Posts tagged #princess

The Days are Long, the Years are Short!

As I walk into my laundry room, pencil lines mark the time. We have measured each of my kids over their lifetime on the door. Some of the rough lines are over my head now. I gaze at the ones at my knees. Remember when?

My children are all growing up . . . little by little . . . day by day. The wall shows me the progress – the years are represented.

When they were little, people used to say, “Enjoy this time! It goes by so quickly!”

Somewhere between the dirty diapers and sleepless nights I heard “them”, but it seemed so impossible to revel in those days. For I don’t function well without sleep and I am more of a task-master than a lover of all. So motherhood with all of its daily challenges became more of a checklist of things to do than a season to enjoy.

As more children came, the minutes were swallowed up by the fleeting hours of the day. My to-do list became longer as they grew from toddler to child.  We continued to mark their growth with pencil marks on the wall.

And now some of them beginning to drive. One of my children is just about to bloom into a woman. I spend my days driving all four from activities to classes and shuffling through the many needs each has. After all these years, I am only doing the best I can with this parenting job. I have certainly not arrived. I have learned to love more and be more patient. Is it enough?

But sooner than I think, our home will be an empty nest.

Yes, it has gone by . . . quickly.

“The days are long, but the years are short”, one wise woman told me once.

I can feel just the slightest feel of remorse and sadness, if I ponder these truths.

“Am I doing the best I can?”

“Have a cherished enough of the moments?”

“Did I miss too many working or in ministry?”

“Should I have . . . ? Could I have . . . ?”

Do any of you feel like this? I haven’t always gotten it right. I have been selfish and had my own agenda. I can look back and think of all the mistakes I have made.

But when I stop and ask God about it, He reminds me they are His children. I have been given them for a season. I will not be perfect, but I am who my children need. I feel more and more these days that parenting is really more about me growing to be more Christ-like than it ever was about raising them up in the first place. God’s got them in the palm of His hand.

For now, I will remember to appreciate the little things, like reading a book to my youngest two before bed. I was consistent with my first two, but with busy days my younger two haven't enjoyed this staple routine. I do know those are moments they will remember. Traditions passed from one generation to the next helps me gather memories, too, like our Advent of Books in December.  

We have a new book coming out next Tuesday that will be great for both of these endeavors - A Royal Christmas to Remember. 

My goal is to be able to look back and not feel guilt. I am the queen of “should haves” my husband says. However, I don’t want to “should” all over myself when my children are grown.

So today – with days I have left - I will take each thought . . . each “guilt thought” . . . every “not good enough” thought and ask the Lord His opinion. If I need to change, He will tell me. If I need to rest or let go, He will tell me. But in every moment, I want to enjoy.

Because the days are long, and the years are short!

What do you do to remember and make memories?

 

 

~Jeanna Young - When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

 

How to Host a Princess Camp, Day 5

The following post is part 5 of a 5 part series by guest blogger Aimee Mae Riley. Aimee held a princess camp for her church. Aimee used the Princess Parable Series in her camp curriculum and shares the details of the camp below for our benefit. Enjoy!

Friday- Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessing

Our last day of camp was almost like a first day, since we had to switch rooms to accommodate another unanticipated event.  We stayed after camp for an extra hour and a half on Thursday, transferring all of our decorations and setting up our princess party room.  Here is a picture of the new room, which we ended up loving even more than our first room.  One thing that made it better was having a water fountain- or bubbler as we say here in WI- and bathroom right outside the door instead of down the hall.

Don’t you love the display shelf for our Parable Princesses books?

Don’t you love the display shelf for our Parable Princesses books?

All week long, the girls had been anticipating our special dress up party day. All the girls were invited to wear their prettiest dresses, and we planned to paint their nails and faces and eat cupcakes and ice cream.

As they entered, we took pictures of each girl in front of the castle decoration.  Once everyone had arrived, we played Pin the Gem on the Crown.  We simplified our approach by drawing a crown on a big piece of paper and having the girls design and cut out their own gems.  Then, we blindfolded each girl and had the other girls safely direct her to the crown, where she stuck her jewel on with double-sided tape.

