Thursday Interview: Contributor Annalee Davis – Part 1

Annalee Davis is an ordained minister, conference and retreat speaker, author, harpist and adjunct professor. Her story in Grandparenting Through Obstacles is “Liking Skyping.” It appears in Part 2 of the book: “The Challenge of Long-Distance Relationships.”

We will be visiting with Annalee both today and next Thursday, September 13th.

GTO:  Annalee, why did you decide to share your story about Skyping in our book?

Annalee:  I decided to share my story about Skyping because I know that I’m not the only grandparent who is separated from her grandchildren. I wanted to give hope to those who know the pain of that separation by sharing my experience and how available technology has helped to ease the pain.

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

Annalee:  I’m hoping readers will see that God knows our pain and is able to provide resources to help us in our times of need. He often uses other people to inform us and guide us. My friend informed me about Skyping and my brother gave me the gift of a webcam so I could visit with my granddaughters while away from them.

GTO:  What a great idea for a gift! With National Grandparents Day coming up this Sunda, September 9th, anyone looking for a gift for Grandparent’s Day could help the grandparent in their lives get Skype working on his or her computer, and/or give them a web camera for the computer or possibly other equipment to bridge any long-distance gap between grandparents and grandchildren.

Annalee, can you give us an update on recent developments with your grandchildren since writing your story?

Annalee:  My granddaughters and I still Skype, however we’ve expanded the scope of our visits. Last Christmas we Skyped while we opened gifts. My son and his family had visited with us during Thanksgiving. Knowing that we would be apart for the Christmas holiday, we took the opportunity to Skype on Christmas morning. It was fun to see each other react to the gifts we’d received and to hear, “ Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa.”

Also, during February of this year, my extended family hosted a “game night.” Many of us gathered at the home of my other son who lives here in New Jersey. To start our evening, we Skyped with the granddaughters in Maine so others in the family could visit with them.  They felt included in our family fun. They saw their nine-month-old cousin, my only grandson. Their great-grandmother especially enjoyed the visit. She had undergone open heart surgery and they were delighted to visit with each other. As in the case of their grandfather, my granddaughters saw that their prayers for healing for their great-grandmother had been answered.

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

Annalee:  Since writing my story, I’ve started a blog at www.annaleedavis.blogspot.com. I’ve posted a few of my experiences from a mission trip to Nicaragua that I took in March. It was a challenge and a great blessing to join with other believers and evangelize the mountain villages of Cuajiniquil. I was the oldest person on the trip! I’ve shared some of my experiences over the phone with my granddaughters. I plan to visit with them this summer and show pictures of my adventure, reinforcing the importance of taking Jesus’ command to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

I’ve recently been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride. In it I share the story of how my husband and I met and got married. The piece is titled “Un Bel Di” (One Fine Day).

GTO:  Congratulations on another publication, Annalee! I’ll hope to read that one.

Annalee has so much good information to share that we are going to continue our visit with her next week. Please stop back by next Thursday for the rest of this interview with Rev. Annalee Davis.

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Thursday Interview: Susan Lawrence

Welcome back to another Thursday interview post. Today we’d like to introduce Susan Lawrence, author of the story “Jesus House.” We hope you enjoy learning a little about her.

Susan with her grandkids

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

Susan:  My grandkids think of me as the grandma who does things with them: picnics, hikes, bike rides, and field trips to the zoo or the science center. Wherever we go, whatever we do, our faith is a part of the day. It may be a prayer before our picnic, a spiritual discussion in the car, or a bedtime Bible story.

GTO:  So, like we’ve talked about on this blog so many times before–making the most of every opportunity. What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandchildren?

Susan:  I feel a sense of urgency like I have never felt before. None of us knows how much time we have left, or how much time the world has left. The time to impart our faith is now. Our children, grandchildren, and the world are in desperate need of it.

