Grandparenting, by Lydia E. Harris

Today I have the privilege of introducing Lydia E. Harris, a prolific author who has published over a thousand articles, many of them on grandparenting. We met in May at the Northwest Christian Writers Association renewal conference. Welcome, Lydia.

Lydia E. Harris
Lydia E. Harris

Thanks for inviting me to guest blog on your site. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Milt, for 48 years. We have two married children and five grandchildren, ages preschool to high school. I love all things tea and write the column “A Cup of Tea with Lydia” in The Country Register, so when my daughter and her husband expected their first child, they dubbed me “Grandma Tea.”

Grandma Tea Reading to Grandkids
Grandma Tea Reading to Grandkids

In the picture below, we’re celebrating my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday, and I’m reading my grandkids the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. That was four years ago, and I’ve learned grandkids grow up quickly. Our oldest grandchild will attend community college this fall in the running start program.

As a Christian grandmother, I want to be intentional about passing on my faith to our grandkids. I also want to encourage other grandparents to pass on a legacy of faith. I wrote the Bible study Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting: for Grandparents at Any Stage of the Journey to encourage and inspire grandparents. This book is full of God’s Word and creative ways to share fun and faith with grandkids.

Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting by Lydia E. Harris
Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting
by Lydia E. Harris

Grandparents Day is coming up September 13, 2015, so if you’re a grandparent, I hope you can connect with your grandkids (call, write, skype, or get together). I gave ideas for showing love in a post for Mentoring Moments.

Since I’m a home economist, I often cook with my grandkids. We have fun creating recipes that are published in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine for children.

A Sweet Day Anna, lollipops, and making cinnamon rolls with Grandma Tea
A Sweet Day
Anna, lollipops, and making cinnamon rolls with Grandma Tea

I enjoy being a grandma, but grandparenting isn’t always fun and games. On the serious side, one of my grandsons needed open heart surgery as a toddler. And in everyday life, we deal with the usual grandkids’ squabbles. Plus, Grandpa and I run out of energy when the grandkids come for a sleepover. (In case you haven’t heard: a sleepover with the grands means your sleep is over.) But we love our grands and are on their fan club.

Before our grandkids come to visit, Grandpa and I pray for wisdom and for God’s help. We also pray about things to do to make our time pleasant. Here’s how one day went.

A Fruitful Summer Day

On a recent summer morning, three energetic grandkids arrived for the day. (Their mom was taking a college course, and my husband and I had offered to grand-sit.) To set the tone for a happy time with them, we started by reading Galatians 5:22–23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I had printed out these nine virtues and asked them to circle the one they’d like to work on that day. (Since the grandkids are growing up in a Christian home, these verses were familiar to them.)

Grandpa went first and chose peace. I said I would need patience. Anna (5) chose joy, her middle name. Owen (9) chose kindness, and Clara (11) wasn’t quite sure, so I suggested she could pick them all! We prayed together for God’s help, and then talked about possible fun activities for the day.

With the hot Seattle weather, I suggested going out for lunch. (That would be easy for Grandma, and we could linger in an air-conditioned restaurant.) However, it seems Grandma’s cheese quesadillas, root beer floats, and maybe some microwave s’mores appealed more to them. So we turned on the fan and feasted at home.

They also wanted to bake—even with temperatures near ninety! I chose an easy recipe of five-layer bars and brought the fan into the kitchen while we worked. They took turns crushing the graham crackers and sprinkling on (and nibbling) chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts. The final layer was sweetened condensed milk, which they didn’t mind licking from their fingers when done.

We included other things they enjoyed: a trip to the local bookstore to buy Sticker Dolly Dressing books, a home movie (I have lots of children’s Bible-related stories), and ice water served from a teapot (since I’m “Grandma Tea”). One other cool idea was our frozen shirt game. Before they came, I rolled up wet T-shirts and froze them. Then they unrolled them (with difficulty) and put them on—either over their shirts or their bare skin. Perfect for hot weather.

Part way through the day, I asked, “How are we doing with the fruit of the spirit?”

“Good,” they answered, as they placed colorful stickers on the dolls in their new sticker books.

Grandma Tea and Owen Holding Huckleberry Tarts
Grandma Tea and Owen Holding Huckleberry Tarts

Later, as we drove them home with three grandkids smushed in the back seat of our car, I cranked up a peppy Christian praise CD and said, “This trip is about a five-song ride.”

We delivered three happy children along with a plateful of cookies. Their parents and puppy were glad to see them. And Grandpa and I drove home wondering why we felt so tired when we’d been having so much fun!

