I recently took some leave days and went to Florida for some family time and relaxation. When you have children, you are bound to end up in Orlando and go to one of the entertainment parks. This time around we settled for Universal and, being teenage children, they of course wanted to ride t… Read more

The holidays are joyful for most. After all, we are given extra time off work. Sweets and special foods are served. Gifts are often exchanged. But the thoughtful will also experience emotions of longing, a desire for something more. This feeling is given ritual form in the Christian calendar… Read more

A Marine I served with in Iraq in 2007 told me this story. In 2006, he was in Afghanistan in the Korengal Valley, where his Forward Operating Base was constantly under indirect fire. Anytime he or his Marines were outside of their hardened positions they had to wear their flak vests. Read more

What is the worst thing you have ever done? Have you experienced God’s forgiveness? Or, in contrast, do you fear that God will not forgive you? I invite you to consider the example of Peter. You may remember that though he was one of the twelve disciples, he denied Jesus three times, even in… Read more

One of my children’s favorite shows is based on two siblings who love nature, animals and various creatures. One of the recent episodes that I had a chance to watch with them was concerning spiders. It was really fascinating to see how spiders use their webs and how powerful their webs can b… Read more

The Butterfly Effect is defined as a phenomenon where local minute changes eventually lead to large effects elsewhere. History is a rife example where small insignificant events eventually lead to dramatic changes. One such event occurred 50 miles south of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune on a… Read more

How are you doing? Holistically—mind, body, emotions, spirit — are you well? As a Chaplain, one of the most challenging things I deal with is overworked Marines and Sailors. There are men and women all around us who are one bad day away from falling apart. Today, we understand burnout better… Read more

Well, it is that time of the year. From the grocery store shelves to the coffee shops, everything is coming up pumpkin spice. From breakfast to dinner, with even dog treats in between, we could eat pumpkin flavorings all day long. My wife offered me a taste of her pumpkin beverage the other … Read more

In his book “Choosing to Live the Blessing,” John Trent tells the story of a Hassidic rabbi who was approached by one of his students. As the rabbi was reading, the student, with a burst of enthusiasm said, “Master, I love you!” Read more

The Atlanta Journal Constitution had an incredible story in 1987 about a rock collector named Rob Cutshaw.He owned a little roadside shop outside Andrews, North Carolina. Like many in the trade, Cutshaw hunted for rocks on the weekends and would then sell these rocks to other collectors or j… Read more

A few months ago I had the privilege of writing an article entitled, “Spiritual Mooring Lines.” In this article, I shared how the mooring lines of a naval vessel ensure that the ship remains pier side until it is time to get underway. In other words, these physical mooring lines ensure that … Read more

I’m finishing up my tour here on Camp Lejeune and I’m headed to the blue-side, Naval Station Mayport. I thought it would be fitting to wrap up this green side tour by running the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. Injury prevented me from running last year, so I’m doubly motivated to train thi… Read more

Rest is one of those things that we’re not very good at as Americans. “Work hard, play hard” is the motto in many of our subcultures. We go through life with this idea that we’re always supposed to be moving. But part of being spiritually fit is engaging a sense of rest for our souls. Read more

“What would you like to change? Maybe you’d choose to change your appearance or have better-behaved children. Perhaps, you’re seeking one more step up the career ladder or maybe just to get onto a career ladder. Maybe you’d like to be more confident and witty or maybe less angry or depressed… Read more

Apple pie has been a part of our American culture for as far back as anyone can care to remember. Most of us would argue that “my” grandmother made the best apple pie and would also be willing to defend her cooking with our life. Some of you may recall your grandmother saying, “An apple a da… Read more

I’ve officially been a “cake cutter” for the past few Ball seasons…which means I’m O-L-D. That also means I’m supposed to be wise too. I’ve learned most of my life lessons from the good old-fashioned school of hard knocks. Out of my old-man-cake-cutter-wisdom I’ve learned that there are five… Read more

One of my favorite aspects of serving as a Navy Chaplain is our core competency of “caring for all.” When I’m introducing myself to the new Marines at the School of Infantry – East, I usually tell them, “Whether we agree on everything spiritually and theologically, or nothing at all, I am he… Read more

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 gives us an idea of Paul’s confidence in Christ, in spite of his circumstances. Confident in the victorious outcome regardless … Read more

Those who pride themselves of being knowledgeable in American history are often mistaken when asked what the first declared war was by the United States of America. The popular response is the War of 1812, which is a good answer, but unfortunately wrong. Read more

During a 2013 deployment, the crew of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DDG-58) pulled pier-side for a little rest and relaxation. As was my custom, I would conduct a “pastoral patrol” around the ship to check on the “sheep.” And as usual, Sailors were already changed over to civilian clothes, anxi… Read more

The Bible teaches us in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” If we continue reading the chapter, we learn a lot about the different time or seasons that take place, but also a lot about life. In fact, if you were a… Read more

Last week I attended the National Day of Prayer breakfast at the Paradise Point Officers’ Club on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The speaker was retired U.S. Army Reserve, Command Sergeant Major James F. Hill. Don’t be alarmed, he earned the title of Marine during the Read more

Recently my wife had to go out of town for a week. This meant not only would I have my normal responsibilities, but I would also be covering some of her day-to-day tasks as well. When a wife, who is also a mother, leaves her family for a week, it may cause everyone in the household to think … Read more

Rose Kennedy once stated, “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” It is the moments we have in our lives that create the milestones. Read more

I grew up in Escondido, California. I am the youngest son of a Korean War veteran. Dad served in the Army as a postal carrier in Seoul from 1952 to 1954. He shared a few of his interactions with the Koreans, enough to indicate that he struggled with Post Traumatic Stress. Read more

We all have those moments in life that cause us to reflect on what is really important. For most, those moments come in the form of adversity, trial, sickness, or being confronted with death. The fragility of life and its brevity, when realized, provide for us those life altering course corr… Read more

Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger grew up as a loyal Notre Dame football fan and dreamed of one day taking the field with the team. Standing at only 5’7” and 165 pounds, it became clear when he was in high school that he wouldn’t be big enough to play. Read more

One of the most basic, but powerful truths you can and should tell yourself is, “God loves me.” God loves you personally because that is who he is. The very core essence of God is love. I John 4:8 says, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” For this description to be God… Read more

Marketed as “the most magical place on earth,” Disney World goes to great lengths to create an enchanted world within the midst of reality, attracting millions of visitors each year who are seeking to have all their dreams come true. Read more

In his book, “Pastoral Grit: the Strength to Stand and Stay,” Pastor Craig Larson describes the incredible Pioneer 10 Satellite. In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to experts at NASA, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the p… Read more

How to measure a life is the question that the characters in the film version of the Tony Award winning musical and acclaimed movie “Rent” ask, as they try to understand their existence as poor, starving and struggling artists living amidst poverty and the AIDS epidemic of the early 1990s in… Read more

Wow, what a blessing it is to rest in the glory of the Maker who sustains all things. It is already a couple of months into the New Year. As the New Year approached, I thought of what I could do better. I’m sure many of us had thoughts and planned some sort of activities in order to improve … Read more

Did anyone notice the moon last week? It was exceptionally bright. Astrologists called it a supermoon. A supermoon happens when a full moon overlaps with the moon's closest approach to Earth during its orbit, and it makes the moon look brighter and larger than normal. It was so bright that I… Read more

As the calendar flipped to February, the gyms are already emptying out from all the well-intentioned but ill-fated New Year’s resolution failures. It’s the same story every year – time to lose weight, get more organized, balance the budget, or any one of the countless other resolutions that … Read more

We have all grown up learning the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you want done to you,” as found in the New Testament Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, which was based on Hebrew Scripture Leviticus 19:17. Read more

I’ve always loved Christmas. As a child, my favorite part of the holiday was the gifts and a long school break. Even though I figured out at a young age the real deal on Santa Claus (and spoiling the secret for one of my older sisters!), finding presents under the tree on Christmas morning w… Read more

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace* among those with whom He is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14. Read more