Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Linda and I are celebrating our 20th Anniversary and 15th year on the Central Coast. It is high time to do another installment of Beauty and the Beast (BatB): The Linda and Patrick Story. On the main blog there is a list of chapters if you need to get up to date.

I don't remember when it was Linda and I decided we needed to live on the Central Coast of California (affectionately known as SLO, San Luis Obispo County), but it was early in our relationship. As most things it was probably a process and not one conversation or event. Suffice it to say we longed to live in SLO!

If you've never been to there you probably have no idea why we wanted to move here or why Oprah calls it the happiest place on earth. The biggest thing that hit me, when I came to SLO as a kid, was how truly blue the sky is. I didn't know that growing up in LA where everything is brown. Add to that the extremely pleasant climate and small population...what's not to love? The issue? No jobs.

Linda's parents owned a townhouse in SLO. As newly weds it was a boon to be able to go to that place for little getaways and we did; about 3-4 times a year the first few years of marriage. Every single time I'd look at the Telegraph-Tribune newspaper for jobs (this was pre-Monster, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder). Every single time there would be nothing.

Frustrated we started thinking about alternatives. As much as I love our hometown and growing up there I was done with being hot, temperature-wise, that is. So we started looking at Orange County and even northern San Diego County. But SLO was calling and neither of those areas were. I went to interview after interview for jobs and nothing ever panned out. I think I did that for 2-3 years.

Then on one trip I remember a job posting in the newspaper (the Trib). I couldn't believe it, a company on the Central Coast was looking for a Systems Analyst, which I was at the time. Not only that, but it was for the exact software I had been working on for the last 2-3 years! This was around September of 2007, and I immediately mailed (envelope, resume paper, stamp, postal workers) my resume to the company.

I didn't hear back from them for months! In the meantime, because the software I was working on was popular I would get unsolicited phone calls from headhunters. It was getting annoying to be honest. So when the company, Ziatech, finally called me back in March of 1998 (Did I tell you that things are slow in SLO?) I thought it was one of those annoying unsolicited calls.

Me: Hello?

Ron: Yes hi my name is Ron and I'm calling from Ziatech

Me: Oh yeah, I'm not really interested in consulting or paying a firm to find me a consulting gig

Ron: Good, I'm from Ziatech you sent us your resume

Me: What? Who is this? What company are you from? (Trying desperately to figure out if I had sent a resume to a consulting firm for some reason)

Ron: This is Ron...from Ziatech (long pause for dramatic effect) In San Luis Obispo.

Me: SAN LUIS OBISPO!?!?! (I remember the amazement on Linda's face, me trying not to drop the phone, I think there was fist pumping involved!) What can I do for you Ron?

Ron: (trying not to laugh) well I'd like to interview you for the Systems Analyst position

The rest to be honest was a blur. We had a quick phone interview, Linda and I went up to SLO at Ziatech's expense for the face to face interviews, the offer came and we negotiated and it was done. We were moving to SLO! After years of desiring it, God fulfilled the longing in a matter of weeks. We were moved and I started working for Ziatech May 4, 1998.

Some tidbits from that blur between the call in March to starting the job May 4, 1998.

My in-laws put their house up for sale in La Canada and started looking for homes in SLO...based on the interview. They are hilarious, and it is such a blessing to have them close (tell you how close soon).

We had to sell our house in La Crescenta. 
As many things with me, this was a fiasco/learning experience. We gave the news to our friends right away and one of them was interested in buying the house. He was single at the time, but making great money and needed the write-off. We agreed on a price right away so that was great. I forget the details, but he questioned something about the transaction, and I got all crazy on him. It almost broke the deal...Linda had to talk me off that ledge, and we continued the sale thank God!

We had to figure out housing in SLO.
Do we rent? Do we buy? If we buy, do we do a 2 bedroom townhome or go with the longer term more "expensive" 3 bedroom home? So many questions and did I say we interviewed and moved in the span of about 2 months? We decided to buy and waffled for a while on looking for a 2 or 3 bedroom home.

