How Our Family Celebrates Valentine's Day

heart with hands.jpg

Our family likes to celebrate. We celebrate holidays and people and babies who haven’t yet seen the light of day. Valentine’s Day is no exception. In the course of homeschooling, we taught our young girls about St. Valentine and the historical basis for the celebration, but we also focused on Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate the love of God and the love of family. 

Love is Giving

Our sweet little ones grew up and somewhere along the line, our gift of miniature heart-shaped boxes of chocolates morphed into bags of Lindt truffles and Valentine’s cards carefully chosen by Dad and signed by both of us. But that’s not what my girls are looking forward to this Valentine’s Day. 

Love is Sharing

I’m not even sure when our tradition began, but I remember thinking that girls want valentines. They want to feel special and valued and loved. I figured that if they didn’t get that at home, they would search for it elsewhere. So 10-plus years ago I decided to share my valentine. 

Love is Faithful

Yes, I think it’s important that our girls know that their dad and I are in love and that I am his #1 woman, but celebrating Valentine’s Day with overpriced restaurant dinners and red roses isn’t the only way to show our love. The girls see how my husband honors and prefers me every day of the year, how we serve each other, how we have faithfully planned date nights every month for the past ten years, and how we want to be together. Just the two of us. As much as possible. So I don’t mind sharing for a few years, because after that he’ll be all mine.

Love is Honoring

Since my birthday falls during the week of Valentine’s Day, we have a date to celebrate both occasions and then we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. We try to honor the girls as we would someday expect their husbands to, by making it a special evening with dinner served in the dining room on china or our nicer plates. The menu usually includes a new recipe of something elegant, sometimes several courses, and always concludes with a delicious dessert. Sometimes the girls dressed up, sometimes dad cooked, and sometimes we moved a table into the family room. But the best is what happened after dinner. 

Love is Belonging

Every year Harold turns on the same CD, one that he and I often listened to while we were engaged, and then he takes a turn dancing with each daughter—yes, I get a turn, too! I love to watch the whispers, the giggles and the smiles as they each have their moment feeling special, and treasured, and loved. Sometimes the daughters went back for a second dance, sometimes they dressed up in my old bridesmaid gowns, sometimes sisters danced with sisters since our family is sorely lacking other male dance partners. But at the end of the night, each girl knew that they belonged to a family who loved them dearly.  

Love is Preferring

This year we were honored to be invited to participate in a special dinner event at our church on Valentine’s night. Of the two daughters at home, one was working late and we considered having the other join us at the event, but we realized that our youngest would probably only have two more Valentine’s Days with us. She was overjoyed to learn that we had chosen to stay home and that we will be continuing our Valentine Family Celebration tradition.  

Love is Timeless

Life changes so quickly but we never outgrow love.  Last year we celebrated with only the youngest. The other daughter living at home had chosen to be a part of an amazing regional event of Christian young people who were gathering for prayer and worship, another daughter was settled in Dallas, and another was serving as a missionary in Mexico. In April, our missionary daughter returned and that night, her Dad put on the “dancing CD,” held out his hand and said, “We missed our Valentine dance.” As I type this, I am still teary-eyed as I remember the love in his eyes and the tears on her face as she was once again reminded that she was special and treasured and loved by our family. Some would say that it was a little late, but love is always on time.

A Private Message That Forever Changed Our Family

I never intended to homeschool high school. As a high school student, I did well in English, history and foreign language; but I had needed a tutor to make it through Algebra 2, and I never took a science course beyond Biology. (I didn’t need to for my degree in music.) I hadn’t been successful when I TOOK those classes and I couldn’t imagine that I would be remotely successful TEACHING them. I was sure that it wasn’t God’s plan for me to homeschool high school. 

In June, just three months before high school was to begin, I was attending a women’s conference and the speaker said, “God can give you wisdom beyond your experiences.” I knew that God was sending me a message; He wanted me to homeschool high school. Part of me was angry. “God, when I had agreed to homeschool, I didn’t think that high school was part of the deal!” The insecure side of me felt too inadequate. The selfish side of me was looking forward to only having three to homeschool and didn’t want to be responsible to teach those challenging subjects. But after talking with Harold, we said, “Yes.” In return for our obedience, God poured out abundant blessings I could never have imagined.

Our family has grown in unity. Each of us has grown in character and grown closer to each other. We have learned how to serve each other, and we have learned how to work together to serve others. Our girls are more than sisters or classmates; they are truly each other’s best friends. As parents, these years have allowed us to grow strong relationships with our daughters that will stand the test of time.

