To My Grandma Who Is No Longer With Me On Her Birthday

To My Grandma Who Is No Longer With Me On Her Birthday

9 years later and I am still missing you
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If a little girl is lucky they have a playmate: someone to kneel down and enter their world of pretending. Someone to acknowledge their fantasy worlds of princesses and dolls and unadulterated happiness. I was in the elite class; the luckiest of the lucky.

My grandmother was my best friend. She would kneel down and pick-up a doll and the two of us would sit on her yellow carpet and laugh and talk and simply be for what felt like the best hours of my life.

When I was younger it was dolls, when I got older it was coloring and even older Harry Potter. Being the high-quality wizard that I am, naturally, I dubbed myself Hermionie. Never one to stop the fun, my grandma adopted the role of Harry Potter and allowed me to draw a lightning scar on the aged skin of her forehead. We glued sequins onto popsicle sticks and cast Patronus charms from sundown to sunrise.

Another one of our favorite activities was taking walks. No matter if the visit was at my house or hers, we had a route.

If we were in her neighborhood we would walk to the duck pond and throw pieces of torn up bread into the water to provide the little bird's sustenance. If we were at my house we would walk down the block to the cul de sac and then circle back.

Each walk was, of course, accompanied by my grandmother's signature chocolate chip cookies. We would walk and eat and laugh and smile and talk. And even as young as 10, I remember how thankful I was to have someone who would chat so openly with me.

Someone who would be there for me when I turned the elderly ages of 13, 15, even 18, and give me advice when I was in more desperate need.

My grandma, full of smiles and laughs and oh so willing to enter into my world of make-believe, cloaked herself in all black. This was something that always brought me a bit of confusion: why did my grandma, the happiest person I knew, choose to represent herself with the color most commonly associated with sadness.

Later, I learned, it was because despite the facade that she put on for me, my grandmother's life was anything but happy.

Sick. It was a word that haunted her for as long as I had known her. She pretended to be carefree, but she wasn't. She laughed with me, but could never fully enjoy. And she loved entering my fantasy worlds, likely because she needed to escape from reality even more than I did.

She was sick, and despite the fact that she fought off the disease three times before, the fourth time cancer stole her life right from under her.

I was 10 and lost my best friend.

First, it was confusion, then anger, then sadness. But finally, it came to acceptance. Acceptance that she wouldn't be there for the most critical years when I would need her the most.

She would never see me graduate middle school, nor high school, nor go to prom, nor be accepted to college. She was not there waiting at the door with her sneakers tied and her signature cookie the first time my heart got broke, like my 10 year old self had expected.

And now, this past Wednesday she would have been 75. And I am 19. The last time I saw her she was 66, myself 10. And so much is the same, yet so much has changed.

And while she isn't here to celebrate, I hope that she is proud to watch us as we grow. And I hope that the next time that I see her, wherever and however that may be, she will be waiting with a cookie, her sneakers tied, and a walking route all planned out for us.

Cover Image Credit: No Greater Joy Ministries

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Acts 1:8 Ministry Explains How To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable And Compassionate

Acts 1:8 Ministry, a non-profit organization based out of Wisconsin, believes in building strong community foundations with integrity and humility.

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There have been many natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last few decades, the generosity of Americans has become well-known, and it's vital to inspire this charitable and compassionate concern for others down to future generations.

Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped enrich the lives of others around the globe through the support of generous donors and volunteers who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and improve communities. To pay it forward, Acts 1:8 Ministry explains below how parents can instill charitable and compassionate qualities in their children through word, action and leading by example.

Start At Home

If you have more than one child, you know there are those times they don't want to share toys, snacks, or even friends. Teaching siblings to share is less complicated when you teach your children why the love for each other is so important. In a family unit, each member depends on all the others. Parents provide shelter, food, clothing, and different needs. Children contribute by helping with chores, obeying house rules, and doing their homework. Mutual love and respect are what strengthens the family unit. Working and giving together teaches invaluable lessons to children and builds a secure family unit.

Working Together For Others

Donating time at a food pantry, shelter, or meal distribution center for low-income families or homeless folks in your local area teaches your children the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate. Explain why it is wrong to judge people who need free services to survive. Your children may encounter people who are dirty and wearing smelly clothes, and they need to know not to say anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

Giving Together For Others

If your state has a beverage deposit on soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you and your children can collect discarded cans and bottles. The money you receive from their redemption can be donated to a variety of charitable causes including animal shelters, food banks, clothing distribution centers, or a local charity you support. There is always a need for cash at all of these facilities. Plan annual family fundraisers, such as yard, craft, bake, and plant sales. Donate the money earned to one or more charitable projects the family chooses together.

Establish Charitable Habits

Establish habits and family routines to encourage charitable acts. Choose things that fit your family's lifestyle. Keep a large "charity" jar and place a dollar amount in it every time the family does something special such as going to the movies, spending a day at a water park, eating out, or taking a vacation. Whenever the family spends money on a fun adventure or outing, setting a little money aside to be used for those who don't have the same opportunities helps children understand the need for caring about other people. Other things you can do as a family include:

• Reduce the amount of clothing in your closets, and donate clean and undamaged items to a charity that distributes clothing to low-income families.

• Clean out the toys. Donate unbroken toys and games to homeless shelters that take in families or to a home for battered women and their children.

• Donate your time to visit a nursing home, and talk to different residents. Encourage your children to ask the older folks to tell stories about their childhood.

• Bake cookies or bread together and distribute to older people that live in your neighborhood. Have your children make a card to give with the food gift.

• Help a neighbor who has been sick with yard work, taking out the trash, or other chores he or she is not able to do.

Children love making others happy and will continue to feel the same way as adults if you help them establish the habits of caring, sympathy, helping, and compassion when they are young. By teaching children the core values of caring and compassion, future generations of Americans will continue to be the world's most generous and compassionate people.

About Acts 1:8 Ministry:

Acts 1:8 Ministry is a non-profit organization that equips Christians to care, share and connect people to Christ through Christian kindness. The Planned Acts of Christian Kindness® Program has touched thousands of lives in the US and over 100 countries worldwide. Through the Water Project, over 130 water wells drilled, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water.

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Poetry On Odyssey: A Poem For Grandma

To my wonderful best friend to kick off our summer together!

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NANA


Mother.

Wife.

Sister.

Friend.

Daughter.

Grandmother.

All the glorious roles you have held in life.

Always wearing a smile with lipstick covered lips.

With your blonde short hair.

And glasses covered eyes of blue.

All the wonderful characteristics that make up you.


Happy.

Chill.

Friendly.

Kind.

Just casually cruising through this thing called life, with the best sidekick by your side.

The best of friends is what we are.

I love you so much even though you love me more!

Simply because you're the big to my little.


We have inside jokes,

Sayings,

Stories,

And more.

Adventures after adventures.

That is how we roll.


I love you tremendously Nana and I am blessed that God decided to make us family!

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