Growing Older Gracefully Archives 2012

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  • Finish Every Day (poem) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Distractions by Pat Gates
  • So Little Time (poem)
  • A Loving Grandpa 
  • Various Writings about Procrastination: Tomorrow (poem), That Dreaded Task by Richard Massey, Choose this Day Whom You Will Serve by David Maxson, What is Your Procrastination Style?, Various quotes, Procrastination (poem)
  • Silence Isn't Always Golden
  • It's A Serious Sin to Discourage Others by Gary Henry
  • Press On Toward Heaven by Richard Thetford 
  • Ouch! That Hurt! by Lonnie Cruse
  • The Burden of Not Forgiving by Brett Petrillo
  • Forgiveness by David Maxon
  • Response to "How do you keep romance alive when raising grandchildren?"
  • "You Don't Understand" by Pat Gates
  • My Get Up and Go Has Gone Up and Went (poem)
  • Parenting Our Grandchildren by Joanne Beckley & Diane Demumbreum
  • Question from mail: Why are so many grandparents raising their grandchildren?

         Finish every day
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.
.
This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.
,
            Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Distractions

by Pat Gates 

We finally get a grasp on our thoughts and emotions and then the cares of living  distracts us from our spiritual thoughts and pulls us back down into the world of pain and concern.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you," 1 Peter 5:6-7.

The word "care" is from the Greek word, merimna, meaning to draw in different directions; distract (Vines). When we read verse 7, keeping in mind the Greek meaning, it would read something like, Casting all your distractions upon Him,  for He is interested and concerned about you. God knows our "adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour," 1 Peter 5:8. The devil rejoices in our burdens, our fleshly distractions. Financial difficulties, family problems, illness, caregiving, and grief can all be distractions to our spirit and this is what the devil is counting on.

God, knowing the flesh wars against the spirit (Rom. 7:14; 8:6-7), comforts us, "Resist him [the devil], steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you," (1 Pet. 5:9-10). When our flesh distracts our spirit, remember "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it," (1 Cor. 10:13).

We are warned in Luke 8:4 that there will be distractions in this earthly life, but our Lord has made Himself available for us to place all our cares (distractions) on Him, because He is concerned for our spiritual well-being. In humility we need to  take hold of the power God offers to help us overcome distractions and keep our spirit focused. We are to be sober (self-controlled), vigilant (watchful), and steadfast in the faith, as we resist the devil's temptations to distract us (1 Peter 5:8-9).

"And the "God of all grace," after we have suffered, will perfect us (repair, restore), establish us (make fast), strengthen us, and settle us (to possess a foundation), (1 Peter 5:10). Our flesh distracts, God cares. As we cry out as Paul did in Romans 7:24, "Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?," the reply in verse 25 is: "I thank God --- through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

         SO LITTLE TIME
So little time, so much to do
Before He calls me home!
Lord, may I faithful be, and true
Until the day You come.
So many wasted years have gone,
So few are left for me,
Yet there is much that can be done
To set the captive free.
Someone must tell that story old
Of Jesus and His love;
Someone must lead them to the fold
And happiness above.
So may I join those reapers few
Who toil from sun to sun,
Because there is so much to do
If souls to Christ are won.
.
                author unknown 

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A Loving Grandpa

A woman in a supermarket is following a grandfather and his badly behaved 3 year-old grandson. It's obvious to her that he has his hands full with the child screaming for sweets in the sweet aisle, cookies in the cookie aisle; and for fruit, cereal and pop in the other aisles. Meanwhile, Granddad is working his way around, saying in a controlled voice, "Easy, William, we won't be long, easy, boy."

Another outburst, and she hears the granddad calmly say, "It's okay, William, just a couple more minutes and we'll be out of here. Hang in there, boy."

.
At the checkout, the little terror is throwing items out of the cart, and Granddad says again in a controlled voice, "William, William, relax buddy, don't get upset. We'll be home in five minutes; stay cool, William."

Very impressed, the woman goes outside where the grandfather is loading his groceries and the boy into the car. She said to the elderly gentleman, "It's none of my business, but you were amazing in there. I don't know how you did it. That whole time, you kept your composure, and no matter how loud and disruptive he got, you just calmly kept saying things would be okay. William is very lucky to have you as his grandpa."

"Thanks," said the grandfather, "but I'm William.......the little  monster's name is Kevin."

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 PROCRASTINATION

Procrastination can become a problem as we age as well as those of us who are chronically ill. Fatigue sets in and sometimes we may find ourselves fearful to do tasks we once did with ease. While the physical changes in the body can't be helped, sometimes forcing us to put off work that needs to be done, if we aren't careful the procrastination can become habitual and when we have added energy we may hold back on doing good due to a number of excuses we give ourselves. If fatigue and pain are a problem then realistic expectations of what we are capable of doing must first be formed. We need to be honest with ourselves about our abilities and then use these abilities when we can without excuse.

