Leading from Legacy

The Gift of Music
Musical ability runs deep in our family.  Family history on my mother’s side says that around the turn of the century my great-grandfather, a music teacher by trade, courted my great grandmother with an autoharp.  I vividly remember my maternal grandmother using that same instrument to play hymns, though she could’ve also played on the piano, the organ and the guitar.  She and her husband passed on that love of music to their eight children, of which my mother was one.  Each of them learned to play an instrument for the family radio program which included hymns and gospel music followed by a sermon by my grandfather.  Six of the eight grew up to use their talents regularly for Sunday morning worship and one even graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  Many of the 28 grandchildren, including myself, studied music and still play.  Our family reunions seemed more like mini-recitals for the grandchildren followed by a hymn sing for the adults.

Whether it was practicing piano, singing with my mom, or studying music education in college, music was a big part of my life.  The day I met Harold, he was leading worship at my grandmother’s church.  Even before our children were born, we envisioned music to be important to our family.  It was only natural that we pass on our passion and heritage to our four daughters.  While we gave them opportunities, we did not force their participation.  Their musical gifts and talent led them to include music as a part of their lives.  All four play piano, three play a second instrument, two have sung on the worship team at church, and one has recorded a CD (Read more…) and is now studying worship full time.  Music still continues to play a major role in my life.

A Family Call
I believe that family lines often have a common destiny and that God gives gifts to achieve that call.  In the Old Testament, God set the precedent and called the family of Levi to a common destiny—to care for and serve in the tabernacle.   Throughout history, businesses and trades have been (and continue to be) passed down to the next generation in the family.  History is replete with examples of families who governed—dynasties in China, monarchies throughout Europe and Russia.  Although we in the United States have the privilege of voting for our leaders, there is often a pattern of generations of families who serve in governmental leadership.  Generation influence is also strong in the area of acting, Olympic participation, professional sports, military service, missionary work, and even pastoral ministry.

Both my maternal grandfather and my father were ordained ministers; Harold’s maternal grandmother was an ordained minister and evangelist.  The day Harold was ordained, his mother came into his office and began to pray fervently for him with tears streaming down her face. She later explained to us that she felt compelled to pass on the anointing of her mother.  It was an incredibly powerful moment.

Leading from Legacy
At some point, every child struggles to find their place.  What am I good at?  Where can I excel?  What should I major in?  What job should I get?  What is God’s plan for my life and my future?  Here are some ways to lead from the legacy God has given your family:

Consider your family tree.  When guiding children of any age, study past generations.  Do you see a common passion or gift throughout the generations?  Is there something that God has called your family to accomplish?  Ask God if your child is part of that legacy and listen to your child’s areas of interest.  Our girls are inspired when they hear of how God has used their grandparents and honored when they think about following in their footsteps.

Broaden your focus. For instance, though our family has a legacy of music, the gift of teaching has also been passed down from my great-grandfather.  Two of my aunts and several of my cousins are professional teachers.  I combined the two and became a music teacher.

Think outside the box. God doesn't always follow the same path; sometimes he does something new.  In our family, two of our four are passionately pursuing music as part of their daily life.  One daughter is pursuing education and another is pursing medicine.  To my knowledge there is no gift of medicine in our family, that doesn't mean she can’t or shouldn't pursue medicine.  God sometimes skips a generation or even establishes a new stream.

Be intentional. Before filling the schedule with more activities, be intentional.  Strengthen the strengths of your child and help him or her choose activities that grow skills or talents.  At twelve Victoria gave up ballet so that she could spend more time on the music she loved.  Her time was well spent.  Ask questions and help your child focus on what is important for today and for the future.

Redeem the gift. Maybe your family isn’t full of great examples of Christian life or ministry.  God’s gives gifts, but it’s up to us how we use them.  You can still discover hidden treasures in your family line, but God may call you to use them differently.  For instance your may be from a family of successful but unethical businessmen, but God is calling you to use that same business acumen to multiply wealth for missions or ministries.  Redeem the gift.

Search out the legacy of your family and walk in the blessing that God intended it to be.

A Secure Investment: Investing in Your Children

(Note:  This article is by no means intended to criticize working moms or moms who don’t homeschool.  God calls families to different ways to raise their children:  there is certainly more than one way to raise a godly child.  My heart is to encourage moms who have chosen motherhood as a career.  It is a wise investment.)

After investing diligently for twenty years, my retirement account still stands at zero.  It has nothing to do with my broker or with the economy, but it is a direct result of how I invested.  For more than 20 years I have been a full-time, stay-at-home mom for our four daughters.  I have invested money, time, and energy into teaching, training, and mentoring these young women and it is an investment that has paid high dividends.  (Of course my husband has also played a significant role in their development, but this article is not for the Daddies.)

Before our children were born, I was a public school music teacher who also taught several classes of hearing-impaired students.  Most of the 750 students I saw each week knew my name and some even regularly visited my classroom for extra time together.  I had a decent income, a retirement account, and summers off.  My career afforded me the opportunity to make great dinner conversation as I described how I taught music to hearing-impaired children.  I taught for two years and loved my job.  In the eyes of our culture, I was successful.

God blessed my husband and I and three days after the last day of school, I found myself at home with a newborn baby girl who wasn’t interested in my teaching success!  My ultimate career choice was to be a wife and mother, but somehow this wasn’t what I thought I had signed up for.  Everything was new to both of us and it took some time for us to learn.  Even more disappointing was the reaction of friends and acquaintances when I told them I was a stay-at-home mom.  Some of them questioned what I did all day and others politely smiled and found someone else to talk to.  It was painfully clear that society did not approve of my

No matter what the view of others, I stayed true to God’s call for me and our family.  There were joyful days and there were difficult days (when wanted to quit or resign!).  Most every day was full—full of laundry, cooking, cleaning, straightening, counseling, teaching, repeating, training, undoing, redoing, correcting, repeating, disciplining, discipling, and did I mention repeating?  We read the Bible together, prayed together, talked together, dreamed together, and cried together.  Sometimes the progress was infinitesimal and my dream of God-fearing daughters seemed elusive, but still my husband and I prayed and stayed the course.

As with any investment, there was risk.  Would it be better if we had a second income so we could provide better?  Would a one-income household limit what they could do?  Should we send them to school so they can be taught by the “experts” instead of an inexperienced mom?  What if I ruin them?  The enemy of my soul tried to discourage me and cause me to doubt our choices and my value, but I held to the truth that I am a precious daughter of the Most High God.

Today, our investment continues to yield a high rate of return.  We have four daughters who are lovely, inside and out.  They aren’t perfect, but they know the Savior who is and they’ve been saved by grace.  They know the Word, and they obey the Word.  They are carriers of His presence who sow seeds of Jesus’ love everywhere they go.  My time as a stay-at-home mom has been the best investment I’ve ever made.

The Family Orchestra

More than twenty years ago, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education.  Today my musical teaching is limited to helping my daughters with their private lessons, but my mind still thinks in musical terms.  Recently I’ve been thinking about the similarities between a parent and a music teacher or an orchestra conductor. Music teachers, the first instructors for beginning instrumentalists, teach the basics and endure hours of repetitious and often out-of-tune practice.  Parenting young children is often like being a beginning music teacher—you build the foundation and repeat the same instructions though the process is sometimes tiring and you may see little progress.

On the other hand, orchestra conductors direct instrumentalists who have mastered the basics and are ready to perform with other accomplished musicians.  It is quite similar to the role of parenting during the teen years.  If we parents do our job in the early years, our children won’t need the same level of instruction during their teen years.  Instead of being music teachers, we become more like an orchestra conductors.

We make sure everyone is on the same page.  You can imagine the cacophony of sound that would emerge from a symphony if only one  player was reading music from the wrong page.  Similarly, the beautiful melody of a family can only be achieved if we are on the same page.  When the girls were very young, we tried hard to communicate what was important and why.  We talked about what it means to follow God.  We explained why we chose certain activities and didn’t choose others.  Today, Harold and I try hard to communicate our goals and expectations not only for the girls personally, but also in regard to our schedule—what family commitments we have (We keep a master calendar.) and how each person can best serve our family during a certain period of time.  Our children can’t read our minds.  If I don’t communicate, I can’t expect that we’ll be on the same page.

We set the tempo of our home. As the girls have grown, so have the number of activities and opportunities they have opportunity to be involved in.  When the girls were young, Harold and I discussed which activities were beneficial for the girls and for our family.  Today, the girls come to us with requests and together we discuss the commitment and all of the ramifications to our family life and to our schedule.  As a pastor, my husband has many responsibilities and commitments so we try to look at the calendar and set a reasonable pace for our schedule.  We live in a fast-paced world that seems only to speed up with each passing year.  We try to set a reasonable family pace, balancing busy days and busy weeks with times of Sabbath and refreshing.  Some Saturdays we declare a family day—we disconnect our home phone and Harold turns off his cell phone.   The world has much to offer to fill our days, but it’s our job as parents to set the tempo.

We direct entrances and exits. With two drivers who are very committed to church and attending college, I sometimes feel like we have a revolving front door.  Our culture tends to accept the division of children and their families—children of all ages are involved in sports, music lessons, school activities, church activities, youth group, part time jobs, etc.  None of these activities are bad in and of themselves; however when activities become a “drop and shop”—drop the kids off so you can do what you want—it can divide families.  Give thought to the “entrances and exits” in your home.  All too soon your precious ones will be exiting the front door to start their own home.

