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You Owe Him Nothing

37465687_mIt was the end of the day and I could not wait to get home from school. Just before the final bell rang, an office TA walked in with a bouquet of flowers and a card. The room erupted with remarks about, someone having an admirer. Much to my surprise the long stem roses were for me. The card attached said, “What does a guy have to do to get on your busy calendar to take you out?”

When the bell rang, I ran to my car trying to avoid running into him. The roses were beautiful but I did not want to go on a date with him. I felt like I was somehow obligated to accept his invitation because he bought flowers for me.

When my dad came home he asked me about the flowers and I explained my dilemma. I will never forget what my dad told me. He said, “You do not owe this boy or any other man that comes along, anything. You did not ask for the flowers, he bought them for you because he chose to on his own.” My dad went on to say that I was never to feel obligated to any man who bought me something or was nice to me. My dad also told me that I should never go out with someone I was not interested in and that if a guy made me feel like it was an obligation, I should tell him, “I owe you nothing.”

That next day at school he asked when I was available to go out. I very nicely explained to him that I was not interested and said, “Thank you for the flowers.” He was not very happy about my nicely put “no thank you” and told me that he had spent his money on the flowers so I at least owed him one date. The wise words of my dad blared like a bullhorn in my head. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “My father told me that I owe no man anything. You chose to buy flowers but that doesn’t mean I owe you a date.” I know he was not happy but he seemed to clearly understand what my dad told me and he accepted it and moved on.

The words of my father are for you too. You never owe a man anything because he bought you something or was kind to you. If you think that you need to go out with someone because you feel obligated, that is a red flag. Healthy relationships do not start out of a sense of obligation. Never allow someone to pressure you into a date and if a “no thank you” is not enough to get your point across, go to your parents and tell them what is happening. In the words of my dad, “you owe him nothing.”

 

Originally Written for the Whatever Girls.

 

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Be the Standard Setter

Originally post on the Whatever Girls and dedicated to my husband, an amazing husband and father.

10294226_10203169849075500_7767579091901015690_nWe expect high standards. We look at the safety standards of cars, the standard of education offered by universities, and the standard of customer service a business offers. Even the standard of preschool education is important to many parents.

If the “standard” of a product or service is so important, then shouldn’t our standards be important when it comes to our daughters? Dads, I am talking to you. You play a key role in helping your daughter set the standard about what kind of man she will choose to be her husband.

1011315_10201087772263926_1690466469_nYour daughter watches how you treat her mom, stepmom, and other women in your life. The words you use to speak to your daughter are either going to build up her self-worth or tear it down. There is a YouTube video of a little girl and her father talking about her being a princess and what she deserves some day when she becomes a queen. Her daddy talks to her about how a man is to respect her and open doors for her. I believe that all dads need to talk to their daughters like that.

1011960_10201208008229750_1728592987_nMy husband has been very open with our daughter about what she should expect in a man and he has been very open with any young man who has come around looking to date her. He has set very high standards by how he treats me and in how he talks to our daughter. She knows that she is worthy of more than being some guy’s “friend with benefits”, that pornography is never something she needs to settle for, and that the words, “if you love me you would…” or “if you were a good girlfriend you would…”are completely unacceptable.   Those are just some of the standards that my husband has set in place for our daughter.

Dads, you can’t just be worried about the safety standards of the car you send your daughter out in or the standard of education a potential university offers. Letting her date without setting standards is extremely dangerous. You need to be the standard setter for your daughter. You need to set the bar high because there will be a day when she steps out on her own. Her future is in your hands so set the standards high.11350301_10206319654897722_1670066942_n

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s that are setting high standards for you daughters.

Dad’s check out the Whatever Girls for more posts like this.  Your daughters are counting on you.

 

 

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The dating tightrope, finding balance

Written originally for “The Whatevergirls”

Part 2: Today, I want to take a look at the guidelines my husband and I set in place as we tried to find the right balance on the dating tight rope.

