GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

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

sept-oac-art-250x250

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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Been MIA


This post won’t contain pictures – it’s not because I don’t want it too but because I’m simply trying to keep up with our lives.

June 13, 2016 marked 1 1/2 year of me being a widow – you can read some of my thoughts on that here, I wrote it before the mark. A friend of my husband’s passed away this week – he was 44 and he left behind three children and a wife. There are times the scabs get ripped off and start oozing again. I could not bring myself to go to his visitation, I’ll send a card to his widow and children.

There are times I want to quit everything – church, school, activities, all. of. it! I just want to stay inside, cuddle in my bed and have my children with me and just, BE. There are times that I put on my smiling face because no one wants to really hear about our troubles, my worries for the future and so on. I’m just weary of everything – it’s not so much depression as it is self-preservation.

I want to stop but then I know if I do – even for a moment – things will come crashing down, emotions I don’t want to feel, tears I don’t want to fall, raw pain that I don’t want to deal with. So I stay busy, so busy that by 7 or 8 p.m. I fall into bed exhausted so I can fall to sleep and not let thoughts plague me – of course the nightmares come. So I guess it’s counter-productive.

I’m realizing I haven’t grieved fully.

I’m realizing that I’ve gone through the motions and it seems the more I go through the motions the more numb I become.

I’ve realized what family and what friends I can count on and there are those I can’t, and it hurts. Those that have helped and continue to do so, thank you, that isn’t what hurts. The hurt comes from those who think I should be the one to call, to reach out if I need something. If someone lost a parent, we wouldn’t require them to be the ones to reach out, would we? So why should a widow? There is family who wonders why we don’t come around much – it goes both ways and I can’t be the one to make the effort all the time.

My son recently confided to me that he gets scared when I’m asleep. I guess apparently I sleep so soundly that you can’t see my chest rise and fall. Being the child that found his dad, you can imagine how scary it is for him. So I’ve had to give him permission at any time he gets scared and doesn’t see my breathing, to wake me up. This isn’t an easy feat, my husband hated waking me up too, I’m a heavy sleeper for the most part. I’ve assured him and all of them they can wake me.

That is our lives. I even check on the children more now than I did when they were babes. If I get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night I’ll check on them – and hold my breath until they either move or I see their chest move.

We take for granted we’ll be there in the morning – our lives no longer allow us to do that – sad for me to learn and even more sad for such young children to learn.

We’ve gone through our 2nd Father’s Day and we’re going into our 2nd Fourth of July – my mom is thinking of buying me a grill so we’ll probably do something low key at home. My son doesn’t want to see fireworks, I’m okay with that. My oldest had her 2nd set of ear tubes put in this week and so she’s sensitive to sound. We’ve got smoke bombs and sparklers we’ll do.

We’ve also passed my brother’s 1st birthday, the first one without him here.

One would think that as a social worker and having taken many psych classes I’d know what to do, follow the stages of grief and be healthy. Like nurses making the worst patients, social workers don’t follow their own education either – oh we can tell others the way I’ve dealt with things probably isn’t the healthiest, it will come to bite me in the end, etc, etc. Then again I guess we’re all just trying to make it through whether healthy or not, whether it’s following the grief guidelines or not.

So all this to say is that I’m still here, blogging is still a way for me to express myself, just checking in. Please keep us in your prayers.

 

 

 

 

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FREE 14 Day Trial Is Now Available for the Odyssey Adventure Club!


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Think of ways you can enjoy this summer for free:

  • Hiking
  • Visiting parks in your area
  • Swimming
  • Camping in your backyard
  • Visit a public museum or library

Now, add more fun and imagination to your summer through the Odyssey Adventure Club!

The Odyssey Adventure Club will give you streaming access to more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes plus a sneak peek of exclusive audio and video stories, on-line activities and daily devotions you can’t find anywhere else.

Start a free 14-day trial for your family today and make the summer even more fun!

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Make Your Children World Explorers


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Give your family summer vacation a makeover this year and turn it into a “staycation.” Have your kids forget their summer boredom, turn off their screens, and instead circle the globe with Focus on the Family’s “World Explorers” summer adventure kit!

Throughout the next two months, travel our colorful, diverse world, visiting 27 different countries on six continents. Part of the fun will be figuring out where the next stop is, using five clues that reveal interesting facts about the next country. Once you’ve determined where you’re going, use the games, activities and faith lessons to give your kids a glimpse into that country’s unique culture.

Click here to sign up and receive your free summer adventure kit.

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Don’t Be Bored This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at OACLUB.org.

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Adventures in Odyssey Summer Challenge 2016


This summer, you can join Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse Magazine and help children in the Middle East go to school and learn English. It’s Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse Magazine Exercise to Educate summer challenge!

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The Problem

Nearly 7,000 miles away from the United States, there’s a war going on in the country of Syria. Many families have been forced from their homes. Parents have had to leave their jobs, and children have had to leave behind toys and friends.

Many of these families now live in refugee camps in nearby countries. They have tents instead of houses. Clean water is hard to come by. This war has put 2.6 million children out of school – some for more than four years already.

The Solution

Our friends at Focus on the Family Middle East know many families who don’t have the money to buy a school uniform and pay for their children to go to school. They also know people who would love to teach children English in local churches.

You may not have a lot of money to help, but you probably have time, energy and excitement. Here’s what you can do:

1. Go to to Whitsend.org/summer.

2. Print a sponsor sheet and exercise to earn points. You can do it for a week or the whole summer – just remember, the more you exercise, the more points you’ll earn!

3. Ask your family and friends to sponsor your efforts.

4. Beginning in July, tell us how you did and receive a digital bundle from your friends at Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family. The deadline to submit your information is August 31, 2016.

For participating and submitting your information, you will get a free Adventures in Odyssey episode from Album 51. You will also get 101 Surefire Ways to Strengthen Your Child’s Faith – eBook and the audio book of Imagination Station #1, “Voyage with the Vikings.”

Make the most of your summer—exercise for your health and help other kids in need while you do!

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Don’t Be Bored This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with over 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at OACLUB.org.

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