Upcoming National Grandparents Day

Lillian Penner, who leads Grandparents @ Prayer would like to remind everyone to celebrate this year’s National Grandparents Day by praying for our future generations:

 Christian Grandparenting Network is asking grandparents all over the world to unite in prayer for their grandchildren on Sunday, September 8, 2013. This date is the official United States National Grandparents Day designated by a Senate proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

            Our grandchildren are living in a desperate moral and spiritual climate navigating in a world hostile to truth. Satan has launched an aggressive attack our families, schools and our nation to desensitize our children to truth and righteousness. Perhaps at no other time in our history is a call to prayer more urgently required than it is today for our grandchildren.

The mission of Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN) is to promote effective grandparenting, which is intentional about assisting our children and grandchildren to know and follow Christ wholeheartedly. CGN is issuing a call to all grandparents to join with other grandparents in their churches, community and around the world for an intentional day of prayer on behalf of the next generation.

            Will you stand in the GAP to join grandparents worldwide on Sunday September 8 to pray for the next generation that they may walk in the truth? Will you volunteer to plan an event with your friends or in your church?

To join the movement  go to https://www.facebook.com/GrandparentDayOfPrayer?ref=hl, “Like” our fan page, “Click” on the free download button to get the chapter “Communicate your Faith to your Grandchildren” from the book Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for your Grandchildren by Lillian Penner, National Prayer Coordinator for Grandparents Day of Prayer.

For more additional information and resources go to www.gocgn.com or contact Lillian Penner lpenner@christiangrandparenting.net.

We at GTO sincerely hope you will get involved in this prayer effort and help move our children and grandchildren one step closer to the Lord.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom (and Grandma)

For all the moms and grand-moms following us here at GTO, we’d like to wish you a very happy and blessed Mother’s Day. We hope that your day will be filled with the abundance of God’s love and special times with your family.

Mother’s Day is always such a bittersweet time for me (Renee), as my mother passed away in 2004 at the young age of 63. I am certain she is now spending her days walking streets of gold, living in one of God’s special mansions reserved for soulwinners, attending praise and worship concerts around the clock, and hanging out with Bible heroes in her glorified, sickness-free body. Because of this I simply cannot be too sad for her; in fact, you could say I’m a little jealous.

But, of course, I miss her greatly, and perhaps most often when I think about my own kids. My oldest, who is now a junior in high school, will soon be graduating, and God-willing, attending the Air Force Academy soon thereafter. My mom will not be there to congratulate him on all his hard work or give him sage grandmotherly advice for his future.

My 12-year-old daughter is growing up to become just like my mother in so many ways, the least of which is their shared love of God’s Word, all things purple, and dancing. How I wish they could get to know each other better and realize all they have in common. And, my youngest, who was only 2 months old when I flew him to Ohio to attend my mother’s funeral, is now 8. They were in the church together that day, but never had the chance to meet.

My mother missed out on some wonderful times watching her grandchildren grow up. Although, somehow, I believe she is watching them in her own way. My children, however, are the ones who really missed out. Only my oldest had a few years of getting to know her. They never knew her sense of humor, benefited from her godly wisdom, or experienced her days before cancer, which were joyful and contagious to all who were near her.

One thing they are able to get a glimpse of, however, is her relationship with God. This has been made possible through spiritual diaries and journals that my mom kept over the years and that were given to me by my dad after she had gone to be with the Lord. I’ve read numerous entries to my kids, and they are always amazed at the close, comfortable walk she had with Jesus–they were the best of friends.

Through the journals we learn of her faith victories, her struggles, and her constant desire to be more like Jesus in every possible way. No matter what we are going through in our individual lives, reading about her daily times in God’s presence always strengthens us, encourages us, and often convicts us to live our lives better.

I share this story with you today–2 days before Mother’s Day–to encourage you to do what you can to leave a spiritual legacy for your children or grandchildren. The day will eventually come when you will no longer be able to pray for them or encourage them in the Lord. But if you start now, you can leave them with your words of wisdom and faith long after your gone.

