Reflections: The Woman God Sees

I spoke to 70 women at our church’s Women’s Day Retreat. The following is the message that I shared with them. I edited out a few details to protect the privacy of personal history of people mentioned:

Let me begin by telling you two stories… Listen for which one you relate to the most…

Once upon a time there was a girl who was raised by Christian parents who loved her and her siblings very much. She asked Jesus into her heart when she was four years old and she was baptized when she was eight years old. She had several strong Christian role models in her life; including her grandparents, who would travel halfway across the country to spend time with her family. Throughout her younger years, the girl had several close friends who she remains in contact with now that she is an adult. During elementary school years, she looked forward to going to church camp every year. During middle and high school years, she enjoyed going to youth groups every week. She loved to sing solos or with worship teams and choirs and still loves to sing as an adult. She also enjoyed going on local, short term, and overseas mission trips. As an adult, she married a Christian man in the military, went to college, traveled the world, has had several fulfilling jobs, and has several children. She served as a Women’s Ministry Director at a church she attended. She has lead and facilitated Bible Study groups at churches and at her home. Over the years, she has mentored several women and teen girls. She currently serves in various jobs, ministries, and volunteer positions within her community.

That sounds like a pretty good life right? Maybe it is similar to your story?

Maybe you don’t relate to that at all. Maybe you will relate better to the next story…

Once upon a time there was a girl who grew up in a poor household. Her father almost died of a chronic condition when she was a toddler. Fortunately, her father recovered but the problems did not end there. The family constantly struggled financially with lack of money. The girl’s mother struggled with severe depression due to an abusive childhood and a stressful marriage. As the oldest of four, the girl often cared for the kids when the parents were not able to care for them. When the girl was 13, her parents divorced and her mother got re-married a year later. During her middle school and high school years the girl always looked for love from the various boyfriends she had. She started smoking cigarettes in secret with her friends. She rebelled against her parents with a bad attitude and anger outbursts. She got married as soon as she was able to at age 20 because she wanted to get away from her dysfunctional childhood and be on her own. She quickly realized that she carried her childhood baggage into her marriage. She experienced a very bad car accident with a semi-truck resulting in chronic pain. She had several miscarriages. She and her husband worked difficult jobs on different shifts and they hardly ever saw each other. They both allowed sin to creep into their lives, and as a result they were on the verge of divorce when her husband got notice that they were moving overseas for his job. During their attempt to reconcile, they got pregnant again. They decided to stay together and moved overseas and had two children. However, they never really resolved their sin issues and their marriage hit rock bottom. She continued to allow anger and bitterness invade her life.

You would not want to be that woman right? Which story do you relate to the most?

What if I told you that both stories describe the life of same woman?

What if I told you that… I am that woman.

Before you knew my story, you may have had preconceived notions of who I was based on the persona that I put forward in public… the smile on my face, my answers in Bible study, a brief conversation in the church hallway, what I write on my blog. You may have assumed I had a decent life based on the little that you knew about me. Does it shock you now that you know the truth? Now that you know that there is more to my story? My dysfunctional childhood, the pain of loosing unborn babies, the heartache of a marriage hitting rock bottom due to sin my husband and I allowed into our lives?

It is a misconception that Christians are supposed to have a perfect life and are perfect people.

Even though we often portray our best in public, we often put forward a persona that we want other people to see while hiding the struggles, heartaches, and sins that we are dealing with in private or within our home. Maybe you really have had a great overall life! But I can guarantee that every single one of us has had to go through a valley that makes us feel completely ugly, alone, depressed, and separated from God.

The stain of sin has ruined every person on earth. If you have ever hit rock bottom, you know that it is the worst hopeless feeling in the world. You feel like there is no way out. You feel like a minute in time is an eternity. You feel like you cannot continue on your own. You feel like you are not enough. Maybe, you are in the bottom of this pit right now.

Let me tell you a little secret: You will never be able to get out of your pit on your own. You may try different things that seem to work but eventually everything that you try to do will fall short.

God never promised that we would always be happy or have perfect lives when we have Jesus as our Savior;

instead he uses Paul’s testimony to tell us that Christians can have hardships far beyond our ability to endure. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Through our hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us. God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him.

Remember when I said that you cannot get out of your pit on your own?

