Friday, December 30, 2022

The Peace of Christmas

I recognize that everyone reading this is may not be a Christian, and even all Christians may not view the gospels the way I do. But this Christmas, I think it’s appropriate to look to the story of Jesus’ birth with at least curiosity, whether one is a believer or not.

I think it's almost impossible to read the Christmas story and not see the value of peace. Our culture is good at many things, but creating periods of quiet is not one of them. We have long to-do lists, wait impatiently in traffic, struggle to keep our heads above water, and struggle to find hope in our political leaders as we are faced with almost insurmountable challenges. 

There is a painting that I have always admired, which hangs in the National Gallery in London. It was painted in the 1620s by Philippe de Champaigne and is titled “The Dream of St. Joseph.” Joseph and Mary are shown at home during Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus. Joseph has come home from work at the end of a long day and is asleep on a chair, with his carpentry tools and sandals strewn at his feet. It’s a simple room, with a rough rug under his feet. Mary, awake and sitting at a table in the background, watches as an angel flies over Joseph to deliver a message: that he should not dismiss Mary because of her pregnancy. It’s not a scene of trumpet-blaring glory, but a humble and important moment. Deep wisdom comes in the quiet times.

Friday, December 23, 2022

What To Do When You're Afraid

I have found that when I find myself transfixed by fear, whether that is facing a direct threat or a yet to be manifested threat (which honestly can be far worse in my opinion) the result is the same, my heart and mind is flooded with fear. My next response is crucial, as well as possibly life-changing. I can become overwhelmed with the situation resulting in despair, panic, and fear plunging me even further into darkness OR I can practice what God has commanded me to do in His Word. 

God knows that we will during the course of our life be faced with times or seasons of fear. No matter the source of the fear my response needs to be the same. Quick note: This is one of those behaviors that require some work beforehand, in this case remembering that God clearly teaches that I don't have to face any challenge alone, and that not only will He be with us, but that He will equip us in those moments with the following gifts. "He has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).

But if you're like me, that is easier said than done. How do we put these truths into action versus being overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and maybe even panic? My first response is to recall the following truth:  " . . . Listen to the Lord who created you. . . . ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, NLT). So my first response is to refocus my thoughts on the reality of God's love and presence which will allow me to start working through the four steps below:

Friday, December 16, 2022

Bad Habits (How We Can Reprogram Our Brains)

I remember the awe (and fear if I'm being honest) that I felt when first walking into my college psychology class. It was the first classroom I had ever experienced that was based in a group lecture environment. (I think it held around 200 students or so) And instead of the clinical desk / chairs / blackboard setup we found ourselves in a theatre type room with elevated seating directing our focus below. Our professor soon made his entrance,  casually dressed, smoking a cigarette, and carefully positioned his briefcase on the podium in the center of the stage. But the next part of the class was what really grabbed my attention, and it was the topic that our professor wrote on the giant blackboard - "How to Break a Bad Habit". I found his teaching on this subject revolutionary. 

Friday, December 09, 2022

The Peace of God


“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:9

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3

"The Lord gives strength to his people, and the Lord blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:11

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Friday, December 02, 2022

Pride (What Is It Good For - Say It Again . . . )

For everyone who grew up in the greatest era of music the world has ever known, the 60's and the 70's, the title of this blog should be sang using the music of the song, "War". [Credit: Edwin Starr (1970)]

Okay, now that the little bit of musical housekeeping is out of the way, a confession is in order. The majority of topics and truths that I have addressed over the years in this blog, for the most part, apply to my own life. The speak directly to my personal failings in my attempts to be a better husband, father, employee, friend, family member and Christ follower. They are choices, and sins, motivated by my prideful nature, that thankfully God has faithfully been working to remove from my character over the years. I truly shudder to think about all of the ways that I have disappointed Him, damaging the Kingdom of God, but even worse, openly rebelling against Him, all under the banner of my pride. 

All of my sins choices were a direct result of loving my own choices more than I wanted to obey His commandments in my life. This blog is a well of experience in how not to live your life, and how not to obey the One who loves you the most. This is not something I am in anyway proud of but I believe that sometimes bringing the darkness into the light diminishes the power of sin over our own lives. That is why the title of this blog simply says, "broken person | Jesus is fixing". 

I am, to a great extent, a product of the culture of my youth, where drawing attention to oneself was never frowned upon, but the opposite was also true, that sharing the darkest parts of one's character was never acceptable as well. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Reading the Word of God with Purpose

Just a few quick thoughts on what I have learned over the years about reading the Bible. This also applies to any platform that I'm using to learn more about God. 

I believe that there are three stages to learning about the character and truth about God. (This is by no means an original way to study and apply God's Word, but I honestly can't remember who or even when I learned this truth)

Ready to jump in? 

