Walking Through Grief and Healing with a Loved One

8
Nov
2018

grief

Hello Sweet Friends…. I am just now coming up for some air.  Our family has been venturing down a road that has been emotional, exhausting and heartbreaking.

Two weeks ago, on October  24th, 2018, my 19 year old nephew, Nicholas Schumacher lost his battle with Neuroblastoma cancer.  He fought a 17+ month battle.  We fervently prayed he would be healed, but God had other plans.

The weeks leading up to his death, I was privileged to spend more time with Nick than I had in any other time in his life. I still saw the smile, his personality and his determined spirit coming through.

Gifts

He was the person who lit up the room as soon as he walked in with his infectious smile.

He had more JOY to spread during his short life than most do in 70 years.

He was incredibly talented in film making, even at only 19.

His Make A Wish trip involved a movie filming and meeting Tom Hanks.  It’s was a powerful trip and an awesome video was created to celebrate.

The pain of real, heart wrenching grief has not touched me since I lost my mother just a little over 12 years ago.  Grief will stick to your bones and bring you to your knees in the most dynamic way.  Even 12 years later, there will be certain memories that will open the flood gates of tears.

It’s good to remember, it’s even better to allow the tears to fall.

During this past month, I’ve grasped some concepts and ideas on how to walk alongside someone who has experienced  loss.  My brother and his family are doing just that, right now.  My heart breaks for them as they grieve the loss of a child, and I want to be a help during this time in ways that allow them space to walk the long road. Here are some of the things I have sent be helpful.

Just Be There

I had the privilege to be present when my nephew took his last breath and it was just an honor.  I found the most joy and feeling of peace just being there in the moments with both my brother and my sister-in-law.  Now, it’s the after…. the days that pass where they need someone to be present.  To not forget what they are walking through…. so even thought I am not physically there in their home with them, I will text with a message asking, ” how they are doing today” or just to let them know I am praying for them.

Listen

In the days after Nick’s death I was just present.  I asked questions, but often conversation just started, tears would start and I would just listen and allow space.  I know many feel like they do not know what to say when someone has just lost a loved one…. and that is the beauty, you really do not have anything to say, except I am sorry.  Just stop and be willing to listen.  We try to cover that awkward space with endless words that can often make things feel worse.  A hug can do so much.  Silence also produces healing.

Offer to Give Specific Help

Many times we want to help others, and we tend to ask, “What can I do?”  If you are in a the midst of grief, your mind and body is under a lot of stress and emotions and you are lucky to remember how to brush your teeth and drive your car.  When you ask a person grieving what they need help with, they will often be blank.  They are not sure.  So instead of asking an open ended question like that, offer a specific way to help.  Cleaning house, going grocery shopping, taking over errands, folding laundry, mowing their yard or just being available at their house to take deliveries is so much better.

Meals

Food….. this is important.  The last thing one wants to think about is fixing a meal, let alone trying to eat. So a real practical task you can offer is bringing a meal.  You can do this individually, or you can set up an option and coordinate it so many friends and family can contribute and make things very easy.  One site I am familiar with and used was Meal Train.  I set up a calendar of dinner delivery for two weeks, every other evening.  After that, I set up meals for every four days, to allow my sister in law a chance to get things back to normal in the kitchen, but also allowing friends to help.  Meal Train also allows for you to link up gift cards and offer a cash donation, which is great for those who do not live nearby.  I will say, the donate funds option was a bit pricey on fees, so in the future I will set up a pay-pal option for friends to donate through.

Grief is a tough season, no question about it.  However, these tips will help you walk alongside someone and be a true blessing during the process.

 

Fearless to Flourish for Him – Fellowship Over Fear

19
Mar
2018

Flourish for Him - bible study

Last fall I stepped way outside my comfort zone and began a small bible study in my tiny beach house. Currently we are living in 550 Sq Ft, while we build our dream home out in the small town of Seabrook.  You can learn all about here the transition I made from the big city to our small town here.

