005: Getting Kids Ready For Back To School Part 1 – Todd Stocker.com

School begins in a few weeks.  In my interview with life coach, Tracey Steivang, give awesome tips to make this the best “back to school” you’ve had ever!  This is part one of a two part interview.



Lesson from the Labyrinth

labyrinthIt was the first warm day in quite sometime.  Cloudless.  Sun-filled.  A beautiful spring day in Wisconsin.  I arrived at my meeting early and drove to the empty back parking lot of First Presbyterian Church in Hudson.  Maybe it was because I normally ran right into the church, but today, being early, I notice a small white-on-black lettered sign reading “Prayer Labyrinth.”  So I walked in.

(By the way, a Prayer Labyrinth is a mazed pathway leading to a center point on which you offer prayers and spend time with God.)

As I strolled through the brick-lined gravel path, noticing the tall quiet trees that bordered the Labyrinth, I sensed that I was learning what it meant to trust.  You see, occasionally the path would turn to the left and head in a new direction.  Simply follow I thought. On the other side of the large circle-maze it would turn to the right and guide me elsewhere.  Simply follow.  Sometimes it even moved me back and away from where I thought it should go. Simply follow and trust rang in my mind.

But that’s how God wants us to walk with Him. He has us going to the left and sometimes to the right. He has us going forward and sometimes moving back. But ultimately we end where He would want us to end. Jeremiah 29:11‘s original language says that He brings us to an expected end – an end that He has determined and one that fulfills His purpose for our lives.

Ultimately, I emptied out in the middle, sat on the bench and thanked God for the lesson.  The lesson from the Labyrinth is to just walk with Him.  One foot forward.  Simply following.  Authentically trusting.  And praying all the way.




Believe it or not, our nation is very godly.  Ask most anyone on the streets of New York, Boise or Sacramento and they’ll elude to the fact that they have “God” in their lives.  Enter into a conversation with church-goes and church-haters and you’ll discover that “God” that drives their life.
The question is, “who is your god?”  Study our Nations recent history and you’ll find the god of greed, the god of desire, the god of ambition and the god of the unrestrained.  Read the online babble and news about our nation and you’ll discover people more polarized than ever before with liberties being attacked all in the name of the god of safety.

Everyone has “God”.  Many have many.  Some have few.  I have one.  He is a God that informs my life decisions in ways that stun me.  He is a God that shapes, crafts and weaves the seams of my day.  He is a God who is real, alive and lovingly holds me accountable as a good Father would his son.  And I enjoy my walk, holding onto the hand of the God who has told me who He is in the script of a 66 book letter.  The message of that letter to me is, “Todd, even though you followed yourself and denied me, I still love you and have given you life!”

And he signed it with the blood of his son, Jesus.

What god are you following?





Summer is winding down and the new school year is right around the corner! Hard to believe!  To prepare for the upcoming changes, you are shopping for clothes,books, and supplies, all of which are important. In the craziness of this time of year, we often forget to supply our students with the most important thing …

… a covering of prayer!!

I’ve written an eBook called “The Back to School Prayer Guide” which helps you as a parent or grandparent spend the 7 days prior to the beginning of school in prayer for your student.  Building on Colossians 1, you’ll be asking the Lord to give them wisdom and to calm their fears about the new school year.

The guide begins on the 7th day before the start of school and counts down to the day before.  It also includes daily prayer cards that you can cut out and take with you throughout the day.  A friend of mine said about the prayer guide,

“I love that the guide takes only 7minutes per day but is full of helpful prayer!  My husband and I have used it for the past few years and love it!”

Dive in! Have fun! Remember to always praise God for the opportunity to encourage your student.



Yes, there I go again.  Rushing into a busy day, grabbing my keys, my wallet, my phone and my pride.  I’ve got many important things to do.  I’ve got a calendar full of meetings and a mind full of noise.  And yet I forget to fire up the most powerful app that far exceeds any developers ability – Prayer.

I think we got prayer wrong.  Not the importance of it, not the holiness of it, but the use of it.  We pray too shallow.  “Lord, help me get through this meeting.”  We pray too scheduled.  “Now I lay me down to sleep…”  We pray too small.  “Lord, I need help finding a parking space.”

What if God would physically stand in front of you and verbally say, “Ask me anything you’d like.  No limits.  Go ahead.  I dare you.”  What would you ask for?  A fixed relationship that, from an earthly perspective is completely broken?  A job promotion that you think is too far out of your grasp?  A dream house, car, vacation?

Now ask yourself – WHAT IF GOD SAID “YES?”  He could, you know.  He could say “Yes”.  He could blow away your dinky prayer.  He could far surpass what your tiny brain could wish for.  And if He gives you the small requests of your passing thoughts, wouldn’t that make you wonder if you should have asked bigger?

Question:  If God said YES to your dreams, what would that look like?  Write a comment below …


“Please God, Help Her”

It was a small blue car that pulled along side me at a random stoplight next to a railroad crossing sign.  I don’t remember much about its make or year  but I do remember the driver.  She was in her mid-twenties – her brown hair pulled up in a bun with wisps that exploded from the middle like a fourth of July firework. At four in the afternoon, it looked like she had just rolled out of bed.

She was on the phone.  Momentary bursts of anger played out in hitting the stirring wheel, occasionally lifting her left hand – palm up – and briefly hiding an ever increasing tearing with a quick wipe.

I felt sorry for her.  Maybe she was talking to the IRS.  Maybe she was trying to figure out her student loan consolidation.  Most likely, she was trying to verbally glue together the tattered fragments of a once love relationship.

Again, I felt sorry for her.  I wanted to help.  But the time was short.  Green was coming.  So I asked the One I knew could do what I couldn’t.  No big speech of prayer with large churchy words.  I simply said, “Please God, help her.”  That’s what it means to love all people.  If you can’t do anything, ask the One who can.  When the light changed, she went right, I went left.  But neither of us went alone.  In the midst of our deepest hurt, the One is always there.

So maybe you are the girl in the blue car.  Maybe you are the one I saw yesterday at the stop sign of hope and pain.  If you are, just remember that there are people whom you don’t know, who love you and pray for you.

Now, my light is green.