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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TASTING GRACE PRE-ORDER!

Today is a BIG day – a very BIG day – for several reasons! First, it is the inaugural day of GRAN JAN CAMP! That will be a post for later when my heart has calmed enough that I can even write. “Grandmother Camp” is something I learned about from Esther Burroughs years ago before I even became a grandmother. (She calls hers Nana Camp.)  Zeke is my only camper this year. The prerequisite to camp is finishing first grade. He just did! Next year I will have 3 campers – Zeke, Madie, and Jackson! And so it goes…until Emery & Abe are added. Gran Jan’s JOY runs deep. I can’t wait to post…Tasting-Grace-Pre-buy-800x671

Next, today is the day (Summer Solstice) that pre-sale begins for the book of which I am co-author with Leah Adams. TASTING GRACE is a woman’s mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry. It first began in the hearts of Jan Hamil and I. It has absolutely brought us so much JOY – the simplicity of Tasting Grace is so refreshing. Sharing the Word of God, teaching a cooking skill, sharing a recipe, and sweet fellowship together. Mentoring that is practical and precious in a day of drive-through, hurry up, social media hype!

And have I shared with you that BETH MOORE wrote the foreword for the book? What grace for Leah and me to have that blessing! Only God!

Tasting Grace is a book that offers women  a complete how-to guide to hosting their own event. The book includes four weeks of Bible study with a focus on biblical mentoring. There are five days of Bible study in each week of the study that will take about 10-15 minutes each day to complete. Also in the book are recipes, devotionals, and tips from Leah and me on how to host a Tasting Grace kitchen event in the reader’s home or church.

Tasting Grace will not be in bookstores until August 1st, but our wonderful publisher, Warner Press, is opening up for pre-launch orders. Beginning TODAY, and running through July 18th, you can pre-buy Tasting Grace.

If you pre-order the book, you will get some extras: a digital version of the book in addition to your print copy. TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!!!  You will also get access to a private Facebook page for the book. Also, in addition to the wonderful recipes contained in the book, pre-buy friends will receive a few extra special recipes that are mine and Leah’s favorites!

Please consider pre-ordering a book today! 🙂

Love & prayers and much thanks,

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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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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.

ZEKE1-Zeke

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 15 – August 1, 2015

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Psalm 116:2 (HCSB)
Because He has turned His ear to me,
I will call out to Him as long as I live.

This verse is amazing and oh so comforting to me! Dr. Thomas Constable  says this Psalm is uncommonly affectionate. A heart of gratitude to God for hearing the cries of His child. I saw the picture below while scrolling through Instagram recently. My friend Michelle Rodriguez had posted this picture and it caught my attention. Then last week at the funeral of a pastor, I heard the verse referenced again. I perked up and listened to the context. IMG_0465It is simple, really. God listens to us when we pray. Why do we make it so hard or complex? (I said we.) There is a little book that I dearly love and love to recommend. It is called The Power of Crying Out, When Prayer Becomes Mighty, by Bill Gothard. I’ve read through the book several times. It’s a go-to book for me. I remember during the season of praying for my oldest son and his wife as they were desperately asking God for a child. I believe with all my heart, soul, mind and strength that when I get to Heaven it will be revealed to me that God heard my intercessory cries on their behalf and Zeke Morton was born. [And then followed Madie, and Abe…Zeke’s younger siblings and more gifts straight from the Hand of God.] This picture was made a couple of months ago after Zeke had spent some time at the Morton Farm with me and Pop. [We Mortons dearly love to stop at The Atlanta Varsity!]GranJan-ZekeHere is an overview of that powerful little book:

When members of the early church cried out to God in urgent need, the place shook with the power of their supplication. In this compelling vision for modern-day supplication, Bill Gothard recognizes the key truth that only God’s almighty power can rescue His children in times of distress. Using illustrations from Scripture and testimonies from everyday people, Gothard demonstrates the power of crying out — and how God can shake the world of those who cry out to Him today.

I encourage you to really trust God in that He hears and He listens. There is a difference you know. He cares. I am confident.

Blessings today to you,

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A Year to Remember…2014!

Here I sit on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014. This has been a very blessed year for me and mine. We have all been healthy and strong. My husband is leading worship with more joy and passion than I’ve ever known him to, and he takes such good care of me and our home and family. Our church is growing with lots of new young families. Both my boys have experienced growth in their lives – Jeremy in ministry as a pastor and Jonathan with leadership awards and job growth in his career. My daughters-in-law are delightful – loving my sons and taking good care of their homes and children. What more could this mama desire for her family? I received a promotion and began a new job June 1st within my same organization. My parents and sisters and their families are all well. My heart is full…

Sometimes when I have the time, (or just because it brings me joy) I will scroll through the pictures on my iPhone. I did just that earlier this afternoon and picked out one (sometimes more) special favorite for every month from 2014. Letting pictures do my blogging has become common for me, so here I go again.

