Solo Grandparenting and Missing Grandpa – Interview with Author Janet Chester Bly

Author of The Power of a Godly Grandparent and many other books

Author of The Power of a Godly Grandparent and many other books

 Today we have an special interview with author and grandmother Janet Chester Bly.

GTO:  Janet, you and your late husband Stephen wrote The Power of a Godly Grandparent/Leaving a Spiritual Legacy by Stephen & Janet Bly (Beacon Hill). What prompted you to write this book?

JCB: When we first became grandparents, we wanted to be all we could be for those precious little ones. As we looked to other grandparents as role models, we wanted to pass on to others what they were doing right to impact the next generation. Many of the ideas for this book come from not only grandparents, but also parents and grandchildren who contributed their experiences.

GTO:  Please give us an overview of some of the chapters.

JCB:  Chapter 1 “The Power of Seeking God First”

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God … and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33 KJV). Grandchildren are part of the ‘added things’ in our lives – not the first thing. There is one first thing – The kingdom of God. If our grandkids see us put God first, rather than just talk about it, they get the message through us that God is important. When we love them, in spite of the circumstances of his or her birth or anything else out of their control, we show them Jesus.

Chapter 9 “The Power of Sharing Spiritual Truth”

This chapter shares some  dos and don’ts of conveying spiritual values. We advise to make it natural, sincere, and consistent. We talk about dealing with grandchildren who are unresponsive to the Gospel. 

Chapter 13 “The Power of Praying For Your Grandkids”

Make a picture prayer journal for each one. Develop a monthly prayer calendar. Pray for their education. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their careers. Pray for their wisdom. Pray for them in their trials. Pray for their health and safety. Let them know that you pray for them. Ask them for prayer requests. Share with them a prayer request of your own.

GTO:  We know Stephen went home to be with the Lord and you must miss him terribly. How has his home-going affected your grandparenting? What have you done differently or learned to do? How did you help your grandchildren deal with it?

JCB:  My husband passed away on June 9th, 2011 and I’m still learning how to live in my world without him in it. He left a huge hole in our family and we’re trying to get used to not having our leader in so many ways as part of holidays, decisions and the spark for all sorts of activities.

I feel inadequate as a “single grandparent” to be what we were as a couple for them. I can’t toss the little ones up. I can’t build play gyms for their yards. I can’t talk or do sports as well. Lots of things are different. But I discuss their grandpa and what he did when it seems right to do. I show them all the love that I can. I let them know when I’m sure their grandpa would be so proud of them. His and my photo together is in each of their homes and even the little ones mention him sometimes. Even the 4-year-old knows he is in heaven with Jesus.

One of the hard things was selling Grandpa’s pickup, so they no longer had that reminder when I drove up in it. I am so thankful for the books that he wrote, a heritage for them all for many decades to come. I’m making sure they all have copies of every one of them.

GTO:  Any updates on your life, coming books, or projects in process that you’d like to share.

by Stephen Bly (his final book)

by Stephen Bly (his final book)

JCB: My three sons and I finished Stephen’s last novel that he had started, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. Set in 1905 on the Oregon coast, ex-lawman and Arizona rancher searches for his missing U.S. Marshal friend and grapples with the strange game of golf on behalf of a charity celebrity tournament. It’s full of adventure, humor and a bit of romance.

Can a committee write fiction? We had the passion and four months to find out. Completing Dad’s novel became a family affair. You can find the story about the process on the blog at our website: http://www.blybooks.com/

I’m also working on an epistolary novel (a novel in letters) set in the latter 1800s, with the working title, The Passions of Jennifer Ashby.

 GTO:  Thank, Janet, for visiting with us today and for sharing your story. I know it’s going to touch someone out there. Find out more about Janet’s books at these links …

website: http://BlyBooks.com

“On A Western Trail” blog: http://BlyBooks.blogspot.com 

by Stephen and Janet Bly

by Stephen and Janet Bly

Download Kindle Bly Books: http://amzn.to/VFM4r0
Download Ebooks & Estories: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/janetcbly  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janetchesterbly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlyBooks
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/janetcbly/

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Contagious Joy and Faith in Grandparenting by Author Karen Whiting – Guest Post

Karen Whiting, AuthorToday we have a guest blogger. Karen Whiting is the author of many books, a mom, and a grandmother. Thanks for stopping by today, Karen!

