Monday, April 22, 2019

SAVE THE DATE: Fall 2019 events//Spring 2020 events

Of course you can't go to all of these, but I love that we're getting some various locations! Midwest, South, and Northeast! These are all I know of so far, but please email me at WCplace@gmail.com if you know of others I should mention. Thanks!

Oct. 18- 20  A Life After Breath Experience - A Widow's Calling
Maranatha Conference Grounds, Oct. 18 - 20. More info will follow in May.

Nov. 4 - 9 Widows Link Cruise:


Dec. 6-7, 2019 Florence, SC Weekend With the Author. (Tentative, more info will follow. Click here for more info) 

March 6-8, 2020 Sandy Cove Ministry Center, North East, Maryland Click here for the website.

March April 3 - 5, 2020  Widows Link retreat in Springville, Alabama.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

This Easter...

How My Husband’s Death Changed
the Way I See Easter


My first spring after instant widowhood altered 
my perspective on resurrection.
"How many times in my Christian life have I heard that Jesus rose from the grave?"
Click here for the full story at Family Life.com. It might change the way you see Easter too.
As for me, I don't remember any details about the first Easter after my husband died except that I bought a bag of peanut M&M's. They were his favorite candy. All other memories are frozen behind a locked door in my mind. It was only 2 months or less after he died. It was agony--I could relate to this writer's experience. I had no warm fuzzy feelings about heaven, only cold sharp doubts. A hard lesson of faith is accepting what God has said and not judging it's reality by whether or not it agrees with my emotions. 
Yet, speaking of emotion, faith is also knowing that Jesus weeps with you at the graveside like he did at Lazarus' tomb. Hebrews tell us "...we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses… he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him..."
I want to get to know this side of my Savior this Easter. The ordinary and earthy side, the one who's heart could break. Triumphant?--ultimately yes. But for now I want to think about how he wept at his friend's grave. I wouldn't doubt that he still weeps at the grave of each of his friends (like your husband's and mine), and then --- because he understands and is able to sympathize with us --- and because he holds the power of life and death--- he patiently waits for each of us to look up and see him through our tears. He's alive!---and that's our personal Easter morning. 
Blessings on you during these holy days, watch for him! 
❤  ferree

Monday, April 15, 2019

How Often Do I Post Here at Widows Christian Place?

Here's a question that came in my email. Others of you might wonder the same thing so I thought, "Why not? Let's turn it into a post because there are some good things to say about it."

Q. Often do you post on your blog?
A. I try to post every Monday but I don't always make it.

Q. Why don't you always make it?
A. The main thing that prevents me is when I travel. Don't envy me, I don't mean travelling on luxury vacations. I can't get my kids to come to me so I have to go see them and they are scattered from coast to coast--literally. The closest are only 500 miles away in Delaware and Ohio, two other adult children are in Seattle, WA. My dad is in Wisconsin, and in-laws are in New York. And when I travel I get the cheap tickets with like only a carry-on so I pack real light and simply can't/won't take a laptop. My phone is really old so I don't use it for blogging or Facebook. So if I'm on the road or in the air I'm off the Internet. I also work as a school librarian for 30 hours a week. So I love blogging, but other stuff interferes.

Q. How can your readers find answers to their questions if you're not always posting?
A. There's a nifty device here on the main site (not on your email view). It's a search box. Enter any word you have a question about and it'll pull up everything I've got on it.
Here's a large print of what it looks like over on the sidebar:

1. Search for Keywords on This Blog


Play with it, it's kind of fun. Wonder about taking off your wedding ring, dating, or sleep problems? Enter any of those words! You may also search the labels and the archives but the search box is my personal favorite.

Q. How do I know when you've posted something new? I don't have time to be checking your blog every week to see if you have a new post.
A. That's a wonder of technology too! I wouldn't want to have to keep checking either. So just subscribe and whenever something new comes up it goes straight to your email.
Use this box that's over in the sidebar of the main site (not your email view) and click the submit button.

WidowsChristianPlace delivered

 straight to your Inbox! Just enter 

your email address in this box.

