Friday, January 28, 2011

Li Na: Puts Tennis in High Def On Her Own....

Pope Benedict XVI said “Life not illuminated by faith is blind.” I know he’s right. Because of faith, I see the world differently. Catholics hold a “sacramental” view of the world. It “sees” the divine in the human, the infinite in the finite, the spiritual in the material, the eternal in the historical (Richard McBrien). We are called to see God in all things. All reality can and is imbued with God’s grace. What a beautiful outlook!I have to admit I also see things much differently since Christmas. My roommate got a 42” flat screen television. I am stating the obvious when I report just how great it is to watch sports in high definition on such a massive screen. It has only intensified the experience of watching professional tennis. I see just how much topspin or slice players place on the ball; the angle and intensity of the first serve is even more pronounced. I have always been a vocal fan, but my new-found vision has prompted me to yell, “what were you thinking?” more than once. At times, I have had to leave the room because I cannot take the intensity of several matches. Regardless, I have enjoyed watching the 2011 Australian Open even more because of my media enhanced experience.

One does not need a large “high def” television however to see there is something different about the #9 ranked woman in the world, Li Na.

For one, she has a sizable tattoo of a rose on her chest. In fact, it has been the subject of much discussion in China, where few women sport tattoos. She is a fierce competitor on the court; I would describe her as a stern, strong player. According to the BBC article Rise of Chinese tennis rebel Li Na, “her performance at the Australian Open has been described as very "gelivable" - a Chinglish word coined by young people to mean brilliant.”

She is the first person from China to make it to the finals of a grand slam tournament. Everyone wonders how many youngsters will seek to follow in her footsteps, how many girls have been inspired by her feat?

In the interview after her defeat of Caroline Wozniacki, the number one player in the world, she had the Aussies eating out of the palm of her hand. She told fans, in English, that she did not sleep well because her husband was snoring all night long. Her husband, Jiang Shan, also happens to be her coach. One can fire their coach, but their spouse? It is truly a unique relationship, and so are its roots. Li proposed marriage to him on Valentine’s Day in 2005 with a box of chocolates.

It’s a good thing that Li has the support of her husband for she confided that her mother does not watch her play; she gets too nervous. Her husband however advises her to “Relax, he say. Just enjoy the tennis. I was like, How? I was playing on the court. I mean, just before I come to the court, he always like say, Okay come on. Relax.”

I love his advice. I know he’s right. Li Na has already overcome major cultural expectations and barriers. She left the national team in 2004. Her extroverted personality shines through--thanks in large part to the fact that her English is so strong, what a testimony to her!

Indeed "relax and enjoy." And good luck as you play Kim Clijsters in tonight's final. After all, that’s what we get to do from the comfort of our own homes, 42” screen and all...or not.

Photo Credits
Li Na
Li Na serving
Li with her husband & coach

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day + Australian Open = A G'day

Do kids still have pen pals? Thanks to technology, one can be in touch with anyone, anytime, anywhere. This wasn’t always true. The landline and the written word held their domain; Pacific Bell/AT&T and the United States Post Office had power. Thus, from fifth though eighth grade, my primary education of Australia wasn’t through world history class, Men at Work music videos or even Crocodile Dundee, it was through my pen pal Katie.

Katie sent stickers, postcards and trinkets from her homeland. Anything she sent was cool; it was from “Down Under.” I loved receiving the stamped letters with Par Avion next to their attractive flag. I learned about more this continent than just koalas, kangaroos and other marsupials. The greatest lesson she taught me was her understanding of her ethnic heritage.

Ask any American his or her ethnic background and if they’re like me, they have it down to percentage points. I am 50% Irish, 35% German (even though my surname hijacks the other components of my identity) 15% French—très bien! I’ve even been told I am a tiny bit Swiss (but that math—or maths in Australia—doesn’t add up, does it?). When I asked Katie about her family’s history, she said “well, I’m half Irish and half Scottish, but really, I’m 100% Aussie.”

Even at the age of 12, I understood she had a sense of pride that was distinct, that was nationalistic. I know that what makes our country so unique is that we are comprised of so many different cultures but so is Australia. When will we recognize that we are Americans in the way that Katie saw herself as Australian?And today is the perfect day to raise this question because—January 26 for all Aussies, is Australia Day. Simply put, it celebrates all things Aussie– first landings, first settlement, first meat pie eaten, or the first game of backyard cricket ever played. In actuality, the official national day of Australia commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.

