Joys and Concerns – September 28, 2014

JOYS AND CONCERNS    September 28, 2014

 Prayer Requests

Always in our Prayers: Randy B; Joni B; Mitzi;  Lois R!  Prayers of love and healing for Dee V; Prayers of love and strength for Jim F.  Bill and Irene F; healing; prayers of support for caregivers Janis and Lana; Angelia healing from brain tumor; Kevin J; not doing well; Christina’s pancreatic cancer has spread; continued prayers for John A; in his cancer fight.

Prayers of love and support for friends and family of life-long Jerome resident Donald W, who passed from life this week.

Church Charge Conference rescheduled until Dec. 7, 2014.

Travel mercies for the L’s; going to New Mexico.

Blessings on our military and support personnel around the world.

Special prayers of love and support for the US Marine in Mexico.

Dad and Me Mingus Camp retreat, ages 4–10, October 24-26.  Call for info. 602-266-6956 x.215 or

October 10-11 weekend camp for Your & Children’s Ministry leaders.


October birthdays to celebrate


Janet K.                                                         10-5

Ollie B.                                                           10-23


September Anniversary to celebrate


Thom & Roni B                                              9-30


CW District Churches to pray for in September


Community Church of Buckeye        Liberty UMC, Buckeye

Mountain View UMC, Cottonwood

Visit 24/7/365.

Wellness Notes – August 2014


“Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you’” (Luke 10:9)

August is National Immunization Awareness Month! The importance of knowing and RECEIVING the immunizations to prevent illness is important for every age. Awareness of the pro and con theories for infant vaccination is important to discuss with your Physician and encourage families to keep immunization schedules up to date.   Assuring that teens update vaccinations, especially those that may have a life long impact on their health is of utmost importance. Seniors feel they don’t need to be mindful of immunizations, but Flu, Shingles, Pneumonia, and Tetanus are vitally important in 60+ age group.   Take this table to your Physician and assure that YOU are covered, and remind your neighbors, family, and friends of this important wellness responsibility.



Age Group 19-21 years 22-26 years 27-49 years 50-59 years 60-64 years ? 65 years
Influenza 2,* ?1 dose annually?
Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap) 3,* Substitute 1-time dose of Tdap for Td booster; then boost with Td every 10 yrs
Varicella 4,* ?2 doses?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) Female 5,* ?3 doses?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) Male 5,* ?3 doses?
Zoster 6 ?1 dose?
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) 7,* ?1 or 2 doses?
Pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate (PCV13)8,* ?1 dose?
Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23)9,10 ?1 or 2 doses? ?1 dose?
Meningococcal 11,* ?1 or more doses?
Hepatitis A 12,* ?2 doses?
Hepatitis B 13,* ?3 doses?
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)14,* ?1 or 3 doses?

                                                                    Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Joys and Concerns – July 27, 2014

JOYS AND CONCERNS    July 27, 2014

Prayer Requests

Always in our Prayers: Randy B; Christine and John A dealing with chemo; George’s sister Louise with health issues; Joann’s sister Barbara with health issues; Prayers of love for Joan’s brother having heart problems; Dee V; diagnosed with breast cancer.

Prayers of healing and love for Mitzi who is improving.

Prayers of love for Lois R; who is improving!

Prayers of love and support for quick recovery for Joni B, now at home.

Praise for Janet who is now a Certified Local Pastor!

Travel mercies for Roni, Alison and Emily B; and George R.

Blessings on our military and support personnel around the world.

Special prayers of love and support for the US Marine being held in Mexico.  Pray for Peace!


July birthdays to celebrate


Nathaniel B                                                              7-3

Melissa B                                                                  7-20

Andrea P                                                                  7-27

Cole P                                                                       7-27


Central West District Churches to pray for in July


Haven UM Church, Jerome

Chino Valley UM Church

Shepherd of the Hills, Sun City West

Join Haven 24/7/365 at

Wellness Notes – July 2014


JULY is a good month to think about MEN’S HEALTH issues.  When David was building the Temple, and we need to consider our body surely God’s Temple, he told his son, “ Be strong and brave. Get to work. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope. The Lord God is my God. His is with you. He won’t fail you.” I Chronicles 28-20 Are not these directives exactly what Men, and the Men in our life, need to heed?

