Archive for September, 2007

Looking? Found someone you have, eh?
-Yoda (fictional character from George Lucas’s Star Wars)

While attending the Spectrum PPD group (”This isn’t what I expected”), I met another girl, named Diane, that attends the same church that I do. A few weeks later at a Spectrum PPD playgroup a second fellow-church attender showed up. That sealed it–I knew what I had to do.

I figured that if there are two or three of us from the same church seeking help at a downtown community health center, there have to be more of us. And the fact that the Spectrum PPD group has been growing exponentially–almost to the point where there are more people in a room than the room can hold some nights–I realized that there was a huge need out there for more space and another group.

My first meeting was with Nancy, the nurse and creator of the Spectrum PPD group. I asked her if Spectrum would be expanding its support group program. Although both Nancy and I were greatly disappointed, the answer came down “from above” to the fact that starting a new group was not in the budget, the current group would simply have to remain as is.

I then contacted a group called Omni Faith Health Partnership program. I thought their credo fell very much in line with what I envisioned for a self-help group integrating the faith aspect of life and health.

Health ministry is a faith community’s intentional effort to minister to the spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and social health of its members and the community.

After a one-hour meeting with a newly-hired Omni-Faith representative, I anxiously waited for their response to my request. A week went by and I received no answer as to whether or not we could partner and create a support group on our end of town. A few days later Nancy, the nurse from the Spectrum PPD group, called me. She was distraught. She had been asked to meet along with the “powers that be” as well as the Omni Faith representative I had met with to determine whether or not the group I was envisioning could be a reality via Omni Faith. The higher ups took the word of the newly-hired, not-quite-in-the-loop Omni Faith rep’s advice that because I belonged to such a large church, we were not an “under served population”, rather than taking the advice of the nurse that has been immersed in the field of PPD for more than a decade.

Devastated again, I requested a meeting with Nancy and her supervisor as I felt I had not been heard nor that I had the opportunity to represent myself at the meeting where the Omni Faith employee “represented” me. This supervisor was very gracious in our meeting and empowered Nancy to spend 10 hours working with me to develop and start my own group. I am very appreciative for all of Spectrum’s help and support in this process.

My next step was to set up meetings at my church. After a few face-to-face meetings, I researched and worked hard to define our mission statement, vision, and strategy to accomplish our mission and vision.

I got great feedback and support from all the church leadership people I met with or sent my “ministry plan” to. Our group was ready to go–we had a room reserved, a bulletin announcement to announce that a group was in the works as well as one to recruit volunteers, speakers lined up, an ad on the church calendar, permissions to use materials from authors, welcome packets created, a logo designed, and a blog set up.

Our first bulletin announcement ran and we began to get responses from people interested in volunteering or attending. How exciting!

Then I went to Africa for 10 days.

Upon return, I checked in with Diane to make sure our bulletin announcements had been in the bulletin while we were gone as our group was set to start meeting with volunteers for training just 2 weeks after my return from Africa.

Diane informed me that the bulletin announcements had not been in the bulletin either week. I started sending e-mails and leaving phone messages to see what had happened. No responses came. Then Diane called one morning and said, “I was just on the church calendar checking on our LAB group listing, and it’s not there anymore”. I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Something was going on that I was not aware of.

Myriad phone calls, e-mails, and finally a meeting later, I was told that a decision had been made that this group was not in line with the direction our church was going, and that there were liability issues attached to our group that they were unable to host.

I was disheartened. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was deeply hurt.

I began searching for a place where our group could still meet on our start date of August 6. Ada Community Reformed Church offered us a room to meet in for just $10 per meeting. I was thrilled to have a Plan B in the works, but still very unsettled, upset, and not okay with the fact that my own church was unwelcoming to myself and others and that I was seeking out spaces to rent. I felt like my “family” had turned their back on me. And I wasn’t going to take that lying down. I requested some more meetings…

I’ll have to continue this (epic) saga in another post!



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a time to rest FLAT header

Upon moving to Michigan from New Jersey, Dan and I both worked for RBC Ministries, best known for the Our Daily Bread daily devotional booklet. The following is a devotional from the May 30, 2003 edition on the subject of rest.


odb_2003_05_small.jpgHe restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. —Psalm 23:3

READ: Psalm 23

According to a survey conducted by an insurance company, one of every six workers in the US feels too busy to take all the vacation days he or she has earned. Even though studies show that a week’s holiday each year can dramatically reduce stress and the risk of heart attack, many people just keep working.

A vacation can be good for body and soul. But many people don’t have the luxury of time away from work and daily responsibilities. What can we do when we must remain in demanding circumstances?

Psalm 23 paints a beautiful word picture of a caring shepherd, secure sheep, and a tranquil scene of quiet meadows and still waters. But it is the Lord, our shepherd, who gives rest, not the green grass or the flowing stream. “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (v.3).

Rest is a place of peace that our spirits find in God. Neither the presence of those who oppose us nor the dark valley of death can keep us from what hymnwriter Cleland McAfee called “a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.” Through prayer and meditation on His Word, we can commune with Him. In the Lord’s presence we can experience the rest and renewal we so desperately need. David C. McCasland

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God. —McAfee

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Ladies, this just might be too good to be true. I’m only sad that someone else beat me to it–this is brilliant.

meal planning made easy
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Build your weekly menu from a list containing the following categories:
Kid-friendly, Vegetarian, Super Quick and Simple Gourmet.

All dinners require 30 minutes or less prep time.

A Relish! subscription is only $7 per month.

The grocery list makes shopping a snap.

Nutritional information provided.

Monthly freezer menus

If you despise grocery shopping, find yourself frantically trying to scrape a half-decent dinner together at 4:45pm every evening, are trying to eat healthier or need family friendly meal solutions, this is the best gift you could ever ask for.

