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, February 28, 2014

Writing Birthday Letters

Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

"If you could go to lunch with anyone, who would it be?" That question was asked at a meeting I attended, and most people said their grandparents. When asked "Why?" the common response was "I never really knew them."

Did you know all of your grandparents? I only knew two. Thinking about this has reminded me of the importance of writing our grandkids letters.

A few of years ago Pops and I started a new tradition with the grands—writing each of them a birthday letter. I read this idea somewhere—I think in the Littauers’ book Making the Blueplate Special. I thought it was a great, very doable idea.

It’s been fun for Pops and me to share in our letters memories of the actual “birth day.” We’ve also included memories during the year and a Bible verse that reminds us of the particular child or one that we’ll be praying for that child.

Although some may want to write birthday letters by hand, I prepare ours on the computer and then personally sign them. I include special pictures in the body of the letter, and print the letter in color.

Pops and I not only give each grandchild his/her birthday letter, but also keep a copy into a notebook that we’ll give the grandchild when he/she is 18 or 21. (How I wish I could open up a notebook and read 18 or 21 letters from my grandparents.)

Now, I have to confess, I'm a little behind on some birthday letters. I just have to remember that the letters will be special to the grands, even if they are late ... and even if they don't a birthday letter every single year. But what would I give for just one letter from each of my grandparent!?!

What do you do to make special memories on your grandchildren’s birthdays? How did your grandparents remember your birthday?

Have a great weekend,
Mary May Larmoyeux

 © 2010, 2014 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Capturing our stories

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Not too long ago, a good friend, Karen Jordan, and I taught a four-week writing workshop at church called "Capture Your Story." One week we talked about preserving our family stories for future generations, especially our spiritual stories.

We jotted down stories that we wanted to share with our families. Some memories that came to my mind included the premature birth of our oldest son. The doctor said that he would not live through the night, but God knew better. This son is now the father of three of our precious grandchildren.

And I remembered getting out of a taxi as a college student when I was visiting a small church. A middle-age couple "adopted" me and brought me to church every Sunday after that. Pops and I still stay in touch with them today.

What stories to you want your great, great-grandchildren to know about you? What do you want them to know about your faith? If you haven't already begun capturing family stories (in writing, on videotape, through a recording, etc.), you may want to consider starting today.

Doing this can be very simple. You may want to purchase a special journal and just jot down your stories ... His stories ... on a weekly or monthly basis. Someday, a generation you will never know will thank you!

He is able,
Mary May Larmoyeux

Article and picture © 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Think Spring ... Make a Birdhouse

Friday’s Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. —Psalm 50:11

A few years ago one of the Christmas presents that Pops and I gave our grands was a birdhouse (one to each family). Although we thought that the kids would like them, we were surprised at how thrilled they were about them.

Now, they weren’t just ordinary birdhouses—they were designed for children to custom decorate with outdoor paints. (I purchased the birdhouse kits, complete with paints, from our local Knowledge Tree.) Our out-of-town grandkids decorated their birdhouse the day after Christmas, and our local grands decorated theirs a day or so later. They are all thrilled with their creations.

You may want to decorate a birdhouse with your local grandchildren on a bleak winter day or mail one to those who live out-of-town. Just looking at a birdhouse reminds us that spring will soon be here.

A birdhouse can also provide a great topic for ongoing conversation with the grands. I plan to checkout some library books about our feathery friends to read with the grands who live nearby.

With out-of-town (and local) grandkids we can google “birds” and find all sorts of information and activities that we could send them by e-mail or snail mail. Here are just a few possibilities:

Just color the critters (National Audubon Society—just for kids)

Birds of America (you can search by state—National Audubon Society)

Wild bird treat (National Geographic for Kids)

Have fun!

© 2009, 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Looking back in time

Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

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Have you ever felt like you went back in time as you watched your grandkids? That happened to me last week when I was with our three-year-old grandson and his big sister.

Our little grandson was having lots of fun with his "bow and arrow"—that is, shooting a rubber band from a plastic coat hanger. As I watched him I remembered his daddy being a cowboy in our backyard long ago; his gun was a stick.

Then, as our grandson took a small shovel and began to dig a hole in his backyard, big sis gathered the patio chairs together and turned them upside down. She was making a fort. I remembered the forts I made as a child under overgrown bushes, and the tree house that Pops' and my sons built long ago.

