Category Archives: Courtship

“Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops”

Not only did he have to ask me but…

  • he had to ask my Lord…
  • and he had to ask my Daddy…
  • and he had to ask “my kids” (also known as my youth group at Lakeview Assembly)…

Yes, the young man who decided to ask for my hand in marriage on March 18, 1986…25 years ago today…had more than a few “hoops to jump through” before slipping that ring on my finger. And isn’t that just how it should be?

You can read our whole love story and engagement here – My God Inspired Love Story 

Now that we are the parents of seven daughters we definitely think that any young man worthy enough of our precious daughters ought to be willing and able to “jump through a few hoops” to win the prize of her hand in marriage. In fact,  in many ways I believe our current culture has made it much too easy on guys to “get the girl”  (in another era it would be  – the gentlemen to win the heart of a fair lady)  Often young men no longer have to:

  • pursue a woman (since there are an abundance of women ready & willing to pursue them!)
  • courageously win a woman’s heart & hand in marriage (remember the English proverb – “faint heart never won fair lady”)
  • pay a price for their bride (hmmm perhaps there was some wisdom in this  after all the bible says – “where your money is so will your heart be also”)
  • wait for loving sexual intimacy until they are married (many enjoy the pleasure of sex, a clean house, home cooked meals & even a second income without ever having to pursue a womans heart, jump through any hoops or  make the commitment of marriage)

While some may think these cultural changes are good for both men and women, I would beg to differ.

Women want to be pursued.  It is how God made them.  They desire to be wanted, loved and greatly desired. In our culture women no longer need to wait to be pursued as they have society’s “permission” to be the pursuer.  And pursue they do.  The biggest problem in this shows up long after they are married when they still desire to be pursued (wooed, admired, desired, wanted & loved) and men who never have had to pursue a woman’s heart are woefully inadequate in meeting these needs. 

Women want a “Knight in Shining Armor”. A man who is  brave and courageous and who can save and protect them.  Requiring men to “jump through a few hoops” – is certainly great exercise for them to build their courage and strength. By requiring the young men who may be interested in our daughters to ask their father for permission and to declare their intentions and commit to high relationship standards should be happening in every home that values their daughters.  Women no longer under their parents roof would do well to require potential suitors to do the same. I often tell my girls…if a young man is not willing to simply call and get your dads permission to pursue your heart…then he has no courage and it is obvious that his desire for you is anemic.  Do you really want that kind of man? (and on a side note if your Dad says “no” or “not now” and the young man perseveres in his desire for you, not giving up, even if it means “winning over” your dad first….would that not just melt your heart and prove his love, strength & fortitude?)

Women want to feel valuable…while we will not require a “bride price” (well…maybe not), there is something to say for the way this would make a woman feel. In Jewish culture the groom had to pay a price…no modest token…the price was set so that the new bride would be a costly item – that was the idea. The young man had no delusions that he was getting something for nothing. He would pay dearly to marry the girl of his choice.  We want our daughters to feel “priceless” and valuable (because they are are our greatest riches and the most valuable part of our lives) so therefore we will not let them go to just any ole’ guy. Yes, they will have to “pay a price”…though it may not be monetary…it will require sacrifice.

Women want commitment with their sexual intimacy.  Alas our society denies this and even many girls would probably say they do not care about commitment (at least of the marriage kind), and yet I still believe that women truly do not want to give their bodies in an intimate way to someone they are not also connected with spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well as with someone who will “be there” for them through all of life’s ups & downs.  Men who are willing to wait for that commitment before becoming one with a woman have proven themselves to be self-controlled, faithful, godly, patient, persevering, wise and hold women in great high esteem, honor and respect.  That is a man who has “jumped through the hoops” and is worthy of my daughter’s hand.

Today as I celebrate the anniversary of our engagement I am thankful for my husband…a man of God…who was willing to jump through some hoops to ask for my hand in marriage –

  • by pursuing my heart and taking a leap of faith without doing it the “normal” culturally accepted  and percieved “safe” way of dating before engagement
  • by praying, seeking and hearing from the Lord that I was the woman he should marry
  • by asking my Dad for my hand in marriage (even after listening to my brother drone on & on about what a hard time he was going to get)
  • by asking my youth group kids for their permission to marry their youth pastor (it takes courage to propose in front of 100 teens)
  • by paying a price to marry a gal called to full time ministry (he left a very lucrative management position in alcoholic beverages to join me in full time youth ministry – in fact his income has never reached the annual level he made in 1985 – I know this thanks to the yearly social security report I receive)
  • by practicing self control, patience, godliness and wisdom by saving intimacy for the commitment of marriage

He is still my knight in shining armor and I would say yes all over again…as these 25 years together have been amazing and wonderful! 

