Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Christmas in July ~ Part 2 ~ New Jersey


Hello Ladies ~ Here it is the end of July and our sisters in New Jersey had their ‘Christmas in July’ meeting/luncheon yesterday. What a colorful group and they looked like they had a nice time together.

Here are two photos of the ladies taken with teddy bears for their teddy bear ministry. This ministry was started in 1995 and has been a blessing to many through the years since then.



Dotti asked me to post a photo of our FL group too, as both groups are involved in the teddy bear ministry.

Something about teddy bears makes us all smile.  Plus the fact that this ministry is about these bears being a reminder of God’s love for us and all who receive one, gives us reason to rejoice.


This group also has a ministry of giving out a little monthly devotional to their ladies.


They also give out Bibles to new ladies who have come three times to the meetings.


Look at their lovely Christmas dinner. Doesn’t it look scrumptious?


So, there we have it, our  “Christmas in July” meetings are over. We had great times.

As I close this post I ask that we all pray for Mary Lou who is having knee surgery this week.  May her surgery go smoothly and may her recovery be swift.


May you all feel the love of God enfolding you,

May you feel His strength and peace flowing through you as you go about each new day that you are blessed with.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Today’s Witnessing Widows


Good morning Ladies ~ Today we have three more of our sisters telling us about what has helped them in their time of grief.  May we all be encouraged and may we in turn, encourage other widows.

Let us remember what it says in 2 Corinthians 3

God brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

These three ladies are from Florida.

First we have M.D.

She writes that “the food, the visits, the hugs of family and friends brought the love of God close to my heart.”

Blessings at this time were:

Special hugs from people that I barely knew.

Finding God’s peace in my solitude.



Next we have S.S.

She writes: “I can get up in the mornings and thank God I can stand and walk.”

God has blessed me over and over again.

Thank you God.



Our last testimony today is by E.M.

She writes: “If I feel down – I get on my knees and ask for His help.  He lifts me up – I can always feel His presence.

He brought my friends to me – My lord never leaves me – He is always there for me – Prayer is a great blessing.”



Each of these ladies had the same special song that has helped them through their grief, and it is ‘How Great Thou Art’.

I am going to post three different versions of this song. They are all wonderful.  God has touched and blessed many hearts and souls with this wonderful old hymn. It has been performed through the years by many, and still being performed even now.

“How Great Thou Art" is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940) in Sweden in 1885. The melody is a Swedish folk song. It was translated into English by British missionary Stuart K. Hine, who also added two original verses of his own composition.


This first rendition will be by George Beverly Shea.

If my memory serves me correctly, I heard him when I was a little girl when we went to this huge gathering in California.

This video is from 1957.

George Beverly Shea

Susan Boyle - How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art by World Outreach Worship featuring StikYard


Thank you ladies for your encouraging words written from your hearts, and for reminding us all of this wonderful old hymn.

May the words of this song fill our hearts with love and adoration for our Mighty God.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Serving and Giving ~ Christmas in July


What a ‘Merry’ meeting we had today. We had a good turn out considering it is summer with ladies being on vacation, and our winter ladies being back up north.

We had a time of prayer, songs, games, and giving. There was much joy, love, hugs and laughter.

Friends Needing Friends is a ‘sisterhood’ that believes in:

‘Serving God and Others Even While We Ourselves Are Hurting’.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we read the following:

Blessed be God,

even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of mercies,

and the God of all comfort;

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,

that we may be able to comfort them

which are in any trouble,

by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are

comforted of God.


There is a joy that can’t really be explained when we give to others, especially when we are hurting. We grow in God’s grace and mercies.  He fills our hearts and minds with His love and peace, and strengthens us as we trust in Him.

One of our ministries is our Teddy Bear ministry, started in New Jersey in 1995 after Dotti’s sister passed away. She had had a shop and there were teddy bears sitting there just waiting for homes to go to. So, an idea was born, and they found homes with widows to help ease their grief, to let them know that God loves them and that they are not alone and that others care for them as well. This ministry continues today in New Jersey and in Florida.

Besides widows they have also been given to ladies who are sick or in need of God’s love and assurance. God loves us all no matter what our situation and we need to hear or be shown that at different times in our lives. God’s grace, love and mercy know no bounds.


Here is a photo of our ladies taken today with some of our teddy bears.

