So my wife asks me to run home because my daughter may have hurt her foot…..

August 8, 2014

They played an April fools joke but in August! When I arrived they had opened the letter from the archdiocese and read me aloud my acceptance to the diaconate program!  Once I got over my daughter not being hurt, I was ecstatic about the acceptance! As I explained in my most recent blog, this is a calling I have felt for most of my adult life.  My wife Maxine also decided to make a big commitment to her faith by agreeing to join the Archdiocese Adult Lay Ministry Program.  This will help us both continue to grow in our faith and as a couple.  Both my daughters, Cami and Isa are very happy for me as well.

I know this new path will be challenging – but also know the many blessings that will flow.  I have been blessed with a wonderful prayer community.  My Emmaus brothers, fellow Knights and the couples of the marriage encounters have all been a source of inspiration for me. Their prayers have strengthened me and will continue to do so.   I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of my mentors Deacon Flores and Deacon Fleitas.  They too have been inspirational examples of Catholic men.  My pastor, Father Michael Davis, wrote a beautiful recommendation letter for me and I hope to make him proud as well…..

I start on Saturday, September 13th.  Stay tuned as I update my blog while I go through this wonderful new challenge!

Advertisements

Iphones and teens, not always a good combination…..

February 1, 2014

The ostrich effect is the easiest parental theory to implement. There are so many heart aches avoided, so many disappointments averted and peace reigns in our home. It’s just so much easier to look away. It’s so much easier to hide under the pretense that teens need to be trusted. It’s just so much easier not to pry…..

But my wife, bless her heart, pries, sticks her head out of the sand and pokes, pokes and pokes some more. She casually mentioned to a close friend the other day to check her daughter’s texts and Instagram in order to be aware of what her daughter is being exposed to. Her friend responded: But you need her Iphone code to do that!

I have a friend that says when everyone around you seems crazy, maybe it’s you that’s really crazy! My wife and I are in the minority regarding monitoring Iphone use for our teen. The Iphone is a wonderful entertainment piece and a very efficient business tool. However, it is also a conduit to all that is dangerous with the internet.

We have been flabbergasted with the texts we have read and the pictures we have seen from girls we thought were prim, proper and respectful. Many texts each other with regular use of profanity. They send provocative pictures that would destroy their reputations if posted on one of the many social media sites available.

They seem innocuous to the ramifications that could come about with their Iphone activity. Colleges are now scouring social media to find out more about applicants. Employers are doing the same. Schools have joined this effort to monitor for inappropriate behavior. The consequences are dire.

I know it’s easier to look away, but we MUST get involved. No, a young teen has not earned the right to be fully trusted. No, they do not have the life experience to properly asses a situation and deal with it accordingly. We are abdicating our parental responsibilities by turning a blind eye to the unfettered power of the internet.

You pay the Iphone bill, you have ALL the right to monitor its use. A few tips:

  • Get the code and forbid them to change it without giving you the new one.
  • Take the phone away for an hour at a time while at home.
  • Do not allow the phone in the room while they are sleeping. Group chats keep them awake for hours!
  • Do not allow the phone at the dinner table. Today’s teens have lost the art of looking people in the eye and holding a conversation.
  • Use the taking away of the phone as a way of prodding the type of behavior you seek from them. Take it away for a week so you will see the attitude adjustment that creates!
  • On a weekly basis take the phone away without forewarning. Look at the text threads, look at Instagram and Twitter. Search her camera roll.

Parenting is a full-time job. Teens need parameters now more than ever.  They need our life experience to teach them how to deal with the constant moral threats they are receiving.  At the end of our life, we will partake in the ultimate exit interview and final entrance exam! We will be asked what we did as parents to bring our children to God. What did we do to warrant the beautiful blessing we were given? How did we protect them from harm?  Did we pry and poke?

I for one do not want to fail that exam! Eternity is in the balance…..

Mother Mary pray for us……


It’s so much easier to just drop off our daughter….

