Casting off Summer by Lisa J. Radcliff
The Compassion Example by Nancy Frantel
Biblical Stepping Stones by Norma C. Mezoe
Back to School Saving Strategies by Jehn Kubiak
A Whisper from God by Linda M. Crate Living Right Side-Up in an Upside-Down World by Sharon L. Patterson
RUBY Magazine Your voice, your story AUGUST, 2018 www.rubyforwomen.com
In This Issue of RUBY Blueberries are in … by Cynthia Knisley
Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan Book Review by Carol Peterson
The late summer days are filled with family and friends, vacations, gardening, harvesting, and thoughts of the upcoming change of seasons. But here at RUBY magazine and community we continue to celebrate all of the beauty of every summer day.
My Daughter Gave Me the Moon by Joan Leotta
In this issue of RUBY magazine you will find recipes, inspirational articles, devotionals, poetry, short stories, and book reviews that offer encouragement for all of your late summer days. We would love to have you join us in the RUBY community, now on Facebook, so it is really easy for you to connect with us. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/rubyforwomen/ Hope to see you there!
Celebrate All Things Blueberry!
Visiting … a Lost Art? by Gloria Doty
Senior Editor: Nina Newton Editorial Assistant: Theresa Begin Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Norma C. Mezoe, Shara Bueler-Repka, Lisa J. Radcliff, Jehn Kubiak, Nancy Frantel, Carol Peterson, Kathryn Ross, Gloria Doty, Cynthia Knisley, Miriam Jacob, Nells Wasilewski, Linda M. Crate, Joan Leotta, Frances Gregory Pasch, Diana Leagh Matthews, Cindy J, Evans, Michele Morin
Ave Maria History of Christian Hymns by Diana Leagh Matthews
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. 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 email@example.com Questions? Email Nina @ firstname.lastname@example.org RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine email@example.com
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Looking to the Future, Remembering the Past Handmade and refashioned garments and accessories from Tatters to Treasures
Sprinkle a Little Happiness Wherever You Go! Nina Newton, Sr. Editor May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 We all face days when it is challenging to find “happiness” in the midst of “real life.” The truth is, not everything that we experience will make us “happy.” But we can be confident of this one thing . . . . even in the midst of heartache and sorrow, we can find “joy.” The other day I was working on creating some fun printables for my blog when I came across these cute ice cream images. That got me thinking about how easy it can be for each one of us to “sprinkle a little happiness wherever” we go. Of course, that certainly doesn’t mean that I can just flit through my days sprinkling glitter on everyone around me like some sparkly fairy! But how hard is it, really, to offer a kind word or a genuine smile to that cashier at the grocery store who looks weary and worn out from working long shifts, standing on her feet all day long (or all night long)? It doesn’t take much effort to reach out a hand when you see someone struggling to open a door or reach the top shelf or pick up a book that was dropped on the floor. Not long ago I stopped to chat with a friend from church who has had serious, chronic health problems for many years. It didn’t take up a lot of time, and it wasn’t difficult at all. But it opened a door to a conversation that might lead to a deeper friendship. Especially for folks who don’t have the opportunities that I have because of health issues, financial challenges, family concerns, or transportation obstacles, taking that first step is really important. So, as I remind myself daily, and as I seek opportunities in my everyday life to offer a bit of kindness, happiness, and generosity to those God brings across my path, I trust that I will not be too focused on my own agenda that I miss those moments. I think I will print this out and frame it so I can hang it above my desk right here in my little office to make sure I don’t forget. But it will also remind me that I can be filled with hope, joy, and peace when I trust God to take care of all those difficult situations that can cause worry and fear. We all need to be reminded not only to seek God’s gifts of joy and peace when we are facing difficulties, but we also need to offer those same gifts to those around us. That reminds me of the song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” look full in His wonderful face. . . and the things of earth will grow stangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. To say with the hymn writer, “It is well with my soul,” even when our heart is breaking is not only possible but it is a guarantee when we look to Him to put all of the broken pieces of our life back together and make it into something beautiful Today, as you go about your everyday routine, remember to “sprinkle a little happiness wherever you go!” In your own heart and in the lives of those around you. You’ll be glad you did!
Blueberries are in ….. by Cynthia Knisley
… and my kitchen is a mess. The sink is piled high with stained utensils, just waiting to soak in warm sudsy water. I just cooked up and put up a batch of blueberry jam! Mason jars of various sizes line the counter, along with assorted extra rings and flat lids.
Having stirred and cooked and timed, and after skimming off the surprise foam that snuck into the pot, I carefully ladle the hot mixture into sterile jars, using a funnel to prevent spills. A small portion goes into a custard cup.
I’m sitting here at the computer now to rest and gather energy for the clean-up. It would have been easy to select pretty jars of jam at the grocery store or country market. But wait……
Spots of deep reddish-purple end up on the stove and counter and on my linen kitchen towels, but all is well if I manage to keep the jars upright as they fill up with the steaming hot liquid. The potential for burns is real and caution is advised.
I would have missed the treat of going to the farm stand to buy freshly picked berries, the feel of those lovely little fruits as I washed and sorted them, the snappy sound of chopping them with a large chef knife, and the delight of discovering below the deep blue skin a soft yellow-green center. And, I would have never had the fun of measuring all that sugar. This is where the nourishment factor of jam comes into question. The recipe calls for nearly two cups of sugar per one cup of fruit and states clearly that the full amount must be used. “Oh well. It will be yummy on toast and muffins. I’ll spread it sparingly,” I think, while stirring the conglomerate of fruit and sugar together with a pat of butter. The butter is to reduce foam. Whoever knew that foam was a part of jam making?
With lids and rings screwed on, the whole project is slowly lifted into a pot of bubbling water, one jar at a time, for the final treatment---the boiling water bath. About ten minutes later, the jars are gently removed to a heat-resistant surface where they begin to cool. The change in temperature causes suction and lids pop as they are pulled tightly onto the jar. I count the pops to be sure all jars are sealed. Finally, it’s time to relax, leave the jam alone to cool down, and taste the little sample that had been kept aside. It is sweet, still warm, and fresh as a morning garden full of new blossoms. Hmmm …. delicious. No wonder I love to make blueberry jam!
by Carol Peterson
Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan Every once in a while, you read a book that changes you. Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit is one of those books for me. I read it years ago and again recently, having been asked lately by people on separate occasions, “Have you read Forgotten God?” Chan’s basic premise is that, as Christians, we pay little attention to the Holy Spirit. We pray to God the Father and have a personal relationship with Jesus. We claim to believe that the Holy Spirit lives in us. But, Chan concludes, we pay little attention to that fact. We focus on the other two persons in the Trinity and avoid the issue that the Holy Spirit is there, right now, and always in us and ready to guide, direct, comfort and encourage us. What I personally gained most from Chan’s book was that this reminder of the Spirit’s presence caused a desire to allow the Spirit to work in and through me. I wanted a relationship not just with Father God and my Savior Jesus. Chan’s reminder that Jesus left the Holy Spirit’s presence as a gift for me (and you), instilled a deeper desire to have communion with my closest spiritual partner in life—the Holy Spirit. What changed for me in a practical way? I began to be more open to the Spirit’s leading. I began to allow the Spirit to pray through me for people and circumstances I would not have thought to pray for on my own. I began to pray not only to Father God and my Jesus, but also to pray to the Spirit, thus opening my heart to the whole presence of God. My journey of faith began to move forward. My sense of the power of the Spirit has grown—not because I somehow have “more” of the Spirit, but because I could more clearly sense His presence and leading. And then follow Him. I recommend Forgotten God to anyone who professes belief in the Trinity and seeks to allow the Holy Spirit to have more power in their lives. I pray the book will change and empower you.
Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan is available from RUBY’S Reading Corner
Hide Me Not by Nells Wasilewski Hide me not in the Forest behind trees of deception. Lead me to the clearing, open my senses to breath the sweetness of Your peace, reach out and guide me toward meadows of Your love. Take me to the waterfalls flowing freely; falling over me in waves of unending grace. Hold me accountable, so that my words gush forth in praise and adoration. Keep me close that I may walk freely among clouds spreading showers of Your love. Turn me far away from black waters scarred by greed and wickedness. Imprint on my heart that I am a passing stranger in this jungle of earth-until you free me from its tangled bonds and take me to live with You in Paradise.
Living Right Side-Up in an Upside-Down World by Sharon L. Patterson
Sometimes, I have to pinch myself for a reality check after listening to news anchors discuss current subjects pertaining to the world in which we live. Whether it is foreign policy, current ideas about love, gender, and family, I often feel that I have been transported to a foreign land instead of the country I have loved and grown up in. I promise not to offer another opinion . . .heaven knows the cup of opinion is much fuller than that of reason these days.
Following both world wars, major unresolved conflicts in Korea and Vietnam splashed across television, numbing those of us who watched the devastations. Decisions had to be made to survive the madness of radical rule run amuck. The Cold War was very real to me as a child practicing getting under my desk at school during civil defense drills.
Opinions are plenteous, arguable, and often senseless. Reason, based on Godly truth is an anchor worth holding onto in this topsy-turvy world.
As a sophomore in high school, my fellow classmates and I wondered whether we would have the opportunity to live past the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961 as nuclear war was almost a reality. Prayer was in our hearts, on our minds, and out of our lips constantly.
So, just how do we who love and follow the teachings of Christ live right side-up in this very upside-down world? We live the same as those who have gone on before us by loving Christ and following his teachings-by the grace He provides ignited through faith.
Upheaval in the world led to unstable changes in society as well. In great contrast to today’s taboo to pray in many places, much less in Jesus’ name, when I was a girl, most people-even non-believers knew what the Bible said; our laws were governed by the Judeo-Christian foundational principals.
Throughout every age since Jesus walked on earth over 2,000 years ago, tyrants have ruled, social, moral, and spiritual climates have been hotbeds of change. Good versus evil has been the continuing cataclysmic saga of mankind.
We guided our personal lives with a moral compass based on the Ten Commandments. Our school day started with the pledge of allegiance and prayer.
I am a baby boomer born near the middle of the last century at the end of World War 2. World War I ended a mere 21 years before that and was called the” war to end all wars.” Fascism, Nazism, Socialism, and Communism offered their wares of governmental rule that included genocide on a scale unknown in the annals of history. Many heroic stories of Christian sacrifice to save slated victims such as the Jews of Europe emerged right in the middle of the most horrific conditions, ominous threats and incredible dangers.
Slowly and methodically, the enemy of our souls began eliminating access to public acknowledgement of God. He disassembled rights gained through the early sacrifice of our country’s founders. Today, what was once easily recognizable as evil is called good and what is good is called evil. God’s Word remains the stabilizing force to Christians desiring to navigate these treacherous times. Peter and Paul speak to us from the prisons that housed them for their simple faith and message of the gospel.
They admonish us to exercise courageous faith in our actions. We are reminded that the Lord calls us still to love our enemies and to obey those who are over us.
We continue to grow in Godly wisdom and take it with on our jobs, into our classrooms, at the market place.
He asks us to do good to those who persecute us, bully us, and mock us. We are commanded to love rather than hate, to stand for what is just, to obey God rather than man.
Will we be laughed at? Criticized? Persecuted? Possiblyâ€Śeven probably. But we have not been invited to participate in popularity contests. We have been asked to walk Godly in ungodly circumstances.
We walk in forgiveness of those who trespass against us. It is no easier for us than for all those who are part of the great cloud of witnesses who did the same things in their time on earth. We just have an incredible cheering squad!
We need to guard what we participate in; what we watch; what we listen to. We need to look in our manual for life continually. It is really time-tested.
We are asked to take up our cross daily and follow . We love our neighbors as ourselves; we Jesus. work and show what we believe as we go about our daily business. We cannot do it in our own strength but only by grace through faith. We do not lift ourselves up but others. We do not enter into tit-for-tat arguments. Sometimes we are to be silent, sometimes we are to speakâ€Śwe are always to stand armed with weapons that are unseen but most effective. We will not do it perfectly but steadily in ever increasing measure. We ask for wisdom to replace foolish thinking. It is sound for God is the author of the wisdom we seek.
Five thousand years, several eons of time, some distinguishable ages later, it survives as wise counsel, provides a proven principled pattern for daily living, it offers a warfare strategy against unseen forces that often govern the tangible world we live in. So what is our position daily? Surrender- to the Lord our God and the way He has provided through His Son Jesus-commander of the hosts of heaven and our Savior. Though the world will change and become even more unrecognizable than today, our God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Can we live right side-up in an upside-down world? Oh yes, we can. Oh yes, we will.
Back to School Saving Strategies by Jehn Kubiak Backpacks, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, gym clothes, street clothes, lunchboxes, and more wreak havoc on a tight family budget. All these things seem like they would result in a mass expenditure, but that doesn't have to be case. With specific strategies in mind, you can walk out the door paying a decent amount for all your kids. Take a trip to the 99 Cents Only store for school supplies. Depending on your store’s selection, you may or may not find what you need. However, most stores carry a great selection of notebooks and other general school supplies. Shoes can easily exceed $30 each, even for the kids. With this in mind, look for stores that offer coupons or discounts on overall purchases, such as Kohls, Sears, JcPenney. Alternatively, you can shop at secondhand stores, such as Goodwill and Ross––you’ll never know what treasures linger on the shelves. Some shoes might have wear and tear, but others will be barely worn. Also, if you can wait a bit, Staples usually clears out bunches of office and school supplies in September, after the normal rush season. For families with Costco memberships, look at the store’s backpack selections. You will find back packs with various designs. Depending on the size and style, the packs range from $10-20, they aren’t overly expensive, and they’re usually crafted well. One of the more popular brands, High Sierra, generally ranges from $20-30. If you have a Walmart nearby, the store carries child Good News––if you have boys that love superheroes and girls that love Disney princesses, Walmart will satisfy all the kiddos. Where you look for clothes will depend on what school your child or children attend(s). If they need uniforms, any department store generally has a section with polos, khakis or dress pants, blazers, and ties. However, if the kids can wear anything, thrift stores are the best. However, if you want to treat everyone to back-to-school clothes, Walmart and Kohls often go all out with back-toschool clothing sales. Now comes the harder part: food. Costco is a great option for families with multiple children because they can purchase the same snacks and share with everyone. However, not everyone needs to buy in bulk. In that case, the 99 Cents Only store is a great option for vegetables and snacks. Buy more expensive things––berries, meat, and dairy products––at grocery stores with constant sales, such as Aldi and Stater Bros. For families that want to only eat health foods, shop at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts.