Each daughter received a customized education that best prepared her to achieve her future goals. All of my graduates took college courses during high school, which prepared them to excel in their college studies and gave them space in their college schedules to pursue a minor or other field of interest. The flexibility of homeschooling allowed our girls to use their time to explore and pursue their God-given callings through life experiences, travel, education, and extra-curricular activities.

Most importantly, our girls flourished spiritually. Homeschooling allowed us to mentor and disciple our daughters through the critical teen years. We were able to read the Bible and discuss it together, to talk about the consequences of choices made in various situations, to memorize scripture together, and to guide them as they learned to make wise choices. Though we used carefully chosen textbooks and materials with a God-centered worldview, we also educated our daughters in other world views and religions so they could think critically about the influences in their lives. As a result of intentional spiritual discipleship, each daughter has established her own vibrant relationship with God and is positioning herself for continued growth.

I’m not saying that you have to homeschool high school if you want your child to be a Christian, because truly there is more than one way to raise a godly child. I am saying that homeschooling was God’s choice for our family and the experience has been an incredible blessing that has forever changed our family. I am grateful that God loved our family so much that He sent me a private message.

   

How to Bless Your Children by: Harold Moore

When our daughters were very young, Joy and I were exposed to our first teaching on the power of the blessing.  The significance of blessing is woven throughout God’s Word but we often don’t hear sermons or teachings on the importance and the impact blessing can have on us and particularly on our children.

I like to boil down teachings to simple “take-aways” (something I can remember) and, as a guy, a “to-do” list, which helps me stay on task.  For me, the “blessing”, in its simplicity, is a declaration of God’s truth and favor over an individual.  A verbal or written blessing brings life, vision, and hope to the recipient.

With a better understanding of the potential impact of blessing, I recognized that as much as I loved my daughters, I was not intentionally speaking blessing over them on a consistent basis.  I also realized that as my daughters grew they would become more interactive with other people and involved in a variety of social and community situations – from expanded friendship, church, ministry, and work.  They would be bombarded by lots of words every day, but very few of those words would speak to their heart about their value, worth, or truth of God’s purposes and plans for their lives.  In fact they could very easily declare the opposite.

How could I, as their dad, speak blessing over my daughters so that they would consistently hear God’s truth about them and their lives?  If I could come up with a plan it would help me remember to do it.  And if I did it consistently, my words would carry far more weight then those of friends, co-workers, and others. Now I had a new task on my “to-do” list.  The solution: “Saturday Morning Blessing Time @ The Moore’s.”

For our family, Saturday mornings are the most consistent time we are all together.   On Saturday’s I make breakfast for the family (giving Joy a cooking break).  After breakfast and before we cleaned up the table and kitchen, I gather the family together and I simply pray/speak blessing over my daughters and my wife.  I don’t always do it the same way and I don’t have an agenda what I’m going to speak over them nor do I have a set time or duration for the blessing time.  Life is often complicated with schedules and with demands for our time and sometimes it doesn’t happen. But it happens more often than not – and it certainly happens more often than it did before I became intentional.  The goal is not to add another “religious” activity.  The goal is to do it and to do it consistently.

Here are simple “take-aways” for you and/or your spouse:

Set a time (day/time) that your family could most consistently gather together for blessing time.  It doesn’t have to be a big chunk of time.  Start with 10 minutes and see what happens.  Make that time priority for your family but if circumstances force a change, give yourself grace and re-schedule.

Pray blessing over each family member.  Speaking blessing over the entire family is great and valuable but nothing will have the impact of looking your child or spouse in the eyes and proclaiming the truth of God over them and reminding them of their value and worth.

Bless them with truth.  You could speak a scripture truth over them, bless them with reminders of how they are beautiful and created in the image of God, or speak about the future God has for them - to prosper them and give them hope.  You could bless them by proclaiming the godly spouses that God is preparing for them or the protection of God over them wherever they go.  The possibilities are endless.  Ask the Holy Spirit to place in your heart what they need to hear. Don’t be religious sounding. Bless them in your words.

Here is a short example of a blessing I could speak over one of my daughters:

“Father, thank you for Elisabeth.  I thank you for creating her as a beautiful woman, both inside and out. 

Elisabeth, may you be blessed, knowing how valuable you are.  God’s hand and favor is on you because He created you and called you to do mighty things for His Kingdom.

