Mixed Messages

Mixed Messages


While there is a genuine love and fondness between grandparents, parents and grandchildren, often communication is difficult because of the generation gap. As a grandmother, I know I'm somewhat dismayed as my grandkids get tattoed and I really don't understand how piercings in eyebrows, cheeks, nose and tongue can be considered attractive. Of course to my grandchildren I'm just old fashioned.

Unfortunately the "generation gap" extends to our verbal communication as well. I can remember when my grandchildren were taking a walk with grandpa... all barefooted. Grandpa turned to the oldest one and said, "Will you run back to the house and get my thongs?"

As all the grandchildren gasped, grandpa quickly figured out that his definition of "thong" or flip-flops as they are called today, is quite different from the extremely brief panties that our kids and grandkids refer to as thongs today.

Grandparents often share with their granchildren how they had to walk miles to school in the cold of winter, while the kids may be dealing with issues that far exceed anything their grandparents or parents could imagine.

To help overcome misunderstandings and to better relate to the challenges each generation faces/faced, your family might try this exercise... Now and Then.

Invite members of different generations to participate -- kids, parents and grandparents. Once you've gathered, have your group respond to the questions, one at a time. Remember to include the emotional element to your answers. By doing this each member will start to understand that along with being different, there are many similarities between the generations. For example, the feelings a person experiences when falling in love, or losing a loved one.


  1. I love(d)/hate(d) being a teenager because ....'No, grandma, hashtags are not something you order with eggs.'
  2. My life is (was) stressful because ...
  3. My parents don't (didn't) understand that ...
  4. School is (was) ...
  5. Some of my friends are (were) ....
  6. My best friend is (was) ...
  7. I want(ed) to be ...
  8. I want(ed to go ...
  9. I would like (wanted) to buy ...
  10. My favorite thing to do is (was) ...
  11. My favorite movie is (was) ...
  12. A person I admire(d) is (was) ....
  13. My mom is (was) ...
  14. My dad is (was) ...
  15. My brothers and sisters are (were) ...
  16. I hate(d) doing ...
  17. I hate(d) going ....
  18. Life would be (have been) easier if ...
  19. My goals are (were) to ...
  20. If I could (have) change(d) one thing, it would be (have been) ...

Many of the questions are vague creating an opportunity to ask questions of each person. Be interested .... and non-judgement.

This exercise can create a bond, a real understanding between generations that will help members to appreciate and better understand the challenges faced by each.






Marriage Advice

Marriage Advice

I came across this posting on Facebook and I had to share. After reading it, write the advice you would give to your children or grandchildren for having a successful marriage?
Enjoy the journey,


Choose to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not a feeling.

Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling and when possible, try to keep your phone off when you’re together with your spouse.


Make time together a priority. Budget for a consistent date night. Time is the “currency of relationships” so consistently invest time into your marriage.

Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage and remove yourself from people who may tempt you to compromise your character.

Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage. Share moments of joy, and even in the hard times, find reasons to laugh.


In every argument, remember that there won’t be a “winner” and a “loser.” You are partners in everything so you’ll either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution.

Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It’s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.Prioritize what happens in the bedroom. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it!

Remember that marriage isn’t 50-50, divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It’s not splitting everything in half, but both partners giving everything they’ve got!


Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone else.

Learn from other people, but don’t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone else’s. God’s plan for your life is masterfully unique!


Don’t put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your kids or else you’ll end up with an empty nest and an empty marriage.

Never keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy.

Never lie to each other. Lies break trust and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage.


When you’ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly seek forgiveness. You should be quick to say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

When your husband/wife breaks your trust, give them your forgiveness instantly which will promote healing and create the opportunity for trust to be rebuilt. You should be quick to say, “I love you. I forgive you. Let’s move forward.”

Be patient with each other. Your spouse is always more important that your schedule.


Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives.

Learn from other people, but don’t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone Else. God’s plan for your life is masterfully unique!

Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places.


Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you’re always connected to your spouse and it will remind the rest of the world that you’re off limits!

Connect into a community of faith. A good church can make a world of difference in your marriage and family.

Pray together. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it.


When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time!

Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each .


Your Legacy

Your Legacy



Forty years ago my mom and dad became snowbirds, abiding in Yuma, Arizona for six months of the year in an effort to avoid the cold, snowy Idaho winters. After my dad passed away, I insisted on accompanying my mother on her annual journey as a safety measure – after all a woman shouldn’t be driving that distance by herself.


Little did I know that I would come to value those yearly treks as we talked almost the entire distance of nearly 900 miles, enjoying our one-on-one time. I learned so much about her and her early life; yet knowing I would forget some of the stories, I encouraged her to write them down.


Six years ago, when my mother passed away, I found a folder filled with life stories she had written … some she had shared with me and others were new. As I read them, some made me laugh, others made me cry and all gave me a better understanding of who she was as a person. I soon realized that these stories were my mother’s legacy.


