Just Hanging Out

Castle Extraordinaire

It does not seem that long ago when my children were small that I remember my daddy saying “Just give them the boxes.  Those are the best toys!”   Once again Father does know best.  Recently my three granddaughters were here for a visit over spring break.  Unfortunately it was cold and rainy greatly limiting our time outside.  So what to do?

It just so happened that I had been by the Sears Appliance Outlet and garnered a large appliance box.  You just never know when such things might come in handy (Wink! Wink!).  The girls’ assignment was to come up with something creative out of this cardboard box.  And did they ever!

A castle extraordinaire (at least to this grandmother)!  I helped them cut, cover with freezer paper (what do you REALLY do with freezer paper?), and paint.  Each girl took a side, and I helped Jane my four-year old granddaughter.  One painter was very deliberate in her style, while another was quite the Jackson Pollack, requiring a little more supervision with airborne paint.  As we painted we talked about all kinds of things–their favorite colors, animals, art lessons, etc.  Our family calls times like these “just hanging out”. Before we knew it the afternoon was gone.

My granddaughters are gone now, back to their home in Memphis.  The house is quiet, but there is the most wonderful castle in our basement.  I’m thinking about going back to the Sears Appliance Outlet and getting two more large appliance boxes.  We could connect them; one for each granddaughter. Sort of a “Castle Condo” decor.  Wonder what they will do with that?  🙂

Delight in your grandchildren this week.

Pam

 

 

 

Music Across the Generations

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Last week Susan spoke of the priceless discovery recently made by her family–her grandmother’s Bible from the late 1800’s.  This treasured book was full of notes, underlinings, and prayers all written with the hand of her grandmother.

This past Christmas the Ferriss family also experienced a priceless discovery.  My mother-in-law, a college music major, is still quite the musician at 92.  As my husband and his sister were growing up, Mrs. Ferriss taught piano in her home for many years.  My nine-year old granddaughter, Mary Chase, is also studying a musical instrument, the violin.  Soooooooo, I had the bright idea that Mary Chase and her great-grandmother should play a duet for us on Christmas Eve.  There was only one problem with this idea.  No piano.

Fortunately, I remembered our son’s electric key board still in its original box from his teenage years.  But did it still work?  No cord was found, but a few new batteries, and it was as good as new (well, almost!).  Mary Chase had been practicing Christmas carols several weeks before Christmas, but Mrs. Ferriss had not.  In fact, she had never played a key board before in her life.  How thankful I was for the flexibility of this 92-year old great-grandmother!!  She was willing to give it a try, and try she did!

Amidst the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree and the warmth of a roaring fire, our family watched and listened with amazement as Miriam Ferriss and her great-granddaughter Mary Chase performed a concert together.  As the strains of Joy to the World were played, I could feel the tears weld up in my eyes; my heart about to burst.  What a beautiful picture of life as it was created to be!

 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.  (Psalm 89:1-2)   

 One day the new heavens and the new earth will be filled with thousands upon thousands of generations playing and singing together to the glory of God. If this “foretaste” of that glorious day is any indication, we are in for some kind of party!! 🙂

Blessings,

Pam

 

 

 

 

Leaving A Legacy

Honey and MC enjoying the healthy banana pancakes they prepared together!

Honey and MC enjoying the healthy banana pancakes they prepared together!

One of the reasons Kathy, Susan, and I wrote our book, My Grandmother Is. . . praying for me, is that we wanted to leave a legacy for our grandchildren.  In the introduction of the book, we write “that God would enable us all to leave a legacy of faith so that He might be honored and glorified”.  It was our hope that we, along with our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren (you get the idea!), “may proclaim together Psalm 89:1-2: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. . . ‘

The Oxford Dictionary defines legacy as an amount of money or property left to someone in a will; A thing handed down by a predecessor.  I am realizing, however, there are many types of legacies we can leave to those who follow behind us.  As mentioned in our book, there is the legacy of faith.  The dictionary speaks of a legacy of money or possessions.  Maybe there is a very special personal possession like a ring or watch that has been handed down from generation to generation.

