The Death of Journalism

W. Tate Brannan

This somewhat a departure from my general topics.  However, I feel as this is something that affects everyone’s ability to live life well.

Our world is filled opinion.  Some of those opinions we agree with and some we don’t.  Some opinions are fueled by good will and promote life.  some opinions are fueled by extreme views that produce death.  Sometimes it’s physical death, but almost always it is spiritual and emotional death that creates division and destroys relationships.  We won’t always agree with other people.  We should respect the beliefs they hold and give them the room to freely express those beliefs.  When we fail to do that, we abdicate our right to do the same.  Misinformation has infiltrated our daily lives.  It doesn’t matter what your personal point of view is regarding politics, life values, likes or dislikes are.  You can find a source that will cater to your views. 

Without a doubt the biggest piece of misinformation in our society is that the cable news networks like CNN and FOX as well as other “24-hour news networks” and social media outlets, have in fact become our news sources.  The truth is they are providing the viewers an editorialized version of the news.  If you look at it clearly, they are talking about the events and not reporting the events.  This is because a major shift happened when cable news was born.  Journalism began to die and give way to opinion-based news that appealed to the viewers emotions rather than present facts that allowed the viewer to determine the importance of those facts and form their own views.  Now, we are being told what we should believe rather than determine our own opinions based off of facts free of bias.  One of journalisms greatest reporters, Walter Cronkite said, “When we are doing the daily news, covering politics- it is our duty to be sure we do not permit our prejudices to show.  That is simply basic journalism”. 

We have witnessed over the last few months the result of allowing misinformation propagated by our media sources.  It has caused death, destruction and division in our country.  This is not how we live life well.  We are seeing the media and politics weaponized in this new war.  Our elected leaders, local, state, and federal, are fueling this division and we need it to stop.  Somebody has to put the brakes on this downhill spiral.  It is going to require for somebody to say, “enough of this foolishness.  I choose to not be a party to this any longer”.  If this first crucial step of intervention is not done, then I guarantee that it will cause a chasm in our society that we will not be able to bridge.  Someone once said to me, that the justified use of power is like a sword.  To use it correctly requires us to keep it sheathed until it is needed, and then only wield it with humility and mercy.  In this manner the sword is able to bring life or death.  To wield it with vengeance and hatred only ends in death.

I am choosing to hit the brakes.  I will not continue to be a party to division in my country.  I do not apologize for my personal beliefs, and I will not get in the way of others expressing theirs.  I am not the judge and jury that decides what is worthy and what is not.  In doing this I refuse to place one more log onto the fire and will make my best effort to promote life and not engage in rhetoric that promotes death, and division.  By doing this I will remove a great deal of stress from my life and provide more time to do things that allow me to reach out and provide good will to others.  Helping others is one way we can bring an added sense of fulfillment to our lives and the lives of others.  Making the effort to disengage from sources of stress in our lives will add years to your life and will help you live life well.  As far as the news is concerned, I encourage you to be the journalist of your own life.  Verify and fact check the opinions expressed, and make your decisions accordingly; and don’t forget, we don’t know what we don’t know.  There is likely more critical information that has yet to be revealed.  My best wishes for you all as you push on in this journey called life. 

If you liked my article please follow me at “”; for more weekly articles to come.

The Problem With New Year’s Resolutions

W. Tate Brannan

Every year, I suspect, that a large percentage of humanity make “New Years Resolutions”.  The problem with such resolutions is that they are not undergirded with the determination to see them through.  Some of the most popular resolutions are to (1) lose weight, (2) Spend more time with family, (3) do that home improvement project.  I am sure that you can think of other resolutions.  We make these promises to ourselves without any substantial consequences.  Often, we fail to meet our goals.  We justify our abandonment of our good intentions by saying to ourselves, “It doesn’t hurt anyone but me”, or “Hey, I tried.”  But therein lies the problem.  We don’t give ourself enough respect.  If it were a promise to a neighbor or friend you would keep it because you value the relationship that you have with them and don’t want to injure that relationship, or don’t want others to think bad of you.  But we don’t value the relationship with have with ourselves.  You know this to be true because when you fail yourself, there is that inner disappointment that you feel because you’ve broken another personal promise.  Another issue with “New Years Resolutions” are we make them one day a year.  If we fail to make our commitment within the first couple of weeks, then we’ve dodged the bullet.  We convince ourselves we can wait another year.  We make weightless promises to ourselves that we will do it next January.  Why do we feel that we can’t make changes anytime other than in the New Year? I’ll leave it to you to answer that question.