The good news is that JESUS can carry you out of your pit! JESUS can walk beside you through the valley. JESUS can fill the hopelessness in your life. JESUS can blot out the sins in your life.

One of my favorite Bible verses is:

Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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Our theme for this retreat is: “Reflections: The Woman God Sees.” The name of God “El Roi” means “the God who sees me.” This name was only used in the Bible once in Genesis 16:13:

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

An Egyptian slave woman named Hagar gave this name to God when she was alone in the desert. When she was completely hopeless in the circumstances that she was facing, God answered her cry for help. God saw her right where she was. Although Hagar is the only woman recorded in the Bible praying to “El Roi,” there are several other women in the Bible who also went through hardships and hopeless circumstances. God saw them too and he answered them and delivered them.

Ruth: a pagan widowed woman moved to a foreign land with her mother-in-law after her husband died. Facing famine and ruin, she chose to follow the God of the Hebrews. She was rescued and married by a kinsmen redeemer. Her son, Obed, is in the lineage of Christ.

Esther: a Jewish girl who was taken from her family to be in the king’s harem. She eventually earned the king’s favor and became a queen “for such a time as this.” She fasted and prayed for God to deliver her people who were sentenced to death. God provided a way for the people to defend themselves against those that would try to kill them.

Bathsheba: a married woman whose husband was away at war, committed adultery with King David (whether by force or by consent we do not know). After she got pregnant, the king had her husband killed and then married her. Due to their sin, they lost their baby. Due to their repentance, their second son, Solomon, later became king and is in the lineage of Christ.

New Testament Women, there are too many to mention but here are a few that stand out in my mind in no particular order:

Mary and Martha: were sisters who along with their brother Lazarus were close friends with Jesus and his disciples. They often hosted them in their home. When Lazarus was dying, they sent word to Jesus in hopes that he would make it in time to heal him. Jesus arrived after Lazarus had already been in the tomb for several days. In their grief, Mary and Martha questioned Jesus’ timing. When he raised Lazarus from the grave, he showed them that he cared for them and that there is a purpose for the difficulties that we face.

The Samaritan woman has had 5 husbands and was currently living with a man not her husband. Jesus met her at the well as she was drawing water during a time that was not typical for women to get water. She was avoiding being around other women who would gossip and shame her. Jesus not only spoke to her, which was not typical of a man or rabbi to do, but he also saw into her heart and gave her the living water of hope, forgiveness, and salvation.

The unnamed woman with the issue of blood: We know that she had a constant menstrual bleeding and hemorrhaging that lasted for 12 years. This made her “unclean” in the Jewish culture and everyone and everything that she touched would also be unclean. She would not have been allowed in the temple. People would have shunned her. As Jesus passed by, she recognized that he could heal her. She moved through the crowd and was able to touch the hem of his garment. Which means by the time she got to him, she was crawling on the ground… I wonder if it is because she was so faint from blood loss or if it is because the crowd was trying to push her away. Jesus stopped walking and turned to the woman saying that her faith had made her well. After 12 years of suffering, she was healed because she had faith enough to reach out to Jesus.

We all have to climb different mountains and walk (maybe crawl) through different valleys.

Over the years I have reconciled with my parents. God healed my mom of her depression and she is an amazing living testimony of how God can bring someone out of a pit. My husband and I will be celebrating fifteen years of marriage in a couple of weeks and we have three beautiful children. It took a long time for my husband and I to get to where we are today. God did not heal our wounds overnight and God still allowed us to suffer through additional heartaches and trials. I still have to deal with my sin stronghold of anger on almost a daily basis. I often struggle with complacency with my relationship with Jesus. However, God is continuously working on me. I can look back over past circumstances and see God’s presence in a way that I did not see him at the time. Knowing that he carried me out of my pits and through my valleys, allows me to trust in him whenever I face a new trial. It also allows me to minister to women who face similar trials that I have faced in the past.

I want you to know that God sees you.

God hears you.

God knows YOUR name.

God loves you.

Zephaniah 3:17 says: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Have faith and reach out to the God of the universe. Allow him to meet you right where you are.

Pray with me the following verse:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12

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“El ROI” image found here.

“The Woman God Sees” graphic downloaded from CTA.