Friday, November 18, 2022

"In the Last Days . . . "

"But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these. For some of these insinuate themselves into households and captivate weak women who are overwhelmed with sins and led along by various passions. Such women are always seeking instruction, yet never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people—who have warped minds and are disqualified in the faith—also oppose the truth. But they will not go much further, for their foolishness will be obvious to everyone." (2 Timothy 3:1-9 NET)

Some quick thoughts about this instruction from Paul to his follower, Timothy. In this letter, Paul is describing the ramifications of the end time of history - and what is sobering is that the list of sins that follow the proclamation that "difficult times will come" don't even seem to be that out-of-the-norm in today's culture. Just take for instance the description that in the end days that children will be disobedient to their parents, for anyone that has worked in any childcare environment (including church) the exception is the child that is obedient to his/her parents. And before we point our fingers toward the world in judgement a gentle reminder that this instruction to Timothy is about the people in the church! Of course those who don't love Christ are going to embrace self-love and serve their own interests, but Paul is telling Timothy that members of the church are going to embrace the sins listed above

Friday, November 11, 2022

Eight Things I've Learned Playing Chess

Recently I’ve been thinking about chess as a microcosm to life. While our time on earth isn’t a board game, there are legitimate and essential connections between being a good chess player and being successful at anything you do. 

So without further ado, here are seven things I've learned playing chess.

1. Have a plan

No matter your ambitions in life, you’ll fail without a plan.

Yes, people get lucky “shooting from the hip” from time to time, but everyone knows that successful people make plans and follow through. It doesn’t matter if you’re an architect, surgeon, artist, teacher, programmer, or athlete; regardless of your profession or passion, if you don’t have a plan, you’ll fail.

2. Reflect

In chess, calculated risks are essential to victory. Computers calculate that after the first four moves of a chess game, there are 4,865,609 possible games that could be played out. Process that for a minute.

One of the greatest axioms of life is that people who reflect are people who improve. If you’re improving, you’re heading in the right direction.The point is that without an active process to learn from each of your games, it is impossible to improve as a player. I've found this translates into most areas of my life as well. 

3. See The Big Picture

I can't tell you how many times I've stared at the chess board, my position, and then fixated on what I perceived to be the best strategy of play. The problem with this approach is that I will almost always fail to notice superior moves that would have better advanced my position. Two quick takes: The obvious is not always the best choice and Keep evaluating your environment and try to avoid taking the easy path to your decisions. 

Friday, November 04, 2022

The Newest Deal

As we, the citizens of the United States of America prepare to vote next week, I found an interesting quote from President Grover Cleveland regarding the role of government in the lives of individuals. 

It's hard to believe in this day and age, but “Big Government” and constant handouts were not always an accepted norm. Check out this quote from none other than Grover Cleveland, a Democrat (!) when vetoing a drought aid bill to Texas farmers in 1887:

“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.

“The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."


Friday, October 28, 2022

10 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do (Part II)

This is Part II in my series, "10 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do". Click HERE to read Part I of this series. 

Let's jump into the final part of our series:  

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

9. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

10. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

So How Can You Develop Mental Toughness?

What do you need to perform at the highest levels, which is even more important than physical ability?

Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is what separates the superstar from the merely good. It separates the musicians that play small party gigs from the rock stars. Someone without mental toughness can have all the natural talents or ability and not make it as far as someone with mental toughness with average ability.

The key to mental toughness is applying consistently the traits of self motivation, positive attitude, emotional self control, calmness under fire, and being energetic and ready for action. Consistency is important. Through applying these traits day in and day out, you will be able to reach new heights in whatever endeavors you seek whether it be a sport, playing a musical instrument, coding a computer application or writing a novel.

Let’s look at each of the traits of mental toughness:

Self Motivation

While some sports are team sports and other pursuits are done in conjunction with others life is pretty much played alone. Your motivation must come from within. The intensity of your motivation is determined by how badly you want to perform well.

Motivation can be strengthened many ways. Think back to a failure. That feeling can provide the motivation to keep going, keep practicing. A time of victory can also provide the motivation to reclaim that winning feeling. Use time as a motivator. While others relax you can be gaining on them increasing your skills.

Positive, Realistic Attitude

You are not going to be able to do everything. By focusing on strengths, you gain confidence and inspiration from them. You can create your own positive attitude. For example, smaller pro basketball players do not try to go head to head with others over seven feet tall, they focus on their speed and ball handling skills. Focus on what your natural strengths are.

Emotional Self Control

People who are not in control of their emotions get upset when the something doesn’t go as expected. They alienate spouses, co-workers, teammates by petty, childish behavior. Mentally tough people have tough skins and don’t let outside circumstances affect them. There will be many times whether in a game or in life that things happen outside your control. A mentally tough person keeps their emotions in check and keeps on with the game plan they had in mind from the beginning.

Calm Under Fire

Anything worth going for is going to be high pressure one time or another. Mentally tough people are at their best under pressure. Calmness under fire isn’t something you just switch on. The key here is to seek out pressure situations working up from low pressure to medium pressure to high pressure situations. Perform in front of larger and larger groups. Seek out better and better opponents, more competitive games to participate in. What seemed like high pressure before will become the new normal for you.


The great thing about mental toughness is that you are not born with it. You don’t have to learn it at a young age. Mental toughness comes simply from the decision to consistently apply the traits I have talked about. You can start today and reach levels of your game, relationships, and success that you never thought possible. Outstanding athletic prowess, superior intellect, musical talent will take someone so far. Without mental toughness they will not reach their full potential.

