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Picking Your Battles

As a history buff, I am fascinated by the American Civil War.  The strategy, the human drama, the movies and books, the stark and memorable war photography.I especially like all those daguerreotypes with sepia tones and the stoic expressions necessary when one had to sit still for so long in uncomfortable clothing.=But the reality of […]


The Sound of Freedom

Hey, moms and dads. Tell me if this sounds familiar.“C’mon.  Are you seriously telling me that I can’t fill in the blank. Literally everyone I know is filling in the blank. You have no idea how things are ‘in the real world.’”“The real world?” you say, air quotes hovering like missiles prepared to strike. “Let […]


Sweetwater Research

There is a scene in the film Wayne’s World, where Wayne and Garth are using some very amateurish background video effects to pretend as if they are traveling the world from their basement studio. They pretend to go surfing in Hawaii. They visit Broadway to see a show, and then Texas to join a cattle drive. […]



When I was in college, way back in the last millennium, I had the great fortune to be cast as a Jet in West Side Story. Role of lifetime, right? I was billed as “Big Deal,” and I had one line during a scene that the Sharks and Jets meet to decide where they will […]



Who doesn’t want to be seen and heard? To be liked and thanked? Who among us refuses to accept gratitude?Raise your hand if you find yourself belittling and scoffing the attention of those you respect and admire.Now, everyone take your hand down…except Joaquin Phoenix.Appreciation is universally accepted, encouraged and, if we care to admit it, […]


Breaking Ground

For the first time, we have 12 boys at Whetstone Boys Ranch. 12 sweaty, energetic, hormonal, emotionally-charged boys. 12 boys to serve, love, teach, mentor, counsel, feed, support, discipline, challenge, comfort, and console.This has been the plan for this campus since we opened in the fall of 2011. 12 was the magic number.12 tribes of […]


Alternative Living

One side effect of pursuing an alternative diet is that you end up being introduced to all kinds of alternative things.One day you’re looking into the benefits of making your own kefir, and then the next you’re thinking about growing a beard and joining a commune!It’s a slippery slope, let me tell you…and one that […]


Building Boys of Character

An alarming number of boys in America today are victims of two deadly storms.  The first is a broken family that fails to protect and nurture, and instead buries them under the rubble of abuse and neglect.  If against all odds they crawl out unscathed, they face a second assault by a culture that exploits […]



I have recently started thinking about the Sabbath.  I mean, why is keeping this day holy, the only one of the Ten Commandments that we take as a suggestion?   The more I reflect on this, the more I feel convicted to move from intellectual pondering to passionate action.  I am coming to see that in […]


Pointing the Way

Mike is a big guy.He needs to be on the football team, or on the track team as a shot-putter.He is also a guy with big heart.In the few months that I have known him, I have seen this in the way his voice changes when he talks about his little sister, and in the […]

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