Friday, August 31, 2012

Woven Women News!

Woven Women News!

Today, August 31st, marks the end of LIFE LESSONS, our Summer Devotional Series! Wasn't it glorious to read all the amazing stories and lessons God has taught our writers along the journey of life? I really hesitate to bring this to a close, but God always gives just what we need when we need it.  
I am praying for God's leading for our online fall devotional series. I will be taking a break this next week to regroup. So, stay tuned for updates along the way. Pray along with me, that I will clearly hear from Him. Pray also for our Woven Writers to be inspired and directed by the Spirit.
I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE the first season of Woven Women NYC at The Lambs Church of the Nazarene in New York City. This is a harvest from our Woven Mission trip in June. I will be flying out this time next week for a Woven Leader Training. Having lived in NYC for a short time, I know how valuable and life-breathing a Woven Women's group will be to these women for growing supportive relationships.  
At the same time, we are gearing up for Woven Season Four at NewarkNaz, my home church. This year's theme for our group lessons is (drum roll, please...) 
WE ARE WOVEN: A Celebration of Creation!
I am really excited about this new workbook. Pray for me as God unfolds it in my heart and I attempt to put it into words that will weave our hearts together as one. Our Coffee House and Table Talk will kick-off the new season on Monday, October 1st at the Williams Street location. You won't want to miss the fun, food, and friendship! We will launch our home groups in November.
Our Woven Leader team met last week. We are changing up the schedule a bit and hoping to offer our first Woven Women's Conference??? in the spring. Several have asked about the Woven Women's Marketplace. The answer is YES! We have it on the calendar for November 10th, so mark your calendars too.
As you can see, these assignments are not small. Please pray God will clearly lead and hearts will be open... "woven together in love, in touch with all there is to know of God."

THANKS SO MUCH for spreading the love! Stay tuned... I will be in touch! Missing you already! 
Love and Heart Hugs to you,

Visit WovenWomen on Facebook! And Click Like! ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: 'Faith'ing Reality

LIFE LESSON: 'Faith'ing Reality
by Rachel Blevins

Yes, I know...faithing is not a real word and I don't speak with a lisp. I awakened with this phrase in my head and I got to thinking...

Disciples of Jesus are sometimes confronted with crisis and age-old questions surface. What happens when our prayers aren't answered? Or, the reality of it, what happens when our prayers aren't answered the way we want them to be?

The litany of questions begins. Didn't I have faith? Did I not have enough? What did I do wrong? Is God punishing me for bad things I've done? Am I not good enough? Ad infinitum...

If we face reality, we know we don't always get our way even when we've done things well. We exercise our faith and still the unthinkable happens. But so-and-so said that he/she would be healed. It's best to skip this ping-pong match of the mind.   

During my years in hospice work, I encountered several patients who believed strongly in divine healing. One young mother was adamant that she would be healed--so adamant that she refused to sign legal documents on the house and car she jointly owned with her husband. She chose not to talk to her teenage children about the possibility of death and she died grimacing. Her children were angry for a very long time.

My friend Barb "faithed" reality. She walked her journey differently. Longing to return home, she was granted her desire to be in her own surroundings the last few days of her life. Barb said, “I want to go home...but I think I'm going to my other home.” 

I asked her to clarify and she continued, “I just want to be in my home. I realize I may die, but I will continue to pray for a miracle.” She prepared her children for her death. It softened the pain of their loss.

There was such a contrast in the outcome of these two believers. Both had faith and trust in God's ability to heal. One was bitter; one was not. One prepared her family; one did not.

Someone asked me recently, “Do you think that if you're praying for a healing miracle you should still prepare for death?”

The simple answer is, "Yes, we should prepare for death!" 

We prepare for most everything else in life with all sorts of insurance policies. We have health care insurance for physical needs. We purchase life insurance just-in-case we die! Of course it’s uncomfortable to talk about—but scripture does say, “It’s appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Faithing reality does not mean you are lacking in the faith department—at least, that's my opinion. I have prayed for precious loved ones to be healed. They were not. The questions persisted. Will I continue to pray for those that need a miracle? YES!

Not getting the results I want does not change who God is or what He can do. I may never understand the way things unfold in life but I have found God to be trustworthy…in life and in death.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-38)
Can you sing, "It Is Well With My Soul" this morning, regardless of the situation you are facing? Can you still trust that God is in control when your prayers seem to be unanswered? I pray that the hardships of life only draw you closer to Him.

We are praying God's peace over you this day and trusting His love will prevail in your heart and life.
Hugs, ~Cindy


It's a privilege to introduce Rachel to you today. She is an awesome woman of God, gifted with many pearls of wisdom and a gift for expression. Rachel is a mom, grandma, and has been in ministry her entire adult life as pastor's wife. Now widowed, her love legacy with Pastor Joe continues to inspire others through her writings and her undying love for him and for God.
Rachel is a freelance speaker/writer and personal caregiver. She is a Woman of Virtue!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Arm Yourself!

LIFE LESSON: Arm Yourself!
by Toni Spaulding
When Dave and I were first married we attended a small Baptist church in Crestline, Ohio. As a child, I had attended the Crestline Catholic School and church just across the street. A few years earlier, Dave’s dad was the pastor of the Crestline Nazarene church. To say the least, it was an interesting journey that brought us to The Conservative Baptist Church.
Our friends had been attending the church for some time. They invited us to a party in their home for young married couples. We decided to go for the fun of it. So we took our children and had a great time with the other young families. We were not attending church anywhere on a regular basis, so we thought we would give it a try. We felt at home and Conservative Baptist became our home church for several years. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made as a couple.
One Sunday morning, shortly after we started attending, Pastor Bleck shared the importance of Bible memorization. I will never forget the core of that message: when the troubles of life come crushing in, you may not be able to think clearly, so arm yourself with the Word. I had never given much thought about beginning a memorization plan of the Word until that morning. A few days later I began memorizing God’s Word. I started with a simple verse which I thought I knew, John 3:16. I had a rude awakening! Then, I decided to try and memorize a verse for every letter in the alphabet. It took me a long while to do this. I learn slower than most, but I was finally able to recite a scriptural alphabet.
To this day, I have never recited this alphabet out loud. It is my private ammunition when life comes crushing in. Lately, I have really been arming myself with this arsenal of God’s Word. During the past few weeks, I feel like I’ve been in a wine press. You’ve probably had those kinds of days too, when you can’t seem to think straight and the weight of the world seems to be resting on your shoulders. So many things coming at once, it’s hard to decipher which thoughts are from the Lord. That’s when I load my gun and aim for the enemy.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.”
This verse has kept me sane these last few weeks. I have to purposely keep my mind Christ-focused and not problem-focused. Often, when my husband prays before his message he says, “Lord, keep our minds captive during this service.” I find myself praying this prayer often.
“Lord, keep my mind captive.”
I encourage you to pray this prayer and I challenge you to begin memorizing God’s word. It will never fail to bring you peace and comfort. And when the crushing times of life come your way--which they will-- get out the ammo and shoot for the enemy!
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(2Cor10:4-6NIV)

Toni has been married to Dave for 43 years and as a pastor's wife for 32 years. They have two married children, Dawn and Jonathon, and four grandchildren.

Toni has been the owner/operator of Curves in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, for the past 12 years. Curves has been an amazing ministry opportunity, allowing her to reach out to women in need. She also serves as Director of Women’s Ministry at Mount Vernon First Church of the Nazarene.

She is a Woven Woman!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Green Pastures

LIFE LESSONS: Green Pastures
by Cindy Stiverson

It was only thirteen years ago that this Grammy graduated college. I was not a Grammy then. Oh no! I would never have imagined that my life would take the turn that led me there, just six months after my daughter's first day of high school. The summer prior, my husband took his own life. I felt as though I had lost mine. But God was quick to fill in the gap. He led me onward with the intent that I would lead others.
I certainly did not step foot on campus with dreams of ministry in mind. I was going to be a math teacher. He had other ideas. The tugging on my heart was relentless. He was demanding my full surrender to His will, His plans. I could not believe God could ever use this broken life, this battered woman to build His kingdom. "Why would He want Me?" I felt so unworthy, inadequate. My life was ugly, marred, imperfect. How could I possibly reflect Him?
Accepting this call was quite a journey. Walking in it was quite another. By my Junior year, I was fully immersed in my major...and it was a major overload. My daughter and I were both over-achievers. She was in every sport and activity imaginable; I was the supportive mom. While balancing my studies and leading my own activities, I was completing my ministry internship. I began to feel like I was drowning in a sea of to-do's. I was overwhelmed.
In the midst of all that I had To Do, and all the prayers that God would help me to-do all that I had To Do,  I got sick in the most inopportune timing. I felt betrayed! I couldn't believe that God had allowed this. I had so much TO DO! It was no accident that I opened my Bible to Psalm 23. As I began to read this ever-familiar passage, I saw it with new eyes, heard it with new ears...
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He MAKES ME lie down in green pastures...?
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul
He LEADS ME beside quiet waters...?

The Lord was gently reprimanding and reminding me that HE IS IN CONTROL! This was His gig, not mine. He was literally MAKING me lie down, leading me to be QUIET, so that I could hear His voice, and He could RESTORE my soul! And, once I submitted and surrendered to this process, how delicious those green pastures were...the grass was truly greener on His side of the fence!
Besides re-interpreting the 23rd Psalm to my heart, He gave me a new mantra for living. In answer to my prayers as to how I would get through my to-do's, he responded, "Do the next thing first!"
Do the next thing first.
It was the simplest equation. And it worked! I stopped looking at the thing as a whole. Instead, I broke it down to what was required of me each day, each week. Instead of breaking me, I conquered IT! I relied on God's strength, His gentle reminders that He is not a God of chaos. He is a God of peaceful, quiet waters, green pastures. He is our destination of restoration. And, He will tell us what we need to do and when we need to do it. He will give us what we need to get it done!
"He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake...
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Thank you, Lord God, that You are in control. We praise You and give you glory today, in Jesus' name.


I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in so many women's lives. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.

So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.

Loving God with all my heart, soul, strength; and loving and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life.

Monday, August 27, 2012


by Rachel Blevins

Three Dog Night sang “One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do...”, but “one” doesn't have to be lonely.

I can't remember when I first discovered the joys of a “time-out”, but I think it was during my pre-teen years when I lived in Grand Cayman. It's hard to have alone time in the midst of a family of eight; but if I hurried to get my chores done, I could steal away for a few minutes. After supper I loved to ride my bicycle just down the road by Dr. Roy's house to watch the sunset on the turquoise Caribbean Sea.

My granddaughter, Montana, stayed overnight when she was quite young. We were walking to the van and I told her how much I loved hanging out with her.

“Yea, me too. But sometimes I really like just hangin' out with myself!” she said.

“Yes, Grammer likes that too.”

That's pretty profound for a six-year-old child. It's a wonderful discovery and sadly some folks never do find the joy of some time alone.