Then we found it. It was just a concrete slab when we drove by it on our housing trip (again on Ziatech's dime), but I knew this was our house, even though it was $100k more than the house we had just sold to our friend. What's more. it was 8 houses away from the home Linda's parents found on a separate trip! They were the last two homes in Phase II of that tract and Phase III wasn't coming for 3-6 months later. As it was, the home we were looking at/eventually bought, was going to take another month. But could we/should we buy it or go for the 2 bedroom that was only $30k more than the townhouse we had just sold? 

Linda: I really want that house, but we can't afford it, so we should buy the townhouse.

Me: I think we should buy the house.

Linda: (Secretly and cutely wanting the house) No we should buy the townhouse.

Me: But you want the house.

Linda: I know.

Me: So we should buy it.

Linda: You want the house?

Me: Yes.

Linda: I love that house...

We did this a few times. It's just our way. Then I put the numbers together on a spreadsheet and showed how we could afford the home. We put the offer in, and it still stands, to this day, as one of the best decisions we have ever made. That year, the median home price in California skyrocketed! We could not afford our home today. 

The house is perfect. Great size for our family. Proximity to Linda's parents and my work. We love this house and still live in/own it to this day. Unless God has other plans, we don't plan on moving.

And that's what this segment of these blogs is all about right? God's plan. After 20 years with my wonderful bride and 15 years living in a dream location I think I'm just starting to give in to God's plan. I look back on those days of early marriage and wonder what I was thinking? We literally bought our house in La Crescenta, and seemingly the next day, I started looking for jobs that would move us to Orange County or San Diego! I was so antsy back then...must have been very unsettling for my baby girl.

Linda asked me at lunch today what I wanted to do for the next 20 years. I said something flippant like be the best boyfriend she could ever have. Which is true, but later I was thinking I just want to follow God's plan for us...whatever it is. That's very Centralizing...

That completes Part IX of BatB. At this rate I'll see you at anniversary 25!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Feeling God's Pleasure

That's me finishing my first (of many hopefully) triathlon, the Santa Maria Valley YMCA Sprint Triathlon to be exact.

If you would have told me on April 14, 2011 that in exactly one year I'd be finishing my first Sprint Triathlon...well you know how the saying goes. There is no way I would have believed you. I was, and had been for quite some time, quite overweight and could hardly keep up with my kids. Although this picture is from 2009 it is a great example of how out of shape I was.

Does that guy look like he could have completed a 1/4 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike and 3.1 mile run? Maybe but probably not seeing as how when I started on this road I couldn't even finish running one mile without stopping.

Now this blog post could get all "Biggest Loser I pulled myself out of obesity by my bootstraps", but I found so much more than physical and mental gain...there was a profound spiritual side to it that is hard to explain but I'll try.

I believe that we were all created by God with certain gifts and talents. I think you can agree with me that it just seems some things come naturally to people. Sure they need to hone their talents and gifts, but there is no doubt some people are meant to be singers, actors, athletes, thinkers, tinkerers, etc. For example, it is very obvious that my wife Linda was meant to be a singer and actor. She is not only immensely talented it is just in her blood! My oldest son seems to have a proclivity towards being a thinker and tinkerer and I think our youngest is a comedian and aspiring athlete.

It comes down to the Eric Liddell quote in Chariots of Fire, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."  If you can replace the word "run" in that last sentence with another word, that is the gift or talent God has given you. For a long time I couldn't figure out what that gift or talent could be. I know for sure what it is not after trying a musical with Linda when we were first dating, but I couldn't tell you what it was.

After this triathlon journey I've been on in the last year I think I've figured it out. See growing up I took to sports very quickly. I wasn't the best, but I wasn't the worst and I just get sports. T-ball/baseball? No problem. Basketball? Sure. Tennis, Soccer, Hockey? Yes, yes and yes. I even took a swim class at a Junior College I was attending and took to it like a fish to...ahem water. Yet I still didn't  see it. Through my own inner voice and others I figured I just wasn't good at any of it, everyone is probably good at athletics, so I would give up or just take it lightly and not continue. I remember in Jr. High the guys I played basketball with and looked up to at recess talked to the Coach to try to get me to play on an organized team. I had no idea why they wanted me so bad, I honestly couldn't fathom it.

