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Dad, Here's What I Really Need From You by Michelle Watson, PhD

Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You by Michelle Watson, PhD

This special post is by Michelle Watson, PhD, LPC, author of “Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart”.

I had the good fortune of receiving an advance copy of this outstanding book. Please share it with every Dad of daughters. I know it will bless them.

You can get your copy here: Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart


Are you old enough to remember the craze in the 60’s and 70’s where really cool prizes (a.k.a. “cheap gimmicks”) were tucked inside cereal boxes? I can still see my sister and I begging my mom to buy the kind with the most alluring prizes, regardless of whether we even liked the cereal (whichI’m sure set a foundation that continues to be in place today because I’m still a sucker for a deal!).

One of my favorite prizes was a decoder ring that instantaneously transformed me into Sherlock Holmes as I had the cryptic tool to solve the mystery on the back of the box. The thing that sticks in my mind about decoder rings is that they instantly provide the link between the problem and the solution. Without the magic ring the problem is left unsolved and unanswered.

If you’re a dad to a daughter, the question I pose to you is this:

Do you ever wish you had a decoder ring to better translate, understand, and relate to her?

Especially if she’s hit that age (a.k.a. puberty) you most likely have wondered what tool you need in your toolbox to actually decode her. Maybe she used to be easy to relate to while now you’re feeling left high and dry in the resource department. Maybe she used to love you singing songs to her when tucking her in bed but now she’s too cool for all that.

Dr. James Dobson, in his book Bringing Up Girls calls this stage “juvenile puberty,” a time where high levels of estrogen in the female brain lead to changes in mood (greater anxiety, anger, irritability), behavior (self-absorption that is often viewed as selfishness), and thinking patterns (inflexibility, obsessive focuses—boys, clothes, body, etc.).

The reason I’m telling you this is to place in your hand one kind of “decoder ring” to give you greater understanding of what’s happening in your daughter as she is growing and maturing.

The truth is that we girls don’t have control over what’s happening in our brain at this adolescent stage (and sometimes a bit past adolescence). We don’t make this happen and we don’t know what is actually going on inside of us. All of a sudden everything changes. This also means we don’t know how to explain it to you either, Dad.

If you’re anything like the dads of daughters I lead in The Abba Project, you are often left scratching your head and wondering where daddy’s little girl went. Your confusion might easily lead you to make a reactive decision, which is to back away and turn to mom and say, “here, you’re a girl; you go in.”

Dobson continues by asking the question: What does a girl need from her parents when everything has gone topsy-turvy? The answer, he says, is more attachment, not less.

To further underscore the point he adds, “even when she is most unlovable, she needs love and connectedness from her mother, but also from her father.” Dad, I implore you to bring yourself to your daughter. She needs your male energy, even if she doesn’t know she does.

It is here where things can get a little more complex. Sometimes when your daughter starts being more unpredictable and moody, it sets off something in you that you may not like about yourself or that makes you feel like you don’t have control. Here is how my dad said it to me awhile back:

“Michelle, I guess the reason we clash a lot is because we are so much alike. I see in you so much of me.” It’s my intensity and perfectionism that activate something in my dad (and me) that often causes us to bonk heads, and these are things that he doesn’t necessarily like in himself either.

So what do you need to do to be a dialed-in dad who is sensitive to your ever-
changing daughter even with all the up’s and down’s for each of you?

Let’s go to Scripture and read about an incredible dad who did get it right with his daughter. In fact, he will give you six words to make you a better dad today.

Caleb is one of the spies who, along with his friend Joshua, went into the Promised Land when there were giants inhabiting it. But instead of being intimidated, these two guys saw with eyes of faith and believed that God would keep His promise to give them their land regardless of all the overwhelming odds.

Fast forward to the time where Caleb is living out his role as a dad to his daughter. Her name was Achsah and she was a woman of faith and courage, a woman with a voice who wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted. It’s obvious that her dad had modeled to her what it meant to be bold and forthright.

