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

Special Mother's Day Gift: "Circle of Love Bracelet"

One of my favorite things to do for fun is to design and make jewelry.  I enjoy the process of choosing colors, beads and findings to design the perfect gift for a family member or friend.  One of my favorite designs is the "Circle of Love Bracelet." As my mom's memory was fading, I wanted her to have a tangible way to remember that she had a big family who loved her very much.  I created a bracelet of birthstones of my dad and each of her children and her grandchildren.  She loved it and wore it every day for many years.  Since then, I've made bracelets for my mother-in-law and for other dear friends. If you are looking for a creative gift to give your mom this Mother's Day, look no further.  I am now taking orders for the "Circle of Love Bracelet."  Each bracelet is made of 6mm bicone Swarovski crystal birthstones with a simple sterling silver toggle clasp.  If there are fewer family members, I use each birthstone twice in the design or I alternate a single birthstone with white Swarovski pearls, depending on the requested size of the bracelet.

I am also able to customize the size for the recipient--Medium is about 7 inches for the average wrist, Small is approximately 1/4 in. smaller and Large is approximately 1/4 in. larger.  You may also send the wrist measurement if the gift isn't a surprise.

The cost of each bracelet is $30.  Orders will ship 2 business days after the order has been placed.  All orders must be placed by midnight May 4 for delivery by Mother's Day. Order here...

Merry Organized Christmas

Long before there were organizing experts or special stores devoted solely to organizing, my mom had set up my dresser drawers with separate shoe boxes for socks and “unmentionables.” She color-coded the photo albums, school folders, and even bath towels. Christmas was no exception for her organizational skill.  Mom made lists in September and had her shopping done before Thanksgiving.  Nearly 80 Christmas cards were hand-addressed, signed in her perfect penmanship, and sent on the Friday after Christmas.  The every box of Christmas decorations was clearly labeled and the wrapping was finished long before Christmas Eve.

I am grateful that some of that organization has filtered down to her daughter, but I sometimes wish that my Christmas (and my closets!) were a little more organized.  I believe the key to organization is prior planning and lots of lists (so the information doesn’t have to stay in my head!).  If you’re looking for some tips to better organize your Christmas celebrations, check out organizedchristmas.com. You’ll find a Christmas countdown with a daily assignment, holiday tips, recipes, and printable forms for a budget, gifts, Christmas cards, menus, and lots more. (There are enough forms to keep you busy until next Christmas!)  Certainly it isn’t necessary to fill out each form, but I find it helpful to choose forms that apply to the most unorganized areas of my Christmas celebration.  When I make notes, it helps me better use my time and resources to accomplish my goals.  This year I plan to use the Ornament Journal to record the history of special ornaments that hang on our tree and the Holiday Menu Planner.

Most of all, don’t let the enemy of our soul use disorganization to steal your joy and paralyze you.  Choose not to compare yourself to anyone else and remember you are a precious daughter of the King of Kings.  His love for you isn’t based on your organizational skills.  Ask God to give you direction and help you make a plan.  Do the best you can with the time and money you have, but don’t forget to choose to be fully present in the moment.  Find joy in the chaos of decorating; find joy in the long (and sometimes loud!) trip to visit relatives; find joy in being with friends; find joy in remembering Jesus who was born to give us life, and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)

 

Remember and Reflect: Celebrating a New Year

The beginning of a new year is a great time for new beginnings: new eating habits, new exercise programs, new personal goals, and new projects.  For my friend Karen it means a new Bible, since she buys a new one each year so that old markings don’t distract her and she can receive fresh revelation.  For the past 25 years, I’ve celebrated the new year by making resolutions. Last year, I began a new tradition.  One of our pastors introduced our family to Remembrances and Revelations, a discussion guide worksheet to help us reflect on the past and intentionally plan for the year ahead.  Some questions are directed to the family, such as “What great works of God have we experienced this year?”,  “What has God taught us this year?”,  “What scriptures have we memorized?”, and “What mission is God calling us to in the coming year?”  Some questions should be completed with each child individually, such as “What was the greatest disappointment of the year and why?”, “What do you wish was different in our family?”, and “What was the most special event of the year and why?”  As your child answers these questions, it will give you a window into their heart and soul.  The thought-provoking questions helped us to reflect on the past and to prioritize and be more intentional about our goals for the coming year.