My mother never intended for anyone to read her journals or diaries that were meant to be just between her and God. Sorry for snooping, Mom, but I truly hope you somehow know the blessing they have been to my entire family.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom (and Grandma)! I also hope you know how much you are still loved and cherished. See you one day soon. Love, Renee.

Grandparenting Through Obstacles’ Opportunity

Slide3483 Grandparenting Through Obstacles has a great opportunity, but we’re going to need a little help to get it done.

This is Dianne writing again today. Our publisher, Pix-N-Pens Publishing, has created an opportunity for its authors to attend the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis, June 23  – 26.

ICRS is the largest trade show for Christian publishers to meet with Christian retailers. Almost all the major Christian publishers attend, and this is our opportunity to be there too.

The problem is this is an expensive endeavour and our small publisher doesn’t have the budget to cover all the expenses. We’ll need badges for each of the authors to get in, we need to rent a booth, and we need to provide at least 60 of each book represented which are given away (not sold). That’s a lot of dough.

All of the authors at Pix-N-Pens Publishing and its sister publishing company, Write Integrity Press, were invited. Five of us said we want to go. I haven’t yet heard if Renee has decided to go. Peggy Cunningham will also be there. Peggy is a contributor to Grandparenting Through Obstaclesa missionary in Bolivia, and the author of a new children’s book published by Pix-N-Pens, Really Rare Rabbits.

Each author is paying her own way to the show (travel, hotel, etc.). The money we are raising is only for the expenses for attending the show and holding our book signings. Do you think you could help us out? There are some great incentives. You can read about them on our “Meet Us in St. Louis 2013” fundraiser page. There are offers for our books at a bargain price, offers for your Book Club, author visits, critiques, t-shirts, dinners, and even a gift basket from Bolivia!

You can also watch a 4-minute video. That’s me there in the first photo and I’m the last photo too!

This is our opportunity to interact with thousands of Christian bookstore owners and other retailers and tell them about our books. This show is very valuable for furthering the ministry of Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Would you please consider a donation to help us get there to show Grandparenting Through Obstacles off to Christian retailers? The fundraiser closes in only a few days, on Saturday. Visit it here:  “Meet Us in St. Louis 2013” fundraiser page.

You can also help us out by sharing this message with your social networks. Thank you so very much!

Grandparenting Through Obstacles Wins a “Book of the Year” Award from CSPA!

CSPBOTYA_oval_logo Compressed  You did it!  A big hearty Thank You! to everyone who took the time to go over to the web site of the Christian Small Publishers Association and voted for Grandparenting Through Obstacles.

This is Dianne writing today.  Christian Small Publishers Association has announced the winners of their 2013 Book of the Year awards and Grandparenting Through Obstacles won in the “Family/Relationships” category!

Renee and I are thrilled!  Needless to say, our publisher, Pix-N-Pens Publishing, is also thrilled.  This is the first Book of the Year award from Christian Small Publishers Association for the publisher as far as I know. We send our sincere thanks to our publisher, Tracy Ruckman, for all she has done (and is continuing to do… More about that next!) to make our book a success.

So we thank you very much.  An award like this provides one more way to make our book known and so helps us get it onto the radar scope of those who need it and those whom it can help.

It also helps make known those who contributed to the book, including Cavin Harper who wrote our foreword and all our twenty contributors.  They made this book.  We couldn’t have done it without them.

One more thing: We have too much good news to share in one post! We have some more very exciting and important news coming about Grandparenting Through Obstacles and we really need your help…again. I’ll get the information together and share in another post. Please don’t miss it!

(Oh, okay.  If you simply have to have a hint… We need your help to go to St. Louis to promote Grandparenting Through Obstacles.)

You made this “Book of the Year” award from Christian Small Publishers Association possible by voting and by praying. We thank you again. I believe Heaven will be different because of you.

