GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Nearing the finish line!


 

I’m happy to say that I will be graduating in just a couple of weeks. The last day of my senior field practicum (400 hours in one semester!) is August 24th. This was preceded by my junior field practicum of 100 hours. My junior was completed at our county Developmental Disabilities agency and my senior was at the Ohio Masonic Community where I floated between the memory care facility and the skilled nursing/rehab floor. I have learned a lot, including where I’ll end up when I grow up!

One of the things I’ve learned is that as soon as you graduate, everyone expects you to get a job. Now, I’ve been out of the work force, except for a brief part time stint, for 16 1/2 years! I really don’t need to go back to work right away, I’m rare in that I have zero student debt and we could continue to scrape by on our survivor benefits. However, I have a job and that begins on August 27th. I will be the new Director of Social Services at a nursing facility about a half an hour from me. I was also offered a position as a Performance Coach at a charter school but I know nothing about working in a school so I opted for the nursing facility.

There are many benefits to taking the nursing home position – one of which is that they didn’t mind giving me time off for our trip to Disney in September. We will likely be losing Medicaid, which is both a good thing and a bad thing – I’m not used to paying co-pays anymore but we’ll be off the government dole. I know it has been awhile since I’ve written and I would like to see my blog evolve into something for moms, especially widowed moms who are trying to hold it all together and work.

Some may be wondering – yes, I’m still homeschooling.

Our schooling is going to look different – way different than it did when we started 11 years ago and I was home all the time. My 16 year old graduates high school this fall, my almost 14 year old will be working independently except for maybe me helping with science experiments, and my 12 year old son well he’ll still need help to stay on task. We’re also still dealing with his reading, which has improved, but with APD it’s still rough going. School may happen in the evenings or even on the weekends. We’ll see.

I take my Licensed Social Worker exam on Thursday morning – there is no way to really study so I’m praying I do well. I did get an 81 on my comprehensive exam which I only needed a 71 to graduate – so I’m fairly certain with the Lord on my side I’ll walk out with a passing grade. A lot is riding on this exam – I have to pass so I can begin my job, if I pass the only thing I’ll be waiting on is Liberty to confer my degree on my transcripts and submit that to the Ohio CSWMFT Board. Then every two years I have to renew said license and accrue CEU’s as well. One thing is that social workers never stop learning.

I’m not sure if I want to stay in the nursing home arena as my heart is still in trauma and trafficking but I’ve also learned not to limit myself to what I can do. I’m praying for the least amount of stress and upset for our family and that this job will lead to good things for us. Namely a second vehicle so my oldest can get her and her siblings to their activities during the day. Then less worry about finances – it will be so nice not to have to decide between food in the house or gas in the car.

I’m not sure what this blog will look like in the next few months. A social work mom blog? Who knows but I’d like to start something new with this and see where the Lord takes it.

 

 

(c) 2018, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

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It is that time….


I was going to make a nice picture to go along with this post but since the photo editing site I use doesn’t allow even free editing anymore I can’t. So I’ll just start this post – I’ve been remiss in posting because life has been so busy. My daughter’s have had a performance each month since September including traveling to Greenville, S.C. for Project Dance. In November was my on campus intensive for a week, also had to have all tires replaced on my vehicle plus a tie rod. Then on Thanksgiving my water heater goes out.

So it’s been busy and expensive.

Wednesday.

That is December 13th.

Three years.

Yesterday, I briefly visited my mom. She told me she had her other house, the one we last lived in and the one my husband passed away in 3 years ago, cleaned out. We left some furniture and stuff that was broken when we moved out.

I was happy that she’d finally done it – we’ve been out of the house for over a year now.

I was also sad – I broke down while driving with my children in the car.

You see, while we’ve been in our new home and creating new memories – there was also still that link and now that link is gone. Severed. Dissolved.

In my mind, while there was still some things left in the old house it was a way for me to still feel some connection to my husband. Knowing that the house is cleaned out. Knowing that my mom is having someone to come in and paint. Knowing the house will be put on the market soon. These are all things that leave me feeling like I’ve lost him again.

Thankfully my children understood, they gave me the time I needed. I kept driving. My oldest handed me a tissue. I dried my eyes.

My son then realized that we had left his lamp, which my husband bought him, and that it was now in the trash. I assured him that the lamp wasn’t good as it got too hot and was a fire hazard.

I get it though. Tangible. It’s why I still have the last pack of Christmas peppermint Peeps Don bought me. They are hard. Rock hard. They are tucked away in a drawer in my kitchen. I hate peppermint.