Remember that this guide is only a tool, not a biblical mandate!  You can use some of it, part of it, or none of it.  Ask God to give you a plan for your family.  Since our family will be traveling on New Year’s Eve day, I plan to bring the Remembrance and Revelation guide so we can discuss the family questions together.  In January, I hope to carve out some one-on-one time with each child so we can complete the individual portions together.  No matter how you use this tool, I hope it will be a blessing and help bring your family closer together as you begin 2011.

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 Lesson Plan to Teach Time Management

Introduction for Parents

Since the girls were quite small, we have tried to teach them to be good stewards of their money.  A few years back, God showed me that He was just as concerned with how we steward another commodity—our time.  He has given us the precious gift of 24 hours to spend each day.  Truly our time is not our own.  When we choose to follow Christ as Lord, we also choose to surrender everything we have to our Savior—our time, talent, money, dreams, future.  As parents, it is our responsibility to help our children make wise, God-honoring choices about how to use their time.

This brief lesson is designed to be used with children ages 8-14 years old.  I believe it will be most effective when you make it your own by using personal examples or applications to your own family.

Budgeting Time

Many people use a budget to help them plan what to do with the money God has given them.  God wants us to be responsible with what He gives us.  People make budgets to determine how much money to tithe, give, spend, save, and invest based on their priorities.

In the same way, God wants us to be responsible with the 24 hours that He gives us each day.  A schedule helps us budget our time and determine how to use the minutes and hours of the day based on our priorities.  Neither a budget nor a schedule is a permanent law set in stone.  Both can be adjusted temporarily or revised, if necessary, so you may want to write in pencil so you can easily make changes.  Print this schedule worksheet and use it to make your own schedule.  Here are some ideas of what to include on your schedule:

Tithing Time

A tithe means, “tenth.”  In the book of Genesis, Abraham gave God a tenth of his possessions. The Bible doesn’t ask us to give a tithe of our time, but the same principle works.  All of our time belongs to God, but He asks us to spend it in certain ways.  God desires us to spend time in church with our Christian family celebrating our God.  God also desires that we have a “date” with him, spending time in His presence praying and hearing His voice.  Most of us aren’t spending a tithe of our hours with God, but God hasn’t required that of us.  He wants us to regularly spend time with Him and with His people.

On your schedule:  Label blocks when you are at church for worship service, Sunday School, or other activities, including travel time.  Also label blocks for family worship or devotions.

Spending Time

When we make choices about what to do and how long to do it, we are spending time.  When we aren’t doing anything or just playing outside, we are still spending time.  A schedule is helpful because it keeps us focused and accountable to do what is most important.   Some things on a schedule are necessities, like going to school, doing homework, doing chores, participating in activities, or even daily hygiene.  When you’re an adult you’ll have other necessities on your schedule like work, laundry, or homeschooling your children.  On your schedule:  Label blocks for daily hygiene, chores, school, and any activities (ex. sports, dance, music lessons) you participate in.  Ask your parents to help you determine how many blocks to label for sleep.

Giving Time

God has promised to provide for our needs and often He provides more than we need.  Sometimes God gives us abundance to bless us and other times God provides extra so we can give to others.  God’s Word says to “consider one another’s interests ahead of your own.” (Phil. 2:10)  Our priorities should not focus only on ourselves.  God desires that His children live as a family by sharing, giving, and preferring each other.  He also commands us to feed the hungry and care for those in need.   At this stage of your life, you probably don’t have a lot of money to give, but you can give your time.

Talk with your parents about the opportunities available in your church and community and how you might be able to serve as a family.  Babysit for free for a family in the church or neighborhood.  Some communities have soup kitchens or distribute food through the local Food Bank.  Some churches have a ministry to the elderly who aren’t able to come to church.  Volunteer to serve in the children’s department at church so parents can be in service.  Pray with your parents about what would be the best option for you and your family.  On your schedule:  Label blocks on your schedule for the area(s) that you plan to give your time.

Saving Time

Time is a limited commodity.  You may get a raise and make more money, but no one on this earth can make more time.  The only way to have more time is to use it more efficiently.  Believe it or not, there are companies hired for the specific purpose of saving people time.  These companies collect and analyze information about how people use their time and then make recommendations for how the time could be used more efficiently.

You don’t have to hire a company to save time.  Take a good look at your schedule to find ways to save time and conserve motion.  For instance, it is probably a better use of your time to do all of your chores in one block of time than to do chores in short segments throughout the day.  Before you start school or homework, sharpen a pencil, gather your books, notebooks and any other supplies you’ll need.  This will help you work with fewer interruptions.  Taking your dishes to the sink after a meals takes less time and energy than leaving the table and then going back to get your dishes.  At the end of the day, hang up your clothes if they’re clean or put them wherever you keep your dirty clothes.  This takes less time and energy than putting your clothes on the floor and later picking them up and putting them away.

One of the most effective ways to save time is to stay organized.  When everything has a home, it is easier to put things away and locate them when you need them.  This will eliminate or at least decrease the time you spend searching for something you need.  You can save minutes a day by changing some habits and being organized.   On your schedule:  You can’t really label a block for saving time, but you can consider the suggestions above and choose one or two that you will add to your schedule.  If you are challenged in the area of organization, you may want to add a block or two of time to work on organizing one area of your life—school, room, closet, or other area.

Margin

You may be familiar with the word margin from assignments you’ve had in school.  Margin is the white space around the words on a page--basically the space that isn’t occupied.  Margins are important in writing because they allow people to easily read the content on the page.  If every space is filled, it would be confusing.  The same holds true for your schedule.  It must have some margin, unoccupied space, in case something unexpected happens or you just need some time to relax.  Margin also allows you to do your best without feeling rushed and pressured to move on to the next thing.

Take a look at your schedule.  If all of your blocks are filled, you need to make some adjustments and find some margin.  Talk with your parents about what might need to be adjusted or eliminated.  You may want to add margin or overestimate travel time to allow for the possibility of traffic and still arrive on time at your destination.

If all of your blocks aren’t filled, that’s ok!  The goal isn’t to fill all of the boxes.  The goal is to make time for all of the things that are valuable to God and to you.  Any square that isn’t filled is like having extra spending money.  Ask God to show what to do with your extra time.  On your schedule:  Label any margin blocks.  Make adjustments to your schedule, as needed.  You may have empty blocks that you’ll fill in the future.

Making the schedule was the easy part; now you need to fine tune it.  Live with the schedule and see what works and what doesn’t work.  If you’re feeling rushed in some area, try to shift the schedule a bit to make a little more time.  (You can divide the blocks to make smaller segments.)  If you consistently finish an activity with time to spare, you may want to shorten the block of time for that particular activity.  Activities may come and go.  Use your schedule to help you avoid the overcommittment syndrome—having more activities than you have hours in the day.

One schedule doesn’t last forever.  It is helpful to start with a new worksheet at least once a year and make a new schedule.  Take time to reevaluate priorities as well as the amount of time spent in each activity.  No matter how old you are, a schedule can help you be more productive and focused in what God has called you to do.

Homeschool Time Management

If you’re a homeschooling pro you probably have your own system for planning.  (A good system is anything that works well for you and your family.)  When I work with moms in my area, I find many who are homeschooling newbies who wonder how to make a schedule or others who label themselves as “organizationally challenged” who are looking for some ideas.  I’m not an expert, but over the past 14 years I’ve learned a lot about how to plan a homeschool schedule I can live with.  I don’t expect that the Moore family schedule will work perfectly for any other family, but I do hope that some of these ideas will help you better plan for the needs of your homeschool and your family.

