Gran Jan Camp – 2016

The inaugural Gran Jan Camp was a long-awaited event for me. Before I was even a grandmother I heard Mrs. Esther Burroughs speak at a women’s retreat. She is a great mentor to many women.  She shared about her “Nana Camp,” and I decided right then I would do that one day. Well that day came last month, the week of June 20-24, 2016. I talked with a couple of other grandmas and decided the requirements for Gran Jan Camp would be completion of first grade. So this Inaugural Gran Jan Camp 2016 was one-on-one with my oldest grandson Zeke, who just finished first grade.  (The 2017 Camp will include Madie and Jackson as they are both about to enter first grade, then it will be a couple of years before Emery and Abe will join their camper cousins.)

Having this uninterrupted time with Zeke for a solid week was very special to me and to my husband Gary (Pop).  We are thankful for his parents who shared him with us for a week and for the opportunity to invest in his life without the distractions of a quick visit or a hurried schedule.  I’m going to share some pictures from our time together.

We met my son Jeremy and his family after church on Sunday afternoon June 19 (Father’s Day) in Atlanta at a family favorite restaurant, THE VARSITY, to get Zeke and bring him home with us for Camp. When I sat down next to Zeke at the table, he said, “FINALLY!” Almost as if he knew how long I had been anticipating this event myself…even before I was a grandma. We stopped for delicious peach ice cream at Lane Southern Orchards on the way home from Atlanta. We were off to a sweet and delicious beginning!Lane

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We enjoyed early morning coffee on the porch, a tradition Zeke and I began when he was a toddler (his coffee was mostly milk with a splash of coffee…still is).  We would have our journal and prayer time after breakfast, and then we just played and enjoyed the day.  My friend Mary Perdue told me to keep in mind that time together was the priority, not the theme or the plans.  She was exactly right.  Zeke told me right away he didn’t want it to be like school, he just wanted us to play and have fun!  So that’s what we did, and I have no regrets.

This is Zeke sitting in my chair in my quiet time place. The first day of camp was actually the Summer Solstice that included a full moon, an event that won’t be repeated in my lifetime. The longest day of the year, how much better could it get? The day with the most daylight and I got to share it with Zeke! We read from Genesis every morning about God’s creation and of course on Day 1, God said “let there be light.” The significance of all of that was not lost on me or Zeke. So we talked about His Light and the longest day of daylight. I will be honest – this was Gran Jan’s favorite time because we prayed and shared together and I was able to speak into his heart and life. We memorized Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.”  I kept his journal and next year he will add to it. I will give the grandkids their journals when they graduate from Gran Jan Camp, which I hope is when they are about 30… 🙂GJCampOne afternoon we drove to an animal farm out in the country and bought a new miniature donkey for the Morton Farm, actually to keep our little girl donkey, Maybelle company.  Zeke named him Moses Morton and they took to each other so quickly. Moses seemed to recognize that Zeke was a little person too. Moses

We  enjoyed our time at this farm out in Eastman, Georgia. The farmer had every type of bird, duck, goose, chicken…and even peacocks! Have you ever heard a peacock? They are extremely LOUD and beautiful!Camp2

On Wednesday afternoon Zeke and Pop and I went to see the movie “Finding Dory.”  It was a great way to escape the heat and enjoy an outing.Camp1

After the movie we went shopping and Zeke told me he wanted some new pajamas with sharks on them. I was so hoping we could find some because we had also had some learning time at Camp about sharks, orcas, whales and big sea creatures…at the request of Zeke. I will admit I actually learned way more than he did because he already knew everything we studied. He is one smart boy! Guess what? Kohl’s had 2 sets of pajamas in Zeke’s size and they BOTH had sharks on them.  God is in the details, oh yes He is! CAMPfun

After shopping for pjs, we went to church and Zeke went to choir rehearsal with me. I enjoyed that so much. Then of course he wanted to play around in the inside playroom – it was way too hot to be outside and he was way too big since our last visit there, as shown in the above picture…he is growing up so fast.

