Twenty-four years ago today… she said, “I do.” And for twenty-four years, she has. Today I get the privilege of celebrating twenty-four years of wedded bliss with my best friend, Angela!

She is deeply spiritual… fiercely loyal… faithfully committed… ultra-compassionate… uber selfless… and yes, smokin’ hot! Not everyone gets the honor and privilege of knowing her so closely. If you did, you’d discover that she is even more amazing than you already know her to be.

I love how talented she is… how she wants to do things with excellence… how she nurtures and looks after those she loves… how cunning and sneaky she can be to surprise someone with something nice or to play a prank on someone… and yes, I love her cooking!

Scripture says that when God daw Adam, he saw that it was not good for him to be alone. He needed a companion. I’m pretty sure the Lord looked at me and thought the same thing. So He blessed me. He brought Angela alongside me to share this journey of life, and I am so thankful that He did.

All of our days have not been perfect. Our story has its rises and falls. But I wouldn’t trade a moment of it spent with her.

When I call her PR31, I reference the Proverbs 31 woman whom she so closely resembles in every subtle nuance. Today, I rise and call her blessed because of who she is, and because of her faithful love shared with me. And yet… I feel like I am the one who is blessed because I get to share this life with her.

Today, I thank the Lord 8,760 days we’ve shared so far… and look forward to all the days ahead we get to share together! May they be more than double that!!!

24 years ago tonight, as the ball dropped in New York City, I got down on one knee and proposed to Angela in North Hodge, Louisiana. To my sheer delight and utter relief, she said, “Yes!”

Life changed for the better for me that night. She only brings good to my life, never bad. She is living proof of the Scripture which says that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing and finds favor with the Lord.

I am grateful for Angela, and tonight, I celebrate not only the conclusion of one year and inception of another, but the joy found in the moment that she said, “Yes!”

I haven’t written for several days now because I chose instead to spend time with family and friends, trying to stay present in those moments and make the most of each one. That meant I didn’t reach my goal of hitting my 500th post before the end of 2018. But I did hit my goal of loving my family and friends. And while I didn’t reach that numeric goal this year, with 495 posts now behind me, I should reach the mark early in 2019.

For all those who joined me by reading this blog this year, I’d like to say thanks! With more than 7,000 visits and more than 12,000 views from around the world, it is encouraging to me to know that I have the privilege of impacting your life in some small way each week.

As we head into 2019, I look forward to connecting with you here each week. And I would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year to you all!

I am pleased to announce to this audience the release of my second book. While the first book was aimed at empowering leaders, this book is a daily devotional with 150 one-page devotions designed to help individuals have develop a consistent daily journey with the Lord. Each devotion contains a story, a spiritual truth, a passage of Scripture where the truth can be further searched out, a key verse from that passage to carry in your heart throughout the day, and a 2-3 sentence prayer starter to help kickstart your conversation with the Lord on the topic of the day.

We all face enough negative elements in life which drain us spiritually and emotionally. This book is designed to help us take a look at life from God’s perspective… The Upside.

While you may recognize some of the stories or thoughts from this blog, I believe the deeper spiritual truths which accompany them in this book will enhance your nearness to God. I encourage you to get a copy for yourself. And these would make great gifts for family or friends who want to kick off the new year keeping their resolution to grow spiritually.

The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Thank you for the privilege of being a part of your life each week through this blog. I hope that the book will be an added blessing to you.

God bless and Merry Christmas!

So here’s my random curiosity post for the month…

PR31 has played Christmas music the past couple of mornings… which you know I’m totally okay with if you follow this blog at all… but it got me wondering…

Where is the fall music? I mean, we have a New Years song, along with songs all about new beginnings. We have songs about life and resurrection for Easter. There are patriotic songs to carry us through Memorial Day and Fourth of July. And then we skip straight to Christmas music. What about these enjoyable months of September through November when the temperatures begin break off the shackles of the sizzling, sweltering summer heat? Where are the songs of autumn… falling leaves… a completed harvest… football… and everyone’s favorite… pumpkin spice?

Surely someone out there can write some songs for this season. And if you know of some, please share with the rest of us. We need a fall playlist, people.

Okay, random curiosity post completed. Now take a sip of that ps latte or some warm apple cider, and enjoy your day as you search for autumn songs!

I know you may have thought I was going to go with something like “Silent Night” or “Silver Bells,” and the truth is that I love them almost as much as my fave five. But there is no Christmas song… and I do mean no Christmas song…that does it for me quite like my number one.

And it’s not just any version of it, although some other versions still touch my heart. Basically, any other version simply makes me think of the one ultimate version. The song is, “Little Drummer Boy,” and the group who performed it is Whiteheart. Prepare to have your Christmas transformed forever by clicking here.

Like any great Christmas song, it starts off soft and magical, but part way through the song it crescendos into such power that it sweeps me into glorious celebration. Lest you think I jest or overdo it with this description, I assure you that I mean it from the depths of my soul. I get chill bumps and cry every single time I listen to this song.

There’s something about the focus being placed on recognizing Christ’s deity and majesty… about how deserving He is of our highest praise and honor… that captures my heart. Then there is the realization that we are so little and have so little to offer Him which could even come close to what He deserves. There, in that moment, we are struck with the reality that we will never be good enough on our own. We need a Savior. A Savior who understands what it’s like to be one of us. A Savior who would give His very best for His Heavenly Father.

All we have to offer Him is that which He has given us… those talents, those abilities, those gifts with which He has endued us. That is truly all we have to give Him, and yet, when we give our very best… though it does not scratch the surface of what He deserves… He smiles at us and accepts it as praise for who He is.

I am a poor boy, too… I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a King… Shall I play for You?… I’ll play my best for you… Then He smiled at me.

Gets… me… every… time.

All I want is to please Him. All I want is to one day stand before Him, have Him smile at me, and hear Him say those words, “Good job, bud! You did it! You took what I gave you and used it to honor Me. You obeyed Me. You stuck with Me all the way. Let’s celebrate together!”

That’s what this song screams at my heart and mind. Literally. When Rik Florian hits that high note, I come unglued. Can’t help myself. Play that song, give the altar call, I’m coming!

I don’t know if anyone will ever top this for me. I do know that For King & Country have just recently released a video of their version, and I must admit that it runs a very close second as far as putting the passion and energy into the song that it deserves. If you need to compare for yourself, click here.

So, perhaps you’re underwhelmed by my pick for number one. That’s okay. It’s my list. I hope you have your own. I hope you have songs that point you toward the love, joy and peace that Christ brought when He came to this earth over 2,000 years ago. I hope you have songs that draw you to Him. He is the reason for the season, and the songs of the season can help us remember that important fact if we will let them.

So, deck the halls… and ring the sleigh bells… ask for a hippopotamus… hang the mistletoe… roast the chestnuts… and whatever you do, O come, all ye faithful, to Christ the Lord!

Merry Christmas, y’all! And I look forward to telling you Monday why today’s snow in our part of Louisiana was so significant…

If my trips to Israel have taught me anything, it is that I read the Bible with my westernized, Americanized, modernized thinking… and this probably causes me to not see what really happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem in all its power and truth. Yet, I don’t let what I’ve learned keep me from enjoying a good sugar cookie or setting up a wooden nativity barn. Instead, when I hear a song like my second favorite Christmas song, I let my mind travel back to those places I’ve visited as I let the singers tell me the story of the greatest birth ever in the way they know how.

My #2 top Christmas carol is of the modern variety. People have not been singing it for decades. In fact, many people may have never heard it. I’m obviously… and unashamedly… a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. So songs by other Christians about the Savior and Friend I love so very much are what I naturally gravitate toward. Since this song is by a Christian group and has not been out a really long time, I would not expect most people to know it.

The song is called, “Come And See What’s Happening In The Barn,” and it’s performed by the Gaither Vocal Band. You can listen to it by clicking here.

Now, we don’t know that Joseph and his virgin-yet-pregnant fiancee’, Mary, arrived in Bethlehem the night before Jesus was born. And we cannot confirm that there were inns, or hotels, like we know them. We can’t even confirm whether the stable was more like a barn, or more like a cave. But what we do know is that Jesus was born to common people… in a common setting… yet in a most uncommon way. The night He was born, strange and miraculous things took place. That’s what this song reminds me of.

About 2/3 of the way into the song is where it really takes on life for me. When the person letting them use his stable realizes something significant is happening, and the shepherds encounter an angelic army choir heralding their Master’s arrival, I start getting chill bumps all over, and tears begin to brim in the edges of my eyes. I can’t help myself.

Oh, to have been there! No doubt, I would have been like the shepherds, who went and told everyone they could about what they had just experienced. Who wouldn’t have? Listening to this song takes me back… not necessarily to the Church of the Nativity, nor the Shepherds’ Grotto, which are both amazing to visit… but it transports me back through the millennia to an evening in the Middle East when God changed history forever.

I hope you’ve been enjoying this series of Top 5 Christmas Carols, and that it has caused you to think of those songs which move your heart toward the Christ of Christmas. Tomorrow, I will share with you the one Christmas song that always brings tears of joy to my eyes and causes my heart to swell with love for Jesus every time I listen to it. What’s my overall, favorite, top Christmas Carol of all time ever in the whole universe? Come back tomorrow, and find out! 😜

Christmas is obviously a spiritual celebration. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the very Son of the living God, born through a teenage virgin more than 2,000 years ago in Israel. It is sacred… that moment when the infinite God wraps Himself in limited flesh and becomes Emmanuel, God with us. There is no explanation. It is simply miraculous.

Yet it is so easy in the hustle and bustle of this season that we forget that very spiritual incarnation. We forget that we travel to see family because Joseph and Mary returned to their family homeplace for the census. We forget that we give gifts because God gave us the gift of His Son. We tend to overlook the very reason for the season.

So, I love my 3rd all-time favorite Christmas carol because it always takes me back to that moment… that mystery… that miracle. This song is deeply spiritual, even though my favorite version of it is performed by someone who may or may not be a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s my favorite version because I have never heard another person sing it with such passion… such emotion… and such power. I am moved every time I hear it, and feel like I want to join an angel choir to declare once more how special and important the birth of that baby was and is for all of us. My 3rd all-time favorite Christmas carol is… “O, Holy Night” performed by Celine Dion. If you’ve heard it, you know, and you’ll click the link for sure. If you haven’t, and you doubt my estimation, go ahead and click here to see what I mean.

I know, I could have gone with “Ave Maria” performed by Harry Connick, Jr., or “Mary, Did You Know?” performed by Mark Lowry, but the night is holy because of Christ, and this song turns my heart toward Him in worship each time I listen to it. For that, it ranks pretty high on my list.

I suppose most of these could be rearranged in different positions on my list. I love Christmas music, and I’m not afraid to listen to it throughout the year at times not between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve. And when I listen, you can rest assured that “O, Holy Night” makes the playlist.

Let’s remember and celebrate Him most this Christmas!