Support for the bereaved

No matter how old we get, no matter how often it happens, losing a loved one through death is no easy experience to get over. However, if you are surrounded with family, friends or acquaintances who are sensitive to your needs, it can make a huge difference.

Here are a few things to remember when seeking to support a friend or family who has lost someone through death.

1. Give them space – Avoid calling during the first two days. You can opt for sending a message instead. This would allow the person to read the message and respond in their own time. When some time has passed and you wish to call, avoid calling too early or too late. Suggested hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Many times when individuals are grieving they may wish to sleep in or just stay in bed. They may also wish to retire early; this is absolutely normal. These adjustments are all necessary as they seek to cope with their loss.

2. Avoid asking sensitive questions surrounding the death such as: the cause of death and how it transpired, funeral plans, family travel plans, whether or not there is a Will etc. Keep in mind that the individual is grieving and may not wish to discuss such details at that point. Your aim should be to make them as comfortable as possible. Keep your conversation along the line of comfort and support. Seek to uplift and assure them that you are available if they need anything. For example: You can say; “I wish to extend condolences on the passing of your sister. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am praying for you.”

3. Avoid visiting during this time as we are still experiencing a pandemic. However, if you must, be sure to contact them first to confirm that it is o.k. to visit. Never turn up unannounced. Try to keep your visiting party very small with a maximum of three persons. Be sure to wear your mask and adhere to all COVID-19 Protocols. Keep in mind also that once you decide to visit, the bereaved becomes the Host and would want to be able to accommodate you well. Being a host to visitors requires cleaning, preparation of a refreshing drink and of course the energy to engage your guests. You can consider taking off some pressure of the Host who is also the bereaved by doing the following;

~Offer to help them with a daily chore eg: Cut the grass, wash the dishes or rake the leaves.

~Offer to provide refreshments that they can serve to their guests.

~Call in advance and find out whether there is something they would like you to bring from the Supermarket.

Individuals who are hurting because of the loss of a loved one appreciates our ability to place their needs above our needs. It is a sign of true care and empathy. Having understanding family and friends around, allows us to relax outside of pressure and demands and it assures us that a support structure is there for us when we need it.

Family moments – Gratitude!

Family moments can be created around just about anything; humour, food, travelling, a movie, a game, a song, learning something new, welcoming a new baby, attending a sporting event, creating something together and the list goes on and on.    I am so passionate about family moments that I am always anticipating my weekends and public holidays.

How does your family build special memories? What are your favourite activities?

We often get caught up in the school-work-home cycle and many times prefer to just relax at home on weekends and on public holidays.  What works well is planning in advance and planning our activities at a time when we can afford to slow down a bit; a time when not too much is going on around us.    Some activities we enjoy are going to the beach, walking and hiking, visiting family, watching movies, attending church,  going to the theatre, watching basketball and more. I believe though, our most favourite moment, is just being home together.

Recently, we engaged ourselves in an activity that turned out to be much more meaningful than we expected.  Maybe you may wish to try this with your family.

Activity

Each person was asked to walk with pen and paper.  The timer was set for three minutes and everyone was expected to begin writing things they were grateful for.  At the end of the three minutes, each family member shared the items on their list.  If you had the same item on your list, you had to indicate so by raising your hand.

I was amazed by the number of things we thought of combined.  It was a lovely experience and we all enjoyed it.

I wish to share some of the things I wrote on my list. Some may seem insignificant or minor to you, but that’s o.k., as you would not know the story behind the gratitude being expressed.

Yesterday I was thankful for these things and today I am more thankful:

  • My Job
  • Quiet Time
  • Healthy food
  • Ice cream
  • The Rain and The Sun
  • God’s word
  • A Spiritual Foundation
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Equipment
  • Hope
  • Dreams
  • Transportation
  • The ability to move
  • Peace
  • My Parents
  • Co-workers
  • A structured Government maintaining order
  • A vehicle of my own
  • Coconut water
  • Fresh air
  • The Beach
  • A bed
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Intelligence
  • Sounds
  • The ability to share
  • My body

What are your thankful for today?

I inspire you today to be the one to initiate a family activity.  Create great memories and don’t forget to pull out the camera.

Covid-19 March 2020 to……. How do we stay healthy and hopeful?

Life has changed all over the world and life has changed in my homeland, Grenada. On March 25th a “Limited State of Emergency” was declared, to take effect the following day. It was our last day at our Physical Offices. The doors of Grenada were slammed shut and we had no choice but to resort to our homes. It didn’t matter if our homes were uncomfortable or not, we were commanded to stay indoors. There was a looming threat outside lurking, hovering, waiting to strike, that threat was Covid-19.

