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Exhaust and perfume…


While we were raising our teenage son, one wise parent, who had been through it, told me that once boys get a whiff of exhaust and perfume… things are never the same. Even though it kind of fit, I knew that there was more to it than that even though I can remember experiencing the same thing as a teenager. Both were very distracting at that age! But there’s more to the story so… back to the topic at hand…

I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. There were times when my son would be the kid I had always known and then the next it was like a totally different person occupied his body. Good natured, caring, intelligent and then surly, angry, sullen, rebellious… within a 24 hour period! What in the world? The challenge was how to react, how to communicate and how to cope. Getting angry didn’t work. Being more strict didn’t help. Doing nothing seemed to make it worse at times! So… more research…

What I found was that the hormone levels in a teenager can sometimes swing 300% or more in a very short time frame and that can be a huge factor in mood swings and behavior. So the question then became… knowing that this was somewhat a physical issue… what do you do as a parent? You don’t want to let the behavior just go but you also know that there is somewhat of an uncontrollable in the midst of it. So I pulled out the parenting manual that came with my son and checked out the appropriate section… you didn’t get one of those? Sorry to say… I didn’t either!

So, what I realized… what I would encourage you to do… is to pray, practice grace and mercy, forgive yourself when you don’t get it, don’t take it personally, and make sure you have some sort of support! And… in the midst of all of that, balancing the control and authority needed during the teenage years. It’s not easy… but don’t lose heart… keep the long term picture fully in front of you! The parenting job is not to be friends, make your teens happy or to make sure nothing ever is difficult. Parenting is all about giving children and your young adult teens skills that will help them be productive, contented, spiritually mature adults who can deal with all that life throws at them… and it can throw a whole lot!

What can you do to help your children for the long run?


January Whetstone Newsletter

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Welcome to a New Year! Every year I do goal setting in November or December for the coming year. At times I forget them or give up on them.  But what I’ve come to realize is that I don’t need a New Year to start. Every day is new and a chance to begin again. Even if you’ve given up your New Year’s resolution or goal, you can start again too.

“His mercies are new every morning.” Lam 3:23


Articles of the Month 

Preparing for a New Beginning with a New YearStephen W. Smith

“Every New Year begins the opportunity for us to begin again. What didn’t work this past year now has the chance for transformation”

Steve’s articles are fast becoming a monthly feature here on the Whetstone. In this one, Steve gives us 5 challenges to implement this New Year. The one I want to implement: Live a life of rhythm. Which one strikes you the most? Why? Let me know via email by replying to this email or commenting below the newsletter on the website.


Addicted to DistractionTony Schwartz

“Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life. By that definition, nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet. It has arguably replaced work itself as our most socially sanctioned addiction.”

When we give our attention to one thing, we’re denying something else of our attention. For me, it’s always the people around me. And, I’m telling them that something else is more important than they are. I wouldn’t ever tell my kids that a cat video is more important than they are, but I do it when I give my attention to that instead of them. Who or what are you giving importance to by your attention?


At the Intersection of Vulnerability and MasculinityJacob Mcmillen

Fellas, we need each other. We aren’t designed to fight through life alone. God has given us each other so we don’t have to endure our struggles alone.


Hack the Facebook Algorithm for Spiritual Growth Marc Alan Schelske

“The Facebook algorithm that determines what posts you can see is already impacting you this way. Those silly memes, political rants, passive aggressive vaguebook posts, and all the pictures of everyone else’s’ best moments are shaping how you feel about yourself and the world. Anything that impacts your mood will also impact your relationships.”

I recently deleted my Facebook account for about 6 months because it was impacting how I viewed others. I needed a clean break for awhile. Now that I’m back on, Marc’s article gave me some useful tips on being more intentional on my Facebook use.


One Question That Can Change the Way You Do LifeMatt Rise

“The question that distills my complicated reasoning to the essence of the struggle is:

Which do you choose: Discipline or regret?”

ICYMI: My first ever actual blog post for the Whetstone. The more I think about it, most of the choices in life come down to choosing between discipline or regret. And most come down to either a long term or short term “reward”. Stick to the diet or regret. Save money or regret. Keep your integrity or regret.

“On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1Tim 4:7


Podcast of the Month

Parenting Without FearRansomed Heart

First, before you listen to this, I do have questions on some of the the theology presented. So listen with a critical ear. And if you have some insight, please comment below or reply to the email.