Every evening we enjoyed rides around the farm in our trusty golf cart. I let Zeke drive and he did an excellent job. This was taken at dusk when we were way way out in the big 25-acre hayfield. I pray these memories will hold in both mine and Zeke’s heart. It was really a special week.Farm

We also enjoyed some time by the pond in the early evenings. Zeke and Pop did some fishing and we made s’mores by the firepit too. No big agendas, just quality uninterrupted time…two-way conversations with lots of listening on both sides, truly priceless. Time to actually hear the things on this little fella’s heart. He is mighty special!Camp22

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On our last day of Gran Jan Camp, Zeke wrote a letter to his “18-year-old-self” and we buried a time capsule. Pop picked out a great spot with room for the next 4 time capsules and a place we could find and remember. 🙂 Zeke put some items in the capsule and we decided we would dig it back up when he turned 18.  I read the letter Zeke wrote and one of the things he included was memorizing Isaiah 40:8.  He wrote, “I hope you still remember this…” I do too little buddy, I do too!Camp3

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We had a wonderful week and I’m already looking forward to the next year, and the next and the next…Lord willing as my Granny Maloy always said about anything she was planning for the future.

If you’re a grandmother, I hope you’ll consider doing something similar with your grandchildren. Make it your own, do whatever works for your family. But just do it! You will not regret the investment of time. And when it’s over you can take 2 Advil and enjoy a long nap…

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Zeke’s Baptism & Family Blessings

The Good Lord has been especially near to me lately. He is always near, even those times when I’m not where I need to be to hear Him, and for that I am thankful. But lately His goodness has been evident in many ways, more than I ever deserve. This past weekend we enjoyed one of the most blessed days in the life of a family of faith. We witnessed and celebrated the baptism of our oldest grandchild, Zeke, for whom this blog was begun almost 8 years ago now.  I wrote my very first post back in July 2008 about waiting for his birth. So much living has gone on since then. My name changed to Gran Jan and nothing is the same now, and it’s wonderful! This picture is from Sunday when my oldest son Jeremy baptized his oldest son Zeke. It was a precious visible picture of our spiritual legacy continuing to the next generation. Blog18

These are my four oldest grandchildren together at Cartersville First Baptist this past Sunday [April 24, 2016] for Zeke’s baptism. Sweet cousins holding hands. I love everything about this picture! Zeke was so happy and isn’t his plaid jacket the greatest?  I love even more that he and cousin Jackson were sporting their plaidness together. Our sweet granddaughters are bookends in this picture, Jackson’s sister, Emery is on the left and Zeke’s sister, sweet Madie is on the right. Little Abraham was in the church nursery.
Blog10After we had a delicious lunch prepared by our daughter-in-love Carrie, Zeke’s mom, Sunday after church, Pop and my mom and I drove back to our home church because Jackson had a solo with our Preschool Church Choir. He is a singer like his Pop. Jackson throws his head back and sings! We loved hearing him singing “You Are God Alone.” He is in the orange shirt below at the microphone. He did so well – we are so proud of him, and he knew every word!Blog8

Here is my husband, Gary. The grandkids call him Pop.  They love him and so do I!  The top picture is from a recent opportunity he had to participate in a Worship Symposium at Liberty University. I was so proud of him as he was able to share his knowledge and experiences as a worship leader for over 40 years! The next picture is the famous RACE that the grandkids love. They are always bantering back and forth about beating him in a foot race. He told me that sweet Jackson will sometimes “slow down” and let him appear to win…love that sweet boy.Blog17

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Here is the Maloy patriarch, my father Tom Maloy, also from this past weekend. My dad will be 82 years old this Friday, April 29th. He hosted a family reunion and I saw cousins I haven’t seen in years! He is the only child still living from his family of origin that included 11 children. He was ninth in birth order, there were  8 girls and 3 boys. Here he is in his element – cooking! He smoked a whole hog and made his famous Brunswick stew and my mom and sisters made cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans, and there were lots of desserts. It was a great day for the Maloys. My three men are in the picture below Dad, enjoying the delicious meal. Blog2

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The next pictures are all from the past several weeks, just random family times and fun with the grandkids. I love every picture and the LOVE it represents in our hearts and home.  Here are the 3 grandboys at our church one Sunday. Jackson, Abe, and Zeke, all sporting their plaid shirts!Blog14Here is sweet Emery Caroline. My daughter-in-law captured this picture from Emery’s preschool at church as the kids were saying the blessing. This picture is already one of my all-time favorites. I don’t think words can describe the sweetness here. I said a blessing of thanks for the privilege to have her as a granddaughter. Blog15

