10/12/21

Long Distance Grandparenting – How-tos

We live in a time of virtual, almost everything, including relationships. Things have changed, so much, from those far away days when you could just go visit your grandchildren and experience that wonderful relationship that happens, between grandparents and grandchildren. Long-distance grandparents face a huge challenge with grandparenting in this virtual world. One main challenge is that with young grandchildren, you need to come up with a strategy to interact with them. This interaction has to be fun and engaging for the grandchildren, or they will simply get bored, frustrated, or completely tune you out.

As grandparents the responsibility is ours to build relationships with our grandchildren. If it doesn’t happen, it’s on us. Relationships need to begin when our grandchildren are young, so that we can build that relationship stronger as they get older. We need to find ways to help that relationship grow as they grow.

A 2019 AARP national survey concluded that over half the grandparents at that time were 200 or more miles away from at least one grandchild. They also concluded that grandparents are looking for ways to stay connected with their grandchildren.

Several years ago, I pondered this long-distance grandparenting dilemma. How could I build a good strong relationship with my grandchildren who lived over two thousand miles away? It’s not like I could call them, text them, or go see them on a regular basis. They were, and are still very young. So, how do you build a relationship with very young people when you are so far away?

It took me a while, but I came up with a solution that worked for me and my grandchildren. The solution involved me putting myself to the task of creating a way to play with them, online. Not video games, but grandma games. I spent a lot of time developing games, these games turned into stories, which evolved into full blown activities. I integrated scavenger hunts, little kid mysteries, and even a grandma imaginary friend into these activities.

Just like all grandchildren are individual, so are grandparents. We have to find what works for us individually, and what will work for our grandchildren. As they grow, we have to grow too. With very small grandchildren through toddlerdom, we can watch them, read them stories, cheer them on as they learn new things, all on video chat. This type of interaction is great for that age children, but when they begin to talk, reason, and move beyond the toddler situation, what then? Watching them, or reading them a story just isn’t enough anymore. Play! We have to learn to play. Grandparents in essence need to tap into their inner child. Think back on the games you used to play when you were a kid. Which were your favorites? Use that. Kids love to play, they love to learn new games, especially the ones where you have to use your imagination. Did you play cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, tea party, or dress up? Teach them how, then play together over video chat.

Always remember to play to your strengths! Do what you do well, and then do it some more. Your grandchildren will love it, and your relationship will grow by leaps and bounds.

For some fun and games that I’ve created visit – https://www.julieworthington.com/portfolio/long-distance-grandparenting/

Citation:

Patty David, B. N.-K. (2019, April 1). AARP Grandparents Study. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2019/aarp-grandparenting-study.html.

04/9/21

So Many Irons in the Fire…

My grandmother used to warn me about having too many irons in the fire. I do love to stay busy… I’ve been writing! I’ve been writing the next New Parish book, the next Brigham Tea Magazine, and another project I’ve been working on for almost two years now, The Grandparent’s Field Guide to Long Distance Grandparenting.

The next New Parish book, Home in New Parish, is about three fourths done. It offers a completely different side of the romantic comedy that always happens in New Parish.

The next Brigham Tea Magazine is full of so much rich history of the west, beautiful new pictures of the wild and wooly west, and even a buffalo hunt. The buffalo hunt was with cameras only, of course.

The Grandparent’s Field Guide to Long Distance Grandparenting has been a labor of love. It’s full of stories and games that I created for my own grandchildren, to share with other grandparents who might not live very near their little ones. Or even if they live near, they could still use this fun and engaging book.

So as for my grandmother’s warning, I don’t think I have too many, irons in the fire… I think there’s just the right amount to keep me busy and out of trouble. I can’t wait to share it all with everyone!

12/19/20

Merry Christmas from New Parish

I hope everyone has a most joyous and wonderful holiday season.

I’ve been working on Home in New Parish, book three in the New Parish series. It’s not finished yet, but I thought I would introduce you to Sarah and Hannah’s older sister, Brenda. She’s got a lot of challenges to face but she seems to find it a little bit easier to face them in New Parish. She’s uniquely different from Sarah and Hannah, but still a feisty Nichols sister.

She was almost devastated when her marriage didn’t work out, and ended in divorce. She’s facing life’s challenges now and holding it together, for her four children.

Below is the newsletter she wrote to share with her family who aren’t in New Parish for Christmas.

11/26/20

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I cook, because that’s what you do on Thanksgiving Day, I long for my family and think about all the things I’m grateful for. It was suggested that we keep a personal gratitude journal leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I have done so, and want to share it with everyone now. I hope you can all find gratitude on this wonderful day!

