Freshboys music video: Papaoutai by Pentatonix


Watch the Freshboys (my sons) lipsync in their debut music video, performing Pentatonix' "Papaoutai," written by Stromae. Share this with your friends!

Are Smart Mobile Devices Raising Our Children?


Everywhere I look these days I see kids with more and more smart mobile devices. In fact, today if a kid doesn't know how to use a smart mobile device thay would probably be teased. I know I probably have more than a dozen mobile devices in my home alone. I've always been a techie nerd. My parents are techies, and all my friends and family are techies. My wife's a techie, my kids are techies.  Technology is just part of everyday life for me as a father, youth minster, and consumer. I'm sure if you're reading this, you are a bit of a techie yourself. Whether you're a teen, a parents, or a grandparent, you have, to probably a great extent, been impacted by technology.

The problem I find myself in, is that technology, particularly smart mobile devices, have become a bit of an idol in my home. My kids 7, 5, and 2, all know how to unlock my smart mobile devices, choose whatever app they want to open, and play with it. My 7 year old can even navigate apps in the same way I can, and in some ways better than I can. Can you relate to me?  It's just so easy to let kids figure out the latest gagets, only to spend endless amounts of time "out of your grill." If you're like me, you have to be careful not to let your mobile devices spend more time with your kids than you do.  

By the way, I won't even go in into the danger of the material that most smart mobile devices let your children have access to.  That's a scary and chaotic world and deserves a whole blog post just about that. If you want to find out just how scary that world can get, go over my post, here, to get the reality about the dangers your kids face with high-speed internet accerss, and a smart mobile device.

On the bright side, Gena and I have only purchased mobile devices for our kids that are made for kids. So far those have been pretty successful in keeping the younger one's attention. But then, we got a powerful tablet, and started letting them use our smart phones at certain times.  We noticed that the kids started leaning away from the devices for kids, and obsessing over the tablets and smartphones.  Thankfully, Gena and I don't have any content on our phones (music, vidoes, photos, apps) that we need to hide from our kids. This has been a great thing to help our family stay accountable, and honest about what we teach as Christians. But, just because there's no pre-loaded negative content, doesn't mean our kids aren't susceptible to the dangers of mobile device parenting.

I'm guilty of letting mobile devices replace moments when I should be parenting my children. Consequently, we've seen some negative effects of these decisions. Therefore, I'm thinking long and hard about how much our children will be allowed to use smart mobile devices, and the ramifications of this decision over a long period of time. If I'm not proactive abvout it, the result won't be anything good. Let's think about those ramifications.

For starters, when your smart mobile devices raise your children, your kids:

  • social skills become handicapped and hi-jacked by a computer (texting replaces real conversation)
  • brains become wired for immediate gratification (unless you or your device goes broke)
  • satisfaction of your children is measured by internet speed, and battery percentage
  • become exposed to adult content much earlier than their minds are intented to
  • are at risk becoming victims of online predators, stalkers, and hackers
  • activities become much harder to monitor, therefore putting you at risk of negligent parenting
  • are physically impaired by overusages of devices, especially with their sleep

In conclusion, I really want to know what you parents with kids who are 21 or younger, have done to balance use of mobile devices by your children. My wife and I struggle with this conversation, so any advice is welcomed.  

My challenge to you is to share this post with your spouse, if you are raising kids. If not, then share this with someone who is raising kids.  None of us are perfect when it comes to parenting, so we should be  willing to help each other out, when raising our kids in this techie world. 



1st Day Of School – Its Ok To Not Be Ok.


1st Day Of School - Its Ok To Not Be Ok.

Today, my older two sons went off to their first day of kindergarten and 2nd grade. My wife went with them.  She came back from dropping them off, but a piece of her was missing. It was still with them at school. You see, our sons are both dealing with anxiety in different ways. My oldest son, internalizes it and lets a few tears drop, but he doesn't want to seem vulnerable. My second son just doesn't care. He tells you straight up he's not going, ahead of time. And then he makes you rip him from his car seat, and carry him in while crying those horizontal tears you see in the cartoons. This is the reason Gena didn't return in one piece. She couldn't fathom their suffering without suffering some herself. I commend my wife for taking on such a dreaded task, and seeing it through. 

Tomorrow, I get to take a stab at it. I'm one of those guys, where (for the most part) it's out of sight out of mind. So, pray for me between 7:50 am-8:00 am. That's when I'll endure whatever my boys throw my way with assertiveness. I'll do what it takes. After that, I should be ok. But, I have to remember to be more like her when I'm dealing with my children. Gentle, empathetic, and compassionate.  No matter how the boys leave my care, tears and all, they should feel loved. "Carry each others' burdens," takes on a whole new meaning when you watch a mother send her two sons off to the first day of school.

What's your back to school story?

Dad’s Dream Come True – Buy A Car From Home and Have It Delivered

Dad's Dream Come True – Buy A Car From Home and Have It Delivered

My wife and I have not bought a new car for about five years now.  We have been lucky.  We bought my current car in 2008 before the birth of our first son.  We then bought our van in 2011 and it has served us well.  It just hit 100,000 miles today, however, so I am thinking we might need to be buying a new car in the next year or so.

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Ever Heard of Groupon? If You Like Discounts, Read On…

Ever Heard of Groupon? If You Like Discounts, Read On…

This post has been sponsored by Groupon. All opinions are mine.


My wife and I are constantly looking for ways to cut back on spending.  At the same time, we don't want to quit enjoying life. That's where Groupon has entered the picture.  Groupon marries those two desires. We've been using Groupon since it started back in 2008. I would bet that over the years, we've saved hundreds of dollars just by using Groupon. 

If you haven't used them yet, it's not too late. Just head over to Groupon's website and start searching deals.  Just for joining, you get $25 off your already majorly discounted price. We've used Groupon for anything from auto tint installation, to kids' attractions, electronics, and even resort stays. Groupon has never failed us.

You may be wondering, "how does Groupon work for a resort?" It's a very well respected world-wide entity that is recognized by all the top-retailers, so you never have to question the validity of your voucher. You may be thinking, "I don't want to have to get a voucher when I purchase something expensive." Trust me, it's a simple process, so you shouldn't be worried about losing value. These days, all you get when you purchase tickets to a resort, or something of the like, is a confirmation number, and maybe an email. Groupon works the same way, only it organizes all your purchases into one app. So you don't even need to get the email. You can just open the groupon app and use the barcode/confirmation number saved in there.

I challenge you to think of your favorite thing to do, and head over to Groupon and search for a deal.  

If you have used Groupon, what is the best deal you ever got?

Join ShiftCon in New Orleans!

Join ShiftCon in New Orleans!

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disclosure: I am volunteering with ShiftCon, and have received a free ticket in exchange for my promotion and volunteering.

ShiftCon Social Media Conference will be held December 1-3, 2016 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverbank in New Orleans, LA!!  This conference will be the weekend after Thanksgiving and the weather should be perfect!  Come with me to see the city, network with organic and natural brands and other bloggers and social media influencers.  We will dine on nonGMO food, talk and learn more about moving towards a nontoxic environment, and of course…bring home swag!

When:  December 1-3, 2016

Where:  Hilton New Orleans Riverbank in New Orleans, LA

What is ShiftCon?  It's a fun learning experience/get-together/party for bloggers, social influencers, and brands who are focused on or want to learn more about eco-wellness, food, fitness, fun, and friendship!

ShiftCon is offering a special sale price of only $149 for the first 25 Influencer tickets sold. The price of $149 is $200 off the regular price of tickets. After those 25 tickets are sold, they are gone. The price will immediately go up to $249 “Early Bird” tickets which are still $100 off the price of a regular ticket. I know, it’s too good to be true! Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn more about incredible brands, organizations and lifestyle practices to help build a healthier, happier future for us and our environment!

Save $50 on your SHIFTCON registration by using my affiliate code at checkout!  "VDFW" will immediately knock $50 off of the cost of one SHIFTCON ticket.  If you're wanting to go with your friends, they can use the code, too!  Hope to see you in New Orleans this December!


A Message To Graduates


I was asked to give a message to the graduates for the MHS Baccalaureate this year. Yesterday I delivered that message. I had an adult female stranger come up to me afterward, and tell me that my message was spot on, and that I should publish it. I've never been asked to publish any of my sermons, so here it is. I omitted a few lines that only pertained to the live audience, but this version gets my entire point across:

All of you are on a journey that has intersected at the end of high school.
I’m so glad God has brought you to this point. Have you given him the credit?
Let’s do that right now. (prayer)

Every one of you have walked different paths with different choices and different people alongside you. Can you remember every choice and every person from your first 18 years? No, you can’t.

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Save Money Today with Groupon Coupons

Save Money With Groupon Coupons

Our family has been using Groupon for many years now.  We have saved big on vacations, recreation, concerts, sports events, and more.  Until recently, though, I did not know that Groupon Coupons existed.  Besides having a cool name, these things really can save you big on stuff you are already purchasing.

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A Threat To Virility: Time Is Not On Our Side

A Threat To Virility:  Time Is Not On Our Side

Just a week ago, Time® magazine published an online article entitled Porn, A Threat To Virility.  Today, their magazine has the article as the cover story, on this week's edition. Kudos to them for speaking openly on it to the masses. There are others who are not afraid to address porn directly for the calamity that it is. Those voices are few and far between. What I've noticed in America is that most preachers don't want to preach on it, and educators don't want to teach on it. Scientists don't want to speculate without enough evidence that pornography is hurtful to a consumer. And parents don't want to talk about it to their children. I won't be quiet about this. I've researched it, I've consumed it, I've taught on it, and I will be speaking about it with my children and my youth group and their parents. The evidence is crystal clear in my experience, knowledge, and in other's stories that I have heard.

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A Texas Boy In South Africa

I recently traveled to South Africa as a part of the leadership team for my church.  I landed on 3 continents in 36 hours. From DFW to D.C., to London, to Johannesburg. Talk about exhausting!  Then from Johannesbug, we flew across South Africa, to Cape Town.  That's a lot to try and see in 12 days. We spent 8 days in Johannesburg, SA, and northern South Africa, and 24 hours in Cape Town, SA. The purpose of the trip was to spend time with our missionaries, Louis and Linda Gerber.  But, when you go across the pond, you don't just schedule a few lunches, and rest your head.  Brent and I made the most of every minute we had in the eastern hemisphere. There's so much I can say about what I learned about South Africa, but you'll have to ask me face to face, if you want that story. The rest of it, I'll just show you, in the slideshow I've made. The soundtrack to the slideshow (and my favorite part of the trip) is of the worship songs that we sang during a Sunday morning service, with the Hilltop Church of Christ in downtown Johannesburg. 


The owner of this blog, Ben, and his wife, Gena, are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to