Friday, November 21, 2008

Love--Life's Most Precious Gift

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.The Bible (New Living Translation)

As I contemplate the meaning of the holiday season that is before us, I am reminded that life’s greatest and most precious gift is love. My two beautiful girls—aged 7 and 4—are a daily reminder of that gift. They love their daddy with the kind of zeal and affection that I can only describe as god-like.

It is unconditional.

Love that would set aside one’s own personal wellbeing for the benefit of another is the greatest of all. That is the gift we celebrate every year at this time. It compels us toward selfless acts of charity and benevolence. Love drives us to seek out special reminders that tell our loved ones we care in the form of gifts, cards and visits. It is divine oil that eternally fuels our faith and hope.

As jaded and cynical as I have become over 40 years and three months on planet Earth, I cling to hope. And this time of year usually rekindles that hope because I am reminded of the reason we are alive—to love one another. I am thankful that this year the message of hope is still alive.

I know that the message of hope is alive when I see:

These are but a few shining examples of how hope is alive and well in Indiana and around the world. My hope this holiday season is that your life would be transformed by love, life’s most precious gift.

Happy Holiday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas CD Sale!!!

I've been diligently working on some classic Christmas CDs to enjoy this holiday season. I love the classics by Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole (to name a few), and I was browsing by genre. That's when I found that someone has marked all of their Christmas CDs down to 75-cents! Yes, 75-cents! That comes to less than $4 per CD when you add in shipping.

If you're a thrifty music shopper like me, and you don't believe in paying 99-cents to download MP3's, go to and pick out your favorite holiday music. You can click on the link to the right and search by artist, title, etc. or click the link above and browse their 9,000+ Christmas titles. Did I mention that most of the CDs are 75-cents???

Happy Holiday!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Domestic Adoption Worked for Us

Most of us know at least one person who has travelled to Asia to adopt a child. Many believe this is the quickest and best way to adopt and well worth the tens of thousands they invest. I've heard some heartwarming stories of those who have brought back precious children from overseas adoptions. But domestic adoption is just as viable an option, and often times a lot less costly.

There are hundreds of thousands of kids in the U.S. foster care system eligible for adoption (see February 2008 article in USA Today). And domestic adoptions aren't as expensive as some people believe them to be. Case-in-point: My wife and I adopted two girls while living in Florida, both of whom were born at local hospitals. The adoptions happened quickly with little expense and very few hurdles. The key for us was getting the word out.

If you are considering a domestic adoption, word-of-mouth can be just as important as hiring an attorney or contacting an agency. We were notified about both of our girls from friends and acquaintances who knew we were desperate to adopt. The key was getting word out through our network of family and friends. And in both cases, we used private practice attorneys whose fees were nominal. We spent less than $20,000 for both adoptions combined!

I cannot fully express the joy of having two adopted children. My girls are the best part of my day, even on bad behavior days. And I would encourage anyone who is considering adoption to look first locally. Spread the word through all the people you know at work, church, clubs, etc. You'll be surprised how many people will encourage you, support you by getting the word out and may even know of available babies/children.

November is National Adoption Month and there are plenty of online resources for those looking to adopt. There are support groups all over the country and on the web, too. I'd be happy to serve as a resource, so feel free to give my blog address to anyone who's considering adoption here or abroad.

Let's tackle our foster care issue together and see to it that American children find permanent, stable homes.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Taking Back Christmas

The Doyles are taking Christmas back from the commercial holiday it has become. When my girls got old enough to understand, we explained the Nativity and how the maggi came bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. We told them to expect three gifts from us each Christmas in hopes that their focus would be on giving and not receiving. To further that effort, we've planned family activities focused on helping others. This year, we're spending two weekends in December with nursing home residents.

Last year after joining the growing Facebook community, I came upon a group calling itself The Advent Conspiracy. It goes along perfectly with what we've implemented in our home. Watch the short promo video below to see what they are about.

You can see a bit longer, more personal video on their site, here.

