What Were You Thinking?

baby-923480_1920“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife,
for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1: 20–21

A few weeks ago, we celebrated an early Christmas with our grandkids: a 3-year-old boy, an 11-month-old girl, and an 8-month-old boy. As you can imagine, the celebration was loud. And lively. By the end of the festivities, the grandparents were begging for naps. Not so the wee ones. They vigorously objected to the prospect with all their hearts. Their parents needed every ounce of cunning and endurance, along with every lullaby in their repertoires, until the grands fell under the Sandman’s spell.

Without their parents’ concern for their welfare and safety, our beautiful grandchildren were clueless. On their own, they couldn’t choose what was good for them. They were completely vulnerable. Totally dependent on the kindness and compassion of the adults who love them.

As I watched, a thought popped into my head. “God, what were you thinking when you sent the Savior of the world–the One appointed to save us from our sins–to earth as a baby who’s life depends upon the goodness of a teen mom and a reluctant dad?”
Scripture clearly states that this was God’s plan. More than once, the Bible says that the baby born to Mary was the Savior. On the other hand, God’s Word doesn’t explicitly explain why He made such a plan.

However, the New Testament showcases vulnerable people. Jesus’ ministry is a veritable hit parade of vulnerability: children, the poor, lepers, widows, the blind, the lame, the disfigured, the mentally ill, the disenfranchised, the oppressed, the elderly, the dying.
The Savior of the world never condemned the vulnerable people he encountered. He never looked down on them. Instead, he healed them. He loved them. In John 9:1–3, Jesus announced that vulnerability is not an accident. Rather, it is part of the Father’s sovereign plan.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents,
but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1–3

With those word, God spoke value and purpose into the life of every person, even the most compromised. Those words are a call for us to affirm the value of every life. God calls us to be like Mary and Joseph. To get our hands dirty, even when affirming life is difficult. God’s call may look different for each of us. One person may counsel and support unwed mothers. Another may work in the church nursery or teach children’s Sunday school. Some families may pursue adoption. Others may visit with the elderly at the nursing home. Some may devote their days to the care of their children with disabilities or aging parents.

Like Mary and Joseph, we are all called to value life. When a teen mother and a reluctant father obeyed God’s call, redemption came to a fallen world. What could happen when you heed God’s call? Today’s a good day to find out.

No Room at the Inn

What if Egypt had refused to allow in Joseph, Mary & Jesus when they fled persecution? What if we close our borders to refugees fleeing persecution today?So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Matthew 2: 14–15

Children’s programs.
Santa Claus.

Too often our favorite holiday traditions hide the truths of Jesus’ early years like frosting on Christmas cookies. Only by scraping away colorful layers of fluff are the stark and frightening realities of the season exposed.

A young and very pregnant Mary riding a donkey to the strange town of Bethlehem.
Joseph walking beside a woman whose baby is not his.
An innkeeper without room in his inn or his heart.
The Son of God born in a dirty, dark barn.
A newborn lying a manger filled with hay.
Smelly shepherds gawking at the sight.
Smellier sheep bleating and creating commotion.

Once the small family is more settled, after the arrival of the Magi–visitors who recognize the importance of Jesus’ birth and give Him gifts worthy of his royal lineage–Joseph receives a warning from an angel in a dream.

“Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt,
and remain there until I tell you;
for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”
Matthew 2:13

Joseph heeds the warning and flees with his wife and Son. They escape just before Herod, the ruler over Bethlehem and surrounding area, sends soldiers to slaughter every male child two years old and younger in an effort to eliminate a little boy he believes will one day seek to depose him. In verses like those, the dark side of Christmas is exposed.

Teen mothers.
Reluctant fathers.
Babies born into poverty.
Political maneuvering and dirty tricks.
Refugees fleeing for their lives.

The Light of the World betrayed by believers in His own country. Forced to beg sanctuary from strangers in Egypt until the darkness ended and the world made sense again.

In mid-November, terrorists in Lebanon and Paris committed craven acts. Not the indiscriminate slaughter of babies, but terrible nonetheless. The dark side of humanity was exposed again, tempting us to shut doors in the faces of present day refugees.

As Christians, we must wrestle with the truths of our faith as we consider how to respond to the plight of refugees forced to beg sanctuary from strangers until the world makes sense again. The questions before us are these.

Will we trust God’s promises and stand on the eternal security we have in Christ while seeking wise ways to welcome these lost refugees and share His hope? Or will we succumb to fear and abandon compassion toward the people Jesus, the Light of the World and the hope of Christmas, came to save?

