I just read an interesting article:


This touches on something I’ve felt strongly about for some time.  It has gotten stronger since I know have a teenage son.  When I was going through junior high and high school, I wanted a boyfriend desperately.  Boys didn’t give me the time of day, for the most part.  But everyone around me had boyfriends, girlfriends, were in and out of relationships.  Of course, at that age I didn’t recognize that boys that age are only interested in one thing.  I wanted an emotinonal connection.  I wanted someone special to talk to and share my life with.  I wanted a best friend that I could hold hands with and go on romantic walks and look at the stars at night.  Innocent stuff.  God was looking out for me, though I didn’t realize it, and I spent those years in frustration.  Of course, the other side to that was I wondered what was wrong with me since boys never gave me a second glance.

I got to college, and while I was more mature in many ways, I was still naive and didn’t have any relational experience.  I got my first boyfriend my sophomore year.  He had had several girlfriends, in high school and a couple since being at college.  I didn’t stop to think what that might mean.  From the moment he asked me to date him and I said “yes” he was pushing the “I love you.”  I was like, hold on there!  I agreed to date him because I enjoyed being with him and we seemed to have a lot in common.  We had become friends that year and started spending a lot of time together, but I was no where near where I could say I love you.  To me, saying that was a commitment.  I had seen kids in high school saying I love you to their significant other, and then a week later had broken up and wouldn’t even speak to each other.  That isn’t love!  You can’t love a person one moment and not love them the next.  At most that is infatuation or lust.  Love doesn’t fluctuate like that.  Real love is in it for the long haul and overcomes obstacles.  For me, I couldn’t say I love you until I felt fairly confident I wanted a long term commitment to him — like the first step toward marriage.  I seemed to be the only person who felt and saw things that way.

As a mom now, I see the pressure on our kids.  My son is 15.  He doesn’t have a girlfriend, nor does he really want one.  He tells us that he doesn’t want to even think about girlfriends until he gets out of high school.  Honestly, I think the major reason is that he hasn’t found a girl he likes, and that is a good thing.  He doesn’t need to get caught up in the idea that you have to be in a relationship just to be in a relationship.  We have told him for a long time that he isn’t allowed to date for some time.  We’ve explained to him that he needs to get to know people before thinking about dating anyone in particular.  But you wouldn’t believe the pressure he is under from his friends and even older guys.  Weekly he is being told, you need a girlfriend!  Fortunately my son isn’t one to give in to peer pressure when he has convictions about something.  But I hate that he has this pressure on him.

I have a friend who has a teenage girl.  She has been told from a young age that she is not allowed to date anyone until her parents meet the boy.  However, she has still “dated” boys at school.  The “dating” has been relegated to simply hanging out and talking at school, but she still considers them having been her boyfriend and she calls them “ex’s”  This is a direct result of peer influence.  It’s what her friends are doing, it’s how her friends are talking, and she’s falling in step with them instead of listening to what her parents have told her.  It IS for her protection and best interest, but fitting in is more important to her.  That and the need for acceptance.  I see her as much like myself when I was her age — the desperate desire for a special boy to shower all his attention on me and be that best friend to hold hands with.  But she is too young and naive to realize that at this age boys are only interested in one thing and will constantly be trying to get in her pants.  If she doesn’t give in, they will move on to someone they think they have a better chance with.  Sometimes guys never outgrow this.  This is why it is so important to get to know people before making any kind of commitment.

Things didn’t work out with my first boyfriend.  I was a little too naive at the time, a naivity that comes from inexperience.  I’m not sure exactly how to make kids savvy without the experience, but I guess we parents will keep trying.  My best friend decided that her kids were not going to date, they were going to do courting.  Courting is a very old fashioned tradition, one very out of vogue in today’s society.  Most don’t completely understand the concept, they rank it right up there with arranged marriages (which I’m not sure isn’t a good idea in some respects! j/k)  But courting means that you don’t date around.  You spend time getting to know a variety of people in various settings and then decide to commit to one person.  Now that I have some age and experience on me, courting should have been the way for me to go, but like I said, it was a foreign concept at that time.  I am a person who can’t take the roller coaster of dating people.  My first relationship failed.  It was also short lived.  Things went too far, too fast and it burnt itself out like a supernova.  I probably went out on five dates in the next three years, but none of them serious.  Then a friend I’d lost contact with got back in touch with me.  We spent a couple months getting reacquainted.  I hadn’t seen or heard from him in three years.  When we had been in college together we had hung around in the same group of friends, so he was a friend I felt I could call on at any time for any reason, but we hadn’t been especially close.  But in a short amount of time he expressed interest in dating me.  I turned him down.  I saw him as a big brother figure.  I couldn’t wrap my head around romance with him.  It felt icky just to think about.  So he agreed to just stay friends and there was no pressure.  We just let the relationship progress naturally.  I can’t tell you exactly when my feelings changed, but eventually they did and we did start dating.  We will have been married 16 years at the end of this month.  And it was this experience that showed me that becoming a friend first helps build the best relationships.

I’ve seen many married couples who are basically just roommates with benefits.  I often ask myself, why did they get married?  Yeah, they say they got married because they were in love.  I think they mistook “love” for “lust.”  Your spouse should be your best friend.  There has to be more to a relationship than sex, otherwise it won’t last.  And that is where our society is today.

Now, the question is, how do we change it?


