after he arrived. We were so honored that Bishop Daly made time for us and I can confidently say that our diocese is in great hands!

Our Young Adult Catholic group surrounds Bishop Thomas Daly (center, with hands in pockets). Also pictured is Fr. Jeff Lewis (back row, tallest person in photo), the leader of our Young Adult group and the man responsible for making our visit with the Bishop happen.

Luau Across the Miles – Yesterday was the fifth birthday of my nephew, Henry. He was having a Hawaiian-themed party at his house in Myrtle Beach and we wanted to join too. So Sid went out and purchased leis, a Hawaii backdrop, and a cake. We decked ourselves out in the leis, hung up the backdrop, and then FaceTimed Henry. After singing to him, Henry “blew out” the five candles on the cake from thousands of miles away. Sidney went out of her way to make Henry’s birthday special and she definitely succeeded.

Beau, Sloan, and Sid finish up their call with Henry on Wednesday.

Lake Mead Discoveries – Because of massive drought in the southwest, water levels in lakes and rivers are depleting. An example of this is at Lake Mead where the water level is lowering so much that “discoveries” are being made. Last month a barrel was revealed that happened to have a body stuffed inside. Law enforcement was able to estimate the date of the man’s death to the late 1970s or early 1980s because of the shoe style he was wearing. The violence was most likely inflicted by the Mob. As the surface continues to drop, it is expected that more and more remains will be found.

This is a barrel (not the one that the dead man was stuffed in) that is no longer underwater at Lake Mead.

Kind of True – When I saw this meme that my friend Lindsi posted today I knew I had to include it in my Thursday Rundown. Does anyone have doubts about it? The retro Chuck E. Cheese does look downright creepy, in fact it reminds me of the animatronic creatures from Dimes N’ Critters, a wild place I blogged about a few months ago. If Chuck E. Cheese still looked the same way he did on the left panel of this photo, I don’t think I would take Sloan as much as I do. Actually, that’s a lie…I still would.

Chuck E. Cheese has undergone quite the transformation over the years.

Educational Books – We have been introducing these “start to finish” books into Sloan’s nightly reading. They provide an educational break from the narrative stories we typically read to her. They are a little old school but it is fun to trace the many steps it takes to produce a product such as peanut butter or chocolate. Other books in the series include “From Wax to Crayon,” “From Clay to Bricks,” and “From Tree to House.”

These “Start to Finish” books are perfect for curious kids. We just finished reading the ones about chocolate and peanut butter.

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I am calling it a night, folks. Thanks for listening and I hope you have a great weekend. Don’t Blink.

Lilac Thursday Rundown

Good evening everyone and welcome back. I know a lot of us are hurting right now after the unimaginable and horrific events in Uvalde so perhaps the following random five topics can provide you a short respite if you desire it.

Happy Ordination Anniversary, Fr. Jeff – I want to start by recognizing Fr. Jeff Lewis as he marked his 11th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood today. Fr. Jeff is the pastor at St. Mary Parish in Spokane Valley and is an invaluable influence on my family. In two years since we have become parishioners at St. Mary, Fr. Jeff has graced us with spiritual guidance, his valuable time, and the holy sacraments as we try to walk closer with Christ. He is also a great friend with a spectacular sense of humor. Sidney, Sloan, Beau, and I are so thankful to have a true disciple like Fr. Jeff in our lives.

Fr. Jeff Lewis celebrates his 11th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood today. He means a lot to our family

Lilac Parade – This past weekend, I took Sloan to the Lilac Parade (also called the Torchlight Parade) in downtown Spokane where we met my sister and her children. Sloan had a blast as she soaked in her first night parade by dancing the night away and exchanging high fives with the parade participants as they walked by. For me personally, it marked another annual Spokane event that I was able to experience again after a couple decades missing out. To view a video from our adventure, tap here.

We had a great time at the 2022 Lilac Parade

Seven Years In Tibet – I spent a couple hours this week watching “Seven Years in Tibet.” The movie was made in 1997 and stars Brad Pitt who assumes an Austrian accent for the role. The film depicts Pitt’s triumph in Tibetan culture and favor with the Dalai Lama in relation to his brokenness with his own family back home. I liked “Seven Years in Tibet” for its west vs. east comparisons, historic lessons, and chilling musical score. It is currently on Hulu.

