50 Fun Ideas for Your Best Halloween Party Ever

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Autumn is a great time to entertain. While summer is wonderful for outdoor parties, sometimes the heat drives everyone inside. When the temps begin to drop, our energy rises & we feel the need to renew connections with family & friends. We gather so much during the Holidays but Halloween gives us the opportunity to entertain before the rush of the Holiday season.

Not sure how or where to begin? Good Housekeeping to the rescue with 50 fun ideas to help you throw a fabulous Halloween party for your family & friends. Relax & enjoy yourself & remember, YOU should ALWAYS be the #1 guest at your party!

Halloween Party Ideas

Ideas Come from the Simplest Places

Bible Study

I teach a Bible study at church every Tuesday evening. Not long ago, we were discussing the need to surrender control of various tasks & ministries in the church verses the problem of getting people to volunteer to take those same tasks over. Like many churches, we have an aging congregation that is ready to pass the mantle of leadership to the younger generation. The problem arises when the younger generation (younger than the much older generation) is unable or u willing to step up.

Now, despite appearances, I am not criticizing anyone for their failure to jump right in before testing the water. In fact, that night, we discuss what we thought was the true problem, well actually 2 problems:

1. A lack of leadership training;

2. A lack of understanding the need for service within the church.

I went home that night & gave this discussion a lot of thought. A LOT OF THOUGHT!

In seminary, I studied leadership development. I had taught classes on leadership development. I had even created a church leadership training program. I decided I needed to teach a class at church.

However, after more thought, it occurred to me that people first needed to understand the call to serve before they would be willing to step into leadership roles at church. So I began outline material for a book/seminar entitled Called to Serve.

My out,one was going great until I noticed how many pages I had spent explaining to what a “call” is. Hmmm. Perhaps I needed a program BEFORE I began teaching about service. And that is when the epiphany occurred.

I believe many Christians believe a CALL is only for specific people doing specific jobs, like ministers. I believe ever Christian has been called by God. Not every call is meant to serve the church but every single call is meant to serve the Lord.

I realized that God was calling me to help people, especially women, understand & utilize their specific call. It’s time for us to wake up, like Samuel in the Old Testament & say “Here I Am, Lord!”

We complain so much about the events in our world, wondering why someone doesn’t do something, why God doesn’t do something. Well, He has done something! He has placed each of us here to set Him & those around us through our call.

I am still working on my outline but I am i spired & on fire! The Spirit is strong with me, working to encourage & inspire me to get busy.

All the pieces are coming together. Until they do, PRAY! Pray hard for me, for my family. The enemy is hard at work trying to discourage me from fulfilling MY call. This time, I refuse to let him stop me!

HERE I AM,LORD! Let’s get busy!

Social Media & Small Groups Part 2: Twitter

Social Media & Small Groups Part 2: Twitter

I remember when I first tried using Twitter many years ago. Try as I might, I couldn’t limit myself to 140 characters. I couldn’t even THINK what I could possible share with such a tiny post. What in the world can you say using only 140 characters, including punctuation & spaces? I turned to social media, asking for help & a friend, Susan M. Heim helped me. She offered me ideas for effectively using Twitter. I took her advice & still use her advice today.

The thing to remember about social media is it constantly changes. How people use it today may not be the same as it was 6 months ago. You must keep an eye on social media & evolve along with it. However, you don’t need to make yourself crazy. You just want to find the most effective ways to use social media for your group.

That being said, let’s look at Twitter. You do only have 140 characters for each post. If you need to say more, you must use multiple posts to express your message. I would seriously think twice before doing this. Twitter’s greatest feature is its brevity. Short & sweet bursts of information to create excitement & a sense of urgency.

Your group should have a Twitter account specifically for your group with a name that represents your group. Your social media person should be the one responsible for this account. She is the one adding Tweets to the page. You also want to create a hashtag # that is specific to your group. This can be a very short abbreviation of the group name. Short because you want to add it to every Tweet. Before choosing a hashtag, do a search on Twitter to be sure this isn’t a tag already being used. When someone clicks on your hashtag, only Tweets made by your group should come up. Keep trying hashtags until you have a unique one just for your group.

How & why should you use Twitter in your small group?