What about technology? This one is up to you. Not all kids can handle a phone or computer, but some will need either or both––usually high-schoolers. If your kids walk home from school and you want to check in on them, purchase a tracfone. For older kids who need computers, check out TigerDirect or Amazon. Look for refurbished models that are like new, but not as expensive as completely new products. Don’t spend a fortune this month on items for school. Instead, know where you can save or splurge, and budget accordingly.
A Whisper from God by Linda M. Crate I've been having one of those terrible weeks this week. You know the ones where nothing goes right? There was so much stress, so many tears, and so much exhaustion. I'm just glad my work week is over, and I can have a relaxing Sunday (I hope!). I'd been really fixated on the fact that I was getting a lot of rejections on my writing this week, and I was thinking about throwing in the towel and giving up completely as far as my writing were concerned. I was just so frustrated and wounded by all the nonpositive feedback I was receiving. But wouldn't you know it? As soon as I thought that "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey popped onto the radio at work. I smiled at the radio, nodding. It was God speaking to me, I know, telling me not to give up on my dreams. He used music because music has always been something that's spoken to my soul. Sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves and our feelings that we forget all the positive things we've accomplished or what we have. God tells us: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11. He also says: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9. Satan was really messing with me this week, and I'll admit that I almost caved into the frustration and the pain. I just didn't want to deal with any of these hardships anymore. But I know that God gave me these dreams for a reason, and so I will not allow myself to be discouraged from the path I'm meant to walk even if it sometimes grows hard. God commands us to not be afraid or discouraged. So I will walk with my head held high even when I feel low because I know through God all things are possible.
Celebrate All Things Blueberry!
Summer Recipes from All Around the Blogosphere
Celebrate All Things Blueberry! This month’s recipe collection features all things blueberry. Whether you want to make an old fashioned blueberry pie or try a couple of new, more adventurous recipes with the bountiful blueberry crop this time of year, you’ll find so much creative inspiration from some amazing bloggers. Check out the original posts where we found these blueberry recipes and be sure to tell them that RUBY sent you!
Blueberry Zucchini Squares from Taste of Home Blueberry Lemon Zest Ice Cream from My Recipes
Glazed Lemon Blueberry Muffins from Taste of Home
Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars from Inside Bru Crew Life
Almond Blueberry Yogurt Bread from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen
All images and recipes are the property of the original websites. RUBY magazine does not own any of the images in this article and they are used only as part of a featured collection. To find any of the original articles, please visit the websites which are linked to each image.
My Daughter Gave Me the Moon by Joan Leotta
August is one of my favorite months. On the 9th of August, one of the hottest on record, I awakened in the middle of the night to tell my husband it was time to go to the hospital. Late that afternoon, our dear daughter, Jennie, made her appearance in this world. Like most mothers and daughters, we have our rough moments--but I am blessed that most of the time we enjoy each other. Often, I will try to find something she wants, and now that she is an adult, she tries to indulge my whims. I "collect" full moon photos, so on the day of the Super Moon, I complained to her via phone that clouds were obscuring my view. She responded as I tell in this poem. A precious gift from God, her love.
My Daughter Gave Me the Moon by Joan Leotta Super Moon 2016 â€Ż Just days after my birthday January, 1948, they tell me, super moon slipped through my bedroom window to bless my sleeping baby cheek with his soft silver kiss.
So, when he returned in full close glory I watched for him through my kitchen window. Now a woman, 69, cooking supper, I hoped for some lunar recognition or at least to glimpse that rare beauty. Rain and clouds barred me from meeting moon— Sunday, Monday. Even Tuesday morn and eve fog denied me moon sighting joy Tuesday morn, I complained by phone to my daughter, Jennie, who commiserated – fog had blocked her from moon sighting too, On Tuesday night, however, driving to a meeting, fog cleared for her; Jennie spied the moon! She stopped, snapped— emailed two photos to me. So, against all celestial conspiring, My daughter sent me what fog tried to hide. My daughter gave me the moon.
Joan and Jennie at Hirshorm Museum, Washington, D.C.
Casting off Summer by Lisa J. Radcliff Summer means long days lying in the sun, sipping lemonade, and swimming at the local pool or jumping waves in the ocean or snorkeling at the lake. At least, that’s what it meant when I was growing up. But the summer I turned 10 years old, I almost missed out on my favorite activities. I needed a cast on my leg, from the top of my thigh to my bottom of my ankle. Swimming was out. I was bummed. But when I went to the doctor’s office to get the cast on, he shared some good news. He was going to use a new casting material, fiberglass. (I’m old; it was new when I was 10.) It would be lighter than plaster. But best of all, it could get wet. In hindsight, I’m sure what he meant by “get wet” and what I understood by “get wet” were very different things. I thought he meant WET. I thought he meant I could swim with it on. Now, I’m sure he meant it wouldn’t melt if it got rained on or bath water splashed on it. To make matters worse, it seemed like there were no intelligent adults in my life that summer. Strange, because I was surrounded by intelligent adults—bankers, engineers, teachers, college graduates. But none of them questioned me when I insisted the doctor said it could get wet, so I was going swimming. It didn’t go too badly at first, just swimming in the pool. It took a long time to dry, but nothing bad happened. Then came a trip to the lake. Yes, I went swimming in the lake with a cast on my leg. But my biggest mistake, and when the adults must have had sunstroke or something, I went in the ocean—with a cast on my leg. For a week I swam, jumped waves, laid on the beach, played paddle ball, did all the things a 10-year-old does at the beach. A few days in, my leg inside the cast started getting itchy. Those same sun-stroked adults came up with a plan. We went up to the shops on the boardwalk and bought a back scratcher. Perfect. I could slide it down inside the cast and scratch away. It gave me some relief. But even when the scratcher pulled clumps of sand and sea gunk out of my cast, none of the adults thought to take me to the hospital to have the cast replaced. After all, I only had a few weeks left until it was time to get it off. The day arrived. I couldn’t wait to get this smelly, itchy cast off. The doctor who had put it on was a little concerned when we told him I had done a lot of swimming over the six weeks.