I only lived two houses from Grandma Doody. Struggles in learning to knit and do other things with Grandma helped shape my outlook on life. Here’s a familiar scene with grandma, my cousin Cathy, and me:

“Grandma, I messed up again,” Cathy cried. She threw down her knitting needles and half-knitted pillow.

“And I have one too many stitches on my needle.” I wailed.

Grandma said, “Well that’s why we call our club the rip and stitch club where we…

“Do more rippin than stitchin.” Cathy and I completed Grandma’s words.

 “I think it’s time for our tea and biscuits break.” Grandma said.

 “I’ll get the cups and tea.” I said.

Grandma let us set up for tea while she looked at Cathy’s mistake. She had to pull out a few rows of work and put the stitches back on the needles. Then she knitted a row to help Cathy catch back up to where she had been. She helped me too before she sat down for her tea.

Sometimes Grandma found a mistake in her work, but mostly it seemed she pretended to find one, way back near the beginning. She laughed as she ripped back rows and rows of work to help us feel better. Grandpa would come in, it seemed on cue to snitch a biscuit, shake his head, and tease her, “Why I’ll never get a vest to wear. I hope we’ll have a warm winter so I won’t be left freezing. Maybe you should let the girls knit it. They seem to be getting farther along.” We would giggle and after tea return to our work determined to do better so grandma could finish the vest.    

*  *  *  *

My Grandma reminded me of young David in the Bible. David explained to King Saul that “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37). Over tea grandma shared stories of coming through the depression and two wars and how faith and ingenuity sustained her during troubles. I watched grandma care for grandpa as his health failed and he died. I saw her strength and dignity as a widow and her own battle with cancer when she still got us laughing.

Grandma’s contagious joy and faith in God taught me to keep a positive outlook. Persistence in little struggles helped me persist through the writing rejections to many published books, struggle as a military wife when my husband deployed, and cheerfully care for my dying husband.

I love creating things with my grandchildren and patiently help them press on in little things. I love laughing with them, yet also held them close as they cried at the loss of Papa and listen to their problems. I don’t live so near them, but when I am with them I am totally in the moment.

