Fasting from Social Media for Lent – what I learned

Lent was quickly approaching and I was having difficulty deciding what to “give up”. Over the past 20+ years of being Catholic, I’ve given up many things, including coffee, alcohol, desserts, and all of the many things one gives up during Lent. However, none of these seemed to speak to me as I was looking for something that would allow me to really focus on spiritual discipline.

Someone I respect had recently made the decision to leave Facebook and Twitter – and I was flabbergasted that someone could just up and leave like that without going through withdrawal or having some sort of vacuum exist. Given this reaction, I realized that maybe this was where I had given too much priority in my life – maybe a fast from social media was what I needed. In fact, with honest introspection, I spent collectively an hour or more per day on social media.

The first thing I learned was that I was nowhere near as angry and upset about things. The constant bickering that occurs among my real friends and among those I count as “friends” was really taking a toll on me that I didn’t realize until it wasn’t there. It was refreshing to not have the persistent onslaught of negativity.

Another thing I learned was that I get my news from social media. Once I turned it off, I was in the dark about everything going on in my neighborhood, city, country, and around the world. I needed to seek out other forms of getting news – such as the newspaper and the local TV station, much the same as I did before social media existed. But, this also reiterated the fact that I’d become accustomed to getting my news from various sources with potentially different views (e.g., NPR, CNN, BBC, NY Times, Washington Times, Fox News). Without everything being in a nice tidy list, it was difficult keeping caught up with everything. Oftentimes, I just let Linda tell me about all of the goings-on.

The thing I missed was keeping up with what was going on in the lives of my friends. A good friend was diagnosed with cancer and I wouldn’t have known anything about it had Linda not informed me. I realized I enjoy telling my friends “Happy Birthday” on Facebook. 

Finally, to be honest, I posted an Easter message on Facebook and Twitter upon waking on Easter morning – and then spent 45 minutes catching up on Facebook and Twitter. Yeah, I can see me fasting from social media again; maybe more than just at Lent. 

1 Rating at Regional Solo Festival

Emily performed her flute solo at the Regional Solo Festival yesterday and received a 1 rating – meaning that she advances to the State Solo Festival. Congratulations, Emily!

Also, thanks to Linda for being her accompanist. Can’t even think of how much we’ve saved in accompanying fees over the years…

When your legs aren’t quite jello enough 

What do you do after running 20 miles for the very first time? Stretch, foam-roll, rest…of course, you do all of these. My training plans calls for a 60-minute walk the following day. But, what’s a guy to do when his friends invite him along on a bike ride? 

The legs are toast, but it was a fun 32 miles with friends. Looking forward to a real rest day tomorrow (although I’ll be on my feet all day at work). 

Anna plays in Percussion Ensemble at KSU

Anna has been really enjoying her studies in Music Education at Kansas State University. Despite focusing her studies on violin and some voice, she is required to participate in a band comprised of students playing instruments that are not their own.

There was a concert a couple weeks ago and we were unable to attend, but a friend sent us a video of Anna playing the marimba. You’ll find her to the front and left as you are watching. The piece is a theme and variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Marathon Training: 20 mile run done

When one follows a typical marathon training program, he or she will steadily increase their weekend long runs from 6 or 8 miles until they run 20 miles about 3 weeks before the 26.2 mile marathon; this will be the longest run achieved before the race. While training for the marathon last year, I injured my Achilles while during my 16 mile training run and I never progressed any farther. In fact, I was unable to run in the marathon and half marathon for which I’d already paid entry fees.

Fortunately, I was able to return to running later in the summer, but I’ve been quite cautious and, frankly a bit scared, as I’ve increased my weekly mileage. I chose a training plan that was 20 weeks instead of the typical 16 weeks. For obvious reasons, when I completed my 16 mile run back on February 25, I was ecstatic. Each week has seen me progress to longer distances and today I completed the final goal of 20 miles.

I chose to run on the Mill Creek Trail, which comprises a portion of the Garmin Marathon that I will be doing in a few weeks. It’s a bit lonely running 20 miles by oneself, but podcasts and the occasional passing cyclist was just enough to keep me entertained.


I’m looking forward to the 3-week taper that will allow me to run fewer miles on each of my training run – all with the intent to allow the body to recuperate and rest before the actual race. I will continue to do my strength training and yoga – along with my foam rolling. It’s exciting to see that this day is finally getting here!

The only downside to the run – I forgot my bandaids and Body Glide; my fellow runners will know exactly how I’m feeling right now!

Spring Break 2017 – Fiesta Americana in Puerto Vallarta

As is our usual custom during spring break, we loaded onto a plane in cooler Kansas City and jetted our way to warmer climates south of the border – once again in Puerto Vallarta. This is our 5th trip to this resort city, all while staying at different resorts.

We chose Fiesta Americana this year because it was only an 8-minute drive from the airport. Additionally, it gave us something we’ve never had before – adjoining rooms so the girls could have their own room (i.e., Linda and I could have our own room).

The view from our balcony was gorgeous.

The grounds were also beautiful.

We often try to attend the evening shows while we are on these vacations, but we only attended the show during our first night there. It was a Hispanica dance show that was truly engaging. Here’s a short clip:

We mostly laid around and enjoyed some peace and quiet. Lots of reading and napping were accomplished. The meals were good and drinks were always easily acquired. Anna and Emily just can’t get enough virgin strawberry daiquiris. Of course, it’s also nice for me to be able to walk up and request a refreshing glass of amber lager as often as I wanted (plus some premium tequila if you ask nicely).

This was our view for the few days we were there:

Anna and Emily got to hang out and reconnect.

Unfortunately, we didn’t plan this well because it was assumed that the college and high school spring breaks coincided – they didn’t. Anna was missing class to join us, so this is how we spent some of our time – doing homework in bar…

And most unfortunate, Anna had to leave 1 day earlier than us to get back for a class she was not allowed to miss. I rode the taxi with her back to the airport; it almost broke my heart seeing her leave, knowing that we were getting 24 more hours of fun and sun.

The good news is that spring break will be easy next year since they’ll both be at K-State. We just need to make sure we stay longer next time!