This past Saturday, our family had the blessing to attend a special wedding. We sat inside St. Mary Catholic Church as Brendan Quinn and Sarah Hiller entered into the sacrament of holy matrimony. We became part of the lives of Brendan and Sarah when Fr. Jeff Lewis asked us to provide their Pre-Cana marriage prep counseling. It was a very rewarding few months for all involved as we went through six content lessons plus an introductory meeting and then a casual debrief session at a Spokane Valley Mexican restaurant with Fr. Jeff.

A photo of us with Brendan, Sarah, and Fr. Jeff in March. This was taken at De Leon Foods in the Spokane Valley at the conclusion of our marriage prep program with the Quinns.

We were delighted and honored that Brendan and Sarah extended the relationship we had forged by inviting us to their special day. The entire afternoon/evening was beautiful but here are three quick things that I remember especially fondly from the #QuinnTheDay experience.

Sidney and I pose for a photo with Brendan and Sarah at their wedding reception.

Holy Wedding – Whenever I attend a Catholic wedding, I am always in awe at the reverence devoted to the most holy sacrament of matrimony. Saturday’s mass was incredible and such a fantastic start for the Quinns. In Fr. Jeff’s homily, he preached how God made woman as the perfect complement to man. However, he illustrated this point in the direct context of Sarah and Brendan which was pretty hilarious. Brendan was portrayed as a golf-obsessed cave man and Sarah was the woman who carried him out of the stone age 😂.

Sarah and Brendan up at the altar with Fr. Jeff Lewis. Sarah and Brendan were married at St. Mary Catholic Church in Spokane Valley on July 22, 2023.

Sidney on the Altar – Brendan and Sarah humbled Sid and I by asking if one of us would do the opening reading at their wedding. Believing that the guests would be more captivated by a sweet Southern accent proclaiming God’s word instead of my boring, accent-neutral monotone, Sidney represented us. She read Genesis 2:18-24 and did a really nice job. Sidney has expressed interest in becoming a full-time lector at St. Mary for regular Sunday masses and this was a perfect way for her to get a taste of what it takes…I think she has it!

Sidney delivers a reading at the wedding of Sarah and Brendan at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley.

Butch Appearance – The reception was at Center Place in Spokane Valley and it was so much fun! Sloan and Beau had a blast dancing the night away and the food/drink was such a treat. But what really stood out was the ultimate wedding reception surprise of all! Early on, the DJ teased that a special guest was about to make an appearance. At that moment, the WSU fight song started to play and Butch T. Cougar ran out onto the dance floor, a grand entrance indeed! Butch stayed for a couple hours as he interacted with guests, posed for pictures in the photo booth, and gave plenty of well-deserved attention to the Coug-crazed bride and groom. Both my kids were starstruck!

A big highlight of the #QuinnTheDay experience was Butch. What a surprise!!


Sidney and I wish the Quinns a happy, faith-filled marriage. It is worth saying again: We are so blessed to be part of their lives. Don’t Blink.

A Wilderness Adventure For Sloan

That special week in the early summer is here: Catholic Summer Camp! On Sunday night, the kickoff event for this year’s event was held on the St. Mary campus. We attended mass, ate dinner, and learned about this year’s theme…

This year’s Catholic Summer Camp theme at St. Mary in Spokane Valley is Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments.

For the next several days, Sloan is on a wilderness adventure. Or, to be specific, a Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments. The campers are taking each day to learn about 1-2 of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. For example, yesterday was baptism and today is Holy Eucharist.

Sloan loves going to camp! Each camper received a t-shirt that they wear each day. All first graders received green shirts.

As they learn about the sacraments, the kids are treated to all the fun stuff you would find at your typical vacation bible school: crafts, music, skits, games, and, most importantly…snacks! So the curriculum and the child-appeal factor are both definitely present.

Marie goes all out with everything she does. This photo backdrop that Sloan is posing in front of is awesome!

