Showing posts with label 4. Thursdays: Resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4. Thursdays: Resources. Show all posts

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Looking Ahead: Getting Through The Month of June


June is a tough month for many widows because it marks so many of life's significant events from
ORDINARY... a change of season and start of school vacations---so many memories! Picnics and last-day-of-school parties, sunshine and freedom, packing for vacation, picking strawberries, running through the garden hose as a child, catching fireflies....

to the EXTRAORDINARY...
  • weddings! June has always been the traditional month for weddings and is still a popular time to get married. Perhaps your own wedding was in June and you're anticipating your anniversary alone, or you've been invited to attend a wedding---alone. Most people don't realize what a struggle these days present.
  • graduations! Highschool, college and even pre-school graduations bring a grand finale to the school year and mark the start of a new chapter of life. Getting through these without your husband/their dad is a challenge.
  • Babies and birthdays! It's kind of odd---so many families find their birthdays tend to cluster around certain months. Is June a birthday month for you and yours?
  • and last but not least---Father's Day. Why don't they just stab us and get it over with, right? I don't know of a more dreaded day for widows. In the weeks ahead we will talk about it and hear some tips from others on how they survived.
But for today, here are a few tips on dealing with June. Here are some winning attitudes and actions you can begin to take now to clear these humps.

Read the book of Philippians over and over this month. You might read it 20 or 30 times and that's good! But at least read it once---it only takes about 15 minutes for the entire book. Grab a pen and mark up your Bible. Underline and take notes. Circle the words that repeat and pop out at you. The author writes from prison, having lost all, but choosing to rejoice in the Lord. You'll find much hope, confidence and joy woven throughout this piece of Scripture that will refill and restore your own soul.
Pray about everything (Phil. 4:6)
Rejoice always (Phil 4:4) This isn't asking you to rejoice that your husband is gone, but rather to open your eyes to the life going on around you. For example, if you have to attend a wedding lock your thoughts on the young couple and being happy for them. Also, concentrate on telling yourself thoughts like "I'm so thankful I had ___years of marriage," rather than, "Why can't I still be married?" Don't give in to self-pity but you must replace it with strong-willed gratitude to God---that's the only way this widowhood student and veteran has found.
Think about praiseworthy, excellent things (Phil 4:8) You can't stop negative thinking, you can only replace it with right thoughts. Phil 4:8 tells us how. Consider each word and collect thoughts and pictures for it. For example: for "whatever is true" you can picture and state in your mind all the true things you know about God and His love for you. Do the same with the words noble, right, pure, etc.
Press on to the prize (Phil. 3:13,14)

These tips will work for you! How do I know? How can I say that?
Not only have I done all this myself, but also, here's why I'm so confident--Phil 1:6 in my own words:
Because God, who began a good work in you when you became a Christian will carry it on to the day you are complete and whole.

This chapter in your life is mighty sad, but your story isn't finished yet, and in the strength of the Lord it will have one glorious and happy ending. Keep on keeping on my friend! We will get through June together and with God's good help from the Bible!
ferree

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Last Chance to Register

Dear Friends,
Do you ever look at the calendar and can't believe your eyes? That's what happened to me when I saw that yesterday was November 4th and I realized our weekend retreat is only 30 days away! Let the countdown begin! Do you need a weekend away too? If so, please read the details below and contact me soon! November 13th is the last day to sign up and space is very limited. Email me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

WEEKEND DETAILS
Date: December 4-6, 2015
Place: Hampton Inn and Suites, 3000 West Radio Drive, Florence, South Carolina. Click here for the hotel website. For TripAdvisor reviews click here. The rooms are currently being renovated, and they'll be completed in October---so for us it will be like its brand new!
Rooms & Rates: Standard King-size bed or Standard 2 Queen-size beds, $99.00/night (Costs may be split among any who decide to room together).
How to reserve a room: Call Hampton Inn 843-629-9900 and mention the "Weekend With the Author/Ferree Hardy" so you get this lowest rate of $99/night. Room will be held with a valid credit card provided by you. Each guest is responsible for her own charges. You must call and reserve your room no later than November 20th. BUT call as soon as possible because the group size is limited to only 40 individuals! (Hotel rooms are eligible for cancellation until 6 pm the day of arrival).
Once you reserve a room you must contact me through email to [email protected] or by a private message on Facebook and let me know you're planning to come. I'll set up a Facebook page so you can communicate with other attendees and perhaps find a roommate to share costs.
Transportation: Florence, South Carolina is conveniently located at the eastern end of I-20 and halfway between New York and Miami on I-95. Mapquest the hotel if you're driving. If you prefer to come by Amtrak or airplane, let me know your ETA and I'll pick you up at our Amtrak station or at Florence airport, the world's most adorable little airport. (If you fly, make your destination Florence, SC. You'll have to transfer at Charlotte NC airport to the American Eagle/USAir commuter flight to Florence, it's the only carrier).
You're responsible for your own lodging and transporation to Florence. Once you get here I'll have a van to cart y'all around. Saturday lunch will be brought in and less than $10 and we'll collect payment at that time. Breakfasts are at the hotel, and suppers are on me! :) You're my guests!

