On Saturday Charis and I attended a mother-daughter class called "Maidens by Design" based on curriculum from Blessing God's Way, a site I hadn't heard of prior to registering for the class. The instructor, Denise, is a member of the homeschool co-op I'm part of and asked back in the fall who all would be interested in such an event. When I reviewed the web site and read about Denise's passion for mentoring women in the various phases of life (maidenhood, maternity, and menopause), I decided it would be an excellent starting point for Charis and me to begin more in-depth discussion about our bodies.
It was a wonderful experience! The hostess is the mother of 10 children, and their family lives in an old house in Xenia. HUGE doorways, large rooms, tons of homey Easter decorations, and a ginormous, I mean GINORMOUS dining room table. I LOVED just being in this house! Denise, the teacher of the class, is the mother of 9 children and is studying to be a midwife. She helped deliver her first grandbaby just a few weeks ago! Way cool! She had so much response to her query about a class that she did two separate sessions. Ours was the second one, which was probably good since she had worked out some timing issues. Everyone who attended the class homeschools, though not everyone was part of PEACH. I didn't know anyone there, and I wasn't alone--we were all so quiet in the first hour or so of the class!
Charis received a workbook to use during the class and bring home--it's actually a 10-week curriculum, but Denise felt it would be best to just schedule a seminar rather than trying to coordinate families for a long-term class. It worked out about right. We met at 9 a.m. and did introductions and covered quite a bit of material. Charis went from having not a clue about menstruation to being able to explain it and identify various phases in a woman's cycle. In fact, I would venture to say she now understands a lot more than many grown women do! The topic of "the act of marriage" was not covered, per se, but we did watch an incredible video from Answers in Genesis called "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made." WOW! I always knew life was a miracle, but oh, my! There are so many "coincidences" and "just right" things in this whole process that I cannot understand why people can honestly believe there is no Creator God. I would highly recommend this DVD to anyone--I must say it did go over Charis's head a lot, but when we talked later, I just emphasized to her how incredible God's design is and that it is further proof of His existence. (Which led to another good discussion about evolution.) All in all, we definitely added to our homeschool science hours, LOL.
Anyway, the DVD took up only about an hour of our 5-hour time together. We took a break for lunch and enjoyed visiting with another mom and her 10-year-old daughter, who was just adorable. I think Charis and she could be great friends, and I do hope to get together with Nicole, her mom, before too long.
After lunch our instructor introduced the girls to the wide array of products available to use during "that time." I was glad that she showed non-disposable products as well as disposable. By this time most of the girls had lost most of their inhibitions and fingered the products without being too shy. We also finished the DVD and saw just how amazing the process of growing a baby really is. I've had 5 children and have read, heard, and seen a lot, but I learned quite a bit that I had never known before. Again, I highly recommend this DVD!
One of the things I especially appreciated about this class (and the curriculum) was the idea that our monthly cycles are not a burden, an inconvenience, dirty, gross, or any of that. Denise emphasized the theme of the ministry--we are wonderfully created, and that means ALL parts of us are wonderful! I think I personally picked up somewhere in my teens the idea that our cycles are part of "the curse" (or at least the menstruation part) and didn't really view it as a blessing at all until much later in my life. Obviously there are some aspects that aren't my favorite part of being a woman, but I like that this ministry views it as a cleansing process, a good and positive process. Just as Jesus' blood cleanses us from sin, we as women are cleansed and renewed each month in an absolutely amazing process that evolution really can't explain.
The girls were encouraged to chart their cycles to help them understand when they need extra prayer and grace (!) and to read a chapter of Proverbs daily. There is a "My Personal Proverbs" kit that I just may go ahead and order and give to Charis as a gift when "That Day" arrives.
After the class, we hung around and chatted a little more, and then Charis and I headed out. She asked me some good questions while we drove, and I'm pleased with our start into this new phase of life. Hopefully we can keep the lines of communication WIDE open! To celebrated being women, we went and got Charis's hair cut! She posted pictures on her blog, and we both love her new 'do. (If you don't have access to her blog, let me know and I'll send you an invitation.) It was a fun way to end our girls' day out!