But what sets this camp apart from other vacation bible schools—both Catholic and non-Catholic? The answer is Marie Bricher. She is the camp director, which encompasses part of her role as St. Mary’s director of religious education. Marie goes absolutely all out for everything she does, including Catholic summer camp. You would be amazed at the decorations, organization, attention to detail, and enthusiasm she pours into this program. Most impressive of all, however, is how she can explain the content at a level that makes sense to elementary students.

Marie Bricher addresses campers, staff, and parents at the kickoff event inside the St. Mary gym. She is phenomenal at what she does.

And that special ability that Marie possesses is crucial, especially with this year’s theme, because nothing is more important than the sacraments. Ever wonder what makes being a Catholic so unique and why more than a billion people belong to the Church? It is because of these graces given to us by God. Needless to say, the sacraments is a topic that deserves the utmost attention and care when being explained to anyone—especially children—so it is such a comfort that not only is this year’s camp based on it but that someone of Marie’s caliber is leading the discussion on it.

All the decorations and props for this camp are so cool.

Sloan is on fire for this camp. She loved attending yesterday and I was impressed by all she told me about baptism when she returned home. What makes this year’s theme resonate even more is that in Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Catechism In A Year podcast we are currently right in the middle of the sacraments. He just finished baptism and is currently on confirmation. While Sloan is learning about the sacraments on a children’s level I am learning more about them on an adult level. Although two different modes of delivery are at play, Sloan and I are able to “compare notes” and know that we are still learning the same thing. How cool is that?!

Please pray for the campers, the volunteers, and Marie as they continue to go through this week. As Pope John Paul II said, “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.” Don’t Blink.

Hoopfest 2023: More Than A T-Shirt

Going into Hoopfest 2023, I was just hoping for a win. When the dust settled on Sunday, I felt like our team scored many more victories than just quadrupling the on-court win total I was crossing my fingers for.

I felt like our team overachieved in a pretty competitive bracket. People in this photo include (from l-r) JJ Nazzaro, Amy Martin, Fr. Jeff Lewis, me, and Ryan Andrade.

How It Went Down On The Court

What an experience this past weekend was. The St. Mary Squad started off the tournament on Saturday morning with a tough 20-15 loss to the Rez Runnaz. We knew the team we played was pretty decent and didn’t let the small setback get us down. We would win our 12:30 p.m. game (20-14) and then return the next day ready for a big run.

A look at our finalized bracket. We came through the loser’s bracket to play in the championship game.

Our team notched two comfortable victories early Sunday morning and then held on for a victory at noon to successfully seal our loser’s bracket odyssey to the championship game. For the title we played our opening round opponent—the Rez Runnaz. After playing three games seemingly back-to-back-to-back we had little gas left in the tank for the team that was undefeated and had last played at 10 a.m. Although we fell short, we had secured second place and a coveted finalist t-shirt.

We brought home a t-shirt! Ryan, Amy, myself, and JJ sport our finalist t-shirts in front of the Hoopfest backdrop on Sunday afternoon (photo courtesy of Amy).

But just a little bit of context about all those victories: I didn’t have too much to do with them. My St. Mary Squad teammates and fellow Young Adult Catholic members were simply spectacular. Everything started with our lead scorer and athletic specimen JJ Nazzaro. Then we had our 2-point ace Ryan Andrade who would answer the 1-point baskets of our opponents with bombs from downtown. Last but definitely not least, we had our team’s heart and soul—Amy Martin. Because of Hoopfest co-ed rules, a member of the opposite sex must always be on the court so that meant Amy played every single minute of all six games we competed in. Not only did she have the guts to go the distance, but she was an incredible contributor on both sides of the ball and never stopped hustling.

Ryan’s flawless shooting form is captured as he drains a 2-point basket.

Me? I was the fourth man who would give JJ and Ryan breaks while trying to play some defense and pull down a rebound or two. It was an honor to share the court with my teammates.

Even though I contributed the least to our team, I am pretty sure my kids thought I was the MVP 😂

Playing For More Than Hoopfest Glory

But enough about our on-court exploits and team scouting report. Hoopfest 2023 was so special because our St. Mary team was playing for more than a t-shirt.