As I was watching the Australian Open last night, the announcer—former pro and pro-coach Darren Cahill reminded everyone of the holiday. A novel component of watching the tournament, which takes place at Flinders Park in Melbourne, is that all activity is 20 hours ahead of us. I saw Andy Murray defeat on Australia Day –only it was 10:00 p.m. last night, January 25 here in the States.

The Australian Open captures a tiny slice of what makes Australia the special place it is. This island continent is rich with natural beauty and resources. I have heard people raise the question What has Australia done? What have they achieved? and What impact have they made on the world? But I have always believed its greatest resource is its people. 

 Capture but 20 minutes of any match and you will find evidence to prove Australians love sports. They love life. The tourney is remarkably well attended and the crowd is incredibly vocal. They take to their own, this year that meant Lleyton Hewitt or back in the day, my personal favorite—the serve and volley sensation Pat Cash. But what is equally endearing is who they embrace as their own For example, Aussies love and still do gentleman and two-time champion Stefan Edberg so much that the tournament's logo is the distinctive serve of the Swede.

I like to hold an innocuous debate—Is God’s greatest creation in humanity or in nature? It wasn’t until I went to Yosemite that nature ever gave humanity a run for the money. I do believe however that the Aussies with their love of: life, cold beer, the outdoors, and their country lean the argument toward humanity. I need to visit Australia, preferably during the Open to end this debate.

Thank you Lord for diversity of culture and people throughout the world, especially the Aussies. Cheers!

Photo Credits
Flag MapAustralia Day

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Catholic....

My friend Matt posted on my wall what at first glance appears to be an innocuous yet provocative question. In my posting "Senior Privilege, It's All Mine," I made the claim that “the greatest senior privilege at the Prep isn’t one they (seniors) are privy to—it’s mine, for I get to teach them.” His response: The question is - as time passes do you remember the bad students or the good students more? I hope my answer is obvious—I remember the good ones. What might be not be however is that my response is also unequivocally Catholic.I would be lying if I told you I forget the bad students. A fair number have crawled under my skin—their arguments and attitudes have left my mind racing at night. I question their motives and worry about their futures. Yet, I also believe if at least one student isn’t giving me a run for the money then something is wrong. “The nature of the teen” is to challenge authority and push the limits. When true signs of adolescent behavior are remiss, I begin to wonder what’s in the Kool-Aid. To some degree, I want them to question what’s in it, even if it’s with an eye roll or after a deadline.

That being said, I remember and cherish the good students. I am sure parents thank God for that one son or daughter who gives them a whole lot less grief than the others. I’ve been teaching for 10 years now and can say with confidence how much I appreciate good kids. These students manifest and verify, LeBron James’ Nike campaign: “We are all witnesses.” Virtue speaks for itself. The impact that one person can make is not to be underestimated. Class discussions could have taken a different and dark direction without their input or positive presence.
The winter edition of Genesis, the alumni magazine of St. Ignatius College Prep includes an article I wrote about one such example. Tommy Kilgore, “TK” was enrolled in my yearlong course, Foundations of Ethics: Morality and Justice. One of my proudest moments was when he won prestigious Fox Award. This honors the student, "who has displayed mastery of subject matter, contributed to the growth of faith in their classmates, and has shown by their actions that the subject matter has gone beyond understanding to heart."

Tommy continually made connections between literature, American history and our curriculum. I don’t know that he was overtly religious and yet, I cannot tell you how many world events I learned about through his petitionary prayer. Students lead prayer and ask for intentions. TK would pray “for the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan,” I would listen and think to myself, I didn’t know there was an earthquake in Pakistan. Or he would pray for the success of the penny wars—a student driven fundraiser. It’s not often that a 17-year old male who was a member of the 1000 lb. club (bench, squat and dead lift) is calling to his peers to prayer in this way.

As the article The Legacy of the J.B. Murphy Award, 3000 Miles From Home (page 37) affirms, at linebacker Tommy earned the SI football team’s highest award. The defensive line coach of the football team tells one of my favorite stories about Tommy. Coach Frechette, the very definition and visual representation of “alpha male” had to tell TK not to hit so hard in practice. He actually needed him to save that energy and strength for game day; beating up on your own teammates is problematic. This is a rare problem coaches have.