GTO: This is so true, Susan. And the reason we wrote this book is to help grandparents do just that in spite of the obstacles they’re facing. What would you say is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Susan:  I believe the greatest challenge our children face is defending their faith in a culture of an “anything goes” society. Grandparents can help by answering their grandchildren’s questions with answers based on Scripture (even if they have to say, “I need to look that one up myself!”). When talking about current issues in the news, respond with what the Bible says about it. And, most important of all, grandparents need to model their faith, how they live it, and how they share it with others.

GTO:  That’s great advice. What might you tell our readers to encourage them to not give up on their kids or grandkids when they’re going through such challenging times?

Susan:  First Corinthians 13:7 tells us that “love always hopes.” I have clung to that verse in the lack of anything substantial, to offer hope, knowing that God is the Almighty God, in control of all that happens here on earth, and loving and merciful toward our children and grandchildren far more we can even imagine.

GTO:  That even encourages me right now! In looking at the specific story you shared with us, what are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from it?

Susan:  My hope is that other grandparents will be encouraged to share their faith with their grandchildren whenever and however they can, knowing that no matter what the circumstances, their influence on their grandchildren will be a positive, life-building experience.

GTO: And finally, what do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Susan:  I want them to remember that I loved them, laughed with them, and learned with them. And I want them to always, always know I prayed for them.

Thank you, Susan, for spending time with us today. I know your story will be an encouragement to everyone who reads it. If you’d like to learn more about Susan, please visit her at www.SusanRLawrence.com.

Don’t forget, Grandparenting Through Obstacles is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and digital versions. Order your copy today!

Thursday Interview: Contributor Elsi Dodge

 

Elsi Dodge has written her own books, including RV Tourist: Tips, Tools, and Stories and stacles, Elsi wrote the story of Anne Agovino. Recently, Elsi visited with us a bit.

GTO:   Why did you decide to share the story that you did in our book?

Elsi:  My own grandmother (Mother’s mother) was such an important part of my life, and I continually find myself in awe of my friend Anne’s grandparenting. With grandchildren of varying ages, both blood and by love, all wanting attention from Anne and Frank, they have developed wonderful ways of touching each child individually.

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

Elsi: That there are no limits, no walls, no required structure for sharing love and faith with children.

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

Elsi: I’m a teacher (public school, private school, tutor, Sunday school). Children today crave stability—the surety that someone who loves them will continue to love them, no matter what. The certainty that love and family, and the Lord, will “never leave nor forsake” them. Parents divorce; families move to other places; life has a hectic pace. Grandparents—especially through technology such as Skype—can be a stable and comforting presence through life’s vicissitudes. Regular contact, little traditions, cards and notes through snail mail, emailed photos, photo memory books, stories about “when your dad was your age,” stories about “when you were little”—kids need these! (Hey, we all do!)

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?

Elsi:  God doesn’t give up on us! You can keep loving, keep acting in agape love, keep praying. Look at David—murderer, adulterer … yet a man after God’s own heart.

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

Elsi:  If you don’t, who will? Teach it, preach it, walk it, live it, share it, discuss it, never act shocked or rejecting, model God’s love in all you do.

GTO:   Didn’t you recently take a trip to Israel? Tell us about that.

Elsi: I visited Israel this spring with a group from church. It was never even on a wish list, but the Lord put it together for me, and it was a life-changing experience (cliché, but absolutely true!). In an old photo album, I found a picture of Granny in 1964 on the Mount of Olives, in a skirt and elbow-length gloves (of all things!). Since I just turned 65 and therefore inherited the principal of her estate, she paid for my trip. I asked the tour guide to take my picture in the same place, to build continuity for me. Nobody could have planned for that connection, but it’s a solid one.

My point? You never know what will make a lasting impression on your grandchildren. Enjoy them!

GTO:  What an awesome story, Elsi. Thank you for sharing it. I appreciate how you share the stories of your life.

And thank you stopping by today.  I know I’ll look forward to reading more of your stories about your travels and your life.