If you are younger, without chronic illness, then learn to put away procrastination before old age arrives and it will be a great asset in keeping your mind and body as active as it can be.

 

..."If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it."...

TOMORROW

He was going to be all that a mortal could be...Tomorrow;

No one would be kinder nor braver than he...Tomorrow.

A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,

Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it too;

On him he would call and see what he could do...Tomorrow.

Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write...Tomorrow;

And he thought of the folks he would fill with delight...Tomorrow.

It was too bad indeed he was busy today,

And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;

"More time I'll have to give others," he'd say...Tomorrow.

The greatest of workers this man would have been...Tomorrow;

The world would have known him had he ever seen...Tomorrow.

But the fact is he died, and he faded from view,

And all that he left here when living was through,

Was a mountain of things he intended to do...Tomorrow.

 ,

The Dreaded Task

by Richard Massey

"I found the task that I had dreaded so,
Was not so difficult when once begun;
It was the dread itself that was the foe,
And dread once conquered means a victory won."

Margaret E. Brown

How true is the above statement. The first time brethren asked me to teach a Bible class (it was fifth and sixth graders), I recoiled -- grimly dreading even the thought. I guess the elders were hard pressed for teachers, so my arm was twisted until I finally relented. Once I got started, however, the task became such a joy that I did not want to stop. I even enjoyed decorating the classroom with my own homemade posters. I have been teaching ever since, and enjoying every minute.

It is the "getting started" that seems to be the real hurdle. If we can get past that, the rest goes easier. Is there a hurdle between you and attendance at Bible class, or attendance on Sunday nights? Is there a hurdle for you in leading a public prayer, or inviting your neighbor to church? There are precious benefits that accompany each victory we win over dread. One result is we become a fruitful and stronger Christian. Dread makes us weak and unproductive.

Are there important things that you should be doing, but because of dread you have not accomplished them? Let me encourage you to get past the dread. Look to the Lord for strength (Ephesians 6:10-11; Philippians 4:13). Lean on your brethren for support (Galatians 6:2). Remember, it is "not so difficult when once begun."

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And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve...
Joshua 24:15
by David Maxson

Procrastination will simply not work when it comes to serious decisions. Indecision amounts to no decision. We get bogged down as we meditate on the hundreds of reasons to put off what we know we ought to do today.

Choosing to serve the Lord is one such decision we must never put off. When we know we are outside the will of God on something, there is no reason to delay another second. We must do what ought to be done right away.

When I say "right away" what I mean is NOW! I'm serious about this. Don't even finish reading this devotional. If there is some action you must take to be right with God, do it right now.

Choose this day whom you will serve. Don't put it off. Don't think about it. Don't pray about it. If you know what you ought to be doing and haven't done it... DO IT NOW!

God, grant us a sense of urgency in doing your will.

What's Your Procrastination Style?

Fear?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7

Worry?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

Fatigue?

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26:40-41

Forgetfulness?

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Heb 13:16

Laziness?

He who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. Pro 10:5

Apathy?

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Rev 3:16

Boredom?

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. Ecc 9:10

Selfishness?

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4

Not enough time?

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. Jn. 9:4

Dreamer?

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? James 2:15-16

Perfectionist?

 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Jam 3:2

Low Expectations?

And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’  But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant... Matt. 25:25-26

"No one rises to low expectations."

Lack of faith?

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 2 Cor. 1:9-10

Excuses?

Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'... Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” Lk 14:16-20; 23-24

Self-deceit?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. Jam 1:22-25

"Self-deception occurs when people who are committed to certain values act against those values while convincing themselves that what they are doing does not in fact violate those values." (selected)

Lack of organization and priorities?

Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Tim 4:7-8

Pride?

 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Phil. 3:7

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The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecc. 7:8

"If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it."

"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing."

"Don't fool yourself that important things can be put off till tomorrow; they can be put off forever, or not at all."

"Procrastination is opportunity's natural assassin."

 "One of these days is none of these days."

 "Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.

Procrastination

 Procrastination is the road
To never-never land
Where birds are always in the bush,
But never in the hand.

Where trees drop saddened branches down
With fruit of might-have-been,
And brooks wash youthful dreams away
Into the river When.

It is no fun to travel on
Procrastination way,
For pronmised work is never done,
And gain is always say.

I think I'd much prefer to walk
The Do-it-now highway,
Where tasks grow never large or hard
For him who works today.