Our schedule is subject to change but will be very casual and centered around fellowship, food, and fun!
Friday:
check in starts at 3 pm.
Supper provided, and if you'd like to bring cookies or other edibles please do! (But nothing that needs to be baked or refrigerated). Bring a small momento to use for a guessing game. We'll display them all on a table and try to figure out who brought what. So you could bring an old photo, your bronzed baby shoe, a small craft you're famous for, your favorite Disney character figurine, etc.... This will be an evening to relax and get to know everyone.
Saturday:
free breakfast available at the hotel from 6-10 am.
10:00 Workshop and Q & A time with Ferree
12:00 lunch in the hotel hospitality room (approx. $10).
2:00 we'll leave for The Living Christmas Tree concert at Florence Baptist Temple (admission price is one canned food for local food pantries and shelter ministries. *If you can't fit it in your suitcase I'll have extras available you can grab)
Evening: Christmas party and supper at Ferree's house. Please bring one small gift for a gift exchange.
Sunday:
free breakfast available from the hotel from 6-10 am.
9:00 devotions and farewell with Ferree in the hospitality room. Receive your "Letter to Your Future" if you sent one.
10:00 catch a ride for morning worship at Florence Baptist Temple if you'd like.
12:00 noon: hotel check out
If you'd like to stay an extra day or more either before or after the event, simply add on the days when you make your room reservation

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE EMAIL ME.

Here's what to bring: dress---casual and easy to pack. I'll be in slacks or jeans all weekend. Weather here in early December is generally mild, so you don't need a parka. Bring a light jacket or raincoat and a sweater and you should be good. Canadians might want to bring their swimsuits for the outdoor pool at the hotel. lol
Also: bring your Bible, one can of food (*if it fits in your suitcase), a small momento for the guessing game, a small wrapped gift for a gift exchange at our Christmas party, and (optional, especially if you're flying) any home-baked goodies or snacks you want to share.
[email protected]

ferree
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Teacup Story for Your Widows Group Gathering

I'm starting to compile a widows group directory. Wouldn't it be great to see where other groups are and what they do? Plus it will be an encouragement to the groups to know that they're not alone and to share some ideas that work. Would you like to have your group listed too? Just send me the following at [email protected]:
  • Name of your group
  • How often you meet and what you usually do together (socialize, have a Bible study, use a grief support program, etc).
  • Your city, state or area
  • A group photo
Here's a lovely idea for a gathering.
Have everyone bring her favorite or prettiest teacup or coffee mug.
Read aloud "The Teacup Story."
Share a meal or light refreshments along with a variety of teas or coffees.
Ask for prayer requests and close with prayer.

This sounds so simple, doesn't it? It is! But be prepared for a flood of conversation and have a box of Kleenex out in case there's a flood of good tears, too.
ferree

* The Teacup Story *
Anonymous
There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful cup.They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful."

As the clerk handed it to them, suddenly the cup spoke."You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup.There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over. I yelled out, 'Leave me alone,' but he only smiled, 'Not yet,' he said."

"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the cup said to the astounded couple."Suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'Not yet.'"

"Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat!" the teacup exclaimed. "I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, 'Not yet, he said.'"

"Finally the door opened. He put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There, that's better,' I thought. But then he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I started to gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'"

"Again he put me back into the oven, but not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I'd be destroyed. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening, nodding his head saying, 'Not yet.'"

"There wasn't any hope. I knew I'd never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, 'That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.'"

'I want you to remember,' he then said. 'I knew it hurt to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you'd have dried up. I knew it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I knew the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held . . . Now you are a finished product.You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'"
~ Author Unknown

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,
"Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I shall announce My words to you."
Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel.
But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NASB)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Coming Soon --- Beauty Boot Camp!

Online ministries and websites come and go, but I've watched Shari Brandel's Fashion Meets Faith for several years now and what this ministry does is grow and grow! Although it's not specifically designed for widows, widows are women too! And one facet of Shari's ministry---Beauty Boot Camp--- is something I highly recommend for widows!
Why not take some relief from grief and go to this refreshing weekend of girl talk and so much more? 
  • Discover there's God-given beauty within each of us just waiting to show up on the outside!
  • Learn to dress with colors and styles that bring out your inner beauty and personality and honor your Creator God
  • Experience meaningful fellowship with women who will touch your heart and feed your soul
  • And without that husband around anymore to say, "Honey, you look beautiful..." Beauty Boot Camp can help you know that when you look in the mirror God intimately loves you and delights in you
  • You'll be transformed inside and out!
  • Plus an afternoon of shopping with professional stylists and expert bargain hunters??--what a deal!
  • Laughter! And more laughter! It's good for the soul!
It'll be held Oct. 16-18 at a wonderful oceanfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, SC. The cost includes your hotel stay and is a bargain at $579. Register or get more info here.


Click the frame below for a fun video! If it doesn't show up in your email, you can catch it at the website link above.



And last but not least, click here for some BEFORE and AFTER pictures of when I went to BBC in 2013. Getaways Are Great Events for Widows  I got to meet and room with a widow friend, Carol, and we had a super time of fellowship and fun. And guess what? There was another widowed lady there too.  Please be sure to let me know if you register.
ferree
P.S. If you can't make this retreat, don't forget there's A Weekend With the Author (me), coming up  December 4 - 6. Use the link or click the tab at the top of this blog for details.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

A New Resource For Grief and Widows Ministry: Grief Care Fellowship

So many of you were blessed by the testimony of Joan Wyrtzen Bagg this week that I want to let you know about the Grief Care Fellowship ministry that she and her husband, Doug Bagg, founded. It's one of the newest grief ministry programs for churches so you might want to pass this information along to one of the leaders in your local church.

Joan mentioned Journey in Grief Care yesterday, and that's the DVD training curriculum for teams of lay people to become grief "mentors." I know we often think of grief support being done in a group like GriefShare (which is also excellent), but this curriculum is more versatile and churches can use it to train their mentors. The mentors will then be able to minister to individuals OR groups. Here is the FAQ page which will give you the grief care journey "in a nutshell:" Grief Care Fellowship

I was personably able to take this training a few months ago and am looking forward to helping local people (plus you all, or y'all J) during the holiday season this year. The training consists of modules which are graduated in three parts.
  • Level One training for an Associate Grief Mentor (4 modules)
  • Level Two training for Grief Mentor (8 modules)
  • Level Three training for Master Grief Mentor (12 modules)
The instructor, Fran Welch brings years of church experience in helping thousands of grieving people, conducted over 250 funerals, and taught many ministry teams and seminars. Besides the comprehensive topics of grief, there are over 20 interviews with people from a variety of grief experiences. You can learn volumes as you watch their interaction with Pastor Welch and hear of their faith and hope and the best things people did to help them.

But there's even more! The latest offering from Grief Care Fellowship is Grieving Through the Holidays, a short DVD seminar to bring to your church on say, a Saturday morning for example. It will help grievers face holidays, anniversaries and birthdays year round, but especially the big three
---Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year---
which come so close together like rounds in a boxing match. Click here to see all that's provided for such a low cost.

"Grief Care Fellowship is a 501(c)( 3 ) not for profit ministry. The staff are professionals, who happily volunteer their time and wisdom to serve God in this capacity. No salaries are accepted by board members, consultants, and other staff." (from the website).
 
Please call the Grief Care Fellowship office at 727-856-3530 if you have any questions. They just want to get this helpful material into the hands of as many churches as possible so that people can be ministered to and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. I hope you'll consider these resources today!  
ferree

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Not Write Your Own "Letter to Me?"

Didn't  you love Becky's "Letter to Me" yesterday? In the comments Jackie said, "thank you for sharing your heart and my thoughts..." I'm sure Becky isn't a mind reader, but her words echoed what many Christian widows would also say. Married women were also touched and encouraged to see how the Lord strengthens and graces the widow.
               * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 Here at the WCP I've been receiving similar letters in my P.O. box. Back in April we started the following:
A Letter to Your Future Self.

If you'd like to join in, it's not too late. Just follow the instructions below to create your very own Letter to Me; but unlike Becky's which was what she'd tell herself as a new widow, this is a letter to your future, to remind yourself what the Lord has already brought you through and the goals and dreams He is beginning to formulate in your heart.. 
 
  1. Copy and paste the following letter to a page you can print. Fill in the blanks and mail it immediately to Widows Christian Place, PO Box 4596, Florence, SC 29502-4596 USA
  2. I'm not going to open it so BE SURE to put your return address on it!!!
  3. I'll return it to you in December.
Answer any of the following questions you want. Cross out or delete the others. Feel free to use this with your widows groups too.
If you need more space grab another sheet of paper and write to your heart's content. Let me say it again---Mail your letter immediately! Otherwise you'll forget (I know the fog of widow brain)! If you want to change your answers, that's ok, just send in another copy before Sept. 20, 2015.
I look forward to hearing from you! And if you'd rather come pick up your letter instead of having me mail it to you, be sure to sign up for A Weekend With The Author, December 4-6. I'd love to meet you in person!
ferree
 
Dear Me,
 
Here's what my life is like on this date: __________, 2015
 
I live at this location:
 
Names of the people living with me (if any):
 
My closest family members are:
 
My closest friends are:
 
I work and/or volunteer at:
 
I go to church at:
 
People would describe me as:
 
If widowhood is like a marathon I'm able to: (circle one of the following)
  • Run
  • Walk         
  • Limp               
  • Stagger
  • Crawl
I know for sure that I'll go to heaven when my time comes: (circle one) Yes Not sure
 
Apart from attending church, I draw strength from the Lord mostly by (circle any)
  • prayer             
  • Bible reading                  
  • memorizing Scripture        
  • inspirational reading           
  • Christian music                            
  • talking to friends
I'd describe my relationship and trust with God as:
 
An event I'm looking forward to this summer is:
 
Besides grief, my most frequent emotion is:
 
Am I getting enough exercise, healthy nutrition, and sleep?
 
