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VIDEO: Saints Among Us

Very proud of this new video my office produced for an upcoming initiative for the Archdiocese of Denver. I wrote and narrated it, but Jason on my team deserves the credit for the amazing animation and bringing it all together. Stay tuned in 3 weeks for a full-length documentary!

How Old Do I Look?

There’s a goofy trend going around in social media this week called “How Old Do I Look,” which is basically a website that runs an algorithm based on a photo you upload of yourself, and based on data extracted from other photos, the website guesses your age and gender.

Consider it a modern day internet-based carnival act.

Except obviously from the picture below, it doesn’t work! ūüėČ

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.59.10 AM

Click on the image to try it yourself. What age did you get? How close did the program get to reality?

Bring Your Child To Work Day

As we mentioned on TCND #084, our local public school system “celebrated” Bring Your Child to Work Day. ¬†Since this opportunity only applied to our youngest two sons, I agreed to let them both¬†stay home and work with me processing rosaries for Rosary Army.

RosaryArmy.com is the main ministry that I have the privilege of managing from the basement office of our home and these boys only know life with rosaries in it.  Not a bad thing in my opinion.

Post Office TripFirst stop was the post office. ¬†It’s always a fun surprise when we check the mail and find all three types of mail inside: envelopes containing rosary requests, donations and more all-twine knotted rosaries to inspect and prep for distribution. ¬†It’s a great reminder for me to be thankful for these individuals in my prayer life.

 

IMG_6994Before the massive inspection of nearly 1000 rosaries could begin, I figured I’d better boost their morale and treat them to a “business lunch” at our local burger joint. ¬†Gotta have fuel for the journey. ¬†And truth be told, the Reuben wasn’t half bad. ¬†Not New York good, but decent.

 

 

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Time to get to work. Ben was in the zone sorting rosaries by color and making sure the rosaries were made according to our quality standards before any tax receipts can be calculated and presented. ¬†(Don’t worry, I handle the tax part!)

 

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Tommy is hard at work filling out the quality inspection paperwork for each batch of rosaries submitted.  He caught on super fast.  Not bad for an 11 year old!

 

 

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No, these are not rainbow dreadlocks on Ben’s head. ¬†One of our hardworking rosary makers decided to have a little fun with tie-dye and Ben decided to have some fun with her creative work. ¬†Who says rosaries can’t be fun!

 

 

IMG_7002Our Lady Undoer of Knots where are YOU!!! Yikes! There were at least 10 rosaries tangled up in this ball of rosaries. ¬†I tried to think of Our Blessed Mother as Tommy handed this giant knot to me to untangle for him. ¬†It gave me a chance to meditate on how us mammas have the skill and patience to untangle knots in our kids’ lives.

 

After several hours of intense rosary sorting work, it was finally quitting time for this Bring Your Child to Work Day. ¬†For their reward, I dismissed them to the basement for some much deserved R&R time with video games. ¬†Or maybe just plain ol’ R&R.

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7 Ways to Blast Through Dry Prayer


When you’re in the desert, if you remain stagnant and don’t try to make your way out, you’ll wither up and die.

Instead of sticking around in the sand dunes, dive into a faith where there is something new to discover each day, and in that discovery, experience the desire of growing closer to God, and the satisfaction of witnessing the Holy Spirit working through you in reaching others.

  • If you say you don‚Äôt get anything out of Mass, what are you putting into it?
  • If you say the Catholic faith is boring, when was the last time you read a book explaining the Eucharist or the lives of saints?
  • If you say you don’t feel the presence of God, or that the struggle of learning about and living out your faith isn’t worth it, then perhaps you’ve never opened yourself to experiencing the joy that comes through suffering, in suffering, and after suffering.

Even Jesus Christ found himself in a desert for forty days, but in the midst of those forty days, he turned to prayer and fasting to dive more deeply into His own relationship with God our Father, he fought through the dryness and pain of temptation to allow the strength of conviction to take hold and withstand the attacks of the devil. Being in the desert didn’t weaken His faith, it strengthened it. When we allow it, the pain and desolation and sufferings we sometimes encounter in life can be transformative periods of intense spiritual growth.

But just desiring to get out of dryness doesn’t necessarily facilitate change, particularly when it comes to prayer.

