Top 10 Places to Eat in the U.S.

Posted on: 04/29/12 3:09 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m a simple man, with simple tastes. You won’t find me eating Sushi, and I’m not really even big on steak. When I’m traveling the country, foods like pizza, wings, and BBQ are what my pallet craves (although I also enjoy good Chinese or Mexican cuisine).

Having traveled quite a bit in the last 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to taste many of what people describe as the most amazing pizza, the greatest burger, or the best BBQ. Tastes definitely vary. The restaurants that were truly amazing have drawn me back again and again. So it’s time I compile a list of the greatest.

These are the places I’ve discovered that I will drive out of the way just to enjoy their food:

  1. Giordano’s Pizza, Chicago, IL (and in Tampa, FL as well). No other pizza touches Giordano’s. I’ve had all the other Chicago competitors (more about that here), and I’ve tried everything from New York to San Diego. Giordano’s is pure manna from heaven. I have considered leaving the airport on a layover and hailing a cab just to go get me some Giordano’s. My desire for Giordano’s is almost sinful.
  2. Las Placitas, Orangevale, CA. This place is 6 minutes from my house and has the best chicken enchilada in the country. Sorry Arizona, sorry Tex Mex. Las Placitas, a true hole in the wall (it’s next door to a pawn shop) reigns. If I have a really bad day…you’ll find me here in the corner booth drowning my sorrows in a basket of chips and salsa.
  3. Trolinger’s BBQ, Paris, TN. I’ve been to the so-called best BBQ places in Nashville and Knoxville. Honestly, I’ve been to BBQ places from Texas to both Carolinas. Sorry, no dice. Trolinger’s takes them all. Trolinger’s is nothing more than a deli in the back of a feed store in small town Paris, TN. You ask for a pulled pork samich and the lady behind the counter will ask, “Ya want slaw on it?” …and the rest is pure enjoyment. There are definitely some other great BBQ places in the U.S. The noteworthy ones are probably the Famous Dave’s chain and Sticky Fingers (in the Carolinas). But aside from Trolinger’s, the best I’ve probably tasted is Smokin’ Mo’s in Chico, CA.
  4. Alexander’s Famous Fish Co., Kihei, HI. This dive looks like nothing more than a Long John Silvers. The meals are fried, they’re amazingly fresh, and they’re usually ordered to go (so you don’t have to sit on their dirty tables). Best unhealthily cooked fish and shrimp you’ll ever eat!
  5. Leatherby’s Family Creamery Ice Cream Parlor, Citrus Heights, CA. Sorry Cincinnati, but as good as Graders is, I’d rather eat a Leatherby’s sundae off a locker-room floor than Graeters in a china bowl! Leatherby’s serves huge portions, extra creamy…not recommended for the lactose intolerant. Best ice cream in the nation. No comparison.
  6. Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW), nation-wide. Before you criticize me for including a “chain restaurant” in the mix, let me just tell you, I’d be prejudice to not include them, because hands down, they have the best wings. I’ve had Native New Yorker in AZ, I’ve had Quaker State in PA, I’ve even eaten in the restaurant in Buffalo where “Buffalo Wings” were apparently invented. None of them compare. BWW is the best, hands down. My life got one notch better a year ago when one of these moved about 4 minutes from my house (and my belt got one notch bigger).
  7. PF Changs, nation-wide. While I’m mentioning chains, I might as well include this chain of delicious Chinese restaurants. PF Changs and their sister restaurants Pei Wei are both amazing, better than most hole in the wall Chinese places.
  8. Munchies, Ashland, OR. I had to include a breakfast place in the mix, and this breakfast place is the one that sticks out to me. The restaurant is in the basement in the main strip of the artsy little town of Ashland Oregon. My wife and I discovered it one year while at Ashland’s Shakespear Festival. Amazing omelets and a really cute atmosphere.
  9. Legal Sea Foods, Boston, MA (and scattered places around New England). I first came upon this place in the Boston airport. Their amazing clam chowder has been served at the Presidential Inauguration of several U.S. presidents. I’m sure both coasts are full of good seafood places (I have to give a shout out to Brophy Brothers in Santa Barbara, CA, and Doogers in Cannon Beach, OR … both amazing as well), but Legal is probably my favorite.
  10. Barefoot Grill (Part of the Hula Grill) Ka’anapali, HI. This grill is right next to the beach in Ka’anapali, right next to Whaler’s Row. The food is great and the POG drinks are fresh and amazing. I’ve actually never eaten inside, because the barefoot bar allows you to eat at a nice table with your feet literally in the sand. I’ll drive across the island to catch a lunch here (I’d do the same with Alexander’s, mentioned above, and Matteos Pizzeria. Oh man. I wish I could afford to visit that island regularly!)

