Words Girls Need To Hear From Their Fathers

This post is not something I typically share. I’m not a big heart sharer. It’s just not comfortable for me. But as I have talked with friends over the years, they have told me sometimes these things are not just for me, but God can use them to help others. So it has become a yearly post that I share as a means to call awareness to the importance of a father in the life of a daughter. Mine has been gone 13 years ago today after a battle with cancer. It’s sometimes a messy time for me to reflect on that relationship. Without going into details I’ll sum it up briefly, it was a damaging and discouraging relationship , but as I grow more distant from the day I said goodbye to him, I find that it is important to give thanks that Christ speaks to that hurt in my life and to honor the dark days just as much as the beautiful days. As it is in those dark days that I found comfort, wisdom, and strength through my Savior that I would not have known without choosing to walk that moment with Him. So today I post a draft I wrote in 2007 to quietly honor my dad—as messy as he was—and to call attention to words that your girls need to hear from fathers and spiritual fathers. I truly hope for those that work with teen girls, that you will take some of the ideas I post and get them in the hands of the fathers and spiritual fathers in your church. I say spiritual fathers, because I am a living testimony of men that took some of the role my father abdicated and spoke into my life. Fathers are extremely important to girls ministry, and my prayer is that we—myself included—continue to elevate this relationship as we minister to girls and their families.

missing words that cause holes…a draft post from my personal blog in 2007
There is an honesty that comes when you look at the gunk in your heart isn’t there? There are times when I realize that I crave words to be said from my father—things that most daughters hear on a regular basis and probably take for granted. Things that I will never hear because my father is not here anymore. This “need” and “hurt” stunned me so much the other day that I truly caught myself wishing my dad were here to say “I’m proud of you”. It came from out of the blue. I realized this need oddly when I heard the words said to me by my older brother. It caught me off guard and emotions came alive that I had stuffed inside of me for over 20 years. I gave up on hearing those words from my dad, but there was a hole that still wants to hear that apparently. How sad and messy it is to have to live in a fallen world that words from fathers or missing words from fathers have power to imprison us. I share this only to show that when I become aware of the wounds left from living in a fallen world, that i don’t have to stay that way. I will never hear those words from my dad. But Christ is faithful to remind me that no person can give or take worth from me. Christ has already told me how much I mean to Him by what He has accomplished on the cross. Christ is healing me—I hope the same is true for you today. I hope that Christ is repairing…remaking…replacing…refocusing..and creating new things within you. I hope that whatever the cry of your heart is today…that you do not attempt to fill it with people/places/or things but simply show Christ what you are dealing with and ask for Him to do what He does best—give Life to the dead places we hang onto. Below is a song that I meditate on in the car—or while I run and it is a prayer that I sing as often as I can. Download the song from Starfield because it is amazingly beautiful.

“Cry In My Heart” by Starfield
There’s a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For Your presence to fill up my senses
There’s a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper
Could You take me beyond?
Could You carry me through?
If I open my heart?
Could I go there with You?
(For I’ve been here before But I know there’s still more Oh, Lord, I need to know You)
For what do I have If I don’t have You, Jesus?
What in this life Could mean any more?
You are my rock
You are my glory
You are the lifter Of my head
Lifter of this head

A WORD TO FATHERS:

Fathers, my pastor has repeatedly said during baby dedications at our church that you are the first example of a boyfriend/husband your daughter will ever see. You set the bar for how she expects men to treat her. My advice is along those same lines, but with some definitive suggestions of how to be that example.

My word to you is the following:

Begin showing your daughter how men should treat women by taking her on a date night where it’s just you and her.
Find out what she has to say—she wants to know she has a voice with you.
Be present with her on daddy daughter dates. (leave the cell phone in the glove compartment)
Ask her about her dreams.
Call out things in her that you see that God has specially placed within her. Encourage her—meaning fill her with courage through the things you say to her.
Redefine beauty for her by calling out things other than her fashion that you find beautiful.
Take off from work and go have lunch with her at school—but bring something in from fast food land for her and all her friends! BONUS POINTS!
Look her in the eyes and tell her how proud you are to be her father.
Write her a physical note before she goes on a big events to remind her that you are praying for her.
Pray with her before she goes to bed at night. Talk about her to God in front of her.
Tell her you love her and give her hugs/kisses often. Especially as she transitions from 6th-8th grade. Fathers often distance themselves during this time as their daughter starts looking like a young woman but don’t leave her. She needs you more than ever during this time.
These are just some starters…

heart_hole_final-797612

5 Ways To Help Wean Students From a Cell Phone Addiction

(originally published on Oct 2, 2009 but revised and updated on December 2, 2011)

I heard it said recently that cellphones have become the electronic pacifier of the 21st century. Wow! Yes…that is true.  We have students that cannot be without their cell phone. As a girls minister, we have seen this to be a problem not just for our teens but for our parents as well. Sometimes parents are the ones who are wanting their child to have a cell phone so that they can talk with them at an event.  We’ve seen unfortunate distractions happen because cell phones were carelessly used at an event by a student who couldn’t stay away from it. Ironically when boundaries are placed on using the cellphone at events or on mission trips, some students express thanks for the break of being “available 24-7”.  But there are other layers to this constant need for connection. We have become a society that cannot hit pause…not even in the car.  And literally we are seeing a collision occur when people put their need for cell phone connection and/or production above the safety of themselves and others  as people continue to maintain constant communication even while they are driving.   It’s becoming an addiction, although Texting Queen Emilee Cox might not say it’s an addiction with her 35,463 Texts In 30 Days.

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So what are we going to do about it? Here are a few of my ideas to help wean students from a cell phone addiction.
1. While on our mission experiences, we have told students they can’t have their cellphones except during certain breaks. To ensure that their cellphone is charged and checked in, we created these charging tubs. Their name is written in sharpie on a strip of duct tape, and using a dry erase marker, we can check in their phone after each break. We’ve had students thank us for doing this because it allowed them to truly be present when they needed to be present.

2. During small groups, have a “cell phone condo”—-A box that states: “Where Your Cell Phone Lives During small groups.” You could also just have a cell phone bucket placed in the middle of the room and have students place their cell phones in there during small groups.

3. Have your students fill out a cell phone covenant with you. It could look something like this:

I understand that it is possible to make my cell phone an idol or that it may become an addiction for me.  I understand that an “addiction is when we’re seeking to find something that only God can provide in something besides God Himself.” (as stated by Craig Groeschel, life church tv) In order to not let this take place in my life, I will agree to a cell phone sabbath where I make the choice to detach myself from my phone once a week.

I will seek to have a cell phone sabbath hour every day during the hours of_________ to ___________.

I will leave my phone outside of my bedroom each night so that I can truly rest and not get caught up in any activity or conversation I might find myself in late at night or early in the morning if it were accessible.

Please keep me accountable to this agreement and ask how I am doing on a regular basis.
I’ve posted another cellphone contract that you can get ideas from here: Cell Phone Contract 2

4. If you are a parent, you may want to consider getting an app that restricts texting while driving. Here are some options:

5. Let’s not forget that modeling cell phone habits is teaching our students and children much more than we may think. I had a student tell me she thought I was using my phone more than I should.  She challenged me to not use my phone for 24 hours and she would tell as many people she could about Jesus if I took the challenge. It was a win win for everyone.  I took the challenge, and I learned a little about my own cell phone habits. 🙂

I’m sure there are several other things we can do. What have you tried, tested, rejected, and celebrated regarding helping wean students from the cellphone addictive habits? Leave a comment or drop me a line at: girlsminister@gmail.com

DIGITAL Boundaries: how they help in loving your teenaged daughter

Judges 17:6
This was before kings ruled Israel, so all the Israelites did whatever they thought was right .

(originally published on January 7, 2011. Reposted with extra links)

I was reading this passage today and recognized that for many of us, we know a “little princess” who lives this out on a day by day basis.  Just like the society that Judges was chronicling, girls that we know choose to live their lives doing whatever they want to do and labeling it as “RIGHT”.

So here are some basics you can do to help your daughter have healthy digital boundaries set by your family, so that there is not a temptation for your daughter to “do whatever they think is right” online.  You need to be having conversations about technology and tv instead of simply BANNING it.  When your student moves out of the house, they need to determine what their digital boundaries are. One of mine is that I don’t post on facebook walls past a certain hour.  So read on about some basics, and then work with your family to see what boundaries you need to have.  You are preparing them for the future with these conversations, because I guarantee that they are not thinking about how their digital presence is connected to their physical presence. So read on and see if any of these may work for you.

1. Stop believing the lie that if you set boundaries, they’ll just do whatever they want anyway. I know several families, mine included, that lovingly set boundaries because they know their teen has a prefrontal cortex that is not fully developed until they are 25.  We would think it’s absurd to let a baby or a toddler to decide what to do with their day, or where to go. Why do some people believe that teenagers should be different with having age specific boundaries?

Our middle school minister has triplets that are 1 and a precious little girl named Harper who is 3.  This past week, Mary Lindsey (our middle school minister’s wife and a good friend of mine) came with the whole clan to let them get some excercise and for her to get a couple of things done.  We each took a child and walked with them around the church.  There were several times when I noticed my particular triplet moving toward a place they didn’t need to be going or putting something in their mouth that didn’t need to be there. So I would tell them “no” and move them back into the boundaries they were allowed to run in. Just like toddlers need boundaries to grow healthy and even to know they are loved, teenagers need boundaries as well. Here are some that I have seen my parents and other families institute in their homes with great success.

1. Practice a no technology boundary at dinner. That time is family time and so you as much as your children, need to turn off technology and truly begin having conversations with each other.

2. Keep your computers in a family central area. Work with your daughter in creating this family space.

Explain that this computer family area not only encourages public accountability for her, but also for the rest of the family.

3. Work with your daughter to establish “cell phone check-in station” . When cellphones start coming into the life of your teenager, oftentimes they may find themselves tempted to say or do things with their phone that they shouldn’t be doing. These things typically happen late at night. Example: SEXTING, addictive night texting, One family I know picks an hour and checks in the phones of their children in the evening.  This policy is so their children are not alone with their cell phones having conversations in bed late at night with people they  would never let into their physical room at that late of an hour.

4. Agree with your student to set some facebook profile rules that work both ways.

As a parent,there are some rules you need to have for yourself as well as your daughter. For example,do not post on their wall every week and comment on all of their friends comments. The fact that they are letting you into their social network is great.  Do not abuse that.  Instead, work with them to agree on how you will interact with each other on facebook.  Use the private message feature. Help them understand that they do not need to put their cell phone on their page. There are so many conversations you need to have your daughter to agree  with how you interact with your her and how they interact with their social network world as well.

5. Bring prayer into their digital boundaries. Pray each day that they are being wise and seeking to make God known rather than being self-absorbed on faebook.  Message them a prayer each week through their facebook email or text them a prayer.  Help them to celebrate technology and not just condemning it.  Technology is not bad by itself, but when it is placed in our hands we can move it into a bad tool or a good tool.  Talk with your daughters about this concept as well.

Check out our other article with 5 specific ways to wean your teen off their cellphone

These are just a few thoughts that I have seen work with Digital boundaries in the home.  This is not exhaustive and they can always improve. Each family has different habits and personalities so we recognize that some of these boundaries may not work in your home but another will.  Please share below regarding some digital boundaries you may already use or have seen others use.


Daughters and dating: What influence can you have?

The above 80’s movie clip from “say anything”, is one of my favorites.  Lloyd has just been asked by his girlfriend’s father, what his plans are for his future.  His response is amazing, although not the one his girlfriend’s family is looking for.  I love that this family still has conversations around the table. I love that they are interested in who their daughter is dating and they care about the pursuits of their daughter’s boyfriend because they can see what his motivations and goals are.  I wonder if Diane is like many other daughters in this conversation and this is the first time she has ever heard her parents take interest in her love life.  It’s great the family is having this conversation, but the foundation for this conversation starts years earlier.  My pastor, often says that Fathers are the first boyfriend your daughter will ever have.  The Father models for your daughter what it looks like to be treated with respect, with love, and with recognition that she is a daughter of God. Mothers and Fathers have an amazing opportunity to begin shaping their daughter’s path towards a Godly man by helping her see what a Godly marriage looks like.  Are you taking your daughter on dates before she goes on her first one?  Are you talking with her about the things you looked for in a Godly spouse and why it’s important for her to seek those qualities prayerfully for herself?  Are you praying for the men your daughter will one day find herself saying no to, and the ones she will say yes to before she says “I do” to?

If you’re daughter is in middle school, you are probably becoming aware of how boy crazy she is.  That is natural for girls to become very aware of boys during those years.  A book that I did when I was growing up, was “Lady in waiting”.  It is a bit cheesy, but as a parent you may be able to find some conversations that will help you develop some boundaries for your daughter and some conversations to have with her to continue to focus her heart when her eyes may guide her elsewhere.

There are many different philosophies on dating from families. I am not going to take a stance on that for you, but I will tell you that you’d better figure out what the rules are on dating before she begins to make her own.  What are your rules on dating? Does she have to be a certain age? What about him?  Is she able to bring dates to the home and hang out? If so, what are the boundaries there?  What is the curfew?  How many hours a week is she able to see this guy?  Another good resource is a book that I was actually given by the mother of a guy I was dating a guy in college.  The title left nothing to my imagination of what the mother wanted to ensure would remain intact for her son and those he dated.

The Title was : Too Close Too Soon: Avoiding the Heartache of Premature Intimacy by Jim A. Talley

It’s still got some great lessons in there for both teens and parents.

If your daughter is already dating and you haven’t done some of the foundation work, don’t give up.  If you are a parent, take time to interact with the dates your daughter is having.  Make it required for her dates to spend a dinner  or time with the family so that you can get to know the person who is influencing your daughter’s life.  Ensure that their character and spiritual pursuits  line up with those that you have for your daughter.  I have had many a conversation with a parent that is disappointed with their daughter’s choice to date a non-believer. I wonder what conversations happened before that daughter began dating that helped her know what to look for in a guy.  Thankfully my mother began having those conversations with me early on.  She let me know that she prayed for my future spouse.  Hearing that my mom was praying for my future spouse made me want to do the same thing at an early age.  I am so thankful that she did that because I can see those prayers answered in the person I married today.  Make plans to pray for your daughter audibly about the people who will influence her heart.  Tell her what things you are looking for in a guy for her way before she meets a “lloyd” who knows he only wants to “hang with your daughter.”

Girlsminister On Words Girls Need To Hear From Their Fathers


This post is not something I typically share. I’m not a big heart sharer. It’s just not comfortable for me. But as I talked with a friend of mine yesterday at lunch, his words hit me. He told me sometimes these things are not just for  you, but God can use them to help others.  Well, while this thing is fresh, I decided to do my one and only heart share on this topic of fathers. Next week is my Dad’s birthday (March 13). He would be 83 I believe. He’s been gone for 11 years this June after complications from Colon cancer. It’s sometimes a messy time for me to reflect on that relationship. Without going into details I’ll sum it up briefly, it was a damaging and discouraging relationship , but as I grow more distant from the day I said goodbye to him, I find that it is important to give thanks that Christ speaks to that hurt in my life and to honor the dark days just as much as the beautiful days. As it is in those dark days that I found comfort, wisdom, and strength through my Savior that I would not have known without choosing to walk that moment with Him. So today I post a draft I wrote in 2007 to quietly honor my dad—as messy as he was—and to call attention to words that your girls need to hear from fathers and spiritual fathers.  I truly hope for those that work with teen girls, that you will take some of the ideas I post and get them in the hands of the fathers and spiritual fathers in your church.  I say spiritual fathers, because I am a living testimony of men that took some of the role my father abdicated and spoke into my life.  Fathers are extremely important to girls ministry, and my prayer is that we—myself included—continue to elevate this relationship as we minister to girls and their families.

missing words that cause holes…a draft post from my personal blog in 2007
There is an honesty that comes when you look at the gunk in your heart isn’t there? There are times when I realize that I crave words to be said from my father—things that most daughters hear on a regular basis and probably take for granted. Things that I will never hear because my father is not here anymore. This “need” and “hurt” stunned me so much the other day that I truly caught myself wishing my dad were here to say “I’m proud of you”. It came from out of the blue. I realized this need oddly when I heard the words said to me by my older brother. It caught me off guard and emotions came alive that I had stuffed inside of me for over 20 years. I gave up on hearing those words from my dad, but there was a hole that still wants to hear that apparently. How sad and messy it is to have to live in a fallen world that words from fathers or missing words from fathers have power to imprison us. I share this only to show that when I become aware of the wounds left from living in a fallen world, that i don’t have to stay that way. I will never hear those words from my dad. But Christ is faithful to remind me that no person can give or take worth from me. Christ has already told me how much I mean to Him by what He has accomplished on the cross. Christ is healing me—I hope the same is true for you today. I hope that Christ is repairing…remaking…replacing…refocusing..and creating new things within you. I hope that whatever the cry of your heart is today…that you do not attempt to fill it with people/places/or things but simply show Christ what you are dealing with and ask for Him to do what He does best—give Life to the dead places we hang onto. Below is a song that I meditate on in the car—or while I run and it is a prayer that I sing as often as I can. Download the song from Starfield because it is amazingly beautiful.

“Cry In My Heart” by Starfield
There’s a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For Your presence to fill up my senses
There’s a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper
Could You take me beyond?
Could You carry me through?
If I open my heart?
Could I go there with You?
(For I’ve been here before But I know there’s still more Oh, Lord, I need to know You)
For what do I have If I don’t have You, Jesus?
What in this life Could mean any more?
You are my rock
You are my glory
You are the lifter Of my head
Lifter of this head

A WORD TO FATHERS:

Fathers, my pastor has repeatedly said during baby dedications at our church that you are the first example of a boyfriend/husband your daughter will ever see. You set the bar for how she expects men to treat her. My advice is along those same lines, but with some definitive suggestions of how to be that example.

My word to you is the following:

  • Begin showing your daughter how men should treat women by taking her on a date night where it’s just you and her.
  • Find out what she has to say—she wants to know she has a voice with you.
  • Be present with her on daddy daughter dates. (leave the cell phone in the glove compartment)
  • Ask her about her dreams.
  • Call out things in her that you see that God has specially placed within her. Encourage her—meaning fill her with courage through the things you say to her.
  • Redefine beauty for her by calling out things other than her fashion that you find beautiful.
  • Take off from work and go have lunch with her at school—but bring something in from fast food land for her and all her friends! BONUS POINTS!
  • Look her in the eyes and tell her how proud you are to be her father.
  • Write her a physical note before she goes on a big events to remind her that you are praying for her.
  • Pray with her before she goes to bed at night. Talk about her to God in front of her.
  • Tell her you love her and give her hugs/kisses often. Especially as she transitions from 6th-8th grade. Fathers often distance themselves during this time as their daughter starts looking like a young woman but don’t leave her. She needs you more than ever during this time.

These are just some starters…

How to partner with parents in mentoring their daughter

Some of my very favorite people in ministry are parents I know. They are my friends and they are on “Team Amy-Jo”.  They are people that I can count on to pray for me, with me, and sometimes they pray without me even knowing. These parents allow me to come alongside of them and co-minister.  It’s a special bond.  I get the unique vantage point of watching them love on their daughters through the teenage years, and I get to encourage both the daughter and parent as those times can sometimes be trying.  I am thankful for the partnership we have.  I am grateful for the friendship we have.  I say this because I realized this is something I may take for granted, and something I haven’t truly spent a great deal of time talking about here.  I must say that I first learned this possible partnership from when I was a teen myself.  My amazing mother took the time to allow some women to come into our lives to walk alongside of us.  They are my mother’s friends, and they are my mentors.  Even as some moved to places like Africa or Mississippi, they remained in my life as my girl’s minister’s.  Even to this day, these women hold a special place in our family.  My husband affectionately calls them my Obi-wan-kenobi and my Yoda.  I love you both Bonita and Robin.

Here’s what I’ve learned from them about partnering with parents to minister to girls:

1. Reinforce the values that the Godly parent is trying to encourage within the daughter. I never received mixed messages from my mentors and my mom.  They were on the same page.  It made such a difference to hear something my mom had said to me, show up naturally in conversation with my mentor.  I knew they were on the same page.

2. It’s okay to hang out together with the mom and daughter. Sometimes as a girls minister we may shy away from hanging out with students and their parents.  However, if you can, try to schedule some girl time with both the daughter and the mom.  It can be a healthy time of modeling a Christian friendship with the daughter.  I loved hanging out with my mom and my mentors.  It wasn’t often, but we would sometimes invite them over for lunch or dinner after a church event.

3. Be present, not possessive. The women that mentored me listened to what was going on in our family. They didn’t overstep their bounds and so my mother was never threatened by their presence in my life.  I think that came from their ability to listen and be present without being possessive. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew I was their “girl” and I am shaped today because of their influence in my life, but they did not try to replace my mother. Instead, they worked alongside of her in a harmonious way that allowed me to see different role models during my formative years.

4. Call out the good things you see God doing in both the daughter and the mom. These women have been amazing at not only encouraging me and calling out the good things they see God doing in me, but also doing the same with my mom.  I know they love us both.  It was important for me especially because I had a difficult relationship with my father who didn’t really know how to use his words to encourage.  To hear my mentors talk to my mom about what they saw in me was so encouraging.  And to hear them say things about my mother only reinforced the value of my mom in my eyes.

There is so much more I’ve learned from the women who walked alongside of my mom and I, but these were the things that popped into my head after a long day.  I hope you get to be a Robin or Bonita to a girl and her mom.  It’s a forever friendship you won’t regret making.

Life scripting: Are you reading the same “lines”?

lifescriptingI just finished reading a book called:  My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, a Daughter, a Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence by Lauren Kessler

It was a very interesting read. I don’t agree with everything in the book, mainly because the author does not have experience with the transformation Christ will have in a mother daughter relationship submits to His guidance.  However, it is a highly entertaining and informative book that does provide quite an array of research.

As I was reading this book, I would also dialogue with my mother to talk about our own relationship. It was very insightful for me as an adult daughter to be allowed to ask any question I wanted regarding the way my mother chose to parent me.  One insight came as I was reading about the author’s epiphany in a department store where she was on her last straw with her daughter during a shopping trip to get an 8th grade graduation dress for a daughter who never wore dresses.  Her epiphany was that she was playing a part in this story and kept reading the same lines over and over again.  Her daughter would read from the same script.  They both knew how this story would end.  Each would walk out of the store, angry and stone cold.  Each of them would continue this pattern until they got home, where each of them would not have a good evening because of this silent treatment.  But what would happen if she changed the script?  What would happen if she changed the story?  She decided to grab her daughter’s arm and say: “hey let’s go watch a movie and grab some popcorn!”  The story changed, and the daughter responded with a hesistant yes.

So my question to my mother was:  Did you ever think we scripted?  Her response: No because I made an effort not to do that. I wanted you to know that I wanted to know you.  My mother asked me the same questions every day after I came home from school. I never wanted to do that to you.  I never wanted to get into a pattern where you would think I didn’t care.

My mother will be the first to tell you that she was and is not perfect, but I am so thankful for her and most thankful that she didn’t script with me.

So here’s a question for you:

Are there questions or conversations that you tend to “read” over and over again into the lives of girls that God has placed in your life? Too much repetition in the same exact form will only fall on deaf ears.  Learn how to look at your “messages” and conversations to find fresh ways to say some of the same things.  “You are loved” is a good statement for your girls to hear.  It can be communicated in fresh ways so they hear it continually in different ways. Mix it up…and see what happens.

Another question: Is there a girl you know who is “reading”  from a lifescript that is causing her life to spiral into a story that is going in a direction that is not going to end well? How can you help her to “read from a different script”?

cool idea for an after school activity

gummy
I’m always looking for some creative activities to do with girls at our retreats or to pass on to lifegroup leaders. I stumbled across this recipe at skiptomylou.org Go there for the wonderful pictures. I cut and paste the recipe here. I think this would be a fun activity for a slumber party or a retreat weekend. The possibilities of gummy candy is endless:) Hope someone can use this idea.

Homemade Gummi Candy recipe!

All we needed was 1 -3 oz box of flavored gelatin and 2 – 1/4 oz packages of unflavored gelatin, water and candy molds. (we used two candy molds)

Place 1/3 cup water in a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the Jello and unflavored gelatin over the water. Let sit 5 – 10 minutes. (If you like chewier gummi candy add in another packet of unflavored gelatin.)

Place sauce pan over medium heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved, about 2-5 minutes. When mixture is liquid and all gelatin has dissolved, remove from heat. Let cool a minute and then pour into a container that is easy to pour from. I use a small ceramic creamer pitcher.

Fill molds. If you save the inside of the advent calendar for projects like do, it works perfect! The sheet of star molds worked a bit better than the bears because they are a bit deeper. However, I must say we were just needing an activity so our standards were pretty low— we thought they all turned out great!

Allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes. They may be placed in a refrigerator for about 10 minutes if the kids are eager.

Once cool, the backs can be lightly dusted with corn starch, if desired.

Peel the gummi candy out of the molds. Don’t be shy, you won’t hurt them when peeling them from the molds. No need to oil the molds!

Enjoy!
Make homemade stickers with the unused unflavored gelatin packets.

Notes: we  felt the blue ones weren’t flavorful enough. Next time we will try 2 boxes Jello, 3 packages of unflavored gelatin and 1/2 cup water.

Praying for and with parents

prayingparents

Recently I have had the great honor of praying with some moms that mean a lot to me, and listening to them lift their daughters up to God in prayer.  As I participated in one such prayer time with a mom, it made me think—I need to make more time for this.  I regularly schedule time to talk with girls and disciple them.  I work on events to help bring them together and fellowship. I try to regularly encourage and follow up with leaders that lead our girls…but a regular time to pray with moms of the girls…that hasn’t been top on my list as a girls minister.   One thing that may escape our ministry strategies are prayer partnerships with the parents of the girls we minister to.  There are moms I am now partnering with to pray for their prodigal daughters.  It’s important for us as girls ministers to remember that moms need prayer too, and they need encouragement, and how amazing is it when the church and home connect to lift up a unified purpose to Christ in prayer?  I think that’s why I know without a shadow of a doubt that He truly is Immanuel when “two or more are gathered in prayer”.  Below is a Parent’s Prayer as seen in Janet Thompson’s book: Praying for your Prodigal daughter. It’s a great book and has 40 days of scriptural prayers in the back.  I am so thankful for some mothers who have daughters in our student ministry and have allowed me to pray with and for them.  They are the primary Girlsminister for their daughter…and they need our prayers.

A MOTHER’S PRAYER:

Is there anyplace my daughter can go to avoid Your Spirit?
To be out of Your sight?
If she climbs to the sky, You’re there!
If she goes underground, You’re there!
If she flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find her in a minute—–
You’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, He even sees her in the dark!
At night she’s immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to You;
nigh and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to You.
Oh yes, You shaped my daughter first inside, then out;
You formed her in her mother’s womb.
I thank You, High God—You’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, she is marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know her inside and out,
You know every bone in her body,
You know exactly how she was made, bit by bit,
how she was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like and open book, You watched her grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of her life were spread out before You,
The days of her life all prepared
before she’d even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with You!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!

PERSONALIZATION OF PSALM 139:12-19 MSG as seen in Janet Thompson’s Praying for your prodigal daughter.