( Author Unknown)

 Silence Isn't Always Golden

Procrastination and Silence go hand in hand:

 
Thank you notes don't get written.
Encouraging words don't get said.
Wisdom isn't shared because God's word is never read.

 Silence Isn't Always Golden

Sometimes our silence discourages. We need to get rid of any obstacle that is preventing us encouraging others with good words whether it be shyness, envy, apathy, self-focus, or ingratitude.

The lips of the righteous feeds many. Prov. 10:21

The tongue of the wise promotes health. Prov. 12:18

A good word makes (the heart) glad. Prov. 12:25

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a good word spoken in due season, how good it is! Prov. 15:23

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Prov. 16:24

Encourage the fainthearted. 1 Thess. 5:14

Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear. Eph. 4:19

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It’s A Serious Sin To Discourage Others

Gary Henry

“Let not those who wait for You, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel” (Psalm 69:6).

As we reach forward to God, we all know how frustrating it is to be discouraged in our efforts. Knowing this, we ought to shrink from doing anything that would discourage someone else as they try to make progress. In the Lord’s view of things, it is no slight offense to be a “stumbling block,” particularly to those who’ve not yet acquired much strength of their own. Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:1,2). The Lord considers it a serious sin to discourage others.

In another place, Jesus upbraided some of the religious scholars of His day: “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered” (Luke 11:52). As expert students of the Scriptures, these individuals might have been expected to be the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. When they refused to deal honestly with the evidence and enter the kingdom, their sin was a double transgression: “You did not enter in yourselves,” Jesus said, “and those who were entering in you hindered.”

But we, perhaps like these people, tend not to take responsibility. We’re quick to take credit for any good influence we’ve had, but we’re not so eager to accept blame when we’ve had a negative impact. If our associates have made bad choices, we would argue that those choices were their own responsibility; nothing we did “made” them act as they did. And that’s true, obviously. But if others end up being lost for the sinful choices they made, we also may lose our souls for having made their right choices more difficult.

No man is so insignificant as to be sure his example can do no harm,” wrote Edward Hyde. It’s hard enough already for those around us to keep moving ahead. If, by our example, we make it even harder for them, we should expect God’s displeasure. And not only that, we should expect to find our own lives less happy.

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Press on Toward Heaven

Richard Thetford

All too often we have a tendency to look back and dwell on what we have done or haven’t done instead of concentrating on the future. “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife” (Luke 17:28-33). Lot’s wife had a longing for that which she had left. Consequently, she was overtaken and consumed. Her trust was not in her God but in the things of the world. She just could not bring herself to let go.

Do we have this trouble today? Think about it. Sometimes “looking back” may simply be filling our lives up with “good” things to the degree that we cannot render to our God what is due Him. That is the point that Jesus made in Luke 9:62 when He said “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” So where should we be looking? Obviously not backwards. We should be looking forward and running toward God. Lot’s wife should have felt as if she were in a footrace away from Sodom and we should feel the same way. The Hebrew writer tells us to run with endurance the race that is set “before” us, looking to Jesus ... (Hebrews 12:1-2). We must realize that everything we do as we follow Jesus is another step in our race toward our eternal victory. When you feel enticed by the world - remember Lot’s wife. Let’s all strive to “press on toward heaven!”

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 Ouch! That Hurt!

Lonnie Cruse

Has someone ever hurt your feelings or done you wrong (or you think they did, whether they really did or not) and you are struggling to get over it?  Yeah, me too.   

     Sometimes people hurt us on purpose, or at the very least are aware they might be hurting us, but either way, they simply don't care.  And sometimes they don't have a clue they've hurt us, or maybe we were guilty of wearing our feelings on our sleeves?  In any of those cases, it's very easy to start carrying a grudge.  Problem is, grudges get heavier and heavier the longer we carry them.  And sometimes the person makes amends, but maybe we aren't quite ready to let go?  

     It's pretty easy to decide we've been wronged by someone else, even easier to get mad and stay mad.  It's much harder to let go of that hurt, whether the offender has made things right or not.  We may promise to forgive, but forgetting is quite another matter.  

     Ever find yourself reliving past wrongs and/or confrontations, maybe even things that happened years ago, and thinking about what you really should have done/said, and how you'd handle it now, if it happened to you again?  Me, too.  So what to do?  Because this kind of thinking leads to serious grudge holding, which leads to losing one's soul!   It's time to forgive, and forget, with heavy emphasis on "forget."        

      Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." 

       Okay, but what if the offender doesn't WANT us to forgive?  Maybe they have a grudge against us, or, unbelievable as it might seem, they simply don't like us, and don't mind letting us know it?  Hmmmm.  Hard one.   IF someone harms us, knowingly or unknowingly, and doesn't ask and/or want our forgiveness, what do we do?  'Cause that really hurts, doesn't it?  The very idea that someone doesn't care about how we feel? 

     Seems to me, we still need to forgive, or at the very least, refuse to let it affect us, refuse to hold a grudge.  We need to remember that God will be the final judge of us all, and He will take care of anyone who has harmed us, if that person did not honestly ask for forgiveness.  No need for us to try to punish that person, or to nurse a grudge, or hold onto bad feelings.  And we don't want to put our own souls at risk, do we?  

     The idea of forgiveness, of non-grudge-holding is very easy to agree with and very hard to put into practice.  But when we read about Jesus on the cross, about how He asked God to forgive those who crucified Him, we have to remember how much worse it was for Him than it could ever be for us, because they killed Him!  And we need to remember that on the day of Pentecost His prayer for their forgiveness was answered when those who realized the enormity of what they'd done to Him obeyed Peter's command to repent and be baptized.  Those who obeyed were forgiven.  Those who didn't were faced with eternal judgment/punishment by God when they died.   Jesus forgave, but only those who repented/obeyed received the reward of His forgiveness.  

     When we are able to put behind us whatever has been done to us, to forgive, to refuse to hold a grudge, those guilty will either be rewarded by God for repenting, or will be punished for refusing.   And remember, if someone said something critical that hurt our feelings, we need to take a good, hard, objective look at what they said before we get hurt/mad.  Is there any truth in what they said about us?  Anything we need to correct in our lives?  Might be hard to accept from that person.  Might also be something we needed to hear.  If not, we need to ignore it and move on.

     Grudges weigh a lot, are heavy to carry around, eat away at us inside, and don't do a lick to the person we are mad at.  We are the only ones who suffer.  Frankly I really needed this lesson, so that's why I wrote it.  IF you need it, I hope it helps you too!

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 The Burden of Not Forgiving

A story is told of a teacher who once asked her students to bring a clear trash bag and a sack of potatoes to school. In class, she had each student take out a potatoes and write down the name of someone they hadn’t forgiven and then place it in the bag. Some of the bags were light and others were quite heavy. The teacher then instructed the students to carry this bag around with them everywhere for the next week. It was to be with them at all times and they could only set it down when they had to (sleep, meals, etc).

After the week was up, the students brought back their potatoes. Interestingly, the potatoes that were brought back looked nothing like they did at the start. The potatoes had deteriorated into a nasty sight from being dropped, hit, baked in the sun, and a variety of other damaging influences. Hauling around these nasty potatoes as well as the burden of carrying them made for a very powerful lesson for these students as well as us today.

When we refuse to forgive, it becomes quite a burden to carry. For example, if the unforgiven person is seen somewhere, everything that was done and said in the past comes flooding back into the memory. If the unforgiven person’s name comes up, even in a pleasant conversation, negative feels arise and it puts a noticeable awkwardness and cloud on the situation. Every time we are reminded of the fact that the unforgiven person is still living, we are burdened by our own negative feelings, emotions, and speech towards him or her.

For whatever reason, we have come to think of forgiveness as a “gift” to the other person. In reality, forgiving them is as much for ourselves as it is for the other person!

The potatoes that were carried around were burdensome. The longer they were carried, the more of a stinky, rotten, nasty mess they became. The same is true with unforgiven people in our lives. The longer we refuse to forgive, the more burdensome and nasty it becomes.

Every word of Colossians 3:12-14 applies to this discussion: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

God has forgiven us and we should forgive others as well. Can you think of someone who needs your forgiveness?

-Brett Petrillo

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Opening the Door Daily Devotion 4/8/12  by David Maxson 

Forgiveness

And as they were stoning Stephen... he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Acts 7:59-60
 
Nothing is harder than forgiveness. The longer I live, the more I am convinced of this. We would rather do just about anything than to forgive.

There are different levels of forgiveness. All forgiveness is not the same. There are various degrees of difficulty. Sometimes forgiveness is easy because the crime was either committed ignorantly or unintentionally. Sometimes we can easily forgive because the injury is minor. It is easy to move on and move past the offense because it cost us very little.

But then there are times when forgiveness is costly; costly because the debt is heavy (whether physically, emotionally, or both). We are weary and heavy laden. It may not be seventy times seven, but it feels that way. The wounds are deep and painful. The pain is intensified when we know the attack against us is premeditated.

But the Scripture is clear when it tells us, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another..." If the Scripture stopped there we could easily rationalize an unforgiving spirit in some cases. We could dismiss some of our enemies by saying it is simply too costly to forgive them.

But the Scripture doesn't stop there: "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) 

Lord God, remind us of the cost of our forgiveness that we might forgive one another in the same way.