For times when you find yourself in a place of dryness,¬†or feel that your prayer life has become lethargic, below are seven strategies for blasting through dryness in prayer, improving your time in prayer, and creating prayer routines that will help you when periods of dryness return in the future (as they’re sure to do):

1) Consistency
Pick a time to pray each day and stick to it. For me, it’s first thing in the morning, waking up two hours before I need to leave for work so I can pray, ponder, and then work on creative endeavors that perhaps I was inspired to work on during my prayer time. ¬†Prayer makes my days better, including my weekends. ¬†If I schedule the time for prayer each day, I know my days will be better. ¬†Consistency is the key.

2) Pick a place
Create places in and out of your home that become associated with prayer. ¬†I actually recommend trying to create 2-4 prayer spots. Years ago I’d leave work everyday at lunch and sit in my car in a parking lot, eat my lunch, and then spend 45 minutes in uninterrupted prayer. ¬† For me, I have a dedicated “prayer chair” in a room of our house, and when the weather is warmer, I pray every morning on my front porch. ¬†And of course, developing a routine of going to Eucharistic Adoration helps make your local parish a perfect prayer spot.

3) Have a backup plan
Some mornings I sit and draw an absolute blank.  My prayer is like staring at a blank wall.  When this happens, I go to one of my backup prayer plans.  When my prayer seems like a rambling, incoherent mess, I turn to rote prayers like the Rosary or Liturgy of the Hours or simply opening up the Bible and reading for ten minutes.  Some other backup prayer plans including reading the Psalms, listening to recorded audio prayers (like the free audio Rosaries Jennifer and I recorded), or simple journaling out my thoughts.

4) Eliminate distractions
Wherever your prayer spot may be, or whenever you plan your prayer, leave your phone outside of arms reach (and preferably outside the room). ¬†If you’re surrounded by people all day, go for a prayer walk or just go sit in your car to pray.

5) Ask for intercessory help before prayer
This was a huge breakthrough for me. ¬†When I remember to ask my guardian angel to help me to pray, he’ll lead me to ask for the intercession of saints¬†and¬†our Blessed Mother to assist me in my prayer and to make sure I’m focusing on the areas of my life where the Holy Spirit most desires me to grow.

6) Set goals
When prayer becomes particularly routine, I find the challenge praying a novena (such as the Divine Mercy novena or the novena of Mary Undoer of Knots or even a 54-day Rosary novena) will break through dryness like nothing else will. ¬†As a caveat, though, make sure¬†to have a plan in place for what your prayer life will be after the novena is completed so you don’t fall back into old routines.

7) Accept Imperfection
Jesus prays that we may be perfect, but not every conversation with someone is perfect. If your prayer seems dry and pointless, cut yourself some slack. ¬†God cares more about you showing up than what you say when you arrive. ¬†Go back to the first suggestion (consistency) and you’ll eventually break through that dryness in prayer.

What are ways you break through dryness?  Share your suggestions in the comments below!

For more ideas for breaking through dryness in prayer, make sure to check out episode #084 of The Catholics Next Door where we dive deeper into these seven strategies!

For more discussion on dryness, also check out my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid!

Unfinished Basements are Awesome

When we lived in Georgia, we always said our house would have been just right if we had a basement to retreat to, make messes in, and generally just have fun.

When we started looking for homes in Colorado, so many unfinished basements seemed full of bad design ideas.

When we got our house, the unfinished basement only had one electrical outlet and 2 very dim lights. After a minor investment of better wiring and lights, we are amazed how much we enjoy our unfinished basement.

We now run New Evangelizers/Rosary Army out of the basement, we podcast from the basement, the kids have a play area (Ben and Tom LOVE spending the night there), and I even have a dedicated corner for painting and my punching bag.

Every once in a while I imagine what it would be like to finish off the basement, but then I quickly remember if we finished it off, we couldn’t do stuff like this:

Roller chairs + unfinished basement = fun

A video posted by Greg Willits (@gregwillits) on


Or this:

Friday night praying for her life.