I pray that my precious & very valuable daughters will find godly men that will “jump through some hoops” to win their hearts and ask for their hand in marriage. I pray as well for you my dear readers who are parents…for your daughters & granddaughters. And for my single young lady friends & relatives who read my blog (I know there are a few of you out there – Hi Kate, Beth, Janessa, Chrisann, Tiffana, Rachael, Marlene, Cait – to name a few – along with all my high school girls at JECHS )…I pray that you would patiently wait to be pursued by a godly courageous, brave young man who is willing to pay the price and jump through the hoops to win your heart….because you are so worth it!

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Filed under Courtship, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, Raising Girls

You asked for it….my God inspired love story

The past few days have been spent sharing with my husbands Bible Classes at Jim Elliot Christian High School.  He is  currently teaching a section on dating, relationships & marriage and had asked me to come and share my personal life story and philosophy. Over the years many have asked me to share my story and recently a JECHS alumni asked if I could write it down for her to share with others.  So here you go! 

I began with my experience as a “typical” high school student…in many ways just like them (minus cell phones, the Internet & facebook).  I was actively involved in sports, student council, music, my church youth group and more.  I had many friends and enjoyed a very full social life.  I began a relationship with a young man during my freshman year in high school that despite many ups & downs persevered throughout all of my high school years, to both of our detriment.  Having both been raised in church, while we had the appearance of being “good” Christian young people, our hearts were far from Godly pursuits. During the summer before my senior year in high school I had an encounter with God that took my love for Him to a new height and began a personal journey of faith that continues to this day.  I knew that the relationship I was in was a stumbling block to me in many ways and I felt that still small voice of God in my heart telling me that it needed to end.  So with a faith and trust in God I sat down with this young man who I had given my heart to and ended the relationship of more than two years.  I wish I could have told the students that from that point on there was “nothing but blue skies” as I joyfully spent my senior year in high school serving the Lord and growing in grace, knowledge, wisdom and service.  But unfortunately, while there were many wonderful things about that year…because I kept going back on my decision to not be in that relationship (in fact I think we did the break up & make up thing several times that year)…we both suffered many devastating consequences.  The relationship did finally come to a final and troubling end just weeks before my high school graduation.

As a result of that high school experience combined with a growing passion for the Lord and commitment to my faith I began to formulate a dating philosophy.  After my first year at UOP followed by a very impactful summer serving at Hume Lake Christian Camp where I spent time in prayer as well as watching others date and go in & out of relationships, I made a commitment to a “season of singleness” in my life when I decided to no longer date but to give myself exclusively to seeking & serving the Lord while waiting for Him to bring me the perfect match.  The Lord gave me this scripture during that time in my life – 

But I want you to be free from concern; One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord, but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife and his interests are divided.

The woman who is unmarried, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

I wanted to be wholly undistracted & devoted to the Lord and I committed myself to seeking Him & Him alone and forsaking all other dating or intimate relationships until He clearly told me it was time! I desired that the next person I dated would be the man that I would marry.

That decision to not date resulted in four years of developing an intimate relationship with the Lord where He became my “everything” and I grew more into the person He wanted me to become.  I was able to fully serve others and led many close friends to the Lord as well as becoming a full-time youth pastor ministering to hundreds of youth. (the funny thing is that several of the students in those JECHS classes  I just taught had parents who were in my youth group!)

I also spent time deciding what type of man I actually wanted to be married to someday. My list included

  • A man who loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength
  • A man who is self-sacrificing – who you see regularly denying his own desires and putting others before himself. (not only giving of his time, talent & treasure to help his family and friends but also volunteering and serving others without getting anything in return)
  • A man who shared my priorities of faith, family, friends & ministry
  • A man who shared my values – pro-life with a heart & passion for the unborn, liberty, service, patriotic, the Bible as the inerrant word of God, importance of corporate worship & fellowship with believers, God is in control of my life, my things, my money and my future, children being raised by their parents not by paid personnel
  • A man who shared my purpose – to minister together to young people and make a profound difference in their lives
  • A man who likes babies and views children as a blessing from God 
  • A man who respects his Mom & treats her with kindness
  • A man who was kind, compassionate, patient, faithful and committed
  • A man who was my very best friend with shared interests and enjoyment of just being together

As a result of making this “list” I also was convicted to become a woman that a man of this caliber would desire to marry.  That was a bit more challenging than making the list.