As I shared with friends the treasures I had inherited in these stories, all could relate. Some said they wish their parents or grandparents had written their life stories, some said their parents had and they were so glad they did, while others admitted they really needed to start writing their own memories.


Some people have commented, “Who would want to read about my life? It’s so boring.” To them I respond, “That’s just not true. Everyone has a story to tell!”


If you don’t think your life is interesting, consider these questions:


  • What changes have occurred throughout your lifetime? (technology, travel, cost of goods, education, social behavior)
  • What difficulties have you experienced and what lessons did you learn from them? (Sharing the lessons we learned will help our children and grandchildren better face their own challenges.)
  • Who are some of the people or events that have influenced your life? In what way?
  • What are some of the values and beliefs you cherish and would like to pass on to your posterity? Why?


If these questions don’t convince you that your life is of interest to others or that you have an important message to share, then ask yourself, “If I had a chance to talk with a deceased relative about his or her life, would I want to?” I think most of us would. I wish I had asked my grandfather who passed away at the age of 93 about his experiences as a missionary, requiring him to leave behind a wife and three young children. I wish I could talk with my dad about his wartime memories. I wonder what my great-grandmother’s life was like as a polygamist’s wife.


Just as you have a thirst to learn more about your ancestors, your posterity will want to know about you and the life you have lived. Legacy writing provides a bond between generations, a rope to guide us through the difficulties that life may deal us, and a thread interwoven into our DNA that helps us to better understand who we are.


Start today to capture your memories for your posterity. Remember, “Your legacy is more than the fame or fortune you may have acquired, it is the life you have lived.”


Costa Rica Vacation

Costa Rica Vacation


For the past two weeks I've been vacationing in Costa Rica with 10 members of my family (4 daughters, son, three son-in-laws and my ex-husband -- my husband couldn't go because he's recuperating from back surgery). We've been planning this vacation for almost a year. Why Costa Rica? Four of us (my husband included) came to CR three years ago and loved it. As we recounted our experiences with other family members, they all wanted to go. So we decided we would plan ahead so everyone could save for it.


Our vacation was filled with wonderful sites -- rain forests with monkeys, a snake (eyelash viper), lots of birds (800 varieties are found in CR) and sloths, terrific beaches both on the Pacific and Caribbean sides and volcanos. It's natural beauty is astounding and the people are super friendly.


Of course, traveling with a large group has it challenges. The cost of car rental tripled with all the extra fees added. This limited us to 2 cars, 5 traveling in each car. Needless to say, it was crowded. Someone had to sit in the middle back seat on the hump, which was not a comfortable position.  The next challenge was the sleeping accommodations. Who was to get what rooms and which beds? Sometimes conflicts would arise, but I'm happy to say that hard feelings were quickly pushed aside, no grudges held. It was interesting to see how these difficulties were handled by the group.


We stayed at some beautiful places by Costa Rican standards. On the Caribbean side four of us slept in a beautiful, two-level tree house. That was an experience to remember. The others slept nearby in the cabana. While the treehouse was beautiful and fun to experience, it was a  little spooky having so many open areas that spiders and other insect could come in to visit during the night. Not many did, but it did make me a little nervous at night.


In the morning as the sun came up, the howler monkeys would start howling and birds would start chirping. It was a lively wake-up call at 5 a.m. in the morning. Evenings on the Caribbean side was fun as locals came out to enjoy the cooler temperatures. Bob Marley music played and all the bars and restaurants are open aired adding to the free feeling. It's so different from what our every day life in the States is. On the Pacific side, the sunsets were gorgeous as each night we watched the sun sink into the ocean.


Unfortunately one daughter was sick during most of the trip, and some of the others had short bouts of illness. I think eating foods they weren't accustomed to was the cause for some of it. In spite of the difficulties, it was wonderful to see everyone playing in the ocean or swimming in the pools together, hiking and laughing and just enjoying each other's company.


Costa Rica was an experience none of us will forget. All the experiences we've shared will last a lifetime and provide countless hours of reminiscing.


What has been your favorite vacation? Who did you travel with and what did you do? What made it memorable?


Questions to Ask Grandma or Grandpa

Questions to Ask Grandma or Grandpa

In the last post, 10 Tips for Interviewing Grandparents, I promised I'd follow up with some questions you can ask. Of course you can add to this list or delete some if they aren't appropriate. There may be stories associated with a question so make sure you give him or her a chance to tell them.

1. What is your full name?
2. What day were you born and where?
3. How many siblings did you have? Names? Where were you in the birth order?
4. What childhood memories do you have of your mother?
5. What childhood memories do you have of your father?
6. What do you remember about your grandparents? (Ask their names.)
7. Which siblings were you closest to? What are some memories you have of them?
8. What games did you play as a child?
9. What was your favorite holiday?
10. What activities did you enjoy as a family?
11. Did you have a special pet as a child?
12. Did you go to church? Which one? What church activities did you enjoy?
13. Did you enjoy school? What was your favorite subject? Favorite teacher?
14. Who was your best friend? What are some of the things you did together
15. What high school did you attend? Tell me about it.