Friday, October 21, 2022

10 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do (Part I)

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these ten things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond. Words matter, your brain doesn't always choose correctly when it comes to determining intent so don't send yourself mixed messages. Choose your words carefully so that your thoughts all originate from a positive place. 

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

Friday, October 14, 2022

18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18 (Part IV)

This is the final entry in my series, "18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18".  You can click HERE to read Part I and HERE to read Part II and HERE to read Part III. 

So without further ado, here is Part IV:

16. Be respectful of others and make them feel good. – In life and business, it’s not so much what you say that counts, it’ how you make people feel.  So respect your elders, minors, and everyone in between. There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. Supporting, guiding, and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards. A life dedicated to serving others is truly a life well lived.

17. Excel at what you do. – There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right.  Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies. Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.

18. Be who you were designed to be. – You must follow your heart, and be who you God created you to be. Some of us were born with a passion for music – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings using the keys of our instruments. Some of us were given the gift of poetry – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose. Some of us were given the talent to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw rubbish. Bottom line, all of us were designed to make a difference in this world, serving others and helping them to achieve their dreams as well. Regardless of what you decide to do in your lifetime, choose joy. Don’t waste your life wallowing in self-pity or moaning about the unfairness of life. Throw yourself a pity party, clean up the mess, and pick yourself up and move forward with your life. There is a great big world that needs your unique gifts! 

and One to grow on . . . 

Above all, make your relationship with Jesus Christ your number one priority of your life. This is the only commitment that you can make in your life that will carry on to the world to come, which is where you will be spending the greatest majority of your existence. Don't forgo the eternal for the temporal lure of the fleeting. If you are interested in learning more about cultivating your spiritual walk I urge you to start praying that God would bring people into your life who would help you in your faith journey. He is faithful to answer our prayers when we are sincere and humble. 

Friday, October 07, 2022

18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18 (Part III)

This is Part III in my series, "18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18" You can click HERE to read Part I and HERE to read Part II. 

So without further ado, here is Part III:

12. Sit alone in silence for at least ten minutes every day. – Use this time to think, plan, reflect, and dream. Creative and productive thinking flourish in solitude and silence. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, and you can focus on mapping out the next logical, productive step in your life.

13. Ask lots of questions. – The greatest ‘adventure’ is the ability to inquire, to ask questions.  Sometimes in the process of inquiry, the search is more significant than the answers. Answers come from other people, from the universe of knowledge and history, and from the intuition and deep wisdom inside yourself. These answers will never surface if you never ask the right questions. Thus, the simple act of asking the right questions is the answer.

14. Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness.  How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy?  The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.

15. Live below your means. – Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. Always live well below your means.

Friday, September 30, 2022

18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18 (Part II)

This is Part II in my series, "18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18" You can click HERE to read Part I.  

So without further ado, here is Part II: 

6. People are not mind readers.  Tell them what you’re thinking. – People will never know how you feel unless you tell them.  Your boss?  Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet.  That cute girl you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy?  Yeah, you guessed it; she hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given her the time of day either.  In life, you have to communicate with others. And often, you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words.  You have to tell people what you’re thinking. It’s as simple as that.

7. Make swift decisions and take immediate action. – Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities, or someone else will first. You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it. Remember, there’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Knowledge is basically useless without action.

8. Accept and embrace change. – However good or bad a situation is now, it will change. That’s the one thing you can count on. So embrace change, and realize that change happens for a reason. It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

9. This is an area that for reason both good and bad I have never struggled with. The down side to this perspective is it can shut you off from good ideas that others might suggest. There is a real danger to making decisions in a vacuum so be aware of that bent when embracing this perspective. The good part of this advice almost goes without saying, you save yourself an tremendous amount of second guessing, vast amounts of time, and useless guilt worrying about others and their perception of who you are. If you don't care you don't worry. And for the most part this is a valuable ally - but I would caution you to couple this independence with at least one close friend, co-worker, partner who will tell you the truth and not be afraid of your reactions. 

10. Always be honest with yourself and others. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless. Period.

11. Talk to lots of people in college and early on in your career. – Bosses. Colleagues. Professors.  Classmates.  Social club members. Other students outside of your major or social circle. Teaching assistants. Career advisors. College deans. Friends of friends. Everyone!  Why? Professional networking. When employers look to fill a position, the first thing they do is ask the people they know and trust if they know someone who would do well in the position. If you start building your professional network early, you’ll be set. Over time, you’ll continue talking to new people you meet through your current network and your network’s reach and the associated opportunities will continue to snowball for the duration of your career.

I hope you will plan on joining me next week for Part III in this series. Thanks for reading! 

Friday, September 23, 2022

18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 18 (Part I)

Once upon a time the retailer known as Books-A-Million used to have comfy chairs scattered around their store. These chairs provided a perfect way to relax with friends, take a short nap, or to sample a large number of books in a short amount of time. 

One day I was skimming through some technology magazines and a young man who had been reading in the chair next to me lowered his book and asked a question that was obviously weighing on his mind. 

"Pardon my interruption but I'm graduating from high school in a couple of weeks and I have no clue what I want to do with my life,” he said. “Can I ask you a few questions?”

And then, with eager, honest eyes, he began asking me one question after the next:

“What do you do for a living?”

“When and how did you decide what you wanted to do?”

