Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I'm 42 years old.  I've created many blogs before, usually for other people, and one for a prayer group I manage.  Today I am creating one for me.

I love history and science.  I guess that makes me a geek.  Anyway, I decided to title this blog "Catholic in the Ozarks," because considering the deep Protestant leanings of this area in the Bible Belt, I think that alone is enough of an intriguing thought.  It doesn't really get anymore "Baptist" than in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri.  I bet many of you out there in the blogosphere didn't even know there was such a thing as Catholics in the Ozarks.  Well, there is, but truth be told, I didn't start out as a Catholic.  I was actually born a Lutheran, raised a Baptist, spent some time as an Evangelical, before finally becoming an Anglican.  It was this detour into Anglicanism that led me into the Catholic Church.  There I found my home, and the biggest part of this journey of faith took place right here in the Ozark Mountains.  You may have noticed the Canterbury cross in the upper left hand corner of this blog.  I like this because it tends to symbolise both my current Catholic faith and my Protestant heritage all in one.

The blog is just a collection of random musings and explanations.  I suppose the overall nature of it will be apologetic, as I hope to perhaps educate some of my fellow countrymen here in the Ozarks as to what Catholicism really is, as opposed to what many of them mistakenly believe it is.  I also hope this blog will serve as some form of inspiration for Catholics in this area.  Lastly, I guess it's kind of a diary of sorts.  Something to help explain myself.  Yes, I'll probably includes stories from my childhood, random thoughts about life, history and current events (maybe).  Perhaps even someday I might use some of this material to write a book.

You might have noticed something about the spelling on this blog.  Yes, I've turned off my American spell checker and switched it over to U.K. English.  Why?  Well I read a lot of books, and not all of them are written by Americans.  In fact, I tend to read a lot of English literature.  There is a problem you see.  As it turns out, every English speaking country in the world spells things a certain way, except America for some reason.  I guess here in the United States, we feel that we're so special, we can make up our own spelling rules.  I used to have a lot of problems with spelling when I was in elementary school.  I think now I know why.  I've noticed that I generally don't have these problems anymore, ever since I turned off the American spell checker.  So even though I'm an American, writing from the middle of the United States, my words are going to look rather English, Canadian, or Australian.  In truth, I tend to like this.  Not only does it tend to simply things for me, but I think it puts me in closer touch with the English literature and culture I love.

I am married to my beautiful bride Penny and we have two children.  My entire family lives out here in the Ozarks.  We are all transplants from Southern California.  My mother, Trish, is the only one with family ties to this part of the country.  She grew up in Northeastern Arkansas and Western Tennessee.  We moved out here back in 1993 on a whim actually.  It was more like an escape plan.  Since about 1987 things had gone downhill for our family in Southern California.  "Getting away from it all," as they say, made the most logical sense at the time.  Though it took my wife and I nearly ten years to adjust, I think we did the right thing.  Life out here is a bit slower than in California, and that is a good thing.  As far as the title of this blog goes, the irony to this whole deal is that while we were in California (where the Catholic population was large) I was a staunch Protestant.  Once I moved our here (where the Catholic population is small) I began down a trail that would inevitably lead me to the Catholic Church.  Truth is, it still doesn't fully make sense to me, but that's how it happened.  So now on with my blog -- Catholic in the Ozarks.