August 26, 2009 marked forty-two amazing years since, with eyes full of stardust and a heart full of idealistic (albeit unrealistic) fervor, I married a minister. That marriage has weathered 26 moves, including 10 very interesting years in Alaska—one on a remote island accessible only by boat or plane. We’re talking weathered! Interested in the details? It’s actually the subject of my book, True North. It has also produced three handsome sons and five adorable, intelligent, above-average grandchildren. Let me introduce you.
My husband Jim is handsome, smart, somewhat intense, and often funny. (He’s also humble and hates it when I say these things; so, of course, that’s why I do!). After 25 years of pastoring and 17 years as a District official, he currently serves as the Superintendent of the Northern California and Nevada District of the Assemblies of God. Jim’s hobbies include finding solutions, arguing with the social/political talking heads on TV, and playing golf. He loves jazz, science fiction and classic cars. He’s pictured here in his ’68 Olds Cutlass convertible. He’s the love of my life, my best friend and most encouraging supporter.
Our three adult sons are Forrest Damon, Derek Ian and Dustin James. Forrest lives with his family in beautiful Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where he works as a hair stylist. After five years as a manager, Derek is now training as a manager for Trader Joe’s specialty food stores. This will most likely require a relocation later this year, but we don’t want to think about that now. In his spare time, he loves to work out at the gym. His wife, Deirdra—a yoga enthusiast—is a part-time massage therapist and full-time mom. Dustin is still single and once again living in Sacramento where, following completion of culinary school, he now works as a sous-chef at a popular downtown Sacramento restaurant.
Our “adopted daughter”, Karissa, (a friend of the family) has been with us for five years. During this time she’s completed a two-year course in Christian counseling and has been a great blessing to our family. Karissa is very involved in a local inner-city church and works as a manager at Starbucks, so we’re still getting the “perks”.
Last but never least are our six grand-est kids—Fallon, McKayla, Liam, Olivia, Kayla Rose, and Logan. Fallon, 16, has started high school and loves playing guitar in his church youth worship group. At home he plays video games. McKayla, 14, is in 9th grade, has a new interest in singing, and has developed her own wonderfully unique hair and wardrobe style. Liam, who soon turns 15 and is also in 9th grade, spends his time skate boarding. Olivia, 10, talks like a grown-up, got an IPod for Christmas, but still loves coloring and lining up all her little dolls and doo-dads. Kayla Rose (our "adopted" blonde cutie) is 11 and a straight-A student who loves being outdoors. Logan, 5, has the cutest smile ever, a new love affair with bugs and still attends a special pre-school classes to help with social and communication skills.
They all light up our life and help keep us young. Since they live in different places, we continue an annual tradition called Camp Gramma. For two fun weeks during the summer it’s become our custom to turn the yard and house into a camping experience, including arts, crafts, outdoor activities and Bible lessons. Want to organize your own Camp Gramma? Check out my newest book of the same name in the Book Nook.
Now that we have three official teenagers, finding cool themes that appeal to everyone is becoming a bit more of a challenge. The real challenge for Gramma, though, is just seeing the grands grow up so quickly. Still, one mention that maybe they were getting too old for Camp Gramma brought protests all around, so guess we’ll keep the games going.
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