Discreet Ways to Answer Difficult Questions

If your children are anything like mine, they ask a lot of questions. Questions that require factual answers are pretty easy, but questions about relationships and reproduction can be tricky. As parents, it is our role to guard our children’s hearts and to teach them a godly perspective in every area of life. Here are some suggestions for how to approach some tricky subjects until your child is ready for more details.

Answer only the question that is asked.

The story goes that a boy asked his mom, “Where did I come from?” His mother got very quiet, took a deep breath, and started into “the talk.” The boy listened patiently and his mother sighed deeply as she finished her last sentence. The boy quickly spoke up. “That’s not what I meant. Joshua said he came from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I just wondered where I came from.”

Sometimes we give our children more information than they need or they are ready for. Our family philosophy has been to answer the question asked. Sometimes the answer leads to more questions, but other times it satisfies the curious child until another day.

Keep discussions in a biblical context.

Please Note: I have substituted “socks”  for a similar sounding word, not because I am embarrassed to use the real word, but because I don’t want the article to be blocked by internet filtering software. 

Yes, it’s important to give your children the facts about “socks,” but it also important to put the information in the context of how God created it. Don’t just explain the details about the act, but give the context that when a man and woman are married, God created a way for them to have a baby that also gives the couple pleasure and causes them to grow closer emotionally. It’s also important for them to know that certain behaviors are 

Keep it simple.

Before you ever get to “the talk” you’ll probably get a lot of questions, especially if mom or someone close to your family is pregnant.  Here are some answers we’ve given to challenging questions. Yes, they are simplistic, but we had future discussions to expound upon the nuances of these topics. You can use anatomical terms, if you prefer.

Q. Where do babies come from? OR  How does the baby get in there?
A.  There is a seed inside the mommy that grows into a baby when God says it’s time.

Q. How do you get pregnant? (or some form of the question)
A. Several options: 
When a woman treats a man like her husband, there is a tiny seed in the mommy that begins to grow into a baby. 
Before I was ready to have “the talk”: Right now, your body can’t have a baby but when you can I will be sure to tell you.
Close to having “the talk”: That’s a great question. I’m not ready to have this conversation today, but let’s set up a time where we can talk about it real soon.  (And then schedule something, like a Lady Day, Purity Weekend for girls or Passport2Purity for boys or girls, and follow through.)

Q. How did she get pregnant if she isn’t married?
A. She treated a man like her husband.

Q. Is the baby in your stomach with all your food?
A. No, God made a special place like a bubble (or use anatomical term) where the baby can grow, and eat special food, and be protected.

Q. How do babies eat when they are in your tummy?
A. God made a special tube (called an umbilical cord) that connects from mommy’s tummy to the baby so the baby will have food to eat and grow.

Q. How does the baby get out?
A. God was so smart and made a special hole just for the baby to come out when it’s time. (Depending on the child and the specific situation, I may go on.) That works for most mommies, but sometimes it isn’t safe for the baby to come out of the hole so the doctor has to cut the mommy’s tummy and help the baby come out.  

Q. Where is the hole?
A.  The hole is close to the hole in the mommy where the urine comes out.

Q. What’s circumcision?
A. God asked the Israelite men to mark themselves in a way that mean that they belonged to God.

Q. Where is the mark?
A. On the man’s private parts.

Q. What is adultery? 
A. When a married woman treats another man like her husband, even though she isn’t married to him or when a married man treats another woman like his wife. The Bible says that the people who do that won’t go to heaven. 

Q. What is fornication?
A. When a woman who isn’t married treats a man like she would if he was her husband or a man who isn’t married treats a woman like he would if she were his wife. The Bible says that the people who do that won’t go to heaven.

Wait for the right time.

Obviously, the answers above are simplistic responses most suitable for the younger set. In time, there was “full disclosure” and complete explanations, including any scriptural references that applied. 

Our girls were all pretty curious, but one was exceptionally so. At the age of nine, she asked me directly, “What is ‘socks’?” I must admit that it caught me off guard. I’m sure I took a long pause, made a plan and then responded, “Oh, you mean on the standardized tests where it says, ‘“Socks”: Male or Female’?”  She told me, no, that wasn’t what she meant.  I told her that I didn’t think she was ready to have this conversation. (I was sure I wasn’t ready either!) I also promised that we would have the conversation in the future but that if she couldn’t wait, she should come back and ask me again instead of asking someone else. We went through this scenario twice before we finally had our Purity Weekend and I was able to answer all of her questions.

Later, I asked my sweet daughter what had caused her to ask about “socks.” She said that when someone mentioned the word, everyone seemed to react in a panic and she wondered why. I thought I had acted nonchalantly when the word unexpectedly popped up, but evidently my concern and fear were greater than my acting ability. It certainly made me more aware of my own responses to unexpected situations.

Remember, you are the parent. Don’t let anyone else’s time frame or fear that your child will find out from another source become the determining factor for your family. God can protect your children from hearing things they aren’t ready for and He will stir your heart when it is just the perfect time to tell them about the birds and the bees. I know, because that’s what He did with every one of mine. Trust God to direct you. He is faithful.  