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Keeping Romance Alive When Raising Grandchildren
Question from the Mail: We are currently the caregiver for 2 grandchildren. Having been married for close to 40 years I am seeing with the time we devote to the grandchildrens care, ages 1 and 3 that there is little time for us, for romance, for the love we always have had. How do you keep the romance alive in difficult times?

_____ 

Pray about it.

No matter what you plan, expect interruptions and lower your expectations so you won't be disappointed

Make his favorite meal.

The obvious answer would be hire a babysitter or ask a family member to take care of the children for a while but this may not be possible. I have no idea what babysitter's cost now-a-days. When I was a teenager I got 50 cents an hour... later it went up to $1.00 an hour but that was exceptional. (Parents had it made back then!) If money is a problem then perhaps you can spend the money on the babysitter and go out on a free date (pack a picnic lunch, walk in a nice park etc.).

If money isn't a problem, get a babysitter, go out for a  nice dinner and spend money on a hotel room for a few hours, not only for romance but for a time of conversation, peace, and quiet.

Talk to good friends and perhaps they will volunteer to babysit. Of course this may be more difficult at our age to find friends who will offer to take care of small children.

Make a date at home when the kids are asleep, whether it's nighttime or daytime.  Plan it out beforehand. Have food delivered and put whatever special touches you both like for your date... do you like to watch a movie together then get a DVD ready. If you like just to talk, then that's great but maybe you can eat out on the porch or somewhere where you don't normally eat, anything to make it special.

Write romantic, loving notes and stick around the house or garage where he will find them.

Don't let a day go by without at least one "I love you."

Don't let a day go by without at least one hug and kiss.

If you have no other choice then make the kids a part of your date. Go out to your favorite family-friendly restaurant. Go to a park. Just go out anywhere with something the two of you enjoy and can have a good time enjoying yourselves and the kids.

-Pat

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 "You Don't Understand"

Pat Gates

"I'm tired of hearing older women say that unless I've been in "their shoes," I would never know. How so? Why does my experience have to be the same as yours. Everybody experiences things differently! Do you think experiences only happen to older people?" -anonymous

Response from Pat: Perhaps I’m at a perfect age to respond to this comment; I’m 57 - young to some people, old to others! “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.” As I look back on my life I can see how my past experiences and my present experiences have influenced who I am, how I perceive myself and others, and how I react to situations as they arise. As various new experiences, both good and bad, continues, my understanding and awareness grows. In a few areas of life, I'm so experienced I feel like an expert, however in most areas I feel quite ignorant and both young and old have worn shoes I have never walked in.

The reader's comment above could easily be answered, yes, we all have different experiences and it could be answered, no, unless you've reached old age there are experiences you don't understand. However, it's not going to be that simple... I'm going to expound on this a bit more so that we, young and old, can learn to understand each other a bit better and perhaps be more patient and understanding.

"Unless you walk in my shoes, you don't understand."

