Grandparenting: Look at it This Way


One little thing can make a big, big change. I’ve been at this conference, and our keynote speaker tells stories about One Little Dream or One Little Prayer, sprinkling one little dab of this with one tiny dash of that layer by layer, step by step, until the hundreds of unremarkable little ingredients are assembled in just the right way to release an aroma that will stop you in mid-step.

It’s like this giant lasagna of grace. 

And who doesn’t want more grace? I know I do. You too? Anyway. I decided to investigate. I would make one little change and then I’d see what happened. 

I wanted my heart and mind to be open to new ways of seeing, pondering. Why else go to a conference? And so I decided that I would do just one little thing differently for these few short days.

I wanted to take my processes off autopilot and engage more fully. I chose one harmless thing to change, and then I changed it. It is a thing so trivial it almost sounds silly. Here is what I did:


I banished the 123s and ABCs from my session notes. I used the first letters of the names of the planets in our solar system for one list: M., V., E., M. For another list, shown above, I drew simple shapes to label each entry on the list.

It was a tiny change. A self-contained, simple, something new. 

Then something remarkable happened. The next morning, I opened my notebook and poised my pen over paper, waiting to catch our teacher’s words. At first, words flowed through my pen onto the paper. Then they dripped onto the paper.

Finally, the words stopped, and images began pouring from my pen. 

Pictures. My notes were being drawn, not written. And it seemed all I had to do was sit there and watch the sketches come. That picture up at the top of this post? Our teacher said, write with your heart, and the next thing I know, I’m looking at a drawing.

My big smooshy pillow of a heart is sitting beside me on a bench, and I’m leaning into it as I write. I’m writing with my heart.

If you have any sense at all you’re wondering what on earth this all has to do with being a grandparent. Here’s what:

Sometimes families hit rough spots and rocky patches. When you need to find a different way, change just one little thing, pray, and wait. Pay attention. See what happens. 


rabbit conga


Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

rabbit conga


On Tuesdays, we’re talking about families and the joys and challenges that arise when we stretch across three (or more?) generations (child, parent, grandparent). The conversation began on January sixth  and we’ll continue until we run out of things to say. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to hear from each generation’s perspective.  Being family is by turns effortless, impossible, blessed, challenging, hurtful, joyous . . . . Let’s talk about it.

Please join us. Be a part of the conversation. Take a survey to help with research and be entered to win an Amazon gift card!




  1. Sheila, I loved this post–so thoughtful and poetic. Even more, I applaud you for being open to new ways of seeing and pondering. What a joy to have you at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. Already looking forward to seeing you there in March 2016. Write on!

  2. ‘One little things can make a big, big change…like a lasagna of grace’. I love how you apply this to families and rough patches! My dad used to say to me when I played sports ‘if it’s not working, change strategies’. Try something new, bathe in prayer…and wait! A blessed formula. I’m a 17 day old grandma (bestemor) and starting to write some about the journey…hope to join your conversations on Tuesdays. Blessings!

    • Sandra, congratulations on becoming a grandmother! Thanks for your kind words here. I’m on a short sabbatical, but will be back in a few Tuesdays. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll take our survey. Find it here:

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