We feel the guidelines we set are extremely important.  To have no guidelines, to not care how dating looks, or no set age when you think it is the right time to date, would be like saying to your kids: “I don’t care how fast you ride the motorcycle,” and: “it is your choice to wear the helmet or not.” That kind of attitude towards dating is setting your child up for hurt.  On the flip side of that, I have watched a few families that have said no to dating, no to attending a dance, no to even going to a movie with a group of boys and girls; the outcome of that was not good either.  The NO, NO, NO from the parents led to the SNEAK, SNEAK, SNEAK of the kids.  I have witnessed more than one family lay down some of the tightest rules–as far as the opposite sex goes–and allow no dialog about it with their kids.  Sadly, in some cases, it has led to everyone but the parents being aware that their child is being anything but pure.  The kids have chosen the proverbial “back seat of the car,” while the parents have assumed their guidance of one big “NO” about the opposite sex is good enough.

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Our son and his girlfriend

My husband and I knew we needed to find the right balance to walk the dating tight rope in our home.  Again, I want to stress that this is what worked for our family, it may not work for yours.  Also, I cannot say that we did not have any near falls while walking this out. We saw that our kids were more likely to want to hang out at our home if we allowed them to have a relationship with healthy guidelines. When they hung out at our house, with us there, we got to be like the parents in the other room while the baby enjoys freedom in the crib–like I talked about in my first post, “taking the first step”. I guess you could say we found taking the middle ground between “no rules on dating,“ and “no dating at all,” to be where we landed.

The guidelines we set for our children when it came to dating, were like the pole that a tightrope walker uses for balance. If we let the guidelines lean too far one way or the other, it would be sure to knock our kids off the rope. The guidelines applied in all situations. We also were very clear on explaining the rules (guidelines) to any of our kid’s friends who came into our home. What we found was that kids like to know what the guidelines are, and they were happy not having to sneak around.

The guidelines:

  • If you want to hang out at our house with the opposite sex there must be a parent home.  The same goes for you hanging out at their home.
  • The bedrooms are off-limits!
  • If you are watching a movie, there is no reason to be in a completely dark room; have at least one light on.
  • If you get cold, turn the fireplace on; if you want a blanket, we have plenty of them so you can each use your OWN.
  • If you want to have a group of kids over for a pool party or movies, that is fine but we will be calling the parents to tell them that we are going to be here and they are welcome to come and hang out if they want.  We had many nights enjoying a glass of wine and visiting with parents while the basement was full of kids watching a movie.  We laughed as each parent randomly took a turn walking into the basement to make sure that no one was getting too comfortable.  Not only our kids, but other kids asked us more than once to have more nights like that.
  • If you are going out on a date, the only time you need to be hanging out alone in the car is while driving some place.  If you have nothing to do but sit in the car alone, get to our house or call it a night!
  • We are going to check with the parents of whatever house you are going to, and if you don’t like it you can stay home.

Affection:

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Our daughter and her boyfriend

We know you like each other.  We know you want to hold hands, snuggle and kiss.  We would much rather have you show affection in front of us, because the alternative is that you go somewhere alone to show affection and that can lead to things going too far.  Please be comfortable in front of us.  We were young once too, and we show our affection holding hands with a peck on the lips or cheek in front of you, because it is okay to have those feelings.  But keep it at that.  Don’t be alone, and do not take it farther than that simple affection.  To let things go beyond that will leave you with the regret of having to tell your spouse some day.

To our son: If you are going to date, you better respect the girl because she is Jesus’ princess; you better treat her in the same way you would want your sister treated. Also, you will not date a girl without speaking to her father first and looking him in the eye like a man.  That goes for something as simple as asking a girl to a dance.  You go to her father, or if she only has a mother then her mother first, before asking.  We also like our son to be aware of just how much that father loves his daughter, and that he would not only answer to us, but he would answer to her father if he disrespected her.  (Knowing that the father owned guns always added to helping get our point across and gave us something to laugh about behind closed doors).

