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Financial investors know how important it is to start saving and placing those precious finances into income-earning locations.  Parents and grandparents know how important it is to invest as well.  They start young lives with the joy of reading.  Books introduce the world of imagination, learning and life about the world in which they will live.

My first grandchild is two this year.  As the day drew to a close and washing up had been completed, he gathered his blanket and an armful of books and ran into my arms, climbed into my lap, curled up so that he was comfortable and then he pointed to his books, gesturing for me to read to him.

He buried himself deeper into my hug.  I picked up the top book and opened it up to the first page.  These board books are fun to read.

Colorful characters and simple stories with clad truths make it fun.  Even though I have never read these books, it was easy to put in a lot of expression and emphasis.  The meaning of the lesson became more and more clear as I read to my grandson.

There were easy moments for me to ask him to point to colors, animals and objects on the page.  He was participating and no doubt learning while he snuggled in my embrace.  It was my first time in the role of grandfather reader.

I was relishing the moment.  This has been a dream to invest in these little lives this way.  I could introduce him to so many wonderful ideas and reenforce some of life’s most important values.

In brief well designed books, I taught my grandson about friendship, initiative, community, helpfulness and loyalty.  He learned about telling the truth, honesty and industry.  He will need these qualities when he lives his life among people who are not so helpful to others.

All during the reading I was thoroughly enjoying the cuddle moment.  My grandson curled up and tucked himself in a comfortable position, inside Grandpa’s embrace.  It was a special moment.

He is young but I hope that the love that we shared will always be a part of his life.  It will for me.  Reading and books and grandfather’s bonding time are treasures.

Did someone read to you in your childhood days?  Do you remember going to a library in your youth?  Classic novels probably still leave memory moments in your mind, right?

photo credit: KJB photography

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There is an insatiable appetite among humans.  No, it is not about food or possessions or achievements.  Neither is it about money or position or power.  It is about grandchildren and the unending joy that they bring to the experience of a grandparent.

We have been overwhelmed with the love that is generated in our hearts for our first grandchild.  He lives 2,000 miles away and makes for rare hugs and kisses during the year.  Yet, the fountain of desire never ceases.

Now, we have been ready and eager to welcome our first granddaughter into our lives.  She was not like her brother who came five weeks early.  Instead, she pushed the limits of her due date and made her grand entry just two days before her designated day for her birth.

I have not yet met her in person.  That will happen soon.  So far it has been text message announcements, videos and of course pictures sent through cyberspace.

Yes, the objective observer no doubt sees a newborn picture is like every other newborn picture.  But, through the guys of grandparent, the view is much different.  This child is perfect.

Like an angel sent directly from God to bless our family, we celebrate the stewardship of this precious life and welcome her into our hearts.  The love is welling up in a reservoir waiting to be lavished on this little life whenever we can make the pilgrimage to her home.  In eager anticipation we look forward to filling up our grandson’s life and our granddaughter’s life with all that good grandparents are supposed to give.

How can we be so much in love with another human being with whom we have not yet met and one with whom we have never exchanged a single word of a conversation?  This is the mystery of grand-parenting.  It is a wonder yet it is clearly an indisputable reality of life.

When God designed grandparents, He used that season of life as a reward for parents who restrained themselves from murdering their teenagers.  The tough years are washed away as if they never occurred.  This blessed bathing of the human memory is not unlike the greater picture of the redemptive story by our Savior.

So much is washed away by a single act of selfless love.  Grandparents know this dynamic.  It is a reason that we stretch the theology of “angels” and apply it to newborn grandchildren.  Don’t you think this is a great way to stretch a Biblical metaphor?

photo credit: Bailey photography

Cannon Beach & Portland 2013 003It was a very special day.  Providentially, I was on my way for a rigorous speaking engagement on the Oregon Coast.  It was scheduled during the previous year.  The location and timing were amazingly wonderfully place.  I could never have orchestrated the events myself.  This is one of those wonderful gifts from our Loving and Wonderful Heavenly Father set in place before we mere mortals knew what was going to happen.

Our first grandchild was to be born during the very speaking trip that I had committed to last year.  I was to land in Portland on July 19 and our grand baby was due on July 18.  It was perfect!

My daughter and wife picked me up at the airport.  I was looking forward to my first meeting with the little guy.  My bride had flown out two weeks earlier and had already spent tons of quality time bonding with our newest family member.  I may have been the last relative to visit his new life.

I loaded my luggage into the SUV.  Then, I took my seat in the back next to the car seat.  These modern safety-rich infant seats are amazing.  They look very comfortable and secure.

Lucas was asleep.  His handsome head was protruding from a multiple layer of blankets.  His tiny body was pulsating to the rhythm of his breathing and steady hum of the vehicle on the freeway.

I could not take my eyes off of him.  Each feature I studied with care.  No, I was not memorizing them, I was being totally enthralled by them and him.  

Seeing was not good enough.  I had to touch him.  A gentle stroke on this head felt amazing.  He was warm and soft.  His cheek was bouncy and made him jostle around a bit.

He grabbed my finger and I let him squeeze it.  The warm embrace was a special touch.  Our first touch will never be supplanted by any other.  This was special.

Now, I gazed out the window to remember a town where I had invested two decades of my life, still enjoyed some of the closest friends in my life and now, this was home to my first grandchild.  He squeezed my finger a little tighter.  It struck me deeply that I had fallen in love with a new life with whom I have not yet had a conversation.  Nevertheless, I gladly welcomed the new love-addition in my life.

photo credit: brucefong photography

baby booties 2012Christmas 2012 in Texas will be a very special celebration in our memories.  Of course it was memorable because all five of our children were there to celebrate with us.  But, something else made 2012 a forever smile time.

If you’re thinking of a first, then you are correct.  It was an unforgettable first for our family.  The celebration was spontaneous, surreal and unexpected.

Our adult children were calling us together so that they could give my bride and me our Christmas gift.  They seemed unusually eager for me to hurry, but I was busy upstairs getting my camera gear ready.  Eventually, I succumbed to their entreaties, but puzzled at their relentless insistence.

Once I descended the stairs our children were giddy and our daughter gave us the clear instruction, “Look on the Christmas tree for your present.”  Curious and bewildered, my bride and I examined our tree.  Everything on my side was familiar.

Then, my bride, exclaimed, “Here it is!  What is it?”  She held up a pair of reindeer shoes.  “They baby shoes,” I declared.

“What?” my bride uttered.  “What kind of shoes are they, Mom,” our daughter teased.  “Really?  Are they baby booties?” she was hopeful but cautious in her enthusiasm.

Then, she lost it completely.  We are going to be grandparents!  What joy broke out!

For years my bride has been preparing for the day when she could cuddle and spoil her own grandchildren.  It was a given that when a baby was within arm reach, she was in line to offer to carry any little life that would allow her the privilege.  Just that morning we saw a baby at the grocery store and we both sigh, “It could be ours.”

Now, the wait is over.  There will be no more moments of gazing and admiring the grandchildren of others.  We won’t have to pretend that we are out looking to adopt grandchildren or act as honorary grandparents to total strangers.  God is blessing us with our own grandchild!

A joy has erupted in the life of my bride.  She has a smile that hasn’t been possible to wash off.  We both laugh, tease and smile with good thoughts about our new family addition to be.

This is the part of life where we can enjoy a young life, pour on the charm and when we are need a break, we just go home!  I am looking forward to this.  It’ll be a delight beyond human expression.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography