Thursday Interview: Contributor Betty J. Dalrymple

Betty J. Dalrymple, Contributor to Grandparenting Through Obstacles

Today we’re chatting with Betty J. Dalrymple, freelance writer and contributor to many books. Betty’s story is “Heart Talk” and appears in Part 4 of Grandparenting Through Obstacles, which is “The Challenge of Partnering with Parents.”

GTO:  Welcome, Betty! We’re glad to have you with us today. We’d like to ask you why you decided to share the story that you did in our book?

Betty:  When I was a child, like Braxton (my grandson), I felt very afraid.  I related to his feelings and his separation anxiety, so I had an intense desire to reassure Braxton that God loved him and we all loved him.  I wanted him to know that he is never alone.  Braxton’s response regarding God speaking to him in his heart was and is a perfect description of God talking to each of us and it’s a message I wanted to share with others.

GTO:  What are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from your story?

Betty:  I hope our readers will learn how important it is to understand children and adults who struggle with anxiety problems.  I also hope they will search for ways to reassure their grandchildren that they are never alone and God’s love surrounds them wherever they are.

GTO:  Give us an update on recent developments with your grandchildren since writing your story.

Betty:  Braxton is now in college and a very warm and caring young man.  I have a granddaughter who is 12 and has some of the traits that Braxton had.  Once again, reassurance of being loved by God and family appears very helpful for her too.

GTO:  What has happened in your life since writing your story—any new developments or fun adventures?

Betty:  My husband died and I remarried a man with nine grandchildren so now I have 19 grandchildren.  I’m learning to be a grandparent to step-grandchildren.

 GTO:  In what ways do you believe God has used you most in ministering to your grandkids?   And what do you think is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Betty:  I believe I offer stability to my ten grandchildren. As the morals and values in our society have changed, I have tried to teach them, through words and actions, in a loving way that I believe we need to follow Jesus’  teachings and look for God’s help when we make decisions.  I have also tried to teach my entire family the importance of prayer in their lives.

Betty J. Dalrymple and her grandkids

 GTO:  If you could give yourself a grandma nickname to represent your relationship with your grandkids, what would it be and why?  What do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Betty:  Being their “Nana” has always been such a big part of all of our lives, I can’t imagine another name.  All ten grandchildren live near me and I think they would say that I’ve always “been there” for them, loving them, hugging them, playing with them, taking care of them, laughing with them, attending their activities, and always reminding them of the importance of God and Jesus in their lives.

GTO:  It is so fun to talk with you and to see your grandchildren, Betty. Thank you for stopping by the blog today. And we also thank you and Braxton so much for sharing your story with us. We pray all God’s best for you, your husband, and all 19 of your grandchildren in all your travels!

Personalized Christmas Gifts for Grandchildren

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when thoughts turn to…What to get the grandkids for Christmas? If your grandchildren are like most, they already have an overflow of toys, electronics, gadgets, and clothes!

So, this year, get personal! Give gifts that will have a lasting impression and that speak from the heart. Whether your grandkids are toddler aged or teenaged, here are a few gift ideas that will let them know how much you care about them.

  • Buy tickets to an event where you can spend some quality time together. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Perhaps a ballgame, a ballet, or an art show, depending on your grandkids’ interests. If you’ve got some rowdy grandsons, maybe a monster truck show! The gift isn’t in the entertainment, but rather the company.
  • If you live far from your grandkids and want a longer-term get-a-way, consider hosting a camp like we discuss in our book. Or, if you’d rather not do it yourself, you can book a family camping time with GrandCamps for a truly God-centered camping experience that any aged grandchild would enjoy—and remember for years to come.
  • Assemble a photo album filled with pictures of your times together over the past year, or if you didn’t get to see your grandkids much, just pictures of you in various settings near where you live. Be sure to include areas or events that they may enjoy and would remind them of times with you. Another option is to include older pictures of you, your spouse, and other family members that will help portray their heritage.

There are so many fun things you can do with pictures nowadays. You can create photo books, pictures on canvas,  digital slideshows, or even picture montages in video form. If you have older pictures, simply scan them to convert to a digital format that can be manipulated into various forms.

If you’re unsure how to work with digital pictures, consult your local camera store, a store’s photo department, or any teenager!

  • For a truly personalized gift, consider writing a blessing or prayer for your grandchild. Fill it with verses from God’s Word, and make it special by including your grandchild’s name. Either hand write it or type it, then mat and frame it to keep for the ages.

Whichever gift idea you choose, you can be assured it will have a longer-lasting effect on your grandchild than, say, a pair of roller skates!

Now it’s your turn! What are some ways you’ve blessed your grandkids in the past with personalized gifts? What are the gifts you’ve received over the years that have made a memorable impression on you?

 

What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Grandparenting Through Obstacles friends! We pray that this Thanksgiving Day finds all of you blessed and filled with the joy of the Lord.

Although grandparenting (and parenting) definitely has its challenges, it also has many, many rewards.

Today, instead of us doing all the talking, we would love to hear from you! How has God blessed you and your family over this past year? What prayers has He answered, and what blessings has He surprised you with?

“Like” our Facebook page and leave a comment under this post to tell us what you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day!

The Prayers of a Grandparent

It’s Thanksgiving week and I’m sure you’re counting your grandchildren among those blessings you’re thankful for. Have you told God lately that you’re thankful for your grandchildren?

And while you’re at it, what else would you like to talk to God about on behalf of your grandchildren? If you’re anything at all like me, my prayers can get mighty general, which means vague. This can be a problem because if our prayer are general or vague, how will we recognize when God answers them?

But what if we make our prayers specific? For me, that takes effort. I have to work at it. I have to think carefully, pray deliberately, then record my prayers carefully. But then the results are amazing. I can actually see concrete answers to my prayers.

What about you? Have you ever tried to make your prayers very specific? Need some help? In a related article I wrote titled “How to Pray? Be Specific and Find God” I wrote:

What, specifically, do you want from God? What would you like Him to do for you? Is what you want within His will, meaning it doesn’t violate His good and pure personality? If yes, then get specific and ask Him.

So think about it.What would you like God to do for you in regards to your grandchildren? What do they need? And I’m not suggesting what they might want, or even need, as a gift for Christmas. I’m thinking more along the lines of what do they need to be spiritually healthy? Do they need salvation? Do they need strength to stand against a society that is increasingly moving away from God? Do they need to make more godly choices? Do they need a desire to read God’s Word more? To walk more closely with God? To learn more about Him and His Word through a true desire to take part in a good church?

Get specific with God and see what happens. You might want to record your prayers in a journal. Then you’ll also have a place to record God’s answers!

In our book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ, each of the 20 chapters has a suggested prayer at the end of the chapter called “One Way to Pray.” The suggested prayer was inspired by the events of the story in that chapter. I know one thing that helps me when I get stuck in a rut with my prayers is to hear how someone else might pray. I find it always inspires and refreshes my own prayers.

Each chapter also has blank lines at the end for your own “Prayers, Notes, or Ideas.” This could be a perfect place to record your own prayers for your grandchildren.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, why not create some specific prayers for each of your grandchildren and then this Thursday share with them what, specifically, you’re thankful for in regards to them as well as what you are praying for them?

Thursday Interview: Contributor Loritta Slayton – Part 2

Loritta Slayton, Contributor to Grandparenting Through Obstacles book

Last week we talked with Loritta about how she found out about our book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles, and how she came to contribute a story to the book. We also talked about what has happened in her grandchilren’s lives and her own life since she wrote the story. (And we learned Loritta has another story in a new book! So if you missed Part 1, take a look at that!)

Today we want to talk with Loritta about how she influences her grandchildren toward Jesus the Savior.

GTO:  In what ways do you believe God has used you most in ministering to your grandkids?

Loritta:  Consistency in knowing they are loved and valued. Also, being an example to the importance of having God in their hearts and lives.

GTO:  What do you think is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Loritta:  To know God’s truth for themselves and know His faithfulness in all of their struggles. 

To learn to make time to be still (turn off all the entertainment and the voices of the world and the enemy) and know He is God!
 
By example–by telling them about your own experiences with God. 

And pray, pray, and pray and declare God’s Word over them and affirm His Word to them!

GTO:  How have you grown in the Lord through the challenges you’ve faced in trying to reach your grandchildren?

Loritta:  Their trials have caused me to draw near to God, relentlessly–out of necessity for faith, for victories, for strength, for peace and freedom from fear, and developing trust and testimony in my relationship with God, to believe for myself, their parents as well as my grandchildren.

GTO:  What can you tell our readers to encourage them to not give up on their kids or grandkids no matter how bad their situation might look?

Loritta:  The battle is not an over-nighter!! It’s for life!! God is more persevering than we are. Thankfully, He is tenaciously pursuing us! We have to stay in the fight with Him. I like the scripture in I John 3:16, Amplified:

“By this we come to know (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand) the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him]. “

This is our example in learning how to “lay down our lives” so others will know Him intimately. Not that we would do it from our own limited strength, which fails us, but drawing from His—again and again, as He shows us how. I’m learning to acknowledge that I can’t “fix” my family members, but to trust God for His keeping and delivering of them.  Learning to go to the “secret place” with God and to confess His Word with my mouth has strengthened me for the battle a lot!  Never Give Up–God doesn’t!

GTO:  What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandchildren?
 
Loritta:  As it says in Psalms 46:10, Take time to BE STILL and Know He IS God! When we do, our spiritual ears and sensitivities are developed to be more and more familiar to the voice of God, and to receive His teaching through the Word which strengthens and directs us for the battle we are fighting.  Nothing can compare to the fruit of doing this.

 Loritta, thank you so much for spending time with us today. It has been fun to catch up with you. I hope you’ll stop by again for another chat. May God richly bless your writting and your grandparenting for Him!

Grandparents in the Bible

One of the many features of our book includes a section called “Grandparents in the Bible,” which can be found in every chapter. The purpose of this section is to highlight various grandparents in the Bible who influenced their grandchildren–and, in some cases, several generations–in either good or bad ways.

You will not find the words grandparent, grandfather, grandmother, nana, papa, or any other variation of these titles in the Bible. You will, however, find grandson, great-grandson, etc. And, you can determine lineage and realize there must be grandparents mentioned in the Bible through the genealogies given to us.

Just like in the Bible, we’ve listed those grandparents who followed the Lord’s commandments and therefore secured blessings for their future generations, as well as those who disobeyed God and brought curses on their future generations. It’s important to know what to do as well as what not to do!

Here’s an excerpt from one of our “Grandparents in the Bible” section:

Salmon and Rahab: Grandparents of Obed–

“Both ‘outsiders,’ the prostitute Rahab and the foreigner Ruth, were married into the family of Abraham’s descendants and the bloodline of Christ. God welcomes into His family, and uses for His good purposes, any person whose heart is tender toward Him, regardless of their family name or where they come from. No matter what your family may look like to you, He can use you and your family for His good purposes, too.”

The good news is that we know God poured out His wrath and judgment for all sin upon Jesus as He hung on the cross, which in turn, destroyed the power of sin and curse in our lives (2 Cor. 5:21Gal. 3:13).  Because of this, as believers walking in the authority of Christ, we now have the power to destroy generational curses in and to declare generational blessings upon our families.

If you know of prevailing sin in previous generations of your family that seems to keep re-appearing, through Jesus, that sin can be defeated once and for all so that your grandchildren, and their children, will not have to be enslaved to it. Praise God for His power in our lives!

I encourage you to take note of the grandparents found in the Bible and see how they were able to influence their families for the Lord. Also, use the “Grandparents in the Bible” section of our book to offer further insight into how God used these grandparents for His purposes–or, how they wandered from God, thus causing grief for their families.

Don’t ever give up on your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or the generations to follow. Speak blessings over your lineage, pray God’s Word, and have faith that each of your future generations will be more powerful and more blessed than the one before it! You have the ability–through Christ–to determine what kind of legacy you will leave.

Thursday Interview: Contributor Loritta Slayton – Part 1

Loritta Slayton, Contributor to Grandparenting Through Obstacles book

Today and next Thursday we are talking with Loritta Slayton, contributor to Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Loritta’s story, “God and the Chickens,” appears in fourth part of the book called “The Challenge of Partnering with Parents.”

GTO:  Loritta, thank you for spending time with us today. I’m looking forward to our time together!  Tell us, why did you decide to share the story that you did in our book?

Loritta:  I am an aspiring writer and the opportunity came through an e-mail from the director of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, Marlene Bagnull. I knew I had real life experiences with my grandchildren concerning the warfare for their souls. I felt I had something tangible and worthy to share in line with the subject, “Grandparenting through obstacles to reach your grandchildren for Christ.”  I have the battle scars on my heart.

 

GTO:  What are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from your story?

Loritta:  I hope that other grandparents will be encouraged to engage or renew the commitment to fight the “good fight of faith” for their grandchildren.  I want them to be strengthened to listen to God’s promptings on where or how to invest in them so that their grandchildren will know God personally for themselves.  Then their grandchildren will have the weapons for their own warfare in the world that they live in. We need to stay focused in the warfare for each of our family members and beyond, to be in the kingdom of God as a united front.

GTO:  Give us an update on recent developments with your grandchild(ren) since writing your story.

Loritta:  Wesley, my grandson, lives in Wyoming with his family–including his dad, currently. The road is still rocky, but he just made honor roll and has a 3.44 GPA. I’m so proud of him! There are still battles to be won, though, and my heart is sensing the Lord’s prompting to continue to have time to teach Wesley how to apply the Word to his own life.  I have to stay in prayer to overcome the obstacles that Satan would use to deter me from this connection. Time is a big one, but if I persevere in prayer, I believe God will help me find and seize the opportunity.  I’ve purchased the teen version of Battlefield for the Mind, by Joyce Myer, to share with my older grandchildren.  I hope to connect by phone weekly.  I started reading with Wesley’s sister and cousin earlier this year from a book by Kim Meeder about ministering to hurting children through interaction with horses that have been abused. That helped me make a connection individually with them and also take the opportunity to talk a little about their lives and pray together. I think this personal time makes a statement of their value to me and makes them feel good.

GTO:  What has happened in your life since writing your story—any new developments or fun adventures?

Loritta:  I have a story in the new book, Journeys to Mother Love, compiled by Catherine Lawton (Cladach Publishing, 2012) on the subject of relational healing with daughters and mothers. Like Grandparenting Through Obstacles, it is a compilation of stories by different authors. Also, I am exploring submitting some art work and verse for the card industry through a connection I made at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

GTO:  Congratulations on another book contribution, Loritta! We are friends with Catherine Lawton over at Cladach and wish you both all the best with the new book.

We’ll look forward to talking with you more next Thursday as we talk about what you’ve done, and what other Christian grandparents can do, to connect with their grandchildren and help them know Jesus Christ.  Until then, enjoy your week and your grandchildren!