Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Widows Journey Retreat Reviews

Have you registered for the retreat yet? (see yesterday's post).
If you're like me you'll want to read some reviews before deciding. Marcia and Donna, widow friends of mine who went last year wrote the following to me last March and I'm re-posting their comments today. But please visit this link too, to see what others also had to say.

You had asked my thoughts on the Widows Journey weekend at Sandy Cove. I am 4.5 years out from my husband's death and my friend is 6 years out from her husband's passing. (She also lost her son 6 months after her husband). We weren't sure about attending thinking maybe it would bring back too much of the sorrow of the early years. I emailed Gayle and asked. She assured me that there would be women there in all stages of widowhood and that the weekend would emphasize the positive. So we signed up thinking if nothing else it would be a weekend away at a nice location. Gayle was certainly right. The first night we met widows of 3 weeks (cannot imagine!) to 26 years. There were women from California, Texas and Missouri and most East Coast states. Both my friend and I felt so at home with everyone in our small groups right away. It was such a relief to be among "friends" who understand and a relief to not be around couples and be odd woman out. We sat with different women at almost every meal and had great conversations. The worship time, led by Kathy Benjamin, was inspiring. The speakers were uplifting. The food was delicious and the accommodations were lovely. We are planning to return next year -- not that we really need so much comfort anymore but that we both feel like we can be used to help other widows not as far along. We would also like to explore the lovely grounds at Sandy Cove. This year the weather was very cold and windy but the views of the Chesapeake Bay is amazing even from inside. I would just like to encourage anyone thinking about the weekend to come! I'm thankful I did.  ~ Marcia S. T. Pennsylvania

What a great weekend. Thanks for recommending Widow’s Journey! I met up with Kathy H. (another widow who knows Ferree) on Saturday and we were able to meet several times at lunch and supper. On Sunday, Gayle Roper had women that were either leading a  group or those interested in starting a group for widows meet at breakfast. A table for 8 was reserved, but quickly grew to 14. We moved to the auditorium after breakfast. We exchanged emails and hope to keep in touch with one another. Two ladies in that group follow your blog--and they are in the process of starting their group, Naomi’s Ministry.

Sandy Cover was the perfect, serene setting for this weekend. Would love to attend next year. ~ Donna H. (California)

Will you attend A Widow's Journey? March 2 - 4 (Friday - Sunday). Please email me at wcplace@gmail.com and let me know when you are registered. Over 100 other widows will be there along with several who follow this blog and my Facebook groups too, so you will be among friends. I hope you'll come too. Wouldn't it be great to meet in person all of us who are already friends online?
♥ ferree

Mini Sabbatical lighthouse.jpg

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 Widow's Journey Retreat Sign Up

Hello everyone! 
I'm really looking forward to being a small group leader at this retreat in March! I hope you'll be able to come too, and I would love to meet you there. Several widows I know attended last year and spoke very highly of it, and I've personally met the hostess and founder, Gayle Roper, and she's a wonderful Christ follower. 
This is, in fact the only Christian widow's retreat that I know of currently. It's at a great Christian retreat center within an hour of Philadelphia. I highly recommend it! Events like this can be turning points on your own widow's journey. Please pray about it and come. Click the link below for more info.  

A weekend for women of any age who are WIDOWS 
and at any point in their journey.

People say, “Isn’t it wonderful he’s with the Lord,” and you want to yell, “No! He should be here with me.”

Spend a weekend with other women who have lost their husbands to death.  You will be with people who understand your journey.  Come share your heart and your hurt and be encouraged as we remind ourselves that, hard as it is, our God is able. Learn from women who are where you are, women who have weathered grief and difficult times.

Small Groups
During small group discussions, individuals will have the opportunity to briefly share the stories of their own widowhood and glean helpful tips from the experiences of others. Encouragement, smiles and tissues provided!  If you are not a widow and attending in support, please understand that the small groups are for Widows only.

Friday, March 2 - Sunday, March 4

Sandy Cove Ministries
60 Sandy Cove Road
North East, MD 21901
Email: info@sandycove.org
Toll Free: 800.234.COVE (2683)
Local Phone: 410.287.5433
Fax: 410.287.3196

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

When the Anchor Breaks...