So how do we correct this issue.  The first thing is, we have to make a commitment that we are going to respect ourselves.  What does that mean?  It means that we will guard our reputation and not allow it to be tarnished.  It means we will show respect to our bodies by cherishing personal health.  It means no more broken promises.  This is a core character trait that we will enforce with vigor.  There are no such things as white lies.  A lie is a lie.  The worse kind of lie is the lie we tell ourselves.  The second thing is don’t make commitments that you can’t or aren’t willing to keep.  We often have good intentions in the moment, but when we take the time to think about it, we may have overextended ourselves. Thirdly, don’t think about the big promises.  Make small promises that have residual affect.  For example: Don’t say, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds.”  The better commitment is to make a decision and a plan to eat healthier and to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.  Weight loss will be a by product of that “resolution”, and your body will love you for it.  Don’t just say you are going to spend more time with your family, make a plan to do it on a regular basis and then do it.  My wife and I decided to spend more time with her parents and chose to do that by having them over for dinner once a week.  We have been doing this for about five years now and have found that it has been beneficial to all concerned.  The stories we have heard and the joy we have shared has created memories that will last a lifetime.   Another thing is that resolutions can be made anytime of the year, not just at New Years.  I made a resolution in November of 2020 that I wanted to lose some weight.  In order to accomplish this, I reasoned that I would have to make some lifestyle changes.  I would have to give up soda – and I did.  I would have to eat healthier – and I do. I would have to control my portions – and I do. Finally, I would have to get some sort of exercise every day.  Everyday I walk to the post office to get the mail and back.  I do this by making use of the walking path behind my house.  It ends up being about a 25-minute walk and somedays I do more.  These lifestyle changes have allowed me to lose 15 pounds.  The thing about lifestyle changes is they are changes you a committing to make for life, but you will be better off for it.    

The word “resolution” come from the root word “resolute.” Which means to have resolve.  Resolve is one of the keys that is often missing when we make “New Years Resolutions.”  It is the one ingredient that is essential to accomplishing the goals we want to achieve in life.  I challenge you to make a goal to “Resolve to respect yourself by guarding your reputation, by keeping your promises, to respect your body by cherishing and protecting its’ health and make life decisions that will help you live life well.”  With that, I wish a Happy New Year to you and your families.  If you liked my article please follow me at “”; for more weekly articles to come.

A Southern Boy Can Survive

W. Tate Brannan

Growing up in North Carolina I enjoyed the distinct seasons.  There was no wondering about when you were in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  My Winter experiences were rather mild by comparison to the Vermont Winters I now have to endure.  In Concord, where I grew up, it might register in the low 20’s.  On average the temperature was in the 30’s and low 40’s.  For a southern boy that was cold.  We almost never had snow, yet we had an allotted number of snow days for school.  Now that I think about it, it doesn’t make sense to have snow days in the south.  The only exception would be if you lived up in the mountains.  When I finally found a girl that would foolishly commit the rest of her life to be in wedded matrimony with me, I married her and within a year moved to Vermont.  She was from Vermont and it was agreed that we would move closer to her family.  I had no idea what that would entail.  I didn’t take long to figure out that Summer only lasted a couple of weeks.  The Fall season, which Vermont is well known for; lasts for a couple of months.  Then comes Winter, which lasts about six months. Rather than Spring, Vermont has “mud season”.  It is appropriately named because it’s during this season that between the melting snow and the seasonal rain; the roads are muddy and have deep ruts in them.  It may be late May before everything begins to dry out.  Please don’t mistake my account of the seasons of Vermont.  It is a beautiful state and one would be cheated if they didn’t make at least one visit to enjoy what Vermont has to offer.

My first winter in the “green mountain state” consisted of two feet of snow, and sub-zero temperatures.  I remember one day I committed myself to stand outside of a hardware store and sell m&m’s to raise money for the church youth group.  I didn’t have to worry about the little colored candy melting that day.  It was -30 degrees and I was beginning to wonder if I should have myself committed for standing outside in such retched weather.  I felt my frozen beard only to find that some of the hairs had broken off in my hand.  It was that day that I came to a new realization of what cold was and determined I would have to find a way to deal with these Vermont winters.   

My plan consisted of strategy’s driven by a philosophy of co-existence with the bone chilling weather.  My first strategy regarding the weather was, “I t can get as cold as it wants, as long as I can get warm when I want to.”  This meant that winter shelter had to be within reach on command.  Secondly, I would have to think about my wardrobe.  I needed appropriate winter clothing.  This meant winter underwear, long sleave sweaters and sweatshirts and of course a winter parka that would be a sufficient barrier to the cold.  I would also need boots that were designed to live in the snow and cold weather.  A change in clothing impacted my Sunday attire dramatically.  In the south I would wear a suit and tie to church.  In Vermont I began wearing jeans and fleece lined, long sleave winter shirts.  You might have thought I was heading out to the woods to gather some firewood, rather than going to church.  I remember a snow storm dumped a couple of feet of snow on a Saturday night.  The next day I called the Pastor of the church and asked him if we were cancelling church.  That drew some ridicule and people began to make note of my “thin blood”.  He informed me that if we cancelled church every time, we had snow, we would never have church.  My third strategy regarding the winter season was to embrace the season.  I would have to find an activity that was snow friendly.  I ultimately chose skiing.  Some of the Northeast’s finest ski resorts are within 30 minutes of my home.  Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch ski resorts are highly regarded in the alpine world.  I had learned how to ski when I was in North Carolina at Sugar Mountain and though I wasn’t great, it was something that I could do.  My next realization was that I would have to get a snowblower.  It is no fun shoveling a driveway that boasts a couple feet of heavy, wet snow. Another important realization is the notion of the importance of heat.  A smart home owner has at least two different sources of heat; just in case the power go’s out.  Many homes are heated with oil, propane, natural gas, or electricity.  Some homes are purely heated with wood.  My home is heated with natural gas.  However, if the power goes out, the electric motor that blows the hot air throughout my home is useless.  That is why I have a generator as a backup power source.  My back up heat is electric, powered by the generator.  Too many times have I endured high winds or an ice storm that has relieved me of my electricity.  Once we were without power for three days and my family and I spent that time huddled around a space heater that was powered by an extension cord attached to my neighbor’s generator.  Now that I have lived in the north for 25 years.  I have come to regard snow as a four-letter word.  Snow means work.  Clearing the driveway and the roof are not my favorite activities.  To think that when I was a child I would pray for snow.  God does answer prayer, just not always when we want Him to.