To our daughter: If you want to go to a dance with a boy, he will come and ask your father so that your father may have the joy of making him sweat and tremble in fear.  If some boy wants to date you, he will look your father in the eye like a man when he asks.  He will understand that you are to be treated with respect, period.  We are letting him date Jesus’ princess, and if he thinks answering to your father and older brother is scary, then just think about trying to explain his intentions to Jesus.  It also helped when the young man asking to date knew that we owned guns as well.

My husband and I felt it was our responsibility to help our children avoid the same mistakes we made.  By setting these clear guidelines, we were taking our first steps to help our children walk the dating tightrope with more success than we had.  All those guidelines set in place were good, but we also had to trust that we had given our children a firm foundation to stand on, and that they would have the strength to resist temptation.  We pray that they will not make the same mistakes we made when we were young. As I said, our guidelines were like the pole the tightrope walker uses to stay on the rope, but remember even the best tightrope walker falls at times.  We had to trust that when our kids were without us and out on a date, and if they did fall into temptation, God would catch them in His safety net.

With the guidelines in place, the next step across the tightrope was having some deep talks with our kids about our expectations for them.  In my next post, I want to look at the importance of prayer and the different approaches we needed to take with our son, as opposed to our daughter.  Please remember I do not have all the answers and every step across the dating tight rope has been a cautious step for us.  I hope you are finding some answers to help cross the rope with your own kids.  Have a blessed day, and I hope you will join me in my next post.

If you missed my first post in this series, you can back up and read it at “Taking the first step”

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The dating tightrope, Part 1

Written originally for The Whatever Girls ministry.

999646_10201254890681782_1998332177_nLooking back at the dirty diapers and sleepless nights I remember thinking how hard it was at times to be a mom of little kids.  I actually thought, “Hang in there it well get easier as they get older”.  NOT!  All I did was trade the worries of them falling down the stairs while learning to walk into a whole new set of worries.  Handing them the keys to the car for their first drive alone, after I had almost worn a hole in the floor mat from pushing the imaginary brake from the passenger seat, made those sleepless nights something to give thanks for.

When they were little I could control the environment they were in, I could place covers over the outlets so they would not be shocked, a gate by the stairs to keep them from falling.  I could check the size of a toy to be sure they would not choke.  I could set up play dates and get to know the parents of their friends.  As the teen years hit and we were running from baseball and softball fields after our kids and as they began to get freedom to do more on their own; my ability to keep a safe environment slipped away.

I began praying for God to be my eyes and my ears when they were out with friends,  to keep them safe and to help them make wise choices.  Now don’t get me wrong I prayed for them when they were little, but I began to find that in order for me to let go and allow my kids a healthy teenage life I had to put all my trust in the Lord.  One of the big issues we have faced as parents was the whole dating issue.

We were faced with the dating dilemma with our son first because he is the oldest.  He liked a girl in the 9th grade but we were not ready for the whole dating thing and thankfully neither were her parents.  We found the best thing to do was to have open communication with her parents and let them hang out but not date officially.  We did not want them to sneak and we knew they had some feelings for each other.  We allowed them to hang out but we set guidelines much like the gate that kept him from falling down the stairs as a child.  They could hang out with each other’s family, they could go to dinner, have a game night or study after school at one of our homes with the parents there.   One day they went on a jog and they actually thought it was cool that they were allowed to be alone for that.  They went to a dance at school and so that they could hang out after the dance we let them invite a bunch of kids from their class over for an after dance party.

We took it one step further and invited the parents of the kids who were at our place to come over for games.  Our attitude was they are boys and girls; they like each other because God made them to eventually find a person of the opposite sex to spend their life with. We understood that they wanted to hang out and we wanted them to be in a safe place to do so. My husband and I were well aware that all of us are hard wired to want to have physical contact with a person of the opposite sex. God wants it to be with the person we are married to but with raging hormones comes temptation.  Many kids and many of us who are reading this have fallen into the temptation of sex outside of marriage.   It was our job as parents to set healthy boundaries or guidelines so that our kids could hang out with the opposite sex and begin to learn the roles of a having a healthy relationship.  In those interactions with the opposite sex our kids were able to grow into adults and have an idea of what they are looking for in a spouse.

