Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Discussion Guide, Week #3

Dear Reader,
Blogs are a good resource for widows, but it’s so good to talk face to face with other widows, and my book Postcards from the Widows' Path provides the perfect opportunity. Over the next several weeks, every Thursday, I'll post each of the five sections of the discussion guide to Postcards.... That way you will always be able to access it right here in the blog whenever you're ready for a group. I think this will be a good solution for my overseas friends like Babs, in England, who's in a widows group the Lord is beginning. This way she won't have to wait for it in the mail.

Maybe you'd like to gather two, three or more widows or others for a time of friendship, support and meaningful conversation too. Meet around your kitchen table, or a casual coffee shop, or your church library---any place that's comfortable and distraction free. You’ll cherish the sacred reflections and find renewed hope as we journey through Ruth. ferree

Week 3: Working—chapters 11-15 of Postcards...; from Ruth 2:1-23
 
Icebreaker: Which postcard did you like most? Which chapter was your favorite? Which journaling exercise was most helpful for you? Have you had any days this past week when you could barely "Do the next thing?" Is anyone in the group having sleeping problems?

Discussion Questions

· What sort of needs did Ruth and Naomi encounter? How are they similar to widows’ needs today?

· How can needs be doorways of opportunity? How would a prayer for kindness and rest, and Ruth's looking for a field in which she'd find favor, apply today?

· How would you have felt if you were waiting, like Ruth, for Boaz to determine your fate?

· Have you personally found your relationship to Christ to be at the "My daughter" level, or is it more impersonal? (page 114).

· Who are the people in your life who play roles similar to Ruth, Naomi and Boaz?

· Which of the roles on a "board of directors" for a widow do you think would be helpful? (page 140)

· How can gratitude truly provide a turning point in a widow's life?

· What are you most afraid of? What sort of help do you need to face that fear?

· What are some practical tips and words of advice you've heard since the funeral?

Conclusion: Take prayer requests and close in prayer. Thank everyone for coming and decide when and where you'll meet next time to talk about section four—Waiting. We'll discuss our experiences and perhaps frustrations of waiting for help, talk about dating and remarriage in today's society, virtue, and what each one might like to look for in a man.

P.S. The best place to order Postcards From The Widows' Path is right here on this blog. Click on the Bookstore tab at the top of the page and you'll find a safe and secure PayPal button. You don't need a PayPal account either. If you prefer to pay by check, please email me with the # of books you want to order and your shipping address. I ship by media mail only and your order will arrive in 2 - 9 days.

For International orders, you must email me first with your country and mailing code so I can send you an invoice which you can securely pay with a credit card.

And finally, if you'd like a free printed copy of the discussion guide, please email me at WCplace@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blog Hop! Widow's Stories

Did someone say "Hop?"
Recently a reader wanted to connect with widows who had been caregivers before their husbands passed away, so I gave her the following blogs to contact. Each of these bloggers were caregivers and talk about the experience in various posts.

The beautiful thing about blogs is that they bottle the thoughts and feelings of the day. They're not the last chapter in a person's life; they tell an ongoing story. They're for real: some days are raw and painful, others are healing and hopeful.

I don't think we ever reach a moment of "happily ever after," do you? That's an unrealistic expectation carried over from childhood and fairy tales. But with God we're offered strength for the day, and peace for eternity and that's a reality worth striving for, as these bloggers all do.

So I hope you'll begin to visit these blogs, and if you can leave a comment, please do! Just say hello if nothing else. All of us Bloggers love to hear from readers and visitors.   
ferree

 
http://www.widowconnection.com/Stories/Stories.html (click the "Stories" tab for a drop down menu of a variety of widows' stories -- you might find one very similar to your own and you'll be able to see if and how she's getting through)
 
P.S. Here's a new blog, started last week by my friend Dodi. I hope you'll "hop" on over and visit her blog too: http://windowofhope56.blogspot.com/ Remember, if you have a blog for Christian widows, I'd like to include it in my blog roll. Please let me know about it. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

???'s About Budgetting Your $$$

Do financial questions boggle your brain? If you're like most the answer is "Of course they do!"
The following basics come from a list of fifty helps which you can view right here. The first ten (which they gave me permission to copy when I first posted this), help with our overall attitude about money. The rest of them get more specific and provide a few links for money-saving websites, etc. If you're looking for budget guidance it's all there in a nutshell---very convenient!