For just $7 a month, you get to choose 5 meal options for the week. Relish! automatically puts together a grocery list sorted by grocery store departments, and recipes for your main dish and side items so you only have to shop once a week. Each recipe can be prepared in 30 minutes or less!

There’s a free trial on the site www.relishrelish.com where you can choose 5 menu items and print out your grocery list and recipes. Give it a free trial, it’s really quite impressive. You’ve got nothing to lose but stress and frustration.

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pharmacy graphicMonday October 1 is Family Night with special speaker Patti Smeelink, Pharmacist and owner of East Paris Pharmacy. Please bring your support person(s) as this is a very interesting and relevant topic for anyone–men and women alike. Come prepared with lots of questions–bring a friend or family member so they can pepper Patti with questions. I’m excited that we can all benefit from Patti’s knowledge from the other side of the oh-so-secret Pharmacy counter.

There will be a drawing for $75 worth of products from East Paris Pharmacy. Each person in attendance may submit their name to win!

I met Patti while on my June 2007 trip to Kenya, Africa. This is where she earned the nickname “Queen” due to the fact that all of us had Army green cocoon-shaped mosquito nets but Patti’s was a billowy white cascade of luxuriousness fit for…well… a queen!

I was very thankful Patty was on our Africa trip armed to the teeth with all kinds of drugs. Especially since I caught a cold from a runny-nosed child on day 1 and she treated me to a Z-pak, she rustled up nighttime Claritin, a box of tissues, SPF 50 for my fair skin, aspirin for headaches, a bandaid for a minor cut, and just an all around dose of great personality that kept us all healthy and smiling.

Patti would like to speak on the safety of medication used while breast feeding, side effects, cost, share information about anti-depressive medications and anxiety meds, as well as cite credible resources you can use to look up drug information on the internet.

While I was Patti’s pharmacy today, I asked her this question.

Q: “What’s the best vitamin you can recommend for those of us who are really tired and lacking energy during the day and/or having a hard time sleeping at night”

A: If you can, keep taking your pre-natal vitamins for as long as possible. Those are the absolute best. Otherwise, a Centrum Complete or the generic of this type of vitamin will give you the best bang for your buck.

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One of my favorite “new” ways to save a few pennies and also help cut down on waste is to reuse my brown paper grocery bags.

When I take them back to the grocery store, they will not only reuse them to pack my groceries into, but most stores also give me a 5 cent refund for each bag I bring back to reuse. On my big grocery trips when I take 10 bags, that’s like a 50 cent coupon—not to mention the impact that has on the earth as well as my children seeing me reuse things and (hopefully someday) following suit.

Here’s how to I made it easy on myself to remember to take the bags to the store. I filled a brown bag with lots of collapsed brown bags and put it my car. That way they are always there an when I get to the grocery store I just have to grab a handful. We have even used them in a pinch at a picnic where I forgot to bring plates–we just ripped the tops down so there was about 1/2 in still sticking up and ate out our picnic lunches out of “paper baskets”. So far those brown bags have also come in handy for library materials, wet swimsuits, an impulse stop at the farmers market, road trip trash can, foot mats for wet feet, trays for and emergency “dinner on the go”, and cleaning up spilled coffee.

If I were to reuse 10 brown bags every week for an entire year, that would add up to $26. Here’s how to put that into perspective. If you had a $20 in your wallet and it fell out, you’d stop and pick it up, wouldn’t you? Exactly—so take your brown bags back to reuse at the grocery store.

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I found this on a blog I visit quite often called Postpartum Progress and was quite excited to see the words PPD, Families, and Faith in the same sentence.

Mental Health Ministries Offers New DVD Resource on PPD


Mental Health Ministries has created a new DVD called “Breaking the Silence: Postpartum Depression and Families of Faith.” The video is an ecumenical resource to educate faith communities about postpartum depression. Background information on symptoms and treatment is provided by mental health professionals, and two women share their personal stories and how this experience affected their faith and recovery.

The DVD is divided into segments to give group leaders the option of viewing individual segments or the entire resource. A discussion guide is included on the DVD to provide information about postpartum depression, study questions and helpful resources. The entire program runs approximately 45 minutes.

To order the DVD, which costs $24.95, go to the Mental Health MinistriesDVD resources section. Shipping and handling is $4.00. It can be ordered by credit card online or you can send a check made out to “Mental Health Ministries” to Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries, 6707 Monte Verde Dr., San Diego, CA 92119. Visit the website for a downloadable brochure on postpartum depression

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LAB goes public

Our first attempt at publicity for our bi-weekly LAB group will take place on Tuesday, September 25.

Ada Bible Church (the church that allows LAB to meet in their nursery) will be hosting an event for women called “Hearts Alive“, which is expected to have 400+ ladies in attendance.

The women’s ministry leaders at Ada Bible Church are wholeheartedly supporting our endeavor by making a slide to be viewed before and after the event as well as inviting us to woman a space at the Connecting Point booth to talk to ladies who would like to know more about our LAB group. We are scrambling to put together an informational flyer to hand out and excited to get a little exposure.

Hearts Alive!
Women’s Ministry
09/25/07 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


“Faith Never Shrinks in Hot Water” Can your faith stretch to fit tough times? Linda Evans Shepherd, international speaker and writer, shares from personal experience how to discover God’s love despite life’s circumstances. Hearts Alive! is a Women’s Ministry large group event, perfect for inviting friends and neighbors.


For more information contact Debbie Jo Schwarz || Janette Felder
622-3140 or dschwarz@adabible.org || 622-3151 or jfelder@adabible.org

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