It’s Friday, so time to share five favourite blessings from the week. If you want to do the same and link up, go to Susanne’s at Living to Tell the Story.
ONE. My work helped me get healthcare (although they weren’t legally obligated). They did so because they care about me. I am grateful to be part of such a community.
TWO. The past couple of weeks have been full of health tests. It is a blessing to figure out why I have been sooooo tired.
THREE. The tests have revealed (among other things) LOW Vitamin D and HIGH blood sugar (as in diabetes). The low Vitamin D is an easy fix – supplementation.
The high blood sugar is not so easy to fix. I obviously need to overhaul my diet and sedentary lifestyle. I have wanted to do this for a while, but lacked motivation. Now I am MOTIVATED because I do not want to have to go on insulin ( a very real possibility in my case). Nor do I want the compromised health that comes from ignoring diabetes.
FOUR. I have a Blood Glucose Buddy. Every morning I text my BG reading to my buddy and she does the same to me. It is helpful to know that I am not alone in this new way of living.
FIVE. I am still processing this news, but this morning I read from Proverbs 21:31 – “Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring victory.” I will do my “best” which right now takes up a lot of TIME. I know “soon” I will have my life back and I won’t be devoting so much time, energy, money, and thoughts to my health. And I KNOW that God is with me in this and will bring “victory” in whatever manner that looks like.
Your Turn . . . Share in the comments what makes your FAVOURITES list this week?
NOTE to FFF participants – Dealing with the above is why I have been neglectful of visiting y’all on Fridays. I am sure that soon I will get back into my groove especially since I miss the “interaction.”
Time to share some blessings for Friday’s Fave Five. Even though Friday has passed, I am going to share and link up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story. If you’ve never made a list of your Five Favourite blessings, join us! Writing my list and reading what others wrote always makes me smile.
ONE. Birthday Fun. I celebrated my 56th birthday this week. There have been scattered celebrations all week. It sure is fun to connect with friends during such times especially via Facebook. At my Wednesday night group, we decided to celebrate all the March birthdays.
TWO. Salad Dressing. A few weeks ago Susanne shared a new (to her) salad dressing. She reminded me that there are lots of choices out there, so last week I perused the refrigerated salad dressing section. I bought and LOVE Cotija Cilantro by Litehouse. Since the taste is strong, a little goes a long way. I’ve had salad three times since buying the bottle.
THREE. New Family and Time at Muir Woods. I had the fun of meeting my daughter-in-law’s sister and 11-month-old nephew. They live in Chile but are out here visiting family in VA and CA. We all took a trip to Muir Woods to walk and talk and enjoy the scenery. Now when we “visit” on Facebook, I have a real connection to my new family.
FOUR. Grand Baby Time. Of course it was great to have grand baby time in addition to meeting new family. My delightful (13 month-old) granddaughter is learning sign language. While in her high chair she used the signs for “more,” “all done,” And “help.” Sometimes I am not sure what it is she wants more of since she uses the sign for other things besides food.
FIVE. Easy Pizza. Once a month a group of gals meet because their husbands meet in another home. I don’t have a husband but they have made me an honorary member. Some kind of food is made together to encourage and promote cooking skills. This time we made pizza. But this is NOT your ordinary pizza. The “crust” is a tortilla.
Directions. 1. Lay a tortilla on a plate. 2. Scatter some shredded cheese. 3. Top with another tortilla. 4. Put sauce and toppings of choice on top. 5. Transfer to a baking tray. 6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 7. Eat!
NOTE. A couple of gals folded their tortilla in half instead of using 2 whole tortillas. I will do this next time as a whole one is sooooooo filling.
Your Turn . . . Share what made your Blessings List this week?
I was going to skip Friday’s Fave Five this week as it has been a whirlwind of activity. But Then I remembered that I am including the week it is in the title, and I didn’t want to miss a week.
Silly, I know.
But it got me to write down my list. So without further ado, here are my week’s favourite five things.