To say I was scared and apprehensive, was a HUGE understatement.  I mean, I really didn’t have a spacious home to host such a study.  I certainly wasn’t a bible scholar and often am confused by the bible.  However, I knew I was suppose to step outside of my ability and my narrow thinking and do this.

Fellowship over Fear

My heart so wanted to get to know other women in my new town, as well as share the special bond we all have with Christ.  I knew the best way to do that is through small group bible study where space is made to share together.

We had our first gathering last fall, on a rainy night in October.  Over the months since that very first night of study God has been faithful in adding a few more to our precious group.  We started with five ladies and now currently have seven in our second session.  

Do you know the best part – the size of my house didn’t deter anyone from coming!  Nope – God is always one to deliver and be faithful.  Actually, many enjoyed the cozy feel and were just so happy I opened my home.

God began giving me a vision to host a bible study, fellowship retreat in my home.  Fortunately, we were in a season where our family was renting a larger home for two months, in order to start construction on our dream home, so I had space to accommodate the group.  First great answer to prayer!

My vision included having the bible teacher come and teach LIVE in person.  You see, we had been following the bible study sessions through Flourish, a community bible study I participated in located just outside Seattle, where I use to live.  The weekly session teachings Marjie Schaefer does  are recorded and anyone can view them!!  So, that is how I began my study here in my home, I just  followed along and let her teach all my friends.  I truly did just need to open my home!

Not only did I ask Marjie to come and teach in person, she was thrilled to come and pour into these women.  It was such an answer to prayer and also showed her sweet dedication to pouring into women, even those outside the Seattle area.

So, two weeks ago I hosted the first, Flourish By The Sea Ladies Retreat Day.  

Was it outside my comfort zone – YES!

I didn’t know if anyone would come – but I did it anyway.

I had no idea exactly how it would turn out – but God did, so I pushed past my fear and insecurity.

I planend a simple outline for the day, created some invitations, put together an easy lunch menu for us to enjoy and began inviting ladies and waited for God to do the rest.

Because this wasn’t really about me at all  – it was all about trusting Him and what He had planned for the vision he gave me.

You all…. it was just amazing.

We shared stories, worshipped together and dove into Gods word.

What an incredible day for me and to be with these ladies, forever grateful for their desire to come and trust me.

The Glory goes all to the one and only – He gets it all!

However I am truly grateful for Marjie Schaefer and her amazing ministry, Flourish that is a life-line for so many women, not just in Seattle but all over the Pacific NW and country!

It’s dedication like hers where you see Kingdom growth.

I wore this special necklace that day to remember Gods love for me and to help me be Brave. It had been a gift from two special friends, and it has helped me keeping going when things get a little rough.

What about you?  

Are you needing to find fellowship with Christian women?  

Why not host a study in your home?  

You can do just like I did, invite a few friends, play the video and coordinate a discussion.  

You do not have to be a bible teacher, believe me, I am not!  That is not my gifting, however I can invite and create a space to allow women to bloom together and flourish.

Step Out

I will likely post a reminder about hosting your own study in late summer.  New sessions of Flourish start in the fall, and I would love to have you step outside your comfort zone and join me in being the hands of Jesus in your own sphere of influence.  

Start praying now so God can work in your heart and show you how you can make a place for Flourish in your home with a few ladies.

Be brave for His Kingdom!

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

12
Mar
2018

Kids love celebrating and creating traditions – so why not plan some fun activities for St. Patricks day – you still have plenty of time with these simple and easy options to make St. Patricks Day extra special.

Surprise family friends with a card

This “Super Lucky To Know You” free printable notecard is adorable and perfect for letting someone know they’ve made a positive impact on your family!

It’s available in two sizes and would be great to mail or hand deliver. You could include a handwritten note or adorn with gold foil wrapped candy or other fun accents.  Perfect to send to school for a teacher!