After our game, all the girls sat in the middle of the room for our story time.  Today’s story was about Princess Joy; it is actually the first Princess Parables book, but we saved it for last because of our party plans.  Joy is a lovely princess, and she is so looking forward to the party her sisters are planning for her, only none of the guests can come!  At first discouraged, Joy instead decides to invite all of the children from the kingdom, be they poor or rich.  She finds that it is indeed better to give than to receive.

As a group, we discussed how we can give without expecting anything in return, and the girls offered up answers about helping around the house, giving money to those less fortunate, sharing their toys, and the like. In that moment, I realized how much I would miss these special girls and their sweet hearts.  It was a busy week, full of fun and activity, but on this last day, I determined to slow down and just take time to enjoy the girls, and that is what I did.

We directed the girls back to the tables and distributed our party food.  The girls chatted happily as they ate their cupcakes and ice cream, fruit salad, and apple juice.  This Wilton Princess Cupcake Stand Kit (which includes the cupcake liners and crown decorations) was perfect for our party, and it is affordable and reusable.

After we got the girls all cleaned up, it was time for the beauty treatment!  Kira, Caitlin, and I divided up: Kira and I painted toenails, and Caitlin became the master face painter (I found a Princess Face Painting kit at Michaels on clearance from $24.99 to $9.99-hurray!)  Here are a few pictures of our pretty princesses:

The face painting took longer than our camp was scheduled, but the few remaining girls and parents were happy to stay a little longer.  As the girls left, we gave them each a gift bag (I just used clear cellophane bags with pink and purple tissue paper) filled with foam stickers, play rings, Ring-Pops (I got them for 30 cents on clearance at Walgreens!) , balloons, and these Princess Stationery Sets.  Those that remembered also took their fancy drinking glasses which I found for 50 cents each at Goodwill; it was so cute to see them acting so dainty with these as they drank their water and juice throughout the week.

Final Thoughts

So much of our week involved doing and organizing projects with the girls that it wasn’t until Friday that I finally knew everyone’s name without hesitation and got to really relax.  The one-on-one time I got to spend with each of them as I painted their toenails was a special blessing.

My highlight of the week came when we talked about Jesus being our best friend, and a few of the girls called out, “Jesus is my best friend!”  My prayer is that He will continue to be just that as these precious girls grow into godly young women who love and serve Him.

I hope you enjoyed this series and that it sparked some inspiration for your own princess party or camp plans.  I highly recommend the Princess Parables books.  Be sure to get one, or the whole set, for your special princess. They are a wonderful way to introduce them to being a daughter of the true King.

For more ideas that I didn’t get a chance to use (but wish I had), check out my Pinterest Princess Camp board.

Aimee Mae Riley is a mother of 5 children from Wisconsin. You can read her blog at Whispers of Worth. 

Dedicated to Inconvenience

I rush to put my shoes on as I am yelling to my children, “Hurry up!  Get your shoes on and meet me in the car!” I grab my purse, turn off a couple of lights and fly down the stairs.  Thinking to myself, We are so late! If we hurry we will just make it. . .

As I round the corner, I stumble upon my youngest sitting at the bottom of the stairs crying.  Big crocodile tears stream down his face.  He is half dressed and no shoes to be found. Oh no, I don’t have time for this. I gave the kids ample time to get ready . . . 

My first instinct is to speak sternly and explain to him loudly that he has to get in the car, right now, or we will be late.  Where are your shoes? Why aren’t you dressed?

A small voice barely audible over my own selfish expectations says, Slow down!  Be patient! Extend grace!

AHHHHH! I don’t have time for this!

Truth is a person and He reminds me. Who are you dedicated to? Who do you follow?  What is the right response?

Early on in my Christian walk, I learned the phrase “Being dedicated to Inconvenience”.  In other words, it is a practical way to live out the Biblical principle “To die to Oneself”.  This principle was much easier as a single woman.  I have struggled ever since I got married and have had children.  Mostly because the inconveniences come more often and they are right in my face, daily.

The disruptions in my day may look like . . .