Recently my husband, David, and I have launched what I call a new “(Ad)venture”, the opening of a Lifestyle Medicine practice. This is something David has wanted to do for many years.  His last seven to eight years at a large healthcare company convinced him that people can get well if they will start practicing a healthy way of life. David and I, both, have become more convinced than ever that we must be more pro-active in promoting and supporting healthy ways of living.

So what does this have to do with a legacy for our grandchildren?  More than I ever realized.  The Bible tells us our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should glorify God with our bodies (I Cor. 3:16).  Paul also goes on to write that whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God (I Cor.10:31).  Surely modeling for our children and grandchildren how to take care of our bodies by living as healthy as we can is a legacy of true value that glorifies God!

Have you given thought to leaving a legacy of healthy living to your children and grandchildren?  Don’t think in huge overwhelming changes.  Just start with one small change–taking a walk with your grandchild; drinking water instead of soda; making a healthy meal together.  Not only will you be teaching healthy practices, you will be making wonderful memories with your grandchildren.  And, THAT, is a legacy in itself!!

Hope you have a healthy week.

Blessings,

Pam

 

 

 

 

Resting in Righteousness

The character trait we are praying for our grandchildren for the month of November is righteousness.   Jesus made an interesting observation about righteousness in Matthew 5:20.   “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Why would Jesus say this about these good moral people of His day?  After all, the scribes and the Pharisees were the teachers and authority of the law.  They were the outstanding religious leaders of the nation of Israel.  Unfortunately these good moral people had “drawn up rules and regulations for life and conduct which in their stringency went far beyond anything God required.  Their teaching was false and hollow, and Jesus had to present to the people the true teaching on righteousness.  (D. Martin Lloyd Jones).

How easy it would be for me to criticize these religious leaders.  The truth is, I am also guilty of this.  How often do I set up standards to define a “real” Christian—theological bent, church affiliation, dress, music, political party, etc.?  Whether I realize it or not, this is a type of “works righteousness”.  Trying to fulfill these self-imposed requirements to make me “right” with God, my fellow man, and even myself.  There is a line in the song, Come Ye Sinners, I just love—

 If you tarry til you’re bettter, you will never come at all. 

Not the righteous, not the righteous, Jesus came to call.

 That is the answer the scribes and Pharisees missed, and I often forget.  We will NEVER be better!!  We can never “clean-up” our act enough.  That is the point!  We can never fulfill the law perfectly as is required.  But Jesus has on our behalf.  Don’t you get weary of trying to merit approval?  First from God, then from people?

 This is the prayer for my granddaughters today.  That they would understand the great gift that is theirs in Jesus, His righteousness.  And then as they experience the freedom this brings, they could learn how to rest in His righteousness.

A very happy and “restful” Thanksgiving to you,

Pam

Too Much of a Good Thing May Be a Bad Thing

In our book, My Grandmother Is. . . praying for me, the month of August is devoted to the character trait of self-control.  As my friend, Kathy, said last week in her blog, there are many aspects of  self-control–speech, behavior, thoughts, etc.  I particularly resonated with Proverbs 25:16, given on August 22.

     If you find honey, eat just enough–too much of it, and you will vomit.

This seems like such a simple command.  As sweet and delicious as honey is, do not eat too much of it.  Eat just enough or you will become sick.  It reminds me of a comment I heard years ago when a very tall, thin friend was chastising our very chubby overweight friend.  “What’s the big deal?  said our thin friend.  “Just don’t overeat!”

How easy to pontificate about temptations that are not our own!  Well, all I can say is our thin friend may not understand, but I do, and so does my little overstuffed literary friend, Winnie the Pooh.  That little stuffed bear goes to all kinds of extremes when it comes to securing honey– soaring to the tree tops disguised as a cloud, enduring the attack of killer bees, as well as the humiliation of being “a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness” for over a week.  All in the name of honey!