Girl Talk: 52 Weekly Devotions

This book by Lois Walfrid Johnson is a devotional geared towards middle school aged girls and is a part of the Faithgirlz series. It is divided into 52 sections; one section for each week of the year. Each week has a scripture memory verse, a story, 7 days of journaling prompts with blank space to write, and a prayer. The stories cover a variety of subjects that girls may encounter in middle school: embarrassing moments, mean kids, friendships, boys, modesty, choices, attitude, responsibility, etc.

I like the layout of this book and that there are daily journaling prompts for the entire year. I like that the weeks/days are not actually dated so someone could start this book any time of year. I think that this book would appeal to girls in the middle school stage of life who are wanting to build their Christian faith. The stories are relevant to this age group. Scripture memorization and journaling are encouraged. The correlation between the stories and truths found in scripture are easy to understand and apply to everyday life. My oldest daughter is 10 years old. I think some of the stories are applicable now however many of them are probably more appropriate for an older girl. I plan to keep this book and give it to her later.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Girl Talk: 52 Weekly Devotions
By Lois Walfrid Johnson / Zondervan

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Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years

This book by Callie Grant is subtitled: God’s Plan for Early Childhood Christian Discipleship. The premise of this book is that the first five years of a child’s life is fundamental to their development. This is the time that parents should start meeting the spiritual needs of their children just as they would meet their physical and emotional needs. The following is a summary of the book’s content:

Chapter 1: First Impressions:

Your child was born to believe. You were made to teach.

Chapter 2: Little Think Tanks:

Your child has great capacity for faith. You will help shape it.

Chapter 3: Unique Journeys:

Your child has a one-of-a-kind path. You are a shepherd.

Chapter 4: Personal Ties:

Your child has a special relationship with God. You can honor it.

Chapter 5: Golden Moments:

Your child will ask you about God.

Each chapter is only a few pages long (the book is only 37 pages total). However, I found this book to have very valuable information. There are personal stories from the author, quotes from well known writers such as C.S. Lewis, and encouraging advice. I feel that this would be a perfect inspirational gift for a new parent.

This book is available for Kindle on Amazon. You can also sign up at GrahamBlanchard to receive an e-copy for free (as of the time of publishing this blog post).

The publishing company, GrahamBlanchard.com, has parent and teacher resources to help inspire young children to praise and have a relationship with God. There are also several other books available and a mom blog.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that GrahamBlanchard provided this e-book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Jesus Helps Me- Free Book Giveaway!

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WINNER OF THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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This book by: Callie Grant and illustrated by: Missi Jay is a board book geared towards ages 0-5 years old. It is a part of Graham Blanchard’s Learn Absorb & Praise Collection; this book is and Learn book. This book focuses on John 12:44-77 NIV Bible verses. It is filled with vibrant colors and photos of birds. There are many “Did You Know” facts about the birds featured in the photos and the facts are tied in with the scripture and how to apply it. For example, starting with verse John 12:44 “Whoever believes in me…,”

“Baby swans are born knowing to stay close to their mother. They trust she will take care of them. Your are able to know God by staying close to Him. You start by believing in Him.”

There is a place on the first page for the child to write his/her name. On the last pages, there is a message for grownups and “What do you think?” questions for your child.

I really like the simplistic design of this book. It is thought provoking but easy enough for a young child to understand. They will be attracted to the colors and beautiful photography. It will also grow with your child from baby to toddler to child stages! I would recommend this book for anyone who wishes to start instilling the truths of God’s Word at an early age.

The publishing company, GrahamBlanchard.com, has parent and teacher resources to help inspire young children to praise and have a relationship with God. There are also several other books available and a mom blog.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that GrahamBlanchard provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF: 
JESUS HELPS ME

1. Entries will be accepted until midnight Saturday, January 9, 2016. One (1) winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted.

2. On Sunday, January 10, 2016 the top of this post will be updated with the announcement of the winner and I will attempt to contact the winner by the email they provide.

3. Winner must e-mail me with name (first & last) and mailing address within 5 days of announcement otherwise the book will be sent to a new winner. hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Remember this is a free giveaway at my expense, therefore, Heart Treasures Blog is not responsible for loss or damage of the giveaway item(s). Giveaway open only to residents of the United States (unless you have a US Military address such as APO, FPO, etc. -OR- I know you personally.)

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Jesus Helps Me
By Callie Grant / Carpenters Son Publishing

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The Legend of the Candy Cane

This book written by: Lori Walburg and illustrated by: Richard Cowdrey is a thick board book with beautiful illustrations. It tells the story of a new candy shop opening in a small town. A little girl named Lucy helps the shop owner unpack the candy jars and fill them. She comes across a candy that she was unfamiliar with and the shop owner tells her the story of the Candy Cane. J is for Jesus, Shepherd’s staff for the shepherds that were told by angels of Jesus birth, Red stripes for the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, and white for Jesus making us pure.

This is a cute book that tells the legend of the Candy Cane to young children. The board book style makes it perfect for the younger children while the illustrations are perfect for any age. I think that this book will make a great gift for my young nieces!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Zondervan provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Legend of the Candy Cane (Board Book)

By Lori Walburg / Zondervan

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The Lily Series- The Beauty Book

The Beauty Book by Nancy Rue is a non-fiction book that addresses questions and concerns that pre-teen girls often have. This book has been added to The Lily Series and speaks as if fictional Lily is talking to the reader. There are Q & A, quizzes, illustrations, scripture, journaling, and activities in every chapter.  The book discusses general beauty information like how to clean your face to prevent pimples,  how to give yourself a manicure & pedicure, when should you wear makeup, should you get piercings or tattoos, what if you are too tall or have to wear glasses, etc. The focus is to embrace the way God sees us and how he created us instead of focusing on what the world portrays as beautiful.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and think that it would be good for a pre-teen who is starting to deal with issues relating to her body and her concept of what beauty is. I’m not sure that the publisher’s suggestion of ages 7-11 is appropriate. My oldest girl is 5 and I just don’t see the information in this book being relevant to her in only 2 years. I would suggest an age group that is slightly older like in the middle school ages.

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On a side note that has more to do with Biblical context instead of Beauty issues… There was one thing that stood out to me as being negative and that was in the discussion of tattoos (which is a touchy subject to a lot of people so I will try to explain my point as best as I can without getting into the debate of right or wrong). The author’s advice to girls when it comes to things like tattoos, piercings, makeup, etc. is talking to parents and respecting their decision on the subject. I do agree with this advice! The issue that I have with her discussion of tattoos is how she quoted scripture without giving explanation. Here is the Q & A I am referring too. This comes after several Q & A’s relating to piercings and tattoos that addressed appearance, pain, danger etc (which were all answered to my satisfaction):

Q: Would it be all right to get the kind you just stick on?

A: Is it all right with-you guessed it- your parents? They might not like even the idea of a tattoo, real or fake. Leviticus 19:28 does say, “Do not…put tattoo marks on yourselves.” Of course, Leviticus 19:27 also says, “Do not… clip the edges of your beard.”

…and she leaves it at that. To a pre-teen or anyone who has not studied scripture, this statement could cause a lot of questions. People often refer to Leviticus 19:28 as why Christians shouldn’t have tattoos but the same people do trim their beards, cut their hair, eat pork, or do other things listed as forbidden in the old testament. She fails to explain the old law versus the new law and how there is a difference between ceremonial requirements (which are no longer binding under the new law–such as cutting hair) and moral requirements (which are binding–like do not worship other Gods or do not commit adultery). I realize that my issue with this goes far beyond what was probably intended by the author and that it is a subject that can easily be talked about and researched with parental guidance. I just felt that I should caution that the way it was worded could cause more questions (which is a good thing if the parents are willing to have deeper discussions!)

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In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Thomas Nelson provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Beauty Book: It’s A God Thing

By Nancy Rue / Thomas Nelson

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The Pretty Princess Phenomenon

I have been bombarded lately with differing views of the Princess culture that is influencing young girls today. Movies, books, toys, clothes, etc. are all feeding the princess frenzy.

In Dr. James Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Girls, his daughter Danae described why the princess story line is so captivating:

“1) Beauty. Every girl wants to be considered physically attractive, and princesses take it to the highest level…”

“2) Song. Every Disney princess has a beautiful voice, and some of the story lines are based around that talent…”

“3) Beautiful clothes. Princesses wear lovely gowns in bright colors, and little girls love to mimic their heroine’s attire by donning similar costumes…”

“4) Handsome suitor. A princess is always pursued by an attractive male prospect, and he’s usually a prince–someone any girl in the kingdom would love to have. Through all the ups and downs in the story line, a princess always gets her man in the end…”

“5) Rags to riches... One thing is true for all: in the end they all live in a castle with the man of their dreams and with riches galore…”

“6) Happily ever after. This is true for every Disney princess, but unfortunately not for the rest of us. Nevertheless, the concept of marrying a handsome prince and living happily ever after (no conflicts or problems) is appealing to young dreamers who hope that one day they will have the same privilege…”

“7) Dreams coming true. A princess expresses her wishes and dreams early in the story and always sees them come to life in the end…”

“To be a princess is to be considered beautiful, to be pursued, and to see all your hopes and dreams come true. Now who wouldn’t want to be a princess?”

Dr. Dobson quotes another woman (Riann Zuetel) as giving another perspective:

“I think wanting to be a princess is more than just feeling beautiful. Girls and women long to be treated like they are something special and worthwhile. Our culture often treats women like brainless sex objects who are put on this planet to satisfy men’s desires, sometimes at the expense of their own sense of self-worth… When a girl sees herself as a princess, she feels valued for who she is. Being beautiful is just the icing on the cake, so to speak. She is equal, worthwhile, and special. Most important, she has the confidence to wait for Prince Charming to come and not settle for second best or a loser, no matter how long it takes.”

The other side of the story is explained in the July 2010 issue of Parents Magazine. An article called “The Princess Diaries,” written by Gayle Forman, suggests that the princess fairy-tale culture is responsible for young girls growing up too fast and becoming “racy.”

“Around age 6, a girl’s interest in Belle or Tiana will probably give way to a fascination with iCarly and High School Musical. She may also become more interested in edgier clothing, from short skirts to T-shirts with slogans such as “Flirt” and “Daddy’s Expensive Little Princess… There’s a name marketers use for the idea of pushing young girls to dress and act grown up: KAGOY, and acronym for Kids Are Getting Older Younger. It started more than a decade ago with the newly branded “tween” market and has shifted toward ever-younger girls–who are being encouraged by companies to wear makeup, high heels… and skimpy crop tops…”

“…there’s no doubt that marketers are amplifying both princess culture and the precocious look that many young girls gravitate toward. Although you may have pretended to be Cinderella when you were a kid, your daughter likely takes the royal role more seriously and might want the Tinkerbell sheets, the Little Mermaid wallpaper, a Disney Princess kitchen set, and a Barbie Sparkle Lights Doll to fuel it. And while you may have borrowed lipstick and mascara from your mom’s drawer just for fun, your 6-year-old might take it one step further by buying a $9 preteen makeup kit with her allowance.”

Dr. Dobson addresses this view by saying:

“I’ve seen no evidence to support the supposition that little girls who think of themselves as princesses are more likely to become brats or strippers when adolescence approaches. That strikes me as ridiculous.”

“Admittedly, however, life is not always a Cinderella journey… But we are here talking about children, after all. There will be plenty of time for them to learn about pain, sorrow, and other intricacies of adult life. Or as one mother put it, they have the rest of their lives to become jaded. Let’s let children be children while they are children.”

Earlier in the chapter, Dr. Dobson actually suggests that the princesses promote purity:

“Modeling virtue is one of the reasons I like the movement. In a subtle way, the Disney stories present a wholesome image of virginity until marriage and then lifelong love thereafter. They also promote femininity, kindness, courtesy, the work ethic, service to others, and “good vibes” about one’s personhood. Where else in the popular culture do you find these values represented in such an attractive way?”

Another big concern that parents have with the princess culture is that it leads children to think that every girl should be beautiful, thin, and “perfect.” Dr. Dobson also addresses this:

“Not every little girl can be “the fairest in the land” and look like Ariel or Sleeping Beauty. There is, therefore, an aspect to the princess fantasy that parents should recognize and respond to with wisdom and sensitivity. An overemphasis on physical attractiveness throughout childhood can create an expectation that some kids will never achieve…”

As someone who loves the Disney movies; I have never had a problem with the princesses. It wasn’t until recently that I made a decision to get rid of some of our Disney movies which included a few of the princess themes. My reasons had nothing to do with the princesses themselves but because I didn’t want to expose our girls (ages 1 & 3) to the scary images along with the evil things portrayed in those particular movies. We are perfectly fine with them liking the Princesses themselves–and they do love the princesses! We just decided that there are other ways to let them pretend, play with, see, etc. the princesses without them watching the movies.

Personally, I think that pop culture is more responsible for sexualization of younger kids than the princess movement is. Consider real superstars such as Brittney Spears, Miley Cirus, Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, etc. These real idols tend to dress provocatively. As girls get older; I believe that they look up to actresses and musicians more so than fictional fairy tales. I believe that clothing lines are mimicking real people and not the princesses.

Bottom line is that we are the parents. If we have a problem with what clothes are on the market; then we should find a place that sells what fits our standard (I always had to have a one piece swimsuit). If we have a problem with a 6 year-old buying makeup with their allowance; then we should tell them that they are not allowed to buy it (I wasn’t allowed to wear make up in public until I was in 7th grade). I agree with Dr. Dobson’s view on the parent’s responsibility and so I will allow him to have the last word:

“[We should] carefully scrutinize and select that which will be allowed into the lives of our children. Our job is to teach and interpret for them what they need to understand. They will learn far more directly from us than from storybook fantasies. The princess movement can be handled in this manner. Ultimately, mothers will have to decide whether or not to introduce their girls to this and other forms of make-believe. It is my belief that the good outweighs the bad in the princess movement…”

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Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women

By Dr. James Dobson / Tyndale House

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Birthday Blessings

Growing up with a June Birthday has had its good points. As a child; I hated that other kids could have their parents bring cupcakes to the classroom and get to have a party during the school year (I think I did have one or two teachers who celebrated my birthday at the end of the school year). But overall, it was nice not to be in school on my birthday most of the time (on occasion my birthday did fall into the extended school year because of snow days).

I never had huge birthday parties. Not because my parents didn’t want me to; but they generally couldn’t afford it. Generally, just my family and a few close friends attended my parties. I remember having sleep overs, pool parties, and joint parties with friends who also had June birthdays. Sometimes people put together surprise parties but I generally figured it out before the actual party. I remember some of the gifts that I received from friends and family; books, flowers, clothes, toys, cards, etc. The thing I remember most is that I always had people who cared about me.

As an adult; birthdays don’t scare me like they do for some people. I am not afraid of getting older and I don’t dread getting closer to certain numbers. Instead, I feel blessed that God has allowed me to live life. My prayer is that I will continue to grow in wisdom as I face life’s ups and downs. I want to continually better my life so that I can be a good example for my children.

Speaking of children; Kendal is at the age where she understands what birthdays are. After celebrating her birthday this year; she asks frequently if it is her birthday again. Or she tells her daddy and I plans for our birthdays. Several weeks ago; I showed her on the calendar that my birthday was coming soon. Every few days we counted how many days are left until my birthday.

When my birthday came; it got off to a bad start. I had to wake up at the crack of dawn (I am NOT a morning person) and rush out the door to drop of my girls at a friend’s house. Then I had to patiently sit in the dentist office waiting until someone was able to see me (to follow up on a problem related to a dental procedure several days before). After over an hour at the dentist; I went to pick up the girls. After talking for awhile with my friends; I drove around base to do errands. They argued, cried, and threw tantrums during most of my errands and I had a migraine by mid morning. Shane was home from work by the time we got home. He and the girls presented me with gifts then he went to bed for the day since he had to go into work in the evening. I helped Kendal make a cake (Shane would have done it with her if he didn’t have to sleep). The girls continued their arguing, crying, and tantrums throughout the day and pretty much made my day miserable. When Shane woke up; we lit candles, sang happy birthday and had cake and ice cream. Then he left for work and I got the girls bathed the girls. When I put Kendal in bed;

She gave me a big hug, held my neck, and sang happy birthday to me.

This made up for everything bad that happened during the day.

*****

Kendal insisted that I have a blue cake (since blue is my favorite color).

Shane got pink and purple flowers because those are the girls favorite colors.

They got me a pale pink crystal necklace. I love it!

“I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Psalm 104:33