Gift Legacy

Can You Walk on Water?

Can You Walk on Water?

It was a beautiful North Dakota winter morning and the Ranch's Wildlife Club was just about to start its first fishing adventure of the season. Helping to unload the pickup was a very chatty 14-year-old girl who was relatively new to the Ranch. Since her early childhood was spent in the south, I knew she had never been ice fishing. With a twinkle in my eye and sincerity "dripping" from every word, I leaned over to her and whispered, "You CAN walk on water, right?"…

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I Love Christmas!

I Love Christmas!

I love everything about Christmas, the music, traditions, sights, sounds, and most importantly, the opportunity to share the story about the greatest gift we will ever receive; and that is the gift of God's Son, Jesus.…

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Positivity in all Circumstances

Positivity in all Circumstances

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." –1 Thessalonians 5:18 A friend recently posted on Facebook, "I'm not turning my clock back an hour on November 1. I don't want 2020 to last one more hour than it has to."…

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Ranch Kids Head Back to School

Ranch Kids Head Back to School

I was recently reading through the Spring 2019 issue of Ranch Voice (click here to read more), and was reminded why we, and our kids, love our educators! As you read these snippets, you'll realize why our educators are so special.…

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Keeping Ranch Kids Busy During a Pandemic

Keeping Ranch Kids Busy During a Pandemic

Life has been different for the precious boys and girls at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch this summer. Fortunately, the quality of care and the amount of attention they receive hasn't changed. I asked our amazing Wellness Coordinators how they are keeping the kids engaged physically and mentally this summer—despite the challenges created by COVID-19.…

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Your Story Is Important

Your Story Is Important

A big part of my job is thanking some amazing people who care deeply for the precious kids we serve at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. When I call or visit to thank them for their prayers and/or financial support, I have the incredible honor of hearing their stories and learning why they support the Ranch.…

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Congratulations to Our Ranch Graduates!

Congratulations to Our Ranch Graduates!

One year ago, six amazing young people graduated from Dakota Memorial School. These young people received their diplomas amidst pomp and circumstance, with lots of family and friends surrounding them.…

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How Can Three Simple Words Bring So Much Joy?

How Can Three Simple Words Bring So Much Joy?

Before they get to the Ranch, our kids have experienced so much trauma and pain. In many cases, they've been told they're out of options. Now, they have succeeded, and they have a place to go! They are joyful because they did the work, completed their treatment, and now have hope for a better future.…

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Emily's Story

Emily's Story

Like so many of our Ranch kids, there was a time when Emily certainly didn’t believe in herself. She did not realize her potential or the plan God had for her life. Yet today, Emily stands strong and resilient; capable and confident, a beautiful, genuine young woman…who surely has promise! Thank you for helping to make stories like Emily’s possible. You cheer our kids on with your prayers and support, believing in their POTENTIAL, helping precious children realize that they indeed have PROMISE, that their lives certainly have POSSIBILITIES and that the God who loves them, surely has a PLAN for their lives.…

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On to the Next Chapter

On to the Next Chapter

Last year, shortly before one of our young women completed her treatment and moved on, she told me a little about her life—a life full of abuse and multiple placements, both foster homes and treatment facilities. She said her time at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch was different because here she learned about Christ and began to have hope. She said she liked math and thought someday she could be a teacher, or perhaps some other work that allowed her to help kids.…

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It Takes Time

It Takes Time

Some things take a while to get used to. For example, writing the correct date this year is more difficult for me because it begins with a 2 and not a 1. My hand is conditioned to make that downward stroke. I wonder how long it will be before I finally write 2020 without hesitation.…

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A Christmas Gift for the First Time

A Christmas Gift for the First Time

I have always loved Christmas and all that goes along with it. The church services, the music, the decorations, the time together with family and friends, and of course, all the food and goodies. Everyone has different holiday traditions that bring them joy. What do you think of when you recall Christmas as a child and how as an adult? Did you pass on the traditions that you grew up with? Did you make some of your own?…

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Beauty From Ashes

Beauty From Ashes

I recently gave a Ranch presentation at a church in Illinois. After the service, a woman handed me a white candle in the shape of an angel, explaining that after each worship service, she collected the candles. She was told to throw away the candles when they reached a certain length. Not wanting to waste the wax, she began to collect the pieces and melt them to create angels to give as gifts.…

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Billy Graham's Wisdom for Those that are Hurting

Billy Graham's Wisdom for Those that are Hurting

People are hurting all around us—and during the holidays, the burden of being away from family can weigh people down even more. In 2014, Billy Graham responded to a hurting woman with the following words. I share it with you with a request that you pray for the children who spend the holidays at the Ranch, instead of with their families. If you are hurting, may Graham's words bring you comfort.…

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Reflecting With Gratitude

Reflecting With Gratitude

At the end of last week, Ranch board meeting took place. Board members from across the United States came to provide management and oversight of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. We are also quickly approaching the Thanksgiving holiday. As I reflect on these two events, I feel great gratitude for all the people who come together to make the Ranch a ministry like no other.…

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We Love Our Direct Care Staff

We Love Our Direct Care Staff

The people who work at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are kind, giving, and hard-working. They go above and beyond for the children we serve, regardless of the behaviors our kids throw at them. This kind of work is not easy, and nationally, the turnover of direct care staff in residential facilities like the Ranch is off-the-charts. Over the past year, Ranch leaders and supervisors have focused on improving our turnover stats by providing an atmosphere for direct care staff that keeps them engaged.…

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So Much More Than His Labels

So Much More Than His Labels

It is in these simple moments that I feel the presence of God. Here is a child abandoned by his family and so many others, reaching towards the future with hopeful optimism. Not every day...Daniel continues to have bad days, and he will his entire life. But on this day, he was very proud of the tomatoes and peppers he planted, tended, and harvested.…

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Thank You for Doing Stuff

Thank You for Doing Stuff

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" -Luke 10:27 I appreciate how Bob Goff, the author of Love Does, paraphrases this verse. He says, "Love God, Love People, and Do Stuff."…

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Woke Up to a Tornado Warning at 3 a.m.

Woke Up to a Tornado Warning at 3 a.m.

Over the past month, I have been reminded that life is filled with the unexpected and that every moment we are present for it, is a gracious gift from God. I awoke with a start at 3 a.m. while on vacation in Florida last week. The Emergency notice on my phone started beeping and announced, "Seek shelter immediately, a tornado has been spotted in your area!"…

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Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row

Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row

As Christians, we know that God loves us, forgives our sins, and brings us into eternal life, but as humans, facing our own mortality can be uncomfortable. This may be why so many people in the United States pass on without a will. Another reason could be that talking about money with others can also feel uncomfortable.…

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Eight Ways to Make a Tax-deductible Gift to Your Favorite Charity

Eight Ways to Make a Tax-deductible Gift to Your Favorite Charity

By making a gift to the Ranch or your favorite charity, you can pay less in taxes, avoid capital gains tax, and direct your treasures to where you want them to go.…

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Three Ways to Pass On Assets Outside of Your Will

Three Ways to Pass On Assets Outside of Your Will

While everyone should talk to an attorney about a formal plan, you can pass on some of your assets outside of a will. To make sure your loved ones are cared for after you are gone, you can...…

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Bringing Light to Dark Places

Bringing Light to Dark Places

"We are present in order to create moments of illumination. Not enlightenment moments necessarily, though those may occur. Not constant "aha" moments since that is difficult to sustain. But illumination. Light. Clarity. We bring light to dark places and situations through our presence. We also bring Christ's presence which brings the ultimate Light.…

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The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

It's hard to think about dying. I do know I will eventually die—we all will. But knowing that doesn't make it easier to think about. If we are hesitant to even think about our death, it makes sense that we also put off the planning that goes along with it. I recently stumbled on a little book titled, "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning," by Margareta Magnuson. Margareta's words turned my thoughts towards the responsibilities I have to get my affairs in order so my death is easier on my loved on—at least regarding the distribution of my belongings and assets. Her words even helped me find a measure of delight in the process. Really.…

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A Moment of Prayer

A Moment of Prayer

On September 25, the students on the Ranch's Dakota Memorial School campuses gathered around the flagpole for the annual See You At The Pole event. This is a gathering and encouragement of our nation's schools and leadership through prayer. The idea is that before school, all across our country, students and faculty meet around their flagpoles for a few moments of prayer.…

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