Marking Memorable Moments: Written and Remembered
About the Guest
A great way to teach children is through the power of stories. Barbara Rainey joins her husband, Dennis, to talk about her resource, "Written and Remembered." These four true stories, complete with challenges in every chapter, are designed to teach children of all ages the beauty of gratitude.
Barbara RaineyAfter graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Cru® in 1971. With her husband Dennis, whom she married in 1972, the Rainey’s cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry committed to helping marriages and families survive and thrive in our generation. Barbara is a frequent speaker and guest on FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s award-winning nationally-syndicated daily radio broadcast. She is the author or coauthor of...more
Barbara Rainey talks about her book consisting of four true stories designed to teach children of all ages the beauty of gratitude.
Marking Memorable Moments: Written and Remembered
Bob: If you’re going to cultivate a heart of gratitude at your house—a heart of thankfulness—you’re going to have to be purposeful. Here’s Ashley Rainey Escue.
Ashley: Just face it—I’m not that thankful / my children are not that thankful. We’re just selfish, ungrateful people a lot of the time. Just knowing that we tried to cultivate a heart of thankfulness in their lives—and there is a way to teach that. I think someday when they are older, they’ll look back and they’ll go, “You know, that was really important in our family—was to have a heart of gratitude, and thanks, and kindness.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, November 7th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Ashley’s mom, Barbara Rainey, has some specific ideas for you on how you can promote a culture of gratitude in your home. We’ll talk about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. I want you to tell our listeners about how you spent your summer vacation a couple of years ago. Tell them how you spent six days on your summer vacation—just you and your wife.
Dennis: Are you talking about when Barbara and I got away and—
Bob: You got away—went to Michigan for a week; right?
Dennis: We did.
Bob: This was in the middle of the dog days of summer in Arkansas.
Dennis: And we needed it. We needed to get away for a few days. We had a friend who gave us a little spot up there to be able to perch.
Bob: What was the nearest town? Were you near any—what’s the biggest city you were near?
Dennis: Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Barbara: And it’s only—
Dennis: North of Petoskey.
Bob: Okay; so you’re in Harbor Springs, near Petoskey.
Barbara: Near Harbor Springs.
Bob: You were out in the middle of nowhere.
Barbara: That’s right.
Dennis: Oh, we were not in town. No; we purposefully, completely withdrew—
—no TV / no internet—we went cold turkey from all media.
Bob: Now, wait, wait, wait—I got an email from you in the middle of your vacation! So, it wasn’t completely—[Laughter]
Dennis: Well, I had a couple of things going on. That was about talking to—[Laughter]
Bob: I do remember.
Dennis: —someone. [Laughter] We won’t get off into that, but it was about talking to someone pretty important.
Bob: So, what did you spend your summer vacation doing?
Dennis: We read a book to each other. We read, took walks and talks—and talked about where we are today, and where we want to be tomorrow, and five years, and ten years—and really had some tremendous conversations. In fact, we both said it was one of the best vacations we’ve ever had together. We just enjoyed each other, and we really didn’t drive and go a lot of places. We just holed up, and we read a book—a 600-page book—aloud to each other.
Bob: A novel.
Barbara: A novel.
Dennis: That’s right.
Bob: Barbara is back on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back.
Barbara: Thank you, Bob.
Bob: You love stories; don’t you?
Barbara: I do. I love books—really good books—inspiring books.
Bob: Why do stories captivate you?
Barbara: I think when you read a story—particularly a story about someone’s life—I think it’s inspiring. I think you, the reader—but me in particular—I think I want to be worthy of that. I want to live more of whatever it is that I’m getting out of the book.
Bob: I remember back in the first year we were on the air with FamilyLife Today. We did an interview with an author who was talking about how morality is passed from one generation to another. He mentioned that story is one of the great ways—he said, “History, and story, and example are part of how we transmit what is moral to the next generation.” There is power in telling stories that illustrate important truth.
Barbara: I couldn’t agree more; because I think, as parents—sometimes, what we think we need to do is teach it and we need to instruct it.
Yes, we need to talk about it; and yes, we need to define it—but the—
Dennis: And our kids get so weary of hearing us be teacher/daddy or instructor/mom.
Barbara: —right—but the most important way they can see it, or learn it, or decide they want to own it—that’s the real goal—is that our kids want to own those character qualities, those virtues, that morality—is by catching it from somebody else’s life.
