Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing. – Philippians 2:14-16
I have to give photo credit kudos to our daughter Naomi – again. She has the uncanny ability to capture images that are not only beautiful but packed with emotion too. Maybe what she is doing is exactly what I was describing in my post when I said that, “photography is one of the ways that I pray”?
Anyway, the Campbell family rolled into Miami late Monday, bringing their almost three-week vacation to a close. We miss them already so I thought this would be a good time to share these photographs from the weekend.
David is nine; Beks is eight, and Geoffrey is so stinkin’ cute (seven months).
With both David and Beks – and you can see this in the classic “wall” photo at the beginning – they are both getting tall enough and lean enough that I see glimpses of their future teenaged selves. To be honest, I’m having a hard time imagining it, but then I have totally, completely loved every stage of their lives so far and I know they are going to be the coolest young people ever.
So, as they grow – all of them, here is one of my patented (it’s been a while) “The Grandaddy Letters.”
Dear David, Beks, Geoffrey (and “Mr. T.” too):
Good grief, God absolutely owns some unpredictable and genius imagination! Yes that’s right, I am talking about you! You may not realize this, but new parents always form ideas in their minds, and they think they know who you are going to be. We certainly did this with our children, Andrew and Naomi.
People find out they are having a baby and then develop all these expectations: from hair and eye color, to appearance, to temperament, to what games the new child is going to be good at, to how tall they’re going to be, and if they are going to play maybe the piano or the violin!
And we are always wrong. So wrong. Way off. Because the unique, unfathomable, beautiful, one-of-a-kind human person God imagined, designed, created, and gifted to this world (you) is always so far and beyond any ideas we could possibly come up with on our own!
So we have watched you grow, and we are watching you grow. Too far away for our liking, but there is FaceTime, and FaceBook Messenger video, and all these photographs, and the videos, and the Tinybeans App. So we are grateful and blessed to see as much of you as we do.
How to Grow Strong:
Mostly, Dear Wonderful Grandchildren, this letter is about how to grow strong. This is true for people, and plants, and ideas, and churches, and buildings, and most especially children. We want to see your bodies, your minds, and your spirits grow into all the amazing possibilities planned for when you were first imagined in the heart of God and then planted here to grow.
We want you to grow in the good soil of a family rooted in faith, fed by faithfulness, watered with love, saturated with light, challenged with opportunity, and nurtured by the practice of kindness.
In other words, we want you to experience what Jesus called The Abundant Life, a way of living where you learn to follow Jesus and participate in God’s initiatives of grace, mercy, love, justice, and light.
Because you were not put here on Earth by chance but by design; and we are not accidentally your grandparents; and life is not random so much as it is an opportunity to shine, “like the stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life.”
Because you are loved, beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined. – Your Grandaddy Derek
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.