Dr. Ken Goldberg in a WebMD article asks men—”Do you put as much care into your personal health as you do into the maintenance of your car?”. Instead of recommending specific tests and prevention, he suggests men ‘ drop the bulletproof attitude, and get involved in health screenings, and realize that diseases can happen to anybody’.   Men need to know where to go for help, and work to promote community and national issues that contribute to their health. Be alert to media information, good websites, occupational health services, and LISTEN to others, and benefit from their experiences.   Mind-Body-and Spirit Wellness involves not only “Knowing Your Numbers” (Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, PSA, Weight, Oxygen Saturation, Blood Glucose), having annual Physical Exams and screenings, and being mindful of nutrition, exercise, stress and anger management —but in realizing risk factors (family history & activity related risks), and willingly educating yourself and your sons about wellness issues.   Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis, Eating Disorders, & Sexual dysfunction are not ‘just women’s disorders’. Encouraging sons and grandsons to check regularly for Testicular Cancer, is so important.   Not being embarrassed to talk about depression, sexual health, relationships, and spirituality can be a life-saving and positive role model for your family and friends.   A wellness goal is to have a heightened awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

Men’s Health is a Family issue—it impacts the whole.

LISTEN,GET INVOLVED, ACT, and EDUCATE yourself on Men’s Health issues.

Try web sites such as the following: (Men’s Health) (Men’s Health–most asked questions) (a woman’s guide to ‘his’ health) plus/men health

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,,PN

Wellness Notes – June 2014


“”You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” (Psalm 31:8)”

June is National Safely Month. We can use this month to raise awareness about important safety issues like the following:


  • Safety with Prescription Drugs: Check the storage, expiration dates, instructions, and safety of all of your prescribed and over the counter medications. Review how and when you should take each medication; update your medication list and have a copy in your wallet, with your Dr., and in your refrigerator (in a medicine bottle) on the door so Emergency Personnel can access a copy. Be sure children and teens do not have access to your medications.
  • Slips, trips, & falls: Do a home, yard, and activity assessment. Check for loose rugs, poorly visible steps;(put bright tape on edge of steps); slick tile or bath surfaces; electrical cords or pet leashes that might trip; adequate lighting around home, garage, walkways; Agility getting down on the floor and back up again & in & out of cars, tubs, and furniture; Check balance and flexibility (stand on one foot and count to 10, practice bend, squat, and turn in circles). Assure annual dilated eye exam.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Increase awareness of where you walk, how clear your home & car access is, removal of fire danger in house and yard, and alertness when in crowds or travel. Assure your wallet and valuables are not accessible to thieves. Be sure neighbor or close family member knows where you are, has an extra key, and is aware of travel and absence schedules.
  • Drive with awareness: Do not talk on phone, text, or reach around when driving. Pull off the road to do any of the above. Assure tire pressure, gasoline, oil pressure, and windows are maintained. Know when it’s time to LET SOMEONE ELSE DRIVE!! Talk with family members about changes in health or transportation needs. Always be aware of what and who may be around your car before moving.
  • Stay safe in summer heat: Always carry water (AND DRINK IT!!!), carry cell phone when going for hikes or walks & assure someone knows where you are. Exercise in cool of morning or evening. Use that bottle of sun screen on your counter DAILY. Wear sun glasses and hat when out in the heat. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE in our Arizona climate.

Safety issues can be our number 1 enemy, no matter what our age, stage of life, or level of awareness.   Taking a few moments to assess the above mentioned issues, place safety articles within easy access, remind ourselves and others around us of safety issues, and being AWARE may make the difference in a safe, well summer and a disaster.


Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Haven’s Sunrise Service on Easter, 2014

Haven’s Sunrise Service on Easter was a true celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The beauty of God’s sunrise coming up over the rim underscored not only the beauty of the world we live in but the wonder of Jesus’ sacrifice for all of us.

A brunch followed the service with the usual excellent food and great fellowship.

Our traditional service focused on the victory of Jesus resurrection following the defeat of his death, and how relevant that victory is to us today.

The morning activities ended with an exciting Easter egg hunt where many joyful children enthusiastically filled their baskets with plastic eggs which were filled with candy.  What a joy to watch their smiling faces and to hear their excited laughter.

Another wonderful Easter at Haven UMC!

Wellness Notes – April 2014


“ When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”—John 8:12

Fourth and last of our series of articles  about “LIFE HAPPENS:  Plan Ahead”, will focus on

“When it’s time to make a CHANGE, how to do it!”

Life does not come with a book of instructions!  Change is inevitable, but can be much more emotionally smooth, if we plan ahead and look for guidelines to empower us.  Since our local faith communities are primarily senior, or with senior parents, we will look at SENIOR CHANGES.  These changes may come in the form of family changes (loss or estrangement of a child or close relative, need to care for grandchildren, distance separating families), divorce, death, illness, injury, financial disappointments or choices creating crisis, change in ability to care of self or home, change in vision or hearing, spiritual disappointment or theology change, or emotional and mental health changes that create loss of focus or plans.   Any of the above create a need to realign our thoughts, dreams, goals, and plans.  HOW WILL WE DO THAT???

Two resources recently crossing my desk are the following:  Foxy Old Woman’s Guide to Living with Friends”(could include men, too!) by Cynthia Cary; and “the Boomer Burden, dealing with parents (or own) Lifetime accumulation of Stuff”  by Julie Hall.   Either may be found in the library or Amazon. 

Both address thoughts on the following:

  • When change happens:  Where will I live? Have you thought that one out?   Some options are living alone & loving it, living with extended family with shared expenses, retirement living settings (remember they are no longer called “A Home”), or group home settings.  Do you want to live with children or have them live with you? What about smaller homes or RV’s.  How about sharing a home with several friends with similar needs.   Look at your finances, health status, emotional needs, and happiness. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO AN OPINION AND SAY IN THE PLAN!!  Planning & thinking ahead prevents chaos.
  • How do I know the time is right for change?  Awareness of the aging process begins the thinking process.  Is there a decline in mobility, vision problems, loss of interest in favorite pastimes, irritability, hearing loss, confusion, repetition, short term memory loss, fatigue, unopened mail, unusual spending, fear of financial change, discomfort or fear where you are living, depression or anxiety, or falls?   The next step is to look at living situations, consider options (have lunch at living settings & assess), seek help evaluating finances, speak with Doctors about health changes, open the conversation with family or friends, and  keep a journal or notebook of questions, changes, concerns, and ideas for your future. 
  • Important factors to consider may be the following:  Who are my allies & resources? What are my contemporaries doing?  How can I begin making plans so MY wishes are met?   Am I  aware of scams and those looking to deplete my funds.?  Do I  have an updated Will and Life Plan Documents?  Begin sorting, marking, & giving away items of importance.  Be good to yourself and consider, talk about, and write your wishes.  Begin planning BEFORE the above changes become difficulties.  Look at the resources in your community (you may need to change communities to receive the benefits you need).  Consider your vision of the next 5,10,20 years and begin planning for each stage.  Look at family history and longevity as you make financial and life plan goals. 

Prayer, Planning, Patience, Positive Attitude, and Protecting your dream and assets will make change manageable.


Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant

Wellness Notes – March 2014


“My Spirit abides among you; do not fear“Haggai 2:5

 Third in our series of addressing “Life Happens:  Plan Ahead”, is “How not to be blindsided by LOSS!”

Loss occurs in our lives in many forms.  Loss of self esteem, Loss of dreams, Loss of a plan, Loss of a job or beloved pet. Loss of a love or life partner (through separation, divorce, or death).

You can probably add to this list from your experiences.  Seldom does one progress through this earthly life without some sort of loss, and as we have stated, “Life Happens”, so to look toward prevention and wellness, we must learn to PLAN AHEAD!!

Excellent resources that can be roadmaps for dealing with loss are the following:

*“Life after Loss”, A personal Guide Dealing with Death, Divorce, Job Change & Relocation.  By Bob Deits.  This is an excellent classic in crisis intervention with wise guidance.

* “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” a resource when emotional injury takes place and a guide to healing is needed.  By Bloomfield, Colgrove, & McWilliams.

* DivorceCare: and Grief Share:   A series of support groups and seminars with a non-denominational focus on recovery. Check online for group nearest you.

Each of these resources follows a common thread.  A prevention mode, considering the following:

·         Be AWARE:  Look for beginning stages of depression, disease, difficulty in a relationship or job.  Dig deeper into ‘cause & effect’ and begin making changes BEFORE a crisis occurs. 

·         Surround yourself with a support system.  Communicate concerns (early) with family and friends, utilize resources of Pastoral Guidance, Self-Help reading and support groups, online information and resources.  Be a cheerful receiver of a helping hand or shoulder.

