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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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: 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: 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.