Is Valentine’s Day Cheesy?

 

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A lot of people either don’t or reluctantly celebrate Valentine’s Day because to them it is a cheesy made up Hallmark day. It’s just another excuse for companies to get their grubby hands on your hard earned money.

Do I think Valentine’s Day is cheesy? No.

 

Life get’s busy and while we should celebrate Valentine’s Day every day, we don’t. So once a year we get a reminder to express love to our family and friends. Cherish Valentine’s Day because next year, some of the people you love may not be here.

You will wish they were here even on a day you consider cheesy.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

Love Always, 

thinbutterfly

 

 

 

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie – A Review

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One of my highlights in 2016 was being chosen for the launch team for Kelly Balarie’s book Fear Fighting, awakening courage to OVERCOME your fears.  The book released today.

Kelly shares personal stories and actionable tips for over coming various fears-inducers including:

  • The Devil
  • Control
  • People Pleasing
  • Worrying
  • Comparison and Competition
  • Waiting While Trembling
  • Rejection and Opposition
  • The Past

which all happen to be fears widows deal with at some point in time.

Not a Rosy Story

It was the chapter on comparison and competition that sucker punched me.  Kelly writes about comparing herself to Rosie and the story was anything but rosy.

I too compare myself to others, wanting what they have so I can be like them and fit in. Whether it was fitting in with the in-crowd in school or fitting in with society after being widowed. Widows do not fit in with society, we are chewed up and spit out on the outside of the palace gates. We are the true deplorables. (but that is a subject for another post.)

Grief and Comparison

I found myself even doing it while grieving. Everyone else got back to normal or in some cases, their lives took off in unexpected and very pleasing circumstances. Me – I was grieving. The only moving I did was to the unemployment line a year after Joe’s passing.

There is no room for comparison while you are grieving. Do not compare yourself to another widow, she make look like she has it altogether but you do not know what goes on behind closed doors.

Once you do discover the details of another widow’s grief, you will most likely decide you are blessed to be experiencing the grief hand you were dealt.

Grief and Competition

Getting through grief is NOT a competition. There is no race to see who can come out of grief the soonest, who has the easiest grief, or who comes out of it looking the most beautiful.

There was not another woman who was widowed at the same time as me, so I did not compete with anyone to see who could finish grieving first or who looked better while grieving. (fyi – you are finished grieving when you walk through the gates of heaven. Revelation 21:4)

Behold His Radiance

In the chapter Kelly also writes:

What we see as our hindrance, God sees as admittance to behold His radiance.

pg 117

Grief is your hindrance, but you will see God in all his radiant glory through the help and support friends and family provide.

And once you see His radiance, it is up to you to emit God’s radiance to others. You do not do emit radiance by comparison and competition – you do that by serving others, even while you are grieving. 

Something To Chew On

Kelly closes each chapter with a section titled Something to Chew On. These are additional thoughts for you to meditate on. My favorite from the Comparison and Competition chapter is:

“Remind me of all the bad, and I will say, “The downpours are just precursors to rainbows.”

pg 121

Group Bible Study

Included in the book is a 12-week group Bible study, or you can do it alone. I am starting the Bible study this week. It will be a great way to kick off 2017.

Final Thoughts

I’ve always said grief is life’s greatest self-improvement course. Fear Fighting is an excellent book to read and  learn how to sucker-punch any fears that arise, whether or not you are grieving.

In Excellent Company

This book is in my stack of favorite books by author’s such as Ann Voskamp, J.T. O’Donnell, Mark Batterson, and Heather Burch. As  you can see it is also one where I used a lot of sticky notes. There are also a lot of highlights and notes in the margins.

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Well done Kelly, well done good and faithful servant! 

Matthew 25:21

Disclaimer: I am part of the Fear Fighting book launch team and received a free copy in exchange for my honest review. The links provided are not affiliate links and I receive no compensation when  you buy  Kelly’s book.

(Special Thank You to the Brunswick Library and the Adult Reference staff for the use of their fireplace and resources. The library served as my office for the past 4 months.)

 

What a Widow Needs to Read – “The Broken Way” by Ann Voskamp

Author’s Note: I was blessed to be chosen as a member of The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life book launch team and receive a free copy of the book. I read the pdf version and then re-read it when the book arrived.Yes, I have a thing for sticky notes, which I try to coordinate to the colors used in the book cover.

Upon completing the launch team application, there was a box where I needed to type a reason why I should be on the team. I put something about recommending it as a resource for widows on my site.

So do I recommend it for widows – yes.

It will help you get through your grief by reminding you it is alright to grieve. This is something Jesus knew but society sees as a sign of weakness.

Great grief isn’t made to fit inside your body. It’s why your heart breaks. 

You will also learn that being the G.I.F.T (Give It Forward Today) to other broken people is the best way to mend your broken heart.

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The third lesson you will learn is that like Esther, you were made for such a time as this.  God knows you are broken, God sees the best in you and God will use your brokenness in ways that will amaze you and in ways that will change the world. (I had no knowledge of blogging or websites when I heard “widow’s website” whispered in my ear early one morning.)

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There are many more lessons you will learn as you travel down the broken path with Ann in this book.

So while yes this is a wonderful book for widows, it is also a wonderful book for everyone because we are all broken. I love The Broken Way because it shows you how to truly live an abundant life by giving. The more you give of yourself to the broken the more you abundance you receive.

Struggle

I struggled to write this post because there is so much in this book. Every time I pick up it up and flip through it, something else jumps out at me. I could probably write a year’s worth of blog posts because of how deeply it speaks to my soul – my broken soul.

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My prayer is that you will read and adopt a broken way lifestyle. There are many broken people who are waiting for someone such as you to step into their broken life in a time such as this.

You can order it by clicking here or on any of the other links in the post.

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Thank You

Thank you Ann for writing a joy filled and thought provoking book and for being a wonderful inspiration to the world. Like Esther you were made for such a time as this.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, insurance, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at OgleOhio.com, her photography blog, because one blog is not enough.

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