Three years doesn’t mean I forget. Widows don’t forget. The children don’t forget.

Life does go on though. Birthdays. Dance recitals. Holidays. Anniversaries. Life goes on.

It just goes on differently.

I’ve been told that I should drop the widow title. When asked, say I’m single. That it makes people uncomfortable when I say widow.

A moment of uncomfortable feelings for someone versus three years of my uncomfortable life?

Me saying widow doesn’t mean I want pity, but it describes who I am. I know I’m ‘single’ but if I still had had a choice I’d still be married.

I’m so very thankful for our life now. It has been a long three years though.

Don’t forget – during the holidays, if you have a widow in your life, don’t forget them.

Let them know you’re still there, you haven’t forgotten – holidays are hard.

 

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I apologize – missing images


Due to Photobucket changing how they do things and making people pay to share their own pictures you’ll notice most of my images are gone. I’m working on fixing this but it’s slow going since I have to transfer thousands and thousands (really) pictures from Photobucket to another photo hosting site and then re-link them all here. I have to do that on top of homeschooling, my children’s activities, and my college classes. Thank you for being patient as I get my blog fixed back up and re-enter blogging.

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Litfuse Publicity: God’s Crime Scene for Kids by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace


Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery. Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

crime1About the Book:

Hone your reasoning skills as you investigate evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation.
In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God’s existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.
In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

crime2About the authors:

J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of “Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene,” “Forensic Faith,” and “Cold-Case Christianity for Kids.” He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of ColdCaseChristianity.com. Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.

Find out more about J. Warner and Susie Wallace here.

My Opinion:

This is a fantastic book for children using a ‘real-life’ mystery, Detective Jeffries helps the children in his Junior Detective’s Academy to prove God’s existence. The book has a lot of pictures which is great for visual learners and CSI assignments in the margins have children digging into the Word for clues and answers. There are detective definitions, a tool for their ‘bag’, and digging deeper areas in little boxes in the margins. Visit Cold Case Christianity for Kids to view videos and print off pages to make a detective notebook that goes along with the book. Even I enjoyed this book and it gave me more ideas on how to talk to my children when they ask about God.

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Litfuse Publicity: 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey


40-daysAbout the Book:

Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

—Self-acceptance
—Self-care
—Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
—Generosity
—Presence
—Forgiveness

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

You can purchase your own copy here.

40-days-2About Sarah:

Often considered a dreamer and silly heart, Sarah Humphrey uses inspiration from her most beloved career, motherhood, to fuel her passion for writing, creative movement and teaching. She has and is authoring several books and children’s books. Sarah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three beautiful, bouncy kids.

You can connect with Sarah on her website.

My Opinion:

I entered into the whole adult coloring craze when it started getting big and I enjoy it, at least when I get time to do it. It’s the same way with my Bible studying – between home school, children’s activities, my college classes – I often let Bible study and time for myself get put to the wayside. Enter in 40 Days, this makes the calmness of the coloring and entering into reflection with the Lord easy to do since they are combined! In less than 10 minutes, or more depending on how fast you color, you’ll have delved into the Word all while taking care of you.

The Scripture comes from the NIV, CEB, and the NKJV but you can always look it up in the translation of your preference. The devotions are short, usually just a paragraph or two so it makes reading them before your children wake or you have to get your husband off to work, easy and quick. The pictures are simple to color, no complicated abstract pictures here, they are simple but beautiful and correlate nicely to the day’s devotions. I know my day goes better when I have spent time with the Lord and His Word than when I don’t. I will post some of my own pictures soon.

Please visit the Litfuse Landing Page to see what other bloggers thought about this book.

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Download Your Free How-To Guide for Bring Your Bible to School Day


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Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are preparing for Hurricane Matthew to hit. For students in hurricane-affected states who are facing school closures but still want to participate in Bring Your Bible to School Day, the alternate date is Thursday, October 20.

This brings about a good point: Any day can be a day you organize your friends to bring your Bibles to school together!

By signing up during the month of October for Bring Your Bible to School Day (even if you missed the official celebration), you can download a free how-to guide for teens, parents, pastors, and elementary students. It’s full of helpful information that will help you organize a day to take a stand for religious freedom and bring your Bible to school with your fellow classmates.

(Sign-ups must be received by midnight (MT), Oct. 7, in order to be automatically entered into the Newsboys giveaway.)

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

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See the Newsboys in Concert with Adventures in Odyssey


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Want to be entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, the award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas? Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations: Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends on October 6.