Whether you're holed up in a snowstorm praying the power doesn't go out, or snug and secure someplace warm and weather-free, please click this link to read one of the very best widow posts I've ever seen...

A Broken Anchor -- consider it joy 

I'm sorry I couldn't copy and paste it hear for your convenience, but I'm sure you'll love it. It's worth the click!
Please leave a comment for Julie, the author at A Broken Anchor, OK? As a blogger myself I know it's an encouragement to know others have read your stuff and been touched-- so bless and encourage this young widow and mom of four.
Thanks! ferree

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

RE: Bible Reading Plan

If you received yesterday's Bible reading plan by email and cannot print it out, please click the title at the top of the page. It's underlined and is a link to the actual blog. Once you're at the blog you'll be able to open up the pages to print by clicking on them in the column on the right.
Stay warm in this freezing weather today!


Sunday, December 31, 2017

A One-Year Bible Reading Plan for Widows 2018

Dear Friends,

I can't say "Happy New Year," not when hearts are far from happy and a calendar of sorrow looms ahead.  But I do have a gift for you...

Starting this new year by using a Bible reading plan helps us know what to do next---and in the fog of grief when we have so many other decisions to make it's a very helpful guide. Last year I posted this plan at the beginning of each month and received good feedback and requests for copies for widows groups. So I recently asked a graphic artist friend of mine create these pages which can be printed on both sides of a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Didn't she do a great job! Thank you Kelly! Her gift to me, and my gift to you! 

Although other other plans will get you through the Bible in a year or two, I know that most widows are too distracted to read 3 or 4 chapters of the Bible each day--it's too much to take in. Here are the features of this plan: 
  • You'll read the entire New Testament, many Psalms, all of Proverbs, and Ruth  
  • The 4 gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--are read one per season--winter, spring, summer, fall. You can start reading, or get back on track reading at any time without feeling like you have to "catch up" because books do not overlap into the next month. 
  • Eleven months start out with a section of Psalm 119 which reminds us of all the excellent things God's Word does for us!  
TO PRINT: Click the small images of the plan in the column at the right. If you're not able to print off a copy (especially if you are viewing this on a cell phone), just email me at WCplace@gmail.com and I will send you the attachments to copy. If you'd like me to mail you a printed copy please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to me at Ferree Hardy, P.O. Box 5024, Florence, SC 29502 and I'll be happy to mail you one at no charge. You may reprint as many copies as you need. A business size envelope will work best.

Reading the Bible anchors our day with encouragement, wisdom, hope and comfort. It gives us perspective and perseverance because it enables us to see the big picture of God's love and faithfulness. I hope you will get into God's Word this year and that this Bible-reading plan will be a helpful and tremendous blessing as you start into 2018!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

First Christmas, First Tears

Christmas and other holidays can seem like a field of emotional land mines. The very next step can send us flying with unexpected and searing wounds. We can try to prepare and expect these unexpected grief storms, but when they hit they can knock us to our knees.

We'll survive. Yes, somehow or other. That's the nature of grief. It comes in waves like that.

God knows this. He understands. As I've been thinking about the first Christmas so many eons ago, and yet still so fresh, so human, the question occurred to me as I thought about the Newborn's cry---Was this the first time God cried?

I don't know. What I do know is that Jesus lived among humanity, and grew up to be called The Man of Sorrows. He was acquainted with grief. He's able to sympathize with our weaknesses. And He offers us help.

Consider the promises in Psalm 145 and 146. In my Bible they are on opposite pages and almost directly across from each other. As I look at these pages in my open Bible, I can easily imagine them lifting up like butterfly wings--so fragile, so beautiful, so colorful--and just strong enough to fly-- helping my soul to lift, too.

Psalm 145:14 - The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

Psalm 146:8 - . . . the Lord lifts up those
who are bowed down . . .

Mourning Cloak butterfly
Set some time aside this Christmas to get to know the Lord in a new way. If you shed some tears, consider His tears too. As you worship at the manger, bow down and count on the promise that He will -- yes, He will-- lift you up.

Have a blessed Christmas,