Tommy isn’t the only good student I remember, far from it. But his goodness extended so far that I know for a fact it neutralized some challenging interactions I had with one particularly “bad” student. No wonder we say certain folks are “salt of the earth.” Their goodness, more than likely, does the same.

And recognizing the goodness in all people, is a characteristic of being Catholic. Thomas Groome writes Catholicism insists that the human person is essentially good, ever more graced than sinful. Oh indeed, we are capable of dreadful sin and destruction, but this is not what first defines us. God has implanted a "natural law" within our hearts that enables people to know and choose what is good, a capacity enhanced by Jesus' dying and rising for us. And though we always need God's help, grace empowers us and we are responsible to live for the kingdom, to do God's will "on earth as it is in heaven."

The positive understanding of the person affirms “that all people reflect the image and likeness of God is also the basis of Catholic teachings on the dignity of every person.” Believe you me, there are some students that challenge me to see and believe this but with enough time and grace, I have found their goodness is eventually revealed. It may take the help of the great ones like Tommy Kilgore or a lot of petitionary prayer, but as scripture says, “seek and ye shall find.”

Thank you TK and countless others who over the year have made the classroom sacred space, holy ground for every one of us—the good, the bad and the ugly…and Catholic.

Photo Credits
Brett Cde Baca, Gabe Manzanares & Tommy Kilgore (thanks to Darren Cde Baca)
We Are All Witnesses
Coach Frechette: School Lineback (thanks to Naj)
One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2010 Sportswriter of the Year: Kristin Armstrong
Proving Not All Women Hate Women

Chris Rock said is best. Women can and should rule the world. And they would, but they don’t. You know why? Because women hate women. You women—one of you gets ahead and you tear her down.

Deep down inside, every woman knows what he is talking about. I see Alex Flanagan on the sidelines interviewing the Notre Dame coach and players. The monologue that runs through my head works like this--I want that job. So many of these female sportscasters aren’t any good. Hmm, she’s pretty good. Her voice isn’t annoying. She’s relaxed and confident. That’s a good question….I love her hair…I even like her name…what? her husband played basketball at University of Arizona where they met? I hate her.

So, in the name of womankind, I want to recognize a woman I have tremendous respect and admiration for: mother, runner, a committed Christian and my 2010 sportswriter of the year: Kristin Armstrong.

In April 2010, Armstrong, ex-wife and the mother of cyclist Lance Amstrong’s three children published her fourth book Heart of my Heart: 365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood A Devotional. Two of her four works speak of the toil and trial of divorce and the role of faith in surviving it. Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run will be released in March of this year. Truth be told, I don’t hate her for writing this book; I look forward to what she has to say. Reading about heartache from a broken marriage isn’t exactly on my radar screen, but her belief that “all people, not just elite athletes have an inner strength beyond what they know” is. Nothing reveals this humble but important truth like distance running…or being a Christian.

If you want to me list the reasons I should hate Kristin Armstrong, I can. First, she’s an excellent writer. I like her style, outlook, and that she is writing/getting published while raising three young children. She is my role model. Second, she has a run a number of marathons at a very competitive clip—again while raising Luke and her twin daughters Grace and Isabelle. Third, she speaks both French and Spanish. I have pursued proficiency in Spanish since I was fourteen years old; I liken my experience with this to a bad (dating) relationship. We spend a lot of time together, get very close and then it gets too difficult. I leave. I come back. Oy ve. Wait, that’s Yiddish…Lastly, she has an incredibly beautiful smile. She’s all around beautiful.

Do I have a female crush on her? Maybe. But it’s her regular contributions to Runner’s World that won me over. In May 2010 She wrote Feeling Lucky? If you view your run as an opportunity your attitude will get an adjustment. In a one-page article, Armstrong made convincing argument for the power of mindset.