That’s it!

What about you?

If you’ve eaten at any of these places, what did you think? (Be nice!)

What are your favorite places to eat across the country (Mention the CITY, STATE of the location in ALL CAPS in your comments below if you are recommending a place).

Posted in Food, Personal, Travel |  | Leave A Comment

Three Kids in a Van

Posted on: 04/26/12 5:11 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s always interesting to see what youth workers do with “travel time” on trips. I’ve seen ministries be very proactive about using a bus ride to build relationships with kids, one kid at a time. I’ve seen other ministries that haven’t even thought about it.

A few weeks ago “Deborah” found herself driving a van on a high school missions project for a week during spring break. Deborah is very gregarious and not afraid to ask kids about their faith. Every time teenagers found themselves riding shotgun next to Deborah, she asked, “So, tell me your faith story.”

Deborah had some great conversations with students during the week, but pretty soon word got around that “shotgun” next to Deborah meant “talking about Jesus.” As it turned out, by the end of the week, most of the students found seats in other vans, leaving just three random teenagers remaining: an awkward freshman boy, a popular cheerleader in her senior year, and a quiet recluse who was rarely seen without her headphones.

The freshman boy sat up front and within five minutes Deborah asked, “Tell me your faith story.”

The boy began to share a little about his life. It wasn’t long before he was talking about the way others teased him and the bullying he had been experiencing already during his freshman year. Choked up, he shared some of the specifics of the cruelties that were daily occurrences for this young man.

Wiping a tear from his cheek he confessed, “I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life. I wish I just had one friend.”

Deborah looked in the rear view mirror. The girl in the headphones was looking out the window, apparently killing her ears with loud music. The cheerleader, however, was noticeably listening to every word, dabbing her eyes with Kleenex, trying to keep her mascara from running.

The cheerleader spoke up. “Me too.”

The boy up front was startled by her voice. He didn’t even realize she was listening. “What?”

“I feel the exact same way,” she continued. “Every day. I’m surrounded by a bunch of fakes. They’re empty, and so am I. I’ve never felt so alone. I hate my life.”

The girl in the headphones grabbed a pillow from the back seat and began to fluff it up on the empty seat next to her. “Me too,” she quickly interjected, then turned over, lay on the pillow and closed her eyes.

Three completely different teenagers from three completely different social circles, all connecting for a brief moment when given a chance to share their story. A true “Breakfast Club” moment.

I love hearing stories from youth workers like this. It gives us a glimpse into the crack into the armor of today’s teenagers. It provides a peek at what Jesus’ ministry probably looked like, just hanging out with the lost.

What about you?

Are you putting yourselves in situations where kids can talk freely with you?

Are you asking questions that get teenagers talking?

Do you listen instead of lecturing?

It’s Here!

Posted on: 04/25/12 3:55 AM | by Jonathan McKee

As a Zondervan author, I usually get a shipment of my books/DVDs a few weeks before they hit the shelves. This Monday my brand new REAL CONVERSATIONS arrived! So right now. I’m offering the DVD and combo Participant’s Guide/Leader’s Guide on my site for less than $20 total (and we’re giving FREE SHIPPING in the US).

I’ve been getting some really good feedback about this curriculum so far. Doug Fields said:


The curriculum features four sessions on the DVD, each about 12 minutes long, the last session a little longer because it features a scene between two teenage girls having a “faith conversation” where one girl shares her faith story in a real way. I had a group of 5 or 6 teenagers help me with the writing of that scene, keeping it real… not forced.

The participant’s guide features some devotional questions for students, then leaders’ notes with large group activities, small group questions… all you need for a full four-week evangelism curriculum.

In short, this training will encourage Christian teenagers to live authentic lives and gives them tools to reach out to their friends in ways that won’t give them cold sweats! The message is simple: an authentic faith creates opportunities to talk about Jesus.


When Youth Ministries Involve Parents

Posted on: 04/22/12 9:51 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m a big advocate of youth ministries trying to provide venues where parents and teenagers interact, bond and even laugh together. Youth workers can be proactive about creating these kinds of venues—like PARENT NIGHT, FAMILY NIGHT or even MOTHER/DAUGHTER events.

That’s what Amber did. That’s why I asked her to write a guest post and give you a taste of what she did.