Bob: We’ve been spending some time this [past] week updating our listeners on projects that you’ve been involved with. Over the last year, you have helped to create—I don’t know how many it’s been—eight, nine, ten different resources for families—a lot of them tied to holidays; right?
Barbara: Yes. A lot of them are tied to holidays; because that’s such a natural, easy time for families to gather together. We tend to think, “What can I do to make this meaningful?” I’ve started with the holidays, because I think that’s the easiest way for families to naturally connect and engage with one another.
Bob: At Easter-time, you had a couple of resources that you had developed. One was a Lenten mystery that you had that families could go through together. There was the “Behold the Lamb” wreath that you could use during Holy Week to investigate the “I Am” statements of Jesus; right?
Barbara: That’s right.
Bob: And then, you started gearing up for Thanksgiving. One of the resources that you’ve developed for Thanksgiving is something that’s called Written and Remembered. Explain what that is.
Barbara: Well, Written and Remembered is a small book. In the small book are four stories. As we were talking a few minutes ago about the importance of stories, one of my strong desires is to help pass onto the next generation the stories of some incredibly godly people. The very first story in the Written and Remembered book is Joni Eareckson Tada. I’m amazed how many college-aged students and younger don’t know who she is.
That just is tragic to me, because this is a woman who has demonstrated faith, and gratitude, and courage probably like few others.
Barbara: And for her story not to be known is just wrong; and so, I’ve included her story—it’s the first one. Then there are three other stories in this book. It’s designed to be read one story a week during the month of November; or you can read them, day after day, for four days in a week; or you don’t even have to use it in November. If you decide your kids are griping and they need kind of an attitude correction on being thankful, pull it out in January and read it in January. It doesn’t matter.
Bob: But this is more than just a story book.
Barbara: Yes; it is.
Bob: Explain—once you’ve read the story—explain how it all works together.
Barbara: So, once you’ve read the story, then, the idea is to do an experiment together, as a family, to try to make that quality of gratitude real in your life. For instance, the experiment that follows reading Joni’s story is for everyone to find a chair to sit in, immediately—
—preferably, a chair that has arms.
Everyone sits in that chair, put your arms on the arms of the chair, and not move at all, and to pretend that you are paralyzed like Joni is—and to see how long you can sit in that chair without scratching their nose; or crossing their legs; or getting up to go to the bathroom; or going into the kitchen, because they are hungry—and to think about what it would be like not to be able to move, and think about how wonderful it is that you can, and then, think about how grateful you should be that you have all of your abilities. It’s awe-inspiring / it’s worshipful.
The story design—and the other three like it—are designed to read the story to learn about someone / to learn about this hero of faith; and then to do an experiment, as a family, that will help cement that quality of gratitude.
Dennis: Yes; in fact, let me just read here what Barbara instructs them to do—
—she says: “When everybody has reached their limit, call an end to this experiment. While the experience is fresh, write a collective list of all the motions and actions, such as feeding yourself, or walking, or running that you can do all day long—things for which we take for granted. Or have each person take a card and make his or her own list, seeing who can make the longest list. Then, over dinner, share your list with one another.”
Barbara: And then, display them on the cardholder.
Dennis: Yes; and all four of these stories—and the other three stories are great stories as well. In fact, there is a couple in here that I had never heard. One, Bob, that you know something about—it’s the story of John and Donna Bishop.
Bob: Oh, yes. It’s a great story—one, that we’ve featured, here on FamilyLife Today. It’s a powerful love story—a husband and a wife—and a wife who showed that when she said, “in sickness and in health,” she meant it; right?
Bob: There are envelopes or cards in there as well?
Bob: Explain about that.
Barbara: The product comes with a book with the four stories, but it also comes with a stack of 30 postcards. The postcards are to be used for—for instance, after you read the story of John and Donna Bishop or after you’ve read the story about Joni Eareckson Tada, you write on there what you are thankful for.
They are specifically designed as postcards; because one of the experiments is to make a list, as a family, of everybody who serves you. Then, actually, write postcards; because these are designed so that you can put a stamp on them, and they can go in the mail. So, you would write a postcard and say, “Thank you,” to a grandmother, to the postman—
Dennis: —school teacher.
Barbara: —to the school teacher, to the babysitter. I mean, the list really could be almost limitless if you really engaged in this as a family. You could come up with a list of, perhaps, 50 people. You might not have enough postcards.
Bob: You have tested this resource with some families, just to see how it works.
We thought maybe we’d get one of those families on the line—
Barbara: I think it’d be a great idea.
