Posted in Uncategorized

Why do I bother being a Lions fan?

I want to believe that Bob Quinn, who is currently in his second year as the Detroit Lions’ GM, will eventually build the Lions into a Super Bowl contender. I think he has made more good player personnel decisions than bad ones, and I think the Lions did well to go 9-7 and make the playoffs as a wild card team last season, considering it was Quinn’s 1st as GM.

However, the Lions have done nothing in my lifetime to earn the benefit of the doubt, and I won’t believe that they have their act together until I see it reflected in their win-loss record, and until they win a playoff game; they’ve won exactly 1 playoff game since their last title in 1957. Even then, I’m not sure I’ll believe it. If that makes me the modern-day equivalent of Doubting Thomas, then I will gladly live with that label. Two relatively recent developments make me question my loyalty to a team that has done so little to reward their long-suffering fans for their loyalty.

The first such development came when it was announced that left tackle Taylor Decker will miss at least part of the regular season due to injury. Decker was the Lions’ 1st-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (Quinn’s 1st draft pick as the Lions’ GM), and by all accounts, the Lions got that pick right. Injuries are certainly a part of football, but when stuff like that happens to the Lions, we are conditioned to believe the worst, because of the team’s history. 

Today, I learned that future Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson told an Italian newspaper that he retired after the 2015 season, in large part, because he didn’t see the team contending for a championship. I wasn’t surprised to read this; I had a hunch that the Lions’ perpetual losing ways played at least some role in his decision. It was definitely a “same old Lions” bit of news, much like when Barry Sanders retired abruptly. If there’s something to be screwed up, then the Lions will find a way to screw it up.

Anyone that has known me for even a little bit knows that I rant and rave about the Lions a lot. I’m sure it gets repetitive. However, I actually think I’ve tried to tone down my complaining n the past two years or so; mostly because I’ve realized that it really hasn’t done any good, as much as I wish it did. I know it’s easier said than done, but if the Lions got their act together on a consistent basis, I wouldn’t rant so much.

Posted in Uncategorized

Transitions

As I usually do, I am planning to attend 9:30 a.m. Mass this coming Sunday at my parish, Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Waterford, MI. The incoming pastor at OLL, Fr. Scott Thibodeau, is scheduled to preside at Mass.

The upcoming July 4 weekend will be the first for Fr. Scott at OLL. Fr. Lawrence Delonnay, who has been pastor at OLL since 1994, is retiring as pastor. From what I heard, Fr. D will be getting some much-needed R&R and eventually hopes to find an assignment as a weekend assistant somewhere in the thumb. The parish’s Knights of Columbus council (of which I am a member) presented a farewell picnic for Fr. D this past Sunday, June 25. Unfortunately, it started to rain shortly after the picnic started, but it was good to see so many people there.

I’m fairly sure Fr. Scott is at least a little nervous heading into his new assignment, much the same as anyone would when starting a new job or work assignment, although Fr. Scott’s new assignment has eternal dimensions to it! He has most recently served as pastor at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Beverly Hills, MI. Obviously, I don’t know firsthand what it’s like being a pastor at one church and then becoming a pastor at a new church. I don’t know what the culture is at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, but having been a parishioner at OLL since November 2013, I can say that OLL is a very good faith community. Being a member of the church’s K of C council, as well as a member of the adult choir (we sing at 9:30 a.m. Mass pretty much each Sunday between Labor Day and the beginning of June) has made me feel like more of a part of the church community, as opposed to just attending Mass each Sunday.

I’m sure the parish community will do everything possible to make Fr. Scott feel welcome at OLL. No doubt, it’s going to take some time for him to learn the ins and outs of how the parish works. I will be praying for him in this endeavor.

Posted in Coming back

I’m back!

Well, I think I’m going to give the blogging thing another try.

I was reading some entries from Greg Eno, who also has a blog on this site, about Detroit sports, which is a favorite pastime of mine as well. I’ve always enjoyed writing, so I figure I may as well revisit the idea. Obviously, it’s going to take some persistence on my end, but I think posting entries in the evening hours, such as I am doing now, is a good idea. I’ve always had opinions on different topics, but no outlet to express them. That is why I am reinstating the blog. I will try to keep it light and fun (Lord knows there is enough serious and heavy-duty stuff in the blogosphere). I will also use it as a way for me to learn how to better express my opinions, in a more articulate and constructive way. That is a long-term goal of mine.

That’s all for now. Hope you folks check this blog out in the future!

Posted in Uncategorized

Peace of mind

Yesterday, my friend John sent me a message via Facebook Messenger. Included in that message was a link to a blog, titled, “Seashell Nell,” in which the author wrote a post titled, “Someone asked me what I wanted.” The author then proceeded to write a bunch of things that she wanted, in quite eloquent fashion. A lot of those things were spiritually related.

My list of things I want isn’t quite as eloquent. In fact, there is only one main thing I want out of life, and that is peace of mind. Those who have read past blog posts of mine know that I can be hard on myself and unforgiving of myself for past transgressions and mistakes that I have made. I am certain that is not the healthiest approach to life. I want and need to remind myself that I am doing the best I can each and every day. My quality of life is important to me from this point forward, and that doesn’t have to include material things. Rather, the quality of my relationships with family and friends needs to take top priority. I think good things will happen to me once those take shape.

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Being OK with myself

The more I think about it, the more I realize I have to be as content with myself as I possibly can in order for me to move forward with my life. Of course, we all have to adapt to changing times and circumstances in order to survive. No one wants to see the world pass them by. However, being content with myself is easier said than done.

I readily admit that I am not very good when it comes to managing my money. Eating out seems to be a bad habit for me. Even though I am not independently wealthy to begin with, the temptation of eating out is often too great for me to resist. Between my Social Security disability and working at Lowe’s, it is a struggle to make it each month. However, I am not doing myself any favors. I feel like I am letting my parents down, and moreover, I feel like I am letting God down. After all, He calls us to be good stewards of what we have on this Earth, and I haven’t always done that. I also feel like I have let a lot of people down by not being in a better spot from a life standpoint. Since I am in my 40s, and a college graduate, I think I should be in a better spot than I am. However, I think I am in the majority of folks for which life hasn’t turned out like they had planned. After all that I have been through, I need to celebrate and take pride in the smaller victories that come with each day, and not be so hard on myself. By the same token, I need to recognize that there is still room for improvement.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a member of the Reflect retreat team, which conducts 1-2 retreats per year for midlife Catholic singles at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, MI, not too far from Lansing. I have been on the team for about 5-6 years. I am grateful for their unconditional friendship, acceptance, and support. I think they realize that I have my own unique gifts that I bring to the team. Just the same, I think there are times where I feel inadequate in their presence, and it isn’t because of anything they did wrong. It’s just that the majority of them have life experiences that I’ve never had: home ownership, having family lives of their own, going on vacations to places I’ve never been, etc. It’s totally illogical, yet that’s often how I feel.

I guess that goes to show you that while I think a lot of things have changed for the better for me since I moved back to metro Detroit back in May 2012, I still have to learn to love myself first and foremost. I have to be good to myself before I can be good to other people.

Posted in Uncategorized

If I could turn back time

I realize that is the title of a Cher song (I think it was released around 1989), but in my case, it applies to how often I wish my life could have turned out differently. 

I think everyone has regrets about some aspect of their lives, or wish they could do things over. As folks who have read this blog know, I deal with Asperger’s Syndrome every day of my life. Each day is a challenge, but I think taking the “one day at a time” approach helps tremendously. Because of Asperger’s, social interaction is seemingly harder for me than it is for most folks, although I think I have made strides in that area. If I had to live my life over again, then high school wouldn’t have been as difficult socially for me as it was. I would have had more friends, gotten involved in sports (instead of getting picked last each time in gym class!), and maybe even gone out on a date or two.

I often wonder if the teachers or staff at St. Matthew Elementary School in Detroit or Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods could have intervened on my behalf. After all, they had to have noticed that I was seemingly in my own world while my classmates were having fun and interacting with each other. I was also jealous of my elementary and high school classmates, because they seemingly had more material things and traveled to more places than I did. For heaven’s sake, these were Catholic schools I was attending! I wouldn’t have counted on any intervention from anyone within the Detroit Public Schools system (thank heavens my parents didn’t send me there!), but Catholic schools were supposed to be more caring and concerned about the total person!

I tried talking to some staff about the situation, especially when I was going to Notre Dame, but social life was still extremely difficult. I think from the staff’s perspective, their main concern was that I was succeeding from an academic standpoint. That was not an issue for me, as I attained an approximate 3.45 grade point average while taking a lot of Honors and Advanced Placement classes. In addition, I don’t think much, if anything, was known about Asperger’s Syndrome back when I was in elementary school and high school. Therefore, I don’t think the teachers or staff knew how to intervene for someone like myself. It’s especially easy for me to forget that, because some of the teachers and administrators at NDHS were priests or other religious. I tended to think they had all the answers, when in reality they didn’t. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had.

As far as my NDHS classmates were concerned, on the outside they seemingly had things a lot easier than I did. I certainly wish that I could have done a lot of the fun things that my classmates did. However, I didn’t know what sort of internal struggles they faced – I was too preoccupied with my own struggles! Even now, I have to remind myself that everyone is dealing with internal struggles to some degree or another. Perhaps I am being a little bit too open and honest about it, but for me, writing is a tremendous coping mechanism that helps me connect with other people. 

So, even though I wish I could turn back time, the reality is that I can’t do that. I can only move forward and take life one day at a time, and do the best I can with each day.

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s official!

I have signed up for the National Catholic Singles Conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 23-25 in Atlanta. If you want to find out more information about the conference, check out its website at http://www.nationalcatholicsingles.com. I am very excited about attending the conference and what it has to offer! I realize that it is about five months away, but I hope I can adequately prepare for the conference from a mental standpoint, as well as earn enough money between now and then to pay for my airfare, hotel and lodging, and miscellaneous expenses.

As I was driving home from a party this evening, I was listening to the SiriusXM channel 80s on 8, and heard the Guns ‘n’ Roses song “Patience.” Now, I am certainly no Guns ‘n’ Roses fan, but for whatever reason, that song resonates with me. Those of you who know me know that patience is not one of my strong suits. I can’t imagine God being a Guns ‘n’ Roses fan, but perhaps in His infinite wisdom, He was using that song to send me a message. Last week, I wrote about how much I feel the need to redeem myself for all the social unhappiness I experienced in elementary school and high school, and for my relative lack of dating experience. I still worry about if it’s too late for me, at 44, to find a girlfriend and eventually a spouse. Deep down, I realize that God has plans for me that are far greater than any I could imagine for myself! Still, in my human weakness, I want Him to make those plans known to me now, instead of in His time. I’ll never understand why I’ve had to go through the trials that I’ve been through.

While I realize that I need to trust God and His providence more than I do, I still feel compelled to dig in and fight the good fight, to keep my focus on character development and improving myself. Of course, I need to do this one day at a time. I’ll go stir crazy if I take any other approach! Still, for my own peace of mind, I need to persevere. I am thankful that I have family, friends and professionals to help me out and to encourage me to keep going when I stumble and fall (we all do, because we’re all human).

Hope you guys are having a good Memorial Day weekend. Please take the time to remember those who served our country so that we can enjoy the quality of life that we do. I would especially like to remember my grandfather on my dad’s side, who served our country doing World War II.