Purity Is about More Than a 3-Letter Word

Pure: without any extraneous and unnecessary elements, free of any contamination

In a culture saturated with sensuality, it is a gargantuan challenge to raise children who are pure yet are also “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). There are many scriptures that call all believers, no matter what age, to live a life of physical purity, but there are also scriptures that call believers to have a pure heart and to think about that things that are pure.* 

Nothing Ever Changes

You may feel that purity is an impossible goal in the current world we live in, but truly our culture is not so different from the culture New Testament describes. Galatians 5:19-21 provides a warning to the believers in Galatia who engage in certain behaviors, a list that sounds very much like the challenges for Christians in our 21st century. Satan’s schemes haven’t changed, but neither has God’s call for us to live free from the contamination of sin.

In the scriptures it is clear that God calls His children to be physically pure, but there are also many scriptures that call us to be pure in heart—in our thoughts, intentions, and attitudes. God’s idea of purity includes being free from contamination like jealousy, anger, rivalry, envy, and anything else that doesn’t reflect who He is. Raising pure children in a pleasure-driven culture isn’t easy; it requires intentional parenting. 

Set a Standard

When God entrusts us with His precious little ones, He is asking us to be His agent, one empowered to act for or represent another, to raise His child as He would. Since Satan masquerades as an angel of light and children are not born with the wisdom and experience to recognize evil, it is our responsibility as parents to establish boundaries that reflect God’s standards. 

Setting a standard is important, but it is equally important to explain why the standard is important and to connect it to God’s expectations so that someday they will be able to set their own wise guidelines. It is our responsibility to educate and maintain standards in areas such as  interactions with friends, management of money, and use of media, just to name a few, but it also means that we need to hold our children accountable for impure actions or attitudes by confronting the sin and bringing correction—an infinitely more challenging role than merely enforcing rules.

Set an Example

When I was studying to be a teacher, I learned the saying, “More is caught than taught.” I believe there is some truth to that. Our children are observing us every day and learning about acceptable behavior for adults. If we have one set of guidelines for our children and another set for ourselves, it makes us hypocrites but it also demonstrates to our children that standards of purity don’t matter as much or at all when you’re an adult.  

If we want our children to be adults who live pure lives, then we must show them the way. If we want our children to grow to be adults who love God, then they need to see us loving God. If we want them to speak respectfully to us, then we need to speak respectfully to them and our own parents. If we want our children to be free from anger, rivalry and envy; then we must lead the way. When we set an example of godly character, we are saying, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). We need to be the kind of adult we want our children to become.

 

*For specific references, please see: http://www.openbible.info/topics/being_pure. Click on the scripture to change to a different version.

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.

The Blessing of Technology Boundaries: Three Key Principles for Christian Parents

After I posted the article on technology in the January newsletter, Covenant Eyes asked if I would write a guest blow.  It may sound familiar, since some portions are based on the January newsletter, however the majority of the article has never been published on our site. Read the article on the Covenant Eyes blog...

Technology: Guarding Hearts and Minds

The speed of changing technology is mind boggling.  In the 80’s, my first computer experience included a boot up disc.  In the 90’s our girls played with an outdated Apple computer (Yes, I mean Apple.) and we bought our first family computer with 5 gigabytes of memory for Harold’s start up business.  In the 2000’s, internet and cell phones became necessities for doing business.  Today, I am typing this post on a laptop and some of you will be reading it on your smartphone that is significantly smaller and holds 10 times the memory of my first computer.  What an incredible evolution!  What an incredible responsibility… Though technology has changed at nearly the speed of light, I believe that it’s difficult for us parents to follow at the same pace.  Yes, I own a laptop, I communicate to friends through email (but that’s not my only form of communication), I navigate the web with little difficulty (especially when it comes to shopping =D) and I do text my daughters--but somehow I’m still not as skilled as my girls.  I once read an article that explained my lack, suggesting that the language of technology is a primary language for our children.  They’ve grown up with it.  Most parents have had to learn along the way and some of us are better than others at learning languages.  It totally made sense to me and explained why my then 6-year-old knew how to change my desktop and screen saver and I hadn’t a clue and why my 19-year-old had to help me learn how to subscribe to itunes podcasts and import my digital pictures.  I’m learning and progressing, mind you, but no matter how much I know about my computer it is certain that one of the girls knows more.

Computers can do some amazing things.  In the past month, the girls and I have used our computers to shop for gifts, research fibromyalia and identify blue delphinium, create a powerpoint presentation,email missionary friends in Spain, listen to a podcast from a church in California, Skype a friend in China, listen to music, get directions, design advertising pieces that will be printed in a local woman’s magazine, and of course, type and send this newsletter to hundreds of subscribers.

However, computers are a tool that can be used for good or for evil.  There are a lot of sites on the internet that are dangerous to my children’s lives and souls.  A few years back, one grieving mother came to me at a homeschool convention asked for prayer for her then 11-year-old who had inadvertently accessed pornography while visiting grandma. (She gave me permission to share her story.)  With the click of a mouse, not only can you access pornography, but I’m told you can find out how to build a bomb, how to commit suicide, why the Bible isn’t true, and so many more facts and opinions that fly in the face of our faith.  As parents, it is our responsibility to protect our children as they learn to use technology responsibly.  Sure, we can choose not to incorporate technology into our lives because it’s too dangerous, but using an oven or stove is dangerous, too.  Instead of relegating our cooking to the microwave, we teach our children about safety, supervise them, and give them opportunities to use the oven or stove within safe boundaries.  The same process works for the internet.

