I’ve been busy! This was both challenging and fun to create. Hope you all enjoy!
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/
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.
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
There have been many poems and lovely sentiments written about sisters and friends and I agree with most of them. I have a wonderful sister who I love dearly and have had some wonderful friends throughout my life that I’ve loved, and still love dearly. I can’t imagine my life without them… it would be a very lonely dreary place. I love hearing from my sister and my friends, each time I get an inner excitement and a smile always crosses my lips. That’s the way things are with Sarah and her friends and her sisters.
In my book New Parish Sarah finds help, support, and solace from her sisters, and from her friends, especially her new friend Mary, (who becomes her new BFF).
As you might have guessed by now, the story continues from New Parish, to Return to New Parish, then on to Home to New Parish, and then to Passion in New Parish… these are stories about sisters, sisters who are very different in who they are and what they’ve chosen for their lives. In turn each sister finds her way to New Parish, wondering if this is the place she can find her happily ever after… In New Parish, they make new friends and eventually consider, maybe, having sister wives… Sarah, the first sister to find her home in New Parish investigates how things work in this very different lifestyle. She hears stories about the good and the bad that can happen and wonders if the very different relationship of sister wife could be something like a combination of sister and friend… sort of. She for sure finds that these people are a bit different… She eventually shares what she learns with her sisters, some of them are supportive from the beginning some are not… but that’s how sisters are – protective, nurturing, supportive, and sometimes straight talking, opinionated, and suspicious of things that might be potentially difficult… or different.
New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!
Excerpt from New Parish:
This is an email from Sarah to her sister Hannah… Hannah makes her own journey to New Parish in book 2 – Return to New Parish.
So this last week was full of things going on, the community had a social which you would have loved! It was on a real cowboy ranch with some beautiful horses, (picture attached), with a live cowboy band, a hayride, and a bon fire for me to burn marshmallows in. Which of course I did…
Brother Michael said he and the other church leaders think I should marry that cowboy that I detest… I threw a real fit and said there was no way I was marrying him, then I calmed down and promised Brother Michael that I would try to give him (the cowboy) a small second chance. I really can’t stand him, the cowboy I mean not Brother Michael, he’s everything I decided long ago I would never get involved with ever again. He’s a macho, self centered, nethanderthal man who thinks that the world revolves around him and what he wants, you know the type the ones with no real higher level thinking just testosterone and me Tarzan you Jane. Oh well I’m sure Brother Michael will see soon that this just won’t work.
Anyways back to the party, Mary insisted I try to square dance with her, you would have laughed at me so much, there would have been tears… it was going okay until I saw that cowboy in the band, he plays the guitar, I tripped over my own feet and fell on my bum… I can’t seem to keep my balance around that guy… Yeah I know you would have fell over laughing at me then too.
Okay, so work is going pretty good, I have a couple of picture books I’m working on now, they are both from a series that I’ve worked on before. Living with this really big family has been amazing and fun. You wouldn’t believe how much fun!
How’s school going? Are you dating anyone yet? I know you’re really busy with all the extra classes you’re taking but you should find some time for fun… Any returned missionary prospects?
Can’t wait to share this incredible journey with everyone!
Going home can be wonderful, difficult, complicated, or even a great adventure. This week has been a journey of going home to see family and friends… Without getting too personal, I’ll just say this has been a great adventure! Planes, trains, and automobiles…
I guess the most complicated part has been the unexpected snow… it impaired my ability to go and see someone I dearly wanted to see. Life can be that way, unexpected things happen to change our plans… We live with those things, we learn from them, and we grow…
Excerpt from New Parish:
“Sarah’s memory of last year’s arrival continued in her mind, last year when there were shouts of “Aunt Sarah,” and nieces and nephews coming out to greet her. She wondered what the greeting would be this year. She didn’t have to wait long for her answer to that uncertain quandary. The door burst open just like last year and the usual shouts of, “Aunt Sarah,” rang out.”
“The last evening with her family was spent telling old stories and sharing new ones. Sarah told about how she and Max first met, everyone laughed, Dave laughed so hard he almost fell off the sofa.
Falling asleep that night Sarah thought, “This was nice, I’ll miss them but it’ll be good to get home. Home, she thought… home.””
About 15 years ago I lived in a small town in Idaho, in a nice home which happened to have a real fireplace. My boys were all still home and the youngest was only 2… we were all asleep one night when I heard something scurrying around then it sounded like the scurrying thing flew! I was very uncomfortable with having a scurrying thing in my home especially a flying scurrying thing!! I quickly got up and turned on the lights so I could discover what this thing was but couldn’t see anything at all. I looked all throughout the house and couldn’t find it so I went back to bed thinking maybe I had one of those dreams that seem way too real. Well when the lights had been off for a few minutes and I was starting to settle down a bit I heard it again! Then I felt a puff of wind as it flew by!! So I got up and headed to the light switch all the while keeping low and close to the floor so whatever it was wouldn’t fly into me! Lights on again and again I couldn’t see anything!!!! I knew for sure it was real now and so I was determined to find it whatever it was. My oldest son came out shouting that something was in his room and I wondered how it got in there when it was in my room??? Okay so you have probably guessed it was bats. Yes there were several bats that had entered my home through the chimney and were flying around inside. So armed with a broom we called the police, they laughed but they came… actually several came. They had great sport rounding up the bats and taking them out of the house J after they left I did a thorough search of the house just to make sure and needless to say I didn’t sleep well for a few nights after that.
Yes I did board up the fireplace! I kind of thought they were babies that had probably been born and raised in my chimney… well that was my theory.
Summers get hot in the south! When I was young my two brothers and I used to spend a lot of time outside, we lived on a farm that was surrounded by large pastures. There was a stream or creek that ran through the pastures and under the road which traveled over the stream via a very large metal tube or culvert. It was in this culvert that my brothers and I spent many happy days playing in the water. We had been told not to go into the culvert but it was cooler in there and the water pooled up a little deeper inside it. So we played there…
One of my brothers was older and one younger, the older one is only technically older or that’s what I say because ten months isn’t really that much older. My younger brother was really younger because he was two years younger so that counts.
One day when we were playing in our favorite water hole we were seeing who could keep their head under water longest and it was my turn when my little brother started hitting me. I grumpily came up out of the water to hear him shouting “Snakes!!”
Very very large black water moccasins were coming for us. My older brother ran to the side of the culvert and up out to the water. I grabbed my younger brother by the hand and ran as fast as I could dragging him along with me out of the culvert and up the bank of the stream. The snakes were chasing us but once we were on land we were able to out run them and get away. Our older brother caught up with us about half way home and accused us of leaving him behind but I explained we had to run and were going for help. I don’t know if he believed me or not but it was the truth if we had stayed there I was sure the snakes would have bitten us.
My grandmother used to love to sit and tell me stories from when she was young here are a few…
All of her childhood was spent on the farm except for a short time spent with her grandparents when her mother died. She was around three when that happened; her mother died giving birth to her younger sister who died as well. Her grandparents kept her until her father got remarried and came for her. Her father told her he had found her a new mother, she didn’t like that at first but soon came to love the new mother not the same but to love her anyways.
On the farm; they grew all their own food including cows, chickens, and hogs for meat, their main income was from growing cotton to sell. I remember her telling me that the only thing they ever had to buy was coffee and sugar or maybe fabric to make clothes; they made everything else even soap and candles. It was a hard life but it was the only life they knew.