The Simple Joy of Thanksgiving Podcasts

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Thanksgiving can be so stressful for women. In this classic series of programs, Jean Ann shares tips & ideas to help you reduce stress this Thanksgiving!

The Simple Joy of Thanksgiving Part 1

The Simple Joy of Thanksgiving Part 2

The Simple Joy of Thanksgiving Part 3

Shopping for Thanksgiving: Your Home

Shopping for Thanksgiving: Your Menu

Shopping for Thanksgiving: Wine & More

Thanksgiving Wrap-up

Easy Fall Decorating Projects

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Decorating your home for Fall is SO easy. And the best part is the way these decorations carry you all the way through the end of November! You can decorate with pumpkins, leaves, Autumn flowers, gourds & simply add a few Halloween touches for October. Remove Halloween & you are ready for Thanksgiving! Nothing could be easier!

Still stumped for ideas? Well, the good folks at BHG to the rescue with these easy ways to decorate your home for fall! Cool weather is here & cold weather is on the way. Create a cozy & welcoming feel to your home with these incredible ideas! Enjoy!

Easy Fall Decorating Projects

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

Give Teach Train: 3 Steps to Help Women Grow

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Step 1: Give

They say if you give a woman a fish, you feed her for a day. If you teach her to fish, you feed her for a lifetime. At Simple Joy, we go a step farther. If you train to teach others how to fish, you feed the world. However, you must often give her a fish before you proceed.

I agree. Feeding a woman day after day does nothing to help her grow in the long run. Unfortunately, some women (myself included at times in my life) are in such a weakened condition that we must be fed first. We must regain our strength before we are in any shape to be taught anything.

Scripture tells us that we must feed new believers mother’s milk before they can move on to solid food. Like babies, they must begin with simple food, then move on to something more substantial. Babies need to grow, they need to become stronger & what they are fed helps move this process along.

The Scripture verse is telling us that we need to begin slowly with someone who is just beginning the process. We need to feed them simple information, rather than overwhelming them right off. We also must see to their immediate needs before we begin teaching them anything.

Soup kitchens & other organizations that feed the homeless & hungry often share a faith-based message with those that come to eat. I think it’s interesting that they wait to begin preaching until people have eaten. They know people can’t focus on your message when they are hungry. So many women are starving today. Many feel overwhelmed. They feel hopeless. They think they have no value. Too many are literally starving. Before we can teach them to fish, we must understand what emotional, physical or spiritual hunger is starving them & see to those needs first. Once we have moved them from “mother’s milk” to “solid food” once we have strengthened them enough, THEN we can begin teaching them to fish. However, as long as they are hungry, we are simply wasting everyone’s time & possibly doing even more damage.

Our first step must be helping women regain their strength emotionally & spiritually. We must help them recognize their worth, build their confidence, boost their self esteem. We must strengthen them deep within their core so there is a solid foundation on which to build. Only then can we move on to teaching them ways to sustain themselves for life!

Offer women the food they need & watch them grow in ways you never thought possible!

FREE This Week: Busy Moms DTG Digital Book

Busy Moms’ DTG offers insights into God’s wisdom and faithfulness gleaned during practical experience in the trenches. Features a month’s worth of daily devotions with Scripture verse & activity.

Download Busy Moms’ DTG Now!

Today’s Featured Book: Caregivers Devotions to Go

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Caregivers’ Devotions to Go is for young moms, grandmothers, adult children and many others given the charge of caring for another person. It offers encouragement for a difficult task and gives both professional and family caregivers a breath of fresh air to continue the assignment God has given them.

The Scriptures and stories in this book encourage the caregiver as they receive a blessing from the Lord for having a servant’s heart. It helps caregivers know they are not alone in the task set before them. It uses Scripture to help the caregiver see those in their care through the eyes of God – as fearfully and wonderfully made individuals.

Download for only $3

Today’s Featured Book: Busy Moms’ Devotions to Go

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Busy Moms’ DTG offers insights into God’s wisdom and faithfulness gleaned during practical experience in the trenches.

Download for only $3.

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.

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 5

A Life of Simple Joy

Jean Ann wraps up this series designed to help you begin a life of Simple Joy. Listen Now!

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 5