·         Strengthen your spiritual resources.  Pray, Scour the Scriptures, Utilize books, articles, and online information sources for creating a strong, inspired, ‘ready’, emotional health.

·         Know that every emotional loss has a huge impact on your life. “Loss is not the enemy. Living in constant fear of it is.  It takes most people at least 2 years to begin returning to a normal life after a major loss. “(Deits).  Loss is natural and you WILL recover.

·         Play the “What If” game.  If my pet dies, what steps will I follow?,  If I lose this job, what will I do next?, If my spouse dies, what steps shall I follow next?, If I am alone, what, where, & how will I enrich my life next?, If I suffer loss, who will I ask to help me?     Take time to answer these questions NOW.  Prevention paves the way from pain.

·          Attend to your personal WELLNESS.  Do not lapse from eating well, exercise, vitamins, friendships, utilizing respite opportunities, looking for moments of JOY, and care for YOU.

·         Break the conspiracy of silence around loss. Affirm that “I can get through any loss successfully.” Know that grief takes work and tools for that job are available.  Seek them.

Alice Stephenson BSN, RN, PN 

Preparing for ER Visits & Hospitalizations – Wellness Notes


“My spirit abides among you, do not fear” Haggai 2:5

The second in our series of “LIFE HAPPENS” articles will discuss the following:


Emergency  Room visits are not something one plans for,  but as life happens, that time might come. To be certain you are not caught unprepared in an accident or sudden illness we can do some thinking ahead.   

·         Place a card or sticker on each home phone & cell phone with your home address & phone # in an emergency if 911 is called you (or anyone) will be able to tell them where to come.

·         Assure your identification, Insurance cards, phone numbers of important family members or friends, Small pad of paper & pen, & current medication list are all in your wallet or purse where whomever goes with you to the ER can find them and take them with you. 

·         Include a card in your above cards with the name and address of nearest medical facility.  If a neighbor or family member must drive you, they will know where to go.

·         Advocate for yourself by asking questions, make certain Medical Personnel understand your symptoms and questions, and if possible have someone prepared to write down what is told you for future reference.

·         Check NOW to see if your insurance covers ambulance, ER, Urgent Care, or non-admission visits.

Hospitalization may be expected or emergency.  Thinking ahead makes that stay so much more comfortable.   Consider having the following packed, convenient, and up to date to take to the hospital:

·         Insurance and ID, Authorizations, Directions to the hospital with address & phone # for family.

·         Personal toiletries, Chap Stick & lotion that you know works for you, toothbrush, tooth paste, comb & brush.

·         Bathrobe, slippers, socks, comfortable discharge clothes—all labeled with permanent marker.

·         Names & Addresses and Important numbers , paper & pen you might need while in the hospital

·         Current Medication list (do not take your medications except inhalers)

·         Glasses with case, dentures, hearing aids with extra batteries, (ask nurse for container for these & label it. )                      

·         Cell phone & Charger

·         Advanced Directives and Living Will copy.

·         List of available housing for loved ones (such as Taylor House in Flagstaff or hotels by Mayo)

·         Let Admissions know which family or friends may be told your personal healthcare information.

·         Plan for transportation upon discharge and ask Dr. for post hospital prescriptions so they may be filled BEFORE discharge. (be sure pain meds are there when you arrive home)

DO NOT TAKE:   Jewelry, credit cards, cash, electric appliances (shaver, hair dryer or curling iron), or personal electronic devices (except possibly Kindle or Tablet). 

EDUCATE yourself on the procedure or test your will be receiving before admission if possible.  Utilize the Hospital Library, Parish Nurse or Physician, Websites like  or WebMD for accurate information.

ADVOCATE for yourself or make certain you have someone with you who will.  Get questions answered, don’t be afraid to ask Nurses or Doctors to clarify information. It is wise to have someone stay with you the first hospital night.   Ask to see Social Service or Dietitian if you have discharge questions or need resources.  If possible let your Faith Community know of your needs for prayer, Pastoral Visits, confidentiality, or equipment.  


Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Joys and Concerns – January 19, 2014

JOYS AND CONCERNS    January 19, 2014

 Prayer Requests

 Always in our Prayers: Peggy F. whose blood pressure is now under control: Randy B. experiencing pain; Paul L. having relief from pain; Anne C. dealing with cancer; Barb after cataract surgery; Louse, George’s sister, recovering from a mini-stroke; Ollie B. continued healing of hip infection.