ONE. Birds on wires set to music. I saw a photo on Facebook of birds on a wire and I thought, “Cool, my friend Betty is part of FFF.” But when I looked at it closer I saw that it was birds on WIRES which were translated into musical notes and then a song. Go here for the song. Go here for the TED talk. It is in Portuguese but you’ll be able to understand and I bet appreciate the live music at the end.
TWO. I just discovered magic erasers. How have I not heard of them before? Or more importantly, never used them before. One thing I really appreciate is that they don’t have a smell. And their cleaning power is amazing especially since you don’t have to use brute force to get things clean!!!
THREE. These magic erasers were used by folks from my Wednesday night group to spring clean our room. We cleaned the tables, chairs, window sills, door knobs, and light switches. Those tables LOOK great now. They were clean enough to eat off – although I am glad we all used plates (when we stopped for some pizza). Because then we would have had to clean them again. I was so surprised that we got the room done in one hour.
FOUR. This past Sunday I gave the message at church. Our senior pastor is in Africa helping with 2 pastors’ conferences and a retreat for a health clinic. My title was Follow the Bubble When You Are in Trouble. I talked about the necessity of knowing the Word of God (James 22-25). I am not an enthusiastic up front speaker, but I did okay.
However, I had a blast doing word studies on words from this verse. One small example. The word “hearer” is talking about a person who audits a class. They don’t have to do the assignments, take the tests, know the material, or even listen well. We are told to not audit our Christian life but to do the homework with the intention of passing life’s tests well. We are told to be disciples not auditors.
I asked 2 ladies (Michelle and Kelly) to share how the Bible has impacted their lives. They both did an amazing job. In a nut shell, Michelle’s blood pressure came down and stabilized as a result of regular Bible reading. Kelly found her identity in the Bible and feels connected to the church body.
FIVE. Answered Prayer. One of the things we do in our midweek small group is pray for one person. This week I was convicted that we don’t normally share the answers. So we shared some of our answers to prayer on Wednesday after we cleaned the room, had pizza, and before we started our lesson.
• Healing of a baby in utero.
• Fear left. Tangible peace for majour health concerns (2 said this).
• Unity restored between sisters – more than that, there was LAUGHTER again.
• Still here on Earth even though this person has a serious illness (almost 80 years old).
• Someone’s personal issue was resolved.
• Strength and several sources of unexpected financial help for one with a serious medical issue.
• Health Insurance.
• 3 new volunteers
Your Turn . . . Share an answered prayer or a Fave. You can do so in the comments. Or write a post and link up to Susanne’s blog, Living to Tell the Story.
Working with children whether in church, school or in the home, is work that should be applauded and encouraged.
- Children are one-third of our population and all of our future. ~ Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981
- Children make your life important. ~ Erma Bombeck, author
- If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God! ~Dwight L. Moody, evangelist
- Every child needs a champion. ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton, former US Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States
And of course working with kiddos is hard work at times.
- Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. ~ Ray Romano, actor and comedian
Since part of my job and ministry is working with children from nursery through 5th grade, I am always on the lookout for how I can be a better pastor, leader and volunteer. So let me ask YOU a question, what are things you do to be effective in your ministry to children?
Here are a dozen of my ideas.
1. Pray – most effective thing you can do for them.
- Pray for behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and mental growth of the kiddos in your class.
- Pray and ask God if there is one child or one family He wants you to focus on outside of class.
- Pray for the kiddos to have an open heart to the gospel and spiritual growth.
2. Pray – most effective thing you can do for yourself.
- Pray for your own growth in love, faithfulness, and maturity.
- Pray that the information you’ll be teaching has an impact on their lives today and in the future.
- Pray for effectiveness in how you teach.
3. Study – even if it is for the littlest of children because you are . . .
- Building their base of knowledge about the Bible and church.
- Making yourself a usable vehicle.