Let’s pick up the story in Joshua 15, verse 18:

“One day when Achsah came to her husband, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

I LOVE that question from dad to daughter! It’s so simple yet so profound. These are six words that every dad should memorize and use regularly. I believe they literally will change the way your daughter interacts with you if you put these into practice.

Caleb brings himself to his daughter’s problem. He is willing to invest his own time and resources to help her. (And it’s worth noting that he was still a dialed-in dad even after his daughter was married).

Notice the freedom of honest clarity that flows from Achsah’s mouth as she responds to her dad’s question. She replied,

“Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.”

She boldly asks him for something that is important to her. She obviously knew that she had the foundation of relationship with her dad to ask him for a “special favor.” There was no fear there. She knew he would listen. She trusted that he would respond.

And the amazing thing is that he does it for her. We read that,

“Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.” (v. 19)

  • Do you notice how easily she responded to her dad’s question without holding back?
  • Do you notice how Caleb gives his daughter more than she asked for?
  • Do you notice that he offers himself as the solution to her request?

Dad, I encourage you to begin making these six words a regular part of your interactions with your daughter. I promise that they will be a life-changer in the way your daughter responds to you!

Thanks Caleb for being a fantastic role model of a dialed-in dad. Would that there be more dads in the 21st century who follow in your footsteps.


Dr. Michelle Watson

Dr. Michelle Watson

Dr. Michelle Watson approaches life and relationships with one ear turned upwards, listening to her Abba Father’s voice, and another turned horizontally towards His kids.  Whether in her counseling office or speaking to teens, women, or dads, she seeks to keep it real while pointing to her Healer.  Her first book will be released on September 1, 2014 as a resource to help dads with daughters entitled Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You:  A Guide to Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart.  You can read more about The Abba Project and her ministry to dads at

How to Make Meal Time God Time

How to Make Meal Time God Time

Families today are stretched more than ever.

Activities of all kinds compete for the time and attention of Dads, Moms & Kids. In this fast-paced world, how can we slow down enough to grow our family’s faith?

Going to church is an obvious first step. But how do you augment your family’s faith day-to-day? My suggestion is to start with meal-time.

Meal time in your home can become a daily touch-point for your family. With a little bit of effort, you can grow your family’s faith, as well as your connections to each other. Over time, this powerful dynamic can, quite literally, change the course of your family’s future.

Here’s 7 Steps to Make Family Meal Time God Time

1) Pick a Meal Time

If the thought of choosing a daily meal time where everyone can sit down together induces panic, then it might be time to rethink your schedule. Sure, some families work different shifts. And even my family misses this connect occasionally. But as a rule of thumb, if you’re so scattered that one meal a day is out of reach routinely, maybe it’s time to make some space to connect.

2) Ban Devices from the Table

I’m an iPhone junkie. So is my wife and our oldest daughter. So we ban phones, iPods, Leap Pads, all devices from the table. If we have them in our hands, on our seat, or in our pockets, we will look at them. It’s that simple. In order to respect the rest of our family, we don’t answer calls, texts, or any other notifications during meal time. It’s blocked out for face-to-face interaction. We also turn off the TV in the other room so we can minimize distractions.

Some of you may need to look into a 12-step program in order to pry yourselves, or your kids, away from their devices. But believe me, once you rediscover the power of true face-time, you’ll be hooked.

3) Pick a Bible

Choose a Bible that’s easy to read and that you don’t mind getting food on. Then keep it on the table. If you keep it in another room, you’ll forget about it within a week. Just make it an ever-present reminder that meal-time is God-time. Our 3rd daughter, who is 6, has the job of opening up to our selected Scripture daily. She’s learning how to navigate the Bible daily.

4) Pick a Book

You don’t need a complicated reading plan. Just start with one small section of one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). We started with Matthew. Reading one small section daily only took a couple of minutes daily over several months. But we were surprised with how quickly the kids expected the reading and looked forward to it.

