Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tales to Tell

I wish I knew more about my grandparents. I have questions for them that will not be answered in this lifetime. It has taken me too long to realize what I have lost by not knowing their stories. Will my grandchildren also find out too late?

My Dad's Father died of Black Lung before I was born. My Mother's Dad also died before I was born. His death was by his own hand. I had step-grandfathers on my mother's side. I am grateful that they left me memorable stories. Both grandmothers lived long lives, but only one was present to us. Both, however, left their tales for me to enjoy. One was a writer, and through her penned works, I have come to know her in a small way. The other was very active in my life. I heard, first hand, about her exciting adventures and trials. Something was still missing.

My definition of personal stories goes beyond what we have done or seen. The real legend reveals the impact those experiences have on our lives. Emotions felt, lessons learned, and life changes that occurred are the real gems within a life story.

So, how do we share those treasures with our Grands? First, listen for questions. Questions are the open door. I like questions because they don't have to be asked only by the youth. They are great door openers for seniors as well. Once a question has been asked, the short answer is best. Leave room for more questions. Invite the child into your story, don't drag them. (I've learned from experience.) There may be things left unsaid, but what you say will be remembered if you don't push.

We have a wealth of tales to tell. We can recount bible stories that help us or have impacted us. Anecdotes from our own lives are always a crowd pleaser when told with a bit of humor directed at ourselves. Books and articles can become a source of interesting ideas shared. The list goes on and on, from nature stories to the famous or not so well known people that touch our lives. We can always have something worthwhile to say.

Connect to the children and even older grandchildren with feelings. Telling them how we feel and asking them about their emotions tells them that they are important. There is a caution to this, however. We should be careful not to dismiss their feelings. We can accept that they feel a certain way right now, but we must also give them time and space to change.

Our lives interchange. It is a wonderful blessing to a child to tell them how they have been special in our lives. A "Do you remember when we did..." story will always liven up an afternoon.

Finally, look for ways to bring God into the story. Use God's perspective, His attributes, His love for us, or maybe just that He is watching and listening now to bring His presence into the conversation. Do you know He is listening and watching us now?

Father God, The Word and Teller of Your story within our stories, You are so very good! You are our hope when times are tough and our delight when we are filled with joy. We seek Your forgiveness for being so quick to pass by opportunities to share You with those we love so very much, our Grandchildren, preferring to give them things instead of ourselves. Thank You for giving us time with them. Thank You for making the door of questions swing both ways! Thank You for the stories You have given us in Your word, our lives and all around us. You are so generously good to us! Teach us to be the best we can be for all future generations!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Babysitters-Opportunity to Bless

Grandparents don't always choose to be babysitters for their grandchildren, but it is often expected of us. Whether we do or don't, we can all sit with our little ones in special times of giving attention and love.

Romans 12:16 (ESV) says, "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight." Can you imagine with me the picture of a wrinkled, white haired grandparent surrounded by children laughing and listening to one another?

I have had the challenge and privilege of caring for each of my grandladies and grandmen before they started school. Babysitting, for me, has been a daily experience. But there are times now that we are offered the opportunity to spend time with them over night or throughout the weekend.

Recently, we had our oldest Grandladies (ages 13 and 11) visit over night. Memories were made with a walk around the park, a funny movie, shopping for a checker board, a united effort to make a yummy dinner, and then roasting marshmallows over the fire pit. It was wonderful to hear how much they loved spending time with us. Times like these will get fewer, and so we made the most of it. A few planned activities was all it took to make the time remarkable. But the activities do not compare to the conversations and laughter we shared. We enjoyed each other. We had fun!

Some Grandpas and Grandmas live far away from their grands. They are blessed to see them at vacation time or on special family occasions. Others see their children and grandchildren often. Both can enjoy the role of Babysitter. We only need to think out of the box when we find time to sit with our precious little ones.

Those who live across the miles from their grandchildren have many opportunities to communicate today that were not available in the past. Technology makes it possible for us to see each other and spend some quality time together. Taking the time to read or ask questions over the computer could be the path to bonding. For those who feel unable to traverse the electronic maze, I would say, "Try it". You have a chance to be blessed and to be a blessing.

Neighborly grandparents are not limited to time spent reading or playing. Going on special outings or participating in children's art, sports or educational activities as they grow keeps us close and keeps us active as well.