16. Who was your best friend in high school?

17. What activities did you enjoy?

18. What was your favorite subject in school?

19. Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

20. What kind of clothes did you wear as a teenager and how did you fix your hair?

21. What was your favorite movie? Who was your favorite movie star?

22. Did you have boyfriend/girlfriend? Tell me about him or her.
23. Did you work during high school? If so, what did you do? How much did you make?
24. What talents did you have?
25. Were you shy or outgoing? How did that affect you during high school?

26. Where did you meet [grandma/grandpa]?

27. What attracted him/her to you?
28. What was the proposal like?

29. When did you get married? Where?

30. What was life like as a young married couple?

31. How many children did you have? Tell me what they were like as children.

32. What were some of the fun things you did as a family?
33. Did you experience hard times as a young family? Tell me about them.
34. How much did things cost at that time, i.e. movie, candy bar, gas, etc.?
35. How did you celebrate the holidays?
36. What do you think today's parents do wrong when raising kids?

(Keep in mind that they may have been married more than one time. Ask them questions about each marriage.)


37. What were some of the challenges you faced during your middle age? How did you overcome them?

38. How important was religion in your life?

39. What are some of the social issues that concerned you?

40. What jobs did you have? Which did you like best?
41. How did you feel when your kids left home and started families of their own? How did you fill the extra time?
42. What are some of the activities you enjoyed during these years?
43. Who were some of your friends?
44. What were your favorite vacations? Why?


45. What are some of the things you are proudest for achieving?
46. What are some of your regrets? What would you do differently if you could do it again.
47. What advice can you give to your grandkids to make their lives better?
48. What advice can you give to your children to make their lives better?
49. Who is someone who has influenced you for the better? How?
50. What historical events have happened during your lifetime and how did you feel about them?

Make sure you record your visit and if you are calling them instead, you might set up the call on www.freeconferencecall.com so it can be recorded. You'll be able to download the file to transcribe later.
Good life and great interview.

10 Tips for Interviewing Grandparents

10 Tips for Interviewing Grandparents

Get their stories now, before it is too late!

Often when loved ones pass away we are filled with regrets for not asking them more questions about their lives. Now is the time to call your grandparents and set up a time you can talk with them about their lives. An interview is only a conversation between two people with an end goal in mind. In your case, your goal is to collect as many stories as possible. The interview should be conducted in a relaxed information-flowing manner, as you want the person you are talking with to feel comfortable sharing their memories. Let him or her know what the purpose of the interview is ... to collect these stories for posterity.

To help you with the process, I have listed some tips to help you with your interviewing skills.

10 Tips for Conducting a Great Interview

1. Set a time for the interview and let them know approximately how long you would like to talk with them. This way you can both make sure there are as few distractions as possible.

2. Make a list of questions you would like to ask … but be flexible. If your grandmother is in the middle of telling you about her father, don’t interrupt to ask a different question. The questions you have compiled are used to help keep the conversation going and to help them recall various times in their lives. They should not be used to dictate the entire conversation.

3. Take control of the conversation. Yes, I know. I just told you to let the conversation flow. However, if the person you are interviewing gets distracted and starts talking about the neighbor’s dog or their paperboy’s irresponsible behavior, ask a question to get them back on track, or start talking about a different time period.

4. Ask open-ended questions. Questions that can be answered with one or two words – such as “yes,” “no” or “I guess,” aren’t going to provide you with much information. Instead use statements such as “Tell me more about …,” “Why do you think …,” What does this mean to you?” and “How did you feel about that?”

5. Endure silences. Sometimes when a person is striving to remember something, they need to take a moment to organize their thoughts. Don’t be too quick to interrupt. A little silence can be golden.

6. Be aware and respectful. If they seem uncomfortable talking about a topic you are pursuing, change your direction of questioning, or ask them if they would maybe like to talk about that particular subject at a later date.

7. Clarify, clarify, clarify. If you are not clear about something they said, question them about it. If you still aren’t clear, rephrase it and ask them again. You want the information you gather to be as factual as possible. Also, make sure you ask about the spelling of names (if you don’t know it) and, if possible, approximate dates things occurred. This will make it easier to organize the stories into chronological order.

8. Share your own memories. You will find that by sharing some of your memories, more will come to their mind. Plus, it makes the interview more conversational, putting less pressure on them. However, be careful not to monopolize the conversation. Remember, the purpose of the interview is to collect their memories, so don't start making it ALL about you.

9. Ask them to review the final manuscript for accuracy. Sometimes, small details may be wrong or were omitted. Also, it will make them feel more comfortable about sharing information with you if they know they will have an opportunity to review it.

10. Be sure to thank them by mailing a nice card or giving them a call. Offer to show them the finished product and/or give them a copy as a gift.
The interview should be a fun experience for both of you. In fact, you will probably find it so enjoyable that you will want to reminisce with other relatives. And, of course, that’s exactly what we hope you will do.

In the next blog, I'll provide suggestions of interview questions you might use.

Good life, great interview.


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