Showing posts with label Rebuilding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rebuilding. Show all posts

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Fun: Exercise--Who Likes It?

I guess we have an "Inspirational" theme going on this week. So it seems right to post these quotes I've been collecting to inspire me to exercise. Not that they've worked, mind you, because neither have I! But one of these days ...

What are your favorite quotes or exercise tips? Seriously, exercise is a great technique to help overcome those days when we're feeling really down. So take these quotes seriously. Seriously!

If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse. – Jim Rohn

The only bad workout is the one that didn't happen. – Unknown

You don't always get what wish for; you get what you work for! – Unknown

Think a 20-minute workout won't do anything? Well it's sure better than a 0-minute workout. – Unknown

You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. – Zig Ziglar

Yesterday you said tomorrow. – Nike

An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. – Sir Isaac Newton

OK, OK, I'm going out for a walk now. Have a good day everyone, and if you see a sweating middle-aged woman plodding down the sidewalk, please be kind and don't laugh---it's probably me!


P.S. Remember to always heed government health warnings about exercise.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

My friend Dodi sent me an email of random acts of kindness, and I thought they might encourage you today, too. Whether its for a TGIF or about rebuilding your life, kindness goes a long way. Dodi wrote me that it "Just proves that there are still some beautiful people in this broken world of ours ..."
Here are some parts from the email:  
If you never learn the language of gratitude, you will never be on speaking terms with happiness.

"When we're cocooned in grief, a nudge of kindness might be the spark God uses to ignite the hope within." (Postcards from the Widows' Path, page 123) ferree

Friday, June 14, 2013

Redeeming the Time

This is a video of some Philadelphia Orchestra musicians who's plane was delayed and sitting on the tarmac for three hours. Instead of complaining the entire time, take a look at how they redeemed the time.

A lot of good wisdom can be applied during our time of widowhood. Often it's disguised in phrases that seem trite because of the pain, but I urge you set that aside for a moment and consider ways to "when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade," and "Practice random acts of kindness."

Consider how God would prompt you. And as you begin to join God in redeeming the time, you might not play the violin, but the circumstances you are stuck in will take on a new and better meaning and you'll be ready to fly again before you know it.  
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15,16 (NIV)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Widow's Father's Day To-Do List

Rebuilding a life . . . my blogger friend Wendy, from Us Without You and Chicagoland Young Widowed Connection, describes it so well. ferree

photo by Wendy Diez, used by permission
*Wake up--feel sorry for self and children.

*Acknowledge the conflicting feelings that will come with today.

*Decide not to go to church for the 4th year in row. The Father’s Day blessing is still too painful.

*Play with new puppy and puppy-crazed children. Imagine Chris doing the same.

*While reading Father’s Day updates on Facebook, take stock of the fact that feelings of bitterness and resentfulness have lessened since last year.

*Text words of encouragement to all widowed moms I know (a longer list than I would like).

*Play with a puppy. Feed a puppy. Potty a puppy.

*Argue with a 3-year-old who wants to wear a leotard and too-small Easter shoes to the cemetery.

*Acquiesce to 3-year-old--why deny this small pleasure to the girl who knew her father for only 10 days? Smirk at the fact that he really doesn’t care what she wears anyway.

*Play with a puppy. Feed a puppy. Potty a puppy.

*Have traditional Father’s Day graveside family picnic while trying not to feel cheated. At least we didn’t need reservations.

*Smile at a nearly 5 year old who asks, “Can I kiss daddy?” as he leans over his father’s grave marker.

*On the drive home, ponder how next year’s picnic will play out as my children expand their understanding of death.

*Play with a puppy. Feed a puppy. Potty a puppy.

*Text “Happy Father’s Day” to all the important men in our lives to let them know we appreciate them. Pat self on the back for finally doing this after several years.

*Have dinner with Papa. Chuckle at the way my children attack him with hugs and Father’s Day greetings.

*Play with a puppy. Feed a puppy. Potty a puppy.

*Consider going to church next year and embracing the Father’s Day blessing.