He fired up the saw. Fiberglass was tough stuff! Little yellowish shards flew here and there as he cut through it. (Fiberglass didn’t come in colors then). Finally, with one side sliced through, he pried it open. There was silence in the room, as the odor of weeks of trapped sea fodder filled our nostrils. The doctor said, “I’ll be right back” and left the room. I looked at my leg. Well, I couldn’t really see my leg. It was covered in sand, seaweed, and maybe a baby octopus. The condition of my leg was slowly revealed, as we peeled off things that should stay in the ocean. It was a collection of welts and open sores. The doctor returned to the room with a blue ribbon, my award for having the ugliest cast he had ever seen. It wasn’t until I became an adult that it occurred to me that the cast could have been replaced. Why didn’t someone, anyone, in my life suggest that? I don’t know. When I asked my mom, she just laughed, and said, “I never thought of that.” Really? I guess it was because a doctor said, “six weeks in a cast.” It was an era when you didn’t question doctors. It might have been good to question what he meant by “wet.” Of course, there is a spiritual lesson to be learned. Actually, more than one. There is “question everything,” “let’s do a word study,” or “ask for wisdom.” But the one I want to focus on is how that cast was a picture of what my spiritual life sometimes looks like. I ignore things that are hurting me spiritually, maybe the amount of time I spend watching mindless TV shows or other forms of entertainment. Or maybe I harbor anger or resentment and let it grow into bitterness. And I don’t always cut off the hurtful things before they do serious damage. I let the ugly stuff fester instead of getting it out of my life. I need to use the wisdom God has given me and ask, “What’s the problem and how can I change?” And then I need to be willing to make the changes required. I am thankful that my Father knows exactly what to do and has the power to change my heart, if I would only ask him. “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness. But for you, O Lord, do I wait. It is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:4,5,15
Visiting … a Lost Art? by Gloria Doty “Mom, are we going to Uncle Art and Aunt Gertrude’s house tonight?” That could have been my question on any Friday afternoon when I was a child. The names of my aunts and uncles changed each week, but the plea was the same. We lived in the country with no close neighbors that had children, but my parents came from large families so I had an abundance of aunts and uncles and cousins. There was never any visiting on weeknights but when Friday arrived, I knew we would probably go to visit at one of their homes. My Uncle Art’s house was a favorite because many times, he would make ice cream in a hand-cranked freezer. The older cousins would turn the handle while the rest of us ran around catching lightning bugs or playing tag or hide-and-go-seek. The adults would visit.
The formal definition of the word ‘visit’ can be a verb or a noun. The noun would describe a visit to the doctor or dentist. Those are things we have to do. However, the definition of the verb…go to see and spend time with (someone) socially: pay someone a visit…describes something that is voluntary and I believe is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I realize there are many reasons for this. We are all much busier than we used to be. Many days, if someone stopped unexpectedly for a visit, no one would be home. The majority of today’s visiting is done on social media, in texts and emails and occasionally, we actually speak to someone on our phones. Relatives aren’t good at the visiting agenda, either. My adult children and grandchildren stop by if they need to pick something up, or drop something off but to sit down and have a conversation just for the sake of chatting a bit, is a rarity.
At the risk of being labeled as terribly old-fashioned, I would like to think people still crave the ‘sit down and talk for a while’ kind of visiting. I recently attended a county fair. As I walked around, I saw groups of people at tables, among the displays, in the barns…all talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It was delightful. I would wager that some of them had not visited with each other since the previous year. Visiting is a way to connect with people we know or may have recently met. It doesn’t involve anger or stressing our own agendas. It should be a means of relaxing, asking about each other’s lives and various activities. Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend of many years. We don’t see each other too often so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was several hours of peaceful enjoyment.
Jesus visited his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, when he was in the vicinity of Bethany. The Bible recounts some of those teaching times, but they were his friends and I’m sure there were many times when he just dropped by for a visit. Try to make time to visit a neighbor (even if only for a few minutes while you’re both in your yards) or take a few minutes to visit with friends or visitors after church, invite someone over for a glass of iced tea. Your house doesn’t need to be spotless; they want to see you, not your cleaning abilities. Visiting doesn’t need to be stressful or timeconsuming. I have NO memories of my aunts and uncles clean or dusty homes…only the good memories of being welcomed, having fun and giggling a lot.
The Compassion Example by Nancy Frantel “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 (NIV) My father’s mother showed compassion and love to many beyond her family. I remember how she lived her life focused on serving the Lord by helping others. As a faithful servant, she used her gift of hospitality by volunteering at the local hospital for over two decades. The Lord allowed her to lead by example. I remember helping her one summer while in high school. I heard praises about my grandmother from the staff. They described her giving nature and kind spirit. While I found spending time with those who are in pain challenging, she seemed to make it her mission to make them feel important and loved. She also left a legacy of serving without complaining. In checking with other family members, they confirmed her positive attitude, no matter the circumstances. This part of her character allowed others to benefit even more from her demonstration of love. Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of family and their positive witness for future generations. Help us show kindness to those around us and be an example of your love. Amen.
Betsy Ross: Patriots, Petticoats, and Providential History Part 2 by Kathryn Ross Image Education News Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776? Our Founding Fathers agreed to its precepts that day, but final draft and copies had to be prepared. One by one, they signed in secret over the next few weeks, throughout the month of August. Meanwhile, Betsy Ross stepped center stage in American history. A recent widow at age 24 when an ammunitions explosion took the life of her new husband John, Betsy served her nation in a critical time, providently placed and prepared by God. In the spring and summer of 1776, in her home located one block away from Independence Hall, a vital element necessary to secure American independence lay in her hands. Read Part 1 of Betsy Ross: Patriots, Petticoats, and Providential History in the July issue of RUBY Magazine. When we last left Betsy, her husband’s uncle George Ross, Robert Morris, and the esteemed General George Washington surprised her with a visit one morning in May. Congress appointed them the Flag Committee, responsible to design and produce a national standard to take into the expected war with England. The esteemed committee had barely arrived when . . .
Scuffling sounds in the street, just outside the front door, hushed the group with a palatable tension. Betsy’s hand rose to her lips, stifling a gasp. General Washington motioned for silence. He crept along the wall towards the window, shielding himself, to investigate the source of the noise. Might spies have followed General Washington to her doorstep? Had the war Betsy feared for so long come to her own home? Sudden boisterous yells shifted the foursome into high alert that their mission might have been discovered. Silent and watching from the corner of the window, Washington motioned for stillness, until the bellows turned to laughter, and faded, passing by. “Drunken youth,” he said, relaxing with a knowing frown. A collective sigh melted the tense moment. “Back to business, Mrs. Ross.” Robert Morris returned their attention to the matter at hand. “Can you make this battle flag?”
A collective sigh melted the tense moment. “Back to business, Mrs. Ross.” Robert Morris returned their attention to the matter at hand. “Can you make this battle flag?” Betsy picked up the paper previously set before her and studied the hasty sketch of a flag design. “How soon would you want it?” “Within a fortnight, if possible.” Washington said. She studied the drawing. “By the end of the month, I daresay. Early June at the latest. But . . .” her voice trailed. “You will be paid for the job, of course, my dear.” Uncle George said. “Oh. Forgive me. No.” Betsy said. “My hesitation is not economy of money, but—” “Yes? Speak freely, mistress.” Washington’s voice gently invited her opinion. Betsy, an obliging woman, did not want to appear critical of anything agreed upon by such an august committee as those standing before her. But, her expertise had been sought by them. She spoke her mind.
“My lady, I applaud you. Five-pointed white stars it shall be, on a field of blue—thirteen all; against thirteen alternating red and white stripes.” The committee agreed. Discussion followed to determine the exact proportions and measurements of the flag, materials to be used, date of delivery, and payment. They instructed Betsy to cut and sew it by hand in the privacy of her own bedchamber to protect herself and the decisive step the creation of a battle flag meant to the cause of independence. The gentlemen stayed only as long as necessary, then made a polite exit. Closing the door behind them, Betsy realized the implications of what she agreed to do. She felt an active partner with John’s patriotic decision to join the militia, taking a practical stand for what he believed to be true and just. Though schooled in the use of a firearm, her weapon as a patriot would be needle and thread. John would be proud. Thinking on this brought him nearer to her.
