Welcome Message

Welcome to my blog about Catholic life and family values.
This blog will center around the beauty of Catholicism and how to raise families, evangelize our faith, and fight the ongoing spritual battles that challenge us daily.

You are invited to share your wisdom on these pages with all the readers. Together we will address important life and faith issues and how to enhance our Catholic identity.

Key areas that you will find me addressing regularly will be about important Catholic doctrine and beliefs and how they help us raise strong Catholic Christian families. My hope is that you will learn, enjoy, and be challenged by my posts. You may be informed, amused, or even annoyed, but I hope it will in some way improve your Catholic faith.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What do you bring to Mass?

What’s the largest Mass you’ve ever been a part of? Do you remember the energy you felt? I’m not completely sure, but I believe I just took part in the largest Masses ever for me. While at Franciscan University, Mindy and I were part of what I believe were just under 2,000 people in the Finnegan Fieldhouse (see photo) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to celebrate Masses. The energy that came from that many people who were truly joyous about being there is indescribable.

There were times I felt moved to tears just with the music. On Sunday, the singing of the Gloria was so beautiful that it was like I’d never heard it sung before. It was sung with enthusiasm, feeling, and love by everyone in that Fieldhouse. It was as though all the choir of angels was lifting our voices (and they were)!

As I pondered later on the experience, I started thinking, “I wish all Masses be like that. That’s the way they should be celebrated!” It didn’t take me long however to come to a humbling thought. Every Mass CAN be celebrated with the same enthusiasm and fervor. It’s up to ME to do it, though. It’s impossible to bring a couple thousand people to every Mass we attend, so we have to bring that feeling ourselves. We are responsible for our focus and prayerfulness; for our joy and devotion; and for the energy we put in to the Mass. If we all had our “A” game every time, each Mass we celebrate, whether with 20 or 2,000 of our closest friends, we would gain that same feeling I experienced last weekend. The old saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me” rings very true in this case.

I invite you to take this challenge and find the inner joy at being at Mass each and every time you go. As the presider at Mass on Sunday at Franciscan reminded us as he pointed to the alter, “He (Jesus) is HERE, He is HERE, HE IS HERE!”

Vive Cristo Rey,


Monday, August 27, 2007

Final Thoughts from Steubenville

Well, I’m home now and getting used to the Pacific Standard time zone again. I wish I could say the same for my luggage. It seems my luggage was “delayed” in Philadelphia while I came home without it. Fortunately, the only real things of value were the presents I bought and my dirty laundry. I guess my luggage took to the saying of W.C. Fields who said, “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia”.

Thank you for allowing me this forum to share with you a significant event in my life. The lessons I learned from some of the experiences certainly flow into life. The concepts of teamwork, welcoming, family and faith all are integral to the walks in your personal and business life.

Think back to when you were 18 years old and had the world in front of you. Now, whether its 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years later, are you satisfied? Have you lived the life you imagined…are you ticking off those important adventures in your life’s to-do list? If not…why? This trip revitalized me to think ahead to things I want to accomplish and do. These things may be personal or business related, but they all are important, so taking the time to reflect and set goals is vital. I challenge you to do the same, regardless of what phase in life you find yourself. As my friend Jim Key says, it’s never too late to dream.


Sunday, August 26, 2007


Ouch is the only way to describe how I feel right now as I sit in the Pittsburgh airport after having said goodbye to Mindy about an hour ago. If you have been where I have, you know what "bittersweet" really means. There's a feeling that a part of you is now missing, but not gone. It's hard to describe. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with her to help her get started on her new adventure.

I'm at the same time anxious to get home and see Barb, Kelli and the dogs. Kelli just passed her drivers test, so she's official. Watch out if you're on the roads in Poulsbo;-]

That's all for now. I board a plane to Philadelphia soon and then a straight shot home to Seattle. I will do a re-cap tomorrow.


Steubenville Journal - Saturday

Today was not as packed with things to do as Thursday and Friday…which was nice. There were several events, including a parent meeting and a brunch with the Franciscan friars. At the brunch, I got to meet some folks who are from Bothell. Mindy was glad to meet another native Washingtonian, especially one who lives so close. Turns out there are nine Washington residents at Franciscan.

I continue to be amazed at the warmth and generosity of this community. It’s a very inviting and welcoming place. If you were like me, your first day of school involved walking to your first class. That’s definitely not the case here. The kids already have an idea of what daily life is like on campus and have met friends. It’s a much better way to begin.

Mindy will get the opportunity to meet with the President of the University tonight at 7:15. All incoming freshman get the chance. After that, since it’s my final night here, we are going out to Dairy Queen for a dessert. It’s starting to finally sink in for me now, just like it did for Barb, Kelli, and Steve a few days ago. Being concerned for her safety is not the issue. I know she’s at the right place…no doubt in my mind. This is the beginning of a marvelous adventure and growth for her. She’s ready for it.

