Family devotional day 4

Hey guys. How is everyone doing?

Kids, today we have a special activity for you. Put on your coat because it’s cold. And just do this for 10 minutes or less. Go get a jar, head outside, and catch the wind in the jar. Then go show your parents.

Parents, you are welcome for the 10 minutes of alone time you are now having. Get some coffee…make a Marco Polo…and wait for your kids to come back in.

Ok, now that everyone’s back…kids, could you catch it?

You couldn’t – could you? We can’t catch the wind.

Jesus loves to describe spiritual things by comparing them to things we know. Today in John chapter 3, Jesus is talking about being Born Again…but he compares it to the wind.

A very important man named Nicodemus is asking Jesus all sorts of questions. His questions really confused my kids. And me too. Do they confuse you?

Basically in a nut shell, Jesus stops all the questions by telling Nicodemus he must be “born again”. Nicodemus is super confused. He asks Jesus how in the world he’s supposed to get back in his mother’s tummy. Ha ha. I wish I’d have seen Jesus’s face when he asked this.

I bet it was like 🤦‍♀️.

Jesus tells Nicodemus to look at the wind. The wind is the invisible moving the visible.

Go look out your window. You can’t see the wind. It’s invisible. But you can see what it moves. That’s just like God. You can’t see the Spirit, but you can see what it moves. You can see how God gives peace, you can see how sometimes you might cry in worship, you can see how God directs us. I could go on and on. Jesus is telling Nicodemus that we are two parts, physical and spiritual. To be BORN AGAIN happens in your spirit. It’s asking Jesus to let you follow him and asking him to make you new and clean before God.

Sometimes we call this “accepting Jesus into your heart.” But it’s so much more than that. Being born again is asking Jesus to cover your sins. Because he was perfect and never sinned, and offered himself as a sacrifice for us. Isn’t that amazing!!!

If you want to ask Jesus to be born again today, it’s so simple. Just pray. The prayer doesn’t save you, but the turn in your heart does. Just say, “Jesus please lead my life. That you for dying for my sins so I can stand clean in front of God. I want to follow you. Lead me!”

Thats it.

So simple.

And did you know that when you are a follower of Jesus you are PROMISED eternity in heaven! That’s so exciting!

So next time you hear the wind sweeping down the plains, think of God. Think of what it means to be born again. And CELEBRATE the gift that we have been offered of eternal life!

It’s fun to think about the party we will have in heaven some day! What do you think we will do? You can send us your thoughts!!!

I think we will have a big long table of delicious food. A big dance with lots of music, and also endless displays of art to look at, that we all created in heaven while we worship God.

What are your thoughts in heaven? Thinking about heaven is a fun way to pass time, isn’t it. You can color a picture about it too! I’m sure your mom and dad would love to see that!

Have a wonderful day, friends. See you back here tomorrow!

Family Devotional Day 2

Good morning!

Let’s read John 1:35-51.

You can read it out loud together with your family and take turns. It’s a lot of verses, but you can do it!

These verses are so special because they talk about Jesus meeting his disciples for the first time! He is meeting his best friends!

Do you remember when you first met your best friend? Did it take a while for you to feel like you knew them?

I asked my kids…how do you feel like someone actually KNOWS you? My 8 year old said, “When they know my full name, my birthday, and if I’m feeling sad at all.”

“What if they knew the number of hairs on your head?” I asked him. “Wow! I’d freak out!” He said.

Do you know that the Bible tell us that God knows that about you. He knows how many hairs are on your head. Because he created you!

Psalm 139 tells us he “knitted you together in your mother’s womb.”

I’d say God REALLY knows you.

Now look back at the verses in John. Nathaniel is a guy that I really like in this story, because he’s sort of rude. And I like it when God loves rude people, because sometimes I am a rude person. Are you ever rude?

Nathaniel makes fun of Jesus’s hometown. Jesus was from a VERY poor and small city. People made fun of his town all the time. That’s pretty rude huh?

Nathaniel says, “He’s from Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Then when he meets Jesus, Jesus says, “There is a real Israelite. Not a false bone in his body.” Because Jesus knew what Nathaniel had said about his town.

And Nathaniel feels sort of insulted. He says, “where I’d you get that idea. You don’t know me.”


But, he doesn’t realize yet who Jesus is. And that Jesus DOES IN FACT know him because Jesus is God.

Jesus tells him a story that he saw him under the fig tree. It makes Nathaniel feel very known , and suddenly and shockingly he immediately decides that Jesus is for real. That’s a REALLY quick change of heart.

What do you think he was doing under that fig tree?

Was he crying? Was he praying? Was he being very honest with God about a hurt in his life? Was he doing something bad? Why was this so special to Nathaniel that Jesus knew this? I don’t know, but I do want to meet him in heaven and ask because I’m just SO curious.


When you feel KNOWN, you feel loved don’t you? When your friend knows you hate pineapples and picks them out of your salad you feel loved. When you are KNOWN you feel special.

God KNOWS you.

He REALLY does.

He knows the numbers of hairs on your head. He knows what makes you laugh. He might even have a nickname for you. You are his TREASURE!

As you sit at home today, I want you to do two things. I want you to thank God that he knows you. And I want you to ask him to help you know HIM more.

Secondly, I want you to be a good friend to a neighbor today. My friend Katy has the idea of chalking verses in our neighbors driveways. This is a great way to show your friends love because you know they want to hear from you. Especially while they are stuck at home.

I’d love for you to share your verses with us if you are chalking driveways today as you social distance.

Thank you God for knowing us!!!

Family Devotional Day 1

Good morning everyone. We made our family quarantine/isolation/Corona virus prevention schedule today, and it included family devotional time. During our prayer time, I felt God impress on my heart to offer a daily family/kids devotional for everyone at home. So…here we go!

Day 1.

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not put it out.

Do you have a flashlight? Go sit in your dark closet with your mom and dad, and maybe even your stinky brother and sister. Yikes. It’s dark in here isn’t it. But if you turn on the flashlight, the darkness runs away. It’s amazing how that works.

God often uses things in the real world to tell us about the spiritual world. Do you know that Jesus is called The Light Of The World? Bad things, scary things, darkness…it all runs from him. That makes you feel less scared of the dark, doesn’t it. It does for me!

My son, Parker…who is 8…had a great analogy this morning. He said we are like flashlights, but God is the battery. He was RIGHT! We have to be able to use God’s power to shine in the darkness. We have to recharge our battery’s by reading the Bible, singing worship songs, praying, and spending time with God.

Is there something you can do today to recharge your battery and shine the light of Jesus while you are at home? Can you serve your mom and dad? Or make your sisters bed? Or color a picture for a neighbor and text it to them? Think of how you can be a LIGHT today.

Jesus is proud of you. You are his child. And he loves you.

Bulbs to bouquets

BFA447D5-D9D8-4E59-BD34-6C13AADA958EFriends.  You need to know something about me.  Plants and I have a very dysfunctional relationship.  I kill them and they die.  We are obviously both at fault here.

This October we moved to a new house.  My husband, who is not at odds with plants, invited me to help him with some Tulip bulbs.

I have never done this before.  I have never planted something and had to wait for it to bloom.

Putting that bulb in the ground on a windy day in October was almost spiritual to me.  I planted the bulb, and then knew I’d have to wait all the way to March to see if it would make it.

And TODAY it came up!! After all this time.  I was amazed.  So much has happened in our lives since October.  But there was that seed, planted long ago…and it all of a sudden bloomed in its full beauty.

This reminds me of God.  Of hard relationships.  Of kids that seem to not get it, or young adults that walk away from Jesus, or sin that grabs and entangles us and pulls us down.


Parents, we have to plant it.  We have to plant the news that Jesus is FOR US.  That he speaks to us today.  That he is full of love and grace and mercy.  And always wants to be near you.  That seed is the greatest thing we can plant in our children. In our friends.  And in those that need our love.

Even if we must wait and wait and wait for the bloom.
BULBS TO BOUQUETS…God uses nature to tell his story to us.  Are we listening?



Brace Face

I’m sitting at the orthodontist.  Blogging.  I know…dream big, kids.

If you have a middle schooler, chances are that you may spend quite a bit of time in waiting rooms of the orthodontia flavor.

You may also spend quite a bit of time talking thru eye rolls, tick tock video etiquette, hydro dipping shoes and endless questions about WHY HE HAS TO HAVE A FLIP PHONE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE HAS AN IPHONE AND YOU ARE THE WORST.

I’m just guessing this.  Not speaking from personal experience.

As I sit here surrounded by HGTV and chap stick tubes, I’m thinking of myself at 12.

I had braces forever.
I wore my retainer forever.
Then I got a night guard for grinding my teeth in my 30s and broke it in a middle of the night during an unconscious stress session last year when we were foster parents.

Now, this year, with nothing to remind my teeth how to be, they have decided to move.  I’ve got a front gap peeking at me.  Oh. The horror of 1st world problems.  But. I’m being honest here.  I see the gap every time I smile.

My teeth have known what to do since I was 13.  But, the year I stopped reminding them how to be, they changed.  After just a year.

Oh, man, does this ever remind me of my life with God.

If I’m not spending time with him.  Talking, reading the Bible, singing, imagining with him…if I’m not doing those things, I start to change.  I forget who I am.  And whose I am.  I need to be reminded over and over and over. I need to surrender over and over and over.  I need to release control over and over and over.

Being a brace face is right where it’s at, I suppose.

God remind us.

Mold us straight.

into your image.

Into LOVE.

And don’t let us forget.




How you say…Enneagram?

AD090BD6-9C46-4AC1-BEC2-7E1AF544E76DHey friends.

Who wants to talk Enneagram?  If you are unfamiliar the Enneagram is a model of human psyche that is taught around nine personality types.  I find, for me, it’s a wonderful tool for empathy as well as self reflection.  It’s helped me become more aware of my blind spots.  It’s helped me understand how my view of the world differs from others.  Honestly, it’s been life changing for me personally and in relationships.

I had the privilege this summer to talk with two of my closest friends on a podcast hosted by the beautiful and talented Heather Mcanear, at Uniquely Beautiful Stories.

Also, it just happens that blog day is coinciding with my intermittent fasting days, and all of that is making me feel very millennial.  Which, I’m 40 people, so I’m not one of you but I’m trying to be. There. Kind of. I really don’t know. Nevermind. I’m hungry.

Just Check out the podcast and shoot me your questions! Let’s talk Enneagram!





You don’t have enough points, sir.

(Friends, I’ve started some short story writing practice.  I’m given a prompt…like…”You don’t have enough points, sir.”  And, then I’m supposed to write a less than 700 word short story.  So, here is my newest story.  And, I’m sorry for the bad word…but I felt it was necessary for the character.  He’s talking… not me, but you know…I sometimes say bad words too, so I don’t know why I’m apologizing. =) This was a tough, hard, and sad story for me.  I feel so much for the main character.  Hope he gives you those deep feelings too)


“You don’t have enough points, sir.”

“Of course I don’t have enough points.  This shitty machine is broken,” I said, kicking the plastic rubber ducky on the defective game.  I started to pace back and forth, clenching my fists.  Mumbling something.  It took me a few moments to realize I was mumbling programming codes.

As I looked up, the pimply faced arcade worker was staring at me.  He stared as if a green martian fell through the roof in his living room.  This look was familiar.  A look in which disbelief trumps fear.  It was the look of my childhood.  My education. My life.  A look that not so subtly said, “Weirdo.”

I started to speak, to make my case again about the defective game, but he interrupted me.

“I’m going to get my manager.  You need to stay right here, sir.”  The worker said as he disappeared behind the soda machine.

I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Ray.”  Her voice said flatly, “What happened?”

“This machine isn’t working.  I was supposed to get 10 tickets.  I squirted those freaking ducks ten times, which is supposed to give me 250 points, which is supposed to give me 10 tickets!  I was calling that kid over here to make it right, and he didn’t believe me.”


“What!”  I said pushing her hand off my shoulder.  She knows I don’t want to be touched when I’m feeling “wound up” as she likes to call it.

“Ray,”  My wife whispered.  Her face calm.  I hated when she talked slow to me like this.  Like I was some kind of idiot.  I graduated with a doctorate from MIT.  I make six figures. I’m a 42 year old man, father, husband.

“Ray, you’ve got to get a hold of yourself.  They are going to make you leave.  Jack is going to be crushed if his own father gets kicked out of his birthday party over arcade game points. Why don’t you go sit in the car for a little bit. Just take a little break.”

Take a little break.  That’s what my therapist has been saying.  I knew this therapy thing was going to come back and haunt me.

“Ray, the lights, the crowd, the noise in here – these can set you off.  Remember the Psychologist called that sensory overload.  She said that was what can trigger this kind of behavior.  Irrational anger.  You know – this situation exactly.”

I begrudgingly made my way to the car, before Emily forced me to go, before I made a scene in front of Jack.

I had been causing scenes most of my life.  I’d always called it a “short fuse.”  But, my fuse only became short when things didn’t go as they were supposed to.  Like giving extra credit at the end of the semester?  The syllabus clearly stated how we were to earn our grades.  I think I had the right to flip out about that.

I started running programming codes over and over in my mind.  Somehow this always seemed to relax me.  The codes didn’t change.  They weren’t sarcastic.  They weren’t flexible.  They were static, consistent, expected.

I unlocked the car door and sat down. I turned the key and watched as the air conditioner’s cold blast ruffled the checklist in the passenger seat. I slowly read the title: “Strategies for self-regulation”.

The checklist was from my new psychologist.  The one, just last week, who had diagnosed me.

Diagnosed me with the same disorder my son had been diagnosed with four years ago.

Somehow I’d been invited to join a club I’d always belonged to, only I didn’t know I was a member.  Membership is not voluntary.  You can’t get out.  You can only cope.  And, try to help the younger members navigate.  Like Jack.  My boy.  My heart.

I thought I knew what Autism was.  I didn’t.

I Lied Once.

I lied once.

I didn’t really kill a bear.  But, that doesn’t matter.  No one listens to me anyway.  I wonder what life would be like if I wasn’t the youngest.  The youngest of eight brothers. The one everyone feels the need to protect.  To tease.  To reprimand.

It’s not that my older brothers are so bad, it’s just that I have so much more to offer – and no one ever gives me a chance. No one really sees me.  The true me is invisible.  The visible me, is untrue.  I am a man trapped in the body of a boy.

Father sends me in to the fields with the sheep.  I wish I could go into battle with my brothers.  To battle the Philistines.  I know I could do it.  I did fight off a wolf once, with my bare hands.  He lunged at the sheep and I grabbed him around the neck.  We wrestled to the ground and I choked him, until his body went limp.  I don’t know why I told my bothers it was a bear.  They all laughed – with their long beards moving up and down, heads back, mouths open.  No one cares what really happened.  No one would be impressed with a lie or the truth. I’m in the middle of an endless, unsuccessful cycle of trying to prove myself.

Until today.

Today, everything changed.

A prophet came. He came to our house, and anointed ME with oil.  Anointed me to be the future King of Israel.  I will never forget the look on my brother’s faces, especially Eliab. He’s the oldest.  The toughest.  The one it should have been.  He stood there with his mouth gaping open.  Long enough for me to fish a grape out of my knapsack and toss it in.  He wasn’t pleased.  Neither was father.  And, I’m not sure Samuel the prophet was either.

But, I will never forget what Samuel said before he left.  He said, “A man looks at outward appearance, but the the Lord looks at the heart.”

His words seemed to linger in the air, and then rush into my soul.  Like a river bringing life to a dry and weary land. Today the invisible became visible.  God was the first to ever really see me.  And, today my heart became his.  Because, that’s all I’ve ever really longed for – to be truly known.

“Search me God and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”