January 2014
Atlanta was hit with a huge snowstorm in January. This is the view from the passenger seat of my husband’s truck as we drove back home from the airport. My flight (and all flights) were cancelled for several days. I was meeting my friend and we were scheduled to fly to California to appear on the “Wheel of Fortune!” YES!!! Hopefully we will be rescheduled in 2015. We are ready to buy vowels and spin that wheel! 

January

February 2014
This is a picture of my youngest grandchild, Abe that was on the big screens in the church where my son Jeremy (Abe’s father) is the Pastor. My husband and I were there for a special service of dedication of Abe’s life. It was also my husband’s birthday. It was a great weekend – our first time to hear our son preach since he began his ministry at First Baptist Cartersville in September 2013, just one month after Abe was born. A very special weekend.

Feb

March 2012
This is my mom on her birthday! My sisters and I took her to lunch at a fun Mexican restaurant and celebrated her life and had a great time. We always do. I love my mom and I’m thankful for her faithful, consistent life. No drama! Just love and support.

March

April 2014
In April I went to Callaway Gardens with a dear friend, Sharon Riley. We attended the Birds of Prey Show and I am still tickled pink with the timing of this picture of a Great Horned Owl. I literally stuck my iPhone up and snapped the shot as this great bird flew over my head. The bird’s talons touched the top of my head as it flew over…wow!

April

May 2014
May was so special for my three oldest grandchildren! Zeke graduated from Pre-Kindergarten, and my 2nd and 3rd grandchildren (Madie and Jackson) celebrated their fourth birthdays just two weeks apart. (Each of my daughters-in-law had children born in May of 2010.)

IMG_6748 May-Madie May-Jackson

June 2014
A big summer shower produced some GIANT puddles here at the Morton Farm. The weather cleared and was great for puddle jumping and running followed by s’mores. This was a special memory and these two grandboys had a blast together. 

June

July 2014
The Fourth of July was a great week! I was off work and the weather was unseasonably cool and my boys and daughters-in-law and all five grands were here. We had a big breakfast together and then they all fished in the pond. This picture was impromptu and has become so precious. I have it framed at work and here at home and on my computer desktop. I am one blessed Gran Jan! 

July

August 2014
August 22-23 was a weekend that had been planned and prayed for since April of 2013! Our church was blessed to host Priscilla Shirer of Going Beyond Ministries for a women’s conference. All 2,200 seats of our church were filled and we had overflow seating in the choir loft. It was a glorious weekend that I will always remember. Many lives were touched and I pray that eternity will bear the results of this weekend. 

August

September 2014
Little Miss Emery, grandbaby number four, celebrated her second birthday with a Minnie Mouse themed party. Here she is with her daddy (my son), and sweet mama. (I made Emery’s birthday shirt!) It was so much fun and she is absolutely precious. She and big brother Jackson actually spent the night last night here with me and Pop. We made cookies, watched Frozen and had a big time. Gran Jan’s JOY.

September

October 2014
My sweet man and I went to the beach for a few days in October. We rested, ate delicious seafood, walked on the beach, shopped, and had a wonderful time. This time away together was way long overdue. We also visited a brand new church called Sunrise City Church in Fort Walton Beach that is being planted by two young men and their wives and two other couples that we’ve had the privilege to know most of their young lives. It was a great trip with special memories.

October October2014

November 2014
Back in September my best friend Lanie and I had a “sew-in” and I made these Christmas jammies for the grands. I gave them to all five of them on Thanksgiving and they donned them for a picture for me! It just doesn’t get any sweeter than this! More Gran Jan’s JOY!

November

December 2014
This picture was just last week on Christmas evening after our family tradition of breakfast on Christmas Day night. I love my family. As I’ve looked back over my camera roll today the themes of faith and family are everything to me. This blog is a record of the legacy I pray to leave for my grandchildren especially. I am very humbly grateful for God’s grace on my life and I sincerely mean that.

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No party tonight here at home, but lots of celebrating in my heart! We have always preferred a quiet New Year’s Eve. I like to think about the year that is leaving and anticipate the dawning of a brand new year. May the Good Lord bless you all in 2015 with His great love. He is so faithful!

GRANJAN

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