Some of my favorite books I write are inspirational craft books. I hope they become opportunities for grandmothers to talk with grandchildren and instill unshakeable faith in them.

~~~ 

Fun crafts to do with your grandchildren...and more

Fun crafts to do with your grandchildren…and more

Karen’s latest book is My Mini Dream Room

Make cool furniture, curtains, pillows, and decorations to create a mini room fit for any princess. This book is packed with mini-inspirational thoughts to encourage spiritual growth and spark imagination. Plus, girls will find room to journal their tiniest thoughts to supersize faith and fun.

Visit Karen Whitig’s web site today: http://www.karenwhiting.com/

Guest Post – “Touching Eternity” by Lori Wildenberg

SONY DSCToday we have a guest posting her recommendations on how grandparents she sees can and are touching eternity by influencing their grandchildren. Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator and is a co-author, along with Becky Danielson, of Empowered Parents: Putting Faith First (Bridge Logos, 2003). 

Thanks for sending us your practical, inspiring message today, Lori. Here’s Lori’s guest post:

Touching Eternity

By Lori Wildenberg

Parenting for grandparents. What? Yes! Many Nanas and Papas, Grannies and Pappies, Grandmas and Grandpas attend my parenting classes. They are highly invested and involved in their grandkids’ lives. These folks want to brush up on their communication with little kid skills or gain a better understanding of their own children as parents. Attending games, watching recitals, and babysitting are some of the many things today’s grandparents do.  Present day grandmothers or grandfathers are typically a big presence in the young ones’ lives.

But… what if you are one of the many Memas or Granddads separated from your grandkids by miles?

For most of my kids’ growing up years, they have not had the benefit or blessing of having grandparents live close by. But miles don’t change the hearts of the people involved.  

Connection is important to the kids and adults alike.

Of course visits and phone calls make a big impact but many grandparents want to do more. They long to make an eternal difference yet the distance is a huge road block to accomplishing their heart’s desire.

My colleague and friend, Kirk Weaver, of Family Time Training, passed along a great solution to this problem. He told me how, even at a distance, an older person can impact a younger one’s soul.  Letters. Yep. Old fashioned letters–the snail mail type–with a little cash enclosed. The money does come with a stipulation: ten percent must be given away to a cause, a church, or someone in need. More money will come the following month when the child communicates back how the funds were used. 

Think of all the great and meaningful conversations the grandparent and grandchild can have regarding giving, needs, wants, and worthy charities.  They could pray about where the Lord would like the money to go. This deliberate interaction has the potential to adjust a child’s thinking about money and about faith.

Money is a tool to be utilized, entrusted to us by a generous God.

So… long distance grandparents, you can touch your grandchildren’s eternity by getting out those stamps, envelopes, and a little cash. Make a plan to invest in the younger generation’s lives.

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  

1 Timothy 6:10

What ideas do you have for impacting your grandkids future?

Lori Wildenberg, co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting and Licensed Parent and Family Educator, is passionate about coming alongside parents and encouraging them to parent well.  She loves mentoring moms and dads and speaking on the topic of parenting. She is co-author of EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First and co-columnist for the “Parenting Prose” column in Marriage Magazine. Lori lives in Colorado with her husband and four children. Visit http://www.loriwildenberg.com or http://www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com for more information.

Guest Post – “The Christmas Foot” by Peggy J. Cunningham

Peggy J. Cunningham

Peggy J. Cunningham

Today Peggy Cunningham joins us. Peggy write the story “I Like Jesus! in the book Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ. Peggy live with her husband in Bolivia, South America, has written 13 children’s books, and writes for Devokids.com.

Peggy, tell us about your Christmas!

Peggy writes:

This Christmas we were far from our grandchildren––as usual. It’s a long trek from Bolivia to the Untied States. But, we know we are where God wants us, which gives us the peace that passes all understanding. Living thousands of miles away from our family (especially our four precious grandchildren) is the hardest thing we face as missionaries. But, God gives us little sparks of joy when we communicate with them via the Internet, and now, even Vonage phone calls. Of course, pictures are always welcome too.

I record the cute things they say so that one day I’ll have a booklet to give them of all the things they said and did that brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged,” and I felt that crown this Christmas.

I’ve learned to jot those cute quotes down immediately so I will never forget them––easy to do as I embark on the Medicare stage of life. This Christmas I have a priceless one of our four-year-old grandson, Baden.

Yep, this is Baden himself! So cute.

Yep, this is Baden himself! So cute.

My husband and I had a confusing email from our daughter on Christmas morning. It wasn’t until we talked to her a few hours later that we understood the message. Her message said, “Baden yelled up the steps to Ben (his big brother), “Come look at your foot.”

Maybe my sleepy (or senior) brain couldn’t decipher the message, but my husband didn’t understand what she meant either. When our daughter called to wish us a Merry Christmas she mentioned how priceless Baden’s comment was that morning. Maybe priceless, but also confusing, we replied. “You didn’t get it?” she replied.