Then she says this: “And then all of a sudden, a few people came to mind, some sick, others struggling, and I thought about how much they would love to have the opportunity to tackle this hill. I bet they wouldn’t think they had to…I wondered what might happen if I started to think that way. I decided to try it. Instead of thinking or saying, I have to finish this project or I have to pick up my kids, I stopped myself and tweaked my language: I get to work on this assignment. I get to pick up my children from school”

Armstrong continues: “At first it felt forced and silly, but after a few days, it became natural. I felt freer, more thoughtful, and more aware of why I do what I do. Perhaps I had become so encumbered with my to-dos that I for¬got to be thankful for the opportunity to do them”

When I read her treatise on gratitude, I had no idea how close to home her words would be. When I was diagnosed with ARVD, I was informed competitive running, tennis and basketball were now part of my past. Friends and family said I would recover in due time. Unfortunately, that is not the reality of living with my heart disease. Raising my heart rate above a certain number is dangerous and life threatening for me.

Yet Armstrong’s words still ring true. I get to run, even if it’s but a jog. I get to play doubles’ tennis. I get to watch my high school boys and girls play basketball. I am lucky I was diagnosed, period. I get to live!

Armstrong wrote what I already believe and know to be true. When I read her articles, not only do I learn about life and our common Christian faith, but I learn about myself too. No one hates that….

Thank you Kristin for sharing your story, your faith and your words with us. I hope in 2011, many others will read your sports-writing.

Photo Credits
Alex Flanagan
Kristin Armstrong Runner
Kristin Armstrong Writer
"Feeling Lucky?" Clip Art

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Luck on Luck

Please circle the appropriate number in response to this statement: “My opinion is as good as anybody else’s.”

1 strongly disagree
2 disagree
3 not sure
4 agree
5 strongly agree.

The vast majority of my students, circle 5—strongly agree. I always look for the one or two juniors who circle 1 or 2, those few who realize that maybe their opinion is not as good as anybody’s else’s. Sorry, it's not.

William O’Malley illustrates this effectively in “Building Your Own Conscience.” He says
One day I was walking along a school corridor and saw a boy sitting on a bench reading Of Mice and Men. I stopped and said, "That's a terrific book."
"It's garbage."
Hmm. "Well, the author did win a Nobel prize."
"It's still garbage."
"How much have you read?"
"Ten pages."
That lad was saying more about himself than about the book or Steinbeck or the Nobel Foundation. He was claiming that his uninformed opinion was as good as anybody else’s. It’s not. An opinion is only as good as the evidence that backs it up.
A lot of people have an opinion about Andrew Luck’s decision to stay at Stanford University and not enter the NFL draft. And with the sheer amount of media attention he has received there is no shortage of evidence to back up reasons why he should have left “The Farm.”

I was struck by how many people were willing to offer their opinion on this matter as I watched the first round of NFL playoff games. As far as I am concerned the only opinion that matters on Andrew Luck’s decision is from one of two people—Luck and Luck, Andrew and his parents. And what about Coach Harbaugh? With all due respect to his recent preoccupation, his voice weighs in at an “honorable mention.”
What we know from Andrew Luck however is fairly limited. In an official statement through Stanford he said "I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of spring 2012."

His father added "This is a win-win for him. He gets to spend another year at Stanford, be part of a team that will be highly ranked again next year, finish his degree and enjoy Palo Alto. It's not like the NFL is going anywhere, it's one of the best run leagues in the world. It will still be there when he graduates."

In short, Andrew Luck remains what most sports fans truly desire—a student athlete who is just that—a student athlete. Fans complain that certain schools maintain few if any academic standards. Stanford does. Others long for the days when athletes stayed at their school for more than one or two years before turning pro. Yet, here we have young man, considered to be a lock for the number one pick in this year's draft, and most people cannot understand why he chose to stay. In light of this, I believe Luck’s decision may reveal more about us than it does about him. And strangely enough, I found Sunday’s Gospel, the Baptism of the Lord holds a similar truth.

As Jesus stood to be baptized by John the Baptist he said: Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Mt 3:13-17

The Little Blue Book says "One day he took a deep breath, summoned his courage, and stepped forward. The heavens opened and the Spirit came upon him, and a voice from the heavens said, this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. His life would never be the same."

Although it may be difficult to claim that Luck’s decision to stay at Stanford is sacramental, his decision took a lot of courage. I have no doubt his parents are pleased with their son’s noble pursuit. I think it’s safe to say his life will not be the same.

Christ did not need to be baptized; he was free of original sin. But his decision to do so is significant, for in his baptism—the prophecy was fulfilled. It speaks of Christ’s humility and the covenant between God and humanity. Christ’s baptism is for us. Why? we are called to imitate Christ in all things.

Ultimately, Christ’s choosing to be baptized, reveals more about us than it does about Jesus. We too can receive the spirit from the baptized. We too are summoned to step forward and do the right thing. We too will receive God’s grace when we seek to fulfill righteousness. And when we do, the good Lord is well pleased.

I have no doubt sportswriters have had a heyday with his name. Luck at Stanford! Luck remains at Stanford! He has certainly lived up to his name--good fortune. Cardinal fans will delight in the good fortune of another year with number 12 on the gridiron, another shot at the Heisman trophy and come June 2012 a fine graduate. Now that’s not an opinion; it's something anyone can and should strongly agree with.

Photo Credits

Andrew Luck #12
Luck & Harbaugh
Baptism of the Lord

Friday, January 7, 2011

Biggest Regret of 2010:
Thoughts on Winning in Enemy Territory


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As we walked out of FedEx field, home of the Washington Redskins, I realized something tremendously important. I love winning in enemy territory.

Mike, dressed in Eagles gear from head to toe and was jumping up and down, raising his arms, like well—the Birds he loves (the term of endearment anyone from Philly will call their NFL team). The weirdest thing about his antics was that he did it without a sound. For once, Mike was silent. Why? The Eagles squeaked out a victory 23-20 over the Redskins by a field goal in the final seconds of the game.

That very moment—one that took place...no joke...10 years prior— crystallized a humble truth. Victory is sweet, but doing so on the road or when it’s unexpected is that much sweeter. I looked at Mike, who didn’t know what to do with himself, and thought about how many times I felt as he did in that instant. Notre Dame won at LSU in the fall of 1997. I had been called “Tiger Bait” by my students for well over a year. Tiger Stadium aka Death Valley had no hold over the Irish that day. Or one-year prior, my housemate Joy and I drove eight hours from Baton Rouge to Austin. We may have been overwhelmed by the sheer size of the University of Texas’ stadium, but not as much as we were by the surprise Irish win.

We don’t call it “home field advantage” without good reason. Victories on the road can be tough to obtain. But it can also be hard as a sports fan to get to those road games. And that is why my biggest sporting regret of 2010 is that I did not go to San Diego when the Giants won three out of four games in the pivotal series the weekend of September 9-12. The pennant race was heating up and the Giants were taking command.

I define a “sporting regret” as an event you had control over but chose not participate in or to attend. Due to my cross country team’s WCAL championship meet, I was not able to go to the Giants victory parade. As much as this is something I will regret for the rest of my life –not a subjective opinion but an objective fact-- I had no control over going or not. I could however have taken a cheap Southwest flight down to San Diego. I could have seen Brian Wilson seal the deal and put the Giants ahead by 2 games at that point. I didn’t. I didn’t plan ahead, I didn’t bite the bullet. And I regret it.
Supporting your team on the road means you are subject to hecklers and harassment. It means you have to be willing to take the taunting and the walk of shame should your team lose. And I say “bring it,” for if you win (or I should say your team wins), you feel that much more ownership over the feat that just played out. In enemy territory, fellow fans share a common and powerful connection. You are no longer strangers. You are all too ready to raise a tall one and recall, retell and relieve what just happened.

And I must concede that as a Catholic, I occasionally feel as though I live in enemy territory. At times, San Francisco feels all too secular. I am amazed and how often I am criticized for what the Catholic faith may ask of me. When this I have to remember that Jesus’ teachings were counter-cultural, even in His day. Being a Christian means I am asked to respond to the challenge and call of the Gospel. No one said it was ever going to be easy.

Last year, I made a resolution to “rub some dirt on it” when folks launched into an unsolicited criticism on what I hold as sacred. I am not the sole defender of the faith, nor do I want to be. I try to keep my faith front and center of my life. At times, this can be very difficult. Fortunately, my family members, friends and mentors nurture my faith and are willing to partake in the effort required to build it. Attacks on Christianity or complaints against the Catholic Church aren’t going away (I’ve had my own gripes!) so when they do occur, I hope to remember the wisdom of Romans 8:35-7 Victory is ours through Him who loves us.

In enemy territory or not, victory through the life, words and teaching of Jesus Christ allows me to share a powerful connection with others. In fact, through Christ we are no longer strangers. Every Sunday we recall, retell and relive the significance of His life. I’ll raise a tall one to that.

