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 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

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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!