Category Archives: Faith

Don’t Leave Buttprints

sands of timeI know this sounds pretty gloomy, but your life is ending. That’s one thing we all know for sure. Death is inescapable. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately… not necessarily death, but rather the time we have here on earth between conception and the day we breath our last breath. So I’ve been thinking about life actually and the limited time we spend living it. Time is precious, no doubt, and we never know when ours is going to end. We get one chance at life to do whatever we are going to do and with every passing moment we will never get that time back again. Unless you’re Dr. Strange or Superman, you can’t rewind time and have a do-over.

Knowing that my time is limited, I started thinking about how I’ve spent my 35 years on earth so far. I also asked myself, “If I die today, would I be able to look back at my life and be truly satisfied with how I spent my years here?” Right now the answer would be “no” and it may always be no, but that’s what will keep me striving for greatness.

I would love for everyone to be able to answer these questions for themselves:

If I die today, would I be able to look back at my life and be truly satisfied with how I spent my years here?

If the answer to the above question is “yes,” then WHY is it “yes?”
If the answer to the above question is “no,” then what can you do to live a life that you’d be satisfied with?

What kind of legacy to you want to leave?

Do you want to be remembered as a world-class spouse who became an example to other married couples, which strengthen the Sacrament of Marriage?

Do you want to be remembered as a world-class parent who sets the bar for other parents strive to hit?

Tell me if this doesn’t sober you up: Do you want your mark on this earth to be gravestone and some cloudy memories of you, which will die with the people you experienced those memories with?

“You can‘t leave footprints in the sands of time if you‘re sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?”

The question is, what are you going to do with the time you’re given and with the rest of the sand in the hour glass. This is the BEST video that I have found which stresses this point. Take 5 minutes out of your day to watch it:

 

“What Is Seen Is Temporary, But What Is Unseen Is Eternal”

Joseph's Way Book

A little over a week ago I began reading a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for several months and I wish I would’ve opened it up and began reading it earlier. It’s called “Joseph’s Way – A Call To Fatherly Greatness.” In addition to discovering how to become a better father and husband I have been learning a lot about the Scriptures. Here is an example of what I learned in today’s reading:

Today’s reading is about the “Listening Heart of Abraham.” In learning how to listen in silence during prayer with the Lord, I have also learned how the Patriarchs did the same. In Genesis 15 Abraham fears that he will die childless and that the servant of his house, Eliezer of Damascus, will be his heir.

2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what can you give me, if I die childless and have only a servant of my household, Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a servant of my household will be my heir.”

God responds by telling him that Eliezer will not be his heir, but Abraham’s own offspring will be his heir. Then God tests Abraham’s faith. He takes him outside and has him “Look up at the sky and count the stars” if he can and tells him “Just so, He added, will your descendants be.”

At this point I, and I’m sure the majority of other Scripture readers imagine Abraham walking outside at night looking up and seeing the stars, BUT that’s not what happened.

As today’s reading explains, “Later in the same account, the Scripture discloses that the Lord had actually commanded Abraham to count the stars while it was daylight, which rendered the stars imperceptible. Though Abram could see, he was blind to what existed in the heavens, and yet he gave his assent of faith, believing not in what was seen but what was unseen.”

I had never realized this before so I quickly flipped to Genesis 15 to see where it said Abraham looked up at the stars in the daylight and there it was plain as day. Genesis 15:12 reads “As the sun was about to set,” making it clear that it was daylight when God told Abraham to count the stars. God is asking Abraham to have faith in not what is seen, but what is unseen.

The reading goes on to say “seeing with his own eyes that he had no offspring, Abram relied upon his eyes of faith, believing in the promise of what was unseen instead of what was seen, and because of this God reckoned it to him as righteousness, for ‘what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.'” (2 Corinthians 4:18) “Because of his faith Abraham became the father of many nations, for in view of the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, being fully aware that whatever God has promised He is able to perform.”

I look forward to reading each day’s reading. It’s such an incredible book and I recommend it to every father and husband out there.

If Nothing Changes…

If nothing changes nothing changes

Have you ever noticed people (family, friends, co-workers) complain about their circumstances, but they keep living the same old routine day after day? They don’t change anything. They wake up, go to work, come home, eat, watch T.V., go to bed, etc. in hopes that someday and somehow their life will just get better. I have news for those people… it won’t. The hard truth is… if nothing changes then nothing changes.

Are you one of those people stuck in the hamster wheel of life? The never ending rut where you find yourself constantly saying “next month we’ll be doing better” and then something else comes up?

Ask yourself this question… are you okay if nothing changes?

Are you okay if nothing changes?

If you answered “yes” to that question then ask yourself the following…

If you lost your job, would you still be okay? If not, wouldn’t you think it would be wise to have a “Plan B” income even to give you peace of mind?

