Today I have the privilege of introducing Lydia E. Harris, a prolific author who has published over a thousand articles, many of them on grandparenting. We met in May at the Northwest Christian Writers Association renewal conference. Welcome, Lydia.
Thanks for inviting me to guest blog on your site. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Milt, for 48 years. We have two married children and five grandchildren, ages preschool to high school. I love all things tea and write the column “A Cup of Tea with Lydia” in The Country Register, so when my daughter and her husband expected their first child, they dubbed me “Grandma Tea.”
In the picture below, we’re celebrating my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday, and I’m reading my grandkids the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. That was four years ago, and I’ve learned grandkids grow up quickly. Our oldest grandchild will attend community college this fall in the running start program.
As a Christian grandmother, I want to be intentional about passing on my faith to our grandkids. I also want to encourage other grandparents to pass on a legacy of faith. I wrote the Bible study Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting: for Grandparents at Any Stage of the Journey to encourage and inspire grandparents. This book is full of God’s Word and creative ways to share fun and faith with grandkids.
Grandparents Day is coming up September 13, 2015, so if you’re a grandparent, I hope you can connect with your grandkids (call, write, skype, or get together). I gave ideas for showing love in a post for Mentoring Moments.
Since I’m a home economist, I often cook with my grandkids. We have fun creating recipes that are published in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine for children.
I enjoy being a grandma, but grandparenting isn’t always fun and games. On the serious side, one of my grandsons needed open heart surgery as a toddler. And in everyday life, we deal with the usual grandkids’ squabbles. Plus, Grandpa and I run out of energy when the grandkids come for a sleepover. (In case you haven’t heard: a sleepover with the grands means your sleep is over.) But we love our grands and are on their fan club.
Before our grandkids come to visit, Grandpa and I pray for wisdom and for God’s help. We also pray about things to do to make our time pleasant. Here’s how one day went.
A Fruitful Summer Day
On a recent summer morning, three energetic grandkids arrived for the day. (Their mom was taking a college course, and my husband and I had offered to grand-sit.) To set the tone for a happy time with them, we started by reading Galatians 5:22–23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I had printed out these nine virtues and asked them to circle the one they’d like to work on that day. (Since the grandkids are growing up in a Christian home, these verses were familiar to them.)
Grandpa went first and chose peace. I said I would need patience. Anna (5) chose joy, her middle name. Owen (9) chose kindness, and Clara (11) wasn’t quite sure, so I suggested she could pick them all! We prayed together for God’s help, and then talked about possible fun activities for the day.
With the hot Seattle weather, I suggested going out for lunch. (That would be easy for Grandma, and we could linger in an air-conditioned restaurant.) However, it seems Grandma’s cheese quesadillas, root beer floats, and maybe some microwave s’mores appealed more to them. So we turned on the fan and feasted at home.
They also wanted to bake—even with temperatures near ninety! I chose an easy recipe of five-layer bars and brought the fan into the kitchen while we worked. They took turns crushing the graham crackers and sprinkling on (and nibbling) chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts. The final layer was sweetened condensed milk, which they didn’t mind licking from their fingers when done.
We included other things they enjoyed: a trip to the local bookstore to buy Sticker Dolly Dressing books, a home movie (I have lots of children’s Bible-related stories), and ice water served from a teapot (since I’m “Grandma Tea”). One other cool idea was our frozen shirt game. Before they came, I rolled up wet T-shirts and froze them. Then they unrolled them (with difficulty) and put them on—either over their shirts or their bare skin. Perfect for hot weather.
Part way through the day, I asked, “How are we doing with the fruit of the spirit?”
“Good,” they answered, as they placed colorful stickers on the dolls in their new sticker books.
Later, as we drove them home with three grandkids smushed in the back seat of our car, I cranked up a peppy Christian praise CD and said, “This trip is about a five-song ride.”
We delivered three happy children along with a plateful of cookies. Their parents and puppy were glad to see them. And Grandpa and I drove home wondering why we felt so tired when we’d been having so much fun!
Happy grandparenting! God bless you.
Lydia Harris (aka Grandma Tea)
Posted on August 11, 2015