PLANNING A CALENDAR FOR THE YEAR

Before I make a plan, I spend some time contemplating our current needs and our future needs.  After I’ve collected the information I can better put it onto a calendar and into a useable form.    When I am planning, I use 2 year-long calendar I’ve printed from the internet so I can see the whole year at a glance. (One calendar year from Sept. to Christmas and the next calendar year from Jan. to the end of school.)  When I’m recording the information and marking on the calendar, I find it easiest to plan using a block-style calendar so I have enough space to write.  Block-style calendar are available at discount dollar stores or you can print individual calendar pages from the internet.  Remember you’ll need a calendar page for every month of the school year which means 2 calendar years.  I make all my marks in pencil, since I often need to make adjustments or changes during the planning process.  Take a deep breath, grab a pencil and here we go…

Choosing Days Off

We seem to be able to focus best when we have regular breaks, short or long.  However, I find that I personally must have a regularly scheduled long break to do some deep cleaning and put the house back together.  (One week off every six weeks is ideal.)  We also take days off around holidays or when my children have scheduled breaks from activities such as piano lessons, dance or sports.  With that in mind, here are some questions to help you plan which days you plan not to do school.  As you make decisions about each area below, put an x over the date (on the block-style calendar) you’ve decided not to have school.

  1. Holidays—Which holidays will we take off?  How much time will I need for preparation (including cleaning, meal prep, laundry, shopping, etc.)  Our standard:  Labor Day, Wednesday before and Friday after Thanksgiving, 2 ½ to 3 weeks off at Christmas, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day
  2. Vacation—What time of the year is best for our family to take a vacation?  How much time will I need to prepare for the vacation (including shopping, laundry, packing, planning, etc.)  For years we vacationed during the first week of October—cooler weather, fewer tourists, and a more convenient time for our family and my husband’s work situation.  Since we started school in August, a vacation in October was a welcomed break.  Our standard:  One day off before we leave, one day off after we return (This is critical!  After many trips, I realize that I need a day to recover, unpack, and gear up for “normal” life.)
  3. Spring Break—Are my children involved in activities that are affected by the public school spring break schedule?  I found that when I scheduled a different week for our spring break and still had to take the children to activities, it didn’t feel like a break.  There is no right or wrong.  Choose whatever works best for your family.  Our standard:  Spring break based on activity schedules or children enrolled at the community college
  4. Field Trips—Field trip days count as school days in our school.  They aren’t days off, but they are certainly days that are a welcomed break in our normal routine.  I look at the curriculum and try to find activities that coordinate with what we’re learning, but our excursions don’t always line up with our curriculum.  A trip to Williamsburg or the science museum is always educational, no matter what we’re studying.  I generally schedule field trips between our longer breaks.  Our standard:  Between 5 and 10 field trip days a year
  5. Other breaks—When am I or my children less motivated to do school?  I find that January is almost always a tough school month for us—we’ve just had a long break, we’re inside, we’re halfway through school, but still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I increased our productivity by adding a winter break week or long weekend around President’s Day.  It gives us something to look forward to when we’re in the January doldrums.  You may also want to take days off when family comes to visit or if you have a special event for your family.  Our standard:  Winter break the week of President’s Day, spring break usually the week before or after Easter

Planning the First Semester and Determining the First Day of School

I begin with the end in mind.  Here’s my plan.  It may seem a little confusing, but stay with me.

  1. If you haven’t already, put an x on all the days you are not doing school, including the day you want to begin Christmas break.
  2. Determine how many weeks of school you want to finish before Christmas.
  3. Begin with the last day before Christmas break and count backwards, labeling each day you plan have school (ex. 5,4,3,2,1 Week 16; 5,4,3,2,1 Week 15, etc.) until you arrive at Week 1.  The first block of the school week will be labeled with both the week number and the day number.  Week 1 Day 1 is your first day of school.

Planning the Second Semester

Christmas is a real high point in our family so January seems like a bit of a downer, especially since we have to get back to school after a nice long break.  I find that my children are motivated to work when they know there’s a vacation day in the near future.  We finally found a rhythm that works best for our second semester—6 weeks on, one week off, 6 weeks on, one week off, 6 weeks on.  School’s finished!  Sometimes we have to flex a little based on Easter or spring break, but overall this plan works best.

  1. Determine the first day you’ll do school after Christmas break.  Label that day “Week (whatever you stopped at before break.) Day 1.
  2. Label each day you plan to have school with one number in each block (ex. Week __ 1,2,3,4,5; Week__ 1,2,3,4,5; etc.) until you have completed the number of weeks in your school year.  The last day you label is your last day of school.  We usually have 34 weeks of book work and 2 weeks (10 school days) of field trips.  I schedule 34 weeks of school and record the dates of the field trips to equal 36 weeks or 180 instructional days.