Prayers of love and support for losses of loved ones by Joan’s brother and Joni’s friend and family.  And prayers of love and support for Camerons family.

Prayers of love and support for those experiencing extreme cold!

Praise for visiting relatives and loved ones.

Travel mercies for Steve & Kathy N., George and Joann R.

Blessings on our military and support personnel around the world.


January Birthdays to celebrate


Judd R                                                                        1-3

Laurie L                                                                     1-6

Allison B                                                                    1-11

Susie L                                                                       1-23

Peggy F                                                                      1-25

Central West District Churches to pray for in January

Trinity UMC, Phoenix           Asbury UMC, Phoenix

Pioneer UMF, New River

      Thank you for Cathy Wilson of Chosen People Ministries being with us today.

 Join Haven UM church 24/7/365 at

Church Blog – January 9, 2014

New Year Reflection

Some people like to talk about new resolutions, some about new opportunities, or new starts, and such are good and appropriate ways to begin a new year. I like to think about the beginning of a new year as the beginning of a new cycle in the rhythm of life.

For us, as followers of Jesus and the church, we live in a rhythm of renewal, worship, encouragement, service, and rest. Are there parts of this rhythm that you are missing? If so, you’re missing out on some of the blessings in the life of discipleship.

This year, I invite you to prayerfully consider your life of discipleship. What portions are weak and need strengthening? What parts are hard for you? What parts are fun? Where do you find joy in your faith?

Our life together means we encourage each other and we keep moving to be closer to God, more faithful, more holy. That’s often hard work, sometimes frustrating, frequently frightening, sometimes incredibly blessed. Let’s help each other this year grow to be more like the people God has called us to be. This year, let’s let nothing stop us from reaching out to the hurting, the lost, the hungry, the homeless, and the ones who just don’t know they have a place to belong in the kingdom and at Haven UMC.

Grace and peace,

Pastor’s Mike & Janet Keffer


Planning for the Unexpected – Wellness Notes


This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”   Psalm 118:24

The New Year begins with the suggestion that we make an effort to be better prepared for what we face when “LIFE HAPPENS”.  The Wellness Ministry would like to take the next few months to prompt each of us to think about preparing for the happenings of life.  By being better prepared, we may avoid guilt, stress, regret, and subsequent illness as we journey on.   We will look at the following issues:

Jan:  How to think ahead for the unexpected     Feb:  How to prepare for ER or Hospitalizations    March:  How not to be blindsided by LOSS     April:  When is it time to make a change & How to do it.

PLANNING FOR THE UNEXPECTED:   A recent article in the “Huffington Post” , originally from “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A life transformed by the Dearly Departing”,  is written by an experienced Palliative Care Nurse who states that no matter what stage of life we are in there is no need for regret.  By addressing the following five common regrets,  we may find ourselves not up against the unexpected and facing what is handed to us with a more positive outlook and less stress and DISTRESS.

1.  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.    Regret provides only suffering and sadness, taking up positive energy and precious time.  Adjusting our choices and being at peace with the past and remembering that each new moment is a new choice, gives us more positive direction.  Health brings a freedom few realize.  Working toward a healthy lifestyle helps us choose to realize more of our dreams and lean on God’s guidance to be true to ourselves.

2,  I wish I had not worked so hard.   This was heard most often from men,  but more and more is the norm for most adults.  Work to increase income that only creates a more complex lifestyle equals regret.  Choosing to balance work with family, friends, and healthy endeavors pays dividends.  Simplifying lifestyle and making conscious choices to create spaces for our priorities brings us to a more expected happy outcome.  “Life is short,  eat dessert first”!!

3, I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.    “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others”.   Suppressed feelings can lead to stress, bitterness, resentment, and illness. Choosing to express ourselves, with kindness and clarity, as well as listening to others is truly courageous.

4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends:  We move, we change jobs, we get busy, we let life get in the way of the golden friendships that frame our lives.  Make a priority of making a phone call, writing a note, texting a message, jot an e-mail.  Put time on your calendar for these communications and when you have a ‘nudge’, act on it.  Write a Valentine letter & a July 4th Letter as well as the annual Christmas note.   “Make new friends & keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold”.

5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier. Happiness is a choice.  Sticking in old habits, patterns, and comfort zones, effects our emotions and even physical lives.  Laugh more, have stillness in your life, and, don’t let fear of change lessen all that life can be.  Break loose and BE HAPPY.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,Parish Nurse

Dr.  ‘Rick’ Brothers,  Parish Physician


Thanksgiving  – A Time for Caring

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.                        ~Melody Beattie

What is popularly commonly known as the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. It became an annual tradition in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed this national day of Thanksgiving, setting aside time for Americans to reflect on their blessings.

But, too often, in the hustle and bustle of dinner preparations, parades, football games, and shopping preparations we neglect to take the time to enjoy our time with family and friends or to express words of thankfulness and gratitude for the love and happiness we experience in our lives. It is often healing to take a few moments to reflect on those things we are grateful for, even during difficult times or times of pain. Thanksgiving has the power to draw people together, creating a lasting sense of peace, togetherness, and community.

Roshi Joan Halifax in the Legacy of Wisdom states that the secret of life comes down to three words: “… appreciate your life”. She and Brother David Steindl suggest that practicing gratefulness will help us to accept what is in the now, allowing us to experience joy and life outside of ourselves and our own suffering.

But many may struggle to find gratitude or express words of thanks while caring for a loved one with serious illness this Thanksgiving Day. Gratefulness may seem like a foreign word for those that grieve the loss of a loved one this holiday. May we each take a moment to reach out, express our own words of gratitude for each of them, and offer a helping hand to those who are hurting today. May each of us take a few moments today to count our simple blessings.

As I count my blessings on this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks for …Our wonderful children and grandchildren, Janet’s mother, and other family members and their health and happiness; our friends and the support they provide us during good times and bad; and our Haven Family and the joy and caring they have brought to our lives

We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving Day. May the beauty of Thanksgiving bring peace and abundant blessings to you and your family today and every day.

Pastors Janet and Michael

Wellness Notes – Advent

“They wanted to hear Jesus Speak”  Luke 21:38

Advent is the time of anticipation of Jesus coming.  We  anticipate hearing Him speak during this Holiday time.  Often we fear we cannot even hear our loved ones, let alone Jesus, speaking to us, with all of the noise, hurry, bustle, stress, sadness, grief, and disappointment obstructing our hearing.  Possibly our Holiday Wellness can be improved by just simply looking at the word ADVENT:

A—Anticipate positive things during this month, allow the words of Jesus to come through.

D– – Increase your devotional time,  that your stress levels will decrease and depression vanish.

V–Visualize joy, visualize wellness, visualize absence of pain, visualize presence of peace.

E— Energize your life by decreasing your sugar intake, exercising daily, and getting adequate rest.

N– Note the positive things happening around you, write notes of gratitude and connection.

T—Take Time for yourself!   Allow a few moments in each Advent day for reflection, prayer  planning, and peacefulness.

Allow the Advent Season to speak to and strengthen your spirit.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant

Thoughts on Advent and Christmas

Confession: Every time I come across advice from a fellow Christian urging us to slow down during Advent, I am tempted to do an exaggerated, teenager-ly eye roll. Sometimes I actually do the eye roll. And throw in a heavy sigh for dramatic effect. To me, admonitions to shun holiday season busy-ness in favor of quiet and stillness, while well-intentioned, communicate a willful ignorance of just how much preparatory work even a relatively simple Christmas requires. I assume that most Christians today, unlike the Puritans, think that the birth of our savior merits a celebration. I assume that most Christians enjoy a special Christmas meal, treats made from cherished family recipes, gazing at a twinkling tree in a fire lit room, a few thoughtful gifts under that tree, a few more gifts purchased for those who can’t fund their own Christmas, maybe a pageant populated by adorable angels and sheep. I wonder how all that celebrating is supposed to happen if we’re also supposed to spend Advent pruning our to-do lists and slowing down.

Jana Riess describes a similar phenomenon when writing about her attempts to keep a traditional Jewish Sabbath in her excellent book Flunking Sainthood. Jana writes:

As I live through the month of Sabbaths, I have a bone to pick with Rabbi Heschel. I find his book The Sabbath beautiful, but…nowhere does Rabbi Heschel write about practical things. Like, say, eating. Food is a huge part of a lovely Shabbos celebration, but the book takes it for granted that such feasts are effortlessly prepared by unseen kosher elves…So either: 1) Cooking is not work…,or 2) Someone else is shopping, planning, chopping, stirring, baking, and cleaning up afterward. Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but I’d be willing to wager that this someone’s name is Mrs. Heschel.