I was desperate for some time alone when my sons were small. I needed a “time-out” in the worst way—for my sake and theirs. My only option at that point was to go into the bathroom and sit quietly on the floor. It only took a minute or so and I heard a voice outside the door, “Mom, did you know the light's not on in there?” “YES!” I knew. Ninety seconds does not count as sufficient solitude.

During our homeschooling years, I scheduled a quiet time in each school day—at least half an hour to quiet our bodies, minds and spirits—a time when we could daydream, listen to soft music, write or draw what we felt. My goal was that this would become a part of their adult life as well and for the most part each one does this still.

Each season of the year offers some delightful ways to spend a “time-out”...

  • drive through the country in Spring to see rebirth of nature
  • relax by a creek...a lake or preferably, the ocean
  • talk a walk among brilliant colored trees in autumn
  • sit by a crackling fire in winter and read

Some cultures enjoy an afternoon “siesta”. What a great idea! Creative people find ways to carve some time away from the bustle and are energized in their work.

I love the end of the day when everyone is asleep but me and I reflect on my life. I love the phones ringing, no TV, no Facebook, no text messages, no fingers poking me for my attention. It's a great time to develop listening hear that still, small voice.

Balance is tricky in all of this; sometimes we have too much alone time and long for companionship. We were created for relationship...but in the midst of it all, a well-planned “time-out” can be rejuvenating.

How long has it been since you enjoyed a “time-out”?

It's a privilege to introduce Rachel to you today. She is an awesome woman of God, gifted with many pearls of wisdom and a gift for expression. Rachel is a mom, grandma, and has been in ministry her entire adult life as pastor's wife. Now widowed, her love legacy with Pastor Joe continues to inspire others through her writings and her undying love for him and for God. 
Rachel is a freelance speaker/writer and personal caregiver.  She is a Woman of Virtue!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Treasure Hunting

LIFE LESSONS: Treasure Hunting
by Cindy Stiverson

Every summer for the past twelve years, my Boy and I have enjoyed an annual trek to Treasure Island, Florida. It always makes me think of one of my fave childhood books, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. That makes me laugh because it seems so out of character for me to have liked a not-so-girly book. I suppose it spoke to the adventurer in me. Hard to believe, I was also a bit of a tom-boy!
Like the book, our trips to Treasure Island are centered around treasure hunting. One pastime is scouring the area thrift stores and flea markets for bargains. We part ways, as what is a treasure to Mark is not-so-much-a-treasure to me, and vice-versa. He enjoys picking through the old garage sale-type "junk". I look for the new or gently used, "non-junk" (smile). Like an old peg-leg pirate, I often want to shoot myself (or him) in the leg when we get home, dragging all these things along with us!
But the real treasures are the not-so-gently-used people I encounter along the way. My heart is stirred as I picture them now. Faces bronzed and rugged from hours and years in the sun, hearts open and tender and seeking a friend. I have been caught by surprise many a time when they thank me, not for buying, but for looking into their eyes and engaging in meaningful conversation.
Italian-born Bella Lucia was this year's treasure. I have visited her dress shop in the past, but this year was different. We engaged in conversation...for more than an hour! As I listened, she shared her journey with cancer, seven years of finding the treatment that would work for her. Finally finding the treasure: one chemotherapy treatment with a pricetag of $70,000 brought her to cancer-free status. But not without loss! They downsized their home, their lifestyle, their activities. She shared how everything in their lives had changed, how much she suffered physically. I had never heard a cancer patient share so openly as she did with me, a complete stranger. It was heart-wrenching to imagine that level of suffering.
As I listened, I prayed God would open a door to her heart. We were both suddenly fascinated with the thought that she had lost every bit of hair on her body. Even her eyelashes and eyebrows. Gone! We were even more fascinated by the new growth. How does a bald head grow a full head of hair? How do we grow a new set of eyelashes and eyebrows? Oh, what a treasure it would be to know that formula! Men would be standing in line, $70,000 in hand!
That was my gateway to God. I shared that God loves us so much that He knows the number of hairs on our head! (Luke 12:7, Matt. 10:30) And, I told her that He promises to make everything new!
"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people!...He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:3-5NLT)
None of us will go through life without suffering, heartache, hardship, loss, disease. We can be comforted in knowing that the God who created us will never leave us or forsake us. Even when we can't hear Him or see Him working, He is there. He uses everything to draw us into a deeper love relationship with Him. The treasures yet to be discovered in this love-journey are beyond our ability to imagine!

How big is YOUR love? How big is your GOD? What treasures are you seeking?

Jesus gives us this advice:
"Do not store up treasures here on your treasures in heaven...Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." (Matt. 6:19-21, 33NLT)



I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in so many women's lives. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.

So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.

Loving God with all my heart, soul, strength; and loving and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Guardian Angel

LIFE LESSONS: Guardian Angel
by Christine Clippinger

 March 1995 is a month that is burned into my memory. I was weeks away from completing my degree at Ohio State; I had done it in 2 ½ years while working, being a wife, and mothering 2 young children. Going to the emergency room at 2:00 a.m. was not in my plan.

Our 3-year-old was crying. Alex never cried. A wave of panic rose in me. He was obviously in severe pain, as his toddler’s body remained in the fetal position when we lifted him out of bed. Something was seriously wrong. Mike and I decided that I should stay home with our daughter while he took Alex to the hospital.

Not knowing what was happening for hours was bad enough; Mike’s phone call telling me that the doctors had sent him to Columbus Children’s Hospital was worse. Alex was in surgery to remove a ruptured appendix. I couldn’t get out the door quickly enough.

Engulfed by an enormous hospital bed, Alex looked fragile and pale. The tubes inserted into his tiny limbs frightened me. Nevertheless, I smiled at him and tried to act like everything was fine, even though I had been told that the peritonitis resulting from the rupture could kill our young son. Internally, I was overwhelmed with the worst fear a mother can experience.

Alex spent several days in the hospital, and each night, Mike and I took turns sleeping on the fold-down bed in Alex’s room. It was never a solid sleep. Every time a nurse came to check him, Alex, who was normally a happy child and not easily agitated, would begin crying and screaming that he did not want to be touched, and he wasn’t getting better. I felt helpless not knowing how to help my child. I prayed, crying out to God as I never had before. One night, exhausted, I fell asleep praying.

Later that night, I woke up abruptly. What time was it? What had woken me? I quickly surveyed the room. Alex was sleeping; all was quiet. Then, a nurse that I did not recognize entered the room and began walking toward Alex’s bed. I braced for the storm, and I warned her, “He’s going to make some noise.” She looked at me, and she smiled as if she knew something that I didn’t. This night, no storm came. Alex’s eyes opened, and he stared into the nurse’s face. To my surprise, his face bore the sweetest smile I had ever seen. Then I noticed her too; she was beautiful. Her soft, curly golden hair fell at her shoulders; I remember thinking that a nurse wearing her hair down was unusual.

“Everything is going to be okay,” she said, surely speaking to both of us. Her nametag said “Julia”, and her face, like her countenance, was incredibly tranquil and assuring. Alex never made a sound.

When the day nurse came in the morning, her surprise was obvious. “He’s so calm,” she said quietly, “and he’s doing much better.”

“It was the nurse from last night,” I said, “Julia.”

She looked at me quizzically.


That day, Alex’s body began to heal; a few days later, he was home with us again. During his last days at the hospital, I spent hours trying to find that nurse to be able to thank her, but nobody knew anyone named Julia.

When I recount this story, some people may think I was dreaming, but I know how real that night was. I know it the same way I know I am real, and the same way I know God is real. Today, I picture that Julia is Alex’s guardian angel, but perhaps she is mine. Either way, I know God sent an angel for both of us that night.


Christine Whitehead Clippinger is a former Navy Engineering Aid, Commercial Interior Designer, Homeschool Educator, and Decorative Painter from Springfield, MA. Christine currently enjoys studying the Bible, watercolor painting, photography, volunteering as a Budget Counselor for Hillcrest Transitional Housing, and being a student of life with an undeclared major. She currently resides in Kansas City, MO with Mike, her best friend and husband of 25 years, and Max, her enthralling cat of 11 years. Christine and Mike have two adult children, Chelsea and Alex.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Anxious For Nothing

LIFE LESSONS: Anxious For Nothing
by Toni Spaulding

"I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me - 
[I am ready for anything and equal to anything
through Him who infuses inner strength into me,
that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]."
Philippians 4:13AMP

I am a worrier by nature! Even as a child, I was overcome with worry. I had a very good childhood, loved and well cared for by my family, but health issues caused me pain and sorrow. The first time I recall being in the hospital, I was 7 years old. I was having surgery and I was so scared!

Our physician and his wife were family friends. They were so kind and reassuring. Just seeing them in the hospital the day of my surgery was comforting. Before they took me to the operating room, Mrs. Brandt, the doctor’s wife came to see me. She kissed my forehead and said, “You won’t remember anything except sweet dreams. Just breathe and count backwards from ten to one.”

This memory is as vivid today as it was fifty-six years ago. Then the smell! Ether! That was nasty stuff and it smelled horrible. I only counted, "Ten. Nine. Eight," and I was out like a light. She was right. I did not remember anything but eating ice cream the next day.

That hospital experience started my journey of fear. As a Christian, this has been my thorn in the flesh. I have struggled time and again over this issue and have prayed more prayers of surrender than I can count. Still I find my heart unsettled, struggling to conquer this demon. As I read Philippians, my spirit is comforted knowing I have nothing to fear, the Lord is with me moment by moment. It really is all about Him. We are not capable of living for Jesus without the inner infusion of strength that He gives.

There is an old book that I have read several times that addresses this demon of fear. Hinds Feet In High Places by Hannah Hurnard is an allegory about the Fearing Family. The main character is Much Afraid. Much Afraid desires to go to the High Places but is too fearful. She knows the journey will be difficult. She has followed the Chief Shepherd for a very long time and He wants to lead her to these places. But Craven Fear is always around the corner, convincing her it is no use, she will never make it to the High Places because she is too crippled to make the climb.
I can relate to Much Afraid. My worries are numerous. I am sure yours are too. I like to spiritualize the name of worry and call it "concern". I have found that victory in my walk with the Lord has always come more quickly when I “call it like it is”. Honesty before the Lord matters. Here I am again, today, praying and confessing that the demon of fear got the best of me.
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition [definite requests], with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. (Philippians 4:6AMP)"
I don't know what demons of despair you are dealing with today. I really don't know exactly how to pray for you. What I do know is that we can all boldly approach God's throneroom. Christ has paved the way for us. God already knows our concerns. Let's go to Him, separately and collectively, presenting our petitions with the expectation that He will hear and respond. We can do this through His Spirit. I will pray for you! Will you pray for me too? I love you so! ~Cindy


It's a pleasure to introduce you to Toni. Our paths have crossed in many arenas over the years, most of which were ministry opportunities. I know for a fact that she cares deeply about others and loves to serve God. She is an active servant of the Lord.

Toni has been married to Dave for 43 years and a pastor's wife for 32 years. They have two married children, Dawn and Jonathon, and four grandchildren.

