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!

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!

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!

Thursday Interview: Christina Carmichael

Welcome, and thanks for joining us for another installment of our Thursday interview series. Today we are talking with Christina Carmichael (not her real name), who wrote the story “Won by Love” in our book’s section on The Challenge of Non-Traditional Families. In Christina’s story, her challenge is to win the heart of her twenty-year-old, soon-to-be step-granddaughter. This step-granddaugher, Shannon, was quite rebellious and often out of control. But Christina showed how, through godly patience and love, even the hardest of hearts can be won over.

Here’s Christina to share her story:

GTO: Christina, why did you choose to share the story that you did for Grandparenting Through Obstacles?

Christina: These days, between deaths and divorces, there are many people who remarry. The new wife often becomes a grandmother for the first time–or maybe second or third. She needs to know that she is not alone in the trials–as well as the joys–that this new family will bring.

GTO: And that really is the basis for all of the stories in our book: to encourage other grandparents that they are not alone; there are many people just like them going through the very things that they are experiencing.

Not only do grandparents face challenges, but the grandchildren do as well. What advice would you offer for how grandparents can help their grandkids overcome their own challenges?

Christina: I would say to always listen to what your grandchildren tell you. When they ask you to keep a secret, do so, and let them know that you can be trusted.

GTO: That’s a really good point, especially for step-grandchildren, because often they have been hurt and need to rebuild trust in others.

Christina, you were so patient and persistent in expressing love to Shannon. What can you tell our readers to encourage them not to give up on their kids or grandkids, no matter how bad their situation may appear.

Christina: My best advice is to pray for them every single day, and to just keep on loving them, no matter how difficult this may become.

GTO: Prayer can certainly soften hearts and knock down walls! What have you learned about how grandparents can become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandkids?

Christina: I think simply to look for ways to share how God has worked in your own life–not only as an adult, but also in your younger years.

GTO: God does tell us that we overcome through the word of our testimony. I agree that when others see what God has done for us, it can give us hope and encouragement that He will do the same for them. Christina, what do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Christina: Most of all, I hope that they remember how I loved each one of them and prayed for them every day.

GTO: Those are definitely good things to remember!

Thank you, Christina, for joining us today. I’m sure you have helped quite a few people who may be going through their own challenges with grandkids right now. If any of you have struggled with blended family relationships, drop us a line and let us know how God has helped you through your tough times.

Thursday Interview: Contributor Paula Freeman

Paula Freeman is the founder and executive director of Hope’s Promise, and adoption and orphan care ministry. She shared her story “Long Journey Home” in part 3 of Grandparenting Through Obstacles, which addresses “The Challenge of Non-Traditional Families.”

GTO:  Paula, thank you for sharing your difficult but important story about your daughter who was in an abusive relationship. Why did you decide to share that story in our book?

Paula:  I chose to share this story because it introduced additional grandparenting twists I believe others will relate to: having an adult child and grandchild move back home, and adoptive parenthood and grandparenthood.

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

Paula:  Being a grandparent is relational, not biological; three of my grandchildren are not biologically related to me. God continues to write His story in me through my grandchildren.

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

Paula:  I returned home this afternoon from Kansas City where I spent a week helping out with a new grand-baby. My daughter and her husband adopted their first child nine months ago. They now have two beautiful (one Caucasian and one African-American) daughters who joined their family through adoption and are nine months apart in age. Now in her mid thirties, my daughter was raised with three sisters, two adopted from India and one from Cambodia (in addition to three biological brothers). Our family photo looks like the United Nations. It’s beautiful, diverse and filled with stories of God’s grace and goodness. What a privilege to begin this grandparenting journey yet again.

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?

Paula:  Wow! What a great question. I would tell them to put their hope in Christ, not in other people, jobs, circumstances or programs. God’s arm is not too short to rescue. Keep praying, but don’t stop your own life. Lean in to God’s grace then invite others to join you.  You can still be okay even if they are not.

GTO:  What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values to their grandchildren?

Paula:  Pray for opportunities then pay attention! These will probably come in unpredictable ways. Cultivate your relationship with Christ, enjoy your life and grab every opportunity you can to do something to let them know you love them, delight in them and are on their team.

GTO:  If you could give yourself a grandma nickname to represent your relationship with your grandkids, what would it be and why?

Paula:  Mimi…because that is what THEY have chosen to call me. It is free from titles and other relational expectations. It is theirs.

GTO:  Thank you, Paula, for sharing your wonderful story in the book and your thoughts here. You have such an amazing family. We’re grateful that you shared them with us and helped us learn from them and from you.

Thursday Interview: Barbara Ann Baranowski Part 2

Welcome back to another installment of Thursday Interviews and Part 2 of our discussion with GTO contributor Barbara Ann Baranowski. We still have quite a bit to talk about with Barbara, so let’s dive in!

Here’s a picture of Barbara and her family at a recent Nana Camp:

GTO: Barbara, we know some time has passed since you first submitted your story to us. Can you give us an update on recent developments with your grandchildren since writing your story?

Barbara: Well, my husband and I are in the midst of planning our eighth camp experience for our grandchildren.  We now have a new grandchild to add to the faith camping experience–making five.  Our theme this year is “Living the Truth.”  Our older grandchildren will have a part in instructing out youngest in what they have learned from past lessons.  We are planning a trip to Philadelphia to study the symbols of freedom, with reminders that Jesus has made us truly free when we accept Him as our Savior.  All of our grandchildren, with the exception of the two-year-old have accepted Jesus as their Savior.

