My oldest daughter and a couple of cousins were turning 12 in just a few months. I struggled to come up with a unique way of celebrating this wonderful milestone. While going to the temple for the first time was undoubtably the most important thing about this birthday, I still wanted to do something to let her and her cousins know that they were special. Not only special, amazing, incredible and every good word I could think of. So, with the support of my sisters and the help of a few uncles (we come from a HUGE family of 11 kids-8 natural sibling and 3 adopted) This is what I came up with. I only put it together in a few days and was so pleased that so many of their other cousins (and a few friends) were willing to participate. A few weeks later we did something special for the boys too.
Under the celestial lights that twinkled in the crisp winter air, ten beautiful young royal princesses made their way to my home.
Their soft giggles and voices floated up to me as I lit the last candle in my library and my sister poured the last foot spa full of steaming water. Upon our cue, another mother made her way down to the waiting girls and handed them each their own sparkly invitation with their initials upon it. At the top of the steps, the curious princesses (for they had been told nothing except to dress in white and to meet in the basement of my home) each showed the guards their invitations, and then were escorted to the candle-lit library on the arm of a waiting father. Once all the girls were seated and their feet comfortably soaking in the waiting scented water (not as good as bringing them to a spa-but it was what I had), Uncle Erik spoke to these Daughter of God about what a privilege it was to be allowed to go to the temple. He told them that as Daughters of God, they were truly born of royal birth and needed to be “Loyal To The Royal” within them. Sometimes the world deals us a hard card, and gets really messy. It is especially important to know that even during those times, that they are special. This is a message I wish everyone, including me really believed.
Their pretty invitation represented the precious temple recommend each of them had or would shortly get. Uncle Erik lovingly spoke about the importance of being respectful and reverent when attending the temple, preparing themselves both spiritually and physically each time they go. After his talk, the girls were invited to dry their feet and put on a pair of warm fuzzy socks (I was going to get them big slippers but selfishly didn’t want to add slippers to the already too much stuff my family has. I find, with 7 kids, it is important to simplify things. I know my daughter would LOVE slippers, but I just couldn’t do it). They were then escorted to the Living Room.
The Living Room had been decorated with a canopy of sheer fabric and glittery white lights. Each took a seat and there their Aunty read a poem about their pre-existence that Grandma wrote for them. The poem talked about them being a princess from on high. The princesses were each given a key with the copy of the poem. The key to exaltation is “doing your duty“. So often, we think it is okay to not do our duty. We talked about what our world would be like if the bus drivers decided to ‘not do their duty’ and show up for work. Or the doctors decided to not ‘do their duty’ and make sure their diagnosis was correct. Or what if their parents decided one day that they were just ‘too tired’ to go to work? It is the fact that so many do their duty that our country runs as smoothly as it does. The girls were so respectful and delighted with their ornate keys.
After the keys were handed out, one of the mothers slipped a beautiful crystal bracelet on their daughters wrists, and I spoke to them about the importance of adorning themselves in beautiful and modest clothing and thoughts. I spoke honestly about my love for them and the virtue that shines from each of their faces. I expressed my desire that each of the girls would commit to being a ‘safe place’ for others to be around, a place that inspires virtue, specifically for boys. In this world full of immorality and immodesty, I know that the temptation to degrade one’s self is sometimes hard for everyone to resist, especially if the people around them are wearing things that distract one from godly thoughts and intents. As a mother of sons, I plead with them to help inspire all who they interact with, to keep true to the “royal inside of them”. It was clearly stated that just as we are each responsible for our own thoughts and actions, that it is naive of us to think that what we do has no effect on those around us. Just as it is up to me to be kind to those around me, it sure makes it alot easier to be christlike and kind when those around us are kind as well. Some people would like to think that their actions do not effect others. This is a fallacy. I showed them a movie I made for them celebrating their royalness. There were giggles as their faces appeared on screens, hopefully they felt the spirit of the movie as well 🙂 The movie ended with a reminder that their Once Upon A Time is Now. (Such a great talk)
Uncle Sim followed up the message with helping them realize that their bodies are truly a temple and they needed to treat it with respect, and consideration and to expect others to do the same. He hand them each a heart case filled with sweets and said to each one individually “Modesty is a matter of the heart.”
The climax of the evening was when each girl individually were escorted by their willing dads to the ‘throne’ and crowned a princess. Even the older girls seemed to enjoy this extra attention. What a sweet moment that was to look around the room and see such radiant virtuous faces staring back at me. What peace and awe filled my heart as I saw these royal, beautiful daughters of God being so open to hearing the words of counsel and love from their parents. It was a precious memory.
Heather talked to the girls about keeping their mind full of learning. She encouraged them to reach their dreams and never be afraid of the obstacles ahead of them, reminding them that learning and education should be a life long pursuit. She reminded them that they were born to succeed.
Since most of these girls have other girl cousins who have already accomplished much in their young life (traveled the world, delivered babies at 14, started university at 17, started a non-profit at 18 ect. . .) this message was well received. I am afraid that their willingness to listen to counsel encouraged too many parents to share their own final ‘advice’. The evening went a little too long, but they girls did not fidget nor did they complain. They just sat and soaked it all up. As we closed with prayer, and the princess’s mingled with one another over food, my heart was full.
Truly I was in the presence of pure beauty and goodness. There was no doubt in my mind that these girls were being “Loyal To The Royal” within them.
****If you think my life is a bit different (how many people get to be surrounded daily by such beautiful, strong-willed vibrant young ladies and men every day?) you should check out my SISTERS BLOG. Her family of 8 KIDS is SAILING AROUND THE WORLD IN A BOAT (bet you are glad I clarified that it was in a boat aren’t you 🙂
Here is one of my nieces blogs about helping kids out of poverty.
Here are some hand outs my sister made that would have gone great with this evening.
Uncle Erik fight human trafficking
For more Great Christian Family Devotional ideas go here
Be part of the change: Helping others become self-sufficient