Welcome to a place where we can share ideas about grandparenting, especially ways to pass spiritual values and family stories to the next generation.

Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
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Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories and Place Mats

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Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

I'd like to share something with you from Heloise's Helpful Hints newspaper column. A reader named Laraine R. wrote that she makes place mats to remember various trips. After using double-stick tape to put trip memorabilia in place on poster board, she covers it with plastic.

My imagination came up with a few more ways that we can use Laraine's fun idea with our grandkids. What about making special Thanksgiving place mats for the family that are filled with memories of people and events that we are grateful for? For example, if a new grandbaby was born this year, we could have a copy of the birth announcement, photographs of Mom and the baby coming home, etc.

Or, maybe a grandchild recently graduated from high school or college. That place mat could have graduation pictures, copies of the invitation, etc. And if there's a little slugger in the family, how about focusing on baseball games and sports celebrations?

Of course, we wouldn't need to use actual pictures in today's world. We could print digital copies of photographs on plain paper. And we might want to focus on lots of people or events that we are thankful for, rather than just one specific person.

Here's another idea: We could help the grands make their own gratitude place mats. They could select pictures, write words, copy Bible verses, etc. onto a piece of poster board. It could be covered with plastic or laminated at a local teacher supply store (Mardel Bookstores often do laminating, too). We could ask grandchildren to make a place mat honoring one of their siblings, parents, or teachers.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, you may want to read the article 10 Ways to Keep Thanks in Thanksgiving . It's in the new issue of Encouraging Women  With Hearts for Their Homes.

Have a great weekend,

Order: The Grand Connection: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Grandchild's Heart

Photo and post © by Mary May Larmoyeux. All right reserved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Simple Blessings of Life

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

“If the stars came out only once a year, everyone would stay up all night just to watch,” said poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

René Haub referred to Emerson's quote in her article A Hundred-Dollar Word. "We tend to ignore the things that are always present or available to us (health, financial comfort, easy access to life’s 'necessities')," she said, "and take those things for granted, even if they are wonderful things."

I think René is right. What if we only felt the soft touch of a child's face ... or smelled chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven ... or saw a bird soar into the trees, once a year? What if we could only hear ... or see ... or taste, once a year?

Just thinking about this makes me very thankful!

How can we encourage thankfulness in our grandkids? We could play "what if" with them. Perhaps we could read them Emerson's quote about the stars and then recite or list together the simple, everyday blessings of life—ones we often take for granted. We could do this in person, on the phone, or even by e-mail.

If grandkids will be at our homes in the evening during Thanksgiving week, we could bundle up, go outside, and peer together into a star-filled night. We could recite not only Emerson's quote about stars, but also verses such as Psalm 147:4: "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name."

May we be grandparents whose lives overflow with thankfulness ... every day.

Happy Thanksgiving,

© 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux.
Photo © US National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

He has done great things

Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

I still remember when a friend and I ate lunch together and talked about passing down family stories. She referred to a passage in Psalms 78 that tells about the importance of sharing spiritual stories.

"We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord," says Psalm 78:4. "His power, and the wonders he has done.”

The Bible paraphrase The Message says it this way (verses 1-4): “ … I'll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother's knee. We're not keeping this to ourselves, we're passing it along to the next generation—God's fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done.”

It is up to us to pass on family stories—especially ones about God intervening in our lives and homes. We can share these stories with the grands while washing dishes together, taking a relaxing walk, or going on a drive. We can record our stories and burn them on a CD, or write them down in notebooks. … We can even do something very simple—jot them down in our Bibles.

For years I've jotted down things I want to remember in my Bible—births, weddings, deaths. Memories such as,“God protected a child on from a terrible wreck when he did a 360 degree turn on a wet freeway and ended up in a ditch,” “God protected my husband when a car burst into flames 3-4 feet from a propane tank by his office,” “God protected a son and his wife when they had a gas leak in their house,” and on, and on, and on.

Whenever I read in my Bible how God has protected and led our family, I remember that He has done great things ... marvelous things. I'm also reminded that I can trust God for today and tomorrow.

Stories of His past faithfulness engrave the hearts of our families with this message. And what a wonderful message to share with our families as Thanksgiving approaches. Nothing is impossible for God! (Luke 1:37)

Have a great week,

© by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
© Photographer: Noriko Cooper / Dreamstime.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thanksgiving traditions

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
—Psalm 107:1

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be here in a couple of weeks. We’re really looking forward to some good family time!

Sometimes I overestimate what I can do for the holidays—wanting to make them extra special for everyone. I’m really trying to do better at knowing my limits. Can you identify? I wanted to use pretty china for Thanksgiving this year, but the more Jim and I talked about it, the more impractical it seemed—with five grandkids from 1 – 6 years of age.

It will be great for young and old to share blessings with one another around our Thanksgiving table. The branches of our little Thanksgiving tree are filled with reminders of God’s goodness during this past year.

Although I’m very grateful to God for His many blessings, I’m also very aware that we’re not in heaven yet. Our society wants to breathe the fairy dust of perfection on the holidays, but there’s no perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas. And there’s sure no perfect Nana or Pops.

After our Thanksgiving feast and time of remembering, we’ll enjoy a family tradition—making gingerbread houses for Christmas. (I’ll share the recipe in one of the Friday's Fun columns.) We’ve done that since our sons were little boys. It seems unreal that their children are now making the gingerbread houses.

What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions?

He is able,

Order: The Grand Connection: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Grandchild's Heart

© 2008 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All right reserved.