Is your marriage the best it can be? Are you the best spouse you can be? If not, why don’t you look into ways to improve your marriage? (Marriage conferences, read books on marriage – “The 5 Love Languages” would be a good start, or hang out with couples who’s marriage you would like to emulate)

Are you the best parent you can be for your children? Children spell “love” T-I-M-E. Do you give them enough of it or just what’s left over at the end of the day?

richard branson if someone offers you an amazing opportunityFor things to change, you must change. Nothing is going to change by you “going through the motions” day in and day out. I know because I lived that life. At 32 years of age I was working 18 hours a day trading hours for dollars because there was always too much month at the end of the money. My student loan payments were crippling. Instead of hoping that the government would come to my rescue and bail me out by forgiving my loans, I took personal responsibility for making the choice to borrow the money in the first place, which meant I had to work a second job. Then I lived that 18 hour a day life for years until my friend introduced me to AdvoCare. In the past 3 1/2 years, AdvoCare has helped us eliminate a personal loan, three student loans, and five nearly maxed out credit cards. It’s given us the option to allow my wife to stay home and raise our children. It allows us to have more money to give to causes dear to our heart. It gives us peace of mind that we never even dreamed of until we were surrounded by the culture and the people involved with AdvoCare.

If you don’t have a plan to give you more time with your family, eliminate your debt, or a Plan B income to take care of your family if you lose your job then it’s time to make some changes. If not AdvoCare then what’s your plan? If not AdvoCare then that’s okay… just do SOMETHING to better your situation.

 

 

The Truth About Jonah: He Died And Why That Matters

Jonah and the whale

Constantly learning about my faith is an absolute love of mine. While many Christians may start and stop at the New Testament, I like to go back and understand the history of our faith. In particular, I like to learn how the ancient Jews understood the Old Testament (or as they call it, the “Tanakh”) and I also love learning all the Old testament and New Testament connections. Understanding how the ancient Jews and the early 1st century Jews understood the Old Testament and knowing their oral and written traditions helps me to better understand my Catholic faith and could help all Christians to know the history of Christianity and why we believe what we believe.

Last week my wife and I were listening to the “The Jennifer Fulwiller Show” podcast and she had Dr. Brant Pitre as a guest speaker. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up today. He blows my mind with the biblical knowledge he has. While on the show he revealed some amazing information that Mariah, Jennifer Fulwiller, and I never knew about Jesus and Jonah. The one about Jonah left us in shock and I immediately began researching what he stated and came to find out that he is correct.

When it comes to the story of Jonah, I have found that Christians either 1. believe that Jonah lived in the whale for three days and three nights or 2. that the story is made up as some sort of long parable (this is what I have found most Christians believe). I have not met any Christians, including myself, that thought Jonah died in the whale… until now. Before you go frantically looking in your Bible, hold on just a second. I will include the applicable verses for you in their original Hebrew text and the English text within this post. 😉Jonah and the whale

Knowing that Jonah died helps you to fully understand Jesus’ own prophecy about his death and resurrection in Matthew 12:40-41, which reads as follows (unless stated otherwise, all references to Scripture are the NABRE translation):

40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41 At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.

Whenever I read Matthew 12:40 I only gathered that Jesus was prophesying that he would be gone for three days and three nights and then he would be back, BUT that’s not what happened as we all know. Jesus DIED and was gone for three days and three nights and was RESURRECTED. Think about this… Why would Jesus revert back to the story of Jonah to prophesy about his own death and resurrection if Jonah didn’t die and wasn’t resurrected? That wouldn’t make much sense in the full context of those two verses.

Dr. Brant Pitre went on to explain how Jonah did not live in the whale, but DIED and God resurrected him to convert all of Nineveh much like Jesus’ death and resurrection converted so many to Christianity. So what did I do next? Probably what you are doing right now; open up my Bible and check the story of Jonah out again. When I read it myself it amazed me.

I’ll do you a favor so you don’t have to go look it up and read the entire book of Jonah.  Here is the applicable section (Jonah 2:1-4 NABRE):

1 But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2 Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, from the belly of the fish: 3 Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me; From the womb of Sheol I cried for help, and you heard my voice. 4 You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me; All your breakers and your billows passed over me. (emphasis added)

HERE IS A SIDE NOTE: I asked a question on Facebook last week which translation of the Bible my friends use. The overwhelming most popular one was the NIV, followed by KJ, ESV, MSG, NLT, and a few more. When I looked at each individual version listed in the comments of my post, I noticed that only two of the versions beside the one I use (NABRE – Catholic Bible) actually use the word “Sheol,” that being the ESV and the NKJV; however, there are more translations out there that use it. I think it’s important that “Sheol” be used as it is the ORIGINAL word used in the ancient Hebrew text.