Additionally, if you're interested in couponing (which is beyond me, but if you can handle it, go for it!) try this website: http://www.southernsavers.com/
If you'd like some calculators for budget decisions, click here: http://www.crown.org/FindHelp/Personal/Calculators.aspx

Getting a Godly View of Money

1. Remember that all of your possessions belong to God. Psalm 24:1, Psalm 8:4-6
2. Establish giving if you haven’t already. 2 Corinthians 9:6
3. Stop buying on credit right now. Proverbs 22:7
4. Be on guard against materialism. Luke 12:15, Matthew 13:18-23, Ecclesiastes 5:10
5. Borrow money cautiously and modestly. Proverbs 22:7
6. Practice saving, even if it is a small amount. Save your spare change every day. Proverbs 13:11
7. Remember that you are accountable to God for the stewardship of the resources that He’s entrusted to you.
8. Learn to live on what God provides and not fall prey to what the world tells you that you need.
9. Evaluate where you prioritize your work (Jesus first, family second, work third). Proverbs 23:4-5, Matthew 6:33
10. Think before you purchase everything. Proverbs 24:3, Ephesians 5:15-17

I hope you find these helpful. Please add what works for you on the comment line below.
ferree

Monday, August 25, 2014

Renewal

I've never met a woman who likes the "Widow" classification. It's not a comfortable, heartwarming term. It speaks of loss and alienation to most people. As we mature and lean into it there's great wisdom and spiritual beauty to glean from the term in Scripture, but did you know that there's a stronger definition of who you are?

For widows who have Christ as their Savior, their standing as a "Disciple" supercedes and covers their experience as a widow. Certainly God knows and holds a special place for each widow; yet, she's also a disciple/follower of Christ, and as such, God's promises continue to hold. She will not wither away!

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.  Jeremiah 17:7,8 (KJV)

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ John 7:38 (NASB) 


Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 (KJV)
Whether your "tree" has fallen, is flooded and overwhelmed, is out in the desert, or is best described today as a weeping willow.... the Lord's plan for renewing you and making your life fruitful will prevail. Are you ready?   
ferree
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Morning Hymn

Do you ever wake up too early, or perhaps not ever fall asleep? This was how I felt one early morning, and times since, but I like how the thoughts that came to me helped put life in perspective. No pat-answer solutions, or three-easy-steps, but God does penetrate the ozone layer at times. May you find time to rest in Him this weekend.

ferree

MORNING HYMN

by Ferree Hardy

 
I wake before dawn

and in the dark

begin the song

of ancient ways

and steadfast praise

 

With each note

the darkness fades

a rooster crows,

and spider sews

one last strand on her

dewdrop doily



Birds arouse

They join in

Mourning dove,

Robin, wren

Singing of You,

the Giver of all


Your goodness freshens

it brings cool hint

of snow and mint

to salt-stained skin

Red-brimmed eyes

and sadness-fevered

soul

 
Father of health

and life itself

with love beyond

the stratosphere

and faithfulness that

fills the sky

Your glory orbs

the earth we hear

 
And wrapped in shimmering

clouds

it reaches down to

collect the songs

of one weak woman

and birds

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Fun: August Is Full of Surprises!

Life is full of surprises too, isn't it? And if you're like most people here, you've discovered they're not all happy surprises. In the early days of grief, the rest of the world might look like it's spinning away on a crazy merry-go-round, while you're trying to get back up from the sucker punch of grief. Or maybe the "dog days" of summer have you dragging more than usual? I could feel them yesterday! I was tired to the bone!

On those kind of days, we need to be our own best friend and do something good for ourself. I intended to do that with a new haircut and color. But, the results are doubtful! Oh well, it'll grow out, right? And I'm NOT posting a new picture! The one of me in the truck is as good as it gets, lol. I go back on Wednesday for some extra highlights.

Since the beauty shop didn't really give me anything to be happy about I kept looking. I wanted a little treat to look forward to. That's what we need during the dog days of summer right? (Click the link if you, like my hairdresser, never heard of dog days). In my efforts to pick myself up I discovered that August holds far more than Dog Days!

I've already missed National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2),
National Watermelon Day (August 3),
National Leave A Zucchini On Your Neighbor's Porch Day (August 8),
and National Polka Day, National Lazy Day and National S'mores Day. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I think I'll save my energy for a big pig-out on National Banana Split Day, August 25!

Have some fun today and decide which days you should call for a treat. Find the silly celebrations at National Day Calendar. All sorts of websites will tell you these little-known, but oh-so-deserving national days, however this one looked like the best to me.

What "national holiday" are you looking forward to? Click and tell it into the comment box for us all, ok?

Thank goodness it's Friday!
ferree