28 February 2011

Word for the Week...


"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it."
-Albert Schweitzer

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.

In a 2000 movie, a social studies teacher gives his class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. One of his students launches a good-will movement called "Pay it Forward” ... the recipient of a favor, does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back, so a chain of good deeds continues.

One morning last week I drove through Starbucks for my occasional Grande White Mocha. When I got to the window the cashier told me that $2.00 of my bill had been paid for, because I was part of a “pay it forward” that had been going on for most of the morning. Of course, I paid my full amount so that the act of kindness could continue, but as I drove away several things occurred to me. First, the original person that started the “pay if forward” had brought smiles to a lot of people that morning. The Starbucks’ staff were having so much fun and even cheerier than normal (if that is even possible). And I’m sure the customers pulled away with a smile on their face, just like I had. Secondly, everyone involved had become part of something much bigger than ourselves.

The Bible instructs us to “clothe ourselves with kindness” (Colossians 3:12). I have found that sometimes in the process of doing a kind deed for someone, if I remain anonymous, something pretty amazing happens to me. You see, God knows my small acts of kindness and I know my deed has made Him happy. By not identifying myself to others, I feel like God and I are sharing a special secret, and that gives me great joy!

Here are some quotes that give us other great reasons why we should consider doing random acts of kindness for others:

"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely
detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever."
- Margaret Cho

"Remember that you are needed. There is at least one important
work to be done that will not be done unless you do it."
- Charles L. Allen

"There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down
and helping to lift someone up." - Bernard Meltzer

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their
echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa

Showing kindness is a way we can share our faith with others, too. No matter what our calling, God’s ultimate calling is for us to bring others to Christ and care for His people. He calls to us as He did to Isaiah, “Comfort, comfort my people" (Isaiah 40:1). Peter was a fisherman when Jesus called to him: “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:16). Then Peter went on to recruit elders with the words, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care” (1 Peter 5:2).

You may be saying to yourself, “Where do I begin?” Well, you can start today by saying a simple “thank you” to strangers that serve you throughout the day (like the bagger at the grocery store). Why not offer to lend a helping hand to someone unexpectedly, or show genuine interest in someone you come in contact with but have never said more than a quick “hello” to. During my day I spend a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies. If I feel myself getting stressed or tired, I’ll take a moment and ask the customer service person how their day is going or what their weather is like. When they answer “thank you for asking,” it comes full circle and cheers me up. Random Acts of kindness don’t just make a difference in the lives of others, but also bless us in the process.

There are many ideas for random acts of kindness that can be found on the internet. Here are two great websites that can offer not only suggestions but some valuable resources:

http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/     This site contains a kindness idea of the day, lots of “kindness” stories and a wonderful source of "kindness inspirational quotes."

http://www.helpothers.org/     This website also has some awesome kindness ideas and one of them is called “You're It. Pass It On. Smile Cards!” They are based on the “pay it forward” concept. All you do is anonymously make someone smile, and leave behind a card asking them to keep the ripple going. It’s so easy and fun, and it’s truly contagious. To find out more, check out their website and click on the “smile cards” tab. They even have a download for printable cards.

While browsing several sights that shared some really great ideas, I came across one suggestion, made a few changes and came up with an idea that tied to last week’s blog about sending greeting cards. All it would cost is the price of a roll of 100 stamps. Ask for permission to set up a table outside of the door of your local thrift shop (ie. Goodwill). As people pass by (either coming or going from the shop), ask them if they need a stamp or two. Many of the shoppers probably don’t have “extra” money to purchase stamps, so this would be a very appreciated act of kindness. Just think how this could affect lives if they use the stamp to mail a note to a special loved one or someone they have not been in touch with for a long time.

Can you imagine the joy we must bring to God when we have fun finding creative ways to be kind to others and do it “anonymously.” And I think it gets even better when we do random acts of kindness that allow others to participate in passing along kindness at the same time. Have you thought of any other creative suggestions? Will you accept the “Acts of Kindness Challenge” today?

If the anonymous bug has bitten you, be sure to check back on Friday.... when we will continue to “sparkle” anonymously! Be nameless, unidentified and a “secret” blessing to others.... enjoy your week!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
– Hebrews 13:16

25 February 2011

Have Fun, Throw Confetti

“If by chance someday you're not feeling well and you should remember
some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face
or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled.”
- Kimberly Quiggle

A life of peace gives us encouragement and hope, which we can in turn pass along to others. Author and writer, Nicole Johnson said, “Encouragement is to a relationship what confetti is to a party… The time it takes to gather little pieces of love, grace, strength, and hope is well worth it when you see what happens as you shower those gifts on someone else. It’s like spiritual confetti, and it’s the ultimate encouragement.”