Thursday Interview with Grandparenting Through Obstacles book contributor Elaine Burbridge

Elaine Burbridge is a writer in Richardson, Texas. She faces both parenting and grandparenting challenges in that her daughter is not currently walking with God. But Elaine is playing “A Divine Role in God’s Theater,” which is the title of her story in Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ.

Unfortunately, Elaine’s story in not unique. Many grandparents face similar challenges. But Elaine has made an impact on her grandchildren, even through those challenges by being intentional about her grandparenting. Here she shares some insights.

GTO:   Hello Elaine. Thanks for stopping by today! Tell us, what are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from your story?

Elaine:   Never give up asking the Holy Spirit to minister to loved ones. He does answer in a mighty way.

GTO:   Well that sounds like you’ve experienced some answered prayer! Please give us an update on any developments with your grandchildren since writing your story.

 Elaine:  I witnessed my grandchildren’s baptism. Yeah!

 GTO:   Oh my! That is terrific. And actually, that is the very fruit we are hoping to see. That fruit, the spiritual fruit of seeing grandchildren come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (of which baptism is a sign), is what it’s all about. So thank you so much for sharing such good news.

          Surely you had something to do with your grandchildren’s decisions. In what ways do you believe God has used you in affecting your grandkids and influencing them toward Him?

 Elaine:  By showing His love – hugging, kissing and caring for them. Also, in testifying that Jesus is my Savior and He died for all of our sins. And of course encouraging them to live for Him too.

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

Elaine:   There are too many worldly turn-on’s which consistently grab their attention. Here are some ways to intentionally counteract the world:

  1. Take them to church (and lunch for fellowship) as well as Christian-based activities (camp, choral groups, etc.).
  2. Introduce the real Bible text into their daily lives, even via Internet connections.
  3. Take a specific time to pray with them (kneeling is important), considering their needs and desires.

GTO:   You shared some very significant challenges you faced in your story in the book. How have you grown in the Lord through the challenges you’ve faced in trying to reach your grandchildren?

Elaine:   I’m better at studying His Word and praying. I’ve learned to depend more on His promises. I’m reaching out to others more – no longer afraid to witness.

 GTO:   That is awesome, Elaine. Not being afraid to witness for Him is an area God has been working on in me, too. Let me ask you what advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values to their     grandchildren?

Elaine:   Take time to converse and read with them. Young minds are so open to absorbing what grandparents have to say. They will listen and ask questions – be prepared to answer.

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

Elaine:   That with all of my heart, I loved them and Jesus. And, I loved to take them catfishing too!

GTO:   Awesome answer! A catfishing grandma! I’ve been trout fishing, but not catfishing. I really must try that.

Thanks Elaine so much for spending time with us today. We’re also grateful you shared your story in our Grandparenting Through Obstacles book.

The pre-publication special price is still running, but time is running out because the publication date, August 17th, is approaching quickly. How exciting is that! Get the Pre-Publication price today!

Thursday Interview with Contributor Grace Hewson

Welcome back to our Thursday interview sessions. This week we’re talking with Grace Hewson, author of the  “Full Armor of God” story, which appears in Part 3 of Grandparenting Through Obstacles. This section of our book deals with the challenges of grandparenting in a non-traditional family. This could mean a blended family, a family with only a single parent, or even a family where the grandparent has to assume the role of parent.

In this story, Grace’s grandson, Bobby, is dealing with some anger issues. Since he loves to pretend that he’s a swashbuckling hero, Grace uses that interest to teach him about donning the full armor of God and wielding God’s Word as a sword.

Let’s talk to Grace and get some insight into the story behind her story!

GTO: Grace, why did you decide to share the story you did in Grandparenting Through Obstacles?

Grace: When I wrote this story, I felt crushed in spirit and had to fight to keep my head above water.  Writing about the pain of separation helped me cope with all the changes we were facing.  Although I was angry and confused over my daughter, Celina’s, personality change and the effect it was having on Bobby, I knew our family had to stand up to this crisis in faith.  My husband and I did a lot of praying and deliberately stayed focused on a positive outcome.

