Do you ever feel torn about recommending something? Do you fear that someone might misuse or misunderstand your recommendation? That’s how I feel about the items below. Please look at these recommendations from the standpoint of ways to pass on values and faith in the context of both family and community.
“Front Porch Tales” by Philip Gulley – Although I do not agree theologically with all of Philip Gulley’s views (as noted in some of his books/reviews), this book is a treasure trove of family and community life wrapped up with a humorous bow. Many of the chapters end with a scriptural reference to tie together a Biblical principal or story with the daily lives of those whom Gulley writes about. The copy I have (Multnomah, 1997) is in large print, so it is a perfect gift or daily devotional for older people. Because this book was written when Gully’s children were young, it is also a wonderful book for new parents. The chapters are short and the stories are engaging and insightful.
“The Cosby Show” – Although I am appalled at many of Bill Cosby’s life choices, this old television series is a wonderful view of how to engage as a family. We still enjoy it, along with “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Dee Henderson books – Up until her most recent books, Dee Henderson wrote books that did a great job of combining mystery, romance, family, and practical ways to communicate the Christian faith. I have a complete set of her older books that I regularly reread and often lend out to friends. However, I do not recommend her most recent books.
Why do I take the chance to make these recommendations? Well, there are plenty of people in the Bible who were significant….but still sinners. They often only got things partially right, yet God has given us the challenge to sort through their lives to find and honor Him. And, perhaps also, because I can still hear my Dad saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!”
September 20, 2020
What do you do when you find yourself socially limited for 9 months? As 2020 started, I found myself working on one book (The Mysterious Thing that Happened at Our House) while we were overseas with family and anticipating a lot of public events when we returned home. Because of COVID, family outings and events have not been a part of this year. Instead, like many of you, we have spent time working on our house and doing our best to be creative and constructive.
This spring, a dear, artistic friend asked for help formatting one of her books. You can find her work here: https://www.maryjruggles.com
This was the 2nd time I had worked with Mary on one of her books. We enjoyed it so much that Mary volunteered to illustrate one of my books, Sunshine Blue. The story is about a blue whale who, through a misunderstanding, no longer wants to be blue. Mary’s illustrations are a wonderful mix of watercolor and collage and are full of “I spy” water creatures. The text is engaging, both for information about whales and because of the repetitive phrases that highlight Sunny’s problem and the consequences of her choices. In the back of the book, there is a glossary of words to help with understanding. There is also a challenge to find the various creatures that live in Sunny’s ocean. This is a fun book to read to 3-8-year-old children. It is a great springboard for discussion for older children and adults.
I have had the privilege to work with several very talented illustrators: Jessica, Kira, Eva, Kevin, Sophina, Abira, Shaelin, and now, Mary. They have given me the pleasure of having my texts come alive, and I am grateful. Two more books are “in the works”, one of them being very close to complete. I will be letting you know about that one soon. The other book we are working on is both a story and a recipe book. With COVID, there are fewer opportunities to share what we make in the kitchen, so testing recipes is a slow process that has the potential for a lot of weight gain! We are finding the need for some of the recipe testing to be done by family and friends. 🙂
How can YOU help?
School has begun, and we all want to help our kids/students. Teachers, parents, and grandparents are all working to figure out what students already know and what they need to learn next. We should work together! So here are a few ideas that might help.
- Find out what is expected of your student/child this coming year in an area in which you either are already competent or are willing to learn. One example of how to do that would be to use this website https://www.mathplayground.com which has activities based on grade levels. (I recommend this website because it is a favorite of our grandchildren.) You can use the information you find with your child/student or as a reference for what you can do together.
- Make/do things together that support what they are learning. One idea for math would be to use a scrap of wood and some nails to make a math/shape grid like the ones pictured below. Use them to add, subtract, divide, multiply, and do fractions and shapes. (Alert – supervise rubber band use!)
- Search online for student/family games and activities that support their learning and do them together. For example, go to: https://mygrandmatime.com/ And type “math” in the search bar.
- ASK parents/teachers/students how you can help. Sometimes it is with a “break.” For example: We sometimes fix lunch and set up a favorite TV show for our grandchildren to enjoy between their online classes. We have read a book or, when possible, helped in a classroom on either a regular basis or for a particular function. Sometimes there are before school or after school needs that you might be able to help with.
Ask, be aware, be prepared. These are important times for your child/student. They’ll grow, and you will too!
Each video in this series will give you a brief look inside the “why” and “what” of mygrandmatime. I encourage you to watch them in numerical order. Click on the picture below to see the newest video on YouTube. More than anything, keep doing simple things together as you write your own story.
Link to Why Grandma video series episode 1.
We have now been through 12 weeks with our grandkids and the corona virus in China. So, we’ll share with you some of the things our friends have done to ease the burden and the boredom. Here’s one for this week – MAKE A FORT! Inside and/or outside, a fort can be a place of play and of comfort and it can be made out of an amazing variety of things. It can be changed every day to adapt to the needs of the family. Share pics of what you do with your friends and family to inspire and entertain them.