Yes, my blood is a little thin.  I’d like to see some of my northern friends who pick on me; come down to North Carolina in July and see how they do in the hot summer weather.  I’d bet they’d wish their blood wasn’t so thick.  Yes, a southern boy can survive the cold winters of Vermont, but surviving isn’t the goal.  Embracing it with the appropriate tools and gear is important.  But what is most important is your attitude.  Don’t let the weather get you down.  Find a way that you can live well, regardless of the what mother nature is doing.  If you liked my article please follow me at “”; for more weekly articles to come.

12 Ways To Make Christmas More Meaningful

Oh boy, it’s Christmas time!  No other holiday transports you to another world, so to speak, as Christmas.  houses are decorated inside and out with all sorts of decorations, candles, nativity scenes, and lights.  Everywhere you look you can find the festive green, red, gold, and silver accents.  Store front windows are decorated in Christmas themed dressings.  Christmas music is played everywhere.  Kitchens are filled with the smell of cookies and all sorts of treats from the season.  Before you know it, you aren’t in your same old living room, you are in a Christmas wonderland.  Every mall has an opportunity for little boys and girls to actually talk to Santa and make sure he knows exactly what they want for Christmas.  Just to prove that hopeful child actually did see “the real Santa Claus”, a picture to celebrate the moment is taken.  Christmas is not primarily a celebration of presents and Santa Claus.  The truth is that Christmas is the day that throughout the world we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  To facilitate that celebration, we gather with friends and family and exchange gifts, decorate trees, sing songs etc.  It is such a big event that it can take months to plan for.  Christmas is a season when we engage in all sorts of traditions and festivities.  So, for this article I want to share some of my favorite traditions and seasonal activities:

  1.  Cut down your own tree.  There is nothing like going out into a Christmas tree lot with your family and picking out the perfect tree and cutting it down yourself.  We always take picture to celebrate the event.  I live in Vermont in the United States, so there is a reasonable possibility of doing this in snow is high.  That isn’t a problem.  Many years the presence of snow has turned into a snowball fight and the inevitable of a pile on in the snow.  It also includes a nice hot cup of hot chocolate at the tree farm. 
  2. Remember when?  I’m talking about decorations.  One of the great things is we accumulate decorations over the years and it is always great to remember when you got this ornament or that special Christmas decoration and share the stories with each other.  I still have my very first ornament.  It is a clothes pin that is reminiscent of my first dog.  It has brown felt ears and it has a face made out of half a cork with a red felt tongue hanging out.  Of course, he has a felt tail and has my dogs name on it, CoCo.  I was about 2 ½ years old when I made that decoration at my neighbor’s house so many years ago.
  3. Sing some Christmas songs.  Christmas time is a happy time so go caroling.  Lots of local churches have groups that go out caroling, so join in. also, most churches have a Christmas service of some kind; so check it out and enjoy celebrating the season.
  4. Go outside! Build a snowman have a snowball fight, or go sledding. These are great activities do with your family and they create great memories.
  5. Go on a sleigh ride.  There are many locations in the northern United States that offer sleigh rides.  Even in the south in the mountains like in Tennessee and North Carolina you may be able to find a location that is offering the opportunity to go back in time and ride a horse drawn sleigh with a blanket over your lap and a hot chocolate in your hand.
  6. Baking cookies is a great way to spend time with your family.  It is guaranteed that family members will position themselves in order to get first dibs on the bowl. Of course one must perform quality control to make sure that the cookies aren’t poisoned. It is a dangerous job, but someone has to do it.
  7. Make a gingerbread house.  It is a great activity to do with your family and its edible!  You can purchase kits online or you can bake your own, whatever makes you happy! Your first one may not be a masterpiece, but it will create some great memories.
  8. Watch Christmas movies together.  Three movies I have to watch every year is “It’s a wonderful Life”, “A Christmas Story”, and “The Christmas Carol”.  I would suggest watch the “Nutcracker” even if ballet is not your thing; I think you’d enjoy it.  Of course, there is Hallmark and The Lifetime channel.  All they show is Christmas movies during the season.
  9. Party on!  Got to a Christmas party or have one yourself. Inviting your friends and family to come over is a great way to share the joy of the season.
  10. Make an Ornament.  This doesn’t half to be complicated.  Use your imagination and go to your local hobby shop for some basic supplies and have at it. Store bought ornaments are great, but homemade ones have memories attached to them that will last a lifetime.
  11. Send out Christmas cards.  I have to admit that I haven’t been as good at this as I would like, but I have found that is a nice way to let people know that you are thinking about them.  Don’t just say, “Merry Christmas” on your social media site; make it personal.
  12. Give a little – volunteer.  This is a great time of year to bless others who might not be as fortunate as you.  Volunteer some time at a food bank, or soup kitchen.  Check with a local church or even the local police department to see if they know of a way you could volunteer some time or help fill a need.  A couple of good places to look is the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse.  To be honest, it is a great way to give to others and it will bring a lot of joy to you.

