Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of chatting with Doreen Hanna, who has made a career out of helping young ladies discover their royalty in Christ and to enter womanhood with grace. And isn’t that lovely?
Doreen, please tell us about your book.
Raising a Modern-Day Princess was written to mothers and mentors of teenage girls providing insights on the challenges and rewards of raising teenage girls. It also contains personal stories that reveal the value of a rite of passage journey that ends in a life-impacting blessing ceremony.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was asked to speak for a Mother’s Day Tea. Their topic, “Celebrate! You’re a Daughter of the King.” The emphasis was to encourage the older women to mentor the teen girls. Then I discovered the Jewish community’s Bat Mitzvah for their girls. I saw immediately this was exactly where I needed to be. I read a book written for the parents and one written for the girls. The very first step is the parents choose a woman from their synagogue to mentor their daughter. The books provided an understanding of this highly important step into young womanhood by way of a 52-week path to prepare their twelve-year-old who would be presented on her thirteenth birthday as a young woman and blessed publicly by her father. I was in awe of all that was invested by the mentor in a young girl’s life. This commitment enabled them to discover together and confirm the girl’s talents, polish her etiquette, validate her purpose, value and strengths as she stepped into young womanhood with grace and confidence.
Why did you write this book?
Leaving the event that day, I felt confident that I had emphasized their royalty as Daughters of the King and the value of mentors. However, I didn’t even get to my car in the parking lot and this question came immediately to mind, “What does our American Christian community have for our girls?” For almost three months the same question came to mind daily. Until I read Esther 4:14, “You have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (I felt I knew that already, with a prideful spirit I’m ashamed to say.) However, the greatest conviction came upon me as I read the last half of the verse that stated, “And if you should choose not to (i.e. plead with the King for the lives of her people, at the cost of her potential death) I will choose another.” I knew in that moment that I was being given one last opportunity to say yes. Therefore, I immediately began moving forward seeking to discover if there were other rites of passage in the faith-based community. I found some denominational churches had their own celebrations as their girls entered womanhood. Nothing however, that seemed as equivalent to the Jewish Bat Mitzvah or reaching the church communities at large.
With the assistance of my daughters, then both in their twenties, we developed a 12-week curriculum to be implemented by moms to mentor their daughters and her friends, youth leaders within churches, or just one-on-one mentoring between a teen girl and a respected influencer in her life. After several years, I was encouraged to write a book on this important step in a young girl’s life and the power of a father’s blessing. By that time, I had been passionately sharing how this curriculum was impacting the lives of the girls, their parents, mentors. I was inspired because I had incredible, heart-warming and powerful stories I could now share with others in my first book.
What a great story! How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
At the age of 29 I was challenged by my women’s ministry director, Faye Darnell, to become a Bible Study teacher. I had always pictured myself as a secretary and had been content fulfilling that role. I was shocked and doubtful that she was correct in her assessment of me. However, at another California beach, I prayed asking God to speak to me regarding this. Telling him I thought I was too young. What did I have to say? I was afraid! When I finished with my questions and pleas, I opened my eyes and my Bible had fallen open to Jeremiah 1. To this day, every time I share it, chills go down my spine. This is what is says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…I set you apart.” Then Jeremiah says “‘Lord, I do not know how speak; I am too young.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am too young”…Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you…I have put my words in your mouth…I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled…Get yourself ready.’” I went back to Ms. Darnell and shared what God had spoken to me. Therefore, my life has continually been enhanced, challenges faced and overcome or comfort given when grief has been present. All because of my relationship with him, I am able to share those experiences either in my speaking or writings.
I love how God spoke to you! What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
My ideal place for writing is in my car parked by the marina. My phone is off, Facebook and all other social media are closed down, and a cup of coffee is close by. The palm trees sway in the breeze while the ocean contained within the marina quietly washes upon the rocks. The view of the sky is clear, whether it is the beauty of the sunrise, billowing clouds on a cool afternoon, or the last of the sunshine at the end of the day. It is always my quiet place that enables me to have clarity of mind and hear God’s voice that is revealed, at times, in a fresh insight through a personal experience or someone else’s, the words in a song, or a scripture that took on a whole new meaning.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
Treasured Celebrations is the non-profit covering for Modern-Day Princess. With the books and curriculums under the MDP umbrella, it has provided many ministry/partnership opportunities to be involved in. We have worked with Youth for Christ – Canada, Royal Family Kids Camp, Department of Children & Family Services in Los Angeles County, The Boys & Girls Ranch of New Mexico (the last safe house for foster teens), God’s Haven, a housing ministry for single moms with children. Most recently we provided curriculum for a sex trafficking ministry to teen girls based out of Texas. Why? Because it provides us the joy of donating our resources and equipping leaders to carry out this ministry to teen girls in their spheres of influence.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
Traveling whenever possible. I love visiting a new city and state in the USA or somewhere across the world. Especially if locations have been featured on the travel channel. It isn’t complete, of course, unless someone is traveling with me!
As a fellow traveler, I relate. Doreen, please tell us about your next project.
Recently released is Raising a Young Modern-Day Princess. The authors sought to develop an earlier rite of passage for girls ages 4-9. This is a journey through the Fruit of the Spirit with more than 100 activities that reinforce the character qualities parents seek to impart in their daughter’s lives. A Dad’s Tool Box and Dad and Daughter’s activities are also included.
Thank you for sharing with us, Doreen!
To learn more about Doreen and her books, please visit Doreen’s website and her blog.
Writing for Him,
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