Happy grandparenting! God bless you.

Lydia Harris (aka Grandma Tea)

Posted on August 11, 2015

16 thoughts on “Grandparenting, by Lydia E. Harris

  1. As founder of The Country Register my relationship with Lydia goes back for years and years. As well as loving her tea columns for all these years we connect on tea. I loved founding two tea rooms years ago. And I love her grandmother skills and kind spirit and the fact that she regularly checks in on me and keeps our relationship constant. She is one special lady married to a very special man. They visted me in Walla Walla a few years ago where I now spend my summers on my daughter and son-laws farm and pull together Live of Junk, Walla Walla’s Vintage Market two days in June on the farm and in the barn! Lydia and I both love to cook also! Keep cooking goodies and goodness Lydia! Your forever friend. Barbara Floyd.

  2. I’ve read Lydia’s book, Preparing My Heart for Grand Parenting. It’s an excellent devotional for grandparents or about-to-be grandparents.

  3. Barbara,

    Thanks for your kind comments. I’m so glad we connected 16 years ago when I began writing “A Cup of Tea with Lydia” for your papers. Writing the columns gave me a chance to express my love for tea. You’ve been a TEA-lightful friend and an example of a devoted grandmother. I hope we can share another cup of tea.

    Grandma Tea

    1. Dear Lydia,
      I recently read your book, Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting. I loved it! I am the grandmother of five with the fifth one coming into this world in early November, 2017. 🙂 Also, I am a “wanna be” author. I have almost completed my first book, Pass the Legacy: Seven Keys for “Salty” Grandparenting. If you are up for it, I’d love to chat or email with you sometime? 🙂

      Cathy Jacobs, executive director
      Pass the Legacy Ministry

  4. Sylvia,

    I’m glad you enjoyed my grandparenting book. Individuals, couples, and groups who have done the study said it blessed them in many ways.
    I know you’re a devoted grandmother, and even a great grandmother! Congratulations.

    Grandma TEA

  5. I appreciate Lydia not only for her good grand-parenting skills and Christian example, but also for her excellence as a writer and mentor. She helped me re-write until some of my devotionals were recently published for the first time.. Her quick wit and way with words amaze me.

    I especially enjoyed the frozen t-shirt idea for summer. A frozen t-shirt would have cooled my three-year-old great nephew off as he ran up and down the coastal sand dunes that we visited during his stay. Water delights him. He laughed and screamed with pleasure as he ran back and forth through the fountains at our Oregon City library during recent hot days. He kept cool and entertained.

    Keep sharing your experience, Lydia.


    1. Darlene,

      Your great nephew sounds like a delight! I can picture him running through water fountains and squealing with delight. Some of our grandkids still love to run through our back yard sprinklers and play in the kiddie pool on hot days. Watching kids play (and joining in) is such a delight. Thanks for investing in the next generation. The times you share will create memories for a lifetime—for them and you.

      Grandma Tea

  6. I really enjoy reading your great ideas on grandparenting. It’s harder staying connected to my grands who live in TX and CA but I have been writing them a card putting their name in scripture each week. I love the frozen t shirt idea too as well as praying and sharing fruits of the spirit. Thank you Lydia for allowing God to use your gift of writing to bless others!

    1. Pam,

      I love that you’re intentional about your long-distance grandparenting. You are blessing them by writing to them and praying for them. Eternal fruit that remains.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Grandma Tea

  7. Grandma Tea,

    Great article! Great ideas! You most definitely have great amounts of energy and love for your grandkiddos! Thanks for letting me know about this blog, Lydia. I especially liked your definition of a “sleepover.”

    God bless you,

  8. Lydia your suggestions on entertaining grandkids is perfect for those of us with children. Thank you for being an encouragement not only to Grandparents, but Moms as well. I’m always blessed by your posts.

  9. I have known Lydia for many years, as she was a great mentor for many younger moms in the Moms In Prayer International ministry. I am a fairly new “Grammy” compared to well-seasoned and wonderful Grandmother Lydia. I have 3 beautiful granddaughters 6 and under, with a new grandbaby coming very soon. I always smile when I read Lydia’s articles or blogs. I wish I was one of Lydia’s grandchildren!!! I love root beer floats with scripture!!

  10. Thanks for your comments, Susan, Kellie, and Katie. God bless you and your families. It’s worth the time we invest in them, using the gifts and ideas God gives us day by day.

    Children are a blessing from God.

    Grandma TEA

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