What is one thing I can start doing today that will be good for me?
 
What is the most important thing I've learned thus far from widowhood?
 
What would I like to remember months from today?
 
Is there anything else I'd like to say?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Widows Voice -- A Voice for Widows!

Have you ever tuned in to the radio program "The Widows Voice" with host Teresa McWilliams and co-hosts Elder Cleora Fortson and Mrs. Elease Patterson? It will be back on the air this fall, but you can listen to the archives at this website.

Let me suggest listening to the "International Widows Day" program from June 19, 2014 as Teresa and co-host Elease Patterson discuss the plight of widows internationally and here in the states, and what the church can and should do. Plus, you'll hear little old me call in and join the discussion. Just go to the archives link in the paragraph above and scroll down to International Widows Day. It's a 30 minute broadcast but the time just flies and I know you'll love it. Check out the other programs listed there too. This is a wonderful resource for widows.

Hey, Teresa! We can't wait to hear you on the air again! Hurry back my friend! ferree

 
P.S.  Don't forget that today is the last day to enter the drawing for 3 give-aways this week. Please see Monday's post and enter today! Winners will be announced tomorrow right here!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter Plans, Anyone?

I "climbed aboard" one of my Lifeboat widow support groups on Facebook yesterday. These groups are for peer support. I seldom lead or add anything to the conversations because I can't sit and keyboard for very long before my spine begins to object. I just check in from time to time. But they have wonderful dialogues without me!

It's like the Lord uses the Lifeboats as a rescue and revive operation! The women pray for each other, listen to each other's problems, and tell their own experiences about how they manage and resolve many of the challenges of widowhood. It's great to "talk" with other women who "get it." When your old friends are tired of listening to you there's always someone you can turn to on Lifeboat.

One of the conversations yesterday was about Easter and what a widow would do with her children after church. You know---those hours between noon and suppertime that can drag and ache. I won't give you all the details because Lifeboat is confidential and closed to the public, but the gist was that this year would be very different. A favorite family time, a sacred celebration, had become a challenge. This widow wanted to embrace the event, celebrate the resurrection, and raise her children to do the same---- but life wasn't the same anymore. She was in uncharted waters and didn't know what to do.

As she explained the loss of another key family member in addition to her husband, her Lifeboat friends began to come alongside. Some would pray, some could empathize, some gently gave her  ideas, others helped by mentioning what they'd done in years past or about their plans for this year.

Facing holidays alone can be overwhelming. But on Lifeboat we're not alone. God didn't intend us to be the Lone Ranger. We need fellowship and hope; that's why we crave it! And that's what so many widows receive on my Lifeboats. Jesus Christ is the "captain," and the Holy Spirit comes alongside as the members share Scripture, encouragement, and hope; breathing life back into the "survivors." We all speak out and take in the expressions of our hearts. Breathe in... breathe out... together! The message of Easter---the resurrection---is true! Not only is there life after death for our husbands who are in Christ, but there's life after death for the widow who's been left behind.    

If you don't have local widows to fellowship with, click here to find out exactly how to join a Lifeboat group. You need to have a Facebook account, and you need to send me 2 things on Facebook: a friend request and a message. I'll look forward to saying Welcome Aboard. ferree

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Widowhood = Suffering? YES! But I Didn't Realize...

Grief and widowhood....

When they happened to me I was shocked, confused, dazed, and in extreme agony. Although I had no physical injuries I often pictured myself on a stretcher being pulled from a fatal car wreck. Suffering and trouble exploded my world and life chaged. Forever. In an instant.

I faced the hardest challenge ever, but I was too bewildered to understand that. No one sat down with me and told me, "It's just as Jesus said, In this world we'll have trouble..." I didn't really look at widowhood as trouble or suffering. I was too stunned. I thought, "I can't believe this happened! I hate this! I want my husband back! But I'll get through this. I'll grieve and mourn. I'll be shocked, angry, depressed, etc. (You know---those "stages" of grief). And then I'll just be a single, struggling mom like millions of other faceless women."

I didn't put it in the category of troubles Jesus told us to expect. I didn't get it that God already knew.

Neither did anyone mention that those words of Christ were flanked by comfort: "in me you may have peace... I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
For some reason I didn't think widowhood qualified as trouble or suffering. At the time I saw it as an unfortunate circumstance. My heart ripped out---I didn't see it as something God would help me overcome. Maybe I'd picked up that popular platitude --MOVE ON-- and thought that was all I had to do. Like I thought moving on was the solution? Perhaps.

Having come through it the hard way, without any resources, I want to tell you about a free resource that's on the radio this week. Tom told me he hears it on his drive to work every day and replayed the broadcast for me last night: Soaring Above Your Circumstances series by Dr. David Jeremiah. 