We control the volume. In a house of four girls, this one is pretty tough.  Those who know our family well know that there is a certain level of excited chit-chat that accompanies our daughters.  (Some call it noise; I call it happy sounds.)  It is sometimes easier to live a life full of noise and activity than to take time to be silent and alone.  It is important that we teach our children to choose moments of solitude so they can think, process, create, and most importantly, hear the voice of God.  If the volume is turned up too loud, we may miss the still small voice of our Father.

We encourage each one to listen to the other. In an orchestra no one instrument should stand out louder than another, unless they are playing a solo.  Each player needs to carefully listen to those around them.  Listening can be a challenge in our home.  It seems there is never a lack of response to any comment made by one member of our family.  Most certainly at least one other member has an opinion or suggestion about the topic at hand.  More often than not, I hear overlapping layers of conversation interspersed with laughter.  I believe that all individuals, no matter their age, have a desire to be heard and understood.  I sometimes feel that my job is to be the “conversation traffic police”—stopping conversations that don’t build each other up, encouraging one speaker at a time, and reminding speakers to slow down so I can understand.  Monologues are like solos, but dialogues allow the beauty of each individual to shine through so that each one feels heard and understood.

If you are a parent, you are like a music teacher or orchestra conductor.  You may not be capable of teaching piano lessons or conducting a large group, but God has given you, and your family, the ability to create beautiful music that will bring honor and glory to Him.  Soli Deo Gloria.

The Blessing of Teen Daughters

Our parenting goal has always been to raise children who love God with all their heart, mind, and soul; however, each phase of a child’s life is unique and requires different parenting skills to achieve that goal.  Whether or not you choose to use the label of “teenager,” the ages with the word “teen” are years of enormous change, growth and development.  In our home, it has been a joyous time of great blessing and precious memories.  Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past seven years, but most apply to any age: Parenting Daughters Find joy in who she is. Focus on her good traits. Pray for her weaknesses. Make memories. Mentally record her laugh. Do it her way, sometimes. Ask if she wants help. Declare your love. Always respond with kindness. Spend quality time together. Compliment her often. Expect the best. Drink in her smile. Kiss her goodnight. Listen. Gently guide her. Share her excitement. Try something new. Be silly. Hug her tightly. Value her opinions. Enjoy her company. Tackle a challenge together. Encourage her attempts. Listen more. Take lots of pictures. Correct her privately. Think outside of the box. Speak respectfully. Dream together. Treasure the beauty of today. Trust God with the future.

By:  Joy Moore, Copyright 2011

Modest Swimsuits: 2011 Edition

The spring swim wear search is on and I can tell that I’m not alone.  The stats on my website show that there is a lot of interest in the article on modest swim wear that I posted in May of 2010.  Here is an update on what is available for the summer of 2011: There are many more modest swimwear choices available online than there were just two years ago.  In fact, some sites offer suits that cover everything but your face—a little too modest for my taste.  My search is for suits that match our standards for daily living in regards to neckline, tightness and length; though I admit some swim skirts are slightly shorter than than I would allow for a daily wardrobe.

Stitchin’ Times This is still my first choice for modest swim wear.  Last May I posted our experience with suits we’ve purchased over the years.   Last spring we ordered two of the new two piece design—tank dress over swim panties.  The dress sizes ran pretty true, but the swim panties ran about a size larger.  Next time I’ll order a size smaller than the dress I order.  The dress was fully lined, as I requested, and the quality of the sewing was even better than previous years.  Of the two swim dresses, one was made of fabric that seemed to have more nylon in it and it has certainly worn well.  The other dress seemed to be made of lighter-weight fabric and only made it through the end of last season.  I really wish there was some way to gauge the durability of the fabric before ordering.  Overall, the dress is the most practical pattern for fun swimming or a day at the beach; however it is not practical for serious swimming.

Land’s End I’ve purchased suits from Land’s End for more than 15 years.  Unfortunately, Land’s End quality is not what it used to be.  This year you’ll find some new swim dresses which give more coverage on the bottom, but not nearly enough on top, in my opinion.  I did notice a high waist swim mini, a swim skort and low-cut board shorts as options for bottoms, but there were no tops that I felt offered enough coverage.  I suppose you could purchase a one-piece tank and then put the bottoms over top—while you swim or even after you swim.  This may be the best modest suit option for the active swimmer.

Swim Modest I mentioned last year that we had enjoyed the Swim Modest suits we’ve ordered in the past.  Although the suits are available in girls’ or women’s sizes, I think these suits are best suited to younger girls who are frequently in and out of the pool or ocean or young women who aren’t self-conscious about their thighs.  I was able to use most suits for two years.

Here are some other off-the-beaten-path websites that I discovered this year.  I haven’t ordered from these sites, but they offer alternative styles and a variety of fabrics for reasonable prices.

CL Swim Designs (Christian Living Swim Designs) Some very cute designs for girls!  I particularly like the tank top and cap sleeve options with the swim bikini with the skirt cover up.  (I think I would request the skirt be made slightly longer.)  Unfortunately, they do not offer adult sizes.

Hydrochic Stylish women’s swim wear–for a price.  Their swim shirts—short sleeves or ¾ sleeves  only—are all quite unique.  For bottoms, they offer both long and short skirts as well as swim pants.  Sizes range from XS adult to 3X adult.

Sewn By Di For a more economical option, try these custom suits for girls, teens, and women up to 5X, including nursing and maternity suits.  Customers can choose the type of sleeves and length of both skirt and leggings as well as fabric.  Though there is no online store for purchase, you can place an order by email.

Dressing for His Glory These patterns are a little more traditional than the other sites I mentioned.  Separates include jumpers, shirts, t-shirts, culottes and swim skorts for girls and women (petite, tall, and women’s sizes).  All available fabrics are solid colors.

Meant to be Modest Another choice for a modest swim dress!  They only have one pattern, but so many choices of fabrics.  Seller will adjust skirt and legging length by request but requires that knees be covered by either skirt or leggings.  Sizes range from 2T to women’s XL.

Some of the suppliers above have ready-made inventory, but most custom make suits to your specifications.  Be sure to order soon so your suit will be ready when the pool opens!

NOTE: The companies listed above are not relationally or financially connected in any way to Daughters4God.

Help Your Child Develop a Prayer Life

Many Christian parents want to pass on their faith to their children. We are no different; we want our girls to have a vibrant relationship with the God who loves them so much.  That relationship is built through spending quiet time in God's presence, reading His love letter the Bible, and communicating with Him through prayer. Like any goal, it doesn’t happen by accident; it requires a plan of action. In our home, we have used different strategies for different ages.

PRESCHOOL 

It’s never too early to introduce your daughter to the power of prayer. Preschoolers are capable of praying more than “God is great; God is good.”  When my youngest was only two, we visited a 99-year-old saint who attended my church when I was a young girl. During our visit, we had a time of prayer. Each of us placed our hand on this precious prayer warrior and offered a prayer of blessing. The last to pray was the 2-year-old who babbled something incomprehensible. The woman was moved to tears that such a young child would pray for her. Here are some to introduce your preschooler to prayer:

  1. Explain that prayer, talking to Jesus, is like talking to their friends.
  2. Remind them that God hears every prayer they pray.
  3. Give them opportunity to pray from their heart. If they have trouble thinking of anything, start off with “Thank you, God, for...” and let them fill in the blank.
  4. Pray before each meal--even at restaurants.  This lets them know that God is important no matter who is watching.
  5. Make a prayer book. Place pictures of your family, friends, pastors, missionaries, etc. in an inexpensive photo album. As you flip through the book, your daughter can pray with you or repeat after you: “God bless____________.” Unfortunately, I didn’t think of this while my girls were preschoolers.

ELEMENTARY 

When our girls were old enough to read on their own, I made them a prayer card that doubled as a bookmark in their Bible. This simple tool helped our daughters develop their own prayer life. You can make this card on a computer, but these directions are for doing it the old-fashioned way, by hand. Be sure to write clearly and print unless your daughter can read cursive. Here’s how to make a prayer card for your daughter:

  1.  Choose a 3×5 card, with or without lines. Look for one in your daughter’s favorite color or use a white card and make it colorful with markers or stickers.
  2. Begin on a side with no lines. Hold the card in a vertical position with the longest side going from top to bottom. Begin by listing names of your family, one name per line: Ex. Dad, Mom, brothers, sisters, grandparents, other close family members.
  3. Next, (on the same side) list pastors, missionaries, teachers, or others in authority.
  4. Lastly, include things on the heart of your child like a friend who is ill. My oldest daughter included the country of China because she felt called to missions at a very young age.
  5. The opposite side is for your daughter. Choose one or two character traits that your daughter needs to work on. (ex. honesty, diligence, contentment) List the positive trait and a Bible verse about that trait. For example, if you need to work on truthfulness, then you may want to copy Psalm 34:13. If you’re struggling with diligence, you could copy Proverbs 10:4. Each day your daughter can read the verse and pray that God would change her heart. If your daughter reads the scripture each day for several weeks, she’ll memorize it without any trouble.

Of course, the card will not be accurate forever and will have to be updated every 3-6 months. Involve your daughter as you make changes. Pray together about which trait(s) your daughter needs to develop and encourage her as you see growth in her character.