*Realize how empty today would feel without having known Chris’s love or the gift of raising his children.

*Cuddle with a puppy. Make a mental note that this is great therapy.

*Go to bed. Send up a quiet prayer of gratitude that I not only made it through another Father’s Day, but that I actually enjoyed some of it.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Financial Tips from "Bible Money Matters"

Money by Junior Libby
Here's a free financial newsletter I receive by email. It's loaded with relevant articles and important
updates about the money world and could be just the right advice for you!
We all have financial questions, and Bible Money Matters addresses just about everything with well defined titles that point out the answers so you know which of the many articles will help.

Here's a sample of their articles. Click on them and you'll immediately land there:

An Emergency Fund Is More Than Just Money In the Bank: You may have more money available than you think

Ways to Watch TV Without Paying An Arm and A Leg For Cable or Satellite

50 Ways To Make Money: Maximizing, Creating And Increasing Your Income

50 Easy Ways To Save Money Every Month

50 Easy Ways To Save Money Every Month

10 Tips To Help Sell Your Home Fast In A Down Market

Should I Pay Off My Home Mortgage Early Or Invest?

College Expenses: Should Parents Pay For Their Children’s Tuition?

The tremendous amount of content can be overwhelming for the widow "fog" that often clouds our thinking, so typing a keyword into the search box is the best way to find the answers you need. Unfortunately, there's not much information specifically geared to widows, but you'll soon realize that the money problems of widows are common to married people too. Step by step, dollar by dollar, this site can help widows begin to rebuild their lives.

PS---Don't forget to enter our drawing in celebration of National Chocolate Ice Cream Day on June 7! Every comment is an entry. Scroll down to May 24th post for more info. If you receive this by email, click on the title to access the blog and make a comment. Enter today to win a copy of Postcards from the Widows Path, plus a $25 gift card!

Friday, May 17, 2013

This Will Put a Song In Your Heart

Grief relief!
A joyful heart is good medicine ... here's a good dose of "medicine" for today!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Free Book by Cindy Adams ---Friday and Saturday!

My friend Cindy Adams has an ebook giveaway for you today and tomorrow!
Here's what she told me:

You can link to my book “A Widow’s Pursuit” through 
It’s available as a hard copy or a kindle version.

A Widow’s Pursuit: Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief
by Cynthia A. Adams, LMSW

I will be having a FREE eBook Giveaway on Friday, 5/10/13 and Saturday, 5/11/13
Please share this with your friends so they can get a free copy, too!

If you don't have a Kindle you can download Kindle for PC free on Amazon, and then read your Kindle ebooks right on your computer.

I always welcome comments or feel free to post a review.


I had the privilege of reading Cindy's manuscript and am so happy that she's made her story open to the world. If you wonder how you'll make it, her story of being left with two little girls and life as a single mom is for you. Through the chaos and confusion of the first year, to determination, dedication to strong values and faith, and pursuit of her God-given dreams, Cindy's honesty and clarity will encourage your heart and show how a widow rebuilds her life! I hope you'll read it! Vist her blog at A Widow's Pursuit 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Faithful To The End

This new song from Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir reminds us of the ancient promises of God that we can depend on even when broken-hearted. Sink your anchor deep in these truths to ride out the storms of grief today.
Here's the link to where you may find it on YouTube:

Friday, April 19, 2013

One Flaw In Women

I think this little story that someone sent me will make your day.
One Flaw In Women

By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime.

An angel appeared and said,
"Why are you spending so much time on this one?"

And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her?"
  • She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,
  • have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
  • and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,
  • have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
  • have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart
  • and she will do everything with only two hands.
The angel was astounded at the requirements.
"Only two hands? No way!
And that's just on the standard model?
That's too much work for one day.
Wait until tomorrow to finish."

"But I won't," the Lord protested. "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick, AND she can work 18 hour days."

The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
"But you have made her so soft, Lord."

"She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough.
You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

"Will she be able to think?" asked the angel.

The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think,
she will be able to reason and negotiate."