Schedule At-A-Glance

Now that my schedule is planned, I take all the information and transfer it into a form that shows me the plan at-a-glance.  Here is a sample of our school calendar.

PLANNING A DAILY SCHEDULE

When homeschooling several children who can read, it is helpful to have a list or schedule to follow and to record what work has been completed.  June is traditionally my planning month when I make weekly sheets with daily assignment grids for each child.  Sounds like a lot of work?  Not really when you consider that once my school year starts, it is turn-key since both they and I are aware of the daily expectations, my students stay on task much better, and I can reuse the schedule with the younger girls.

Daily Schedule for Elementary

Since I am a list person, I naturally love the grid system of planning and scheduling assignments.  When the girls were old enough to work independently, I made each of them an assignment book—a 3-prong folder with weekly grid pages that detailed their assignments.  Sometimes grids are left empty the student isn't able to do the assignment alone.  When each assignment is completed, the block is checked off, providing an easy way to keep track of completed work.   Here is a sample elementary school schedule.

Daily Schedule for Middle and High School

I continued the grid system for my oldest, but then realized that my second daughter was working at a different pace in some subjects.  With some changes and adjustments, I created a syllabus for each subject that included expectations and a grid of daily assignments and assignment due dates.  This way I can mix and match subject levels based on the student’s ability.  Here is a sample of a schedule for an upper level class.

Making Adjustments

When our oldest entered the community college as a dually-enrolled junior *(earning high school and college credit simultaneously), our schedule drastically changed.  Up until that point, my schedule was my own to plan and control.  About four weeks into the first semester I was planning our regular October vacation.  Victoria innocently looked at me and said, “I have class.  I guess I won’t be able to come with you.”  Needless to say, we rescheduled the vacation and I adjusted my schedule to mirror her breaks so that we could be together as a family.  I have no control over the college schedule, but I still have the flexibility to make a schedule that maximizes our family time.

The goal of any daily or yearly schedule is to make the best plan that best suits the needs of your family.  Over the years, that plan will change (after all, how many high school students still have nap time?!).  Our job as parents is to make adjustments and adaptations in the midst of a dynamic situation.

Maybe this is more organization that your world can handle.  That’s ok.  You don’t need to do it our way.  This is only one way to have a plan and keep your students accountable.  The truth is there are many days I could talk us all out of doing any school!  With a schedule, we are much more productive and I know that we’re staying on track and that we won’t be doing school in July.  May God bless you and direct you as you make a schedule for your family.

*Please note that I am not encouraging that every high school student be enrolled at the community college.  Each family must make decisions based on God’s plan for their family and its members.

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.

Be Intentional

Some may call me crazy, but I thrive on organization and planning.  I used some sort of “day planner” since I was a young girl.  In middle school my homework planner had Snoopy on the front, in high school it was a notebook of sorts, and in college a calendar held the due dates of my assignments.  After I graduated from college, I needed only a calendar and a wedding planner since most of my free time was spent with my husband-to-be.  I worked as a teacher after our marriage and found that my lesson plan book suited my need for organization.  But when the children came… Victoria arrived the day after the last the day of school.  No transition time between teacher and mother.  I was blessed to be able to stay home with her, but our days were like the wind—wherever, whenever, and if.  I found myself turning on the TV for news in the morning and leaving it on for hours in my day while I went about my business.  I dreaded meal time because I generally had no idea what we would be eating.  I was sporadic about cleaning, using the “if there’s a ring in the toilet, then it must need to be cleaned” philosophy.  I did laundry when someone was about to run out of something.  There was no order in my home.

Proverbs 29:18  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

At a trip to the local Christian bookstore, I discovered a Christian woman’s planner—not for the business minded, but for homemakers.  (I am sad to say that this particular planner is out of print, but you can make your own planner with printable pages at www.organizedhome.com.)  The book literally saved my life.  It helped me to make a reasonable list each day (when the block was filled, I couldn’t add another thing!) and to plan my meals and a coordinating grocery list.  The best part was a section on the side with a list of priorities and space to record how I would bless my family that week.  As I began to use this tool, I found more time than I knew I had!  (I still maintain that I get more done with four children than I ever did with only one!)  I found I could focus on what needed to be done today, knowing that I could wait until tomorrow or next week to do other things.  Meal time was a joy since I wasn’t frantically trying to come up with a recipe to suit my meager stash of ingredients.  I discovered I actually liked to cook!  Our home became much more peaceful and I personally was more at peace, as well.

