No rest for the weary…Still day one!

June 15, 2012

After a tiring first day having traveled only to Key West, we found we had transmission problems. However we had no time to fix it because of bad weather prognosticated for the Yucatan Straits in a couple of days.  So instead of resting up over night for the long 3 days – we need to leave this evening!   I’ve had 4 hours sleep and one turkey sandwich – I am not a happy sailor right now!  So because of the transmission issue, we will have to travel slower, taking maybe 3 days instead of two, in the open water. 

I really haven’t had time to think, let alone meditate.  We are a 3 member crew. One captain, one mechanic and myself the first mate! We take 2 hours turns on the bridge navigating.  And can sleep only in 4 hour shifts. 

What have I gotten into! I have ridden a bicycle for 15o miles in one day but that is a kids game compared to navigating for 3 days non stop. I hate to sound like a whiner but I am exhausted and hungry.  The captain did have time to stock up for our food but doubt there are any churrascos on the menu!  Oh, and so much for seeing the Heat game tonight.

I will be without being able to email  for I don’t know how long.  I hope and pray we hit the next port in Cancun safely and don’t come across bad weather.  The other boats we are taking in subsequent trips have satellite communication and I will be able to communicate during the trips. But not this one. I have to wait to get to the next port. 

By the way, remember we have to take 2 more boats after we fly back once reaching our destination. The day after I get back from this trip I have a job interview for an accounting job.  God I hope I get that and not have to make the next 2 trips!  But first let’s get through this one.  

Don’t worry if you don’t hear from me by Monday.  Start worrying a little if I haven’t communicated by Tuesday – Really worry if you don’t here from me by Wednesday! 

Keep us in your prayers, please.

Advertisements

Message 1 from our sea traveler……..

June 14, 2012

Day 1:  

We finally left yesterday at 9:00pm for Key West, which is approximately 150 miles from Miami. We navigated all night at a speed of 6 knots, taking turns at the helm.  I was able to sleep about 4 hours total.   I am a bit anxious but know God presented me with this opportunity!

We plan to spend the day at Key West stocking provisions before continuing the second leg of our journey to Cancun.  The weather so far has been good, seas 2 feet or less with a slight wind out of the south.

                              Please continue to pray for us!

                             Sunrise from Key West, Florida

 

 

Next leg:  Through the Gulf of Mexico to Cancun…..


A seafaring adventure…..starring….a banker?

June 13, 2012

This great recession, or whatever you want to call it, has caused many personal hardships.  One of our Emmaus brothers, an accomplished banker with 30 years experience, has been out of fulltime work for over a year.  He is caught in the never-never land of being over qualified for some jobs or not experienced enough for a new field…Then you have the young bucks willing to work for less money and twice as hard.

One of our faithful banker’s closest friends is a yacht broker.  As in all recessions, the wealthy typically continue to do well, so his business, especially from international buyers, has continued to prosper.  Knowing his friend is hurting financially, he offered to have him be part of the crew delivering 3 boats on 3 separate trips to Central and South America.  The boats range in sizes from 37 feet to 57 feet. In a past life, our banker brother had his own large yacht and was an expert navigator.  Now instead of employing a crew, he is to be part of one!

Our brother left port today from Miami and his itinerary is as follows:  Key West, Cancun Mexico, San Andres Island, Panama and the Panama Canal, then Ecuador.  The first stretch will be 360 miles from Key West to Cancun, braving the unstable weather of the Yucatan Peninsula. The next stretch will be 750 miles to San Andres off the coast of Colombia.  

Passing through the Panama Canal alone will take 2-3 days!  The round trip should be 9-10 days weather permitting.  And weather is not the only danger… The crew will have to brave modern day ruthless pirates around the coast of Colombia.

The first boat will be a 37 foot sport fisherman…Normally a nice size boat – but not the most comfortable ride through large stretches of open water…. Our banking brother, now turned seaman, will email me at every port with tales of navigating the high seas…I will promptly post those reports to this blog:  Acatholicmanblog.com.

Follow his reports over the next 10 days and more importantly, keep him and the other 2 crew members in your prayers.  Even in good weather this will be a huge task with many obstacles to overcome….

St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, protect our Emmaus brother and the crew during this adventurous voyage!


Tweens and high heels….what a funny combination!

June 9, 2012

My daughter celebrated her 13th birthday last weekend….even though it’s not until August! One of her closest friends is also a summer baby and is leaving for Spain for the summer…So of course they came up with an idea of celebrating their 13th first teenage b-day together. She promises she won’t ask for another bash on her real birthday in August… wish me luck on that one!