Toni has been the owner/operator of Curves in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, for the past 12 years. Curves has been an amazing ministry opportunity, allowing her to reach out to women in need. She also serves as Director of Women’s Ministry at Mount Vernon First Church of the Nazarene.

She is a Woven Woman!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Just-Keep-Picking!

Photography by Margaret Slabach
by Margaret Slabach

There are these delicious little berries on bushes, confined within a large cage, called blueberries. We have eight large bushes that are bearing prolifically because we have watered them faithfully.  While my husband was away on a mission trip, there I was: enmeshed in the branches, picking those little things in the ninety degree heat.

As I picked, my awareness peaked. God was speaking to me about persistence.  I can’t honestly say I particularly enjoyed the lesson. Every last blueberry had to be picked; there was no way around it. There are no magic solutions… just-keep-picking! If I wanted blueberries I had to pick them or they’d go to waste. I couldn’t pick for just five minutes either.  No, it required hours. BUT after hours of picking, I had a whole lot of berries. Persistence was required to harvest the delicious little things. One advantage: I could eat as many as I wanted while picking. 

My hubby’s home now and we work as a team, but the lesson still applies. We cannot pick if or when we feel like it. We have to pick almost daily during the season so that we can get around the patch or buckets will go to waste. The berries do not wait until we want to pick; they just keep bearing. There are days I don’t feel like it. I’d rather be doing something more fun.

Life is like that. You may be in a season that isn’t much fun or may be a tad bit boring but you know you're where God wants you. It requires persistence -- “enduring tenaciously”. Wishing won’t change things. It only makes you more dissatisfied. You would rather be doing the fun things your friends are enjoying. But you can’t. You have to just-keep-picking because you want that promised harvest. It would be easier and less sweaty to let it go, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. But think of the harvest you would miss!

  • Are you in a season of just-keep-picking?  Feeling like you want to give up?
  • Are you tired, hot, sweaty from persisting?
  • Do you need an attitude change towards what you are doing? Can you accept it or do you chafe?
  • Will you let your harvest go to waste because you are discouraged? Facing opposition? Or because you just don’t feel like doing it?
Persistence = enduring; refusing to give up; persisting especially in the face of obstacles or discouragement; enduring tenaciously

Persistance brings a greater harvest. And you even get to enjoy some fruit along the way!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians. 6:9


Margaret and her husband Jim are celebrating 40 years of marriage. They have 3 children and 8 multicultural grandchildren. She is the Office Manager at High Mill Church in Canton, Ohio.
Besides being grandma, she loves photography, reading, studying, and writing. She has unoffically published Trickles from the Soul, a compilation of her poetry and photography. Margaret's Blog

Monday, August 20, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Grammy's Answered Prayers

LIFE LESSON: Grammy's Answered Prayer

I sat this morning in prayer, holding my new grandson. I sat in the comfy glider rocker I bought just for this very day. It's the same chair I prayed in every day for more than a year, as my son and daughter-in-love recieved the prognosis. Odds were slim to nothing that they would ever be able to conceive.

I came across my journal notes for Psalm 119:96. In the margin I have written, "They have done everything humanly possible, now we take this to your High Court, for you are without limit." And that's exactly what we did!

On Valentine's Day last year, I was helping at our neighborhood florist. My kids came through the door and greeted me with a homemade card, a picture of a carriage on it. Then they told me the wonderful news! A young lady had asked them parent her baby. Jack was to be born in August. Wow! Our “walk of faith” began. From that day on, we were on a roller-coaster ride of emotion.

Some days I would pray over the birth mom. “ Jesus allow Alex to know you. Let this loss she will grieve be a place where she will receive from you, Lord.”

Some days fear would grip our family. What if it doesn't work out?  "Lord, we draw close to you through this adoption. Help us to remember you orchestrate our lives. You know the plan you have for us. As long as we keep seeking you for our life plan, we can trust you will blend the desires of our heart with your loving favor over us.”

Jesus placed an unwavering heart in us.

"Hi Jack, Grammy prayed for you today," I wrote. "We are waiting for you! I just finished a study of Revelation. Chapter 5 talks about bowls of incense before the throne of God. They are prayers of God's people before the Lord. I have an angel baby sitting in a bowl in our garden. It's a reminder of all the prayers we are sending to heaven for you."

“Jesus, create this baby to be well and healthy. A gift from you to Michelle and Nathan. Your works are wonderful. Watch over Jack, form him with a heart that is drawn to you.”

In this “walk of faith” with all my prayers of asking, the only thing God asked of me was to believe in Him more than I believe in what I can see. Trust in Him more than what I might feel. I admit, I really did question a lot. I threw a few, (okay, many!) temper tantrums before His throne. Jesus understood. He knows that I have trouble seeing as He does. His love comforted me through days of heartache.

Now, on the other side of this journey, God has proven He has enough power. He has enough time. He is bigger than my problem. God is highly confident of His own plans. He can do everything but fail. I can now praise His name saying;
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22 NIV).”
Is your faith being tested by your current circumstances? Don't be tempted or distracted by what you see in the natural. Keep bringing your situation to Jesus. Ask Him to breathe over it, to touch it with His mercy and plan. Hope is oxygen for your soul. No hope for the future, gives you no power in the present. God is always faithful to reveal the best He has for you.

Jesus, thank you for hearing and answering this Grammy's prayers! You are my well of inexhaustible living water. "To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless (Psalm 119:96 NIV)."

No matter how old you are, no matter what you are hoping for, I pray the words of this lullaby will speak to your inner child and bring peace to your soul. May your faith be stengthened today!
In Him, ~Cindy


Kathleen's husband Larry has given her 31years of happiness and now a beautiful home in Newark, Ohio, near their son Nathan and daughter-in-"love" Michelle.