See I think I was made to be an athlete. This is not to brag, because I'm horrible at so many things, but there is a reason I have good hand eye coordination and I learn sports so fast. I think it is because God made me that way! That all was thwarted by other voices that put me down, were overly critical and my own sin of laziness. So I decided to not be an athlete. The consequences of that have been horrendous to my health, mental well being and my spiritual life. I go back to the Liddell quote and wonder what would it be like for him to not run? To not  feel God's pleasure? That was me. In that area of my life I could not feel God's pleasure; something was broken. And that's not good.

The great thing is that Jesus came to heal that which his broken (Isaiah 61) and he sure has. Through this last year I've started to realize all I've stated above. That I was meant to be an athlete, that was thwarted and I was broken needing healing. This all culminated with about 1/2 a mile left on my run portion of the triathlon (last leg). I could feel Jesus' presence with me as a ran. I felt him saying, "You were meant to be an athlete. Enjoy. I was there when the voices beat you down and your own sin took that joy from you. I have gone into your past and healed those areas so that you can feel my pleasure." I was overwhelmed and almost broke down in tears. 

In the book of Mark, Jesus was asked by a scribe what the greatest commandment was. And Jesus replied with a Deuteronomy passage that paraphrased says, "Know the One true God. Love him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself."  I've recently realized something; I can't love God with all of me if parts of me are broken! If my heart or mind or soul or strength (body) is broken it cannot fully do what it was meant to do: Love Jesus. So Jesus has been healing. First my soul when I repented and realized I need him back in 1989 and now he's continuing the work, sanctifying, the other parts.

Now I can enjoy both the athletic activity and God through the athletic activity, the use of this athletic body he has given me. I just couldn't before. I'm looking forward to my next triathlon. Yes because of the accomplishment, but more because I can worship Jesus for healing an area of my life I didn't even know was broken so I can enjoy him more. When I run, bike and swim I can feel his pleasure! Thank you Jesus!

This was a difficult blog to write. I think it can be misconstrued in many ways as prideful to talk about one's gifts and really this experience is an intimate thing between me and Jesus. My hope is that you, the reader, would think upon your life and wonder what is broken and know that Jesus wants nothing more than to heal that brokenness and give you joy. He died and rose again to prove it.

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;    instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;    they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Part VIII: House and Home

Linda and I just celebrated our 18th Anniversary this last Sunday. I figured I'd do another installment of Beauty and the Beast (BatB): The Linda and Patrick Story. On the main blog there is a list of chapters if you need to get up to date.

When Linda and I were engaged we naively just thought a furnished house was part of the whole marriage deal. We didn't really know if it was going to fall from the sky or friends or family were just going to gift us a big mansion with a big bow on it. We just figured it was...provided. The shock of having to stop looking googly eyed at each other long enough to think about getting a place was more than we could stand. I remember the same feeling when I found out that Santa wasn't real and also when I realized that my teachers were real people with real lives. Shock and awe right?

So we woke up out of our dream state called "engagement" and started with a budget. We obviously had to know what we could afford before looking right? It was an eye opener to realize there was a limited amount of money coming in therefore there should be an even more limited amount going out. My philosophy that money just fell from the sky in the form of mommy and daddy or the Wells Fargo Visa salesman on campus (who gives a college kid with no job a credit card with a $1,200 limit?) and all of it needed to be spent wasn't going to fly. See Linda and I wanted to live on my income alone in case she got pregnant. You know because we would be married and that could happen!

The housing line item on our budget said: $600 per month for rent. We kept expenses low (I don't know what we budgeted for entertainment, but it allowed us to get a Slurpee every once in a while) so that we could live on my $28,000 per year income and save 100% of Linda's $32,000 income for a down payment on a house.

We went searching for an apartment. It was tough to find anything in our price range that was clean and in La Crescenta/Montrose area. It came down to two places:

1. A quaint little 1BD/1BA in the back of house over a couple of parking spaces for $615 per month.
2. The most gloriously appointed 1BD/1BA in a cool complex, we loving still refer to as Roy's (the owner) place, which was going for $680 per month. (Guess which one I wanted?)

Try as we might we couldn't justify the extra $65 per month, so we signed up for the quaint little one. It was clean and though our friends wouldn't ooh and ahhh and think we were the coolest like they would if we lived in Roy's place it was a great deal. The landlord ended up being awesome and very easy to work with. That $65 per month or $780 per year really came in handy, because as you can imagine we didn't account for everything in our budget. At that point neither of us had really lived out on our own per se. Sure Linda lived on campus and I got kicked out of my parents house for a few months, but nothing sustained.

