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.

Birthday Blast for Sloan and Sidney

An exciting summer week started for our family on Sunday night, especially for Sloan and Sidney. We attended the kickoff event for Catholic Summer Camp. We ate dinner, learned about the week’s events, and attended mass as a big group. We also became acquainted with this year’s theme, because you can’t have vacation bible school without that perfect theme, right? Well, this year the theme is “Birthday Blast: A Celebration of Life.” But more on that in just a minute.

Beau and Sloan look at the large birthday cake at the kickoff event for St. Mary’s Catholic Summer Camp.

As I said, it is a big week for Sloan. She is a camper and is part of the Kindergarten class. Our daughter could not stop talking about last year’s Catholic Summer Camp so you can imagine she was pretty excited to begin this year’s version. After two days, she is absolutely loving it! To be reunited with a lot of her St. Mary classmates and to meet new children has been fun for her. Also, Sloan never met a craft she didn’t like. Best of all, she is absorbing the material being taught and is sharing it with me in an enthusiastic way when she returns home in the afternoon.

Sidney and Sloan pose for a photo with their camp shirts prior to their first day on Monday.

But if you didn’t doze on that opening paragraph, you probably noticed that I said it was an “especially” big week for Sid as well. That is because she is a camp teacher this year! Sid wanted to volunteer and when she expressed her desire to the camp director, she was asked if she had any experience leading large groups of children. When my wife responded that she was an elementary teacher, the director responded that Sid was “the answer” to her prayers and asked if she would teach the third-grade class. Sid answered in the affirmative.

It has been a joy to watch Sid jump back on that teaching bicycle and handle a group of third graders this week. Prior to Sunday night, Sid worked extremely hard to decorate her classroom, become familiar with the camp curriculum, and plan for activities with her class. It is also inspiring to see my wife so on fire with her Catholic faith that she volunteered to teach it to others.

This is Sid’s third grade classroom for Catholic Summer Camp.

Okay, back to the theme. This year it is “Birthday Blast: A Celebration of Life.” The children are learning how to discover, respect, protect, serve, and celebrate God’s great gift of life. It is all about human dignity! The theme was decided way in advance of current events so the timing is coincidental. But regardless, we are thankful that Sloan is being exposed to such an important message at an early age.

The theme for Catholic Summer Camp this year is “Birthday Blast: A Celebration of Life.”

Please pray for Sloan and Sidney as they continue their Catholic Summer Camp journey. 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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

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

Continuing the Turkey Bingo Tradition

With inflation skyrocketing, there is one thing that people are focusing on this month: the price of a Thanksgiving dinner. Supposedly, 2021 is supposed to be the year that Americans will fork over a small fortune to provide a Thanksgiving meal. It goes without saying what the priciest item on the table is.

So, how do you make Thanksgiving affordable this year if you plan to serve turkey? You win one of course!

Back as a child, one of the highlights every fall was when the Knights of Columbus council at my childhood parish, St. Thomas More in north Spokane, would hold Turkey Bingo. Our entire family would arrive at the church social hall on a Sunday in November to eat popcorn, visit with friends, and try to win a turkey. It was here that I learned about the competitiveness of bingo and the agony of the words “clear your cards.”

Turkey Bingo is a popular fundraising event for Knights of Columbus councils. Council 4196 (St. Mary – Spokane Valley) is no exception.

Fast forward a couple decades to this past weekend. Once again I found myself at turkey bingo. Only this time I was bringing my own family and I was one of the Knights putting it on.

Our large supply of turkeys we gave out at our Turkey Bingo event.

On Sunday, the Knights of Columbus Council #4196 of St. Mary Catholic Parish in Spokane Valley held its annual Turkey Bingo (you can probably guess…turkey bingo events are pretty common in Catholic parishes). After I moved from Myrtle Beach I transferred from Council #5086 to #4196. What a blessing it has been to go from one awesome council to another and what a blessing it is that we are finally back to doing in-person events!

After we set up all the tables and chairs, I took this photo of our set up inside the St. Mary School gym about an hour before we opened to the public.

I had a lot of fun helping my brother knights put on the event but the best part was definitely playing bingo with Sid, Sloan, and my dad. I was given plenty of time to leave my post and enjoy the afternoon with my family. To give Sloan her first taste of bingo and see how much she was genuinely enjoying it was really cool.

Sloan and Sidney at Turkey Bingo at St. Mary Catholic Church in Spokane Valley.

My wife, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly there to “enjoy” it. She was there to win! She had her eight cards spread out in front of her and knew all the combinations she had to hit in order to score a turkey.

Sidney playing her six cards at Turkey Bingo.

Success didn’t come right away but her persistence paid off. In the second to last game, she won the “top and bottom” round to win a bird for the Resers! In addition to walking away victorious, it was an afternoon marked by sweets, 50/50 raffles, and laughs.

Sidney holds up her winning card along with the ticket voucher she was given for her turkey at the Knights of Columbus Turkey Bingo event at St. Mary Catholic Church in Spokane Valley.

To introduce my daughter and wife to one of our old family traditions and to actually now contribute my time to making the event itself function was pretty special. If there is any Catholic man out there who wants to become a Knight, please feel free to reach out to me. Now, let’s get that turkey cooking! Don’t Blink.