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!

Advertisement

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.

Slowing Down to Grandparent

We all know how crazy life can get when you’re parenting little ones. It seems as though you never have a moment to yourself. We don’t normally associate such a hectic lifestyle with grandparents, however. When I think of grandparents, my mind immediately drifts back to my own childhood when I spent considerable time with my maternal grandparents.

After a full day of Whiffle Ball, my brother and I would bike back to my grandparents’ house and join them for some refreshing lemonade on the front porch. On hot summer nights we’d walk through the neighborhood with them, hearing stories of neighbors they had known for 20 or 30 years! Everything seemed to move in slow motion when we were with our grandparents–maybe because they moved in slow motion!

But times have changed. Grandparents today are younger, hipper (is that still an “in” word?), and definitely on the go. I regularly see grandparents chasing their grandkids on the playground, hanging out with them at arcades, and riding bikes with them. I can’t envision my grandparents doing any of this when I was young! But because many of these grandparents are actually fulfilling a parenting role in their grandkids’ lives, they almost have to do these things just to keep up with them.

But this makes me wonder…are grandparents today falling into this same trap of busyness that parents have, and how will this affect their grandkids? I know what it’s like to have young kids in the house while you’re trying to work, take care of the home, make time for God, and also make sure you’re taking time to teach them about God. It’s exhausting–and it seldom all gets done. Many grandparents are now in this exact same place. Many are still working, while some have had to come out of retirement in order to financially care for their grandkids. It’s a tough place.

On this blog, you’ll hear Dianne and I talk a lot about being intentional when it comes to grandparenting. It’s times like this that require it. I’d like to encourage grandparents today to try to slow down a little, especially when you’re with your grandchildren. Take time to walk and talk with them, sharing the things of God as you go. Teach them a craft or a skill. The last time my dad came to visit, he and my teenager spent hours together in the garage on some electrical project. I have no idea what they were doing, but my son still talks about the time he and Grandpa Tom spent together that day.

My husband, our three kiddos, and Grandpa Tom (Christmas ’08)

They will remember the times that you share with them forever. And the seeds you plant for God’s kingdom will take root in their hearts. But you have to make time to sow those seeds. Plan times together when they are your sole focus–then watch God come and join you.

How do you slow down to grandparent? Have you missed teachable moments with your grandkids because of your busyness? We’d love for you to share your experiences with us!

Don’t forget that Grandparents Day is right around the corner. Grandparenting Through Obstacles makes an excellent gift for all those grandparents in your life. You can now find us on Amazon.com!