 

 

Personal Gratitude Journal

Day 1 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m so very grateful for my family. They’ve been a special blessing in my life, and I love them dearly. #GiveThanks

Day 2 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m grateful for cherished friends who have touched my life and made it better…  #GiveThanks

Day 3 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m grateful for all the hardships, challenges, and failures that I’ve had in my life. Not just grateful that they are in my past, (at least the ones that have already happened), but grateful for the things I’ve learned from them. #GiveThanks

Day 4 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m grateful for memories of good times, happy times, and laughing so hard my face hurt and my tummy muscles got sore! And hoping for many more… #GiveThanks

Day 5 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m grateful for my country. For all its faults, flaws, and foibles it’s still the best place on earth to live. I love the diversity, and the freedom, but I think most of all I love the kindness and care that we have for each other… yeah, I still look for the good, and I find it.  #GiveThanks

Day 6 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m grateful for all the blessings I enjoy. Whether technology, medical, or just modern conveniences that are available today, I’m grateful…  #GiveThanks

Day 7 – personal gratitude journal…

I’m grateful for the One who’s blessed me with everything, and His son…    #GiveThanks

10/11/20

Dear Amelia

A new character is surfacing in the New Parish series. Her name is Amelia James. She has a unique job, she’s an advice columnist. Here’s some of her work:
 
 
 
Excerpts from Amelia’s Answers:

 

Dear Amelia,

 

I’m completely spent! I have no energy anymore. I’m the mother of six children, ages 2-12. I work at my job all day, then come home to work all evening, cooking, cleaning, checking homework, and doing endless amounts of laundry. The kids help where they can, my husband works and has a good job, but is away a lot of the time. I feel I’m simply overwhelmed with it all.
My mother told me I should have a sister wife by now. But, my husband is reluctant, he’s worried about jealousies and other problems.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but I need one soon. I think I’m pregnant again…
Thanks in advance for your help.

 

Spent single wife in New Parish
 
Dear Spent,

 

So sorry to hear that things are difficult for you at this time.
It’s good that you’re enlisting the children to help with the chores, just make sure you don’t overwhelm them with what’s overwhelming you.
A sister wife would be helpful in your situation, but she’s not a servant, or even a solution to a problem.
Have you tried organizing things, tasks, and the endless laundry? I find that organizing things always helps with everything. Start with lists, lists of the things you have to do each day, lists of things the kids can help with, and lists of what can be done before you go to work and things that have to be done after. Also, you might enlist help from family if they have time to come over and help on certain projects. Give it some thought, I’m sure you’ll find someone to help out.
The old saying, “You’re stronger than you think,” is true. You can do this, you simply have to take it in increments. “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch,” is another saying that’s true. Make this big thing, that’s overwhelming you, smaller by chopping it into manageable lists that can be done with ease.
Hope this helps, and congratulations on your maybe pregnancy.

 

Amelia

 

*********

 

Dear Amelia,

 

I hate to even bring this up… but, it’s killing me. I’ve been trying to deal with it for a while now and haven’t figured out how to, yet.
I’m the second wife. My husband’s first wife was so wonderful and welcoming to me and we became the best of friends right away. We really didn’t have any problems at all. She was, and is wonderful!  
So, when my husband married again, for the third time, I thought things would be wonderful too.
His new wife is really nice, and I like her a lot, really.
The problem that’s killing me is, that I’m so jealous I can’t stand myself. I know that’s what this feeling is, I’ve tried to deny it, but there’s no way to do that anymore. My husband’s new wife is so sweet, kind, and just lovely. I hate myself for feeling this way! I’m always looking for faults, or flaws in her. This isn’t me, or the me I want to become.
Can you please help me? I don’t want to be that person…

 

Not that person, really…
 
Dear Not,

 

It really sounds like you have diagnosed the problem very well. Jealousy is a very difficult problem to deal with. The complicated part is that you have to learn to love and care about the person you’re not wanting to like. You have to let go of the resentment, fault finding, and bitterness. Sounds simple right? NOT!
To not be that person, maybe you could try taking little steps. Take the new wife out to lunch, make her a special lunch at home, or make her some cupcakes. You might try to find some things in common with her, like hobbies, or books, or history. Maybe get, or make her a gift, a sort of welcome to the family gift. A small act of service can sometimes go a long way in overcoming negative feelings.
Also take the time you need to adjust to the new situation. Different people accept, or adjust to things in different ways, and in different times. Try slowing things down, don’t rush into this new relationship thinking it should be something like what you have with your other sister wife. Take the time you need. Do something nice for yourself too. Don’t justify your bad thoughts about the new wife, but don’t beat yourself up over it either. It’s simply something new you have to deal with.
Overcoming ourselves is one of the most difficult things we have to do in this life. Too many people think things should be a certain way and never realize they could be another. Consider the platypus. Is it a duck or a beaver? Neither, and both, maybe… You’re not your sister wife, or the new wife, you’re you. Your relationship with the new wife will become what it will become. Remember to walk through your life with kindness, for others, and yourself.

