Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Letter to Virtuous Young Ladies (a call to help the young men!)

Dear Young Ladies,

I am thinking of some specific girls that I know as I write this, but I would also speak to those who are like them. I know you to be women of goodness. I know you are examples of light to the people around you. You do much good in your circle of influence.

I write because I don't think most young ladies quite understand how much power and influence they have on the young men around them.

These young men have it so tough in the world right now. They are surrounded by billboards, movies, books, TV shows, internet, people that make them have to constantly battle unworthy thoughts that are put in their minds. The world tells them that women are for pleasure and for fulfilling selfish desires, while their divine nature knows that these women are God's beloved daughters.

To counteract the constant messages the world is sending them, they NEED to have young women of virtue around them. By seeing in you God's representation of women - living examples of pure, good, powerful, womanly beauty - they will gain the awareness that the images on the billboards are merely Satan's representation of women.

You can help them aspire to that goodness God has blessed you with, you can help them want to reach for higher things, instead of the baseness of lust and selfishness which the world tells them they want.

They need your friendship and example. They need to see that model of virtue within you. Oh how them men in this world need to see this! You have the power to help them want to fight for that virtue.

Please point them to the One who will raise them to become their best selves. If a young man is preparing for a mission, don't distract him by getting him to focus on you instead. He can't afford to loose that focus on God - don't be a tool in Satan's hands to entice him to do so.

Keep your conversations pure. Don't gossip and don't talk of romance or longed-for-relationships (aka. crushes). The time is simply not right. Yes, marriage is in their future, and they do need to seek a worthy young lady to be the heart of their home, but not yet. Right now his time is the Lord's until he is ready to commit to a young lady who is willing to progress on this journey with him. But the time for commitment is not yet. The difference between a friend and a girlfriend is the physical closeness one has a right to because of the commitment they have made. Do not temp young men to this physical closeness in any way, not even through "innocent" talk about crushes.

You are aware that your body has great power over the hearts and minds of these young men. It is tempting to enjoy that power and use it for yourself. You may not realize that EVERY time you do this, you are enticing a young man to base thoughts that, when indulged, will drive that Spirit away that they so desperately need. Don't be an enticement they constantly have to fight.

I once heard a young man say, to a group of young women, "Please be modest, it is exhausting being around someone who makes you constantly fight a battle in your head."

Modesty is more than the way you dress  (though it is important to dress in a way that does not draw attention away from your face - and tight clothes - even if they cover all the right places - do draw attention away from your face!). Modesty is also in the way you speak, and how you touch and look at a young man. Young women are often not aware of how powerful their touch is. Young men will be very aware of how close you are sitting by them and how often you touch them. Each touch can be a distraction, depending on intent.

I have seen too many young men with light in their eyes after a powerful discussion, or a motivating speaker, suddenly derailed as the young women in the group rush to tightly hug them goodbye.  Ladies, please, avoid tight hugs or close dancing. You may think they are just an innocent bear hug for a good friend, but those sensitive young men are feeling very aware of every curve on your body and to them it does not seem innocent. I promise. They think differently than you do. If they are good young men, they will try to refocus after this and put their thoughts in better places. Some might choose to indulge them for a while.

What sort of friend willfully throws a warrior into the middle of a battlefield?

Please don't ever use the gift of your body in a selfish way. Be modest. Do whatever it takes to stay close to the Spirit so God's virtue shines through you. Remember who these young men are. They are warriors in the most difficult battlefield there has ever been. Do not let your desire to be noticed or liked be a weakening poison. They need the power of your virtue to be the warriors God needs them to be.

With love,
A Mother of Warriors

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Teaching Children to Care for their Stewardship

Image from:

I'm a pretty scattered person. I loose my keys often. I am always looking for a pen. My mind moves faster than my body so when I go to put something down - my mind is on something else and I end up accidentally putting it in some random place.

Needless to say, teaching my children to take care of their things, put things back where they belong, and to have a place for everything is a bit of a challenge. It's a good idea to practice what you preach.  I know God has blessed us with the use of these things (and they really all belong to Him) and that we show gratitude by taking good care of them.

I have made numerous efforts to label drawers, shelves, cupboards... in order to have a place for everything and everything in it's place, but things always get back into disarray somehow. I just can't keep up with each of the kids or with myself (urgent things seem to come up often and I don't put everything away every time).

Well, recently, we decided to try to get our house ready to sell.  I don't know if we will sell it, but we were prompted to get it ready to do so. So we've been painting and cleaning and clearing things out.  We are storing things in our garage for now. I have quite a few plastic bins full of books, 2 boxes of toys, several boxes of crafts/school supplies, some boxes of clothes, etc.

I packed everything out of my younger boys' dresser except 2 pairs of PJs, 5 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 pants, and a church outfit. I also left 2 jackets hung in their closet.

I packed up all of the toys except 2 baby dolls (for Ladybug), 2 stuffed animals, a baby blanket, a small plastic treehouse, a car, a wagon and a ball.

My older children cleared their room and left only the essentials.

I packed away most of the blankets (blankets were a big mess-contributer around here).

We each have a school box with our school supplies in them, labeled with our names, as well as a bin to put our school box in and our books and papers.

I made a rule that if anything is left out of place, it will go in a box from which we will need to earn it back with jobs.

I also made the rule that no one can get anything out of the garage without asking me first. My son asked me if he could get a book out the other day. "Yes," I said, "As soon as you put your other literature book away." (They each get to have 6-7 books checked out: math, writing, literature, leadership, history, science, and an optional skill).

I am still working on packing things away, but I have already seen great fruits from having less things to take care of.

My younger boys put their own laundry away - it is easy when the drawers are not overflowing and they can tell where each thing goes! It is easy to see if someone failed to put something away during the day. My 6 year old is actually putting his crayons away carefully and putting them back in his bin so he doesn't loose them.

I realized that this whole experience is teaching us stewardship. We had more stuff then we could handle. Once we are able to take care of a few things, we may be able to handle a few more things, but for now, this seems to be all we can do. I may even label hair brushes, plates, cups, blankets so that each person has just one to take care of - until we learn to put those things away as well. I know it sounds extreme, but desperate times call for desperate measures right?

We are actually all enjoying this clarity! Well, maybe the younger boys would like a few more toys out, but I have explained to them that we cannot handle it yet - not until I see them put the few things we already have out away every time. It is hard with the baby who plays with the toys, but she is not too young to learn either and they can help me remind her.

If we don't actually move, but we learn to take care of our things this way - it will have been so worth it! Maybe we will get to the point where we can put some of those things in the garage back in the house because we have learned to put things away and take care of them. Or maybe we will just get rid of them all (except the books) since we love living without so much stuff anyway! Whatever happens - it has been a great learning experience. Even for me... I am keeping better track of my pen!

I know I still need to write a follow-up blog post on "watering". I just was too short on time today and I wanted to mention what I am working on and why I have had little time to write. I would love to hear what people have tried in order to teach their kids good stewardship!