Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
Volume 6 No. 353 June 10, 2016

III. General Weekly Features

Health: Five Ways to Encourage Your Kids When Grandpa Has Alzheimer's

by Sarah Hamaker

When your father doesn't remember who exactly you are, it can be hard to stay connected - and to keep your children attached to their grandparent. My father has Alzheimer's, and I've moved from being a daughter named Sarah to "that girl with the kids."

But despite the fading memory, Poppa lights up when we visit. Each time we walk in the door of my parents' house, I encourage my children—ages 6, 7, 10 and 11—to spend a few minutes talking with their grandfather, giving him a hug, and acknowledging his presence. Those little things have meant a lot as my father acts more like a stranger in the home he's lived in for more than 40 years.

With more parents today having elderly mothers and fathers with various health problems, it's important to find ways to encourage our children - whatever their ages - to stay connected with a grandparent who's ill mentally or physically. Here are some ways to keep the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren alive and thriving despite the incapacities of old age.

1. Tell the kids about what's going on—up to a point.

How much you share about a grandparent's illness depends on the child's age and personality, but don't keep kids entirely in the dark about Grandmother's health. "Answer the questions asked as simply as possible," said Janet Chester Bly, co-author of The Power of a Godly Grandparent. "Also, you should give the necessary details to explain restrictions or changes in the relationship."

"My seven-year-old granddaughter would want to know every detail, but my six-year-old granddaughter would struggle with the information because she's got such a tender heart," added Janice Hanna Thompson, author of Ain't It Grand! (A Devotional for Grandparents). "However, knowing the truth about their grandparent's illness would make their time together even more precious."

2. Visit often.

This is something we've tried to do in order to help my father's memory of us and because we don't know how much time we have left with him. We all have busy schedules packed with worthy events, but making the time to see their grandparents, especially those in failing health, show our children that people are an important priority.

Keep in mind that the visits don't have to be in-person. With technology making it easier than ever to stay in touch, grandchildren can Skype or Facetime with their grandparents. Other means to relate to one another includes creating videos for the grandparents to watch, writing letters or emails, drawing pictures, talking on the phone or texting—the ways to connect is vast, but we as parents need to provide the gentle nudge so that our children will frequently follow through.

"Children need to see their grandparents, and grandparents thrive on seeing their grandbabies," said Thompson. "I love it when I get sweet notes from my grandchildren, especially ones with artwork attached."

3. Talk about them in your own home.

One route to keep grandparents from becoming strangers is to mention them often when we're in our house. "Display a photo in a prominent place in the home and talk about the grandparents when appropriate," advised Bly.

Update the children as to their condition in age-appropriate language. Talk respectfully about our parents, even when they vex us (and, let's be honest, our mothers and fathers still have the ability to drive us crazy even as adults!). Encourage our children to ask questions about an ill grandparent and to suggest ways we can help them. I often ask my kids to pray for Poppa and Nanny (my mother).

4. Give kids connection suggestions.

Sometimes, it's hard for a child to come up with appropriate things they can do with a grandparent who can't read any longer or one who's confined to a wheelchair. For my dad, I'll propose having the kids watch a baseball game together and chatting about the teams, which is something he can still enjoy.

"When my grandchildren come over, they often crawl into my elderly mother's lap to play games on her iPad," said Thompson. "My grandchildren also love to make up stories, which is a great way to communicate with a memory-impaired person. Coloring is another activity that people can enjoy at every stage of their life, no matter their health."

5. Remember you reap what you sow.

We're doing more than teaching our children how to stay connected with an ailing grandparent—we're showing them the right way to treat us when we're the grandparents. By putting family first, making a concentrated effort to keep in touch, and respecting them, we're demonstrating by example how to care for our parents—and how we'd like to be treated one day by our grown children.

Above all, we should remember why we're making the extra effort to assist our children in staying connected with a grandparent who's sick or has Alzheimer's. "It's for the sake of the health and well-being of the grandparent, as well as to provide empathy and understanding for the child in dealing with these kinds of situations, now and for their future," said Bly.

"We're all part of the same family," added Thompson. "Whether times are easy or tough, we need to have 'togetherness' times because those visits build up the child and the ailing person. There's nothing like a grandchild to put a smile on a grandparent's face, especially when they're sick. And it's important for the child to have some understanding (albeit limited, if the child is young) of what the grandparent is going through."

