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!

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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.

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: Susan Lawrence

Welcome back to another Thursday interview post. Today we’d like to introduce Susan Lawrence, author of the story “Jesus House.” We hope you enjoy learning a little about her.

Susan with her grandkids

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

Susan:  My grandkids think of me as the grandma who does things with them: picnics, hikes, bike rides, and field trips to the zoo or the science center. Wherever we go, whatever we do, our faith is a part of the day. It may be a prayer before our picnic, a spiritual discussion in the car, or a bedtime Bible story.

GTO:  So, like we’ve talked about on this blog so many times before–making the most of every opportunity. What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandchildren?

Susan:  I feel a sense of urgency like I have never felt before. None of us knows how much time we have left, or how much time the world has left. The time to impart our faith is now. Our children, grandchildren, and the world are in desperate need of it.

GTO: This is so true, Susan. And the reason we wrote this book is to help grandparents do just that in spite of the obstacles they’re facing. What would you say is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Susan:  I believe the greatest challenge our children face is defending their faith in a culture of an “anything goes” society. Grandparents can help by answering their grandchildren’s questions with answers based on Scripture (even if they have to say, “I need to look that one up myself!”). When talking about current issues in the news, respond with what the Bible says about it. And, most important of all, grandparents need to model their faith, how they live it, and how they share it with others.

GTO:  That’s great advice. What might you tell our readers to encourage them to not give up on their kids or grandkids when they’re going through such challenging times?

Susan:  First Corinthians 13:7 tells us that “love always hopes.” I have clung to that verse in the lack of anything substantial, to offer hope, knowing that God is the Almighty God, in control of all that happens here on earth, and loving and merciful toward our children and grandchildren far more we can even imagine.

GTO:  That even encourages me right now! In looking at the specific story you shared with us, what are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from it?

Susan:  My hope is that other grandparents will be encouraged to share their faith with their grandchildren whenever and however they can, knowing that no matter what the circumstances, their influence on their grandchildren will be a positive, life-building experience.

GTO: And finally, what do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Susan:  I want them to remember that I loved them, laughed with them, and learned with them. And I want them to always, always know I prayed for them.

Thank you, Susan, for spending time with us today. I know your story will be an encouragement to everyone who reads it. If you’d like to learn more about Susan, please visit her at www.SusanRLawrence.com.

Don’t forget, Grandparenting Through Obstacles is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and digital versions. Order your copy today!

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.