Team Grandparents

As we’ve mentioned before on our blog, one of the purposes with our GTO book and blog is to connect our readers to various resources available that can help them on their grandparenting journey. One such resource I recently came across is Team Grandparents.

Team Grandparents is an organization founded by Dr. Denise Fraser Vaselakos. Denise is a licensed psychologist with over 15 years of experience providing comprehensive therapy for adult women and men, adolescents, children, and families.

Due to the nature of her job, Denise sees on a regular basis the effects a fallen society has taken on families and sometimes especially children. As she states, “We are seeing the pornography industry and the drug industry taking the health and future of our children and adolescents and destroying marriages.” Her solution? Prayer!

“I just want grandparents to know how critical their prayers are for all of our grandchildren at this particular time in our country,” says Denise.   “I believe that first and foremost we must pray for a hedge of protection around our grandchildren, infants, children, teens, and our adult grandchildren.”

In essence, this is what Team Grandparents is all about. It’s groups of grandparents coming together on a regular basis to pray for the grandchildren they know–whether their own, those in their neighborhood, or those in their church. Team Grandparents is an organized body of grandparents who meet in homes or at their church for the specific purpose of such prayer.

The mission of Team Grandparents as stated on their website is:

“To assemble and mobilize Christian grandparents across the country to pray, mentor, love, and encourage our grandchildren.”

Aside from prayer, Team Grandparents is hoping that their member grandparents will take the charge with some creative activity ideas that will reach out to grandchildren in an effort to “mentor, love, and encourage” them. Some ideas they already have for reaching grandchildren include: baking and sending cookies to grandchildren in the military or universities; sending notes of encouragement; and having a Secret Share Day where grandparents share the secrets of favorite family recipes, how to handle finances, or knowledge about how to do small home repairs.

The point of all of this is to let today’s grandchildren–regardless of their age–know that there is someone out there who cares about them, is praying for them, and is acting as a godly role model for them. What grandchild doesn’t need this?

I’d like to thank Denise for not only sharing her story with us but also for offering to place copies of our GTO book in the waiting room at her practice and on the resource list that she shares with her patients. We believe, as does Denise, that what her patients need more than anything else is godly encouragement, wisdom from the Scriptures, and prayer.

To learn more about Team Grandparents, please visit their website at www.teamgrandparents.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.

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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

It’s Election Day. What kind of a world will your grandchildren have?

Hi there. It’s Dianne here writing today.  I’m old enough to have voted in quite a few presidential elections now and I, like a lot of people, think this is the most heated one I’ve witnessed. Many people are saying this is the most important election in our lifetimes. I would agree with that…until the next one. Weren’t we saying that same thing in 2008?  And in 2004? And even just two years ago in 2010. Yeah, we were. And rightly so.

I don’t think 2016 will be any different. By then, (if we’re still here), that will be the most important election in our lifetimes.

You see, I don’t think the world is getting any better. And I don’t think it’s going to start getting better–no matter who wins the election today. I think that because I believe the time we have left on this earth before the events God told us would happen happen is growing shorter all the time (which only make sense). But I really do think time for us is growing short. The signs are all around us. And I think that regardless of who wins the presidential election today.

While I say words like that, I’m very conscious of how fearful that might be to parents and grandparents who want their children and grandchildren to grow up and enjoy life on this earth. We all want them to have long and happy lives. But when we’re fearful of the future, what can we do with that?

The reason I chose to bring all this up today is because last weekend my husband passed along to me a pretty awesome blog post by Erick Erickson over at RedState.com. This is a political blog, so I was pretty surprised, and very pleased, to see Mr. Erickson’s post, “50,000 Feet Looking Down,” so blatantly and openly talk about his faith in God and God’s view of this whole election. If you’ll jump over there and read his post, I think you’ll be blessed.  

To give you a taste, here’s a little of what Erick Erickson wrote:

“God is sovereign and He is in charge and He will return. That is my hope and my ever present expectation…

“When I wake up on Wednesday morning, I’m still going to have my wife. I’m still going to have my kids. I’m still going to have my family. And I’m still going to have my God. So will you.”

I would add: You are still going to have your grandkids, too.

And regardless of what happens today in this election, what you do here on this earth matters–no matter how much time we have left. Spending time with your grandchildren matters. Loving them matters. Praying for them matters. Working toward a moment to lead them to faith in Jesus Christ really matters. Training them and teaching them and helping them to know God and live for Jesus Christ matters. Regardless of how much time this earth may have left, these things will last for all eternity.