A bonus to this “season of singleness” was being able to avoid the pointless dating, relationship & break up cycle that often results in a broken & damaged heart and physical impurity.  I see too many young people who are hurt by dating and relationships and carry the scars with them for a very long time.  I have to believe that God has a better way for them to live & learn.

I shared how this “no dating” decision was met with disdain & ridicule by some friends, family members & even other believers.  I was considered “strange” or “out there” by many.  But I held my ground, despite others opinions, knowing that the Lord clearly led me to make this commitment.

That season lasted a short four years  and was an incredible and awesome time in my life that I will always cherish!

And the rest of the story? How did I go from not dating to a married woman?  Well, this is the wonderful love story that God orchestrated just for me!  It was in the fall of 1985 when God began to move in my heart and do a new thing in my life.  Little did I know however that the man He would ultimately lead me to commit my heart & life to was a part of my life during the entire time I was in that “season of singleness.”

I had met Dan Lambdin as a freshman at the University of the Pacific.  His sister, Jennae was one of my dorm mates and since my own family had moved 3000 miles away from California to Virginia, she invited me to join with her family for many occasions.  Dan was not a Christian at that time and if someone had told me that one day he would be my husband I would have, well let’s just say, I would have laughed.  He was certainly nice enough but his morals and lifestyle were starkly different than my own and spiritually we were miles apart. He was simply and only…my good friend’s brother.  He came to know the Lord Jesus the following Spring and over the next few years we developed a casual friendship.

After college I became the youth pastor at a local church and very quickly realized that as a single young woman,  I needed HELP from a few good men!  I asked several of my brothers in Christ, including Dan, to volunteer with the youth & disciple the young men.  During that next year Dan & I became close friends as we ministered together.  I grew to admire and respect his strong faith as well as his incredible ability to influence the teens in the youth group. We, along with the entire youth staff spent much time together praying, ministering & fellowshiping. During this time there were several men of God all around me and many friends who desired to play matchmaker, yet I was determined to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord & do His work until He showed me the man I would marry.

One weekend Dan’s mother called & asked me to come listen to her share at a Bible study at her church. Over the years we had become close so of course I agreed to come & listen along with a dear friend.  At the meeting, Dan stood up to introduce his Mom & pray.  I can not explain to you in the natural the feeling that came over me.  It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes & I was seeing this man for the first time.  I felt the Lord impressing on me that his would be the man I would someday marry.

I left the meeting a bit shaken and wondering if I really had heard the Lord correctly.  I asked that God would confirm it through His written Word & in prayer.  I also knew that if this was really God that He would speak to Dan heart & that I was not to say a word.  I was not to be the “pursuer” in the relationship (oh if only women could stop doing the pursuing because we so desire to be valuable enough to be pursued).

 For the next several months I prayed consistently for God’s will to be done.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, Dan was seriously seeking the Lord for direction in his life.  He spent a week up at Springs of Living Water Christian Conference Center praying & seeking God.  During that time he decided to quit his job and pursue full-time ministry.  During that week the Lord also began to impress upon his heart that he may pursue a relationship with me.  He too took that to prayer.

Several months later in February of 1986 after we had driven together to the Springs of Living Water to pick up some of the youth group from counseling at winter camp, Dan decided to open the door to pursuing a relationship.  As I was getting ready to go home that evening he took my hand looked intently into my eyes and said with a twinkle in his eyes – “Perhaps you need to pray about if the Lord really wants you to marry someone with blonde hair & blue eyes”.  (Let me explain….over the years I had shared often with the youth group, which Dan was a leader in, my list of  godly characteristics I would look for in a husband…ok so really 99% of them were NOT physical attributes but I did often throw in – “and I’d love it if he had blonde hair & blue eyes”) I knew when Dan said that he was opening up the way for conversation to begin about where this friendship may be headed.  With my heart pounding, I blushed profusely, told him I had already been praying & quickly left….a bit amazed and very nervous at the events taking place before my very eyes. 