The real issue is I’m going to miss her. She has already left me a voice mail that I’m not supposed to listen to until she’s not around me. I haven’t found the courage to do that yet. I still see myself holding a newborn baby in my arms almost 19 years ago. Where has the time gone?

Many of you out there know what I feel. You have been there, too. In fact, I’m among good company as I see and hear similar thoughts from other parents. Distance doesn’t make a difference; whether it’s 100 or 2500 miles, the pain is still there. I feel fortunate that technology has brought us cellular phones (thanks to family calling plans), e-mail, and webcams. We still will communicate, maybe even better than before, and that will help. It doesn’t change that she won’t be there on Saturday mornings when I make pancakes, or when we are in church as a family, or every night when Barb and I would check to see if she was asleep.

I guess the moral of the story is this. Change happens. We all go through stages in our lives and Barb and I are embarking on a new one. Closing one chapter can sometimes be painful, but always seems to lead to new adventures. As out kids grow up and move on, it will really be like old times again and will give us the opportunity to focus on each other. What changes are you going through in your life? What might you be leaving behind? And, here’s the ultimately important question – what really cool things lay in store for you?

More tomorrow from the Buckeye State..


Friday, August 24, 2007

Steubenville Journal - Day 2

The university is having IT issues so I have to type this out first and put in my blogs later. Right now, I’m in the VERY cool library. Not only is it a cool place but the air conditioning is very nice as it’s extremely hot and humid outside.

So far today, Mindy has added a class to her schedule, bought her books ($500 smackers) and put money down to go to Austria next Fall. Well, I guess I paid for the books and the deposit for Austria! She and her roomie are all moved in to their dorm room and after a decent nights sleep, all is well.

We had an awesome experience last night. I’ve only been part of something remotely similar at an NBC Team Camp event. All the kids who came back to run the orientation, affectionately called the “brown shirts” since they were all wearing one, formed a type of gauntlet for all freshman and family to walk through to enter the gym for the opening ceremonies. The brown shirts were whooping and hollering and giving High Fives to everyone walking in. We felt like were rock stars. You can’t imagine the faces of all of us as were walked through…surprise and joy. Talk about being made feel welcome. To me, that is teamwork at its finest…to make your new teammates feel welcome, wanted, and excited to be there. It might make you wonder what would happen if everyone who was new to a team (athletic, business, church, etc.) were made to feel that way!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Almost Heaven West Virginia

Greetings from West Virginia! We arrived safely and I type this from my hotel room in Weirton, WV. I'm only a couple miles away from crossing the Ohio River over to Steubenville. The plane trip was uneventful as you would want one to be.

Mindy and I will be soon heading over to start getting her settled, so this will be brief.

One quick note. Normally I fly Alaska Airlines but they don't fly into Pittsburgh. I was pleasantly surprised by US Air. It was clean, on time, and the employees had fun, made jokes, and made our trip enjoyable. Customer service is a great thing...especially after my debacle with Dell.

More to come later...


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Steubenville Journal

Well, I'm heading out today to Steubenville, OH to take my oldest daughter Mindy to college at Franciscan University. She's a freshman so this is an emotional time in our family as you might imagine. Many of you may have already gone through this process and can empathize. Others of you will be looking forward to it.

This will start my daily journal that can be seen on this blog about my trip. If you are interested, I hope you will check in and see how we are doing.

Last night, we had 11 people over for dinner - all members of the family. It was a great chance to see Mindy off and say "see you later" until Christmas break. Family is an important part of life, whether it's your personal family, your faith family, your family at work, or the family you coach. The support you gain from your family in all walks of your life is critical to your happiness. I'm sure Mindy received that last night.

We're off tonight on a red-eye to Charlotte and then on to Pittsburgh. My next blog will come tomorrow.



Monday, August 20, 2007

What you can learn from a dog - The Blondie Rule #1

The other day I was taking my dogs out for their last potty break before going to bed. It was a miserable evening as the rain was really coming down hard. I put on my rain coat, and started the “leashing up process”. As I was getting Charlie, my black lab ready to go, my 16-year old terrier mix mutt Blondie decided she wasn’t going to wait.

She walked through the screen in the door (Now, how did THAT get there?) and proceeded to the top of the porch step just under cover. It was at that point she decided to do her duty, turn around and come back in. I guess a 16-year old dog has more wisdom than her 42-year old human owner. She wasn’t about to get wet, while Charlie and I got drenched.

So, what can we learn from Blondie? It didn’t take much analysis to determine that going down the stairs into the rain just to get her “job” done wasn’t necessary. She made a “command” decision and solved the problem at the least expense and effort, and still got the job done.