So take heart. Go read Erick Erickson’s God’s-eye view  “50,000 Feet Looking Down”  blog post. Be encouraged. Be inspired. Be blessed.

Thursday Interview: Christina Carmichael

Welcome, and thanks for joining us for another installment of our Thursday interview series. Today we are talking with Christina Carmichael (not her real name), who wrote the story “Won by Love” in our book’s section on The Challenge of Non-Traditional Families. In Christina’s story, her challenge is to win the heart of her twenty-year-old, soon-to-be step-granddaughter. This step-granddaugher, Shannon, was quite rebellious and often out of control. But Christina showed how, through godly patience and love, even the hardest of hearts can be won over.

Here’s Christina to share her story:

GTO: Christina, why did you choose to share the story that you did for Grandparenting Through Obstacles?

Christina: These days, between deaths and divorces, there are many people who remarry. The new wife often becomes a grandmother for the first time–or maybe second or third. She needs to know that she is not alone in the trials–as well as the joys–that this new family will bring.

GTO: And that really is the basis for all of the stories in our book: to encourage other grandparents that they are not alone; there are many people just like them going through the very things that they are experiencing.

Not only do grandparents face challenges, but the grandchildren do as well. What advice would you offer for how grandparents can help their grandkids overcome their own challenges?

Christina: I would say to always listen to what your grandchildren tell you. When they ask you to keep a secret, do so, and let them know that you can be trusted.

GTO: That’s a really good point, especially for step-grandchildren, because often they have been hurt and need to rebuild trust in others.

Christina, you were so patient and persistent in expressing love to Shannon. What can you tell our readers to encourage them not to give up on their kids or grandkids, no matter how bad their situation may appear.

Christina: My best advice is to pray for them every single day, and to just keep on loving them, no matter how difficult this may become.

GTO: Prayer can certainly soften hearts and knock down walls! What have you learned about how grandparents can become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandkids?

Christina: I think simply to look for ways to share how God has worked in your own life–not only as an adult, but also in your younger years.

GTO: God does tell us that we overcome through the word of our testimony. I agree that when others see what God has done for us, it can give us hope and encouragement that He will do the same for them. Christina, what do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Christina: Most of all, I hope that they remember how I loved each one of them and prayed for them every day.

GTO: Those are definitely good things to remember!

Thank you, Christina, for joining us today. I’m sure you have helped quite a few people who may be going through their own challenges with grandkids right now. If any of you have struggled with blended family relationships, drop us a line and let us know how God has helped you through your tough times.

Thursday Interview: Tracy Ruckman at Pix-N-Pens Publishing

Dianne here. I well remember that wonderful day when my phone rang and on the other end was Tracy Ruckman of Pix-N-Pen Publishing! I remember Tracy said she would like out book, then politely added “if it’s still available.” It was. Renee and I were thrilled! And today that book is out and available to you!

We asked Tracy to share her thoughts about the new book from Pix-N-Pens, Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Here’s what Tracy had to say:

Being a product of divorce, and then divorced myself, when Dianne and Renee’s manuscript arrived in my Inbox, the subject matter of Grandparenting Through Obstacles resonated soundly.

I recognize, acknowledge, and am grateful for my paternal grandmother in particular, because she never stopped praying for me or teaching me by example of her own life. She never gave up on me, even when she and my mother were at odds all during my childhood, during my parents’ divorce when things got bitter, or through my own wayward teen and young adult years.

I sometimes wonder if Nanny’s knees resembled James’ own “camel knees” – her love for me and my siblings kept her on her knees for more hours than we should ever want to admit.

The four sections of the book are so relevant in today’s climate. Grandparents face such obstacles as their own children not walking with God. How do they impart their faith to the next generation? Or long-distance grandparenting – with today’s mobile society, it’s rare that grandchildren grow up near their grandparents. How can grandchildren experience their grandparents’ faith when they’re so far away? Non-traditional families present a third challenge – step- and blended families, foster and adopted children, and even grandparents raising grandchildren – more and more grandparents encounter these types of obstacles on a daily basis. Finally, even when circumstances are all you’d hoped and dreamed they would be, grandparents must recognize their role in the child’s life, and partner with parents to nurture the child in ways to foster the child’s own relationship with the Lord.