Our team came together because we wanted to give thanks to God, pay special devotion to our Blessed Mother, and promote the Catholic faith. Helping us with this mission was Fr. Jeff Lewis, our pastor at St. Mary in Spokane Valley. At coffee and donuts one Sunday as our team was starting to come together, Fr. Jeff said that St. Mary would sponsor us once our roster was finalized. However, our dedicated priest did so much more than just make sure that our registration and uniforms were paid for.

Fr. Jeff Lewis poses with our team after the first day of the tournament. What a blessing it was to have him as our team chaplain.

Fr. Jeff rode the shuttle downtown with us, cheered our team on from the sidelines, and hung out with us after the games. But most importantly, he was there as our dedicated team chaplain. He led us in prayer before/after each game, had the materials in his pocket to distribute the anointing of the sick if needed, and was on-hand to give blessings and answer questions to the numerous people who approached him. Regarding prayer, as Ryan said, it was such a peaceful way to begin and end competition while at the same time drawing other people in. In fact, before the tournament was over, we had everyone praying with us from an opponent to our kids to the court monitor.

Fr. Jeff Lewis rides the STA Hoop Loop shuttle with us after the Sunday games.

This mission to put God before Hoopfest glory motivated those associated with our team to make sacrifices. Fr. Jeff gave up his Sunday morning masses to accompany us. Ryan and JJ both left their close-knit Hoopfest teams to play for the St. Mary Squad. And Amy played through serious knee issues. What selfless commitments from some truly great people.

Amy, Sloan, Sid, and Fr. Jeff walk through Riverfront Park on Sunday. Fr. Jeff hung out with us throughout the tournament.

Team Bonding

Because we were all so invested in this opportunity, it came as no surprise that we had such a fulfilling experience that went beyond the streets of downtown Spokane. Prior to this weekend, we got together for a couple of practices. We also had a lively text thread that was full of planning, joking, and anticipating (sorry for all the countdown texts, guys).

Perhaps I was a little too excited to play in Hoopfest.

Between our first and second games on Saturday, Sidney provided us all refuge from the heat by taking us to the break room of her work which happens to be in the heart of the downtown area. The four of us, some of our families, Fr. Jeff, and Fr. David Gaines took time to just relax and chat. Some of this break was spent talking about faith matters and some of it was spent talking about other things. But it all equated to some really nice fellowship.

Thanks to my wife’s connections, we had access to an air conditioned “team room” where we could find relief from the baking hot streets of downtown Spokane. In this photo, Fr. David Gaines and Fr. Jeff Lewis join the four of us and some of our families for a nice break.

Later that night, Sidney and I hosted a cookout at our house. Once again, us players and our families came together for more fellowship on a beautiful evening. In fact, do you want to know how close this Hoopfest experience has brought us together? We were all comfortable enough to play the game Stir the Pot as a big group. Don’t know what that is? Look it up! 😂

We had a team cookout on Saturday night that was pretty dang relaxing.

Finally, the icing on the cake was that when the tournament was over, we gathered for mass that night. With Fr. Jeff’s permission, we wore our finalist t-shirts to the service and he even incorporated our team’s Hoopfest success into his homily.

Holding up the number “2” after earning second place in our bracket. What a great weekend it was.


Before I close out this post, just a few shout outs: First and foremost, thanks to our families. Whether they were supporting us at the games or watching children at home, I know the four of us really appreciated the opportunity to concentrate on our six games we played throughout the weekend. Thanks to our spectacular court monitor, Keith Miner, and his daughter/scorekeeper, Maddie, for taking such superb care of our bracket. These fellow St. Mary parishioners always kept everything under control and applied all the rules perfectly. And finally, thanks to St. Mary for the sponsorship of our team.

Special thanks to my wife for all she did to prepare/take care of our family during the Hoopfest weekend.

I am grateful for the special Hoopfest opportunity I had this year. Amy, JJ, and Ryan…thanks for making our team work and for putting up with my less than stellar basketball skills. Fr. Jeff…you went above and beyond for us, thank you. Now, with all that said, who is sore?!