About The Author:

Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ through the Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coach Institute. She's also a freelance writer and editor, and author of the book, 'Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace'.


Family Special: Why I Stayed in Marriage: A Wife's Focus on God Saves Her Marriage

by Carla Anne Coroy

I wanted out. My marriage was over. My husband was rarely home. When he was, he was working, de-stressing from his job by playing on the computer, or sleeping off jet-lag and long days of meetings. There didn't seem to be any benefit to being married.

It wasn't just his absence, but what it communicated to me. I felt unloved, used, and taken advantage of. His work, hobbies, free time, and desires seemed more important than me, than family, than us.

I was lonely, starving for attention. I needed to know I mattered. I always said I'd never be one of those women. The kind that have affairs. I was a Christian. I loved God, read my Bible, and prayed every day.

Even so, a close friend soon captured my heart. By God's grace the relationship didn't become physical. But it was still an affair… an emotional affair.

When I realized there was another man who could love me, who would be there for and with me, I knew my marriage was finally done. Why would I intentionally stay in a painful marriage with someone who didn't seem to care?

Surely God wanted me to be happy.

Then my world came crashing down. My husband had been gone for three weeks and was coming home in a few days. It was time to let him know our marriage was over. Before he got home, though, God used the Body of Christ, His Word, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to shake up my world like never before.

A Christian friend asked me hard questions about my marriage. She prayed a targeted prayer for my marriage and against my emotional affair. In our private and tolerant society it is unusual for someone to ask personal questions and challenge our lifestyle. Yet she did.

The next morning an encounter with a stranger and a conversation with radio hosts Gary and Barb Rosberg made things even more black and white: I was being selfish and unfaithful in my marriage.

Finally I went to God. I begged Him to understand why I really needed a divorce. But the heavens were silent. I decided to play the trump card. “God, didn't you promise that Christian marriages would be happy? Won't you keep your promise?”

The heavens finally broke open. I felt God say He would keep His promise to give me a happy marriage if I could find that promise in Scripture. I searched. And searched. And searched.

There is no happy marriage promise.

I was devastated. God graciously turned my eyes to the book of Hosea, not to chastise me, but to show me something new.

Hosea, a new prophet, was told to marry a prostitute. You can't tell me he didn't at least hope his faithful love would turn the heart of his wife, a lady of the night, to fully love him in return. She didn't. There was nothing beautiful or “happy” about his marriage.

I got angry with God. Really? You knew this would happen, and yet you still told him to marry her? You planned this?

After hours of ranting and praying, I was exhausted, my heart empty, my emotions raw. Then I saw something I'd never seen before.

It was hope in God and in His promises that carried Hosea. Hosea didn't just love his wife. He loved God and so he loved his wife. Laying there on the carpet I knew that I knew that I knew that if I wanted to hear God greet me with the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” I would need to love God and obey Him. Just like Hosea.

So I stayed. I ended my affair. I didn't leave.

It was hard. It was work. It still is. I stopped focusing on making my marriage better. I stopped thinking about how to make my husband happy or how he could make me happy.

Instead I turned my attention and focus on God. I prayed for strength to be obedient. I prayed for joy when I felt despair. When I felt God prompt me through His Word or the quiet whisper of the Spirit, I obeyed. It was like putting on a pair of blindfolds and saying, ‘Okay God, lead. I'm following.'

Obedience meant apologizing. It meant changing my tone or keeping quiet to begin with. It meant bringing him a can of coke. Each day God gave me something to do as an act of worship to Him and it often looked like blessing my husband or a refining of my character.

About 6 months after I made the decision to obey God above all else, the Lord took off the blindfolds. It was time to see where He'd taken me.

I was still married to the same guy. I was still picking up his socks and wishing he'd come home. But there was joy. Joy in the midst of the mess. And for the first time in years, my heart was for my husband.

And I had hope. I'd been convinced hope was dead. There'd been almost nothing good between us. But God brings the dead back to life and creates new things where there is nothing. He did that for us.

We've been married 18½ years. We still disagree. We still hurt each other's feelings. We're far from perfect. Yet with God's grace we're learning to make it work, better and better.

Many ask how I stayed in my marriage and some say I shouldn't have. I tell them all the same thing: My focus on obeying God helped me stay.

