Too Poor To Date

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Couple Receiving Their Check

Here’s an excerpt from Heather Jensen’s article on Relationship Deal Breakers that for some reason popped up in my newsfeed:

If you can’t afford a cell phone bill, rent or even a dinner out, you really shouldn’t be in a relationship. Guys, this goes for you too – if you can’t take your lady out, that can definitely be a relationship deal breaker! You don’t have to be rich, you just have to have enough money for savings and not to be completely broke all of the time. 

“Of course!” I thought, “Except college students who are generally poor while studying but yes, anyone over 30 shouldn’t be dating if they have to spend every dime they have to do so. This should be a Dave Ramsey blog.” Then I did a search on too poor to date and article after article talked about how we shouldn’t be dating if we can’t pay the bills. One man said that because he had student loans, and a car debt, he considered himself undatable because financially he couldn’t offer much yet. One woman said, she had an IRS debt and until that was paid she would not be dating. No surprise there but what was surprising were the comments.

Generally speaking most women said they agreed with the concept of not dating until you can afford to do so. I wasn’t surprised by that response because a woman’s number one need to is to feel secure in a relationship. What did surprise me were the men. Generally speaking the men disagreed. They felt that a woman should pay her portion of a date and that it was archaic to expect to ask a woman out on a date and then be expected to pay for her portion of the date. In fact, a survey concluded that 51% of men want to split the bill on a first date.

Here are a couple of comments I read:

“I can afford going out to grab drinks and eat a reasonably priced restaurant but only if she foots her own half of the bill.”

“I’ve never once taken the full bill for a restaurant. Coffee or something yeah, but not full meals. Is that something that’s still expected?”

So I went to my resident expert my Southern Bred Husband.

“Baby, I’m reading about being too poor to date and most men feel that since women fought for equality that we should be paying for our half of the bill when a man ask us out on dates. What do you think about this?”

“Well, you did fight for equality.”

“So you think we ought to pay for our portion of a date?”

“Darlin’ I’m a Southern Gentleman. I would never think to go out to eat where I couldn’t pay the bill and I would never allow a woman to pay for a date.”

Which is true because even when we go out to eat and it’s the same debit card coming out of the same joint account, he always grabs the bill and doesn’t let me pay, except a couple of times when he apologized profusely because he left his wallet in his briefcase when I picked him up for lunch and that’s after being married over a decade.

So what do you think? If a man asks a woman out on a date does she need to bring her own money? Is there such a thing as too poor to date?

 

 

Social Media

 

20141117180945-right-business-wrong-social-media-culturephoto from www.entrepreneur.com

I read a quote recently:

Welcome to Facebook. The place where all relationships are perfect, liars believe their own stories, and the world show off that they are living a great life. Where your enemies are the ones who visit your page the most and someone is always taking things the wrong way. 

I stopped to think about how we use social media and how it can be filled with misunderstandings. I took a look at what I had posted over the past week and thought about the why in my posts. I tend to post quite a few scriptures, quotes I think are worth repeating or humorous to me, articles that I find thought provoking or beneficial, fun stuff about my life, opinions about current events, and then just random stuff.   I post the funny things in my marriage. I don’t post about the arguments. Listen, even the word argument is an argument between us because my husband says we don’t really argue, we discuss. Our arguments, I mean discussions, tend to be boring because we don’t really get that creative and worked up about stuff for the most part. We argue about things like my rants: “Do we really have to watch CNN for one more minute? Isn’t there a DIY something on HGTV?”, don’t laugh this is a serious gripe, or his rants: “Chicken again? I am a man. Men eat steak!”. I mean really, do I want to invite you in on this stuff? Not really. Does my posting our fun stuff mean I want you to believe we have a perfect relationship? No.

I firmly believe in your common sense.

I don’t think you think anyone has a perfect relationship. I believe I have a great relationship and I believe I am loved deeply and love him more but we are nowhere near perfect. We just work hard on our marriage. I don’t have perfect kids. I think they’re pretty amazing but I don’t have to prove it.

I like social media posts. I have taken notifications off of my phone to avoid the Pavlov classical conditioning response and I accept very few tags. What I am bothered by this platform is that because it’s faceless it is often used to bash people. The things a civilized society would not say to each other’s face is fair game and the public shaming is cringe worthy. My husband will come to me and say, “Who is _______ fighting with now?” To be clear, my husband is not a person into drama and he often overlooks typical social clues and doesn’t take things personally, so for him to notice means it’s blatant and for him to say “now” means he’s noticed a pattern.