We did spend the next month in prayer seeking Gods will & confirmation.  Believing that the Lord often uses parents wisdom to lead & direct our lives, Dan called my father during that time to ask his blessing to marry me. My Dad said yes.

On March 18, 1986 at the end of our weekly youth service at church Dan stood up, took the microphone & said he had something to say.  At that moment one of the girls walked out & handed him a bouquet of red roses as I began to turn white realizing what he was about to do.  He told the youth group that he had a question to ask them – “I would like permission to marry your youth pastor”.  The room erupted in cheers, screams, clapping & jumping over chairs as he turned to me, got on his knees, opened a box with a beautiful diamond ring and asked – “Beth, will you marry me?”  I was a bit stunned but managed to say yes throughout all the chaos going on around me.  After the evening came to an end and Dan left to drive some students home, I sat alone in he darkened sanctuary singing songs of praise & worship to the Lord and thanking Him for His awesome plan for my life and for answering my prayers.

We went on our first official date two days later at a romantic candlelit restaurant and thus began a nine month courtship where our six years of friendship and our new found passion would grow & develop into a deep and committed love.  On December 20, 1986 we vowed before God & man to be committed to one another until death will someday part us.  It was truly “sealed with a kiss” (our first kiss….but that is another story for another day) We have now been married over 23 years and Dan is truly everything I could have ever hoped and prayed for (and some!) – the love of my life, my best friend and partner in everything! God is the perfect matchmaker!

I pray that my personal story will not only impact and perhaps challenge the student’s who hear it every year at JECHS and anyone who stumbles across this post to think differently about how they view dating & relationships and perhaps begin to seek God for His perfect plan for their lives.  May it cause you to think or re-think, question, be challenged, consider other possibilities, pray or even perhaps change your “dating & relationship” philosophy.  With the divorce rate standing at 50% in the USA…what do you have to lose? Perhaps it is time to change the way we do things around here.

We are raising our children to:

  • embrace a season of singleness in their lives and use that time to become the person God wants them to be
  • pray for & establish a standard for what they want in their future spouse
  • save their hearts, souls and bodies to give fully & purely to their marriage partner (without giving it away to others along life’s journey)
  • wait on the Lord for Him to match them with the perfect person at the perfect time

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Filed under Courtship, Faith, Life Lessons, Marriage

Choose Well

Sunday June 15 was the “perfect Father’s Day”.

First let me say that anyone who feels “sorry” for my dear darling hubby because he has six daughters needs to think again. This man is one very pampered Dad! For weeks the girls have been planning and scheming and continuing to come up with more ideas to give their Daddy an excellent Father’s Day.

The day began as the two eldest walked through the door Sunday morning (they had been house sitting the night before) with his favorite Starbucks coffee and a newspaper in hand. They then proceeded to prepare his favorite breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausage that we enjoyed on the back porch. (although he insisted on making the pancakes – saying no one makes them as good as Dad!)

During breakfast, he was surrounded by the lively chattering of all his girls (and Daniel threw in some boy noises for good measure) as well as several dear young ladies that he has been a father figure to who joined us for the days events. Before long it was time to pile into the van and head out of town to enjoy a day at the ball game where Dans favorite team (the Oakland A’s) would take on across the bay rivals the San Fransisco Giants.

We arrived at the beautiful ball park right on the Frisco Bay with plenty of time to enjoy a leisurelytailgate party with all the fixen’s – ribs, brats, corn on the cob, fresh fruit, chips and cookies. (and yes we both took the day off from the “healthy eating plan”!) The weather was simply gorgeous  – a light breeze blew through the sunny stadium that was a perfect70 degrees. We had great seats overlooking the Bay Bridge while watching the A’s beat the Giants in a 5-3 decision. We returned home to ice cream sundaes and a movie in the family room while we soaked our feet in warm water and applied moisturizer to our lightly sunburned skin. We all slept soundly after our fun filled day.

As I was reflecting on the “perfect day” I thought about how incredibly blessed my children are to have Dan Lambdin as their father. I hope and pray that each one of my daughters will find and choose such a man to be the father to their children. 

To my dear daughters (and those who are like my daughters),

Before long you will enter into a season of life where you will choose a man to marry.  Too often young ladies concentrate on things that are shallow and even trivial when they dream of the man they will someday marry.  The “short list” I hear from many a girl is that they want them to be handsome (or I believe the current term is “hot”), physically strong, funny, romantic and earn a good living (ie: be rich).  Let me assure you that those things are the least important attributes you can look for. I am sure many wise women out there who have “been there, done that” can attest to this truth.