Does God want His people to have a happy marriage? Absolutely! I truly think He does. But He doesn't promise it. Above all, He wants obedience. Obeying God won't guarantee you a happy marriage, but it will give you all the ingredients for joy and hope in the midst of the mess.

About The Author:

Carla Anne Coroy is the author of 'Married Mom, Solo Parent: Finding God's Strength to Face the Challenge'. She is a regularly blogger on her website and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women's magazine 'Mentoring Moments for Christian Women'. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband, Trent, and four homeschooled children.

Source: Live It

Family Special: How to Raise Your Children to Know The Lord

by Dr. Jack Graham

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- Ephesians 6:4

As a pastor, I speak almost daily with parents who are failing at one of their most important assignments in life: being a dad to their children. These are people who are successful in their careers, astute in their businesses, prestigious in their communities, and leaders in their churches. And yet, they are failures at home.

In most instances in life, you can fail and start over again. If you fail at business, perhaps you can start your business over and succeed. If you fail in school, you can start over and succeed. But in raising children, there’s just one opportunity to succeed or to fail. You have just one opportunity to successfully parent the precious children God has given you.

There are so many fathers and mothers today who don’t realize the poor spiritual state of their children until it’s too late. They’ve assumed that their kids would just pick up on their spirituality and haven’t ever really made an attempt to instruct them in the things of the Lord.

Only God can light the fire of faith in a child’s heart. But until that day, your role as a father or mother is to simply pile up the wood so that fire can burn bright when it’s lit!


Source: Powerpoint Devotional

Pounding In and Pulling Out Nails: Apologizing for Mean Comments

by Michael Josephson,

When my daughter was confronted with the fact that she had really hurt another child with a mean comment, she cried and immediately wanted to apologize. That was a good thing, but I wanted her to know an apology can't always make things better. So I told her the parable of Will, a nine-year-old whose father abandoned his mom two years earlier.

Will was angry, and he often would lash out at others with hurtful words. He once told his mom, "I see why Dad left you!"

Unable to cope with his outbursts of cruelty, she sent Will to spend the summer with his grandparents. His grandfather's strategy to help Will learn self-control was to make him go into the garage and pound a two-inch-long nail into a four-by-four board every time he said a mean and nasty thing. For a small boy, this was a major task, but he couldn't return until the nail was all the way in. After about ten trips to the garage, Will began to be more cautious about his words. Eventually, he even apologized for all the bad things he'd said.

That's when his grandmother came in. She made him bring in the board filled with nails and told him to pull them all out. This was even harder than pounding them in, but after a huge struggle, he did it.

His grandmother hugged him and said, "I appreciate your apology and, of course, I forgive you because I love you, but I want you to know an apology is like pulling out one of those nails. Look at the board. The holes are still there. The board will never be the same. I know your dad put a hole in you, but please don't put holes in other people; you are better than that."

A fourth-grade teacher recently told me how she tells this story to her class in the beginning of the semester and uses it throughout the year. When she comes upon a child saying or doing a mean or unkind thing, she will say, "Did you put a nail in someone?" Then she'll ask, "Did you take it out?"

She says her students always know what she's talking about and recognize what they did was wrong, which isn't always the case if she simply asks the child what happened (that usually results in a string of blaming everyone else).

She urges her students not to use the automatic "That's all right" after an apology because usually what was done was not all right and the person saying it, rightfully, doesn't feel it was all right. She tells her class to say "I accept your apology" or "I forgive you" instead.

The teacher also uses the story to help her kids understand difficult family matters outside of the classroom. She tells them some people will never take out the nails they've pounded into the children, but everyone has the power to pull them out themselves and get on with their life rather than let others rule them.

She told me, "The story is simple, but the message is powerful - especially when reinforced with: "You're better than that!"

Remember, character counts.

Michael Josephson

Self Improvement: To Achieve Excellence, Develop a "True Heart"

by Jason Pankau and Michael Lee Stallard

"[David] cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands."
- Psalm 78:72 (NLT).

Research by psychologist K. Anders Erikson has shown that it requires approximately 10,000 hours of intentional practice, with coaching, to achieve a high degree of excellence in any endeavor. Ten thousand hours is roughly equivalent to ten years of putting in 20 hours of practice a week. The importance of perseverance and practice is obvious.

Every bit as essential to achieve excellence, yet less obvious, is the importance of the character strengths of humility and love. Humility encourages us to seek and truly accept coaching and mentoring, and love is what allows us to give and receive the relational support of others needed to persevere through the inevitable ups and downs of life.