The rants that are posted are usually about people who didn’t get their way and the raves are about how they did. In the end it doesn’t add much to life. There are those who take all of your posts as being directed towards them. You only posted that to make them mad or hurt their feelings. Everything you post is looked at the magnifying glass of victimization.  That one is a tough one because if you deny it then you’re lying and if you don’t say anything it’s because you are guilty. You won’t win. After the take everything personally posts there are the Break Up To Make Up posts. They unfriend you one day, block you the next, then send you a friend request. Their anger over their life oozes like slime and is not an indication of who you are, it’s merely their dissatisfaction with their life. Like the song says,

Break up to make up that’s all we do, First you love me, then you hate me, that’s a game for fools..

I’d rather focus on the  development of a life rich and colorful and filled with real relationships where we meet over coffee and talk face to face. Thankfully my life doesn’t hang in the balance of social media. I want to be happy when you’re happy and send you love when you’re not. I believe social media is a great tool for communicating general ideas and staying in touch with friends far away but I don’t think its intention is as deep as we make it. My prayers are that we move towards real connection once again.

Click Here for a great video on how to best to use Social Media by Faye de Muyshondt with Socialskilz

Published in: on February 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Little Respect Please

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For those of you who find some words offensive you may want to move on to another post. I will not use a word frivolously but in the context of this post it will be necessary.

A young, college-aged woman is dating her boyfriend. They are like all college students, studying to move towards a career, finding their way in life, and enjoying the time when there aren’t a lot of pressures. It’s a great stage of life.

Their relationship is progressing forward but there are a couple of seemingly insignificant issues that has popped up for her. She puts the thought away as it seems so small. Her friends all think it’s not a big deal. So she calls her friend, that would be me, to talk it over with someone who is older and maybe can tell her she is overreacting and change her heart towards this topic. Only, maybe she’s an old soul, maybe she feels things more deeply, maybe she is right about her feelings of something being off.

She begins hesitantly with me knowing I’m more than twice her age, “It doesn’t seem like a big deal when I say it out loud but there is just something about it that irritates me. He seems to try to push me into making decisions his way. He pulls towards spending all of his time with me and his friends which should be flattering but it feels a little constricting and the second thing is that he called me a bitch.” She says the second part almost like an afterthought.

“Well”, now it’s my turn to be careful with my words, “I think you are right to be concerned and I think you need cut yourself a break. Dating is a time where we get to know each other. It sounds like this may not be a match. Now listen, I am going to sound way, way old-fashioned here but calling you a bitch speaks to a greater issue. It speaks to a disrespect of women from a weak man. He is saying he thinks of you as less than human. He is also intimidated by you and has a need to control you to make himself feel better. I know it’s not a big deal in today’s culture, but it is still a big deal, and as women we can either ignore it or we can take a stand of respect. You’re not thinking about this now, but we as women raise our sons to be men of honor and men who learn to treat women with respect by how they are taught to respect their mother. So don’t discount this.  Then there’s the spending the time the way he wants to. Is that how you can envision your life? You’re an independent girl with goals and vision. Is that supposed to go away for him? And at what point will you tire of this behavior and want your life back? How about him showing a little respect for you and your life?”

We continued our conversation along with a warning from me that I was going to blog about this topic. Listen, bottom line, if you don’t put boundaries in place no one will do it for you. Ladies, we aren’t pretzels that bend at the whim of a man. Instead we are called to partner with them. The biggest downfall I see in continuing to date a man who we have doubts over is that we give our emotions away and then marry the wrong person.

And while we are here on this topic this goes for men as well. If she wants to control where you go, how you dress, who your friends are, if she is disrespectful with her words she will not value the whole of you. Maybe it’s time to move on.

 

 

Published in: on January 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm  Comments (1)  

What’s The Image You Are Projecting?

My husband I were walking hand in hand talking when he said, “Goodness those poor girls need a mother.” The scene was two girls walking with low cut tops and shorts that were too short to cover their bottoms. From his perspective he thinks they don’t have fashion sense because no one has taught them. From my perspective, as a mother, this may be partially true and it could be a number of  other things like free will choices.

What is the message that you’re sending? In the workplace are you trying to be taken seriously or trying to be taken sexually? In your free time are you comfortable with people who see your body or your personality?

I saw a young unmarried woman who had way too much cleavage showing and hickeys on her breast for added effect. All I could think of was she had way too much self esteem by the mere fact that she felt comfortable letting us all know how immoral she was. Judgment? Yes. Will I be judged by the same measure? Absolutely. So the next time you see me with my cleavage out and hickeys you can call me a hypocrite and I’ll hang my head in shame and own the title.

