This week I’m doing a blitz of Hope Events for Prison Fellowship. We will be visiting three different prisons this week sharing the hope of Christ. It is an amazing thing to see grown men, tattooed from head to toe, openly crying.

Jesus is an awesome God to follow. He has lead me to so many different victories over the years. Being in the prisons adds steroids to the mix. If you’ve never done it, I cannot recommend it enough.

Sometimes we need to get behind bars in order to…

—Rise Up!!

The Weight

As I was walking in to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks this morning, the song that was drifting across the parking lot was The Weight by The Band. It’s one of those songs that you probably think that you don’t know, but you have probably heard. The lyric that catches everyone’s attention is in the chorus where it says “take a load off, Fanny…”.

The song is one of those late 60’s “artistic” endeavors that played with surrealism and protest, however, it got me to thinking. Jesus is like the person telling the story in the song. He keeps running into people who have other things to do; things that don’t provide the same level of comfort or security as the story teller. Everyone is running around with an agenda, but He is there to help take our load.

When Robbie Robertson (or perhaps Levon Helms, the writing credit is disputed) wrote the song, he was almost certainly not writing about Christ, but that’s the beauty of art, the interpretation is up to the beholder. Christ is just cruising down the road and when He sees us, He just greets us and tells us to rest.

Next time you fell weighed down, look for Jesus, take a load off, and…

–Rise Up!!

My Trouble isn’t Your Trouble

Like most of you, I spend a fair amount of time looking at pictures and posts from friends on various social media sights. I enjoy keeping up with what is happening with my people around the country.

This morning I saw that a friend had their daughter visiting for spring break. the smiles on their faces were big and happy. I am fixing to leave my daughter’s house after a little over 2 weeks. There won’t be as much joy on Wednesday morning at the airport.

Even though we can have some empathy with others, our stuff hits us more than it hits them, and vice-versa. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about each other, it just “is what it is”.

When you stumble or struggle in your recovery, it might feel like the end of the world to you and then you see other people laughing, seemingly without a care in the world. That’s just life. It doesn’t mean that you need to struggle alone. People may not feel your pain when you reach out, but usually they can understand and empathize with it. Just check my Instagram on Wednesday to see you MoM with all the tears and boo-hoos.

We all celebrate and we all struggle. Don’t do it by yourself. Reach out and…

—Rise Up!!

You Never Know

Last week we escaped the Great So Cal Blizzard of ’23 to go to Sunny Hawaii. As it happens, Sunny Hawaii also took a break and escaped to parts unknown. For a solid week we had rain and cloudy days, with nary a glimpse of the sun. Then this weekend everything changed. I woke up with the sun beating down on me in my bed yesterday and today as well. I know that it takes some rain to make a jungle grow, and rain is exactly what we have had. This morning my daughter sent me a picture from her drive to work. Here we are in Sunny Hawaii, tropical jungle paradise, and what is that that I see absolutely covering the Mountain? I’ll leave it to you to make your guesses. All I know is that no matter how much we plan, life can give us a different outcome every time. Go out and enjoy what you get. Remember, expectations are only premeditated resentments! A hui hou! It’s time to…

–Rise Up!!


Yesterday was my first full day in Hawaii. I spent it working on flooring for my daughter’s office. It’s a job that’s been dragging on over several trips to the island. This time I was determined to help my son in law get it done.

Did I want to spend a day on my knees on my “vacation”? No, not really. But did it make me happy to do it? Absolutely

There’s great joy to be found in helping others. It’s the entire basis of Step 12. Sometimes giving back doesn’t mean doing what I want to do. Sometimes it means getting something done so that another person can move forward in their own life.

Dave has been on this flooring project for over a year. Now it’s done. I’d say that is a wonderful way to spend a day!

And now, even though my knees are cracking and my back is sore, I get to…

—Rise Up!!