Today I’d like to introduce you to someone who throw’s her own “spiritual confetti” every day. Kimberly Quiggle ... encourager, clown, and greeting card artist .... just to name a few of her many gifts that she uses to bless others. She is also the editor of a daily newsletter called “Cup O’Cheer.”

I met Kim quite a few years ago in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is where she and her husband, Jay reside. As I was putting together my blog topics for this month, Kim’s name kept coming to mind and I knew that she had to be part of my segment on “encouraging one another.” I’ve been a subscriber to her newsletter for many years and it always amazes me how there is something in every issue that I can apply to my daily walk with Christ. After interviewing her for this article, I completely understand that it is not just a “coincidence” but a “God thing.” Read the interview for yourself and I know you will agree.


Donna: Describe your newsletter ministry?
Kim: Cup O’ Cheer is a free email newsletter that is published every Monday through Friday. I make sure to tell every subscriber...PRAYER REQUESTS come first! People’s hearts are changed as they hear of God’s miracles.... from the very teeny tiny ones to the great big ones. Each issue contains a variety of inspirational quotes, short stories, jokes, and poems, ending with one longer devotion.

D: How did it get started?
K: The newsletter originally started as an email to family and friends called “Quiggles Quips.” Over the years, as circulation grew, the name was changed to Cup O’ Cheer and today it has become an amazing outreach ministry.

D: How long have you been publishing the newsletter?
K: I can’t believe it’s been since 1996.

D: How widespread is your readership?
K: Cup O’ Cheer currently has approximately 800 readers, covering 26 countries. Readers have asked to use my articles for their women’s circles, Sunday school classes and small groups, so I’m not quite sure how many others are being touched by the stories.

D: How do you find such a wonderful variety of stories?
K: Read.... read... read! I subscribe to a variety of daily devotions and church newsletters. I also enjoy reading devotions from England and other countries, and spend time reading a lot of internet articles and blogs. I may read 100 stories, and after praying about it, only pick 2 to include in the newsletter. But, when I find articles I want to use, I email the author/ writer to ask for their permission to reproduce their work. Many times they become not only a source, but also a subscriber to my newsletter.

D: How much time do you spend creating each issue?
K: I have a daily routine that works pretty well... my day starts around 5:30 am each morning and I usually don’t stop until 11:30 pm. I enjoy the quiet time of mornings and evenings, to plan, pray and compile my newsletter. I also am blessed with a job that allows me some flexibility to access the internet and read during my work day. All in all, it takes about 5-7 hours of reading a day to publish my newsletter on a daily basis.

D: What is the most challenging part of your ministry?
K: Distribution of the newsletter isn’t an easy task, but I have it down to a system. I broke my readers down in to two main groups – one that receives their newsletter on the odd days and another on the even days. In order to circulate the newsletter via email, I have lists of approximately 50 readers each, so it does take a little time to send.

D: What inspires you to continue the ministry?
K: Sharing in the lives of my readers is definitely one of my inspirations. When I was growing up my dad worked for the railroad, so we traveled quite a bit. We didn’t stay in one place very long, so it has been wonderful seeing my readers grow up and having them share their family stories with me. I also get encouragement from other people such as my family, friends and card making groups. Their support makes me want to do more. And last but not least, I get encouragement from God. “I have no doubt that this is what God wants me to do.”

D: When you aren’t working on your newsletter, what do you like to do?
K: As you can tell by my picture, I love to clown around... ha, ha! All joking aside, I belong to a Clown Ministry and love sharing the “joy” of the Lord with others. I also belong to a card-making group that meets twice a month. We have a wonderful time fellowshipping together and taking turns teaching each other how to make card crafts. My husband and I are also very active in our local Walk to Emmaus community.

D: What is your favorite Bible verse?
K: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” My sister named her son, Jeremiah. He was born with Downs Syndrome and their family has been such an inspiration to me.... a beautiful example of strength, hope and perseverance.

D: How can someone get on your Cup of Cheer email list?
K: Send an email to: cheer316@sc.rr.com - type in the subject line “Subscribe Cup O’ Cheer.”

Thanks Kim for your willingness to share your story. You and your ministry are such a blessing!