That money came in handy to bail us out so we didn't have to touch the house fund. Oh wait did I tell you about the house fund? I like to tease Linda about it, but it really did end up being a great way for us to get a down payment together. See she still had a Credit Union account that she had under Linda Durand. She direct deposited her entire paycheck there for the first two years of our marriage.

Seems kinda weird, but the wisdom was there because to touch it both of us had to really go through the motions to ask each other if we REALLY needed that money. For instance, I thought it would be a really great idea to buy a Slurpee machine. Seriously. I was getting tired of driving the one mile to get us Slurpees so I looked it up. I think it was a mere $14,000 (the real one from 7/11 not the fake plastic ones they have now) to have a machine that made us Cherry Fanta and Coke Slurpees if I remember correctly. So this was the process:

Me: Linda Durand
Linda: Oh no you only call me that when you want to spend our house money
Me: Seriously this is a GREAT idea
Linda: I doubt it but go on
Me: You know how I go to 7-11 a lot to get us Slurpees?
Linda: You mean once or twice a week?
Me: Yes! I think we should buy a machine instead!
Linda: Oh that might be a good idea how much are those things?
Me: $14,000
Linda: (Actually thinks about it for a split second) No, I don't think that's a good idea. I mean house down payment or Slurpee machine?
Me: Yeah I guess you are right...

We liked Slurpees that much back then! Because of the amazing discipline we showed by the end of our second year of marriage we had saved $50,000 to put down on a house. After figuring out a new budget with a mortgage instead of rent and my awesome new salary of about $32,000 per year we knew we could afford something in the neighborhood of $150,000 to maybe $190,000. Our search went like this:

1. We promised ourselves we wouldn't EVER buy a townhouse/condo.
2. We looked at all the houses in La Crescenta area that we could afford.
3. We looked at all the houses in other areas (like Chino) we could afford.
4. We decided to buy a townhouse/condo.

Again we were young and naive. We thought we had saved a bundle of dough we should be rewarded with the nice ranch style, 3-4BD/2-3BA house with the picket fence and gynormous back yard. Well all of those were $220,000. I'm not kidding they were just out of our price range. We had a Roy's place moment again wondering if we should stretch ourselves to the payment of a $220,000 house. In the end, we didn't we bought a great 2BD/2.5BA townhouse just up the street from our apartment that was $150,000 on the dot. It had three levels the garage level, then the kitchen/living room area and at the top all the bedrooms. The best part was the payments were great! It was a great place and we are glad we settled for it because later we would have to make a quick move and actual houses would have been harder to sell quickly. That is a story for another time.

To this day I don't know how we had the wisdom to go the financially conservative route that we did. And I REALLY mean that. I'm seriously the guy that got the Wells Fargo and BofA credit cards in college and spent the limits, because I thought that's what you were supposed to do! Linda and I were really made for each other. I'm a spender and she's a hoarder. Together we have created a way to wisely invest the money God gives us, both to live within our mens and to give generously and freely. I love it.

As nice as it is for us to have been able to buy a house so early in our marriage (and subsequently buy the house we live in today) it is so much more important that Linda and I have a home, a refuge for us and our boys to come to. We could have that in the $615 per month 1BD/1BA if we had to! Mainly because we work together and not against each other and that's just one of the things that makes our house a home.

That completes Part VIII of BatB. See you next year!

Friday, October 21, 2011

By the Numbers

So I posted before that I was moved to start moving. That was really just the start of a journey that has been kinda crazy, but mostly good.

God started this whole thing back in May. By the end of June I was running about 3 miles 2-3 times per week. I was pretty happy with that. By July I all of a sudden remembered that back in the late 90's early 2000's I had thought about doing a triathlon for about a second and then realized there was running. Now that I could run though maybe a triathlon could be a reality. Note: Most people think IronMan when I say way! Sprint distance is more like 1/4-1/2 mile swim, 12-15 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. Totally doable.