Unfortunately society gives a mixed message. On one hand they say cover up to avoid being devalued, and on the other hand they say if you want to have value you must be sexy.  It feels like you can’t win. Top that off with a fatherless generation where girls really don’t have a true compass of what is right and we end up with this dilemma.

What these young women didn’t understand is that yes, men are visual but humans are creative and imaginative creations. Meaning the more you show the less there is to pursue. The more body you show the more you project how little power you have. Society tells us sexuality is power but when someone falls for the outside visual personification of you often they fail to see the inside characteristics of you.

The fact that he finds you sexy seems great at first, but when he can’t see past the exterior of you to who you are will that be enough? What about when you’re gunning for that promotion and you aren’t taken seriously? There is freedom in the dress code of a Christian woman. By no means am I suggesting she has to wear turtlenecks in the summer but there is a happy medium.

Here is a video I found on Huffington Post that I think is really great at showing us a before and after, please listen carefully to their comments it will give you great insight as to how women are perceived. Click Here.

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Published in: on January 6, 2016 at 8:55 am  Comments (1)  

You’re Not Allowed

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It bothers me when a spouse says in public what their spouse is allowed to do and what they aren’t allowed to do. I can only imagine what that nightmare of a marriage looks like in private.

“My husband is not allowed to drink his coffee in the living room.”

“My wife is not allowed to work.”

“My husband knows better than to think he’s bringing home a recliner.”

I stay quiet as I hear these statements but in my mind I think, “Bully”. I believe when we try to usurp authority over a person we are in essence saying we are higher than God. The bible reads that God is not one who overrides your free will instead he offers choices. Those choices usher in his presence or not.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

My husband and I are very strong people in very different ways. I am verbal and will say what I think. He is non-verbal and votes with his action. So when we disagree we tend to stop until a compromise is reached. He has never said to me that I wasn’t allowed to do something and I have never forbid him anything. We both take into account the free will of the other.

Are there forbidden things in a marriage? Of course! Adultery, Abuse, Addiction, Manipulation, Lying are things that are forbidden in a marriage but I would think if I have to demand a ceasing of these actions then I married the wrong person who lacks love and character.

When we  continually call the shots, continually admonish our spouse as if they are our child, continually manipulate the finances, I wonder where Christ is in all of that? When it’s our way or the highway whole people sometimes cower for a season but they eventually fall away. Maybe they don’t leave the situation. Maybe they just go away emotionally. Maybe they begin to spend time alone not meeting our needs. Maybe they find someone who respects their opinion.

We can argue that the person who is experiencing the violence of the violation of free will, chose to give it up and I would say that is true. In counseling I often hear that they feel stuck because of a circumstance such as children who will be devastated by divorce, so they bide their time. Then there is the lack of work or experience where they can’t support themselves which often keeps them in this situation as well.

It can happen in the work place. There are those who feel threatened by their boss or their employee. The employee who continually threatens to quit, who calls in sick as a pattern on critical days. The boss who lords that there are plenty of people out of work over their employees. It isn’t right.

As Christians we are supposed to have no unwholesome talk come out of our mouth. When we think of unwholesome talk we think about cussing, gossip, but what about bullying? What about dragging about someone by a leash demanding our way? Isn’t that the tearing apart of a person of free will? Un-whole-some?

 

 

This Heart Of Mine

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Free people.

Free people.

Free people.

I don’t get to control how free people behave. I don’t get to control how free people respond. I don’t get to judge whether their response is reasonable or not. I don’t live in their head. I live in mine. They get to tell their truth. I get to tell my truth. We don’t always have to agree. We don’t always have to walk together. The response we have to free people shows our heart. It also shows our respect for others and ourselves.

That being said, it doesn’t give someone the right to trample on you. I’ve seen some pretty crazy relationships in the name of respect. Different doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, it could be bad only you get to line it up with the word of God and decide. Where the line is drawn however is when we march off backbiting because the person didn’t agree with us or didn’t allow us to emotionally hijack them. Taking our ball and going home mad is fine when we’re 12, but it’s immature at 20, and looks ridiculous at 40.

Will we decide to keep score or will we forgive? One looks like flesh and one looks like Jesus. Our choice. Our account.

 

 

Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 8:39 am  Comments (1)  

The Art of Bouncing Back

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

As a woman in ministry there is a big target on your back and you can fall prey to the haters if you aren’t careful. I want to speak to the wife of a Pastor today because she is especially vulnerable to the arrows that hit her blindside.

It’s not about going around trying to stir up trouble. As long as you are honest and you articulate what you believe to be true, somebody somewhere will become your enemy whether you like it or not. ~Criss Jami

I am watching two very different women in ministry. A young Pastor’s wife, we’ll name her Jane, with a heart for the Lord who is being torn apart by unrealistic expectations, and a Pastor’s wife, Chris, who is being slaughtered by those who profess to wear the banner of love. It’s painful even from a distance.

In both cases you have women who love the Lord and are actively involved in their church. They are there at every event and they are there to serve. They pray. They seek the Lord. They speak words of revelation and life and yet they are lonely. They want to be a part of something that they have not been invited to.

So what’s the problem? Young Pastor’s wife Jane is an intercessor. She’s friendly but introverted. She will be at the church praying on any given day once her children are off to school, however Jane doesn’t lead a ministry. Jane has prayed over me powerfully but if I ask her to speak at our women’s conference Jane politely declines and says, “but I’ll help you serve food and I’ll help you at the altar”. Her church feels she needs to step it up. Only who decides that? I read the bible and there is this ministry called Helps and it is very necessary in the church.

Then there is Chris she is prophetic and a powerhouse speaker. Her church would like for her to stand down based on a misconception of a biblical view of women that are to be seen and not heard. Man! If only we could switch churches for them maybe their congregations would be happy. Unfortunately, their husbands were called to their place.

The biggest difference between leaders of large organizations and small organizations isn’t their location, the size of their building, the scope of their vision, the number of staff members, or their talent. In fact, some of the best leaders I’ve met have small organizations. But in all of my consulting and conferences, I’ve seen a single factor: leaders of larger organizations have proven they can handle more pain. ~ Sam Chand

So let’s do away with the expectation of a pastor’s wife. She may be called to lead a ministry or support it. She may be called to be a pastor or not. I can promise you one thing is for sure, she will fail someone at some point because no one is perfect. From a biblical view I don’t think the church gets to decide who she is to be. I think God does and I think he’s pretty sure about his expectations, and I would bet money on the fact that we’re supposed to trust Him. Let’s show a little mercy. The art of bouncing back becomes a little more difficult each time.

Published in: on October 12, 2015 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  

You’re Supposed To Be The Church

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Here are some things I am thinking about today as I was told I am not a Christian and I am a liar because I chose to believe in our staff and our store policy.

Sometimes love say no.

Sometimes love has discipline.

Sometimes love has boundaries.

Sometimes love doesn’t allow the trampling of a soul.

Sometimes love points out wrongs.

People have this misconception about church that we are supposed to do everything anyone asks because we’re supposed to love. So we get these crazy asks sometimes. Take for example our thrift store. The conversation goes something like this:

“I’m sorry we won’t be able to take your couch, it has to be usable and without the cushions it isn’t usable.”

“Well, don’t you people help poor people? Beggars can’t be choosy. My dogs tore up the cushions but it’s still good for the homeless.”

Alright so at this point in the conversation I’m not thinking nice things, in fact my thoughts are quite sarcastic and this I realize is why I will never hold political office. My thoughts are going in the direction of why would we donate a couch to a homeless person? Sleeping bags, clothes, food, blankets, tents, yes but a couch? Not so much buddy. Not even on my radar. I know, I can’t say these things and maintain customer service as much as I would like to. These are thoughts though and I gather myself together and get back on track.

“Yes we do help people in need but this couch doesn’t help them. They can’t sit on it like this.”

“Well what I am supposed to do with it?”

“Well you can take it to the local dump.”

“WHAT? DO YOU KNOW THAT COSTS MONEY? I THOUGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE CHURCH?” Huff, puff, slam and yell, “SO YOU’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT? YOU GUYS DON’T HELP PEOPLE.”

“I understand the dump is expensive. It would cost us $20 to take the couch to the dump. We don’t get a Christian break or anything and we run on a very tight margin here. If you’d like us to take it to the dump for you, we can but you’ll have to pay the $20.”

He elects not to do that.

Whenever I hear the phrase, “I thought you were supposed to be the church.” or “I thought you were Christians.”, what I hear is, “You’re not doing what I want.”

I know your next question. What are some things we’ve been asked to do because we are the church? Mostly things that are wrong or unwise to us.

Cashing checks for people we’ve never seen before. 

Making exceptions to policy when it will ultimately hurt us. 

Writing letters of reference for people we don’t know. 