My wife and I are on the same page in not allowing our daughter to wear high heel shoes….So our daughter, the lawyer to be, came up with a compromise – wear platform shoes! Hey, they are actually not heels, but still 2-4 inches high; depending on the type of shoe… Since my wife and I are learning not to make every decision World War 3 and trying to choose what battles to fight, we let her buy a pair of platform shoes….talk about viral communication…. Every single girl at their party had huge platform shoes!

It was hilarious to see the girl’s tower over boys of the same age since the boys have not yet begun to develop their bodies….yes ladies, I know, even as adults we still haven’t developed our brains……. We parents had a ball watching these otherwise coordinated girls trying to maneuver their platforms! It was a miracle there were no broken ankles! My wife went to the girl’s bathroom at one point and saw about 10 girls on the floor exchanging shoes with each other because they were so uncomfortable! About mid way through the night most of the girls were shoeless…beautiful, fanciful outfits and no shoes! I have to give my daughter credit though, she actually took a second pair, these were flats, and at least wasn’t barefoot the rest of the evening.

It was your typical pre-teen party, with the boys goofing off and the girls dancing by themselves. At one point there were around 100 tweens partying. My wife and I couldn’t believe we made it through that night! We learned one important lesson though. We could have been stricter with the heels issue, but we already raised one girl – now 23 years of age. We know we have many, many rounds of battles in front of us. Many battles we had with our eldest daughter were great learning experiences for us.…

Hopefully we are wiser with our youngest…. we are definitely more tired! But we learned that by giving in a little, with something that didn’t involve a moral issue, she had fun and learned a big lesson about heels, platform or otherwise!

In fact, this evening they are off to another birthday party and guess what! They are all wearing flats!


Your status will be changed to “Dismissed” on July 17, 2012……

June 3, 2012

On July 17, 2006, I was admitted to a doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University.  At that point in my life I was winding down my lobbying business and was a finalist for a “C” level role at a prominent local health care facility.  I remember telling my wife the shelf life for these type senior roles was 3 – 5 years and I wanted to be prepared to transition to life in academia as an exit strategy. I already had a MBA/MHA and was hoping a DBA would cement my future allowing me to teach or consult as I walked off into the sunset of my career. 

                                  During the 6 years while I was studying for the DBA:

  • I wasn’t offered the “C” level job I thought was a slam dunk
  • My finances went into a tailspin since most of my clients were affected by the sinking economy
  • I lost my home of 15 years since the “equity” I thought I had disappeared like sand through my fingers
  • Sent my daughter off to college to Los Angeles without the financial resources to support her
  • Moved my wife and youngest daughter into a 1,000 square foot apartment – 3,500 feet smaller than what they were used to
  • Spent 18 months underemployed – teaching college classes when available
  • Was on unemployment – something I thought I would never have to do
  • Started a new career – reinventing oneself is easier said than done
  • My marriage survived.  Thanks to the omnipresent Grace of my Lord and my God and the wonderful support of my brothers and sisters of our Emmaus Group
  • And kept a 3.75 GPA throughout the entire DBA program leading up to the last course required

And that’s when the wheels fell off this armored truck I had been driving for the past 6 years…. The last course was offered by an instructor that exemplifies the frustrated academician – without a life outside of the ivory tower.  I’ve tried not to sound like my 12 year old daughter whining about teachers she dislikes.  The difference is I have a classmate that could not believe the obvious discrimination and badgering this instructor showed towards me.  After all was said and done, she gave me a failing grade based on capricious and subjective grading.  After 6 years of doctorate level statistics, operations theory, logistical planning and qualitative and quantitative analysis – she flunks me on the simplest course on organizational theories…

The Nova program has a 6 year window – concluding on July 17, 2012. The failing grade, my first since kindergarten – puts me in academic probation.  Typically you have one year to retake the class and get out of probation.  But since the program window ends this July 17th,  I cannot retake, so….. I received a letter stating:

                             Your status will be changed to “Dismissed” on July 17,  2012……

I’ve blogged about God’s Perfect Plan.  And how difficult it is to discern what he wants from us.  But this is a really difficult pill to swallow.  I’m trying not to let my ego show its ugly face – On one side I’m pissed and defiant, on anther I’m embarrassed, on another I’m depressed and yet on another side I am very, very confused.  

I know God want us all to be successful and joyful and for our lives to be bountiful.  I also know a Catholic life does not call for us to be patsies in the face of adversity or obstacles. I will pursue all administrative and legal options left to me.  But what a body blow to my plans. I hate the fact that I will have to spend positive energy and very limited financial resources on litigation.