How many times do we fall victim of “analysis paralysis”? Sometimes, we may take an inordinate amount of time to make a decision that was staring us in the face all the time. Instead of using our wisdom and acting, we waste time, energy, and money in over-analyzing. Sometimes, we lose an opportunity because of it! If you’re like me, you have been guilty of this.

I’ve learned that my old dog can teach me new tricks. This was a good example. Granted, I will continue to use the acceptable human way to go to the bathroom; Blondie’s method of decision-making was not lost on me!

Are you procrastinating on a beginning something in your faith life? Is it reading the Bible, praying the rosary as a family, or making a religious pilgrimage, to somewhere like The Grotto in Portland, OR? What’s keeping you from getting started? Take a lesson from Blondie and don’t wait any longer. You won’t be sorry.


P.S. My daughter Mindy and I head for Franciscan University in Steubenville on Wednesday. We’re catching a red-eye out of Seattle and land in Pittsburgh the next morning (yawn). If you are interested in our adventures, please check in on this blog as I will be keeping a daily journal, hopefully including pictures. Please pray for our safe journey and we will keep you in our prayers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Assume You Know About the Assumption?

This will be a very brief blog to remind all my Catholic brothers and sisters that today is the Feast of the Assumption and a Holy Day of Obligation. Or, as my pastor so eloquently puts it, a Holy Day of "Opportunity". This is a day to honor Our Blessed Mother and ask for her intercession. The photo included in this post was taken at The Grotto in Portland, OR. If you've never had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage there, I highly recommend it. You will be taken by it's beauty, serenity, and peacefulness. On this special day, let's close with...

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee; Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus; Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.


P.S. Pray for your children today!

Monday, August 13, 2007

What You Can Learn from Tiger Woods

If you’ve ever watched Tiger Woods play golf, you know you’re looking at arguably the greatest golfer of all time. He unquestionably fits that title for this generation at least. Even if you’re not a golfer, you are certainly aware of his dominance in his profession. This past weekend, he picked up his 13th career major victory at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, OK; moving him ever closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins.

So what can we learn from Tiger? No, I’m not talking about his thunderous drives or his precision putting. We can however learn something about work ethic, perseverance, and a commitment to excellence.

Tiger Woods has been called a “phenom” by many. However, his phenomenal play really comes from an endless regimen that strengthens his mind, body, and skills. The mental focus he brings to his game is really what sets him apart from his competitors. Think about this weekend. After 72 holes in temperatures that soured to over 100 degrees each day, he won a tournament by a mere 2 strokes. Two strokes over 72 holes isn’t a lot by numbers, but it’s that little “extra” that Tiger brings from the mental side that puts him over the top time and time again. His ability to focus on the task at hand, without being distracted about what happened in the past, or what will happen in the future, has made him the most dominant athlete in sports since Michael Jordan.

Do you bring that type of focus to your “game”?

If you’re like me, being focused in prayer can be a difficult thing. Distractions are all around us, even in church or in private prayer. Can you imagine if we attacked our prayer life like Tiger attacks a golf course? Being present with God at that moment, without thinking about your past failings or what is to come, is a wonderful goal. In fact, if you find yourself distracted, ask God for help. I did that once in my adoration hour and He helped me solve a business challenge I was facing in about 25 minutes!

Be a champion for Christ. Let’s learn from Tiger Woods about focus, commitment, and dedication and take that into our prayer lives so we can be models for our children.


P.S. Remember to pray for your children and grandchildren today. Don't have kids...OK pray for your parents!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Going to the dogs?

I love my two dogs. Blondie (pictured) has been a member of our family for over 16 years. When we got her, my daughters were 2 ½ and 1 year old…they don’t remember life without her. Her buddy Charlie has been with us over four years and since being introduced to the “good life” has certainly made himself at home. Most of us understand that these are God’s creatures and He loves them.

The recent tragedy of dog fighting has been in the news lately involving Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. It’s a horrible story and the outcry for justice around the country is warranted. It does however, make me think.

As much as I agree with the majority that this type of violence to animals is cruel (and a grave sin), I am dismayed that the same voices aren’t also decrying the inhumanity of abortion. As a nation, for over thirty years, we have been putting our unborn babies to death. For those of you who know how an abortion is performed, you know that it is an inhumane and ghastly procedure.

Has our nation gone to the dogs? Probably not very fair to the dogs. Abortion is the penultimate form of child abuse. Does the moral decay of our country coincide with the Roe vs. Wade decision? I believe it does. Until we stop the legal murdering of our unborn, we as a Christian community must continue to pray for and fight against it.

I love dogs and hope that justice in this case is served. I also love humans, and pray that human life be respected from conception to natural death. Will you pray with me?

