Better Than a Dozen Roses: 12 Ways to Let Your Daughter Know She’s Your Valentine


With Valentine’s Day coming up soon, I figure there’s no better way to celebrate the holiday than to highlight the power of a heart connection from a dad to his daughter. And though some may view this day as one reserved only for romance between sweethearts, I see it as an opportunity for a girl to be treated in an extra special way by her dad, thus creating a model for future comparison so she’ll know how to be treated when the love of her life comes knocking!

Rather than give her 12 roses to let her know she’s loved by you this year, why not instead choose 12 things that you can do for her or with her that let her know that she’s worth celebrating?

This 14th of February can be the start of a new tradition where you give your time, energy, and creativity that says, “You’re my valentine.” Incidentally, you’ll notice that none of these things cost money. They’re going to require that you dig deeper inside yourself than into your wallet.

Have fun being resourceful in ways that require ingenuity, patience, a servant’s heart, and a good dose of humor. Here are a dozen ideas to help you win her heart anew this Valentine’s Day:

  • Do something fun that involves the two of you enjoying an activity together —walking, running, biking, shooting hoops, kicking a ball, playing a board game, etc.


  • Let her teach you something she’s good at and you’re not —baking, cooking, doing an art project, coloring, talking!

  • Write a letter telling her the qualities that you love, admire, respect, and want to reinforce in her —for extra credit, read the letter to her and I guarantee this will be something she will treasure for the rest of her life.

  • Step out of your comfort zone and invite her to dance with you to one of her favorite songs —if she declines, don’t feel bad; she won’t forget you asked, even if she says “no.”


  • Listen for ten uninterrupted minutes while practicing active listening skills —look at her while she talks, nod your head to show you’re interested, lean forward, ask questions to encourage her to talk more (yes, you heard me right!).


  • Share three stories from your childhood that you’ve never told her before —of course you’ll want to ask her if she’d like to hear them since some girls like hearing stories more (or less) than others.


  • Serve her in a way that is unexpected and out of the ordinary—fix something that’s broken, run an errand so she doesn’t have to, make her bed for her, do one of her chores as a surprise gift to her.


  • Ask if you’ve hurt her and then seek forgiveness after hearing the whole story —and/or follow the lead of one dad who has makes a practice of asking his five-year old daughter a question every night as he tucks her into bed, “Has Daddy been sharp with you today?” This allows him to hear the hurts and repair them one day at a time.

  • Surf the internet with her and find funny videos that make you both laugh

  • Take selfies of the two of you putting random things on your heads with silly captions to then post on her social media sites with the hashtag #daddaughterselfie


  • Go through your kitchen and at any time of day make a breakfast food that she loves—pancakes, waffles, omelet, cereal—and eat it with no hands, creating an experience that is sure to make a lasting memory! (Idea credit: Garth Brooks, who led his daughters to do this with him during their growing up years, now inspiring others to follow his lead).


  • Watch one of her favorite television shows or movies with her…and enter into it in a way that enhances the experience for her —no making fun of anything she likes and offer to pop popcorn or dish up ice cream to make things extra fun and memorable.


Why not give your daughter a new kind of Valentine gift this year that requires your full attention and whole heart?

I’m convinced that she’ll feel loved by you in a new way as you give more of yourself than money can buy. I believe this has the potential to be better than a dozen roses as this forever memory will last a lifetime!

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at and Twitter @mwatsonphd.

Are We Raising “Ephesian” Men?


Jesus’s last words to his church in the New Testament are found in the first few chapters of the Book of Revelation.  John carries a message for seven specific churches from a man who identifies Himself as: “the first and the last, the living one who died and is now alive forevermore”. There is only one person this could be.

For five of the seven churches, a common theme: “repent”. And perhaps none is more jarring than the first of these letters, which is to the Ephesians.

As He always does, God points to the positives. And this case, there are many. The Ephesian church:

  • Is hard working
  • Patiently endures tribulation
  • Exercises sound discernment and removes false teachers
  • Hates the works of the heretical “Nicolaitans”

I don’t know about you, but at this point, I would be preparing to step forward for a special honor. What more could He ask for? But then the other shoe drops…

Jesus makes it really clear that He has this against the church at Ephesus: they have lost their first love.

What kind of men are we raising? If we raise the kind that excel at the positive things the Ephesian church was demonstrating, surely we are doing well?

Here’s what I see.

I see that regardless what we say or how hard we try to buck it, it’s just human nature to promote leaders who demonstrate they are “all in”.

  • The men who contribute their time, talents, and tithes.
  • The men who step forward–with enthusiasm–to lead meetings.
  • The men who are predictable—they embrace our values and can tell our stories.
  • The men who have demonstrated leadership in other endeavors, such as business, sports, or entertainment.

Here’s what else I see. Regardless of how hard we try to swim against the tide, it’s natural for men we are raising to get the false impression that growth as believers is synonymous with their service in our men’s ministries. It’s completely understandable how this can occur:

  • We need help
  • We ask for help
  • Volunteers come forward to help
  • We check their effectiveness, and promote those who do a good job

In the middle of this perfectly natural system, as we are building a ministry and growing our influence, we can miss one of the most basic things of all: actual time with Jesus in prayer and the Word. Not the kind of prayer where we focus on our ministry, but instead, where we focus on sweet communion from heart-to-heart. Not the kind of time in the Word where we focus on an upcoming message, but rather where we sit and delight in meeting the Living Word of God.