I am unapologetically busy during Advent—busy, but rarely frantic or pressured. My hands are busy, but my heart abides happily in the expectant hush of Advent. That’s because nearly every Christmas preparation I undertake points toward (in Charlie Brown’s words) “what Christmas is all about.”

I string lights on our shrubs because, when I come home after a day at work I get a little zing of joy upon seeing my same old street transformed into a cheerfully lit wonderland. I’m reminded that God is not only our light in the darkness, but also has a way of transforming what is ordinary (a baby, a cattle stall, a weary heart) into something unexpected, delightful, extraordinary. I bake plates of Scottish shortbread to offer to my family and give as gifts, because preparing and sharing food are fundamental acts of community and care. I cheerfully shop for gifts for a limited number of people (children, husband, a few close friends) because I see lavish, thoughtful gift giving as a reflection of God’s most lavish gift to us—himself. My careful (and OK, slightly compulsive) planning of who gets what arises from the idea that loving people well requires knowing them well—what they love, what they hate, what they need, what inspires them, what bores them silly. The link between love and knowledge is a theological notion: God’s love is intertwined with God’s intimate knowledge of who we are, the good and the bad, because God created us and chose to became one of us. So I don’t troll the aisles of  Home Goods or Marshalls impulsively throwing thing into my cart, or wander the “gift” displays at chain stores hoping to be inspired. I choose gifts deliberately based on what I know of the recipients. Sometimes the work of making room for God is internal and still—silence, prayer, study. And sometimes it is outward and active—preparing the sanctuary for worship, preparing the home for Sabbath, and preparing for Christmas. One of my favorite lines in the Book of Common Prayer is in the prayer after communion: “Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart.” When I decorate the tree with Christmas carols blasting on my CD player, address Christmas Cards, and go from store to store searching for a particular gift that my grandchild didn’t ask for but that I know she will love, I do so with gladness and singleness of heart. I know why I’m doing it, and I choose to do it out of love, not obligation. These practical preparations are just as vital to my Advent observance as early-morning prayers and the lighting of Advent candles.

There are no Christmas elves to perform the many tasks that precede a joyfully observed Christmas. There is only us—our busy hands, our expectant hearts, both preparing to welcome the long-awaited, incarnate love of God, both necessary for knowing that love more deeply and sharing it more widely.

We wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas!

Pastors Janet and Michael







Haven’s Highlights – October, 2013

As October arrives, winter visitors return. As they do, even more opportunities present themselves. Choir, Dinner with Friends, Bible Study, (read Acts 16:5). Leaders return so committee and boards can continue their work. We had our SPRC meeting, and Administrative Council meeting was September 22nd.

In October, Haven will hold it’s Annual Church Conference, people will be able to serve at the food bank and the church cleaning day. The fact is, that even after all I have just shared with you, this is only the begins to tell the story of Jesus at Haven UMC.

I have learned from author James Mason that when possibilities abound, we must get aggressive and pursue those opportunities. John points out, “Activities usually don’t find you, you must find them.” He believes the reason most people don’t go very far in this life is because they sidestep opportunity and shake hands with procrastination. Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried. So when something presents itself and you feel you can and want to do it…join in! Don’t be out in the backyard looking for 4 leaf clovers when opportunity knocks on your door. I’m not certain you will find a 4 leaf clover in the desert, but you will find people who love the Lord and want to be about the Lord’s work. The danger is that we tell ourselves we have nothing to offer. We lie to ourselves. Are you waiting on opportunities waiting on you? I believe you should take the initiative and live your life on the offensive. William Menniger said, “The amount of satisfaction you get from life, depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction, usually find boredom instead.” No one at Haven UMC should be bored!

In fact, if there is something you want to do and it’s not offered, think about getting a group together to start something new. It has been noted, that vital churches should always be blessing what has been helpful in the life of the church and adding that which will help the church grow.

Albert Hubert remarked, “ People who want milk, should not seat themselves on a stool in the middle of the fields and hope that the cow will back up to them.” The door to opportunity won’t open unless you push. It is always a bumpy, uphill road that leads to heights of greatness. “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds,” said Francis Bacon.