Treasure hunt

Kids will love to search for the “pot of gold” in this super easy and fun treasure hunt! All the work is done for you! The free printable includes all the “lucky” clues and as well as a “treasure” bag topper to staple on the top of the reward (a bag of goodies like gold foil wrapped Rolos or rainbow Skittles). Or create your own pot of gold with a cute Dollar Store pail or basket.

Green puppy chow

A fun twist on a basic snack!  I love that this one uses Young Living Spearmint Vitality oil – yum!!! You can grab some Young Living oils here – you know I love them!  Adding real flavors to food is a passion of mine for sure.

Explore the Irish Culture

Do your kids know who St. Patrick was or why we celebrate him? Share the story with them, then further explore the culture by serving a traditional Irish meal.

Check out this link on the History Channel – or grab this book to read aloud as a family.

 

Enjoy some Irish Specialties!

How about a delicious pot of Irish Stew to warm the hearts of your family and add a side of Traditional Irish Soda Bread?!!

Since St. Patricks Day is on a Saturday you could easily make dinner preparation part of the fun and involve everyone.

Rainbow crafts

This Fruit Loop rainbow is a lot of fun for younger kids! They love sorting the Fruit Loop colors and arranging them on the rainbow.

And I love the rainbow melted crayon canvas ideas on this page for older kids!

You can make it as simple or challenging as your child wants, and they have a bright and colorful piece of homemade artwork to hang in their room when you’re done.

 

So, what is on the top of your list to share St. Patrick’s Day with your family?

6 Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Activities for Families

10
Feb
2018

Budget Friendly Valentine's Day Activities

Valentine’s breakfast

Start the day off with a hug and specially themed breakfast.  This one is perfect, some healthy fruit and I will be adding Gluten Free Pancakes using our favorite mix I buy in bulk on amazon! Do you have a favorite Valentine breakfast idea?

The skewers are adorable, but I will likely just place on a place all together – I will have to practice my heart pancake skills, or order this heart mold really quick!  

Spread the love

Visit an assisted-care home, nursing home, or hospital to deliver handmade Valentine’s.  I can remember doing this as a younger girl, our Girl Scout troop would do this, I still have vivid memories today.

Or you could also visit people those who serve others, like firemen, librarians, police officers, etc., or even in your neighborhood (maybe a package of flower seeds in lieu of flowers and decorate up cute with ribbons, etc., depending on who you visit)

Or another cute idea here, where kids can color and decorate the “pot”.  I do love creative people with ideas that are adorable.  Because this mama isn’t as creative as she use to be!

A fun gift idea good for going to a hospital would be Valentine’s color printable and tie on a small pack of markers or colors.  How fun would that be to deliver to a children’s hospital?

Gratitude jar

Decorate a mason jar or jelly jar for each person in the family. Every day for two weeks, put a short note inside of “things you do that make me smile” or “reasons I love being your mom” or “I appreciate it when you _____” or “I’m glad you’re my brother because _____” or “I feel happy when you _____” or “I love spending time with you doing _____” or “Thank you for ____”.

Then have a family night and take turns reading your love notes.

I loved this simple and easy template for this idea.

Make pink ice cream

Make and enjoy a healthy but delicious Valentine’s Day themed ice cream for a snack or dessert using frozen bananas and strawberries. A Yonanas machine is wonderful for this, but you can use your blender.

Here’s a good recipe that everyone will love to help make – plus it’s 100% healthy and dairy free!

Love notes

Use these free printables as lunchbox notes or plant around the house as little surprises when they least expect them, tape to bathroom mirror, put at breakfast table, put on pillow before bed, etc.  Using these all throughout the year can create a fun environment in your home – not just for Valentine’s Day!

Movie theme gift basket

A more untraditional basket but one that usually pleases! Surprise them with a family movie night. The gift basket helps build excitement.   With Valentine’s Day being mid-week, it would be a fun celebration to have some snacks and a great movie.  I think I am leaning to, “Be My Valentine Charlie Brown.” 