I didn't have a bike so I started swimming again. By mid-August I was able to swim 1/2 mile and run 2.5 miles and feel good. That's when my sweet brother gave me his old road bike! Then things took off! I was working out 4 times a week; swimming (up to a mile) and running (up to 3 miles) one day and biking (11-13 miles) the next take a day off and do it again. It got kinda crazy and my body shut down at the end of September. My lower back decided to complain and I realized how crazy I was getting. So it took a week for that to heal up and I committed to doing only one of the three disciplines Monday (swim), Wednesday (bike) and Friday (run) to give my body the recovery day in between and Saturday and Sunday off. So far that has been great!

That's the exercise update. Now to the numbers. Remember I am not doing this to get to a certain weight or size, those are just the icing on the cake (so to speak)! I really just want to be healthier, which was why working out so often was crazy. Here are the numbers, for those of you that don't know I'm 5'9"-5'10".

In May: 210 lbs and waist (intersecting the navel) was 40"
End of July: 200 lbs and waist: 39", blood pressure 160/100 (that's REALLY bad)
End of August: 190 lbs and waist: 37", blood pressure 140/90 avg
Today: 185 lbs and waist: 36", blood pressure 122/83

The interesting thing, to me anyways, was that for 2.5 months the only affect exercise had was 10 pounds and 1 inch and my blood pressure was higher than it had ever been.

Based on a doctors advice I took out the three main inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy and soy. That brought my weight down another 10 pounds and my waist another 2 inches, but my blood pressure was still on the high side at 140/90. I felt like something was missing and then I read this article and realized sugar, actually insulin resistance, may be the culprit. That was last week. So I limited myself to 25 grams of sugar a day (very difficult) and no grains (even more difficult). I dropped another 5 lbs and 1 inch off the belly. More importantly the blood pressure looks like it's leveling off closer to the good range of 120/80.

Obviously in my case, food is just as big of a factor as the exercise to get my weight down and my blood pressure in check. The doctor I am going to is a naturapath and I haven't taken any prescription drugs. He's given me high quality supplements to take and that's it! I've had to make some pretty major lifestyle changes, but it's all worth it. I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in for a long long time.

I brought grains back in and haven't been sticking to 25 grams of sugar a day, probably much closer to less than 70 grams, and the blood pressure is staying pretty stable. I'll keep experimenting to keep it all in check.

I said at the beginning of this blog that God started this whole thing. He sure did! I asked him to change my heart about food and exercise a while back. In his great timing and/or my willingness to allow him to change me I am changed. This is no fad diet (tried those) or me pulling myself up by my bootstraps and making myself exercise. I just want to eat this way and exercise. So weird but cool!

I'm looking forward to my Friday run today...that's still SO weird to type/feel!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Literally Move Me!

Wow...the last blog post was back in April! Right around when I decided I needed to get moving. As you can see from the Snow Days post, I had taken the boys up to Bass Lake near Yosemite to get a few days of playing in the snow. As an aside, this was Jason's first time in the snow! Things went down hill when I got the flu (not stomach actual influenza; fever, chills, aches and pains). Alone with two rambunctious boys and incapacitated I was literally hating life.

Right then I had a conversation with myself (in a fever induced daze):

Me: Why are you so unhealthy? You can't even take your boys to the snow without getting sick.

Me2: Because I'm fat.

Me: Why are you fat?

Me2: Well it started back in 1992 when I worked at Nestle where candy was plentiful and the cafeteria was cheap and...

Me: Dude that was almost 20 years ago why are you fat now ding-a-ling?

Me2: Oh, well all the hockey guys stopped playing at lunch twice a week a year ago.

Me: So it's someone else's fault? BTW you were still fat and unhealthy back then...

Me2: That's harsh.

Me: It's true.

Me2: I know...

Thus started the internal conversation that roiled on even after the trip. Finally it led me to realize I needed to get moving. I finally stopped pouting about pick-up hockey being over and decided to find something that wouldn't be reliant on other people. The only criteria? It would have to not be running...I HATE running.

That criteria got blown away within 30 seconds in the continuing saga of the conversation going on in my head. Really what else could I do that had better time to cardio benefit ratio? I finally wore myself down and decided to give it a try.

First, I had to get some shoes. EVERYONE says, "Get some good shoes!" Which means go to a store that films your stride on a treadmill so they can sell you $100+ shoes. I mean the pronation angle of the fourth and first metatarsal and my arch action depend on it right? So I took that advice went to Costco and threw down $35 bucks for a pair of addidas running shoes (and I didn't even try them on...oh the horror!).

I had no idea at the time if I would even get into this whole running thing. I just needed to give it a try and I wasn't going to do it in my Wilson tennis shoes or my Vans. For all I knew at the time I would be doing 30 second intervals of walk/running for the rest of my life! Plus I figured God created the foot without a pair of $5,000 Nikes attached so anything light weight that keeps the bottom of my foot from hitting pavement would work. (I also googled a lot and found out a high percentage of folks use neutral shoes so I probably didn't need a special shoe.)

Anyways, that controversy aside I put my shoes on May 19th, 2011 and went for a "run". The running part didn't last long as it gave way to lots and lots of walking. My stats? 2.07 miles in 32:11 minutes giving me a whopping 15:30 min/mile pace. Suffice it to say it was sad and I was a bit frustrated, but not undaunted.

The daunting part was not being able to run for extended periods of time. In came the advice; "Run landing on your forefoot rather than your heels it's more efficient." and "When starting out you gotta go slow...slow enough to not be out of breath enough to sing a song understandably." Oh. The forefoot thing I'm still kinda figuring out, I do land more flatfooted than on my heel, but that breathing thing really helped me! Right away I was able to run a mile without walking, then 1.5 then 2 miles. It was literally a breakthrough in my life! I mean I'm 40 just starting to run...

Suffice it to say so far it has been great for my health. My blood pressure is way down and I feel like I have much more energy. As far as my weight...that's a whole 'nother story. I'm still trying to figure that one out, but the internal conversation in my head is saying bad nutrition and eating habits have a great deal to do with it not changing very much.

Am I still motivated to move after a lifestyle/life long habit of being sedentary? So far yes. The above picture is me running in a 5K race where I posted a personal best of 11:19 min/mile pace. I'm finding motivation in doing races and contemplating a 10K run. Beyond that I'm not sure, but I feel like I am too ADD to do a half or whole marathon. Sprint Triathlon might be my next deal, but I'm trying to take it slow to allow my body to get used to all this activity so there aren't any stress injuries.

For now, I'm just glad to be moving and getting healthier so I can stop calling myself fat...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Snow Days

Here's a video for friends and family not on facebook ;-)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

17 Courting for Marriage Principles from Mark Driscoll's sermon on Gen 24

I listened to the above sermon yesterday and thought it was profound enough to share the 17 principles he listed from the sermon. This is great for single people and parents who are wondering how they will guide their children towards marriage in the near future (my son is turning 11 this month!). Enjoy the notes and I hope you listen to the sermon as well...

1. Marriage is good.
-First thing in Genesis, it’s good. The man is good. The woman is good. Creation is good. The only thing that’s not good, it’s not good for the man to be alone.

2. Second thing, a Christian should never ever, ever, never, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, ever, ever, never, never, never, ever be romantically connected to a non-Christian, ever.
-If they don’t love God, how are they gonna love you? God’s a lot easier to love than you.

3. The third thing, men should seek a wife by going to where the good, Godly women are.
-She [the woman for you] doesn’t work at Hooters. She’s doing other things. She’s feeding the poor. She’s taking care of the oppressed. She’s liberating captives. She’s leading worship. She’s not at Hooters. She doesn’t need wings or the shirt. You gotta look where she is.

4. Marriage is for men not for boys.
-Isaac is 40. He’s a man. He’s got a job. He’s got a house. He’s got a place. He’s got it together. He’s not a boy. Back in Genesis, man will leave his mother and father, be his own man. Then get married. Then enjoy marital intimacy as one flesh with his wife.

5. Fifth principle, men take a wife, and women are given in marriage.
-A man needs to go get a wife. Not like a caveman, but he’s gotta take the initiative. He’s gotta initiate, and then the wife should be protected first by her dad, and she should be given.

6. Sixth thing, if the woman has a good daddy she should be courted through the daddy like this: lovely young lady, daddy, daddy’s gun and the young boy.
-Dad is all about defense; that’s what he’s about. So young boys see the attractive young gal, daddy loads the gun, plays defense. That’s what daddy does. Protect his little girl, has to be this way, why? He loves her. He wants to protect her.