By completing the information on this page, you’re automatically entered to win the chance to see the Newsboys with Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey. Don’t miss out on the chance to see a fantastic band with your family!

Plus Sign Up for a Free Two-Week Trial of Odyssey Adventure Club

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

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Commit to Bring Your Bible to School October 6


Celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.

By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

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To the friends and family of the new widow


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My last post was to the young widow and there will probably be a part two but now I want to focus on the friends and family of the young widow, there will probably be a part two to this as well.

These are some things to do and not to do – I stress not because you cannot bombard the young widow with questions, inane requests or questions. What you might consider helpful, to the young widow, usually is not. Remember our loss is different than if you had lost a parent, grandparent or even a child. Each loss is unique and with that I’m going on what helped me.

So the top of my list would be gifts – money and/or gift cards. I cannot say how much gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores and/or gas cards helped me in those first weeks and months. Giving a Pizza Hut gift card means I could go online order a pizza or two and soda, have it delivered and never once have to leave my house. Gas cards for the many trips to the funeral home, church and cemetery we’ll be making over the next several days and weeks. Grocery gift cards allow a friend to pick us up stuff without having to worry about giving them money and change, etc. and when we feel like going to the grocery we don’t have to worry about our check book dwindling – this was a MAJOR worry until I could access my husband’s bank account and began receiving benefits in March (3 months AFTER his passing).

Set up a Take Them A Meal or a Meal Train. Again this is something that tops my list! Meals that we don’t have to plan, prepare or think of. If you can include enough for leftovers for lunch and maybe even breakfast, even if it’s cereal and some milk. Don’t forget toilet paper and paper towels! Seriously, this is stuff I couldn’t begin to think we needed let alone wanted. If the person’s church or their children’s activities director isn’t setting something up – do it! Even if you don’t know them well, if you find a new widow isn’t having food brought to her house, set it up! The nice thing is even if you can’t make a meal and take you can have food sent, a little costly, but well worth it and appreciated. One friend who lived quite a distance from me order a Bob Evans take out meal, I ran in real quick to pick it up. All was paid for and it was home in minutes for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day.

To go along with the second idea – DO NOT call, text or email the widow asking what she wants or needs. I had absolutely no, zero, nada, idea of what I needed let alone what I wanted. There should be 1 – one, uno, contact person. If the person who is setting up the meal train, they should find out what meals the family enjoys, allergies and list those on the site so that those signing up to take a meal does not bombard the widow with these questions. If there can’t be one contact person then a friend or family member needs to be appointed point of contact or even two people. Trust me, we have enough to deal with with having to pick out an outfit for our husband, making sure the details are correct, writing the obituary, meeting with the funeral director and the cemetery people which are usually two separate meetings, and taking care of the children.

Going along with the previous idea – DO NOT call, text or email to ask what you can do, what can you bring, etc. The majority of us will be in shock, especially if the passing of our husband is sudden and unexpected, we can barely think of what has to happen next let alone what things you might be thinking of. Our world is upside down – literally and figuratively. Contact their church, a mutual friend, a family member, etc but try to keep your contact minimal. Let them know you’re thinking and praying for them by sending a condolence card, on Facebook, text, email or phone call BUT do not ask, at least right away, what they need.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt” UGH! Please, please think before you speak. What you might think is helpful, may not be. I had one person while I was standing in the receiving line tell me I was young and could re-marry. WHAT!? Really? Or he’s in a better place. Yes, but I’m not focusing on that, I want him here with me and the children. He’s not suffering. Sure, but again I want him here! Many of us don’t know what to say, and you know what, it’s okay to admit that. I would have much rather heard, “I don’t know what to say and I’m sorry, you’re in our thoughts and prayers” than some of the “helpful” words spoken.

I’ll leave it at that for now, I’m not saying all these things are true for every single widow across the board BUT these are things that did help or would have helped me in the first days of widowhood. I’m sure there will be another post – things about when to say widow in front of her, talking about her husband, etc but for now this is a start.

 

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To the new widow (especially the young one)


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I received word last night that another husband passed away – he was young, it was sudden and unexpected. Another fellow blogger also lost her husband suddenly the other day. Then there was the friend of my husband. 3 widows in just a short span of time. It seems, like my husband, two were taken by a heart attack and one by a blood clot in the lungs – their wives and children’s lives turned upside down in minutes.

I want to write this to the new widow, especially the young ones, that may still have children at home. I’m not discounting the elderly widow or those young ones without children at home, but with all things there are certain dynamics that come with being a young widow with children at home.

