Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome Guest Blogger Abingdon Author Vannetta Chapman!

by Vannetta Chapman

When Gina Welborn invited me to guest-blog at Inkwell Inspirations I was quite excited. Then she suggested I write on a self-help topic. Hmmm. My excitement ebbed a bit. I'm not sure how much help I am to other people.

Cooking? Nope.

Cleaning? I try.

Social networking? I've started.

Dating? Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

I met my adorable husband 13 years ago (lucky 13). He had a 19-year-old daughter and twin 15 year-olds (girl/boy). I had a 10 year old son. For the record, God has a very robust sense of humor. But he knew what he was doing, and that's why to this day one of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

We've now been married 11 years, and we're still dating. Yes - it's taken quite a lot of creativity. For all of those years we've had one or two children in college. Also one of our twins is a special needs child (when you read special needs, you can also read tuition costs forever). So we have had to be creative in our dating.

Just because your wallet is a bit thin doesn't mean you can't find new and different ways to enjoy each other's company.

Here's a short list.

Now I'm not a REAL outdoors girl, but let's face it. Walking around doesn't take a lot of equipment, and it also doesn't take a lot of skill. It's a great way to spend time together, and gals--you have a captive audience if you want to talk! Seriously though, we've had some fabulous times hiking. It's become my favorite thing to do, and that time in Big Bend, Texas when I was worried about the mountain lion - well that's just a bad memory that I'm going to forget.

I don't "get" sports. I don't understand why they go up the field, down the field, then switch the quarter and do it all over again. I never played sports (see the first bullet), and I certainly wasn't a cheerleader. However, my husband played EVERY sport. Well, it is inexpensive to watch, and I must say he enjoys it a lot. He finally keyed into the fact that if he sent me a personal interest story on one of the players, I would become interested in the game. Josh Hamilton? What a story of faith! Now I watch baseball every chance I get. Drew Brees? The guy is amazing. I'M the one who suggests we watch NFL games. Seriously.

Swapping sitters!
Though we have a "blended" family and married when our children were a bit older, we still needed someone to stay with our special needs child. That was a sticky situation, but it wasn't impossible. I learned to find other parents in the same situation and we'd "swap" weekends. This way, no one was out money and we both had a sitter we could trust in a sensitive situation.

Go with the flow!
My son was in the Boy Scouts--in fact he became an Eagle Scout. What do Scouts do a lot? They camp! While I missed him TERRIBLY when he was gone, I learned to use those weekends constructively. If my son had a camping trip coming up, I made sure that I cleared the calendar. That was like a FREE weekend for me and my husband. It didn't matter if we had a lot of money to spend, we could hike or go to the park or rent movies. The important thing was that we had some uninterrupted time together.

I think one of the most important things about dating the person you're married to is WANTING to be with that person. It shouldn't be an obligation. It should be something that you're looking forward to doing. If it is, then you'll find a way to make it happen. So remember why you fell in love in the first place, then thank the Lord for your spouse, pull out your calendar, and schedule a date!

What creative ways do you and your spouse date each other?

Leave a comment and your e-mail addy (your name [at] someplace [dot] com) and one randomly drawn winner will receive a copy of A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS.


Vannetta Chapman has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She currently teaches in the Texas hill country. A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS is her debut novel.
Vannetta can also be found on FB and MySpace.

Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year-old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. Her time of rumschpringa is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness as the Christmas season is in full swing. She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer. Her passion for healing has caught widower Samuel Yoder's attention. Will she also capture his heart? Annie has several important choices to make, all on the morning of A Simple Amish Christmas.

You can buy a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or check your local Christian bookstore.

Gina here :: Vannetta won't be able to respond to commentors until after 4 pm. Her school blocks blogging sites. Bummer for her and us, but good thing for the students! (said by a mother who wasn't too pleased with oldest son when he confessed he was facebooking and/or on and during study hall. Reading about NFL and Ryan Reynolds's newest movie isn't "real" learning. Fun learning doesn't help on the SAT.)


  1. Thanks for guest blogging!!!!!!!! I really enjoyed this and hope that you will join us again soon.

  2. Thanks, Vannetta. Great tips. My husband and I go to the beach a lot for dates since it's only a half hour from our house. Now days we usually take walks, have dinner, and watch the street performers. When we were young and poor, we sometimes took a picnic or went boogie boarding together.
    We have two teens and one eight year old, so babysitting is no longer a problem, but we did our share of swapping back in the day.

  3. I loved this post! What great tips for creative dating, and what an important reminder to date your spouse. Finding childcare is always crazy for us, but we manage to steal time whenever we can.

    Thanks for visiting today, Vannetta!

  4. One of my most memorable dates with my husband was more about the anticipation -- and it was low cost too! He told me in the morning that we would have a date that evening but said it was a surprise activity. All day long I wondered what it would be. Finally, it was time to go. As we drove along, he kept asking, "Any ideas what we're doing?" "No." The end result -- a quick bite to eat at the food court in the mall followed by a movie at the cheap theatre! Nothing fancy at all but I LOVED the anticipation and the mystery!

    I married later in life and my husband's children are adults so childcare isn't an issue for us at this stage. We can make fun out of the simplest things though -- it is all about being together!! Grocery shopping can be fun! Wandering through the local Home Depot and daydreaming about how we'd renovate the house if we had the money is lots of fun too! Going through showhomes doesn't cost a dime either but provides a lot of entertainment and daydreaming!

    Hmmm...Think it is time to schedule one of these fun dates with my sweetie!
    Elaine King
    elaineking1 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  5. I'm home from work! What a fun day of teaching 150 teenagers. Talk about needing a date! : )

    Louise, you're so welcome. I enjoyed visiting the blog.

    Dina, the beach sounds lovely. You reminded me - one of the best investments we make every year is a State Park pass. DEFINITELY worth the $$.

  6. Susanne, Thanks for stopping by. Sometimes we don't think the words DATE and SPOUSE go together, but they do - - don't they? : )

    Anon, I loved your story, and it reminds me how much fun it is to window shop together, ESPECIALLY at the Home Depot!

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  8. Our "dates" have occasionally consisted of hiding out in the garage for an uninterrupted conversation.
    It's amazing how quickly those marriage fires rekindle when you take time to be together!
    This was a terrific self-help post, Vannetta! Thanks for blessing us with it!

  9. Niki, Thanks for the comment! You made me smile over my coffee this morning. Yes, I've done my share of "sneaking around" for a private conversation. Ha ha! It's such a hoot when the kids find you in the hammock together and say "WHAT are you doing out here--TOGETHER?" as if you have two heads attached in some freakish way. : )

  10. Take it from a Mom of 6, dating is a state of mind at times. When my kids were small I always put them to bed by 8:30 or 9:00 just so we could have an hour before bedtime by ourselves. We had 4 kids, then took a break for 10 yrs and had 2 more. When the 2 youngest came along we had babysitters but not much money. Sometimes we would stop by the Sonic for a sundae on the way to the grocery store, but only when the kids weren't with us, (that's what made it a date)HAHA. We've been married for 34 yrs now and have learned that even sitting in bed, both reading your respective books while holding hands is a great lifelong dating habit.
    I really enjoy your writing Vannetta. Love you girl.

  11. We've been challenged in this area. But now that baby boy is in kindergarten and we're moving into a new home (this week), I'm hoping things will settle down and he and I can do better. A lot better.

    So for us, a creative date might be simply lying in bed cherishing the silence of a weekend morning when baby boy sleeps past 7, and talking or watching a cable movie together.


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