As I listened to When Trials Become Our Teacher (the suffering of Job), and A Prayer From A Cave(the troubles of David and depression), I thought of all my widows and readers and how so much practical help sits right there for us all in the pages of Scripture. I wondered how much easier my widow's walk would have been if only I'd heard stuff like this. I hope you'll tune in to these broadcasts today to feed your hungry spirit and encourage your aching heart, even if you're as stunned as I was and look at widowhood as more of a circumstance to live with than a challenge God will help you through. 
ferree
(As always, if this post arrives in your email inbox and thelink isn't showing up, simply click on the title line at the top of this page to get to the WCP blog itself so you can view it. Thanks!)
 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Widows Retreat This Summer

SAVE the DATE: Summer Retreat July 17-19 in Illinois

Interested? Sign up for more details to come at this site: SAVE THE DATE IN JULY

Here are a few basics.
  • Hosted by aNew Seasons Ministries/a Widows Might (same group that hosted the retreat in Myrtle Beach in November, and the retreat in Dallas in February)
  • They will first open a session from July 17-19, 2015. (Arriving Friday, leaving Sunday)
  • Once that session fills up, they will then open a session from July 15-17, 2015. (Arriving Wednesday, leaving Friday)
  • Location: Oregon, Illinois, about ninety minutes from O’Hare airport. The camp will be providing free shuttle service to and from the airport.
  • Details like program fees for adults and children, meal plan fees, schedules of events, and accommodation costs will be coming soon.
  • Childcare is provided, FREE of charge!
You don't have to walk this widows' path alone

Thursday, February 12, 2015

10 Reasons Why The Book of Ruth Is For Widows

If you’ve been in church world for a while no doubt you’ve heard sermons on the Book of Ruth and what a wonderful picture of redemption it presents. Boaz is likened to our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and Ruth is likened to we who are in need of redemption and unable to save ourselves. Boaz shows Ruth unmerited favor, just as Christ does for his chosen ones.

But as true and sweet an allegory as that is, let’s not overlook the fact that first and foremost Ruth is about widows! It's all about widows! The main characters—Ruth and Naomi are widows! Ruth is a young widow, Naomi is a middle-aged or older widow.  A secondary character, Orpah, is also a young widow. Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer might have also been widowed since mention of his first wife is never made.  Hmm… I love the story of Christ our Redeemer, but should we not acknowledge the obvious and wonder what could be of interest to widows in this book?
There are only two books in the Bible featuring a woman—the Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther. (Ruth was a widow, and Esther was an orphan! James 1:27!) It’s very significant to realize that God inspired Scripture to devote an entire book to a widow’s plight. God cares about widows!  He knows the risks they’ll face, the courage they’ll need and the deep and gutsy faith they will display, and He is pleased to provide and care for them.
Join me for the rest of February as we look into these ten reasons why Ruth is for widows. I've touched on the first reason today. When we look at Ruth through our widow eyes we'll come away knowing that just as certain as God had a plan for Ruth and Naomi, He has a purpose for widows  today.  

ferree

10 Reasons Why Ruth Is For Widows

 1. It’s all about widows!
 2. It shows the 3 paths a widow could choose after the funeral.
 3. It gives the 2 essential needs of widows.
 4. It provides an example of the sort of friend a grieving widow needs.
 5. It shows the extraordinary courage and faith of two widows.
 6. It shows the many layers of loss a widow can experience, even down to the core of her identity.
 7. It gives the two keys to transforming loss—finding favor and exercising gratitude.
 8. For widows who want to remarry it illustrates the character traits to look for in a new husband,      shows the virtues that they can build while single.
 9. It shows that not all widows want to or will get remarried and that’s OK!
10. It shows redemption and hope for widows!  

To save 20% on my book Postcards from the Widows' Path during my once-a-year sale (only in February) click here: 

 BOOK SALE 

(As always, if this post arrives in your email inbox and the link isn't showing up, simply click on the title line at the top of this page to get to the WCP blog itself so you can view it. Thanks!)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Conferences & Retreats 2015

I'm beginning to compile a list of conferences and retreats for widows this year, plus some retreats that aren't specifically for widows but may be of interest to widows nevertheless. Whenever you hear of such events please let me know and I'll update this page throughout the year.

Widows Conferences

FEBRUARY:

crossroads
click here for more info on this conference in Dallas.

MARCH:
Widows Journey - March 6-8, 2015 
Sandy Cove Ministries, 
Sandy Cove is serenely situated halfway between Baltimore and Philadelphia near the town of North East, Maryland, just 10 minutes south of I-95, and 1 hour south of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, via Route 272.
Click here for the event info and pricing.


Other types of retreats:

1.
A "silent retreat" is for the purpose of prayer. If you want to get away from the world to spend time in prayer, but in the safety of a group setting with some security, counsel and guidance I hope you'll consider this one. I met the director, Donna Lewis, at a pastors wives gathering I was privileged to attend only weeks after my first husband died. Donna was just beginning to launch it and she has faithfully kept me in the loop ever since. This retreat is tried and true! Click here for more info.