GTO: That must’ve been really difficult to stay positive during that time. What are you hoping that our readers can learn from your experience going through this?

Grace:  I’m hoping that my story will help other believers realize they are not alone. Many Christians are struggling with issues in their homes that were unheard of a decade ago.  Rebellion takes on many forms and has no age limit.

GTO: That really is a good point. Since you brought up rebellion, we all know there are so many things that can cause this in a child–no matter how old the child! What would you say is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help with this challenge?

Grace:  I believe moral decline, across the board, has accelerated and become the “new norm” in our society.  Unless Christian families take a radical stand and speak up for our beliefs, the world and its false views will shape the hearts and minds of our children and future generations.

GTO: Yes, that really is the foundational root of all the challenges we see. It’s the godlessness that has crept in and taken over our society in so many ways. It can get overwhelming for Christians, especially those who are trying to parent or grandparent according to God’s ways. Hopefully your situation has changed for the better since writing your story. Can you give us an update on any recent developments with your grandson?

Grace: Well, about six months ago, our renegade daughter came home.  She is currently looking for work in the medical field, and has left the bright city lights behind.  Last Sunday she came to church with us.  Bobby feels secure and now loves every moment he spends with his mommy.  Thank You, Jesus!

GTO: Indeed! That is awesome, Grace. We’re so happy that your story has a happy ending. It’s all because you became intentional regarding prayer and getting involved in Bobby’s life. What a great testimony!

We hope that stories like Grace’s will provide you with encouragement and perseverance as you navigate the challenges of being a Christian grandparent in today’s world. We want to remind you to please “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you can join in our discussion of grandparenting through obstacles!

www.Facebook.com/GrandparentingThruObstacles

Twitter@GParentObstacle

Thursday Interview with contributor Lynn Leissler – Part 2

Last week we talked with Lynn Leissler, author of the story “Are All the Grown-Ups Thirsty?” in the new book releasing in August, Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Lynn had so much to share we’re continuing this week.

GTO: Lynn, tell us, what do you think is the greatest challenge faced by children today? And how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Lynn: I see several, but the greatest is the lack of firm moorings. Sadly, in our culture we are more concerned with hurting their feelings than in molding their souls. A spiritual foundation is absent in so many homes. So when children hear conflicting messages, it’s easy to fall prey to untruth, peer pressure, fads, or their hormones. Also, parents are insanely busy and the kids get less focused attention.

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?

Lynn: I once read this quote: “Never give up on anyone…or believe that they are beyond help or hope…no matter how cold, negative, destructive, or unloving they may be. Who is to say that which is barren today will not be fruitful next year?” –Or the year after that. We as grandparents never know what tiny thing will touch our kids’ or grandkids’ hearts. My daughter, who doesn’t stay in contact, called on her birthday. She didn’t ask for anything, but just wanted to hear Mom’s voice, to connect. I praise God for that tiny good thing. We tend to desire momentous events, but often it’s a passing kindness, a casual word that embeds in another person’s heart and soul.

GTO: That’s beautiful, Lynn. What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values to their grandchildren?

Lynn: It depends on whether their parents are hostile or open. Either way, Jesus’ method is quite efficient. Parable teaching. For little ones who smell a daffodil, you might say something like, “Boy, God sure likes yellow, doesn’t He!” You can always respond to their questions and comments with, “I’ll pray…” or “I did pray.”

If their parents are hostile, don’t push, or you’ll gain an enemy. Instead, pray like crazy for openings from your grandkids. And when those openings come, shoot up an SOS prayer for wisdom. Walk softly with your response, for you don’t want to come across as putting down the parents. And watch for God’s opportunities and surprises!

 GTO: Wonderful advice, Lynn! Thank you for sharing your insights with us. May God bless you, your children, and your grandchildren.

Please come back next week for another Thursday Interview with another contributor to the book, Grace Hewson. We’ll look forward to hearing what Grace has to say.

In the mean time, will you please let the grandparents in your circles know about this blog? Or Share this page’s link on Facebook and Twitter.

Please Like our Facebook page at Facebook.com: GrandparentingThruObstacles.

Also, you can Follow us on Twitter: @GParentObstacle.

Thursday Interview with contributor Lynn Leissler – Part 1

Last week we talked with Abigail Paul about the importance of “small moments” in the lives of grandchildren. This week we’re talking with Lynn Leissler, author of the story “Are All the Grown-Ups Thirsty?” in the new book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles, due out next month. That was the question she Lynn’s four-year-old granddaughter, Renee, asked when she saw the communion cups passed at church one Sunday morning! It turned into a wonderful teachable moment for Lynn and her granddaughter.

Lynn has so much to share with us that we’re going to feature her next week, too. Let’s get started.

GTO: Welcome to the Grandparenting Through Obstacles blog, Lynn. We’re excited to have you with us today and next Thursday. Tell us, why did you decide to share the story that you did in our book?

Lynn: Things in my granddaughter Renee’s life were in total upheaval, and what happened gave me hope for her and for me. What happened showed that in spite of her early life, she has a good mind. Plus, it was so cute that like any grandmother, I wanted to share the story.

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

Lynn: All events, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are teachable moments—on a grand scale or mustard seed size. Be there! Be available, even when it isn’t convenient! Grandkids count more than a clean house. Celebrate the triumphs, commiserate in the sorrows.

GTO: Awesome advice, Lynn. Tell us, in what ways do you believe God has used you most in ministering to your grandkids?

Lynn: God isn’t a significant part of any of my children’s lives—from a son who is a declared atheist, to Renee’s parents (father and girlfriend) who are quite casual when it comes to spiritual matters. I take Renee to church and we talk about God. And I believe she sees me as a safe zone. I could have hosted visitations with her mother (my daughter) here at my home, but chose not to.

I want my home to be a place of refuge where Renee and I have our special rituals, learn to bake, and she gets a ton of love and attention. Also, since her father isn’t with her mother, they don’t talk much about her mom. At Nana’s, she can talk about her mom and ask questions. I tell her stories and show her the photo albums. For no matter how horrific her mom’s life is at this moment, she is Renee’s mommy.

For the other grandkids, there have been tough times and I keep showing up, loving and playing. That counts!

GTO: You bet that counts, Lynn. You have a lot of challenges in your family to meet in order to influence your grandchildren for Jesus Christ. Thanks for sharing how you’re doing that and giving other ideas and encouragement to do the same.

We’ll talk more with Lynn next week on Thursday. Until then, look for those special, teachable moments in your own grandchildren’s (or children’s!) lives. Then take the opportunity to talk to them about Jesus.

Thursday Interview with contributor Abigail Paul

Today we have our second interview with a contributor to the coming book for Christian grandparents, Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Abigail Paul’s story is especially unique in our book because it is the one story that is told from the point of view of the grandchild, rather than the grandparent.

Please enjoy Abigail Paul’s interview and insights today.

GTO: Abigail, what are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from the story you shared about your grandmother?

Abigail: We have to face the reality that life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to turn out, but we also have the gift of communion with God. My grandmother taught me to keep praying, making prayer a natural, minute-by-minute experience. Developing that relationship with God, learning to depend on Him in good times and bad is paramount.

GTO: What lessons or spiritual habits do you most want to pass on to your own grandchildren one day?

Abigail: Walking daily with God as Lord, Friend, and Confidant. Too often we think Christianity means going to church or following a set of rules, but it’s actually a genuine relationship with our Creator. Jesus is as close as our very breath. I hope they can tell by my life, as I could by my grandmother’s, that talking with Him is a natural part of their day.

GTO: What do you think is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and what role do you see in grandparents helping them with this challenge?