The angel then noticed something, and reaching out, touched the woman's cheek.
"Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model.
I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."

"That's not a leak,"
the Lord corrected,
"that's a tear!"

"What's the tear for?" the angel asked.

The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love, her loneliness, her grief and her pride."

The angel was impressed.
"You are a genius, Lord.
You thought of everything!
Woman is truly amazing."

And she is! Don't you agree?
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.

Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
However, if there is One Flaw In Women---
it's that they forget their worth.

Pass this along to all your women friends and relatives to remind them just how amazing they are.

Friday, April 12, 2013

You Be Safe---God Will Do the Rest

This happened to my Lifeboat and blogger friend Deb last week:

Got up this morning...getting ready for work...headed out doing great, feeling good, driving along, listening to the radio and then wham!!...THE SONG!

THE song comes on that was played at Wayne's memorial service---Brad Paisley's "When I Get To Where I'm Going."

I completely and totally lost it! Had to pull over as the tears were unstoppable. No way could I drive as the flood gates opened. And as I sat there and cried and listened to the song and cried some more... then somehow, someway I hear this tapping on the window...Yes you guessed it...a cop!

I rolled down the window and he said, "Ma'am, I saw you change lanes twice very quickly without signaling. May I ask why?"

Of course I have mascara running down my face, I'm trying to catch my breath while looking at him, reaching for my insurance, registration and license, and also trying to explain to him why.

This poor officer can't understand a word I am saying other than, "its the song on the radio...the song!"

He stood there a moment, let me compose myself to some extent. I finally told him why I was hysterical and that I knew it was safer for me to pull over instead of driving on.

He just stood there for another few moments, and then gave me back my papers, saying, "I'm so sorry for your loss ma'am. I by all rights should give you a ticket, but considering the circumstance I'll forego it and ask if possible in the future, try to remember to use your signals indicating you are lane changing when you feel another moment come on."

"Ma'am, have a good day and know that Jesus is with you!"

He got in his patrol car and left as I sat there stunned. I thought to myself, did he just say to me what I thought he said?

Who am I to question it? Obviously, God must have worked in his heart, or he is one of God's children. Either way I praise God for giving me such an understanding officer in my moment of meltdown.
Readers, These unexpected grief attacks can come out of nowhere like Deb’s did. Please know that this is pretty normal, you are not alone. Let’s talk about times when this has happened to you, and tips we can take to deal with it and stay safe while we try to rebuild our lives. Click the comment line--- We'd love to hear from you today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Job Seeking Tips for Widows

Are you looking for a job? Keep these tips in mind to maximize your success.
  • The best jobs are discovered by networking, not the want ads so tell everyone you know that you're looking for a job and ask them if they know of any.
  • Tailor your resume to each job you apply for.
  • Resumes must be solid and easy to digest. Don't use long paragraphs, use bulletpoints. And be careful how much you divulge about widowhood. You would think employers would see many positives about hiring a widow, but that's not always the case.
  • Use government employment services.
  • Volunteer and then become indispensible to the organization---this will give you a foot in the door and first chance at their internal job postings. Plus you'll meet people who can give you good references. 
  • Be willing to work two or three part-time jobs. I substituted at both a Christian school and the local library, plus worked regular part-time hours at a department store. It got a little crazy but I could say "no" to the subbing jobs, and when a full-time position opened up at the library I was the first to apply. They were happy to have me because they knew me and I'd already learned most of the skills. 
Finally, remember that right now you're like Ruth in Ruth 2:2, looking at the fields of opportunity. Here's what Ruth did:
1) she got Naomi's advisement and permission. Who's your job authority and mentor?
2) She was willing to use God's system of provision (gleaning)
3) She was willing to work hard
4) She looked for a field with an owner in who's eyes she would find favor. Pray specifically that you will find favor with your yet to be revealed new employer.

