Boundaries with Boys

This handsome young man could be her one.

His name is Garrett and he’s a gentleman, which is probably the reason she fell in love. He uses his manners and smiles at everyone he meets, and he wrote 100 promises when he gave his lady love a “waiting” ring.

Promise  Ring

And she’s a lady, through and through—Karaline— our kind and gentle “KareBear.”

Even though they’re only in high school, this grandmother can imagine them in a solid marriage one day.
Grandparents have that sense, you know.

After college would be my preference, but more than anything, I want God’s will for her life.

Thanks to their youth group at church, Karaline and Garrett are protecting their future with boundaries set today. They’re careful about spending too much time alone together and they are saving physical intimacy for marriage.

And his eyes reveal how he cherishes her. It’s so obvious. He can see her as his bride, walking toward him in white, to become his wife, his treasure, forever. He can imagine her bearing and mothering their children. He can picture himself growing old by her side.

These two youngsters are wise old souls, with their faith as their center.

Several times I’ve shared with her about my relationship regrets and a few mistakes I hope she can avoid. I’ve mentioned the importance of open and honest communication about everything that will one day become a part of married life and raising children. She listened and is still asking good questions. She wants to use caution and good judgment because she trusts her Garrett to do the same. And so do I.

Of her concerns, my advice is usually, “Ask God,” or “Wait on God.”

“But, I’m in love, Grandma, and I don’t want to lose Garrett. What if he is attracted to someone else or what if he wants to date other girls?”

True love waits, Daughter. God’s plan promises, “It’s worth the wait.”

And there’s a huge payoff in the here and now and the happily ever after—a beautiful union for life and life more abundantly, as two become one.

Trust God, the One who loves you both the most, to guide you and to be there when you wonder what your future holds.

Remember, Children, He only has your best in mind.


…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:28 (NIV)

KH-GW Prom2014

KH-GW

KH-GW Boat

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Leading by Reading

Recently, the words on a poster captivated my thoughts.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

Children Readers

And as a schoolteacher, I‘ve witnessed the truth in this correlation. I can usually tell when a student has grown up with parents who read for themselves and spend time reading with their children.

Honestly, we can never underestimate the influence of good books and carefully chosen words.

At her request, my teenage granddaughter and I started a tradition this past year. We made a weekly date to study the Bible together, sometimes after a shared lunch at Fred’s Market and sometimes over our favorite frozen mocha frappe at Krazy Kup, the cool coffeehouse in our town.

With her very demanding high school schedule, several times she texted me to rearrange our date: “Hey, will Tuesday work for you this week?” or “Can you study today instead?”

Since our date was one of my weekly priorities, I made every effort to accommodate her timing.

“Thank you, Gaga,” she would always reply.

I suggested The Acts of the Apostles for our first study and we kept it simple. During the eight sessions we took to finish the book, we just alternated turns, reading the divisions in each chapter aloud to each other. Like girlfriends would do, we posed questions and wondered “what if” and “how,” and even discussed bits of information about Paul’s cultural history. Her teen Bible (True Images) had some interesting commentary sidebars she could read to me…and become the teacher in those moments.

We spoke often of the Holy Spirit and how He guides and directs our steps when we listen for His leading. We talked about the comfort, contentment, and peace that He gives when we relinquish our will to God.

As grandmother and granddaughter, we practiced and received the beautiful blessing promised in Revelation 1:3 (NIV)…Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

I doubt Karaline will ever fully understand how much the sound of her voice reading Scripture and her commitment of time has meant to me.

Perhaps one day, when she’s mothering her own children, she’ll remember and know.

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A Granddaughter’s Art

Since I wrote yesterday of the beautiful card my youngest granddaughter gave me for Christmas this year, I decided to also share a sweet gift her older sister (and my eldest granddaughter Haley Hayes) made for me on Mother’s Day 2014.

As I presume is true of most mothers and grandmothers, I love handcrafted gifts. They have a message all their own, as in “I invested extra time and thought into something I hoped would please you.”