“I only hesitate because, I wonder why you have chosen a six-pointed star for the design rather than a five-pointed star.” The men looked at each other, cut to the quick by her unexpected response. “Is that all?” Uncle George said. “Five or six points. Does it matter?” Washington grinned. “Is not a six-pointed star easier to fashion with equal sides than one with five?” Betsy smiled. “Well, if you’ll allow me to demonstrate, sir.” She crossed the room to a table strewn with fabric swatches and sewing notions— the tools of her trade at the ready. Taking a squared white muslin in hand, she folded it oddly. Once, then twice, then again, and again. Holding fast the bundled fabric, she clipped one end of it with her shears, allowing the material to drop to the table, unfurling from their folds. She picked up one of the pieces and presented it for inspection. A perfectly cut five-pointed star. “Astonishing!” Washington shook his head in disbelief.
US History Images
“The truth is, Uncle George was just here within the hour accompanied by General Washington and Mr. Morris whom you saw in the street.” Mr. Wetherill nodded. “Excellent! I hope they brought you good custom. Washington and his ruffles and Morris the same. New shirts ordered up, I suppose?” “No,” said Betsy. She determined to bring Mr. Wetherill into her confidence. “I have been commissioned by the General to create a battle flag for the colonies. In secret, of course.” Britannica Kids Barely settling in her chair with a steaming cup of tea in hand, mulling over her new commission, she heard another rap at the door. Mr. Samuel Wetherill, an old family friend, tipped his tricorn hat in greeting as she welcomed him. He brought mending and kind regards in her recent loss. “But, my dear, are you unwell,” he said with a furrowed brow, observing her vexed expression. “You appear flushed and not quite yourself.” He noticed her trembling so soon after the flag committee’s visit. “I am well.” She said and sipped her tea. An awkward silence followed. Mr. Wetherill attempted to put her at ease with conversation. “I daresay, I saw General Washington in the street a bit ago. With your uncle and the good Mr. Morris. Your uncle looks well.” The Wetherill family had known Betsy since her youth, the eighth child of seventeen, baptized Elizabeth Griscom. When her pacifist Quaker family cut her off after she eloped with John, an Episcopalian, the Wetherills demonstrated Christ’s love and concern for her through that tumultuous season, welcoming the new Mr. and Mrs. Ross into the Episcopal Christ Church house of worship. Mr. Wetherill had always proved himself a trusted friend. He discerned amiss. “My dear,” he repeated, “are you well?” Betsy sighed. Clearly, Mr. Wetherill suspected something amiss. She paused before leaning forward with widened eyes to reveal her news.
Saying it aloud for the first time caused her to tremble at the gravity of it. “Oh, Mr. Wetherill. What is to become of us in these troubled days? I am commissioned to create a flag that, should the colonies prevail—would become the standard of a new nation.” All light-heartedness in Wetherill’s manner disappeared. He touched her hand, gazing severely into her face. “My dear. You are an Esther, commissioned by One higher than Washington for such a time as this. The God of the impossible calls nations into being and unseats them at His will and for His purposes. History has been wrought in your front room this day. It is His Story! Play your part with confidence and allow God to use it as He will.” Sudden purpose flooded Betsy’s heart. She crossed the room to the table where the pieces to the star she had cut lay. “I even convinced the General that a five-pointed star was superior to a six-pointed star for its ease in making. I do it with a few folds and a snip of my shears. See here?” She handed the two pieces of cut fabric to Wetherill. “I didn’t want to second guess General Washington, but truly—if I were to commit to making a flag with stars, I would rather the simplicity of five-pointed stars rather than six.” Betsy laughed. “Well, I’m astonished,” said Wetherill, fingering the five-pointed star. “May I ask you—what did you plan to do with this star?” The question perplexed her. “That star? Well, nothing. It was just a demonstration. I may be able to make use of the pieces in a quilt or patching, perhaps.”
Wetherill stood. “May I be permitted to keep it?” “Keep it? Well . . . certainly. If you must. But, why?” “For posterity, my girl.” Wetherill’s response—swift, almost mysterious—chilled her. He lowered his voice in foreboding. “The day may come when we shall need tangible reminders of turning point moments in our national independence story.” Betsy Ross, indeed, delivered the General’s flag as agreed one month before the Congress voted for independence on July 4, 1776. Printed dispatches of the formal Declaration of Independence circulated throughout the colonies calling patriots to arms. As a nation at war, one year later, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress formally adopted the national flag to promote unity and national pride: “Resolved: That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Betsy remained busy throughout the war, sewing more flags for the revolution in the secrecy of her bedchamber. Within a year, British soldiers took up rooms within her home when they occupied Philadelphia. Perhaps, as she sewed in secret, she prayed and wondered about the husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons whose blood would spill under that banner for the cause of liberty and justice.
Her firsthand account of the event passed down through her family as part of their oral history. In 1870, Betsy’s grandson, William J. Canby, encouraged efforts to purchase Betsy Ross’ house and designate it a historical landmark as the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial. A campaign launched to open it to the public through monies raised by an Association. Anyone could contribute and receive an elite document suitable for framing at a cost of only ten cents. The document included a full color picture of the celebrated moment in history painted by association founder, Charles H. Weisberger. It is the same painting used in 1952 to mark Betsy’s 200th birthday with an official US Postage stamp. The house has been a living history museum open to the public since 1937. But, the most amazing part of Betsy’s story happened in 1925 when the descendants of Samuel Wetherill opened the family safe to discover the star he had taken from Betsy’s house within hours of her visit with Washington on that May day in 1776. He marked it with her name and did, indeed, seal it away for posterity. It remains a tangible slice of American history on display at Quaker Meeting House Museum located a block from the Betsy Ross House Museum in historic Philadelphia. To learn more about Betsy Ross and the Betsy Ross House Museum, visit http://historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-rosshouse/history/
She married twice during the war—losing both husbands in battle. Growing strong through a season of storm-clouds and loss, she also made musket bullets in a secret cellar room to aid the constant need for ammunition. Right under Redcoat noses. After the war she married, for the fourth time, a man named John Claypole. They raised five daughters and maintained a thriving upholstery and flag making business until her retirement in 1827 at the age of 75. She lived a quiet, devout Christian life until her death in 1836 at the age of 84. Through the years she often spoke of the day General Washington came to call with the commission to create the first American flag of the United States.
Listen to a dramatization of the story on The Writer’s Reverie Podcast, by Kathryn Ross at www.thewritersreverie.com . Click Podcasts on the menu bar and scroll down to access Patriots, Petticoats, and Providential History.
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Summer in the ‘30s by Frances Gregory Pasch Running through the sprinkler while Mom sat shelling peas… playing hopscotch in the street; what precious memories! Life back then was simple, no computers nor TV… just going to the movies was such a special treat. A comic book was special, too; I only had a few, and so I savored reading them through and through and through. On holidays we watched parades as townsfolk lined the streets; our eyes were glued to floats and bands as vendors sold their treats. It was a thrill to get a drink, perhaps a snack or two… a flag to wave and celebrate— balloons, red, white and blue. It sounds like life was boring then compared to things today, but we were quite contented in a very simple way.