A video posted by Greg Willits (@gregwillits) on

The Accidental Baker


Ben_HeadOur son Benjamin has been through quite the academic journey in public middle school. ¬†From dealing with the shock of actually having to do his assignments to remembering to turn them in on time, it’s been quite the ride. ¬†But mostly, middle school has been rough on him emotionally. ¬†He just didn’t care to be there. ¬†Middle school was something to endure and nothing more. ¬†It didn’t take long for his teachers to notice how disinterested Ben was from his classes. ¬†They could easily see how profoundly unhappy he was. (Not that he tried to hide it!) ¬†It didn’t take long for his grades to suffer from his lack of engagement.

We tried band. But since it was not possible to get the highly coveted percussion assignment, he was forced to choose something else: the trumpet. He tried and tried, but he quickly began to resent that instrument and found every opportunity to avoid it. Since we had to rent it for $25 bucks a month, I was not too happy to see it unplayed so often. ¬†We tried private tutoring sessions to help boost his confidence, but it just didn’t matter. ¬†He genuinely disliked the instrument and music all together. ¬†The band teacher found a way for him to be transitioned out of that year long class despite the general rules of leaving kids assigned to their original schedules. ¬†We were grateful for the end of Ben’s musical misery and I was happy to get my $25.00 a month back.

Honor_RollEventually, he was allowed to participate in Drama, which showed him that school can occasionally encourage playful and silly behavior without being considered disruptive. ¬†Slowly, he started to feel like a happy kid again. His grades were finally leaving the C and D zone and he was consistently getting more B’s. ¬†By the end of the quarter, he was rewarded with an Honor Roll certificate for his efforts at trying to improve in all his classes.

But the real prize of a class was (the super popular and tough to get into) Consumer & Family Studies, aka the cooking class.  There are never openings in that class.  Students have to be very fast to sign up for it before it gets full.  Because Ben has several teachers who care for his success, strings were pulled in all the right ways and Ben was allowed in.  To me, it was an answer to prayer. Ben needed to know that it was possible to have a few positive experiences in his school.

To our surprise, Ben not only enjoys the cooking class, he is thriving in it.  He is loving the chance to explore new recipes and getting his hands dirty in the cooking process.  This warms my heart so much because Ben has such a beautiful and unique soul.  It hurt so much to see him so sad every day after school.  You see, Ben has high functioning autism and he relates to the world around him in a very unique way.   To date, he has largely felt disconnected from his experience in public middle school.  But cooking has made him connect.

His recent cooking assignment was to tackle the German oven pancake. ¬†The teacher demonstrated it first and the next day the kids would get the chance to make it themselves. ¬†Ben was so enthusiastic after seeing the demonstration that he couldn’t wait for the next day to try making it. ¬†But since he was given the recipe, he thought, “Why wait for tomorrow? ¬†Why not try making it as soon as I get home?” ¬†Ben has never baked like this before. ¬†He is quite adept at using the stove top, and even heating up foods in the oven, but never preparing something so raw from scratch. ¬†I was quite happy to let him experiment and just figure it out.

Ben_pancakeHis first attempt came out very flat, much like a traditional pancake. ¬†But we ate it and congratulated him for his accomplishment. ¬†Secretly, he knew something was not right. It just didn’t look like the one the teacher made in class earlier that day. ¬†He would later learn that he didn’t whisk the eggs enough and after having the opportunity to make it correctly at school the following day, he was ready to dazzle us at home. ¬†And dazzle he did!

We all laughed with delight when he opened the oven door to reveal the new and improved German oven pancake in it’s risen glory. ¬†How appropriate for the Easter season of which we are still spiritually celebrating.

pancake

Ben was happy. We were happy. ¬†And the German oven pancake was devoured. ¬†I highly recommend spreading some tasty fruit preserves over it. ¬†My personal favorite is using raspberry preserves. ¬†Our youngest son, Tommy, was so impressed by his brother’s baking skills, that he requested this pancake for his birthday breakfast this Friday, April 24th. ¬†I think I’ll commission Ben to make this delightful treat for my Mothers’ Day breakfast this May.

Our Ben, the accidental baker, is now experiencing the joy of cooking and sharing. Way to go Benjamin Bunny Faces of Love and Happiness!