I watched “Seven Years in Tibet” this week. Decent movie.

Flashback – I took the below photo on May 26, 2020, as it was one of the first images I captured of Sid and Sloan after their move to Spokane. It also happens to be one of my favorites. We were exploring an undeveloped area close to my parents’ house and the sun seemed to shine perfectly as they flashed their million-dollar smiles. Such a nice memory!

This photo was taken exactly two years ago on May 26, 2020.

Innocence – A tragedy like the one on Tuesday hits parents extremely hard. It makes you look at your kids with even more love and protection than usual. I took the below photo last night. We let Sloan and Beau watch TV in our bed so we could devote our time to the special engaged couple we are meeting with for Pre-Cana marriage prep. When we finished up, this is how we found them. There truly is nothing more precious or innocent than the life of a child.

Sloan and Beau fell asleep in our bed last night. Observing their peacefulness had an enhanced meaning for me.

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As we conclude, I did want to say one quick thing: It is trendy these days when violence strikes for people to discount and scorn prayer. My friends, never cease to pray in the face of tragedy, especially for the victims. Prayer does help and don’t let anyone else tell you differently. Don’t Blink.

The Inspiring Fritel Family

Every so often we attend the 5 p.m. Saturday vigil mass at St. Mary Catholic Church. As we enter the worship space, we always walk past a parishioner sitting in the back row. He chooses this spot because it allows space for his wheelchair. Toward the end of communion, Fr. Jeff Lewis will walk out to him and administer the blessed sacrament via syringe. It is always a touching moment to see both the man’s reverence and respect for the sacrament and Fr. Lewis’ dedication to make sure that he receives it.

Up until a couple months ago, I didn’t know much about this faithful parishioner. But at one of our Young Adult Catholic meetings with Fr. Jeff and Fr. Kevin Oiland, I learned some sobering and powerful information. Fr. Jeff opened up about the wheelchair-bound man named Garth Fritel, disclosing that he has ALS. He talked about Garth’s faith and then mentioned an effort he was going to spearhead.

Venerable Aloysius Schwartz is on the track to sainthood. Fr. Schwartz lived an extremely holy life in which he set up Catholic communities in some of the poorest countries on the planet and saved thousands and thousands of lives. He did this while battling ALS himself.

Fr. Lewis gathered the St. Mary community to pray to Fr. Al for the healing of Garth. If successful, it would help Fr. Al’s canonization process, establish a patron saint of ALS, and, most importantly in my eyes, cure Garth. A grounded man, Fr. Lewis has tried to manage expectations by saying there is no guarantee for healing but prayer is always a worthwhile endeavor, especially when the cards are stacked against you.

But for a moment, I just want to focus on Garth and his wife, Adeline. If you have not read the article yet, please do so. Seriously, read it. The piece written by Kevin Wells of National Catholic Register is simply superb.

Garth is pictured with his two daughters, his wife, Fr. Lewis, our St. Mary formation director, and NCR’s Kevin Wells (this photo is courtesy of Kevin Wells).

Garth had it all. Important job, beautiful family, and a genuine love for life. Then ALS hit. The savage disease ravaged his body over the course of five years and now he is unable to move any body part below his neck. He needs to use a computer to communicate. His parents moved into his house and they help Adeline provide Garth with 24/7 care. At least 12 times a day, he has to have his throat sectioned to clear it.

The attitude that both Garth and Adeline embrace is beyond inspiring. Garth has accepted his illness as his cross. As Fr. Al described it, they are nailed to the ALS cross. Like Fr. Al, Garth frames his ALS as a sign of love and special favor from Jesus. Garth’s life is extremely difficult and he has found himself in dark places, which the story does a phenomenal job of describing, but he has chosen life over the prospect of quitting.

The love and loyalty that Adeline has for her husband is pure and unwavering. Instead of bitterness, she focuses on the blessings generated by Garth’s ALS, quantifying them as “too many to count.” The way Adeline compares her family’s suffering to that of the Stations of the Cross will blow your mind.

Perhaps no other part of the article painted a more vivid picture in my mind than nightly prayer for the Fritels. They gather every evening and identify a blessing from the day. Garth always has one. Always.