Amber is a volunteer youth worker in “nowhere” Nebraska. Trust me… it’s really in the middle of nowhere. I met Amber for the first time face-to-face a few weeks ago when I taught a parent workshop at her church in Nebraska. It was amazing to see so many from their rural community come out—great fun! After the workshop, Amber pulled me aside and thanked me for so many of the free resources we’ve been providing to youth workers like her for years, including an up-front game she had just used on a parent night- Battle of the Generations. The more she shared, the more I realized that she had a lot of fun ideas to offer. So I asked Amber to share a little about some of the evenings she planned and maybe let us know some of the specific activities she used.

So here’s a fun little guest post from front lines Nebraska youth worker, Amber:

Hey Jonathan,

You suggested I send an e-mail about some of the activities and games we have enjoyed on our parent/teenager nights, so here it is.  I also plan to put some reviews on the website.  LOVE all the games, thanks so much!!

I have used the “Parent Game” from your “Parent Night” and “Battle of the Generations” in our yearly Family Night event, and both the kids and the parents have loved it. I also recently did a purity retreat with girls and their moms, and we did our own version of the “Parent Game”. The girls were having so much fun that they were actually begging me to keep playing the game. I told them I didn’t have any more questions, but they asked me to make up some more so they could keep playing. I think they really enjoy learning new things about their moms, especially when the other girls are doing the same thing. I also think they enjoy it when they see how well their mom knows them!

Here is our version of the Mom/Daughter game:
Each person had some paper and a marker (small marker boards would work great here) and wrote their answer, then everyone held up their papers at the same time.  This saves lots of time and is much more fun than having one group leave the room.


  • What is your daughters favorite color of toenail polish?
  • If you could throw away one thing from your daughter’s closet, what would it be?
  • If you had to guess one guy in your daughter’s class that she might marry, who would it be?
  • If you and your daughter were on a road trip together, who would have to stop for a bathroom break first?
  • If she had to pick today, what colors would your daughter pick for her wedding?


  • What were the colors at your parents wedding?
  • What is your mom’s favorite movie?
  • What is the coolest car your mom ever drove?
  • What is your mom’s favorite day of the week?
  • Who was your mom’s best friend in high school?
  • How many times per day does your mom check her Facebook page?

We also love your “Dance Dance Evolution” game and “Time Check” game for our Family Nights.

I also plan to give away copies of your parent book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, at our next Family Night! 🙂

Thanks again,

~Amber Thornton

Thanks Amber! Those are some awesome ideas that might get our own creative juices flowing!

What about you?
Have you tried these kinds of venues with parents?

What worked well?

What didn’t work well?

Coming to Your City

Posted on: 04/19/12 3:48 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Here’s a quick post to let you know my travel schedule so far for 2012 (because my fall calendar is already filling up). NOTE: For those of you on the west coast, I’ll be in Cali this coming weekend in Fresno, CA… then again early May at Azusa Pacific University at the FAM Conference (we just posted winners who won free registration for this conference, and you can also still get 50% discounts to that conference)…


April 22, 2012(Fresno, CA)
Preach, Parent Workshop, First Presbyterian Church of Fresno

April 25, 2012(Myrtle Beach, SC)
Understanding, Recruiting & Leading GEN Y Volunteers, SDVSHO Regional Conf.

May 10-12, 2012(Azusa, CA)
Teach the Parenting Track, FAM Conference

June 17, 2012(Carmichael, CA)
Preach, Father’s Day, Christ Community Church

July 15, 2012(Carmichael, CA)
Preach, Christ Community Church

August 19, 2012(Albuquerque, NM)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Eastern Hills Baptist Church

September 15, 2012(Highland, MI)
Connect Workshop, Highland United Methodist Church

September 16, 2012(Highland, MI)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Highland United Methodist Church

September 26, 2012(Dallas, TX)
Training Workshops
, D6 Conference

October 7, 2012(Boise, ID)
Preach, Parent Workshop, First Baptist Church Boise

October 12-14, 2012(San Diego, CA)
Training Workshops
, Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention

October 28, 2012(Bluffton, IN)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Hope Missionary Church

November 16-18, 2012(Dallas, TX)
Training Workshops
, Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention


Posted in Parenting, Travel |  | Leave A Comment

Mean Christians

Posted on: 04/17/12 5:17 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I guess a lot of Christians think that the “ends” justify the “being mean.”