Thanks be to God. Don’t Blink.

Back For Hoopfest 2023

I’m back! After not winning a game in Hoopfest last year, I am returning to Spokane’s signature event in search of a “W.” This weekend I will hoop it up on the streets of Spokane at the same Main and Post location I played at last year. But not everything will be the same…

I hold the 2023 Hoopfest player shirt while Sloan holds the Inlander Hoopfet guide.

This year I have a new team. With my siblings caught up in other obligations, I had to find different teammates. Luckily, I wasn’t a free agent for long. Instead of playing with my biological family this year, I am playing with my faith family. For Hoopfest 2023, I am representing St. Mary Parish and School with my good friends Amy Martin, Ryan Andrade, and JJ Nazzaro. We are bringing our love of competition and God to our bracket.

This year we are playing on the T-Mobile court. When I was downtown at Team Check-In yesterday I found our backboard. It is quite…pink.

A cool thing about our team is that we are legitimately sponsored by St. Mary. Fr. Jeff Lewis made sure that not just our registration fee was covered but our uniforms too. The tops we will be sporting this weekend have the St. Mary Spokane Valley logo on the front and a different Marian title special to each of us on the back.

Amy with our Hoopfest uniforms. I am wearing the Fatima top. Amy’s top pays tribute to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

We begin our Hoopfest quest at 10 a.m. on Saturday. You can find us on the T-Mobile court right in front of the P.F. Chang’s restaurant on Main. Depending on the outcome of our first game, we will play at either 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. and then will resume our ballin’ on Sunday. Insert our official team name (St. Mary Squad) into the Hoopfest app to follow our progress or just come watch us in-person.

This is our bracket. Come watch!

Thank you to St. Mary for allowing us to represent our faith-filled community this weekend. Let us pray that everyone participating in Hoopfest has a safe tournament. Hope to see you on the court! Don’t Blink.

June 11: Blessed By The Sacraments

Today, Sidney and I celebrate our seventh anniversary. Ah, “lucky seven” indeed. Our marriage grows stronger each year because we become better at accepting the grace that God bestows upon married couples. Yep, there is something supremely powerful about the sacrament of holy matrimony.

Incredibly, this morning, the date of June 11 became even more significant for Sidney and I.

Sidney and I entered into holy matrimony on June 11, 2016. Little did we know that June 11 would increase even more in significance a little later down the road.


A special invitation came exactly three weeks ago as we strolled into the sunshine after the post-mass coffee and donuts social hour at St. Mary. We walked out of the gym with our dear friends, Ryan and Allyson Andrade. Our family started to pull ahead because the Andrades were naturally taking extra care with their brand new 5-day-old baby boy. But before we could completely leave them in the dust, I turned around.

“Brent,” Ryan had called my name.

I changed directions and walked back toward our friends. It was at that moment that Ryan and Allyson asked us to be the godparents of Noble Josiah Andrade. The raw emotion of humility was amplified even more when they told us the date of the ceremony.

This is me holding Baby Andrade at 9 days old. We had been asked to be his godparents a couple days before this photo was taken.


In the single greatest honor that Sid and I have received together as a married couple, we stood with Ryan, Allyson, and their daughter, Aria, as Noble was baptized by Fr. Jeff Lewis during today’s 9 a.m. mass at St. Mary. As Noble was washed of original sin, Sidney and I became forever bound to him—and to each other once again—in the role of godparents.

We snapped this selfie after Noble was baptized at St. Mary Catholic Church in Spokane Valley on June 11, 2023. Fr. Jeff Lewis performed the baptism.

Suddenly, June 11 managed to mean even more than it had from 2016 through 2022. No longer just a date when Sidney and I committed to each other, it was now a date when we also committed to the life of a precious baby boy. Alleluia!

Sidney holds Noble at his baptism reception. How lucky we are to be part of this little dude’s life!

