Monday, October 22, 2012

WEAVINGS: Where I Live



WEAVINGS: Where I Live
by Kathleen Benis

“Rejoice always.”
 1 Thessalonians 5:16 NIV


A recent teaching gave me a wonderful visual. Beth Moore showed a side-to-side shuffle as she snapped her fingers saying “This is where you live.”

I have found myself thinking more about this shuffle. When my mind wandered to the “what if's” or the “what might be's” this week, I made the conscious effort to stand up straight, begin to move side to side, snap my fingers and recite Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Truth told, there are times when the last thing I want to do is rejoice. I just don't feel thankful about some of my circumstances. God wrote Thessalonians for a reason. He didn't say in most things rejoice. He is asking me to rejoice in Him. By giving this command, Jesus knows it will have an impact on every area of our life.

Being grateful makes us aware of good things God is doing. An attitude of gratitude helps to not focus on what we don't understand, but to remember His words of promise. He makes good out of all that comes against us.  He reminds us of our dependance on Him. Psalm 62:8 tells us that we can pour our hearts out to Him, trust Him to rescue us.

There are days when all I can do is walk around and say, “I trust my trust in you Lord”. When I am in a battle of stinkin' thinkin', I can repeat scripture promises, do “the shuffle”, and focus my attention on Jesus rather than my circumstances.

How about it girls? Won't you give “the shuffle” a chance. Watch Him bring you supernatural joy! I can just see the Lord watching His “Jesus girls” with a smile on His face. Remember where you live. He is in complete control in your every situation. Living like this brings glory to His name. You are a light. The people around you will want to know why you don't grumble and complain. Then you can tell them about your amazing Savior.



_________________________________________

Always thankful for our Woven Leader Kathleen Benis. You can tell from her writing, she is an Irish powerhouse of Jesus-ness!
Love you, my sweet sister...always, Her Cindyness

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!

Friday, October 19, 2012

WEAVINGS: Choose Life




WEAVINGS: Choose Life
by Cindy Stiverson

If given a choice between life and death, it would seem the choice would be obvious. We fear death most of our lives. I still remember when I became aware, as a child, that death was a reality. What a horrible reality it was! When would it happen? How? Who would I be with? Would I die alone? Would I "die before I awoke"? I thought of all the people I would miss, all the things I wanted to do and to be. At the age of only six, eight, nine, I had goals of being a wife, a mother, having a career, changing the world.
 
I'm sure this onslaught of thought about life came with my first experience of death. My great grandmother was a beautiful soul. She loved the Lord. She loved people. She was truly the matriarch of our family. The table was always set, just in case a visitor was hungry. And, if you weren't hungry when you arrived, her cooking and canning were certain to whet the appetite! To complete the perfect picture, you would find her in a creaky wooden rocker, tipping back and forth, with her long silver hair twisted like silk and perched upon her head. She lived a long full life. A blessed life. A life that blessed others.
 
Moses stood before the Israelites and announced his retirement, "I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you." The reason for retirement may appear at face value to be a no-brainer: he was old. But the real reason was disobedience to God. Not all the time. Not very much of the time. But enough to prevent this great patriarch from crossing into the Promised Land. 
 
When God offered, through Moses, the choice of life and death, blessings and curses to the Israelites, Moses knew the full impact of both. Choosing life and blessings was summed up in this heart desire of God:
"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands... then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you...
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient...you will certainly be destroyed...
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life..." -Deut. 30:15-20
 
These are the choices I am making today. Will you make this covenant with God along with me?

Choose Blessings.
What we say and do matters. We can speak blessings or curses. Listen to the words that flow from your mouth. Do not curse your children with negativity and failure. Be a positive, Godly example for the generations to come. Rise up and be the matriarch of your family.

Choose Life.
Live in a way that honors and pleases God. Keep His commands. Be obedient to His voice that speaks softly in your ear and tugs at your heart. Always seek forgiveness for disobedience. Make sure your heart is totally devoted to Him.
Choose Love.
Love God with your entire heart. If you do this, loving others will be easy because His love will flow through you like a bubbling brook. That's the heart of God beating in the very depth of your souls, Christ living and breathing in us through the Holy Spirit.

I pray LIFE, LOVE, BLESSINGS over you this day!




Romans 10:9-10
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved."

______________________________________


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 the Lord with all my heart and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life!
 


 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WEAVINGS: Second Chances

WEAVINGS: Second Chances
by Rachel Blevins
 
I caught a glimpse of Jerry as he worked in the produce department at Kroger’s. He looked healthier than I’d ever seen him—pretty amazing for a man who received a pancreas transplant last summer.
 
Jerry had Type I diabetes since early childhood and prayed thirty-eight years for a miracle. He was on “the list” for months awaiting a pancreas. The first implant failed. The surgeon told him he needed an undamaged pancreas from someone younger than twenty-one. The second surgery was successful.
Jerry explained, “I don’t have to take insulin anymore and my eyesight is being restored!” 
I was in awe. “Wow! You really did get your miracle.”    
With tear-filled eyes he added, “Yes, but it’s bittersweet. Someone had to die so that I could have a second chance.”   
“This must give you new appreciation for Jesus giving his life for you.”  
“Oh, yeah!” he agreed.

 
Flashback seventeen years… My son Jonathan stood at the counter of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to complete paperwork for his driver’s license. The clerk asked, “Do you want to be an organ donor?”
“Yes!” he announced.
He was a minor—why didn’t she ask ME, his mother? 
 
On the drive home, I questioned his decision to be an organ donor. “Don’t you want to be an organ donor?” he asked.
“NO. I’m not even sure how God feels about such things,” was my lame response. 
“Well, why don’t you ask Him?” he quizzed.   
“I don’t know…I’ve read stories about people who have experienced strange cravings and emotions after receiving someone else’s organ. That seems creepy to me. Maybe there’s more to the whole process than we know,” I replied. 
He continued, “Here’s the way I look at it. Suppose someone needs one of my organs in order to live. Then suppose that person has never heard of Jesus and the possibility of living eternally with Him in heaven…then I have given them a second chance to live and to make that choice.” 
I smelled fresh humble pie. “Wow. I never considered organ donation like that!”
 
I have a universal blood type, so I donate blood—a living sacrifice—but I confess that I still have not checked yes to be an organ donor.  However, my driver's license is due for renewal in a few months...


GOD, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
GOD, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.
Psalm 30:2 (MSG)
 
  


______________________________________


It's a privilege to include Rachel as a Woven Writer. 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!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

WEAVINGS: The Circle of Life

 
"Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground
 and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and the man became a living being."
Gen. 2:7NIV

"Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust..."

These words immediately set the scene in our minds of a burial plot in the cemetery. Friends and loved ones dressed in black, gather around a casket, saying farewell to the deceased. Gloomy, surreal, like a scene in a movie. Yet it reflects something so very real: the curse of death upon all humankind, the result of sin.
"for dust you are and to dust you will return."Genesis 3:19b
I am fascinated by this weaving of life: that human life began with something so insignificant as dust. And, it returns to that very same substance of seemingly nothingness.
 
The thought that even God could create something so intricately delicate and detailed as the human body from something so basic as dust is beyond what our minds can comprehend. It is most certainly something that only an all-knowing, all-powerful, living God could do. He wove man (Adam) from the dust of the earth. But He didn't stop there!
 
His next weaving? Taking a rib from Adam, God created woman (Eve). His intention was to weave man and woman together from the very start. The significance? Relationship.
"The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.'" Gen. 2:23
We know how the story goes. The curse of death came upon the earth through disobedience to God. Adam and Eve were enticed by Satan to eat from the Tree of the Life. Genesis Chapter 3.
 
But the evidence of God's hand weaving this circle of life is evident in all creation. The gravitational pull is one evidence I see. As I grow older, this tugging at our bodies to keep us grounded becomes more and more obvious. The sagging skin, the increase of pain and physical dysfunction are red flags reminding us of impending death. They are also testimonies of a God who has woven earth into the very fiber of our being.
"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later...For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved." Romans 8:18-27NLT
 
It makes the hope of salvation through Christ even more special, doesn't it? To think that our bodies were made from, and return to...nothing but dust?  Our lives here on earth, the things we strive for, the importance we place on our physical bodies, only to deteriorate into nothingness. Yet, God has made a way for us to live forever with Him. He promises to give us new bodies! Painless. Eternal. Glorious!

Will you take a step of faith this morning?
Make sure your Maker is your God, your God is your Maker. The God who formed us from the dust of the earth recreates us into His glorious image. He sacrificed His very own son to reverse the curse of death.

Defy gravity!
  • Breathe a fresh prayer of repentance, acceptance, belief in Jesus Christ today.
  • Renew your vow of obedience to Him.
  • Allow Him to permeate every cell of your existence. 
 
 


______________________________________


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 the Lord with all my heart and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life!


Friday, October 12, 2012

WEAVINGS: Party Poopers!



WEAVINGS: Party Poopers!
by Cindy Stiverson

This summer I had an interesting "weaving" of events with a common theme: poop!

The journey began when we were vacationing in Florida. Standing on the boardwalk overlooking John's Pass, I noticed a pelican perched on the seat of a jet ski for rent. Along with the pelican was his poopy trademark, dripping from the seat and down the royal blue body of the ski. I nudged my hubby and said, "Look at that pelican sitting on the jet ski. He's saying, 'I pooped on it--now it's MINE!'" And, he was probably right; who would want to rent that poop-covered-ski?
 
I reflected on how we often do that. We leave our dirty do-do here and there, leaving a sigh of disgust with those who are left to deal with it. We poop on the dreams of others. Or, instead of listening and consoling when someone is genuinely sharing their woes, we make it about us and leave them with a bigger burden instead of lifting theirs.
 
The next weaving on this theme was a visit to the duck pond with my grandson Jude. We had some time to kill, so I thought he would enjoy a walk by the pond and a visit with the ducks. As soon as I opened the car door, I was greeted by...not ducks, but ducky do-do! Not just ducky do-do, but goose poop! Here. There. Ev-er-y-where. The poop, positioned like landmines around the pond, definitely outnumbered our feathered friends, keeping wary visitors like ourselves at a distance. We opted for a walk around the beautiful grounds instead.
 
As we walked, I reflected on my history with this duck pond at the Mt. Vernon Developmental Center. My grandmother worked at this facility for many years. I still remember visiting her as a preteen. Along with other coworkers, grandma had an apartment on the grounds . It was always a bit intimidating to me. I was curious about her life and work there. In hindsight, I wondered if it had something to do with my aunt/her daughter, who was institutionalized as a preteen and spent the rest of her life in a similar setting.
 
Isn't it true? We often follow a path that leads to sorting our own troubled past: choices we've made, hurts we've faced, hardships we've battled. We stuff them deep in hopes they will go away, but they resurface time and again, calling us to look at our poopy past...which leads me to the next poop in my story.
 
We went to Chipotle for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. As we walked back to the car, I noticed the vehicle next to ours had a sign on the door: "Scoop-A-Poop", a yard service specializing in cleaning up pet poop. Whoever heard of such a profession? Perhaps that's a great prescription for our hearts: scoop the poop and dispose of it!
 
As I close this dirty story, my grandson gets the last word. We were driving through the countryside on our way to church one Sunday morning. Jude notice the big round bales of hay in the fields and asked me what they were for. Of course, since the very second he turned three, every explanation is followed by, "WHY?" So, I explained how the farmers raise the crops, bale the hay, and the cows eat it. But it seems I left out a very important part of the story. He held out his hands as though he had the perfect answer and added the perfect ending, "AND THEN THEY POOP!"
 
The End.
And the moral of the story is: Don't be a Party Pooper!
 
 Are you guilty of pooping on someone else's party? Or of staging your own pity party? Let this prayer be your guide to a new perspective on life!


______________________________________


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 the Lord with all my heart and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WEAVINGS: Tomato Trust

WEAVINGS: Tomato Trust
by Rachel Blevins




Texting, Facebook messaging and e-mails offer connections, but what's missing?
 
Silent pauses, physical touch, personal fragrances, voice inflection, eyes sparkling with excitement, body language that speaks of joy or rage are lost in the technical translation. There is something so important about face-to-face encounters in developing a trusting relationship.
 
Call me old-fashioned, but I like eye contact. Ask any of my sons about the most frequently heard phrase growing up and he will say: “Look me in the eye when I'm talking to you!”

I held a job that required me to meet with families and individuals “cold turkey”. Sometimes I had a bit of personal information, but the goal was to get them to open up and talk to me about their grief and losses. Establishing trust in one visit is formidable but possible, a challenge I faced often.

On a beautiful late summer day, I had what I now refer to as a “tomato trust” afternoon. The visit began quietly...Annie didn't take to strangers very well. She had some mental health issues and talking with outsiders was challenging, but she agreed to this visit.

We sat on the front porch in full view of ripening tomatoes on the ledge. Late summer flowers bloomed and the fields of corn across the road indicated harvest time was near. Annie wore a sleeveless summer dress, almost too cool for the temperature that day. Our conversation was sparse and I chose to wait in silence as she thought out what she was willing to share.

She avoided eye contact but shared some juicy family gossip and then silence. She asked if I had a family. I briefly told her about my devoted husband and three sons. Long pauses continued... She looked down at her unshaven legs and said, “I hate shaving my legs!” Amen to that, sister! Just like razor to stubble, we shared a brief connection—woman to woman.

Our conversation ended quietly and her body language signaled no hugs. I thanked her for sharing the afternoon with me as I stepped off the porch. Almost like an afterthought, she asked, “Would you like a tomato for your dinner?” Annie knew I had a family, yet she offered only one.

It was a simple thank you. Thanks for not prying. Thanks for being someone I could trust with family gossip and my disdain for shaving legs. She offered one tomato in exchange for my trust. I have never forgotten the sweetness of that afternoon.

How long has it been since you shared a succulent, satisfying “tomato trust” kind of day?
 
 
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It's a privilege to include Rachel as a Woven Writer. 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!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

WEAVINGS: Go With the Flow


WEAVINGS: Go With the Flow
by Kathleen Benis

“Set me free and rescue me from the mighty waters."
Psalm 144:7

I woke at five this morning with what I call foreboding thoughts. Ugly thoughts seemed to move over my mind like a virus. They threatened to take hold of my day, control me and create a battlefield in my mind. Thoughts that, like a dark cloud, threatened to steal my joy, darken my day.

Envision this frame of mind as an obstacle blocking the flow of water through a stream. Sure, the water can find a way over, under, or around the obstacle. But the force required for the water to pass the obstacle demonstrates how hard our minds must work to change our disposition.

Let's face it, how much control do we really have? If I am anxious, I am forced to make a choice.  I can focus on the hard work of my problem. Or, I can remind myself:
  • I didn't cause it.
  • I can't control it, and
  • I can't fix it.
Switching my focus away from my problem, I can turn to the Presence of Peace within me. It's not easy, but I keep focusing on allowing Jesus to “Set me free and rescue me from the mighty water”.

There are days when it may not look as if  anything will change. Nevertheless, I am tapping into the wellspring of Jesus. Gathering strength to maneuver around any obstacles that may arise.

Prayer clears my mind and heart of any fear. It brings me clarity to see what I can do to make a positive difference. I come away with divine direction and a peaceful flow to my life.

Troubled by negativity? Struggling in the battlefield of your mind? Drowning in the force of negative thoughts? Repeat the Psalm that Kathleen shared as your prayer today:

     Dear Jesus, "Set me free and rescue me from the mighty water."

Like a prescription for your mind, repeat as often as needed throughout your day!

We are Woven! That's why I am praying this with you. ~in love, Cindy



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Friday, October 5, 2012

Random WEAVINGS & Ramblings

http://loriportka.com/2012/09/18/artist-retreat/

Random WEAVINGS & Ramblings
by Cindy Stiverson

The Lord is calling me to get back to the blog. 
This morning I am just randomly wondering where to begin...
 
Ever have those times when you know He's tugging at your heart to do something, but just not clear on the "some" of the "thing"? That's me this week! Thus, the random ramblings of my Weavings today! I think He is saying, "Just get started!" So, consider this the icebreaker. Next week will be the real deal!

This week we kicked off our Woven Women's groups at my home church, Newark Church of the Nazarene. It was a great time and so good to have our ladies all in one space again...and many newbies to Woven. That's always a blessing! Our home groups will begin the first week of November. We have several group choices on Monday nights, a 10am Tuesday group which will meet at Williams Street, Wednesday and Thursday evening groups, and a Saturday morning group. Please contact me if you want to be included in a group. We meet monthly through March. You do not have to attend Newark Naz to be in a Woven group. We'd love to have you join us!
 
Our Woven friends from NYC are doing some powerful weaving. Gwen has begun a weekly Woven group at The Rivington House, a residential treatment center for those suffering with HIV/AIDS. They are off to a great start! Meeting weekly with the women there at the hospice, she is using the Woven Workbook An Oasis for Women on the first week of the month. Then she uses devotionals from our blog series "40 Days of Virtue" to lead the discussions on the following weeks. Wow! Gwen is one amazing lady! She is now beginning a group for the men as well! Go Gwen Go!
 
Coming soon to Mt. Vernon First Church of the Nazarene, a new season of Woven will kick-off on Monday, October 22. This is a step back in time for me! I began Woven in this very church in 1998. Two of those original groups are still going strong: a great testimony for Woven and for the women who helped launch this ministry. LOVE! I look forward to this time with old and new friends!
 
Saturday, November 10th, 9am, is our WOVEN MARKETPLACE & BOUTIQUE at Newark Naz, 200 S. Williams Street, Newark, Ohio. This event will celebrate the enterprising women of Newark Naz by showcasing their creative arts and small businesses. Come prepared to shop for unique Christmas items, to be pampered by personal consultants in our boutique, and to enjoy a holiday social with free appetizers and beverages. It's our second year for this and last year was a BIG HIT!
 
 Well, I have enjoyed this time with you this morning! Please forgive my absence. God has added some new adventures to my life. I love a good adventure, but I am really being stretched in ways I have not been stretched in a long time. (I think He's forgotten that I am a Grammy now!) But I am loving the journey! Can't wait to see what's around each twist and turn and bend in the road.
 
What's God doing in your life? Would love for you to share! Anyone have any good ideas for Women's Ministries or fun girl times? Good recipes for fall? Ummm...I had some yummy hot cider last weekend. Time to buy fresh apples from the orchard, too. Okay, I am REALLY RAMBLING now! Have a great weekend and enjoy the beauty of autumn.  and please...DO share with US!
 
After all...WE ARE WOVEN!
 
luv ya! 
Cindy