 

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VIDEO: Fishing in South Carolina

What started as a video of my fishing trip in South Carolina this past week ended up being a music video for one of our favorite songs, “Home.” Sung by actor Billy Crudup, this is the first song from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the film, “Rudderless.” Both the soundtrack and movie are great. Click here to listen to us talk about my trip on TCND #083.

Music is Copyright (C) 2014 Lakeshore Music. Go buy the soundtrack. You won’t regret it.

New Website Launch!

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.41.54 AMAfter months of development, Jennifer and I are ecstatic to finally reveal this new website. We still have a ton of new features (AND FREE STUFF) we’ll be adding in the coming weeks and months, but decided to go ahead and launch the site now so you can be a part of the ongoing development.

Here are just a few cool things to check out:

  • Sign up for our newsletter! ¬†This is the first newsletter that we’ve ever produced just as us (Greg and Jennifer). ¬†We want to be able to truly build up The Catholics Next Door community and provide serious and silly stuff, and regular surprises.
  • Look at the website on your smartphone and discover how easy it is to pick shows to listen to on the go!
  • Comment on posts and podcast episodes more easily! ¬†Like what you heard this week? ¬†Leave a comment!
  • Like a podcast episode? Now you can easily share it on your Twitter and Facebook feeds directly from our site.
  • Check out the entire back catalog of shows directly from our site.

PLUS, we’re actively working on more stuff for the website including:

  • Videos
  • Free downloads (including the 7+ hour “Life Changers” series that our Patreon co-producers helped fund)
  • Blog content from both Greg and Jennifer
  • A few secrets to be revealed soon!

Click here to go look at the new home page and be sure to bookmark the site right now and check back regularly to discover new content!

Hate Mail from the Past

So someone posted this earlier today on the Facebook page for The Catholics Next Door, which is a show I co-host with my wife that we rebooted as a podcast when our satellite radio show ended in October 2012:

“I am personally glad your show is off the air. The way you talked and treated alot of people was just down right rude and arrogant. When you started getting rid of people off your FB because you only wanted people on there that were only friends or ones you met was the last straw for most. You don’t make friends that way or keep a show but then I don’t think you are trying to make friends or be friendly which is probably why your show was not so popular and thus ended up off the channel. Your wife on the other hand every one found kind and enjoyable to listen to. She we miss.”

My initial response was, “Wow. Considering our show went off the air two years ago, I’m not sure what compelled you to write this now. I’m sorry if I (Greg) offended you so deeply.”

And that’s true. I am truly sorry for all the times I offended people.

But the rest of my response to this is varied and conflicted. I’m conflicted because I’ve tried hard over the last couple years to keep my mouth shut about the way our show ended on satellite radio, as well as our overall experience on satellite radio and how we were expected to act. I try to keep my mouth shut mostly because it’s the right thing to do, but other times I feel the need to set the record straight as there are still many misconceptions people have about how and why our radio show ended. I recently listened to a recording of our very last broadcast and couldn’t make it all the way through. A lot of listeners called in on that program, upset that our show was being cancelled, and we told them, “No, it’s okay, don’t blame anyone.” I can’t speak for Jennifer, but that’s not how I actually felt.

Now two years later, this person’s Facebook comment also comes at a time when lately, multiple things have come up in my life that make me think that maybe I should have been more honest not only about how things ended, but how things were when we were on the air.

One thing is the fact that this month does mark two years since our show ended, but also just yesterday I listened to Phil Vischer’s podcast about how he got outed from Big Idea Productions and had to give up control of the Veggietales characters he created in 1990, and I could relate to so much of the pain and anguish he described. Giving up our radio show was not necessarily something we wanted, but we’re glad it happened because God had other things in store for us.

But getting back to the Facebook comment, I don’t begrudge this listener for thinking of me this way, but I would like to clarify a few things. First off, I’m surprised¬†she brought up how we “got rid of people” off of Facebook since we literally did that about five years ago. But in our defense, and to explain what she’s talking about, shortly after our show launched Jennifer and I each suddenly had over 4,000 “friends” on Facebook. Because of this, the statuses in our newsfeed drowned out all news from our actual real-life friends and family. The final straw for me was when a longtime friend not only announced he and his wife were expecting, but were expecting twins. I missed his announcement and subsequent updates for months. Because I don’t like being a slave to Facebook, and because we already had a TCND Facebook page, we removed over 4,000 “friends” from our personal feeds. To this day, I have kept my FB friend count to under 400, and FB is actually interesting and useful again.

Also, I sincerely doubt that us doing that was “the final straw for most.” What we did on FB had nothing to do with why our show was cancelled.

And honestly, to this day, I don’t even know exactly why our show was cancelled, and I’m not even sure what we’re legally allowed to say about the whole thing, which is a major reason why I’ve kept my mouth shut.

I can tell you my suspicion, though, of when it all headed downhill.

It started for me on June 28, 2012 when the Supreme Court came back in favor of Obamacare, which provided no conscience protection for medical care providers. Therefore medical care providers who were against abortion, contraception, and the like could all theoretically be forced to provide these services. This decision was announced within a couple hours of us going on the air, and rather than fake it, we shared our honest disappointment.  To us, this decision equated to thousands of more lives that would be destroyed by abortion.  That day, several supporters of Obamacare called in and we did indeed get into heated debates on the air.

A couple calls, in particular, did not go well.

That was a Friday, if I recall correctly. That night, Jennifer and I were still stinging from having to talk about that subject on the air. Keep in mind, this was radio and this was breaking news and the expectation given to us was that we would talk about breaking news. That was the job. If we had our druthers, we wouldn’t have talked about it. In fact, when we took the job, we had no idea we’d be expected to talk politics and be responsible for breaking news. ¬†Before that we were just goofballs who did song parodies on a podcast. ¬†But from day one we were told that that was expected of us, that we would talk about what was current and happening in the world as part of our job, so we did it. “Say what you think, be opinionated.” That was the job.

At this point I’d say, go back and listen to the podcasts we did before radio, then go back and listen to the podcasts after radio. Our podcasts are more who we are. Radio was not. We tried to be real on the radio, but it’s just not possible because every three minutes we’d have to remind you of our names, and the channel, and what we were talking about, and we couldn’t really just be us. On the podcast, we’re as goofy or serious or stupid as we want to be. That’s Greg and Jennifer.

One time our good friend Jeff told us he didn’t listen to our radio show, though he’d listened to all of our podcasts prior. ¬†“It’s just not the same,” he said, and I’ve always respected and appreciated his honesty.

50% of the things we talked about on radio? It was radio. We couldn’t have cared less, but we were paid to have an opinion and to publicly share it, so we did.

On faith issues, it was easy to be passionate, but on politics, not so much. ¬† In fact, since our show ended, I can’t think of a single political conversation in which I’ve engaged for two years now. ¬†I just don’t enjoy it, which is why I was always so annoyed when someone accused me of wanting to be another Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. ¬†I just wanted to be Greg Willits from the Rosary Army podcast.

Going back to that Friday, we’d had a new boss for about three months. That night, just as Jennifer and I¬†were heading out to dinner with our kids, he forwarded to us some scathing emails he’d received about us that day, with a note that just said, “FYI.” ¬†And this was some absolutely hateful stuff.

Prior to that, with our original boss, we never once ever received a forwarded piece of hate mail. We got enough sent directly to us. Our original boss knew we didn’t need to receive more. He knew that in radio, especially Catholic radio, you were either too Catholic or not Catholic enough, and people feel like they need to tell you that, but that it wasn’t necessary to read every piece of negative email.

Again, this was a Friday night around 5:30PM, the beginning of the weekend. We started asking questions.  Why in the world would our boss feel the need to send that email to us then? Was he trying to ruin our weekend? Was this a message with an agenda?

We were completely perplexed. Around the same timeframe, our friend who watched our daughter told us she wouldn’t be able to anymore.

So now we were getting hate mail forwarded from our boss, the new timeslot we were in was terrible for our children as they didn’t get their mom right away when they got home from school, and now we were going to have to put our daughter in a childcare center for the first time in our parenting lives.

That night, Jennifer started crying.  Our family was open for public scrutiny (and still is, based on this Facebook comment).

I asked Jennifer, “Right now, if you could have whatever you want, what would it be?”

She answered right away: “I just want to be with the kids.”

No more deadlines, no more controversial topics, no more expectation to publicly live out our marriage.

A week later we told our new boss, who knew we were struggling mostly with our new timeslot, that if we couldn’t move back to our original 10AM-1PM EST time, that Jennifer would have to leave the show. ¬†We’d been asking our employers for six months to make that happen, and we simply were up against a wall. It was terrifying to bring this forward.

We fully expected to be told, “Fine. ¬†Your show is over. ¬†You’re both fired.”

Instead, blessedly, we were told that the show couldn’t be moved right away, but for me to host solo until the fall, when maybe a change could be made.

So for three months, I flew solo, sitting in a room in our house and talking to myself for three hours a day. When a show was over, I was pretty much useless. Being introverted, and having to expend every ounce of energy sounding upbeat and talking to myself nonstop for three hours a day, took a tremendous toll on me. Again, imagine going into a room with literally no one else there, no producer on the other side of a window, no soundboard operator, no co-host with whom you’d been hosting everything you’d ever hosted for seven years. I was literally sitting in a room above our garage and talking into a microphone for three hours a day.

I don’t blame people for not liking me when I was on the radio, because let me let you in on a secret: I didn’t much like Radio Greg, either. Because Radio Greg felt¬†fake. Radio Greg had to keep the show moving. Radio Greg had to come up with 15 hours of topics every week and felt very, very alone in doing so. Radio Greg did 100% of the show prep, and was responsible for the direction of every show, and if someone didn’t like something Radio Greg did or said, Radio Greg was told what a jerk and how “rude and arrogant” he was. And yes, sometimes Radio Greg lost his patience.

Often, Radio Greg had to pretend to be someone who he is not. I feel like the rebooted TCND podcast is much more honest of who Real Greg is. Real Greg doesn’t have a lot of friends in real life, and never has. That’s not bad, but just how he’s wired. In fact, too many people trying to communicate with Real Greg sends Real Greg into a hole. Real Greg is terrible at answering voicemail messages. Real Greg usually keeps his opinions to himself and likes to sit silently staring out a window. ¬†Real Greg likes to read and drink coffee and hang out with cats and sit in the basement painting. ¬†He likes public speaking and producing media, too, but not in a way that requires 15 hours of talking and 40 hours of show prep every week.

The Facebook commenter is correct. I didn’t do radio to make friends or be friendly. I did it to share the faith with others, and to provide for my family. Having said that, I did make friends, despite myself.

Do we miss radio? Sometimes yes, but mostly no. Our show was unique in that we truly were a Catholic reality show, 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. We opened up the doors to our home to all of North America every day. Because we had to talk nonstop for 15 hours a week, a lot of the content came from us sharing our family lives. Most people don’t realize the arrangement Jennifer and I had while doing radio. Her focus was caring for the family and she counted on me to do all the prep for the show. A majority of days, she came into the studio about five to ten minutes before we went on the air, I handed her a stack of notes, and she counted on me to lead and she jumped in whenever she was ready. That worked well, but it was also very stressful for me. She made it clear right away that she had no intention or desire to ever host solo, and she never did, despite protests from our employers. I could not make the same declaration.

But the thing we miss the least about radio is the expectation that we’d live out the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in an extremely public way. We don’t miss having conversations at night after the kids go to bed and saying, “Oh wait, let’s save this for the show.” Now we just live our marriage privately, and we have conversations the way couples are supposed to. And I like that. Because I’m selfish about sharing my wife and I did that for enough years.

I also don’t miss the negativity that was often directed our way from listeners, and a few times even from co-workers. We endured a lot of pain while on radio. There’s one person in particular that I’ve had to go to confession about several times because of the way that person hurt our family in very public ways and never apologized. I don’t miss stuff like that. ¬†And I don’t miss daily comments like the one that popped up today on Facebook, daily being told I’m rude and arrogant. ¬†I did develop a thicker skin, but you can only take so much of that from fellow Catholics.

I do miss the positive influence we sometimes had on people, though. I miss hearing from people who went to confession or got involved in their parish or with their family because of something we said or did. I miss giving unknown authors and people behind apostolates a way of sharing their work with the world. I miss praying with people on the air (this is one of the things we were told to stop doing, by the way). There are also some co-workers I miss. But, because of the constant painful reminders of what happened to us, I let those co-worker relationships drift away, too, as every time I heard from one of them, I was reminded of the way I was sent to the unemployment line after pouring out my heart, my life, and my very family for over four years, only to lose a job for it.

In September 2012, after hosting the show solo for three months, I wasn’t surprised when we got a call saying our show wouldn’t be moved back to our original time slot, thus Jennifer wouldn’t be coming back on the air, and thus our show was over. I was surprised, however, when I was told that I’d have to continue hosting for the next month solo without telling anyone that the show was ending. That was pretty much one of the top ten worst months of my entire life. I remember getting emails that month from people angry at repeats of the show on days I took a vacation day to go look for new employment. ¬†But I couldn’t say anything. ¬†The next month, I was hurt again when I learned that reruns of a different show were now airing in the original time-slot we were told was unavailable. So that wasn’t fun.

But, oh well.

This month now marks two years since we went off the show, and as evidenced by this Facebook comment, our time on satellite still haunts us from time to time. People still sometimes feel the need to tell me what a jerk I am, even if it was Radio Greg, a memory growing distant with every day. I can’t say I disagree. I am often a jerk. But I honestly try not to be. I try to honestly care about people. To the friends I have, I try to be a genuinely good friend. ¬†I spend my days trying to find ways of improving the lives of others, of bringing them closer to God.

But I’m still sometimes a jerk, despite myself. So let me say again, if you were hurt because you were once on my Facebook “friends” list, and I removed you, I’m truly sorry. If I ever said something on the radio that offended you, I’m truly sorry. If I ever hurt you because I never got around to answering your email, or for any other reason, I’m truly sorry. ¬†But if you just don’t like me because you don’t like me, I don’t know what to do with that.

Sometimes people ask me if we’d do radio again. I think Jennifer would automatically say no. I’d say I’d be open to it if I could actually be more like the real me, and if it wasn’t for 15 hours a week. I’d take a weekly show in a heartbeat, and a 1-hour daily would actually be really easy to do.

But Jennifer and I enjoy doing a podcast and the flexibility it offers. We’ve had a lot of family stuff going on recently so we just haven’t recorded anything lately, and we’re fine with that.

We don’t have as many listeners as we used to, but that’s not why we do it. We now have a few thousand listeners that genuinely consider us friends. They listen to every episode. And I daresay we now have very few listeners now that would consider me rude and arrogant. But if they do, perhaps we can grab a beer or cup of coffee together someday and you’d give me the opportunity to change your mind.

TCND Photo Album from Touring Hobbiton in New Zealand

If you’ve listened to¬†Episode #055 of The Catholics Next Door, here are the photos that accompany our visit to Auckland, New Zealand as well as our tour of the set for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. ¬†Check out the photo slideshow from our visit to New Zealand!

TCND Photo Album from Visiting Sydney, Australia

If you’ve listened to Episode #054 of The Catholics Next Door, here are the photos that accompany our trip to Sydney, Australia. ¬†Check out the photo slideshow from our visit to Sydney!

 

8 Recent Paintings

I’ve been on a mad painting spree these last few months, and we’ve actually started framing and hanging some of them in the house.

What simultaneously amuses and befuddles me is that I never know which of my paintings my wife will deem “hang-worthy.” ¬†Having made some horrible design choices in the past, we’re both pretty picky about what goes on the walls. ¬†So I’m always pleased when I accidentally crank out a hang-worthy painting.

Like this one:

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And this one:

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See a trend as to where my paintings end up?

But then these others are sort of homeless right now.  This one was tucked on a bookshelf:IMG_1570

And this one started a series of landscapes (which I feel like is one of my weaker suites, so I’m doing ¬†a lot of these lately trying to improve). ¬†This one might get hung:

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This might get a frame, too:

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Jennifer has made it clear this one WON’T get hung. ¬†So it’s in my closet right now:

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Did this one on Good Friday. ¬†Not the best photograph, but I call this “Behold your Mother.” ¬†Pay attention to the right-side edge of the painting.

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And I did this one yesterday on Easter Sunday. ¬†These last two I did on my front porch, and very much enjoyed being outside doing these instead of being in the basement, but it’s not the most convenient thing to haul all my gear upstairs and outside. ¬†But it’s worth it. ¬†More to come!

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