Photo Credits
'Skins Fan
Victory Parade
Christ Victor

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Notable" New Year's Resolutions:
More Parade Vibe

Like that proverbial path to hell, the road to New Year's resolutions is paved with good intentions. -Catherine Bigelow
I am a big fan of resolutions. I scoff at the aforementioned words from the San Francisco Chronicle. When I set resolutions—I mean business. And as much as I delight in making resolutions—sometimes as many as five, I enjoy hearing what others have committed to in the year ahead. Two of my favorites include one from a coworker who has resolved to drink more. That’s not something you hear often! I support her quest; she is a lot more fun after she’s put back a few (I am too). And the other? A friend plans on spending more time in the hot tub. Here here!

As the clock drew closer to midnight on New Year’s Eve, something was remiss. I was without my 2011 New Years’ resolution. I contrived a few—to read at least five classics in literature—but nothing significant or meaningful came to mind. I asked myself would this be a year without a resolution?

I thought about what was reported in the article Bay Area Notables Share New Year's Resolutions. The only “notable” of interest to me was Larry Baer. This fourth-generation San Franciscan who is president of the San Francisco Giants wants more parade vibe (more cow bell?)

"If there is a way to harness the love, energy and spirit from the Nov. 3 World Series Victory Parade & infuse it into daily life in our communities, that would be my wish.

"May the interim mayor (unknown), the newly elected governor (well known) & our president tap into that same optimism & spirit from diverse communities everywhere to influence positive change in challenging times. And in 2011, may our 'Local Nine' continue to bring smiles to those less fortunate and most in need."

That parade was completely magical. San Francisco is never, repeat never, warm enough for me. But the sunny skies, the love and positivity made the city radiate with warmth that I too wish could be in this community day after day.

Yet what still strikes me as unreal is that the parade took place on my brother Mark’s 40th birthday. Mark lives, breathes and dies Giants baseball; he has followed this team with his heart and soul his whole life. And I know for a fact he had dreams of a parade as a child; he made me very nervous when he started predicting his vision of the parade after the first NLCS win. He has also endured one hell of a year. Every member of my family has offered to carry his cross. But just as God extended a rainbow as a sign of God’s covenant, I believe that parade was my brother’s rainbow, dove and olive branch. God keeps God’s promise. And thank you to those “local nine" plus for making sure that parade happened. Talk about the ultimate birthday!As much as I appreciated Baer’s resolution and a few others, I remained a girl without a resolution. I looked at what, if anything the “notables” cited in common. But the ongoing use of that term “notable” got in my way. That was a new one to me. When and how does someone become “notable?” Are "notables" aware of their status?

And then I began to realize the idea of “notable” isn’t that unfamiliar to me. The Catholic Church is full of designations for holy men and women: saints, Doctors of the Church, venerable, blessed, monsingor, cardinal, etc. “Catholic notables” might not be that far off; I readily constructed a list of them. Some intriguing entries might include James Martin, SJ, Benedict XVI, Bono, Mary Anne Glendon, Jim Caviezel, several of the Supreme Court Justices and more.

Yet as I contrived a mental inventory, I remembered today is the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary. Is the Mother of God, not the most notable of all Catholics? What might Mary declare as her New Year’s resolution? This was difficult for me to answer. I know what she would ask me to do this year—pray the Rosary, receive the sacraments, pray for peace & the conversion of souls—but what would Mary do?

And with that question came my resolution. I decided that one of my resolutions would be to take to prayer the mind of Mary. What does she ask God for? What might Mary resolve to renew? How can I be more like Mary? How can I think and act more like her?

Like all of my good resolutions, inevitably one leads to another. I started to think about Joseph—the silent saint. Bringing silence to prayer is something I strive to make it a habit. Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.says "One of the richest forms of prayer can occur when the heart is absolutely quiet. As the psalmist says, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)." It’s something I practice on retreat but can be very challenging in my daily lives. I hope to be more like St. Joseph in this way in 2011.

I am grateful that the "notables" in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Catholic Church have hopes that this new year will be better. Let's keep the parade vibe going and Brian Wilson, if you read this, an interview with you is my third and final resolution. Call me!

Photo Credits
New Year's Resolution
Larry Baer
Parade
Mary, Mother of God