Words As Precision Weapons

How kitchen knives and our words can be dangerous weapons when used incorrectly.Let your speech always be gracious,
seasoned with salt,
so that you know how you should respond to each one.
Colossians 4:6

About a month ago, I was wrangling the label off a jar when the knife slipped and jabbed my left hand right below the thumb. A tiny puncture, no more than a centimeter long. Very little pain. Very little blood. But very well-aimed. Deep enough to slice the tendon to my thumb in two. Which resulted in hand surgery, almost 2 weeks in a ginormous splint, 4–6 weeks in a smaller splint, and months of physical therapy to regain motion and full functionality. All that because I didn’t stop to consider the consequences of using a knife as a weapon in a wrestling match with a jar label. As my daughter so sweetly put it, “Mom, you’ve made handling kitchen knives with impunity your hobby.”

I am typing, the splint firmly in place, and contemplating the similarities between that kitchen knife and my words. Sometimes, I think carefully and prayerfully about what I am about to say. I lean into God and ask him to speak wisdom beyond my own through me. In those cases, God consistently uses my words to heal relationships and create unity.

Too be honest, those situations are often the exceptions rather than the rule. More often, I speak without thinking. If I do pause before speaking, it isn’t to pray. I pause to shape my words into weapons and then aim them at soft spots where they will plunge deep. Once that’s done, I let the words fly off my tongue and hit their target with astonishing precision.

On the surface, the wounds I cause appear tiny. Bloodless. Painless. But over time, the damage below the surface becomes evident. Hurt feelings. Misunderstandings. Severed relationships that require massive amounts of time and energy to heal and always leave a scar. Nothing is ever the same after my barbed words spew forth without considering the consequences of using words as weapons.

I’m not the first person with this problem. James 3:6 describes how New Testament believers used the power of speech to harm others. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire. Not a pretty picture.

Paul also talks about the power of the tongue and sprinkles advice to believers throughout his letters about how to harness their power. Colossians 4:6 is my favorite. Instead of dwelling on what believers shouldn’t do–because if we’re honest, we already know what shouldn’t be said and still chose to say it anyway–Paul describes how we should speak. With grace, enhanced with salt so the listeners will savor, eat, and be nourished by them.

Those words are ones believers should commit to memory, to have ready to pull out and pray in the moments we are tempted to speak before thinking. When we do so, our moment of contemplation and dependence upon God’s wisdom instead of trusting our own can avert accidents. It can strengthen relationships rather than sever them. The pause to pray Colossians 4:6 allows us to channel time and energy toward kingdom building rather than damage control. They’re words I’ll be reminded to pray every time a glance at my hand reminds me of both the power of ordinary words…and kitchen knives.

Love Like That for this Fantastic Friday

This Fantastic Friday post looks back on a lesson God taught through a snippy, yippy dachshund we once owned.This Fantastic Friday stars Abby, the quirky dachshund we once owned. (She’s the dog in the front in the photo. The other is Ellie, who belonged to my brother and his lovely wife.) Isn’t it amazing how God uses the creatures he creates to teach us more about him?

So the ransomed of the Lord will return,
And come with joyful shouting to Zion;
And everlasting joy will be on their heads.
Isaiah 51:11  

Not too many years ago, we owned Abby, a yippy, snippy, little dachshund whose bark was much bigger than her brain. Once Anne left home, Abby grew increasingly nervous and unhappy. Eventually, she moved in with my brother, his wife, their two daughters and two dogs. She now lives in the closest thing to dog heaven on earth and is happy as a clam, though she’s a dog, not a clam.

Two months in dog heaven and Abby forgot me. With never a fair-thee-well, she transferred her affection to my sister-in-law, who loves the traitor unconditionally. Abby even forgot Hiram, who was the light of her life for many year once he gained her trust. Until she left us, he was the object of every speck of doggy devotion she could muster, which wasn’t much due to her small cache of brain cells.

But during a recent visit at the bro’s family, Hiram walked in and his presence sparked something in Abby’s itty bitty brain. She wiggled at his feet, ran around the house with youthful vigor (a mighty feat since she’s several pounds overweight and her belly drags on the floor), wiggled at his feet again, ran around again – like she did when she lived with us. Hiram patted her head, and she squirmed with delight at his touch.

Hiram welcomed her flighty love without rancor though he knew she would soon forget him. He didn’t begrudge the many hours spent proving his faithfulness to the younger Abby who had never before experienced such lavish love. He welcomed her fleeting affection, no strings attached.