I bless you as you seek His face and follow the call He has placed on your life.  May you always walk in His presence and know that you are never alone, for He is with you always.  I bless you and your work in school – that you will be blessed with clarity and understanding for all that you are learning. 

I bless your future – that poverty and sickness will never overtake you and the favor of the Lord will rest upon you, that He will provide protection and provision all the days of your life.

I thank God that He has placed you in our family.  You are a blessing to me as your Dad and to your whole family.  May you be blessed knowing how much you are loved.”

Make the words your words and speak them in ways that connect to your child or spouse.  The genuineness of the Holy Spirit speaking blessing through you will impact your family for generations. 

Harold.

A Living Legacy

Growing in Legacy
At age seven our oldest daughter, Victoria, began taking piano lessons.  She was studying classically, but she told us her goal was to someday accompany her dad when he led worship.  At age twelve she began to play back-up keyboard on the worship team at church and focus her attention on growing in her skills as a musician.  Some remarked at how young she was, but she was only following in the footsteps of her grandmothers.  At age 12, my mother began to play piano and accordion at church for the services her minister father conducted.  At age 12, Harold’s mother began to play piano for the services her mother held.  Victoria is a living legacy.

Over the years, she grew in her piano abilities and began to play lead keyboard and to sing back-up on the worship team.  In 2009 God clearly opened more doors to grow her skills, giving her the opportunity to serve as one of the worship leaders for our congregation on Sunday mornings.  The following year she began to play for smaller groups who desired to rest in God’s presence.  Victoria continues to be passionate about using music to lead people into the peaceful presence of God.

Walking in Legacy
In July Victoria released her debut CD, a collection of worshipful songs for solo voice and keyboard, entitled Rest.  Some songs have been previously recorded by other artists, however two are original songs written by Victoria.  From the first song to the last note, the peace of God and the love of the Father pours out to the listener.  Here is what others have said about the CD:

  • Wow, Victoria!  What an amazing CD.  I love it!
  • I was listening to your CD on repeat today as I drove to work and while I was at work, as usual, and was super enjoying two certain songs.  I  looked to see who wrote them and it was YOU!!  Just wanted to say you are amazing and I LOVE the CD.
  • Love your CD. Wow, God has blessed you with a heart of worship. Thanks for sharing your gift.
  • Your music is so beautiful. Thank you so much.
  • Amazing voice and amazing CD.
  • I was listening to your CD in my car when I went to my sister’s house. I walked in and she was playing it. Then I went by my other sister’s house and she was also playing it. It's safe to say we are all fans.
  • I heard it today and, well, frankly it is amazing.  I love listening to this.  I thank God for you.

Here’s what Victoria wrote about the CD:

Contentment is the fruit of deeply rooted trust. This phrase was echoing in my head one morning as I spent time with God. Satisfaction. Happiness. Peace. My heart desires it, but when I finally take a break from the life spinning so rapidly around me I find that my heart has, more often than I'd like to admit, become discontented with the way things are. I'm worried. Fearful. Unsure. Void of hope or peace. I've often been forgetful, but over the past few months the Lord has been reminding me that trusting Him is ultimately the first step to finding rest in any situation. A gentle, unshakable hand is guiding me on a journey that requires my heart to be rooted in the truths and promises of the God I've chosen to trust. He does not fail nor forsake me. He is my refuge, my stronghold, my hiding place. In quietness and trust is my strength, because I know He is for me.

This album is a gift from the deepest part of my soul, a direct result of my desire to find contentment in trust, through rest. It's not perfect nor does it contain fancy instrumentation or the next big, chart-topping single. But my hope is that as this music fills whatever space you occupy it will become a reminder of the importance of rest, trust, and the necessity of storing the truth of who God is deep inside of you. He is for us and only when we root ourselves in that truth can we rest regardless of the storms that come our way.

To preview or purchase Rest, please visit:  http://victoriamoore.bandcamp.com

Four Ways to Help Daughters Dream Big Dreams

Anna isn’t afraid to dream big dreams; dreams that will only become reality through the supernatural power of our magnificent God.  What seems to be impossible is a challenge she readily accepts; her faith is keeping me on my toes. D4G:  Tell me about Blessing Wells International.

Anna:  It is an organization I started to raise money to provide clean water for the people of Africa.  I first thought of Blessing Wells about two months before my thirteenth birthday.  I didn’t want to be selfish so I decided that I didn’t want to receive any birthday presents.  I wanted to give back to the people of Africa.  I wanted to make a difference and help the people of Africa survive and live without diseases and to have clean water.

