Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Farewell my German Shepherd

I am very impressed by the humility and courage that Pope Benedict XVI has shown in his stepping down, or abdication, of his Papacy. I admire him so much for leaving his Petrine ministry with grace, knowing that he is not physically able to meet the demands that come with being the spiritual Father for a Billion Catholics.
One of the highlights of my life has been a pilgrimage that I made in April of 2008 to New York City to go to Mass at Yankee Stadium said By Pope Benedict XVI. I will always remember that trip and being in Yankee stadium for this special mass.

I am thankful that we had Pope Benedict XVI to lead the church.

This was Pope Benedict XVI incensing the altar  at mass in April 2008

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A peer into the Diaconate leads me to something else

Many of my family and friends are aware that for the past several years I have been answering a call in my life to lead a more religious life as a Deacon in the Catholic Church. The journey along this path led me to some great experiences, introduced me to lifelong friends, taught me about spiritual direction and has taught me much about my faith that I may never have learned without the need to take certain courses for the Vocation. I also learned in my time in the Diaconate that service to the Church and to our brothers and sisters can be done whether I am ordained or not. This fact that should be obvious and practiced by all people of good will was something that I was blinded to. I am not always that assertive of a person to just offer help as a concerned Christian brother, I always want a certified reason to be somewhere. But through my limited education I have learned that a title is not something I need to serve my fellow citizens of this world.
Service can be done in other ways.

(Going through the Rite of Candidacy, Spring 2011)

I do feel that it is necessary to say that I have profound love and respect for the other men and their wives that were enrolled in the Diaconate with me. I also pray daily for the 8 men that are still in formation to be ordained in the Spring of 2013. Having the knowledge of the sacrifices that these men and their wives make daily in order to serve our Catholic Church and the faithful brings me to  my knees and saddens me that I am no longer walking with them on their journey.

(Field Agent training in New Haven, CT)

My journey has brought me to a never imagined mode of service. It is often said that when God closes one door, He opens a window. My window has been with the Knights of Columbus. I first joined the Knights a year earlier while in the Diaconate as a way to be involved in my Parish while getting to know other like minded, charitable men of my faith. It was through this organization I found my way to serve others without being ordained into the clergy. I am a lector, usher and sometimes even a Eucharistic Minister at Mass, all of which I find to be terrific ways to serve my Church.

Then something else took me by surprise, and I am so glad it did. I was asked if I had any interest in becoming a Field Agent for the Knights of Columbus. My first thought was "an insurance  agent?" After all, I had dabbled in insurance a few years earlier and while I found myself somewhat good at it, I did not really enjoy it. But because of the organization, I felt compelled to at least research the opportunity. I  said yes to the initial interview and was asked to view a short video about this opportunity, which can be viewed at this link: I was hooked after watching this video and viewed a few others at There were other hurdles to overcome, but I did with no problems.

Me and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson

This career choice has led to a fantastic opportunity to not only provide for my family financially but to also serve Catholic families in different ways. As their insurance agent I am able to help them understand the sometimes overwhelming world of finances and insurance, make changes to their existing insurance and help them file claims when a family member dies. It is this final duty that makes me realize that I am doing a service to God's people in being there with them in these tough and tragic times. I have been asked to pray with families as they go through unimaginable circumstances. This is something I envisioned myself doing as a Deacon someday.  Through my career with the Knights of Columbus I find myself to be an asset to the members who take advantage of the products we offer. I am their agent, I am there for them when children are born, young men get married, and when parents die. I am available and called on at all stages of life.

Father Michael J Mcgivney, the man I work for

Father Michael J Mcgivney had a vision of what the Knights of Columbus could do and I think he saw me and wanted me to be a part of that vision. is a brief history of the Knights of Columbus.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful times

It has been over a year since I blogged and 2 years since I have done any serious blogging. It could be said that time flies when you are having fun but that has not necessarily been the case. Lets just say that life is messy and sometimes things that you want to do get pushed to the back burner in order to do what you need to do.  My wife and I have not had the marriage we dreamed about when we got married in 1992, that's right, I said it! It has had the peaks we looked forward to and it has had the valleys that we didn't. But it has really been those valleys that we have spent most of our time in and that is where our strength, love and persistence has been fortified the most. I am currently thinking of the song "down in the valley" being sung by our daughter Elani (its the only song she plays on her ukulele). I have always heard that to really know a person you have to walk a mile in their shoes. We have certainly walked in each others shoes, in fact we've walked together in the same pair of shoes for most of our 20 years. So, as Thanksgiving is a few days removed, I have been thinking of what I am thankful for and the list is really quite long, but I will keep it short for tonight's post and share others as time goes on. With that being said I am pleased with our marriage and look forward to the next 20 years!

1.  I am thankful the God is the most important influence in my life. The influence is involved in everything I do from marriage and family to work and play. I just hope that this is evident.