The various sections of the book make it interactive – the authors and contributors provide practical steps to take and offer hundreds of helps and hints that grandparents can apply to their situation immediately. Each chapter ends with applicable Scripture, a suggested prayer, and plenty of space for making notes or writing prayers of your own.

In Jim Ertel’s endorsement, he made a statement of vital importance that mirrors our own reasons for publishing this book. Mr. Ertel wrote, “The role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren has never been more desperately needed.”

There is no greater gift, no greater responsibility as a grandparent than to plant seeds of faith in the lives of your grandchildren. No one – NO ONE – else has the influence or inside knowledge that you have as a grandparent, and no one has a more vested interest. This generation – and future ones – depend on the grandparents of today. They need you. We need you.

Thanks, Tracy. Thanks for publishing our book and for investing in the lives of these grandparents and grandchildren.

Thursday Interview: Dianne’s Journey to Grandparenting Through Obstacles

Dianne E. Butts

Dianne E. Butts, co-author of Grandparenting Through Obstacles

I remember well that phone call almost three years ago when my writing friend, Renee Gray-Wilburn, called me to talk about the idea she had for a book. She had done the research. There was precious little in the way of books and resources for Christian grandparents. Yes, there were a few books for grandparents, but not many. Especially for Christians. She wanted to write a book. And she wanted me to co-author it with her.

She had e-mailed me her ideas earlier. I was delighted that she wanted me to be her co-author, I told her. But I had a couple of concerns with the book idea. Let’s talk about it, I said. So here we were on the phone talking about it.

You realize I’m not a grandparent, right? I asked. Yes, she did. She isn’t either, she said.

Well, you realize I’m not even a parent, right? Yes, she said. She is at least that.

Okay, well as long as that’s clear. It was, she said.

I thought of the book I currently had in process at the time. That book is published now. It’s Deliver Me: Hope, Help, & Healing through True Stories of Unplanned Pregnancy. I’d put that book together even though I’ve never been pregnant. I wasn’t writing out of my own experiences for that book. I was helping others tell their stories–stories that needed to be told and shared, because they could help others.

There is great power in true stories.

How are we going to market this book? I asked. It’s not like either one of us has a great platform to reach grandparents. Nearly one-third of all adults in the United States are grandparents, Renee told me. That’s nearly 70 million.

Wow. Really?

The average age of grandparents in this country is 48. No kidding? 43% became grandparents in their fifties, 37% in their forties. (Gransparents.com)

Wow again. Okay.

Many of our friends and peers are already grandparents, and many of them are Christians who want to reach their grandchildren with the good news of faith in Jesus Christ. Renee and I decided we could reach them if we had a resource that could help them.

Renee had a friend who was facing great obstacles to reach her grandchildren for Jesus. They were living in another country. They weren’t getting the Christian influence in their lives that her friend longed for them to have. The idea was sparked. We would gather true stories of real grandparents who were facing obstacles in influencing their own grandchildren for Jesus Christ, but who were trying and were seeing fruit from those efforts. We would help them share their stories. We could add resources, ideas, Bible stories, and…perhaps most importantly, prayer. Renee insisted this book be full of prayer.

Yeah! We could do this. I knew it. Renee knew it. And so we put the word out to our writer friends, and word spread. We started gathering stories, and we were on our way.

We had publishers show interest in late 2010. We wrote the manuscript in 2011. The opportunities with those first publishers didn’t pan out, but we then had a complete manuscript and it wasn’t long before we found Pix-N-Pens Publishing. We were thrilled when editor Tracy Ruckman called. She was very interested in our project. She offered a contract, we signed, and now the book is due out this month!

And we couldn’t be more exited! Here is what some people are already saying about Grandparenting Through Obstacles:

For Renee and me, our prayer is that this  book will help you, Christian grandparents, overcome any obstacles you face to reach your grandchildren (and children, if need be) to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ. Through that, we pray this book will bear eternal fruit for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and that therefore His Kingdom will be filled to capacity, because together, we made a difference here.

The book releases August 17th, only a few weeks away! You can find it on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and most online outlets. Your local bookstore can order it for you if you request it. We hope you’ll get it, enjoy it, and perhaps get an extra copy for your favorite grandparenting friend.

May God richly bless you as you bear the burden to reach your grandchildren for Jesus Christ.

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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