GTO interview on Generation W blog

Recently I (Renee) was interviewed by novelist Julie Momyer on her Generation W blog. We talked about Grandparenting Through Obstacles–how it all began and how we hope it will help grandparents who are struggling to reach their grandchildren for Christ.

Instead of copying the interview here, I’m going to send you to Julie’s site. She has some great articles and other fun things just for women!  So, here’s the link…enjoy!

http://juliemomyerblog.com/2013/03/29/author-interview-renee-gray-wilburn/

Happy Easter!

We at GTO would like to wish all of our readers and followers a truly blessed Easter. We pray that you will be able to enjoy some quality and joyful time with your family as you celebrate the resurrection of our wonderful Lord.

It can be difficult to focus on the true meaning of Easter, especially if you have younger grandchildren around. Everything that is directed at them during this season seems to be about bunnies and candy! We wanted to help you by providing a couple of simple ideas that will help you stay centered on Jesus as you spend time with your grandchildren this Easter:

~ Do the traditional dying of hard-boiled eggs with your grandkids, but as you do, use that opportunity to share with them how the egg is symbolic of the new life that Jesus has provided for us. Most kids have no idea how the egg came to be associated with Easter, so be sure to use this as a teachable moment for them. Additionally, you can have them write messages, such as “He is risen!” or draw symbols like the cross or a tomb on the eggs in crayon before dying them.

~ Send your grandkids on an Easter egg hunt–but add a twist to it. Type up simple scriptures (ones that your grandkids are somewhat familiar with are best), cut them out into strips of paper, the cut the scriptures into two parts (as close to the middle of the verse as possible). Put the two sections of the scripture into two different plastic eggs. Repeat this process for the total amount of plastic eggs you have.

After hiding the eggs and allowing your grandkids to find them, bring everyone together to open the eggs and match the scripture pieces to create correct verses. If you only have one grandchild, work with him or her yourself to match the scripture pieces together.

~ Let your grandchildren help you make Resurrection Rolls. This is a fun, easy, and delicious way to open up a discussion about Jesus coming out of the grave! Here’s the recipe (this version was found on www.dltk-kids.com) :

Ingredients:

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • Melted butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

Instructions:

  • Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This represents the tomb.
  • Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
  • Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
  • Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.
  • Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow will “ooze” out of the seams)
  • Bake according to package directions.
  • Cool.
  • Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!
  • Celebrate God’s love!

This DLTK for Kids site, by the way, has some wonderful seasonal recipes and crafts for children. You might want to check it out for some other fun Easter ideas.

However you decide to spend your Easter, we pray that it will be a wonderful time of celebration!

Please VOTE for Grandparenting Through Obstacles!

If you haven’t VOTED for our book yet, the deadline is approaching fast and Renee and I would sure appreciate your vote!
 
Grandparenting Through Obstacles been nominated for a “Book of the Year” at Christian Small Publishers Association! Renee and I need your vote if our book is going to win.Would you please click through right now and cast your vote for Grandparenting Through Obstacles? You can VOTE here: http://www.christianpublishers.net/13votes/ 

You’ll find our book in the “Family / Relationships” category which is the second category down. The book is on the right (third row of books down) with the blue cover.
If you want to check out the book further, read the reviews on Amazon or check out some pages on Amazon’s “Look Inside the Book” feature.After you vote you can snag a print or an e-copy of the book from Amazon for Kindle or BarnesandNoble.com for Nook.

You have the opportunity to vote for your favorite books in several categories. A Familiar Shore, in the fiction category, is published by the same publisher and I know Jennifer would appreciate your vote too.

It would help us out so much if you’d ask your friends to vote also. To vote, send them to: http://www.christianpublishers.net/13votes/  Let’s see how many votes we can gather up and see if we can’t blow the competition away!

Thank you so much for voting for our book and for all your support. As I’m sure you can imagine, winning “Book of the Year” is great publicity, lets readers know we’ve created a fine book, and would help get the word out about Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ so people who need it will hear about it. 