“Why did you do this?  Why didn’t you do that?”

“Is there anything you wish you had done differently?”

Etc, etc, etc…

I answered his questions as best as I could, and tried to give decent advice with the time I had.  And after a half-hour conversation, he thanked me and we parted ways.

But on the drive home I realized the conversation I had with him was actually quite nostalgic for me.  He reminded me of me thirty years ago.  So I started thinking about his questions again, and I began to reflect on all of the things I wish someone had told me when I was 18. The eighteen pieces of advice listed below are not in any order of priority, so bear that in mind when reading this list. 

So without further ado, here are 18 things I wish someone told me when I was 18:

1. Commit yourself to making lots of mistakes. – Mistakes teach you important lessons.  The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake.  So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself.  In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.  Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same spot forever.

2. Find hard work you love doing. – If I could offer my 18-year-old self some real career advice, I’d tell myself not to base my career choice on other people’s ideas, goals and recommendations.  I’d tell myself not to pick a major because it’s popular, or statistically creates graduates who make the most money.  I’d tell myself that the right career choice is based on one key point: Finding hard work you love doing.  As long as you remain true to yourself, and follow your own interests and values, you can find success through passion.  Perhaps more importantly, you won’t wake up several years later working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”  So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work isn't so hard when you are able to concentrate on your passions.

3. Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day. – When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life.  You are, to a great extent, the product of what you know.  So the more time, energy and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life.

4. Explore new ideas and opportunities often. – Your natural human fears of failure and embarrassment will sometimes stop you from trying new things.  But you must rise above these fears, for your life’s story is simply the culmination many small, unique experiences.  And the more unique experiences you have, the more interesting your story gets.  So seek as many new life experiences as possible and be sure to share them with the people you care about.  Not doing so is not living.

5. When sharpening your career skills, focus more on less. – Think in terms of Karate: A black belt seems far more impressive than a brown belt.  But does a brown belt really seem any more impressive than a red belt?  Probably not to most people.  Remember that society elevates experts high onto a pedestal.  Hard work matters, but not if it’s scattered in diverse directions.  So narrow your focus on learning fewer career related skills and master the ones you truly are interested in.

Friday, September 16, 2022

An Idea

It is a place that had definitely earned its way into our imagination. The kind of place that draws you away from yourself, which in itself sounds like a gift but rarely lives up to that billing. It calls out equally to the rich and famous, the poor clamoring for attention, and most emphatically to everyone who desires "different". Different realities, different circumstances, different partners, different children, different friends, different jobs, our desire to exchange our reality for our illusions is endless. 

And unrelenting.

It testifies daily to our desire for what we do not possess, yet does not consider the pitfalls that come with such a transaction. It is a place where we feel comfortable in either the spheres of  history or fable because we cannot truly discern the difference. It is a place of immense danger, yet gives off none of those vibes in its ongoing mission to draw people away from themselves. Truth is not a currency in this type of mindset, and reality is further despised. Self is the end-game, and envy is the pathway. 

And yet none of this is what has drawn you and I, my fellow reader, to this spot. We are here to right a wrong, that many have experienced but few can comprehend. Because even though some of us can recall our nightmares, it is a rare person who has the courage to confront them. 

Are you ready for this adventure? 

(To be continued . . . )

Friday, September 09, 2022

Braves Take The Lead!

Back on April 11, the Mets lost to the Phillies, 5-4. It was their second-straight loss after starting 3-0. They would win their next three games to push their record in the early going to 6-2. We wouldn't be talking about that little stretch in the first week of the season here in September if it weren't important to the story at hand, clearly, so let's just get to it. 

That span between the Mets loss on April 11 and their win on April 12 was the only time this entire season that they hadn't been in first place ... until now. 

With the Mets loss to the Marlins (MIA 6, NYM 3) and the Braves win at Seattle on Friday night (ATL 6, SEA 4), the Braves have taken a half-game lead in the NL East. 

The Mets led by as many as 10 1/2 games. The Braves worked the lead down to a half game in late July, but the Mets were able to hold them off and push it back up to seven games by Aug. 8. The Braves just refused to go away and battled their way to a tie this past Tuesday evening. The Mets swept a doubleheader on Wednesday to kick the proverbial can down the street a bit, but Friday night's action finally got the Braves over the hump. 

Friday, September 02, 2022

What Now?

By Emily St. James for Vox Magazine

The SBC is a collection of loosely affiliated member churches, boasting just under 15 million members. It has no firm, established hierarchy; it doesn’t even have a central headquarters. In theory, individual churches can preach or believe whatever they want, but the larger “convention” can remove member churches that don’t toe certain lines. Representatives of these churches meet each year at an annual event — also called a convention. At the 2021 convention, member churches voted to conduct an internal investigation of sexual abuse within the church.

Complaints about sexual abuse and sexual assault on the part of pastors were sent to higher-ups who then kept those accusations quiet. Though the report, by Guidepost Solutions, was only commissioned to study the cover-up from the years 2000 on, it found incidents of sexual abuse and warnings of the same going back to the 1960s. In all, Guidepost found accusations leveled against people at all levels: church volunteers, staff, and leadership, including those at the top of the church’s ladder. Those accusations were made by people of different ages and genders, and they include allegations of child sexual abuse, the grooming of adolescents, and the sexual assault of adults.

These findings were not unprecedented. A major investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, published in 2019, first brought many of the accusations against church leadership to light. The publication of that report galvanized a grassroots drive by individual Southern Baptist churches to hire a firm to conduct an investigation.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Friday, August 19, 2022


Picture this . . .  in the example below, the dot in the middle represents your entire life span on earth. The lines on both side of the dot represent all of eternity - except in reality this line would disappear off your computer screen, travel to the edge of our known universe and still not come anywhere close to representing the span of eternity. 

It is my sincere belief that we are eternal creatures, spirits, designed to live in our earthly bodies for sixty, seventy, maybe at best a hundred years, but then, and don't miss this part, we will live out the rest of our eternal lives in one of two destinations.


So let me ask you a simple question . . . 

Does it make sense to devote all of your time, passions, energies, relationships, resources, and most importantly, your devotion and worship, to things that only exist within the span of a dot? Or is it perhaps a wiser decision to invest in the world to come, in the eternal, making a priority the things that will outlast the temporal? 

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26)


Friday, August 12, 2022

"The Best Pitcher I've Ever Seen"

When I was six years old, Sandy Koufax retired from the game of baseball. I don't remember ever getting a chance to watch him pitch, unlike the great Bob Gibson who didn't retire until I was fifteen. Koufax's career was shortened substantially by persistent pain in his elbow, shortening his career substantially. And yet he is considered one of the greatest pitchers to ever take a mound in the major leagues. Chicago Cubs' manager Leo Durocher, who had led the New York Giants to pennants in 1951 and 1954, came right to the point.

"Koufax is the best pitcher I've ever seen."

Durocher had been Babe Ruth's teammate in 1928. He had seen Walter Johnson, Bob Grove, Dizzy Dean, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, and Carl Hubbell.

Leo wasn't just being nice, especially since Leo was hardly ever nice.

Friday, August 05, 2022

How many times do they have to be wrong?

[This article was written by Cal Thomas | July 27, 2022]

We have always had them among us: fortune tellers, diviners, readers of palms, tarot cards, tea leaves, stars, horoscopes, discerners of animal entrails, calling on gods of wood and stone, and all sorts of other “seers” who have attempted to convince the gullible that they have the power to predict the future.

To some, climate change proponents are little more than modern-day soothsayers that media continues to legitimize, even when their dire predictions of global catastrophe turn out to be not so dire.

The latest, but assuredly not the last, is President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry. Kerry, whose scientific credentials are nonexistent, recently predicted we have only “100 days” to save the planet from climate disaster.

That “Chicken Little” prediction was made at the UN Climate Summit a few days ago, so we had better subtract the days that have followed.

Of course his boss, President Joe Biden, has led the way in speaking without worrying about factual data, for instance speaking last week in Somerset, Mass., where a coal-fired power plant once stood, Biden again recalled growing up in Claymont, Del., where he said pollution was so bad "you had to put on your windshield wipers to get, literally, the oil slick off the window."

Friday, July 29, 2022

Contempt For The Masses

Like many movies I have viewed, "The American President" provides me with a real love / hate dilemma. I really enjoy the historical reverence for the White House, the melodic and emotionally riveting soundtrack, the spot-on acting, and the witty dialogue. But one of the reasons I have a bitter aftertaste with this piece of art, is the continual reminder throughout the script that the American voter cannot be trusted to make an informed decision. 

The movie stars a chief executive (Michael Douglas) who is progressive yet practical: he says that gun control is hard to pass because people do not understand the link between guns and gun-related crime. The predictable turn occurs after he falls in love with an environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening), and he has to face an evil senator (Richard Dreyfuss) who is turning the unthinking masses against him by making nasty comments about his new lady friend.

The president’s approval ratings tumble, and the White House staff bemoans the people’s willingness to believe anyone with a microphone. At a climactic moment, the domestic policy adviser (Michael J. Fox) compares Americans to nomads who need a drink of water but get a glass of sand. The president bitterly replies: “They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.” Unbelievably, the American voter is depicted as unable to distinguish between the truth and fiction!

Friday, July 22, 2022

"The Krystal"

If you’re not familiar with the beginnings of Krystal restaurants, they opened their first restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Krystal, like the hundreds of other clones of the day, emulated everything about the White Castle restaurant system. White Castle would make their name in the Midwest and Northeast while Krystal stuck to the South. In the long run, it was a great move which built strong regional loyalty to the Krystal brand.

The Krystal (the original name of Krystal restaurants) was founded in 1932 in Chattanooga. An interesting fact, the first Krystal restaurant was actually built in Chicago and transported to Chattanooga and its new location resided at the corner of 7th and Cherry Street. Their original slogan was, "Take Along A Sack Full". 

Krystal’s first customer was French Jenkins, who spent thirty-five cents on six Krystals (their signature slider) and a cup of coffee. Company lore says that founder Richard Davenport’s wife suggested the name of crystal with a ‘K’ after having seen a crystal ball lawn ornament. Some Krystal’s restaurants still sport a crystal ball on the rooftop.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Reasons I Love Baseball

Based on "The Green Fields of the Mind " by A. Bartlett Giamatti

Baseball breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. 

