Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Helping Grandchildren Deal with Grief and Sibling Loss

May 29, 2008 Radio Broadcast gives ideas on how grandparents can help their grandchildren deal with grief and sibling loss.

Grief and Loss experts Dr.s' Gloria and Heidi Horsley have made available their discussion with two author grandparents, Jewel Sample and Nina Bennett.

To listen to the broadcast please click on the link below.

Helping Grandchildren Deal with SIDS Grief and Sibling Loss
Guests: Jewel Sample and Nina Bennett
MP3 Link

To learn more about Drs' Horsley supportive grief and loss web site, please visit Healing The Grieving Heart now called Open To Hope

Monday, June 1, 2009

Celebrate Family: Create a Memory Tree

Hi Everyone!

Today I have posted an article about celebrating life with your family by making a memory tree.

To find out how to make your own memory tree visit Open To Hope.
Until Next Time, Celebrate Life!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Family Traditions

Hi there. Jewel allowed me to guest-write for her blog. This is the first time I've done this so it's an adventure. Thanks for the opportunity.

I'm a 40-something mom of two. I'm a counselor, speaker, and writer in Littleton, Colorado. I'm married to John, and I love Honey Nut Cheerios.

Last summer, my 20 year old daughter suggested we should start a tradition for the Fourth of July. My husband suggested we make homemade ice cream, so we bought an electric ice cream maker with my 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and our tradition began. For about a week we did nothing besides try ice cream recipes. Our very favorite was cinnamon gelato.

When the kids were little we would pile into the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights. We chose this time to deliver gifts of cookies, or wine to friends of ours. If our friends weren’t home they missed out. For some reason we always picked up some tacos from Taco Bell and ate them in the car. Silly, but this became a family tradition.

On Saturdays in the summer, when we’re not all going different directions, we like to make breakfast burritos and sit outside on the deck. It seems like a lot of our family traditions center around food!

On road trips we listen to the Bare Naked Ladies or Abba, loudly, and we sing along. When the kids were really little we listened to the Adventure in Odyssey series (Focus on the Family). Every once in a while, just for grins, we’ll pull off the highway and run silly circles around the car.

William Doherty, director of marriage and family therapy at the University of Minnesota addresses the importance of family traditions or rituals in his book, “The Intentional Family: How to Build Family Ties in Our Modern World.”

He gives the main reasons family should develop rituals or traditions:

1. * It makes family life predictable.

2. * It gives family a chance to reconnect.

3. * Family rituals teach children what the family values.

Melinda Hall, Extension Agent at Ohio State University says there are 3 different types of traditions:

1. *Celebration Traditions (holidays, birthdays, etc)

2. *Family Traditions (special things which fit your family’s lifestyle i.e. pizza, vacations, etc)

3. *Patterned Family Interactions (bedtime, Sunday afternoons, etc.)

Here is my list to get you thinking about family traditions:

  • Games on popcorn on Saturday night
  • Saying “I Love You” before going to sleep
  • Having a “tailgater” before the ballgame
  • Serving a meal like chili or dumplings before a certain event
  • Acting out the Christmas story from Luke 2 using real people or figures from the crèche.
  • Dancing to a favorite Neil Diamond song
  • Opening one gift on Christmas Eve
  • Having an event such as the Bolder Boulder that you all do together

I need to hear from you. What traditions does your family do?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is There a Lawyer in the Church? Stephen Bloom Chats about writing a Christian Perspective on Legal Issues

I had the opportunity to meet up with Legal Representative Stephen Bloom who is the author of a timely encouragement of faith book titled, The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues.

In his book Bloom tackles the legal and scriptural sides of thirteen hot topics that seem to plague our society today such as, how some Christians fall into the litigation trap, prenuptial contracts, divorce, estate planning, taxes, the bankruptcy bailouts, and business ethics. Through his astute ability to provide real and personal life lessons along with the translation of legalese into common everyday language he provides compassionate help to those who may find themselves overwhelmed by the judicial system or wonders how current legal challenges fit with their Christian morals and beliefs. Last but not least, he discusses conciliation alternatives and a contract he believes to be the most important.

The topics I found most helpful were estate planning, a living-trust, Medicaid-planning, and living-wills. Bloom’s explanations affirmed my understanding of scripture related to these topics, as well as he gave me things to think about in choosing a lawyer if the need ever arises. The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues is available through most major bookstores.

Stephen agreed to chat about writing and his book. This is what he had to say.

Jewel: Hi Stephen! Thank you so much for agreeing to share with us a little about your experiences as a writer and your book. Let’s start things off by asking how you get started in writing?

Stephen: It’s a heartbreaking tale. The first thing I remember writing was a poem in 2nd grade, something about wading in a stream. It got selected for “publication” by our teacher, Mrs. Winklehouse. She typed it up and included it in a little mimeographed sheet of poems to be sold for three cents apiece as part of an afterschool class fundraiser. On the morning of the sale, my mom gave me the pennies I needed to buy a copy. But when the time came, I couldn’t get the pennies out of my pants pocket! My little fingertips stretched desperately and I could just barely touch the coins, but I couldn’t get a grip! I was shy and didn’t dare ask Mrs. Winklehouse for help (she was old school, the kind who dragged kids around by the ears when they got unruly), so I just went home without my poem! How sad is that!? I never did get a copy! What a traumatic event for an aspiring young writer!