Please keep Garth, Adeline, and their two children in your prayers. Let us pray that they continue to draw on their strong faith and that Fr. Al can provide healing if it is God’s will. What an inspiration. Don’t Blink.

Easter 2022

The holiest day of the year was a beautiful one for our family. From the time the kids woke up to the moment they shut their eyes, our day was full of blessings, of course nothing greater than the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. Here is a quick look at the highlights from Easter 2022…

The four of us prior to Easter Sunday mass. What a wonderful Easter 2022 it was.

When Beau and Sloan woke up, they discovered the baskets left for them by the Easter Bunny. Nothing like a sugar high before church, right?

Sloan and Beau with their Easter baskets.

Speaking of church, we didn’t do anything more significant the entire day than attend 9 a.m. Easter Sunday mass at St. Mary. It was so inspiring to see the church filled to a pre-pandemic capacity level. Fr. Jeff Lewis used his homily to stress the importance of family and how the family serves as the true building blocks of the Church. Thanks be to God!

We are so thankful for our St. Mary faith community!

We returned home and ate some sweet treats for brunch. We turned on some Easter hymns and Sloan helped me make a special dessert dip for later in the day. You will have to stay tuned for this week’s Thursday Rundown to learn the details of this dessert dip…it was dangerously good!

Sloan enjoying some sprinkle donut holes.

After Beau woke up from his nap we went out to my parents’ house for our family Easter celebration. It wasn’t long before all of us were hanging out in the living room enthusiastically chatting about anything and everything.

While my parents prepared the Easter meal the rest of us chatted in the living room.

Eventually it was time for our Easter meal as my mom prepared ham, scalloped potatoes, corn casserole, salad, and veggies. This was all complemented by side dishes that all of us brought as well. Per usual, the dinner discussion was engaging, silly, and fun.

The Easter meal hit the spot.

It was then time for the annual Aunt Carrie and Uncle Glen Easter Egg Hunt. They spread Easter eggs out in the backyard and after giving Sloan, Beau, and their cousins a pep talk, they let them loose. Once again it was an egg-tastic success.

Glen and Carrie gave the kids some instructions before letting them loose in the back yard.

The egg hunt was followed by dessert. We had peanut butter lasagna and tuxedo cake (my dessert dip was served prior to dinner) and I can say that I am still full from it.

You are looking at peanut butter lasagna and tuxedo cake.

Before returning home for books and prayers, we posed for some pictures, including the fabulous image below of my parents with their grandchildren.

What a special photo and a nice way to conclude Easter Sunday 2022.

He Is Risen! Thank you God for your Son and for a blessed Easter. Don’t Blink.

Easter 2021
Easter 2020
Easter 2019
Easter 2018

A Nice 2021

As I sit here and reflect on 2021, I am thankful that it was a year to adjust. After an insane 2020 that included the birth of Beau, a move across the country, and the beginning of a new job all while a global pandemic shook our world, things slowed down a little bit in 2021. It was our first full year in Spokane and with the easing of COVID restrictions, we took the last 12 months to become familiar with our new home.

Fr. Jeff Lewis blessed our home in 2021 as we took the year to take it easy after an insane 2020.

We have no complaints. This year wasn’t about us. Instead, we had the opportunity to celebrate others. Like Sid’s sister who gave birth to a handsome little boy, Jack. Or my brother and sister-in-law who wed on July 4. Or my parents who marked their 40th anniversary in August.

I was the best man at Glen and Carrie’s wedding.

With our loved ones thriving in the spotlight, we stayed backstage and really started making Washington our home. We solidified relationships, found a couple trusty coffee shops, played at a few favorite parks, became regulars at our local library, purchased season passes at Chuck E. Cheese, joined local swimming lessons, exercised hard with our gym community, stumbled upon a couple neighborhood watering holes, and so much more.

We spent a lot of time at Spokane parks in 2021.

Like I said, we spent most of the year on Spokane soil. That’s not to say we were stationary. We spent a May weekend in Walla Walla and had a blast. We visited Sid’s family in Myrtle Beach in June and are lucky to finish 2021 right here in South Carolina as well. We went camping in the middle of nowhere with my sister’s family. We ventured to Missoula. Sid and I took our first real vacation together in five years when we flew to Las Vegas for several days in July. We found our way back to Walla Walla in August where my parents rented a VRBO for a relative’s wedding weekend. I made numerous drives back and forth to Pullman for work but also spent a Saturday there with my dad and brother for a Cougar football game.