This past week myself and a few friends in the youth ministry world have had several spears thrown at us. I’m not surprised at all when people disagree. It happens. But I am surprised when so-called followers of Christ think they have a license to be “mean.” No need for a big vocabulary word there… “mean” says it all.

One of the dangerous things about having an online presence is that you subject yourself to criticism from anonymous faultfinders. That probably one of the reasons why I secretly enjoy this little Saturday Night Live video about these kinds of “commenters”.

Don’t get me wrong, I get plenty of encouragement from most of you; but it’s interesting how one negative voice in your ear can really pierce through. I know I shouldn’t let it… but mean words are hard to filter out at times.

Just a few days ago while my family was on a trip down to Southern California to visit my son at his college, I got up early to check email. Some guy tweeted a link to me and said, “Something for your little evangelism contest.” The article he linked was an awkward article about a guy using very aggressive methods to bring people to Christ. I didn’t really know what this tweeter meant by the link. But, trying to be cordial and respond, I tweeted him back, saying something like, “Ha… that’s an interesting one.” An hour or so later I’m eating breakfast with my family and I notice a tweet reply on my phone. It was that same guy. Here’s what he said:

“Really, one of the most noble witnessing events ever just gets a “Ha” from you? I pity the people impressed by you.”

Now, he probably didn’t know this… but that really affected me. It really hurt.

I hadn’t mean anything with my “ha” response. In hindsight, I guess I shouldn’t have responded at all because I was actually confused by his comment, assuming he was being sarcastic (one of the difficulties of the internet- lack of non-verbal cues). Come to find out, this guy was truly upset at Youth Specialties’ little evangelism contest and thought it did “more harm than good.” Again… people will disagree. But where does this “Christian, Full Time Home Missionary to Students and Their Families” (I’m quoting his Twitter description), feel justified in telling someone, “I pity the people impressed by you.”


I can’t help but wonder if he would have said that to me in public? Is this how he talks to his pastor if he doesn’t like his sermon? Is this how he talks with his wife? Or are these spears saved for the brothers and sisters in Christ that he’ll never see face to face.

Last week a guy went on a blogging rampage against my friends Doug Fields and Mark Matlock. I’m not going to even give the guy the courtesy of linking his blog, but trust me, it was mean! His blog was not only pure nonsense… it was mean.

He defended himself saying that he was trying to raise awareness.

No. He was just being mean.

A couple months ago we launched a new video series for parents called R U Listening. Each week we share a teenage perspective on parenting and then have an author or speaker respond with their two cents. Just two videos into the series we started getting some cruel feedback, personal attacks on David and I (I think they were from some of those guys in the video linked above).

It was mean.

I expect it from the world, but personally, it’s really difficult to receive from the body of Christ.

I see why the Apostle Paul spent so much time in his letters encouraging unity and warning us of backbiters who love to gossip and slander. We can prophesy and have faith that will move mountains… but without love… GONG!!!! CLANG!!!

Maybe that’s why Paul encouraged us to not talk in a way that divides believers, but “builds them up.” That’s what “unwholesome” talk means (no, it doesn’t mean cuss words).

So, some thoughts for us to consider (because I need this as much as you) from Paul’s letter to Ephesians, the end of Chapter 4.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

How can you kind to someone today?

How can you show compassion?

Who is someone you need to forgive?

Vote for Your Favorite Video

Posted on: 04/16/12 5:25 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s time for you to vote on the best “bad evangelism” video.

This fun little contest launched with the approach of my brand new evangelism curriculum, REAL CONVERSATIONS, which will be on the shelves in less than a month now (you might have already noticed it on sale on our web site right now for just $19.49, which is $10 off). I’m really excited about this curriculum. I’ve been getting emails for years from people who couldn’t afford to fly somebody out for the weekend to train their student leaders, asking me about some good “do-it-yourself” training options. Now here’s a four-week full curriculum for less than $20 –on our site– that will help you motivate and equip your kids to reach out. It has four sessions on DVD plus individual study guides for the teenagers, and a leaders guide that includes large group activities, small group questions… everything you need! Not too shabby.

Since the DVD training includes some vignettes about “how NOT to share your faith,” Youth Specialties announced this training with a “Bad Evangelism” contest. Youth groups submitted videos, and YS selected four finalists.

Watch the four finalists and vote here–quite a variety to choose from. The first one, the “Evangelism Linebacker” was probably the most polished and commercial-like. But the second one really captured some snapshots of evangelism blunders that might be a little too real for many youth groups. Kudos to them for the forethought that went into this video. The third one was more of a look at bad evangelism from the pulpit (Really funny for a home-made video… I love the organ). The fourth was another creative idea of how NOT to share.