I smiled as the silly little dog worshipped at his feet. Suddenly, a truth dawned on me. God loves me like that. No matter what I do, no matter how I presume upon His kindness, no matter how long I ignore His presence, God loves me just like that. He is always near, waiting for me to recognize the sound of His voice, the tread of His step. Waiting for the memory of His love to jog my brain which is far too small to comprehend His being. Waiting for the reality of His love to revive my joy, to send me running in circles, wriggling at His feet, squirming with delight as His hand touches my head.

God loves me – a silly, flighty woman with feet of clay – like that.

God loves you like that.

Not because of who we are, but because of who He is: the God who ransoms sinners by His love. Love from a God like that is the closest thing to heaven on earth, a place of peace and rest and worship.

It is eternal life.

True Intercession

person-371015_1280All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
Isaiah 53:6

Mom was the disciplinarian at our house, and a strict one at that, when I was a kid. Over the years, I watched my older sister, a crusader and rebel by nature, charge full speed ahead and bear the brunt of Mom’s wrath many times. Being averse to personal pain and suffering I chose to be a more compliant child, for the most part. But every now and then, I would stand my ground and wait for the wrath of Mom to descend. Sometimes it did.

But sometimes, Dad would wheel into the middle of the fray and intercede on my behalf. “Dorothy,” he would say, “Jo-Jo doesn’t usually argue with you. This must be important to her. How about you give her a break?”

At the same time, I would intercede on my own behalf by squeezing my eyes shut and silently praying, “Please, God. Please, please, please. If Mom gives me a break, I’ll never do anything bad again. Please, God. Please!”

Sometimes our pleas were ineffective, and I got a spanking. Other times Mom relented, and Dad gave me a wink and a smile. I went on my merry way, soon breaking my impossible promise to never do anything bad again. Because I was a kid, and that’s what kids do.

For years, until very recently in fact, my understanding of Christ’s intercession for sinners was stuck at a kid’s level, too. My vision of intercession was based on what my dad for me. Whenever I read these words from Isaiah 53:12–Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors–I pictured Jesus talking to His Father like my dad talked to Mom.

“You know,” Jesus would say according to my faulty interpretation, “silly little Jolene is doing the best she can. How about You give the girl a break because of my work on the cross.

Dad,” Jesus would add with a wink and a smile, “we both know I’ve got this.”
My picture of intercession changed a few weeks ago when I did a word study of “interceded.” I was surprised to discover that paga, the Hebrew word for intercession in Isaiah 53:12 was translated fall in Isaiah 53:6. As in But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Immediately, my skewed picture of Jesus’ casual intercession on my behalf before His Father was replace by a darker, horrifying vision. I watched as the monstrously heavy anvil of my sin fell upon Jesus. He watched as it fell, saw it bearing down upon Him, and had time to step out of the way. Instead, He stretched His arms out wide to embrace the weight of my sin. I watched as my sin leveled Him to the ground. All that remained was the shape of the cross and the echo of His pain. Speechless, horrified, humbled, and undone I gazed upon His cross, His pain, and the words to an old hymn came to mind.

What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

Alleluia! What a Savior!

Weary and Heavy-Laden

Are you about to falter under the burdens you are bearing? Remember, you don't have to bear it alone. There is One who will bear it with you.Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29–29

Rarely have I felt as weary and heavy-laden as I feel today. So many burdens are bearing down. The Red Card Kids Sunday school class broke the hearts of everyone in attendance as we were brought face-to-face with the conditions children live in around the world. The killing of nine people attending a Bible study in Charleston sent believers in our country reeling. Every week parents of kids with special needs email their stories to me and ask for advice. And right now, this very minute, my husband and I are shouldering burdens concerning people we love very much, and we feel too weak to bear the weight much longer.

I am so weary, so heavy-laden. What I want right now if for the world to leave me alone while I watch one happy-ending movie after another, starting with The Wizard of Oz and ending with Ella Enchanted. Why do I–and maybe you, too–want to escape the woes of this world? Because, deep down, we know we can’t fix what’s wrong.

We can’t ease the daily suffering and oppression of millions of children.
We can’t end the racism that led to the killing of nine Christ followers.
We can’t provide the resources and rest parents of kids with special needs require.
 We can’t even make things better for the people we love most in this world.

And yet as believers we are commanded to end oppression, to fight injustice, to heal the broken, and to maintain loving relationships. We are called to bear burdens we can never fix. God’s commandment seems so unfair. Impossible to obey. Unless we remember Jesus’ call to bear our burdens with HIm. To be yoked together In Him. Not alone. Never alone.

Of course, being yoked to Jesus so the burden can be shared requires us to make some adjustments. Being yoked to Jesus means matching our steps to His. Going the direction He says is best. Moving forward in His time, not ours.