UPPER ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL 

Encourage your daughter to begin a prayer journal. Many Christian and non-Christian bookstores carry bound books with lined or unlined blank pages or create your own with a 3-ring binder and dividers. Here are some suggestions to help your daughter prepare her journal:

  1.   Use a prayer plan like ACTS: Adoration – telling God how great He is Confession – repenting for what you’ve done wrong Thanksgiving – thanking God for His blessings Supplication – bringing your requests to God Prayer isn’t a laundry list of requests; it’s about building a relationship.
  2. Make a list of daily prayer requests, similar to the list above or help your daughter divide the requests: Monday for Missionaries, Tuesday for neighbors and those who are sick,  Wednesdays for Pastors, Thursday for family, Friday for Friends, Saturday for School.
  3. Make a chart for prayer requests, include a space for the date you begin to pray for the request, the date it was answered, and the answer. Seeing so many answers to prayer will grow your daughter’s faith.
  4. Record the scripture you read each day. Write one sentence summarizing the scripture in your own words and one sentence about how it applies to your life.
  5. Write your prayers to God. Encourage your daughter to write her feelings, reminding her that written words should be respectful and represent only what she would speak to others.
  6. Listen to God. In my own journal, I record my thoughts and prayers in cursive writing and what God is impressing on my heart in all caps.  Later, I can easily look back and focus on God's encouragement to me.  Prayer is a conversation, not a monologue.

Prayer is such a key part of a relationship with our God. The earlier we teach our children about prayer, the earlier they establish that vital spiritual discipline.  Earlier is better, but it's never too late to start.  If your child is older, model to them the importance of prayer by praying before meals, talking about how God has answered prayer, and offering to pray with them about challenging situations in their life.  My dear mother prayed blessings over us each day just before we walked out the door to get on the bus.  And of course, pray for your child and ask God to give them a desire to be in relationship with Him.

These are just a few ideas God showed us to teach our daughters about prayer.  Ask the Creator of creativity to show you how to best reach the heart of your daughter and help her develop a vibrant and powerful prayer life.  I'd love to hear ideas from your family about how you have taught your children about prayer!

Back-to-School Memories

Planning for school is quite a task—choosing curriculum, ordering books, purchasing supplies.  It takes a lot of time and thought.  My mother never homeschooled her five children, but her job to prepare us for school was just as challenging.  She had an incredibly organized system to accomplish that goal, but the process never took precedence over making each of us children feel special.
 
A TRADITION IS BORN

In early August we took inventory of our clothing.  Mom sat on the edge of my bed with notepad in hand, recording my needs with the most beautiful cursive writing.  Ours was an extremely frugal family and often my list was short since I had an older sister whose hand-me-downs supplied most of my wardrobe.  My sister was much taller than I and the clothes never fit perfectly, but Mom altered them often by ripping out the seams and remaking the garment using the worn material.  There was one exception and that was the outfit for the first day of school.  Mom always made sure that we had something new to wear.

Our first stop was the upstairs sewing room where we’d pour over boxes of patterns and stacks of fabric my mother had bought inexpensively at a local warehouse.  I’d choose a pattern and fabric for my new shirt, skirt, gauchos, or pants.  If the fabric inventory was low or mom didn’t have a pattern in my size, we went to the fabric store, sat side-by-side paging through pattern books, and searched the remnant table for the perfect piece of fabric.

A few weeks later, with list in hand, Mom and I went school shopping for the things she could not sew.  This was a highlight of my year!  With four siblings, I recognized the treasure of having Mom all to myself for a few hours.  We generally started at Kmart (before the Wal-Mart years) and purchased the “foundational garments” mom couldn’t make.  Sometimes we bought shoes but our family most often went to a friend’s store to purchase everyone’s shoes at the same time.  We bought new notebooks, folders, notebook paper, a new box of 64 Crayola crayons complete with sharpener (I still love the smell of those crayons!), and whatever else we needed that year—a lock for a locker, an assignment book, or a book bag (pre-backpack years).  When every item on the list had been crossed off, Mom let us pick out something special that we wanted.  Once I chose a set of watercolors.  Another time we got a treat from the Kmart food counter—cherry red Icees with pictures of polar bears on the cup.  When I came home with my bags of treasures, I presented them to my siblings and later to my dad when he got home from work.

Our shopping days changed a bit over the years.  When I was in eighth grade, we went to the outlets in Redding, PA.  The following year when I was in high school, there were only three children at home and money wasn’t quite as tight.  We began to buy jeans and a few other things at the mall, but Mom still sewed whatever she could.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but she managed to make stylish clothes by combining several patterns for one garment or allowing us to help design our own pattern.  On our last school shopping trip, for college, she helped me find a rug remnant and coordinating comforters for my dorm room.  I remember little of the items we purchased over the years, but I still feel the warmth of uninterrupted time with Mom.

EMBRACING THE TRADITION

Now I am making precious back-to-school memories with our four daughters.  The first year I began to homeschool, I had a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a six-week-old.  I wasn’t really thinking about shopping.  I was just glad to have my curriculum!  School days were short and we had many opportunities to shop for new clothes or school supplies we needed.  As the girls got older, I recognized the need to spend one-on-one time with them and my heart remembered those special shopping days with Mom.

We adopted the tradition of back-to-school shopping days, but with a Moore family twist.  We still take inventory of clothing, pass along the hand-me-downs (a rare thing since all the girls are now nearly the same size!) and I make a list of what each one needs.  We also take inventory of what school supplies each daughter has and will need in the coming school year.  I schedule a day for each daughter and together we “conquer the list.”  There is no sewing room or fabric or patterns.  I high-tail it to Wal-Mart!  We collect our school supplies first, and then we pick up any “foundational garments” and hit the sales racks.  Depending on what’s on the list, we may end up at our favorite thrift shop.  In our area of Virginia, it’s not always easy to find winter clothes in August, so we often finish our shopping later in the season.

Like my mom, I let the girls choose something they’d like—something that isn’t a necessity.  Over the years, Abigail chose a bendable pink ruler, Anna chose a collapsible ruler, Elisabeth chose a paint-by-number picture of a horse, and Victoria chose a beautifully decorated journal notebook.  If it fits in the budget, we may get some ice cream or even have lunch at a fast food restaurant.  Most of all I make opportunity laugh and to listen.  I don’t want it to be a totally serious time, but if it seems appropriate I’ll ask what they liked or disliked about the school year before, what they’re looking forward to, and what they’re thinking about for the future.  And like days gone by, when we return home one sister joyfully shares her newly-purchased treasures with the other sisters.

This year I thought we’d try something different.  Since time was limited because of our Guatemala missions trip, I thought we’d do a joint shopping day at an outlet center sometime in the fall.  It seemed like a good idea at the time since two are at the community college and didn’t really need much in the way of supplies or clothing.  But here I am, three weeks into school, feeling the loss of those special moments with my girls.  I don’t miss the shopping, but it’s not really about shopping.  I miss the one-on-one time with my daughters, one way I can communicate to them how precious and valuable they are to me.  It doesn't matter that we’ve already started school.  I’ll squeeze in some time with my girls between Chemistry and Algebra 2, and thank my mom for taking time to make back-to-school memories with me.

Making Memories with Family Adventures

Many of our friends know that we love to go on adventures.  Adventures are fun any time of the year, but summer is particularly great because we aren’t in school and the weather is good.The time together on our adventures has bonded our family and brought joy and refreshment to our souls.  We seldom spend money beyond the cost of gas and a picnic, but the memories are invaluable.

Making a Plan When the girls were young there was little money for entertainment, so we looked for ways to be creative.  We would tell the girls that on Saturday (or whatever day worked) we were going on an adventure.  We didn’t tell them what we were doing or where we were going.  (That way if things didn’t work out, we could choose an alternative plan without disappointing them!)  Our adventures today aren’t always a surprise, but they’re always full of fun. We usually pack a picnic lunch to eat along the way.  The same food we eat in our kitchen seems much more exciting when we’re sitting on a blanket under a tree.  Our traditional and simple picnic lunch: chicken salad, loaf of bread, bag of carrots, bag of grapes.  We usually have those items on hand, they’re easy to pack, and the sandwiches are easy to assemble at our picnic.  (Sometimes I throw in an unexpected sweet treat!)  Because we pack the same things each time, everyone knows the drill and can help.

Choose a Destination Most of our adventures are free (or very cheap!) and close to home (an hour or less drive).  We chose the simple pleasures of life and things that our special to our area—a walk on the beach, a ride on a car ferry, a hike at the arboretum, a climb up a lighthouse, or a walk in Williamsburg.  The goal is not to “wow” the kids but just to enjoy life together.  Here are some other resources to help you choose adventure destinations:

Summer Fun Jar I asked the girls to dictate to me the activities they wanted to do and I recorded them on slips of paper.  (Ex.  Go rollerskating, go to the park, paint, have a hair salon, play a marathon Phase 10 game with all 10 phases…)  Many activities were just fun things to do around the house and others were more like adventures.  We put these slips of paper in an old tin and named it the “Summer Fun Jar,” though it wasn’t a jar at all!  We continued to add activities until summer break arrived. During the free days of our summer, we took turns choosing a slip of paper from the “Summer Fun Jar.”  The paper chosen revealed the adventure of the day.  Some days it was just us girls, but Dad joined us for the adventures away from home. If you don’t feel that you have enough time to create your own “Summer Fun Jar,” you can purchase Summer Fun, our collection of family-friendly boredom busters for fun-filled adventures. Nearly every card in this book represents a slip of paper that was in our “Fun Jar” or an activity that we’ve done as a family. Ideas are divided into categories by color of paper: sunny day (yellow), rainy day (gray), requires money (green), ministry opportunities (white), and girlie activities (pink).  Other activities are listed by regions in PA, MD, VA and NC (purple).  We’ve also included some blank cards for you to add your own activities.  Since the online store is temporarily under construction, you can order Summer Fun by calling Daughters 4 God at 757.472.1897.

