Category Archives: Family

I know it’s hard to believe by looking at Marci and me, but we now have five grandchildren. Our oldest is 14, our youngest was born last month. All five of them are beautiful, brilliant kids who will excel at whatever they choose to do in life. If you don’t believe us, you are obviously not one of their other grandparents.

In August we had the opportunity to lead a Summer Seminar on grandparenting and in the process of doing so, we learned a lot about how special grandparents really are. For example, we learned that there are key roles that grandparents play in the lives of their grandkids.

  1. Teller of Stories. Grandparents are family historians. Today’s kids have been called the “cut flower generation” because they have no roots. Every child needs a connection to their past and if you’re a grandparent, then you’re it! In Joshua 4, the Lord commanded stones to be set up so that when future generations asked “What do these stones mean?” they would hear stories about the faithfulness and power of God. We too set up stones by telling stories to our grandchildren about the faithfulness of God to our family down through the years. Parents give their children wings, but grandparents give them roots.
  2. Giver of Blessings. It has been said that the best thing about being a grandparent is that we get to spoil our grandchildren … and then send them home to their parents! Well, we also get to bless our grandchildren, not with money or things, but with our acceptance, our words of encouragement, and our prayers on their behalf. As grandparents, we want to spend as much time with our grandchildren as possible so that they will hear often how much we love them and how much God loves them too.
  3. Maker of Memories. I have vivid memories of time I spent with my grandfather in Tennessee, learning how to whittle a hickory stick into a slingshot, or learning how to fish with a cane pole, or watching him make watermelon rind false teeth. Mostly I remember how my grandparents would put their hands on my head and pray with loud voices as if God were hard of hearing. Those are unforgettable, life-changing memories. Likewise, the time we spend with our grandkids today can become memories that last a lifetime and make a powerful impression.
  4. Example to Follow. As grandparents, we pray that our grandkids will grow up to become people of great faith and character. While parents tend to worry about their children’s behavior, their schoolwork, their achievement in sports and academics, we don’t worry so much about things like that. We just want our grandkids to grow up to become good people—people who love God and love others. Researchers tell us that the influence of grandparents on their grandchildren is second only to the influence of their parents. With this in mind, we pray we will be good examples of the kind of people we want our grandkids to become.

At our Summer Seminar we learned lots of great ideas from the grandparents who attended, but mostly we gained a whole new appreciation for what an awesome privilege and responsibility being a grandparent really is. As the Word of God says: “Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your hearts wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.” (Deut. 4:6b MSG) No doubt about it. Grandparents leave for their grandkids a legacy of faith they can’t get any other way.

 


My sister Mary posted this old picture of our parents on her facebook page last week. My dad was in the Seabees during World War II, building airstrips, barracks, bridges and the like in the Pacific Theatre. This photo was probably taken when he was on leave, early 1945, when I was conceived. I was born in November of that year, just a month or two after the war ended. I was an original baby boomer.

My parents grew up in a different time. Growing up I heard them say things like: “When I was your age:  we didn’t have indoor toilets … we had to pump water from a well … we had to milk cows and gather eggs before breakfast … we had to walk five miles to school.”  It all sounded like ancient history to me.

Now my history is ancient, too.

How many of these can you relate to?  They were all true when I was growing up:

  1. We couldn’t drive into town for a fast food meal because there were no fast food restaurants.
  2. Mothers  who worked outside the home were considered irresponsible.
  3. TV sets were considered furniture and they were available in black and white only.
  4. And it went off the air at midnight.
  5. And there were only 3 channels.
  6. Pizza was  called “Pizza Pie.”
  7. And it wasn’t delivered to your house.
  8. But milk was.
  9. And milk bottles had little cardboard stoppers in them.
  10. Newspapers were delivered by paper boys.
  11. There were no movie ratings because all movies were more or less G-rated.
  12. But Christians still didn’t go to them because they were “worldly.”
  13. Christians didn’t go to bowling alleys either.
  14. Or to school dances.
  15. But we could buy candy cigarettes.
  16. And little bottles of Coke made out of wax.
  17. Coke machines dispensed glass bottles.
  18. Music was purchased on 45 rpm records.
  19. Roller skates had keys.
  20. There was only one phone in the house.
  21. And it was on a “party line” so you had to make sure a neighbor wasn’t using it.
  22. We saved S&H Green Stamps.
  23. Nobody ever asked “paper or plastic?”
  24. We could take toy guns to school.
  25. Ice trays were made of metal.
  26. Cameras had blue flash bulbs.
  27. Clothes were dried on a clothesline.
  28. Wash tubs had wooden rollers for rinsing clothes.

Ancient history, indeed.  One of these days your life will become ancient history too. Enjoy it now … while you can!

 


I’m very excited that my sister Mary (along with her puppet partner Darcie Maze) is coming to San Diego to do a concert at the church where I now serve as Pastor to Generations, College Avenue Baptist Church. The concert is on Saturday, April 21 at 4 PM and it will benefit the College Area Pregnancy Services, which is supported by our church for its good work helping expectant mothers have successful deliveries.

If you are in the San Diego area, come to the concert (it’s free; an offering will be taken) and bring some kids. The address is 4747 College Avenue Baptist Church and the concert will be in the family center (gym). It should be a fun day. Here’s a video clip trailer for Mary’s new TV show.


