Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Catching Up: My first Non-Widows group to study my book!

 

Left side, from back to front: Marie, Brenda, Diane
Right side, from front to back: Sandy, Carol, Angela and Dawn 

For months I've been wanting to tell you about this fantastic group of women in South Carolina! I really miss them now that I'm in New York. I took this picture when they treated me to a dinner out since they knew I'd be moving away. This picture was way back in October. Goodness, it's not like I've moved 1000 miles away, unpacked hundreds of boxes, had Covid twice (very mild, no worries), started coaching, spoke at A Widows Journey Retreat...I'm tired just thinking about these whirlwind months!

Once I got moved, these dear friends decided to stay connected on weekly Zoom meetings,; they asked me to lead them in a study through my book, "Postcards from the Widows' Path." The book has 5 sections, and we covered a section each week for 5 weeks in January and February. 

The most intriguing part for me was that none of them were widows, and they were actually quite reluctant to read a book on widowhood. But, they were such good friends that they swallowed their fear, joined in, and found out that they really loved it! They loved our time together, and grew in their love for the Lord and his amazing work in widows' lives.

Want to see what they told me about it when I asked for an evaluation? Here's a collection of comments they sent me:

For a couple of us, our favorite part of the book was the Introduction.  Loved how honest you were about your feelings of anger and how you worked through it.  I (Carol) also loved the chapter where God worked out His plan for Ruth and Boaz.  I love a good romance but I loved how God used Naomi to help Ruth…  I love this story and I love the way you tell it in the book.

“Even though I am not and never want to be a widow, I appreciated your emphasis on being prepared for that possibility.  Knowing where things are as far as the things he does in the home, also records and financial things that he handles, such as taxes.  Working together to make sure I'm not caught without important information, such as passwords, insurance, bank accounts, etc.  It’s not easy to think about but it’s so important to be prepared.”

“My greatest take-away from your study was that no matter what your age, married, widowed, or divorced, all of the principles discussed are very applicable.  It helps to be prepared and to have a good foundation of friends to help you through.”

“While I am not a widow, I am friends with ladies who have gone through the loss of their husbands.  I think this study helped raise my awareness of what their needs are and how to be a better friend to them.”

 "It really is an excellent study.  I think far too many women are not as prepared as they should be."

"An Unexpected Treasure for a Bible study! Although written for widows, the study is an excellent look into the life of Ruth, and more importantly (for me) the life of Naomi. The book is focused on the steps to help through the difficulties associated with the loss of a loved one. However, it's a great resource for anyone who has experienced loss--whether a child, a spouse or even a divorce. Learning to pray for Kindness and Rest for persons in the pain of loss was another significant point that will remain with me. This is a timeless story that Ferree lovingly researched.

 Thank you, dear friends! The Lord bless you and keep you while we are apart! 💗 Ferree




Saturday, May 14, 2022

Sunsets



My column for May in Plain Values magazine is getting a lot of positive responses! thanks everyone! Read it for free on the Plain Value blog link for "Sunsets" on the next line:

Sunsets: Sunsets are one of God’s most brilliant and generous ideas, don’t you agree? He didn’t have to make them at all, you know....

Monday, May 2, 2022

Is Suffering Optional?

Have you heard this quote? 

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." 

I think this idea has wormed into Christianity. Our churches. Our hearts! 

It originated with an award-winning Japanese writer, Hakuri Murakami, in his book of essays, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running." If you Google the quote you'll find it attributed to other people as well, including the Buddhist Dalai Lama. There's really nothing Christian about it, yet....

Why do many Christians not admit when they are suffering?

Why do we feel ashamed to cry?

Why did I hear a pastor once say, when taking an offering for a widow in Mexico--"It's not like here in the U.S. where widows get a big life insurance policy..."

Would you admit widowhood contains a time of suffering? 

Or do we adapt this "Suffering is optional" baloney?

Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble..." (John 16:33). This morning I read Romans 5:3, the words of Apostle Paul. I remembered that the apostles James, Peter and John also wrote of suffering. Yet when it comes, when we're in the muck of it, no one really steps forward to admit it or help us face it.

I would have liked for someone to tell me on the night my husband died, "You are entering a season of suffering and profound pain. It's also a time of infinite hope, sacred spaces, rich wisdom and undying love." 

But I didn't have any relationships that were capable of that at the time. I hope I do now. It seems there are far better words and resources available now. Yet, in the fury storms of grief, could I ever find them?

So here are a couple of articles I will share with you today, and squirrel away for myself someday because suffering, like pain, is inevitable. 

Are you familiar with Clarissa Moll? She's a widow and writer with four children. Sign up for her monthly newsletter---she gets it. Scroll down and click the JOIN MY EMAIL LIST on this page, or go to https://clarissamoll.com/about-clarissa/ 

"Healing the Hurting Heart" starts around the 16 minute mark on the following video. (If it doesn't show up on your device, click the title of this blog post to get to it). I could (and have!) listened to this over and over. 


