North Dakota

A Child's Prayer

A Child's Prayer

I was sitting in silence before chapel last week. Our Minot chapel was built many years ago with beautiful stonework serving as the backdrop for a carved natural-wood cross. The pews are arranged in a semi-circle around the altar. Taking a deep breath, I could almost feel the thousands of prayers that have been said and the tears that have been shed in this sacred space.…

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Where the Coolest Kids in the World Hang Out

Where the Coolest Kids in the World Hang Out

It's summer and kids are out of school! At the Ranch, just like anywhere else, kids relish the beginning of summer break! Of course, Ranch kids take part in summer programming and many scheduled activities, but still, summer is summer. One of the first indications the kids are out of school is all the chalk art on the Ranch sidewalks! It makes me smile to walk to my office through all the flowers and rainbows and hopscotch and "welcomes"...and all kids of Ranch child wisdom. Some of the words are happy, some profound, some grieving...…

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Finding Your Way Without a Map or Compass

Finding Your Way Without a Map or Compass

If you took away my map and my compass, I wouldn’t be able to find my way out of a paper bag, let alone navigate the places we hunt; so I was enthralled by the stories in the book. The author’s premise is that simply looking at the details others miss enables a person to successfully navigate even the most desolate terrain. No doubt it was pretty amazing, even awe-inspiring stuff. But, I still believe if you threw ME into the middle of the wilderness to find my way without a map or a compass, you would be asking the impossible!…

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Never Give Up

Never Give Up

The Senior Banquet is truly a wonderful experience for our graduates. They invite a table full of family and friends for a delicious meal. Then teachers take turns reading biographies of each student and sharing stories that highlight these great kids. Some stories brought tears to my eyes, some made me laugh, but in all of them, I saw mutual care and respect.…

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Graduation from Dakota Memorial School

Graduation from Dakota Memorial School

Like every other child, our Ranch kids are excited for the end of the school year. This week is graduation! We have six young men and women graduating from Dakota Memorial School (DMS) and we are honored to help them celebrate.…

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Until We Meet Again

Until We Meet Again

Spring in North Dakota is really a transformation. One moment the entire state is shut down due to a horrible storm with a foot of snow. Seven days later, the snow is gone, it is 75 degrees, the grass is already turning green and the trees are budding. It always makes me think of my Mom because she really loved this time of year. She would have turned 88 this past April.…

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A Sense of Family

A Sense of Family

When I think about the many ways I have been impacted by the Ranch, I keep coming back to the overwhelming sense of family and belonging that surrounds everything we do. I immediately felt welcomed by everyone I met, from coworkers and board members to the children we serve.…

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Easter Baptisms

Easter Baptisms

Children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch celebrated Easter this year in many special ways. VP of Spiritual Life, Chaplain Rick Jones, has a tremendous gift for making the Word come alive in a way that resonates with our children. At the beginning of the Easter Morning service on our Minot campus, he came running out from the chancellery yelling, "He's alive! He has risen!"…

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He is Risen!

He is Risen!

"Jesus Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!" .…

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Finding Peace in the Storm

Finding Peace in the Storm

A huge part of my job at the Ranch is to thank people for their ongoing support of our kids. Who wouldn't love a job where you get to meet and thank loving and kind people committed to a ministry that helps children and their families succeed in the name of Christ? I've spent the week in Texas, visiting with several of those folks. I was honored to spend time with them.…

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Feeling Healthy Again

Feeling Healthy Again

When I don't feel well, I am more emotional, less sensitive to others, and less able to focus on my tasks. This last week has been one of those "not feeling well" weeks. As I pushed through the days, I started thinking about our Ranch kids and the days they push through.…

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The Love of a Horse

The Love of a Horse

This past year, I decided to sponsor one of the horses at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. His name is Teddy and he is well loved by our kids. I grew up on an airport, so although we had dogs and cats, horses were never an option. It feels good to know "my horse" is helping kids heal.…

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Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears..." If you can finish that line, it's probably because of an English teacher in your childhood.…

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With Wings to Fly

With Wings to Fly

Last weekend, Ranch staff turned out in numbers at the 96th Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Held at a regional art museum, the staff were there to celebrate two Ranch students whose work was submitted by their teachers at Dakota Memorial School. The Scholastic competition is the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7-12. This year, over 350,000 works of art and writing were submitted across the country. In North Dakota, 417 works were submitted, and 118 received regional honors, which include Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices.…

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Connecting to the Life-Line for Lent

Connecting to the Life-Line for Lent

Life is a precious, fragile and amazing gift from God. Most years, I give something up for Lent, like chocolate, which was difficult for me! But, this Lenten season started out differently.…

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Getting Through

Getting Through

Whew! I don't know about life in your part of the country, but I am so thankful to be finished with February! Normally, I love the month that allows me to celebrate my birthday, Valentine's Day, and the bonus holiday, President's Day. However, my first February in Minot was cold, bitterly cold! For one three-week period in February, we had only one day in which temps were higher than 0. We drove on sheets of ice with windchills reaching -60.…

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The Gift of Today

The Gift of Today

The following is the opening prayer prayed at the Arizona Donor Appreciation Luncheons by Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch board member, Dick Shorma. Thank you for praying alongside us today.…

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Celebrating the Dedication of Our Donors

Celebrating the Dedication of Our Donors

Wow! Attending the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Valentines Luncheon in Arizona this past Thursday was such a blessing! Being out of the snow and bitter cold for a short time was wonderful, of course, but the real blessing was the event itself and the people who attended.…

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Having a Snow Day

Having a Snow Day

As the great-granddaughter of North Dakota homesteaders, a winter blizzard is par for the course. I recall fond memories of snow days. Staying home from school and work with family, baking and cooking to add extra warmth to the house...unless the power goes out and you camp out in the living room. Oh, the fun!…

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Celebrating Love with a Thankful Heart

Celebrating Love with a Thankful Heart

"And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and "Love." But the greatest of these is "Love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13 The month of February is a celebration of love, and at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, we go all out in our celebration of Valentine's Day. Our kids make heart-shaped crafts, eat heart-shaped cookies (and sometimes pancakes), write about love, and discuss the power of love and friendship in their classes and groups.…

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Together We Help So Many Kids

Together We Help So Many Kids

The supporters of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are so gracious and well informed about our ministry. I have learned so much of our history from those I am blessed to visit with. Please know that we appreciate you very much.…

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Breaking Bread Together

Breaking Bread Together

Lunch is one of my favorite times at the Ranch. We are all gathered together--kids who have just joined us, kids about to discharge, teachers, counselors, fundraisers, direct care staff, and more. We gather together to break bread and talk about the topic on people's minds that day. Just like we do around the dinner table at home.…

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I trust you, Jesus

I trust you, Jesus

In her devotional book, Jesus Calling, Sarah Young challenged readers on January 4th to make a new habit of responding to any difficult situation with the words, "I trust you, Jesus." ... Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is an amazing place. We help some of the most troubled, complicated and special children find a better way to live their lives. They heal from the pain in their past and learn skills to better navigate the ups and downs that come with being human. We can help them to also see that they too can know and say, "I trust you, Jesus."…

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Bringing Your Best

Bringing Your Best

At the Ranch, we help the most troubled, complicated and amazing children by providing best-in-class therapy and trauma-informed care where we look kids in the eye, walk with them and help them become their best selves in this world and in Christ. In short, we help these kids find and become who they really are.…

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Should old acquaintance be forgot and never cross your mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never cross your mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never cross your mind? This question is repeated at New Year's celebrations across the world as people ring in the New Year with the familiar song, "Auld Land Syne."…

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