5) You Go First = You Go Last

At our table, we pray (our 5 year old leads us), and then I read the Bible out loud while Mom serves the kids and herself. Waiting a few more minutes to eat is a small price to pay in order to make sure my family gets fed spiritually. I admit that most of the time I’m so hungry I just want to take a bite. But the short wait is worth it. I hope it communicates to my wife and children that providing for them spiritually is a top priority for me.

6) Keep it Short

I love God’s Word. I love reading it, studying it, teaching and preaching it. But this short God-time at the table has to be kept short. Sure, once in a blue moon the older kids will linger after dinner, curious about God’s ways as displayed in His Word. But this is a rarity. In order to keep it consistent, I have to keep it brief. If I make it a drudgery, it will turn from a blessing into a burden.

7) Let Conversation Happen

You know what my favorite part of this is? It’s when I get done reading and start eating. No, it’s not just because I’m hungry. It’s because as I let God’s Word register with my children, they will inevitably ask questions and make observations that would never have occurred to me.

God’s Word is “alive and active”. I get to see this truth come to life often as I shut my mouth and listen to my children. Then I can respond to their questions, encouraging them to think clearly about who God is and how He relates to us.

I hope you can turn meal-time into God-time.

If you do, you will step into the ancient flow of faith being handed down from one generation to another. As you leverage the seemingly fleeting moments of your day, you will chart a path of faith for your family that will endure through the ages.

As Moses told the families that made up the nation of Israel:

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.(Deuteronomy 6:6-9)


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My Grandkids

January 4, 2014 — Leave a comment
The Grandchildren & Families of Richard & Doris Wickman

The Grandchildren & Families of Richard & Doris Wickman

This may sound weird:

Tonight I am thinking about my grandchildren.

Of course, they’re not here yet.

Today our family gathered to celebrate the life of my grandmother, Doris Wickman. Since she passed on New Year’s Day I have been thinking about the impact her life, along with Grandpa’s, has had on their 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.

Together, over 64 years of marriage, Grandpa and Grandma have quietly put together quite a life. Their thriving family stands as a witness to the love they have held together.

What’s at the foundation of this family? Faith.

Not just faith in faith. Faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in the Father who sent His Son to redeem His lost children.

Growing up 6 houses down the street from my grandparents gave me an up-close and personal look at their day-to-day life. Time and time again I would pop into their house, unannounced. If the door wasn’t open, I knew where the key was hidden. If I dropped in at the right time, I would find Grandpa & Grandma together at the table. The Bible would be open. So would their hearts.

Over the course of 64 years The Lord has put together a witness of two lives becoming one, bound together in devotion to Him. They have lived out their life of faith in front of us, openly expressing the love of God in the many ways they loved their family.

What a legacy they have built.

Now, for the first time in my life, I am thinking seriously of my (someday) grandchildren. Kelcy and I married at about the same age as my grandparents. I have 4 children, as they did. Is it possible that someday we could have such a gathering of beloved family?

What will our legacy be?

  • Who will our grandchildren be?
  • What will they see when they look upon our day-to-day lives?
  • Will Kelcy and I have prepared their mothers to face the challenges of life and to raise them well?
  • Will they someday be able to say that we lived out a Christ-like example for them?
  • Will we help give birth to a deep love of Christ to the 3rd generation after us, and beyond?

More and more, I care less about money, status and everything else that will fade or fly away. With each life transition I think more and more about what really matters. Faith and family are at the top of the list.


On the Death of my Grandmother

Grandma, Cassie & Christa

Grandma, Cassie & Christa

This morning my grandmother died.

We are hurting. But God’s words wash over our hearts and comfort us.

God is near.

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

He has not left us or forsaken us. God’s own presence comforts us in our grief. We are not alone.

Jesus is our hope.

When Jesus encountered Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died, he asked her a crucial question.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

We do believe this.

Doris Wickman believed this. She held Christ in her heart, and now he holds her.

That doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt. And it doesn’t mean we don’t weep. However, there is a limitation to our grief. It is not stifled, yet it is not total. God’s promises hem it in. We grieve, but not forever.

Hope Limits Grief.

Paul put it this way:

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Death does not get the final word with believers in Jesus Christ.

We believe that the spiritual rebirth we experience in Christ is just a foretaste of the bodily resurrection we will someday experience. It is in death that the realities of the resurrection are made real. The deposit of faith that my Grandmother made has now been redeemed. She is now in Heaven, where her Savior has been waiting for her.

We are confident in this.

My Grandfather, Richard, upon hearing of his dear wife’s departure, uttered these words first:

“away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

He knows where his wife is. For over 64 years, they were one. Now He continues to place His faith in the One who has made him new inside. Someday my Grandpa will also be made new forever. The body that is now frail and failing will be replaced, just as his Spirit has been made new in Christ.

I am blessed to be the grandson of such a man of faith.

When Jesus’ disciples were troubled about His pending bodily departure from this world, He looked ahead. He comforted them by pointing to the new home that they would someday inhabit with Him.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Someday I will go home.

I will take up residence in the eternal place my Lord is preparing for me. But for now I have the promises of God.

The Lord revealed a glimpse of our someday-home to the Apostle John. This is how he described what is to come:

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

I do not have that comfort yet. I have the promise of that comfort. But the promise is enough for now.

Now there are tears. Now there is pain. Now I hold onto my family as we weep.

But someday our Savior will end this suffering. The promises made real in Christ’s death and resurrection will be fully completed upon His return. He will gather those who have fled to Him for comfort, and we will make our eternal home with Him.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

Someday He will.


I also wrote about my Grandparents this past June. I hope my writing can, in some small way, honor their lives and the immeasurable impact they have had on mine.

Marriage Done Right

“How did Miley Cyrus go so horribly wrong?”

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus – Photo Courtesy Rachel Devine Photography

I hope that’s the question every sane person is asking today.

Last night I was one of millions of people who did NOT tune in to watch the VMA’s. I think that makes a solid 20 year streak. But checking in on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, it didn’t take long to gather that some Grade A skankiness was happening.

And who was in the middle of it? Sweet Miley Cyrus.

Wait. She was sweet and innocent just a few years ago, when my older daughters loved watching her play Hannah Montana. Now she models naked and performs mock sex acts on stage. Nice.

Oh, how far we’ve fallen.

Yet she’s more “popular” than ever. And richer. And more famous with a broader audience. It looks like she’s successfully bridged the gap between child prodigy and full-fledged star. I feel like I’m watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Miley’s descent is not a solo ride. She’s part of a whole generation of young women twerking their way further and further away from purity (did you chuckle at this old-fashioned word?) and closer and closer to utter disrespect of themselves.

Whether it’s Miley wagging her tongue on the world stage or your average teenager making those stupid duck-faced, down-the-shirt pictures on Instagram, I have two knee-jerk reactions to seeing any girl act this way:

1) Sadness

  • Why should such a beautiful, talented young woman debase herself so thoroughly?
  • Doesn’t she know she’s devaluing herself?
  • What is so broken inside of her that she thinks this is ok?
  • What is lacking within her that she thinks this is necessary?

2) Anger

  • What the freak?
  • Who was asleep at the switch?
  • Who is standing by and letting this happen?

This “sex-kitten” was a precious little girl just a few years ago. And by the way, she’s still someone’s daughter. Where’s her Dad? I don’t know. Cheering on from the sidelines, I guess.

If that was my daughter, and someone told me they wanted her to do that, I’d be throwing fists. Literally.

As my wife said this morning, “The people who are letting her do this are not her friends.”


We have 4 daughters. I take my role as a Dad seriously.

My girls will never be rich and famous. But I understand well the climate in which they’re growing up. And every step of the way my wife and I have partnered to ensure that our girls understand a few things.