It really is staggering the amount we, as Americans, spend on Christmas gifts. And all this is in the name of a Christ-child whose very birth was the hallmark of sacrifice (i.e. the Almighty taking on the lowly status of mere mortal)?? Talk about an outward focus.

It's sad that I'm even posting this on November 6th, but the American retail machine is already in full Christmas swing, hocking everything from talking Jesus dolls to day spa gift certificates for your pet. Think about what you're going to spend this Christmas season. What's on your "Black Friday" shopping list?

Consider giving some of that money, time or energy away this year. You'll feel much better if you do. And if you have a Facebook page, consider joining the conspiracy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are we really that gullible, America?

I don't usually weigh in on politics, but I'm surprised to see Obama's policies finally getting a reality check from a mainstream media outlet, not owned by Rupert Murdoch. I was wondering when someone would get around to looking "behind the curtain" of spin to discover what Obama's really saying.

After all, he's a government-can-fix-everything sorta Democrat who likes throwing good money--our money--after bad. He's going to fix Washington from the Oval Office and make it run more efficiently by cutting ineffective programs. Do you know how many huge federal agencies he'd have to cut in order to pay for his health care system alone?

The straight skinny is that you can't have hugenormous government AND huge tax breaks. Are people really gullible enough to believe that 95% of us can pay less into the government and get more in return? REALLY?

Unless Obama's plan is to eliminate the Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Treasury and the Postal Service, there's no way he's going to fund his trillion-dollar budget. There's a new term being bantied about on the Internet to describe this fantasy. It's called OBAMANOMICS.

It is about time the American public gets over it's fascination of the rock star, Obama, and digs a little deeper to see what he's really about. At least the media is finally pulling its collective head out of its backside on this one, although it could be a little too little too late.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Indy Walk to Cure Diabetes

The Doyles are walking to cure diabetes on October 18th in Indianapolis. We need everyone to get behind this effort to find a cure for diabetes. The two-mile walk at Military Park will be a few steps for our family, but could mean huge leaps for mankind in the fight against diabetes.

Get beside us or behind us by going to the Team Doyle page:

You can join the team and take the two-mile walk on Oct. 18, or you can donate $10 toward our family goal of $350. Just follow the link above and join us in this worthy cause.

Thank you.

P.S. You can help spread the word by including a link on your blog or web page.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Help for Houston Area

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, it's good to see businesses and community organizations stepping up to help people in need. You don't appreciate a hot shower anymore than when you've been without power and hot water for nearly a week. And how would you contact relatives without working phones and no way to power a laptop or recharge your cell? Well, thanks to AT&T, Little Caesars, the YMCA and area businesses, Texans displaced by Ike are finding ways to recharge more than just their cell phones. See how in the Houston Chronicle.

You may live hundreds of miles from the Texas coastline and wonder, "How can I help?" There are many, many ways. Of course, you can always pray for victims, relief workers and their families, but you can also put your faith into action. The Christian Emergency Network is calling for the following supplies and volunteers:

  • Many, many forklifts – the spider kind that move easily across rough terrain (forklifts cut down on manpower time unloading supply trucks, moving trees, etc. by hand)
  • Computers for temporary Internet Cafes – for victims and relief workers
  • Refrigeration trucks and drivers
  • Hot food facilities (victims and relief workers long for hot food)
  • Shower facilities (for relief workers in the work zones)
  • Doctors & nurses
  • Giftcards to nationwide stores (Target, Wal Mart, etc.)
  • Gas cards
  • Generators
  • Bulk donations of: ice, water, non-perishable food, diapers, baby formula, ensure
  • Trucking hauls (can anyone donate trucks with drivers for several days at a time?)
  • Cash donations online to Somebody Cares (the easiest and quickest way for SCA to meet needs as they come across them)

    Contact: (contact her for details regarding anything you can supply…even beyond this list)

As always, the American Red Cross will accept donations to help in their relief efforts. One of the best donations you can make is not monetary, though, it's your blood. If you're interested in helping save someone's life, you can find out more here. You can also volunteer to serve as a phone operator at your local Red Cross call center. I know the one here in Indianapolis is taking calls from the storm-ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast. You can volunteer in Indy for a 4-hour shift by calling 317-684-4309.