In general, it looks like youth groups really had a fun time with this little contest. Hopefully it spurred some thinking about how to really have these kinds of “real conversations.”

Cast your vote. Voting is from now until 4/23.

Born in 1969

Posted on: 04/15/12 8:43 AM | by Jonathan McKee

My wife and I are now both 42 years old. She was born in 69, me in 70. But every time I look at her I can’t help but think, “She’s even prettier than when I met her at 20-years-old.”

Lori will make comments about “feeling old.” I always just tell her, “Baby, if you’re old… then I like old!!!!” Because she looks great now (like in this candid shot of her here= that she’ll probably kill me for posting). Born in 1969 must be a good thing. Apparently the world agrees, because some of the world’s “most beautiful people” were born then. Yep… here’s just a glimpse:

  • Jennifer Lopez. Born 7/24/69 -Voted the World’s Most Beautiful Women!
  • Gwen Stefani. Born 10/3/69 – Gorgeous at 42 and still making great music.
  • Jennifer Anniston 2/11/69 -Voted #1 of the 100 hottest women of all time by Men’s Health.
  • Kate Blanchet. Born 5/14/69- Or the beautiful “Lady Galadriel” as known by all the Lord of the Rings’ nerds.
  • Renee Zellweger. Born 4/25/69 -She had the world at “Hello.” (Or was that Tom Cruise?)
  • Catherine Zeta Jones. Born 11/25/69 -Still turning heads.
  • Mariah Carey. Born 3/27/69. Looking young as ever.

And probably one of the most beautiful people born in 1969…

  • Gerard Butler. Born on 11/13/69 and looking best in his King Leonidas beard.  🙂

(I probably shouldn’t mention that Jack Black was born on 8/28/69 and Zack Galiflanakis was born on 10/1/69.)

So Lori, when you look in the mirror and make comments about getting old, just remember… you’re not alone. There are plenty of others who are getting “better” just like you! But in my opinion, you only need to look at one face to prove that 1969 was a good year. Yours! Lori, you’re beautiful, and you’re like a good wine. You just gets better with age.

Better yet…someday we’ll both be old and wrinkled, and then I’ll still have the best part of you… you! Your companionship is your real beauty!

Posted in Marriage, Personal |  | Leave A Comment

Don’t Believe the Hype

Posted on: 04/11/12 7:05 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week I read an article link that claimed, “Facebook is Responsible for 1/3 of All Divorces.”

Really? Would you actually repeat that statistic? Are you willing to bet your reputation that it’s true? Should we believe the headlines when we read this kind of stuff… or should we possibly take 60 seconds to dig a little deeper?

Last week I implored parents in my parent workshop, “Don’t just read the headlines!” As a guy who spends about 5 to 10 hours a week researching youth culture, let me assure you, headlines can be sooooooo misleading. Take this Facebook article, for example. Last week I saw several different headlines, blog posts and web links all linking to this article, which claimed, an I quote, “Studies have found that Facebook can actually be serious trouble for a relationship and is responsible for one-third of divorces. One-third!”

This provides a perfect example of what to look out for in media hype:

  1. Steer clear of those who don’t cite their research. I’m not being an alarmist when I say, “Never believe a statistic that someone doesn’t cite.” Seriously. If a “study shows that…” then they should document that study. That way you, the reader, can see if Nielson truly analyzed 65,000 phone bills, or if a guy named Jimmy asked 4 teenagers in his garage, “How many of yous guys text each other? Hmmmmm…two hands. I guess that means that a recent survey shows that only 50% of young people text each other!”
  2. Watch out for articles that misread and misquote studies. I know… I know. This one is a little more difficult. This sometimes takes clicking a source and skimming it for a minute or two. Misreading and misquoting stats is common. I’ve written about that in great detail in this 2009 Youth Culture Window article, and again in this 2011 article down under the subtitle “Misinformation.” Or simply take a peek at that Facebook article linked above. That article was not only based on numbers from a website called Divorce Online (hmmmm… red flags anyone?), it actually misread Divorce Online’s original claims. Blogger Tom Royal breaks that down here. But that brings up another subject…
  3. Watch out for online surveys about how many people are doing “online” activities. Yeah. Duh! I once read a statistic about how much time the average teenager spends on the Internet each day. I was familiar with recent numbers from Kaiser and Nielsen, but this particular survey in question revealed waaaaaay higher numbers. About a minute of scrolling and reading quickly revealed that this was based on a survey of a few hundred kids that responded to an online poll on a teen website. Just think about that one. (Let me go down to the corner bar and take a quick survey of how many people in America drink!)

