So I’m driving down the highway, and I see a billboard advertising a resort just a few hours away. There’s a picture of a guy golfing, and he’s saying something like this: “My wife’s at the spa, the kids are at the playground, and I’m in heaven.” What?

I just got back from a three-week family vacation to the east coast: Williamsburg, Jamestown, Wash DC, NYC, Philadelphia, and points in between. I would absolutely not have traded it for anything, especially a holiday where the various family members are shipped off to different venues. A vacation is where you don’t see your family? What’s up with that?

I can understand that we all need some time to recharge, but to advertise a vacation spot where you don’t actually have to spend time with your own family members….well, that doesn’t sound much like heaven to me. “Something for everyone” is good, but a separate “something for everyone” — not so much.

Teach Your Children

Isn’t it great to hear a good report about your children? I heard such a report the other day, and it went a long way toward validating what we’re doing at home.

I was picking up a couple of my girls from the youth group meeting, and was chatting with one of the adult volunteers. He told me that the leader had asked the following question: “Who here thinks you can change the world?” Two hands went up immediately. The volunteer told me, “You can guess whose hands they were.”

This is the kind of person we are trying to raise…one who thinks she can change the world. One who is convinced that she was put onto this earth to make a difference. Not simply to get an education, find a job, marry, have kids, and repeat the process.

Our church is having a parenting class right now. I wonder if this is being taught? Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s a “tips for Christian parenting” class. Not that this is bad, but by itself it’s simply not enough. Jesus didn’t teach his disciples “tips for Christian living”. He taught them that they could be world changers, and apparently, he was successful. I’m hoping to follow that pattern.

Receiving a legacy

I recently found out some things about my grandmother that I didn’t know. I’m trying to figure out if I had heard these details before and just forgot, or if they are in fact new to me. Either way, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t know more about her sooner.

We called her Grandma Gladys. One of my cousins couldn’t quite pronounce that name at a young age; all he could get out was “Gaga”, and that name stuck, too.

I knew she was a teacher, but I thought it was at the high school level. I didn’t know she had a master’s degree in English and also taught at Oklahoma State. A university professor in my family tree! My grandfather, her husband, also taught at OSU and was some kind of dean there — he even has a scholarship named after him. What kind of family was I born into?

Of course, I knew my grandmother loved OSU. I would catch up on the news of the football team before going down to see her on holidays, so I would know how she was feeling. However, she not only followed the football team, but baseball, wrestling, and probably just about every other collegiate sport, too.

I knew Grandma Gladys liked to write. As a child, though, I thought all she wrote were birthday cards, lengthy Christmas cards with poems about her family in them, and a couple of stories about us. What I didn’t know is that she wrote articles for magazines I’ve heard of, like Ladies Home Journal. She’s a published author! Who knows what she would have done with her own blog.

I knew she was dramatic and could tell a great story. I discovered, however, that she founded and directed a drama group in her church called “The Wesley Players”.

All this is making me think about the legacy I have received. A grandmother who writes, acts, and teaches. I guess I should no longer be surprised that these are things I like to do, too. And yet I didn’t know that she was a source for these things, and I wonder what her sources were. From where do we inherit our desires and abilities? Perhaps it was built in to me, or maybe I absorbed it while listening to her weave a story, or watching her eyes light up as I told her one of my own.

My grandmother died on Thanksgiving Day. We got to see her that morning in the nursing home, to say good-bye. She wasn’t doing too well, and I was thinking that this might be the last time I got to see her. All the same, it was bittersweet to hear the news that she had passed. She was always so full of life, and now she is experiencing the Fullness of Life.

Every time I sit down now to write something, I think of her. In some ways, it makes it difficult to write. Now I think, what would Grandma Gladys think of what I’m writing? Is it good enough? Would she approve? But even as I write these words, I remember her joy and appreciation at hearing of the slightest accomplishment I had done. She was always so very impressed at any little thing that it made me feel like I had scaled Mount Everest, rather than just got an A on a paper.

And maybe that’s the most enduring legacy. Grandma Gladys made me feel I could do anything, that she had the utmost confidence in me, that I was sure to succeed. She passed this on to my mother, who has never stopped making me believe that I could do anything I wanted to, and would do it well.

Solomon tells us that a good man leaves an inheritance to his chidren’s children. This good woman has done that, and more so. I am passing on the legacy to my own children: the love of family, and the love of story, both of which were so much a part of my grandmother’s life.