Today has been the most meaningful anniversary we have had since tying the knot and it is going to be tough to beat in the future. That we were trusted with such an important role in Noble’s life is in part, at least I believe (although I can’t read the minds of Ryan and Allyson), a testament to the strength of our marriage. Our friends saw something in us that they thought would be spiritually beneficial to Noble and now it is our turn to prove them right.

As Sidney wrote on Noble’s cross, he is very loved. And Sidney, you are loved too! 🙂

Happy anniversary, Sidney! Happy baptism, Noble! I love you both and look forward to many more glorious June 11s. Thanks be to God. Don’t Blink. 🙏

Happy 12th Ordination Anniversary, Fr. Jeff

It is a date that Sidney and I now celebrate just like family birthdays and our wedding anniversary. When May 26 rolls around we immediately recognize it for one reason: The ordination anniversary of our pastor, Fr. Jeff Lewis.

Today, Friday, May 26, 2023, Fr. Jeff Lewis celebrates his 12th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Earlier this week we got a head start on the celebrating as we recognized his anniversary at our Engaged Encounter meeting.

Today marks the 12th anniversary of when Fr. Jeff was ordained to the priesthood. We are proud to say we have known “Papa J” for almost a quarter of those dozen years.

During the nearly three years we have known Fr. Jeff, he has helped get us involved in different ministries. One of those is St. Mary’s marriage prep Pre-Cana program where we get the opportunity to mentor engaged couples. This photo is of Sid, Fr. Jeff. and I with Sarah and Brendan–a couple we mentored who will get married in July.

The first time we walked through the doors of St. Mary Catholic Church, Fr. Jeff greeted us immediately. After some small talk he asked us where we lived in the Spokane Valley. We told him the area where we had recently settled and even though we were on the wrong side of Pines Road and thus outside the parish lines, Fr. Jeff laughed and said, “It’s okay, you’re welcome here anyway…just don’t tell Fr. Kevin” (Fr. Kevin Oiland is the pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, the Catholic community we technically should have attended based on geography).

Fr. Jeff and Fr. Kevin Oiland started a Young Adult Group for Spokane Valley Catholics. It launched 2.5 years ago and because of the time and energy that Fr. Jeff and Fr. Kevin devoted to it, our group continues to grow and thrive. This effort by the two priests really helped Sidney and I find friends and grow in our faith upon moving to Washington.

Fr. Jeff was exactly what we needed after our cross country move and Sidney’s recent conversion to Catholicism. We joined his Young Adult Group that he started with Fr. Kevin and from there he kept getting us more and more involved in other ministries—both at the parish and diocesan levels. Just a text message away, Fr. Jeff has always been there for us. Whether we have needed him for the sacraments, a house blessing, prayer support, his presence at retreats/events, a Hoopfest sponsorship, or a host of other things, he continues to be that constant rock in our daily drive to grow closer to God.

Fr. Jeff Lewis with us at our house blessing.

We admire Fr. Jeff for his faith, self-deprecating sense of humor, and the insane schedule he maintains. Sidney and I are grateful for how much he cares about St. Mary School and its mission to deliver the best Catholic education possible. Speaking of children, it warms our hearts how he always makes time for Sloan and Beau, effortlessly connecting with them no matter the situation. I am inspired by his ambitious goals for evangelization, his commitment to his parishioners, and his love/defense of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Jeff has a genuine love for children…and the relationship is reciprocal! You should see how excited Sloan and Beau get when they see Fr. Jeff.

In my life, I have never had a priest as invested in me as Fr. Jeff. Because of this, I can only say Thanks Be To God. Let us pray that impactful and holy priests like Fr. Jeff Lewis continue to be invigorated by their vocation. Happy anniversary to our very special pastor. Don’t Blink.

Easter 2023

He is risen! After journeying through the spiritual desert of Lent, it was a glorious 2023 Easter Sunday. As is my custom, I will provide a glimpse at our day through photos and words…

It was a blessed 2023 Easter.

Sloan and Beau were up by 6 a.m. to claim their Easter baskets. I really wish the Easter Bunny would realize that they don’t need more candy…

Sloan and Beau with their Easter baskets on Easter morning.

