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Special EASTER issue! Jubilant Easter by Alisha Ritchie

He is Alive! by Donna B. Comeaux

Special Easter Recipes from Marilyn’s Treats

Most Honorable Crown by Rejetta Morse

When Do I Stop Praying? by Paula McVay

Love in Bloom by Pat Jeanne Davis

The Invitations: A Special Bible Study When Jesus says “Come” by Ifeoma Samuel

Ruby Magazine Your voice, your story APRIL, 2017

In This Issue of Ruby

Seasons & Waiting by Cassidy Burdge The Christian Prepster

Special Christmas The Wisdom of Issue! Women on the Meaning of Love Spring has finally arrived! We are all celebrating new life, rebirth, and especially we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This issue of RUBY magazine is filled with inspiration for your whole family as you celebrate with us.

by Deb Ilardi

We would also like to invite you to join us in the RUBY community, an interactive website where you can connect with other Christian women.

How to Give an Egg Hunt by Sarah Johnson

Let us know how we can be an encouragement to you today. We would love to hear from you! Contact us at Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of RUBY magazine at http://www, Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Joan Leotta, Rejetta Morse, Kathryn Ross, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Norma C. Mezoe, Marilyn Lesniak, Thea Williams, Suzane Avadiar, Cassidy Burdge, Michele Morin, Nells Wasilewski, Pat Jeanne Davis, Donna B. Comeaux, Frances Gregory Pasch, Ifeoma Samuel, Emmanuel O. Afolabi, Shara Bueler-Repka, Alisha Ritchie, Deb Ilardi, Paula McVay, DaPorscha Rufus, Alicia Ai Keng Lim, Sarah Johnson, Toni Samuels, Kathleen Kohler

Discover the Handmaiden of History by Kathryn Ross

Gifts of Easter

One Spring Lamb by Anne Vittur Kennedy Book Review by Michele Morin

Credits and Copyrights All stories and articles are copyright by the authors. All pictures and images are copyright by the authors and / or have been purchased, used by permission or are in the public domain. If any pictures or images have been used inadvertently, and they do not belong in this publication, please email us and we will immediately remove them. Image of Easter eggs on pages 18-19 by Mrs. Norma Brooks at ClipartFest Nothing in this issue of RUBY magazine may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available by contacting us at Questions? Email Nina @ RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine

Tatters to Treasures for vintage and refashion designs and creations.

Visit Vintage Mama’s Cottage for handcrafted, unique gifts, home décor, craft and sewing tutorials, and children’s boutique clothing patterns.

Sometimes in the Silence by Nina Newton, Sr. Editor There are days, I know we all have them, when we wonder if we are doing everything that God intends for us. Especially as women, we often find ourselves busy, busy, busy with daily tasks that frequently seem endless. Which of course, they are. Because no matter how many times you fix supper, you will have to do it all over again tomorrow. And laundry. You can do a thousand loads of laundry, and tomorrow there will be MORE laundry. If you are a mom of any age, if you still have children at home, there is a never-ending round of activities that require your attention. Some days I just feel like I’m running in circles, and nothing I am doing, nothing in which I am investing my time and energy, will last. Everything will have to be done all over again tomorrow. That is when I find myself, in those all-too-seldom moments of quiet . . . sometimes in the silence, I stop and think about all of that. And I’ll be honest, some days I get discouraged, wondering if anything I am doing is making any difference in the world. If you are honest, you will admit that you feel that way on occasion, too. One day recently I was asking God to give me just a bit of guidance, just so I would have a greater sense of confidence that I am actually hearing Him correctly, and this daily round of running to dentist appointments, piano lessons, volleyball practice, orthodontist appointments, choir concerts, and youth group meetings matters to anyone. When I finally landed back home, and the girls were quietly doing other stuff (besides fighting like sisters often do!), I sat down at my desk to work on the RUBY magazine – and again I asked God to give me a clue. Does anything that I am doing with my life make any difference at all, to anyone? Or is all of this activity just keeping me distracted from something else, something bigger, something more important? That’s when I suddenly realized, as I was reading through some of the submissions for this issue of RUBY magazine, that MY writers – yes, MY writers – some of YOU who share your heart and love for the Lord with all of us who read your words – YOU are my ministry. Especially when I read the words of new writers who are timid and afraid to put their precious ideas and thoughts down in black and white and send them off to someone (me!) that they don’t even know – and they trust me to treat their voice and their words with respect. I have been so encouraged, and truly blessed, by the writing that is submitted each month for our little magazine. And I am so grateful and honored that God has given me the gift of your friendship. I have learned so much from MY writers, and I am so excited to look to the future with all of the opportunities that God will give us, together, to share His words of blessing, inspiration, and encouragement with the world. So if you ever wonder what you are doing, if God is using you, or if anything you are doing every day is making a difference in the world – know you are not alone, and remember that He has given you a story, and words of encouragement, so that you can share them with the world. We make a pretty good team, I think!

Footprints in the Mud: Sins vs. Virtues - Part One Envy by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor Envy is defined as ‘a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another's advantages or possessions; a resentful dislike of another who has something that one desires.’ Let’s face it - we’ve all felt envy at one time or another. Joseph’s brothers were so envious of God’s preference and Joseph’s specially made cloak, they sold him to slavers- not exactly the warm-fuzzy family feelings we should have for siblings. We envy neighbors for their new car, new baby on the way, or that others have more money/influence/things than we do. Envy is definitely not hard to muster if we keep our eyes on everyone else’s prize. God listed seven deadly sins - and Envy is a biggie on that list. ‘Thou shall not covet’ is in the Ten Commandments, so you know God means business when it comes to not wanting other peoples’ stuff. But what do you do to fight being envious of others? You love others. Be kind to others. It also helps to get perspective and really look at those we envy. Why are you envying them? Are you envying their things? Things get old and break. Things are temporary. Fight this urge by looking at all of the good things you have- and can share with others. Are you envying their money? Money doesn’t mean happiness and spends way too fast to be completely enjoyed. The best way to fight this is to come up with a budget that allows you to splurge once in a while. You can also budget to get gifts for family and friends, or to save for something special for you and your loved ones. God doesn’t want us to hoard money for its own sake - it’s not like we can take it with us when He calls us home!

Are you envying relationships? Look into your heart to see why you feel that way. God isn’t done molding us yet and that soul mate or bestie might just be around the corner - He’s just waiting for you to get through the road blocks. A great way to start fighting this is to strike up a conversation with the one you envy, asking about them instead of talking about yourself. Eventually you’ll see why they are a relationship magnet, and you’ll either learn from them or realize you’re not the same type he/she is. And that’s okay! Believe me, this is one issue I’m an expert on - It took me a long time to stop envying my husband for his vast amounts of friends. He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. There was no way I was ever going to be the magnet he is. The circle of friends I have is a small, but a good one. Once I realized this, it was a whole lot easier to stop envying him and cherish the friends I have! Are you envying the attention they get? This is another heart issue that you need to talk about with God. You might not be ready for all that attention and need a little more tempering or training. Ask me how I know.

Being in the limelight might seem glorious, but when you’re up there, seeing an ocean of faces looking back at you, it can be an entirely different story! Fight this by earning that attention - whether you want to be a speaker, a writer, or a good storyteller in social situations - by learning the skills needed for the attention that you want. The person you’re envying might be years ahead of you and look like they’re a natural, but trust me; it’s a very rare talent that is considered ‘natural’! The one you envy probably worked very hard to get to that point, and all you’re seeing now is the polished version of their efforts.

Envy can destroy what God wants for you, because you’re too busy trying to be in someone else’s shoes. If you’ve ever gone to the thrift store and tried on shoes, you know what I’m talking about the fit isn’t always good because that shoe molded to someone else’s foot. God wants you to put on the new shoes He made for you, not someone’s cast-offs. The shoes He made for you are perfectly suited just to you, and there you are, trying on thrift store shoes! Don’t envy your neighbor. They might have that new car, but the rest of their life could be a mess. Instead of envying them, get to know them, and introduce them to God. That, my dear readers, is the best way to fight off envy!

Visit Beth on her blog, Footprints in the Mud, for more humorous and inspirational posts!

RUBY Magazine is now available in print! Each issue of RUBY Magazine can now be purchased as a print publication. Now you can have a copy of our beautiful magazine to share with your friends and family. To purchase RUBY Magazine in print, please visit the RUBY blog at where you will find the link for each issue.

Last summer I went on a mission trip and one of my leaders always talked about how life is in seasons and we have to be able to keep up even when the seasons change. I loved what was said, but I never really understood exactly what she meant when she said that. But boy do I now! With school and the change of classes and teachers I would always separate my academic year into seasons. But outside of my academic year I never saw my life as a series of seasons. Until this year (what a grand year 2017!) This year I have gone through seasons of sadness, struggle, hurt, but also the fun ones, extreme joy, growth, and ease. With each season the Lord reveals a different side of who He is and each season is equally important.

by Cassidy Burdge The Christian Prepster

As I started doing season hopping, I realized how easy it is to get all caught up in a specific season and forget to spend time with the one in charge of your season... Jesus Christ. This will wreck your season, guaranteed. The most important thing in life is to remember to seek Christ above all things. Whether you're in the most stressful season of your life or the easiest, you need to intentionally seek Christ.

I have also started to value each season, even if at first it is not easy. I tend to enjoy the seasons of happiness and growth way...WAY more than the ones of sadness or grief. But the Lord has revealed to me this year that both seasons are equally important and one wouldn’t be as great without the other. With that being said, one of the hardest seasons for me is waiting. I am so impatient so this time is very hard for me. Ironically, the season I struggle with is the one I’m in right now (actually not ironic at all… I asked for this). Right now I am waiting to see what my future holds. My family is going through some transitions and taking some new steps which could drastically change my situation. So I am playing the waiting game, all day, every day… woo! The first few weeks of my waiting season I was not happy and was not waiting very well. But I’m about a month in and can gladly say that I am okay with waiting. I am okay with handing all of my future into God’s hands and letting Him do with it as He pleases. The God that is with me during this waiting season is the same God that was with me just a few months ago during a season of amazingly great joy. The same God that held my hand during seasons of bravery and never let go is the same God telling me to slow down and to be patient. He has never let me down and He never will. So I will wait and wait well. I encourage you, whatever season you are in, to seek the Lord and see what goodness is in your season right here, right now. XOXO, The Christian Prepster

Jubilant Easter by Alisha Ritchie

“’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…” 1 Peter 2:24 NIV The truth is I miss the Easters of the past when my kids were small. It was always so much fun to pick out cute church clothes that coordinated with each other. We dyed eggs in bright colors, made special crafts, and hid Easter eggs in the yard probably a million times. I bet there are still some eggs hidden out there to this day. I always loved picking out special items to put in their baskets to open on Easter morning, taking extra care to find their favorite candy (actually, I still give them goody baskets). We had so much fun sharing those special times together while we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. As the kids have grown into teenagers, you can imagine that some of their excitement over dying eggs and our other Easter traditions has dwindled. They no longer have an interest in posing for sweet nature pictures or decorating bunny shaped cookies with sprinkles. At times, I must admit I have found myself feeling sorry for myself and a little down because the holiday just isn’t the same anymore. But then God touched my heart with words I heard as loud and clear as though they were spoken directly into my ear. “Just because your circumstances have changed, that doesn’t alter what I did for you on the cross.”

Immediately, I was ashamed and humbled for my attitude toward Easter. I knew the Lord was right. Easter is meant to be a time of celebration, joy, and gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, His resurrection, and ascension to Heaven. All of this for me, an underserving sinner. My heart was focused on the wrong things. There was nothing flawed with the traditions and activities my kids and I enjoyed together in the past. But when I longed for those things more than I longed for my Savior, when I placed those things in higher esteem than I did the honor and praise He deserved, then they became a problem. I was too fixated on the memories of the past and what I perceived I had lost with my children forever. However, I needed to focus my heart on the most important memory of the past, the cross, and what I had gained forevermore, eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, my Savior. How could I feel anything but joy this Easter holiday? The different seasons of my life will come and go. There will be an abundance of memories made, wonderful traditions initiated, and even some traditions that will be dissolved. Our family will share many new experiences together and will forever be knitted with a bond of love and loyalty. And surely, many things will change along our journey together which will cause me to have to adapt even more. But inevitably, the Lord will help guide me through, just as He did this Easter. He has taught me that even though my world changes, He is still the same God He says He is and is faithful to His promises. No matter what I face, nothing can alter the cross and what Jesus did for me. That, no doubt, is reason enough for my heart to bubble over with great, jubilant joy!

Resurrection Day by Norma C. Mezoe Resurrection Day The path was lined with leaves of palms… shouts of praise were heard. People watched with happy hearts for the coming of the Lord. Only a few days later, the praise had turned to scorn…. Christ Jesus hung upon a cross, he wore a crown of thorns. Then came the dawn of morning… the stone was rolled away. Death could not keep him in the tomb, it was Jesus’ resurrection day.

Come, Sweet Jesus by Nells Wasilewski Jesus, let me help. Come and sit with me. We will talk while I cleanse your wounds, spread ointment and bandage. Tell me why you want me to heal your hands. After I attend the wounds, we will share a cup of wine. Tell me your story while I wash the dust from your feet. Come, sweet Jesus, rest, and I will do my best to heal your beautiful hands, but I so much admire those wounds that saved me.

Fatherly Love by Frances Gregory Pasch Our Father flinched as they hammered each nail, But He had to endure His son’s cry. He planned that Christ’s blood would redeem us… The reason Christ came was to die. With each blow, our sins were heaped on Him; Their weight caused unbearable pain. Yet He never complained for one moment… The Perfect Lamb had to be slain.

Spirit: Acts 2 and Genesis 11 by Thea Williams Gusty, wind-whipped glow trenchant tongues alight with grace all men understand. Fiery speech is heard. Language is no barrier. Babel is reversed. Peter's sermon starts: "Jesus is both Lord and Christ; Look to Him and live. "Breathe His Spirit in, satisfying every need." Hearts are full at last.

For unless we had a Redeemer, Heaven’s gate would forever be closed… But thanks to God’s love and forgiveness It opened the morning Christ rose.

Love in Bloom by Pat Jeanne Davis Kate pulled her long, brown hair into a ponytail and looked out on the yard of her new home where robins hopped about, snatching up a meal. The sun shone brightly, announcing the approach of spring. Finally! She visualized a row of multi-colored flowers bordering her driveway. She squelched a sigh. Had she made the right decision to move so far away from family and friends? At the time, a new position seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. A change had been long overdue, Kate reasoned. And not having a special someone in her life provided further cause to accept the offer. Still, the cold winter had lasted far too long, and she missed the familiar faces back home. Kate stepped away from the window. With a full schedule next week, Saturday was the only time she had to return to Freddy’s Garden Center. Perhaps the promised shipment of flowers had arrived. She grabbed her car keys.

Fred gestured for her to follow him. “That’s my job,” he said over his shoulder. “Another supply came in yesterday. You’re in luck.” They moved down rows of wooden tables overflowing with tulips and daffodils. Kate felt like a schoolgirl on a field trip as she half-ran to keep up, then nearly crashed into him when he stopped and turned around. “I moved here two years ago to be closer to my eleven-year-old son and opened this garden center last spring,” he said. Surprised by Fred’s revelation, Kate’s eyes drifted to the bare space on his ring finger. Why hadn’t she done more with her hair and put on a little makeup before coming out this morning? She met his gaze. “It sounds like you’ve been transplanted like these flowers.” A ghost of a smile crept over his face. “Like yourself.”

When Kate entered the nursery, she spotted a figure working at a metal counter surrounded by plants and pots. As she approached, he turned and fixed his blue eyes on her for what seemed like minutes.

Kate nodded. “Came here six months ago after accepting a new position.”

“Back so soon?” he asked, grinning.

Hyacinths scattered blue, purple, and pink around her. She drew in the sweet fragrance and listened to chimes swaying in a warm breeze.

“You’re the one I saw two weeks ago.” He rubbed his chin. “You came back just to see me.” Kate flashed a smile. “Can you help me choose flowers for my yard?” He laughed, revealing straight white teeth. “I’m your man.” He slapped his palms together to dislodge the dirt. “The name’s Fred.” She took his big hand in hers, intrigued by his friendly manner. “Kate.” “Let’s see. You told me you’d moved here recently and wanted flowers that bloomed a long time and didn’t need much care.” “You remembered.”

Fred selected a tray of flowers with little faces. His hand caressed the petals as if they were friends. “Pansies provide a variety of colors that last for months.” He moved to the next table. “The lush blooms on these begonias are hardy as well.” “I’ll take both.” He picked up a large white bag. “You’ll need potting soil. I’ll get my son to take these to check-out and to your car. That’s him over there.” Fred motioned for his son. “Well, what do you know,” Kate said as the boy approached. “Billy is in my class!” Billy’s eyes widened in recognition. “Miss Haley!”

Fred wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “I finally get to meet the Miss Haley.” Billy kicked a stone with the toe of his shoe. A sheepish grin spread across his face. Kate scrambled for something to say to break the awkward silence. “Lucky you, working here with your Dad.” He looked at his father before taking the flowers and bag. “Yep, I know.” Fred tousled his son’s blond hair. “I’m the lucky one.”

“Thanks.” Of course he was her man. Kate recalled her first trip here. Fred answered every question, even the ones she quickly thought up just so she could look into those captivating blue eyes while he answered. He started walking toward another customer. “I want to put in some other things,” Kate called after him. He headed back to where she stood. Her pulse quickened.

After Billy left, Fred turned to Kate, pulling his baseball cap forward over his dark, curly hair. “He wasn’t exaggerating when he said you’re pretty.”

“What do you have in mind?”

Kate managed a smile and lowered her head, feeling her cheeks grow warm.

“Maybe some shrubs,” he said. “If you like, I could stop by next Saturday, take a look at your yard and give you a few ideas.”

“And he’s always going on about how you make science come alive.” “Happy to hear that.” She laughed. “I wish I had that much success with plants.” Or with men. Fred laughed too. “You’ll need these.” As he handed her a trowel and gardening gloves, their hands touched. Did he feel the same attraction? Fred shifted his feet. “Take this slip up front and tell them I said to give you a gardening book.” He cleared his throat before speaking again. “If you need any further help, I’m your man.”

Kate shrugged. “I need some suggestions.”

“Sounds good. I’ll keep an eye out.” Kate’s casual tone masked the excitement within. Her heart surged with the wonder of spring and the prospect of a fresh start. “Write your address here. If you have no one to put them in, just remember, I’m your man. And don’t worry about not having a green thumb.” He winked. “I’ll teach you what you need to know.” Kate craned her neck to keep him in view as he walked off. Fred glanced back and their eyes met, leaving her with a promise of good things to come.

Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her at

Visit Katherine’s Corner, a blog for sharing.

Crossword Play 4 Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Fill in the grid using the clues to form words in both the rows and columns. No diagonals.

Clues Across 1. Romantic Flower 2. Conception of the Mind 3. To glide at a height 4. Mistakes Down 1. To get up 2. Scent 3. Mark with hot iron 4. Head appendages ANSWER KEY IN BACK OF MAGAZINE

At the Kitchen Table with Momma Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth by Sharon L. Patterson I sat up in bed, still startled from what I had just experienced. For a moment, I questioned where I was until I looked to see my husband sleeping soundly bedside me. Was that a dream I just had? It seemed so much more. It was SO REAL! As my husband stirred from sleep I felt compelled to share the dream with him.

Before he thought me completely daffy, I continued: “There were silk organza ruffled curtains on that window - mother’s favorite. She and I were sitting at the kitchen table. You know, the dinette like the one she and dad had forever.”

“Honey, this is going to sound really strange to you, but I feel like I have just spent time with Mother.”

“Mother apologized to me.”

“What did you talk about?”

“What for?” His quizzical look prompted an immediate response, “I know-it’s impossible.” Mother had passed away a few years earlier. “What makes you say that?” my husband queried back as he got out of bed to get ready for work. “Well, to begin with, I can describe the atmosphere of the room we were in. I can still see and smell the flood of sunshine coming through the large open window. It felt like a cool spring morning. I was conscious of the freshness of it.”

“For all the things she did that she knew hurt me during the years when she was drinking.” There had been no time for us to talk about much of anything as mother’s death at forty-four was quite sudden and unexpected. She had an acute epileptic seizure and was gone in an instant. I was at school when I got the call. I remember thinking, “I didn’t even get to tell her good-bye.”

“What do you mean you could smell the sunshine?”

But today, somewhere between heaven and earth, Mother and I met at the kitchen table. We had time to talk about things in both our hearts.

“When I was a girl, Mother and I would hang clothes on the line. When they were dry, and we brought them inside, you could smell the sunshine. That is how the room smelled.”

I don’t know what exactly happened, but I know that the conversation led to a great healing in my soul that is just as real at the smell of fresh sunshine that flooded that room.

Visit Katherine’s Corner Shop for a gift for that special someone or something beautiful just for YOU!

The Wisdom of Women on the Meaning of Love by Deb Ilardi

How do you tell a great story? Mabel asked her friend Gertrude. Mabel imagined herself a great writer. Gert grinned, and quietly said It has to be about love. Her face soft, her eyes turned up at the corner, she sat back in her chair, proud for coming to such a magnificent conclusion. Gert recalled her cousin Sophia telling her. I know exactly what love is Gertie. Maybe you will be lucky enough to fall into love. Nick is the man for me. He understands me. He’s my missing piece, my better half. I’m going to spend the rest of my life thanking him for making me so happy. Gertrude had fallen in love and remembered that conversation while rocking her baby to sleep one night. Tears slid from her eyes. Nick had been abusive and critical, spent Sophia’s savings, broke her heirloom china and left her alone. Sophia was wrong about love. Her thoughts were interrupted by Mabel’s rapidly tapping pencil. Come on Gertrude, you have to give me more than that to go on, she moaned. I have a friend who is in love, Gertrude rambled. She says that you love when you are ready to give up everything for someone else. Mabel smirked, tried to hide or soften her reaction to Gertrude’s ridiculous idea. She sighed impatiently. I think I can help you get started Mabel, People always enjoy a good love story. When I was eleven my Aunt Grace took me for a walk. This is what she told me…when you love a boy, Gertie, you will feel very different. It is amazing to kiss, to be held in someone’s arms and gazed upon as if you were a sparkling diamond. That leaves you feeling important, cared for and protected. You realize good things about yourself for the first time. He looked at you so long with those eyes filled with care. You must be beautiful. He held you as if you might break. You must be precious. And there is more.

He told everyone he was going to spend his life with you. You must be intelligent, fascinating, and creative. He sold his bicycle to buy you an engagement ring. You must be priceless. He wants to build you a house, sleep with you in his arms all the rest of his days. He must know you are worth every sacrifice. When you are loved, you start to see love around you. You see a teenager smiling at a baby, a woman arranging flowers in a florist window, a policeman holding the hand of an elderly man as he crosses a city street. Doves flying in pairs. Just then, Mabel’s granddaughter Kimberly walked into the room. She held three cups of tea and asked if she could join them. “I heard you talking about love,” she said. Her smile was radiant. She was intrigued by these older women. It was not unusual for her to join them, armed with tea, a deck of cards or a checker game board. Kimberly always made Mabel and Gertrude feel loved. Well Mabel is writing another story, said Gertrude… I said it should be about love. What do you think? Kimberly passed out warm teacups and gently sat in the chair between them. She was recently graduated from college and working with young children. Grandma, we sang together when I was little. Remember Shower the People You Love With Love? You explained that love has many meanings. You said if we could come up with one definition and put it into a bottle everyone would want to buy it. I tried to talk you into doing that and you laughed. You said that love never means the same thing two days in a row. It is one of those amazing words that get used too often, used for the wrong things, even misused; that love changes, love is an evolving experience. I wrote that down and thought about it all through high school and college. Love is an evolving experience. I thought you were amazing then and I think you are amazing now.’ She smiled, finished her tea and stood to leave. Give me a big hug and kiss beautiful girl, Mabel said softly. I want one too, said Gertrude. And with care, poise and love, Kimberly kissed and hugged them both. I might never get this book written Gertrude, said Mabel, tears glistening in her eyes. Gertrude thought her heart would burst. Love, she thought, is as alive as we are, as different as every living thing and every piece of art or gown or greeting card. Love happened, didn’t ever stay the same, and existed whenever you realized that you were special. She opened her mouth and said to Mabel, Your story has to be about experiences of love and how you can’t hold them; you need to enjoy them and let them go. Mabel looked back at her friend, shaking her head and then her finger in Gertrude’s direction. Girlfriend, you are just confusing me. I will never get this story written. They smiled and reached out to hold hands as they finished their tea.

Special Easter Recipes from Marilyn’s Treats If you are looking for new recipe ideas, the very best place in all of blogland is Marilyn’s Treats! Every week Marilyn shares new recipes that are perfect for families at the holidays, birthdays, every special day you can think of, and just for every day. Here is a collection of special Easter recipes from Marilyn’s Treats – visit Marilyn soon and you’ll find something perfect for your next family meal.

Spring Candy Bark from Cathy at Three Kids and a Fish This beautiful spring candy is easy to make and it just looks like SPRING! It is made from melted white / pastel colored chocolate, covered with pastel colored sprinkles and M&Ms. Visit Cathy at Three Kids and a Fish for more fun springtime recipes.

Sweet Little “Bunny Butt” Cookies from Pillsbury So adorable and so simple to make, these little “Bunny Butt” cookies are sure to delight all of the kids in the family! Everyone can join the fun of making these cuties, using Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies and a can of fluffy white frosting. Add a few marshmallows and candy sprinkles, and there you have a batch of sweet little “Bunny Butt” cookies.

“Hippity-Hoppity” White Chocolate Bunny Fudge from Gina at Kleinworth & Co. Here’s another quick and easy, but oh-so-pretty treat for your family’s Easter celebration. Made with just four simple ingredients, you can make a batch of these sweet White Chocolate Bunny Fudge quick as a . . . bunny! Visit Gina at Kleinworth & Co. for more fun, seasonal, and holiday recipes. RUBY magazine and Marilyn's Treats do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated. Click on the links to be taken to the published recipe. Visit Marilyn’s Treats for links to all the other recipes in this collection.

When Do I Stop Praying? by Paula McVay

Have you ever felt like the Psalmist David who cried out in Psalm l3, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me?” Maybe you have prayed for years for a loved one, for your own struggles or for healing. Perhaps, you’ve felt that your prayer would never be answered. Many people in our first pastorate might have felt that way about Ray. They had prayed, called in his home, and cared for his family over the years, but Ray felt church was for women and children. He seemed depressed that he was not a success as a high school teacher and had to “settle” for working in the local hardware store in addition to farming his land in order to feed his eight children. After weeks of my husband and his Sunday school superintendent’s driving out to Ray’s farm on Saturdays, I asked my husband if he was sure he was using his time wisely. What did I know as a 23 year old pastor’s wife and school teacher? With his beautiful big eyes and deep mellow base voice, Doug gently, but with deep feeling replied, “People did not give up on me.” (More on that story later.) Once again on a blustery spring Saturday morning, Doug and Chuck met at the church for prayer and then went on their way to the farm where Ray was working on a fence. Since Ray was a man of few words, Doug found it quite challenging to engage him in conversation so he just skipped the small talk and said, “Ray, would you like to give your heart to God today?”

With no expression, Ray surprisingly responded, “I guess so.” He just kept working on the fence without looking up and said, “What do I need to do?” After his initial shock, Doug very simply went through the plan of salvation and then asked Ray if he would like to pray? Again, with no expression, Ray said “yes.” After the prayer, Doug asked him if he had accepted Christ as his Savior to which he again answered “Yes.” As Doug and Chuck drove away, they asked each other, “What really happened here?” When Doug arrived home, he told me that he was not sure, but he “thought” Ray had accepted Jesus as his Savior. That same Saturday in the evening as Doug was in his office at our church right next door to the parsonage, he heard a knock on the door. It was Ray who said that he had some questions. My patient husband invited him in even though he was working on his sermon for the next morning. When Doug did not come home at 10:00p.m., I began to pray for his protection and finally phoned him. I, of course, was not aware of who was with him. When he answered, I could tell he did not want to talk so I just asked if he was safe to which he responded, “Oh yes!.” I wish I could say that I was in desperate prayer those hours before Doug came home at l:00a.m., however, I was thinking my husband should be at home getting his rest so he would be able to preach the next morning and evening. (Remember when we had church at night and young people’s meeting before that?)

Despite my anxiety about Doug’s lack of time for preparation, God surely had plans for a wonderful service as Ray, his wife and eight children all filed in and filled l and l/2 pews right up front. Doug preached a marvelous sermon and then invited people to come forward to pray. Ray and his entire family stood and came to the front where they knelt at the altar. What a glorious sight! Over the years, I’ve learned that God’s plan is always better than anything I can imagine. His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. II Corinthians 12:9 You see, during the wee hours of the morning, Doug had done his best to answer Ray’s questions and to tell him of God’s amazing grace and willingness to take him just as he was. Doug was not sure what happened until that morning when Ray and his family walked down the aisle. Then Ray stood and told everyone that he had made the decision to follow Christ. He promised to be the Godly leader of his family, and from then on they would be in church faithfully and serve in whatever way God wanted. He continued to grow as he attended the young adult class I taught. After a few months, I began to ask him to help me facilitate. Even though he was quiet, he said ‘yes’ and his teaching degree truly shone through. I still receive letters telling me of Ray and his family’s involvement in the church. The story does not end there. As Ray began to read the Bible and pray, the Holy Spirit began to speak to him about restitution and forgiveness. He knew that if he went to his boss at work, he was in jeopardy of losing his job and would have no way to support his large family. Some would say that Ray had not done anything so wrong. After all, he just took extra-long lunch hours and breaks and “borrowed” some expensive tools to use at his home. Nevertheless, he made an appointment with his boss and on that day, he loaded his truck full of all those tools and took them in to the shop. He told his boss that he would understand if he fired him, but he wanted to make up for all the extra time he’d taken for lunch and breaks and if his boss would let him stay, he would work overtime to make up for it.

Wow! Talk about a testimony! People at the church were still praying and God truly intervened. I learned that no matter how tired we might be or think we need more time to prepare, God has everything under control. Through tear-filled eyes, Ray’s boss told him that he could, of course, stay and that he trusted him more than ever and hoped that others would become the men of integrity that Ray was becoming. I’m so thankful for the lesson I learned in that little church in Kansas, for the faithful people there who kept on praying and did not give up. I was more determined than ever to pray for my mother who finally came to know the Lord 35 years later. I’m thankful too that many people prayed for my husband.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that God has everything under control. I Thessalonians 5:16 tells me to “Rejoice always, pray continually and to give thanks in all situations, for this is His will for my life. Even though I might be waiting for a long time, I am in the very presence of the living Lord and able to experience His presence and peace. He brings assurance that He is in control.” He was a rebellious teenager who found himself in jail on charges of grand larceny. Even though he had only been driving the car, the same charges applied. While sitting in jail, he cried out that he wished they would just throw the key away and leave him alone. People at another little church in Kansas did not give up. Doug had a praying grandma who had not given up. In answer to her many prayers, Doug’s step father, a lawyer, was able to get him out on bail. That Sunday morning, Doug’s sister and brother- in- law invited him to church. He did not want to go, but as they persisted, he thought he would go just to “get them off his back.

He, just like Ray, thought church was just for women and children. As the service began and the pastor began to speak, Doug began to weep. He could not figure out what was happening and kept trying to “get a grip.” When his sister handed him a tissue, the crying escalated. At the end of the message, the pastor went to him and asked, “Young man, would you like to come forward and accept Christ?” Just like he had heard Ray express some years later, he responded, “I guess so.” Doug went to the altar, but did not know what to do since he’d not grown up in church. The pastor told him to imagine he had a blank sheet of paper and to write down any sins he could think of that he had committed and ask God to forgive him. Doug thought, “Now, I think I know what that means.” After what he thought was only five minutes, he did just that. When he looked at the clock, an hour had passed. After Doug returned to his seat, the pastor asked him to tell others what had happened. Even though Doug was very shy and had even failed speech in high school because he would not give the speech he had ready, he stood and through his tears, replied, “I’m not sure, but for the first time in l8 years, I feel clean on the inside.”

That was the beginning of a wonderful journey with the Lord. Oh yes, there were struggles, but God had done a work in his heart and he was determined to be faithful. I’m sure some of the people in his church and family must have thought, “How long, Oh Lord. Will he ever change? Is he a hopeless case?” I’m so thankful for those who kept praying, kept believing and encouraging. Doug became a man of God’s Word with his foundational verse being, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. All things have become new.” I Corinthians 5:7. That next Wednesday night, the people at the church asked Doug to attend the “before church” prayer meeting. As they were walking down the stairs, there was a list of names on a poster hanging on the wall. The name at the top, “Doug” had a star by it. I want to be that kind of intercessor . . .to keep on praying, keep on believing and keep on giving thanks for God’s mercy no matter how long. Over the years, I’ve learned that God has everything under control. I Thessalonians 5:16 tells me to “Rejoice always, pray continually and to give thanks in all situations, for this is His will for my life. Even though I might be waiting for a long time, I am in the very presence of the living Lord and able to experience His presence and peace. He brings assurance that He is in control.

Most Honorable Crown by Rejetta Morse Condemned to die, he gave his life and bled as soldiers start to braid a vine with thorns to make a crown to place on Jesus’ head. They torture him with whips and with great scorn but no words of complaint from him was said. They force the woody needles from the crown into his head that he allows to lay, made from a shrub he nurtured with brown spikes – most noble wreath was made on that day. But, one day at his feet, they will bow down. They nail him to the cross. And down his face He shed salt tears with blood at Calvary. He drops his head and dies with his sovereign grace. He never gave others such agony, and once was born as king in a lonely place. They pluck the crown from his bruised head and lay Him in a tomb. But in three days he rolls the stone away – they bow and give him praise. Salvation’s door now opens for all souls. He reigns forever – and for all our days. Now Jesus wears a golden crown that he is worthy – the debt he paid – for you and me. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. John 19:2

Revision and Rejection Part Two of a Three Part Series on Writing for Beginners

by Joan Leotta So, last month we talked about finding markets—for work you already have written and as incentives to write. Some also call incentives like these, writer's prompts. But before you hit the button to send out that perfect piece of writing, hold it for a few days. Just like a good steak needs to "rest" a bit after cooking, before cutting, so the juices will not be lost, you want to let your masterpiece "rest" a few days before sending it out. In the case of a manuscript, the rest period is to ensure that all of the juices of good writing are marinating to the fullest in your writing and that the guidelines for submission have been met. Revision is the key to marking the difference between an amateur and a professional writer. A professional does not hesitate to cut out even his or her favorite parts, phrases, words if they are not contributing to the flow of the piece. Here are my top tips for revision: 1. Does the piece meet the word order and other guidelines for your target market/contest? 2. Have you eliminated any excess use of the, that, and –ly words in general? 3. Passive voice—can you change it to active? Note: Occasional use of the passive voice is all right for emphasis and variation. 4. Does the logic of the piece flow naturally from beginning to end? 5. Is the opening as strong as you can make it? 6. Does the ending satisfy or leave open in an intriguing way? 7. Read the piece aloud. (I admit sometimes skipping this and I always regret it when I do) 8. Make a final check for typos, space-misalignments, etc 9. Think about the title—will it draw readers in? 10. After making these changes take a look at those guidelines again to ensure your changes have not made a problem for you with the requirements. Once you have made your revisions, press that "send" button. Waiting is always hard, so keep your mind busy by preparing something else! I try to have six or seven or more pieces out at any one time. When that email comes back, I hope you find that the magazine or contest of your choice is giving you an affirmative reply. However, even professional poets experience rejection—in fact, a poet I respect and admire noted in a recent blog that only ten percent of her poems are accepted. One in ten. Wow! Moral of the story: believe the wording telling you that judging is very subjective. That rejection is simply one person's opinion. However, it can also be a stepping stone to improvement.

When I receive a rejection, the first thing I do is to write to the editor thanking him or her for the time they took considering my work. I usually also express regret at not being accepted, but the thanks is the main point. Editing is hard work. Selecting pieces to print or win is hard work. Many times I receive a nice note from the editor inviting me to submit again (with other work). I try to do so! Then, I take a good hard look at the rejected material. Often, after a rejection I end up revising the piece before I send it out again. Revision and more revision! Sometimes I think the piece is right and the market poorly chosen, so I send the piece out—the very same day—to another market. Several of my works have gone out more than ten times before finding a "home." Lessons: Revision is the key to quality writing and rejection is only a stepping stone to future publication. Next month, the last installment, Building for Continued Success, the Need to Keep Learning Joan Leotta's latest picture book for children, Rosa's Shell is available from or the publisher, TheaQ in paperback. Her first poetry chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon is also now available in print from or the publisher, Finishing Line Press. If you would like more information, leave her at note on her Facebook page at Joan Leotta Author and Story Performer or follow her blog at

Joan’s latest books, Rosa and the Red Apron, Summer in a Bowl, and WHOOSH! are also available from RUBY’S Reading Corner! Read about Joan’s upcoming books and poetry publications on her blog at and connect with her on her Facebook page at

He Set Us Free by Frances Gregory Pasch “What shall I do with Jesus?” Pilate asked the angry crowd; “What crime has he committed that you should scream so loud?” They shouted, “Crucify him!”… Pilate grudgingly gave in but washed his hands because he knew that Jesus hadn’t sinned. They stripped Him and they beat Him, pressed thorns into His head. With no remorse or sorrow, they stood at the cross and said, “Save yourself if you’re the King and come down from the cross,” Yet Jesus never said a word… He came to save the lost. He paid our debt, then rose again… by grace He set us free. If we’ll believe and trust in Him, we’ll live eternally.

Hosanna! by Norma C. Mezoe “Hosanna! Hosanna! The crowd of adoring people shouted as Jesus rode along the pathway covered with palm branches. But before the week ended, the shouts of adoration would become cries of “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Humankind, the highest form of God’s creation, sometimes is so easily swayed by the whims of the crowd. Emotions overrule common sense, and love quickly turns to hatred. I read about the crowd that surrounded Jesus and wonder, “How could they be so fickle? Why did they reject the King of kings? However, if I’m honest, I need to ask myself, “Have there been times when I’ve gone from praising my Lord to rejecting him as my King?” Prayer: Jesus, Exalted King, please help me to keep you on the throne of my life. Amen. First Rights – The Secret Place, published March 16, 2008

From the Cradle to the Cross by Norma C. Mezoe Mary struggled with labor pain as Joseph desperately sought a place where she could give birth. Finally, a stable was offered and a crude manger became Jesus’ cradle. Mary watched as Jesus grew through the years. Then, at the age of thirty, Jesus left his mother’s home to begin his heavenly Father’s work. Eventually, because of the hatred of some people, Jesus was brought to trial, pronounced guilty, given the severest of beatings, and nailed to a cross. As pain throbbed throughout his body and death drew near, Jesus looked upon his mother. Jesus’ love was unlimited for this woman who had carried his earthly body for nine months within her own. Mary had been there for Jesus from the cradle to the cross. Now he would be there for her---and for each of us---throughout all eternity. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! Psalm 18:46 NIV First Rights – The Secret Place, published 3/23/2008

Easter Morning and Every Morning The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Blessings by Mike Berenstain Book Review by Michele Morin Holding hands around a table; a focus on gratitude and shared celebration; dressed in their Easter best, the Berenstain Bears lead the way into a fun and family-oriented celebration of Resurrection Sunday. Presenting as normal the discipline of church attendance, prayer before a meal, and portraying the beauty of love and respect among extended family, Easter Blessings by Mike Berenstain (son of Stan and Jan who began the series in 1962) will come alongside the parents of young children with words and ideas for a meaningful celebration. All the blessings that we enjoy (and take for granted) come through the hand of the God who orchestrated the miracle of the resurrection. Join the Berenstain Bears in counting and listing Easter blessings. Beginning with the glory of a spring morning and a cozy tree house, they move in everwidening circles to include friends, the church family, and the public servants who care for us and keep us safe. In the weeks leading up to Easter, write them on slips of paper to hang on a bouquet of spring-branches, or toss them, one by one, into a festive Easter basket and then read them all during Easter dinner. What a gift to hold this small board book in one hand and to share it with a tiny lap child, to join the Bear Family as they worship in the Chapel in the Woods, and to be reminded of the greatest Easter blessing of all: Yes, He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Gifts of Easter One Spring Lamb by Anne Vittur Kennedy Book Review by Michele Morin In a decision that somehow manages to seem both arbitrary and precise, the Council of Nicaea met in 325 A.D. and determined that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after the first day of spring. Easter and spring are also holding hands in Anne Vittur Kennedy’s festive board book, One Spring Lamb. From sparkly cover to peaceful conclusion, children will enjoy the rollicking rhymes and vivid illustrations. Parents will appreciate the fact that this celebration of the resurrection is also a counting book in which two lilies dance in the breeze, and three little girls and four little boys are all dressed up for Easter Sunday. The fun goes on all the way up to the challenge of finding and counting ten stuffed bunnies in a child’s cozy bedroom, and the stated conclusion that the best Easter gift of all is the joy of knowing that “Jesus lives and loves me so.” By the way, that adorable spring lamb shows up somewhere in every scene! My grandson and I enjoy a lively game of “Where’s the Lamb? There he is!” when we read it together. Who will be the first to spot the each time at your house? The Berenstain Bears Easter Blessings and One Spring Lamb are now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

Seek Peace and Pursue It by Mary Dolan Flaherty

“Don’t let the devil steal your peace,” Chrissy Christian announces everywhere every day. Bless her heart, she means well, dressed in her Princess-BrideWarrior attire. But the advice she’s handing out has a minor flaw. No one can steal your peace. Not even the devil. Especially him. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, something that occurs naturally from and is given freely to us by God. It flourishes continually and is always ripe for picking. Like the other fruit of the Spirit, once taken from the vine, it instantly replenishes itself. If we lose our peace, there’s always more on the vine. While the devil has access to God he is denied the benefits of the Father, including the fruit that comes from the Spirit. That means the devil can’t steal our peace. Instead, he finds ways for us to give it to him. Peace comes from a place that we cannot fully understand. That’s why Paul tells us in Philippians 4:7 that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That’s why, when we pray and are suddenly flooded with peace, we are in awe. We must make a choice to allow the God of peace (Phil 4:9) to apply His balm of healing on our hearts because a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones (Proverbs 14:30). A deliberate and intentional action must occur for us to have, maintain, and exhibit peace. But it’s our mind that is especially vulnerable. When our thoughts become rampant with negative thinking, fear, and anxiety, we know we’ve given up our peace. That’s when we need to run to Jesus. To seek peace and pursue it. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7) We need to bring all that makes us anxious, afraid, and otherwise troubled to God through prayer and petition and with thanksgiving.

We need to stop thoughts that cause fear or worry at the door of our minds. Ask them this: Are you true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:7)? If they’re not, throw them out. We need to deliberately seek peace. To radically pursue it. To make peace a priority. To use the fruit of love and joy that precede peace as offensive weapons—because love and joy are offensive to Satan. His ploy is to continue to deceive us into thinking our circumstance is too difficult, our struggle too long, and our concern too great for God. He’s wrong. Here’s proof: Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27) I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me (Jeremiah 32:27)? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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 (Rom 8:35-39). The next time you feel your peace slipping from you, remember that you are giving it away. No one is stealing it. By the grace of God, in the name of Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit you hold the keys to destroy those thoughts that are contributing to your anxiety. Try reciting the above verses, or find your own. Interrogate your thoughts. Use God’s Word to destroy the enemy’s tactics to disarm you. Clothe yourself with love, joy and peace. One fruit naturally flows into the other. There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace (Prov 12:20).

He is Alive!

by Donna B. Comeaux

Mary wrapped barley bread, dried olives, dates, and figs in a cloth and placed them in her husband's pouch. Cleopas extended his arms, allowing his wife to tighten his girdle with a clasp then tuck coins in one side of it and on the other side a small serving of figs and nuts. When Cleopas lowered his arms, Mary beckoned him to raise his left again so she could slip a waterfilled goatskin up his arm and over his shoulder. Mary tugged at the sword fastened to his girdle. Satisfied that it was tightly in place, she took a step back and looked him over. Her sad penetrating eyes grew with concern. "I wish you would stay with us," Mary whispered. "There is danger."

Peter fled the house with John (whom Yeshua loved), Cleopas and several other disciples at Peter's heels, all rushing to the tomb. It was as the women had said. The tomb was empty. Yeshua was gone. Distraught and weakened by what he had seen, Cleopas returned to the house, wondering what all of this meant. The disciple hugged his wife again then he and Meydad set out for Emmaus on foot. They took time to labor through memories of the last three days, how they had gone from joy to that of sadness. Cleopas couldn't believe that one day he had witnessed Yeshua riding into the city on a donkey, everyone rejoicing and praising the Messiah. Then the next day, Yeshua was carrying his cross on that long walk to Golgotha.

Cleopas kissed his wife on the forehead then held her tight. "I will return before nightfall tomorrow. Do not worry."

Cleopas couldn't reconcile the live Messiah with the dead Messiah who had succumbed to a torturous beating and crucifixion. To complicate matters, the women and Peter claimed to have seen him. Cleopas didn't know what to make of this.

Mary gazed over her shoulder at the disciples. "Everyone is so worried what the Romans will do next. I am afraid for you."

I am the resurrection and the life . . .

"Meydad is with me and we will protect one another if anything goes wrong. There is no need for concern. If Ha'Adon is willing, I will return." "Be safe," Mary said. "Meydad, come. We must go." Cleopas took one last look at the disciples, each one standing or sitting in various areas of the room, their faces perplexed from the stories they had been told by the women, and Peter. Earlier this morning they discovered Yeshua's tomb was empty.

Those words burned in his soul even now, but he no more understood them today than he did yesterday. "What are you thinking, Cleopas? You have not said a word since we left Jerusalem," Meydad said. "I am searching for understanding." "I am too. Do you still believe Yeshua was the Messiah?" "I do, but there is so much that does not make sense to me." "Now that he is dead, the answers may have been buried with him," Meydad said.

"I do not get it, Meydad. One day he is preaching 'I am the way,' and the next day he is gone. And we do not even have a body to prove he died. I know he died. I saw him. Bloody linen in the tomb attests to the fact that he was there."

"Of course he did. He fed five thousand people with three fish and two loaves of bread, Meydad! He made the blind see and he healed the sick. Of course he had power."

"You think the Romans took him?"

Cleopas stopped for a moment and dragged his hand across his face. "That is the very part of all this that I cannot comprehend.

"Perhaps. No! I do not know. But if the women and Peter saw him, then where is he?" A long silence wedged between Cleopas and Meydad as the two men pondered the question.

He did not need to suffer." Cleopas walked ahead, his feet pounding the dusty road in anger. "

"You should have seen him in the temple, Meydad. There has never been anything like it. He sat among our people teaching with authority. He spoke of love and unity . . . of G-d the Father. He spoke of a new heaven . . . a new earth. His words brought peace and hope." "That may be, but we are still under Roman rule," Meydad said, stating the obvious. "There is no new heaven or earth here. He failed to rescue us from the hands of these butchers. All he may have done was make things worse for us. Our people are nervous . . . scared. They have no idea what will happen next. It seems to me that we are far worse than we were at the beginning." "I do not believe it," Cleopas said, trying his best to hold on to hope. "You mean you will not believe it."

There he was standing in the midst of all Roman and Jewish authority at a perfect time to destroy them and declare his kingdom. He had the power to end all Roman rule with a mere word from his mouth, but he did not do it. He never said a mumbling word. Why? Why?" Cleopas was clearly frustrated. "Maybe it was just his time to go," Meydad concluded. "But there is so much more work to be done," Cleopas said. He wasn't quite sure who he was trying to convince, Meydad or himself. "Do you believe the women? Do you believe Peter? You think he is alive?" "If so, where is he?"