Somehow, the summer seems to slip by faster with each passing year. (Though this summer of extreme heat may prove to be an anomaly to this trend) Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game's deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio--not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television--and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. (Click HERE to listen to a small sample from Vin Scully, the greatest announcer, in my opinion, in baseball history).

Yet, once again, baseball, our best invention to stay change, initiates change in a major way.

Friday, July 08, 2022

The Power of the Spirit of God

Have you ever asked yourself this question, "How can I experience lasting victory from bad habits?" I know that I have. Sometimes it seems like my habits rule my life instead of the other way around. But I've come to understand that the only way to obtain victory over my sinful choices is a Spirit-filled life, allowing the Spirit of the glorious, triumphant Christ to rule over my submitted will. 

This is a simple truth, but like most things, can become a complicated reality -  understanding the imperative of God's Spirit guiding us and empowering us to live the Christian life. But how do we make this truth a reality in our lives? 

Friday, July 01, 2022

A Boy, His Glove, And His First Game

Is there anything that better illustrates the power of hope than a boy, his glove, and his first baseball game? After his first impression of the diamond, the manicured outfield, the smell of hot dogs, and the ambient sound of the greatest game ever invented, he carefully starts scouting out his environment, his position as related to home plate, the height of those around him, and the direction of the rays of the sun. 

Satisfied that he has processed all of the external variables, he shifts to his own preparation. Tugging on his cap, he wipes the sweat off his palms, and starts mentally building the moment when the ball is heading his way, void of any interference, almost laser-like in its journey to his waiting glove. He hears the sound of the ball landing in his glove, he feels the recoil of his glove as he tightens his hand around his new treasure, scuffed but fresh off the diamond of a real baseball game, with real players, and his dreams start to assemble in clarity like nothing he has experienced before. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Beauty Contest That Led To A War

I remember reading some of the Greek myths as a youngster, wonderful stories of glory and tragedy, love and war, heroic journeys and despairing loss. It is hard to pick a favorite but I think the one story that has stuck with me through the years is the story of Eris and the destruction of Troy.

Now before we can get to the main portion of our story, we need to discuss the birth of a child named Paris in the city of Troy. Just before his birth, his mother dreamed that she gave birth to a flaming torch. This dream was interpreted by the seer Aesacus as a foretelling of the downfall of Troy, and he declared that the child would be the ruin of his homeland. On the day of Paris' birth it was further announced by Aesacus that the child born of a royal Trojan that day would have to be killed to spare the kingdom, being that the child's birth would implement the prophecy. (Wow, this kid is facing the wrath of the world before he was even born!) 

Though Paris was indeed born before nightfall, he was spared by Priam, his father, who was unable to kill his son. His mother, Hecuba, also was unable to kill her child, despite the urging of a priestess of Apollo. Instead, Paris' father prevailed upon his chief shepard, Agelaus, to remove the child and kill him. (I love him to much therefore you must kill him . . . )

But even this effort would not be successful, because the herdsman, unable to use a weapon against the infant, left him exposed on the slopes of Mount Ida. His plan was to return in a few days, to recover the child's body. Yet to his great astonishment, after returning nine days later, he found the child still alive, and taking that as a sign from the gods, brought him home in a backpack to rear as his own. He returned to Priam bearing a dog's tongue as evidence of the deed's completion and no one was ever the wiser.

Fast forward and Paris has discovered his royal heritage, and despite his childhood challenges and that pesky prophecy, claimed his title as Prince of Troy. He is also known far and wide for his understanding of female beauty and for his fair judgements. (Boy, talk about an impressive skill set . . . ) 

Okay, so now we're ready to rejoin our story of Eris's revenge.

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Lessons of Camelot

Like all entertaining mythology, the story of King Arthur has endured the test of time, reminding us that values of courage and honor still serve to inspire us today. From its tale, it is not always easy to demarcate between elements of documented history and magical folklore, but are there lessons we can still discover that would apply to our world today?

Although of direct royal lineage, it is told that young Arthur was raised in secrecy by Merlin the Wizard, a great teacher. After the death of King Uther the absence of an heir resulted in a period of great dissent and instability. Merlin prophesied that whomever was able to draw out a majestic magical sword, called Excalibur, from a stone in which it was embedded, would be rightfully crowned the next king. Arthur fulfills this prophecy, and is propelled to seize his destiny by ascending the English throne, thus giving rise to an unprecedented golden age of prosperity and culture, fueled by values of knightly courtesy and heroic deeds. These were glorious times of chivalry, when Knights and Ladies are said to have devoted themselves to express noble virtues such as loyalty, self-control, generosity, compassion, mercy, justice, and honor. The age of Camelot. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

What Is The Hardest Thing To Understand About God?

 "What Is The Hardest Thing To Understand About God" - John Ortberg

Friday, June 03, 2022

The Cost of Costs

We recently took a trip to Tennessee to visit family and were distressed to discover the inflationary impact these two costs had on our trip: 

1) The cost of rental cars. For example, in 2018, I rented a car for 7 days at the daily cost of $33.01 @ day. (All of the costs that I will be referencing includes taxes and fees)  In 2020, the cost was $46.38 @ day for a 6 day rental. Compare that to June 2022, where the rental rate was $82.40 @ day for a 9 day rental!