I'm reminded of something that Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson wrote in their book Let's Make a Memory: "We have this moment to hold in our hand, and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand. Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today!"

How do you savor those special moments with your grandchildren? As you watch your legacy, do they ever remind you of your children?

Have a great week!
Mary May Larmoyeux

Article © 2011 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo © Melissa Patton / Dreamstime.com

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chocolate Truffles

My friend Helen Austin says that making chocolate truffles is great for people who like to play with their food. She just uses her hands to roll them up. 

A recipe for Swedish Kokosbollar (Chocolate Truffles) is one of her favorites. You and your grandkids may enjoy making some Chocolate Truffles today!  

Happy Valentine's Day!

© by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo © Shebeko/Dreamstime.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ahhhhh, Love!

Tuesday's  Grand Connection Thought

As Valentine's Day approaches, I remember a couple of years ago, when one of our granddaughters and her little brother spent the weekend with Pops and me, we made a cake together. When the kids’ parents came over for lunch the next day, they remarked that the cake was especially good.

Our little granddaughter cocked her head. “Know why?” she asked.

“Why?” her dad answered.

“I poured the cake mix in with all of my love,” she said. “The goodness you taste is my love.”

Out of the mouths of babes! She captured the real reason why she wanted to help make the cake. And, she expressed why caring grandparent do what we do. We cook meals, baby-sit, go to football games, pray, and read goodnight stories not out of obligation—but out of love.

Ahhhh, love. What could be sweeter?

How has your grandchild expressed love to you? And how do you express your love to your legacy?

Have a great week,

© by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
© Alexandr Tkachuk / Dreamstime.com

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine's Day Ideas

Friday’s Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Valentine's Day is a great time to connect with our grandkids, and it's right around the corner! February 14 will soon be here.

Of course, kids love getting cards in the mail. Pops' and my grandchildren will each have an "I love you" message from us. I confess that I bought Valentine cards at the dollar store this year.
But you might want to try out some of the creative Valentine card ideas that are shared on Highlights' website.

And here are some more fun ideas:

Cupid's Arrows

How have you made memories with your grandkids on Valentine's Day? Are you doing anything special this year on February 14?
Have a great weekend
Mary May Larmoyeux

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© 2013 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Special Children ... Angels in Disguise

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Have you ever heard special children described as angels in disguise? Deborah, the mother of a son with Down Syndrome, says that she is blessed to be his mother. I think she's right.

And Rita describes her special child in her poem Beyond, "Jacob 's understanding is deeper than mine when he shares a tangent of his world."

I'll never forget the day when I went grocery shopping with a bad attitude and met someone with deep understanding. A young man sacked my groceries who had some obvious developmental delays. As he neatly packed cans, sacks of flour and sugar, and packages of meat into brown paper bags, he had a smile on his face. And then he joyfully pushed my loaded cart to my car.

After he had put the groceries into the trunk, I handed him a dollar bill. I will never forget what he did next. He stood like a toy soldier, saluted me and said, "Here to serve."

Well ... I didn't just go grocery shopping that day ... I also had an attitude adjustment. I can't tell you how many times I've thought about that young man and the lesson that he taught me.

A few years ago I had the privilege of helping Robert Ward write an article "Running from How God Made Me." I also learned much from his words ... and from his heart. Here is Robert's version of Psalm 139:

                                       Our Heavenly Father's Heart
                               to Those Who Are Made Imperfect 
                                                       by Robert Ward

O Lord thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou know my down sitting and my uprising, Thou understands my thoughts afar off.

Father God sees how each child of His is made either imperfect or perfect and the days that each one will live here on earth are in His book of remembrance.

From birth to death, He writes down each struggle and challenge in his or her life.

The struggles of one with a speech impairment … when others have a hard time grasping his words … to someone who is blind and struggles with getting a seeing eye dog or a cane … to whatever the
disabilities are—nothing escapes His notice.

When others take for granted what they have, and don't recognize those who are not as they are, Our Heavenly Father sees. Yes, He sees what man doesn't see—which are the days that are fashioned for the each person. The days that are fashioned for me to live.

Do you have a special grandchild, an angel in disguise? What has he/she taught you?

He is able,

Article © 2011 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo © Erengoksel / Dreamstime.com