As it turned out, God led Ruth to a field that changed her life and blessed her for eternity! And do you know what? God is still in the business of leading widows today. Please let me know how I can pray for you, and also how your job hunting and "field gleaning" turns out. ferree

Tissot, James. Ruth Gleaning, 1896. Oil on canvas.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rebuild Your Life Through A Retreat

Wouldn't it be great to laugh and cry together with other widows? Many widows I know are starting to mention how they'd love to get together.

LandscapingBut who will take care of the kids????

I have some good news for you!
May 10 - 12
Single Mom's & Kid's Conference
Word of Life Inn, Schroon Lake, NY
Speaker: Doreen Gelesko (a widow!)

To register call 518-494-6000
To learn more about Word of Life and the retreat check out their website:

Inn DocksCost of the retreat:
Mom - $170
Children 0 - 3 years old: free
ages 4 - 7: $24
ages 8 - 12: $44
ages 13 - 17: $88

If you can't swing the cost this year (and this is a very reasonable cost), then begin to give yourself something to look forward to next year. Estimate travel plus kids/or babysitter expenses plus registration. If you can find $5-$10 to sock away each week you'll have it covered.

Here's a peek at what Doreen Gelesko has been through---Feb. 2011 newspaper

If you're interested in going please let me know. In my book, Postcards from the Widows' Path, I mention how attending a week at Word of Life became a turning point in my widows journey. I hope it'll do the same for you. 


Friday, March 22, 2013

"Retreat" and Rebuild Your Life

with CarolMarie Smith

Ladies Retreat for Widows, Singles and Leaders 

May 16th - May 19th 2013

At the beautiful Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg

Come to the Smoky Mountains and discover new and special things about this season of your life! It's also CarolMarie's Birthday and she wants to celebrate YOU! You are her gift she delights in! And His beautiful handiwork!

Come expecting the Prince of Peace to slip the slipper on your foot in a fresh and meaningful way!


REGISTRATION for "Stepping It Up with CarolMarie" Retreat $50

Send Name, address, email, phone number, workshops chosen and registration fee to: Anna's Gate, 6515 Clinton Hwy #100, Knoxville, TN 37912.

Email me for further details at [email protected] and I'll forward you the announcement that tells more about the speakers and workshops. Next week I'll mention another retreat in the Adirondacks! Get to know your mountains, ladies, we're looking from the Smokys to the Adirondacks! If you know of other Christian retreats for widows, please let me know so more can go. Thanks!

Friday, March 15, 2013

God Helps This Widow Re-build Her Faith

FlowerLady Lorraine, hasn't really planned it this way, but from a few of the emails we've traded and her blog, I can see that God is beginning to re-build her life by laying a foundation of truth about faith. God confirms his love and comfort for her by helping her understand what faith is about, and what Scripture reveals about those who are at home with the Lord. She wrote the following back in January, and was reminded of it when reading my book and finding the Lord using these same Scriptures with me. That's hardly a coincidence! God faithfully speaks to us through His Word and often is willing to bring His message to us over and over again. Haven't you had times when you found the same verse coming to you again and again? That's the Lord at work! Here's how it's happening for Lorraine . . .
Good morning Friends,

Last night before climbing into bed, (literally as our bed is an antique and high off the floor), I was thinking about Mark and wondering if he could see things that are going on down here. 

All of a sudden a verse popped into my mind. It is one I had read out loud during his illness. Mark had asked me to find it and I did, here it is now for you to read.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, (it seems to me like doubt could be the sin that this is talking about, losing faith)
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
 (Hebrews 12:1&2a)

Those verses above follow chapter 11 in Hebrews which is what I call the 'faith' chapter. The wonderful 'old-timers' of the Bible that we all know and love, all lived by faith and are mentioned in this chapter. That's not saying they were perfect people, we all know they weren't because the Bible tells us so. They lived by FAITH in God.

Here is the beginning of chapter 11.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
(Hebrews 11:1-3)

In verse 6 we read ~ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
In verse 13 it says ~ These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Faith is something we can't see, we can't grab hold of it as a tangible thing, it just IS.