Do you have any fun traditions in your family for Valentine’s Day?

 

My Secret Tips on Surviving the Season

20
Nov
2017

Tips on Surviving the Season

As busy moms, we are entering into one of the craziest and often high stress seasons of the year.  It can be so overwhelming that we are unable to keep our head above water.

Not this year – not for me.

I have had those seasons and I’ve been determined to find a rhythm that works for me as I parent, run two home businesses, volunteer in my community and be the wife I am called to be.

Here are a few secret weapons I have in my back pocket I want to share with you!

Green Chef

Meal prep and planning have become a real burden for me.  There are seasons where I enjoy scanning cookbooks and Pinterest for delicious meal ideas, however that is not my season right now.  We live 20 miles from a major grocery store, so planning needs to be done very efficiently.  That is why I am love with my Green Chef delivery, which arrives every Friday.  I get three dinner meals, delivered with all the ingredients I need – which are organic and chosen to fit my dietary preference.  We are on the PALEO plan and I love it!  Is it a bit more costly  than me doing the work – of course, but right now my time and energy is used best elsewhere.

Well Balanced Life

Self-care of my need for regular, gentle activity and movement of my body had been pushed to the wayside.  Take into account the weather where we live, on the Washington Coast can make it tricky to get outside really had me in a pinch.  I joined a FREE Pilates Challenge back on September and I loved it!  After that ended I hopped into The Balanced Life Sisterhood, where Robin (she’s amazing!!) offers a monthly membership program which puts together a Pilates exercise routine for you – for each day of the week, Monday thru Friday.  I do love being told just what to do – no waiting time finding the workout, just click and go.  I love the variety of the workouts too, some are just 7 minutes and some are 33 minutes – so I can always find time to do one.  My goal is six days a week, and I have kept on track!  Being able to work out from home with little thought and equipment is a WIN/WIN for me!

Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules

Where have these Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules been all my life!!??  I am a huge proponent of incorporating Apple Cider Vinegar into my routine, but truly – the taste is a hard thing to swallow!  So when a friend shared these capsules with me, I was all in.   I love that Apple Cider Vinegar is so helpful for our digestive system and also our immune system.  Even better is that I can open these up and put them in a bit of applesauce and my seven year old can get the benefits too.  These are helping us stay healthy as we enter the winter season!  Wonder what else Apple Cider Vinegar can do… google it!! It’s amazing!

Essential Oils

Yes, still using and chatting about my wonderful essential oils.  They are used daily, actually multiple times a day to help support our immune system.  There is nothing that I have done in the past almost five years of my life that has made the biggest impact on the health and wellness of myself and my family.  The all natural, plant based products in our home also help us maintain a good-operating machine so we can meet each day refreshed and ready to go.  I love Lavender in my diffuser with Cedarwood to ease the stressors of the day and promote the best nights sleep, both for me and my youngest!   Having a toolbox full of helpful goodies I can use when I need it, which can often be in the middle of the night, is a wonderfully empowering feeling.

Stitch Fix

I hate the mall and I really dislike going shopping.  So, Stitch Fix saves me – a lot!!  With the holidays coming and a few fun trips I have planned, I need a wardrobe refresher.  In steps Stitch Fix.  Did you know right now, until the end of November,  you can get a FIX with no styling fee?  That means you have NO RISK!!  Wouldn’t you love a personal shopper?  That is what you get!  Someone else picks out of the clothes and they arrive on your doorstep.  AHHHHH.  You try them on in your own home, whatever you do not care for you can easily pop in the pre-paid package to return back.  You just pay for what you keep.  They have the best jeans ever!  The only jeans in my closet now are jeans I got from Stitch Fix, they just fit right!  Do yourself a favor and schedule a Fix for you now, no risk!

There are a few of my secrets for keeping things sane and smooth here as we enter this busy holiday season.  Taking time to enjoy the moments is truly the most important.