Don’t Mess With My Plan

July 29, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following is a reflection about my own faults and how I wish I was more like my wife. While it was written in 2013, it is a theme that will come up once again in the homily I will be delivering this weekend.

I assisted at three Masses last Sunday morning, and came home ready to get comfortable in “Dad’s chair” and watch Day 2 of the NFL wild card play-off games. The Colts had taken care of business the night before and I looked forward to watching two more games in the warmth, peace, and quiet of my home. The winter storm had started, so the stage was set for a perfect snowed-in afternoon.

About 30 minutes before kick-off, the satellite reception began to flicker, and eventually the screen went blue, indicating “No signal.” No signal, no problem. I put on my coat, hat, gloves, and boots and grabbed the ladder from the garage. It was a heavy snowfall, but that did not dissuade me. Standing on the top step of the ladder (don’t try this at home), I went to my tiptoes in order to reach the dish with my snowbrush. I prayed that my neighbors would not see how incredibly unsafe I was being. I was successful in clearing the snow from the satellite dish and getting back down the ladder in one piece. Continue reading

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Combating Modern Day Challenges

July 23, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following is Part II of a post focused on the challenges of raising “desensitized” kids. I offered Part I yesterday.

Part II:

Yesterday I discussed some of the challenges young people face in their efforts to live good moral lives. Society places before them so many tempting things. These things appear not only desirable, but also easily accessible. The “go for it” attitude is so pervasive that young people who decide to abstain from sex until marriage, opt not to drink alcohol, or limit their use of technology for the sake of simplicity and genuine relationships, are considered abnormal.

I promised to offer a few suggestions to counteract these challenges. Well, here comes a spoiler alert. I am going to offer some suggestions, but when it is all said and done, it boils down to consistent, open, honest, and loving communication with our children. It is the only chance we have to combat all the junk our children are bombarded with on a daily basis. Continue reading

Facing Modern Day Challenges

July 22, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following is Part I of a post focused on the challenges of raising “desensitized” kids. I will share Part II tomorrow.

Part I:

Being a parent is tough, and getting tougher every day. That’s because being a kid these days is tougher than ever. We like to pretend in front of the kids that we had it much tougher back in our day, but we know that’s not really true. We grew up in a much simpler time. The things we worried about back then pale in comparison to what our children face today. This means that as parents we need to be more vigilant, more “on our game” than ever. It means we cannot back down, even for a minute, from our responsibility to protect our children – from the forces at work in the modern world and from themselves.

I will focus my attention on three of the issues facing our young people everyday. The gravity of each is enhanced by the fact that our kids view the issues as “no big deal.” This certainly makes it more difficult for us to protect them! Continue reading

Don and Gayle

July 21, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following post shares an encounter Carol and I had with Don and Gayle, two people just trying to get through another day.

As Carol and I were getting in our car yesterday morning to head to work, I noticed the right rear tire was a little low. Nothing urgent, but we had some time so I decided to stop at the gas station to check tire pressure and air up as needed. For whatever reason I took a different route than normal, and pulled into a gas station on the way.

When nearing the “Inflation Station” (a coin operated air machine), we noticed a rather disheveled man with a walker sitting right in front of the machine. An equally disheveled older woman in a hat limped toward him.

I’ll be very honest – eight or ten years ago, I would have driven right past the machine and made the decision to fill up my tires another time, and avoid the hassle of dealing with those people. But a renewed prayer life, a softer heart, and two years of working with the homeless population made it possible for me to pull up and fill my tire as planned. Continue reading

Bring Your Own Sunshine

July 20, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following post speaks to the need to hold yourself accountable and not rely solely on others to motivate you, drive you, or make you happy. You need to “bring your own sunshine with you.”

Carol and I have worked as presenters of a marriage preparation program for a number of years. A favorite expression we use, and the theme that pulls the weekend program together is, “Love is a decision.” In several of our presentations, we incorporate the concept that marriage is about waking up every morning and making the decision to love your spouse that day. That is not as easy as it sounds. As Carol can attest, sometimes you may not even like your spouse much that day, but you still make the decision to love him or her. It is about commitment. It is about taking ownership of how you respond to another person and of how you are going to think and act that day. It is not Carol’s responsibility to do something each day that will make her lovable – loving her is my daily decision.

This mindset carries over to many facets of one’s life. I have held several jobs in schools that lend themselves to dealing with conflict resolution. People pull up a chair in my office and vent their frustrations, list their complaints, or detail their concerns. People need a sounding board and often just being heard is very helpful. The vast majority of the issues raised in my office are legitimate concerns that, after talking them through, can then be addressed appropriately. Continue reading

You Can’t Say “I Love You” Too Often

July 19, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following post comes from a talk I gave on the challenges of living in the modern, secular world, with emphasis on keeping an open line of communication and doing all things with love. 

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents and students on the topic of “Words of Advice to Parents and Their Children.” If I were wise, you might call them words of wisdom. I share those thoughts here.

  • “It takes a village to raise a child” is not just a cute phrase.

We often use this phrase to emphasize the importance of the school and the parents working together to educate our children. While it is an old-fashioned statement, it was never truer than it is today. The world our children are growing up in is a complex, fast-paced, and somewhat hedonistic one.

Parents can’t send us their children thinking, “It’s a Catholic school; I hope they will instill the moral values our kids will need in life.”

The school can’t say, “We’re only here to teach Math and Science.”

The parents, who are the primary educators of their children, need to raise their children to have a solid moral foundation. We, the school,  have the responsibility to support and enhance the work the parents have done. Continue reading

Gumby Alone on the Nightstand

July 18, 2017

I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.

The following was written when our youngest child, Robby, was heading off to college. (Update: Robby has now been a college graduate for three years, is married, and has a job as a software engineer…surely we’re done parenting him, right?)

Carol and I took our baby to college last Friday. We loaded two boxes, “everything he needed” according to Robby, into our car and headed for Terre Haute and the campus of Rose-Hulman. It should be noted that we needed to drive two cars when we took our daughters to college. Robby, or Rob as we discovered he is now calling himself, is the youngest of our four children. We had been privately dreading this day. Not because he wasn’t ready, he has been ready for a long time. He is goofy and a bit of a homebody; but he is reasonably mature, very intelligent, and somewhat independent. He is focused on his future. Continue reading