I also wanted to give other people the opportunity to help build a well on a more personal level.  Even though they give in a small way, it makes a big difference.  Without other people I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

D4G:  What was your first goal?

Anna:  My first goal was to build a family well in one year.  I achieved that goal and raised $750 in about 11 months.  I partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to be a part of a well project in the mountains of Sudan.

D4G:  How do you raise money?

Anna:  I take donations, I’ve sold candy, but mostly I design and make sterling silver and gold-filled jewelry.  I started with simple earrings and now I’m doing single strand necklaces and bracelets.  At first my mom helped me, but now I do all the work myself.  I’m learning wirework and hoping to make rings in the near future.

D4G:  How do you choose your designs?

Anna:  God.  I go to the bead shop and God shows me.  God definitely helps me choose the beads and things.

D4G:  Where do you sell your jewelry?

Anna:  I sell my jewelry at flea markets and personally to people at my church.  I’m hoping to set up an online store soon.

D4G:  What message do you have for other girls your age?

Anna:  Do hard things and make difference.  You’re never too young to do something important.  You don’t have to wait until you’re a certain age to do something important.  After I started Blessing Wells, I read the book, Do Hard Things (by:  Alex and Brett and Harris) and it really encouraged me that I’m not the only one who is working hard to make a difference.

D4G:  What is your current goal and how long do you think it will take to achieve it?

Anna:  My current goal is to raise $6,000 to fund a community well by the time I graduate from high school in June, 2014.  I am still in the process of looking at different organizations to partner with, but my goal is to find one where I remain anonymous.  I would love to help build the well, but I don’t want my name on it or any other special treatment.  It’s God working through me and not just me.  We’re just God’s vessels anyway.

A Note to Parents:

If your daughter has a dream that seems bigger than life:

  1. Resist the temptation to shoot it down. It may seem completely illogical and impossible, but pray about whether it is a dream from God.  If it is something on His heart, look for opportunities to partner with her.
  2. Be creative and look for connections.  The flea market at our church has been a great way for Anna to market her products.  Consider partnering with people or organizations that are already doing what your daughter wants to do.  It’s a safe way to find out how invested she is in the dream.
  3. Use the network you have. You don’t have to do everything; find some friends who are experts in what she needs to know or to do.  One of my friends designed a brochure, a business card, and a website for Blessing Wells so Anna could advertise.
  4. Look for teachable moments. I allowed her to host a jewelry party in our home so that she could start launch her collection.  It was a great opportunity for her to practice her public speaking skills. Helping make the jewelry was one way I could support her, but as soon as she was old enough, we took a jewelry class together so she could improve her skills and work independently.

While Blessing Wells International has required thought, planning, time, and investment on Anna’s part and some encouragement and work on my part, I am certain that the blessings for God’s children in Africa far exceed the little we have given.  I am grateful to have the privilege to partner with God and with my daughter to dream big dreams and to bless His Kingdom.

 

Our Guatemala Missions Trip Update

The memories of eight years ago are still clear to me today.  While visiting my husband’s parents, their church hosted a joint Sunday morning service with a Hispanic congregation.  My 8-year-old Elisabeth fell in love with a little Spanish girl and together they shared their native languages with each other, pointing to objects and repeating words for the other to learn.  That experience made quite an impact in Elisabeth’s life.  Several years later, we talked about what God might have for her future before He sends her future husband.  (From that conversation, the book Becoming a Daughter of Destiny, was born.)  After a time of prayer she said that she wanted to work with Hispanic children and maybe even start her own orphanage. Over the years, Elisabeth’s love for the Hispanic people grew.  She studied Spanish, listened to Spanish Christian radio via the internet, and dreamed of the day she could travel to South or Central America.  Last year she heard about a team who was going to Guatemala to teach orphans about worship.  She was interested, but it was too late to join since the team was leaving in only two weeks.  She prayed that another team would go the following year and put her name on the waiting list.  Throughout the year, Harold and I prayed and sensed that this trip was God’s plan for Elisabeth.  In early April Elisabeth and I were accepted to be part of a return trip scheduled for July, 2010.

Before we left for Guatemala, God put in my heart to print a Spanish translation of Lady Day that could be used in orphanages.  God provided a friend to translate the book and the finances to print a colorful cover designed especially for the girls of Guatemala.  We brought 100 copies and prayed for God to open doors.