Faith is believing that ~ Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Heb 13:8

And ~ it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;
Heb 13:9


So, back to my little gestalt leap of last night. My glimpse of a truth that I don't quite see the whole picture of is this, those who have gone on before are witnesses of our faith, so it seems to me that my dear Mark IS watching along with all the rest and I believe they shout for joy when we cling to our faith in Jesus. They all believe God and His word and they are waiting in earnest expectation, as is all of creation, for the manifestation of the sons of God.

May I continue to walk in hope and faith in Jesus and in His loving grace. 

I hope that what I tried to convey here makes sense.

I so miss Mark and all of our conversations about Jesus and spiritual things. We always were thrilled with our 'light bulb' moments and felt they were gifts from God. We are not perfect, but our faith is in God.

I will close with the following from Romans 8:24-26

For we are saved by hope:
 but hope that is seen is not hope:
 for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for
But if we hope for that we see not,
 then do we with patience wait for it.
 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
 for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
 but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered. 


Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psa 31:24
FlowerLady Lorraine

Thank you Lorraine, and I hope everyone will visit your blog to see the other things the Lord is doing in your life. And all your other blogs too! You're a talented lady!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tulips From Angel Joe

It all started with this tulip bouquet picture that Lynne V. shared with her Lifeboat group on Valentines Day, saying, "Here's the red tulips that Joe would have bought me. Something told me to get them this year anyway. Yeah, that's him in the picture."

And then she waited while curious minds of special church ladies looked at the picture in various phases of shock: was that man wearing a dress? Finally someone mustered up enough chutzpah to ask, which was the opening Lynne was waiting for all along so she could show us her "Angel Joe" and share his glorious theatrics and fun!

She went on to explain:
"When our baby Thomas was a just a few months old, we went to Walt Disney World with some friends. One of their traditions was to go to the Hoop de Doo Review at Fort Wilderness Campground. This is a frontier dinner show experience where the players choose members of the audience to participate in the show.
Well, Joe had very outgoing personality, and a uniqueness that he wore on his sleeve.
So they, of course, chose him to come up and be in the show.
They all got their parts and stage directions backstage and Joe stood around wondering when he’d get his role. Having had some prior experience in the theater world, he knew what this meant….and it worried him.
Okay, he really secretly (or not so secretly) loved it. He was chosen to BE the finale….the comic relief! So we all waited in the audience, not knowing what was coming….and out comes Joe, all 230 pounds of him as Davy Crockett’s angel! Complete with his cheesy mustache, one-size-fits-most pink tu-tu, wings and halo….and his massive hiking boots which he wore everywhere. And he hams it up to the point of skipping to center stage, doing a perfect pirouette, and blowing kisses to the audience! We laughed SO hard that we cried.
He LOVED being the center of attention, and he told this story over and over again. He is smiling from above knowing that I now share it with you ladies.
March 10 would have been Joe's birthday, so this is a great day to share this with you all.

Lynne also said, "It is so healing to be able to get past the dark and dismal memories of the last days with our beloveds. I found that when I was able to look back and smile, I felt like I was finally heading in the right direction. Having a forum to share all those blessed memories accelerates the healing! I'm sure that Joe is doing a heavenly tap dance in celebration of his new found fame!"

When you are ready, begin to rebuild your life on the gifts of happiness, fun, and humor that your husband built into you. If you have some fun pictures and stories you'd like to share here with your friends at WCP, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks everyone, and thank you, Lynne and Angel Joe!

Friday, February 22, 2013


My Lifeboat friend, Sandy  passed this along to me, and I thought you might enjoy this meaningful little story, too.
"Pass Me A Burned One"

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.

On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school.

I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits." Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your momma put in a long hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides... a burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

You know, life is full of imperfect things... and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each others differences, is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. So...please pass me a biscuit. And yes, the burned one will do just fine! Life is too short to wake up with regrets... Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don't. Enjoy life now -- it has an expiration date!

No matter how you've been burned by circumstances in life, this little story is good food for thought.