Have you ever noticed that great people are never lacking for opportunities? This certainly includes those people who find themselves in their golden years. Yes, life is full of opportunities. Every person has much to offer. Start with what you can do; don’t stop because of what you can’t do. Great opportunities will come as you make the most of the small ones. The best gifts we get are opportunities, not things. Seize them!

Pastor Mike


Haven Church Conference – October 6th

Church Conference to be October 6th

Haven’s Annual Church Conference will be held following our 9:00 a.m. worship service on October 6th.  District Superintendent, Gary Kennedy and District Lay Leader, Carol Armstrong will lead us in a time of visioning and imagining as well as accepting our congregation’s yearly reports.  A potluck lunch will be served during the meeting.


World Communion Sunday

World Communion Sunday is a time to be in communion with Christians all over the world and to enable us to “press on toward the goal” of serving God in life-changing ministries.

Sunday, October 6, 2013, recognizes our unity with Christians all around the world who will also be celebrating Communion on this first Sunday in October.

Gary Kennedy will officiate in this Sacrament as we share the body and blood of Christ.


Vacations are Wonderful!

Vacations are wonderful!  At least ours was!  We had such a good visit with our daughter on the Washington/Idaho border.  We had nothing special to do and so we took long drives through the country side, ate way too much food at terrific restaurants, took afternoon naps, watched some movies we have been wanting to see and veg’d a lot! One of the best things was that there was the nip of fall in the air!  I don’t know about you, but I am getting very tired of the heat.  Days where the temperature doesn’t get above the 70’s or 80’s is something that I am really looking forward to.

Also the fall brings many other celebrations. We will be having our Church Conference following worship on Sunday, October 6th which is also World Wide Communion. Mike and I will be hosting a dinner on Friday evening; October 19 we are planning a fun evening of food and fellowship for our friends here at Haven, so bring your friends too.  The plans are also in the works for a Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And then, it will be Advent… so much to look forward too.

On January 19, 2014 at our 9:00 am service,  Cathy Wilson, from Chosen People Ministries will be at Haven to do a presentation of The Story and the meaning of the Lamb of God.  We have heard many great things about her talks and are really looking forward to hearing Cathy.

Michael and I hope that you are as excited about the changing seasons as we are!!  There is so much to look forward to!


Pastors Michael & Janet

Caregiving – Wellness Notes August, 2013


August, 2013

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you: he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

 Psalm 55:22

Summer is wearing on, it is hot during the day, everything moves a little slower, many activities and friends have taken a summer vacation away,  and we are weary.   Many of us are now, have been, or may be a CAREGIVER.   Whether we are caring for a loved one,  caregiving is our livelihood, or we just need to care more for ourselves,   AUGUST WELLNESS  brings us a focus on caregiving.     Leeza Gibbons of Hollywood fame brings us new ideas for coping.   She states “Caregiving in general – is a thing we don’t really have language for.  Nobody really prepares for it, and it’s the ultimate sure thing.”   She gives us some comforting ideas:

  • First step is to seek advice and emotional  embrace from others with experience
  • Have conversations with family, the care receiver, and professionals about what care is needed and desired.
  • Let non profits, health agencies, online support, or support groups be an intervening force so you  or a family member doesn’t have to ‘wear the black hat’ in making caring decisions.
  • Use the Wellness techniques you used before this added stressor appeared.   WALK, HYDRATE, EAT HEALTHY, AND  SLEEP WELL.   Using support systems to allow those four functions to remain constant.
  • ASK FOR HELP:   seek out support groups,  Parish Nurses,  Physicians,  Health Care providers and Home Care Agencies  to provide support services and respite care.
  • Own the new reality of where you are.   Banish blame,  drop the dread, and claim the victory over victimization.  Realize when your “Pitcher is empty”  and allow for help with replenishing your energy and abilities.
  • Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself  (to do the above refueling).
  • Look for the new joys of the ‘new reality’ of your life.  Reclaim the traditions you might have forgotten,  spread some joy among the support system you have utilized,   share with others and your care receiver,   journal,  make small steps important.
  • BE POSITIVE:    This too shall pass, and we are never alone in this process.   Celebrate the gift of giving to another and look for the gifts that return.
  • Allow friends and family to get used to your new role as a caregiver.  Respect yourself for what you are doing and those around you will return that respect.   Act as a role model.

Hold fast to the LORD for his guidance and strength.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant