I’d rather be joyful than smart

Would you rather be this...

...or this?







There is currently a crisis brewing in Buffalo, NY. The entire community is unravelling, people are pointing fingers, and blame is being thrown around. Everyone has an answer and everyone is screaming for action.

The Buffalo Sabres are bad.

This was supposed to be a good year in the recently dubbed “Hockey Heaven.” Big signings over the summer, a great start to the season, and it all unravelled. The team spiraled down to last place in the conference – and everyone is screaming and yelling their different solutions. But one chorus has been the loudest:

“Do something, Darcy.” Darcy Reiger is the GM of the team – and there have been no moves – not one – not a single trade – nothing – from this team that was expected to be a Stanley Cup Contender.

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Are you getting in God’s way?

Are you shielding God from working?

Last night, as I was tucking in my three year old, and singing (if I can generously call it that) Ba-Ba-Black Sheep to her like I do every night, I was interrupted by her.  She was very upset all of a sudden, and I had to stop singing to hear what was going on.  “We forgot to pray tonight! We forgot to pray tonight!”  Here I was, not being particularly patient, trying to put my kid to bed so that I coud just go eat some cookies and milk and veg out downstairs a bit.  But my haste, my lack of patience, and my desire to just shut off my brain pushed me to forget probably the most important 8 minutes with my family of every day…

Us adults think we’re so smart.  We’ve got it all figured out, and we’ve got our busy lives with our busy schedules, and our grand plans.  And quite often,those grand plans get in God’s way – even if our goal is to teach our faith in Christ to other people. Read More

What moves you, and what makes you be moved?

We’ve all heard the cliches about hard work.  You get out of something what you put into it.  Pray like it all depends on God, work like it all depends on you.  Hard work equals success.  Talent only gets you so far.   Luck is the residue of design.  Let me know of others – I’m sure there’s lots more out there.

Yes, this is more about my running.  But more than about my running.  When I run, I am praying.  Every morning, within my first few steps, I am giving God that run, that morning, that day… my life.

The view at my 10-mile race last Saturday (from Checkers AC pictures of the race)

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I get tired DRIVING 20 miles… har har har!

Yesterday, I took an easy jog. Today, I took a just as easy jog. Tomorrow, I race. I love running. I love running hard. I generally am bored with the easy jog days, but I can’t run hard every day. Racing? I love it. And I hate it. It’s all I’ve been thinking about today, to be honest.

This video illustrates conversations I have about once each day:

I am a runner. Long ago, that statement meant something to me. I had what I look back upon now as “a lost decade” of running. It wasn’t lost in all areas – I grew tremendously in my faith, we had 4 awesome daughters, I had the privilege of witnessing countless teens grow in their faith, and I was married to the Wifey of the Universe the entire time. So it was a great decade – just not for running.

A few years ago, I refound this important part of myself. And people shake their heads at me. They think me crazy. The don’t get it. They think it’s about exercise. Or that we’re just dumb. And then I hear all the jokes. (Some of which are included in the video above.)

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Tom Brady is Overweight (but better than Aaron Rodgers)

The day after the Super Bowl, all the sports writers and radio hosts were busy trying to put perspective on the game.  Every year, it seems, we hear about how this was one of the 10 best of all time, or this quarterback sealed his Hall of Fame bid, or that quarterback choked.  There was an awesome awesome article (actually, it was terrible, and ridiculously hyperbolic) on Monday blaming the entirety of the loss on Tom Brady – that he was fully to blame, and that the prince has turned into a joke.

(Yes, that is really Tom Brady to the right.)

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What if there was no tomorrow?

I have no idea why, but I’ve always liked Groundhog Day. Really, anyone with a critical bone in their body realizes that a rodent coming out of his hole can’t predeict anything, but it’s these little things that help the sanity stay right on that red-line, ya know?

I’ve also always loved the movie Groundhog Day, and I’m not sure if it was that movie or Ghostbusters, but I have a mammoth man-crush on Bill Murray. Whatever it is – that line – “What if there was no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” has always stuck with me a little bit.

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Little Jedi?