In August, we spent a family weekend in Walla Walla as my cousin got married.

As you can tell, a lot of our travels centered around family. But most of our everyday living did as well. We had numerous Sunday dinners with my parents, siblings, and their families. Although the setting changed from my dad’s backyard deck to the dining room of our childhood home depending on the season, the good times never ceased. Nor did they stop when we celebrated holidays, marked birthdays, or attended sporting events/shows. Although we didn’t have the quantity of time with Sidney’s family that we had with mine, we definitely matched it with quality. Just a couple weeks ago, we had a Myrtle Beach “staycation.” Sid’s parents rented a condo on the beach for us and the families of her two sisters. It was a really nice five days that preceded the Christmas holiday we also got to spend with them.

We got to celebrate lots of birthdays this year!

The other “F” value that flourished this year was our family’s faith. Our first full year as parishioners at St. Mary Catholic Church was blessed. We got to know our parish priest better and made friends with other church families. The relationships we started developing with our young adult Catholic group at the end of 2020 flourished in 2021. Beyond our regular meetings, we now all hang out together regularly at our homes. Sloan’s love for Jesus continued to grow as a student at St. Mary Catholic School. I committed to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year Podcast and went through the entire book from Genesis through Revelation.

Photo we took of Sloan prior to her first day of school as a Pre-K 4 student at St. Mary Catholic School in Spokane Valley.

Professionally, 2021 was a solid year. The social media team became its own unit within University Marketing and Communications at Washington State University and I joined the department’s leadership team. My responsibilities increased and I had the privilege of taking on tasks for the first time in my career. I work for a terrific boss and collaborate with a talented and supportive team.

In March 2021, I celebrated my 1-year anniversary at WSU. So thankful to work for the Cougs!

Thanks be to God, it was a fortunate year for us. Despite a couple trips to the emergency room for our accident-prone Beau, everyone stayed healthy. We didn’t experience loss in our extended families. With a pandemic still very much impacting the world, the virus and its variants stayed away from us. Could we ask for much more?

This year was a blessing for our family.

As we close the book on 2021, I am thankful for what this year provided our family and our loved ones. I would be more than happy with another stable year in 2022 but I do know that even-numbered years usually bring our family more change and unpredictability than odd-numbered ones. We shall see. At the very least, let’s hope 2022 finally brings us some light at the end of the tunnel to the coronavirus. Amen to that, right? Don’t Blink.

Home Is Where the Heart Is Thursday Rundown

Good evening, friends! I appreciate you taking the time to read my first Thursday Rundown of October. I don’t want to waste too much of your time tonight so let’s get started with this evening’s five topics…

House Blessing – A couple weeks ago we had a very special visitor to our home. Fr. Jeff Lewis, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church (Spokane Valley) and our family priest, paid us a visit. At our request, he came to bless our house. After an opening prayer, he went to each room in the house sprinkling it with holy water and applying sacramental oils. The house blessing is a way to protect our home from both internal and external forces while inviting the Holy Spirit into our residence to promote sacred family life. Thank you, Fr. Jeff!

Fr. Jeff Lewis with us at our house blessing.

Fun in the Fall Sun – It wouldn’t have been possible to dial up a better Autumn day than what we had last Saturday. The distinctive smell of fall was in the air but the abundant sunshine made for a warm day in the 70s. We took advantage of the pleasant conditions by taking Sloan and Beau to a Whitworth football game. Sloan played the whole time in the complimentary jump castle while Beau roamed around on the stadium’s grassy hill. Sid soaked in the sun and I enjoyed myself some Division III football. The Pirates came away with the win and we all went down on the field afterwards.

Sloan and Beau had a great time at the Whitworth football game and capped it off by going on the field after it was over.

Favorite Emoticons – On this date seven years ago, I wrote about the top five face emoticons I use the most during texting. The list has shifted a little bit over the years as my honorable mention emoticon is now easily in my top five. Exactly a year later, I would write about my favorite non-face emojis. Although it was kind of fun writing those posts, I really enjoyed what I wrote a day after my first emoji post on October 8, 2014. In that post I wrote about the coolest work tradition that ever existed. Back when I worked at Coastal Carolina University, there was a period of a few years when our graphics team would make elaborate, themed cards for UCOMM staffers on their birthdays. Come on, scope out the post to see some of their work.