Being yoked to Jesus means total dependence on Him. Total release of our will to His. Total relinquishment of our loved ones to His sovereign will. Total trust in His wisdom and power when all appears hopeless, when evil seems to be winning.

Only when we realize that all the impossible things God calls us to do are only accomplished through His divine power are we able to lay find rest for our sore and weary souls. Only then do we discover His yoke truly is easy and the burden is so very, very light.

Only then.
Only then.

Red Thai Soup with Ginger Meatballs

This recipe for Red Thai Soup with Ginger Meatballs is dairy-free, but the coconut cream makes it taste like a milk-based soup. Yum!June isn’t usually considered soup weather. But I’d been wanting to try this recipe for Red Thai Soup with Ginger Meatballs ever since a friend posed it on Facebook. The ingredient list included fresh parsley, basil, and cilantro, all of which are ready for harvesting in my herb garden. So we had soup one night, and it was good.

The meatball prep took some time, but the soup went together quickly. Since the recipe makes enough meatballs for 4 batches of soup, several bags of frozen meatballs are ready for quick soup suppers when the weather turns cool again. Both the Man of Steel and I found the soup delicious and filling.

Red Thai Soup with Ginger Meatballs

Ginger Meatball Ingredients:

1 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 cups baby bella mushrooms, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoonground black pepper

Heat oven to 425 F. Mix all the ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Form into 1-inch balls. (Makes 35–40) Place at least an inch apart on broiler pan. prepared cookie sheets. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Divide into 3–4 quart freezer bags and freeze.


2-4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cups stir-fry vegetables•
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
9-12 juicy meatballs
2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 can coconut cream
Chopped cilantro or basil leaves

Sauté onions, potatoes and mushrooms in coconut oil over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add stir-fry vegetables* and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, meatballs, curry paste, salt and white pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add coconut cream, cook on medium-low until hot enough to serve. Stir in cilantro or basil right before serving.

*I used sweet red pepper and broccoli. The broccoli was a bit overpowering.

Does God Hear Me in Iowa?

Do You Hear Me in Iowa GCCAnd when He had taken the book, the four living creatures
and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb,
having each one a harp, and golden bowls of incense,
which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 5:8

“Is this heaven?”
“No, it’s Iowa.”

Truer words have never been spoken, at least in the opinion of Iowans. In June the grass is a verdant green, trees are in full leaf, and the cornfields are nearing the magical days when we can imagine Shoeless Joe and his teammates appearing from between rows of corn to converge on a field of dreams.

For me, some scripture passages read more like the script of a movie like Field of Dreams than like words for believers to live by. How do visions of strange living creatures in Revelation 5: 8 assure parents scared to send freshly graduated high school seniors into a world filled with evil? How do harps and golden bowls comfort parents of children scarred by horrors no child should ever experience? How can wafting incense reassure us when people we love dearly are wandering in darkness and despair and self-destructiveness?
Apparently, the vision is important because John reiterates part of it later in Revelation:

And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding the golden censer, and much incense was given him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. (Rev. 8:3-4)

In both passages, John describes the prayers of the saints as golden incense rising to God. The first passage could give the impression that the prayers are only those of saints already in heaven. But the second passage says, “the prayers of all the saints.”
Do you know what that means? It means that as believing saints, our prayers we on earth–for high school graduates, for vulnerable and damaged children, and for the lost ones we love–rise to God like sweet incense. If they rise to Him, He must hear them. And if He hears them, then we know He will answer them, though perhaps in ways we won’t understand in this world.

These verses say that our prayers matter. Our prayers make a difference in our lives and in the lives of those we lift up before the Father. On earth and in heaven. Today and for eternity. They provide the assurance we need when we are discouraged, when God doesn’t seem to hear and answer our prayers, when our high school graduates make stupid choices, when our broken children are not healed, and when the lost ones we love wander farther and farther away. When we want to shout, “God, do you hear me in Iowa?”

By his strange and magical Word, we hear God whisper into our shattered hearts, “Do I hear you in Iowa? No, dear one. I hear you in heaven.”

Standing on my Red Card Kids Soap Box

Red Card Kids

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.:
Matthew 19:14

In the last five years, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time climbing on special needs soap box and preaching the special needs ministry gospel. I keep doing it, not because soap box climbing firms flabby glutes, but because I am passionate about reaching out to kids with special needs and their families. And because doing so follows the example of Jesus, who in Matthew 19:14, commanded his disciples to bring the children to him.
That’s why my co-author and I chose to use the verse from Matthew to begin our new book Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs. Perhaps it’s also why the creators of the Red Card Kids chose the same passage as one of its key verses.