Bob: —and find out how this happened at their home. Let’s see if we can get a caller on the line, who has used the Written and Remembered resource—not during Thanksgiving season / used it another time of the year—but just find out how it went with her family.
Caller, are you on the line with us?
Ashley: I’m here.
Bob: Can you identify yourself, please?
Ashley: [Laughter] Which name do you want me to give you? [Laughter]
Bob: Well, use the one that’s—
Ashley: I go by many!
Bob: Use the one that’s on your driver’s license. How about that?
Ashley: Okay; Ashley Rainey Escue.
Bob: Oh my goodness! I thought I recognized this voice! [Laughter]
Ashley: Hello, my friend, Bob! [Laughter]
Bob: How are you?
Ashley: I’m good. How are you?
Bob: Yes; our listeners may have recognized your voice from our FamilyLife This Week® radio program that you help co-host; right?
Ashley: I think that’s right.
Bob: And we were—I didn’t realize we were going to be talking to you. We’re talking about this Written and Remembered resource that Barbara Rainey, here at FamilyLife, has created—
—you familiar with her? [Laughter]
Ashley: I know her!—[Laughter]—quite well. [Laughter]
Bob: She sent this resource to you and said, “Test this out with the boys”; right?
Ashley: Yes; I love being the guinea pig. I get to do so many fun things—it’s awesome—I love it.
Bob: Tell everybody about your family. How many children do you have?
Ashley: Well, we now have five sons—I homeschool three of them / the other two are in public school—and we do foster care. Right now, we currently have one baby that is also a boy, and he is two months old. So, we’ve had—
Bob: You sound like you’re burping the baby right now. [Laughter]
Ashley: I am burping him. [Laughter] Would you like for me to stop that so that there’s not the constant beating in the background?
Bob: No; that’s fine. You go ahead and keep burping him—that’s fine.
Dennis: Yes. We’ll just let any noises that occur be that.
Ashley: Okay; because I was going to say—I’ve already had one child come up to me and want me to tie a balloon, and somebody else came with a school question. So, it may not be the last interruption.
Bob: This is real family life right here.
Ashley: It is real family life—that’s for sure.
Bob: So, when you’re mom called and said: “Hey, I’m going to send up this new resource—it’s called Written and Remembered. It’s got some stories in it / it’s got some note cards,” was this something you thought, “I’m excited to try it,” or did you roll your eyes and go: “Here’s something else mom’s sending me. I’ve got to do it, I guess”?
Ashley: You know, I think there’s probably a little bit of both, actually; because to be quite honest, none of us need one more thing—especially when you’ve got six kids. But the flip side is that I know that whatever I’m going to be trying to do—even if I only get half of it done—is better than zero. So, part of me is like [uncertainty in voice], “Oh,” and part of me is like: “Okay; awesome! I might actually have a chance instill some really neat principles, or values, or insight in my children’s lives,”—which is what I want to do all the time; but most of the time, I’m too busy to even find them to do them. So, really, mostly, I’m just really grateful; because I want to give my kids all the time anyway.
Bob: So, how did you use this? When you got the storybook that your mom had included that had four stories in it, did you do this at a mealtime?—
—or what time of day did you do it?
Ashley: I actually decided to do it with just my homeschool kids this time. We’ve done some other things for Mom in the past, and we’ve tried real hard to do them with all of the children to make it a real family affair. But I think this year, I thought, “You know, I think this might / we might have—sometimes, you realize, when you’ve got a large family, that you have good discussion when you have fewer children.
Ashley: Even for my younger kids—I think we did a lot more with our older kids because we had fewer children then.
I think, for me—I just really felt like the Lord said, “You know, I think this is okay to go ahead and do with just half your family.” I actually did it with my homeschool boys over the lunch hour. They—I thought: “Well, I’ll just do a couple. I’ll shoot for 50 percent.” But they actually had so much fun that they would be like: “Mom, is there another story? Can we do the next one?” “What’s the next one? Is there an experiment for that one?”
They actually pestered me to death, and we did all of them.
It was a wonderful learning experience. We continue to discuss what we’ve learned. In fact, we’ve been done doing them for probably several weeks now, and we had a discussion today about it again. It’s been an ongoing learning experience for my kids, which has been really cool.
Bob: Now, I remember when our kids were about the age of your kids. We would try to do some spiritually-oriented exercise or read some devotional something or other. [Laughter]
Ashley: It didn’t go so well for you?
Bob: I just remember there—
Ashley: Really?! [Laughter]
Bob: —being a lot of fidgeting going on. Was that the case with your boys?
