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1 Thing I learned from The Revenant


I watched the Revenant recently.

Revenant – someone who returns after a long absence (believed to be dead).

Fitting title for the film, but there is so much beyond this single description in its 2hr 36min. run time.

It’s a brutal, harrowing tale of a man trying to survive. It’s a chain of events. His fortune seems to go from bad-to worse-to despair, and I was reminded of all kinds of biblical heroes who encountered just such odds in Old Testament events – especially Job.

I know. It’s not even remotely accurate to compare DiCaprio’s role in a film to a man of God, but this one stuck with me as I read today’ devotional about blessings.

Would you agree that for a follower of God one of the hardest principles is being blessed and not straying from God after the blessing has occurred?

Like being in the woods with a compass and suddenly throwing the compass away once we see something familiar. It’s a similar self-reliance in our spiritual walk.

While God says, “Look to me and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22), our inclination is to turn tail and run for what we believe to be higher ground.

Much like DiCaprio’s character in Revenant, we travel through life’s seasons getting beat down on more than one occasion, and these scars can wound us beyond repair if we allow them to. But, opposite to the physical fight of man’s battle with nature, the spiritual requires us to simply stop tugging on our own.

To admit, God is more than capable of handling your, mine, and our issues, if we let him.


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Share Your BEST “Life” Story – Win a Book.


Share your BEST life story on the Contact form of this site and be entered to WIN a copy of Brian’s story collection “Baptisms & Dogs.”

Official announcement on Halloween!

2 copies will be mailed out to the 2 BEST stories we receive by that date. (Criteria: ANYTHING! It’s a subjective selection process. Can be a funny story about the embarrassing things Grandpa did on vacation once, or, a time when you didn’t think you’d make it out of Disneyland alive. We want your BEST life story thus far!) Also, we’d like to share those winning stories on the site – proudly displayed in the ‘Blog’ section of . So, it’s SUPER important to send your story soon! (Don’t worry. There aren’t any grammar police around to judge.) The 2 winners selected will be asked to supply their mailing addresses following the announcement and the books will be shipped ASAP.

Tell YOUR BEST story today.

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Vegas does exist.


If one word emerged from my recent work trip to Vegas, it was this: spectacle.

My co-workers took in the sights, sounds, and yes, smells of Vegas.

We were stationed in Caesar’s Palace, and it was where we attended conference sessions throughout the week.

There were all kinds of magnificent statues and displays throughout the hotel.

But, not a one of them were the real thing.

Vegas boasted higher prices than pretty much any place in the continental US. And I wondered, why?

The spectacle didn’t offer originality.

Was it fun to roam around in ‘Italy’ and ‘France’ almost simultaneously? Of course. But, it wasn’t it at all. The facades were a welcome distraction from the day-to-day sights and sounds, I guess.

I still found myself happy to be home last night. Home: where a bottle of water is not $7. Word to the wise, if you pick up the items in the Vegas hotel mini-fridges for more than 5 seconds it will bill you for the snack.

But, it’s still a place I’m happy to have seen. Now I can safely say it’s a place like any other. It comes with its own set of blemishes, and the spectacle is somehow just a magnification of said blemishes.

Oh and by the way, the fake Elvis’ expect a tip if you take your picture with them. Just a heads up. 🙂


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Hope is More than Wishy-Washy


Hope can be built on a lot of things, and we can have hope in a LOT of things. Hope in the car to get us home. Hope in the Wildcats to not lose another football game. Hope in a bridge we cross everyday to not collapse. Hope in this month’s income to satisfy our bills. Hope in a family, friend, or neighbor to not give up on us in our darkest moment.

Hope is built on what you believe to be true.


As a result, belief is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. It’s the WHAT. Faith in the car, the Wildcats, the microwave, this month’s income, and those closest to you.

What you believe matters.

What you believe will directly shape your life (and ultimately your future):

  • your claims
  • how you treat others
  • how you respond to various life circumstances

**(Please remember I’m placing myself in these statements as well.)


It’s up to you to inform your beliefs.

Demosthenes once said, “Nothing is easier than self-deceit, for what each man wishes that he also believes to be true.”

And it goes without saying, but I’ll write it anyway that you cannot inform your beliefs without taking time to study.

Opening a book, reading a favorite novel, studying the Bible, analyzing Proverbs, or, all of the above. These can be tactics to help solidify those beliefs. (You know what you know, because you know. You know?)


When you don’t inform your beliefs, you become stuck.

Have you felt this? It’s that almost tangible feeling like there’s a lid on the box of your life. You not only wonder where your place is in the world-at-large, but also wrestle with the question of who you are as a person.

  1. you miss the promotion at work
  2. the truck stops working
  3. your favorite pet dies
  4. God doesn’t seem to be answering a specific prayer of yours


The Bible says to rejoice even in the difficulties.

I know this might not be the answer you’re looking for, but it’s meant to signify the larger scope from day-to-day meanderings. Our instinctual hope, if fixed on an eternal God, will be to rejoice as a result of the overflow of our hearts. I know this might not be where you are today, and admittedly I’m not there 24/7 either, but, it’s something to strive for.

Bottom Line.

Set your beliefs on solid truths that will have eternal rewards.

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Editing: The Faces of Revision.

If writing a book makes one look like this:

IMG_04801(Fig. 1)


Then, editing a book can best be summed up as:

IMG_04821(Fig. 2)

Editing: Is the Worst.

It takes the frustration and painstaking lifeblood of a first draft, bundles it tightly into a little ball, and hurls it at hoop…in the Atlantic Ocean, miles from shore, miles from a life preserver. Side note: Paper isn’t waterproof.

Ok, I’m over-exaggerating…but just slightly.


I appreciate your prayers this week, and next, and the next.

No one should have to wear a face like this–for long anyways.


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Integrity – Sleeping Soundly at Night.


Do you rest peacefully at night?

Not a Serta mattress conversation. (I’m not asking about counting sheep.)

I mean, do you feel at peace, when you lay your head down onto the pillow?

Is there a connectedness between you and the day you toiled through? Did hard work bring you a sense of solace?

There’s a lot to be said for the integrity of a hard day’s work. Farmers can say it – physically, Stock Market workers attest to it – mentally, and especially school teachers – spiritually.

The work yields a bit of satisfaction. Doesn’t it? On some level?

Knowing that you remained steadfast, even during the tantrums that a high schooler might’ve thrown.

Whether you adhere to the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, or neither, this bit about integrity is a universal quality we all possess as human beings.

As William Penn wrote, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”

Wise man.

So, it doesn’t matter if you are one extreme or another on the Myers – Briggs Personality Test, you are still human and you value honesty, integrity, and mutual respect.

  • Leaving work 15 minutes before the departure time,
  • not logging a vacation day you took,
  • letting someone into the movies without a ticket, etc…these are all ways we can compromise our integrity, and for the believer, our witness.


For these reasons, and the love of the Creator, it’s essential that our actions speak louder, and our Yesses be Yes. And our Nos be No.

Maybe we remember 9/11/01, but may we also strive to live with the urgency of the unknown. None of us know our departure date from earth. For this reason alone, integrity should be key to daily decision-making.




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Phobias – The Space They Take.


There are hundreds thousands of phobias out there.

Thousands more with actual names attached to them.

It’s a reflection of the fears that ensnare us (are around us each and every day).

Here’s a list from a site that’s been compiling them since the 1980s.

There’s even a fear of numbers called Arithmophobia.

Ahh! Watch out! Numbers!!

I looked through the list and tried to assess how many I had. It was more than 2. And, I’ll leave it at that.

Fun to see these represented under the letter ‘B’:


  1. Bacillophobia- Fear of microbes.
  2. Bacteriophobia- Fear of bacteria.
  3. Ballistophobia- Fear of missiles or bullets.
  4. Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
  5. Barophobia- Fear of gravity.
  6. Basophobia or Basiphobia- Inability to stand. Fear of walking or falling.
  7. Bathmophobia- Fear of stairs or steep slopes.
  8. Bathophobia- Fear of depth.
  9. Batophobia- Fear of heights or being close to high buildings.
  10. Batrachophobia- Fear of amphibians, such as frogs, newts, salamanders, etc.
  11. Belonephobia- Fear of pins and needles. (Aichmophobia)
  12. Bibliophobia- Fear of books.
  13. Blennophobia- Fear of slime.
  14. Bogyphobia- Fear of bogeys or the bogeyman.
  15. Botanophobia- Fear of plants.
  16. Bromidrosiphobia or Bromidrophobia- Fear of body smells.
  17. Brontophobia- Fear of thunder and lightning.
  18. Bufonophobia- Fear of toads.


But, why are we afraid of so many things (many that can’t even hurt us)?

In a great article recently, Relevant Magazine writer, Adam Jeske, dissected Nomophobia – the fear of being disconnected.

Great topic for our social media world!

I admit I’m guilty of that one as well.

  • Honest question: How long can I go without my cellular?
  • Honest answer: It buzzed a minute ago, and I’m tempted to stop typing this blog to respond to an email.
  • Point within all of this and biblical assertion – serving God and $ is referenced specifically in Scripture, but Jeske writes, couldn’t we just as easily ask, “if we can serve both God and Facebook.” He goes on to offer 5 solutions for that specific fear, in his post.


So, no matter the phobia, the fear – we can’t let it freeze us. We can’t let it control our lives. No matter the device. Regardless of its powers. It cannot be our strength. No cell phone deserves that worship. No fear either.



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2 Types of Days.

Some days you grab the bull by the horns (proverbially speaking of course)…



Other days, not so much.



As we walk through this life, we know there is strength in asking others for help. I recommend doing so, before it gets to this point.


Here’s to your (and my) other days!