What Dads need to teach their daughters:

“I don’t care what everyone else is doing / wearing / watching.”

The easiest, and laziest, form of parenting is to just go with the flow. Just let your kids do what everybody else does, believe what everybody else believes. Put yourself on autopilot and let the world wash your kids downstream. Lots of people do it. How could it be wrong? That’s normal, right?

Normal is anything but modest. Normal is showing off what you’ve got instead of saving it. Normal is having sex long before marriage. Normal is trying to sell us booty shorts for my six year-old.

Normal is broken. Normal is sick in the head.

I’m raising my girls to have uncommon standards.

  • Does that mean my wife has to shop at several different stores to find appropriate clothes for our girls? Yes.
  • Does that mean my girls might be made fun of for not showing quite as much skin at the pool? Yes.
  • Is it worth it to communicate to our daughters that they’re not a slab of meat to be served up to everyone’s eyes? Yep.

I cannot expect anyone else to establish standards for my daughters other than me. I will.

“I am not your friend. I am your father.”

I love my daughters deeply, and therefore do not care whether they think I’m cool or not.

A friend of ours, whose son is the same age as our oldest daughter, told me a great story. Her son recently said, “Joe is Cassie’s Dad. And he kind of scares me.”

Mission accomplished.

My daughter knows that I will not be a tyrant when it comes to who she dates. But I will be involved. I will have a voice because I have a relationship that I work hard to maintain with her. I show her respect, and look for it in return.

“I will always protect you.”

God designed fathers to protect their children, to provide a covering for them. When this covering is removed, either by absence or abdication, great violence is done to the child, both figuratively and literally.

I have promised my girls that I will always be there to fight for them, to shield and protect them.

Some would say, “You can’t protect them forever.” Watch me.

Sure, some day I’ll walk them down the aisle, handing them off to the man who will then shelter and protect them. But it will only be after 20+ years of learning what a man does for his girls. And it will not mean the end of my influence through relationship.

“I value you, and you should value yourself.”

  • When I squeeze my teenage daughter and kiss her on the forehead, I am communicating love.
  • When I ask her to hand over her cell phone for a random check of all messages, I am communicating that her integrity is important.
  • When I let her go somewhere with her friends, I teach her that I respect her freedom and development as a young woman.
  • When I teach her how to make wise choices, I am preparing her for life.

It’s a father’s job to shelter and protect his daughter. If he doesn’t, then no one else will, including her.

Dads, pay attention. Don’t be passive. Don’t fall asleep at the switch. Your daughters are depending on you.


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Marriage Done Right

June 7, 2013 — 1 Comment
Marriage Done Right

Marriage Done Right

I am blessed with a great example of marriage done right.

On June 4 I called my Grandma. I wished her a “Happy Anniversary” and thanked her for sticking together with Grandpa for so long. They’ve been married for 64 years now, through thick and thin, raising 4 kids along the way. Their marriage has endured.

Growing up just 6 houses away from Grandpa & Grandma, I’ve observed their life over the course of decades. I don’t have to guess what keeps them together. I know. Christ has been the glue that keeps their family together.

As a child I will never forget visiting them at breakfast time to find them seated at their kitchen table, Bible open, having just walked through another day’s dose of God’s Word. Their daily walk with the Lord, their love of Him, has blessed more than just their generation.

  • Their four children are still on their first marriages.
  • Their grandchildren have always known they are loved.
  • Their great grandchildren have met, known and loved them.
  • They have been covered in prayer and influenced by a godly example.

Generations have been, and will be, blessed by their faithfulness to the Lord and to each other.

Today Kelcy and I celebrate our 16th Anniversary.

We are young. We are in the thick of raising our 4 kids. It’s been a rough week with busy schedules and sick kids.

But our love isn’t fragile. It’s durable because it’s built on a foundation of loving God. So we have the kind of hope that is more than wishing. It is a bright hope, a strong confidence, that 48 years from now our children will capture a picture of us on our Anniversary.

To God be the glory.


Personal purity is high on my list of things I want my 4 daughters to hear about from me.

I love my girls more than life itself. All I want is for them to experience all that God has for them. I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to communicate to them.

I finally sat down and formed those thoughts into a letter.

Read that letter here:

Purity: A Dad's Perspective

Purity: A Dad’s Perspective

This letter was published on, “Start Marriage Right“, a website I write for.


Also on Parenting:

     “Give. Save. Live. What I’m Teaching My Kids About Money”

Another Tough Topic:

     Read this post about dealing with pornography.

Life will present the opportunity to talk to your kids about tragedy.

  • Fluffy the cat will die.
  • Somebody will do something stupid and hurt a lot of people.
  • I wish it wasn’t true, but you are eventually going to be faced with this reality.

You decide who tells your child.

  • You? Or the kids on the school bus
  • Parents need to guide their kids through the process of understanding (not solving) tragedy.

Who is this most helpful for?

  • Kids who are old enough to be aware but young enough to need help understanding.
  • We’re not talking to our Pre Schooler or Kindergartner.
  • We let our 11 and 13 year-olds in on the news.

5 Tips to help you talk to your kids:

1)  Be honest. But filter the details.

  • Kids have a vivid imagination, and are extremely sensitive.
  • Help them by not giving them frightening mental images.
  • Choose your words carefully.
  • Your goal is to inoculate them from the shock of hearing this for the first time. When offered information on the school bus, your child will be able to say, “Yes, I know. Isn’t that sad?” instead of, “What? Tell me more.”

2)  Don’t make stuff up.

  • Fluffy did not go to heaven. Children do not become angels.
  • Don’t be harsh. But don’t attempt to whisk away the painful truth by supplementing it with make-believe feel-good stuff.
  • I’ve often seen adults squirm when the pressure is on. Kids know whey you’re faking it. Love them enough to be honest and direct. Adding some kind of spin to “make it better” won’t do anyone any favors.

3)  Express appropriate emotions. But keep it together.

  • Your body language is incredibly important. They will hear your emotions more than your words.
  • They will either draw confidence or a sense of insecurity from you. Your tone matters.
  • Don’t be fake. But be strong. Be the adult.

4)  Give them something to do.

  • Children may need to take action in response to hearing bad news.
  • Pray with them for the families who are hurting. Doing this will direct real help to hurting families. It will also comfort your child. They will draw strength knowing that God is our “ever present help in times of trouble”.
  • You could also get more creative. Color a picture or make a craft that you can send to the families who are hurting. Whatever helps.

5)  Ensure them of their own safety.

  • The last thing you want is for your children to feel unsafe.
  • Plan some together time afterwards. Some kids will want to curl up in your arms. Others will want to play. Whatever makes them feel secure and safe is what you should do.

God bless you as you have difficult but necessary conversations with your children.

May He give you every word you need.


For More Help:

Financial priorities aren’t formed by accident. Train your kids now so they’ll be able to handle money in the future.

Build in these three simple priorities at a young age, and they’ll thank you for the rest of their lives.

Give. Save. Live.

Give. Save. Live.


Giving comes first.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth; with the firstfruits of your crops.” (Proverbs 3:9)

Only one thing can come first. Second is not first. Last is certainly not first. Only first is first.

God asks for our first and our best. Why? He’s God. He knows what kind of chaos ensues when something else comes first. Money? People? Things? None of them deserve first place in our life.

God isn’t interested in getting his hands on my kid’s babysitting money. He’s equally unimpressed with your earnings. But all through Scripture He’s calling us to prioritize Him with our giving.

Saving for the future is important. Paying your bills is important. Heck, I’d say even taking your family on vacation and doing other fun things is important. But there can only be one first. That’s why we teach our kids to give the first tenth (a tithe) to God, and to occasionally give more generously, which they do often.

What’s first for you?


Giving builds your faith. Saving secures your future.