A daughter who wants Mommy to come play house when I am busy doing housework

A son who wants me to throw the baseball when I am working on the computer

A husband who asks to talk (or other things) when I am tired in the evening

A child who wakes me in the middle of the night because they had a bad dream

A friend who reaches out for help when my schedule is full

An argument between my kids right when we are leaving to go somewhere

A need at church when we already have plans to do something else

Inconveniences arrive in all shapes and sizes.  They are as different for each of us as the days are long.  But I promise you one thing, they will happen.

As we are on a path towards Easter, I am reflecting on this verse.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."  Luke 9:23-24

Jesus calls us to die to ourselves, if we are his followers.  For me, this death to self looks a lot like “dedication to inconveniences”.  If I am committed to drop my own agenda, for others, daily, then this is an active way for me to die to myself.  If I stop and spend time with my husband, meet my children’s needs at my expense and serve others in my sphere of influence, then I am “taking up the cross” on a regular basis. 

I love our new book, A Royal Easter Story, as it is a perfect example of this principle of “Being Dedicated to Inconvenience”.  The princesses are racing the newly-introduced knights.  The girls desperately want to win (just like our kids do!) They happen upon a lost little girl who needs their help.  They have to abandon their own plans to serve Alina.  They have to be “dedicated to the inconvenience” God allows in their life.  This is not only a lesson for us, but also for our kids during Easter!

Here is where I struggle.  I am selfish.  I have so many thoughts about me daily.  I don’t like to be interrupted in my plans.  Do you feel the same way? 

I love the small still voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me daily where I can “take up my cross and follow Him”.  I just need to strain to listen to it and not allow the loud voices of selfishness to drown out His voice!

How are you taking up your cross daily?

What is a story of inconvenience in your life?

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

What My Princesses Taught Me

I was raised without a sister in a world of boys.  I, myself, was a tomboy.

I never wore dresses as a child.  I played tackle football on the beach with my brothers and their friends.  I refused to wear a bra until 7th grade. (I needed one in 5th grade).  I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut (need I say more?). I never wanted to really be a girl.

I didn’t have lavish tea parties. I didn’t like pink. I was not into sparkly glitter at all.  Somewhere inside I hated all the silly girlie stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, my parents loved me and my mom tried.  Somewhere along the line, I missed the grandeur of being a girl.

Luckily for me, God had begun to refine me in my teen years.  I had become quite sophisticated.  I had come a long way from my custom Vans tennis shoes and Jordache jeans.  I had begun to like the finer things in life and the beauty in event planning in my 20’s.  In some circles, I was down-right “girlie”. Eventually, I got married and did get all girlie for the big day. Not that any of these things are the end-all-be-all, for sure, but the Lord was softening me for what came next.

I was going to have a girl.   

A daughter.

Not only one, but eventually, two.

Deep down inside, I was still the greasy haired, arm-twisting spitfire in 6th grade with a fresh coat of paint and fancy clothes on.  I was sure I was not prepared to raise girls. In 2 Peter 1:3 it says God has given us everything we need for this life.  But I was a skeptic, at best.

The baby years were pink.  She was darling, and I began to relax thinking, “I can do this girl thing”.  Then one day when my daughter was almost two, it happened. 

My little girl became a princess overnight. 

She wanted everything glittery, everything pink and every fluffy tulle item to wear.  She twirled and danced around like the world was her oyster.  These were uncharted waters for me.  Her singing lit up my life and her imagination made me smile.  My life would never be the same.

As I watched her naturally glide into this world of make-believe with ease, I felt the Lord pulling at the cords of confusion in my past.  You see, my daughter was not taught how to “be a princess”, she just came out that way.  Something inside her knew she had come from royalty or at the very least, she wanted to know she was beautiful and loved by the King of Kings.  At two years old, she was more confident in who she was than I ever had been.

I was somewhat jealous.  I wanted what she had. I had felt awkward and confused growing up.  I was always trying to fill this big giant hole of uncertainty with things, people and life.  You never would have caught me dead in a princess dress. 

But raising two princesses made me a fan of all things royal.  Not because Disney had fun princess stories or I like to be girlie now, but because GOD is the author of royalty.  He is the one who made it up in the first place.  He is the one who fills scripture with these noble examples.  And it was in these days of discovery that the Princess Parables were birthed.

 With God ushering me along, I began to see His love for me through my girls.  I never before owned the fact that I am a daughter of the King, who reigns on high.  I was still clinging to the “I’m a tomboy, and are you sure they are really going to let me in the gates of heaven, Lord?”

Here is what I learned about God’s love having princesses: 

  • As a daughter of the king, I share in His glory as one of His heirs (Rom. 8:17).
  •  He calls me beautiful (Ps. 45:10-11).
  •  I am chosen to be His girl (1 Peter 2:9).
  •  I am valuable because He has made me and woven me together.  He calls me wonderful (Ps 139:12-14).
  • He has made me a crown that will last forever!  I get to be a real princess forever! (1 Corinthians 9:25)
  • I am a treasured possession.  His Princess!  (Ex. 19:5)
  • He created me – His Princess – for a purpose (Eph. 2:10).

I have started to own this royal calling He has given me over the years.  It is not about wearing the dress or donning the crown.  There is nothing wrong with being a tomboy.  As long as in your heart, you are HIS girl, God’s princess.  As long as you know whose you are and whom you serve.  There was a disconnect for me all those years, but today, I have come a long way as the author of the Princess Parables.

Thank you, my King of Kings, for entrusting me with princesses who have shown me your love in a royal way. This unrelenting love lavishes upon me a new confidence in my position as your girl.

As my girls mature, they may take off the princess dress, but may they never forget the King’s love for them.  Here is a blessing from my friend and mentor, Sally Clarkson for your family as you raise them as children of God:

May God’s richest blessings be with you as you dream, create ideas for your own family, and flourish in the creativity of mind and soul that comes with being God’s child, made in His likeness, and destined for an eternal home with Him.- The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson

May God’s richest blessings be with you as you dream, create ideas for your own family, and flourish in the creativity of mind and soul that comes with being God’s child, made in His likeness, and destined for an eternal home with Him.- The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson

 How are you teaching your princesses and knights God’s love for them?

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Jackie's Journey: Jungle Monkeys and Tiaras

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     Princesses Christina and Kim visiting our Kuna neighbors

Princesses Christina and Kim visiting our Kuna neighbors

Village life was becoming normal on our Kuna outpost.  In the early morning, before daybreak and breakfast, the girls would run to the front door to trade packets of oil and sugar for fresh eggs. Ralph would pick up the Bible and begin reading to the girls until it was time for breakfast or the house filled up with people.  These excited little princesses would anticipate the daily trip to the river to swim and help me wash clothes. Moving toward the river we would wave to the small monkeys perched on the bikes on our porch and call out to the parrots shrieking from the mango tree above our heads. Carrying the wash back up the 12’ bank, my two little monkeys would help me hang the clothes on a line that extended from our outhouse to the tin roofline of our home. Later in the morning, Ralph, with all of us in tow, would haul 5-gallon drums of water from the river above the village to drink, wash dishes and brush our teeth.

If there was time before lunch, the girls and I would grab a princess storybook and we would enjoy a few moments of inactivity in the hammock strung across the middle of our living room. 

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     Dr. Ray Nadeau, visiting from Southern California, enjoying our “story-time” hammock!

Dr. Ray Nadeau, visiting from Southern California, enjoying our “story-time” hammock!

Beth Moore, in Living Beyond Yourself, shared “Every little girl has something in them that wants someone to say ‘You are Special!’  It is in me to believe, ‘I am supposed to be special’…could that be eternity set in the hearts of men?  A piece of eternity…something set in the hearts of little ones that says, ‘I am destined for royalty’…A real live King.  A real live Kingdom is coming.  Somehow a little child has that in them to know…little knights and little princesses—for the kingdom belongs to such as these…and children believe in Kingdoms.”  

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.  Ephesians 2:10

Even in the remotest of jungles my little girls knew they were special, with or without a tiara.  God had made them that way.  As Christian parents, we want to encourage the belief that God created our little ones unique with destiny because He has given them the innate belief that they are one of a kind.  This opens the door to present the provision made for each of them to understand their need and become a child of God for eternity.  We encouraged this belief, knowing our girls were created to do God’s will and to find His purpose for their lives. 

As time goes on, little princesses search for other princesses in their world.  Soon they are introduced to the six plus princesses of Disney (that’s the book we had!).  They are swept into a world of romance, fantasy, and magic with the all to predictable evil and scary villain.  Most of us search for an alternative to give our daughters…I did!  I longed for a series of books that introduced my girls to bible-based, character-emphasized princesses that they could aspire to become. It was important that the books spoke to them in terms that they could understand and that targeted eternal values.  So I began to super-impose these principles into every book I picked up!

Christina was three when we arrived in Panama and learned Spanish quickly in the few months we lived in Chepo, a Spanish-speaking community near the New Tribes Mission School about a 40-minute drive outside Panama City.  We had the privilege of living in Chepo while her Daddy made trips into the jungle to prepare our house for us.  We were, also, waiting for Princess Kimberly to be born and had many opportunities to become friends with the Spanish-speaking Panamanians; mostly, thanks to our blond, long-haired princess, Christina, who has never met a stranger!  Our nearest neighbors, Carlon and Angela, adopted us.  I learned to cook rice from Angela, and Carlon became Ralph’s most loyal friend.  Both came to know Christ in our brief time there.   

Shortly after Kim was born we moved into our Kuna village on the river Pucuro.  Christina learned Kuna faster than all of us because the children came daily to play with her toys on the front porch and they chattered like “Loritos”(little birds), continually.  As young as she was, she carried a burden for the hearts of her playmates and often engaged in conversations involving the reason why we had come and the need for knowing the true God.  

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     Our screened-in front porch…the girls’ playroom!

Our screened-in front porch…the girls’ playroom!

While living interior, we home-schooled daily and both girls were reading at four and able to do their required school work, days and weeks ahead of schedule.  It is amazing what can be accomplished when there is no electricity, T.V., cell phones, computers, iPads, instagram, pinterest, etc.  Eventually, the Panamanian government sent a teacher to our village and a small school was built.  Christina could not wait to go with her friends and to be taught in Spanish.  She attended every morning!

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   Home-schooling a delightful and diligent student

Home-schooling a delightful and diligent student

For us, jungle living had become home.  We had won the hearts of the majority of the Kuna community and had established a rhythm with them, their way of life and our family paradigm.  We had been blessed beyond measure…

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     Two little princesses with Tinker, our puppy, taking our daily river trek!

Two little princesses with Tinker, our puppy, taking our daily river trek!

Are you at peace knowing you are where God has called you to be, doing what He has purposed for your life?

What about your children? 

Have you considered asking God for His divine direction in the life of each of your princes and princesses?

 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Ephesians 2:10

The Day I Became a Princess

I'll never forget that moment frozen in time - the day I became a princess. Little girls dream about this their entire lives, and it was happening to me. I remember watching my television set as a little girl and seeing the crown placed upon the lucky contestant's head. It was magical to watch. Now, it was even more magical to experience.

I stood shaking with excitement trying to squat low enough for them to fasten the crown to my hair. Then suddenly it was on. I was crowned. I was a princess.

I remember the reporters and the flashbulbs. It almost seemed like a blur. I was officially a part of the Miss America program.

My local title meant that I would be traveling to compete in the Miss California pageant. There would be months of preparation ahead. Interview training, dress and swim suit fittings, voice lessons, and more! There was so much to do -- like graduate early from high school so I could make it to the pageant on time.

I was only seventeen. I had stars in my eyes. I had dreams in my head. What would it be like to win & get to be Miss America? What opportunities or doors would be open to me along the way? 

I had my eyes on the prize - a crown!

The Miss California pageant came and went - and I returned home with my same crown. Still a princess, but no new title. I got to enjoy another year of parades, opening days, and events - all dressed as a princess.

I remember the night I crowned my successor. I still got to keep my own crown - in a box at home. The crown no longer held the same meaning as it had on that first night. It no longer had a title tied to it. It didn't have the promise of the future I had dreamed of. 

Fast forward to today.

I have my own little princesses running around. They love looking at pictures of mommy with her fancy crown. I still haven't climbed up in the garage to pull out my old crown. Last time I looked in the box, it was pretty tarnished and dusty.

They say hindsight is 20/20. Wow, do I agree! 

Now, I realize that I am still pursuing a crown. However, the crown I'm after is not one that will ever grow old or tarnish. This crown is eternal and more valuable than any crown ever made (even the real crowns worn by real princesses).

My crown is in Christ! My eyes are on Him! As I watch my little ones dance around and giggle about wanting to be princesses someday, I remind myself that they already are. We are daughters of the one true King. He has a crown waiting for us in heaven. Now, I just have to be sure that I am not only keeping my eyes on that crown, but teaching my girls (and boys) to do the same.

"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day..."

2 Timothy 4:8 

*See the video I made of our girls' princess party & how I used The Princess Parable's Book: Princess Joy's Birthday Blessing HERE!

Kristi Clover is homeschool mom of five blessings ranging from teens to tots. She spends most of her days watching over her "castle" and attending to the needs of her loyal subjects. She is married to her Prince Charming and resides in southern California. She records her royal adventure in motherhood at www.raisingclovers.com. You can also find her at YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, & Periscope as @RaisingClovers!

Investing in Kids

I am not a “kid” person.  Or so I thought . . .

Growing up, I wasn’t the person all the little kids flocked to.  Babysitting was not my favorite job, and I thought I could spend my time better elsewhere.  As a young adult, I vowed never to have children because I was not the right person for the job.

Then I met Christ in my 20’s and He transformed my mind, my heart and my soul.

I learned from God’s word children are a blessing from the Lord.  He loved children in scripture and He said, “Let the little ones come to me . . . the Kingdom of the Lord belongs to them”.  (Luke 18:16)  He changed my worldview and my beliefs that had been shaped by culture.

Now, I am (happily) a mom or four wonderful children who I love deeply. I write princess books on character for the next generation.  I homeschool my kids. I love to be with them.  I would still consider myself not a “kid” person.  Playing games with my kids on the floor and coming up with imaginary roles to play has always been a stretch for me.  I would rather teach the kids how to fold laundry or read a book.  For my own kids’ sake, though, I have learned to do these things.

But when it comes to their friends?  I am the mommy who sets up the play dates, but doesn’t invest in the lives of my kids’ friends.  Until recently . . .

At the beginning of this year, we started our Princess Parables Club.  We took each of the books in the series and created a fun day around it for my daughter and her friends.  Teaching, snacks, reading, crafts and playing.  I was doing this both for my daughter and also because I had felt God tug on my heart to do this. But it was something out of my comfort zone.

We just finished up our last meeting with a Princess Parables tea.  Our table was set with fine china.  Tasty goodies baked to perfection for our feast.  The girls each came dressed “fancy” with smiles on their faces.  We learned a little bit about manners and etiquette.  We read Princess Grace and the Little Lost Kitten with a character lesson.  Each girl received a bracelet with charms representing all the different lessons for the weeks we had “Club”.

While these moments are remembered as priceless, I have to say my connection with each of the girls was the greatest treasure to me.  Because of the time spent with them, I felt bonded to these sweet “princesses”.  Each with their own personality and gifts.  I poured in time, love and energy to each one.

I received the greatest gift – their friendship.  Now when I see any of the girls, they are quick to come give me a high-five.  They smile and talk to me as if I am one of their peers – not just their friend’s mom. I am able to be in a place of influence in their lives.  As I continue to pour into some of their lives in the future, who knows where that may lead?  God does, and He has plans for each of these children.

Can I encourage you moms?  As you begin to think about the new school year, ask yourself, “How can be in a place of influence with my kids’ friends?”  Start a group after school in your home.  You won’t be sorry!  I thought I was blessing them, but in the end, they were the ones blessing me!

Nurturing the "Hopeful Romantic" Heart in Your Daughter

Instead of hopeless, I’d much rather view myself as a “hopeful” romantic. This sentimental heart was in full bloom even as a little girl watching the classics like “Cinderella” or “Snow White,” and playing with one of my dearest friends. Her name was Barbie and she was from a faraway land called Mattel. ®  We managed countless adventures together without ever leaving my room and even though my family moved around a lot, Barbie and I never had to say good-bye as was the case with my other friends. She was always ready to follow me anywhere. One of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon would involve dreaming up a big adventure where in a series of mishaps, Barbie would find herself in distress. She would call for help and just in time, our prince (Rock Star Ken, in this case) would come to the rescue riding—yes, you guessed it—on a white horse. I cannot tell you how many times I had Barbie rehearse our little drama. Somehow, the story never got old.

I fail to remember when it was that I put Barbie in her case for the last time, but I know that there came a time when it was not considered mature anymore to go around using your Barbie dolls to dramatize your own longed-for fairytale. Along the way, a few broken hearts and well-meaning “encouragers” bade me to understand clearly that life is not a fairytale and happily-ever-afters simply do not exist in the real world. Outwardly, it seemed as if what they were saying was true, but secretly, I felt crushed. No matter how hard I tried to let go of my happily-ever-after dreams, they simply refused die. It became only rarely that I would ponder the question that always seemed to invade my dreams, “…what if it were real?”

(Excerpt from “Searching for Happily-Ever-After: A Companion for the Lady Who Waits”)

If only the Princess Parables were around when I was a child. My little girl heart, which still exists, by the way, has always longed to be caught up in a breathtaking story. The Lord used my love of a good love story to awaken a longing to love and to be loved in return. While I dreamed of being a wife and mother some day, I found the perfect reciprocation of love in my First Love, Christ. He is my Happily-Ever-After. “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.” (Song of Solomon 6:3) The Lord promised to love me without condition or performance, which was a refreshing change to feeling as if I had to be the perfect little pastor’s kid. I began to flourish under that kind of love.

God would often speak of His plans for me, but also cautioned that I was to be careful to live fully in the journey and not wish away time merely longing for the “Promised Land.” He showed me how to cherish and redeem the time I was given. Dear moms, you have great influence in your children’s lives. I’d like to share with you some ways to encourage your daughter along the way. I know that while I actively waited on God, these are things that He used to nurture this hopeful romantic’s heart. He asked me to:

  1. Fall madly in love with my First Love, never losing sight that I was a daughter of the Great King. (Revelation 2:4)
  2. Become the woman God longed for me to be, developing the fruit of His Spirit in my life. I could live like His princess from the inside out! (Galatians 5:22-23)
  3. Live out my God-given dreams, asking Him to put His desires in my heart. (Psalm 37:4)
  4. Be apart of my love story…long before my husband came along by praying, writing letters, having a standard of godliness and purity along the way.
  5. Value and practice the importance of guarding my spiritual, emotional and physical purity. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

(For the Princess Within Bible study, visit www.princesswithin.com)

Living fully helped to take the angst out of waiting for the fruition of certain promises and dreams. No time is ever wasted when we are engaged in our love story with Christ. Yes, there will be seasons of waiting without seeing the vision being fulfilled, but there is abundant treasure, meaning and purpose in the wait. God knows all about the wait—the aching and longing, because He has patiently and longingly waited for us. He is not asking anything that He has not done Himself. Oh, did you not know? We are His happily-ever-after. Jesus endured the cross, despising it’s shame so that in the end, He could be with us. (Hebrews 12:2) Sigh. What a breathtaking story!

Amber Gallagher is founder of Sacred Revolution Ministries, an organization to inspire and equip people for the sacred life with Christ. She has authored two Bible study/retreat curricula, The Princess Within: Living Like a Princess From the Inside Out and The Sacred Revolution: Uncovering Purity for the Modern Day Knight” as well as her book, Searching for Happily-Ever-After: A Companion for the Lady Who Waits. She resides in Ohio with her husband, Brian and her little Prince, Henry. You can visit her at www.princesswithin.com.

Posted on May 14, 2015 and filed under Motherhood, Character and Virtue.