Letterboxing If you like searching for hidden treasure, letterboxing is for you!  People around the world hide plastic boxes (think: Glad disposable).  Your job is to find the hidden box using the clues posted online. Getting started is simple.  At letterboxing.org you’ll find several options on the home page.  There’s a “getting started” article as well as a “search for boxes” option that sends you to a page where you’ll enter your geographic information.  Choosing by region narrows your choices more specifically to your geographic area.  Click on the name of the box to link to the clues.  Use the “Print View” option on their website for a printable version of the clues.  Before you begin your hunt, bring your printed clues, a small notebook and a stamp you would use to make a craft—not the US mail type! When you locate the box, you’ll find a treasure inside.  Each box usually has a stamp (many hand-carved), a stamp pad and a small notebook.  Your job is to use their stamp to stamp your notebook.  Then use your stamp to make an entry in their notebook.  Sometimes we remember to bring our stamp and sometimes we don’t.  Instead of a stamp, we always sign our names and where we’re from. If you enjoy letterboxing, you may also enjoy hiding a box and creating the clues.  We also thought it would be cool to have a specific “family stamp” to use for our letterboxing adventures.  Maybe someone in your family could carve a stamp with symbols that reflect your family. While doing some research for this article, I also discovered another letterboxing website: www.atlasquest.com.  We’ve never used this website, but I found that some clues from the letterboxing site are linked to the Atlas Quest site.  Same basic idea with basic information to get started and a way to search boxes, though there are more specific descriptions about your location including the length of the hike, whether it is bike friendly or pet friendly, and whether it is in a fee area. Our family has been on several letterboxing adventures in our hometown as well as in a neighboring state.  We were unable to find a few of the boxes, but the directions led us to discover some beauty of God’s creation that we would’ve otherwise missed if we hadn’t been searching for a plastic box!

Summer 2010… As the girls grow older, our summer has quickly filled with jobs and other commitments. There are fewer days available for adventures.  It is with fondness that I look back on those special family times.  I anxiously look forward to the few unplanned days of our summer when we can pick a card from the “Summer Fun Jar” and go on yet another Moore Family Adventure.

Post a comment to this article and tell us about your letterboxing experiences or your fun family adventures.

Under Construction: Our New Online Store

Some of you may have noticed that our online store is temporarily under construction while we make some adjustments.  When our new store opens, you’ll find some changes.  After much prayer, Harold and I believe that God is leading us to make some adjustments to our ministry. First, we are discontinuing all products that aren’t exclusive to Daughters 4 God.  We will continue to carry our self-published titles such as Lady Day, The Gift of Purity, the audio products, and our sterling silver jewelry.  It is impossible for us to offer the other products at prices to compete with Amazon or CBD.  At this point, I’m planning to review new products for raising daughters, but we will not be offering them for sale.  Fewer products mean less time managing inventory and more time for writing and for ministry at our local church.

Second, we anticipate that our new store will have audio and pdf downloads priced less than a hard-copy product.  Some of you have asked for a “Cleaning Game” download so you don’t have to pay shipping.  We think that’s a great idea and we’re working to make that a reality.  We’re also hoping to add more audio teachings as well as some other books that are in development.

Third, we will not be traveling to homeschool conventions as we have in the past.  (We still haven’t decided about MACHE for 2011…)  It has become more difficult for us to travel together.  Harold took on a new role as Associate Pastor last October which means he can miss fewer Sundays, and the oldest two will be in college in the fall but still living at home.  Yes, we could leave Harold and our two college students behind, but that’s not what the Moore family does.  We’re a team and we minister together.

We believe that this is God’s plan for this season.  We will still look for opportunities to share our heart and our experiences, but just a little closer to home.  That’s a tough one, since we’ve made so many friends over the years.  Thank you for all of your encouragement and support.

Ruth Bell Graham once saw a sign along the road and asked that it be epitaph.  Her tombstone reads:  “End of Construction.  Thank you for your patience.”  I suppose I feel the same way, like I’m always under construction.  There’s another flaw, another weakness, another insecurity that my Creator lovingly reveals to me.  But I’m so grateful that He also shows me His complete sufficiency for every area of my lack.  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)  “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 1:6)  His construction process is not always easy or pleasant, but always necessary and beneficial.   Our construction, both personally and for D4G, continues but thank you for your patience.

Modest Swimsuit Options

It’s hard to believe that swimsuit season is nearly upon us.  Our family used to dread this season, but now we look forward to the summer.  Several years ago the girls came to me wanting to find more modest swim suits.  Even though they were wearing very modest one-piece suits, the suits showed more skin than the girls were comfortable with.  So began the quest to find a modest suit.  I recognize that every family has different standards regarding modesty, but if you’re looking for other options for swimsuits, here are a few suggestions that have worked for our family. PLEASE NOTE:  We are not endorsing any of these products, but merely relaying our experiences in hopes that your family will be able to locate modest swimwear that suits your needs.

Swim Modest I really liked the style of the one-piece suits (short sleeves, shorts and attached sarong), especially for very active girls.  We’ve ordered three child-sized suits from Swim Modest.  The girls especially liked that they could pick out the fabric, but they found that the sarong sometimes got in the way of serious swimming.  It was especially modest for playing on the beach.  The lining in the panty was not attached well, but could easily be attached more securely.   The material is not as thick as Land’s End suits we’ve owned, but they did make it through two years of frequent pool use.

Stitchin’ Times Owned by a woman in Lancaster County, PA, Stitchin Times specializes in custom-made suits with several options, including choice of fabrics.  Styles include a one piece swim dress with attached swim panty or shorts and newly added swim separates—a dress with a swim panty or swim shorts.  The first suit we ordered was a girls-sized cotton blend fabric which took a long time to dry.  Also, a seam under the arm of the tank was slightly bunched and made a red mark after a long day of swimming.  We really liked the quality and the mid-thigh length of the skirt.  The second suit we ordered was a lycra spandex blend and it worked better for us.  Because the material was lighter weight, there was no problem with the seam under the arm. We ordered a sleeveless adult suit and found the skirt was a great length, about mid thigh.  The top of the suit had an attached soft cup bra, but we didn’t like that the outline of the cups were noticeable.  The company gives you the option to special order a suit without a bra so you can wear your own.  We’re trying that option this year for the two younger girls.

Land’s End I’ve ordered various products from Land’s End for more than fifteen years.  The quality and service have never disappointed me.  While the quality has declined slightly over the years, the quality still remains far above the average suit you purchase at a department store.  They usually have several modest suits even for serious swimmers, depending on the styles offered for the year.  We’ve ordered several children’s suits and especially liked the full lining and the full coverage in the seat area.  We prefer the traditional tank design because the “racer back” design makes the arm holes a little low.  We’ve ordered several adult suits.  I love the options for torso, leg opening, bra type and style.  Again, the seat coverage is good and many suits have coordinating cover up skirts available to purchase separately.

If you aren’t able to afford these options but still want to instill modesty in your daughters, consider using my mom’s guidelines.  She asked that when her children were not swimming in the pool or the ocean, we had to be sufficiently covered—boys with a shirt on, girls with a cover up that covered our bottom.  She didn’t want us lounging around wearing so little.  I believe she was on to something.  I hope that these suggestions will bless your family and encourage your daughters as you make swimsuit choices for your family this summer.

Resurrection Cookies

You will need:1c. whole pecans 1 tsp. vinegar 3 egg whitespinch salt 1 c. sugar zipper baggie wooden spoon mixing bowl waxed paper cookie sheet tape Bible

Preheat oven to 300 F.   Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat.    Then with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.

Explain that after Jesus was arrested the Roman soldiers beat him. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put the 1 tsp of vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the white color represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.    Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.    Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.    Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.

Go to bed.  Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.

Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.    Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.           Read Matt. 28:1-9.

HE HAS RISEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Favorite Things: Homeschool Elementary Curricula

Introducing “My Favorite Things”

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a connector.  I love to connect people with people or people with resources.  That’s why we started Daughters 4 God.  If I was blessed with the opportunity to chat with you over a cup of mint hot chocolate at Starbucks, you’d hear about my new favorite book I’m reading, or about a website I came across, or about someone I know who might be able to help you accomplish the project you’re working on.  I’m really not out to sell anything (which is why I’m such a poor business woman! J), I merely want to support others as they walk out what God has called them to do.

This month, we are launching a series entitled, “My Favorite Things.”  I can’t say that I’ll include an article in the series every month, but my goal is to share the things that have blessed our family.   Most all of my favorite things came by recommendation of a friend.  I can also say that some of my friends have steered me away from what could’ve been a bad choice.  I hope that some of my favorite things will bless your family and maybe even become your favorites, too!