Ashley: Yes; although not so bad for this—I feel like the story was pretty short. I picked my first story, because I didn’t think I was going to do them all. I looked at it—and the very first one I chose was something about stranded in outer space or something. I thought: “Okay; I don’t really know what this is about. I don’t really know what our experiments going to be; but they are going to like this because they are boys, and they think that outer space is really cool.”
Bob: Outer space is really cool.
Ashley: Yes; right.
Ashley: I thought, “I’ll go ahead and hook them with this one, because I bet they’ll think this is awesome.” I just started reading it to them. About half way through the story, I said: “Now, you guys know this is a true story; right? This really happened.” They all looked at me; and they were like: “Really?! Wow!” I was like: “Okay; awesome! Let’s keep reading.” They were pretty into it.
I tried to choose something that I thought—to start us off—that I really thought they would enjoy and be excited about. They were—they loved it.
Bob: And what’s the experiment that you do after you’re stranded in outer space? [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, the story is—
Bob: I don’t want to hear from you! I want to hear from her.
Bob: You just be quiet; alright? [Laughter]
Ashley: Yes, but Dad really likes to tell; right?
Dennis: I do like to tell!
Ashley: I know; I get that from you.
Dennis: I had not heard this story, and your mom wrote about it. I thought, “This is a cool story.” I understand why the boys got hooked!
Ashley: Okay; well, it’s the story of Apollo 13. I know there is a movie out, but they’d never heard the story. They didn’t know because they hadn’t studied it in history yet—
—at least, not at six, eight, and ten years old—they haven’t studied that.
The experiment is—you’re supposed to do it for a whole day. I try to do things that I feel like I can actually manage with six children—so we actually just did this experiment for one meal. What you are supposed to do is—you’re supposed to not use anything in your kitchen for lunch. You have to eat lunch; but you can’t use silverware, plates, microwaves, stoves, ovens—
Ashley: —utensils of any kind.
Ashley: You’re supposed to come up with how you can eat with using things from around your house, not in your kitchen.
Bob: Yes; I think I’d only go one meal on that too. [Laughter]
Ashley: I thought, “You know, I’m not doing this for a whole day—no way!”
Bob: I’m with you. I’d high-five you on that one if you were here.
Ashley: Thank you. So, I thought, “Okay; I can do one meal, but I absolutely cannot”—and I really was kind of bummed out when I read that, because I was really looking forward to my toasted sandwich that I like to make after everyone is fed. I like to just sit and have a real warm meal. [Laughter]
I was like, “Okay.”
Bob: So, what did you have for lunch that day?
Ashley: Oh, I had a cold sandwich. We ate our lunch—are you ready? They got Frisbee®s. I did wash them—and my husband got on to me, because I used the kitchen to wash the Frisbees—[Laughter]—but I was like, “Seriously, I’m not going to eat off Frisbee that’s been out in the dirt.”
Dennis: Was he there, Ashley?
Ashley: No; no.
Dennis: He can’t complain, then.
Ashley: He was just being critical.
Ashley: He did not even participate—so whatever. [Laughter]
Bob: He had a hamburger lunch.
Bob: He had a hamburger.
Ashley: That’s right. He doesn’t get a vote—whatever. We ate on Frisbees. The kids went outside and made a little/small campfire, and they rigged all these sticks together. They took some leftover pizza out there, and positioned the pizza on top of the fire to toast the bread / to warm their pizza—the leftover pizza. [Laughter] Then, another kid got a toothbrush and took the lid off the yogurt; right? We had some yogurt, and it had one of those foil lids.
Ashley: They took a rubber band, and they fashioned a spoon out of this foil to spoon the yogurt into their mouth.
They ate the yogurt that way with a toothbrush—
Bob: There we go!
Ashley: —and a rubber band. Isn’t that awesome? I was really pretty impressed with my children, actually. I was like, “You all go find something”; and that’s what they came up with. Somebody else put their Vienna sausages out in the sunshine, outside on their Frisbee, to try to warm them up that way. There were a lot of flies sitting on it. I’m sure it was really gross when they ate it, but you know—whatever. [Laughter] As a mom of five boys, you’ve just got to fight your battles when you can. That wasn’t one of them for me.
Bob: Ashley, as a mom with a lot of kids, what’s the best part of something like this for you?
Ashley: I think the best part of it is—really, just knowing that, even though they may not remember the specifics of it, they are going to remember that we tried to teach them, and that there was some intentionality around our discussions, and that we tried to cultivate a heart of thankfulness in their lives.