Our ten days were packed with ministry to orphaned, abused or under-privileged children and to orphanage directors, house parents, and Guatemalan believers.  We held a Worship Festival at three different orphanages.  The first day the team played with the kids (ages 4-18) for a few hours to build relationships.  We brought balls, bubbles, jump ropes, kites, and balloon animals, and a giant parachute.  We had a time of singing songs in Spanish and English like, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” And “I am Free to Run.”  We also shared a meal with them.  The next day or several days later, we returned to teach them about worship.  We began with a time of singing.  Then we broke up into small groups and rotated

through several “stations” about how to worship God through music, dance/movement, crafts and soaking. In music, we taught the kids a little about reading music and matching pitches.  Elisabeth and her friend Kara were in charge of the dance/movement.  They taught the kids how you can worship with dance and planned movements (a lot of jumping!) to the Spanish version of “You Have Turned My Mourning into Dancing.”

I was in charge of crafts.  Through a translator, I talked about how God gives us artistic abilities and how we can use our gifts to worship Him.  Then the kids made a musical “tooter” with wide craft sticks and a prayer journal with blank pages to keep a record of what God says to them.  Sometimes they used their journals in “soaking,” a time of being quiet and still before God and soaking in His presence.  Before we left, we gathered the children back together and presented a mime about how God the Father loves us and gives us gifts,  but Satan tries to steal them and keep us from the Father.  We concluded with a call to salvation and a time of individual ministry, including a time of praying for physical healing.

During our stay in Guatemala, we visited four orphanages where I was able to present Siendo Una Senorita, our Spanish translation of Lady Day. One worker remarked how beautiful the books were and that it was a great translation.  She was thrilled.  A director at another orphanage commented that just that morning she had had a discussion with the girls of the orphanage and realized she needed a tool to teach them about such things.  She cried at the thought that God had cared enough to provide for the girls.  Another director said that just yesterday the leaders of the orphanage had discussed how important it was to have discussions about growing up and how they were going to approach the subject.  In each case, God had prepared the way.  I feel privileged to be part of God’s plan for the girls of Guatemala.  Praise God for His faithfulness to His beloved daughters!

While we were there, God opened up other opportunities that weren’t on our original schedule.  One day we drove nearly two hours to a small village near the volcano that had erupted in May.  About 100 underprivileged children from the area came to a small community center where we sang songs and played games.  After about half and hour, our team leader asked Elisabeth to tell the children a story that would make them ask Jesus into their hearts.  Through an interpreter, she told the story of the Prodigal Son.  Nearly all of the children raised their hand to accept Christ and Elisabeth led them in the sinner’s prayer.  I was so proud of her.  It was a sweet moment for a mother’s heart.

Another day, we spent about an hour at an orphanage with HIV positive children.  In that short amount of time, we sang with the children, told them how much the Father loved them using the story of the Prodigal Son.  Many prayed to accept Jesus.  As we gave the girls balloon crowns and the boys balloon swords, we spoke words of blessing over the children (Ex.  You are a warrior of peace.  You are a princess of faith.).  We were encouraged to hear testimonies of how God had healed three of the HIV-positive children and we prayed for more children to be healed.   Still another day we went to the Red Zone, a dangerous area of the city for natives and foreigners.  With a guide, we were given entry to a gang-infested neighborhood where we gathered in a small courtyard surrounded by corrugated metal walls.  Again we sang songs, presented a mime drama about the Father’s love, and crowned them as princes as princesses—this time with paper crowns donated by the Burger King where we had eaten breakfast.

While the majority of our time was spent with children, God also gave us opportunities to pray with people from all walks of life:  a family of Guatemalan believers who are involved in government, another family of Guatemalan believers whom God has prospered through business, and several American couples who serve as directors at the Christian orphanages we visited.  On the Sunday we were there, we attended a Guatemalan church where our team led worship and our team leader preached.  Many responded and came forward to receive prayer.  Several were healed.

A few of my favorite moments, in no particular order:

Seeing Elisabeth’s reaction to how God answered her prayers for a balcony at our hotel

Worshipping as a team at our hotel--the presence of God was so sweet

Listening to Elisabeth use her Spanish with the children

Watching Elisabeth ask the children if they want to accept Jesus and watching all the little hands go up

Praying for a young woman, knowing that God was calling her and changing her destiny in that moment

Presenting the Siendo Una Senorita books to the orphanage worker/directors

It was a privilege to travel with my daughter to Guatemala to love the people and serve my Father.  Neither of us will be the same--and I don’t believe that Guatemala will be the same, either!  Elisabeth is continuing her Spanish studies with renewed vigor and is praying about her next steps.  Spanish is definitely part of the equation.  In Guatemala, there are many children who now know of a Heavenly Father who loves them and who has given them gifts.  They have a new perspective of who God is and of their value as sons and daughters of the Most High God.  These children will become spouses, parents, businessmen, lawyers, inventors, government leaders, pastors, or worshipers who will shape the heart and soul of Guatemala…for the praise of His glorious grace.  All praise to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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.