2.
My friend Beth says that Billy Graham's, "The Cove", in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville, offers 2 types of WONDERFULLY, quiet Spiritual Retreats -- 1) Personal Spiritual Retreats, where you bring your own study, or 2) Guided Spiritual Retreats. One can come alone or with friends. The cost is not cheap, BUT you are surrounded by the beautiful mountains, a wonderful room, and scrumptious meals where you gather with others and meet and share. Beth went on one of these and says, "I had a super experience and it was a place that I absolutely needed to go to get away and be with the Lord without distraction."

Here is their website:
http://www.thecove.org/home -- One would have to call to get prices and dates.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teresa's Tips for Widows

Here's the continuation of yesterday's interview with Teresa McWilliams. Don't forget that her radio program is live this afternoon at 2:30 Eastern Standard Time. Links are at the bottom of this post. As our interview proceeded I realized it really fell into two parts: her own story which we touched on yesterday; and then some wonderful wisdom and tips to pass along to other widows. This flows from her 13+ years on this journey and her extensive ministry experience. I feel like we've stumbled upon a treasure trove today! I hope this gives you an idea of what her radio show is like too. Well, enough of my rambling. Let's move on to what Teresa told me.
 
Teresa, Christmas is one week from today! It can be such a hard holiday with all the expected traditions and precious memories. How do you handle it? What do you do during the holidays? Although holidays were really big before my husband passed, the kids and I don’t really do much now. At Thanksgiving, none of us have ever really liked turkey but every now and then they ask me to cook one. And as far as Christmas gift-giving, we don't do much of that since the kids are grown and there are no grandkids yet. I imagine that once my eldest son’s wife has their twins (April 30th) that we will probably start doing more gift giving again. But for now, we spend time together as much as possible throughout the year so when the holidays roll around “it’s just another day”-- church as usual, football, and my famous made-from-scratch mac n' cheese.

I love that, Teresa! Your example will be a relief to many widows who are dreading Christmas this year. It's OK to take a break from tradition; what's important is to do what works for you. What else can you tell us about this path? What advice do you have for widows in general, or especially for new widows?
I'd have to say, Get connected with other widows through your church or other organization as soon as possible. There is something comforting and healing about being surrounded by those who have suffered in the same manner. Those experiencing grief need to see that others have experienced similar things and have lived through it. In fact, people go on to thrive, not just survive. The Scripture says very plainly, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13). In other words, any situation you find yourself in is not only experienced by others, but it is a common experience.
Teresa McWilliams
What would you tell a widow who asks “How long does this take?”
Let me gently say this: It takes a life time. You never stop loving your husband and even in his absence, he never stops being a part of your life (or who you are) whether or not you remarry. But the good news is that as time goes by the sting of death becomes less harsh and the happy memories bring peace and wash away the pain.

How did you begin to grow through your own grief, Teresa?
I used to think that it was when I finally discovered the widows before me who survived it. Not only the widows of the Bible, but rather, real life, modern day widows who were brave enough to write books about their journeys and to even start blogs and support groups on the Internet. Before then I was just making it by. But now, I see how that was just the beginning and that the real growth began when I launched The Widows’ Voice in April (just seven short months ago).

The Widows' Voice is a wonderful example of how God works. Sort of like how when we lose our life we find it; when we give of ourselves God restores us over and over again. I'm so glad you were able to begin that broadcast, and I'm so thankful for the church, your guest-hosts Elease Patterson and Cleora Fortson, and the many other people behind the scenes who make it a reality each week.

As you minister to widows through your church and through your radio show, what steps have you found are effective for a widow to begin to rebuild her life?
  • First and foremost, focus on what matters; taking care of yourself and making sure you stay healthy.
  • Don’t worry so much about who calls and who doesn’t, who visits and who doesn’t. I believe that is nothing more than a distraction engineered to keep you from healing through your grief.
  • Let go of those old relationships and create new ones (I had to do that twice; after the accident and after he died). Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
  • Instead of waiting around for someone to invite you out, meet new people and invite them out; be assertive (even if it hurts)!
  • Every week, make it a point to try something new, something you have never tried before or something you have always wanted to do but never got around to it.
Thank you Teresa, those steps will take some courage as I know from my own experience, but God gives us that courage and strength. And we don't have to do it all in a day. It's step. by. step. Sometimes one step forward, two steps back it seems, but God truly does work it together for our good when we follow Him. Your advice is excellent!

In five years from now, if anything were possible, what would you like to be doing?
I would love to be in full-time ministry and remarried.

That's so cool! A measurable goal! :) May the Lord grant you favor and the desires of your heart Teresa! I hope you'll keep me posted with the good things He brings along your way in the next few years. God bless you for all you've shared with us today, and I hope you have a very special Christmas Day full of rest and relaxation and that famous mac n' cheese.

