Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some Forwards are Fun

From my friend Rose:

Retarded Grandparents
RETARDED GRANDPARENTS - (this was actually reported by a  teacher)
After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their  holiday away from school.One child wrote the  following: 

   "We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick housebut Grandpa got retarded and they moved to  Florida  . 

Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass. They ride around on their bicycles and wear name tags because
they don't know who they are anymore.
They go to a building called a wreck center, but they must have got it  fixed because it is all okay now, they do exercises there, but  they don't do them very well. There is a swimming pool too, but  they all jump up and down in it with hats on.  
 At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man  sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts. 
Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And, they eat the same thing every night --- early birds. Some of the people can't get out past the man in the doll house. The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center for pot  luck. 
My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too.  When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll  house. Then I will let people out, so they can visit their grandchildren."
             .....  PRICELESS

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Little Perspective

One thing grandparents can be really good at is perspective.
At a time when it seems as if the financial world is melting down, as if jobs are disappearing right before our eyes, as if everything we've worked so hard for is at risk, it's good to have someone around with a little perspective.
Grandparents can represent continuity, stability, and yes, perspective when things seem to be turned upside down, because chances are we've seen something like it before, and lived to tell the stories. That can be reassuring to someone going through financial instability for the first time.
And if we ourselves are feeling a bit scared, it's good to remember what Eugene Peterson has observed in his book Tell It Slant: “It doesn't take us long to realize that we are set down in a world prodigious in wealth. The Creator is incredibly generous. We are given what we need but also much, much more.”
Our job is to keep our own eyes on the Creator, and to remind our children and grandchildren that one way or another, God is our provider, and He is faithful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Two Reasons to Use the Good Dishes . . .

Sometimes, just for fun, we use the good dishes.
You can read about our fancy ways on the Inspired Bliss website in Good Dishes and Other Graces, where I write about how we changed from who-needs-good-china people to a family using our good dishes even on ordinary days.
There are at least two good reasons for getting out the good stuff, especially when all the family is together:
* Making the effort is a way of infusing each day with beauty and grace.
* Your family will wonder what you're up to!
Even if it's just you and your husband (or you by your own self!) use those pretty dishes and that good silver -- you'll enjoy them much more on your table than you will if they're just stacked up in the cabinet.
And if you linger over dinner to tell family stories, so much the better!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Holiday Complements

Do you have any left-over candy canes from your Christmas celebrations?
Valentine's Day is coming, one month from today.
Here's a fun way to create a sweet treat with those candy canes as you get ready to celebrate Valentine's Day: just use a little glue to join two (wrapped) candy canes in a heart shape, or use a little stiff, sugary frosting to “glue” unwrapped candy canes. Let them dry to hold the shape, then share them with someone you love who has a sweet tooth.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Three Ways to Welcome . . .

Kathleen Norris writes about the importance of welcoming children into the family of faith.
How can we do that?
Here are three suggestions:
* Open your heart to the children around you. Let them see your pleasure in their company. Show your interest in what they are thinking and doing. Share your life with them by letting them join in your activities. Make room for them in your everyday life.
* Let them catch you doing good, and doing well. When you are helping someone else in Christ's name, invite the children around you to help. Find some way for them to contribute in a meaningful way. Include them, and let them see the care you take to do things well, to help with excellence.
* Make sure they know you are paying attention to how they are doing. Be sensitive to their wants and needs. Listen to their stories. Pray for their projects and efforts to do what is right and good.
Be present in the moment when you are with them.
Welcoming children into the family of faith is a natural extension of Jesus's taking the little children around Himself onto His lap.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wise Investment

Encouragement is a kind of investment in your family, whether you're encouraging your own child or your grandchildren. The Art of Encouragement on the Hearts at Home website talks about how you can encourage family members, and why it's so important.

Grandparents as Investors

A grandparent is an investor.
We invest in the lives of our children and grandchildren, hoping for a return we may not even live to see, although there are more immediate rewards.
Like any good investor, we need to study what we're investing in.
What are the strengths? Where are the weaknesses? How is management doing? How can we maximize the effect of our investment?
The difference, of course, is that we're investing something more than mere money. We're investing time, thought, and other kinds of resources in the lives of these ones we love. Bottom line -- we're really investing our own selves.
How are your investments looking?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One Fun Way to Stay in Touch

Here's a fun way to lift your family's spirits in January: send them your favorite comic strip.
You can actually cut it out and mail it to a child or grandchild, or send them a comic (or a link to a comic strip you've enjoyed) via e-mail. (You can google the specific comic you're looking for, or just google “comics” and see what you can find. Or check out a site like King Features.)
If someone in your family is interested in politics, share an editorial cartoon.
It's a fun way to stay in touch with the people you love.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cartoons and a Merry Heart

When the morning newspaper comes, I like to read the comics first.
Why is it so hard to admit that?
On Sundays, it's Prince Valiant, Crankshaft, and Blondie. For Better or Worse, I want to know what is happening to Beetle Bailey and the Wizard of Id. Zits, Baby Blues, Cathy, Charlie Brown. I invite them all into my morning, first thing, along with Doonsbury and Frank and Ernest.
They all get first billing, over the front page, over Home and Gardens, over the book section and the editorials -- because they make me laugh, and sigh, and smile, and because those things help get the day started right.
Sometimes I clip a particularly great cartoon and tape it to the cabinet or closet door, where it keeps on making me smile. Or I fix it to the refrigerator door with a magnet, or put it in an album I pull out sometimes when I'm feeling discouraged. Cartoons make me laugh, especially the ones I've clipped myself.
Why do we take ourselves so seriously sometimes? “A merry heart doeth good, like medicine,” says the Proverb, and Jesus was known to slyly insinuate humor into some of his comments, even if the Pharisees didn't get it.
Come to think of it, maybe that's where Pharisee-ism begins -- with an inability to smile, to take ourselves and our lives lightly.
Go ahead -- clip a cartoon and start your own gallery. Smile a little. Laugh a lot.
Keep your heart merry, for Christ's sake.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Start the Year with a Laugh . . .

There's nothing like a good laugh to start out the new year:

When I stopped the school bus to pick up Shannon for kindergarten, I noticed an older woman waving at the window as she came down the sidewalk. "Is that your grandma?" I asked.
"Yes," Shannon said. "She's come to visit for Christmas."
"That's wonderful," I said. "Where does she live?"
"At the airport," Shannon replied. "Whenever we want her, we just go out there and get her."