Before our Limited State of Emergency was declared, schools were closed securing the nation’s children, our future. Now, we were all heading home. Employers wrapped up their activities and the doors of all other functioning entities or organizations, including churches were closed. We were told to go home and stay home. We had no idea what shape or form this Pandemic would take. We were waiting and watching, some of us were praying and trusting God to keep us safe. We wanted to stay safe, we shunned the thought of a community spread dilemma.

First case, second case, third case, fourth case, fifth case, it happened. COVID-19 hit us subtly but confidently, hoping for lawlessness to prevail permitting a welcoming and fertile environment to thrive in. Our health officials and the Royal Grenada Police Force, stood their ground and fought like they should. They sought to be vigilant, to communicate effectively to the masses and to spread hope. During this period, we even had a national day of prayer and praise.

We stayed home from March 26th to May. Some businesses that were closed, opened their doors again in May, others in June. Fast-forward to today July 19th, we are no more on lock down, there is no curfew but limitations as it relates to our social lives continues as we are far from being out of the danger zone. We now have three new cases to try to figure out, where did they originate? How come they were missed? Questions and no answers yet. Because of the dread reality of Covid, we must be creative in our thinking and in our efforts to keep healthy, especially mentally. I wish to inspire all of us to believe that we can conquer this disease together with each family focusing on their household. The main reason for this article is to remind us that even through this crises, we can ensure our lives are tasteful and enjoyable even while applying caution. We can be bearers of hope. Let’s set out to do things that would provide a level of social and creative stimulation with our families that would pull us away from the social media (facebook, Instagram, twitter etc.) addictive dull-drum and the addictive binging of television shows or movies. We also need to keep ourselves away from slumber and from other unproductive practices. It is a serious caution to be heeded, as we need every fiber of our being to stay healthy. COVID-19 will have further devastating effects on our societies (Grenada and abroad) if we are not careful.

So now, I wish to inspire you as I inspire myself. Hear are some things I will be seeking to undertake or continue to undertake to keep myself and my family healthy and to keep our lives tasteful. Some of these activities I need to pursue right away as we do not know what tomorrow may bring. Please feel free to submit your ideas in our comments section.

1. Visit the dentist and get teeth cleaned or address any other work that needs to be done.

2. Visit the beach (not too frequently) remembering to practice physical distancing and all other protective measures.

3.Invite other parents to participate in a book swap, limiting the need to purchase books. This is particularly useful if you have school-aged children in your home. This provides reading as an option of things to do at home.

4.Clean your home, redecorate, redesign; give it a fresh look.

5.Visit a waterfall with a small group of persons (no more than 20).

6.Take full advantage of online seminars, bible studies and worship sessions.

7.Start a kitchen garden or spend time taking care of house plants.

8.Learn a new language online.

9.Get involved in creative projects eg: use your old toilet paper and tissue roles to create something you can use, design a piece of clothing and sew it.

10. Create meals together; clean and decorate your porch and verandah, spread a blanket on the floor on a moonlit evening and have dinner together.

11.Play church, each family member given a role to play, song-leader, scripture reader, singer, preacher :).

12. Do something different with your hair or for men your beard; there is a beard thing going on these days. Soak your feet or retreat to a quiet place with lighted scented candles after a lovely bath.

13.Excercise, make it fun!

14. Finally, pray more together.

That’s it for now. I have already started this list and I hope to try every activity over the next month. Let’s see how it goes.

Did I inspire you to be more creative with your time?

They soon grow up and move out

Today, I am reflecting on the gift of my two kids, Jonathan, 19 and Janae 13. They are now old enough to consult with on major decisions and I feel grateful just acknowledging this blessing.

Some of my favourite moments with them are when we are reading and discussing God’s word, huddled on my bed, chatting and sharing jokes, eating, working on school projects, outdoor activities and watching movies. The older me is much more appreciative of these moments, I have learnt to slow down and smell the roses. More so, I find my self taking a closer look at their intricate designs.

It is very easy for me to get distracted with work and personal projects. Being an introvert with a very creative imaginative mind, I find myself most comfortable when I am alone and being creative. My creations often fall into the category of INSPIRATION. I always desire to share hope and to be that individual that would communicate a “yes you can” message to the unbeliever, the man, woman or child who continues to doubt their ability and the power of God.

Today I am learning to put more of that creative energy into my kids, now a young adult and a teenager. I have the honour of inspiring them to be go-getters, to dream and to take steps every day towards those dreams. I have the honour of being their cheerleader, reminding them that dreams do come true. I have the honour of grooming them for success, to face life’s challenges and to win. As parents, our job is an enormous one, but when we treasure our family, we do all in our power to make their development exciting and memorable. There is absolutely no room for excuses. We need to use the time we have today and not procrastinate for the tomorrow we cannot guarantee.