What a sweet bunch. I love them all more with each time we get together. We’ve all walked through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ and Jesus has seen us through, being right beside us every step of the way. We are here sharing what He has done and is doing in our lives.

Click on photo for a larger view.


Some of these bears also go to assisted living homes to share God’s love with the widows there. Hundreds of teddy bears have been given away through the years and the stories that have come back to us about them have been inspiring and encouraging.


Another ministry has been one of giving to our Veterans.

Today, we brought candy to give to

‘Forgotten Soldiers Outreach’.

They all need to know that God loves them too. They have served their country faithfully, and sometimes they are forgotten by the wayside.



Over the past 2 1/2 years, our group here in s.e. Florida has had Diaper Days, where we bring newborn diapers to give to a group called, ‘First Care Family Resources’, for unwed mothers. It’s a place where they are taught to care for their babies and to make a better life for themselves. We’ve also brought in new baby clothes and baby items for this same group.

Giving is a big part of our ministry, not just to each other, but to others as well.



Below are more photos from our ‘Merry’ meeting/luncheon today.

In this  photo below we have a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law duo.

You can read their sweet testimony here.

Doreen is a sweetheart to bring her dear mother-in-law, Olga, to each meeting. Doreen has become a member of our staff and is a tremendous help.

The ladies were playing the ‘pocketbook’ game. This is where items are called out and the ladies have to see if they have these in their pocketbooks. Doreen was the winner with a whopping 10 items from the list.


The ladies were all so intent as they searched for the items.


Next, we have our Bible Quiz winners. Each month we have a Bible Quiz.  We receive the quiz with our newsletter and read the scripture and answer the questions at home, then bring the quiz to the meeting. We had quite a few today who got all the answers right.




It was a ‘Joyous’ meeting. Our last Christmas song sung before lunch was “Joy To The World”. By the last verse, our voices had risen in volume and joy and love was pouring out of our hearts filling the room.  God/Immanuel was with us.



Here is our buffet lunch today fixed especially for us. Wonderful little whole wheat rolls with butter, salad makings, and a chicken/parmesan noodle dish, and several steamed veggies. Oh yea, we had a delicious homemade cream of vegetable soup that all of us loved and wanted the recipe for.  We had iced tea, lemonade, soda, and coffee for beverages.  For desert we had a real treat today, ice cream with caramel sauce and crushed Oreo cookies, plus peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies.


We all left filled with good food,

friendships blessed

and closer to our God.


We will be taking a little vacation the month of August, so we’ll see you again, God willing, in September.


I will close this post with a photo of our staff, minus the photographer, Smile. They are busy here stuffing envelopes at our last staff meeting. There is much discussion, ideas, laughter and prayers as we work with Dotti in planning and getting ready for each month’s meeting.


It is a joy to be part of the staff

and this ministry.

A ministry created by Dotti, out of a need

and a love for widows,

and for God’s honor and glory.


Wherefore comfort yourselves together,

and edify one another…

Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks:

for this is the will of God

in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1Th 5:11, 16-18

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It’s that time of year…


Time to celebrate:


Hello Ladies,

Here it is that time of year again where we do some celebrating, of Christ’s birth and what it means to us. We can celebrate Christmas every day if we wish to, and maybe we should. Christmas is all about Love and Giving.

Today we have another uplifting piece by

Shari Hervold.


Unlikely Candidates

to Learn of Christ's Birth Firsthand




When the hot, sticky days of July begin to wear on one's nerves, there's only one thing to do: Celebrate Christmas. The nativity story never gets old, does it?  Most of you could recite from memory Luke's recounting of it: "There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them..."  For all of their devotion to their lambs and sheep, shepherds were despised in first century Palestine.  Those who considered themselves as proper members of society looked upon shepherds as uncouth and untouchable because they worked with animals.  Sheep, you see, have oil fleece and as shepherds, they had to handle them, often carrying an injured one.  It wasn't the mother sheep that stopped the shivering of a newly-born lamb, it was the shepherd's arm and hand.  Because the shepherd had to be on duty 24/7 to attend to sick, lost, or injured, sheep, they didn't attend synagogue regularly, and they were looked down upon for this also by the very legalistic Pharisees. You would have thought that they would be more respected and appreciated, but they weren't.