That’s what Haley’s artwork meant to me. She painted a canvas and selected words for a Grandma acrostic. She painted Generous, Radiant cAring, Noble, Dedicated, aMicable, and Amazing.

And from my not quite 20-year-old Haley, I felt affirmed and appreciated.

Thank You, God, for this gift from a girl with so many. Blessed, I am indeed, to be her Grandma.

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A Granddaughter’s Words

My 18-year-old granddaughter and Bible study partner, Karaline Beth Hayes, gave me a special Christmas card this year.

She calls (or texts) regularly to schedule our study dates. She will probably never realize what a treasured keepsake this has already become. Inside, she wrote:

“I love you, Gaga. I have really enjoyed our Bible studies and lunch dates. You have been the best grandma I could ever ask for. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a Godly woman and introducing me to God. You have made such an impact on my life and I could never thank you enough for the life lessons you have taught me.

As life goes on, I just want you to know I will always love you and cherish our relationship. I know we will always stay close. Thank you for everything. I love you so much.
Love always,
Karaline”

And today, I prayed:

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Karaline in my life. Please help her follow Your ways all of her days.IMG_0034

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READ Aloud

Revelation 1:3 (New International Version) promises a blessing.

3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

I discovered the beautiful truth in this verse personally in 2012 when our church embraced the READ Initiative. In addition to reading the Bible in our daily quiet time, a number of our members signed up for hour-long time slots to read the Bible aloud in the sanctuary. Usually, the only person present was the reader. But this didn’t matter. What an incredible experience to feel God’s strength rising up inside your soul and to grow more and more encouraged with each Scripture passage. We readers stepped into the greatest story of all time, and when we finished our segment, we were changed…braver, bolder, more compassionate, more convinced, and more in love with Jesus.

2015 begins our third consecutive year at Plant City Church of God to accomplish the read-through in approximately 120 hours.

Begin your own tradition this year. Let God invade your senses. There is power in the reading aloud and in the hearing your own voice speak His truth. I promise, He will be with you through every.single.word.

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The Heart of Champions

We witnessed some beautiful lessons this week during a state all-star T-ball tournament. Even though some of the tiny teams were not victorious as to the score, each of them were winners. No losers dimmed the shine at this event.

Our family was among those celebrating the championship with awards for MVP and team sportsmanship. And it’s always a wonderful thing to win. But even more important than winning this time, were the principles practiced in the process.

You would have been proud of all several hundred of these six-year-old athletes.

They gave the games their all and seemed determined to please their coaches and we fans. They honored the referees’ decisions and they focused on the goal of personal best for the team’s sake. They took a knee when any player was injured and they shook hands as both the victors and the defeated. And some shed tears at the loss.

We watched the losers learn from their experience and return with a more determined attitude to win. And we watched them never give up. They played with heart to the end.

The young boys were privy to watching adults compliment their team’s opponents for a game well-played or children well-coached. Families modeled togetherness as they cleaned up the dugouts and the seating areas so the next group could enjoy fresh surroundings. And with each game played, little boys took another step forward into manhood.

This tournament demonstrated the results of patience, hard work, practice, team play, fair competition, firm guidance and family support.

And as we saw it, every child was a champion.

Game on!

Chase Wesley Anello

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For the Love of the Game

Nothing warms the heart more than to see children surrounded by supportive families.

My husband and I spent yesterday with sister and brother-in-law at their grandson’s T-Ball tournament in Mulberry, Florida. Five men coached the Wesley Chapel team to two victories as parents, siblings, grandparents and friends cheered them on from the sidelines. It was a beautiful sight!

The young boys learning the skills, rules and sportsmanship required for baseball were also able to experience the thrill of competition, and of winning and losing graciously. This ball park was a classroom of sorts.

Reflecting back on the time we’ve invested in the sports of our own four grandchildren — soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis and cheerleading — I am reminded once again of the value of sports and healthy physical activity.

May we never lose the joy of being part of the game!

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