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.

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Thursday Interview: Contributor Barbara Ann Baranowski

Today we have the privilege of speaking with Barbara Ann Baranowski, who wrote the story “Gone Camping” for Grandparenting Through Obstacles. God gave Barbara the creative idea of having Nana Camps for her grandkids. What she thought would probably be a one-time experience has now been blessing her grandchildren for many, many years. Below is a picture of Barbara and her grandkids from a recent Nana Camp.

GTO: Barbara, why did you choose to share the story you did for our book?

Barbara:  I shared my story of providing a grandparenting “camp” because I think it addresses two issues that grandparents face: how, as grandparents, we can share our faith legacy, and how long-distance grandparents can participate in the faith development of their grandchildren.

Grandparents, whether living near or far, can use the suggestions to engage the grandchildren in deepening relationships with themselves and God through Bible studies and shared activities.

GTO: We agree that your camps are a great way of doing all those things! What are you hoping that are readers will take away from your story?

Barbara: I hope that the readers  will be inspired to share their faith legacy with their grandchildren through the ideas and suggestions.  We are all different in the way we pass on our faith in God to our grandchildren, but perhaps the story I have shared will give them inspiration and a way that they had not thought of to personalize their story and faith for their own grandchildren, especially if they live away from them.

GTO: Barbara, 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?

Barbara: The Bible reminds in us Proverbs 22:6 that we are to “train a child in the way in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (NIV).  If we are obedient to the Word and follow the instruction of training our children and grandchildren as God instructs, we have hope for their future.  Without sharing the Lord with them (whether from us or others), they have little hope for eventual spiritual joy and happiness or the promise of eternal life with God.  We must do our part, pray, and let the Lord do His.

Children are a gift that may not show every aspect of a gift’s beauty now, but with the Lord’s touch, every beautiful aspect reflected through Him will be uncovered.  Prayer is the key to answers for the lives of our grandchildren.  Many a praying grandparent has made the difference.

GTO: You are absolutely right about that…where would most of us be today without that praying grandparent in our lives? And, that’s something that every grandparent can do. What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandchildren?

Barbara:  God did not leave grandparents out of His Word.  As  Christian Grandparents, we are told clearly to be intentional.  Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after that.” And Psalm 71:18 reminds us, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (NIV).

So, if God felt our importance in sharing with the generations to come, we must understand that our part is crucial.  It is a great privilege and honor to know that God still has great plans for us and for our mission as grandparents.

GTO: That is very good advice, Barbara. Thank you so much for joining us here today.

And, I know we still have more to talk about, so we’ll be continuing our discussion with Barbara next Thursday. Hope to see you back then!

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.

Thursday Interview: Contributor Rhonda Rivers – Part 1

After her son married, Rhonda Rivers waited more than ten years to become a grandmother. But after Kevin was born, she was disappointed that his parents never took him to church as she had taken his father. What could she do?

Rhonda’s story “Worth the Wait” appears in the part of Grandparenting Through Obstacles called “The Challenge of Partnering with Parents.”

Rhonda stopped in to chat with us and we had such a good time we’re going to talk with her both today and next Thursday.

GTO:  Thanks, Rhonda, for sharing your story with us in Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Tell us why you decided to share the story that you did in our book?

Rhonda:  Many parents begin praying for grandchildren from the day their children get married and I was one of those. I had all but given up after ten years. In fact, I thought I would never live to see grandchildren. This story is about God’s faithfulness. He answered my prayer for a grandchild, and then answered my prayer for that child to find Him.

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

Rhonda:  My prayer is that readers will be encouraged to be persistent in their prayers. God is always faithful.

GTO:  Give us an update on recent developments with your grandson since writing your story.

Rhonda:  Since writing my story I have enjoyed the comfort and security of knowing that my grandson is attending Sunday school and learning all the stories of the Bible that I learned and that his father learned growing up. The Bible says one generation should tell another about all of God’s wonderful ways (See Psalm 145:3-4). 