Loaning our vehicles to people without a license. 

Doing things that compromise our moral belief. 

Where do we get this idea that Christians are weenies who should do everything that is asked even when it’s contrary to their belief system thus saying no means they are hateful or not Christian? Jesus didn’t do everything asked of him and he asked people to make some very tough choices for the betterment of their life. Yet he was Christ. Not everything goes our way nor should it.

Oh and by the way, the guy came by and dumped the couch on our property after hours. Guess he showed us! So pray for me as I work through the nonsense of a thought process that I don’t understand and learn to let it go and move on.

 

Published in: on May 6, 2015 at 8:11 am  Comments (2)  

It Feels Personal

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I posted this on my Facebook page and received many comments and likes but I also received quite a few private messages with stories from women who were trying to learn not to take things personally. This was coming on the heels of the  Kelly Clarkson body-shaming tweets so I thought I’d respond with what I’ve learned.

First off, there are mean people out there. They have no filter. They mask it under the, “I just say what I think you know? I’m just being honest.”, only their honesty is aimed as the knife that stabs you to your core, and remember this, their honesty only pertains to the output not the input. In other words speak the truth to them and it’s WAR. Not everything needs to be said but so often we think what we have to say is important, because it is important to us. No one is exempt from this not even me, hence this post.

Compound that with the phenomenon of social media where because we can’t see the hurt look on someone’s face it is easy to blast people. These are your typical pounce and flounce people at a new level. I have a friend who seldom replies to online posts because she says the attacks begin immediately and sadly she is right.

So how do we not take things personally when they seem so personal? My husband taught me a great trick I’m going to pass on to you. He said,

“If they have nothing nice to say about anyone, and they talk about everyone then it isn’t personal. If they don’t say nice things about even those they love then they aren’t going to say nice things about you. It isn’t personal, it’s just how they are.” 

“If they don’t have problems with others but they have problems only with you, then it’s personal to them not to you. They have things that need to be worked out and they need to grow up and come to you about the issue.”

Listen, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Friendships happen with like-minded people. Leave it at that. I often hear people say, and I’ve said it myself,  the solution is to go and confront the person but the problem with that is that those who talk behind your back never say it to your face so oftentimes my experience has been that  I’ve gone to the person and asked if there is an offense because I’ve heard such and such from so and so, I get the standard answer of nothing is wrong it was a misunderstanding, and more often than not, the pattern continues.

So here is a pattern that I chose to live my life by, and so far it’s working, so let me post it and hopefully help you.

I no longer take it personally. The comments, the blasts, the opinions, come from people who don’t know me. It’s okay. Those comments and opinions don’t pay my bills nor do they pour my cup of coffee in the morning. I have a choice to snuggle with those opinions in bed at night or kick them to curb. I choose to boot them out of my life. I hope you’ll try it because you’ll find your life is a lot less messy.

Published in: on March 6, 2015 at 6:49 pm  Comments (1)  

Flesh Eaters

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picture from http://www.alphacoders.com

There is the word Gheebah in the Muslim faith that means backbiter but even more so they translate it flesh eater. There is an interesting teaching on it that was shared with me and I’d like to share it with you.

“If what you say is true about your brother then you have backbitten him. If what you say is not true about your brother than you have slandered him.”

Have you ever thought about the word backbiter? It describes someone who eats the flesh of a friend or family member. Muslim or Christian I doubt it’s worthy of our faith. In reading books on psychology, backbiting is said to be a trait of young people, only I disagree. I know women who are in their 30’s who are professional flesh eaters. The bible says backbiters soothe their own appetite. Flesh eaters. What a horrible description of a person of faith. It actually made me shudder.

Galatians 5:15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Is eating live flesh something you’d like to be a part of? You can’t stop the flesh eater’s insatiable appetite but you can stop them from eating others in your presence by not participating in the flesh eating frenzy. The bible says when we have an issue with someone there is a way to handle it. It’s taught in Matthew 18. If the flesh eater continues to devour then ask yourself if the person is a believer? Even the devil knows the word of God.

Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

What causes a person to continually backbite? Honestly, they are bored people who have nothing else to do. They look for things to be critical of and people whom they are jealous of to tear apart. Think about the picture of a person who bites someone in the back. They are biting the back of a person. They are behind that person, not in their own lane guided by the Holy Spirit, handling their own business. These are hopefully not the people we wish to be nor is it the people who we call friends because can I be honest with you? It’s all fine until they begin to eat you alive.

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Published in: on January 7, 2015 at 8:04 am  Leave a Comment