"Here is what I know, Meydad. Yeshua was crucified for a debt he did not owe. He died in place of Barabbas. It is Barabbas who should have died on that cross. Not Yeshua." "Why do you think Yeshua let it happen?" "Meydad, what makes you think he allowed it?" "For one thing, he never defended himself. Is that not odd?" "That is so troubling to me." "For another thing, the miracles he performed are widely known. Are you forgetting about Lazarus, how he raised him from the dead?" "How could anyone forget Lazarus's resurrection?" "Then why Yeshua did not prevent his own death? Did he not have the power?"

"What is it that you are discussing?" a traveler asked as he joined in their walk. Cleopas and Meydad stood still and looked at the traveler with dismay. The traveler had sandals on his feet, a scarf loosely covering his head and draped around his neck. But he had no provisions—no food and no water.

"Are you the only one in all of Jerusalem who has not heard what has happened there?" Cleopas asked, his emotions on the brink of collapse.

Cleopas also remembered, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness."

"What things?" the traveler asked.

He almost fell to his knees when he recalled how Yeshua sat on the mountain, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth . . . ."

"The things about Yeshua of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of G-d and all his people . . . how our chief priests and rulers ridiculed him, falsely accused him, then delivered him to Pilate to be crucified. We were hoping he was the one who would redeem Israel. But now he is dead. He has been gone away from us for three days. Our hearts ache for him." Cleopas choked up, tears welled in his eyes. "Then something strange happened this morning," Cleopas continued. "Our women went to his tomb with spices to prepare for his burial, but they came back to the house claiming he is alive . . . that his tomb is empty . . . that they had seen him. I followed Peter to the tomb and we found it indeed empty. How can all this be? How is it that he is now alive? What does it mean? And where is he?" "Oh, foolish men who are slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for Yeshua to suffer these things and enter into his glory?" ֶׁ and all the Then beginning with Moshe (‫)השׄ מ‬ prophets, the traveler explained to them all things found in the scriptures. By the time they reached Emmaus, it was nightfall and they pleaded with the traveler to stay with them. Women and children helped prepare the evening meal, lit candles, and set wine on the table before their guests. There was something different in the air—an unusual warmth, a welcomed peace that neither Cleopas nor Meydad understood. They enjoyed the traveler and admired his knowledge of the scriptures. In fact, Cleopas hadn't heard such teachings since . . . Cleopas furrowed his brow as memories of the Messiah flowed through him like warm honey. ". . . have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

The disciple wiped away tears and forced himself to leave the memories behind him and join the others at the table. When everyone was poised and ready to eat, the traveler gave thanks and broke bread, passing a portion to each of them. At once, fear and elation rushed through Cleopas, then Meydad, for they recognized the traveler as Yeshua! "Yeshua . . . Ha'Adon!" Cleopas and Meydad shouted. Then Yeshua disappeared. Cleopas and Meydad stared at one another, in awe of what they had seen. Their hearts pumped with joy. They were so excited that they tried to talk at the same time, but it was Cleopas who was the most outspoken. "Did our hearts not burn within us while he talked on the road and opened the scriptures to us?" Cleopas asked. "Hurry! Hurry!! We must go to Jerusalem and tell the others." When Cleopas and Meydad returned to Jerusalem, they pounded the locked doors of the house where the apostles were gathered. John (the one whom Yeshua loved) opened the door and Cleopas rushed pass him and declared, "It is true! The Lord has risen and he appeared to Simon just as he said. And now he has appeared to us!" Cleopas grabbed Nathaniel by the arms and shook him. “ It is true, Nathaniel. Thomas, James, Philip, do you hear us? It is true! We have seen him! We have seen the Lord! We have seen Ha'Adon! He is alive. I tell you, he is alive!"

Grace and the Hallelujah Chorus by Sharon L. Patterson It is an Easter blessing that I will never forget. The gift I received that day permanently changed my negative perspective concerning unexpected loss to a positive one. That gift is with me to this day, like a faithful friend whose loving presence lessens the bitterness of life’s most painful experiences. That gift is grace…God’s kind that spills over out of eternity onto frail humanity in its times of greatest incapacity. Dad’s death on March 11, my younger sisters’ forty-first birthday, was especially sad but not unexpected. The doctor prepared us with the news that he had a seriously clogged aorta and the blood supply to his lower extremities was cut off. Still, we had time to hold on and to let go. We shared feelings and emotions that had seemed to elude us until now. I sat on my back patio, reminiscing and thanking God for the man who adopted me some forty three years earlier. It was the eleventh of April…one month since his funeral. My heart was full as gratefulness and sorrow ebbed and flowed. Grace was as palatable as the tears flooding from my heart and soul. April 12th was a glorious Palm Sunday. My two teenage boys and I went to church without my husband who had National Guard duty. After lunch I went outside to trim some hedges. The phone rang. I heard my sister Brenda’s voice at the other end: “Sharon, I have some bad news…Linda died this morning.” Her twin…my baby sister! The shock knocked me into lightning-quick grief which swelled up in screaming sobs of ‘what?’ and ‘why?’ This was unexpected loss. Would grace be there for this? Numbly, I yielded to my husband’s suggestion to fly rather than drive to my childhood home for the funeral. He drove me to the airport the next morning. By that afternoon, I was participating in an instant replay of just a month earlier. It is April 13th…we are making plans to bury my sister. There had been no time for good-bye. Linda died instantly at forty-one from an acute heart attack. Numbness gave way to peace as the hands of grace reached masterfully from heaven to orchestrate comfort I could not find by myself. Now, Easter Sunday morning would yield yet another facet to the inexhaustible gift of divine grace. When my in-laws asked me to go to church with them I heard myself say, “Yes” when my feelings were yelling, “No, I can’t bear to go today.” It was that grace that walked me down the aisle at the end of the service at the invitation of the music minister to join the choir in singing the Hallelujah Chorus. It was one week to the day that Linda had died. It was Easter morning and grace was my companion. There was no strength of self left on which to draw. There was no reason, humanly speaking, not to break down-no reason except for God’s gift of sustaining grace. My shaky soprano voice chimed in with the others. My voice grew stronger and clearer. Inside, my heart began to sing its own solo, “Oh death, where is thy sting, oh grave, where is thy victory? Hallelujah!

Spring’s Revival by Norma C. Mezoe I pause at the brook to listen to its song. It babbles and sings as it flows along. In the distance dogwoods bloom…. soft pinks and white in a forest room. Songbirds twitter in the dimming light. I meet God in nature as day fades to night. First Rights - Brave Hearts, published in Spring issue 2006

Visions of Spring by Alicia Ai Keng Lim Spring Comes Clouds of fragrance Sweet breeze stirring the air A wreath of heady concoctionSpring Comes Springtime Vines entwining Arousing the valleys Enlivening gloomy glades Springtime In Spring Fields and meadows Touched by a fairy’s wand Burst into flames of brilliant hues In Spring

The True Measure of Success by Frances Gregory Pasch I used to think that I had to do big things to be a worthy follower of the Lord. I observed the endless activities of others—their preaching, teaching, leading, etc. I equated worthwhile discipleship by the size of the job. But now I understand that even a small thing, if it’s done in God’s name, is just as important as something big. I never realized the impact that just a phone call or a short note can have on someone. Different people have told me that hearing from me was just what they needed on a particular day. Never underestimate the effect of what you do for others. The world equates success with high-powered jobs, large sums of money, big homes and fancy vacations. God equates success with walking in His footstepsdoing things for His Kingdomthings that have eternal merit. Being a disciple takes discipline. It is not a one shot volunteering of our time or efforts to others. It is a consistent walk with the Lord. One in which others can see His light shining in us. What greater success can we achieve?

Colors of Spring by Alicia Ai Keng Lim Spring sprang up Buds, blossoms and blooms Into the freshness of youth Spring tiptoes in Sprinkling myriad blooms Skipping through fields and lanes Bursting into a blaze of rainbow colors Spring sprints pass Sashaying through rivers and valleys Spreading lush flora and fauna Across the horizon

The Art of the Ear by Shara Bueler-Repka "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19. "Where R U at?" the text said. On our way to Texas, we headed for our favorite spot on the Bureau of Land Management land near Fort Stanton, New Mexico. We figured we'd layover in that country to chill out and do a bit of riding. As we drove the route around the mountains, I looked up at the high peaks and wondered about my friend who lived there. That's when I got the text ... from her. OK, this is weird. How in the world did she know we were driving next to her mountains? Well, she didn't. The Holy Spirit did. Laughing, I texted her back with our location—she was shocked. Two days later she sat with us under our trailer awning. A gentle breeze drifted across the prairie grass, and the sun brightened the distant hills where a herd of Pronghorn Antelope grazed. The scene brought a sense of peace and comfort.

As we listened to her tell us her story, her attitude and countenance changed. She relaxed. She also listened to herself give testimony that she had indeed heard the Lord's voice and instruction just the previous week. The negative events in her life distracted her focus from the recent word she received from Him. She was relieved. Then "the gate" opened, and the Lord released Bruce and I to speak. I learned some valuable lessons that day: 1) Listen 2) Listen and 3) Listen. Wisdom and sound advice, encouragement and comfort are all necessary. But timing is everything as we move and flow with the Spirit of God in respect for the other person's need. "A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!"— Proverbs 15:23. Personally, I work on the listening part. My mouth isn't moving, but my mind travels on like a freight train. I’m challenged to stop my thoughts from wandering with other stuff while someone else is talking.

After the initial catching-up part of the conversation, the mood shifted. Suddenly tears streamed down her face, and we realized that the Lord brought us all together for a divine appointment.

However, lesson learned when the person says, "So, what do you think about that?" To which my only reply can be, "Ummm, say that again?" Oops.

She was having trouble at work, her son had just been thrown in jail, and to top it off, she was desperately trying to figure out why she couldn't hear from God anymore. The latter actually scared her the most.

The Lord showed me one day that what a person is saying may not be that important to me, but it's important to them—and that's what matters. I know I appreciate it when someone hears me out. (Matthew 7:12)

When you love someone, it is the hardest thing to see them cry. I felt helpless, anxiously wanting to say or do the right thing to comfort her. Yet nothing I could conjure up seemed to fit.

Attentively listening to our friend that day, we heard what she said. We also kept our ears open to the Holy Spirit for direction on what to speak when the time was right.

Every time I tried to interject something, I was cut off as she kept talking. I quickly realized I needed to be silent and quiet the incredible urges to try to "fix it."

By the time she left our camp, we were all laughing and sharing testimonies of what the Lord had shown us. And we just plain had a good time.

There is a cultural tradition of the Native Peoples that I love: the Talking Stick. It was commonly used in council circles to identify who had the right to speak. When the person holding the Stick finished speaking, he held it out and whoever wished to speak after him would take it. In this manner, the Stick passed from one individual to another until all who wanted to speak had done so. It carried the respect for free speech and assured the speaker he had the freedom and power to say what was in his heart without fear of retaliation, humiliation, or interruption of any kind. Only he could speak while he held the Stick, and the other council members had to remain silent.

When tempted to interrupt someone while they're speaking, I imagine them holding a Talking Stick. I want to honor them. So, unless they're about to get run over by a truck, or their words are unkind either to themselves or others, I work on keeping my mouth shut. The Lord may have given me a "word" for them, but He is a gentleman and will always expect me to proceed without being rude. The "art of the ear" is about honoring God's heart concerning others and ourselves. We are the eyes, ears, feet, hands, voice, etc., of Jesus to the world around us. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 1 John 4:17) Listen ... Listen ... Listen ...

Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mailbase, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: and her blog:, or come for a visit on Facebook.