Here is a picture of Jackson and Emery from Spring Break back the last week of March (2016). They spent the day with me at the Morton Farm. We planted green beans and squash, had fun with the animals and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I can’t wait for them to see the vegetables they planted – they are growing well!Blog12

This is sweet grandgirl Madie Ruth on a Daddy-Daughter Date with Jeremy.  She is as sweet as sugar, a little shy, and I believe she’s going to be a good athlete!Madie

Here is another athlete! Basketball is Jackson’s main game, but he’s doing well with T-Ball too! We love watching him at whatever sport he is playing at the time. Jonathan sends us videos on our phones of him playing with kids in the neighborhood who are older. Jackson holds his own and normally outplays them.  Hashtag Proud GranJan. Blog1

Abe loves to eat. He’s a Morton all the way with this trait 🙂 and reminds me of his daddy so very much. I captured this picture from my son’s Instagram account of Abe at a recent church dinner. I’d say it appears he enjoyed his chocolate brownie!FullSizeRenderI made a quilt as a gift for my youngest sister Jo’s 50th birthday on April 8th. She has told me several times how much she loves it and I can say I loved making it for her. I hope it brings her years of joy, just as she has brought to me.Blog11I discovered a nest of redbirds (my favorite) last weekend while doing some weeding in my garden. They are in a yellow rosebush. I saw the mama bird fly away so I know they are Cardinals. I can’t wait to see them fledge. Granddaughter Madie loves the outdoors with me too.  She already knows the names of flowers and loves to see the birds too.  Gran Jan’s JOY!Blog4

This last picture is of the Resurrection Ferns on the pecan tree near our driveway. They are dormant most of the time, but when it rains and they are refreshed they come out and make me so happy! Thank you Lord for times of refreshing. Blog13

Acts 3:19
Repent therefore and be converted,
that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come
from the presence of the Lord

The pictures I’ve shared today have all refreshed my heart in some way. The Good Lord has blessed this Gran Jan beyond what I ever deserve. His grace is so real to me, His mercy so tender. I pray for times of refreshing in your life today.

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The Loft Link-Up [Hope…]

The Loft Linkup

It has been a while, too long actually, since I was able to join you Loft Link-Up bloggers. My word for 2016 is “LESS” and part of the less I am lessening involves less social media. I don’t include blogging as part of the less! Bloggers are writers, special folks, and I am proud to be one of y’all. The word HOPE resonated with me this morning, and I really wanted to share the reason for my HOPE! And I dearly love my friend and women’s ministry partner, Leah Adams!

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Years ago I attended a Women of Faith event in Atlanta, GA and I heard Thelma Wells speak.  Her theme was HOPE. She said something that has stayed with me all these years. Her statement was “GIRL, YOU BETTER GET YOUR HOPES UP!”  This is the opposite of what we usually hear…don’t get your hopes up. The big difference is location, location, location! Where do you place your hope! Taken from the old hymn THE SOLID ROCK, I can confidently say “my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

About seven years ago our family went through a season where our hope was deferred over and over again. It involved my oldest son and his wife in their heartfelt desire to become parents. After several years of infertility, they had decided to adopt a child and within weeks discovered they would be the parents of triplets, two boys and a girl.  After several months and the discovery of a scam, all hope was deferred.  But within one day, ONE DAY, my daughter-in-law discovered she was pregnant.  You can read the story on my blog at the link below.

What A Difference A Day Makes

The Tree of Life from the second part of  Proverbs 13:12 is found in the three beautiful children my son and his wife now have, from three healthy, wonderful pregnancies. And yes, they have two boys and a girl.  HOPE FULFILLED by the power of God and answered prayers.  So my friends I want to encourage you today. Get your hopes UP – but keep your hope in HIM. The only One who can bring that peace, that Tree of Life, that dream to you. Zeke_Madie_Abe

 

HOPE HAS A NAME! Jesus.
My Hope is in Him,

Jan

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 24 – December 15, 2015

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It’s a rainy night here in Georgia this New Year’s Eve Eve. Two of my grandchildren are playing nearby and it’s been nice to have some days at home. Being at home for several days in a row centers me. I’m a homebody at heart, although my husband and I did enjoy five days in New York City just two weeks ago with our friends the Dutchers. It was the perfect getaway after a time of loss as my precious 93-year-old mother-in-law passed away on December 8. She was a wonderful woman of faith and very special to me. We miss her but we rejoice that she is in the presence of the Lord.