I am a real big fan of emoticon faces.

Weird Sight – I came across this article about some guy who dressed up as Michael Myers from “Halloween” and went to the beach to roam the shore. The guy said it was a joke but the cops didn’t think it was funny because they arrested him. Part of the reason may have been that he was carrying a knife (although it turned out to be fake). I sympathize with the guy to an extent because there was a period in my life when I would dress in costume and show up in random places. Granted, I didn’t dress up as a disfigured serial killer. With the scary clown phenomenon from several years back, people are probably a little more sensitive to these types of things.

“Michael Myers” getting arrested by police.

Frosty Cereal – I am going to do everything I can to get my hands on a box of Wendy’s Frosty cereal this December. This is no joke…this will be an actual cereal in a couple of months. Although it looks like a cross between Coco Puffs and S’Mores cereal, Wendy’s wouldn’t team with Kellogg’s if the product wasn’t decent. The part I love the most is that a coupon for a free Frosty (with a Wendy’s app purchase) can be found inside each box.

If I can find it, I will buy it.

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That should do it for tonight. I am more excited than usual this evening because an especially fun weekend is almost here. I am signing off for now but I will be publishing a special blog post tomorrow. Don’t Blink

The Octagon Thursday Rundown

Happy last Thursday of May to everyone! Hope you have had a nice week and still have enough in the tank to make it through Friday before cruising into the Memorial Day weekend. Here are my five topics for tonight…

Thankful – The current days are some of the longest of the year and I find nothing more uplifting than my 5:15 a.m. drive home from the gym during that first full hour of daylight. As I gaze out at the mountains and trees during the commute, I can’t help but feel thankful for God’s creation and for my personal good fortune to live in this beautiful corner of the country.

A look from my driver window earlier this week as I drove home from the gym.

School’s Out for the Summer – Sloan attended her last day of Pre-K 3 yesterday. Her school year ended a little sooner than her classmates because of vacation so Sloan’s class rolled out the red carpet and celebrated her on Wednesday. We feel so fortunate to have Sloan enrolled at St. Mary. She loved going each day, met friends, and brought home impressive work. Sloan’s last day in her uniform was actually on Monday because yesterday was College Spirit Day and she made her daddy proud by sporting a WSU shirt. Next stop: Pre-K 4.

Sloan at St. Mary in Spokane Valley on her last day of Pre-K 3. It was College Spirit Day so she ditched her uniform for a WSU t-shirt.

We Need This – Last night we attended my niece’s t-ball game at Midway Elementary and the playground had something that Sid and I really want! This octagon “pen” is for a dodgeball-esque game called Gaga Ball but it might as well be a holding cell for overactive 1-year-olds. Not going to lie, it was nice placing Beau in the enclosed area and watching him play without having to chase after him. What a genius idea.

This octagon at Midway Elementary in Spokane was wonderful for Beau to play in.

Happy 10 Years – Here I am bragging about my 10th anniversary of blogging when other people are marking much more important decade anniversaries. Fr. Jeff Lewis, our pastor at St. Mary and great mentor/friend to Sidney and I, celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood this week. Also, Bishop Thomas Daly, the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, marked his 10th anniversary of being a bishop on Tuesday. May we pray for both of these men as they continue their dedicated and fruitful ministries.

Bishop Daly (left) and Fr. Jeff Lewis (right) in 2017. Thanks and congrats to both on their respective 10 year anniversaries (photo courtesy of Bishop Daly’s Twitter account)

Dating Myself – Thanks to my friend Lindsi’s Thursday collection of memes, I found something that resonated with me in terms of my age. The best hack to get a malfunctioning Nintendo or Gameboy cartridge to play was obviously by blowing air into it. I have taken this trick with me throughout adulthood, whether it be blowing air into my smartphone charging port to get it to charge properly or blowing air into Sloan’s face as a last resort to get her to behave. Although this tactic may have originated in the late 1980s, it is truly timeless.

This tactic would usually work.

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I hope you have a great start to your Memorial Day weekend. It will be a BIG one for us! Before this holiday weekend is over you will hear from me again. As always, thanks for your readership. Don’t Blink.