Old Enough to Drink

That’s a strange way to start off a recovery blog…Here’s the deal though, As I was sitting at Starbucks waiting to go into a prison yesterday afternoon it occurred to me that Feb 19th was my 21st anniversary date for being released from jail. Pretty neat! My freedom is now old enough to order a drink at a bar (not that It would, but you get what I’m saying here). I found it strange though, that me, your MoM, the dude who writes his birthday countdown all over any calendar he finds, let this anniversary sneak up on me without noticing it until I was already half way through my day. I think that speaks to how “normal” it is for me to not be incarcerated. Even though I devote so much of my time to doing prison ministry, I sometimes forget that I used to be locked up. That’s a good thing. That means that my past isn’t in control of me anymore. Allowing ourselves to recognize the past without living there is critical in our recovery and it is the only way that we will ever be able to…

–Rise Up!!

Phone Calls

I got a text from a friend the other day. I used to be pretty tight with this particular person, but in the past several months they have slowly faded into the background. No response on texts or social media posts, no phone call, that sort of thing. I know that it happens, but it wasn’t my favorite thing when it happened.

As an avenue of personal growth in my recovery for codependency, I just let it go. I was actually kind of proud of myself, so much so that I mentioned it at my new step study on Wednesday.

Then on Thursday afternoon I get the text. It was a person reaching out because they knew that I would understand their struggle. It was as if the relationship had never grown cool. I just love how Forever Family is just that: forever.

It’s a good thing I keep that phone close. It makes sure that I can help a friend to…

–Rise Up!!

Birthdays and Anniversaries

If you know me, you know I love my birthday. It is quite a big day in my life and my year. In doing a b it of research for something totally different than writing this blog it has come to my attention that I am sitting on the 8 year mark for Minister of Mocha. Wow, that’s quite a while. I recall a comment made by one person in my sphere of influence as I began this little project. They asked if I would be able to keep writing week after week. They weren’t sure that I had the dedication or capacity. It would seem that we are doing ok so far!

None of it would be worth it without you, my Dear Reader. If I didn’t see you visiting the site each week, if I didn’t read the comments you make and send, if I didn’t see the re-posts, this would all just be a very strange, unlocked diary. Thanks for being here with me. Some of you have been here from the start, some may have just stumbled in more recently. Whoever you are, thank you from your MoM. It means so much that you read my weekly ramblings. Have a blessed day, and here’s to the years to come!


I’m guessing that you have all seen the carnival game called Whack-A-Mole. You get a padded mallet and as little mole heads pop up out of holes, you whack them to earn points. One head come up…Whack! Down it goes and then his buddy pops up from a different hole. It’s quite ridiculous and wonderful at the same time.

My weekend with Prison Fellowship was a bit of Whack-A-Mole.

For the past few weeks we have not been able to provide programming at one of our prisons because of COVID quarantine. We were excited to get back to work there on Saturday after a 7 week layoff. Then Friday morning we got an email letting us know that a different institution was having a break in programming until further notice.


Life does not always show you all of the moles at once. Sometimes, you don’t even see any. But those little rascals are always somewhere. We’ve got to be ready to swing when we see them and wait when we don’t. Sooner or later that little guy is gonna…

–Rise Up!!


I was watching TV this weekend. Being the natural born tightwad that I am, the heater in the house was off and I had some blankets over me to keep me warm. The blankets worked, but I’m sure they looked funny to anyone who might catch a glimpse of me. There’s the math right there: I felt fine, but the rest of the world thought I was a bit odd.

From a recovery perspective those blankets are the same as the masks I wear or the substances and behaviors I use to bring me comfort. I hear a speaker say this weekend that we can never find a substance that will give us the peace that can only come from God. The enemy will convince us that the substances are good, better even, but they simply don’t measure up.

Yesterday afternoon I had my oldest friend (in terms of how long we’ve been friends, I know people who are older!) come over to watch some NFL playoff games. He was coming over after church, so on my way out the door I did the unthinkable and turned on the heater as I left. When I got home the house was a toasty 68 degrees. Compared to the usual 58, this was a veritable sauna. My firend and I sat on the sofa and drank cold soda. He even asked for ice!

When things get bad, when you are wearing all the masks, invite your oldest friend over and turn on the heater. Just like the temperature, you too can…

–Rise Up!!