My Boys are in Mourning.

RROD - Red ring of deathUp to this point, our family #2 of 5 and #3 of 5 have been spared the GRIEF that many from their generation have come to experience first hand…  

They have avoided the RROD.  What is the RROD you ask?  RROD is an acronym for Red Ring Of Death (or Red Ring of Doom)

For you non-video-game types out there (who I can only assume do not have boys in the house between the ages of 2 and 120) – the RROD is Microsoft’s fault code for “General Hardware Error” within an XBOX 360.  On the front panel of the XBOX 360 is the power button (with green light lit “power” symbol) and four lights that make up a circle that either light up green (meaning all is good) or red (meaning something bad is happening).  The XBOX 360 communicates to it’s owners / operators what type of fault is happening by lighting up a different combination (and location) of the ring of lights depending on what is wrong with the unit.

If I am to believe what I have read on the net thus far, it would appear that our boy’s “best friend” just took the big “dirt nap”.

Just doing a quick cursory search of the world wide web, it seems that somewhere between 3% and 25% of the XBOX 360’s out there (depending on who’s facts you choose to believe) succumb to this “General Hardware Failure” RROD at one point or another.  The XBOX 360 is notoriously known for it’s tendency to overheat.  It was constructed with two poor heatsink straps, very poor ventilation, and lead free solder (which is brittle and can get cracks and breaks from repeated heat / cool down cycles). 

I am currently researching and weighing my options on what comes next.  I could try one of the many obscure “homebrew” repairs that can be found on the web.  I could buy a new (bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!  Yeah, right!) or a used replacement unit.  I could buy (another) refurbished unit (this one was refurbished).  I could send this unit back to Microsoft for an “official” repair, or find a “unofficial” repair specialist who can (or at least claim they can) bring the boy’s best friend the XBOX 360 back from the great beyond.

Anyone have any experience or suggestions with regard to the above listed options??

Until such time that the XBOX has been raised from the dead, I am hoping my boys will reacquaint themselves with a few items from their past… Something like reading books, cleaning their room, chores, or even visiting with their parents!

FOF Observation #21

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.

Today, I submit two photos, each titled.  One from the morning before I left for work, the second taken tonight before I go to bed.  The photos tell their own story.


Uh oh


Photo #1 - “Uh-oh”












That was close!




Photo #2 - “That was close!”














Yes, that is our bathroom vanity.  Yes, that a photo of the “magic cabinet” that mysteriously restocks the toilet paper roll every time it’s empty (only, I wish it would “magically & mysteriously” put the roll of toilet paper on the holder instead of the edge of the tub, back of the toilet, or on the floor near the toilet….) 

Can you guess what errand I ran today?? 

If your counting, that’s thirty rolls in the bottom photo…  I bought a thirty pack! 
(And save your breath… I don’t need anyone to tell me how full of $—t I am.  I already know that!!)  . 

A Journey of Faith Part 2 – The Early Years.

I have (for quite some time now) wanted to document my personal journey of faith.  How I became who I am today in an attempt to try and understand my faith.  I started by doing just that.  I sat down, and wrote out my personal journey of faith.

I know people choose to “evangelize” by sharing their journey.  That is not my mission.  I am not writing these posts to convert.  I am not writing these posts to persuade.  I am not writing these posts to influence.  I AM writing these posts (first and foremost) for myself. 

Previous entries in this series...
A Journey of Faith Part 1 - An Introduction

The Early Years.

I was born into a Catholic family. 

Father Pascal Francis KellyAt the time of my birth, my mother was a nurse working at St. Mary's Hospital in Minneapolis.  My baptism was non-traditional.  It was preformed inside the hospital by Father Pascal Francis Kelly (another link) in his room, and from his bed.  I was not ill.  Father Kelly was bedridden by multiple sclerosis and lived at St. Mary's from 1956 until he passed away in 1975. He was one of the patients that my mother regularly cared for and befriended through her time working at St. Mary's.  