I realized just earlier this afternoon that I had neglected to post my final Scripture Team Memory Verse of 2015. It makes it even more appropriate on this next-to-the-last-day of the year when you read it below…2 Corinthians 4:18:

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In some ways I can relate this verse to 2015 and 2016. Tomorrow is the last day of 2015. Except for tomorrow, 2015 is now SEEN.  I can roll events over in my heart and mind and replay them like a DVR. But as 2016 rolls around in 28 hours it remains totally UNSEEN.

I have no idea what this new year holds for me and my loved ones – but I hold fast to the truth that God knows. He knows because He is already there. He is omniscient, not limited by time or space, He is eternal. He is always the same. That truth comforts me. He promises to never never never never leave me and I’m counting on that.

So on this December 30th rainy evening I am fixing my eyes on what is unseen, what is eternal. I am trusting God to do a work in me in 2016 like never before. Less of me, more of Him. More time for others on things that count (eternal), less time wasted looking at screens (temporary).

I’ve enjoyed this Scripture Memory Team and the discipline of memorizing scripture is something I treasure. I’m thankful for the mind to do it and for the Word of God to hold in my hand, my heart, and my head.

Blessings and Happy New Year’s Eve Eve,

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 17 – September 1, 2015

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Psalm 119:57 (NET)
The Lord is my source of security.
I have determined to followed your instructions.

I’m continuing my seasons theme this year with verse 57 from Psalm 119. We are very close to Autumn on the calendar and I’m in the Autumn season of my life. This is a season I am relishing with JOY.  This joy includes witnessing the faithfulness of God in my life…the security and contentment in a beautiful marriage of 38 years to my best friend and the love of my life…the anticipation of retirement in a few years…the gift of having both my parents alive and well and living nearby…the delight of my grown sons and their wives all living for Jesus and taking care of their families and always the sheer JOY of my life…I am Gran Jan to FIVE AMAZING GRANDCHILDREN!

Chapter 119 in the book of Psalms is the longest in the Bible with 176 verses.  It is so beautiful to me. I love that verse 57 also represents my current age of 57 years. [That number will help me remember it as a I continue to memorize scripture as part of this “team” with Living Proof Ministries.]

The theme of seasons applies to me here now because I KNOW without any shadow of doubt that the Lord is my source of security. Why can I say that? Because I’m older and this assurance from living a long time and experiencing God’s faithfulness in the journey. Being able to look back and see God’s Hand and His plan is a gift. And the second part of the verse says I AM DETERMINED to follow His instructions. Yes I am! Because I know that He is good and faithful and His plans for me are true and perfect.

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First Days of School Days – 2015

All my grandchildren have returned to school. The two littlest ones are actually going to pre-school, but all five of them are in “school.” I am writing this post for the sheer JOY of having these pictures all in one spot so that I may look back on them one day. This blog is all about these great and wonderful blessings called grandchildren, Gran Jan’s JOY. They make me smile from the inside out. Just thinking about them can stir my heart.

My prayer for them this school year is that God will:

  • guard their hearts,
  • protect them from bullies,
  • keep them safe and well,
  • help them stand strong,
  • help them be kind to everyone,
  • help them have friends and be friends,
  • help them be a blessing to their teachers and…
  • instill in them the character of Christ and that the plans He has for them will begin to take shape.

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MADIE1-Madie

JACKSON1-Jackson

EMERY1-Emery

ABE1-Abe

Amen and amen, in the Mighty Name of Jesus!

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 13 – July 1, 2015

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Having just spent a week away at the wonderful “forgotten coast” along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida (Cape San Blas), my verse selection was very special…

Psalm 95:5
The sea is His, for it was He who made it

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This beautiful view was from the porch of the home we rented for the week. There is something peaceful about the ocean for me. I love the sound of the waves and the constant breezes.

But my favorite view of the week was the precious faces of my five grandchildren. I loved having uninterrupted time with them last week. Waking up to see them all in their pajamas and playing together all day until they went to bed at night, and then beginning that over again and again each morning. Thankful!5Grands-July 4 2015

Thankful to know the wonderful Creator of that beautiful ocean, and thankful that He knows my Name!

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