September 23, 2012

The shame of it is that we are one of the few parents, and the only in my daughter’s peer group, that already raised a girl….now 23 years old.  That doesn’t mean we didn’t make mistakes then and that we don’t now….But if I had that resource of experience and knowledge in my parental peer group, I would certainly try to learn from their actions and try to understand their rules concerning our 13-year-old daughters….

Sunset Mall was also the location of choice 10 years ago when our first daughter was 13.  She wasn’t dropped off without supervision until the beginning of 10th grade…..  It seems my now 13-year-old, just starting 8th grade,  is the only one requiring adult supervision while at the mall.  It’s so much easier to just drop her off and let her fend for herself with other 13 year olds… 

Mind you, Sunset Mall is in a challenging neighborhood and police patrolling the mall openly talk about gang problems, drug use and petty crime. Plus, there is enough peer pressure on young teens.  Having them fend for themselves in an anthill of other teens and young adults is an unnecessary pressure on their young psyches.  There are two variables going on here. One is that with a parent close by, basic human psychology states that the young teen will be more wary of her decision-making with a parent close by.  The other variable is that if something were to happen at least a parent is in close proximity.

Regardless, it is our choice as a parent to not leave her alone regardless of how tired we are.  Yes, it’s a hassle, yes, it’s boring for the adults and yes, we rather be doing something else.. But what about parental responsibility?  Instead of helping ourselves and working as a team, covering supervised mall trips, sharing drop-off and pick ups….We will be forced to have our daughter choose a different peer group…A group more in line with what we believe to be responsible adult actions.

For at least the remainder of this year. my wife and I will go to the mall with our 13-year-old and have an old fashion date night.  That way we share some one-on-one time with each other and are there for our daughter as well….

Hopefully one day she will understand and appreciate the tough choices we make.  These choices however, shouldn’t be made tougher by parents that should be part of our support network….


Family vacation and Mass….Not mutually exclusive!

July 9, 2012

As we were nearing our destination of our first road trip this summer, we passed by a Catholic Church. My backseat was filled with two,  just turned teen girls and my daughter, a soon to be teen. As I was focused on finding the hotel my daughter stated, as a matter of factly, that we were passing a Catholic Church and one of her friends asked me to drive slowly to see what times the Masses were on Sunday! 

Now, I shouldn’t have been surprised and was in fact very proud that my wife and I apparently got through at some level to our daughter!  And it speaks volumes of the upbringing the parents of her two friends had done.  But I was surprised at this brief moment of religious clarity on their part.  I had spent 3 hours hearing the latest music, most of it sung by the three at the highest possible decibels, listening to gossip on boys and of course the requisite whining on material items they wished they had.

But at that specific moment they had a beautiful pause, albeit it for a brief instance, to wonder about Mass times!

I remember not too long ago on my walk how Mass was reserved just for Sundays and when we took  a vacation, it wasn’t only from work or school – but also from other “responsibilities” like Sunday Mass.  

One of the first things we  have done for years, is to seek out a local Catholic Church close to the area we are vacationing in.  It has always been a wonderful experience.  We learn about the universality of our religion and enjoy the different cultural differences each community has to express in a Catholic Mass.

In this past Sunday’s case the priest was there to greet each family before the Mass as they entered; not afterwards like at our parish.  This parish has the custom of having all parishioners share in the Blood of Christ as well as in the Eucharist.  We all share in the same faith but it’s really interesting to see how different faith communities worship  – while still staying within the parameters set by the Catholic Church.

We had a wonderful, relaxing and fun vacation, including a spectacular sunrise enjoyed from our room every morning.  The least we could do was to take an hour to thank our Lord for the wonders he has given us, as well as to thank Him for the opportunity to vacation as a family…. 

As this summer starts I hope we all share the same Mass opportunity with our family.  I am listing below a link to be able to find a Catholic Church and Mass times in whatever area you are vacationing.  Just input the zip code of the area you are visiting. Make this a natural part of vacation planning for you and your family!    www.masstimes.org or 734-794-2100.