2) Gas prices. Continuing the trip examples above, in 2018 the cost of a gallon of gas averaged $2.52. In 2020, the average was $2.17 (Pandemic + supply exceeded demand). In June, 2022, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $4.96! 

Now anyone who has purchased anything in the last year realizes that these are not the only areas impacted by the surge of inflation that we are currently experiencing. Grocery prices in 2022 are averaging over 7.8% higher than 2021. In fact if you've attempted to purchase electronics, cars, food, and even homes you have been impacted by the product and employee shortgages, as well as the disruption to shipping around the world.  

But let's drill down and take a closer look at gas prices to see what is driving costs so high. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Summum Pyramid

In 1979, or maybe it was 1980, I spent a few weeks with some friends in Salt Lake City. What drew us to this city was first and foremost, free lodging. A wonderful family, whose names I cannot remember, invited us to stay with them while we explored the city and they would often accompany us on local adventures. 

Looking back I was blissfully unaware of the propaganda that I was exposed to on a daily basis, mostly I was enamored by their very pretty daughter who enjoyed hanging out with us for some crazy reason. (I think it was a light attraction to our Southern accents and a stronger desire to share her Mormon beliefs) We would usually end the day around their piano in the living room, where I would play some of the more popular songs that I could remember and they would sing along. We would end up with twenty plus people gathered in their living room and afterward we would just talk, play games and hang out. On most days we would take trips to local attractions like the Mormon Temple, several museums, a local amusement park, Donut Falls, the Capital building, Salt Lake, the Bonneville drag races, explored a couple of the ski resorts that surround the city, played hide-n-seek in a ghost town, and visited a huge copper mine (?). But the attraction that stood out the most during my time in Salt Lake City was the Summum Pyramid. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

What Makes Baseball Different?

One of my favorite writers is Joe Posnanski, who I discovered after a friend recommended his book, "The Big Red Machine." After I finished the book, which I found to be even better than my friend's recommendation, I started searching for more of his books and in the process discovered his blog. Some of his best posts, in my opinion, are about baseball and this article is from a recent post on his website. Enjoy!

"I would describe what I’m doing now as shaping the book — that is to say I’m turning baseball inside out, immersing myself in it, trying to look at the game in what I hope are novel ways. And for that, I’m putting together countless lists. I have lists everywhere, in about a dozen different notes apps, on a bunch of different pieces of scrap paper, on voice memos.

One of the lists I’ve been updating is called “What makes baseball different?” The inspiration was George Carlin’s brilliant and essential “Baseball and Football” routine, (posted below) which I memorized years ago and can still do, in its entirety, on command. There are so many insights in that routine that still boggle the mind, but the one that I think of most is this one:

“In football, basketball, soccer, volleyball and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball. In baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.”

What a mind he had. This is, of course, exactly right. No end zones, no goals, no baskets, no holes, no nets or lines. In baseball, you have to beat the ball home.

Anyway, I started this “What makes baseball different?” list … I have absolutely no idea what role, if any, it will play in the book (which is, after all, built around a countdown of the greatest moments in baseball history). But I was looking at it the other day and thought: Hey, people might like to see this. In fact, they might even like to contribute to it.

So here’s the list as it currently stands — what makes baseball different.*

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Tennessee Baseball - SEC Champions!

Coming into the weekend, With Tennessee's 9-2 win over Georgia and Arkansas loss to Vanderbilt on Friday, the Vols have won the conference for the first time since 1995 and for the fourth time in program history. 

Coming into the weekend, Tennessee needed a combination of three involving wins of their own or Arkansas losses. With the Vols’ back-to-back wins to achieve the series win over Georgia and Arkansas’ day one loss, Tennessee has the conference wrapped up heading into Saturday.

Tennessee's series win comes at the hands of an Arkansas loss, who were the regular-season SEC champions a year ago. 

Tony Vitello is the third Tennessee baseball head coach to win the regular season SEC title, joining Rod Delmonico, who coached the 1994 and 1995 Tennessee Baseball SEC champions, and S.W. Anderson, who coached the SEC champs in the 1951 Tennessee Vols.

Tennessee’s 2022 SEC title is just another accolade for the Vols who continue to dominate this season, making history at every turn. 

Vitello touched on what it meant for the program to win the SEC, and Tennessee's skipper described as simply checking another box this season. 

"I think at the end of the 30 games, you want to have checked five or six things," Vitello said following the Vols' game two win over Georgia. "So, if you can get to co or outright SEC champions, you've checked almost all of them, and the outright thing is a little bit of a separating factor. With everything our teams are trying to do in our league, [winning the SEC] means we've checked a lot of boxes." 

Friday, May 13, 2022

"Hammerin' Hank"

One of my childhood heros, Hank Aaron, collected 6,856 total bases, which is the all-time MLB record. (I always think about Aaron's record when I watch the film "Moneyball" because of its emphasis on the metrics of players just getting on base.) But then I got to wondering how many other MLB records does Hank Aaron still hold?