In today’s therapeutic vernacular , Piglet’s best friend is a “honey addict” with no self-control.   Perhaps that is why I love this little bear!  I, too, love food, especially sweets, and do not always control myself as I should.  Perhaps Pooh is like me in that eating sweets somehow transports me back to the simpler more peaceful time of my childhood.  More and more “honey” promises comfort to all the stresses I feel in this adult life.  Unfortunately, such promises are empty lies, and instead of providing lasting comfort, only provide a stomach ache or, if continued over a long period of time, a serious illness.

Because he is a bear of “very little brain,” Pooh may not realize there is a much deeper issue involved than merely craving honey.  Our obsession is not really about honey, but a “savior” who will help us make life work.  A lack of self-control in any area of life–food, money, sex, work, etc. is a symptom of a deeper need.

Sooooooo, how shall I pray for those sweet granddaughters when it comes to self-control?  My prayer for them, as for myself, is that when the Holy Spirit reveals this inability to control myself, I will not despair that I have failed again.   Instead, I pray that His prompting will cause me to run to the One who had, who has, and who will always have, perfect self-control, the Lord Jesus.  He is the real Savior who brings lasting comfort and peace.

Grace to you (especially when you have no self-control) 🙂

Pam

 

 

Another Teaching Opportunity

Well, it has happened again!  Another traveling experience with my little granddaughters.  How sweet all three of them looked strapped in their car seats barely fitting in the back seat!  I think I was more excited than they were.  The five of us were making the trek from their home in Memphis to visit my 89-year-old father, their great-grandfather, in Louisiana.  He had seen the oldest, Mary Chase, over three years ago but had not seen the other two.

Our trip was fairly uneventful.  There were the usual fusses and tussles over toys, and many crackers and water cups passed from the front seat to the back seat.  Music helped, but how funny for me to hear one of their favorite songs, Downtown by Petula Clark.  Naturally I had to show them I knew all the words until the 3-year-old, Kathryn, says, “Please don’t sing, Honey”.

Well, as I said, things were fairly uneventful until we were coming to a little town 45 minutes from my hometown.  It is a town that has keenly felt the economic down turn and is no longer the beautiful village it once was.  It still, however, has a beautiful lake, and I was pointing it out to the girls as we entered the city limits.  Up ahead I saw the flashing blue lights of a police car.  Thinking it was there to alert drivers to slow down, that is exactly what I did.  As I passed the police car, he pulled behind me, lights still flashing.  I asked my daughter, “Do you think he wants me to stop?”  “I am not sure why, Mom.  What were we doing wrong?”

Slowly, I turned the corner and pulled over out of traffic.  Unfortunately he followed right behind me.  A very nice policeman came to my door and courteously informed me that I had been speeding as I came into town. He asked for my driver’s license and insurance card which I promptly gave him.  Of course going through my mind were words like “speed trap,”  out-of-state license plates, financially strapped little town, etc. But as I glanced in the back seat, I could see 6-year-old, Mary Chase, with eyes as wide as saucers and a little face full of fear.

With my best “Scarlet O’Hara” smile and voice, I turned to the policeman and asked, “Officer, couldn’t you give me grace this time?  I am taking my 3 little granddaughters to visit my 89-year-old father.”  I guess at age 60, Scarlett is just not what she used to be.  In so many words, he said,”No” and walked back to his car to write out my ticket.

As we sat in the car waiting, I so wanted to discuss my initial thoughts with my daughter, but instead heard a still small voice within that said “teaching opportunity.”  So I turned to the back seat, and said, “Well, Mary Chase, I asked the officer for grace, but he could not give it.  So it looks like I will get what I deserve for disobeying the law.  Aren’t we thankful that Jesus always gives us GRACE even though we deserve punishment for our disobedience.  He has paid ALL our tickets!!

What a difference in my attitude as we drove off with ticket in hand!  Who would have thought a speeding ticket could be used to reflect redemption?  Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to show my little granddaughters a lesson in your AMAZING GRACE.