                        Sunrise at Melbourne, Florida


Brief posting by Manny! He made it to Routan!

June 23, 2012

After almost 3 days of not hearing from our seafaring banking brother…. He made a quick post to his FB of a picture of a marina at Routan, Honduras….  Apparently the internet communication at the island is very poor and he hasn’t been able to write  a full update… But at least we know he is OK!  More news to follow…..Photo: After 31 hours at sea after departing from Cancun, Mexico we finally arrived in Roatan, Honduras.  Next stop, the island of San Andres, Columbia.

Marina at Routan, Honduras…  the 37 foot boat keeps chugging along !


60 hours and counting….no news from our brother Manny.

June 23, 2012

Our brother Manny was supposed to reach Routan Island yesterday after leaving Cancun. The crew left at 2am from Cancun Wednesday morning.  The captain estimated it would be 30-36 hours in 5-7 foot waves to arrive to Routan.  This morning at 2am it was 48 hours  – so we are nearing 60 hours with no contact.

 It could be lack of internet access at the Routan marina..or not….They could have decided to stay the night elsewhere or may be going even slower than anticipated.

Keep him and the crew in your prayers! I will update the blog the moment I hear either way!


Post from our navigating brother: June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012

Good morning my brother.  We are still in Cancun, hoping for the wind to die down so that we can head out to Roatan, Honduras.  This leg of the trip is approximately 300 miles, and unfortunately we will have a beam sea, meaning that the wind will be hitting the boat on our port side, which will cause the boat to rock.  The winds are expected to be 15 to 20 knots with seas 5 to 6 feet for this leg of the trip.  No fun on a 37 foot boat!  As I mentioned in my prior emails to you, after leaving Roatan, we are heading to the island of San Andres, Columbia which is approximately 450 miles from Roatan.

Well after long deliberations the captain has decided to set sail for Roatan, Honduras at around 2:00am, Wednesday morning.   The winds have not let up since arriving in Cancun on Sunday afternoon, and they are expected to increase.  For that reason the captain has determined that this is our window of opportunity to set sail for Roatan.

We spent Sunday. Monday and Tuesday fueling the boat with diesel fuel, topped of the water tank, searched for provisions and made sure all engine parts were in good shape.  We also performed some minor repairs to the generator before we begin our 300 +/- mile trip to Roatan.  I am truly becoming a real first mate, performing duties that I had never done before.  I even did laundry this morning at the marina for myself and my 2 companions.  No, this wasn’t your typical touristy trip to Cancun!

On this trip not only has my faith & prayer life gotten stronger, but I am really beginning to let go and letting God direct the path my life should take.  I can honestly tell you that I truly missed being with my daughters on father’s day.  I thank God for my family, my Emmaus brothers & sisters, and my friends.   I feel blessed.  That doesn’t mean I am not concerned for the safety of the crew and for myself.  It’s just that I try not to focus on the long days and nights at sea.  I’m trying to take this adventure one hour at a time….

As I mentioned we will be departing from Cancun at around 2:00am.   As per my prior emails, the boat we are on is very slow.  We anticipate that it should take us approximately 30 to 35 hours at sea before we reach Roatan.  This should be a grueling trip with seas of 5 to 6 feet expected.  The wind is out of the east at approximately 15 to 20 knots.  Again, on a 37 foot boat!

I don’t know what plans God has in store for me, but I am ready to accept whatever at would be.  I know that there is a life lesson for me to learn on this journey.  I thank God for this opportunity that he had provided me with.  My professional life back home is very unsettled.  But out here I am trying to push the negative thoughts out. 

I am looking forward to crossing the Panama Canal, as it has been a long time goal of mine.  I had hoped that it would have been on my boat, but “se la vie”.  I also look forward to bring back home soon, and to personally sharing my stories with you and the other brothers. Please continue to pray for us as we enter the most grueling,  longest and dangerous part of our trip.

Your brother in Christ, Manny