There you have it, 12 ways to make Christmas more meaningful this year.  It is never too late to start a new tradition.  The key is to make memories, share the joy, and take time to remember the important things.  This another way that you can live life well.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If you liked my article please follow me at “”; for more weekly articles to come.

Travel Wisdom – 6 Tips To A Better Vacation

Tate Brannan

Okay, let’s be honest.  2020 has outrighted sucked and everybody is ready to get past COVID and start living their life again.  We want to eat at restaurants, go to movies, and have more than ten people at our homes.  We want to stop wearing these masks and we want to travel to see our friends and family and just have a great vacation.  The good news is that we finally have a vaccine so we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In just a few months we will start doing some of those very things and living our life again.  During my lifetime I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, both in country and abroad.  I’ve taken on the role of travel agent extraordinaire for my family.  As a result of my travel experiences, I have found there is the wrong way, the right way and the better way to make your next adventure one to remember.  In hopes that you will be able to make great memories that will last a lifetime, I want to share with you the better ways that I have found over the years to make your next adventure a memorable one.

  1.  Choose wisely. Consider the what, where and when. Choose a destination that has all the types of attractions that will make your trip enjoyable for everyone.  Going on a trip that doesn’t have anything to do, or is exciting for some, but not others, will provide a terrible experience for the ones not into what has been planned.  Generally, it is also likely to ruin it for the others.  Contacting the destinations tourism department or spending time on the web may be worth your while.  You may be able to get a coupon book that allows for discounts at local attractions or purchase multi day passes that allow discounted entry into tours, museums, etc.  Doing this also may allow you to skip long lines.  Don’t forget to schedule some down time so you can soak in your vacation, allow for spontaneity and to recharge. Choosing wisely also means considering the time of year.  It may mean less money if you travel in the off season, but there may be considerably less to do.  This is especially true of beach trips and other seasonal destination spots.  Consider the weather.  You don’t want to plan to go to Disney Land when it is raining.  The rides will still be running, but it’s not fun walking around or waiting for the tram wearing a poncho, don’t ask me how I know.  Also, it may be too cold to enjoy your trip, so choose wisely if you’re traveling to locations that have defined seasons.  Going to see the fall foliage in the north could be chillier than expected, so be prepared.  Finally, let everyone be in on the planning for the trip.  This allows for a better experience for everyone.
  2. Consider the mode of travel.  Flying may not always be the best way to go.  The air fair may be great but then you also may have to rent a car when you arrive at your destination. Now your trip has an extra expense to consider.  Traveling by car allows you to have the option to stop and experience things as you go.  Also, since you’re going to have to rent a car anyway, your trip becomes less expensive. Also, you’re saving the wear and tear on your personal vehicle and you can get a vehicle that is a different size than what you have.  This can be a big plus when you consider the comfort of everyone going on the trip and the amount of luggage being brought along.  the one thing to consider is it may take you longer to get to your destination.  Trains can be another option, this may be a great option for those that don’t like to fly and it can be rather comfortable, but it also will take you a while to get to your destination, and it might be more than you want to pay.  Also, consider the public transportation system in the location you plan to attend.  You may be able to avoid the car rental all together if the destination has a suitable public transportation system. Some destinations give discounts for public transportation options. Again, contacting the tourism department of spending some time on the web may help you with that.
  3. Where you stay is important.  There are many options available.  Hotels, Bed and breakfast, apartments and houses have the potential to make your trip better or worse.  If you’re just staying overnight then a hotel, or motel, may be the better fit.  I have found that if you search on your smart phone, you can find local pit stops and their current rate.  A quick phone call and you can find availability and make a reservation. This removes the stress of stopping at a location and going in to see if they can accommodate you and being frustrated when the answer is no or they don’t have the appropriate space to meet your needs.  Apartment and houses allow for a comfortable home base when you’re staying longer.  My wife and I have travelled to Montreal, CA a few times for a long weekend.  Once I chose an inexpensive hotel near the places, we wanted to go but ended up with a room that had a tv that didn’t work, and had a bathroom floor that was uneven and made me feel like it might slide into the tub.  When we went to Sarajevo, Bosnia we chose to stay in an apartment that was located in a neighborhood, a short walking distance to the old city where all the shops, museums, and tours were located.  We felt as though we were locals as we traveled down to the neighborhood bakery and market to get our needs, and we had the option of eating out or in.  Apartments and houses are usually equipped with the basic kitchen needs and also have their own laundry facilities which means you can cut down on the amount of clothes that you need to bring.  They also allow for a comfortable place to recharge.  If you have a lot of people, then a house may be the better option.  Air BnB’s are a great option and can be booked as easily as getting a hotel.  If it’s just the two of you than an apartment in the heart of your destination spot may be the way to go. 