The holiest and most significant part of our Easter came next. We attended 9 a.m. mass at St. Mary. There is nothing better than spending the holiest day of the year in a packed church with your beloved parish community. Fr. Jeff Lewis channeled C.S. Lewis by referencing his “trilemma” argument that Jesus was either a “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord,” and that all evidence—historical, spiritual, and cultural—points directly to the third option.

Easter mass at St. Mary was beautiful! We took this photo after mass.

We returned home and ate a delicious brunch of…wait for it…cookies! The four of us chomped on these giant iced bakery cookies from Rosauers that are incredible. To be honest, we were going to get breakfast from McDonald’s but by the time we arrived at the drive thru they had stopped serving. So cookies it was! Sid and I then prepared dishes for our family Easter celebration. I once again made a dessert dip but you will have to wait until my Thursday Rundown to learn about the “monster” I made this time.

Yep, we ate cookies for brunch.

The Reser “children” and their families arrived at my parents’ house around 2 p.m. After our typical but cherished banter in the living room, my brother and his wife staged their annual Easter egg hunt for the real kids in the family. Because of a back yard remodel project, the hunt moved to the front yard this year but was still a success.

The annual Aunt Carrie and Uncle Glen Easter egg hunt was once again a success.

It was then time for my mom’s cooking to shine once again. This year’s menu featured ham, macaroni and cheese, corn casserole, veggies, salad, and rolls. Adults ate in the dining room while Sloan, Beau, and their cousins ate at the kids table downstairs. Sometimes I wish the dinner table conversations were recorded so we could compare and decipher which one was more ridiculous 😊

Our Easter meal was delicious.

After dinner we converged in the living room and played the “Heads Up” game on our phones. Once our stomachs settled we ate dessert. There were many options including a seven-layer pie, peanut butter brownie dish, homemade ice cream sandwiches, and my dip. Why choose just one?

So many good Easter desserts this year that I couldn’t choose just one.

We then returned home and I spent some special time with Beau watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in our bedroom. After family prayer I spent some time with Sid, read the Sunday paper, and then went to bed.

Beau and I spent some of Easter evening watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Thanks be to God for the resurrection of his Son! Although Lent is now over, the Easter season is just beginning. Let us rejoice and be glad. Don’t Blink.

Easter 2022
Easter 2021
Easter 2020
Easter 2019
Easter 2018

I Got Goosebumps Thursday Rundown

Go Cougs! Okay, I just had to get that out of the way. Did you see our women’s basketball team storm through the Pac-12 tournament as a #7 seed to take the title and punch a ticket to the Big Dance? It was incredible. Okay, five topics are coming right at you…

Fish Fry Season – Oh my goodness, I love fish fry season. During the Lenten season when Catholics abstain from meat, it is very common for parishes to stage fish fry community events. At St. Mary, my Knights of Columbus council puts on what might be the best fish fry in the Spokane Diocese. Last Friday, my parents, sister, and her children came with the four of us to the St. Mary school gym to partake. The cod was fresh, the baked potatoes on point, and the conversation exquisite. What a fun evening!

Sidney and my sister at the St. Mary Knights of Columbus fish fry on March 3.

Getting Goosebumps – A name from my childhood became relevant again this week. R.L. Stine was accused of changing some words and phrases in his “Goosebumps” series. It turned out it was Stine’s publisher, Scholastic, who did the altering in an effort to offer more inclusive language. I am not getting into this messy debate because that’s not the point of this topic. Rather, the point is to say that I loved the “Goosebumps” series as a kid. When I was done with those books I moved on to Stine’s “more mature” line of horror books for teens—“Fear Street.” I wonder what a trip it would be to open a Goosebumps book today and read the whole thing?

I loved reading the Goosebumps books as a kid.

