Laughter Through These Difficult Times



I know it’s been almost two years since I wrote you last. Managing and writing for Adopting James was a great pleasure for me while Sarabeth and I searched for our children through adoption. When we got them, there was no more journey to write about.

So now our daughter is six and our son is five. Since I’ve written my last blog post, my wife and I have gone through ten lifetimes of marriages, it seems. I will own most of the mistakes as my own, that brought us to such dark places.

We were within inches of getting a divorce.

But in recent months, we’ve decided to emerge through the darkness together, rather than die in it separately.

And the results have been fruitful.

And I’ve got to say that after surviving such menacing trials, this pandemic that’s gripped the world seems almost laughable. Even though I’ve lost my job, even though we’re as uncertain and scared as everyone else. After surviving what we’ve gone through, this seems manageable, because we’re in it together.

I hope you are holed up with people that you love. I hope you are using this time to grow as a person, and grow closer to your family. This time can be awesome if we allow it to be. And really, are we that much more frightened of the future than we were before? It’s just as unpredictable as it was a month ago, right?

Sarabeth and I have learned that laughter is important, and nothing is worth being too serious about. This is why we’ve started a YouTube series of just the two of us talking to you. We discuss movies, books, cars, our lives in quarantine, and just generally want to cheer others up. I’m sure in some future video we’ll dive into some select details of the dark days of our marriage and how we’ve come through them.

We hope you join us over on YouTube, and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, or just say hi if you’d like.

Here’s the link to one of our videos, just punch subscribe if you want to keep seeing us. Hang in there, we’re all in this weirdness together. And don’t forget to wash your hands!

My Favorite CD’s Part 1

You know how it is. You get a CD and it turns out only half the songs are worth keeping. That’s how it usually is for me, no matter how good the band or singer is. I’ve been going through my music and compiled a list of albums that didn’t need to be cut down because at least 90% of it was just pure awesome.


Robbie Williams, Swing When You’re WInning

This is a jazzy set of the best of Robbie Williams’ songs. They’re fun to listen to because it feels like they could be sung in some classy old-time musical. You’ve certainly got a mood-lifter in this album. And if you can’t relate to the first song, then I’d consider you a liar.


Sister Hazel, Fortress

As far as bands go, Sister Hazel is one of my favorites. Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, they have consistently risen up in the charts over the years. In my opinion, they hit their peak with their third album, Fortress. This CD, like their others, is bluesy and folksy, but this one is the most contemporary in terms of rock. It’ll definitely give you a “champagne high” even without the champagne.


Elvis Presley: Elvis 75

My readers may not know this, but I’m an Elvis fan. If I had thick black hair (or more hair, for that matter) I’d either be in Nashville or Vegas making a living doing impersonations of him.


Caedmon’s Call, 40 Acres

It’s a Christian CD, but a fun one to listen to as you drive through the countryside with the windows down. Great traveling music, this one.


That Thing You Do! soundtrack

Remember the Oneders? Remember that little-known Tom Hanks film about that fifties band? The soundtrack is still rockin’ and it’s here to stay!


Blessid Union of Souls, Walking Off the Buzz

If The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was the one TV show that got me through high school, then this third Blessid Union of Souls CD got me through those years musically. I’m surprised my disc hasn’t worn out after probably at least a couple thousand repeat listens.


The Very Best of Rod Stewart

Judge me all you want, but yeah, this guy made the cut. Easily.


Mr. Holland’s Opus soundtrack

This was actually the very first CD I ever owned. I got it for Christmas 1996, along with my first CD player, after my sister convinced me that CD’s were way cooler than cassette tapes.


Tim McGraw, Set This Circus Down (and Greatest Hits)

I’m gonna go country on you here for a minute, and if I’m gonna do that, it might as well be because of Tim McGraw. This is my favorite album of his, besides his greatest hits CD from 2000.


Wicked, broadway musical soundtrack

If you haven’t seen the play, at least get the soundtrack. It’s wicked awesome!

Keep a lookout for Part 2 of this list and join my Facebook Author Page for more fun stuff in the meantime.

Music: She and Him

she_and_himYou remember the movie Elf, right? Or one of my favorites, 500 Days of Summer? That girl in those movies, Zooey Deschanel, is a singer as she shows a little in those movies. It’s her and another guy (M. Ward) in a band called She and Him. I wanted to share this band, as I’ll be doing more of, because it’s one of my favorite genres where the genre is alternative, the music is new, but it evokes the retro sound of pop 50’s music.

Very classical, very smooth, and very cool.

I love dancing around the house with our foster daughter – it’s a good pacifier for her when she’s throwing a tantrum. That’s how happy and upbeat this music is.

The duo has three albums out, plus a Christmas CD. Head on over to iTunes and grab some songs for your listening pleasure. Your day is about to get better!

Join my Facebook Author page for more cool stuff!

Favorite songs:

Don’t Look Back

Somebody Sweet To Talk To

Sweet Darlin’

Over and Over Again

I Could’ve Been Your Girl

I’ve Got Your Number Son

I Was Made For You

In The Sun

Sugar Town

Gladdest Noel

I’ve been posting the best unheard of Christmas songs. But this one deserves to have a post all its own. If for some reason, you’re unable to listen to this lyrical song by Evelyn Brush featured on the Christmas CD “Ring the Bells” I have taken it upon myself to write the lyrics out for you below the video.

In a lowly, lonely corner of a dark and dismal earth

What man once lost was found again – hope was given birth.

Calamitous our condition under judgment from the fall

‘Til the gladdest brightest Miracle came down to save us all.

He heard us crying in the night, dying in our sins

So in unblemished love, God slipped into our common skin.

And the Word became flesh and the greatest became least

And swaddling clothes were wrapped around Heaven’s highest Priest.

In teeny, tiny fingers, and teeny, tiny toes

Baby soft and sweet to kiss lay Sharon’s tender Rose.

Desire of all nations, spreading His rich perfume

As morning sheds her glory across the shimmering dew.

Oh, holy night! God of virgin born, prophecy fulfilled! Fathomless… alone.

But the serpent of Eden hissed heinously and groaned!

For the Savior had returned to claim back His rightful own.

The snake, he slid and slithered in reviling rant and rave

For men’s life was not his purpose… he was hellbent on their grave.

So, besniveling from the manger in green-eyed insanity, he crawled off to hew a rugged Cross

From just the perfect tree in search surpassing sinister, yet sovereignly allowed.

He also plucked the perfect thorns  for Rose of Sharon’s brow.

And in these things he had his way but only ’til the stain

Of Jesus’ blood had washed away our sins ’til none remained.

And the wrath of God was violent, and the terror cruel and raw

Not at all the thing we want to see while looking in the straw

At an Infant pure and innocent.

But we must reconcile with this Truth:

The price to set men free was held within this child,

The Lion of Judah, who died for us our death.

Whose throne can be our very hearts whose breath can be our breath

Whose Life can be our life for all eternity.

If we will but accept the gift He sent for you and me

Jesus is His name



Messiah, Deliverer, Emmanuel, Holy One of Israel!

The Prince of Peace!

Almighty Counselor!

Our sinless high Priest!

God of all gods!

Light of all light!

Joy in our sorrow, rest in our nights.

Blessed Redeemer.

Bright Morningstar!

Wonder of wonders,

What a wonder you are!

Comforter, Helper, faithful friend,

Promise keeper of Bethlehem.

King of all kings!

Lord of all lords!

Ancient of days!


Immortal, invisible, merciful One.

Forgiver of every vile thing we have done!

Righteous, victorious, our all in all.

And yet… His eye sees when a wee sparrow falls

And when are weak,

He is Strong.

And when we are wandering, His arms are long.

And when pain runs deep

His love’s deeper still.

If we will but ask Him, He’ll save us, He will.

Beautiful Savior!

Bethlehem’s bloom

Hope for the tiniest forms within the wombs!

Loving, kind rescuer of helpless man,

No one can steal us out of Your hands!



Gladdest Noel

Jesus is born

All is well!

Win a free autographed copy of my book, The Man in the Box. Click here for details.

The Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard Part III


We’ve all heard “Winter Wonderland” and “Little Drummer Boy” thousands of times this Christmas alone. If you need some fresh new songs to play in the car that still capture the Christmas spirit, take a look at the list. They’re all available on iTunes.

Click here for PART I and Part II.

“The Bells of Christmas” by Loreena McKennit – Remember the movie where Tim Allen becomes Santa Claus? This song that plays while he sees the North Pole for the first time will definitely send Christmas shivers up your spine.

“How Many Kings” by Downhere – I really like this Christian group; their EP album is one of my favorites in the Christian genre. This Christmas song they put out a few years ago, is admittedly missing that “Christmas sound,” but the lyrics are certainly fitting for the season and very thought-provoking.

“Breath of Heaven (Mary’s song)” by Point of Grace – It’s not Christmas until I hear this little ditty I grew up with. I remember my mom playing it whenever we had a Christmas party at our house or while we just sat around drinking egg-nog and frosting our Christmas cookies.

“When a Child is Born” by Wilson Phillips – It’s got that old-school feeling, but still makes a little magic inside.

“A Strange Way to Save the World” by 4Him – Eat your heart out, Mark Lowry.

“One Quiet Moment” by GLAD – These guys, like First Call, are just awesome! Original Christmas songs, and powerful vocals that will rock your world.

“We Need a Little Christmas” by Glee – I don’t watch Glee, but select songs from their Christmas CDs are worth giving a listen to. This is one of them.

“Jesus Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children’s Carol)” by Keith and Kristyn Getty- Sarabeth and I went to their Christmas concert last year, and I can’t recommend their whole CD enough. I wrote about it here.

“This is Christmas” by Plus One – Sarabeth plays this CD a lot during Christmas. It makes me think of our early years together, so naturally, I get very giddy inside.

“Glorious” by Melissa Etheridge- I heard this song on a Christmas episode of Parenthood. 

“In Like a Lion (Always Winter)” by Relient K – And what’s Christmas without a little Narnia 





The Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard Part II


We’ve all heard “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Away in a Manger” a billion times. But have you heard these? Click here for Part I of this list, and check out the reader’s contributions in the comments as well.

“Tender Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant – This song might not be that uncommon as I’ve been seeing it on other Christmas albums, but I just discovered it this year, so maybe it could be new to you, too.

“Starlight” by First Call – This group is just rocking it with the uncommon Christmas songs. This one tugs at the heart, for sure.

“Christmas Without You” by OneRepublic – I think Ryan Tedder, the lead singer of OneRepublic is one of the best singers I’ve heard in most of my life. Would love it if these guys did an entire Christmas album. Heck, they can just release a new album every month, and I’d keep listening.

“Christmas Dreams” by Francesca Battistelli – This song says it all – no one’s ever too old to dream about Christmas. Heck, sometimes in the summer I’ll turn on a Christmas song just to feel warm and glad.

“We Need a Little Christmas” by AgesandAges – I’m pretty sure this is also a traditional song, but it’s a great rendition, and I’d love to hear it more than “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

Share with us your favorite Christmas songs that we might not have ever heard before in the comments below!  



The Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard Part I


We’ve all heard “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” and “Silent Night” a billion times. But have you ever heard these Christmas songs? Give these a listen and add them to your holiday-travel playlists for your trip over the river and through the woods. Then, please share your favorite Christmas songs that we might have never heard before so we can add it to our collections.

“An Evening in December” by First Call – This song is particularly special to me since my wife introduced it to me when we met. Apparently it’s been in their family for years. Just get your hankies out before listening to it, because it’s hard to have a dry eye by the end. In fact, the entire album by First Call (“An Evening in December vols. I & II”) is perfect for Christmas enjoyment.

Intro to “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” – Nostalgia for those who grew up watching this, and a fresh new treat for those unfortunates who haven’t seen this Disney masterpiece.

“Heaven Everywhere”, “Christmas Is”, “Marshmallow World” by Francesca Battistelli – This is one of the few CDs where I purchased the entire album. I haven’t heard much of Francesca Battistelli outside of this Christmas album, but I’ll definitely be visiting her other work throughout the year. 

“You’re Here” by Francesca Battistelli – This is sort of an alternative to “Mary Did You Know”, and I think it’s just a bit more intimate as it’s sung by Mary’s perspective and celebrating the fact that Jesus is finally here.

“Joy to the World” by Train – This is actually a pretty cool reimagining of the Christmas classic as they intertwine some of their own songs into the mix.

“Something in the Air” by Grayson Sanders and Jono – Apparently this was featured in a Coke commercial, but it’s great, nonetheless. #CokeBeatsPepsi!

I’ve got some more songs, so check back later in the day for an update.

And don’t forget to please share YOUR favorite Christmas songs we’ve never heard in the comments below!