  1. Create excitement when your gathering is about to begin. Post early that your group is meeting that day. Add new posts as the meeting time draws near. Have group members add their own post on their own Twitter pages using your group’s hashtag in their post. You want your hashtag to come up frequently as your meeting time approaches.
  2. Share information about the lesson.
  3. Share photos from your gathering as the meeting is taking place. This allows other women in your area to see what they are missing. Encourage women to join you.
  4. Share links to your other social media sites, the Gathering Hearts site & other information.
  5. Have members, especially your social media coordinator, add Meerkat to their phone. Meerkat creates a streaming video that streams live & directly to Twitter. So, for example, your group is creating a craft or having a special celebration, you do a short live feed showing your Twitter followers what you do at your meetings, how much fun you have. This allows them to feel as if they are right there. Then, encourage local women to join you; encourage women in other locations to form their own groups.

You want to have Tweets added to the page throughout your meeting without it becoming a distraction. Give women a sense of your activities, a sense that they are there. Twitter has an immediacy to it that I feel other social media sites lack. Facebook is great for upcoming events & to share events that have occurred (among other things.) Twitter is great for showing what is happening RIGHT NOW!

Group member should be encouraged to create their own Twitter accounts & share info about your group. You might need to hold training to help members learn how to use Twitter, follow people, add Tweets & understand terms, like hashtag. You can have a short presentation every meeting to help them gain a better understanding.

Twitter is a great tool with many uses. Take time to discover ways it can be used to help your group grow & used to reach women with the Gospel.

Social Media & Small Groups Part 1

Sharing Your Small Group with Social Media

Congratulations! You’ve decided to to create a small group. You invite a few friends to join you but you want more. Or perhaps over time, you feel it’s time to shake things up with some new people. Or perhaps your group simply wants to share your group activities with other small groups in your area or other groups in the Gathering Hearts network. How do you accomplish your goals? Social Media of course!

Unfortunately, social media can be very broad & very confusing. Which site do you use for all the different activities you want to share? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Do you really need all of them? Won’t one or two work for all your needs? Yes! I believe it’s better to begin simply on one or two sites, posting regularly on both of them than to jump into four of them & only post sporadically because you feel overwhelmed. Starting small also helps you build you audience & learn how to effectively use them before adding one or two more sites.

In this series, I’m going to discuss the four sites I mentioned above: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. I’m not a social media expert. I’m just like you. Over the years, I have used each of these sites to share information about my ministry. I’ve made plenty of mistakes & I am still learning ways to effectively use each site. I plan to share my thoughts, ideas & tips on social media. It would be great to have you share your tips with one another too!

In my next post, I am sharing tips & ideas on Twitter. If you only use one social media site to share your group, Twitter is the one!

Scripture for your Heart

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I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2

10 Things Pro Organizers Always Do Before They Go to Bed

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We all suffer from “Too Much on My Mind, Too Much to Do” Insomnia. This is so common among women. We go to bed tired, hoping we can stay awake long enough to brush our teeth & clean our face. We fall into bed, turn out the light & prepare for sleep. And immediately think of all the things we need to do the next day, the day after, later in the week, and on and on and on! YIKES!

While this article might not cure your bedtime wakefulness, it can help. Good Housekeeping offers 10 things organizers do before bed. This enables them (& you if you follow their advice) to finish a few tasks before bed, allowing them to wake up better organized in the morning with a home that is tidier! Give it a try! Enjoy!

Bedtime Tips

A Prayer to Begin Your Week

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Everlasting God,

in whom we live and move and have our being;

You have made us for yourself,

so that our hearts are restless

until they rest in you.

Give us purity of heart and strength of purpose,

that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will,

no weakness keep us from doing it;

that in your light we may see light clearly,

and in your service find perfect freedom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen

Creating a New Peacock Wreath

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Creating a new peacock wreath for my Etsy shop! Will share the finished wreath when I’m done! Using ribbon & materials from my Etsy shop!

Simple Joy Crafts

[Free Pattern] These Little Easter Bunnies Are So Cute, It Is Impossible To Pick A Fave!

   

Aren’t these the cutest bunnies? Just in time for Easter, you’ll want to make one of each. Perfect for Easter baskets for the little ones! Remember to save one for yourself! From Knit & Crochet Daily. 

Instructions

Encouragement for your Day

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