Broadway Diner – For Christmas, my parents always give us kids and our families a gift card to a restaurant. However, each of us receives a different gift card based on our particular tastes. My brother was given a gift card to Outlaw BBQ and my sister’s family was given a gift card to China Dragon. Us? We got a gift card to a truck stop…and we couldn’t have been happier. The Broadway Diner is a hidden gem in Spokane that caters to truck drivers but is welcome to anyone. The portions are large, the food is greasy, and the menu diverse. Since moving to Spokane, it has become one of our favorite spots Over the weekend we redeemed our gift card and loved every bite. Thanks, mom and dad!

A look at our Broadway Diner experience from last Saturday. The chili cheese burger belonged to me 🙂

Katie Sandwina – I have an historical interest in the circus and those who performed in it. I recently learned about Katie Sandwina, a strongwoman for Barnum & Bailey. She would wrestle men on stage and perform massive feats of strength, such as lifting a 300-pound weight over her head. Katie didn’t stop performing in the circus until she was 60 years old. I am always fascinated by the grit, talent, and endurance many of these circus performers possessed—they performed seven days a week on brutal travel schedules in many times less than ideal conditions.

Katie Sandwina was a circus strongwoman who could outwrestle and outlift most men.

Coasters – You will find our home absent of coasters. I think we simply forgot to put them on our wedding registry. But even though I am not a coaster connoisseur, I can still find the below “Off the Mark” comic strip to be humorous.

This “Off The Mark” comic strip was enough to bring a faint smile to my face.


That will wrap things up for tonight. Take a moment right now to send a text message to someone you appreciate (it can even be your favorite blogger if you want 😊). Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. Don’t Blink.

Pillow Calculation Thursday Rundown

We have reached the final Thursday Rundown of February. Next week it will be March and that means Spring will be here, right? On that sarcastic note, let’s get to tonight’s five topics…

Ham Bingo – We love bingo. We played turkey bingo in November and we played taco bingo earlier this month as a fundraiser for Sloan’s school. So it goes without saying that we naturally jumped at the chance to play ham bingo this past weekend. My Knights of Columbus council staged the Mardi Gras-themed event. The idea was to have one last hurrah before Lent and allow people to win hams that they could save for Easter. Although Sloan and I didn’t win a ham, we sure had fun eating gumbo, wearing Mardi Gras beads/masks, and hanging with our St. Mary community.

Sloan and I at the Mardi Gras-themed Ham Bingo at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley on Feb. 19, 2023.

Picture of the Week – I mentioned earlier this week that we attended a Whitworth basketball game. Even though I snapped a lot of cool mascot photos, the image below was my favorite from the evening. Sloan, Beau, and their two cousins stood at perfect attention for the national anthem. It made my dad’s heart melt to see his four grandchildren displaying such respect for the country.

Although you can’t quite see Johnny, you can see Beau, Sloan, and Mik focusing all their attention and respect on the national anthem.

Mascot Phobia – Let me use the Whitworth basketball game for one final springboard topic. The mascot birthday party is a dream come true for many children but it is also a nightmare for others. When I worked in the University of Montana athletic department, one of the responsibilities I held was mascot coordinator. Parents would desperately reach out to me and convey that their child was petrified of Monte. On this date 9 years ago, I wrote about how we approached this problem and helped kids overcome their fear.

It’s true; not everyone liked these cute bears.

Pillow Calculation – Let me thank my friend Lindsi for the below rule of thumb. However, I would argue this relates primarily to women. As a dude, I still need just a single, no-frills pillow to sleep soundly. Sidney? You could probably take that formula and add five to it.

How do you feel about this calculation?

Mardi Gras Treat – Let’s end on a sweet note! We celebrated Fat Tuesday by making an ice cream run to Zip’s, a Spokane fast food staple. The kids each got a swirl ice cream cone, Sid got an Oreo Hurricane (the Zip’s version of a Dairy Queen Blizzard), and I ordered a butterscotch milkshake for myself. Beau came with me to place the order and before we brought the goods back to the girls, I took this picture of him admiring our purchase.

Beau admiring our ice cream from Zip’s.


I am calling it a night. Thanks for your support and I hope you have a fabulous weekend. 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.