P.S. My private Facebook group, Lifeboat, picks up new survivors all the time. If you're a widow, would you like to climb aboard, too? Simply friend me, Ferree Hardy, on Facebook and message the word Lifeboat to me. I'll add you to the group. If you find it's not what you need, you just opt out. But I'd venture to say you'll agree with others who say, "I've been looking for something like this!"

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Other Anniversary

Today's the day. Thirteen years ago today the big W for widow was stamped on my forehead. It left a permanent mark and changed my life forever.

And changed it for the good if you like a woman with deep compassion, unshakeable faith, and patience to know nothing stays the same. I've become a person with hope that flows. Much to my surprise I've discovered the richness of knowing that God is with me, my life isn't over, and in the end Jesus wins. 

If there was one thing I could tell a new widow, it would be the very same thing a young widow told me in the first phone call on the first morning after Bruce died---- You're going to make it. With God, you're going to make it, Ferree.

Thank you, Nancy Myers. I don't think I ever told you how much hope those simple words offered, and how many times they cheered me on.
Left side: Bruce and me
Right side: friends Dave and Lenna

And thank you, Bruce. Thank you for loving me for all our life. For keeping your promises, for living to the hilt, for laughing at your own jokes until your blue eyes brimmed and you wiped them with the back of your wrist. Thank you for the pranks we played (I'll never forget the day Bucky called you a #*%%! for what we did! lol!). Thank you for the kids we raised, the love we made, and planting that garden we survived on the year you had to work 3 jobs. Thank you for dreaming God's goodness with me, for living in God's grace, for proving the power of God's unfailing Word, and for granting me the freedom and strength to marry Tom and follow God without you. Not many men would have been able to do that. Ever. But you did, and I was blessed, and still am.

Because of Bruce, who he was and how he influenced me, when Nancy told me, With God, you're going to make it, I knew she was right.

Since then, God has proved she was right. And so, three years ago today I started writing this blog because I knew then and I still know now---He'll do the same for you. I can say with confidence to each widow reading this, With God, you're going to make it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentines Day Ideas

Do you think you'll want to mark Valentine's Day this year? You might be able to transform it by thinking ahead and planning to do something different. Of course if you want to pretend the day doesn't exist and not acknowledge it at all, that's okay too. I often find the people deal with sorrow in two different ways:
  • remember/memorialize it
  • or choose to leave it alone. It's in the past, its been dealt with, and its time for the next chapter.
Depending on your background and personality, both of these methods can work.

If you'd like to memorialize the day or give yourself something to look forward to, here are a variety of things that might be meaningful for you:
  • Visit the cemetary and leave a message of candy conversation hearts to melt into the snow
  • Tie a home-made Valentine to a helium balloon and let it fly away to heaven
  • Collect old Valentines and love letters and put them together in a decorative memory box keepsake.
  • Create a collage of photos and frame it to hang on a wall or stand on your dresser.
  • Buy a package or two of school Valentine cards. Send them to your own children, nieces & nephews or other family members. Write a little love note on them.
  • Or send Valentines to various groups--nursing homes, children's hospital wards, missionary kids you pray for, your childrens' ministry leaders, your Bible study group or group leaders . . .
  • Offer to babysit for a married couple so they can enjoy a romantic evening out. Prepare a lot of fun things to do with the kids so you don't end up bored and feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Invite other widows over for tea or coffee and snacks, or a carry-in lunch or supper. Give them an opportunity to share their stories and send them home with a love verse from the Bible.
  • Plan something nice for yourself: learn something new! Sign up for Zumba lessons or Jazzercise. Take piano or guitar lessons (or take that first step and visit your local music store and ask about them); then rent a flute, violin or whatever and practice to audition for the local orchestra! Ask about singing with your church group or community choir. Volunteer at a food pantry or ask about a part-time job at something that interests you. Take a course at a community college. . .
--hey, I'm getting carried away here, but you get the idea. Plan some fun and show yourself some love and kindness.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Financial Counsel for Widows

Let me state the obvious: Money is a common problem for widows. There's either too little or too much. In either case, wise counsel should be found and followed.