Abigail: It’s easy to see how our world has spun out of control. More children than ever are raised by a single parent, a grandparent, or someone else. Even in two-parent homes there is often a lot of turmoil. Kids need to know they are precious. If we can point them to their Heavenly Father for their identity, so much will fall in place for them.

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?

Abigail: We need eternal perspective. God doesn’t just see today, He sees forever—past and present. He is a God who desires reconciliation with His creation. Our prayers for our kids and grandkids are prayers He delights in honoring.

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

Abigail: Little ones are always watching us. When they feel loved, safe, and important with us, they pay attention to the things that help shape who we are. Sharing Christ with them isn’t about a daily Bible lesson as much as living out our faith in our every day moments—praying not only before meals or at bedtime, but when there is a hurt or a joy. Sharing our faith can be as natural as saying, “Wow, God! Thank you for that beautiful rose!” in front of our grandkids, or praying for them when they are sad.

GTO: Is there anything else you’d like to add that wasn’t asked already?

Abigail: Taking time to listen to grandkids is so important. When they feel understood they are more likely to hear those things we long to teach them.

GTO: Thank you, Abigail, for sharing your insights today, and for sharing your story in Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ.

Next week we’re looking forward to interviewing another one of the book’s contributors, Lynn Leissler. Please join us then!

Thursday Interview with Peggy Cunningham-Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of our interview with Grandparenting through Obstacle’s contributor, Peggy Cunningham. Peggy wrote the story called “I Like Jesus!” in our section on the challenge of long-distance grandparenting.

In Part 1 of our interview with Peggy, she shared with us why she chose to write the story she did and how she hopes it will help others along their grandparenting journey. Today we’re going to continue our discussion with her and learn how God has helped her grow in Him throughout her grandparenting experiences.

GTO: Peggy, how have you grown in the Lord through the challenges you faced in trying to reach your grandchildren?

Peggy: Patience and creativity have changed my frustration into a peaceful acceptance of where I am in my life and where my kids are in their lives. I can rest in the Lord knowing I am doing what He wants me to do for Him, and at the same time He will give me the desires of my heart. My desire is to have a loving and lasting relationship with my grandkids, one that will show them Christ, regardless of the challenges.

Recently, God gave me an idea that maybe others could try. When I couldn’t connect as much with the kids and grandkids because of the hectic schedules we all have, I looked to the Lord for other ways to say I love you and miss you. I am now sending a package about once a month to the grandkids. I put in little things from Bolivia–Spanish books, inexpensive jewelry for the girls, and Spanish song CDs.

Three of my grandkids speak Spanish because they were in a bi-lingual school for a few years. My daughter is fluent because she grew up on the mission field, and she wanted her kids to learn Spanish. We practice Spanish with them on the phone and through letters–another connection.  When the grandkids open a package from far away, they know someone in Bolivia loves them. I am learning to be content in all situations, and trust God to work in my grandkids’ lives.

GTO: Your care packages definitely sound like a God idea! I bet your grandkids just love seeing your boxes come in the mail! Peggy, what do you hope your grandkids will remember most about you when you’ve gone to be with the Lord?

Peggy: Well, in a way, I am gone. Maybe I’m not gone from this earth, but I am gone from their physical lives. Each time we say goodbye to our grandkids, it is the hardest moment of our time at home, or on the field. I wonder if they’ll forget who we are, or worse yet, they’ll think we forgot them. We always tell them we won’t forget them, and we love them.

I hope they remember that we loved them, missed them not being in our lives every day, and always thought of them. Hopefully, I planted seeds so they will always remember their grandparents and want to follow God as we did, and love Him with all their hearts.

GTO: I know God will bless all that you’ve put into their lives and cause much fruit to come of it. Thank you so much for spending some time with us on our blog today. We wish you all the best with your family and your life in Bolivia!

And, thank you for joining us again. To keep up with Peggy please visit her blog at: www.peggyspostings.blogspot.com or check out her ministry at www.rumirancho.com.

