Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Sons of Mary 2023

With the July heat starting to set in, the boys and I headed for the hills. Each summer, our band of brother priests, gets together for some fraternity in the Bighorns. This year, six of us were able to enjoy three days of fun in the sun without cell service or the internet connection. Turns out, the world didn't stop spinning.  

Our crew of Cheyenne priests: Fr. Clark Lenz, Fr. Seth Hostetler, Fr. Brian Hess, Fr. Robert Rodgers, Fr. Linh Vu, and Fr. Bryce Lungren behind the camera. 

First order of business was to get this dead tree, which we pulled out of the creek a couple years ago, hauled out of the court yard. 

Bob finished cutting it up. 

Then we let the arms down and backed ol' White Horse underneath it. 

With a little mechanical muscle we lifted each section up. 

And hauled them off the the bone pile.

After a good mountain workout, we were ready for some LB Burgers. 

That's what I'm talking about!

The next day we set out for a hiking trip near Battle Park. 

So beautiful up here. 

Our mission was to surf Lilly Lake. Three of us took turns packing the paddle board up the 1.5 miles or so to the water. 

Then aired it up. 

I broke the ice.

And Brian and Seth got a spin as well. Awesome!

After lunch, Brian took his customary siesta by the water. 

That evening was Seth's turn to cook. Chicken wings... good choice. 


As fun as all these activities were, the best part of our fraternal retreat was celebrating Mass together. 

Can't beat it with a stick. Jesus retreated with His boys to the mountains, and we continue to do the same. Breaths of fresh air like this reinvigorate us to go back to our assignments and serve the Lord and His people with joy. The priesthood is not a solo mission. We need brother priests to help keep the fire of the Holy Spirit stoked in our hearts. Through our communion with Jesus, Mary, and each other, we can serve the Father well as His sons and priests. Special thanks to Mom and Dad for lending us the cabin. Now let's get to work!

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Deck Project

Plan your work and work your plan is what my daddy alway told me. Well, it paid off on our recent deck project. We had been kicking around the idea of enclosing the deck on the rectory for the past year, and this summer looked like a great time to get it done. With a project like this, though, you don't build as you go. First, you build it in your mind. Then the actual constructing of it is just following instructions. 

Two things we were after: shade and privacy. 

The deck is south facing and is in the sun 99% of the day. It is also wide open for everyone to see what you're cooking. Consequently, we rarely spent time out here. 

So with a plan in mind, we set out by taking down the old railing. 

Selecting the right wood was crucial. Not planning on treating any of it, we intentionally found fir lumber for the framework. 

Attention to detail is my style. The more work you do ahead of time, the less cleanup you have in the end. 

Ron McGinley was my righthand man of choice. 

Shorts were definitely welcome attire when working during the mid-day. 

Needing a couple 2x4's and having a 4x4 around that I mis-cut earlier, we decided to rip it in two. Ron questioned my judgement.

 She framed up nice. The north/south laterals were strong because the far post was attached to the wall of the house. The east/west needed some help, though. It is amazing how these diagonals firmed up the structure.

We also framed in a gate that opens to the inside.

For the heavy lifting I called in Jared Biegler. We didn't want the structure to carry the weight of snow, but we did want to provide for some sun shade the best we could. The 18' 2x10's did the the trick. We bridged them in the center, which I've been told doubles their weight capacity. 

Then came the big day to side it. We wanted to match our surrounding fence, so we chose 6' cedar fence panels. This way they will weather well. 

We started screwing them but splitting became an issue. So Ron brought over his air nailer and saved the day. 

We also put lattice on the top of the purlins to help cut the sun at different times of the day.

Come on in.

Giddy up.

If you think through your work before you start, you don't waste any time. I bet we spent a total of 15 daylight hours on this project. The right tools and the right people made all the difference. But so does making sure you have all your ducks in a row before you pull the trigger. Dad's advice has paid off time and time again. Now it's time to get a lawn chair or two and enjoy the rest of the summer! 

Good Eye

Choose to look at life with your good eye through gratitude. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Punchin' Doggies

I don't know if the cows needing moving or we just needed to move the cows. Regardless, Joe and I headed to Hulett this afternoon to check on the girls and push them through the gate.

Once again, we found them in the trees. They are sure looking good. Nice and slicked off.

Ole Whitey is coming along too. She is a bit of a black sheep, but seems to enjoy her existence.  

Once we got them up out of the back 40, Joe kept them heading in the right direction. 

Giddy up, partner. 

They'll be happy here. Closer to the highway so they can watch the motorcycles ride by on Wyo 24. 

Well done, you two. You make a good team. 

I've also been real impressed with Mollie this year. She seem to be coming out of her adolescent stage. 

Good job kids. As usual, Chief goes for a roll and Mollie heads for the oats. 

It's good to get out of Dodge every once in awhile, even just for an afternoon. Summer's are short in Wyoming, so a guy has to take advantage every chance he gets to enjoy them. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Cajun Catholic Cowboys

Every few years, Gillette hosts the National High School Finals Rodeo. When it comes to town, it usually stays for two years in a row. The rodeo was here last year and again this year. This year, though, was the rodeo's 75th anniversary. As providence would have it, I stayed in Gillette for the Masses on the opening weekend and was able to acknowledge all the cowboy families that made the effort to go to Mass. Cream of the crop. 

The Louisiana contingent stood out. Their events ranged from rough stock to barrels to roping and cow/horse reining. 

I was able to get out during the week and watch Wyatt crack out in saddle bronc. 

Another evening I went out and enjoyed some crawfish with Scott and his crew. 

Scott owns the Acadia Crawfish Company in Louisiana. I was all about eating crawfish that was already shelled. 

They grow rice too. 

Giddy up! 

I caught one more morning with these Cajun Catholics. Friendly folks to say the least. 

Even got rid of a book or two. 

The highlight of my time with them was this early morning Rosary. They may be cowboys, but they're Catholics first. 

Rodeo is the one sport that is not afraid to give God the glory. I love being cowboy, but I love being Catholic more. It doesn't matter where we're from, our faith makes us family. Keep wearing your hats, and keep fighting for Mass. The world needs more Cajun Catholic Cowboys! 


Brace Post

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