Blessings,

Pam

When Grandparents Become Parents Again

This past Tuesday the three of us were in Memphis at Independent Presbyterian Church where we were the speakers for a Mother-Daughter Luncheon.  There were almost 150 ladies present, and it was a delightful time for all of us.  I was especially glad to attend because this is the church home of my daughter, son-in-law, and our 3 “grandgirls”.  Our presentations went smoothly and seemed well received by the ladies.  We even managed to stay within our time requirement as requested by my daughter (“Some speakers go so long, we have to leave in the middle of it to go pick up our children.”).

We have spoken numerous times now throughout the year since the publication of our book.  I think what has surprised me the most about these events is how transparent many of the ladies are in sharing their stories with us.  Some express disappointment that there are no grandchildren on the scene, while others are deeply saddened by divorce and its impact on their grandchildren.  Some have special needs grandchildren, while others are excited over upcoming adoption of grandchildren.

One situation has surfaced again and again, and it concerns grandparents now rearing grandchildren.  While I am sure this has occurred in the past, it seems to be more and more prevalent among our Baby Boomer generation.  Even within my own extended family, I have two families who were the guardians of their grandchildren.

As we pause this Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day, I would like to honor and recognize these grandparents.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to think you are finished with the primary responsibilities for your children, looking forward to another season of life, and then being called to start over again.  And not to start over at an age where you are young and vigorous, but beginning again when you are older and not so energetic.

Great comfort can be found in the Scriptures for these grandparents as they are used by God to “stand in the gap” on behalf of their grandchildren.  Psalm 93:13-15 promises to keep us fresh and bearing fruit even in old age.  God works best when we are at our weakest. “. . .my power is made perfect in weakness.” II Cor. 12:9  And, He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and to be our God and the God to our children, and our children’s children, for a thousand generations. Hebrews 13:5; Genesis 17:7;

How grateful I am for these faithful grandparents!  May God bless their efforts as they seek to honor Him by rearing these little ones in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Their labor will not be in vain. I Cor. 15:58

Happy Mother’s Day!

Pam

A Village Full of Grandchildren

Does it take a village to rear children?  If by “village” you mean the federal government, Mrs. Clinton, I disagree.  But if the word “village” refers to “community,” then, yes, I do believe it takes a local community to rear all its children well.

Recently two of our granddaughters, ages 5 and 2, visited for a few days.   How many times did we read The Berenstain Bears? How many times did we sing “One little, two little, three little Indians. . . ten little Indian girls (remember we have only grand girls!!)?  Too many times to count!!  How long did we play “dress up” with Mary Chase as the princess, Kathryn as her loyal pet tiger (two-year olds aren’t picky about their roles), and I as the wicked queen trying to capture them?   I will tell you— long enough for this grandmother to acquire a set of very sore muscles!

How about the dinner party?  What was involved as Mary Chase helped her grandmother be the hostess and serve dinner to our “guests”, i.e. family?  It required setting the table properly, cutting and placing cheese with the crackers on a board, and inquiring about beverage preferences while handing out napkins.  All this done by a five-year old.

Yesterday was my usual day to tutor at a local public school here in Nashville.  My class is a group of wonderful fourth graders from many countries.  Names like Eduardo, Oscar, Mohammed, are heard throughout the classroom.  My job for a few hours each week is to help teach reading to two little girls and a little boy who have been in transit for most of their young lives.  Transitioning from one language to another has hindered their ability to learn and keep up with their class.  To say they are precious is an understatement!  They are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed each week when they greet me.  These are bright, engaging children who, most definitely, possess the ability to learn and grow in their knowledge.

As you read this you might be wondering what my pre-school grandchildren and this fourth grade class have to do with each other or with the idea of a “village”?  It is simply this.  My grandchildren will have a distinct advantage over most of these children when they begin formal schooling primarily because they had parents, grandparents, and other family members who were able to spend LOTS of time with them.  The consistent exposure to words and numbers is priming their brains to learn and remember.  As wonderful and bright as my grandchildren are (and, of course, I think they are!!), they are no more intelligent than many of these children.  They are, however, blessed with caring people involved in their lives. Please do not think I am saying my fourth grade students do not have parents and families who love them.  They do!  But for a myriad of reasons—lack of language skill, family support, job and adequate finances, etc., they are unable to give their children what my grandchildren have.  Lots of time and attention!