Monday, April 1, 2019

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR A WIDOWS GROUP


Here are a few tips that might help with your group. They might also prompt some of your good ideas. Would you share them with us? Enter them as a comment or email them to WCplace@gmail.com
💗  ferree


PRACTICAL TIPS FOR A WIDOWS GROUP


* You can't fix the situation but you can encourage the woman.
* What’s said in the group stays in the group.
* Each group has its own personality.
* Over-invite. Many widows will back out at the last minute; don’t take it personally.
* Widowhood and grief are transitional times so in the long run, both you and your group will change and that’s a good thing.
* Facilitate, don’t dominate the discussions. Use open-ended questions, not questions with yes or no answers

*Ask a question that is non-threatening such as:

  • * How has someone shown a kindness to you recently or in the past
  • * How have you shown kindness to someone
  • * Have you traveled to an interesting place
  • * Is there a place you would like to visit
  • * Do you have a pet story
  • * Do you have a most embarrassing moment story
  • * Do you like to talk on the phone or prefer emails
  • * What is your favorite dinner or place to eat

* Have fun! It’s OK to laugh!
* Call just to “chat” – it is an opening to hear their story and where they are in their grief
* Send notes to encourage or as a reminder that someone is thinking of them
* Don’t forget those widows that cannot get out – remember them with visits, cards, calls

These were part of a workshop that Bebe Holland and I presented at A Widow's Journey Retreat on March 2.

Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Start A Widow's Group

Last week I shared about the Naomi Ministry in Alban PA. Their group started when the Lord stirred the hearts of two widows to reach out to others. Is God stirring your heart too?

I've heard from many of you that He is!

Reaching out ideas and actions come in many forms:
  • A Mennonite widow in Virginia hosted a Valentines Dinner for widows in her new business venture, a café, and gave them a free, delicious meal along with an evening of heart-felt sharing and talent.
  • A church in the Pittsburgh PA area plans to host a Tea for Widows event, aiming for 50 to attend.
  • A twice-widowed woman I recently met leads a group of 192 widows at her church, and the church didn't seem too interested at first! But she told me that although she doesn't fight for many things, her experiences of walking alone and abandoned as a widow made her passionate that no other woman in her circle of influence will ever have to go it alone like she did! The church leaders seem to be listening now. 😅
  • "Book club" type groups use Postcards from the Widows Path and its discussion guide, (request the guide by emailing me at wcplace@gmail.com. I'll need your mailing address); or Miriam Neff's From One Widow to Another set of DVD's. 
  • Other groups-- small, local groups of 4 - 12 women like mine in South Carolina or Bebe's in the Philadelphia area get together for lunch in homes or restaurants about once a month. Bebe always makes sure they have some good laughs by bringing along some silly stories and jokes. I start with a fun "ice-breaker" conversation starter, we eat and talk, and afterwards we have some "soul food" which is just a short devotional, a Psalm, or a reading from this blog or Facebook pertaining to widowhood and hope. Then we talk some more!
  • CEO--Caring for Each Other, is a local group that started with a widow's heart to help others back in 2012 in Kansas. It now reaches over 100 hurting people in their community, funded and fueled by God's grace. My friend Carmen has seen God supply their needs over and over again.
There are others too! and I hope to tell you about them in the weeks to come. But back to the basic question---How to START?

Pray! And pray about all these things:
  • Find the person(s) you can team up with.
  • Discern whether your group can be 1). a ministry of your local church (always the first choice, but not always possible), or if it will be 2). a home group, or 3). a community group that meets in a public place. 
  • Talk about your purpose and outreach--what unique service will you provide? Fellowship and social and  emotional support are legit! But you can also survey widows in the area or in your church to see what they actually want and if your ideas fit. This will help build a case for your church to be involved.
  • Decide how often to meet--(weekly, bi-weekly, monthly; a.m. or p.m.), what you will do, any costs involved. (I will mention resources in a future post). 
  • Plan your first kick-off event and start inviting! 
For further detail and help go to Miriam Neff's website and this page: How To Start A Widows Ministry  She has a wealth of information. You'll find a ready-made survey to download and a starter list for referrals of businesses to help widows in your locale. Search the rest of her website for 7 reasons why churches should have widows ministry and how to order her DVD's for starting a widows group.

Let's do this!