It turns out that Hank Aaron still holds the record for the most All-Star selections (25), while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He also holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBIs) (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least 17 seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron is also in second place in home runs (755), though some, myself included, still cling to the belief that Barry Bonds record should not count. He also holds the record for most at-bats (12,364), and in third place in games played (3,298). 

Friday, May 06, 2022

Hitters Are Having A Rough Time

It's still early in the 2022 season but one thing is certain, baseballs are not traveling as far as they used to and home runs are down significantly.

Don't believe me? Here's some facts / stats: Major League Baseball teams, thus far this season, are averaging just 0.9 home runs per game and just 4.02 runs per game overall. Those numbers, should they continue, would be the second lowest home run average and the lowest runs per game average over the last 30 seasons. Throw in the fact that the league is batting a miserable .231, which is the lowest average of all-time, and that raises a plethora of questions. 

It appears that hitters in 2022 have it even harder than hitters in 1968, who batted just .237 in baseball's final season with a 15-inch mound. They're likewise worse than they were at the outset of the '21 campaign, when hitters were batting just .236 through the season's first two months.

The obvious boogeyman this time last year was the sticky stuff that pitchers were using to get unnatural spin on their pitches. The league acted accordingly when it stepped up enforcement on banned substances in June, and it worked as hitters jacked up their average to .248 in the season's final four months.

As spin rates remain depressed in 2022, the sticky stuff ban still seems to be working. This naturally got me to poking around for other explanations for this season's early offensive outage, as well as for potential ways that the problem might be solved.

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Role of the Holy Spirit

Currently at my church, we are going through a teaching series based on the Holy Spirit. That prompted me to try to remember if in all my years of attending church, if I had ever heard anyone teach on the Holy Spirit, and to the best of my recollection, the answer is no. 

So I'm going to start with some of the basics of understanding the Holy Spirit, several of which I was ignorant about before our church started this series.

Let's examine three different scriptures, starting with 1st Corinthians 12:13, where the apostle Paul teaches that we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior.  “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 

Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

These three passages make it clear that the Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation. Paul could not say that we all were baptized by one Spirit and all given one Spirit to drink if not all of the Corinthian believers possessed the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 is even stronger, stating that if a person does not have the Spirit, he does not belong to Christ. Therefore, the possession of the Spirit is an identifying factor of the possession of salvation. Further, the Holy Spirit could not be the “seal of salvation” (Ephesians 1:13-14) if He is not received at the moment of salvation. There are many other scriptures that teach that salvation is secured the moment we receive Christ as Savior. (John 3:5-16 being just one of many)

Friday, April 22, 2022

Light In The Darkness


"Sometimes what waits in the darkness, transcends the darkness." 

What a crazy time that we currently occupy on the timeline of human existence. Even though we are not faced with the hopelessness of the Dark Ages, or the survivalist challenges of our most distant ancestors, nevertheless we are filled with numerous challenges, unique to our age, that threaten our abilities to live a life that is not plagued with fear. 

Just one of the many pressures that we are facing is a once-in-a-century disease that has ravaged the world and divides culture as no event perhaps in history has ever accomplished. It has sown the seeds of discord and distrust in people of all ages and that is the recipe for a fall of our civilization. If we can no longer trust our leaders, than our own efforts will turn from obedience to rebellion, with the moral certainty that we are left with no other choice than to wrest power away from those who would lead us astray. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

"The Decision"


“No man, not even our heroes, should be expected to carry the burden of our dreams.” Allan Barra

Mickey Mantle was one of the biggest stars in American sports history, ruling Major League Baseball in the 1950s and '60s. This was back when baseball was the number one sport in America. It was the equivalent of the modern day NFL, NBA, and college sports all wrapped in one package. And Mickey, along with Willie Mays, were the stars of that universe. 

I had the great fortune to grow up in one of the golden decades for baseball, with players that were still protected by sports journalists and without the coverage that today's players have to endure. As a child my knowledge of my favorite players came from newspapers, weekly TV broadcasts, and baseball cards. What I didn't know about my favorite players, myth stood by to fill in the gaps. And so their stature grew in my childhood eyes until they exceeded mere mortal expectations.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Walking In The Light

In the book of Galatians, a New Testament book written by Paul, he spends a great deal of time discussing the topic of freedom. Freedom to choose our paths in life is one of the central facets of our humanity. Which is why each time I read Galatians, especially chapter 4, I'm reminded of a story I heard in a sermon many years ago. The sermon was based on a story by Russell Moore, about his wife Maria, and their adoption of two young boys from a Russian orphanage. 

"When my wife Maria and I at long last received the call that the legal process was over, we returned to Russia to pick up our new sons, only to discover that their transition from orphanage to family was more difficult than we had supposed. We dressed the boys in outfits our parents had bought for them. We nodded our thanks to the orphanage personnel and walked out into the sunlight, to the terror of the two boys. They’d never seen the sun, and they’d never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or had the sensation of being carried along at 60 miles an hour down a road. I noticed that they were shaking, and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance.  I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, “That place is a pit! If only you knew what’s waiting for you: a home with a Mommy and a Daddy who love you, grand parents and great-grand parents and cousins and playmates and McDonald’s Happy Meals!” 

But all they knew was the orphanage. 

It was filthy, gloomy, and devoid of hope, but they had no other reference point. 

It was home.