The Talk

As we left the wedding I mentioned in my last post, my 8 yo said something reassuring. Reassuring in the sense that she hasn’t had a friend or cousin unveil the “facts of life” to her prematurely.

Walking to our Suburban, still basking in the glow of new married love and excited about the reception to come, she says, “Just think, God might have given her a baby, just now!”

Uh. (I clear my throat and a nervous chuckle escapes me) “Well, maybe not just yet.” My response was a fumble, but there’s a time for everything, and that definitely wasn’t it!

So when is the right time? After the pastor’s cheek-pinkening sermon a month ago? (Whew, thankfully I had a meeting right after church, ’cause she was whispering all sorts of questions to me during the sermon that I put off in the name of “later!”) The thing is, I’ve been feeling convicted about this “talk” for a couple months now. I want it to be a special one and I’ve even bought the Christian book: The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made. Great book, but I’m squeamish about the page that shows a couple in bed together. I really don’t want to get into every little detail…she’s only eight! Am I being too Victorian about this? My husband assures me I’m not! (Ever the protective daddy!)

So how does one go about “the talk”? Ideally, I’d like to take her on an overnight stay to a B&B…have a girls’ night out. Set her straight on the fact that, yes, God gives children to parents but parents have a big part to play. And that it isn’t something we talk about even to our siblings. It’s a private, sacred topic reserved for mothers and daughters/fathers and sons…

And I think I’ve found the perfect springboard: The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop and Susan Henson. This link gives a great review and even more information on what Family Life Resources call “The Princess Ceremony.”

Anyone have any insight on “the talk” that they’d care to share? I’d love to hear how you mothers have handled it.  Or how your mothers handled it with you!

Celebrating Purity

At twelve years of age, her parents gave her a purity ring. Yesterday, she gave it to her future husband during their wedding vows.

The groom shares the story of how as a sophomore, he was cornered in a booth at Pizza Hut by his girlfriend-to-be’s father. This loving father wanted to lay the ground rules for their relationship, and, he wanted to know what this young man’s intentions were toward his daughter. 6 years later, this past spring, same Pizza Hut, the two men met again and the younger asked the older for permission to marry his daughter.

Purity is a beautiful thing. My daughters and I sat in the front right next to the stringed quartet and I whispered to them that a girl’s wedding day is one of the most special days of her life.

If you want to read a wonderful little story…perfect for telling those young girls on the verge of puberty…go to Karen Kingsbury’s journal and on the entry for March 24, 2006 she shares a similar wedding experience and ends it with a story. A story about a King looking for a prince with the right kind of love and respect for his daughter, the princess.

It’s a story I’ll need to share with my oldest very soon, as I’ll explain in my next post!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Weekend Kindness


This week’s assignment is to blog about a time when someone was kind in a way that touched you personally…

There are so many ways I could go with this one so I’m going with the most recent.

Dh and I rarely use babysitters. For one thing, he is extremely choosey about who we ask, and another, our extended families are on the run constantly and rarely available. When they are available, we feel guilty asking b/c they get so little down time. So it means a lot to me when someone watches my children. Even more when they offer with excitement in their voices!

Our neighbor is one of these people. She’s my walking buddy, is in her late sixties and always up for having my girls over. In fact, she’s called and invited me to just drop them off whenever. Her toys will be ready to play with, and craft supplies will be all over her card table. Better yet, she’ll often  call me and say, “Please let them stay for lunch, we’re having so much fun!” As you can imagine, this just warms my heart. You can tell when people don’t want to watch your children. And there is a definite difference between them dragging their feet about it and them genuinely having a reason why they can’t. I hate to say it, but I’ve been guilty of the former. My neighbor’s graciousness in this area has really been convicting and I’m happy to say, life-changing. My sister is this way also…genuinely wanting the kids to visit when her hectic schedule allows.

So I’m grateful for this friend and her love for my little girls. Our world needs more “Bonnie’s” who are willing to take an unselfish interest in young mothers and their offspring!

Mary

Have a Weekend Kindness to Share?Leave a Comment and we’ll paste your link here:

MInTheGap 

shelli

Shari

Get the Weekend Kindness code here!The purpose of the meme is to get people motivated to be kind to our fellow men and women and to encourage one another in that pursuit. If you participate, leave the link to your Weekend Kindness in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Weekend Kindness with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their Acts of Weekend Kindness. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Building Your House on Joy

Are you raising your children to see life through joy-colored glasses? How do we do this? By living joy. By example.