As parents, it is our responsibility to set boundaries and protect our children as they learn how to use technology so that they will learn to make wise choices when given that opportunity.  When our girls were very young, they had very limited access to computer games and no access to internet unless they were watching me or their dad.  Toward the end of elementary school, we still used computer games but we also began to incorporate the computer and typing skills into school assignments.  They still had no access to internet, email or Facebook.  Somewhere around middle school, we began to make use of computers as a research tool.  Instead of purchasing some security suite, I used the Windows program to change security

settings that limited their internet sites to only those that I had unlocked with a password.  (How to change internet security settings in Windows )  It can be annoying to repeatedly enter your password on certain sites, but the alternative of having my child wander the web alone is just not an option.

When Harold and I agree that a daughter has moral character, is responsible, obedient and is making wise choices more than foolish ones, we consider expanding the boundaries.  For instance, she may get an email address if there is a need.  (Anna got one last year when she was fourteen so she could communicate about her ministry, Blessing Wells.  Abigail still doesn’t have one, but has 5 or 6 penpals that she communicates with by snail mail.)  Our computers have a high security filter and are subscribed to Covenant Eyes, which doesn’t block sites but compiles all web usage and sends a bi-weekly report to accountability partners you choose.  A daughter must always ask permission to use the family computer.  If she needs to do research for school, I may allow her to use my laptop alone while I’m in the room occasionally walking behind her.  She and I both know that all of her activity will be logged and the report will be sent to our very good friend and to one of our pastors.  When she has proven herself faithful, I may extend her time on the internet—for destinations, not just for wandering.  If at any time we see a negative change in character and behavior, the privilege of using the computer is revoked.

What if a child owns their own computer?  Two of our daughters have made such an investment when they were about sixteen.  They may own their own laptops, but they must still abide by the boundaries we’ve set.  I still have permission to hold them accountable to the amount of time they spend on the computer.  I know all passwords for their computers.  Their computers are subscribed to Covenant Eyes. If they aren’t sure about the name of the website, they don’t enter it in the address line; they Google search it instead.  The girls give out their email only to good friends and don’t email or instant message or Skype guys without permission.  At any time, Harold and I have the right to read any of their email—not because we’re nosey or distrust our daughters but this would be necessary if we observed them making choices that cause us concern.

Today we continue to protect our family by setting boundaries, using the security suite that comes with our internet provider and by subscribing to Covenant Eyes.  My husband also has an app for his phone that reports web usage.  We are doing our best to set an example of being responsible and accountable in our use of technology, because you’re never too old to be responsible or accountable.  Let this be the year you make a plan, set some boundaries, and choose to guard the hearts and minds of your family.

Reflections on Purity Weekend

It’s over and I survived.   All of my girls know about “the birds and the bees” and I lived to tell the tale.  A few weeks ago, I took my youngest daughter on “Purity Weekend”--my fourth and last.  You’d think I’d have felt relieved, but I found my feelings to be different. When we started the tradition of Purity Weekend with our oldest daughter, I was insecure, uncertain, and fearful.  How will I know when she’s ready?  How will I know when I’m ready?  What if I say something wrong?  What if I forget something?  I recognized the need to inform my daughter about the creation of new life, but I felt completely unprepared.  Since I was raised in a very modest home, this topic wasn’t discussed and the thought of having such personal discussions made me quite uncomfortable.  After much research, I collected some resources and planned the special event.  It was a great success.

As I prepared for our third daughter’s Purity Weekend, God impressed me to write a collection of information and object lessons to help parents inform their daughter about purity, sexuality and courtship.  The Gift of Purity:  Letters to a Daughter About Guarding Her Heart was released in April, 2009.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this resource, here is a short diary of how we used The Gift of Purity for Abigail’s Purity Weekend.

The week before the event I made an invitation for Abigail, telling her of the dates of her Purity Weekend and time we would be leaving.  I kept the location, the topics, and my planned activities a surprise.  Although it would’ve been great to mail the invitation, I ended up sliding it under her door.  With tears running down her cheeks she ran down the stairs and hugged me, hardly believing that the day had finally come.

When the big day arrived, Abigail and I loaded the van, said our good-byes.  As we drove, I hinted around a bit and then asked her if she wanted to get her ears pierced—something she had been anxiously awaiting for several years.  She was ecstatic and a little nervous, but so excited when she saw the results.  After dinner we checked into our oceanfront hotel at the beach (a great deal on Expedia).  She was overwhelmed by the ocean view.  We got settled in and then sat outside on the balcony as we completed the first section entitled, “Purity,” defining purity using biblical standards.  Abigail enjoyed the “Purity Point” object lesson demonstrating that you can’t identify pure water by sight alone.  We closed in prayer as together we dedicated each part of our body to our Lord and Savior.

Our Father gave us the beautiful gift of a clear morning and a glorious sunrise.  We completed the second section of letters about God’s creation of intimacy in marriage and the object lesson demonstrating the power of sexual intimacy to tie two people together.  We finished with some warnings of how Satan tries to pervert God’s precious gift.  The sunny day beckoned us out of the hotel room and we walked several blocks to a little restaurant serving a great breakfast buffet and some gigantic chocolate chip pancakes.  As we walked back to the restaurant, we visited a few shops and crossed a few things off our Christmas shopping list.

Back at the hotel, we began the last section of The Gift of Purity, entitled "Courtship."  Abigail was sad when she realized it was the last section.  We talked about the difference between courtship and dating and why her dad and I had chosen courtship as the process to discover her spouse.  The "Purity Point" object lesson reminded her that giving away a kiss is giving away a little of her purity.  When we concluded, she joyfully agreed to abide by the process of courtship and signed the Commitment to Courtship.