Jewel: Oh, indeed that is a sad and frustrating moment for a budding writer. It is awesome to think at a young age you learned about promoting your works through fundraising. Well, I am glad you have a copy of your new book. By the way, why is practicing law important to you? Did you dream of being a lawyer during your childhood?

Stephen: As a lawyer, I get invited into some of the most intimate and vulnerable moments in my clients’ lives. As a Christian lawyer, I can use those situations to be a witness for Christ, sometimes through the legal counsel I give, sometimes through prayer, and sometimes simply by listening. I believe the most important aspect of my work as a Christian lawyer is the unique opportunity I have to be a peacemaker in some very difficult and challenging circumstances.

I never planned to be a lawyer growing up, but one of my grandfathers had been a lawyer, so I was aware of the profession. When it came time to think seriously about my future, I realized I had a good combination of skills for law, and it seemed like a practical choice, a solid career. It wasn’t until later, when I became a born again believer in Jesus, that I realized what amazing opportunities the law provides to be an emissary for Christ

Jewel: It seems you have the best of both worlds; practicing your faith and your love as a legal advocate. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not practicing law, teaching a class, or writing?

Stephen: Spending time with my wife and kids is about the best. We’ve always made that a priority. I love playing guitar and writing songs (Sorry, maybe that counts as writing? But it’s very different than regular writing!), reading and keeping up with politics and world events online, working around the yard with plants and trees, and helping to lead in my home church in all kinds of ways, big and small.

Jewel: I am glad you have found that balance of writing, practicing law and spending time with your family. Many writers struggle with finding the right balance between writing and the beneficial avenues of book promoting. What advice would you give a newly published writer?

Stephen: Pray hard and then work even harder to spread the word about your book! Unless you’re at a major house with a big publicity budget (not many of those left!), you are the primary engine driving your book’s visibility. But amidst all your hard work, don’t forget to have fun with it! Being published is a joyful and humbling experience! Relish it!

Jewel: You are absolutely right on! An author is the one who primarily makes others aware of their book. In the midst of all the hard work one must take time to have fun, even in promoting a book. Tell us what inspires you?

Stephen: God. It sounds cliché, but until I decided to turn my writing gifts over to Him, nothing much ever happened. All I had was a bunch of ideas. It was only the urgency of using my gifts to offer the healing power of Christ to our hurting world that finally inspired me to write “The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues” and to seriously pursue my other writing projects.

Jewel: Indeed total surrender and the willingness to trust God with all the talents one has is what I think God wants from all of us. I learned in writing Flying Hugs and Kisses my trust and total surrender to God brought forth ideas in how to put it together that would help children heal from the loss of a loved one. Speaking of your new book, The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues, how did you choose your content topics?

Stephen: I wanted my book to be extremely useful and relevant to real people dealing with real legal issues, so I chose the topics that my actual clients are most frequently facing. And I tackled each of the topics from a practical Christian perspective, rooted in God’s wisdom as revealed in the Bible. I also wanted to warn people about some of the common pitfalls and traps for the unwary that arise in working with secular attorneys.

Jewel: Being aware and understanding how to navigate through the judicial system is legal empowerment at its best. I must ask, do you have a book coming in the near future?

Stephen: I have two strong ideas for the next year or so, but it all depends on whether God provides the necessary windows of opportunity for writing. One would be another book for non-lawyers, and the other would be written specifically for lawyers. That’s really all I can reveal about them for now, but stay tuned!

Jewel: Thank you so much Stephen for chatting with me about writing and your book, The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues. I look forward to reading more books written by you.

For folks seeking to learn more about a Christian perspective on legal issues and Stephen Bloom, please visit IsThereALawyerInTheChurch.com.

Your thoughts about Bloom’s interview are always welcome. Please post by clicking on comments.

Stephen Bloom’s interview is posted by Jewel Sample award-winning author of Flying Hugs and Kisses, also translated: Besos y abrazos al aire (Spanish edition). To learn more about Jewel Sample visit her at jewelofabook.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Never Give UP!

In uncertain times when it may look good on the surface and you find it treacherous underneath, it is important to remember these words: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendents begging for bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendents are blessed." Psalm 37:23-26 (NKJV)


Monday, November 3, 2008

A Review of Sharlene MacLaren's novel: Through every Storm

Through every Storm
By Sharlene MacLaren
ISBN-13: 9780883687468, 2006
Fiction: Grief and Loss, Child loss, Family Relationships, Change, and Death
Publisher: Whitaker House; $9.99
Author site: http://www.sharlenemaclaren.com/

Review Date: November 3, 2008

The compassionate writing skill of Sharlene MacLaren permeates through out her story of a young family who experiences the unthinkable tragic loss of their toddler. Early on I believed I was walking along side an ordinary couple whose heart gripping grief and loss extended beyond their personal relationship to the personal lives of those who loved them and into a few lives unforeseen.

The twists and turns of everyday life combined with the unpredictable choices of others make this novel one I did not want to put down. Most importantly, MacLaren caringly shows the truth about grief and loss that it knows no boundaries, nor does the healing love of Christ when allowed to be embraced.

Through every Storm is an excellent and gentle source for the grieving adult heart.

Reviewed by Jewel Sample--Award-winning author of Flying Hugs and Kisses, also translated: Besos y abrazos al aire (Spanish edition). To learn more about Jewel Sample visit her at jewelofabook.blogspot.com.