P.S. Remember to pray for your children today!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Grace Stands the Test of Time

It was April 8th, 1974 and I was 9 years old. I was watching a nationally televised baseball game featuring the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. Glued to the television and clutching my brand-new Hank Aaron “714” baseball mitt, I was waiting anxiously to watch my hero come to the plate. I can still smell the leather of the glove. Aaron was tied with Babe Ruth as the Home Run King and his next homer would leave him standing alone. I’ll never forget it – his second at bat against Al Downing was hit over the left-field wall and as he rounded the bases, he was mobbed by two fans who somehow managed to elude the police. It was quite a scene and a thrill for this young fan. I remember how gracious “The Hammer” was in his comments before, during, and after the chase. Ruth was a legend and Aaron endured much hatred and contempt. His graciousness under these circumstances was more heroic than his accomplishment.

Now, 12,173 days later, Bobby Bonds stands alone as the new Home Run King. This article isn’t about blasting Barry Bonds. This is his time, plus there are enough people to tackle that job anyway. This is about a man who 33 years later still exudes graciousness. Hank Aaron wasn’t in San Francisco last night for the festivities. He had said all along he had no interest in attending and stuck to his word. However, he did issue a video statement that was played on the big screen congratulating Bonds for his “skill, longevity, and determination.” He considered himself “privileged” to have held the record and sent his best wishes to Bonds and his family. In conclusion, he said this, “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams”.

It makes mo wonder if I’m always gracious in challenging times. How about you? If we can learn anything from Henry Aaron, it’s this; baseball records will come and go, but what stands forever is the character of a human being.

Oh, by the way, read his final statement one more time. Are you still chasing your dreams? As my friend Jim Key has said, “It’s never too late to dream”! My hope is that you will be inspired to keep your dreams, whatever they may be, alive and well.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rosary Online

I love this online version of the Rosary. Adriano Moraes is a Rodeo hero and a devout Catholic. His web site is full of great information about the faith in addition to his life as a cowboy. I urge you check out his web site AND the online Rosary. It's also available under my Links section.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Hail Mary Play Into the Hall of Fame

What do professional football and Our Blessed Mother have in common? On the face of things…not much other than she has a pass play named after her by Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. But, if you hang in there with me on this article, you may find the same similarities I did on this very special month.

Those of you who know me well know that I’m a HUGE football fan. On Saturday, I found myself at the gym working out on the treadmill and watching ESPN’s coverage of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction in Canton, OH (just down the road from Steubenville, but that’s for a later time). I watched as Roger Wehrli and Thurman Thomas gave their speeches and spoke about how faith played a major part in their lives (Note - Gene Hickerson, Michael Irvin, Bruce Matthews, and Charlie Sanders were also inducted but they were introduced later). Both men’s speeches started me thinking about what the REAL Hall of Fame might look like. In reality, it’s the only Hall of Fame we should be dying to get into…that eternal Hall of Fame in heaven.

Think it’s a stretch? Let me put it to you this way. Pro football players come and go over the years and toil for different lengths of time. The truly great ones are sometimes blessed with exceptional skills, but you would agree that all of them had to work hard to meet the demands of their job and be able to excel. For instance, newly inducted Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas was a second-round draft pick for the Buffalo Bills. As a 5’9 running back who weighed less than 200 pounds, he could not be categorized as a prototypical pro back. His exceptional work ethic and strong supporting cast led him to become one of the great running backs in the history of the game.

What about us? As people, we all come in different shapes and sizes and live on this earth for different lengths of times with different supporting casts. We all have skills that God has blessed us with and must work hard to improve our game – being faithful servants of God. As St. Paul so eloquently proclaimed, “I have competed well; I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day…” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Sounds like a great induction into the eternal Hall of Fame, huh? Heaven is the ultimate Hall of Fame and we are charged to lead our family into it.

So what does all this have to do with Mary? It dawned on me as I was “fighting the good fight” with the treadmill, that this month we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption (August 15 – don’t forget to go to Mass). Arguably, the greatest “player” in the Hall would be the Mother of our Lord. Okay, before my non-Catholic brothers and sisters start calling me a “Mary worshipper”, let me explain my thinking. Jesus was both fully human and divine. As the Son of God, nobody else walking the face of the earth can compare. Mary, a human like the rest of us, was born without sin and remained that way throughout her life. Jesus so loved us that he gave his Mother to the world as our Mother on Good Friday. God rewarded her for her “career” by calling her body and soul into heaven. As Catholics, we honor Mary as our mother and an intercessor.

As parents raising Catholic children, we must constantly point to Our Blessed Mother as an example of true faith, obedience, and humility. A poor, young Jewish girl was given the grace to be the mother of our Savior. Not only didn’t she back away from it, she lived it to the end, standing below the foot off the cross while most everyone else fled (see my blog on St. Mary Magdalene). As we recite the Rosary, fifty-three times we ask her to pray for us “now and at the hour of our death”. My ultimate hope is that on my day of judgment, Our Blessed will be my introducer into the great Hall of Fame. Who better to walk into meet Our Lord on the most important moment in your existence, than with your Mom!