God Has a Plan

We’ve started 2010 with a bang.  Literally.  Today was the beginning of our vacation.  We spent yesterday packing and cleaning and preparing everything we’d need for a week away.  We were not yet two hours from home when a doe darted out in front of our van.  (We later heard that it was the last day of hunting season and the hunters were chasing the deer out of hiding.)  The deer slammed into the front of the van, disabling the radiator and rendering our vehicle undrivable.  We stopped to thank God for safety and then asked for wisdom.  With lodging reservations at a location seven hours away, we needed a plan.  And God had one. The 911 operator gave us the name of a towing company that was open on New Year’s Day.  The company was only minutes away.

We stopped on the side of the road right in front of a church.  While we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive, someone from the church came to turn on the heat and allowed us to use the bathroom and the phone.  (Because we were in the middle of nowhere, Harold’s cell phone was not getting reception at the moment.)

The tow truck driver was a kind Christian man who owned a gas station/auto repair shop.  Harold asked him, “What would you do if you and five members of your family were in a disabled van on the side of the road?”  He said, “Read some good scripture and pray.”  “We already did that!” Harold said, laughing.  Brad was able to give a basic assessment of our vehicle and guide us to the right body shop in a town nearby, even choosing a hotel for our family within walking distance to restaurants and a discount store. He helped us carry our luggage to our second floor room, took Harold and the van to the body shop, and brought him back to the hotel.

When we checked into the hotel, the front desk even gave us the stranded motorist rate—a welcomed deal since we had to have two rooms to sleep all six of us.  Not two hours later, someone flushed one of the toilets in our room and it began to overflow.  I couldn’t believe it!  Harold called the front desk and a maintenance man came to fix the toilet and clean up the mess.

God had taken care of repairing our van, but we were still without a vehicle for the remainder of our vacation.  After many phone calls and internet research, we discovered that there was only one car rental place open on Saturday, but it was more than 30 miles away and there was no guarantee that it had a mini van available.  Our church generously allowed us to use their 12 passenger van and our dear friends, Sharolyn, Blaine and Jarrod, drove 120 miles to our hotel to deliver it.  We had a sweet time together for dinner and they drove another 120 miles back home.  I don’t know what other people do without a church family.

And so here I am, in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere.  It’s not the way I planned to start my vacation--or my year for that matter.  This certainly wasn’t my plan.  But how can I complain?  God is faithful and He had a plan.  Not that He planned for us to hit a deer, but even in the midst of a difficult situation He cared for us.  He sent the right people at the right time to provide for just what we needed.

When circumstances don’t follow our plans, we can choose to pout and complain or we can choose to trust God.  God always has a plan.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)  No matter what happens in 2010, trust in God who has a plan.

On the Road Again

We’ve just returned from a great weekend at MACHE—Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators.  It is a curriculum fair of 4 buildings worth of vendors for all things homeschooling—curriculum for every subject, dissection specimens, microscopes,  colleges, summer camps, support organizations, and even small appliances for cooking.  This was our third year there and it is like “old home week.”  We see other vendors from past years and meet new vendors, as well.  We talk with friends from previous years, though I’m not great at remembering all their names from year to year, catching up with where our lives are a year later.  Here are a couple of pictures from the weekend: Our family inside the D4G booth, A little girl and her Mom with matching D4G bracelets and mother/daughter charms, Abigail with a new friend who is wearing the same shirt, and Abigail having fun with Daddy on the handcart.

mache-2009-0012 

  mache-2009-002mache-2009-003

 

 mache-2009-004

I talked with several ladies who had experienced great loss over the last year—the death of a loved one, two second-trimester miscarriages, a child ill with cancer.  It reminded me how fleeting life is and how miniscule the frustrations in my own life really are.  I also thought of the constancy and sufficiency of our God.  In the midst of these very challenging experiences, these ladies were smiling and telling of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the storm.  I am so grateful I serve a God who is bigger than any circumstance in life, a God who is more than enough.

--Joy