Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Widows Retreat 2019!

Treat Yourself to A Widows Retreat -  
Make It A Christmas Present for YOU 
Wouldn't it be wonderful to meet women who "get it" about widowhood? Who know by experience that the Lord will not leave you stranded, but also know the pain and the struggle? That's what happens at a widows retreat. The best one to minister to a widow is another widow and that's what will happen the weekend of March 1-3, 2019. Gayle Roper, author of "A Widow's Journey" and many other wonderful books hosts this retreat. 
Wouldn't you like to be in on this time of encouragement and strengthening? Start praying about going today, and sign up soon! Please email me as soon as you register so I can help you get to know some mutual friends a bit ahead of your stay. WCplace@gmail.com
The link below is from the Sandy Cove Ministries website. Sandy Cove Retreat Center is located near the town of North East, Maryland, "serenely situated between Boston and Philadelphia." It's on Chesapeake Bay and is  beautiful! I will once again facilitate one of the small groups and I'd love to meet you. I really hope you can come!   ferree
 Being a widow is to be in a very lonely place.
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 widows where you are with people who understand. 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.

This weekend is for widows of all ages and at any point in the journey. Find out everything you need to know--rates, location, schedule, speakers--by clicking right here.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Book recommendation: "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way" by Lysa TerKeurst

Hey, wait! "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way" is what I hear from widows
all the time! 

Plus, I have my own list of "It's Not Supposed to Be's...) And it's growing.

So I got the book. I started reading it a couple weeks ago, dropped it because the first chapter or two were a bit elusive and not gripping enough. But then my "not supposed to be's" got stronger so I picked it up again this morning. Took a highlighter to it. I'm almost halfway through this Sunday afternoon.

The author's not widowed, but suffering is suffering in many ways, and much of what she says will apply to widows in profound ways.

If you're looking for a quick "How I claimed victory and God gave it to me in 3 easy steps," then this book is not for you. There's no quick fix for suffering, and I am grateful to find an author honestly admit that. She is also willing to be transparent, vulnerable and honestly (and perhaps unintentionally) model how to hope.

And as far as unanswered prayer? Here's one quote I need to carve in my every doubt and fear: "God loves me too much to answer my prayers at any other time than the right time and in any other way than the right way."

Let me put it in lines so the words can explain themselves better:
God loves me too much to answer my prayers at any other time
than the right time
and in any other way
than the right way.

Click here to order from ChristianBook.com at a really good price.  It'll be one of the most meaningful gifts you'll receive this Christmas. 💓 ferree

039851: It"s Not Supposed to Be This Way It's Not Supposed to Be This Way

By Lysa TerKeurst / Thomas Nelson

What happens when life looks very different from the reality we long for? In It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa TerKeurst offers a Biblical perspective and hard-won advice to encourage readers facing their own challenges. Find unexpected strength while wrestling between faith and feelings and learn how to stand through uncertainty and trust in God's goodness.

PS--If your phone doesn't accept the link to the book, click on the title of this blog post. That way you'll go straight to my blog and it should work from there.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Beating the After -Thanksgiving - Blues

I'm sure if you saw a widow who could use your help, you wouldn't hesitate to reach her, right? What if that widow is you? 

If you see yourself getting further down, unmotivated, and dragging after the Thanksgiving holiday here is something that you can do to provide your body with some help--Exercise. (I hear those groans, my own included!)

Physical activity can increase your 'feel-good' hormones. When we feel good, we can handle grief and other challenges much better than when we don't. Look at this tip from webmd.com. Skipping exercise for only a week or two adds up to very negative results! Let's start skipping the donuts and mashed potatoes instead and get back to getting some exercise.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Missing Exercise Can Be Depressing
Who knew a little couch could
do so much harm?
Skipping exercise for a week or two may change your mood, says a study that turned regular exercisers into couch potatoes. "We were able to measure negative results from withdrawal of exercise in just two weeks," says researcher Ali Berlin. "After one week we began to see changes.

After two weeks they were significantly more tense, tired, and less vigorous. The more out of shape they became, the more their mood and energy level dropped. What this tells us is that any interruption in a regular fitness routine can have a negative impact," Berlin adds.
Once you start exercising, keep it up! The more active you are, the more energy you have. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more days per week.
Source: webmd.com
Please pass this along to a widow you love. 

What exercise works best for you? Do you go to a gym? Take a walk around the block? Go up and down the stairs in your house? Walk the dog? Bike? I'm looking for some ideas because I need to get more exercise too. Leave a comment today. Thanks so much!  💗  ferree

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pilgrim & Widow: Elizabeth Warren

I've posted this previously, but looking back on history always helps me put life in perspective, and gives me a lot to be thankful for.

Can you imagine crossing the Atlantic in a hand-built wooden sailing schooner without bathrooms, electricity, heat or running water? Did I mention you have five daughters in tow, and you're going from England to America to meet your husband who sailed there three years previous on the Mayflower? 
Did I mention the year is 1623? 

This was the life of Elizabeth Warren. Kind of makes you glad you're you, doesn't it?

