Monday, September 17, 2018

Hurricane Aftermath Advice from a Katrina Survivor

Reposting this from one year and two weeks ago. I hope it will not become an annual thing! But most of you know that I live in South Carolina, only 100 miles from where the massive flooding is to our dear friends in North Carolina.

How great a God we need!
But how much greater is our God than our greatest need.
(Author unknown)

My friend Amanda M., posted some wise words on Facebook and with her permission, I share them with you today:

….to all those affected by 2017 Hurricane Harvey…..let me give you my testimony from Hurricane Katrina. Because every time that we give our testimony…..we overcome the enemy. 

First, let me say this……..and I wish someone would have said this to me and my family… have just gone thru a traumatic event……grieve! 

It's ok to cry.

It's ok to mourn over what you have lost. I give you permission. We all feel sorry for you. You've got millions of people praying for you and trying to help in any way. We've got your back.

Next…….the Lord is not a respecter of persons……..He was/is faithful. Always will be. 

He was there for us when we drove out of our driveway that hot August morning. He was there on that long 19 and half hours to get to my mom's house. He was there when we heard the reports of the devastation. He was there when we went back and saw the destruction of all that was our life. 

He was there when we didn't have the wherewithal to rebuild. He was there when realization hit that we could never go back……to our homes, our old lives, our jobs, our businesses, our friends, our church…..everything. 

And HE will be there for you. 

He will send people you don't even know to minister to you. He will give you an encouraging word from complete strangers. He will send family and friends with hugs, blankets, food and shoulders to cry on. 

He will make material possessions useless and time with loved ones priceless. 

He will bring new memories on the old foundations. 

He will be Provider and Protector. He will restore and rebuild your heart and your homes. 

He will prove trustworthy every single time. I promise you!!!!!!!! I promise you!!!!!!!!!!!

So yes, grieve…..but don't stay there. 

Pick yourself up. Get in the Word. Claim promises. Apply the Blood of Jesus over the situation. Share your testimony. And don't give any more credit to the enemy. Don't let him have one more second of your time. 

The Mighty hand of Jesus has never left you………in fact He's holding you and He ain't lettin go! I promise!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

On this anniversary of 9/11/2001 this quote from Lisa Beamer, who was widowed that day when her husband and others stormed the terrorists on their plane, gives us an appropriate pause and rich wisdom for our own journey . . . As many of the psalms end with the term Selah which indicates a pause in the music, I'd like to add Selah to the words of Lisa Beamer--let's pause think today.
“Slowly I began to understand that the plans God has for us don’t just include “good” things, but the whole array of human events … I remember my mom saying that many people look for miracles — things that in their human minds “fix” a difficult situation. 

Many miracles, however, are not a change to the normal course of human events; they’re found in God’s ability and desire to sustain and nurture people through even the worst situations. 

Somewhere along the way, I stopped demanding that God fix the problems in my life and started to be thankful for his presence as I endured them.” 

― Lisa Beamer, Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage

Monday, September 3, 2018

Everyone Wants to Be Happy

Another holiday weekend alone. I know it's hard.
If it weren't difficult, you wouldn't be surfing the net, nor reading this blog.
So maybe, just maybe, there's a point to it. I've learned that God uses the needs we have--perhaps even allows us to have these needs--so that we will get uncomfortable enough that we get willing to move.
Move where?
How about the place where those needs will be met?
I don't think I have to spell it out for you.
View the video, visit the website...

This particular article from tells about a 24-year-old widow who, after days of imprisonment, opened her mouth to scream--but out came a song instead.
"That night the police chief came down and said he was taking her home on one condition: "You must come to my house in three days.' Then he said,
'I don’t understand. You are not afraid of anything. My wife and daughters and all the women in my family are afraid of everything. But you are not afraid of anything. . . . I want you to come to my house so you can tell everyone why you are not afraid. And I want you to sing that song.'"
When the pressure is on, happiness extinct, the future hopeless...and you're ready to scream, what will come out of your mouth? What sound do you want to make?

Today could be your turning point for living the rest of your life. Visit the website, particularly the link to the article. Pick one of the fifteen challenges for women---if you do I'd love to hear from you on Labor Day next year. It won't be the same as today.

God's saints have been imprisoned through out the ages. Whether it's a prison with iron bars and chains, or the physical confinements of a broken down body, or a deep pit of despair--God knows, He stands with you, and he holds the ways to turn this to good right in his hand. Genesis 50:20.
💗 ferree

Don't forget: if you receive this by email or on your phone and the video doesn't show, simply click on the title and it will go to my blog site where the links will work.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Tips for Better Sleep

I seldom link to other sites, but sleep is such a common problem for widows and others who grieve, and this website, "Tuck" has the latest and greatest research on sleep. They gave me permission to briefly summarize their 10 tips, but please visit the website for the full article and even more helps. They offer links to a TON of resources. They're all secular and of course I'm not giving them a blanket  endorsement, but it's good to educate yourself and recognize various symptoms you might experience. Once you can identify problems you can ask God for His grace and help to deal with them. 💗ferree   

The evidence is strong that good sleep hastens recovery toward “successful” bereavement...

1. Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy. (CBT) If your symptoms and sleeplessness have persisted for 12 weeks or more, it may be time to get professional help. 
(Sleep problems are very normal during grief but they can become a vicious cycle of worrying about not sleeping and not sleeping because you’re worrying. Don’t hesitate to see your family physician and find some referrals for counsellors and types of therapies. Choose a counsellor or therapist as carefully as you do a physician. Talk to a biblical counsellor; they might be able to help you with sleep problems too). f.h.

2. Follow a regular sleep schedule.  . . . avoid napping for more than 20 or 30 minutes.

3. Spend time with friends and family. Find people who will allow you to share your stories, your grief, and your tears without judgment, but who will also know when to help distract you by doing an activity together. 

4. Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or sleeping aids. While they may help you fall asleep initially, many of these substances actually disrupt the quality of your sleep – and they can lead to addiction and permanent changes in your sleep architecture when abused.

5. Keep up a healthy exercise routine. Exercise gets your endorphins going and helps you feel physically better. It provides a distraction from the pain you are going through, and it also helps you sleep. By physically tiring your body, you will fall asleep more easily by bedtime.

6. Eat well.Do your best to eat healthy foods and avoid overly sugary, junky, or fatty foods. The same foods that don’t make you feel great emotionally or physically also disrupt your sleep. . . Also, even though caffeine is fine for some people, limit your intake past the afternoon and overall. It activates your nervous system, keeping you alert and potentially anxious.

7. Develop a calming bedtime routine. Creating a bedtime routine is helpful for anyone who wants to fall asleep faster, but for those in grieving, it gives you something to focus on besides your grief.

8. Try journaling. If you wake up during the night, don’t stress. Disrupted sleep is a common part of grief. If you can’t fall back asleep after 10 minutes or so, get out of bed and go into another room. This part is key – you don’t want your mind to start viewing your bed as a place where you lie awake and frustrated.

9. Avoid electronics at night. (Let me insert a memo here: Get off Facebook! f.h.)  Electronics like our smartphone flood our eyes with strong bluelight. Our brain perceives this as sunlight, and accordingly tries to keep us up and awake.

Beyond the physical reaction, electronics often provide stressors of their own. . . Avoiding electronics in the 60 minutes before you go to bed helps you mentally break away from these distressing reminders, while avoiding confusing your brain about what time of day it is.

10. Reframe your bedroom. It’s possible you have items that remind you of the loss in your bedroom . . . It may be easier for you to cope if you remove reminders of that person from your room – at least temporarily. . . You may take this time to redecorate your room, giving you something to focus on that provides hope. Choose calming, relaxing colors and clear your bedroom of clutter. A calmer bedroom environment makes for a calmer mind, more conducive to sleep.
Counting sheep never works for me... but talking to The Shepherd helps!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Widow's Memory Portrait

(Don't forget, if you receive this blog post on your cell phone the photos might not show up. Easy fix: just click on the title and they'll show up!)

My friend Andrea just received this from her nephew on Wednesday---a charcoal portrait that he'd drawn of her and her husband! She showed it on Facebook and wrote "Our nephew just surprised me with this charcoal sketch he made of me and Greg. Oh my word! I love it. Happy tears. Happy tears! Thank you! 

Andrea was at my house last Friday when we were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Pat's memory quilt. And now she has her own amazing creation! Happy tears for sure! I can't imagine the joy and deep love she must have felt when she opened this special surprise from her nephew. Thanks for letting me show this here Andrea! 💗ferree
Priscilla, Debbie, Pat and Andrea at my place.
I wanted to show you this so you could see
what an excellent sketch her nephew did. It 
looks just like her! Beautiful!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Widows Memory Bears

Hello! I'm so pleased to share these photos from a new friend named Sue. Aren't these bears the cutest things? Sue says that a family friend offered to make them for her, and like Pat's memory quilt that I showed you yesterday, her husband's shirts and other pieces provided the fabric and the memories.
Sue said,
I asked family members if they were interested.  Each one who was actually picked the shirt they wanted made into a bear.  Then we met with my friend Donna and designed them.  

From the left: bear made from husband Roger's chenille bathrobe and one of his favorite shirts. The bear went to their daughter.
The plaid bear was from a favorite shirt that Sue gave her husband, and now it's her chosen keepsake.
The next bear is sporting a favorite red sweater and was given to a family friend.
Finally, the bear on the far right was made from the shirt and jeans that Roger wore when he held their youngest granddaughter, Sutton.

But wait, there's more!
This is granddaughter Sutton's memory bear with some pink
accessories to make it more feminine for her. Sweet!

And this stylish bear went to the oldest granddaughter, Amanda.
It was created from Roger's ties. I love the yellows and
blues and the great way the seamstress placed the
patterns. What a wonderful keepsake!
I was so tickled that Sue shared these photos with us and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. And I hope they give you some ideas of how you could create some keepsakes too.

Please pray for Sue as she faces the first anniversary of widowhood in just a couple of weeks. Pray for widows every day---we might not know their names, but we know their hearts.