I think I just love the tools—
—there are lots of resources that FamilyLife puts out that just help moms and dads reach their children and do it in a real effective way. Most of the time, if it’s for children, it’s fairly simple; and it’s very straightforward, and it’s not burdensome or bogged down.
Four is great for me—I can, maybe, do something for four weeks or four days—I can do that; but if it’s 365 days with your child: “I don’t know—sorry. I’m going to fail. I’m, automatically, going to fail.” [Laughter]
Dennis: Ashley, two things—number one, we do not have any tools for burping a foster baby while talking on the phone. [Laughter]
Ashley: Yes; I know.
Dennis: Number two, you’re still my hero. I’m near exhaustion just listening to you tell these stories of how you persevered and taught all those sessions with the boys. [Laughter] I think you’re the greatest—just love you and appreciate you.
Ashley: Well, thanks for helping me do it; and thanks, Mom, for making them. It really was fun.
I mean, in the end, I just decided: “I want to join the kids in doing this even though I’m not happy about a cold lunch. I’m more grateful. It’s good for my heart too.” That’s—you know—a shout-out to all the parents who are going to do: “Get ready, because you are going to learn something too.”
Dennis: Great word.
Bob: Thanks, Ashley.
Ashley: Hey, thanks, you guys. You all have a great day.
Bob: See you later.
Dennis: Alright; bye.
Barbara: Bye, Sweetie.
Ashley: Bye, Mom / bye, Dad. Love you guys.
Bob: Well, that’s a pretty good endorsement; don’t you think?
Barbara: That’s a great endorsement. [Laughter] Absolutely—couldn’t have designed it better; yes.
Dennis: No. And she really captured the essence of it. It gives a mom/a dad, who are busy, something very simple that is bite-sized that can be achieved. And you can do as little or as much as you want; and you can call a time-out and say, “We’re done with this.”
Barbara: Yes. Well, and I love what she said—that she said something is better than nothing. And that’s kind of my mantra in doing this—is I know that not all moms and dads read all four stories—fine; don’t read all four / read one; but one is better than nothing.
Bob: Do something—be intentional.
Barbara: And I think it’s so easy to go: “Oh, it’s too hard. I’m just not going to do anything.” That’s not good—to do nothing. You know, I’m really okay with moms and dads only doing part of it; because you’re at least trying.
Bob: Well, if you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, to see what it is you’ve created—a number of resources that are available there, including Written and Remembered and others. Again, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. I think the point here is—we want you to be intentional about promoting the grace of gratitude in your home during the month of November. It’s a great opportunity for you to take an important character quality that is consistent with being a follower of Christ and highlighting that with your children and in your home.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about Barbara’s resources—you can order from us online.
Or if you know what you’re looking for, call 1-800-FL-TODAY and place your order over the phone. If you have any questions, we’ll see what we can do about answering those for you as well.
Now, today is anniversary day number 23 for Everett and Kim Kvamme, who live in Puyallup, Washington—isn’t that how you say it?—Pu-yall-up? The Kvammes have been married for 23 years. They have attended the Weekend to Remember®. They’ve been to one of our I Still Do® events. They have hosted The Art of Marriage®. They have used Passport2Purity®. I mean, you guys—you are in sync with all that’s going on, here at FamilyLife. “Happy 23rd anniversary!”—hope you have a great day.
If it’s your anniversary today, “Happy anniversary!” to you as well. At FamilyLife, one of the reasons we exist is so that more couples will have more anniversaries. We want to effectively develop godly marriages and families that change the world one home at a time. That’s what you’re investing in when you invest in the ministry of FamilyLife—
—you are investing in the marriages and the family relationships for husbands and wives / and moms and dads, all around the world. We’re grateful for those of you who partner with us in this ministry.
In fact, if you can help with a donation today, we would love to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a resource you can use at Christmastime with your kids. It’s called “The Twelve Names of Christmas”—12 small ornaments that your preschool or elementary-aged children can hang on the Christmas tree as they learn about different names / different titles associated with Jesus.
“The Twelve Names of Christmas” is our thank-you gift when you make a donation, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate; or you can mail a donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about how we can, as Christians, get along with people who don’t hold the view we hold—
—people who are going to go into the polling booth tomorrow and pull a lever different from the lever you’re pulling: “How do you maintain a healthy relationship? How do you understand one another?” Pastor Scott Sauls is going to join us tomorrow to talk about that. I hope you can be here with us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?
Copyright © 2016 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.