Grand Knight’s Notes – 08.26.12


We’ve kicked around some ideas about how to use this wonderful software and platform to create a council newsletter. Lightning hasn’t struck yet.

So as an interim, I’ve decided to jump on it to stay in touch, share some thoughts, and talk about upcoming stuff once a month or so while we figure out a more permanent solution.

So welcome to issue #1…

A Gratitude Challenge

Think about today.

Today is not “just another day.” Today is the day. Yesterday’s a memory. And tomorrow is only a hope. But today is the here and now – it’s all we have. And because it is, we really should be grateful for it.

I think gratitude is a vastly underrated emotion. But at the same time it can also be, I believe, one of the most powerful and life-altering emotions we can experience.

The dictionary defines gratitude as “being thankful.” I think it’s more. I recently tried to define it in my journal. Here’s the short version I came up with:

Gratitude is an acknowledgement of what we have.

I think that’s a better definition. Because too often we can get caught up in the trap of thinking about what we need. Or focusing on what’s missing in our lives.

We don’t need to be the “eternal pessimist” to do it either. It can happen to any of us.

Thoughts about what we’re lacking can slip through the cracks and creep into our subconscious just going through our day to day lives. Very much to our detriment. The key is to be on the look out for them.

Let me give you an idea of what I mean.

Last year I herniated a disc in my lower spine. (Fifty years of wear and tear that finally blew out, I guess.) The disc fluid that squeezed out into my spine “pinched” my spinal cord. Which in turn lead to a constant five-alarm pain radiating down the sciatic nerve in my left leg.

It was a perspective-altering experience.

For the better part of two months, all I could do was lie flat or hobble around. Standing still would see the pain rise to unbearable levels in a matter of a minute or two. Sitting down was out of the question.

There were lots of drugs. And three rounds of epidural injections. None of which helped much.

Finally, this past January, I went under the knife. I had surgery to “unpinch” the nerve and fix the disc.

Drilling into a person’s spine is pretty specialized work. And rightly comes with a pretty high price tag. I have health insurance of course, and it did its job covering the lion’s share of the bill. But I was still left with a pretty significant (and very unexpected) financial obligation.

And the aftermath wasn’t only financial. Turns out, pinching a nerve for so long causes a great deal of muscle atrophy. Also more than I’d expected. So there’s been the rehab effort.

Working my way back to 100% physically has been, and continues to be, an ongoing (frustrating and at times painful) process.

Now I’m not sharing my story of woe for any reason other than to explain how easy it can be to get focused on the “I need” rather than the “I have.”

These days, I admit, there are times when I look at my credit card bills and swear under my breath thinking about the financial hit I’ve taken. Or when I grind my teeth in maddening frustration at the gym because I can only to 12 or so push ups when I used to be able to knock out 40 or more at a crack. (And I’m talking about just a year ago… not high school!)

But there are also things I have a new appreciation for.

The ability to sit in a chair – something beyond even the things I took for granted. I mean really, who gives any thought to being able to sit and and relax in a chair? Or the ability to stand in front of my computer and concentrate long enough to write this short essay. Certainly something I never gave a second thought to before.

Today these things are suddenly important to me. They’re things I’m grateful for.

It would be easy to slip into mindset that focuses on my needs. My finances. Or my latest physical shortcomings.

But the bills will get paid. And the strength will return.

Better to be grateful for what we have, no matter how seemingly trivial it is.

Here’s My Challenge To You…

When you start from a position of gratitude, it changes everything. Your outlook. Your sense of what’s possible. It can actually reshape neural pathways in your brain that let you do more. Accomplish more than you may have ever thought possible.

So let’s live each day of our lives with a sense of gratitude.

Here’s my challenge to you. When you get up in the morning, while you’re having your coffee and before you even read the newspaper, think for a minute and write down three things you’re grateful for.

It’s a 60-second exercise. Keep that list on a sheet of paper. You don’t have to show it to anyone.

Do it for a month and see what happens in your life…


The first principle the Knights are founded on is charity. But it’s tough being charitable when you don’t have a lot to give.

The challenge we face here at Blessed Mother Council is one of resources.

Kind of like the challenge of feeding a multitude with only five loaves and two fish. (Minus Christ’s miraculous powers.)

Still, by pooling our resources and efforts, I believe we can work miracles.

To try and spark that minor miracle, I’ve appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate fund raising ideas four our council.

It’s been a productive few weeks for them.

We have a couple events on the horizon. Our first Night at the Races will be on Friday, September 14th. We’ll talk a little more about that at our general meeting in August.

We’ve also made a couple changes to our events schedule.

First, we’ve canceled the breakfast in October. They’ve never been big money makers for us. And we’ve decided to replace it with another hopefully more profitable.

We’re hosting a Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday October 27th. This isn’t going to be like one of our typical “events.”

We’re going to advertise it to a wider audience. Our goal will be to turn the room over at least two times that evening.

And we’re going after sponsors.

To that end, we’re going to be printing place-mats for the event. They’re going to have 30 spaces for sponsoring businesses’ logos. But before our crack team hits the phones selling space, I wanted to offer you, our members, first chance at getting a spot.

The donation for a spot is only $25. (For personal well wishers, we are able to split a box between two, three or four donors.) So if you’d like to plug a business interest – offer simply some support – before the place-mat fills up, here’s your chance. Just let me know at the meeting.

We’re also planning to print some more “substantial” tickets. If any brother has any contacts in the printing business who would be willing to cover the cost of printing 500 numbered event tickets in exchange for a plug on the back “Tickets provided compliments of [your business here]” please bring that info to the meeting as well.

OK, issue #1 is done. Hope it sparked a thought or two. Until #2…

Vivat Jesus,


BMC 13338