character development, spiritual growth, temperaments, character qualities

Grand Camp 2021 and “The Rock!”

The last week of July was Grand Camp at our house. The following week was recovery. Sort of.

Thus (and for other reasons), progress has slowed on developing the podcast, but the goal has not been lost!  Just delayed. (Hang in there with me…. Anticipation!) This reminds me of an old saying: “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” Well, sometimes they are denials, but not necessarily. So, we develop patience and perseverance. A higher goal for me than the podcast, of course, is time spent with our grandsons. Grand Camp is our main, yearly opportunity.

Paul and I hosted our first Grand Camp in 2017 when we were still living in Arizona. Utilizing our 26 foot camper hitched to our gorgeous, cream and gold colored Ford Lariat that we drove across the country, we set up Grand Camp at “the Findlay Family Farm” near Findlay, Ohio.

We set up our first Grand Camp in 2017 on the farm where my mother grew up. There’s our camper and truck.

Grandpa Cramer built this barn in 1935.

2017. The boys and Papa O fly across the farm yard in front of Grandpa’s sturdy barn!

Aiden and Ryland (now ages 12 and 9) live in southern Ohio, so we don’t see them on a regular basis, although we see them more, now that we live in Indiana.  Then comes Grand Camp. BAM!  We have total responsibility for the boys for a whole week!  Wow!

“Grand Camp: Grandparents and grandchildren together in a grand location having a grand time.”

Of course, our times are not all “grand,” but we’ve built plenty of precious memories. And there are the ordinary moments, some “boring” moments (to the boys), many over the top exhausting moments (to Nana O — me!), and some taxing moments for Papa O (who carries the weight of the responsibility in many ways). Amidst it all, we experience good times.

After a huge June this year, we scheduled three calm and restful weeks before Grand Camp, but several turns busted our plans. Even our steps toward starting a podcast were interrupted!  “Lord… help!” (One of my favorite prayers besides, “Lord, have mercy!” and “Lord, Thank You!!”)

Here’s what’s up — with Grand Camp (GC) and with plan-busting turns.

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Categories: Grandparenting, Parenting | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Fine Resources for Living at Home and Letting Home Bless You and Others

Do you see some irony in our current situation? Our world is preyed upon by an invisible evil, pushing us back into our homes. Homes.

Most people have worked hard to have beautiful homes. Look at the popularity of HGTV! I too love creating a beautiful home. But the irony is that so many people really don’t want to live at home — working from home, schooling from home, and playing at home. Only for short segments are they comfortable there. Do our lovely homes intimidate us?

Cabin fever! At the large sizes of most American homes? Compare the size of an average home built in the USA in 1950 with today’s average: around 980 square feet in 1950 to around 2600 square feet in homes the last five years. You and I fit somewhere in there. If our homes or apartments have more than 980 square feet, then we live in relative spaciousness. And style and convenience. . . .

Click here:

The Size of a Home the Year You Were Born

Third world people may be more than puzzled at our angst at staying home, with our first world problems. Time to buck up (it appears we are) and be creative.

For most of us in America (and first world countries), we are called to fight this war in the luxury of our own homes. And with the luxury of all our modern conveniences (as long as we have them; may they continue, and may we be thankful).

Yes, yes, there is enormous stress we’re living through. A novel virus. Illness of varying degrees. Possible death. Shortages of medicine and supplies. Economic upheaval. All the unknowns. I’m telling you nothing you don’t know, except I state it to validate our multidimensional anxiety.  We’re told not to panic. Maybe trusting God would help. And so I could sermonize, but you’ve had sermons.

I’ve been racking up a list of resources that may contain sources of blessing to us and for others. How can we employ some of these, especially for those of us who are isolated or quarantined at home, to serve others in our families, churches, and neighborhoods? While most likely you are already accessing some of these, this list may stir your imagination, bolster your motivation, and invigorate your spirit!

Forward this email to someone who may need some of this encouragement. (Thus, I’m playing a role from my sun room!)

Skim through this list. Choose something to try. Take your time and come back to this JNC post to grab another resource idea or site. Knowing the rich blessings available here, I’m delighted for you.

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Categories: Christian Reader, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Social Distancing” or “Spatial Distancing”: Living from Home

Much has happened since my last post, when Paul and I were still in Florida. We left Florida, spent five days in South Carolina, and arrived home safely on Friday, March 13. I had a list of topics I wanted to develop, but evidences of a fallen and groaning earth have encroached upon all of our plans. 

Paul and I did get sick with the flu while in South Carolina, which caused us to shorten by a few days our two month long, southern experience. We are almost recovered, but we too, like most Americans, are now hunkering in at home. 