Sitting idly by and doing nothing is not an option.

You have time you can donate. You have blood. You have compassion. Put those things to good use and help your far-away neighbors in need. Follow the example of the businesses and organizations in Houston and do what's right.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Savoring Childhood for My Girls

Philip Gulley, a contributor to Indianapolis Monthly, penned a superb article titled "Poor Sport" in the September 2008 issue. It attacks with razor wit and sage insight youth sports organizations and the adult participants who support them.

The underlying message is that too many parents, in the name of sports almighty, are sacrificing the childhood of their offspring. Isn't society forcing children to grow up at warp speed already?

I am not against organized sports altogether, but as Gulley points out, much is to be gained by letting children form their own "leagues" in back yards and community parks. Much more is to be lost by shuttling them all over the country to compete for vain prizes and glory.

Kids need time and space to grow. They don't need adults micromanaging every minute of free time, pushing them to compete or serving as their "agents."

I remember countless kickball and wiffle ball games in my parent's yard where trees, bushes, buckets, frisbees and sometimes, stumps served as the bases. I can remember being picked last to play 3-on-3 blacktop basketball in the neighbor's driveway. Hey, I'm short, white and slow...but that didn't stop Larry!

The point is, I live in Fishers, youth sports capitol of the Midwest (maybe not it's official title, but one I'm happy to designate). And I could have my 7-year-old daughter in a myriad of after-school activities, including competitive soccer, swimming, diving or gymnastics. She's asked about participating in most of these, but I've made her pick ONE. She's naturally prone to water. I think her biological mother must have been a mermaid. So, I've enrolled her in swim lessons at the local high school. No, not the travelling swim team, just the plain old, swim lesson twice a week for three weeks. From there, we'll see where it goes.

Maybe she'll show a real knack for the breast stroke, and compete one day in AAU, but I'm not pushing it. At this age, I think it's best to let them try a few things first, and then choose. And if they choose not to compete, there's still the neighborhood kickball league.

I'm doing my best to let her and her 4-year-old sister enjoy their childhood. I see enough of their competitive side in day-to-day sibling rivalry. I don't need a bunch spectators and over-zealous parents to enjoy that sport.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rush Encore

Wow, what a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I was privileged to see Rush twice on their North American tour, this time compliments of my good friend Joe Copple. Joe and I went to high school together and camped out for Rush tickets at Market Square Arena in 1986. Three of the four Rush concerts I've seen were with Joe. I blogged about the experience last summer here.

And while this was the pretty much the same show, it was the last stop on their Snakes and Arrows tour--a concert that had to be rescheduled from June. And let me just say that Verizon Wireless Music Center is one of the best venues around. The show was complimented by perfect weather! Oh, and did I mention that the tickets were free?!?!?! Thank you Joe!

We sat in the same section about 10 rows further back from the stage. The Canadian trio put on one helluva show! The end of their second set was an unbelievable trip into their storied past covering Spirit of Radio, 2112 (Overture and Temples of Syrinx) and Tom Sawyer. Then, during the extended encore they played YYZ, one of my favorite all-time Rush instrumentals.

Other songs of note were Passage to Bangkok, Witch Hunt and Natural Science, songs you don't typically hear at a modern-day Rush concert. Of course they sprinkled in plenty of tunes from the current album, including Working Them Angels and Far Cry. It was an excellent show.