Biblical Stepping Stones by Norma C. Mezoe
One Sunday the minister’s message was based on Psalm 37:1-9.
Joshua firmly stated: “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:15b
As I listened and took notes, I realized the verses were a series of spiritual stepping stones.
Verse 7: Rest in the Lord
Verse 1: Fret not thyself What a message for today’s anxiety-ridden world. The word worry is derived from an old AngloSaxon word which meant to strangle or choke. If we continue in our fretting, the true joy of living will be literally strangled from our lives. Verse 3: Trust in the Lord This is the perfect solution to verse one. How do we learn to “fret not”? We trust God. Verse 4: Delight thyself also in the Lord Many are trying to find happiness, but it proves to be an elusive and temporary thing. God gives true and lasting joy, which far surpasses happiness. Verse 5: Commit thy way unto the Lord Only through a total commitment to Christ can we find a deep lasting peace.
Christ tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Which of us does not need to lay aside our burdens? Verse 8: Cease from anger It has been proven that anger not only hinders spiritual growth, but it also affects our emotions and physical health. Verse 9: Wait upon the Lord In our hurry-up world of today, it tries our patience to wait for anything. But how rewarding it is when we learn to wait upon the Lord. Obeying these verses will lead to spiritual growth. Will we follow them today? (First Rights)
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Betsy Ross: The American Flag, and Life in a Young America by Ryan P. Randolph Book Review by Nina Newton After reading the articles by Kathryn Ross in the July and August issues of RUBY magazine, I wanted to know even more about this woman who is part of the story of our country. And having a great interest in history in general, especially the history of America, I was looking for a book that was easy to read but that had some serious research included. I came across this book while looking for something that would be of interest to children but also hold the interest of an adult reader. This book does both! Betsy Ross: The American Flag, and Life in a Young America not only presents the life and accomplishments of Betsy Ross, including her Quaker background, the writing in this book is filled with primary sources and illustrations. You will read about her role in the Revolutionary War and her days as a business woman, with text that is enhanced with maps, paintings, and quotes that give us a personal and in-depth look into the life of the woman who has become known as the maker of the first American flag. Betsy Ross: The American Flag, and Life in a Young America gives an unbiased telling of historical events that are foundational to understanding who we are as a nation and the principles upon which our freedoms and liberty are based. I would recommend this book for children as young as 8 or 9 and even for teens and adults who are interested in knowing more about the history of America and the woman who created our very first flag. Betsy Ross: The American Flag, and Life in a Young America by Ryan P. Randolph is available from RUBY’S Reading Corner, along with several other books about Betsy Ross, her life, her experiences, and how she became one of the most important women in American history.
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Trouble on the Trail! by Shara Bueler-Repka
“Be back before lunch!” Mom called out the front door. “I have a meeting early this afternoon.” I frowned. “Seriously?” I sighed. “I thought we had the whole day to ride, Nocona,” I complained to my horse. “OK, Mom,” I called back. I pulled the saddle girth tight and gathered the reins. “Well, at least we’ll be able to ride for a little while.” My horse turned his head toward me and I patted his neck. Swinging into the saddle, I gently squeezed my calves against his sides and clucked to him. He moved forward and away we went!
We happily wandered down another exciting trail, and I lost track of time. After a good while, I finally glanced at my watch again… and caught my breath. “Oh, no! It’s five minutes to 12:00!” No matter how hard I tried to urge Nocona to move faster, he seemed content to walk along without a care in the world, oblivious to my problem. In desperation, I dug my heels into his sides with a bit too much energy. Startled, he jumped to the edge of the trail… right into a cholla cactus! Suddenly we entered our own little rodeo! He sailed into the air, kicking his hooves up as I hung on for dear life!
I hummed a tune, enjoying the mountains that towered above and the whisper of the breeze through the saguaro cactus spines. We rode down several trails, stopping on various ridges to gaze across the valley floor and breathe in the unique, sweet fragrance of the desert flowers.
He spun and bucked again and again, trying to shake the cholla bulbs loose that were stuck in his back leg. With each leap, a cliff loomed in front of us.
I checked my watch. I knew we should be heading back to the ranch, but the trails were too tempting. “We can explore just one more. We have plenty of time to make it,” I convinced myself.
Immediately, Nocona stopped in midair, landed, and calmly stood as I dismounted—like nothing was stuck in him at all! Looking around, I saw no trees to tie him to (only cacti—and that wasn't happening).
“Jesus, help me!” I blurted at the top of my lungs.
So, pointing him straight ahead, I laid the reins over my arm and stepped toward his flank. My heart sank as I rummaged through my saddlebags. Where are my leather gloves? I gasped. I never leave home without those!
Oh, man. I am totally busted! “What happened?” she asked. “I kinda lost track of time,” I replied. “Kind of?” she said, turning to face me.
Have you ever been up close and personal with a cholla and its lovely, long, needle-sharp barbs? Yeah, I cringed too! I took a deep breath, prayed, and yanked out the cactus. Surprisingly (and a miracle), the cholla bulbs pulled out easier than I expected. I didn’t get poked too badly, and Nocona wasn’t hurt. I breathed a sigh of relief and wiped my hand across my damp face. Surveying the territory around us, I realized that we stood in the only clearing—there were no cacti or rocks, only soft sand and grass! Whew! I swung into the saddle and headed for home. I didn’t want to look at my watch now. I knew I was way late! I rode to the barn and pulled the saddle and bridle off Nocona. Quickly brushing him, I turned him loose in the pasture and slunk to the house. The kitchen door creaked as I peeked through it. My mom stood at the sink, washing the lunch dishes and glaring out the window.
I decided to ‘play the sympathy card’ so I told her about my adventure with the cactus, throwing in as much drama as possible. But, although she was relieved I was OK, she grounded me for a week. As I lay on my bed in solitary confinement, staring at the ceiling, I recalled the events of that day. Yep, I owned the fact that this whole thing was my fault—from being distracted and staying out too late, to my impatience in getting back and almost sailing over a cliff. And I shuddered when I thought of everything that could have happened. But I had to smile too. Even though I’d blown it, Jesus still helped me when I was in trouble and hollered for his help. I wonder if He sent a big ole angel to calm my horse? I guess maybe that’s what grace means—God helps us when we’re in trouble, even when it’s our fault. That’s pretty cool. But I also learned my lesson today—being impatient never turns out good. But, more importantly? I decided to be more respectful toward my mom in doing what I’m told in the first place!
God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble— Psalm 46:1
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Ave Maria History of Christian Hymns by Diana Leagh Matthews
When Sheku Kanneh-Mason played the cello at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria was performed. Many wanted to know more about this beautiful wedding song.
“The Latin version of the Ave Maria is now so frequently used with Schubert’s melody that it has led to the misconception that he originally wrote the melody as a setting for the Ave Maria (prayer).”
Franz Schubert composed the popular Catholic hymn in 1825, as part of his Opus 52. He titled the song “Ellens dritter Gesang” or Ellen’s Third Song.
Both the German and English translations were published in 1826 as Schubert’s Op. 52, under the title Sieben Gesänge aus Walter Scotts Fräulein vom (Seven Songs from Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake).
Philip Adam Storck translated and published the poem Lady of the Lake into German in 1819. This was the inspiration for Schubert’s work and future masterpiece.
Schubert was paid 20 pounds sterling for his work and it became a success.
The song, Ave Maria, was composed as a setting for Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake. In the poem, Ellen Douglas is the character known as the Lady of the Lake.
Schubert wrote to his father and step-mother, “My new songs from Scott’s Lady of the Lake especially had much success. They also wondered greatly at my piety, which I expressed in a hymn to the Holy Virgin and which, it appears, grips every soul and turns it to devotion.”
Ellen, who is travelling with her exiled father, sings a prayer to the Virgin Mary calling upon her help and comfort in the rebellion between her Scottish clan and King James. She and her father are hiding in a cave at the time she sings this prayer.
Schubert died in 1828, at the age of 31, but lived to see his song considered a masterpiece.
Many of Sir Scott’s words contain references to the Latin Prayer, Ave Maria.
Walt Disney used the song in the final part of his 1940s movie, Fantasia, and provided a wide, modern audience for the musical work.
Schubert’s arrangement is believed to have been performed for the first time at the Austrian castle of Countess Sophie Weissenwolff and dedicated to the Countess. For this reason, she became known as the “Lady of the Lake.”
The song has become one of Schubert’s most popular works. The song is usually referred to as Schubert’s Ave Maria to differentiate from the traditional Catholic text.
The opening words of the song are Ave Maria, which means Hail Mary. This may have led to the adapting of Schubert’s work to the full text of the Roman Catholic Church prayer, Ave Maria.
The adapted Latin is the version most often performed today and continues to move audiences. When was the last time you heard Ave Maria played?
Promises Fulfilled by Norma C. Mezoe I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13 (NIV) “This rain is never going to stop!” grumbled my husband one morning as he prepared to leave for work. “O, yes it will,” I responded. “That’s probably what Noah thought, but the rain did stop and with it, God gave a promise.” Many years ago, I was struggling through a crisis and having to make some hard decisions. One day as I stood looking out the window, the rain came down in torrents and dark clouds filled the sky. My spirits felt as damp as the rain and it was as though I was enclosed in one of those dark dreary clouds. Finally, the rain slowly became a drizzle and when I paused again to look out the window, I saw the beginning of a rainbow. As it bloomed across the eastern sky, scattering its colors of many hues, I thought of God’s promise to Noah. I felt the assurance of my heavenly Father’s presence and I knew without a doubt that he would walk with me through every storm in my life. Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for the promise, “I am with you always.” Amen.
Giving Willingly by Norma C. Mezoe Two-year-old Julia clutched the money her grandmother had given her for the offering at church. She sat watching as the usher came toward her with the collection plate. She was obviously having second thoughts about giving her offering. Unwillingly, she dropped it into the plate. Then she made a loud comment which showed her displeasure: “People, I want my money back!” It’s understandable that a two-year-old doesn’t want to be separated from her money, but do we adults sometimes react in a similar manner? Paul encouraged his readers to give freely. He wrote: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV) Will we be like Julia and clutch our money tightly or will we freely give of a portion of that which God has given to us? Thought for Today: We can never out give God.
James 4:13-14 by Cindy J. Evans James 4:13-14, NIV, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Lord, I was planning this and that, but I am just a vapor. Who am I to decide my hours without including the God factor? You gave us each moment, you gave us each breath, please show us how You would want us to spend it. Maybe this task, I will, Maybe this task, I won't, maybe this thing, I'll do, maybe this thing, I don't. May Your plans prevail, may Your purposes rule, I don't know the road ahead, but, thankfully, You do... So as I pray and ponder, reign in all my planning, and may the cry of my heart be if the Lord willing!
For This, I Have Jesus by Norma C. Mezoe Problems beset me, heartache draws near… Dark clouds surround me, the sun disappears. Then I’m reminded, that I’m never alone. Jesus walks with me and calls me his own. —For this, I have Jesus.
Praying God’s Promises: The Life-Changing Power of Praying the Scriptures by Linda Evans Shepherd Book Review by Miriam Jacob
When we pray according to God’s will, He delights to answer our prayers. What is God’s will? How can we know it and pray it? God’s will is revealed in His Word through His promises. Linda Evans Shepherd explains how to pray God’s powerful promises into our lives. This book inspires us to pray according to God’s will and to wait patiently for His glorious answers in our lives. God is a God of Promises, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. All God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen in Christ.” God controls everything in our lives. He loves us with an everlasting love. He is our Mighty Warrior. He fights all our battles. He is our Divine Doctor. He heals all our diseases. God’s promises make a huge difference in our lives. God can be trusted, no matter how big our problems are. God’s promises calm our storms and deliver us out of them all. God’s promises are real. We are living proof of this. God’s promises prove true and cause a deep trust to well up in our spirits.
Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation by Jen Schmidt Book Review by Michele Morin Commit Deliberate Acts of Hospitality We were new in church and new to the area, and our little threebedroom fixer-upper was situated in a part of the universe in which it didn’t matter that we had been born and bred in Maine. We had not been born and bred in this part of Maine, and we had the accent (or lack of same) to prove it. We knew we had some work to do if we were ever going to live our way into the homes and hearts of people in Mid-coast Maine. We also knew the answer was, of course, to go first — to begin inviting people for Sunday dinner or Saturday night dessert and a movie. But here’s the catch: four babies in eight years makes for a complicated math that drains the budget and strains all available time and energy for home improvement projects. As the years passed, the fixer-upper still looked pretty un-fixed as we replaced the furnace and shingled the roof, bought sneakers and paid for home school curriculum. Somehow, though, we knew that this was not the time to put life on hold.
In a deliberate act of hospitality, we set a goal of inviting one new couple each month for Friday night supper. We opened our door, inviting guests into our own unique chaos of high chairs and sheet rock, half-painted woodwork and ugly kitchen cabinets. This was our way of opening up our life and inviting others to open theirs to us. The Hospitable Life Reading Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, I felt Jen Schmidt and the whole (in)courage team nodding and smiling in agreement that true hospitality is nothing more (and nothing less!) than “an ordinary couple [making] a deliberate decision, intent on getting to know the people around them from more than a polite distance.” (2) In Romans 12:3, the Apostle Paul puts a strong verb in front of the word hospitality when he urges Roman believers who were facing persecution to “pursue hospitality.” Hospitality, then, is not wild creativity on display, nor is it a demonstration of expert cooking skill. It’s a way of life that wonders: “Whom can I love on today?” “Who needs encouragement?” Each chapter of Just Open the Door unpacks a different facet of the hospitable life with words of encouragement and stories lifted from Jen Schmidt’s own parenting, inviting, tail-gating, pot-lucking life. For every “have to” moment in your day, Jen invites you to switch the sentiment to “get to,” as in “Today, I get to change the sheets in the guest room.” A life marked by gratitude opens up the floodgates to all kinds of hospitality.
Hospitality: Will Travel A blanket on the beach; The bleachers at a ball game; A picnic table at a state park; Your church’s fellowship hall– Simple refreshments and a warm welcome transform any space into hospitality ground-zero. At the end of each chapter, Schmidt shares tips that “Elevate the Ordinary,” because intentionally loving others transforms paper plates and Styrofoam coffee cups into fine china. Be a gatherer of people, and you will not lack opportunities to love your neighbor. Come As You Are Even if you are not “fine,” you need not be alone if there are people in your life with whom you are free to exchange the gift of your own imperfection (119) for the gift of their listening ear. The whole family can get in on the opportunity to neighbor broadly and indiscriminately in simple ways such as picking up the trash that lands along the streets or making conversation about dogs and kids. Our children have received great benefits from being included in multi-generational gatherings, and we have also loved hosting their friends. Everything from spontaneous gatherings around the fire pit for s’mores and firefly sightings to huge gatherings with lace tablecloths and the best dishes have been part of our family’s culture. Jen has spoken truth in her subtitle, “One Invitation Can Change a Generation.” These days the tables get turned sometimes as our married sons and their wives invite us to their homes to be blessed and fed and connected with family and friends. “Grace On, Guilt Off” Things will not always go well. Events will not necessarily unfold according to plan. There will be seasons in which hospitality is just not possible, and you may need to be the object of someone else’s care and love. God has a way of showing up in unexpected ways, showering grace into a situation that looks hopeless. “Opening the door when we aren’t ready defines hospitality in the deepest sense of the word.” (195) Throwing wide the door of welcome, we embody God’s welcome and put the Gospel’s warm, lifegiving hospitality on display for a world of people whose life may be changed by one simple invitation from an open and responsive heart. When we open the door, we mirror God’s acceptance, and I’m coming away from Jen Schmidt’s softspoken challenge with a renewed desire to lean into the risk, to open the door when I’m not quite prepared as an act of faith: “Lord, what are you about to do here?” Relaxing my need for control frees Him to work as table becomes altar, hostess becomes servant, and my open door becomes an invitation to New Life with Him.
Praying God’s Promises: The Life-Changing Power of Praying the Scriptures by Linda Evans Shepherd and Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation by Jen Schmidt are available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.
RUBY magazine is now available in print! Every issue of RUBY magazine can now be purchased as a print publication. To purchase RUBY magazine in print, please visit the RUBY blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you will find the link for each issue. The Hannah Experience: When Nothing seems to be Producing the Desired Effect by Jennifer Workman “This book extends inspiration to every bibliophile to press forward in prayer and trust God unequivocally despite what they may encounter in life and trust that God is the way and that he will ultimately supply their needs and bring them to their final destination at the appointed time.”
Now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner
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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.
Theresa Begin lives in Northern California, where she was born and raised. She is a Christian who loves her family and says, “I have been blessed with the world’s best parents!” She has three sisters and one brother, as well as 16 beautiful nieces and nephews who “mean the world to me!” She is “differently-abled,” and chooses not to allow her limitations to define her life. She loves to write and share her various projects on her blog, “Shoestring Elegance,” which came about as she discovered that living on a tight budget did not mean compromising on style. “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 NLT
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: www.ponyexpressministry.com and her blog: www.trailtails.blogspot.com, or come for a visit on Facebook.
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. Writer-speaker, Kathryn Ross is Pageant Wagon Publishing—igniting God’s Word and biblical principles as a vibrant light of literacy and learning in the life of your Christian family. Inspired by the stillness of birdsong, silent reflection, antiques, and teatime, she filters her love of history, classic literature, and the arts through God’s Word, to inform her words. Her passion to equip women and families in developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle produces readers and thinkers who can engage the world from a biblical worldview. In addition, she mentors authors as a book shepherd, assisting them in the development, editing, design, and production of the book God has called them to write. Miss Kathy blogs and podcasts at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.com.
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 www.francesgregorypasch.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Radcliff is a writer, speaker, women's Bible study teacher, and a 35-year volunteer youth worker, residing in Pennsburg, PA. She is a wife, mom, and mom-mom who loves God's Word but also loves football, chocolate, shoes, and Maine. Her hobbies include quilting, shopping, cooking, and raising Seeing Eye puppies. You can reach her at www.lisajradcliff.com.
Nancy Frantel lives in Virginia, and is a published author of three history books, public speaker and researcher. Prior to becoming a writer she worked in corporate management. A “life interruption” injury in 2010 limited her ability to work as a writer. In 2017, she attended several Christian writing conferences, and felt led to start over in a different genre. Her goal is to write inspirational and encouraging stories based on her experiences, lessons learned by trusting God, and individuals He provides along the way.
Miriam Jacob is a reviewer at Oxford Academic, Oxford University Press; a blog reviewer at Revell Reads, Baker Publishing Group; member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, Christian Authors Network and Ruby Book Review Team; Google Scholar and Researcher at Academia.edu; ebook author and poet; top reviewer at NetGalley, Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and Goodreads. Miriam is a reviewer at Tyndale House Publishers; Moody Press; Barbour Books; Harvest House; New Hope Publishers; Penguin; HarperCollins Christian; Abingdon Press; WaterBrook & Multnomah; and Discovery House. Miriam's articles and poems are published at Blogger, Faithwriters, PoemHunter, ProBoards, Weebly and WordPress. Her writings are published on her two blogs at www.miriamjacob.wordpress.com & www.authorsforchrist.blogspot.com
Gloria Doty is a published Christian author, writer and speaker. She has published a non-fiction book, a devotion book, a series of fiction romance books and several children's picture books. Gloria has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She has recently remarried and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.
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.”
Jehn Kubiak is a Biola University journalism graduate and current pastoral care and counseling major at the Talbot School of Theology. She is a San Diego native who enjoys distance swimming, coffee, dogs, and painting. She loves researching and writing about people, sports, activities, and more.
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. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Authorand-Story-Performer/188479350973
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 https://nellswasilewski.blogspot.com
Linda M. Crate's poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has five published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), and splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), and one micro-chapbook Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).
Cynthia Knisley After years as a “stay-at-home” mom, Cynthia enjoyed a fulfilling second career as a high school language teacher and curriculum developer. Recently, she took a leap of faith and left the classroom in order to devote more time to family---aging parents, adult children, and lively young grandchildren. Her home is in West Chester, PA, where she plays classical music, bakes bread, and tends a “secret garden.” A novice blogger, she welcomes you to her posts at email@example.com.
Diana Leagh Matthews writes, speaks and sings to bring glory to God.
She has been published in numerous anthologies, including many Moments books. In her day job, Leagh is a Nationally Certified Activities Director for a busy nursing facility. She takes great joy in family, friends and soaking in the beautiful wonders and promises of God. Leagh blogs about her faith and struggles on her website www.DianaLeaghMatthews.com and family history at www.ALookThruTime.com
Cindy Evans is a published poet living in the greater Atlanta area. When she's not writing, you may find her a faith-based movie with her husband, making trail mix or serving at the local Christian hospice.
Nina Newton, Sr. Editor:
When 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 www.vintagemamascottage.com
RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife
Late summer days are filled with family and friends, vacations, gardening, harvesting, and though of the upcoming change of seasons. And in...
Published on Jul 31, 2018
Late summer days are filled with family and friends, vacations, gardening, harvesting, and though of the upcoming change of seasons. And in...