Above all it is most important to enjoy our grandchildren. We should greet them with open arms and send them home with a smile and a promise to see them again soon. Every opportunity with them should be an opportunity to bless them.

A note for those raising grandchildren: It is a difficult task to be both parent and grandparent. In my opinion it is very important to be the best parent you can be for them. Maybe there will be times when you can slip into the role of grandparent and enjoy the bond you have in a different light. Look for those opportunities not only for your sake but theirs as well. Nurturing the unique relationship of grandparent and child is worth it to both parties.

Father God, You open Your arms to all who would come to You. You make the time we spend with You full of new and exciting revelations. I don't spend near as much time as I should with You. I am sorry for that. Thank You for the love You pour out on us every day. Thank You for welcoming all the little children and bringing them close to You. Teach me to be a grandparent like You are a Father to me. You can teach me so much!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grand Review

I grew up in a family that celebrated life in many ways. We, of course, had the mandatory celebrations for birthdays, weddings, graduations and other significant milestones. We also made other occasions a tradition that is celebrated even to this day.

The Colorado State Fair is held in Pueblo, my hometown. The city would have parades to celebrate the event and hopefully draw people into Fair. Every year, for as long as I can remember, our family has been a part of the Kids Day Parade. Every child in our family that would be in Pueblo on the day of the parade, would be dressed up and urged to either ride the home made float or be the muscle to pull or push it down the street. It was just as much fun for the adults as it was for the kids.

The big adult kids worked hard whipping up costumes and decorating wagons, bikes and scooters in accordance with the theme of the parade. Little hands would be urged to help in any way possible and often added more mess to be cleaned up by the parents. We are proud to boast of winning a lot of trophies over the years. Its a family challenge and a family fun time.

Watching a parade is fun too. Spectators automatically become unofficial judges. We look over the entries giving our opinions as to the execution of the theme and following of the rules. I guess we do this in more than just parades. We do it in life as well.

Parents are judged by their children in how they play their role and follow the rules. Grandparents are subjected to those same judgments by adult children and even the grandchildren. We are paraded before a host of other family and friends who think they know what we should do. In my opinion we can still enjoy participating in the roles and rules of guiding the children along life's highway. It takes knowing a few simple roles and rules that really are flexible and freeing. We will look at some of these things in upcoming blogs.

Father God, You are our Creator. You made us to work in different roles according to who You made us to be. You are also the Lawgiver. You decide the good and bad of our thoughts words and actions. We have so often taken Your place and for this we are sorry. Forgive us. Thank You for the joy and excitement of parades! Thank You for giving us many ways to celebrate You. We need You as our just judge. Our parade of life is Your praise!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Walking in Truth

III John 4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

John says what our hearts long for, doesn't he? When our children follow in Jesus' footsteps, we find a joy that exceeds the happiness that comes with trophies, or degrees. We want to know that those who follow us on the road to eternity embrace the truth and tread carefully in order not to not fall to the enemy's deceptions.

Our children's children can be named in this heart longing as well. We all would like to see a long line of followers making their way to their final destination along the road of reality,not fantasy. Followers need leaders. A leader must be walking in truth in order to show others a clear direction. Grandparents can be chief in their families as wizened path finders, if they know the way.

Many times we ask "How?" How can we help lead our families in the right way when we, ourselves, stumble and fall? How can we point them in the right direction when we sometimes don't know which way to go? I suppose that is why I am so glad that God has made a way and given us a guide book to follow. He even sent us a Teacher, and then sent us a Personal Assistant to help us every day.

It is important for us to know that we can begin our walk in the Truth at any time. We can jump off of the circular track of deception and on to the high way. We only need to check out the Book to be introduced to The Teacher and He will send His Helper to get us on the right track.

You, God, are Truth. You are Good. You are The Way to the joy we seek. I am saddened to realize that I walk in circles far too often. I stray from Your truth and wander away from the good You prepare for me every day. Forgive me! I understand that, when I walk in truth, You are filled with joy because You love me and want the best for me. Thank You for providing all I need to walk in the right direction. I need You to be my Teacher, my Father, and my Helper.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Grandparents go by many names: Nana, Poppop, Grandma, Grandpa, Granny, Pappy, many others and my favorite, Grommers. We may all have different monikers with our grandchildren but we are all enjoying the blessing of life as a grandparent.