My Favorite Things:  Elementary Homeschool Curricula

Sing, Spell, Read & Write My friend Christine recommended this wonderful curriculum to me as I was planning for Kindergarten.  There are actually two kits—preschool and first grade.  I used the first grade set with all four of the girls when they were in Kindergarten, even though they represent several different learning styles.  Since I was a first year homeschooling parent, I appreciated that the kit was so complete.  My box included:  a teacher’s manual, two consumable student workbooks which included phonics and handwriting practice, 17 paperback student readers, cassette tapes, WORD-O (Bingo) game, two Go Fish Phonics card games (one for solo sounds and another for blends), vowel flash cards, a colorful Raceway chart to track progress, and a cardboard treasure chest full of prizes.  It was (and still is) a little pricey, but was very cost effective for a larger family since I could reuse everything but the workbooks--and the prizes.  The girls enjoyed it so much; they insist that they will be buying it to teach their own children. Why I like it: We had so much fun learning to read; I believe it gave the girls a love for reading that continues to this day.  I loved that their reading books corresponded directly with the sounds they were learning, setting them up for success.  It was a simple yet comprehensive system to integrate phonics, reading, spelling, and handwriting.

Winston Grammar Some homeschool moms dread teaching grammar, but not this mom.  Having used this program with all four girls, I found that it suited any learning style, but was particularly effective with a child who needed  a “hands on” approach.  The Basic program comes with a student workbook, a teacher’s manual and a pack of cards.  There is a pre-test to diagnose current skill, 30 weekly lessons of about 12-13 problems, four quizzes interspersed throughout the lessons, and a final test.   Each lesson includes the introduction and explanation of a part of speech using a specially designed card.  Students choose one card to represent each word of the sentence, making a line of cards on their desk.   For example, lesson 1 introduces articles.  An article card is red, so each of the “a’s,” “an’s,” and “the’s” in the sentence would have a red card.  All the other words would have black cards, indicating they haven’t been learned yet.  Students then mark their workbooks according to the markings on the card.  (An article has a check above it)  Most every week a new card is added until students can identify every part of speech and what they modify.  The last quarter of the book teaches noun functions using another set of cards.  Not only did the girls enjoy the program, they quickly learned the material and retained it. Why I like it: Most students don’t enjoy learning grammar, but each one of my girls looked forward to Winston Grammar.  It required little involvement form me and gave the girls tools to be successful as they studied independently.  As their understanding of grammar improved, I also saw a marked improvement in their writing skills.

The Learnables Elementary foreign language study just didn’t fit in our budget for the first few girls, but I rethought my decision when we began language studies in high school with our oldest.  When the youngest was in fifth grade, we wanted to begin a language but didn’t want to invest in Rosetta Stone.  Instead, we purchased the Learnables Level 1 CD-Rom  for French.  The concept is similar but not nearly as comprehensive.  No writing is required and no written words are shown.  Students look at pictures while the native speaker says either a word or phrase to describe the picture.  There is a 10 question quiz at the end of each of the 10 units.  I found that Abigail looked forward to her French lesson on the computer and began to apply her new vocabulary in her daily life.  At $50, it was a fairly inexpensive way to launch our foreign language study. Why I like it: I want my children to have the experience of communicating with someone who is not speaking English. The Learnables allows children to understand sentences spoken by a native speaker of a foreign language.  It fuels the interest for further language study which can be a benefit in sharing the gospel with those who haven’t heard.

Mystery of History 1 (MOH 1) My friend Allison called me for some homeschool advice and just happened to mention a new  history curriculum that had  just been released.  With girls ages 12, 10, 7 and 5  years, I was looking for a history curriculum we could all do together.  Frankly, that’s all I had time for.  Blending traditional ancient history and biblical history to create one seamless timeline of study from creation to Christ, MOH 1 was a perfect fit for our family.  There were three, short read-aloud lessons per week with a follow-up activity for elementary students, middle students, and older students.  I appreciated lesson plans that built on what they had learned in the lesson, giving them an assignment that was interesting and age-appropriate.  Map work, weekly quizzes or reviews, and other various activities required reproducible pages included in the teacher’s guide.  (These are now available separately on CD Rom.)  A helpful appendix references the lesson number and recommended literature, media, or other resources that we were able to find at our public library.  I used the literature recommendations for scheduling literature to supplement our language arts. One unique activity from MOH 1 that we did together was to keep a timeline in a 3-ring, 3x5-card notebook.  We created a 3x5 card for each person or event we studied.  On one side, we wrote the date(s); on the other side, the older girls wrote a description in their own words and the younger girls drew a picture with colored pencils.  Sometimes I used the cards as flash cards (around what date did this happen?) or I shuffled the cards and asked the girls to put them in the order in which they happened.  I can still see them crawling around on the floor with 20-plus 3x5 cards framing the perimeter of our family room! The following year  we used MOH 2--same basic set-up with slightly longer lessons, but the Dark Ages were not nearly as appealing and it was hard to maintain motivation.  Since MOH 3 had not yet been released, we had no choice but to change to another program.  MOH3, covering the Renaissance, has since been released.  When last I heard, future plans were to release a MOH 4 and 5 to complete the series. Why I like it: It saved me a ton of work!  My lessons, activity sheets, map work, timeline and lesson plans were all in one place.  The lesson was short enough for the younger ones, and the older ones developed skills in research and writing.  I felt that we learned how to integrate biblical people and events and the traditional secular history that is taught in public schools.

Considering God’s Creation

As a high school student, I nearly failed biology and never took chemistry.  I was desperate for a homeschool science program that I could teach—and enjoy.  My friend Susan, previously an elementary school teacher and a homeschooling mom of three daughters, recommended Considering God’s Creation.  I liked the simplicity—one teacher’s book, one student’s book, and one cassette tape (now on CD).  I also liked singing songs about science.  You memorize things so effortlessly.  (Remember Schoolhouse Rock on Saturday mornings?)  I had to take some time to divide the chapters up in specific lessons, but there was very little planning.  The read-aloud lessons were filed with scripture and simple explanations of why evolution isn’t true.   We removed the perforated pages and put them in a 3-ring binder, one for each student.  There was a lot of coloring, cutting and gluing projects in the workbook, which made it fun for the older ones, but challenging for the younger ones (younger than 2nd grade).  With a little extra help and supervision, everyone enjoyed science—even me! Why I like it: We all learned so much about so many areas of science--rocks, the solar system, living organisms and the human body.  The student book included instructions and supplies for games and hands on activities that made science fun.  I wish the kids were younger.  I’d do it again!

Next month, look for my favorite middle/high school homeschool curriculum.

A Father's Love (By: Harold Moore)

By: Harold Moore February – the month of love.  At least that is what we are told.  Funny how one day of the year, February 14th, can become a reason to buy cards, candy, flowers, etc., to show how much we love those in our lives.  Shouldn’t we have a life-style of showing love throughout the year?  The obvious answer is, “Yes!”  The way we show true love must go way beyond the purchasing and giving of “things” on a special day.

As a father I’m often challenged as to what to give my wife and daughters on Valentine’s Day to express how much I truly love them.  I will again this year give the ladies of my life cards, candy, and maybe a little gift for my wife.  But all of those gifts are meaningless and futile in expressing love if my wife and daughters do not know in their hearts the love I have for them throughout the year.  I believe they know in their hearts how much I do love them, but it didn’t just happen by accident.  I was intentional.

How can a father intentionally express his love to his family in ways that reach the heart?  I asked God that question one morning and I believe He answered my questions with a very simple acrostic of “FATHER.”

F:  Faithful

A father’s love is shown in faithfulness.  Romans 5:8 tells us that God, our Heavenly Father, shows and clearly proves His own love for us by the fact that while we were still in our sin, He died for us.  A father is faithful to show love no matter what.  His love is not conditional or provisional, nor is it based on the performance of those whom he is called to love.  A father is faithful to provide for the needs of his family.  He provides security.  He is faithful to provide appropriate affection to his wife and children so that they have no need to search for it from any other source.  A father is faithful to keep the covenants and commitments to his wife and family so that his word is true and dependable.

A:  Accessible

A father’s love is shown in accessibility.  Hebrews 4:15-16 tells of our Heavenly Father who understands us and cares for us, even in our weaknesses and vulnerability to temptation.  He bids us to fearlessly and confidently draw near to Him and find help for every need.  A loving father is accessible to his wife and children.  He makes time for them and gives his time to them.  He creates an atmosphere of accessibility and openness.  He loves them; therefore he is accessible to them.

T:  Tender

A father’s love is show in tenderness.  Isaiah 40:11 and other scriptures give us a picture of how tenderly the Lord cares for his own.  Jesus looked over unfaithful Jerusalem and spoke of a tender desire to “gather her under his wings”.  He wept.  He had compassion over the sick, broken, and hurt.  A father who truly loves his family will be known by his tenderness toward his loved one’s emotions, hearts and spirits.  He will be tender with them physically, particularly his wife and daughters, and not treat them as “one of the boys.”

H:  Honoring

A father’s love is shown in the honor and value he gives to his family.  They are not just his; they are daughters and sons of God.  He treats his family with respect and honors their thoughts and feelings because they are created and valued by God.

E:  Excited

A father’s love is shown in an excitement about the things that are important and exciting to his family.  In Zephaniah 3 there is a wonderful picture of God dancing and singing over you with joy and excitement.  What an awesome picture of God and his delight over His children!  A loving father shows an excitement and enthusiasm over the things that are exciting and valuable to his family.  He celebrates and shows excitement about their life and their destiny.

