“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.

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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/

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/

Grandparenting Through Obstacles featured on “Embattled Spirits” blog

Hi there. Dianne here. I’ve bumped tomorrow’s regular Thursday post into the future so I can post something special today.

Today, over at J.A. Marx’s “Embattled Spirit” site, I’m interviewed about our book.
 
Susan Lawrence’s story in Grandparenting Through Obstacles, “Jesus House,” is featured.

I hope you’ll stop by for a read. Leave us a comment. Use the button at the bottom to share it on Facebook. Tweet it if you can (paste the url into your Tweet).
 
I hope you enjoy the interview.

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.