Showing posts with label Postcards from the Widows' Path. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Postcards from the Widows' Path. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tips to Start A Widows Group

Have you ever thought about starting a widows group? It's pretty easy to do using my book, Postcards From The Widows Path. Last Thursday I posted the first weeks' group discussion questions, and this Thursday, will be week #2. They'll continue each Thursday into September, five weeks in all. You are permitted to copy and print today's guide and the five session posts, but not to charge for it. Freely you have received, freely give, like Jesus said. 

The following will help you see how a discussion group works and give you some pointers about the time frame and group dynamics. The principles apply even if you don't use my book. I just hope you'll start a group! If you'd like to receive a printed copy of the whole guide in the mail, please send your request and mailing address to me at [email protected]

Discussion Guide
These simple guidelines will lay the groundwork for good discussions:

· Pray about starting your group. Pray about the time, location and who will come. Pray about everything! The Lord will guide you and be with you in every interaction.

· Postcards from the Widows’ Path is divided into 5 sections. Everyone should read the same section before they come. Each chapter only takes about 10 minutes a day.

· Decide on a time and place to regularly meet. Explain that your book discussion time will be around 45 minutes; the entire time together about an hour, or hour and a half if you’re dining. End at the agreed upon time even if you haven’t covered every question.

· Use this discussion guide to help you facilitate the conversation; or you may print off a copy for each person who will attend.  

· Let me emphasize this: I’ve given you too many questions! Don't use then all or you’ll never get through! Before meeting, select the ones you think most important or engaging for your particular group. The icebreaker questions are always optional.

· Create a "safe" environment for sharing. Let your group know that no one will be pressured to answer; what's said in the group stays in the group; set a box of Kleenex on the table. Crying will happen and it's okay.

· Give everyone an opportunity to talk. Remember that some people are reserved and will not speak up unless you provide them the opportunity. Don't hesitate to ask.

· The guide questions are designed to generate thought and conversation, not to find a right answer. This isn’t an exam. It’s a chance to talk, grow, and hope again.

· Questions? Just email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to help you out.

5 Features to Love About A
‘Postcards from the Widows Path’ Group
· It only takes five sessions
· Adapt each discussion to the pertinent issues of your group
· Form new friendships with other widows who ‘get it.’
· Easily order more books at
· The discussion guide is free! Although protected by copyright, the author grants permission for discussion groups to make as many copies as needed for free distribution to participants 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Book Discussion Guide, Week #1

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.

Week One: Grieving—chapters 1-5 of Postcards; based on Ruth 1:1-9
Icebreaker: Which postcard did you like most? Which chapter was your favorite? Which journaling exercise was most helpful for you? How would you feel after a 50-mile hike like Naomi and Ruth took?

Discussion Questions
· The widows in Ruth seem pretty special since we can read about them in the Bible, but in what ways were they like ordinary women today?
· What are the ways a person's identity might change because of loss?
· How can listing her losses help a widow through grief?
· What tasks could you start on now in case you decide to move in the future? What would it take for you to decide to re-locate after loss?
· What sort of mountains and challenges do you face? How would seeing them as part of the scenery along the way, rather than the destination, offer hope and help?
· What do you think of the statement that every widow needs both kindness and rest? What might have happened in this Bible story if Naomi had not prayed for kindness and rest? What should we do if we feel our prayers are going nowhere?
Conclusion: Establish a routine of taking prayer requests and closing with a prayer. Thank everyone for coming and decide when and where you'll meet next time. Session 2—Changing—will include the three choices of widows, how friendships change, Naomi's big meltdown and more!
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]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Walking Away From Loneliness

I hope you all have a copy of Postcards From the Widows' Path. Not because I wrote it, but because
it's based on the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible, and offers some real solutions for the challenges of widowhood. God knows our needs and he's given us the Bible as our roadmap and guidebook for life.

Yesterday I touched on loneliness and isolation as some of the most difficult challenges for widows. The quietness of an empty house and the endless evenings alone can make a widow feel suffocated. She doesn't know where to turn.

Naomi didn't know what to do either. For ten years she was stranded in the foreign land where her husband and her sons died. But if we catch the cues from her story we can cut down that number of years. In my book there are simple journaling exercises that offer constructive gauges and steps along the widows' path. With journalling, widows can look back and see the real progress they've made.

Here's a quick summary of a few steps we can learn from Naomi, Ruth and Orpah:
  •    Naomi suffered many losses. Ruth 1:5 says she was left. Have you felt left behind too? I know I did! But by Ruth 1:7, Naomi does something: she gets ready to leave the graveyard of Moab. When the time comes, we can begin to prepare for the life ahead of us.
  •    But if we prepare to leave, where will we go? The book of Ruth shows three choices for widows. 1) Naomi returned to her roots. 2) Orpah remained with the familiar. 3) Ruth risked an entirely new life. Not one of those choices is better than the other, the most important choice is to follow Jesus; but of the three choices exemplified by these widows, which one is available to you?
  •    What will we need for our journey? Naomi prayed a blessing over her two beloved daughter-in-laws, asking God to grant them kindness and rest. Those two words are exactly what every widow needs!
  •    And then the widows walked. One. Step. At. A. Time. They left the graveyard and journeyed to the Promised Land, a place to call home.  
Doesn't your heart yearn for a place to belong too? It's a difficult journey, but by following the path and choices of widows in the Bible we can find our way too. May God grant us all journeying mercies. ferree

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Can I Get A Little Personal?