2. I am thankful for my wife who reminds me daily that I am not as important as I think I am, and that I am vitally important to the family unit in ways that are immeasurable(which I lose sight of almost daily).

3. I am thankful for all 4 of my daughters. I still see each of them as the 3 year old who thought I was Prince Charming and I also look forward to dancing at their weddings and seeing them raise their own families someday. They will always be my s princesses!

4. I am thankful for my current career(and hopefully the one I retire from) with The Knights of Columbus as a Field Agent. I truly get more than a paycheck from my work. I love being part of the Knights of Columbus, but as a Field Agent I see it from a different perspective than most of our members and I love what I see from this terrific Order.

5. I am thankful that life isn't easy. I truly believe that all the hard work combined with my faith is what helps my wife and I teach our kids persistence and a good work ethic. Of course, winning the Lotto would be nice, but I am reminded of the Bible passage where Jesus tells someone that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven. Of course this passage has meaning that I wont debate here, but the general impression I get is that we are supposed to work hard to get our eternal reward, I imagine it would be alot of work for that poor camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

6. Finally tonight, I am thankful that as the Christmas season approaches my family is trying to focus more on the religious and spiritual aspects of Christmas rather than the secular side where monetary gifts are the focus. I am looking forward to some of the different traditions we have started over the years that are more God centered and less secular centered. Things like the advent calendar, Advent wreath prayers, and reading select Chapters and verses from the Bible are quickly approaching to my delight.

These are some of what I am thankful for tonight. There are certainly other things that I am sure will come out over this Holiday season. I was reminded today at Church that being thankful is not the call of  the Christian to do only once a year.  We should be thankful all the time.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I haven't blogged in like a year. I was inspired by Emma to start again. it's her birthday this week, she'll be 13! having a birthday in south Louisiana in September has proven to be an iffy situation. it seems like every year there is a hurricane or some other tropical disturbance to interfere with her party or events. I feel bad for her, but i hope she knows that the weather or any other situation that occurs during her birthday in no way should diminish the fact that she is an awesome, lovable person. Happy Birthday Emma, Daddy loves you very much. xoxoxo

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So, we have stopped homeschooling our kids and sent them to public school. I have mixed feelings about this. I am happy to see the kids gain new experiences and get involved with school activities. I do worry about their academics and their ability to resist negative peer pressure or even be able to determine the pressure as positive or negative. I have been told by a few people that now that the kids are back in school their social development will be better... Really?... better according to who?... The kids, while being home schooled, had many social outlets and they were doing just fine... sometimes I think kids today are over-socialized... Parents allow their public and private school kids to get away with whatever they want in the name of socialization. that's crazy!!!! kids do need to learn how to deal with other people, after all I am not proposing we all live isolated lives. What i did like about homeschooling was that either my wife or I were there at every turn to advise and teach our kids the way they should have treated a situation or give them some positive reinforcement when they socialized in an acceptable way.
of course, we can still be that parental guide in their lives while they are in public school. I just wonder why more parents don't do it

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Half Marathon experience

It has been over 2 weeks since the race and I have not posted about the experience yet. I am not sure what is holding me back from it. At this point I will say that it was cold, freezing at the start of the race, it snowed in Baton Rouge just 8 hours before the start of the race. This made for a very anxious night and sleep before the race. I woke up the morning of the race to clear skies and just a few flakes on the ground... Decent running conditions. I was ready for the race, or so I thought.