Now it was time for some fun!  We drove to a local spa where I had scheduled an appointment for a manicure.  The spa was lovely and her technician made her feel like a pampered princess.  Her first professional manicure, it was a memorable experience for one who wants to study cosmetology.  We returned to our hotel just in time to change our clothes and freshen up before dinner.

Abigail and I decided to take pictures on the boardwalk before going to dinner.  Actually, I decided that because it was a set up for Abigail.  I told her we'd ask someone to take our picture together, so I called to a man nearby, "Sir, could you please take our picture?"  Abigail immediately recognized her father, the would-be photographer.  Surprise and joy in her heart brought tears to her eyes.  For several moments, she was completely still in her daddy’s embrace and then together we drove to our dinner destination.

Over dinner we talked of courtship and the commitment Abigail and I had just signed.  Harold reminded her of her preciousness and presented her with a lovely purity ring.  Again, tears swelled in her eyes as Dad slipped it on her finger.  The three of us continued our celebration.  Abigail repeatedly looked at her manicure and the lovely ring on her finger—I’m not sure which one she liked more!  Dad returned home after dinner while Abigail and I stayed at the hotel one more night.  Neither of us wanted it to end.  Following a relaxing night of sleep, we gathered our belongings, checked out of the hotel, and arrived at home in time for our Saturday morning pancake breakfast.

Purity Weekend is over, but every one of the girls has mentioned that they want to go again.  I’ve told them that there isn’t anything else I have to tell them, but they insist it doesn’t matter.  According to my four delightful daughters, the best part is just being together.  I enjoyed the time as much as they did.  Maybe I’ll start another tradition.

A Commitment to Purity

Over the past several years, the concept of purity rings has grown increasingly popular in the Christian community.  While the article is about jewelry for daughters, I believe that it is equally important for sons to have a symbol of their commitment to purity.  So much emphasis is placed on the ring, but it is a only a symbol of a more important commitment made. The Commitment Harold and I made individual commitments to purity before we met, but they were commitments from our hearts and not with written or spoken words.  Our desire was to be more intentional with our daughters, calling them to a commitment of purity in body, mind, and spirit—not just before marriage but for all of their days on this earth.  We chose to discuss this topic during what we call “Purity Weekend”—a mother/daughter overnight get-a-way when we first discussed intimacy in marriage as well as courtship and the biblical standard of purity.  (The Gift of Purity includes a schedule as well as all information necessary to conduct a purity weekend for your daughter.)  At the conclusion of our weekend together, Harold surprised our daughter and joined us for dinner.  After dinner, we returned back to the hotel where we were staying and Harold talked with them, recounting our weekend discussions about the biblical command for purity, calling them to a point of verbal response.  He then presented his princess with a lovely purity ring, symbolizing her commitment to purity.  He explained what the ring meant and placed it on her finger.  It was a significant and emotional moment for all of us.

Purity Rings vs. Promise Rings Lately I’ve heard the words “purity ring” and “promise ring” used interchangeably.  I understand that a promise ring could reflect a commitment to keep one’s promise to remain pure until marriage; however a pre-engagement ring symbolizing a commitment to a future together is also called a promise ring.  In order to most clearly communicate, we have chosen to use the term “purity ring” to describe the ring our girls wear on the ring finger of their left hand as a symbol of their commitment to purity in body, mind, and spirit both before and after they are married.

Our Choices At the writing of this article, our oldest three daughters wear purity rings given to them by their father at the conclusion of their individual purity weekend.  (The youngest is anxiously awaiting her purity weekend.)  Each ring is unique and suits the wearer perfectly, though none of the rings was labeled as a “purity ring.”  We purchased all three rings on sale from local jewelers.  Our oldest daughter wears a gold ring with a red stone in a heart-like shape; the second daughter has a gold heart and white gold heart intertwined; the third daughter treasures her white gold band with three tiny stones. When we were purchasing rings, we took into account the following requirements:  We looked for a simple, yet beautiful design that was symbolic and meaningful.  Not knowing when she will marry, we wanted a ring she would be proud to wear even as a grown woman.  We wanted the ring to be long-lasting and reflect both her value and the value of her purity.  While some parents may be concerned about giving a young person something so valuable, I’ve found that their ring is so precious to them that they care for it and guard it carefully.

Your Choices Since purity rings have become much more acceptable in our culture, you can find purity rings for sale at several local and chain jewelry stores as well as numerous online outlets.  Two popular styles available to order online are The Gift Wrapped Heart Purity Ring and The Unblossomed Rose Purity Ring.  (I’m not providing a link since these are available from many online retailers.)  I’ve also found reasonably priced quality rings at www.overstock.com and www.amazon.com. If you think your daughter would rather not wear a ring, you may want to consider a “purity necklace.”    There are several choices available through Pumpkin Seed Press, here.

Make a Choice There is no right or wrong when it comes to purity rings or purity jewelry.  There is no perfect symbol—only the perfect symbol for your daughter.  Your daughter is a unique individual designed by the Master Creator.  As you make your choice, think about who she is, her interests, what she values, her favorite color, and all the other characteristics that make her so special.  Ask God to help you choose something you think she’ll love, but remember the ring is only a symbol of a personal commitment to purity.  May God lead you as you bless your children and lead them to walk in purity all the days of their lives.

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.

