A New Beginning-Again…and Again…and….

“The Lord has eyes for the just and ears for their cry.”       Psalms 34:16

A lot of posts of have been going around the social media scene lately about mental health and illness.  I will not focus on stats, I will not focus on anyone else, I will focus on me and my path and how it has brought me on a roller coaster path that I hope in the end will bring me closer to my family and my God.

I have depression….. I hate labels, but it is what it is.  It is a burden that I have been given in this Earthly life, and I will do my best to carry it with pride.  Labels hurt, especially one like depression where there may never be outward signs of illness like there are for things like cancer.  It is not a one-size-fits all diagnosis and telling someone to “think happy thoughts” will not make them do so.  People cannot just get over it.  And, as I have told my wife, if you do not have it, you cannot understand it. Continue reading “A New Beginning-Again…and Again…and….”

What Should I Have Been?

I have always been blessed to surround myself with people smarter than me (yes there is a joke in there somewhere).  This has become more evident the more I feel like I have struggled with my faith life and the more I try to find ways to get back on the right track.   In the past couple weeks, I have had the opportunity to listen and comprehend from some men and children that I greatly admire.
What is the meaning/purpose of life?   If you were to ask a dozen years ago or so, I would have answered much different than I might now.  Now I focus on my four boys and wife and getting them to Heaven and if God has enough pity, maybe I can be lucky enough to get there at some point as well.  However, there is that often stressful thing called “life on Earth” that can be consuming and get you off that purpose-filled track.   It can also lead to amazing conversations and prayer that start to shed a light on what your purpose is on earth.

Continue reading “What Should I Have Been?”

Quiet as a Church Mouse?

“But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14

 

Quiet as a church mouse?  Ha… I say this almost weekly to the boys.  In a recent article in the bulletin, our Pastor, Fr. Pat Sullivan responded to an email he had received on children at the parish and if it was wrong to stay at home in fear of our children disturbing everyone.  This is a situation in which I have thought about on many occasions.  As a family of 6, my wife and I have 4 very sweet and active boys under the age of 9, we find ourselves leaving the pew quite often, every week.  Sometimes it is necessary as they are extremely loud, but other times I leave with them because of the fear of what might happen.  I have never been one to worry about the “distractions” of other children at mass, but I fear my children distracting others and getting the “look” from a fellow parishioner.

As Fr. Pat said, “To that point, the problem is theirs to pray through, not yours.”  Wow.  That was so reassuring. Continue reading “Quiet as a Church Mouse?”

Struggles and Blessings on my Life as a Dad

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4. 

Being a father is the most amazing gift of my life.  Being a father is the biggest challenge in my life.  Attempting to be a father who brings his children up in the faith, following the 10 Commandments, loving the Lord with all their soul and being, as well as loving their neighbor as their self is tough, and it is even tougher in this little piece of Johnson County.  Yes, I know this is a challenge everywhere.  However, trying to teach your children that loving God and others and putting others first should be their top goal while so many of their friends (by product of their parents) are focused on self gratifying and personal possessions is amazingly hard.  Continue reading “Struggles and Blessings on my Life as a Dad”

New Year resolution….

To many the Christmas represent a time of stress, a time of joy, a time to celebrate, a time to eat, a time to love and a time to rejoice, a time to be with family, and a time to go to mass.  My 2015 Christmas season followed many, if not all of the descriptions above.  Growing up holidays meant very little to my family, even Christmas.  As I have had children of my own, my ideal Christmas celebration includes mass and celebrating the birth of our Savior, opening a few gifts and spending some down time relaxing and loving.  To find out, it was this and more……

To add to the excitement of Christmas, my oldest son’s birthday is on December 26.  We have vowed to make this special and separate from Christmas.  This year, was separate in a different way.  I received the call I had been expecting and dreading for years.  Mom was in the critical care unit in Wichita and had been unresponsive.  Sadly, I wished my son happy birthday, had breakfast with him, and with his permission left town.  It was a difficult trip as I have had this same drive a month ago, missing my second sons 5th birthday celebration.  This time felt different, it felt like goodbye.  Come to find out, my mom, who has been an alcoholic for most of my life, had too much to drink the night before, became very sick and started bleeding from her esophagus.  Emergency surgery was done to stop as much bleeding as possible.  Unfortunately, years of alcohol had shut down her liver functions and she was sedated to try to relax her body.  Sparing the details of 3 long days, my mom was admitted to hospice care on December 29th at 6:00 PM after making the difficult choice to take her off the vent.  7 hours later, mom passed away at 59 years young on December 30.

Why do I write this?  Maybe it is therapy.  Maybe it is sorrow.  My mom and I had a very bad relationship for many years, in fact, most of my life.  In the past 10 years, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we have spoken.  I find it a God moment, that in this year of Mercy, I was trying to show my mother the mercy and forgiveness needed to reconcile our relationship, even just a little.  My mom was not Catholic, nor even baptized.  After consulting with Fr. Pat, I baptized my mother on December 26.  Fr. Pat was amazing during this process and more helpful than I could have imagined.

If you are still reading, thank you for listening to my rant, but this is where I need your help, a new years resolution of sorts.  Point blank……..do you have a will?  Do you have your final wishes outlined?  If not you, your parents?  Mom had nothing, but a paid on death on her checking account.  No will, no wishes, not paper work, no anything.  This has been the most stressful 2 weeks of my life.  I am fortunate that mom has a very small estate, at least in my opinion.  I can’t imagine if she had more.  Please, for your sake, your children’s sake, your family’s sake…..make a plan and follow through with finalizing things.  I have to take this advice for myself and my family as well as trying to talk my Dad into the same thing (parents have been divorced for over 20 years with no surviving spouses of their own).  I am my father’s only child.  I know this is a difficult talk to have and a difficult though, our mortality, to think about, but the stress I have had lately could have been less, had some plans be made.

Sorry for the rant and randomness.  Have a blessed 2016.

Book Review “Into the Deep” by Robert Rogers.

Hello to all.  I am not a great writer, but I just finished a book that I feel all of you should consider reading.  The book is titled Into the Deep and it is by Robert Rogers.  This is a true story of a family of 6 living in Liberty, Mo.  The background of this family is amazing to begin with, a couple with 4 children, the oldest daughter who was 8 at the time of the story, a brother named Zachary who was born with Down syndrome, another son, and then a year old adopted daughter from China.  On Labor Day weekend of 2003 (i might be a year off), the family traveled to Wichita for a family wedding and headed home in a downpour late that night.  Just south of Emporia their can was caught in a flash flood at Jacob Creek near mile marker 116.  Their van stalled and water began to enter the van.  Soon a wall of water gushing at 30,000 gallons a second hit their van, wiped out the concrete median and pushed their van off the turnpike.  The husband, his wife, and oldest daughter were sucked out of the window that was broken open, the younger three were trapped in their car seats.  In the end, the father survived, and his wife and children sadly passed away.  However, his story of faith before, during, and after this tragedy is what made me unable to put this book down.  I literally began on Wednesday at noon and finished the 230ish page book on Thursday at noon.

I checked out the book from the Bonner Springs Library, but there are a couple copies available through JoCo libraries and I believe it can be purchased on amazon for 10-15 bucks.

I have attached a link to a video about this amazing guy.  If it doesn’t work, youtube Robert Rogers.  The pics do not do this justice.  Jill and I had just started dating not long before this and were actually headed to Wichita the day after this flood.  The destruction in such a short time from the water was incredible.

Bless you all

TJ