Monday, August 31, 2020

Super Self

Grace perfects our nature

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Fire of Desire

It was St. Ignatius of Loyola not Antioch. My bad.

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Just Ranchin

Saturday morning called for my favorite job next to buckin horses, stackin hay. Sally Craig bought a couple ton to get her herd through the winter and Jim and Kandis Ford along with Leland Hove and myself came to lend a hand.

Nice grass hay.

You ain't no cowboy unless you wear flip flops to a rodeo

After all that hard work Leland and I hit the open road in his 2017 400hp Camaro. Giddy up!

Friday, August 28, 2020

On to the Next One

One thing that has been weighing on me a bit is the fact that I never got fully moved out of my last assignment at St. Stephens Mission on the Wind River Indian Reservation. This was partially because my leaving came quick, but also cause I don't travel light. Moving a welding shop is not for the sore of back. The opportunity arose this past week for my right hand man and I to button things up and close the door on this chapter of my life. Thanks Dad and thanks St. Stephens for all the blessings.

Note to self, next assignment don't sink your welding table in concrete.

Fr. Jim Heiser and I go way back. I appreciate all your support padre, keep smiling. 

I also got to visit my good friend Sr. Monica. Just so happen to be her feast day. Thanks for the prayers Sister, they paid off.

While I was home I figured I might as well grab a few more bovine, this time they came from my brother Luke's herd. 5 open heifers that he bred and raised. Now we're up to 12 apostles minus Judas.

My brother, in his generosity and desire to get Lungren Brothers Cattle Company off the ground, donated this ole girl to the cause. It's only just begun John.

After I dropped the new girls into the old herd in Hulett I raced back to Campbell County to see this cowboy pick his 6 string.

Kellen Smith is an inspiration of mine and a big fan of stock trucks. Thanks for the miserable music bro.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven, Ecc. 3:1. I would not be the priest nor the man I am today without my experience at St. Stephens. Many thanks to Ron Mamot for his encouragement and support over the years. If it hadn't been for him I wouldn't have Chief and I might not be a priest. Alls well that ends well.

Get After It

 He who does not work should not eat

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Level Headed Louie

 Stay of in a state of grace and go fishing

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Don't Mess with Fr. Super Puncher

 You mess with the bull you get the whip

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Hey Buddy Bart

 I've got friends in high places...

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Habemus Papem

You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church

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Meet Me in Montana

Two days after I graduated high school in Worland I moved to Helena MT to work for my uncle. That entailed driving tow truck and putting flat beds on pickups. After 7 years with him I moved to Great Falls MT and ranched for a family. Between those years and my time in seminary I have many friends that I need to check up on every now and again.


The first stop was to my good friends Tony and Karen Rausch. They invited some of the old crew for a backyard Mass and picnic. Keep living the faith kids.

I stayed with my ole buddy Fr. Doug Krings and then met up with this early church father Joe Paddock. We studied philosophy together. Guess all that thinking went to his beard.

Then down to Helena to hang with my Uncle John. This dude is handy. Nice garden partner, I dig it.

I had to have a little intervention with him about not being online. So we gave him an iPad. He took to it like a kid on a new bike.

My cousin Sam, who used to pal around with me in the tow truck, now has a successful ship container business.

Well done ol' son. Keep trucking

I then started running down some of the boys. Fr. Christopher Lebsock and I go way back. Good to see you partner. Always wear your hat.

Shawn Moore was the first friend I made in Helena and he's remained one ever since. Thanks for the beef bro.

Roxie and Joe Nistler were the first family in the Church to take me under their wing. We celebrated Mass at their house and then had a good breakfast and conversation. 

In gratitude for their encouragement to me over the years I took it upon myself to teach their grandkids how to work a bull whip. Every boy should know how to crack a whip. Thanks guys.

The last stop was Townsend MT where I spent a summer as a deacon. Larry Woodring and I spent many hours in his shop solving the world's problems. I now know where to go when Y2K hits.

I stayed with my ole buddy Fr. Cody Williams and had a great time driving over Duck Creek pass and chewing the fat. Before I blew out of town on Saturday morning we celebrated a 4:30 am Mass in honor of the Queenship of Mary. By the looks of it, Cody handles the early mornings better than I do. Sit tall in the saddle partner, you got your hands full.

The only casualty of the trip was the transmission in my pickup as I raced home to do the opening prayer at the Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy rodeo in Hulett. I didn't make it in time for the prayer, so my Wyoming Catholic Cowboy buddy Ryan Huxtable stepped up to the plate. But I did make it in time to see my buddy Ben Miller break this bronc. If you want to become a successful bronc rider you should start riding at 14 and not 40. Getter done ol' son!

What a good trip. I feel rejuvenated and ready to rock whatever the fall brings. It was fun to travel through a land that I owe so much to. I will forever be indebted to Montana for helping me become who I am today. I grew as a man and as a son. But it is in Wyoming that I am a priest. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Life's a Garden, Dig it. - Joe Dirt

Well I'm off on a little vacation through Montana this week. Gonna visit some old friends and reflect on the blessings of this summer so far. Some might say that my life is a vacation. I'd say that my life is a vocation. There's an old country song by Clay Walker that says, "If I could make a living out of living you, I'd be a millionaire in week or two. I'd be doing what I love and lovin what I do, if I could make a living out of loving you." I make a living out of loving God and His people. Is it fun, yes. Is it work, yes. Do I get paid, sometimes. If only people, know how fun totally surrendering your life to God can be, then everyone would do it. Stay tuned, it's gonna be a fun week.