The Beauty of Becoming a Woman

Dear Reader—While it may be uncomfortable for some to read an article about such a personal and sensitive issue, I can assure you that it is equally challenging for me to write about it.  Because we receive more questions about this issue than any other parenting challenge, we recognize the need to address this topic.  I hope that the following information will be helpful to you.

When I least expected it, I turned around and found my little girl had grown into a blossoming young woman.  It seemed that her body had changed overnight!  I admit I was filled with fear.  I wanted to maintain her innocence, but I knew I had to tell her something.  What should I tell her?  What if I forget something?  Was she ready for this?  Was I ready for this?

Lady Day:  The Event

After much prayer, Harold and I agreed that we should present only information about her and save the stuff about boys for a later date.  We both felt it was important to affirm her transition from girl to woman and to give her God’s perspective of what our culture often labels “the curse.”  We wanted to celebrate this transition time as we taught her about the changes in her body and the incredible way God made her.  We began to plan a “Lady Day,” a day that she and I could do things together that grown up women do—such as shopping and having lunch together.  We would have fun and strengthen our relationship while I shared important information with her.  But what information was I going to share?

Lady Day:  The Book

With God’s help and inspiration, I wrote Lady Day:  Letters to a Daughter About Becoming a Woman. I never envisioned it to be anything more than a collection of information for our four daughters, but the many requests from friends encouraged us to make it available to other Christian families.  My goal was to create a tool from a godly perspective that would help me teach our daughter about becoming a woman while building a deeper relationship with her, opening a ongoing discussion for the years ahead.  I felt it was important to have everything in writing so she could refer back to it at any time after our Lady Day.

While this relational tool was designed as a mother/daughter event, the tone of the letters and the blank signature space allows the book to be used by mothers or fathers.  It’s not designed to be given to a daughter without discussion or interaction, nor is it an exhaustive source of information on the topic. 

A compilation of “Dear Daughter” letters about various topics regarding puberty, this 32-page book begins by affirming a daughter’s femininity and continues with encouraging modesty.  There is a section on her changing body and caring for her skin.  The final section presents information about menstruation.  The book concludes with printed letters of blessing from mom and dad as well as a blank page for you to record a personalized message to your daughter.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  There is no discussion about physical differences between girls and boys or about marital relations.  (Those issues are addressed in The Gift of Purity, another product exclusive to Daughters 4 God which will be featured in the March newsletter.)

A Sample Lady Day

The Lady Day celebrations for each of our daughters have been unique, but the following description is a compilation of what worked best for our family.  Several weeks before the event, I told our daughter that I had planned a special day together—just the two of us.  On our chosen Saturday, we dressed in our casual best.  As we drove away, I gave her a copy of Lady Day and asked her to read the first letter while we drove to our first destination-- the parking lot of our church, away from any traffic. I asked her to read the next letter and fill in the opposite page. We talked and prayed about her aspirations and her future.

At the next stop (a discount store or mall), we read the sections about changes, modesty, and skin care. Then we went shopping for undergarments and a purse. You could also schedule a skin care appointment at a department store or with a beauty consultant.  I chose to discuss skin care before our day together, so we just reviewed what she already knew.  We returned to the car and filled in the section about our purchase.

For our last session, we drove to a discount retailer. In a remote section of the parking lot, I asked her to read the section about menstruation and allowed her to ask as many questions as she wanted.  We went inside the store and together we chose several different sanitary supplies for her to have available.  We returned to the car and headed to a restaurant for a late lunch.

During our leisurely lunch, I asked her to read the letters that her dad and I had written.  I presented my dear daughter with a devotional book and a charm for her charm bracelet (a.k.a. “Memory Keeper”) as remembrances of our special day together.  Sterling silver charms and Memory Keepers are available at .  It was a day neither of us will forget.

When is it time?

One of the most frequent questions I receive is, “How do I know when my daughter is ready for Lady Day?”  Physical development and questions about sexuality are good indications that your daughter may be ready for Lady Day.  My husband and I made the decision primarily based on our daughter’s physical development.  We wanted to make sure that she had all the information she needed and was prepared before her big day arrived.  In our family, age 10 or 11 was a perfect time to tell our daughters about their changing body.

While you may see some signs of physical development, you may have more time than you think.  The average age of menarche (the first menstruation) in the US is 12.54 years.  African-American girls have a lower average age than white girls; heavier girls have a lower average than lean girls.  I have learned from our pediatrician, research, and my own experiences that girls begin to menstruate about two years after the appearance of both breast buds and underarm hair.

Don’t let fear guide you.  Fear is not from God.  Trust in God; He is faithful.  He gave you your sweet daughter and He will give you everything you need to raise her, including the wisdom to choose the perfect timing for your daughter’s Lady Day. Every mom I’ve spoken with has told me that they knew in their heart when the right time had come to talk to their daughter.  I’m sure it will be the same for you, too.

Your Daughter’s Lady Day

Let your Lady Day reflect you and your daughter.  I know of a mother and daughter who had their special day and a picnic on the Skyline Drive and another who took her daughter horseback riding, and still another who took her daughter for tea.  The possibilities are endless!

Of course you’ll want to stay within the family budget, but you may also want to consider a few other things.  Knowing that I had three more daughters to follow, I planned activities and special gifts for the oldest daughter that I could easily repeat for the other three.  (For example, each received a book but not the same book.  Each went out to eat, but at a different restaurant.)  As parents, we love to give good gifts to our children and bless them.  When we have time together it’s easy to want to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do—tea, manicures, shopping, etc.  I tried to hold back and plan some special activities she would enjoy, but to keep others for a future time together.  Remember, the most important thing is not what you do but that you affirm your daughter and build a strong foundation for a lasting relationship as you celebrate her transition to womanhood.