When Elizabeth arrived in Plymouth, her husband, Richard Warren was waiting for her. He hadn't died yet. That would happen in 1628, after the birth of their two sons. Did I mention there were no hospitals or anesthesia or Lamaze classes, and she had 7 children in all?

Hardly anything is known about the women of Plymouth, and even less about the widows among them. But Elizabeth, who lived well into her 90's, over 45 years without Richard, broke through the social conventions of the 17th century and lived out her life in goodness and victory.

"A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value…
Give her the fruit of her hands, and she will be praised at the gates by her very own deeds."
Proverbs 31:10
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day, and live each day to its fullest for the Lord.

♥ ferree

For more about Elizabeth Warren visit the Pilgrim Hall Museum or this essay by Peggy M. Baker.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Shirley's Journey

If you're curious about a widow's journey--what it might be like at year 2 or 3 or beyond--I think you'll appreciate Shirley's honesty and her insights into God's faithfulness.  ❤ferree

Nov 16...the date comes up once a year, but it's one I'd rather skip.

In 2012 and years prior, this day was just another ordinary day on the calendar. 

Nov 16, 2013 was a day that will forever be etched on my memory as being the worst day of my life, but the best day ever for my husband. You see, it was the day that he began a new, perfect, pain-free life in heaven.

While he was doing that, I was beginning a grief-filled journey here on earth. It is an uncertain, ever-changing journey. The first year passed in kind of a blur; there were lots of tears and sleepless nights. I learned that "widow fog" is a real thing.

Then came year 2 when reality hit, and I knew this was not a nightmare that I would wake up from. My best friend really was not coming back. Someday I will go to him, but he won't come here to me (and I wouldn't want him to--he's so much better off than I am!).

Year 3 brought growth and continued adjustments.

Last year was my 4th year as a widow, and it brought some hard struggles. In Sep 2017, I went on the kidney transplant list. Exciting, right? I guess it was, but I struggled with doubts, depression, and anger. I was angry with Mark for leaving me to go through my physical issues without him. Eventually I came to realize that it wasn't his choice to go; he was in God's hands.

My dear daughter-in-law Joanna shared with me a definition of peace that really helped me.
"Peace= accepting that God knows better than I do what is best for my life."
I am in a much better place today on this 5th anniversary of Mark's home going. I still don't have God's perspective on how this is best for my life, but I DO know that He has been faithful in taking care of me, and He has blessed me in totally unexpected ways! At this point in my journey, there are still moments of grief and tears, but the deep despair is gone. I can look ahead with hope, joy, and anticipation about my future and what God has in His plan for me.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." 
And once again, Jeremy, Jo, Tim, Bonnie, Graham, and Paula remind me that though they are far away physically, they are near in thought and heart. They sent this beautiful flower arrangement to remind me this morning!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ever Have One of These Weeks?

My widowed friend Lynn had one just a few days ago...
I've reprinted her update with just a few edits so um, well, you'll see why she preferred to be rather anonymous...💗 ferree

Okay....something's going on here. Can we talk about this week??

My car dies and still isn't fixed, my water heater breaks, I'm seriously running out of cash, and behind in bills. I can't take a shower when I want to, or do dishes in warm water. My son is off school for three out of five days, and thinks every night there's a party at our house. A Christmas charity packing party is looming in the distance on Sunday and I am NOT even close to being prepared. I had no food in the house yesterday, and today my period started. Honestly, God.....

BUT......I have seen GOD, and felt HIM every single step I've taken. And Lord Almighty, has He shown up!!! It's almost getting ridiculous! 

It's like He is screaming at me, "LYNNE, I LOVE YOU!! TRUST ME!!" 

So long story short....the water heater is in the works and will be installed later today. 

The car? I'm still waiting for an answer there. 

Funds just appear, when I need them. Just enough, a little, a lot...a gift, a loan to be worked off, a favor.....

My sister has offered her shower every night which is better than no shower, and I am grateful for the friends my son has because it means we are loved. His girlfriend's mom drove me to vote, and I also got to the grocery store. Little things like that. 

So while I was at the grocery store yesterday, I couldn't stop myself from buying ingredients for chicken noodle soup. I remember thinking, "This is weird. This is a stupid idea. You don't have time for this this week. Why are you doing this?" But yet....I could NOT stop myself from reaching for every ingredient. 

Today I made some, and it's really quite good. So I decided to throw together some bread as well, because why not? I finally sat down after being in the kitchen ALL morning. 

I went on my town's "Moms Page" and there was this big red post from a young mom whose husband just had shoulder surgery this morning. I don't know her at all but the post asked, "Where do you get the best chicken noodle soup in town?" Mind you....I was sitting there with my phone in one hand and a bowl of "taste and see how it turned out" in my other hand. 

I just about spilled the whole bowl when I read it, and just said, "REALLY GOD???? AGAIN You're going to do something amazing??" 

So after thinking it through and arguing with myself, I agreed to reach out to this young mom and she was SO grateful for my offer of soup...and bread. AND it turns out that she lives down the block.