• Reel Life Journeys

    Our response to adversity defines our lives, our faith

    Last month I wrote of our Lenten journey and how we should follow the example of Jesus (and the Abbate family) to care for others, even in the darkest times of our lives. Now in the glorious light of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, I want to tell you about the Hamilton family, specifically their daughter Bethany, whose life is portrayed in the new film Soul Surfer. Bethany discovers that a tragic event she thought was the end of her life was in fact just the beginning to a new, more meaningful one. The only daughter of surfers Sheri and Tom Hamilton, Bethany grew up on the island of Kauai…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    When you exercise your faith, be sure to focus on your CORE

    I’ve been on a fitness kick lately. Whether it’s my age, my doctor’s recommendations or my desire to live long enough to see the Chicago Cubs play in a World Series, I am trying to maintain a regular exercise program. My wife and I both work at healthcare companies and our daughter just graduated with a degree in exercise science, so the value of regular exercise is a daily topic in our home. Three to four days a week I am stretching, walking, sitting up, pushing up, and lifting weights. I’m trying to strengthen my core—those muscles around the stomach, back and hips that keep us balanced and productive throughout…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    In a changing world, address doubt with kindness and love

    As I wrote in last month’s column, there are changes all around us. The New Year has brought a new Administration, new ideas, new hopes for the future. How do we deal with changes in our lives? Do we welcome new ideas and new ways of doing things or do we sit entrenched in our own certainty and fight against change, no matter the cost? In the film Doubt, friendly Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is trying to build a new spirit at St. Nicholas in the Bronx. Taking over as pastor a few months after the assassination of President Kennedy, Father Flynn realizes that the world is changing. There…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    The world is changing, but God’s Word is constant and sure

    Changes are everywhere. The New Year approaches. Soon we will change our calendars to 2009. Historic changes are underway in Washington, DC as Barack Obama prepares for his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. Changes in jobs, retirement funds and consumer confidence levels happen daily across America as unemployment rises. How do we deal with changes in our lives? Do we view changes as opportunities in which to excel or tragedies in which to wallow in doubt and fear? To whom should we turn for comfort and guidance? Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    Love unconditionally & know God’s unconditional love

    According to my dictionary, a routine is a set of “commonplace tasks as must be done regularly or at specified intervals.” In this sense, routines can be good, helping us to organize our time and accomplish tasks in a timely manner. The dictionary also states that a routine is “unvarying, unimaginative, a rote procedure.” In this sense, routines can be bad, especially to relationships. In a marriage, a bad routine can move individuals to disengage from their spouse and fill their days with mindless, heartless actions. In the film Fireproof, destructive routines have crept into the marriage of Catherine and Caleb Holt. Catherine (Erin Bethea) is the PR director of…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    Running, praying and listening to the soundtrack of our lives

    My feet pound the pavement, left, right, up, down, endless exertion just to burn a few calories. On the road, my head clears out the daily worries as prayers and ideas float to the top. Inside, my iPod plays my favorite playlist. Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup. They slither while they pass, they slip across the universe. The huge neighborhood hill looms above. Can I make it to the top? A straight line will be quickest if I don’t stop but it’s much too steep. Left, right, up, down, I serpentine the course, foot by foot, rising closer to the summit. Pools of sorrow,…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    Live in love today, even if items remain on your “bucket list”

    In the very first column I wrote for this blog, more than three years ago, I described the things I would do “if I were a rich man,” as Tevye sang in Fiddler on the Roof. While a couple of items were rather indulgent (new house, cars for everyone, lots of overseas travel), I realized that many could be accomplished without a fortune. The list empowered me to do the things I love, such as spend more time with my family, develop my skills as a writer, and communicate more often with family members who live hundreds of miles away. It was the same feeling of empowerment felt by the…

  • Reel Life Journeys

    We walk by faith, despite our human needs for guarantees

    Based upon the Gospel reading in John 20:19-31. Jerry Maguire is despondent. A professional agent of professional athletes, Maguire (Tom Cruise) works hard to secure big dollar contracts and endorsement deals for his clients. Without rest, he does whatever and says whatever it takes to make his clients rich. Lately, however, he has become to hate his place in the world. Should he follow his heart, which tells him that the best direction is less money and more attention to others; or should he continue to play the sales and manipulation games, despite how they are turning his life into a shallow, meaningless nightmare? His instincts tell him to follow…