My maternal grandparents attended St. Albert's in Minneapolis, and my paternal grandparents attended St. Peter's in Richfield (and I have memories of attending mass at both churches with my grandparents). From birth until age eight, my family attended (the now closed) St. Kevin's Church in Minneapolis.FOF as an Alter Server... Roughly age

I attended pre-school (I think it was called "nursery school" back then) at St. Albert's and was taught by Brother Benedict (I believe a Franciscan Brother).  I was enrolled into Kindergarten in the Minneapolis public school system, but the following (and all subsequent) years my parents enrolled me in the parochial school system - starting with St. Kevin's where I attended until my family moved from Minneapolis to Bloomington.  Once in Bloomington, my parents joined Nativity of Mary's parish and I was enrolled into and attended Nativity of Mary School from grade three until grade eight.

It was through years of parochial school and it's interjection of faith and religion into most aspects of education that my faith found it's earliest foundation.  I also had a three year career as an alter server from sixth through eighth grade. 

Yes, the photo you see to the right is indeed a very young "FOF".  I do look happy there, don't I??? 
During this same time frame (elementary / junior high) while living in Bloomington that we had some very close neighborhood friends (with similarly aged children) that were Baptist. Their children attended "Trout Lake Camp" (a vacation bible camp) each summer.   It was not long before we were invited to join them.  I truly enjoyed the time I spent at Trout Lake Camp. It was a good blend of faith based motivation along with fun summertime activities for kids.

Throughout the trips I made to Trout Lake Camp I learned a lot about my own budding faith. I also believe this was a huge part of how I learned to be respectful (not fearful) of, and even curious about other's beliefs. I learned that different religions may differ slightly from my own, most have much more in common than divide us. I also learned not to be afraid to share my faith. (Being one of the only Catholic attending a Baptist Bible Camp – I often was asked questions about being Catholic, and we discussed our differences. It was always done in a respectful and educational manner.)

It was my final year at Trout Lake Camp (the summer between my eighth grade and ninth grade) that the staff at Trout Lake Camp asked us to consider consciously accepting Jesus Christ into our hearts and to follow the ways of Christ in our lives. The staff stressed the importance of this decision, and did not want anyone to make the decision frivolously. After much reflection (reflection of a then 14 year old boy) It was there (ironically enough, at a Baptist Bible Camp) that I accepted the challenge. I remember the moment distinctly, and it is one of the "defining moments" in my life.

In many ways, accepting that challenge (on my own accord) was a stepping stone into a life as a young adult.

Coming soon:  A Journey of Faith Part 3 - Young Adulthood.

A Journey of Faith Part 1 – An Introduction

In my last post (Adult Principles) I talked about wanting to compile a list of traits I felt were important to being a husband, father, and productive member of society.  I shared with you JP Barlow’s list of twenty-five Adult Principles. Barlow's list was quite comprehensive, yet there was one item in particular that I had in my list that Mr. Barlow did not address... 


Faith (by definition) is a belief in something for which there is no proof.  I know some consider "faith" foolishness, or a personality weakness.  I do not.  A person's faith is a very personal thing.  Even within myself, I have found my own faith a complicated mix of feelings, beliefs, and even (if I want to be honest) a little contradiction.  In my bio, I have written (about myself)…
"I consider myself a man of faith. I was born, raised, and practice the Catholic faith, and I am not afraid to say that I believe in God. While I have no desire to leave my faith, I am both tolerant of, and interested in learning more about the other faiths and Religions around the world."
I have found that In times of trouble, turbulence and confusion in my life I have found that by turning to my faith I have been able to find peace, serenity, harmony, and answers.  My faith in God is something that has served me well throughout my life, and has always be there ready and waiting for me when I need it most.
I practice my faith within the Catholic Church. 

It’s true, Catholicism has received it's fair share of criticism lately (and I may face a little flack from some for saying this, but I believe some of that criticism is justified).  Yet for all the things it is scrutinized for, the Catholic Church has done and continues to do a lot of good throughout the world.  Do not get me wrong.  I am not justifying the negative by trying to camouflage it with the positive.  I think too many people acknowledge one, and ignore the other (and that goes for both sides of the issue).   

Despite it’s shortcomings, I (personally) have found a certain level of comfort and familiarity within The Catholic Church (as an institution).  At least once a week I have an opportunity to tune out the external noise and chaos of life as a father of five, and loose myself in the familiar and traditional rituals of the Catholic Mass.