Monthly Giveaways

Over at Journal Alchemy we will be giving away a free gift each month.  There will be a challenge or a drawing to determine a winner.  I also hope to get back to keeping my journal here to show how Journal Alchemy can help the casual journaler.  Check us out!!/groups/journalalchemy/

Catching My Breath

From Halloween on it’s just been crazy.  We spent a little over a week at the camp for Thanksgiving.  Hubby and son did some trapping.  They caught a raccoon their first night and a grey fox later in the week.

trap harvest 2011

grey fox and raccoon

Then we had to get ready for Christmas.  Most of it was just stressful — getting gifts on limited budget, etc.  One thing I really did enjoy was the Texas Hold’em Sleepover we had on Christmas Eve with friends.  We went up to their house on Friday evening and came home on Saturday evening.  This wrapped up our year-long tournament and I won!  Hurrah!
Now, I just want to hibernate for a month.
I have had three hits on bills I set loose in the Where’s George project.  They’ve all been in WV 😦  pretty close to home, too.
I’m going to kick back and relax awhile.  Crochet is good therapy 🙂

Busy having fun….

Well, it’s November, and that means NaNoWriMo.  I’m a little behind, but I hope to catch up by Monday.  It seems like I have been busy the last three weeks.  For two weeks before Halloween Mom and I were running out just about every day buying stuff for the haunted house we had at the community center.  Then we decorated the week leading up to Halloween, putting in several late nights — all of them at least until 11pm, and the last one past midnight.  But, the haunted house was a big hit.  I think it was largely because it was never the same two times in a row.  My brother was tour guide, my husband and son were the moveable ghouls.  Hubby is very good at improv and has a talent for scaring the crap out of people.  By Monday night we had two more ghouls in the house and we had groups of kids running out screaming.  A very good night’s work 😉

Then, NaNo hit.  I’m hosting write-ins at the community center again.  Thursday we had a kick-off party.  Going from a haunted house right into NaNo has meant a crazy week.

To top it all off, one of the times I was checking out of the new Walmart, I got a one dollar bill in change that had “where’s george” stamped on it.  I had seen one or maybe two bills marked liked that before, it’s been some time ago.  I just ignored them.  I didn’t want to get caught up in a new thing.  But curiosity got the best of me this time, because it is a bill-tracking game.  I was curious to see where it had been before.  I must have been only the second person to have it since being marked because it only had two hits on it.  But anyway, I was hooked.  I bought a stamp and started marking bills.  I will only have so many bills I can put out in circulation every month, so it may be ages before I get any hits on them.  As I am proof, not everyone who sees a marked bill will enter it into the system.  I’m hoping more people are more curious than I was, especially if they start seeing quite a few of them.

Well, off to improve my word count….

In the News….

You would have to have your head buried in the sand not to know that Gadhafi is dead.  The world is cheering, and it makes me sad.  I don’t really follow politics.  Other than the problems we had with him back in the 80’s (my memory is fuzzy, i was young and even less interested in politics) I can’t see that there has been much to draw attention to him or what he’s been doing.  I can’t see how whether he lives or dies effects me directly, so that limits my interest.  I know that he was a dictator.  Dictators tend to be cruel.  However, in the Middle East dictators are about the only way you are going to keep what passes for peace in that area.  It’s a completely different mindset.  What makes me sad is that people who opposed him, supposedly because he was such a bad person, hunted him down and shot him like a dog and paraded his naked body in the street.  I’m sorry, but I can’t see how those people are any better than he was.  I don’t see that they have improved their situation if these are the kinds of people who are going to take over and form a new government.  I think we are going to be in for more of the same.  American needs to get out of the Middle East and mind her own business.  Support Israel, but stay home.  Israel has proven that she can take care of herself and she understands the enemy she is fighting, while we refuse to acknowledge that kind of warped thinking exists.  We are merely a liability in the Middle East because our western mindset cripples us.  Yankee, go home!  We have enough stuff going on here to keep us busy.  Get our house in order before we go over and try to tell others how to live their lives.

So, I take no joy in what is going on in Libya right now.  I don’t think the country was in good shape with Gadhafi, but I don’t think they are better off with what they will end up with.  But I can’t help thinking they weren’t following our example in how we handled bin Laden.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Are we prepared to pay for our “success”?

The Art of Journaling

In the past few weeks I have run across a lot of people online and in blog entries about the need to establish or re-engage a journaling habit.  I admit I have been feeling it too.  I’ve been blogging some, but I haven’t really kept a journal in years.  I admit I’ve been missing it lately.  So I want to start my habit again, and post tips and prompts here to help others.  I have several more journaling methods I can share as well as tips to establishing the habit.

One thing I hear often is, What do I write about?  This one is a little hard to answer because I’ve never had a problem sitting down to a blank page and just writing about anything or even nothing.  I think these people would benefit from prompts.  You can surf the net for hours to glean writing prompts, there are plenty out there, or you can come up with your own rather easily.  Let’s start out small.  Take out a sheet of paper and along the left edge write out numbers one to seven.  Now, jot down seven topics or ideas you would like to explore or work through.  For example:

1.  Life

2.  Job

3.  Hobbies

4.  Love

5.  Books

6.  Dreams

7.  Movies

Now, you want to assign each topic to a day of the week.  When it is Monday, you would write on topic one or two, whichever day you consider Monday to be.  You can even set a goal of a minute of writing time or one sentence.  If you don’t have a habit established, or find it hard to write, start out small until you get that habit established.  Once things seem to come easier, then try expanding the challenge a little — such as moving up to two minutes or two sentences.

Timing your writing can help if you tend to write excessively.  Some people give up journaling because they get so caught up in it they can spend two hours or more and end up neglecting other things.  A good thing to do is to set a timer for thirty minutes and when time is up, quit.  You can schedule two or three sessions a day so you can pick up where you left off.  By limiting yourself it helps you prioritize and do more meaningful writing — get to the point, in other words.  Those who write for hours tend to babble and don’t accomplish much.

So, for a writer, timing is your friend, though it is often a love-hate relationship 😉