I may be a little bit of a Star Wars fan. There may or may not have been a song from Episode 4 played as the recessional song at my wedding. But I won’t tell. I may have named my son after Luke Skywalker. Ok, I didn’t really – it was for St. Luke the Evangelist – but it is nice that it fits for multiple purposes.

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The Best of Us

One week before classes started at Trocaire College, where I teach a section or two each semester, I got word that my main text book was unavailable. Ooof. Seriously, I was thrown waaaaaay off by that. So I had to scramble – and I came up with a few books to add on – but they were books that I hadn’t read before. (I’d be learning with the students!)

One of these newly added books is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

Man's Search for Meaning [Book]

Even though we’re not using it in class quite yet, I started reading it pretty quickly after I received my copy from the college – and was slammed, right away. I mean page 6 sort of right away.

Here I was, assuming that it’d be a story of faith and suffering and struggles and horrors from Frankl’s survival of the holocaust… but 6 pages in, it was already challenging me.

We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles – whatever one may choose to call them – we know: the best of us did not return.

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Bringing it Home

“Joe, is that you?” I couldn’t believe it. “Russ? I haven’t seen you in what, 16 years? What are you doing in DC, here for the March for Life?” “No” Russ replied. “I live here – in fact, I forgot the March was tomorrow – until the swarms of people.” “Huh?” I was confused. “Aren’t there always lots of people here for protests and on vacation and stuff?” “Well,” he explained, “This is the busiest we ever see it. When it’s March for Life time, it blows tourist season out of the water. I mean, we get a special event like inauguration or that Colbert/Stewart thing, but this is by far the biggest annual event.”


(Teens arrive to sleep on the gym floor at CUA before Marching for Life on Monday.)

It’s easy to be pro-life here this weekend. It’s easy to go to mass with 20,000 others at the Verizon Center or the DC Armory, and be all excited for our cause. It’s easy to march with 200,000 people – or more – and be chanting and believing with all of our hearts.

But we aren’t called to be pro-life 2 days a year. We’re called to live it. And that’s where it’s hard. At the family gathering, when your aunt or cousin makes a comment about radical anti-abortionists. Or someone at school gives you a hard time. Or the guys or girls on your team think you’re off your rocker.

But living it out – knowing the facts – being willing to pray regularly for the 1,400 or so abortion deaths daily – lovingly correcting people who just plain don’t understand the truth – contacting our government reps – that’s where the rubber hits the road.

And that’s our mission field. To vote pro-life, to pray pro-life, to learn pro-life, to teach pro-life, to live pro-life.

This March today will be something to behold. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the pro-life movement was that fervent all over the country every day? I pray that becomes reality – and that that reality changes the heart of this country to save over a million lives a year.

Left, Left, Left-Right-Left

Tonight, I hop on a 56 seater bus, fully loaded with 56 people – Yay! No really, it’s a good thing. You see, we wanted this bus full. It’s full of teens (and the old-people charged with watching them) heading down to Washington, DC for the annual March for Life.

It’s the biggest event of the year that you never hear about. There’ll be over 200,000 people marching for life. There’ll be maybe 2 dozen people quietly holding signs about keeping abortion legal. The news will tell you both sides were represented at this national event. They may interview one person from each “side.” They won’t give you any sort of picture of the reality of this event, or why it still exists, 40 years later.

Let no one fool you – this is a young person’s protest. And of course it is. It’s the young people that are missing 25% of their generation, because of the horrifics of abortion. Sure, there are adults there – but the energy, enthusiasm, and hope of the young people drives his event, and gives it incredible life.

This trip is more exhausting than any other youth trip all year. Our first night’s sleep is 100% on the bus. Then, we’re on our feet all day Sunday. That night, we sleep on a gym floor with a few thousand high schoolers at Catholic University, but not until Reconciliation & Adoration end at midnight. We’re at breakfast by 6:15am, and then on the go again all day, until we hop back on the bus about 4:45… Stop for dinner with the rest of our Diocese, and get home about 3am. Exhausted.

And completely exhilarated to be able to journey with and witness the passion of the young people with us.

I want you to know, it’s one of the most important, awesome & meaningful events we have each year. Pray for us, for our energy, for our cause, for our safety. I’d personally appreciate it.

If you could also pray for the patient spouses & families of the chaperones, I’d really really appreciate it. My poor wife…