I was talking to a 27 year old women recently, who is engaged to be married and she shared with me the struggles of keeping their relationship pure for her wedding night.  She is 27 and if it is struggle for her just think of what it is like for our teens.  She shared with me a great analogy her dad had given her.  She said when your children are babies you can set them in their playpen and put the toys in that are safe.  They have the ability to crawl around and to choose to play with the toys they want; however the crib sides are the healthy boundary they have to stay in.  With the baby in the crib the parent can step away to grab some laundry, make the dinner and so on without having to hover constantly over the child.  I loved that. We as parents have to give our children healthy boundaries and be able to step back a little without hovering.  As with any parent who’s baby is in the crib, we always have an eye on them from the other room so that if we see something that could really cause them harm we can step in.

We chose the age of 16 to be the “Yes, you can date” time line.  We thought our kids are able to drive a car and leave our sight so we better have some things set so that they don’t sneak and end up in the back seat of a car.  Please know that I am not saying that I have all the answers to this and the age of 16 may not be the age you choose for your family and that is okay.  I think the guidelines of dating are more important than the age because to just pick age you feel is right without guidelines can lead to a lot of things that can cause regret.  We choose to have an open dialog with our kids and to give them the opportunity to spend time with the opposite sex.

 

This whole dating thing is like walking on a tightrope.  It is finding the right balance so that your child can have some freedom to learn to make healthy choices and you have to trust that God is the safety net below that will catch your child if they fall.  The reality is that no matter what we set in place, they have their own feelings that we cannot control and they will make their own choices.  I want to share with you how we tried to find the balance that worked for our family as we walked the “dating tight rope”.

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Couple on the left, My daughter and her boyfriend. Couple on the right, My son and his girlfriend.

I am writing this to share with you the guidelines we set, the importance of prayer, how we have found the need to talk to our son differently than our daughter and how we have had to change our approach as the years have moved on and our children have become young adults.  We now have an 19 and 21 year old and when you throw in apartment life and promise rings dating tightrope has taken on a whole new level of difficulty.  The one thing that remains the same is that God is always the safety net ready to catch our kids in case they loose their balance.

With all that being said, I see that there is way too much information to put into one post and this is going to become a short series of posts.  In my next post I want to look at the guidelines we set for our kids when their dating years began.  I cannot say I have all the answers, but I hope I can help some of you with younger children figure out the best way for your family to make if safely across the dating tight rope. Until next time God’s blessings.

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GPS (God’s Positioning Satellite)

I wrote this post for the  “The Whatever Girls” ministry and it ran on their site today. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

One night while visiting family in the Seattle area my mother-in-law offered to watch the kids so we could go out to dinner with my husbands brother and his wife.  A night out, a nice dinner, good company and, a chance to wear pretty shoes put a smile on my face.   We had the best dinner at the restaurant where my husband’s youngest brother worked.

My husband and his older brother thought it would be entertaining to program in their parents address and see if they could confuse the GPS.  Frick and Frack are the names I choose to call them because of this goofy idea.

What us ladies thought would be a nice ride home became a series of twists and turns in neighborhoods that Frick and Frack had never been in and they are from the area. Recalculating, in so many feet take a U-turn, Left turn ahead, turn right, and dead end ahead began to block out the sound of the music as our GPS tried to navigate the way home.  gps

With every turn I came one-step closer to loosing my amazing dinner as carsickness began to creep in.  They spun the car this way and that way thinking they could get the GPS confused.  My sister in law fell asleep and I worried with each left turn her head would hit the window.  I kept asking the guys how much longer? I was not finding the same humor in this.  I told them I hoped the GPS would say, “Listen to me dummies and do what I tell you!” I had to go to the bathroom, I was carsick and I was tired. Thankfully they eventually grew tired of choosing their own course, listened to the GPS and, we found our way to where we were going.  What should have been a 15-20 min drive lasted over an hour.

Life can be a series of twist and turns, it is full of hills to climb, unknowns to navigate our way through and dead ends.  Sometimes it seems like a guessing game when it comes to which path we should choose to go down.  What may look good just might take us to a place we should have never been and we find ourselves throwing it into reverse and high tailing it out of there.  Sometime we get so lost we are not even sure how to find our way back to where we started.