I try not to talk about myself too much. You might not realize this, but I'm more comfortable in the background and have always been a better listener than a talker. I'm feeling kind of awkward right now because I want to tell you a bit about my book and my kids, but I guess no one is forcing you to read this . . . so here goes . . .

I hadn't seen two of my kids for over a year, so my trip to Seattle over Thanksgiving was really special for me. Just in case they were interested, I took along one of my books. I don't push this book on anyone---not even my kids! Can you imagine my surprise when they asked for their books? "You brought me a copy of your book, right, Mom?" They were each expecting one!

The Seattle branch of my family:
my son Brad, and daughter Lisa
In my efforts to cram one-week of winter clothing into one carry-on suitcase for the plane, I'd only brought one book. I didn't think they'd really want to read it, or they could share. But---just like when they were little, bless their hearts, lol--- they didn't want to share! They each wanted their own! Brad firmly told me he wanted his book mailed to him with a personal note and autograph. Yikes! This brought me up short! What could I say in a note to him about the profound and personal experience of his father's death and the birth of my book?

After I got home from Seattle, I stewed and stewed. What could I write in his book? A few days ago my time was up and I simply had to mail it along with some other stuff of his that had turned up with our move. Here's what I finally wrote:

Dear Brad, When I had no words, God did. And His words filled my silence and pain just like your dad said they would. Here's my heart. Love always, Mom

After I wrote that, I thumbed through Postcards from the Widows' Path, reading it for the first time in several months. And you know what? Please don't take this the wrong way, but it's really good! I can't believe I wrote it! It's honest, and gentle, and alive. And the wonderful thing is that as you read the story of Ruth, Naomi and me--- your own hope begins to grow.

The various Bible verses I found are so rich and truthful, speaking directly to the pain and needs of grieving people. The prayers are simply stated but deeply saturated with the character of God and the human condition. Naomi and Ruth step out of history and into daily life. And woven throughout the pages we see that the veil of eternity is only a heartbeat away. 

Others have told me the book is powerful . . . it's one of the best books for widows . . . I felt joy and wonder as I read . . .

So, since I mention resources for widows on Thursdays, please allow me to recommend my own resource. You know I won't mention it often, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't. It's just that I don't like talking about myself much. Click right here to order, or pass this link along to "Santa." Consider getting an extra copy for your church library or for a gift for another widow and you'll save on shipping.

P.S. You're always welcome to visit me and my family, and my clumsy adjusting to life in the South on my personal blog: Southern Living Yankee. Y'all come!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Does Music Affect You Differently In Grief?

On Saturday I shared a music video of a song my daughter sang at her dad's funeral. I've been thinking a lot lately about God's gift of music. I wonder if familiar songs and hymns affect you the same way they affected me in the early days of grief? Are you able to sing and listen to music in the same way you did before your husband died?

In my book, Postcards from the Widows' Path, I wrote about music along these lines:

"In the early weeks of widowhood, music was especially painful for me. I literally choked on the words. Songs like “Great is Thy Faithfulness” meant far more than I could physically express. But the songs of surrender and sacrifice were the hardest. As I listened to the singing in church on Sunday mornings I wondered—how could anyone turn such hard truths into pretty tunes and sing them without a care in the world?

You people have no idea what you’re singing about, I thought. They were too young, too naïve, and they knew little of loss or suffering. They were mouthing the words, just playing a chorus, oblivious of the day they would need to make those very words their own. When the psalms and hymns are not our experience, the repetition, memorization, and mouthing of them in music are our primer. They prepare us for days to come, hard days when we’ll need to put them into practice. Spiritual songs suspend God’s doctrine of personal surrender like medicine in an intravenous solution. They inject healing truth into the soul and help begin to fill our emptiness."
Has music had a healing and helpful effect upon you? Does it sometimes catch you unaware, and send a storm of emotion rushing upon you? What is it about music that affects us so much? Let's talk about it this week. Share your thoughts, mention favorite song titles and anything else you'd like to say about music's affect this week.

Monday, October 8, 2012

my book is ready at last!

How I wish I’d had this wonderfully encouraging and valuable book in the weeks and months after my own husband’s death on 9/11. —Jennifer Sands, author and speaker

Every widow needs to read this book. The parallels between widows Ruth and Naomi and widows today are spot on and greatly worth exploring! —Candy Feathers, blogger
I think you are an amazing writer and have worthy, helpful insights. —Miriam Neff, founder of and author
Your book is a masterpiece, Ferree, and I will pray along with you for how God will take it and wing those words around the world. —Grace Fabian, Bible translator, speaker, and author
So I'm a little scared!

But mostly happy,

because I know this book will make a difference!
Click here to find out more and to order Postcards from the Widows' Path---Gleaning Hope & Purpose from the Book of Ruth, or visit the BOOKSTORE tab at the top of this page.