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Archive for September, 2016

Winning Even When You Lose

img_1926This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to attend a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, IN with 2 of my nieces and a nephew. Although the game’s final outcome was not what we were hoping for, the whole experience at Notre Dame is special and one-of-a-kind. As we were walking around the campus, it was impossible to miss the Catholicity. From the crucifixes to the Blessed Mother on the dome, from the many religious statues to the lawn signs announcing times for masses and confessions, their Catholic Identity message was anything but subtle.

Another amazing part of the weekend was the University of Notre Dame’s Marching Band. Their half time show was dedicated to the military. They played the march for each branch of the military, formed the name of that branch on the field, and asked any active or retired member to stand during their anthem. The total respect and admiration that the University and all the fans in the stadium showed to the military was heart warming, inspirational, and powerful.img_1917

Another incredible part to this experience was that at least 3 times during the game – actually during the TV time outs on the field – the public address announcer let the crowd know that Saturday night mass would take place 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game. These masses were in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and in a number of the dorm chapels. Thousands of people streamed towards these places of worship after the game. My family and I were lucky enough to squeeze into the Basilica with at least 1000 other fans and were part of a wonderful experience of worship and praise. img_1871

Notre Dame was not supposed to lose the game against Duke, and although that is what the score board showed when time ran out, the total experience was a winner. The Catholic message is loud and clear on that campus. The warm and friendly students, ushers, workers, coaches (we met Muffet McGraw, head women’s basketball coach), and fans made the weekend nothing less than perfect, despite the final score! Notre Dame wins every time because they keep the main things the main things. Go Irish! Go Warriors!

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When Your Dog Turns 13 Years Old

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A few days ago my cute, loving, and loyal Bailey turned 13 years old. She is a shepherd/black lab mix and was given to me as a present 13 years ago. baby-1

During her birthday celebration – party hats, bits of hamburger, and rice – I was thinking about how constant dogs are – how they greet you and love you and hang out with you like you are the only person in the world. I was flooded by all the things we have been through together – some friendships have come and gone, but Bailey has remained. I have moved 2 times since I’ve had her, and yet she has adapted and come right along. I have lost my father, my idol, mentor, and friend, and Bailey was there to comfort me through the grief and pain.

Dogs are the best walking/running companions. Bailey and I have covered thousands of early morning miles together while she helped me train for marathons, half-marathons, triathlons, or just leisurely walks and runs. We have seen tons of astounding sunrises, been guided by the bright light of the gorgeous moon, been caught in many rain storms, witnessed many hot air balloons flying over our heads, and chased off countless deer, red fox, and rabbits. We have prayed for hours, solved the world’s problems, planned meetings and agendas, discussed situations, and role-played conversations on these walks/runs.

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Since she was born in Virginia Beach, VA, she is naturally a beach kind of girl. Throwing the ball into the ocean and bay has been one of her favorite past times. She has buried countless bones in the sand, chased hundreds of seagulls, and been snapped at by more than a few ghost crabs.

When Bailey  turned 13 years old, I found myself being appreciative for every dog kiss and tail wag. I was reflective, taking a trip down memory lane, but mostly, I felt grateful to have such a wonderful four-legged friend in my life for the past 13 years. I love my Bailey Girl!

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