I acknowledge that these rituals (the standing, sitting, knelling, and repetitious prayers) may not be for everyone.  It is likely that some (maybe most) people do not understand why we do the things we do (I can not explain them all myself), but being a creature of habit (desperate for stability) I have (personally) found those familiar and traditional rituals help (forgive my use of cliché) "bring me back to where I want to be" and help "center myself”.   As a father of five, “time” is something of a premium.  Participation in those familiar and traditional rituals afford me a small window of opportunity to reset my priorities.  I can take the time to reflect upon the previous week, and focus on navigating around the impending obstacles of the upcoming week.  I emerge from mass feeling re-energized to take on life with an emphasis on positive principals such as respect, dignity, honor, peace, acceptance, honesty leaving behind the negative.  

Admittedly, while I have a strong sense of faith in my life, I am not what you would consider an “overly religious” fellow. I am sure that while some may be surprised by this fact and others may not - I struggle with some of the minutia, “rules”, and viewpoints of the Church.  I tend to be selective on which of these items are “important” to me, and which ones I am able (or allow myself) to overlook.  Does that make me a bad Catholic?  I don’t know. 
One of my favorite movie quotes is from the movie Trading Places where a “secular” character named Coleman (dressed as a Catholic priest and speaking with a stereotypical Irish accent) offers another character a sip of Irish whisky from his flask. The recipient replies “No thank you, it’s against my religion”. Colman then comes back with the unexpected (yet memorable) quote “Religion is a good thing I say, taken in moderation”. Of course the irony (and humoristic contrast) here is that this is said by a religious figure.
What I do know is that I try (and try hard) to follow what I see as the core values and principles of Jesus Christ.  Call me a sinner (or a bad Catholic) if you wish (Matthew 7:1), but in the end I’d rather be judged a honest, compassionate and forgiving man who ate a bowl of cereal before mass than a deceitful, underhanded, and dishonest man who fasts one hour before mass. 

This is where things get complex.  In a confusing and unexplainable contradiction, while I struggle with the “fast before mass” rule, I find inspiration in the Lenten fast.  Why is it that??  Why can I find inspiration while fasting for forty days of Lent, but not for the one hour before weekly mass?   

I wish I was able to discern and tell you why I believe the things I believe, and why I find fulfillment in the things that I do, but I can not.  I can not even explain them to myself, let alone try to explain them to others. 
What I can say, without hesitation, is that that it feels right, and it feels good to do so.  

So I continue living what could probably be described as a life of strong faith as a moderate Catholic – struggling to understand the things I do not, while finding fulfillment in the things I do, 

See what I mean??  Personal, complex, contradictory, and (often) unexplainable…  But in the end, isn’t that what faith is all about?  About believing in something intangible, abstract, and elusive?  Believing in something that you can not prove, even to yourself? 

I have (for quite some time now) wanted to document my personal journey of faith.  How I became who I am today in an attempt to try and understand my faith.  I started by doing just that.  I sat down, and wrote out my personal journey of faith.  Not so much the abstract thoughts and ideas that this post is full of, but moreover the plain and simple facts.  The unarguable facts that may or may not have contributed to what my faith and beliefs are all about today. 

Originally, this was not going to be something that ended up on Father of Five.  It was to be for personal fulfillment.  As I processed my thoughts, and started putting it down I paper – I decided that I would post my journey.  I would open up and share my faith.  I know people choose to “evangelize” by sharing their journey.  That is not my mission.  I am not writing these posts to convert.  I am not writing these posts to persuade.  I am not writing these posts to influence.  I AM writing these posts (first and foremost) for myself. 

Writing this series of posts has been daunting to say the least.  I have spent hours writing, deleting, reworking, starting, stopping, and restarting, repeatedly.  Each time I decide to abandon the project, something has drawn me back to it.  I have struggled with finding the time to dedicate to this project, and (when I have found the time) I have struggled with the mechanics of putting words to the thoughts that best express my sentiments.  This is a simplistic view at best.  I do not want anyone walking away from this series thinking that I have shared (or that they now know) everything there is to know about my faith and beliefs.  It’s just not that simple.   

I will leave the comments open on this series of posts.  I only ask that any comments, questions, links, forwards, and discussion be tolerant and respectful – as I would if you were talking about your faith.

Coming soon… A Journey of Faith Part 2 – The Early Years.

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