Before my children gave me grandchildren, I heard stories of the amazing feeling that came with that gift. I believed these veterans of life's milestones, but truly had no idea until my first grandlady arrived in a flurry of excitement! What was this surprising wonder I felt? I still cannot describe it, but I do know it was and still is a grand feeling.

Stepping into the role of Grandparent brought new roles and new rules. It also brought new privileges and a new purpose. I stumbled through most of these and have had to learn many lessons about the new position I held. I hope to share some of my insights in the next few blogs. I hope you will follow me and enjoy the stuff that makes someone a Grand Parent!

One thing I am sure of is that my heart longs for the joy John spoke about in his third book and verse four: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4 (ESV)I always add "and grandchildren" though I believe that Johns' words are from God (and He has no grands). And, yes, He does have great joy when ALL His children walk in the truth.

Father, You have many children and no grandchildren, yet, it made You happy to give Your children the gift of being a part of future generations. You are wise and loving. You creatively draw us deeper into You through our relationships with our heritage and our children and their children. Forgive us when we run away from the responsibilities and only want the blessings of grandparenting. Thank You for growing our families and growing us when we are in the truth. Author of the Grand life, teach us our roles, rules, privileges and purpose through Your word. We are here to listen and learn.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Lesson from Gideon

Gideon was one of Israels' judges. He was called by God to rescue Gods' people from the oppression of the Midianites. Let me tell you his story.

Gideon was hiding from the Midianites while he did his farm-work. God knew where he was hiding and sent a messenger to tell him the plan and enlist him as the warrior-in-charge. Gideon resisted the Lord's assignment and set out two fleeces to determine if this was really what he must do. God complied with both fleeces, and Gideon finally relented. He made a call for warriors and thousands of Israelites, fed up with the tyranny of their oppressors, came out to fight.

Gideon and his army were greatly out numbered. It seemed that God's plan was a disaster waiting to happen. It got worse however when Gideon asked God what to do. God told him to send all the men who were afraid home. Then God told him to have the remainder of the men to go down and drink from the spring. Those that drank lapping like a dog, out of their hands, were to stay. Those who bent their heads into the water to drink were to be sent home. Gideon was left with 300 men. Surprisingly, this small band of men were used by God to defeat the Midian army of thousands! God was glorified! (You can read Gideons' story in Judges 6-8)

Each of us can be a Gideon. We all are given a gift or talent by God and He has a purpose for us. Gideon was named a warrior by God. Some of us may be named helpers, writers, preachers, singers and so many other things. Like the fearful farmer, we too, sometimes resist the title conferred on us by God. We try to reason with Him and convince Him that He made a mistake. It sounds strange, but we all do it at sometime. When God prevails and we accept His plan, we often times find that God begins to limit our resources. He may limit our funds, time, or other tools we think we need to do what God has called us to do. We can feel inadequate to do the job.

When we come to the place where we only hold God's plan in our hands, and nothing or very little of ourselves, we must trust in God, believe in His truth, and have faith in His presence in the plan. We obey. We walk forward not concerned for the outcome, only for the obedience that will give God glory.

God has called me to write and speak for Him. I resisted this call at first, but then embraced it thinking He would provide all I needed. I didn't know He would take away time, and funds. I never thought I would go through dry spells, but I did. Sometimes it is hard or fearful, but I continue to take one step at a time. I pray He is receiving Glory through my obedience.

God, You are the Giver of Purpose. You name each of us in Your plan and guide us to the place where we need only You. Forgive me when I take Your gift and call it mine. Thank You for using me to spread Your love and truth. Guide me and light my path when everything seems dark. I do trust You.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Belated Valentine

I was kept busy yesterday and did not get to write a Valentine blog, so I am here to send a timeless Valentine message to all my readers.

There is a Valentine for everyone. St. Valentine, for whom the day is named, sent messages from his prison cell, not to his wife or girlfriend, but to everyone who would listen. His message was that God loved us. Valentine told the story about The God who sent Jesus to live with us, die for us, and then live again in our hearts! This is good news! It is the best valentine message for all people.

Our Valentine's Day has become a romantic card and gift day for couples. Those without a special someone find Valentines Day lonely and maybe depressing, but there is good news as I have said. No one needs to feel rejected or unlovable. Everyone has a very special Someone to love them and for them to love!