R:  Relational

A father’s love is shown through an abiding relationship with his family.  We were created by God to be in relationship with Him – to be His sons and daughters – so that He could bestow on us the inheritance of His Kingdom.  God’s greatest desire was to show His love toward us by giving us a relationship with Him, not just gifts and pleasures.  Sin separated us from that relationship but God’s love for us was so great that He gave Jesus to restore that relationship with Him.  A father who truly loves his wife and children loves them through relationship.  It is relationship that wraps it all together.  Love must be given through relationship and not just an event or a check mark on “to do” list.

FATHER

In looking at this acrostic I realize that this doesn’t just apply to fathers but to all who call themselves Christians.  I also realize the many times that I fall short of these ideals.  Only our Heavenly Father fulfills these attributes perfectly and constantly.  Yet even in our weaknesses and shortcomings, He still calls us to show acts of love beyond a card or gift on a special day.

My prayer for you is that in this month, and the months that follow, that you will be filled with both giving and receiving love.  I pray that you reach the hearts of those you love with your faithfulness, accessibility, tenderness, honor, excitement, through genuine relationship with you.  And the card and candy are a nice touch.  =)

Christmas Traditions

Traditions are very important to our family.  We all look forward to events and celebrations, especially during the Christmas season.  I believe traditions are important to God.  God gave the children of Israel specific instructions for annual feasts of celebration.  He asked them to start the New Year with repentance, to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest with thanksgiving, and to remember the Passover and His salvation of the Israelites in Egypt.  Each celebration was designed to remind the Israelites of their identity and the identity of God.
Today, our celebrations aren’t called feasts, we call them holidays.  The word holidays comes from “holy days,” days that are set apart.  The purpose is still the same—to remind our families of our identity in Christ and the identity of our Holy God.  Here are some things that our family does to celebrate Christmas and set this season apart from the rest of our year.

Deck the Halls The day after Thanksgiving our Christmas season begins.  We turn on the local radio station that plays all Christmas music, haul the decorations out of the attic and begin to transform our home.  The first decoration to be put up and the last to be taken down is the baby Jesus in the nativity.  I want our family to always keep in mind why we are celebrating.  Harold puts lights up outside and the girls and I decorate inside. One of my favorite things is hanging the stockings.  Several years ago, the girls sewed their own stocking as a sewing project.  Each stocking is made of different fabric and represents the girls:  Victoria’s is Asian satin with a bead fringe, Elisabeth’s is gold felt with a horse patch, Anna’s royal blue stocking has a curled toe with white snowflake buttons sprinkled throughout, and Abigail’s is red with a snowman complete with a carrot button for a nose.

Away in a Manger In our culture it’s easy for the true meaning of Christmas to be lost amidst all the commercialism. When Victoria was about three years old, I bought a plastic nativity complete with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, shepherds, sheep, wisemen, and an angel.  (Would you believe that fifteen years later we still have all the pieces?!)  As Daddy read a child’s version of the birth of Jesus, little Victoria made the people do whatever the story said.  As the girls grew, the youngest one took the role of moving the people and we graduated to reading from the Bible.

O Christmas Tree The tree is the last thing to be decorated, which brings us to one of my favorite traditions.  Before we decorate the tree, each girl receives her ornament for the year, based on what has happened in the past twelve months.  We have quite a collection:  many musical instruments, ballet dancers, a stuffed tooth, a girl with braces, a girl on roller skates with a cast painted on with nail polish, a license plate, frames with photos, and more unique ones that would take much longer to explain.  Some are homemade and some are from a gift shop.  Often, we purchase ornaments while we’re on vacation. (After all, I have to have something to put on the tree after the girls leave and take all their ornaments!)  Our tree doesn’t look like anything from a magazine, but I love looking at the ornaments each year and reflecting on the memories they hold.  Now that the girls are older, each girl puts her own ornaments on the tree.

Angels We Have Heard on High There are so many special events going on in our area during the month of December.  One family I know always goes to the see the Nutcracker ballet, another goes to a Handel’s Messiah sing-a-long.  Our family enjoys cultural events (and of course the girls love to dress up!) so Harold and I look for a cultural event to celebrate the season.  Through reduced rates for homeschoolers and generous grandparents, we’ve been privileged to attend the Nutcracker, another ballet from a local Christian ballet company, the stage production of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the symphony, just to name a few. One thing we never miss is the Grand Illumination in Williamsburg, VA—about an hour from our home. We love to walk through the restored area any time of the year, but at Christmas time it is especially beautiful with decorations on each house made from God’s creation—dried fruits, flowers, and even oyster shells.  On the first Sunday in December, they light electric candles in the windows of the houses, there are various musicians playing, bonfires burning and the then the finale—grand fireworks in three locations and synchronized perfectly.

Over the River and Through the Woods As a girl, we traveled nearly every Christmas morning so we could be with my grandmother, about five hours south of us.  We did get to celebrate Christmas early, but I missed being home.  When we got married, Harold and I established that we would travel to my family the weekend before Christmas (about 6 hours north) and to his family the weekend after Christmas (about 5 hours west).  We get to see everyone and we get to enjoy Christmas in our own home.  It hasn’t always been easy to pack up the kids and travel, but I know it has been a blessing to our parents.  Someday, I know I’ll be on the waiting end of those grandchildren running in the door just waiting to give hugs.

Here We Come a Caroling Christmas just isn’t Christmas without carols.  For the past ten years, Harold and the girls and I have caroled to our neighbors.  We used to carol on Christmas Eve, but many of them weren’t home.  Now we keep an eye out during the week before Christmas to see when our neighbors are home.  The neighbors really seem to look forward to it.  It’s a great way to keep connected to people that we otherwise rarely see.

O, Holy Night Christmas Eve has always been a family time, but each year has looked a little different.  When the girls were very small, we were part of a church plant that did not have a service on Christmas Eve.  Instead, we baked cookies in the afternoon, had a quiet dinner and took the girls to a live nativity scene.  We put the kids to bed early so Harold and I could wrap and assemble presents. Years later, our little church merged with an established church (that’s a story for another article!).    This new church began a Christmas Eve celebration with music and worship dance that continues to this day.  We traded our quiet Christmas Eve dinner for being a part of celebrating our Savior’s birth with our church family.  Over the years, our family has played handbells, the girls have been angels and dancers, and Harold, Victoria, and I have been narrators—thankfully not all in one year!  Many years we’ve had two different services and left church quite late, but we always take the long way home and admire the lights in the city.

Birthday of a King My mother comes from a family of eight children who continue to get together every Christmas.  Some years there were as many as 80 uncles, aunts, and cousins at the reunion.  Though many of the families were following Christ, my grandmother made sure she made the most of every opportunity to continue to plant seeds in the lives of her family.  Each Christmas baby Jesus was removed from her nativity and put on the cake she had made.  Then all the children would gather round as she lit candles and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.  My grandmother now celebrates Christmas with her Lord, but my Aunt carries on the tradition for the great and great-great grandchildren. When the girls were younger, we made a special, very symbolic birthday cake for Jesus from information that my friend Lucinda gave me.  I have posted our special “recipe” in a separate document. (click here) I’ve used this cake for our family Christmas celebration, for Sunday School groups and Bible study groups.  This year, one of the girls asked if we could do it again.  You’re never too old to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

From March of the Toys to Simple Gifts I will never forget the year of the ungrateful Christmas.  God had blessed us immeasurably.  Harold, our two oldest girls and I had moved into a new home and we were excitedly expecting daughter #3.  Money was tight, but Harold and I sacrificed so the girls would have a great Christmas.  (Read:  lots of presents to open)  On Christmas morning, Harold reminded the girls of the baby Jesus we were celebrating, why we were giving them gifts, and then we prayed together.  From that moment on, they were out of control, running from one present to the next, calling out to us, “What’s next?” “Is that all?”  Harold and I were dumbfounded.  Whose kids were these, these ungrateful preschoolers?  We knew something had to change. After much prayer, Harold and I decided to try something new.  We would open one present at a time while everyone watched.  Then the girls had time to thank whoever gave the present.  And the big one…each girl would receive only three presents to open.  It was hard for me because I like to give presents, but it helped the girls to know how many presents they had to open and no one asked, “Is that all?” (Truly, the girls had more than three presents to open, since they bought presents for each other that we also opened on Christmas morning.)  It also helped me to choose carefully and to set a limit instead of picking up just one more thing.  Today, we still carry on the tradition of three presents to open, but now we’ve added one in the stocking so technically that’s four.  (Sometimes we’ve included two closely related items wrapped in one package such as a doll and a doll outfit or a boombox and batteries.)  These aren’t three expensive presents, like ipods or other electronics.   Last year, Anna and Abigail each received a red felt cape that I made.  Elisabeth got a cookbook I made.  Victoria got a scrapbook of pictures from her trip to Asia.  Simple, but the girls loved them.

Click here to read more about the Three Gift Policy…

Now it’s your turn… Our family looks forward to our Christmas traditions with great anticipation.  We love to tell stories of our traditions and we love to hear the stories of other families.  If you have a tradition that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you.  Please post your ideas to this article.  May God bless your family, however  you choose to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Birthday Cake for Jesus

(Scripture references from the International Children’s Version) The cake should be round to represent the world.  It should be chocolate to show the sins of the world. Romans 3:23  All people have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory. Genesis 6:5  The Lord saw that the human beings on the earth were very wicked.  He also saw that their thoughts were only about evil all the time.