If you can discipline yourself to give to God first, you will have what it takes to discipline yourself to save. Unfortunately, personal savings has moved in a drastically negative direction in recent generations. Easy credit and expanding lifestyles have landed many families living paycheck to paycheck.

The problem with this is that just one bump in the road brings this whole house of cards crashing down. If you lost your job tomorrow, would you be able to live for a week or two, or a month, without income?

I know, that’s pretty scary. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have any savings. Just start developing the discipline. Years from now you’ll be glad you did.

“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” (Proverbs 21:20)

For my kids this means not spending all your money in one shot. The first tenth goes to God. The next tenth goes in the piggy bank. However small, they need to experience the delayed gratification of socking away a few bucks, then discovering they have money to pay for something when they want or need it.

Are you saving for your future?


God intended for money to serve you, not for you to serve money.

However, when we don’t prioritize God first by giving, we don’t get his blessing on the rest. Then, if we don’t save, we’ll come up short when we’re in need. This scenario squeezes us into debt we don’t want and consequences we can’t carry. In short, the life is squeezed out of our living.

This is not what God intended for us. He intends for us to live a full life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

When we submit to His plan, we discover maximum freedom.

That’s why we’re trying to help our kids avoid some of the headaches often associated with money. I am sure they’ll make mistakes. I’m sure they’ll have lessons to learn. But for now we’re helping the form the foundation. We’re giving them the opportunity to build some financial muscles with the little bit of money they get from extra chores and birthday cards.

This is a training issue. I know a lot of adults who wish they had learned to order their finances through this filter.

Are your financial choices contributing to a full life for you and your family?


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Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on us. Where we live, (Broome County, NY) a State of Emergency is about to take effect. Strong winds will almost certainly knock the power out for days, especially if you live away from the city center.

Here’s how to prepare before the power goes out:

1)  Get water.

If you’re on city water, you’re probably ok. But if you’ve got a well like we do, the pump doesn’t work when the power is out. If that’s the case, you need water for 4 things. 1 – Drinking. Figure a gallon a day per person. 2 – Washing. Hand sanitizer is great, but it’s not fun to wash your face or brush you teeth with. 3 – Cleaning. Again, it’s hard to wash dished with just chemicals. You’ll need to keep everyone healthy. 4 – Flushing the toilet. “Eww, gross!” I know. It’s an unpleasant reality, but if you don’t have water in the back of that magical device, your life will stink. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

2) Get food.

What can you eat without cooking? Do you have enough in your house to last you if the grocery store doesn’t have power for 3 days? You don’t need to go crazy, but it might be worth preparing a couple of meals now in order to eat them in the next day or two.

3) Get gas.

Even if you don’t have a generator to run, your neighbor might. And believe me, you’ll want to have a can full of gas when he offers to loan it to you to run your refrigerator. Go fill your gas cans, as well as your car’s gas tank. You might be glad you did.

4) Charge everything.

Cell phones, laptops, flashlights, kindles. Whatever you’ve got, charge it. Then make sure you’ve got batteries for what needs it. Even your laptop can come in handy to charge your cell phone via a USB cable.

5) Put away everything that’s not nailed down.

That kitschy lawn gnome could really ruin your day if it comes through your window at 80 mph. If you haven’t already, go grab everything outside that could turn into a projectile.

6) Wash everything!

Got any dirty laundry? Dishes? Need to vacuum? Do it now. 48 hours from now you might be loving the fact that you did that while you still had the aid of appliances.

7) Check on your neighbors.

Now that you’re ready to weather the storm, take a look around. Is that little old lady down the block going to be ok? Does she have a way to heat her home if the power goes out? Is there anyone else checking on her? Does she have all her medications? Don’t assume someone else is taking care of it. Share your preparedness with others.

Alright. If you’ve covered those points, you’re reasonably prepared. Congratulations.

For more info go to the Red Cross Hurricane Preparedness site.

God bless you as we head into this storm. I’ll be praying for your safety. Let’s look out for each other!


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