So, today as I inspire me I inspire you to be more present in the lives of your kids, no matter their ages. Do not underestimate the knowledge you have gained through your experiences in life. Saturate them with knowledge and sound principles that would provide them with a great foundation for experiencing fulfilled lives. It is our duty to do our very best today and not tomorrow.

I appreciate you taking the time out to subscribe, visit my blog and share with others. Please continue. God bless you!!

In 2017, I accepted God’s way of renewing my purpose in life by taking my writing from little random, “spur of the moment” Facebook posts to longer articles, delving more into the topic at hand. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would start a blog on my own. Everything happened so seamlessly! I am writing today to inspire and uplift someone, anyone and everyone. I write from my heart, my joys and my pain, I write from my passion and I seek my very best to write from a pure heart. My desire is always to express my ideas only when I believe them to be true, sincere and practical. I write on topics that interests me most. I write within the framework of biblical principles because I believe they were created for man’s success.

To you who have subscribed to my blog and have been reading as I write, please know that you encourage me to keep writing. I truly believe that if I had only five readers, I would keep writing and that’s because I believe this is one of the ways I am living out God’s purpose for my life.

Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting, subscribing, liking or just soaking it all in and allowing each article to lift you and inspire you daily.

You are my motivation! I would love to receive more feedback from you so as to get a better understanding of how you have been impacted by my writing and to be able to connect with my readers even better.

It takes two to survive difficulties in a marriage

Essentials for surviving difficulties in marriage.

Just a few days ago, many celebrated Valentine’s Day, smothering their loved ones with chocolates and flowers and other special gifts. For the couple who is facing difficulty in their marriage, Valentines was probably a distant thought. For the couple who has chosen to follow Christ and is determined to fulfill his purpose for their lives together, there is a wealth of support, wisdom and guidance available to you when difficulties in your marriage arise. It is important however that you keep loving each other through those rough seasons, never giving up on your spouse.

Here are some essentials that I believe are needed to survive difficulties in marriage:

  1. An understanding that each spouse is responsible for the state of the marriage. It would be difficult to overcome your problems if only one spouse is held responsible for the poor state of your marriage.
  2. A willingness to acknowledge one’s weaknesses or flaws. Always be willing to examine yourself before God and ask him to show you where you have erred in your marriage. As he convicts you, do not hesitate to openly admit to these flaws and apologize to your spouse where your actions or words adversely affected them. It takes a humble heart of great strength and character to do so, but it will yield great reward.
  3. A willingness to accept help to overcome deep seated character flaws, generational curses or to move on after failure. Be wise enough to know who to listen to. Prayerfully seek out a small circle of friends who cares about both of you and can help to build you up. Work on you as if you are working on a school project. For example if you have difficulty with impulsive spending, avoid keeping too much cash on you, try to avoid window shopping, assign more money to your saving accounts, find out how others dealt with it, etc. Work on you, do things to curb that habit or overcome that weakness.
  4. A willingness to do what is necessary to grow; read books, attend counselling, seminars, listen to messages on marriages, meditate on relevant verses, pray and fast Too many times husbands and wives are reluctant to do the work. The desired results cannot be realized if we refuse to come out of our fixed mind-sets and adopt a growth mentality. Many times we are our greatest setbacks. Open your mind to learning, expanding, and growing beyond your wildest dreams. Don’t think negatively of your spouse or yourself regarding change. If you are alive, it means the possibility of change still exists.
  5. A willingness to forgive – Forgiveness is never easy but possible. When we truly forgive, we feel no resentment or bitterness against our spouse and are willing to put their confessed wrongs in the hands of God and in the past giving you the freedom to love them anew.

Marriage is not for the man or woman who does not want to work. Like any other goal in life, success in marriage requires sacrifice, effort, patience, fearlessness and determination. It also requires a willingness to face the unpleasant and uncomfortable truth about ourselves.

Ephesians 4: 2-3 applies to any believer in Christ and it says “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in Love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Know that God would take care of your desire to build, increase or maintain the Unity of the Spirit and peace within your marriage once you trust him to do just that.

Please hold my hand

In marriage, I believe women are more positively affected by hand-holding. What do you think? I admire couples who are in the habit of holding each others’ hands, whether it is just for a moment or during a long walk. For a woman holding her hand communicates that her husband desires to connect with her, feel her, remind her that she belongs to him and that he is willing to protect her. Holding hands with your woman in public says that you are proud to call her yours.

In some marriages, such physical contact between a husband and his wife is not common and there can be many reasons for that. Some possible reasons are;

  • Because of childhood experiences that led one partner to develop a discomfort with hand-holding.
  • Because of an experience in the marriage that created a distance between the husband and the wife. Maybe its an experience that led to broken trust, unwillingness to forgive or to admit to one’s wrong.
  • Because of a poor self image.
  • Because you are not happily married and in love with your spouse. Maybe you got married for the wrong reasons.