The thing I can't understand is how this phenomenal, four decade band has been excluded from the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame. It defies logic. With 24 gold and 14 platinum records (RIAA searchable Database Recording Industry of America July 29, 2007) and more than 30 years of recording and touring the globe, I'm dumfounded why Alex, Geddy and Neil are not fixtures in the Cleveland museum. Please take a moment to sign the petition to get these legendary musicians (each a virtuoso on his own instrument) into the hall. If you need any further motivation, please watch this video:

Neil Peart has always been one of my absolute favorite rock drummers and a big reason why I took up drumming at an early age. Even if you don't care for the progressive rock stylings of Rush, you have to admire their individual talents and their longevity...rivaled only by the Rolling Stones.

I only hope I get to see them again before they call it quits. Rush ROCKS!!!

Thanks again to Joe Copple for the complimentary tickets!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Genealogic research performed by uncles on both sides of my family has piqued my interest in our families’ history. They’ve dug diligently to trace our European ancestry as far back as the 17th century. You can view much of our lineage if you click the Geni link to the right.

My interest in history swings much broader than just my own family tree, however. I’ve recently begun investigating the history of Lyles Station and that settlement’s connection to the Underground Railroad (UGRR) in Indiana. My aim is to establish a solid link between the African-American community in Gibson County and the white abolitionists who aided them, like the Stormont family, and thereby obtain an Indiana Freedom Trails marker as a monument to their efforts.

I guess a combination of these interests caused me to checkout the 30th Anniversary DVD of Roots at the local library. That, and my wife was not allowed to watch it as a child, so this was her first viewing.

I was surprised how little of it I remembered even though it made an indelible impression on me when I first saw it on television in 1977. And while it only gives small glimpses into the UGRR, it continues to stir my curiosity about the secret pathways north and the courage of those who dared to travel it and also those who risked all to aid the escapees.

It stands to reason that free African-Americans in the “lower north,” particularly the settlements in southern Indiana, would have been a first stop along the pathways to freedom. Some escaped slaves would have surely settled there while many others would have continued north to Michigan and Canada.

The problem in documenting all this is that most of the 19th century American history you find in libraries was written by white men. They weren’t particularly interested in elevating the heroes of the African-American community. Their self-serving portraits of abolitionist activity paint an almost white portrait of the UGRR, as if no escape from slavery would have been possible without the aid of anti-slavery whites. While this may be true in part, it is not the whole truth.

Have you ever considered what it would have been like to be a slave on the run and scared for your life? Who would you trust? It certainly wouldn’t be a white man. So my work is definitely cut out for me. This will not be an easy project to document with concrete evidence. Just like my uncles, I will have to dig to uncover the important role the free African-Americans of Lyles Station played in helping others to freedom.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Family Ties--Doyle Cabin Reunion

I've blogged before about the Doyle cabin on Greenbriar Lake in Sullivan County (IN). It has always played a pivotal role in keeping me connected with my dad's family and with our Doyle heritage because we've gathered there annually since I was a kid. Since moving back to Indiana in 2006, I've been able to participate in two consecutive reunions, now. Its always great to reconnect with cousins, aunts and uncles you only see once every few years and to hear the family stories told under the shade of 60-year-0ld oak, pine and sycamore trees. If only those trees could talk!

My dad's younger brother, Al Doyle, has chronicled much of our family's history, recently telling us the story of Noble "Kid Chissell" Chisman who was my grandmother's first cousin. Kid Chissell, as the story goes, was a good friend of Bob Hope's and a witness to Marilyn Monroe's secret wedding which only lasted about three days. His filmography is quite extensive, beginning in the late 30's and spanning three decades. Uncle Al recalls his mother pointing out her cousin on their old black-and-white TV whenever Chisman would make a guest appearance on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Its funny that prior to this year, I never remember hearing the first thing about this famous cousin, or that his mother's nickname was "Toad." I'm just glad that that family name died with grandmother's generation.

It was just as fascinating to hear that a recent barrier was broken in our genealogy from the late 1700's in Pennsylvania. There was very little information about a William Doyle who lived in western Pennsylvania, until my brother and uncle unearthed some clues pointing to a John Doyle who emigrated from Ireland in the mid-1700's and was William's father. Also of great interest is the fact that one of our relatives on grandmother's side fought in the Revolutionary War, and another served as a translator for the French-speaking Indians in the lower Wabash River Valley. Grandma (Louise) Doyle's family were Dutch (Thuis) and French (LaPorte) immigrants who settled in the Vincennes area.