When I hear women complaining about their husbands and their lack of help with or interest in the children, I can’t help but think –  that is what you chose!  At least here in America your marriage is not arranged or forced on you – no, you get to choose the man who will someday be the father to your children!

  • Choose a man who likes babies.  Look for the one who is drawn to the little ones and who puts out his arms to hold them, who is comfortable with playing “peek-a-boo” and who is not too cool to change the tone of his voice and make goofy faces to make a connection with babies.
  • Choose a man who is self sacrificing – who you see regularly denying his own desires and putting others before himself. (not only giving of his time, talent & treasure to help his family and friends but also volunteering and serving others without getting anything in return)
  • Choose a man who speaks with the mindset that children are a blessing not a burden, a miracle not a mistake, an asset not an accident and a treasure not a taxing financial drain
  • Choose a man who like Jesus says – “Let the little children come to me”
  • Choose a man who is pro life – who has a heart and compassion for the unborn
  • Choose a  man who believes that every child is created by God and who does not want to limit or miss out on the children that the Lord has to give him – whether by birth or adoption into his family
  • Choose a man who loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength

Choosing a husband, the future father of your children is the single most important decision you will ever make outside of choosing to serve the Lord.  Choose well.

Love,

Mom

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Filed under Courtship, Family Traditions, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Marriage

After the wedding….

…..all that remains is the marriage (ok the pictures too!).

Yesterday we attended the wedding of a young lady very dear to our hearts.  Vicki Botello came into our lives as a seventh grade student where Dan was the Principal.  She was a bright, vivacious junior higher who was filled with the love and joy of the Lord.  Her family life was a bit challenging and we quickly became a second family to her.  She was a well loved babysitter for the girls (when we met Vicki we only had three daughters and they were 5, 2 and 6 months) and a great competent helper for me.  She even followed us to Jim Elliot after we began the school and was in the second graduating class.  She is now a college graduate and is teaching junior high herself at a Christian school where she met a young man, Sean Watt, who also has a heart for the Lord and ministry.  They were married yesterday in a beautiful backyard ceremony (despite the record breaking heat wave). I dabbed my eyes several times throughout the ceremony as I remembered this sweet little 12 year old girl who was now a radiant and glowing bride, marrying the man of her dreams.

Vicki contacted us last fall asking Dan if he would officiate the ceremony.  Our enthusiastic response was “Of course!”. However, there is one thing that we require.  When Dan received is ministers licence 11 years ago he knew that since we worked primarily with teenagers and developed close relationships with many of them, that he would most likely often be asked to officiate at weddings.  At that time we decided that in order to properly prepare couples to have a life long marriage, they needed to spend some significant time in counseling.  After all the massive amount of time, energy and resources spent on the wedding (which is over in several hours), one should at least spend as much time in preparing for the actual marriage (which is suppose to last a lifetime).  Over the years we have developed a six month pre marital counseling program that consists of six meetings with us as a couple, reading several books, personality testing, homework assignments after each session to be completed individually and shared as a couple.  We also commit to praying for the couple and sharing with them our thoughts and ideas on how to have a successful marriage as well as any stumbling blocks or red flags that we see in their relationship. 

We talk about the basic Biblical foundation of marriage, personalities, love languages, communication skills, time management, finances, priorities, family relationships, paradigms about children, parenting, in-laws, roles of each spouse, expectations, sex and intimacy.  We also explore and look at questions that we think every couple should talk about before marriage:

  • What will you do if something goes terribly wrong? (things like – a tragic life altering accident that leaves one alive but in a vegetative state, a chronic disease that severely impairs ones function, disfigurement due to an accident, disease or other tragedy)
  •  What will you do if one of you succumbs to moral failure in areas like pornography, affairs, child molestation, going to adult bookstores or clubs?  
  • How will you handle infertility, an unexpected pregnancy or having a child with a disorder, disease or disability?
  • What is your paradigm on how to deal with aging parents who need care?
  • How will you handle life if you experience financial devastation or lose everything?
  • What will you do if your spouse walks away from their faith?
  • What is your plan to “affair proof” your marriage? (we suggest things like never being alone with a member of the opposite sex, openly communicating temptations, having a accountability partner, being available for intimacy with your spouse – even if you don’t “feel” like it, keeping the romance alive in your marriage with date nights and romantic get-aways)

Of the dozens of couples we have done pre marital counseling with, there is only one couple who are no longer together.  In our society and culture that sees affairs and infidelity as “normal”, marriage as optional and divorce as acceptable, we truly believe that if more couples took the time to seriously prepare for a lifetime commitment and more ministers required it, we would see many more successful and happy life long marriages. Wouldn’t that be great for all of our lives, our families and our country?

