Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Blessings!

I hope all of my readers had a wonderful Christmas! Our family certainly did. We went to church at 11:00 on Christmas Eve and the whole service was as beautiful as it always is. We enjoyed just being together. It was fun to see the reactions to gifts we gave, and to get things we'd been hoping for.

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to get back into a post-Christmas routine after all the hustle and bustle and planning and preparing for Christmas. Today I'm updating my calendars for January (I have three calendars--a family one, one in my office, and a smaller one that fits in my purse). I'm trying to get into a better routine for keeping up on household tasks like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. There's something about the new year that motivates me to become more organized. How about you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Helping the Hurting During the Holidays

Our family lost two good friends in the last week. One man was killed in a farm accident and another died very suddenly and unexpectedly. It was a tough week, and unfortunately, the families of our friends, as well as many other families, are facing the holidays without a loved one.

Holidays are (to say the least) difficult when a loved one has died. You, as a friend, can ease that pain at least a little bit. Here are some hints, from What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds from Life's Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations.

  • Do not be afraid to mention the name of the person who has died. You will NOT be bringing up something the family is not thinking about! They will find comfort in remembering their loved one, even if it brings tears.
  • You don't have to say the "right" words; nothing you (or anyone else!) can say will make it "all better." You can, however, aid in the healing process by letting the person talk.
  • If you don't know what to say, say, "I wish there was something I could say to take away your heartache!" and give a big hug.
  • It's OK to say things like, "I know she loved Christmas; it's hard to not have her here to celebrate," "I know the holidays can be difficult after the loss of a loved one; I'm thinking of you during this time." "I sure miss him and I bet you do too. Is there anything I can do to make it easier?"
  • Pray for your friend to be comforted with memories of the loved one who has died.
  • Consider sending a card with comforting Bible verses, memories of the loved one, or sharing a happy memory.
  • Do NOT have a preconceived notion of how the person "should" spend the holidays; some people choose to start new traditions, while others find comfort in carrying on old ones. Support your friend in whatever he/she chooses to do.
  • Invite the person (and other family members, if appropriate) to church events, shopping, or out for hot chocolate.
Use these hints to help someone who is hurting, get through the holidays.

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea

Do you enjoy reading the Nebraska Family Times? Would someone you know enjoy getting it every month?

If you would like to give a gift subscription to the Nebraska Family Times, e-mail me at, or call (402) 993-2467 or (402) 750-3496, with that person's address. I will send him or her notification of your gift in a Christmas card! You won't be billed until January.

The cost of a 1-year subscription (12 issues) is only $12. The Nebraska Family Times is suitable for college students, parents--anyone!

Would you like to share the Nebraska Family Times with even more people? Consider a sponsorship. For just $1/issue/month (minimum 10 copies/month) you can give copies of the Nebraska Family Times to your church, doctor's office, or any other business, to have available for patients/customers/members. Again, e-mail me with the address and contact person name, and I will notify them of your generous gift. You can choose to be billed monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly.

SPECIAL OFFER FROM SHELMAR PUBLICATIONS! Shelmar Publications is offering a special at this time--Buy one get one free on the following books from Shelmar Publications:
  • How to Find Your Perfect Job in Nursing
  • Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home
  • What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life's Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations

Read excerpts of each book and order from After you've paid via PayPal, e-mail ( or call me (402) 993-2467 or (402) 750-3496) with your choice of FREE book!

Give the gift that always fits, and will last all year! Give the Nebraska Family Times or a book from Shelmar Publications!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Our country is so blessed to have people who are willing to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines! Here is a way to give back to them during the Christmas season, when they're away from their family.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Holiday Mail for Heroes is a partnership between the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes to deliver one million holiday cards to American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world. Please send cards to this address, following the guidelines listed below:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Go to for more information, for a downloadable card, etc.

Please follow these simple guidelines when sending your card to ensure it will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families.

All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.

If sending more than one card, please mail all cards together in one large shipping envelope. Cards sent in this manner do not need individual envelopes or postage.

Please ensure that all cards are signed.

Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.”

Please do not include personal information, like email or home addresses.

Please do not send letters.

Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, glitter, confetti, gift cards or calling cards. Any items inserted into cards will be removed during the reviewing process.


After my mishap with the stove on Cody's birthday, I was a little bit concerned about cooking for Thanksgiving (truth be told, I think my family was too . . . ). Thankfully, the oven didn't catch on fire, the weather was beautiful, and all the food turned out!

We started the day by going to church. I love the Thanksgiving songs--we all truly have so much to be thankful for, beginning with a God who loves us, family, friends, opportunities, a home, clothes, food, pets, laptop computers and wireless Internet access . . .

We missed being with mom and dad, sisters, grandpa, and other guests in Missouri, but got to talk to them on or the day after Thanksgiving and that helped the "miss you" pangs. We had a nice evening with Tim's mom and dad, who live just down the road.

We enjoyed prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, brussel sprouts (I found a very yummy recipe for them), and my grandma's Green Jello Salad for supper. We all love the salad, but I have to call my mom for the recipe every time I want to make it, because I keep losing the recipe! It only has 5 ingredients (we don't add the nuts or celery) and I should be able to remember it, but I'm afraid I'll forget something so have to call mom. And even if I could remember the recipe, it's a nice excuse to talk to mom.

After supper we had lemon pie for dessert; Morgan and Anne prepared it and it was more than delicious.

We didn't brave the stores during the early hours of Friday morning, but spend a quiet weekend at home.

Finishing up Another Issue!

I'm just finishing up the December issue of the Nebraska Family Times! I think it will be a great issue, and hope readers agree. It was fun to search for articles related to the Christmas season--the paper will contain articles about unique ways of celebrating Advent and Christmas, a challenge to read the whole Bible in 2009 (with suggestions for how to go about doing so), and suggestions for capturing information about a relative or friend's life during a Family Day of Remembering, issues to discuss with your daughter if she is reading the Twilight series of books--and much, much more!

I enjoy researching, writing, and finding articles for all of the different subjects the paper covers. I always learn something and get new ideas when I'm working on the paper. (I'm glad Vyckie is available for questions; I am definitely confident about what I'm doing but it's nice to have her to bounce questions off of. Her experience is more than valuable to me!)

I choose the articles with you--the readers--in mind. In my mind, every article should have a purpose--to provide you with information, teach you something new, give you something to think about, or provide you with a reason to laugh.

Jennifer will get the paper all layed out tomorrow or Thursday and email it to me; I'll proofread it by Friday around noon. She will make any changes and send it on to the printer. It will be printed Monday, and I'll pick the papers up at Vyckie's house on Tuesday. All copies should be mailed out and delivered by the end of next week.

I want to learn more about the readers of the Nebraska Family Times. In January, there will be a short survey in the paper and on the website. There will be questions asking basic information (your age range, number of children in the home, etc.) and ask what you would like to see more (or less!) of in the paper. You won't have to give your name . . . unless you want to qualify for one of the prizes I'll be giving away to several people who fill out the survey. During the next month, jot down your thoughts about what the paper should contain; I appreciate any and all suggestions.