Day 7: Lenten 50 Day Giveaway: The Aussie Flag

Did you ever get to know someone while taking a trip together? World Youth Day in Sydney was like that for me. My colleagues from Charis Ministries were with me on the trip to Australia to see the Holy Father. I made a lot of friends that week including this one:

One of the great challenges of the spiritual life is staying connected and I think I often use things as a poor substitute for genuine connection. The flag was getting in the way of me actually communicating with Brianna. I’d settle for just remembering instead of reaching out to her and our other colleagues as well. Sometimes pictures serve the same purpose. We settle instead of becoming inspired to connect once again.

Lord, may I always reach for others instead of settling for a memory. You gave us your own body and blood so we never have to settle for mere memories, but rather, you always give yourself to us completely. May I be more able this Lent to give my body and blood for those who need me and may that sharing bring me closer to you. Amen.

Day 6: 50 Day Lenten Giveaway: The Doggie Mousepad

As you all know, all too well, I love dogs. When you tell people that you love dogs they tend to give you dog-like stuff. I have photo frames and figurines and a whole load of dog accouterments.

We’re a dog friendly workplace, Ripley and Quigley are Fr. Jack’s Old English Sheepdogs. Sr. Jeremy loves these dogs and Quigley never goes anywhere without her. So I thought this would be an appropriate gift for another dog lover.

I know while I’m working I like to be reminded of my dog and how much he loves me. So I hope that Sr. Jeremy can be reminded of how much we love her and how much love she had given to both her four and two legged friends.

Day 5: 50 Day Giveaway: Gonzo is Gonzo

I find it hard to believe that I gave away my Gonzo Muppet. I’m a huge fan of the Muppets and Gonzo is one of my favorites. I can’t remember who gave this to me, but my friend Fr. Eric Andrews, CSP, used to work for Jim Henson and I always coveted his Kermit the Frog Muppet with the priest collar on it.

Slowly but surely, I have started to feel a bit un-cluttered. The book shelves are starting to empty and the closet is starting to be free of stuff that I haven’t worn or plan to wear in some time.

The lesson I’m drawing on here is that I need less and in fact, I want less. There’s really very little that I crave. When someone asks what to get me for a birthday or anniversary, I often don’t know how to respond. I often ask for restaurant gift certificates or tickets to something so I can take a friend or my wife out for an evening, rather than to simply harp on something from my own selfish instincts.

Perhaps God really does give me all I need? And while I do want some things, perhaps I’m noticing the huge disparity between what I have hoarded and what I really crave? That’s a great moment of insight for me.

A technical note: I’m about to head to Cleveland where I’m not sure what the internet access situation is. So I’m trying to give away things in advance of my trip, just in case, there’s an issue of not being able to be online while we’re away at the Catholic Worker house in Cleveland.

Lastly, if you don’t know what the BustedHalo® Fast, Pray, Give Calendar is…

Day 4: 50 Day Lenten Giveaway: The Sexy Hat

This hat is my actual high school baseball hat. I sweated in it when I played and we won a city championship with it my freshman year. I wear it often even today but have taken amazing care of it. Why am I giving it away?

Good friends are the real memories that we should treasure and Michelle has been that for me for over 22 years. Now that she has a child of her own, I hope she can instill the same value of friendship that she has given to many in her own life. I always sign my notes to her “Mike S. Hayes” so here’s to a running joke for 22 years. Hope you like it, Mitch!

Day 3: 50 Day Lenten Giveaway: Late for Valentine’s Day?

If you’ve asked for something…you just might get it. Unless….

I love my wife and my dog more than anything. So my goal is to really weed out what takes me away from them and bring me into closer relationship with her and give the dog more time to play and romp with me.

Today ask yourself who needs more of your attention and what gets in the way of giving them a bit more of your time.

Day 2: 50 Day Giveaway: The Coach’s Package

So I’ve kept my New Year’s Resolution a secret up until now. But I’ve made myself a promise to be able to run a 5K race in July for mental health awareness. Ben Woods, who used to punt for the UB football team, has been working me out 3 to 4 times a week. So in gratitude, which is a big part of any good prayer life, I made Ben the recipient of day #2’s giveaway.

And in case you don’t believe that I’m actually working out:

Now I originally said I lost 9 pounds, but 7.5 is about right. It fluctuates two pounds or so. But it’s early. And I haven’t done much with diet yet. So I’m confident that Ben and I will get there together. Keep Ben and his fiancee Chelsea in your prayers as they move towards marriage too.

Lent is all about fasting, prayer and almsgiving. So Ben has started me off on a good track by fasting from things that have made me a bit too husky. I’ve cut all soda out of my diet in less than a month and am eating high protein and lower fat meals. My prayer often starts out in the gym (usually it’s something like, “Oh God, let me just get to 15 reps!”), where the only one that helps me, besides Ben is God. And our 50 day giveaway is the start of almsgiving for the season.

This is a lot of fun. Let’s see how far we get before it gets tough.