Everyone, please tune in today:
 This week on The Widows' Voice -
"Bah Humbug: Overcoming the Spirit of Christmas Past"
 
Tune in at 2:30pm EST every THURSDAY via internet at www.WMBM.com or on your smart device using the free app WMBM-AM

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Widows Blog Hop - September 2014

Did someone say Hop?
A lot of love and commitment goes into the creation of blogs, and they're all free and for the benefit of others. So I hope you'll begin to visit the blogs on my blog list (see column on right), and I hope you'll enjoy my featuring recent posts from several of them in a monthly "blog hop." It'll be a great way to find other widows you have something in common with.

The four bloggers today range from a remarried widow who now ministers to widows and those who grieve, a school teacher raising a toddler, a homeschool mother of 5 adopted children, and an author and widow of three years with experience in caregiving.

If you can leave a comment, please do! Just say hello if nothing else or mention that you heard of their blog through me. All of us Bloggers love to hear from readers and visitors---that's our payback and blessing.
ferree

1. My friend Cindy Adams draws on the hope of heaven and what a comfort that provides in her blog A Widow's Pursuit. I recommend her book too: A Widows Pursuit--Finding out there's more to life than grief, available on her site. Widowed at age 34 with two little girls to raise, she has walked the walk!

2. For a peek at the life of a widow who's a full-time teacher and mom to a toddler with a fascinating history and courageous birth, visit Beauty for Ashes. Joannah rates her experience with a clothing stylist subscription service. I'd never heard of Stitch Fix, but I love the idea!

3. In Blessed... Ruth Ann, widowed after only 2 years and 10 days, talks about raising the 5 children she adopted after her husband passed. Be sure to read her "About" page. She writes,
"Life is what you make of it.. We have taken a whole lot of hurt and loss and brought it together to find joy in life. We show you the good things in our lives. I chose not to write about the big obstacles we face for the sake of my children's privacy. This blog is not a complete look at our lives but a snippet of the blessings that God has given us... "
4. Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Find out you're not alone! I doubt there's a widow who hasn't ever felt overwhelmed. My friend Kathy Bellows offers true help and encouragement from her experiences over three years of widowhood and times of care-taking before that. Be sure to read the comments too, and you'll see God's faithfulness flow. Visit with Kathy at Sorrow to Victory today. Her book, God Never Fails has been a wonderful encouragement to many and can be ordered right on her site.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Resource You Should Know: Journeying Through Grief Book Ministry

On Thursdays I mention resources for widows, and today I'm pleased to share Stephen Ministries with you. This group provides churches and individuals with a series of 4 short books called "Journeying Through Grief." I'm reviewing these books for my church to use, and I've got to tell you, I wish someone had sent them to me! Intended to be sent to grieving people at four different times during the first year, here's how it works.

Deliver each book by mail or in person at the following times:

3 weeks after the loss-- right about the time the reality begins to set in, give them A Time To Grieve. This book helps the reader understand what's normal, how to deal with other people's expectations, myths about grief, how they can best help themself, and more.

3 months-- this book is timed to arrive when others wonder why you're still sad. After all, grief only lasts a month or two, right? (NOT!) Experiencing Grief. Talks about the year of firsts, uncovering secondary losses, holidays, and more!

6 months-- around the time the grieving person might begin to wonder if something is wrong with them because they haven't "moved on." When they receive Finding Hope And Healing they'll be encouraged to find out about how long does grief might last, coping and healing ideas, dealing with anger, guilt and loneliness, sudden surges of grief, etc.

11 months-- arrival of this book will help alleve the anxiety most people begin to anticipate about the first anniversary. Rebuilding And Remembering talks about the first anniversary and heading into the second year, the challenges of change, rebuilding your life, healing through helping, and much more.

What I find very special is that this is a resource not only for churches, but also for individuals. You or I can use it too! The entire set of 4 books is $9.95. A very helpful guide is available for $2.95 and contains some excellent sample letters to send along with each book and a system for remembering when to send the books. If it's after the first year, the ministry suggests to give the entire set all at once. As many of us know, help and comfort in the second year is greatly appreciated too!

Click here for the Journeying Through Grief  page. Be sure to click the tabs for helpful drop-down menus to learn more and get your questions answered, and check out the home page to learn more about Stephen Ministries in St. Louis, Missouri.

Could someone order these books for herself? Of course! As God comforts you, you'll be better equipped to pass along that comfort to others, so of course it's good to help your own self too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Discussion Guide, Week #5

Dear Reader,

I hope you'll join me in praying for our 9/11 families who suffered loss and who courageously carry on and continue to serve in their communities and our country. Please pray for our public servants and our military, and that the Lord would see fit to continue his mercies and kindness to all.