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle.... action required.... I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing how God has used one very special woman to encourage the lives of many... one word at a time, one reader at a time and one country at a time. God can use you too – you just need to say, “Here I am, Lord” and be ready for the fun to begin. This weekend why not “throw some spiritual confetti” - you may be surprised at how much falls on you in the process.

Blessings & God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared." -Buddha

21 February 2011

It Only Takes a Stamp!

Trivia: The price of a U.S. first-class postage stamp in the
early 1960’s was 4 cents and was raised to 5 cents in 1963.

When I was a young girl, I loved writing letters, and sending greeting cards and postcards. Our family took summer vacations and I remember how my favorite thing was to check out the souvenir shops for postcards to mail home to my grandparents and friends. As a teen, I couldn’t wait until the current edition of my Tiger Beat magazine hit the newsstand, and remember searching from cover to cover to get updated addresses to write to my “fav” teen idols. But most of all, I remember corresponding with pen-pals and missionaries from many different countries.

This month I’ve been blogging about sharing God’s love with others and the importance of our words. Today I am going to continue along the same thoughts by writing about “letters of encouragement.” People have been writing letters of encouragement as far back as the Bible. In fact, most of the books in the New Testament are epistles – letters from the apostles. Just read Paul’s letters for wonderful examples of care, concern and encouragement. One such letter was written to the church in Antioch. Acts 15:30-31 tells us, “They gathered the church and gave them the letter. When they read it, they were very happy because of the encouraging message.”

Have you ever received a card in the mail and by just looking at the envelope it brought a smile to your face. Maybe it was covered with fun stickers from a creative friend. Maybe it was the child-like writing of your grandchild, or a very special return address that caught your attention. Of all the people you know, who do you most enjoy getting news or encouragement from?

In the Women of Faith Bible Study entitled “Encouraging One Another”, Luci Swindoll shared her thoughts about receiving words of encouragement.... “I like to get messages that are sweet, kind, encouraging, informative and not everlastingly long. I like words from the heart. I like original thoughts. I like information and Scriptures from an understanding, sympathetic friend that will help me on my way in life. And I like clever notes from people who have a way with words. Words that snap and tickle and assure and thrill me to the bone.”

Have you ever been in awe about the timing of a card that you received? Thought to yourself, “how did they know that those words were just what I needed to hear today?” It happens to me all the time. So, don’t forget that encouragement goes both ways. When someone has given you a needed lift, let them know how God has been using them in your life (see 1 Corinthians 16:18) and, don’t forget to thank God for that person (see 1 Corinthians 1:4).

Today I still have my passion for the lost art of corresponding via the U.S. Post Office, just like I did when I was younger. After all, “real mail” reminds us that someone is thinking of us, and as Hallmark says, “cares to send the very best.” To me the “very best” isn’t the card itself, but the handwritten, heartfelt messages written on the inside.

Over ten years ago, God began to show me a way to turn my passion in to a Card Ministry. So, I set out to find women with the same spiritual gifts of encouragement. In times such as these, a Card Ministry is a necessity. There are hurting people in our families, our churches and our world. There are celebrations and sorrows that need to be shared. I’ve been blessed to be able to help start several Card Ministries and as we encourage others, God has encouraged us! God has also put it on my heart to write a manual to provide others with the necessary tools to start their own Card Ministry. (For more information, put a comment on my blog or email me at donna_a_weaver@hotmail.com).

“I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand,
which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:17

Be like the apostle Paul and put a personal touch on your greetings. Your “personal touch” could be something as simple as using a pink pen every time you sign a card, or making sure a Scripture verse is always written inside. For many years now, I have been in the habit of signing all of my correspondence.....

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

P.S.  Have a Blessed Week!

18 February 2011

Confessions of a Post-It Junkie

"When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people;
as I grow older, I admire kind people."
-Abraham Joshua Heschel

In 1974, a man named Art Fry sang in the choir of his St. Paul, MN church. Art had a problem. The paper he used to mark his place in the hymnal frequently went flying across the choir loft, leaving him scrambling to find his place. (Can anyone relate?) One day, inspiration struck. Art, a product development researcher at 3M, remembered the not-so-sticky adhesive created by a colleague and wondered if it might be useful for 'temporarily permanent' bookmarks. And so, the Post-It Note was born.