7. Now, what if the gal doesn’t have a nice, good daddy who loves Jesus, loves his daughter, what happens? Well, then maybe her mommy does or somebody she trusts and has her best interest at heart.
-This happens with Ruth. Her mom and dad are gone. So Naomi is an older woman who fills in this role. If mommy’s not there, then an uncle or a grandpa or a pastor or a community group leader, some good, Godly people are brought in, why? To help oversee things, to give wise counsel.

8. Eight, a man should only pursue a woman who will make a Godly wife and mother.
-Don’t just think, “Oh, she’s hot.” So’s hell. You gotta go for more than that. Hot’s fine. We’re all fine with hot. Rebekah’s hot, great, but she’s gonna be a nice mom. If she’s gonna feed a camel, she’ll feed a kid, right? You see she’s a woman who is hardworking, industrious, nice gal, right?

9. Number nine, a man should not pursue more than one woman at a time.
-Don’t go after ten people at a time, right? I mean, and guys are notorious for this. A gal thinks she’s special. Then she realizes there’s four other gals he’s calling, taking out to tea, dinner. No, one at a time. That could be someone else’s spouse some day. You ladies too, don’t keep five guys on a hook – one at a time, somebody who loves the Lord, that’s competent and qualified to potentially be a spouse.

10. And there should be no sexual contact between the couple until the appropriate time, and then there should be a ton of it
-Ephesians says even be a hint of sexual immorality. Where’s the line? Well, I tell you what, zero; how about that? Oh, come on. How about negative ten? (Laughter) You want me to keep going? No sexual contact. No making out. No necking. No nothing. No nothing. No – why? Well, first of all, God says that the body is holy, belongs to him, and it’s sacred, and you’re not to dishonor it in that way.

11. Eleventh thing, a woman should live her life without a guarantee that she will be married.
-Start a career. Serve Jesus. Be a doctor. You know, pick a career. Do your thing. Love the Lord. Be successful, and don’t just sit there thinking, “Where’s my husband?” It might be a while. He may never show up, and you still gotta live, but when he shows up, your whole life changes, totally changes.

12. You should just live your life, ladies, and when a guy comes along you should be willing to jump track and go a whole other direction.
-For Rebekah, she’s drawing water out of a well. Next thing you know she’s on a camel going 450 miles away. That’s a change – different family, different place, different nation, whole deal.

13. The next point is that a woman’s character should be observed from a distance before a guy initiates.
-Not like a stalker, but, guys, before you jump in, see. See how she serves in church. See what her prayer life is like. See what she does on the job. See how she lives her life. Watch her.

14. The last ones, a woman can accept or decline a man’s advances at her discretion.
-So a guy initiates, “Hi, I love Jesus. I’m interested. What do you think?” And a lady can say yes or no, no. And the guy has to accept it. No one should get their heart broken, but if someone must it should be the man.

15. God is sovereign over the details of our lives through faithful people.
-You see the providence of God in this. God gives Isaac, gives this servant, the servant prays. He goes to town. God provides Rebekah at the well at just the right time. Laban does his job. Rebekah agrees, goes back to meet Isaac. God works out all the details of an individual person’s life. This is our good, sovereign God.

16. The man must choose the woman he loves, but then most importantly, he must love the woman he chooses.
-You don’t fall out of love. Love is something you commit yourself to, and if the Bible says you need to love as a command, then you love, and marriage is a covenant, commitment of love which means I will love you even when I don’t feel like it, and I will love you until my heart changes. So it’s so important going in not just being this untethered, emotional, basket case who is like the tide. Do marry the one you love, but love the one that you marry.

17. God answers prayer, doesn’t he?
-The servant prays, “Please, a good, Godly woman” – Rebekah. Pray. It’s not just about personality type. It’s not just about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about prayer and the sovereign providential God works out the affairs of our lives so that we can meet someone that we can love, that the details can be worked out. Pray.

Freebie: For those that the above just doesn’t fit in for you: Well then there is God’s GRACE! Some of you are thinking, “Oh, my gosh, it’s already too late. I mean, sex, porno, cohabitation, multiple partners, playing people, lying, not having a plan. It’s too late, Mark. I have blown it. I have made huge mistakes, these huge sins. I’m a total fool. See, that’s the beauty of the Christian faith. Jesus Christ died for all our sins, specifically junk we’re talking about.