God, the Creator of all, longs to love and be loved by His greatest creation, people. He did everything possible to make it happen even while we still rejected and ran away from His advances toward us. He is a committed lover. He gave everything to bring people back into His loving embrace.

It is a wonderful gift to have a mate or special person in our lives, but the greatest love we can enjoy is the love God offers. Today my message of love comes directly from Him. He loves you with an eternal love.

Loving and Eternal God, You are the Valentine we all desire. You are the Perfect Lover. I am so very sorry for the times I toss aside Your love for the lesser loves of this world. Forgive me! Thank You for never failing to be there when I call to You. Thank You for loving me when I am so very unlovable. Thank You for being Love itself! Let me know Your love and share it with everyone I meet. Let me be Your valentine to the people I meet. I want to love others like You have loved me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Heaven is a Good Place

Eight year old Paige and six year old Brooke were on an outing with Pappy one day when they passed a cemetery. There was a grave-side service happening, and the girls had many questions for their Pappy. When they got home I was told about the conversation. It went something like this.

"Pappy, what is that?"

"It is a funeral, Paige."

"What is a funeral?"

"It is when someone dies and the family and friends get together to say good-bye."

"Oh. What happens to the person that died?"

"Well, if they are a Christian he or she goes to heaven when they die. Their body is buried here until God comes back to get it."

"What is heaven like?"

"It is a wonderful place. It is beautiful and happy. Nothing ever bad happens there! It is a good place."

When Paige came in to see me, she said to me, "Grommers,I don't want you to die, but if you do I am going to whisper to you that Heaven is a good place to go."

That story made me smile. I smile because Paige would think of such a sweet thing to say, and also that heaven IS a good place to go. It reminded me of the man who was crucified next to Jesus. Jesus nearing the end of His earthly life, must have whispered His words to the dying man. He said that He would be with Him in paradise. Maybe God smiled because He knew it was a good place to go, because Jesus would be there.

Creator of Heaven and Earth, You are Good! You created a special place for us to live. You are creating a place of beauty and glory and pure holiness for Your people to come to live with You forever. Sometimes the beauty of this earth overshadows the glory of You, and I ask You to forgive me for forgetting that You alone are worthy. Thank you for making heaven real. Thank You for giving sinful people a chance to come and live with You there. Reach out to those I love through Your workers, and show them Your everlasting love and grace. Bring them home to You when their time is done here on earth. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Falling Flat

Super Bowl party was interesting. I made a play that was surprisingly SUPER!!

I was heading for the corner of the couch around a coffee table, not noticing the ripple in the rug. Holding my plate of banana pudding (oh so good!), I tripped and somehow avoided the lap of the man in front of me, held onto my dish, and landed safely on the couch in the only free space, the corner seat next to the man I avoided. No fumble, no injury. Felt like a touchdown! YES!

I've fallen in embarrassing situations a couple of times in my life, and I am so glad this trip fared as well as it did. There are lessons to be learned every time I find myself tumbling over my feet. I am happy to share them with you.

1. Sometimes falling is beyond our control. When the rug is pulled out from under your feet, there is usually no where to go but down.

2. Gravity exerts its power mercilessly when we find ourselves off balance. We can wobble slightly, but if we teeter too far to one side or another we will be pulled to the ground.

3. When we fall the only right choice is to get up and start over. Staying down only leads to more embarrassment.

4. Never turn away a helping hand. When you fall hard, it is usually a struggle to get up by yourself. If someone offers a helping hand don't refuse!

I suppose it would be best to not fall too often. There are lessons to learn about how to stay upright as well.

1. Be alert. There are enemies that would like to take you down, but if you watch you just might thwart their plans!

2. Keep your feet planted on a firm foundation. It is hard to keep your balance on uneven ground.

The truth is that we all fall at sometime or another. We are human and imperfect. There is One, however, that came to lift us up. He even promises that our fumbles can be turned into something good for us, if we let Him show us how.

Holy and Perfect Father, You are our strong foundation. You lift us up when everything around us tries to hold us down. You are our salvation! We have fallen often because we do not stay firmly rooted in You. Forgive us, Lord. Thank You for making our way right when we have done so much wrong. Lead us in Your level paths and teach us to walk the straight and narrow way. We trust You!