Congratulations Vicki and Sean….may the Lord richly bless your marriage!

 

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Happy Valentines Day!

Growing up, especially in my teenage and early college years, Valentines Day was a time to either enjoy the attentions of a specific young man or to pine away or even pout that there was no special valentine on the horizon. Of course I always enjoyed the specially picked cards and yummy heart shaped boxes of candy I always received from my father but more often than not I found myself lamenting with my girlfriends that we had no valentine.

It wasn’t until I was 19 that I realized the incredible blessing of not having a “special someone” in my life and began to enjoy a season of singleness.  During those short five years, I spent Valentines Day learning about the great love of my Lord Jesus.  Which in turn was a wonderful preparation for sharing a great love with the one He would bring to my life to be my love, my best friend and my partner in everything…dear darling Dan!

In 1996 after the Lord choose to bless us with four daughters (that later grew to six daughters), Dan and I decided that we did not want our girls “pining away” for the affections of young men each year on Valentines Day or feel like they were missing out by not being in an exclusive relationship before they were mature enough both spiritually and emotionally ready for it. (Which in my never to be humble opinion does not happen in the teen years)  We decided to make Valentines Day all about them — instead of about us — although Dan and I always exchange cards and sometimes special gifts. Look at my beautiful floral bouquet! I LOVE fresh flowers….they make me smile with my heart. (For those of you who live in the Stockton/Lodi area – we know a FABULOUS floral designer for weddings or other special events – Blossoms by Lisa)

) 

  Our purpose in doing Valentines Day in this way was three fold:

  1. To make Valentines Day at home the most fun, special, warm time they could imagine – in hopes that when they hit the hormonal teen years they would relish in Valentines Day with their family.
  2. To use Valentines Day as a time to talk & teach about the greatest love of all – the love of our Lord Jesus Christ – the ultimate romance! (“And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you” Isaiah 62:5)
  3. To have their Daddy treat them special…thus showing them an example and setting a standard of how they should be treated by a godly man in the future.

Here are some of the ways we accomplish these goals:

  •  First we have some very fun (& yummy) Valentines Day traditions including Daddy making and serving them pink heart shaped pancakes for breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls and I make heart shaped sugar cookies & decorate them…always GREAT fun. (and cookies are my BIGGEST weakness…so yes I took today off of the diet – for my once a month vacation day!)

Later that evening we have a fancy diner complete with classical music, candlelight & flowers.  Dad cooks up a delicious meal and the girls have the “night off” from chores.  I help cook, set table, serve & clean up! (something I do not do the remaining 364 days of the year) In the beginning years we all dressed up fancy but more recently we have been at the beach for Valentines day…so it has been more of a “casual elegance”.  Over dinner we share about the love of our Lord as well as the standards the girls should have when they get to the time of their life for courtship, love and marriage.  As the girls have gotten older we pray for their future spouses and that they would choose wisely and well. (The decision as to who to marry is second only in importance to choosing Christ) Tonight we had a fabulous discussion over dinner that carried on for a couple of hours!

We finish our festivities watching one of our many favorite “Jane Austen” era movies – which the girls love for their traditional old fashion courtship portrayals…especially watching how most of the men are so proper and formal in their treatment of the women whose hearts they are trying to win!  (We are counting on many of you out there raising up dashing young men who will come and ask their father for permission to “call” on our daughters!)

Now that we are blessed to be raising a young man, we will be looking for ways to use Valentines Day to train him (and hopefully soon…”them”) up to be godly men who know how to treat a lady and who will love and serve their beloved as Christ has loved and served us! Any ideas or advice from those of you who have accomplished that are welcome!

Happy Valentines Day!

 

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Tea Time Tuesday

It was rainy & cold this afternoon as we prepared for our weekly Tea Time Tuesday – so we decided to do it around the fireplace in the living room. It was cozy and warm and very relaxing as we sipped our tea and ate fresh baked peanut butter cookies and chocolate truffles (well at least that is what the girls ate – I had Ezekiel bread drizzled with flax oil and sprinkled with cinnamon – resolved to stick with my diet plan).