That last point is a big one. If you got married to someone because of their popularity, fear of not finding someone, to please your parents or your church, it is sad. That’s the truth. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it don’t. Once you are in love with your man or your woman however, nothing should be allowed to come between. Healing is available to all, no matter what you have been through as a couple. I feel excited just thinking about the power of love and the Power of God when he is allowed to work. Some of the greatest love stories are those that have survived the storms. What is complicated to us, is an opportunity for God to break, melt and mold us into beautiful vessels. However, it requires us to be obedient to his bidding, patient and humble.

So, no matter how you feel, reach out and hold her hand or reach out and hold his hand. Touch is powerful, it helps you to reconnect and communicate many positive feelings of hope.

Touch her, touch him. Keep doing it no matter what you’ve been through and you would see how physical touch helps you to bond, dissolve walls and appreciate each other more.

Happy hand-holding!

Love your children equally; jealousy is dangerous.

In the Bible, Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his sons. He had twelve sons under his care and he openly demonstrated that he loved Joseph more. Genesis 37:4 says “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

This special love for Joseph over his other brothers, in addition to Joseph’s dreams which he shared with them, created a serious problem; jealousy and hate. Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. This is how destructive Jealousy was for Jacob’s Family.

This old story that has been told endless times, still has lessons for parents today. We must be guarded against making the same mistake; loving one child more than the other. Here are some tips we can all practice at home to ensure Jealousy is not encouraged.

  1. Ensure the needs of each child are being met.
  2. In meeting the needs of your children, sometimes it is necessary to prioritize. It may be necessary for one child to have a particular need met before the other. For eg: Sammy needs a new lunch bag because the zipper no longer works but Sarah needs a bigger lunch bag allowing her to pack her water as well. With limited finances, Sammy’s need would come before Sarah’s. In such instances, parents should communicate clearly to both children giving them the opportunity to learn how to prioritize and to put the needs of others first.
  3. Avoid showing more physical affection towards one child over the other. Of course we expect that a baby would receive constant hand-holding while a teenager would receive hugs; the physical affection must be appropriate for the age. We need to be also careful with the gifts. Avoid the “coat of many colours”, those extraordinary gifts given to only one child.
  4. Do things together, avoid singling out one child to spend time with over the other(s) unless there is a special need you are trying to address and special attention is needed. For eg: Have a movie evening when every child can be present or visit the Ice Cream Shop when every child will be able to enjoy an ice cream.
  5. Do not compare your children, especially in their presence. For eg: Marcel is very good at math but Michael is not. That’s completely o.k. The mistake we sometimes make is tell to Michael, “you need to do better in Math, Marcel never gets less that 75%”. Sometimes we even ask “Why can’t you do better in Math, like Marcel?”. Dangerous territory.
  6. Verbally express your love for your children when they are together, emphasizing that they are all special to you.
  7. Finally, when solving conflicts, be objective always looking at what was done wrong and not who did the wrong.

I am amazed by how much we can learn from these old true stories of the Bible. There is so much to apply to our lives as we seek to do better every day.

Hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Please do not leave before sending us feedback on how this or any other article has inspired you.

Your kids deserve more than “Because I say so”.

I really don’t think the words “Because I say so” works. Not from what I have experienced. Maybe years ago, but, children these days? They require more from us, explanations, answers and reasons why they should obey or choose wisely. In fact, they need to be able to define what is “wise” as well.

Some of us may think that there are times when those words do apply, as the required explanations are too complexed for our child’s consumption. I get that feeling, I totally do. In those times I have found it better so say why I cannot explain, rather than “Because I say so”. You see there is merit in acting real as parents, there is merit in acting human. Sometimes, we do not have the answers and that’s okay.

I am not a bully mom, neither are my children growing to be kids; they are growing to be adults who can think and make sound decisions, communicate effectively and demonstrate other necessary skills and the intelligence to be successful in all spheres.

My role therefore is to speak to my kids in a manner that would educate them and build their confidence in facing life’s touch questions. “Because I say so” may be seen as an escape for parents who are too busy to sit and explain or too scared to touch the unpleasant. Parenting is about toughening up and facing our responsibilities head on. If we don’t know what to say, seek guidance first, pray, prepare thoroughly, but don’t take the escape route. It would not hurt to say to your child, “I cannot explain to you now, but I promise to do so before the day ends; I need you to trust me on this”.

Children accept our sincere attempts to respect them, value them and to teach them and they connect much better with us when they are able to perceive us as normal humans with lacks and weaknesses but also with experience and wisdom, seeking to lead them the best way we know how.

Here is a bonus tip. The more you spend quality time with your kids, the easier it becomes to discuss uncomfortable topics with them.