  4. Go with friends or family.  Going on a vacation is not as fun when you go by yourself.  Experiencing the local attractions with another helps build great memories, and can strengthen friendships or family relationships.  Vacations should be experiences that allow for great memories.  Those memories are more meaningful when they are shared with another.  If you are traveling with others make sure you can communicate with each other if you get separated.  In the states you have your phones.  If you travel outside of the country, purchase a phone in that country that you can place minutes on.  It is considerably cheaper and can be purchased at most stores that are comparable to a drugstore like Kenny’s and CVS or ones that are comparable to Walmart or Best Buy in the United States.  If you’re not sure talk to a local and they can steer you in the right direction.  This is considerably less expensive than contacting your local carrier and setting up your phone for temporary international calls.  Make sure that you share your phone number with everyone in the group and that you let people back home know what it is as well.  This is important in case of serious emergencies. 
  5. Take pictures.  Do it throughout the day.  You may not make another trip to that location, so document your memories.  At the end of the day share your pictures with your travel companions and celebrate the day’s activities with each other.  This may create the opportunity to blackmail your travel companions and get some great laughs in.  Laughing is one of the signs that you’re having a successful vacation.  You can use social media to tell the world about your trip, but I wouldn’t do that while on vacation. Doing so advertises that you are not home.  It would be terrible to come home and find that you have had an unwelcomed visitor and now you have to buy a new tv.  Don’t forget to purchase a memento to mark your remarkable excursion.  I used to purchase a mug for every trip I went on and then my wife and I realized that we had so many mugs that we didn’t know what to do with them, and they collected a lot of dust.  Now we’ve downsized.  We now purchase a magnet and place it where we can see it and remember the fun we had. You can choose whatever you want, but do something.  Pictures are great but you probably won’t have them out where you can see them.  So, do something to symbolize your great adventures.
  6. Use common sense and be safe.  While you’re having a great time on your vacation, don’t forget to pack your common sense.  You don’t have to carry all your money with you.  Just enough for the day.  When my wife and I are on vacation, we split the cash between us and make sure that both of us have enough for the day’s activities.  Hopefully you don’t become a victim of a pickpocket, or get held up, but this way you won’t lose it all. Another benefit to this is, it places a limit on how much money you spend during the day.  Avoid cutting through allies and don’t flash your money around.  Also, consider the activities that you do.  Use the correct safety equipment and if that little voice in you says “don’t do it”, then take a moment and step back, this may allow you to avoid an accident and will help you have a more enjoyable trip.  I’ve seen my share of skiers that thought they could do the black trails when in reality they should stick to the blue trails and end up in the hospital.  A broken leg or comma really would put a damper on the trip and is not the kind of memory you want to create.

So, there you have it.  Six tips to a better vacation.  Now go make some memories!  When you look back on your life, you want to have a life with as little regrets as possible.  Doing vacations with friends and family will help you sit back and smile and say, “my life has been well lived.”  If you liked my article please follow me at, and look for more weekly articles to come.


13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Matthew 16:13-20

Who am I? This is one of the great questions that each of us ask ourselves.  I remember as a teenager I was constantly trying different things that would say, “this is who I am”.  I tried parting my hair in the middle and wearing a silver twisted chain necklace.  I was trying to identify that I was cool.  I also tried diving into golf and trying to be just like my dad.  I wore khaki pants and a casual three button shirt.  This didn’t go well either.  My golf wasn’t all that.  Then I tried doing the name brand approach.  That meant wearing “Members Only” jacket.  I thought if I wore the right clothes I’d be popular.  I was searching – what would it take to make me cool, popular and that would get the girls attention.  The problem here is that I was addressing how I looked, not who I am.  I am a pretty happy, laid back, person.  Sometimes, I’m too laid back. I am the kind of guy that, once I find something that fits my lifestyle, I am loyal to that.  I wear the same type of shoes and jeans.  If I find a brand that works for me, I stick with it.  But none of that really matters. When I finally met the girl of my dreams; she didn’t care what I wore…she only cared about who I was.  Fortunately, I was just what she was looking for and she was perfect in my eyes.