 

Amelia

 

09/5/20

Opposite Direction

Have you ever had things planned out? You know, exactly what you’re going to do. Then something happens and you change your plans and go the opposite direction from what you were going to do… Opposite directions can be course corrections or life changing events that happen to direct the opposite directions to take place, whether these opposite directions are caused by positive things or negative things.

Opposite directions happen throughout our lives, sometimes they are small changes, other times they can be monumental. I ponder these events, the ones that send us in the opposite direction. In my writing, I often mix this sometimes annoying, sometimes revelatory phenomenon into the story.

So, when I write I’m always looking for a way for my story to parallel real life. This opposite direction thingy is one way to do that. I suppose some might call that a plot twist, but for me, it’s simply a way to make fiction more like reality.

As a writer, I strive to breathe life into not only my story, but into each character. Opposite directions are very good ways to do that. The thing is, when these opposite directions happen in the story, I have to make sure my characters react to them as they individually would react. All people have their own way of dealing with life, they react differently. So as a writer I have to make sure I know my characters well enough to know how they will deal with whatever happens to them in my story. Yes, I suppose, some would call that character development… I’m pretty sure I see things differently than other people do, and describe things differently than other people do, so I call it getting to know my characters and opposite directions. That’s just the way I am…

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

08/29/20

Small Town Girl

I am a small town girl… I think being from a sleepy, small town, in northwest Georgia has always influenced me in many ways. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited my home town, but not too much has changed. I still check out things online, just to see what’s happening. They’ve kept it historically sweet… the foot bridge, and the many walking trails, are all still there. The City Clock, and Myrtle Hill, and Main Street are all still there too. I even watched part of the Christmas parade last year. So even though I’m far away, I’m still not too far…

In my writing I much prefer writing about the small-town scenario than a bigger city. The nuances of a small town gather my thoughts and seem more vivid to me. I think small towns bring people closer, not to say bigger cities can’t do that, but, in a small town the streets are a bit less busy, and maybe the people have more time to be a bit more friendly. That’s what I’ve experienced anyways.

In my New Parish series, I mostly write about the small-town atmosphere, there are of course trips to larger places. But, I like keeping things more intimate, less busy, giving the reader some time to slip into the story and get comfortable.

New Parish is all about the small-town experience. It’s old fashioned community ethics, where people help each other, or maybe even have a barn raising. Unlike my small home town in northern Georgia, New Parish is situated out west, in northern Arizona, with the cowboy culture deeply infused into it. The back drop of southern Utah, and Northern Arizona provides an incredible element to my writing. There are several small towns spotted throughout this area. They all have unique and breath taking views that inspire the imagination, or at least they inspire mine. Each small town has its own rich history of pioneers and cowboys settling and trying to tame this part of the wild west.

There’s so much research that can be done, some in real time. You can visit an old fort and have a Native American give you a tour, or go visit the amazing parks… Sometimes I wonder how the first settlers ever survived this land, because it’s still not tame at all. Some places I’ve visited have made me wonder why they would have stayed here in this place back then. So, of course, I have to find the answers to the questions that form in my mind. There have been many questions, and I’ve actually found many answers.

The small towns here are very different than the one I grew up in. Not just because of the location, but the histories are as unique as the places. Where I came from history was based more on the rivers, farming, and education. Not to say those things aren’t out here, well, rivers don’t really exist out here. They do have some small streams they call rivers, but really… In this area, the history has been based on religion, finding water, and doing things in different and innovative ways. They have their own language, their way of doing things, and pride in this land that, outsiders (me), will never really be a part of. I can only watch from a distance and chronicle bits and pieces of it in my writing.

So, in creating the small town of New Parish, I took some of the wonderous small towns I’ve visited, and researched, then used my imagination, and squashed them all together to make this wonderful comfy place where people can find their happily ever afters. Every now and then, I may squash a little bit of my own home town in there as well, it’s never far from my heart and thoughts.

From this small town girl, I hope everyone can find their own happily ever afters. Whether it’s a small town or not. But no matter where you go remember the good from where you came, that’s the part that sinks deep into our souls and helps us become more than we were.

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3