Do you wish someone would have told you about suffering (and Hope!) early on? Please feel free to leave a comment today or email me at WCplace@gmail.com  💗 Ferree

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Starting a Group Can Be a Joyful Journey

Dear friend,

Several weeks ago a widow named Jenny updated me on the group she started in March of 2021. It's just over one-year old now!

She was widowed on Jan. 17, 2020, and she says that starting the group, "...has been such a healing for me."

 Since last March, they've met once a month for encouragement, scripture and prayer. Sometimes they have a speaker, a cooking class, or an outing. They also had a Thanksgiving dinner which 16 ladies attended. This year her group also started going through my book, Postcards from the Widows' Path, using the 5-session discussion guide.

She granted permission for me to share her email with you. It's full of good ideas for different activities each month, and you might even want to borrow the group name-- Joy for the Journey. 


Good morning - I thought I would give you an update on our “Joy for the Journey” group and the Bible study. 

The monthly meetings are going well - usually 8-10 ladies are attending.
January we talked about setting goals for ourselves.
February we talked about the love for our spouse, sharing wedding pictures and stories. (Not all felt like sharing, but that’s ok).
Then we talked about how much God loves us and gave his life for us. Some ladies do not attend church and may not know God personally, so I share that whenever I can.

This month we are going out for lunch. I have 15 signed up!
I guess not having to wear a mask has made them ready to go out again .

The Bible study of Postcards from the Widows Path has had 3 lessons with 7 ladies attending. All of them are loving it. One lady wasn’t sure she could come because the first section she read made her cry. I assured that it’s ok to cry- Jesus wept. Plus I feel that tears are a way of helping us heal.

It has been such a good thing for me to do. The ladies are enjoying our meetings and the study but I’m gaining so much from it too.

Last March was when it began and I have about 20 ladies that come from time to time.
I keep in touch with them by text, calls and cards. It has been such a healing for me.

I so much appreciate your column, book and emails.

click here 
for more info
Thank you,
Jenny 

Thank YOU, Jenny, and may God continue to bless your path and your journey! Please continue to keep us posted. 
***
Are you in a widows group? Whether you meet for socials and fun, or grief support, Bible study or all of the above, it always helps others to hear about how you do it. Please email me at WCplace@gmail.com to share. Send a photo too if it's ok with everyone! 💗 Ferree

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Help for Homeschooling Moms

Dear Reader, I just found out about this and I want to pass the good news along to you! ðŸ’— Ferree  


Are you a widow who is homeschooling, or thinking of homeschooling your children? If so, you might be eligible for a Curriculum Grant from HSLDA’s Compassion grant program. HSLDA stands for Home School Legal Defense Association, and we’ve been helping to defend the liberties of homeschool families since 1983. Our Compassion department offers grants to help widows purchase their curriculum, school supplies, co-op/class fees and technology. To find out more about this, you can go to this link, Compassion Curriculum Grants. And feel free to spread the word to other widows you might know. We’re waiting and anxious to help!

I'm Anne Bittner, and I was 6 months away from graduating my last child from homeschooling when I lost my husband. It would’ve really helped me to apply for this grant, but I didn’t know about it and hadn’t as yet worked at HSLDA.

 

I would love to spare other widowed moms the stress of providing for their homeschool materials, so I hope you'll contact us.

 

Kind regards,

 

Anne BittnerCurriculum Grants Program CoordinatorHSLDA Compassion540.338.8688 Office compassiongrants@hslda.org / hslda.org/compassion

Friday, March 11, 2022

Save the Date

It was only last weekend that 125 widows gathered at Sandy Cove Ministry Center for Gayle Roper's Widows Journey Retreat. I had the privilege of being one of the speakers, and also facilitating this beautiful group pictured below. I miss everyone already!

I hope you can plan to come next year! Ladies pre-registered for 2023 during the retreat, and I have at least one friend who is starting to save up for it. Mark your calendars for the first week in March--Friday, March 3-Sunday, March 5, and let's get together! For an extra relaxing time, plan to come spend the night on Thursday, March 2. I did that for the first time this year and I highly recommend it! Plus, we could go out to eat at a local seafood restaurant for Maryland crab cakes, fresh from Chesapeake Bay! 

Sandy Cove Ministries is located in North East, MD at the top of Chesapeake Bay, halfway between Philadelphia and Baltimore Check flights and choose whichever city airport is the best buy for you. Then get a rental car for a drive of less than an hour if the traffic is good. Harrisburg, PA is a smaller airport to also fly to, but a longer drive. 

If you "Save the Date," or have questions, please use the comment line below. I'd love to hear from you!💗 Ferree