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

Rhonda:  Since writing my story I have become a grandmother again and I am about to have a third grandchild!

GTO:  Wow! That is wonderful news, Rhonda. Congratulations! Tell us, in what ways do you believe God has used you most in ministering to your grandkids?

Rhonda:  Children learn by watching the people around them. When my grandson is in our home, he sees evidence of our faith all around him. Bible verses and pictures of Biblical scenes grace the walls; bookcases are filled with Bibles, commentaries, and Christian books. In addition, we always pray before meals, something he has learned to do. He often hears the phrase, “praise the Lord,” in our conversations.

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

Rhonda:  When I consider the condition of the world today, I must confess that I am frightened for my grandchildren. All around me I see such a disregard for the Lord and for rules of any kind. It seems like the days of Noah when everyone did what ever they liked and never consulted the Lord. The greatest challenge faced by children today is where to find the truth. As believers we have a fixed point of reference for truth, the Bible. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Grandparents can show their grandchildren where to find Truth in the Scriptures. Besides covering them with constant prayer and telling them about Jesus.

GTO:  Thank you, Rhonda, for chatting with us today and for sharing your grandparenting story. We will look forward to visiting with you more next week.

Until then, you can find Grandparenting Through Obstacles at Amazon.com and on Kindle, and at Barnes and Noble.com and on Nook. Or ask your favorite bookstore to order it for you. Makes a great gift for a Christian grandparent in your life (or yourself!).

Thursday Interview: Contributor Annalee Davis – Part 2

Last Thursday we visited with Rev. Annalee Davis. If you missed the first part of her interview, feel free to return to last Thursday and read Part 1.

Now, continuing with Annalee:

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

Annalee:  I believe the Lord has used me in reinforcing what my granddaughters are hearing and learning in their home about who God is and how to have a relationship with Him. Their father is still pastoring, and I know they are in church often. But I think it is important for them to see their grandparents living out the message of the Gospel and living for the Lord Jesus as well. I feel they have been strengthened in their faith as they’ve watched us go through the difficulties of life and still put our faith and hope in God.

I’ve written devotions about my granddaughters that have been published. I always send them a copy of the publication. I’ve shared a publication with them about the healings that have occurred in our family. Their great-great grandmother and great-grandmother had a miraculous healing take place in their lives. I also was healed of an infection that caused the doctors to give me a fifty-fifty chance of survival. I want them to know that they have a wonderful family heritage in the Lord.

GTO:  That is wonderful, Annalee. What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values to their grandchildren?

Annalee:  Whenever I am with my granddaughters, I try to impart spiritual truths and values to them. I pray with them before I put them to bed. I read Bible stories to them and send Christian children’s books as gifts. If we are watching television together and I perceive something that is a worldly viewpoint, I share with them what the Bible says about the issue.

It is important to remember that we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and guidance when we are with our grandchildren. When I have had the opportunity to babysit, I often send up a prayer in a difficult situation and the Lord has helped me know how to handle the problem. I try to discipline in love and require that they treat each other with kindness.

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

Annalee:  I hope my grandkids will remember that Grandma loved Jesus and that she was lots of fun! I hope they will be able to recall all the things I’ve taught them about serving the Lord and about life in general. I hope they will remember how I’ve invested in them in practical ways such as encouraging and teaching them to sew, create artwork, bake, play instruments and sing.  Hopefully, they will feel that I always had time for them, listened to them and made them feel important and special.

GTO:  Those are wonderful thoughts, Annalee. Thank you so much for sharing your story and advice with us and ways to bridge the gap of long-distance grandparenting. You’ve given us valuable food for thought and practical ideas to put to use.

Thank you also for sharing your story in Grandparenting Through Obstacles. We’ll be watching for your byline on more Chicken Soup for the Soul stories and devotionals!

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.

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 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.