On the way to the race we ran into some traffic on the interstate that threatened to make me late for the start. In fact, 15 minutes before the start of the race I was trapped on the Interstate and just knew that I would be starting after "the gun". At this point doubt began to creep into my mind. Thoughts that maybe I am not meant to run this race started creeping in. At this point all I could do was pray that I get to the start of the race in time. I didn't think that starting late would be good for my fragile psyche. As I finished praying that God would ease the traffic, it did ease and Mary got me to the start with about 4 minutes to spare. I ran into a few of my running buddies hit the portable restrooms and lined up for the start with what seemed to me to be thousands of others(it may have been about 1400 or so in actuality). And the race began. I never heard a horn or pistol. Everyone started running and so did I. That first mile went by quick as I was still in a crowd and the adrenaline seemed to get me through that mile with very little effort from me. I tried to take in the sights, sounds and any special things that may come up during the run. But in that first mile my only thought was to not get run over by anyone. It seemed like everyone started out at a faster pace than me. Miles 2 and 3 were tough for me because of the unrealized effort I must have used in the first mile. during mile 3 I came upon Scott, my brother and my mom and step-dad. It was awesome to see them in the distance and feel the support they were giving me. My brother told me to low down I was running too hard and wouldn't finish the race at the pace I was on. I was glad to have someone tell me that. So I did slow down. and actually mile 4-7 went really smooth. I saw Mary and our daughters at mile 4 and that was a great pick me up. My entire family had made posters to support my running and others who were running around me began cheering for me because of the support I had at the race. in fact, every once in a while i would hear a 'go Steve' cheer from the other racers. i did appreciate that. I saw the family again at mile 6 and then again at mile 7. At this point, well actually mile 8 I started to feel tired, my legs were tired. I was able to push on to mile 10 on tired legs. there was a water stop at mile 10 and this was the point where I seemed to hit a "wall". I saw the family for the last time until the finish line at this point. I was glad to see them because I knew the end was near. I was exhausted but knew that the next 3 miles were "in the bag", I knew I'd finish. I didn't know that these 3 miles would be so tough. I could not run the whole 3 miles. My legs just wouldn't do it. So I did, disappointingly, walk a bit. I was in survival mode and just wanted to finish this race by doing whatever it took to finish it. I ended up jogging for a few minutes and then walking for a couple of minutes and then jogging again. This is how I got through miles 10 and 11. When I got to the mile 12 marker and knew that I had only 1 mile to go I started to pick up my pace again. There was no doubt that I was going to finish this half marathon. I judge that I must have made good time from mile 12.0 to mile 12.5, and then was out of energy. I had to walk again. I probably walked for a quarter mile and could actually see the finish line in front of me. This motivated me to run again. At this point I could see a kid running the wrong way, towards me, on the course. As the kid got closer to me I could make out that it was my 8 year old daughter Elani running to meet me. I yelled out to her "are you gonna finish the race with me?" and the smile on her face was enough to make all the pain and exhaustion of the race I just ran worth it. When she caught up with me and we were both "sprinting" towards that finish line I had several thoughts that were in my mind. In what probably took 30-45 seconds I had enough memories cross my mind to take and hour to tell. One of those memories was of me using a walker and not being able to walk on my own for over 7 months of my life. I may end up sharing some of the other memories and thoughts in later postings.

My goal was to finish this race in under 3 hours. My official time was 3:11:02. I assume that if I hadn't walked so much between miles 10 and 12 that I would have been under that goal, but that is not the important thing. What is important to me is that I FINISHED!

I will post some of my post race thoughts and physical status at some other time. I will just say for now that the pain, anguish and doubt was all worth it. I may never break any speed records. But seeing a goal to completion is my reward.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Running to overcome - relating therapy to training

Most of you who know me are aware that I have started jogging. For me jogging and running are about the same speed so I use the words interchangeably. This form of exercise started for me in September 2009. The local YMCA started an outdoor running club that would train 3 days a week as a group and the other days we are to train alone or rest. The First night of the group we did 3 half mile repeats. That basically meant that we ran half a mile and then walked about a tenth of a mile then rested. All 3 stages of the repeat should have been of equal length. I thought I would die after the first 1/2 mile. I did jog the whole way for that 1/2 mile. But the other 2 half miles were a mixture of running and walking. In other words I was out of shape and had no clue how to make myself keep going in this world of running. As I drove home that night disappointed in my performance I started thinking of ways to overcome this difficulty I was having with running. The biggest obstacle I have overcome in this life was not being able to walk and talk after my illness in 2002. How did I overcome that? Why did I overcome that? Who helped me along the way? these are all questions that I asked myself when considering how I could use the experience of therapy and translating it to the experience of training. 

The year after my ruptured colon and subsequent inability to walk and talk were the toughest year of my life. I could not articulate myself the way that I wanted nor could I even move the way that I wanted. I was 30 years old and had to use a walker and then a cane to walk, my speech was generally not understandable at most times, my breathing was forced and unnatural. I was a mess. However, I always felt the need to get better, to try my hardest to get back to being a productive husband for Mary, father for the girls, son, friend and neighbor. I could do it.

Daily rehabilitation sessions at the hospital were my job back then. So, with the help of Mary and the therapists, doctors and nurses, who all have a special place in my heart, I was able to go into therapy with a POSITIVE attitude everyday. I'll never forget the day they let me try to walk without assistance in the therapy department. One of my prior therapists was there to drop off some paperwork and when she saw me walking on my own she began to cry. I was so proud of myself that I thought I could run at that time. Those tears were an inspiration to me. Still are today. 
Anyway, as I was disappointed in myself as I drove home after that first night of running club I remembered all of this and put in my mind  that I COULD and WILL accomplish this goal. The Ultimate goal of the club, at least in the short term is to run in a half marathon in December 2009. That's next month, actually like 2 weeks away. I am proud to say that I have jogged a distance of 7 miles at a time so far, and am scheduled to do a 10 mile run on Saturday morning. I have been told by several runners that doing the 3.1 after doing 10 is "easy".  

I will post whether I survive the 10 miles on Saturday and then my triumph on the half marathon.

(the above pictures of me are in the hospital in 2002 on Elani's 1st birthday and the 2nd is from October 2009 when I ran the Oktoberfest 3 mile race in Baton Rouge)