How can you find a good financial advisor? That's a daunting question for many people, widowed or not! But here is a link with some good advice from Crown Financial on the matter--Finding Financial Counsel
Crown Financial has a number of other articles and tools for budgeting. They offer training in financial counselling to churches and much more. They're simply the oldest and best Christian financial ministry I know.
Here is a link to a 20 page pdf file they've provided to serve widows--Widows Financial Guide. Print it out and read it through with a highlighter in hand for important points.
Peruse their website for answers to many more of your financial questions.
Once you do find a good financial advisor, as tempting as it is, don't drop everything in their lap. It's still your money, your life. Continue to:
  • Use these and other resources.
  • Call upon God, the wisest and greatest financial advisor of all!
  • Before you act on any financial advice, compare it to another's counsel. Make sure it lines up with God's wisdom.
  • Take your time.
  • Just say "No" to borrowers. You can soften the blow a bit by saying something like, "I need to be very careful with my finances right now and I'm just not ready to make any decisions at this time." You are not a cash cow. If you have a life insurance benefit, it was intended to last a very long time, perhaps the rest of your life. Your adult kids will always need money. The church will always need money. They are not your sole responsibility, no matter how guilt-ridden or special they make you feel. If you have a life insurance benefit of  hundred thousand, a quarter of a million, half a million, a million . . . it might look like a lot now, but you'll wish you still had it five years from now. Later on, when you're ready and you've been able to spend time asking God what to do about your finances, you'll be able to make wise and benevolent decisions about gifts and loans.   
Rebuilding your life---like any other venture, it's not easy; but seeking wise financial counsel will make it much easier and worthwhile.
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1(NASB)
By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established
Proverbs 24:3 (NASB)

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    What About You?

    I doubt there's nothing that shakes your identity more than losing that person who's life you've revolved around. When our husband dies, many women feel like they're cut in half. Life is one big open wound, but slowly we begin to heal and rebuild. It's a good exercise to ask those age old questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

    Less philosophical, and more fun, is this following little questionnaire with some revealing questions. I found it in a travel magazine, filled out by a world-class traveller. And then there's my own dork-class answers in red. Please enjoy this good humored look at myself, but---more importantly---what are your answers??? This little survey can help you get back in touch with yourself.

    My signature style is: sophisticated adventurer. white-knuckled bumbler
    The last thing I bought and loved was: a satellite phone. Benne wafers
    I'm never without: my Louis Vitton briefcase. A kleenex
    A favorite recent discovery was: the best pizza in Nice, at the African Queen. Pulled pork sandwich in Florence at The CookOut restaurant. (That's Florence, SC, not Italy!)
    On my bedside table you'd find: a flashlight. a Bible
    In my fridge I always have: Diet Coke. About a zillion bottles of old salad dressing.
    An object I would never part with is: my iPod.  a toothbrush.
    The number of currencies I carry at a time is: four--euros, dollars, pounds and plastic. two--loose change and plastic
    An unforgettable place I've traveled to recently: Zambia. Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach to meet a new widow friend, Helen Silver!
    The best souvenir I brought home was: an elephant-hair bracelet from Kenya. some shells shaped like butterfly wings because they reminded Helen and me of our Lifeboat friend Linda Lint.
    A place I've felt unsafe was: its circumstances, not places, that make me feel unsafe. I don't feel safe in my car when someone else is driving-- I have a mild case of amaxophobia. I ride the invisible brakes! Put me in the backseat if you're the driver.
    An indulgence I would never forego is: great restaurants when I travel. I love a warm bubble bath before bed in wintertime.
    I'd never travel without: my kikoi, a lightweight cotton wrap from Kenya that can be a pillow, a blanket or a cover-up. Twizzlers
    The last book I read and loved was: Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. The Other Side of the Sun by Madeline L'Engle
    My favorite thing to collect is: travel experiences. Moments. 

    I don't think I should be waiting for the phone to ring for that interview as a world-class traveller, do you? Have a good Friday, and spend some time remembering and recalling the things that make you your own brand of wonderful YOU! Getting in touch with who you are is a building block for this next chapter of life.