If you’ve used Lady Day with your daughter, I’d love to hear your story.  It will be an inspiration to moms who are planning a special day for their daughters.

Some excerpts taken from Lady Day, by Joy Moore, Copyright 2006

Statistics quoted from American Association of Pediatrics.

Joy's inside tips on using The Gift of Purity

NEW product from Daughters 4 God! You think it's time to "have the talk", but you aren't sure and you don't know what to say. That's how I felt when my first daughter was approaching puberty. I had already written Lady Day, but I began to search for something to help me know what to say and when to say it.  I found Passport 2Purity and used that with both of our first two daughters.  But when I began to plan for the third daughter, God gave me the book The Gift of Purity to share with her.

giftofpuritycover

Timing

How do you know when it's time to have "the talk?" Each child and each family is different. Some children ask lots of direct questions; some ask none at all. Some families are comfortable with lots of information; some give very little information.  The Gift of Purity was written for 11-13 year-old girls.  I feel that if my daughter can conceive a child, she should know how that happens.  We planned our time according to our daughter's physical and emotional development.  We wanted to make sure that she would understand the information presented and treasure the purity ring and what it represented.

Planning

I am a big fan of making detailed plans in advance, however I am flexible enough to throw the plans out the window if something changes, if something better comes up, or if God leads me otherwise. A plan is a tool to help you make decisions in advance, allowing you to have a more enjoyable time.  Harold and I talked together and chose a few weekends within a 6-week period that would suit our family schedule.  Ultimately, we made our final choice based on the lowest hotel rate.  The book includes a detailed check list of how to prepare for the event.

Making a Budget

You don't have to spend a lot of money, but you want to communicate how special this time is. Depending on location, you should be able to find a nice hotel with a free breakfast for around $75.00 per night, less on the off season.  I found a five star hotel on off season for about $65.00 a night, off season and without breakfast.  If your budget won't allow that much, maybe you know someone who would let you stay in their cabin in the mountains or their house at the beach.  I even know of one nursing mom who chose to have their "weekend" in one marathon day because she couldn't leave the baby overnight.  The book includes sample schedules for these scenarios. 

As far as meals, you'll be eating dinner the first day and three meals on the second day. Since we ate a big breakfast on our second day, we saved some money by eating snacks for lunch. We splurged on a nice dinner.  With our third daughter, our hotel didn't include breakfast so we went to a grocery store and bought bananas, milk and donuts-much cheaper than a breakfast at a restaurant.

Finally, you'll have expenses for gas, expense for a ring or other token, and entertainment expenses for your free time.  Our entertainment expenses varied-one got their ears pierced, one got her first haircut at a salon, and another bought some needed clothing.  One mom I know took her daughter horseback riding.  Don't feel guilty if your budget is tight.  The weekend is not about spending money; it's about the time you invest in building a stronger relationship with your daughter.

Choosing a Destination

When choosing a destination, you need to take several things into account: your daughter's interests, the time of year, your geographic location, and your budget.  What would your daughter like to do during your free time? Will it be swimming weather or skiing weather?  How far are you willing to drive? How much are you willing to spend?  Since Dad was joining us for a special dinner, we didn't want to drive too far from home.  In the end, the destination for the first two daughters was about one hour away.  The third daughter requested a local hotel more than a year in advance of her special weekend and was surprised and thrilled when we pulled into the parking lot.

Choosing a Hotel

Most girls like nice things and atmosphere is very important. For all three girls, we chose a nice hotel during the off-season which gave us lovely accommodations for about half of the price. Many hotels include a free breakfast or have a hotel restaurant. Having breakfast at the hotel is not necessary, but is very convenient.  I like using hotels.com because they have a calendar option for each hotel that shows when you can get the lowest rates.

Also, we spent two nights. We didn't want to pack up and check out in the morning and we wanted to be dressed nicely for dinner and needed a room to get ready.  The second night certainly isn't necessary.

Sending an invitation

Make an invitation and send it to your daughter through the mail. What girl doesn't like to get mail? I named the time "Purity Weekend" and I listed the date, departure time, and an RSVP name and phone number, but the destination was a secret.  You can call it anything you want:  Girls' Weekend Getaway, A Celebration, A Special Time Together.  I'm sure God will show you just what to call it.

Shopping for a Purity Ring

For the first two, we found a ring at a local jeweler which was within our budget and looked grown up enough for a young adult to wear.  (Our local jeweler has a 50% off sale each year in January, so we planned ahead!)  For the third daughter, we found a great deal during a holiday sale at a national jewelry chain and saved the ring until her "Purity Weekend."

Preparing the "Purity Points"

As I prepared the "Purity Points," I bought solid colored gift bags from a discount retailer, each bag a different color based on the color of the gift at the top of the pages in the chapter.  All supplies for that "Purity Point" were placed in the bag so that I was prepared when we came to that section.  I transported all of the bags in a large department store shopping bag so my daughter didn't see them. I kept the bags to be used with the next daughter.  The book includes a list of supplies you will need for each of the "Purity Points."