Most importantly, I am a Christian, and I try to find the balance between my personality and my faith.  This means I’m not legalistic and I try to be a positive, up beat person that represents the heart of God accurately.  This means remembering that I am an ambassador that I’m here to let people know that there is hope in Jesus.  I’m not the judge and jury of others.  I am, however, human and I am not always a good ambassador.  I make mistakes.  I am so thankful that God’s grace is at work in my life and I can rest in the knowledge that I am a work in progress and that God loves me and his holy spirit is present in my life to guide and empower me to be the person that God created me to be.

In Matthew 16:13-20, we are told that Jesus went to the region of Caesarea Philippi.  He had asked His disciples to tell Him who the locals are saying that He is.  The locals were identifying Him as others who they were familiar with.  But that wasn’t accurate.  They were trying to identify Him in the context of their best understanding and their limited knowledge.  Since they hadn’t met Him, they didn’t know who He was.  Also, because they didn’t know Him in the context of who He was and why He had come; they didn’t know who they were in the context of Who He was.  They didn’t know he was the messiah that they had been waiting for.  The one who would pay the price that would make a way for them to have a relationship with God.  This was something that no one could do in and of themselves. Peter knew Jesus and more importantly was beginning to get it.  He said, “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God”.  Jesus told Peter that this was something he did not learn in his own understanding; but that God had revealed this to him.  As Peter followed Jesus, he would grow in his understanding of what that would mean for him, and how that would impact his life.  Peter was human and would act in purely human ways in the future, but he would also be known for his faith, and he would be Known for his loyalty and commitment to Jesus.  He would be a great ambassador for God because he knew who he was in the context of Jesus Christ.

What we look like on the outside, and how we live, should reflect who we are on the inside.  Jesus is asking each of us the question, “who do you say I am”?  Our answer is very important.  If we acknowledge that He is the son of God who came and died on the cross for our sins, more importantly that he rose again and has conquered death and sin.  If we believe that He lives and sits by the right hand of His father – God, who is the creator of Heaven and earth.  The one who created us and loves us.  Then we have to ask ourselves the question, “what am I going to do with this knowledge”.  Am I going to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, repent of my sins – turn from my wicked ways and follow Him, or am I going to ignore who He is and continue to do my own thing?  Today, I can tell you that I am unique and wonderfully made.  I am a co-heir of Jesus Christ.  I can tell you that my God, loves me and has always desired a personal relationship with me; Just like he had with Adam and Eve.  That while on earth He desires me to be an ambassador for Him, and to tell others of the hope they have in Jesus Christ.  He doesn’t care what I wear or how I style my hair.  He cares that I know Him and act in a way that best represents Him to the world.

This is His desire for you as well.  To be able to view life in context of His son.  It is important that we live our lives in the context of who we are in the context of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross.  Now I ask you to ask yourself some questions: “Who am I”, and “Who do I say Jesus is”, and finally, “What am I going to do with that knowledge”?  I hope and pray that you will choose to acknowledge Him as your Lord and Savior.  The one who died for your sins and the one who conquered death so you could have a relationship with God.  Not just know about Him.  But to know Him in the context of who He is.  It is not a complicated thing and you don’t have to have the perfect life to start today.  Just take a moment and have an honest talk with God.  Tell Him that you know you’re a sinner and that you don’t want to be that person any more.  Acknowledge who is, and ask him to forgive you.  Choose to put the old you in the past and to be the new you in the context of what He has done for you.  Jesus takes care of the rest and will lead you, as you choose to follow Him.  Fill free to contact me if you have any questions.


19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.


13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.


When I was a kid, I can remember numerous times that I was confronted with the choice of doing the right thing or the wrong thing.  If I were honest, I would tell you that doing the wrong thing often was fun in the moment.  However, doing the wrong thing was fun in the moment, but usually came with consequences that were not so fun.  The point is that I had a choice.  I could choose to do something that would be good for me or something that would be bad for me.  This ability to choose is a gift from God.  He created us with the ability to make individual decisions.  It allows us to make the choice to develop a relationship with Him.  Not because we have to, but because we want to. 

In Genesis 1:26-27, God tells us that we were made in His image.  This means we have the qualities of our father in heaven.  We can create.  We have the ability to imagine something and then create it.  We are intelligent beings, we have the ability to rule and exercise authority in certain situations, and we have emotions just like God.  Most importantly we have the freedom to choose.   God didn’t give us unlimited power.  He did not want us to be gods.  He wanted us to have a measured amount of His characteristics. 

In Deuteronomy 30:19 Moses encourages us to choose life.  “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”  Many of the choices that we make everyday are life and death choices.  When you gossip about a co-worker, you are choosing death.  When encourage a friend, you are choosing life.  When you engage in inappropriate humor, you are choosing death.  When you make the choice to stop and help someone, you are choosing life.  When you choose to submit your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are choosing life. When we choose to go down the road of death, not only do we engage in activities that harm others, we are causing harm to ourselves. It affects the way we approach life, our self esteem, and our relationship with God. On the other hand, when we choose life, we are able to build up others, be confident in ourselves, and for those who have chosen to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior; it strengthens our relationship with God.

In Galatians 5:13-26.   Paul reminds us that we are called to be free.  However, just because we have the freedom to make our own choices, doesn’t mean we should do as we want.  He tells us flat out; “do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh” (Gal. 5:13).  He encourages us to love one another, not devour one another.  We have the ability to choose to encourage and build up each other or to tear down and destroy each other.  Paul presents two choices.  We can choose to live by the flesh or to live by the Spirit.  The two are complete opposites.  I like to think of it in the manner of what part of you do you want to feed.  We can choose to feed the Spirit and starve the flesh or visa versa.  Because you can’t do both at the same time. Every time you choose to feed the Spirit, you starve the flesh. In Gal. 5:19-21 Paul explains the difference between the flesh and the spirit. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God”.  In Galatians 5:22-23 we clearly can see the fruit that is the result of living a life that feeds the Spirit.  “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.” 

I guess the best way to sum it up is to say this:  You are what you eat, so make the choice today to start feeding the Spirit so that you can enjoy the fruits of your good choices.  This is the best use of the free will that God gave us.  Remember, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).  Choose life!


Is Understanding Why The Most Important Thing

“For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Job 1-42

Deuteronomy 23:5

“However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.”

James 1:13

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”

1 Corinthians 13:12

“For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 

We view life through imperfect lenses.  We ask questions like: God where were you when my child died, Oh God why haven’t you answered my prayer, and Why would you allow this to happen?  There are so many questions we have of God. We don’t understand his actions or lack of actions.  We pray, “Thy will be done.”  But what we are really praying is, “God this is what I want you to do – so do it”.  But that’s not how it works.  God is the one in charge or at least He should be.  Often, we don’t like his answer and we think; “forget this – this trusting God thing is for the birds”.  We decide that we can do it better.  But the reality is, we don’t have the power or authority to change our circumstance. 

I am an epileptic.  I know that God can cure my epilepsy.  I have taken my cause to God and have stood on His word that “anything I ask of Him he will do it”.  Yet still, I am an epileptic.  This has been hard for me and for my family.  I have to constantly work my life around other people’s schedule or ask them to work their schedule around me.  It is a very uncomfortable and humbling thing for me to ask others for help.  Why couldn’t God just answer my prayer and be done with it?  I have seen people pray for God to free them of cancer, and then ask why God didn’t heal them.  I have seen people pray to God for financial relief and have been disappointed.  I have also witnessed God do amazing things on behalf of those who have taken their request to Him. 

Why does He answer some prayers and not others?  Why do people who are devoted to Him, actively using the gifts that He has given them to help others have bad things happen to them.  First let’s get one thing strait.  God doesn’t desire for bad things to happen to us.  In James 1:13the Bible tells us, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” However, He will take the bad things in our lives and use them as a means to draw us closer to Him and to bear witness of His love and grace for us. 

One particular story in the Bible stands out to me.  The story of Job.  Job was a man of God like no other.  God was talking to Satan and telling him have you noticed my servant Job?  Satan responded yes but alluded Job’s faithfulness was rigged because God had given him everything.  Satan presented God with a test.  God would give Satan the ability to test Job, but he couldn’t harm him.  Job lost his children, livestock, and his wealth.  Indeed, he lost everything but his faith in God.  Yes, there were times when he questioned God.  There were times when He didn’t understand what was going on.  It’s important to note that God didn’t cause Jobs troubles, Satan did.  However, God did allow Job to go through those trials.  Job had friends who gave bad council.  They said he must have sinned, that he should repent; but Job did not listen to them.  In the end, God blessed Job for his unwavering faithfulness.  He gave Job twice the livestock, restored his family, his wealth and allowed him to enjoy a long life so that he could see the glory of his faithfulness to God in the lives of his children’s children to the fourth Generation.

The truth is that at face value, we don’t always understand why and maybe understanding why isn’t always the important thing.  Understanding why God does some things and not others in the end may not be as important as understanding why we are in the dark and in spite of not knowing, being able to trust God in the midst of our frustration with His apparent disregard for us and our problems.   In 1st Corinthians 13:9-13, Paul begins to speak of such things as we “know in part”.  “We understand as a child”.  Verse 12 is where the meat and potatoes of understanding are explained.  “For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”. 

In this imperfect world through our limited understanding we view the world and our lives.  There will be a time that we will be able to view the world through God’s eyes.  One day we will, when we are face to face with God.  Until then, we only know in part.  This is why we have so many unanswered questions, why we struggle with the questions that are derived from a broken heart due to circumstances that seem to be in conflict with a God that loves us.  But we should take heart; one day we will understand things in the context of God’s vision and God’s understanding.  Then we can pray, “I don’t understand why – but I trust in You that there is a reason for this”.  “I trust in you even though I don’t understand”. “I trust in your love and take comfort that you are in control even when my life is in chaos.”  This the Job attitude that will help us wade through the tough times.  So, don’t stop taking your request to God, and don’t abandon your faith and trust in Him. We don’t know what we don’t know, but God sees the big picture and His love for us all is unchanging.  


1 Corinthians 9:24-26

“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air”. 

Romans 10:9

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”.

Vermont is a beautiful state.  It has retained much of its charm that it is famous for. When you drive on the interstate, you will notice that something is missing – billboards.  Vermonters have been very conscious about preserving the natural beauty of the state by resisting the commercialization of the state.  It is a community that values the environment that we live in and the state has so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and bask in the state’s natural beauty.  No matter what time of year, there is an outdoor activity to keep you focused on living a healthier and fulfilling life. I’m telling you this not so you will want to plan your next vacation to Vermont or move up here. I’m telling you that so you could appreciate the insane commitment that our outdoor enthusiasts live out every day.

Every morning I walk to the bus stop to catch my ride to work.  The winter is brutal.  Waiting for the bus means enduring sub zero temperatures, rain, snow, and wind that can easily reach 25 to 30 miles per hour.  Every day as I stand waiting for the bus in the fore-mentioned weather conditions; I am amazed at the two women that I see every morning running together.  Their commitment to get out and run in such extreme weather, and at 5:30 in the morning is both insane and inspiring.  Don’t misunderstand me.  There is no way that I am that ambitious.  These two ladies are running because they are making a lifestyle choice and they have decided that one way they will live their lives is to train for various 5k and 10k events.  One of them hopes to compete in the New York city marathon one day. With the commitment that I have witnessed, I’m sure she will.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air”.  The apostle Paul is telling us that we have to be disciplined in the manner that we live our lives.  If we can spend so much effort in training for a marathon or 5k race, then why can’t we apply the same commitment to living a life that ultimately will lead us to the prize of a life with Jesus in heaven.  A life that bears witness to the world of God’s love for us. Paul tells us to “…run in such a way as to get the prize”.  He tells us that, “everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training”.

To put this into the context of your life; don’t live life halfheartedly.  Go all in!  be committed to your walk with God.  Live a life worthy of the prize.  This will mean you will have to make lifestyle changes.  You will have to make the extra effort to be the person that God has created you to be.  The starting point of the journey is having a personal relationship with Jesus.  God desires to have a relationship with Him.  That can only happen through His son, Jesus Christ.  His death serves as a bridge to God.  It is a bridge that had to be built because of the sin that we all have inherited.  The sin that Adam and Eve committed has been handed down for generations.  Thankfully, God gave us Jesus because there was no possible way that we could forge across the great divide of sin that separates us from God on our own. 

Choose today who you want to be.  Choose the direction that you will run.  Will you run to God or away from God?  Paul tells in Romans 10:9, ”that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”.  I want to encourage you to go all in with Jesus, and live a life that is committed to being the person that God created you to be.  Most importantly, embrace the relationship that God desires to have with you.  The reward is amazing.


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18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”   JOHN 3:18 (NIV)

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ MATTHEW 25:37-40 (NIV)

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How many times have we walked pass a person in need and rather than acknowledge them we avert our eyes, pretend they are not there, we pretend that we don’t see their need?  If we pretend that they aren’t there or they don’t exist, then we are telling ourselves a lie and are refusing to acknowledge their need!  It would be easy to give a dollar and say, “I did my part”.  But not everything should or could be solved with money.  It would be easy to assume I’m talking about the homeless, or could I be talking about a friend or family member.  Matthew talks about the difference between the sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25.  In verses 37-40, The righteous asked the Lord about when they had helped him.  They were not aware that the things they were doing everyday were so meaningful.  We should ask the question, “Is this the way would treat Jesus, our King.”  They treated the least of these in the manner that the King wanted them to.  They were acting on the Kings behalf without thinking it about it.  They just did it.     

John says in 3:18, “Dear children let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”.  When we get so comfortable that we can’t see outside of our needs and acknowledge the needs of others, then we need to check our priorities.  Words are cheap.  Actions tell the real story.  Sometimes we may feel that we must get our lives right with God before we extend love to others.  Yes, consider your relationship with God and his son, Jesus. Develop a strong relationship with our savior.  Don’t let a bruised relationship with God be an excuse for not making the effort to love others through your actions.  We are all works in progress.  Excuses are a cop out.  Excuses are what we say to make us feel better about not making the effort to find real and meaningful solutions.

Treating people in need with love may be more complicated than giving someone money.  Real love cost our time.  Time seems to be the one thing that we don’t want to give up.  What is our attitude?  Is our attitude that if it isn’t inconvenient or it doesn’t cost too much, we’ll be happy to help? Are you willing to “see” those that are in need in order to show them love?  Next time face and acknowledge those who you meet.  Don’t ignore their needs.  Let them know that you see them and more importantly, God sees them.  When our actions say, “I see you”; that is love.  Helping them with their need, is love in action. Remember, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40.