Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Podcast 1: Trailer

What to expect? 

In this episode I want to introduce myself to you. I want to tell you what to expect from our time together. 

I’m Cintia! I’ve been blogging at www.simplycintia.com since 2003. 

I was born in Brazil but I live in America with my family. When I arrived, I had $200 in my pocket and two suitcases in my hands. I was robbed of $100 a few days after I arrived, so I learned to do the best I could with what I had. This has been the theme of my life. I believe we can all do great things with the circumstances we currently have. 

There’s a lot of negativity out there. The Simply Cintia Podcast is a good place to find hope online. 

I encourage you to Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play so you will not miss any episodes. 

When a podcast starts, people sometimes wonder if some big start will be a special guest. The answer is yes! The big starts in my area of the universe are my friends and family. This season a few friends will stop by and talk about relevant topics such as:

• what does it really take to change? 
• how to shine your light on social media
• the gift of turning 40 
• how to balance motherhood and career. 

I will speak of “what happens when friendships die” and other topics. 

I welcome your prayers, subscriptions, social media shares and donations. Join me as I celebrate this new landmark in the existence of SimplyCintia.com!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Simply Cintia Podcast

I am so excited to announce my Podcast, the Simply Cintia Podcast is now available on iTunes and Google Play!

I have dreamed about this project for a while and I would love if you could subscribe and leave me a 5-star review on iTunes. Here is a tutorial on how to leave a review.
Reviews are important because they help other people find the podcast. The main reason why I'm expanding is so people who do not know my blog can find hope through my spoken words. I appreciate your help with that!

For 15 years, I've been blogging. My goal is always to remind you that there is hope. I'm convinced you have what it takes to live the extraordinary life God has for you.

During those 15 years, I haven't had any major sponsors. The joke was always that my husband was the sponsor because he always paid for everything. As I expand to this new platform, I need your donation so that my mission to spread hope online, one word at a time can go further.

Simply click the Donation button on my Podcast page.

Another great way of helping is to become a Subscriber and to leave a review. You can also spread the word to your friends. Word of mouth is the best publicity tool because friends trust friends.

Your prayers are the most precious contribution to my mission. Prayers give heaven permission to invade earthly circumstances. It is my desire that this project will be brilliantly used by God.

I appreciate your readership of 15 years (and going!). I appreciate your friendship and your words of encouragement.

Have an amazing week and let me know what you think of my Podcast's trailer! 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Good Seeds in the Soil of My Brazilian Heart

Good Seeds in the Soil of My Brazilian Heart

SEPTEMBER 16, 2018 BY CINTIA LISTENBEE (TEXAS)
The Brazilian economy was no joke while I was growing up in the 1980s. There was so much turmoil around us, and the country needed to change its currency several times in order to achieve stability. I remember my grandmother saying that she’d go to the bakery to buy bread with cruzeiros, but the currency had changed and the baker was only accepting cruzados which made her money invalid. I can’t begin to tell you about the violence in the slum near our home. We could not trust in the law enforcement. In the midst of hearing drug dealers firing shots in the slums, I also heard the sweet voices of my parents, grandmothers, and other adults in the family praising God. While they couldn’t shield me from the harshness of society, they taught me how to find safety in the words of the Bible.   
Cintia (in green) with her Vó Maria da Gloria Inacio Furtado (center)
and her Vó Lady de Souza (right) celebrating their birthdays in Brazil,
following a thanksgiving service to God
My family used creativity in their way of teaching me the Bible. I heard biblical wisdom being sung and spoken by my parents and grandparents every day. It wasn’t until I found myself reading my English Bible in America that I realized that all the advice I got from them over the years came from the book of Proverbs. Now, that was brilliant! Speaking and singing about the Bible was a daily habit in our family. The adults in the family were not preaching at us, they were professing a living faith that burned inside their hearts. Those words of life went straight to my spirit, and it is now bearing fruit.    
One of the scriptures my grandmother quoted the most was Psalm 91. In Psalm 91, the psalmist starts by declaring that he who dwells under the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty and says of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2, KJV).
I don’t know if my grandmother thought about the turmoil in Brazil when she quoted Psalm 91. I did sense a great trust in her. She would sing about this Psalm when she was hand-washing her clothes. She would say it in the afternoon, right before she enjoyed a cup of sweet black tea. The words of the Bible were such an organic part of life because all of life was for God’s service. I can't thank my family enough for such spiritual heritage.    
My family modeled the importance of verbalizing our trust in God in everyday living. My own journey started when I was a freshman in college, all alone in a foreign land. I found out that my folks set me up for success with all their Bible singing and talking. Before my grandmother passed away, I became hungry to experience God for myself. I learned that in order to know God, I must read the Word. I continually read and study the Bible. I do not read to become an expert, I read because God's words are my very life.
Unlike my grandmother, I don’t hand-wash my clothes but I do sing and speak God’s words when I’m doing other chores. I try to find multiple opportunities to organically speak the words I find in the Bible to my children. Sometimes I teach the Bible to my children informally, like my ancestors did. I am reminded that I need to teach God’s word to my children when I sit at home and when I walk along the road, when I lie down and when I get up (see Deut. 11:19). I am hoping to plant good seeds the young hearts of my children. I trust God to be faithful to the words in the Bible.      
I’ve been in the U.S. for 20 years now. While it is unfair to compare this country with my homeland in the 80s, I can say that we live in difficult times. When the going gets tough, my spirit goes back to the words from Psalm 91 that I heard long ago. My mouth is inclined to say, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”   
My spirit has been blessed by the intentionality of my family in Brazil. They could do nothing about the declining economy or the shootings around them. What they could do was to believe God, profess God's word, and plant good seeds in my young heart.   
What type of seeds are you planting today, my friend? Are they seeds of faith or fear? I encourage you to hold on to God and to scripture. Confess God’s word so those around you can be blessed by it. 
- originally published in The Upper Room's Blog

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Where we are - The Upper Room (September 16, 2018)

* I had the honor of having a devotional published in The Upper Room. I hope you enjoy it!

When you search for me, you will find me; 
if you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13 (NRSV)
My prayer life shifted when my husband, Zeke, and I had three children in four years. I learned to pray while washing dishes and on my way to the store. Most of those prayers were as simple as, “Help!” and faithfully, God heard each one of them. Even simple prayers are powerful because God meets us where we are.
I can see this in the life of Susanna Wesley, who raised 19 children. Two of those children were John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, and Charles Wesley, a powerful evangelist and amazing hymn writer. Living in the 1600s, Susanna homeschooled, cooked, and did everything in between. But Susanna was determined to include time with God in her busy schedule. The same God who met Susanna in her busy life will meet each of us wherever we are.
Even someone who has never experienced little kids running around the house daily knows what it is to live a hectic life. No matter how busy our schedules, God knows where we are and can meet us there through prayer. God cares about what concerns us and wants to hear about what’s filling our hearts and minds — right now. Each day, we can all resolve to set aside some time to connect with God through prayer.
TODAY'S PRAYER
Loving God, thank you for listening to our prayers. As we search for you, may we be enveloped by your amazing love. Amen.
TODAY'S READING
Jeremiah 29:12-14 
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
God is near me — “a very present help” (Ps. 46:1, KJV) every day.
PRAYER FOCUS
Mothers of small children

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Daily Routines for a Balanced Life


A man’s mind plans his way 
[as he journeys through life], 
But the Lord directs his steps 
and establishes them. 
Proverbs 16:9 (AMP)

Routines are so important to me. They help me put purpose into my days. The first thing I do each day is to seek God first. If I'm too busy to be with God, I'm too busy. God directs and establishes my steps. I always pray for wisdom to do everything I'm supposed to do in a day. 

I think that everyone has a routine. Some people put glitter on theirs and we all marvel at it. Even if your routine is to sleep until 1 p.m. each day, you still have a routine. Here's the thing: if you don't like the results of your current routine, get creative, make a doable plan and effectively follow it. 

Creative - When we use our imagination, we are being creative. I had to change my cleaning routine when I started working. I came up with a creative idea that allowed me to keep the cleaning done, even with limited time. It's okay to borrow someone else's creative ideas. Just remember that for every problem, there is a creative solution. 

Doable - don't be lured by complex concepts: find something doable to improve your routines. I heard an ultramarathoner say that he runs a marathon every day before breakfast. Someone like me can only run one of those per year, two if I'm really in shape. Doable for me means running 4 miles twice a week and following a half-marathon schedule on weekends. Do something that works for you and be consistent. 

Effective - if you effectively follow your routine, you will get the results you want. One year I decided to add Bible reading to my morning routine. I got late with my reading and I didn't get the results I wanted. The following year, I effectively followed my reading plan and I reached the goal of reading the Bible in One Year.  

I encourage you to analyze your routines. If you like what you see, keep going. If your routine needs improvement, get creative, make a doable plan and effectively follow it.