Celebrate: Menopause
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
1y ago
That’s right, MENOPAUSE! And, as the caption says, I mean for us to celebrate! I am 55 years old, and menopause has hit me like a wrecking ball. In desperation, I even bought a guidebook to menopause to get a bearing on what is happening to me! If you haven’t dealt with these mind-boggling (literally) changes to your reproductive organs, you may not be aware of the implications of menopause. We do not talk enough about it. That needs to change; I’m convinced we should openly share about menopause and its stages. We should celebrate a new chapter in our lives and help each other during the phys ..read more
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Celebrate: Caregivers
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
1y ago
As I picked out yet another pair of sandals (we can talk another time about shopping!), I overheard a woman speaking harshly to a man I assumed was her father. Probably in his 80s, the older gentleman was confused by what they were doing in the shoe store. While the woman was there to exchange a pair of shoes she’d purchased for him, he seemed to think he was picking out new ones. I listened as the daughter fussed that he wanted to shop instead of trying on sizes of the shoes they needed to exchange. The father seemed confused and kept saying he needed a new pair of shoes. My heart broke for b ..read more
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Question: Juvenile Criminal Justice
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
1y ago
Our local community center, of which I am chair of the board, is in the middle of construction. We want our new building to be a haven of positive and safe community engagement. But last week, a group of young boys (average age of 12) threw rocks through the windows of our old building. When law enforcement asked our executive director if she wanted to press charges, she called me. Neither of us wanted to press charges on young boys who likely knew the building was being demolished and were just having fun exercising their throwing arm. We agreed that, while it wasn’t a big deal in the scheme ..read more
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Question: The Slap Felt Around the World
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
2y ago
I needed a bit to sit with my thoughts. I was horrified Sunday night during the Oscars, watching actor Will Smith slap actor and comedian Chris Rock on national (international) television. The incident was disturbing to my spirit. It made me feel sick inside. I was even more disturbed, after the break, when I saw that Will Smith was allowed to remain in his seat and keep participating in the show. What? At the very least, he should have been removed from the premises. Violent communication is a big problem in our society. I am fully aware that the work of comedians involves pushing things to t ..read more
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Celebrate: white history?
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
2y ago
This past week, Mennonite Women USA sent out its bi-monthly newsletter, The Grapevine. In it, we invited everyone to celebrate Black women writers as a part of Black History Month. It was a small section of the newsletter with the poem “Phenomenal Woman” by Dr. Maya Angelou. I was surprised—and, if I am honest, angry—when I received an email from one of our constituents stating, “I celebrate White History.” I wrestled with my emotions about receiving what I considered an egregious response to our invitation to participate in a national observance established more than 50 years ago. Black Histo ..read more
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Ponder Silence
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
2y ago
For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this. —Esther 4:14 As I read the book of Esther, Mordecai’s words to the Jewish queen of Persia speak to me: “For if you keep silence at a time such as this . . . you and your father’s family will perish.” (Esther 4:14). I chose to keep silent during Advent because I didn’t want my words to bring people down during the celebration of the birth of our King. The s ..read more
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Celebrate and Question: Spanning the Generations
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
2y ago
A few Sundays ago, I had the pleasure of sitting in church with a 93-year-old Mennonite sister: a white former schoolteacher and the first woman to preach in her local congregation. Like so many other women, she had been leading from the shadows for decades when, in the late ’60s or early ’70s, her pastor asked her to speak on the role of women in the church. By this time, the feminist movement was well on its way. After preaching in her own church, other churches asked her to come and share her message. She became a type of itinerant preacher despite never finishing seminary. She’d taken most ..read more
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Ponder – Why am I scared?
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
2y ago
The image of the snakes illustrates my thoughts. The picture shows a snake I encountered on a hiking path at Camp Friedenswald this summer. The first image is the actual photo. The second photo illustrates what my mind saw (a big, more threatening snake). I think it is only fair to tell you, the snake did not bother me at all. It held its ground. I, on the other hand, got a running start and leaped over the snake. Silly, I know, but I fear snakes. As I was preparing for a speaking engagement at a local Mennonite Church, I was confronted with some of those deep-seated fears and anxieties we oft ..read more
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Ponder: Lamenting “Guilty”
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
3y ago
I can’t celebrate. I can’t find peace in Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict because I am never happy to see anyone go to prison. Prison is a horrible place. Yes, Chauvin must pay for his horrific crime, but his conviction only reminds me of the men and women—especially those I know—tortured in our prison system. Derek Chauvin is about to face great hardship. Prisons in the United States are not designed to rehabilitate but to punish, and they offer only a handful of outcomes. It might well be that, for his own safety, Derek will need to remain in coffin-like isolation for years. Or guards will tur ..read more
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Celebrate: Women
Mennonite Women USA
by Cyneatha Millsaps
3y ago
It’s women’s history month, and the Discovery Channel is featuring a series called Genius Aretha, about the phenomenal Aretha Franklin. The story shows not only her genius but the extraordinary hurdles she overcame and the family that helped her clear them. It’s a beautiful testament to the Black family and our complicating challenges. I talk often about growing up in a Black community where the men often caused the women more harm than good. As a child, I struggled to love my father and many other men in my life because of their blatant disrespect for women. I didn’t understand why so many wo ..read more
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