GTO: That’s certainly a testimony to God’s power through grandparenting! Now, tell us what’s happened in your life since writing your story—any new developments or fun adventures?

Barbara: I always tell our grandchildren that life itself, in the Lord, is a grand adventure.  We have traveled together to places such as Pidgeon Forge, Tennessee (Dollywood), and Williamsburg–Jamestown, Virginia. In historic places I explain to the children the importance of celebrating our country’s founding through God’s plan for America.

GTO:  It’s obvious that you have a passion for this country, the freedoms it offers, and how that relates to the freedoms God has given us.  The prospect of protecting our freedoms is definitely a big challenge that we face today as a nation. What do you think is perhaps the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Barbara: As a retired teacher, mother, and grandparent, I feel that one of the greatest challenges children face is to feel loved and to understand they have a purpose for being here.  So many children are aimless and without goals in life–thus the dependence on drugs and other “highs.”   Teaching them that God loves them and knows exactly why they were created (and will reveal it to them over time through prayer) gives them meaning and purpose to life.  Showing them His love brings them to the ultimate “high” of knowing God and serving Him with a future, a purpose, and a hope.

GTO: Now that you’ve invested so much in your grandkids, what do you hope they’ll most remember about you when you’re gone?

Barbara: I hope my grandchildren will remember that I loved God, accepted His salvation for my sins through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, and that  serving Him and sharing Him with them and others is my greatest joy.  I hope also that they will remember that my eternity is wonderful and secure because I am with Him forever.  I truly want them to remember Jesus when they think of me.  Of myself I am nothing, but through Him and His love, I can be what He has created me to be.  I want them to know that about themselves as well.

GTO: I think that says it all. I believe those words are shared by the hearts of grandparents everywhere who are trying to influence their grandchildren for Christ.

Barbara, thank you again for sharing your story and your heart with us! And, readers, thank you for sharing your time with us. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Barbara.

Thursday Interview: Contributor Rhonda Rivers – Part 2

Last week we talked with Rhonda Rivers, who contributed the story “Worth the Wait” to the Grandparenting Through Obstacles book. Today we continue our conversation.

GTO:  Rhonda, how have you grown in the Lord through the challenges you’ve faced in trying to teach your grandchildren your Christian faith?

Rhonda:  In trying to reach my grandchild for Jesus, I found He taught me some valuable lessons. First of all, I am not the parent and my grandchild has good parents, even though at the time they were not going to church. Could I force them to take him to Sunday school? Of course not, but I prayed about it constantly. Could I make them go to church? I could pray about it and perhaps make a suggestion once in a while. Other than that, I was powerless. God taught me patience and trust. Because I was not in a position to take him with me to church, I had to trust the Lord to answer my prayers. In the meantime I learned to be joyful in the waiting and expectation of answered prayer.

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

Rhonda:  No matter how bad the situation might look, I would encourage grandparents to be like the persistent widow. Keep praying and ask God to show you how to recognize opportunities to share your faith. Trust the Lord that He is at work all around them and never stop praying for their salvation. I have prayed for many years before some of my relatives found the Lord.

GTO:  What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values to their grandchildren?

Rhonda:  Imparting spiritual truths and values to our grandchildren takes planning. If you are blessed to have time with the child, plan activities around Bible stories. Make a necklace with the colors representing the plan of salvation, which tells the whole story—from the fall to the cross. Color pictures from Bible story coloring books and tell them the story as they color with you. Teach them the Intsy Weentsy Spider and tell them how God made the sun, rain and the spider. Apply Scripture and God to any activity: taking a walk, playing games and always praying over meals. Let them see your faith and always tell them that you are the way you are because of a God that is greater than anybody and that the same God loves them. Let them see your gratitude for God in your life.

GTO:  If you could give yourself a grandma nickname to represent your relationship with your grandkids, what would it be and why?

Rhonda:  If I could give myself a grandma nickname to represent my relationship with my grandkids it would be Hannah. She had such a desire for children and after much praying, God granted her wish. Because of her deep gratitude she gave the child back to the Lord for His service. I had such a desire for grandchildren for so many years that my gratitude reached to the heavens when he was born. I know my grandson belongs to the Lord and it excites me to think of how the Lord is going to use him in the future.

GTO:  What do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Rhonda:  I hope my grandkids will remember me as the grandma who loved them and loved the Lord. I hope they remember me as one who read the Scriptures for wisdom and sang the hymns about my Lord and Savior. I hope they remember me as the woman who went to church and the woman who told them stories about Jesus.

GTO:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Rhonda:  The world can be a scary place, especially when we consider the obstacles they will face in the future. One time my son said, “Why would I want to bring a child into such a world of turmoil?” My response was that as Christians, we need to train up a child in the way of the Lord to fight the good fight when we draw near to Jesus’ return. Our grandchildren will be the ones the lost go to when there is no one who understands what truth is or where to find God.

GTO:  Amen, Rhonda. Those are beautiful and powerful thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing them and for encouraging us all. My God bless you and your entire family, and you, too, who are reading this.