Now let me ask you a question?  Are you a grandparent whose grandchildren live away from you?  Have you ever considered becoming an “adopted” grandparent to a child in your community?   May I offer you the challenge to invest your time and talent in these children?  I assure you, the life in all our “villages” will be brighter and better because you did.

PAM

Fall Activities to do with your Grandchildren


Dear Grandmother

Fall is my very favorite season so I always enjoy thinking about crafts and recipes that go along with this time of year. I would recommend that you try roasting pumpkin seeds with your grandchild.

Here is my method, although I know there are several effective ways to make them:

1. Buy a fresh pumpkin, cut off the top and take out the seeds. You will probably have about 1.5 cups of seeds.

2. Put the seeds in a colander and rinse them off.

3. Boil them in salted water for about 20 minutes.

4. Put them on a cookie sheet and let them dry for a few hours or overnight.

5. After drying, mix them with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

6. Spread them on the cookie sheet in a single layer and bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Eat and enjoy!

Kathy

 Autumn is a wonderful season for all kinds of activities with your grandchildren.  As the weather gets cooler find an appropriate location to have a bon fire and hot dog roast.  Show your grandchild how to put a hot dog wiener on a stick and roast it over the fire.  For dessert roast marshmallows or make S’Mores with graham crackers, chocolate bars, and roasted marshmallows.  Tell stories or sing songs around the camp fire.

When you are outside encourage your grandchildren to pick up a variety of leaves.  This is a good activity to do inside with your grandchildren.  Make pictures out of fall leaves like the ones given below.   This example was found on www.FamilyFun.com, a website loaded with all kinds of activities and recipes to do with children.  Most of all–Have fun with your granchildren!!

Pam

Go on a treasure hunt and look for 1) spiders – How is God providing food for the spiders?  2) changing colors in the leaves – What makes them change colors?  3)  squirrels – How do the squirrels eat in the winter time?  4) persimmons – Taste one!  Then rake a big  pile of leaves and fall in them!   Discovery and laughter are fun activities anytime – but especially in the fall.

Susan

Trusting God as I Say Goodbye

by Kathy March

Many years ago now, when I was a recently-wed young woman, I had a startling conversation with my mother-in-law.  We were discussing her sorrow over the fact that her children and grandchildren were scattered across the country.  She so desired to be close to all of them—to be a part of their daily lives and to watch her grandchildren grow up.  Then she shared a dream of hers with me: a dream to buy several acres of land, build a large family home, and allocate plots of land to her children so they could also build family homes.  Initially, I was amused.  Soon after, I was appalled.  At the time, I could not even imagine living in a “March Family Compound.”

This morning, I stood at our side door and hugged my son and his wife goodbye.  They had been living on the west coast of the United States—miles away from us, but still an easy air flight away.  Now, they are on their way to China.  My son has accepted a two-year position teaching in a Chinese high school, and they are thrilled at the chance to experience a new culture and lifestyle.  And as much as I am grateful for their spirit of adventure and their new opportunity, I would rather not say goodbye to them.

I would much rather buy a plot of land and allocate a portion to them and be a part of their daily lives.  I am the one that now wants the “March Family Compound.”

Isn’t it interesting how life “goes full circle?”  I now recognize that my mother-in-law’s desire was rooted in love and not in control.  I would like to think that my motives for keeping my family close are the same.  Yet the Lord has been teaching me that I am not in control of my grown children, and that He is the author of their life story.  In fact, Acts 17:26-28a says this:

From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  For in Him we live and move and have our being.

This Bible verse assures me that God has determined the best places for my children and grandchildren to live and that He has great purpose in that determination.  The purpose is so that they will seek Him and reach out for Him.

Really, what more could I want for my children and grandchildren?  If their lives are full of passion for the Lord, if they have learned to seek Him and to serve Him in all places, that would fulfill my greatest desire.

So, as I pray for my beloved children heading off to China, I will commit to trusting the Lord to draw them close and continue His work in their lives.

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