Rachael Ruiz – a regular tea time friend!

 We continued to read through our book – When God Writes Your Love Story.  It was a great chapter today on being faithful.  The girls seemed to really get into this chapter as the author explored the concept of being faithful to your spouse even before you know who that spouse will be. Yes, somewhere out there is the man whom they will someday commit to love for a lifetime – why not commit to loving them even now?  Why not be faithful to wait patiently for that person that the Lord has for you instead of giving your heart, soul and body away to others along the way?  I believe that if we raise our children with these hopes, dreams and standards that they will forgo the heartache of broken relationships and the sadness of painful memories. This chapter was especially compelling.

Tuesday Tea Updates from Christmas Time

Yes – We did have Tea Time Tuesday during the holidays (except for Christmas Day & New Years Day)  The best part of these teas was having Michelle home to join with us.  The first Tuesday she was home we had our dear friend Nicole McBride & her daughter Alex over as our special guests.  Nicole shared her incredible story of how the Lord brought her & her husband, John together. It is always wonderful to hear others stories who have followed Gods plan and are enjoying the blessings of a solid marriage.

Another Tuesday before Michelle left,  I asked her to share her views on dating, courtship and marriage with her sisters.  What a joy as a mother to hear your adult child sharing your values and passing her the wisdom and influence on to her sisters.  Michelle is such a wonderful role model and example for the rest to follow.  She is greatly admired and respected by them as well. We look forward to her being back home the next two Tuesdays for tea! (She is coming back from Hawaii along with the family she is working for to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of JECHS at the Founders Gala!)

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Tea Time Tuesday

It’s been over a week since I have sat down to do any blogging….not for a lack of things to share….they are buzzing around in my head continually…so beware if I get “on a roll” soon you may be inundated with posts sharing all that has been happening lately!

But despite all the craziness surrounding me on all sides, we do stop on Tuesdays for tea time.  Today as I got ready to set the table with all the Christmas china for our first tea of the holiday season there was a knock on the door and the postman handed me a package. (don’t you just love brown paper packages?)  Joy and I quickly tore it open and there was the most beautiful tea pot I have ever seen, sent as a gift from my dear mother. (who has been the inspiration for our teas!)

Isn’t it simply stunning?  I love it!  What perfect timing too.

Today we read the next chapter in our book for our courtship classes.  It emphasized the difference between romantic feeling type of love and a deep committed unconditional love. A love that gives expecting nothing in return.  A sacrificial and unselfish type of love.  A love that survives the test of time, tragedy and trials.  A love that is steadfast and never ending.

I have living examples of this life long love and commitment. My own parents would have been married 48 years this month, if my Dad had not passed away 12 years ago and yesterday was my in-laws 52nd wedding anniversary.  A few years ago at their celebration of 50 years I was asked to sing a song for that event that is truly a beautiful testament to the commitment we are to make in marriage.  It is called I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman.  These are the powerful words that all our marriages should commit to –

Tomorrow morning when you wake up and the sun does not appear,

I will be here

If in the dark we lose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear,

‘Cause I will be here

I will be here when you feel like being quiet; When you need to speak your mind, I will listen.

And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying; through the winning, losing and trying, we’ll be together,

‘Cause I will be here.

Tomorrow morning if you wake up and the future is unclear,

I will be here.

As sure as seasons are made for change, Our lifetimes are made for years,

So I will be here

I will be here, and you can cry on my shoulder; When the mirror tells us we’re older, I will hold you.

And I will be here to watch you grow in beauty, And tell you all the things you are to me;

I will be here

I will be true to the promise I have made, To you and to the One who gave you to me.

I will be here!

I have seen too many marriages fall apart in recent years.  Couples who I would have never thought would walk away from one another. Couples who appeared to love the Lord and love one another.  Yet somehow they have been able to turn their back on the commitment they made to loving one another through all of life’s trials and tragedies.

My prayer for those of you who are married and reading this today is that you would renew that life long commitment each and everyday of your lives to your Lord and to the one that He gave you to love. I pray for my children that they will find their perfect match and then commit to choose to love that person for life, no matter what comes their way.

Dan, my dearest husband….I once again commit to you to be here!

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