How To Make 2022 Special

Do you want to do something really special this year? Do you want to do something that will undoubtedly distinguish 2022 from all other years? If so, do this: Read the entire bible.

That can seem like a daunting task but there is something (and someone) that can make it much more manageable. Friends, while it is still early in January, consider doing the Bible In A Year Podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz.

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

After some nudging from a friend in mid-January last year, I started the journey. I crammed multiple episodes per day for a week and by about Jan. 20 I was all caught up. From that point on, I listened to a single podcast episode per day for the remainder of 2021 and on December 31 I had made it through the entire bible from Genesis through Revelation. It was awesome.

Don’t get too hung up on the fact that Fr. Schmitz is a Catholic priest. No matter if you are a different denomination, non-denominational, or even an atheist you will appreciate the way that he navigates through the bible and drives home key points. He is extremely inclusive, respectful, positive, and engaging. You will love him from the first episode.

Speaking of episodes, each one averages about 20 minutes. Fr. Schmitz breaks it up by reading a couple different books simultaneously in addition to a couple verses from Psalms or Proverbs. He reads the content first, offers a prayer, and then delivers a mini homily on that day’s readings. The format works perfectly and offers solid structure to an incredibly important endeavor.

If you choose to commit to the Bible In A Year Podcast, just make sure to carve out time on a daily basis to actually listen to it. I would always begin it on my morning drive to the gym and usually finish on my living room couch when I returned home. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day. But timing might be different for you. Your ideal time to listen might be at night before you go to bed or possibly during your lunch hour. My point is that you can choose whatever time is convenient for you but just remember to do your best to listen to that daily episode.

Personally, the experience was very rewarding for me. I learned a lot about how the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament and how God wants us to worship. That’s not to say it was entirely smooth sailing. At times I was disturbed, alarmed, and confused. But Fr. Schmitz had a way of explaining a lot of the “brokenness” described in the bible.

There is just so much good stuff in the bible. When it came to the Old Testament, I especially liked the Maccabees books, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah. For the New Testament, besides the gospels, I enjoyed journeying through Acts and thought that James was beautiful. Speaking of the gospels, Fr. Schmitz does something that makes a lot of sense. Over the course of the year he introduces “Messianic checkpoints” where he will take a week to read through one of the gospels. Because the Old Testament is much longer than the New Testament, he didn’t want us to have to wait until November before we started to hear about Jesus. Thus, the gospels are sprinkled in throughout the 12 months.

Fr. Schmitz introduced his Bible In A Year Podcast last year. It quickly ascended to the No. 1 podcast in the United States. He recorded the show in a fashion that makes it timeless. You can start the podcast whenever you want and it will never seem out of date. Surprise, surprise….the podcast is once again No. 1 in the country as we begin 2022.

Take a chance and journey with Fr. Mike Schmitz by listening to the Bible In A Year Podcast. If you ever want to chat, please let me know. Whether you listen to the podcast in 2022 or not, may God bless you this year. Don’t Blink.

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.

Dying Twice

More than three months ago I mentioned that I am doing Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible In A Year Podcast. What a blessing it has been! Yesterday was Day #285 as we navigate through Sirach. A couple verses from Tuesday’s reading inspired Fr. Schmitz to address a certain theme.

The verses were…

“How can he who is dust and ashes be proud” (Sirach 10:9)

“He has removed some of them and destroyed them, and has extinguished the memory of them from the earth” (Sirach 10:17)

These verses obviously address pride and make us think twice about developing a heightened sense of self. Fr. Schmitz is a famous priest who has a large global audience due to his ability to leverage his digital presence. Despite that, one of his spiritual mentors told him not too long ago, “No one will remember you after you die.”

A raging ego does not reside inside of Fr. Schmitz. Even with his crazy popularity and the souls he is saving each day, this humble priest agreed with the opinion of his spiritual mentor.

Fr. Schmitz then made it hit home. He asked: How many of you know the first name of your great great grandfather? What about your great great uncle? Just a few generations removed and I personally couldn’t identify the names of my great great grandparents. We really do have short memories, huh?

It gets even more sobering. Fr. Schmitz then said that we all die twice on earth. The first death is when we take our last breath before physically dying. The second time we “die” is when our name is uttered for the very last time. This could come 10 years, 50 years, or 100 years after our physical death. But let that sink in. There will be a time when our names will be completely extinct from this world.

With all that said, it is not wise to walk around like a big deal nor to make it our mission to build a legacy while on this planet. Eventually it will all be for naught. Rather, build for eternity. Don’t Blink.