Initially sold in pads of 250 sheets, the light-yellow Post-It Notes were an immediate success, selling over 50,000,000 pads in their first year of production. Post-It Notes are among the simplest but most genius of inventions, and I must confess that “I am a Post-It Junkie.” At any given time, my work desk has at least a half dozen (or more) post-its containing: to-do lists, important phone numbers, the name of a song I just heard on K-Love, miscellaneous messages, deadlines and dates to remember, shopping lists, doodles and various other info - from the essential to the insignificant. They have even crept in to my home. At times they can be found adhered to the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, my Bible, schoolbooks and even my purse. I fear that these cute little pieces of paper could just take over my world, but I am reminded that my “clutter” is now organized (almost) and has to serve a purpose, otherwise it’s out of here!

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required... God has promised to write His Word upon our hearts. Since we’ve been talking about the importance of scripture, and speaking words of encouragement, I thought it might be fun to grab a pad of Post-It notes and set out on a mission. Why not write some random notes, containing ....

  • Reminders to ourselves of how much God loves us
  • Scripture verses we want to memorize or share with others
  • Prayer requests as we are doing our daily devotions
  • Messages to our kids telling them how proud we are of them, or how much we love them
  • Encouraging words for our co-workers
  • Thank you notes to someone at the drive-thru window, or for the bank teller (put in the bank cylinder after your transaction is done)
  • A blessing left in a public restroom (have a great day)
  • Post-It your Pastor’s car: Have a class of Sunday School students write short, encouraging notes on Post –Its. Use examples like these to get them thinking: “Thank you for loving Jesus,” or “I like how you smile when you see me,” or “How did you get so smart?” Give the students 5 minutes to write as many as they can. Then go out and cover the car (or have a volunteer do it for you.) Make sure to take a picture of the mischief!
When we search for ways to “sparkle,” we need to remember that sometimes, it’s the smallest things that can make the biggest impact. Think about it... How would you feel if you got in your car to drive to work and there was a post it on your steering wheel that said, “Have a great day!” or “God Loves You!” As one K-Love disc jockey always says, “Little things don’t mean a lot, they mean everything.”

Check out this video to see one guys “Post-It Adventure” ...  http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=EMBECNNU

My mission this weekend is to keep my eyes open to the people around me. I’m hoping to find lots of great opportunities to “post a note” and share God’s love! By the way, in case you didn’t know it, this is “Random Acts of Kindness Week.” This story brought to you as a reminder to be thankful for the little things in life - like Post-it® Notes.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it."
- Albert Schweitzer

14 February 2011

Conversations with God

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
and He who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are mine.
- Isaiah 43:1

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today is a day when we all thinking about “chocolates, flowers, greeting cards, gifts, candlelight dinners, hugs, and kisses." Whether you are married, single, young or old, someone special comes to mind when we say the words “I LOVE YOU.”

Words are such an important part of our everyday life. We use them to express how we feel and to offer words of encouragement, comfort, and hope to others. Times likes Valentine’s Day we can find just the right words on Valentine cards, listening to TV commercials or even printed on tiny little candies.

Did you know.... Sweethearts, the small heart-shaped candies got their start in 1902. The New England Confectionery Company, or Necco, produces approximately 100,000 pounds of hearts per day from late February through mid-January of the following year. These sweet treats sell out in about six weeks.

Each conversation heart is printed with a special message. Many of the original sayings, like “Be Good,” “Be True” and “Kiss Me,” are still printed today, but in the 1990’s Necco decided to update some of the sayings to include “Call Me,” “Fax Me,” and “Email Me.” This year, one in 80 candy hearts will say, “Tweet Me.” Each year Necco receives hundreds of suggestions for new sayings. I got to thinking about the words on these little candies and thought to myself, wouldn’t it be cool to have a box of Christian conversation hearts that could include words such as “God Cares,” “U R Mine,” “Fear Not,” “Seek Him,” or “Pray 2 Day.”

Even though the candy company may update their sayings, we can count on God’s word being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

How we choose our words is important because just as words can be loving and encouraging, they can also tear others down and be hurtful. Sometimes communication can be difficult, but the Bible gives us many verses on how to speak to others in a Christ-like way. In Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 he tells believers “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.”

Here are some other verses that speak about our “words”....

“An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.”
– Proverbs 12:25

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to
their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
– Ephesians 4:29

“One who loves a pure heart
and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.”
– Proverbs 22:11

“She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”
– Proverbs 31:26

One scripture verse that I use as a prayer every day is Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” I have learned that my words are a reflection of what is stored in my heart. If I stuff things like bitterness, anger, worry and frustration in to my heart, the words that come out of my mouth become filled with sarcasm, impatience, and hate. Keeping God’s word in my heart helps me with the daily battle over my words. 

Let God be your one true Valentine this year. Send Him a message... if you were writing your own conversation heart to give to God, what would it say? I think my heart would say “I M YOURS.”

Happy Hearts Day.  "Sparkle" surprises on Friday... have a great week!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“God is so big He can cover the whole world with His love,
and so small He can curl up inside your heart.”
- June Masters Bacher

11 February 2011

Life is all about Love

“Love means living the way God commanded us to live.
As you have heard from the beginning, his command is this: Live a life of love.”
– 2 John 1:6

Today I want to introduce you to a very special woman. She was a woman of a “generous spirit.” She goes by the name of Tabitha or Dorcas. Here is her story:

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9:36-42)

What type of person was Dorcas? A believer and follower of Christ

What type of deeds did she do: Good works... helped the poor – v.36, helped widows – v. 39, sewed clothing – v. 39. Her good works represented Christian faith in action.

What type of Fruits of the Spirit do we see in her: love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness

The story of Dorcas tells us that she was “always doing good.” Do you ever feel like those three simple words are hard to live up to? I sure do. Fixing a meal for someone, volunteering in the community, listening to a friend, serving on a committee, running errands for a neighbor, taking care of a sick family member.... the list goes on and on. Yes, God does call us to do good works, but we have to remember that God took time to rest (Genesis 2:2). And Jesus spent quiet time in prayer (Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12). All too often, when we devote all of our time to “always doing good,” we fail to recognize our limitations, fail to renew our spirit. Remember that our “good works” come from the overflow in our heart! Why not ask God to refill and restore you today!

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... Action Required... Dorcas made a huge impact on the people of Joppa and inspired women through-out history. Today her example is kept alive by The Dorcas Society. It is a local group of people, usually based in churches, with a mission of providing clothing to the poor.

The original society was founded in 1834, as part of the community's thanksgiving for being spared from an outbreak of cholera. The poorer families in town had their clothes and bedding destroyed as part of the effort to prevent the disease. Today there are Dorcas societies all around the world.

What can we learn from Dorcas? Why not spend a few minutes today and take a personal inventory of your “good works.”

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. – Galatians 6:10
Fact: God calls us to do good works.
Personal Inventory: What “good works” have I done lately?

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” - James 2:26
Fact: Our good deeds reflect our faith.
Personal Inventory: What are my good deeds saying to others about my faith?

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” - Matthew 5:15
Fact: Our good works bring glory to God.
Personal Inventory: Do my good works bring glory to God, or are they self-centered?

With Valentine’s Day only three days away, what better time to set out to do “good works,” not only for those we know and love... what about the poor, the sick and the widows? Feel free to share your “good works” with us .... your response might just encourage another reader.

Coming soon: Meet a joyful encourager, some people who love to write notes of encouragement, and even a few anonymous encouragers. Can’t wait to spend time with you again next week.... have an awesome weekend!

Until Monday...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
- Aesop

07 February 2011

Women of a Generous Spirit

“All works of love are works of peace.”
– Mother Teresa

Even though it’s February, I still have one Christmas tree left up in my house. The reason is because the ornaments on the tree are peace signs and hearts.... so I guess it is still appropriate since Valentine’s Day is only a week away.

Did you know that the subject of the heart is addressed in the Bible more than any other topic – more than works, service, obedience, more than money, and even more than worship. We find out why this is so by reading the words of 1 Samuel 16:7, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

According to Scripture, our heart can be many things. Unfortunately it can be troubled, grieved, forgetful, hardened, foolish, proud, and even broken, but thank God it can also be wise, cheerful, giving, thankful, glad, loving, joyful, and pure. When our heart houses the source of our “faith, hope, and love,” God’s peace can also take up residence there. And when a heart is filled to overflowing, it allows us to give in ways that not only impact others, but enrich our own lives. We become women of a generous spirit.

I’m sure we can all think of women that we admire, enjoy being around, and look to for advice or encouragement. My daughter is one of those women in my life. She is my biggest cheerleader, but also my most honest critic. There are times when she holds me accountable and other times that she gently reminds me to “be thankful” for what God is doing in my life. She has seen the best of me and the worst of me, but offers her love “unconditionally.” She gives of her time, talent, and resources, but expects nothing in return. She is a woman of a generous spirit.

Characteristics of such women include being a good listener, compassionate, non-judgmental, loving, sincere, gracious, and peace-filled. Their caring nature comes from a sincere heart that is overflowing with God’s love.

Women of a generous spirit ...

...encourage others through difficult and unsure times
...are excited to listen to our plans or share in our success stories
...seek out the lonely and try to get to know them, offering friendship and hope
...lift their friends up to God in prayer
... give humbly, without expecting anything in return
... give back to others because God’s grace has changed their lives
... understand their boundaries and realize that our human limitations can never limit God
... know what refreshes them and they don’t feel guilty taking time for those activities
... look to the Bible for spiritual nourishment and pray to God for discernment

We are all called to testify to the reality of Jesus’ work in and through our lives, but we are not all called to witness in the same way. Our lives are constantly changing. We experience times of service, times of rest and times of growth. We need to acknowledge when it is time to give, and also when we need self-imposed time for receiving. Our 2011 journey is one of seeking more of God’s peace, but along the way, our time with God can help us change from self-focused women, into women of a “generous spirit.” You and I may never know the difference we make in the lives of others, but remember, God looks at the heart!

In her book, Women of a Generous Spirit, Lois Mowday Rabey said, “Our lifestyles will be forever changed as long as we allow him to fill us up so we can give from that overflow. He will fill you and use you. You will touch others. When they hear your name, they will say, She is a woman of a generous spirit!" (See Resource Page for info).

Check out my blog on Friday to meet one very special woman of a generous spirit.

Until then, be a blessing and be blessed...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.”
- Ben Sweetland

04 February 2011

Being “Generic”

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
- Luke 10:27

All week I’ve been deliberating as to what our “sparkle” suggestion should be for today. Well,  yesterday I had to make a trip to Walgreen’s and as I walked through the door, right away an idea popped into my head.  The first thing I saw was a box of shovels and snow scrappers. Just past the checkout counter was a display of polar fleece throws for under $10. I continued down the aisle, checking my personal shopping list along the way.  I needed some hand lotion for my dry skin... winter weather does that to a person... aisle 3. Turning the corner I noticed that candy and magazines filled the next aisle.  And of course, in the back of the store was the pharmacy. You might be wondering why I am taking you on a “tour” through Walgreen’s. Well, I’ve been thinking about the fruits of the Spirit and how I could use them to make a difference in the lives of others. So, here is my idea.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required... All over the U.S. everyone is having cRaZy weather. Here in Denver we went from the 70’s on Saturday and Sunday to below zero temperatures for the rest of the week. How has your weather impacted your life lately?  Have you thought about your elderly neighbor, the widow/widower a few doors down, or the single mom with a new baby that lives across the street? How are they doing in this weather? What if we reach out and “make a difference” in the lives of our neighbors.... right now, today?

So, I asked myself...

Have I seen my neighbors outside lately?
Are they able to shovel their own sidewalk?
Can they get to their mailbox, are their newspapers piling up?
Are they keeping warm enough?
Do they have enough groceries, baby food & diapers, chocolate?
Can they get out to pick-up their medicines?
Could they be feeling cooped up, bored, shut-in, secluded or lonely?

With some creative thinking the list could go on and on.  Now think back to my first paragraph... is it making sense now? Maybe someone could use a small throw for warmth. Some hand lotion and a new magazine, or maybe a new coffee mug with some packets of hot chocolate might just make their day. If purchasing something isn’t in your budget, why not volunteer to shovel their walkway, pick up their mail or run an errand next time you’re out and about. If you enjoy cooking, some suggestions would be to make a plate of cookies, or double your dinner recipe and share your leftovers with a neighbor. Who doesn’t love something “home-cooked” that you don’t have to make yourself! A small basket of fruit might be appreciated, or, maybe you could spare a few moments of your time for conversation.

When we think about serving others, too often we picture the homeless in the inner city, the orphans in Haiti, or missionary work in far-away places. Don't get me wrong, these are awesome ways to make a difference, but this week why not "be generic."  During this time of severe weather, let’s serve the “general, common, basic” needs of those around us.  Let’s open our front door, stand on the step and ask God to reveal “someone in our own neighborhood” that could benefit from our willingness to serve. It's just possible that our neighbor may see the face of Christ in our eyes next time they open their door!

Have a blessed weekend – stay safe, stay warm!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Peace is not something you wish for, it’s something you make,
something you do, something you are, and, something you give away.”
– Robert Fulghum