Grandpa (James H.) Doyle's family migrated, as many Irish working-class citizens did, from Pennsylvania westward through Ohio and Indiana. My great-grandfather, Albert Abraham Doyle, was a resident of Indianapolis and did carpentry work on the beautiful Scottish Rite Cathedral. Grandpa Doyle was born and raised here, attending Cathedral High School when it was a Catholic all-boys school in downtown Indy (current site of the diocese headquarters, I believe). After moving to southwest Indiana, he worked for Public Service utilities and built the log cabin on an abandoned strip mine.

The cabin holds many fond memories for me and is a favorite destination for my girls. That's Makenna on the tire swing, pictured at right. You can see the front (SW) corner of the cabin and the old utility poles my grandpa used in constructing the 60-year-old lakeside retreat. I am thankful that we'll have stories to pass onto my daughters, neices and nephews about this family heirloom and about those who came before us. I appreciate my Uncle Al's work and that of Sean Kern and Ryan Doyle to document our family history and thereby ensuring that the stories can be told for generations.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Stick Up Our Ass

I know that I joined this discussion about 4 years too late, but apparently my fellow Hoosiers have a real problem with the word ASS being displayed in public.

Really, people? There aren't enough REAL problems in the world, that we have to create petty ones?

For my puritanical brethren, may I remind ye that the King James Version references the ass more than 70 times, starting in Genesis 22. Don't believe me? Type "ass" in the search field of a site like Bible Gateway. There are 76 mentions, to be exact. Seventy-six! And even the Messiah himself used the word on occasion! HOLY MOLY! Well, I guess we should be holier than Jesus by abstaining from such vulgar speech, now shouldn't we?

The word ass in the Bible refers to a donkey. It's in the dictionary. The word ass on the offending coffee shop sign ALSO referred to a donkey. Regardless, we Hoosiers DID NOT want our children reading and repeating this immoral, offensive, vulgar word...King James, Moses, Samuel et. al. be damned! (Oops, sorry...guess I should have rated this post PG-13).

My problem is that I really wanted some more Bad Ass Mocha, but I don't want to pay to have it shipped here. I first tasted it in Florida while on vacation in Reddington Shores last year and it was PHENOMENAL! Plus, everyone needs a break from Starbucks now and then...and I'm not a big fan of Dunkin' Donuts. When I Googled "bad ass coffee indianapolis" I was excited to find a location near me at the Fashion Mall on Keystone. Then, I tried to call their number. Disconnected. No longer in service.

So thank you to my fellow Hoosiers who succeeded in running off this fine establishment because of your puritanical views on the English language. You are INDEED holier than thou!

Some people might tell me to pull the plank out of my own ass before I try to remove the speck from my brother's...and by ass, of course, they would mean my donkey.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lyles Station: Jewel of American History

I am opposed to the whole system of slavery, in all its heinous forms, and conscientiously believe it to be a sin against God and a crime against man to chatelize a human being, and reduce God's image to the level of a brute, to be bought and sold in the market as cattle or swine.

- Levi Coffin, Letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Commercial dated May 12, 1860

A few miles from the town of my birth--Princeton, Gibson County, Indiana--lies an almost hidden jewel from our Hoosier past and a priceless piece of American history from the 1800's. It is the unincorporated area of Lyles Station.

Originally known as the "negro colony" west of Princeton, it was comprised of three settlements by free African-Americans, Southerners and former slaves--Sand Hill, Lyles and Roundtree. Sand Hill was on the main road, now State Highway 64, about halfway between the Wabash River and the county seat of Princeton. Lyles was north about a mile, and Roundtree was further north and east on the banks of the Patoka River.