Jonah and the whale

What is Sheol anyway? Well, it’s “a place of darkness to which all the DEAD go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from life and from the Hebrew God.” It is a separate place in Hell also called the “Bosom of Abraham.”

Here is a list of just some versions that use the word “Sheol” and a list of the ones that use something else in its place:

  • “Sheol” = ESV, NKJV, NASB, NABRE, NRSVCE, RSVCE, HCSB, NJB, RSV
  • “belly of hell” = KJ, 1899 Douay-Rheims American Edition, 1752 Douay-Rheims Bible
  • “realm of the dead” = NIV
  • “the place of the dead” = NLV
  • “land of the dead” = NLT
  • “watery grave” = MSG

***Now that you can see what the different translations use, you can tell that the MSG is the weakest translation of this passage, which is another reason why I encourage my Protestant friends to please discontinue using that version. There are many weak translations within the MSG that could lead to someone completely missing something or lead to a completely different interpretation of Scripture.

Here is the original Hebrew text. The word Sheol is שְׁאוֹל in Greek. Please take note of the popup from the highlighted word below. It’s from the popular BibleHub.com site.

Jonah Sheol

I also included the Sheol search page from BibleHub.com as well:

bh

Clearly you do not go to Sheol UNLESS you are DEAD and that’s exactly where Jonah went as you can see from the Bible’s original Hebrew text. I find it fascinating because at a young age I remember seeing cartoon pictures of Jonah hanging out inside of the whale ALIVE. So as I grew older I never put much deep thought into the aforementioned verses even when I read Matthew 12:40-41. Now Matthew makes much more sense knowing that Jonah died. It explains what Jesus meant when He said that his sign would be like that of Jonah’s where He would be dead for three days and three nights and not just in some other place. Knowing this also helped clear up my questions about the almost 2,000 year old belief that Jesus went to Hell (CCC 633), but that’s a discussion for another day. ;)Jes

 

WARNING… Graphic Post, But A MUST Read For The Betterment of Our Nation

Precious Feet Pro lifeWARNING… graphic post and an explanation of this picture:

This past weekend my wife and I prayed outside of the abortion clinic in our city for the conversion of the hearts of all of the clinic workers, abortionists, and those that seek to end the lives of their children. Many people don’t even realize that we have an abortion clinic right here in our city. You wouldn’t realize it is an abortion clinic because it doesn’t broadcast itself as one. Instead, it goes by the name of “Reproductive Health Services” and it is located literally next door to a YMCA. If you were to walk out of the doors of the YMCA and kept walking for 30 yards, you’d run right into it since it’s directly next door. The people that know about it don’t wish to speak of it because Americans tend to like their abortions hidden and sanitary. They know it goes on and the majority disagree with it, but they don’t want to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. It’s very similar to how the Nazi regime was able to take over. People knew that they were killing Jews and no one spoke out because they were afraid or it was uncomfortable or both.

One thing I do to speak out is to wear these feet that I’m wearing in the picture. They are called “Precious Feet.” They are the EXACT size and shape of a 10-week unborn baby’s feet (the same size feet that can and are ripped off of a baby’s legs during an abortion). What’s terrifying is that our state’s law allows for women to kill their babies by ripping their body parts off piece by piece up to twice the age (20-weeks) and well more than twice the size of these precious feet. Get this though, if the father did something to intentionally cause that baby’s death, instead of the mom having her baby ripped to shreds, he would be charged with Capital Murder and be eligible for the death penalty. Which means that the baby is a “person” if the father kills the baby, but not a person if the mother does. There’s no explanation for that other than extreme hypocrisy.

We legalized murder in this country many decades ago and by doing so legalized infant genocide; however, we don’t have to allow it to go on any longer. Over the last couple weeks I have had conversations with many Christians (many being of my own faith, Catholic) and I’ve heard them say, “Roe v. Wade will never be overturned” so they move on to focus on other important issues.

So many people have given up, but don’t realize that the US Supreme Court has overruled itself, just up til 2001, 220 times! There have been SEVERAL 5-4 decisions going the wrong way with this current supreme court. That’s ONE person on the court making a drastic difference in the outcome of cases and guess what… the next president will likely be replacing 3 to 4 of the current justices. So it’s more likely now than ever that Roe will be overturned and the worst time not to speak out about this issue. We have so much more technology now than we did when Roe was decided and with a conservative president we could be closer than ever to overturning one of the most horrifying rulings in American history.