The icing should be white to show Jesus’ purity covering our sins. I John 1:7  God is the light.  We should live in the light, too.  If we live in the light, we share fellowship with each other.  And when we live in the light, the blood of the death of Jesus, God’s Son, is making us clean from every sin. Psalm 51:7  Take away my sin and I will be clean.  Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

An angel should adorn the cake as the first bearer of the Good News. Luke 2:10-11  The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am bringing you some good news.  It will be a joy to all the people.  Today your Savior was born in David’s town.  He is Christ the Lord.

Add a star as the bearer of glad tidings. Matthew 12:9b-10  The wise men heard the king and then left.  They saw the same star they had seen in the east.  It went before them until it stopped about the place where the child was.  When the wisemen saw the star, they were filled with joy.

Twelve red candles show Jesus’ blood covering us all the time, twelve months of the year Ephesians 1:7  In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death.  And so we have forgiveness of sins because of God’s rich grace.

Evergreens should surround the cake to represent everlasting life. Isaiah 9:6  A child will be born to us.  God will give a son to us.  He will be responsible for leading the people.  His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. John 3:36  He who believes the Son has eternal life.  But he who does not obey the Son will never have that life, God’s anger stays with him.

Light the candles to show that Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12  Later, Jesus talked to the people again.  He said, “I am the light of the world.  The person who follows me will never live in darkness.  He will have the light that gives life.” Ephesians 5:8  In the past you were full of light in the Lord.  So live like children who belong to the light.

Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and blow out the candles!

7 Ways to Help Children Grow a Thankful Heart

It was a rude awakening.  It was Christmas morning and there were lots of presents under the tree.  I specifically remember someone had given us a lovely dollhouse that we saved to give the girls for Christmas.  I wrapped many small things individually so that they would have more things to open.  That’s fun, right?  Well after each present, the girls would say, “What’s next?” without even acknowledging the present they had just opened.  Harold and I were dumbfounded.  Who were these ungrateful little things that resembled our precious daughters and how did they get this way?  Their attitudes concerned us so much that we began to make some changes at home, making a concerted effort to grow daughters who would become grateful and thankful for even the little things in life.  We weren’t looking for an instant fix, we needed a lifestyle change and a lot of prayer!  Here are a few of the changes we made in our family.
 
 Three Gifts
 I had heard of families who gave their children three gifts, but I didn’t want to be one of them.  I like giving my children presents.  How could I ever limit myself to three!  Would the girls be angry?  Would we ruin them?  Then we started calculating how many gifts our girls actually received:  several from Harold’s parents, several from my parents, and several from aunts and uncles.  They weren’t lacking presents to open.  Harold and I decided that Harold and I would give each girl only three gifts the next Christmas.  We talked to the girls and prepared them in advance so they wouldn’t be disappointed.  Our Christmas the following year was a precious time of excitement.  No one asked what was next, because they could count to three!  And so, the “Three Gift Policy” was adopted.

Over the years our “Three Gift Policy” has changed slightly.  It may change again, but in 2009, this is how it looks.  On the day we decorate the Christmas tree, the girls receive an ornament representing the past year.  (More about that tradition in December’s newsletter!)  Then on Christmas Day, the girls have three presents to open from us as well as a small present in their stocking.  (Sometimes they have more than three gifts from us, but they each have four to open, if you include the stocking.  Depending on the budget, I may combine two similar gifts such as a portable CD player and a CD or a sewing basket filled with a sewing kit.)

The girls also buy gifts for each other.  I used to take them to Dollar Tree, but now they save up their own money and ask me to take them to specific shops, including the thrift store.  I love seeing what they choose for each other, taking time to consider their budget and their sisters’ desires.

Several of the girls have expressed to us that they would like to use the “Three Gift Policy” with their own children, providing their husband is in agreement.  I am grateful God showed us another way.  Our Christmas is filled with so much joy.  And I thought it might ruin them.

Start a Modeling Career When I first noticed my ungrateful girls, God challenged me to examine my own heart.  Was I content with what God had given me?  What attitude was I portraying to my girls?  What was the message I was sending with my words?  “If only we could afford…”, “I wish we could…”, “I wish we had…”  I was the one who was setting the tone of my home.  As I began to speak from a grateful heart about my thankfulness for beautiful sunsets, parking spaces close to the door, and answered prayers, I discovered that the words of my daughters began to echo my own grateful heart.

I was also convicted about another area of my speech.  It’s easy to become so familiar with each other that you neglect the simple kindnesses of life.  We try very hard to always use please and thank you with each other, even when we’re at home.  Certainly the words are not always attached to the true heart of thankfulness, but it does encourage an awareness of being grateful and thankful for what someone else has done for you.

Put off Hindrances A few months after the Christmas fiasco, we made some changes to our daily life.  We discontinued watching broadcast television.  Without the constant barrage of commercials I found that the girls were more content with what they had and weren’t constantly asking for something.  When I asked them to make a Christmas list the following year, they had a difficult thing thinking of what they wanted!  We also limited our shopping trips, especially to the mall.  When one of our daughters was about seven, she would walk through the store picking up things and saying, “Mom, we really need this!”  I would remind her why we didn’t really need that and then she’d find something else.  I’m happy to say that today, she has a grateful heart and is very careful how she spends her money.

Lastly, we limited catalogs which reminded the girls of what they didn’t have.  I like to shop online (avoiding the stores) so I receive many catalogs, especially around Christmas time.  The girls would take the catalogs and begin to highlight what they wanted, or “needed” as they would sometimes say.  Limiting the catalogs made the girls grateful for whatever our budget could afford.

“No Choice Days” Somewhere around the age of four, our oldest daughter, Victoria, decided that she was ready to make decisions.  She never said it in those words, but all of a sudden everything we chose wasn’t what she wanted.  She wanted to wear that dress; she wanted to watch that video; she didn’t want to eat that for breakfast.  We were first-time parents and bought into it for a little while, giving her two acceptable choices and allowing her to make the decision.  She grew increasingly ungrateful.  Then we began to institute “no choice” days—mom or dad chose everything including what to eat, what to wear, what to do.

Over the years, every one of the girls would discover “no choice” days.  Sometimes we had “no choice” weeks, sometimes just one day in a month. Generally, we had “no choice” days until I could see a thankful and grateful heart for what I chose.  I found that as the girls became content with our choices,   they became grateful for the simple pleasures in life.

Cheerful Givers I really like to give gifts to people—not just any gift, but the perfect gift that you know fits them perfectly.  Even when our income was not great, we made sure to give generous gifts to others.  We weren’t looking to draw attention to ourselves or gain some approval, we were merely making a point to our children that these people are valuable to God and they’re valuable to us.  We looked for opportunities to give.  We gave away clothes the girls grew out of.  We’d ask them, “Who does this look like?” and they would name a friend.  (It’s fun to see who’s wearing their dresses on Sunday morning!) As the girls grew, they would often find something at a store and say, “Can we buy this for _______?”  If it was within reason in the budget, we purchased it or made it.  Sometimes the gifts weren’t for an occasion, they were just because.  Now, the girls use their own money to buy special things for friends for birthdays, for Christmas, or just because they see something their friend would really like.

One Thankful Bite Years ago I was having a conversation with my friend Yvette about our children, mealtime, and how to handle food they didn’t like.  She told me about her mother’s plan, the same plan she used with her own children.  Each child is required to eat one bite of each dish that is served, even the dishes that the child “doesn’t prefer.”  This was called their “one thankful bite.”  This would stretch their taste buds a bit and encourage them to be thankful for the food they had without a lengthy diatribe on the conditions of children in Africa.  Yvette’s plan has served our family well.  Some still don’t like mashed potatoes, but others have learned to like things they snarled their nose at five years ago.

An Old-Fashioned Tradition I started early helping my children write thank you notes for gifts they had received.  When they were very young, they wrote some scribble, then advanced to drawing pictures and eventually to copying the words I had written from their dictation.  My friend Kim has really mastered this.  I’ve known her for nearly ten years and she has taught her three daughters well.  Over the years, I don’t think a time has gone by when we haven’t received a thank you note for a gift we’ve given to one of the girls.  Each of her daughters has their own stationary, return address labels, stamps, and a 3x5 card box with addresses of friends and family.  My girls are much better at thank you’s than I am.  I am great at writing the thank you notes, but somehow there’s a disconnect and they don’t get in the mail!  I’m still working on that…

A Marathon, Not a Sprint Keep in mind that cultivating a grateful and thankful heart doesn’t just happen.  It takes intentional focus and consistency on your part.  Sometimes it seems like it gets worse before it gets better!  Don’t give up.  A change in perspective doesn’t happen overnight.  As I like to say, raising godly children isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  It takes determination and focus on the goal which can be miles away!

Today, our daughters are certainly not perfect, but I can say that they are thankful and grateful for even the smallest things.  They don’t give me wish lists for Christmas or birthdays and they are genuinely excited for whatever we choose.  They don’t have the latest and greatest clothes or electronics, but they’re content.  They say please and thank you to each other, and most of the time I don’t even have to remind them!

If you feel that your family is in need of a grateful heart transformation, talk with your husband and make a plan to add one or two things to cultivate thankful hearts.  There are certainly more ideas than what I’ve listed here.  God is faithful and He will give you the perfect ideas for your family.  Happy Thanksgiving!

If you have ideas that you’d like to share with the readers of the newsletter, please send them to joy@Daughters4God.com and write “Ideas” in the subject line.

