Tag Archives: JOllier

Honeysuckle from Hell

A number of years ago, we decided to let part of our backyard go wild. We had tiger lilies and wild blackberries growing back there, as well as some wildflowers, and we added some pine trees to the mix.  I had visions of a little slice of Eden right in our own yard.  What we got was honeysuckle.  Lots and lots of honeysuckle.  It smells great, but it has absolutely taken over.  The tiger lilies and wildflowers are a distant memory.  The blackberries are in danger.  Our pine trees look like Charlie Brown specials, and …

Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Grandeur

During my sophomore year in college I had to take a course on poetry, which filled me with a profound sense of dread.  I hated poetry.  I just didn’t get it. I figured if you wanted to say something, you oughtta just say it.  Why dance around with a bunch of metaphors and fancy words that nobody’s ever heard of? Do you really need a 14 line sonnet to say “I love you”?  And these clowns who don’t want to be constricted by things like rhyme or rhythm – how is that poetry?  Let’s be …

Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus and the Ultimate Prom Invite

Late one recent Friday night, I was waiting in the high school parking lot for my daughter’s team bus to return from a meet when I saw 5 young men pull in near me. Four of them stripped off their shirts while the fifth began painting huge letters on their chests.  P-R-O-M.  It was about 30 degrees outside, so they hustled back into their cars until the bus was visible down the road, at which time the lettered four hopped into the bed of a pick-up and stood in line, while the 5th produced a …

Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Fruits of Lent

During Easter week my wife and I went out to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant and got to talking with Jose’, the restaurant owner, who happens to be a fellow parishioner. We were all talking about how this past Lent had been our best in many years when Jose’ said that now he’s looking for the “fruits of Lent”.  His point was that if the spiritual disciplines we began in Lent were beneficial, it doesn’t make any sense to quit at Easter.  Lent should yield good fruit well afterward, and if it doesn’t, then …

Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Race is On!

I ran track for one year in high school. Mostly the mile and two mile.  The mile I liked, but the two mile, now that’s a different story.  Something about going around in circles eight times in the same direction—it felt pointless to run all that way just to end up right where I’d started.  And track meets—ugh.  Seems like it was always either freezing and raining or baking hot.  No in between.  I remember sitting in the stands (and sometimes under them) bundled up against the wind and rain trying to do my homework …

Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who Do You Play For?

While at a swim meet one summer evening a few years ago, I saw a t-shirt that read, “If I found out I only had 1 day to live, I’d spend it at a swim meet, because they last FOREVER.”  As a veteran of more swim meets than I can count, I know all too well the truth of that shirt.  You can safely say the same thing about track meets (again, from first-hand knowledge) and wrestling meets (so I’ve been told).   Isn’t it amazing what we parents will sit through to watch our …

Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Truly Free: Pope Benedict XVI

On our youth ministry Winter retreat a few weeks ago, I closed the weekend with a talk about how some people think following Jesus is boring, that being a Saint is lame—that’s it’s all rules—“Don’t do this” or “You can’t do that.” – that God takes the fun out of everything.  I talked about how those people think that to “be their own person” means ditching God, and that freedom means doing whatever they want to do. And then I read this, from Pope Benedict XVI: The person who abandons himself totally in God’s hands …

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Praying for a Snow Day

The January I was in 4th grade at St Bart’s school in Cincinnati, we got hit with the biggest blizzard in the city’s history, followed by ridiculously cold temperatures.  Like sub-zero with wind chills that made it feel 30 below.  We missed school for 2 weeks, as much because of the cold as the snow. I still remember the snowdrifts that kept us from opening our back door, and using a pick axe to break through the ice so we could clear our driveway. After the first week, instead of cancelling a day at a …

Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Guns, Life and Newtown

It was in the late morning on Friday, Dec 14 when I first saw news of a school shooting in Connecticut.  I’d been helping our fourth graders make gingerbread houses and I knew I had a lot of work waiting for me, so I avoided it for a couple hours, but the headlines kept piling up, and so about noon I turned on the radio news and for the rest of the day I was pretty much useless.  I tried to work.  I tried to compose emails, do some writing, put together ideas for upcoming …

Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Hope and Change for Advent

I’ve noticed something over the last few years – okay, over the last few decades.  The world has changed.  Duh, right?  But consider this:   When my wife and I bought our first digital camera we were told that nobody would ever need more than 3 megapixels.  Crazy, right?  In high school I was upset because my parents wouldn’t let me buy me a pair of parachute pants.  Seriously.  Parachute pants.  But these kinds of changes are so obvious they hardly count.  The change I’m thinking about is in much more important and subtle ways than …

Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment