March 25 – Too Good To Be True

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. Proverbs 31:10

At this moment, I am looking for the right vehicle. I’d like it to have space enough to carry 5-7 people, equipped with the option of fold-down seats in the back for hauling “stuff”! And, of course, for the right price.

I have seen many that are close and some that are not even in the ballpark. But what I’m searching for is the one that finds me. The one that I couldn’t unearth in a million years. You may think I’m nuts. That’s ok.

This new-fangled approach is really not that new. Although most of us learned early on how to do the “hover and hustle” when it comes to getting something we want, the wise ones of old knew to do what you can do and then, hurry up and wait.

I can’t count the times I chased after something, only to watch it grow wings and fly away. Yet the moment I quit running after it, here it came, tackling me to the ground.

This basically describes what happened when I realized my wife for life was right before my eyes all along. I looked every place but the right place. And later on, after we’d been married awhile and we hit those “not so fun” times, I thankfully knew this union was not all my doing.  I knew this virtuous woman was a gift I could never afford and would never deserve.

Now the life I get to live with her and our precious family through the years often feels just too good to be true. Thankfully, God being in charge means it’s good, and true, indeed.

March 24 – Don’t Wait for Washington

“Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!” Proverbs 31:8-9 MSG

I will share a couple of incidents, but no names. The pain is too real and the problem is far too prevalent.

He and his little sister had free and reduced lunches at school. But on the weekend, food was scarce around the house. One Saturday afternoon, he decided to take a loaf of bread and package of wieners from the local grocery store.  Too young to be inconspicuous, a veteran cashier caught him sneaking out the front door and alerted her boss. When they got him back in the store, it became apparent he was “one of those kids.”  He was banned from the store and labeled a troublemaker…and he and his sister went another day with empty tummies. . . .

Her daddy took a job in a new town. She left her old friends and was hopeful that she’d make some new ones at her new school.  The town was small and everybody had pretty much grown up together. The first day she arrived, not one girl seemed to notice. She made every effort to get acquainted, but all her advances were met with resistance.  Two years later, she graduated and as far as she knows, no one at the new school remembers her name. That was twenty years ago and the memory still stings.

There are people all around us that need someone to care enough to look beyond their immediate existence and reach out on behalf of another. I was one of those people at one time in my life and fortunately, there was “somebody” who cared.

But it is far too common to hear things like “let Washington pay for it. That’s why we pay taxes, anyway!” What a shame.

God expects more out of His children. We are our brother and sister’s keeper. When they hurt, we hurt. And if they hunger, we too are malnourished as a culture.

To ignore it doesn’t make it go away. Love says “reach out and touch somebody’s hand, and make this world a better place…cause you can!”

So. Don’t wait for Washington.

Dunford Family Ministries Newsletter

2015 Newsletter

We are excited to announce the re-birth of our monthly Dunford Family Ministries Newsletter! Here is a pdf file of the February edition.  We will also send out copies via snail mail, so please email us at if you would like one.

You will see writing from Jen and I along with special interest stories of trials and triumph, and of course, updates on our family.

Hope you like it, and we always love to hear your feedback!



March 20 – Inebriated

It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,  lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Proverbs 31:4-5 NIV

People have been abusing “strong drink” forever…that’s no new thing. And many a mother has begged her son not to fall prey to the sway of the bubbly brew or the obnoxious concoctions of the bar tender.

Not because they want to steal their fun and prohibit a good time. On the contrary. They have witnessed firsthand how one beer turns into twelve and one margarita lands daddy in jail. It happens.

And although this proverb is written from the perspective of a king leading a nation, my take on it today is every parent, every brother or sister out there is potentially leading their own nation. Whether we like it or not, we are making an impact on those who come after us.

In moderation is the motto of most sound wisdom. But let someone besides yourself make that call for you if you are serious about not falling victim to an alcoholic addiction. Unless mom or wife is struggling with strong drink themselves, they will be your best bet for the brutal truth. Because they want you well and here for the duration.

You and I have an important part to play in this story. But under the influence, we can’t and won’t play to our highest potential.


March 19 – Tap Out

Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. Proverbs 31:3 NIV

The term Mixed Martial Arts did not exist 25 years ago. But today, many around the world know those words to mean a skilled fighter in a varied assortment of ancient fighting disciplines.

And now days, there are sporting venues that pay guys and gals “skilled” in MMA big time dollars to showcase their talent. With the rise of the MMA movement, the words “tap out” have become infamous.

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere! “Tap out” is what a fighter is persuaded to do when they find themselves in a submission hold. Many times, their refusal to “tap out” could lead to them being rendered unconscious or severely injured. Sounds barbaric?

Here’s a thought instigated by a king’s mother striving to prepare him for the challenges he would face that might prove fatal: Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders (MSG). So, in other words, tap outs have been around a very long time.

And don’t think for a minute it’s a one-sided affair. Just because this advice was to a son, many beautiful daughters’ hopes and dreams have been severely altered by a teenage tap out event.

Wisdom is wisdom. And no matter our age, these words still resonate. May the temptation of momentary pleasure not put an unsuspecting choke-hold on our otherwise fruitful lives and render us unconscious or tapped out!

March 17 – Dear Mama

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!  Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! Proverbs 31:2 NIV

There is quite a bit of mystery concerning this “prophetic exhortation” from an otherwise unknown king. But I personally believe its message is like a perfect slice of dessert after a most scrumptious meal.

Motherly advice comes from a place that only a Mother understands…the womb. It doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 50, your Mom is still your Mom and at one time, that little woman carried you around in her body. You push her, and she will remind you!

And when you couldn’t care for yourself, she did!

But I must say, it appears that the battle of the sexes is ageless, even with Moms and their sons. The word listen is stated three times before she dares mention her advice.

In all actuality, Mom, know this: your children hear you. Even when it appears they have lost their minds and don’t have a clue of what’s best for them and how you stay up late in the night worrying and praying your guts out over them.

They hear your love. They hear your loyalty. They hear your life of sacrifice. Therefore, your words are just the supporting cast.

So when your small, medium, or large-sized kid gives you the “I know, Mom” stare, it’s ok. Just stop talking, smile real big and say, “I’ll be right here to finish that thought when you need me!”


March 16 – Punch Drunk

If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending people and making rude gestures, don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose. Proverbs 30:32 MSG

In 8th grade, a kid named Steve punched me square in the face. That same year, another kid named Curtis teed off on my nose. Both incidents were caused by my big mouth and broad personality, striving so desperately to fit into my new surroundings.

The mouth is a funny thing. Small indeed, but it can be very much like a loaded gun in the possession of an immature or inconsiderate soul.

There is nothing more frustrating to me than a rude fellow who excuses himself by saying things like, “I’m just brutally honest.” Even if you are wise enough not to jeopardize your freedom by slamming your fist into his snout, not so pleasant thoughts probably lodge in your brain.

The few bloody noses I’ve suffered in my lifetime have influenced me to watch my words and their effect on the atmosphere. And I do my best to help a younger generation growing up in my house to get the point and avoid the punches.

The thought for the day for me, in light of this pungent proverb, is articulated quite nicely in the next verse:  Churned milk turns into butter; riled emotions turn into fist fights (vs 33). I do like my butter, but ultimately it’s not worth taking a beating physically, mentally, emotionally or verbally all because I can’t tame my tongue.


March 13 – Stand Tall

There are three things which are stately in step, yes, four which are stately in their stride: The lion, which is mightiest among beasts and turns not back before any; The war horse [well-knit in the loins], the male goat also, and the king [when his army is with him and] against whom there is no uprising. Proverbs 30:29-31 AMP

Just because the bully has your name on his list, and just because you are not sure you can lick him, he doesn’t have to know it.

And what he doesn’t know, leaves a 50/50 gap a mile wide in his brain. Therefore, until you crater under speculation and peer-based testimonials of past defeats, you are formidable foe material.

Chances are, your bully is no longer glaring at you through the monkey bars at recess. But they still exist in the form of bills, ills and “people-y pills!” And no matter the size or the symptom, today’s wise counsel suggests we face them by standing tall.

They say your kid is always in trouble and will probably never amount to much…Stand Tall!

They say your tests are inconclusive and they want to run more…Stand Tall!

Your boss says either you agree to relocate or you will lose all your benefits…Stand Tall!

Your spouse says they don’t love you anymore and they are leaving…Stand Tall!

All of those scenarios scream defeat, but none of them can guarantee a knockout! If God is truly guilty of anything, it would be spoiling the plans of a bully situation.

He alone has the last say and throws the final blow!


March 11 – No Excuses

There are four small creatures wisest of the wise they are—ants—frail as they are, get plenty of food in for the winter; marmots—vulnerable as they are, manage to arrange for rock-solid homes; locusts—leaderless insects, yet they strip the field like an army regiment; lizards—easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards. Proverbs 30:21-23 NKJV

Want to know the difference between an excuse and a reason? I will come back to that in a minute.

It’s not the case every time, but it happens a lot of the time. I meet someone whom I admire their achievements and successful Ideas. And they are short! It’s become comical to me anymore.

Growing up, tall was what we all wanted to be. And if you were one of the unlucky ones who had “vertically challenged” DNA molecules flowing around your growth plates, you tended to get picked on.

Truth of the matter, it has never really mattered in the grand scheme of things how big a person was on the outside. It was the heart and will residing on the inside that counted.

Nature is full of examples and mini-marvels that warrant wonder. But any “achiever” I know, small, medium, or large has a particular common code of conduct: to them, there is no such thing as an excuse and thus, there is no reason to discuss their inabilities.

So what there’s plenty of food at the supermarket…fill the cellar anyway!

So what you don’t make a lot of money…save up and build a home anyway!

So what there is no one to tell you what to do…make a decision anyway!

So what if somebody more popular is singing your song…you sing it anyway!

Don’t wait for the sun to come out or the “fair police” to come to your aid. You are here, you are able. And that’s reason enough!