Years ago I (Michael) met and spoke with Andre Agassi when he was playing a tennis tournament in Burbank, California. This was during a period when Agassi had fallen from being one of the top players in the world to being so lowly ranked that it was difficult for him to get into major tournaments. Andre had the skills but just wasn't playing anywhere near the top of his game. The Burbank tournament was the turning point. Agassi won the tournament and went on to return to the ranks of the top tennis players in the world. What happened?

Agassi attributed his turnaround to the guidance, support, encouragement and love he received from his wife (tennis great Steffi Graf), his coach, and other family members and friends. Before that time, Agassi had isolated himself. He was trying to self-help his way back to excellence. It is likely that he had grown lonely. When Andre humbled himself to accept coaching and connect relationally with a group of individuals whom he loved and who loved him, that's when he began improving his performance.

I remember seeing Agassi walk around at the tournament and talk to people. There were several policemen there and I recall observing him chatting with each of them. When fans wanted an autograph, he patiently waited and signed each program or tennis ball. Andre was humble and more grounded than I had expected.

One key to Agassi's comeback is that he had developed greater heart. The French word for heart is coeur, which is the root of the word courage. By admitting he could not come back on his own and reaching out for the help of others, Andre showed courage. Encourage means to share one's heart with another. Along with the advice of his coach, Andre's loving family and friends shared their hearts and encouraged him.

A formulaic phrase we use when speaking and teaching at organizations we want to help thrive is this:

task excellence + relationship excellence = sustainable superior performance.

Time and again we've witnessed that it can't only be about the tasks of an organization; people, and specifically connection among the people, is equally critical. We see it here too. Years of time on the tennis court plus the connection Agassi developed with his relational support system was one key to his rising to once again be among the top-ranked tennis players in the world.

This message -- the need for love and encouragement, and for humility to accept advice from a coach or mentor -- is especially relevant now when research has shown that many individuals feel left out and have isolated themselves relationally. Research shows that people are more narcissistic and more people live alone today than at any time in U.S. history. A quarter of Americans report they have not had a conversation with a close friend over the last six months. They are struggling, like Andre did, and they desperately need our help to develop the courage, the heart, to take the risk of reaching out to connect with family and friends. We need to encourage them, to share our hearts with them, so that they can find the heart to reconnect. If a friend or family member has come to mind, we hope you will pray for them and reach out to encourage him or her by sharing your heart.

In summary, if you want to achieve excellence in any endeavor, it will require years of persistent practice, humility to learn from a coach who will help you see what you can't such as your blind spots and advice on how to improve, and the courage to love family and friends. Your love will nourish them with emotional support and encouragement just as their love and encouragement will nourish you. Encouraged and loved, you'll find you can persevere through the peaks and valleys you'll encounter along the way.

It's surprising, isn't it, that developing one's heart is an essential but rarely mentioned element to achieve excellence. It's no wonder then that Jesus had so much to say about the heart. Like Andre Agassi, you may achieve excellence for a season, but it is utterly unsustainable unless you develop, as Psalm 78:72 points out, a "true heart."

Pankau and Stallard are co-authors of the bestselling book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team's Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson).

About The Authors:

Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities (, and he is the author of 'Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God's Wisdom, Realizing Life's Potential and Living the Abundant Life' (Xulon Press). Michael Lee Stallard ( is president of E Pluribus Partners a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders develop "Connection Cultures" that boost productivity, innovation and performance.

Source: Live It devotional

Hymn: Nothing But The Blood of Jesus

by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

About Malankara World
With thousands of articles and hundreds of links to outside resources covering all aspects of Syriac Orthodoxy that are of interest to Family, Malankara World is the premier source for information for Malankara Diaspora. In addition to articles on spirituality, faith, sacraments, sermons, devotionals, etc., Malankara World also has many general interest articles, health tips, Food and Cooking, Virtual Travel, and Family Specific articles. Please visit Malankara World by clicking here or cut and paste the link on your browser:

Malankara World Journal Subscription

If you are not receiving Malankara World Journal directly, you can sign up to receive it via email free of cost. Please click here:

Malankara World Journal Archives

Previous Issues of Malankara World Journal can be read from the archives here.

Malankara World Journal is published by
Copyright © 2011-2019 Malankara World. All Rights Reserved.