In this post, I’m going to offer some “good ideas” (I hope you’ll agree) for living at home during this season of “social distancing.” I’d prefer to call it “spatial distancing,” because I think we should work all more intentionally during this time at cultivating relationships,  just from a spatial distance. 

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Categories: Christian Reader, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

How Do I Love Thee?

Recently, I discovered a precious piece of paper in a smelly box of yellowing papers, stored in Aunt Mary’s garage at the Findlay Family Farm. So, our “Spirituality” theme will take a different turn today. A very practical turn.  Practical, yet touching and spiritual.

This recent discovery is appropriate for me to share with you on Mother’s Day or on any day that you’d like to have an uplifting thought or two or more….

It is a draft of a love/gratitude letter that my mother wrote to my father in 1990, for their fortieth wedding anniversary which was on September 2.  At the end, she adds in pencil, “finished in Sept. 1990”, which indicates to me that she had been working on this for awhile, growing her special, love list. Continue reading

Categories: Being Like Jesus, Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Genre: Prayer: For Whom? Gabe

My dear readers,

Today, I am supposed to address point two, Genre Identity, of our six points on The Reader-Navigator’s Map. Instead I’m going to ask for prayer. Yes, prayer is a genre, a category of communication both spoken and written. As a kind of literature, I can integrate it into our second point!

Prayer is a lifeline to the Lord. Like oxygen, we cannot live without it. Today, I want to ask you to pray for a 13 year old boy who is wasting away and will die without intervention — a miracle. This young man has dealt with neurological issues for years and has developed, probably from prescriptions, a disease called Akathisia, plus he has developed an eating disorder. Akathisia simply means” the inability to sit”; it is a movement disorder, an anxiety disorder. Combine this with an inability to eat or digest most foods, liquid or solid, and you can imagine the results. Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Parenting | Tags: | 2 Comments

Monsoons: Sheets of Rain and Heritage

This week, we experienced the first monsoon rain of the season here in the highlands of Arizona.  Drama in the sky. Billowing clouds a building, fluffy and white, turning gray and black, spreading. Nothing comes of them the first day. Maybe not the second day. We smell humidity in the air. Ahh, yes, the monsoons are a comin’. But not today. Continue reading

Categories: Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Rest of Dad’s Poem

I’ve been sitting on my recliner, reading my father’s poetry and his grandfather’s poetry. My dad — Marion R. Thomas. My great-grandfather — Daniel Driver Thomas. I never met Daniel Driver, but I heard about him from my father. Dad loved and respected his family members. Dad loved and enjoyed God’s world. I even found a poem he wrote entitled, ” Come, Celebrate Grass” ( 40 lines about his lawn, written around 1987).  Two posts ago, I gave you the beginning of Dad’s poem entitled, “Suppose.” Here is the entire poem, written in the 1940’s: Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: | Leave a comment

Getting Home Before Dark

Some of the best reads for any of us are the journals and writings of our ancestors.  My father died ten years ago this July. Does that make Dad my ancestor?  According to Webster’s, yes.   I tend to think of ancestors as people who lived generations ago, not my own dad — the man whose expressive face is as clear as the sound of his hearty laughter saved in my mind, the man who picked me up and carried me to the house when I fell off my bike, the man on whom I leaned my head and rested as he drove us home after church on Sunday evenings. . . .

Dad’s now my ancestor, certainly my children’s and grandson’s ancestor. So, his writings are now more valuable. Here is one of his poems Continue reading

Categories: Parenting | Tags: | 2 Comments

Good Books for a Tired Reader

Grandson, Aiden, reading in his bed!

Grandson, Aiden, reading in his bed!

My daughter, Amanda, has been reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  Woven into her full life, this dense volume has taken her many months to read. She has been reading it along with three other friends who’ve formed a small, reading circle, gathering periodically to discuss their progress through the book and their interpretations. Proud of them. For me, my mind is too weary for such mental demands from my “recreational” reading.  Yet, reading of various sorts and genres is crucial to my life.  Recently, I re-read a book in two sessions in two days:  The Summer of the Swans, by Betsy Byars — winner of the the Newbery Award in 1971.  A children’s book?  You have it!

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Categories: Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

When in Doubt, It’s Chocolate Time — Dark Chocolate Time!

Hello!! No one took me up on addressing the question I threw out last time: Why do our minds, emotions, and wills want to fight each other?  Maybe it’s too obvious to you. Maybe you are uncomfortable with responding to a blog. A number of people tell me they read the posts but don’t want to comment; they just like reading them. Pleased you read and enjoy. Well, where shall I go from here?  When in doubt, it’s time for chocolate. Continue reading

Categories: Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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