The New Daughters 4 God!

Welcome to our new home!  We’ve been building and redecorating for more than a year, but it’s great to be moved in.  We’re glad you’re here and we hope you enjoy your visit.

What’s new?
More than 12 months ago we began to rework the website.  A friend had done our previous site, but our oldest daughter, Victoria, designed a new site and most everything was ready to go last spring.  However, we ran into some challenges.  We realized the site needed to be created using a different program, so Victoria had to start from scratch and learn how to use a new computer program.  I completely underestimated the amount of work it would be since this was all new to us.  I am so thrilled that we are finally “live” (on the internet) and so very proud of Victoria and her hard work.

Thanks to Victoria, our site looks very different.  We now have an articles link which incorporates articles and my personal blog, which Victoria will help me technically moderate.  (I will post as often as I can, but no promises.)  Our store will soon carry a new banner with the new look, as well.   And that’s not all that's new…

New Book
Not only do we have a new website, but on April 16 we will release a new book entitled, “The Gift of Purity:  Letters to a Daughter About Guarding Her Heart.”  God gave me this idea while I was planning for Anna’s “Purity Weekend.”  I had used Passport2Purity, with adaptations, with our oldest two daughters and both weekends were quite memorable.  I had often told people that it was my favorite product we had.  As I revisited it, I realized that our family had changed and that I needed to make more adaptations.  Many of the examples were very unfamiliar to our daughters who have been homeschooled since Kindergarten.  I knew I needed to make changes, but I was a little worried that the weekend might not be as effective.

Instead of adapting the product, God led me to create a new one, The Gift of Purity.  Some of the same topics are discussed, but within the context of courtship and marriage.   Anna’s “Purity Weekend” was filled with beautiful moments that she and I will always treasure.  It is my prayer that The Gift of Purity will be a blessing to your family and strengthen your relationship with your daughter.

New Focus
While I was perusing new products to add, I became overwhelmed with the number of products available.  It occurred to me that we needed to set up guidelines for choosing which products we will sell.  It was a simple solution.  I didn’t start this business to sell anything; I merely wanted to collect my favorite resources and be able to put them in the hands of parents who desired to mentor and disciple their daughters.  I realized that the only thing I want in the shoppe or on the tables at the shows are things that I love.  We decided that Daughters 4 God will only carry books that we have read and books that we have used or would use with our own family.  We realize that each family has different standards, but we hope to provide a consistency in our product line that you can trust.  

New Products
During the fall and winter months when there are no homeschool conventions, our family has been reviewing new products.  Based on your comments and suggestions, we’ve added quite a few new titles.  We have also discontinued others because they don’t seem to meet your needs, are now out of print, or because they don’t match our new focus.  Visit the web shoppe to see what’s new!   

New Collection
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the request for a “sons version” of Daughters 4 God.   I never thought we’d carry products specifically for raising boys, but after much prayer, we are adding a limited inventory of books for raising godly sons.  Of course we haven’t used these books with our daughters, however I would use them if I had sons.  We pray that you and your sons will be blessed by the new resources.     

 Nothing New Under the Sun…
Some things haven’t changed.  We continue to be committed to supporting parents as they raise godly children.  We will continue to value excellence in our products and services. We will continue to respond to your questions by phone or email.   We will continue to place God and our family above our ministry, knowing that our testimony is useless if we aren’t doing what we encourage you to do.  Finally, we will continue to value your support and encouragement.  Our goal is not to make a million but to make a difference. 

May God bless you as you raise generations for His glory,
Harold and Joy Moore

It's up and coming!

Hello, friends! This is Victoria, Joy's eldest daughter.  I wanted to let you know about some exciting changes going on for Daughters 4 God.

We're looking forward to attending the homeschool shows across the nation this year.  We're even traveling to some new locations in the next few months! Mom and Dad (Joy and Harold) have been speaking recently, and are looking forward to more speaking opportunities in the future. There's a few new exclusive Daughters 4 God products on the horizon, as well as many other new products joining our online store and homeschool booth. Lastly (for now, anyway! <grin>) we're re-doing the entire Daughters 4 God website, including this blog!  (I know you are all jumping for joy!  I know it's long overdue!)  This blog will soon become "article central" with frequent updates from Joy and the rest of the Daughters 4 God gang.  You'll be able to read past articles and even interact with others as you post your questions and/or comments regarding the many article subjects.

We are so excited about all these changes, and are especially thankful to all of you for supporting us with your encouragement and prayers.

This blog will have some "work done" to it in the next few days, and I appreciate your patience as we re-write, re-design, and re-organize all things Daughters 4 God!

I hope to see many of you this Spring/Summer as we travel to the homeschool shows!

Blessings to you and your family, Victoria

*UPDATE 03.17.09*

Hello again, friends!  I just wanted to keep you updated on our new website.  It is very close to being live, and we are very excited!  Also, the store is down at the moment - but we're working on it and it should be up and running again soon.

Thanks for your patience!

Blessings, Victoria

*UPDATE 03.20.09*

I have happy news for all of you! =)  Our store is up and running again, which means that our new website should be up within 24 hours or so.  We're getting excited!  Blessings! - Victoria

Help Your Daughter Develop a Prayer Life

girlpraying

Every Christian parent wants to pass on their faith to their children. I am no different.

Like any goal, it doesn't happen by accident; it requires a plan of action. In our home, we have used different strategies for different ages.PRESCHOOL

It's never too early to introduce your daughter to the power of prayer. Preschoolers are capable of praying more than "God is great; God is good." Once when my youngest was only two, we visited a 99-year-old saint who attended my church when I was a young girl. During our visit, we had a time of prayer. Each of us placed our hand on this precious prayer warrior and offered a prayer of blessing. The last to pray was the 2-year-old who babbled something incomprehendable. The woman was moved to tears that such a young child would pray for her. Here are some ideas for your preschooler:

1.Explain to your preschooler that prayer is talking to Jesus is as easy as talking to their friends.

2.Remind them that God hears every prayer they pray.

3.Give them opportunity to pray from their heart. If they have trouble thinking of anything, start off with "Thank you, God, for" and let them fill in the blank.

4.Make a prayer book. Place pictures of your family, friends, pastors, missionaries, etc. in an inexpensive photo album. As you flip through the book, your daughter can pray with you or repeat after you: "God bless____________." Unfortunately, I didn't think of this while my girls were pre-schoolers.

ELEMENTARY

When our girls were old enough to read on their own, I made them a prayer card that doubled as a bookmark in their Bible. This simple tool helped our daughters develop their own prayer life. You can make this card on a computer, but these directions are for doing it the old-fashioned way, by hand. Be sure to write clearly and print unless your daughter can read cursive. Here's how to make a prayer card for your daughter:

1.Choose a 3x5 card, with or without lines. Look for one in your daughter's favorite color or use a white card and make it colorful with colored gel pens or stickers.

2.Begin on a side with no lines. Hold the card in a vertical position with the longest side going from top to bottom. Begin by listing names of your family, one name per line: Ex. Dad, Mom, brothers, sisters, grandparents, other close family members.

3.Next, (on the same side) list pastors, missionaries, teachers, or others in authority.

4.Lastly, include things on the heart of your child like a friend who is ill. My oldest daughter included the country of China because she felt called to missions at a very young age.

5.The opposite side is for your daughter. Choose one or two character traits that your daughter needs to work on. (Honesty, Laziness, List the trait and a Bible verse about that trait. For example, if you need to work on honesty, then you may want to copy Psalm 34:13. If you're struggling with a lazy child, you could copy Proverbs 10:4. Each day your daughter can read the verse and pray that God would change her heart. If your daughter reads the scripture each day for several weeks, she'll memorize it without any trouble.

Of course, the card will not be accurate forever and will have to be updated every 1-2 months. Involve your daughter as you make changes. Pray together about which trait(s) your daughter needs to develop and encourage her as you see growth in her character.

UPPER ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL

Encourage your daughter to begin a prayer journal. Many Christian and non-Christian bookstores carry bound books with lined or unlined blank pages or create your own with a 3-ring binder and dividers. Here are some ways you can help your daughter prepare her journal:

1.Use a prayer plan like ACTS:

Adoration - telling God how great He is

Confession - repenting for what you've done wrong

Thanksgiving - thanking God for His blessings

Supplication - bringing your requests to God

Prayer isn't a laundry list of requests; it's about building a relationship.

2.Make a list of daily prayer requests, similar to the list above or help your daughter divide the requests: Monday for Missionaries, Tuesday for Wednesdays for Pastors, Thursday for Friends, Friday for Friends, Saturday for School.

3.Make a chart for prayer requests, include a space for the date you begin to pray for the request, the date it was answered, and the answer. Seeing so many answers to prayer will grow your daughter's faith.

4.Record the scripture you read each day. Write one sentence summarizing the scripture in your own words and one sentence about how it applies to your life.

5.Write your prayers to God. Encourage your daughter to write her feelings, but written words should be respectful and represent only what she would speak to others.

6.Listen to God. In my own journal, I record my thoughts and prayers in cursive writing and what God says in all caps. Prayer is a conversation, not a monologue.

These are just a few ideas of how we taught our daughters about prayer. Prayer is such a key part of a relationship with God. The earlier we teach our children about prayer, the earlier they establish a vital spiritual discipline. Ask God to show you how to best reach the heart of your daughter and help her develop a vibrant and powerful prayer life.