Though I spent many a summer visiting family in the area just to the east of Lyles Station, I had no clue that it even existed. I don't remember my grandparents, aunts or uncles ever speaking of the "colored folks" from the river bottoms west of town. Nonetheless, a thriving agricultural community existed there until the floods of March 1913. In fact, the train that ran just downhill and around my grandparent's home and the hospital where I was born, used to stop at Lyles Station on it's way to Illinois through the 1950's. Still, I had no idea there was a veritable treasure trove of American history just a few miles down the tracks. That is until I learned about it online just a few years ago, thanks to the tireless efforts of Stanley and Mary Madison (Pictured above right, Wayman Chapel AME Church, the oldest building in Lyles Station dating back to 1887).

This week was my first visit to the area called Lyles Station (see picture above). The Madisons and the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation were celebrating Juneteenth and I was able to take my family down for the festivities. Before the trip, I was already committed to volunteering my time to help in any way I could. But afterwards, my resolve to help out is even more concrete. My first goal is to register the site as an official stop along the famed Underground Railroad (UGRR) with Indiana Freedom Trails, Inc.

The western route of the UGRR through Indiana is well-documented. The Wabash River valley through southwestern Indiana provided a means of escape for runaway slaves who were brave enough to cross the Ohio River near Mount Vernon (Posey County) and Evansville (Vanderburgh County) or traverse the meandering Wabash up to East Mount Carmel, then head northwards to Vincennes. Free African-American settlements in Gibson County would provide a common-sense resting place for fugitive slaves escaping north. There are oral traditions that say Thomas Cole, a Sand Hill/Lyles resident, owned many barns with hideouts in the lofts that provided cover by day for many a fugitive. Within walking distance of the Cole residence and uphill towards the banks of the Patoka River sat the home of noted station master David Stormont. Other UGRR stops existed in nearby Princeton, Francisco and Oakland City. Some of these are also well-documented, but the area of Lyles Station is yet listed as an integral part of the railroad.

As my research continues, I'll post more about this exciting project and enlist some of you to help. In the meantime, please visit to learn more about this jewel of American history.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Micheal Treinen Update

See this IndyStar article--Micheal Treinen Awaits Transplant

That's GREAT news! Thanks to those of you who supported financially and prayerfully this Indiana teenager suffering from AML (leukemia).

Friday, April 04, 2008

What I've Been Up To

Just over a month ago I launched my new site,, with links to Indiana's renewal retreat communities--Cursillo, Discipleship Walk, Great Banquet, Kairos, Tres Dias, Via de Cristo and Walk to Emmaus. Here's my original blog about it, including my Tres Dias story.

It's been a busy month, keeping the site current, getting the word out about it and searching for fresh and relevant content. I even started a Wordpress blog,, and recently gave an account of all that's happened in 30 short days. The feedback so far has been great!

In addition, I've been working on a new website for my wife's graphic design business, That project is ongoing. Additionally, I've agreed to help my neighborhood association's Safety Committee put together a tornado and severe weather safety brochure. That will be designed and printed by our company, Doyle Design, and distributed shortly. It will be augmented with plenty of content-rich links on my neighborhood blog, as well.

I haven't been this busy in a long time and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I hope you'll take a moment to visit some of my other projects/blogs and provide feedback. I'm always open to new ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism. If you don't wish to leave a comment here publicly, then shoot me an e-mail. Peace.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

**UPDATED**Help Michael Treinen Fight AML


Great News for Michael!!!
I just received a call from ICHIA- the high risk insurance that has been expedited due to the overwhelming attention Michael's situation has been given. Although the coverage is not 100%- with the money raised through all of your efforts - combined with the insurance- we can confirm payment with Seattle- TODAY!!!!!!!!!

I can't even begin to thank each and everyone of you for helping us get to where we are today. It could not have happened without the efforts of not only your $$$ but your time and making contacts for Michael!

