Valley Baptist Church
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Making disciples that change their world.

Living In Maturity

Long-Distance Grandparenting
by Anne Feenstra 

Years ago, correspondence by mail was the primary way grandparents kept
in touch with grandchildren who lived far away. This was followed by a time
where the telephone became more commonly used.

Today, however, children (and some grandparents) are much more
comfortable communicating by email, texting, and even video chats
over the internet. The result of all this technical innovation is that
keeping in touch with your grandchildren is easier than ever (if you're
not a technophobe, that is).

If you find all of this new technology daunting, don't worry. There's still
nothing stopping you from dropping a letter in the mail. However, perhaps
it's time you tried out some new ways of keeping in touch. The following
is a list of 'dos' and 'don'ts' as well as some creative ideas for how you
can make the most of your long-distance relationship with your grandchildren.

As with phone calls, be prepared to take initiative and don't be surprised
or hurt if your grandchildren don't write back as often as you like.
Keep your letters short and simple for smaller children. They don't have
patience to listen to a long letter.
Make a nonsense picture with your grandchild. Draw a few lines, mail
the drawing, and ask your grandchildren what they see in your drawing.
Then have them add some lines and send it back to you. Now you tell
them what you see. Continue back and forth until the picture is "complete."
Send short stories about your children when they were little or tell
stories about things you did with your own children. You can illustrate
the letter with photos or other mementos of the event.
If you had a childhood pet that you particularly loved, write an ongoing
story about the pet and send the installments to your grandchildren each
month or on special occasions.
When on vacation, send postcards, pictures, or brochures of where you've been.
Send care packages or goodies in the mail. Perhaps you can connect
the treat with some family history if it comes from a family recipe.
Send pressed, dried leaves or flowers from your area to the grandchildren.
Send a disposable camera to your grandchildren and ask them to take
some crazy pictures of themselves for you.
Send completed scrapbook pages of photos, sketches, and clippings of
things you are involved in to your grandchildren. Provide a binder in which
they can insert the pages.
Stick small items, such as a stick of gum or a fridge magnet, along
with your letters.
Send self-addressed, stamped envelopes and blank papers so it's easy
for your grandchildren to send you a note.
Take the initiative. Don't wait around for your grandchildren to call you.
They're busy people, you know!
Be sensitive to the family's routine so that your grandchildren are more
likely to be available when you call.
Don't be surprised if your younger grandchildren do not seem to
respond to you while on the telephone. They're probably smiling and
nodding their heads as they enjoy listening to your voice.
Call each grandchild separately, if possible. This will make them feel
special. Connect with their parents some other time.
Call at night and sing a lullaby to your younger grandchildren.
Let your grandchildren tell you what they've been doing. Even if you
know something more exciting has happened to them, allow them to
fill you in on the more mundane parts before you ask about it.
Remember: what's exciting for you may not be exciting for them.
Keep abreast of things your grandchildren are participating in so
you can call shortly before or after the event to share their excitement.
Keep mental notes about what your grandchildren are interested in.
Remember to get an update on where you left off in regard to
these topics during your last conversation.
Make sure your grandchildren know they can call you anytime (within reason).
Send your grandchildren a short email message each week or each
day before leaving the office or going to bed. Tell them what you did that day.
Schedule a time when you'll both be online and then chat back and
forth. (Get their parents' permission first.)
Play an ongoing game, like chess, on-line. Ask your grandchildren
how to set this up.
Create your own symbols to help illustrate your email messages,
e.g. hug = {}, etc.
Ask your children to email you something the grandchildren have
done at school. This way the children can keep the originals, which
are probably important to them.
Send pictures back and forth online. You can either scan them into
your computer or take them with a digital camera.
Send the same holiday or birthday card back and forth each year.
Write a little something different on it each time. See how many
years you can keep it going. These make great time capsules.
Audio and video
Record yourself reading a book to your grandchildren. Make comments
along the way if you like, even telling the child to turn the page.
Send the recording along with a copy of the book to your grandchildren.
Picture books work well for younger children. For older children,
perhaps you could do a series of books, such as The Chronicles of Narnia.
Instead of writing a letter, record a letter. Then have your
grandchildren do the same thing.
One of the best things you may be able to do as a grandparent is
to buy your children a video camera so they can send you video
clips of the grandchildren. Create "A Day in the Life of Grandma and
Grandpa" and send it to your grandchildren.
Record a "walking tour" of your neighborhood or community.
Perhaps you can use it as a preview of places you will take the
grandchildren when they come to visit.
Visit and record a place that's important to your family's history.
Provide some commentary, including stories and memories as
you tour the place.
If you move to a new home, do a video tour of the place, including
the house and yard. Be sure to show them the room they'll sleep in
when they come to visit.
Volunteering after Retirement
by Pat Watson 

This article is courtesy of Mature Living Magazine.