There is a risk that Jesus clearly identifies to the church in Ephesus. Dotting all the “I”s and crossing all the “T”s is good, but it’s not enough.

Jesus interrupts our generally accepted accounting spiritual practice (GAASP) with this fundamental question: “but what about the love?”

Let me be as clear as possible in application. As men’s ministry leaders, we are forever repeating this narrative: “God is after relationship, not religion”. But we must resist every ounce of human nature that drives us to incorrectly focus on performance rather than resting securely in heart connection with God.

How do we assess our true spiritual fitness level? I know of no better diagnostic test than this. Evaluate where you really truly stand in your own time of personal prayer and time in the Word. Not what you SHOULD be doing, but what you are ACTUALLY doing.

  • Are you engaging in these activities as a means to “check a box”, or do you treat these as divine encounters that provide the only source of spiritual food for any believer to grow in the inner man?
  • Are you treating your prayer and Word times as an opportunity to listen to what OTHER MEN have said about God, or are you cultivating an open discussion of a heart-to-heart nature?
  • Are you promoting a climate of accountability with other men around these “behind the scenes” investment in seeking God in the quiet places, or are you giving yourself and everyone around you “slack” because no one really wants to go there?

Jesus makes it pretty clear that even if we “get it right” in every other department, if we bypass the relationship department, we are risking everything. Who wants to spend their whole life thinking we are “all in”, only to find out that we missed the central point of life in Christ?

My prayer? That God will show us if and where we are standing in need of repentance; and that He would give us the grace to repent as if there is no tomorrow.


Tim Truesdale is a husband, father of 4, and nationally recognized leader of Men’s Ministry. The Father is very fond of him.

White Bread and Eggs


I had found my dad after he had abandoned our family and mom moved away. I lived with him just long enough for him to sign the papers that allowed me to get a driver’s licenses at 15. A hardship license. Seemed right to me.

When my parents split I was just 14 and I chose to live on the street, make my own way, and do whatever I wanted. That meant stealing things, talk my friends into giving me money, and taking and selling drugs at will. I was lost and did not know how bad my life was becoming.

When I was growing up we ate solid homemade country foods. My mom was and still is a fantastic cook. Everything is made from scratch, old-style. Bread was the staple food in our house- especially white bread. Soft white center with a golden brown crust. Toasted sandwiches, egg, peanut butter and jelly, melted cheese, tuna with sweet relish. We would take fresh white bread, tear it into small pieces, and sprinkle white sugar over it and our cold whole milk. All stale bread was used to make bread pudding (that was too die for).

I can’t remember where the connecting point was, a friend of a friend maybe. Just after I had gotten my license, I was trying to figure out a way to get a car. I had burned a lot of bridges after I first hit the streets. I was a fast talker and smooth operator- most addicts and alcoholics are early on. Somehow I found a family that needed their big ole 2-story house painted and they were willing to trade an old car and some money for the labor. I said, “Heck yeah!”

I had minimal skills. Still, swabbing a 5-inch paintbrush back and forth could not be all that hard. It was summer, the heat was on, and this house was huge. I arrived early each morning and got to work. No lunch that I can remember. No water bottles or Gatorade either. Just me and my trusted paint brush, a yard hose and a whole lot of time.

The young mom who lived there was super nice to me. I think she knew I was in a rough place. I was very skinny, my hair was long and scruffy, my skin tanned from the Texas sun. Each morning as I began my day she would come out and share the obligatory, “do you need anything?” My response was always, “no mam.” Then one morning she asked if I would like an egg sandwich. I replied “yes”. She delivered it warm on toasted white bread with a bit of mayo and mustard. From that day forward my days changed. She would bring me an egg sandwich and tell me good morning. If she was not home it sat with my gear wrapped in a paper towel.

My heart was impacted by that egg sandwich. I did not know it at the time, but that feeling I had each morning as she came out and cared for me nurtured the lost little boy inside who desperately wanted to be cared for. God was giving me a moment with Him. I never knew it.

In the years to come, as my kids made their way through the house and out the door in the morning on their way to school, I would make them an egg sandwich- just like that lady did for me. Even this morning, as my adult daughter made her way to leave for work I had an egg sandwich on white bread with mayo and a bit of mustard. It was warm and wrapped in a paper towel waiting for her. Memories and habits of the heart. Things that gave us comfort and remind us of good times as a child can brand our hearts, our lives, how we talk and walk and feed our families. These will be the things that form us as an adult. The good, the bad and the stuff in the middle. It is who you are and will always be.

I am not sure if I ever thanked that lady or not. I don’t know if they were Christians or just kind people who wanted to get some paint on their house. I can tell you that her kindness has never been forgotten. I know it has given me a heart for workers at my house. I also love egg sandwiches, on white bread toast with a bit of mayo and mustard, and maybe a small pile of bacon.

Thank you lady with the huge house, with super tall sides, that needed painting one hot Texas summer. Your egg sandwiches were a gift to me from God Himself and it made a difference in that young boy’s life and this old man’s ways. God is always there, always.


-TJ Greaney

Founder: Kids Outdoor Zone Adventure Ministry

Member: National Coalition of Men’s Ministries

Owner/Publisher: Country Line Magazine, since 1996

Host: The Outdoor Zone, #1 Outdoor Radio Show on NBC Radio Network

President: Texas Outdoor Writers Association