Proverbs 14:15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.

Years later, I still have a planner on my kitchen counter.  It has my list of to-do’s, my meals for the coming week, a list of books I’ve loaned out, and a running list of Christmas gifts I think of throughout the year.  I find that having this system of organization helps me have a plan.  I become intentional.  Since I know what we’re eating, I know what groceries to buy.  Therefore, I’m not wandering in the store searching for what looks good.  I save time and money.  I also group my errands together on the same day and by location, saving time and gas money.  I set goals and accomplish them—well, most of them.  Making a plan gives me a sense of purpose, keeps me focused and helps me accomplish the things I value.

Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

My intent is not to sell you on the usefulness of using a daily planner, but I find that this same principle of intentionality works with raising children.  As parents, it is our responsibility to seek God for His plans for our young children and later to partner with our young adult children to discover God’s will.  (Isn’t that taking control of your life?  No, God is always in control and may override our plans and readjust our goals at any time He chooses.)  If my husband and I have no goals for our daughters and they have no goals for themselves, it is easy to aimlessly wander and fill up time with activities of little value.  But if we set clear goals for our daughters’ spiritual lives and for their character, we can make wise decisions about how to use our time, money, and energies (and which homeschool curriculum to use!) to meet those goals.

Action Steps I’m probably preaching to the choir, but it is my heart’s desire that parents seek God and hear His goals and His heart for their family and for each of their children.  Here are some suggestions for a process of establishing goals.  If you are married, whether your spouse is a believer or not, please work together in this process.  You each bring a different perspective and it will help you understand each other better. (Since marriage is the foundation of family relationships, you may want to use this process for your marriage first.)  Pray for God’s wisdom as you set goals for your family.

  • Ask God for His vision for your family (Ex.  This is what God wants our family to look like.)  Write your family’s vision statement.
  • Record what needs to happen in order to meet those goals.
  • Make a list of the personal character traits that you desire your children to have.  (The list may be the different for each child or the same for all of them.)
  • Of the listed character traits, choose one or two to focus on each month.  It doesn’t have to be formal (with a curriculum), just intentional (reminders, scriptures, prayer, and heart-to-heart talks).
  • For each child, write down future goals for them based on their gifts and calling.
  • Evaluate all of your family activities in light of the goals for your family and children.  Are your extra activities helping you achieve those goals?  If not, you may need to make some changes.  Which activities need to go?  What activities can you add to support your goals?
  • With children’s goals in mind, what activities would encourage their gifts and callings?

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of steps in your planning process, but I hope it will inspire you as you begin or refine the process of being intentional as you raise sons and daughters who will know Him and make Him known.

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.

My Favorite Things: Homeschool Elementary Curricula

Introducing “My Favorite Things”

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

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

My Favorite Things:  Elementary Homeschool Curricula

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

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

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

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

Considering God’s Creation

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

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

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.

How to Use 'Polished Cornerstones'

Many moms come by our booth at homeschool conventions and tell me that they’ve purchased Polished Cornerstones.  My follow up question is always, “Do you use it?”  Nearly all of them say they haven’t.  They don’t know where to start.  It can seem overwhelming with nearly 600 pages of information on character training.  Where do you start?  How do you make it work?  This product is too useful to let it sit on the shelf collecting dust. Polished Cornerstones first captured by attention when I attended a local curriculum fair in preparation for our first year of homeschooling.  It looked inspiring and overwhelming (and beyond my price range!) but I found myself drawn to it.  I put it on a wish list—for five years!  There never seemed to be enough money left over after we purchased curriculum, so after five years I finally budgeted for the expense.  It has been a great investment and has served our family well.  While there are some activities for younger elementary, the majority of activities are suitable for ages 8 and up, with some definitely for high school and beyond. I’ve created a template for creating lesson plans that you can download here: Polished Cornerstones Lesson Plan Template.  You will need one template for each week of study.

Planning First, I plan which months we’re going to use the book.  Some school years we’ve used it every month and other years we haven’t used it at all.  I don’t feel guilty that we’re not completing every activity or even one activity for every character trait.  Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Second, I pray and ask God to show me the weak areas in my daughters’ lives.  I talk with my husband too, because he sees things I don’t.  I also look for areas that the girls might enjoy, like hospitality.  I make a list and then narrow it down to assign one character trait for each month of our study.  If one daughter needs it, we all study it.  It’s good for all of us to grow in our character.  I try to vary the topics between character and life skills.  For example, last year we studied a woman who is organized, humble, courageous, and manages her money.  Copy your choices on the lesson plan templates.

Next, I use the list of scriptures at the beginning of the chapter to choose one verse or passage of scripture to memorize for each week of our study.  I base my choices on the ages of the girls, making sure that the concept and wording can be understood.  Copy your choices on the lesson plan templates.  I usually create a document that has all the scriptures typed out in the order we’ll use them.  This page goes in the notebook that I talk about below.  This makes it much easier to read together.

Then, I review all of the possible activities listed in the chapter to see which ones fit our family.  Some require other resources you may need to purchase, some are definitely geared to older daughters, and others require Dad’s involvement.  Some are spread out over a long period of time and others can be done in a matter of minutes.  Some are scripture intensive and require lots of writing or thinking; others are more practical and are more “doing.”  I choose three activities per week, based on the age of the girls, and varying the activities by alternating between writing and doing.  Copy the number and letter of the activities, as well as the page number, on your lesson plan template.

Finally, I make a list of any resources or supplies we need for each unit.  I also make a list any pages that I need to copy.  Then, I order all the supplies and make all the copies for the entire year.  Yep, I said the entire year.  If I only prepare for the first unit I sometimes forget to order a book or make a copy which means we can’t do the lesson and we get behind.  I put all the copied pages in the girls’ notebooks (and the list of scriptures to memorize) so that the pages are ready when we need them.  Check off the column on the lesson plan when you’ve made the copies.

Creating a Notebook I bought each of the girls a 1-inch, 3-ring binder (with pockets) and divider tabs.  I labeled the tabs with the character trait and then inserted the copies for each unit behind each tab.  Over the years, they’ve kept the same notebook, adding more tabs for each new unit.  We don’t always keep our units in order chronologically, but I ask the girls to date their work for future reference.  You could even add 3-ring pocket folders to hold mementos, if needed.

There are reproducible pages suitable for each girl to keep record of her accomplishments.  You could also keep records by copying your lesson plans after you’ve finished your study and placing those in each daughter’s notebook.

Class Time We usually spend about an hour a day, four days a week.  (Until this year, we had an hour delay on Thursday morning because of late nights at church on Wednesday!)  I only choose three activities because I don’t like being in a rush and that allows me space if something takes me longer than I thought.  (The lesson plan template has space for four activities for those who can fit in more.) Each time we meet together, the girls bring their notebook, their Bible and a pencil.   Remember to record the date you complete the activity on the lesson plan template.  One year, we met with another family of girls once a week and worked together on some sewing activities in the “Godly Woman” unit.  The girls enjoyed that very much.

Worth the Work This may seem like a lot of work.  Really, it’s not too bad and well worth the investment.  God has always been faithful to lead me to just the right character traits and just the right activities.  We use our month of study to focus on instruction, but also on changing behavior.  Then when situations arise, I refer back to the scriptures and principles we learned.  Overall, I have seen a lot of growth in the areas we’ve studied.  Our study of hospitality has yielded much fruit, as we often have guests who remark about how welcome they feel in our home.

I’m not saying Polished Cornerstones is the only character curriculum you should use, or even that it’s the best one out there.  I will say that it is has worked well for our family and that we have seen much fruit.  It is a flexible tool which parents can use to teach their daughter godly character.

Available from www.Daughters4God.com or from Doorposts for $48.00

Doorposts has a similar book, Plants Grown Up, to train sons in Godly character.

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.

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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

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.

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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