Planning Free Time

I tailored the afternoon activities to my daughter's interests and desires, and my budget! I wanted to find a "grown up" activity that reaffirmed her femininity. The oldest daughter wanted to get her ears pierced. We spent the day perusing bookstores and finally ended up at Claire's to get her ears pierced. For the second daughter, I scheduled an appointment to get her hair cut at a nice salon - her first visit to a salon. Later, she also got her ears pierced.  The third daughter needed some clothing, so we went to the mall and bought a few new items-a big deal for a family that more often shops at thrift stores. 

There are many things you could do together.  Take some time to think about what interests your daughter.  Some free or inexpensive ideas are touring a historic site, going to a museum, going horseback riding, painting a piece of pottery, walking on the beach, swimming, or hiking.  (I discourage movies or other performances that don't allow you to communicate.) 

Doing the Event

We left home and after we got on the road, I had our daughter read the introductory letter in the car.  Then I told them where we were going.  We stopped and ate dinner on the way to the hotel.  The Letters from Mom and Dad can be read at the hotel while you're waiting for food, or you can save them for when you arrive at the hotel.  The letters of blessing open their hearts and set the stage.  After dinner, we drove to the hotel and checked in.  We took a little time to get settled and then we sat on the bed together as I read aloud the Purity letter to her.  (Your daughter could read the letter if she wants to, but it should be read aloud.)  We did the "Purity Point" and I finished reading the letter.  As we got ready for bed, I let her talk as much as she wanted to, about whatever she wanted to. 

In the morning, before we even got out of bed, I read the Sexuality letter to her.  We did the "Purity Point" and I finished reading the letter.  I paused in some sections, asking her if she understood and if she had any questions.  When we finished, we got dressed and had breakfast.  After breakfast, I read the Courtship letter, did the "Purity Point", finished the letter and then signed the "Commitment to Courtship."  I mentioned to her that Dad could sign it when we got home.  (Really he signs it when he comes to give her the ring.)   

We hung out together in the afternoon and then came back and dressed for dinner.

Dinner

I felt the weekend was too special and too important not to include Dad in some way. We planned that he would join us for dinner on the second evening. For the first two, I searched in advance to find a nice restaurant nearby and my daughter and I dressed up in our very best dresses. I wanted her to know that this was a special time. When we entered the hotel lobby on our way to the restaurant, Dad was waiting in his best suit. Both girls were so emotionally moved that they cried. We took lots of pictures and headed to dinner.

The third daughter is a little more casual so we didn't dress up as much.  Dad was afraid she may have overheard conversations about the first two "Purity Weekends" and might be expecting him.  He wanted to be sure to surprise her so he hid in the trunk of the van!  After we arrived at the restaurant and parked in the lot, I opened the hatch and Dad jumped out.  Anna was completely surprised!

My husband treated all our daughters with honor, opened the car door for them, pulled back their chairs at dinner and showed by example how a future husband should treat his wife.  During dinner our daughters told Dad about what she had learned and what we had done during the weekend, without the interruption of siblings. Including Dad at this point was crucial because it established that all of these topics were open for discussion with Mom or Dad. Were the girls embarrassed?  Not at all.  At this age, most are still very open and uninhibited about discussing such issues.

After dinner, we returned back to the hotel and Dad presented his princess with a lovely purity ring, symbolizing her commitment to purity.  He explained what the ring meant and placed it on her finger.  This is also the time for Dad to sign the "Commitment to Courtship."

No Mom/No Dad

The letters on Purity and Sexuality could easily be used by single parents.  However, the Courtship letter was clearly written with the understanding that both parents were married to each other and a part of raising the daughter.  I realize that there are many other situations, but I couldn't figure out how to write that section in such a way to include all family situations.  Don't let that stop you.  You can make adjustments to the text as you read it to your daughter. 

Single dads, you may not be comfortable with an overnight event, but don't pass up the opportunity to impart to your daughter the value of her purity.

Single moms, there are several options when it comes to presenting the ring.  You could present the ring to her and explain the significance of purity.  If Dad is a believer and actively involved in protecting her, you may invite Dad to come and participate in the dinner and be a part of giving the ring.  Another option is to have a close male relative give the ring-your father, or brother.  Again, this is someone who is actively involved in her life in a father-like role.  Under no circumstances would I have your boyfriend present the ring.  If your relationship doesn't work out, it could become a bad memory.           

Concluding the Weekend

After Dad left, my daughter and I spent a second night at the hotel and had a final breakfast together. We drove home with a closeness we had never before experienced; it was a heart-to-heart experience. I can't say that everything was perfect after that, but for each daughter I can say that it was a very important foundational weekend in our relationship and that it opened the door to communication. I am still reaping the benefits today.  Each of the girls asks if I have anything else to tell them because they want to do it all over again!

It is my prayer that The Gift of Purity will be a blessing to you and your family.  Please feel free to email any questions you may have or any comments about your special weekend with your daughter.

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

Inside Tips on Using Passport2Purity

motherdaughterinred1
motherdaughterinred1

Joy's Inside Tips on Using Passport2Purity

You think it's time to "have the talk", but you aren't sure and you don't know what to say. That's how I felt when my first daughter was approaching puberty. I had already written Lady Day, but I began to search for something to help me know what to say and when to say it.  I hadn't yet written The Gift of Purity, so I used Passport2Purity.

This is an excellent tool with detailed instructions and teaching to help you plan an overnight for you and your daughter. It includes:

  • A planning guide with two sections
  • The first section is a planner for you with a detailed schedule of the weekend.The second section is identical to your daughter's. It includes fill in the blank outlines of each discussion on CD.
  • A student's guide
  • 5 audio CD's of teachings by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Timing

How do you know when it's time to have "the talk?" Each child and each family is different. Some children ask lots of direct questions; some ask none at all. Some families are comfortable with lots of information; some give very little information. Passport2Purity was designed for 10-13 year old girls (and boys). We planned our time according to our daughter's physical and emotional development and questions she was asking. We wanted to make sure that she would understand the information presented and treasure the purity ring and what it represented.

Planning

I am a big fan of making detailed plans in advance, however I am flexible enough to throw the plans out the window if something changes, if something better comes up, or if God leads me otherwise. A plan is a tool to help you make decisions in advance, allowing you to have a more enjoyable time.

Making a budget

You don't have to spend a lot of money, but you want to communicate how special this time is. Depending on location, you should be able to find a nice hotel with a free breakfast for around $75.00 per night, less on the off season. If your budget won't allow that much, maybe you know someone who would let you stay in their cabin in the mountains or their house at the beach.

As far as meals, you'll be eating dinner the first day, and three meals on the second day. Since we ate a big breakfast, we saved some money by eating snacks for lunch. We splurged on a nice dinner.

Finally, you'll have expenses for gas, expense for a ring or other token and entertainment expenses. Don't worry about how much money you have, or don't have! It's not about how much money you spend; it's about the time you invest in building a relationship with your daughter.

Choosing a destination

When choosing a destination, you need to take several things into account: your daughter's interests, the time of year, your geographic location, and your budget. What would your daughter like to do during your free time? Will it be swimming weather or skiing weather? How far are you willing to drive? How much are you willing to spend? Since dad was joining us for a special dinner, we didn't want to drive too far from home. In the end, we chose a destination about one hour away.

Choosing a hotel

Most girls like nice things and atmosphere is very important. On both occasions, we chose a nice hotel during the off-season which gave us lovely accommodations for about half of the price. Many hotels include a free breakfast or have a hotel restaurant. Having breakfast at the hotel is not necessary, but is very convenient.

Also, we spent two nights. We didn't want to pack up and check out in the morning and we wanted to be dressed nicely for dinner and needed a room to get ready.

Sending an invitation

Make an invitation and send it to your daughter through the mail. What girl doesn't like to get mail? I name the time "Purity Weekend" and I listed the departuretime, and an RSVP name and phone number, but the destination was a secret.

Choosing puzzles

Each girl has her own interests. Choose a puzzle that would interest her. For my oldest daughter I chose Thomas Kinkade paintings, for my second daughter, I chose horse puzzles. On both occasions, we worked the puzzle during our free time. After the weekend, the puzzle was her gift to remember our time together.

Preparing the object lessons

As I prepared the object lessons, I bought solid colored gift bags from a discount retailer, each bag a different color, and marked them by number for each of the object lessons. All supplies for that object lesson were placed in the bag so that I was prepared when we stopped the tape. I transported all of the bags in a large department store shopping bag so my daughter didn't see them. I kept the bags to be used with the next daughter.

Listening to the teachings

The first CD teaching you listen to is while you're traveling. I made sure that she had control of the buttons. I gave them permission to stop the teaching any time they had a question or didn't understand the concept. When we listened in the hotel room, she was on one bed with the portable CD player, and I was on the other bed. Sometimes I stopped the teaching just to clarify that she understood. Usually when I stopped the CD to ask a question, she had more to ask me.

Planning afternoon activities

I tailored the afternoon activities to my daughter's interests and desires, and my budget! I wanted to find a "grown up" activity that reaffirmed her femininity. The oldest daughter wanted to get her ears pierced. We spent the day perusing bookstores and finally ended up at Claire's to get her ears pierced. For the second daughter, I scheduled an appointment to get her hair cut at a nice salon - her first visit to a salon. Later, she also got her ears pierced.

There are many things you could do together: seeing a symphony, a ballet, touring a historic site, going to a museum, going horseback riding, painting a piece of pottery, walking on the beach, swimming, or hiking.

Dinner

I felt the weekend was too special and too important not to include Dad in some way. We planned that he would join us for dinner on the second evening. I searched in advance to find a nice restaurant nearby and my daughter and I dressed up in our very best dresses. I wanted her to know that this was a special time. When we entered the hotel lobby on our way to the restaurant, Dad was waiting in his best suit. Both girls were so emotionally moved that they cried. We took lots of pictures and headed to dinner.

My husband treated our daughter with honor, opened the car door for her, pulled back her chair at dinner and showed by example how a future husband should treat her. During dinner our daughter told her dad about what she had learned and what we had done during the weekend without the interruption of siblings. Including dad at this point was crucial because it established that all of these topics were open for discussion with Mom or Dad. Were the girls embarrassed? Not at all. At this age, most are still very open and uninhibited about discussing such issues.

After dinner, we returned back to the hotel and dad presented his princess with a lovely purity ring, symbolizing her commitment to purity. We found a ring at a local jeweler which was within our budget and looked grown up enough for a young adult to wear.

Concluding the weekend

After Dad left, my daughter and I spent a second night at the hotel and had a final breakfast together. We drove home with a closeness we had never before experienced - it was a heart-to-heart experience. I can't say that everything was perfect after that, but I can say that it was a very important foundational weekend in our relationship and that it opened the door to communication. I am still reaping the benefits today.