It’s easy, it’s simple and it’s fun!! And you could transform a life or two…. including your own!!
We all could use some support in our journey as a woman, wife and mother, right?!
It was about eight years ago and I was nervous. REAL nervous. So I invited 2 young ladies…yes the big number of TWO! And they were my daughter’s girlfriends. I wasn’t about to take any BIG risks! 🙂
I got a lump in my throat when one of the girls walked in with her mother! Yikes!
That mother turned out to be a very big blessing.
We had our first little meeting. I read a few things from a book that touched me….things I found helpful. I timidly encouraged the conversation. It was a simple meeting.
I was a little apprehensive that maybe the meeting went over like a lump of coal but Mary Ann loved it! Her enthusiasm was what I needed. Since then, she has been most enthusiastic, she still comes, and is one of the biggest supporters.
I felt like a guilty kid trying to skip school but every once in a while I would try to wiggle out of a meeting, for whatever reason.
I think I would have had to show one of those pink, signed slips of paper with a valid excuse to Mary Ann because she wouldn’t hear of it. She looked forward to each meeting and prodded me to be consistent. It kept me going through thick and thin. I considered it a blessing.
We meet every second Tuesday of the month at noon. Everyone brings a little something for lunch. Sometimes the day is too busy and the ladies will grab the quickest thing they can think of….crackers and cheese, chips and salsa or whatever. ‘Some meetings they will get more creative with chocolate dipped strawberries, cream puffs, pinwheels….yum!
It’s relaxed and it doesn’t matter what the snacks are…. but it DOES give an opportunity to bring some of those special hors d’oeuvres that ladies really can “get into”!
Our meeting starts with the reading of The Purpose of Finer Femininity and then one of the ladies will lead a prayer. Since I dedicated our Finer Femininity meeting to St. Anne, we always include an invocation to her at the end of the prayer.
I begin the meeting by just reading something uplifting from whatever topic I have decided for the month.
Some topics include Attitude, Acceptance, Nurturing the Womanly Arts (some of us bring our “crafty” things for show and tell), Submission, Radiant Health, Enthusiasm, etc. Sometimes I am zealous and I prepare a powerpoint with pictures and maybe even a video or two.
I have a few articles picked out for a regular meeting. I encourage input after each article. The ladies (myself included) have loosened up quite a bit and I find I don’t have to do so much of the reading/talking on my own.
I also encourage the other ladies to bring their own articles or stories to share with everyone, as long as the tone is positive. We don’t allow griping or talking about our husbands or others in a negative fashion at these meetings. It would defeat the purpose.
About halfway through the meeting is Question and Answer time.
I have usually jotted down 4 or 5 questions about the topic, how it applies to our lives, etc. I read the question and the ladies add their input on the answer.
This is really the best time of the meeting. We learn so much from each other. With so many ages, so many different backgrounds and experiences, we gain a wealth of knowledge by just listening to one another. It is very refreshing.
The meeting lasts one hour. Then we have tea and our little lunch. Whoever hosts the meeting has an opportunity to use candles, tablecloths and their fine china. My fine china has gone by the wayside but I’m hoping to get more when hubby snags some from an auction! It’s not necessary but adds a sweet, feminine touch.
Sixteen year olds and up can come to the meetings. A lot of our articles are about marriage but we do not get into graphic detail and it is more about attitudes than anything else.
I love to do the “door prize” thing. I usually purchase small candles, chocolates, hair accessories, etc. I have a friend who makes the most wonderful soaps and she occasionally donates a couple bars for the prizes. Sometimes, I include my handcrafted jewelry. As you can see, I have my much coveted “nap-in-a-can” Verve healthy energy drink as one of the prizes, too! We usually have 3 small gifts that we all sign up for and the names are pulled from the basket at the end. It just adds a little fun to the meeting.
Before I finish, I want to give you one testimonial to let you know that God can use you in ways you will not anticipate. Remember Mary Ann, the mother who kept me consistent? She had been coming regularly to the meetings and I mentioned what a God send that was…for me and for her.
It was about 3 years after we began the meetings that MaryAnn lost her dear husband, Mike, very suddenly through a heart attack.
It was such a tragedy and we were all stunned. This vibrant, humorous, fun-loving and faith-filled man had become my son’s father-in-law so it was very close to us.
Many times in our meetings since then (a little over 2 years ago) we have been brought to tears through Mary Ann’s testimony. Mary Ann has said time and again that her last 3 years were the best of her marriage because of what she had gained through our Finer Femininity meetings! Her eyes are moist with gratefulness that she was able to make those years special for her and her husband. God DOES work in mysterious ways!
I really was not very good at it, especially at first, but I kept to the schedule (with the help of Mary Ann) and planned well for the meetings. I am not a great speaker (though getting better) and so it doesn’t take terrific talent. I usually just read good information.
Don’t wait until you are a great example of the things we talk about at the meeting. I wouldn’t have the meeting if I waited for that.
So, it just takes a willing heart and someone who is open to learning how to overcome obstacles. Sometimes I was neither….haha….see? You can do it!
God will work through the good will of the one running it and the ladies who come. We need this kind of support. We need to feed our hearts and our minds with opposite information than what we are getting “out there.”
Now you are all revved up and you are going to start one of your own, right? I hope you do. Don’t ever underestimate God’s power to use you as His instrument!
A LITTLE RECAP:
1. Read The Purpose of Finer Femininity
2. Say a Prayer
3. Read a couple articles. Discuss them.
4. Question and Answer Time
5. A Last Short Article
6. “Door Prizes”
7. Tea Time!
8. Smiles for the Next Month! 🙂
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Beautiful, Leane! Once we are settled into our new home and routine, I might just do something like this!
That would be wonderful, Paula!!! Let me know how I can help. 🙂
That schedule isn’t good enough 😉 I want links to articles and the questions you use!!! I’m guessing you use a lot of the articles you post on this site…..but I don’t feel like I’m qualified to make up questions and direct the answering of them!!!
Let me give you an example.
Say you have your meeting on “Attitude”. You could read a couple articles….maybe something from this category http://finerfem.wordpress.com/category/attitude/ or from a great book about Attitude.
Then, before the meeting, you could glean 4 questions from what you are reading.
Here were my questions on Attitude:
1. “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Give some examples.
2. “I’m not naturally a real people-person, so it was easy for me to remain isolated….” Mothers don’t have a choice on remaining isolated at times. What can we do when that black cloud starts to build and we can’t talk to anyone about it?
3. “There is a time for everything.” All things are passing.” How can these phrases be a source of comfort?
4. How can we embrace femininity in our lives?
5. How do you think embracing femininity can help our attitude?
Then I just ask the question, maybe answer it first and encourage others to give their thoughts. There’s not really clear cut answers, just how we feel the question applies to our lives.
It gets easier, too. You need to just start. 🙂
Thank you! Just a small question. Since the meeting is for women 16 and older and in the middle of the week. What do you do with all the other children?
Great question Brenda! We have a bit of a unique situation here. I homeschool and therefore am able to provide a place and a babysitter for the toddlers, etc. I think it would be up to the one who is running the meetings to decide what age limit. If babysitters are needed you may want to raise the age. Maybe then everyone could pitch in a little something for the babysitter.
Oh how I wish there were one of these here. Maybe someday I’ll have confidence enough to start on. Maybe when I’m not the “new kid” in town! 🙂. Thank you so much for sharing about this idea!