Fighting for Your Grandkids’ Future

Recently, I had an online magazine for grandparents hit my inbox. The magazine, which will remain unnamed, normally has uplifting, interesting, and helpful articles and resources for grandparents, so I’m typically anxious to look it over when I get it. This time, what I saw on the cover really agitated me as a Christian conservative. This blog post is not going to be so much about what I saw but rather about the questions the cover story led me to ask of our reader grandparents.

The cover was a head shot of Al Gore and the text next to him said that he was “fighting for our grandchildren’s futures.” We all know, of course, that Al Gore is the grand champion of global warming, which has now been re-titled to the more politically correct “climate change.” Your opinions on global warming and its destruction of our planet may stand anywhere in the broad spectrum of possibilities. As a Christian, I believe God when He says (in essence), “It’s not over til I say it’s over,” and who are we to think that we can single handedly destroy what God has created? But that’s a blog for a different day, different place.

For now, I’d like to look at the phrase “fighting for our grandchildren’s future.” For Al Gore, our big fight lies in the assumption that the earth is going to burn up and our grandkids won’t be around to see our planet when they’re older adults. Other fights include the trillions of dollars of national debt we are currently in and how that is now squarely resting on our grandkids’ shoulders. Or, for Christians, the fight might (should) lie in the fact that God is being removed from society at a rapid pace and therefore our sense of all morality has been thrown out the window. And there are many, many other fights as well.

So, what is it for you as a grandparent? Is your fight more personal, or can it be found on a national or global scale? Is it financial, spiritual, ethical, environmental, or something else?

What is it that irritates you so much that when you consider how it’s going to affect your grandkids you want to put on the gloves and go fight? Then, ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?” You can either just stay mad and complain, or you can get moving and start training for your fight.

Our world is not what it used to be when we were growing up. While we’ve had many technological advances, which have positively affected numerous fields and industries, the decay throughout society is rampant. As Christians, we understand that the root of the decay is spiritual, and while, ultimately, we must get at the root, we also need to fight against the fruit that we see in our everyday lives.

And one thing’s for certain: If we don’t start getting in the fight, our grandkids’ future is going to be rather dim. Be intentional about your grandparenting, make the moments you have with your grandkids count, and get in the fight to help make their world a better place.

Vacationing with Grandkids

As the weather begins to warm and the end of the school year draws near, thoughts begin turning to summer vacation. Whether you’re a grandparent who lives near or far from your grandkids, summer is a great time to plan a special getaway for just you and them. Here at GTO, we’d like to help you in your travel plans! We’ve compiled a short list of resources that are geared to intergenerational travel, with many targeting Christian families.

It is our hope that you will take some time this summer to connect in a special way with your grandchildren, and use every opportunity to draw them closer to Christ.

Road Scholar Educational Adventures: www.roadscholar.org

Road Scholar is an educational travel organization for adults 55 and over. In addition to their regular trips for seniors, they also offer vacation packages for grandparents and their grandchildren all over the world.

Sierra Club:  www.sierraclub.org/outings

The Sierra Club has many family outings as well as local outings to choose from. Also, each year they hold a week-long grandparents and grandkids outing in July in Tahoe National Forest, California.

Oceanwood Christian Camp: www.oceanwood.org

Held on a beachfront property in Ocean Park, Maine, Oceanwood camps have something for everyone–including a special Grandparent Camp in July, complete with Bible studies and live music, plus all the usual summer camp activities.

Pilgrim Tours:  www.pilgrimtours.com

A Christian tour company hosting hundreds of tours, including trips to various Bible lands. They have special pricing and packages for grandparents and their grandchildren.

Woodloch Pines Resort:  www.woodloch.com/grandparents

Voted one of the best family resorts in the country by TripAdvisor, Woodloch Pines, nestled in the hills of Pennsylvania, has many options for celebrating family time, including their specially designed G3-Generation Grandparent program.