When I open the door and walk down the hallway of 
Muleshoe Area Healthcare Center, I am greeted with 
smiles and words of welcome. The warmth in the 
eyes of my friends reflects my own joy at being here. 
Today is Tuesday, and I have come to work as a 
volunteer in the beauty shop.

Memories flood my mind as I reflect on the past few 
years, and I know I have gained much more than I 
have given. I began volunteer work shortly after retiring 
from my profession as a schoolteacher. I also had 
served the Lord as youth leader, Sunday School teacher, 
and church organist for much of my life, but I wanted 
to expand my vision by working as a volunteer.

I have received irreplaceable benefits from this work, 
including loving friendships, words of encouragement, 
and camaraderie with other volunteers and staff members. 
Volunteerism presents unique challenges to those who 
share their time and talents with others. I call these 
challenges the important "Be" factors for a volunteer.

Be selective
Opportunities for volunteerism abound and involve 
a variety of needs from organizational skills to creative 
innovations. As Christians, we are instructed to "stir 
up the gift of God, which is in thee" (2 Tim. 1:6). 
These gifts can supply much needed help for various 
organizations and institutions. Because the needs seem 
so great, we must be selective and choose areas of 
volunteerism in which we have a special interest or can 
make the greatest impact.

Be committed
In our busy lives setting aside one day weekly, biweekly, 
or monthly requires commitment. It is important to view 
that day as a "contract" between the volunteer and those 
with whom he or she works. As with any other job, 
emergencies or unexpected events can prevent fulfilling an 
appointment, but be there if possible. If this is not feasible, 
let someone know in time to make other arrangements. 
Others depend on our commitment.

Be sensitive
Relationships with people and an understanding of their 
needs are important aspects of volunteer work. When I 
enter the healthcare center, I recognize that I am a guest 
in the home of the residents. I must be sensitive to the 
needs of my friends. I may sense emotions ranging from 
loneliness and grief to happiness and contentment, and my 
reaction to these emotions can often lighten a burden or 
enhance joy. Regardless of the area of work, volunteers will 
encounter people who need a listening ear, a tender touch, 
or a word of encouragement.

Be flexible
Not all circumstances are conducive to a prepared agenda. 
It is important to have an alternative plan available if 
unforeseen circumstances arise, especially with a program 
designed to entertain or instruct. In addition to my weekly 
stint in the beauty shop, I conduct a monthly music program 
for the residents. A light, fun-filled program is inappropriate 
if grief pervades the atmosphere, and I must place the 
residents' needs above my own prearranged plans. During 
my tenure as a teacher, I had to be prepared to monitor 
and adjust a lesson if what I had planned was not working. 
This is also an important aspect of volunteer work.

Be discerning
Often in volunteer work, especially when working one-on-one, 
someone may share something confidential. Relationships 
are built on trust, and we honor our friends by our understanding 
and consideration. Prayerfully discern whether or not 
the shared confidence indicates a problem that should be 
reported to the staff. Above all, treat the confidence with respect.

Be excellent
Colossians 3:23 admonishes us, "Whatsoever ye do, do it 
heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." The recipients 
of our volunteer work deserve the best we can offer. 
Let us perform every task with joy and with excellence.

Volunteer work? I recommend it wholeheartedly. My friends 
bless my life with phrases such as "I prayed that God 
would send you today." "Now, don't I look pretty?" "I'm so 
glad you came." "I love you." Smiles of welcome and words 
of love let me know that I am where I belong, doing the 
things that please my Father.

Pat Watson is a retired teacher from Muleshoe, Texas, 
who enjoys sewing, reading, and writing.
How to Rid Your Life of Stress
by Victor M. Parachin 

Although Deborah is a librarian, stress is no 
stranger to her. Working in the reference section 
of her city library, Deborah's days are a constant 
juggling act as she deals with library patrons' 
questions, telephone calls, organizing and managing 
library workshops, as well as general administrative 
duties. At one time, stressful days were more associated 
with firefighters, police officers, neurosurgeons, 
emergency room nurses, and other emergency-type occupations.

The truth is that stress seems to be at an almost 
epidemic level, touching all levels of society. Parents, 
clergy, secretaries, lawyers, politicians, parking lot 
attendants, and practically everyone else feels pressure. 
Chronic stress and the accompanying exhaustion seem 
to be a way of life for most people. Yet it is not 
necessary to live life feeling as though you are shell-shocked.

Often just a few lifestyle adjustments go a long way 
toward reducing stress while boosting energy. Here are 
some ways to rid your life of stress.

Claim the promises of the Scriptures. When feeling the 
burden and stress of life, tap into the power of the Bible 
to reduce anxiety and increase serenity. Read, review, 
and recite to yourself peace-inducing passages such as these:

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is 
stayed on thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27).
Don't contaminate the good times. Telling yourself, 
"I really shouldn't be doing this" as you relax at your 
favorite bookstore with a recently published book defeats 
the purpose. Enjoy the moment. Relish the time. Remind 
yourself this brief respite will make you more effective later.

Deal with your past to have peace in the present. A great 
deal of current stress is the result of past baggage 
that we carry with us. Walking away from a hurtful past 
is much easier than confronting it. Deal with it. The best 
hope for peace of mind is to face the past, try to 
forgive and to be forgiven, to make amends, and to be reconciled.

Engage yourself in good, noble, and creative activities. 
At one time or another, life brings everyone problems, 
pains, sufferings, and severities. These are all stressful, 
yet even that stress can be minimized greatly by moving 
forward in spite of the hardships.

Henri Matisse and Auguste Renoir, two great artists, were 
dear friends and frequent companions. When Renoir was 
confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Matisse 
visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued 
to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day as Matisse 
watched his friend working in his studio, fighting torturous pain 
with each brush stroke, he asked him why he continued to paint 
when he was in such agony. Renoir answered simply, "The beauty 
remains; the pain passes." And so, almost to his dying day, 
Renoir put paint to canvas.

Create some quiet time. Do this even if it means getting up a 
few minutes earlier or staying up a few minutes later than you 
normally do. Spend at least 15 minutes a day alone. Pray, 
read Scripture and other inspirational writing, or simply listen 
to a quiet house, look out a window, or walk the dog. The 
time you spend alone will help you cope with stress better 
than extra sleep will.

Share concerns. Don't keep your fears, hopes, anxieties, 
and anticipations to yourself. Share with a trusted friend or 
family member. Talk about your work project with a  colleague; 
share your worry with your spouse; verbalize your frustration 
with a good friend. Talking things over helps put issues into 
perspective, and you won't feel so alone with the problem.

Write it out. If you are hesitant to burden a family member 
or a friend with your problem, put the matter down on paper. 
Give yourself 15 or 20 minutes of writing time over several 
days. Write and get it all off your chest. Many find this 
exercise highly effective in unburdening both mind and body. 
When that happens, tear up your jottings and toss them out.

Plan time for yourself. If you are in constant interaction 
with others, sooner or later you will feel incredible stress. 
Set aside time for yourself. Actually mark a specific date 
and time on your calendar to do something or go somewhere 
to relax. Listen to music, work in your garden, or take a 
hot bubble bath. Do whatever gives you an inner sense of calm.

Size down your activities. Remind yourself that you don't 
have to host a huge party in order to have satisfying social 
interactions. Instead of planning a major event, consider a 
smaller, more casual meal with a few people whose company 
you truly enjoy.

Just say no. Don't get caught in the trap of constantly trying 
to please others and win approval from everyone. Much of 
our stress is the result of trying to do it all and be everything 
to everyone. An effective way to say no is a simple statement 
of fact: "I can't do that right now because I'm overextended." 
Or you might ask for time to think about whether you really 
want or need to participate.
Now, how do you plan to adjust your lifestyle to rid your life of stress?
Victor M. Parachin is a minister and freelance journalist 
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This article is courtesy of Mature Living magazine.