Fear based parenting decisions. We all do it or have done it. The antidote: parenting with the long term relationship in mind. The Ransomed Heart guys talk about their experiences in parenting out of fear and with preserving a relationship in mind. It’s an aspect of parenting that I’ve had a hard time with: wanting immediate results/compliance and seeing the long term with my kids. What’s been your experience?



App of the Month


Evernote has to be one of my favorite apps/service of all time. I don’t usually pay for apps or web services, but this is one that I do (They have a free service too). I went paperless several years ago and Evernote has become my file cabinet and project manager. I’ve planned vacations with it. I plan the Whetstone with it too. It’s available on every platform and device you can think of.

Get a free month of Evernote Premium here (I get one too if you do).


Stay Sharp!


November Whetstone Newsletter

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Happy Veteran’s Day

Happy Veteran’s Day!  Thank you to all of our military veterans as well as first responders. We appreciate your service and sacrifice. Support one of the Whetstone’s own heroes by visiting this month’s Sponsor, Northern Colorado Firearms Training, for a great deal only for you at the bottom the of the page.

Articles of the Month

Five Strategies For Daily Bible Reading Gavin Ortlund

I have found that amid the pace of life, Bible reading (like so many other things) tends to be eclipsed unless it is structured into our daily schedule.

It seems that daily bible reading is something that easily gets put to the side. We get busy, distracted, and sometimes just plain apathetic. So we ignore this valuable discipline and miss out on God’s real words to us. Check out Gavin’s 5 Strategies for Daily Bible Reading to get this important discipline going in your life.

Interviewing Mister MaybeScott Williams

My daughter is 12 and nearing those oh so fun teen years and all that implies. And that includes dating. And that’s scary to me as her father. In a world where boys get their education about women from porn sites and peers, it’s my responsibility as her father to protect her. And not just protect her, but her potential suitor as well. Scott writes a thoughtful article on interviewing your daughter’s date and how to go about it.

I want him to know that I’m calling him up, maybe even to be better than he thinks he can be. I want to call him up to be his best, just as his own dad would.

Want more on this? Pick up the book Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date by Dennis Rainey here.


5 Reasons I Still Struggle With the SabbathSteve Smith

I love Steve Smith’s writing (The Jesus Life, The Lazarus Life, Inside Job). I could fill an entire year’s worth of newsletters with his stuff. In this article Steve shares why he still struggles with Sabbath, and why we need it.

The Secret Enemy In Your Marriage John Weirick

” Left untouched, unexpressed conflict will turn assumptions into accusations and accusations into evidence. It’s like rendering a verdict when the other person didn’t even know court was in session.”
John shares 5 practical ways to ways to deal with unexpressed conflict and number 1 is the hardest (Go First).

Every Young Woman’s BattleTim Young

One of the toughest aspects of parenting, for me, is having conversations about sex with my kids. As Tim says in his article, if we’re not having the conversation, someone else is. The consequences are great. Our society’s views are so skewed that everything seems OK. As uncomfortable as these conversations can be, we need to have them. Tim shares his experience of talking to his daughter about sex and shares a letter he sent her reminding her of what God has to say to her.  Hit the link for a grace filled and encouraging message.

Free Audio Book of the Month

Sex and Money by Paul David Tripp   9781610456708

The Free Audiobook of the Month for November is Sex and Money by Pastor Paul Tripp. It grieves our Lord when there is sin in the church. Headlines of Christian leaders sinful failures in areas of sex and money create national news. Sex and Money by Pastor Paul Tripp was written to address these issues and provide clear biblical counsel in these areas.

Podcast of the Month

Prophets of Doom Dan Carlin

This month’s Podcast of the Month is in honor of Reformation Day, October 31st.

4 and half hours of Reformation history! This podcast episode is awesome! Seriously.
“Murderous millennial preachers and prophets take over the German city of Munster after Martin Luther unleashes a Pandora’s box of religious anarchy with the Protestant Reformation.”  You’re going to need a long drive or a podcast player (see last month’s app of the month in the October Newsletter) that can speed up the playback to enjoy this one. Great background and historical context for the Reformation.

Video of the Month
Searching for West is a powerful, beautifully shot video about Mark Seacat’s transition from man to father within the context of hunting.

“There’s things in life more important than hunting. And for the past couple of years, I don’t think that I knew that. There was this moment that taught me that I need to be better at being a father.  I needed to be better at being a husband. And hunting was something in my life that could wait. There’s things in life more important than hunting. And for the past couple of years, I don’t think that I knew that. There was this moment that taught me that I need to be better at being a father.  I needed to be better at being a husband. And hunting was something in my life that could wait.”

Searching for West from Helio + Company on Vimeo.


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