Yet, like all people who are despised for whatever reason, they were useful to those who despised them,  It was a lamb that was offered as a temple sacrifice, an unblemished one at that.  Temple authorities had their own flocks just outside of Jerusalem in the Bethlehem hills. Here the shepherds watched over their own flocks as well as the flocks of the temple authorities, always on the lookout for that perfect lamb.  And it was to this despised, rural, coarse, smelly group of men that the birth of the spotless Lamb of God was first announced.  It was the lowly shepherds who first heard the words, "For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord...And they came with haste and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And they worshipped him."

When we were lost, dirty, and outcast He revealed himself to us and let us know that He wants to become our Savior. And even if you don't consider yourself ordinary but perhaps more urbane or sophisticated, Jesus came to be your savior too.  Each of us needs to come with haste and worship the Lamb of God.  Christmas in July is the perfect time for each of us to reconsider the purpose of Christ's birth and celebrate with great adoration, just like those lowly shepherds.

Ladies of Friends Needing Friends will be gathering together in Florida and New Jersey to throw birthday parties for Jesus.  Enjoy each other's fellowship, the traditions you treasure (even the silly ones), laugh a lot, partake of a lovely luncheon, sing familiar carols, all adoring the Lamb of God who so loves and delights in you, regardless of your status in this life.  Merry Christmas to one and all!

Reflection:  If you are reading this blog and have not asked the Jesus of the Bible to become your Lord and Savior, I implore you to do so now.  If you long for a lasting joy in your life, I ask you to trust in Jesus Christ for eternal life made available to you through His death and resurrection.  Jesus Christ himself said that if you come to Him, you will become a child of God and a joint heir with Him in all the wonderful things that God has prepared for those that trust in Him.  It is the best decision you will ever make.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

A real audio treat of encouragement

Good morning Ladies ~ Today we have a real treat because we have an ‘audio’ post.
This was from Friends Needing Friends 20th Anniversary. The message is still relevant, no matter the year.

This first part is an introduction by
Pastor Bruce Sofia
and a song sung by
three of our New Jersey sisters,
Sandi, Janet and Mary Lou.
the group is called ‘New Manna’.
(I don’t have a photo of the three of them singing together.)

Here is the main feature, by Shari Hervold.
This really blessed me, heart and soul.
May you also be blessed as you listen to Shari’s message.

God’s blessings on you all, wherever you are.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Widow’s Witnessing

Good morning Ladies ~ This is a new day, let us rejoice in this gift from God and be a light and witness of His blessings to others.
Today we have four more testimonies from ladies of our NJ sisterhood.

Grief tip: Believe that God will never leave you or forsake you. He is with you at all times.
One of my favorite songs that comforted me during my grieving time was "How Great Thou Art"
God sent me the love of my family and friends. Also my church family and their friendship.  Faithfulness in Him to see me through the sad and lonely times.
Grief Tip: Seek out female friends to help you stay active. Be willing to visit Senior Citizen centers and accept invitations to lunch, a movie, or other activities outside your home. Use any resource available to you. Stay active!
There are several songs that have helped to comfort me during this time. They are "Do Not Pass Me By" and What a Friend We have In Jesus".
A special blessing that happened to me, a friend introduced me to another widow who took me to FNF meetings and encouraged me to not grieve alone. I found strength to take one day at a time. I also found time for Bible study and got closer to my church, and volunteering for more church work.
Grief Tip: Exercise even if you only walk.  It really helps relieve the stress.
Blessings from God by meeting new friends from my support group. My new home living with my son. My daughter gave me my new grandson and being able to retire.
Barb Driscoll BD-NJ
Grief Tip: Keep busy and keep in touch with friends, even if you don't feel like it. Look for joy each day and enjoy loved ones and let them know you do.
A special song to me is Great is Thy Faithfulness and God Is Always So Good.
God's blessings during this time is new friends. Another widow, especially a neighbor, whose husband died six months ago after mine, are now close friends.
These testimonies touch and bless my heart. We are in this sisterhood together. We know just how each other feels. By sharing out testimonies we encourage and build each other up.
I will close this post with the following scripture verses from the KJV Bible.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify (teach) one another, even as also ye do. 1Th_5:11
Exhort (strongly encourage) one another daily Heb_3:13 
God’s blessings on each one of you.
You are all precious to Him.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our dear Dotti in a video on you-tube


Hello Ladies ~ I first came across this little video soon after my dear husband went to be with Jesus, (9 Dec. 2012).

I hope you enjoy it.  Remember to keep Dotti in your prayers as she continues to lead this ministry for widows, all to the glory and honor of God.