Gods word is a lamp to your feet and light for your path (Psalm 119:105 NIV).  It is like the GPS of our lives.  I listened to Richelle Opland speak to a group of young ladies at the “Whatever girls” meeting in November and she used this analogy of God’s word lighting our path.  She said, “think of God’s word as a lantern and as you hold it up depending on how dark it is you may only have enough light to see one step at time but it guides you safely to where you need to go”.

No matter where we are in life at times we are faced with choice of which direction should I take? For you teens that are reading this, you are faced with often overwhelming choices about what direction your life is to go.  Where should I go to school, what kind of carrier do I want, or how will I know who is the right person for me someday?  Your teenage years are some the best years of your life but they can also be the hardest as you find yourself at cross roads not knowing which way to turn.  One thing always remains the same when you are faced with which direction to go.  God’s word will guide you every time.  If I had known this as a teen my life would have been a much smoother ride.   If you follow God’s word, the bible (God’s Positioning Satellite) and listen to the turn by turn directions of the Holy Spirit you won’t find yourself making a series of wrong turns as God tries to recalculate your direction and put you back on the right course.

If you have not checked out “The Whatever Girls” Please do so.  It is a wonderful ministry for Mom’s and Teens.  We would love to have you join us in Spokane at the Whatever Girls Live event April 25-27th.  I encourage all mom’s and their teenage girls to come for this awesome weekend.

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How to bake a cake

Guest Post by Taler Stanton (Each Day a New Adventure)

Let’s have some real talk. Girl talk. Real girl talk.

Wednesday nights are one of my favorite nights of the week. I attend a bible study with girls from on and off campus, along with an awesome woman of God, Shannon. We spend our nights being filled up with the Bible, being challenged in our faith and growing together as women of God.

In a random conversation with the ladies, my lovely friend Heather decided to share an analogy about dating and finding the right guy with us. Let’s call it, The Cake Theory. I decided to elaborate on this subject.

Ingredients:

Becoming a woman of God is a journey in itself, and for us girls we always wonder when we are going to be ready for Christ centered relationship? In order for us to be ready there are a few things we need to have in line first, just like baking a cake.

Having the right ingredients is the first step in the baking process and relates to us as women growing in Him. We each have qualities that we wish we could or hide or get rid of; on the contrary we also possess qualities and attributes that are strong, the ones that make our personalities distinct. In order for our ingredients to be correct, we need to ask the Lord to first search our hearts and reveal the things that we need to work on. No one is ever finished growing, but I whole-heartedly believe that there are certain qualities every woman should posses before entering into a Christ centered relationship. As we learn these qualities, there comes a point when the “ingredients” if you will, are at the right measurements.

Mixing the Batter:IMG_0929

To make a cake, all the ingredients must be combined to make a yummy batter. Just like batter, once we have worked on finding our identity in Christ we can begin to grow in our relationship with the Lord. Jesus gives us a fruitful spirits: love, joy, patience etc. Of course with anything it is going to be a continuous learning process. But the Holy Spirit helps us with the perfect ingredients. Let the Holy Spirit continue to mix in the perfect amount for your life.

Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  -Ephesians 4:22-24

Oven Time:

Putting the batter in the oven is one of the most exciting parts of the cake process. As the batter is in the oven, all of the separate ingredients that were mixed together, bake and form into one structure. It rises and becomes more firm. Just like a cake, our relationship with Christ is a constant uphill battle, but as we seek and know Him we will continue to be more firm in our faith. The awesome thing about a relationship with Jesus is there is always room for growth. As we grow in Him, different pieces of our personality and spirit develop and grow into something really beautiful.

Cooling:

When the cake is done baking, it needs time to set. We describe this as the waiting process. Although our cake is done, it needs to time to cool. This part is also the most difficult because it takes the most patience, and let’s be honest: patience for a girl is often very difficult especially when it comes to finding prince charming. But with patience comes perseverance and with perseverance comes blessings.