So many kids in this fallen world live in conditions inconceivable to you, me, and the children in churches in our country. Too many kids live in poverty. Homeless and hunger are the norm for millions. Others are orphans due to war and diseases like AIDS and ebola. Some are conscripted into armies as soldiers or sold by human traffickers into slavery. The statistics are heart-breaking.

Even so Jesus calls every child, every single child, to himself. Throughout his ministry he sought out the homeless, the poor, the oppressed, the sick, and the disabled. But how can we, as a church in a small rural town in Iowa, follow in his footsteps and seek out kids living in terrible conditions?

A good first step is to become educated about the lives of these kids who are precious in the sight of God. This summer, my home church is committed to educating every person, young and old, in our congregation about these issues. To accomplish that goal, Red Card Kids will be used as our VBS to be held during the Sunday school hour for eight weeks, starting May 31.*

Red Card Kids VBS is an opportunity for all of us, adults and children, to step outside of our comfortable lives, and experience in small ways how kids live in places far, far away.
If we are willing, God will use Red Card Kids to break up the ignorant, stony spots in all our hearts, from the youngest, the oldest, and everyone in between. He will then sow seeds of compassion into our brokenness. If we are willing, he will transform our compassion into passion that motivates all of us to climb on a soap box and preach the Red Card Kids gospel to our friends, our neighbors, and anyone else we meet.

Not because soap box climbing firms flabby glutes. But because our hearts are broken and soft. Because the compassion of Christ compels us to do what we can to reach kids who are sick, poor, homeless, hungry, orphaned, sold into slavery, or conscripted as soldiers. Because we are passionate about reaching those kids with the true gospel of hope and a better life to come.

I’m ready for Red Card Kids. My soap box ready for action. Will you start looking for your soap box and join me?

*If you live in or near Boone, Iowa, you’re cordially invited to join us at Grace Community Church each Sunday (May 31–July 26 except for the July 4th weekend) at 9:15 for our Red Card Kids VBS program. You’ll find the address and a map at the church website. If your church would like to do Red Card Kids, visit their website for more information.

I’m a Nice Person, Just Like You

I'm a nice person squareFor the good that I want, I do not do,
but I practice the very evil that I do not want….

I find then the principle that evil is present in me,
the one who wants to do good.

Romans 7: 19, 21

Last week, I decided to study a word from 1 Peter 3:8–12, the passage Pastor Tim was scheduled to preach on the upcoming Sunday. The word was evil which Peter used a whopping five times in five verses. But that was only one reason for selecting it. I also chose it because it’s a word I tend to attribute to bad people, not to myself.

Because I’m not evil. I don’t go around planning evil deeds to discredit others or hatching evil plots to take over the world. I’m a nice person. Just like you. So while studying this particular word would reveal much about the Hitlers and Neros and Stalins of the world, what it revealed would have little bearing for me. Or for you.

The strategy worked well at first. In the gospels, Jesus outs evil vineyard workers (not me) and an evil slave (not me and certainly not you). But then, Paul turned up the heat in Romans 2:9 where his list of slanderers, haters of God,…inventors of evil, and disobedient to parents made me slightly uncomfortable. Not the inventors of evil bit. After all, I don’t go around inventing evil. But some of the other things listed–slanderer and disobedient? I, and perhaps you too, may have indulged in a few of them when we were young. Very, very young.

Then, in Romans 7 Paul describes how he struggles to do good and continually chooses evil. He declares that though he wants to do good, the principle of evil is present in him. That was where my not-like-me strategy fell apart completely. Because Paul wasn’t just describing himself. He was describing me. Like Paul, I start each day with the best of intentions. I resolve to speak kindly to my husband, forgive people who are unkind, give the benefit of the doubt when someone lets me down, and eat only healthy food.

On a good day, I don’t fail until after breakfast. On a bad day, I’m holding a grudge before I can turn off the alarm clock. Every single day, like Paul and perhaps like you, I find then the principle of evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

Paul’s words tore the blinders off my eyes, and I saw myself as God sees me. Evil. I am evil. The truth of those words crushed my heart because I knew that tomorrow and the next day and the next, I would want to do good, and I would choose evil.

I wallowed in hopelessness until I remembered how the Pharisees told Pilate Jesus was an evildoer. Until I remembered that though Pilate found Jesus not guilty, he delivered an innocent Man to the cross. Until I remembered that Jesus bore my evil deeds, and yours too, in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Until I remembered why the Friday Jesus died is called good and not evil.

Because covered in Christ’s righteousness, God sees me and you and all who believe in His Son not as evildoers, but as His children who not only want to do good, but actually are good. Alleluia! What a Savior!

I'm a nice person gravel road FB