Mom and her garden. You can only come through that gate if your in a good mood. Therefore, Dad and I stick to the shop. Life is a garden Mom. Dig it!

Chief was running out of grass so I ran him up to Beaver Creek to hang with Martha the Mule. Don't forget me ol' son. On to the next one...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

When Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Friday's original plans to work on our future meat locker for the Lungren Brother's Cattle Company endeavor got rearranged, so Dad and I headed for the hills. This time we went up to the old family stomping grounds in the south Big Horn Mountains known as Big Trails.

This is what's left of the the old ranch house. Grandpa signed the papers on this property while Grandma was in the hospital having Dad on July 10,1951.

Dad grew up up here, more or less. When him and Mom were first married they spent a couple springs up there calving the herd. As the story goes, they had a cold, half dead calf that they brought into the house to warm up. There was little activity with him so they hit the hay. In the middle of the night they hear a clip clop coming down the hall and could only imagine that it was a gunman heading their way. Dad frantically searched for the light pull down string that hung over their bed, but for the life of him couldn't find it. The steps just kept getting closer until they stoped right above them. And then.... blaaaaaa. It was the calf!

There was an old diversion dam on the Nowood Creek that runs through the place. The head gate needs a little work.

After a visit to the lower ranch, we continued up to the Lost Creek area were the summer range of the same operation was. My great granddad built the gate leading into this little slice of Heaven.

My fondest memories as a kid was branding in these corrals over the 4th of July

This is a cool pic of a pic of those early days. On the horse is Dad, Uncle Vance is roping in the background, Uncle Pud is wrestling the calf to the ground while his hat fly's off, cousin Robert is teaming up, while my Uncle Joe looks on. These men formed me. Look close in the pic and you can see my hat shining through while I snapped the shot. Nice little gift, thanks Lord.

This cabin was built by my great grandfather Adam in the early 60's. Dad's cousins have taken real good care of it.

Grandpa Adam shot this elk back in the day. The first order of business when us kids arrived at the cabin was to fling our hat on one of the tines. Some things never change.

Here's a final shot from up top over looking the cabin and Mahogany Butte

Super fun day. We hadn't seen that country in years. It was real special to go around once again with Dad and hear all of the stories. If only those hills could talk. What an unexpected gift to get to spend the day on top of the world. One just needs to stay open to the Spirit I guess. My prayer is that this land always be used for the greater glory of God! On to the next one... Montana for the week.

Celebrate the Mass!

There is no salvation outside the Church. Really?


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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Mercy Me

 Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and discovering that the prisoner was me.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What a Beautiful Ride

Today started with a trip to the ole dentist. Dr. Holly Schamber, a lady Wyoming Catholic Cowboy, took good care of me. Yes it was a cavity, but it wasn't my fault. Well, maybe it was. But nevertheless, she did a good job. She had big shoes to fill cause Mom was my only dental hygienist up until this year. You are a pretty graceful dentist Doc, keep wearing your hat. In the afternoon I headed out to ride herd on Moorcroft.

Turns out I was the assistance's first request to have their picture taken while getting drilled on.

My first stop in Moorcroft was at the Williams's place. Chase and Katie, who is a second cousin of mine, had a little baby not long ago so we talked baptism. Chase showed me his shop. Kickass.

And his tack room

You can never have too many bits 

After Mass with some of the folks: Ol' Son, Joe, Trish, Martha, & Richard

Ride for the brand
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Final stop was to the Kinstetter's for dinner. Don showed me his latest project. Nice work partner. Keep that sawdust flying.

We concluded with some Wyoming meat and potatoes. Janet, Paul, Don, and some home grown beef.

It's so good to mingle with the folks outside of Sunday Mass. You learn a lot about daily life and the broader culture. Life on the ranch ain't always beautiful, but what a beautiful ride. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Poor Clare

 The road to happiness is poverty, poverty of spirit.

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Monday, August 10, 2020

The Blood of Martyrs is the Seed of the Church

 The world needs more Christian martyrs. St. Lawrence pray for us!

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Think from the Heart

 Praying is to the soul what sleep is to the body.

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Own it Kurt

Cowboys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Here's my ole buddy Kurt Mentele. He rides the steel horses. There's just something freeing about having two wheels underneath you. Keeps you childlike I think. Kurt does an awesome job of wearing his hat. He keeps his heart light, always puts God first, and most of all, keeps cool.

Kurt in his bike shop off of Black Tooth Ave. Dirt or street, he can fix it. Sit tall in the saddle partner. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Surf Wyoming

Thursday ran me up north to hang out with some friends of mine, Jason and Cheri Irvin, buried way north of Recluse WY.  Beautiful ride and fun time with good cowboy folks. After I crashed with them, I made my over to the Big Horns to hang for the day.

Jason and his pup lead the way of a steep ole pasture looking for wayward bulls. No success, but fun time
Look close and you will see just a few monster bucks in this area

Chief and I along the Powder River after leaving the Irvin's Friday morning

Headed for the Big Horns
It was a good trail, but longer and rockier than I had anticipated
There she be, Lake Angeline
Thanks partner for the lift up. Now it's time to surf
Elizabeth, Dad, Kendrick, and Carter getting ready to surf Meadowlark Lake Saturday morning 
 Kendrick cutting his teeth with the live load

Fun couple of days. The pastoral visit up north was great. Riding into and surfing Lake Angeline was challenging but worth it. Hanging with family is priceless. Now it's Sunday. A time for rest...

Tree Thinning

Around Wyoming, you hate to cut down any live tree. Especially a Cottonwood, the state tree. However, half-dead trees will hang on for a lon...