💗 ferree




Monday, March 18, 2019

Widows Group: Naomi's Ministry in Alban, PA

Getting ready to kick-off into their second year of ministry, the Naomi's Ministry in Alban, PA continues to blossom and grow. Denise Sweeney sent me a description and some of the ways that she and co-leader Carol Eskridge get the word out about their weekly group.

I'm delighted to share their ideas here so you can adapt them to start your own group at your church.

First, the pictures, then follow through to see the good stuff Denise told me. (If you're viewing this on your phone and the photos don't show, try clicking on the title so you can get to the actual site).

 This is their brochure. At the top you'll see:
*Naomi's Ministry (named after Naomi from the Book of Ruth in the Bible) *their mission statement in a nutshell--widows helping widows
At the bottom:
*the church name and address
On the back (not pictured):
*contact info for Carol and Denise with their names, phone #s and email addresses.

Inside the brochure it says "As widows, we are on a journey that God has chosen for us. It's a difficult one, but God has told us in His Word that we are special to His heart." (II Corinthians 1:3-4  and I Peter 5:10 are printed out in full in case you can't see it in my fuzzy photo).




I love this idea---the folded standing up card is simply an altered version of the front of the brochure. It's printed on card stock, blank on the inside, and may be used for notecards or at luncheons for place marks, etc.

This last photo displays the promo sheet for their start up which was a luncheon for widows at their church. They also created a questionnaire to gather information about each attendee and their interests, and also discover additional ideas for ways that a widows group could effectively minister.
The group has since invited speakers from their church who are professionals in estate and financial planning and they've taken day trips and more! They always have announcements in the church programs and good support from the office staff and pulpit--which is very important! Please read on for more from Denise.
   
What is the main thing you do? 

·        Our main purpose is to offer support love and encouragement to Widows. To give them a safe place that they can come and share their pain, cry and grieve with others who understands. No one can really understand what a widow is going through better than another widow.

·        We have done book studies (Postcards from a Widows Path, From One Widow to Another, and others).

·        Once a month we meet at a local pizza place for a change of pace. On those nights we do a devotional and share a meal and just enjoy being together.

·        We have done trips together. This past November we went to Lancaster to the Sight and Sound Theatre to see the show JESUS. Afterward we had a wonderful meal together.  We have also done day trips to the shore and Lancaster to shop and have lunch together. And the ladies also enjoy getting together for lunch or dinner. Not the entire group but maybe 3 or 4 of the ladies will do that between meetings. The ladies have really bonded and truly enjoy spending time together. On special occasions we will go out to a nicer place for dinner to celebrate holidays and such. We also do weekly prayer requests and praises for answered prayers.

·        We are coming up on our 2nd year anniversary. We plan to celebrate by having a High Tea at our church on March 30th. We also plan on inviting Widows from other local churches to come to find out more about our group.

·        One more thing that I forgot to mention. We have also had meetings with guest speakers. For example: we had a financial planner from our church come and explain to the ladies how to take over and manage our funds (or lack there of). He explained budgeting, insurance needs, etc. We also had an estate lawyer, again from our church, come to explain wills, POA’s living wills, etc.  These people were able to offer advice that was so valuable to the Widows during a time of confusion and not being sure what they should or should not be doing.

How did your group get started?

·        Our group got started after reading “Postcards from a Widows Path.”

·        God just really put it on my heart the need for a ministry to the Widows at our church. Once the idea got started, God graciously opened doors for us to get started.

·        Carol Eskridge and I presented our plans to the Women’s Ministry at our Church. From there, we presented the idea to the Church Committee. We received encouragement, support and approval from all concerned.

·        Our first meeting was held on March 25, 2017. We placed announcements in our church bulletin, along with passing out flyers and inviting Widows that we knew personally. We held a luncheon at our church to share what we would like to offer to Widows. We told the ladies how very much God Loves and Cares for Widows and how we hoped that our group could help share God’s love with them.


·        God has been so faithful to Carol and me over these last two years and we have seen amazing growth and blessings in the ladies of Naomi’s Ministry
Thank you Denise, and may God use this to plant other widow ministries!
Do you have a widows group going too? I'd love to hear about it! Please email me at WCplace@gmail.com 
Thank for visiting here today,
ferree