We love all of you!
The Treinens


Hello Friends,

We are parents who are pleading for your help. Our son Michael is 19 years old and last May was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Many of you already know Michael's story but let me give you a few highlights. As of May of 2007 Michael was a typical goofy 18 year old from a typical family in Noblesville, IN who was ready to graduate from high school. Michael loves hockey and lacrosse. We, as most of you, thought that nothing would change our lives in such a drastic way. Boy, were we wrong. Michael had some swollen lymph nodes and when they were checked we were told the devasting news of cancer. We put on our "big girl pants" and were ready to fight this thing. In December, Michael went into remission but by January was back in the fight. This time we are in the fight of our lives.

Fast forward to now, Michael has been receiving treatment at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis . His next step is a bone marrow transplant. Michael needs to have the transplant in order to survive. From our research the best place for treatment is Children's Hospital in Seattle, Washington . Now here is the catch. Michael is at his life-time limit for insurance. In order for Seattle to schedule the transplant we need send them a check for $500,000. We are no longer the typical American family and like most of you- do not have $500,000 to send them.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are asking three things from you:

1. Your prayers that we get our miracle and Michael survives his fight with AML and is able to return to the life of a typical nineteen year old.

2. Please send a donation of $20.00 to the:
Michael Treinen Medical Trust Fund
c/o Mr. Sid Loomis
Harris Bank
107 W Logan Street
Noblesville, IN 46060

3. Please pass this e-mail to at least twenty (20) of your friends and relatives and ask them to send this email to at least 20 people. Please feel free to share a personal connection with Michael and our family.

This a time-sensitive grass roots campaign to raise the $500,000 that Michael needs. Time however is not our friend. We need this money to be received by Thursday, April 3rd. We have to get treatment started as soon as possible!

I know that many of you do not know us. I can assure that a year ago we would never have believed that we would be asking not only our friends and family, but complete strangers to help us pay to save our son's life. Believe me when I tell you this is the last thing we want to be doing. But, you do what you have to do.

Please help us and send a check to the! Also, please send this email out to everyone you know. I know we can do this with your help. If you want to know more about Michael, you can go to (Caring Bridge Site).

God bless and thank you,

Tom and Kelly Treinen

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

If Jesus IS Alive... would you know it?

This is a question I've been pondering since all of Christendom just celebrated the high holy day of Easter. As you look at the Church, do you find evidence of life? Is the radiant life of a risen Christ emanating from within?

It is often hard to answer that question in the affirmative. And when you look back at the history of Christianity with all the atrocities committed in Christ's name, it is rather difficult to find evidence that the Church believes at all in the resurrection of Jesus.

Growing up Catholic, I was surrounded by gory images of a beaten, thorn-crowned, crucified and speared-through Messiah. Those images of death and torture seem to signify the morbid mindset of many of today's Christians. Their pre-occupation with death and judgment leads them away from the life-affirming and life-changing message of Easter.

If that wasn't true, wouldn't we see more evidence of Christ-likeness in the Church?

The question of "Who Killed Jesus?," rekindled in large part by Mel Gibson's film a few years ago, matters little in my opinion. Whether you fall into the John Crossan camp, believing “that the Romans, not the Jews, killed Jesus as a revolutionary agitator inimical to their continued governance of Judea”, you side with the Anti-Semites who solely blame the Jews (you'd be in a growing minority btw), or you believe both are culpable, the pressing issue is whether you fixate on Christ's death or His resurrection.

The Resurrected Christ at St George's, LittleportFor me, the resurrection is just as much about my attitude every day, as it is about a promise of life after death. And if, like me, you believe in the abundant life proclaimed in Scripture, then it should effect the state of daily affairs in your life. It should be evident in the way you approach challenges, the way you interact with others, the way in which you conduct yourself and the way you spend your time, energy and resources.

A religion fixated on death will produce more of the same, but a living faith rooted in the life of Christ will produce abundantly more. So, as I reflect on the Easter story, I am once again encouraged to live out my faith actively. And for me that means doing more, spending my time, energy and resources more wisely, loving more and having a more positive attitude.

If Jesus is really alive, then how is it effecting your life here on planet Earth?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Weekend Retreat

Last weekend, I had a nice little getaway to our cabin in the woods, just me and Zach, our Aussie. I had planned to go down for a work weekend with my brother, but he couldn't go due to other obligations. It was okay, really, because it gave me some much needed quiet time...time to do some manual labor...time to reflect.

Our cabin is situated on an old strip mine in eastern Sullivan County, now known as Greenbriar Lake. I had to pass through Clay City: Mayberry of the Midwest to get there on Indiana's back roads. Tracy and I get a kick out of that slogan for this sleepy little town, so I stopped and took this picture just to make her laugh.
It worked. :)
The Doyle cabin, built with my grandfather's hands and a load of discarded telephone poles, is rustic, at best. Plumbing draws spring-fed lake water into the shower and kitchen sink. An outhouse provides the only other "facilities." I went down, in part, because my uncle is in the process of installing a new two-sided outhouse with a real septic system. He left a large pile of debris from an old shed and some downed trees that needed disposal by match. There was also a pile of concrete that needed breaking and disposal by tossing lakeward.

When I arrived Saturday morning, it was a frosty 30 degrees or so. There was a thin layer of ice over a majority of the lake where some Canadian geese had sought refuge. I was able to snap a couple of quick pictures, first thing. There's a small sample to the left.

After Zach and I had unpacked, opened/airated the cabin and settled in, we got right to work. It was an exhausting day of log-splitting, concrete throwing, debris burning and general back-aching chores, but it was long overdue. I needed a good physical work-out like that. And it gave Zach a chance to explore and get a good work-0ut, too (mostly chasing a neighbors cat, the geese and some squirrels).

We cooked that evening over open flame and enjoyed a clear, starry sky that night. We awoke to a warm, spring-like day and morning clouds soon gave way to sunny skies by 10:30. I had already rekindled two fires, begun packing, cleaning up and preparing for the 2-hour drive home by then. I also had time to snap a few more pictures, including this one of Zach and I on the pier just after sunrise.
The drive home, though I was quite sore from the day-and-a-half workout, was very nice, thanks mostly to the 6o-degree weather and some good tunes. I was home in time Sunday to play with my daughters for awhile before taking them to dinner and putting them to bed. And while I hate being away from them on "stay-home days" this was a much needed retreat for that I'll cherish for some time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - My New Site!

I went on a Christian Renewal Weekend Retreat called Tres Dias back in 1989 when I was 21 and single. It had a profound impact on me and helped to shape my views on Christian charity, love and forgiveness; virtues, that to this day, continue to mold me into a better person. For the better part of the last 20 years, I've continued to be a part of the worldwide Tres Dias community and sister "4th day" communities, such as Vida Nueva for youth.

The term "4th day" is synonymous with the rest of your life once you've made such a weekend (3-day) retreat. The retreat that I made was sponsored by a brand new community in Tallahassee. I was a "pescadore" on their first men's weekend and I've continued to grow in my faith throughout my 4th day.

Since moving back to Indianapolis, I have been looking for a way to get plugged in locally. Years ago, I served on Indy Tres Dias and my parents have been involved in that community, as well as Indy Cursillo and Great Banquet communities. I was searching for a way to cross denominational barriers and bring more unity to the 4th Day Communities of our region and state. So was my solution.

On the site, I have linked to my new to the various communities across Indiana, including Catholic and Episcopal Cursillo, Great Banquet, Kairos, Tres Dias, Via de Cristo and Walk To Emmaus.

I've already mentioned the youth weekend retreat, Vida Nueva, which is also being held in communities across the country. Well, each of the adult communities listed above have similar retreats for youth. I made one at my Catholic high school, called "Search." There are others, like Teens Encounter Christ, Awakening and Chrysalis, and while I haven't linked each of those communities from my site, you can usually find them linked from their parent community.

Anyway, I hope you'll take a minute to investigate my new site and some of the other links in this blog. If you have any questions about or the communities it represents, please e-mail