So this is not the time to be quiet and just “hope” that everything turns out okay. It’s the time to be a voice for life. The GOOD NEWS is… Millennials are now leaning to the “right” on abortion and are increasingly becoming more and more pro-life. smile emoticon

If you’re not comfortable being a voice for unborn children, please pray for them. They need your prayers and so do the people that participate in the act of taking a child’s life. Love them, pray for them, and comfort them when they see what they’ve done.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

If you want to see what speaking out on this issue of abortion did for a self-proclaimed super feminist, progressive liberal, pro-abortion woman’s viewpoint, I encourage you to read the article below:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

Checkup On Baby #2 Was Anything But Regular – Here’s Our Story…

Baby ultrasound picture 12 weeks
I posted this to Facebook this past week and wanted to post it here as well.

After you read this, please follow the CALL TO ACTION:

Thursday we went to the doctor for my wife’s 12-week baby appointment with Baby Rutter #2. I know I don’t have to go with her, but I do. I went for every appointment when she was pregnant with our first child mainly for one reason, and that reason was brought to light this past week.

We were brought back to the room where the doctor would see her and he saw us almost immediately. As is routine, he checked for the baby’s heartbeat. With Camille he found it almost immediately every time; however, that wasn’t the case at all today. Using the heart monitor, he moved it up and down, left and right, and pressed down hard enough that he had to ask my wife if it hurt her or not. He relocated the device multiple times for several minutes searching for the heartbeat. I knew immediately what my wife was thinking. It was the same thing I was thinking. I closed my eyes, held Camille tightly, and began to pray. I said several Hail Mary’s and prayed that we would hear the heartbeat, but after several long minutes he didn’t find it.

The doctor ordered an ultrasound to make sure that everything was okay. It didn’t take the ultrasound tech long to get in the room we walked to, but Mariah was already covered in her tears. As scared as I was I had to tell my wife that everything was going to be okay. Camille sensed her mom being upset and for the first time since we had walked into the doctor’s office she reached out to her because she wanted to console and be next to her mommy. It’s amazing how at less than a year old she already has those instincts. A million thoughts began running through my head, but I did my best to block them out and focus on praying and comforting my wife.

My wife handed Camille back to me and then laid on the ultrasound table. As the ultrasound tech moved the device around on her, we saw our sweet little baby. All the fingers were there. All the toes. The arms and legs looked perfect as did the head. We waited for what seemed like an eternity for the heartbeat… and then we saw it, and then heard it. It was a huge relief. my wife hadn’t stopped crying and now her tears were of a different origin. They were coming from happiness and gratefulness. We thank God that He has given us a healthy baby. We thank God that He is giving Camille a baby brother or sister to play with. We realize how fortunate we are and in the same token, we realize how many people aren’t.

After posting this on Facebook we had people say, “that’s why you shouldn’t tell people you’re pregnant until well after your first trimester.” We are of another mindset. We told everyone almost immediately upon finding out that my wife was pregnant. It’s a reason to rejoice. Another life is being created and we would want people praying that this child comes into the world healthy. If something went horribly wrong we would want people knowing why we were acting different. We would want people to be praying for us and for the soul of our child. That’s why we tell everyone and why we always will.

So the call to action is to please pray a prayer of thankfulness for those of you who have been blessed with healthy children. Please pray for those who have suffered the loss of a child. Pray for the Lord to comfort them because I can’t imagine the pain they have endured. We just experienced the beginning of what we thought could’ve been a long journey of tears and heartache and that’s something I wouldn’t want anyone to experience. God bless you all who have experienced that.

So that’s why I go with my wife. Because if we ever experience that, I don’t want her to experience it alone.

How We Came Back To The Catholic Church

Not too long ago Mariah and I shared our re-conversion story in a two-part series on ArchAngel radio. We shared it in hopes that many other people that walked a similar path as us would hear it and help shine some light on the path they were traveling before they grew further away from Christ. For those of you that didn’t hear it, here are Parts I & II:

Part I

Part II

Here’s our story in a nutshell:

Both Mariah and I grew up in Catholic families going to mass every Sunday not really knowing why, but only because that’s what we were supposed to do. We also both attended Catholic schools. She attended a Catholic school all the way through high school and I attended one for four years from 5th to 8th grade and then another four years in a Catholic college. You would think that with all that Catholic schooling and attending mass with the family on Sunday and by being alter servers that we would’ve had a great understanding of why attending mass was so important, except that we didn’t. We actually didn’t until after we were married.

Mr. Bean asleep at churchTo be honest, as a child I despised going to mass. My mom would have to basically bribe me by telling me that if I didn’t go to mass then I wouldn’t be allowed to go eat with the family when we dined out after the 7:00 p.m. mass. If you know me well, then you know I LOVE food! So I went, but that was the only reason. I thought church was boring. The music was terrible and mostly all on an organ, which didn’t help. There weren’t many people there my age and pretty much everyone there was already collecting social security. I had a tough time staying awake and keeping my eyes open during the readings, the Gospel, and the homilies. It also didn’t help that the church we attended was where it seemed all the priests were sent to retire. They were all old… very old. To stay awake I would talk during mass to anyone that would listen, therefore, I didn’t pay any attention.

Then I went to a Catholic College. While there I played guitar in the church band and that may have been the only reason I went to mass with the exception of a few other times. I’m not sure why I decided to play in the band, but I did for about a year. During my college years the Catholic church was hit by a flood of priest sex abuse scandals, which didn’t exactly help my faith in the church. I thought, “If you can’t trust a priest, who can you trust?” There were so many things that I never understood. I never understood confessing to a priest, why we took the Eucharist, transubstantiation, and many other parts of the Catholic faith and I don’t feel like it was taught, or at least not well, while I attended Catholic schools. I do have one small caveat: I have always had a short attention span (pretty much major A.D.D.), which could’ve lead to me not paying attention when certain things were taught.

I graduated from college in 2004 and after I received my bachelor’s degree in Theology… just kidding, it was in Graphic Design, I decided to go to law school. During those three years I can probably count the number of times I attended mass on two hands. I took a break from going to church for a while… a long while. It wasn’t until the end of my third year that some friends invited me to a non-denominational church service. For some reason I definitely did not want to go. Something inside of me was telling me that I was not doing the right thing by going, but I went anyway and I liked it. The band was great, the preacher was great, the people I met there were all great, but something felt missing.

I had attended that church service, or “worship service” as many people like to call it, several more times for a little over a year and then began going to another non-denominational church service for another couple years. I felt great! I was finally feeling like this is what church was supposed to be like and this is how I’m supposed to live in communion with Jesus. I would come out of the service “on fire” for Christ. I’d be so pumped up that I just wanted to talk to everyone about Him and live out my life the way Christ did. I wanted to read more of the Bible and get involved in Bible studies, which I did. I began learning more and more about Scripture. Man, this was great stuff! So you may think that this is where my journey ended and remains today. That couldn’t be farther from the situation.

undertaker-sitting-up1Something kept pulling me back to the Catholic Church. So although I felt like an outsider and possibly an outcast after attending non-denominational services for so long, I began going to both non-denominational services AND mass in the same day. Guess what… after all these years of not going to mass, nothing changed. It was the same old mass except this time I did my best to follow along with the readings, the Gospel, and the homily. I had to tell myself that although the music may be just as terrible as I remembered, that wasn’t why I was going to mass.

I did the dual-church thing for several months all the way up to the point of my marriage. At that time Mariah was also attending a non-denominational church in Baton Rouge. We discussed all the commonalities in our faith and religious walks and couldn’t believe how similar they were. We were engaged soon after we met and began planning our wedding. Then the question came as to where we would get married, as in which church. Just like something started pulling me back to the Catholic Church before, something was pulling me back there once again. I had to get married in a Catholic Church. I could not articulate why, but I knew that I would not get married if it wasn’t in a Catholic Church. So that was the plan. We went through the marriage prep and met with the priest that would preside over our wedding and promised him that we would live out the teachings of the Catholic Church including being open to children (which I don’t think anyone could say we have been otherwise since Camille was born before our one year anniversary) and we promised to go to keep holy the Sabbath (A.K.A. go to mass every Sunday).

As the soon-to-be “man of the family,” I knew that I would have to be the faith leader. So I began to listen to educational talks on CD. I learned more about my faith on those CDs than I had in all of my Catholic school years. I continued to listen to them up to the date of our wedding and soon after. We had gone on a weekend engagement retreat to a monastery where we grew closer than ever as a couple and were forced to confront many possible issues that may arise in our marriage, such as where we would take our children to church and where they would go to school. We both decided on homeschooling or Catholic schools for our future children’s education and both decided on taking them to mass on Sundays because taking them to both services may be confusing. I’m glad that wasn’t a foreseeable problem for us and came to that decision on our own and together.

We went on our honeymoon the week after our wedding and then came back home and went to mass. After being home for a week, in my eyes, the worst possible argument topic that could come up in a marriage presented itself. It was 10:30 at night and Mariah and I were both in bed. I could tell that something was bothering her, but was afraid to ask. I didn’t have to because she wound up telling me. She asked, “when are we going back to the non-denominational church?” That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was at a crossroads. Do I do what I believe God is telling me to do or do I put my wife first before God and do what will make her happy? That was an easy decision for me, but it didn’t make the pain I felt after giving her my answer any easier to deal with. I turned my head, took a deep breath, turned back to her and my exact words were, “We’re not.” She immediately began to cry. Two weeks into our marriage and I had my wife in tears. I thought to myself, “Way to go bud! Now your wife is going to cry herself to sleep.”

Set All AfireAs hard as it was to give her that answer I actually felt peace about it. Although I felt peace about it, I knew that my two word response that we weren’t returning to the other church was not going to satisfy my wife. I felt like I owed her more than that, but at that time I could not articulate why we weren’t going back. So with my wife crying in our bed I walked to the back of the house into the office, popped a CD into my computer called “Set All Afire” and began to listen. It was a compilation of seven talks by seven different speakers. I prayed that through that CD God would reveal to me how to articulate my reasoning to my wife. I didn’t just listen to the CD once. I kept listening to it for 4 straight hours until 2:30 a.m. After 4 hours of listening to the talks I decided it was time to go to bed. To my surprise, Mariah was still awake and still crying. So I was not looking forward to the next morning. I knew if I could get Mariah to listen to what I heard on the CD that the message would be received much better than if it were coming from me. So I circled four of the seven talks and pleaded with her the next morning to listen to them. Thankfully I have an AMAZING wife who was open to doing just that. She listened to all four the next morning while I was at work.

I had to travel later that day and asked Mariah if she wanted to join me for the ride. I thought she’d most definitely decline since she wasn’t happy with me after the previous night, but she did come along. I asked a friend if he had anymore CDs that would help me with the issue we were dealing with and he gave me 5 more, 3 of which we played to and from our destination. It was on that car ride when our journey began. I asked Mariah if we could listen to the first CD my friend recommended. She said that was fine and I put it in the car CD player. We listened to a talk called “True Worship” by Father Michael Schmitz. He’s both hilarious and captivating. He also likes to explain with analogies or parables, which is how I also like to explain and learn things. Although hilarious and captivating, his talk was so powerful that it absolutely broke me. I came undone and felt extremely convicted listening to it. It was a good thing I was wearing sunglasses that day because if there’s one thing that can get me emotional it’s the feeling of God working in my life and how great He is. “True Worship” is to this day the most powerful talk I’ve ever heard. When it was over I told Mariah that she could plug her phone and play from her iTunes or listen to the radio if she wanted, but she surprisingly asked if we could listen to another talk on CD. That was it. Everything changed after that. We began to learn things we never knew or have ever heard about the Catholic faith we grew up with. Our journey back Home had started.

I plan on writing exactly what it was that brought us back to His church and what we learned that somehow we missed after over 2 decades of Catholic upbringing. Now that we know what we were missing, His church and His love have become extremely beautiful to us and become more and more beautiful every day.

True WorshipIf you would like to listen to the 3-part talk that changed our lives forever, you can do so by clicking the link below:

Fr. Mike – True Worship (Click to play or right-click to download)

Dear Camille, Your First Christmas…

Dear Camille,

Your first Christmas was AWESOME! It was great for many reasons and one is because on Christmas day you turned NINE MONTHS old! We can’t believe how fast you’re growing. It’s so neat to see you learn and watch you think. If there is a way to pause you at this age just a little bit longer I’m going to do it. Everything is going by too fast. So it’s been bittersweet.

We put the Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving and because you can crawl now your mom and I thought you’d be pulling all of the low hanging ornaments off of the tree. To our surprise we made it all the way through Christmas without that happening AND THEN you suddenly became very interested in the glass ones. I must say, determination must run in the genes because you sure have it girl. There was nothing mommy could do to keep you from the gold ornaments. Just look at your determination!535346_702131521970_2497673959976117419_n
10590566_702131546920_6977066931582462751_n16611_702131472070_2434020600023626517_n

You were given a lot of cool gifts including a little nativity scene, which you apparently thought was a nativity snack since all you did was chew all the pieces. Gram and Papa gave you pajamas that you’ve already worn multiple times. Nonnie and Papa got you some books, which you’ve also turned into snacks and plenty of toys (I’m sure to chew on as well). Your mom and I got you the best gift of all though! While Uncle Ryan was FaceTiming Gram and Papa so they could see you open your pajamas, we gave you a pajama shirt that we kept secret from everyone else. It said, “The Best big Sister.” That’s right, your mom and I gave you the gift of a baby brother or sister! 🙂 We are not sure when you are going to find out because your mom and I are in a debate as to whether we should find out early or when your baby sibling is born. I want to wait, but your mom can’t keep secrets from herself. So who knows when we’ll find out. I’ll tell mom that you said you’re on #teamwait with daddy. 🙂

12391059_701321041180_6692036232728878235_n

We also went to your great grandmother’s house for Christmas dinner and you got to see the most Christmas bows you may ever see in your life. There had to be several hundred of them! We took a tour of the house and you got to see all of the decorations and pictures of when daddy, Uncle Ryan, Aunt Emily, and Nonnie and Papa were little. We also were reminded of how great of a man your great grandfather was. I wish you had a chance to meet him and I really wish he had a chance to meet you. I took a picture of when President Reagan wrote him a letter for some jeans he sent someone on the President’s behalf. Your dad’s family used to own a clothing company that your great-great-grandfather started all on his own. Did you know that you come from a long line of hard working successful entrepreneurs? Well, you do. Maybe that’s why daddy always knew he’d start his own business. The best part is, mom and I get to build our business together and we do that by helping other people. 🙂 You’ll get to be a part of it soon my love… in 17 years and 2 months. 🙂 Can’t wait for you to read all these letters! We need to teach you how to read soon!!!