Actually the phrase, “You don’t understand,” is spoken by all age groups at one time or another; sometimes it's true, other times it isn't. I've seen older people forget what it's like to be young and the experiences and difficulties that come with youth and young adulthood and I've seen the opposite where the older person does understand but the younger person can't picture this aged one in a young body with the same experiences that come with youth.  .
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I've also seen younger people (anyone who is younger than "old")  think they understand the aged and know exactly what's best for them and what they are going through. This isn't always true. The aged, in many cases, experience situations the young never had. These older people are correct when they say, “You don’t understand.” Experience grows over time. Older people have seen more, experienced more, learned more lessons through trial and error, have (hopefully) gained more knowledge and wisdom, therefore, they see people and life with greater insight. Older people have experienced raising children into adulthood, having daughter-in-laws and sons-in-laws, grandchildren, bodies and minds that no longer work as well. Another fact of life, in America anyway, is the lack of respect, lack of attention, and prejudices the aged experience. They are often ignored and dismissed with an attitude that they aren't important enough to pay attention to and the wrong belief that they don't really expect that much attention anyway.
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A Better Understanding... A Better Choice of Words
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Because we, young and old, are unique and have different experiences throughout our lifetime and because we are similar and have similar experiences throughout our lifetime, let’s learn to respect each other by being as understanding as we can. As a 57 year old, allow me to say to those who think I’m old, be patient with older folks who say, “You don’t understand.” I’ve learned, most of the time, to just let that statement go because in many cases that may very well be true and one day when we reach that age we will say, "Now I understand." If it’s not true, and that is the case at times, the statement is said in ignorance and sometimes we may try to convince them we do understand, but I’ve discovered that usually doesn’t get anywhere so I just remain silent and try and sympathize with what they are going through.
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I do understand the frustration that I see in the reader's comment. I have been hearing, off and on, "You don't understand what it's like to be old and in my shoes," since I was 37. I became ill at that age and older women could run circles around me. I was bedridden with extreme weakness and could hardly function. Cognitive problems developed and my memory was very bad. Yet, some older women would say to me, "You're too young to have memory problems, wait until you get my age." Or they would say, "You're too young to be tired, just get out and you'll feel better." These statements hurt, and as a young woman, I needed wisdom and help from my older sisters in Christ, but instead, from some, I received misjudgment and apathy to where they would turn my troubles into nothing and the conversation would quickly turn to their own troubles.
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Also, as a young mother with a severely ill child, I would hear older people say to me, "Don't get old." Here I didn't know if my little boy would live and as a baby he was experiencing symptoms that usually occur with the aged. I'd have to hear how terrible it was to get old and in my youthful frustration I wanted to respond with, "Oh, then hopefully my child will die young!" But, you know, now that I'm older, I've learned this attitude doesn't help. It helps me in the long run to just smile, give some words of encouragement and let it go. After-all, older people do hurt, they do grieve, they do feel loneliness and sometimes they may not have a friend, spouse, parent, or sibling to talk to.
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To those of you who think I’m young, let’s remember younger people have their struggles as well and may have some insight into what you are going through. In either case, whether they do or don’t, perhaps instead of saying, “You don’t understand,” you can just state, with confidence and patience, what you are thinking or feeling and hope for the best response. You can point out your body and mind don’t work as well as they use to and it takes longer to get things done or explain your loneliness or whatever you are experiencing. If younger people say, "I know what you mean," and you think they don't, just let it go. Saying, "You don't understand," won't help. If the younger person doesn't believe you have it so bad you can try and explain but, for the most part, unless a further explanation is needed, you might just want to let it go for your own sake. However, keep in mind, they may very well understand to a large degree what you are talking about because many "old-age experiences" happen to young people. And even if the experiences differ, similar emotions are produced so there is a certain amount of understanding.  

No matter what our age, we all need to learn to be patient with one another, try to understand each other, and realize we all are alike to some degree as well as different to another degree. But, either way, our experiences should increase our awareness that none of us are untouched by this world and this should lead us closer to an understanding of each other and the ability to "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep."

-Pat Gates

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“Middle age is when you’re sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn’t for you.” - Ogden Nash

My Get-Up-And-Go Has Got Up and Went

    Old age is golden, or so I’ve heard said,
    But sometimes I wonder, as I crawl into bed,
    With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,
    My eyes on the table until I wake up.
    As sleep dims my vision, I say to myself:
    Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?
    But, though nations are warring, and Congress is vexed,
    We’ll still stick around to see what happens next!

      How do I know my youth is all spent?
      My get-up-and-go has got up and went!
      But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin
      And think of the places my getup has been!

    When I was young, my slippers were red;
    I could kick up my heels right over my head.
    When I was older my slippers were blue,
    But still I could dance the whole night through.
    Now I am older, my slippers are black.
    I huff to the store and puff my way back.
    But never you laugh; I don’t mind at all:
    I’d rather be huffing than not puff at all!

      How do I know my youth is all spent?
      My get-up-and-go has got up and went!
      But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin
      And think of the places my getup has been!

    I get up each morning and dust off my wits,
    Open the paper, and read the Obits.
    If I’m not there, I know I’m not dead,
    So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed!

      How do I know my youth is all spent?
      My get-up-and-go has got up and went!
      But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin
      And think of the places my getup has been!

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Parenting our Grandchildren

Joanne Beckley & Diane Demumbreum

“Noooo. . . please, noooo. . . .” Oh, the pain when a marriage breaks, when death or divorce rips apart a family that God intended to be together forever.

It is you and I, the grandparents, who will be weeping fountains of tears, even as we try to put together the broken pieces of our grandchildren. Yes, there is a sharp rise in the number of children who are being raised by persons other than their parents, and in a majority of the cases these persons are none other that the grandparents. I can’t help but think of 1 Corinthians 13's description of love when I consider grandparents who take the full responsibility to rear their own grandchildren. However, bringing up our grandchildren is no easy task. Even though we are experienced parents and are quite aware of the developmental needs of children, there are several special issues that make it tough for us, one of the most common being the huge generation gap.

Read what one grandmother wrote:

“It is a daily struggle to walk the path of parent/grandparent. While most grandparents glory in the joy and love of their grandchildren and then can "send them home", I struggle to just keep my grandchildren safe while drawing peace from their joy, love, creativity, and personalities to help me in this struggle. When grandparents are simply the care givers of the children while parents work they still get some personal time and are not usually financially responsible for the children. But when the children arrive to stay “forever”, finances can be the unspoken elephant in the room. The safety issues may further increase the financial stresses as you explore options.”