- Enhancing your own devotional life – which you can share with adults (helpers, teachers and parents)
4. Connect with class kiddos as individuals – bimonthly is good.
- A card reinforcing an idea.
- A call to complement them on something.
- a “date” – to spend one-on-one time.
5. Connect with parents/grandparents as individuals – Quarterly is good.
- A card reinforcing an idea.
- A call to complement them on something.
- a “date” – to spend one-on-one time.
6. Give thanks
- Send a note to someone who helped in your class today.
- Send a note to a parent/grandparent for a specific way they are raising their child(ren) well.
- Send a note to a pastor, custodian or admin who support your ministry.
7. Plan for Fun – It is hard-wired into kiddos
- What can you do that’s fun with the Scripture?
- What can you that’s fun with the craft?
- What can you do that’s fun with story time?
8. Sharpen your skills/giftings – there is always something to learn.
- Interview people from another church that do the same ministry you do. Ask their advice on areas you’d like to improve. Share your info with helpers, teachers, and the director of Nursery and Children’s Director/Pastor.
- Read books that can hone your skills and give you ideas. One such book is this one on kids and worship, Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for Life by Kathleen Chapman.
- Get feedback from others in your ministry as to how you can improve.
9. Update your room – how it looks really does influence the behaviour of the children and the opinion of parents/grandparents.
- Change up the room set-up every once in a while so that it is always attractive, appealing, and usable.
- Leave it clean for the next class.
- Hang up the children’s work and do what you can to make them feel like the room is theirs.
Teach and model to the children room cleanup. Show them how to clean up after themselves, put things away when they are done, and before pulling another toy out.
At the end of class have the children ready to go home. Shoes on, go potty, gather belongings etc.
10. Keep on top of your spiritual life – spend time on your own relationship with God.
- Attend the adult service.
- Ask God to empower your teaching, embolden your words, and make you a better “lover.”
- Make prayer, study, confession, meditation and other spiritual disciplines a priority
11. Celebrate – take notice of what’s going on in your ministry and celebrate. Look for things like . . .
- Answered prayer.
- New volunteers.
- The faithfulness and growth of the kiddos, volunteers, and yourself.
12. Improve – pray and think about ways to improve your ministry in areas such as . . .
- Volunteer attraction and growth (this doesn’t have to be the job of the Nursery and Children’s Director/Pastor only).
Your Turn . . . What would you add to this list? . . . What have you tried and how did it work?
Related Posts . . .
- 3 Encouragements I Needed When My Children Were Young
- 10 Reasons Why Involvement in Your Church Nursery is Important
- 85% of People Who Make Decisions for Christ do so Between 4-14
- How Good Books Aid in a Child’s Growth
- Kindness is Valuable, Influential, & Contagious
- Seven Ways to Help Your Child Hear God’s VOICE
- What I Miss Most About My Babies and What This Has To Do With The Church Nursery
NOTE: This post spurred me on to write a list. I am grateful for their ideas, as I was impacted by most of them.
ONE. All Kiddos were in Church on Sunday morning. This counts as a treasure because I see that someday THEY will run the church. And it thrills me when the WHOLE congregation worships together!!! Pastor Mike talked about obeying our parents. Besides giving some great illustrations and teaching on obedience, Pastor Mike answered some of their questions. One question he answered in both services was, “Why is my mom a weirdo?”
TWO. Celebrated a friend’s birthday. Pam (the birthday girl) and I ate dinner at a taqueria before going to the movies. We saw Philomena. I didn’t think it would be very good. Boy was I surprised. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan did a great acting job. However, like I thought I would be, I was dismayed about the subject matter. Pam is a true treasure of a friend and I am glad we got to spend special time together.
THREE. Knowing the Holy Spirit’s roles help me in my prayer life. Last week our small group read and discussed some of the roles of the Holy Spirit. As I read this, it dawned on me that I can use these”jobs” as prayer points for unsaved family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. These treasure tidbits have brought encouragement into my heart. I know that God wants to answer these types of prayers.