My mom continues to encourage me by telling me that I will be glad that I waited for the right guy to come along. I have been learning that it is important to take this “cooling time” and spend it with Jesus. As I wait, I have started to understand that Jesus first captivated my heart and is waiting for the perfect time to give you a respectful and Godly man that his precious daughter deserves.

Frosting the cake.IMG950230

There are many different flavors or types of frosting out there and we develop certain once that we prefer over others. This concept is the same when it comes to finding a Godly man. He should first and foremost love Jesus with all his heart and be the spiritual leader of the relationship. Only then will he be the best frosting for the cake. Once the cake is complete and the right frosting comes along you will have a beautiful Christ centered cake that lasts a lifetime!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”

Special thank you to Sweet Frostings Blissful Bake Shop for the photos

To see more of Taler’s beautiful writing go to Each Day a New Adventure

 

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God puts great gifts inside of funny packages

By the midlife domestic goddess (for the Whatever girls site)

I am currently enrolled in on-line classes at Portland Bible College and while listening to a lecture in one of my classes my Professor, Pastor Frank Damazio, said something that really stuck with me.  He said, “God puts great gifts inside of funny packages”.

To the teens out there, especially you junior high age girls, I remember what it was like. I was already hard enough trying to deal with the changes in my body, I got sick to top things off.  I woke up one morning in Jr. high and I was swollen.  Now I don’t mean just a little swollen, I mean stay puff marshmallow man kind of swollen.  Most of you won’t younger girls won’t know what that is so I’ll insert my picture now.

I had gained over 20 pounds of water weight in less than 24 hours.  My cheeks were so big it made my eyes squint.  My mom had me into the Doctors office so fast and from there I was on to a specialist.  Before I knew it I was lying in hospital bed and there I would stay for a week until they could get my kidneys under control. My kidneys were working backwards for lack of an easier way to explain it.  I was retaining salt when I should have been releasing it. The doctors were actually afraid my kidneys could fail.

This lead to a yearlong diet of NO SALT.  Salt is in everything young kids like to eat which means my diet stunk.  It also meant that I had to go on high dosages of steroids for almost 2 years.  The steroids made me puff up all over again and they made my red hair huge and frizzy.  I was already teased for having red hair so the frizz only made me feel even more awkward.  I know there may some young ladies reading this today and you may also feel awkward in your body right now or maybe you have been made to feel bad about yourself because of the rude remarks of others.

I understand those same kinds of feelings. I was a funny package on the outside but the truth is that God puts the best gifts in the funniest packages and it is those gifts that outshine any outward beauty.  As a teen I was not in a relationship with God like I am now.  I knew he existed and I said my prayers now and than but I had no idea just how special and beautiful I was to him.  Inside that awkward package that I was, there were the gifts of laughter, friendship, loyalty, and kindness.  In the years to come I would find my way into a deeper relationship with God. In my walk I have learned some very important things. For example I now see that God is not interested in how we look from the outside. He is concerned with how we look from the inside.  God is concerned with the condition of our hearts.  If you are feeling like a funny package on the outside remember this…. so are most of the other kids your age.  The sad thing is some of them don’t realize just how special they are so they conform to the world’s idea of beauty.

You don’t need to be like that. Don’t waste your time trying to look beautiful in the eyes of the world, let your beauty come from what is within. Psalms 139:14 is a perfect verse to claim for yourself.  Learn it and remember it. Let the truth in the verse speak to your heart.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

As I said before, God puts great gifts inside of funny packages.  Never forget to share your gifts.  Let them spill out of you and be a blessing to all those who are around you.  Also, do not let the comments of others bring you down because you are of royal blood. Jesus Christ the King of Kings lives in you and you are perfect just the way you are.  My fuzzy hair is now gone along with my puffiness but one thing is still the same.  I am still full of laughter, friendship, kindness and loyalty.  God has also filled me with many other gifts and when I look in the mirror I still see the same funny package and I am happy with who I am.  I hope you are happy with yourself too.

Originally Posted on the Whatever girls page.  Be sure to check out their page

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