On the Night Before by Nells Wasilewski “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 (NIV) The power of prayer is like turning on a light as it illuminates God's purpose for our lives. There is no greater connection to knowing His will other than the word. —Thomas Kincaid Jesus was deeply troubled on the night before His arrest. He asked His Father to take "His Cup" away, but He also submitted to God's will. Can you place yourself in a situation of such magnitude? Can you even imagine the torture you might experience? Think about how hard it would be not to turn and find a place to hide; however, Jesus did not turn His back on God or allow His faith to falter. Instead, He fell prostrate and prayed and prayed. In fact, He stayed in prayer throughout the night. Jesus' burden did not alter, nor did His faith and love for the Father. He died on the cross for the remission of our sins. We were set free, because of His obedience, His faithfulness to the Father's purpose and submission to God's will. Prayer: Elohei Ma'uzzi, God of my strength, thank you for sending us Jesus. Teach us to follow His example of trusting You and remaining true to Your purpose. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Messages of Faith by DaPorscha Rufus It is difficult to trust God when you are confused, feel you have totally lost your way, and in every area of life you are conflicted and beyond frustrated. You become torn between what your flesh craves and what your spirit yearns for. You feel trapped in the same destructive cycle, unable to decipher up from down or night from day. Beyond all of that there is fear, doubt and all those little “voices” that attempt to consume you with anxiety. What are those little “voices” you might ask. You’ve experiences those “voices” that perpetually tell you what you can’t do or who you’ll never be in a million years. They try to convince you that “It’ll never work. You are so stupid, what were you thinking? You are a failure just like your daddy.” Those little “voices” condemn you with repeated negative thoughts like, “You can’t afford that, put it back!” or even worse, “Even God can’t save you! How could God use someone like you? Your life is in complete shambles.” Eventually you begin to believe those thoughts that tell you “You’re nothing! You’re nobody; no one will ever love you. You’re a loser!” Does this sound like someone you know? Perhaps that someone is you! How many times have you coddled these destructive uncertainties in your everyday life? How long have you nurtured your day-to-day terrors that frequently you have inflicted on yourself? Listen, my brother, my sister! God never intended for you to life a life or dismay, distress, and fickleness. God does not get the glory in seeing you down in the dumps. It is not God’s will for His Beloved to be stressed out, walking through life on eggshells and hot coals. I admit life is full of variables, some of them good and others not so much. But what a joy it is to know that even when life is out of control. GOD remains in control He is never out of sync, but always in agreement and alignment. You may not know what’s coming along the way or even who is going to try to get in your way, or even what the enemy will send your way. That is why it is so important that you gird up your loins and let NOTHING get in your way. Because even when you have lost your way, God always makes a way even when there seems to be no way through your present difficulties. He does that through Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Your Book from: God by DaPorscha Rufus 366 Days of Inspiration, Spiritual Guidance, Anointed Prayers, and Heartfelt Poetry In her moving devotional, DaPorscha Rufus shares honest advice cultivated from various sources of inspiration. Including everything from popular culture to key verses from the Bible, Your Book From: God provides powerful motivation for every day of the year. Your Book From: God by DaPorscha Rufus is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

The Authentic Names of Jesus by Emmanuel O. Afolabi It is important in our Christian life that we understand who Jesus is so that we will be encouraged and empowered to hold firmly to the unshakeable truth about Jesus, represented by the three letters “RRD.” The first “R” represents the truth that Jesus is REAL. We know that from Scripture where we read that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6 NKJV) He alone is the only access we have to live eternally in Heaven with God the Father, therefore it is necessary for us to understand that He is REAL. The second “R” reminds us that Jesus is RELIABLE. He is the Truth and cannot lie. He is the Rock of Ages; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV) Therefore, you can always trust Him and hang your faith upon Him, for He will never let you down. The letter “D” stands for DEPENDABLE, and helps us to understand that Jesus is our refuge and strength, the very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 NKJV) He is the Rock of Defense; you can lean upon Him and you will be sure of your safety. Even when you may not realize or remember this truth, and you think you are all alone, He is watching over you. Indeed Jesus is REAL, RELABLE, and DEPENDABLE. Remain safe in His everlasting arms until we meet one day. Shalom!

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The men had forgone the usual Sunday school meeting to prepare the children’s hunt. Smiling like children of decades past, the men were as restless to begin as were their charges. The rules were simple: the Scott’s red house on the left was one boundary. Estell’s fence on the right was the other boundary. Between them is a long, empty lot, with a hill near its beginning. Just in front of the hill stood a wooden garage and two sawhorses, laden with a capsized rowboat waiting for a coat of paint. Everyone would cross the street together. At ‘go’ everyone would be free to gather what they could find.

How to Give an Egg Hunt by Sarah Johnson

About 3 a.m. this morning, I awoke in a place that no longer exists, among people no longer living, surrounded by a grace that has long since dissipated. Church had concluded. Boys, with suits and ties and Sunday shoes bounded down the brick stairs, taking them two and three at a time. Charlie missed a step and landed on the sidewalk, removing the knee from one side of his trousers, stopping just long enough to look back toward the church door, to determine if his mother had seen him. The girls, only slightly more genteel for their gloves and new purses, trickled down the steps as quickly as dignity would allow. Some of the older girls helped the smallest children maneuver the challenge to reach the lawn below. Dresses and suits that were uncomfortable and itchy and required a certain decorum caused the whole group to twitch and fidget and jostle—or was it simply anticipation? Charles Sheppard, a brawny middle-aged man, and Howard Bowker, a retired man with age spots, glasses and hair line that resembled an Easter egg, stood between the hardy group and the waiting field across the street.

Excited faces searched the ‘far off land’ across the street for what the sunshine could reveal. Glimpses of jewel-toned treasure glinted from crevices and divots and under leaves. “Go!” And the scramble was off. I watched as Brian, June, Barby, Sandy, Debbie and a herd of bigger kids disappeared over the hill. Brenda, Joe, Sharon, Charlie—his scraped knee apparently not impeding his desire for eggs—worked their way along the easy hiding places where eggs rested along the edge of the rowboat, along the sawhorse bottoms, the garage window ledge, amid the firewood piled beside the garage. Soon the speckles of pastel were gone, as though they had never been. Last of the crowd to disappear was Elaine, holding her little brother’s hand, trailed by Beth and Wanda, their Easter hats bouncing on their heads like birds’ nests jiggling on the end of limbs in a March breeze. A bird tweeted as she and I watched the frenzy. Wanda stopped to pick up an orchid-colored treasure nestled tightly into a clump of grass along the Scott’s fence, nearly dumping her overflowing basket as she dipped low to gather the newest discovery. Beth followed close behind, finding enough to keep the search interesting, but only a fraction compared to her friend’s basket. Wanda placed the new-found prize in Beth’s basket. The girls joined hands and continued over the hill. They were now gone out of sight. The bird and I and Mr. Bowker and Mr. Sheppard remained watching after them. I looked down at my shoes. They were new and shiny.

Ruffled socks frothed around my ankles. My gloved hands held a basket, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Looking down, my hat slid forward on my head. I pushed it back with one gloved hand. “Well, Sarie, ‘bout time you started looking for eggs. All the other kids have gone and will be back before long,” said Mr. Sheppard. I looked up at him, one eye squinted shut against the sun behind him. “I think we should take a look at that boat over there, don’t you?” prompted Mr. Bowker.

When my eyes adjusted to the light, all around me were beautiful eggs. Orchid and aqua blue, some lavender, some bright green and some yellow, all sitting pretty as anything along the wood frame inside the boat. I picked them carefully from their hiding places and gently placed them, one at a time, inside my basket. The basket was full and more. I had to hold the last egg in my gloved hand because it just wouldn’t balance on the others in the little basket.

It was my first egg hunt and I was the youngest of the attendees. Mr. Bowker took my hand and walked with me over to the rowboat. I didn’t see anything.

I ducked back out from under the rowboat-coop with a basket full and a spare. I could not stop smiling. Mr. Sheppard was grinning just as widely as me. Mr. Bowker was nearly giggling. And Mr. Estell, still watching, looked happy too.

The other kids, who had been to egg hunts before, perhaps a couple years older than me, had scoured the area fully, as far as I could see.

The other kids returned. I never did get up over that hill to see what was there.

“Any fish inside that boat?” I heard Mr. Sheppard say. Mr. Estell, whom I’d never met, was peeking out his window. His yard had a pretty metal sign with a badge on it. I couldn’t read, but he must be someone important because there was a sign to say so. Would he care if he saw me poking around the garage and boat? He smiled from the window and urged me on with a nod and a move of his hand. I was almost short enough to walk under the boat. Barely ducking, I came up inside. Sound echoed. I could see the men’s shiny church shoes waiting outside.

For several days after, I remember that bowl of beautiful boiled eggs sitting in the middle of the kitchen table. I would sit at the space near my grandmother and lay my head on my arms, my arms resting on the cold surface of the yellow and green agate tabletop, and just stare at the beautiful colors. My eggs made her smile too. Those days have long gone. Times change. Modern life takes us to services because it is expected, to wear new clothes so that we are in fashion, to gather objects in our everyday life because it’s expected and in fashion. Few people have time to consider it their task, let alone their joy, to encourage others. To share in the joy of what another discovers or achieves. There are still countless hunts and my girls have attended many. Children search for fake eggs containing ‘better’ treasure, among children dressed in practical hunting clothes, like jeans and sneakers. The children jostle and push to get the biggest hoard. I feel sad for their loss. The best treasure of that long-gone place was being cared about. It is truly a treasure to discover the genuine warmth of community and kindness. It is a blessing to encourage, to give without expecting anything in exchange. I can still feel the spring sun and hear that curious bird. And whatever was over that hill really wasn’t all that important. I found what others passed by. What are you hunting for?

The Invitations: A Special Bible Study When Jesus says “Come” by Ifeoma Samuel of Purposeful and Meaningful Shopping in the open market in the hot hustling and bustling streets of Lagos reminds me a lot of life’s changing seasons. Change in seasons is sometimes not agreeable. At times it is harsh, dry and draining. Other times it is cool, with light showers, cool breeze…the kind that you would love to have forever. But we must go through changing life seasons. These changes require that you make stops every now and then to refresh and rejuvenate. Whether you are the newly wed or the new mom, or the mom of several . We thrive better when our soul is watered and refreshed with the water of life. When you pitch your tent away from water, you live burned out and exhausted. Your life becomes dehydrated and devoid of strength. The busyness, chaos, uncertainties we wake up to each day wearies our souls. We are easily drawn into panicky moments where the anxiety of what ahead obstructs our regular life rhythm. Fear of what will become owing from the burden of the past and bleakness of the moment complicates our already tired souls. Gasp! The panic of what we can’t see is a torment. We need a break away from these noisy effects that weighs us down. Our souls need rest-stops. Our heart will need water-breaks every now and then. Gasp! You don’t want the heat of life burning you up. I reassure you “You are not here all by yourself” and you are certainly not alone. I am exhausted as you are. But greater than our weariness is the Water of Life for our weariness. There is a refreshing for your soul and a shelter from the burning heat of life.

Only A Watered Soul can Thrive There is water for your thirsty soul. There is refreshing for your dryness. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17 The Lord has invited us to drink of the water of life freely.

Are you thirsty? Are you tired? Are you sun-scorched or life-bruised or heart-broken? Freely means without a dime. Freely means as much as your soul can soak up. Freely means you have it whenever you need it. Freely but priceless and can’t be bought with whatever cost or currency in the world. Sometimes I wonder why we think we can run long enough without water. Just as it is impossible to survive without water, it is impossible for us as Christians to survive without refreshing water from the Fountain of Life. We don’t have to get to our tipping point before we refresh our souls. Every day furnishes us with an opportunity to wash ourselves in the Water of His Word. We have to stop and reach out for the water that refreshes our souls. Do you feel weary, like I do? It is time to take a plunge into the Fountain of life. 

I invite you to accept this call for a refreshing.

I invite to accept Jesus’ request to drink from the water of life that He freely offers.

Like the woman at the well, it is time to drink and be filled. John 4: 22

Visit Ifeoma Samuel at Purposeful and Meaningful for all of the lessons in this Bible study series.

Snuggle Sessions with God by Alisha Ritchie

Snuggling... Relaxing... Cherishing time together... There's nothing quite like cuddling up under fluffy blankets with your children and enjoying a good book together. This time represents warmth of home and relationships- a closeness and bond between parent and child that cannot be replaced. God beckons you as His child, "Come, and sit down. Spend time with me in a safe haven of shelter and rest. Let's share our hearts together and know each other better. Let my love warm you and my voice assure you, you are loved." Cozy up with Snuggle Sessions with God to help you abide in the Lord's peaceful presence in today's hectic world. These fifty-two devotions will inspire you to look for Him, busy at work, in the everyday activities of life. Your faith will be renewed and your spirit refreshed, as you become increasingly aware of the Lord's continual presence in every aspect of your life. The book can be purchased at Amazon, or Dancing with Bear Publishing, or Barnes and Noble. Snuggle Sessions with God by Alisha Ritchie is also available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You by John MacArthur Book review by Carol Peterson I write studies about women in Scripture identifying ways in which our character and circumstances might be like theirs. So when I picked up this book, I knew I would like it. Part of what I liked was that it was written by John MacArthur—a respected pastor and author. I really appreciated the fact that he picked several of the women I had already written books about (Eve, Ruth, Mary, Rahab) and some women I am in the process of writing about (Hannah, Mary and Martha). I really, really liked that MacArthur focused on some of the same lessons from those women I had also focused on. For people who might be looking for an overview, MacArthur's book is a great way to introduce several women at once. Specifically, he looked at Eve, Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Anna, the Samaritan Woman at the well, Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene and Lydia and took each woman in order as we meet them in Scripture. Other authors have focused on women in the Bible, labeling some of them "bad girls" or elevating others above the rest of womankind. MacArthur did a lovely job of looking at them dispassionately as human women, giving the reader enough historical, cultural and scriptural background to help us make sense of their character and actions from our modern perspective. For me, reading the book was an exciting continuation of my study of individual women in Scripture. But since the book is concise and easy to read, it could be the delightful beginning of such a study for a more casual reader. A bonus is that a workbook is available for an additional cost, making the book a possible topic for an organized women's Bible study. Twelve Extraordinary Women nicely complements MacArthur's previous book, Twelve Ordinary Men, a study of Jesus' 12 disciples. People's lives have been recorded in Scripture—sometimes as examples for how to live; sometimes as examples of how not to live (or what we can learn from their mistakes). Twelve Extraordinary Women could be an inspiration for modern women seeking to live their faith today. Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You by John MacArthur, as well as the accompanying workbook, are available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

Are You Sure This Is for My Good?! by Toni Samuels And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 (NLT) It was mid-morning when I was jolted from my work routine by a phone call. I looked at the caller ID: my boss. After some quick chitchat he told me why he was calling. “I have a special assignment for you.” He asked me to work on a new initiative that one of the company’s divisions was launching. I already had a full workload. On top of that, I knew nothing about the division. I felt overwhelmed and completely out of my comfort zone. But as I began to learn about the initiative, attend meetings and get to know the people in that division, a strange thing happened: I started to enjoy the work. I also enjoyed the people I met, who were based all over the world. And the project helped me develop new skills. In addition to those benefits, I learned an important lesson: God can use what we think is a horrible situation and turn it to our advantage. We usually learn these lessons in hindsight. But imagine if we could learn them “in foresight”? What if, when we face a tough situation, we could immediately see the blessings that would be on the other side? Here’s how that type of foresight might have played out in the lives of three biblical personalities . . . Joseph

Moses Tough situation: A privileged member of a royal family becomes a fugitive after he kills a man. He runs away to a strange land, spends 40 years in exile and works as a shepherd for his father-in-law. Foresight reaction: “Wow, these 40 years in exile are teaching me humility. My shepherding skills are cultivating leadership capabilities that I will need to guide the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. I will have an honored relationship with God.” The widow of Zarephath Tough situation: In the midst of a famine, a woman prepares to cook what she believes will be the last meal for her son and herself. Along comes a prophet who asks her to take from her meager provisions and give him something to eat first. Foresight reaction: “I won’t be angry that Elijah seems not to care that my son and I are starving to death. After I follow his instructions, the flour and oil will miraculously multiply, and my son and I will continue to have plenty to eat. Grateful, I will invite Elijah to stay in our home. And later, after my son dies, God will use Elijah to restore my son’s life.”

Tough situation: A young man is highly favored by his father and despised by his brothers. They plan to kill him, but decide to sell him into slavery instead. After his master’s wife falsely accuses him of attempted rape, he’s thrown into prison.

Of course we don’t have this kind of foresight, but we know the One who does. And God has told us no matter what we face, we can go into that situation knowing He will use it to our advantage.

Foresight reaction: “Sure, this is really unfair. But eventually I’ll be released from prison and elevated to the position of second in command in Egypt. I’ll make wise decisions that save lives during a famine, and I’ll even reconcile with my brothers and see my dad again!”

People often cite Romans 8:28 in a cliché-like way, but it’s anything but that. It is a promise. The “good” may not necessarily be what we define as good, but it will be good from God’s eternal perspective and it will help in conforming us to the image of Christ. The next time a tough situation arises, let’s look for the good. It’s there.

What’s Your Special Dish? by Kathleen Kohler

Grabbing two potholders, I pulled the maple-glazed ham from the oven just as the doorbell chimed. Before I greeted my daughter-in-law, Amanda, the aroma of her fresh-baked rolls wafted through the open door, filling the house with tantalizing homemade goodness. On the front walkway, Mom followed behind wearing a flowery lavender blouse and a cherry smile. “Happy Easter, everybody.”

If Mom couldn’t join us for the holiday, we would miss the love and laughter she adds to our lives. Not to mention the yummy salad she brings. The exchange of good food and conversation at Easter wouldn’t be the same without her. And so it is in our churches. Just as each family member contributes a dish to the celebration for the rest of us to enjoy, each believer serves up their unique abilities to nurture and nourish the people who make up the body of Christ.

Inside, Mom slid her dish onto the kitchen counter. “Hi, Grandma.” Ben gave her a hug, then reached around her to sneak a peek under the aluminum foil cover. “I was hoping you’d bring your broccoli salad. That’s my favorite.”

While not everyone has the ability to repair cars, my husband, a mechanic by trade, has participated in our church’s car care ministry. Twice a year a group of experienced mechanics meets to perform oil changes, rotate tires, and replace worn-out brakes.

When my brother and his wife Elsa arrived, Amanda carried their bowl into the kitchen, adding it to the festive lineup of family favorites.

By offering a few hours of their Saturday morning, they ensure single moms and widows travel down the road in a safe ride.

“Aunt Elsa, I’m glad you brought your Spanish rice,” Amanda said. “I’ve tried making your recipe, but mine never tastes as good as yours.”

Recently widowed, our friend Pat mentors several young women, helping them navigate the early years of marriage and motherhood. Then there’s Marg. Health issues limit her involvement in many activities and many may not recognize her face. But her faithful prayers strengthen and support church leaders, missionaries, and fellow believers.

Four generations gathered in the kitchen that sunny Sunday afternoon. Parrot tulips draped the sides of a crystal vase centered on the table and pink candles flickered. Young and old alike bowed their heads while my husband, Loren, prayed. “Lord, thank you for the sacrifice you made on the cross and for your life-giving resurrection we celebrate today.” As soon as the amens sounded, everyone scrambled for their place in the buffet line. Cleaning up after our family’s Easter celebration, I considered how each person’s unique dish rounds out the table and makes our meal complete.

And on Sunday mornings, Jim greets us at the church door. Without his handshake and words of greeting, our entrance to church wouldn’t be the same. No matter how small the interaction, each person adds flavor to our Christian walk. So, what special gift has God given you to share with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Perhaps you’ve already found a place to use your unique talents.

If you’re still searching, why not check out the Sunday bulletin, visit your church’s website, or speak to ministry leaders to learn of opportunities where you can serve? After all, it’s only when we each bring our special dish to the table that the meal is complete. Mom’s salad has long been a favorite at our family get-togethers. Can you believe that broccoli tops out as the most requested dish by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren? It’s true, after our mob gathers for a meal she usually takes home an empty serving bowl.

Mom’s Broccoli Salad 

2 ½ Cups Broccoli – discard bottom inch of stem. Peel remaining stem, and cut stem and crown into small bite-sized pieces. 1 Cup Carrots, sliced 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning ½ -5.75 oz. jar green olives, drained ½ - 6 oz. can black olives, drained ¼ cup rice vinegar

    

Blanch vegetables until tender, but still a bit crisp. Drain. Pour ice water over vegetables, stir, and drain. Place in serving bowl. Add seasoning, olives, and rice vinegar. Toss salad and refrigerate. Stir a couple more times and keep refrigerated until serving. Serves 4-6

Shadow Cat in Moonlight by Nina Newton

Prayers from a Mother’s Heart by Nina Newton

The stories about Shadow Cat are all based on reallife adventures of the beautiful black cat that lived in our neighborhood, on The Street that Was My World. As Shadow Cat prowled, scampered, and played, I watched him through my porch window, and wondered, “What will that Shadow Cat do today?” Shadow Cat in Moonlight by Nina Newton is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

Prayer journal for moms of all ages Now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

What’s in Your Memorial? by Suzane Avadiar

I’ve always had a fascination for endings - even the tough ones because to me, endings evoke hope; it’s a prelude to something new. It’s the cycle of life and that is fascinating. Whenever something comes to an end, I usually become retrospective, nostalgic, and at times even melancholic. Now that the first quarter of the year is over, I’m marveling at how fast time is speeding by. I’m feeling the need to hit pause – to everything. Do you ever feel that way? This year has already been filled with so many intimate encounters with God that I want to stop to take it all in and simply remember. I want make memorial stones. I’ve decided to do this at the end of every quarter this year – so that I am conscientiously building grateful monuments of God-moments to mark my journey throughout the year. In the book of Joshua, the Lord tells him to choose 12 men, one from each tribe of the Israelites, and then instruct them to: “Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight” (Joshua 4:3). God wanted these stones to be a memorial to the children of Israel forever. Later Joshua also “set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant stood” (Joshua 4:9). Joshua was also building a memorial stone to remember the exact place where God caused the waters of the Jordan to stop before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.

Why? Very simply, to remember God’s goodness that enabled the Israelites to cross the Jordan. I believe these memorial stones are so crucial to our Christian walk; a memorial stone keeps us in a place of remembrance and gratitude. Joshua 4:3 tells us that it is important to set up your memorial stone IN the place where God leads you to - away from where you once were and at a place where the sins and shame of your past has been “rolled away”. We must stop, reflect and build our memorial in that place in our life where He gives us rest. This will be our point of faith because we have seen and experienced His faithfulness in the past and we believe for mightier moves of God for our future. So it is here, at this point of time that I want to build a memorial to remember all the blessings of the year thus far - because I saw the face of God in each of them. I even want to remember all the struggles so I don’t forget that God taught me how to navigate through the tough terrains and overcome them. I want to remember how He led me to where I am now. I want to remember the hard times so I can feel how God used them to strengthen me. I want to remember but I will let it all go so my eyes are fixed forward and my hands are unclenched, free to be filled again with new blessings, and opportunities. I want to remember but not stay rooted in my remembrance so that my feet are forging forward, towards a new place and into a new season. I want to remember how far I walked and trace the path when God walked with me – because He did. I’m sure He did with you too.

If you reflect and remember, you will marvel at that journey you took. In hindsight, even though that road was paved with pebbles and struggles, you will be glad you walked that road because any journey with Jesus leads to transformation. So today, I encourage you to do as I did. Pause. Ponder. You will see how much you have already been transformed – in just these few months. Look back and see if you can trace the hand of God in your experiences. Where is He leading you? What is He saying? Did He coax you to walk another way than the one you intended? Did that change something?

Ponder from a place where God taught you faith in every circumstance before He led you into a place of rest and from the place where you encountered His Presence. In that place where you were restored, build your memorial stone and let the gravity of gratitude keep you anchored in His goodness. Now, when you face a challenge, you say with even more conviction than before that “my God will never leave nor forsake me” because your memorial stone of His goodness stands tall and proud. Now, you can step into the promising days ahead engulfed in that magnificent memory.

Discover the Handmaiden of History by Kathryn Ross I love a good pun, don’t you? A pun can be hilariously funny or just plain clever. Either way, puns often have the power to brand heart and mind with burning coals of truth. Years ago I found myself looking at the word “history” with the insight of a punster. When I taught in the mid-1990s at StoneBridge School in Chesapeake, Virginia—the pilot school for Principle Approach Education® via the Foundation for American Christian Education—I learned to see the word “history” through the lens of a biblical worldview. Suddenly, history was not simply a fascinating record of human existence and civilizations, but the purposeful account of God’s interaction with His Creation in one sublime epic STORY. His Story—History! My love for history exploded with fresh perspective. I surveyed the stages of time with a view to setting, plot, and characters playing out scenes as determined by the Master Playwright and Storyteller. The Bible’s depth and breadth, as God’s inspired Word, is the script to which all stories can trace their genesis. Pun intended. Literature is the handmaiden of history. Rosalie J. Slater, Foundation for American Christian Education Storytelling, either on the stage or the printed page, proves literature is indeed the companion, the “handmaiden of history.” The literature created in each age of man both records and mirrors the heart of man in that era, illustrating the character of a generation. The reading of quality literary works from our rich Western heritage assists and broadens the understanding of our story in this contemporary age. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. We discover God’s divine His Story through our fraught-with-conflict human stories across time and cultures. This is why it is important to read old books. Learned men and women of the past leave a legacy of literacy due to a steady diet of reading the literature of past generations to better understand their own time and place in His Story. C. S. Lewis regularly commented on this reading habit: Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistake of our own period. And that means the old books. This classically trained giant of the Christian, literary, and academic world often wrote on the importance of sandwiching, as it were, the reading of an old book between two contemporary titles. Reading fiction and non-fiction works in the voice and view of former generations elevates our appreciation for their contribution to His Story, as it makes us wiser in the part we play in our own time. Nowhere is this purposed approach to reading more necessary than in the literacy training established in the home between parents and children. In ancient civilizations, the office of the storyteller was highly regarded. When people groups did not have a written language, the storyteller reigned as a repository of the people’s history. His place in society was second in importance only to the clan or tribal chief. He orally taught the people their history, so they would know where they came from.

This gave them an understanding of who they were in the present, and direction for where they ought to be going into the future. This oral history, passed down from generation to generation, was vital to the continuance of that society and culture. This was a “family literacy lifestyle” in ancient tribes, nations, and clans. You are your clan’s storyteller. When your children ask you, “Tell me a story?” how do you respond? Do you recognize yourself as the primary educator in your child’s life? YOU are the reigning storyteller with the literary key to your children’s identity in their family, community, church, nation, and world at this time in His Story. Elevate your child’s understanding of God and his/her earthly existence by developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle all your own. This includes sound training in biblical instruction—His Story—plus regular read aloud times with quality literary works—the handmaidens of His Story. When you prioritize family-time built around the reading of literature and follow-up discussion or kinetic activities inspired by the story, you creatively take on the mantle of the ancient storytellers in your family tribe. When you read a story, you step into another time and place. You step into the skin of other individuals with the unique opportunity to see life through their eyes and experience. In so doing, you learn not just the facts of a thing, but your personal relationship to that thing. In the same way, when you read aloud together as a family, you step into the skin of a shared experience, cementing your family together at a deeper level of personal relationship, communication, and ownership of identity. You know where you came from, so you know who you are, and as a family you have direction for where you ought to be going as you grow together into the future of His Story for your lives. To that end, you are what you read. Choose your storytelling diet wisely. I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me. Ralph Waldo Emerson An excellent guide to choosing quality books for family read-aloud time is A Family Program for Reading Aloud, available through the Foundation for American Christian Education, on the Bookstore link at This resource “discusses more than 200 classics by great authors that identify Biblical ideals and will give your children a better understanding of forming Christian character.” Charlotte Mason advocated “living books,” drawing from the best of our Western literary heritage. Learning the hallmarks of quality literature helps you guide your child in wise choices for their pleasure reading, providing an intelligent and nobler improvement of their minds and hearts. Prioritize reading aloud as a family with all ages, all at the same time. Choose books for reading aloud that mirror God’s Word—the handmaidens of His Story. Look for the audio version of this article on the Podcast page in April on The Writer’s Reverie blog at . This article is an expanded version of an article originally published in the winter 2017 issue of CHAP Magazine for homeschoolers in Pennsylvania, and is excerpted in part from the tutorial introduction to the literacy journals from Pageant Wagon Publishing by Kathryn Ross: My Every-Day-a-Story Journal and My Every-Week-a-Book Journal, reading recordkeeping for kindergarten through high school.

New from author Jean Ann Williams

Just Claire One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place. ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls. With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life. Just Claire is now available from Amazon and from Ruby’s Reading Corner.

Your Book From: God by DaPorscha Rufus

366 Days of Inspiration, Spiritual Guidance, Anointed Prayers, and Heartfelt Poetry Are you seeking inspiration and purpose in your life, but don't know where to look? Everyday choices, obstacles, and heartbreaks can seem insurmountable without any help. God is calling you to rise above your struggles and put your trust in Him-but where do you start? In her moving devotional, DaPorscha Rufus shares honest advice cultivated from various sources of inspiration. Including everything from popular culture to key verses from the Bible, Your Book From: God provides powerful motivation for every day of the year. Each day's entry holds new spiritual guidance, prayers, or poetry, along with applicable advice to change your life. Short, direct, and powerful, even the busiest people will find the time to worship God with this devotional. To see true change in your life, you must live intentionally. You must believe in God's promises to you, and use them as the tools to chip away the doubt that will reveal His path for you. He is here to help you make the hard choices in life, and to build the future you want to see. Your Book From: God will illuminate His Word for you each day for an entire year, making sure this is your year of transformation." Your Book From: God by DaPorscha Rufus is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

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Crossword Play 4 Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker

Ruby Writing Team Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women's ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at

Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her theatrical scripts for church and school, books, and storytelling programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families. Timeless truths leap from the page and the stage through Pageant Wagon Publishing and Productions—visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at and

Carol Peterson, Author My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire– children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling. Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. and

Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life. She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at:

Rejetta Morse enjoys writing poetry so she can write about God and how He speaks through nature. Writing poetry is a new found purpose and hobby she discovered over recent years which brings her joy, peace, and encouragement. She also enjoys reading poetry and is working to learn more about the craft of poetry. She spends her free time singing with her church choir and listening to gospel music, watching biographical movies, and encouraging other people.

Marilyn Lesniak is the owner, writer, and most times photographer at Marilyn's Treats. She loves to learn new things and is always improving her recipes, blog designs and articles. If you need guidance she is there to help but is the first to remind you most everything she does is an adventure in trial and error. Come visit in her office/kitchen and see what trouble she is brewing up now at

Thea Williams’s short story, "Phoenix," appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon's The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at or

Cassidy Burdge is the Christian Prepster, a high school student living the Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. She has a deep love for sharing Christ through her writing and blogging, and she is excited to be part of Ruby Magazine. Cassidy blogs about anything from Biblical teachings to book reviews. You can connect with Cassidy on her blog, The Christian Prepster at

Nells Wasilewski lives in a small southern town, seventy miles southeast of Nashville, Tennessee. After retiring, she began pursuing her lifelong dream of writing. Her writing has been greatly influenced by her faith in Jesus Christ, personal, experience and nature. She has been writing poems, prose and stories all her life. Nells has recently started writing devotionals. Her work has appeared in Haiku Journal, Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, 50 Haikus, Dual Coast Magazine, High Coupe Journal, Ancient Paths, Tanka Journal, Hedgerow and Penned from the Heart

Suzane Avadiar is a freelance writer, cat-lover and avid traveler. Over the last 16 years, she has written extensively for various publications and companies in the global marketplace. Writing is not only her full-time job but also her passion and instrument of worship. She now writes solely about her faith and has a deep desire to reveal the heart of God through her writings. Suzane writes daily devotions on social media for her church, C3 Subang and is currently completing her first book, Sent to Journey - a Devotional for Travelers. She blogs at and resides in Malaysia.

Ifeoma Samuel, happily married to her sweetheart Obiora Samuel, is an author, a blogger and an occasional Speaker. She enjoys using her writings to share everyday life stories about God’s immense love. Her book “My 30 Days Journey To a Fulfilled Life” and her latest book “Overcome Failure; Get Back on Your Feet” both available on Amazon. You can find her writing regularly over at her blog Purposeful and Meaningful or visit on Facebook, Pinterest or Youtube.

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers’ group since 1991. You can contact her at

Emmanuel O. Afolabi is a seasoned teacher, blogger, and minister of the Gospel. He is also the author of two books, The Battle of Identity and How to Recover from Painful Losses, both of which are now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner. In his books Emmanuel presents practical steps for Christian living and spiritual growth. Afolabi is married to Sister Mary Afolabi, and is blessed with children to the glory of God.

Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the Ruby for Women Magazine ( since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna's political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.

Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her at

Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mail-base, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: and her blog:, or come for a visit on Facebook. Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.”

Sarah Johnson writes, photographs and gardens from her home near the tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay. Her work is inspired by the glory of God’s creation and the nuances of light in life, from that of literal sunshine to the shadow-dispelling joy of serving her Creator. Herding three cats, two children and a husband, keeps her busy between editing flowerbeds and weeding paragraphs. She is the editor of 'Garden Cumberland', a gardener’s resource that encourages others to find their hearts in the sunshine and soil of South Jersey.

Paula McVay attended church as a child where she first heard about the grace and love of Jesus. She accepted Christ as her savior at the age of 12, and accepted God’s call to full-time ministry at the age of 13. Paula has been a teacher in public schools, a pastor’s wife, a mother, and a mentor to many over the years she and her husband, Doug, were in pastoral ministry. Paula is the mother of three sons, and five grandchildren.

Deb Ilardi is a registered nurse and has written professionally for decades. She was the Clinical Editor of School Nurse News from 2001-20016. Now she is retired and living in NC with her husband where she enjoys life near the ocean as a freelance writer.

Alisha Ritchie writes from North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, of almost twenty years, and two busy but wonderful teenagers, Zack and Abby. She is a Physical Therapy Assistant by profession but in recent years has also become a multipublished author of devotions and inspirational stories to inspire others in their walk with God. You can read more of her writing at

Alicia Ai Keng Lim Hi! My name is Alicia and I'm from Malaysia. Malaysian education exposes us to analysis and comprehension of poems in the English and Malay Language but not to creating our own poems. I started writing poems in 2011 when I tutored AOP homeschool students. The opportunity arose again between 2013 and 2015 when I tutored more students under the Cambridge English syllabus. In 2017 I am beginning to pursue publishing my poems and to explore more creative ways of literary expression. Hopefully, I can contribute to the readership of RUBY magazine.

Toni Samuels By day Toni works in corporate communications at a Fortune 500 corporation, but by night she pursues her true passion: to write for God’s purposes and to point people to Jesus Christ. She is grateful and honored to have the opportunity to begin this new chapter in her life, in which writing is not merely a profession but a ministry. In her free time Toni enjoys music, reading, traveling and beautiful beaches.

Kathleen Kohler writes about the ups and downs of family life for numerous magazines and anthologies. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, and have three children and seven grandchildren. Visit to read more of her articles or enter her latest contest.

DaPorscha Rufus was raised by a teenage mother, and with the help of God she started reading and writing at a young age. She did not know that one day she would help spread the love of Jesus Christ into all the earth through her pain and passion. YOUR BOOK From: God was written with YOU in mind. We all have a purpose in life, a Godgiven purpose, but it is up to us to pursue all that we've been given. Although life is hard, with Christ all things are possible.

Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth's passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. Don't miss Beth's columns and puzzles in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read Beth's posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at or email her at

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on RUBY magazine in my home office. I have worked for several years offering my handmade and refashioned garments and accessories in a local boutique under the creative name of “Vintage Mama’s Cottage.” My personal blog is at

RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife

April 2017 ruby  

The April 2017 issue of RUBY magazine is our special EASTER edition! Filled with inspirational articles, short stories, poems, book reviews,...

April 2017 ruby  

The April 2017 issue of RUBY magazine is our special EASTER edition! Filled with inspirational articles, short stories, poems, book reviews,...