                                                                 But what else to do……?


God’s Plan is perfect…. Why is it so difficult for us to trust in Him?

May 31, 2012

          Discernment:  The ability to be able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure….

So the story goes a man was on top of a house escaping the local river overflowing to epic proportions…. He prayed to God to be rescued….Shortly thereafter a fireman in a row-boat drifted by and offered to take him in…The pious man replied:  no thanks!  The Lord promised to save me…. Then a helicopter swung by with an army reservist and pleaded for the prayerful man to jump on board…but he replied again:  leave me alone!  My Lord promised to save me….. Well, as the faithful man reached the pearly gates he complained to the Lord and said:  you promised to save me!  And the Lord admonished him by saying:  Why are you complaining!  I sent you a row-boat and a helicopter! 

We men are trained to be hunters since the caveman days.  We are sent out to the world to chase the dinosaur, kill it and bring it back home.  So it’s tough to balance the need to provide for one’s family, while relying on God’s plan….Yet there lies the perfect Catholic life.  That balance is what brings harmony and repose to our lives.   As we get closer to our Lord and lay our concerns, worries, plans and dreams on the foot of His cross; our worries melt away because we know He has a perfect plan. 

For the past year I’ve been praying to St. Joseph for his intercession to bring more financial stability to my life.  I’ve placed my financial concerns at the foot of  our Lord’s cross and have been at peace with my current employment situation.  Then out of nowhere I receive another employment opportunity for more money.  What to do?  Was this the rowboat and helicopter from the Lord answering my prayers?  Or was the Evil One confusing me and dangling financial temptations my way? I interviewed with the other employer as my life depended on it …I went to hit a grand slam and shortly thereafter received a job offer….

             Discernment:  The ability to be able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure….

Well, a pay increase in certainly not obscure!  But the intangibles sometimes are………  Because I try to be in the spirit by attending daily Mass, stay in community with my Emmaus brothers and trust in His plan, I was able to discern what He wanted me to do….The other job would have kept me in an office 12 hours a day for more money. While at my current employer I am traveling within the community and have ample room for professional growth….I can also spend more time with my younger daughter, after having squandered that opportunity with my oldest….all important intangibles that after all…. are not that obscure! 

I met with my boss and explained I had another offer  – but that it was my choice to commit to his vision for his company.   He certainly appreciated the loyalty; loyalty that he had shown me before and I know he will show again in the future…

The Lord wants his children to live happy and prosperous lives as long as the daily focus is on serving Him. I am convinced discernment involves feeling good inside about the decisions we make.  If the decision made is to serve Him and not our own desires, it will feel good and you will feel at peace!  Right now I feel good and am at peace and will continue to trust in His Perfect Plan for my life!                                                           

                                                                 in Deo confido


Men and the Rosary….What a powerful combination!

May 26, 2012

I know children’s prayers hold special favor with our Lord….But I have to think hearing a room full of grown men praying a Rosary must also command His attention!

Our parish men’s group is named Emmaus. The name is based on the biblical passage showing our resurrected Lord walking with two men on the way to a town named Emmaus. I dedicated this blog to my walk with the Lord and the many obstacles and challenges I face along the way.  When the men’s Emmaus group meets, we always begin by praying the Rosary. 

It never ceases to amaze me when I sit back and listen to the powerful male voices praying in unison to our Blessed Mother.  I sense a feeling of raw power when we pray as a group one of our faith’s most traditional methods of prayer. We take turns offering each of the five decades to a personal petition.  It’s awe inspiring to hear a man dedicate a decade of the Rosary to his wife, or to his family or for a sick child or friend…. I hear offerings for vocations, addictions and healing. 

We Catholics have many forms of prayer, including the traditional rote, contemplative and thanksgiving ….to name a few.   But the Rosary to Our Lady is a powerful, yet relaxing tool.  Our non-Catholic brothers miss the point when they say they pray directly to our Lord….  We Catholics do that as well – but also pray to our Blessed Mother to intercede on our behalf with her son.  What more powerful intercession than that of a mother to a son? 

I look forward to these Emmaus group meetings in order to feed off of the exuberant faith displayed by my brothers.  We are all challenged with day to day crosses we bear, however, when we focus on praying the Rosary we are strengthened in our desire to continue serving our Lord.  

It serves our society well for men to take leadership roles in evangelizing to others.  In a world of unhinged sexual desires and topsy turvy morals, we men of faith must show others the importance of walking with our Lord….

May we realize the wonderful gift we have in praying the Rosary…….And may we continue to be a light in this ever darkening world.

                                                                               Maria, Ora Pro Nobis