The Holy Spirit does the following (and more that I won’t list). I can pray that He does the following in the lives I pray for.
- The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin.
- The Holy Spirit calls us to respond.
- The Holy Spirit makes the Bible understandable and helps us accept it as Truth.
- The Holy Spirit helps us to respond affirmatively to the good news of salvation.
FOUR. Sister’s birthday: related post: 5 Reasons I Love My Sister. Her birthday was Wednesday, but we will have the waffle ice cream breakfast and then dinner on Saturday. But I wanted to list her THIS week as one of my treasures.
FIVE. I read 2 more books on prayer. I am going to write 26 (short) posts on prayer during April’s Blogging to A-Z Challenge. This link is from 2013. I am in research mode. I am learning some things I didn’t know before. These treasures are helping move my prayer life to a more satisfactory phase.
Ministering to a grieving woman is a hard task. The emotions are intense. The situation which prompted the emotions is often traumatic. There is no quick “fix.” There are no easy answers. But you can be a resource.
Here are 4 ways to come alongside a grieving woman.
My first action is to show I care. I can do this by listening. Listening well is important for two reasons.
- Women (all people really) give up when they feel consistently unheard.
- Emotional pain increases when others don’t listen, understand, and act with compassion.
Listening well doesn’t mean using Scripture to lecture or prove a point. In fact, listen to her story before giving Scripture or adding any other input.
“The biggest help is probably validation without judgment.” Connie
The worst thing I can do is to not respond. It’s okay for me to say, “I don’t know what to say or what to do.”
I can also show I care by my actions.
- I might coordinate a helpful action (meals, cleaning, babysitting, gardening).
- I might do something myself (send her a note, do an activity together, pray with her).
I must not do anything that would make the woman feel inferior, inadequate, or unneeded. I need to be mindful that what is helpful or not helpful varies from woman to woman. So, I need to ask her.
Second, I’ll encourage and support the women in her grieving process. My aim is to encourage her “to choose completion and recovery rather than isolation and avoidance” (John James).
- I do this by assuring the woman that she is not going crazy. Grief is unpredictable and it hurts a lot. Emphasizing the normalcy of grief and the wide-range of ways grief can affect her is helpful even if she already knows this. In her present state of pain, this information can bring some relief and assurance that she isn’t crazy.
- I won’t try to talk her out of her feelings or rush her unique process.
- I remind her that she is not alone. There are people who want to help her (like me) though this process.
- And most importantly, I remind her that God is here too. And because of that I am able to offer hope that a better day is coming.
“Above all remember God understands their pain & can help in ways you can’t.” BG
Grieving is a disorderly process, unpredictable in appearance and manifestations. It is hard work. The steps to healing differ in expression, intensity, and time. Because our society hasn’t (as a whole) taught us about the grief process, its wide array of feelings, its impact on our behaviors and body, and the fact that grieving is normal, many women struggle needlessly and far longer than necessary.
Often people are afraid of or uncomfortable with the intense feelings of others. So they change the subject, minimize the feelings and intellectualize the situation. This is done by saying something that appeals to the intellect. To grieve well, a woman in pain needs to acknowledge those losses.
Some of these losses could include:
- The changed nature of relationships – roles (at home, work, social settings) are now different for the woman in pain. Sometimes friendships are lost.
“I think I alienated a lot of people at work … because I was out sick so much …. and others [had to] cover for me” (Lori).
- Loss of present income and/or loss of future earning potential
- Loss of youth, healthy body functions and physical abilities, including clear thinking and intellect
- Spontaneity – Living with chronic pain is hard work and typically everything needs to be planned out in order to manage the symptoms.
- Retirement dreams
- Pleasure – Available time and effort are placed on coping so that fun is often neglected.
- Satisfying Sexual life – Low energy level and interest contribute to this loss. Also the fear of pain can contribute to lack of sexual intimacy.