So what can you do as a reader to make sure you are reading and researching responsibly?

Simple. Make sure you make a habit of getting your data from trustworthy sources. Sorry, that excludes all forwarded emails from your Aunt Judy. If any of the articles or studies you read violate the three blunders above…consider reading from a different source.

I can assure you that I’ve probably mistyped, misread or even forgot a citation. I’m human, and I am often pounding out over 5 articles per week. But I can also assure you that those mistakes are the exception. We always strive for accuracy and transparency.That’s why I provide you with a box on the front page of titled, “Offsite articles Jonathan has read this week” so you can read the exact same articles and studies I’m reading.

If you trust us enough to CONNECT WITH US and subscribe to my blog, our free Youth Culture Window articles or other free newsletters, we are going to make the greatest efforts to always deliver you accurate research with our sources cited and checked. You deserve to know the truth!

Something Unique from Doug and Jim

Posted on: 04/9/12 3:35 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I got a little something for everyone today: free books, free admissions to a brand new conference you’re gonna love, 50% discounts, and… a new workshop I’m launching.

UPDATE: We’ve posted winners of this contest near the bottom of this post!

I’ve been looking for a venue to introduce my new parenting workshop, “Get Your Teenagers Talking,” so when Doug Fields called me a few weeks ago and asked me to teach the parenting track at their FAM Conference, May 10-12 in Southern CA… I knew this would be the place to debut this fun new workshop where I help parents open up the channels of communication in their homes and connect with their teenagers.

I also thought this would be a good opportunity to give away some free stuff to my blog readers, like two free admissions to the FAM Conference! For those who don’t win, Doug has provided me with a code for all of my blog readers that will give you 50% off admission if you sign up in the next two weeks. (More on these prizes and discounts in a minute.)

I really love what Jim Burns and Doug Fields are doing with this fun little conference at Azusa Pacific University. Jim and Doug are hosts, and they’ve brought out some amazing speakers like Jim Daly, George Barna and Dr. John Townsend (to name a few). Then they offer different tracks like my parenting track, a “Sticky Faith” youth ministry track taught by Kara Powell, or the children’s ministry track taught by author/speaker Christine Yount-Jones. There are 8 tracks total (see here).

One element I really like is the fact that, in addition to the tracks you choose, the FAM Conference offers Saturday seminars taught by all the workshop teachers so attendees can get a taste of a different track. So, for example, you could attend Kara’s youth ministry track on Friday, then come to my parenting track Saturday, which is when I’ll be debuting my “Getting Your Teenagers Talking.” (Friday I’m teaching my “Parenting the Texting Generation” workshop.)

But I guess the element that is the biggest plus of this conference is something that Jim and Doug have always brought to their conferences… personal attention. This conference offers very intimate sessions where you’ll have a chance to interact with the speakers. Plus, speakers like Jim, Doug and myself always make ourselves available at these kind of conferences to talk with you over meals and even one-on-one times. Well worth the price… especially the 50% discount price!

This conference is only about 5 weeks away! So let me cut to the chase and give you the DISCOUNT and CONTEST DETAILS:

50% Discount to FAMConference– Just pop on this page to register and enter the word “Doug” (no quotes) in the “special code” box and you’ll receive a 50% discount off all who register! (If you win the contest, your money will be refunded.)

Free Admission to FAMConference(UPDATE: This winner for this has now been chosen- we’ll post it soon!) I’m giving away two free admissions to this conference. The contest is simple. Just submit a comment in this blog and complete this sentence: “I’d definitely attend a parenting workshop if the speaker…” I’ll randomly draw a winner in just a few days and post it on my blog. And just for fun, I’ll go ahead and throw a couple copies of my parenting book in the mix of prizes, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent.

WINNERS: Congratulations to David Shade of Whittier, CA! You are the winner of the two free passes to this FAM Conference! (Make sure we connect there! I’d love to meet you!)

Congratulations to the following people who won copies of my book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent. Use the CONTACT US button at the top of this blog to email me your address so I can send you a copy!

Sharon Stoltzfus

Brandi Barnette

For more details about the FAMConference, go to

If you’re interested in bringing me out to your city to teach this new parenting workshop, Getting Your Teenagers Talking, CLICK HERE.