Yes, more and more grandparents are facing these challenging times. Whether by death, imprisonment, divorce, debilitating illness, substance abuse, etc, it becomes imperative someone help the children, and often it is you or me, the grandparent. In these days of increasing possibilities, we need to take time and consider what will be involved in becoming our grandchildren’s parents.

Primarily, the child faces the emotional hurdle of the absence of one or both parents. The child will grieve deeply, whatever the reason for the parent(s) absence. Helping the child work through his grief (including feelings of anger and guilt) will be a challenge for grandparents. A challenge, yes, because the grandparents are also grieving. Their grieving might also include shame and embarrassment that their own child has failed as a parent and blame themselves for being the reason behind it.

Other realities grandparents as parents must face:

  • Relationships will change. Trust will have to be rebuilt. The child who was earlier so frank and free with his/her grandparents might start shirking away.
  • Your primary responsibility is to bring the grandchildren up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4. You now have the full responsibility to teach your grandchildren obedience to God, Deuteronomy 6:2. Be sure they know God and see your example as a dedicated, loving Christian. As they grow into their teen years, it will be you who will have to face battles concerning all things of a moral nature. Give thanks if you are able to build on their parents’ previous efforts.
  • No longer can you be indulgent grandparents, but your nurturing must now include training and discipline. If the parents are still around, the lines of family authority tend to become unclear and confused in the child's mind. One grandmother stated this well: “The greatest danger I saw was in grandparents being more lenient with these children, than with their own. When I think about it, I saw this with the years passing in raising my own three. We can become less diligent in what we expect (require) from them as we age - often finding it easier to do the work ourselves rather than seeing that their chores, studies, etc. are completed and allowing too much leeway while giving in too often. We must stay alert as dangers increase in these times far surpassing what our own children faced.”
  • Family harmony can be affected if other family members raise objections. Keep the line of communications open and help the grandchildren understand what has happened and why.
  • Your financial obligations will increase. Not only must the dollar stretch to feed the new family members, but suddenly the children’s health and educational needs must be met. Where necessary, court costs can actually cripple a budget.
  • It will be you who has the full burden to keep the children safe. Caring for children in a divorce situation also means visitation concerns.
  • You may feel unable to help him/her with school matters, like homework and projects.
  • You may be facing your own health and age-related issues that make parenting difficult.
  • You may have to give up on activities such as meeting with friends or taking regular trips. You will feel frustration and one or the other grandparent might feel neglected. You will feel that romance is seemingly being forced to take a back seat again.
  • You will receive support from others but you will also hear criticism. You will be given hugs and others will keep you at arms length. Rejoice in loving contact. Wisely weigh each criticism. We all grow through the challenges we face.

How do grandparents face these issues? The same way parents do. One day at a time. If you have been growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), you will have the added advantage of increased wisdom in facing the challenges your growing grandchildren will toss your way. Yes, the parents should be the ones raising the children, BUT sometimes this is just WHERE YOU ARE and it must be handled from where you are. Grandparents raising their grandchildren are no different from children caring for their parents, young parents with newborns, someone with a physically challenged child. They all have challenges to face… as do any parent or married couple or single person.

All is not negative. There will be blessings “over-countable” in raising your grandchildren. The work of creating a strong redesigned family unit will bring wonderful, unexpected rewards. Not only will duty toward family be fulfilled, but love will increase 100-fold. With hard work and good will, peace and joy can reign in the hearts of all concerned.

How can we help grandparents who are parenting their grandchildren?