Today I am celebrating ten years since my wife Marci’s brain surgery. It was in 2001 that she was diagnosed with a meningioma tumor in her brain which thankfully was operable. You can read the whole story about her surgery and recovery here which I posted on the web ten years ago this week.

Here’s what I posted on December 11, 2001:

Tuesday, December 11

After sending an e-mail to everyone I could think of, I headed for the hospital around 9:00. They wouldn’t let me in the CCU when I got there, so I had to wait a while until they allowed visitors in at 11:00. When I saw Marci, she still had all those tubes in her, including the respirator going down her throat, so she couldn’t talk, but when she heard my voice, her eyes opened and I saw a little smile under all those tubes. My heart leapt. When I held her hand, she squeezed mine hard. The nurse told me not to get her too excited because they were testing to make sure she could breathe on her own. They wanted to take the respirator out soon. So I just stood and watched for a while, feeling really good that she recognized me and was trying to communicate. I left the room while they finished up their testing on her.

When I came back in about an hour later, the respirator was out of her throat and she opened her eyes when I spoke again and tried to talk. It was real raspy but I heard her “Hi babe” which is what we usually call each other. I started crying again (I’ve been crying all week) but this time they were tears of joy. I said something that must have been funny because she laughed and then started coughing. Praise God for that laugh! That’s what I’ve been praying for … I just couldn’t bear not hearing her laugh again. Marci’s sister Dixie came in and cracked a joke or two and Marci laughed some more. The intensive care nurse asked in amazement, “Is she always like this?” I answered “Yes!”

I stayed with her for a good part of the afternoon, just looking at her while she slept, thinking to myself that even though her eyes are almost swollen shut, her face is all puffy, her hair is gone, she’s wrapped in bandages and has tubes galore coming out of her … she looks so beautiful to me.  I don’t want to get too sentimental here, but I think I’m falling in love with my wife all over again.  I’m just so happy that she’s doing well and that I’ll get her back.

Corey also got a chance to see her in the CCU, but Amber was not feeling well and running a slight fever, so she couldn’t go in.  Amber went on home today.  I have really appreciated having her here during this time.

I went home later in the afternoon, and we (Dixie, Corey and me) went out and got a little Chinese food.  After being home a while, I wanted to go back down to the hospital and see Marci again.  While I was there, Dr. Hardy came by to check up on her and he said she’s doing good.  He checked her vision by holding up fingers and making her count.  She got all the answers right, so he was pleased with that.  He told her that her eyes would probably continue to swell until she couldn’t open them at all, and they would turn black.  He said, “Remember what I told you … in another couple of days, you’ll look like you’ve been in a prize fight.”  She laughed again.  I told him that he was my new hero.  What an amazing thing to be able to do … to go in and take a tumor out of somebody’s head, sew it back up, and have the person laughing the next day.  Incredible.

I slept better tonight.

I am so thankful to God for the gift that he gave to me and our family of these ten years with my wife. She is still laughing and brings joy to everyone who knows her.

Ten years ago, just a day or two before Marci’s surgery, our granddaughter Maddie was born at a hospital in Orange County. We took Marci to the hospital to see Maddie the day before her surgery because we knew that it might be her only chance to see her, given the serious nature of the surgery. Our neurosurgeon had warned us that blindness, brain disabilities of various kinds, even death were possible outcomes.

Well, today as I type this, Marci and Maddie are seeing a matinee performance of “The Nutcracker” together–just the two of them. I know they are having a ball and I am so grateful


One of the joys of getting older is showing off your grandchildren … so please indulge me here! Left to right: Layla (1), Jack (5), Maddie (9) and Nick (12).


When I was two years old, my father made a recording of me on a 78 rpm record. I have no idea how he did this, since I don’t remember that he ever possessed a recording device that would make 78 rpm disks. Nevertheless, I do have a disk labeled “Wayne at age 2″ which was given to me by my mother in a box of old photographs and other memorabilia from my childhood.

I wasn’t sure exactly what was on that record until last year when I had a studio in town transfer it to CD.  As I listened to it, I must admit that I got a little bit emotional. What I heard was my mother prompting me to sing the old gospel song “He Lives.” I had heard stories about me singing this song at a very early age, but I had no recollection of it. So this recording was a revelation to me. So, with Easter on the way, I thought I’d post it here with deep thanks to my mother and father for not only teaching me a song which I still sing to this day, but also for teaching me about Jesus who indeed “lives within my heart.”

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Category: Family, Personal

Here’s the latest photo of our four grandkids. Layla was having a bad day but she begrudgingly let us get the shot.

Nick, Jack and Maddie with Layla on top.


Guess where we took our family this week?

L-R: Layla, Janna, Maddie, Corey, Amber, Jack, Grandpa, Grandpa, Nick, Nate, Tamara.


Here’s a picture of our granddaughter Layla taken at Christmas, with a bow on her head. One of the few times she thought grandpa was funny.  Most of the time I just make her cry …


My sister Mary Rice Hopkins has been writing, performing and recording outstanding children’s music for several decades and now she has her own TV show which is aired weekly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Personally, I’m not a big fan of Christian television (or any television for that matter except for football games) but here’s a program I can recommend wholeheartedly to you and your family (and I’m being totally objective!) Mary always amazes me with her talent and passion for serving children and families with the kind of entertainment that teaches important life lessons and the truth of the gospel. It’s fun for me to watch her having so much fun with this new ministry vehicle.

Here’s a video clip posted on YouTube promoting recent episodes of Mary’s TV show:


Category: Family, Personal