Next week for our Thursday interview, we’ll be speaking with contributor Abigail Paul, who wrote about special memories of her own grandmother who helped shape her life for Christ. Please join us then!

Thursday Interview with Peggy Cunningham-Part 1

Welcome to the first of many interviews with our book’s contributors. We’ve titled these conversations our “Thursday Interviews,” as we will be posting them every Thursday from now until around the end of the year. To kick off our Thursday interviews, we’d like to introduce Peggy Cunningham.

Peggy is a grandma who has spent many years of her life on the mission fields of Bolivia. Although she knows that God has called her and her husband to the Bolivian people, she greatly misses seeing her grandchildren back in America. Peggy’s story, called “I Like Jesus!”  is one of five stories in Grandparenting through Obstacles that discuss the challenge of having a long-distance relationship with your grandchildren.

Let’s hear a little about Peggy’s story…

GTO: Peggy, why did you decide to share the story that you did for our book?

Peggy:  When I heard the book was about overcoming obstacles of grandparenting, I thought sharing my situation might help others who share the obstacle of distance with their grandchild. I know how hard it is to be far away and not feel you are contributing to their everyday lives—and their spiritual lives. It is something I’ve struggled with since our first grandchild was born.

We were there for his birth, but three weeks later we returned to our missionary work in Bolivia, South America. I desperately wanted to have a part in his life, but didn’t know how that would ever happen. Of course, we had pictures, but there was no way to bond. As he got older, Internet became a possibility and also Vonage phone availability. Still, I searched for more ways to bond with our grandson.

Our granddaughter was born two years later.  When the children were three and five, our daughter came to Bolivia for two months with the kids. After that much quality time with them, they knew us as Grammie and Grampie and connected with our place of ministry. When they left that summer, God led me to write books for them about the animals we have on our property.

I included biblical principles so I was also teaching them about God. It was my first attempt to write. God gave me a new ministry, not only for my grandkids, but other kids and adults too. Since then, writing for my grandkids is my way of establishing a legacy for them; a way they will never forget us. Even though we are 6,000 miles away, they know our voice on the phone, they know who we are, and they know we love them because we find ways to connect with them.

No matter the distance or circumstance, God can guide grandparents to connect with their grandkids. We can teach them God’s Word even from a distance. If He can do it for me, He can do it for others.

GTO:  That’s for sure! Sounds like God gave you a wonderful creative way to reach your grandchildren. What do you hope our readers can learn from your experience?

Peggy: I hope they can see that it’s possible to have a real and lasting relationship with their grandkids no matter what the circumstance. God can do all things, even though we think our situation is unique and impossible. Nothing is impossible to Him. I never thought my grandkids would be so close to us, even though we are so far away from them. They know we are close in our hearts.

GTO: I hope your story will encourage many grandparents who live far away from their grandkids. What can you tell our readers to encourage them to not give up on their kids or grandkids no matter how bad the situation might look?

Peggy: Sometimes as grandparents we have to step back. I experience times when my kids are so busy in their lives that they can’t do one more thing. Many times that thing is connecting with us by telephone or emails. Our daughter recently went back to work after 12 years as a stay-at-home mom. Now that she is working, her time is limited and her workload overwhelming, but she loves her job. On top of that, she and her husband moved into a new home.

During this time we weren’t in touch as much. It was hard for me to sit back and give them space to organize their new lives and work through the stress of the new responsibilities. I missed the frequent phone calls and emails, and the nice conversations with my daughter, our son-in-law, and especially the grandkids. That was eight months ago that the changes began, and now it is getting less hectic for them, and we are connecting more once again. Hang in there, I’d say, circumstances change and God is able. At times, we just need to let go and allow God to bring it together.

Thanks, Peggy! I think you’ve given our readers a lot to think about. But I know we’re not finished talking with you yet. Next week, we’ll continue our conversation with Peggy and take a look at how God has helped her grow in Him through her circumstances.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see what Peggy’s up to check out her blog at www.peggyspostings.blogspot.com