Kathleen loves the Lord and loves sharing insights from God's Word. She loves to help others walk through the hard times, celebrate the good times and give hope in the messy-ness of life.
She is a Woven Woman: a Woman of Virtue!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Love Letters

LIFE LESSONS: Love Letters

I think of God's word as His gigantic love letter to us. Part of my reason for journaling over the years is that it seems the natural response. When someone we love takes such time and trouble to write us a love letter, we want to write them back. Even more so when it is God!

  • Listen carefully to the word of God selected for this video. 
  • When a scripture especially speaks to your heart, stop the video and journal your thoughts and feelings.
  • What does God especially want to tell you in that passage?
  • What have you been missing in relationship with Him?
  • What false beliefs have you had about God? 
  • How will His word and His love for you change your life?
  • Tell Him how you feel about Him. Ask Him to help you love and trust Him more.

    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38NIV)."


I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in the lives of so many women. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.

So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.

Loving God with all my heart, soul, strength; and loving and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life.

Friday, August 17, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Masterpiece

LIFE LESSONS: Masterpiece
by Christine Clippinger

For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
 Ephesians 2:10

As an artist, I see a blank sheet of paper as pure potential. It is the medium to convey a vision into a tangible composition. Imagine my surprise when I read that God is an artist, and he has created each of us as his masterpiece.

My own work begins as a conception of a finished work. I can already see the composition, the colors, and the dimensions that would result in the greatest impact. Moreover, I usually create each piece for a specific purpose: a show, a Christmas card, a women’s conference, etc. For me, it is not merely a pretty picture but a message I wish to convey which moves me to create.

Before the paper is touched by my brush, it must be prepared. I soak, stretch, and staple the sheet down to a board to make it smooth and flat. If conditioned properly, the paper will not warp or buckle when the watercolor is applied. To proceed without taking this step would be an exercise in futility.

Thinking through this process in terms of God, as Creator, and me, as his living work, I realize what a challenge I am to him. I’m usually alright for the soaking and stretching phases, but I’m a bit unsure about being tacked down. No wonder I often warp and buckle under the pressures of this life; I sometimes have a hard time allowing his Word to be adhered to my heart.

When it comes to God’s preparation, there are no shortcuts. I need to be immersed in his truth through a study of scripture, to expand my understanding of the Word with prayer, and to affix his Word in me through practice of it in my life. I am thankful for a patient master, who reminds me that he does not guarantee a pain-free process of preparation but rather that I will avoid a lot of needless frustration if I trust him through it.

Allowing God to take me through these necessary steps is the only way to be ready for his brushwork, which is his purpose for my life of serving and loving others. Giving in to Jesus through the Holy Spirit adds a little more color as I proceed in his vision, and I become a more cohesive picture of his love.

The greatest part of this process is that God, like any great artist, makes the most of ‘happy accidents’.  Those times in life when I stray outside the lines of his perfect picture, he makes them part of the scene and transforms them into objects of beauty. He uses life’s mistakes and tragedies for his purpose in ways I never could.

When looking at a painting, I often want to understand an artist’s perceptions. What steps were taken to achieve the unique beauty of the work? How can I apply those lessons to my own creation? When others see me, I want them to wonder these same things about God. I want them to be fascinated by the Master and crave his process in their lives.

Mostly, I want others to realize that we are God's masterpieces-in-progress, not perfect, but always being perfected. After all, our Lord Jesus Christ is not known for a single work, but for his entire, beautiful body.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Piggy-Back Rides!

LIFE LESSONS: He Gives Piggyback Rides!

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
Deuteronomy 33:12
The temple in Jerusalem was located almost between the mountain ridges of the territory of Benjamin. Moses saw it as a symbol of the Lord’s presence covering Benjamin continually, suggesting this metaphor of being safe, the temple being nestled between the shoulders of God.

I  still remember those hot summer days when my son Nathan was a small boy. We would venture out as a family for some fun-in-the-sun. When nap time came, Nathan would reach his hands up to his dad and say, “Piggy-backs, Daddy! I want to rest.” He was safe, at rest between Daddy's shoulders.

Recently I feel pulled in every direction. The busy-ness of summer activities, and helping new mom and dad with our grandson (lovin' it!). All of this keeps me from my rest time with God. I begin to feel drained of my energy. The enemy begins to attack as my inner critic, telling me,“I can't...” or “If only I could...” and “You should be..."

Get the picture? I feel deflated. I want to wear an "Out Of Order” sign on my back. I begin to lose gratitude for the beautiful life God has blessed me with.

Then I hear God saying, “Come. Rest between my shoulders.” Turning to God, I ask for refreshing. His vision is to live as a divinely supported, God-strong woman, to recognize He is with me through every challenge. All. Day. Long.

When I take the time to rest in Him, I am empowered. He renews me with a fresh dose of divine energy. Soaking in His peace enables me to say "I can!", rather than assuming that I cannot. As I give my worries over to God, they are no longer mine to carry. Jesus encourages us to do exactly that:
"Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:29-30)."
There it is! Jesus, inviting us to rest between His shoulders, to dwell in His safety, and allow Him to be our covering all day long.
  • Is it time for you to surrender?
  • Take a rest?
  • Trust Him to scoop you up on His shoulders?
When you surrender, you will draw from His wellspring of divine refreshing. He will satisfy your soul.

The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11 NIV

 Ahh! Such sweetness today from Kathleen. Let's all pray it together, "Piggy-backs, Daddy! I need rest!" Oh how I love Him! How wonderful it is to be your Woven sister! I love doing life with you! ~Cindy 

As you rest in Him, allow this video to be His response. It is full of the Father's words to us!

Kathleen's husband Larry has given her 31years of happiness and now a beautiful home in Newark, Ohio, near their son Nathan and daughter-in-"love" Michelle.
Kathleen loves the Lord and loves sharing insights from God's Word. She loves to help others walk through the hard times, celebrate the good times and give hope in the messy-ness of life.
She is a Woven Woman: a Woman of Virtue!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



I learned something new this summer. Like they say, you're never too old! hehe

On our family vacation we went to the Aquarium. As I carried my eighteen-month-old grandson from tank to tank, listening to his "wows", "whoas", and "yeas", my awe and appreciation of sea life was reawakened. The brilliant color, the intricate design that God displays in a creature so simple as a fish is breathtaking. "The greatest fashion designers in all the world are not so original, they have only copied what they see in God's underwater fashion show," I thought to myself. It is impossible to duplicate such beauty.

A favorite of Isaac's was the Touch Tank. The young man tending the tank lifted not-so-pretty sea urchins, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, flounder, turtles, snails, spider crabs, whelk and other critters. He shared interesting facts about each one as he offered the opportunity to touch them.

Most fascinating to me was the sea star, or more commonly, the starfish. When I touched it, I was surprised to discover it was not hard, but soft. Even more amazing is the life of a starfish. This particular one had a leg that was just a nubbin in comparison to the other four legs. The attendant explained that starfish often lose a leg through injury or because of other fish nibbling on them. It's their built-in defense system. If a predator attacks, they can drop an arm and get away. Not to worry, they have the capability of growing an entirely new limb! In fact, they are able to totally reproduce themselves.

It takes nearly a year for a sea star to grow a new arm. I'm picturing this as a time away, a period of life where they must not risk being exposed to predators and nibblers. They need time to heal, to regain their strength, to become whole again.

Sometimes we allow others to nibble away at us more than we ought. Predators of unhealthy relationships, lack of appropriate boundaries, or just the natural succession of life and living and giving of ourselves leaves us one limb short. It's the very reason that God ordained, from the very beginning, a Sabbath-rest for all of creation. The land, the sea, you and me: He designed us with this in mind, a cyclical time set aside for renewal and regeneration.
 "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish... (Hebrews 4:9-11NIV)."

Are you feeling nibbled? Pulled in different directions? Preyed upon?
  • Identify your predators.
  • Determine how you will alter your life to avoid attacks on your esteem, your time, your health.
  • Pull away regularly for a Sabbath-rest, to heal, grow new limbs, rest and renew your trust in the Lord.
  • Seek counseling to sort out deeper wounds that have left you vulnerable, needy, over-extended.

How amazing is our God? So amazing that the lesson that I learned at the Touch Tank was reiterated in the book I chose to read the following week. In Gifts From the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh reflects on our need to occasionally pull away from demanding lifestyles and relationships.
"It is as if in parting, one did actually lose an arm. And then, like the starfish, one grows it anew; one is whole again, complete...more whole, even, than before, when the other people had pieces of one."


I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in so many women's lives. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.

So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.

Loving God with all my heart, soul, strength; and loving and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


by SallyAnne Trissel

After suffering from exhaustion and fatigue, I was diagnosed with anemia. Through doctor visits and medical testing, they discovered I had been bleeding internally from a hiatel hernia.  I had lost most of my iron.  Psalm 46:10 became my life:  “Be still and know that I am God.”

God's plan for me during that period of rest was more than just physical healing. During those long months, I spent a lot of time studying the Bible and finding forgiveness, for others and for myself.  I emptied a lot of darkness from my heart. Years of pain and sadness lifted and I began to find peace. I felt like a frumpy grounded caterpillar, dragging all my past through the dirt along with me. He was healing me to fly free, as a butterfly.

Grateful for much healing, my strength slowly returned. I found a job substituting at a workshop for the disabled. Being an artist, one of my jobs was to encourage people to paint artwork. Tammy was very excited, she loved to paint. Tammy had spina bifada and could not walk, speak or hear.  She  spent her entire life in a wheelchair. I loved my time with her, she was always so happy when she was painting. Her work was very good, she had a natural talent.

Tammy became ill. Within a few short weeks she became worse. I went to see her in the intensive care unit to say goodbye. She was unconscious as I prayed for her and hugged her for the last time. She passed away that same night. I was so brokenhearted! I cried so much. Then God reminded me of that same visual I had when I was healing. Peace came over me, knowing that Tammy was no longer grounded like the caterpillar. She was flying free! She was hearing the heavenly music and singing with the angels, healed and whole again.

A short time later, I left that job to pursue my dream of writing. God closed a door  and opened a new window in my life. What a joy it is to follow Him! He truly makes all things new if we allow Him to!

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”   2 Corinthians 5:17

SallyAnne has been happily married to Bill for almost 9 years. She has two grown sons and three grandchildren. Bill and SallyAnne have 4 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels which are very spoiled.

Retired from working with disabled folks, she enjoys painting in her studio and writing. She loves being part of Woven Women and encouraging people to follow the path which God created for them.

Monday, August 13, 2012


by Debbie Paxton

We were all ready to go to the Ohio State Fair to see Casting Crowns, my husband, three daughters and myself. We wanted to avoid rush hour traffic in Columbus and were about to pile into the van when we heard a loud “CRASH” coming from upstairs. Running to investigate, we discovered my husband’s and my hanging clothes, rack and shelves, piled in a heap on the closet floor. On the wall were several large holes, where the shelf used to hang. It was a huge mess! We were short on time so we looked at each other, shrugged and walked out the door – leaving the mess for later.

This was the second time we had left this mess unattended to, which is why it came back to haunt us at an inopportune time. My youngest daughter had actually brought the entire thing down several months ago, when engaged in a contest to see how long she could hang from the bar. It was a Sunday evening and my husband had to work the next day. We wanted the shelf up quickly so he could have his clothes ready for work the next morning. Instead of clearing the whole thing out, calling the handy man and asking him to come fix the holes in the dry wall, reinstall the shelves and hang the rack correctly, my husband rigged up a temporary solution. Once the clothes were hung, the offensive holes were hidden. We conveniently forgot they were there and moved on.

But… the holes WERE still there. We could hang all the clothes we wanted over them, but the holes still existed even though we couldn’t see them. The shelves came crashing down – again – at an even less convenient time than the first. It was late when we arrived home that night. My husband was left picking through clothes very early the next morning, searching for a suit and tie from this mass of clothing on the floor. Still asleep, I’m not certain but I might have even heard a few swear words in the process.

As I cleaned up the mess later, Abba was speaking to my heart. So often, we try to cover the holes and brokenness in our lives. We go to church and smile. When asked how things are, we nod and say "great" when actually there are giant empty places inside, holes in our hearts, brokenness caused by addiction, idolatry, gossip or some other sin. But we cover those holes with beautiful clothing, a fake smile, or Christian service, hoping that somehow things will fix themselves. Meanwhile, the shelf is straining and the whole thing is about to topple, exposing us when we least expect it.

Are there any “holes” you are covering over, hoping they will disappear on their own?

Our God is a God of Truth. He wants us to face the holes in our lives. Not cover them over, but deal with them. Clear out your closet, let Him fill those holes with His love and healing. Then you can re-hang your life on a solid, strong wall that will hold up under the weight and strain of the day-to-day. It may seem easier to go for the quick fix, without addressing the real problem. But that will never last. Eventually it will all tumble down. Face the truth with Him! He loves you, will stand by you, and even help you clean up the mess, making you stronger than you were before.

I, for one, have pulled everything out of my closet and called the repairman.

Debbie is very happily married to Dave. She set aside her career to raise her three daughters. This past year, she re-entered her chosen field of counseling, this time with years of life experiences through which she is able to help others. She loves to work out, ride her bike on the trail, and hang out with the Lord.  She leads the prayer and intercession team at First Presbyterian Church in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
She is a Woven Woman: a Woman of friend and personal prayer partner.  Thanks Deb, you're awesome!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Woman of Strength

A Scriptural Meditation

Read and meditate on the words.
Listen and allow God to speak to your heart.
Reflect and journal:
     Are you a Strong Woman?
     Or a Woman of Strength?
Respond to the Lord in surrender, praise, prayer.
Become a Woman of Strength.

"The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God."
Proverbs 31:30

Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Psalm 28:6-8

Friday, August 10, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: What's It Worth?

LIFE LESSON: What’s It Worth?
by Cheryl Simpson

I have been casually enjoying the Olympics, watching highlights for about an hour each evening. I have my favorite events and even picked out several heroes that have trained well to get where they are today. Olympian swimmer Mark Phelps intrigues me as I think about his all-time Olympic record. The beach volleyball team has now reigned over three Olympics. What an inspiration!

However, What’s it all worth? Where do they go from here? The beach volleyball team says they are done. Mark Phelps has said the same. I would love to meet them and sense their hearts. What do they value? What’s next? What means more to them than a gold medal?

”Calling the crowd to join his disciples, [Jesus] said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat: I am! Don’t run from suffering: embrace it. Follow me and I will show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Mark 8:36 MSG)”
This brings to mind an experience a friend shared with me of an encounter with a man at Meijer. She was tired after working a long, stressful day at work. Naturally, her goal was to get the items she needed as quickly as possible and get out the door…an in-and-out trip.

However, God had a different plan. When she walked by the beer and wine section, she saw a man who appeared distraught. As she went past him to get her few items, God nudged her heart, “Speak to the man.”

She argued with God, “Someone else can speak to him. I’m in a hurry.”

God was persistent, so she approached the man. She told him God loved him and had a purpose for his life. Tears rolled down his face as he told her that he planned to end his life that night. He had a gun in the car. He stopped at the store to buy liquor to help carry out his plan. He had given up hope because he didn't think anyone loved him. He felt like no one cared.

My friend was God's spokesperson, offering hope and a future to a man who thought he was all alone in this world. She brought light to a dark situation. Imagine if she had not been obedient to God’s leading!
As I watch the Olympians receive their honors, medals, and accolades, I envision my dear friend on the victory stand. She delivered hope, and just in the nick of time! She has won a gold medal in the sight of God. Great job, faithful servant. What you have done is of great worth. "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away (I Pet 5:4)."

Dear Father,
Teach me what is of value in your eyes. Help me to truly see people as You do, to sense the needs, the hurts of their hearts. I pray for those who are feeling hopeless, unloved, unlovable. Give them hope and a future. May we seek you and find you when we seek you with all our heart.

Lord, I want to hear you. Place your words in my mind, on my lips; words that will point others toward you. Help me to be obedient to speak when you say speak. Pilot me this day. Lead me on Your path. Let your light shine through me in this dark world. In Jesus Name, Amen.


Cheryl is the grateful wife of 36 years to Ken. They have two children and five granddaughters. Previously a public school teacher, she now spends much of her week doing pastoral care for her church, Newark Church of the Nazarene.  

She is a wonderful Woven Woman: a Woman of Virtue!