I'm Not Crazy; I'm a Christian

You Can’t Take It With You

I was scrolling through social media recently and came across a post that stated the only things you can bring with you to heaven are souls. Let me be clear, I am not in any way stating I can save a single soul. I couldn’t even save my own! But there was something in that post that resonated with me, and so here I am dedicating a blog to it.

In this world, we need money to purchase the necessities and luxuries of life. Finances affect everyone. Given everything we’ve gone through over the past few years, and the continuing instability of our economy, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been looking over my income and expenses more carefully.

If we’re a parent, we want to be able to provide for our kids when they’re younger and be able to leave something behind for them in the future. Some of us may equate our worth based on the number of dollars in our bank accounts, or the cars and homes we own. Madonna wasn’t wrong when she said we are living in a material world.

But I’ve never considered myself a material girl. In my teen years I thought about labels and designer clothes, but once I was the one purchasing those items, my tastes became far more practical.

In my lifetime, I’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I’ve also had seasons where I was able to have savings and be more generous with my money. Yet when I saw that post, I was reminded that in the end, you really can’t take any of it with you.

Sure, we’ve heard about Egyptian kings and other very wealthy people who were buried with their fortunes. But they didn’t really take it with them, did they? Their souls went somewhere while their riches laid dormant in the grave.

What comes with us in the end?

Not to be graphic, but after we’ve passed, our bodies are either buried or cremated. There is, however, a part that does live on. Our souls are eternal. This spirit is what crosses from this world into the next.

Eternity is a mighty long time.

As a Christian, I believe our ability to enter heaven is only possible by believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He is the Son of God who came to save us. He was crucified, died, and was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day.

I know He sits at the right hand of God and is in constant intercession for us. Jesus’s sacrifice gives me, and anyone who believes in Him, access to an eternity in God’s presence.

If we choose to deny Him, our spirit will be sent somewhere else. I can’t explain to you exactly what hell will be like. I pray you and I never find out. But what am I certain of, is that God is not there. I don’t need to imagine lakes of fire and torturous situations that would scare even the greatest horror film director. All I need to think of is that I would be forever separated from the Lord. That’s terrifying enough for me.

On my worst days here, when I don’t feel close to God, I know He’s still there. I know it’s only a matter of time before my emotions will line back up with the Truth. He’s with me and for me. He’ll never leave me nor forsake me.

But I can leave Him, can’t I?

I could choose to deny Him. I could choose to walk away and condemn myself to an eternity without Him, to doom my soul to an endless time in hell.

If God is all powerful, how come He lets some choose to deny Him?

Here’s something I learned a long time ago: the Lord is gentle. He is firm and strong, but He will never force Himself upon you. We were created with free will so that when we decide to accept His love, it’s our choice. Yes, He’s always been knocking on the door of our heart, but we had to open that door. We had to agree with Him.

I thank Him every day for helping me, guiding me, showing me the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And then one beautiful day so many, many years ago, I turned to Him. Best decision I ever made.

But let’s get back to heaven and eternity. We can’t take our earthly fortunes with us. I don’t believe that means we shouldn’t work, earn a good living, and give to our family, friends, and those in need. On the contrary, God loves a cheerful giver. (Look it up. That’s Bible.)

There is a treasure which cannot be ruined.

Stock markets can crash. Inflation can rise. There are so many ways our earthly money can lose its value. God assures us there is a treasure that won’t be taken away or destroyed. Don’t believe me? Great. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

I encourage you to read all of chapter 6 in Matthew. Jesus gives a great teaching on how to view money. This is the chapter where He explains how you can’t serve both God and money. Most of us would say we don’t serve money. Think it about though. If every day when the mail comes, you’re dreading seeing the bills, you may be serving money. If you’re worrying about the prices of food at the store, or gas at the pump, you may be serving money.

It’s normal to have a reaction when filling up your car’s tank now costs double what it did a year or two ago. I completely understand. What I believe God is saying to us is that He is bigger than an unstable economy. Our trust must be in Him and Him alone. It’s a cliché, but it does make sense: “Do your best and let God do the rest.” Be responsible. Don’t spend recklessly. And if money gets tight and you’ve done your part, trust the Lord to make up the difference.

That’s not just some fluff. I’ve watched Him move mightily in seasons where I was scrimping just to get by. I ended up with more than I should have had because I believed the words of the Bible. I had faith to know He could and would take care of me. I made practical choices, but ultimately, He blessed me beyond what my budgeting decisions could have afforded me.

I particularly like how in the verse quoted above it states how where your treasure is your heart will be also. That’s a sobering concept. Our heart will focus on what we treasure or value.

What do you treasure most?

I want my heart focused on the Lord and on telling everyone I know about His great love for us. I want to share the good news of Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him. I want my loved ones to have personal relationships with Him. I want to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to serve Him.

That’s my heart.

It doesn’t mean I’m always operating in that mode. There have been times when I definitely let my heart consider something or someone a more important treasure. Trust me, it doesn’t work out well. Check out this verse:

“And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:19-21)

This would fall under the Ouch category. It’s a needed wakeup call, a strong reminder. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. So, whether we’re in pursuit of more wealth, or resting on our laurels, we’re missing it. Our primary focus should be on loving and serving Him, using our resources to further His kingdom here on earth. What does that mean? Helping those less fortunate. Donating time and money to organizations that show His love to the world through providing food, clothing, healthcare, etc., and most importantly, sharing the good news.

I love how this verse describes what we should do. Check this out: 

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

You can’t buy your way into heaven, obviously. We have access because of Jesus’s sacrifice. Point blank period. This verse speaks to sowing toward an eternal reward. Yes, there are rewards in heaven. Jesus spoke to His disciples about going ahead to prepare mansions for them. (You need to look that up for yourself too.) To me, the greatest reward will be dwelling in the presence of God forever, but if you want to throw in a mansion, who am I to tell you not to do it?

Did you notice how in the above verse it uses the word command. It doesn’t say suggest or even strongly recommend. It says command. This isn’t an option. It’s a requirement. And who doesn’t want to “take hold of the life that is truly life”?

I appreciate it may be challenging when bills are piling up, rent’s due and the car breaks down. I’m not making light of those real situations. I’ve experienced those tense moments. I’ve sat and cried wondering how I was going to make it. And then I was gently reminded of this verse:

But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

As I mentioned before, please read all of Matthew chapter 6. It is a phenomenal teaching. The key takeaway is always to seek first the kingdom and the Lord’s righteousness. As we do that, everything else will be given to us. We may not get everything we want but our needs will be met. Fix your eyes upon Him.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. And guard your treasure.

Look forward to hearing from you.



Clinging To A Lie Rather Than Facing Truth

It’s been a minute since I posted here. I was taking a much-needed break and making memories with family and friends. I was also spending quality time in prayer and thoughtful meditation about many issues facing us today.

Let me preface this article by stating I write on familiar topics. I usually have direct experience or engagement with the subject matter. If not, I’ve had some tangential connection, usually someone close to me dealing with the issue.

As I’ve stated numerous times, I am a resident expert on absolutely nothing. I’ve made more mistakes than most, but I do try to learn from them.

That’s why I was hesitant to write on this week’s topic. We know I don’t mind wearing my Kat Controversy crown, but this was somehow different. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to write, and probably prove challenging to read. But I believe God put it on my heart to share, so let’s dive in.

It’s hard when we realize we believed a lie.

We can feel blindsided, stunned. If we’ve built a life around that lie, it can be devastating. I know for myself sometimes Truth can be staring me in the face, yet I’ll continue to dismiss it. I couldn’t have been deceived. I’m too smart for that. I’m not that naïve or gullible. No, there must be some other reason. There must be another explanation.

But there isn’t.

A form of cognitive dissonance takes hold of me as I continue to operate from a place of denying the lie while simultaneously knowing on some level it is indeed a lie. Talk about your mental gymnastics! I’d be racking up the gold medals.

Why is it so hard to face the Truth?

We’ve heard expressions such as truth hurts, and the truth will set you free. I suggest the two phrases could be combined: the truth is likely to hurt, but it will set you free. We just need to get past the hurting part first. And that’s where many of us, especially me, struggle.

In my life this has been particularly difficult when dealing with loved ones. Whether family, friends or a romantic partner, it’s not easy for me to process being the recipient of a lie. If you’re in my life, I want to trust you. If I’m close with you, I do trust you. Perhaps that’s why I can’t fathom you’d lie or deceive. In my mind, I’ve vetted you. Believe me, it’s a detailed, careful screening process. I may know many people, but I’m known by only a few.

I think it’s important to keep your inner circle small. A sad truth I faced many years ago is that not everyone is for you. Not everyone who hangs around wants you to succeed or be happy. People are jealous or unhappy. People are not always what they seem to be.

But in the case of my close associations, I’ve taken time and prayed about these relationships. I should be safe, right?

Nope, we can still be lied to by those closest to us. Maybe we’ve been guilty of lying to people we care about too. I certainly try not to do so, but I’m not so prideful as to believe I’ve never done it.

Now, let’s pivot out of interpersonal relationships to a broader scope.

What happens when our trusted institutions aren’t quite so trustworthy anymore?

Trust is earned not simply given. I grew up believing the government and other powerful entities: healthcare, education, etc. were worthy of my trust. I believed they were, ultimately, accountable to us, so there was a built-in restraint. They had earned my trust because they were supposed to report to me and the rest of the country. Checks and balances.

But I see now I was wrong.

This isn’t about a specific political party or group. I believe there is corruption and dishonesty on both sides of the aisle. There came a time, after so many lies were exposed, where I had to divest myself of the notion that they were telling the truth.

As an adult, I’d been a little skeptical. I knew powerful people typically have self-serving interests. I just thought their interests weren’t in direct opposition to mine. They may have aspirations and great designs for power and money, but I thought they still had a cap. There were some lines they wouldn’t cross because of the damage it would do to those around them, to the world.

Once again, I was wrong.

I tried clinging to the lie that they care about us for as long as possible. But there was my old friend Truth, being a gentleman, occasionally gently tapping me on the shoulder or whispering, “Turn around.” I wouldn’t do it. Because I knew facing this Truth was not just going to be hurtful, it was going to permanently change me.

When I could deceive myself no longer, I turned toward Truth. And it was more upsetting, disappointing, saddening and maddening than I could have possibly imagined. I grew up in a household that had great love of God and country. I still loved God, but my country might be another story. Though I still love the God-inspired principles upon which the founding documents were created.

No one wants to believe the worst about someone.

I want to live cautiously optimistic, not jaded and negative. But when lies are exposed, you must deal with them. It won’t be easy, but I promise you, if you seek the Lord’s help, He will set you free.

Don’t believe me? Great, you know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com NKJV, emphasis added.)

The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Proverbs 12:19)


A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish. (Proverbs 19:9)


You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (Psalm 5:6)

Ouch! There are many other verses I could have included, but I think you get the point. God cannot stand lying. As upset and angry as I’ve gotten when I’ve discovered I’ve been lied to, that’s nothing compared to His view on it.

Shouldn’t this not only discourage us from telling lies, but also encourage us to avoid staying in them?

Once the lie is exposed, we are now willingly participating in it, aren’t we? If we keep going along with it, aren’t we a liar too?

Yes, I know it may be uncomfortable to break free from the lie. It can be so painful you may even feel as if you can’t go on. You may feel crushed. I do know what that is like. What I can tell you is the only way I made it after I stopped clinging to a lie, was facing Truth.

See, here’s the thing about Truth. It’s not mine or yours. It’s so much more than that. Check this out:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Jesus is Truth. So, when you let go of the lie, you turn and face Him.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

How do we release our hold on a lie?

We turn to Jesus. We seek Him in His Word (the Bible). He offers us His Holy Spirit to live in us and guide us. We have unfettered access to Truth! But first we must separate from the lies. There may be a time of grieving for being deceived, for the pain of living in a lie. God understands. He will comfort you and help you get past the pain.

It may not happen overnight, but I promise you, once you stop clinging to the lies, your life will change for the better. Once you realize there’s a God who cannot and will not lie to you, who loves you with an everlasting love, it makes the disappointments of this life seem not as soul crushing.

If you haven’t, please make today the moment you invite Jesus into your life and your heart. He longs to spend time with you. He’s with you even when you don’t believe in Him, but He’s a gentleman. He won’t force Himself on you. But the second you invite Him in, He’s there. He’s always there, but now you’ve given Him access.

It’s the best decision I ever made. Over 25 years later, I can safely say without His love, I wouldn’t be here. And I wouldn’t want to live one moment without Him in my life. Even though I’m still stubborn and can still cling to a lie now and again, He’s still there, patiently waiting for me to come to the end of myself. And that’s when I begin to live in freedom.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Let go of the lies.

Look forward to hearing from you.



Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Wildfires. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Floods.

Economic instability. War. Famine. Division.

I could list many more issues currently plaguing our world. There seems to be no shortage of chaos. Living in such unsettling times can be difficult. Even if we tune it out, it’s still all around us.

I live in a small town in the woods. (True story.) I can remove myself from a lot of the day-to-day insanity simply by staying off my phone, or not watching TV or listening to the radio. It’s a luxury I don’t take lightly.

I remember in the past when I didn’t have the same option to disconnect and unplug so easily. It was far more challenging to trust God when I was so immersed in the culture. I’ll be honest, I had more than my fair share of times of doubt.

Even now, as I sit outside with the chickens clucking nearby, I wonder What happened to us? Can it get any worse? The answer is yes it can, and it very well may.

Talking heads will give their expert opinions on why things are the way they are. (You know how I feel about experts.) The blame game is being played by all sides. “It’s all their fault. They’re the problem.”

Spoiler alert: We are the problem. Our recklessness, pride and arrogance drive us as we believe we can do a better job of running things than the Creator. In our hubris, some are fully deluded, embracing all manner of false teaching that serves only to elevate our selfish desires. We blindly press on not realizing we’re sowing seeds of destruction.

We’ve lost our way.

You may be reading that and saying to yourself, “Not me. I’m good.” Your missteps may not be as flagrant or obvious as those you see around you. But trust me when I say, we could all do better.

But when we’re bombarded with such negativity and, in some cases, pure evil, it’s difficult to hold onto hope. It’s hard to not become discouraged and just want to drop out of it all. It’s easier to stay in our own little world, limiting our exposure to anything ugly.

But we weren’t meant to live in a bubble or echo chamber.

God created this world for us and gave us authority and dominion over it. What a tremendous blessing. But this gift comes with responsibility. We should treat the planet and one another with great care.

There is an answer when we’re feeling overwhelmed.

(If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you know where I’m going.) The answer is: Jesus. The reason I wrote earlier how things were likely to worsen, is because the Lord already warned us through His Word.

I’m not just referring to the Book of Revelation (though there is a lot there to check out). God is so good to us; He warns us in advance of trouble. And He gives us the way out. You don’t believe me? Great. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NKJV, emphasis added.)

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)

This is a quote from Jesus. He was speaking to His disciples, but it applies to anyone. He wanted them to know they could trust in Him just as they did the Lord. For many of us, that’s the first step: believe. We must believe Jesus is the Son of God. We must understand that our Father in heaven loved us so much He sent Jesus to be crucified and die, a perfect sacrifice, so that we could be restored to God. For without Jesus’s death and resurrection our sin would have kept us far from God. (That is a place I never want to know again.)

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Peace. Have you ever experienced true peace? I have and it is indescribable. I’m not talking about a mini break from the world lying on a beach. I’m talking about being in a state where what’s happening around you can’t disrupt your calm, a place of contentment, a place of true rest. Notice He says, “not as the world gives do I give to you”.

How does the world give?

I believe it gives with conditions or strings attached. It gives but there’s always a veiled threat they’ll take it away. What the world gives, it can (and probably will) take back. What the Lord gives is yours.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I consider this verse another mic drop moment for Jesus. It has a two-fold message: 1) peace is found only in Him and, 2) you will know trouble in the world, but relax because He’s already overcome it.

I realize that seems way easier said than done, especially in today’s world. But historically speaking, the world has always been a place of great accomplishment and great disaster. I offer it is our human nature which leads us toward the disastrous and it is God’s prompting which directs us to our great achievements.

The bottom line is, as I’ve written before, we live in an imperfect world, filled with imperfect people. Our world is broken. We are broken. But God isn’t. In fact, His greatest desire is to heal us. As we draw near to Him through prayer, conversation, reading the Bible, we open the door of our heart to let Him in to help. His Word is meant to draw us closer and show us the blueprint for life.

One essential element is this: to know peace, you must know Jesus. Period.

We are not the first people to face a chaotic world. I encourage you to read about the first church and the hardships they endured, or even contemporary churches in areas where Christianity isn’t welcome.

Facing difficulties and tribulations in our world is nothing new. How we handle them is key. Check this out:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

In the verses I included in this piece, please note how God mentioned to “let not your heart be troubled” more than once. That was intentional. I suggest if your heart isn’t troubled, you’re at peace. How does one attain it? Through Jesus Christ alone. Any other so-called peace is fleeting and fake.

I love the verse above because it is such a wonderful reminder that no matter what craziness takes shape in this world, we cannot be separated from His love.

Nothing can separate you from the love of God.

Nothing. So, take some time to disconnect and unplug when the bad news overwhelms, if you can. And with every new morning, give the Lord thanks that no matter what is going on, He still loves you. Because of His great love for us, we have access to peace in the midst of chaos. May we remember that and rest in it. And may we become bolder so that we can share this good news of His love to others. Just imagine what might happen if more people accepted His love and peace.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Nothing separates you from His love.

Look forward to hearing from you.


You May Want, But Do You Have The One Thing You Need?

We all have wants. Whether it’s material possessions, a certain position or career, a goal, a relationship, whatever it may be, we all have them. We also have needs.

What is the difference between a want and a need?

I would argue a want is something we desire but without it we can continue living in relative peace. A need, on the other hand, is something which the absence thereof presents a clear danger to our well-being. We want to eat pizza for dinner. We need nourishment to survive. We don’t need to have pizza to survive (though it is darn tasty). But at some point, we need to give our bodies the sustenance it requires.

My point is the two words do not mean the same thing. Yet many times we confuse a want with a need. We want success so badly we exaggerate its importance. We feel we need success. Our focus shifts away from working hard and believing we’ll get there to an almost desperate, driving pursuit.

We want to be in a relationship which is healthy and normal. But when we start to need to be in a relationship, we can get into trouble. Once again, our thinking is out of balance. We may settle for something less than what is best for us. (I know whereof I speak. Trust me.)

Do you want to eat again right after you’ve had a meal?

Most of the time, the answer is no. We’re satisfied. They say it’s the best time to go food shopping. You’re not hungry, so you’re less likely to visit the snack and dessert aisles and add a bunch of items to your cart not on your list that aren’t good for you.

Culture has a way of making us think our wants are needs.

The best advertising and marketing campaigns are designed around convincing the consumer he or she cannot live without their product. Social media only amplifies this messaging. It’s not just formal commercials. It’s influencers and celebrities advocating for this brand or that product or program.

Then there’s always peer pressure, which never ends. Yes, it’s most common in our younger years, but I offer it never truly disappears. As adults we just get better at filtering it out, or our peers just get subtler.

Whatever the medium, the message is always you need…

Your life would be better if…

Your career would take off if…

You’d drop that weight quickly if…

Your skin would look healthier if…

Your relationships would improve if…

But what happens when you buy the product, try the program, etc. and nothing changes?

We’ve all experienced the disappointment of believing in something (or someone) and it not working out as we expected. The pain can range from a mild irritation to a devastating sadness.

Does it hurt so much because we turned a want into a need?

As I often state, I’m a resident expert on absolutely nothing. But in the course of my time here on earth (why does that sound like I’m an alien logging in my journal?), I know I’ve definitely given situations more importance and attention than they deserved. Whether it was in my professional or personal life, in my mind something (or one) entered the need category instead of resting appropriately in the want one. When things didn’t turn out as I expected, I was crushed. Looking back, I realize it would always have hurt. No one likes it when things go south. But the degree of pain I was dealing with was directly correlated to the increased level of importance I had given the whole matter in the first place.

Once I morphed a want into a need, I was setting myself up for a greater disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everything is my fault. Of course, it isn’t. What I am saying is we should have clear distinctions in our minds (and hearts) about our wants versus our needs.

How can we guard ourselves against elevating wants to needs?

The short answer is we can’t, at least not in our own strength. I’ve written before about how a relationship with the Lord is the key to everything. That’s because it is. I’m not saying your life will be easy breezy, but you can have access to wisdom and direction that you wouldn’t have under normal circumstances. In the past, I made a lot of wants into needs, and never knew it until it was too late. But by God’s grace, I’m learning to recognize the shift going on in me and redirect myself.

Is there One need above all others?

I say yes, and His name is Jesus. There are many verses dealing with relying on Him for every situation. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.) I included a few here, but strongly encourage you to do a search on your own.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

There are two essential pieces to this verse: 1) being content and 2) knowing He’s got you. I suggest being content doesn’t mean all your wants are satisfied. But because God will never leave you or forsake you, your needs are met. Doubt me? Great. Check this out:

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

I’d drop the mic here, but I don’t have one. And if I drop my laptop, I might break it. But you get the point. Our needs are met in and through Him. This doesn’t mean we should sit back and just expect everything to come to us. Sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes we must get up and earn it. But in either case, it is the Lord who is our Provider. He gives us the means and opportunity to have our needs met.

This is why I say relationship with Him is the One need we must satisfy first. Because without Him and His unfailing, unchanging love, we can easily fall prey to having wants turn to needs which may then turn to disappointment and sorrow.

Does this mean we’ll never be disappointed? No. But He will always be there to comfort us, and He will never be the cause of our sadness. Check this out:

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19, NKJV)

I leave you with this, let Him into your life and your heart. He can and will supply all your needs. I can testify to that. And He will never leave you wanting for unconditional love and acceptance.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Please remember, you may want many things, but you need Jesus.

Look forward to hearing from you.





80s Flashback

I never wanted to sound like my parents. No kid ever wants to utter a phrase that begins with, “Back in my day” or “When I was your age”. I shuddered just now as I typed those words out. Yet I find myself saying things like that on an almost daily basis.

In fact, on a recent vacation visiting with family, one of the younger kids said they felt sorry for us. I snapped my head around and sharply replied, “Excuse me?” She then proceeded to say how boring our lives must have been when we were young. She believed there was nothing to do, except look at the dinosaurs. I glossed over her obvious joke about my age, and then reminded her how we had freedoms and fun she’ll never know.

We didn’t spend the bulk of our time basking in the glow of a screen or phone. Nope. On the weekends we were up and out early. At my house, we had chores on Saturday: spring and summer it was mowing the lawn, pulling weeds from the flower beds, and picking up dog poop; in the fall it was raking leaves and picking up dog poop; and in the winter it was shoveling snow and, you got it, picking up dog poop. (We had two dogs, so there was a lot of poop.)

Our rooms went through inspection on a weekly basis as well. General Dot (aka Mom) would come through to check that we had fresh sheets on the beds, and they were made. Hospital corners were a must. (If you don’t know what a hospital corner is, you may be too young to read this. Just kidding.) If your area didn’t pass muster, you had to do it again.

So, growing up in the 80s sounds horrible, like prison or boot camp.

Not exactly.

It was this weird dichotomy. On the one hand, our parents were on top of us, making sure our rooms were clean, we did our homework, brushed our teeth and bathed on a consistent basis. On the other hand, we could fly out of the house and be gone for hours without them knowing where we were or having any way to contact us.

We didn’t have cell phones or any trackers. We had neighbors.

If we were hanging out at a friend’s house in our neighborhood, we knew someone somewhere would rat us out if we got caught doing something we shouldn’t. For this reason, we either crossed a main road to the development behind us to smoke our cigarettes and trash talk, or we’d hang out at our friends’ houses who lived the next town over and whose parents either worked all day or weren’t around much.

The only downside to hanging with friends outside of the neighborhood was the dreaded drive back home. My mom never got her driver’s license. So, when it came to carpools, it was all the other moms and my dad. Guess who was usually tasked with driving a gang of teenagers home at night. Yup. Guess who had to sit up front next to my all-seeing and knowing father and pretend I hadn’t been doing anything he wouldn’t approve of for the past four to six hours. Good times.

But what did you do all day?

During the school year, it was pretty simple. Get up far earlier than we wanted to, grumble our way through breakfast with a mom who was a morning person. God bless her, Mom was up early and cheerful. Now, I have been up early, and I have been cheerful. But I’ve never been both at the same time! Get ready, get on the bus, and go to school. Now, here’s where kids today and us separate.

Back in my day, (good grief) I don’t remember having a backpack, just a broken back. There were no iPads or laptops. Sure, we had computers, but they were in a locked room, and no one was stealing those and getting away with it. Each one was about the size of a small car! Did I mention we also had typing class? For you younger readers, in typing class we worked on these old machines called typewriters. We’d insert a piece of typewriting paper into it, and-. I’m making myself feel older by the minute. If you really care to learn about it, you can do an online search. But just know this, typing 90 or more words a minute used to be a big deal.

So, as I mentioned, I don’t think I had a book bag or backpack. But I did have a ton of books. Schools issued these things called textbooks. They were like online searches but printed out. Most of them were older than us. On the first day of classes, we would bring them home and my dad would take them and put paper bag covers over each one. This meant he would take paper bags from the food store, cut and fold them to fit over the covers of each textbook. The idea was to protect these sacred relics. I must admit I had the cleanest book covers in school. Pops was a genius. Now, we have paper covers over each book obscuring the title or subject. How would we know which one was which, you may ask? Well, here’s where we got to be creative. We would draw on the paper covers! My oldest sister was a legit artist, so her books always looked like they belonged on display in a gallery. I was not blessed with her talent, so mine were typically the subject name, English for example, written in bubble or block letters and shaded to give it a 3d effect. It was sort of like graffiti artwork but for the academic sector.

The next morning you’d get on the bus hefting those weighted monstrosities along with your spiral notebooks, 5-subject please, and a Trapper Keeper™. No wonder so many of us were diagnosed with scoliosis during our annual nurse visit. My arms grew six inches and my back turned into a letter C by the time I was fourteen.

In theory, you would put your books in your locker and only grab the ones you needed for your next class. The problem was most of the time your locker was located nowhere near any of your classes for the entire day! So, rather than running back and forth between class periods (did I mention you only had about 5 minutes in between classes?), you’d grab whatever books you need for the first 4-6 classes. Let the bicep building and low back contortion commence!

The worst was when you had gym class earlier in the day. You’d get all sweaty and gross and no one used the showers after (did I mention the 5 minutes between classes?), so you’d be pretty ripe for the rest of your day. The only comfort was that everyone else was too, except somehow the popular girls always looked fresh and clean. Fresh and clean and mean. But that’s a story for another time.

You’re not really winning me over to how great being a kid in the 80s was.

OK, so school wasn’t the best (for most kids it never is). But we had the bus rides to and from to have fun. This was way before kids were chauffeured to school. You got your behind on the bus. Period. Your parents were paying taxes for those buses, so you were going to use them, even if the snowplows had come through and obliterated your bus stop. You’d either stand in the street and take your chances or ascend mount snowbank curb and take your chances. The only time Dad would drive us to school was if we had an early appointment or a project that would get demolished on the bus. Mom and Dad didn’t do our projects for us, but they helped. There was no way they were going to let their hard work and surviving my multiple meltdowns during the design and building process, go to waste. But we’d only get a ride to school. Once the project was seen and graded by the teacher, my folks couldn’t have cared less what happened to it. They just preferred we didn’t litter the street with its carcass.

We had one turn on our bus route that I labeled Dead Man’s Curve. We had a particular bus driver who was very nice, but I’m fairly certain had been or aspired to be a race car driver. He would take that turn on two wheels. (Yes, I realize a bus has more than two wheels. That’s my point.) I have fond memories of looking over at one of the girls on the bus as we’d near the turn. Will today be the day he tips the bus over onto its side? Nope. Whew. We live to see another bus ride.

Another interesting part of the transportation adventure was the after-school bus ride. I still have mild anxiety recalling how panicked I was figuring out which bus I should take. It wasn’t the same drivers or routes as during the regular day. Several times I walked onto the wrong bus. There were few things more embarrassing than having to turn tail and get off to try to find your bus. Were there adults there to help us? They were around but mostly to shout that the buses would be leaving soon, so stop goofing around. I always felt better when I had someone with me who was going my way. Even if we weren’t friends, for that moment, we were comrades in arms on the long journey home.

I lived at the front of my neighborhood. The buses would enter through the back. Here’s where it gets weird. Even though the bus would drive literally past my street to exit the neighborhood, it didn’t always stop at my corner. So, I’d be dropped off at the back end of a long street which crossed mine about a half mile further up. I’d watch as the bus sputtered and kicked out black smoke chugging merrily down the road and past my street! This extra cardio session was so much fun after a full day of classes, after school activities, and arms loaded with books and schoolwork. It was even more delightful on those cold fall and winter evenings when I was just praying I’d get home before the sun set.

I was fortunate to stumble through the door to the smell of something good being prepared in the kitchen. Mom made us home-cooked meals almost every night. At the time, we definitely grumbled about some of the dinner choices, to which Pops would casually remind us there was bologna in the refrigerator. There were no special meals for each family member. You ate what Mom made or you didn’t eat. You can’t imagine how much I’d give to have one more of her home-cooked dinners now.

I have great memories of being dropped off at the multiplex-a major deal in the 80s. For a long time, there were a couple of theaters that had two or four screens and might play a few different movies, but when the multiplex opened, it was an event! They had 10 screens! On a Friday or Saturday night, it’d be packed with teens and tweens who were dropped off in groups, some might say ravaging hoards. It was as if each parent’s vehicle was suddenly a clown car. How many kids just got out of that station wagon? (Yeah, we had those cars too.) We’d all pile out and the steps to the multiplex were electric with energy. Kids were hanging out everywhere. The neon lights from the theater’s sign were so bright, you could see them from the highway. It was the place to be if you were a teen in the 80s. You were either there, at the mall, or maybe at the ice- or roller-skating rink. I spent more time falling than skating, so I tended to choose the mall or the theater.

I saw some of the most iconic films at the multiplex, such as: Ghostbusters, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Purple Rain, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, The Karate Kid, The Outsiders, War Games, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pretty In Pink, Lethal Weapon, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and A Nightmare On Elm Street, to name a few. The best part was staying over one of my friend’s houses that night and reliving every moment from the movie we’d seen, memorizing every line, falling asleep laughing.

Summers were spent in each other’s pools. I remember my friend had cable before us, so we’d split our time between swimming and watching the same dozen European music videos in rotation on this phenomenon known as MTV Music Television. I don’t know if there’s been a cultural moment quite like the first time the channel went live. Here were bands you knew (and most you didn’t, in the beginning) lip synching to their music. Most of the videos were pretty crude and lacked a lot of artistic integrity, until Michael Jackson took over. I know I’ve written before how his Thriller video was must-see TV. It was a cultural high point. You had to be there.

And that’s probably the best way to describe growing up in the 80s: you had to be there. And I was. And it was totally tubular and totally awesome!

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. And if you’re stressed out, just take a chill pill.

Look forward to hearing from you.





Do We Need A Speakeasy To Speak Easy?

I was inspired to write this because I’m watching a country I love become less and less recognizable to me. I know that sounds dramatic, and perhaps it is. But what I’ve always loved about this country are the freedoms we have: speech, religion, the press, to name a few.

My parents were huge fans of history, so I was raised learning all about the founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. I was saddened to learn these documents aren’t even really taught in most schools anymore. How can this be? If we are to understand who we are as a nation, we need to go back to where it all began and those principles, ideals, and structural cornerstones. Without this knowledge, it’s like trying to build a skyscraper without any blueprints for reference.

The founding documents have been deemed problematic by some. Do I sit here and deify the men and women who forged this country? No, they were human, flawed. Was every decision they made perfect, honorable and righteous? Obviously not. I refer to them as ordinary people living in extraordinary times guided by their Creator.

We should look at what they did in the context of the times when they lived. Imagine what someone twenty years from now might think about beliefs and actions we currently hold as acceptable. Would they consider us foolish and scoff at us? It’s very easy to judge a historical situation through a contemporary lens. This is in no way excusing certain practices such as slavery and other atrocities committed here. But what I believe separates us from others is that, though we’ve yet to live up to the ideals and principles of moral character and righteous, fair treatment outlined in our founding papers, we strive to live up to them.

Now, if you’ve read those few paragraphs and disagree with me, that’s OK. In this country, you have the right to hold an opposing view from me. It is the great push-and-pull of free speech which helps us on our journey. If our beliefs are never challenged, and we are never called upon to defend them, how strong are they?

So, what does a speakeasy have to do with free speech?

As most of us know, speakeasy was a term made popular during the time of Prohibition (1920-1933). The 18th Amendment “made the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages illegal in the U.S., but that didn’t stop people from having drinks.”1  Fun fact: I wasn’t aware that people could still drink whatever alcohol was in their homes, just not outside of it. The speakeasy was any venue (bar or nightclub, for example) that continued to secretly sell alcohol to the public in violation of the amendment. It’s thought the term may have come from patrons having to whisper or have a special passcode to gain entry to these establishments.

Bottom line: folks who wanted to enjoy cocktails outside the home had to do it discreetly. There could be real consequences if they were caught in a speakeasy. But within the walls of the building, they could partake freely. Now, regardless of how you feel about drinking alcohol, and there is certainly a case to made against it, the point I’m making is imagine being able to live a certain way for years, and then one day the government tells you what you’re doing is against the law and you can be jailed for it.

Now imagine you wake up one day and the government has decided you can’t say certain things, write or post certain content because it’s been deemed unacceptable. Labels like misinformation and disinformation are slapped on ideas, beliefs, theories, and questions that were once considered perfectly ordinary or normal.

There was a time when people were entitled to individual opinions and you, as an individual, were entitled to agree or disagree with them.

As a free-thinking individual, you could hear different viewpoints on any topic, at your discretion. If you chose to only hear what supported your opinion, that was your choice. But if you wanted to hear another perspective, you could access that material with relative ease.

The past few years highlighted how far removed we are from those days. Government and private entities solidified themselves as the arbiters of everything. They will be the ones to decide which information is fact and which is fiction. I won’t waste time going through the myriad of topics that were suppressed, vilified, mocked, and ridiculed because they differed from the predetermined suitable narrative. You probably know some of them, I’m sure. But the list is long and growing.

Limited access to information does not create an atmosphere for a healthy society.

There is a reason the Bill of Rights was articulated in our Constitution. The drafters of this new form of government, unprecedented in world history, were doing everything they could to ensure protection for the citizens from the government. They had fought a bitter war to divest themselves from the oppressive grip of a monarchy. They wanted to make certain government was kept harnessed and restrained. They knew all too well the consequences of unchecked power over a people.

So, do our rights come from God or government?

Here’s where knowing the Declaration of Independence comes in handy. It states,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,2

Seems clear. Our rights come from the Lord not from the government or any person. It defines the role of government as securing our God-given rights. Government’s power only comes from us giving consent.

But it doesn’t feel that way very often lately.

Let’s go deeper into the concept of free speech. A term I hear often, but no one can seem to define accurately, is hate speech. They’ll give you examples of what they believe it is, but as I’m sure I’ve written before: speech you hate isn’t hate speech. Offensive speech is protected.

What? How can that be? It’s an awful thing being said or posted. It shouldn’t be allowed.

Speech that doesn’t offend or isn’t objectionable doesn’t need to be protected.

Think about it. If someone says, “Puppies are cute,” no one is going to really lose their minds (unless they prefer cats or maybe have a dog allergy). But if someone says, “Puppies shouldn’t exist,” some people might get very upset (me included). Yet if I believe free speech is absolute, (and I do), then I don’t have to agree with it, but I stand with them for the right to express it. Now, I can respond to their speech or protest or do whatever to demonstrate my firm disagreement. As horrible as I may believe it is, they still have a right to say it.

Who gets to decide what’s acceptable? And what if they decide what you want to say isn’t?

The puppy example is, obviously, rather benign. I didn’t want to start a firestorm by bringing up something more controversial. My point is this amendment exists for a reason. Here’s what it says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”3

Other parts of the world can have you fined or jailed for what the government decides is hate speech. If someone posts something I find awful, such as, “There is no Jesus,” or mocking God, I don’t like it. But if I want them jailed for it, I set a scary precedent. What if the tables are turned on me? What if the government decides talking about Jesus or sharing my faith is dangerous? (But that could never happen here, right?)

Government partnering with private companies to censor and regulate speech online and elsewhere terrifies me. Social media platforms are doing what the government is not able to do. It’s a sneaky way around the Constitution. Scary. Once again, we’re relying on a select few to determine what is appropriate for us all. That runs in direct contrast to what we’re supposed to be about in this country.

Let’s remember our rights are God-given.

Does God have anything to say about our speech?

Oh, the number of scriptures dedicated to how we should speak and the power of the tongue. It’s like the Lord knows us so well or something. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. (James 3:4-5)

In this passage, it likens the tongue to the rudder of a ship or a small spark of fire in a forest. Powerful. The rudder, though a small part, steers the whole ship. A little spark can spread and consume a whole forest. Our tongue, likewise, can either be creative or destructive.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

Clearly, God wants us to speak kindly to one another, to use our powers for good, if you will. But this can be challenging, particularly when we’re facing adversity. Here’s what I should pray more often:

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)

Am I the only one who needs to keep my mouth in check? Keep in mind, I’m taking direction from God not government. I’m policing my own speech. It’s not being imposed upon me by some totalitarian authority. I’m not being bullied or threatened with expulsion for non-compliance. The Lord loves us in spite of us. We can’t win His love. It’s His gift to us. We’re neither forced nor coerced to work on any area of ourselves which could be improved. We choose.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)

Life and death in our words? I know I’ve written about this before. We remember the words that hurt us or shut us down, perhaps more so than those which built us up and encouraged us. We can crush or kill someone’s hopes or dreams with words. In contrast, we can bring life to those same hopes or dreams with words.

For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. (1 Peter 3:10-11)

I put this verse last because it addresses the theme of this whole piece so well. Another term for deceitful speech is lying. If you ever read the Bible (and if you haven’t, please do so), God cannot stand lying. He knows we will make mistakes, bad decisions, etc. It’s when we lie to ourselves, others, and especially Him where things get more complicated and bad. First, lying to God is a colossal waste of time and energy because He’s got the whole all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful thing. You can’t lie to Him. It’s just insulting, honestly. Second, God doesn’t want us to trick or manipulate anyone. Last, He doesn’t want us to be dishonest with ourselves.

I was never the best at writing concluding paragraphs. (Some things never change.) To sum up, our rights were not, are not, and never will be from the government. They are given to us by God. As such, we are accountable to Him for all of it. In the Bible, He details how we should use our words: carefully, to edify, and never to lie. We have free will. This means we choose whether to heed His guidance or not.

His promises are true and reliable. They’re not based on some capricious whim or vain imagination. They stand the test of time, as do the divinely inspired principles and concepts in our founding documents. I pray we realize that soon and begin to turn back to the One who gave us our rights, and not rely on those who seek to take them away.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Your rights are a gift from God.

Look forward to hearing from you.


1 https://alcohol.org/statistics-information/speakeasy/

2 https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

3 https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript

It’s A Shame There’s No Conviction

“You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Aren’t you ashamed?”

“Shame. Shame. Everybody knows your name.”

These phrases were part of my childhood. I’m not looking for sympathy here; it’s just a fact. Usually, they were used by my parents in a joking manner. Occasionally, however, they were used as a genuine inquiry or correction, and not only by my parents.


I’m not a fan of it. I’m also not a fan of its partner guilt. Are you familiar with their work? You do or say something you shouldn’t have. You regret having done or said the thing. Guilt settles in and makes you feel horrible. Shame arrives to finish the job.

I don’t believe we should make ourselves or others feel ashamed or guilty. But I do believe in accountability and taking ownership of our behaviors. I believe in feeling conviction not condemnation.

What’s the difference between feeling guilty and feeling convicted?

I’m so glad you asked. When I first dedicated my life to the Lord, I was a bit confused about this as well. Because the initial actions are the same in both cases. We do or say something wrong. That happens in both situations. But here’s where the paths diverge. In the guilty option, we recognize our mistake and begin to beat ourselves up over it. Shame attaches itself and further stokes the fire of humiliation and regret. We can spiral as we replay what we said or did over and over. We can convince ourselves that even if we apologize, nothing will change. When (or if) we do apologize, we may remain persuaded that this mistake will never go away. It’ll always be a part of us now. We’ve got a mark against us that can never be erased.

In the guilty option, part of the problem may be because we’re relying on ourselves and the other person (or people) to forgive us and let us off the hook. But what if we went to the Lord first and asked for His forgiveness before we spoke to anyone else?

In the conviction model, we still say or do something wrong. We recognize it, not because we begin to beat ourselves up and condemn ourselves. No. In this instance, it is the Holy Spirit as a representative of God who will nudge us. Let me state this clearly: God’s conviction is a call to turn it around and begin anew.

In my life, this is typically how it goes down. I’ll be thinking of saying or doing something. I’ll feel a tug within me steering me in a different direction. I ignore this gentle prompting and go ahead with my initial plan. Chaos on some level ensues. When the dust settles, I look up to the heavens and say, “I know. I know. I should have listened.”

In the early days of my faith journey, I would still feel some guilt and shame. That’s perfectly natural. And that’s the problem.

We’re not called to move in our natural reactions. We’re called to move in spiritual responses.

What does that mean? Well, it’s natural to feel bad if we say or do something wrong. But when we want to make amends, we need to ask the Lord for guidance. It’s taken me a long time, and I haven’t gotten it down 100%, but I’m learning that the Creator of the whole universe might just know a thing or two more about life than me.

So, you messed up. Now what?

In my case, there were usually a bunch of red flags displayed before the mistake was made. I just chose to ignore them. Once in a while, I do get blindsided, but not often. The point is, I made the mistake. Now what, if anything, should I do to make it better or right? Is it even possible?

Here’s where taking it out of our hands and putting it into His makes all the difference. I may have the instinct to apologize right away. And it’s good to want to make amends quickly, to not let things fester and brew in the silences and separations. But sometimes God will call us to not say or do anything immediately. He is the only one who knows the hearts and minds of everyone, so though I may be ready to address the matter, the other party may not be.

You can’t make your attempt to make amends about you.

We made a mistake, and we feel bad. We don’t like feeling that way. We want to stop feeling that way as soon as possible. But what if the other person isn’t ready to receive your apology? You get ahead of God’s timing, expecting a resolution or restoration, and end up hurt or disappointed.

Now, you must be prepared when God does tell you to apologize, there is still no guarantee the other person will accept and forgive. You’ve got to be ok with that. (It’s not easy.) But your response and your effort are in alignment with God. That’s what truly matters. The other person may (or may not) come around. There may (or may not) be a reconciliation. But when you follow His lead, you can hold your head high. Free from guilt and shame. Yes, you don’t deny the mistake. But you’ve asked God to forgive you. You’ve gone to those you may have wronged and asked the same.

Now it’s time to forgive yourself.

This is an area of struggle for me. I like to believe I’m quick to forgive others. But when it comes to forgiving myself, I have a difficult time. It is only by the grace of God that I’m improving in this area. The Lord has shown me that when I hold onto it, I’m not trusting Him and I’m being selfish.


Yes, because the focus is on me. It’s about my mistake. It’s about me. It’s all about me. I become self-absorbed. Typically, we think of being self-absorbed as self-minded, thinking more of yourself than you should. But you can be self-absorbed in a negative way too. You’re obsessed with focusing on all you did or said wrong. What’s the center of your attention in both examples? You are.

But what about those who don’t seem to acknowledge right or wrong and live in a place of my truth and your truth?

If we don’t know someone personally, all we need to do is look at our devices to see people who seem to have abandoned what were once universally agreed upon as basic truths and distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil. In my opinion, this is a reckless way to live. But it doesn’t surprise the Lord. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:17-20)

The Bible is indeed a love letter to those who want to know Him. But to those who willfully turn away, it’s a very stern warning. The part which grabbed me was “their glory is their shame.” Wow. That’s heavy. But think about it. How many videos have you seen of people reveling in doing the wrong thing? They’re convinced freedom and liberty means doing whatever you want without fear of consequence. I pray they realize the error of their ways before it’s too late. I honestly don’t want anyone’s destiny to be destruction. How about you?

God warned us there would be people who reject Truth and embrace and excuse all bad behaviors. Yet we’re surprised when we encounter them. But it should always be shocking. May we never get so comfortable with evil being seen as good that we don’t speak out against it. May we never get quiet and ashamed of believing in the Lord. Check this out:

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

I remember when I first heard this verse, it stopped me in my tracks. We deny Jesus now, He’ll deny us then. Yes, contemporary culture is making it more difficult to speak out, to proclaim our love for Him. We get censored, shadow banned, shut down, screamed over, taken away. But we can’t stop. Because in that screaming crowd there may be one who can still be reached. Or maybe that one won’t be in the crowd, but they’ll be on the sidelines listening to everything. You never know. But God does.

And what are we so ashamed about anyway? Why do we care what people think? Check this out:

As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him (Jesus) will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)

If you believe what it says, He’s got your back. Stand tall and share His love to this crazy world. And be sure to let conviction fall and change you when you go the wrong way. Check this out:

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5)

These verses struck me. We may not realize this, but if we don’t confess our sin, if we don’t bring our mistake to the Lord, that sin festers within us. As it says, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away..” and “day and night your hand was heavy on me…” Conviction ignored will start to feel like a heavy hand on us. God is merciful, but He demands accountability. He already knows all the mistakes we’ll ever make. The point of confession is to release us and bring us back to wholeness. We can’t get there without Him.

God loves us, but He hates sin in any form. And there is a time when this world will come to an end. His judgement will be rendered on everyone. Check this out:

And when He (Jesus) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (John 16:8, NKJV)

The way I see it, there’s a day coming (and no one knows when) when we will all be judged for everything. Those who willfully stayed in a place of self-absorption and unrepentance, rejecting Him, will be held eternally accountable for that choice. I’m certain there will be judgements against me as well. Yet I know this one thing, if I believe and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, my end will not be the same as theirs. I pray many will come to see He is the Way the Truth and the Life before it is too late.

Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Ask His Holy Spirit to guide you and convict you daily, so you may avoid the pitfalls of this world and live your life unashamed.

Look forward to hearing from you.




Seeking Significance

As I begin this piece, I realize I may have addressed this area in one way or another in previous posts. I was prompted to write about it once again after experiencing a rather low point the last few days.

The past three years have been difficult for all of us. During this same stretch of time, both my parents passed away, I left a career I loved, and I moved multiple times. It is only within the last month or so that I’m starting to recognize my own face in the mirror. I’ve settled into a place where I’m surrounded by nature and miles away from the hustle and bustle of life.

In short, I’m finally feeling like I don’t have to be in survival mode anymore. So, naturally that’s when my body decides to process all the trauma I’ve been suppressing. It’s delightful!

I began reflecting not only on the last three years but on my entire life. (When I go, I go deep.) My train of thought then segued to the big question:

When I’m gone what will I leave behind?

Legacy. Significance.

I would venture to say most (if not all) of us want to leave something behind which lives on long after we are gone. In my humble opinion, the greatest legacy, the most significant achievement is raising a family. Notice I didn’t just say having kids. I’m talking about sowing everything you have into these little lives God entrusts to you.

I always believed I’d have a family of my own one day, but that hasn’t happened yet. Does that mean my life is insignificant?

It’s a serious question and one I’m sure many of us face at some point. As we dive deeper down into this rabbit hole, the next question might be:

What makes a life significant?

Here’s where I’m going to perhaps stir up some Kat Controversy, but that is nothing new. I believe the miracle of you being here renders you significant. That’s not just a Biblical perspective (though that should be sufficient), it’s also supported by science. Despite our advances in technology and medicine, there will never be another person exactly like you ever again.

Sure, we’ve got cloning and AI (both fascinating and terrifying to me), but even identical twins are not one and the same. You may be saying to yourself, “OK, so I’m one of a kind, but I’ll never do or be anything significant. I’m not famous or wealthy or anything like that. I haven’t got any special skills or something that sets me apart.”

How can you be significant if no one’s watching?

I believe with our social media landscape, we’ve gotten a warped perspective on what is relevant or significant. We’re becoming trained to believe follows, likes, and such are the yardstick to measure our lives by.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s face it, someone’s video can go viral for the most banal, silly or even ridiculous reason. Sure, they had 1 million views, but does that make what they did significant? I would offer significance should be measured more in terms of long-term effect rather than short-term reaction. The viral video may be forgotten three minutes after it’s been viewed, or it might resonate with the viewer for years to come.

It’s what happens later which determines significance.

Some of the most memorable events in my life came in small, seemingly innocuous moments: an unsolicited hug when it was most needed, a word of encouragement for no special reason, a hearty laugh at a funny story I was telling, just sitting with me in silence so I wouldn’t feel alone.

We may not recognize how significant someone or thing is until later on. Might I suggest we begin to change our perspective a bit? If we can agree each human life has significance, can we start to view one another and our interactions through a lens of appreciation?

Am I oversimplifying things?

I’m not saying it’ll be easy, and there certainly are people we encounter whose significance is appreciated only when they’re far, far away. We won’t get along with everyone all the time. And there may be some folks who we just don’t like, or they don’t like us, or whom we can’t stand to be around. That’s real. I’m not denying it.

I guess my point is if we can attempt to value each other, it’s a good place to start. If I look at you as someone significant, and you can look at me the same way, isn’t it possible we’ll treat each other with a little bit more respect and courteousness? It’s not a guarantee, but once again, it’s a place to start.

But what happens if we end up just living an ordinary life? If we never make headlines or do something special, then what? Was our whole life a waste of time?

Absolutely not.

Did you not read the part where you are significant because God created you? You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

God doesn’t make mistakes.

Your life is already significant. But if you truly desire to leave your mark, start with giving. Give your time, your energy, your resources. Give without expecting anything in return. Give generously. And it doesn’t have to be money. There is blessing in giving, but never give to be blessed.

Though you may never make the news or go viral on TikTok, you never know how your small act of kindness may be significant to someone else. I can think of many times when someone smiled at me, and my whole day turned around.

Start small.

You want to be significant (more than you already are, of course)? You want to leave a legacy? Give. Share. Try.

Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. I’m glad you’re here because you are significant.

Look forward to hearing from you.




When Social Contagion Consumes A Nation

Unless my math is incorrect (and it could be because I’m not great with numbers), this is my 60th blog post. Of all the topics I could choose to commemorate this historic occasion, I’ve chosen one which will definitely earn me my Kat Controversy moniker.

What does social contagion mean?

I’m so glad you asked. Before we dive into this, we should try to come to a consensus on its definition. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), it involves:

“the spread of behaviors, attitudes, and affect through crowds and other types of social aggregates from one member to another. Early analyses of social contagion suggested that it resulted from the heightened suggestibility of members and likened the process to the spread of contagious diseases.”1

There are fascinating articles and studies surrounding this subject. I encourage you to do an online search to learn more, if you’re interested. For the purposes of this piece, however, I think we’ve got a baseline explanation and can now proceed.

Up until the last year or so, I’m pretty sure I’d never even heard the expression social contagion. Now it seems embedded in the lexicon. As with many buzzwords or phrases, it has substantive meaning, but over time that meaning becomes degraded as its overuse deflates its significance. Once everything is being called that term, then nothing is that term.

So, what happened over the last couple of years to make this phrase so popular?

Here’s where the controversy kicks into high gear. Social contagion did not start in 2020, but in my humble opinion, that’s when it went to a whole other level. It was SC 2.0 on steroids!

I understand when the Rona first hit, we were all scared. I was working in healthcare in a nursing home facility in the epicenter (NY) of the crisis. I get it! We were blindsided and nothing made sense. But after a couple of months, still daily working in a hot zone, my coworkers and I began to wonder, “What are we doing? What’s really going on here?”

We cannot forget how unstable people became, chastising strangers in public for not following a mandate (not a law, btw). Some felt emboldened to say and do things they would never have done in the past. The collective began to take over and wanted to rule every aspect of everyone’s daily life with an iron fist.

Is that hyperbolic? Think of how many people couldn’t see dying loved ones or even hold funerals to say final goodbyes. Think of how many outdoor spaces were closed. Suddenly fresh air was the enemy? Let us not forget my favorite five-letter word: M A S K S. Even when compelling evidence questioned their efficacy against this particular virus, there were (and are still) those who remain devoted disciples to the cause. Anyone who does not agree with their belief is a heretic and should be shunned immediately.

Let me state this clearly. What you choose to do with yourself is your own business. If you feel better wearing a face cover, have it. Where it became problematic was when people felt it was within their rights to tell someone else what to do.

I remember scrolling through social media seeing viral videos of people almost (or actually) coming to physical blows, or engaging in heated screaming matches, at the very least. Live and let live and mind your own business were not popular mottos any longer. I blame the media for stoking the fires. I blame the bureaucrats and other experts for instigating and perpetuating the near manic level behavior.

Ok, but that’s just one example, right? Sadly, no. Next came what I shall refer to as the jabby jab. Once again, if you made an informed, free will decision to get it, that’s one thing. But far too many individuals were pressured, harassed, and threatened into injecting an experimental drug into their bodies.

Folks were told they’d lose their livelihoods if they did not comply. Read that sentence one more time. Once again, the mania spread like wildfire, thanks to the media and experts constantly poking at the raw, emotional nerve and fear. It felt as if almost overnight a mass form of groupthink hypnotized many.

Now, we’re halfway through 2023, and the remnants of the Rona and the jabby jab still linger. We’ve learned much as time has proven many conspiracy theories to be far from it. Yet there are some who seem, for lack of a better phrase, stuck in the past. Again, if you have all the information and choose your way, I can respect that.

My concern is that as the social contagion takes hold, you avoid or block out anything which doesn’t align with your belief. Unfortunately, one could argue the media and the experts are complicit in creating these echo chambers. They censor and suppress viewpoints which do not adhere to the agreed upon narrative, their truth.

But there aren’t any examples of social contagion happening right now.

Let me state upfront, I have no issue with adults making decisions regarding their bodies and their sexuality (unless their proclivities are toward children, which is and ever shall be categorically wrong). Advocating that young kids must be affirmed on every thought or idea they have concerning their bodies or sexuality, however, seems positively irrational. Aren’t you as the parent, guardian, adult influence supposed to guide them not blatantly acquiesce? I’m not suggesting we ignore or dismiss them. But when it comes to life and body altering decisions, where is the pause button?

Once again, it seems as if overnight the experts and media were given their marching orders. If you don’t go along with what they not only recommend but demand, you are the problem. It used to be you’d be “killing grandma”. Now it’s “your kid will kill themselves” if you don’t fill them with hormones and/or go through drastic surgical procedures.

We used to agree there was an invisible line no one should cross and if they did, the punishment should be swift and sure. That line was kids. Yes, unfortunately children did suffer, despite our unspoken cultural contract. Evil exists. But when that evil was discovered, there was collective outrage. We were angered and sickened by it, as we should be.

But today to even raise the question of, “Are we moving too fast in this area? Shouldn’t we slow down or just stop?” is seen as hate speech or something. It’s conform or else all over again. As terrible as the previous bouts with social contagion were that I mentioned earlier, this one is the most pernicious and dark. Because it has our youth in the crossfire.

Where is the secret meeting when it’s decided what the next thing will be?

Wherever it’s being held, my invitation must keep getting lost in the mail. Doesn’t it seem odd to you how quickly things change and how powerful elite forces attempt to normalize what was universally considered inappropriate only a few years ago?

The new thing seems to spread so rapidly, not unlike a contagious disease. The thing about some diseases is you can be exposed to them and not even know it. You can carry it and show no symptoms. And some are just lethal enough to destroy you.

I realize for my 60th post, it would have been simpler (and, perhaps more expected) to choose a light-hearted topic. But as I’ve mentioned before, I pray about what content to create. This issue of social contagion and its devastating consequences lies heavy on my heart. I felt led to share it with you in the hopes we can begin to recognize and redirect.

I’ll leave you with these words, not of my own, but from the One who created everything, the only hope for our troubled times.

(Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Isaiah 5:20)


“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)


There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV)


Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. May God have mercy on us all.


Look forward to hearing from you.



1 https://dictionary.apa.org/social-contagion

Wait! It’s Just Click Bait.

We’ve probably all been there. Minding our own business, innocently scrolling through social media or emails, then something catches our eye. It might be a curious headline or graphic. Could be a pic of a celebrity we like with a catchy tagline starting with “Did you know…” or something equally intriguing.

Before we know it, we’ve clicked and are now diving headfirst into a mindless waste of time and energy.

That intriguing headline claiming to have the ultimate answer to weight loss or eliminating wrinkles or even world hunger was the shiny lure on the fishing hook. After wading through pages and pages of content or sitting through an intolerably long and exceptionally uninformative video, you’re left with…nothing. Let me correct myself. You may have the option to purchase a series of materials or join a program that will definitely give you the answers or results promised by the initial lure. You metaphorically wriggle yourself off the line before getting completely reeled in, but you now wear an invisible scar from your time spent on the proverbial hook. You swear you’ll never fall for that trap again.

But sometimes the lure is just so irresistible, you have to go in for a closer look.

This time will be different. This time I’ll learn who my favorite actor’s secret child is. (Spoiler alert: this actually happened, and I did not. Turns out they just used his face as the poster child to get suckers like me to “click here to learn more.”)

Click bait is just a contemporary version of “bait and switch.” An example of this brand of scam would be if a business advertises refrigerators for an incredibly low price for a limited time. But when you get to the store, they have none of that kind left and do their best to upsell you a pricier model.

What happens when you are lured in with false promises in real life?

I’m not simply referring to a salesperson trying to get you to overspend on an appliance or vehicle. I don’t just mean dating apps and other social media platforms where people can perpetuate a version of themselves which may not resemble who they actually are. I’m also talking about when someone we care about: a family member or friend, a trusted mentor or colleague fools us, lures us in with false hope or expectations, damaging our trust.

And what about perhaps the area of greatest significance, and the focus of this article, the most intimate and only eternal relationship you will ever experience?

Have you ever felt faith and relationship with God was just the greatest click bait scam of all time?

I understand.

What I will say to you is you weren’t presented with true faith and relationship with God. Let me take a guess at how it was sold to you. “God is love. Just believe and everything will be all right. Just say this prayer with me and everything will change.” You were drawn to this shiny lure, this promise of a better life. Before you knew it, you were flopping on the boat with a hook in your mouth (metaphorically, of course).

I said the prayer, and everything got worse! They lied to me. I was better off before all of this. I can’t believe so-and-so treated me that way in church. They told me I’d be welcome there. It’s all a scam. God isn’t real. And if he is, he sure doesn’t care about me!

The Bible isn’t click bait. It’s a lifeline.

Unfortunately, there are people and even organizations that use God as a means to an end. They say all the right things to get you, but don’t have his heart to keep you.

God knows how imperfect we are and how we will disappoint one another. I believe it’s one of the reasons he gave us his Living Word so we could read, study, and learn. It also gives us a place of accountability, a standard to be upheld.

Now let me share with you a real, yet very not shiny or pretty truth:

The day you accept Jesus is the last comfortable day of your life.

Can’t take credit for that. The late Prophet Kim Clement spoke those words quite a few years ago. I remember it being a very sobering moment for me when I heard them. He knew we deserved to know the truth. And the truth is when you say “Yes” to the Lord everything does change, just not necessarily the way you think it will.

You may go through a honeymoon period where everything seems to be going your way. You’re living in a kind of protected bubble or cocoon. That period may be short lived, or it may not happen at all. I can’t tell you if it will or won’t. What I can say with absolute certainty is your life will become uncomfortable.

God is love and He will never leave you or forsake you. Salvation is his free gift. Yet living out your faith in this life requires you working with him. Depending on what he brought you out of, you may need to change a little or a great deal. But if he loves me as I am, why should I have to change anything? You are loved and accepted as you are. But he sees all you could be, the best version of yourself, your fullest potential realized. He desires to help you see it too and, with the help of his Holy Spirit, make it a reality.

Don’t let temporary discomfort deter you.

Growth is uncomfortable. Change can be uncomfortable. Those are simply basic facts of life independent from any spiritual context.

You may have times where things are going smoothly, seasons of blessing and prosperity. But my best advice is to never get too comfortable. I’m not suggesting you don’t enjoy these times. I’m saying it’s important to realize everything but God is temporary. Life changes.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him (Jesus Christ) who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13)

I would love to say I’m right there with the Apostle Paul, but then I’d be a liar who lies. After many years, I’m learning to ride the waves without getting quite as seasick. (Sidebar: What is with me and all the ocean and fishing metaphors today? But I digress.)

There are plenty of scams in this world. Some even present themselves as faith or belief in the Lord. But just because it looks shiny and pretty, doesn’t mean it isn’t attached to something that can harm you. The best way to help safeguard against spiritual click bait is to read your Bible and pray for his wisdom and understanding. (And as a bonus, he might just give you the strength not to click to learn more about your favorite actress’s secret obsession. It’ll be up to you to choose whether you listen to him or not. Free will.)

Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. And get used to being uncomfortable.

Look forward to hearing from you.