“Not at all,” we admitted with embarrassment.

Rushing downstairs to see what Santa left under the tree, Baden noticed the Christmas stockings bulging with goodies. Excited, he wanted Ben to hurry to see them also. He yelled up the steps, “Hey Ben, hurry, come see your foot.” Priceless! It is a little gem to remember and certainly worth writing down. Don’t you think? 

Peggy's grandkids' Christmas stockings.

Peggy’s grandkids’ Christmas stockings.

  Thanks, Peggy! That’s wonderful. Thanks for bringing us a fun story and beautiful photos today.

Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck, have served as missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. They have a children’s ministry, teaching practical skills to underprivileged children in rural areas of Bolivia while reaching them for Christ. Peggy is also a freelance writer and contributes to several Christian publications regularly. She is a contributor to Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ. Visit Peggy’s web site at  http://www.peggyjcunningham.com and her blog at http://www.peggyspostings.blogspot.com.

Janet Thompson – Guest Blogger: “5 Ways to Spiritually Nurture Your Grandchildren”

Janet Thompson, author of Lois and Eunice Bible Study

Today we are pleased to have a guest blog post from author and speaker Janet Thompson. Janet is the author of the Face-to-Face Bible study series from New Hope Publishers, including the study Face-to-Face With Lois And Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family, and many other books.

“5 Ways to Spiritually Nurture Your Grandchildren”

by Janet Thompson

The crowd at the Easter Cowboy Breakfast down by the river went silent as my 6-year-old granddaughter Katelyn recited John 3:16. I was the speaker that morning giving the Gospel message of Easter and I had asked Katelyn if she would like to help me—she didn’t hesitate. When she came forward and clearly spoke into the microphone, I was one proud beaming Grammie, as were her parents and siblings sitting in the front row. Later that day, Katelyn asked me what Scripture I was going to ask her to recite next time. That’s my girl!

How I love being a grandmother: it’s as if God saved the best for last. Interestingly, the only woman in the Bible referred to as a “grandmother” is Timothy’s grandmother, Lois. She and her daughter Eunice received accolades from the apostle Paul on their rearing of his protégé and future pastor, young Timothy: “I [Paul] have been reminded of your sincere faith which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). “And from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

As a grandmother of eleven grandchildren who all know about Jesus and some know Jesus as their personal Savior, here’s what I’ve learned from Lois:

  1. Pray for, mentor, and nurture the faith of your adult children—the parents of your grandchildren. I put pictures of my grandchildren in my Bible and look at their sweet faces as I pray for them every day.
  2. Give with a purpose. Choose gifts that introduce grandchildren to Jesus at an early age. Shop at Christian bookstores or online at www.christianbooks.com to find age-appropriate games, books, DVDs, CD’s, and toys. Christmas and Easter are especially good times to give them an age-appropriate Bible.
  3. Look for opportunities to talk to grandchildren about Jesus and His love for them. For example my three-old granddaughter Sienna would only jump into her older brother’s arms at the swimming pool even though other kids were trying to get her to jump to them. We talked later that Sienna trusted her brother because she knew he was trustworthy, just like we can trust Jesus.
  4. Be a role model that family members admire and respect.
  5. Assume an active role in your grandchildren’s lives, even if you live far apart. Stay current and don’t criticize the things that interest them. Learn their communication style—email, texting, Skype, cell phone, social networking. Remain relatable and relational with each generation.

Lois and Eunice were intentional in raising Timothy in his faith. The world didn’t set standards for their home, God did. They knew God’s Word and taught it to Timothy. An effective way to help parents and kids learn Scripture is through songs and CD’s. The kids love to play them in the car and sing along and soon mommy and daddy are learning them too.

Parents are often so busy raising their children, that they rely on the church to educate the kids spiritually. Grandparents are usually at a stage of life where they can help parents nurture faith in the home. If relationships are strained with adult children or you don’t live close, you can still pray for them.

My prayer is that my legacy to my grandchildren will be: Grammie taught us about the Bible and Jesus, and she lived what she believed.

What spiritual legacy are you leaving for your family?

Lois and Eunice bible study book cover

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We would like to add that many wonderful Christian books can also be found on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com that ChristianBook.com does not carry, including our book  Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ.

Thank you, Janet, for stopping by today and sharing your tips with us. May God richly bless your writing, your ministries, your grandchildren, and all your family. And may God richly bless our readers and your families also.

__

Janet Thompson is founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and director of About His Work Ministries. She’s a speaker and author of sixteen books, including Face-to-Face With Lois And Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family—one of seven books in the Face-to-Face Bible study series (New Hope Publishers). Janet and her husband Dave love being Grammie and Grampa, and understand the difficulties of long distance grandparenting—only three of their eleven grandchildren live near them. Visit Janet at www.womantowomanmentoring.com