  • We can help the grandparents in their initial decision-making time to take over the job of being parents to their grandchildren. Love alone is not enough to consider. Personal finances and personal health issues must be weighed. Be sure and take into account the children if they are living and their God-given responsibilities toward their own children. (Consider that by removing the consequences of their actions, will it remove their need to change their lives? Will the children learn that mom could live as she pleased and get away with it, why can’t I?)
  • We can do our part in having a close congregation–a spiritual family caring for one another physically and spiritually. God says we are to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law, Galatians 6:2. In order to fulfill this command we must have both the one with a burden and the one who helps bear it. If one or the other is not willing the law can't be fulfilled. We are told in Psalm 19, “the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul”. It doesn't change the soul just because it exists but rather when we choose to follow the law. The law helps mold us through following it. It molds our hearts to humility when we receive help and to a heart of compassion when we serve.
  • We can offer a listening ear or act of kindness. Emotionally the grandparents may be struggling with issues surrounding the WHY the children are with them. Older women can pop in with a pot of soup and help around the house. While helping, talk about things that may help. Cards and calls are helpful ways to pass on emotional encouragement. Make personal comments about what you see that is going right and what you might appreciate that the family is doing. Even a hug does wonders!
  • We can invite the children into our homes and be an example of godliness to them. Let them know that other families live the way their grandparents are expecting them now to live. Some children believe it is because their grandparents are 'old folks' and don't see it is a contrast of good and evil, so to balance this they need to experience young families.
  • We need to learn of any money woes – For those who are very ill one can initiate money drives, cookie sales, or set up donation containers to try and raise money. But grandparents who are fighting a legal battle that reaches into the $100's of thousands of dollars to protect or even save the life of a child has no recourse but maybe to sell their home–which is frowned upon by courts (hard to show you are giving stability if you have no home to go to). Its not that anyone wants us to take over their finances but to just realize there may be a struggle and care enough to see if there are ways to help.
  • We can ask ourselves: What would you do for a friend who is caring for their parent who has health issues or for a new parent who is struggling? Is the grandparent any less worthy of your attention? There are things that are already challenges for them which are only highlighted when they begin this new chapter in their lives. Mowing their grass, home or car repairs may be things an extra hand might be appreciated. Not that you do FOR them but just having a friend BESIDE them helps. And don’t forget to offer our babysitting services. Grandparents need time to enjoy one another’s company and keep the twinkle in their eyes.
  • We can be aware that the real struggle may be spiritually. Someone who feels they have failed as a parent might feel depressed, anxious, or even ready to give up. Is it possible to set up a time to go to their home and worship with them? Or to have a study with the children? Could you set aside time to call and say I was thinking about you and wanted to ask if I could pray with you today?
  • We must receive as well as give to those who are being challenged. As one grandmother said, “One of the most important things to do is be sure you provide ways the grandparents can help others as well.” They have a great need to give back as they feel they are given so much. If you are cooking food for a family, ask if they can provide something easy to prepare. If you are buying a baby gift ask if they would like to add a little something to make it a joint gift. Give them the opportunity to give back.
  • One more suggestion–if you have several families in your congregation who are parenting their grandchildren, create a support group. Help to find other resources available to these families.

God says we are to bear one another’s burdens. This requires that we KNOW each other and know what each other's needs are so as to best help. It is not enough to warm the pew–we have to touch hearts as well. As the apostle admonished, even as we serve one another, let us “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13.

 
CARING FOR GRANDCHILDREN- A NOTE FROM THE MAIL: I believe our times are making it hard for the young to make enough money to have the things necessary to rear a child or two and keep food, clothing and shelter without having both parents working. I also think too many young people were given too much and that they need to learn to take on responsibility and not throw it on others, taking the easy way out. When I was younger, I put in MANY 18 hour plus days. It's a job! Now, girls seem to think a 12 hour day is too long for them. They also haven't learned organization, etc.

I think those of us who are given some care time need to think less of losing and more of what we are gaining!!! Just act like you did when you had children~ only This Time, you have the daddy figure there 24/7 to help you. I am so thankful to have the help of "grandpa" today. I could have used him 35 years ago!!!!!!! :-)  -anonymous


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(3) "A topic I would like discussed on this page is: Why are so many grandparents raising the grandchildren nowadays. I see it so much and it seems to have become the norm, not in the world necessarily, but families in the church are doing it."

If you'd like to contribute your thoughts, please use this comment box or write to ourhopeonline@gmail.com. Thank you!

I have found that there may be several benefits that can be derived from this “parenting-again” role, such as: having a greater purpose for living; having the chance to raise the grandchild differently than they did their own adult children; receiving love and companionship from grandchildren; re-connecting generations that have been broken; continuing family histories, and feeling younger because the grandchildren are present in the home.

We're received one response (thank you). We'd love to hear more....it would also be good to hear from grandmas who are raising their grandchildren. 
    

FROM THE MAIL: "Grandparents are sometimes forced to do more thoroughly the jobs they did not do well thirty to forty years ago.  All over again they have the opportunity to teach faithfulness to the Truth.  I understand some grandparents did do a fine job in raising their own children, but because of disease, accident,etc. younger ones have no parents to direct them.  Therefore, they are most blessed to have family who will assume their care.

However, I see many grandparents who have not learned yet that the habits, facts learned, and worshipful attitudes MUST be instilled in a child long before the adult years!   That is unfortunate because now, they condemn this new generation to the same fate as the parents.   When will we ever learn to teach them "in the way, when we sit, when we lie down"  as the Jews were commanded to do?  Such teaching must be continual, unavoidable, imitative if it is to be learned!" - anonymous




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November 2017