This concludes the discussion guide, and you now have all 5 weeks worth. Blogs are a good resource for widows, but it’s so good to talk face to face with other widows, and I hope my book Postcards from the Widows' Path has provided you the perfect opportunity.
Remember, you can gather two, three or more widows or others for a time of friendship, support and meaningful conversation any time, and with just about any book or blog. It can be your own casual group of friends, or an organized church event. Meet around your kitchen table, or a casual coffee shop, or your church library---any place that's comfortable and distraction free. You’ll cherish the sacred reflections and find renewed hope. ferree

Week 5: Blessing—chapters 21-25 of Postcards...; Ruth 4 

Icebreaker: Which postcard did you like most? Which chapter was your favorite? Which journaling exercise was most helpful for you? Find out if anyone did the research on Matthew 1. Ask if they were surprised by the number of widows in the geneology of Christ and if they found it significant.

Discussion Questions

· Which of the struggling women's stories in chapter 21 did you find the most tragic or unsettling? How can knowing about their struggles help us with our own?

· Who are the women in your family line who have overcome obstacles and hardships?

· Which Hebrew name for God on page 201 means the most to you?

· Sketch a timeline of your life as described on page 208. Use it to briefly tell a bit about your life.

· What difference would it make in the world today if we began to treat the people in our sphere of influence as if they will someday be royalty?

· What might intrigue you about Isaiah 54:5?

· Do you "run your race" any differently now as compared to when you first started this journey? Compare your answers on pages 227 in section five, and page 11 in section one.

· Name three different things you look forward to in heaven.

Conclusion: Thank everyone for coming and decide if you'd like to get together in a month or so for a social time. You've probably begun to develop some good friendships so give everyone a chance to exchange phone numbers or email addresses if they haven't done so by now. If the Lord leads, close your time together by forming a circle, hold hands, or each place a hand on another's shoulder and read the blessing on page 201 as a prayer over all of you. Or follow your previous closing prayer routine.
 
P.S. The best place to order Postcards From The Widows' Path is right here on this blog. Click on the Bookstore tab at the top of the page and you'll find a safe and secure PayPal button. You don't need a PayPal account either. If you prefer to pay by check, please email me with the # of books you want to order and your shipping address. I ship by media mail only and your order will arrive in 2 - 9 days.
For International orders, you must email me first with your country and mailing code so I can send you an invoice which you can securely pay with a credit card.
And finally, if you'd like a free printed copy of the discussion guide, please email me at [email protected]

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Discussion, Week #4

Dear Reader,

Blogs are a good resource for widows, but it’s so good to talk face to face with other widows, and my book Postcards from the Widows' Path provides the perfect opportunity. Over the next several weeks, every Thursday, I'll post each of the five sections of the discussion guide to Postcards.... That way you will always be able to access it right here in the blog whenever you're ready for a group. I think this will be a good solution for my overseas friends like Babs, in England, who's in a widows group the Lord is beginning. This way she won't have to wait for it in the mail.
Maybe you'd like to gather two, three or more widows or others for a time of friendship, support and meaningful conversation too. Meet around your kitchen table, or a casual coffee shop, or your church library---any place that's comfortable and distraction free. You’ll cherish the sacred reflections and find renewed hope as we journey through Ruth.
ferree
 
Week 4: Waiting—chapters 16-20 of Postcards... ; from Ruth 3:1-4:8
 
Icebreaker: Which postcard did you like most? Which chapter was your favorite? Which journaling exercise was most helpful for you? Some widows remove their wedding ring right away, others will never remove it. How does everyone feel about their wedding ring?

Discussion Questions

· Why do you suppose the villagers didn't pitch in right away and initiate the kinsman-redeemer help for Naomi and Ruth? Do you think you might be in the same sort of waiting period Naomi and Ruth were in? Let’s list some ways they could have responded to this frustrating situation.

· Which response did you check off on page 155 regarding remarriage?

· How different is dating in today's culture from when you and your husband were dating?

· What safeguards do you think are best for a widow? Why is it important to protect virtue?

· Have there been times when you've felt like you've been waiting in the dark like Ruth? (page 170)What happens to faith when we can't see ahead? 

· Which verse on page 172 meant the most to you? Explain why if you'd like.

· Which character traits of Boaz would you most admire if you met a potential "Boaz" today?

· What would happen if you had a "Naomi" in your own life? When have you found yourself being a "Naomi" to another widow?

Conclusion: Take prayer requests and close in prayer. Thank everyone for coming and decide when and where you'll meet next time to talk about section five—Blessing. Remind them to read the chapters and do the journaling exercises. This time they may also do some research if interested: Read Matthew 1 and list all the women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. After counting them, find out how many of them were widows.
 
P.S. The best place to order Postcards From The Widows' Path is right here on this blog. Click on the Bookstore tab at the top of the page and you'll find a safe and secure PayPal button. You don't need a PayPal account either. If you prefer to pay by check, please email me with the # of books you want to order and your shipping address. I ship by media mail only and your order will arrive in 2 - 9 days.
For International orders, you must email me first with your country and mailing code so I can send you an invoice which you can securely pay with a credit card.
And finally, if you'd like a free printed copy of the discussion guide, please email me at [email protected]