1913788_701367024030_8718832195705928646_n

 

Love,

Dad

Dear Camille… It’s Been Months

Dear Camille,

It’s been months since I’ve written you to document your milestones. I’d like to blame it on the fact that your mom and I haven’t had a stretch of 3 or more hours of sleep any night the past several months, but honestly it’s because I haven’t focused on it. The good news is that I haven’t focused on it because I truly have just been enjoying watching you grow and learn. One day we are going to look back at all the videos I’ve taken of you and you’ll see how smart and funny you really are. Speaking of funny, you laugh ALL THE TIME! The video below is a perfect example:

See? I told ya. I bet you laughed again watching this. I’ve probably watched this one a hundred times!

Maybe while you’re cracking your mom up all day you can convince her to take a month milestone pick of you since we didn’t for the past few months. :/ Although she’ll probably be too busy making sure you don’t almost climb out of your crib again or get into EVERYTHING that you’re not supposed to and nothing that you’re supposed to. We didn’t even know you could pull yourself up in your crib. That was a surprise. We also didn’t know that you liked to eat the wooden railing of your crib. Maybe we’ll check and see if they have wood flavored baby food next time we go to the store. You’ve got to like it better than the peas and prunes baby food. Remember how you threw them up all over me? I smelled fantastic after that.

One thing that has remained the same since you were a tiny little bitty baby is that you still wake up with the biggest smile and are ridiculously happy in the morning! I think I know why you’re so happy and it has a lot to do with your mom. Did you know that she’s the most positive, encouraging, and faithful person that we know!? We know lots of people, but she takes the cake. Being around her as much as you are you can’t help but to let her positivity rub off on you.

You don’t know this yet, but you are a very blessed girl that your mom chose to be a full-time stay-at-home and work-from-home mom. Not many moms have the opportunity to be home with their Camille’s but yours does. She could go get a job if she wanted, but she decided instead to take the hardest job ever… taking care of and raising children full-time. Make sure you thank her for that every day.

Soon I will write you more letters with pictures of you growing up. You look JUST LIKE YOUR MOM! That means you’re beautiful and you even have way less teeth than her. 🙂 I’ll see you soon and when I do I’ll toss you in the air like you like me to do and carry you around the house on my shoulders. I know that’s your favorite.

Love,

Daddy

A List of Books That Can Change Your Life

Quite frequently I am asked for book recommendations on leadership and personal growth and development. So I decided to compile this list of books that are in no particular order. In fact, my favorite books are listed at #4, #15, and #18. This list is not finished and will never be finished. As I continue to read I will continue to recommend the books that I like. I’ve done you the favor of listing the links to each book on Amazon.

1. 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now– Robert Smith

I recommend this to everyone as the first book they should read when deciding to change their lives. It’s a great book that will leave you motivated and with a completely different mindset than before you started it. After reading this book I looked at everything in a brighter light and felt more control of my situation than I ever had before. We only have a certain number of days here on earth. The question is… what are you going to do with them?

20,000 Days and Counting Robert Smith Andy Andrews

2. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success– Andy Andrews

This is another great book for people looking to change their current situation. It’s a fictional book based on the apparent end-of-life travels of the character David Ponder. During his travel he meets famous historical characters that both you and I know and gains a very important life principle from each of them.

the traveler's gift andy andrews seven decisions

3. The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class– Keith Cameron Smith

This is a short, yet profound book. As I read it I felt very convicted on acting and thinking like a “middle class” citizen. When you read this book it will become clear to you that simply acting and thinking like a millionaire will help you become one.

top 10 distinctions between millionaires and the middle class keith cameron smith

4. How to Win Friends & Influence People– Dale Carnegie

I cannot say enough about this book! Applying the simple disciplines that Carnegie mentions in this book will have people leaving a discussion with you feeling better about themselves and life in general. People will WANT to be around you all the time because you’ll make them a better person.

how to win friends and influence people dale carnegie

5. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You– John Maxwell

This is a MUST read book if you are looking to become a greater leader. It’s the #1 book you need to read on leadership. This book has led to me being a HUGE John Maxwell fan. Out of all of the books that he has written, this is the first one you should buy!

21 Irrefutable Laws of leadership john maxwell

6. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness– Jeff Olsen

This is the book that started it all for me. It changed my thinking and will do the same for you. It made me realize that EVERY thing that I did either moved me closer to my goals or farther away. It’s the book that made me begin reading personal development and leadership books in the first place.

the slight edge jeff olson

7. The Science of Getting Rich– Wallace D. Wattles

If you have ever thought to yourself, “I don’t need anymore money. I make enough” or “I’m comfortable with my wealth right now,” then you need to read this book. You’re in for a BIG shock! When I first began reading it I thought, “Man, this guy is greedy and this book is just all about greed”… THEN I was awakened to the truth of what God wants for us and for others. Wattles uses Scripture to explain how The Lord wants us to earn as much income as we can.

science of getting rich wallace d wattles

8. Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job– Jon Acuff

This book involves a very hard concept for most to grasp. Jon Acuff explains the mindset and actions you need before leaving your current job (whether you like your job or not) and starting your dream job. If you are considering beginning your dream job, you have to read this book!
Quitter john acuff

9. The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees– Keith Cameron Smith

After reading Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires & The Middle Class, I began reading every book Smith wrote including this one. This is a quick read, but don’t think because it is short that t is any less impactful than other books on this list. Make sure this is one you get!

top 10 distinctions between entrepreneurs and employees keith cameron smith

10. The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective– Andy Andrews

There are too many great things I can say about this book. Andy Andrews describes his time as homeless living under a bridge and then meeting a man by the name of Jones who changed his life forever by being a “Noticer.”

the noticer andy andrews

11. The Greatest Salesman in the World– Og Mandino

This book will BLOW YOUR MIND at the end of it. It’s like one of those movies that is really good the whole way through and then you get to the end and your thought is “WHOA!” Trust me on this… you NEED to read this book.

the greatest salesman in the world og mandino

12. The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You– Andy Andrews

Just when you thought Jones from “The Noticer” was out of sight, he’s back again to change more lives. This book is geared toward raising your children not just to be great children, but to become great adults. Andy is a master of teaching people how to raise children into successful adult leaders in society. Whether you have children now or may have children one day, you need to read this book as soon as possible to understand how to use “standards” to foster your child’s growth into an amazing adult.

the noticer returns andy andrews

13. The Final Summit: A Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save Humanity– Andy Andrews

This is the sequel to “The Traveler’s Gift.” David Ponder is back to help save the world this time and has the help of all the great leaders this world has ever seen. This book is another mind changing motivational book that will make you spring into action.

the final summit andy andrews

14. Think and Grow Rich– Napoleon Hill

Talk about changing your thinking… that’s EXACTLY what this book is about. Hill explains how just changing your thinking can make you rich. I highly suggest this book to everyone who sits around wondering how they can get out of that financial hole and increase their wealth.

think and grow rich napoleon hill

15. Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity– Garrett B. Gunderson

This is probably my most favorite book on the list. Please see my two posts on this book to get a great idea of the value it adds:

killing sacred cows garrett gunderson

16. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!– Robert Kiyosaki

This book will help you think intelligently about earning income. There are several ways to earn money… some are wise and some are not. Kiyosaki explains which ways are the wise ways to earn income and why they are.

rich dad poor dad robert kiyosaki

17. Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom– Robert Kiyosaki

This book dives a little deeper into the 4 quadrants you choose to be in as an income earner. It’ll help solidify your decision to be in the “I” quadrant as fast as possible.

rich dad poor dad cashflow quadrant robert kiyosaki

18. The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership-James C. Hunter

As I mentioned above, this is one of my favorite books on leadership. It takes place at a monasterial retreat and the main character learns from a very successful leader, who also happens to be a monk, all that he needs to turn his situation around not just with his business, but also with his marriage and family life.

the servant a simple story about the true essence of leadership james hunter

19. The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow– Mark Miller

This book has some of the same concepts as The Servant. It lays out exactly WHAT you need to be a successful leader and the most important leadership quality. It’s a very easy, yet impactful read.

the heart of leadership mark miller

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Motivated Mama

Transformation, Growth, Purpose and Love For My Little Family of Seven

the five minute Catholic

Be Catholic for 5 minutes for Life.

Mississkinny

A southern girl's cooking on a skinny girl's lifestyle

Never Say Never

Believe, Persevere, Achieve

ProperStyle

Put a little Style in everything you do!

Word (en)Count(ers)

S.F. Henson's Writing Journey

Fr. Z's Blog - What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Frank commentary on Catholic issues & slavishly accurate liturgical translations - by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬)

CNS Blog

More news and views from Catholic News Service

Gaudium Christi

The Joy of Christ

The Rutter Life

The Life & Times of The Rutters

Beardownandbefit's Blog

faith, fitness, fun and fellowship

Roota Designs

Roota Designs is home to the FUNNIEST shirts and other products on the internet! We have everything from bachelor party shirts to your "World's Greatest Dad" shirts! We've got it all. Also check out the random shirt of the day @ http://www.squidoo.com/randomshirtoftheday

%d bloggers like this: