Saturday, February 4, 2023

Jumping Jehoshaphat

"Everything happens for a reason," is what my buddy used to say. I'd have to agree. One afternoon Joanne heard a loud thump on the adoration chapel wall, which is shared with the school gym. When see looked up she saw the corpus of Jesus hanging upside down on the wall. She was able to get the crucifix down, straighten out our Lord, and tighten the screw that held Him in place. But as she and Paul were fixing to hang Him back up, the cross, which was resting upright on the floor, fell on its side. It wasn't a very dramatic fall, but the jar of the impact was enough to explode Jesus. Not knowing what to do, they bagged up all the tiny clay fragments and called Fr. Bryce.

That same afternoon, my buddy Joe Orban called saying, "They have taken my Lord and I don't know where they put Him." I said, "Calm down son, and tell me what's going on." He let me know that it looked like the crucifix in the chapel had crashed and if he could help restore Jesus, let him know. So I did.

When I brought Joe the bag holding the fragments of our Lord, he was tempted to back out of the mission, suggesting buying a new one. But I believed in him, and said to give it a go. So with a wing and a prayer, he set out.

Slowly but surely, progress was made.

Needing to fill in the gaps, Joe used some auto body bondo. He had to get a little creative with our Lord's right hand which was missing fingers. I told him it reminded me of Happy Gilmore's golf pro's hand. Eventually, Joe got our Lord restored back into solid shape. The next step was painting. Deb had done some work for us before and was willing to take on this project. I gave her free rein on creativity and she really brought our Lord back to life. 

Giddy up partner.

I don't know why our Lord exploded that Thursday afternoon. But I do know that all those involved where deeply touched by the experience. Joe later told me: "My main take away from this experience is that there's nothing that faith, hope, love, and a little JB Weld can't fix." Amen man. Jesus makes all things new. When all seems lost, our Lord is able to pick up the pieces of our lives and put them back together. And the end result is even better than before! Thanks Joe. Your holy ambition has given us all hope. Keep up the Good work brother. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Grand Finale

With only one day left in Hawaii we decided to hit it hard. After breakfast at our favorite restaurant, Cheese Burger in Paradise, we saddled up for a little stand up paddle board action. With my mountain surfing skills at hand, this came much more natural than straight up surfing. In the afternoon we took a little sea tour on a sail boat called a catamaran. Fun and easy time.

Of course, Bear has connections so we were treated with honors. 

Hanging in the sun and water without doing the work of paddling was a nice treat. 

I still can't believe it's January. 

We jumped some dolphins. 
(Hit the gear and bump up the quality to 720 pics on both videos) 

And a whale. 

Once back at the ranch we celebrated Mass. No better way to end our Hawaiian vaca than by thanking God.

Of course that was topped off with some of Cindy's fine home cooking. 

This has been a good trip in more ways than one. Sure the activities were fun. But more importantly, our relationships were forged. That kind of goodness will bear fruit long into the future. How... we'll just have to wait and see. Until then, thank you Bear and Cindy for being such generous hosts of Joe and I. Much appreciated. God bless. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Pearl Harbor

On Monday we took a pilgrimage to the national memorial at Pearl Harbor. It was a sobering yet inspiring experience. 

This anchor is off of the USS Arizona and stands in tribute to all the men and women who sacrificed their life in the attacks on December 7, 1941. 

We were there when the gates opened and were the first group to boat over to the memorial above the USS Arizona. 

This was a pretty solemn 15 minutes we spent over the grave of some 900 men.

Some parts of the ship continue to stand out of the water. She even seeps a bit of oil yet. Some describe it as the tears of the men who lie within her. 

Inside are engraved the names of all the men who died on the Arizona that day. Over 1,000.

Flanking the memorial is the what's called the Tree of Life, a reminder that death does not have the last word.

After visiting other sights around the Pearl Harbor and WWII memorials, we bussed it over to the USS Missouri. This was a super interesting tour. Among many wonders, I couldn't believe how beautiful the teak wood deck was. 

This spot marks the sight where the peace treaty was signed between the US and Japan marking the end of WWII. My Grandpa Schmeltzer was aboard another ship in Tokyo Bay, the USS Pamina, while this document was being signed. 

We toured the rest of the boat too. I was particularly impressed with the machine shop. 

The technology of their day was pretty incredible too. Pretty amazing to see this boat, which marks the end of WWII, sitting next to the site of the USS Arizona, which marked the beginning of WWII. A lot went on between them.

Winning a world war is worth a little celebration.

I think what impressed me the most about this whole experience is the amount of patriotism that welled up in the American people following the attack at Pearl Harbor. Japan didn't expect that. I think we all felt a bit of that after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Sadly, I'm not sure we'd experience such unified effort in our country over anything today. I love America and thank God for the men and women who have sacrificed to ensure her freedom. Their martyrdom inspires me to never take anything for granted. Above that, their heroism encourages me to fight for freedom. And not just earthly freedom, eternal freedom. 


On Sunday we met up with an old seminary classmate of our Fr. E.J. Resinto at Sacred Heart Church in Honolulu. Beautiful parish.

It's a busy little Church with a K-12 school pushing 1,000 enrollment.

No better way to hang out then celebrating Mass together. 

The breakfast to follow was pdg too. 

I love Sunday's. Aside from hanging with Fr. E.J., we didn't do too much. It was also rainy. But turns out when it rains in Hawaii it remains warm out. Good stuff.

Sunday, January 29, 2023


On Friday morning we jetted over to the island of Kauai. Waikiki has been great, but the idea of a slower pace sounded good to me. Enjoyable it was.

We've come to learn that Aloha means more than just hello. It's basically the Hawaiian motto. It means along the line of breath of life. When you are greeted with an Aloha it is wishing your life to be well. Aloha could easily be translated into the breath of the Holy Spirit. 

First on the dock was a trip to the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Pretty impressive. 

We conquered at good 6.2 mile hike to the coast and back. 

Our whole reason for going over here is because Joe scored us a room at a ritzy resort. We felt like the Beverly Hill Billies walking in. 

Beautiful views. 

We were able to stay free if we offered Mass while we were there. Gladly. 

We couldn't afford the meals though. However, there is no shortage of food on these islands. We've been eating well to say the least. 

Good stuff. It was fun to get a new perspective of Hawaii from a different island. I appreciated a little more chill time. Hard to believe it is January. Were not going to know how to handle the weather when we get back home. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Until then... three more days in the sun. 


Friday, January 27, 2023

Good ole Boys

I dig this island life. Pretty easy going. The past couple of days we have just been trolling around. Snorkeled some and visited some good folks. 

Our first stop Wednesday afternoon was along the North Shore where the Eddie was to visit our old classmate Fr. Rumple. Good guy and beautiful parish. 

Today we met up with Bishop Larry Silva. Generous man. Bought us Mexican food. 

Then gave us a secret tour of some holy relics. 

St. Damion of Molokai and St. Marianne Cope are some of Hawaii's Catholic hero's.

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady Queen of Peace houses their relics. Bishop Larry was able to get us up close and personal. This might have been the highlight of our trip thus far. 

Later we invited some of the boys over for a guys night out.

Bear busted out the cigars.

And then the ukulele.

Another fun time had by all. These island are full of good ole boys. Much like home. Turns out surfers and cowboys have a lot in common. Tomorrow... Kauai. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Day in the Sun

Chris Ledoux once sang, "A fool I may be, but a coward I'm not." I ain't gonna lie, I really wasn't looking forward to going surfing, but to uphold my cowboy dignity I went for it. Bucket list, check.

Bear is a world class surfer, so Joe and I felt pretty safe.

They say the best surfer is the one that has the most fun. In my estimation, Joe won.

I was super impressed, Joe got up on his first try.

I don't think you can say that I ever got up.

Later we took Bear's Corvette for a cruse along the cost.

And then landed back home for some Lungren Brothers steaks.

A fun day was had by all. The ocean beat me up. I'm sore and worn out. But we did it. The drive was fun as well as seeing the country side. Beautiful. Who knows what tomorrow with bring. Guess we'll wake up and find out.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Touchdown Jesus

With a winter storm rolling in, my buddy Fr. Joe and I decided to get out of Dodge. Hawaii sounded like a good landing. So on a wing and a prayer we blew out early Monday morning and headed for Honolulu. My buddy Bear Woznick lives in Waikiki beach and had a place for us to crash. So far so good. We landed here about 4:30 their time and Bear showed us around.  

This is actually my second stab at Hawaii. Last year I over slept my flight and things went down hill after that. Joe said that was divine retribution for not waiting for a time when he could go. So this year things worked out for all of us. This is from Bear's living room in the Foster Tower.

Bear and Fr. Joe. Bear Woznick is host of the radio program Deep Adventure. He's had me on a time or two. Fr. Joe Paddock is a priest on the MSU campus in Bozeman MT. We went to seminary together and have remained good friends. Bear took time to give us a quick lay of the land. 

Giddy up!

This should be a fun 10 days or so. We don't have a lot planned other than getting some sun and hanging out. I'm sure the Lord has some surprises in store for us though. The first one being that today was the feast of St. Marianne Cope, who ministered to the lepers on the Hawaiian islands. We also have some priest buddies down here. Stay tuned. Aloha.

Jumping Jehoshaphat

"Everything happens for a reason," is what my buddy used to say. I'd have to agree. One afternoon Joanne heard a loud thump on...