 GrandCamps: www.grandcamps.org

Grand Camps hosts two camps each summer: one in Colorado in mid-July, and the other in Minnesota in mid-August. Their motto is “building a legacy that matters,” and their goal is to help grandparents connect with their grandkids in a spiritually meaningful and fun environment.

Beaver Camp: www.beavercamp.org

A Christian camp, exclusively for grandparents and their grandkids, held in Lowville, NY for 3 days and 2 nights each summer. The camp includes hiking, crafts, nature study, boating, fishing, swimming, ropes course, group games, as well as Bible studies.

Creation Museum: www.creationmuseum.org

A biblically inspired 70,000 square foot museum that aims to bring Bible to life with exhibits such as a “Dinosaur Den,” planetarium, botanical garden, the Garden of Eden, and much more. Located in northern Kentucky.

Holy Land Experience: www.holylandexperience.com

Located in Orlando, Florida, the HLE is a Christian them park that includes over a dozen exhibits, live shows, and architectural recreations of Bible lands–all aimed to help its guests learn about the Bible and Jesus. Weekly church services and Bible studies are also held at the park.

These are just a few of the many options available to help grandparents and grandkids spend some time together this summer. Whatever you choose, we pray that Jesus will be at the center of your experience.

“They Call Me Grandma” – Guest post by Elsi Dodge

Elsi with Bianca after visiting David in jail.

Elsi with Bianca after visiting David in jail.

I’m single, divorced. No children, no grandchildren. A quarter-century of special needs students, all of whom I consider “mine,” plus the teens in my church youth group. Not to mention a dog and a cat, whom I consider my family.

On Saturdays, I lead a homeless outreach in Boulder, Colorado—we provide a safe place off the streets and out of the weather, along with a Christian message and music, a high-quality hot meal (our cook is a homeless chef), and fellowship. Over the months, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the regular guests.

Dave is young, with curly hair and sparkling eyes. We chatted chat idly about the menu, and one day he and his girlfriend started volunteering to help man the appetizer table or call names from the clothing distribution list.

Then he said, “You remind me of my grandma! Do you want to do that cheek thing?”

“Uh …”

“Grandma always did it! I hated it! Do you want to?”

“I can if you want me to …”

He turned his cheek to me, and I poked it as if making a dimple.

“No! Not like that! You should pinch the cheek! I hate it!” he told me, grinning.

So I gently pinched a fold of his cheek, commenting, “My grandma used to spit on her handkerchief to wash my face.”

“Yeah, that’s gross!”

About half an hour later, he was back, turning his head so his cheek was reachable.

“Wanna do it again?”

So I pinched his cheek again, a bit baffled by the whole exchange.

“Hey, Bianca! This here’s my new grandma!” he called.

“Hi, Grandma!” she responded happily.

We played this game for several weeks. Occasionally I would use both hands, one for each cheek.

“Oh, Grandma! You’re so funny!”

After a few weeks when I didn’t see them (the homeless population is pretty mobile, especially when the weather is fine), Bianca showed up again, alone.

“David’s in jail,” she told me. “He wants his grandma to come visit him.”

O—kay … I suppose that’s in the range of grandma responsibilities … but if this grandma-thing is going to be a real relationship, then I must also have the privilege and responsibility of praying for David and Bianca, keeping track of them after our outreach closes for the summer, and bringing them something fun from my next trip in the RV.

I know my granny loved me … maybe I can pass some of that love on to Bianca and David!

 ~ ~ ~

RV Tourist by Elsi Dodge

RV Tourist by Elsi Dodge

Elsi Dodge contributed the story “Let them Come” to Grandparenting Through Obstacles. She drives a 30-foot RV in her travels with a beagle and a cat for companions. She is the author of RV Tourist: Tips, Tools, and Stories, a handy guide for those wishing to travel by RV as well as entertaining stories from her own travels. Learn more on her web site at http://www.rvtourist.com/rvtourist.php.