First, there will be a light at the ‘end’ of the tunnel. I know it’s hard to see or even want to hear that, believe me I know. There will come a day when you begin to feel alive again and when that day comes you will also feel guilty. Guilty because maybe that means you’re forgetting him? Guilty because you’re the one still alive? Guilty just to feel guilty.

Please know it’s okay to tell family and friends to leave you alone, to go away. Sometimes you just need that time with your children. As much as our friends and family mean well and love us – it is okay to tell them bye and just BE.

It’s also okay to admit that you don’t know what you or your children want or need. I had so many people, who wanted to help us, ask me what we needed, what we wanted. I honestly couldn’t answer that. The first few days and weeks are a fog, you’re mind is going a thousand a million miles per second – you won’t know if you’re out of toilet paper or if you need milk. That is where your friends and family come in, let them enter your home go through your cupboards, your fridge, bathroom and see what you need. I know to those who aren’t going through the loss of a husband can’t fathom that, letting friends and family go through your house, unthinkable. You are just trying to get through the day, walking with your children and going to the store becomes your unthinkable.

Don’t say you’re okay – I learned that even when it shocked people – admitting I wasn’t okay helped ME. When I finally went to the grocery store for the first time and the cashier asked how I was, I honestly said not good, and told her about Don. She was shocked by my honesty. I’m no longer afraid of being honest – if they can’t handle the truth that is their issue, not yours. If you’re not okay or if you are okay, be honest, it will help you face those feelings.

Make sure to proof read the obituary before letting the funeral home submit it to the paper. I regret this. There were errors in my husband’s leading some to think that we had expected him to pass away – if I had been of sound mind I would have caught that and had it removed.

During the visitation, it is okay to sit. I tried to stand for hours, thankfully a friend and my mom noticed that I wasn’t doing well and forced me to sit. I sat as the hundreds of people filtered through. I don’t care what they thought, some didn’t even know there was a widow! I wouldn’t have done my children any good by passing out in front of my husband’s casket. Sit if you need to sit, cry if you need to cry and even exit the visitation area for a few moments. Don’t worry what others will say – this is about you and your children. I know some didn’t like it that I didn’t make my children stand next to the casket and receive visitors instead I let them ramble around the church with their friends. They’d come up to Don and then leave again – that is what they needed.

Reach out – I wish I had had a younger widow to reach out too – the ones that I know are elderly with adult children. If you can find a younger widow who has walked this road is walking this road (we’ll always be walking this road) that can help. We can know that you’ll want to remember your husband, hear his name, cry. We’ll know that you need silence and someone to just hold you or hold your child(ren) while you hide under the covers. If you don’t know of another young widow, maybe your pastor does or the funeral home or a loss support group.

Grieve your way. If that means you need a support group, join one. If that means you need to stay in and cry, do it. Many well meaning people told me to get into a support group, I didn’t. That is what I needed. I take on other peoples grief and I couldn’t do that and I still can’t. It was suggested for me to go to a widow’s group – I didn’t do that either as most were elderly and I’m in a totally different stage. Maybe some day. If you need a group, if you don’t, both are fine.

Don’t let others tell how you how you should feel – I’ve had some tell me what they’d do in my situation. Ignore them! They don’t know and I pray they never do. If you laugh over a funny memory, don’t let someone tell you you shouldn’t be laughing (there is a time to weep and a time to laugh). If all you do is cry, then cry. If you need to scream, scream. There is no timeline – even though I’m 18 months out doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I think Don will be coming home soon, or waiting for a phone call, and so on. If I hear Toto on the radio.

Basically, grieve your way – you’ve loved this man for years, you’ve had children together and now it’s gone. I won’t lie, you’ll be lonely at night as you search for his body in your bed, you’ll long for another adult to talk to once all the company goes back to their lives, you’ll try calling his cell or work number only to be brought back to reality. You are going to be lonely, if there is a friend or family member who can stay with you, accept it. It’s not the same thing but they can be there.

Lean on the Lord – His presence is there, it may not be a physical, human presence but He is there. He can take your questions, He can take your anger and He will comfort you and your children. I still get angry some days – I question why so and so is still alive and Don isn’t. Why the couple who is divorcing is throwing it all away. I even get jealous – friends kissing their husbands, couples holding hands at events. The Lord can take it – He knows your pain, He knows your children’s pain – He will take it all upon Him, He can’t take it away only His return can spare us that, but He can comfort us.

There is so much more I could write, but I know that one’s mind can only hold so much especially in the time of grief. Please, reach out to me, if you don’t know of any other young widows, I’d love to come along side you and just listen.

 

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