- Positive future plans – often these are viewed with fear
- Self esteem
“Without question [there have been losses associated with my chronic pain]. I am not the woman I once was, I lack the stamina & strength I once had….check that…it is a DIFFERENT strength & stamina.” Connie
Third, I’ll start wherever the woman is, I don’t attempt to fix her or her relationship with God.
- When she needs to talk, I listen without judgment or interruption.
- When she wants information, I have resources to suggest (books, websites, support groups, counselor).
- When she wants me to pray and share Scripture, I am ready with personal Words applicable to her situation. Some I know from my own journey and some I learn from God as I am praying for this dear one.
- When the time is right, I share the hope and insights I’ve gained (from God) from my own grief journey.
“Remember pain eats hope so encourage hope but don’t preach (good luck).” BG
Of course, I can and do pray when I am not with the woman. I believe that the best support I can give is through prayer.
And lastly, I know there are times when I need to and should refer a woman to a professional counselor. Some things are behind my capability. And to be fair to both if us, someone more skilled than I needs to take over.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not caring, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen
Your Turn . . .
- What is your best way to help a grieving woman?
- What was the best help you received when going through a time of grief?
Related Internet Post . . . 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression
Related Fruitfulwords Posts . . .
- 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend
- 25 Reasons Why Christians Suffer
- Dealing With Disenfranchised GRIEF in a Healthy Way
- Don’t Say These 13 Things to a Grieving Person
- Grief Affects Behaviors, Feelings, Thoughts (Including Memory), & Body
- Ministering to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes
- People I NEED When Life Stinks
That is the intent of my participating in the Friday’s Fave Five. I recall to mind and print five blessings of the week because I am thankful, to God, for His hand of blessing in my life.
ONE. I Read 2 Books on Prayer. (1) Seven Guides to Effective Prayer by Colin Whittaker. Whittaker told the stories of 7 prayer warriors. (2) Prayer: Life’s Limitless Reach by Jack R. Taylor. I NEED to reread this book and copy into a notebook the things I underlined. Many new ideas to think about. My prayer life has been rebooted. I am thankful there are books like these to help me grow in this spiritual discipline.
TWO. I have a new favourite Girl Scout Cookie. It is the Cranberry Citrus Crisp. Awesome. . . . Note to my British friends, this crisp is not a potato chip. It is not a very sweet cookie and goes great with a cup of tea or coffee. And because it isn’t very sweet, I don’t feel compelled to eat 3 or 9 of them in one sitting. THAT is a blessing and causes me no end of gratitude.
THREE. I Baked an Upside Down Apple Pie. You use 2 deep dish store-bought crusts, of course the requisite apple and spices, and add brown sugar, butter , and nuts under the bottom crust (which turns out to be the top when you flip it).
It was too sweet the first day. But if you let those flavours mingle, on the 2nd day, this pie is a TRUE delight. It is always fun when a new recipe is a keeper.
Soon I will make 2 more pies and give them away as just-because gifts. Here is the link to the recipe.
One caveat: Be careful when you take the pie out of the oven. Some of the apple, butter, and brown sugar mixture oozed onto my pinky and I received a wicked burn.
FOUR. I Used a Motivational Tool to Get A LOT of Work DONE This Week. Mondays are typically low energy days for me at work. I wrote a post on how to have a productive day on those low energy days.
But what do you do when the whole week is a struggle? I played a game. Bingo to be exact. I put all my work items on a BINGO card. I took great pleasure in colouring in the completed squares. Read about how I use BINGO here and here. I am thankful there are ways to trick my brain into having a productive week and enjoying it.
Five. We Celebrated a Niece’s 18th birthday. Sushi dinner one night. The ritual waffles and ice cream for breakfast. And then another family dinner with the birthday girl. I am thankful that she is walking God’s path for her life. She is also a TRUE delight.
Your Turn . . . Feeling like you’d like to say “Thank you”? Then join us at Susanne’s (Living to Tell the Story) to share your post. Or leave a comment here.