True joy comes from a relationship with the Source of joy…

We all want our children to exhibit the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, etc…and in John 15, Jesus tells us, “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” Skip down to verse 11 and read, “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

Why aren’t Christians more joyful? Because we’re out there stirring up a lot of religious dust in the name of ministry, too busy to sit at Jesus’ feet and meditate on Him. And fruit apart from the tree rots, is fed on by worms and flies. Eventually it stinks.

We can’t do it all. Thank God we don’t have to. Concentrate on the Source, and let it spill over onto your spouse and your children. Your example as you prioritize your family will send a message far louder than all your “good works” could ever do. And when we retreat to Him, listen to Him, and obey…well, that’s where the impact is. The ripple effect of this seemingly simplistic approach is huge.

So take time with your children. Talk over the various scenerios they may encounter before they occur and encourage them to always react God’s way. Help them to be of the “glass half-full” mentality. God first, others next, me last.

Marriages and children are a full time ministry. So choose joy, and expect blessings!

Eph. 3:20, “Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”

Candle Dipping

What fun! While toddler napped, we girls made candles!

Here’s how: We melted shaved slivers of candle wax and bee’s wax in a glass quart jar (double boiler or large metal juice can would be safest!) that was half submerged in my large kettle of boiling water. After melting, we let the temp cool to 150F, added scented color and started dipping our cotton-like wicks! In and out of hot wax, then in and out of cool water…over and over. Plus, rolling the warm candle-in-progress on wax paper occasionally for a uniform result. We ended up with several tapers, and several of those shaker-style hanging candles.

We had three wicks that were affixed to a small metal base and these we tacked with hot glue to the bottom middle of emptied/cleaned cream cartons. So we’ll have some pretty square candles once the wax sets and we peel off the carton!

Tips: It’s important to add some slivered bee’s wax to your candle wax so that the finished product will burn more evenly and last longer…and if you do the square candles make sure your wick is centered and straight…we had to anchor ours by wrapping the extra wick around a pencil and fastening with tape. Tomorrow, when we peel away the carton, we’ll cut the wick to the right length.

And lest you think I’m terribly clever…my homeschooling friend Kim passed her “know-how” on candle making my way! This was the last of our pioneer projects for the year…we’ve locker-hooked (like rag rug making), made soap, made mozzarella & ricotta, homemade root beer, willow brooms, quill pens/ink, fishing poles, nine-patch pillows, and more…

Quick update, my daughter and her Border Collie won Reserve Champion in dog obedience yesterday at our county fair!

Mary

Thursday Thirteen

The Top Thirteen Basics I’ve Learned about Writing Fiction in the Past 8 Months:

1. ‘She laughed,’ is not a dialogue tag! (ie: “Get real,” she laughed. Instead: “Get real,” she said with a laugh. Or better, “Get real!” She rolled her eyes and laughed.)

2. Avoid most uses of “he said” “she said” and replace with actions. 

3. Head-hopping is a big no-no. Established authors can get away with it, but newbies can’t touch it with a 100 foot pole. (Head hopping is when you write the thoughts of more than one character in the same scene…writers refer to it more professionally as “keeping a tight POV”–point of view)

4. SHOW, don’t tell. Ever ho and hum through a chapter that is all narrative? Jump it up and SHOW what’s happening, don’t say:”He went to her house and threatened her at gunpoint.” Show it with actions and dialogue.

5. Don’t have characters drinking coffee or tea, taking a shower, riding in a car, or spending time in the kitchen in the first 50 pages. (Thanks a lot Donald Maass!)

6. Character arc. Make your character’s inner/outer goals matter and change significantly from the beginning to the end.

7. Don’t kill the dog if you write mysteries. Mystery readers won’t finish the book. Some agents won’t ever give you another chance. Human murder–fine and dandy–but don’t touch precious Fido!

8. POV isn’t just whose thoughts are allowed in “the scene you’re in”…If you are in your heroine’s 25 yo POV and “seeing” things from her viewpoint then you might zoom in on her preference for a mocha latte while her pooch (if you wanted to write from a dog’s POV) would reserve drooling for the leather shoes of the man she’s with…

9. Conflict. Start the story with it, and have some in each chapter. I guess it’s a typical mistake of beginning writers to have a syrupy sweet story. Got to up the stakes. Make the reader care.

10. If you are writing Christian fiction, CBA guidelines want you to pick a generic denomination for your character’s faith. No Baptist, Methodist, etc. More along the lines of Community Bible Church. Guess they don’t want to offend anyone.

11. Drop the adverbs…ly’s and such. Thankfully, I had this one in the bag.

12. Nix the purple prose. Supposedly every new author overdoes the description of “dawn’s rosy fingers”… Don’t make your potential editor cringe.

13. Join a great group like American Christian Fiction Writers to be challenged, motivated, educated and last but not least…to cushion the self-inflicted blows when revision time hits with a vengeance!

And if you enjoy things like this, be sure to visit Mir’s Non-Comprehensive Tour of Trouble Spot Tip-Offs. I promise you, you will laugh as you learn!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

nat Lisa christen Les Patty MInTheGap Raggedy Karen Cheeky tbirdonawire

MommyBa swilder meredith Mysterious Lady Southern Girl

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Playing Hooky with the Lamborghinis

Dh traveled out of town today on business and made a quick call home to gush (okay, he’s not the gushing type, but for lack of a better term) about a Lamborghini that flew past him and the surfin’ cowboy (co-worker) at over 100 mph! On the bumper in red: Bull Run.

Turns out that there was a Benefit “race” today so dh and S.C. had an hour to kill and pit-stopped it at the site of all the fun. There was a drag strip on which anyone could participate and be clocked at a quarter mile. Picture this: a stretch Limo challenges a Humvee. A cop in his police car even showed up to “race”… all fine and dandy till the dragsters (no exhaust-plug those ears!) turned out. Boys and their toys!

Dh was an arm’s length from Carl Lewis. Yeah. “King Carl.” Winner of 10 Olympic medals (9 Golds).

So I mentioned this was a Benefit (for children)…not much nosing around turned up the fact that each participant had to pay $7500! And a two-man team was a requirement! That’s some Benefit! The place was crawling with Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Made my hubby’s day.

Library Beware

If you love to read, chances are, you love your library. Rebecca Hagelin at WorldNetDaily.com warns parents against teen summer reading lists. She begins her article as follows:

“During the lazy, long, hot days of summer, which activity would you rather see your son or daughter engaged in – playing a video game or reading a book?”

We’ve no teens in our household, and no video games…but I agree whole-heartedly that we parents need to be on the alert not only to what books our children are reading, but what they are watching…yes, even on PBS.

Our small town library is wonderful. They have a shelf full of home schooling resources, many classics on tape that my girls’ favor, and the children’s librarian plans weekly story-times with crafts and even puppet shows. The story-time sessions are simultaneous for the different age groups, so a parent could easily drop their children off and go browse for books. The one time I did this the librarian chose a book on magic, touching the tiniest bit on witchcraft.

Parenting is a trust. God wants us to keep our guard up. Don’t take your child’s word for it, or a friend’s recommendation. Flip through that book and read excerpts for yourself. Your child is worth it.

My Birthday

“You have to sleep in till 8 o’clock!” my daughters insisted the night before, as my dh set their alarm for 6 A.M. per their request.

Have I mentioned before how nice it is to have daughters? The morning of my 31st birthday was the laziest I’ve had in forever! When toddler woke up at 6:45 A.M., my 5 yo was immediately on the job. However, the hushed noises coming from the kitchen, not to mention the smells of baking chocolate were slightly hard to ignore! (No, the house didn’t burn down!)

My surprises included a homemade “Happy Birthday Mommy!” banner with balloons and beads hung over the kitchen doorway, a brownie “cake” with peanut butter/melted butterscotch chips frosting–still warm (!), homemade cards…and plenty of hugs and kisses! Plus, a gift certificate from my oldest for ten back rubs!

We spent the afternoon at a water park with my sisters’ families…and came home to dh who wanted to take us out to my favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate. Unfortunately, we all realized after such a day that toddler wouldn’t be up for a dining-in experience (Ha.) so we got Pizza Hut to go and came home, pulled the sleeper-sofa out and watched Escape to Grizzly Mountain together–a movie the whole family enjoyed…thanks to the cutest bear cub ever to dominate a show! (FYI, we are huge fans of Stouffer’s Wild America videos)

A very nice birthday/anniversary! Especially since I’m promised a rain-check on the Mexican food!